How to Play the Standard Rules

Simply watch the 6-minute video to learn how to play.

You can also read the instructions below. Each chapter of the video matches up with sections of the written instructions so you can easily jump ahead or re-watch chapters as needed.

How to Play

Are you looking for the three additional Enhanced Rules? Click HERE

Would you like to practice on your own? Learn the Single Player rules. Click HERE


1) What is the goal of the game? How do you win?

Your goal is to defeat all of your opponent's leaders while keeping your leader alive.

Each round ends once there is only one yellow Leader Card left face up. That player is the winner.

Although you can play a single round if you're pressed for time, for the ultimate bragging rights, play three rounds with the following points added to a score sheet after each round -

  • 10 points for the winner
  • 6 points for second place
  • 3 points for third place*
  • 2 points for fourth place*

* +1 extra point for every Leader you defeat whilst playing the Fallen Leader card.

DOWNLOAD a Printable Scoresheet

2) Preparing the game.

Each player chooses a Country from the Original/First Press deck or the Expansion Edition deck and picks up their own 25 card deck.

Take out the yellow Leader Card and thoroughly shuffle the remaining 24 cards. This deck will sit face down and will become your Draw Pile.

Your Leader Card will sit yellow side up as per the picture below. Assistant Leaders, Military Power and Science and Culture stacks will be added during the setup phase and then during regular play. Your cards will differ but this image gives you an idea of the setup.

3) Draw 9 cards and commence the setup phase

Take the top nine cards from your country's Draw Pile. Players don't need to take turns for the setup phase. Everyone can set up their cards at the same time and turns will begin once all players are ready.

Each player will place 6 cards down as per the image above and will then discard their remaining 3 cards into the Discard Pile. There are no attacks during the setup phase and orange Special Cards aren't relevant. You may discard them as part of your 3 discards or you can place them in your Military Power stack as Propaganda Cards as part of your 6 moves (Propaganda is an Enhanced Rule).

Lay out your defence cards to give your Leader the strongest chance of surviving the coming attacks. Remember - If your defence looks strong, players may avoid attacking you. Once you are all done, determine who will go first and then it's time to play the game! Turns always progress in clockwise order.

Who goes first?

  • Whoever was knocked out of the last game first.
  • The youngest player if it's your first game for the day.

4) Play your first hand

Take the top 5 cards from the draw pile as your first hand. Inspect your cards but keep them to yourself. On each turn you must discard one card and you may play, discard or choose to pass on two other cards. After your turn you will replenish your hand from the Draw Pile so that you always hold 5 cards.

5) What can I do during my turn?


  • By playing a Military Power card to attack an opponent. The Attack value on the bottom left of the card must match or exceed the Defence value of your opponent's defence cards laying in their stack or on the table in order to be successful. After a successful attack, both the Attack card and Defence card/s are discarded.
  • You can combine two Military Power cards and play them in a single attack. However, if your opponent blocks this attack with a Special Card it will be treated as a single card and the attack will fail.
  • By playing a Special Card that removes one of your opponent's various defence cards or redeploys your defence cards in attack.
  • Using the three card Nuclear Triad / Blitzkrieg Attack to take out another player. (this is an¬†Enhanced¬†Rule)
  • Using the four card Total War Attack. (this is an Enahnced Rule)


  • By placing a Military Power card face down to use as a defence card or to build toward a 3 card stack to repel future attacks.
  • By placing a Science and Culture card face up to use as a defence card or to build toward a 3 card stack for future attacks.
  • By adding an Assistant Leader to bolster your Leader and defend in the future.


  • Special Cards have their ability described in detail on the card. They can take away your opponent's Science and Culture Defence cards, Military Power cards, and remove Assistant Leaders. Special Cards also allow you to re-deploy Military defence cards in attack or help with your Defence by blocking and re-directing the actions of your opponents.


  • This doesn't count as one of your moves but you may rearrange your Science and/or Military/Propaganda cards on the table into groups of 3. You can re-arrange them each turn if you wish.

    6) Leader Groupings

    Any Assistant Leader card added to your Leader card on the table automatically forms a stack and they behave the same as your 3 card Science and Culture or Military Power stacks (see more on this in section 7). The defence value becomes the total of the defence values added together and they combine to function as one card.

    There is no rule of 3 for groupings of Leaders and Assistant Leaders. They function as a grouping whether there are 2 or 3 cards.

    An attack on the Leader or Leader stack only takes place once the Science and Culture and Military Power/Propaganda cards on the table have been defeated, or when an attack is large enough to take them all out at once (see the first example below).

    7) Grouping your Defence cards for more power

    Both your Military Power and Science and Culture cards can be grouped into 3 cards stacks once you have enough cards lying on the table. Once a stack of 3 is formed it functions as a single card which makes it stronger against smaller attacks. The 3 defence values are added together and an attack value must match or exceed the total defence points in order to defeat the 3 card stack.

    If your Science and Culture stack and/or Military Power stack have a defence rating higher than an attack, the attack fails and your stack/s, Leader and Assistant Leader cards all remain untouched. An opponent must defeat both the Science and Culture stacks and/or the Military Power stacks before any attack reaches the Leader or Leader stack. 

    If a Special Card removes a specific defence card that is part of a grouping of 3, the player cannot rearrange their defence cards back into a new grouping of 3 until it is their turn. Their defence will remain weakened until they can re-group! Special Cards can create holes in a strong defence, use them followed by Military Power attacks for maximum impact. Rearranging/re-forming groupings can only happen during your turn but does not count towards your moves.

    Military Power or Science Defence cards can only be used to defend when they are laying on the table. You cannot play them from your hand to defend against an incoming attack.

    N.B. If you defend an attack with a Special Card, you will replace that card immediately from the Draw Pile. You don't have to wait for your turn to bring your hand back to 5 cards.

    8) Resetting your Draw Pile

    Once your Draw Pile is empty, simply flip your unshuffled Discard Pile back down as your replenished Draw Pile. The Discard Pile is never shuffled allowing you to strategise how you discard your cards throughout the setup phase and during your subsequent turns.

    9) What happens if my Leader has been defeated?

    All is not lost! It's time to flip your Leader card to display the Fallen Leader card. You can no longer win this game but this card allows you to keep playing in a reduced role, giving you the chance to exact revenge on the opponents that crossed you (and pick up some extra points).

    To set up as a Fallen Leader - Re-shuffle all 24 cards aside from the Fallen Leader and place them face down as your Draw Pile as per the diagram below.

    You will not hold a hand while playing as a Fallen Leader. On your turn (the turn order remains the same), you will nominate the player you wish to target with your next (unseen) drawn card. After naming your targeted player, draw and flip the top card from your Draw Pile.

    Brown Military Power cards result in an attack that must be defended, blue Science and Culture Cards are lent to your target for defence (make sure you get them back after they're finished). And all orange Special Cards and white Assistant Leader cards are discarded with no effect. After your card is played and then discarded, play moves on to the next player in clockwise order.

    What effect can the Fallen Leader have on the game each turn?

    When they play a card against a targeted player they have a -

    • 20.8% chance of assisting that player with a defence card.
    • 45.8% chance of harming that player with an attack card.
    • 33.3% chance that nothing happens.

    10) Enhanced Rules

    If you'd like to add Total War, the Nuclear Triad/Blitzkrieg and Propaganda to your games, try including these Enhanced Rules.

    Any other questions?

    Try the Gameplay FAQ or Contact Us