Rivenstone Gameplay Part X: Coalition Cards and Event Decks

Rivenstone Gameplay Part X: Coalition Cards and Event Decks

Welcome to the tenth installment of our introductory Rivenstone gameplay series. These blogs are meant to cover some of the basic rules of the game, giving you a taste of what the tabletop experience will be when the game launches later this year.

If you’re just joining us, you can find previous blogs exploring the gameplay as well as the fiction of Rivenstone on our website.

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In today’s post, we will be discussing the two types of game cards that players will utilize that are not their model stat cards. Those being coalition cards and event deck cards.

Coalition Cards

Back in our second rules blog we explained how to build your warband for Rivenstone, which included a mention of choosing a coalition card for your warband. If you need a quick refresher, you can find that specific blog entry by clicking this link.

To reiterate what was discussed in that blog, picking a coalition for your warband is a very simple, but very important decision. Once you know which hero and follower models are in your warband, you choose a coalition card that you meet the requirements of. Let’s take a look at a couple of examples:

As you can see, both of these coalitions offer very powerful effects to a warband, but do restrict what type of heroes your warband can include (which in turn restricts which followers you can take).

It’s important to note that the restriction on these specific coalitions requires that “more than half” of your heroes contain a faction keyword. This means in a Scouting Party sized game, which includes two heroes per warband, both of your heroes would have to be from the same faction to utilize this coalition.

In a Raiding Party sized game, which is three heroes per warband, you could include two heroes that meet the requirements and “splash” a third hero of any type that you like.

Rivenstone will launch with five coalition cards. Four of these are all tied to a faction keyword, and the fifth coalition allows a warband to include heroes from any faction in any combination they like, but it has a very weak ability. Basically, you are trading power for versatility with this fifth coalition card.

We’ll release more coalitions soon after the initial launch of the game, many of which are being playtested currently. This next batch of coalitions will further demonstrate the flexibility of the coalition system, as their hero requirements will not be tied to Faction keywords, but instead other keywords that appear on heroes such as “Machine” or “Beast”. 

As more coalitions are released, more warband building strategies will open up, and you will have more opportunities to play with models outside of the Faction(s) you chose to collect the most models for.

Event Decks

Switching gears from cards utilized in warband construction, there is another important card type in Rivenstone to discuss today, and that is event cards. 

When you play Rivenstone, before you and your opponent construct your warbands you choose a scenario and an event deck for your game. Any scenario works with any event deck so you have loads of options when setting up your game.

Scenarios dictate a few important things, such as the placement of objectives and rivenstone deposits on the table, as well as one of the three ways a player can score victory points during the game (the other two ways being through their own heroes’ actions and destroying enemy heroes). Scenarios also dictate how many rounds the game will last.

Event decks, on the other hand, not only provide global narrative effects that both players can benefit from (or suffer through), but they also dictate when each round ends. 

Event decks consist of a title card and several event cards. The title card indicates which event cards are in that specific event deck, any special setup rules, which event card begins the game active, and how many shards must be placed on that card to trigger a Flux phase.

As we discussed on a previous blog, each time the shard die is rolled at the end of a player’s turn (when a deposit erupts), the die result indicates the number of shards to place on the title card. When the number of shards on the title card is equal to or greater than its Flux trigger, all of the shards are removed from the title card and a Flux phase begins. 

For reference, the Flux phase is the last phase of a round. It's when scenario victory points are scored and the general end-of-round cleanup occurs.

Because the shard die adds zero, one, or two shards at the end of each player’s turn in the Clash phase, every round has some unpredictability as to when the Flux trigger will occur and the Clash phase will end.

Example: Nate and Derek are playing a game using the Tale of Storms event deck. This event deck has a Flux trigger of 6 shards, meaning that a Flux phase begins each time there are six shards or more on the title card. At the end of one of Nate’s turns, there are five shards on the title card. Nate rolls his shard die to resolve the rivenstone eruption, hoping to add another shard to the title card and end the Clash phase, but he rolls the blank result and nothing changes! His turn ends and Derek’s turn begins.

At the end of Derek’s turn, his shard die result is a double. This means not only that there are more chances for models near the erupting deposit to gain shards but also that he adds two shards to the Tale of Storms title card. There are now seven shards on the title card, which is equal to or greater than the Flux trigger of 6. After the models resolve their attempts to harvest the erupting deposit, the Clash phase ends and the Flux phase begins.

Since Derek took the last turn in this Clash phase, Nate will begin the next round with initiative.

Some event decks require the players to shuffle and randomly draw which cards are active for that game, while others feature some narrative progression where the active cards can change slightly during the course of the game.

As an example, let’s take a look at the full deck for the Tale of Storms.

As you see, each time you use the Tale of Storms you know that the first round of the game is going to be relatively peaceful. The game begins with Distant Thunder in play, which doesn’t affect the table in any way. However, after the first round ends, you discard Distant Thunder and randomly draw from one of four possible remaining cards in the deck. That card you draw becomes the global effect for the remainder of the game.

In some games both players are lucky and Crackling Anticipation is drawn, providing a steady stream of rivenstone shards to each player. Other times the sky cracks open as the Thunderous Barrage card is drawn, and suddenly every soldier on the battlefield is fearfully looking upwards … hoping they aren’t reduced to ash by arcane lightning.

Thank you for joining us for this week’s installment of the gameplay blog series. Join us again next week as we dive further into more rules!