Each game turn will have a Cards Phase, immediately after Events (if any are present). As a rule, the playing side will draw 2 card (sometimes more if some cards provide extra draws) at that point.
A / Typology
All cards are displaying a front (where the cards information is displayed) and a back (generic, to keep the details masked to the opponent). There are two kinds of cards: the black ones that can be drawn and playable any number of time in the same game and those, in red, that are usually playable only once and have effects that may be temporary, unique or permanent.
The above-mentioned colors are used in the card title texts, in addition to any other information that can also be present on the card itself. See Illustration 11.1 below.
- Back of the card, displaying the side flag and a discreet on-context decorative (one per side) background 1,
- Card title, in red if unique (and thus not replayable), 2
- Card title in black for those cards that can be played and re-drawn without limitation, 3
- A decorative image illustrates the theme of the card, 4
- When the card requires one (or more) specific conditions to be played, those are shortly reminded right below the decorative image, 5
- A summary of the cards effects is presented right below the conditions, 6
- Last, for red cards, a short texts reminds the player of the card’s fate (removed after play, etc…) 7
Cards drawn and not yet played are sent to the «hand» of the player, which is physically located on the bottom left of the main screen, and can be opened by simple click on it (Illustration 11.1a) and appears in the middle of the screen (Illustration 11.1b).
In this game, a player is allowed to hold up to 10 unplayed cards in his hand. When this number is exceeded, the cards in excess are to be discarded.
The Deck is made of all cards not yet drawn by the player AND all those (non one-time only) already played. The latter, when returning to the deck, are placed at the “bottom” of same (i.e. will not be redrawn till other not-yet drawn cards are drawn).
So except for red ones, most cards return to the deck, allowing some of them to be drawn – and played – more than once in the same scenario (although this is rather rare, but could happen).
B / Drawing Cards
Cards are drawn at the start of each player’s turn, immediately after the Events phase, if there is one. Cards are drawn from the deck. During this phase, the whole screen gets slightly darker. This is normal and used to help players focus on the newly drawn cards. See Illustration 11.2 below.
If a card can be played immediately during the Card Draw phase, it will be shown with a light green blinking highlight around it. When a card is selected (by clicking on it), the card goes into the middle of the screen, and the place you have to move it to play it appears with a green halo too, on the left side of the screen.
To play the card, just click and drag it on to the green zone. Card will be considered as played, even if its effect may apply only in a later game phase (at that point, the card will be shown again and slightly animated, as a reminder).
If one card (or more) must be played (this phase or any other), it will be shown with a purple blinking highlight around it (see also Illustration 11.4 hereafter). The card button on the top right side will also show a purple halo, as well as the location where the card must be dragged. In that case, you can’t move out of the phase till you have played the said card(s).
A non-played card goes back to the bottom left of the screen (the player “hand”), and can be read or checked again from there at any time, just by single click on it. Also note the top right of the screen, where the next Phase Button shows the reminder that a card can be played (if you click on it, you move forward and lose the ability to play card now). Illustration 10.5 below.
C / Card Play
When a card is playable in another phase after the Draw Card phase, as indicated above, a green blinking halo appears around it inside the player deck, at the start of the concerned phase. It is indeed impossible to play a card after action of the said phase at started, even if the phase is not yet ended. In other words, cards must be played at the beginning of a phase (except battle cards). You will notice on the top interface a small cards icon next to the phase name as a reminder.
As a rule, a card that does not show a green halo around it is potentially available and valid, but cannot be played at the current moment. But that can change during a later phase in the same turn.
You are not forced to play a card when it is possible (or even play it at all), and you can always wait for another time. However make sure the card does not have a turn or special conditions limit. Also remember that the number of cards in hand is limited (see next) and when the limit is exceeded there is a risk to lose a card not yet played.
Note however that some rare cards must be played at required moments. If this is the case, the card will be in purple halo and the button for next phase will not unlock till the card is played. A warning message will be displayed in such a case (see Illustration 11.6 here on the right).
D / Discarding
The overall principle of card play in the game is that a player cannot have a hand made of more than 10 cards at the end of the Card Draw phase. So the player may play cards during Card Draw, if allowed, but will be forced to discard every card in excess of 10 after that. Discarding is mandatory and prevents moving to the next phase till solved.
When discarding is required, the game screen becomes much darker and a specific button appears with the number of cards to be discarded indicated (see Illustration 11.7 below). The player hand pops up. When moving the mouse over the cards, they are shown in bigger size (to ensure better readability).
To select a card to discard, just click on it. It will move to the bottom right of the screen (towards the discard zone – see Illustration 11.8 below). You can always cancel your choice by re-clicking on a discarded card; it will send it back to the hand.
And so forth. When the player is happy with his choice(s), it can be validated by clicking on the arrow button on the message box (see Illustration 11.8 below).
Cards as selected will return to the deck (where they can be drawn again later) as if they had been played. Red cards will also return to the deck (they are not considered as ‘played’). Game will then move on to next phase.
E / Red Cards (Unique)
As indicated in paragraph A above, red cards are unique. Both because they are relatively important for the player in terms of effects, but also because they can usually be played only once.
After the card play, the effects are implemented in the relevant phase. The cards are then removed and NOT placed back in the deck.
Note that play of some red cards is mandatory: usually the information is clearly indicated on the card and the system forces the player to play the card (purple halo and lock of next phase till play is made). Those cards are rare but designed so that they can give a tempo or a balance to a scenario. The most characteristic of those are cards related to weather conditions, seasons or natural disasters. Very often they impact both players.
F / Permanence of Effects
When cards effects are deemed permanents (for example the card inflicting a movement penalty to both sides in each subsequent movement phases for 2 turns), the card will remain visible (by both sides) on the left-hand side of the screen, in the area where played cards are stored. This allows for anytime check and read of the card, a useful reminder in some games.
It also helps remembering what other cards or conditions (if any) could cancel them. When and if such a card is cancelled or ceased to be effective at a later point in the game, it is removed and disappears from view.
G / Players Hands
Active player hand is located at the bottom left of the screen. The opponent’s hand is not visible, except in the case when a player’s card allows inspecting the opponent’s hand (not in the current version, but in future SGS games). Should this happen, the opponent’s hand would be displayed in the top middle part of the screen.
H / Handling of cards in different phases
In most phases, clicking on card (playable or not) make it appear bigger and closer, in order to enhance readability. To play a card (which must show a green – sometime purple – blinking halo – see above), just click on it and drag it to where the game system requires, namely:
- Most frequently on the left-hand side of the screen which is also displayed in green or purple. See again Illustration 11.2 above
- During battles and sieges, there are specific locations inside the different windows and screen to drag the playable cards. See Illustration 11.9 below (and more in Combat section of the rules) Here again, click and drag the cards where the game tells you…