Fray | Champions of the Every-Verse | Preview Series #5 - Champion Cards
Today in the Fray: Champions of the Every-Verse preview series, we are going to take a look at Champion cards. Fray: Champions of the Every-verse is a skirmish combat game, where you as the player choose your Champion from across different fictions and histories to pit in combat against your opponent. Each playable Champion has a corresponding Champion card that acts as a player board for managing the Champion during the game. It has spaces to place a Hit Point die and Battle Tokens as well as a list of all Champion abilities and resource costs. Each Champion is rendered in beautiful artwork and each card contains a little background on the Champion’s motivations and desire to win the Watcher’s contest.
Fray: Champions of the Every-verse has two play modes, Single and Team. The Single mode abilities differ from the Team mode abilities and are printed on separate sides of the double-sided card. The gold colored side denotes Single mode and the Crimson colored side denotes Team mode. Players should make sure they are using the appropriate side of the card depending on the game mode they are playing. Today we will be looking at our first Champion Card, Mitsu the Samurai.
The left side of the card is the gorgeously rendered artwork for each character and their inspiration for fighting and winning the Watcher’s brutal games. Apart from representing the character, the Champion artwork space may also be used to stack item cards as they are acquired if the player so wishes.
At the top right of Mitsu’s Champion Card is a space to place his hit point dice, represented as a 20-sided die (All Champions start with 20 Hit Points). Next to the Hit Dice are the Token spaces where stored resources gathered from rolling the Battle Dice are represented by placing the corresponding Battle Token. Each round up to two Battle tokens can be stored but they must be used by the end of the next round, at which point they can be replaced with new tokens from that round’s battle dice roll.
Battle Tokens which can be stored on the Champion card to be used in the following turn - allowing a player to save resources to perform more powerful abilities.
Below the token space is a list of Mitsu’s primary stats: His initiative modifier, armor or dodge save, and movement characteristic. Mitsu is a Samurai of the highest order, skilled in the art of defense and attack. He can brutally assault multiple opponents and can more easily defend himself than many of the other Champions he faces. As a tradeoff, what he gains in attack prowess and defense he loses in speed and initiative. His initiative modifier (0) does not grant him a bonus during the initiative phase, so frequently other Champions will have their chance to act before him. Weighted down by his armor plating (represented by both is 3+ armor save and 4 movement characteristic) he able to take blow after blow from the enemy but can be outmaneuvered by a faster opponent or become susceptible to opponents with long range attacks that can stay away from his deadly katana.
Below the stat line is Mitsu’s once per game ability. Whirling Blades is a devastating flurry of attacks that Mitsu can make against enemies he moved past in the movement phase. The cost of resolving each attack is listed as one Attack icon per attack. No additional resources (other than those listed) are needed to resolve a once per game ability.
Example: In a 3-player game with 3 Champions per player, Mitsu may find himself in the thick of combat with several other melee-based enemies, all trying to overwhelm his stalwart armor and defeat him through unique attacks of their own. In the movement phase Mitsu may use his movement to move past 3 different Champions all crowded around him (though he may be subject to Press the Advantage attacks). If he has two stored attack tokens and rolls at least one attack icon on the battle dice (represented by the Axe) he may spend up to 3 of those attack icons to deliver one attack each, resolved as normal with any applied modifiers, against all of the opponents he moved past.
Below the Once Per Game ability are the set of unique abilities that Mitsu may use each turn if he has enough resources. There are two unique abilities in Single mode and three in Team mode. Each ability gives a description of its effects with the resource cost to use that ability listed to the left of it.
Example: Mitsu used Slashing Strike on Golga. He pays two attack icons and one defense icon then resolves his attack. A token is then placed on the board next to Golga indicating that he is now at half movement during his next movement phase. There are 3 status tokens which can be applied to champions.
Status marker tokens to easily indicate any effects that a champion may have applied to them.
We will be previewing each of the 12 Champion cards in the coming days. Keep an eye out on social media to see the rest of the Champions before the Kickstarter launches May 26.
Earlier, we covered the Champion card layout and reviewed our first Champion, Mitsu. Now, we are going to take a look at our next Champion card, Erabeth the Vampire, Dark Queen of Arkenstadt.
- From the Shadows – A once per game ability with an area effect, this should be strategically used when Erabeth wades into the center of combat to maximize the number of affected enemies. It is best timed in conjunction with the attacks of friendly Champions in turns where Erabeth goes first so the rest of her team may benefit from the effect.
- Sustained by Blood - Erabeth uses her dark powers to attack an opponent while healing herself. This ability allows her to resolve an attack while simultaneously healing previous wounds as she drinks the blood of her enemies to gain power. Using this ability may become pivotal to the player’s overall strategy, especially later in the game, as it affords an opportunity to heal without item cards while being resolved at a modest two resource cost.
- Unnatural Speed - As a Vampire, Erabeth is supernaturally possessed of exceptional speed and cunning. These traits are reflected in her high Initiative modifier (+2) and movement characteristic (6). Erabeth may frequently have the opportunity to act first, and though her 4+ save is nothing to sneeze at, if opponents begin to use item cards and special abilities to decrease her save value it may be best to stay away from the center of combat. Erabeth, however, does not have any ranged attacks so she must engage her opponents in melee. This ability gives her the option of rushing in and then rushing out in the same move without taking a Press the Advantage attack. Coupled with her high movement characteristic this can be a deadly strategic combo that frustrates your opponent’s ability to target her.
- Glamour – Using her dark gifts to befuddle the minds of her opponents, Erabeth can put her enemies under thrall while she attacks, sacrificing their resources and foiling their counter-attack strategies. Used at the right time this could be a devastating blow to an enemy that was lining up a kill by storing battle tokens for a unique ability.
Gadget the Tinkerer, from the Steampunk world of Cogshire has her own unique abilities that show off her skills with machinery coupled with her wily combat prowess.
Gadget the Tinkerer, from the Steampunk world of Cogshire has her own unique abilities that show off her skills with machinery coupled with her wily combat prowess.
- Sneak in the Steambot – This once per turn ability allows Gadget to summon the Gatling Turret to the arena without having to pay a resource cost to do so and without sacrificing a combat or defense action. Players may want to do this on the first turn or wait until there are imminent threats so that Gadget can deflect attacks to the Turret and save herself damage.
- Gatling Turret – This is a passive ability that allows Gadget to summon her Gatling Turret to the arena (if she hasn’t already) or to repair the turret from damage it may have taken protecting her.
- Clackershot – This ability represents the long-range weapon she’s fashioned out of materials in her lab as a way to defend herself against any threats. Due to its excellent craftsmanship the attack adds a -1 save modifier to the target enemy, making it harder for them to defend against it.
- Mind the Grease – Gadget can also make a melee attack with her wrench, but with a 5+ save (her leather jacket and greaves provide some protection but not as much as say, Mitsu’s amour) she may not want to get caught in combat with a hard-hitting foe. This ability allows her to escape without fear of reprisal from a Press the Advantage attack.
Gadget uses her knowledge of the clockwork machinery that powers her city and repurposes it for combat. The pinnacle of her work is her trusty Gatling Turret. Made of cog parts and fashioned into a deadly weapon, her Gatling Turret is controlled by Gadget and is used to protect her from harm. The Gatling Turret represents the first Companion Character of the game.
During the Companion Phase the turret may act by moving independently and may also resolve its ability using the battle tokens the player may have stored on Gadget from the previous round. Similar to the Character cards, the Companion Card has a place for Hit Dice (Companions have 6 Hit Points and the die tracker is naturally a D6), the movement characteristic of the Companion and the Companion’s save.
Golga the Gladiator fights day and night in the Colosseum of the city of Tordan where he honed his skills for combat in the Arena.
- Give them what they want– This once per turn ability allows Golga to discard item cards he may not have a use for and redraw new items up to the number of items he discarded. The well-timed use of an item card can be the difference between victory and defeat so the player must decide when is the best time in the battle to use this ability effectively.
Unleash Hell– Golga is a seasoned warrior and has lived as a gladiator for most of his life, making him perhaps the best prepared for combat in the Arena. This ability lets Golga make a devastating attack with his trident and net that forces a -1 save modifier on the opponent. Against an opponent with a modest armor that could mean very little chance of them avoiding the attack. Coupled with items he may have drawn using his Give Them What They Want ability this attack, which requires only two resources to use, could be deadly.
Back Breaker – As he wears down his opponent, like a savage wrestler, Golga uses this ability to manhandle and fling a target enemy across the arena. Target enemy is thrown and scattered (similar to the movement of the loot token in the loot phase) and must roll for save to avoid damage. Whether or not the enemy champion is wounded, they are still dazed and the impact of being tossed forces one of their items to drop back into the arena. The player loses a random item card.
- Killing Strike –This ability reflects how Golga has honed his skills as a killing machine in combat. Similar to the Unleash Hell ability the attack is resolved at -1 save but furthermore, if the enemy is damaged, the player rolls the damage dice twice and takes the highest result, maximizing how effective the attack is. Though this attack has a high resource cost two attack and two defense icons, the advantage of rolling the damage die twice could mean killing an opponent who otherwise might have survived.
Myrina the High Priestess from the Jungles of Amazonia uses her spiritual powers to defend herself and her teammates from the onslaught of the enemy.
- Bless the Clan – A once per game ability where Myrina taps into the spiritual energy from her ancestors to blanket herself and other friendly Champions within 3 squares with protection. At a +2 save bonus this bubble effect can massively reduce your entire team’s damage for a turn, giving your Champions a breather while they regroup to prepare their own onslaught.
Sacred Shield – Myrina uses her powers for defense as well as attack. This ability lets Myrina or a friendly Champion near her to get a +1 save bonus, and if the attack does manage to get through, the damage is resolved at half of the dice roll, as a result of the blessing the shield bestows. Sometimes the best offense is a good defense and this can come in handy when getting ganged up on by more than one champion or when you may need to escape or weather multiple attacks.
Guiding Light – Myrina uses her spiritual energy to shine a light on her foe, like a marker, so that they become easier to hurt as they move around the arena. After her attack resolves the following attacks against the target by friendly champions get the benefit of a -1 save modifier. This ability is best used strategically when Myrina gets to act earlier in the phase then the rest of her team so that they can benefit from the applied -1 save and potentially stack their advantage with their own ability or item modifiers.
- Holy Light – Myrina can gather all her power to affect the movement of all the enemy champions near her after she resolves an attack against an enemy. This can be debilitating to enemies like Gadget or Erabeth that rely on their speed to escape getting cornered. The half movement penalty can prevent them from using their abilities to move out of range of Myrina or her allies, giving the player a possible attack advantage.
- Time Stop – Sethrious is an extremely powerful magic user and should be feared by any enemy, but as he relies on arcane magic to defeat his foes he is not as hale as some of his opponents. The robes that drape over his slender frame are imbued with magic and offer some protection but not as much as some of the other more heavily armored Champions. As a result he needs to use his cunning to escape sticky situations. This once per game ability allows Sethrious to stop time itself so that he may move anywhere in the arena to either position himself for an attack or to narrowly escape the brutal blows of his enemies.
- Magic Armor – Like Myrina, Sethrious can use his power for both attack and defense. This ability allows him to gain a massive +2 save to his armor or he can choose to impart a +1 save to an ally that's near him. Great to use in a pinch when the climate of the battle needs to shift from attack to defense.
- Fire Storm – Sethrious’ signature spell. A scorching wave of flames spurt from his hands as he blasts his opponent with gouts of fire. Shot from long range this attack is designed to burn through the defenses of the enemy to maximize damage. A successful attack with this ability does not use the damage dice to resolve damage, instead it causes the maximum amount of damage possible. Perfect to use when the battle has raged on long enough and Sethrious seeks to end things quickly.
- Lighting Cloud – Sethrious can push his powers even further and summon deadly bolts of lightning swarming down from the sky to wreak havoc in the arena. This ability allows Sethrious to target two different enemies at once. For each successful attack the lightning saps the will of the target, causing them to move slower as they regain their composure. As a result champions who take damage are also at half movement until their next turn, slowing their escape from Sethrious or his allies who may now want to press their advantage in the next round.
Trilug, the Warchief of the Gundar Orc Tribe, who roam the Black Lands in search of conquest, is one of the fiercest warriors in all of the realms.
- Killing Frenzy – A once per game ability. So war hungry is Trilug that defeating his foes on the battlefield renews him with a frightening vigor. This ability allows you to immediately use another ability, whether a standard ability or a unique one, after defeating an enemy champion. The threat of using this ability alone is enough for enemy champions with depleted health to stay as far away from Trilug as they can, allowing him and his allies to continue to corner and press their attacks.
- Might Makes Right – Trilug’s stone axes are fraught with spikes and sharp ends and he swings them with a brutish strength. This is represented by resolving an attack with a -1 save penalty to the target champion. This ability is especially useful considering its low resource cost and the threat of Trilug using this ability in any given round will re-adjust your opponents strategy against him.
- Strength Rules – Trilug follows the creed that might is right and each of his abilities showcases his awesome strength and power. This ability resolves a successful attack at the full 8 damage, instead of rolling the damage die. This allows Trilug to make short work of his opponents and presents challenges to other players and they decide how to deal with this damage output.
- Ferocious Charge – The ferocity with which Trilug attacks is encapsulated by this ability, a reckless charge into the enemy. Resolve an attack and if damage is taken by the target they are pushed back 2 squares on the board, representing the force with which he charged them. When they are moved, their movement counts as a withdrawal from combat and they could be subject to a Press the Advantage attack if Trilug has enough resources to counter, making this one of the deadliest attacks the Watchers have seen in the arena.
Sheriff West, the Gunslinger of Desolation Valley, is the quickest draw in the land. Armed with the Big Guns he seeks to mete out justice to those who don’t respect the law.
- Lightning Draw – Sheriff West has lightning quick reflexes, which earned him the title of fastest draw in the west. Once per game he can use these reflexes to draw before his opponent does, choosing to act first in a round, even if the controlling player lost initiative. This ability can be used tactically to steal the advantage away from an opponent, such as Gadget or Erabeth, who frequently rely on going first to avoid getting pinned down or to turn the tables on an assault from a dangerous melee combatant, such as Mitsu or Trilug.
The Big Gun – Sheriff West’s revolvers are legendary in Desolation Valley. Hard steel adorned with smooth wooden handles, his main weapon is simply known as the Big Gun. To represent the power of the Big Gun and his precision in using it, this ability allows for a long ranged attack against an enemy champion at -1 save. With a low resource cost, this is a go-to ability that should be relied on frequently during combat.
Bullseye – Sheriff West is as accurate on the draw as he is quick, easily finding holes in the opponent’s defenses he can slip a shot through. When using this ability, after a successful attack the opponent has to re-roll their first save attempt and keep the lowest roll. This ability, especially when coupled with a well-timed item card, can ensure a high rate of success when attacking, putting opponents on their heels.
- Twin Pistols – Sheriff West is a master of double-handed combat, shooting two of the Big Guns at the same time when cornered by the enemy. Using this ability he can target two different enemies, one at long range and one at short range. This helps keep opponents at bay who seek to come at him all at once.
Captain Redbeard the Pirate, Scourge of the Shrouded Isles is the most dangerous scoundrel to ever have sailed the seas. Armed with tricks and cunning, he plunders his way to victory and loot.
- Here Thar Be There – Captain Redbeard follows the grand ole tradition of pirates who search the seas for treasure. As an expert treasure hunter Redbeard is able to use tricks and deception not only to find the treasure but to keep others off the trail. This once per game ability allows Redbeard to usurp the placement of the loot token to make sure he or his allies benefit from the item cards that are received during the loot end phase. This ability can also be used to deny the opponent an opportunity to draw item cards and potentially force them to make decisions with their movement in the next round.
Dirty Tricks – Captain Redbeard is a scrappy fighter, elegant and savage in equal measure. He uses any weapons or adornment he carries in a fight to give him an advantage. When fighting with his sword and cutlass he can both attack and defend with expert skill. This ability allows Redbeard to make a melee attack while also adding +1 to his own save. A low resource cost makes this an attractive ability to use on any turn.
Pickpocket – A thief at heart, Captain Redbeard can use his cunning in combat to also pick a pocket. With this ability, when an opponent takes damage from his attack he may immediately draw an item card to line his pockets. This is an especially useful ability as it allows Redbeard to pull item cards without having to rely on the loot chest, or as a bonus to whatever he pulls from the loot, helping him create a formidable inventory of items to use strategically.
- Davey Jones’ Locker – Captain Redbeard has sent many a man to a watery grave. Using two pistols hidden beneath his tattered frock, he can fire dual shots at different opponents that have crept up on him. This ability allows him to make a short ranged attack at -1 save against a target opponent and a standard short ranged attack against another opponent. Apart from being a very powerful ability it gives the player the opportunity to weigh against whom the -1 save would be best used.
Baldren the Smith of Khaz-Abad in the Underground Empire is the best craftsman and weapon smith in all of the realms. As hard and unforgiving as the steel he forges his iron will helps him prevail in the Watcher’s game.
Hearth and Home – As a Master Smith, Baldren uses his abilities to sharply hone his weapons to give him an advantage in combat. This once per game ability allows Baldren and any allies (regardless of their location on the battlefield) to get their weapons tended to in the midst of combat, giving his team a -1 save modifier to all attacks during the round. This ability is best used at the start of a turn so that any allies Baldren is fighting with can benefit from this ability.
Forged Iron – Baldren’s hammer is imbued with powerful runes, craftwork that Baldren himself inscribed over long hours in the hot forges in the heart of Khaz-Abad. As a result, his weapon strikes true and can bang through any defenses. This is represented by a -1 save modifier to his attack roll. With a low resource cost this is an ability that players will frequently rely on as Baldren trudges his way through the battlefield.
Dwarven Stubbornness – The Dwarven race is known throughout the realms for their stubborn and steely resolve. This ability allows Baldren to dig deep and not only attack but increase his defenses, attributing a +1 to any save rolls he needs to make against melee attacks until his next turn. Already protected with runic armor (boasting a very impressive 3+ save to start with!), this ability can make him a virtual tank in the center of the conflict. Since Baldren moves slowly (movement 4) and can’t easily escape combat, he needs to rely on his ability to withstand the enemies onslaught in order to win the contest.
- Fires of the Forge – It is easy for Baldren to spot weaknesses in a piece of armor or protective gear that needs repair. In the heat of combat Baldren can spot where his opponent’s defenses are weakest and exploit that weakness by delivering a crushing blow. This ability allows Baldren to deliver an attack at a devastating -2 save modifier! This attack will become crucial against other heavily armored opponents, like Mitsu, giving him an opportunity to finally wound. It can be equally effective against more modestly protected opponents like Trilug or Myrina, that may not have a good chance to save against such a forceful attack. Stacked with the Hearth and Home ability or with the use of an item card this can ensure that Baldren is dealing damage to his opponent at a crucial juncture in the battle.
Harald, the Viking prince of the Valkenkirk, is one of the most fearsome opponents ever summoned to the arena. Steeped in the blood of his enemies, Harald’s blind rage is so legendary that foes cower at the sound of his name.
For the Good of Valken – Harald is driven by the red rage of battle and the glory of his people, seeking to conqueror lands both near and far in the name of the Valkenkirk. When he is in the heat of battle he attacks with a ferocity that scares even the toughest foes, knowing that meeting his axe could mean their death. This once per game ability allows Harald to resolve an attack at -1 save and when the opponent rolls for damage they must roll twice and keep the higher result, ensuring that they are sustaining as much damage as possible.
Heavy Swing – Harald swings his axe with reckless abandon, causing crushing damage when he connects with the defenses of his foes. This ability allows him to resolve a melee attack at -1 save and costing only 2 attack icons, this gives Harald a way to increase his odds of damage without potentially needing to spend all of his resources so he can store them for the upcoming round.
No Escape – Once engaged Harald doesn’t allow his opponents to easily escape. He has been known to throw his axes at an oncoming or fleeing opponent. His skill with the axe is legendary, so legendary in fact that if he hits the enemy with his axe, even if they survive they are stunned and drop one of their valuable items. This ability allows Harald to make a short ranged attack, and if the opponent takes damage they must discard a random item card, hampering their ability to respond to his threat.
Blood Rage – When his blood is up and the scent of the battle takes him, all Harald can see is the red streaks of blood about to be spilled. Once he feels the blood rage he starts recklessly lashing out at any and all opponents near him. This ability allows him to make an attack against every enemy champion within one square. Positioning himself in the thick of battle and maximizing the number of enemies he is in contact with can make this an absolutely devastating and potentially arena-clearing attack.
Brint the Elven Ranger of Lorhaven Forest, is the silent death that stalks the woods, protecting the magic of the forest from invaders. With their companion Grizendl the mighty bear they are a difficult team for any foe to face.
Call of the Wild – This once per turn ability allows Brint to summon the great bear Grizendl to the arena without having to pay a resource cost to do so and without sacrificing a combat or defense action. Players may want to do this on the first turn or wait until they are in danger so that they may deflect attacks from Brint to Grizendl.
Grizendl – This ability allows Brint to summon Grizendl to the arena at any time. If Grizendl is already in play but has suffered wounds this ability can be used to heal them. If the player uses the Call of the Wild action early in the match this ability allows them to continue to summon Grizendl even if they were slain in a previous round.
Master of the Bow – Brint is a master archer, deadly with the bow over long distances. This ability allows Brint to make a long range attack at -1 save, allowing Brint to keep their distance from their opponent while making a powerful attack that the target champion will be hard pressed to save.
Swift Shot – Brint is deadly fast and can snap off bow shots in quick succession. This ability allows Brint to attack two separate champions at one time, one at long range and one at short. This is an especially useful ability once Grizendl has been summoned, as the bear can absorb the enemies attacks while Brint presses the victory against multiple enemies.
For many years the bear known as Grizendl, spirit animal of the forest of Lorhaven, has traveled at the side of the mighty Ranger. When together in the arena, the ferocity of these two is unmatched, as they work in perfect synchronization, slaying foe after foe. Grizendl represents the second companion character in the game.
During the Companion Phase Grizendl may act by moving independently and may also resolve it's ability using the battle tokens the player may have stored with Brint from the previous round. Similar to the Character cards, the Companion Card has a place for Hit Dice (Companions have 6 Hit Points and the die tracker is naturally a D6), the movement characteristic of the Companion and the Companion’s save.