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Old January 9th, 2022, 02:56 AM
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Sir Heroscape Sir Heroscape is offline
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Join Date: September 14, 2015
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

After roughly 1.5yrs of design and playtesting... @Leaf_It and I have come here with what we believe to be a great addition to the canon.

Leaf_It and I submit the High Dune Scorpions



Climb the highest dune in the Skeldor Desert, disturb the sands of the Blasted Lands, and you will hear them coming.

High Dune Scorpions are the Fake Plastic Scorpions from Cooplay.

Balance
This was the biggest hurdle. For many months we knew the theme, we knew the basic statline (mostly...sometimes it changed), we knew what we wanted...but we just couldn't get the balance right with the power set. Previous iterations made the sting ability too offensively strong, others made carapace the signature ability and made them nigh unkillable and yet others just didn't play like a scorpion squad would. What we have here, is truly the most balanced we could get within the design space we were going for.

Potential Issues we faced with this design, and overcame with the current iteration:
  • Estivara (Venomous Sting impact). As Arachnids, she'd get them an attack boost that we couldn't ignore. So, we had to make the attack power weak enough not to make her a auto-draft in their armies but not so weak that the design was unexciting. The current iteration does this. With just 2 attack dice, their ability to bypass defense rolls is VERY exciting (and terrifying), but doesn't necessarily make you want Estivara in the army. She will increase dice rolled, but at the cost of activating their power less. While she may still be a strong draft choice, we wanted to make sure the design had a reason NOT to draft her (higher chance of autowounds) in order to balance them.

  • Raelin (Carapace impact). As a 4-figure common squad with a defensive ability, we really needed Raelin to be accounted for. Raelin of course is good for the D and A tier figures...but we wanted to make sure the design didn't have built-in advantages to taking Raelin. In other words, we didn't want a defensive ability that scaled stronger the more defense dice you roll (Tough or Warforged Resolve LOVE Raelin). Carapace allows for this. We wanted Carapace to be an occasional, thematic and useful ability that showed up but wasn't the signature ability of the design. As-is, we feel we've accomplished that. No matter if on Shadow, height, next to Jungle or in Raelin's aura, Carapace remains the same. It only ever allows you to re-roll 1 dice that did no show a shield. In fact, you only ever roll for Carapace if you've failed to block a 1 skull attack or nearly failed to block an attack. AND Raelin's aura (and other defense buffs like height) only ever help you block the initial attack from an opponent (just like any other unit), while Carapace is only rolled for in the even you've failed that initial defense. Defense bonuses and Raelin really just make it more likely to block an attack, not necessarily more likely to need to roll for Carapace. We've witnessed that in our games where with or without Raelin we roll Carapace 6-10ish times a game out of 24-30ish defense rolls. It's pretty consistent regardless of Jungle/Shadow/Raelin.

Playability
The simplicity is rich here. The design reuses one established power and another power that's similar to what we've seen from Kiova. This card is not difficult to figure out or understand. They are a fun and useful squad that can be the center of an army or splashed in as a small screen/sharky attack force.

Creativity
We've taken something simple and well known (a scorpion) and brought it to life into the Heroscape world with accurate abilities of how we'd expect a Scorpion to operate. That's creativity. We didn't need to give them magic missiles or anything fancy, as that doesn't "fit" the mini or theme we've that needs to be portrayed. Sometimes being creative can be designing something that is expected, but in the best and most accurate way possible.

Theme
They are a perfect size for Heroscape. Their coloring is good and matches what you'd expect to see in the High Dunes which is where we've placed them; on an established world with a barren wasteland: Arctorus and the Blasted Lands. Their abilities are absolutely perfect for what they do and it comes through in gameplay. Venomous Sting is accurate and useful, and Carapace - while not armor - does assist as a softer exoskeleton-type shell. The defensive ability shows up on occasion to make a save, but does not impose itself upon the design. Carapace for creatures like this is useful, but doesn't do much for a Giant stomping on them.

Accessibility
VERY AVAILABLE for a common squad

Amazon can max out your cart (24 sets of 20)
$5 for 20 minis (5 squads) = $1 per squad

Walmart can max out your cart (12 sets of 100)
Multiple listings $18-$19 for 100minis (25 squads) = $0.72 per squad

Lots of eBay listings


Additional Comments/Considerations:
  • The original minis come with their tails a little flatter and off to the side. The minis are a soft plastic and very malleable and easy to reshape. If desired for a little more dynamic look, it literally takes a couple minutes with a hair dryer to heat up the tail and prop it upright.

  • Playtesting showed these guys hanging around the B- to B range. They occasionally went toe to toe with A stuff (usually lost though), other times losing to low tier stuff...but generally hanging around where we'd expect them to in the B range.

  • In-game decisions. This design makes for very interesting in-game decisions. Often you're faced with the predicament of either taking height (usually advantageous for most units) or remaining same/low ground to get a higher chance of pulling off the sting. I found this very good for the design as it made for greater depth of choice during gameplay. Look for that as you test.

  • Non-bonding squad

  • The design is neither a Hero Killer or a Squad Killer design...but a happy medium between being effective at fighting both.

  • Ideal/strong armies to test with:
    Scorps X4, Rae, Rygarn, MW's, Marcu
    Scorps X4, Rae, Krav, MW's, Isamu
    Scorps X4, Rae, Q10, Isamu

  • Some might think Carapace might be cumbersome with a lot of re-rolling. I don't think that's much the case. There are a lot more scenarios where you don't roll Carapace than there are where you do.

    Don't Roll Carapace If:
    1. Opponent whiffs
    2. Opponent rolls 1 skull and you block
    3. Opponent rolls 2 skulls and you whiff
    4. Opponent rolls 3+ skulls

    Roll Carapace If:
    1. Opponent rolls 1 skull and you whiff
    2. Opponent rolls 2 skulls and you roll 1 shield
    *Assumes no defense bonuses.

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