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Old February 2nd, 2018, 12:46 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Bol by @The Dewk

The game currently has two 10-point filler units, one that feels like she's only worth 10 points and another one that wins games. That actually makes the niche fairly crowded already, but I'm game to try something new.

Balance

The only way to evaluate a 10-point filler unit is by comparing it against other 10-point filler units, though it is definitely worth considering that Bol synergizes with the Nottingham Brigands. Move, Range, Attack, and Defense all match Otonashi. Both have a situational attack boost, a form of Disengage, and an occasionally useful other power. Seems to fit in well.

Theme

Goblins have only been found under evil generals so far, and traditionally goblins are evil creatures. But it's common in fantasy, including D&D, for individuals to go against the mold and stand on their own, so a lone goblin on the side of good isn't particularly strange. That he is a Tricky Rogue with opportunistic abilities plays into that as well, as he still feels goblinish, just less evil than most.

The miniature, while tiny and visually fits with the other goblins, stands out with his different skill color.

Creativity

Opportunism is the key ability that makes Bol stand out. It's a clever way to get free order markers on a unit that normally wouldn't get any until he's the only one left. It gives him some real value in the necessary comparison with Isamu; while Bol doesn't have Isamu's potential, it's nice to get a consolation prize for losing order markers.

In general I push back against 4-power cards, as it usually suggests overdesign. In Bol's case, Scale is pretty much necessary, and Disengage is pretty common and almost necessary for his type of unit. Ankle Shank is the take-it-or-leave-it power of the set, being situational and not especially powerful. It does give him a little extra kick, both in terms of value and theme, and all of the powers are very easy to remember. So he gets a pass.

Playability

On his own, Bol doesn't do much, as you'd expect. A single melee attack of 2 isn't worth putting order markers on unless you don't have anything else. He could possibly be used to take a glyph, but he doesn't have the defenses to hold it for long. Ankle Shank isn't potent enough to make Bol a viable threat to make an opponent play around him or overextend to kill him.

If you have Unique Heroes you put order markers on it's nice to have Bol around. It's almost always a downgrade of your order marker to have it fall on Li' Yellow, but it's certainly better than losing it entirely. Of course, just running forward is likely to get Bol killed before he does anything, but Opportunism tends to be more useful in the late stages of a game when you may find yourself relying on the little guy anyway. If you're really lucky you'll get a free swing at one of your opponent's big fellows.

A Nottingham Brigand army seems like a perfect fit for Bol, but I found it disappointing at best. First, Brigands are not Unique, and that's where the order markers are in a Rogue army. Which means Bol's best attribute, free turns from Opportunism, is not in play. Yes, he can get bonding turns from the Brigands, but not as long as there is at least one other Rogue to bond with as Bol is almost always the worse choice. Not that he's entirely unhelpful here, though: he's still a Rogue and he's still only 10 points.

Summary

As a 10-point filler, Bol is pretty neat, though rarely worth taking over Isamu. That's fine; I wouldn't want another Isamu in the game, and it would be nice to have another decent option available. In Hero-heavy armies he's a nice addition, and doesn't hurt in most other armies either.

I vote Yea to induct Bol into the SoV.
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