Written by Jesse Bergman
Gods Among Men...
What are Factions?
So what is faction design, and how does it play a role in Battle for Sularia? Every faction in Battle for Sularia has its strengths and weaknesses. This week I want to discuss the Jotune, how they started out in general design and how they evolved based off the lore and fiction of our game. In order to understand this we have to jump way back to July of 2011. This is before I even asked John to look at the concept for Battle for Sularia.
When I first set out to design the factions of Sularia I started with the Jotune and Synthien, only they were not called that back then. The Jotune were called the Shien-Too and the Synthien were called Sentients. The lore premise for the Jotune was the same, they were a mining corporation that had foreseen the fracture and were preparing for the event, through the development of Bio domes, They were specifically designed with a Asian inspired technology theme. Very much taken from Final Fantasy mythology and lore.
With creative input from John, we eventually settled on an empirical society that worshiped the gods of Norse mythology. The Jotune inherited a viking raider mentality because their society now demands it. They are in grim circumstances and their golden age has ended. They are led by the divine wisdom of their emperor and the nobility of their great houses that serve as a council to the emperor. In the coming months more of the Jotune's story will be revealed and how their beliefs are a key component to the way they operate going forward.
What were my initial Strengths for the Jotune?
The initial designs for the Jotune called for early game threats that could be very difficult for opponents to overcome. The Synthien were supposed to be able to stem the tide and return late game to decimate the Jotune player who couldn't finish off the Synthien player quickly. So the Jotune were designed with hyper aggressive threats.
Thanks to John adopting the Synthien and Frank adopting the Jotune way back then in our initial play testing sessions we were able to identify quickly some of the design imbalances that the Jotune brought to the table.
What we found is going about card design as early, mid, and late game threats was not an appropriate way to design cards. We stayed focused solely on mechanics of the game and the turn order and how damage was dealt in those early sessions. While John and I started to devise a system that would allow us to achieve our results without breaking down the core system that powers our cards.
The result from those sessions was the system we now use for card construction. The system literally provides mathematical values to every single aspect of a card from resource cost, construction cost, type, ability, sularium generation or maintenance etc...
This caused a complete redesign of the cards and in turn the Jotune. They still needed to adhere to a similar design strategy that we had. So here are the fundamentals that the Jotune had to live by.
Jotune Faction Design
- Superior Combat Skills
- Value Combatant Effectiveness
- Powerful Synergistic Pump Effects
- Pay for Combatants Straight Up
- Minimal Direct Damage Capabilities
- Mid-Range Sularium Output.
How does this play out in card design?
Arguably the Jotune have some of the most fearsome combatants on the battlefield in any game. They take advantage of this with conditions such as Art of War allowing each combatant to get more powerful. They also become inspired as soon as that Jotune Type 1 combatant lands on the Battlefield. Those type 1's also do powerful things that really change up the combat math. In addition you will find more combatants with the FLIGHT keyword than any other faction, which plays precisely into superior combatant strategy.
There sites provide blessings that increase their combat potency even further and really do allow low sularium costing combatants to do their magic. The downside of all these effects is that they cost a bit more to incorporate into the deck.
Weakness wise the Jotune really do pay for just about everything they play, combine this with a mid-range sularium output per game and the mediocre ability to directly effect an opponents board and they really do falter in versatility. Additional the Jotune lack counter abilities overall, and therefore really require using a straight up aggression play to win games. Jotune can win and they can win fast, and much like the original intention they can do it with a small handful of combatants. But now those combatants have to work harder with different cards to do it. There are plenty of cards in the meta already that slow down the Jotune immensely and we will talk about how the Synthien work in a later article.
If you like this article be sure to comment below and start the discussion on what you like and don't like about the Jotune. In turn if you want to stay up to date with everything Battle for Sularia please subscribe to our Newsletter.