Warlord Protocol - Prototype (10.1 Patch Notes)
Updated: Nov 16, 2021
It has been quite a while since the last update! We released the 10.0 update in mid September, but we never got around to writing an in-depth explanation for it. So, this post is going to be a mashup of the 10.0 and 10.1 prototypes. You can check out the general patch notes just below this section, and you can find a more detailed explanation for some of those changes a little farther down the page.
Warlord Protocol: Prototype 10.1 - Patch Notes
New Artwork! The following cards have received their final illustrations:
Athereal, the Guardian (WP 003)
Champion of Athos (WP 006)
Athereal's Arbiter (WP 010)
Athena, Fleet Admiral (WP 018)
Combat Medic (WP 050)
Shadow Agent (WP 051)
Fallen Disciple (WP 052)
Adara, the Crimson Witch (WP 062)
Edana, the Pyromancer (WP 064)
Chancellor's Assassin (WP 065)
Vital Research (WP 072)
Coercion (WP 073)
Malphas, the Defiler (WP 092)
Valac, the Seeker (WP 094)
Voidborn Tyrant (WP 100)
Herald of Valac (WP 104)
Chromatic Sentinels (WP 110)
Volatile Prowler (WP 112)
Shifting Badlands (WP 114)
Phantom Holm (WP 115)
Derelict Gateway (WP 117)
Volcanic Isle (WP 118)
Pristine Wilds (WP 119)
Voidrot Valley (WP 120)
Zeka's Domain (WP 126)
Basic Infantry (WP 134A & 134B)
Tabletop Simulator Updates:
Added quick setup tool
Added digital counters for victory points, defense, and resources
Added buttons and tools to smooth out gameplay actions
Automated some game mechanics to streamline gameplay
Added rulings to card annotations
Other Prototype Options:
A free to play prototype is now available on tabletopia.com
A free downloadable print-and-play PDF is now available on the Gemstone Games website
New Card Abilities and Balance Changes:
Augustus & Scar (WP 001)
Now deals 4 damage and provides 3 defense whenever you activate their ability, but the cost also requires you to spend 2 tokens.
A token is acquired at the end of each turn in which you eliminate a bioweapon.
Zita, the Apostle (WP 002)
Zita now has 2 [ACTIVATE] abilities. The first ability can give your non-basic cards your faction. The second ability can boost an infantry you control and any infantry that shares a faction with it for +1 attack.
Jason, Council Elder (WP 017)
Jason now has an additional [ACTIVATE] ability that allows you to destroy a fortification you control to gain 1 resource.
Athena, Fleet Admiral (WP 018)
Athena's [ACTIVATE] ability was removed and has been replaced by two [TRIGGER] abilities. The first ability deals 2 damage when you play your first fortification card each turn. The second ability deals 1 damage when you destroy a fortification card for the first time each turn.
Aspiring Mechanist (WP 021)
Can now return any fortification card from your discard pile to your hand. This includes exalted fortifications.
Soaring Skydock (WP 026)
Gained a new [TRIGGER] ability that allows you to void a card from the recruitment area or your discard pile when it is destroyed.
Metis Foundry (WP 027)
Increased base defense value from 1 to 2.
Salvage Operation (WP 029)
Replaced the "+2 DEF and draw" option with one that allows you to gain 1 victory point and return a non-exalted fortification from your discard pile to your hand.
Commandeer (WP 030)
Adjusted ability wording to clarify how the card actually works.
Afreen, Void Catalyst (WP 033)
Afreen's [ACTIVATE] ability now rounds up instead of down.
Spectral Rogue (WP 035)
Now checks a player's hand for a non-exalted action card rather than their discard pile. If you play a non-exalted action from their hand, it is replaced by Spectral Rogue.
Minerva, the Emissary (WP 048)
When you play your first non-basic action each turn, Minerva will now void the top card of the main deck and deal damage equal to half that card's cost (rounded up).
Espionage (WP 057)
Increased the number of cards it reveals off the top of another player's deck from 1 to 2.
Inspire Revolution (WP 058)
Adjusted ability wording to clarify how the card actually works.
Reduced recruitment cost from 4 to 3.
Now gives you 1 resource when you play it.
Elymas, the Chancellor (WP 063)
You can now prevent the discard portion of Elymas's ability by causing a player to lose victory points. This includes both burning and stealing victory points.
Novice Photomancer (WP 066)
[PLAY] ability now rounds up instead of down.
Genetics Lab (WP 069)
Can now deal 1 additional point of damage if you control at least 3 non-basic action cards when you activate its ability.
Particle Accelerator (WP 070)
The [ACTIVATE] ability now costs 1 less resource if you control at least one non-basic action card.
Coercion (WP 073)
Now checks a player's hand for a non-exalted infantry card rather than their discard pile. If you play a non-exalted infantry from their hand, it is replaced by Coercion.
Johanna, the Savage Wolf (WP 077)
If you claim a territory using Johanna's ability, you either have to burn a number of victory point equal to the value of the claimed card or burn a territory you control.
Void Gate (WP 087)
Removed the [PASSIVE] anti-destruction ability.
When voiding this card to pay for its [ACTIVATE] ability, you now have the additional option to claim a territory with a victory point value of 2 or less from the top 5 cards of the void.
Irvine's Tactics (WP 090)
Both options for the resolution of this card's [PLAY] ability now check to see which opponents control more cards of the chosen types than you.
Kimaris, the Traitor (WP 091)
When you eliminate Kimaris, you now have the additional option to claim a territory and eliminate the adjacent bioweapon for free.
Kimaris's Hunter (WP 102)
When you eliminate this card, you now have the additional option to claim a territory and deal 2 damage to another bioweapon.
War Torn Ruins (WP 113)
Adjusted ability wording for clarity.
Phantom Holm (WP 115)
Adjusted ability wording for clarity.
Volcanic Isle (WP 118)
You can now burn 1 victory point to pass control of the volcano to another player.
We understand that playing board games on a digital platform can feel tedious at times. Moving small components around and playing cards feels engaging in the real world! But when you play a physical game in a digital environment, it can feel like it takes forever to complete the same actions. So, we went in and scripted a bunch of helpful tools for our mod on Tabletop Simulator to smooth out the gameplay experience! But let me be clear, this was just the first step to making the Warlord Protocol mod more approachable. We have more scripted features in the works and we'll be gradually updating the mod as we get closer to wrapping up development! Here's a quick look at some of the changes we made.
Automated Game Setup
The first thing we added is a quick setup tool. All you need to do is select the three factions that you want to play with and click the big green "Begin Setup" button. The tool will automatically set up the game board for you. Then, you just select your warlords and let the tool do its thing.
Push All The Buttons!
To make gameplay smoother, we added in some buttons to automate certain game actions. You can quickly move eliminated bioweapons to the burn pile using the red/orange "Eliminate" button, and you can do the same for cards in the recruitment area using the "Burn" button. You can quickly recruit cards using the brown "Recruit" button, which will automatically send the card to your discard pile. And clicking the cyan "Void" button will obviously send that card to the void. These buttons will only appear on cards so long as they remain on the game board. Once they're in your deck, you won't have to worry about the buttons getting in your way.
We also added a button just below the void space on the game board that allows you to quickly void the top card of the main deck. This is especially helpful when playing with Awakened Legion cards. Clicking the grey "Refill" button will automatically refill any empty spaces in the recruitment area with cards from the top of the main deck, and the purple "Replace" button will do the same for bioweapon cards. All of these buttons may not seem necessary, but using them will drastically reduce the amount of time you waste moving items around on the board. And that means you'll have more time to actually focus on playing the game!
Burn Everything to the Ground
Since the recruitment area always needs to contain six cards with unique names, we automated the built in burn mechanic. Whenever a card enters the recruitment area, the game checks to see if another copy of that card is already on the board. And if it finds one, it will automatically burn that extra copy for you. Now, this new feature isn't perfect but it does get the job done and we do plan on fine turning it in future updates. There are a few bugs that exists but they don't impact gameplay and are pretty easy to fix when you're playing. Try to avoid placing cards on empty slots of the recruitment area and then quickly picking them back up.
Warlord cards are the cornerstone of Warlord Protocol's design. And we want to do our best to ensure that all of our warlords are fun to play while still being relatively balanced. And to meet that goal, we're constantly pushing them to their limits and assessing how they perform. And in that regard, we noticed that a number of our warlords were in desperate need of fixing. So with that in mind, here's a look at the changes we've made to some of the game's warlords in this update.
Augusts & Scar
The idea behind Augustus & Scar is that one of them deal's damage while the other defends. But we also needed a way to regulate how much damage they dealt and how much defense they give you. We initially did this by having you burn the top card of the territory deck and then use that card's victory point value to determine the damage dealt and defense gained. But that was the only reason they burned the territory card. There was no canonical reason to them to do so, and we felt that it was taking the characters in a direction we had not intended. So, we needed to find another way to regulate the ability.
What we ended up doing was transforming Augustus & Scar into a "Token" warlord, which is simply a warlord that uses tokens as an additional cost for their abilities. Doing this allowed us to give them a stronger and more consistent [ACTIVATE] ability. At the end of each turn that you eliminate a bioweapon, you will gain 1 token. And then you can spend 2 resources and 2 tokens to deal 4 damage to anything you want and give yourself +3 defense until your next turn. This consistent damage also has the added benefit of making your turns easier to plan out in advance since you are no longer at the whims of RNG.
Zita, the Apostle
I'm going to be honest, Zita's previous ability was very generic and I always thought of it as a placeholder for something more interesting. We wanted Zita to do something with card types and/or factions, but until recently we weren't able to think of an ability that met that goal while also leading to discoverable moments in gameplay. What we ended up doing was changing the direction of her card completely. Instead of being a warlord focused purely on dealing damage, we decided to gear her more towards utility with a bit of a damage boost for infantry cards. The idea behind this new direction is that she's charismatic and an inspirational figure to her people. And in the end, this is also a much better representation of who she is in the story (on top of being an ace fighter and mech pilot).
We decided to split the utility effect and attack boost into two low priced [ACTIVATE] abilities to give you some flexibility. Her first ability allows you to add your faction to all of your non-basic cards (which will always be Divine Machine in this case). This includes the cards on your field as well as the ones in your hand, discard pile, and deck. This means that you'll be able to meet the faction requirements of many infantry and fortification cards more easily. And her second ability lets you give your infantry a small attack boost based on their faction identities. So if you use both abilities on the same turn, you'll be able to give all of your non-basic infantry +1 attack. We really enjoy how this new version of Zita plays and we're hoping that you will too!
Jason, Council Elder
I'll be the first to admit, Jason's previous version was lackluster. And that's mainly because the warlords of the Cybernetic Federation serve as the main engines for the faction's general strategy. And since Jason wasn't able to destroy fortifications on his own, there wouldn't be anything for him to return from your discard pile (most of the time). And that kind of made it feel like you didn't have a warlord most of the time if you chose to play as him. And that feels really bad, so we had to go in and give him a bit of a tune up.
We tried out a couple of different abilities for Jason, but we would always come back to the return effect as our favorite. What we realized is that we needed to add a second ability to make his original ability more viable. And what we landed on is that he needed an [ACTIVATE] ability with a cost that asks you to destroy one of your fortifications in return for a small reward. We didn't want to make the reward too significant since destroying one of the Federation's fortifications is already going to trigger an ability. We decided to have the ability give you 1 resource since playing a lot of fortifications means that you probably aren't generating that many resources to begin with. It might not always be your go to destruction effect, but it can certainly help you out when you're in a bind. We're still going to be keeping a close eye on Jason though and we'll make additional changes as necessary.
Athena, Fleet Admiral
The main problem we had with Athena's previous version is that she basically did the exact same thing as one of the other Cybernetic Federation warlords, Emmit, but arguably worse since she didn't destroy a fortification in the process. And that didn't sit quite right with us, so we decided to give her something a bit more useful. Since Emmit focuses on destroying fortifications and Jason focuses on retrieving them, we decided that Athena should focus on playing them. After all, she is the admiral of the Federation's armada so it only seems natural that her card is themed around sending ships off into combat. Now, Athena will deal 2 damage when you play your first fortification for the turn. And when you destroy your first fortification each turn, Athena will deal 1 extra point of damage.
Minerva, the Emissary
Similar to the issue we had with Zita, Minerva's ability wasn't all that interesting. It was certainly consistent and provided some minor synergy with action cards. But beyond that it was rather generic and didn't lead to interesting gameplay moments. Minerva also possesses a very unique ability for someone that isn't voidborn, she has the power to manipulate void energy. But her card didn't reflect that aspect to even the slightest degree. So, we decided it was time for a much needed change.
We wanted to keep her ability free and have it trigger when you play your first non-basic action card each turn. But, we also wanted to add in a void based effect to vary the amount of damage she deals. So, we decided to have her void the top card of the main deck and deal damage based on that card's recruitment cost (half the cost, rounded up). On average, Minerva will deal about the same amount of damage as she did before. But now anyone playing as her can take advantage of void based strategies more easily.
Johanna, the Savage Wolf
So, the short and simple of this one is that Johanna's previous version turned out to be completely broken. She was way too powerful. Her ability essentially allowed you to double up on the number of territories you control during the second half of the game. And this caused anyone playing as Johanna to just run away with the win. And in our opinion, that doesn't make for a very fun gaming experience. But we didn't want to get rid of her ability to claim territories, we just wanted to find a way to keep her in check. To balance her ability, we made it so that you always have to give up something in return for that shiny new territory card. Now, you either need to burn a territory you control or burn a number of victory points equal to the value of the territory you just claimed. The thought process behind this change is that it gives you a way to convert your victory points into territory cards. Now this ability is still very good, but its impact has been mitigated. Our internal testing has shown us that Johanna is more balanced now, but we will be keeping a close eye on her and make additional changes as necessary. But for now, everything seems fins.
Certain cards in Warlord Protocol share abilities with very similar mechanics, and we often give these groupings of cards a name to define the role they're supposed to play. The specific grouping of cards that we're going to be looking at in this section are internally referred to as the "exchange" cards. All of these cards allow you to exchange them with another player in return for one of that player's cards. The main focus of these cards is to encourage players to interact with one another without forcing them into direct combat. So balancing them has been a unique challenge.
Commandeer & Inspire Revolution
For both of these cards, we focused on updating their wording to make their abilities easier to understand. However, for Inspire Revolution, we went a few steps farther. In playtesting, we came to the conclusion that this card was just awful and felt bad to play. And that mainly came down to two reasons:
You cannot ensure that you will control enough non-basic infantry on the turn you play it to benefit from the attack boost. Which means that it runs the risk of becoming a "dead card" in you hand.
This is the only "exchange card" that runs the risk of you permanently losing a valuable card from your deck. For example, Commandeer exchanges itself for a fortification which can become a permanent part of your deck. But Inspire Revolution exchanges itself for a territory that can be voided, burned, or even conquered back by the very player you took it from. And it does not feel good when that happens.
To correct the first issue, we gave this card the ability to grant you 1 resource from playing it. That way you can at least get some value from playing it even if you don't control enough non-basic infantry to make proper use of the attack boost. Now, unfortunately, there is not a whole lot we can do to minimize the risk we pointed out in the second issue. But, what we can do is reduce the cost to acquire Inspire Revolution. So, we decided to reduce its recruitment cost from 4 to 3. We're still going to keep a close eye on this card to see if we'll need to make additional changes down the road but we think that this is a good place to start.
Spectral Rogue & Coercion
We came to realize that the previous versions of these cards were not fulfilling their roles as much as we had intended them to. Previously, both Spectral Rogue and Coercion would check an opponent's discard pile and then place themselves on top of that player's deck if you decided to exchange them. In the current build of the game, it's honestly quite rare for a player to have cards in their discard pile on the turn that you would play either of these two cards. But if they did manage to have a discard pile that contained something of value, then these cards became incredibly punishing.
What ended up happening was that you would exchange one of these cards for a key piece of an opponent's strategy and then they would get stuck with either Spectral Rogue or Coercion. Which doesn't seem so bad on the surface considering that they both deal decent damage and give you 1 resource when you play them. But that's all they do, and now that opponent is going to have an equally difficult time (if not worse time) trying to exchange these cards for something of value to them. Which meant that the previous versions of these cards were not as engaging as we had intended them to be.
So, to fix these issues we did a couple of things to tweak their abilities to make them more fun and engaging. First of all, we switched the zone they check for from an opponent's discard pile to another player's hand. Since player's will always have cards in their hand, that means that Spectral Rogue and Coercion will always be able to target a zone that has cards in it. And if you decide to exchange them, they go to that player's hand instead of the top of their deck. This means that both you and the other player get the chance to accelerate your turns by playing additional cards. And if you decide not to play a card from their hand, then you and the other players at the table at least gain information about what cards that player has in their hand. Whether or not you make use of that information is entirely up to you though.
Other Notable Changes
We decided to go all in on the Cybernetic Federation's mechanic and make it so that all of their fortification cards have an ability that triggers on destruction. The point of Soaring Skydock was to give players the ability to thin out their decks without having to sacrifice their victory points (in addition to providing extra defense of course). And we wanted to keep that as one of the card's primary uses in its new iteration. So, what we ended up doing was tying that ability to the card's destruction. Now you don't have to spend any resources to trigger the effect, and it plays very well into the faction's theme. We also threw in the option to void a card in the recruitment area as a way to dissuade your opponents from wanting to destroy it themselves. Or, you can use this option for yourself when your discard pile doesn't have anything that you actually want to get rid of.
Salvage Operation (formerly Council's Orders)
Apart from the name change, we decided to remove the draw and defense boost effect from salvage operation. We realized that the Cybernetic Federation needed additional cards with abilities that allow players to recover fortifications from their discard piles. So, we needed to make room on an existing card to add one of these abilities into the game.
We ended up replacing the draw/buff effect with one that gains you a victory point and allows you to return a non-exalted fortification from your discard pile to your hand. And we decided to change the card's name from Council's Order's to Salvage Operation because we thought it was a better fit for its new abilities. You can either recover a fortification and be rewarded with a victory points for doing so, or you can destroy a fortification and convert what remains into resources. This should help round out the Cybernetic Federation's theme and make them a little bit easier to play.
We had been keeping a close eye on Void Gate's anti-destruction effect for a while. It was unique in that it was the only card in the game with this type of effect and we knew that it created a lot of corner cases for the rules. Over the course of our many playtests, more and more corner cases made their way to the surface. And after some internal debate, we decided to remove the anti-destruction effect from the game and replace it with something more interactive. Now, Void Gate's [ACTIVATE] ability gives you an additional option that allows you to claim a territory card from the void.
Irvine's Tactics hasn't received an update in quite a long time (since prototype version 6 to be precise). Originally, it used to require an opponent to control 3 or more cards of either type in order to affect that player. We lowered that number down to 2 since it was very rare at the time for a player to be able to hold onto 3 or more fortifications/territories at any given time. But as we moved through new iterations and finally got the game's overall power level under control, we began to realize that Irvine's Tactics was becoming a very oppressive card.
If a player in the lead managed to recruit one, they'd be able to suppress their opponents and make it very difficult for them to fight back. And this was not at all the intention we had for this card's role in the game. We want Irvine's Tactics to be a card that helps a player level out the playing field and keep their opponents in check. To fix this issue, we decided to have the card check to see if an opponent has more fortifications or territories than you before affecting them. This brings the card more in line with its intended use and mitigates the possibility that a player in the lead can abuse the effect.
If you have any questions or concerns, let us know down in the comments section! And if you give the game a try on either Tabletopia or Tabletop Simulator, we would love to know what you think. You can either post a comment down below, send us an email, or shoot us a message on social media <#
All the best, - CDour