Judgement is a tabletop game inspired by the MOBA genre of video games. Players control 3 or 5 heroes on a circular playing field. The goal is to destroy the enemy Effigy, just like most MOBA games, and you accomplish this by killing enemy heroes, harvesting souls from the map, defeating Monsters, and gaining fate.
The game has one of the most balanced rule sets I have encountered in my miniatures travels through Warmachine, 40k, Malifaux, Infinity, and X-Wing and compliments the balance with intuitiveness in play and beautiful models.
You can find the website and all the print and play material and rulebooks here.
Additionally, the hero, monster, scenario, and general rules are free in their apps! The Android one is called “Warband Commander” and the iOS one is called “Judgement Warband Manager”.
If any of this sounds like something you’d be interested in, read on!
The point of the game is to kill the enemy Effigy. There are two ways to do this. First, you can attack the Effigy directly. This is risky, however, since if you fail to kill it the Effigy returns to full health at the beginning of the next turn.
Second, you can harvest souls. Every soul bound to a hero or Effigy you control reduces your opponents Effigy health by four. In a 3v3 game, Effigies have 16 health, so four souls wins the game. In 5v5 they have 20, so five souls to win. Heroes can hold any number of souls, but they (usually) lose them all if they die. You can get a soul by either taking it from the map when they spawn or by killing enemy heroes.
Something that’s pretty awesome about Judgement is that you can play any of the heroes from their 28 hero catalog in your warband. If you really like Minotaurs or Orcs, go nuts and play nothing but. If you want to mix and match Elves, Dwarves, Minotaurs, Orcs, and Humans, you can do that too! You can also download all of the heroes and some very nice paper dolls from their website (linked above). These fit on 50 mm bases.
The game of Judgement is played in an alternating activation sequence. This means that you and your opponent are constantly trading off being the active player. At the end of the turn, whoever activated the last hero cedes the initiative to the other player, which can lead to some interesting temp shifts as players kill each-others hero (more on this later). Pre-measuring is the norm, and since the playing fields are either two or three feet in diameter, measuring sticks are used much more than tape measures.
Each hero activation gets three actions. These actions can be used to perform a small set of specific options, including advance, attack, soul harvest (which costs two actions!), charge, or use an active ability on the hero card.
Combat is extremely simple and utilizes unique six-sided dice, with two sides having a “hit” symbol, one side having a “combat maneuver” symbol (commonly just called a symbol), one side having the Judgement “J” which counts as both a hit and a symbol, and two blank faces.
When you declare an attack, you compare your combat stat (either Melee, Range, or Magic) against your opponents Agility stat. The difference tells you how many dice you roll to perform the attack. For example, Rakkir has a Melee stat of 7 and Istariel has an Agility of 5. Rakkir would get to roll two dice to hit since that is the difference between the two numbers. Once you roll your dice, no matter how many you roll, you get to keep three of them. Each weapon has a Glance, Solid, and Critical hit value representing one, two, or three hits rolled and increasing in damage. You can increase or decrease the number of dice you get through a few other means, but we will discuss those in the next article.
Additionally, the “combat maneuver” symbols enable you to do things other than damage. The most common one is pushing, where you can shove yourself or your opponent 1 inch for each symbol in the three dice you keep when you attack in melee (ranged and magic cannot push your opponent, but you can push yourself). This can give you all sorts of tactical advantage, whether it be pushing the enemy hero away from a friendly ranged hero so they are not engaged anymore or pushing yourself away from the Monster, or even pushing the enemy hero into the Monster so that the Monster will bite your enemies head off for you. This generic combat maneuver is one of the reasons that Judgement is so dynamic and interesting, the movement component of the game is off the charts.
Other combat maneuvers exist on individual heroes cards, but the only other shared maneuver is if you roll triple Js, which allows you to knock down the enemy hero. This reduces their agility by 3, making them easier to hit, and prevents them from attacking or engaging until they stand back up again.
Each Judgement scenario has at least one (sometimes more!) Monster. This beast serves as a way to easily level a hero up, a way to increase your damage output by pushing enemies into the waiting jaws of death, or as ways to discourage players from entering parts of the table. The Monster activates at the beginning of the turn and moves a d3 towards the closest hero, and hits that hero if they end in melee. Monsters respawn two turns after they die.
Fate is the “money” of Judgement, and it can be used to do a variety of interesting things. First, you can use it to re-roll any dice roll once. You can also use it to buy magical items that add to your stats, and it can be used to perform very powerful active abilities or combat maneuvers by some heroes. Fate is generated at the beginning of the turn based on the number of souls or Shrines you control.
Judgement’s scenario element is harvesting wild souls, which spawn in various points on the map. Every hero has a Soul Gaze stat, and can attempt to harvest a soul on their turn for the cost of two actions. Harvesting a soul levels up your hero and lowers the enemy Effigy health by 4.
To attempt to Soul Gaze, you roll 2d6 and add the number to your Soul Gaze stat. If that number equals or exceeds twelve, you succeed and bind the soul. You can use fate to reroll this dice roll. Most heroes need to be within 2” to try and harvest, but heroes who are of the Soul Gazer class can do some from within 4”. Friendly heroes within 2” of the soul give you +1 to success, and enemy heroes within 2” give you -1 to success.
There are several other pieces of rules text that I have not included here, but we will get to them in the next article. Remember, if you want to read the rules yourself (all 33 pages of them!) or see the hero rules, the links are at the top of the page.
Judgement is the best miniatures game on the market right now. It has a very intuitive system of play, so much so that every single person I have demo’d the game for has grasped the base rules inside of their first game. It has mastered the demo in a way no other game has. The 3v3 version of the game is a fully developed game in and of itself, with none of the awkwardness of playing at smaller point levels that 40k, WMH, Infinity, and Malifaux have. The scenarios are interesting and dynamic, the game is both simple and incredibly deep, and the models are absolutely gorgeous. If you find yourself burning out a bit on what you are playing now, give this a try! You won’t be disappointed.
Until next time, thanks for reading!