Learn How To Play Tales Of Tribute Card Game

ESO Tales Of Tribute Card Game Playing Cards
Learn how to play the exciting in-game card game Tales of Tribute coming to an ESO Tavern near you with the High Isle Chapter in June 2022.

Tales Of Tribute In-Game Card Game

This is a new 2-player collectible card game for The Elder Scrolls Online. You can learn more background information about ToT in this previous article.  

Each game begins with 4 decks – 2 from each player.  You have the choice to select which two you want to use from your inventory.  Your opponent does the same.  You cannot select the same deck as your opponent.  Since decks are shuffled together, the best advice here is to pick the deck you understand best and enjoy playing with.  They all seem to have pros and cons.

Card Decks And Patrons

Each deck is comprised of a group of cards similar in theme and color and has its own patron. Each card is marked on the right-hand side with an emblem representing the deck. 

The patrons are on the right side of the board and have a specific requirement to activate them.  Patrons begin the game neutral but can be changed to favor you if you complete the task.  You have only 1 opportunity to interact with a patron once per turn unless you play a card allowing additional interactions.  

Also on the right side in the middle is the Treasury patron.  You can utilize it as a patron interaction for 2 gold.  Please note that you are NOT required to make a patron interaction on every turn.  Treasury interactions allow you to toss a card (typically a single gold coin card) and in return, you’ll receive a gold writ card which grants you 2 gold the next time you play it.

The four starter decks you receive are Saint Pelin (red), Grandmaster Delmane Hlaalu (yellow), Duke of Crows (purple), and Psijic Loremaster Celaries (blue).

Gold, Prestige, Power 

You’ll also note 3 tokens for each player in the center.  The golden token tracks your gold available for your turn, the red token tracks your power for your turn, and the blue token tracks the prestige you’ve earned thus far in the game.

How To Win Tales Of Tribute

There are two primary ways to win ToT – acquire 40 Prestige or receive the favor of all 4 patrons.  If you reach 40, your opponent has one final hand to match or exceed your total but if you gain patron favor, the game is instantly concluded.  

In The Beginning

Each player begins the match with 10 cards.  6 of those cards are gold-bearing cards.  The rest of the decks are shuffled into the Tavern (center area).  There are 5 cards laid out for either player to use in each hand.  Since the first player gets the first choice of the tavern cards, the opposing player gets an extra gold for his first turn.

Turn Timer Is Active

Another important note:  there is a turn timer.  Each player has 90 seconds to complete their turn.  If 90 seconds, elapses, the turn ends automatically.  When you are ready to complete your turn, you simply activate the timer.  While playing with NPCs, I didn’t really find this an issue.  I didn’t have any issues with this in pvp games either. 

Modes Of Game Play

There are several different modes of play in ToT.  Ranked mode is where players play each other to increase their tier and standing on the ToT leaderboard.  In Casual mode, players can challenge other players without changes to their tier or standings.  

Any matches with NPCs do not affect a player’s tier or standing on the leaderboards BUT you will earn rewards for winning or losing based on the challenged NPCs difficulty rating.  NPC matches also count as progress on quests.

There is one final mode called Friendly.  This is where the game is purely for fun!

Types of Cards

There are a couple of different types of cards:  Actions, Agents, Contract Actions, and Contract Agents.  Actions are sent to your cooldown at the end of your turn, while Agents remain on the field of play until they are knocked out.

Contact cards (either contract agent or contract action) are put into play as soon as they are acquired but NEVER go to your cooldown.  At the end of your turn, any played Contract Action card returns to the Tavern’s discard.  Contract Agents remain on the playing field until they are knocked out and then return to the Tavern’s discard.

Getting A Match Started

I had the first turn in this match.  You can see my opponent is rewarded with an extra gold for his first hand since I get the first pick of the tavern cards.

Gold coin cards are not suited so they can be played at any time.  I typically begin with all my non-suited gold-bearing cards.  The first few turns of ToT is more about upgrading and acquiring more powerful cards from the tavern.  For 2 gold, you can use the Treasury patron to exchange a 1 gold token card for a 2 gold writ card.  

Another note:  while gaining new more powerful cards is a good thing, having too many cards can be bad.  Your cooldown cards are shuffled only when you’ve played through your deck.  The more cards there are, the lower the opportunity for those good cards to appear as often.

You are not required to spend your gold.  You lose it when you complete your turn but you are not required to spend it.  You are not required to interact with patrons before ending your turn.  And you may interact with patrons during your turn – not just at the end.

My next play will be my red-suited cards.  Both of these provide me power and neither have combo effects so it doesn’t matter which order I play them.

Each card has a notation if the card has a combo effect.  Combos are cards played consecutively of the same suit.  You’ll want to make combos as the benefits can be quite rewarding in both gold and power.

Tavern Choices And Patrons

I now have 4 gold to ‘spend’ on either tavern cards or patron interactions.  You do not have to spend your gold or interact with patrons.  There is merit to taking cards to prevent your opponent from getting them.  But also understand that if you take a card from the tavern, then something else (unknown) will replace it.  Gold, however, is lost once you complete your turn.  Power is converted to Prestige once you complete your turn.

You can see that all the patrons are in a neutral position and those who are available for me to interact with (that I’ve met their requirements) are glowing.  The tavern cards that I have enough gold to purchase are also glowing.  You can hover over them to see exactly what the patron requirements are or to see the particulars of each card.

Agent Cards And Combo Effects

This is an agent card.  It will cost me 6 gold to purchase it.  If I purchase it, the card will go into my cooldown pile.  Only when I play it later will I benefit from these effects.

You’ll note the combo 3 effect.  This means the combo effect of this card will ONLY activate if it’s part of THREE purple suited cards played in a single turn.  

Agents also have a health number at the bottom.  Once I play this card, it stays active on my playing field for me to use again at the next turn UNLESS my opponent clicks it (paying 3 power to remove it), uses a patron advantage, or has a counter-effect card to remove it.  

If you are attacking agent cards with power, the health number will decrease by the amount of power you use to attack it.  To attack it, you simply click it.  You do not have to attack your opponent’s agents.  But if they activate that agent, they receive the benefit listed on the card.   Likewise, if you have an agent on your table and want to activate it during the next hand, you will click it.  You are not required to use an agent every hand.

There are some cards and some patron interactions that allow you to remove cards from the tavern or your hand. 

While this can be a good thing to give you new cards to choose from in the tavern, this also affects what your opponent has an opportunity to get as well.

In the matches I played, if I chose to NOT remove a card, I simply didn’t select any and chose to complete the action.  This worked in both cases when I was asked to remove cards from my hand and remove cards from the tavern.

Turn By Turn Until Victory

All 4 Patrons’ favor is an immediate victory.  However, 40 Prestige also can win.  When you reach 40 prestige, your opponent has a final hand to match or exceed your score.  If he matches or exceeds, then you have a final hand to do the same.  This can continue for some time (capped at 80) until someone fails to match or exceed.  

Final Thoughts On Tales Of Tribute

I found the gameplay enjoyable.  By the end of my first match, I had mental notes on which cards brought the most benefit.  I was careful to read each card and its effects with each turn, but soon recognized my ‘favorites’ and the game pace quickened.  A little luck is of course involved as you never know what the shuffle may bring.  I noted what I felt to be ‘mistakes’ made in beginner NPC matches.  I also watched my opponents play and it helped to reinforce my understanding of the game.

After just a few winning games my skill level had increased to Intermediate and the beginner NPCs in the game hall would no longer play with me.  I then was able to participate in tournaments with NPCs throughout Tamriel as assigned by Master Razhamd.  While doing that, I saw a couple of other decks that weren’t the starter 4.  I was also able to begin doing ‘dailies’ for the two brokers located in the gaming hall.  You can read more about them in the previous article.  

I completed the dailies for 2 days winning all my matches and was promoted to veteran rank which on the test server appears to be capped at 8.  There were several areas, like in Grahtwood near the Undaunted Enclave where tents were set up each containing three players.  Two refused to play me and only made small talk but one did agree.  During the game, I noticed it said ‘veteran’ player.  My thought was that there were 3 players = beginner, intermediate, and veteran.  Since I didn’t encounter these players before becoming ‘veteran’ ranked, I cannot be sure.  

Tips For Success

The image above was from a hard-fought game with a veteran-level NPC.  He was using a new (to me) deck that offered the ability to remove Prestige from the opponent.  Because I was well stocked with gold from earlier Treasury patron interactions, I was able to purchase a lot of those cards easily punishing him for his deck choice.  I also took advantage of a patron that allowed me to create a bewilderment card (garbage card) and stuff it in his deck making what few ‘good’ cards he had nearly impossible to draw.  I think the highest Prestige he had all game was 10.  

  • use your first few hands to increase your gold with the Treasury patron – typically the higher value cards pack bigger punches
  • be sure to consider a card’s benefit before adding it to your deck – great cards will serve no purpose if you never get to use them
  • take advantage of combos whenever possible – you can look at your draw pile and your cooldown pile at any time by clicking it
  • don’t be afraid to use patrons even if they require payment by power
  • it’s okay to leave gold on the table at the end of your turn
  • always keep an eye on the patron’s favor – remember 4 patrons’ favor is an immediate victory
  • be flexible – since the tavern is made up of 4 decks of shuffled cards, you need to take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves

I am excited to see the ranking system at work.  Rankings will be totally reset by ‘season’.  And there is plenty of room for new decks and new cards and new effects to be added in the future. 

I received some excellent rewards like gold, rare ingredients, runes, recipes, and furnishing diagrams.  My only regret is that this was on the PTS server so I cannot ‘keep’ the spoils.  I also received several new deck ‘clues’ included with Tribute Victory rewards.  These clues will lead me to find new decks! I hope this preview has gotten you excited about Tales of Tribute.

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