Shatterlands depicts conflicts between small patrols of Dumah Rangers and Rapani warriors in the Banakur Forest. Its scale is small and detailed, modeling the specific actions of individual men and women locked in desperate combat. Each game of Shatterlands is called an Encounter and can be played in around 90 to 120 minutes, resulting in a winner and loser. However, the consequences of these Encounters will reverberate beyond the end of the Encounter, as characters’ abilities change due to wounds they have sustained or experience they have gained.
In the Shatterlands, you represent either the leader of a Voice of archers from the elite Kalmia Ryde, or an independent company of Dumah Rangers, also known as Kurjagers, tasked with patrolling a section of the Banakur Forest, the border between these two civilizations. Each of these units consists of 25 unique characters, whose skills in different areas will vary. As a small unit leader, these characters will eventually come to feel real to you. You will learn which of them are great marksmen, which of them can be counted on to stand their ground when the going gets tough, which of them are green and could use some seasoning under the watchful eye of someone more experienced. As you come to know them, you will become invested in them, celebrating their successes, commiserating with their defeats, and ultimately mourning their deaths.
This is war after all, and while outright death is rare in this game, not everyone will make it out alive from some missions. In the Shatterlands, as in reality, death is a permanent state, at least as far as this world is concerned. As characters become killed (or are retired because too many wounds have made them unusable), you may choose to acquire more cards to replace the fallen. We recommend that in keeping with the theme of the game, you keep your unit, and therefore your master deck, at around 25 characters, the number commanded by the officer you are meant to represent, and a manageable variety of skillsets.
The basic rules are designed for two player Encounters, but when combined with the multiplayer rules provided in the rulebook, they can be expanded to include larger numbers of participants.