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Sanctum | Strategy, Sorcery, SubterfugeSanctum | Strategy, Sorcery, Subterfuge




A group is the fundamental game piece. It's the main unit you see on the board. Most of your game play consists of moving your groups around.

Groups and Sprites

  • A group on the board always occupies 1 square.
  • A group on the board is drawn as a sprite (draggable image, with movement and combat animations).
    • A monster group's sprite shows the type of the monster.
    • A red or blue recruit group's sprite always shows its owner's nation (regardless of the nations of the recruits in the group).
    • A neutral recruit group's sprite shows the nation of the first recruit in the group. If the first recruit changes nation, or another recruit becomes the first recruit, or the group gains or loses neutrality, it promptly redraws its sprite to match!
    • A group sprite is a valid spell target.

Group Attributes

Groups and Sprites

Group Types

Minions in Groups

Group Dynamics

Ownership (Means They Fight for You)

Player's Group Sequence

Control (Means They Listen to You)



Ownership Does Not Imply Control

Joining Groups

(You Can't) Split Groups

Occupying Structures

Group Attributes

Group Types. A group's type is determined by the type of the minions it contains.

  • There are 3 types of groups in Sanctum.
  • Recruit group. A group containing only recruits (archers and/or swordsmen) is a recruit group.
  • Monster group. A group containing only monsters is a monster group.
  • Minion group. Any group is a minion group (or simply “group” for short). Recruit groups and monster groups are special cases of minion group.
  • A group never contains both recruits and monsters.

Minions in Groups

  • Max 8. A group can contain a maximum of 8 minions.
  • Min 1. A group must contain at least 1 minion. When a group becomes empty, it “dies”, and is removed from the game. Some spells react to this.
  • Containment. Every minion always belongs to a group.
  • Auto-create. Whenever a new minion is created in an unoccupied square, a new group is automatically created for it.

Group Dynamics

Ownership (Means They Fight for You). Every group on the board is owned by exactly one player at all times (which could be the neutral player). Equivalently, we say that the group is on its owner's “side”, e.g. in the card text phrase “Group joins caster's side.” Some spells temporarily change ownership of a group.

  • Dot color. A group always shows its owner's group dot color.
  • Friendly. A group is friendly to all other groups who have the same owner.
  • Hostile. A group is hostile to all other groups who have a different owner.
    • Exception: Neutral groups are always hostile, even to each other!
    • Some monsters are always hostile to all other groups, even if they have the same owner.
  • Fights for. A group always fights for its owner's side, i.e. against all hostile groups.
  • Player's Group Sequence. Each player maintains a strict sequential list of all of its owned groups. Many game computations rely on this group sequence. The group sequence is approximately from oldest to youngest. However, some game mechanisms and spell effects will move a group to the end of its player's current sequence. Over time, this will somewhat shuffle the group sequence.

    A group is moved to the end of its owner's group sequence whenever:

    • The group is first created.
    • The group returns from off the board.
    • The group changes ownership. This includes changing to a new owner, and also changing back to the original owner.
    • The group replaces another group. This includes Lycanthropy's effect, and also when Lycanthropy is dispelled!

Control (Means They Listen to You). Control means the ability to issue movement orders to a group you own.

  • Player-controlled. A player-controlled group accepts your movement orders during the player orders phase, and executes them faithfully during the movement phase (unless they get overwritten before then by another game effect). Friendly recruit groups are usually player-controlled.
  • Computer-controlled. A computer-controlled group is an autonomous agent. During the player orders phase, it ignores you, and you cannot issue any movement orders to it. During the movement phase, it calls its own “bot” (AI for movement) to overwrite its own movement orders. Monster groups and neutral recruit groups are usually computer-controlled. A skillful player can anticipate her own computer-controlled groups' behaviors to indirectly influence their movement through judicious placement and timing.

    Ownership Does Not Imply Control. Ownership (whether they'll fight for you) and control (whether they'll listen to you) are orthogonal concepts. Gaining one does not automatically grant the other. In the real world, many cats and some dogs are owned but not controlled! All card texts of spells that affect either property always specify exactly what you get. For example:

    • Changes both: “Group joins caster's side, and becomes player-controlled.” If the group had a bot, its bot is suspended as long as your spell takes precedence. When your spell leaves play, the group's previous bot is restored!
    • Changes ownership only: “Group joins caster's side / becomes neutral (but keeps previous control by computer or player).”
    • Changes control only: “Group becomes computer-controlled, and ...”

Joining Groups. Recruit groups can join each other by moving into the same square. This tends to greatly increase their combat effectiveness. Large recruit groups become the strongest units in the game, easily able to kill even the strongest monsters!

  • Joining rules. Two groups may join with each other if:
  • Bots can't join. A computer-controlled recruit group never joins other groups. Some spells can cause your recruit groups to become computer-controlled, even though they remain friendly. Some spells can create neutral recruit groups that are computer-controlled.
  • Training is joining. When you train new recruits in a structure that already has a group, your new recruits automatically join that group. Spells that prevent groups from joining will also prevent this kind of training.
  • Monsters can't join. Monster groups never join each other, unless explicitly permitted to do so in the monsters' card text. Some monsters can join with other monster groups of the same type.
  • Some spells prevent groups from joining.

    (You Can't) Split Groups. There is no way to unjoin a group! Once a group joins, its members must stay together. Some spells can remove one minion from a group.

Occupying Structures

v2.20.00 Last updated 2009/03/23




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