Herobane: How to Play
Welcome to the Herobane How to Play guide. This guide will lead you through the game's setup and one player's first three turns of the game. It's fairly long, comprehensive, and in-depth - if you're looking for a short summary highlighting the key cool parts of the rules, check out these three short articles:
Click any photo to enlarge it. Please keep in mind that these images show a homemade prototype version of the game, and final details may differ from shown. Notably, we're showing you a lot of cards that don't have art yet!
This game is a four-player game featuring you, Bobbi, Charlie, and Denise. You all have seated yourselves around the table in that order, and as luck would have it, you have won the die roll and will play first. Your goal: build up a dungeon, hire minions, slay heroes, and earn enough victory points to become the most feared villain. You agreed that this game will go to 3 victory points.
To begin playing, each player selects one of the avatar boards and puts it in front of them. You select the Minotaur of the Maze. Bobbi selects the Archmagus of the Void. Charlie picks the Doom Knight. Denise goes for the Arachnotitan.
Each player takes eight black chips, eight red chips, and eight reputation chips. These go in their chip bank. The Minotaur, Archmagus, and Knight start the game with some chips already collected from the bank - Dread Renown says that the Minotaur starts with one reputation chip. The dungeon boards suggest the upper-right corner to put the bank and lower-right for the collected chips, but it doesn't matter where you put your chips as long as the two groups won't be confused for each other.
The hero and dungeon decks are shuffled and put in the center of the table, leaving room for the heroes to queue up. The combat dice, dungeon tiles, and victory point chips are set aside somewhere where all players can reach them, and the starting player takes the resource dice. There's no specific way these have to be laid out, and if your space is constrained, you can leave the loose dice and tiles jumbled up in the box lid.
Going around the table from the starting player, each player draws three cards from the dungeon deck and keeps them hidden from other players. You can look at your own cards all the time.
The top five cards of the hero deck are turned face up and arranged in a line on the table. As with so many other pieces of setup, exactly how this line stretches is up to you, but these five cards must be kept in order from newest to oldest so you always know which one was turned face up first.
It's time for you to assume the role of the Minotaur of the Maze and begin the first turn. You have three abilities that can apply at the start of this very first turn of the game: The Minotaur's own Monumental ability that digs for some room cards, and the abilities from Daring Thief and Reckless Wizard that want them to bust into your dungeon. You choose which one to handle first; might as well choose the Minotaur's own ability.
Snake Pit and Cadaverous Bog! The other cards are put into the dungeon deck's discard pile.
You play these rooms, placing their tiles in your dungeon. Multiple tiles from a single room must be placed so that they touch each other. They don't have to touch any pre-existing tiles or the edge of your dungeon. You can rotate them in any orientation. Having played the room cards, they're put aside.
You still have two more abilities that you need to handle from Daring Thief and Reckless Wizard. You have a Copperhead Lackey in hand, so you choose to have Daring Thief enter your dungeon. You can't have two heroes in your dungeon at once, so Reckless Wizard is out of luck - its ability doesn't apply this turn. If it's still in the hero row when Bobbi's turn starts, she'll have to deal with the Wizard.
Now you draw three cards from the dungeon deck.
Roll the resource dice - the larger black and red ones with numerals rather than pips. You look at the column indicated by the black die and the row indicated by the red die and collect the appropriate resources: in this case, you rolled a black 3 and a red 2 so you collect three black chips and one red chip. The next player in turn order also does this, looking at their board but using your dice roll. Bobbi has an unmodified Archmagus of the Void board, so she collects just one black chip and one red chip. Charlie and Denise don't collect any chips this turn.
Having collected resources, it's time for your turn actions. You can take any number of them in any order. You'll see all six of the turn actions through the course of this article, and there's a handy reminder of what they are on the bottom left of each dungeon board in case you forget. Right now, you need to deal with that Daring Thief, so you play Copperhead Lackey. The cost is in the upper left - two black chips. Return two black chips to the bank and put Copperhead Lackey in front of you.
Your next turn action is to attack Daring Thief with Copperhead Lackey. To do so, you simply say that Daring Thief is attacking Copperhead Lackey and then roll its combat dice. You haven't played any other minions this turn, so Copperhead Lackey rolls just two might combat dice, the number in the circle on the right of the card. The result of the dice is 8 - more than enough to defeat Daring Thief, which only requires 4 might damage (the number in Daring Thief's own circle on the card).
For your next turn action, you resolve the attack. This means that you take the 8 damage rolled by Copperhead Lackey and mark it on Daring Thief, then check to see how the marked damage compares against the hero's damage thresholds. 8 quite soundly beats 4, so Daring Thief is defeated. You get one reputation chip and then handle its other reward: You get one black chip, too. Put Daring Thief off to the side with the room cards you've played.
You take another turn action and play Sacrificial Altar. It has a wild cost, which means that you could pay its cost with two black chips, two red chips, or one of each. You pay one of each. As before, you place the tiles on your dungeon and place the card off to the side.
With nothing else to do, you end your turn. There's a summary of how to end your turn on your board as well, and most of these things don't happen every turn. If there's a hero in your dungeon, it escapes - there isn't, you've defeated the Daring Thief. If you have more than five minions or more than eight cards in hand, you have to discard the excess. You don't have any excess, so the only thing you need to do is to shift the hero row. Discard the oldest hero in the row, move the remaining heroes down, then fill the hero row back to five cards.
Oh, Emissary of Clubs turned face up. All four players each collect a red chip from their chip bank now.
Bobbi takes her turn now, and we'll skip over this. The only thing to point out here is that you don't collect resources when Bobbi rolls the resource dice, even though that'd be a nice roll for you. Bobbi and the next player in turn order (Charlie) collect resources this turn. On Charlie's turn, Charlie and Denise collect resources.
When Charlie's done his turn, he turns up the Emissary of Crowns - similar to the Emissary of Clubs, everyone gets a chip, but this one says they each get to choose which one they take. Charlie takes a black chip, Denise takes a red chip, then you take a red chip, and Bobbi takes a red chip.
On Denise's turn, you also collect resources from your dungeon based on her roll: two black chips.
Denise is done, it's your turn again. There are no start-of-turn abilities on the heroes or on your cards this turn, so we move on. Draw three cards from the dungeon deck. Remember, any abilities heroes have that apply while they're in the hero row will have the exclamation point symbol on them, including start-of-turn abilities.
You roll the resource dice and collect two red chips. Bobbi collects based on her dungeon as well.
You have only four red chips, and Rosethorn Warlock in your hand costs five. You take the turn action of discarding cards for resource: discard Heart Bleeder Witch and Dark Conscription and get one red chip.
Now you can play Rosethorn Warlock, putting all five red chips back in your bank. Copperhead Lackey's ability applies, and it gets an extra might combat die for the turn. You could fight any of the heroes in the hero row; King's Blade is pretty enticing.
Taking two turn actions: First you lure in King's Blade, then you attack it with Copperhead Lackey. 7 is well below average for three dice, but it's enough for this fight.
Resolve the attack, and King's Blade is defeated. You get one reputation and add King's Blade to your group of minions.
Copperhead Lackey can't attack again this turn, but Rosethorn Warlock and King's Blade can attack something. Emissary of Clubs should be an easy fight for Rosethorn Warlock, but you'd rather deny your opponents the flexibility of Emissary of Crowns. So you lure in Emissary of Crowns, and Rosethorn Warlock attacks the Emissary. 14 is quite a bit greater than 4, so you're good here.
You resolve the attack: Emissary of Crowns has just been marked with damage that meets one of its thresholds, but not both. This means that it's been stunned. When the hero is stunned during an attack, both the minion and the hero survive the attack. The 14 magic damage remains marked on it.
For your next turn action, King's Blade attacks Emissary of Crowns. It rolls just 2 damage. Emissary of Crowns is no longer stunned, so if you stop here, King's Blade will be defeated.
Instead, you play Smoldering Slam, paying two black chips. You put it into the dungeon deck's discard pile and deal 2 might and 2 magic damage to Emissary of Crowns.
You resolve the attack, adding the 2 damage from King's Blade to the 2 damage already marked on Emissary of Crowns from Smoldering Slam. This is enough to defeat it, so you put Emissary of Crowns aside and claim your rewards: one reputation chip and two chips. You choose to get two red chips, since your board has more tiles that lean towards black chips.
You're all done with your turn - the only thing to do is, as usual, to shift the hero row. Goodbye Veteran Dungeoneer.
Once again, you don't collect when Bobbi or Charlie roll, but you do collect when Denise rolls, adding two black chips and one red chip to the pile.
No start-of-turn abilities on the hero row or your minions again. You draw three cards.
Roll the resource dice, collecting one black and one red chip.
You have four reputation and a pretty decent team, so it's time to fight an epic hero!
You play Energize on Rosethorn Warlock and cackle like the villain you are. Rolling four dice is pretty vicious, and with Rosethorn Warlock's ability to make up for bad luck, you can make a real monster here.
You attack the Knight with Rosethorn Warlock. 9 on four dice isn't great.
Luckily you have plenty of cards to discard to keep Rosethorn Warlock alive. You use its ability three times, discarding Gold-Scale Dragon, Illusory Pixies, and Spider-Webbed Ruin. This deals 3 magic damage to Knight of Swords.
12 magic damage meets its threshold, so Knight of Swords is stunned when you resolve the attack and Rosethorn Warlock lives to fight another day. Now you need to get 18 might damage in!
King's Blade can soften the Knight up a little.
King's Blade had no hope of surviving this fight. Since it's a might minion, the ability on Knight of Swords adds 1 extra damage, and you mark 4 might damage on it. You would discard the defeated minion to the dungeon deck's discard pile, but since it's a hero card, instead you put it off to the side with your other defeated heroes. Knight of Swords keeps its 4 might and 12 magic damage marked on it.
Now you spend three black chips to play Iron-Tail Scorpion. Copperhead Lackey gets an extra might combat die this turn; if you had enough minions to play, you could get Copperhead Lackey enough extra might combat dice to finish off the Knight all on its own!
You attack with Iron-Tail Scorpion, and it rolls a sweet 5 and a sad little 1. You could just resolve the attack and then attack with Copperhead Lackey to defeat the Knight, but if you want to play the last card in your hand anyway, let's do that instead.
You play Bloodsteel Forge, placing its tiles. This one has an ability that matters while it's face up, so you place it somewhere else in front of you rather than with the room cards you don't need to look at anymore.
Using the ability of Bloodsteel Forge, you reroll that 1. A 4 is much better.
Resolve the attack. You add 1 damage from the Knight's ability again, since Iron-Tail Scorpion is a might minion. Knight of Swords has 14 might damage marked on it now. It's not quite defeated yet, but your Scorpion is. You put it in the dungeons deck's discard pile and handle its ability, dealing 4 more might damage to Knight of Swords.
There's not an attack going on right now, but you can use the turn action of resolving an attack to make Knight of Swords look down and realize that the damage marked is exactly enough to meet both of its thresholds. The first part of its reward is the one-time opportunity to exchange reputation chips for a victory point chip, and you have enough to make this trade. You pay all four of your reputation chips and claim a victory point chip. The second reward is keeping the Knight as a boon that modifies your dungeon, similar to how Energize modifies Rosethorn Warlock. You put Knight of Swords in front of you, like you did with Bloodsteel Forge, to use its ability later.
There's nothing left in the hero row for Copperhead Lackey to fight and you've got nothing left to play, so your turn's over. You've achieved the first victory point of the game, and we'll end this article here on a high note. We hope you've enjoyed this thorough look into the gameplay of Herobane!