Designer Diary: Objectives in Relic Knights
Objectives in Relic Knights
Objectives are one of the most important parts of any miniatures game, so they were something that we considered very carefully when designing Relic Knights second edition. And, of course, our starting point was Relic Knights first edition.
In first edition, each player set out three objective markers before the game. These markers helped determine where units could be deployed, and they also played into how victory points would be scored. Different scenarios allowed you to score victory points in different ways. For example, Heist had you attempting to steal heist tokens from enemy objectives, while Grand Conjuration had you placing infuse tokens on both enemy and friendly objectives. Every faction had one scenario that was set, and then you flipped an esper card for two additional scenarios; one scenario was determined by the primary esper type of the card flipped while the other scenario was determined by the secondary esper type. This meant that during every game you had three separate scenarios while your opponent also had their own three scenarios, for a total of six separate scenarios you had to pay attention to.
This system had great flavor, but it also had a few problems. For one, it was overly complex, with each player having to pay attention to six separate scenarios (three they were trying to achieve, and three they were trying to prevent their opponent from achieving). It also was difficult to balance. Each faction had a set scenario so an entire faction could have an edge just by having a slightly easier scenario. Finally, it often led to players ignoring each other. Sometimes players would simply concentrate on scoring their own scenarios while ignoring their opponent, which reduced player interaction. With second edition, we set out to revamp the system and eliminate these problems.
Relic Knights Primary Objective Markers
In Relic Knights second edition, both players score victory points in the same way, so they are drawn together to battle it out! You score victory points by destroying opposing units and holding enemy objectives. You score one victory point for destroying any enemy unit, two victory points for destroying the enemy Relic Knight or Avatar, two victory points for holding an enemy secondary objective, and three victory points for holding the enemy primary objective. In the standard skirmish-sized game, the first player to score six victory points immediately wins.
To score an enemy objective, a unit must activate while in contact with it. Because the unit needs to begin its activation in contact, the opponent will always have a chance to respond. They can stop the unit from scoring by pushing it away, engaging it in combat, or simply destroying it! This creates a tense dynamic where you are threatening enemy objectives and forcing your opponent to respond. Sometimes you may do this to lure them into combat. Other times you may find fun combos where you can push one of your own units into an objective and then activate it to score. Or you move onto an objective and then throw down a defensive area of effect token that prevents your unit from being moved or makes it harder to destroy. However you cut it, each objective is worth, at minimum, a third of the points you need to win, so they are an integral part of the game that cannot be ignored! They force the players together into desperate combat and create room for daring gambles. Of course, don’t forget you score points by destroying the enemy as well!
In testing second edition, we originally had it so that you could score points from a single objective multiple times. We found that this made the game a bit static, so we changed it so that, once an objective was scored, it was removed from the table. This made the focus of the action change as the game progressed, and players couldn’t win by focusing on a single objective. Instead, they were encouraged to use multiple units to focus on different areas of the board, making the game even more tactical and interesting.
Relic Knights Secondary Objectives
The Relic Knights second edition objective system is great because it rewards strategic positioning, encourages player interaction, and still provides a streamlined and balanced play experience. However, there are six alternate scenarios at the end of the book for you to try out if you want a different experience. These alternate scenarios range from Pitched Battle that only grants victory points for units that are destroyed to satisfy those gamers who just want a simple fight, to Murder Pinball where you can throw your objectives into your opponents to score points. Also, one of the key features of Void Break, the next Relic Knights book set to release, is going to be an expanded scenario system with all sorts of fun and flavorful ways to play the game!
The objective system in Relic Knights second edition leaves room for us to expand while creating an experience that is both highly tactical and streamlined, so you can have engaging and tense games right out of the gate!
Relic Knights is returning with a brand new edition!
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- Ninja Division