Ch-ch-changes – Episode 1
New Additions to the Game and Streamlining.
In this update we’ll be discussing two sets of changes we’ve made to the game since the end of the Kickstarter campaign: new additions, and streamlining of existing rules. Let’s cut right to the chase and start by taking a good look at those juicy new additions, before we move on to talking about how we’ve streamlined the game into a lean, mean mutant-slaying machine.
As we’ve kept playing around with the game’s systems and thinking about them in the context of the Posthuman world, we’ve come up with tons of new ideas for adding satisfying, crunchy complexity to your choices in the game, and depth and atmosphere to its twisted mutant world. We tested out a bunch of ideas and mercilessly chopped them out until only the most promising and resistant mutant strains were left.
There’s two kinds of additions we’ve made. First, there are entirely new components that have been added to the game (Landmarks and new Mission Objective Stories). Second, there are changes to existing components that open up all-new layers (Follower Traits and Modifications).
Landmarks: Landmarks are places you find along your journey. They are represented by face-down Landmark tokens with an Unlock icon and a number on their face-down side. When you move onto them, you flip them over, take the card corresponding to the number you get, read the story snippet, and receive the benefit they offer. Think of them as a little postcard of a unique place you encounter during your post-apocalyptic travels. More importantly, though, landmarks have no negative consequences – they’re a brief respite from the unrelenting hostility of the Wilds. So you want to get yourself there as soon as possible, meaning that there’s now one more factor to think about when considering your movement across the board.
Mission Objective Stories: We often got feedback from players who said that the stories on the Mission Objectives were cool, but only appeared at the start and the end of the game. We took this on board and decided to shorten the text on Mission Objective cards to what would fit on the size of a poker card, and instead add a new card for each completed section of the mission. Each Mission Objective now comes with a set of cards that are triggered sequentially as the different steps of the Mission are completed. When you complete your Level 1 Objective, you take the Unlock card indicated on your main Mission Objective card and place it on the Story section of the Mission Objective card.
This triggers an optional Side Mission that you can choose to perform for 2 extra VPs – think of it as going over and above the call of duty while you’re out in the Wilds. Again, this becomes one more option to consider as you decide what your next move should be. Then, when you complete your Level 2 Objective, you take a second indicated Unlock card and place it on the same area, triggering the last part of the story and giving you the option of hunting down a Mutant Boss for additional points and undying glory.
Modifications: All melee weapons apart from the default starting weapons now have Modification (Mod) slots at the bottom of the card and a Mod bonus at the top. You can combine a Melee weapon with another Melee weapon’s Mod bonus. This can be triggered after all die-roll results in a Combat encounter are seen, and then discarded.
Follower Traits: Followers now have two character Traits expressed as keywords on their card. For example, a Follower might be Violent and Resourceful. Or Caring and Cowardly. Certain stories will have sections that will trigger if the active player has a follower with the indicated Trait. Some of these can be options the player can take or ignore – a Clever Follower might open up a new possible solution to a seemingly insurmountable challenge in a story. Others take effect whether the player likes it or not – despite your best laid plans, your Clumsy Follower might just blunder into a trap. Like the Landmarks addition, this was one the game as a mechanical system did not need per se, but was added to the game to make Followers feel more like living people.
Apart from the all-new stuff, we’ve also implemented a long list of changes to the game with the aim of reducing the amount of rules players have to learn and keep in mind, reducing downtime and generally making the experience as fluid as possible.
Move: There are now two types of Move action instead of four. The first is a standard Move, which what you’ll be doing for most of the game. This allows you to move up to two tiles, but, if you travel onto a tile that has been placed this turn, you must end your movement there. So you can never place two tiles in one turn, or place a tile, move on it and then move again. The second type of Move action is the March move. This allows you to draw, and then move onto, a face-down tile – but that’s at the cost of 1 Fatigue.
Stat boosts are now just one type. They are used to trigger more powerful skills, abilities on weapons and give bonuses during Stat challenges.
KO: Getting Knocked out now gives you a -1 VP token and 2 Recovery points. It also forces you to Camp the turn after you get KOd.
Development cards: There is now one type, rather than two, per character and no levels for skills – just an XP cost. Your character gets a complement of XP to start off with, and earns more during the course of the game, and can just spend the cost of any Development card to gain the respective skill.
Fatigue track is now 4 slots and can be recovered during Camp actions (as well as through abilities on various Skill, Equipment and Follower cards).
Safe Zones have been integrated into the Camp action. Now, when you perform a Camp action, you place a Camp token that you can remove instead of eating next turn.
Eating is done at the start of the round, not the end.
The round is now split into three: Morning, Day and Night. In the Morning you eat, trigger Stories and perform Broadcasts or Events. During the Day, you select and play your Action. Night is basically the clean-up part of the round.
Level 2 Objectives now have 4 specified Terrain types, instead of 3 specified Terrain types and one Terrain of the player’s choice (see Mission Objective image above).
Mutant Bosses have been made easier to kill, but now yield 2VP instead of 3VP.
Recon Objectives are harder to complete – they have more elements per sequence for the same VP yield –but they now have a bonus for the first player to complete and claim them.
Intel is no longer part of the game. Instead of having two sections to them, Events now have one effect that occurs when drawn, but a follower trait you might have on your follower cards can mitigate that effect. While we liked the Intel Events, it was a mechanic that did not do enough to the game experience, mechanically or story-wise, in order to justify the added rules.
That’s it for this first in a three-part series outlining the changes we’ve made to the game over the past months. These are all changes that have been tested extensively, and that we – and our testers – feel have, in one way or another, improved the game considerably. In the next broadcast: Challenge Cards, Bonus Loot and Stories!