Lords of Hell

The card game of unholy power struggle


Index - Background - Rules - Summary - Changes - Cards - Prints - Statistics

I Game Entities

I.1 Devils

Each player controls one mighty Devil of Hell, and has corresponding Devil card. Each Devil is an immortal being of great power. Devil card is always kep in front of controlling player.

I.1.1 Devil state

Each Devil has 4 possible states in game:

  1. Devil in Hell. The Devil is able to trade with all other Devils, and can cast rituals and lead an army
  2. Devil on Earth. The Devil is on Earth trying to recruit new hapless Souls to join his or her army in Hell. The Devil card is tilted 45 degrees sideways to indicate this state. The Devil can trade normally, but cannot cast rituals nor partake in combat or gathering.
  3. Knocked-out Devil. A Devil which has taken a hit but is not yet captured or imprisoned. Devil card is tilted 90 degrees as with imprisoned Devil. Knocked-out Devils only appear during combat phase. They cannot trade until return to game or are imprisoned (captured).
  4. Imprisoned Devil. The Devil is kept as prisoner by other Devil or Forces of Heaven. Devil card is tilted 90 degrees sideways and prisoner counter is given to capturer, unless imprisoned in Heaven. A Devil captured by an army is counted as imprisoned. The Devil cannot cast rituals, have artifacts, fight or partake in gathering. Neither can Devil trade, except with the captor, incouding Other Powers of Hell. The captor can permit the Devil to trade with specified other Devils. Note that even if Devil is imprisoned, it has hundreds of servants and supporters around the Hell and can have home realm and army.

Imprisoned Devil is never counted to be 'in Hell' or 'on Earth', regardless who is helding it as prisoner. Imprisoned Devil can be freed at will by the captor, whenever normal trading is allowed and the captor is not knocked-out. Otherwise the only way to get prisoner freed is by special card or conquering realm wherein prisoner is. Prisoners can be moved between players whenever trading is allowed, except that in combat phase that must be explicitly done by the armies. If prisoner is moved to Devil without any forces (and thus no home realm), the Devil is immediately freed.

Any Devil voluntarily freed during combat returns to action. Those not freed are counted as knocked-out in current combat when the home realm they were prisoner is lost.

Voluntary surrender: A Devil in Hell can surrender to any other player, using normal prisoner rules, if the other player agrees. Normal rules are then applied.

Example: Glasya founds her home realm surroundered by much more powerful army of Asmodeus. She offers to Asmodeus to surrender if Asmodeus promises not to attack her realm this turn if she does this.

I.1.2 Oath Cards

Each Devil can make number of promises and Oaths of distrubution of the power if that Devil becomes the new Overlord. These promises are represented with Oath cards. Eavh Oath card has its owner, which means the Devil whose name is under it, not the current holder of the Oath card.

There is 6 Oath cards for each Devil. Following rules apply to them:

  • Oath cards cannot be stolen unless a special effect clearly states that (namely Belial's torture)
  • Oath cards cannot be discarded, but some effects result in discarded Oath cards. Discarded Oath cards are put to same discard pile as are discarded resource cards and thus eventually results in randomly deatl Oath cards
  • Oath cards can be traded normally. In addition, they can be used to make a forced trade. To make a forced trade, the Devil must be able to trade with the target. Other Powers of Hell are always there, so only a prisoner might have problems to trade with them.
  • Forced trade with Other Powers of Hell: Discard the Oath card and immediately draw 3 cards. You can do this only once per phase.
  • Forced trade with owner of the Oath: Hand the Oath back to owner and make his release one prisoner of your choice or to take one tabled artifact or horde of your choice from his realm. This forced trade can only be done in transfer or gathering phase, and protected things cannot be taken (see forced trades)
  • When the game ends, Oath cards of the Overlord are each worth 2 victory points. Other Oath cards have no value. See ending the game.

I.2 Realms

Different areas of Hell are represented with Realm cards. Each realm has different powers which affect gameplay during different phases. These powers are always usable only by the Devil whose home realm the place is. If the realm has any combat-based powers or defense points, they only apply to combats done next to it. Uncontrolled realms never utilize their special powers nor grant defense.

Each Devil with forces in Hell always controls one realm, so-called home realm. If the Devil has no forces in Hell (they are all destroyed or on Earth), immediately discard the realm (put it into center of the table as uncontrolled realm). However, if this happens during combat, do not do it before current fight is over and capture phase is handled.

If the Devil without home realm gets any forces to Hell (like via tabling, soul gathering or trades), Devil immediately takes control of any one uncontrolled realm - if several Devils without home realm gain forces at the same time, start from Starter (or next of her).

Home realms can be switched in transfer and combat transfer phase, or occupied in combat transfer phase. Home realms can never be discarded voluntarily. If the Devil has any prisoners and home realm is lost because no forces are left to Hell, the prisoner is immediately freed.

I.3 Resource Cards

Resource cards represent various things that Devils control, from hordes of fiends to mighty rituals. They are drawn from resource deck and kept in hand until played, tabled, traded or discarded. Resource cards in hand are always kept in secret.

Resource cards fall into 4 classes: hordes, artifacts, rituals and special cards, which come in unstoppable and normal versions. Only ritual and special cards can be in player's hand at any moment.

I.3.1 Hordes

Horde cards represent various creatures under Devil's influence. Following rules apply to horde cards:

  • Drawn horde cards must be tabled immediately when drawn. They cannot be taken to hand.
  • Horde cards on table can be discarded in transfer or gathering phase
  • Tabled hordes can be traded in transfer or combat transfer phase

Unless noted, each card has power of 1 in combat, and is killed when takes a hit. Some hordes have special powers explained in card.

I.3.2 Artifacts

Artifacts are items of great power carried by the Devil. Following rules apply:

  • Drawn artifact cards must be tabled immediately when drawn. Tabled artifact carn can never be taken to hand.
  • Any drawn artifact is immediately discarded during combat phase if the Devil is imprisoned or knocked-out.
  • Artifact goes wherever the Devil is, and some of them are only usable if the Devil is in Hell. If the Devil is imprisoned, artifacts cannot be used (mainly in transfer phase)
  • Tabled artifacts can be traded in transfer or combat transfer phase, providing the Devil receiving the artifact is not a prisoner
  • If the Devil is captured, the captor immediately confescates any artifacts of the captive, if the capturing army has Devil present. If not, discard all artifacts held by the prisoner.

I.3.3 Rituals

Rituals represent mighty spells cast by Devils and Diabolic fiends. Following rules apply to ritual cards:

  • Rituals are started in the transfer phase, by putting them next to home realm, face-down. These rituals can be taken back to hand and changed at will as long as transfer phase lasts. At the start of the combat phase, all face-down rituals are turned face-up and any rituals with no casters to perform them are discarded. Tabled rituals cannot be traded or stolen
  • Only Devils and Diabolic fiends can cast rituals. At the start of each combat round (see combat), discard any rituals with no caster to cast them. However, a knocked-out Devil does not result in lost ritual if the Devil then returns to game and is not imprisoned
  • No more than one ritual can be cast per caster (except for Glasya). Caster can be changed freely, so only the total number of casters matter.
  • Rituals are finished in combat phase. Each army that did not move can finish any rituals it has been casting at the end of each combat round, see combat for details. Any rituals not finished by the end of the fourth (and last) combat round are discarded at the start of the gathering phase.
  • If multiple rituals would result at the same time, they are handled starting from the Starter, clock-wise

I.3.4 Special Cards

Special cards are always played from hand to affect the game directly. Each card states when it can be played, and unless specically noted, cannot be played during 'no trading' phase (in combat mainly) nor during game mechanics done at the start of any phase.

Some special cards are marked as unstoppable (by having a cross instead of exclamation mark). That means that they cannot be Double Crossed with special card of that name.

I.3.5 Resource Deck

Any non-drawn resource cards are kep in one pile, face-down, called resource deck. Players draw from this deck at the start of the turn in draw phase and whenever doing certain special actions. No player is allowed to check the pile nor count cards on it.

As soon as the deck runs out (but not before) the discard pile is shuffled as new resource deck. This is done immediately when the resource deck is emptied even if no one is drawing more cards.

If the resource deck runs out and there is no cards in discard pile, bad luck. Players get no cards - when new cards are discarded, they are shuffled as new resource deck but old draws are not valid anymore.

I.3.6 Discard Pile

Any discarded or destroyed resource card is put into discard pile, face-up, next to resource deck. Devil and Realm cards are never put to this pile, but Oath cards might end there if used to trade with Other Powers of Hell. Players are not allowed to investigate the discard pile unless uses some special power that depends on it. The order of the cards in the discard pile is not important.

I.4 Other Game Pieces

I.4.1 Souls

When a Devil or fiends on Earth get hapless humans to sign treaties, they get eventually Souls, which arrive Hell to wander around its endless plains. These soul hordes are then used as fodder in combats between Devil's.

Each 'soul' is represented with appropriate counter. It has no power in combat (in normal case), but can take hits. If destroyed, the Souls scatter and are removed from the game. There is no limit how many Souls the Devil can control, and they can be traded normally in transfer and combat transfer phases.

I.4.2 Support points

Devils (players) earn so-called support points which represent general fame and name of the Devil and make it easier for the Devil to become the new Overlord. Moreover, when the game ends, the support provided by various inhabitants of the Hell can grant the victory to the popular Devil.

Support points should be marked with some counters and are awarded in following situations:

  • Winning a combat (only one army per combat, combat lasted more than one fight round and at least one army was defeated)
  • Having new prisoners at the start of Gathering phase (at least one of these prisoners must have been free at the start of the combat phase and must have been captured during combat phase)
  • Recruiting at least 1 Soul in same Soul phase (you do not gain extra support points for recruiting more than one Soul)

I.4.3 Other Counters

Rest of the counters used in game:

  • Starter is a counter which marks the player who starts certain game mechanic phases and overseers overall gameflow. If there is any timing problems, the starter goes first, or the next one of her, clockwise. Starter marker is moved at the start of each draw phase.
  • Army counters are used to mark where the army is currently.
  • Prisoner counters are given to Devil helding other Devil as prisoner in his (or her) home realm
  • Proclaimed counters are used to mark that this Devil was proclaimed as new Overlord.

I.4.4 Other Components

Game track: this card is used to mark whoever the Devil is proclaiming in Gathering phase and where the army is headed. Each player should have one. Any normal dice or other counter can then be used to mark what Devil is targeted.

In addition to all the counters and cards, you will also need several six-sided dice, simply referenced as d6 from now on. 10-20 should be sufficient, and they are used during combat phase and sometimes with some special effects.

Game counters
Assembled game counters, pile of dice, Devil and realm cards.

II Game Mechanics

II.1 Timing

There is no any kind of action stack in Lords of hell. When an effect is announced, it immediately happens and other players cannot interrupt the action (except with Double Cross). If your action somehow affects other players, tell other players to stop trading and playing for a while and when they are ready, do your action.

II.2 Trading

Trading means exchange of promises, resource cards and Souls. All Devils can trade with each other (unless imprisoned), although things on table (except prisoners) can only be moved between players in transfer phase.

Trades usually include promises. See details on them in next chapter.

II.2.1 Forced Trades

Some cards result in forced trades. In these trades, the target has no choice but to do the trade. Participitants must be able to trade with each other, however, so if the other Devil is a prisoner then the other cannot trade with that Devil, unless is the captor or the captor gives a permission.

Proctected things: When someone 'steals' a horde or an artifact with forced trade, this traded thing becomes protected from further forced trades during the same turn phase. However, this does not apply to previous owner, and moreover, if the thing is then traded normally away, protection is lost. Likewise the new owner can voluntarily give it away in next forced trade, and if he forgots to claim the protection, it is lost.

Baalzebub: when Baalzebub is the target of a forced trade, it can choose, what is traded, instead of the one doing the trade! So, for example, if a Devil makes a forced trade with Baalzebub by giving Baalzebub's Oath card back, Baalzebub can decide if he releases one prisoner or what thing he gives away.

II.2.2 Trading secrecy

Unless players together choose otherwise at the start of the game, all trading and deals must be made around the gaming table; players are not allowed to use paper or leave the table to make deals in other rooms.

II.2.3 Time limit

If need to, some time limit to trading can be set, so that they do not take all eternity.

II.2.4 No trading

During certain points of the game, trading is prohibited. This includes all deals, forced trades, promises and exchange of cards. Normally 'no trading' is in effect during following times:

  • Entire draw phase
  • Start of any phase, when game mechanics are handled
  • Hit handling in combat (rolling and assignment)
  • In the middle of some effect handling

Also note that during 'no trading' time no special cards or effects can be played or used unless especially marked so that they are used during that time.

Players can still communicate freely while no trading is in effect, unless Silence is played - they just cannot make any promises or transfer cards! Note that this applies to imprisoned (and knocked-out) Devils, too.

II.3 Promises

If trade includes some kind of promise, it never lasts longer than until end of next turn. Until that time, however, the Devil must keep its promise. Devil is not allowed to try to get around the promise. If player delibaretly tries to play against this rule and idea of this game, a normal punishment is loss of all resource and Oath cards, divded evenly among all other players.

For convenience, players should stick to basic promises when possible; if they need to promise something exotic, extra care should be taken while wording the promise. All players are responsible for checking that promises are unambigious.

It is each player's responsibility to ensure that promises are such that they can be kept. Unless players state otherwise, all promises include 'if able' condition, but Devil must make its best to be able. If need to, player must show her hand to other player, to show that her Devil cannot keep its promise.

At times, they might be problems remembering all the made promises. That is why it is useful to stick to basic promises.

II.3.1 Basic promises

Most of the time all promises can be handled with few basic promises, and players can refer to these names when usign them. In fact, any promise sounding like one of these is considered to be one, unless explicitly stated otherwise. So, if player promises 'not to attack you at all' during combat, it means NAP etc. If there is any possibility of misunderstanding, it is good to explain the entire promise to other player.

  • No attack to home (NAH): I promise not to attack you while you have not moved, even if combat is held next to your home realm, except to defend myself. If you leave home, I can fight you normally.
  • Non-agression pact (NAP): I promise not to fight with your forces (in any case, except of course to defend). This pact is usually made two-way, but is not made so unless stated so.
  • Attack: I promise to attack defined Devil's army. I select that army as target and fight at least for one fight round.
  • Object in gathering: I promise to partake gathering and object named Devil, if possible.
    Devil cannot leave to Earth or voluntary surrender. If the Devil is captured, bad luck. Does not force to use Recall special card.
  • No targeting: I promise not to target this (or any) ritual (or other effect) on you or your cards.
    Does not prevent from using non-targeted ritual like Furnace of Souls.

Leviathan: obviously Devil cannot control Leviathan from not attacking certain targets, and basic promises NAH and NAP always include the clause 'I cannot help if Leviathan attacks you'. However, the promise means that Devil cannot deliberatily move next to target he has promised not to attack, nor is allowed to pursue.

All basic promises last until end of current turn unless stated otherwise. Defending means that if any army attacks Devil's army, it can strike back at full force as long as attack lasts. NAP is sometimes maid so that they are against all other players (I promise not to attack anyone...).

II.3.2 Other common promises

Some other common promises:

  • I promise to give you 3 hordes next turn, if able
  • I promise not to help Asmodeus in any fight his armies partake in (this turn)
  • I promise to give the kocked-out Devil to you this round, if you promise to give me the support point of the combat

II.3.3 Changing promises

If both (or all) parties of specified promise agree, contents of the promise can be changed or dropped altogether.

Example: Belial has promised that he gives 3 resource cards to Asmodeus in next transfer phase. However, during that transfer phase he suggests to Asmodeus that instead of those 3 cards he gives 2 tabled hordes. If Asmodeus agrees, original promise is forgotten.

II.4 Starting the game

Separate all Oath cards from the resource cards. Deal one random Devil to each player. Give corresponding Devil counters and game track to each player. Give 5 each Devil's own Oath cards to each player, and shuffle the sixth card of each Devil together and deal one to each player, without revealing them.

Put 'High Palace of Hell' realm in the middle of the gaming table. Deal one random Realm to each player, as initial home realm for their Devil. Put rest of the realms away, they do not take part in this game.

Table 4 random hordes (but not Leviathan) to each Devil. Give 'Starter' marker to random player. Shuffle remaining resource cards. Start with the first turn, with Draw phase. The game lasts until new overlord is found in Gathering phase.

The easiest way to deal 4 random hordes to each Devil is by shuffling the entire resource deck, then turning it face-up and dealing from the top of the deck, discarding any non-horde cards, and then finally re-shuffling everything. There is no need to separate hordes from resource deck.

II.5 Handling gameflow

In Lords of Hell, there is not normally any pre-determined player order. Instead players do their actions in any order they want to. If the action of the player interrupts any other action, precaution must be made, see timing.

As actions flow in free order, the end of any phase (or combat segment) must be somehow determined. To make this easier, each player should put her handcards to table (face-down, of course) to indicate that she is not going to do anything this phase or segment anymore, unless something special happens. When everybody has put their cards to table, game can continue to next phase or segment. Any player is free to take cards back to her hand if need to - for example, some other player does something that requires action.

It is a good idea to also have one player responsible for overseeing the gameflow. This can be either the most experienced player or current Starter. This overseer can then actively ask that if all players are ready and gameflow can move to next phase or segment. This is very important especially in beginner game when players simply forgot to put their cards down.

II.5.1 Automatic mechanics

At the start of various phases and during specific combat segments certain effects do happen. These are handled briefly and no trading, deals, communication or special card playing is allowed during that time.

II.6 Targeting

Several effects require a target to be defined. Following rules usually apply:

Note that if trading is allowed, it can be done while target is being choosen and can be used to alter the target.

II.7 Target naming conventions

In this game, Devil refers both to Devil itself and anything under its control (i.e. anything the player controlling that Devil has). Thus, cards can be drawn from "Devil's hand" and "Devil gains Souls from soul gathering" even if the Devil itself is not partaking but his minions do the job. Likewise attack are directly against certain Devil's realm, even if the Devil is prisoner or on Earth.

In same cases, player is used, and has same meaning as Devil, i.e. 'player controlling more than 2 hordes' is equal to 'Devil controlling more than 2 hordes' and so on.

Home realm
Home realm with hordes, artifact, ritual and the Devil in the middle

III Game Turn

III.0 Turn order

Every game turn consists of 4 different phases:

  1. Draw phase (no trading)
  2. Transfer phase
  3. Combat phase
  4. Gathering phase

A typical game lasts three of four game turns, but sometimes longer. However, as Devils gain support points all the time, at some points someone is going to be the new Overlord.

III.1 Draw Phase (no trading)

At the start of this phase, on second and subsequent turn, Starter marker is given to player with least support points. If tied, to the one next from previous Starter, clockwise.

Each player, regardless if their Devil's state, draws cards according to table below. Total cards include all Oath and resource cards the player has, including all tabled ones. Souls, home realm or Devil card are not counted. Cards are drawn in clockwise order, starting from the Starter.

Total cards 1-56-89-1112-14 15-1718-2021+
Cards drawn to 12654321

Any modifiers to number of cards drawn are added after checking the number of drawn (Mammon, High Palace of Hell, Winds of Chaos etc.)

Example: Belial's player has 8 cards in her hand (5 Oaths and 3 resource cards) plus 5 tabled hordes and 1 artifact. Total cards is 14. He draws 4 cards.

Note that like usually, all drawn horde and artifact cards are tabled immediately - did the player want or not! If the Devil thus forms a new home, the home realm is selected in Starter order as usual.

Any creatures on Earth return to Hell, and their cards are turned back to normal position. Remember to acquire new home realm if forces return to Hell with no home realm.

After all cards are drawn but before moving to next phase, Belial can use its special powers. After he has done that or if Belial is not partaking the game, move immediately to next phase - there is not much choices for other players in this phase. No trading, deals or transfers are allowed during this phase.

III.2 Transfer Phase

There is no automatic mechanics at the start of this phase.

In this phase, players can, in addition to normal trading:

Any creatures to-be-sent to Earth are not counted being on Earth, yet, for home realm, transfer, trading, ritual casting and other purposes.

Continue this phase until everybody is happy and ready. See gameflow rules about handling this.

Example: Asmodeus has tabled 3 Fiends in horde phase. In transfer phase, Asmodeus and all 3 fiends leave to Earth to collect Souls - cards are tilted 45 degrees sideways to indicate that.
Then some player plays Time of Virtue. Now Asmodeus notices that it is not a good idea to go to Earth, and thus Asmodeus and all 3 fiends return to Hell and cards are turned back.
However, player of Glasya does not like Time of Virtue at all and plays World War, which replaces Time of Virtue. So Asmodeus once again decides to go to Earth, and Asmodeus and Fiends are yet again tilted sideways.

III.3 Combat Phase

At the start of the combat phase, turn all tabled rituals face-up and discard illegal, i.e. no caster present. Likewise discard any artifacts if the Devil is imprisoned.

Combat phase is a long phase. It has its own sub-rounds called combat rounds, in which armies of Devils fight each other, occupy empty realms and cast rituals. For details of combat and combat rounds, see combat chapter. The phase lasts until all players select 'no move' as target place and have no rituals to be cast, or 4 combat rounds have been held.

III.4 Gathering Phase

In this phase, under truce of peace, all Devils in Hell arrive to Gathering place in Hell, to vote upon the new Overlord. At the start of the phase, discard any rituals still on board.

Also at the start of the phase, each Devil gains 1 support point if they have any fresh new prisoners in their custody, providing that at least one of those prisoners was free at the start of combat phase and was captured in combat phase.

In addition, any Devils and fiends on Earth now roll dice to see if any hapless Souls were recruited. No trading or deals are made during this Soul Gathering, it is just pure mechanics.

III.4.1 Soul gathering

Each player, starting from Starter and proceeding clockwise, rolls d6 for each her Fiend, Diabolic Fiends or Devil on Earth, with any order the player desires, and apply results immediately. The Devil can reroll the result, but must then accept the second result.

5-6 Excellent success: Devil or fiends collects 2 Souls
3-4 Success: Devil or fiends collects 1 Soul
2 Failure: no Souls collected
1 Caught! Confront Forces of Heaven. Fiends are destroyed, but the Devil is imprisoned and out of game, but can escape normally with special card. During any subsequent transfer phase, the Devil can promise never to return to Earth and if does so, is released and returns to Hell. Naturally this promise only lasts until end of the next turn.

Any Souls gathered are added to Devil's home. If the Devil has no home realm, immediately acquire a new one. If any creatures of the player gather any Souls this turn with above dice rolls, immediately award 1 support point to that Devil. It does not matter how many Souls are gathered, as long as at least one is. Seat of Judgement does not confer support points.

Note that a Devil imprisoned in Heaven cannot be released by its own attack army - it is just unreachable, you have to use Escape special card or make the deal with Heaven.

III.4.2 Objecting proclaimed Devils

After Soul Gathering is done, gameflow returns to normal, i.e. Devils can trade again (but cannot move tabled things, except with certain forced trades). Next, it is checked if any proclaimed Devil is suitable as the new Overlord.

Any Devil proclaimed as new Overlord last turn can be the new Overlord. Each of these Devils are suitable if not enough Devils arrive to gathering to say that they are not fit to rule. There must be as many objecting Devils as there is proclaiming markers on the target Devil.

Only Devils currently in Hell can arrive to object (or to proclaim) Devils - those who are on Earth or imprisoned are unable to attend. As soon as Devil has objected some Devil, the decision cannot be taken back. Any Devil can object as many Devils as need to.

Any Devil with 10 or more support points is automatically suitable new overlord, in addition to all other possible overlords.

III.4.3 Multiple overlords

If there is one suitable Devil as new overlord, that one is the new overlord and the game ends. If there are several, as tie-breaker, following rules are used:

  1. Devil in Hell (and not imprisoned)
  2. Controls High Palace of Hell
  3. Open fight (only between those still tied)

Thus, if there are two possible overlords and the other is in Hell and the other is not, the one in Hell is the new overlord. Otherwise the one controlling the High Palace of Hell is the new Overlord, and if neither controls, it is an open fight between Devils and their armies.

Example: At the end of turn 3, Asmodeus, Belial and Glasya who all were proclaimed last turn are all selected as possible new overlords as there is not enough Devils to object any of them (or just did not want to). However, Glasya is currently on Earth while Belial and Asmodeus is in Hell. No one controls High Palace of Hell. So the new Overlord is either Asmodeus or Belial, and now they must fight openly for that title.

Open fight: if there is no other way to settle this, armies of possible overlords meet in the open battlefield and the last one with surviving troops is the winner. No army has home realm and all armies must fight with full power against all other armies. Any Devils or fiends on Earth are first recalled to Hell before the fight starts, but imprisoned Devils cannot partake. If the combat is a draw (all sides are destroyed at the same time), Devils return home and game continues. Note that those recalled Devils can then proclaim.

III.4.4 The Winner

If the new overlord is found, the game ends and winner is determined. No trading is allowed anymore, but any open deals must be kept (like 'if you become the new overlord, I give you this Oath')

The winner of the game is determined with victory points:

  • The Overlord gains 3.5 victory points
  • For other Devils than the Overlord, each Oath card of the Overlord they possess is worth 2 victory points
  • All Devils with more support points than the Devil with least gain 1 victory point each
  • The Devil with most support points gain an extra 1 victory point, providing it has at least 3 more than the Devil with least support points. If tied, they all get this bonus.

The player with most victory points is winner, and if tied, tied victory.

Example: Asmodeus is elected as new Overlord and has 5 support points. Oath cards of the Asmodeus do not have effect on the result. Baalzebub has 1 Oath of Asmodeus (and list of other Oaths) and 8 support points, while Belial has 2 Oath cards of Asmodeus and 4 support points. Asmodeus gains 4.5 victory points (3.5 for being the Overlord, and one for having more than least support points), Baalzebub gains 4 (2 from the Oath, 2 for the most support points) and Belial 4 (2 Oath cards). Asmodeus is the winner.

III.4.5 Proclaiming

If no Devil (or Devils) are elected as new Overlord, the game continues to next turn. However, before that, all Devils in Hell can vote for Overlord. The voting is done secretly. Each player with Devil in Hell puts a dice on voted Devil on their game track. Illegal vote, no dice or dice at other parts of the game track are counted as 'no vote'.

When all players are ready, game tracks are revealed at the same time. For each vote/proclaiming, put a proclaiming marker on target Devil. The Devil controlling the High Palace of Hell gets an extra one automatically, and so does every Devil with 6or more support points (various minor Devils proclaim).

Four players: In four player game, reduce the number of proclaimings on each Devil by one.

Six players: In six player game, add one extra proclaiming to each Devil with at least one proclaiming.

If some error happened in voting (i.e. someone had promised to vote certain Devil) that error is automatically fixed. Any proclaimed Devil is suitable as new Overlord, until some Devil arrives to next Gathering to object them.

Example: No overlord was found, so Asmodeus, Belial and Glasya can now proclaim a new one to be Overlord. Mammon is on Earth and thus cannot partake. Secretly Asmodeus selects himself, Belial selects Glasya and so does Glasya herself. Choices are revealed at the same time and thus 1 proclaim marker is put on Asmodeus and 2 on Glasya. In addition, Belial controls High Palace of Hell so one proclaim marker is put on him.
If total of 4 Devils partake the game, reduce total by one for each and so final result is one proclaiming for Asmodeus.

III.4.6 Other Actions

During gathering phase, players can perform following actions, in addition to above mechanics and normal trading:

  • Discard any resource cards and souls from table or hand
  • Make forced trades with Oath cards

IV Combat

IV.1 Combat Concepts

There is several concepts tied to combat, and are used only during the combat phase.

IV.1.1 Armies

Each player has one army, and that is all her hordes, Souls and Devil in Hell. If the player has none of those (i.e. Devil is on Earth or imprisoned and she has no hordes and souls), then the player has no army (and no home realm) and does not partake in combat phase, except can trade by usual rules. If the player later gains any forces to Hell (like via Recall card), then she immediately acquires new home realm and partakes remaining combat rounds normally.

Player can never split her army. All her forces in Hell move and fight in unison. The only exception to this is that if an imprisoned Devil is freed during combat, in which the forces of that Devil are not.

Army power: In normal case, each horde (or Devil) in army is worth 1 power while souls have no power. Thus, an army of 6 Souls and 2 fiends has power of 2. Some hordes and Devils have greater power than 1; this is noted in card. Note that higher power does not make unit any more tougher against damage. Attack dice of the army is equal to 1 + 1 per full 3 power, to maximum of 6 attack dice (15+ power).

Army leader: The forces of Devil is always lead by Devil itself if it is in Hell. Otherwise it is lead by Fallen Angels, if any. If neither is present, no one is leading the army and army can only move to release their master. Note that army that loses its leader during combat can continue fighting normally, but is classified as having no leader (in a case of Wand of Might or attacks against Asmodeus)

Dominant army: Prisoners and support points are given to dominant army unless agreed otherwise. The dominant army is the one with most power, or if tied, with most individual units (hordes, the Devil, souls) or if still tied, whose realm it is. If still tied, there is no dominant army and no one gets any prisoners or support points unless agreed otherwise.

IV.1.2 Home realm

Each Devil has one home realm, providing the Devil has any forces in Hell. If the army of that Devil does not move during combat movement, any combat it partakes is fought next to that realm. When this happens, the army which did not move is known as defender and it gains all defense points of its home realm and can use other powers of that realm. Likewise realm special effects cannot be used anymore if the realm is emptied (or forces destroyed or knocked out).

IV.1.3 Hostile armies

Certain effects, like extra hits caused by various creatures and Realms, can only affect hostile armies. A hostile army is an army attacked.

IV.1.5 Leviathan

Leviathan is the big monster and beast of Apocalypse. Its power is vast and enormous, but is has limitations: any army which is it in cannot have more attack dice than the 4 granted by Leviathan, nor can retreat from combat anymore and must pursue if the last army tries to retreat (but not from home realm). Moreover, the army with Leviathan must attack all other armies in same combat, regardless of any non-agression pacts or other promises. In addition, Leviathan can only take hit when every other unit, including the Devil, in the same army has already taken a hit, so it is always left last.

In addition, Leviathan never fights in own home realm, but is instead knocked-out like a Devil is if the army did not move and if captured, added to capturer's army. If it is not captured at all, destroy it - nobody is obviously interested on it. When knocked out, normal rules of Leviathan (4 attack dice, must attack all other armies etc.) do not apply.

IV.2 Combat Round

Each combat phase has several combat rounds, of which each has following phases:

  1. Intentions
  2. Fight
  3. Capture Devils
  4. Combat transfers
  5. Award support points
  6. Finish rituals

After each combat round a new one starts until four (4) of them has been held.

IV.2.1 Intention phase

At the start of this phase, discard all rituals with no caster to finish them. If there is choice, like 1 caster and 2 rituals, the owner is free to choose, which one is discarded. Note that Glasya cannot freely discard a ritual at this point, as this is automatic game mechanic.

During this phase, all players with army secretly decide, where their army is heading to. Each player puts a dice on game track on target Devil's area. Own area or no dice at all is counted as 'no move', while dice on other parts of the game track is counted as 'other move' (see below).

Players cannot select player without army (and thus no home realm) as target. In addition, an army without leader (Devil or Fallen Angels) can only select 'no move' or the army/place helding their master as prisoner.

When all players have made up their mind and no trading is done anymore, the phase ends and army targets are revealed. Any illegal ones are counted as 'no move'.

IV.2.2 Fight phase

At the start of this phase, all armies move to location they were aiming to, with following rules:

  • Any armies headed toward other Devils meet their targets. If one of those armies (moving and targets) did not move, the place for the combat is that Devil's home realm. If all armies moved, the place is unspecified place in Hell, and no army gains any defensive bonuses.
  • Armies with 'other move' and not met by other armies can go to any unoccupied realm. If there is several armies with 'other move' and more than one unoccupied realm, they are choose target realm at the same time, blindly (use dice), and thus might meet each other if select the same target place.
  • If all players with army choose 'no move' and none of them has any unfinished rituals, the phase ends immediately.

Example: Asmodeus has selected Glasya as target, Glasya selected 'no move' and Belial selected 'other move'. Asmodeus meets army of Glasya in Glasya's home realm, while Belial can claim any unoccupied realm. If Glasya would have chosen Belial as target, all three would have met in unspecified place in Hell (as no one stayed home), with no possibility to claim an unoccupied realm.

Now all armies in same location can attack each other, and this is continued until no one wants to fight anymore or there is no opponents left. See details on next chapter. If there is several fights, Starter can choose the handling order of those. Fights can be handled simultaneously if there is no same players involved.

IV.2.3 Capture Devils

First, any knocked-out Devils with own army left return to game. Then any knocked-out Devils or imprisoned Devils of an emptied realms are captured by the dominant army, unless armies in the location have agreed otherwise.

When a Devil is captured, the Devil leading the capturing army confescates any artifacts the captive had. If the capturing army is not lead by a Devil, any artifacts of the captive are discarded. The captured Devil is then thrown to prison in capturer's home realm.

Any knocked-out Devil (or prisoner in emptied realm) returns to game if not captured. If there is hostile armies, handle that combat first before continuing.

Leviathan: knocked-out Leviathan is handled like knocked-out Devil, except that it does not return to game by its own, and if not captured, it is destroyed.

IV.2.4 Combat transfers

After fight is over, any armies in same combat location can transfer hordes, souls, artifacts (only if Devils present) and prisoners between them if owners so agree.

Armies can also occupy any emptied realms from same combat, or swap current realms, if no other army objects. If action is objected, armies can return to fight each other.

Any emptied realm not occupied or claimed is discarded at the end of combat transfers.

Example: Belial and Asmodeus have destroyed all forces from Glasya's home realm and Asmodeus has taken Glasya as his prisoner. Now Belial and Asmodeus can transfer prisoners and either can switch home realm to Glasya's old, if neither objects.
If Belial would have destroyed armies of Glasya and Asmodeus, he could now switch to home realm of either Devil.

IV.2.5 Award support points

When all fighting is done, one support point is awarded to one the remaining armies, providing that at least one army was completely defeated and the combat lasted more than one fight round. The dominant army gains the support point unless agreed otherwise by all the armies present.

Each player is limited to one support point from combat from each other player per turn.

IV.2.6 Finish rituals

After all fighting for the combat round is done and armies have returned home, any army that did not move (including pursues) can now finish one or more rituals it has started in transfer phase. Start from the Starter and proceed clockwise, with each player with non-moving army then decising if it finished any rituals being cast.

If the player wants to finish any rituals, casters are first assigned to each ritual to be finished. In addition, all remaining rituals (not yet being finished) must also have caster to finish them or they are now discarded at the same time, to avoid one caster being able to finish 2 rituals (except Glasya, of course).

After casters are assigned, player handles rituals one-by-one, stating target(s) of the ritual, and if no trading or playing of special cards do occur, ritual is executed with specified target(s). The owner can change the target as long as she wants to until ritual is finally executed. When ritual is executed, discard it.

Example: It is now Asmodeus's turn to handle rituals, and Asmodeus has 2 rituals in his home realm: Infernal Plague and Furnace of Souls. Asmodeus can only cast one ritual himself, but he also has one Diabolic Fiends in Hell. As player is free to select order and casters of the rituals, first Diabolic Fiends cast Infernal Plague (it could also be cast by Asmodeus, but there is danger that Diabolic Fiends are destroyed in the effect, and thus would be unavailable to cast the other ritual). After it has been resolved, Asmodeus finishes Furnace of Souls and gets cards from Souls generated by Infernal Plague.

Note that any rituals not finished by the end of fourth combat round are automatically discarded at the start of the gathering phase, with no effect on the game.

IV.3 Fight Phase

Fight phase is when all the action happens. In normal situation, one fight lasts until there is only one side standing, but there is also special rules for retreat (see below) and of course a deal can be made between fighting parties.

Each fight phase consists of several fight rounds, which all have following phases:

  1. Retreat
  2. Attack rolls (no trading)
  3. Hit assignment (no trading)

IV.3.1 Retreat phase

Any army can choose to retreat, except from its home realm. Retreat is done to any unspecified empty place in Hell, or if already in unspecified place, can be done to own home realm.

Pursue: if any army retreats, any other army in same location (combat) can pursue it. Immediately move the pursuing army to that place the other army retreated, and neither can move again during this retreat phase. If the retreat is made from any home realm, defender of home realm can only follow if all other armies have followed or retreated.

If no army follows retreating army, it is counted as escaped and does not partake in fighting anymore. If some armies follow, fight is then divided into two smaller ones. In any case, the only possible moment to do the pursue is in the same phase as the retreat move is done, not later.

Any knocked-out Devils in original battle stay where they are, and if all armies leave the current combat (via retreats and pursuits), knocked-out Devils left behind are out of combat and return to game in Capture Devils phase (when they can start to bash each other if they so desire).

In this phase, armies also state which other armies in same location they are going to attack. Any army attacked must attack at least the army attacking them.

IV.3.2 Attack rolls phase (no trading)

Next, attack dice are rolled. Each army has attack dice equal to 1 + 1 per 3 full power, with maximum of 6 dice (15+ power). Each army in same combat rolls dice at the same time. Any army can reroll all attack dice if they are not happy on what they rolled, but must then accept the second result. This reroll must be done immediately, without checking the situation too much.

Any roll 4 or more is classified as hit, except if the target has defense points (or otherwise a higher number is needed) - if target has any defense points, these are added to target number.

Example: Mammon and Glasya are at Belial's home realm. Mammon has total of 13 power and thus has 5 attack dice (4+1), while Glasya has 5 power and only 2 attack dice. Belial has 10 power and 4 attack dice, plus home realm with 1 defense point.
Mammon decides to attack just Belial, but Glasya wants to hit them both, so Mammon and Belial have to hit each other and Glasya.

Multiple opponents: if army is attacking multiple armies, hits are assigned evenly. If there is any uneven hits, attacker assigns them, evenly. If target armies have different target number, dice must be divided as evenly as possible but then rest are given to only targets.

Example: in previous example, Mammon has 5 dice and rolls 1,3,4,4,5. Mammon does not want to reroll. Next, he has to divide dice as evenly as possible, and thus both 4 go to Glasya and 5 to Belial (4 cannot hit Belial because of realm's defense point). Glasya rolls 3,6 and can assign the one hit to either one and decides Mammon. Belial rolls 2,3,3,4, rerolls to 1,3,5,6 and does one hit to both.

IV.3.3 Hit assignment phase (no trading)

When final number of hits is known, they are assigned to armies. Any automatic hits caused by certain realms (like Dis) is added to that total.

Assignment is done by the owner of army taking hits. Each hit either destroys one horde or Soul or knocks Devil out of combat. All hits are handled one by one, and any side-effects are immediately handled (like Warriors of Darkness or Juggernauts). Any exceed hits are lost.

If there is any troubles in handling the hit assignment, Starter (or next of her) chooses order. All Juggernauts should be handled first in any case, however.

IV.4 Sample Combat

During intentions phase, both Glasya and Belial select Baalzebub as their target while Baalzebub selects itself ('no move'). Thus, combat is held in Baalzebub's home realm. At the start of the fight phase, the armies of each Devil look like these:

Glasya: 3 fiends, 1 metal beasts, 2 souls - Total power 5, 2 attack dice
Belial: 1 juggernaut, 2 critters, 2 tormented ones - Total power 9 (Belial has power 3), 4 attack dice
Baalzebub: 1 metal beasts, 1 juggernaut, 3 tormented ones - Total power 9, 4 attack dice, Dis as home realm

Both Glasya and Belial aim their full power against Baalzebub. Baalzebub has to attack both Glasya and Belial. Glasya rolls 4 and 6, for a result of 1 hit - 4 does not hit as home realm of Baalzebub always has at least 1 defense point, regardless of anything. Belial rolls 1, 2, 5 and 6 (2 hits) while Baalzebub rolls 2,2,3,4, which he rerolls to 1,3,3,5 (1 hit), which he assigns against Belial.

Now hits are assigned. Baalzebub takes 3 hits, of which juggernaut takes first one and then 2 are assigned to metal beast and tormented ones, as chosen by Baalzebub. Baalzebub chooses that extra hit of juggernaut hits Glasya. Glasya takes no hits from Baalzebub's attack dice, but takes extra hit from Dis and juggernauts, for a total of 2 hits. Glasya decides that souls take them. Belial takes one hit from Baalzebub's attack dice, plus extra hit from Dis, for a total of 2 hits. Juggernaut takes first hit (and destroys second tormented one from Baalzebub's army) and the second one is taken by the Soul.

The second fight round starts. No army retreats or changes targets. Attack dice are rolled, but now Belial has one less (power dropped to 8) and Baalzebub has 2 less (power dropped to 3). Results are: Glasya 3,5 (1 hit), Belial 1,2,4, rerolled to 2,5,6 (2 hits), Baalzebub 3,4 (1 hit, assigned to Glasya). Baalzebub takes 3 hits and all his remaining forces take hit. Glasya takes 2 hits (1 normal hit and 1 hit from Dis), and 2 fiends take the hits. Belial takes 1 hit (from Dis) and the hit is assigned to critters.

Situation after 2 fight rounds:

Glasya: 1 fiends, 1 metal beasts - Total power 3, 2 attack dice
Belial: 1 critters, 2 tormented ones - Total power 7, 3 attack dice
Baalzebub: knocked-out, Dis as emptied home realm

Now combat can proceed to capture phase, unless Belial and Glasya attack each other.

Lords of Hell © Kalle Marjola 2001 - Last modified 02.02.2002