Relic Knights - Tips, Tricks and Gaming Aids

Being a new player to Relic Knights I felt the task of learning the game solo with the wife (and without a mentor) a bit daunting. It is just a very unique game and I say that in a good way. The alternating activations remind me of Malifaux. Setting your unit queue order feels like you are playing star wars armada trying to guess the plays your opponent will make. Using your esper cards (or not) to perform crazy anime inspired actions or make a mockery of your opponents attacks feels like resource managing your Magic the Gathering deck. Limitless deployment feels like... well nothing I have ever played! But behind all that is the scenarios you are trying to achieve and all the nifty things you can do in your turn. Yikes!

Once you have this down (which albeit doesn't take very long) the game becomes a fast paced diverse environment for a heroic battle of wills.

An epic struggle to land that perfect combo so you can KAMEHAMEHA! Your opponent out of the game.

To help you in achieving this goal I have come up with some tips and tricks. I am pretty sure other people do this already, but it's nice to get told this and not have to find out for yourself as you try to blunder through the rules and slow stuff down.

Tip 1 - Sleeve Your Cards

Yes this sounds silly but tracking health and held esper is a nightmare with tokens, just don't do it. A standard pack of Ultra Pro Sleeves does the job admirably. They are wipe clean and keep your cards in tip top shape. Seeing as you only get one copy of these cards, take care of them.

Tip 2 - Clean Up Esper Actions

Using a standard white board marker cross out all those esper actions that don't apply to your cadre. Are you running Cerci and only have access to creation and law initiate actions? Then cross out all those master actions and remove the remaining card. Clearing up your play space so that you only have usable cards in front of you goes a long way in working out what you can do and in turn helps you plan much better.

Cross out Esper Initiate or Master actions that you don't have access to

Tip 3 - Cross Out Scenarios

When you draw your scenarios for the game make sure to cross out those that you aren't trying to achieve. This follows on from the rule above about clearing your play space. The number of times I have been swamped with information only to lose sight of my objective is frustrating, so just don't do it. At its core these scenarios are what win you the game, they are the most vital piece of information, so don't lose sight of it.

Cross out all those scenarios that aren't going to earn you victory points

Tip 4 - Play More Games

The famous strap line from Wil Wheaton's Tabletop "Play More Games." It's true, just play more, you don't need to play complete games, just play some. Experience is the greatest tool you can have in this game and many others.

Tip 5 - Tunnel Vision is Good (Sometimes)

It sounds fairly simple, complete your scenarios to gain victory points and stop the opposing player from completing theirs. There are times that you just cannot stop an opponent from completing that scenario, don't try and throw futile attack after futile attack at them, remember, you have your objectives to complete which help you win too. You can be prone to over thinking things sometimes (I certainly am) so when I am in a position where trying to stop my opponent from grabbing a scenario is useless I just focus down one of my own, this has two major benefits. It causes your opponent to rethink their position, do they want you to get that scenario? No! So they spend activations trying to postpone it. This in turn slows down their plans at grabbing the victory points they need! Fight fire, with fire.

Tip 6 - Try a Cheat Sheet / Gaming Aid

Even with the above in place the first few games I played suffered from incorrectly ordered abilities, flicking through the rule book, missing some triggers and windows (oops). But never fear help is at hand. From my early failings come this useful piece of kit, designed with the help of the UK Relic Knights group I bring to you The Relic Knights Gaming Aid Pamphlet. You can print these out and simply follow the summary which covers pretty much everything you need to remember during an activation. I have provided two copies, one for printing as a single page then folding in half, the other is for fancy double sided printing.

Once printed, cut out and folded (I also laminated) they should look something like this.

Printed, Cut, Laminated, Folded Home-brew Gaming Aid Pamphlet for Relic Knights

Tip 7 - Try The App

Thanks to Octave Villar for pointing this one out on the Relic Knights Darkspace Calamity Facebook Group. If you find yourself with little room to keep your queue, you can use the mobile app. This does help if you have a phone with a large screen or even better a tablet! You can keep track of your queue, boosts, victory points and build lists, also if you pay for the digital rulebook you get the rules right in the app when you need them most, a really well thought out design, just a shame that you have to purchase the rulebook again in digital form which is why I don't make this a must have.

Manage your queue
Build lists on your phone
Check stats and abilities from the App

And there we have it, just some tips I have picked up that can hopefully help you get into this fabulous game faster than ever!

Craig McNicholas

Some say he’s half man half fish, others say he’s more of a seventy/thirty split. Either way he’s a fishy bastard.


  1. I can definitely recommend the app too, that and the online pdf of the rules have cost me nothing and gotten me hooked on the game (well, along with the demo game Craig here gave me). Nice write up with simple but effective tips.

    1. Go check out Graeme's intro post on this too!