- 1.Basic Actions (Strike, Long Strike, Heavy Strike, Defend, Evade)
2. Map Cards (1 Deck)
3. Powers (1 Deck for each player)
4. Basic Powers (1 set for each player)
5. Upgrades (1 Deck)
6. Hero Classes (Total 6)
Step 1: Both players select a Class to play. Each player builds their 10 card deck with basic actions by following the composition of cards stated on their Class Card.
We highly recommend first time players to both play a few rounds with the Mirror Deck to familiarize with the game’s basics before moving on to classes.
Mirror Deck composition: 3 Strikes, 2 Defends, 2 Evades, 2 Long Strikes and 1 Heavy Strike
Step 2: Shuffle Upgrade and Map decks thoroughly.
Step 3: Each player will select 3 powers from their Power Deck in secret. (See Section V)
Step 4: Place “Halfwish” and “Feint” Cards beside action card deck (as shown below)
Step 5: Deal 5 random cards from the Map Deck and place them face down in the map zone (as shown below)
Part 2: The Gamemaster
Halfwish is an intuitive game to learn once you start playing, but it can get tricky to teach. But once everyone gets the hang of it, prepare to have an overnighter!
So the best way to get ready for game night is to have a gamemaster read the rules prior and conduct the game for all new players, prompting them on the actions they can take and to help with math (gasp) during duels. (See Section VIII for how to teach)
Don’t worry - the game is just as fun for spectators! (The creator of this game spent more time watching than playing the game during its testing phases so he knows)
Throughout this rulebook, there will be areas specifically for gamemasters to note so that we can help ease the growing pains we faced when we onboarded new players. Here’s one:
Remember to constantly make the difference between turns and rounds clear to players. _______________
Halfwish is played over 3 rounds of 5 turns each. Every turn is represented by 1 map card. The goal is to score more points than your opponent at the end of the game or reduce their health to zero. Players have 25 health, whoever runs out of health loses the game immediately.
Decide who starts the game then follow the following steps for every turn in the game. If conducted by a gamemaster, the GM should prompt players for their action at each step.
1) Both players roll a pair of dice but don't reveal it to their opponent. That roll is their Dice Value (DV).
2) Both draw cards and discard extras until 4 remain in hand. (See Section I)
3) Play progresses from left to right on the adventure map. The starting player decides to Duel, Scout or Parley (See Section II for info)
4) If a duel occurred and no players were reduced to 0 hp, end the turn and go to Step 5. (See Section III for duels)
4b) If a parley was accepted, both players can choose to keep their DV instead of rerolling. DVs can only be kept for 1 turn. The turn player chooses first.
5) If it is not the last turn in the round, start again at Step 1 with the other player starting the turn. If it is the last turn of the round, proceed to Step 5b.
5b) Discard all map cards and proceed to Step 6. If that was the end of round 3, skip to Step 8.
6) Deal 5 cards from the Upgrade deck. Players select their upgrades to modify their action deck with. Discard all unpicked upgrades. (See Section IV for info)
7) Start a new round with 5 new map cards. Both players heal 3hp and remove any negative effects on them (e.g. Ignite, poison etc). Both players shuffle their newly upgraded action decks and go back to Step 1. The starting player is now the other player that didn’t start the game. Whoever is losing at the start of Round 3 starts that round.
8) Whoever has more points wins the game. If points are tied, tiebreak in the following order:
i) Whoever has more lamps won ii) Whoever has more health iii) Whoever scored the first point
You draw a different amount of cards on each turn of each round. You must draw every turn. Since your action deck has 10 cards, you should always draw out your deck by Turn 5 each round.
Turn 1: Draw 4 Turns 2-3: Draw 1 Turns 4-5: Draw 2
You can only have up to 4 cards in your hand. Excess and used cards will be discarded face up. Your opponent can check your discard pile at any time to gather info.
GM’s Notes: Remind players to draw and discard every turn.
Whoever is starting the turn will decide to Duel Scout or Parley after rolling their DV and .
Choosing a duel instantly starts combat with your opponent. The turn will end after. (See Section III for duels)
Choosing scout offers your opponent the choice to reveal the current map card to both players.
- If they agree, reveal the card and resolve its effect. If they disagree, they have to initiate a duel with you. Flip and resolve the map card (if it's unscouted) at the start of the showdown.
Choosing parley offers a truce to your opponent.
- If they disagree, they again have to initiate a duel with you. Flip and resolve the map card (if it's unscouted) at the start of the showdown.
- If accepted, the turn ends without a duel and the map card is flipped up with its effect disabled (unless otherwise stated). After parley, both players can choose to keep their DV for up to 1 turn or reroll it for the next turn.
- Every time two parleys are accepted in a row, the player with the lower points will score one point as compensation.
GM’s Notes: Remind players to reroll or keep their DV if a parley is accepted. And warn players of parley points during the turn if applicable.
Duels are the primary way for players to score points and damage their opponents. When a duel is declared, the player who initiates the duel is the aggressor and the other is the defender.
Aggressors and Defenders score points differently during duels.
Score 1 point for every time the Defender takes damage during the duel.
Scores 1 point for taking no damage during the duel.
Scores 1 point if the aggressor takes damage once during the duel.
IMPORTANT: Map cards, powers and reveal effects can sometimes cause players to gain or lose points during the duel by dealing damage or with special effects, take these into consideration when tallying the final net gain of points.
The player who scores the most net points during the duel wins the duel. (See Section VI for clarity)
GM’s Notes: Remind each player if they are the aggressor or defender before the duel and how they can score points. New players tend to confuse starting the turn as being the aggressor.
Also remind players that they are allowed to play any type of actions during duels as aggressor or defenders, so long it helps them score points based on their role.
Duels are broken into 2 phases: Preparation and Showdown.
Preparation is when players decide which action cards they wish to commit from their hand. During this time, powers can be played (more in Section V). Once both players are ready to move on, they can agree to proceed to the showdown. It should look something like the image below:
Upon entering the showdown, committed action cards can no longer be swapped out with cards in hand. Reveal the following in this order:
i) Map card (if it's face down), resolve its effect before moving on ii) All action cards, apply any reveal effects before moving on iii) Both DVs
Afterwards, calculate the outcome of the duel based on what has been revealed. After the calculations, players can take turns to play Powers to try and alter the outcome or lock in the result to progress. Once both players are out of plays or agree to progress, apply all combat damage, action effects and point changes before ending the duel.
The turn ends after a duel resolves. Whoever scored the most net points wins the duel.
There are aggressive and defensive actions. Actions that strike are aggressive actions and those that do not are defensive actions.
To calculate duels, always determine how much actions are going to be striking for.
When two aggressive actions strike each other, the lower striker will take the difference as damage. Blocks do not strike and do not do damage.
Actions with the first strike (FS) keyword will strike against other non-FS aggressive actions before calculating the difference. If the target survives, they will retaliate by striking against the FS action. Here, the lower striker will take the difference as damage, but the FS action cannot deal damage again even if it's striking for more.
Duels are fought with ONE action on Turns 1 and 2, and TWO actions on Turns 3 to 5.
In two action combat turns, actions clash with one another individually. For clarity, refer to the example below:
While actions clash separately, point scoring is determined by the overall outcome of the duel.
In the case of an action with ‘Ignores block’ (e.g. heavy strike) clashing with a defend card, the player that played defend will receive damage equal to full the strike value of the action with ‘Ignore block’. This also occurs in the event an Evade action fails to meet requirements or if an Evade action faces up against an Unevadable action.
Refer to Section VII for plausible scenarios that can occur in a game and their final outcomes.
GM’s Notes: Every turn, make a habit of asking the turn player if they would like to play powers or pass initiative during the start of the Preparation phase and Showdown phases when everything is revealed.
GMs should help with the duel math and explain the current outcome before asking players if they wish to play powers.
At the end of Rounds 1 and 2, players enter the Upgrade Phase. Deal 5 random upgrade cards face up for both players to see. Then the player who is currently losing the game can choose first or second. Upgrades replace basic action cards in a player’s deck, maintaining the total deck size at 10 cards. A player cannot select an upgrade if they do not have its corresponding basic action that it replaces.
- The player who upgrades first will choose 1 card from the 5 upgrades publicly.
- The player who upgrades second will pick from the remaining in secret.
- Players can opt to skip an upgrade to heal 7 HP.
- Cards stay upgraded for the rest of the game.
If there are extra upgrades granted during the round, they must be spent here. After both players have picked their first upgrade, discard all remaining upgrades face down (so as to not reveal second picker’s choice) and deal 5 new upgrades face up.
The player who picked first will then choose from this new 5. The other player will then pick from the remaining cards. This carries on until both players are out of extra upgrades. Extra upgrades will not be hidden from either player.
Powers are powerful (heh) trump cards meant to swing the tides of the game. Most powers in the game cost Mana to play. Players gain 1 mana on game start and at the start of Round 2. Both players begin the game with Halfwish and Feint, which are classified as basic powers since they cost no Mana to play.
- Players select 3 Powers secretly at the start of the game after seeing their opponent’s class.
- Powers can only be played during duels. They can be played during the preparation or showdown phases. The current turn player will always have initiative to play a power during the start of each phase.
- Powers have to be played one at a time. After a player plays a power or passes initiative, their opponent is given the opportunity to respond with a power before the initiative is passed back. If both players pass initiative, move on to the next phase of the duel or resolve it.
- Only 1 non-basic power can be played per turn.
- Certain map cards grant extra mana to players, allowing them to play all 3 powers in a game.
Unless otherwise stated (e.g. Reveal effects), combat damage, action card effects and points scored from them only apply after a showdown is resolved.
Powers and Reveal effects occur immediately, which can cause points to be altered or kill a player before a showdown is resolved.
Point gains or losses (except pay effects) that occur from card effects will go towards the total tally of points that determine who wins the duel. (e.g. Cheap Shot, Feint Strike, Diamond Hands)
As a rule of thumb, the current turn player will always get initiative for choices regarding map cards, rerolling DV after a parley or playing powers.
Attacking every turn is not necessary. Defending smart and luring your opponent into bad plays is a viable strategy to winning.
Try to play powers as late as you can to give you the most information about your decision. (e.g. scouting first, waiting for the showdown etc.)
- 1.Setup Board and give a brief overview of Halfwish.
- 2.Explain Action Cards and how to do damage calculations.
- 3.Place point scoring table in front of each player and explain winning conditions
- 4.Explain Scout/Duel/Parley mechanics for each turn.
- 5.Introduce Powers and Upgrades
GM's notes (Summarised)
Remember to constantly make the difference between turns and rounds clear to players.
Remind players to draw and discard every turn.
Remind players to reroll or keep their DV if a parley is accepted. And warn players of parley points during the turn if applicable.
Remind each player if they are the aggressor or defender before the duel and how they can score points. New players tend to confuse starting the turn as being the aggressor.
Remind players that they are allowed to play any type of actions during duels as aggressor or defenders, so long it helps them score points based on their role.
Every turn, make a habit of asking the turn player if they would like to play powers or pass initiative during the start of the Preparation phase and Showdown phases when everything is revealed.
GMs should help with the duel math and explain the current outcome before asking players if they wish to play powers.
- 1.Halfwish is mostly Defender sided, bait your opponents into bad attacks!
- 2.Use your Halfwish/Powers carefully, leaving yourself exposed without bailout options can allow your opponent to punish you later in the game.
- 3.Learn how to use a Parley to your advantage
- 4.Comebacks are very possible and more common than you would imagine.