For a millennium, the Empire was at war. Fueled by military
precision and an unprecedented alliance with dragons, the
Imperial Armies knew countless victories and few defeats. The
Empire grew until its greatest enemy was not any of the barbarian
nations to the east, but its own unmanageable size. At the frontier,
victories and expansion were replaced by an endless cycle of
rebellion and re-conquest.
Weary of war, the Emperor crafted a bold new strategy: peace
through trade. One hundred and seventy years ago, he ordered
the establishment of Thandar, an independent frontier trading
post at the confluence of the four great rivers.
Though many argued that peace with the wild tribes was
impossible, trade flourished and the trading post quickly grew to
a town, then into a small city, and beyond.
Hero Realms is set in and around the sprawling metropolis that
Thandar has grown into. The city-state is now home to folk from
all the species and nations of the known world. While Thandar’s
trade has delivered its promised peace to nations, the wealth
generated by its trade spurs endless political and physical conflict
amongst its residents.
Combat (
) is used to attack other players and
their Champions.
Health (
) is your score. Each player begins the game with 50
Health. When a player has no Health remaining, they are out of
the game. The last one standing, wins!
Personal Deck and Keeping Score
Each player begins the game with a personal deck containing a
Shortsword, a Dagger, a Ruby, and seven Gold.
We suggest you keep score with pencil and paper, but for your
convenience we’ve also included health-tracking cards. To use
them, line up the appropriate side of the “tens digit” card just
under the correct digit on the “ones digit” card. For example, if
you were at 30 Health, then took 3 damage bringing your Health
to 27, you would track that as seen here:
To set up the game, shuffle the Market Deck and place it facedown on the table. Then, deal the top five cards of the Market
Deck face-up in a row next to the Market Deck. These face-up
cards make up the Market.
Next to the last card in the Market, place the 16 Fire Gem
cards in a single stack, face-up. Finally, leave a space next to
the Market Deck for a Sacrifice Pile where some cards will end
up during the game.
Each player shuffles their personal deck and places it facedown in front of them. Leave room next to these for a discard
Randomly determine which player goes first. That player
draws three cards (players always draw from their own
personal deck). The player going second draws five cards.
The Basics
This game comes with this rule sheet and 144 cards. (See the card
list on the back.) Each player starts with a personal deck of cards
representing their resources, equipment, actions, and champions.
Each turn, you will play all of the cards from your hand to gain
Gold, Combat, Health, and other powerful effects.
Gold (
) is used to buy cards from the Market to add to your
deck. These cards represent the actions you can perform and
champions you can recruit to your side.
Players alternate taking turns. Starting with the first player, play
proceeds clockwise. Each turn has three phases:
◆ Main Phase
◆ Discard Phase
◆ Draw Phase
All cards have a title, like Spark, and a card type, like Action,
Champion, or Item. Many cards will have a subtype, like Spell.
Card names, types, and subtypes do not affect gameplay directly,
but some cards look for these words on other cards to grant
Name, Card Type, & Subtype
Faction →
← Cost
Main Phase
Any time during your Main Phase, you may perform any of the
following, in any order, as many times as you are able:
◆ Play a card from your hand.
◆ Use the expend, ally, and/or sacrifice abilities of any of your
cards in play.
◆ Use Gold to acquire new cards from the Market.
◆ Use Combat to attack an opponent and/or their champions.
Playing Cards
There is no cost to play a card; simply place it into play face-up
on the table in front of you. There are three types of cards you can
have in your deck: Actions, Items, and Champions.
Actions and Items
When an Action or Item is played, its primary ability happens
immediately. If an Action or Item has an ally and/or a sacrifice
ability, you may choose to use one or both of these abilities
any time during your Main Phase (provided you fulfill the
requirements for doing so).
Actions and Items are put into play face-up in front of you until
the Discard Phase, at which point they are placed in your discard
Beginning of game layout. Player 1 is going first.
Each Champion has a Defense number (in a shield) that
represents the amount of Damage that it must take in a single
turn to stun it. Once stunned, a Champion is placed in its
owner’s discard pile. Damage to Champions does not carry over
between turns.
Some Champions are guards. Guards have a black defense
shield with word “Guard” above it. Guards that are prepared
protect you and your other Champions. While you have a
prepared guard in play, you may not be attacked, and your
non-guard Champions may not be attacked or targeted by an
opponent until all of your guards are stunned.
Notes: Guards protect one player and that player’s Champions.
They do not protect other players or those other player’s
champions, even when playing a team format. Also, Champions
prepare at the end of your turn. (See “Discard Phase” on the
back of this sheet.)
Primary →
Ally →
Unlike Actions and Items, Champions are not discarded at
the end of the turn. Instead, they remain in play until they are
stunned or sacrificed.
Champions enter play vertically-oriented, with the title of
the card furthest away from you. We call this prepared. Most
champions have an expend ability ( ). To use an expend ability,
turn the card sideways to gain the effect listed after the
; you
may do this at any point during the Main Phase.
Using Abilities
The Primary Ability of an Item or Action is used immediately
when they are played. All other abilities may be played at any
time during that player’s Main Phase.
If an ability grants Gold or Combat, that resource goes into a
resource pool which can be used at any point during the Main
Phase. If an ability grants Health, immediately add it to that
player’s Health total.
Some abilities allow you to choose from multiple effects. Make it
clear to everyone which effect you are choosing.
Expend Abilities
Expend abilities are indicated by
in the text box. To use this
ability, turn the card sideways. You can use the Expend Ability
of cards at any point during your Main Phase, including the
turn you play the card with an Expend Ability.
Example of a champion after using its expend ability
There are some cards which “prepare” other cards during your
turn. This would let you use the ability again on the same turn!
Ally Abilities
Ally Abilities are indicated by a faction icon in the text box.
On your turn, an Ally Ability may be used as soon as you have
another card of that faction in play. The order in which you play
your cards does not matter. As soon as you have two or more
cards of the same faction in play, you may trigger all relevant Ally
Abilities. They may be used at any time during your Main Phase,
and each may only be used once per turn.
Sacrifice Abilities
Some cards have a Sacrifice Ability, indicated by
in the text
box. These abilities represent using a magic scroll that works
once, or a heroic act of a champion doing whatever they can to
save the day. Whenever a card is sacrificed, place it in the Sacrifice
Pile. If a card is sacrificed for any reason other than its Sacrifice
Ability, that ability does not trigger. (If one of the Fire Gem cards
would be put into the Sacrifice Pile for any reason, instead put it
face-up in the Fire Gem pile.)
Acquiring Cards
Some card abilities will give you Gold. When you gain Gold, it goes
into a Gold Pool which you may add to and spend from over the
course of your Main Phase.
Gold is used to acquire cards from the Market or from the
Fire Gem pile. A card’s cost is found in its upper-right-hand corner.
To acquire a card, subtract Gold from your Gold Pool equal to the
card’s cost and put the card into your discard pile. Then, fill the
empty space in the Market with the top card of the Market Deck.
Acquiring a card does not count as playing it, so it doesn’t go into
play and you do not use its abilities. Any remaining Gold is saved
and can be used to acquire additional cards during the Main Phase.
Some card abilities will give you Combat. When you gain Combat,
it goes into a Combat Pool which you may add to and use over the
course of your Main Phase. You may use Combat to attack your
opponent and/or their Champions. You may make any number of
attacks during your Main Phase.
To attack a Champion, subtract any amount of Combat from your
Combat Pool and the Champion takes an equal amount of damage.
If the Champion has taken damage this turn equal to or greater
than its Defense, stun the Champion and put it into its owner’s
discard pile.
Sometimes a card’s ability will instruct you to “Stun target
champion.” In this case, you stun the Champion without using
Combat. (Important reminder: You cannot target non-guard
Champions if your opponent has a guard Champion in play!)
To attack an opponent, subtract any amount of Combat from your
Combat Pool and lower your opponent’s Health by that amount.
Opponents cannot be attacked if they have a guard Champion in
play -- you’ll need to stun guards first before you can attack the
player they are protecting.
Note: Many Champions have an Expend Ability that gives
Hunter — First Blood (3+ players)
Same as Free-for-All, except that each player may only attack or
target the player to their left, and may only attack or target the
champions belonging to the players on their left and right. The first
player starts with 3 cards in their opening hand, the second player
starts with 4 cards, and each other player starts with 5 cards. The
game ends when a player is eliminated; the player to their right
wins! (Even if someone else did the eliminating - play carefully!)
Hunter — Last One Standing (3+ players)
Same as Hunter — First Blood, except when a player is eliminated
the game continues. The person to the eliminated player’s right
gains 10 health and draws a card. Last player standing, wins!
Combat. Combat gained from expending a Champion goes
into your Combat Pool; your Champion does not attack another
Champion directly.
Discard Phase
Whenever you discard a card or acquire a new card from the
Market, place it face-up in your discard pile. Any player may look
through your discard pile at any time. During your Discard Phase,
you do each of the following:
◆ Lose any Gold remaining in your Gold Pool.
◆ Lose any Combat remaining in your Combat Pool.
◆ Put all in-play Items and Actions into your discard pile.
◆ Put any cards left in your hand into your discard pile.
◆ Prepare all of your Champions.
Draw Phase
During your Draw Phase, you draw five cards and then your
turn ends.
Note: If at any time during your turn your personal deck is empty
and you need to draw or reveal cards from your Personal Deck,
shuffle your discard pile and place it face-down as your new
personal deck.
Example: At the beginning of your Draw Phase you have three
cards left in your deck. Draw them, shuffle your discard pile into a
new personal deck, then draw two more cards.
Expend - to turn a card sideways to show it has been used.
Expended - a card that is sideways.
Prepare - to put a card back to its original, vertical orientation.
Prepared - a card in its original, vertical orientation.
Stun - to send a champion to its owner’s discard pile. Some abilities
stun a champion directly. Most of the time, a champion is stunned
when it is dealt damage equal to its defense value.
With an additional purchase of Hero Realms, or by adding Hero
Realms Character Packs, you can play with teams of three. Those
teams begin with 100 health each. (Learn more about Character
Packs at
Emperor (6 players; requires Character Packs or a second copy of
Hero Realms.)
Players split into two teams of three, with each team choosing one
player to be their Emperor. (If using two Character Packs, make
those players the Emperors.) The Emperors sit facing each other,
flanked by their teammates (Commanders) on either side.
Each player has their own Gold and Combat Pools, and still makes
their own decisions regarding playing and acquiring cards, ability
activations, and attacking. Teammates may work together to stun
Champions, using a combination of Combat from their respective
Combat Pools. Teammates may also pool their Gold to acquire cards
from the Marketplace. As long as any player on a team has a Guard
in play, the team may not be attacked and non-Guard Champions
belonging to anyone on that team may not be attacked or targeted
by opponents.
When a team’s health is reduced to zero, all players on that team
are defeated.
Faction Icons / Ally Ability
These icons are found in the upper-left-hand corner of many
cards, and they indicate that card’s faction. When this icon is
found in a card’s text box, it indicates an Ally Ability.
Guild Faction
The fortune in trade that flows through Thandar has fueled a
powerful organized-crime syndicate known as “The Guild.”
Necros Faction
The demon-worshiping Necros cult festers in the city’s
underbelly, preying on the homeless, the forgotten, and any that
dare challenge them.
Imperial Faction
The Empire still clings to its military traditions. Its highlytrained soldiers, reality-bending wizards, and deadly dragons
comprise the best fighting force the world has ever known.
Wild Faction
Elven kingdoms older than recorded human history, ravaging
orc war hosts, savage nomadic human tribes, trolls, and deadly
wild beasts can all be found in vast wild lands east of the Empire.
Players start the game with a score of 50 health. If your Health
is reduced to zero or less, you are defeated. When this icon
is found in a card’s text box, it indicates an amount of Health
you gain.
When this icon is found in a card’s text box, it indicates an
amount of Combat you add to your Combat Pool.
Emperors may attack or target any player or champion.
During their Main Phase, a player may pay one Gold to move a
card from their discard pile to the discard pile of a neighboring
When a Commander is defeated, they may put any one card
(from their hand, deck, or discard pile) into the Emperor’s
discard pile. When an Emperor is defeated, their team loses the
Hydra (4 players, 2 players per team)
Each two-player team begins the game with 75 health. All players
on a team share a health score. Each individual player has their
own personal deck, hand, discard pile and in-play zone. (Your
teammate’s cards will not trigger your Ally Abilities.)
Randomly determine which team will go first. Players on that team
get three-card starting hands, other players get five-card starting
hands. Each team takes a shared turn, both playing their hands at
the same time, with teammates going through their Main, Discard
and Draw Phases together.
Game Engine, Set Design, Set Development & Art Direction:
Darwin Kastle
Game Concept & Lead Set Development: Robert Dougherty
Graphic Design: Randy Delven, Vito Gesualdi and Antonis
Commanders start the game with 50 health or whatever number is
on their character card (from the Character Packs). Emperors start
with 60 health, or 10 more than the number on their character card.
The team going first (Team A) gets a three-card starting hand. The
other team (Team B) gets a five-card starting hand. Play begins
with Player 1 and proceeds clockwise.
Commanders may only attack or target the enemy Commander
across from them and/or the champions controlled by that
Commander. If that Commander is defeated, they may then begin
to attack and target the enemy Emperor and their champions.
Rulebook & Game Editing: Nathan Davis
Additional Art Direction: Graphics Manufacture
Playtesters: Connor Daly, Nathan Davis, Laurie Delven,
Randy Delven, Martin Dickie, Greg Freese, George Groussis,
Barbara Gugluizza, Michael Iwanicki, Jay Lansdaal,
CJ “The Just” Moynihan, Debbie Moynihan, Adam Podtburg,
John Tatian, Elise Taylor, and Ian Taylor
Hero Realms ™ & © 2016 White Wizard Games LLC
When this icon is found in the upper-right-hand corner of a card, it
indicates the card’s cost. (If there is no icon in the upper-right-hand
corner of a card, that card’s cost is 0.) When this icon is found in
a card’s text box, it indicates an amount of Gold you add to your
Gold Pool.
When this icon is found in a card’s text box, it indicates an
expend ability.
When this icon is found in a card’s text box, it indicates a
Sacrifice Ability.
A Champion with this icon is a guard. While a player has a
prepared guard in play, they may not be attacked and their nonguard Champions may not be attacked or targeted by an opponent.
A Champion’s Defense is the amount of damage that must be dealt
to it in a single turn to stun it.
Hero Realms is designed to support a wide variety of ways to
play. Unless otherwise specified, the standard rules apply to the
following game formats. To find other formats, or to share format
suggestions, please visit
Free-For-All (2+ players)
This is the default way to play. Randomly determine someone to go
first, then play proceeds clockwise. Anyone can attack anyone else.
The last player standing, wins! If there are three or more players,
the first player starts with 3 cards in their opening hand, the second
player starts with 4 cards, and each other player starts with 5 cards.
Basic Cards
Fire Gem (16)
Score Tracker (8, 2 per player)
Gold (28, 7 per player)
Shortsword (4, 1 per player)
Dagger (4, 1 per player)
Ruby (4, 1 per player)
Parov, the Enforcer
Profit (3)
Rake, Master Assassin
Rasmus, the Smuggler
Smash and Grab
Street Thug (2)
Market Deck
Cult Priest (2)
Dark Energy
Dark Reward
Death Cultist (2)
Death Touch (3)
Rayla, Endweaver
Influence (3)
Krythos, Master Vampire
Life Drain
Lys, the Unseen
The Rot (2)
Tyrannor, the Devourer
Varrick, the Necromance
Imperial Faction
Arkus, Imperial Dragon
Close Ranks
Darian, War Mage
Cristov, the Just
Kraka, High Priest
Man-at-Arms (2)
Master Weyan
Rally The Troops
Recruit (3)
Tithe Priest (2)
Taxation (3)
Word of Power
Guild Faction
Borg, Ogre Mercenary
Bribe (3)
Death Threat
Fire Bomb
Hit Job
Intimidation (2)
Myros, Guild Mage
Necros Faction
Wild Faction
Broelyn, Loreweaver
Cron, the Berserker
Dire Wolf
Elven Curse (2)
Elven Gift (3)
Grak, Storm Giant
Nature’s Bounty
Orc Grunt (2)
Torgen Rocksplitter
Spark (3)
Wolf Form
Wolf Shaman (2)
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