Collectible card games

Warlord - card game

Players 2+
Age range 10+
Playing time Approx. 10 minutes
Random chance High, due to use of 20 sided dice
Skill(s) required Card playing
Basic Reading Ability

Warlord: Saga of the Storm is a collectible card game designed by Kevin Millard and David Williams. It was produced by Alderac Entertainment Group since its introduction in 2001 until January 2008, when they announced they were ceasing its production. In place of AEG, German company Phoenix Interactive has licensed the rights to produce the game and printed their first set, Fourth Edition, in July 2008. The longer official name is almost always shortened to Warlord and the subtitle "Saga of the Storm" is often used informally to refer to the original base set of cards. The game is unrelated to an earlier, similarly named CCG, Warlords.

Warlord is based on the Rank & File system which in turn borrows basic elements from the d20 system. Originally intended as an easy-to-learn second game for players already familiar with d20 fantasy role-playing games, Warlord is often marketed with the tagline, "The game you already know how to play". Warlord was permanently discontinued by AEG and Phoenix Interactive in early 2012, approximately one decade after its initial release.


Warlord differs from many other Collectible/Customizable card games in that, in gameplay, there is no specific "resource" required to bring cards into the playing field. In order to balance the gameplay, instead of separate "resources" being required, the game relies on its "Rank and File" system, using character level and location to determine whether items of a given level may be equipped, character level and class to determine whether a given action may be performed, and the number of "ranks" present in the player's formation to determine whether a given character can be brought in to play. Furthermore, characters themselves are often used as "resources" to perform certain actions in the game.

Warlord's first reset was near the beginning of 2004, and was called Campaign Edition. The limited format was introduced in an attempt to bring more balance to the environment.

The next reset, called Epic Edition, was released in August 2006.

The card pool for Warlord currently has more than 2000 unique cards.

Warlord was officially discontinued by Alderac in mid-January, 2008 and ownership was transferred to Phoenix Interactive later that year.

Fourth Edition was released in late July 2008, followed by the first expansion for the new edition "Shattered Empires" in late 2008/ early 2009.

Game play

In Warlord every player takes control of an army with the single objective of killing all the opposing leaders or Warlords. Once that is achieved, the game is won. The simplicity of Warlord comes from the fact that most everything is tested with a single d20 roll. Every check has a target number (TN) which defines how easy the task is to succeed. The player must surpass that TN with a single die roll plus any modifiers.


Types of Cards

Warlord uses just four types of cards. Characters, Items, Dungeons and Actions.


Characters are the basic building blocks in Warlord. Their main function is to attack your opponents and use the cards in your hand and sometimes they may be used just as expendable meat to slow your opponents down. Players usually place the maximum number of characters allowed in their decks. Characters have a colored border depending on their faction and all five stat slots filled out.

Each character has some statistics which are based on D20 system's terms. Players of Dungeons and Dragons may find them familiar.

Additionally, all characters have a number of traits. The most basic is their Faction but many characters have more traits. The most common traits are:

All characters in the later sets have some kind of ability. These abilities allow for a wide range of strategies, but some are very common.


These cards are used to enhance your characters. As the game does not use a resource, items can only be equipped by characters with a sufficient level and rank. Items usually give some kind of stat boost but they are not restricted to just that. Items have a grey border.

Items always have a level and a class. The item's level is its relative power while the class restricts who can use it. Classless items can be used by anyone unless they have restrictions in their text box (such as a specific trait only). Items usually have the Attack or AC stat slots filled out with any bonus (or penalty) they may give.

Characters can equip any number of items with two exceptions: he cannot equip two copies of the same item and, when equipping an item with a trait, he must discard any items with the same trait. Traits on items classify them and define what kind of bonuses (if any) they will provide. That is, a Weapon is expected to grant an Attack bonus but AC bonuses, if any are given, will be low. These are the basic item traits:


These represent the surprise element of the game. Most actions have restrictions on who may play them (by level and class or trait) which usually gives them focus. For example, fighter actions are usually enhancing reacts to melee strikes while wizard actions are destructive orders. Actions come in two types: Orders and Reacts. Order actions take an entire turn and usually have a more full effect. Reacts are played on specific triggers, such as attacking, moving, or equipping. Actions usually do not occupy a large percentage of the deck because they tend to clutter the hand. However, an action's power is usually greater than a comparable item's or character's because they are use and discard.


Introduced in the Temple of Lore expansion in late 2006, these cards represent various locations which have a global effect on the game. Dungeons are put into play as an order by any player. Each dungeon has a challenge rating. Any player can defeat a dungeon (discard it from play) by spending a number of character levels equal to or greater than the challenge rating of the dungeon. Dungeons typically have challenge ratings between 4 and 10. Dungeons did not return to Warlord in 4th Edition and remain a feature unique to Epic Edition.

Deck Construction

As in most CCGs, a good deck construction is halfway to victory. Warlord has several restrictions on deck construction to ensure balance.

Tabletop games: Rules and Strategy