Card Preview #35 Ophialyn the Tracker
Ophialyn the Tracker is a card in Quest 6: What Lies Beneath featured in Thunderstone Quest: Back to the Dungeon coming to Kickstarter on July 17th at 9am Pacific!
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No matter how many adventures you’ve been on, no matter how many foes you have defeated and no matter how many villages you have saved, everyone has moments when they’re not fully paying attention or when they’re a little too hung over or when they are simply having a bad day.
That’s why fumbles exist, because no one is always at their best. In gaming terms fumbles can happen at any time and lead to you injuring yourself, injuring your friends or aiding your enemies, but fumbling in real life can be no less disastrous and fumbling travel can lead to lost belongings, lost time or loss of life.
Game prep real life critical fumbles:
|01 – 25||It rains every day you are away. Still… It could be worse|
|26 – 30||You leave your sunglasses at home. It’s mildly annoying but you can buy new ones – 5cp|
|31 – 40||You suffer terribly from jet lag – 10 to initiative|
|41 – 50||You do not speak the language and no one speaks your language – 10 to initiative and -5 to Re|
|51 – 60||It is insanely hot and you are completely unprepared. Take 5 hits for every hour you are outside.|
|61 – 65||You make the mistake of trying the local moonshine. -10 Re, -15 to initiative, -10 Me, -10 to perception, 5 hits|
|66||Your plane crashes. You are the only survivor. You swim to a nearby island, thinking it to be deserted. It isn’t. Tom Hanks is there. Lose 40 rounds as he bores you with tales of how much he misses Wilson|
|67 – 70||You fall asleep in the sun – 10 hits, A heat critical|
|71 – 80||You are bitten to shreds by insects. – 10 hits, resistance roll against poison, -5 to Re as all you can think about is itching.|
|81 – 85||Your body is not used to the local food/water/climate and begins to reject everything you eat – 20 hits, resistance roll against poison|
|86 – 90||Your phrase book was written by a prankster and you say something very rude about the market stall holder’s mother. He reacts badly – 25 hits, stunned and prone for 2 rounds|
|91 – 95||You wake up one morning and find the town you are holidaying in all but deserted. As you investigate you hear a strange rumbling. Around the corner comes a herd of stampeding bulls. -25 hits B crush critical|
|96 – 99||Whilst trying to erect your tent, you slip and bury a tent peg in your leg. You step backwards, screaming in agony and find yourself in the fire – 25 hits, bleeding at 5 hits per round, B puncture critical, A heat critical|
|100||You decide to ‘get away from it all’ by staying in a mountain-locked hotel during the winter. You slowly become possesed by an evil spirit that inhabits the hotel and kill everyone you meet with an axe. Your family flee into a hedge maze to escape your killing frenzy and you become lost and disorientated. Your last thought as you freeze to death is “I should have used the axe to chop my way out of the maze” – Death|
Barricades Mode is bringing with it a lot of new goodies and new components to Thunderstone Quest, some of which were discussed in previous blogs. Those aren’t the only new components for Barricades Mode though.
Starting at the start, there are new Starter cards. In Barricades Mode, you will replace your 2 Thunderstone Shards and 2 Lanterns with 4 new Starter cards.
(*Mechanics not Final)
These new Starter cards help translate Thunderstone Quest’s normally competitive format into a more cooperative one, giving players additional reasons and benefits for working together to defeat the enemy.
New Starter cards isn’t the only part of the base game getting a facelift. The Marketplace is gaining 4 Village spots and an ability for Barricades Mode, and we are are also adding one for Competitive Mode.
What are Barricades you ask? Good question! Barricades are our last, brand new component for Barricades Mode. Each Village Location has 1 Barricade at its location that can be constructed and used throughout the game. Using a Barricade negates 1 damage to the Village.
And with that, we have covered all of the new rules for Barricades Mode. We are exciting to show you all of these moving parts in action and have you experience them for yourself. Until then, To the Barricades!
Bryan Reese, Development Lead for Thunderstone Quest
Despite their brave escape, the crew is once again in grave danger. The hasty repairs on the ship’s jump core made it cut out a few star systems away. Now they find themselves captured by the Alien Empire.
The game begins with the crew trying to escape from a holding cell in the alien colony. The team must escape by stealing a ship, as there is no sign of their starship. As luck would have it, some allies were already in prison that can help. The ship’s hologram was alert enough to download into the alien prison’s computer. They must once again work as a team to avoid the guards, hack into systems and get away before their jailors take them back to their cells or kill them on the spot.
The Captain is Dead: Lockdown can be played either as a stand-alone adventure, or, if you are up to the task, play the original The Captain is Dead and continue your experience with veteran cards in The Captain is Dead: Lockdown.
If you would like to receive the Director’s Briefing straight to your inbox each month, you can sign up to our mailing list HERE.
To the eighty-sixth Briefing and the seventh scheduled Briefing of 2018. Extraordinarily brief Briefing this month.
The RM Classic rulebooks, copies of Wedding in Axebridge and some modest restock orders have made it to Aaron and are ready for transportation in the Pointy Hat Games convoy to Gen Con.
Keep talking to Colin about all matters to do with ICE at Gen Con.
Some bad news in that Terry has had to cancel his Gen Con trip due to ill-health. He feels better now but the stress of a modern Gen Con (as opposed to Gen Cons of a generation ago.
Jaiman is going to the wire. All the images are in and in the pdf. Terry is battling with labels on maps – these are no good to anyone if they aren’t legible on a pdf and on a print copy. If we have to, we will do a GenCon-only print run, and then make a general print release.
In the spirit of the World Cup, we should perhaps be chanting “Terry!” (though it might sound more like Terrrrreeee!) and have an ICElandic thunderclap to support him.
The full draft manuscript of HARP Subterfuge has arrived. I read the table of contents and thought “Wow!”. This will be a great addition to HARP Fantasy. Full editing pass to come.
Additional set of corrections and improvements have been made to RMU Arms and Character Law.
Until next time
Jaiman for the win! The next scheduled Briefing will be in August 2018.
Director, Iron Crown Enterprises Ltd
If you would like to receive the Director’s Briefing straight to your inbox each month, you can sign up to our mailing list HERE.
Barricades Mode brings with it new rules to the game of Thunderstone Quest to make it a new experience. Many of these rules are tied to new components, such as Damage Chits or Guardian Dice, but there are a few new rules to Barricades Mode independent of these components.
“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” – Seneca, Roman Philosopher
Our Champions are going to need some luck in order to survive the Guardian’s assaults on the Village, but luckily they are more prepared than normal. Players will begin the game with advanced starting decks, though no Iron Rations tokens. Players begin the game with two Level 1 Heroes, replacing two Adventurers, and a number of XP tokens equal to the number of players in the game. So in a 4 player game, each player would begin the game with 4 XP tokens. If players find the standard (competitive) mode of Thunderstone Quest can last longer than their tastes at times, try letting each player begin the game with two Level 1 Heroes, replacing two Adventurers. We have found it to speed up the game nicely without interfering with the gameplay.
Speeding up the pace of the game was one of our targets for Barricades Mode, as we strongly wanted the game to play smoothly with 4-6 players. We are happy to announce that we were able to do this by implementing a simultaneous turn in Barricades Mode. The structure of a turn in Barricades Mode is the same as always, but slightly more structured to allow simultaneous play.
As players are working together as a team, they may freely discuss their plans at anytime. They can also coordinate their efforts to try and outwit the Monsters in the Dungeon. Let’s say that there is a Level 2 Monster that you really want to battle, but the Level 1 Monster above it will harm you for moving through its room. Ask one of your teammates to Clear The Path.
Whether players need a path cleared, or just find simultaneous battles to be too chaotic, you can choose to let players resolve their battles one at a time, instead of simultaneous. If this is what you want to do, then Dungeon players will still resolve their 1st and 2nd steps as normal (reveal and play cards) simultaneously, but then will, in any order the players wish, resolve their 3rd-5th steps (move, battle, gain rewards) one at a time. Everything resolves as any Thunderstone Quest battle, with one exception: do not refill any Dungeon Rooms until the turn ends. This is called Clearing the Path and allows earlier rooms in the Dungeon to be cleared of Monsters with nasty Alert! effects so others may venture safely deeper into the Dungeon.
Clearing The Path is not the only way though that players can help each other. Players may also form a Party, combining their efforts to battle Monsters. At any time during the turn, two players in the same Dungeon Room may form a Party. There are a few special rules for players in a Party.
By forming a Party, players will collaborate to defeat more difficult Monsters than they normally could on their own. While Parties are normally restricting to only two players, battles against the Guardian are an exception. Any number of players may form a Party to battle the Guardian. When a Party battles a Level 7 Guardian and has enough combined Attack value to Wound it, the Party will deal 1 Wound to the Guardian (no matter how many players are in the Party). Players may form/join a Party at any time during the turn as long as they are in the same Dungeon Room. Joining up in the same Dungeon Room could potentially come after cards have been played and movement has happened, and thus even though the players combine Attack values to battle the Monster, they would not receive Party benefits from previous steps of the turn (such as lending/giving cards/tokens).
But even when players are working individually, they are working as a team, giving each other cards and Gear tokens, removing Guardian Dice from the Monster pool, going to the Dungeon to battle invading Monsters, allowing their compatriots rest so they may get back into the Dungeon themselves the following turn. The question is, will it be enough?
By Brigette Indelicato, project Art Director
I’ve been working as a graphic designer for the past eight years, and on board game graphic design for the last three. Board and card games are some of my favorite graphic design projects – I really enjoy the unique challenges and creative problem-solving involved with the process. (Being an avid tabletop gamer myself also adds to the appeal!) The graphic design for a game not only needs to be attractive visually and communicate information effectively; it also needs to be intuitive to interact with, function well in three dimensions, look unique yet appealing in a marketing sense, and enhance the general experience of playing the game.
Mark Wootton, the lead developer for War Chest, contacted me looking for a graphic designer to be part of the brainstorming and production of the final graphic design for the game components, including icons, board, cards, box/packaging, and rulebook. The goal of the graphic look was to mirror the simple elegance of the game mechanics and create a sophisticated and eye-catching end product.
I created a quick mockup/inspiration board for a few of the theme ideas that had been discussed, including one for the Celtic approach:
After it was decided as our direction, I continued to amass visual research on Celtic symbols, patterns, design motifs, stone carvings, and wooden chests. I usually create a private Pinterest board for each of my design projects to keep all my inspiration and informational links in one place for easy referencing.
To bring in some of that thematic inspiration, I incorporated the “shield knot” into the game logo, box, and the back of the tokens. I also did some research about Celtic mythology to choose the Raven and the Wolf (animals associated with war deities) for the main symbols of the two opposing sides.
I created preliminary versions of the various game components, and through rounds of feedback from Mark and the AEG team, refined the designs until we had a polished end product. One of the main challenges was designing the 14 unique unit icons – they needed to be simple and clean enough that they would work well on the unit token and as an icon on the cards. I also designed the colors and icons to be different enough to be easily distinguished from one another, while still feeling like a cohesive set. Another task was refining the wood and metal textures on the cards, board, and box to make the graphics visually interesting without being overly busy.
Here’s an example of the design stages of one of the unit cards, from the early rough mockup to final card design:
It was clear early on that the game box should be designed to look like a wooden chest, which informed the card and board design as well. The box of a game is especially important since it’s the first aspect of the game a potential player interacts with and can set the tone and expectation for what’s inside. I incorporated imagery from the unit tokens and the warring factions into the carvings to bring all the elements together. Even the box went through some iteration when AEG received feedback from partners and retailers that the box could be more colorful and easier to see on a store shelf:
War Chest was a fantastic project to work on with Mark and the AEG team, and an exciting opportunity to create graphics for a really enjoyable and versatile game design. Every project is a learning experience of tackling new design challenges, and I look forward to taking the lessons I’ve learned from this to future projects!
As discussed in a previous blog post, Barricades Mode needed an Engine, something that was going to push the players forward through the game. The form the Engine takes is the Guardian Dice, representing the Guardian’s attacks each turn. Players will each roll Guardian Dice at the beginning of every turn. 1 die each when the game begins, but as the threat of the Guardian grows, so do the number of Guardian Dice rolled. Each time a Guardian is defeated, increase the Threat Level by 1, permanently increasing the number of Guardian Dice each player rolls. Other effects may cause players individually to roll an extra die or two.
But the Guardian Dice were not the first form the game’s Engine took.
Before we used Dice, we used cards, specifically Daily Quest cards. Each turn you would flip over a number of Daily Quest cards equal to the number of players in the game. Each Daily Quest would have a small task that needed to be done. When the task was done quickly, you received a reward. When it was not done at all, you and/or the Village received a penalty. These Daily Quests pushed the players to move forward in the game, and were interesting, but were more time consuming than anything, and didn’t have the right feel for the game we wanted.
After trying a few different variations of the Daily Quests, they altered into Threat cards. Threat cards were a single Threat that the players had to deal with that turn, lest they suffer the penalty. No longer were they small tasks the players had to perform. Threat cards were in depth and each told a little story, but they unfortunately suffered from many of the same issues as the Daily Quests. Even though they gave players interesting obstacles to overcome, they were still the less interesting part of the game but yet took the longest time to resolve. For months every approach was taken to try and rectify this, and always to no avail.
At this point in Barricades Mode’s Development, the Guardian was shaping into the final form it would take, and the Threat cards were good, but time consuming. Their current form also had a bit of a disconnect from the Guardian. We were finding the game to be like Return of the Jedi: the game had two good halves to it that didn’t really seem to go together. It was decided that the problem, oddly enough, was fundamentally the form the Engine was taking; cards. No matter how interesting the cards were that we made, they were never more interesting than the main game itself, and ultimately the game’s Engine should not be more time consuming than it is worth.
This is when the move to Guardian Dice was made, and the dice were an instant hit. Like the automobile crank engines of yesteryear, the Daily Quests and Threat cards took a lot of time to get the engine going. The dice now move that aspect of the game through a lot quicker, while being more fun in the process.
But is switching to dice the right call? Thunderstone Quest is a deck-building game, not a dice game, and the randomness of dice can be frustrated to people who want to play with the greater certainty of cards. Will the players like dice? These were big questions we were asking ourselves during design and playtest of these dice. We kept a close eye on making sure that while these dice randomized the ill effect that was befalling you, much as the randomization of drawing a Threat card, while not being wild or swingy, lurching the game this way or that depending on the die roll. We are very pleased with the results: Guardian Dice which randomize the negative effects on the players, do not determine the outcome of the game if too many rolls go one way or another, and customize the feel so that each Guardian you battle will have a different set of challenges to it.
So what are the Guardian Dice? They are 12-sided dice with different icons on the various sides, rather than numerals.
While all Guardian Dice are identical, how the different Guardians interact with them are different, and thus the same Guardian Dice Engine gives you different experiences against the different Guardians. 4 sides of the Guardian Dice will activate a series of special attacks from the Guardian, which will have varying effects depending on the Guardian’s particular flavor. Some Guardians will spend extra effort wounding the players, some will aggressively attack the Village, others will gum up your deck with Wound cards, while others will try to disrupt your plans by discarding your cards into other players’ discard piles. Each Guardian has its own particular flair, and each will take a different strategy to overcome.
5 of the sides of the Guardian Dice are Monsters attacking the Village, with 1 of the 5 sides being worth 2 Monsters. All of the players will pool their Monster dice together. When the turn ends, you will remove Monster dice from the pool equal to the total level of Monsters defeated in the Dungeon that turn. Deal 1 damage to the Village for each Monster icon remaining in the pool, and then clear the pool for the next turn.
Heroic Opportunities are a special, 1-in-12 chance of getting a benefit from the Guardian Die, rather than a penalty. What form your Heroic Opportunity takes is determined by your Prestige Class, and will be discussed more in depth when we discuss Prestige Classes in a future blog.
The remaining 2 sides force you to discard 1 Gear token (your choice) or it deals 1 damage to the Village (doh!).
And so with that, our Engine was settled. The Guardian Dice are quick and fun, and really allow for the flavor the Guardians to come through in each game, without bogging down the pace of the game as the various card-based Engines did. And with the Heroic Opportunity, there is always a chance for a crit, and who doesn’t love that.
Look for the next Behind the Scenes blog where we will reveal possibly the coolest new addition to Thunderstone Quest: the Prestige Class boards.