War of the Cross is a four to seven player diplomatic strategy game that tells the story of the last decade of a terrible war that raged across Théah for thirty years. You must muster all your skills to command one of seven Nations to victory in a game of shifting politics, dangerous alliances and tactical skill. Can you lead armies, navies and Heroes to win the day and bring an end to the bloodiest war in Théah’s history?
Created by award-winning designers David Williams, Luke Peterschmidt and myself (John Wick!), War of the Cross unites the original design team for Legends of the Five Rings with the production team for 7th Sea: Second Edition, featuring art direction by Marissa Kelly, layout by Thomas Deeny, and production and development by Mark Diaz Truman. Join us for the first board game set in the 7th Sea: Second Edition universe!
War of the Cross plays in turns consisting of several phases. Players go through the phases together until one Nation has enough Victory Points to end the War and declare victory. Alliances may shift and turn, but the Heroes know peace may only be won through victory.
Players have two minutes to negotiate their moves with other players. There are no private meetings and no secret notes: all negotiation takes place at the table.
To deliver orders to their units, each player uses Move Tokens, placing them under their units so other players cannot see. Each Move Token contains information about the direction a unit is headed and the Supplies you dedicate to supporting that unit's action.
Each player then picks an Alliance Card, indicating which Nation they wish to align with this turn. If you and your ally pick each other, your units are united. Allied units are able to act together in battles. If you cannot secure allies...you must stand alone.
After placing their orders, players reveal their secret Move Tokens and move their armies, navies and Heroes. If two or more unallied units occupy the same Region, they must do battle to determine the winner. Victors claim the land and losers must retreat, moving their armies, navies and Heroes back to safer ground. Units that cannot retreat are destroyed.
You can use Supply Points to bolster your units’ strength. If two units try to occupy the same Region, the unit with the most Supply wins. In war, Supplies make all the difference.
The goal of War of the Cross is to collect enough Victory Points to end the War and return peace to Théah. Each City you control gives you one Victory Point and also allows you to field one army or navy.
But land itself is also valuable. Each Region you control gives you one point of Supply. Supply allows you to give your units additional strength and break ties. Supply also allows you to bid on Story Cards at the end of the turn.
Story Cards cards represent key moments in the War, events you can use to your advantage. At the end of each turn, players flip over the top three cards from the Story Deck and bid Supply. The highest bidder gets to pick first, the second-highest picks second and so on. The lowest bidder (or bidders in case of a tie) loses his Supply and gets no card.
Treasure Cards represent mysterious and powerful items, an additional path to victory. Each Nation has opportunities to pursue secrets and artifacts that may turn the tide of the War. Any time a player captures a city associated with a Treasure, they score the Treasure Card. Treasure Cards are worth different amounts of Victory Points, depending on the location of the Treasure.
At the end of each turn, count Victory Points. If a player has enough Victory Points to end the War of the Cross, they win the game! The standard game (90-120 minutes) requires you to earn 15 Victory Points, but your group can play a longer war (20 VP) or the entire conflict (25 VP).
If you want to understand gameplay more fully, check out this gameplay video we've put together showing how the game is played in more detail:
In War of the Cross, you play as one of seven Nations. Each Nation has its own history and culture, but more importantly, a special ability they can use during the game.
If you're playing with fewer than seven players, regions and cards are removed from the game to keep play balanced and interesting. The game really shines, however, when you've got all seven Nations in play!
Avalon: Green and enchanted, Avalon boasts one of the most powerful fleets on the Seven Seas. Their Heroes are all driven by the incomparable power of Glamour. Because Avalon is the land of legends, they start with two Heroes rather than one.
Castille: Home of the Vaticine Church, the people of Castille are the most educated and devoted in Théah. They are also the most knowledgeable about its secrets. Because of that education, Castile can pursue two Treasure Cards at a time rather than just one.
Eisen: The center of the War, this Nation’s Heroes are driven by one goal: get the invaders out. And they’ll use their magical iron—dracheneisen—to do it. Eisen’s defending armies cannot be defeated with a supply tiebreaker.
Montaigne: With their famous Musketeers and arcane sorcery called “Porté,” Montaigne will win the war for the glory of their king. Because Montaigne is the home of politics—and the center of the world, if you believe their king—the Montaigne player may play two alliance cards per turn rather than just one.
Ussura: Locked into the frozen northwest, Ussura’s czar hopes he can expand his borders and finally give his people a warm-water port. And he’ll do it with sheer numbers... and bear cavalry. Before the Negotiation phase, Ussura may move one Unit to an adjacent region under Ussuran control.
Vesten: Once feared viking raiders, the Vestenmennavenjar merchants have slowly gained control of Théah’s economy; they will use this War to cement that control once and for all. Because of its vast resources, Vesten has more movement order tokens (including additional move 1, move 2, and the only move 6).
Vodacce: The merchant princes of the south not only have vast navies but also their enigmatic fate witches to guide the outcome of every battle—and eventually—the war itself. Because their witches can manipulate fate, the Vodacce player draws an additional Story card each time she gets a Story card, then discard one of the two.
Heroes play a major role in War of the Cross. Heroes units are capable of moving over both land and sea regions, making them the most versatile units in the game. In addition, each Hero also has a special ability, making them even more potent.
Thanks to Marissa Kelly and our team of digital of artists, each Hero is represented on the board with a roughly 40mm miniature cast in high-quality plastic with a 0.75" base.
Avalon’s Captain Jane Prydudd counts as two units during sea battles; her enemies need to either send three naval units against her or two naval Units with superior Supply.
Avalon's second Hero, Angus McBride, is another fearsome combatant; he gains free Supply when he fights alone, overwhelming his opponents with his unconventional tactics.
Castille’s Catarina Graciano de Lobo can pay 3 supply to draw the top card of the Story deck. Her access to the Vaticine Church's archives gives her insight into the future of the War.
Cornelia Jaeger, the Eisen witch hunter, cancels all Heroes’ special abilities in regions adjacent to her current region. Other Heroes must be careful when engaging with her; their unique powers won't be able to aid them against Cornelia and her closest allies.
Montaigne's Florentin Brodeur de Arrent is a Porte sorcier both gifted and cursed with blood magic that allows him to cut holes in reality itself. Arrent ensures he is always useful by spending one Supply to move to any Region currently controlled by Montaigne.
Vodacce's Carlotta Cianci draws a free Story card each time she wins a battle, her victories providing insight into the horrors and opportunities the War still has in store for Théah.
Asgeir Vang, Vesten merchant, long ago turned his calculating eye to the good that profits can do, but the War tests him like never before. When players bid on Story Cards, Vang claims as much Supply as another player of his choice bid.
Ussura's soldiers, like Andrei Pajari, are always more dangerous than they might first appear. Pajari can track down and destroy a nearby unit when he wins a battle.
Each Nation’s Hero is different and compliments that Nation’s playstyle. And, as the game evolves, we’ll release more Heroes, unlocking even more potent combinations of Heroic Abilities and Nation Abilities!
The Heroes of Théah pledge ($100) gets you everything you need to play War of the Cross, including more than 90 miniatures, the main board, over 150 cards, any stretch goals we unlock and a Kickstarter exclusive figure: Captain Roberts!
Captain Roberts is a unique Hero, one that can work with any Nation. As one of the founders of the Brotherhood of the Coast, Captain Roberts normally keeps to the Atabean Sea--but the War has drawn him to war-torn Théah in search of plunder... and justice.
Captain Robert is a playable miniature with a Hero card similar to the other Heroes in the core box. He can be used by any Nation, replacing their traditional Hero. A terrifying pirate, Roberts is especially effective at attacking and capturing coastal regions.
Anything (like Captain Roberts) marked as a Kickstarter exclusive is an exclusive item for Kickstarter backers; any stock we have left over will be sold only through convention appearances and special webstore promotions.
We're excited to upgrade the base game components and add new Heroes that offer unique play experiences through our stretch goals. And everything we unlock comes free with both the Hero of Théah and Vendel League pledges!
And (hopefully) more to come...
After shipping more than 15,000 books all over the world, we've got a good sense of what it takes to deliver on our Kickstarter promises. That said, board games present unique challenges for predicting shipping costs as we add miniatures and upgrade components.
For this project, we will be charging shipping after the campaign ends. Once we've finalized the weight and size of the various components, we'll collect shipping via our pledge manager. We hope to charge you what the shipping actually costs us!
When we ship out packages, we'll get them moved to local reshippers to minimize customs and fees. War of the Cross is a US-friendly, EU-friendly, CA-friendly, and AU-friendly project. Here are a few rough approximations for shipping a similar game with a standard weight (4kg):
US DOMESTIC: $10-$15 to most states.
--$30 to REMOTE US: Alaska, Guam, Hawaii, Puerto Rico.
CANADA: $10-15 to most cities.
LATIN AMERICA: $60 to most countries.
--$70 to Brazil
ASIA: $10 to China and Hong Kong. $30 to most other countries.
Please keep in mind that the above approximations are only reasonable guesses at the final shipping cost. The final cost will depend on postage rates, stretch goals unlocked and the final weight of the components.
**WE ARE NOT ABLE** to ship to Russia or Ukraine. Sorry!
John Wick Presents is thrilled to support retailers who want to carry War of the Cross. Since we know that committing to a campaign can be hard on retail stores, the Vendel League pledge acts as a deposit for retailer bundles that we will invoice you for when the game is finally ready to ship. Here's how it works:
The Vendel League pledge is only available to brick and mortar stores in the United States, Canada, Australia and the European Union.
The final discount will be 50% off the Hero of Théah pledge.
Each retailer bundle contains the core game, plus all exclusives and stretch goals unlocked during the campaign.
We will deliver the retailer bundles at the same time we deliver all other rewards to backers.
Retailers have the option of ordering 3, 6, 9 or 12 bundles after placing the deposit through Kickstarter; we will invoice for the remainder of your order when the game is ready to ship (August 2018).
Retailers must agree to sell the bundles as is, without breaking down the exclusives and stretch goals into separate products.
In addition to verifying their physical store, retailers must also sign a contract stating the above terms.
John Wick is a 20th and 21st century role-playing game designer best known for his creative contributions to Legend of the Five Rings and 7th Sea. Since 2013, John has been using Kickstarter to fund independent projects in a variety of genres and styles, including Wicked Fantasy, Wield, Play Dirty 2, and Curse of the Yellow Sign. In 2016, he returned to the world of Théah with the largest tabletop RPG Kickstarter project of all time, 7th Sea: Second Edition.
Luke Peterschmidt has been designing games professionally for the last 24 years. He’s worked on a variety of different types of games, from Shufflebuilding games like Epic PvP, to Euro -style game like Castle Dice, to CCGs like the Warhammer 40K CCG, to mass market hits like Bakugan. In total, Luke has more than 50 published game releases, and has won numerous awards. Luke is FIRED up about the War of the Cross.
David Williams spent most of the last two decades creating and developing award-winning and best-selling games. He is best known for building Legend of the Five Rings, and a ludicrous number of other collectible card games, including 7th Sea, Doomtown, and the City of Heroes CCG. Then, David made the jump to electronic games and is currently a Senior Designer at Obsidian Entertainment. When he’s not logged into one of his many electronic fantasy lives, David studies kenjutsu, baseball box scores, and his navel.
Mark Diaz Truman is the business manager forJohn Wick Presents, ensuring that the company has the financial strategy and structure to make awesome games. In addition to his work at JWP, Mark is also the co-founder and CEO of Magpie games, the designer of Urban Shadows and Cartel and a frequent developmental editor for Powered by the Apocalypse titles.
Marissa Kelly is the senior art director for John Wick Presents. Alongside Thomas Deeny, she is responsible for the look of 7th Sea: Second Edition. In addition to her production work, Marissa co-founded Magpie Games where she currently serves as a designer, writer, art director and project manager.
Thomas Deeny is a graphic designer who specializes in book layout and game design. His layout work can be found in roleplaying games like John Wick Presents' 7th Sea, Atlas Games' Unknown Armies, Magpie Games' Urban Shadows, and Growling Door Game's Chill. His work on boardgames include WIBAI's Pathogenesis; AEG's Dominare, Mercante, and Nightfall; and Tasty Minstrel Games' Cthulhu Realms. He lives in a house in the middle of a spooky forest at the edge of civilization.
Mark Richardson is the staff cartographer for 7th Sea and the game designer behind the Headspace roleplaying game. Mark has spent the last 17 years making maps professionally for the Canadian government and has provided his cartography skills to a variety of roleplaying games including Urban Shadows, Project Dark, No Country for Old Kobolds, and King Wens Tower. Mark lives in Ottawa, Canada. You can find him at @slavetothehat and GreenHatDesigns.com.