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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
King: 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.
Queen: 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.
Jack: 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.
Joker: 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.
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.
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.
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:
The battle sequence is the same for all Players and is as follows:
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.
Ale Sytsma (firstname.lastname@example.org)
© 2001 Shawn Dumas