Meet the Faction – Monsters


Name: Wriggly
Faction: Monsters
Power: 2
Equivalent Chess Piece: Knight
Existence in Current Reality: Mythical
Greatest Attribute: Sense of Humor
Greatest Fear: Being alone

Weapon of Choice: Vats of Slime
Power: 5
Effect: While it is a unique pleasure to watch Wriggly use her under-valued intelligence to operate complex machinery like A Dirigible or the Multi-function Torture Table, Wriggly is most at home with massive amounts of slime. It would appear she uses the slime as both a lubricant and a condiment simultaneously, which while disturbing on certain levels, is still akin to watching Michelangelo work with stone or Vince Lombardi work with footballs. At its core, it’s art.

Disposition: Descended from a long and distinguished line of tentacle monsters, Wriggly is really rather sweet natured. When she grabs a hold of a person and inserts them into her gaping maw, or when she penetrates someone’s armor with one of her seemingly endless, steel like appendages, she’s just funnin’.  That few of her play things survive their encounters with her is mostly evidence of her boundless enthusiasm rather than true
malice in her hearts –she has seven of them after all.

OverNote: Wriggly is bigger than she should be. But the necessary balance is still preserved, so only the most observant of Bosses will take note.


Meet the Faction – Cowboys

Name: Poker Alice A.K.A Alice Ivers Duffield Tubbs Huckert
Faction: Cowboys
Power: 5
Equivalent Chess Piece: Rook
Existence in Current Reality: Historical
Greatest Attribute: Mathematical Acumen
Greatest Fear: Marked cards and a light deck

Weapon of Choice: Single Action Colt Revolver
Power: 2
Effect: Alice was known to carry one of these weapons hidden somewhere deep in folds of her dress.  No one knows exactly where, but she could produce it as if by magic.  She met her second husband (and the father of all of her children), Warren G. Tubbs in Bedrock, South Dakota when a drunken cowboy accused Tubbs of dealing a crooked game.  Alice threatened to rechristen the cowboy “One Nut Ned” and he went away.  She and Tubbs were married shortly thereafter.

Disposition: Alice was one tough mother.  Born in England and raised in Virginia, Alice lived her adult life on the American frontier.  Holding jobs as a gambler, poker dealer, brothel madam, and saloon owner, Alice ranged from Silver City, New Mexico to Deadwood, South Dakota at a time when women were not always welcome at the poker tables.  Still Alice was a refined woman of virtue.  She never gambled, sold liquor, or arranged dates on Sundays.  In fact it was her strict adherence to this policy that led Alice to shoot and kill an unruly cowboy on the floor of her saloon in 1913.  She claimed it was self defense and only spent a short time in prison.  She said she was able to survive her time on the inside’ thanks to her bible and her steady supply of cigars.  During her life time Alice won over $250,000* at the poker tables.  She spent most of this money on fine dresses from New York and educating her seven children.  As brilliant as she was deadly, and as calculating as she was beautiful, Alice was one to never be underestimated by her enemies.  The only foe she could not best was a ruptured gallbladder at the age of 79.

* In current OverNerd funds that would be equivalent to just over $3,000,000.

OverNote: Alice was the occasional rancher and often used to personally break in the wild horses.

Meet The Faction – Pirates

Name: Captain Flint A.K.A. James Flint A.K.A. Joseph Flint
Faction: Pirates
Power: 7
Equivalent Chess Piece: Queen
Existence in Current Reality: Fictional
Greatest Attribute: Intestinal Fortitude
Greatest Fear: Poverty

Weapon of Choice: 36 Smoothbore Cannons and Some Grapeshot
Power: 5
Effect: Grapeshot was made of a mild steel canister filled with hardened ball bearings and bits of shrapnel. When shot out of a cannon the canister would break apart and the ball bearings would achieve velocity sufficient to penetrate human flesh over three hundred yards away. Lining up 18 cannon (the other half were on the other side of the ship) and firing a broadside into a gaggle of densely packed soldiers waiting on an enemy deck for a boarding action was an effective way to reduce resistance to a young pirates’ demands.

Disposition: Making his first appearance in Robert Louis Stevenson’s adventure novel Treasure Island in 1881*, Flint is the notorious captain of the pirate ship, The Walrus. Flint raped, pillaged, and plundered his way to an enormous treasure of gold and silver. Flint and six of his trusted advisers then buried the treasure on a secret island for future use. To make sure his treasure stayed safe, Flint murdered all the men who knew where the treasure was buried. He then made a map which he entrusted to his first mate Billy Bones. To see how that turned out, read Treasure Island. Flint has appeared in several other novels, films, and television shows. Always the hard-nosed, ruthless, and capable sailor, Flint is the only person strong enough to be made the Pirate King.

*This is Standard Earth Years.

OverNote: The only man Captain Flint has ever been afraid of was his quarter master, Long John Silver, who named his faithful parrot Flint out of ‘respect’ for his captain.

Should you take command of the Pirate Faction, you’ll command both Flint and Silver.

Meet The Faction – Ninja

Name: Mochizuki Chiyome
Faction: Ninjas
Power: 7
Equivalent Chess Piece: Queen
Existence in Current Reality: Historical
Greatest Attributes: Strength of will; Skill with edged weapons
Greatest Fear: Losing

Weapon of Choice: Smoke Bomb
Power: 1
Effect: The Smoke Bomb is a subtle weapon that allows for the set up of future attacks.  It will not often win the battle, but it puts the Ninja in position to win the war.

Disposition:  Chiyome was a 16th century noble woman and poet.  After her husband, Mochizuki Moritoki, a samurai lord, was killed in the fourth battle of Kawanakajima in 1561*, Chiyome had no choice but to live in the care of her husband’s uncle Takeda Shingen.  Rather than become another concubine in Shingen’s harem, Chiyome accepted the mission of recruiting and then training a network of female ninja known as kunoichi with the understanding that she would then employ them against her husband’s enemies.  Fueled by equal parts vengeance and loathing Chiyome embraced her new life with aplomb.  At the height of her power she commanded a veritable army of shrine maidens, wandering priestesses, actresses, prostitutes, and geisha.  The enemies of the Takeda clan continually found themselves out maneuvered and often dead.  In 1573 Shingen himself disappeared under mysterious circumstances, and at that point Chiyome vanishes from the historical record.
* This is Standard Earth Years.

OverNote: In addition to being a deadly assassin and an iron willed leader, Mochizuki Chiyome makes a damn fine batch of chocolate chip cookies.  Just be sure you have some narcan handy before you try them.

Do They Laugh When You Sit Down At The Gaming Table?

Play this guy and they’ll laugh a lot less –Eventually.

You see Mulberry Field isn’t the strongest personality –Kong –and he doesn’t have the most aggressive action –Lady MacBeth –but what does do is set you up for the future.

Most people eschew Mulberry Field when choosing people from the Power Tree.  Instead they favor people with more raw umph.  But they fail to realize is that Mulberry Field should never be played in a Face Off where he is only mediocre.  He should be played in the HQ.  Even then his value isn’t always revealed.

Mulberry allows you to draw cards.  As many cards as you have in the HQ.  There is no limit.  You could, if you set things up correctly, draw six, seven, even ten cards into your hand.  I’ve seen it happen.  And once you have your deck in your hand, well then all your other combos are locked and loaded for the next four turns.

So Aristotle may edge out Mulberry in the short term, but for the Schemer, Mr. Field is the winner every time.

Yet even more Chilling Secrets behind the Face Off Story (Part Five)

I do not own the rights to Buffy. Or Star Wars. Or Archer. Or the Big Bang Theory. Or a myriad of other characters that had made their way into Face Off 6.0. But Face Off was so much fun I wanted to share it with people outside my circle of friends.

So for Face Off 7.0 we stripped away all themes. And started making decisions based on the core of the game. For months we only played tested decks that were populated with personalities named P1, P2, P3. And our personalities were equipped with things named E1, E2, E3. In the market we bought cards named M1, M2, M3…. You get the idea.

We identified seven different paths to victory –Big Guys, Card Draw, VP Collection, Deck Destruction, HQ Players, Attacks, and Swarm –and we built decks around these strategies. Rather than every deck doing a little bit of every thing, each deck now has a major and minor theme and decks are designed for maximum synergy. We play test a lot to ensure the asymmetrical decks are balanced to each other and to the future decks that are coming soon.

Only when we were fairly close to balanced did we add back in theme. Since we didn’t have the money to go with my favorite pop culture stuffs, we went with my favorite things in the public domain –Monsters, Cowboys, Ninjas, Classical Villains now known as the Asylum, and Pirates. Then to be creative and different we added Teddy Bears wielding Famous Firearms, Evil Klowns with gross names but sexy pictures, and Sherlocks –different incarnations of the Prime Detective like Granny Sherlock, and Doctor Sherlock, and High School Girl Sherlock. (Sherlocks are one of my favorite factions.)

The last great puzzle was there was still a problem with scoring. Players collect points by fighting over Victory Condition cards. These are sets of cards numbered 1-7. Originally there were five sets –pieces to the map to lost city of Atlantis, rich guy stuff, pieces to a time machine, things needed for a responsible government, and pieces to a submarine. For new players of Face Off this worked great, but experienced players learned not to waste good cards on low point values. Instead they only tried to win cards with a value of five or higher. This violates my one best strategy rule, so it couldn’t stay.

The question became how de we make lower point value cards worth a player’s best resources?

Of course we could have just made every card worth the same amount of points, but that didn’t feel right.

So we started with a rule that said if you collected all seven cards in a set you automatically won the game. Period. Points don’t matter. Players were now incentivised to play defense as well as offense. But it wasn’t enough.

So we added a second value to VC cards. Now VC cards have a point value and a ‘piece value’. Every VC card you win is worth one point. However, if you have the most pieces in a set, and only if you have the most pieces in a set, you get the face value of the card instead of one point. So why spend resources on that one point card? Because it is worth two pieces in the set.

Finally we ditched the generic cards, and gave each faction a set of things they were trying to collect. The map to Atlantis became the Pirate map to buried treasure. Rich guy stuff became the Ninja’s precious treasures. This made set up a little bit more involved but added enough texture to the game to make it worth while.

And there you have it. Face Off 7.6. Essentially the game we’re bringing you in a just a couple of weeks. Of course there have been some balance tweaks here and there. A few cards nerfed or buffed. But nothing major. The rules have been set for nearly a year now and things look great.

Of course now we need art and marketing and other stuff. To see how these things got added in tune in next week. Same bat time. Same bat channel. Same goofy jokes.