The Dawn of Change Update 0.1.1

“Hello, Heroes!

Welcome to the very first set of patch notes for Fable Fortune! My name’s Tom “Wimbles” Wimbush, and I’m the Lead Designer of Fable Fortune from Mediatonic. I’m here to talk to you about what you can expect from our first Fable Fortune update – Dawn of Change – and hopefully get you as excited as we are about the upcoming improvements to the game.

It’s still early days, but we’ve already been able to get some really great feedback from all of our eager alpha players, and the team has been hard at work over the last few weeks analysing that feedback and making both balance changes and bug fixes to ensure that you guys are getting the best spell-slinging experience that we can possibly deliver.

Balance wise, the Gravedigger and Prophet in particular have had some pretty extensive tweaks to their cards and Hero Powers to beef them up a bit, while Merchant and Shapeshifter have had some adjustments to tone them down. The Alchemist and Knight seem pretty solid, but we’re keen to see how they perform in the post-patch metagame. We’ve also reworked a handful of Neutral cards that were in need of a helping hand in order bolster a few different deck archetypes and open up some new and exciting choices.

To touch quickly on bugs, many of the more prevalent problems have been fixed, including errors that could occur while you were navigating around the crystal ball or selecting/renaming decks. You can scroll down for a full list of changes, but rest assured that the game should be a lot more stable now, and that you should encounter far fewer problems with card rules during battle.

That just about wraps things up. We’re excited to see how these changes affect your deck-building choices in both PvP and co-op, and hope to see you all hurling Chicken Vengeants at each other really soon!”

Tom “Wimbles” Wimbush (Lead Designer)

Heroes

Gravedigger:

More ways to come back from a losing position. Less emphasis on having to kill many units in one turn.

“Temple’s previous state left a lot to be desired, with her often relying on big multikill turns to keep pace with the other Heroes. This issue was compounded by her only having a few ways to level the playing field if her opponents gained an advantage. To ease this, we made a set of adjustments designed to lower the floors on some of her more corpse-hungry cards like Damned Legion and Wake the Dead whilst maintaining their high potential ceilings. We’ve also redesigned fringe playables like Resurrect and Consume Life, as well as combo-centric cards like Reassemble the Bones and Morbid Arcanist, to give her more reliable power-spikes during the mid and late-game.

Cemetery Bannerman was proving a bit too strong in the early turns of the game and has received a slight stat reduction, but overall we think Temple should be in a much stronger place now than she was before.”

Hero Power changes:

  • Resurrect (Good): Redesigned to “Summon a 1/1 Dashing Corpse with Rush that dies at the end of turn. Units damaged by this unit gain -1/2/3 Strength this turn.”

Card changes:

  • Cemetery Bannerman: Strength reduced from 2 to 1.
  • Consume Life: Redesigned to [2] “Transform a unit with 3 or less Strength into a 1/1 Shambler.”
  • Damned Legion: Health and Strength increased from 3 to 4.
  • Morbid Arcanist: Redesigned to [10] 6/6 with “After a friendly unit dies while this is in your hand, reduce its cost by 1.”
  • Reassemble The Bones: Redesigned to [1] “Destroy a friendly unit. Add a copy to your hand and reduce its cost by [2].”
  • Stench of Death: Cost reduced from 5 to 4.
  • Wake the Dead: Cost reduced from 6 to 5.

Knight:

Keeping up with the neighbours.

“We’re happy with Marshall’s overall power level right now, as his token strategies in particular have some very explosive opening turns. However, we felt Sergeant of the Shovel was a little lackluster compared to the other’s Heroes’ units of the same cost, so we’ve made a slight tweak to bring him up to par.”

Card changes:

  • Sergeant of the Shovel: Strength increase from this unit’s ability made permanent instead of temporary.

Merchant:

No more endless Trophies and board-wipes, but more strategic options instead.

“Playing against giant units and devastating spells can be fun, if you have the right tools to try and tackle them. Playing against a seemingly infinite stream of Trophy cards and board-wipes is not so fun, as it can be hard to see how you’re going to win. To that end, we’ve significantly toned down Barter’s Evil Hero Power to reduce his access to extra Trophy cards. We’ve also made Black Market Dealer more fragile and redesigned both Art of the Deal and Intrepid Explorer so that it’s harder to find additional copies of Broadside and Horn of the Deep, while giving Barter some unique new toys to play with by allowing him to gain access to other Heroes’ cards.

Broadside itself has received a reduction in both the potency and the cost of its Invest option, as we felt it was giving Barter too much power against small to mid-sized units, where his strength should be in dealing with larger, more expensive foes. We’ve also reduced the cost of both Reaver and Blockade and redesigned Barter’s Good Hero Power to open up some new and interesting strategic options (Safeguard Merchant, anyone?).”

Hero Power changes:

  • Trade (Renamed to Safe Investment): Redesigned to “Add a Gold Piece to your hand. Invest (+1) And heal a damaged friendly character for 1/2/3.”
  • Plunder (Renamed to Risky Investment): Redesigned to “Add a Gold Piece and a Trophy card that costs 2/1/0 to your hand.”

Card changes:

  • Art of the Deal: Now adds other Heroes’ cards instead of Merchant cards to your hand.
  • Black Market Dealer: Strength increased from 4 to 5, Health reduced from 4 to 2.
  • Blockade: Cost reduced from 4 to 2.
  • Broadside: Reduced the power and cost of the Invest option to (+3) for 2 damage instead of (+5) for 3 damage.
  • Intrepid Explorer: Ability changed to “Big Entrance: Add 1 of 3 Mythic cards to your hand.”
  • Reaver: Reduced Gold cost from 8 to 6.

 

Prophet:

Cards made less situational. General power level increase.

“We felt that Sand was in a similar place to Temple, in that he had too many cards which only worked in specific scenarios. This tended to leave him a tad underpowered during matches where those scenarios did not arise. To combat this, we’ve redesigned various aspects of Energising Disciple, Oasis, Sand Fury and Sleeping Sands, as well as his Good and Evil Hero Power, so that they have a wider range of potential uses.

A few of his cards have also proved to be somewhat underwhelming, so we made a selection of changes to Blaze of Glory, Leeching Swarm, Protect the Prophet, Sentinel, Shimmering Mirage and Wear Away aimed at bringing those cards up to an appropriate power level.”

Hero Power changes:

  • Energise (Good): Redesigned to “Heal a character for 2. If it was damaged, give 1/2/3 friendly unit(s) +1 Health.”
  • Incite (Evil): Redesigned to “Heal a character for 2. If it has 5/4/3 or more Strength, heal for 4 instead.”

Card changes:

  • Blaze of Glory: Cost reduced from 7 to 5. Now only draws 2 cards.
  • Energizing Disciple: Ability changed to “At the end of your turn, heal all other friendly characters for 1.”
  • Leeching Swarm: Cost increased from 5 to 7. Now deals 3 damage and restores 5 Health to your Champion instead of buffing your units.
  • Protect the Prophet: Cost reduced from 4 to 3. Now gives +3 Health to initial target.
  • Oasis: Redesigned to [3] Heal ALL characters for 5.
  • Sand Fury: Changed to [6] 6/5 with “Zeal: Can’t be targeted by spells, Hero Powers or Vials.”
  • Sentinel: Cost reduced from 10 to 8.
  • Shimmering Mirage: Cost reduced from 5 to 3. Can now be used on enemy units as well.
  • Sleeping Sands: Changed to [1] Give a unit “Zeal: Has -3 Strength.”
  • Wear Away: Cost reduced from 6 to 5.

 

Shapeshifter:

Surge of Claws toned down. Call of the Balverine reworked.

“Crimson was just a little bit too good.

Surge of Claws was making a strong case for being the best card in the game, as it had the ability to not only wipe your opponent’s board for relatively low cost, but it also helped to rebuild your own board by summoning a Blooded Balverine. As such, we’ve bumped up its cost and changed the Feral clause to still give you some sweet, sweet value, without helping you get quite so ahead of your opponent.

Call of the Balverine also wasn’t a problem on its own, but when Crimson already had access to her Hero Power, Mortal Wound, Ambush, Predatory Balverine and Blood Frenzy, her overall suite of removal options was just a little bit too flexible. As such, we’ve reworked Call of the Balverine to be a potent combo card which can set up some really powerful turns, especially if you already have another Blooded Balverine in play.”

Card changes:

  • Call of the Balverine: Changed to [2] “Transform a friendly unit into a 2/2 Blooded Balverine. You may use your Hero Power twice this turn”.
  • Surge of Claws (Renamed to Surge of Fangs): Cost increased from 6 to 7. Feral clause changed from “And summon a 2/2 Blooded Balverine” to “And draw a card.”

Neutral Cards:

Cards redesigned to provide more support for various archetypes. Some power level adjustments.

“Last Laugh cards are pretty cool, but up until now there hadn’t really been enough support for a full-on Last Laugh deck. To solve that, we’ve made some changes to Cursed Warrior, Undead Footman, Westcliff Recruiter and Acolyte of Skorm to make the “summon things then kill those things to summon more things” deck concept into a reality.

We also reworked a couple of cards that were proving problematic. Reformed Criminal had some applications in co-op that were really warping how players were constructing their co-op decks, so he’s been redesigned to fulfil the same role without the same problems. Bowerstone Guard was not only buggy, but also only really playable in a very specific metagame, so we’ve changed him to have a more generalised ability which can fit into both more midrange and controlling decks.

Alongside this, we wanted to make some changes to a few cards that were just on the edge of playability. Experimental Repeater looks a lot more appealing with an extra point of Health, and Pie Seller fits more naturally into a control deck’s curve when it costs 5 Gold instead of 3, and Philanthropist/Inside Trader are significantly higher value with additional card draw included. Sir Walter’s ability was just too specific and forced you to build a very particular kind of deck, which isn’t where we want our neutral cards – especially our neutral Fabled cards – to be, so we reworked him so that he could find a home in many more types of deck.”

Card changes:

    • Acolyte of Skorm: Strength increased from 2 to 3.
    • Bowerstone Guard: Redesigned to a [4] 4/4 with “Big Entrance: Gain Guard.”
    • Cursed Warrior: Redesigned to [4] 1/1 with “Last Laugh: Summon a Vengeful Cadaver.”
    • Experimental Repeater: Health increased from 5 to 6.

 

  • Inside Trader: Changed ability to “Big Entrance: Draw a card and reduce its cost by 2.”

 

    • Lord of Oakfield: Changed ability to “Big Entrance: Give adjacent units +1/+1.”
    • Pie Seller: Increased cost from 3 to 5. Increased Strength from 3 to 4. Increased Health from 3 to 6.

 

  • Philanthropist: Change ability to “Big Entrance: Draw a card. If it’s a unit, give it +2/+2.”

 

  • Reformed Criminal: Redesigned to [2] 4/4 with “Zeal: -4 Strength.”
  • Sir Walter: Redesigned to [5] 5/4 with “At the end of your turn, give all friendly units and units in your hand +1/+1.”
  • Undead Footman: Redesigned to [3] 1/4 with “After a unit dies, gain +1 Strength.”
  • Westcliff Recruiter: Cost reduced from 6 to 4. Strength reduced from 4 to 1. Health reduced from 6 to 4.

Bug Fixes:

Cards:

 

  • Auroran Conjurer: Will no longer sometimes only summon a unit for your opponent.
  • Chesty: Playing Chesty after it has been buffed by Ship’s Cook no longer results in an error.

 

    • Colin Mk II: An error will no longer occur if you play B.O.G.O.F. while Colin Mk II is on the board, or if you use a stat-swapping effect on Colin Mk II.
    • Exhume: Wording updated to more accurately reflect the effect.
    • Good Dog: Removed incorrect cards from the list of available Epic+ cards.

 

  • Kidnap: Using this on a buffed unit no longer results in an error.

 

    • Paragon of Virtue: Changed wording to be more consistent with similar effects.
    • Pitcher of Ogre Slobber: Changed wording to be more consistent with similar effects.
    • Plunder the Tombs: Removed incorrect cards from the list of available Hollow Men.

 

  • Rally the Troops: The effect tooltip should now correctly disappear at the end of your turn.
  • Reassemble the Bones: Using this spell on a damaged unit no longer causes that unit to have incorrect Health when you play it again.
  • Rich Auntie: No longer grants your opponent Gold if she dies on their turn.

 

    • Savage Charge: Minor wording update.
    • Sea Witch: No longer incorrectly damages itself.

 

  • Shopkeeper: Now correctly draws a card for your ally.

 

    • Shroud: An error will no longer occur if Shroud deals lethal damage to your opponent.

 

  • Soul Sucker: Fixed an issue where Soul Sucker would incorrectly set multiple units’ stats to 1/1.

 

    • Stench of Death: Changed wording to be more consistent with similar effects.

 

  • Track Prey: An error will no longer occur after after playing this card.

Misc:

  • Attempting to rename a custom deck no longer sometimes results in an error.
  • Cards that summon multiple units at once no longer appear to summon more than one unit into the same board position.
  • Copying a unit in Guard now correctly causes the summoned copy to gain the Guard effect.
  • ‘End of turn’ stat modifiers will no longer be incorrectly switched when using a stat switching effect on a unit.
  • Epic neutral units should now have the correct crafting recipe.
  • Morality cards will no longer appear to transform on mouseover if you do not have the required Good/Evil points.
  • Pressing the ‘Back’ button twice whilst in the crystal ball no longer results in an error.
  • Pressing the ‘Item’ tab whilst on the Craft Cards screen no longer results in an error.
  • Quickly changing decks during deck selection no longer results in an error.
  • Quest rewards in Oakfield updated to be more reflective of intended power level.
  • Salvaging a Fabled card no longer sometimes results in an error.
  • Some visual bugs on the Event screen have been fixed.
  • Submenus within the Options menu now have scrollbars and can be more easily navigated.
  • The amount of Medals required to reach the next League should now be displayed correctly during the Victory/Defeat sequence.
  • The Guard and Hero Power buttons should now correctly become active again if you spend all of your Gold and then use Gold Pieces to regain the required amount of Gold to use them.
  • Typo in Rhubarb Fools Quest description text fixed.
  • Units which take 0 damage from an ability or attack no longer have their Health turn red.
  • Volume levels now default to 50%.
  • When deck building, if you have a full deck but no Trophy card, the amount of available Trophy cards no longer reads as 0/1.
  • When units are returned to your hand from the board, any damage or modifications to their stats should now be removed.
  • You can no longer interact with your decks while in card inspection mode on the Cards screen.
  • You can now correctly see how many copies of each card you have while in Craft Cards mode on the Cards screen.
  • You can now correctly see how many copies of each item you have on the Cards screen.

Meet The Heroes – Sand

sand_01

Today’s edition of ‘Meet The Heroes’, features the enigmatic Prophet known as Sand.

Background:

In quieter moments, Sand could remember a time when he was a trader, a successful trader, with a different name. His caravan of goods would stretch a full mile along Samarkand’s Great Trade Road – and he would sit in pampered luxury at the head of it, utterly content, and utterly complacent.

Then the bandits came. There had been fire, confusion, blood (an awful lot of that), and then running – a desperate, constant, terror-fuelled flight into the desert, as one by one his companions fell to arrows at his side.

Sand’s lungs burned and exploded in his chest from the sudden exertion, but his arrow never came – when he finally collapsed through exhaustion, he found himself alone, agonizingly thirsty, and desperately cold as the desert night began to draw in. It was to be the first of many.

Somewhere in that endless procession, at the very limits of Sand’s exhaustion, there had been a series of strange old obsidian monuments, and a cave beneath them that led to a magnificently desolate forgotten city. Convinced he had finally gone insane, he collapsed to the impossibly smooth floor for what he was sure was to be the last time. As he fell, his fingers brushed against an object, a staff – he dimly recalled a burst of unearthly light, a flood of memories that were not his own:

A city of impossible technology, a city guarded by stone giants, a city that once commanded the sand to part for it, a city that stood timeless for generations, a city that fell, a city that was buried, a city that was forgotten.

A city that must be remembered.

He awoke to find the staff still clutched in his hand, and the unmistakable grinding of stone on stone from all sides. The city was waking, and Sand understood it had chosen him as the one true prophet to make it great again, granting him the power to command its long forgotten technology.

A full year later, a very different man took his first steps into the land of Albion. The great stone guardians of the desert city followed in his steps; the fierce desert sands now answered his call, and even time itself could bend to his indomitable will.

He needed true believers to make the city great again, he would find them, he would show them the power he had discovered, and he would lead them back to the desert…

Basic Playstyle:

Sand’s playstyle revolves around his staff’s innate power to Heal. Many of his creatures are more powerful when they have full Health and others trigger useful abilities when any damage on them is healed. Sand therefore is a Hero who excels at keeping his units alive, making him strong against enemies who have small units or use direct damage (Crimson, Marshall & Temple) and weaker against those who have larger units or the ability to Silence, steal, or otherwise remove his units from the board (Miracle & Barter).

Basic Hero Power – Heal:

Sand’s basic Hero Power is used to Heal up to 2 damage taken by a unit or Hero. This is very useful if his units are able to attack opposing units  and survive, as Sand can Heal the damage and have the unit be ready to attack again next turn. It also allows his larger units to recover from direct damage from certain spells or unit abilities, forcing your opponent to deal with them in other ways.

Be aware that Sand can target a unit or Hero on full health, but if no damage is actually healed, and any abilities which activate when that target is healed will not trigger.

This Hero Power has great synergy with Sand’s Zeal mechanic. Units with Zeal have bonus abilities for as long as they are at full Health, so a constant stream of healing will be needed to keep them functioning at peak performance.

Evil Hero Power – Incite:

When Sand embraces Evil, he gains an ability to incite his units to do more damage, on one condition, that he Heals himself. Once he Heals himself with his Evil Hero Power, for every point of Evil, one of his units gains +1 Strength for the turn.

This power therefore has both aggressive (units gaining attack) and defensive (Healing Sand) qualities and is useful in a variety of situations. Remember that the Strength buff is only available for the current turn though, so use the powered-up units while you can.

Good Hero Power – Energize:

Sand’s other option is to follow the Good path, and when he does so, his units gain a permanent increase to their Health. As long as Sand Heals one of his injured units, for every  point of Good he has, a random friendly unit will permanently gain +1 Health.

This is clearly a more defensive unit-based strategy than the Evil route, and should be used when you need to maintain control of the board with many units, as once they have been buffed a number of times, they will be really hard for your opponent to deal with.

However, if Sand is low on Health, this power won’t be so useful as Healing Sand himself will give no extra benefit at all. As another old guy in a desert cave once said: choose wisely!

Deck Building & Play:

So, Sand is great at Healing and keeping his units alive, but what does that mean for the decks he can create? Let’s take a look at a couple of options:

No Pain, No Gain:

The first cards that go into this deck are a staple of Sand’s arsenal, namely units that have abilities which trigger when they are Healed:

Sand1

Once these units have taken damage, there are many neutral and Sand-specific cards  that can be used to Heal them in order to activate their ability. However, what if you opponent has no units out, or if they only have giant units which your own units can’t safely attack? Well, the answer is to damage them yourself!

Sand 2

All of these cards do a very small amount of damage to your own units, and the Screaming Skull and Apprentice Will User also have the added benefit of damaging your opponent’s units too. The Minion,  Replicating Shard or Kalin can now be Healed, triggering their abilities and giving you a huge advantage.

If you’re already going to be doing  damage to all of your own units, then there are a number of other cards that you can use which benefit from being damaged:

Sand 3

The Reformed Criminal and Flagellant both get stronger when they take damage, though be careful not to Heal the Criminal before he attacks, as returning him to full Health and triggering his Zeal ability will once again make him unusable! Both of the Hardened Criminal’s Morality abilities work on friendly injured units, either buffing them or returning them to your hand, both of which are very useful in this deck.

This deck is an interesting one to play with as you alternate between injuring all of your units and  then Healing them all again, triggering their on-heal abilities and allowing you to slam down the terrifying Sentinel at a very low cost.

Zealous Anger:

If the previous deck is about injuring your units and then healing them, this deck is just about ensuring they are at full Health as much as possible as possible. Let’s start with his cards that have Zeal:

Sand 4

These cards are pretty powerful as long as they are at full Health, but much weaker if injured as their Zeal ability gets disabled. Therefore you should look at including cards which can combine with your Hero Power to keep them Healed, such as:

Sand 5

As your Zeal units lose a lot of value when they take damage, you should  should also look to add some units that have a lot of staying power and can be put into Guard to protect the Zeal units from being attacked:

Sand 6

All of these have great Safeguard abilities and high Health for their cost, meaning they are fantastic at keeping the Fanatic and other units safe.

To round out the deck, you can look to other cards which help you to maintain control of the board, either by pumping up your creatures, destroying your opponents’, or simply get more value out of your already potent Hero Power

Sand 7

This deck will be able to absorb a huge amount of damage over time, but beware, if you don’t get enough units out on the board then a hand full of buffing cards won’t be much use, so always ensure you have enough units to cast them on!

Co-op:

Sand works best with other Heroes who have units with larger amounts of Health, making Miracle and Barter particularly attractive allies He is especially strong when working  with Barter, as Barter often has a slow start and needs an ally who can shrug off some of the incoming damage in order to buy time for him to deploy his powerful late-game threats.

Sand doesn’t always play well with Temple or Crimson, as the former relies on swarming the opponent with expendable units which often die of their own accord, and Crimson is too busy worrying about damaging the opponent’s units to care about maintaining her own.

As Marshall gets a lot of units on the board, Sand is a good choice if he is planning on using his buffing strategy. Working with a Good Marshall that is pumping out Peasant Medics,  can enable them to stand together against the fiercest of foes.

General Strategies:

Sand’s Hero Power is quite reactive and more situational than many of the other Heroes’, so ensure his deck has a reasonable number of lower cost unitsto prevent a stall at the start of the game. Depending on which type of deck you go with, both the Reformed Criminal and Apostle are good to get out early.

Sand’s strategy often revolves around protecting his weaker units with stronger Guards so often it can be advisable to wait to play a fragile utility unit until you also have  another powerful unit to protect it with.

Sand, along with Miracle, is one of the few Heroes who can buff a unit above its initial Health and therefore even fragile units can become very difficult to kill given enough time and resources. Use that to your advantage and keep some of those powerful units like The Guildmaster alive for longer than anyone else!

Final Thoughts:

Using Sand as a Healer who allows his units to absorb damage before restoring them to full Health is a sound strategy which will serve him well in his battles against the other Heroes. However, Sand also has hidden depths, and many devious combos which he can use to generate incredible advantages and devastate his opponents. You haven’t lived until a Minion has drawn you six or more cards during a game, or healed yourself for 20 or more during one epic turn! Now get out there and give him a go!

 

 

Meet The Heroes – Barter

barter_01

And so we begin our third edition of ‘Meet The Heroes’. By popular demand, it’s time for you to meet Albion’s most successful Merchant, Barter!

Background:

He grew up on a dull grey spike of land jutting out of the ocean, a day’s good wind from the mainland, with little to offer its unfortunate residents other than the Albion’s angriest goat population (official) and a strain of bramble so poisonous that even the goats thought twice before inevitably butting it.

He had arrived alone on the island as cargo, barely more than a toddler –a tag secured around his neck with ‘BARTER’ scrawled on it in a barely legible hand, whether it was intended to be his name, an instruction, or the ultimate delivery address, he took it anyway, it was as good as any.

He held no memory of his family, and his only possession a single gold coin of unknown origin. He made it a singular point that no matter how desperate those first years were as a homeless dock-rat, he would never spend the coin. He survived on his unerring ability to strike deals, for food, for warmth, for shelter, for his life – for whilst it has been said that Barter could charm the birds out of the sky, he was far more interested in charming gold out of noble’s pockets (birds fetched a terrible price on the black-market, after all).

It has been fifteen years since he washed up on these cruel shores and against all odds ‘Barter the orphan’, ‘Barter the dock-rat’, ‘Barter the nameless’, has become a merchant of substance.

Yet he has grown too big for this bleak spit of land, and spurred on by the stirring tavern stories of adventure on the high-seas, he has finally earned enough to secure his own vessel and crew.

He clutches the gold coin tightly. His fortune calls to him, and as always, he intends to strike a good deal…

Basic Playstyle:

Barter is a Merchant by trade and his keen sense for a potential bargain is reflected in his playstyle, with many of his cards improving the rate that he earns Gold or lowering the costs of other cards. This means that Barter can access powerful late-game spells and units much faster than other Heroes, but that he is also weaker at the beginning of the game when he is busy gathering Gold.

Barter’s unique mechanic is Invest,  which allows Barter to pay a higher price when playing a card in order to power it up. This allows him to benefit from having more Gold than other players,and gives him the flexibility of either playing a card RIGHT NOW in order to keep up with his opponent, or saving that card for later until he can Invest into it.

Heroes such as Marshall & Temple can be tough to beat when playing as Barter as they have a tendency to flood the board early on, but Barter can prey on some of the slower Heroes such as Miracle or Sand by overpowering them with devastating late-game cards.

Let’s take a look at Barter’s Hero Powers and see how he gains Gold faster than anyone else:

Basic Hero Power – Haggle:

For two Gold, Barter can add a Gold Piece card to his hand, which he can cash in later to add one Gold to his Gold pool for that turn. Initially this can seem like a pretty bad deal, as you lose a Gold on the turn you use the power, but it allows you to store up Gold for the future and to ramp up to high cost cards later in the game.

An experienced player will look at their starting hand and decide if they want to play a unit or spell on their first turn, or if they want to gain a Gold Piece instead. This requires you to plan multiple turns in advance, but can result in a devastating series of plays on key turns during a match. Deciding whether to gain a Gold or put a unit in Guard is also often a vital decision to make.

Evil Hero Power – Plunder:

When Barter switches to Evil his Plunder Power gives him a Trophy card as well as a Gold piece. As his Evil grows, he gets to choose from multiple Trophy cards giving him a wealth of options.

Beware however, Barter’s hand will quickly fill up with 0 casting cost cards, and a novice player could end up reaching their hand limit and be unable to draw new cards into their hand! Be sure to use these Trophy cards whenever you can.

Good Hero Power – Trade:

If Barter chooses Good, then he has the option to Invest into his Hero Power by paying more Gold, but gaining even more Gold Pieces in return. This is useful for longer term strategies and allows Barter to play one slow turn, but really ramp up the Gold on the next. Again, new players should be careful not to fill their hand with too many Gold Pieces!

Deck Building & Play:

Due to his ability to acquire more Gold, Barter has access to a larger number of the more expensive Neutral cards than some of the other Heroes. This gives him a wider array of choices when it comes to building his decks. This, combined with his flexible Invest cards, allows more strategic deck building, but you need to be careful to shore up your early-game weaknesses so that you don’t get run over by a more aggressive opponent.

Let’s look at a couple of ideas:

Gang Up On ‘Em Lads:

This deck attempts to play an early Pressgang and cheat a large unit into play as soon as possible, as getting lucky with Pressgang can result in you playing a 10 Gold unit for the low low cost of 5! With a good enough opening hand, you can play Pressgang as early as your second turn, far outpacing your opponent. Let’s take a look at some of the cards that can make that happen for you:

Merchant 1

The Cabin Boy is an excellent turn one unit. Firstly, it will allow Barter to put up a unit that he can put in Guard, but even if the Cabin Boy is  destroyed, you’ll still get a Gold Piece to spend later. If your opponent doesn’t destroy him on their turn, you can still smash him into the opponent’s units to trigger it. On turn two you will then have 4 gold, plus the Gold Piece from the Cabin Boy and be ready to play your Pressgang.

If you weren’t lucky enough to have a Pressgang in your starting hand, then a turn one The Art of the Deal or a turn two Trade Secrets will help you dig deeper into your deck to try and find it. If you have the Cabin Boy’s  extra Gold Piece to work with, then a Black Market Dealer can also give you a shot at finding an extra copy of Pressgang to use.

Merchant 2

You should be able to play Pressgang on turn two, but even turn three is not a disaster as long as you have something on the board. Play it, cross your fingers and hope for the best! The rest of your deck should be built with Pressgang in mind. Fill it with terrifying large creatures like the Quartermaster or Wise Spellweaver. Remember that Big Entrances will not trigger, and neither will Morality shifts so those cards are less useful in this deck. You’ll  likely be putting the summoned unit in Guard as soon as possible to prevent your opponent pummeling you any further, so units with a Safeguard ability are an excellent choice. With that in mind casting Pressgang when you have 6 Gold to work with is also a great idea to get that Guard in place immediately.

Merchant3

Other cards such as the transformed Bank Clerk or Auroran Conjurer will help this deck get larger units from your deck or hand onto the board sooner, and the Ship’s Cook will help Barter make any unit terrifying later on in the game. Beware, the more utility units like these you put in your deck, the more likely Pressgang will summon them instead of your high-cost powerhouses, taking away from the power of the Pressgang strategy. It’s a careful balancing act!

I’ll Have That!:

Barter is also great at stealing or neutering his opponent’s best cards, and this deck revolves around that.

Merchant 4

These cards all help deal with your opponent’s bigger threats, and are especially useful against Miracle, Sand or an opposing Barter. Wait until something big appears on the board and then steal it or send it back into their deck. Then cackle while you imagine their irritation.

Merchant 5

Although this tactic is strong against large units, it will have trouble against the hordes of enemies summoned by Temple or Marshall. Be sure to put in some cards which can deal damage to all enemies, but remember to steal their best units first!

Merchant 6

The final element that should be added to this deck are cards that assume that you’ll have more cards in your hand (thanks to your hoard of Gold Pieces) and that it is probable that, early on at least, you’ll be losing! The Bloodstone Blackguard and Abbot of Avo will help you stem the tide, but with the extra Gold Pieces in your hand, the Voice of Avo should give a unit or yourself a much needed Health boost!

This is a deck that requires a lot of patience until it starts working, but the longer the game lasts, the better the position you will be in!

Co-op:

Barter works best with a Hero who can hold off the damage early game while he gains Gold and Sand is a great choice for that. Also, Crimson or Temple can take out enemies while Barter prepares to lay down some major units. Sand and Miracle are also great for ensuring his ginormous units live for longer once they slam down onto the board.

Be aware however that some of Barter’s decks are very weak against Nostro. His ability to summon a unit that he has killed means it may be Nostro that takes control of your biggest units and uses them against you. Be careful!

General Strategies:

The core of Barter’s strategy is to survive the early game and win the late game. Don’t worry about taking damage early on as your larger units will stem the tide, although a well-timed removal spell may mean that even the biggest of your units may not be a strong enough defence!

Save up your Broadsides and Horn Of The Deep until they can do the most damage, often they can mortally wound Marshall and give Temple or Crimson a major headache.

Use your cards with Silence wisely against Miracle and Sand, normally in the late game when they’ve had the most opportunity to lay down their stat-increasing effects, or just steal/copy their best threats and use them against them!

Final Thoughts:

Barter is one of the most challenging Heroes to play due to needing to plan out your turns in advance and decide when you want to stockpile some Gold. The fact he can Invest in many of his own cards adds another dimension to his play, but mastering the use of the Gold Pieces, the Invest mechanic and Silence can lead to your completely outsmarting your opponent and trumping their best cards with giant ones of your own. Buy low, sell high, swashbuckle always!

 

Meet The Heroes – Crimson

crimson_01

Welcome to our second ‘Meet The Heroes’, this time focusing on Crimson the Shapeshifter.

Background:

Young Crimson listened as the village doctor gravely pronounced her grandmother’s death, citing the likely cause as a combination of old-age and massive wolf-related injuries leaving nothing but a picked clean pile of bones.

It was frankly a miracle Crimson survived. They’d found her huddled in the corner of the ruined cottage, wrapped in her favourite red hooded cloak, so traumatized by the incident that she couldn’t remember a single thing about the attack – only that now she was uncomfortably full…

The villagers caught on eventually of course, it only took six more tragic disappearances and the unfortunate lynching of ‘Hairy’ Johnson the Tanner before someone recognised the little red hood wrapped around the 9-foot slavering Balverine tormenting the village.

Never ones to pass up an opportunity to crack out the torches and pitchforks, Crimson was chased into the deep dark and dangerous forest surrounding the village – and the forest, recognizing the young shapeshifter as one of its own, embraced and protected her.

But now a terrible hunger is building, and Crimson is struggling to keep control…

Basic Playstyle:

Crimson is all about direct damage. She is able to use her Hero Power and spells to dish out the pain, and her units either amp up her ability to tear into her foes, or gain power with each swipe of her claws.  Having a repeatable source of damage  therefore makes her strong against classes that favour many smaller units (Marshall & Temple) but weaker against those who create fewer, larger units (Miracle, Sand and Barter).

So, let’s look at her Hero Power:

Basic Hero Power – Rend:

Crimson’s basic Hero Power allows her to Rend her opponent or an enemy unit for 1 damage Fundamentally it is great for clearing the board of a stubborn Peasant or Hollow Man, but not so useful vs a giant Sentinel or Troll!

Evil Hero Power – Ferocious Rend:

Once Crimson has performed an Evil deed, her Hero Power will now heal her whenever she uses it to deal the killing blow to an enemy. Against the right opponent at the right time, this Hero Power can really turn the tide of a battle. For games where Crimson has dropped behind and has low Health, the later versions of Ferocious Rend allow Crimson to regain a lot of Health over the course of a few turns. There is a catch however, as it only heals her if the target subsequently dies. This is especially useful again small 1/1 units created by a Hero such as Marshall, or the unending hordes of Hollow Men spawned by Nostro, but is not so useful vs larger enemies. At higher levels Crimson gains 2 and then 3 health every time it is used successfully, which is great for keeping yourself healthy in a more prolonged game.

Good Hero Power – Focused Rend:

If your opponent is not using smaller units, or if you currently don’t need the healing from Ferocious Rend to survive, then Focused Rend is a great choice. With this power Crimson still Rends a target for one damage, though if that target has enough Health, she rends them for two damage instead. With one point of Good, the enemy must have at least five Health to trigger the bonus damage, with two points, it must have four, and once you have 3 points, it only needs to have three Health.

One thing to bear in mind with the Good Hero Power is that you can also target your opponent directly and do 2 damage, as they will usually have enough Health to trigger the effect. This is a great way of accelerating to a win once you’re already ahead.

Deck Building & Play:

Now that we know how Crimson’s Hero Power works, let’s see what other tricks she has up her robe with a couple of her possible deckbuilding options.

Rend It Like Crimson:

Much like Miracle, the first of Crimson’s deck options uses her Hero Power to combo with a number of her other cards. The keyword we are interested in here is Rend, so let’s see what cards trigger off it being used:

Rendy

The Blooded Balverine and White Hart both improve your Rend ability, either by increasing the damage or stunning the target, and the Squirrel (one of my favourite cards in the whole game) increases its Strength every time Rend is used. Now, once these units on the board, using your Hero Power to Rend once per turn is useful, but what if you can do it more than once?

Rendy2

The Predatory Balverine is a great card to do a hefty chunk of damage to an opposing unit, but with a Blooded Balverine or White Hart on the board it is even potentially devastating. The White Balverine, meanwhile, is a great late-game card that can tip the balance if you’re able to chain a few cheap spells together. However, in this deck, the best card is probably the initially weak looking Wild Rend. At face value, Wild Rend can do one damage to six enemy creatures. However, with a Blooded Balverine in play, that jumps to two damage, and with the White Hart, you can also Stun them all while you’re at it! To top it all off, a single Wild Rend can also pump your Squirrel for an extra six Strength! This is why the Squirrel is so dangerous, and sometimes why it isn’t such a good idea to bring it out on turn one when you could perhaps save it for later in the game when  you have another unit in Guard to protect it.

So, you have cards that trigger when Rend is used, and you have cards that trigger extra Rends on a turn, that’s the deck finished isn’t it? Not quite…:

Feral

These cards have the keyword Feral. This ability is triggered when you play the card if any enemy has already been Rended during that turn. Choose wisely as to which cards to add to your deck, as depending on how construct your own version you may want more stunning, more unit damage, or simply more damage to the opposing hero’s face!

To The Face!:

The following deck if played correctly can be particularly brutal, but is also quite fragile. It revolves primarily around smacking the opponent in the face, over and over again. The core cards that allow you to do this are:

Power

All these cards when used together allow you to Rend your opponent multiple times in a turn for two or more damage each, and then finish them off with a Snarling Lunge or two. You will also generally want to choose the Good Hero power, as then each Focused Rend will do extra damage until your opponent is basically dead. But what if you don’t have enough Blooded Balverines?

Balvs

Fortunately, these cards allow you to summon even more Balverines, each one improving your ability to Rend your opponent’s face off.

As you are concentrating on your opponent and not their creatures, you should also look to use Stun to protect yourself, so again the White Hart, Brown Bear and Howl of Despair are great additions to this deck. You should also consider using some high Health units to go in Guard and take the heat off your weaker Balverines.

As mentioned though, this deck is fragile. If your opponent has a few board wipes (Broadside, Surge of Claws, etc) they can probably wipe out your Balverines, but hopefully a couple of turns doing 10+ damage with your Rends will win the day.

Co-op:

Crimson is a great ally in Co-op games vs Nostro as she is fantastic as pinging off many of his smaller Hollowmen. She works well with Temple as between them they always have damage flying around the board and can control what they are facing, but beware if the Co-op boss has too many larger units.

Crimson doesn’t play as well with Miracle or Sand because her units are quite fragile and don’t benefit from being buffed or healed as much as some other Heroes’ units.

General Strategies:

Crimson will have trouble vs large units as her Rend simply won’t have the power to punch them out of the way. Her best tactic is to try and reduce their health to four, so she can use a Surge of Claws to wipe the opponent’s board, but often this card can come too late or not at all. The Predatory Balverine is also a useful ally, but should often be saved until a dangerous enemy is on the board, even if she is winning.

When playing against small creatures, Crimson will have a much better time of it as her varied direct damage can keep the board clear.

The longer a game continues, the more under threat she can be, so she should err towards having a more assertive approach to try and put her opponent on the back foot, potentially winning with Focused Rend in the late game, although Ferocious Rend can keep her alive for longer.

She should also look to include neutral units that can do damage directly to targets as they will allow her to combo with her Rend and pick off enemies as she chooses.

Finally, depending on her speed of deck, units with Rush or a few decent defensive units should be added to push out more faster damage or protect her weaker units. Try experimenting with different options!

Final Thoughts:

Crimson is very easy to play as a starting character as her Rend ability is quite simple to use, but you’ll also find that to get the best out of it, you often shouldn’t do the most obvious move. Set up combos in your hand, and don’t play certain creatures too early. Try to wipe the opponent’s board when you can destroy the most creatures, but don’t wait so late that you have taken too much damage.

In short, she is always competitive, but only in the hands of a true expert will she be able to triumph against some of her stronger opponents.

 

 

Meet The Heroes – Miracle

miracle_01

The first hero we’ll introduce on our blog is Miracle, or Magda to her friends and customers.

Background:

Miracle! The Grand Duchess of Draughts, Distiller of Destiny, and Magnificent Mixer of Marvels.

Gather round as Albion’s true pioneer of potions creates tantalizing tonics before your very eyes! The weak will become strong! The ugly transformed! Turn your slack jaws skyward as colourful explosions burst forth (Miracle accepts no responsibility for any burns, mild dismemberment or permanent loss of human-form inflicted during these exciting displays!).

So roll up one and all! Bring a sense of wonder, bring an open mind, bring fire-proof clothes and PLENTY of disposable income, because for one night only Miracle is willing to sell YOU the potion of your dreams, and she guarantees absolute satisfaction down to the very last drop of her expertly prepared elixirs.

You may ask yourself…

“Why is Albion’s greatest alchemist travelling around in an old caravan?”

“Why did she make us sign all those legal waivers?”

“Why have my hands turned into horses hooves?”

And possibly more revealing…

“Why is she riding away at speed with all our money?”

Basic Playstyle:

Miracle’s playstyle centres around mixing potions and buffing her creatures. This means she is stronger against other characters who primarily destroy units with damage (Crimson, Sand, Marshall) but weaker against those who have abilities that silence or destroy targets (Barter, Temple).

We’ll look at some of the cards she has available later, but first let’s check out her three Hero Powers:

Basic Hero Power – Concoct:

Her basic hero ability, ‘Concoct’, allows her to randomly mix a potion to use on her units. These potions cost 0 Gold and are immediately added to the player’s hand. They come in one of four flavours:

Potions

The Vial of Strength allows Miracle to buff the attack of her units and potentially trade her weaker creatures for more powerful enemies.

The Vitality and Restoration Vials ensure Miracle’s units stay on the board longer by surviving initial combat, or healing once injured. These Vials work especially well in Co-op matches with Sand’s units.

The Vial of Confusion is Miracle’s trump card. There will be times where Miracle has no useful units to cast it on, but if a deck is built with this vial in mind, it can create some extremely powerful combinations and nasty surprises for her opponent.

Evil Hero Power – Devious Concoction:

When Miracle chooses the path of evil, she reduces the element of luck when mixing a potion. This is especially useful for players looking to build a deck around the Vial of Confusion, but also for when you are in a tricky situation and really need that Vial of Strength to finish off a big Guarding unit.

Good Hero Power – Enhanced Concoction:

If Miracle switches to good, then the Vials she brews become more powerful. In three of the cases this simply doubles their effects, the Vials of Strength, Health and Restoration become very useful buffs that can swing the tide of battle. The Vial of Confusion however, gets a major power boost and can now target enemy units which with clever play, can neutralise powerful enemy units.

However, there is a drawback to the lower levels of good and that is the increased cost of the Vials. At level 1 good, the price is 2 gold and the player will need to think about whether the additional power is worth the cost. At Level 2, the price drops to 1, but again the decision between power vials vs a choice of three lower powered ones is tricky. At Level 3 is where Good Miracle really shines as the Vials now also cost 0 gold. Player choice as to which morality to pick at level 3 is crucial and will could decide a close game.

Deck Building & Play:

Here we will mention some of the different options Miracle has when deckbuilding and show some of her varied paths to victory.

Let’s Get Vial-ent!:

The most obvious deck that Miracle can put together is one that relies on generating as many Vials as possible and using them to trigger abilities on her other cards. Firstly, there are those cards that allow Miracle to brew a new Vial as a secondary effect:

Vial Cards

These cards add extra Vials to Miracle’s hand and then she can use them on various units which use them to greater effect:

Units

The Naive Punters summoned by Miracle’s Medicine (and also the Huckster card) are smaller versions of the Royal Fool which get stronger as Vials are used on them. Other good cards to place in this deck are units that summon other units such as the Truffle Hunter, Bandit Ringleader or Scarecrow as for this deck to work, Miracle always needs units on the board.

Switcheroo:

A second deck that Miracle can build is a deck that primarily focuses on switching her units attack and health. This allows her to do some massive swings of damage when the combos trigger.

Firstly, she should take some cards that switch or buff the health or attack of a target:

Switch

And combine those cards with units that have high health, so switch for massive damage, or stay alive longer once they are buffed:

Big Guys

Another core card for this deck is the good version of the Lab Assistant who buffs the health of a unit and then sets its attack to the health. However as mentioned above, the good version of Miracle is slightly weaker at the moment, so that becomes more viable at Level 3 Good.

Co-op:

As previously mentioned Sand is probably Miracle’s best ally in co-op, her buffing units health, and then the two of them triggering heal effects. She also works well with Marshall as she is able to make his Peasants more powerful at any point.

Her weaker allies include Temple, who’s units tend to die rather than stick around getting bigger or Crimson who primarily wins by doing larger amounts of direct damage.

General Strategies:

Miracle is quite weak against hordes of smaller creatures unless she has a large unit in guard, so ensure you save that one gold when facing Temple or Marshall.

Her units can suffer against removal or silence, so when playing against Barter be careful not to put ‘too’ much onto a single unit. Conversely, she is also weak against single large units, so pack an Oozify or two to deal with them.

A number of the units in the game get more powerful the longer they stay alive or improve greatly with a minor buff or two and these are the cards Miracle should look to put in many of her decks. We’ll let you discover them for yourself, but a few examples are the Corrupted, Irritated Gargoyle or Flagellant.

Final Thoughts:

Miracle is a mid to high complexity class as she often has many options on how to use her potions on any one turn. The major morality decision at Level 3 is also often a difficult choice. However, her complexity also allows her to have a lot of options mid to late game, and therefore she is able to react to most board states. With the current balance of the game, she is a very viable character for the more experienced player.

 

 

 

Greetings One and All

Welcome to the Flaming Fowl Studios (Henceforth shortened to FFS) blog. Within this blog, I (Mike West, Creative Director) and others will give you information and updates on the games we are making, invite you to ask questions and generally write many words, some of which may be interesting enough to make you come back at a later date to read more.

Our general philosophy at FFS is to involve our fans as much as possible in every aspect of game development and this blog is no exception. With that in mind I’d like you to get in contact either here on the blog or in our forums and tell me what aspects of the game you want me to talk about.

I’ve worked in the Fable franchise design team since the original Fable so could be classed as one of the world’s leading authorities on all things Fable so whatever you bring up, however obscure, I probably will know what you are talking about.

Anyway, without further ado, I shall start the detail on this blog in my next post and begin introducing the Heroes of Fable Fortune.