The Rules - Missions
One of the areas of Maelstrom’s Edge we think players are really going to enjoy are its missions. Each mission is comprised of a few different objective types, which means you always have at least a couple different ways you can look towards to win the game. Objectives are scored at the end of each and every turn, and if you score enough victory points during the game while outpacing your opponent by a wide enough margin then you have completed your mission and the game immediately ends with you as the victor! This makes capturing objectives from the very first turn to the very last, of paramount importance.
Let’s breakdown exactly this all works. Please keep in mind that all the examples shown below are prototypes and very much still subject to change before final publication (for example, we’re definitely going to tweak some of our color and symbol choices to focus on making things great for those with color-blindness). Here’s an example of what a competitive mission card, Purple Gold, will look like:
As with all competitive missions, Purple Gold has three different objective types for you to try to accomplish: the primary, secondary and tertiary objectives.
The ultimate goal, of course is to try to complete the mission, which in this particular case means you need to accumulate 18 Victory Points while also being at least +3 VPs ahead of your opponent.
If you can manage to accomplish that in the end phase of any turn, then your side has completed its mission and the game immediately ends with you as the victor. If neither side manages to accomplish their mission, then a standard game lasts five full turns.
PRIMARY & SECONDARY OBJECTIVES
As you can see on the mission card, each mission has a primary and secondary objective type listed, Cybel Refineries & Decimation in this particular case
The Cybel Refineries objective type is as follows:
As you can see, this objective type utilizes 3 Refinery objective markers and each one your force holds in turns one through three will net your side 2 VPs, or 4 VPs from turn four on. In addition, if neither side completes the mission (thereby immediately ending the game), then at the natural end of the game, if your force holds at least half the Refinery objectives, your side gains 5 more VPs.
The Decimation objective type is as follows:
With decimation, if your opponent starts the game with eleven units, when you’ve reduced them down to seven units (fractions are always rounded up in Maelstrom’s Edge), you get 3 VPs. When you get them down to five units, you get another 5 VPs. However, reinforcements coming back on the table, can bring a force back up over these limits, potentially causing you to lose previously gained VPs. This places a huge emphasis on trying to bring back reinforcements when doing so will deny the opposing side these VPs.
The Maelstrom’s Edge rulebook will initially come with twelve different objective types (including the two listed above). These feature a wide array of interesting things for your forces to fight over, including classics like Assassination and Territories, to crazier concepts such as archeological dig sites to investigate or reluctant VIPs to capture.
The great thing about this system is that we can literally plug any two objective types into a mission and adjust how many VPs they each give out, totally changing the dynamics of the game. This gives us almost limitless mission types just with what we’re putting out in the core rulebook. Further down the road in the future, we hope to be able to issue new objective types as stand-alone cards as well, further bolstering our ability to make diverse missions a mainstay of Maelstrom’s Edge.
A mission’s tertiary objective is always a faction-based objective that helps represent the types of things that particular faction is always interested in accomplishing above and beyond their primary and secondary mission objectives.
Faction objectives are unique in that they only ever generate a maximum of 3 VPs for the entire game, but they also have a really useful special ability as well. Each turn, you have the tough choice to either gain 1 VP from your faction objective, or instead to utilize its special rule. Should you ever gain the max 3 VPs from your objective, then it shuts down for the game and its special rule can no longer be used.
Secret Cache (Karist Enclave): The Karists faction objective is a secret ammo/weapons cache that has been stashed their ahead of time by their secret operatives. One Karist unit holding the objective each turn can re-roll its failed rolls to hit during a single round of shooting (but doing so means the objective cannot generate 1 VP that turn).
Automated Uplink Relay (Epirian Foundation): The Foundation typically has an uplink relay accompany its forces to battle, which provides their headquarters with additional tactical data about the engagement. The uplink relay is a bonus robotic unit of sort for the Foundation which can actually be destroyed if the enemy is dedicated enough. Each turn the Uplink Relay can generate an additional 1 Command Point for the Epirian player (but doing so means the objective cannot generate 1 VP that turn).
Initially, each faction will only have the single faction objective type listed above that they’ll use as the tertiary objective for every mission, but as Maelstrom’s Edge progresses the plan is to potentially have different command units (maybe even special characters) that, if you include them in your force, will allow you to swap out the standard faction objective for a different one representing the particular speciality of that command unit.
ADDITIONAL VICTORY POINTS
Beyond all the objective types, there are sometimes other ways for players to earn VPs depending on the models they’ve chosen to include in their forces. For example, a Karist Enclave Kaddar Nova that detonates his shield reactor pack and causes at least one enemy casualty with that attack earns his side 1 VP. However, there is a potential penalty to the Karist player that if the Kaddar Nova is killed by any other method, then the opposing side gains 1 VP.
Given that reinforcements are part of Maelstrom’s Edge, the rules have been written to ensure that the maximum either side can gain from this is 1 VP no matter how many Kaddar Novae die during the game (although it is definitely possible for both sides to earn the 1 VP during the same game if there are multiple Kaddar Novae and/or one returns to play as a reinforcement).
While the Kaddar Nova is the only unit in the initial boxed set to add extra VPs into the mix, it likely will not be the last. However, anytime we introduce such units the goal will always be to keep them limited to providing a maximum of 1 additional VP each, and typically they will always have a penalty 1 VP that the opposing side will be able to capture as well. While 1 VP may not seem like much, you never know when it turns out to be the point that puts your force over the limit, completing your mission and winning the game!
For competitive missions, both players utilize the same mission card (they have the same mission). However, for narrative missions, while the same overall mission structure is still used, both the attacker and the defender each have their own specific mission card. This allows us to implement customized deployments for the attacker and/or defender and even allow them to each have different objective types where it narratively makes sense to do so.
For example, the defender in a narrative mission might not even have a secondary objective type, but their primary objective type would instead generate quite a bit more VPs. Each side can even have a slightly different mission completed total that they’re working towards, representing how easy or hard their overall objective types are to complete.