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GTM #200 - Star Wars: Destiny
by Fantasy Flight Games

“Luke, you can destroy the Emperor. He has foreseen this. It is your destiny.”

~ Darth Vader, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back ~

Who would win a lightsaber duel between Darth Vader and Qui-Gon Jinn? What about a fight that pits Rey against Jango Fett? Everyone has wondered what would happen if the greatest heroes and most infamous villains from the Star Wars saga met in battle. Now, every player has the chance to live out any battle imaginable with Star Wars: Destiny, a collectible, saga-spanning dice and card game for two players!

~ The Dark Side and the Light ~

“The belonging you seek is not behind you… it is ahead. I am no Jedi, but I know the Force. It moves through and surrounds every living thing.”

~ Maz Kanata, Star Wars: The Force Awakens ~

Every game of Star Wars: Destiny begins with both players calling together a team of heroes or villains from across the Star Wars saga. For the first time, this collectible game gives players the freedom to draw on characters throughout the canon, all the way from the opening crawl of The Phantom Menace to the dramatic reveal of Luke Skywalker at the end of The Force Awakens. A team may consist of villains like Count Dooku, Kylo Ren, and Captain Phasma, or heroes like Qui-Gon Jinn, Poe Dameron, and Leia Organa. The first player to defeat his opponent’s entire team wins the game!

Once the game begins, a player must master both dice and cards to gain the upper hand. Each character starts the game in play with one or more corresponding dice on the character. These premium, full-color dice are a player’s principal means of attacking his opponent, disrupting his plans, shielding his own characters, gaining resources to increase his forces, and triggering special abilities.

Of course, it’s not just a player’s dice that he needs to carefully control as he plays the game. Each player also has a thirty-card deck, filled with events, supports, and attachments that he can use to enhance his team, such as the Millennium Falcon or a powerful lightsaber. Many of these supports and attachments have their own corresponding dice which players can add to their dice pool as they play, increasing their battlefield prowess and helping accelerate them to victory.

~ The Duel of the Fates ~

“It is obvious that this contest cannot be decided by our knowledge of the Force, but by our skills with a lightsaber.”

~ Count Dooku, Star Wars: Attack of the Clones ~

Gameplay in Star Wars: Destiny is fast and fluid, alternating quickly between players. On his turn, each player may take a single action — playing a card from his hand, activating a character to roll its dice, spending any number of dice that share a symbol, discarding a card to reroll dice, or claiming the battlefield. Once that single action has been completed, the turn passes to the other player, allowing him to take a single action.

Ultimately, as in a firefight or a lightsaber duel, timing is everything in Star Wars: Destiny. Players must choose when to activate their cards and when to build up their support structure by playing more cards from their hands. A player must choose when to press the attack by spending his dice and when to set up a larger move by playing an event from his hand. Players must weigh the importance of a card that could be played against the desire to discard that card and reroll dice. A player must even determine the exact right moment to end his turn by claiming the battlefield. Though the rules of Star Wars: Destiny are easy to learn, players will soon see that its strategy offers massive depths.

~ It Is Your Destiny ~

“You cannot escape your destiny. You must face Darth Vader again.”

~ Obi-Wan Kenobi, Star Wars: Return of the Jedi ~

If you’ve ever thought up your own “what if” battles in the Star Wars universe, Star Wars: Destiny is your chance to find out what happens next. Collect your cards and dice, assemble your team, and prepare for fast-paced, high-stakes battles for the fate of the galaxy!

GTM #199 - Malifaux: Ripples of Fate
by Aaron Darland

Malifaux is, and has always been, a character-driven game. Each model has a personality, both in the sculpt and the rules, which makes every moment in the game connect with players. Whether you’re using Pandora to cast Self Loathing, forcing a target to hurt itself, or slicing your foes in half with Viktoria’s mighty Masamune Nihonto, Malifaux ensures that each moment weaves into the narrative of the game.

When we set out to write Ripples of Fate, the newest Malifaux book, we knew we wanted to add new Masters to the game. It had been some time since a new Master was introduced, and it seemed like the perfect book to make some waves. Since this was a Malifaux book, we knew we had to start with character: personality, motivations, and story.

The first Master we created was Parker Barrows for the Outcasts. Malifaux has always been a game with wild west elements, and Parker was a great opportunity for us to make a train robber. We wanted him to embody a bandit, complete with a bandana to hide his identity. As his story came together, so did his rules. Parker Barrows is able to make his targets drop loot, in the form of Scheme Markers, that are beneficial to his enemies. But, like any good robber knows, the more your mark has, the more you can take from them. Parker is able to use enemy resources for bonuses, making sure opponents always know that what’s theirs is his.

The creation of Parker invigorated the design team. We decided to tackle something that Malifaux had been missing: the fae. Faeries have the potential to be dark and otherworldly, which made them obvious candidates for the Neverborn Faction. It seemed only appropriate to have a fae queen, and thus Titania was born. It was an easy choice to make her look like our original Fate Deck’s Red Joker, and similarly, we tied her into one of the most meaningful times in the world’s history: the fight against the Tyrants. With a background established, Titania fell into place. She’s survivable and lays claim to the land, and she is more than happy to let her minions get in the thick of things in her stead.

From there it all began to come together from ideas we had been discussing and planning for since the release of Second Edition. Unsurprisingly to anyone, the Ten Thunders gained an oni Master, Asami Tanaka. Asami needed a human side, so we decided that she was a normal girl that had been possessed, and that the oni possessing her intended to use her as a vessel to bring other oni into the mix. All of Malifaux’s characters are strong, though, and Asami is no different: she resisted the oni’s influence and maintained some portion of her free will. The struggle in her backstory gave rise to Asami’s game mechanics. She is able to summon oni to life, and she also gains bonuses when the opponent is winning the game, mirroring her own struggle against the oni inside of her.

Nellie Cochrane, the Guild Master, arose out of a desire to represent the influence of print media in the world of Malifaux. We often like using newspaper headlines to complement stories in our books, so it was a natural fit. Our first conception of Nellie had her as an Arcanist Master, writing propaganda pieces to undermine the Guild, but as her story came together it became much more apparent that she would make a better character for the Guild. This switch allowed her to directly confront her foes by name, becoming a sort of investigative journalist… albeit one that is only trying to uncover certain kinds of secrets. This development led to Nellie having more of a control play style, warping the story to fit her needs.

On the flip-side of the coin was Sandeep Desai, who was originally a Guild Master. With Nellie shifting to Guild, Sandeep fell into place as an Arcanist. His history with the Guild stretches back to his native India, where the Guild committed atrocities in the name of control. Sandeep has struggled ever since with the core conflict of his character: does he follow his master’s pacifist teachings or embrace his anger and seek vengeance against the organization that oppressed his people? This internal conflict plays out on the table in his mechanics, as he both teaches those around him and also takes up his mighty gada to lay waste to his enemies.

From there, the design team tackled Zipp. We wanted Zipp to be a Gremlin with aspirations of greatness and immense confidence in his own abilities… all while being a bit full of himself. It made sense to have Zipp luck into some of his good fortune, all while his loyal crew – who are quite effective by themselves – remained somehow oblivious to his shortcomings. After a few of our own rambling diatribes about how Zipp should work, we settled on making him annoy the opponent. He became a Master that, no matter what you do, seems impossible to get rid of (or shut up). All of this led to Zipp being the first and only Insignificant Master, making him reliant on his crew to get the job done. With that said, Zipp is amazingly adept at stopping your opponent from getting anything done. Such is the power of a well-delivered monologue.

If Zipp was the most fun Master to design, Reva was the most difficult. Reva was conceived as a sort of psychopomp, dawning from the various guises of death that can be found in multiple cultures. While interesting, this approach made Reva nearly impossible to identify with, so she swung around to being a woman with strange powers over the forces of death. Unlike many of her Resurrectionist fellows, though, Reva does not focus on bringing the dead back to life; she is far more interested in helping people pass on to their next life (whether peacefully or not). By refocusing her theme on a different aspect of death, her mechanics followed suit. Reva is capable of causing serious destruction channeling her power through the dead, allowing her to strike at enemies standing near corpses and dealing damage from a distance.

With the seven Masters designed, we knew the ideas we had settled upon would create quite a splash. Ripples of Fate is a pivotal book in the continued growth of Malifaux, and it gives players the options of additional crews that ooze with personality, all without invalidating their earlier choices.

Of course, as much as Malifaux is about the game, it’s also about the world. Each Master gets its own story in Ripples of Fate, allowing everyone to become more immersed in the personal stories of these new characters. We’re all very excited to see this book released, and we’re glad to finally share these lovingly-crafted characters with our community. When players pick up these new crews and read their stories, it breathes life into the world and ultimately leads to the next question: what will happen next on the other side of the Breach?

•••

Aaron is the head of the design team at Wyrd. He likes learning about new games, derailing forum discussions, and pretending that he loses games on purpose.

GTM #198 - DC Comics Dice Masters: Green Arrow and The Flash
by WizKids/NECA

WizKids’ popular Dice Building Game, Dice Masters, designed by Mike Elliott and Eric M. Lang, is returning to stores this summer with DC Comics Dice Masters: Green Arrow and The Flash.

The Green Arrow and The Flash Dice Masters set focuses on the titular heroes, their allies, and their enemies. Take aim with Team Arrow members Diggle, Felicity Smoak, Roy Harper, and Speedy. Rush into battle with The Flash and his allies including the Teen Titans’ Cyborg and Static or Justice League members Doctor Light and Firestorm. Amanda Waller debuts in Dice Masters enlisting Deadshot and King Shark into the Suicide Squad to accompany her. Of course, traditional foes to Green Arrow and Barry Allen such as Merlyn, Captain Cold, Weather Wizard, and Gorilla Grodd are present in the over 40 characters to select from while building your next Dice Masters team. Whether you’ll pick your favorite theme of characters or use the perfect blend to crush your opponents, DC Comics Dice Masters: Green Arrow and The Flash will quickly become a Dice Masters favorite! Also, Dice Masters collectors will be excited to learn that this set will be the first to include a foil version of every card! Collect foils of your favorite characters, or bling out your favorite team!

A set featuring The Flash wouldn’t be complete without the keyword Fast. The Flash’s longtime enemy, Professor Zoom: Out of Time, is not only Fast, but he also makes certain he’s the fastest character on the field by making all opposing dice lose the keyword and are unable to gain it. Other keywords returning for the set include Overcrush and the new-to-DC keyword, Intimidate.

For players looking for new game mechanics, look no further than frequent partner to Green Arrow and The Flash, Hal Jordan. Hal Jordan: Rebuilding Coast City introduces the Crossover trait. Crossover characters require multiple energy types to purchase and gain the benefits (and drawbacks) of each energy type. In comic books, crossovers are an example of superheroes teaming up across titles, so expect crossover characters in Dice Masters to work well with others, especially of the same energy types. Crossover characters will give players who plan ahead and get some good rolls to unlock exciting new combos.

A subtype of Crossover characters are those that have Synergy. Synergy characters have abilities that can be activated during windows to use global abilities, but may only be used by a player controlling the character. Deathstroke: Lt. Colonel can be used to search for and roll an action die from your bag while Zatanna: Main Attraction may punish an opponent who has multiple fielded sidekicks.

Speed isn’t the only way to stay ahead of your opponent in battle. As Green Arrow learned on the mysterious island of Lian Yu, preparation and tactics are key. Impulse is an ability that rewards a player the moment they purchase a die from a card. Black Canary: Sonic Cry allows the player purchasing her to make a fielded character die unblockable until the end of turn. Combining Impulse with effects to reduce the Purchase Cost of your dice will help you seem like the fastest Dice Masters player alive!

Crossover characters like Jay Garrick: The Crimson Comet have the specialized version of Impulse known as Crosspulse. For a player to use Crosspulse, they’re required to purchase the character using only energy of that character’s type. Jay Garrick’s ability simulates sharing his speed with all of your fielded character by granting them all Fast.

Hal Jordan isn’t the only Lantern-powered hero who appears in the set. Debuting in Green Arrow and The Flash as super-rare cards are the powerful White Lanterns. Batman, Deadman, Sinestro, and Wonder Woman are all Crossover characters prepared to defend life itself in the DC Universe. But, players should be wary of White Lantern Sinestro: Destiny Awaits because the tyrant of Korugar will limit opponents’ access to energy. All in all, the White Lanterns will demonstrate something special players might never have guessed would be in Dice Masters! Furthermore, they’ll be shining EXTRA bright in foil!

Never-before-seen villains in Dice Masters appear exactly as you’d hope they would. Clayface: The Terror will be able to copy all the abilities of any Crossover character – yours OR your opponent’s! Giganta: Larger Than Life takes advantage of shrinking and growing to try and put Wonder Woman in her place. Depending on which version of Gorilla Grodd you choose, he may be the leader the Legion of Doom has been looking for, or take on all comers on his own. Clever players will find ways to slip these new villains in amongst the old to make their teams more diabolical than ever!

Competitive and casual Dice Masters fans alike are always looking for new ways to manipulate where their dice are to have the right blend of characters and energy. This set introduces some new ways to do that on Actions that are highly recognizable to DC Comics fans. First, Rip Hunter’s Chalkboard: “Only Zatara Can Reach The POINT” will allow players to immediately move a single die they purchase into their Prep Area, getting it ready for next turn. One of the most recognizable places in DC Comics also makes its first appearance in Dice Masters — S.T.A.R. Labs: Advanced Research. It has a Global Ability that will let players move two Sidekick dice out of their Used Pile, one to their Prep Area for next turn and another to their Field Zone for an immediate benefit!

DC Comics Dice Masters: Green Arrow and The Flash is the first stand-alone release of a Dice Masters Gravity Feed not tied to a Starter Set. Releasing this September, the set features 124 cards that are also mirrored as foils. So, head to your local game store to enjoy a Rainbow Draft or get together with friends to construct powerful teams of your favorite characters as seen in the comics and on TV.