Whether your new to Redemption, or have been playing casually for some time, it’s possible that you don’t have a good grasp on some of the phases of a turn. You might even be asking, “what are the phases of a turn?”. That’s a great question!
If you missed Phases: Part 1, you’ll want to start there to gain an understanding of the draw, upkeep and preparation phases. Today, we’re going to take a look at the remaining two phases of a turn, including the most important phase of the game.
That’s right, the battle phase is the most important phase of the game. It’s where you will win or lose. It’s also the most complicated. The battle can be influenced by every card type, every type of special ability, and can contain multiple characters on either side. Let’s try to make some sense of all this.
Present a Hero
The battle phase begins with a single Hero entering the field of battle. The Hero’s special ability activates in the order it’s written on the card. However, if a special ability will add a character to the battle, it must wait until other abilities have completed.
Next, activate weapons that are held by a warrior. After that, if you have a band ability, this is the time that you can bring another character into the battle.
Last, there might be cards that trigger when a Hero enters battle or a player is attacked. These abilities activate once the initial Hero and all other resulting abilities have completed. Examples of these are Hidden Treasures, Armor of God Enhancements from The Persecuted Church, Fortress of Antonia and Philistine Outpost.
If the Hero(es) do not have access to a Lost Soul, the battle is considered to be a battle challenge. New players often ask about the point of the battle challenge. It’s an opportunity to gain a benefit from activating your Hero’s special ability. Gabriel can discard an Enhancement from the opponent’s deck. Habakkuk can discard a warrior class Evil Character. Some Heroes can even generate a Lost Soul to turn the battle challenge into a rescue attempt.
Provided one or more Heroes in battle have access to a Lost Soul, the battle is a rescue attempt. A battle can change between a rescue attempt and battle challenge multiple times during the same battle through the manipulation of Lost Souls, protect abilities, and Site access.
The opponent may block a rescue attempt or battle challenge by placing an Evil Character in the field of battle. The special ability of the Evil Character is carried out, in the same order described for the Hero above – as written on the card, then weapons, then banding, and finally choose the rescuer.
Sometimes cards trigger from an Evil Character blocking. These will activate after the Evil Character special ability and any resulting abilities are complete. Examples of this type of ability are Angel’s Sword and The Throne of David.
If the opponent does not block your rescue attempt or otherwise stop your Hero then they must choose a Lost Soul to award you. If the opponent chooses not to block your battle challenge your Hero(es) return to your territory.
When Heroes face off against Evil Characters you must determine initiative. Initiative is simply a way of saying that it’s a players turn to play an Enhancement. To do this we compare each character’s strength (*/) against the opposing character’s toughness (/*). If a character’s strength is equal to or more than the opposing characters’ toughness then the opposing character is being defeated.
The losing side of the battle always has initiative. That’s easy to determine if one character is clearly defeating the other. But sometimes it’s not that simple. Let’s look at the four possible battle outcomes.
- The Hero is winning. Example: Samson faces Achan.
- The Evil Character is winning. Example: John faces Emperor Tiberius.
- The characters face mutual destruction. Example: Gathering Angel faces Mocking Soldier.
- If neither character is defeating the other the battle is a stalemate. Example: Peter faces Pilate’s Soldiers.
The first two examples are simple enough. One character is obviously winning so the loser gets to play an Enhancement. But what about a tie through mutual destruction or a stalemate?
In both situations you will determine who played the last card and grant the other player initiative. Since the Hero enters battle first, if no Enhancements have been played yet, the blocking Evil Character is the last card played giving initiative to the Hero.
The Battle Continues
Players can continue to play Enhancements, following initiative, until a player chooses to play no more Enhancements or all of their characters are removed. Even then there are sometimes sneaky ways to add another character to the battle with cards like Unknown Nation, The Gates of Hell and Boaz’ Sandal.
It’s important to mention that a Dominant can be played at any time another ability is not completing. You do not need initiative to play a Dominant. The battle phase is the best time to use many Dominants because of the advantage they can create for you.
If you play Angel of the Lord on the only blocking Evil Character, your Hero is likely to rescue a Lost Soul without any further opposition.
Likewise, if you play Christian Martyr on the only Hero your opponent is using in battle, you’ve probably stopped the rescue attempt.
If you need access to an opponent’s Site, there are a number of ways to get it. Some Heroes have a Site access ability. There are also Enhancements that grant Site access. Abilities that discard or take an opponent’s Site can get you access to a Lost Soul as well.
The most common way to gain access is by adding your empty Site to battle with your Hero. I encounter quite a few players who don’t realize that you can add a Site to the battle from your territory at any time during the battle.
Dragon Raid promo is probably the most commonly used access Site. As a result, hard core Site players will use Pergamum to stop Dragon Raid. But you don’t have to have a multi-brigade Site to gain access. Even a single-brigade Site of the correct color will work. For example, to gain access to Pergamum you could add Marketplace to battle.
We begin a step called battle resolution to determine the battle outcome. This begins once the losing player declines to play anymore cards by choice or because they are unable, or in a stalemate or mutual destruction situation if initiative has passed 3 times with no Enhancement played.
- If the Hero defeats the Evil Character with larger numbers or by a special ability the rescuing player is awarded a Lost Soul.
- If the battle ends in mutual destruction where both characters’ defeat one another by the numbers it’s said that the Hero gives his life for the Lost Soul. When this happens the rescuing player is awarded a Lost Soul.
- If the Evil Character defeats the Hero with larger numbers or by a special ability no Lost Soul is awarded.
- If neither the Hero or the Evil Character defeat one another so that the battle ends in a stalemate no Lost Soul is awarded.
Once you determine the battle outcome, discard defeated characters and return surviving characters to territory. Next, discard all Enhancements played during battle. If a weapon-class Enhancement was played and a warrior-class character of matching brigade was in battle, you may choose to allow the warrior to keep one weapon. Finally, award a Lost Soul to the rescuing player if they have earned one.
Before your turn ends, you must decrease your hand to eight cards or less. You’re also allowed to perform a number of game actions, similar to the preparation phase. During the discard phase you can:
- Play a character from hand.
- Play a Fortress or Site from hand. However, you cannot add cards to these during the discard phase.
- Play an Artifact face down on your Artifact Pile. However, you cannot activate an Artifact during the discard phase.
- Play a healing, set-aside, weapon, or territory-class Enhancement on a character of matching brigade.
- Discard any number of cards from your hand to your discard pile.
Since each of those were covered in great detail during the preparation phase I won’t take the time to elaborate on them here.
You can perform each of those actions any number of times and in any order you choose. Like the preparation phase, it’s important to play your cards in the order that will benefit you the most.
End of Turn
If you’ve made it this far your turn is over. Congratulations, you’ve now mastered all five phases of Redemption! You’re a step ahead of many players. Knowing how to play each phase will enhance your enjoyment of the game and give you an edge over the competition.
While it may seem like there is a lot of detail here, this is really just a basic overview of the core things you need to know. It’s certainly enough to get you through most turns and even many games, but there are still unique situations that might come up leaving you with questions.
If you run in to any of those unique situations, or if something I’ve explained above isn’t entirely clear, please feel free to leave your questions or comments below!
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