Choosing a type of card to place in a deck is one thing — playing it correctly is another. Though any single SPELLFIRE card may have a multitude of uses in the "big picture," there are a few basics regarding the playing of particular cards and card types that novice players need to take note of.

Basic Tactics

• You should stick to your strategy as much as possible. If you've planned an aggressive strategy, be aggressive whenever possible. If you're playing defensively, attacking every turn only hurts your chances of winning the game. The time and effort spent putting together a specific strategy should not be ignored. Granted, not every game is going to follow a preordained course, but sticking to a specific plan of attack is the best way to win a game.

• Examine all the cards in your hand before playing one. What consequences are going to occur from playing a certain card? Is there a better choice available? What are the chances an opponent can counter this card? These questions should be asked before any card is played.

• Take note of an opponent's strategy early on. The sooner you can determine the weaknesses of an opponent's deck the sooner you may be able to set yourself up to win the game.

• Don't wait for killer card combinations to suddenly appear. Though it can happen with regularity, you shouldn't wait for two or three specific cards to emerge during the course of a game; the odds of that happening are minute. Instead, focus more on the cards currently in your hand and how they can best be put to use.

• Read each card thoroughly before and during the course of a game — especially before playing any card. Terminology in the Spellfire game is very specific, and there may be instances where you think you know the meaning of the card when actually you don't. In a gentleman's game, misplayed cards may be taken back, but this can never be counted on.

• Keep track of which cards are played during each phase of your turn. It is quite easy to forget to play a realm or holding during the course of a turn. Of all the SPELLFIRE card types, rule cards are probably forgotten the most because they have to be played at the start of your turn before cards are drawn.

• Try to play as many cards into your pool and formation as possible. This prevents you from discarding cards at the end of your turn, and these cards can't be subject to special powers that discard cards out of a player's hand. These cards may also have special powers that aid in defense of your realms and may prevent the opponent's from playing like cards due to the Rule of the Cosmos.

• You should always consider bluffing whenever possible to keep an opponent on the defensive. Just because you have no champions in your pool doesn't mean you're defenseless. In the long run, bluffs work best when you sometimes have something to back it up with.

• Don't draw too much attention to yourself during a multiplayer game. In most cases, your opponents will gang up on someone who has jumped ahead to an early lead. While this is OK for the player who has the muscle to defend himself, it often leads to a player having many razed realms by the beginning of his next turn. Remaining in the shadows for most of the game then suddenly "making your move" is a good tactic to use when other players are fighting amongst themselves.

• Show no mercy, trust no one, and don't be afraid of winning. Deals made during the course of a game are not always honored. Remember that there are seldom ties in a SPELLFIRE game, which means that everyone is out to win. In a multiplayer game remember that if you cannot win, you may be able to prevent someone else from winning. Feeling sorry for another player only gives him a chance to come back and win the game.