After having introduce and teach the game, here are some thoughts I would like to share with players new to Berserk: War of the Realms.
I would appreciate the more experienced players to give some comments on the following ideas if possible and have them share how they teach the game.
SERIES OF MATCH-UP IN SEQUENCE OF LEARNING
I would advise new players to go through the following series of match-up.
1. Mountain Realm vs Plain Realm
2. Forest Realm vs Fire Realm
3. Swamp Realm vs Dark Force Realm
Once you are familiar with the mechanics and the races of the first match-up, then you proceed to the 2nd and then later to the 3rd.
USING 20 CARD DECKS
However, in the introductory games, I build a 20 card decks for each realm and took out some cards which I think is quite powerful (for example, Dwarf Emissary, Dwarf Warband, and Elf Sniper come to my mind). My rationale is to get players to expose themselves and enjoy using some of the lesser powerful cards. Also, I remove some cards which I considered difficult to play (which may be due to the high cost) such as Bone Demon. Each build will have 8 elite creatures and 12 non-elite creatures.
The normal rule of drawing 15 cards and then recruiting them based on the gold and silver resources still apply.
With each match-up, there is are specific objectives where the player introducing the game may have to help new players grasp the mechanics and symbols. This will allow new players gradually ease themselves into the game rather than being bombarded with too much information of the various mechanics and symbols.
DECK CONFIGURATION: MOUNTAIN VERSUS PLAIN
Here is the first match-up.
Dwarf Arsonist (4)
Dwarf Miner (4)
Dwarf Outrider (4)
Dwarf Lightbringer (5)
Dwarf Enchanter (5)
Dwarf Transmuter (5)
Dwarf Elder (7)
Dwarf Armorer (8)
Dwarf Mercenary (3) x2
Dwarf Sorcerer (3) x2
Dwarf Archer (4) x2
Dwarf Battlemage (5) x2
Dwarf Watchman (5) x2
Dwarf Shieldman (6) x1
Thunderclap Gun (6) x1
Orc Shaman (3)
Orc Healer (4)
Orc Shield Bearer (4)
Orc Bladelord (6)
Orc Warlord (8)
Possessed One (8)
Orc Archer (4) x3
Orc Javelineer (4) x2
Orc Robbers (4) x2
Orc Witchdoctor (5) x2
Orc Pillagers (5) x1
Battering Ram (6) x2
FLOW OF TEACHING
Note: I would suggest that for the player having the game to set up the board first by placing all the cards instead of having the new players going through the card drawing and recruiting process. My advice that the teaching player should take the Mountain realm faction and the new player the Plain Realm as the latter is more straightforward to play (without the complexities of Rank). The first game should be focus on explaining the following.
a. Positioning (especially about how second player will have the cards the back row hidden until his turn).
d. Applicable mechanics and symbols
1. Show players what adjacency means when making a melee attack. It must be noted that in Berserk, adjacency cover creatures that is orthogonally and diagonally positioned next to the attacking creature.
2. Show players how damage is inflicted by rolling the white die and explain about the light, medium, and strong damage (refer to the stat value in the creature card).
3. Explain to players that a ready (unexhausted) character will be able to roll the black die for defence. X means the attacking player misses. Fist means the attacked creature retaliate and deal a light damage to the attacking creature. Blank means the attack hits and the attacking player roll the white die.
4. Explain how a creature when activated becomes exhausted cannot defend and roll the black die.
5. Explain about how Armour will absorb the damage and be mindful to inform that Armour refresh every turn (refer to Dwarf Armorer and Orc Bladelord)
6. Next, explain and demonstrate how other Creatures can be used as Protector. Show the various positions where a creature can be declared as eligible protector.
7. Explain to new players about rerolling die in Attack Skill (refer to Possessed One and Dwarf Lightbringer) and Defence Skill (refer to Dwarf Mercenary)
8. Range attack - explain the different types of range attacks (i.e. Shoot, Throw, and Blast). Explain the reasons why there are different types of range attacks by showing the the different types of protections creatures have on their cards.
- Shield protects against Shot (show Dwarf Enchanter, Dwarf Transmuter, and Orc Bladelord)
- Falling Meteor, I don't how to name this icon, protects against Throw (show Orc Bladelord)
- Yin Yang protect against any magical attack including Blast (show Dwarf Mercenary and Dwarf Shieldman)
9. Explain the range parameter of the ranged attack, taking into consideration that spaces can be counted orthogonally AND diagonally (refer to Orc Javelineer and Dwarf Archer).
10. Creature with range attack but without any indication of range parameter can target any creature on the board (show Orc Archer, Orc Robbers, and Dwarf Lightbringer)
11. Remember to inform that creatures targeted for ranged attack cannot defend or be protected and therefore no black die will be rolled.
12. Movement - explain to new players that each creature will move based on the number indicated on the card. Remember to say that in Berserk, creature can move one creature, then move another and later use the initial creature to attack. However, once the creature attacks, it will be exhausted and cannot be moved further even though it has surplus movement.
13. Explain the following special mechanics
Aimed Strike (see Orc Warlord) - Creature adjacent to the targeted creature cannot be declared Protector
In front of it (see Battering Ram)- explain this means directly in front of the attacking creature
Rank - Position some of the Dwarf cards and explain how rank works, bearing in mind that the effects only occur when two Dwarf cards are placed orthogonally adjacent to each other and NEVER diagonally (use Dwarf Shieldman and Dwarf Mercenary)
After X perform Y - refer to Dwarf Battlemage and remember to say that the magical strike can be on ANOTHER creature; also refer to Dwarf Watchman and on how after attacking and give another creature attack +2.
Heal - refer to Orc Shaman on using the white die to determine the number of health points that can be healed.
After you have explained all the above, you can play through one game with the new player. Let the new player asks questions about some cards and answer them then. Also, as you play through the game, explain how certain mechanics work such as the synergy of Orc Archer with creature inflicting 3 or more damage, Orc Shield Bearer giving reducing range attack damage of friendly creatures adjacency to him, Orc Pillagers on how it can attack twice per turn and that it is not necessary to use all the two attacks allow to him to avoid exhausting the card, Thunderclap Gun where it can perform Throw 2 and then Throw 1.
After the first play-through, you can have the new player go through the card drawing and recruiting process. Leave out other rules and mechanics until you play the subsequent match-ups. I will write about the next match-up later.
So the general outline in teaching the game is here.
1. Card drawing, recruiting and positioning (teaching player do all these first for both decks to show how the process work)
- Recruit according to the resources provided for first and second player
2. Melee attack
- Attack Skills
- Defence Skills
3. Range attack
- Types of Ranged Attacks
- Protection against Ranged Attacks
- Range Parameters
- Creatures with no range parameters
- Exhausted creature has no defence against range attack
- Aimed Strike
- In front of it
- After X perform Y
6. Other rules and mechanics explained during playthrough
9.5 it is important to note range attacks can not target adjacent cards.
This is a really good way of learning this game. I am learning it at the same time as teaching it to my son.
Excellent work, John!