Project Update: Special Dev Feature: Aspects for Expansion Spirits
Welcome back, our wonderful backers! All 9,529 of you! Incredible as always, and thank you for helping us reach yet another achievement. Today we bring you even more Aspects. These Aspects are for Spirits from the expansions of both Jagged Earth and Branch and Claw. The development team again provided us with excellent write ups on each of these aspects. Here is Ted, Nick, and Emilia with our new Aspects.
Lure of the Deep Wilderness - Lair, by Ted Vessenes
Besides Thunderspeaker, Lure of the Deep Wilderness is the Spirit that most has a sense of “singular presence”, meaning an Incarna Aspect makes a lot of sense for it as well. The original plan was that Lure’s Incarna marked a spot where it could slowly draw all Invaders on the island towards it, but all of Lure’s power had to use the Incarna as the origin land.
There were several problems with this, but the biggest ones were that the Incarna land didn’t feel special enough, and it felt primarily like a downside. We went back to the drawing board and redesigned it with the following objectives:
- The Incarna’s land needs to feel important
- The Incarna needs to feel like a benefit
- The Incarna needs the thematically feel like Lure is attracting people to it
We ended up with this version, which lets Lure build its own collection of explorers and Dahan. The Lure Incarna makes the land so enticing that (almost) nothing can escape it. And the more explorers and Dahan you can recruit to your collection, the greater your strength over the island at large. Just be sure to use “Never Heard From Again” to cull a few explorers from your collection if they start to get out of control. Not that Lure would ever collect too many explorers…
Sharp Fangs Behind the Leaves - Unconstrained, by Nick Reale
Sharp Fangs Behind the Leaves has the Aspect I like the best, even though I’ll likely never play it again now that development is done. To explain, Fangs is my favorite Spirit in the original wave of 12. But a lot of players bounce off the Spirit for two reasons: the no-Blight restriction on Ranging Hunt punishes early mistakes, and getting enough Beasts to feel powerful requires sacrificing your own Presence. The Unconstrained Aspect exists to remove those barriers to entry and make Fangs easier to play in the hands of someone new to the Spirit.
The only major change from Eric’s design was to how and how quickly it added its “free” Beasts. The original mechanism added 1 Beasts almost every turn, while testing showed that 1 Beasts every 2 Turns was a more reasonable rate. To add some interesting strategic choices, we brought back the Prepare mechanic from Shifting Memory of Ages, allowing players to get more Beasts over the course of the game if they’re willing to delay when those Beasts arrive.
Shifting Memory of Ages - Mentor, by Emilia Katari
Unlike basically everything else in this expansion, Mentor was created by the devs with relatively little guidance from Eric. While we were brainstorming, I had the idea that a Shifting Memory of Ages Aspect that could hand out its power cards would be thematically neat, but also Memory didn’t really have enough Power Card gain for it to be something it could regularly do. At the same time, Ted thought that a Shifting Memory Aspect that gained bonus Power Cards, but without being able to pick what they were, would be mechanically interesting. However, on its own this concept would be too high-variance with respect to how in-element your Power Card draws were. Eventually we decided to combine these two ideas together, and it was a big hit in testing.
The only major change that came about was switching which Innate Power the new power-giving Innate replaced. Initially, it replaced the Defend, but this left Shifting Memory a little less able to affect the board than we wanted, so we switched it to replacing Observe. This meant it had to Prepare Element Markers, so we took the opportunity to give you Markers based on the elements of the card you gave, so it wouldn’t feel as bad giving away in-element cards.
Event Card: Far-Off Wars Touch the Island
Another card we're retiring with Nature Incarnate is the polarizing event "War Touches the Island's Shore". Far-Off Wars is designed as the variant of this effect with better dynamics. Players can make different choices for different parts of the island, letting them decide exactly how much to lean into destruction versus protection.
Thank you again to our dev team for their insight into these Aspects that they’ve worked so hard on. We’ll be back again on Friday with an update on the penultimate spirit! What do you think the name is? Tell us below, and we’ll see you soon for the answer!