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Old December 12th, 2019, 06:11 PM
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Re: Soldiers of Valhalla - nominations and discussion

Kate Crawford by @Pumpkin_King

With or without Clayton, I wouldn't mind seeing more Lawmen join the game.

Balance

There are two multi-attacking gunslingers around Kate's cost, Guilty McCreech and Josie Whistletop. Kate doesn't compare all that well here. Her multi-attack is a special attack locked at two dice, but she gets three shots compared to Guilty's two, though Guilty has more range. Kate has significantly higher defense than Guilty, with twice as much Life plus Tenacity. Josie has the same number of attacks at the same range, but potentially higher attacks due to being boostable. Her survivability is on par with Kate's.

The biggest difference these two have from Kate is that they can target different figures with each attack, where Kate is locked into a single target. That's a pretty big deal, as I learned in playtesting.

It looks like Kate outclasses the other two a bit on paper, primarily thanks to higher survivabilty for the low cost. But the real question is whether or not she plays better.

Theme


Gunslingers, especially Lawmen, fall into certain patterns. Ms. Crawford has the statline common to Lawmen, with a multi-target or multi-attack ability. Tenacity is a good fit for a gunslinger; it's easy to imagine her gritting her teeth and fighting on. Fan the Hammer is likewise a fitting power (if you know what "fan the hammer" means), and it feels just as it should on the battlefield. The whole package fits together well, making for a character that plays just as she's designed to.

Creativity

Gunslingers are stuck into certain design boxes, as you don't expect them to have wild, magical powers. Fan the Hammer is fitting and useful, and Tenacity is a little more than nice flavor. She may look similar to other multi-attacking gunslingers, but she definitely plays differently. And that's a win in my book.

Playability

My concerns with playtesting Kate Crawford included how she felt as she played, if she was fitting for the price, if she outclassed Guilty McCreech or Josie Whistletop, and how similar to those two did she feel.

I can say that she feels like her own unit. The ability to shoot different targets is a huge difference in gameplay, as does the difference between a multi-attack special attack and multiple normal attacks. Guilty and Josie really want to get up onto height to (drastically) improve their offense, while it doesn't really matter much to Kate. Guilty prefers to run-and-gun as much as he can to avoid being attacked, while Kate can take more of a beating. Josie... mostly just gets beat up because of her crap range, unless her offense is able to keep people off her.

I quickly learned the lack of strength in Kate's offense. Three attacks of two isn't terrible, but it isn't good. And it's made much, much worse by having to attack the same target with each attack. She's ok at dealing a wound or two on low/mid-defense figures, but it acts similarly to a single stronger attack except with generally less damage going through. The poor range combined with generally weak defenses means she can't kill much before getting attacked. She is a bit tougher than Guilty, so she can take a hit, but only just one or two.

I quickly found myself prefering to use Guilty over Kate. Two boostible attacks at 7 range is simply better than Fan the Hammer. In fact, in most cases I would prefer to have Guilty in my army than Kate. Yes, Kate is tougher, but in cleanup Guilty's run-and-gun is just as effective as Kate's toughness. Similarly with Josie you're paying for her offensive potential, which is much better than Kate's.

Summary

As much as it looks like she should cost a bit more compared to other low-cost gunslingers, her toughness does not outweigh her weaker attack power. You get better survivability than Guilty or a lower price than Josie, but with significantly weaker offensive ability. She's really not good enough to use competitively, as she won't do enough to get activations in early or mid game and is outclassed in cleanup by the really good fillers, but she isn't a bad pick and fits the mold of a fun, thematic unit. I liked what she brings to the table, and she could fit in nicely next to a sheriff.

I vote Yea to induct Kate Crawford into the SoV.
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