Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Resolve of Mistfall

A few months ago one of my playtesters, after performing a very impressive combo that led to his Shieldbearer eliminating two rather nasty enemies, stated that it’s a shame there are no individual rewards for monster slaying – and asked if I could modify that rule, so that there is an incentive for players to do more killing. I shook my head and told him what I am about to tell you.

Art by Enggar Adirasa.
Mistfall is a game of management. You manage your hand, you manage your deck, you manage your discard pile. You try to manage the level of Enemy Focus you are forced to put on your Hero whenever you’re doing some doing heroic stuff. You also manage Resolve, a resource generated mostly by eliminating Enemies, that allows you to develop your Hero – and that is stored in one common pool, for any player to draw from and use to buy new Feats.

So why is there a common pool, if the Mage does more killing than the Cleric? The question actually includes the answer: because the Mage does more killing than the Cleric. And the Cleric is protecting and healing the Mage, making sure that the exhausted spellcaster does not fall victim to a new wave of fresh Enemies, or to the main villain (like Karnas the Betrayer depicted here).

Mistfall is a game about managing, but it’s also a game about sharing. It’s about deciding that the Resolve generated by the Seeker’s killing blow will be immediately used up by the Shieldbearer, allowing him to protect the Mage from a crippling blow in a moment of weakness. Or it will be used by the Cleric, who used to be focused on healing, but with a new Advanced Feat will now suddenly be ready to deal with some of the undead threatening the whole party.

So, there are no individual Resolve rewards – all goes into a single pool. All the tokens stay there until you, as a group, decide that it it’s the time for one of you to acquire the card that will allow you all to overcome a previously insurmountable obstacle – and persevere. This allows every individual player to make their own propositions on which character to improve and how. This also allows everyone to participate in the overall party development, building a feeling of a fellowship and creating an option to synergize even beyond combinations of cards, actions and in-game effect – making Mistfall a truly cooperative experience.

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