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Tabletop Game: Summoner Wars
The War For Itharia Has Begun!

"The summoning stones have been found and war is upon you. Carve out your empire - and let your enemies despair!" 

In the land of Itharia, summoners rule the battlefield. A cross between a mage and a general, summoners use Summoning Stones to call their side's forces into battle. The sheer numbers that can be brought to bear with this power renders old armies obsolete.

The first summoner, Ret-Talus, commands an undead horde, and for a thousand years went unchallenged. But eventually a second stone was found, and as the major nations rushed to find others, Ret-Talus was now merely powerful rather than unstoppable.

But rather than uniting against this giant threat, the major factions of the world have instead turned to old rivalries and petty squabbles, as the quest for power consumes them all.

Summoner Wars is a tabletop card game created by Colby Dauch, note  and published by his independent game company Plaid Hat Games. It combines elements of CCGs and tabletop strategy games and is played on a flat grid map.

Each player has a deck of unit, event, and wall cards, and one summoner. At the beginning of each game players put their starting units on the board, then take turns made of drawing, summoning, moving, and attacking- the object being to kill your opponent's summoner. The game also has the interesting idea of letting any card from your hand act as mana, and having killed enemies go to your mana reserve.

Recently got a spin-off, Dungeon Run, in which players battle as members of each faction to get a summoning stone of their very own.

Noted for its unique concept, finely-tuned balance, and lack of blind purchase, Summoner Wars is found in stores and on its website

Summoner Wars provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Absolute Xenophobe: The Deep Dwarves.
    • Also, some Guild Dwarves, such as Dorgan, who actually has an ability called "Xenophobia".
  • Batman Gambit: Forces are manipulating all the factions into fighting each other, but nearly all of said factions crave power and hate each other regardless.
  • The Chessmaster: Something (or some things) is actively pitting all the factions against each other for some mysterious purpose. In most of the fluff, their targets play right into their hands.
  • A Child Shall Lead Them: The Vanguards are led by young Sera Eldwyn.
  • A Commander Is You
    • Tundra Orcs are an offensive Brute Force faction.
    • Phoenix Elves are a Ranger faction, focusing on ranged attacks.
      • Jungle Elves are a Ranger faction focusing on movement and melee damage.
    • Guild Dwarves are a Balanced Unit Specialist Faction: they have many average abilities with an emphasis on Wall Destruction.
    • Cave Goblins are a Spammer Faction
    • The Vanguards are an Elitist faction: all their units have at least 2 HP and they have a heavy focus on healing.
    • The Cloaks are a Guerrilla Faction: there is a dash of Elitist faction since their summoner is one of their main combatants.
    • All armies from the Master Set are different varieties of Technical Faction: Mountain Vargath are a Brute Force Technical faction, Shadow Elves are Guerrilla Technical, and Swamp Orcs are Spammer Technical (thanks to their vine walls).
  • Action Girl: Leah Goodwyn, Malidala, Malevolence, Kaeseall, Laleya, Maelena, Grok, and Valentina Strongheart.
    • A minority of common units are female, but those that are tend to be tricky or powerful combatants, like Spear Grounders and Fencers.
  • Aerith and Bob: The Vanguards have Sera, Jacob, Raechel, Leah, Coleen...and Kalon.
  • All There in the Manual: The story is strictly manual-only, since the designer thinks plot shouldn't be mandatory. The plot summary above is page one of the manual, and all Flavor Text and plot are only on the website.
  • Always Accurate Attack: Any unit with Precise, nearly all of whom are Phoenix Elves. Elien can make a unit Precise for a turn with Spirit of the Phoenix.
    • Smashers are sooooo slowwww that all attacks against them are this by default.
    • Rygos: in addition to his regular melee attack, he is such a superb shot that he gets a free ranged attack after attacking, and it always hits.
  • Annoying Arrows: Not a single common archer has a base attack higher than one, and most champion archers only have one or two attack too.
    • Subverted by Makeinda Ru's Power Shot ability, which gives her the strongest ranged attack in the game.
    • Also subverted by Grok and Shooters.
  • Anti-Magic: Tacullu's Counter Summon ability is Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
    • More specifically, after the attack phase, he can just discard a nearby unit for the same amount it was summoned for, including Champions.
    • Tundle has Magic Stasis, which prevents magic for being used for a turn.
    • Abua Shi have the Chant of Negation, which removes all enemy abilities for a turn.
    • Luka's Disruption Field does this to every nearby enemy.
  • Ax-Crazy: Biter to the point that he has this as his ability.
  • Back Stab: Dagger of the Cloaks has this ability.
  • Badass: Where to start?
    • Rukar's a good place. Able to dish out an average 3 wounds per attack, and with 6 life, he has the highest average damage output in the game.
    • About the only faction that contains no in-universe badasses is the Cave Goblins.
    • Badass Grandpa: Samuel Farthen, and Oldin.
    • Badass Beard: Every Dwarf
    • Big, Badass Bird of Prey: Rahlee's Steed and Hawk's pet, Leonardo.
  • Barrier Warrior: Grognack, Torgan and Mugglug take this up to eleven, with their ridiculous wall-summoning.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: The Vanguards' Woeful Brothers, and Master Bullock.
  • The Beast Master: Just about every faction has figured out animal husbandry, it seems.
    • Although the Jungle Elves seem to fit this the most, with lions, elephants, and gorillas.
    • Holleas is the most impressive, as she can summon Fire Beasts instead of attacking, and with more efficieny than Elien.
  • Best Served Cold: Tordok, Abua Shi.
    • The entire Cloaks faction, but more specifically Dagger.
    • Also the entire Phoenix Elves faction, especially Prince Elien and Maelena.
  • BFS: Leah Goodwin. My goodness, Leah Goodwyn. If she weren't a woman, you'd think she was compensating for something...
    • To a lesser degree, Malevolence.
    • Maldaria has one in the fluff.
  • The Big Guy/The Brute: Most champion units with 6+ health, as well as any common with 3+ health.
  • Blind Seer: Kalal.
  • Blood Knight: The Tundra Orcs.
    • Mundol is an odd scholarly example.
  • Body Horror: The Filth have this as their hat.
  • Boring but Practical: Catch-up events like Magic Drain and Reinforcements.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: Mutation cards are treated as both common AND champion units because of this trope.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Tacullu can do this with Mind Control, and Gulldune adds Squick by combining this with Mind Rape.
    • The Demagogue can do this with Heretic's Rebuke.
  • Breath Weapon: Firedrake.
    • Spew Mutants have acidic vomit.
    • Vomitus, again with acidic vomit, and potentially the longest range attack in the game.
  • Cannibalism Superpower: Blerg's "Adapt" ability.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: Demons only exist because mortals think they do.
  • Cold Sniper: Played for Laughs with Tark.
  • Collectible Card Game: Albeit one without the annoying "rip open ten blister packs looking for a single card" mechanic.
  • Combat Tentacles: Tentacle mutations, natch
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: Elien's treachery (holding back a second stone) is discovered by Maldaria, his mother. She punishes him by having him... clean his room. Subverted brutally when it's revealed that Elien's illegitimate family have all been slaughtered by Kaebeeros, and left there for him to discover.
  • Cool, but Inefficient: Leah Goodwin's ability is potentially really strong, but it takes planning and a lot of hard work to get it to work more than a couple times.
  • Cool Sword: The Blade of Light.
  • Counter Attack: Elven fencers do this when their enemy misses.
    • Bellor goes even further and always gets a Counter-Attack.
  • Creepy Good: The Shadow Elves.
    • Also, Angels are like this.
  • Cryptic Background Reference: The cities of Waels and Galnon. We know that Waels was the original home of the Vanguards, and that it was destroyed by Ret-Talus with the help of a Dragon, but that is all we know. Galnon produced steel, as well as the impressive Colossus of Galnon. It too was destroyed by Ret-Talus.
  • Cult: The Filth
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Nope. The Shadow Elves are one of only two factions rated as whole-heartedly good.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The Demagogue
  • Deal with the Devil: How Malevolence got her sword and how the Filth cause their mutations, among others.
    • Demon Hands are demonic assassins who charge a piece of your soul instead of money for their services; they're potent common units but when they die your summoner takes damage.
  • Death Seeker: Poor Halvor.
  • Defend Command: The Vanguards have Guardian Knights, which always take the hit for their allies if possible. Strictly speaking it's an always on power, not a command, however.
    • The Admiral has a version that you activate, and it works in a much wider radius.
  • Desperation Attack: An Oaf's attack triples when it's about to die.
  • Difficult but Awesome: The Cloaks often appear weak to a novice, at least until they play against someone who knows how to use them.
    • Every faction from the aptly named Master Set has this to one degree or another.
    • The Filth, thanks to their weak commons, costly resource use, but potent mutations and versatility.
    • The Vanguards and the Fallen Kingdom to a much lesser degree: they require much more patience and deliberate long-term planning than other factions, which can trip up novices.
  • Dirty Coward: Kreep, to the point that he has this as his ability.
  • Discard and Draw: The Benders do this to their opponent.
    • Raechel's Arrow of Light accomplishes the same thing.
  • Dumb Muscle: The "Insane" Gruggar.
  • The Dreaded: Savagers and Skhull.
    • Also, Horror Mutants which are so scary that they give even units with Fear pause. This leads to an amusing encounter between a Horror Mutant and Skhull, where  both are hesitating to attack each other.
  • Eldritch Abomination: If his Bio is anything to go by, Tacullu could easily fall in this category. He's either that or an Energy Being.
    • The Demagogue (possibly).
    • Whatever the Beast is that Malgennon is/was keeping in check.
  • Elemental Powers: Why yes!
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: The Jungle Elves have Gorillas.
  • Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: The Filth have no name for themselves, so everyone else calls them that. Also all common units are called by their job/role/species rather than a proper name.
  • Excuse Plot: There's no flavor text in the game but there's plenty in the manual, so to speaknote .
  • Expansion Pack: The game is divided into faction decks (a basic army) and reinforcement packs (extra units).
  • Expy: The way The Seer operates is unnervingly similar to Weeping Angels.
    • Does the Filth seem reminiscent of Left 4 Dead and the Special Infected?
  • Eyeless Face: The Seer
  • Eyes Do Not Belong There: Her. Her ability is even called "Her Eyes".
  • Eye Scream: Poor Kalal
    • Also, Her again.
  • Familiar: The Owl Familiar, a common mercenary unit. Familiars help wizards focus their magics, represented in-game by the ability to rearrange the top few cards of a Summoner's deck.
  • Fan Disservice: Taken to the logical extreme by Her, who is nearly naked.
  • Femme Fatale: Sin-Sin, Anica
  • Foe-Tossing Charge: Urick and  Brutes.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: Her is as close to this as a Game intended for ages 12+ can have.
  • Fragile Speedster: Numerous units with low health but boosted movement capabilities, like Angels and Bounders, and a few champions like Rahlee.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: In one story it's pointed out that all the walls in a battlefield have been destroyed, and that they couldn't have been summoned elsewhere because there's six (which is exactly how many are present in a standard game).
  • Giant Flier: Rahlee's Bird
  • Glass Cannon: Shadow Elf Swordsmen and Hunters, as well as Melek and Xaserbane.
    • Bow Grounders
    • Phoenix Elf Warriors.
    • The Benders have low-life, high-attack, ranged units in abundance.
    • On the summoner side we have Queen Malderia (4 life and 4 attack) and to a lesser extent Prince Elien.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Queen Malderia.
  • Good Wings, Evil Wings: Angels and Archangel have feathery wings like a bird, and fight for the Vanguards, one of the only really good factions in the game. Winged Mutants have leathery wings, and fights for the Filth, who are by and large the most evil faction.
  • The Grim Reaper: Reapers
  • Heal Thyself:  The signature power of Sera Eldwyn and her Priests.
  • Hero Killer: Rukar, with the most impressively powerful attack in the game, and enough health to outlast his opponent. He even beats Krung 50% of the time in one on one.
    • Dibs makes a special ability of this. He gets a stronger attack value against other champions at the expense of taking more damage from them.
  • Hired Guns: Mercenaries
  • I Know Your True Name: Tacullu pulls this on Malgennon.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Goblins and Orcs as a culture.
    • Edible Mutants let the Filth do this to them, and ocassionally nibble on themselves.
    • The Fourth Vessel's "Distended Belly" ability.
  • I'm Having Soul Pains: Implied in Kuldrid's bio.
  • Implacable Man: Reavers and Corpulent Mutants.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Rygos and Fire Archers.
  • Implausible Fencing Powers: Rygos, and any melee unit with Precise.
    • Ironically not Fencers.
  • Kevlard: The Corpulent Mutant, natch.
  • Insufferable Genius: Etch
  • Just Eat Him: Averted completely with the aptly named Eater.
  • Knock Back: The "Knock Around" ability.
  • Kung-Fu Wizard: With the help of Master Bullock, all Woeful Brothers become this.
  • Light Is Good: The Vanguards
  • Lightning Bruiser: Cavalry Knights and Lioneers.
    • Hulgorad has a dash ability that also boosts his attack.
    • The Bestial Mutant and Flying Mutant.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters
  • Luckily My Shield Will Protect Me: Baldar.
  • Luck Manipulation Mechanic: Stink is the most obvious, allowing you to reroll one die per turn.
    • Owl Familiars, and Kalal both allow players to move around cards in their draw pile, so that they don't have to rely so much on luck of the draw.
  • Luke Nounverber: Kalon Lightbringer of the Vanguard, along with the rest of the Lightbringer family.
  • Magical Incantation: Abua Shi's events.
  • Mana Drain: Elien, Oldin, Tacullu, Ret Talus and Vlox can all do this.
    • When Anica kills a unit, she does this.
    • On the common side of things, Rune Mages can siphon magic from an opponent's walls.
  • The Medic: Sera Eldwyn and Priests.
  • Mega Manning: Vlox can copy any Cloak unit ability on the field at the beginning of your turn.
    • Tacullu can do this to enemy summoners, stealing their event cards.
    • Mind Witches can do this to any enemy, but must be much closer to their targets.
  • Mighty Glacier: Smashers and Stone Golems are both this thanks to their abilities.
  • Mind Rape: Gulldune uses this for Mind Control.
  • Mooks/RedShirts: Common units; some are more useful/durable than others, but none of them have proper names or too many hit points.
  • Morality Kitchen Sink: The Vanguards and Shadow Elves are good guys, Filth and Fallen Kingdom are pure evil. Everybody else is up in the air.
  • The Musketeer: Rygos.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Any mercenary that comes from one of the main factions (especially Vargath mercenaries), and a few champions who switched sides in their backstory, such as Sin-Sin, Rygos and Saella.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Doom of Waels and The Abomination.
    • To a lesser degree, Skhull, Elut-Bal, and Gul-Dass.
  • Never Mess with Granny: Sybill Swancott, Most powerful offensive and defensive mage in the world. Octegenarian.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Some champions like Scam, Dagger, and The Admiral.
  • Only Sane Man: Faction-scale version; the Vanguards are the only faction actually concerned with fighting Ret-Talus (who has been attacking stuff unchecked for 1000 years), the Shadow Elves are the only ones who realize that there's more to the summoning stones than meets the eye, and Rallul seems to be actively trying to end the Summoner Wars (using the same knowledge the Shadow Elves learned). 
  • Our Angels Are Different: Archangels and Angels were previously Vanguards. They are basically soulless machines of justice.
  • Our Demons Are Different: They don't even exist unless you believe in them.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Drakes such as Hydrakes and Fire Drakes.
    • Sand Wyrms, which are basically Sand Worms from {{Dune,}} but much smaller.
    • Finally, the far larger, far older, and far more impressive Doom of Waels, who is an actual dragon.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: The Guild Dwarves very much fit many Dwarf stereotypes, but are more generally well rounded. Deep Dwarves are a Magocracy of xenophobes that would do the God Emperor proud.
  • Our Elves Are Better: Phoenix Elves are universally angry and brooding, and use a lot of fire magic. Jungle Elves are animal tamers and archers. Shadow Elves are Creepy Good, Dark Is Not Evil mages and warriors.
  • Our Goblins Are Different: Cave Goblins, who are by and large the weakest race in Itharia, but more than make up for it with numbers and cunning. At the other end of the spectrum, Sand Goblins are still at the bottom of the food chain, but they live in Tralia, so they're actually sturdy, and crafty in general, if a bit dim.
  • Our Gods Are Greater: And they have all been dead for at least a thousand years. This is a big part of the Meta Plot.
  • Our Liches Are Different
  • Our Orcs Are Different: Tundra Orcs who are a shamanistic proud warrior race, and Swamp Orcs, who seem to be a society of terrorists.
  • Our Ogres Are Hungrier: Are they ever; The Eater is a Mole Ogre.
  • All Trolls Are Different: Itharian Trolls are very big, very strong, and very hard to kill. They come in two flavors: Ice Trolls (like Krung) and Rock Trolls (Which eat stone).
  • Painful Transformation: The Filth cause their mutations this way, if the screams coming from their camp are anything to go by.
    • The most extreme example of this is the Stoneflesh Mutant, who is described as feeling
  • Petting Zoo People: There seem to be a lot of these:
    • Dugalla are rat people.
    • Vekkids are lizard men.
    • Ornithians are bird people.
    • Saliens are frog people.
    • Mountain Vargath (goat men) are the only main faction that qualify.
    • Bodgan is the only skunk person seen thus far. His bio hints that the Petting Zoo People may in fact be Uplifted Animals.
  • Projectile Spell: Most spellcasters have ranged attacks.
    • The most impressive was formerly Elien, with not only a ranged attack of three, but able to deal two automatic wounds from range.
    • Elien has been usurped by Sybill Swancott, with a ranged attack of four.
    • Averted by Malevolence and Maldaria, mages with no ranged attack.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: The Mountain Vargath.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: A few Mercenaries at a time can be put in any summoner's deck, but they have their own summoner if you want to make a deck of only mercenaries.
    • Frick's army is definitely this.
  • Religion of Evil: The Filth—they worship demons and have rituals to mutate themselves and their prisoners
  • Softspoken Sadist: The Demogogue and Ret-Talus are both this.
  • Spell My Name with a "The": The Eater, The Abomination, The Demagogue, The Seer, The Admiral.
  • Status Buff: A few, both offensive and defensive.
    • Oldin's Heroic Feat events dramatically increase a unit's attack power for a turn.
    • Abua Shi's Chant of Growth buffs a unit's attack for a turn.
    • Sunderved's Command ability, which increases the strength of every nearby common.
    • Vlox's Cloak of Shadows event can improve the sturdiness of any unit for a turn.
    • Sneeks can give an almost stupidly powerful defensive buff to every unit on the field for one turn, in the form of his Gobllin Invinciblity event.
    • On the champion side of things, Tordok can give a defensive buff to every common next to him, and Coleen Brighton can do the same for any common near her.
    • Mook, generally considered one of the strongest units in the game, gives an offensive buff to all nearby allies.
    • Bragg does this for Tundra Orc Summoners, strengthening their walls, and making units harder to unfreeze.
    • Ulfric can make walls and everybody next to them sturdier, and Bolvi can also make walls and towers sturdier.
  • Stone Wall: Sword Grounders and Guild Dwarf Guardsmenhave the Tough ability.
    • A single Filth Anointed can be impressively hard to kill, with free regeneration, augmented by Demagogue's already decent Shield of the Hopeful, this becomes quite powerful.
  • Sword and Gun: Rygos
  • Summon Magic: Holding a Summoning Stone allows a person to snatch people from somewhere, and put them somewhere else. Walls from Godshome are the best focus for this, but it has been shown that others are capable of acting as focii.
    • Inverted by Tacullu and Taliya, who are capable of unsummoning units. Interestingly, when Taliya does this, it heals whoever she sent back. Tacullu, on the other hand, just discards a unit.
  • Tabletop Game
  • Time Stands Still: When Time Mages use "Blink."
  • Time Travel: Furz's Machine.
  • Toxic Phlebotinum: Malevolence's Cursed Blade.
    • A couple units function as this for the player.
      • If Kuldrid doesn't kill somebody, you either have to pay magic, or your Summoner takes a wound.
      • When a Demon Hand is destroyed, your summoner takes a wound.
      • Ret-Talus's Forced Summon events are the strongest/most detrimental of the bunch, putting four wounds on him together, but basically letting him summon up to two champions free of charge.
  • Turn-Based Strategy
  • Turns Red: Comes in three flavors.
    • Kalon Lightbringer's attack value doubles when he's at half-health.
    • Gruggar's attack value goes up by one for each wound he takes.
    • Oafs' attack value triples when they're about to die.
  • The Undead: The Fallen Kingdom faction.
  • Unpredictable Results: The Abomination and Vomitus; they roll a d6 to determine their attack and range, respectively.
  • Vain Sorceress: Malevolence, who is also a Princess in Rags and an Impoverished Patrician—She sold her soul for a cursed weapon, and rules over an empty kingdom.
    • Anica became this when she teamed up with Ret-Talus to keep her beauty.
  • Was Once a Man: Parasites.
    • Angels are a rare good version.
  • Warrior Monk: The Woeful Brothers and Master Bullock of the Vanguards.
  • Weak, but Skilled: The Cloaks except for Admiral.
  • Whip Sword: What Violet of the Cloaks uses.
  • Wild Card: Magos, a very powerful wizard who randomly switches sides- his combat abilities are so renowned, that no summoner bothers to complain about his Wild Card tendencies.
  • We Have Reserves: The reason summoning is such a potent power in-universe. Reinforcements invokes this by letting you summon more if you have less units than your opponent.
  • Wyrm Sign: Discussed in the Sand Wyrm's bio.
  • World's Strongest Man: Rukar and Blagog. Fortunately for everybody but the Tundra Orcs, Blagog is in a constant state of inebriation. Rukar on the other hand...
  • Xanatos Gambit: Magic Drain and Reinforcements can function as short term versions. If your opponent starts beating you, you get some free magic or units!
  • Zerg Rush: Cave Goblin MO.

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alternative title(s): Summoner Wars
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