Elemental Warriors II

Release Date: 
Saturday, July 15, 2006
Setup Time: 
Play Duration (experienced): 

by Jonathan Leistiko


Run your opponent out of resources.

You Need

An Elemental Warriors character sheet for each player.
An Elemental Effects sheet for each player.
A bunch of loose change (pennies, nickels, and dimes) for the players to use.
A Poker deck with the Jokers removed.

Zipped bundle of the Elemental Warriors II character sheet and the Elemental Effects sheet.


Take a character sheet and 25 cents. The change can be in any combination of pennies, nickels, and dimes you want. Put the change you took on the squares on your character sheet. You do not have to distribute the change evenly. You don’t have to (and can’t) fill all the spaces on your character sheet. You may only put pennies in the Combat row.

Shuffle the Poker deck. Deal three cards to each player. You may look at your cards. You should keep your cards secret. During the game, you’ll play cards from your hand. The rank of the card you play activates the coins in the corresponding column on your character sheet. The squares occupied by the coins determines your attack, defense, and what effects your card activates.


Turns are simultaneous. The five phases of a turn are Activate, Skirmish, Allocate Damage, Recovery, and End Of Turn.

1) Activate: Pick a card from your hand and play it face-down. Once all players have played cards, turn them face-up. The rank of the card card you play determines which column on your character sheet activates. A-10 correspond to columns 1-10. J, Q, and K are wild and can activate any column; if both players play a face card and your face card is of a lower rank, you must declare what column you’re activating before your opponent does. If both cards are of the same rank, diamonds declare before spades before hearts before clubs.

If you have change on an elemental square, that elemental power activates. The power you get depends on the change you have on the square: a penny (p) nickel (n), two nickels (nn), a dime (d), a nickel and a dime (nd), or two dimes (dd). You can always choose to take the effect of a lesser power; if you can activate a (d) power, you can choose to activate the (nn) power instead. If there are two entries for a level of power (like (dd)), pick only one of those powers to activate.

If the suit of the card you played matches an element that’s activating at (n) or greater in that column, you may use the (n) power of that element in addition to any other elemental powers that are active in that column. For example: If you have a dime on water and you play a Jack of Diamonds, you can use Water’s (n) power and (d) power. Note that this is different from being able to use the (d) power or any lesser power.

2) Skirmish: Compare your combat value to your opponent’s. If your combat value is greater than your opponent’s combat value, your opponent might take damage.

3) Allocate Damage: If your combat value was lower than your opponent’s Attack, you take one point of damage, modified by the effects of any elemental powers (like Earth’s damage-reducing powers). You must remove one cent from your character sheet for every point of damage you take.

If you must remove a penny and you do not have a penny (or choose not to remove a penny on your sheet), you must remove a nickel and put five pennies in the square it formerly occupied, then take the damage. If you have no nickels (or choose not to remove a nickel), you must remove a dime, put a nickel and five pennies in the square it formerly occupied, and take the damage.

If you remove your last penny, you are out of the game.

4) Recovery: You may take any one of following four actions:

  • Recomplie: Pick a non-combat square. You may exchange the coins in this square for an equal amount of change. For example, you can turn two nickels into a dime, 5 pennies and a nickel, or 10 pennies.
  • Rebalance: Pick a coin. You may move that coin into any other square in that column, as long as you do not move it from an elemental square to Combat or vice versa. Alternately, you may keep the coin in that row, but move it one column to the left or right. The “10” colum is adjacent to the “9” and “1” columns. The “1” column is adjacent to the “10” and “2” columns.
  • Draw: If you have less than three cards, draw until you have three cards. If the deck runs out of cards, shuffle the discards to make a new draw deck and continue drawing (if needed).
  • Surrender: If this is the fifth round or later and you have less change on your character sheet than your opponent, you may surrender to your opponent. Your opponent gets 25 points, less the change on your character sheet. For example, if you surrender when you have 7 cents on your character sheet, your opponent gets 18 points.


5) End of turn: All cards played go to the discard pile. Looking through the discard pile during the game is prohibited.


If you are the only player with change on your character sheet at the end of a phase, you win the game and get 25 points. You also win if all other players have surrendered.


Randomizer: (replace the poker deck with a d10).

Cumulative Effects: All elemental powers are cumulative. If you activate an Air square containing a nickel and a dime (for example), you may use (n), (d), and (nd).

Blind Man’s Bluff: You may play the top card from the deck instead of playing a card from your hand.

Assault: You can play with more than two players. (Jyhad-style) or (free-for all; lowest defense declares first, most coins in Defense last; ties are ruled by player with the most coins in Attack). If multiple players attack the same player, (add attack values / add one to the highest attack value for each attacker beyond the first).

Independence: Each player has his or her own Poker deck.

Independent Panic: Each player has his or her own Poker deck. When your deck runs out of cards, do not reshuffle. When you can not play a card during the Activate phase, roll a d10 to find out what column activates.

Endgame: When the deck runs out of cards, the player with the highest value in coins wins.

Origin and Credits

This is a simplified version of a game I’ve been working on for several years now (That’s why it’s called Elemental Warriors II and not just Elemental Warriors.). I wanted to create a quick dueling game provided players with the same kind of tactical versatility that MetalTalon’s flexible spaceship mechanics had. I also wanted the rules for the game to fit on one face of a standard sheet of paper, with the game board on the other side. Unfortunately, you really can’t play the game without an elemental effects sheet; you certainly couldn’t have that printed on the bottom of your character sheet and play effectively. Still, I think that this meets the design goals I set for myself.

Big thanks to JP, Leif and Marcus for playtesting and providing feedback on the first and/or current versions of Elemental Warriors.



Elemental Effects

Earth is protective and resistant to change. Fire is hungry and ever-shifting. Air is dynamic and visionary. Water is cleansing and refreshing.

Earth (Clubs)

(p) If you are about to take damage, you may discard a Club to prevent two points of damage.
(n): Prevent two points of damage. If an adjacent column is active, you may prevent one point of damage.
(nn): You may force your opponent to randomly select his or her next card to play.
(d): Double your defense this turn and next turn.
(nd): Prevent six points of damage. If an adjacent column is active, you may prevent three points of damage.
(dd): You get an Earth token. If you have one or more Earth tokens, you take two less points of damage from all successful attacks.
(dd): When an attack against you deals no damage, place a Landslide token on the attacker’s mat. All damage dealt by a player with one or more Landslide tokens is reduced by a point. If you have a Landslide token, you can forfeit an Earth or an Air token to get rid of one.

Fire (Hearts)

(p): When you successfully hit with an attack, you may discard a Heart to deal an extra point of damage.
(n): Your successful hits deal an extra point of damage.
(nn): If you successfully hit your opponent, he or she must discard a randomly-selected card. This happens even if you do not deal damage.
(d): You may emulate any one (n) power for the duration of this turn.
(nd): Your successful hits deal three extra points of damage.
(dd): If you successfully hit an opponent, your opponent gets an Inferno token. If you have one or more Inferno tokens, you must spend one cent at the end of every turn. If you have an Inferno token, you can forfeit A Fire or a Water token to get rid of one.
(dd) If you have at least one coin in every element, you get a Fire token. If you have one or more Fire tokens at the start of a turn, you may use any one (n) power each tun (in addition to any other powers you activate during that turn).

Air (Spades)

(p): You may discard a Spade to take a free recompile or rebalance action during the Activate phase.
(n): You may take a free recompile or rebalance action during the Activate phase.
(nn): Draw two cards.
(d): You may take three free recompile or rebalance actions during the Activate phase.
(nd): Draw five cards or take two randomly-selected cards from your opponent.
(dd): When an attack against you deals no damage, place a Whirlwind token on the attacker’s mat. If you have one or more Whirlwind tokens, you play with your hand face-up on the table. If you have one ore more Whirlwind tokens, you can forfeit an Air or an Earth token to get rid of one.
(dd): You get an Air token. If you have an Air token, draw five cards if you draw during Recovery. You may also take a free Recovery action during the Activate phase.

Water (Diamonds)

(p) At the end of the turn, you may forfeit a Diamond to add one penny to a square of your choice.
(n): Put one cent in any square.
(nn): You may add or subtract one from the rank of the next card you play. Adding 1 to 10 yields 1. Subtracting 1 from 1 yields 10.
(d): If you take damage, set it aside in a special healing pool. This power also works if an adjacent column is active. If there is any money in your healing pool at the start of a turn, take one cent from it and add it to any element.
(nd): Put up to three cents in any square or squares.
(dd): If you have less change than your opponent, you get a Water token. If you have one or more Water tokens you may put a cent in any square at the start of each turn.
(dd) When you damage an opponent, place a Flood token on one of the columns on his or her mat. Elements in a column with one or more Flood tokens on it can not activate. If you have one ore more Flood tokens, you can forfeit a Water or a Fire token to get rid of one.

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