20 November 2008

The Dark Legion approaches

An intro to Mutant Chronicles

Mutant Chronicles MG games can range from small skirmish matches to massive epic conflicts. Two players each take command of a battle-hardened army of men and machines (and/or demons, aliens, and monsters…). Each army consists of gold, silver, and bronze level figures, orders, and command cards.


Mutant Chronicles figures represent the units doing battle over the course of the game. Each figure has a rank (gold, silver, or bronze) and a faction affiliation, as well as statistics and abilities printed on its reference card. Some figures are unique, meaning that only one version of that character can appear in a given army. A player may include up to four of each non-unique figure. Figures are either normal-sized, taking up a single hex, or large, taking up two hexes.

Army Building

The first step you'll need to take before playing the Mutant Chronicles CMG is building your army. Your army will consist of figures (the forces that will be fighting against your opponents on the battlefield), order tokens (the orders you will use to activate your figures), and command cards (special tactical and strategic options that can be used by your figures to affect the course of the battle). Your selection of figures, order tokens, and command cards will give your army a unique identity that will influence how that army performs in the game. Your opponent's army, with a different selection of components, will fight in its own way, making every game unique.

As you play, you will notice things that are working really well in your army, and other things that aren't working quite right yet. Between games, you may tweak your army to capitalize on its strengths and eliminate its weaknesses. There may also be some tactics or strategies that your opponents are employing for which your army has no counter. When this happens, you can go back to the drawing board and either modify your army to deal with these shortcomings, or start from scratch with an entirely new army. The challenge of staying one step ahead of your opponents, both on and off the battlefield, is a large part of the fun of a collectible, customizable game. The more you play, the better equipped your army will be to deal with the various armies your opponents throw at you.

It all has to start somewhere, though, and the best advice is to assemble an army as quickly as possible and jump into the battle without looking back. The time for crafty modifications and elegant finesse will come later; first you must simply learn how to fight!

Before going any farther, you'll need to decide which faction you want to play. There are four different factions in the first Mutant Chronicles set, and the faction you choose will influence which figures and command cards you have at your disposal for army building. Each faction has its own thematic and game-based identity, and understanding the different faction identities will assist you in selecting a faction for your first army.

Command Cards

In addition to figures and orders, players will select command cards during army creation. Command cards represent special maneuvers, tactics, and abilities, as well as various mystical and psychic powers.

Each command card describes exactly under which circumstances it can be played and exactly what it does. Some of them are played as actions or require actions on the part of their chosen character.

Each command card has one or more icons printed on it, representing the type of skill or power necessary to generate the effect. In order to play a command card, you must have a living character with matching icons on the battlefield. For example, the Dark Aura card requires two Algeroth command icons to play. Alakhai the Cunning has three Algeroth command icons, so as long as you control Alakhai the Cunning, you may play Dark Aura.

The Game Turn

On a game turn, players will play two of their orders to activate two of their units. Orders come in three ranks (gold, silver, and bronze), with more powerful orders giving the activated unit more actions. A unit activated with a bronze order may take a single action, a unit activated with a silver order may take two actions, and a unit activated with a gold order may take three actions.

Once a player has played his two orders, it is the next player's turn to do the same. No unit may be assigned an order twice in a single game round, and units may not activate without orders, so eventually a player will run out of orders, units, or both. When that has happened, the other player may continue assigning orders until he, too, has "gone out," at which point spent orders are reclaimed, victory points are calculated, and a new round begins.

Orders and Activation

When a unit is assigned an order, it may make a number of actions dependent on the rank of the order assigned. There are four different types of actions available in the Mutant Chronicles CMG.

Move actions allow the unit to move. Units have a speed of 4 hexes unless otherwise noted. If a unit enters hindering or covering terrain, it must end its movement immediately. Units may not move through walls.

Attack actions allow a unit to make a single attack against an enemy unit. Each unit has unique attack dice, and may generally attack any enemy unit in its line of sight (although units that are further away are harder to hit).

Guard actions enable a unit to defend territory by giving it the ability to make an attack during an enemy's turn. A unit that is on guard can interrupt an enemy's movement with an attack roll, after which its order token is flipped off of the guard side.

Finally, units may use Special Abilities, which may call for one or more actions to be spent to activate them.

Bronze, Silver, and Gold Order Tokens

A unit may take its actions in any order, but it may only take each action once per turn (a unit given a silver order could not attack twice or move twice, for example), and it must complete each action entirely before beginning the next (a unit given a silver order could not move two hexes, fire, and then move two more hexes, for example). Units may also pass actions, if they do not wish to use them all.


Units in the Mutant Chronicles CMG each have their own reference card, and each reference card details the strength, range, and accuracy of each unit's attack. Rather than supplying complex stats which require intimate rules knowledge to interpret, however, Mutant Chronicles resolves all attacks with a simple dice-roll mechanic. Each unit lists which dice are rolled when it attacks. Those dice will, at a glance, indicate the accuracy score and damage dealt by the attack once rolled.

There are four colors of dice. Green dice, which represent light ranged weaponry, have very high accuracy values, but not a lot of damage. Blue dice, representing heavy ranged attacks, have good accuracy and respectable damage. Red dice, which represent a light melee attack, have more damage but poor accuracy. Yellow dice, representing heavy melee attacks, have the most damage, but the worst accuracy. When the attack roll is made, the highest accuracy value shown on any single die must at least be equal to the distance between the attacker and the target in order to score a hit. If the attack is a hit, then all the damage icons are added together to determine how much damage has been done.


Each destroyed enemy unit is worth victory points equal to its rank (one for bronze, two for silver, and three for gold). Furthermore, in certain game modes there are victory point zones on the game map which are worth victory points to whichever player controls them. These victory zones represent munitions depots, communications relays, and other strategically valuable locations, and therefore they also have special abilities that confer a powerful benefit on the player controlling them.

At the end of each turn, players total up the victory points for units they have killed and all the victory points for the victory zones they currently hold. If a player has amassed enough points to reach the victory threshold for the chosen game mode, they are victorious!

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