The witch hunter turns down the main street of Swartzblak and comes face to face with a dirty tomcat. The hunter draws his pistol and walks steadily towards the cat.
The cat backs away. The hunter advances.
The cat runs down an alley. The hunter chases it.
A scream echoes from the alley.
Does the hunter get ambushed by the shapeshifter? Or does he manage to kill it in its weak animal form? Or does he waste precious silver bullets on an ordinary feral cat, while the shapeshifter creeps up on his allies?
Multiversus aims to create tense encounters like the one above, where players push their luck against opponents with unique and asymmetrical powers, trying to keep their own information hidden while exposing the enemy’s.
Introduction to the game
Multiversus (stylised as MULTIVERSUS) is a two-player tactical skirmish miniatures game where some of your powers and objectives are hidden from your opponent - until you reveal them. It’s designed to be simple and quick, but with interesting and meaningful choices because you have to anticipate your opponent’s motivations and actions without necessarily knowing what they are.
Multiversus plays for six rounds, with each player having one turn in each round. In each of their turns, a player will activate some or all of their characters, sometimes more than once, and the other player’s characters will react to them. One player controls the Heroes: two Champions and a Group of ordinary people. The other controls the Adversaries: a Beast, a Group of minions and the very terrain itself.
If a player succeeds in eliminating all their enemy’s characters, they win. Other victory conditions depend on which Adversary is in play.
The game board is assembled from two-by-two tiles, which are either face down (ordinary terrain tiles) or face up (special terrain tiles). Characters both Medium (one square) and Large (four squares, two-by-two) and Medium terrain pieces are placed on the terrain tiles.
Each player controls a Team; the Hero Player controls the Heroes and the Adversary Player controls the Adversaries. Each has a Sheet, on which is printed all all the rules you need to play with them. All Team Sheet information is public knowledge.
A Team Sheet will have the rules for each of the units that it comes with. A unit is one or more characters with the same stats and name. For example, Smogon is a unit and a character. The Dragonkith Bruisers are two characters, but a single unit. An Adversary Team Sheet will also have requirements for setting up the terrain and win conditions (for both Teams).
Unless they are eliminated, each character is represented on the map. Characters can be represented by tiles, miniatures or any other contrivance - these rules will refer to that token as a miniature.
A unit’s entry on the Team Sheet is made up of the following elements:
- Unit Size: If not specified, the unit only has one character.
- Abilities: These are described in more detail in the Abilities chapter.
Alternative Rules: Schemes instead of win conditions, independent of the Adversary (or maybe, the options are determined by the Adversary, but the choice is secret). See also Malifaux strategies.
There are two types of coin: Unit Coins and Action Coins. A Unit Coin indicates which character or unit is performing the action or reaction, and one or two Action Coins indicate which action(s) or reaction(s) the character or unit is performing.
Except for some Teams that have different arrangements, the Hero Team will require one green and two grey Unit Coins for each of the Champion, the Lieutenant and the Mob. The Adversary Team will require one green and two grey Unit Coins for each of the Beast, the Minions and the Terrain.
A full set of Action Coins is:
- Two Attack Coins per player
- Two Defend Coins per player
- Two Stunt Coins per player
- Two Move Coins per player
Stash and discard
Each player should have some way of hiding their coins from their opponent. This is their “stash”.
Once a unit coin is used, a player should leave it outside, visible to their opponent. This is their “discard”.
This die is placed beside whichever player has the Initiative (the player whose turn it is). At the end of every activation, the player rolls this die. If it comes up with a certain result, that player loses the Initiative to the other player, whose turn it now is.
Tokens and Counters
The players need a Round Counter, which will start on 1 as the first round begins. When the sixth round ends, the game ends.
A single match of Multiversus has three stages:
- Set up
- Flip a coin to determine the Set Up Player - then alternate if you play more than one match. The remaining player is the Other Player.
- The Set Up Player chooses which Hero Team is in play and which Adversary Team. They then set up the miniatures, Terrain Tiles and Terrain Pieces.
- The Set Up Player decides which team will begin with the Initiative, and indicates that by putting the die on that Team Sheet.
- The Other Player chooses which Team they will control. The Set Up Player controls the other Team.
The Gameplay stage takes place over six rounds (or until one player’s characters are all eliminated).
In each round, each player takes a turn while they have the Initiative.
In each turn, the active player activates their units, which allows them to take one or more actions, in any order and up to three times each until the player either loses the Initiative or gives it up. Then the other player takes their turn.
When both players have had the Initiative that round, the round ends and a new one begins, with the original player again taking the Initiative.
This results in a nested structure:
Player A’s turn
- Player A takes the Initiative die.
- Player A returns all their unit coins to their stash.
- Player A activates a unit
- The unit takes one or more actions during its activation
- Player B may react to either or both actions
- Then, Player A discards unit coin; Player B discards unit coin too if they reacted
- Player A tests to see if they lose Initiative (die roll is 6, or equal to or less than grey unit coins in A’s discard). If so, Player B’s turn begins and Player B return all their unit coins to their stash.
- If Player A didn’t lose Initiative, they may give it up. If so, Player B’s turn begins and Player B returns their green unit coins to their stash.
- Process repeats with Player A activating a unit (the same or different one)
- And so on until Player A loses Initiative or gives it up
Player B’s turn
- As Player A’s turn. Once both players have activated, that round ends and the next begins, with Player A taking the first turn again. After Round 6, the match ends.
The player with the Initiative (the “active player”) continues activating units until they give up the Initiative - either willingly or unwillingly. The period between a player gaining the Initiative and them giving it up is called their Turn - as such, Multiversus is a game made up of alternating turns, with an unspecified number of activations in each turn.
1. Select coins
To take actions, the active player secretly selects a unit token from their stash that represents which of the units on their team is going to activate, and two action coins that represent which action or actions the activated unit will take.
The other player (the “reactive player”) secretly chooses which of the units on their team is going to react to the action, and one action coin that represents which reaction they may make.
2. Take actions
The active player reveals their choices, which will indicate that the unit can take two actions or one two-coin action. They then announce and implement the first action.
At any point, if a reaction has been triggered, the reactive player may react. They reveal their unit coin and action coin if this is the first reaction they are taking in this activation. Otherwise their coins will have already been revealed.
Once the first action is complete, they can take the second action, if one is indicated by the coins.
Again, the reactive player may react if a reaction is triggered.
3. Reveal and discard
The active player leaves their unit coin in the discard and returns the action coins to their stash.
The reactive player reveals their unit coin and action coin, if they have not already, and returns the action coin to their stash. The player leaves the unit coin if they did react, otherwise they return it to the stash.
The active player then rolls the die. This may indicate that they lose the Initiative.
If they do not lose the Initiative, they may still willingly give it up (which carries certain benefits).
In any case, the process repeats with the players making their choices anew.
Example: The active player selects their Banner Knight unit coin and an attack and a move action coin. The reactive player selects their Black Goblin unit token and a defend action coin. The active player shows their choices, then moves their Knight to be adjacent to a Goblin. The active player announces an attack. The reactive player reveals their choices and says they are defending.
Actions and reactions
There are four actions:
- Attack: This can be melee or ranged. Identify a target character in range of at least one character in the unit. If the target character’s unit does not defend, they are Wounded. If a character is already Wounded, they are instead Disabled. Regardless of whether your attack succeeds, afterwards you can either Step (move one space) or Push the character you attacked (move them one space directly away from you), provided there is an empty space.
- Defend: If characters in that unit are subject to any attack reactions, the characters are not Wounded.
- Move: Each character in the unit moves up to three spaces unless an ability specifies otherwise.
- Stunt: Each character in the unit uses the same single-interact special power, or interacts with the same specific thing if they are adjacent to or share a space with it. If you are subject to an attack reaction while doing this, the stunt fails.
A Disabled character cannot take actions (other than a Recovery).
While normally selecting two action tokens indicates taking two actions, if you select two action tokens of the same type you actually only take one action, but it’s amplified in some way (these apply to reactions as well):
- Double-Attack: Still Wound a target character if they do defend.
- Double-Defend: N/A.
- Double-Move: Move up to six spaces unless an ability specifies otherwise.
- Double-Stunt: You can use a double-stunt ability. If you are subject to an attack reaction while doing this, the double-stunt fails.
If a unit is Wounded or Disabled, they can take a special action called a Recovery. This is indicated by selecting only a unit coin (no action coins). All characters in the unit lose their Wounded conditions, if Wounded, and/or go from Disabled to Wounded, if Disabled.
You cannot Recover as a reaction.
If you are subject to an attack reaction while attempting a Recovery, you are not Wounded/Disabled further, but your attempt to Recover fails.
After the unit Recovers or fails to Recover, the Initiative passes to the other player as if the original player lost the Initiative (not as if they gave it up willingly).
Alternative Rule: Each time you recover, you lose a unit coin - but you go straight to unWounded.
When a reaction is triggered, if the reactive player decides to react they perform the reaction and then the active player completes the action that triggered the reaction if they are able to do so. During any action, there may be multiple triggers, each of which can be reacted to.
There are four reactions. Three - Attack, Move and Stunt - have the same triggers. The remaining reaction - Defend - is triggered by being the target of an attack.
Attack, Move and Stunt Triggers
An active player triggers a reaction from the reactive unit (as determined by which unit coin the reactive player chose) if one of their characters:
- Leaves a square adjacent to a character in the reactive unit
- Is in range of a character in the reactive unit but attacks a character not in the reactive unit
- Is in range of a character in the reactive unit and performs a stunt
- Attempts a recovery in range of a character in the reactive unit
- Double-attacks the reactive unit
- Attack: You can attack any characters from the active player’s active unit if triggered.
- Defend: You defend against all attacks (they miss). Does not need to be triggered.
- Move: You can move up to three spaces if triggered.
- Stunt: You can perform a stunt, such as using a stunt-based ability or interacting with a character or terrain piece.
Alternative Rule: Move reaction triggered by: the active player concluding their actions without attacking you or ending their actions adjacent to you.
Alternative Rule: Remove “in range of” and replace with “adjacent” in the triggers, then create a rare ability, “Overwatch”, that restores this.
Alternative Rule: Triggering occurs when they go from adjacent to you to not adjacent to you, not when they leave an adjacent square.
Testing and Losing Initiative
Every unit has three unit tokens. The first one is a green token. The other two are grey tokens.
At the end of each activation (which involves one or two actions), you roll the die. If the number on the die is a six, or it is equal to or lower than the number of grey tokens you have on the table (in the discard), you lose the Initiative to your opponent.
If you have just gained the Initative because your opponent gave it to you willingly:
- Take back into your pile any green unit tokens that you have on the table
- Leave any grey unit tokens on the table
- Take any green unit tokens back into your pile
If you have just gained the Initiative because your opponent lost it:
- Same process, but also take back any grey unit tokens into your pile
If you have just lose the Initiative willingly or unwillingly:
- Take back all green and grey unit tokens that you have on the table
Alternative Rule: Don’t always lose on a six? Would mean you never lose Initiative before you get on to greys.
Components: Instead of counting sixes as failures, it could be more intuitive if you used a piecepack die where the sixes are replaced with zeroes.
Units and characters
A unit token represents all characters in a unit. Actions can be taken by all characters in the unit:
- If a move coin is selected, all characters in the unit can move as their player likes.
- If an attack coin is selected, any number of characters in the unit can attack, but they must all attack the same unit. Calculate an individual attack for each applicable character.
- If a stunt coin is selected, any number of characters in the unit can stunt, but they must all perform the same stunt-based ability or interact with the same character or terrain piece (in most cases, this will have no additional benefit over just one character interacting with it).
- If a defend coin is selected, all applicable characters in the unit defend.
If one player is eliminated, the other player wins immediately.
Otherwise, look at the Adversary Player’s Team Sheet to determine what the win condition is.
Many game rules and abilities refer to “forced-moving in a line”, “drawing a line” between characters, and so on.
This means a straight line, either orthogonal or diagonal. In other words, as the rook (orthogonally) or bishop (diagonally) moves in Chess.
If you are asked to draw an orthogonal line from a Large character or terrain piece, the line is two squares wide. Diagonal lines from Large characters and terrain pieces are still just one square wide.
For example, an orthogonal line drawn from a Large character (marked with the four As) is two squares wide (b or c) but a diagonal line is one square wide (x).
[A] [A] [c] [c] [c] [A] [A] [c] [c] [c] [b] [b] [x] [ ] [ ] [b] [b] [ ] [x] [ ] [b] [b] [ ] [ ] [x]
Teams and allies
A team is all the characters under the control of one player. A character’s allies/allied characters are all characters under the control of its player (including itself, unless otherwise specified).
A space, character or terrain piece is adjacent to any space, character or terrain piece that is exactly one space away from them, orthogonally or diagonally.
For Large characters or terrain pieces, only one space has to be adjacent: a Large character can be adjacent to a Medium character even though parts of the Large character are two spaces away from the Medium character.
A character that is in a Large terrain piece is adjacent to it.
Spaces and movement
When a character takes a move action or reaction, they move up to three spaces, or up to six spaces if they take a double move.
They can only move orthogonally, not diagonally. They can change the direction of their move after each space (in other words, they do not need to move in a straight line).
Alternative Rule: What if a double-move let you move diagonally, but only say 4 spaces? Would unlock new options.
Alternative Rule: What if you could move diagonally, but blocking terrain blocks diagonal movement across it as well.
- Medium: Takes up one space. The default.
- Large: Takes up four spaces (two-by-two).
Alternative Rule: Large characters can squeeze.
A Terrain Tile is a Large tile that indicates terrain. A Terrain Piece is a Medium miniature that indicates terrain. Terrain has no inherent properties except that it cannot share a space with any other terrain.
Free spaces: A space is free if the relevant character or terrain could legally be in it.
For example, two pieces of terrain cannot share a space, so a space with a Curtain in it is not a free space for a Cloud. However, a character can share a space with a Curtain, so it’s a free space for the character.
Blocking terrain and characters
Blocking terrain and characters cannot be moved through or into.
By default, all characters are blocking. A player can choose for their character to not block an allied character, each time the situation arises, but the allied character must not end their movement on the same space as that character.
There are some abilities that let characters move into blocking terrain. Characters in blocking terrain can still be attacked as normal (unless it’s obscuring terrain too).
For example, an Orc is pushed (moved against their will) four spaces in a line. However, there is an allied Goblin in the third space. The Goblin’s player can choose to have the Goblin block the Orc, in which case it stops in the second space, or not, in which case it stops in the fourth space.
Alternative Rule: Damage from excessive movement? Alternative Rule: Double-attack action also pushes?
Unlike regular movement, which must be orthogonal, forced movement can be diagonal as well.
When forced-moving a character or terrain piece diagonally, the spaces it moves into or through must be free. However, it’s okay if other spaces are blocking terrain/characters.
For example, this is a legal move (the Xs mark the Large terrain/character, the As mark blocking terrain/characters):
[ ] [ ] [ ] [A] [ ] [ ] [X] [X] [ ] [A] [X] [X] [ ] [X] [X] [A] [ ] [X] [X] [ ] [ ] [A] [ ] [ ]
A character can make melee attacks against any character they are adjacent to (even if that character is obscured).
Certain attacks are made with Advantage. This has no benefit by default, but it affects abilities that some characters have. Most significantly, Beasts cannot be Disabled except from an attack with Advantage.
- If the target of an attack is adjacent to more enemies than (allies it’s adjacent to +1), the attack has Advantage.
Line of sight and obscuring terrain and characters
By default, all characters are obscuring.
Obscuring terrain and characters break line of sight. Line of sight is a line “drawn” from one point to another. If it enters or passes through obscuring terrain or characters, there is no line of sight. Therefore a character can stand in obscuring terrain and make ranged attacks out of it, but not be subject to ranged attacks.
In the example below, X has line of sight to all the spaces that have Ses in them (the As mark obscuring terrain/characters).
[X] [s] [s] [s] [s] [s] [s] [ ] [ ] [ ] [s] [ ] [s] [ ] [ ] [A] [ ] [ ] [A] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]
An ability is anything that a character or unit is able to do that others are not, and all the special rules that apply to that character or unit. Most abilities are passive: they are always in effect, or when they are triggered they simply happen.
The exception is stunt-based abilities, which require the unit to perform a stunt action (using one or two stunt coins) to activate. These are marked with a (!) (requiring one stunt coin) or (!!) (requiring two).
A stunt action (using one stunt coin) can also be used to interact with characters and terrain pieces. By default this serves no benefit, but particular characters and terrain pieces will have particular effects if interacted with, or secret powers will give particular benefits for interacting with characters and terrain pieces. Unless otherwise mentioned, you have to be adjacent to something to interact with it.
A unit of multiple characters can all interact with the same character or terrain piece (not simply the same type of character or terrain piece) if they are all adjacent to it.
A character with the Ranged ability can make ranged attacks against any character within line of sight.
A Large character can draw the line to determine line of sight from any of their four spaces.
A Large character takes up four spaces (two by two). Any other rules that apply to Large characters are explained as they arise.