A basic guide to using mercenaries for new players.
Mercenaries: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
Your starting hand in VEmpire – The Kings of Darkness consists of your King and 9 Mercenaries. The beauty of this game is that these little fellows can help you build your empire, but then will bring you to ruin if you show them any loyalty… Let me explain.
You need currency to "buy” the Lords, Ladies, Locations, Artifacts and Spells from the Market Place that will bring you victory, this currency is called Guldens. Each time you "spend” a mercenary you will get one Gulden to help buy a stronger card for your deck. Each card spent will go to the discard pile and then to your deck once you run out of cards. So, spending a card does not mean you lose it, you will see that card again! So, mercenaries don’t go away on their own.
Also, if you don’t have enough "spend points” in your hand to buy a card, you can get more mercenaries at no cost to help you make a purchase. These extra little soldiers will also go to your discard pile and then into your deck.
You need Empire points to hold your opponent at bay. The more cards you can "Empire” the harder it will be for your opponent to reduce you to zero, thus stealing victory from your greedy grasp! Mercenaries, when placed in your Empire have no value at all. That’s right, they don’t add a single point to your total! After all they’re just hired help!
As the game progresses it’s important to get those high value "spend or attack” cards in your hand. You only get a 5 card hand each round so drawing "high yield” cards is crucial to sealing your opponent’s fate! With the mercenaries still hanging around in your deck the chance of being flooded with "non-essential” soldiers can devastate your plans.
The trick, and the strategy, is knowing when to Empire a mercenary (essentially, get him off your payroll) so that the cards you’ve been buying to seal your victory will show up in your hand more often. You can Empire one mercenary per round, so if you don’t start getting rid of them in the early stages these guys will be around to haunt you in the late game.
For the most part, the Lords, Ladies, and Locations you buy will give you more Guldens than a single mercenary would, so one strategy can be to get rid of a little guy each time you buy a higher value card. However, most Spells won’t help you get Guldens when they show up in your hand, and you may wish you had a little extra cash to throw around!
In the end it’s your strategy, and your game style that will determine not only the fate of the mercenaries you control, but also, the fate of your Empire. Good Luck to you!