All About Item Cards

ToHK_coverNow available in game stores across North America, Tools of Hero-Kind is a 26-card mini-expansion for Boss Monster that introduces a new card type: Items!

Intended for players who are already familiar with the base game, Items increase the challenge of Boss Monster by buffing Heroes. If you’re used to Heroes being pushovers, get ready for a few surprises when Item cards hit the table. You might find a Hero hopping past Rooms with the Boots of Jumping, boosting one another with the Staff of Healing, or plowing through your traps and monsters with an Oversized Sword.

The rules for Items are pretty simple, and the instructions fit on two sides of a single rules card. Here’s a look at those rules:

Tools of Hero-Kind Rules
Pretty simple, right? But if you’re like us, you want to know a game’s rules inside and out, so here’s a more detailed breakdown of those quick rules above.

  • “The Item deck sits beside the Hero decks. At the Beginning of Turn phase, before Heroes are revealed, reveal one Item (two Items for a four-player game) and place it in town.”
    This part should be pretty straightforward. Every time you’d reveal Heroes, reveal an Item or two first. We recommend placing Items in a row above or below your Heroes.THK020_Ring_of_Invisibility
  • “Each Item attaches to the first Hero in town that matches its Treasure icon (or the matching Hero who has been in town longest).”
    As you reveal each Item, check each Hero that’s already in town, starting with the Hero who has been in town longest. (If you’re following the recommendation from the core game rulebook, that would be the Hero closest to the Hero deck.) If a Hero matches the treasure type of the revealed Item, attach it to that Hero!
  • “A Universal Item attaches to the first Hero that appears in town (or the Hero who has been in town longest).”
    Universal Items attach regardless of treasure type. Usually this means they attach to the Hero who’s been in town longest, but if town’s empty it means they’ll attach to whoever shows up in a moment.
  • “A Hero may have only one attached Item…”
    This is an important one! The rules say each Hero may have a maximum of one Item, and so far there are no cards in the game that override this.
  • “…and Items do not attach to special Heroes marked with a star icon.”
    If you’re lucky enough to be playing with promo cards like Demigod or Trap Master, do not make them even deadlier by attaching Items. (However, there is one card in the game — Orcish Smithy — that allows you to ignore this restriction.)
  • “Place the attached Item underneath the Hero, with its Hero Ability text visible underneath. The Hero now has this ability until it is killed.”
    We designed Item cards so they fit under Heroes when attached, and we even included an icon so you can still identify them from across the table without squinting to read the ability. This special Hero Ability is now active, though most Hero Abilities aren’t relevant until a Hero is in a dungeon (or at a dungeon entrance).THK025_Excavation
  • “If a Hero with an attached Item survives your dungeon, place the Item face-down in your scorekeeping area.”
    If the Hero makes it out alive, it stays face-up as a Wound and the Item goes face-down, granting you no benefits. You’ve kept it away from your opponents, and cards like Excavation or Burial Mound might get you a second chance to access the Item, but for now it’s useless to you.
  • “If you kill a Hero with an attached Item, you may place the Item face-up in your scorekeeping area. However, you may only have one face-up Item. (You choose which item to keep face-up.)
    If you kill an Item-equipped Hero, you get to claim the Item! However, you can only have one face-up Item at a time. Before you claim the new Item, you have a choice: A) immediately use your existing Item, B) turn your existing Item face-down, or C) leave the existing Item face-up and turn the new Item face-down.
  • “During the Build or Adventure phase (whenever you could use a Spell), you may expend an Item to use its Boss Ability.”
    Like Room abilities, Item abilities can be used whenever you could use a Spell. They obey the same rules, which means that if you use an Item while you are the active player, it resolves before anyone else can react. If you use an Item when someone else is the active player, they may play any number of Spells or abilities before your Item’s Boss Ability resolves.
  • “Declare the effect and flip the Item face-down to show that it is expended.
    To show that an Item is used, flip it face-down. There are also some other effects in Tools of Hero-Kind that can flip an Item face-down, but these do not trigger the ability — they just knock the Item out of commission.

Most of the Hero Abilities and Boss Abilities you’ll see on Item cards are pretty self-explanatory, but here are some important terms to keep in mind.

  • Enter: A Hero “enters” a Room when it moves from the dungeon entrance into a Room, or from one Room into another. When a Hero enters a Room, apply any Hero or Item abilities, then any Room abilities, then the Room’s damage (in that order).
  • First: The “first” Room in your dungeon is the leftmost Room, adjacent to your dungeon entrance.
  • Last: The “last Room in your dungeon” is the rightmost Room, adjacent to your Boss.
  • Next: When a Hero is in a Room, the “next” Room in a dungeon is the adjacent Room immediately to the right.
  • Previous: When a Hero is in a Room, the “previous” Room in a dungeon is the adjacent Room immediately to the left.
  • Survive: When a Hero exits a Room without dying, it “survives.” If a Hero did not enter a Room (because it was deactivated or ignored), the Hero did not survive that Room. If a Hero survives the last Room in your dungeon, leave it face-up in your scorekeeping area and take a Wound!

If you have any other questions, you’re in luck! We have fully updated our Advanced Rules Guide & FAQ to include details on Item ability timing and individual clarifications on nearly every card in the set.


With that, you should be fully armed with the knowledge you need to take on adventurers armed with Tools of Hero-Kind. Good luck, and happy hero hunting!