Say I pick the two ability cards for my turn in Gloomhaven. One of them has an attack action on top and the other card has an attack action on the bottom. I'd like to perform the top action first and there's a chance it will kill the monster I'm targetting, but this could still be prevented by the ability modifier deck.

Is it possible for me to use the bottom ability conditionally? To use it as an attack action if my first action doesn't kill the monster, but use it as the standard Move 2 action if it does kill the monster?

I had a look at the rule book (p 18) to see if it would be of any help, but couldn't find anything addressing this situation:

On a character’s turn, he or she will perform the top action of one of the two ability cards played and the bottom action of the other. The leading card designation used to determine initiative is no longer significant. Either card can be played first for its top or bottom action. When playing a card’s action, the abilities of the action must be done in the order written and can’t be interrupted by the action on the other card. As soon as the action of a card is completed, it is immediately placed in the appropriate area (discard pile, lost pile, or active area) before anything else happens. Players are typically free to choose not to perform any part of the action on their card, however, they must perform any part that will cause a negative effect (e.g., reduce hit points, lose cards, or cause a negative condition) on themselves or their allies.

The next section on the Move 2 and Attack 2 actions isn't much help either:

Players can also use any card they play as an “Attack 2” action on the top half or a “Move 2” action on the bottom. If a card is used this way, it is always discarded, regardless of what is printed on the card. On their turn, before, during, or after performing their two actions, players can use any number of items they have equipped.

Is there any more information clarifying this?


Yes, I believe you can believe you can choose to use Move 2 instead of the attack on the bottom half.

Like you I've struggled to find anything explicit to state this but I'm going back it up by things the rules don't say.

Firstly players reveal cards for initiative. There is nothing here about stating what card abilities you will you. I've have experience of planning to use two actions but by the time my turn came around it was more beneficial to use the opposition actions of what I originally planned.

Then on your turn, you will then choose to play the top or bottom half of one card in either order. Again the rules are clear here this can be the printed ability or attack 2 / move 2. You will then play the opposite side of the other. Again this could be attack 2 / move 2.

What is important here is the rules is the following,

Either card can be played first for its top or bottom action.


As soon as the action of a card is completed, it is immediately placed in the appropriate area.


When playing a card’s action,

So you completely resolve one card, and then the other.

The rules DO NOT SAY you must declare what actions you are doing on both cards at the start of your turn. They infer you only decide what action to take (either the printed ability or the attack 2 / move 2) 'when playing' that card.

So say you choose the top half of one card "when playing" that cards action you can chose if you use printed ability or Attack 2. You then move that card to the appropriate discard area.

Then you activate the bottom half or the 2nd card so 'When playing' that card you can again choose if you printed ability or Move 2.

How you ask is certainly how I've played it. If the top half attack kills a monster then using the bottom half for move 2 instead of the originally planned attack is probably a sensible thing to do.

  • 3
    In fact, you resolve each line on the card half before deciding anything about the second. So if you had a card that read: * Attack 2 * Move 2 * Attack 2 You wouldn't have to say where you were moving before the attack resolved, and if you failed to kill the enemy could in fact stay in the same hex and use the 3rd line to attack them again.
    – aslum
    Apr 15 '19 at 16:59

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