In addition to enjoying the game very much, I also admire how carefully the text on the cards is written. Words are used with precision and consistency. Once you get used to how they work, many subtleties become clear, and the need to ask for rules clarification is minimized.
Therefore I have written a Glossary for the Summoner Wars card text. This a draft below. When I think it's ready I'll upload it as a file. I welcome any helpful comments, corrections, etc.
Edit: newer or changed entries are in green. Older changes are in blue.
Summoner Wars Glossary
This is a glossary for terms used on the cards in Summoner Wars. Some terms that are obvious game terms (e.g. Hand) are included because there are some rules pertaining to them that are worth remembering.
- A, An. This means “any”, unless further specified. For example: by itself, “Choose a Unit” means you may choose any Unit on the board, no matter what type it is, who controls it, or where on the Battlefield it is located.
- Ability. Same as “Special Ability”, including both the Abilities described on each Unit card, and Abilities granted because of Event cards.
- Adjacent. Sharing a border, whether referring to two spaces on the Battlefield, or the cards on them. Spaces sharing a corner point are diagonal, but not adjacent. Units sharing a space with a Vine Wall are considered adjacent to it, for purposes of attacking it, or for Abilities that depend on adjacency.
- Affected by. Potentially wounded by an attack, or subject to the effects of an Ability.
- After attacking with X / After X is destroyed / After moving X / After wounding with X. After the Unit mentioned completes the activity mentioned, before doing anything else. These phrases are conditions for triggering the Ability that follows. Note that some of these triggers may be different than appears at first glance: A) attack-based triggers kick in even if the attack fails; B) movement-based triggers kick in even if a Unit moves 0 spaces; C) movement-based triggers do not kick in if a Unit is “placed” or “exchanges places”; D) movement-based triggers kick in even if a non-controlling player moves the Unit; E) attack-based triggers require that a card is attacked (there is not empty attack though there is an empty movement).
- After your normal Movement / Attack Phase. After the normally allotted movements or attacks are completed, but before the current Phase ends. In this gap some Abilities allow additional moves or attacks to be carried out by particular Units.
- After your X Phase. After the X Phase is completed -- including any extra activities allowed by Abilities -- and before the following Phase starts.
- All X. All of X -- not some of X, unless explicitly specified. For example, the Assault Ability allows the Unit to attack all adjacent enemy Units, so if it is used, each adjacent enemy Unit must be attacked. Note that an Ability to move "all X Units up to N spaces each" allows you to leave some (or all) Units in place, moving them 0 spaces.
- And. Performing both X and Y, if X and Y are both verbs. If one is not possible then the other cannot be done. For example, the Fury Ability cannot be invoked to move a Unit if it cannot then attack a card. Note that while empty attacks are forbidden, most other null actions are allowed, such as shuffling an empty Draw Pile or looking at a player's empty hand.
- At any time. Any time during your own turn, or (if allowed) between phases during another player’s turn.
- Attack. As a noun, either a normal attack or the use of an Ability that begins "Instead of attacking normally". As a verb, to attempt to use a Unit to reduce the Life Points in another card. Normally done by rolling the number of dice shown with the Attack Value, and applying Wound Markers when successful. Note that while a Unit may move 0 spaces to trigger an Ability or Event, there is no "empty" attack -- each attack must have a target. Note also that some Abilities allow their Units to attack more than one card, in a variety of ways: A) more cards in the vicinity are affected by the one dice roll; B) more cards in the vicinity are affected but a separate roll is made for each; C) subsequent immediate attacks are allowed under certain conditions. In each case this all counts as a single attack, for purpose of the limit of 3 Units attacking per turn.
- Attack Phase. The fifth phase of a player’s turn, when most attacks are carried out. It follows the Movement Phase and precedes the Build Magic Phase. Normally, no more than 3 controlled Units may attack during the Attack Phase of a single turn.
- Attack through. To attack a card within range even though there are one or more cards between the attacker and the target. The intermediate cards may or may not be affected by the attack.
- Attack Value. The number of dice a Unit rolls during an attack. This is the large number in the upper left corner of a Unit card. The number of dice rolled when attacking is mandatory -- you may not roll a different number of dice unless Abilities or Events specify otherwise.
- Battlefield. The part of the board on which Units and Walls are placed, and where movement and attacks take place.
- Beginning of your turn. The start of the controlling player’s turn, but before any of the Phases are executed.
- Beginning of your X Phase. The start of the controlling player’s X Phase, but before any of its activities (e.g. moves, attacks) are executed.
- Bow symbol. A type of range symbol. A bow means that its Unit may attack cards up to 3 straight line spaces away.
- Card. Any of the game’s cards that may appear in the place under discussion. Most Event cards do not appear on the Battlefield, but Walls do. A reference to a “card” on the Battlefield can apply to a Wall as well as a Unit.
- Champion. A type of Unit. Champions represent individuals, so there is only one of each in a deck, and they are stronger than Commons, hence their Summoning Cost is usually greater. A valid deck has exactly 3 Champions.
- Clear. Empty of cards.
- Common. A type of Unit. Commons represent generic classes, so there may be multiple copies of a Common in a deck. A valid deck has exactly 18 Commons, with no more than 10 of any particular Unit.
- Control. To be in charge of a Unit’s actions on the Battlefield. Control of a Unit is shown by the card's orientation: a card is turned so its controller can read it. Only one player can control a card at a time. Players control their Starting Setup Units, and Units they summon, but some Abilities or Events may transfer control of a Unit to a different player, sometimes temporarily, sometimes indefinitely. Note that if such a Unit is removed from the board while another player controls it, it does not revert back to the original player's control, because it is no longer on the Battlefield.
- Destroy. To eliminate a card from the Battlefield through combat. Typically done by giving it as many Wounds as it has Life Points, though some Abilities and Events may destroy Units by other means. A destroyed card is placed face down in the destroying player’s Magic Pile, along with any cards under it.
- Diagonally connected. Sharing a common corner point, but not a border edge.
- Discard. To place a card face up in the Discard Pile. Typically, this happens when: a) an Event card is played; b) a card from the Magic Pile is spent; c) an Ability or Event specifies a circumstance for discarding. Discarded cards go to the Discard Pile of the discarding player, which may different from the card’s owner.
- Discard Pile. The face-up pile of cards that have been used up, usually by being spent as Magic (Units and Walls) or played (non-Wall Events). Some Abilities or Events may place cards in the Discard Pile for other reasons, or allow cards to be removed from the Discard Pile.
- Draw Phase. The first phase of a player’s turn, where he draws cards from the Draw Pile until he has 5 cards in his hand. It is followed by the Summon Phase.
- Draw Pile. The face-down pile of cards that have not been taken into a player’s hand. When a player’s Draw Pile is empty it is not replenished and he may draw no more cards.
- End of your turn. The last part of the controlling player’s turn, after all its phases are completed.
- End of your X Phase. The end of the controlling player’s X Phase, all of its activities (including extra moves or attacks) being executed, but before the Phase officially ends.
- Enemy. Controlled by an opponent; the opposite of “friendly”.
- Event. A spell cast by a Summoner, as described on an Event Card. Most Events can be played more than once in a turn if you have the cards for them. An exception to this are the Events that grant extra Abilities on Units; once an Ability is granted there is no extra benefit in granting it again.
- Event Card. A non-Unit card that describes a spell cast by a particular Summoner. Event cards are normally played during the Event Phase, and placed in the Discard Pile after they are played and their effects are carried out. Wall Cards are special Event Cards that are played onto the Battlefield, where they stay until destroyed. A valid deck has 9 Event Cards and 3 Wall Cards.
- Event Phase. The third phase of a turn, when most Event Cards may be played. It follows the Summon Phase and precedes the Movement Phase.
- Exchange places. To relocate two Units on the Battlefield, each going onto the other’s space. Effects that are triggered by movement are not triggered by exchanging places.
- Faction name Unit. A Unit explicitly labeled as belonging to the named faction. Mercenaries fighting for another faction are not counted as belonging to that faction.
- Friendly. Controlled by you or by your ally.
- Gain Control. To transfer control of an opponent's card to another player, for a specified time period, typically until the end of the current turn. cf Take Control.
- Hand. The set of cards that you hold, and from which you play Events and summon Units. There is no limit to number of cards in your hand, so while in the Draw Phase you draw to fill out your hand to five cards, there is no penalty if you have more than five.
- He, Him, His. Referring to a male Summoner or Champion, or to a player. cf She, It, You.
- Hit. A successful roll of an attack die. Normally, a roll is a Hit if its result is 3 or higher, and it inflicts one wound on the target. But Special Abilities or Events may alter this in different ways: A) the minimum die result for a Hit may change; B) higher die results may count as more Hits, and hence more wounds, than one; C) the minimum result for a wound may change. Note that in case C) a die result may count as a successful Hit even though it does not cause any wounds.
- Ice Wall. A special type of Wall Card used by the Tundra Orc faction. They have only 3 Life Points, and are affected by a couple of Tundra Orc Abilities, but are otherwise just like normal Walls.
- If. Introduces the conditions for an Ability or Event to occur. Once they occur, the effects of the Ability or Event continue even if the initial conditions become false, unless explicitly stated.
- Instead of attacking (normally). These words introduce a Special Ability that may be used during the Attack Phase by its Unit, in lieu of a normal attack. Note these points: A) This alternate ability is always optional -- the Unit may either attack or do the special activity in a turn, but not both. B) Using that Special Ability does count toward one of the 3 Unit attacks allowed during the Attack Phase. C) If the word "normally" is used, the Ability is also considered an actual attack, triggering any effects activated by normal attacks. Without "normally", use of the Ability is not considered an attack. D) A Unit does not have to be in a position to attack normally in order to use its "instead of" Ability.
- Instead of moving normally. These words introduce a Special Ability that may be used during the Movement Phase by its Unit, in lieu of normal movement. Note these points: A) If the word “may” is used, this alternate movement is optional -- the Unit may either move normally or move in the way described in the Special Ability. B) Using that Special Ability does count toward one of the 3 Unit movements allowed during the Movement Phase.
- It, Its. Referring to a Unit of unknown gender -- namely any Common, an unnamed Unit, or beast Champions (e.g. Hydrake) -- or to a game object such as a card. cf He, She, You.
- Life Points. The number of wounds a Unit or Wall can receive before being destroyed. This number is shown by the number of colored spots below the name on a Unit Card, or along the bottom of a Wall Card.
- Magic Pile. The pile of face-down cards that are used as Magic Points. Cards are put on the Magic Pile when destroyed on the Battlefield, or moved there from the hand in the Build Magic Phase, or when certain Events or Abilities specify it. When a Magic Point is spent, a card is moved from the top of the Magic Pile (face down) to the top of the Discard Pile (face up).
- Magic Points. The currency used to Summon Units onto the Battlefield, and to enable any Special Abilities and Events that require them. Magic Points are represented by the cards in the Magic Pile.
- May. Indicating an optional activity. Special Abilities and Events that state “you may” are optional; those that do not -- except for alternate attack abilities -- are mandatory.
- Miss. A failed attack die result; the opposite of “Hit”. Normally this is a roll of 1 or 2, but a few Abilities change this to include higher numbers. Note that some Abilities or Events change the result minimum for receiving wounds, so in those cases it is possible for a roll to count as a Hit even though it causes no wounds.
- Move. To change the location of a Unit by repeatedly relocating its card to an adjacent unoccupied space, until the maximum (normally 2 spaces) is reached. A Unit may move 0 spaces; this uses up 1 of the 3-movement quota, and though the Unit stays in place it may be useful to invoke a movement-based Ability.
- Move through. To move onto an occupied space and immediately move off of it. Moving onto occupied spaces is normally forbidden, but some Abilities allow it. Note that Units with such an Ability may not move through Units where they may have to stop, e.g. Units adjacent to GD Defenders, or Units on Vine Walls. Note also that such Units must move off the occupied space even if they destroy the Unit that was there, and they must end their movement on an unoccupied space.
- Movement Phase. The fourth phase in a player’s turn, during which most movement takes place. It follows the Event Phase and precedes the Attack Phase. Normally, no more than 3 controlled Units may be moved during the Movement Phase of a single turn.
- Name. When a Summoner or Champion's description refers to itself by name, it only refers to that card, not to any card with the same name controlled by another player . This is relevant in mirror matches, that is when an opponent is playing with another copy of the same faction.
- Occupied. Having a Unit or Wall card in the space in question.
- Once per turn. Indicates that the following Ability may only be used one time during any turn. Note that it can be used during other players' turns if the conditions allow it -- not just the controlling player's turn.
- Opponent. A player who is trying to destroy your Summoner, and whose Summoner you are trying to destroy.
- Pay. A synonym for “spend”.
- Place. To put an object at the specified location. If used about cards on the Battlefield, placing is different from moving; it is not subject to the limitations on movement, and does not trigger any effects that are triggered by movement.
- Range symbol. An indicator of a Unit’s attack range. It is either a Bow or a Sword, and is found under the large Attack Value in the upper left of a Unit Card.
- Results. The numbers shown when dice are rolled.
- She, Her, Hers. Referring to a female Summoner or Champion. cf He, It, You.
- Space. A card-sized rectangle on the Battlefield, which may contain a Unit or Wall; the basic unit of movement.
- Special Ability. A set of rules specific to a Unit, that give it abilities (or sometimes limitations) that most other Units don’t have. These rules have precedence over the general rules when there is a contradiction. Every Unit Card has its Special Ability named and described in the lower left corner. Some Event Cards grant an additional Ability to one or more Units for a limited time; they also include the Ability’s name (in ALL CAPS) and description. Playing more than one copy of such a card in the same turn gives no additional benefit, since the specified Units already have the extra Ability.
- Spend. To use up a Magic Point by taking the top card of the Magic Pile and placing it face-up on top of the Discard Pile. If the Magic Pile does not have the amount of cards required by a Summoning, Ability or Event, then it may not be done.
- Straight line. A set of contiguous spaces on the Battlefield running along an orthogonal direction (forward, backward, left or right), similar to a rook’s move in chess.
- Summon. To place a Unit card from the hand onto the Battlefield. This is normally done during the Summon Phase, after paying its Summon Cost in Magic Points, placing the Unit in a clear space adjacent to a Wall -- but Abilities or Events may override any of those requirements.
- Summon Cost. The number of Magic Points that must normally be spent to summon a Unit onto the Battlefield. The Summon Cost for a Unit is the smaller number in the upper left corner of its card, under the Attack Value. Summoners always spend the entire game on the Battlefield, so they have no Summon Cost.
- Summoner. A type of Unit. The leader of a faction, the one who wields their Summoning Stone. There is only one Summoner per deck, and the object of the game is to destroy the enemy Summoner(s).
- Summoner Event Cards. The Event Cards that pertain to the named Summoner, that is the ones listed on the back of its Reference Card, and that have its portrait. Wall cards, while they are Event Cards, are not counted among Summoner's Event Cards. [The editorial change here is from "X" to "Summoner", not a change of the definition.]
- Sword symbol. A type of range symbol. A sword means that its Unit may only attack cards that are adjacent to it.
- Take Control. To transfer control of an opponent's card to another player, indefinitely. Note this does not forbid control being transferred back later by other causes. cf Gain Control.
- Target. As a verb, to select a card as the initial object of an attack. As a noun, any card which potentially may be wounded by an attack.
- This card / this Unit name. The individual card that these words appear on.
- This turn / this phase. The turn or phase in which the Ability or Event with these words is being invoked.
- Turn. The set of actions done by one player while active. Each turn has 6 Phases: Draw, Summon, Event, Movement, Attack, and Build Magic. Each player has a separate turn, so Abilities that only happen once per turn may happen during an opponent's or ally's turn.
- Under. Physically underneath. Some Units have an Ability that allows them to get other cards under them, typically to confer an offensive or defensive advantage. When such a Unit moves, all cards under it move with it; when it is destroyed or discarded, all cards under it are destroyed or discarded normally, even if the Unit itself does not go to the normal Pile. If a Unit is on a Vine Wall, that Wall is not considered “under” it for these purposes, but adjacent to it.
- Unit. One of the forces in a player’s army, that moves and fights on the Battlefield. Each Unit is represented and described by a Unit Card. There are 3 types of units: Summoners, Champions and Commons.
- Unit Card. A card describing a single Unit, showing its Name, picture, Type, Faction name and symbol, Attack Value, Summon Cost, range symbol, Life Points and Special Ability name and description. Its location on the Battlefield shows the Unit’s location, and its orientation shows who controls it.
- Unoccupied. Not having a card in it that blocks movement. Any card in a space makes it occupied, except for Vine Walls, since Units may move on top of them.
- Vine Wall. A special type of Wall Card used by the Swamp Orc faction. Its differences from normal Walls include: they are not played from the hand but as a result of certain Abilities or Events; they have 2 Life Points each; Units may move on top of them but must roll to move off them, failure causing a wound; destroyed Vine Walls go back to their own Pile rather than a Magic or Discard Pile. Note that only the Swamp Orc player has Vine Walls, so other players may not build Vine Walls on their own even if they take control of his Units such as Splub.
- Wall. A special type of Event Card that is placed on the Battlefield. It does not normally move or attack, but it may be attacked, starting with 9 Life Points, and is treated like a Unit when destroyed. Normally, Units may only be summoned in a clear space adjacent to a friendly Wall. A valid deck has 3 Wall Cards, 1 of which starts on the Battlefield. Some factions also have special types of Walls. See also Ice Wall, Vine Wall.
- When. As soon as the following condition is fulfilled, without waiting for the end of the current phase or even the current activity. For example, the GD Defender's Ability says "When an enemy Unit is adjacent to this Defender, that Unit cannot be moved," so this stops enemy Units in mid-movement.
- Within X clear straight line spaces of. Being X or less spaces away from the card in question along an orthogonal direction (forward, backward, left or right), with no other cards in between.
- Within X spaces of. Taking X or less spaces of movement from the card in question to the space in question. Note that movement is only orthogonal, not diagonal, so for example the set of spaces within 3 spaces of Mook makes a jagged diamond shape 7 spaces across centered on Mook. Other cards on the Battlefield do not block this range calculation or its associated effect. Note also that Abilities or Events that affect Units within X spaces of Unit Y rarely (so far, never) affect Unit Y itself.
- Wound. A measure of damage to a Unit. When the number of wounds meets or exceeds a Unit’s number of Life Points, it is destroyed. Wounds are tracked with Wound Markers. Wounds are normally inflicted by successful attack dice rolls, but some Abilities and Events deprive some successful Hits of their wounds, and some others inflict wounds without any dice being rolled, or even without being related to any attack.
- Wound Marker. A cardboard token placed on Unit cards to keep track of its Wounds. If the side with ‘3’ is up, it counts as 3 Wound Markers, otherwise it counts as 1 marker. Wound Markers can be exchanged and changed like money.
- You, Your. The player who controls the card that says “you”. Note that if control of a card changes, then for example "your attack phase" refers to the attack phase of the person controlling the card at that time, even if they have to return control at the end of their turn. cf He, She, It.
- Last edited Thu Jan 19, 2012 1:19 pm (Total Number of Edits: 17)
- Posted Sat Sep 17, 2011 10:51 pm
This is very informative and will be so for those that are new to the game. I would highly suggest to shorten the list for easier reading, some of the word is very unnecessary, such as Attack.
I do have to say that despite the near perfect job on unifying wording in SummonerWars, there still a few here and there wording on those older card that really bother me, example is VG's Guardian Knight usage of the word "target" which spew enough hair ripping before it finally got solved recently... another example is SG's Javinleer
Regardless, great job on this post and greater job at phg for unifying words as much as possible.
Thanks for the comments, Baoaa! I have updated it, addressing the issues you raised.
empty / clear / unoccupied / occupied / ... elaboration?
- Empty. ---not defined above---
- Clear. Empty of cards.
- Occupied. Having a Unit or Wall card in the space in question.
- Unoccupied. Not having a card in it that blocks movement. Any card in a space makes it occupied, except for Vine Walls, since Units may move on top of them.
Most of the game is not open to interpretation when you get really anal about the wording (this is a good thing). But I'm finding the terminology of these 4 specific words difficult to swallow.
Rule book states you summon on empty spaces, not clear spaces. This may seem minor, but I could see myself being criticized (note: criticized is not synonyms with insulted) for not paying heed to such a nuance.
Clear and empty would seem like opposites to me, making the above paragraph just fine. But, occupied and unoccupied would seem like opposites to me; but according to definitions above, they are not opposites. Clear seems to be defined as the opposite of occupied. Ideally, clear = empty = unoccupied, and all three are the opposite of occupied. It seems like another word or phrase would be less confusing to constitute a space that may or may not have card(s) in it, but still has room for more card(s).
Maybe I'm wrong about all this. Maybe this is super obvious to most. But it's not making any sense in a meaningful way that I believe I'll be able to memorize. If there's any way you can help clear this up, it'd be much appreciated.