The Quick Guide is available here. It's helpful if you need a refresher, or want to jump into it with experienced players! Also check out instructional videos to get the basics, and come here to answer any additional questions you might have!
Each player starts the game with 20 hit points. In Foretold, hit points are the amount of damage your character can take before dying, and your goal to win is to knock everyone else to zero. If you take damage, you can be healed, but you can't ever go above 20 HP. You'll take damage from Fate Cards, from being "Smited" (see Raiding) or the occasional Relic card.
Foretold uses a combination of 6 different card decks, a Tile deck, dice and miscellaneous markers.
In Foretold, you manage 3 separate groups of cards:
Faithful cards - these are your followers. They will defend, attack, or generate gold. It's easiest to think of the Faithful as living either inside of your Temple or outside of it. The ones that live inside the Temple can defend it and go to the Market to collect gold - they're your Temple Hand. The ones that live outside are roaming the countryside looking for a fight! They'll be used for raiding when the time is right - they're your Raiding Party hand.
Relic cards can give you ongoing abilities or one-shot effects. They're set face-up in front of your Temple. 16 of the Relics are aligned with 1 of 4 Fates. These special Fate Relics have a powerful effect and also increase your devotion to their matching fate, allowing you to play more powerful Fate cards.
Fate Cards - which have a 1-time effect and then are discarded. They're kept hidden and represent the will of the Fates that guide you to victory. Choose wisely when to play them for the best effect! Their devotion costs vary from 0 to 3. Devotion level is determined by the Fate Relics you own.
Your Temple is built out of Tiles, and it can be upgraded on your turn from the Tile Deck. You can't flip over a Tile unless you pay its flip cost (detailed on the bottom side) - but some are free to flip over! Your Temple can be rearranged on your turn as long as the doorways all align and the total dimension isn't greater than 4x4 Tiles (16 maximum). When you place new Tiles, you must align at least one doorway in the new Tile with another doorway in your existing Temple.
Hit points are tracked with 20-sided dice. Gold can be tracked with dice or gold chips. Combat dice (6-sided) are used during raids and sometimes when cards are played. The Smiting Die (special, oversized) is used if an opponent's Heart tile is conquered for bonus damage.
Each player gets 4 Faithful: a High Priest card, 2 Guard cards, and 1 Acolyte card. The starting Guards and Acolytes are marked special and have no gold cost.
Each player then gets 5 Starting Tiles, specially marked: Entrance, Heart, Hallway, Altar, Treasury. Place them on their A side.
Shuffle the Relic, Faithful and 4 Fate Decks, and place them on their markers on the Marketplace board. Do the same for the Tiles, ensuring that their A-sides all look the same and are face-up.
If you're playing the Fatesworn expansion, players can bid on alternate starting Heart Tiles that also determines who goes first or last. Otherwise, roll dice to determine who plays first.
Turn Sequence and Resolution of Play
During your turn, you've got priority to do whatever you want. People can't play cards or abilities unless it is in response to something you're doing.
Whenever anyone plays a card (or uses a Relic or Tile), everyone at the table has the right to respond before the card's ability has an effect on the game. Players can even stack multiple plays on top of each other while waiting for the original card's effect to resolve! If this happens, the most recent action resolves first, with the first action played in a sequence resolving last. Some Magic players call this "the stack", and use the phrase "first in, last out" to help remember.
Tips for your First turn
The game begins with 2 Guards and 2 Acolytes in the Faithful row of the Marketplace- and they're fine choices for your first turn. If you buy one, it's a good idea to pay 2 gold to upgrade your Hall Tile. That gives you an extra space in your Temple, which increases your hand size by 1 and gold production by 2 (if you bought an Acolyte).
All Marketplace cards cost 5 or less in the base game, meaning you can almost always buy whatever appears, even on your first turn.
Any of the cards that cost 5 unique (only one copy!) - so choose wisely!
Going last in a game of 4 players isn't necessarily a bad thing - the Marketplace will begin filling up by your turn, and you'll have a better selection of cards to pick from. Plus you'll see which Fate people are drawing from, and can base some strategy off of that.
The Marketplace does fill up quickly - and if there aren't any empty spots when a card is revealed, you get to choose what is covered up! This can allow you to strategically bury important Faithful or Relics to keep them out of your opponents' hands for a while.
Tips for your first raid
When you raid, your goal is to conquer each Tile that lies on a path to the Heart tile. If you conquer the Heart tile, you get to smite your opponent and deal damage to their hit points! If you fail on any Tile, the raid ends immediately.
It's usually best to avoid Tiles off the path to the Heart, but there are cards that sometimes incentivize a quick detour.
When you attack a Tile, the defending player can play Faithful equal to the number of Station symbols on that Tile. They don't necessarily even have to defend it - they can let you right through and save their best defense for last! But it's usually good to defend.
Once you conquer a Tile, until the end of that raid, you can move freely on conquered Tiles. If you go backward, you don't have to fight again on it.
Defense always chooses and drops their Faithful first - then you choose how many Faithful you think it will take to beat their revealed defenders. Everyone rolls 1 D-6 for each attacker and defender and totals up the numbers to see who wins! But wait - other combat bonuses also come into play!
When there's a lot to add up, do it in this order: Dice roll total, then bonuses on the Faithful, then bonuses from Relics and Tiles, and lastly, bonuses from Fate cards.
Defense always wins if there is a tie.
Even after rolling dice and totaling the scores, players can still add Fate cards, use relics or other bonuses to buff the numbers totals. A battle isn't over until all players agree on its resolution.
When you win a battle and conquer the Tile, you get to choose 1 of the Faithful that raided that turn to return to your raiding party and continue forward. The rest of the Faithful get discarded until the end of turn.
So you conquered the Heart tile - now it's time to smite! Deal 1 damage for each remaining Faithful in your raiding party. Then, roll the smite die (and play any Fate cards you'd like) to deal bonus damage. Then the raid is over!
Trying to raid and failing miserably isn't necessarily a bad thing.
Don't be afraid to attack, unless you think that opponent really holds grudges!
Most of the time, you'll fail to conquer one or more tiles, and then the raid will end.
If you're lucky, you may even draw out a Fate card or make your opponent spend gold early game!
In a raid, the defending player makes his choice of defenders after you've declared how many Faithful you'll raid with on a given Tile. If you have 8 Faithful in your raiding party, maybe you can win with only 2? Again, be wary of tricks. It's a bit of a "press your luck" scenario designed to add some fun and tension to the battles!