The Turn Spiral, Part 2: Combat!
This post focuses on the second half of the turn spiral, covering Soldier Calling, Hero Guardian Setting, Soldier Combat, Hero Combat, Refresh, and End of Turn.
This is the second of two columns that explain the turn spiral, or the sequence of a single round of play in Devacurse. If you haven’t read the first column yet, do so, then return here. This article continues where the first left off and explains all remaining loops (phases) of the game: calling (summoning) soldiers and heroes, soldier and hero combat, the refresh phase, and ending the round.
III. The Construction Loop (Phase) part II - Summoning your forces
The previous column explained the first sub-phase of the Construction Loop, setting cards as prayers in your temple zone and using those prayer cards to generate blessings. Blessings are used for three purposes in Devacurse: to summon soldiers to the battlefield, to use event cards, and to activate some skills and abilities.
A. Soldier calling (summoning)
Devacurse is a game of apocalyptic warfare. During the soldier calling subphase you put your forces into the field and prepare for battle.
The player who has “order” (who goes first) during this turn spiral begins.
This player depletes (rotates) his / her prayer cards in the temple zone to generate enough blessings to pay the blessing cost(s) of the soldier card(s) he / she wants to put in the battlefield. These soldier cards must be drawn either from the player’s hand or from prompt (vertical) closed (face down) prayer cards in the temple zone. See the previous column on soldier and hero cards for more about blessing costs and the previous article on the turn spiral for more on closed prayers.
The arena encompasses the entire playing field, including the 2 soldier lines that meet in the center, the 2 hero lines behind them, and the 2 temple zones in front of each player where blessings are generated. The battlefield is a sub-zone of the arena, encompassing only the combat-oriented 2 Soldier lines and 2 hero lines, not the prayer-oriented temple zones. Summoned soldiers are placed within their controlling Deva’s soldier line of the battlefield, immediately opposite the opponent Deva’s soldier line.
After placing his / her soldiers, the acting player may use event cards to equip them or bolster their strength with technology (inventions, equipment) or magic (incantations).
Location events are played and kept in the controlling player’s temple zone, where they remain until destroyed, or until their time (indicated by a number in the lower right-hand corner) runs out. Equipment event cards are played on individual soldiers or heroes, as per their card text. The player’s opponent may not use effect cards during this time, except for flash “!” events. See the previous column on event cards for more information on events.
Once the acting player has finished, the opposing player repeats the steps above.
B. Hero Guardian Setting (Hero summoning):
The player with “order” (who goes first) during this turn spiral now calls heroes to their hero line in the battlefield.
Hero summoning is very different from soldier calling. Since heroes can only be summoned using cards in the Cenotaph discard pile, no player will able to summon heroes during the first turn spiral. You need to have “slain” or used cards in order to call a hero. Think of it as the equivalent of summoning a fighter from legend using the dead souls of his comrades.
Full details on hero summoning can be found in the previous article on soldier and hero cards.
Heroes are always summoned at level 1. On the turn spiral after they are summoned, heroes may be upgraded to level two. Read more about upgrading heroes in the previous article on soldier and hero cards.
After the acting player has called heroes to the hero line, he / she may use event cards to equip his soldiers and heroes or bolster their strength with technology (inventions, equipment) or magic (incantations). Location events are played and kept in the controlling player’s temple zone, where they remain until destroyed. Equipment event cards are played on individual soldiers or heroes, as per their card text. The player’s opponent may not use effect cards during this time, except for flash “!” events. See the previous column on event cards for more information.
Once the acting player has finished, “order” is given to the opposing player and he / she repeats the steps above.
Once both players have finished setting up their soldier and hero forces, it is time for battle!
IV. The Assault Loop
As the title suggests, during this loop soldiers and heroes clash in epic combat. Eliminating enemy soldiers is good, but the ultimate objective is to inflict direct damage on your opponent Deva’s Faith points. Reduce these to zero and you have won the game.
A. Soldier combat
Soldiers always fight first, heroes always fight second.
The player with order goes first. He / she commits whatever soldiers they wish to attack by depleting those soldier cards. Be warned - soldier cards that are depleted will be unable to block an opponent’s counter-attack later this turn. A player may choose not to attack if they wish, in which case “order” passes to their opponent, who begins his / her soldier combat phase.
The opposing Deva may assign soldier or Hero cards to block the acting Deva’s attack by depleting as many of their hero / soldier cards as he / she wishes. The defending Deva will assign which blocker faces which attacking soldier. In the soldier combat phase, battle is not only man to man: your opponent may assign more than one soldier or hero to block one of your attacking soldiers.
The defending player may choose not to assign any blockers, or they may be unable to block. If they do not block, the attacking player’s soldiers will assault their Deva directly, doing the cards’ full AT in damage to the defending player’s Faith points. Remember, if a player’s Faith points reach zero, they lose the game.
To resolve combat, subtract the attacker’s AT (attack strength) from the defending card’s DF (defense). If the Attacker’s AT is > or = to the defender’s DF (i.e., DF-AT = 0 or less), the defending soldier is killed. Send the slain defender card to it’s owner’s cenotaph. Unless the attacker has a special skill or ability like Pierce, a negative DF - AT score is the same as a zero - all damage inflicted is contained to the soldiers / heroes involved directly in this battle.
If a hero blocks an attacker, that hero will automatically lose as many AP (Avatar points) as the attacker has AT. Resolve battle by subtracting the attacking player’s AT from the defending hero’s AP. If the hero’s AP reaches zero, this hero is slain. Send him to his owner’s black hole and subtract the hero’s maximum AP from his owner’s Faith Points. If the hero survives, place damage counters on him that represent the number of AP points he has lost in combat.
Once all combat is resolved, the opposing player repeats the steps above, attacking with his soldiers. The player who attacked first is now defending, and he / she may now assign any of their soldiers still in the prompt (vertical) position to block.
This metal-aligned flash event allows you to destroy one of your opponent's soldier cards, sending it immediately to his / her Cenotaph pile. A simple but potentially critical effect when played in the midst of a close battle.
Either player may use flash (!) events during this phase to influence combat.
B. Hero Combat
The player with “order” (who goes first during this turn spiral) commits the hero(es) he / she wishes to attack by depleting them (rotating them horizontal). A player may choose not to attack,
The opponent assigns soldier(s) or hero(es) to block by depleting them. Soldiers and heroes that were already used to block during the soldier combat round have been depleted and may not block during the hero combat round.
The defending player may choose not to assign any blockers, or they may be unable to block. If they do not block, the attacking player’s heroes will assault their Deva directly, doing the cards’ full AT in damage to the defending player’s Faith points. Remember, if a player’s Faith points reach zero, they lose the game.
Heroes, unlike soldiers, are direct incarnations of their patron Devas, manifesting their will on the battlefield. Their tactical intelligence reflects this divine connection: the controlling player, not the opposing player, chooses which hero to assign to which blocker. Because of this, heroes never fight more than one blocker, and combat is “man to man”. However, the reverse is not true: the attacking Deva may assign two attacking heroes to a single blocker.
There is one important limit to whom a hero can choose to fight: in order to pit a hero against another hero, the attacking player will have to fight through their opponent’s soldiers first. Simply put, a hero cannot attack an opponent’s hero if any prompt (vertical) enemy soldiers remain on the battlefield. Heroes must clear the opponent’s soldiers first before they can attack his / her heroes.
If the attacking hero’s attack strength is greater than or equal to a blocking soldier’s defense value, that soldier card is destroyed and sent to it’s owner’s cenotaph. If not, the soldier card absorbs the damage and remains. The attack is blocked. If the attacking hero’s attack strength is greater than or equal to a blocking hero’s Avatar points, that hero is destroyed and sent to the opposing player’s black hole. If not, the hero card absorbs the damage and remains. Place as many damage counters on the blocking hero as the attacking hero inflicted on their AP (Defender’s AP - Attacker’s AT).
Once the player with “order” is finished, the opposing player uses his heroes to attack back. Repeat the steps above. Or, if the opposing player has no heroes or chooses not to use them to attack, proceed to the next loop below.
Either player may use flash (!) events during this phase to influence combat.
V. Refresh phase:
All soldier cards that sustained damage in combat but were not destroyed are now restored to full health.
Heroes are not restored to full health, but heroes in the prompt (vertical) position (i.e., heroes that did not participate in combat during this turn spiral) can heal 1 AP, up to the heroes’ full AP. If a hero does this, remove one damage counter.
VI. End of turn:
You can use flash (!) events before this turn ends.
Return to the prompt mode, and begin the Turn Spiral again. (see “The Turn Spiral, Part One” on this site.)
All blessings generated during this round are exhausted - blessings are not cumulative across turn spirals, and do not carry over to the next one. If a player has generated more blessings than they used, they now subtract those remaining blessings from their Faith points.
Faith points do not reset from one turn spiral to the next. Lost faith points are cumulative from the beginning of the game until its conclusion.
Continue cycling through turn spirals in this fashion until one player loses all Faith points or runs out of cards in their Universe deck. That player loses the game.