Catacombs 2nd Edition Rules FAQ


Catacombs 2nd Edition Box

In what order can the heroes choose to take their actions?

The heroes can choose to take their actions in any order; however, each of them only gets one action (plus the actions of any allies) before the Overseer gets to take the actions of the monsters. Similarly, the Overseer may choose to take the
monsters' actions in any order. Each player (and monster) must finish all of its actions before the next player (or monster) starts a new action.

Is it mandatory for a hero or monster need to take an action?

No, all actions are optional.

Do monsters take damage when they leave the game board?

If a monster is struck by a hero with a melee, missile, fireball shot, or any other effect that would normally damage the monster, then it would take damage normally whether or not it left the board. Of course, if a disc is pushed off of the game board by an indirect hit, then it would not take any damage (unless it is an incorporeal monster such as the Shade from the Cavern of Soloth expansion).

There are two Healer special room cards included in the game.  Don't I only need one?

There are two Healer special room cards included in the game. The second Healer card may be used for larger catacomb layouts. Rules for larger catacomb layouts will be released later in supplemental rules. For the base game, only one Healer special room card is needed, choose one randomly when setting up the game.

What is the price of the Chain Lightning item? Is it a spell?

The Chain Lightning item is not a spell. It is an item and it is discarded after use. The price was omitted from the card in the first edition. It should be priced at 600 gold.  This issue was corrected in the second edition of Catacombs.

How many total items the heroes can purchase? I know the first two are half price, but can they buy additional items at full cost?

From the rules, page 14:

The Overseer shuffles the deck of item cards and flips over six cards for the players to see. These items are available for purchase. The Merchant will offer a discounted price (1/2 price rounded up) on a maximum of two items which the players choose.

So the heroes can buy as many (or none) of the six random items that the Merchant has available, provided they have the gold available to do so.   In the "standard" suggested Catacomb layout, the Heroes visit the Merchant only once.  Multiple visits to the Merchant are possible, and thus a different selection of six items, if playing with the Labyrinth variant or other custom setup.

On the Lich Catacomb Lord player mat, it says “otherwise place a Skeleton or Zombie on the board”, can I place a Skeleton Warrior or Skeleton Archer?

This card should read “otherwise place a Skeleton Warrior or Zombie on the board”. You may not use this ability to summon a Skeleton Archer.  This issue was corrected in the second edition of Catacombs.

In the game components on page two of the rule book, the components list a large white disc. Is this correct?

The game components should list a large purple disc instead of a white disc. The color of this large disc was changed in the final game from white to purple to help distinguish it from the hero discs.  This issue was corrected in the second edition of Catacombs.

Is the retaliation monster ability triggered from a missile shot?

No, only a successful melee hit would trigger a monster's retaliation ability.

Is the retaliation ability triggered when a monster with one health is hit with a melee shot?

Yes, the monster would be able to make a melee attack prior to being destroyed; however, it would be removed after it makes its melee shot.

The players keep shooting the discs off of the field. Did you think of including perimeter walls in the game?

Several perimeter wall or moat designs were tested but none were suitable and cost-effective to include in the game. Ricochets can be a big part of the game, but players would not get consistent and strong ricochets from the perimeter
walls made of cardboard and many of the pieces would also gather in the corners of each board. In the end, no suitable wall or moat design could be found. But, feel free to design your own moats or walls and let us know if you have a design
that works.

How does the Barbarian’s Rage track work and how does the Helm of Rage increase the track?

The Barbarian’s rage track starts at two (see page 6 of the rule book). The Barbarian must announce that he will perform his rage special action prior to making any other action. After the player has declared a rage action, immediately reduce the rage track and complete the rage action. The rage track is only increased by one at the time of purchase of the Helm of Rage item, it is not increased at the start of each room. In effect, the Helm of Rage is used immediately upon purchase and has no other effect after the rage track has been increased by one.  Obviously, the Barbarian may not make a rage action if the track is already at zero.

How does the Wizard's Magic Missile spell work?

After discarding this spell card, the Wizard is allowed to make two successive missile shots using the small, yellow discs. Both of these shots may target (and damage) the same monster, if desired, and both can be shot from the location of
the Wizard (or Familiar). It is one of the Wizard’s most powerful spells because it has the potential to damage the same monster twice.

Which disc do you use for the Chain Lightning attack?

You should use a small yellow disc to make this attack (the symbol with the arrow icon represents the use of this disc to make these attacks, just like the Elf ’s special action).

What happens if a disc is knocked off the board but there is no room near the edge of the board for it to be placed?

At the location where the disc left the board, move the other discs perpendicularly away from the edge until the piece that left the board can be placed back on the board. Several pieces may need to be moved in this manner to accommodate the piece that left the board.

Can an incapacitated hero still be damaged?

Yes, both directly (for example by a shot that does damage from a monster) and indirectly (for example by being pushed into a firewall).

Can I change the order of shots in a shot sequence?  For example, on the Centaur's monster card, it has a melee shot and a missile shot.  Can the Overseer choose which one to perform first?

No, a shot sequence specifically dictates the order of the shots.  In the case of the Centaur, the Overseer would perform a melee shot first then a missile shot.

Are allies automatically killed when incapacitated?

"Allies cannot be incapacitated" as stated on page 13 of the base Catacombs rules, so they take damage as normal and ignore the stun shot modifier. They are not automatically killed if incapacitated, since they cannot be incapacitated to begin with.

Can the Lich Catacomb Lord perform his Malignant Summoning Ritual and his special action in one turn?

Yes, since the Malignant Summoning takes place right at the beginning of the Overseer's turn of the Battle Phase before either the Lich or any other minions take their actions.

Can the Gorgon's Gaze of Stone missile kill the Barbarian that has been incapacitated after his Rage attack?


What are the North, South, East, West direction icons printed on the battle room cards used for?

This is for the Catacombs Labyrinth variant that can be downloaded here.

How do Fire Wall and Fire Spirits work?

Sean "Trash Game Lover" from wrote up an excellent post clarifying how fire walls work which is reproduced (with some minor corrections) here:

The question of how Fire Spirits and Fire Walls are intended to work seems to come up a lot. This brief explanation is intended to clarify the rules and to provide a definitive and easy to understand summary.  These clarifications apply to the Catacombs rules as originally written and intended by the designer, not to any house rules or variants.  These rules are assumed to apply in their entirety to any hypothetical future creatures which also have the Fire Wall ability, unless the rules for those creatures specifically state otherwise.

1) A Fire Spirit is not the same as the Fire Wall that is created when a Fire Spirit damages a hero via a melee shot. The Fire Spirit is a creature controlled by the Overseer, while the Fire Wall is an obstacle that is not controlled by anyone.

2) When a hero or ally damages a Fire Spirit, the Fire Spirit is killed and does not become a Fire Wall. The Fire Spirit token is collected by the hero who killed it*, just like any other slain monster, and that hero collects money for killing it, just like any other slain monster during the Resolution phase. A hero or ally does not take damage from a successful melee shot against a Fire Spirit.

* See the Dragon's Spawn Spirit Special Action for further information on this aspect of the rules.

3) When a Fire Spirit damages a hero, the Fire Spirit becomes a Fire Wall. The Hero does not collect any money for being damaged by a Fire Spirit. When a Fire Spirit hits a hero without inflicting damage, the Fire Spirit does not become a Fire Wall, and remains on the board.

4) When a Fire Spirit hits or damages an ally, it does not become a Fire Wall, and remains on the board.

5) Any hero or ally who comes into contact with a Fire Wall for any reason takes one point of damage. Catacomb Lords and monsters do not take any damage from Fire Walls.

6) A Fire Wall is not considered a monster for the purpose of completing a room. A room is complete when all monsters are slain. Remaining Fire Walls are simply removed along with any other obstacles when all other monsters are slain. No gold is awarded for Fire Walls during the Resolution Phase.

7) The Dragon begins the room with all 4 Fire Spirit minions in play. While all 4 Fire Spirits are on the board, the Dragon may not summon any more using the Spawn Spirit Special Action, as there are no other Fire Spirit tokens available from the monster pool.

Fire Spirits that have been killed by a hero or ally may be re-spawned by the Dragon using the Spawn Spirit special action. If a Fire Spirit is re-spawned after being killed by a hero, the token is removed from the hero's character card and replaced onto the board according to the rules. The hero's player may choose another monster token of equal gold value as a proxy to keep track of slain Fire Spirits, if desired.

Fire Walls on the board may not be re-spawned as Fire Spirits using Spawn Spirit. If all 4 Fire Walls are in play, the Dragon is out of luck, no further Fire Spirits will appear in the room.

How many items can the heroes purchase from the Merchant?

A maximum of six items randomly dealt from the item deck are available to be purchased from the Merchant during any one visit to his shop.  Note the base Catacombs rules describes a room layout with only one Merchant; however when playing a custom room layout or the labyrinth variant of Catacombs it is possible to visit the Merchant multiple times.  Some people confuse the rules related to the base game Merchant with the variant Merchant available in the Cavern of Soloth expansion.

What happens if the Barbarian is killed while performing his rage special action?  Does he die immediately or does he complete the rage special action first?

The Barbarian would die immediately without completing the rage special action.  This scenario can arise if the Barbarian has only one health point when starting his rage special action and is killed by a minotaur successfully hitting him with his retaliation ability.

Is there a Resolution Phase for the Merchant, Healer or Altar rooms (or any other special room card)?

No, as these are special room cards.  Only battle room cards have a Resolution Phase.  This means items cannot be used and artifacts cannot be crafted by the Witch Hunter during the Merchant or Healer rooms.

Cavern of Soloth

Am I correct in assuming that you use the same catacomb set-up as the base Catacombs game - with the exception of substituting the new Merchant card and adding the Altar of Soloth card?

Yes.  Just remember that other custom rooms layouts are possible beyond the one described in the base game manual.

When configuring the catacomb, do you shuffle the battle room cards from the base Catacombs games together with the new cards from Cavern of Soloth, or simply use the new cards?

It's up to the group playing.  The game will be harder if using the battle room cards from Cavern of Soloth exclusively.

How does the Siren's suppression ability affect the heroes?

While the Siren is in play, each hero may only perform a single melee shot during the his or her turn of the Battle Phase.  Items, the Witch Hunter's artifacts, the Paladin's armour, the Wizard's spells etc. are all affected and may not be used.

The rules state that a "slave" that has been acted upon by the Lizard Man's slave master ability can take another action even if it's already gone that battle phase. But what if the slave hasn't taken an action? Does it still get its normal action?

The Lizard Man's slave master ability only applies to monsters that have already taken their action during the current Battle Phase.  To use the slave master ability effectively, it is best for the Overseer to take an action with a monster, then use the Lizard Man's ability to force that monster to take another action.  If the Lizard Man hits a monster that has not taken an action, then there is no additional benefit.  Note the slave master ability is ineffective against Lizard Men themselves.

How do Orc Wolf Riders work exactly?

An Orc Wolf Rider is actually two monsters. The Wolf has two health, and the Orc has two health. The Wolf must be killed before the Orc can be hit, but they are two separate monsters. This is important for damage allocation purposes, as excess damage does not "spill over" to the Orc if the Wolf is hit for two points when it was already damaged.

What happens with the Witch Hunter and Orc Wolf Riders?

If the Witch Hunter kills the Orc Wolf Rider, he gets that disc. If he later kills the unmounted Orc, he gets the disc for the Orc as well.

If the Ice Princess freezes the Orc Wolf Rider as the last monster, does she get both the Orc Wolf Rider and the Orc trophies or just the one?

No, just the Orc Wolf Rider.

How does the Vampire's Command Undead shot work?

For each Command Undead shot the Overseer performs, add a Skeleton Warrior to the board within 1" (2.5cm) of the Vampire's current location and perform a melee shot.  The Skeleton Warrior remains on the board after the melee shot is complete. If there are no Skeleton Warriors available in the monster pool, the Vampire may only perform his stun melee shot until more become available.

So does the Vampire's Command Undead shot do damage?

Yes, if the summoned skeleton warrior hits a target.  Of course normal modifiers and defensive capabilities apply.

Also related to the Vampire's Command Undead shot, does the summoned skeleton warrior take a turn as normal in the same battle phase it was summoned?

Yes, the skeleton warrior takes an action as normal when the Overseer chooses to do so during his or her same turn of the Battle Phase.

Can the Vampire use the Command Undead shot when frozen?

No, a frozen monster cannot take any action(s).

For each summoned monster that is killed (for example skeleton warriors summoned by the Vampire's Command Undead ability), do the heroes still get a reward as normal?

Yes, the heroes receive the reward (indicated on the monster card) of any monster they destroy regardless of how it came into play.

Does the player who drew the extra item card at the beginning of the corrosion check get to keep it if the Overseer draws a different item from their hand?  It makes sense that the player would NOT get to keep it, otherwise, the player gets a different, but free, item for their troubles.

No, the player is not allowed to keep the "placeholder item" card, it is discarded after the corrosion check is complete.

Are artifacts subject to the effects of the corrosion monster ability?

No, corrosion only affects items.

If the Orc Warchief does damage with both of his melee shots, do two minions get an extra action?


When the Queen of the Underworld kills a hero, she gets to reanimate him/her as a Shade. Does the Shade get to take an action a turn that round, or does it need to wait till the next?

The Shade must wait for the Overseer's next turn of the Battle Phase to take an action.

Maybe I'm missing something in the rules, but is there a way to increase the Paladin's armor to 3? Or is his player mat printed with the armor going up to 3 for future expansions?

There is no way in Cavern of Soloth for the Paladin's armour to increase to 3.  It may be possible in future expansions.

Can the Touch of Decay monster ability be used to heal the Shape Shifter?

Touch of Decay explicitly only affects monsters - the Shape Shifter being a Catacombs Lord isn't a monster, even if she happens to temporarily assume their actions and abilities.

Can any of the Shape Shifter's individual monster abilities be negated using the cursed scroll item? For example, if you used the cursed scroll to negate the abilities of green monsters in the room, when the Shape Shifter takes the rust monster form, does he lose the corrosion ability?

No, the shapeshifter is not affected by the cursed scroll.

When the Dwarf Miner ally dies is he removed from the game?

He cannot be resurrected, so in effect he is removed from the game.

Does the Witch Hunter use the Skull Staff artifact after his normal melee shot or instead of it?

Instead of it, since using the Staff is a special action.

For the Witch Hunter's Blood Amulet artifact it says that his costs are reduced by one multi-colored icon for future crafting during the resolution phase. Does that mean just exactly that or does it mean he has a discount of any one color?

The Blood Amulet reduces the crafting cost by one multi-color icon only.  Solid colour icons on an artifact card are always mandatory when crafting.

If there are two monsters on the board, one a zombie and one a frozen monster, does the battle phase end when the zombie successfully attacks a hero becoming incapacitated due to the feeding frenzy ability?

No, the battle phase doesn't end, unless there are only frozen monsters and/or obstacles left.  In the specific example above, the Overseer can't take an action with the incapacitated zombie; the heroes can.

Horde of Vermin

What happens if a hero was already attacked by 2 monster with the Swarm ability (2 discs are stacked on it) and is now hit by a "normal" monster and this attack knocks one or both of the Swarm monsters off?

In this case, the Swarm attack is not completed.  A Swarm attack is only completed successfully when 3 discs are stacked on top of a hero's disc.

In the case of the level 2 room card "Nest Of Vipers," how can 12 Sewer Rats be deployed from the monster pool?  There are not  enough Sewer Rats available.

This is a misprint on the card:  8 Sewer Rats are deployed instead.

Can variant monsters be deployed in the final room for the Catacomb Lord's minions?

Yes.  Obviously this will will be more difficult.

What happens when the Witch Hunter's Skull Staff is used on the Remorhaz that has swallowed heroes?

If the Witch Hunter traps the Remorhaz within the Skull Staff, any heroes that have been swallowed remain inside its body and are still considered to be out of the game.  It is recommended not to use the Skull Staff on the Remorhaz if heroes have been swallowed by it.

Does the touch of decay ability regenerate a monster with stamina all the way back to full health?

No, it only regenerates one point of health, not full health.