Saturday, June 18, 2016

FissureVerse: Starving and Steel get art

Thanks to Vincent Lefevre for allowing me to use his art!

Starving, Steel
Starving and Steel. Click to enlarge.
Starving gets an art update, but the rest of the card remains the same. I decided that I needed to update the art of a few cards now that FissureVerse is thematically coming together more.

Steel is a new Frenzy added to the pile to round out the Frenzy effects. I've also reinserted Distortion, and added a couple of new ones: Malicious and Unblinking. Malicious is a simple +1 Fire, and Unblinking is a simple +1 Water. I still have four more Frenzies I'll be adding, but they need names first.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

FissureVerse: 4 cards get art

Thanks to Trung Ta Ha for the art, who offers his work for free for non-commercial purposes.

The Signpost, Abyss of Emptiness, Path of the Righteous
Click to see bigger. All Blue today!
The Signpost had to be abstract in some ways, and my placeholder art even showed something like a two-headed creature as the Signpost itself. Both pieces work, but I think this final one works better for the Location being Emptiness' card: it's more soothing than scary.

Abyss of Emptiness gets a nice reboot. It adds the dimension of futility to the beliefs of the Blue faction. They believe that when all ends, there is nothing you can do. But they look into the Abyss with content.

Path of the Righteous keeps its old adage, but gets a new take on the art. Although I liked the seaward spin of the old art, perhaps too much water imagery might overwhelm the faction. This art is more of the lonely stuff like Trail of Emptiness, so it works with other cards of the sort on a more cohesive level.

Dripping was always tough because it always was abstract in the first place, so finding some solid art became a challenge. I considered 'dripping' to mean drooling sometimes, or slimey, but none of those worked for an Emptiness card. This art works far better, and goes along with the blue 'Of The Sea' theme. With the stat loadout, I expect it to be the kind of card that requires some skill to use well, with a quick Frenzy attached. But that's alright; not every card should be equally valuable in all situations.

Next log: Starving & Steel

Sunday, April 3, 2016

FissureVerse – Five Cards get Art

Thanks to Markus Härma, Riina Koivusalo, and Carl Beu for the art!

The Noisemaker, Shortened
Click to see bigger.
While most Crusader cards are alien races, a few of them are spaceships, and I've been having tons of trouble finding really standout ships that look completely unique. This art by Markus almost became Blue's Pirateship, but I decided it had the feel of The Noisemaker better, especially since of the gaping mouth of the thing. All the sharp teeth and pointy bits on it is very Noise-like. For flavor text, I had considered “Here comes the boom” (The Noise's slogan), or “Come on, feel the noise” (with or without misspellings), but I decided on something that sounds a bit more like a chant with big rolling bass drums behind it, the kind of chant you'd get from a galley of rowers.

With that, I'm now half done with Red Crusaders!

I also always knew I'd have troubled with the Frenzy Shortened, because it's a very abstract term (as are, like, half of them). This art by Riina is actually twice as tall and would not fit within the space, which makes the android inside seem like he's butting up against the top of the frame. I think it all works very well with the theme of the card. The name of the piece of art is “Thorns”, and it gave me the inspiration for the flavor text (that, and I'd recently read Shakespeare's Henry VI trilogy, which is about the War of the Roses).

Observatory of the Infinite, Gate of Influence, Earth

Observatory of the Infinite looks a bit more interesting as far as being a more futuristic look than a modern-day observatory (which was the original placeholder artwork). Now, like other Green locations, it has more of an Ivory Tower feel to it.

Gate of Influence has gotten a lot darker. Originally the concept was something akin to the pearly gates of Heaven, brought to a place in the universe. The mechanic involved was the idea that by performing a rogation (a religious ceremony), you'd be closer to the entity that hears it here, and you would be rewarded for it. Now, not only that, but I've changed the flavor text to indicate that Solidity has a lot more power (or believes they do) over even things beyond the scope of the universe. And, like I am fond of doing, I attributed the quote to a crusader.

Earth gets to be a place like Grime or the Plains of Filth, where the world is far more post-apocalyptic than other locations. To separate it a little from those, I made it a place that The Noise might like to use as their own little place of spectator recreation.

Next Log: Four cards get art...

Saturday, February 27, 2016

FissureVerse – Psalms gets art, and rules changes

Thanks to Joifiash for the art!

Click to see up close.
I considered making this art a Blue card, especially since it has a nature theme. But the concept of Psalms in the first place is a rather Blue-like idea, so it fits just as well here. For flavor text, I considered making a new verse to the Song of the Walkers, but a four line verse might not fit, so I opted for a tweak on the lullaby instead. Hmm... “Lullaby” might make a good name for a new Rogation...

I've made some significant changes to the rules. I've added a timer to the game to give a sense of urgency, but it is not based on a strict time time, but on a number of moves. So a player can spend as long as they want to move without affecting the timer. Instead, the timer works off the Location cards. A number of Tokens is placed in a stack near the Locations. When all the Locations have been revealed, and need to be shuffled, one Token is removed from the stack. When the Locations need to be shuffled but there are no more Tokens left, the game ends.

I've made the number of Tokens something that players can decide themselves. A short game uses no tokens, so the Locations are only each revealed once and never shuffled and redrawn. Or players could decide to make a long game with, say, ten tokens on the timer.

I've fixed quite a few little rules as well:

If a player must Reinforce, but has no Crusaders to Reinforce with, they must discard cards into their Fearful Pile until they find a Crusader to Reinforce with. This whittles down the player's deck, so finding another Crusader later is not a slog. This also has the benefit of making players think carefully about their ratio of Crusaders to other cards in their customized deck.

I also changed the rules so on the event of a tie when converting by fire, the defending Crusader does not survive, but rather goes into the defending player's own fearful pile. So it eliminates the card from play, yet it does not count toward the offensive player's score at the end of the game.

Lots of minor tweaks have been changed in the rules in an attempt to clarify and make things more logical. The game is getting complex enough that I will also start needing to make a FAQ about specific cards, to answer questions like “What happens if the first Location Card is Haven, and no one can Reinforce?” (Answer: Players can still play Rogations, so the Round is not a complete loss).

Lastly, to make the cards once again in line with some vocabulary changes, I'll need to go through all the cards and fix text on them. That comes later. I'm lazy!

Next log: five cards get art

Friday, February 19, 2016

FissureVerse – Four cards get art

Thanks to Thomas Stoop and Darya Kuznetsova for the art!

Scribes, Cavernous, Hysteria, Earthlings
Click to see bigger!
Back when I did The Noise's “Winged”, I left the text area blank. I think that each faction should have one silent card, like each should get one silent location. Scribes is the silent card for The Infinite. I like to think that they're too busy writing to say anything. Maybe I'll change that in the future and give them a proverb or something, but I like the calm, studious silence the art describes by itself.

Cavernous is therefore Yellow's silent card. I think the triumph of the art speaks enough for itself; you can almost hear the cinematic music playing in your head as this beast breaks through the rock and escapes from its prison. I also like how the background is cave-like, but it also imbue my original idea for what 'cavernous' meant: heartless, as in: there's a big empty cavernous void in the chest where a heart should go. It looks like you could take a look up through this guy's ribs if you wanted, and what you'd find there would be anything but a heart.

I really liked how “Through the Mud” came out, using a quote of a Crusader. I thought the same concept would work well for Hysteria, so I arrived at a quote of Solidity's propaganda (being that “Propagandists” is a yellow card). The art might once have been used for my original take on “The Cracked”, but it makes more sense I think to make it a Frenzy.

Earthlings has a similar theme to The Derelict: powerful in the hands of Solidity, more powerful in the hands of their enemies. For The Derelict, I hope to paint them as a brainwashed people that are abused and held down by Solidity, and as that's all they know, they think it right until shown otherwise. Earthlings, on the other hand, just like the blood in bloodsports. Their fair-weather fans of whatever team is winning, and will gladly join the fight anywhere they have the opportunity to deal some damage.

Next Log: Psalms gets art, and significant rules changes...

Friday, February 12, 2016

FissureVerse – Three cards get art

Thanks to Pierre Raveneau for the art!

Numerologist, Servants of the Noise
Click to see scary people!
I've swapped Numerologist & Prophet of Prophets. I suppose the concept of both characters are similar, in that they are both essentially fortune tellers, so the mechanics of either could be applied to either. The mechanics of Numerologist now suggest a person who studies and understands something complicated, but might have a difficult time explaining that, while the old mechanic (which is now Prophet of Prophets') suggests someone who gives an army a confidence boost by reading the future.

For Servants of the Noise, like any Servants card, I needed to find art that both looks like a prototypical example of the faction while simultaneously being perfectly balanced in all attributes. Seems to be a rather contradiction in itself, so that does make it sometimes tough to find art for. In this case, however, I think it works. I changed the flavor text to be shorter and punchier because the Noise are a faction of few words.

I came up with the ironic flavor text a while ago for Monument of Solidity, but now the art really works. It looks like an earthquake might have just happened beneath the monument, and it's ready to come down. I do suppose, however, since the monument didn't come down yet, Solidity is right in its quote, which might be scarier. Perhaps a servant of Emptiness wouldn't know whether to laugh or cry.

Next Log: Scribes, Cavernous, Hysteria, Earthlings...

Saturday, February 6, 2016

FissureVerse – Five cards get art, goal changes

Thanks to Esherymack, Victor Hugo Harmatiuk, and Mahea Rodrigues for the art!

Decomposing, Lifters, Irregularity, Corruption
Click to see big scary creatures!
Decomposing is a fairly simple card, so it didn't need to change much; the biggest trick was to find something that properly represented decomposition to something living. I could have gone with something leprous, of course, but the thing on this zombie's head gave me the impression of an experiment or it being applied, rather than happening naturally. I think it's therefore similar to Through the Mud.

Lifters has always been tough to find art for. I needed creatures that suggested brutal deviousness: brutal because they belonged to The Noise, and devious because they possessed some skill to increase the intelligence of other Crusaders, either by teaching, magic, or technology. I think these guys might lead by example. I opted for no flavor text because they seem like the silent type. Their gaze is enough to tell you how much they loathe you. Also, to keep Lifters in line with similar cards, I boosted their Reason stat.

Irregularity has had its water stat upped a tad to bring it in line with similar cards. I liked the carnival theme of the art, and I'm glad it ties to the Red Carnival Location card. I think that might become a bigger theme if the art comes my way to match. Of course, with a bloody red faction, there is but one ultimate reference to a carnival that can be used... perhaps my teenage self likes to wink at me from time to time.

Corruption has a similar theme to Decomposing as far as mechanics goes, so I tried to get something of a similar theme for both flavor text and card art. The difference being Decomposing is like a disease of the body, while Corruption is a disease of the mind.

Cosmic Disruption
Click to see, and read extra text.
Somehow I mixed up which artist (if any) disappeared off the face of the earth, and I accidentally replaced card art by Esherymack, who is still very much around. To make up for that mistake, I've gotten new art from Esherymack to use for a different card. Phew!

The only major difference between the old version of Cosmic Disruption and the new is that the special rules had to be more wordy to remove ambiguity, so the flavor text got chopped down.

I've also changed the rules for winning the game. I'd been having some trouble figuring out the most fair way of finding a winner. My first goal was for every player (but one) lose all of their Crusaders. While that's got a neatness to it, ultimately it might make for some exceedingly long games. So I had offered a timed game variant, which had players count up points after a certain period of time. While this also somewhat worked, there is the potential for a player who knows he's in the lead to take as long as possible to make a move, and thereby 'run out the clock'. My counter thought to this was to have what amounts to a shot clock, but really I don't like that idea at all.

So I've combined features of both goals into a unified normal objective. In two player games, one player will eventually lose all their Crusaders, and the other player will be the winner. But in three or four-player games (and I'm considering just saying the game is for three to four players, and leave the two player variant out), once one player has lost all their Crusaders, the remaining players count up points.

Lastly, the careful observer may notice the Base Set Components section of the manual (and in other places) got the number of Frenzies bumped up from 24 to 32. I came up with more Frenzies that are still fairly basic in nature, and compliment the current Frenzies, so I thought I'd include them in the base set, rather than save them for an expansion. Four of them still need names, so I'll introduce them slowly, as I get the art for them.

Next log: Three cards get art