January 7, 2019

True Messiah Rules Revisions and Clarifications #1

In the weeks since True Messiah released, I’ve received a fair few questions about the rules. Most of these are answered by a careful reading of the rules and cards, but one exciting report presents a situation that has never come up before. (Games, no matter how thoroughly tested, will often produce new and unanticipated game states once they go out “into the wild.” True Messiah is no exception!)

Here, then, is my first set of revisions and clarifications based on the first wave of player questions and reports:

Revision – The reshuffling rule has been amended to prevent infinite loops using Impassioned Sermon, Divine Inspiration, and Confirmation Bias in combination with a small deck. (The “draw one card” effect on Confirmation Bias was added relatively recently as a buff to the card, which helps explain why this combo never showed up before in testing.)

The reshuffling rule now reads:

  • If you ever have to draw cards but don’t have enough cards left in your deck, draw until your deck is exhausted, then reshuffle your discard pile to form a new deck and continue drawing. (However, you may not reshuffle in this way more than once per turn!)

With this revision, it remains quite possible to achieve an extended loop combo–however, a player must use Impassioned Sermon, Divine Inspiration, and Born Again to do so. I have left this in for a few reasons: (1) looping through one’s deck is an intended use of Born Again; (2) the randomized nature of Born Again means that eventually, the loop will break, making this combo less powerful; (3) the added cost from Born Again means that a player can only achieve net-positive belief from each iteration of the loop when at a full 4 temples, by drawing only 3 cards with Divine Inspiration, or with the aid of additional belief-generating miracles; and (4) obtaining all of the specific conditions necessary to set up and execute the loop strikes me as difficult enough to merit leaving it in as a potential game-winning play.

Revision – The messiah symbols on the starting spaces have always reflected where each player should start based upon their position in the turn order, but I neglected to formally state this fact in the rules. This is my fault, and it justifies a rules revision.

The rule, as revised, is that the symbols on the board reflect the starting spots for each player based on their relative turn order. This makes no difference in a 2-player match, as the board is strictly symmetrical. For other modes, however, the player that goes first should start on the Red symbol, whoever goes second should start on the Black symbol, and whoever goes last should start on the White symbol. (For example: in a 3-player match between Black, Violet, and White, Black will start on the red symbol, Violet will start on the black symbol, and White will start on the white symbol.)

The starting position rule now reads:

  • “Place your holy city on the board in the starting spot reflecting your relative place in the turn order.”

Clarification – Providence-style miracles do not prevent low units from dying to miracles such as Smite and Inquisition. (Miracles, after all, may never be played during the Combat phase, and Providence explicitly only protects units from death “During combat.”)

Clarification – Spaces containing Prosperity Monoliths are ordinary spaces for all purposes except one: you may not build a temple on them. The rulebook is pretty clear about this, I think, but I still got questions about this–perhaps I’ll need to cover this more clearly in a future revision.

The rulebook has been updated online to reflect the rules revisions set out above; you may view and download it here! In the meantime, if you have a question or concern about the rules, please don’t hesitate to post about it on the forums.

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