Stephen Rochelle(lomn)United States
Let's discuss what's in the Faction Eliminated packet (packet 'C', cardwise)! This whole post is nothing but one big spoiler. However, those spoilers are restricted to this packet only. As such, I'll be ignoring interesting interactions with other unlockables in this post
(Note: I started writing this two months ago and then it got lost in draft status -- so yes, this is out of order relative to the session reports)
Packet C (so noted as cards in this packet are prefixed with a 'c'; initially available cards are prefixed 'a' and I presume the packets proceed alphabetically from there) adds Comeback (blue) faction powers for factions that are KOed (even if not eliminated outright) and Mercenary scars. Also included are the rules reference (E) for the new powers and the reference sticker for the Mercs.
First, the Mercenaries: These scars get placed on any (unscarred) territory at the start of any player's turn, so they're crazy easy to get on the board. In both boxes I'm playing, all 3 went down the very first game they were available.
Effects-wise, Mercs yield an extra troop in their space to the controlling player at the end of that player's turn. Merc + Major City is a popular combo (at least conceptually) for the defensive boost to the HQ. This positive feel to the first unlocked scar is also poisoning the boys at church somewhat -- as we've just unlocked some other negative options, they're at a loss as to why you'd ever want to play bad stuff to the board. They'll come around.
Comeback powers: Again, these are probably the first new faction powers that players will see, and they immediately begin to reward the generally weaker factions. Power selections are:
* Convincing: You gain one extra troop in Mercenary territories.
* Mobile: At the start of your turn, you may move one HQ you control to an adjacent territory you control. HQs cannot share a territory.
* Resourceful: As long as you expanded into a city territory, you draw a resource card, even if you didn’t conquer a territory.
* Stealthy: You may place some or all of your recruited troops into one unmarked, unoccupied territory. This is not an expansion.
* Well-Armed: Add 1 to all of your attack dice when attacking an HQ.
* Well-Supplied: When defending, you are unaffected by Ammo Shortage scars.
Some thoughts on what I've observed thus far:
Mobile is the best defensive power of the bunch, allowing that faction to move their HQ into otherwise-inaccessible defensive positions like Bunkers, Mercenaries, or Fortifications. The requirement that it be at the very start of your turn means I haven't seen it used much to move a captured HQ (as you have to hold that HQ for a full turn before it'll come up again as an option).
Stealthy has gotten tested a couple of times as a "hey, let me plop some dudes in an empty continent" ploy. That plan is just bad; 3 guys isn't enough to do anything of use. Even a small continent needs two turns worth of troops to occupy, and those troops aren't helping your HQ in the meantime. Instead, this has been most effective around the third or fourth turn when spaces are still empty and a sizable number of troops (between territory, continents, and resources) can be deployed unexpectedly.
Resourceful looks particularly good in the early game, but I've yet to see it chosen for a faction so far.
Well-Armed is a nice offensive boost, particularly if your game features fortified major cities or Mechaniker's fortified HQ. I'm pretty sure this wouldn't even out the odds entirely due to more ties at the top end, but it's better than nothing.
Convincing seems pretty mediocre unless you've got at least two Mercs in close proximity.
Well-Supplied likewise, though inconvenient scars at the borders of Your Preferred Continent of Choice might make it a bit more attractive.
No Events, no Missions. All in all, a light-but-interesting intro to the unlockables, which seems good for what's likely to be the first thing opened.