Welcome to Varia!
A new genre of card game - fast, interactive, and fun!
Varia is a card & dice-based fighting game that is all about timing your odds. Each turn, you decide what cards to use against your opponent. At the same time, your opponent decides what cards they will use against you. In the end, you both roll the dice to determine whose cards come out on top.
A sound strategy minimizes the damage you take and maximizes the hurt you put on your opponent. Poor planning leaves your head spinning as you shuffle up for round two.
In this game, there are no minions to summon or walls to hide behind. Instead, you raise your shield against an onslaught of arrows. You cast the spell that launches balls of fire at your opponent’s face. You bring your equipped hammer down on your unsuspecting foe.
With careful planning and a little luck, victory will be yours!
May the dice always fall in your favor.
— The Varia Design Team
What You Will Need
To play Varia, you and your opponent will each need the following:
A deck of 30 action cards.
Item cards with a total value of 30 or less.
A way to track health points and action points.
At least one six-sided die (d6).
At least one four-sided die (d4).
Any token & stack cards created by your actions.
To make things easy for you, each class deck contains everything you need!
Varia FAQ - Can I Make My Own Class?
Yes! Varia is designed to allow you to build your own class. To learn more about the different Varia formats and how to craft your own custom class, click the link below!
Getting Set Up
First, take all token and stack cards and set them aside away from the game. Next, take your item cards and place them on the table in front of you. This is your "item zone" and is where you will keep your items when you are not using them.
Finally, decide who will be the first active player of the game. You may use whatever method you wish in order to decide this. We recommend rolling a six-sided die and having the player with the highest value go first. On a tie, simply roll again.
Reading A Varia Card
Card Name - The name of the card. No two different cards can have the same English name. The above card's name is Decapitate.
Power - The amount of damage a card can prevent or deal. Power can be read as the number inside the square plus a six sided die. Decapitate's power is 10+1d6.
Focus - The number used to determine if an attack hits or misses. Focus can be read as the number inside the triangle plus a four sided die. Decapitate's focus is 5+1d4.
Cost - What a player must pay in order to perform the action. Decapitate costs nine action points to perform.
Rules & Flavor Text - Any additional rules that the card has will be written here. Italicized words at the bottom of the text bow are called flavor text and have no effect on the game itself. Flavor text is there to add some story and lore to the cards. Decapitate's rule says that on a maximum roll for one or more focus dice, its power will become infinite. Decapitate's flavor text pokes fun at the fact that Magnius (the character shown in the art) is using a hammer to perform this action.
Supertypes - Supertypes are card types that help identify what a card is and what it can or cannot do. They serve as general terms that group cards together, and often influence the type of frame treatment that a card will have. Supertypes are often referenced by core game rules.
Subtypes - Subtypes are card types that also help identify what a card is. They are usually only referenced by individual card rules, and not general game rules. Subtypes serve as individual terms that help differentiate cards from one another, while also further grouping cards into smaller categories.
Attribute Requirement - Attribute requirements are used in build construction prior to playing, and usually do not have an impact on the game while playing. There are seven attributes - aggression, tenacity, faith, spirit, intellect, charisma, and subtlety. Decapitate's attribute requirement is seven aggression.
Asset Value - Asset cards like items have an asset value in the bottom center of the card inside of a gold coin shape. The asset value is used in build construction prior to playing, and usually does not have an impact on the game while playing. Decapitate is not an asset card, and thus it has no asset value.
Types of Cards
Varia has four different types of cards, each with their own frame style to help you tell them apart. The card types are:
Actions make up your deck and can be any combination of four different supertypes:
Actions are the primary way in which you will interact with your opponent. They represent the different spells and combat maneuvers you use in battle.
All actions have the same overall frame layout, and their information is contained in the same place. Physical actions have a frame treatment that is silver and red. Magical actions have a frame treatment that is gold and purple. Attack actions that have a power value will have a spear shape inside of the d6 symbol. Block actions will have a shield shape inside of the d6 symbol. All of this is cosmetic and is done in an effort to help you tell the different types of cards apart at a glance.
If you are ever in doubt, the safest bet is to simply ready the card's type box, as it will have supertypes like "Magical Attack" that clearly identify the card's types.
Tokens are temporary game pieces that are created by other cards.
Token actions function just like regular action cards while they are on the Timeline. If a token would move to any other zone other than the Timeline, the token is removed from the game instead.
Assets start the game in play in your item zone and represent the things on your person that you bring into battle. They are easily identified by their gold value in the bottom center of the card. Right now there is only one type of asset - Items. Items come in two forms:
Regular Items are cards that remain in your item zone for the entirety of the game. They often have effects on them that are always happening. For example, the item card Two-Faced Terbum below has rules text that is always in effect.
Usable Items can perform actions and often have two textboxes. The action that the item can be used to perform is represented within the item itself with a condensed version of either the magical or physical action card frame. This textbox also has a type line above it that indicates the supertypes and subtypes of the action that the item is able to perform.
Stacks are mini-cards that Varia uses to track buffs and debuffs over time. Stacks can be permanent (meaning they remain in play until removed) or they can be depleting (meaning they "tick down" when certain conditions are met.
When you open your class deck you will notice that stacks are printed as a single card. These stacks are meant to be physically cut apart to create two mini-cards.
Stacks are called stacks because they stack on top of each other! When you gain multiple stacks with the same name, put them into a single pile on top of each other. Only the top-most stack will affect the game.
You could also use a single stack card and a die or counters to keep track of how many versions of a stack that you have.
For example, if you were to gain three stacks of Enraged, you would put three copies of the stack one on top of the other in front of you (or one copy with three pieces of candy on it).
Enraged is a depleting stack that makes it so that all actions you perform have "Start of Moment: Engage." Additionally, any physical actions you perform will get an extra power die! Being Enraged makes you aggressive and physically strong. At the end of each moment, you will lose one of your Enraged stacks.
Only the top-most Enraged will affect your actions, the other copies will not. Therefore, even though you have three stacks of Enraged, your physical actions will only get one extra power die - not three. When the next end of moment rolls around you will only lose the top stack, bringing you down to two.
The Play Area
Varia’s Play Area has six zones where cards can go. The zones are:
Deck - Your shuffled deck of action cards goes here, face-down.
Character - Your asset cards and any stacks applied to you or your assets go here, face-up.
Hand - Where cards go when you draw them from your deck.
Timeline - This is where you plan and perform actions during a turn.
Discard - Discarded cards and resolved actions go here face-up. All players may look at all cards in any discard pile at any time.
Forgotten - Forgotten cards and replaced actions go here face- down. No players may look at any cards in any forgotten pile at any time.
Playing The Game
To start the game, each player should set their health point total to 30 and their action point total to 10. You can do this with a pen and paper. Next, you’ll need to determine who will be the first active player of the game. Do so by rolling a d6. The player with the highest total picks to be active or reactive. On a tie, roll again. The player who is not the active player will be considered the reactive player, and vice versa. Varia uses a unique shared turn structure. Depending on if the player is the active player or the reactive player, they will participate in different parts of the turn. The steps of a standard turn are:
Start of Turn
End of Turn.
Step One: Start Of Turn
At the start of each turn, both players draw two cards and regain any spent action points back up to a total of ten. On the first turn of the game, players draw a starting hand of six cards instead. There is no maximum hand size.
Step Two: Movement
The active player decides if they would like to move. Their options are to engage their opponent, disengage from their opponent, or do nothing. Engaged players have reduced chance of their attacks missing. Disengaged players will need to perform ranged attack actions if they want to hit their target. Otherwise their actions will automatically miss. Movement is one of the advantages given to the active player.
Step Three: Action
The active player may plan actions from their hand onto the timeline. Taking an action from your hand and placing it onto the timeline is referred to as “planning an action.” Each planned action takes up one moment on the timeline. Actions must be planned sequentially in the order they will occur.
Every turn will resolve, at minimum, one moment. For each action planned beyond the first, an additional moment will resolve. The number of potential moments on the timeline is infinite, but the number that will resolve each turn is determined by the active player’s initial plan. If the active player plans three actions during the active step, only three moments will resolve that turn. The number of moments that will resolve in a turn is called the “resolution window.” Once set, the size of the resolution window cannot be changed.
Step Four: Reaction
The reactive player now has a chance to plan actions onto the timeline. Their advantage is that they know exactly what the active player is attempting to do. Their disadvantage is that the reactive player cannot plan actions in moments outside of the resolution window. If the active player set the resolution window to a single moment, then the reactive player will only have one moment to use.
Step Five: Fast Action
From this point forward in the turn, only actions with the keyword fast may be planned by either player. To help further identify an action as fast, cards with the keyword have a lightning bolt symbol in the top right corner of the card’s nameplate.
The active player may adjust their plan during this step by planning fast actions as either a combo or a replacement.
When a fast action is planned as a combo, it is placed on top of an action that is already on the timeline. For the remainder of the turn, the combined actions will be treated as a single card that share a combined name, cost, power, focus, rules, supertypes, subtypes, and attribute requirement. Attacks and blocks cannot be combined.
When a fast action replaces an action on the timeline, the fast action is placed into the moment of the action it is replacing and the replaced action is moved face-down to the forgotten zone.
Remember! The number of moments in the resolution window cannot be changed.
Step Six: Fast Reaction
Once the active player is finished planning any fast actions, the reactive player gets a chance to do the same.
Remember! The number of moments in the resolution window cannot be changed.
If either player planned a fast action during steps five or six, then steps five and six are repeated. If neither player planned a fast action, the game continues to step seven.
Step Seven: Resolution
Each moment is resolved in timeline order, starting with moment one. Actions are paid for and performed one moment at a time, damage is dealt and prevented one moment at a time, and all triggered effects in a moment are resolved before effects in later moments will trigger.
In other words, each moment is treated like a mini-turn, with the following steps:
Payment - Players pay the cost of their actions. If an action is unable to be paid for, it is not performed and is pushed instead. When an action is pushed, it and all actions planned to follow it move down the timeline one moment. This can cause actions to be pushed outside of the resolution window and be performed on the next turn instead.
Start of Moment - Any start of moment effects will trigger. These are identified by an hourglass symbol with the top half filled in.
Clash - Attacks roll their power and focus to see if they hit or deal damage. Blocks roll power and focus to see if they cause a miss or prevent damage. If a hit occurs, any on-hit effects trigger after damage is dealt and prevented.
End of Moment - Any end of moment effects will trigger. These are identified by an hourglass symbol with the bottom half filled in.Once the moment is resolved, players move on to the next moment. If there are no more moments in the resolution window, then the last step is performed - the end of turn.
Step Eight: End Of Turn
The turn is over. All performed actions are moved from the timeline to the discard pile. Actions in unresolved moments remain on the timeline. Any items on the timeline are moved back to the character zone. The reactive player becomes the new active player. The current active player becomes the reactive player. Any “until end of turn” effects end.
With that, a new turn is ready to begin!
Winning & Losing
At the end of each step or sub-step of the turn, if your health points are ever less than or equal to zero, you lose the game.
You win the game if all other players have lost the game.
If both players have a trigger occur at the same time, the active player’s will resolve first, followed by the reactive player’s. If one player has multiple triggers of the same type occur, that player decides the order in which those triggers occur.
Health & Action Points
Each player starts the game with a set number of health points and action points. A player cannot regain health points or action points higher than these starting totals.
In a standard out-of-the-box game, players start with 30 health points and 10 action points.
Action points are the primary means by which players pay an action’s cost. When part of a cost, action points are represented by a black, seven-pointed action icon.
Health points can also be spent as part of an action’s cost. When part of a cost, health points are represented by a red blood droplet.
Drawing, Discarding, & Forgetting
Whenever a card, effect, or game rule says to draw a card, take the top card of your deck and put it into your hand.
Whenever a card, effect, or game rule says to discard a card, take a card from your hand and place it into the discard pile face-up. Whenever a card, effect, or game rule says to discard a card from a specified zone, take a card from that zone and place it onto the discard pile face-up.
Whenever a card, effect, or game rule says to forget a card, take a card from your hand and place it into the forgotten pile face-down. Whenever a card, effect, or game rule says to forget a card from a specified zone, take a card from that zone and place it onto the forgotten pile face-down.
If you would draw a card and cannot because your deck is empty, shuffle your discard pile and forgotten pile into a new deck and draw those cards, then gain 1 stack of Fatigue.
Engaged, Disengaged, & Moving
Players can be in two states relative to one another - Engaged or Disengaged.
Players that are engaged are not in danger of having their attacks miss due to distance. Players that are disengaged from one another will have their attacks miss due to distance unless those attacks have the ranged keyword.
When a player’s position relative to another player changes due to that player engaging with or disengaging from another player, that player is considered to have moved. For example, if Players A and B are disengaged, and Player A engages Player B, then Player A is considered to have moved. Player B is not considered to have moved. Player A has “engaged Player B.”
Moments are sub-zones of the timeline. All actions are planned and performed in moments. The timeline has an unlimited number of moments.
Each turn, a set number of moments are resolved and available to players to plan actions in. This is called the “resolution window” and is set during the action step by the active player’s initial plan.
Moments resolve individually and in the order in which they exist on the timeline.
Planning, Targeting, Performing, & Pushing
Taking an action in your hand or an item from your character zone and putting either of them onto the timeline is considered “planning an action.”
When an action is planned, its owner picks a target for that action. When an action is replaced by a fast action, a new target may be selected.
Once an action’s cost is paid, it is considered to have been “performed.”
When a player is unable to perform an action, the unperformed action, and all actions following it on the timeline, get “pushed.” To push an action, move it forward into the next moment on the timeline.
Combos & Replacements
Actions with the fast keyword can be planned as combos or as replacements.
A combo is treated as a single action card with a combined name, cost, power, focus, rules, supertypes, subtypes, and attribute requirement. Attacks and blocks cannot be combined.
When two actions are combined, their dice are as well. For example, a Bowie Knife that is combined with a Transfusion Dregga would have a power of 2+2d6 and a focus of 2+2d4. The action’s name would be both Bowie Knife and Transfusion Dregga, would cost five action points to perform, and would have the rules “Fast. You regain health points equal to the damage dealt by this action.” The combo’s types would be Physical Magical Attack - Dexterity Vampiric and would have an attribute requirement of two subtlety.
Planning an action as a replacement causes the action being replaced to move to the forgotten pile face down. The new action then takes its place on the timeline.
Whenever you plan an action as a replacement you may pick a new target for that action. You do not have to use the same target as the action that was replaced.
When an action replaces another action it will take its place on the Timeline. The action that was replaced is forgotten.
Varia FAQ - If I Combine two Physical actions, will the result be Physical Physical?
No. If two combined cards have the same supertype or subtype, the resulting combo will only have one instance of that type or subtype.
Power, Focus, & Clashing
Most actions have a power, focus, or both.
An action’s base power is the number found inside of a square icon with either a spear shape (attack) or a shield shape (block). An action’s total power is its base power plus 1d6.
An action’s base focus is the number found inside of a triangle icon with a targeting reticle. An action’s total focus is its base focus plus 1d4.
When two actions clash, their power die and focus die rolls are made and their total power and total focus are compared.
When an attack clashes with a block, if the attack’s total focus is greater than or equal to the block’s total focus, then the attack will hit. If the attack hits, it will attempt to deal damage to its target equal to the attack’s total power. The block will prevent damage equal to the block’s total power. If the attack’s total power is greater than the block’s total power, the attack will deal damage to its target equal to the difference.
For example, if Player A is attacking with total power of 6 and Player B is blocking with a total power of 4, Player B will prevent 4 damage and Player A will deal 2 (6 minus 4) damage to Player B.
When an attack clashes with an attack, only total power is compared. Both attacks will attempt to deal damage to their target, with the higher power action dealing damage and the lower power action preventing damage.
For example, if Player A is attacking with total power of 3 and Player B is attacking back with a total power of 8, Player A will prevent 3 damage and Player B will deal 5 (8 minus 3) damage to Player A.
Making A Roll
Whenever a player rolls dice, that player is making a roll. To make a roll, gather up all dice of the same type needed for the roll and roll them together.
For example, to resolve the combination attack of Transfusion Dregga + Bowie Knife, you would make two rolls - a roll of 2d6 for power and a roll of 2d4 for focus.
Hit & Miss
Attacks are not guaranteed to hit. There are two ways an attack can miss its target.
Miss Due to Focus - During the clash, if your target’s block has a total focus that is higher than your attack’s total focus, your attack will miss.
Miss Due to Distance - If you are disengaged from your target, your attack will automatically miss if it doesn’t have the keyword Ranged.
If an attack misses, it will not deal damage or trigger an on-hit effect. An attack that misses will still prevent damage.
Triggered & Continuous Rules
A trigger is a rule that goes into effect once certain criteria is met. Until that criterion is met, the rule is not in effect. Some of the triggers in Varia are:
Start of Moment - Start of moment rules occur at the start of the moment that the action is in. A start of moment trigger is represented by an hourglass icon with the top half filled in.
End of Moment - End of moment rules occur at the end of the moment that the action is in. An end of moment trigger is represented by an hourglass icon with the bottom half filled in.
On-Hit - On-Hit rules occur once it is determined that an attack has hit.
A continuous rule is a rule that is always in effect as long as the card is in play.
Start of Moment
End of Moment
Opposed & Unopposed
If Player A’s action is targeting Player B, Player B’s action is targeting Player A, and both actions are in the same moment, those actions are considered to be opposing one another.
Opposing actions will clash when resolving the moment.
When an action is planned in a moment with nothing opposing it, that action is considered to be unopposed. An unopposed block will prevent 0 damage. An unopposed attack will deal damage as if it were clashing with an action that had a total power of 0. An unopposed attack cannot miss due to focus. An unopposed attack can still miss due to distance.
Disrupted, Ruined, & Repaired
When an action becomes disrupted, it is turned sideways. From that point forward, actions clashing with the disrupted action are treated as if they are unopposed. No further effects from the disrupted action will trigger and any continuous rules on the action will no longer be in effect.
When an asset becomes ruined, it is turned sideways. From that point forward, it cannot be used to perform actions and any continuous rules it had will no longer be in effect. Any actions that are planned with the ruined asset become disrupted.
When a ruined asset becomes repaired, return it to its original orientation. From that point forward, treat that asset and actions planned with it as you would normally.
Becomes & Treated
When a rule states that a card or a part of a card becomes something else, the part of the card that was changed is completely replaced.
For example, when Thy Will Be Done causes an action to become a copy of it, the actions name, rules, cost, types, attribute requirements, power, and focus all become equal to Thy Will Be Done and whatever the action was previously is lost. In another example, if a card's subtype would become fire, it would lose its original subtypes and gain the fire subtype.
If a card or part of a card becomes something else temporarily, that card or part of the card would return to its original form once the effect ends. Continuing the Thy Will Be Done example from above, at the end of moment the card that became a copy of Thy Will Be Done will return to its original form.
When a rule states that a card or a part of a card should be treated as something else, the part of the card that was changed is not completely replaced. Treat is a way for one player to see one thing and another player to see something else, or for one part of the game's rules to see one thing while another part of the game sees something else.
For example, Eyes of the Goddess stacks cause the player who has them to treat actions in all opponent's discard piles as if they are demonic in addition to their other types. The cards affected do not lose their types and furthermore only the player with Eyes of the Goddess stacks will see and interact with those cards as if they had the demonic type. So if the player with Eyes of the Goddess saw a Windshank in their opponent's discard pile they would see that card as having the Air and Demonic types. The owner of the Windshank would only see the Air type. Even if Eyes of the Goddess said "treat actions in all opponent's discard piles as if they are demonic instead" the player with Eyes of the Goddess stacks would see the Windshank as being Demonic only, but the owner of the Windshank would see the action as being Air only.
Creating A Token
Some effects may cause a token action to be created. Creating a token does not count as planning an action.
When a token says to create it in the next available moment, that means that the token will be created on the timeline in first following moment in which the action that token represents could be legally planned.
For example, when you plan Snake Bite during the action step, if you plan it in moment one, the copy will be created in moment two. If you plan it in moment three, the copy will be created in moment four, even if moment one was somehow empty.
For example, if you are able to plan Snake Bite as a fast action in moment one, the copy will be created in moment two even if an action is already in moment two. This is because fast actions are legally able to be planned as combos and replacements for existing actions.
Tokens can be created outside of the resolution window. For example, if you are the reactive player and you plan Snake Bite into moment one on a turn that has a resolution window of one moment, the Snake Bite token will be created in moment two, outside of the resolution window. The Snake Bite token will be the first action you have planned on the next turn, just like a pushed action would.
Some cards have rules text that contains what are called keywords. A keyword is a shorthand for a rule that appears frequently. When a card has a keyword in its rules box, that is the same as if the card had the full rule that the keyword represents.
For example, fast is a keyword that appears on a number of action cards. If a card has the keyword fast, that is the same as if the card had the rules "You may plan this action in both the fast action and fast reaction steps. You may plan this action as a combo or a replacement."
The keywords found in Varia are
Fast (You may plan this action in both the fast action and fast reaction steps. You may plan this action as a combo or a replacement.)
Impaired (For each roll made for this action its owner makes an additional roll and takes the lower result.)
Improved (For each roll made for this action its owner makes an additional roll and takes the higher result.)
Ranged (This action cannot miss due to distance.)
Spellfuse (You may plan this action as a combo with any other magical action in your hand. If you do, treat the two actions as a single action with combined name, cost, rules, power, focus, alignment, and type or types.)
Dragonrage (When you plan this action, you may create an Inner Dragon token as a combo with this action. If you do, create a Vulnerable token in the following moment as a replacement.)
Determining Your Level
To determine a deck's level, you must look at the highest requirement per attribute of cards in your deck. For example, If you include the card Healing Hammers as the first card in your deck, your deck would be considered to be a Level 4 Faith deck. This is because Healing Hammers has an attribute requirement of four Faith. From this point forward, any other cards you add to your deck that have a requirement of four or less Faith will have no impact on your deck's level. You may add as many Guided Strike and Arms of the Goddess actions as you like, your deck will still be considered a "Level 4 Faith Deck."
At this point, you are a level 4 faith build. But what if you add a card from another attribute? What if you really want Spellbreaker in your deck?
Spellbreaker has an attribute requirement of three aggression. Because Spellbreaker requires an attribute that is not part of your deck yet, it will count toward your level. At this point, your deck would be considered to be "Level 4 Faith, Level 3 Aggression", also known as a "Level 7" deck.
If your goal was to make a level 7 deck, you would now be at max level. You could only add actions to your deck that had a faith requirement of four or less, and an aggression requirement of three or less. You could add some Critical Strikes and an Enrage or two just fine, but if you decide that you really need a Thy Will Be Done then you are going to need to remove all actions in your deck that require more than one aggression.
Final Rule - The Cards Always Win
If a base game rule and a card rule ever conflict, the card rule wins.