I was surprised to see people describing it as hard to pick up - granted, I’ve been soaking in TTRPGs for nearly forty years so the terminology isn’t weird to me.
I’ve linked the rulebook above, but to hypersummarise (also to get it clear in my mind because I’ve only played twice):
You are aiming to maximise your score, which is shown as stars.
You get a Class card (choice of two sides), which gives you goal values for the stats. Too high is just as bad as too low. That also defines your favoured colour for Reputation - each die of that colour is worth a star, and armour of that colour will give you a bonus star.
You get a Backstory card, which gives you a set of colours and spaces. The more dice on the final layout match that, the more stars you get.
You get an Alignment card, which shows where you want to end up on that grid.
You get some money. 5+max(playernumber-2, 0) gold.
You get some starting dice, which you place immediately.
In a round:
There are initiative cards equal to players+1; ones that aren’t first or last have one gold on them. First player draws that many dice, rolls them and allocates one per card. Then from the start player clockwise each player takes an initiative card (and its die, and any gold on it). That defines play order when needed.
Each player simultaneously places their die in their stat block, in any row with empty spaces but as far left as possible within that row. Take 2 gold if it was a gold die. Take 1 gold if it was in the third space on a stat row. They MAY take an attribute action for the row they’ve just placed in (and this is allowed to affect the die that was just placed):
- STR - flip any die
- DEX - swap any two dice (not open spaces)
- CON - raise or lower a die value by 1, not below 1 or above 6.
- INT - choose a die, reroll it, keep old or new value
- WIS - move your alignment tracker by one space
- CHA - take a Charisma token, which is worth 1 gold but goes away at the end of the round.
Once that’s done, in initiative card order, each player MAY choose to buy a card from the market. (There are cards equal to players+1, refreshed each round.) Pay that much gold; no more than two hands of weapons. If you don’t buy a market card, choose one to discard and take 2 gold.
Then clean up (the remaining market card is discarded), start player moves left, and start the next round.
Market card types are:
- Weapon - gives an ongoing ability/bonus. Limited to two hands’ worth (this ain’t Munchkin).
- Armor - does nothing for you now, but collecting sets gives you a star bonus at the end, and a set in your class colour is worth more.
- Skill - gives you a special ability, which you can use repeatedly (tap the card to show that you have; you can untap ONE skill card at the end of each round). Each time you use it, it nudges your alignment.
- Trait - nudges your alignment when you buy it, and gives you a star bonus at the end if you meet the condition.
Once everyone’s grids are full (15 rounds), add up the scores.