How to Play Realm-Master

To win get 10 banners, which are the game’s victory points, or slay all your rivals by reducing their hearts to zero.

The game consists of:

6 Land Tiles – 4 chosen at random make up the Realm.
5 Custom Dice – the sides are blank, a half banner, a sword, a coin and a heart, and an R which can be whatever you want when you resolve your dice.
20 Buy Cards – these are cards that can be bought and used on your turn.
17 Turn Cards – these change the rules for each round of play.
6 Heroes – each with a unique ability and starting resources.
Heart, Banner and Gold resource tokens.

Setting Up

Randomly choose 4 Land tiles which taken together makeup the Realm, the central area you fight to control. Make sure there is at least one which costs no gold to enter. Randomly choose who’s first. Beginning with the first player choose a hero and take their starting resources – life hearts, coins, banners.

The 6 heroes all have a unique ability:

The dwarf pays 1 less gold to enter a land, so if he was entering the Kingdom of Mertle which normally costs 5 gold, you would pay 4 gold to the supply instead.
The elf gains a banner whenever she does 4 or more damage to another player. So if she was in the Realm and attacked to 2 other players outside the Realm for 4 damage each she would gain 2 banners from the supply.
The barbarian does +2 damage if he rolls 5 swords. So an attacked player would lose 7 health.
The wizard’s enchantment cards cost 1 less. So if a buy card cost 3 gold and it was an enchantment (labelled as such on the top), the wizard would only pay 2 gold to the supply.
If the squire rolls 5 of the same kind he collects another of the same kind. So for example, if he rolled 5 gold, he would collect 6 gold from the supply. If he rolled 5 hearts he would collect 6 hearts from the supply, and so on.
The princess can collect an additional heart from a land when moving there, or when attacked and choosing to stay. Note: This comes from the land tile she is on, and only takes affect if there are 2 or more hearts present. Normally you collect one of each resource present.

Place the stated starting resource tokens on each Land. Shuffle the buy cards and reveal the top 3 which are available to buy.

Order of Play

1) At the beginning of each round a turn card is revealed, some give attack bonuses, others give gold or additional health.

Tribute turn cards are resolved immediately, the rest are usually resolved on your turn (see the turn card section). Tribute turn cards force each player in sequence to place resources on whichever lands they wish. They can be placed on the same or different lands. If all lands are full no further resources are paid. Play then continues as normal. If a player has none of the tribute resources nothing happens.

2) On your turn roll 5 dice, then simultaneously reroll any you don’t like once. Gold gives you a gold piece. Hearts give you extra health (10 being the maximum you can have). Two 1/2 banner dice give you 1 banner. R’s can be which ever dice face you want. If you roll one or more swords and the Realm is empty you can choose to enter a land and become the Realm Master. You can collect 1 banner, 1 heart and 1 coin, if present on that land. Some lands have a cost that you must pay before you can enter them, these resources are paid to the supply. Some lands give you an additional bonus when you enter them, these are taken from the supply. The costs are also paid to the supply. For example, if there was 2 gold, 3 hearts, and 1 banner in The Kingdom of Mertle, and you entered it, you would pay 5 gold to the supply, take 1 banner from the supply, and then take 1 gold, 1 heart and 1 banner from the Kingdom of Mertle. 

3) At any point on your turn you can purchase one or more buy cards with gold (the cost is in the top left hand corner) they can be resolved immediately or later in the game. Discard cards can only be used once, keep cards last the entire game. Reveal a new buy card so there is always a choice of 3.

4) You can pay one gold to reveal another buy card which you can either purchase or place on top of another buy card to block it from other players.

5) When you are in the realm players outside the realm resolve their dice rolls, but this time each sword causes you to lose a life. Eg, they roll 3 swords, you lose 3 health. Enter the push your luck part of the game, where you can take 1 gold, 1 heart, and 1 banner if present, or leave and take nothing but you still lose the hearts from the attack. For example, if there were 2 banners and a coin and no hearts on the Kingdom of Mertle land where you are currently placed. A player outside the realm rolls 4 swords you would lose 4 health and you chose to stay, you would collect a banner and a coin from the Kingdom of Mertle land.  

6) If you start your turn in the Realm roll the 5 dice as before, but any swords attack all heroes outside the Realm, who lose corresponding hearts. For example, in a 3 player game, if you rolled two swords each player outside would lose 2 health. You can either stay and collect a heart, banner and coin if present here, or move into another land and collect a heart, banner and coin if present there, or you can leave the Realm and collect nothing. 

7) With 5 or 6 players alive two players can enter the Realm, but the second player must occupy a different land. Players outside the realm attack both players in the realm, eg a dice roll of 5 swords would cause both to lose 5 health. If you start a game with 6 players, but two are killed, then a second player can no longer enter the Realm BUT a second player already there can remain. 

8) If you kill a player you take half of their cards (you get to choose which ones), half their gold and half their banners – halves are rounded down). If you kill a player any unclaimed gold and banners are left on the now vacant land.

9) At the beginning of each round a new turn card is revealed.

10) If there are no more turn cards to reveal the game ends at the end of this round of player turns. The player with the most banners is the winner.

Tips for winning

1) If you’re playing for the first time a good strategy is to reroll any blanks and to only enter a land if you have plenty of life.

2) All heroes have a special ability which typically activates no more 1-2 per game, but certain Buy Cards can make their outcomes far more likely.

3) The game length can be very variable and depends entirely on the strategies you adopt.

4) If you’re the Realm Master and no-one attacks you, you have a very high chance of winning.

5) In some games there are few resources in the Realm in others lots, so plan accordingly. Good luck!

6) Resources are far more easy come, easy go than most board games. Don’t be disheartened if you lose most of your hearts or banners, in a few turns you can get them back again.

If… 

If resources are added via a resource card but the Land is nearly full, fill them in the order of hearts, then gold, then banners.

If I roll swords do I have to attack? No, you don’t have to.

We’re playing a 5 or 6 player game, and me and another player are in the Realm, what happens if we kill all the players outside? You continue playing as before, the two players in the realm cannot attack one another until one of them leaves.

TURN CARDS

The attack cards last the duration of the turn and add 1 or 2 to the total number of swords rolled. No swords still equates to no attack. For example, 2 swords with a +1 attack bonus, becomes an attack of 3 total. 

Tribute – All heroes beginning with the first player pay resources into the lands of their choice. For example for 1 banner and 1 gold tribute, the first player places a banner onto the Kingdom of Mertle and a coin onto the Forests Of Kurull. If for the next player all lands except the Kingdom of Mertle were full, and there was space for only 1 more resource, they would only pay 1 banner into the Kingdom of Mertle. Play then proceeds as normal. If the player had no banners or gold nothing would happen. 

Gift Of Life – Heroes outside the realm +3 life – All heroes outside the Realm immediately gain 3 life from the supply. Resolve as soon as revealed. Play then continues…

Gift of Life – Heroes can trade gold for life, Max = 3 life – On your turn you can buy up to 3 life for up to 3 gold. 1 gold gives 1 life. 

Grim Ultimatum  – Players in the Realm can choose to immediately leave the Realm, or lose 4 life. Resolve immediately, play then continues. 

Resources –  Each land with no gold gets 3 gold – Add 3 gold from the supply to each land with no gold on it. So if the only land with no gold was The Forests of Kurull, and it had 4 hearts and a maximum of 6 resource places, you would add 2 more coins from the supply. Play then continues. 

Resources – Each land +2 gold – add 2 gold to each land. eg, if a land had 5 resources and had a maximum of 6, you would add just one gold.

Resources – Each land +3 banners – add 3 banners to each land.

Resources – roll dice for each land – rolls the 5 dice once for each land. Ignore swords. Add the resources in the order of hearts, then gold, then banners to each land. R’s count as 1/2 banners. Eg. the dice roll is one coin, 3 half banners, and a blank. So add a coin, then a banner to this land. When all lands have had resources added to them play continues. 

Examples of turns:

Ryllae the Elf is the current REALM-MASTER and is on the ARUB DESERT Land. The current turn card gives no attack bonus. She has 10 life. She has the IRON SHIELD which reduces attacks by 1. 

It is Jarek the Warrior’s turn, his special ability means that if he rolls 5 swords he does +2 damage. 

He rolls two swords, one R, one blank and a half banner. He rerolls the blank and the half banner and get two more swords. By making the R a sword he has 5 swords in total. So the total attack is 5 from the dice, plus 2 from his special ability, +1 from the Arub Desert Land, -1 from the shield for a total of 7. 

Ryllae loses 7 life hearts and chooses to leave the Realm and collect no bonuses. Jarek chooses to enter the Arub Desert, there are 4 coins present, no hearts and 1 banner. When you move into a new Land you can collect one of each resource type, if it’s present. So he takes 1 coin and 1 banner. He chooses not to purchase any BUY CARDS and so his turn ends. 

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Jarek is the current Realm-Master, he is in Jerum where there are 4 banners present. He has 8 banners already. He rolls 2 half banners, 2 swords and a blank. He chooses not to reroll the dice, collects a banner, does 2 points of damage to all players outside the Realm, and stays in Jerum to collect another banner for a total of 10 and win the game. 

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The Princess has 8 life and is the current Realm-Master, and there are 3 hearts present on her Land. She is attacked for 1 damage so loses 1 life heart and chooses to stay, so she collects (thanks to her special ability), 2 hearts instead of the usual 1.  If there had been only 1 heart present she would have only collected 1.