Every now and again, someone comes along and suggests something that makes me stop and think. Not because it’s bad, but because they came up with an interesting idea and I can’t help but sit there and marvel at the brilliance of the idea. I’ve had several card ideas come up based on suggestions. There’s a handful of weapons, events, and Condemned that have come up based on feedback from users. Like that draft at Adventure Loot Games last month. Remember this?

Everyone at that event gave me ideas for cards. I built most of them into the second expansion, so they likely won’t see play for a while, but they provided some great ideas and I would be a fool to turn down a great idea. But this isn’t why I wrote this post. It’s about someone else. Someone else who had an even better idea, and it’s so good that I’m actually updating the rules to implement it.

Last month, I made what some people would consider a stupid decision. I talked about The Condemned on 4Chan. Yep, I delved into the wretched hive of scum and villainy, and wrote about The Condemned. I talked about what I made in /acg/, the Alternative Card Games General. It’s a catch-all thread that talks about anything that’s not Magic, Pokemon, or Yu-Gi-Oh. There’s a few other indie devs in there, too. The response is anywhere from “your game sucks” to “you’re doing a great job and I’m so excited to see where you go with this.”

Such is the case here. I quickly developed my share of haters. One anon took interest in the idea, and bought a starter set and a booster box! I was over the moon that he did this, and he loved the concept! But he had some major (and valid) criticisms of the game. One of the ones that stuck out to me was that Armor really tends to be an all or nothing affair. There’s no reason for someone to target armor as long as there’s an opening. I take a very Chekhov’s Gun approach to my game design and development. If you’re going to include a mechanic, it needs to have a reason to be there. Anything without a raison d’etre should be removed. But I don’t want to remove Armor. I want it to be valuable. Adding value in this way shouldn’t be difficult, either.

In looking at the overall Armor in Enter The Arena, one card stood out as a great example of a “Target me before targeting anything else” kind of card. It’s pictured to the left. And realistically, I could have made it without Shielding and it still would have been a card that would be targeted instead of the Condemned. Being able to discard a card to draw two is still rather powerful in this game, despite all the card draw available to you. It’s a discard engine, it gives more than it takes, and it’s something you will want to deny your opponent having. And I realized that I need more cards like that. There’s a handful in the first expansion, which I’m currently play testing. I can’t wait to show you what I’m working on, but I’ll leave that for a later time. Let’s keep focusing on this rule change for right now.

But in addition to making Armor that players will want to target, this anon had another idea. I tested it out at Anime Fusion last weekend. In testing the rule change, I found that it improved game feel dramatically. So much so, I’m going to codify it into the rules, effective immediately:

Armor equipped to a Condemned will take 1 damage instead of the Condemned.

It’s such a small, simple change, but it has huge impacts. This means that if you have one Armor equipped, you take one less damage and your Armor takes one damage for you. If you have two pieces of armor equipped, you take 2 less damage and each Armor card takes 1. This gives vanilla cards with lots of Durability more use, and makes the decision whether or not to take that off hand attack a much bigger choice. You might parry, you might just let your Armor deal with it! Plus, I already have an idea for a new keyword that will allow Armor to absorb more damage, giving players even more reason to target it over the Condemned!

I’m sure some of you are asking how this will affect McGimble. McGimble’s wording will not change as a result of this. The implications, on the other hand, are exactly as you think they are. He takes 1 less damage for each Armor card equipped. But the Armor will not receive any damage! You’ll need to bust through his Armor or risk your damage not going through. Decisions, decisions…

I plan to update the rule book with this change very soon. You should see it in Tabletop Simulator shortly. I’ll also update the How To Play video on Youtube with this change. Look for that in the near future. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in The Arena!

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