Rules: Empyrean Hero | The Card Game
Defeat all opponent SkyBases.
Players recruit heroes, enhance them with new stats and abilities, and work to build an engine that can pierce opposing forces for the win.
Standard Game | 45-60 mins, 2 Players Only, 14 Heroes
Extended Game | 60-90 mins., 2+ Players, 20 Heroes
1. Base: Give each player a SkyBase to set in the playing space, called the Arena, as shown above.
2. Hero Cards:
a. Shuffle all the heroes. Draw 14 heroes, placing them face-up in the Arena. Place the remaining heroes back in the box. (For 3-4 players or a casual game, use 20 heroes.)
b. Flip a coin to determine Player 1. Player 1 picks the first hero. In clockwise order, each player chooses one hero and adds it to their hand. (For the first game, it is strongly recommended that you choose a hero with no less than 70 Defense Power).
c. Shuffle the remaining heroes; this is the Reserves deck. Place to the side of the Arena. Add the top hero to Player 2’s hand. Place 3 heroes face up beside the deck, as the Hero HQ..
3. Enhancement Deck (stats, abilities, & feats):
a. Give each player a set of Stat Cards [Def. +20 (x3), Def. +30 (x2), Att. +20 (x4), Att. +30 (x3)]
b. Players will either use the standardized decks (recommended for your first game) or draft abilities as explained below. Then, each player shuffles their Ability Cards and Stat Cards together to form their Enhancement Deck, and place face down beside their Skybase.
2 players: Player 1 should start with decks A and B, and Player 2 should start with decks C and D. Each player should shuffle all their cards together.
3 players: Use decks A, B, and C; divide deck D evenly between the players.
4 players: Give each player one of the 4 decks.
Deck A: Absorb, Backfire, Counter-Measures, Accelerate, Fortification, Bolster
Deck B: Under Siege, Boost, Drought, Protect, Prevention, Collateral Damage
Deck C: Drain, Revelation, Impede, Reduction, Hardened, Reinforcement
Deck D: Pay the Cost, Going Nuclear, Resurrect, Convert, Kairos, Shielding
To Draft Abilities & Heroic Feats Lay out all abilities and feats face-up. The last player who drafted a hero drafts the first Ability Card. In counter-clockwise order, players pick one ability at a time until all have been chosen.
(The Owner has final say in all rule judgements.)
Turn Order: Player 1 takes the first turn, and play rotates clockwise.
On your turn: HERO is an acronym for Heal, Enhance, Recruit, Overcome. Each turn, you may only pick 1 of these 4 action choices. Follow all steps for your chosen action as listed in that action’s section. Announce the end of your turn. (Note: There are no Arena limits, hand limits, or limits to the number of attachments per hero.)
Heal (See image below)
Step 1- You may pick 1 or more fatigued (horizontal) heroes, belonging to any player, to heal and switch to a strengthened position (vertical). SkyBases cannot be healed.
Step 2- Play up to 3 cards to your play area from your hand.
Enhance (See image on next page)
Step 1- Draw up to 3 cards from your Enhancement Deck, and place them in your hand. If no cards are left, you cannot draw, but you can still perform Step 2.
Step 2- Play up to 3 cards (heroes, abilities, or stats) to your play area from your hand.
i. Set Hero Cards in a strengthened position, in front of your SkyBase.
ii. Attach Enhancements, hidden beneath heroes not SkyBases, with the word “ABILITY” or “STAT” visible.
-Stat Cards are attached to any hero under your control.
-Ability Cards are attached to any of your heroes, teaching that hero a new ability. See “Abilities” Section for use of these.-
-Heroic Feats aren’t attached to heroes. See “Heroic Feats” Section for use of these.
Recruit (See image below)
Step 1- Recruit (to your hand) up to 2 heroes, from Hero HQ or Reserves, or 1 from both.
Step 2- If Hero HQ has empty slots, refill them from Reserves at the end of your turn.
Note: When Reserves and Hero HQ run out of heroes, gameplay continues, but heroes can no longer be recruited.
(Pro-Tip: Try to always have back-up heroes in your hand, lest something nuclear should occur.)
Overcome (See image on next page)
During an Overcome action, Active Abilities can only be used before Step 1 and after Step 6.
Step 1- Attack: Declare 1 or more heroes in your play area, who are in a strengthened position, to attack your choice of one opposing hero/SkyBase in the Arena (Even if multiple heroes are attacking, this counts as one declared attack).
i. If an opponent has no heroes in the Arena, you may attack their SkyBase. SkyBases cannot be attacked if that opponent has heroes in the Arena.
Step 2- Announce your Total Attack Power:
i. Passive Abilities and attached Attack Stat Cards affect heroes’ Attack Power.
ii. Combine the Attack Power of heroes you use in an attack against one target hero/SkyBase for a combined Total Attack Power.
iii. Once the Total Attack Power has been announced, it cannot be changed.
Step 3- Opponent announces Total Defense Power:
i. Passive Abilities and attached Defense Stat Cards affect heroes’ Defense Power. Fatigued heroes and fatigued SkyBases have half their Total Defense Power after abilities, except when otherwise stated. (reminder: SkyBases will not have Enhancements.)
Step 4- Determine the outcome:
i. If the Total Attack Power is equal to or greater than the Total Defense Power, the defending card is defeated. (See "Discarding")
ii. If the Total Attack Power is equal to or greater than half the defending hero’s/SkyBase’s Total Defense Power but less than the Total Defense Power, the defending hero/SkyBase is fatigued.
iii. Announce all Passive Abilities impacting or triggered by the outcome.
iv. All players must be given the opportunity to trigger outcome-based abilities.
Step 5- Fatigue all attacking heroes at the same time. (It is suggested to rotate the hero(es) but not the Enhancements.)
Step 6- If a player defeats a SkyBase in Free-For-All, all their heroes are healed immediately. If a Skybase is defeated in Team Play, this does not occur.
Step 7- The attacking player may repeat Overcome steps with strengthened heroes left in their play area.
Overcome (Image Example)
Heroes- Heroes, whether defeated or removed, are placed into the Hero Discard Pile next to the Hero HQ.
Enhancements- Enhancements are put in the personal discard pile of the player who controls them at the time of discard.
a. All opposing SkyBases are defeated OR
b. All opponents are removed from the game. A player is removed from the game if they have no heroes in front of their base for 3 full turns in a row. (For example, if player 1 attacks player 2, and it triggers Going Nuclear. Then if neither player can add heroes to the Arena, player 1 did not play a full turn without heroes. Player 2 will be the first to play a full turn without heroes, so Player 1 wins.)
a. All players refuse to (or cannot) draw cards, play cards, attack, or recruit for 5 full turns in a row.
b. Players get into an endless loop of attacking and healing (ex. P1 attacks P2, without any heroes defeated. P2 heals. P1 heals. P2 attacks, without any heroes defeated. P1 heals. P2 heals. Play sequence repeats). Gameplay ends after 6th attack in this situation.
Announce and reveal the ability being used. Do not fatigue the hero to which the ability belongs.
- Abilities exist both on Hero Cards and on Ability Cards. Abilities must be in the Arena to be used. Ability Cards must be attached to heroes before use. Fatigued heroes may still use abilities.
- Abilities are optional to use, unless otherwise indicated (ie. abilities that "must" be used).
- Abilities are not discarded upon use, unless otherwise stated.
i. Active Abilities (A) Unless otherwise stated on a card, Active Abilities may be used once at any point on your turn, only on your turn, every turn (even on a fatigued hero), regardless of the action choice. Active Abilities cannot be used the turn they are played to the Arena from a player’s hand.
ii. Passive Abilities (P) are always in effect, from the moment they hit the Arena. Some trigger upon being discarded, defeated, or removed.
*Some abilities can only be used at certain times, per the instructions on the card.
- Order Announced: Abilities are activated in the order in which they are announced. (For example, if a player announces they are going to use Convert, the opposing player would not be able to use any of the abilities on the converted hero, since that hero immediately leaves their control.)
i. An entire ability is resolved before the next ability can be announced, except when an ability can “prevent” the prior ability. In such a case, the effects of the first ability are nullified.
ii. Abilities that “must” be used are used before any other abilities. If there is more than one that “must” be used, they are used in the order announced.
iii. Abilities that resolve after an attack trigger even if they belong to a hero that is defeated. (Language on card will state, “When an attack against ________ is resolved”)
- Place resolved abilities back beneath their heroes with only the word “ABILITY” showing at the bottom.
Heroic Feats (H)
Heroic feats replace the player’s entire turn and cannot be used with any other actions, abilities, or feats. They are placed straight into a player’s Discard Pile from that player’s hand, and the stated feat is resolved. They cannot be played to the Arena.
- Discard Pile Search: Without using an ability, you may look through any discard pile at any time.
- Hand Count: You must make public the # of cards in your hand if asked.
- Stat Check: If asked, players must announce the added total of visible stats for each hero, which heroes are in the Arena, the # of abilities attached to a hero, and any visible text.
A Few Key Terms
Ability: Unique skills identified on Hero Cards and Ability Cards.
Action: The 4 choices in the acronym HERO you choose from each turn.
Defeat: This occurs when a hero is sent to the Hero Discard Pile because the hero is attacked with an Attack Power greater than the hero’s Defense Power.
Fatigued: This is when a hero is in a horizontal position, incapable of attacking, and with half defense.
Remove: This occurs when a hero is sent to the Hero Discard Pile because an ability says that the hero is removed.
Strengthened: This is when a hero is in a vertical position, capable of attacking, and has full defense.
Free-For-All: Regardless of player count, Free-For-All follows all the standard rules.
Team Play: Team Play is for more than 2 players. All standard rules are followed. However, when a player that is on a team is defeated, the game does not end. Also unlike in Free-For-All, heroes are not healed just because a SkyBase is defeated. The game continues until all players from the opposing team have been defeated or removed from the game.
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The captain looked me fiercely in the eye. She had the look of a veteran who had conquered death itself. Her visage was that of a seasoned warrior who had not only faced the realities and harshness of war but had also overcome the brutality of its aftereffects. She had looked death in the eye and vanquished it. She was strong.
-Ignacia. What’s happened to me?
-You don’t need me to tell you. You accepted the call. You heard, and you followed. Now, it is time for Phase 1 of your training.
-It is time you learned about the Arena...Look.
I gazed into the horizon only to find another remarkable skyship floating on the other side of the sky. It was a beautiful scene to behold, as the golden sun rays outlined the ship and even caused the gas-filled envelope to glow a multi-hued purple.
Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed movement. I turned my head and became aware of a person on a small floating platform lifting off the bow of our ship and floating outward in the direction of the other ship…
The crowd hushed
The air stilled
A weight hovered
Nervous excitement was welling up inside me. Something spectacular was about to occur.
(For more lore, check out the book Empyrean Hero: Isaac’s Story)
Most Importantly My Purpose-Giver-- The Lord | My Truest Passion
Box Back Composition-- Sarah Cone | My Wife; You Are My Delight
Card Illustration-- Culpeo Fox | Cutthroat Kingdoms (AEG); Wooly Whammoth (Smirk & Dagger) | www.culpeo-fox.daportfolio.com
Box Front Illustration-- Carl McIntyre | HighFell: The Drifting Dungeon; World War 2 Cannon, Cape Spear, Newfoundland historic site (Parks Canada) | www.facebook.com/NLIllustrator
KS Banner & Title Design-- Ryan Williams | Backwoods (Indy) | www.mosthighdesign.com/backwoodsgame
Card Graphic Design-- Mohamed Bellafquih | Ark: Awakening (Skyport Games); Strike Tactics (Ex8 Interactive) | www.saltybotgames.wixsite.com/saltybot/pro
Box Layout-- Andrew Harmon | Prophets and Portals (Harmon Games) | www.facebook.com/PortalsAndProphets/.
Rule Editor-- Todd Hicks | Crazy Kitties | www.hicksboardgames.com
Kickstarter Shout-Outs-- The Williams, Mike & Susan, Rich & Carole, Mike, Jason “At Least Nobody Got Hurt” Crutchfield
Game Designer/Art Synthesizer-- G. Wesley Cone