This is the anatomy of the combat card. This is the amount of health a monster has. When defeated you’ll get the loot according to the bottom of the card.

On the side are attribute keys that you line up with your combat cards to do damage and other effects. They match to your character stats on your character board.

The blue connection on the monster card uses your magic if your character has any.

At the start of combat, draw 3 cards from your combat deck. If you do not like these cards, you can mulligan and draw 1 less card.

If you’re in a party, each member draws their own 3 cards. If you’re in a party of 4 people, draw 2 cards instead.

To start combat, you’ll play a card. It has no restrictions or any special requirements.
Go down the attribute keys and apply any effects if they match any of your stats.

For example, to apply 1 damage at the top, you must have atleast 1 cube of aggression on your character board to have a valid connection.
Nothing connects in courage or practicality in this example, although this character has 1 cube of both attributes.
The bottom of the card has a free connection bonus which typically always connects. So apply 1 additional damage.

One you apply the attribute keys effects, resolve the ability of the card played.
On this specific attack card, called Attack, the skull symbol means when the monster attacks, it’ll do one additional damage to the active player.
The bottom symbol denoted by the hourglass, tells you to put a time delay token on the card and are resolved at the start of the next active player’s turn. On this specific card it gives you the ability to draw 1 combat card. When the time delay token is resolved, remove the token. If another card is played on top of it before it can resolved, it is lost and you wouldn’t benefit from the ability of the time delay token.

Any card after the first card that you play, must have a connection with this yellow lightning bolt symbol. If you cannot play a card with a linking lightning bolt symbol, you cannot play the card. the lightning symbol is what allows you to chain cards together. go down the list of keys and apply the ability.
IF you place a card on top of another card’s ability, it is removed and no longer applies.

As you can see when connecting the Final Blow combat card, we are able to connect the card because the lightning bolt symbol is of courage and we have at least 1 cube of courage on our character board. If the Re-position combat card had a double courage symbol, it would require us to have 2 courage cubes on our character board to allow us to connect Final Blow to it.

Magic is always an option for you. By paying a magic cube from your character resources, you can apply the effect which in this case is to apply 1 damage cube to the vermin. *didn’t need to in this case because we’ve already done 4 damage
don’t forget to evalute the free key at the bottom which is to apply another damage cube.
Lastly evaluate the ability. which in this card, when the monster attacks, it loses 2 damage cubes essentially regenerating health and deals one additional damage.

Note at the bottom of Final Blow, the free key has an X symbol which means it will negate any effect when linked.

If you choose to escape this encounter, then the monster will get to do it’s opportunity attack which in this situation is run away. but some enemies attack and damage you instead.
If you choose to not play any cards on your turn, draw 1 card and the monster will do their opportunity attack.

Once you’re happy with the cards that you’ve played, you’ll check for victory which is whether you’ve done enough damage to the monster. In this case, we have because we’ve done more damage and will get the loot.

It will either say loot or reward at the bottom. The difference is, if it says loot, it is divided by the party, while if it says reward, each party member will get the reward. So in this situation it says Loot 1 food, so if there was a party, they would decide who gets the 1 food. If it said Loot 1 food, then each party member would each get 1 food for defeating the monster.

If we have not defeated the monster, the monster will get to attack accordign to the combat table below.
This combat table says that if we did 0-2 damage to it overall, then it deals 1 damage to us
If we have dealt 3 damage to it overall, then it would lose 1 damage cube, essentially regenerating it’s health

After the monster attacks, do another victory check because sometimes the monster adds cubes to themselves, essentially hurting themself.

After the monster attack, we’ll do end of turn actions, which is to discard down to 3 cards and each party member draws 1 combat card.

If your character is panicked, which means your terror is above your health bar, instead of choosing your first card for combat, draw the first card from your deck instead. To play any additional cards, you must connect them via the lightning bolt symbol as usual.
Also when you’re panicked, you do not draw any cards at the end of your turn.

On any given combat card, there are one of 3 different combat bonus symbols.
Yellow lightning bolt symbol which are used to connect any additional combat cards together after the first card played
Green cross symbol – allows you to draw a combat card
Cube symbols – deals damage to the monster/guardian
Note the free key at the bottom of monster and combat cards may have a multiplier.

Some abilities state, gain charges and what you do is put cubes on the card to denote charges. And at other parts of the combat, you can remove charges to gain the effect. In this case, if a charge is used, next time the monster attacks, and if it is able to heal itself, it will heal 1 less cube and you’ll draw 1 card.
Note that the attribute keys are on the right side of this card, meaning the ability will not be covered by the next card, which means you can use the charges on the next monster attack.

When in a party, players determine who will fight the monster first and they become the active player. After the player plays their card, the monster will conduct a victory check and if the monster isn’t defeated they will attack the active player. Once the monster attacks, there is a check to see who hasn’t attacked the monster yet and that player becomes the next active player. All combat cards stay on the table, and the next player plays their cards on the sequence that is already there. creating a long line in some tougher battles
If a player decides to escape combat, they pay 1 energy and suffer the opportunity attack.
If they escape they do not gain any rewards from combat if the rest of their party defeats the monster. but your cards stay in the sequence. When you’re the active player, you may use charges of another player’s ability card, as long as they agree.

At the beginning of combat, you will need to decide on what items to use. Once combat is begun, items cannot be swapped out. make sure you’re not using cards with the same keyword on them. like two helmets.

Diplomacy is similar to combat for the most part.
The main difference is that instead of apply damage cubes to the enemy, you’re trying to move your affinity token from the start area to the top of the green track. if it falls to the bottom of the track, you’ve lost and apply the failure consequence to the right.

Instead of the cubes that were used to deal damage to monsters in combat, in diplomacy, it is replaced with the up arrow, which simply means to increase your affinity tracker.
The other new symbol in diplomacy is this, which is called the varying power bonus. this varying power symbol does different things depending on the diplomacy challenge. In this case tho, it also increases the affinity tracker.

Note how in diplomacy we use the attributes on the right of the character board to be able to connect diplomacy cards.
After you’re done playing diplomacy cards, the enemy will attack which in this case is to decrease the affnity tracker by 1.

Sometimes you’ll have cards like this spoiler alert where you’ll initially choose an action according to the card. it will give different results for the varying power and when the enemy attacks. So for this card example, you can choose to Navigate the Crowd, or Play Madman. And when you play a varying power using one of those diplomacy attributes, you’ll gain a benefit.
(second symbol: caution, 1st empathy)

Some diplomacy cards have two stages, you start at the first stage, in this case the varying power of empathy gives two increases to the affinity tracker. Once you succeed, you’ll put your affinity tracker to the grey start area and be at stage two.

Lastly some diplomacy cards have the option to avoid, which you can select at the beginning of diplomacy. Pay the avoid costs and you don’t have to deal with this encounter.