To the Death! is a 1-2 players card fighting game in which a party of heroes is battling against a series of monsters (in solo mode) or against another party (in the 2 players competitive mode). Three mini-expansions are currently offered in the live Kickstarter campaign, that can be either purchased separately or alongside the core game in a new big box edition.
To start the game, you must first select four monsters and a Monster King to battle against, and a party of four heroes. Each hero has a class, specific stats, and unique abilities. All monsters also have a unique set of abilities and stats. Your party must feature all of the four classes (Mender, Fighter, Magician, Champion) and be balanced between ‘front’ and ‘rear’ heroes.
You fight each monster one by one in random order and end with the Monster King. You and the monsters alternate turns, starting with you. You start the fight with a hand of 5 cards. Each card of the 32 cards ‘arsenal’ deck has a suit (corresponding to the four hero classes) and a number (0 or 2-8). On your turn you can play cards to perform various actions, either hero ones (but only once for each hero) or player ones. All actions require discarding one card. Hero actions include attacking, resting (to heal one damage), or activating a specific ability the number of which matches that of the used card (you can activate twice if you use three cards with the same number all at once).
When you attack, you choose to either perform melee or range (melee can only target monsters in the front of their side of the battlefield). Each hero in their “stats” bar has a number of listed symbols with a number attached. Swords and red target symbols correspond to melee and range weapons respectively. For each weapon of the chosen type, you can perform a different attack as part of the same action. When performing an attack, you target a monster and do a “check”, that is, flip and discard the next card of the arsenal deck. Add its value to your hero stat, and see if the sum beats the defense stat of the monster: if so, you deal it one hit!
Once you are done, it’s the monsters' turn. The monsters attack with all of their weapons successively and activate all their abilities. When they attack with a weapon, they also perform a check from the arsenal deck, with the difference that the suit of the discarded card specifies their target. If the target is out of reach, they attack the next class in alphabetic order.
When your heroes get hurt and lose HP, you slide a card that may reveal new passive perks. Conversely, each defeated monster adds a persistent ability to all the successive monsters. If a hero ever reaches 0 HP, they die and the party continues without them. If you can survive through the boss, then you win the game!
The three mini-expansions each include 8 heroes, 12 monsters, and 4 Monster Kings to increase the variability of the game.