Here it is, your 2024 rulebook for Sorcery: Contested Realm.
Before we dive into some of the bigger changes that have been made since our last update (back in August!). We’d like to say a huge ‘thank you’ to all the sorcerers out there who have put their time and effort into discussing this amazing game and the way it works.
Thank you to our league players, who are always willing to test new rules; the experienced players, who we see answering rules questions around the clock; and the new players, who continue to ask the hard questions about why things work the way they do.
Big Rules Changes
Revamped Rulebook Structure
The first major change that players might notice is that the general structure of the rulebook has been changed, and we now introduce concepts in a different order. This is all in the pursuit of a more streamlined learning experience for those new players. So if you’re reading the rulebook and can’t find something you could before, recheck the table of contents, as it may have moved.
The Storyline System
A new page has been added at the end of the Advanced Concepts section that covers Sorcery’s resolution system, the Storyline. This system reveals how spells and abilities are resolved, and pairs with the Golden rule to empower you to resolve tricky situations, especially around the timing of triggers.
For most of your time playing Sorcery, you and your opponent should be able to collaboratively resolve conflicts as they might arise during the story that you both are telling. However, in those rare circumstances where a little more help is required, the Storyline system will keep the game moving.
Moving to Defend
Minions with Movement +X and Moves Freely are now stronger on the defense, as all movement-related abilities can now be used when taking the Defend basic ability. Originally, we wanted to ensure that board states didn’t become challenging to understand when it came to who could attack and defend, and where. Over the last year, we’ve seen that the opposite is true, with players adapting to the grid quickly and even expecting that movement abilities should all be applied equally.
Projectiles, or You Can’t Curve a Bullet
We’ve simplified the projectile rules to reduce the amount of decision-making when they are shot. This was another hurdle for new players, learning exactly how to plot a projectile’s path and with multiple possible starting points. Now projectiles fly out from the minion shooting it, starting at their location but ignoring them and other allies there. Consequently, this also makes projectiles a little easier to defend against, as players can no longer curve their shot to ignore an enemy that is right up in their face.
Related to these new projectile rules is an update to the Ranged keyword so that the ability now allows a unit to fire a projectile and strike an impacted unit. Typically the projectile will stop after traveling one step, but this new definition allows for longer-range shots when the keyword is written with a number (eg. Ranged 2).
The rules around Stealth have seen a number of changes, most notably that this status should be tracked with a token and that once that token is lost the keyword is lost too. Other than that, stealth minions now can’t be hit by projectiles (a real narrative win), and the list of actions that will break stealth is now more specific.
It’s called Summoning Sickness for a reason
Another rule that was found to be unintuitive for new players was the application of summoning sickness to minions as their control passed from one player to another. The new rulebook has been updated to only apply these restrictions to minions as they are summoned. This means you’ll need to be wary about what minions you leave untapped as defenders if you think your opponent might have the means to make them betray you.
- If you’ve played on our 2-player store mats you’ll already know that what was once the Silver rule is now the Golden rule, putting even more emphasis on Sorcery’s pursuit of friendly kitchen-table play.
- Clarifications to the Avatar card-type entry, stating that they cannot enter regions other than the surface.
- Clarifications to the Automaton card-type entry. Since they are minions, specific references to automatons have been removed throughout the rulebook.
- Now, if either player attempts to draw a card from an empty deck, they immediately lose instead of being placed at Death’s Door.
- Minor clarifications added to the Navigating the Realm section.
- The steps of the Start Phase have been reordered. Your cards will now untap and sites will provide mana before start of turn triggers occur.
- Edits made to the Gaining Mana section to consolidate terms and to clarify when you have Mana available.
- Clarifications added to the Summoning Sickness section around what actions are prohibited.
- Edit made to the Casting Auras section to clarify they occupy and can affect voids.
- Edits made throughout the Activating Abilities section to correctly refer to the Move and Attack basic action.
- The definition for Moving Freely now specifies that it only works when using the Move and Attack or Defend abilities.
- Teleport definition now allows a unit to reappear at their starting location and specifies that moving via teleportation doesn’t count as taking steps.
- The ‘Other Ways to Move’ entry is now called ‘Special Movement Effects’ and provides clarity on what effects are considered forced movement and what special abilities apply during forced movement.
- Updated the definition of Airborne to more clearly state that it only applies while on the surface.
- Updated the definition of Deathrite and Sacrifice to clarify that their effects occur before the card is placed in the cemetery.
- Added a definition for Fight.
- Added a definition for Moves Freely.
- Stronger, Strongest, Weaker, Weakest has an added line on how to break ties.
- Updated the definitions of Disabled, Immobilised, Silenced.
- Removed At Rest definition, this will move into the FAQ for the two cards that use it.
Thank you again for all of the feedback and for the support you have provided, not only to us but to each other as a community that is growing alongside this game. We continue to welcome your feedback and wish you good luck in the games to come.
We’ll see you out there in the Realm!