Travis R. Chance
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In the last three weeks, I have shared many of the fundamental aspects of game play in Path of Light and Shadow, highlighting three factions thus far and how they interact with the morality mechanism in the game. This week, I will cover the morally ambivalent Halax Guildlords, their vast influence, and their mastery of the sea.

From jump street, it made sense to have a faction that did not abide to the more expected notions of morality within the game. The Halax instead dedicate their lives to mastering a single craft, be it tinkering incredible machines or sailing beyond the known world. They have voyaged further than anyone else, establishing trade routes with a place they call The Hinterland. Halax ships bring back incredible knowledge and resources from these lands, selling them to the highest bidder—a little thematic nod to the “many machines on Ix” from Dune. They have massive armies of mercenaries for hire, each dedicated to the art of war. For them, there is no greater pursuit than that of honing one’s craft.

Where all the other factions use cruelty and mercy as a metric threshold, the Halax instead spend influence (victory points) for a vast array of powerful effects. Be it in the units you may recruit and/or promote, or their versatile structures you may build, the Guildlords pair well with every strategy in the game… for a price of course.



INFLUENCE


Originally, there was a single resource in the game that the Halax could use to fuel their abilities. In the end, we opted to remove this resource. Influence became that resource. The logical means to execute this revision was to simply start each player with five influence at the beginning of each game.

Another difference in the Halax is their promotion costs, which can be paid with labor and/or strength. There is a higher average cost than the three factions shown thus far to promote their units—yet another balancer against their array of rule-bending talents. Fortunately,some of their units have innate means to also gain influence.



The Halax thrive in and around water, making a specific aspect of the board much more important to them than other factions: ports. There are three provinces with ports in the game. This is in addition to their primary type: village, city, or stronghold. Once each turn, a player can move their leader pawn only one single space. This will often be to an adjacent space. However, players may also move from one port to another, traveling by sea to cover greater distances.



Nowhere else is the strength and versatility of this faction better demonstrated than in their structures. Halax Fleet allows for immediate movement across any distance. Mercenary Reserves bolsters your conquering forces. The Grand Bazaar expedites promotion—which is break even or a new gain of points, as promoted cards themselves are worth influence. And their Hinterland Trade Routes reward diversity for the provinces you control end of game.




LEADERS


While on the topic of influence, let’s talk more about another aspect of the game: Leader cards. In order for the players to muster the power to take back the throne, they will need the help of powerful allies. Leader cards represent the powers-that-be within the realms, some of which may rally to your cause if you can merely garner their respect.

Mechanically, Leader cards are public objectives. At the beginning of the game, a number of Leader cards equal to the player count plus one are placed near the board. Each Leader card has a condition that must be met before it can be claimed by a player. Once per turn, a player may claim a single Leader card for which the requirements have been met. Claimed leader cards are tucked to the right of your player mat with their ability showing.

Leader cards also provide benefits for the players that claim them: a unique in-game ability and end-of-game scoring. This increases the sense of player asymmetry beyond starting advisors. It also provides valuable influence.



This is yet another front on which the players must contend, vying for political sway. It also motivates player interaction, as well as give players a modicum of direction in an extremely dynamic game.

That’s all for today’s post. Next week we will conclude our pre-launch series by delving into the last and most diverse faction in the game: The Numerai. I also will touch upon advisors. As always, thanks for reading and please feel free to comment or ask questions below. Lastly, set your calendars for our May 9th Kickstarter launch!


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Darrell Goodridge
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Currently at 1:2 ratio, getting better every week
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I don't want it, I don't need it, but I can't stop myself. - Stabbing Westward
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For Hinterland Trade Routes building, I see you have the types of provinces alphabetically in City, Port, Stronghold or Village. It might make more sense to list them by strength followed by the outlier though. As in Village, City, Stronghold or Port.
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Chad Ingram
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You've caught this by now for sure but tyrant queen should say "your" rather than "you".
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Travis R. Chance
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Indeed!
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