Combat Primer

Greetings Methuselahs,

I’ve long intended to write a quick-start guide to VTES, but just haven’t gotten around to it.  But when a player asked me to explain combat in VTES, it reinvigorated my desire to get this all written up.  So I present what will likely be the third installment of a three part series on how to play VTES (the first part will describe the minion phase and the second will describe the turn order and all the other phases).  Please read through it and provide comments – remember that this is supposed to be a way to help teach a player how combat works in VTES.  Am I going into too much detail?  Have I gotten something wrong?  Am I leaving something important out?  Any feedback will be appreciated!  Thanks for your time!


This guide has been moved to it’s permanent home which can be found here: Part III: Combat.


Well, I think that’s the entire primer on combat.  Please let me know what you think.  Hopefully I’ll soon have all three parts ready to go!

Until next time may you remember all the timing windows during your combats,



8 thoughts on “Combat Primer

    • Yup, you are very right. The idea is that I will have a single article which introduces the quick start guide and then has links to all three articles. I’ll be putting links to other resources (like the rulebook) into that page.


  1. Excellent guide to present to new players. Might be worth to note that doesn’t protect the retainers and – maybe more importantly – that there’s End of Combat Phase for the effects of cards like Psyche, Majesty or Catatonic Fear to kick in.


      • I think the end of combat stuff is actually pretty well written on the cards – they are pretty self explanatory when the effect kicks in. I’m not sure it’s worth really going into (isn’t 8 distinct timing windows enough for new players?!). Regarding Strike: Dodge – where do you think it should go? Strike Resolution? It got mentioned in Strikes, should I mention it again?


  2. There is also that timing window after strikes are declared but before they are resolved during which you play Rotschreck and may play Claws of the Dead.

    And there’s the timing of Ammo cards, which is almost, but not quite, the same. I guess it would have killed them to consolidate the timing windows, though…


    • Yeah, there are a bunch of other timing windows for specific cards, but if I was a new player, I’d be pretty overwhelmed with the 8 timing windows that I’ve described above. Hell, it was pointed out to me that I had some of the facets of the pre-range section wrong (I’ve corrected it in the article)! Throwing in corner case “phases” just seems cruel. This guide isn’t meant to be comprehensive, just sufficient to get players to get started (and arm them with enough knowledge of the game that the rulebook actually makes sense). The one thing that I’ve thought about doing is adding a sentence to the Strike section for cards like Claws of the Dead (can be played after strikes have been declared, but before they are resolved). There has got to be a way that combat can be cleaned up for VTES 2.0!


      • Combat could be cleaned up by establishing timing windows and then requiring all effects to stick to those windows and be ordered according to current rules. No more idiosyncratic timing windows. I think Pre-Strike should be completely eliminated, because it’s really annoying to ask for grapples every time. IG could certainly be a beginning-of-combat effect.

        Liked by 1 person

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