"You have unearthed an ancient treasure."
-- from the Risk Godstorm rulebook
The previous column was about the goddess of magic and her power over fate. Now let's look at her cards, known in the game as "relics." Stonehenge, Mjolnir, the Great Pyramids, Excalibur -- these are the greatest objects of legend. Once you gain control of them, they can last for epochs.
Magic cards are relics that stay in play for the rest of the game. All magic cards state, Play immediately. If you obtain them through sacrificing faith tokens during the Obtain Miracle Cards step, they are immediately laid faceup on the table. No additional faith tokens are required. Once a relic is in play, it stays faceup for the rest of the game, except in the rare case when a card destroys it. Even if you lose your magic goddess, the relic continues to function.
Because they stay in play for the rest of the game, drawing a magic card can change your game strategy instantly. In many cases, they give you new goals to achieve and reward you for completing them.
The Magic Goddess's Labor: Trinity
You need only look at Hekate to know what she wants of her followers. She was often depicted as having three heads -- a snake, a goat, and a horse, usually. This allowed her to look in three directions at once. The Romans dubbed her "Trivia," meaning "of the three directions." Three is the magic number.
In Godstorm, assuming your magic goddess is somewhere on the board, you draw and play a magic card any time you roll three of the same number in an attack or defense. It doesn't matter whose turn it is. If you roll triples, you get a relic and put it into play.
Of course, you can't control when you roll triples, right? Perhaps not, but you can give yourself the best chance to do so. If you attack, attack with three soldiers rather than two. Enter into godswars, especially with your sky god. He gives you an additional die in godswars, and you only need three of them to show the same number. If the magic goddess is present in those conflicts, your dice only really have five sides, making your chance of rolling triples slightly better.
About the only time the magic goddess can't roll triples is when your armies defend. You can roll only two dice in defense. Obviously, the magic goddess agrees with the war god: Attacking is the way to go if you want the magic goddess to give up her relics.
Here are some categories of relics. These magic cards look and feel different from the other cards in the game; their names aren't sentences, for example. Because they are real objects -- as real as Excalibur gets, anyway -- the relics aren't depicted in runic form like the other cards. The illustrations by Lars Grant-West show the objects in their natural form. Stonehenge is entirely upright, for example, and the Great Pyramids as if they were built yesterday.
Many of the magic cards give you a resource at the beginning of your turn or if you complete some condition in the game. The magic goddess provides for her followers' needs by giving them the tools to fend for themselves.
Excalibur, King Arthur's great sword, is one of these provider cards. Its text is: Gain 2 additional armies for each continent you control at the start of each of your turns.
When you draw a card like Excalibur, you gain a new goal. Excalibur is the sword that unifies empires; it wants you to control continents. Say you control the continent of Hyrkania at the end of the Third Epoch. Now you want to win the bidding for the Fourth Epoch, because if you lose even one territory, you cost yourself two soldiers.
These provider cards can get you armies, faith tokens, and even other cards. Not magic cards, though. Relics are notoriously independent.
Certain magic cards give you assistance whenever you undertake the activity they care about. The magic goddess helps her followers when they raise her relics in tribute.
A supporter card like this is The Tablets of Destiny, the Babylonian epic of creation. Its text is: When you sacrifice faith tokens for your turn-order bid, add +3 to the total.
With a card like this, you no longer have to sweat the bidding step -- not as much, anyway. Your faith tokens are freed to be used for buying and playing cards, or summoning gods, or building temples.
A few of the relics serve as warnings to your foes: Trifle with me, and things will not go as you planned. The magic goddess wants to control the fate of not just her civilization but all civilizations.
Such a denier card is Aegis, Shield of Athena, on which Perseus froze the gaze of Medusa. Its text is: Discard Aegis, Shield of Athena to cancel the effects of any miracle card just played. Relics can't be cancelled.
A card like this might never get used. That's a good thing. If your opponents spend the rest of the game targeting each other with their miracles rather than you, you're going to prosper.
Each of the civilizations contributes three of its legendary relics to the game. Just like any civilization can occupy Babylon, all of the relics are usable by any civilization. The Celts don't have exclusive rights to Excalibur.
Certain magic cards, however, want to be in certain territories. Five magic cards, one for each civilization, have an additional power beyond those described above. Each of these monuments gives you a bonus point at the end of the game if you control its home territory.
Stonehenge is such a monument. Its text is: Sacrifice only 1 faith token, instead of 2, to obtain miracle cards on your turn. If you control Anglia at the end of the game, Stonehenge adds 1 point to your final score.
The five monuments telegraph your intentions to your opponents. If you're anywhere near Anglia toward the end of the game, your opponents are going to defend Anglia with everything they can. Good for them. You'll be launching miracle card after miracle card at them on your way to Salisbury Plain.
There's only one more god left to discuss, and he's the most deadly of all. Come back soon, when we'll starting our tour through Godstorm's Underworld.
Catch up on any previews you missed!
- Into the Fire
- The World of the Ancients
- God-Fearing People
- Gods Among Men
- The Warlords
- Miracles On the Battlefield
- The Sky Kings
- Blessings From the Heavens
- The Reliquary Opens
- Pandora's Box
Mike Selinker has been playing, designing, developing, and just plain loving games of every variety for many, many years. He is a gamer in the very best sense of the word. Mike lives in Seattle.