Hello to all casual EDH fans. I've come to introduce and support a Commander variant called Advanced Kingdoms. Many of you are already aware of the popular Kingdoms variant for 5+ player games of Commander, and some of you may even know of the Expanded Kingdoms version released a few years back by another playgroup. I loved the ideas in the Expanded Kingdoms variant, but I always felt that it needed a bit more developing and polishing to really shine. Once COVID hit I found myself playing Commander in person less regularly so it actually gave me the opportunity to create Advanced Kingdoms.
Advanced Kingdoms is a custom Magic: The Gathering variant based on the popular Commander variant ‘Kingdoms’ and largely influenced by and modified from ‘Expanded Kingdoms’. Advanced Kingdoms is a 5+ player format that uses secret roles with special abilities that can be played 'on top of' a regular game of Commander. If you're already familiar with Kingdoms and you're looking for just a bit more spice in your games, Advanced Kingdoms is for you.
Advanced Kingdoms is set in the world of Eldraine and uses the art and themes present on that plane.
- King: the current monarch who is loved by some, hated by others.
- Knights: the sole protectors of the King.
- Assassins: on a mission to kill the King.
- Bandits: want to be the last players standing.
- Renegades: the wild cards of the kingdom; each with different motivations.
The biggest difference in Advanced Kingdoms and the normal Kingdoms variant is that each non-King role has five different characters of that role type. For example, there are five different Knight characters, each with a unique ability. Within any game of Advanced Kingdoms you can never be sure which Knight is in the game until it is revealed!
How To Play:
To start, separate the role cards into face down piles based on role type (King, Knights, Assassins, etc.).Shuffle these piles. Based on the number of players in the game you are going to play, randomly choose (face down) role cards from each role pile. Use the table below to determine how many of each role to include in your game:
Now shuffle all of the randomly selected role cards together and deal one face down to each player.Players can look at their face down role cards and now choose decks.
Bandit Reveal (only if Bandits roles are used) — All players close their eyes. The Bandits then open their eyes and identify each other, then close their eyes. Then all players open their eyes.
The King reveals their role card, is the starting player, and starts with +10 life.
Advanced Kingdom Rules:
In general, all regular rules of Commander are the same unless contradicted by any of the Advanced Kingdom rules below:
1 — Role cards start the game face down unless otherwise noted on the role card. Players may not show face down role cards at any time during the game. When a player is eliminated, if that player’s role card is not face up, reveal the role card.
2 — Face up Knights, Assassins, Bandits, and Renegades are teammates (not ‘opponents’) with others of the same role type. Face up Knights and Kings are also teammates.
3 — Players can only win/lose by the Victory/Defeat conditions on role cards:
Non-role abilities may not win the game or stop a player from wining the game. (i.e. abilities that say “win the game” or “can’t win the game” have no effect.)
The first player to meet the Victory condition shown on their role card is the winner. If multiple players meet their Victory conditions simultaneously, they all share the win.
Victory conditions of “[role type] are eliminated” do not require you to be the player to eliminate the players with that role. Instead, if all players of that role type are no longer in the game, you win.
If at any time your Defeat condition is met, you are immediately eliminated from the game and you lose the game.
Roles with no Defeat condition shown are assumed to have the default Defeat condition: “You are eliminated.”
It is possible for some roles to be eliminated and still win the game. (For example, when the King’s Victory condition is met after the Knight has been eliminated, the Knight also wins.)
4 — Announce gives you the access to your character’s special ability. To Announce, turn your face down role card face up to reveal your role and abilities. (Face up role cards cannot Announce.)
5 — All role card abilities use the stack and can be responded to, but can’t be targeted, countered or exiled by spells and abilities.
6 — If you take control of another player’s turn, you may not look at that players face down role card. That player retains control of their role card but cannot Announce during that turn.
7 — If a player draws from an empty library and loses the game, the player who forced that player to draw, or secondly, who removed the last card from that library, ‘eliminated’ them.
8 — If a player would lose the game due to drawing into an empty library and is kept alive by a role card ability (i.e. the Cultist), that player may shuffle one of the following into their library: Their graveyard, their exile zone or their hand.
9 — You ‘eliminate’ another player if an effect controlled by you caused that player to lose the game. (Options: Loss of life, draw from empty library, commander damage, or poison counters.)
The Role Cards:
Now for the part that most of you have been waiting for; the role card files themselves. We have 4 files created for you, but you will only need any one of them to play Advanced Kingdoms. There are both A4 and Letter versions available to make for easier printing around the world. Also for both A4 and Letter, you have the option to download/print either the Full version or the Card Front Only version.
The Full version is designed so that each role card is double-sided. The back side of the card contains tips for how to play your specific role and perhaps some rule clarifications that are related to your role. I recommend the Full version for people playing Kingdoms for the first time. Remember: even though the card is double sided, you'll need to have all of the role cards in identical matching sleeves so that no one knows each other role. In order to read the back of the card during the game, you will need to move your role card out of sight and remove the card from the sleeve. Be careful that no one sees your role while you're doing this!
For Kingdoms veterans or for players who want to minimize printing, I recommend using the Card Front only file. This version is only 3 pages and does not contain any of the tips, clarifications or rules. (You will need to refer to this post for rules above.)
As always, all feedback is welcome. We have spent many hours creating, editing and testing these roles but I want to open access to other playgroups around the world, all of which I know will have feedback. Good or bad, please let me know what you think.
There is always chances of things we have let slip through the cracks, so if you notice any issues (typos, balancing, weird interactions, etc.) please let me know and we can consider updating the roles accordingly. Of course, we would all like to keep changes to a minimum, but for any glaring concerns we can make any necessary changes.
Thank you all for your time. I hope at least one other playgroup is able to get enjoyment from Advanced Kingdoms.
Haven't had a chance to play it yet, quick rules question- what happens if a Bandit becomes teammates with the Sellsword?
The Bandit would only be able to win by eliminating the Sellsword as they are not a bandit, but in doing so would be eliminating a teammate (their defeat condition). Is this intentional, or an oversight?
Hey, great question. The intention of the Sellsword is that he becomes teammates with whomever buys him out, so he will join their forces and will not need to be eliminated. I can see your confusion though based on the Bandit's listed Victory Condition of "All non-Bandits are eliminated." Technically, based on the current wording the Sellsword would be a 'teammate' but wouldn't be considered a 'bandit'.
I think the best way to clean this up rule-wise is to change the Bandit's Victory Condition to be: "All non-teammates are eliminated." I think that works well and covers this corner case. If that was the wording for Bandits would that clear things up for you?