Following are the complete and official rules for the trading card game Tails and Tactics. If you're new to the game, give these rules a quick read through and you'll be ready for battle!
These rules will be updated and clarified as questions arise and mechanics mature, so check back here if you find yourself with a question about the game. If you have a question about the contents or abilities of a specific card, be sure to also check the card index to see if your question has been addressed. If these two things cannot answer your question, feel free to send the Tails and Tactics team an email at (email address). Your input will help us to make these rules better and a bit more (pun incoming) bulletproof.
With that said, let's get started!
Table of Contents
- Things You'll Need
- Objective of the Game
- Anatomy of a Card
- Card Types
- Game Structure
Things You'll Need
The only thing that's not optional when playing Tails and Tactics is a deck comprised of 40 or more Tails and Tactics cards. Your deck should be made up of only one Faction and should stick to the maximum number of copies per card as defined by that card's info (see Anatomy of a Card - Card Information). Other things that might make your gaming experience go more smoothly are:
- A way to keep track of each player's Base Health, such as paper and pencil, tokens, or a CCG life counter
- A way to keep track of the amount of damage each unit has taken, such as paper and pencil or tokens
- Something to decide who gets the first turn, such as a coin, a die, or mad rock/paper/scissors skills
Objective of the Game
To win. Duh.
In order to do that, though, you must fight through your opponent's front line and attack his or her base enough to deplete its health to 0 - before they do so to you.
Each player begins the game with 30 Base Health. Base Health is lost when a unit controlled by an opposing player attacks your base (represented by you, the player). They may only do so, though, when you have no units on the field to defend with. If you do have units on the field that are able to defend, opponents must remove them before being able to attack your base directly.
1 base health is lost per attack, no matter how powerful (or weak) the attacking unit is. Some powerful units make up for this by having the ability to attack multiple times, so watch out!
Base health may also be lost when an opponent attacks one of your units and you choose to dodge the attack. Any dodged attacks will be applied directly to your base.
Once your opponent's base health reaches 0, you are victorious! Gloating and victory dances are acceptable at this point.
Anatomy of a Card
Each Tails and Tactics card is comprised of several distinct parts, as outlined below:
This appears at the upper-left corner of every card and is used to identify it within the game.
Appearing just to the left of a Unit's health is its Type symbol. There are three unit types:
Troops are represented by a character in prone position. These are the building blocks of your army.
Positions are represented by a cannon on wheels. They usually boast quite a bit of power, but they cannot dodge attacks.
Vehicles are represented by a tank in profile. These are usually your army's heavy hitters.
This appears at the upper-right corner of every unit that is able to be attacked. This number signifies the number of attacks that particular unit can withstand before being removed from the battlefield.
If a unit is able to attack, it will have an Attacks number. The first item in a unit's second row of stats and set on top of an explosion icon, this is the number of times that unit may attack per turn. Attacks are flexible: each attack may have a separate target unless noted otherwise, and each attack doesn't even need to be concurrent.
Attack and Defense Stats
The remaining items in a unit's second row, these numbers signify the amount of damage this unit can deal to each unit type (Troops, Positions, and Vehicles) as well as this unit's defense against each unit type. With the x/y notation, the first number (x) is Attack and the second number (y) is Defense.
When attacking, compare the numbers of the attacking and defending units. For example, if the attacking unit is a Position and the defending unit is a Troop, look at the Troop Attack value on the attacking unit. If it matches or exceeds the Position Defense value of the defending unit, the defending unit receives one damage per attack.
Some cards have an additional row just above their artwork that lists the special stat effects of that card. For example, an Equipment card may modify the Unit it's attached to by giving it more attacks or greater defense.
It doesn't affect gameplay, but it sure makes it prettier
Faction, Terrain, and Card Type
Located just to the right of the main artwork, these represent the card's Faction (the army that the card belongs to), favored Terrain (this is not yet a factor in Series 1; stay tuned!), and a quick reference for its Card Type (for example, Trap or Sidearm). Consult the Card Information at the bottom of a card for more specificity on its Card Type.
The first block of text underneath the artwork usually outlines what you need to do when you place this card on the battlefield. Cards that require no additional work on your part will say 'No Deployment Requirements'. Most complex units will require you to discard simpler units from the field as they come into play. Equipment will require you to attach it to an existing unit on the field.
If this card has any abilities, effects, or unique characteristics, they will be detailed here.
Generally silly text that doesn't affect gameplay in any way
This information, located at the bottom of the card right above the Metadata, details this card's specific Card Type(s). Card Types may be referenced by other cards during the course of the game. Additionally, it specifies the maximum amount of copies of this card that can be used in a single deck.
This bottommost area of the card specifies the card's Artist, the game's copyright info, and the card's number, in that order. Breaking down the card number from left to right, we find:
- The card's Series. All cards currently in circulation are in Series 1, denoted by "01".
- The card's Print Run. 01 represents the first printing run of the series, 02 the second, and so on.
- The Card Number. This number is unique within the card's Series. Card Numbers are usually assigned alphabetically.
- The card's Rarity. The lower the number, the rarer that card is. Roman numerals in this spot represent a limited print run, the size of which is represented by that number
Tails and Tactics cards span several distinct Card Types, each of which is used differently during play. Get to know how each is used to be a more effective player and deckbuilder!
Units are the building blocks of your army and are easily identified by the presence of a Unit Type. Units can be either a Troop, Position, or Vehicle, and their interactions with other units will change depending on their types. For more detail about how Units work once they're on the battlefield, see Attacking and Defending.
Equipment comes into play attached to a Unit already on the battlefield. Equipment can attach to any Troop, Position, or Vehicle unless stated otherwise (for example, "equips a troop without a sidearm"), and typically enhances the Unit it's attached to. Once attached to a Unit, Equipment has its own attacks and stats (Equipment attacks as the Unit Type as designated by the icon in its top-right corner). Equipment cannot be attached to a different unit once it's already been put into play. If a Unit dies or is discarded, any Equipment attached to it must also be discarded.
Events are one-time use cards that produce desirable effects for you (or undesirable effects for enemies). Events may only be played during your turn and are discarded once their effects take place. Unless explicitly stated otherwise, Events' effects end at the end of the current turn. Once played, Events' effects may take place before the most recent action this turn. Scientists are still working on figuring out how this is possible.
Traps have all the characteristics of Events, but they differ in that you may play them in one of two different ways. The first is identical to an Event: play it at any time during your turn for an immediate effect. Alternatively, you may play a Trap face-down on the field during your turn. Turn a face-down Trap face-up at any time (even during an opponent's turn!) to activate its effects. Traps are discarded once their effects take place.
Turfs are deployed onto the field and provide lasting positive effects for your army (or lasting negative effects for your enemies) for as long as they remain in play. Turfs are similar to Units in how they're deployed and how they take damage, but they have no attacks and they do not prevent opposing units from attacking your base directly.
New Rule cards, like Turfs, are placed onto the battlefield and provide lasting effects for as long as they remain in play. They have no health, may not be attacked, and do not prevent opposing units from attacking your base directly.
Each game of Tails and Tactics consists of an initial Setup phase followed by alternating player turns. Each step is explained in detail in the following sections.
Before the game begins, each player may search his or her deck for a Rule Changer card and place it face-down on the battlefield. This will be turned face-up (and will take effect) at the end of the setup step.
Each player now shuffles his or her deck to form a draw pile, then draws 9 cards.
As military battles tend to not just trickle in unit by unit, the battlefield is set up before the first turn. From your initial hand, you may deploy any amount of Units, Traps, Turfs, or New Rules face-down onto the battlefield to bolster your starting defenses. If any of those cards has deployment requirements, place those requirements face-down on the battlefield along with it.
Deploying at least two cards in this manner is encouraged because each player has a hand limit of 7 cards. This limit is enforced at the end of the setup step and at the end of each turn. If a player has more cards in hand than the hand limit at these times, he or she must discard cards of their choosing until their hand meets the requirements.
Once all players are content with the state of the battlefield, decide who will take the first turn. The method of deciding this is up to you. Common methods include flipping a coin, rolling a die, or holding a dance-off.
Now that you're ready to go, reveal the battlefield! Each player flips over each of his or her deployed cards (except for Traps). For each card with deployment requirements revealed during this step, those requirements must also be present on the battlefield and then discarded before the game begins. If a card's requirements are not met, discard that card at the end of the setup step.
When your turn begins, draw two cards from your draw pile. If your draw pile becomes empty at any point, shuffle your discard pile and place it face-down to make a new draw pile.
Now you have your whole turn ahead of you! Turns are largely unstructured and contain only two requirements: you must draw two cards before you begin, and you must discard down to your hand limit (7 cards by default) before the next player takes their turn. Between those two steps, you may take any allowed action in any order. Plan your strategy well when making your moves!
The next few sections will detail the things you can do.
Cards are deployed onto the battlefield and remain there until they are discarded, destroyed, or otherwise removed. Deployed cards may attack, defend, and/or activate any abilities they may have immediately after entering the battlefield.
Cards that say "No Deployment Requirements" may be deployed with no further effort on your part, but other cards will require you to discard other units. Any cards discarded this way must be done so from the battlefield (not from your hand). Deploying a card without meeting its deployment requirements means you must discard it as soon as it enters the battlefield. Its effects do not occur if it's discarded this way.
When deploying Equipment (see: Card Types - Equipment), you must have a valid unit already in play to attach it to. If the Equipment can't attach to anything, it is discarded as soon as it enters the battlefield.
Remember that you decide the order of the actions you take! It is entirely legal to deploy some basic units, attack with them, and then discard them to bring a bigger unit onto the field all in the same turn. Just remember that your opponents can do the same to you.
Any unit that has a number of attacks (see Anatomy of a Card - Attacks) may attack at any time during your turn. If a unit has more than 1 attack available, those attacks do not need to be taken at the same time.
Equipment attached to a Unit might have its own attacks (as designated by the attacks number, same as a Unit). Equipments' attacks do not have to occur at the same time as the unit it's attached to, nor do they have to target the same things.
When you attack, it's up to you to select each attack's target. For unit with multiple attacks, you may choose separate targets for each attack unless noted otherwise on the card (see Special Attacks - X on Y). Your highest-priority target is, of course, your opponent's base (represented by the player), but anything with a health value (see Anatomy of a Card - Health) is a valid target.
Remember that you may not attack an opponent's base directly if he or she has Units on the field! Turfs, although they have a health value, do not prevent you from attacking an opponent's base.
Successfully attacking an opponent's base causes him or her to lose 1 Base Health for every attack that hits, no matter how weak or strong the unit doing the attacking is. Many stronger units have multiple attacks so they may cause an opponent to lose multiple points of Base Health in a single turn.
If your target is another card on the field, the Unit Types of the attacking and defending unit come into play (see Anatomy of a Card - Unit Type). Every unit that can attack or defend has a Unit Type of either Troop, Position, or Vehicle, and the damage they do and the amount of damage they can withstand differs depends on the Unit Types that are interacting.
For example, let's say that a Position decides to attack a Vehicle. Look at each card's Attack and Defense Stats row (see Anatomy of a Card - Attack and Defense Stats). The unit that's attacking the Vehicle will use its Vehicle stats to deal damage, and the unit defending against the Position will use its Position stats to see how much damage it can withstand.
If the attacking unit's relevant Attack stat is greater than or equal to the defending unit's relevant Defense stat, the defending unit loses 1 health for each attack it incurs. Units with 0 health left are discarded.
A few cards have special types of attacks:
Explosive: designated by "Explosive" in the Card Type, Explosive attacks cannot be dodged by the target unit.
Direct: designated by "Dir." next to the attacks number, Direct attacks cannot be dodged by the target unit. Additionally, Direct attacks may target an opponent's base regardless of whether or not said opponent has defending units on the field.
X on Y: if the attacks number of a unit is followed by "on" plus a number (for example, "3 on 1"), the second number denotes the maximum amount of unique targets that attacks from that unit can have per turn. A unit that has "3 on 1" attacks has 3 attacks against a single target that turn, while a unit that has "4 on 2" attacks has 4 attacks distributed in any way amongst a maximum of two targets that turn.
Events, Traps, and Other Shenanigans
During your turn you may also deploy and/or activate any number of Events, Traps, Turfs, and New Rules from your hand, as long as you meet any requirements they might have (see: Deploying Units - Requirements).
Events (see: Card Types - Events) take place immediately as they're deployed. Once their effects end, they are discarded.
Traps (see: Card Types - Traps) may be deployed either face-up or face-down. If deployed face-up, their effects take place immediately. If deployed face-down, they may be turned face-up at any time (including during opponents' turns) to activate their effects. Once a Trap's effects end, it is discarded.
Turfs (see: Card Types - Turfs) are deployed onto the battlefield and remain there until discarded, removed, or destroyed. Their effects last for as long as they are on the battlefield. Note that Turfs have a health value (see: Anatomy of a Card - Health) and thus may be attacked by opponents. If attacked, a Turf cannot dodge.
New Rules (see: Card Types - New Rules) are deployed onto the battlefield and remain there until discarded or removed. Their effects last for as long as they are on the battlefield. One New Rule of your choice from your deck may also be placed onto the battlefield during the Setup step (see: Game Structure - Battlefield Setup).
Actions and Timing
An "action" is defined by any in-game move that a player makes. Such things as placing a soldier on the battlefield, attacking with a unit, dodging, or playing an Event are considered "actions". The only two events that are not considered "actions" are:
- drawing cards, and
- discarding cards at the end of a turn to meet hand limit requirements.
Note that deploying a card and discarding its deployment requirements is all counted as one action.
Why this matters:
When deploying an Event or Trap, the player that deployed it may choose to have its effects take place immediately before the most recent action that turn. This enables Events or Traps to effectively counter or negate opponents' efforts.
This also opens the door to "chaining" events, as playing an Event or a Trap is itself considered an action. For example, let's say you attack with a unit and an opponent springs a Trap that destroys that unit. Normally, the opponent's Trap would destroy the unit before it had the chance to attack. However, if you deploy an Event that counters the effects of a Trap, your Event will counter the opponent's Trap before it has the chance to destroy your unit. Your unit will then attack as normal.
Your Opponent's Turn
During opponents' turns, you have fewer options when it comes to taking actions, and usually most of your actions will be reactionary in nature.
When an enemy attacks one of your units, you have a simple (although sometimes difficult) choice: either you may have the attacking unit deal its damage as usual, or you may have the defending unit dodge the attack. For each attack dodged, that attack continues and hits your base, decreasing your Base Health by 1.
Note that although Turfs and Positions can take damage, they cannot dodge.
During any opponent's turn, you may activate any face-down traps on your side of the battlefield. Remember that traps activated this way may take place before the most recent action that turn (see: Actions and Timing) and thus can be effective countermeasures against an opponent's offense.