On the Kickstarter comments here, there was some discussion about how Invader Actions work. The rules are detailed in the PnP you can get from the Kickstarter page, but I thought I'd post this example here to illustrate one of the central mechanics of the game.
From the comments there:
J. S. wrote:
How variable is the invader actions? I realize there are 15 cards but I am unclear how they act exactly. Are enemy actions simply varied by the order of the cards or does something else come into play?
The designer responds, and gives an example. I added the images, which are prototype components, the kind you would get from the PnP. The images are for a 1-player game, with our hero, Lightning’s Swift Strike, doing nothing.
R. Eric Reuss wrote:
@J. S. The Invaders take 3 actions per turn: Ravage, Build, Explore. *Where* they perform those actions is driven by the order of the cards, but the *results* of those actions depends on the state of board.
A more concrete example ...:
End of Setup:
* Draw "Jungle". Invaders Explore into Jungle, which means "In each Jungle, if it's next to the coast or a Town/City, add an Explorer".
During Turn 1:
* "Jungle" is now under Build; Invaders Build in Jungle. This means "In each Jungle with Invaders, add a Town or a City, whichever there's fewer of." So in all those Jungles that had Explorers added last turn, the Invaders will build a Town (or perhaps City) - unless the Spirits did something about that Explorer!
* Draw "Hills". Invaders Explore into Hills. (As above.)
During Turn 2:
* "Jungle" is now under Ravage. Invaders Ravage in Jungle. This means "In each Jungle with Invaders, they damage the Dahan (possibly killing them) and the land (possibly adding a Blight). Any surviving Dahan then fight back." So in all those Jungles where the Invaders built buildings last turn, they'll wreak havoc - unless the Spirits did something about that building!
Note that in the upper-right, the Invaders killed one Dahan, but then the one surviving Dahan fought back and killed a Town.
* "Hills" is now under Build. Invaders Build in Hills. (As above.)
* Draw "Sands". Invaders Explore into Sands (As above.)
And so forth.
The Invader deck is divided into 3 stages, partly so you don't get terrain duplication too quickly, and partly because the later cards get harder. Stage 3 cards show two terrains; most Stage 2 cards have an additional effect depending on which Adversary you're fighting against. (If you're playing a teaching game, they're just like the Stage 1 cards.)
So for the three Stage 1 cards (setup + the first two turns), there are 24 possible orderings, but the *results* of Invader Actions for a given ordering will vary greatly depending on what the spirits do. (I've sometimes run comparison tests with an invariant Invader deck just to see, and the games can play out incredibly differently.) The full Invader deck has roughly 2 million possible orderings.
And ... the Adversaries can modify what the Invader Actions do, so you get game-to-game differences.
Experienced players may eventually discover that they want the Invaders to have slightly less predictability. There's an Event Deck which provides that edge of uncertainty; if we hit the $60K stretch goal it'll be included free for all backers!