Philosophy of Fragility
Ganidiirsi Dirgushii, Buddy, Liach, T’zen and Giiar, Voypa. Lot of “i’s” and a couple “y’s”. Obviously, what these four have in common is having 2 instead of the far more common 3.
Well, in the beginning, in the long, long ago, didn’t have . were either “wounded” or removed from play (we hadn’t adopted the word jettison, yet, either) by effects. This didn’t give much flexibility when designing and . It also didn’t give us a dial that we ended up using to attempt to balance cards.
We have a point system for designing . That might be a topic for another article or it might remain “need to know” so that people will always wonder. One of the ways we adjust the point total is taking into account drawbacks.
Only having 2 is a big deal. The card pool has many more ways of generating 2 than getting to 3. Where other may require two cards to remove (or more), can expect these four to be fairly easy to remove with a single card. Or, require some effort to make harder to remove.
Ganidiirsi originally had a far more annoying ability, an ability so annoying that we looked for ways to make him easier to remove. While he may not be the pest he was originally, his ability can still cost or even stall a captain for a round. That’s dangerous.
Now, there is not a ton of in the card pool, yet, and any new character may replace Ganidiirsi in decks. That this card is so easy to remove may have been developer overreaction. If it was, I guess I’ll admit to being fallible.
One thing Ganidiirsi does have going for him is that we may make Vilani or Noble matter more (in positive ways). If he doesn’t shine as bright today, perhaps tomorrow.
It’s easy to design cards with lots of abilities or powerful abilities. What is needed, though, in customizable card games, are baseline cards. Inexpensive to play, simple to use.
Buddy was an attempt to compensate for a lot of stronger . Relatively low cost, high [ assignment would be another good article]. The precise order of when we gave him 2 and when we gave him 2 is something I probably don’t have in notes, but Buddy was all about exploring design space, the space of the not clearly good card.
To be honest, I haven’t used his special ability hardly at all. Where I find Buddy interesting is in psychology. Will he absorb wounding effects because those effects are more likely to remove him from play? Can that be used to distract an opponent? If you see a laser rifle across the board, maybe just use him for 2. One thought on deck construction is to strive for maximum in cards and deemphasize reliance on having in play for the panoply of skills.
I wouldn’t expect Buddy to achieve as much with the Scout deck, where are at a premium even if going for a high build. I expect Buddy to be run in heavy decks as more of an emergency attached to 2.
Voypa comes up first because Droyne came up before Lamura and because Voypa is a really interesting card in my local metagame.
Voypa is really powerful. That we created a subplot that gives +3 using Voypa’s exact skills is pure genius … or could be seen as pushing the envelope. Regardless, Voypa exists. So, it’s a consideration of mine quite often as to whether to run Voypa for 5 or plan on removing Voypa to prevent 3 .
All of the aliens in the Aliens expansion involved our discussing how to use RPG source material to try to make the aliens more flavorful and be true to the IP. Droyne quickly led to Concealed but also led to 2 not just as a balancer but as flavor.
Voypa not only has the 2 balancer but is also one of the few cards with 0. And, yet, I still put Voypa in decks, so I feel like this is a win. Plus, sweet art.
Liach, T’zen and Giiar
Basis for 2 is that this has similarities to Ganidiirsi in that we wanted players to have answers to cards with powerful effects.
I rarely see Liach, T’zen and Giiar removed from play, but, then, to be fair, a lot of my decks have restrictions placed on them that other players wouldn’t work with. The nature of the special ability and providing multiple skills somewhat works against each other, but the versatility of the card is high. And, there exists recursion (returning cards from the discard pile) in Traveller. Can be very much an easy go, easy come card in a certain type of deck.
Would Liach, T’zen and Giiar be balanced at 3? Not easy to remove, provides good return on investment, and has a swingy special. We could have raised their cost, but that’s the advantage of having another dial to turn on cards – we don’t have to rely as much on cost to balance cards and we can make cost-to-benefit far more interesting.
So, in summary, the primary reason to have crew with 2 was to give another factor in balancing cards, to be able to make a wider range of costs for given abilities. However, it also came into design when flavor suggested it.
Now, don’t you want to go out and build a deck with all four?