The Path of Knowledge

By Fantasy Flight Games

Published 17 October 2018

|
Legend of the Five Rings LCG

The Path of Knowledge

A Look at the Recent Changes to Legend of the Five Rings: The Card Game

“Isawa Kosori no Kaito grimaced at the letter as she read it again. She and the other shrine keepers were to learn as much as they could and keep bystanders safe, but ultimately their instructions were to await the shugenja’s arrival.”
   
–Robert Denton III, “Outsiders”

With the release of Underhand of the Emperor, the Scorpion Clan Pack, the metagame for Legend of the Five Rings: The Card Game is about to shift… and right as samurai from all over Rokugan are headed to the 2018 Winter Court World Championships!

While Underhand of the Emperor appears as though it may reaffirm the Scorpion Clan’s dominance of the courts, it’s also certain to draw an unprecedented measure of scrutiny toward the Scorpion and their secret plans. After a strong year of Organized Play, then, will the Scorpion Clan manage to fend off the challenges they’re bound to face—from every other clan—and all at the same time?

This is a question that’s bound to be influenced by the new

Tournament Regulations

(pdf, 8.8 MB) and the most recent

Rules Reference

Update (pdf, 35.3 MB) as they both reflect the alteration of a major element of the game. This change destabilizes the play patterns of experienced players of Legend of the Five Rings—the very players we expect to see at the Fantasy Flight Games Center in November

To ensure that everyone attending the 2018 Winter Court World Championships is aware of these changes—and to offer some insight into the rationale—the developers have written a brief explanation of what has changed, and why.

Toward Perfection in Both Form and Function

Throughout the gameplay of the Imperial and Elemental Cycles, we discovered in the rules a number of interactions between the rules and card text that operated unintuitively when using the rules as written, so we have altered the rules text slightly to allow for these card interactions to work the way players expect.

Duels, Modifiers, and Dials

As written, the rules regarding modifiers and the honor dial bid during a duel instructed players to treat the honor bid as a modifier equivalent to any other modifier in the game. This meant that an effect such as the Reaction on

Vengeful Berserker

(Core Set, 33) could allow a player’s duel bid to become doubled, and it meant that a character whose skills had been set to a particular value—such as by an

Apprentice Earthcaller

(Tainted Lands, 24)—could not gain any additional bonus from the duel’s honor bid.

As not being able to receive a skill bonus from a duel’s honor bid makes for poor gameplay, an exception has been added to the Modifiers section of the rules (page 11) to instruct that a duel’s honor bid modifier is calculated independently of all other modifiers on the character, and even if that character’s skills have been set to a particular value.

Stealing Uniques

The rules for unique cards clarify that a player cannot play, put into play, or take control of a unique card if they already own or control a copy of that card. This created a loophole in which a player who owned a unique card of which their opponent had taken control could not retake control of their own card.

The text for Unique Cards (page 17) has been adjusted to allow a player to take control of a unique card that they own, but do not control.

Aggressive Tattoos

After witnessing the ubiquitous performance of

Hawk Tattoo

(The Ebb and Flow, 75) in the Grand Kotei at Gen Con, we have elected to errata its text. In order to prevent Hawk Tattoo from being attached to an opponent’s character to drag that character to a conflict, the card now says:

“Attach to a character you control.”

Going Second

During development, we noted that the ability to attack first granted the first player the advantage of breaking provinces more quickly than their opponent, and a fate was given to the second player to help balance the randomized turn order. However, now that we have a year’s worth of Organized Play results, we have found that the fate reward for going second gives the second player a distinct competitive advantage.

To address this, we have eliminated the extra fate for going second.

In playtests, we have found that going second provides several natural advantages that provide an incentive to go second even without the extra fate:

  1. You gain the first opportunity to collect fate from rings.
  2. You gain the ability to react to the opponent’s first dynasty action.
  3. Going second also promotes the ability to play conservatively in the first round to create an explosive second round assault.

Meanwhile, more aggressive clans like Lion and Unicorn are still encouraged to go first as it allows them to leverage their new strongholds with maximum effect on the first turn, before the opponent has built up strong defenses.

With the loss of the second player fate, we believe the game will be more balanced, and the choice to go first or second in tournaments will become more interesting.

Gain Knowledge Now

The Tournament Regulations are now available for download, as is the Rules Reference (which contains the most recent FAQ). You can find both documents in the Support section of the game’s website, as well as on the game’s Organized Play page.

You’ll want to be sure to read up if you’re headed to the 2018 Winter Court World Championships. You’ll want to perform at your absolute best when you fight your duels in the presence of the Emperor!

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The Essence of Survival

By Fantasy Flight Games

Published 17 October 2018

|
Discover: Lands Unknown

The Essence of Survival

Preview the Competitive and Cooperative Aspects of Discover with Designer Corey Konieczka 

Order your own copy of Discover: Lands Unknown at your local retailer or online through our website today!

Discover: Lands Unknown is a game unlike any other. Not only is it a Unique Game where every copy is different from every other, the game’s survival setting offers a mix of cooperative and competitive gameplay. Working with other players is essential to survival, but when resources are low, who can you really trust? This mix is a delicate balance and part of what makes Discover a truly unique experience.    

Today, journey with us as we take a look at Discover: Lands Unknown with designer Corey Konieczka as he highlights the competitive and cooperative aspects of the game, and how they came about during design.

Continue on for Corey’s thoughts on the survival aspect of the game, and remember to pick up Discover: Lands Unknown when it releases on October 25!

Corey Konieczka on Survival in Discover: Lands Unknown

When I first came up with the pitch for Discover: Lands Unknown, there were three main elements that formed the foundation of the experience:

  • Exploring the Unknown
  • Resource Gathering / Crafting
  • Surviving the Elements

For this preview, I’d like to focus on survival, the struggle to make it fun, and how this led us to the game’s victory condition!

The Last Can of Beans Scenario

Throughout development, I often talked about “The Last Can of Beans Scenario.” Imagine that you were stranded on an island with three strangers and no food. While exploring, you find a single can of beans. Do you keep it for yourself, or do you give it to the person most in need? (For the sake of argument, let’s imagine that it cannot be split between multiple people.)

In a game, the “correct” answer to this question obviously depends on the game’s victory conditions. Through testing, we found that the most interesting scenario is the one in which players share food when it’s plentiful, but are more selfish when resources are low. To make this work, we had to evaluate how you win and lose the game.

I Don’t Lose if You Win

Since Discover’s announcement, the most common question I’ve been asked has been: “Is this game cooperative or competitive?” The answer is neither.

In both cooperative and competitive games, my victory is tied directly to the performance of other players:

  • Pure competition: If you win, I lose
  • Pure cooperation: If you win, I win

Throughout the course of development, we tried both of these options, but neither felt right.

Pure competition didn’t make any sense for the setting. Unless I’m criminally insane, why would I want other players to perish?

Pure cooperative made more sense, but it caused players to only care about the group, not their own character. This didn’t feel accurate to real life either. In a real-world situation, people would probably help each other, but only to a point (see the Last Can of Beans Scenario above).

This led us to a third option:

  • Real Life: If you win, I could win or lose based on my own performance

In this situation, each player wins or loses on their own, but they can work together if it suits their needs. There is no reason to actively work against other players, but there is reason to sometimes be selfish. Players can share supplies and assist each other if they choose to, and each player that survives to the end of the game wins. Everyone that doesn’t survive is eliminated from the game and loses!

But Wait? Isn’t Player Elimination Bad?

In modern boardgaming, player elimination is often considered poor design. The main argument is that you’ve all come together to play a game, sometimes rearranging your schedule to participate in this social event. Eliminating a player from this experience is unnecessarily negative and punitive. You don’t want to sit out for an hour while your friends are having fun, right?

I would argue, however, that many modern games have “soft” player elimination. That is to say, a player may be so far behind that they cannot possibly win. This can be just as unfun, and it can lead to kingmaking (the act of one player intentionally making poor strategic decisions to help someone else win the game).

I suggest that player elimination, if done correctly, can solve kingmaking and craft a social experience like no other. If you’re about to lose the game by starving to death, you will have an emotional attachment to the last can of beans. You’ll feel different, act different, and an interesting social game emerges. The ever-present threat of elimination also makes players more invested in their characters and feel real responsibility for their actions.

To avoid the main downside of player elimination, it’s important that eliminated players don’t sit out of the game for too long. This can either be solved by having a short game length (15-20 minutes), or by making sure players aren’t eliminated until the game is close to its conclusion. We chose the latter. As long as a player is collecting food and water, they should survive for the majority of every game of Discover.

A Different Game for Different Groups

While testing the game with these victory conditions, I made an interesting observation: the game felt very different with different groups of people.

Players that were used to playing co-op games (especially families) would treat the game very much like a full co-op. They would help each other survive, even if it did not benefit themselves, and sometimes make heroic sacrifices to save others. These games were full of shared gasps, smiles, and high fives. I’d like to think that many people in a real-world survival situation would act this way.

Then there were the cutthroat groups. These people wouldn’t give a single can of beans to an old lady unless she gave them two water skins in return. These games had a very different sense of tension. Winning and losing these games was based on your personal skill and ability to negotiate. Some players liked competing so much, that we created one purely competitive scenario just for them.

I’ve played with both types of groups, and though different, they were both a lot of fun. I especially enjoyed games with a mix of player types, some from group A and some from group B. Navigating the social pecking order while trying to stay alive required two very different skill sets, and it led to many dramatic moments.

I hope that you enjoyed this look behind the scenes, and that it gave you a better understanding of the social games you’ll see unfolding in Discover: Lands Unknown—no matter what exactly is in your copy of the game. How far are you willing to go to survive?

Find the will to survive in Discover: Lands Unknown (DSC01), available now for pre-order from your local retailer or our website!

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A Call to Witness

By Fantasy Flight Games

Published 17 October 2018

|
Legend of the Five Rings LCG

A Call to Witness

A Letter from the Enigmatic Togashi Yokuni

No Great Clan is as mysterious as the Dragon. Guided by the cryptic visions of Togashi Yokuni, the Dragon’s motives are perplexing to the other clans of the Emerald Empire. Though their clan is traditionally isolationist, the Army of the Rising Wave has been seen marching through Lion Clan lands. To where are they marching? And what do they hope to achieve once they arrive?

Join us today for a letter from Dragon Clan Champion Togashi Yokuni, and the impact it will have at the 2018 Winter Court World Championship!

The letter details the plans of the Dragon Clan and can be found here (6.6 MB). After you’ve finished reading, continue on to discover the choice awaiting the Dragon at the 2018 Winter Court!

The Rising Wave

Clan Champion Togashi Yokuni has foreseen a series of events that will soon crash upon Rokugan. He has dispatched the Army of the Rising Wave, led by Mirumoto Hitomi and Togashi Mitsu, to Otosan Uchi in anticipation of such an occurrence. At the 2018 Winter Court World Championships, the top-performing Dragon player will be given the opportunity to choose what kind of samurai (by family) will respond directly to what Yokuni has foreseen. To offer guidance in the selection of a samurai for the task, here are brief summaries of what the different options signify.

  • If selected, a samurai of the Togashi Family observes the coming events to better understand their destiny.
  • If selected, a samurai of the Mirumoto Family secures Otosan Uchi against any potential threats.
  • If selected, a samurai of the Kitsuki Family investigates the intrigues of the Forbidden City.
  • If selected, a samurai of the Agasha Family delves into the darkness and mystical secrets within the Forbidden City.

How will the Dragon Clan react to what is to come, and why have they been sent to Otosan Uchi?

Prelude to Change

For too long, the Dragon have watched from afar in their mountains. The Dragon are moving on Otosan Uchi, and all of Rokugan will soon discover what the Dragon hope to accomplish, and what role they will play in the coming events…

Join us every Wednesday and Friday before Winter Court for more letters from our esteemed Clan Champions! 

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The Battle of Five Armies Collector’s Edition: pre-orders to open on October 21st

By Ares Games

Ares Games is proud to announce the pubblication of a Collector’s Edition of The Battle of Five Armies, a unique limited-edition item, matching in style our previous anniversary release of War of the Ring 2nd Edition. The Battle of Five Armies is a stand-alone board game for two players, which recreates the fierce struggle witnessed by Bilbo Baggins at the end of his quest for the …

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Waldo’s Weekly – Youko Hamasaki Reveal

Hey Wyrdos,

Waldo managed to weasel his way into the Beta. We kicked him out pretty quickly, but before we did, he managed to print off a few of the new stat cards. After throwing some “distractions” (don’t worry, Kyle will recover), we grabbed most of them back. He managed to keep a hold of a few, and said he would only give them back if we let him talk about one for Waldo’s Weekly.

With that, we are happy to introduce the new Ten Thunders Master, Youko Hamasaki. 

As a reminder, Youko is still in beta testing, so some of the Abilities and Actions discussed in this article might change between now and M3E’s release. With that disclaimer out of the way, let’s see what this mysterious woman has in store for us.


Youko Hamasaki is the new proprietor of the Qi and Gong, the most widely-renowned brothel within the Little Kingdom (if not all of Malifaux City). While she might not appear imposing at first glance, Youko has her delicate fingers upon the pulse of the city and is adept at gathering information, secrets, and blackmail.

Youko’s Keyword is “Qi and Gong,” as most of her thematic models are drawn from the employees of that establishment. Each Qi and Gong model has the Leverage Ability, which gives its controller a Pass Token at the start of the Turn… provided that the opponent has one or more revealed Schemes. Furthermore, the model can discard a Pass Token when performing a duel to gain a positive flip to that duel.

Leverage lets a Qi and Gong Crew play mind games with their opponent right from the very start of the game. As soon as the opponent reveals a Scheme to score Victory Points, the Qi and Gong crew is going to gain a whole pile of Pass Tokens that they can use for activation control, initiative bonuses, or fate modifiers. Is it worth scoring early and risking such a swing in power, or is it better to wait to reveal Schemes, which gives Youko’s crew time to counter them?


Youko’s ability to control the flow of the game doesn’t stop there, however. After an enemy model Activates within 6” of her, her Informants Ability allows her to look at the top card of either player’s Fate Deck and then gives her the option of placing that card on the bottom of that player’s Fate Deck. This Ability serves double duty, allowing Youko to either discard her own undesirable cards or to ensure that the opponent’s high cards end up getting buried back in their deck.

She also has Calm Demeanor, which allows her to draw a card whenever an enemy model within 6” discards a card. So long as Youko is near the battle, she’s going to be benefiting from the opponent’s misery.

Though fragile at only 10 Health, she is protected from enemy aggression by Disguised (which prevents her from being the target of Actions generated by the Charge Action) and Serene Countenance (which gives any Attack Actions targeting her a negative flip). She might not be durable, but she’s got plenty of tricks in her sleeve to avoid all but the most dedicated assassins.

Youko’s most impressive Action is most likely her Bonus Action, Backroom Dealings. It targets an enemy model and forces them to reveal their hand, giving Youko a glimpse into her enemy’s plans. The “Risking It All” trigger further punishes the opponent by letting you guess a suit before the reveal, which in turn damages the enemy model for one damage per card of the named suit in the opponent’s hand. This can be particularly damaging against summoners who often stockpile cards of certain suits. Her other trigger, “Shady Dealings,” reinforces her crew’s Leverage Ability: for each of the opponent’s unrevealed Schemes, they must discard a random card.

In addition to this formidable weapon, Youko also possesses Blackmail, which gives an enemy model the option of discarding up to two cards. For each card they don’t discard, Youko’s crew gains a Pass Token, providing further fuel to Leverage. Even if the opponent doesn’t care that Youko gains Pass Tokens, they may want to discard a card anyways; her “We Own You” trigger lets her force the target to take an Action… provided that the opponent discarded one or fewer cards.

Backing up her Blackmail capabilities is Riddles in the Dark, an amusing little Action that gives the target Distracted +X, where X is equal to the difference in the number of cards in each player’s hand (to a maximum of Distracted +2). This works whether Youko is up or down on cards, making it quite useful.

Rounding out her skill set is Information Network, a simple Action that lets her draw a card without having to flip any cards, and an Exotic Weapons attack that does average damage… unless she can get a model alone and declare the “No Witnesses” trigger, which allows her to deal +1 damage and ignore Armor if no enemy models other than the target can draw line of sight to her.

All in all, Youko Hamasaki is an interesting addition to the Ten Thunders roster, providing them with a true control Master who is more than capable of controlling the flow of information during the game.

WaldosWeekly_10.17.2018.jpg

 

 

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Zeppelin Transcript from The Other Side

Hey Wyrdos,

With The Other Side’s release, we thought that it might be a good change of pace to take a peek into its world. Below is a transcript from the perspective of the men and women of the King’s Empire who piloted the zeppelins floating above London after the battle broke. This short story is an exclusive glimpse into the Other Side that you won’t be able to find anywhere else, including the core rulebook!


King's Empire logo - brown.png

Partial Transcription of reconnaissance reports from Recon Wing Galliant. Compiled by Communications Group Kent, Signal Division, at the request of HRH King Edward VII, being a summary of reports from IMFS Andover, IMFS Aggressor, and IMFS Bellicose. Signal Division wishes to apologize for the inconsistent nature of these reports, as events unfolded more quickly than could be captured via the aethervox. All speculation is the work of Signal Division, Cyphers Branch, and must be taken with a measure of wisdom.

0636, 1st June, 1906 – IMFS Bellicose, under the command of Sir Jacob Ellingray, and with the escorts Andover and Aggressor in support, was dispatched to London to investigate reports of a deluge and subsequent catastrophe. Early reports are harrowing, and unworthy of speculation. Sir Jacob has ordered all hands to stations, and all weapons primed. “We fly to the King!” he declared prior to departure. (Ellingray may have been the wrong man for the job. His service in Africa and the Oceanic colonies, while worthy of praise, did not prepare the man for what waited in the skies over London) (-Admiralty redaction- It won’t do to be casting dispersion over the heroes of the Empire. Especially now. Strike this and all other disparaging remarks from the final report.)

0712, 1st June, 1906 – Bellicose reports fair skies and light winds, good visibility. Winds to the east at 3 knots, barometer 17.5k and rising. Air Wing Kent inbound to London. (Early reports that some sort of channel-bound hurricane, previously unmarked and preternaturally sudden, are not supported by these readings. Further reports from Andover, redacted here, indicate a heavy fog over London proper, terminating in the vicinity of West Kingsdown and Seven Oaks.)

0825, et al – Bellicose – Sir Jacob has ordered Andover to the west and north, while Aggressor remains behind with Bellicose to provide support. The fog that blankets London is impenetrable at this altitude. Andover will head directly for Kensington, while Bellicose investigates the entrance to the Thames, where the worst flooding is suspected. The rest of Air Wing Kent is awaiting the arrival of the army.

0845 – Bellicose – Reports of flooding vastly underestimate the disaster. London is gone. The wreckage of buildings and bodies cover the surface of a vast and shimmering inland sea. (Ellingray’s time at Oxford betrays him here. His initial estimate overstated the destruction. For want of a better phrase, Sir Jacob imagined his words in the history books, and dictated them to his vox operator as such) We await reports from Andover as to the well-being of the King.

0915 – Bellicose – The King lives! Long live the King! Andover established visual communication via signal flag with Buckingham Palace shortly after 0900. HRH has refused extraction, and the docking moors have suffered some sort of damage. Andover’s report on the matter is folly, as Captain Hourst insists the moors have become the habitat of giant wasps. (Again, Sir Jacob underimagines what he sees, and overimagines his capability of addressing it.)

0930 – Bellicose – Previous reports verified. Andover has engaged a swarm of hostiles with light rifle and shot from the portside batteries. Marines have been ordered to the deck. She is preparing to be boarded.

(There is a significant gap in reporting for the next fifty minutes. What follows is a compilation of speculative reports based on after action debriefings, ship’s logs, and an account from witnesses on the ground. Regular reports pick up at 1022, when Sir Jacob re-establishes control of Bellicose’s command deck)

0935 – Details unclear. Andover is swarmed and set adrift. Its progress takes it over Buckingham, where witnesses describe a desperate battle on the decks and upper causeways of the anti-ballast. The swarm lifted suddenly from Andover and flew east toward Bellicose.

0957 – A single garbled message dispatched from Bellicose, warning of hostiles inbound and requesting aid from Aggressor. Aggressor’s commander orders the cutter to come about and open fire. A brief and violent struggle follows, during which Bellicose is overwhelmed. Aggressor prepares to accept survivors.

1009 – As quickly as the swarm attacked, it withdraws. The enemy seems to follow no rhyme or reason in their tactics. Ellingray was forced into the ward room with his officers, and only regains the deck after his Bo’sun and the ship’s royal marines secure the quarters. His report, which follows, downplays the severity of the loss.

1022 – Bellicose – IMFS Bellicose reports all hands secured, and the attack repelled. Heavy casualties. Contact with Andover re-established. All escorts ordered to rally to Bellicose in preparation for withdraw. (Admiralty countermands Ellingray’s instructions, ordering him deeper into London. The army is preparing for an assault, and need information about the enemy’s composition and strength. Out of respect for Sir Jacob’s standing in the peerage, we have redacted the precise exchange between Bellicose and Air Station Kent.)

1045 – Bellicose- Andover and Aggressor have formed up on Bellicose and are prepared to drive deeper into the skies over London. A brief flag exchange between the two wounded ships indicate the fighting has cost them both dearly. Andover especially is operating on a skeleton crew. Reinforcements from Aggressor shore up her defenses. The trio proceed toward the only landmark they can find; the dome of St. Paul’s, miraculously still intact, and towering over the wreckage of a drowned London.

1112 – IMFS Aggressor takes the lead as Bellicose and Andover limp along behind. The bulk of the Royal Air Force Southern Command has taken up position on the outskirts of London, awaiting the Air Wing’s final report, and Admiralty’s permission to proceed. A transcript of vox communications between Aggressor and Bellicose, overheard by Air Station Kent, follows.

Aggressor: We have St. Paul’s in sight. Command wishes to know how we are to proceed.

Bellicose: Carefully, Aggressor. Keep your eyes up. What is the condition of the cathedral and surrounds?

Aggressor: The cathedral is intact. Ludgate hill is dry and crowded. Forward observer post reports masses of civilians at the doors of the cathedral. Attempting to signal them now.

Bellicose: Thank God! As long as St. Paul’s stands, there is still a London! (Again, Ellingray is doubtlessly aware his words are being overheard) Prepare to stand to and accept—

Aggressor: Sorry to interrupt, Bellicose. There’s something wrong with the crowd. They seem unresponsive. They’re just standing, staring up at the dome, with their hands to the sky. Shellshocked, perhaps. Away teams are preparing—

Transmission is cut short by violent static. Radio operators at Kent Station and Oxford suffered damaged equipment from the electromagnetic backlash. Backup stations followed the rest of the conversation when it resumed mid-report.

Aggressor: —blinding. Some kind of weapon. Anti-ballast compromised. Repair crews dispatched. Bellicose, are you reading?

Bellicose: Bellicose here. We have eyes on the target. Some kind of light erupted from the dome. Did it strike you?

Aggressor: Unclear. We have—brief radio silence (Cypher Station Kent insists we include the fact that the aethervox operator transcribing this exchange swears on her life that she could hear whispering voices during this interruption.)—fifteen, possibly more. Fires along the anti-ballast. Captain has ordered emergency maneuvers and full power, but the engine room is not responding. We are making due with manual control.

Bellicose: Aggressor, there are figures along your topkeel. They look like… like they’re on fire. (By this point, Ellingray has abandoned the vox and secured his place in history. Witnesses and survivors report the Lord Commander was already on his way to the life vessels, marines in tow) And the crowds around St. Paul’s… my God, they’re burning! They’re—

(long silence)

Aggressor: Bellicose, are you transmitting? Several portals have opened up along our maindeck. Pitched fighting in the engine room. Fires along the gundeck, and the crews are reporting damage to the anti-ballast is critical. Deploying—

Andover: Aggressor, this is Andover. We have sighted bright lights inside the hull of Bellicose. She’s either on fire or… or… God, I don’t know what. But nothing burns that color! Suggest you abandon course and return to Kent.

Bellicose: —have it in our hands. It’s in our hands! God, the veins are turning to light! My hands!

Aggressor: Bellicose, repeat prior transmission! We have away teams prepared to offer assistance. Is your deck secure?

Andover: Aggressor, strongly suggest turning back. Turn back, I say! Bellicose is lost!

Aggressor: There’s something outside… outside the door. I can see…

Andover: Aggressor, what is—

Aggressor: Shut up and listen. This is it for me. I just want you to listen… It’s a doorway made of fire. There are shadows inside of it… no… coming out of it. They’re here. They’re—

Witnesses on the ground report seeing Bellicose wheel sharply, clipping Andover before plunging into the waters around St. Paul’s. There was no further communication from Aggressor. She drifted south, eventually settling among the fields of Dover, her decks empty and crew missing. They were never recovered, and their fate remains a mystery. As for IMFS Andover, the first zeppelin to tangle with the London threat was the only to survive the fight. When Bellicose fell, Andover turned and made for home, her captain deliriously spouting about burning figures and the murmuring deep.

While this report offers little insight into what happened in the skies above London that day, it is the hope of Admiralty that it will reflect well on the men and women who gave their lives in service to the Empire, and lift the spirits of its fighting forces in the days to come. Long live the King.

  Click the image above to download the PDF version of this story!

Click the image above to download the PDF version of this story!

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Survival of the Fittest

By Fantasy Flight Games

Published 16 October 2018

|
Discover: Lands Unknown

Survival of the Fittest

Preview the Competitive Mode Featured in Discover: Lands Unknown

Order your own copy of Discover: Lands Unknown at your local retailer or online through our website today!

In Discover: Lands Unknown, four of your five scenarios may see you working with other survivors out of necessity for your own victory. You may cooperate or compete with the other players within a single scenario. However, the fifth scenario included in each copy of the game game offers something very different—a cutthroat competition where only the strong can survive. The exact backdrop of the competitive scenario you find in your copy of Discover: Lands Unknown can vary from game to game, but they each see you going head-to-head against other players. The last survivor standing is the winner! When escape is of little concern do you have what it takes to achieve victory?

As we’ve explored in our previous previews, Discover: Lands Unknown is a Unique Game, meaning that the copy you buy will be different from every other copy in the world. The mix of components found in every copy of Discover is completely unique—even copies that have the same terrain will find different landmarks and challenges on their boards! Today, however, we’re taking a closer look at a feature found in every copy of Discover: a competitive, head-to-head scenario that pits you directly against the other players in the heart of an unforgiving wilderness.

Join us today as we preview the competitive mode found in every copy of Discover: Lands Unknown!

The Stage Is Set

While the first four scenarios in Discover can be played solo, the competitive scenario requires at least two players to play. Furthermore, while any number of players can win in the first four scenarios, the fifth scenario will only feature one winner—one survivor who will stand above all else. While the backdrop of this scenario is linked to the narrative of the other scenarios found in your game, the focus is on the competitive aspect of the game.

For the most part, you’ll be playing the same game as before, surviving frigid mountains or arid deserts, crafting supplies, and gaining enough food and water to make it another day. However, there is now the additional threat of other survivors attacking you, not only to knock you out of the game, but to steal your precious resources. Instead of your goal being escape, it’s to outlast the other players. If every other survivor falls to hunger, thirst, sickness, or damage, you win the game!

The True Enemy

While monsters still lurk around every corner, your true enemies in the competitive scenario are the players sitting around you. During the fifth scenario, survivors can attack one another anytime after the first turn of the game. Attacking another survivor also comes with the additional cost of three stamina. This stamina costs means an attack must be well planned, as closing in on a survivor and performing an attack will likely take up the majority of your turn.


In this scenario, the attacker has rolled a 10 and the defender has rolled an 8. Because the attacker’s die is showing a result of 10 or higher, he deals one damage to the defender and steals a resource!

You may choose to wait for your enemies to succumb to the elements… but perhaps you decide to hasten the natural course of things. Attacking another survivor is similar to combat in other scenarios. The attacker rolls the gray twelve-sided die, and the defender rolls the red twelve-sided die. If you roll 

ten or higher, your target takes one physical damage and you can steal a resource! But every attack must be made with caution—if the defender rolls ten or higher, you’ll be dealt one physical damage and lose a resource of your own! Ultimately, you must weigh the risks: attacking another survivor may win you the game, but can you overpower your enemies while surviving in turn?

Even though this is a competitive scenario, survivors can still team up to take down another survivor. During an attack, any survivor within two spaces can play support cards to assist the attacker or defender. Because everyone has access to these cards, forming these temporary alliances can be key to surviving long enough and claiming victory.

Weapons of War

Unlike the other four scenarios in Discover, no survivor has their own supply of project cards in the competitive scenario. Instead, all project cards are available for any survivor to craft throughout the game. With new dangers from your fellow survivors, crafted items that raise your defense or attack will be in high demand, but do you dare to fight for the scarce resources spread throughout your environment?

In this deadly environment, it will be the best prepared survivor who can rise above the rest. But you must always stay vigilant: harsh conditions and threatening enemies are still present, you’ll still be drawing night and threat cards, and if you aren’t careful, thirst and hunger may take you before the other survivors. 

When you’re not engaged with your opponents in combat, you’ll still be exploring your unfamiliar surroundings. While landmarks within the normal game offer very specific rewards and narrative experiences, exploring a landmark in the fifth scenario gives you a random exploration card to assist you in your quest. These cards may provide essential resources or give you more weapons to defend yourself, but regardless of what you find, these landmarks will be essential to your victory.

It’s only natural that survivors will be drawn to these landmarks in search of rewards, but once a landmark has been explored, it can never be explored again. If you want to find more exploration cards and gain an edge over your opponents, you’ll be driven to venture further and further into the wilderness. 

Last Survivor Standing

Though every copy of Discover: Lands Unknown features a competitive scenario, the exact contents of each game are unique. Crafted items, exploration cards, landmarks, enemies, night cards, survivors, and more can all be wildly different between copies of the game. But whether you find yourself under the scorching heat of a desert sun or surrounded by salt water as far as the eye can see, only the hardiest survivors can come out on top. Do you have what it takes to achieve victory?

Learn the key to survival with Discover: Lands Unknown (DSC01), available now for pre-order from your local retailer or our website!

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Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

By Fantasy Flight Games

Published 16 October 2018

|
Fallout

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

How to Get Along With Others in the Wasteland 

The sandy beaches of New California don’t attract as many people as they used to. Being covered in piles of radioactive waste will do that. It also means that you’ll be on your own as you wander the wasteland in the New California expansion for Fallout: The Board Game. Out here, everyone looks out for themselves, free to pursue their own agenda and gain influence however they see fit.

Order your own copy of New California at your local retailer or online through our website today!

This continues as you play through expanded versions of the four scenarios from the base game and the new Rise of the Master scenario with the twelve map tiles and other components included in this expansion. Every so often, though, you’ll come across someone—or something—that doesn’t want to eat you and take your stuff. If this should ever happen, you might even team up with these friendly souls and work together for the common good.

In addition to its other scenarios, New California also gives you the chance to gather a group of survivors and tackle a fully cooperative scenario. Here, what begins as an attempt to aid a small village in the wasteland soon sweeps you into an ever-evolving struggle that will determine the fate of New California. Along the way, you’ll have to coordinate with your fellow survivors to tackle the many challenges that appear down the branching paths you’ll wander.

Strap yourself in as we took a look at the challenges you and your chummy compatriots will face as you try to make the wasteland a better place!

Making Friends in the Wasteland

During any game of Fallout, a common thread is a struggle between freedom and security. Whether you side with the mysterious Institute while exploring the Commonwealth or back the Brotherhood of Steel in their struggle against the enigmatic Unity, each scenario offers different factions for you to ally with as you pursue your goals and look out for number one.

The New California cooperative scenario continues to explore this dichotomy… with several important twists. Rather than aligning with one side or the other, players work to aid the small village of Arroyo. Pushed to the edge of desperation by a terrible drought, the town has turned to anyone who will listen for help, and they need you to scour the wasteland in search of anything that could relieve their suffering. Luckily, you have heard whispers of a device that could combat the drought. Perhaps you can discover more by visiting the New California Republic…

In addition to the standard dangers of the wasteland, your efforts in this scenario will be opposed by the mysterious Enclave, who wish to spread their influence into New California from their base on the Poseidon Oil Rig far out at sea. Instead of beginning the game with agenda cards to guide you, you and your fellow survivors must work together to complete the main quest. What ensues could take you to a vault hidden beneath the surface of a lake, deep into the heart of the desert, or even onto the Enclave’s secretive oil rig.

As your search continues, a dramatic struggle plays out on the scenario’s power track. Completing quests pushes the freedom token along the power track, bringing you one step closer to victory. But any number of events—from a survivor being killed to an Enclave enemy activating—can cause the Enclave’s security token to advance on the track as their influence grows. If you’re not careful and the Enclave’s power token reaches the end of the track, you and your fellow survivors lose the game. 


Completing the main story quest will bring you one step closer to victory, while gaining a “Security” agenda will push the Enclave’s power token back, giving you more time to complete your goals!

Keep your chin up, though, things aren’t all bad. You can always help yourself even more by gaining agendas. Instead of tracking your influence in the wasteland, in this scenario agendas are another way for you to control the power tokens. Gaining an agenda with the “Security” title will move the security token one space backward on the power track while an agenda with the “Freedom” title advances the freedom token toward the end of the track. Better yet, all other agendas let you choose which effect to resolve. So go grab those agendas, hotshot, and save Arroyo! 

More Toys

Going up against the Enclave is no easy task, but luckily New California provides you with a host of 21 new asset cards that should make helping the citizens of Arroyo a bit easier. From weapons to companions to apparel, these cards give you the kick you need to go from zero to hero!

Weapons may be hard to come by in the wasteland, but—for the right price—some of the most powerful weapons you’ve ever seen can be yours. Need to wipe out a large group of Enclave Soldiers? Look no further than your handy

Missile Launcher!

 You can exhaust this weapon after you kill an enemy to kill each other enemy of equal or lower level in its space and each adjacent space. How’s that for making a splash?

If you prefer keeping your enemies a bit closer, you can always turn to a trusty

Rockville Slugger.

 You might not be able to blow anything up with this simple baseball bat, but you’ll still have the chance to knock your foes out of the park with this weapon, killing them before the fight even begins.

Not every encounter in the wasteland has to devolve into fisticuffs, of course. There are still a few civilized survivors out here and they prefer to deal with their problems with a

Bear Trap.

 You can use this card to place a Trap in your space. When an enemy moves into the space… well, let’s just say they won’t be leaving it any time soon.

Finally, you’ll need to do a bit of sleuthing while helping the residents of Arroyo, so it’s only fitting that you look the part. As soon as you don your

Detective’s Coat,

 you’ll get an automatic hit for every test that uses Perception. Additionally, you can exhaust this card at any time to look at the top two cards of the Loot deck, arranging them as you see fit to be sure you find what you’re looking for! 

Wasteland Saviors

Arroyo needs your help. Band together to tackle this challenge and you all might just become legends of the wasteland in this fully cooperative scenario for Fallout: The Board Game!

Look for New California (ZX03) at your local retailer in the fourth quarter of 2018. You can pre-order your copy at your local retailer or through our website here!

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©2017 Bethesda Softworks, a ZeniMax Media company.  All Rights Reserved.

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An Era of War!

By Paizo

Star Wars RPG: Rise of the Separatists—a new Era Sourcebook for the Star Wars Roleplaying Game—is now available for preorder!

Rise of the Separatists explores the early days of the Clone Wars, and is fully compatible with every Star Wars Roleplaying Game Line including Edge of the Empire, Age of Rebellion, and Force and Destiny!

Within this 144 page sourcebook, you’ll find expanded player character options, new weapons, gear, and vehicles, profiles of famous Clone Wars era characters and GM guidance for running a campaign in this era, and more!

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Ares to pre-release Battlestar Galactica – Starship Battles at Essen Spiel 2018

By Ares Games

Battlestar Galactica – Starship Battles Starter Set. Ares Games will be present at Essen Spiel 2018 (October 25-28, Essen, Germany) with several new games at booths E-100, in Hall 3, and C-130, in Hall 2. Battlestar Galactica – Starship Battles, the combat miniature game based on the Battlestar Galactica™ TV series, will pre-release at the show, with demos and a limited number of copies available for …

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How Does This Thing Work?

By Fantasy Flight Games

Published 15 October 2018

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KeyForge

How Does This Thing Work?

Exploring New Formats and Variants in the Dawn of Discovery

“But if we ever do recover the dataprobe, think of what we will learn!”

Great hordes of players across the world are eagerly awaiting the release of KeyForge. So are the countless players who have not yet found a KeyForge community but are ready, nonetheless, to begin their search for the Crucible’s many hidden Vaults. Are you one of them? You may be. And if you are, KeyForge Organized Play will be your link to the others.

The Organized Play program for KeyForge is designed to help you find more places to play, to meet more players, and to uncover the secrets of ever more Vaults. In fact, the game’s many secrets factor heavily into the first months of Organized Play—the era which shall henceforth be known as…

The Dawn of Discovery!

As you might have read in our introduction to KeyForge Organized Play, the Dawn of Discovery focuses on the exploration, discovery, and enjoyment of new decks—as well as the different ways you can play the game.

The truth is that because KeyForge is an entirely new species of game—a Unique Deck Game—it lends itself well to a wide variety of formats and variants, which arrange themselves, quite neatly, across the spectrum of casual to competitive.

Today, as we look forward to getting our hands on some of the game’s quadrillions of possible decks, we’ll take a closer look at its many formats and variants… some of the nigh-infinite ways you can go about exploring and enjoying your decks!

Hmm… We maintain that enjoyment is probably the most important part of the mix. All the same, before we get too deep into any discussion of the game’s formats and variants, let’s take a quick look at how the game stands apart:

  1. There is no deck-building.
  2. Every deck is unique.
  3. Every deck is generated according to an algorithm that guarantees the deck is playable.
  4. There are no resource costs to play your cards.
  5. There is a tremendous amount of skill potential in choosing the right House to activate, the right creatures to use, and the right cards to play (and the right order in which to play them).
  6. Reading the evolving “metagame” will be a uniquely challenging prospect for players coming to KeyForge from other card games.

Why do we raise these points before we address the game’s formats and variants directly? Because the Dawn of Discovery is all about exploring the myriad possibilities hidden within the game, within its cards, and within the different decks you might collect. The more you explore these things, the more you’ll see how all these points (addressed above) express themselves in your games.

For example, the sealed format is a long-time staple of competitive card games, and it will be a central part of KeyForge, as well. But “sealed” decks in KeyForge are quite different than those from other customizable card games. You don’t gather a random pool of cards and then build a deck from it; instead, you get a random deck.

Okay, so that’s a point…

When all your decks are completely unique, how is sealed any different than your standard Archon format match? It’s different because you’re not choosing the deck that features your favorite card combinations. You’re doing your best with whatever you open. You’re learning how to play the deck during the event. And your opponents are all learning how to play their decks during the event, as well.

Formats and Variants

There are two formats: Archon and Sealed.

  • In the Archon format, you choose the deck or decks you bring to an event.
  • In the Sealed format, you open one or more decks at the event and play with no advance knowledge of the deck’s strengths and weaknesses.

Simultaneously, each of the game’s variants offers a slightly different take on the value of your deck or decks, and many of these variants can be applied to either the Archon or Sealed format.

  • In the Reversal variant (also known as Best of the Worst), you and your opponent swap decks and play. This variant works because the algorithm behind deck creation ensures that every deck is playable. It can be illuminating because even if you lose, your deck wins, and you might learn how to play it better.
  • In the Auction variant, players place their decks into a common pool before the event and bid chains for the decks of their choice. You might see one deck that’s clearly better than the others, but how many turns will you be willing to deprive yourself of cards in order to play that deck?
  • In the Adaptive variant, you and your opponent play best two out of three. Game one, you use your deck. Game two, you use your opponent’s deck. If there’s a third game, you bid chains for the deck that won the previous two games.
  • In the Survival variant, you start with a number of decks (at a smaller event, this would typically be two) and play in normal tournament rounds… except that if you lose with a deck, that deck is eliminated, and you cannot play it again. In order to stay in the tournament, you need at least one deck to survive!
  • In the Gauntlet variant, you and your opponent each bring three decks to a best-two-of-three match, then choose one of your opponent’s decks to eliminate. To win the match, you must win with both of your two remaining decks.

And don’t forget all the variants that you and your friends might dream up… After all, the variants listed above are just some of the ways the game might be played, and each is a new concoction of decks and player skill and strategy and discovery.

Maybe not that one—but is there another variant you can dream up that might add more excitement and enjoyment to your games? You’ll have plenty of chances to try new variants during the Dawn of Discovery!

What Will You Discover?

Tournament play. Casual play. Archon. Sealed. Apply any variant you want. There’s no shortage of ways to enjoy KeyForge and its Organized Play.

Everything’s new. Everything’s still wafting through the air. Everything’s still to be decided. Decks to discover. Formats and variants to explore. Games to win. Vaults to open. Prizes to claim (which we’ll see later on). And that’s just where we’re going with…

The Dawn of Discovery!

The game’s future holds all manner of events and prizes. After all, this is a game set atop a planet that’s been assembled from the fragments of countless other planets. You have alien species, cities, cultures, and technology from all across the galaxy. And the game’s Organized Play program can draw from all of these.

So buckle up—the flying saucer’s about to belt off at full speed. Where are we headed next? You can keep up with our travels by following us on Twitter @FFGOP and #KeyForgeOP. And this week, we’re curious to hear which KeyForge format or variant excites you most!

No… The answer is not “Brobnar.” Brobnar isn’t even an option.

Okay, okay… We want to hear which KeyForge format or variant—or Brobnar—excites you most. But if you vote for Brobnar, beware the consequences!

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10:50 to Arkham

By Fantasy Flight Games

Published 15 October 2018

|
Mansions of Madness Second Edition

10:50 to Arkham

A Scenario Preview for Horrific Journeys

It is absolutely necessary, for the peace and safety of mankind, that some of earth’s dark, dead corners and unplumbed depths be let alone; lest sleeping abnormalities wake to resurgent life, and blasphemously surviving nightmares squirm and splash out of their black lairs to newer and wider conquests.
   –H. P. Lovecraft, At the Mountains of Madness

Order your own copy of Horrific Journeys at your local retailer or online through our website today!

To protect your city, you must leave it behind. In Horrific Journeys, you and your team of investigations are tasked with solving three eldritch mysteries—aboard a bustling transatlantic airship, a luxury ocean liner, and a scenic countryside train. You will contend with cultists, hideous amphibian monsters, and even interdimensional creatures tearing holes in the fabric of reality in three brand-new scenarios that will challenge you like never before.

In the first of three scenarios, a simple train ride to Arkham quickly turns perilous when passengers begin to disappear! You must solve the mystery of your fellow passengers’ final fates before you, too, are lost forever. But before you climb aboard, we invite you to take a closer look at the thrills and the dangers ahead.

Today, we’re pleased to offer you a preview of the 10:50 to Arkham scenario from the Horrific Journeys expansion for Mansions of Madness—now available for pre-order at your local retailer or online through our website!

A Vanishing Act

Steam hisses and metal creaks as the 10:50 to Arkham lumbers out of the station. Shadows grow long and the sun’s light fades as the train winds through the New England countryside. Your most recent investigation has left you a bit rattled, but your friend and fellow investigator Harriet seems to be particularly on edge. As you sit down to supper in the dining car, she keeps looking over her shoulder despite the car being mostly empty.

You try to ignore her odd behavior, chalking it up to frayed nerves, but she soon pulls out her journal and begins outlining a wild conspiracy theory. She insists that there is some strange force at work and, pointing to several other passengers in the dining car, claims that this force connects both you and the people on this specific train. Harriet is not usually one for mad theories, so this shift in her demeanor is particularly alarming. You reach out, attempting to calm your friend and ask her what exactly is going on. But just as you do, the lights in the train flicker out. When they return a moment later, Harriet has disappeared!

Now, one friend short, you must put the pieces together to figure out what exactly happened to Harriet and what connects her, and you, to your fellow passengers. Was she taken? Did she run? She can’t be far—there are only so many cars on this train. She can’t have just vanished into thin air… right?

Beyond Your Reach

If you climb aboard the 10:50 to Arkham, you cannot be sure that the sleepy town in the Miskatonic River Valley will be your final destination.This scenario introduces a new mechanic to Mansions of Madness Second Edition in the form of rifts. These new tokens represent weakness in the barriers of reality, which you must be careful to either evade or close, lest you be sucked in and disappear from this dimension.

As an action, you may attempt to close a rift by testing your lore. If you succeed, you may discard the rift, saving both you and your team members from a terrible fate. But if you fail or perform any action in a rift’s space other than moving, you will become

Lost in Time and Space.

 If this happens, your investigator is removed from the board! No one can come save you, and there is no telling where or when you will end up. You may find yourself journeying to the future, the past, or another world entirely. The only hope of finding your way back is to test your skills against your new environment. You may need recall a location’s history or ask for help from the people around you. But in any case, you cannot allow yourself to panic. The people of Arkham need you. You cannot abandon them now!

Strangers on a Train

Is Harriet’s theory correct? Is there some force uniting you with strangers aboard the 10:50 to Arkham? The only way to find out is to pack your bags and board the train. You may not know where the journey will lead you, but that is how the greatest adventures begin!

Pre-order your copy of Horrific Journeys (MAD27) at your local retailer today or online through the Fantasy Flight Games website here!

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