Part II: Heroes and Minions

Welcome back to the Herobane gameplay articles. If you missed Part I: Rooms and Your Dungeon, you can read it before or after this part. Today we're going to look at heroes, minions, and how they fight.

As a reminder, these articles are meant to look at the features of the game and its overall flow. These aren't going to be an in-depth, exhsustive rulebook - we want you to understand enough to follow along when you see new cards and to be excited about Herobane, but the final details will wait until the published rulebook.

First, behold the first minion card we'll use for today's examples: Zombie Pawn! Just like on a room card, the number in the black diamond is the cost you pay to play this minion: four black chips. Zombie Pawn is an undead minion, which shouldn't really surprise you given its name. Minion types like undead and mage may be referenced by other cards, but otherwise it's just a bit of flavor. On the right, you see how many combat dice Zombie Pawn rolls when it attacks (you'll read about attacks very soon). Normally it just rolls two. At the bottom, you can see its ability - this card's ability says that if you have three minions, you add an extra might combat die.

You've seen the word "might" a few times now. Zombie Pawn is a might minion that rolls might combat dice to deal might damage, and Snake Pit is a might room. Might is one of the three aspects you'll find in Herobane. Magic is tightly parallel: there are magic rooms and minions you play with red chips, and you'll roll magic combat dice to deal magic damage. Wild merges the two, and wild rooms and minions may be played with any combination of chips. Wild minions roll both kinds of combat dice at once.

King's Blade isn't a might hero, since the heroes don't tie themselves to the aspects of your dungeon. But it does require might damage to defeat (the number in the grey circle), so it's a good victim for Zombie Pawn. The empty white box at the top means that it has no abilities - some heroes have abilities that affect the game before their defeat. At the bottom is the part you really like, the rewards! You receive two rewards for defeating King's Blade: one green reputation chip, and King's Blade becomes your undead minion. Won't that be a fun surprise when you lure the King himself in?

It's time for Zombie Pawn to attack King's Blade. Combat dice are standard six-sided dice, and with Zombie Pawn all alone, you roll just two of them to attack.

There are three possible outcomes to an attack:

  • If the hero has been dealt damage greater than or equal to its might and magic damage thresholds, the hero is defeated and the minion survives.
  • If the hero has been dealt damage greater than or equal to its might OR magic damage threshold (but not both), the hero is stunned and both hero and minion survive. This result isn't possible with King's Blade, who has only one threshold.
  • If the hero has not been dealt damage greater than or equal to either threshold, the hero survives and the minion is defeated.

Players familiar with dice-rolling games will know that the average roll on two d6 is 7, so victory is more likely than not here.

Your Zombie Pawn has rolled a total of 3.

This defeat means that Zombie Pawn is discarded, and King's Blade remains in your dungeon checking out your Snake Pit for now. It's still got that 3 might damage marked on it; you can attack with another minion to finish it off or just let King's Blade escape when the turn's over. You'll find that minions roll exceptionally poorly when we're giving examples since it allows more things to happen, where in real games combat tends to be a lot faster.

Most heroes reward you reputation when you defeat them. Reputation is crucial to winning the game, but it doesn't win on its own. When you fight an epic hero (such as the King of Clubs himself), you're in for a tough battle. If you emerge victorious, you'll claim a significant reward plus an opportunity to trade the reputation you gained from non-epic heroes for victory points.

You know enough now to see the game flow pretty clearly: Play rooms, play minions, fight smaller heroes, fight epic heroes, win. In next week's final installment, we'll look more at what all you can do during your turn.