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Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn» Forums » Rules

Subject: Ashes Combat trouble explaining! rss

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harrison tom
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Hey everyone,

This is a half rant half asking for advice, it always frustrates me when introducing this game to new people who are familiar with board/card games that they go 'ah yeah, all this is simple! 1 main action, roll dice, things cost things in the upper right corner, exhaust and wound and status tokens, got it!' and they're just so on board with everything, and then they ask 'so how does battle work?' and my heart just sinks.

I'm such a bad explainer at combat that I've had friends quit on the game ONLY because they couldn't follow battle and backed out, mistakenly thinking the game is way too complicated!

Argh! Anyone else feel like this? I'm wondering if there's a simple flowchart somewhere? Can someone make one haha? Or otherwise, any advice in how to clearly communicate the nuances of combat?
 
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Paul Newsham
United Kingdom
Halifax
West Yorkshire
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You can attack with any number of your guys as a main action

You can target my phoenix born or one of my units

Whichever you attack, I can block with the other. If I'm blocking with units, I block one of yours with one of mine.

I can choose to have my blockers deal their damage back, but just like attacking, that exhausts them, preventing them attacking or blocking again this round.

Explain anything else as it occurs in play, give examples with actual cards as you explain
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Michael Pittman
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I think Paul's framework is good. Although, I think you need to also address 'blocking' vs 'guarding'.

Unexhausted units can block units that are attacking your Phoenixborn one-for-one (if three units are attacking and you have two unexhausted units, you can only block a maximum of two of them).

Your Phoenixborn and unexhausted units with the Unit Guard ability can guard a unit that's being attacked. Guarding means all of the attacking units are now attacking the guarding character.

It's a subtlety that I make sure people I'm teaching understand, because it's crucial.

I think the big issue in terms of complexity is triggers and their timing. But this is true of any game with combat and triggered effects. I agree with Paul that you explain those with specific cards as it comes up. I usually pause the game before they decide whether they want to attack and say 'If you do this, I can do this and then this happens.'

I hope that helps.


PS - My biggest frustration when teaching is damage vs wounds where you have to explain that those wounds don't trigger an effect that activates based on damage or can't be prevented with something like Protect or Frostfang's ability. I always feel a bit sleazy when it comes up. Haha.
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Paul Newsham
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Halifax
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Yeah I tend to make the block vs guard distinction as it comes up in play. Perhaps rather than using the word "block" above, I would say "whatever you attack, unit or Phoenixborn, I can get in the way of that attack with the other"

Unit guard would be an exception that I leave until it comes up. I tend to teach with me as Maeoni and the new player as Aradel, so I explain it when I summon my first Gilder
 
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Giovanni Cornara
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When teaching attack actions, one easy way to show the distinction between the two different actions is to take some units and put them in a row side by side, spreading them out a bit, to show the "attack a Phoenixborn" action (so that it's clear each one is attacking individually), while grouping the cards close together when showing the "attack a unit" action (representing a single combined attack which can only be guarded by a single unit/PB)

Something like this:

Attack a Phoenixborn (A= Attacking unit, B = Blocking unit, P = Phoenixborn):

.......P.........
B....B...........
A....A....A.....A

Attack a Unit (A = Attacking unit, G = Guarding Unit/PH T = Target unit):

......T.......
......G.......
.....AA.......
.....AA.......

This way it's simpler to show the differences between the two types of attack. And why in the first case you resolve each attack separately, while in the second instance your units attack at once.

Then you explain that when a unit blocks or guard, its controller may choose to (a) take the damage from the attacker without fighting back or (b) counter the attack so that both units will deal damage to each other, but this will exhaust the blocking/guarding unit too.

Also remember to explain that units are exhausted after damage has been dealt, thus they'll be able to use any ability they have during the battle.
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