War Haven combines the components of a collectible card game with the play of a tactical board game. To win, players must use support cards as well as character movements and attacks to create and implement a battlefield plan to reach and defeat their opponent’s commander character.

The Cards:

There are two main categories of cards in War Haven: character cards and support cards.

Character cards are potentially the most important element of a player’s strategy. Each character has attack, defense, and health attributes which determine their effectiveness in combat. Some characters also have special abilities or traits which affect their strategic potential.

The character cards are broken into six classes: grunt, infantry, distance, vehicle, hero, and commander. A character's class and race determine which support cards will play on them, so choosing your characters does a lot to define your deck.

Character classes also determine some of a character’s latent gameplay abilities. Distance characters can attack at two tiles distance and vehicles can move two spaces in a single action. All other characters can attack only at one space distance and move only one space in a turn.

Support cards can be broken into four subcategories: upgrade, spell, defense, and attack.

Upgrade cards are played on ally characters to enhance their attributes and abilities. Every upgrade card will have a gold medallion, a silver medallion, or both silver and gold medallions. Each character card can only support one upgrade card of each type.

Spell cards have the most varied play of all the card types. During a player’s turn, spell cards can be played on ally or opponent characters or on no one in general and can have a range of different results depending on the card, from harming or healing a character to changing their behavior in subsequent turns or changing the way a player interacts with his deck. Because of their diversity of effect, spell cards can be extremely helpful in implementing a dynamic, difficult to predict battle plan. Spell cards cannot be played on commander characters unless otherwise stated on the card.

Attack and defense cards are used to enhance a character for a single combat instance. These cards are only played when a character is actually attacking or defending, and are discarded after use. Playing an attack or defense card is considered part of the attack and does not cost an action to play.

Deck Building:

A player can use the cards in their collection to put together a variety of decks suited to different tactical opportunities. A valid deck is consists of thirty-one cards; six character cards and twenty-five support cards. You can only have two character cards of any class, except infantry characters, of which you can have three, and commander characters, of which you must have one. You can also only have two of any particular card in a deck. In the case of rare cards, you can only have on of any particular rare card and only two rare cards in your hand overall.

Building a deck is only the first step in establishing an effective strategy. More important than the choice of a player's cards is the plan they implement on the field of battle.

Playing the Game:

At the beginning of the game, each player gets the opportunity to set up their character cards' battle formation and each player is dealt five random cards from their support deck. On each player’s turn they are allowed to complete three actions. Possible actions include moving a character, attacking with a character, or playing an upgrade or spell support card. At the end of each turn, if the player has used all three actions and does not already have seven support cards in their hand, they will draw a new card from their support deck.


When one character attacks another, the attacking player will have a chance to play an attack then the defending player will have the choice to play a defense card. Once the support cards' boost their character’s corresponding attributes have been taken into account, each player will roll a 6 sided die. The number the attacker rolls is added to his total attack and the number rolled for the defender is added to their total defense. If the total attack is higher than the total defense, then the defender loses health equal to this difference. If the total defense is greater than or equal to the total attack, then the attack fails and no damage is inflicted.

Winning the Game:

In order to win the game a player must defeat his opponent's commander character. The strategy in War Haven lies in reaching and defeating the opposing commander before your opponent gets to yours. This is where the importance of establishing each character's strategic role comes into play. Which characters are you going to move forward and attack with and what support cards are you going to put in your deck to help that character? Who are your defenders and who are your decoys?

War Haven is an easy game to learn, but with a depth of strategy and tactical possibility that keeps a player’s brain more important than their deck. Remember to consider the role of every character you choose and how you can enhance those roles with your support cards, but also be ready to adapt to a changing battlefield. Creating a flawless game plan that executes a strategy and keeps an opponent from executing theirs requires savvy on the board as well as in the deck maker.