So how the Hell does Exiles actually work?
Exiles uses movement, terrain, combat, and dice mechanics similar to a skirmish wargame, combined with a streamlined character creation system and robust equipment rules that will keep your characters evolving game after game after game. The system is based on an innovative simultaneous play mechanic that keeps the game moving at a lighting quick pace and allows for large numbers of players without slowing down or falling apart.
Exiles is designed to minimize rules interaction and maximize player interaction.
Players declare actions in whatever order they please and everything happens at the same time. In other words, you get to resolve your own actions without waiting on somebody to pull their head out of their ass. This frees up players to worry about important things, like why Carl is still running in the wrong direction!
Exiles uses ten-sided dice and a simple roll-under mechanic with minimal modifiers. Roll equal to or less than your target number and you succeed. Target numbers are on the cards right in front of you, so you don’t have to worry about looking things up in the middle of a game.
All of this rulesy crap allows Exiles to compress hours of gameplay into a raucous 45-minute thrill ride. The rules are simple, you don’t need to look anything up, and you don’t even have to wait for the other players to get their shit together! Exiles handles multiple players like a champ too. Add a fifth, sixth, or even a seventh player to a game and Exiles will barely feel it.
Not only that, but the fast, frenetic, nature of the game creates an intense, immersive experience whether you are looking for a tactical challenge or a great story to tell.
Although honestly, the biggest the tactical challenge is figuring out how to get Carl to pay attention for the 20 seconds you have to coordinate actions. God. Dammit. Carl…
Up next: let’s have a gander at the core mechanics that make Exiles tic.
Exiles uses what we like to call a “declare/resolve” game system. First everybody says what they are doing, then you resolve everything at once. This is supposed to make the game quick.
That’s the most important thing about playing Exiles. Quick is better than correct. There’s a complicated turn order, but really, just play quickly and don’t worry about making mistakes.
You place a token to declare an action and pick it back up to resolve it.
If you want your character to Haul Ass, you place a Haulin’ Ass token to declare the action. When it is time to resolve declared actions, you pick up the Haul Ass token and move your character.
While you’re Haulin’ Ass, I’m reloading, Bob is bandaging, Kelly is bleedin’ out, and Carl aint doin’ shit because he’s busy getting a beer. That’s how we do it in Exiles.
Most actions are resolved immediately, meaning you just go and do them instead of placing a token. But this is mostly for the sake of fun, convenience, and speed of play.
For example, if you want to Run in the Movin’ phase, you just go and move your model without bothering to put down a token, and if you want to attack in the Doin’ phase, you just say what you’re doin’ and roll your dice.
With that out of the way we can walk you through the turn structure.
The game turn has a pretty basic structure. It goes like this:
- Animals and Idiots
The Movin’ and Doin’ phases have their own declare/resolve sub-phases.
Animals and Idiots
The Animals and Idiots phase is for doing whatever needs to be done with any animal or idiot models on the table. Some scenarios will have a few special rules for animals and/or idiots, but most of the time you can ignore them.
Animals and Idiots is also when the Governor puts new bad guys on the table, and that’s what you’ll use it for most of the time.
The most important thing about the Movin’ phase is that it’s timed.
The Governor should start every Movin’ phase by activating a timer, which should be about 20 seconds.
Once the timer starts, players have to do their Movin’ before the timer runs out!
When time is up, STOP!
If you dithered too long, declared the wrong action, or didn’t finish moving a model, well that sucks for you. Leave your model where it is, don’t touch that token on the table, and deal with it.
After the players finish Movin’ their shit, the Governor does all the bad guy stuff.
Finally, all declared actions get resolved before the Doin’ phase.
The Doin’ phase is like the Movin’ phase, except it isn’t timed, and now you can kill somebody!
Just like Movin’ phase, players do their stuff first, then all the bad guys.
Effects apply as soon as they hit the table, but any mooks you shade normally get a change to hit you back before they leave the table.
The Roundup phase is for resolving any lingering bullshit that happened in the game turn.
When everything is buttoned up, the Governor takes a few seconds to fiddle with models in the Animals and Idiots phase then starts a new Movin’ timer.
Rinse and repeat.
Game turns take about 90 to 180 seconds, which means you can normally play more than 20 game turns in a 45 minute game. Whoa doggie! That’s fast!
More game turns means you have plenty of time to make up for mistakes, so it doesn’t much matter if you screw up. This is the secret sauce that makes Exiles so awesome.
Dice mechanics in Exiles are as simple as can be!
Exiles uses ten-sided dice (1-10) and a simple roll-under mechanic.
When you roll a die, you are trying to roll equal to or less than a particular number. We call this a “target number,” and it represents your percentage chance of success.
If your target number is 4, you have a 40% chance of success, because you succeed on a die roll of 1, 2, 3, or 4. A die roll of 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, or 10 means you failed.
No target number can be bigger than 9, because otherwise you wouldn’t need to roll a die, now would you? No target number can be less than 1 for the same reason.
Sometimes shit will modify a target number, either before or after you roll the die, but not very often.
If you need an extra edge you can break out the +1 tokens and Cheatin’ tokens.
You can take the Yee-Haw! action to place a +1 token on yourself or any friendly model.
Once you have a +1 token, you can discard it to increase your target number after you see the result of your roll, but only one token per roll.
So if you miss your target number by 1, you can discard a +1 token to turn your failure into a success!
Every character gets at least one Cheatin’ token per game, and you can learn the Cheatin’ and Lyin’ skill to get more.
Cheatin’ tokens are mostly used to re-roll a die, but you can also use them to discard multiple +1 tokens on a roll.
Any character can, at any time, allow a friendly model to use one of their Cheatin’ tokens.
But what the fuck does this mean?
It means that players who want to succeed better damn well work together! Players can give each other +1 tokens during a turn, and Cheatin’ tokens are a powerful but limited pool of resources accessible to every player at the table.
This isn’t just for LOLs either. Managing these resources effectively will often make the difference between glorious success and catastrophic failure. Exiles is an intensely cooperative game in which you have to think quickly, act quickly, and above all work together!