Here to Slay Game Guide

Here to Slay quickly became one of my favorite games of all time. It’s relatively simple to learn, but every time I play it, the tactics become sneakier, more honed, and increasingly callous as fellow players memorize the cards in the deck.

Here to Slay is a perfect juxtaposition, a combination of drop-dead adorableness and endearing slaughter. It’s a game of teamwork and betrayal all mixed in together. Yet, unlike some other popular board games (*cough* Monopoly *cough*), I’ve found that it doesn’t cause families to scream and rage at each other, nor does it destroy lifelong friendships. That’s probably quite simply because the heroes in Here to Slay are simply too cute to be mad at. You think I’m joking, but no. Genuinely.

If you’re looking for a family-friendly game that you can also whip out to play with your friends on Friday nights, look no further than Here to Slay. I’ve loved playing it and hope this guide will show you why.

Before You Begin

Before you begin playing Here to Slay, keep the overall objective in mind.

In Here to Slay – the base game, at least! – there are six hero classes. These are:

  1. Fighter.
  2. Ranger.
  3. Thief.
  4. Bard.
  5. Guardian.
  6. Wizard.

At the start of the game, you’ll receive a Party Leader card. There are six of these – one of each class (which is why the game is limited to six players). Your Party Leader is basically a guaranteed Hero with an overall effect influencing your team as you play.

Heroes are included in the main deck, along with Item, Modifier, Challenge, and Magic cards. These will all be shuffled together and drawn each turn randomly.

The game also contains 15 Monster cards, 6 rules cards, and two 6-sided dice.

The objective of Here to Slay is to either:

  1. Slay three monsters.
  2. End your turn with a “full party” of Heroes (one of each class).

Reaching either of these points means you win. One round with 4 to 6 players usually took us about 30 to 60 minutes, so you might have time for 3 or 4 games in one evening! Two-player rounds might be over in as little as 15 minutes. 

Card Types and Their Meanings

Here to Slay Heroes Hand

There are 7 card types. You’ll find Hero, Item, Magic, Challenge, and Modifier cards within the main deck. Outside of the main deck, there are also Party Leader and Monster cards.

Hero Cards

Hero Cards form your Party of darling Monster-slaying renegades (along with the Party Leader). All Heroes in the base game fit into one of six classes: fighter, ranger, thief, bard, guardian, or wizard.

Each Hero has a unique, individual power. Read the card carefully before playing it or using its ability again.

You can win the game by assembling a Hero team with a member from each class. However, be wary of other players trying to kill your little soldiers before they even have a chance.

Item Cards

Items can be attached to Heroes. Some have a positive effect, while others reduce that Hero’s effectiveness. Positive Items should be played on your own Party and those with adverse effects on the Heroes belonging to other players.

To play an Item card, slide it underneath the relevant Hero (not too far, so you can still see it’s there). It’s now attached to that Party member (unless affected by another player’s move). If the Hero is returned to your hand, stolen, or killed, the Item goes with it.

Magic Cards

Magic cards can be very powerful. When you play them, they must be immediately discarded but can have a powerful effect on the overall game. They’re well worth keeping until the opportune moment.

Challenge Cards

Challenge cards can be used by opponents to stop players from playing a Hero, Item, or Magic card. They must be played immediately after the player’s initial move to place their card.

If someone plays a Challenge card, both players roll one die each. The player with the highest number wins. If the numbers are equal, the challenger wins automatically. Modifiers can also be used to affect the rolls.

If the challenger wins, the Hero, Item, or Magic card must be immediately discarded, the player having lost 1 of their action points. If the player being challenged wins, they continue as they were.

You can’t challenge a Challenge or Modifier card or a dice roll, and they are discarded straight after being used.

Modifier Card

Modifiers are a sort of bonus to a dice roll. They can increase or decrease the numbers, depending on what you need. You can play Modifiers on your own rolls and those of your opponents.

For example, you might play a Modifier card to win a challenge or prevent an opponent from slaying a Monster or using their Hero’s effect. Any player can play as many as they like at any point – it doesn’t have to be their turn. 

Like Magic and Challenge cards, they’re discarded as they’re played.

Monsters

One way to win the game is by slaying three Monsters. Attacking a Monster is inherently risky and always prone to sabotage by your fellow players. However, each conquered card will bring additional influences to your Party, making it easier to win.

The rules for attacking a Monster are different for each one and described specifically on each card.

Party Leaders

You’ll immediately notice these cards due to their larger sizes and lighter backs. Party Leaders, as selected at the beginning of the game, will be an enduring influence as you go forward. They aren’t, of course, too overpowered, but you should try to build your team around them if possible.

There is one Party Leader for each class, and they’ll remain in your hand as an invincible rock for the duration of the game. They can’t be killed, stolen, or sacrificed.

How to Play

Here to Slay Tabletop Cards Monsters Parties

Set up the table by placing the following piles in the center: Party Leaders, main deck, Monsters, and the two dice. Leave space for the discard pile somewhere too.

Here to Slay begins with each player choosing their Party Leader card after you roll to determine who gets the first choice. Place the Party Leader in front of you on the table.

Next, hand each player a Rules card – everyone needs to know how to play, and an occasional reminder is always helpful. After this, deal out 5 cards from the shuffled main deck to each player. This is your hand, to be kept hidden from everyone else. Finally, turn over the top 3 Monster cards. These are the enemies available for slaying. You’re now ready to begin.

Whoever picked their Party Leader last goes first. Each turn, a player gets 3 action points to spend however they see fit. They could use less than 3 if they wished, but I can’t think of many situations where this would make sense tactically. Different actions cost varying amounts of action points:

  • 1 action point – use a Hero’s ability (max. once per turn), draw a card from the main deck, or play a card from your hand.
  • 2 action points – attack a Monster.
  • 3 action points – discard your entire hand and draw 5 new cards. (This, of course, immediately ends your turn.)

After your turn’s finished, you must make sure you have a maximum of 7 cards in your hand. If you have 8 or more, you’ll have to discard however many are necessary.

At this stage, note that every card is different. It’s easy to get distracted by their adorably violent faces and poses, but you’ll see that each Hero has a unique special ability. Although some might seem more useless than others (remember Napping Nibbles, those who have played before?), they all have their purpose. Even the most strange can be used as part of effective, tactical moves.

Heroes and Items should be placed immediately in front of you, next to your Party Leader. Modifiers, Challenges, and Magic cards are one-time wonders and, as such, must be immediately discarded.

When choosing to attack a Monster, balance up the risk and reward. You’ll need a certain number of Heroes (usually of specific classes) to commence the attack. The results are settled by rolling the dice and any following Modifier cards. Beware of attacking Monsters since low rolls or aggressive opponents can cause your assault to fail. The consequence? A Hero must be sacrificed. Brutal, but all’s fair in love and war.

Thus the game continues, with players constantly trying to sabotage each other, protect their parties from others, and slay Monsters while they’re at it. As I mentioned in the introduction, the winner is the first person to either kill three Monsters or collect a Full Party – that is, have at least one Hero of all six classes in your Party.

Things You Learn as You Play More

Here to Slay Party Leader Heroes Cards Items

I’ve listed a few things I learned the more we played in this section.

  • Protect your Heroes – Items, Magic cards, and the abilities of Heroes, Party Leaders, and slain Monsters can all contribute to security. In my opinion, the best way to win is to start by building your defenses and then slotting in some brutally efficient, murderous cuddly friends.
  • The best time to attack a Monster is when other players have limited cards in their hands, reducing the likelihood of negative Modifiers being played. It’s also generally a good safeguard to have a couple of Modifiers of your own in your hand, just in case. Of course, these rules fly out the window in a high-risk scenario. However, if you see an opportunity (usually in the early-to-mid stage of the game) where players have played most of their current cards, why not capitalize on it?
  • Always keep an eye on opponents’ cards. Remember, if they have three different classes on the table already, they could have the others in their hand. If nobody has any Challenge cards, they could go from hardly any cards to winning in one move.
  • In the same vein, don’t keep too many cards in your hand. Doing so looks attractive to other players who might play a relevant card to switch hands with you, destroying all your preparation work.
  • Heartbreakingly, many of your cuddly Heroes will be killed or have to sacrifice themselves in the name of victory. As silly as it might sound to someone who hasn’t yet played, your most significant obstacle is probably the distraction and bias caused by your favorite warriors. There’s a very real risk of neglecting tactical advantages to protect individuals. While this might make you feel better, it’s tough to win this way.
  • Here’s my most important tip of all: be the “grey man”. This phrase is often used in the military. It refers to blending in with everything around you and making yourself appear irrelevant. As a result, you go unnoticed. That doesn’t mean you should be doing nothing – but take it slowly. Don’t paint yourself as overly aggressive or rush ahead of other players by playing lots of Heroes straight away – your opponents will all target you, and your strategy will be over before it’s begun. By slowly building up your Party, card by card, you’ll build a stronger team that complements each other well. The time for aggression comes in the game’s closing stages, where it might become necessary to play more savagely.

Long-Term Goals to Consider

Here to Slay Monster Cards

A unique aspect of Here to Slay is that you can regularly switch tactics. So much can change in one round of moves that the table, your Party, and your hand could be completely different from one go to the next. That’s why it’s crucial to build a solid protective network.

Because there are two ways to win, it’s often tempting to half-heartedly aim for both. Sometimes, this works. However, it’s usually best to focus on one or the other and change it if the situation demands it.

For example, building a Party of Heroes of the same class is generally much stronger, both aggressively and defensively. This puts you in a much better position to fend off attacks from other players. However, it’s hard to slay Monsters since most need to be attacked by specific classes. It can also take a long time to set up and might give other players a chance to strike you – or maybe even win – before you’re at full strength.

With varied Hero classes, you’ll build up your team much faster. That being said, they won’t be so cohesive, and playing Hero cards too early might open you up to attacks from other players. It should be a little easier to attack Monsters, though, and these Monsters could come with their own abilities to assist you.

You can see that both techniques have opposing strengths and weaknesses. Overall, I’d recommend choosing a strategy after you know your Party Leader and the first three Monsters. Inevitably, the situation will evolve as the game continues. It might well make sense to switch strategies multiple times through the game.

Expansions

There’s currently only one mainstream expansion pack for Here to Slay. Warriors and Druids adds a whole new dynamic to the game by introducing these two new classes. By purchasing this expansion, you can play with up to eight players and have some seriously competitive, ever-changing games.

The Warriors and Druids expansion includes 31 main deck cards (including the Warrior and Druid heroes, of course), 2 Party Leaders (one for each class), and 2 new Monsters to slay.

Creating Your Own Heroes

Here to Slay comes with an additional epic feature that really makes it stand out against many competitors: the ability to design, print, and use your own Party Leader cards. Just be aware of throwing off the careful balance of the game by introducing cards that are too powerful/not powerful enough.

To create your own professional Party Leader cards, head on over to the Unstable Games website. I’ve included a link here. You’ll find a vast community library of pre-designed cards perfect for using yourself. More interestingly, you can create your own with a massive library of options to choose from. Click on “Create Your Own” and let the magic begin.

Here to Slay Create Party Leader card

When you create your own card, you’re free to do whatever you want. I’d suggest sticking to the original Party Leader effects, so you don’t throw anything too out of balance. Nevertheless, if you want an OP card… why not?

Once you have a Party Leader you’re satisfied with, simply download it and print it off. In my opinion, it’s worth getting them printed by a trusted printing company somewhere near you. However, you could use your printer at home and then either laminate them or place them in official Here to Slay oversized sleeves.

As a quick example to show how simple it is to design a professional-looking card, I used Unstable Games’ easy-to-use program to create a Fighter Party Leader. I named this enchanting little executioner Gerald the Ginormous Rhino.

Here to Slay Create Party Leader Fighter

You can find that card online here if you like.

Conclusion

Here to Slay Dice

The best way to sum up Here to Slay is that it’s genuine fun for all the family. It has something for everyone. Comedic gore, violent smiles, and luck-based strategy. Games with fewer people take less time, and the opposite is also true. Thus, it’s easy to accommodate everyone, casual and competitive players alike.

Here to Slay is one of my top choices as a quick game to pull out no matter your company – if not my top choice. Not everyone loves it, of course. There’s no die-hard guaranteed-you’ll-win strategy, and a lot of it centers around the luck of the dice. But you can certainly play the odds, using the cards you have available to your full advantage.

Overall, I can’t recommend playing it enough. You can find Here to Slay online at Unstable Games’ website or, like me, pick it up in your local Walmart. I’m sure it’ll bring you and whoever you play with many hours of real laughs without making you hate each other – and when it comes to board and card games, that’s always fairly significant!

FAQs

Question: Is there a hand limit in Here to Slay?

Answer: At the end of a turn, you can have a maximum of 7 cards in your hand. If you have more than this, you must discard cards until you reach 7 again.
(In answer, yes, there is!)

Question: Can you double Challenge in Here to Slay?

Answer: You can’t play a Challenge card on someone else’s. If they place a Challenge card down, you’ll have to roll the dice and see who comes out victorious. Have some Modifiers on hand if it’s a significant one.

Question: Can you play Here to Slay with two people?

Answer: Here to Slay can absolutely be played with two people. It’s designed for anywhere from 2-6 players. 2-player games tend to be more competitive since you can concentrate more intently on your opponent’s moves. It can be just as fun with just the two of you and is particularly great to whip out on a quiet evening in.

Latest posts by Ben Kitchen (see all)
Scroll to Top