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Lords of Hell

A card game of unholy power struggle


Index - Background - Rules - Cards - Prints - Statistics



Game Entities


Different areas of Hell are represented with Realm cards. Each Devil can control one Realm at the time, so-called home Realm, while rest are uncontrolled and put in the middle of the gaming board. A Devil can be without home realm, but that limits its powers. If Devil has no home realm, its 'home' is a wandering army somewhere in Hell.

Each realm has different powers which affect gameplay during different phases. Refer to realm cards for details. One of the Realms is the High Palace of Hell, and the Devil who controls it is more probable elected as new Overlord.

Changing home realm

Home realm can be changed during trading or combat phase. In trading phase, the Devils can switch home Realms if they so agree. Uncontrolled realms cannot be occupied, however, during trading phase. The Devil can abandon old home realm if it so chooses, but only in trading phase. At the end of combat phase, the realm occupied by the attack army can be switched to be the new home realm. See combat rules.

Devil with no home realm

A devil without home realm:

  1. Cannot keep any prisoners
  2. Cannot cast rituals
  3. Draws one card less in draw phase


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

Devil state

Each Devil has 3 possible states in game:

  1. Devil in Hell. The Devil is able to trade with all other Devils, and can cast rituals or 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. Devil can trade normally, but cannot cast ritual nor partake in any combat
  3. Imprisoned Devil. The Devil is kept as prisoner by other Devil or Forces of Heaven. The Devil cannot cast rituals, table artifacts, fight nor trade, except with captor. The captor can permit the Devil to trade with other Devils. Note that even if Devil is imprisoned its lackeys can still control the Realm of the Devil.

Imprisoned Devil is never counted to be 'in Hell' or 'on Earth', regardless who is helding it as prisoner. If imprisoned Devil is released, it returns to Hell.

Imprisoned Devil can be freed at will by the captor, whenever normal (limited) trading is allowed. Otherwise the only way to get prisoner freed is by special card or conquering realm wherein prisoner is. If prisoner is freed in combat phase, the Devil can stay at captor's custody until end of the combat phase to avoid new imprisonment.

Oath Cards

Each Devil can make number of promises and Oaths about future, when the new overlord for the Hell is found. These promises are represented with Oath cards.

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

  • Oath cards are never shuffled with resource cards, but they have identical back and they are kept in hand with resource cards. No other players have right to know, how many of these cards are reource and how many Oath cards.
  • Oath cards cannot be normally discarded, played or stolen. Thay can only be traded to other Devils (or other powers of Hell, see trading. In addition, some special cards require that Oath card is handed at the same time.
  • When the game ends, Oath cards might be worth victory points. See ending the game.

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 fall into 4 classes: hordes, artifacts, rituals and special cards. Of these, all but special cards are tabled during trading phase and after that cannot be taken back to hand. Special cards are played in various phases of the game, and usually has immediately effect and are then discarded.


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

  • Horde cards are tabled during trading phase. Once tabled, they can only be traded or discarded during trading 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.


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

  • Artifacts are tabled in trading phase. One tabled, they can only be traded or discarded during trading phase
  • Artifact can only be tabled if the Devil is in Hell or on Earth, as the artifact follows the Devil wherever it goes.
  • Artifact can be used as often as need to, unless there is some limitation (Tome of Power)
  • If the Devil is captured, the captor immediately confescates any artifacts of the captive, if the devil is present. If not, artifacts follow the captive until their lord can take control of them.


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

  • Only Devils and Diabolic fiends can cast rituals
  • Rituals are started in trading phase by tabling them next to caster. Each caster can only cast one ritual per turn (except for Glasya), and if new one is started, discard old one.
  • Caster must be in home realm to cast a ritual. If caster leaves home realm or caster is destroyed, immediately discard the ritual.
  • Rituals never last longer than ritual phase, when they are handled. They can be discarded at will, however.

Special Cards

Special cards are always played from hand to affect the game directly. Unelss noted as 'trading phase only' with special symbol, special cards can be played whenever trading is allowed, but prohibited during draw, init and award phase (and combat round resolution)

Other Game Pieces


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 trading phase.

Victory points

Devils (players) earn so-called victory points which represent general fame and name of the Devil and make it easier for the Devil to become a new Overlord. Moreover, when the game ends, the Devil with most fame and followers is the real winner, even if he (or she) isn't the new overlord.

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

  • Looting a home realm
  • Capturing a Devil (which has not yet given out VP this turn)
  • Recruiting at least 3 Souls in same Soul phase (you do not gain 2 victory points for recruiting 6 Souls)

Other Counters

Rest of the counters possibly used in game:

  • Starter is a counter which marks the player who starts each phase. It is passed clockwise in draw phase.
  • Army counters can be used to mark where the attack army is currently.
  • Proclaimed counter can be used to mark that this Devil was proclaimed as new Overlord.
  • Deceipt counter is only for Baalzebub, and can be used to mark when Baalzebub has used its other special power.

Game Mechanics


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.


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

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, and if not able, loses all its Souls, hordes and victory points.

Typical promises are:

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.

Trading with Other Powers of Hell

Once per turn a non-imprisoned Devil (or imprisoned with permit) can trade with Other Powers of Hell: The Devil trades away one Oath card (it needs not to be the Devil's own). This card is put away, and the player can immediately draw 3 cards from resource deck.


An army is a group of hordes, souls and possible the Devil itself. Each player can have maximum of two armies: home army and attack army. The attack army can only be formed in combat phase, with following restriction:

If the attack army loses its leader, it must return immediately to home. Attack army in home is automatically merged to home army. Home army is anything located in Devil's home realm (if any) or the wandering army somewhere in Hell. That army cannot move but defends itself.

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.

Game flow

Starting the game

Deal one random Devil to each player. Give 5 corresponding 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.

Deal 6 resource cards to each player. Give 'Starter' marker to random player. Start with the first turn, with card drawing. The game lasts until new overlord is found in Gathering phase.

Game Turn

Turn order

Every game turn consists of 6 different phases:

  1. Draw phase (no trading or effects)
  2. Trading phase
  3. Combat phase
  4. Ritual phase
  5. Soul phase (no trading or effects)
  6. Gathering phase

1. Draw Phase (no trading or effects)

On second and subsequent turn, move Starter marker one player 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, plus possible home realm and always the Devil itself. Souls are not counted. Cards are drawn in clockwise order, starting from Starter.

Total cards 1-1112-1415-1718-2021+
Cards drawn to 154321

Devil's without home realm draw one card less (or to 14). Any other modifiers to number of cards drawn are then added (Mammon, for example). For example, Belial's player has 8 cards in her hand (5 Oaths and 3 reource cards) plus 5 tabled hordes and 1 artifact. Belial has home realm. Total cards is 16.

Some effects happen during draw phase, and are handled after cards are drawn. No trading, playing special cards or using any effects is allowed while drawing takes place. Any Devils or fiends on Earth return to Hell.

2. Trading Phase

This is free-flow phase which ends when every player is ready. This is easily signaled by putting cards on table, although the player can then continue trading if some other player does something. Possible actions during this phase are:

  • Player can table hordes, artifacts and rituals from hand, and play special cards (rituals and artifacts have limitations)
  • Player can trade with any other player. The trade can include any tabled hordes and artifacts, souls, realms and prisoners. Imprisoned Devils have limitations to trading, however, and tabled rituals can never be traded
  • Player can discard any tabled hordes, souls and artifacts and can leave the current home realm. These actions cannot be canceled once announced.
  • Player can send any fiends or non-imprisoned Devil to Earth to collect Souls. This is easily marked by turning the card sideways, and this action can be canceled at any time during this phase. Devils and fiends on Earth do not partake in combat or rituals, but may succeed to collect souls in soul phase.

3. Combat Phase

Each combat phase has several combat rounds, of which each has three segments:

  1. Movement segment
  2. Fight segment
  3. Capture segment

The phase lasts until nothing happens anymore - no one wants to move and there is no outgoing fight anymore. Following other things do happen when phase ends:

  • The Devil can switch home realm to one currently occupied by its attack army. Old home army then automatically moves to that place and old home realm, if any, is put into middle of the gaming board as unoccupied realm.
  • If home realm is not switched, attack army returns home
  • Any imprisoned devils are freed if the captor has no home realm where to keep prisoners

Movement segment

Movement segment is completely free-flow, as with trading phase. Any player can move her attack army, but after moved, the move cannot be taken back. If no one wants to move army, then just skip this segment.

Following rules apply when player wants to move her army:

  • Each army can move only once per combat round, and once it has moved, cannot move again (except with special card or by retreat move, below)
  • Army cannot move if any other army in same location denies that, except return to home
  • Army without leader (Devil or Fallen Angels) can only return to home, move to realm without armies to occupy it (if they have no home realm) or to attack realm (or army) where their master is kept as prisoner.

Retreat move: army that has moved to other location than home, can return to home for free if any hostile army moves there. The army is still counted as moved one. This retreat move is not available if home realm was already occupied by other armies. The army causing the retreat move can not take its move back (unless someone attacks its home)

Note that player can only move whole armies - she cannot move one horde from army to another without first bringing them together.

Fight segment

Whenever there are more than one army in same location and they want to bash each other, fight occurs. Each location which has combat can be handled separately; if there are any debate of the order, Starter chooses. During fight segment, trading and playing of special cards is not permitted. However, some special effects happen only (and only) during combat round. Fight segment is handled in following steps:

  1. Each army has attack dice equal to 1 + 1 per 3 total power in army. Thus, army with power 7 has 3 dice.
  2. Attack dice are divided among any targets as attacker chooses. This selection must be done before dice are rolled. Each army must assign at least one dice to each army attacking their army, if able. After everyone in same fight has chosen, everybody rolls dice.
  3. Each roll 4+ is a hit, rest are misses. Add any defense points of the target army to the hit-number needed. Assign hits next to target army
  4. If army takes any hits, it may reroll as many attack dice as it takes hits, minus the number of hits it caused. All rerolls are made at the same time, and results do not entitle for more rolls. If there is more rerolls than needed, rest are lost - same dice cannot be rerolled twice.

For example, power 10 army is attacking power 7 army. The first army rolls 4 dice, while second rolls 3. Dice are 1,3,3,4 versus 4,4,5 for one hit by power 10 army and 3 hits by the other. However, the power 10 army can now reroll two dice (as it caused 2 hits less), and get 4,5. So the final result is 3 hits to both.

After all rolling is done, each army must take these hits. Each hit destroys one Soul, one horde or knocks Devil out. The army taking the hits decides which unit takes which hit. Any exceed hits are lost.

Extra attacks: some cards have extra attacks. These attacks are rolled like normal ones, but they are not counted as attack dice and are not subject to normal reroll rules. Instead, they can be always rerolled once.

Any post-extra attacks caused by Juggernauts and Mammon, for example, are handled after normal hits. These are done against any army in same location. Loss and gain of Souls (via Night Critters, Warriors of Darkness or realm) are handled last.

Capturing devils

Whenever any Devil is knocked out, the winner of the combat can take all knocked out Devils as prisoners, gaining 1 VP for each (providing no VPs are gained from those Devils this turn). If several armies agree to stop fighting, they have to decide who gets the prisoners. If there is no army to capture knocked out Devils, they return to game in location of the fight.

Any captured devils accompy the army that caught them. Prisoners can be moved between armies in same location if they so agree. If the army keeping any prisoners is destroyed, the destroyer gets any prisoners (if multiple choices, they have to choose or fight over it)

Realm defense

Most realms have fortress and possible other powers. These defense points and other powers are controlled by the controller of the realm, and if the realm is uncontrolled and unoccupied, no one gets the benefict of them. If powers affect only 'hostile' armies, the controller decides, which ones are classified as hostile.

Capture Segment

If a home realm is emptied of any defenders, any armies therein can loot it if they so agree (if they do not, combat continues). When looting is done, looters draw total of 4 cards from the player whose home realm it was - how the attackers divide this 4 cards is up to them. Any drawn resource cards are returned and no replacement is drawn. Whenever army loots any realm, the controlling player gets 1 victory point - if there are several looters, they all gain.

After that the realm is now uncontrolled and moved in the middle of the gaming board. If that Devil has attacking army, its home is now as wandering army in Hell. If the looting is not done, the realm stays as home realm of the defender.

Any army in uncontrolled realm can now occupy it, providing there is no hostile army. This army then gains all powers of the realm until leaves it. In addition, when the combat phase ends, the Devil can switch home realm to one currently occupied by the attack army, if it so desires.

4. Ritual Phase

Start from Starter and proceed player by player, clockwise. Any tabled rituals of that Devil are handled, providing the Devil is still in Hell and not imprisoned. Otherwise just discard them.

Normal limited trading is allowed during ritual phase, but not in the middle of handling any ritual. Thus, any ritual must be clearly stated before results are handled, thus giving other players time to react (and use Dispel Magic, for example). For example, you can trade about targets before handling Chain Catalysm, but not during it.

5. Soul Phase (no trading or effects)

Roll a d6 for each fiend or Devil on Earth, starting from Starter and proceeding clockwise, with any order chosen by the controlling player. The Devil can reroll the result, but must then accept the second result.

    5-6: good success: Devil or fiends collects 2 Souls
    3-4: success: Devil or fiends collects 1 Souls
    2: failure: no Souls gathered
    1: caught: Devil or fiends confronts 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 draw 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 any Devil and its fiends gather total of 3 or more Souls this turn, immediately award 1 victory point to that Devil.

6. Gathering Phase

This is the phase to determine if any Devil is the new overlord. Possible new overlords are:

  • The Devil controlling High Palace of Hell (as home realm, the Devil itself can be imprisoned)
  • Any Devil with 6 or more victory points
  • Any Devil proclaimed as new Overlord last turn

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 at least objecting the Devil, plus one more for the each thing:

  • Devil controls High Palace of Hell
  • Devil has at least 6 victory points
  • Devil has most victory points and at least 3 VP (non-tied, only in game with 5 or more players)

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 victory points is automatically suitable new overlord, in addition to all other possible 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. Devil on Earth (if no one in Hell)
  3. Victory points
  4. Open fight

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. Or if the other is on Earth and the other imprisoned, the one on Earth is the new one. And if both are in same place (Hell, Earth, prison), the one with most victory points.

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 gets any defensive bonuses, but otherwise the combat is handled normally. Imprisoned Devils and Devils or Fiends on Earth cannot partake. Devil in Hell must partake. If the combat is a draw (all sides are destroyed at the same time), Devils return home and game continues.

If no Devil (or Devils) are elected as new Overlord, the game continues to next turn. However, any Devil able to attend gathering can proclaim any one Devil as the new overlord. Voting of these Devils is done in next turn gathering.

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)

Final victory points are each Devil's current victory points, plus extra victory points for the Oath cards of the Overlord:

  • The Overlord gains one victory point for each own Oath card
  • Oath card of overlord are worth 3 victory points. Count only Oath cards that exceed your Oath cards held by the overlord.

The player with most victory points is winner, and if tied, tied victory. For example: Asmodeus is elected as new Overlord, and he has 3 of his own oath cards, 2 Baalzebub's and 1 of Belial. Total extra victory points are 3. Baalzebub has 1 Oath of Asmodeus (and list of other Oaths), which is worth 0 points as Asmodeus has more Oath cards of Baalzebub. Belial has 2 Oath cards of Asmodeus, they are worth of 3 victory points (the other is worth 0 as Asmodeus has one Oath card of Belial)

[an error occurred while processing this directive] 28.08.2001