The Venerable and Ancient Rules of Imperial Twing

The (even more) Venerable and Ancient Rules of Imperial Twing

Copyright © 2023 Imperial Games GmbH

The History of the Game

Imperial Twing is an ancient magical card game played by wizards, witches, mages, sorceresses and many others within the Empire. The origins are unknown, but it has been around for centuries. Although the rules have evolved over time, in essence it symbolises the ongoing battle to become part of the imperial aristocracy as Vice Arch-Mage and the constant challenge of everyone using magic to control the power of “The Orn”.

“The Orn is the force behind all magic, easy to use, but difficult to control!”

The Arch-Mage of The Empire

Downloadable (PDF) Version …

The Imperial Archmage has generously conjured this “Printable Downloadable File” (PDF) version of the Venerable and Ancient Rules of Imperial Twing for your convenience 🙂

Goal of the game

The goal of the game is to become the Vice Arch-Mage of the Empire. You are a powerful wielder of The Orn and in the endeavour to achieve your goal, you must first collect four magical objects and then prove your mastery of The Orn in a final series of battles with your opponent(s) during the End Game.

Game Material

The game consists of the following:

  • 4 Orn wielding Character cards – Warlock, Mage, Witch and Sorceress – (violet / purple backs)
  • 204 playing cards containing different spells and critters, as well as magical cats and traps (blue backs)
  • 9 magical object cards (green backs)
  • 16 event cards (red backs)
  • Four 12 sided coloured Orn Dice, one for each character
  • 20 Ornicle Tokens (plastic-coloured crystals)
Rules for Imperial Twing
Imperial Twing – prototype version

Game Setup

  1. Lay out the 4-character cards facing down on the table
  2. Shuffle the playing cards and place in a “stack” in the centre of the table (the playing cards stack)
  3. Place the shuffled event cards at the side of the table, stack facing down
  4. Place the shuffled magical object cards next to the event cards, stack facing down
  5. Take the first two magical object cards off the top of the stack, and place them face up in front of the magical object stack
  6. Place the Ornicle tokens next to the event cards
  7. Each player selects one of the character cards and places it face up in front of them.
Game setup

Game Play

Players take turns collecting magic spells, critters and special cards (such as cats and traps) which they can then use to battle other players in order to acquire powerful Magic Objects.

Spells, cats and traps are “played” by placing them face-up on the table and announcing the action which the player is taking.

Magical battles are influenced by the power of The Orn, which is unpredictable, represented by rolling a 12-sided “Orn” die containing values which are added, or subtracted, from the result of a battle and the following three special characters:

  • Critical hit : an automatic success, your attack or defence has succeeded.
  • Critical fail X: an automatic failure, your attack or defence has failed
  • The Orn Symbol ꩜: the player draws an Event Card and follows the actions described on the card.


You chose one of four characters at the start of the game. Each character masters one Orn Element (colour), giving you advantages when you play this colour in battle. The characters are:

  • Water (blue): The Witch of the Burbling Rivulet
  • Fire (red): The Mage of the Lambent Matchstick
  • Life (green): The Sorceress of the Picturesque Flowerpot
  • Air (white): The Warlock of the Balmy See Breeze

Starting the game

  • All players draw 3 cards from their stack, and hold them in their hand
  • Critter cards are placed face up on the table in front of the player, they’re your entourage and can be used to assist you in attacking and defending other players
  • Player to roll the highest number of their Orn dice goes first (in case of a tie, youngest player goes first).
  • The first player decides (at the start of the game) whether turns will proceed in a clockwise (or counter clockwise) direction

Actions per Turn

  • Begin your turn by drawing one additional card from your stack
  • Discard additional spells if you hit the “Maximum Spell Color Rule” (see below)
  • Then do one of the following actions (each action is explained more fully later in the rules):
    • Attack any other player
    • Play a trap card to kill or capture another player’s critter
    • Buy a magical object if you have five Ornicles
    • Pass and draw another card from your stack


  • Spell cards are drawn from your stack
  • The power of a spell is indicated on the card
  • Up to three spells of the same colour can be combined into one more powerful spell.

Minimum Spells Rule

  • A player must always have one spell card in their hand. At any time if a player has no spell cards remaining, they draw additional cards, one card at a time, until they have one spell card in their hand again. Any critters or special cards (cats or traps) drawn are discarded immediately. This applies also for the start of the game after you have drawn your first three cards.

Maximum Spell Colour Rule

  • You may only hold up to three different colours (elements) of spells in your hand
  • If you have more than three colours in your hand, discard spells of one colour to the discard pile


  • If drawn, place them face up in front of you, as they belong to your entourage
  • Mounts (Symbol M) can carry another critter of same or less power. Then both critters count as one unit/critter
  • Critters with the same colour as your character are protected (see description below)

Traps & Cats


  • To play a trap card, place it face upwards onto another player’s critter card:
    • You can capture a critter of your colour from another player’s entourage and add it to your entourage at any time, except during battles.
    • You can remove one critter of another player, sending it to the discard pile, at almost any time except if two other players are duelling.
  • In case of a mount and rider, only one is discarded.
  • Traps always work.


  • To play a cat card, place it face upwards on the table and announce you are rolling the Orn die again
  • Cat cards allow you to reroll The Orn die one time during a duel or battle
  • You can use multiple Cat cards one after another, but you must always use the result of the last roll of the Orn die


When The Orn is used for magic spells during battle, magical processes happen which generate Ornicles that appear in different shapes (usually coloured crystals). These can be collected by the wielder of the winning spell and can be used to conjure magical objects.

Attack and Defence

If you think that the time is ripe, and you feel powerful enough or you hope that The Orn is on your side, you can attack any of the other players.

You follow the same rules if you attack or defend.

  • To Attack:
    • Place your spell (1-3 spell cards of the same colour) face up on the table and name your opponent
    • Optionally add critters (at most one critter of the same colour per spell card played – remember: Mount + riders = one critter).
    • Don’t forget to look at your magical objects for additional effects (see below)
  • Defend by doing the same, or use critters to shield (see below)
  • Attacker and defender roll their Orn die simultaneously
  • If players roll an Event this is actioned right away before proceeding with the battle in the direction of play starting with the attacker – an Event roll counts as a zero (0) modifier to the battle result
  • IMPORTANT: while playing spell cards in your character’s colour negative values on the Orn die count as zero
  • Either player can play a Cat card (if they have one) and use the power of a Magical Object to reroll the Orn dice again
  • Either player can also play a Trap card (if they have one) to remove one of their opponents’ critters from the battle (send it to the discard pile)

Each player adds the total power of their spells, critters and any modifier from their roll of the Orn die as well as any effects from Event Cards

ALSO remember to check for the effects of magical objects which can negate the effects of certain rolls as well as cat and trap cards.

Elemental alignment for Spells and Protected Critter

  • Using a spell of the same colour (element) as your character for either attack or defence, will be more effective as your character is highly skilled in magic of this element. Hence, if you roll The Orn die in a battle, the negative numbers count as zero. But a critical fail is still a critical fail.
  • Similarly, when aided in an attack by your critters of the same element, you are better able to protect them from harm. If you lose the attack, these critters will return to your entourage for future battles.

Winning, and drawing in a fight

  • If there is a winner that player collects 1 Ornicle
  • If there is a draw (all have critical hits / fails / equal power), then no player collects an Ornicle


  • The defending player can choose not to play a spell, but instead place as many critters of one colour as you want forward as a shield
  • The shielding (defending) player does NOT roll The Orn die, as they are not using magic
  • If the defending player wins, the shielding critters return to their entourage, however if they lose then all shielding critters are discarded

Discarding cards after an attack and defence, and protected critters


  • When you roll The Orn Symbol, you must draw an event card and do whatever the event card says
  • If several people roll The Orn Symbol at the same time, the primary attacker must draw an event card first and resolve the outcome. Then, one after another, the other players draw their events cards and resolve any outcomes, moving in direction of play.
  • Event cards may affect just you, or all players
  • Some magical objects shield you from events, even the good ones! (You will still draw an event card, but the effects do not apply to you).
Event cards

Magical Objects

  • Magical objects have unique powers and effects indicated on the card.
  • No power is the same.
  • Some cards have the same or different colour as your character. This impacts which objects you need to collect (see Winning the Game).
  • One magical object is the Magical Teddy of Agony which can act as an object of any element, also having a unique power.
  • You can conjure, steal, or use the ritual of the Ornly cat to get hold of magical objects

Conjuring Magical Objects

  • If you have enough Ornicles (5 to be exact), you can conjure one of the two magical objects that lay openly on the table.
  • Pay your 5 Ornicles and choose a magical object and lay it next to your character. From now on you are more powerful and you can use the powers of the magical object.
  • When you have chosen one magic object, draw a new card from the magical object stack (if any remain) and lay it down facing up
  • You can only use three magical objects at a time. Put all further magical objects that you possess to the side, so that all players can see them. Only the ones next to your character are active and their powers effect the game.
  • You can switch which of your magical objects are active at any time, except during a battle

Stealing Magical Objects

If you want to steal a magical object of another player, you have to duel them.

1. Announce that you will duel another player

2. You will fight your opponent 3 times in a row and you must win 2 out of 3 battles

3. You are always attacking

4. Your opponent must defend

5. No other player can join the duel or play traps or any other cards

6. If you win 2 out of 3 duels you can choose the magical object you steal from your opponent. If you successfully defend 2 out of 3 duels the attacker won’t get anything

The “Ritual of the Ornly Cat”

As Cats are uniquely linked to the power of The Orn, you can sacrifice/discard three cats in order to draw the next magic object from the top of the magical object stack (if any remain)

The End Game (how to win)

To win the game you must:

  • Have three magical objects of different elemental colours
  • OR
  • Have two magical objects of any two different elemental colours AND possess the Magical Teddy of Agony which acts as a “wild card”
  • Declare that you are making a bid to become the Vice Arch-Mage!
  • Each turn, you now launch one special magical attack against all other players simultaneously
  • Defending players cannot “team up”, each player (including the attacker) play their cards and roll The Orn dice once and all battles are then resolved independently
  • For each successful attack, the player making the bid for Vice Arch-Mage can take one magic object from each of the losing player(s).
  • Successfully defending an End Game attack gives you 1 Ornicle
  • Cards are discarded at the end of the turn as per the normal rules. Spell cards are always discarded.
  • Critters will be discarded if you lost one (or more) attacks, and they are not protected.
  • It is not mandatory to launch a special attack on each turn. Each turn you still draw a new card (as usual) and can choose to take any action (playing a trap card, passing to draw an extra card) BUT you cannot make a “standard” attack or initiate a duel against another player – so any attack you make will be an “endgame attack”.
  • If the winning condition is no longer met (i.e., you lost some magic objects to other players and no longer have the required amount), your game reverts to and continues in the regular mode.
  • If you run out of spells you immediately draw a next card, but you can‘t play it immediately. If you draw anything else than a spell you must discard that card and redraw until you get a spell.
  • Any player who is reduced to having no magic objects is defeated and leaves the game, e.g. retires
  • Note: during the other player’s turns they can continue to collect Ornicles and even duel the player attempting to become Vice Arch-mage to steal their magic objects 😉
  • Play continues until only one player remains in the game

Additional attacking and defending rules for 3-6 players

  • In a multiplayer game when two players start a battle, you, as an additional player, have two options:
    • 1. do nothing
    • 2. participate in the battle, on the side of your choosing
  • If you decide to join the battle, you must place a stake of one Ornicle and then you can add one of your spells or critters from the same colour to the attack / defence of your preferred party to increase the total power.
  • As the main attacker or defender, for every player that teams up against you and there’s no assistance from another player, you can add a card of the same colour as well.
  • Only the main attacker and defender can:
    • Roll the Orn dice
    • Play trap and cat cards
    • Use the powers of their magical objects
  • If the team attacking or defending succeeds, every player in the team gets one Ornicle. Ornicles which were “staked” are returned to the winners.
  • In case all others teamed up against you and you alone win:
    • you get 1 Ornicle for every player that played against you


If at any time a player wishes to withdraw from the game, they can do so by announcing their retirement:

  • Turn your character card face down
  • Discard all spells, critters, and special cards
  • If there is more than 1 player remaining in the game, distribute your magical objects and Ornicles to the other players, as you wish
  • Thank your opponent(s)
  • (optionally) watch the game play-out with the remaining players (if more than one player is remaining)

Game Variations

You are welcome (and indeed encouraged) to experiment with variations of the game, and we would love to hear your ideas so that we can share them with the Imperial Twing community!

Here are three variations:

Sacrificing Cats:

Sacrifice 2 cats in an attack and you can roll the Orn die again, but now it counts as if you would play your own colour (e.g., negatives count as no effect).

Unreliable Traps

Traps are unreliable. If you play a trap, role The Orn die. If you roll negative numbers, the trap malfunctioned, and this action didn’t work. So, only 2 out of 3 times you’re successful playing a trap.


Tag-Team: You sit next to your teammate. You’re allowed to look at the cards in the hand of your teammate. The game direction is criss-cross, so that the turns between the parties alternate. After every draw you’re allowed to exchange one card each with your teammate. But there can only be one Vice Arch- Mage in the end!

And may The Orn be with you …

The team at Imperial Games GmbH wishes you many hours of fun playing Imperial Twing.

If you like the game, please register on our website for updates, including new releases and other news.

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Imperial Twing – Example game: emperor vs Archmage 🙂
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