This page presents general information about the game, including in-depth discussion about some of its key concepts and the overall game system. Below you will find information about Suits, Turning cards, Timing, and much more.
As with all new Collectable Card Games (CCGs), the comparison to MAGIC: THE GATHERING eventually springs up. While MAGIC does deal in five "colors" and KULT deals in five SUITS, the similarities stop there.
Here is a bit of background. By now you are probably aware that the correlation between KULT and a deck of Tarot cards is heavy. This was my principle design aspect. I wanted to make sure that KULT maintained the flavor of a traditional Celtic Cross Tarot reading as possible, but still exploit the KULT setting and the potential of a CCG. The five Suits in KULT correspond to the five suits in a typical Tarot deck. More importantly, they correspond to the TAROTICUM, a mystical Tarot deck which is very prominent in the KULT ROLE-PLAYING GAME setting. This deck is involved in the KULT RPG adventure called TAROTICUM, and is a tremendous amount of fun. In that book the Taroticum is detailed, and the KULT CCG springs from that principle idea.
Okay, on to the game. The five Suits in KULT are not tangible "things" that you manipulate, such as you directly manipulate the colors in MAGIC. Instead, the five Suits represent the five mystical Realms that permeate all of Reality. Those Realms are Death, Passion, Madness, Dreams and Time & Space. The five Suits of Skulls, Roses, Eyes, Crescents and Hourglasses correspond to these Realms.
The four Suits that each Major Arcanum starts with represent that hold and power each Archon and Angel of Death has on those five Realms. A Major Arcanum who has control over a great many Skulls, like GOLAB - THE TORTURER, is very involved in the Realm of Death. One would say that he is quite at home there!
All Major Arcana are able to work within the five Realms. Some are better than others in certain Realms. Some are fairly adept in many Realms (like KETHER). The four Suits are merely a measure of how that Major Arcanum works. For example, GOLAB is strong in the Realm of Death, and therefore he has great control over Beings, Regions and Items that adhere to the principles of Death, such as the INCINERATOR. However, CHAGIDIEL is strong in the Realm of Passion, and he has great control of all things passionate, such as PRIESTS and NEPHARITES.
When a Major Arcanum is in control of a Suit, It represents its control over other cards that utilize those Suits. As long as a card falls under its power, the Major Arcanum may play that card. This does not "use up" his resources, they are always there. This is where long-time MAGIC players may become confused, since in that game their resources are "drained" as they are used.
One of the aspects of KULT that may seem "improper" to some players (especially long-time MAGIC players) is that because the Suits are not used up, and because you may play as many Beings, Regions, Spells and Influence cards as you wish (provided you can take care of the Suit requirements for each card), it is possible to play the cards out of your hand very quickly. In fact, if you are playing CHESED or GAMICHICOTH, you can keep playing cards as you draw them and practically never stop! This is perfectly legal, and should be encouraged! That's why you can only have 8 base cards in your Mystic Cross!
You will find that a game of KULT develops into two "phases". The first phase deals with building up your Mystic Cross, and the second phase deals with actually winning the game! You will spend the first part of your game establishing your Mystic Cross in preparation for Swaying Pop Markers and interacting with your Adversaries. Once you get that out of the way, you can concentrate on getting those Pop Markers to your Hub! Experienced KULT players will often have their entire Mystic Cross filled within a couple of turns.
A good way to look at the concept of Suits is with an example. Lets say you have a ring of keys. Each key is shaped like one of the Suits. Now let's say that the Suits listed on the top left corner of each card are locks. The only way you may play the card is if you can unlock it from your hand. In order to unlock a card, you must have the right kinds and numbers of keys. You must turn all the keys at the same time, so you cannot use the same key twice on the same card. When you use a key to unlock a card, the key does not break. In fact, you can then use that key on the next card. When you perform a Repel to gain a Suit, you are in effect creating a special key that you may use as often as you wish, but it will break at the end of the current player's turn.
Let's give our example a little more relevance. It is the beginning of the game. You are playing KETHER, who has a ROSE, an HOURGLASS, an EYE and a CRESCENT on his card. This means that Kether has one Rose key, one Hourglass key, one Eye key and one Crescent key.
Now let's look at Kether's hand. In his hand he has a PRIEST, INFERNO, an USHER and an O LUONG. It is time to Proclaim these cards into his Mystic Cross. The Priest card has a Rose Suit on it, so let's say that to unlock the Priest card from your hand you must unlock it with a Rose key. You have one of those, so you use it to unlock the card and put it into play. The Rose key is not broken, you still have it any may use it on another card. You next decide to Proclaim Inferno. Inferno has one each of an Eye, a Crescent and a Rose. Kether takes his Eye key, his Crescent Key and the same Rose key he used before, unlocks the Inferno card from his hand, and puts it into play. Now it's time to Proclaim the Usher. The Usher has two Eyes and an Hourglass on it. This means that Kether needs two Eye keys and an Hourglass key in order to unlock the Usher from his hand. He has the Eye key he just used to unlock Inferno, and he has an Hourglass key. However, he needs one more Eye key, since he can't use the same key on two locks. Kether performs a Repel for an Eye Suit. A second Eye key appears which he may use to unlock the Usher. He does so, and plays it. Finally, it's time to Proclaim the O Luong. The O Luong has two Eyes on it, so Kether needs two Eye keys to unlock the card. He has his original Eye key, plus the Eye key he acquired by Repelling (which he may continue to use until the end of his turn, at which time it will break). He unlocks the O Luong with his two Eye keys and plays it.
Yes, it really is impossible for a Major Arcanum to play a card that has an opposite affiliation. In other words, if your Major Arcanum is red-affiliated, you cannot play blue-affiliated cards, and vice-versa.
There is ONE exception. The MISGUIDANCE card may be Influenced onto your Major Arcanum card to allow it to play any BEING card, regardless of affiliation.
There is no card that allows a player to play opposite-affiliation Regions. We have no plans to create such a card in the near future. So don't even bother putting opposite-affiliation Regions in your deck!
Station Indicators are one of the hidden wonders of KULT - and it is an aspect of the game we are quite proud of! A card may not be PROCLAIMED or INFLUENCED onto a Station if it's Station Indicator is not highlighted in red. This also means that if a card is moved, it must adhere to Station Indicators, unless the card effect states otherwise! Most card effects that involve moving cards around will also state whether or not you must adhere to the Station Indicators.
While a card is Turned (and is face-down on the table), it may not be involved in certain aspects of the game. Here is a list of things to keep in mind regarding Turned cards:
An important thing to remember with cards that become "attached" to other cards is that they will often lose their original status. For example, the FEMME FATALE may be attached to another Pawn in your Mystic Cross. Once this happens, she is no longer a BASE CARD, she is an attachment. Attachments may not hold Pop Markers, attack or be attacked (of course, unless individual cards say otherwise).
Another example is with the MANIFESTOS. If the Manifestos defeats a Pawn in combat, the Pawn becomes attached to the Manifestos, and the Pawn's CV is added to the Manifestos'. Now let's say that you have a PROSTITUTE and a MANIFESTOS in your Mystic Cross. You decide to attack the Prostitute with the Manifestos in order to defeat it and attach it to the Manifestos (of course, since they have equal CVs you will have to play a Commandment card or other effect, so lest's assume you did this and the Prostitute is defeated). The defeated Prostitute is attached to the Manifestos, and the Manifestos now has a CV of 6. The VERY IMPORTANT thing to remember here is that the role of the Prostitute has changed from being a BASE CARD in your Mystic Cross to an attachment on another BASE CARD. This means that the Prostitute may not hold Pop Markers (and does not allow the Manifestos to hold an additional Pop Marker). The Prostitute may not attack or be attacked, and it's special ability of +3 to CV against Pawns is no longer in effect (in other words, her special ability does not transfer to the Manifestos). Her ONLY role now is to provide the Manifestos with an additional +3 to its CV.
USING ITEMS AND SPECIAL ABILITIES
You always have the OPTION of using an ITEM or special ability. For example, if your Being has an AUTOMATIC RIFLE, you do not HAVE to use it during combat if you do not wish to.
Okay, this is a big one - but not in the way you think. In most CCGs currently on the market, the notion of "timing" is very important and very complicated. Once again I will revert to MAGIC: THE GATHERING to compare and contrast, as that is the established "norm".
MAGIC uses a system of complex "fast effects" called "instants" and "interrupts" to break into the action and, in essence, play a game retroactively. Consider this typical exchange between two MAGIC players:
PLAYER ONE: "I play a card that makes your cool enchantment go away."
PLAYER TWO: "Well, before that happens I play a card that moves the enchantment to another creature."
PLAYER ONE: "Well, before THAT happens I play a card that discards that creature before he can get the enchantment."
PLAYER TWO: " Okay, before THAT happens I play this card to give the creature protection against something like that..."
And so on. In effect, you are playing BACKWARDS. With the notion of "interrupts", you are stopping the action of the game to affect the card play before the cards have a chance to do anything. In essence, you are looking into a crystal ball and seeing what is going to happen, and then making sure that those things cannot happen. It can be very messy.
Not so in KULT. When you play a card, or instigate a card effect, it's effects IMMEDIATELY TAKE PLACE, before anything else can happen. The only thing you can do is play a card to perform a card effect that DIRECTLY AFFECTS the thing that is happening, NOTHING ELSE!
This is an EXTREMELY important aspect of KULT (in fact it is the same concept that permeates all of our other card games as well: DOOMTROOPER, CROW and JAMES BOND 007).
Here are a couple of examples:
The UNHOLY HUNGER card is an Influence card. If it is attached to a Being, that Being must have a Pop Marker on it at all times or be immediately discarded. Obviously, the best way to play this card is to Influence and attach it to a Being that does not have a Pop Marker on it, thereby causing it to be immediately discarded. So let's say you have a TEACHER with no Pop Marker on it in your Cast. I decide to Influence that Teacher and give it an UNHOLY HUNGER. You may NOT at this point Repel a Pop Marker to the Teacher in order to save it, since that Repel has nothing to do with the Unholy Hunger card or my Influence Deed. The only thing you can do is play a card effect that DIRECTLY AFFECTS the action going on. For example, you may play LACK OF FAITH to make my Influence card ineffective. This is allowed because it DIRECTLY AFFECTS the Influence card. You could NOT play a card that moves the Teacher to a Station that the Unholy Hunger may not be played on, because that has nothing to do with the action at hand.
The important thing to remember is that everything happens IMMEDIATELY unless you can do something to STOP it or AFFECT it. You may not "interrupt" the action to play retroactively!
Another important thing to consider is that after every single act ALL players have a chance to respond. KULT can move pretty fast, but it is important to give players a chance to respond to every action.
Here is another example to emphasize this. The card FLY IN THE OINTMENT is a card that you may play at any time to force a player to lose the control over one of his/her Suits until the end of the current player's turn. This card is best played after someone makes a Repel to gain a Suit, since it is obvious that player needs that Suit. However, you may NOT wait to see what the player will DO with that Suit and THEN play the card - it is too late, the card has been played!! Fly in the Ointment is not a card that AFFECTS the card being played, it affects the Suit needed BEFORE it was played.
To further exemplify, here is the way the interaction could go:
PLAYER ONE: "I Repel one Pop Marker to gain a Skull. You want to affect my action?"
PLAYER TWO: "You bet! I play FLY IN THE OINTMENT. You have control over one less Skull."
PLAYER ONE: "Rats. Okay, I Repel another Pop Marker to get another Skull. Do you want to do anything NOW?"
PLAYER TWO: "Hah! I have another FLY IN THE OINTMENT!" You have one less Skull."
PLAYER ONE: "Sheesh. I was hoping I could save this card, but I can't afford to Repel again. I play SORRY. Your FLY IN THE OINTMENT is ineffective and discarded. My Repel still works."
PLAYER TWO: "Not so fast! I have a SORRY too! I SORRY your SORRY! My FLY IN THE OINTMENT still works."
PLAYER ONE: "Shoot. I guess I can't play my card. But I promise I will get even!"
The interaction could NOT have gone like this:
PLAYER ONE: "I Repel one Pop Marker to gain a Skull. You want to affect my action?"
PLAYER TWO: "Not yet."
PLAYER ONE: "Okay, I have four Skulls so I Influence by VETERAN and give him an INCINERATOR!"
PLAYER TWO: "Wait! Before that happens I play FLY IN THE OINTMENT to take one Skull away."
See the difference? In the first example, you have to make ASSUMPTIONS, RISKS and GUESSES. In the second (incorrect) example you just react.
Here is another example.
ANTON TEPTOV (CV of 6) has no Pop Marker on him. He attacks an ARTIST (CV of 3) with a Pop Marker on it. Let's assume that TEPTOV will certainly win the combat. Can the Artist's player do anything to prevent Teptov from getting the Pop Marker?
The answer is: it depends on what you are doing and when you are doing it. The only time you could move that Pop Marker is DURING the combat modification portion of combat, which is pretty open-ended. One thing you might want to do is play a FAITH SHORTCUT during the combat to move the marker. There are other things as well. However, once the combat modification is over, the combat is resolved and if that Pop Marker is still on the Artist, Teptov will get it. The important thing to remember is to make your move DURING combat, not AFTER combat (unless, of course, the card states that its effect takes place after combat!).
What this all boils down to is that sometimes bad things will happen to you and you won't be able to do anything about it. Life is hard - KULT IS HARDER!
REPELLING MUST HAVE A PURPOSE
When you Repel a Pop Marker, that action must have a purpose. For example, if you Repel for a Suit, you MUST be able to USE that Suit. This eliminates the trick of Repelling a Pop Marker from a soon-to-be-killed Being to keep the opponent from getting the Marker!
However, this trick IS allowed if you can DO something with the Repel-effect. For example, a DRUG DEALER in combat is about to be killed. It has a Pop Marker on it. You may Repel the Pop Marker from the Dealer during Combat Modification to discard a Pawn in play. The Dealer will be killed, but your opponent won't get the Marker, and you'll have discarded a Pawn as a bonus!
This is not true when you gain Suits by playing cards. For example, if you play the card MANIPULATE DEATH to gain a Skull, you do not have to do anything with it. This allows you to "burn" these cards.