Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Guardians Rules, Part 2

Guardians is a great Collectible Card Game formerly produced by FPG, Inc. The game is no longer supported, except by fans who have played the games since its inception or since picking up discounted cards.

One problem with picking up discounted cards: if you can't find a starter deck, you don't have the rules. (There are other things you may not have either, but the rules are the most important.)

This is an effort to correct that problem. What follows are a quick set of rules for playing the game. They get more complex as the go along. All that is listed is what you *can* do, not what you *should* do. For playing tips, go elsewhere.

part 2 of 4
(version 0.2)


This is the heart of Guardians: two Shields going to combat.

Pick up all the cards under your shield into your Combat Hand. You may also pick up all your double-bordered cards from your Storage Hand. You CANNOT take any of your creatures out of your Creature Pen. That's the reason that they're kept under the Guardian, so you can't pick them up by accident. (Sure, it was an "accident".)

The attacker declares first if he is playing a command card. (Not which card, just whether or not one will be played.)

A command card is a sort of spell that takes place before you begin combat. It might be one of the following: a Spell (like Ice Storm or Vitales Dark Cloud) that states that it must be used as a Command Card, a Hand Magic Item (like Medallion of Skyphos from Drifters Nexus) that states it must be used as a Command Card, or a creature that has a command ability.

A command ability differs from a regular ability in that it is preceded by a 'C' with a line through it. Also, the spell portion of the text box will be in italics.

After the attacker declares whether or not to play one, the defender declares whether he will use one. They are then revealed together.

You may each only play one command card.

If the two cards are contradictory, the one with the lower Up Number is dispelled. If they have the same Up Number, they're both dispelled.

Ex. 1: Vitales Dark Cloud vs. Sorcerer
No contradiction. Both AOEs take effect.

Ex. 2: Visionary vs Seer.
Both require that the opponent state something about their creature before combat, which is a contradiction. Since both have Vitality 5, both are dispelled.

Ex. 3: Trumpeter vs Baleful Eye.
One requires that all Demons and Devils be played first, while the other requires the opponent to announce the size of his creatures. Strangely enough, these can both be done, so neither is dispelled.

Ex. 4: Uras, Overlord of the Mountains vs. Slor, Overlord of the Wastes

They both change the terrain type for the rest of the combat. Slor has the higher Up number, the terrain becomes Dry Heaps. Uras is dispelled. (And it is keeping with the spirit of the game for the "Slor" player to announce, "Ha! I dispelled Uras!")

If the command card forces the two into combat, go to the Primary Attack section, below.

AOE attacks

So what's this AOE attack on some of the cards? AOE stands for "Area of Effect" and it attacks every creature in the opponent's hand (but not the ones that are on the table).

If the Sorcerer casts a 4-point fire AOE, every creature in the opponent's hand that have a Vitality of 4 or less (Note: use the actual Vitality, not the red Stacking number, if there is one.) are discarded. This can conceivably wipe out your entire hand. It might also have no effect at all. Additionally, since this AOE is a "fire" attack, all creature with immunity to fire are immune to this attack.

If the card had a "fear" AOE, creatures immune to fear attacks would be immune to that attack as well.

If the card just says "AOE", there is only one creature that is immune to it -- the Blackthwaite Jumper, which is immune to ALL AOEs.

The final type of AOE attack is, believe it or not, methane, which is only used by two creatures: Cow and Mayor McEvil. The rules for methane are on the Cow card. The creatures are NOT discarded, but are set to the side, out of play, and cannot fight. They can, however, be attacked by the opponent.


Okay, you've gotten past the command card step. Now, it's time to go head-to-head.

Each player picks one card from their hand and they are laid on the table simultaneously. Now it's time to see who wins.

But first ---


-- there are a few steps before you get to actually kill each other.

Once both creatures are revealed, both players have the opportunity to bribe his opponent's creature away. There are up to three icons on the bottom of the creature cards: a Beer mug, a Gold coin, and a pair of lips (Babes). If a creature has one or more of these, it can be bribed away by the appropriate bribery card.

Bribery must be the first thing you do in a primary match-up. If you decide not to bribe, you cannot change your mind later when your opponent does something really nasty that you weren't expecting. Likewise, you must give your opponent the opportunity to bribe you -- you can't speed-play into something nasty and tell him its too late.

Standard example:

Sand Lord vs. Swordsman: the Sand Lord has Vitality 11 and is bribeable by Babes, the Swordsman is a 6 that is bribeable by Gold.

Possibility 1: Swordsman bribes Sand Lord with Babes. Sand Lord player may also bribe Swordsman with Gold or leave him unchallenged.

Possibility 2: Sand Lord player bribes Swordsman with Gold. Swordsman can bribe or not, but he can't do anything else.

Possibility 3: Swordsman player doesn't have a Babes, but does have a St. Ballantine's Evocation (which destroys the Knight and its opponent). He quickly plays it as soon as its obvious that he'll lose anyway. Sand Lord player screams "Wait a minute: I was going to bribe you." Swordsman player has to take back the spell. Oops.

Possibility 4: Swordsman player doesn't have a Babes, but does have a St. Ballantine's Evocation (which destroys the Knight and its opponent). He pauses and says, "Are you bribing me?" Sand Lord player says "No". Bombs away. Sand Lord player can't change his mind now -- both creatures are destroyed.


There are Spells that can be cast "at any time". You can cast one of these now, or at any time AFTER bribery. These include St. Ballentine's Evocation, Power Lunch, etc.


If either creature has a "Destroys x" condition where x could be "creatures bribeable by Gold" or "Mortals affected by fear" or whatever, this takes place before anything else.

If the Merchant goes up against the Swordsman, the Swordsman is destroyed and goes immediately to the discard pile. However, if the Swordsman had St. Ballentine's Evocation, it could have be cast prior to the destruction step and thus destroying both creatures. Or the Merchant could have been bribed by Babes to prevent the destruction.

AOE attacks

Not all AOE attacks are command cards, some use their attacks during primary attacks. They are resolved after destruction. Thus, if a Sorcerer goes up against a Merchant, the Sorcerer is destroyed before the AOE can attack. If the Sorcerer bribes the Merchant away, then the AOE goes into effect and the opponent discards creatures.


Some creatures are immune to fire or immune to fear. Others are immune to flying creatures, mortals or externals, etc. If one creature is immune to its attacker, turn the attacker around (so that its head is facing the player who played it) to indicate that no damage has been done. The immune creature does damage as normal.

Text Box

Okay, so what about the other stuff. Any other ability, spell, bonus or whatever that is described in the text box goes into effect now.

Off-Color Bonus

A Vitality 6 Swordsman against a Vitality 11 Sand Lord doesn't look too pretty, does it. But it isn't as bad as it looks. White-border creatures (a.k.a. Mortals) get an Off-Color Bonus against brown-border creatures (a.k.a. Elementals) which get an Off-Color Bonus against black-border creatures (a.k.a. Externals) which get an Off-Color Bonus against white-border creatures. Sorta like Rock-Paper-Scissors.

Confused? Hard to remember? It's easy: there's a little oval with a number in it toward the bottom of the card. The oval is the color of the type of creature that it gets a bonus against.

In the example above, the Swordsman gets a +3 bonus against all Elementals, like the Sand Lord. That gives him a Vitality of 9. Now he's only losing by two points -- and we're not done here.

The Sand Lord also has an OCB of 3, but it only applies against black-border Externals, so he stays at 11.


Some creatures get a bonus based on the terrain the battle is taking place on. (The Sand Lord is unique in that it also has a penalty for battles on a particular terrain.)

If the battle is taking place on the Dry Heaps, the the Sand Lord gets a big 6-point Vitality boost, but if it's in the Woods, it becomes a 6-point penalty. Obviously, this can tip the balance of the combat.

Can you change the terrain type? Sure, two ways: first, if there's an Overlord command card in play (from Drifters Nexus), the terrain type has been changed already. Second, drop a Hammer of Doom to destroy the terrain. No terrain = no terrain bonus (there is an exception, but let's not get into that now). There are other cards that fiddle with the terrain, but Hammer of Doom is the only one that
does it in the middle of a combat.


(These can take place in any order.)

Ranged Attacks:If your fighting in any terrain other than Woods, you can fire a ranged-attack into any primary attack. Only creatures that say
"n pt. ranged-attack" (where n is any number) can be used.

To play a ranged-attacker, place the creature next to your primary attacker, but tilt it in toward the battle. The amount of your ranged-attack is added to the Vitality of your primary attacker.

For instance, the Sand Lord and Swordsman are still at it. The Sand Lord is Vitality 11, the Swordsman is Vitality 6 + 3 for his Off-Color Bonus for a total of 9. The combat isn't taking place in Woods (if it were, the Sand Lord would have a penalty of -6, making him Vitality 5 and he'd be beaten!) so an Archer (Vitality 6, 3 pt ranged-attack) can be played. The Swordsman now has a Vitality of 12 and will beat the Sand Lord unless he plays his own ranged attack, a Gold bribery or
something sneaky.

Ranged attackers can be bribed like regular creatures. They cannot be attacked, not even by your opponent's ranged attackers.

Channleing: This is the biggie. Read it twice or three times. Make sure you understand it because the game depends on it.

Channeling is a way to boost a creature's Vitality temporarily to help it win combats.

Creatures with a green bar in the lower right corner (over the letters "CMP") can automatically receive channeling. Creatures with a red bar cannot receive channeling unless a Spell, command card or some other effect allows them to.

Where does the channeling come from? Two sources: first, those faced-down channellers that you placed under your stronghold during the Draw & Organize phase; second, your Guardian.

To use a channeling creature, just reveal it. It adds the number of CMP to the attacking creature's Vitality. Channeling creatures may be used once per turn on any turn of the game. Some have restrictions on what creature type they may cast to; others allow channeling to certain creatures including ones that normally cannot receive channeling.

To use your Guardian to channel, simply spend a stone. Your creature gains the Guardian's CMP in addition to its Vitality. You may spend multiple stones to channel to a single creature, but if you run out of stones, you can no longer channel.

Limits on channeling: a creature can only receive up to it base Vitality in channeling (effectively doubling it) unless the card says otherwise. For example: if you first play a Power Lunch spell, the Sand Lord can receive up to 11 points of channeling, regardless of terrain and off-color bonuses (or penalties) or ranged-attackers.

A Valkyrie Spirit (CMP 3, channels only to Knights, including those that normally cannot receive channelling) can give its full 3 points to the Swordsman, and a second Vakyrie Spirit can give another 3 points. However, a third one would be ineffective; the Swordsman have received as much as he could handle. Even the Guardian couldn't give him any more.


After you've finished adding in bonuses, casting Spells, channeling and placing ranged attackers, figure out which creature has the most Vitality. Place the winning card so that it overlaps the loser to signify victory.

Now you're ready for the next primary attack. Each player picks one more card and does it all over again.

This goes on until either player runs out of cards. At that point, we come to . . .


When one player has creatures left over, he gets to play secondary attacks. That is, you get to pick off any of your opponent's remaining creatures. You may attack his command card or any ranged attacker, or you may attack a creature that won a primary match-up. Your attacking creature gets all bonuses from its text box, for terrain, for off-color and channelling. THERE ARE NO RANGED ATTACKS during Secondary Attacks.

HOWEVER, remember how the word "temporarily" was used before? Well, it's over now. During second attackers, all Vitality bonuses from the primary attacks are GONE. All text boxes are, in effect, blanked out. (The exception to this are text boxes that specifically apply to secondary attacks or for the duration of the combat.)

While you may attack any creature, if you attack a primary attacker, you get the full Base Vitality of your primary attacker as a bonus to your secondary attacker.

Secondary attackers, like all attackers, may be bribed.

Chris played a Sorceror (as a command card), a Sand Lord, Devil Dog (Vitality 6, immune to fire).

Bill played an Iron Crag Baggler (as a command card, dispels opponent's command card), a Swordsman plus an Archer as a ranged attack, and a Fire Walker (Vitality 9, fire-based attack).

Suppose Chris has remaining creatures, here are his options:
- he can attack the pesky command card, but he needs five points of vitality (including bonuses and channeling) to kill it. The Iron Crag Baggler cannot defend itself, except to bribe the creature away.
- he can attack the Archer, but he needs seven points of vitality.
- he can attack the Fire Walker, in which case he needs only four points because the Devil Dog already did 6 points.
- he can kill the Swordsman outright with any creature that attacks, even a Vitality 0 Idiot. This is because the Sand Lord is a 11, and the Swordsman goes back to being a 6. Back you must have *something* to attack him with, it isn't an automatic win.

Suppose Bill had a remaining creature, which is at most five points of Vitality (beacause he's already played 25)
- he can attack the Sorceror, but needs nine points to kill it (which is possible if his creature can accept channeling)
- he can attack the Devil Dog, but need a full seven points because the Fire Walker didn't do any damage during the primary rounds. That's why the card is rotated 180 degrees as a reminder. However, Bill doesn't have to worry any more about that silly immunity to fire -- like all other bonuses, it goes away!

Question: If the Sand Lord had been Power Lunched and then received channeling to beat the Swordsman, what would his secondary need to kill it?

Answer: the Sand Lord is an 11, the Swordsman is a 6. He needs another six. All bonuses go away including the Sand Lord terrain *penalty*, had
there been one, including OCB, including the Archer's ranged attack. Any channeling is lost, too.


Can multiple creatures attack the same creature during secondary attacks?

Absolutely, but its important to note that the "ALL BONUSES GO AWAY" rule applies to your secondaries if you place a "secondary secondary". That is, only the last creature you play gets its OCB, terrain bonus and channeling. All other attackers get only their base Vitality.

Confused? That's normal. Try it out a few times and you'll get the
hang of it.

Hopefully, I'll come up with a good sample hand that illustrates all
these points.

Homebrew Card

Mud Castle:
Stronghold Left and Right: +4 to defending Creatures. Counts as Swamp terrain under your control. Center: +6 to defending Creatures.

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