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



Spell Casting Orders

To target a spell in your hand, drag-and-drop it onto a valid spell target on the board.

To discard a spell, drag-and-drop it onto the Whirlpool.

To uncast or undiscard a spell, double-click or redrag it.

Casting Rules

Issuing Casting Orders

Paying the Casting Costs

More Than One of the Same Spell

Spell Targeting Interface

Dynamic Feedback (While You Drag)

Persistent Feedback (If You Peek)

Potent(ial) Spell

The Choose Minion Dialog

Issuing Casting Orders

  • Drag-and-drop. To target a spell, drag-and-drop it from your hand onto a legal spell target.
  • Max 5. You may cast as many spells as you can afford each turn, up to your full hand size.
  • Click to cancel. To uncast or undiscard a spell, just click it, or redrag it.You can uncast or undiscard at any time during the player orders phase, before you click Confirm Orders.
  • Sequence is preserved. Your spells will execute in exactly the same sequence as you issued them.
  • Discard on Whirlpool. To discard a spell, drag-and-drop it onto the Whirlpool in the lower right corner of the game board. Discarding gives you an extra card draw next turn. A standard early-game strategy is to discard 1 spell per turn that you can't afford to cast anyways, to improve your chances of drawing your low-cost spells soon enough to make a difference for your first 1-2 towns. This implies that your deck design includes enough low-cost spells for this strategy to be meaningful, and enough redundancy in your “big” spells to tolerate discarding a few of them early on.
  • Max 1. You may discard at most 1 spell per turn. Some spells prevent you from discarding.

Paying the Casting Costs. You must pay each spell's casting cost from your mana pool to target it for casting. (Discarding is always free.)

  • No(t enough) mana. If you can't afford a spell's casting cost, then the spell is invalid for casting (but you may still discard it). It shows a “Ø Mana” cursor throughout the drag, except over the Whirlpool.
  • Deduct on drop. When you drop a spell onto a legal target (which targets it for casting), its casting cost is immediately deducted from your mana pool.
  • Refund on cancel. When you cancel a targeted spell, its casting cost is immediately refunded to your mana pool.
  • Discarding is free. Discarding a spell doesn't cost any mana. Canceling a discard doesn't refund any mana.

More Than One of the Same Spell. Some special restrictions apply when you attempt to cast 2+ copies of the same spell onto a single spell target. (For this discussion, same means two copies of a spell with identical name and id, or two non-identical spells that are equivalent to each other. Conversely, different means two spells that have non-identical names, and aren't equivalent.)

  • Variety is OK. Most spells are gregarious: they co-exist peacefully with each other (unless they specifically state that they block other spells).
    • No max for hosting. A given spell target may have any number of different active spells (usually 1 of each).
    • No max for targeting. In one turn, you may target any number of different spells from your hand onto a single spell target (up to your hand size).
  • “Only 1” (of each). Most spells are exclusive: they block additional copies of themselves (unless the spell specifically states otherwise).
    • Max 1 for hosting. A given spell target may have at most 1 copy of each enchantment.
    • Max 1 for targeting. In one turn, you may target only 1 copy of the same spell onto the same spell target. Your 2nd copy will be illegal on this spell target, since the first targeted copy blocks it.
      • 1 per turn if instant. Instant spells leave play right away, so they immediately cease to block themselves. In subsequent turns, you may target another copy of the same spell onto that spell target. Over time, you can cast as many copies of the same spell onto one spell target as you like – just at the rate of 1 per turn.
    • Execution racing. If both players cast the same spell onto the same spell target in one turn, the outcome depends on the spell type. This can reasonably happen for globe spells, or on the center town, or in same-house “mirror match” duels in monster-heavy houses, where both players pick the same square.
      • Instants all succeed. If the same spells are any instant type, they don't stick around to block each other, so they all succeed, one after the other. Exception: If an instant spell explicitly states “Only one” or similar, e.g. all Hero spells, then see below.
      • Enchantments squander non-init! If the same spells are an enchantment (or an instant type that explicitly states "Only one”), then the initiative player's copy will succeed, and the non-initiative player's copy will squander!
  • “More than once”. Some spells explicitly state “cumulative” or “may be cast more than once”. These spells follow the gregarious rules:
    • No max for targeting. In one turn, you may target any number of copies of the same cumulative spell onto one spell target.
    • No max for hosting. A given spell target may have any number of copies of the same cumulative spell, by any combination of players. Exemplar: Globe “4-for-1” mana generators all specify “May be cast more than once”.
    • No racing. Both players may do this in the same turn, and all of their copies will succeed, one after the other.

Spell Targeting Interface

Dynamic Feedback (While You Drag). As you drag a card from your hand, Sanctum provides dynamic feedback for spell targeting validity, using adaptive mouse cursors and tooltips.

Cursor shows target type. The mouse cursor shows and tells you what target type this spell expects.

Solid means valid. Dropping the spell here targets it for casting.

Dropping a spell where it isn't legal simply cancels the drag, with no effect.

Hollow means wrong type. The current spell target is the wrong target type.

Solid + Ø means failed. The current spell target fails this spell's casting requirements.

Blocked by game rule.

  • Mana. You can't afford this spell's casting cost.
  • Turn Over. You already clicked Confirm Orders, so your player orders phase is over for this turn.
  • 1 only. This spell is exclusive, and the current spell target already has 1 copy of it.

Blocked by concealment. This spell is an individual spell, and the current spell target is concealed.


Tooltip shows blocking spell. Sanctum now displays a tooltip with the name of the blocking spell, or the first one if multiple spells are blocking you.

Blocked by active spell. An active spell is (or 2+ are) blocking this spell. The blocking spell(s) could be on the current spell target itself, or on any later spell target in the containment hierarchy.

Persistent Feedback (If You Peek). After you successfully drop a spell in hand onto a target, it becomes a potent(ial) spell.

  • Grayed in hand. The card in your hand is grayed out.
  • Spell targeting marker. A targeting marker is drawn on the minion tile or square (but not on the globe or whirlpool) for each targeted spell.
  • Potent(ial) spell. A potent spell is a spell in hand that has been successfully targeted this turn, but has not yet executed.

    • List box, in parens. A spell target's list box also shows all potent spells on this spell target, with their names in parentheses.
    • Potent recheck. If a structure exists in this spell target's square, then whenever you train or untrain a recruit in this structure, the game engine immediately rechecks the casting requirements of all potent spells (only) on all members of the group in that structure. Any potent spell that fails a requirement is immediately uncast, and refunds its mana. For now, this enforces group-size casting requirements.

The Choose Minion Dialog. It is legal to drop an individual spell onto a group sprite, even if this is an ambiguous input.

  • Auto-selects if unique. If the drop is unambiguous, i.e. this spell is legal on exactly one minion in this group, then the spell is automatically targeted onto that minion, and no further input is needed.
  • Choose if ambiguous. Otherwise, if the dropped spell is legal on 2 or more minions in this group, then Sanctum opens the Choose Minion dialog. This shows:
    • New copy of spell.
    • Floating group sidebar. It contains (copies of) all of this group's minion tiles in a floating sidebar.
    • Redrag to disambiguate. Re-drag the spell and drop it onto a legal minion tile to complete the original spell drop.
  • Modal window. The Choose Minion dialog is modal, i.e. it blocks all other interactions until you close it.
    • Auto-close: If your turn ends automatically, e.g. by expiration of a Grace clock, the Choose Minion dialog (and all other modal dialogs) close themselves automatically.
  • Or, just click the group! To avoid using the Choose Minion dialog entirely:
    • Click the group to select it (which displays its minion tiles in the left sidebar).
    • Drag-and-drop from your hand directly onto a minion tile.

v2.20.00 Last updated 2009/03/26




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