The Invasion Steams On

A peek into the mechanics and some new cards for Warhammer: Invasion!


Welcome to week three of Warhammer: Invasion designer notes. This week I’ll be showing some more cards and talking a bit about the design process for this game.

For those of you new to the column, I recommend the first two designer’s diaries, The Invasion Is Coming and The Best Defense.

Design ChallengesBecause Warhammer: Invasion is FFG’s first card came envisioned as an LCG™ from the beginning, I wanted to make sure to design a game that took advantage of the incredible benefits the LCG™ model can provide.

As the card pool with any brand new game is limited, I had to make sure each card was the best it could be. In addition, each card had to be fun and something people would be excited to have in their deck.

Warhammer evolved from a game design I was crafting that was inspired by real time strategy games (RTS). I liked the idea that players had to choose which function their units and buildings would perform after playing them, creating a game that gave a nigh-unprecedented amount of control over one’s own development. Each card in the game has two or three very different uses, depending on how you play it.

Another thing that makes LCG’s™ unique is the release model itself. We get to introduce a small number of cards in fast-paced intervals, something that gives us the opportunity to offer you an ongoing narrative. You’ve seen the beginnings of this with our other two LCG’s, and we’re taking it to the next level with Warhammer. Even the card design is affected by this, as I have seeded some cards that are good on their own, but offer an interesting story and gameplay payoff later on.

The largest benefit of this monthly injection of cards, is that the game continues to evolve each month. No longer do you have to wait three months for the newest set of cards to come out, you get a game that has an ever-changing metagame. New cards might suddenly make older cards incredibly powerful, or provide the answer to a difficult combo. This opportunity to create a game that will act as a living thing is what prompted the name, Living Card Game™.

Drafting a New ExperienceWarhammer features a new mode of play that I’m very excited about. It is a two-player draft format specifically designed to really take advantage of the LCG™ model. The basics work like this: you and your opponent each bring the cards you wish to make a deck out of to the table, including a set of draft-specific cards designed for this format. After you shuffle your assembled cards, you take turns building a draft deck on the fly by drawing 15 cards at a time. You then select two of those cards to go into your deck, then pass the cards to your opponent. They then choose one of those cards to be removed from your available cards. This continues until you have three cards remaining that are discarded, then you draw 15 more cards and repeat the process.

This continues until you have built for yourself the best deck that you can, and strategically denied your opponent what you hope are his best cards. In addition to this, you may choose to trigger the “draft only cards” from the packs for their effects, which changes some of the rules of the draft itself!

It’s an exciting format that I think will illustrate why the LCG™ is a fun, unique model. I can’t wait to see it in action in the real world.

Savor The FlavorWith the extensive history of Warhammer, I wanted to make sure that we kept each race as flavorful as possible. From the grudges of the Dwarfs to the addiction to fighting of the Orcs, we wanted each to feel as if they came straight from the annals of Warhammer. 

We did this in a couple of ways. The first is the flavor and names themselves. Each card was passed by our resident loremasters, Jay Little and JR Godwin. Both of them are steeped in Warhammer history, and were excited to help shape the face of the game. Adding both card titles and writing all of the flavour text, these guys were dedicated to capturing the essence of the Old World. From the Orc Boar Boyz “Dun know which smellz worse, der boyz or der boarz!” to the Savage Marauders “It is time the cattle of the Empire learn the meaning of slaughter.”, each card belongs in the gritty universe of Warhammer.

Secondly, flavor was added in the game mechanics themselves. Known for their grudges, Dwarfs will not rest until they right the wrong done to them. To this effect, there are a number of Dwarf cards that have a spiteful effect when they are removed from play. The Zhufbar Engineers are a perfect example of this. Chaos works to corrupt the world, and this threat was maintained in the game as well. Many Chaos units are able to corrupt units, and other cards have abilities that only trigger on corrupted units. Melekh the Changer gains strength from every corrupted unit, on both sides of the battle! Each race has a handful of specific abilities that they are best at, which provides you a number of options when building a deck.

Join me next week when we take a close look at fine folks found in the Empire!

Warhammer Invasion The Card Game is a card game, by Eric M. Lang, in which 2 players develop their kingdoms and lay waste to their foes. Each side is comprised of either the forces of Order -Dwarfs, High Elves, Empire- or the forces of Destruction -Orcs, Chaos, Dark Elves- as they seek to extend their empire to include the entire Old World.  

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