Podcasts/Episode 165

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The Letters Page: Episode 165
Sentinels of the Multiverse: Definitive Edition

Original Source

Primary Topic

    Intro

    All new — all different!

    Show Notes:

    Run Time: 1:33:30

    Here's the announcement!

    We talk about all that is Sentinels of the Multiverse: Definitive Edition! The people that worked on it, the contents of it, the updates to game design. There's even a Polygon article! There's more than we can cover in one episode... but that's why we're coming back in two weeks with another Bullpen! So, get your Definitive Edition questions in by the 18th and we'll answer them in this month's Bullpen!

    Join me for my Definitive Edition AMA on the GTG YouTube channel tomorrow, February 3rd, at 3:00 PM, Central Time!

    If you haven't yet, go check out the new GTG website! There are plans to overhaul the GTG forum and even this podcast page as well... but not yet! I'm told it'll be soon! But, "soon" relative to what scale? Who can say? Stay tuned!

    Characters Mentioned

    Summary

    Overview

    • January 27, 2021 (two days before they recorded this) was the 10-year anniversary of the founding of Greater Than Games (it also happened to be Adam’s son’s first birthday). It was also the day that they announced the the Definitive Edition of their first game, Sentinels of the Multiverse - something that they’ve been working on for a few years now (and something that they even did an episode nominally about creating content for it - Episode 114 where they workshopped some Scenarios for it. None of that content made it through the design process in the form it took in that episode).
    • This product is what they want SotM to be. They had a good idea for a game and it’s proven to be popular, but it also shows that it was the first game the two of them made. For example, the first edition of the game from August 2011 came in a small square box that couldn’t even hold the unpackaged game well because they didn’t have any industry know-how or connections and the printer jerked them around.
    • They also spent around the first 6 or 7 years of the company’s existence making the game and they learned a lot along the way. They also worked on other things so that they’ve both had a full-time job of writing/designing games and drawing things for a full decade now and they’ve both improved considerably (one would almost have to). They’re not looking to change what the game is, but their execution of it (art, graphic design, mechanics, etc.) is being updated to make use of their improved skills.
    • And not just their skills. The first version was all done by the two of them (Christopher did a rough design of the card layout, Adam implemented it with the art stuff, and Christopher then filled in the text) in Photoshop. Between the two of them they formed a rough approximation of a graphic designer. Guess what: they work with 4 real graphic designers these days. Rae and Darrell in particular were the rockstars making the Definitive Edition look good.
    • They went back and forth a bit on what to call it. 3rd edition would technically be accurate, but they don’t want to give the impression that they might do this again in 10 years (and even if they thought about it, the jump wouldn’t be as drastic because they wouldn’t have 10 years of additional experience making SotM content that they didn’t have before like they do this time). No, this is what they see as the definitive version of the game as they imagine it to be. They’re more looking to revisit and release something related to Galactic Strike Force than they would be interested in doing yet another iteration of SotM by then.
    • While there were some things they weren’t exactly happy with, for the most part this started as an art/lore update. They have their timeline project spreadsheet and now know where everything fits in. They started a document to break down which cards would show what scenes and what kinds of things Adam would have to draw. While they’re’ doing that, why not also tweak some minor mechanical things here and there in a few decks? What they found was that they were finding issues at every step along the way - everything could be cleaner, simpler, better. Even the core mechanic of the game got tweaked.
    • As that went on, it became a question of not just cleaner mechanics, but how could each deck better tell the story of that character? Once they got to that point, they agreed that there were no sacred cows in this process. Anything was on the table for revision if it made the game better. Not everything does get significant changes, but it was there as an option.
    • They spent most of 2020 working on this. Not to say there weren’t other projects - Christopher also had a lot on his plate in terms of the RPG - but when Adam was down in the “art mines”, this was the seam he was excavating (a little over 400 individual pieces of art in all).
    • Along with Rae and Darrell doing the graphic design, they also had Chris Burton doing additional design and development work (along with working with the playtesters) to say nothing of the meetings with Paul, Jenn, and Maggie about how to position this as a product. As such, they will be launching a Kickstarter for this new set at the end of March. Why a return to Kickstarter? They don’t know what the interest in this as a product will be. How big of an audience will want it? They’re sure that there is an audience, but whether that audience is in the hundreds or tens of thousands, they don’t know.
    • They’ve already been talking to the printer. The plan is to get all the files to them even before the Kickstarter so that all the pre-production hiccups can be dealt with very early in the process and so, when the KS ends and they know how big their initial print run should be, they’ll be all ready to go with it. They have seen enough comments regarding their fulfillment timelines for past products (“Oh, well if they do this now it’ll be ready in 2025.”). This game is done - no development of new game modes. No insane box manufacturing requirements. This game is ready to go and the KS is just there to know what number to tell the printer. They plan to deliver this game at, if not before Gen Con 2021 [August 5-8] - the convention where the first edition was released ten years ago. Now, if 2020 is any lesson it’s that you can’t plan for everything, but they think that they can and they are even ahead of their original internal schedule in terms of hitting that target date. The unforeseen can happen and delay things, but they don’t even see a worst-case scenario where Definitive Edition doesn’t ship in 2021. They think that even if the cargo ship with every copy on it sinks and they have to print everything from scratch again, they could still hit “late 2021”.
    • Additionally, people talk about Kickstarters actually causing delays just by how they operate (stretch goals, etc.). This is the most finely-honed Kickstarter campaign they’ve ever done. There are 2 pledge levels. There is the single funding goal as the only monetary “target” (no stretch goals). They already know everything that goes into this game because they’ve already made the game. The MSRP for this game will be $59.95 and Kickstarter backers can get it for $50 (they also get the Hero and Villain character cards in foil). Those are the incentives for backing: get it first, get it cheaper, and get the foil character cards.
    • Organization for the game: they talked about how to break up the content from the current edition into discrete products for this edition. Do they just keep the same “core, Rook City/Infernal Relics, Shattered Timelines/Wrath of the Cosmos” breakdown? Over the course of that, they decided to rearrange them quite a bit. They didn’t want the single-deck mini-expansions, they wanted all expansions to be the same size, and they didn’t want people to need to hunt down character variant cards by attending conventions and whatnot. They also noticed that there were no references in any of the existing rule books that actually said what you were supposed to do with the variants in the first place, so that is getting included.
    • As such, this product line will have a grand total of 6 things to buy (the core game and 5 expansions). They’re not going to go into a breakdown of everything that’s in every box here, but if you get those 6 things you’ll have all the official content that will exist for this game.
    • They will give a breakdown for this core set, though. There are 12 heroes:
      • The Freedom Five - this one is obvious, but it’s worth mentioning here that they hadn’t even created some of the teams in the current version until partway through the expansions. They don’t want to break up teams across multiple sets this time around. As such, this box also includes…
      • The Prime Wardens, so Argent Adept and Captain Cosmic are pulled into this core release instead of being in expansions. They’re also including the heroes that non-team-members but are most associated with these teams.
      • Unity - the Freedom Five’s sidekick.
      • Ra - a “close friend” of Fanatic and a frequent ally of the Prime Wardens.
    • Close scrutiny of this setup will reveal that Visionary isn’t in the core set. She’ll be appearing later in a thematically-appropriate expansion.
    • In the process of adjusting the hero decks, they actually planned for the team compositions this time, so the Freedom Five and Prime Wardens should play together better as they’re designed to be teams now. Not in a prescriptive way (there aren’t clauses on the cards that only work if team-members are present), just that they’re designed to have synergies that should make them feel more like teams in an emergent-behavior kind of way. They were surprised how much Legacy and Haka wound up changing in this process. Argent Adept and Captain Cosmic are likely the two who changed the least.
    • They also found that by sanding off the rough edges of the mechanics and getting the mechanics and theme better aligned, games just play faster. Not necessarily easier - heroes typically each get a little stronger, but the villains also get scarier. But, a play-test game that would take Christopher and Paul (each playing 2 heroes) 80 minutes with the current decks now takes them something like 45. A first game with all new players might still take somewhat over an hour, but a 30-60 minute game was always their target play time, so this is good.
    • Part of that was making better use of keywords and defined terminology. Rather than have the same description showing up on a bunch of cards that people would then have to read, they swapped in a new game term that’s defined in the book. Even some that they’d been using all along without noticing because they’re just common words: Draw and Discard are easy to intuit - they don’t require that the action they mean be spelled out every time. Let’s just expand that: “look through your deck until you find [x], put it into play, shuffle your deck” can now become simply “Summon [x]”. Adding it to your hand instead is “Discover [x]”. [Note from the future: this off-the-cuff explaination is incorrect. Summon lets you search deck and trash for a particular thing to put into play. Discover Reveals cards from the deck until you find what is specified and put them into play. Collect is like Discover only putting in hand instead.] Moving it from your Trash to your hand is “Salvage”. There aren’t a ton of these terms, but there are a lot that adds up to a lot of saved text across all the cards in the game. This not only makes the individual cards easier to parse, but also ensures that the actions that do the same thing are consistent across the whole game.
    • This process also wound up creating a new mechanic. They defined “Bury” as to take a card (from play or from a hand) and put it on the bottom of the deck. Now all of a sudden they have a new, defined mechanism for something to leave play beyond Destruction that can now have additional mechanics tied to it. Little things like that add up to interesting design options.
    • They’ve also standardized play to not only have Play, Power, and Draw phases, but explicit Start and End phases as well. This makes timing more standardized, but it also lets them just label actions as “Start Phase” rather than having to include “at the start of your turn” every time it comes up. Including these phase labels (which are also color coded, with icons for the colorblind, to make it easier to see at a glance if you have stuff to do) also allows them to key things to the old phases, so now you might have things that modify what you do in each phase broken out into discrete areas instead of being just part of the same general text box.
    • Given that they’re finally talking about how to use variants in the rules, they’d need to include some in the box as well. Which to choose for this new first product in a game line. It’s the first time these characters are making an appearance in the current format. If only there was a thematically-appropriate set of variants they could include. Okay, that’s enough. The variants are the First Appearance Variants - showing off cover art from the first comic each character appeared in as a hero [so Legacy in Justice Comics #102 when he is Legacy vs. Legacy’s son]. Playing along with the cover art theme for the front side, the incapacitated side will likewise show off a cover from an issue that featured a notable defeat of the character. For you counting along at home, that’s 24 new covers that Adam’s drawn like he does for the Writer’s Room episodes and 12 new variants doing all-new things. Not that there’s not new stuff all over. For example…
      • Bunker still has Mode cards and still has guns. The Modes work very differently now, and the guns now have the keyword Ordnance because they’re tied to additional mechanics (involving “loading” the guns and them being more effective depending on how they’re loaded).
    • One last note on Heroes, the character cards are now tarot-sized cards and the default hero card shows the modern, most iconic appearance of the character. Their decks feature art from the entire span of the character’s publication history, so the longest-running heroes will have art from the Golden Age up through modern styles showcased in their decks. Each deck gets a unique back-of-card art as well - the hero name, obviously, but also a collage of a few images trying to showcase their backstory/who they are as a person (so Legacy’s has a few different Legacies learning about their powers and one family picture). Stuff that informs you a bit about the personality that can’t easily come across in the action panels for the cards themselves.
    • Moving on to Villains, from the start they’re getting the oversized character cards they always wanted/envisioned them to have. The deck back is more focused on the event that the deck models rather than “who they are as a person”. The same kinds of quality-of-life changes happen here too, obviously. One in particular for Villains is that the Setup text got moved over to the side of the card because once you do it, it no longer factors into gameplay, so why put it in the same general area as the rest of their mechanics. That was one of Darrell’s ideas that everyone agreed was good. You turn the card sideways to read the setup instructions, then return it to the proper orientation for the rest of the game.
      • Speaking of card orientation, Environment cards are now played in landscape orientation (get it!?). Their deck backs are meant to be something of an establishing shot of the location. So, once you have all the decks out and ready to play you see an establishing shot of the location, a bit about the villainous plot underway, and some details about who the heroes are even before you begin playing just by looking at the deck backs.
    • Villains also get the Phase tags (Start, Play, End). They’re also including some HP spinners for tracking the higher HP totals that Heroes and Villains start with rather than relying on the tokens that are still around for smaller targets like Minions and Unity’s Golems. (The various effect tokens are also nicely redesigned: + and - tokens are now arrows, immune from damage are shields, etc.).
    • Who’s included? Baron Blade, Citizen Dawn, Grand Warlord Voss, and Omnitron are still the right core set villains, as they were before. However, they are also adding Matriarch and Akash'Bhuta as two story-important foes for the teams included in this set. Akash’Bhuta belongs here if we’re including the Prime Wardens as a team from the beginning. Matriarch thematically fits in the Rook City expansion, but her only story as a villain was against the Freedom Four/Five and the introduction of Absolute Zero. Her only other story is becoming a hero as Harpy (which, for “everything happened in the ’90s” reasons the guys had originally thought happened much closer to the OblivAeon story than it turns out that it did), but that will be coming in the first Definitive Edition expansion - the one that’s Dark Watch-themed which will include her from the beginning rather than only near the end.
    • There are also 6 environments: Megalopolis, Insula Primalis, Ruins of Atlantis, and Wagner Mars Base all return. There are some significant overhauls to them that they’re really proud of. One thing in general is that Environment Cards now have keywords and there are only a few effects in the game to specifically destroy Environment Cards as a category. Environments now have Ongoings and One-shots like other decks and having them operate in their own category had no reason behind it other than inexperience as designers.
      • A funny note on keywords: Heroes no longer have Equipment, but Items. This change saves them so much text space overall. Plus, not everything that has the Equipment keyword is something that you’d necessarily think of due to the connotations of “equipment”, but “item” is a better catch-all.
    • The other 2 Environments are here for flavor reasons too. If you’ve got the Freedom Five, include Freedom Tower. So what if it’s a later story development? It’s the team HQ, so include it here. The other is Magmaria - a bunch of both FF and PW stories happen there and it’s an older setting, going back to the Golden Age. They didn’t know about Magmaria until they were working on the VotM expansion, but now that they have it, it’s obviously one that goes back a long way and would make sense to include in a core set.
    • In how they work, Insula Primalis and Magmaria feel pretty familiar. Freedom Tower still has the room/entry point mechanic, but it’s been cleaned up some. Megalopolis feels more like an actual city where there’s a lot of events happening all over that you have to deal with while fighting the Villain. Wagner Mars Base now has Domes that you have to keep from being destroyed.
    • Another important component they’ve added are Events. They had originally envisioned Scenarios - different ways to play against the Villains as described in the episode mentioned earlier. They wound up being more hassle than they were fun. Additionally, the reworking of the Villain Decks to more fully model the plot they represent kind of did that job anyway. So, they’ve done something different with Events.
    • From the beginning of Sentinels of the Multiverse, one of the most common requests has been a “story mode” - a way to run through the setups from the canonical stories from Sentinel Comics. Events are those things. There are two kinds: regular and critical.
      • Regular Events show you a comic cover from that story arc (e.g. Moonfall #1 for Baron Blade’s Terralunar Impulsion Beam story), provide a little bit of the story for context, the publication date when the story happened (so that you can play through the Events in order by putting them in chronological order), and then one small rules tweak to really focus the game to that plot. If you win, you flip the card: it will have a cover from the end of the event, the rest of the story, the issues that the story occurred in, and “Collection” effects. Successfully playing through an Event lets you pick one special effect from a Collection to use in a future Event game that you play (the front side of an Event card indicates how many Collection effects you’re allowed to use in it - some might allow 3 or 4, OblivAeon is planned to let you bring in an unlimited number when they get to it).
      • Critical Events have a different layout on the front in that they don’t have rules tweaks. The back of these cards, instead of having Collection bonuses to choose from, are instead a Villain variant character card. The first of these is Mad Bomber Baron Blade. Note that because they already have the Event text on the other side, the Villain variants don’t have flip mechanics, but they’ve still got some fun stuff they do. [Clarification from the YouTube AMA - playing a Critical Event means using the variant Villain character card instead of the standard one. The variant isn't the *reward* for completing a game.]
      • Expansions are going to include more Events, so you’ll be able to slot them into the stack chronologically as well as your collection grows. By the time they’re done with all 6 boxes, you can finally have your story-mode campaign by bringing out your sorted stack of Events. The core box will have 6 Regular and 6 Critical events.
    • Each expansion will have new stuff to look forward to. Additionally, every variant we know and love from the existing game will appear somewhere and all heroes will be getting that new First Appearance variant. The themes of the expansions will dictate some of that, though. For example, Young Legacy won’t be in the core game, but will show up later in a more appropriate place thematically. Each will have Events that relate both to that specific expansion, but also back to the core game (but not between expansions - getting them out of order shouldn’t impact your ability to play Events).
    • And that’s not all they have planned. They won’t spoil things right now, but they have so much stuff that they’ve realized that they want to do with this now that they’ve decided that all bets are off and they can rework things to make it what it should be. Some came up in the course of doing the existing revisions, some of it is inspired by things that they came up with for the RPG, some comes directly from The Letters Page.
    • All of the team-villain content will be in one expansion instead of broken up across two of them and that’s also going to have quite an overhaul in store. They understand the complaints that people have regarding that game mode and want to make it something that people will want to play more often while still getting at the “team of villains against a team of heroes” theme.
    • And, of course, the OblivAeon scenario will also be included in the Definitive content. They’ll get there. They want to get everything that they’ve produced so far up to the level of polish that this new core game has received.
    • Art! Adam will be [and already has started] tweeting a new piece of art for the game every weekday. Additionally, once his current RPG-related project is done he’ll be live-streaming new art for the expansions over on Twitch.
    • For his process on these, he started working on them chronologically so that his style for things would evolve as the art would actually have done over time. A few cards into this process, his wife found a collection of high-resolution scans of art/textures/etc. along with what year each was from. Now, with that tool in hand, he can specifically limit himself to using the techniques and even specific colors that would have been available at the time (which is why characters’ hair and skin tones will be different from card to card - some colors just weren’t available at earlier periods).
    • Additionally, the feature of the current version of the game where the art comes from a different comic than the one that the flavor-text is taken from is gone. Every card now has agreement between what’s happening in the art and which comic the quote/attribution specifies.
    • Adam drew all of the art for this over the course of about 5 months (between July and December 2020) so that they could hit that August 2021 release date. He’s now going to be starting the art for the next expansion here in February 2021 so that the first expansion can be ready for Gen Con 2022 - that’s the release plan as they have it right now. The next 6 Gen Cons each have one new Definitive Edition product. This first expansion has less art necessary for it (as it has less content than the core box - fewer heroes but more Events and variants, so more cover-level art), and he’s got at least twice the time to do it in, so it shouldn’t be too bad down in the art mines this time.

    Schedule

    • Because they had redacted what this episode was about and the short turn-around between the announcement of the Definitive Edition and when the were recording this episode, they’re also making this month’s Editors Note into a Bullpen instead. It will feature, Christopher, Adam, Paul, and Chris Burton (aka Braithwhite) as he did a lot of development work on it and wrangled all the playtesting. This gives you more time to get your questions in before they record on the 19th.
    • Thoughts for additional Bullpens: one could maybe be on the DE art with Christopher, Adam, Rae, and Darrell. We’ll see.

    Questions

    • The last I remember hearing about the DE was that it was something you wanted to do “someday”, but I guess now we know how you spent your pandemic work-from-home time; how much was this situation an impetus for getting this product out now? They had already planned on doing this as they knew they already wanted it to be ready for Gen Con 2021. The pandemic likely had an impact on Adam’s ability to actually get the art done in time. Adam got more family time than he’d had in previous trips to the art mines and he saved the daily drive time to the office and back, but the collaborative Christopher and Adam sessions by necessity were over Zoom instead of in-person, so likely took longer than they may have otherwise. In the end, things were a wash and they wound up approximately on the schedule as they’d initially envisioned it. Given the timing for the expansions, hopefully the level of “roll out of bed, do art all day/night, crash” doesn’t need to happen, even after they get back to being in the office full time.
    • [Letter goes on to discuss a bit about what we expected in terms of art/lore updates/corrections, scenarios, first appearance variants, and a few minor tweaks, but it sounds like more substantive changes to the core gameplay - they also acknowledge that a lot of other letters basically boil down to “what is changing and why” which they hope the Overview covers sufficiently in the general sense.]
    • Can you give an example of a card that you replaced with a new card in the Definitive Edition? There are two ways to read this question, so let’s look at both.
      • A card that gets updated to a new version of itself: Fanatic’s “Prayer of Desperation” - formerly it was a One-shot that had you “Draw until you have 6 cards in your hand. Immediately end your turn.” Fanatic now has a specific mechanical gimmick where if she is at 10 or fewer HP, she’s just better. This kind of play for her was kind of incentivized through her abundance of cards that did herself damage/redirected damage to her along with things like Wrathful Retribution which is more effective if she’s at low-HP. They’re really leaning into it now with effects that make her better if she’s at 10 or less. “Prayer of Desperation” now has her Reveal the top 4 cards of her deck, putting any Item or Ongoing cards into her hand (discarding any others). Then, if Fanatic is at 10 or fewer HP, Play up to 2 cards. Having this incentive for hovering around 9 HP or so as much as possible also makes her Aegis more important as aiming at having low HP is a very dangerous state to stay in for long.
      • An entirely new card they’ll talk about is one for Legacy, “The Old One-Two”. The art for it is from Paul VIII’s first appearance as Legacy and features him socking Iron Curtain pretty good. One-shot: “Legacy deals 1 target 2 melee damage. You may play 1 card.” [In chatting about options for what that second card could be, they also reveal the existence of a card “Keen Vision” which is one of those important Parsons Family powers that never got mechanical representation until now.]
    • Can you give an example of a general gameplay concept that gets revised in the new edition? They’ve talked a little about some of this (how Environment cards change, the addition of explicit Start and End phases, and new defined terms). A bit more of a zoomed-in one is how Omnitron will work. He’s an artificial intelligence that alternates between being a giant rampaging robot and being a giant robotic drone factory. He still flips every turn. Every single card in his deck now has text for Exterminate and for Fabricate - so now every card does different stuff depending on which side Omnitron’s character card is on (while rampaging everything else activates its Exerminate effects and when in factory mode everything activates its Fabricate effects). You get some swingy behavior as the whole villain tableau alternates between attack mode and build/repair mode every turn.
    • While the inspiration for the theme and art obviously comes from comics, what were some of your inspirations for the mechanics? Were you inspired by things like Magic: the Gathering, Yu-gi-oh, Marvel Legendary, and DC Deckbuilder? First off, they beat the Marvel and DC games to market, by at least a year. Now, those games might have done better in the market overall because of their licensed characters, but SotM was before either of them. They’ve played some Magic, but Christopher hasn’t played Yu-Gi-Oh. There was some Pokemon in there, but they played a lot of the Star Wars game by Decipher. They haven’t played much of it correctly, though. There was a fair amount of the World of Warcraft CCG too, but the Star Wars game was the one that sparked an interest in that they wished it was comic books, but also they had specific things they wanted it to do differently. A lot of board, card, and roleplaying games added inspiration, but when it comes down to it they landed on making their own card game because they liked the idea of a tableau - you start with a character and lay out all of these comics panels around them to tell the story. You’d probably be hard-pressed to find a superhero game that at least one of them hadn’t tried. There was Overpower back in the ’90s but it wasn’t very good. There was the Vs. system - it was a good game, but fails in the way that a lot of these games do. They don’t make you feel like a superhero and typically take the form of “Superman and Spider-man punch one another until one of them is knocked out”. Some others have the player in a position of overseeing a team of characters that are all doing whatever - there’s no connection between the player and a specific hero and what being that specific hero would feel like. That was the angle they took that they don’t recall seeing in any game before theirs.
    • Will we have to buy it all again (a lot of us have spent a lot of money collecting everything Sentinels to this point with the understanding that it had an End with OblivAeon)? Will upgrade packs be a possibility? They understand this feeling and have been on the receiving end of it for other things in the past. Even if it was just an art update, an “upgrade pack” wouldn’t work because every card has updated art. Additionally, this game is different enough that doing a one-to-one conversion isn’t really workable either. Sentinels of the Multiverse as it exists right now in your collection is a good game. The Definitive Edition doesn’t invalidate it or anything like that. Even so, new people find the game all the time and comments about how it feels dated ring true. They are better designers now and the game is good enough to warrant an update to reflect that. Think of it kind of like changing from Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition up to 5th edition - it’s recognizably the same game, but it’s not backwards compatible. Making this “the best game it could be” meant abandoning the idea of backwards compatibility. There are still people who play pretty much every edition of D&D - you can continue to play the current SotM. That being said, they plan on releasing a “conversion rubric” so that you can “translate” current decks into the format used in the Definitive Edition so that you can play current decks with the new stuff while we wait on the later expansions to fill out the roster again. They won’t be the same as the Definitive versions of those decks in all likelihood, but at least you’ll see how to make them work in the meantime. From a product standpoint, they’re also looking to make it as easy to get into as possible (no trying to hunt down mini-expansions or promo variant cards). You buy the 6 boxes and you’re done - hopefully that eases the pain a bit.
    • By the end of the release cycle, will each deck from the current version have a Definitive Edition counterpart? Yes.
    • Can you mix and match decks (so, having Definitive Legacy and current Wraith against the villain)? Not out-of-the-box, for the reason given above regarding backwards compatibility, but the conversion rubric would let you hack something together.
    • Could a new hero or villain character card be used with the current decks? They have a different template and mechanics, so probably not.
    • Could we shuffle together a definitive and current deck to have a megadeck? How about swapping out individual cards with the same name? Not recommended - for one thing the Definitive Edition features much higher-quality card stock (not that the current SotM printing is exactly on bad card stock). Even individual cards wouldn’t work as they have different backs and new mechanics. I mean, they can’t stop you from doing any of this, but the mechanics wouldn’t support them.
    • Any plans for another mega box to hold everything? No. They are glad that the Ultimate Collectors Case exists as a thing that they did. It was a disaster to try to design and was a terrible business decision (as they definitely lost money on that in particular). They are happy with the box designs for the Definitive Edition and its a better storage solution than any main Sentinels release has had and they’ll let them stand on their own merits.
    • Will there be a foil version of the Definitive Edition? Yes, the character cards will have foil options. If you’re a Kickstarter backer you’ll get them for free.
    • In recognition of the 10 year anniversary of GTG, what’s a fond memory you have of the company?
      • Christopher: He had one in mind, but before he can even start he gets sidetracked thinking on how amazing seeing cosplayers of their characters is - a particularly perfect Harpy at the most recent PAX Unplugged gets a shout out, but every single cosplayer moment is special. [His original idea here was the story about loading up a truck with the first edition of SotM for the drive to Gen Con 2011 when they didn’t even have enough money for the return trip’s gas and everything that went along with that experience including writing Rook City on the return drive - they previously told this story in Extrasode 1 - the GTG Origin Story.]
      • Adam: it was at the first PAX they attended, 2 weeks after that first Gen Con, when he realized that they might actually have something here. Sure, Gen Con was a big hit and they got the attention of the tabletop gamer crowd there, but PAX felt like a different animal as it was primarily a video game thing instead of tabletop but they still sold everything and got the attention of some big name people, hit the top of the Hotness list on Board Game Geek, and found out that Tom Vasel had called their game the #1 game from Gen Con 2011 (they didn’t know who Tom Vasel was at the time). They were just so clueless about the industry that they were taking by storm. This has a chance to become their careers.
    • Now that we’ve seen some art previews I can finally ask [this letter written by MindWanderer, who’s a playtester in addition to writing the occasional letter - this prompts a brief aside of thank yous to him and all the playtesters out there]: what is the complete historical breakdown of Captain Cosmic’s facial hair? When did it change? Is it just quietly treated as an art upgrade? When he originally shows up he has no facial hair. Now, while Adam had originally designed him with it for the current SotM game, in doing his research for the era-appropriate character details he found that while hair and clothing styles often reflected what was popular at the time, no heroes had facial hair (some enemies might, especially goatees for villains). By the time you get to the ’70s you start to see some mustaches. He was introduced in 1970 and was clean cut then, but he does get a mustache before the decade was out. In the ’80s he’s got the full goatee we all know and love. There was probably some in-character acknowledgement of it at some point later on, but generally hair and costume changes are rarely remarked upon.