Greetings, fellow humans! I’m Ken Nagle, design lead for TransformersTCG. Our next release is Titan Masters Attack!, which is Wave 5 of our releases.
Today I have a character, a Stratagem, and two battle cards to preview that should help in battles to come. My theme today is that you can play all of these cards together.
Let’s start with what everyone is here for – the character reveal. Introducing Autobot Outback:
Outback is here as one of the “normal” characters in Titan Masters Attack. We took this opportunity to make an “Autobot Upgrader” character since there’s plenty of room in the game for this besides just Jetfire.
Over time, it’s been proven by our players that Upgrades are sort of the inferior versions of Actions. Actions happen immediately and (for the most part) the opponent can’t stop them. Upgrades can kind of happen immediately but there are far more chances for your opponent to stop them. It doesn’t help that we’ve made plenty of Upgrades that happen just once like an Action.
Autobot Outback tries to reward putting upgrades on him. We started with a new mechanic from Robots In Design author Scott Van Essen where you can save your upgrades if you have another one. You can see it here:
We’ve realized players are not going to invest very heavily in upgrading their characters when there’s plenty of opportunities for the opponent to disrupt it. We want disruption – we like interaction during gameplay. We’ve tried before with say Indestructible Sword:
Autobot Outback is where we’re turning it up a notch with upgrade stickiness on the character. It “feels” more like a battle that way. However, this new “scrap to save” mechanic makes things more unpredictable since you can trade in a card for tempo. My favorite part is the opponent might not know if it’s a good idea or bad idea to try to scrap the upgrade since the matching weapon/armor/utility requirement has a little bit of bluffing to it.
Since he’s a normal character in Wave 5, Autobot Outback gets his own Stratagem:
You can play this stratagem for 1 star alongside Outback as part of your team. The Systems Enhancement will help find the upgrade you’re looking for in battle. It’s a multi-use Stratagem so if you keep Outback safe until he’s your last character it should help you greatly turn after turn.
My next preview card is a simple battle card that should help keep your Outback healthy and happy:
Enhanced Power Cell is the kind of card you want to play at the opportune time just before your character might get KO’d. We’ve only recently added in “extra health points” cards and we like how they give a big “repair 3 damage” feeling to your character’s overall health but also not actually being a repeatable way to keep gaining health.
It may seem odd when I say this, but I promise you we’ve fought plenty of “nothing happens” playtest games using repair cards and repair characters that were overly pushed. It’s a fine line to walk.
Enhanced Power Cell also creates a fun moment if you can use a utility removal card to suddenly drop a character into KO range. Don’t let it happen to you – make sure Outback has another Utility ready in hand to scrap.
My final preview card adds to what we started with. Introducing Emergency Repair Patch:
I’ve mentioned in the past that armors are a place we’re looking to improve. Remember this card from the past:
We make cards like Armored Plating for newer players just learning the game. I’ve taught plenty and it’s important to see the process. What’s more, there’s also a mastery loop going on – you can use Armored Plating in any deck, but after you’ve selected your favorite team, there’s bound to be something better for that team.
We want to bring up the stats of the baseline here, though, and we still feel that +2 defense is too much especially when newer unfocused decks without a game plan battle. Now, we’ve added an additional repair 1 for Autobots.
There is a more nuanced part of game design going on here. Each set, we try to get the factions on the cards where we can so it feels like Autobots battling Decepticons. I would say the set/cards/gameplay doesn’t feel “Transformers-y” enough when we’re too low on this axis. We’ve gone overboard on some of these designs in the past, so there’s definitely a limit. But since Emergency Repair Patch has 3 parts – a blue battle icon, +1 defense armor, and a repair 1 effect, the factioning is maybe 1/3rd of the card. Any amount of factioning lets us use the great Autobot and Decepticon card frames, which is always a win to me.
If you can find ways to move or reuse Emergency Repair Patch then you get to repair extra damage. Perhaps you’ll discover that excessive repairing deck I keep hinting about.
That’s it for today’s previews. What do you think of Autobot Outback, Systems Enhancement, Enhanced Power Cell, and Emergency Repair Patch? You can @NorrYtt me on Twitter to get me to post something there.
Thanks for reading my article. Titan Masters Attack! goes on sale April 17th. I can’t wait!
Until next time, stay healthy out there – if you’re sick, I hope you find an Emergency Repair Patch that works on humans.