Masters of the Universe: The Board Game Designer Diary- Episode 6

“I’ll get you for this, He-Man!” – Skeletor, on many, many occasions.

Heroic Warriors, members of the Evil Horde… Michael Shinall here, co-designer of Masters of the Universe: The Board Game – Clash for Eternia, and today I’m here to talk to you about the importance of declaring your nefarious/heroic intents to all those around you – as often as you can and as loudly as you can.

Ok, that’s only partially true. We’ve spoken about numerous aspects of the board game previously, which you can catch up on here:

• Designer Diary 1: I Have the Power!

• Designer Diary 2: The Power System

• Designer Diary 3: Heroes and Villains

• Designer Diary 4: Choosing Your Role

• Designer Diary 5: Ways to Play

 Before continuing, we suggest you read up on those, as we’re going to talk about and expand upon some elements we previously covered!

Having said that, one of the main fundamentals of the game is the difference when playing a single Character as part of the group or taking on the role of the Controller and masterminding an entire side of the fight. A key difference in those roles lies with the Strategy Deck.

So just what is this deck, you ask? As the Controller, included in your arsenal of resources are your Strategy Cards, contained within their own special deck. These cards act as secretive abilities and effects that the Controller can utilize throughout the game to either boost the capabilities of their Characters or hinder the efforts of their opponents. By spending Power (the de facto “resource” of the game) you’ll have access to a number of these cards – it’s a limited quantity though, so you’ll need to plan just how best to use them as the game progresses.

Now, we don’t want you to think these are just some freebie “Surprise! I got you!” effects for the Controller. Oh no – like everything else in the game, drawing and playing these cards requires expending Power, and that Power must be directly spent from a Skill on the Controller Board (The Battle Plan skill, specifically). This means that the players can tell that the Controller is up to something if they begin allocating Power to this specific Skill. This also means that using these cards is a strategic and tactical choice by the Controller, and they will be rewarded for clever usage!

A final aspect to discuss as well is the size and volume of this deck – we don’t want you to think it’s going to be overwhelming or anything! It’s actually a deck of only twelve cards, comprised of six unique cards. So while all of them do drastically different things (surprising your Enemies with Minions, allowing you to give a boosting monologue about the weight of good/evil) there is a level of predictability for both sides. The deck is meant to be full of tricks and options for the Controller, but should never feel so random as that the Players didn’t feel they could (at least partially) plan and prepare for the effects.

Of course, how much and how often these cards will be utilized fully depends on the play-style of the Controller. Some players might naturally gravitate towards these effects, loving the option to unleash such surprises, while others might forgo heavy use of them in favor of dedicating their Power elsewhere; it all comes down to personal preference and style!

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