State of Wonder

The Setting

Welcome to a world filled with conflict. In State Of Wonder, you play as the leader of a state on the edge of war. Different city states are emerging throughout the land, each vying for dominance. And the only way to achieve victory is to be the first one to craft a majestic Wonder.

But it’s not an easy task. You will face your opponents in pitched battle and city sieges in this  competition. You have to start up an economy, gather soldiers, reinforce your walls. And ready up your defences, for the leader to first build a Wonder is surely asking to be attacked!

Getting started

Before sitting down and playing State of Wonder, you will need a deck of 15 cards plus 1 Wonder or Hero card and 1 State card.

At the beginning of the game you put your State card face up, and your Wonder or Hero card face down.

The State with the highest Initiative value, which is written and labelled on each State card, goes first. If two players have States with the same Initiative values, roll a die or toss a coin to determine who goes first.

If there are any State effects that happens at this phase you resolve them.

The 15 cards you have in your deck acts as your hand. During your turn you can spend gold to play cards from your hand.

Card types


State cards are your player distinguish card, It provides information about your basic income, Initiative, player health and your state's special ability.


Wonders are marvelous constructions that you are trying to build and establish, to show the rest of the world that you are the best state around. At the start of every turn you put a progress counter on a wonder if it is in play. If a wonder ever reaches its target, the player controlling it wins the game.


Heroes are might warlords, cunning generals and crazed lunatics. Heroic figures that stand out on the battlefield. At the start of every turn you put a progress counter on a hero if it is in play. If a Hero ever reaches its target, the player controlling it wins the game.


Units are the most common type of card you will encounter. They represents soldiers fighting for your state. They can attack your opponent and defend you when you are attacked.


Buildings are located within your city and give you beneficial effects. They cannot attack or be used as defense. It’s very common that buildings give you gold, which helps you play more cards.


Fortifications are walls which keeps your enemies outside your city. They can range from guard towers to garrisons. Fortifications has to be attacked before your opponent can attack anything else in your city.


To build a deck in State of Wonder, a player needs at least 15 cards and 1 Hero or Wonder card and a single State card, for a total of 17 cards. There are some additional rules to Deck Building, these are the following.

A player can only have 1 Hero or Wonder card in their deck.

A player can only have 1 State card in their deck.

A player may have no more than 3 building, fortification or unit cards with the same name in their deck.

You may only use faction cards from the same faction as your state.

How to play cards

At the start of every turn, you get your income, stated on your state card. You can spend this gold to play the cards in your hand. When you have payed the cost for the card, you put it in play.

Units are exhausted the turn they are played. This means the card is turned sideways and cannot attack or defend. At the end of every turn, you ready all your cards, this means you put them back upwards all unit cards in play are turned back into their normal position which means they can attack and defend.

Parts of a card

Name: This is the name of the card. Names matter for some Card Effects.
Card Type
: This tells you the card’s type. The three card types are Unit, Building and Fortification. State and Wonder are also types, but they will always start in play.

Gold Cost: The cost of a card. You must pay this cost if you wish to play the card.

Progress Rate: This value is only present on wonders and Heroes. If a card with progress rate has the same number as progress counters as its progress rate, the controlling player wins the game.

Attack value: This exists only on units. It tells how much damage the unit will deal to other units, buildings and fortifications in combat.

Health/Fortification value: When this number reaches 0, the card will be put into the graveyard. Units have health which returns to its original value at the end of every turn. While buildings and fortifications gets markers on them to symbolize the damage that has been dealt, this damage does not disappear at the end of every turn.

Card effect: Special abilities of the card is written here.

Zones & Areas

In State of Wonder there is 2 Zones; The City Zone and the Pitched Battle Zone.

Each player controls a City Zone, meaning that if there are 2 players in a game of State of Wonder, there is a total of 3 zones. Player 1’s City Zone, Player 2’s City Zone and the Pitched Battle Zone.

Each City Zone is separated into seven Areas; The Attacker Area, The Fortification Area, The Unit Area, The Building Area, State Area, Wonder Area, Culture and Discard Pile

Attackers Area

All units currently in a City Siege with that player are placed in the Attacker area.This is not a hidden area.

Fortification Area

All of the corresponding player’s fortifications are played in the Fortification Area. This is not a hidden area.

Unit Area

All of the corresponding player’s units and heroes are played in the Unit Area. This is not a hidden area.

Building Area

All of the corresponding player’s buildings and Wonders are played in the Building Area. This is not a hidden area.

State Area

The State area is where you put your State at the start of the game. It has no other functions. This is not a hidden area.

Wonder Area

This is a Hidden Area, only the corresponding player can see the area and it holds either the player’s Wonder or Hero card. That card can be played as if it was in the player’s Culture Area.

Culture Area

This is a Hidden Area, only the corresponding player can see the area. The Culture Area is often referred to as the player’s hand. They put their deck into the Culture Area and can play any card from this area.

Discard Pile

Whenever a card dies, is destroyed or is discarded it is put into the discard pile. Whenever a player is told to retrieve a card they put a card from their discard pile into their hand. The discard pile is not a hidden area.

Parts of a turn

Start of turn

At the beginning of your turn you will get gold based on your current income. Cards that give income will add to that effect in this phase. After you’ve gained your gold, resolve all abilities that state that they happen at the start of the turn.

Main Phase

In the Main Phase you can play cards and activate abilities. Playing cards require a gold cost to be paid. Activating an ability will in most cases exhaust the unit, turning it sideways to symbolize that it has been used.

Combat Phase

In this phase you can fight your enemies. The Combat phase is split into three subphases: Declaring Attackers Subphase, Pitched Battle Subphase, City Siege Subphase. A detailed description can be read below.

Retrieval Phase
In this phase you return one card from the graveyard to your hand.

End Phase
In the End phase card effects that refer to the end of turn are resolved. All exhausted cards are then readied by turning them back into their normal position (upright).

Start of Turn Phase

The first thing that happens in this phase, is that the turn player gains their income. If a player has a State Card with an income of 4 and a card that has the following ability “Income +1” they would gain 5 Gold.

After this, resolve all “At the Start of Turn” abilities. Start of Turn abilities are often worded in the following fashion: “At the start of your turn,” or “at the start of each player’s turn”. After all of these abilities have been resolved, the phase ends and goes directly to the Main phase.

Main Phase

In the Main phase, players can play cards and activate abilities. To play a card a player pays the cost of the card they would like to play, and after doing so, puts the card into the correct city area (the Fortification Area if it is a fortification card, the Unit Area if it is a unit card and the Building Area if it is a building).

A player can also activate abilities during the Main Phase. There are 3 kinds of abilities: Static, Triggered and Activated. Static Abilities are always on, they are constantly happening as long as the source of the ability is in play. Triggered abilities happen when a certain event happens, such as a player playing a unit or a player being besieged. Activated abilities can only be activated during the Main Phase and all activated abilities have a cost. Common costs are gold and exhausting a unit, but what distinguishes an activated ability is that the cost and the rule text of the ability is separated by a semicolon. Example: “Pay 2 Gold, Exhaust; Put a +1/+1 counter on target unit.”

To activate such an ability, a player would have to pay 2 Gold and exhaust the card. When they have done this they can put a +1/+1 counter on a target unit.

When a player no longer can activate any abilities or play any cards or does not wish to do so, the Main Phase ends and the Combat Phase begins.

Combat Phase

Combat is separated into 3 phases, detailed below.

Declare Attackers Step

The turn player declares which units to attack with, by moving them into the pitched battle zone and declaring another player to attack. This is now the defending player.

The defending player can choose to meet the attacking player in pitched battle if they wish. To do so, the defending player moves any units that they want to send into pitched battle with their opponent into the Pitched Battle Zone.

If the defending player does this, the Pitched Battle subphase starts. If the player does not wish to send any units to the Pitched Battle Zone, the attacking player besieges the defending player, and the Pitched Battle Subphase is skipped. Instead, go directly to the City Siege Subphase.

If a player is in a city siege, they can declare to retreat their units during any player’s Declare Attackers Step. To do this, return all the units that player controls in that city siege back to that player’s City Zone.

Pitched Battle Step

In a Pitched Battle, both armies face each other in the open. Each unit that is now in the Pitched Battle Zone can fight during this phase. The Pitched Battle Subphase is split into 2 substeps: Combat Tactics Phase and Damage Phase

Combat Tactics Substep

The Turn player enters the Tactics subphase first, by choosing one of their units and one of their opponent’s units. These units are now locked in a combat. After this, the out of turn player can choose either a unit to lock in combat or a combat to join.

The players alternate locking units into combat until there are no more unassigned units left.

Damage Substep

When all units have been assigned to a combat, damage is dealt. Each combatant deals their attack to the other combatant. If there are multiple combatants on each side, the controller of the unit decides how each unit distributes its damage among the enemy units.

Units which have been dealt damage equal to or more than their health are destroyed.

If the attacker has units left, they may continue into a City Siege. But if there are units left on both sides or only on the defender’s side, the Combat Phase is over and both side’s units return to their city.

City Siege Step

When a player first enters into a City Siege with another player, the attacking player besieges their opponent. Trigger all abilities that state that they are triggered when a player is besieged.

After this, the City Siege phase is played out as a normal pitched battle (see the rules above) WITH the following exception: The attacking player can choose to attack a building or fortification with a unit. If the attacking player does so, damage is immediately dealt to that building, which can still protect itself if it is attacked. Attacking buildings or fortifications exhausts the unit doing so, and a City Siege doesn’t end until the attacking player either signals for a retreat, returning all of their units home, or if there are no remaining units controlled by the attacking player still inside the opponent’s City Zone.

Retrieval Phase

In the Retrieval Phase, the turn player returns a single card from their discard pile, to their hand.

End Phase

In the End Phase, players resolve their End of Turn abilities, and pass the turn to the next player.

Winning the Game

You win the game whenever a player either reaches the progress of their Wonder or Hero card, or when all other players have lost their State card (i.e. it has been destroyed by damage).