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Realm of the Defenders

Contributed by Shawn Dumas

In days departed, within an undeveloped and wild land, a prevailing Realm resided. Tranquility with its untamed neighbors had not come easy; for the peace that it earned was long labored for and cost the lives of many valiant and heroic men.

The Elders of this Realm were wise though. They had, for awhile, a relative peace but they never forgot the valor that secured it. They tutored the youth of that age in the time honored skill of battle and taught them the advantage of every resource for their Realm's defense.

Are you ready to become the pupil? Are you prepared to be tutored in the ancient mode of defense developed by the Elders?

Well then, come sit down and study well. And may you learn the art of the Realm of the Defenders!

How to Win

The last Defender to have Fortresses left standing wins the game.

A shortened version of the game has a Player losing if he ends any turn without any Defenders in play. The last Player with any Defenders in play wins.

Card Types

spade Spades are called "Defenders" and are used to protect your Fortresses. They reside at the Play Area. Defenders can only be used if they started your turn in the Play Area or if they are a sacrifice Defender for an overwhelmed Defender. A Defender's toughness is represented by its face value (i.e. a ten of spades has a toughness of ten) or fifteen if it is a face card (i.e. an Ace, King, Queen, or Jack.) When a Defender is defeated in battle they go to your Defeated Pile.

club Clubs are called "Power" and are a resource that Defenders use to be empowered for battle. It resides face down in the Power Pool at the Play Area. Power can only be used if it started your turn in the Power Pool or if you are the target Defender during a battle. A Power card's strength is represented by its face value (i.e. a nine of clubs has a strength of nine) or fifteen if it is a face card. After a Power Card is used in a battle it goes to your Discard Pile.

diamond Diamonds are called "Money" and are a resource used to pay for Defenders so they can be put into play at the Play Area. This is done by discarding the Money card or cards to your Discard Pile. A Money card's value is represented by its face value (i.e. an eight of diamonds has a value of eight) or fifteen if it is a face card. After a Money Card is used to pay for a Defender it goes to your Discard Pile.

heart Hearts are called "Courage" and are a resource used to represent courage. When your realm has no Courage your Fortresses will surrender to your opponent when attacked. It resides face up in the Courage Pool at the Play Area. Courage can only be used if it started your turn in the Courage Pool. A Courage card's courage is represented by its face value (i.e. a seven of hearts has a courage of seven) or fifteen if it is a face card. After a Courage Card is used to represent the loss of courage at the defeat of a Defender in battle, it goes to your Discard Pile.

joker Jokers are called "The Elders" and are wild cards that can represent any other card in the game. An Elder has a value of fifteen when used as Power, Money, or Courage. An Elder also follows all the rules that apply to the card type it is representing except for the Special Powers assigned to Defender Face Cards. In addition, as a Defender an Elder only has the value of the price in Money that you paid to put it into play.

For example if you only paid five points of Money to play an Elder as a Defender then his toughness is only five. When you pay anything less than fifteen for an Elder, place the Money under him as a reminder of his value. When an Elder is representing a Defender and is defeated in battle he goes to your Discard Pile.

back Game Point Cards [face-down cards] are called "Fortresses" and are used to represent the cities you are defending. When all of these are gone your game is over. They reside at the Play Area. A Fortress may be dismantled for its resources. This is represented by discarding the Fortress to your Discard Pile and drawing seven cards from your Draw Deck to your Hand.

Defender Face Card Special Powers

ace Ace: Sacrifice this Defender to interrupt an opponent while they are dismantling a Fortress causing them to not draw seven cards after dismantling the Fortress. The effect of this is to force your opponent to dismantle their Fortress and not gain any resource from its being dismantled. The Ace, and his value of Courage in play, both go to the Defeated Pile. Espionage is an aged trade performed by skilled guardians who thwart their enemies' plans.

kingKing: His Majesty, while in play, cannot be overwhelmed (i.e. having two opposing Defenders assigned to him in a battle.) Thus as King he can only be defeated when he stands alone.

queenQueen: When you are the active Player her Majesty may be forfeited to allow you to put any opponent's resource, currently in play, into his opponent's Defeated Pile; including assigned Power. The Queen, and her value of Courage in play, both go to the Defeated Pile. Her valor is so renowned that her sacrifice injures even her enemies.

jackJack: The Jack is your Knight and as such can always be played from a target Players Hand as a sacrifice Defender. The Jack, and his value of Courage in play, both go to the Defeated Pile. For a Knights duty is to be ever ready to protect and serve.

jokerJoker: Forfeit your Elder, by placing him on the Defeated Pile, while you are the active Player. This allows you to pay double the value in Money of a defeated Defender and to inspire a Defender from the Defeated Pile. The fearlessness of an Elder in times of need gives even the defeated courage to fight once again.

All of the above Defenders may be played from the Play Area or your Hand, but all Courage costs must be paid by cards in play coming from the Courage Pool at the Play Area.

Deck Construction

500 Points are allowed in each Deck, each card has value as follows:

Any number of cards may be use as long as the total value of all the cards is less than or equal to 500 and no more than four cards of each type may be used per deck.

Note: A standard deck of playing cards [52 cards plus 2 jokers] constitutes a legal 500 point deck that is quite playable. We do suggest, however, that you buy four standard decks of playing cards to experience all the strategy of Realm of the Defenders.

Playing cards can be bought for less than a dollar at most "dollar" stores.

The Play Area

layout

Game Setup

Each player shuffles his 500 point deck, and presents it to the opposing player to be cut.

Draw the first two cards without looking at them. These are your Fortresses. No Player can see these cards until they are dismantled for resources, or discarded in battle. Note: If you are playing with more than two Players, or want the game to last longer, you may draw four Fortresses instead of two.

Draw ten cards without looking. These are to be used for bidding.

The rest of your cards go to the Play Area as your Draw Deck.

Without the other player seeing, make your bid to be the starting Defender using the ten cards drawn. To do this, pick any number of the ten and then after counting to three both players will put their bids at the Play Area at the same time. Whoever laid down the most cards wins the bid and gets to go first. In case of a tie, the player who lost the last game goes first.

Bid cards go face down to the Play Area and are the start of your Defeated Pile.

The starting Defender has won the opportunity to get an Elder from their Draw Deck into their Hand, being sure to shuffle the Draw Deck after one is located.

Shuffle the remainder of the ten bid cards, if any, into the Draw Deck.

Draw seven more cards for your starting Hand. This means that the starting player gets a total of nine cards for the first turn. That is an Elder for winning the bid, seven more cards for the starting Hand, and the one card gotten from the Draw Phase. It pays to go first!

If you only have one type of card in your starting Hand (i.e. all Courage or all Power) you may show your Hand to your opponent and reshuffle it back into your Draw Deck and then redraw your starting hand. Your opponent may do the same if he wishes.

At any time, players may look through his own or opponent's Defeated Pile, but not his Discard Pile.

Turn Sequence

Game play starts with the Player that has won the starting bid and progresses to the next highest bidder and so on. Players must sit in bid order with lower bidders to the left of the starting Player. The player whose turn it is is called the "active Player."

The turn sequence is the same for all Players and is as follows:

Draw Phase
The active Player must always draw a card from his Draw Deck and place the card into his Hand. If he is unable to draw any more cards from his Draw Deck he must shuffle his Discard Pile. This becomes his new Draw Deck.
Deploy Phase
If the active Player has Money in his Hand equal to the toughness of a Defender in his Hand, he may place the value of his Defender, in Money, to his Discard Pile. Once a Defender has been paid for the Defender goes into play by placing the Defender to the Play Area. Doing this deploys his Defender. The active Player may deploy as many Defenders as he has Money to pay for.
The active Player may use as many Money Cards as needed to pay for a Defender. For example: In your Hand you have a Defender with the toughness of five, also, in your Hand you have two Money Cards with the values of two and three. You may discard both cards in order to pay for the Defender with the toughness of five thus deploying the Defender.
The amount of money used to deploy a Defender may be greater than the cost of that Defender as long as the active player is not dumping cards so as to be able to refresh his hand at the Even Up Phase without having to dismantle a fortress.
Empower Phase
If the active Player has a Defender, or Defenders, in play and he has Power placed in his Power Pool he may assign an amount of power, of only one card per Defender, to empower his Defenders and then send them into battle. To empower a Defender simply place a Power Card on top of a Defender. This represents the Defender's strength. (For instruction on battling see the Battle Sequence.)
Fortress Phase
Or the active Player may, instead of paying and playing a Defender, and/or empowering and sending a Defender to battle, dismantle a Fortress for its resources by discarding the Fortress Card to his Discard Pile and drawing seven cards from his Draw Deck.
Resource Phase
Then, the active Player may play up to two resources to his respective pools (i.e. two Courage Cards, or two Power Cards, or one of each.)
Even up Phase
The active Player then evens up his Hand by drawing from his Draw Deck until he has seven cards in his Hand.
The active Player then declares to the next Player to the left that his turn is now over.

Battle Sequence

The battle sequence is the same for all Players and is as follows:

Assignment Phase
The active Player chooses, from the Defenders present at his Play Area, as many Defenders to join in the battle as he can empower from his Power Pool in play.
The active Player then decides the assignment of attacking Defenders. Assignment is done by moving the attacking Defenders, with their Power Card placed on top, directly in front of the Defenders of any Player. This Player is now called the "target Player".
Each of the active Player's Defenders must be assigned with at least one target Player's Defenders.
Up to two attackers may be assigned to each of the target Player's Defenders in play. This is called overwhelming. The active Player may attack any number of the target Player's Defenders.
See "Broken Spirit" below if a target Player has no Defenders in the Play Area.
Response Phase
The target Player now has a chance to respond to the attack. The target Player may play a sacrifice Defender to block the Power of an active Player's Defender.
If the target Player has a Defender that is being attacked he may play a sacrifice Defender from the Play Area to block the Power of an attack for that Defender.
However, if the target Player has a Defender that is being overwhelmed he may play a sacrifice Defender from his Hand or the Play Area to block the Power of an attack for the Defender that is being overwhelmed and only that Defender. The active Player gets to choose which of his two Defenders' Power Cards will be blocked.
Power can only effect a single Defender during an attack. Any power in excess of the toughness of its target is ignored. For example a Sacrifice Defender of a toughness of two will stop a Power card of fifteen.
After using a sacrifice Defender place it in the Defeated Pile and an equal amount of Courage is put in the Discard Pile. This represents the loss of courage for the sacrifice Defender's defeat.
Attack Phase
The target Player may retaliate by playing a Power Card from his Power Pool or his Hand to the Defender being attacked in order to eliminate the active Player's Defender. If the target Players Defender is being overwhelmed the active Player gets to choose which of his two Defenders the Power Card effects.
The face value of the Defender is its toughness (or 15 for face cards.) That toughness must be overcome with Power to be eliminated to the Defeated Pile. A tie goes to the active Player.
For example: your opponent has a Defender with a toughness of five. In your Power Pool you have a Power card with a toughness of five. You would place that Power on top of one of your own Defenders, in this case a Defender with a toughness of ten, and then move it in front of your opponent's five Defender. Your Opponent may take Power from his Hand, with a toughness of ten or greater, and place that on top of his Defender being attacked. In this example, your opponent decided not to play a sacrifice Defender. Now you may resolve. Your Power of five eliminates his Defender. But his Power of ten also eliminates your Defender.
After the battle is complete, both players total up the toughness of all of their defeated Defenders. Then, after placing their defeated Defenders to their respective Defeated Piles, both Players are to take an amount of Courage, equal or greater to the total of toughness from all of their defeated Defenders, from their Courage Pool and discard it to their Discard Pile. This represents the loss of Courage sustained to your realm for the defeat of your Defenders.
The Player may use as many Courage Cards as needed to account for the loss of courage from all of the defeated Defender. For example: As a result of a battle your Defender with the toughness of five has been defeated. You now have to discard to your Discard Pile five points worth of Courage. In your Courage Pool you have three Courage Cards with the values of two, three and ten. You may discard the two and the three, or the ten in order to account for the loss of the Defender with a toughness of five. If you only have a ten in your Courage you would, in this case, discard the ten to account for the loss of the Defender with a toughness of five.
All Power cards used by the Target and the Active player during this battle are discarded at the end of the battle.
Broken Spirit: If you cannot pay an amount in Courage equal to the amount of your defeated Defenders, you must then discard everything you do have. The next time your Defenders suffer defeat and you still do not have any Courage in play, you must discard one Fortress for each defeated Defender.
If you have Courage but no Defenders in play when you are attacked, then you must discard Courage equal to or greater than the total amount of Power the attacking player is arming his Defenders with. If you cannot pay an amount in Courage equal to or greater than the total the amount of Power the attacking player is arming his Defenders with, you must then discard everything you do have. The next time you are attacked and you still do not have any Courage in play, you must discard one Fortress for each of the Power cards used in that battle.
Without Courage, the war is soon lost.

Both players discard used Power Cards and the active Player may attack another Player (even the previous target Player) or continue, in Turn Sequence, at the Even Up phase.

If the active Player decides to attack another Player he begins the battle sequence again starting at the Assignment phase.

Play Testers:

Ale Sytsma (a.sytsma01@chello.nl)

© 2001 Shawn Dumas


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Last updated 17th September 2003