DESIGNING THE BATTLE – SULARIUM PHASE

Written by Jesse Bergman


Mining Down, Down...

Two weeks ago, I discussed the site phase of the turn. This week we will dig into the sularium phase.  This phase is where you calculate the most valuable resource in the game, sularium. It is recommended to read my previous articles in this series before continuing.  As a quick reminder I've listed the phases of the turn below.

The Turn

The Turn is defined as each player taking the necessary steps of their turn before play is passed to the next player. The turn is comprised of the following phases of the game.

Sularium Phase

During the sularium phase the current amount of sularium is calculated.  This is the total sularium generation for the turn.  Any cards that have effects dependent upon sularium generation are to use this point count for activating their effects. The sularium generation amount stays the same for the purposes of Tactics,Triggers,Conditions until the player’s next sularium phase. At the end of the phase, sularium points are moved into the sularium pool; which may be used to pay costs on commands, abilities, or to deploy combatants during the combatant phase.

A majority of effects in the game that look at sularium actually look at sularium generation and not sularium costs.  So what exactly is sularium generation.  When players calculate their sularium they are actually calculating the sularium generation.  If you are now saying “Wait, what?”,  well there are essentially two mechanics at play here.

The game does the following steps automatically after sularium has been calculated:

What is the big difference and why two separate mechanics?  If you remember when we started this series Influence was also calculated the exact same way.  The short answer to this had to do with pacing in the game.  

  • Sularium Generation is technically infinite as it does not pay any costs.  So when an effect looks for sularium generation then it doesn’t care if we are out of sularium in our sularium pool.
  • Sularium Pool allows for us to use more powerful effects at the cost of not being able to spend those points on other commands such as a combatant.  

Vassad Saboteur

The Vassad Saboteur has a sularium cost of two sularium.  The deployment cost of the saboteur depletes the sularium pool.  However, when you activate the Vassad Sabotuer you can deal damage based on sularium generation. This is regardless of the amount of sularium sitting in a sularium pool. This repeatable ability would be infinitely less powerful if it actually cost us sularium, or at the best it would slow down the overall game so much that we couldn’t enjoy the pace that the game currently has.

Steps of the Sularium Phase

  1. Reset the sularium pool and sularium generation values to zero.

  2. Objects in play that say “at the start of your sularium phase.” are placed on the command chain.  After all effects that read “at the start of your sularium phase.” are placed on the command chain they resolve from the last one placed till the first one place.

  3. The command chain opens and the player with priority may play or pass on effects.

  4. Players count all the sularium generated by objects in play as well as any amount of sularium currently in the sularium pool. This number is called their sularium generation.  Any effects that look for sularium generation use this number, until sularium generation is calculated on that player's next sularium phase.

  5. The sularium generation number is transferred to a sularium pool where players may spend points from to deploy combatants into the play zone during the combatant step.

  6. The game steps into the combatant phase.

Step 1 takes the previous sularium generation values and any remaining sularium in the sularium pool and resets it back to zero. Next, we look for any sularium phase triggers.  Finally, the player whose turn it is may start or pass on a command chain.  This allows players to add effects during the sularium phase.  After this, the player will  go to step 4 and calculate the total amount of sularium they generated for this round.  The game automatically transfers this amount to your sularium pool minus any modifiers. Finally the game steps into the combatant phase.

This is all pretty straightforward, and in most games this phase of the game is relatively short. At this point if you’ve been following along from the beginning of the series you should be pretty familiar with at least half of your turn.  We know how to play an influence card, establish a site, and generate sularium.  Next week we’ll discuss the deployment of combatants.  Until next time!