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Subject: PPP 1.3 Ability Changes rss

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Colin Atkinson
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Happy 2018 everyone! Now that the holidays are out of the way I figured now would be a good time to renew our discussion on Project Phoenix by starting the next phase.

Alright, so now we get to discuss ability changes. There aren’t too many abilities I personally thought needed looking at, although I have seen a few more brought up by fellow community members that I think are at least worth a discussion, if not out right deciding to give them a change. And so without further ado, allow me to bring up said abilities. Of course, if you don’t see an ability listed here that you think needs changing, please feel free to bring it up! Do take note though that this discussion will not discuss healing abilities since we discussed those in the last phase.

Abduct:

Figures it affects: Pteradax (and it's units), Ares Mothership, Oppressor, and Saucer

Abduct I’ve always felt has been essentially useless. While getting to crush an enemy unit for a single a-die is nice, it’s likely going to be at least 3 a-die when you consider you’ll have to move two faction units with Abduct adjacent to the enemy unit. And of course, you also don’t get a p-die for crushing the enemy unit. By being so unwieldly, so expensive, and the payoff being rather minuscule overall, I’ve rarely seen this ability be useful or units, and even more so for monsters.

While I’ve wondered if Abduct should just allow its figure to simply crush an enemy unit for a single a-die without needing another friendly unit adjacent to said enemy, it might border on the overpowered-side, especially for monsters. I’m thinking it either needs to be a little less guaranteed, or perhaps a little costlier. So I’m thinking there are three possible fixes we could take (unless everyone thinks what I just suggested for Abduct would work).

1: Make the figure with Abduct roll a single a-die. If they roll a strike the adjacent enemy unit is crushed (and you don’t get a p-die). This essentially makes the ability a worse Pathfinder (which we’ll discuss shortly), but I figure it’s certainly better than what we have now.

2: Taking Jeff’s idea for the healing actions last phase, the player can spend up to three a-dice to try and roll a strike in order to crush the enemy unit. If we take this route, the player should definitely get a p-die for crushing the enemy unit since they’re spending so much for something that MIGHT hit.

3: Make the figure with Abduct have to spend a-dice equal to the target enemy unit’s defense. This way the action is guaranteed, but it can be costlier depending on the unit’s defense. I kind of like this solution the best, since I think making actions like these chance driven would still make them mostly useless, especially for the monsters who have them, but allowing them to just crush any unit for a single a-die sounds too easy. Perhaps this middle ground is best? It should be noted I do think the player shouldn’t gain a p-die for this, since having guaranteed unit removal is powerful enough.

Pathfinder:

Figures it affects: Leviathron, Groundbreaker (and adjacent agenda monsters), Steel Back Roach (and adjacent agenda monsters)

In a very similar vein to Abduct, Pathfinder is one of those abilities which seems largely useless. While I wouldn’t say it’s quite as bad since you can spend a single a-die to get a 50/50 chance of crushing an enemy unit up to 2 spaces away, it still feels very situational and rarely worth attempting on units, and while it can be more helpful for monsters, having a 50/50 shot of removing a screen isn’t very helpful when you’re trying to plan out your attack. Not to mention this ability also keeps you from gaining a p-die from the unit you crushed.

As a result, I essentially am going to suggest the same possible fixes I did for Abduct besides the first one. Namely, this means I think this ability should be changed to allow the figure with it to spend up to three a-dice to try and roll a strike, or if the figure spends a-dice equal to the target unit’s defense, the attack goes through. As before, I think if the roll the dice option is taken, the player should get a p-die for their effort, but they shouldn’t get one if they can spend a-dice to equal the units defense instead.

Tow:


Figures it affects: Pteradax (Mega), Tyrannix (alpha), Krakenoctus, Mecathugrosh

If my brother had to pick one ability he felt was the most OP, he’d likely say it’s this one. And I think I might agree with him. While I don’t think it’s too bad on monsters, I think everyone is well aware of just how important having a unit with this ability in your army is. On most maps, it’s not too difficult to spawn a unit with Tow, move it towards the enemy power base, and then Tow an enemy unit from said power base, possibly even into a hazard. This is incredibly cheap power base disruption, and I think it’s worth considering if it should be nerfed a bit, especially since only three out of the six agendas have access to a unit with Tow.

The main way I’m considering nerfing Tow is only allowing it to target enemy units within 3 spaces, while it can still target allied units within 5 spaces. This way it can still be a helpful mobility tool, without being as strong of a disruption tool. Admittedly, this does make remembering what the ability can do a bit harder, but I think it would be better for the game overall. Alternatively, we could make Tow not able to move enemy units altogether, but I think that’s too heavy of a nerf.

Ignite:


Figures it affects: Incinerus, Leviathron (Mega), Fire Kami

I saw Nate Parkes mention buffing this ability, so I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks it needs a little help. I was wondering if it should allow any figure, unit or monster, to hurt monsters again when they reignite a hazard, but I do agree that would be too powerful for a unit. However, I’m not against monsters being able to use Ignite to hurt other monsters, and so I agree that would be a proper buff.

Flak:

Figures it affects: Legionnaire (alpha), Anti-Aircraft Tank, Grinder Tank

Now this is an ability I don’t necessarily think needs changing, but I’m not a fan of how it’s essentially a worse Explosion, so I decided to consider how it could be re-utilized. I like the idea of a trigger that punishes flying figures, and having recently heard about where the term “flak” came from, the idea of shrapnel shredding it’s target apart sounds to me more like something that should deal greater damage to a single target rather than take down adjacent flying units. And so while perhaps a bit radical, here’s a proposed change of mine for Flak. Rather than having its explosion effect, Flak will state: If target monster has Flight and you rolled one or more super-strikes in this attack, the target monster takes super damage.

This is admittedly a huge, and likely rather crazy, idea. This would be the first ability on a unit that would allow a single unit attack to deal 2 damage to a monster in one shot, which is something that perhaps shouldn’t exist. However as it stands, only two units and one monster have this ability, and the units in particular aren’t all that strong in the first place. Also, since Flying monsters are the most agile and can even avoid damage from hazards when moving, would an ability that can punish them (though only when a super strike is rolled) in such a way really be so bad? It might help even the playing field a bit!

That said, I’m not against changing or even scraping this idea. If super damage is too much, perhaps the ability could drain p-die from a flying monster instead for every super strike (similar to Power Strike). Or maybe the ability is fine as is. While having a trigger that’s essentially a worse explosion does seem pretty lackluster, it’s better than having no explosion overall, which, incidentally, I believe is the case for the factions that do currently have Flak. Still, I wanted to see if everyone else thought this ability should get a change, and if it should be as radical as what I suggested earlier.

Dig-In

Figures it affects: Drillcon-Vorionnik (and it's units), Steel Shell Crab, Brontox, Crawler

Back when I was still championing stacking cover (which I suppose still isn’t completely out, but on the back-burner for now), one of the main reasons I kept fighting for it was Dig-In. While I was also concerned about cover spaces adjacent to buildings, it has been properly pointed out that those never go away. And while I suppose the same could be said about Dig-In when it comes to objective spaces, the fact that the kind of defense this ability provides can be negated by abilities like Indirect Fire, and of course also cannot be used if the unit is adjacent to a building, kind of makes me want to buff it. Would making Dig-In just give the unit an extra +1 defense to blast attacks if they’re holding an objective space be too strong? This could be a bad thing considering some of the units who could benefit from this, but we have been discussing nerfing blasting, and this might be another way to slightly do so.

Disable and Disarm

Figures it affects: Publishing House (Disarm)(figures who have secured it), Yasheth (Disable) (Mega), Zor-Raiden (Disable) (Alpha)

I’m including these two abilities because they essentially do the same thing, just for different stats, namely that Disable removes 1 brawl stat from nearby enemy figures, while Disarm removes 1 blast. Considering you can never bring a figure’s attack stat below 1, this seems pretty useless to me, especially since most units don’t have a brawl or blast stat above 3, not to mention usually partake in combined attacks most of the time. This is why I’m wondering if these abilities should remove 1 b-die from a figures brawl or blast stat respectively, if able. This way it has a better chance of reducing odds of an attack succeeding, and therefore would be more useful.

Drain Life


Figures it affects: Dynastavus (Mega), Gorghadratron (Alpha), Water Avatar

This will likely depend on what kind of healing nerf goes through in phase 1.2, but should this ability be able to keep enemy monsters within 2 spaces from healing, rather than just adjacent enemy monsters?

Indestructible:


Figures it affects: Privateer Press Building

I saw others agree that this ability needs changing, not only for it’s weirdness, but to even stop some sneaky morpher tricks from occurring. I like the idea of the ability being immune to blast attacks, but I wonder if we should allow certain melee attacks to break them, alongside monsters hypering up or being thrown onto them of course. This would make things more complicated, but perhaps these buildings should also be destructible through brawl attacks, ram attacks, and rampage attacks, but be immune to stomp and swat attacks, alongside blast attacks as mentioned before. I like the idea of a building being able to withstand ranged attacks or attacks not specifically targeting them, but not being able to withstand a monster beating down on them or being moved into them. But whether this idea or one like it is taken, we should certainly change the name of the ability to “Durable.”

Jump:

Figures it affects (note that monsters who don't have their forms listed either have said ability in all their forms or their alpha and ultra forms): Defender X, Legionnaire (Mega), Aquosia (Mega), Tyrranix (all of it's alpha), King Kondo (Alpha), Cthugrosh (Ultra, Mega), Vorgax (Barreler, Mastigatapede, Chompapillar), Xaxor (and it's units), Mantacon, Crustaceor (Ultra), Zor-Maxim, Zor-Raiden (Alpha, Mega), Zor-Magna, Zor-Voltis, Zor Macros, Cyber Khan (Mega), Mechathugrosh (Mega), Raptix, Stealth Ape, Snatcher, Mollok Berserker, Mollok Brute, Steel Back Roach, S-Type Shinobi

This isn’t an ability I initially thought about nerfing, but I saw it suggested by Kevin Storm and I feel it is worth considering. Essentially, the proposed fix is that Jump keeps all it’s benefits, minus being able to jump over buildings and monsters. This is an interesting idea, but one that will need to be heavily discussed and carefully considered. Any changes to Jump will affect a total of 17 monsters (32 forms in total) and 7 units, which means it could particularly have drastic effects on monsters in various tiers of power, though certainly to quite a number of units as well. I’m not entirely sure where I stand on this issue, but I will say that whether we should nerf Jump or not depends on whether we want more or less mobility in this game. If we allow Jump to stay as it is, we’re essentially deciding we like a lot of monsters to be less pedestrian. If we nerf it, it means we want to see more monsters closer to being pedestrian. I think I’m less against the second option honestly. I think MonPoc is better off with monsters generally having more mobility than less (it would certainly help games move faster), not to mention I think nerfing Jump would only make Flying figures stronger. As such, I think I would prefer we find ways to give monsters more mobility than less. Speaking of which…

Climb


Figures it affects: King Kondo (Ultra, Mega), White Dajan, Zorog (and it's units), Deimos-9 (Mega), Galaxius-4 (Galaxius Alpha, Galaxius Beta, Galaxius Gamma), Reaper, Despoiler

This is another ability I didn’t initially consider, but I’ve seen multiple people suggest buffing it, so let’s consider that idea as well. The two suggestions for changes I’ve seen so far are from Nate Parkes and Kevin Storm. Nate has suggested that Climb be changed to allow its figure to advance through buildings and figures adjacent to buildings. Kevin suggests that it should allow the figure to move through any other figures. While I do think Kevin’s idea is a bit more interesting rules and balance wise (it allows for more mobility), I think Nate’s idea is a bit more thematic. While I can buy a monster or unit climbing over a building while next to or above an enemy monster or unit, said figures just simply climbing over the enemy monster sounds a bit silly to me. Again, yes, this is a silly game, but I do like it to be as appropriately thematic as possible. Nate’s idea wouldn’t be as much of a buff for Climb, but it does only affect 5 monsters (11 forms in total) and 2 units, so I don’t think we need to worry about changing it too much. But what do you all think?

Radar Network:

Figures it affects: Radar Dish

Radar Network just seems redundant to me. Though during the Rise block it might have been decent, the advent of the Radio Telescope has pretty much made this ability worthless for the one figure who has it, the Radar Dish. I know I’m sort of treading into building balancing here, but this is the area to discuss ability changes, not assignments, so it’s appropriate. In any case, though I suppose this is an ability that cannot be jammed (unlike green Radar on the Radio Telescope), I feel that’s such an unlikely possibility compared to your opponent just blowing up your Radio Telescope instead that it’s not worth the tradeoff. As such, I think this ability should be changed to something different. I have three possible ideas:

1: Figures with Radar get +1 range. Since the theme of Radar Network seems to imply it’s helping increase Radar strength, perhaps further increasing the blast range of figures with Radar would work. Then again, this is sort of buffing blasting, but I ultimately think it’s actually kind of worthless. Bring able to hit an enemy from 8 spaces away might be nice, but I don’t think it’s all that necessary.

2: You may advance one unit on your unit turn without spending an a-die. This is another way to thematically approach the ability by implying that, due to it’s being part of a communications network, you can more easily move your troops around. It makes this ability like the movement equivalent of Discount if you will.

3: Enemy figures are -1 defense to Blast attacks. I’m just throwing this idea out there even though I doubt it’s a good idea due to it buffing blast attacks. Certainly since it’s a building ability that means it can be disrupted, but this is still an incredibly strong perk.
Keep in mind that even if an agreed upon change to this ability would still make the Radar Dish worthless to you, we might still buff it further with added abilities during Phase 2.3 (such as giving it something like Green Satellite Support or Green Coordinate).

Sniper:

Figures it affects: Zor-Magna (and it's units), Zor-Macros (alpha) (and it's units), Hunter, Despoiler (and adjacent agenda monsters)

Sniper has always seemed like a rather worthless ability. It seems to be the equivalent of Solo Brawler, but while having that trigger makes sense on a powerful little unit like the Explodohawk, units with Sniper, the Despoiler and Hunter, seem to get little out of it. The main reason for this is that most units get cover from blast attacks, so why bother taking a single shot at a heavily fortified unit if you could do so with extra benefits, such as having Explosion with a Marauder? I feel like if the ability allowed a target figure’s defense to be lowered by 2, then it might be generally more worth using. However, for monsters with the ability, such as Zor-Magna or any Invader monster with an Elite Despoiler next to them, this would be too strong. So perhaps the ability should read “If this figure is a unit, targets are -2 Defense to blast attacks. If this figure is a monster, targets are -1 Defense to blast attacks. This ability cannot be used in combined attacks.” Admittedly, this still might be too strong for units as well. Perhaps sniping units should just primarily be used against squishy 2 defense units and that’s it. Still, I’ve personally found little use for sniping units, so I wondered if a change like this might work better. However, it would be important to note that this would buff Zor-Magna considerably since she grants Sniper to all of her units as well.
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Peter O'Connor
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Add Manufacture VS Transmutation to this list. When I made my HE2.0 Invader Faction, I learned that Manufacture flat-out Was Transmutation (Brawl). Manufacture has no real reason to exist. I don't think there's any abilities that prevent triggers or advantages from working, so why does it exist?

For Pathfinder: I would recommend making the +2 Movement always happen, but take place after you see if you crush the unit, or course. That way, it isn't a complete flop and lets you move a little bit faster. Not as good as Sprint, but with a chance of a crushed Unit.

For Flak: Good lord, does it ever need a buff! Unfortunately, we'd have to buff it in a Trigger-like way, and I don't like 2 points of damage, especially with the Mole Units the way they are. I WOULD recommend a -1 to defense on Fliers, but that's Anti-Air in a nutshell. Perhaps a "Owner Loses an A-Die from the applicable pool" type effect.

For Abduct; I would make it like Pathfinder, with a 50/50 chance but you only need 1 Abducter. If that's too low, consider using a B-Die to roll with.

I would not recommend nerfing Jump.
 
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Kevin Jorgensen
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What do you think of “until end of turn” effects? Though popular in other games, MonPoc lacks end of turn mechanics. Perhaps adding it to the game will provide an extra dimension for rule and ability adjustments. In regards to Flak, upon successful triggering, the target flying figure’s defense is reduced by 1, to a minimum of 1, until the end of the turn.
 
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Colin Atkinson
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HiddenElephant wrote:
Add Manufacture VS Transmutation to this list. When I made my HE2.0 Invader Faction, I learned that Manufacture flat-out Was Transmutation (Brawl). Manufacture has no real reason to exist. I don't think there's any abilities that prevent triggers or advantages from working, so why does it exist?


Manufacture being an Advantage rather than a Trigger is a very strong difference actually since figures with Manufacture don't need to be the leader in a combined attack in order for Manufacture to activate.

HiddenElephant wrote:

For Pathfinder: I would recommend making the +2 Movement always happen, but take place after you see if you crush the unit, or course. That way, it isn't a complete flop and lets you move a little bit faster. Not as good as Sprint, but with a chance of a crushed Unit.


That's certainly a good fix to consider. Out of curiosity, for both this ability and Abduct, what do you think of the idea of making the figure have to spend a-dice equal to the target units defense in order to crush it? I'm really curious to hear other people's opinions on that idea.

HiddenElephant wrote:

For Flak: Good lord, does it ever need a buff! Unfortunately, we'd have to buff it in a Trigger-like way, and I don't like 2 points of damage, especially with the Mole Units the way they are. I WOULD recommend a -1 to defense on Fliers, but that's Anti-Air in a nutshell. Perhaps a "Owner Loses an A-Die from the applicable pool" type effect.


Would the 2 damage idea be so bad with the moles? They aren't very good blasters (at least not yet), so I could only see them being a problem against flying morpher alphas. Not that I'm trying to fight hard for the 2 damage idea mind you, I'm just curious as to why you felt it would be particularly OP with the moles.

KevStormJ wrote:
What do you think of “until end of turn” effects? Though popular in other games, MonPoc lacks end of turn mechanics. Perhaps adding it to the game will provide an extra dimension for rule and ability adjustments. In regards to Flak, upon successful triggering, the target flying figure’s defense is reduced by 1, to a minimum of 1, until the end of the turn.


While I kind of like the idea of "until end of turn" effects, it would make the game more complicated by requiring players to remember even more things during their turns. Then again, if it's only slight modifiers until the end of a turn, that might not be too bad either. Still, I think I would prefer to see if we can figure something out with the design space we have before going there.
 
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Jeff Mitchell
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My thoughts with little in the way of supporting arguments:

Abduct: Option 2. "Roll up to 3 a-dice for this action. If you roll at least one strike, crush one enemy unit adjacent to this figure"

Pathfinder: Option 2. "Roll up to 3 a-dice for this action. If you roll at least one strike, crush one enemy unit within 2 to this figure and advance this figure up to 2 spaces."

Tow: Limit the range to 3 spaces, period.

Ignite: Do it. Monsters with ignite hurt monsters they ignite under; units do not. Radial attack set the precedent.

Flak: No unit super damage. Ever. Power Strike against flying monsters: Good.

Dig-In: No changes until testing of the Brawl vs. Blast changes go through.

Disable and Disarm: Yes. B-dice. MUCH more valuable.

Drain Life: No changes until testing of the Heal changes go through.

Indestructible: "This building cannot be targeted by Brawl or Blast attacks." Wanna ram the PIP building over onto an enemy? Go ahead. Want to throw an enemy monster directly on top of it? Go ahead. Power attacks should destroy buildings. Morphers going Alpha should destroy buildings. This ability is stupid as written, and needs to be changed so that the entire city can be destroyed.

Jump: No change.

Climb: I say we test the "Buildings and Figures adjacent to buildings" rule.

Radar Network: This also affects GUARD defense bases. Just have the rule text be Green Radar and be done with it. Arrays vs Telescopes are balanced by their energy cost.

Sniper: "Target figures are -1 def to blast attacks and do not benefit from cover. This ability cannot be used in combined attacks."

Manufacture: No change.
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Peter O'Connor
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Oh! I've got an idea for Flak! Several, actually!

1: Explosion Effect reads: "If there are any units with flight or monsters adjacent to target figure with flight who have a defense equal to or less than the sum of the dice rolled, deal 1 damage to each applicable figure."

Reasoning; Monsters are big targets, and you're firing Moar Dakka at them, so why not? This has a measurable advantage of Explosion, in that it actually works against monsters, regardless of the initial target. However, the disadvantage of Flight-Only Targets still remains, and Flight Units are also the only ones still hit as well.

2: Bonus Effect: "For Each Unit hit in this manner, that unit's controller loses 1 A-die from the unit pool, up to a maximum of Super Strikes rolled in the attack".

Reasoning: This is for that nasty shredding effect, though it's got a limit on it to balance it out. It gives Flak another advantage over Explosion, but still with its built-in disadvantage.

Now, I'm only recommending one or the other. If both are stacked onto Flak, I think it'd become too strong of an ability.
 
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Jeff Mitchell
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New thought on Flak: rather than adjacency to target, test for being within 2 of the target. Change nothing else.

Suddenly, an elite flying unit hit by flak takes out all grunts benefiting from leadership. Sky Sentinel is within Flak trigger range of any screening flying unit. Flak threatens 20 squares of boardspace, not just a measly 8.

This also fits thematically, by filling the sky, and the sky alone, with damage.
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Colin Atkinson
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Gearbox wrote:
New thought on Flak: rather than adjacency to target, test for being within 2 of the target. Change nothing else.

Suddenly, an elite flying unit hit by flak takes out all grunts benefiting from leadership. Sky Sentinel is within Flak trigger range of any screening flying unit. Flak threatens 20 squares of boardspace, not just a measly 8.

This also fits thematically, by filling the sky, and the sky alone, with damage.


I really like this idea. Not only is it incredibly thematic, but also quite useful. I think this is the first change to this ability I'd like to test, but Peter's ideas for it being a power strike against flying monsters or more versatile explosion are possibly worth a test as well. I'm certainly scratching the super damage idea with good propositions like these in any case.

Gearbox wrote:

Tow: Limit the range to 3 spaces, period.


Is this for simplicity's sake, or do you think it's too strong to move allied units from 5 spaces away? I personally think reducing the amount of spaces allied units can be towed will make that option even less useful, but perhaps that's not much of a sacrifice in order to help keep things more simple. Unless of course there is a balance reason.

Gearbox wrote:

Radar Network: This also affects GUARD defense bases. Just have the rule text be Green Radar and be done with it. Arrays vs Telescopes are balanced by their energy cost.


Ah, I hadn't noticed the GUARD bases, thank you. That will definitely require us to be a bit more careful should we make any changes to the ability. In any case, I think the rules text is fine as is if we want the ability to be another Radar essentially, since this way it cannot be Jammed like green Radar. I'm not sure I agree on the Arrays VS Telescopes being balanced by energy cost though. Sure an enemy monster could get an extra p-die by your fielding a telescope instead of an array, but since such buildings are usually kept on your side of the board, I've rarely seen them taken out by a monster's brawl attack. Usually a squad of units will do the job. As a result, I don't think the very small risk of your opponent getting an extra p-die from a telescope makes the array worth considering. That's why I still believe either this ability needs changing, or the array will need some extra abilities added onto it in the later phases.

Gearbox wrote:

Sniper: "Target figures are -1 def to blast attacks and do not benefit from cover. This ability cannot be used in combined attacks."


Ooh! That's a much simpler and better idea. Let's try that instead.
 
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Jeff Mitchell
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I think Tow should be only 3 spaces for the following reasons:

1) It's OP at 5 spaces
2) Simple rules changes are easier to implement and easier to sell.
3) I've never hauled an allied unit with Tow, and I don't know if I ever would. Disrupting the enemy for 1 a-die is too valuable.
4) It drops from being superior to almost every blast attack in the game (if your towing the enemy into a hazard) to being a short range disruption tool.
5) It's OP at 5 spaces. This repetition is intentional.
 
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William Hepler

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A few things to add:

Sniper I had proposed along time ago the following:

https://teamcovenant.com/general/one-of-those-units-the-hunt... is:

Sniper: -1 DEF to blast attacks. This Ability can not be used in combined attacks.
(Optional) If Target is a Unit you may, gain 2 Boost Dice For every Action Dice used in this attack . This attack cannot generate further attacks targets via triggers if boost are gained by this option.

The idea is as a sniper the longer you take for your shot the more accurate you can be. I think any of the units throwing 1 white 2 blue at -1 def suddenly seems pretty reasonable. And you can't chain attack or something with a red/blue ability.

Also I think rough terrain should be looked at or movement in general. Simplifying the movement phase could speed up games.
https://teamcovenant.com/general/no-relief-for-rough-terrain

If there's no line of sight, having rough terrain seems odd to me. All the units are meant to be huge-ish anyway. This opens up design space to help with some units that need a buff. Could be something like
-unit gets 2 diagonal moves instead of 1. IE off road, you make your own road instead of going straight.

For Digin I like to add way more, I always though it should be. This unit treats all power zones as teleporters. This would allow Drillicon to become a unit general.
 
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