this rules version dated Feb. 2, 2006
Warriors is a card game where two or more players, using separate decks, do battle as fighters. The contestants then equip weapons, spells, and other cards to their fighter. Warriors differs from other card games in that game play does not actively use the hand directly. Cards in play almost always have controlling power over win or loss. Victory comes not in surprises, but in the wise use of what a fighter has equipped, and in making clever decisions during combat.
Warriors was created by Ryan Hackel in 1992. The prototype deck consisted of about 40 different fighters, weapons, and such. After positive playtesting, Hackel decided to add more complex rules and new cards to balance the set. Since then, Warriors has been a work in progress, with new features and ideas being added frequently. Hackel hopes that this game will see professional mass production and flourish as other collectible card games have. He expects the game to debut with at least 200 cards.
Note: All words in a card’s name are also Keywords. For example, Military Field Rifle and Advanced Field Rifle both count as field rifles.
These are the characters duking it out in combat. The card will say FIGHTER on the top. All Fighters have a durability value, a measure of how much damage the Fighter can take before leaving the battle. A higher durability is typically better. Some Fighters have abilities listed after the durability. This could be ganging, weapon proficiency, Action ability, or other ability. Some Fighters also have keywords listed that do not appear in the card title, such as Corrupted or Legend.
This is a card that says WEAPON at the top. The Weapon will list the max damage, breakage value, number of hands required, melee or missile, mystic, and tech. Max Damage is the maximum amount of damage the weapon could possibly inflict. Some weapons have a minimum damage; if this is not listed on the card, it is assumed to be 1. Breakage is the Weapon’s likelihood of being broken in battle. Weapons may also have keywords, such as Legend.
This card will say ARMOR at the top. Next will be the card name, and then the protection. Whenever you are dealt damage, prevent an amount of damage equal or less than the protection of the Armor. The Armor’s breakage will also appear on the card. It may also have some other ability. Fighters cannot have more than one Armor card equipped at any time. Armor may also list keywords (tech, legendary), just as a Weapon does.
This card says ITEM at the top. Like Armor and Weapons, it will indicate it's keywords on the card. Most Items include a breakage. If not, the Item is destroyed if it is still equipped when the Fighter dies. Fighters may only have up to two Items equipped at any time.
This card says ATTACK SPELL on the top. It will indicate its name and the spell’s sign (J,T,R,S,M,N) if it has one. These spells are used to attack an opponent. The spell has a max damage which works exactly like a Weapon’s max damage. The spell is destroyed if the Fighter that equipped it dies. The spell point value is the amount of magic containment the spell will use (see “4.5.4 Equipping Spells”).
This card says DEFENSE SPELL at the top, followed by the spell’s name, and its sign. The spell may also use charges. Destroy the spell if it is still equipped when the Fighter dies. The spell uses spell points. The duration of a spell is the time the spell's effect remains in play. The protection of a Defensive Spell works like that of Armor (see “2.3 Armor”).
This card says UTILITY SPELL at the top, followed by the card name, and sign. These spells may also use spell points, charges, and durations. These spells neither deal, nor prevent damage directly, and instead produce a different effect.
These cards say LOCATION at the top, followed by the card name. Locations also have an ability that affects all players either at the start of the battle, or during it. This may also require an Action; it is playable by all Fighters (see "4.4 Using a Fighter or Location's Ability").
The first player to control three or more locations wins the game.
To play a game of Warriors, all players must have a deck. Expect a game to take up at least two square feet per player. A method of documentation will also be needed for stats and bookkeeping purposes. Dice, poker chips, coins, or paper and pencil work well for this. Also needed are a six-sided die (d6), a eight-sided die (d8), a ten-sided die (d10), and a twelve-sided die (d12).
To start play, each player draws a hand of eight cards. Each player must be able to play a fighter with some way to attack. If not, the player must take a mulligan, shuffle his or her hand into the draw pile, and draw a new hand of eight cards. Each opponent may draw 1 card for each mulligan you take.
A game of Warriors consists of many battles. Each battle is treated like a mini-game. Battles are sometimes, but not always, fought over locations, the control of which is how to win the game. Each player enters one fighter in the battle, equipped with weapons, armor, items, and spells.
The first thing done before a battle is to choose which location to fight at. The winner of the last battle gets to choose a location; it may be one from their hand, one they have already won control of, or one controlled by another player. The chosen location becomes the current location for the battle, and is not controlled by any player. If this is the first battle of the game, no location is chosen.
Once the location is chosen, then each player may assemble their warrrior from their hand. Each player must play only one fighter. That fighter should have a way of attacking other fighters (see “4.1 Attacking”). Each fighter is equipped with cards as the player sees fit (see “4.5 Equipping/Removing Cards”). The player with the lowest printed durability (the one appearing on the card) will go first. If there is a tie for lowest, choose randomly among those fighters. Play then continues clockwise around the table.
If a player is unable to enter a fighter in a battle, they automatically forfeit the battle, and draw two cards. That player cannot enter that same battle once it starts.
The turn starts with the begin step. Effects that say they do something at the beginning of a turn do so now. If multiple effects happen at once, effects controlled by the current player go first, then those controlled by the player on his or her left, and so on around the table.
The combat step is next. The current fighter gets one Action each combat step. This action can be used to do one of the following: 1. Attack with a weapon or attack spell 2. Use a card’s ability 3. Equip and/or remove cards 4. Retreat 5. Nothing Unused actions are forfeited at the end of the turn.
Attacking uses an Action. When you attack, you choose a weapon or attack spell you have equipped and a fighter you choose to attack. You attack with that weapon or spell. Roll for damage using 1dX, where X is the max damamge of the weapon or spell, and subtract the defender’s protection. The defender then loses the resulting amount of durability. This may cause breakage rolls (see “7.2 Breakage Rolls”). You may still attack even if you do not have a weapon or attack spell equipped; treat this attack as a non-tech melee attack with a max damage of 1.
Unless otherwise stated, casting a spell requires an action. If the spell uses charges, remove one charge after casting it. When you remove a spell’s last remaining charge counter, destroy the spell after use. Remember, casting a spell is not the same as equipping it; casting a spell is analogous to using an item.
These work as described in “4.1 Attacking”.
These spells are a mage’s front line of defense against attacks. Most Defense Spells use charges, and have a duration of X. When you cast a Defense Spell, put X duration counters on the spell. At the beginning of your turn, remove a duration counter. If you cannot, then the spell’s effect ends right away.
These spells are a mage’s way of generating side effects that are not part of attacks or defense. Most Utility Spells use charges, and have a duration of X. When you cast a Utility Spell, put X duration counters on the spell. At the beginning of your turn, remove a duration counter. If you cannot, then the spell’s effect ends right away.
Items have different ways of using them, depending on its particular ability. Some items have “ACTION: …” which indicates that an Action is needed to use the item’s ability, and that this ability can be used repeatedly as long as the item is equipped.
Some items say “Charge Action X: …” which indicates that the item requires and Action to use, and can only be played X times. When you equip an item with charges, put X number of charge counters on it. When you play the ability, remove a charge counter, then do what the ability says. Then, if the item has no charge counters left on it, destroy the item. Other items have charges, but do not require an Action when they are used. The charges work the say way as “Charge Action X” items.
Other items do not have charges nor require Actions to use. The abilities of these items are considered to always be in effect as long as the item is equipped. The item’s effects are immediate when the item is equipped, and end immediately when the item leaves play.
Fighter abilities act like Item abilities (see “4.3 Using an Item”), except that it is part of the fighter’s card. Only the player using that fighter may use that ability.
Location abilities work just like Items, except that any player may use them. Only the abilities of the current Location can be played and are able to affect a battle.
You may equip any card or cards as your action. The cards must be able to be used by your fighter. If you have removed cards this combat step, equipping cards does not use an action. You may equip as many cards in one sitting as you are allowed to use.
You may also use this action to remove cards from your fighter. The removed cards are taken back to your hand. If you have equipped cards this combat step, removing cards does not use an action. You may remove as many of your equipped cards in one sitting as you like.
Unless otherwise stated, your fighter is assumed to have 2 hands to equip. All weapons and some Armor require a hand or two to equip. The number of hands needed by your equipped cards can never exceed your number of hands.
Unless otherwise stated, your fighter may only have one armor card equipped at any time.
Unless otherwise stated, your fighter may only have up to two Item cards equipped at any time.
All fighters can equip spells. If a fighter does not list a magic containment, assume it is zero. All spells have spell points. The sum of the spell points from a fighter’s equipped spells may never exceed that fighter’s magic containment.
If you decide to retreat, you return your fighter to your hand, as well as any equipped cards. You draw two cards. You forfeit any claim to the current location. You may not re-enter the battle with the same or any different fighter. You may enter future battles as normal.
You pass on all your Actions. The next player takes their turn as normal.
The end step occurs at the end of each player’s turn. Effects that last “until end of turn” end now. Players may not play abilities during this time. Resolve end-of-turn effects as you would beginning-of-turn effects.
If a fighter’s durability is ever less than one, that fighter dies instantly. That Fighter is destroyed. Equipped weapons, armor and items go to player’s hand. All of that fighter’s equipped spells are destroyed. The player whose fighter died then draws three cards, plus 1 for every fighter that was still in the battle when they died.
When only one fighter remains in the battle, that player instantly wins the battle. The victorious player returns their fighter and equipped cards to their hand, then draws three cards from the draw pile. This player also wins control of the location; this is simply done by placing the current location card on the table in front of the player. Controlled locations are not counted as in play or in any player’s hand. If a player has control of three or more locations, that player wins the game!
After a game of Warriors, it is good manners to give acquired cards back to the player that owns them.
In the rare event that a player runs out of cards in their draw pile, that player shuffles their discard pile; it becomes their new draw pile. When you do, each opponent may draw one card.
If a card contradicts any of the rules of the game, the card takes precedence!
Beasts are cards that you add to your deck in order to potentially take down a tough foe, or help give you extra cards when you need then. The use of beasts is optional; remove them from your deck before a game if your opponents don’t want to use them.
When you draw a Beast card, it immediately joins the next battle, taking a “seat” at the table between yourself and the player to your left. On the Beast’s “turn”, it attacks the fighter with the highest current durability, other than itself. Each Beast automatically has a weapon, and the max damage of the beast’s attacks is listed on the card. Unless otherwise stated, Beasts have a nontech melee attack. Some Beasts have protection too, treated as if it were armor. All beasts have a Bonus value on the card. If one player destroys the beast, they instantly draw that number of cards as a reward.
For each 2 damage you inflict, choose one card that fighter has equipped. That fighter then makes a breakage roll on the selected card. If the roll is lower than or equal to the card’s breakage value, the card breaks and is destroyed. If a card has no breakage value listed, it cannot break. You can perform each breakage roll separately.
EXAMPLE: Sven has a Sonic Pistol (20%) and a Selium Sword (10%) equipped. Jorge attacks Sven and deals 5 damage to him. Jorge may make Sven roll two breakage rolls. Since the Sonic Pistol has a higher max damage (4) and a higher breakage, it is in Jorge’s best interest to destroy that particular item. He isn’t so concerned with the sword, so he forces Sven to take both breakage rolls on the Sonic Pistol. Sven rolls the d10 for the first breakage roll. He rolls a 2 and a 9, or 29%. This isn’t enough to destroy the Sonic Pistol. Sven makes the second breakage roll, and gets a 14%. Since this is lower than the Pistol’s breakage value of 20%, the Pistol is instantly destroyed, and placed on top of the discard pile.
Some fighters have the ability "Gangs with [keyword]." Fighters with ganging may not attack or be attacked by fighters with the same keyword, so long as one fighter without that keyword is in the battle. If all fighters in the battle have the keyword, the ganging ability has no effect.
Cards with the 'legendary' Keyword may only be included once in a deck. If two players try to use the same Legendary card in the same battle, they both must discard a card.
This is an ability of some fighters, listed as “+X to Weapon”. This increases the max damage for that weapon in the hands of that fighter. In addition, that fighter may make additional attacks with that weapon. Each attack must be directed at different fighters. The number of additional attacks is equal to the X value of the proficiency skill. However, if multiple attacks are made, the fighter does not get the max damage bonus they would normally receive. These extra attacks are done with the same Action.
EXAMPLE: the Draconian Soldier gets +1 to field rifles. If the Soldier has a field rifle equipped, the max damage is increased from 4 to 5. The Soldier may attack one fighter once with a max damage 5 attack, or may attack two separate fighters once each with separate max damage 4 attacks.
These variants have withstood the test of time. Each variant is compatible with the others. Feel free to try your own!
In the true spirit of a first person shooter, players compete not for control of locations, but for the highest body count. Locations are not used. When a fighter dies, that player draws four cards, but is still in the game. On that player’s next turn, they may enter a new fighter in the battle, with equipped cards, as if they were starting a new battle. A player who deals the lethal blow to a fighter gets a token. The first player to five tokens wins.
Players compete in equal sized teams to jointly control locations. Each team may use the same deck, or each team member may have a separate deck. Locations are controlled jointly by each team. The victorious team may choose the next current location. Fighters on the same team gang with other fighters on their team. The battle ends when only one team has fighters left in the battle. When a fighter dies, the player still draws cards like normal.
The Revolving Door variant allows players to enter or leave the game between battles. When a new player joins the game, they draw eight cards, and take mulligans as needed. Players may also leave the game between battles. A player that leaves discards their hand, and any locations they control.
In the Monodeck variant, all players share the same deck and discard pile.
Max damage 3 Max damage 4 Roll(1d6) Damage Roll(1d8) Damage 1,2 1 1,2 1 3,4 2 3,4 2 5,6 3 5,6 3 7,8 4 Max damage 5 Max damage 7 Roll(1d10) Damage (roll 1d8 and reroll 8) 1,2 1 3,4 2 5,6 3 7,8 4 9,0 5
If you feel I have left something out, or gave a vague description in these rules, contact
me soon so that I can clarify this page in time. I welcome any specific question you have;
I direct your attention to my rulings page. If you have any questions about the game, any
specific questions, interesting variants, or inquiries about the Warriors universe, feel
free to contact me.