HAIL HYDRA is best learned by following the read-along found on the First Game Rules located in this box. If you've never played HAIL HYDRA before, it is recommended to use that guide first.
If you have already played HAIL HYDRA using the First Game Rules and are looking for the new changes to the game, read all sections that have the symbol below in the top left corner.
- 80 x Attack Cards
- 8 x Loyalty Discs
- 18 x Villain Cards
- 14 x Hero Cards
- 13 x Health Discs
- 3 x Defense Discs
- 1 x New York City Card
- 1 x Avengers Tower Mover
- 1 x First Player Token
Object of the Game
You will be defeating Villains as a team of Heroes. If a Villain survives a round, it will inflict damage on New York City. It's up to your team to defeat them quickly and strategically! But beware, there may be HYDRA agents sabotaging your efforts...
S.H.I.E.L.D. members (the good guys)- Defeat all the Villains before New York City is Destroyed
HYDRA agents (the bad guys)- Sabotage the S.H.I.E.L.D. member's efforts to defeat Villains, allowing the Villains to Destroy the City.
Shuffle the 80 Attack Cards and place them face down in a pile in the center of the New York City Card on the space that says "Draw Pile. "
Each game will feature Five Villains:
One Villain, Two Villains, One Villain, and the Final Villain Red Skull. Except for Red Skull, randomly and secretly draw the four other Villains from their respective danger levels found on the back of the card and place them face down in a pile.
Place the Villain on top, followed by the Villains, and then the skull Villain. Place Red Skull on the bottom.
Place the Avengers Tower Mover onto the New York City Card at 27 health. Count the number of people playing, then reference the chart below.
Reference the chart above. After showing the group both types of Loyalty Discs, place that amount of HYDRA and S.H.I.E.L.D. Loyalty Discs face down in a pile and mix them all up. Pass one face down to each player. Each player secretly looks at their disc. Don't show your Loyalty Disc to anyone!
The amount of HYDRA agents in the game is public knowledge. Players who are HYDRA will know who each other are, but S.H.I.E.L.D. members will not. To ensure this happens, someone should volunteer to say the following aloud after memorizing it:
Everyone close your eyes.
HYDRA agents, open your eyes and look at each other.
HYDRA agents, close your eyes.
Everyone open your eyes.
The player to last read a MARVEL comic takes the First Player Token. The player to the left of the First Player Token draws 2 Attack Cards. The player to their left draws 4 Attack Cards.
Anyone still without Attack Cards draws 6. You may look at your Attack Cards.
First Player Token
Loyalty Discs are passed out; HYDRA agents identify each other. A Villain is revealed, starting a Mission. A round in the Mission, known as an Offensive, begins. Each Offensive has 5 steps:
Pass the First Player Token. One Hero discards and draws a full hand, everyone else draws 1
Heroes play Attack Cards face down
Attack Cards are collected and shuffled, then totaled, potentially damaging the Villain
Villain attacks the City if not Defeated
The team's attack is discarded. Start another offensive if Villain is not Defeated
A Mission ends when the Villain is Defeated. Team begins Knock Out Phase, votes to Knock Out Heroes. Another Mission begins by flipping over the next Villain.
If all Villains are Defeated and New York City is intact, S.H.I.E.L.D. wins! If New York City is Destroyed at any point, HYDRA wins!
Everyone playing is considered a Hero, regardless if you are S.H.I.E.L.D. or HYDRA. Everyone publicly chooses a Hero to play as. Place the Hero face up in front of you. You will be this Hero for the whole game.
Each Hero has a special ability which can be used only one time per game. These abilities are powerful and will impact the game in meaningful ways when used correctly. The ability can only be played during certain parts of the game, specified on the card and at the end of these rules.
On the back of each Hero Card are suggested strategies for when to use your ability if you are S.H.I.E.L.D. or HYDRA. Also located on the back are instructions for announcing HAIL HYDRA!, explained later in the rules.
You may not use your ability while you are Knocked Out or if you have announced HAIL HYDRA!
Your team of Heroes will be fighting a devastating lineup of Villains in a number of Offensives. Villains are broken up into 4 levels of difficulty signified by the HYDRA skulls on the back of their cards. Each Villain has a starting amount of Health, found in the top left corner of the card. When you reveal a Villain Card, place that many Health Discs next to the card. These discs track the Villain's remaining Health.
A Villain left alive at the end of an Offensive deals Damage to the City. Their strength is indicated in the bottom left of their card. Next to this number is the Villain's unique power. The Villain performs this additional effect every Offensive as well if left alive. This should be read aloud to the group prior to beginning the attack on the Villain.
Some Villains have additional buffs. If they do, a symbol with the buff will be next to their attack.
Defense - Makes the Villain more resistant to attacks. Place the specified amount of Defense Discs next to the Villain's Health Discs. If a Villain with Defense is dealt Damage, reduce the damage the team's attack deals by the Villain's current Defense value.
Quick Attack - The Villain's power impacts this Offensive in some way. Be sure to read the power before beginning the fight against this Villain.
Attack Cards and Damaging the Villains
These cards will be used to either attack the Villain, or sabotage the efforts of the team to attack the Villain. There are 2 categories of Attack Cards: Blue and Red. Blue Attack Cards count towards the Damage your team does to a Villain. If you're S.H.I.E.L.D., you want to see blue Attack Cards played.
Red Attack Cards subtract the Damage your team does to a Villain. If you're HYDRA, you want to see red Attack Cards played.
The distribution of Attack Cards is 50% Blue and 50% Red. However, the Red digit values are higher on average. Blue cards range from +1 to +4, and Red cards range from -2 to -5.
The text on each Attack Card has no impact on damaging any Villain.
During the game, Attack Cards will be played face down by every player, shuffled, and revealed all together. The values on these cards will be added together to create the team's attack on the Villain. Your team will do the following based on what the total value of the team's attack was:
Each round is known as an Offensive, explained in detail below. This is the synopsis, for reference during the game:
Pass First Player Token to the left. The new First Player Token holder secretly discards all Attack Cards and draws 6, everyone else draws 1.
Each Hero plays 1 -3 Attack Cards face down.
Collect, shuffle, and reveal Attack Cards. Total the numbers.
If Villain is alive, perform Villain attack and resolve effects.
Discard the team's attack face down into the discard pile.
Offensives and Missions
The game is played in Offensives and Missions. Offensives are the team's combined attacks on a Villain. A Mission starts when a new Villain is flipped, and concludes when that Villain is Defeated. There may be multiple Offensives in a Mission.
Excluding Step 1 in the first Offensive, each Offensive consists of the following:
Pass the First Player Token to the Hero on the left. The Hero receiving the Token secretly discards all remaining Attack Cards in their hand face down into the space on the New York City Card marked "Discard Pile", then draws 6 Attack Cards from the draw pile.
Every other Hero draws 1 Attack Card.
The Hero with the First Player Token places 1-3 Attack Cards face down in front of them on top of their own Hero Card. The next Hero going clockwise does the same. This continues until all Heroes have contributed at least 1 Attack Card. You MUST play a card.
Collect all Heroes' face down Attack Cards, shuffle them, and reveal them. Total the values, then deal damage to the Villain if the resulting sum was positive. If negative, consult the chart to the left.
If the Villain is still alive, perform the Villain's attack and resolve any effects. When New York City is Damaged, lower the Health of New York City by moving the Avengers Tower on the New York City Card.
If New York City is Destroyed (reaches 0) at any point in time, the game ends and the HYDRA agents win!
_ Discard the team's attack face down into the discard pile. This is the end of an Offensive. Begin another Offensive if the Villain is not Defeated.
New Draw Pile
If the Draw Pile runs out, shuffle all the Attack Cards in the Discard Pile to create the new Draw Pile.
You are encouraged to communicate at all points during the game. This helps deduce who is secretly sabotaging the group. However, you may lie at any point! If you are HYDRA, you'll likely be lying quite a bit to convince the team that you're actually working with them instead of sabotaging the group.
When laying down Attack Cards, you are only allowed to say "This is good" or "This is bad". You may not add descriptive words into that phrase such as "very" or "kind of".
Even after Attack Cards are revealed, you are NEVER allowed to communicate anything that hints at any specific Attack Card. This rule is in effect for the entirety of the game.
No Specifics! You Cannot Say:
I put in a blue 3 and 4! I contributed the best blue card in the game! Did you put in that red -5? This is very good!
These are ok to say:
This is bad. I put in a good card. One of those bad cards is mine. Don't blame me, I contributed a good card!
You must be open about how many Attack Cards you are contributing. It helps the team deduce who is secretly a HYDRA agent.
You may be forced to play cards you do not want to play. This is part of the game. You still are not allowed to be specific about what you played.
Knocking Out Heroes
Each time a Villain is Defeated, your team will move into a Knock Out Phase. The Knock Out Phase occurs before any new Missions begin. Do not flip over the next Villain until your team has completed the Knock Out phase. The amount of times your team will vote is determined by the Villain you are about to face. Refer to the chart below:
Knocking Out Heroes is your best chance to learn who might or might not be HYDRA. Knocking Out a S.H.I.E.L.D. member will likely result in less blue Attack Cards in the total each Offensive, and Knocking Out a HYDRA Agent will likely result in less red Attack Cards.
Use Knocking Out effectively to discover who is HYDRA before you get to Red Skull, or S.H.I.E.L.D. will have an extremely difficult time winning.
If you are Knocked Out of a Mission, you rejoin the team after the upcoming Mission is over. A Mission ends when the Villain is Defeated.
To begin the Knock Out Phase, set a timer for 2 minutes. When the 2 minutes are up, the group immediately votes to Knock Out a Hero. On the count of 3, every player simultaneously points to another Hero.
By pointing, you are casting a vote to Knock Out that Hero for this upcoming Mission. If you do not wish to Knock Out a Hero, you may point straight up in the air. The Hero with the most fingers pointed at them is Knocked Out and the voting round ends. However, if there is a tie for majority OR the majority is pointing up, no one is Knocked Out and the voting round ends.
Refer to the chart above. If there are more voting rounds in this Knock Out phase, immediately start the next round by setting the timer for 2 more minutes of discussion. If all voting rounds have been exhausted, the next Mission begins and the Villain is flipped over regardless of how many Heroes are Knocked Out.
If you are knocked out of a mission:
You rejoin the team after the upcoming Mission is over. You may not play any Attack Cards on the Villain. However, you still draw and discard Attack Cards, and receive the First Player Token as normal.
Although you are Knocked Out, you still get to vote, and still have an opportunity to influence the Mission.
After everyone draws Attack Cards, but before any are played, you must hand 1 -2 Attack Cards face down to another Hero on the Mission.
You may not give them randomly.
If you are HYDRA, you may reveal yourself by flipping over your Loyalty Disc and yelling "HAIL HYDRA!" You may do this any time during a Mission, even if you are Knocked Out of the Mission.
Rules for hailing HYDRA are located on the back of your Hero card, under the suggested strategies for your Hero Ability. Due to this, other players won't know if you're looking at the strategies or the HAIL HYDRA! rules. As soon as you HAIL HYDRA!, your rules change.
Immediately take the following action: If you are on the Mission when you HAIL HYDRA!, immediately Damage the City 3. If you are Knocked Out, Damage the City 1.
Once you HAIL HYDRA!, you may no longer use your Hero's special ability.
For the rest of the game:
If you are revealed and on the Mission: You play first, then whoever has the First Player Token goes after. You must play all Attack Cards face up.
If you are revealed and Knocked Out, play first by choosing one of the following options each Offensive:
Hand 1 or 2 Attack Cards face down to a Hero on the Mission OR
Steal 1 Attack Card face down at random from a chosen Hero on the Mission.
If the Villain survives an Offensive, each revealed HYDRA agent who is Knocked Out of the Mission Damages the City 1.
In your final battle to save New York City from Destruction, you'll have to defeat Red Skull, the hardest Villain in the game! Beware: Red Skull holds the Cosmic Cube! Due to the Cube's volatile nature, dealing too much Damage to Red Skull will damage the City too! This is called the Cosmic Cube Penalty.
Cosmic Cube Penalty:
If your team exceeds Red Skull's remaining health by 5, any additional Attacks directly Damage the City.
Cosmic Cube Penalty Example: Red skull has 7 Health remaining 2 HYDRA agents each gave Red Skull a Defense.
The team contributes 4 attack cards. The team's attack is fifteen (+4+4+4+3 = 15)
The cosmic cube penalty causes the city 3 damage. If New York City reaches zero, HYDRA instantly Wins
Hero Special Ability Timing
Multiple Special Abilities can be used simultaneously. Whoever calls it first gets priority. "Normal Play" is anything not related to a Special Ability. Knocked Out Heroes and revealed HYDRA agents may not use their Special Ability.
Before attacks are started: Must be announced after Heroes drew Attack Cards at the start of a new Offensive, and before anyone lays down, passes, or steals Attack Cards in normal play.
Before attacks are collected: Must be announced once the final Hero lays down their Attack Cards for the current Offensive. As soon as Attack Cards have begun to be shuffled or cannot be attributed to a specific Hero, this Special Ability cannot be used.
Before attacks are discarded: Must be announced after the Attack Cards are revealed but before they are in the Discard Pile.
Before votes are started: Can be announced immediately after a Villain is Defeated. Must be announced within the first 15 seconds of a voting round to affect that voting round. She-Hulk's ability lasts the entire Knock Out Phase.
End of the Game
If New York City is Destroyed at any point, HYDRA wins!
If you defeat Red Skull and New York City is still intact, S.H.I.E.L.D. members win!
"Secretly" means you're the only person that sees the Attack Card(s).
If there ever is a question about who should act first because multiple Heroes could be performing actions simultaneously, the Hero that has, or will get the First Player Token next has priority. Rules concerning Special Ability Timing are located to the right.
If a Villain's unique power attacks the Heroes and multiple Heroes have equal amounts of Attack Cards, the Villain attacks the tied Hero furthest away from being passed the First Player Token.
Heroes must look at the Attack Cards they draw. When Heroes have to give away Attack Cards, it must be a conscious decision; it cannot be random.
If you HAIL HYDRA! after Heroes have started laying down Attack Cards, play yours immediately, face up. Heroes continue playing cards from where they left off. If you've already played cards face down when you HAIL HYDRA!, immediately reveal them.
If you are on the Mission and have no Attack Cards because they were all stolen, place the top Attack Card from the Draw Pile into the team's attack without looking at it after all others have played. This card cannot be affected by any Special Abilities.
The Mission officially starts when the team of Heroes is chosen and the Villain card is flipped over. The Mission officially ends when the Attack Cards that Defeat the Villain are revealed, NOT totaled!
Some Villains have attacks that influence the current Offensive. This is shown by the Quick Attack symbol on the Villain card. Resolve that portion of the attack when it states so.
Red Skull's unique power is a Quick Attack that impacts all revealed HYDRA agents. Each revealed HYDRA agent may choose prior to every Offensive if they want to give Red Skull Defense in exchange for not giving away or stealing Attack Cards that Offensive.
Adding Defense effectively decreases the available range the team has available to them before triggering the Cosmic Cube Penalty.
A Villain's Defense is counted twice when Hulk's special ability is used; Once when the ability is activated, and a second time when the team's attack is revealed.