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"The summoning stones have been found and war is upon you. Carve out your empire - and let your enemies despair!"
In the land of Itharia, summoners rule the battlefield. A cross between a mage and a general, summoners use Summoning Stones to call their side's forces into battle. The sheer numbers that can be brought to bear with this power renders old armies obsolete.
The first summoner, Ret-Talus, commands an undead horde, and for a thousand years went unchallenged. But eventually a second stone was found, and as the major nations rushed to find others, Ret-Talus was now merely powerful rather than unstoppable.
But rather than uniting against this giant threat, the major factions of the world have instead turned to old rivalries and petty squabbles, as the quest for power consumes them all.
Summoner Wars is a tabletop card game created by Colby Dauch,  and published by his independent game company Plaid Hat Games. It combines elements of CCGs and tabletop strategy games and is played on a flat grid map.
Each player has a deck of unit, event, and wall cards, and one summoner. At the beginning of each game players put their starting units on the board, then take turns made of drawing, summoning, moving, and attacking- the object being to kill your opponent's summoner. The game also has the interesting idea of letting any card from your hand act as mana, and having killed enemies go to your mana reserve.
Noted for its unique concept, finely-tuned balance, and lack of blind purchase, Summoner Wars is found in stores and on its website.
Summoner Wars provides examples of the following tropes:
- A Child Shall Lead Them: The Vanguards are led by young Sera Eldwyn.
- Aerith and Bob: The Vanguards have Sera, Jacob, Raechel, Leah, Coleen...and Kalon.
- All There in the Manual: Although some cards do bring up questions, generally one look at the manual gives you everything you need to know how to play the game.
- The plot summary above is page one of the manual, and it and flavor text from Word of God is all the we get.
- Always Accurate Attack: One of the Phoenix Elves' powers. Limited to small amounts of damage normally, one of their events gives one of their units full accuracy for a turn.
- One of the tundra orcs units is sooooo slowwww that all attacks against them are this by default.
- Anti-Magic: The Bender's summoner can "Counter Summon" things; discard units for the same amount of magic used to play them.
- Ax Crazy: Biter of the Sand Goblins. Possibly the entirety of The Filth.
- Back Stab: Dagger of the Cloaks has this ability.
- The Beast Master: Just about every faction has figured out animal husbandry, it seems.
- Although the Jungle Elves seem to fit this the most, with lions, elephants, and gorillas.
- The Big Guy: Most champion units with 5+ health.
- Body Horror: The Filth have this as their hat.
- Breath Weapon: Spew Mutants have acidic vomit.
- Collectible Card Game: Albeit one without the annoying "rip open ten blister packs looking for a single card" mechanic.
- Combat Tentacles: Tentacle mutations, natch
- Counter Attack: What Elven fencers do.
- Cult: The Filth
- Deal with the Devil: How Malevolence got her sword and how the Filth cause their mutations.
- Defend Command: Vanguard's have Guardian Knights, which always take the hit for their allies if possible.
- Discard and Draw: The Benders do this to their opponent.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Does the Filth seem reminiscent of Left 4 Dead's Special Infected?
- The Dreaded: The Fallen Kingdom, as the first faction plot wise, and the Filth thanks to the Body Horror.
- Eldritch Abomination: If his Bio is anything to go by, Tacullu could easily fall in this category. He's either that or an Energy Being.
- The Demagogue (possibly).
- Elemental Powers: Why yes...
- Excuse Plot: There's no flavor text in the game but there's plenty in the manual, so to speak.
- Expansion Pack: The game is divided into faction decks (a basic army) and reinforcement packs (extra units).
- Everything's Better with Monkeys: The Jungle Elves are getting Gorillas in their reinforcement set
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The Filth have no name for themselves, so everyone else calls them that. Also all common units are called by their job/role
- Fan Nickname: Princess Elien, Bob the Snitch (the starting Thief for the Cloaks...who frequently gets killed by his own Summoner.)
- Fragile Speedster: Numerous units with low health but boosted movement capabilities, like Angels and Bounders.
- Gameplay and Story Integration: In one story it's pointed out that all the walls in a battlefield have been destroyed, and that they couldn't have been summoned elsewhere because there's six (which is exactly how many are present in a standard game).
- Glass Cannon: All Shadow Elf units, save one of their champions.
- Heal Thyself: A signature power of the Vanguards
- Hired Guns: All mercenary cards in one way or another.
- Lightning Bruiser: Cavalry Knights and Lioness' among others- many units have high attack and extra movement abilities, often balanced by lower health or higher cost. Hulgorad of the Mercenaries has a dash ability that boosts his attack.
- Loads and Loads of Characters
- Luke Nounverber: Kalon Lightbringer of the Vanguard, along with the rest of the Lightbringer family
- Magic Missile: Most spellcasters have ranged attacks.
- Mana Drain: One of the event cards certain factions have.
- The Medic: The Vanguards have common units and a summoner that act as this.
- Mega Manning: Vlox, the Cloaks summoner, can copy any unit ability on the field at the beginning of your turn. Mind Witches, Bender commons, can do this too.
- Mighty Glacier: Orc Smashers and mercenary Stone Golems are both this thanks to their abilities.
- Mind Rape: The Benders have the PG variety.
- Mooks: Common units; some are more useful/durable than others, but none of them have proper names or too many hit points.
- Only Sane Man: Faction-scale version; the Vanguards are the only faction actually concerned with fighting Ret-Talus (who has been attacking stuff unchecked for 1000 years), the Shadow Elves are the only ones who realize that there's more to the summoning stones than meets the eye, and Rallul seems to be actively trying to end the Summoning Wars (using the same knowledge the Shadow Elves learned).
- Our Angels Are Different
- Our Centaurs Are Different: The Mountain Vargath, who are more rams (and a goat) combined with men than bulls.
- Our Dragons Are Different: Some factions have various varieties of "Drake" including a Hydrake and a Fire Drake
- Our Dwarves Are All the Same: While the Guild Dwarves who very much fit the stereotypical version of them, the Deep Dwarves might subvert this.
- Our Elves Are Better: The Phoenix Elves use fire powers and have black hair rather than the standard blonde. Jungle Elves have a very Native American feel to them. The Shadow Elves are mostly purples and blacks and have darkness powers.
- Our Goblins Are Different: These guys have a giant mole rat and ride mutant dog-wolf-squid hybrids. The sand goblins are fairly tough and have big ears.
- Our Liches Are Different
- Our Orcs Are Different: These ones are tundra orcs. There are also Swamp Orcs that are covered in vines, and one guy that wears an alligator on his head.
- Painful Transformation: The Filth cause their mutations this way, if the screams coming from their camp are anything to go by.
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The mercenary army- mercenary units can go in any deck, but they have their own summoner if you want to make a deck of only mercenaries.
- Religion of Evil: The Filth- they worship demons and have rituals to mutate themselves and their prisoners
- Steampunk: The Cloaks. They have guns and stuff.
- Spell My Name with a "The": The Eater, The Filth, their champion The Abomination and their summoner The Demagogue.
- Sword and Gun: Rygos of the Mercenaries
- Summon Magic: The whole point.
- Tabletop Game
- The Dreaded: The Filth
- The Grim Reaper: Even called "The Reaper" and harvests souls.
- The Undead: The Fallen Kingdom faction.
- Turn-Based Strategy
- Vain Sorceress: Malevolence, who is also a Princess in Rags and an Impoverished Patrician- She sold her soul for a cursed weapon, and rules over an empty kingdom.
- Whip Sword: What Violet of the Cloaks uses.
- Wild Card: Magos, a very powerful wizard who randomly switches sides.
- We Have Reserves: The reason summoning is such a potent power in-universe. There are also cards that invoke this by letting you summon more if you have less units than your opponent.