Vortex: Rules

Vortex demo game


The Masters of the Void are at war. Tearing through the fabric of the universe, they summon their minions and strongholds from across the planes to do battle and help them secure the one thing they can neither conquer nor destroy: the Vortex.

Object of the Game

Vortex is a two-player game in which you and your opponent play Masters of the Void. Using your minions and strongholds, you are trying to dominate the central Vortex, forcing your opponent to "bum" off points of Essence. Both players begin play with three points of Essence. When your opponent has no more Essence, you win the game.

You can also win the game by surrounding the Vortex. If, at any time, you have tiles adjacent to every side of the Vortex, you immediately win the game.

This Demo Set

This demo set includes just enough tiles and counters for you and a friend to play a quick introductory game of Vortex. For a more complete game of Vortex, pick up a Vortex starter set at your local game retailer.

This demo set includes four pairs of identical flats, for a total eight flats of components. Each player gets two pair of identical flats. After punching out the components, the two players should have the following:

Player One

4 Lake of Fire
4 Daemon Horde
2 Klatu Crawlers
2 Frenzy
4 Essence Counters 

Player Two

4 Academy of the Arcane
4 Iron Enforcers
2 Iron Guard
2 Banish
4 Essence Counters 

To start playing Vortex, you need a collection of tiles, three Essence counters, a handful of wound and energy counters, a Vortex tile, and an opponent to play against. You have enough tiles and counters in this demo set for you and an opponent to play, and you can cut out and use the Vortex printed below.

Below is a description of what you need to play Vortex.

Sample minion (descriptions left to right clockwise)
Type Icon

Sample stronghold

The most important components in Vortex are hexagonal tiles. There are three types of tiles in this Imo set: minions, strongholds, and events.

Minions: Minions are the soldiers, monsters, and magical creatures that you summon to fight tart your behalf around the Vortex. This demo set includes minions from two factions: the Brood and the Arcanae.
Strongholds: Strongholds allow you summon other tiles into play. leach stronghold has an Output, which you may spend to summon other tiles.
Events: Event tiles allow you to affect the game in many different ways, suet as making your minions faster or your strongholds stronger. Events are usually discarded air producing their effects.

At the beginning of the game, both players place their starting Limited strongholds on opposite sides of the Vortex as indicated on the picture.

Vortex: This demo set does not include a Vortex tile. Instead, cut out the Vortex printed below and use it as your Vortex tile.

Vortex uses three types of counters: Essence counters, wound counters, and energy counters.

Essence Counters: Each player begins the game with three Essence counters. If a player ever runs out of Essence counters, that player immediately loses the game. (This demo set includes eight Essence counters, though you only need six to play. You can use the extra two counters for a longer game, wherein each player has four Essence instead of three.)

Wound Counters: If a tile receives a wound, but is not destroyed, place a wound counter on it to show that it has received a wound. (Wounds are covered in the "Attack" section, below.)

Energy Counters: If one of your tiles consumes an energy tile (described below), you receive an energy counter. You may spend energy counters to get more actions or to help bring other tiles into play. (See the "Spending Energy" section for details.)

Setting up is done in four steps:

1) Place the Vortex and Unlimited strongholds
Cut out and place the Vortex, in the middle of the playing area. Choose a Limited stronghold from your collection of tiles and place it adjacent to the Vortex. At the same time, your opponent chooses a Limited stronghold from his or her force, and places it adjacent to the Vortex, on the opposite side of the tile from your stronghold.

2) Shuffle
Randomly shuffle your remaining tiles and place them Face-down in front of you. This stack of tiles is your draw stack. (When you discard a tile, it goes face-up into your discard stack.)

3) Draw your opening hand
Both you and your opponent draw five tiles from the tops of your draw stacks. These tiles are your hand. When you bring a tile into play, you bring it into play from your hand. 

4) Determine first player
Randomly determine which player goes first. 

Vortex is played in a series of turns. Each turn is divided into four phases:
1. Movement Phase
2. Action Phase
3. Summon Phase
4. Burn Phase 

At the very beginning of the game, It the first player's rum. After the first player has played through the four phases above, it is the second player's turn. After the second player has played through the four phases, it is the first player's turn again. In this fashion, both players continue taking turns back and forth until one player wins.

During your first turn of the game, there is only the Summon Phase. You must skip your Movement, Action, and Burn Phases on your first turn.

During your opponent's first turn of the game, he or she must likewise skip his or her Movement, Action, and Burn Phases. Your opponent may also only play the Summon Phase.

After both players have taken their first turns, they play through all four phases of all subsequent turns.                                                 '_

1) Movement Phase
Each tile-sized section of the playing area is considered one "space". During your Movement Phase, you may move each of your minions n number of spaces up to their total Movement value, Minions are moved along the edges of other tiles. (See the movement diagram for details.)

The Vortex mass
The Vortex ties the universe together. Minions and strongholds caught up in the battle for the Vortex cannot break free of its pull, nor can they help others break free. All strongholds and minions in play are part of the Vortex mass.

The Golden Rule
You may not move a tile the in such a way it separates from the Vortex mass, or separates another tile from the Vortex mass. Nor may you take any other action that will cause one or more tiles to separate from the Vortex mass.
This is the Golden Rule of Vortex, and nothing may violate it.

Other Movement Rules:
 You may move your minions in any order, but may only move each minion once. (You may wish to place a token on each tile as you move it, as a temporary reminder of which tiles you have moved.)
 You may not move a tile one part of its movement, move another tile, then move the first tile the remainder of its movement.
  Only Flying minions may move over other tiles, but may not end their movement on other tiles. Like all minions, Flying minions may not separate from the Vortex mass while moving 

2) Action Phase
During your Action Phase, you may perform Three actions. Each action may be one of the fol­lowing:

·          draw a tile from your draw stack,
·          attack one of your opponent's tiles or
·          use a tile to consume an energy tile
You may take less than three actions, but if you do so, the unused actions are wasted.

Example image:
1)       Movement and flying
Minions with Flying trait may move over other tiles, but must end their movement in a legal location. In this example, the black tile is Flying, and has moved three spaces. It began in space A, moved through space B, moved over the tile C, and ended its movement in space D. Space D is a legal location because it is part of the Vortex mass.
2)       Movement
In this example, the black tile moved three spaces. It began in space G, moved through spaces H and I, then ended its movement in space J. Note that the tile moved along the outside edge of the Vortex mass.
3)       Movement and the Vortex Mass
Tile E may not move to the illegal location, since it would separate Tile F from the Vortex mass. Tile E may move to the legal location, however, as it would still be connecting the F to the Vortex mass.
4)       Vortex Mass
The Vortex mass is composed of  the Vortex, and all the minions and strongholds in play. Minions and strongholds must be brought into play adjacent to the Vortex mass, and may not be moved away from the Vortex mass.
Illegal Tile (Separated from the Vortex Mass)

Action: Draw a Tile
Take the top tile from your draw stack and put it into your hand. You may have any number of tiles in your hand.

Action: Attack
You may attack your opponent's tiles in order to destroy them. Attacking is done in four steps:
1) Choose a target: Choose one of your opponent's tiles in play to be the target of your attack. You may attack the same tile multiple times during your turn, but you must use different minions for each attack (see below).
2) Choose your minions: Choose which of your minions will participate in the attack. A minion may only participate in one attack per turn. In order to participate, a minion must be in range of the target. (A minion's Range is indicated by the number of stripes next to its Combat value.) All the minions in this demo set have a Range of 1. Therefore, they must be adjacent to the target to participate in the attack.
3) Apply the attack: Combine the Combat values of all your minions that are participating in the attack. Compare this total to the target's Armor value. If the total is equal to or greater than the target's Armor value, the target receives a wound. Place a wound counter on the target.
4) Apply the defense: The defending player now compares the target's Combat value to the Armor value of a single minion that is participating in the attack (and is within the target's range). If the target's Combat value is equal to or greater than the minion's Armor value, the minion receives a wound. Place a wound counter on the participating minion.
5) Resolve the wounds: If any tiles have received a number of wounds equal to or greater than their Life, those tiles are destroyed. Remove the wound counters from these tiles and flip, them upside down. Destroyed tiles are no longer considered minions or strongholds. Instead, they are now energy tiles, controlled by neither player.

Note that once you have played a couple games, you may find it faster and easier to compress steps 3-5 by applying the attack and defense simultaneously, and immediately resolving the wounds.

Other Attack Rules:
• Each of your tiles may only participate in one attack per turn.
• Damage is not cumulative. That is, if it does not cause a wound, it disappears at the end of the attack.
• Damage may inflict multiple wounds. For instance, if the damage a tile receives is double its Armor value, it receives two wounds; if the damage is triple, the tile receives three wounds, and so on.
• An attack only costs one action, even though multiple minions of yours participate in the attack.

Action: Use a Tile to Consume Energy
If any of your minions or strongholds are adjacent to an energy tile, you may use your tile to consume that energy. When this happens, discard the energy tile and receive one energy counter. Your collection of energy counters is called your hoard. Each of your tiles may only consume one energy tile once per turn.

Note that you may not use a tile to consume an energy tile if doing so will separate one or more tiles from the Vortex mass. (See the "Golden Rule" for details.)

3) Summon Phase
During your Summon Phase, you may bring minions and strongholds into play from your hand. Most minions and strongholds have a Cost: a number and color of Output needed to summon it. A tile's Cost is indicated by the number and color of the jewels across its top. When you summon a tile, you must bring it into play adjacent to at least one of your strongholds (already in play at the beginning of the Summon Phase) with an Output that matches or exceeds the tile's cost. For example, if you want to summon a minion with a Cost of two red Output, you must bring it into play adjacent to a stronghold with red Output of at least two.

You may summon a tile adjacent to two or more strongholds, combining their Output to pay the cost of the summoned tile. For example, you could summon a tile with a cost of four blue Output adjacent to two strongholds with two blue Output apiece.

When summoning a tile with no cost (such as a Limited tile), you do not have to bring it into play adjacent to a stronghold. You must, however, bring it into play adjacent to one of your tiles already in play prior to the Summon Phase.

Spending Energy
During the Summon Phase, you may spend any number of energy counters from your hoard. For each energy you spend, you may add one point of Output (of any color) to the Output of any one of your strongholds in play during this Summon Phase. Note that you may not spend energy to simply create Output; it must add onto the Output of a stronghold in play.

Other Summoning Rules:
• You may summon only one tile per stronghold. If a stronghold's Output exceeds the cost of the tile you summon, the excess Output is wasted.
• A stronghold has no Output the turn that it is summoned.
• You may only summon one Limited tile per turn.

4) Burn Phase
During your Bum Phase, if you have minions or strongholds adjacent to fewer sides of the Vortex than your opponent, you must discard one Essence counter. If you have no Essence counters, you immediately lose the game.

After your Bum Phase, your turn is over and it is your opponent's turn.

Event Tiles
The text of each event tells you when you may play it. For instance, an event may have the text "Play during your Action Phase," or "Play when your opponent draws a tile."

When your event is no longer in effect, discard the event into your discard stack.

Exchanging Energy and Actions
During your Action Phase, you may spend two energy to receive one additional action. Likewise, you may spend two actions to add one energy to your hoard. You may perform this exchange as many times as you can afford to do so.

If a minion with Counterstrike is the target of an attack, its Combat value is applied, and its inflicted wounds) resolved, before the attack is applied. In this manner, the target of an attack may destroy its attacker before the attacker can apply its damage. Of course, if the attacker survives, it may apply its Combat value normally.

Tiles with this trait may move over other tiles, but must end their movement in a legal location. A Flying tile may not move over the Vortex.

You may only summon one Limited tile per turn. 


This demo set represents just a few of the hundreds of exciting tiles available to Vortex players who want to customize their forces. To find out more about Vortex, or to find a Vortex retailer near you, visit www.fantasyflightgames.com

® 2001 Vortex is a trademark of Fantasy Flight Publishing. Inc. All Rights Reserved. This work including all images and characters contained herein may not be reproduced in any form without consent.


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This site is created and maintained by: Carl-Gustaf Samuelsson