Aug 28, 2016

BCG Retrospective XVIII: Tactician Powers

Tactician Powers are much like Champion Powers in that they take something most PCs are already decent at (teamwork) and make them better at it. This makes them less conditional than Trickster Powers, but not necessarily stronger. Most of them are best as 3rd to 5th picks (or as Assistants) for builds aren't dedicated full support PCs. The options have to be worse than self buffs, because they can be granted to the user as well as to others, but they have to be useful enough to be worth a Genre Point.

Can’t let you do That
This is perhaps the most obvious direct counter to a single strategy in the rules, and serves as a balance mechanism against builds that want to destroy the world on turn one by stacking Tension buffs. It is very conditional, the Power is worth taking but only by dedicated support builds that want to have the right buffs and debuffs for every scenario... Or by NPCs that want to keep technique-spammy PCs on their toes. On one hand, I wonder if this would have been better being less extreme and, say, halving the Tension bonus or putting a cap on it but having some other kind of benefit to compensate. On the other hand, making this conditional (and thus rare) people aren't getting hit with Tension debuffs constantly, so they get a chance to use those Techniques and Bombardments. I suppose this turned out alright.

Don’t Give Up
This is a decent heal-type Power. It heals one or two Threshold levels once per Operation, which should be enough to cancel a whole Grunt or perhaps even Rival attack. At its best, it effectively undoes an enemy attack for 1 GP. Probably best as a 2nd or 3rd Level Power, because that's when you can afford to take Systems to 8-10. I really like how this one worked out.

Mind Over Matter
Attribute debuffs are relatively rare so this Power removes all of them in an area, along with Maims because that's what it takes to make the Power worth taking. Mind Over Matter is actually at its best in the hands of a combiner's subpilot, cancelling out the weakness to debuffs of combiner builds, with the bonus of also being an effective antimaim when you don't mind spending most of your GPs keeping it active every Turn. Honestly, I'm not too happy with how strong combiners are once they can spam this, but they're not unmanageable as PCs or NPCs. Also, it's in-genre for combiners to run on prayers and fighting spirit, so I'm calling this one a success.

This is my Battlefield
I'd say this is the coolest Tactician Power, though it was actually one of the last Powers written down. As the only power that could modify terrain, I wanted it to make it work with all the different Terrain types... But I was worried about sick combos involving inescapable extreme Terrain, so it works only once per Operation and each instance of the Power creates only one kind of Terrain. It does last three turns though, making it backbreaking when you get to place it just right.

You are Going Down
This was a difficult Power to balance. The single advantage for yourself against one target is not even worth a Genre Point, but when there's four or more attackers this Power gives a ton of value for its cost. Remote Weapons were one of the first things written down to be in the expansion, and they synergize very well with this power, so I opted to keep this Power relatively weak for its debut because it would get much stronger later on. The one thing I'm not sure about this Power is its range. What I do know is that a map-wide buff regardless of positioning would be exploitable for PCs and hideously broken for NPCs. It was relatively late in development when the Power was still getting tweaked, and a flat 5 seemed like a safe choice to make. Maybe with more time we would have worked out a different variable like, say, Systems.

You can do Better than That
Probably the weakest Power of the Tactician repertoire. The problem is that the Power is at its best when you would miss, and you generally want to build so that you don't ever miss. It is useful against Bosses and Rivals with absurd Defense ratings, such as Combiners, but still fairly weak because it can be only used once. This would have been better off without the "once per Operation" limit or just as a debuff to stacked Defenses of some kind.

Looking back, Tactician Powers are very spread out in quality. Don't Give Up and This is my Battlefield are the ones I'm happiest with. Mind Over Matter and You are Going Down are very good but there's room for improvement. Can't let you do That is odd in that I would like it to be different but I'm not sure what I'd do. You can do Better than That is the only one that I'd say needs a rewrite of some sort. This is a good batch, with the best Tactician Powers having just enough power and coolness to carry the rest.

Next: The Mecha Chapter!

Gimmick Out.


  1. Good to know that you're still alive.

  2. Yo! Question about advantages and disadvantages when it comes to AOE attacks like blast or line etc... what happenens when you use them during duels? Say incinerator. Do you get an advantage against the person you are dueling? ... how about the other targets? ... similiarly for Attack Absorbers, if I use it against enemy A, and then I attack both A and B with my incinerator, do I get an advantage vs A? How about B?

    1. Melee AOEs grant their advantage vs your duel target, but not vs anyone else. Likewise, Attack Absorbers grant an advantage vs the enemy that they protected you against but not vs other targets.

      So if you use Attack Absorbers vs A and then you engage A or are already dueling A, your Incinerator has 2 more Advantages against A than it does against B. Also remember that you should convert both advantages to a +4 bonus because you're attacking multiple targets.

      Hope that helps!

    2. Ok, that makes sense... so those extra advantages should just be converted into +2 each, cause throwing multiple dice just complicates things! Got it! ... I guess it's a simliar case when you have advantages against some targets and disadvantages to the other target, just convert them to +2 or -2 each? Makes sense! :0

  3. Our group banned Transpatial Randomizer because it just seems brokenly powerful. I can see that the randomness is an issue, but other than that, 2 energy for an actionless, unlimitted source of it's effects, sounds really powerful, and worth putting one of these on every single mecha on the team...

    1. It is very powerful, yes. The balancing factor is that most builds have no use for about one third of the effects and another third is useful but may or may not be worth the cost. The best and most useful third is, yes, more or less a free turn. It is very expensive and you could be getting something else for the cost.

      If everybody gets it though then... Yeah, that'd be tedious.