ERRATA: Goodbye, Hindering Strike

By | January 5, 2019

Welcome to 2019! Rather than talk about each change in the Errata at length in a single (tremendously long) post, we decided to break it up. This week, we’ll address the removal of Hindering Strike and the addition of a replacement mechanic:

  • A Boon can be spent to apply a Hindrance to the target of your Harmful attack. This cannot be used to apply a second Hindrance to a Hindering attack.
  • Hindering Strike is removed. It has been replaced by the ability to spend a Boon to Hinder the target of your Harmful attack.

What this means, essentially, is that now everyone has the ability to Hindering Strike, but it costs a Boon Token to accomplish.

So why this change?

During additional play, we found that having Hindering Strike in the game convinced many players that it was the only way to Hinder targets. The tactical choice at the heart of Hindrances – choosing to Harm or Hinder – was completely overlooked in the presence of the Boost.

Once players realized that Hindering Strike allowed them to get essentially a “free attack,” we found that groups were interested in stacking different Hindering Strikes so that, as they attacked NPCs, they would automatically apply 2 to 5 different Hindrances on a target, This effectively made targets into punching bags, and a gang of strangers punching and kicking a quadriplegic to death was not the intention behind this Boost.

Also, the gravitation toward Hindering Strike revealed a flaw in the mathematics behind the Boost. Originally, the Boost was considered “balanced” because the Hindrance would either have an effect or it would be removed on the Target’s next Turn (or sooner, by one of the Target’s allies). Using our calculations, this put it at the equivalent of doing about 5 Harm over a combat – which was fairly balanced. But stacking Hindering Strikes had an exponential effect that we didn’t anticipate and, once we took that into account in the math, would make Hindering Strike cost something like 4 to 6 Boost Points (since it is, in essence, a limited-choice extra attack).

We tried playing with Hindering Strike at the higher cost, but ultimately it didn’t provide anything we felt was interesting for play. Because even at the higher cost, it still removed a tactical choice and changed play so that, unless enemies were always Mobs or had Rally, fights became about heroically beating up impaired enemies. And … ick.

What else does this impact?

The core reasoning behind the change also led to another piece of Errata:

Rally: You can automatically recover from a single Hindrance on your Turn.

Rally was originally designed as a counterpoint to Hindering Strike: the attacker had to pick a specific Hindrance, so too should the defender. In practice, though, that was not particularly viable. It felt wrong once we really started playing with it in-depth through the “everybody has Hindering Strike” days. When we sat down to figure out why, we were able to determine (mathematically) that Rally, if you had to choose what you were defending against, was worth about a fifth of a Boost’s normal value. Removing that up-front choice would change the Boost to be valuable and, after removing Hindering Strike, we decided that this change to Rally should stay.

Do I have to?

Of course not! If your gaming group likes Hindering Strike just fine the way it was, and Rally just fine the way it was, you don’t have to implement the Errata. We can’t force you to play the game our way and don’t even want to try. But the Errata’d version is what we’ll be working off of and building off of for future products, so you might run into a bit of conversion work later.

Thanks for reading! We’ll be back next week with more Errata explanations 🙂