Rogues and Scoundrels: Top Down Design
In a previous article, we introduced the concepts of “Mechanics Driven” and “Top Down” when it came to Star Wars TCG design. Mechanics Driven starts with a new game mechanic and decides where it best works in the Star Wars universe. Top Down takes the opposite approach—it starts with the Star Wars universe, and then figures out what mechanics fit best within it.
For Rogues and Scoundrels, we wanted to show something of the expansion’s design process. From the bounty hunters, to the creatures—to a certain Imperial Admiral—Top Down design features heavily. Here’s where:
Bounty Hunters: Good Pay for Good Work
Let’s start with the bounty hunters themselves, the marquee stars of this expansion. True, they only receive a few moments of actual screen time, but remain some of the most popular characters, with their legends and backstories fleshed out in Tales of the Bounty Hunters and other Expanded Universe material.
For the bounty hunters, this expansion brings two key mechanics that fit extremely well with their characters: Bounty and Upkeep. With Upkeep, bounty hunters must be paid for their work—and paid well (even Vader offered them a substantial reward). Upkeep can’t even be avoided by retreating a bounty hunter. For their price, however, the bounties they earn bring you valuable build points, more cards, or even take a named Character completely out of the game.
Individual Hunters: A Rogue’s Gallery
Taking things a step further, Top Down design also went into the individual bounty hunters.
According to his backstory, Dengar suffered horrible injuries during a swoop race, turning to the Empire for surgical repairs. This lent itself well to Dengar (A): earning bounty to have all damage counters removed.
Garindan (A) also fits his screen character. As the agent who tipped off the Imperials to Docking Bay 94, it made sense to give Garindan some kind of bounty appropriate for a spy; in this case, he allows you to see your opponent’s hand (similar to another neutral spy, Battle of Yavin's Labria (A)).
Prince Xizor, leader of the Black Sun criminal organization, became one of the more memorable villains in the Expanded Universe novels. To reflect the flavor of a crime boss, Prince Xizor (A) completely mitigates the Upkeeps of your other neutral units. However, this also means only units that would pay Upkeep receive Xizor’s boons of +10 speed and +1 Power.
With Greedo (B), his abilities didn’t come through his strengths so much as his particular shortcomings. True, he brings good Power and Health to the Character arena—but the bounty hunter who missed Han at point blank range? That’s Accuracy –1 you read on his card, not Accuracy 1. Hey, not all bounty hunters can be as successful as Fett!
Of Space Slugs (Imperial and Otherwise)
Beyond the bounty hunters, other cards in Rogues and Scoundrels also shared a Top Down approach. On the Dark Side, Admiral Firmus Piett (C) showcases those skills helpful to an Imperial Admiral. Not only does he effectively control Space units, giving them: “Pay 0 Force Intercept”, but his: “Pay 1 Force Retreat Piett” came from his knack of surviving Lord Vader’s particular managerial style.
To distinguish them, unique Characters are each given a nickname in playtesting. As “…the administer of this facility,” Lando Calrissian (G) became known as “the Don of Bespin”—and was thematically linked with his Speed, Power, and Health determined by the number of other Bespin units in any arena.
We also wanted to give players more critters for their creature decks. As mentioned in the April 15 card-of-the-week, this included Dune Sea Krayt Dragon, as well as Bantha Herd, Sleen, and Enraged Wampa. It also meant a second Space Slug, with the ability to tap other Space units and keep them tapped—in other words, to eat those ships that wandered too close! Space Slug helps round out creature decks otherwise lacking Space units—and comes from a Top Down design that not only fit its screen presence, but made an excellent transition to the Star Wars TCG.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this look at Rogues and Scoundrels design—and best of luck keeping your bounty hunters in line!