Drafting is a popular method of deck design in many strategy card games. Typically these are CCG games, which Ortus Regni is decidedly not, but drafting does have some interesting characteristics and its own appeal even with a closed card pool like the Ortus Regni Earl card set.

The basic scheme is quite simple, and it works well for up to 3 players.

What you need:

  • 2 player drafting - Core Box of Ortus Regni
  • 3 player drafting - Core Box and one Expansion Box of Ortus Regni

All Earls will be playing with the same color Earl cards in their Earl decks.

Drafting Phase

One full Earl card set is the drafting pool, of any color you like. Do not include that color's Palace card.

The drafting deck is 90 cards. Six each of the 15 Earl cards in the set. Shuffle this deck!

Each player is dealt 10 cards from this drafting deck. Each player then picks 2 cards from this 10, and passes the remaining 8 on.

Players then select another 2 cards from the 8 handed to them, and pass the remaining 6 on. Repeat this and you will be handed 4 cards... select 2 and then set aside the final 2 (discard them off the table).

You now have 8 cards in your Earl deck.

Draw another 10 cards for each player, and repeat.

When you complete this drafting process 3 times you will have your 24 card Earl deck!

Passing cards - In a 2 player game, you just hand them over. In a 3 player game you can hand the cards during the first 10 card draft phase to the player to your left, and receive them from you right, and then you can alternate that in the next two 10 card draw phases (so overall left, right, left).

Drafting Gameplay rules:

Each Earl still starts with a Palace card of a unique color. And, thus, has a unique Earl cube color associated with them for the Viking bag.

But because all the other cards in play have the exact sameTower back color some mechanisms change. All cards except a Palace that are captured in battle, ransomed, or won as a Joust ante and brought into your Earldom will go into your discard pile when destroyed.

They are not returned to anyone else. Palaces can be captured, ransomed, ante'd, and even recaptured, but when a Palace is destroyed it does not go into anyone's discard pile, and is removed from play.

Otherwise, all the normal rules and victory conditions of Ortus Regni apply.

Gameplay notes:

You can see by the numbers that 60 cards will be drawn into the drafting system, from that 90 card Earl set when 2 players are drafting. And exactly 90 cards of the 90 will be drawn when drafting with 3 players.

Part of the fun of drafting is that you are riding the waves of available cards and trying to catch the right wave. And also seeing what cards your opponent(s) are taking from what passes by. You never end up with a perfect deck, but also rarely end up with a horrible deck either.

Either way, it will be a deck you probably never would have designed yourself. And your opponent's deck will also be unusual in several ways. Ortus Regni played as a drafting game explores new territory in multiple ways. You are making the wisest use of what fate gave you! This is all part of the enduring appeal of drafting systems.

We also like playing this drafting style with our Tournament Rules ("two turns, two Towers"). As the unique if imperfect decks that drafting creates often benefit by, and are levelled out a bit by, the early game limitations of Tournament play. To create the 2 free Towers that players start with in this style, we shuffle all the unused and "set aside" drafting pool cards - the remains of the original Earl card set - and randomly deal 2 cards as Towers to each player. There are enough discarded cards to play this style with 3 players, as well. Note that, as always, you can look to see what your own 2 random Tower cards are... you never know, they may be destroyed and thus enter your discard pile to be reshuffled with a Bequeathing.