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Rule Book

How-to-Play Overview

If you are new to Warlord Protocol, we suggest checking out the How-to-Play Guide down below. It serves as a great introduction that teaches you the basics of what you will need to know for your first game. Check out the rule book for a more comprehensive version of the rules.

 

If you have questions about how two or more cards or abilities interact, head on over to the Card Gallery where you can find rulings for specific cards. If you still can not find an answer to your question, feel free to contact us and we will be more than happy to help you out.

How-to-Play Guide

Ability Text

All cards in Warlord Protocol have one or more abilities, and a card's ability text tells you what the card does. All cards have keywords like [ACTIVATE], [PLAY], and [TRIGGER] at the beginning of their abilities that tell you when and how the ability works. Most cards also use special words like Burn and Void to describe a specific action you must take while resolving a card's ability.

Void

To Void something means to send that item to The Void which is located at the bottom left-hand corner of the game board (The Void is essentially the public discard pile). Most cards in Warlord Protocol can be voided, the exceptions being warlord and bioweapon cards. Cards in the void can be manipulated by any player so long as they have an ability that allows them to do so.

Burn

To Burn something means to remove that item from the game. When an ability tells you to Burn a card, send that card to the Burn Pile which is located on the right-hand side of the game board. When an ability tells you to Burn Victory Points, return those points in the form of coins (not territory cards) to the game's box.

[PLAY] Abilities

[PLAY] abilities happen when you play the card from your hand or another zone (such as your discard pile, the void, or the recruitment area).

[ACTIVATE] Abilities

[ACTIVATE] abilities require you to pay a cost for you to use them, but you can use them at any point during your command phase. The cost of an [ACTIVATE] ability will always be specified at the beginning of the ability's text. For example, if an [ACTIVATE] ability requires you to pay 2 resources (     ) , then you must spend 2 resources to use that ability. You may only use a card's [ACTIVATE] ability once per turn.

[TRIGGER] Abilities

[TRIGGER] abilities happen when a specific event in the game occurs. The event will always be specified by the [TRIGGER] ability. For example, if a card's [TRIGGER] ability says "When this is destroyed, draw a card" then the destruction of that card will trigger the ability and cause you to draw 1 card from your personal deck.

[PASSIVE] Abilities

[PASSIVE] abilities are continuously applied while the card is on your field (your player board and the area around it where all the cards you control are located). Some [PASSIVE] abilities require certain conditions to be met in order for them to be active, such as controlling a specific number of cards or playing as a warlord from a specific faction. 

[ELIMINATE] Abilities

[ELIMINATE] abilities are exclusive to bioweapon cards and happen when you reduce a bioweapon's HP to 0. [ELIMINATE] abilities can reward with you victory points, territory cards, and other helpful effects that can give you an edge over your opponents.

[CLAIM] Abilities

[CLAIM] abilities are exclusive to territory cards and happen when you claim the card from the top of the territory deck or from the void. Conquering a territory from another player will not trigger its [CLAIM] ability.

Recruitment Cost

The number of resources required to recruit a card.

Attack Value (ATK)

The amount of damage an Infantry card deals when it attacks a bioweapon or player. Attack value is referred to as ATK for ability text.

Defense Value (DEF)

The amount of defense a fortification or territory adds to your total defense. Defense value is referred to as DEF for ability text.

Health Points (HP)

The amount of damage a bioweapon can take before being eliminated. Health points are referred to as HP for ability text.

Victory Value

The amount of victory points a territory card is worth at the end of the game.

Card Rarity

A card's rarity tells you how many copies of that card are in the game.

Basic = 4 or more copies

Common = 3 copies

Limited = 2 copies

Exalted = 1 copy (warlords have an exalted rarity)

Card Components

Card Name

Each card has a unique name to identify itself. When a card's name is referenced in its ability text, it is referring to itself and not another card with the same name.

Faction Name & Emblem

Most cards in Warlord Protocol belong to one of six factions: the Divine Machine (yellow), the Cybernetic Federation (grey), the Awakened Legion (blue), the Legacy Militia (red), Nova Genesis (purple), or the United Human Coalition (green). A warlord will always list the name of their faction above their ability text in addition to displaying an emblem in the top-left corner of their card. Actions, infantry, fortification, and territory cards will only display an emblem to communicate which faction they belong to. If a card refers to your faction, it is referring to the faction of your warlord.

Divine Machine     Cybernetic Federation     Awakened Legion     Legacy Militia     Nova Genesis     United Human Coalition     Neutral (no faction)

Card Type & Card Type Icon

Each Warlord Protocol card has a specific type, and this type determines the specific rules about how the card functions (for more information, see Card Types). Most cards will list their card type just below their ability text in addition to using an icon as an identifier. Action, infantry, and fortification cards use both text and an icon to communicate their card type, while warlord and territory cards use only an icon. Meanwhile, bioweapons only specify their card type via text located just above their ability text. 

Card Types

Warlord Cards

Warlords are the leaders of each faction and their cards represent you during the game. Each warlord grants you a special ability that only you can use. Your warlord will also determine your faction, and you are generally rewarded for playing and recruiting cards that match the faction of your warlord. Each warlord is unique, and therefore have their own set of strengths and weaknesses. Its generally advised to play to the strengths of your warlord whenever possible. If an ability ever refers to a warlord, then it is referring to you or another player (warlord, player, and opponent may be used interchangeably for ability text). If a card's text ever refers to your faction, then it is referring to the faction of your warlord.

Action Cards

Action cards represent the commands of your warlord and the strategic operations of your infantry. You can play any number of action cards during your command phase and they will remain on your field until the end of your turn; after which, they are sent to your personal discard pile.

Infantry Cards

Infantry cards represent the foot soldiers that you will use to attack bioweapons and other players. When an infantry card attacks, it deals damage equal to its attack value. Infantry must attack one at a time and each card can only attack once per turn. You can play any number of infantry cards during your command phase and they will remain on your field until the end of your turn; after which, they are sent to your personal discard pile. You may notice that infantry cards have a subtype listed next to their card type (human, novan, voidborn, mech). Subtypes exist purely for flavor and have no impact on gameplay.

Fortification Cards

Fortification cards represent the buildings and ships that make up the bulk of your defensive capabilities. Each fortification card has a defense value, which is added to your total defense so long as you control it. You can play any number of fortification cards during your command phase and they will remain on your field until an ability removes them. When a fortification card you control is destroyed, place that card in your personal discard pile.

Bioweapon Cards

Bioweapon cards represent the genetically modified monsters that roam the planet's surface. If you can reduce a bioweapon's HP to 0, then you will be rewarded with the prizes dictated by that card's [ELIMINATE] ability. When a bioweapon is eliminated, place that card on top of the burn pile located on the right-hand side of the game board. At the end of each turn, the damage sustained by any bioweapon that has not been eliminated is healed and its HP returns to its maximum value. Bioweapons also come in 2 varieties: Lesser Bioweapons that have an HP of 3 to 5 and Greater Bioweapons that have an HP of 6 to 9. 

Territory Cards

Territory cards represent the various cityscapes and landscapes scattered across the surface of Nevir. Territories can be acquired by claiming them from the top of the territory deck or by conquering them from another player (aka, taking control of a territory through an ability). Each territory card has a victory value, which tells you how many victory points that card is worth at the end of the game. Some territory cards also have a defense value, which is added to your total defense so long as you control it. Territory cards remain on your field until an ability removes them. Territory cards cannot be played or destroyed.

How to Read Warlord Protocol Cards

Warlord Cards

Territory Cards

Bioweapon Cards

Infantry Cards

Fortification Cards

Action Cards

Game Setup​

1) Choosing Factions

Select 3 factions to play with, leaving the other 3 in the game box. You can choose by random selection, popular vote, or by any other means that your playgroup decides on. If you are having a tough time selecting factions, check out page 17 or the rule book for a list of senarios that are great for new players (and seasoned players).

2) Choosing Warlords

Take the warlord cards of the selected factions and lay them out on the table for every player to see. Randomly decide who will choose their warlord first. Then, moving counterclockwise around the table, each player selects 1 warlord card and places it on the warlord zone of their player board. Return all unselected Warlords to the game box.

Hint: Keep in mind that 2 or more players playing warlords from the same faction may be competing for similar cards during the game. The same goes for warlords that feature abilities involving the same card types.​

3) Main Deck

Take the faction decks for the selected factions and shuffle them together to form the Main Deck (each faction deck is a stack of 30 cards containing all of that faction's action, infantry, and fortification cards). Place the main deck face-down on its space of the game board. 

4) Recruitment Area

Deal 6 cards off the top of the main deck and place them face-up in the recruitment area. Continue until all 6 cards have unique names and are Non-Exalted. Shuffle all duplicates and exalted cards revealed this way back into the main deck.

5) Personal Deck

Each player receives a starting personal deck containing 4 Basic Infantry cards and 6 Basic Resource cards. Each player shuffles their personal deck and places it face-down on their player board. Then, each then draws 5 cards from their personal deck to form their starting hand.

6) Bioweapon Deck

Randomly select 3 Greater Bioweapons and 3 Lesser Bioweapons for each player in the game (no player should know which cards were selected), placing each in their own stack of cards (For Example, in a 4 player game you will select 12 bioweapons of each type). Randomize both stacks, then place the stack of greater bioweapons face-down on the game board and place the stack of lesser bioweapons on top of it (face-down as well). Return the unselected lesser bioweapons to the game box and set the unselected greater bioweapons off to the side, you will need them in the event the bioweapon deck runs out of cards (see Endgame for more information).

7) Bioweapon Spaces

Deal 2 cards off the top of the bioweapon deck and place them face-up on the bioweapon spaces of the game board. Then, place the Basic Bioweapon card on its space of the game board.

8) Territory Deck

Take the Territory Deck, shuffle it, and place it face-down on the game board.

9) Victory Points

Each player receives 5 VP to start the game with. Then, add 15 VP to the game board for each player in the game.

10) Who Goes First?

The game begins starting with the player who chose their warlord last. Players take turns in clockwise order around the table, which means the player that chose their warlord first is the last in turn order.

Turn Phases

All turns in Warlord Protocol follow the same steps that have players moving between a series of structured phases. Each phase determines the actions a player is allowed to take during that portion of their turn. Players can only move forward through the phases of their turn and cannot return to previous phases once they have been passed.

Phase 1: Start Phase

Any abilities that reference the beginning or start of your next turn happen now. Any abilities that last until your next turn end at this time.

Phase 2: Command Phase

You may perform any of the following player actions during your Command Phase. You may perform them in any order and as many times are you are able to do so

1) Play cards from your hand to your field.

2) Pay for [ACTIVATE] abilities.

3) Attack other players.

4) Attack bioweapon cards.

Phase 3: Recruitment Phase

You may recruit cards from the recruitment area during your Recruitment Phase and only during your recruitment phase. Actions available to you during your command phase are not available to you at this time. You may recruit any number of cards during your turn, so long as you have the resources to pay for them. 

Phase 4: End Phase

When you choose to end your turn, perform the following actions in the order they appear:

1) If you wish to and have not already done so this turn, you may use the basic [ACTIVATE] ability at this time.

2) All unspent resources disappear.

3) Send all action and infantry cards on your field to your discard pile.

4) Discard any cards remaining in your hand.

5) Refresh your hand by drawing 5 cards off the top of your personal deck.

6) Heal all damage dealt to any bioweapon cards remaining on the game board.

7) Heal all damage dealt to players, returning their total defense to its maximum value.

8) The next player begins their turn.

Glossary

[ACTIVATE] Ability

An ability that requires you to pay a cost to use it. Can only be used once per turn and only during your command phase.

Attack Value

The amount of damage dealt by an infantry card.

Burn

To send a card to the burn pile; or, to return victory points to the game box.

Claim

The of putting a territory card on your field from the territory deck or the void.

[CLAIM] Ability

An ability that happens when you claim the territory it's printed on.

Conquer

Taking control of a territory card from another player.

Control

Any card on your field, including your warlord card.

Defense Value

The amount by which a card increases your total defense.

Destroy

To send a card from a player's field to their discard pile. You cannot select cards that cannot be destroyed as the target of a destruction ability.

Discard

To send a card from a player's hand to their discard pile.

Draw

To take the top card of a player's personal deck and add it to their hand.

Eliminate

To reduce a bioweapon card's health points to 0.

[ELIMINATE] Ability

An ability that happens when a bioweapon is eliminated.

Field

Your player board and the area around it where all the cards you control are located.

Gain

Acquiring resources; or, acquiring victory points.

Health Points (HP)

The amount of damage a bioweapon card can withstand before being eliminated.

[PASSIVE] Ability

An ability that is continuously applied while the card is on your field.

Play

To place a card on your field from another zone (such as your hand, discard pile, the void, or the recruitment area)
 

[PLAY] Ability

An ability that happens when you play the card it's printed on.

Resolve

The act of performing ability text.

Recruitment Cost

The number of resources required to recruit a card.

Steal

Taking victory points from another player.

Total Defense

The combined defense values of all cards a player controls plus any abilities providing them with defense.

[TRIGGER] Ability

An ability that happens when an event in the game triggers them.

Warlord

A card that represents the player controlling it

Void

To send a card to the void space of the game board.

Endgame & Determining the Winner

Endgame Conditions

If any of the following conditions are met, the end of the game beings:

Victory Points

The game board runs out of victory points. However, players can still gain victory points. Use any extra VP coins or a pen and paper if necessary.

Bioweapon Deck

The bioweapon deck runs out of cards. Take the remaining greater bioweapons you set aside earlier and shuffle them into a new bioweapon deck. Players may continue eliminating bioweapons until none remain.

Main Deck

The main deck runs out of cards. Players can continue to recruit cards so long as there are still cards in the recruitment area.

Territory Deck

The territory deck runs out of cards. If a player would claim a territory card from an empty territory deck, then gain 2 VP instead.

Endgame Procedure

When an endgame condition is met for the first time, the endgame begins. From this moment forward, players can no longer attack each other (including the turn player). However, abilities that target and deal damage to other players may still be used. Once the current player finishes their turn, each other player receives one last turn (a player may take additional turns if an ability instructs them to do so). After the final player ends their turn, the game is over.

Determining the Winning Player(s)

The player with the most total victory points wins. Should two or more players tie for the most total victory points, the player among them who controls the most territory cards wins the game. If that does not break an existing tie, then the victory is shared.

Victory Points + Victory Value of all Territory Cards you control = Total Victory Points

Resolving Abilities

Contradictions

If there is a contradiction between the abilities of a card and the rules of the game, then the abilities of the card should be followed instead of the rules of the game.

Ability Timing

If 2 or more abilities happen at the same time, follow these rules:

1) Starting with the turn player, resolve all abilities in turn order. Resolve all of the turn player's abilities before moving to the next player.

2) Continue resolving abilities until none remain. If an ability cannot finish resolving, continue playing as if though it did.

3) Resolve all abilities one at a time and in the order of their controller's choice.

4) Abilities cannot be interrupted once they begin resolving.

5) If the resolution of an ability causes another ability to happen, place the new ability on hold and resolve it at a later time.

You probably will not encounter many situations where the resolution of multiple abilities causes confusion. But, these rules exist to cover any would-be scenarios. Here is a common example of a situation where multiple abilities happen at the same time:

You play Vital Research while controlling Particle Accelerator. Playing the Vital Research causes its [PLAY] ability to activate while simultaneously triggering the condition of Particle Accelerator's [TRIGGER] ability. Since both happen at the same time, you get to choose the order that they resolve in.

Playing Cards

During your turn, you can play any number of cards from your hand to your field. If you play a card with a [PLAY] ability, resolve that ability before playing another card. For Example, playing Echomance gives you 2 resources (     ) that you can use to recruit cards or pay for abilities.

Paying for [ACTIVATE] Abilities

During your turn, you can pay for the cost of [ACTIVATE] abilities. If a card asks you to pay X resource (     ), then it is giving you the option to decide how many resources you want to pay for an ability. The number of resources you pay for X will change how the ability resolves. In the case of Echomancer, if you choose to pay a total of 4 resources (     ), then you will be able to return a Non-Exalted Action card with a Recruitment Cost of 4 or less from your discard pile to your hand.

Keep in mind that you can only use a card's [ACTIVATE] ability once per turn. However, there are abilities in Warlord Protocol that allow you to remove a card from your field so that you can play it again. In the event that a card is removed from your field and then returned to it, it is treated like an entirely new card. This means that you can pay for the [ACTIVATE] ability again.

Combat

You have 2 options when it comes to combat. You can choose to attack bioweapon cards or you can choose to attack other players.

Attacking Bioweapons

When you attack a bioweapon with an infantry card, your infantry will deal damage equal to its attack value to the bioweapon equal. This will lower the bioweapon's health points by an amount equal to the damage dealt until the end of the turn. For example, if Devout Paladins attacks and deals 2 damage to Herald of Kimaris, then the bioweapon will have 2 health points remaining.

Attacking Players

When you attack a player (also referred to as a warlord) with an infantry card, your infantry will deal damage equal to its attack value to that player. This will lower that player's total defense by an amount equal to the damage dealt until the end of the turn. If that player has a total defense of 0, then any amount of damage you deal to them will cause you to steal an equal number of victory points from them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A player cannot lose the game for having 0 victory points. If you would steal from a player that has 0 victory points, nothing happens.

Keep in mind that infantry cards can only attack once per turn. However, there are abilities in Warlord Protocol that allow you to remove a card from your field so that you can play it again. In the event that an infantry card is removed from your field and then returned to it, it is treated like an entirely new card. This means that you can attack with it again.

 

Recruitment

To recruit a card from the recruitment area, you need to pay for its Recruitment Cost. This means that you need to spend a number of resources equal to that card's recruitment cost (found on the lower left-hand corner of each action, infantry, and fortification card). The most common way to acquire resources is to play action and infantry cards that provide them to you through a [PLAY] ability. When you recruit a card place it in your discard pile.

Player Actions

Attack!

Defense Drops to 1

No VP Stolen

Player With 0 Defense

Player Loses 2 VP

You Steal

2 VP

Defense Drops to 0

Player Loses 1 VP

You Steal

1 VP

Attack!

Attack!

Attack!

Spend 5 to recruit a

Battlefield Executioner

Gain a total of

5 resources

Place the Battlefield Executioner

in your Discard Pile

Basic Abilities

Players have access to a set of 3 Basic Abilities at all times. These abilities can also be found on the Reminder Cards given to you at the beginning of the game.

[TRIGGER] When you Recruit a card of your Faction for the first time each turn, gain      .

[TRIGGER] When you Play a card of your Faction for the first time each turn, gain      .

[ACTIVATE] Pay      and Burn      : Void a card on your Field or in your Discard Pile.

 

Hint: You can use the above [ACTIVATE] ability to remove all the really bad basic cards from

your personal deck. Like other [ACTIVATE] abilities, it can only be used once per turn.

The player boards featured above are designed for right-handed players. For physical editions of Warlord Protocol, flipping a player board over will reveal a version designed with left-handed players in mind.

Total Defense

Your Total Defense is equal to the combined defense values of all cards you control plus the defense provided by any abilities applied to you. You will be given a marker that you can slide up and down the tracker to keep an accurate count of your total defense. Your total defense resets back to its maximum value at the end of each turn (aka, all damage dealt to you is healed). For digital editions of Warlord Protocol, the slider will be replaced by a digital counter. The left side of the counter represents your current defense while the right side of the counter represents your maximum defense. 

Tokens

Some warlords have a mechanic that involves gaining Tokens. Once you acquire enough tokens, you can spend them on a powerful [ACTIVATE] ability. You will be given a 6-sided die which you can use to keep track of the tokens you acquire and spend. For digital editions of Warlord Protocol, the 6-sided die will be replaced by a digital counter.

Discard Pile

When an ability instructs you to discard a card, you will send a card from your hand to your Discard Pile. When a fortification you control is destroyed, you will send it from your field to your discard pile. When you recruit a card, you will send it from the recruitment area to your discard pile. The cards in your discard pile must be face-up at all times. Other players are permitted to search through your discard pile so long as they are not unnecessarily delaying the pace of the game.

Personal Deck

When an ability instructs you to draw a card, you will take the top card of your personal deck and add it to your hand. If your personal deck runs out of card and you need to draw or reveal a card from the top of your deck, shuffle your discard pile and place it face-down on your player board as your new personal deck. Players are not allowed to search through their decks unless instructed to do so by the ability of a card.

Warlord, Fortification, Territories, and Victory Point Zones

The player board is designed to help you organize the placement of your cards. For the relevant card types, place them on their designated zones of your player board. Remember to place all the victory points you own on your player board as well (you are not allowed to hide your victory points or intentionally lie about the number of victory points you own). Keep in mind that you do not have to cram all the fortification and territory cards you control onto your player board, but do try to keep them oriented in the same way (fortifications are always above territories).

Why Does the Player Board Lack Zones for Action and Infantry Cards?

Since these card types do not stay on your field when\ your turn ends, we did not create zones for them on the player board. We typically suggest just playing these cards in the area around your player board.

Resource Tracker

The Resource Tracker is a digital counter found exclusively on digital player boards. The left side of the tracker (black background with a brown crate) is to help you keep track of the resources you acquire that have limitations on how they can be spent. The right side of the tracker (brown background with a white crate) helps you keep track of the resources you acquire without limitation on how they can be spent.

Digital Player Board

Player Board

Game Boards & Setup

The game boards use a combination of colors and iconography to help you set up the game. For the most part, all you need to do is match the symbols on the boards with the respective symbols on each card. For the Game Board, you will be matching symbols on the board with the symbols found on the back of each card. For the Player Board, you will be matching the symbols on the board with the card type icons found on the front of each card.

The Game Board

Victory Points (VP)

This is the space where you will place all the victory points that will be available for players to acquire during the game. More specifically, you will place 15 VP on this space for each player in the game. When the game board runs out of victory points, the end of the game will begin (Warlord Protocol has multiple game-ending conditions, see Endgame for more information).

Defense Boosters

This is where you will place all the defense boosters before the start of the game. Defense boosters help you keep track of the amount of defense a specific card provides to you.

Bioweapon Deck & Spaces

The Bioweapon Spaces are where you will find all the bioweapon cards available for you to fight. When you eliminate a bioweapon and send it to the burn pile, you will refill the empty bioweapon space with the top card of the Bioweapon Deck. When the bioweapon deck runs out of cards, the end of the game will begin (Warlord Protocol has multiple game-ending conditions, see Endgame for more information).

The Basic Bioweapon card is placed on the game board when the game begins. This is a bioweapon that will always be available for players to fight for a small reward, but it can never be eliminated.

Territory Deck

This is where the Territory Deck is located. When an ability instructs you to claim a territory, you will take the top card of the deck and place it face-up on your player board.

Main Deck & Recruitment Area

The Recruitment Area is where you will find all the cards that are available for recruitment. When a card leaves the recruitment area for any reason, it will immediately be replaced with the top card of the Main Deck (see Setup further down the page for details on how to construct the main deck). When the main deck runs out of cards, the end of the game will begin (Warlord Protocol has multiple game-ending conditions, see Endgame for more information). The main deck must remain face-down at all times and no player is permitted to search through it. The recruitment area must always contain 6 unique cards. If the recruitment area contains duplicate copies of a card with the same name, burn all but 1 of those copies. Continue this process until all of the cards in the recruitment area have unique names.

Burn Pile

When an ability instructs you to burn a card, you will place it on top of the Burn Pile. Cards in the burn pile are effectively removed from the game. Cards in the burn pile are face-up at all times. Players are permitted to search through the burn pile so long as they are not unnecessarily delaying the pace of the game.

The Void

When an ability instructs you to void a card, you will place it on top of The Void. Cards in the void can be manipulated by any player so long as an ability instructs them to do so. Cards in the void are face-up at all times. Players are permitted to search through the void so long as they are not unnecessarily delaying the pace of the game.

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