You Have Been Helping The Brood to Evolve!

October 4, 2017 Cards  No comments

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It has been roughly 90 days since we released the initial cards for the Beta Brood Official Playtest, and the results have been humbling. You folks (the players) really do have a soft spot for these regenerating beasts of bio-engineered flesh and chitin! With the Brood Faction Starter Box just about to be available to the public and Bryan showing up at this convention or that event with his scary little monsters, it became evident that it was about time to update the Beta Brood Cards to show how much your feedback (emailed to [email protected]) about the Brood actually means to the Dark Age team and design process.

Along with this article, the online Brood stat cards have now been adjusted to discuss the changes our playtesting and your feedback has helped shape.

We didn’t want to just leave you having to hunt and peck for stat changes and the like, so let’s discuss what really changed right here.

Let’s start at the top.

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MJB-4 is an in-close fighter, getting in the thick of things fast and seemed not to have all the chances to heal like he ought to. However, he is still 20 feet tall and ABLE to heal, so we chose to add a point to his AR while making him one easier to be hit as well. There were several comments about him not hitting hard enough, so we went ahead and gave him Furious Charge to help sharpen his teeth (staff?). Lastly, in reflection of something else coming to join MJB-4 in next year’s Brood book, we dropped his Commander rating to 4; still good for leading monsters, but not the best the faction will have available to it.

Helexa was a place where nearly all the emails had something to say. Her most notable comment was, when combined with Broodspawn: Awakened, she could have a PS 20 that she passes on to her entire force. While not utterly game-breaking, we at Dark Age don’t like many “sure things” in our game, so we reduced her PS from 16 to 15 as well as modified her Mental Link to have a radius of effect instead of table-wide. This makes her still very useful, but forces tactics and choices instead. We also increased her Commander rating to help make sure she can keep those friends close. Giving her an extra point of AR and Never Panic helped make her worth her 150 points once the battle was engaged, but so did the addition of a new ability called Parting Blow – letting her engage enemies and know that she will eventually get swings at them, one way or another.

Murtros is the Brood’s “backwoods general”, and we needed him to stay firmly in that role. He was given Never Panic; he is a legendary nightmare to frontier folk, after all. His Commander rating was adjusted to show his leadership role, but not outshine the hive mind of Helexa, either. Nothing else really stood out or was pointed out about our guerrilla warfare specialist.

Scion saw a great deal of use, it seems, by the sheer number of people commenting about her in their reports. The biggest change was the need to increase her Point Value from 125 to 150. She was definitely fighting above her weight class before, and now she seems to fight right in. Like other 150 point Brood Characters, we gave her Never Panic. While her points increase was needed, we also felt that her claws could hit harder and her tendrils could hit more often, so those numbers were also adjusted slightly.

The Mandible has also seen a lot of use lately, reports show. His adjustments came primarily from a string of reports that complained that the Mandible always outpaced or Ambush-deployed nowhere near the models that he shares a Squadlink keyword with – so we gave him the new “middle management” special ability of Commander*(1). Now he can fit in with any unit as battlefield support, and with Reach added to his attacks he can do so without getting in the way of the packs he is joining.

Gazelle is another fan favorite that reports were telling us that she just didn’t seem to live up to her potential. One large change that needed to happen was the adjustment of her Masochist ability to give her an additional AP instead of something she could already get from being a Broodspawn. Going along to match the narrative as well as celebrate two amazing new sculpts by Thierry Masson (a work-in-progress shown below), we decided to add a small Squadlink to the Gazelles. It isn’t a huge change to let them pair up, but it does help. Finally, to give Gazelles the punch that people universally claimed she didn’t have, her basic kicks now have Reach and can knock people down… but it is her big Double Kick that can make for a great running dropkick now that it has Devastating Charge.

New Gazelle Sculpt

Lashers, like their bigger sister Scion, were really fighting at a higher class than they were intended to. They are fast, smart, and agile scouts able to fill several battlefield roles, but their attacks were putting them over the top. The PW on their attacks was lowered, as was the AS of their head-tentacles. Now they fight more like a 75 point scout-like model should. Additionally, their Survivalist was removed and their DF raised by a point. Already having Reaction Strike and Elusive, they could already do a lot – and you players noticed.

We had a couple solid reports on the much-maligned Pod; walking Pud nests capable of effectively sacrificing themselves to *maybe*get a single PW 10 hit on someone. The AR was increased on these monsters, hoping to get them into combat with a little more survivability to make use of their increased combat efficiency. This is also to help them make more of a difference on the battlefield, because after hearing about piles of Pud Roamers all squadlinking at once with Furious Charge – we knew that Field Order had to go.

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Alpha Broodlings were being heralded as the newest greatest thing, and we believe we understand why – 2 HP AND Regenerate on a 50 point model. So, much to the chagrin of many, it is being reduced back down to 1 HP. However, to make the most out of that HP, we added two points of chitinous AR and changed that Field Order into a squadlink-based Order.

The frequently proxied Mucous Bloatling only saw a very minor change that doesn’t affect them AT ALL until new units emerge in the future – we changed the name of their squadlink keyword from “Mucous Bloatling” to just “Bloatling.” That will be eventually evident as to why.

The last unit to see any of these first changes, the basic Broodling was a little too easy to pop for a close combat unit without Reach. Even at only 25 points and Regenerate, it was just too easy to kill swaths of them. It isn’t much, but a slight increase to their AR should help get these swarming devils up into combat where they belong. Now, one other change was more to reflect the desire to bring an Alpha along with them, and that was a minor decrease in the squadlink rating from 4 to 3 (also the number of new Broodling sculpts that will be coming in their unit box).

Not just changing the units, but also looking into the Bio-Gens, we added a special caveat to the Pud Hatchery to make it more useful for certain choices, and to prepare it for other changes in the future!

So… there you have it. The Brood rules have evolved slightly here and there, and the process in still ongoing. Until you see a unit box with printed cards in hand, we are still accepting playtest reports and notes on how these guys perform on your tabletops!

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