Greetings! I’m Ken Nagle, design lead for Transformers TCG. Today I have a battle card reveal for War for Cybertron: Siege II, which is Wave 4 of our releases.
Spear and Magic Helmet
My first preview card today is Sturdy Javelin:
Sturdy Javelin was the final battle card designed for the set. In a previous Nagle’s Notes I wrote about cards having jobs, and one of the final things missing from Wave 4 was making the traits on the cards matter.
Traits (like Melee, Insecticon, Helicopter, etc) don’t have any intrinsic function in the system rules, they only matter if a card says so. When we were first designing the game, various meanings for Ranged and Melee were tried but we scrapped all that functionality so we could “solve it on cards in the future.” Game designers often take the easy solution now at the expense of future game designers’ harder solutions.
To fill the final slot, there was a mixed bag of goals.
- Needs to be an Upgrade, and a Weapon preferably.
- Needs a white icon to have enough of those.
- Uncommon, so it doesn’t need to always work in the Turbo format, but it should work at least half the time.
My first instinct was to design a weapon that behaves differently for the 2 most numerous character traits – Ranged and Melee. What’s a weapon that has both a ranged attack and a melee attack? I asked Creative Lead Matt Smith if we could make this a “Spear” or if that’s too anachronistic. Matt replied he could make it work and was thankful I already had a concept in mind that wasn’t another blaster since we’d spent much of our creative juices coming up with Turbo Boards and Beetle Masks and other sideways concepts.
So, Sturdy Javelin has a Melee mode (stab!) and a Ranged mode (throw!). Almost every character in the game is either Ranged (largest group), Melee (middle group), OR Specialist (smallest group) and none are two or three of them. There are a handful of characters that can flip back and forth between Ranged and Melee who add extra nuance to this weapon. However, Specialists don’t really understand the Sturdy Javelin – no bonus for them.
Earlier in our set designs, we also wanted some mechanics specifically for each Trait, something like:
- Ranged – better direct damage cards like Marksmanship
- Melee – better attack and defense bonuses like Power Sword + Body Armor
- Specialist – other “non-battle” things like playing extra cards and drawing extra cards
We didn’t hold tight to these mechanic separations (see Energon Slingshot as a Melee damage card) because direct damage is the best mechanic in the game since that’s how you win and it’s even better if you’ve got a lot of it. Also, the Specialist extra plays/draws mechanic can reach a combo critical mass and then it becomes the best mechanic in the game.
So, now we spread around new cards among the traits a little more evenly and rely more on top-down cards like Sturdy Javelin to make it “feel good” that your character has the right trait at the right time.
Today we saw the new preview of Sturdy Javelin helping out both Melee and Ranged characters in War for Cybertron: Siege II.
I’ve previewed the final battle card on my Twitter account here.
Thanks for reading this preview. I hope you enjoy War for Cybertron: Siege Part II on sale November 8th.
Until next time, may you bring a tool that does both jobs.