The aim of the game is to reduce your opponent's life points to zero.
In Serious Business™ your life points are measured by the amount of cards in your deck. Whenever you would take direct damage from a card you discard that many cards from your deck. The winner is the first player to score a direct hit, that is to say, the first player to declare a direct attack on another player with no cards in their deck.
Tapping is the action of turning a vertical card to a horizontal to indicate you are comitting it to an action or the activation of an ability. The tap action is represented on cards as a downward pointing arrow before the effect text.
When a card is discarded it is placed face up in the discard pile. Any player my have access to the discard pile, within reason. The owner of a discard pile always has the right to refuse access to it, and you're not allowed to be upset if they do. Just live with it. A discard action is represented on a card by a D before the effect text.
If you are called on to heal yourself, add the number of cards healed from the top of your library to your deck and then shuffle.
When a power or ability number is changed it is called a modify and creates a modify step. Modify steps can apply to either player's cards and exist to allow your opponent to respond if they wish. You may choose to stop your opponent's modifications during their turn but remember that each modification resolves after it is made so you will effectively be re-modifying their card. The only way to truly interrupt a modify is to negate the ability that caused the modification at the time of activation. You cannot modify the cost of a card in your hand to reduce it.
A card's cost is payed by tapping cards in your charge zone. Any card in your hand may be placed in your charge zone face down and is then treated as a charge card. You may not look at the face down cards in your charge zone once they are set. You may only place 1 card in your charge zone each turn untapped, you may do this during either of your play steps.
When you have at least 3 cards in your charge zone and the top card of your deck is face down, you may declare an auto-charge at the end of your reset step. If you Auto-charge the draw step is replaced with the auto-charge step.During auto-charge the top card of your deck is placed directly into your charge zone face down without being looked at, then the new top card on your deck is flipped over. You may play the top card of your deck as if it was in your hand, but if the card is still face up the next time you would draw a card you must first discard that card and take damage equal to that card's cost first.
Generals are one off cards that represent your play style on the field. You play with any general you like regardless of your play style in your deck, but you can only have one general per deck and you must start with it in play. Generals cannot be discarded and do not count as allies so they cannot be used to attack or defend. It's best to think of a general as a once per game effect, so choose when to use it carefully.
Allies are your friends in Serious Business. You can summon an ally from your hand by paying the cost on the bottom right of the card and placing it vertically face up on your side of the field. Allies may attack on the turn that they are summoned if you wish, but remember that only an untapped ally can be used to defend so make sure you remember that before you use all your allies up.
There are three types of spell in Serious Business™.
Instant spells can be played at any time during either player's turn and are then discarded.
Basic spells can be played during the play steps of your turn only and are then discarded.
Continuous spells can be played during the play steps of your turn only and stay in play once cast until they are discarded by an effect.
Arenas change the rules of the game for both players. If an arena has an ability that must be payed for, either player may do so on either player's turn as long as the arena is in play. Arenas do not count as continuous spells. Only one arena may be in play at a time during each game. If two arenas would be in play at the same time the new arena tales priority and the old one is discarded.
The law of Inverse
In Serious Business™ it is possible to create a negative number by subtracting from a power or ability number past zero. When this happens the effect of a card or attack is reversed, so damage becomes healing, drawing becomes discarding from the hand, adding becomes subtracting etc.
- If there is a conflict between the basic rules and the card text, the card text wins.
- Decks must contain 41 cards, with one of those being your general.
- You can have no more than 4 copies of a single card in your deck.
- Both decks can only have one general which must on the field before the game begins.
- Both players start by drawing 5 cards from their decks.
- Neither player may declare an attack on their first turn.
- After searching through your deck it must be shuffled.
- Allies that come into play untapped may attack or use their abilities on the same turn.
- A modified power of ability number is reset at the end of each player's turn.
Extended Optional rules
- Decks can have any number of cards, as long as players have the same number of cards in their decks at the start of the game.
- You may choose to play with a preset number of life points instead of discarding when you take damage.
During the battle step you may try and attack your opponent and in turn they may try to stop that attack. Battles flow like this.
- Select an untapped ally you control and tap it to declare an attack.
- Your opponent may select an untapped ally they control and tap it to declare it blocking.
- If the attacking ally has a higher power than the defending ally then the defending ally is discarded.
- If the defending ally has a higher power than the attacking ally then neither card is discarded but the attacking allies controller takes damage equal to the difference between the attacking allies power and the defending allies power.
- If both allies power is equal then both cards are discarded.
- If the attack is not blocked then the defending played takes damage equal to the unblocked card's current power.
Game play flow
- Reset step
Untap all cards that are tapped on your side of the field.
- Draw step
Draw 1 card from your deck.
- Play step
You may charge or play any cards you are able to.
- Battle step
You may attack or defend with allies
- Play step
You may charge or play any cards you are able to.
- End step
All modified cards are reset.
The turn passes to the next player.