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In Defenders of the Realm, do taint tokens have any effect beyond ending the game if you get too many?

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Yes, they also serve to mark that location as tainted. This is important for the action Heal the Land, or for Inns (which cannot be tainted).

From the Rules:

Heal the Land: If the hero is on a tainted location, discard a Hero Card that matches the location color and roll 2 dice. If a 5 or more is rolled on either die, the hero removes 1 Tainted Crystal from that location. Only 1 Tainted Crystal may be removed per action.

Inns may not be overrun or tainted.

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Thanks... but for further clarification, is the only reason to "Heal the Land" to avoid game losing conditions (as if that weren't enough!)? –  seanicus Feb 16 '12 at 18:17
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That is a different question. No Taint tokens don't effectively do anything other than track how close you are to losing the game. It is important where those taint tokens are on the board is important (they affect what color card can be discarded to Heal the Land). –  user1873 Feb 16 '12 at 20:38
    
thanks for the clarification! –  seanicus Feb 16 '12 at 20:56
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