Squad Combat – Old

6 Sep

This is an outdated document, but I wanted to leave it around so that the changes between it and the new one are more apparent.

You can see the new set of rules here.

Rulebook V 0.5 (DOC 26.5 KB)
While this is a card game project, the rules require a bit of bookkeeping, with both counters and dice on each character in play. This would make it a welcome canididate for videogame adaptation.

As of August of 2013, I’ve been playtesting this game more stringently and looking at the main mechanics with a few like-minded design friends. Hopefully we’ll have a few demo decks mocked up soon, and I’ll provide a link to them here.


Each player controls 3 characters. The object of the game is to be the last player with characters alive. You attack your opponent’s characters using attack cards, and use action and edge cards to improve your position.

Card Types


Each player has a party of 3 characters. Characters start the game in play. they have the following stats:

Life – The amount of damage a character to take before succumbing to death If a character ever has a wound value/damage greater than or equal to its life, remove it from the game.

Energy – A resource characters spend to perform actions.

Dice Pool – The amount of dice the character starts the game with and recieves each time they refresh their dice pool.

Dice refresh – the amount of energy it costs to refresh this character’s dice pool.

Traits – skills the character is proficient with.

Actions and Attacks

Actions are cards that characters use to attack opponents and perform other effects. Attack cards are considered actions, although not all actions are attacks. Actions have the following stats:

Trait – Characters must match the action’s trait in order to perform it.

Cost – Characters must pay a card’s cost in order to perform it. Costs can be expressed as energy, dice or card discards, and sometimes in more than one of those types. See paying costs.

Attack actions have the following additional stats:

Hit modifier – this determines how easy or hard it is to hit with this attack.

Damage – This value shows how damaging the attack is, and how much of the target’s Life is eliminated by it.

After actions and attacks are performed, they are discarded (assuming the attack does not hit a character.)


Edges are cards that can be played anytime the card itself states it can be played. If it does not have a restriction on it, it may be played at anytime. After an edge has been played and taken effect, it is discarded. Edges have the same stats as actions.


At the beginning of the game, each player places their three characters in a row in front of them. They then shuffle and cut their decks, and each player draws 5 cards.

Players then roll dice equal to each character’s dice pool value and place those dice onto each character. Do this one character at a time, and in order from left to right. /* This is to keep things fair. As long as players are declaring which character they’re rolling setup dice for, it doesn’t really matter. */

Randomly decide who takes the first turn. Turn order then proceeds around the table to the left of the first player.


All dice in the game are six-sided. When you roll a die, the value it rolls is stored until spent or otherwise altered. You may keep track of each character’s values on a sheet of paper (or sheets of paper placed over/next to each character.) Make sure both players can see all dice values easily.

Turns and phases

At the beginning of each turn, the first player is given an action phase. They may play any action card from their hand, or use an action printed on a card they have in play. After the first player takes an action, each other player gets an action phase, in turn order. After all players have received an action phase, the order repeats, starting again with the first player. Play continues until the end of turn conditions are met (see below.)

Any player may, instead of taking an action, pass. If a player passes their action, they may not receive actions again during this turn (but may still play edges.) If all players pass, the turn ends.

At the end of each turn, remove all spent focus counters from characters in play. Each player may then discard up to two cards from their hand, then draw up to their hand size (default 5.)

Performing actions and edges

/* The gist of this section is that every card is performed by a character. This means that you must always match traits to a character you control in play to play a card, and that character must have the available resources to pay for that card.*/

To perform an action, attack, or edge you must first have a character who is eligible to play the card. They must have energy remaining to pay any energy costs (if any), and they must have dice on them equaling or exceeding the dice cost of the card (if any.) You must also have additional cards in your hand equal to or greater than the card’s discard cost (if it has one.)

After confirming the costs are met, you must also match traits. A character must have at least one trait on their character card that matches a trait on the card being played. If they do not, then they are not eligible to play the card.

If the character can afford the costs or the card and matches a trait with the card, announce you are playing the card. Pay for any costs the card may have, then resolve the card. Unless specifically stated, actions and edges are discarded after resolution.

Refreshing Dice

Characters spend the dice that start the game on their character card to pay for costs and abilities. If a character runs out of dice, or you do not like the values of the dice currently on the character, you may take an action and pay the character’s “dice refresh” energy cost to roll a number of dice equal to the character’s dice pool value and add them to the character. Then, remove dice from the character until they no longer have more dice on them then their dice pool value. /* think of the dice pool value as a hand limit for each character */

Paying Costs

When a character pays a cost for a action, edge or ability, that character must spend energy, spend dice from their dice pool, or that character’s controller must discard cards (this cost is being paid for by the character, but the player may discard any types or traits of cards.

Energy costs are depicted as a number inside a diamond <X>. In order to pay an energy cost, that character’s current energy (their total energy minus their burden/spent energy tokens) must be equal to or greater than the energy cost of the card. Once this has been verified, place spent energy/burden tokens on the character equal to the card’s cost.

Dice costs are depicted as the face of a die (represented by [X] in notes.) To pay a cost in dice, the character performing the action has to remove a die from their dice pool that meets or exceeds the value of the die on the card.

Card costs are represented on the cards as a /*card icon? We’ll use “C” in notes/rules */ To pay a card cost, the character’s controller discards a card.

Some costs may have multiple types. For example:

<3>[1] – Means the performing character must pay 3 energy and spend 1 die of any value.

[2][4] – Means the performing character must spend two dice, one with a value of two or greater and one with a value of 4 or greater.


When you spend an action to play an attack card, perform the following steps.

1 – Choose a character you control who shares a trait with the attack, and pay for the attack. That character becomes the attacker.

2 – Choose an enemy character to be the target of the attack. This character becomes the defender.

3 – First the attack may choose and spend a die from their character, then the defender also has the option of spend a die from their character. These are called the attack die (for the attacker) and the defense die (for the defender.) If a player declines to play a die, treat it as though they played a die with a value of 0.

4 – Add any attack or defense modifiers to the attack and defending dice (including the attack modifier on the attack being used.) these are the attack and defense ratings.

5 – If the attack rating is equal to or greater than the defense rating, the attack hits and wounds the defender. Place the attack underneath the defending character with the wound/damage value at the bottom of the card exposed /* it’s like enchanting a creature, but you place the card upside down, and the wound/damage is where P/T would be on a MTG creature */

Missed attacks are discarded.


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