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Sentinels of the Multiverse» Forums » Variants

Subject: Custom Villain: NUCLEAR WINTER (Freedom Force) rss

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Kevin Wright
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Okay, having made Minuteman and Man-O-War already, it seemed to us that we needed to have a villain -- so we grabbed art from the excellent Image Comics Freedom Force mini-series (and pretty much anything else that we could find online) and put together the infamous Nuclear Winter! We also thought that he would work well to include his ally, Red Oktober.

Enjoy...
























Acid Brew (x1)
Atomic Bomb (x1)
Cold War Spy (x1)
Frostbite (x2)
Frost Punch (x3)
Ice Queen (x2)
Ice Shell (x2)
Ice Trooper (x4)
Icicle Blast (x2)
Jumper (x2)
Shurale (x1)
Snow Man (x2)
Snow Storm (x2)
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Matt Onyx
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A couple quick notes
on the flip side, you have "whenever a villain card is destroyed, Nuclear Winter deals the source of that damage 2 energy damage" which causes problems with non-damage effects (destroy ongoing/outright destroy target)
Frost Punch says "this card... deals damage", which is inconsistent with wording in the game (damage has to come from a target)
Ice Queen just says it deals damage - It doesn't give a specific timing for it. Does it deal damage once (when the card is played) and just stay around as a target?
Ice Trooper has the same problem as Ice Queen.
Icicle Blast has the same problem as Frost Punch (It also doesn't give an expiration condition for "may not draw or play cards", is it intended to be for the rest of the game?)
Shurale suffers from the same problem as Ice Queen and Ice Trooper.
Snow Storm could probably be better worded. "At the end of each hero's turn, Nuclear Winter (again, specify a source) deals that hero H cold damage. A hero may skip the play, power, or draw phase of their turn; if they do, they take no damage this way."
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Dennison Milenkaya
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mattonyx wrote:
Frost Punch says "this card... deals damage", which is inconsistent with wording in the game (damage has to come from a target)

Damage doesn't need to come from a target. It also doesn't need to have a source. Case in point: Explosives Wagons from Silver Gulch. Wraith cannot stop the explosion with a Throat Jab; it is unsourced.

Certainly, it is better to have a source, as that allows for more interaction with various buffs, debuffs, and so on. Interactions between various card effects are what makes the game fun.

You might want to have Nuclear Winter deal the damage from Frost Punch, as this probably makes the effect more interesting. But it isn't always right in every case for damage to come from a target.

For the record, I agree that the damage should be sourced in this case. But I do want to point out that it is perfectly valid to have unsourced damage, when it is right for the card.

mattonyx wrote:
Snow Storm could probably be better worded.

Matt's right. The wording on Snow Storm is really awkward. To build on his suggestion, I recommend:

"At the end of each hero's turn, if that hero did not skip either their play, power, or draw phase, Nuclear Winter deals that hero (H) cold damage."

This villain picks on the lowest HP hero target quite a lot. And there's nothing to really stop that from happening. Voss does it, but the heroes don't need to let him flip to that side, if they must spare a weakened friend. Perhaps you've tested it and it works out fine. But be aware that it isn't all that fun being taken out rather early and running incapacitated abilities for the rest of the game.

I just want to add that your Atomic Bomb looks really nifty.

Is the Cold War Spy meant to shuffle the trash into the deck or is it just meant to randomize the card that Red Oktober will play?

Icicle Blast can easily lock down the game, if there's no way to destroy it. A 3-player game with one incapacitated hero leaves the other two unable to draw or play any cards. That means they need a power in play (or an incapacitated ability) that'll destroy an Ongoing, or they sit there until the Spring thaw. As an Ongoing, it would be maybe okay to stop one hero from doing those things. Shutting down two at once may be better as a One-Shot that expires at the start of the next villain turn.

I think Matt covered the rest.
 
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Michael Hunter
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Cool Villains - the art is really well chosen, gets a theme across very nicely! I also like the double team aspect, and how it's not immediately obvious if you're supposed to burn down Oktober then Winter, or if you're supposed to get them both low and try to kill them in one turn to avoid Winter's rather mean backside. Oktober's playing the bottom card of the deck is cool, nice way to get extra plays without being the same card over and over.

Design wise, I'd be a bit worried about the large amount of lowest HP damage in the deck? Winter plugs away for 2 HP a turn, plus Ice Queen and Acid Brew both hit the lowest as well - in my experience the game isn't that fun when one player goes out in 4-5 turns and has to sit around twiddling their thumbs for another 3-4.

Also, while I like Oktober's playing from the bottom of the deck, the stopping someone using a power seems like it'd be a real drag turn after turn (especially if it's the same target). Everyone hates Paparazzi on the scene - no one likes the game repeatedly making them not play the game.

A few card notes...
Atomic Bomb - Awesome!

Acid Brew has unclear timing on the "deal the hero with the lowest HP 2 toxic damage" - is it supposed to be when it comes into play?

Cold War Spy has a fine effect, and it means something because of Oktober, but I worry it's a pretty weak turn for the baddies - maybe it should be play the top card of the villain deck? Frost punch is also a bit anaemic.

Snow man also has the lack of timing that Icicle queen and friends do, as noticed before. Also they seem very unthreatening, moderately hard to kill but do almost no damage - I suppose they're there just to be put on the bottom of the deck and stop Oktober playing something real?

Icicle blast seems like it could be REALLY unfun - it's an ongoing with a really brutal effect, and what if my only players with ongoing destruction are the highest/lowest HP, and thus can't play the card to get rid of the Icicle blast? Was this meant to be a One-shot?

Also, is it intended that on advanced mode between Oktober and Winter the damage to these two is reduced by 2? Seems pretty harsh!

Anyway, like the villain(s) a lot! Great theme, cool mechanics, nice art, kudos!
 
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Kevin Wright
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Yowza! I hadn't expected such quick (and comprehensive) response to these -- thank you, guys, for your great input.

Here's at least a bunch of tweaks to incorporate most of the criticisms that you had for these. I've removed most of the "lowest HP" attacks and Red Oktober's freezing of the "highest HP" hero (is she still nasty enough now?), gave the Cold War Spy a little more to do, fixed the timing on the minions, added Nuclear Winter as the source of damage, fixed the typo that erroneously left Icicle Blast as "ongoing," etc.

What we still need to do is to make Frost Punch and the minions a bit more potent, without making them too potent. We want them to be balanced, but with Ice Queen and the Shurale just a bit more nasty than the ubiquitous Ice Troopers and Snow Men. Any suggestions? We could always just add another HP to their damage...













Thank you again for your feedback.
 
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Kevin Wright
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Adelphophage wrote:
Cool Villains - the art is really well chosen, gets a theme across very nicely!


Okay, quick note here: my favorite art bits in this were using a Mugatu to build the Shurale and using Captain Cold to build the Ice Queen...

laugh
 
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Dennison Milenkaya
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Much improved!

Here's a few more notes, meant to help you improve the cards.

1.

Not to be all wishy-washy, but now that you don't have any effects that routinely harm the lowest HP hero target, you could make Frost Punch strike low. The only other is Acid Brew, which only hits upon being played and won't, if Red Oktober is down. It would be a way to make that effect more crucial, since a low target sweats every hit.

2.

Icicle Blast really needs to last "until the start of the next villain turn" because it is most likely to be played on the villain turn, and stopping heroes from drawing or playing on the villain turn is almost entirely meaningless. Shurale has the same problem.

3.

You often cite hitting the "hero with the highest HP" as opposed to the "hero target with the highest HP" which does work, but it is rather odd. Usually, cards affect a hero when they are doing something other than damage, or selecting their mark based on something other than HP. Examples: "At the end of the villain turn, this card ..."

o "... deals the highest HP hero target 3 melee damage."

o "... deals the hero with the most cards in play 3 melee damage."

o "... destroys an Equipment and an Ongoing belonging to the hero with the highest HP."

If a deck only ever strikes heroes and never hero targets, the HP of Captain Crunch's Constructs and Unity's Golems becomes moot. Also, the player of The Sentinels can always choose which of the four teammates takes the hit. "I guess they try to hit Writhe again, and he redirects it."

This means Snow Storm is currently correct, since Champion Bot doesn't have a power phase to skip, but Unity does.

Damage dealt to all heroes is fine, as that necessarily hits (H) targets (already pretty strong) and is not compounded by heroes that introduce additional targets. Still, it is valid to deal damage to all hero targets, if that is your desire (very strong).

4.

For that matter, Ice Queen may as well say "... deals the two hero targets with the highest HP ..."

5.

Red Oktober has the Villain keyword. I think you meant to follow Chairman & Operative's lead by requiring Red Oktober be slain before the heroes can claim victory. You can either remove the "heroes cannot win" line from Red Oktober's card, since the heroes must defeat the villain to win and Red Oktober is a villain (Operative is not); or remove the Villain keyword from Red Oktober's card. My guess is that, originally, there was no rule that every villain must be defeated for the heroes to win, so when Chairman's deck was developed, they erred on the side of caution and included only one distinctive villain character. If that is your concern, then you might also add "heroes cannot win" to Nuclear Winter's front side, since both character flip at the same time.

6.

There's no timing for the effects on the back of Red Oktober's card. I think they are both meant to be "when flipped to this side," but I don't know.

7.

Is Acid Brew meant to be a target? I ask because it appears as if that's Red Oktober (which explains why it won't be in play if she's defeated). You could give it the Device keyword, if the team is meant to be able to destroy the contraption containing the brew by damaging it, or else remove the HP and call it an Ongoing, if it is just meant to upgrade Red Oktober's threat level. Sure, the Device keyword is largely meaningless on its own, but it is a rather universally used keyword for things that can break with damage and it'll allay this minor confusion.

8.

Matt's old comment about Nuclear Winter's back side hasn't been addressed. Nuclear Winter will try to hurt the source of damage when one of his cards is destroyed. Cards can be destroyed without damage being dealt, so it's weird. You might say when a villain target is destroyed, as there's few ways to destroy targets without damage, and the heroes will simply side-step the retaliation that way (which is good, as it gives more weight to Sucker Punch, which is often overlooked).

Either way, if Nuclear Winter manages to defeat one of his own cards (say through redirected damage), he'll punch himself.

9.

I was thinking about the scaling of Icicle Blast. By shutting down two heroes' play and draw abilities, you are blocking 2/3 of a three-hero team or only 2/5 of a five-hero team. Since a three-hero team already needs to work harder, this is poor scaling. What about "(H) minus 2 heroes cannot play or draw cards, until the start of the next villain turn"? This always allows exactly two heroes to act, which scales better, since the villain doesn't change based on the team composition. And either don't worry about which heroes are shut down, as the players can decide who is best at the time (the effect is harsh enough!) or just go with "(H) minus 2 heroes with the highest HP ..." if you want to remove the choice from the players, but ditching the idea of affecting the high and low, since it is less elegant to write with the number of affected heroes determined by a variable.

10.

And a final note about style: Sentinels always spells out "plus" or "minus" as in, "deals the hero target with the lowest HP (H) minus 2 cold damage." You may, if it pleases you, use "+" or "-" to your heart's content, but if you want to match the published decks better, I recommend spelling it out.

I think that's everything.
 
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Kevin Wright
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Man, you guys are making me work for it on my day off! On the plus side, you're also making this a much better deck.

So let's try this out: I really liked FlatOnHisFace's idea of "hero with the most cards in play" as a base power for Red Oktober, I dealt with Nuclear Winter's back, fixed the whole "hero targets" thing (so now when it just says "hero," it's for specific game-play reasons), added timing verbiage, and upped the damage that the minions deal (since we've slightly lessened the damage from the villains themselves). As for some of the other concerns, I've gotta chew on those a bit more, and talk with my son (who put these together with me) when he gets home from school.









 
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Ted Osborn
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This looks awesome! I am excited to try this guy out! Also I was wondering how does Nuclear Winter flip? I am having trouble finding his flip condition.
 
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Kevin Wright
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You have to take out Red Oktober for Nuclear Winter to flip.
 
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Michael Hunter
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On Advanced mode, between Oktober and Winters Advanced effect, all damage to the dynamic duo is reduced by 2 - this seems crazy hard! Maybe one should have a different advanced mode?
 
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Kevin Wright
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Adelphophage wrote:
On Advanced mode, between Oktober and Winters Advanced effect, all damage to the dynamic duo is reduced by 2 - this seems crazy hard! Maybe one should have a different advanced mode?


Any suggestions?
 
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Dennison Milenkaya
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Red's front can cover all villain targets with -1 and Nuke can give himself additional -1. This means that in advanced mode, you'd wanna take out Red sooner than Nuke. In other games you have the flexibility of taking them down more evenly.

That said, I'm always disappointed when a villain's advanced rules just give a damage modifier. If I want to make things harder, I can always just put in a blanket modifier. I prefer when it is specific to that villain deck. But I guess sometimes it is right.
 
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Michael Hunter
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Maybe Nuke has damage reduction for himself and Oktober (he's the tank), and Oktober has "When the first villain card is played each turn, if it is a Minion play the top card of the Villain deck"?

This way you buff their defenses via Nuke and their offense via Oktober. None of the minions are too amazing, so playing two cards when one is a minion isn't the end of the world.
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Dennison Milenkaya
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A minion and another play isn't too strong, but then Red plays the bottom of the villain trash for three card plays that turn. Other villains may do worse, so probably good for an Advanced mode.
 
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Kevin Wright
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In play-testing, we can't decide something about Atomic Bomb -- which text should we use?

"This card is immune to damage dealt by any hero cards. When this card is destroyed, it deals each hero H fire damage, H-1 toxic damage, and H-2 radiant damage. Heroes may discard a total of H+1 equipment cards to place this card in the trash instead. If any Ice Troopers are in play, heroes may not discard any equipment cards to disarm the bomb. At the end of the villain turn, this card deals itself 1 sonic damage."

OR

"This card is immune to damage dealt by any hero cards. When this card is destroyed, it deals each hero H fire damage, H-1 toxic damage, and H-2 radiant damage. Heroes may discard a total of H+1 ongoing or equipment cards to place this card in the trash instead. If any Ice Troopers are in play, heroes may not discard any ongoing or equipment cards to disarm the bomb. At the end of the villain turn, this card deals itself 1 sonic damage."

We found that if it's just equipment cards that you can discard, then only a couple of heroes can necessarily help disarm it, since not everyone has equipment (which is okay -- not every DC or Marvel hero could disarm a bomb like that). But if you allow them to discard ongoing or equipment cards, then everyone can take part (but then it gets a lot easier to disarm the Atomic Bomb... almost too easy sometimes).

Has anyone else play-tested this, or do you have an opinion?
 
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Michael Hunter
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Personally, I would suggest ongoings and/or equipments, gives more heroes a chance to contribute. Some team compositions will struggle to get enough Equipments out (for example, last night we played a game with Fanatic, Visionary, Naturalist and Setback which would have been annihilated by this). To be fair, it's not that hard to make sure you bring a certain subset of heroes against the boss, but stlll. If you're worried about difficulty you could just increase the number of cards needed to H+3 or so?

Another note about Atomic Bomb, if I'm reading it correctly you have the option to destroy your equipment cards when it would be destroyed to instead just trash it. This happens during the villain turn, when it is dealt sonic damage, and you cannot do it if any Ice Troopers are in play. I get you want to have the heroes clear away the Ice Troopers before they can get to the bomb, which makes sense, but bear in mind the heroes might have done this, have all the equipment ready to go, but in the villain turn the bad guys just happen to play an Ice Trooper, then the bomb goes off, and the heroes get randomly nuked in a way they can do absolutely nothing about.

Would it be better if the trigger was moved a bit? Off the top of my head, maybe if it was at the start of the villain turn (so maybe HP = 3 to keep the same timing) would prevent a random Ice Trooper from causing everyone to die?
 
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Kevin Wright
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After much family discussion, we ended up with this:

"This card is immune to damage dealt by heroes. When this card is destroyed, it deals each hero H fire damage, H-1 toxic damage, and H-2 radiant damage. Heroes may discard or destroy a total of H+1 equipment cards in place of their play phase to place this card in the trash without destroying it. If any Ice Troopers are in play, heroes may not discard any equipment cards to disarm the bomb. At the end of the villain turn, this card deals itself 1 sonic damage."
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Karl
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Would it be possible that you post a final version of that card?
 
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Kevin Wright
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kilrah wrote:
Would it be possible that you post a final version of that card?


Happily. Enjoy.

 
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Karl
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Thanks very much
 
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