Theobaldt Bursche
msg tools
For a better understanding of my opinion on the game out-of-the-box, why I see high potential in and really wanted to like it, but why I consider it so deeply flawed that it ultimately fell so flat for me and my game group that I felt the need to come up with my own house rules to save it for us, please refer to my earlier posts in this thread on BGG.

That being out of the way: Yesterday during my game group's regular meeting, I was finally able to playtest my envisioned house rules supposed to enhance our (highly) personal enjoyment of the game. As promised earlier in the aforementioned thread, I would like to share our experiences with you.

Rule Changes
Having already hinted at the general idea in my previous posts, these are the exact changes I made to the game's rules:

1. The win condition of 15 cards being present in the opponent's void is scratched completely. The only remaining option to win is to completely deplete the lifepoints of both your opponent's heroes by dealing the corresponding amount of damage to each of them.

2. In addition and as an alternative to the actions mentioned in the official rules, a player can choose to take the following action during his turn and after the Clean Up Phase:

For the cost of dealing three unpreventable damage to one of his own, still undefeated heroes of choice, the player may choose up to two cards from his own void and place those on top of his discard pile in any order.

This is strictly meant as an alternative action and does not increase the number of actions a player can take during his turn (still remaining at one),

Notes and Thoughts
Those house rules try to accomplish two things: the concept aims to do away with the high and, in our opinion, completely unbalaced difference in effective damage points dealt for winning win via either of the two win conditions (15 and often less to cards compared to at least 27 to heroes - in case of confusion, please see my previous posts under the link above) while also keeping the purposeful voiding of enemy cards a viable game mechanism and strategic option.

First of all, I highly regret robbing the game of one of the mechanisms I like most in any game - alternative win conditions! But as my house rules are supposed to be more of a "band aid solution", keeping most of it rules and mechanics intact, this seemed to me as the first option of choice and, given the problems I see with the game, the most simple and surefire one at the same time.

Installing the new action Recall is additionally supposed to solve the problem that in many cases (depending on the heroes involved) playing with the original rules, a player could effectively loose the game with even fewer than the necessary 15 cards voided by running out of options to deal damage to his opponent or his cards. Even the threat of a player getting cards back from the void should entice players to opt for a more strategic choice of which cards to void and when to aim for the enemy heroes, instead of simply voiding every enemy card possible as it was the easier path to victory regardless. It also ensures that no player can be "voided out" before the true victory condition is reached. "Voiding" on the other hand, becomes more of a denial strategy, at least temporarily robbing the enemy of his most important cards while also achieving a reasonable net gain game-success-wise in damage caused and the action spent, if the opponent chooses to regain those cards. The exact amount of damage caused by and maybe even cards regained from the action will still need more playtesting, of course. The reasonably low amount of HP a heroes has (which I don't aim to tinker with, if possible) make even the difference of one point of damage a huge one. The main factor for me, deciding between two and three damage caused by the "Recall" action, is to balance it with the amount of damage necessary to void the cards when the player could and maybe should have aimed directly at the enemy heroes (as it is the only remaining win condition). Right now, I feel like I wanted more than a 1:1 exchange rate between the possible targets as the enemy has the option to choose the hero that gets damaged by the "Recall" action (especially important if playing Garmor) or, depending on the flow of the game, to never choose the action at all, thereby avoiding the damage completely. Of course there is the benefit of denying a card to the enemy by voiding it, but I still feel there needs to be more of a cost regaining those cards than just an action spent and taking the least amount of damage possibly caused in the act of originally voiding them upon one of the heroes. So far, three damage for (up to) two cards seems reasonable to me, given the other circumstances. But you might see this issue differently, of course, deeming just two or even four points of damage appropriate.

I would also like to add, that I pondered to give the card(s), maybe reducing the effect to just one card returned from the void, directly into a players hand, but dropped the idea completely as I did not want the void to act as a makeshift "second hand" for the player. But although this seemed too mighty an effect to me, considering the many options to void your own cards thereby "storing" them for easy access later in this variant, feel free to play around with this option as well..

Experiences so far and final Words
At least for us, those rather simple changes saved the game completely and elevated it from "near broken" to "highly enjoyable". Having only one clear win condition instead of two completely imblanced ones, really made the game click, enabling us to enjoy the all the creative effects and fun synergies the designer has admireably managed to squeeze into such a small game.

It also eliminates some of the gross imbalancement between the different combinations of heroes, stemming from the varying suitability for (what is perceived by us as) the by far more effective winning strategy in "voiding", while opening the door for more strategic as well as tatcical considerations for each player. Of course it does not eliminate all imbalancement between every possible hero combinations and might even create new ones not present in the game out-of-the-box. But in our opinion, complete and perfect balancement, although highly desireable, is in reality nearly impossible to achieve in game design anyway, especially in a game as casual as we make this one out to be. Right now, we are pretty happy with the changes we made and feel that, for us, this enables the game to finally realise its potential and to shine as a lightweight or introductory-level LCG/TCG-style game.
 Thumb up
  • [+] Dice rolls