Absolute Beginners

As I wrote in my previous post, the 2.0 KS finds itself in the unusual position of having to appeal to potential backers who already play the game and own a lot of product, and those who are completely new to Relic Knights. That post was focused on how the ‘Questing Knight’ and ‘Relic Knight’ pledge levels could be used to put a wide variety of different cadres on the table, even if they may seem at first glance to be giving a hodge podge of different models that don’t work with each other. If you back at either of those levels, then in addition to the items listed in the pledge level, you will also receive every stretch goal listed as ‘Free’ as well. The more funding is raised, the more free models you will get. If you’re interested in backing and haven’t read the other post then it can be found here.

This post is aimed squarely at those current or potential backers who are completely new to the game, and it aims to lay out some of the list building and game basics. A game of Relic Knights usually takes around 1-2 hours, depending on the size of the game and the experience level of the players. Once you’ve got some games under your belt it should rarely take more than 1.5 hours. It’s usually played on a 3×3 board, though 2×2 and 4×4 are fine for smaller and larger games, and you’ll want lots of terrain to block line of sight and break up movement (not like in the graphic below where it’s all shoved off to the sides to show the minis off).

rk2-starter

The force that you field in a game of RK is known as a cadre. It’s always led by a knight, which comes in two flavours. Relic Knights are those knights which have found their relic, that being the mech they are piloting, whilst Questing Knights have not yet found their relic, and are questing for it. Relic Knights tend to be more powerful than Questing Knights, but they cost more points. There are both RK and QK versions of several of the knights in the game. For example, you can see both versions for Marie-Claude listed amongst the stretch goals on the campaign page. In standard-sized games you will have only one knight, but at larger games you can field two, albeit not two different versions of the same knight.

marie1marie2

A knight always comes with a cypher. In fact, it is the cypher which marks the knight out as being a knight. Cyphers are beings made from pure esper, which is the energy that powers the universe. Think of it like magic, or the Force. It is esper which you will use during the game to power your abilities in the form of the deck of esper cards. When you buy a knight, their cypher comes with them. This is true in terms of buying the actual model, and in terms of list-building. Cyphers are a little limited in what they can do, though all are good esper batteries for their faction. They can’t be killed, but are removed from the table when their knight dies.

All other units are either heroes or minions, and the remainder of your cadre will be rounded out by these models. I discuss the list-building rules in the other post so won’t repeat them here, but all heroes and some minions can be used in multiple factions.

A standard sized game is played at 50pts, and smaller games are played at 35pts. If we take a look at the stat cards for the Bang Bang cadre which comes in the starter box, we can see it comes to exactly 35pts. Bang Bang is 15pts, Mr. Milky has no points cost as he is included with Bang Bang because he is her cypher, Miss Kaylee is 12pts, and the Sundown Enforcers have a cost of 4(2)pts. This means the minimum squad size costs 4pts, and each additional one up to the maximum squad size costs 2pts. Here, the minimum size is one, which is found on the back of the card, there are three in the squad, and so it costs 8pts.

bang bang

It would only take the addition of one or two more units to make that Bang Bang cadre into a full 50pt cadre. Any leftover points can be spent on boosts to make up the cadre to 50pts. These are represented by tokens, are placed onto the battlefield during deployment, and can provide things such as bonuses to attack, additional armor, or healing.

If there’s anything I haven’t covered that you’d like to know more about, then do feel free to ask in the comments ūüôā

2.0 comes to Kickstarter

rk-starter

The Kickstarter for Relic Knights 2.0 started last week, and is due to end on March 14th. As it’s for a 2nd edition, it’s in an unusual position for a KS campaign in that it needs to appeal to both existing players, who may already have lot of minis, and completely new players who may not know anything about the game. The approach Ninja Division have taken is to eschew the traditional minis game KS format of allowing pledgers to back for the factions that interest them, in favour of a ‘big box’ format usually found in minis boardgames such as Super Dungeon Explore and Ninja All-Stars, in which all pledgers get the same product, and for which a bulk discount can be applied so everyone gets the best deal possible.

To make that work, they’ve taken advantage of the list-building rules for the Prismatic factions to both give a wide range of minis across all the factions, whilst at the same time providing two fully playable factions with lots of options. If you’re new to the game, or need a refresher, the six main factions in the game are Doctrine, Cerci Speed Circuit, Shattered Sword Paladins, Black Diamond, Noh, and Star Nebular Corsairs. A cadre led by a knight from one of those factions can recruit any hero or minion from the same faction. The Prismatic factions, which are Radiant and Void, work in the same way. A cadre led by a knight from those two factions can also recruit any hero or minion from the same faction.

In addition to this, the Prismatic factions each align with three of the main factions. Radiant aligns with Doctrine, Cerci, and SSP, whilst Void aligns with Black Diamond, Noh, and Corsairs. This allows them to also select any heroes from their aligned factions, though not their minions. It also works in the other direction too, as the aligned factions can select not only Prismatic heroes, but also Prismatic minions too.

The core of the 2.0 KS is a new starter box, which contains cadres for each of the two Prismatic factions. The Radiant cadre comes with Bang Bang (the knight), Mr Milky (her cypher), Miss Kaylee (hero), and the Sundown Enforcers (minions). The Void cadre is Tahariel (knight), Cupid (cypher), Mikhal (hero), and Dark Pinions (minions). This can be got at the $70 ‘Hero’ pledge level along with two Pinup minis, which are only available to those who back during the campaign.

bang-bang

tahariel

The ‘Questing Knight’ pledge is the sweet spot pledge for this campaign, though. At $130 it gives everything the ‘Hero’ pledge does, plus the 2.0 rulebook, upgrade deck containing 2.0 stat cards for all the 1.0 units, two more minis, and all unlocked stretch goal freebies. For another $20, the ‘Relic Knight’ pledge adds the Void Break expansion book too.

rk-pledge

Bearing in mind that the Prismatic factions can take heroes from their aligned factions, and going off revealed stretch goals at the time of writing, it means the Bang Bang cadre you get in the QK/RK pledge can field any of the following –

  • Miss Kaylee
  • Sundown Enforcers
  • Pinup Fiametta
  • Darkspace Hero of Time Candy
  • Darkspace Jakob
  • Darkspace One Shot
  • Tonnerian Stalker
  • Darkspace Bang Bang
  • Isabeau Durand
  • Darkspace Rhouss Fixers

This is a large amount of options for a full-sized 50pt game. The starter box cadre is 35pts on its own. Nor does this take into account any future unlocked freebies before the campaign ends. For the Tahariel cadre, the QK/RK pledge is currently giving you –

  • Mikhal
  • Dark Pinions
  • Darkspace Hasami
  • Darkspace Squall
  • Squall
  • Darkspace Kisa
  • Darkspace Marikan To
  • Darkspace Delphyne

Slightly fewer options than Radiant, but still ample to give lots of variety in a 50pt Tahariel cadre, and still with plenty of time to add further freebies. Just a quick note on the Darkspace models, they are alternate versions of their regular counterparts and are considered to be a separate unit. It means both Squall and Darkspace Squall can be fielded together in a Void cadre. The only minis currently in the QK/RK pledge you can’t use in either Bang Bang or Tahariel cadres are the Pit Crew, Serpent Priestess, Scribes, and Purifiers, as these are all minion units, and Pinup Marie-Claude, as she’s a questing knight.

If you’re interested in one of the six main factions, the QK/RK pledge gives you plenty of options there too, as long as you add a knight, whether as an add-on during the campaign or one of the 1.0 knights currently on sale. If you want to play Cerci, you already have a knight in your pledge with Pinup Marie-Claude, and her cadre can use –

  • Miss Kaylee
  • Sundown Enforcers
  • Pit Crew
  • Darkspace One Shot
  • Darkspace Hero of Time Candy
  • Darkspace Rhouss Fixers

This should easily be in excess of a 50pt Cerci cadre on its own without needing any add-ons. If you like the look of Harker the Undying, the Corsair relic knight add-on, then adding him to your pledge allows you field a Corsair cadre selecting from the following –

  • Mikhal
  • Dark Pinions
  • Darkspace Marikan To
  • Darkspace Kisa
  • Darkspace Bang Bang
  • Squall

It’s enough to give you several different 50pt Harker cadre builds, all for a single add-on.

UPDATE: The campaign has revealed a Magnus resculpt as an upcoming freebie, which will give you a Black Diamond questing knight for free. This increases the factions you can field just from a QK/RK to four. Magnus will be able to field all heroes and minions from both Black Diamond and Void.

For existing players, the QK/RK pledge also gives two large Prismatic forces, plus many options for the factions you currently play. If you’re committed to only ever playing one of the six main factions then you may find much of the QK/RK pledge is of limited use to you, and it may be better to get either a $1 ‘Void’ pledge, or $25 ‘Pinups Please’ pledge, depending on whether you want the Pinups or not, and then adding your new factions models, upgrade deck and/or 2.0 rulebook to that. Add enough, though, and the QK pledge probably makes more sense even if it costs a little more.

Hopefully this will help current and potential pledgers understand exactly what the pledge levels can offer and how their content can be used. If you haven’t yet seen the KS page, check it out here – https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/sodapopminiatures/relic-knights-2nd-edition/description

rk2 starter.png

Changes from 1.0 to 1.5

The long-awaited update of the rules dropped last night (by the Queen’s time). It is an open playtest of a set of tweaks and changes to the 1.0 rules designed to move the game towards its second edition. No unit stat changes are included in this update, presumably as it would require reprinting all the stat cards, something which is more likely to happen with 2.0. Below is a summary of the changes I’ve found. If there are any I’ve missed, or if I’ve misread any, comment below and I’ll update the post. For now this is just a quick summary, I’ll go into fuller detail on some of them in future posts.
1) Placeholder Cards: These are placed into the queue if there are not enough units to fill all the spaces, and during Clean Up when a unit has moved from the Link to Active slot. When a PC enters the active slot it allows its controller to either heal or move a friendly unit, or use an Esper Initiate Action from a friendly unit, then proceed to Clean Up.

2) The value of a point of Held Esper is reduced from 2 to 1.

3) Attack Prevention no longer exists, it is now called Primary Defense Action. It looks as if Damage Prevention should now be called Secondary Defense Action, although it hasn’t been changed in the title on p23. Secondary Defense Actions are referenced elsewhere in a way that suggests they are Damage Prevention.

4) Guard now no longer completely cancels the attack. Instead the target takes half the damage rounded up and ignoring any Armor or Recover, with a cap on the damage placed at 10. Also, Guard no longer prevents Pull or Charge.

5) Redirect no longer sends all of the damage to the new target, but the original target takes half rounded up, and the new target the rest plus all the other effects of the attack. There is no cap on damage. Secondary Defense Actions can be used by both targets.

6) The Danger Zone for squads is reduced from 6″ to 3″.

7) Collision and falling damage sustained by squads is reduced from 3+3 per additional model after the first, to 3+1 per additional model after the first.

8) A condition token can no longer be deposited on the same activation it is retrieved.

9) Knight Slayer is increased to 5VPs for Relic Knights, but remains at 3VPs for Questing Knights. There is a new type of unit called ‘Avatar’, which is the equivalent of a Relic Knight.

10) The Darkfield no longer buffs itself.

11) Many of the victory conditions have been changed or reworded.

12) Recover once again now triggers for the attacker as well as the target.

Give In to the Darkfield

A unit¬†that has Stealth¬†can’t be targeted by Ranged or Psychic attacks as long as they have Cover. In Relic Knights, Cover is not an inherent feature of a terrain piece that a unit can claim by standing in or close to it. Instead, Cover is a function of drawing line of sight, and it only exists when line of sight is drawn from an attacker to a target, and the attacker need only draw one unbroken line from anywhere on its base to anywhere on the target’s base.¬†It means units with Stealth often have a difficult time claiming its benefit as they can’t just place themselves by a terrain piece which always gives them Cover. Enemy units can usually position themselves in such a way that they can get a clear line of sight.

The Darkfield is a 4pt boost that grants Cover and Stealth to friendly units within 3″. It is the only instance in the game where Cover is an inherent feature rather than a function of line of sight, so it means units stood close to a friendly Darkfield always have Stealth, even against attacks that do not require line of sight and thus would normally¬†bypass Stealth. It makes the Darkfield an invaluable purchase for important units that lack the durability to survive long on their own.

There is a downside to hiding a unit in a Darkfield, in that its range of movement becomes very limited if it wishes to continually benefit from it. Consequently it is best used by static units and by squads. In the former case, the likes of Togan & Cecilia and CSM Alex-117 can be set up in a Darkfield along with supporting units that trigger their Officer ability, and be used as a static gunline whilst all the units benefit from the Darkfield. A Serpent Priestess can often afford to remain static and be used for her Compel and esper generation without needing to have her run objectives. A Darkfield can also be used to protect one of your objectives, which is especially useful if your opponent has flipped Tear It Down, or if you need to interact with them for your own victory conditions.

Squads are the other big beneficiary of Darkfields. As only one member of the squad need be in the area of the Darkfield for all to claim the benefit, then they can be strung out in a line to collect and/or deposit tokens. They can leave the Darkfield in their initial move if needs be and return to it with their follow-up move. As squads can be very vulnerable to damage from collisions and falling, a Darkfield can make them a viable choice where they otherwise would not be. Act As One squads derive even more benefit as they can cover all of the board whilst still benefiting. It means Suspect 7 can freely roam the board with no fear of Ranged or Psychic attacks.

Dealing with a Darkfield can be very difficult, but it can be done. As it benefits from its own buff, then the Darkfield itself can never be targeted by Ranged or Psychic attacks. If you want to destroy it, you’re going to have to get into melee with it. It has 8 Health and 2 Armor, and as you won’t want to be wasting too many activations on it then ideally you’ll want to be able to take it out in one go, so having a mobile unit with a high damage Melee attack is a very useful anti-Darkfield choice. It can also be directed at the units hidden the field. If you can do it, killing CSM Alex-117 is better than destroying the Darkfield which is hiding him.

It is possible to switch a Darkfield off by switching off buffs. The Chaos action, Miscommunication, can be placed directly under a Darkfield preventing any enemy units gaining Stealth from it until they can remove it. Moving it is another option as this can reveal the units hidden within it, at least temporarily. It can’t be moved by Ranged or Psychic attacks for obvious reasons, but Melee attacks can, as can the Essence action, Stand Back, as it’s a Support action, and Viper’s Saboteur action too.

Even if you can do any of these things, always consider the cardinal rule of Relic Knights first and ask yourself whether you actually need to do it. If you can complete your victory conditions sufficiently quickly even if your opponent is using a Darkfield, then trying to deal with it will only slow you down needlessly.

 

Attacks With Benefits

Combat actions in Relic Knights are not only useful for destroying enemy units. Many of them come with additional abilities attached which can help you win the race. Tow, Push, Pull, and Compel have already been discussed in the context of repositioning enemy objectives, and they also can be used to make enemy units take longer to travel to their destination. Bear in mind you’ll be using up one of your own activations to do this, so make sure you’re not just trading off one activation for another. If your unit is itself traveling the board and has the action free to do something with it as it goes, then it can be well worth using it to move an enemy unit.

Blast can break up enemy defensive position or force squads to lose coherency. Charge doesn’t just have to be used to get a unit into melee, but can be used to give the unit additional speed with any damage caused by the attack incidental. Feint gives even more speed.

Knockback can be another good way to mess with the opposing cadre. It can be used to keep your opponent’s best units from activating as often, or make those transporting tokens take longer to reach their destination. Be a little careful when using it, though. If the unit is in the last queue slot then Knockback won’t do anything as it can be placed straight back in, notwithstanding actions such as Glimpse of the Void. Also, if you do use Knockback on a unit, then the other enemy units behind it in the queue will move up and activate quicker. So sending a unit carrying a token out of the first slot in the queue can move up the enemy relic knight in its place.

Finally, a unit carrying a token will drop it if it takes any damage. Target an enemy unit carrying one and you can force it to sacrifice most of its initial move to pick it up again. There’s no need for the attack to be able kill the unit, so even highly durable units can still be hindered by your attacks.

Much of what was said in the second Surgical Strikes post applies here too. If you do want to trigger these abilities then make sure you pick your targets carefully. A Guard will cancel these effects in just the same way as it cancels damage, but a unit lacking in attack prevention has no way of preventing them from taking affect.

Make the Mountain Come to You

Many of the victory conditions, including all bar one of the primary conditions, require you to either transport a token between two points, or to interact with different points on the board. In the main these comprise one or more of friendly objectives, enemy objectives, and the table edges. The ability to travel as quickly as possible between these points maximises your efficiency and minimises the number of activations you need to reach the VP threshold.

There are two ways you can go about doing this. One, the obvious one, is to have units which have a high Speed stat. The magic number is an initial move of 9 or higher as that will allow the unit to reach an enemy objective on its first activation, though there’s not many units in the game which can do that. There are other ways of speeding a unit up. As a Relic Knights table is meant to be terrain-heavy, then Fly and Thrusters can considerably cut down the number of activations a unit needs to travel the board. Large units can also ignore terrain smaller than they are. Squads can take advantage of their 3″ cohesion limit to spread out and cover a large distance, effectively adding this to their movement. Act As One squads can spread out as they please, enabling them to retrieve a token at one side of the table and deposit at the other all in the same activation. Then there are unit-specific actions such as Pounce, Thrusters, and Spirit Walk which help boost a unit’s movements.

There is another way to minimise the number of activations it takes to interact with these points on the board, and that is to reposition them. The table edges are obviously a fixed point, but the objectives aren’t, and enemy objectives are particularly susceptible to being moved. Objectives are units, and as such can be targeted just like any other unit, but they can’t defend themselves. So any attack or support action which has Push, Pull, or Compel can be used to move an enemy objective. Tow can be used in the same way, and in the case of the Royal Wrecker you don’t even need to use an action to get the Tow.

So if you’ve flipped, say, Heist as your primary condition, you could use a Push 6 action to send the enemy primary objective 6″ closer to the nearest board edge. The one activation you spend on doing this can save you several activations of transporting Heist tokens. Likewise, if your opponent has placed an objective at the top of a tall structure, then rather than scaling it, you could just Compel it to ground level.

There are some actions which can move your own objectives, though these are rarer. Far better just to deploy them as efficiently as possible, though you can use these actions to move them into less convenient places for your opponent to reach.

If you wish to prevent your own objectives being moved by your opponent then you have some options. A unit suffering a forced move will stop when it hits another object on the table, so you can deploy it next to terrain and/or with a friendly model or two to make sure it can’t travel very far before hitting something. You can also deploy a Darkfield within 3″ of it, which will prevent it from being targeted by Ranged or Psychic attacks, cutting down the number of actions your opponent can use to move it.

When putting your cadre together keep an eye out for actions and abilities which make your units more mobile, and consider taking at least one unit with a forced movement action you can use to reposition the table to your advantage.

Surgical Strikes: Part Two

Part One of this post dealt with how you decide whether to try and kill a given enemy unit, this part deals with how you go about doing it.

In Relic Knights, there are two ways you can deliver damage to an enemy unit, and two ways they can go about stopping you. The first way you can deliver damage is by a Melee, Ranged, or Psychic attack. Most of these, though by no means all, have a Damage value attached to them, and if the target can’t prevent the attack then the damage gets applied. The other is basically any damage which is not from a Damage value on an attack. It can include damage from AoEs, from forced movement off or into an object, from being caught in a Minefield boost, Belligerent, Line attacks, and so on. These are collectively known as Passive Damage.

The two ways a unit can defend attempts to damage it are attack prevention and damage prevention. Each of these breaks down into two different types. For attack prevention there are Guards, which cancel the attack outright, and Redirects, which transfer the attack to a new target (which cannot then use an attack prevention itself). For damage prevention there is Armor, which reduces the damage before it is applied, and Recover, which heals the target after damage is applied. Attack prevention abilities can only be applied to attacks, whilst damage prevention can be applied whenever a unit takes damage from any source.

In addition to these is the Overcharge mechanic. Some attacks have Overcharge, and some attack prevention abilities have it too. If an attack has Overcharge, then it automatically bypasses any attack prevention that lacks it. So an Overcharge Psychic attack cannot be cancelled by a Guard without Overcharge, even if the Guard could ordinarily cancel psychic attacks.

Understanding these mechanics is key to understanding whether you can reasonably kill a given enemy unit. You need to match up the ways you can deliver damage to the ways each unit can prevent damage.

For example, Moffet has a Guard with a press to give it Overcharge. She has 10 Health, no inherent Armor or Recover, but can pay for 2 or 4 Armor via Essence Master. If you attack her then she can defend it and cancel the attack, even if the attack has Overcharge. If you can cause her to take Passive Damage, however, then she can’t use the Guard to cancel it and will take all the damage unless she can pay for Armor, and even then she can still take some damage. It will likely take several instances of Passive Damage to kill her as they don’t tend to do much damage, but as each bypasses her Guard than you can kill her if you need to. Two or three Esper Storms can do the trick on their own. If you have an attack that bypasses Guards, such as the M8-Blitz Auto-Tank’s SIK3 Rail Cannon, then those attacks pose a serious threat to her.

The Dahon is a unit that has no attack prevention. It cannot prevent any attack from succeeding against it. It does, however, have 14 Health, 2 Armor, 2 Recover, and access to 2 or 4 additional Recover (with Backlash to boot). As Passive Damage effects tend not to do much damage then you’re unlikely to have any luck killing a Dahon with them. In this case, an Esper Storm is at best going to do 1 damage to it, and, collisions won’t do anything. On the other hand, as it can’t defend attacks, then high damage attacks will pose a threat to it. CSM Alex-117 backed up by a squad or two of Diamond Corps could take a Dahon out pretty quickly. If you can bypass Recover, as Sophia Drake can, then the Dahon is just left with its 2 Armor to defend itself with.

Two different units, each with different strategies for how you would go about killing them, and there many other examples. The Black Dragons have a Guard but it doesn’t work against Melee attacks. Likewise the Hell’s Belles but against Psychic Attacks. Suspect 7 have a Guard against everything and Stealth, but their only damage prevention is a point of Armor. Squads take 3 collision damage per model, so any attack with a forced movement effect can be a big threat. There are some highly effective ways of delivering Passive Damage. Line attacks can be targeted at an enemy marker and cause damage to every other unit along the Line. Wildspace Gabe’s Deep Crow’s Nest does 5 Damage and has a Compel which can result in another 3. These bypass any attack prevention and on units which rely on them, such as Moffet, it is highly effective. Likewise for Overcharge. Delphyne has a Guard and a Redirect, but as neither have Overcharge she is extremely vulnerable to high damage attacks that do have it.

A couple of other points to make note of. Guards and Redirects are often quite expensive, and units that lack ways of generating Held Esper can’t always afford to pay for them. This means it can be worth attempting the attack on a unit that has no Held Esper, especially if the attack has a low esper cost. Squads are particularly good at this as with Co-ordinated Attack their cheap attacks can put out a lot of damage. Even if they do defend it, then the trade-off in spent esper can be worth it.

Redirects often send the attack to a friendly unit, so even if it is paid for, the attack is still successful. You can force your opponent into a difficult choice of taking the attack on the target or sacrificing another unit if they Redirect. Be careful with this, though, especially if you need to interact with enemy objectives to complete your victory conditions. Markers are viable targets for a Redirect so you could wind up inadvertently destroying them. Equally, the opposing cadre could have taken a durable unit whose sole function is to be a punching bag for a Redirect, meaning you could wind up spending several activations killing a unit which doesn’t meet any of the criteria mentioned in part one of this post.

The key to killing enemy units is understanding the ways your cadre can effectively deliver damage to them. It is always worthwhile having attacks which can bypass Guards and Redirects, whether it be through Overcharge, Line, or AoEs that cause damage, as this will give you a versatile force which can be a threat to many units. Not all of them, though, some are just too tough to ever waste time trying to kill.

Surgical Strikes: Part One

Despite my assertion that Relic Knights is not a combat-oriented game and you shouldn’t go out to try and kill as many opposing units as possible, that’s not to say that you shouldn’t ever try to kill any of them. Rather, you should be very selective in which ones you try to kill.

At the start of the game, figure out which enemy units you can reasonably kill. It may be that your opponent has built a cadre with no viable targets. Two of the UK cadre events have been won by a Candy Rush, Cordelia Clean, and Navarre Hauer cadre, none of which are ever likely to be killed before the game ends (which is part of the reason it’s been so successful). However, there are units which can be killed, and some which can be very easily killed. Even if you identify a unit as one which you can reasonably kill, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should. If you can win without killing it, then you’re just wasting activations on doing it.

There are three good reasons why you should kill an enemy unit, and this post will focus on those. How you do it is dealt with in part two.

  1. The unit is too much of a threat

Some enemy units can pose a threat to you, and killing them can be the easiest way to deal with them. A good example are the Hounds of Nozuki. They’re very fast and can complete victory conditions quickly. They’re also a big threat in melee, which is a particular problem if you’re using a Darkfield, and they give the Noh player access to Link. They’re also just about the least durable unit in the game. As a squad with no damage prevention and 3 Health each, then they all die if they’re pushed into a building. You need to deal with this unit quickly, and the easiest way to do it is to kill them.

2. You need the VP(s) to win the game

If you’re playing an Endless Hunger tournament game, which only has a victory threshold of 6VPs, and you think you can complete your primary condition relative quickly, then that means you only need one more VP to win. In which case, it could be that killing an enemy unit is quicker and easier than achieving you secondary or faction condition. Equally, your primary may be very difficult, but you can do your secondary and faction, so killing an enemy unit will take you to the threshold. If you’re playing to a time limit, it’s often better to leave the killing till last. You score more VPs for the victory conditions so should score them first in case time expires.

3. You’ve flipped a victory condition which requires it

Leaving aside Tear it Down, which targets objectives, there are four victory conditions which require you to kill enemy units. Two of them are faction conditions, so if you’re playing either Shattered Sword or Noh then you know in advance you’ll have at least one, and the other two are Assassination and Carnage. If you’ve got any of these conditions, then you may need to kill enemy units.

You’ll still need to assess whether there are enemy units you can reasonably kill to score these conditions. The above mentioned Candy Rush cadre, for example, effectively cuts the opponent off from ever scoring them. If you’ve flipped Carnage, then you need to kill three enemy units. If there aren’t three you can reasonably kill then don’t bother trying. Assassination is easier as it only needs one, but as your opponent chooses who the target is then you could still find yourself shut out from completing it. That said, as it’ll score you 4VPs instead of the usual 1VP, it’s worth investing activations into it over and above what would you’d normally do.

If there is an enemy unit, or more, that you can reasonably kill, but it doesn’t fall into at least one of those categories, then be aware that killing it could be wasting esper and activations, so consider carefully whether you should do it. If it does fall into at least one of those categories, then you probably should be trying to kill it.

Stay on Target

This first one might seem a bit obvious, but grasping it is fundamental to being successful at winning games because everything flows from it. There are going to be a minimum of 13VPs available to you when the game starts, comprised of a primary condition (5), a secondary (3), a faction (2), and knight killer (3). There’s almost certainly going to be more as your opponent is unlikely to take the field with just a knight and a cypher, and you may even have flipped the Wild and/or Void condition.

You do not need to score all these VPs to win the game. A standard 50pt game needs only 8VPs, and a standard tournament format game needs just 6VPs. Do not try and complete all of these victory conditions. Figure out the quickest way to the 6 or 8VP threshold and focus on those only. Every action you spend completing a victory condition which is not one of the ones you need is an action wasted. It might be tempting to hedge your bets and assign different units to each of the conditions, but this will rarely be an efficient use of your activations.

It certainly could be the case that during play, a victory condition you wanted to complete becomes unavailable, or another victory condition emerges as being easier to achieve, so you might have to be flexible, but at any given time you should only be focusing on the conditions you need to win the game.

Figuring out which are the victory conditions you need mainly comes with experience, but these strategy posts will hopefully assist in figuring out what your cadre is good at doing, and how it matches up to the victory conditions you’ve flipped and to the opposing cadre.

One thing to note is that whilst you can’t predict what the other available VPs will be, you do always know your faction condition. This means you should know in advance whether your cadre can effectively score it, and can include that in your calculations. If you can build a cadre to exploit it then you should as you don’t want to cut yourself off from any VPs if you don’t have to, but for some factions this isn’t always going to be possible. The Shattered Sword faction condition in particular is difficult to prepare for as it requires your opponent do something first.

A Strategy Primer for New and New-ish Players

In ‘The Three Stages of Relic Knights‘, I argued that whilst Relic Knights is a miniatures game, it stretches the boundaries of what could be considered a wargame. I’ve a lot of years’ experience playing card games as well as miniature wargames, and I found when getting in to Relic Knights that thinking in terms of card game strategies was equally as, if not more, effective as thinking in terms of wargame strategies.

In a CCG or LCG, I’m aiming to build a deck which is as efficient as possible, and then when I play an opponent, I’m not trying to use my cards to kill all my opponent’s cards, but use them to execute my victory strategy quickly, whilst hindering my opponent’s as much as possible. So I can be making my opponent discard cards, reversing their cards, removing them from the table to the discard pile, making it harder to play them, force them to expend additional resources, and so on. The harder I make it for them to do what they want, and the more efficient I am, the greater the likelihood that I’ll reach the victory threshold first.

There are several different ways in which you can go about doing this in Relic Knights, and rather than write one very long post, I’ll break them down into one post each, and post a link for each here as they get published so they can be easily accessed from one place.

  1. Stay on Target
  2. Surgical Strikes: Part One
  3. Surgical Strikes: Part Two
  4. Make the Mountain Come to You
  5. Attacks With Benefits
  6. Give In to the Darkfield