Hi all,

We thought it would be neat to do a post where we talk about the different characters and their abilities and how we tend to use them in our plays here at Agie Games.

Zura is obviously not a super deep and complex game, on the contrary, it’s easy to teach, and to get into… it’s also not hard to master! But that’s what makes it fun. Players quickly get a grasp of the game. Although sometimes there might be small opportunities that are missed out on… and that’s why we created this geeklist.

Feel free to add your thoughts to it in the comment of this page.

A strategy guide to Zura

The Hermit

We start with the obvious one: the Hermit.

Special power: draw back up to 7 instead of 6 cards.

This is a big deal because you might get stuck with 2+2+2 travel cards in your hand. So the seventh card is a guaranteed third of a kind and will always allow you to do something. But it’s also a little like a slot machine, so you won’t know whether you’ll get to have 3 mountais, caves or forests.

On the other hand, if you save up, the chances of achieving a 6 of a kind are increased substantially. The possibility to redraw two cards when you already got 5 of a kind, instead of drawing just one card, is an incredible boost in probabilities.

So whether you are looking to play quickly, or take your time, this card will give you an amazing boost.

Downside: least valuable card (other than the Imps).

Combo: the Butterfly-Slug character is great to bring this one back on top. The advantage of this card being low-value, is that they are the least interesting for stealing.

The Imp

We all love the Imp… as long as another player collects them haha!

They aren’t actually THAT bad! Usually, a player with one set is still in for the win. Two sets make it a lot harder though, and if you collected all three sets… well then good luck in trying to come second.

Jokes aside, their abilities are actually really useful. After you have drawn your hand back up to 6 cards, the Imp allows you to swap a card from your hand with that of another player of your choice.

Here a few things you want to look out for:

  • Look at the discard pile, these are the cards playe by the previous player. If that player played something you are looking for to improve your hand, then you know they ain’t got it and you’ll have to look elsewhere… however if they played something your aren’t interested in… well then the odds are pretty much in your favour.
  • Alternatively, if you weren’t able to remember anything, look at players’ had size. few cards means that player will probably not have much choice in what to give you back. Big hand (4 or 5 cards) means that player is probably trying to collect a strong set and those cards might be all of the same type, so unless they are the same type you give them, you will be breaking a strong hand.

Also nobody is going to bother you when looking to steal a Tzerzurian card from you.

Combo: again, Butterfly-Slug Tzerzurian can bring this one back up on top so nobody bothers you and once you get the hang of the Imp’s ability, it’s actually a good card to have on top.

The mushroom scout

This character is really good to get your hand to 5 or 6 of a kind. Often players might find themselves with 4 + 1 + 1 travel cards in hand. You know how combersome it is to discard only 1 card at a time to try and improve your hand. Whilst in theory it shouldn’t be that difficult to find a single matching card, seeing that you have a choice from drawing from the discrad stach or the draw deck, it’s still surprisingly difficult sometimes and can therefor cost you much time during which other players keep ramping up their Tzerzurian stacks.

This is where this character can be very helpful. Even if you have a hand made of 3 + 2 + 1 travel cards, you can still discard 3 cards (the 2 + 1) to substancially improve your hand on your next turn.

The downside of this character is that its ability is highly dependent on circumstance and not always useful, that’s also why it is the highest scoring (as in face value) card in the game. And this is another problem in that it makes it a very sought after target for steals. Usually steals are made with finds, this means that these juicy 5 points can be hidden underneath whatever other cards were found…

Keep in mind that the downside is just a downside for whoever has the card on top of their Tzerzurian stack. If it’s not you, then it’s an opportunity. Try and snatch it while you can!

Combo: best combo is to steal it from anther player amidst a find of 1 or 2 cards from the search area, this way you can hide the Mushroom scout underneath another card to protect it from being stolen.

The Flower Tzerzurian

By the way, we are making these names up as we go, in the future they will have names though.

She is a beloved character that everybody likes to have. Worth respectable 3 points her ability is always super useful. If you discard 4 of a kind you are allowed to peek at one card in the search area without showing your opponents. This has saved many wins in avoiding the Imps and leaving them there for other players to find.

The neat thing is that this ability is cummulative with discarding 5 or 6 cards. This means you will be able to peek at two cards instead of just one. This represents 25% of the search area! Depending on what has been revealed to you since your last turn, your odds of finding a matching Tzerzurian card are extremely high.

Having 4 of a king is a failry easy achievment, so her ability is one that triggers fairly quickly and can be used almost as often as any active ability (active means they have no requirement to be triggered). But hopefully you won’t need it much beause she should really help you find a new Tzerzurian very quickly.

The only downside of this card is that you need to trigger the ability with a condition (discard 4+ of a kind). But it’s mitigated by a fairly high chance of getting 4 of a kind.

The Horned Tzerzurian

He is quite tough! Both in appearance and in handling actually. He is a personal favourite and once you achieve your best hand (6 of a kind) he can do some serious damage to other players.

With this card, you could potentially collect 4 Tzerzurian cards in a single turn. That’s 4 point scoring cards!!! In a four-player game that could be half your final score. It being worth 4 points itself is pretty good too.

His ability allows you to steal a Tzerzurian card from another player’s stack when discarding 5 instead of 6 cards!

Again, this is cummulative, so when discarding 6 cards, you can steal two cards instead. Note that you can steal these from the same player (one at time from the top) or fro mto different players one each.

To best use this card it can be really useful to memorise information from the search area, however, this becomes more and more difficult the longer it takes you to collect 5 or 6 cards of a kind.

This is usually the only power I would allow myself to really wait for my hand to max out on 6 of a kind, but this can take a lot of time sometimes. The flipside is that when you finally play those 6 of a kind, you really make up for lost time as you are not only getting points, but you are also taking them away from your opponents. If I feel that it is taking too long to get the 6th card (because you are only replacing one card at a time) I will settle for playing 5 when the timing is right (good Tzerzurian card on top of another player’s stack).

Opportunities and combo: If you do get the 6 of a kind, consider stealing two cards from the same player if they are hiding a good scoring card underneath the top one (such as the mushroom scout). One of my favourite combos and definitely the best timing to stop looking for the 6th card, is to steal the same card (horned Tzerzurian) from another player, then I can simply start over again 

Downsides: it’s the hardest ability to trigger in the game. It can take a really long time to take full advantage of its ability and and during this time, other players are seriously ramping up the scores. Also, it represents a real manace to other players, so you will be more likely to be targeted by a player who’s got the Imp on top, or if anybody has got 6 of a kind, you are most likely their preferred target.


One of the most popular cards so far. Everybody really likes her.

Her ability is incredibly useful and you can always make good use of it for as long as she’s on top.

When it is your turn, before drawing ards, you may look at the top card on the draw pile and decide whether you want to leave it there or place it below the draw deck.

This may not sound like much, but if you consider that you may still take the top card from the discard pile after using her power, this greatly helps optimising your hand. Remember that there are only 3 types of travel cards. This is really important because most of the times you draw 2 or even 3 cards of the same type from the draw deck.

Imagine you are left with 2 mountains from the previous turn. Previou s player discarded a few forest cards. It’s your turn and you look at the top card of the draw deck and find a forest… That’s already 2 guaranteed forests for you and the chances that more forests come after that one are very high. So this is helpful in deciding what you want to do with this card. If it were a cave then I’d put it below the deck knowing that I will be drawing one or two caves anyway, but increase the odds of more mountais too.

She is also worth 4 points which is great. There are no real downsides other than being a sought after target for steals, and probbaly one of the top 3 cards to be stolen from other players.

It’s a bit of a gamble but it’s so much better than simply drawing blindly from the draw deck.

The cave characters

The cave characters are easily the weirdest looking ones! They are also the best abilities in my humble opinion.

This one allows you to draw 2 cards from the discard stack! Now that you’ve played the game a few times you realise what this means: we are constantly discarding multiple cards of the same type so that’s almost always 2 matching cards guaranteed. And if these two also match anything in your hand, that means super speedy ramping up of your hand.

The biggest potential for this card is to really quickly build a hand of 5 or even 6 of a kind. The player to your right will seriously observe what you are discarding to make sure they discard the same thing to make it harder for you to collect those cards, but naturally that’s easier said than done.

It’s also worth 3 points, which whilst a solid value, is not the most interesting score to steal, so you will only be a serious target if you are visibly ahead in number of cards in your Tzerzurian stack, or there is no other alternative (very seldom the case unless you play a 2-player game of course 

The greatest downside that comes with this power, is if the player to your right has got the mushroom scout and just discardsd 1 + 1 or even 2 + 1… whilst this particular set-up is not super probable, it does happen, which makes it that more fustrating when it actually happens!

Butterfly-Slug Tzerzurian

Weird and awesome! Best ability in the game. Specially in mid-game.

Her ability allows you to pull a Tzerzurian of your choice in your own stack to the top. So you can basically choose your favourite ability to come back in play with her.

Also noteworthy, if you are stolen the top card and that reveals this character, you immediately get to pull another one back on top!

She can help you be defencive or aggressive depending both on your play-style and on what cards you were able to find so far.

There are lots of reasons to pull certain charactares to the top depending on many different factors.

One of the most observed combos is to pull the Hermit back on top. You can now draw back up to 7 cards (check coments under “Hermit” above) and at the same time, nobody wants to steal the Hermit from you for just 1 point.

Personally I really like the previous cave Tzerzurian. If I have him in my stack, I will always take him to the top. Drawing two cards from the discard pile is simply amazing.

Towards the end of the game you could choose to bring an Imp to the top so other players leave you alone and seeing that their abilities are actually quite good.

My preferred abilities to bring back up are: draw 2 cards from discard > Steal a tzerzurian from another player > Draw back up to 7

From then I will improvise and decide depending on circumstance.

Downside: She really is not the one you want to find on your first turn since you have no way of using her. So an important tip: if you got 3 cave cards and 3 forest/mountain for example, make sure you play the 3 forest/mountain first to try find one of those Tzerzurian before you go search the caves.

The queen

The only characters that don’t have a useful ability you can use during the game. They can win you a lot of points!

Because of that, they are usually the primary targets for steals, specially if blue because of the Horned Tzerzurian’s steal ability.

Never use the Butterfly-Slug Tzerzurian on this one. You want her to be as deep down your stack as possible, so the Butterfly-Slug Tzerzurian can act as a real shield, provided you got her and enough Tzerzurians in your stack.

If you kept track of who has collected which one of these cards, you might consider intensifying your searches in the respective places to avoid that player from collecting too many Tzerzurians of that type. It’s a toght thing to do.

Most important tip is to avoid one player keeping both cards of the same type as that means they practically double their score. For example, in a 4 player game, each of these is worth 5 points (1 per player plus 1 per card in that coluor including herself) each additional card is worth and additional point, hoever, if you got both, that’s 2 more pionts per card in that colour.

If you got both cards, then that’s 12 points in a 4-player game already! Normally that’s around how much last place scores at end-game…

Downside: For as long as she’s on top of your stack you will be primary target for steals, on top of that, you got no ability to help you in your turn. SO pay extra attention and try finding another Tzerzurian fast!

A few final tips

  • At the start of the game, avoid playing out 3 cards. The odds of you finding a match are against you (although it’s not uncommon to find something) and in not getting a hit, yuo are only revealing information to your opponents who can then take advantage of your turn, and the outcome is a new card in the search area, leaving you again in the dark. As a general rule, I would never play 3 cards unless I know I’ll have a hit. I’d rather lose a turn or two and try to improve my hand, discarding one or preferably two cards.
  • If you got a hand of 3 + 3 but have got no clue about what’s were, it is ok for you to discard 2 of a kind instead of 3 of a kind. You don’t have to always play all cards of the same type, but you do have to revela cards whenever you play 3+ of a kind.
  • If another player peeks at a card and does not reveal it, there’s a good chance it’s an Imp. However, it could also be a card matching your hand. If there is no Imp revealed yet by the time it’s your turn and you discard 4 cards for ecample, then the first card you reveal should be any other than the one peeked at by your opponent. If the first card is not an Imp, then you can risk revelaing the one that was peeked at. The advantage in doing this is that you aren’t revealing anything new to your opponent whilst also avoiding unnecessary risks.
  • Having lots of cards of the same type is always great and players really should sacrifice a turn or even two to get maximum effect of their search cards. However, pay attention to your opponents when doing so, if they are being successful in their searches while you bide your time, then you are falling behind. Never wait too long. Sometimes it’s necessary to take chances.
  • Always pay attention to what other players are discarding. This is useful information that can help you guessing what they peek at, but also helps you realsie what they aren’t looking for and what cards they haven’t got in their hands anymore.

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