- Apart from the Blockade one, my box contains another Plague token—it also features the Executor’s head, but is smaller. I can’t find any mention of it in the rulebook. Did I miss something? Or is it indeed not used in the game?
It is indeed not used. In all honesty, it sneaked into the box simply because our editor got a bit carried away and added one more Executor head to the token sheet. Take it as a first edition exclusive bonus (a common polite term for “misprint”). We’ll fix the mistake in the next edition.
On the other hand, you can use this token to mark the district where the Plague was last seen. Or find another use for it. Like putting in your wallet to scare off potential predators.
- Apart from the box itself, I also received a small package with three additional Ward tokens: Taya Tycheek’s, Eva Yan’s, and Bad Grief’s. There are no mentions of them in the rulebook and no corresponding Obituary cards. What should I do with them?
- It’s a gift. You can use these tokens to replace your usual Wards that have access to the same Resource type (i.e. switch Capella to Taya Tycheek; just keep in mind that the Obituary cards are irreplaceable, so she will turn back into Capella at the Graveyard). Otherwise, you can just feast your eyes upon them and put them away.
Setup and Characters
- In a two- or three-player game, can I replace the missing Healers with their respective gift Wards? That’ll keep the number of playable characters consistent across all games. Eva Yan will replace the Bachelor, Bad Grief — the Changeling, and Taya Tycheek — the Haruspex.
- The gift Ward tokens are souvenirs! Not meant to be played with. However, you are always free to invent home rules and adhere to those.
- What about a four-player game? When the game is set up and ready to play, there are still free districts remaining, where I could place the three gift Wards in addition to the three Healers and nine non-gift Wards. Can I play like that?
- Not according to the rulebook. However, you are still free to invent home rules. Just keep in mind that home rules can easily destroy the game’s balance and be prepared for that.
- Does everyone begin the game quarantined—or just the Healers?
- Everyone (except for the Plague, of course).
Action Order and Priorities
- What do I do if a Strain and a Prescription contradict each other? If an Event contradicts the rulebook? A Prescription?
Just remember this simple hierarchy: Prescriptions > Events > Strains > Rulebook — and follow it.
We’ve looked into several particular examples of such conflicts in the Tricky Combinations section.
- When an Event is resolved, in which order do various effects and actions occur? (E.g. the effect of an -type Event coming into play; a Strain that says “after an Event is resolved” taking effect; the death of Wards; the loss and gain of Evidence; the winner shouting “Hooray!”; etc.)
The order is always as follows:
- First the effect of an -type Event comes into play.
Then everything else happens simultaneously. That being:
- The player that resolved the Event takes a Prescription.
- Strains that say “after an Event is resolved” are triggered.
- Appropriate amounts of Evidence are awarded to those who deserve them.
- Appropriate amounts of Evidence are lost if a Ward has died (having been infected by a deadly Strain).
- The turn ends. Now it’s time to check if someone has met the win conditions during the turn, thus winning the game.
- Are Influence Prescriptions played before or after an Event card is drawn from the deck?
- These events happen simultaneously. Influence Prescriptions can be played for the whole duration of the Setup Phase: either before, or during, or after an Event card is drawn.
Playing as a Healer
- Can several players perform Actions with the same Ward during the same round?
- Yes. Wards’ Actions are limited to one per turn, not per round.
- Can I perform two Actions by two different Wards during my turn — or do I have to always use one Ward Action and one Healer Action?
- You can act with any two characters (apart from other Healers and those they have made Pacts with, of course). The only thing you can’t do is perform two Actions with the same character.
- When can I use other Healers’ Wards?
Almost anytime — all Wards “belong” to everyone in a sense. On their turn, a Healer can perform Actions with their Wards and the Wards of other Healers (unless the Ward they’re planning to use has entered into a Pact with someone else). You can also enter into a Pact with any Ward on the map unless another Healer has beaten you to it.
On the flip side, if another Healer has entered into a Pact with “your” Ward, you can’t use them anymore.
- Wait a second. What do you mean, “all Wards belong to everyone”? Isn’t a Ward supposed to have a special connection to one of the Healers? They’re color-coded and everything.
- The connection is there, it’s just limited. Each Healer is responsible for the lives of their Wards (losing Evidence if said Wards die). Conversely, Wards take their Healers’ requests more seriously (thus providing two pieces of Evidence instead of one when they resolve an Event for them). But that’s about it. All Healers can rely on the help of, say, Changeling’s Wards and enter into a Pact with any of them.
- Who controls the Changeling’s Wards in a three-player game?
- All available Healers. A three-player game works the same as a four-player one in this regard. Please see the explanations above.
- When can I move a Pact token from one Ward to another?
- The conditions are the same as the ones to play it from hand: the Ward must be in a district with an ongoing Event and not have entered into a Pact with another Healer.
- Does entering into a Pact take an Action?
- What are Influence Prescriptions? They are referred to in the rulebook, but I can only find Effect, Action, and Reaction Prescriptions in my Healer’s deck.
There is a misprint: by mistake, Influence Prescriptions are called “Effects” on the cards. We’ll fix this in future editions; for now, please consider any reference to “Influences” to be the same as a reference to “Effects” and vice versa.
In this FAQ, we’re using the correct term: Influence Prescriptions.
- Can I play several Influence Prescriptions in one turn? I mean, they don’t take Actions, so…
- Indeed you can.
- Can the Healer use any Prescriptions in a two-player game? Or do they need to keep track of which Ticker their Ticker token is currently on?
- In a two-player game, the Healer uses a special deck that includes several Prescriptions from each of the three Healers. (See the “Two-player game” section of the rulebook for the full description of this deck.) During the game, you can use these Prescriptions as per the usual rules; it doesn’t matter where the Ticker token is.
- When an Action Prescription is used, is it considered an Action of a Healer? Or…?
- In a mind-blowing turn of events, an Action Prescription is indeed considered a Healer’s Action and takes an Action. Who could have thought.
Playing as the Plague
- In our group of friends, Healers tend to fight the Plague via coordinated joint operations, abandoning any attempts to compete with one another. In a mind-blowing turn of events, the Plague ends up being at a dire disadvantage.
If you’d rather stand up to the Plague as a united team, it might make sense to add home rules that would empower your common enemy. For example, you call allow the Plague to pick Strains from the deck rather than drawing them blindly. However, such an approach would only be fun with an experienced Plague; a new player might take too much time choosing.
We would also like to point out that by design, having to switch from cooperative play to competitive and back is one of the crucial elements of the game — and the core of its charm. However, the choice is, of course, yours.
- I like to play as a stealthy Plague, avoid using Strains (so as not to disclose my location) and only hunt down the real Hit List targets. Yet for some reason I can’t win.Your game must be poorly balanced.
Keep an eye on what’s going on! Sometimes it makes more sense to attack someone who is not your mark. It may be useful to:
- Prevent a Healer from resolving an Event with the help of that Ward.
- Prevent a Healer from resolving an Event that benefits you while remaining ongoing.
- Confuse and intimidate everyone.
Sometimes stealth is preferable (for example, if you’re sneaking up on someone); at other times, however, a bloodbath is exactly what you need — keep in mind that the fewer characters there are on the map, the riskier will the Healers have to get. To have free hands, they’ll be forced to remove Quarantine from their Wards, including your targets. And don’t neglect Strains: it is a good way to disrupt your opponents’ plans and gain advantage.
The most frightening aspect of the Sand Pest is its treacherousness. So don’t hesitate to switch your tactics on the fly and use any and all tools available to win.
- A deceased Ward on the Plague’s Hit List has been reanimated. Does the Plague have to kill them again? Or can it choose a different target?
- Nope, you’ll have to get back to killing the same person once again. Only now the Healers know that this Ward is on your Hit List, which will probably influence their decisions. Humans can be insufferable! Can’t even die right.
- In the Plague’s Notebook, there is a “Killed or Quarantined” section. Why? As far as I can see, both actions are performed openly and the game features no delayed effects of the “Take a Ward that died three turns ago, and…” kind.
- This column will help you reconstruct the Plague’s logic and the events of the whole game later. In other words, this information is mostly needed for future reference, not for in-game actions.
- What happens in a Blockaded district during the Healers’ turns? Can a Healer or Ward leave the Quarantine if the district they’re in is Blockaded? Can they leave it altogether?
- The Plague can only hurt Healers and Wards during its own turn, so during a Healer’s turn you can act as though the district wasn’t Blockaded — even though you know for sure that the Plague is there. Leaving the Quarantine and leaving the district is allowed (as per the usual rules). Nothing bad will happen (until the Plague’s turn, that is).
- How is interrupting the Blockade different from ceasing it?
The cessation of the Blockade is a specific action that is required for it to be successful. It takes up most of the Plague’s turn. To cease the Blockade, the Plague must forego its movement phase. When a Blockade is ceased, death and suffering follow: the Quarantine of the Wards in the previously Blockaded district is penetrated and they die (which is usually the goal of a Blockade).
Blockade interruption happens automatically when the Plague decides to leave a Blockaded district. In this case, the Blockade is not considered successful and the Quarantine of the Blockaded characters remains intact. To interrupt the Blockade, all the Plague has to do is leave the district. No additional rituals required: you can simply take the Blockade token off the map and proceed with your turn as though it was never even there.
- Why would I interrupt a Blockade anyway?
It can be useful if:
- The other players worked together to evacuate your target Ward away from the Blockaded district.
- The “Have No Fear” Prescription has been used on the target Ward, making them invulnerable for one round.
- There are tastier non-quarantined targets you can kill in another district.
- Can I leave the district and kill someone immediately after interrupting a Blockade?
- You can. Blockade interruption is not an action, it happens automatically when the Plague leaves a previously Blockaded district. Consequently, after interrupting the Blockade, the Plague can move and act as per the usual rules. It’s up to the Plague to choose whether interrupting a Blockade is more profitable than seeing it through.
- After successfully ceasing a Blockade (i.e. killing a Ward or quarantining a Healer), can the Plague move one extra space?
- After successfully ceasing a Blockade and moving one extra step, can the Plague infect someone else?
- No. To avoid confusion, it may be handy to remember a simple rule: the Plague can only attack once per turn.
- When are Strains set off?
A Strain is set off by any Action except leaving the district.
So it will take effect if a Healer or Ward:
- Leaves the Quarantine
- Enters the district
- Produces a Resource
- Resolves an Event
- Uses an Action Prescription (but not other types of Prescriptions since those do not require Actions). Only applicable to Healers, of course. When using a Prescription, keep in mind that it is done by the Healer rather than the player! So keep an eye on where the Healer is and whether there is a Strain in the same district.
- Let’s say a poor Healer set off a Strain that allows the Plague to move them several spaces. The Plague moves them to a district that also has a Strain in it. Will the latter be set off too? Can the Plague start a chain Strain reaction like this?
- Indeed it can! It’s a good way for the Plague to gain advantage and enjoy watching the Healers wail and suffer.
- Let’s say the Plague started its turn in a certain district (1), moved two spaces (due to an ongoing Event; 2, 3), infected someone and got an extra move (4). Can it put Strains in every one of these four districts?
- Yes, the Plague can place a Strain in any district it has visited this turn.
- Can the Plague place Strains onto the map during a Blockade? Immediately after ceasing it?
- Yes, the Plague can place Strains onto the map at the end of any turn (provided it meets the requirements for doing so, of course, e.g. has a sufficient number of them in hand). The Blockade has no bearing on this rule.
- Is the “Donor” Prescription played openly? Or does Dankovsky write down the name of the chosen Ward to surprise everyone later?
- All Prescriptions are played openly.
- The Haruspex’s “At Any Cost” Prescription allows him to transfer Resources to a Ward without spending an Action. Can it be used to help out any Healer in order to resolve an Event? Can it be used on Haruspex himself, too?
You are correct. This Prescription is used when an Event is resolved by a Ward with a different Resource type.
E.g.: a Healer wants Capella to resolve an Event, but the latter requires Keys, while her Resource is Coins. Usually, two Actions would be required to resolve it: a Healer’s Action to transfer a Key to Capella and Capella’s Action to do the resolving itself. However, if you play the “At Any Cost” Prescription, a Key can be transferred to Capella for free (allowing the Healer to use the Action saved to do something else this turn).
“At Any Cost” can be played to support ether the Haruspex himself or another Healer.
- The Haruspex’s “Ticking Away” Prescription lets a Ward who has already performed an Action perform another one. If the Plague has Blockaded a district with this Ward, can they use one Action to leave the Quarantine and then immediately use another to leave the district?
- Indeed they can.
- If I’m playing the “Immunity” Prescription before someone tries to hurt me, its effect is straightforward: I will be protected. But can I play “Immunity” after another Healer uses a harmful Prescription? What will happen?
- “Immunity” will protect you from any delayed (like “Paranoia”) or prolonged (like “Curfew”) effects of other Prescriptions. What it won’t protect you from are immediate effects that come into play as soon as the Prescription is played (like “Paralysis” or “Severance”). However, if “Immunity” was played before them, “Paralysis” or “Severance” won’t be able to affect the Haruspex and his Ward either.
- If I play the “Prophecy” Prescription during the Setup Phase, can I put an Event card that has just been drawn back into the deck?
- An Event card that has already been drawn will not be among the three that the Haruspex reveals (it has already been revealed after all, hasn’t it?). However, if you’re quick enough, you can play “Prophecy” before the Event card is drawn (during the Setup Phase of the same turn). Look, now this game includes twitch skill challenges too!
- While Event #12, “Riding the Rats”, is ongoing, the Plague can move one extra space per turn. Does this mean that it can enter a district and Blockade it immediately, trading its second step for the opportunity?
No. A Blockade can only be initiated if the Plague hasn’t moved at all this turn — no matter how far it could have moved.
(Logically, this is because the Plague has a binary choice to either move or Blockade a district, rather than “buying” the right to Blockade it by paying steps.)
- Can the extra step granted by this Event be used at any point during the Plague’s turn or only during the Movement Phase?
- Only during the Movement Phase. This Event doesn’t grant any new abilities to the Plague, it just makes it move faster; however, this increase in speed still follows the same ruleset as usual movement and cannot, for example, be stored for later.
- Is the effect of Event #7, “The Thing from the Steppe”, still active when this Event itself is resolved? I.e. will the Plague get a Strain for it being resolved?
- No. When an Event is resolved, its effect ceases, so the Plague gets nothing.
- To resolve Event #3, “Noah’s Ark”, the Haruspex and the Changeling need to pay an additional Coin. Do these Healers have to spend an Action to transfer it or is it transferred by some special rules? Can a Ward with a Coin icon provide the Resource?
The Coin is transferred as per the usual rules, so it will indeed take an Action. Let’s take a look at a couple of examples.
Case 1. The “Noah’s Ark” Event is ongoing; it was drawn by the Bachelor, thus resolving it requires a Key. Aspity (who has natural access to Keys) is in the corresponding district. Either the Haruspex or the Changeling want her to resolve the Event. Will they have to spend a Healer’s Action to transfer the Coin to her?
Yes. Meaning the whole affair will take up the whole turn: one Action will be spent on the Healer transferring the Coin and the other on Aspity resolving the Event.
Case 2. The “Noah’s Ark” Event is ongoing; it was drawn by the Bachelor, thus resolving it requires a Key. Capella (who has natural access to Coins) is in the corresponding district. Either the Haruspex or the Changeling want her to resolve the Event. Will they have to spend a Healer’s Action to transfer the Coin to her or will she be able to use her “natural access” and produce it herself?
Capella has her own Coin, but the Healer will have to spend an Action to transfer a Key to her. Consequently, resolving the Event will still take up the whole turn.
Case 3. The “Noah’s Ark” Event is ongoing; it was drawn by the Haruspex, thus resolving it requires a Coin. Capella (who has natural access to Coins) is in the corresponding district. Either the Haruspex or the Changeling want her to resolve the Event. Can Capella produce two Coins at once — or will another unexpected complication force the Healer to spend an Action on something?
Nope, in this case you’re all clear! Capella has unlimited Coins, so she will produce two at once and resolve the Event in one fell Action. You won’t have to create or transfer anything and will have the rest of the turn all for yourself.
- The Plague has a Strain that gets attached to a Ward, killing them after they resolve an Event. Do they die on the following turn of the Plague (since “Wards can only die during the Plague’s turn”) or at once?
- At once. The Strain overrides the basic rules, per the Prescriptions > Events > Strains > Rulebook principle.
- What do I do if a character got two instances of this Strain attached to them?
- Move the duplicate into the discard pile.
- The Plague has a Strain that allows it to interrupt the Action of a Healer or Ward and move them up to two spaces. What if the Action in question is leaving the Quarantine? The Strain is set off, the Quarantine remain intact, but the Plague moves the (still quarantined) character?
- Quite so.
- What if the Action in question is to resolve an Event? The Event remains unresovled and the Healer or Ward who attempted it gets transported?
- Quite so.
- What if a Healer transfers a Resource to a Ward to resolve an Event and then the Ward sets off this Strain? Is the Healer’s Action wasted too? What about the Resource?
- Everything is gone: the Healer’s Action, the Resource, the light and hope in your eyes.
- The Plague has a Strain that allows it to remove any Event from the map and shuffle it back into the deck. Can the Plague use it to snatch an Event from under a character’s nose?
- Yes, it can.
- Can this Strain be used to put an already resolved Event back into the deck?
- Yes, it can.
- The Plague has a Strain that removes all Resources from a Healer. Can it be used to prevent a Healer from resolving an Event?
- Yes, it can. (See the pattern here?)
- The Plague has a Strain that allows it to place two more Strains onto the map: one to the district it’s been set off in and the other to an adjacent district. How are they placed?
They’re places as per the usual ones:
- There can’t be more than one Strain per district
- They are played from hand
- They are played face down
The only difference is the eligibility of districts: this time it is tied not to the location of the Plague, but to the location of the Strain that has been set off.
- What has the priority, an Event or a Prescription? Let’s say a Healer is under the “Curfew” Prescription, while someone has resolved Event #14, “The Negotiations”. Will the Healer be transported from the curfewed district to the Tanners?
- Prescriptions > Events > Strains > Rulebook. The Healer will stay under curfew.
- If a Ward is infected by a Strain that will kill them after an Event is resolved, can either the Bachelor or the Haruspex resolve Event #9, “The Proof”, after the Ward dies and the consequent turn of the Plague ends? The prerequisite for them to resolve this Event is “if a Ward died on the preceding turn of the Plague”.
- They can’t since the Ward — contrary to the usual rule — did not die on the Plague’s turn.
- What happens if a win condition was fulfilled, but then immediately broken? Say, a Healer got eight pieces of Evidence but lost one of them on the same turn? Do they still win?
- No. First all actions of the turn are performed and their consequences take effect; only after that do you check if the game has a winner. See “Action Order and Priorities”.
- According to the rules, if both a Healer and the Plague fulfilled their win conditions simultaneously, the latter wins. But how is this situation even possible?
- An Event is resolved by a Ward who is infected with the Strain that kills them. It is possible that after this, a Healer will get the eighth piece of Evidence and the Plague, a third target hit.
- The Bachelor uses the “Donor” Prescription on a Ward and then the latter dies (giving a piece of Evidence to the Bachelor rather than penalizing him). It is possible that after this, the Bachelor will get the eighth piece of Evidence and the Plague, a third target hit.
- A Healer resolves the last ongoing Event, snatching an eighth piece of Evidence at the very last moment. Only it doesn’t help them: when the Event deck is depleted, the Plague wins.
- If a Healer and the Plague fulfilled their win conditions simultaneously, but the Healer got nine pieces of Evidence instead of eight, does the Plague still win?
- Yup. Any conflict regarding the win conditions is resolved in favour of the Plague. It’s like the house, which always wins, only it murders you.
Expansions and Future Plans
- Will there be future expansions for Pathologic Tabletop? More Wards? Prescriptions? Strains? Healers? Playable Commander and Inquisitor?
- We have no such immediate plans. As for the future… time will tell!