DEVELOPMENT PROGRESS PLANS
It’s been a while since the last public update! That’s because a relatively major change has finally been incorporated into the game. Some of you might go “But I thought there are no more major changes planned for now, Crash Command was supposedly stable!”. Well, that’s partially right. Crash Command is made up of many interwoven layers of mechanics that all rely and tug on each other, to create the cohesive tactical experience that you know today. Unfortunately, this makes making changes rather difficult as small changes to one system can ripple across the entire game, usually skewing the balance horribly in some way. However, this hasn’t stopped me from constantly poking at the game and seeing what I can improve without collapsing everything. That being said... we’re upon what’s very likely the last major change in Crash Command (barring content, of course)!
Invader Arkite Usage Rework
From early on in Crash Command’s development, scaling for players was always a tough issue. The game was well balanced and designed around 3 players. Unfortunately, locking a board game to 3 players is a no-go for most publishers. Because of this, the 2 and 4 player variants of Crash Command were eventually shoehorned in, causing persisting balancing issues. In fact, several old mechanics, like the Reinforcement Schedule variants, were band-aid solutions that caused more problems than they solved.
Fast-forward to today, and we have the pick-your-doom Spend Invader Arkite phase, which was best solution thus far. The system still sticks with the core features of Crash Command; Players the final choice in how the enemy will grow stronger. In addition, it’s explanation was simple and mirrored the Players themselves. Rather than use dice, or follow a convoluted schedule, the Invaders would “buy” things from their decks, just like how Players would buy cards out of their PSD. It wasn’t without its problems, though. For inexperienced teams, this system added another layer of obfuscating strategy, often causing players to randomly pick one or the other due to lack of knowledge or information overload. The setup for both decks was also complicated (how many of you actually noticed that I was removing cards from the Commander Deck?), confusing many playtesters. The final nail in the coffin came from playtesting data: this system could never realistically reach the bottom of either deck, making the bottom 30% of each deck effectively nonexistent. This is made worse in a 2-player game, as the Invader’s income would decrease even further, meaning that all 2-player games would never see the upper “tiers” of Invader cards. Something had to change.
Thus, one fateful day, the wonderful V.C. (who also designed Tsunami), asked the question that changed it all:
What if the Invaders bought the most expensive card instead of the cheapest?
The New Invader Arkite Usage System
The previous system’s Setup worked as follows:
The new system’s Setup works as follows:
This system is much simpler, and somehow actually still manages to mirror the Players (as players tend to splay out their PSD cards for easier access)! The new system also tweaks how the Invader spend their Arkite during the last part of the Invader Phase.
The previous system worked as follows:
The new system works as follows:
Because the Invaders are always guaranteed a card, the Invader Army consistently exerts more pressure on the Players, making endgame more dangerous. Veteran playtesters may have noticed that although the Invaders would gain more and more Arkite at endgame, they could never really buy more than one or two cards, due to the cost of the cards steadily increasing. The new system now automatically guarantees the bottom 6 cards, while pumping in new cards based on player performance. This also means that Commander Superweapons are now much less super, but can actually appear in games. The faster the Players destroy Invaders, the more Arkite they gain during that turn, allowing the Invaders to push back during their Phase by buying an equally powerful card. This also means that Players can strategically choose to not over-destroy the Invaders to prevent them from buying too powerful of a card early one. Or they could.
The following Armies have been adapted into the new system and are ready for testing:
NEW MECH: Janus
Even more content? Of course. Flipping his way onto the battlefield is Janus, the mech of opposites. Although equally adept at both healing and dealing damage, Janus must manage his form that flip-flops each turn. During Build Form, Janus is capable of healing nearby targets. During Break Form, Janus switches to dealing damage, but the directions on all of his cards become reversed.
Passive: Shattering Artisan
In Build Form, Mending a target increases their HP. In Break Form, Mending a target deals them damage, but facing on cards becomes reversed (left becomes back right, front axis becomes rear axis, and so on). At the start of every Player Phase, switch to the other form.
Janus looks to capitalize on the following key traits:
As a Vanguard, he should have a focus on close-quarters combat and damage control.
As a more advanced mech, he should reward the player for understanding and managing his attack ranges despite how they change in each form.
As a Vanguard-Strider deviant, he should be able to support and heal, improving the survivability of his team while still being able to hold his own in battle.
Transmutation now properly only affects Alchemist himself, and no longer overlaps in role with Multa Lens.
Trick Flechette now fizzles out if it travels more than 4 spaces without hitting anything. Sorry kids, no more stationary Artemis play; get moving!
Reposition, Reorient, Quick Step and Quick Turn no longer have the “may” condition. This should invoke a Robo Rally feel when guiding the Flechette around the board.
Shaped Bolt now only ignores up to 2 targets on it’s DUO effect.
Reflector Bits now both cost 1 additional Arkite.
Gust Micromissile now only has one Utility DUO effect instead of two DUO effects.
Gale Missile damage reduced from 2 to 1, and now removes Lock-Ons before dealing damage.
Gale Echo no longer has DUO effects.
Magnetic Binder now selects 1 target instead of applying it to all possible targets. This should fix some weirdness when interacting with the CO.
Flawless Technique now selects 1 target instead of applying it to all possible targets.
Improved wording on Wake.
Upgrade now keeps Drones in their current facing, instead of it being ambiguous.
We’re at Geekway to the West again this year! Come check us out on the ground floor, every day from open to close!
Hey, we’re still around! Always around. Crash Command is back from the supremely-useful Unpub 9! Thanks to all of you who showed up and tried out the physical version of Crash Command!
A rework? Already? Why yes, such is the nature of balance. The Arkite Fusor placard and Green/Red Prima tokens were too confusing to most players, and belied Alchemist’s role as a easy-to-play support Strider. Instead of needing a unique placard for her mechanic, Alchemist now uses the Function as her Fusor instead.
Arkite Fusor (Reworked)
Whenever you run your Function, cards in each slot now effect targets on your front axis, with the leftmost slot being your own space, and the rightmost spot being the space that is 4 spaces away on your front axis. You may have duplicates in your Function, and multiple cards in the same slot, but only the topmost card in a slot is active. You may still only move or swap 1 card at a time.
This allows for the same decisions and overall gameplan like before (by stacking cards instead of Prima to build up the damage or healing in that slot), while keeping the actual gameplay simple. To reflect these changes, Alchemist’s cards have been simplified and now take advantage of the DUO System’s color coding to help players build their beam.
NEW MECH: ARTEMIS
After one and half years of service, it’s finally time to retire Viper. As interesting as he may have been with the Canister system, he always felt like the odd duck out. As a Strider, Viper loathed moving around due to needing his MP to load Canisters. As a long-range support mech, he was too straightforward in his game plan; players hardly ever moved him because staying put in one place was just too efficient. His support-damage canisters lacked agency as well, almost always being completely dependent on other mechs’ effects to be able to deal optimal damage, or wait for the Invaders to make a move. Something had to give.
Replacing Viper as the premiere long-range mech is Artemis. Using the array of Reflectors, Artemis can curve shots around obstacles and around enemies. The farther the shot travels, and the more Reflectors it passes through, the more damage it deals.
Passive: Curving Shot
At the start of the game, place 1 Reflector in front, facing East. Reflectors are not targets, and as an repeatable action, may spend your MP to move. If a Rebound enters an empty space with a Reflector, it changes its facing to match the Reflector. Rebounds deal 1 damage for every 4 spaces it has moved, plus 1 damage for every Reflector it passes through.
Artemis looks to capitalize on the following key traits:
Blizzard has always had the best and worst perceptions about him. He has clear strengths in his ability to slow down the Invaders and debuff them with Cryos-related effects. Blizzard was also showing his age as his cards and buildup usually take 2-3 turns, which is an astonishing one-third (!) of the entire game now, making his payoff much smaller and more arduous compared to the other support and tank mechs.
To help with this, Blizzard’s Cryos requirement on certain cards have been adjusted to allow for more choices on how he wants to commit to crowd control.
Freeze Field now only prevents adjacent targets from moving and rotating, but can affect targets up to 2 spaces away with more Utility points. Freeze Field now only requires 1 or more Cryos token on the target for its effect.
Chilling Grasp still reduces damage dealt by Invader targets, but now requires 2 or more Cryos tokens on the target for its effect.
Protective Coating still reduces damage taken by Player targets, but now requires 3 or more tokens on the target for its effect.
With the increased pace of the game, All cards with Utility DUO bonuses now need less Utility DUO points than before,making stockpiling Cyros a potentially viable strategy. In addition, Blizzard’s PSD command cards have all been reworked, giving him better choices on whether to gain or spend Cryos tokens.
These changes look to improve upon Blizzard’s key traits:
NEW MECH: ALCHEMIST
While Scavenger can apply some minor healing, Crash Command has lacked a dedicated healer mech. Filling in this gap is Alchemist, a new Strider support mech. Alchemist leverages her Arkite Fusor beam, allowing her to both damage and heal at the same time depending on the configuration of the Fusor beam. To do this, Alchemist has a unique system that allows for the combination of Red and Green Arkite Prima.
Passive: Arkite Prima
Arkite Prima come in either Green or Red form and can be stacked in in the Arkite Fusor. Once per Player Phase, as an action, you may fire your Arkite Fusor, affecting targets on your front axis based on its current configuration. Then remove Prima from each space equal to the amount of HP lost or gained by that space.
Alchemist looks to capitalize on the following key traits:
As a Strider, she should have an innate focus towards team support and positioning.
As a healer, she should have a strong healing ability, while still being able to support outside of healing.
As a more of an entry-level support mech, her core mechanics should be easier to understand and leverage.
Decreased the wallbump damage to 1, and now all targets (not just Invaders) can be affected by it.
Fixed minor text issues.
Parley’s Utility bonus now also increases the number of cards drawn from 1 to 2.
Booby Trap now helps reduce damage taken, but no longer siphons Arkite from that particular silo.
Changed several Instant DUO bonuses to Defense-based rather than Utility-based.
INITIAL DEPLOYMENT REWORK
The Initial Deployment (referenced on the back of the Army Extra Info Placard) has been relatively untouched since the beginning of the game. Until now.
In an effort to reduce complexity, the initial wave of reinforcements for each army stays the same, regardless of the number of players. This one-size-fits-all approach does have some obvious downsides, namely being too hard for 2-player games, while being too easy for 4-player games. 2 years later, there’s been enough data from 2 and 4 player games to show that this just simply does not work, and cannot work, even with all of the other scaling elements in the game.
So, the Initial Deployment chart has split into three.
The new version of the Initial Deployment chart now has three layouts, one for each different set of players. The variants for each set of players can be relatively small for some armies, or quite impactful for other armies!
ARK ANGELS REWORK
As the “big bad” faction of Crash Command, Ark Angels needs to pull upon all possible strategies the players have used thus far, as well as “cheat” a little to give them that classic SNK boss feel. In previous iterations Ark Angels has swung wildly from too strong to too weak due to having so many moving parts to properly function. And so, once again, a rework as been applied since the last playtest.
Ark Angels still focus on utilizing Arkite, more so than the players or the Terminus. To facilitate this, two major changes have been applied.
Grim Matrices now will prioritize giving Arkite to cards without Arkite. In addition, any Arkite used up by Commander cards now go directly into their stockpile. This could create a more evenly boosted effect across all of the Commander’s cards, making juggling the CO’s attention more critical than before.
Reinforcement Cards now act as PSD-style upgrades to existing Commander cards. This is best characterized by the new entry level card, “Blue Sophia”.
"Place this card underneath a Commander card. Increase the maximum and current HP of that card by 3. Whenever the Commander card above is destroyed, this card is played again."
Because of this card and other cards, the Commander’s Function should power up similarly to the Players’ as the game goes on, making it feel more like the dramatic duel that the army has been building up to.
King’s Ground PSD cost increased from 3 to 4.
Minor card text issues and wording fixed.
Atlas has always been in an odd spot due to his role and his mech class. Being a grappler mech, he has the some of the highest potential for enemy disruption in the game, only mirrored by Siren. This also makes him a difficult mech to play, as taking advantage of positioning is always going to be more difficult than dealing damage.
Atlas’ previous passive, Showmanship, attempted to give him a duality of purpose; you could either move things around, or bop them into one another for some damage, wrestler-style. But repeated playtests showed that players heavily leaned towards simply moving targets into other targets for damage, leaving the board pretty undisturbed. In addition, this caused Atlas to have a 1:1 card-to-damage output that was usually reserved for Marauders, in addition to him having his extended health pool.
The new Atlas looks to emphasize target movement more than damage, while still allowing him to deal some damage. This required a complete overhaul of his core mechanics, first by changing the old passive Showmanship to Magnetic Battler:
Whenever your card effect would cause a target to move into another target, you may first shift the blocking target 1 space out of the way to allow movement to happen. You may then spend 1 MP to deal 1 damage to one of the two targets.
To compensate for this, Atlas' MP has been bumped up to the normal 3, and several cards can help him generate more MP, giving him a "burst mobility" option similar to Scavenger, something that he can trade off for damage instead. These changes look to improve upon Atlas’ key traits:
By now, Volcano is now one of the older mechs in the game, and his kit shows it. His average output has both been consistently easy and high, with him being the only mech that can possibly deal 4 damage consistently from Turn 1. This was supposedly counterbalanced by his poor mobility, inability to hit targets up close, and his need to finangle with his Blast Chart to reach optimal damage conditions.
As a wise man once said, “the best form of crowd control is death”. And with a mech that pumps at at least 4 damage per turn, that was especially true. A lot of Volcano’s inherent weaknesses and his slow ramp-up time was offset by his ability to outpace Invader Reinforcements. His Blast Chart mechanic was both simultaneously difficult to understand, but easy to optimize, allowing him to keep his damage high.
The new Volcano looks to preserve his role of a long-range siege mech that focuses on splash damage, recalculated for how the game now escalates due to the Arkite System. The Blast Chart and its wording also received changes to better emphasize his role. The Spotter system was also removed for simplicity, and now simply references other Player mechs on the board as “spotters”.
At the start of the game, add Blast tokens #1 and #2 to their spaces on the Blast Chart. The Initial Zone is the point of reference for the Blast Chart when Shelling. Each Blast token deals 1 damage to its respective space during Shelling. Blast tokens may stack. At the start of each Player Phase, all Blast tokens jump back to their own corresponding spaces.
Accompanying the changes to his Passive, his Blast Chart has now been changed as well. Previously, markers on his chart would persist between phases. Now, markers are individually identified, and jump back to their respective spots. This means that players need to actively shift around tokens to optimize their damage per turn, while minimizing friendly fire. This also means that buying new tokens is less straightforward; with each token having their own unique position and cost, players will need to consider the opportunity cost of moving those tokens into useful position. These changes look to improve upon Volcano’s key traits:
Centurion - Centurion Resolve
Effect changed to:
"Until the start of the next Player Phase, reduce damage taken from all attacks by 4."
This allows the card to be a stronger version of Anticipate, while playing off of his damage-reduction theme and bonuses. This also prevents weirdness from multi-hitting attacks, HP-decrease effects, and other strange interactions that might stem from the "inability to lose HP", rather than reducing damage taken.
Thanks for stopping by!
Welcome to CRASH COMMAND, a one- to four-player cooperative board game chock full of strategic choices, custom combos, and giant mechs. Inspired by old-school strategy games like StarCraft and Advance Wars, I’ve been working to package the strategic depth of games like them into a tabletop, cooperative experience.
At this point in time, CRASH COMMAND has been in development for almost two years. Only relatively recently has game started to settle down into a more stable state, with core game mechanics meshing together better than ever before. Of course, this would not have been possible without the monumental time spent by you, the playtesters! Thanks to all of you have who have been playtesting the game from its inception, whether it be at conventions, or at our weekly playtest sessions!