Balance Changes: Round Three

August 14th, 2014 at 2:21 am

After another round of testing balance changes, we have another set of tweaks to them. We’re working on ironing out the obvious problems with our changes, and we think we’re making good progress.

We’re really grateful to all the playtesters who helped us identify issues and come up with solutions to them. The following are the main changes we’ve made on the test server.

Encumber + Speed Boosts

Last balance patch, we made it so that you could always move at least 1 with encumber. This created weird situations where, if you were encumbered 4, you could use a Walk to move 1–and then speed boosts, such as those from Energizing Move would apply, often boosting your movement above what it should be with encumber. We’ve changed this so that boosts and encumber are summed before ensuring that a character can move at least 1. This should be a mostly invisible change that makes the interaction between these two card types a bit more intuitive.

Cause Fumble / Defender’s Block

Cause Fumble proved dominant on the test server, at least against melee parties. Two- or three-elf parties became very strong when facing warriors, stacking Cause Fumble to prevent the opponent from doing anything. We want Cause Fumble to be playable, and playability seems to be based on reliability, so we didn’t want to make it hard to trigger. So, we removed the card draw and decreased the trigger roll to 3: the card will now usually block an attack, but it’ll never produce card advantage.

  • Cause Fumble: Changed trigger to 3+, removed card draw.

Also, both Cause Fumble and Defender’s Block were changed to, once more, care about facing. The exact rules can be confusing, but we’ve rewritten the cards to explicitly require the necessary facing.

Cause Fumble


We felt harnesses needed a buff to be playable, and we pushed them a lot by making them not count toward your hand size limit at the end of the round. This had two downsides: it made Officer’s Harness irrelevant and terrible, and it made Enchanted Harness way too strong. It also clogged up hands. In light of issues, both on paper and in practice, we’ve decided to revert the stacking change to harness armor cards.

That is to say, harness cards besides Officer’s Harness will once again count toward your hand size limit.

Rare Penetrating Sparks

We tried to make these cards more ‘rare’ by making them penetrating. This proved to be too big a push, as we suddenly had ranged attacks that both were hard to block and ignored armor. We wanted these cards to gain a cool effect, but didn’t want to push them as hard we had.

Deadly Spark

Punishing Bolt

This card can do a lot of damage. At a lot of range. And you can carry a lot of it in your deck if you have the right cards. That’s too many lots—playtesting showed that a critical mass of Punishing Bolts was too punishing, and we reined them in a bit.

  • Punishing Bolt: Reduced range to 4.


The one ‘answer’ to Dodge has traditionally been encumber effects which rendered it ineffective. Our recent change to encumber made it so that an encumbered character can always move at least one square—in other words, it completely removed any counterplay to Dodge. We’ve rectified that by making Dodge explicitly fail if you are encumbered.

Elven Trickery

Elven Trickery was originally printed as an incredibly strong card to make up for the fact that elves were underperforming. We’ve tried to deal withs some of elves’ traditional weaknesses at a better level, one which rewards them for having better racial moves, with some of our changes to control and step cards. In light of these changes, Elven Trickery became a huge bomb on the test server. Elves saw a lot of play and did really well, and a lot of playtesters noted that Elven Trickery was unfun to play against—and, in light of other nerfs, unfair. We decided to change it to reduce its potential card advantage while increasing its relevance.

  • Elven Trickery now moves 3 with free move, and, at the end of your move, each adjacent enemy discards their oldest Attack card.

Quick Scuttle

Scuttle was a boring and bad rare, and we pushed it too far when we made it cantrip. A lot of playtesters coupled it with Obliterating Bludgeon and other high-damage cards to perform devastating combos. We had to roll back the cantrip bonus, but we still wanted to buff this card relative its original function, so we made it fly instead of free move, allowing you to move over impassable terrain.

As an added bonus, you can change your facing at the end of your move—if you sneak behind an enemy, you won’t automatically turn your back to them.

As a result of these changes, it no longer makes sense to call Quick Scuttle the same – it’s being renamed to “Leap”.


Minor Tweaks

  • Twin Heals was buffed too far in the original set of changes—this was an error. We reduced its healing from 4 to 3. We also buffed Heal‘s heal amount from 4 to 5, in order to make it more deserving of its quality without pushing it too far.
  • We nerfed the damage on Jumpspark back to its original 2 in order to keep it in check. The card remains penetrating.
  • Barge has received a damage bump in order to make it a more viable attack card for warriors.
  • Pushback Parry & Sparkling Cloth Armor were originally printed as answers to step attacks. Now that step attacks have had their distance reduced, these cards allowed too much movement. Pushback Parry had its push amount reduced to 2; Sparkling Cloth Armor had its move amount reduced to 2.

Test it Out

Don’t forget that you can try out these changes now on the test server! There may even be prizes for people who help us; check the testing forums for details.

4 Responses to “Balance Changes: Round Three”

  1. Does the change to speed boost/penalty calculation mean that movement range previews will be based on how far you’ll actually move? That always kind of bugged me.

  2. I like the new changes! Congratulations for the game, and thanks for your exceptional work.

  3. @Hapax – I don’t believe that this change will affect that, sorry. Display of available movement when encumbered (and cancellation of move cards) is a thing that will take a lot more work when we get around to it.

  4. I am happy with the changes even if the 2nd age of D-wiz is coming fast. Boo 2 Toughness on a 25 hp wizard.
    Could someone do a final summary of the changes either here or on the forums? I feel like I have lost track of all the changes and there really needs to be a single place to review them all in the final state (and probably a link to them in the game itself at least temporarily).

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