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Ramparts, Pens & Swords - The English

RP&S - English Coat

Happy New Year! Now that 2017 is well underway I intend to post more about the development of Ramparts, Pens & Swords, or RP&S, as well as the elements of its strategies and unique styles of play already in place. I begin my in-depth look by focusing on the four factions of the game. I'd like to introduce you to the English Faction Deck.

The English Faction Deck was the first faction I created when I was designing Ramparts, Pens & Swords. It was the only faction in version 2.0, of which I plan to give an overview of in a future game journal post, and is, in a lot of ways, the foundational deck for the other three factions in the game.

The English Faction Deck is the most balanced Faction Deck in the game. While the other factions have an additional two more of one card type (rock, paper or scissor), and one less of the other two types, the English Faction Deck contains an equal number of card types in its deck, 10x10x10, with win/draw/lose conditions numbering 8x3x5, respectively. Their card effects focus primarily on moving cards between the victory and defeat piles, which can either upset the winning cards from previous matches and rounds, or save the top card of their defeat pile, negating the hit taken from a lost match, and effectively increasing their chances of winning the game.

Some of the card names of each deck share similar effects in the game. I will discuss these cards for each of the four Faction Decks. I might also point out other cards from the Faction Deck to discuss briefly.

Squire - this card is generally negative for every Faction Deck, affecting the player detrimentally. English Squire: Win: "This card is sent to your defeat pile." It's basically a lose/lose card; unless, of course, a Round Card comes into effect which negates this.

Paladin - this card's condition will always effect the Round Card Deck. English Paladin: Win: "All round cards currently in play are discarded." This can turn the tide of a particularly devastating round card effect.

Spy - there is only 1 of this card type in a Faction Deck, except for the Turks, who have 2. These cards generally remove cards from play permanently. English Spy: Win: "The top card of your opponent's victory pile is removed from play permanently"; Lose: "The top card of your victory pile is removed from play permanently." This can be a powerful card for removing unwanted cards from the game, but like a two-edged sword it can also be very dangerous to play.

English Cavalry: Win: "You may exchange this card with any card from your hand. The exchanged card's effect does not occur." I particularly like this card because it serves as a substitute for getting cards from your hand and into your victory pile, ensuring--for the most part--that the exchanged card will survive until later in the game, when the deck is depleted and the victory pile is shuffled to become the deck. Also, this card pairs nicely with the Squire, basically negating its card condition and effect, and securing a future rock card for play.

I also want to discuss some of the round cards of each Faction Deck, and how they might affect each game.

Mercenaries: "A total of 5 matches occur. Players use the remaining cards in their hand or the top card of their deck to set the matches." This card changes up the standard 3-match round, and usually forces players to play all of the cards still in their hand at the start of a round.

Attrition: "The round is decided by a 2 out of 3 match point. The winner places all of the round's cards in their victory pile, and the loser places all of the round's cards in their defeat pile. No card effects occur this round." I really want to like this round card because, like Mercenaries, it slightly alters the standard rules of the game, but I might adjust this card in the future in some way.

Double Jeopardy: "Card conditions affect both players, if possible." Love, love this card. I've seen some wicked card effects make this round card a devastating element of play.

Redemption: "Players may swap their victory and defeat pile, so long as there is at least one card in each." This is the only round card which can 'reset' the game. Originally, this was a different round card (and the very last round card I designed before printing out a prototype). The original card was called Absolution: "Players combine and shuffle their respective defeat pile, victory pile and deck." Personally, I hate(d) this card. It was a pure game reset, and did nothing more than drag out the resolution of a game. I'm much happier with the adjusted round card, and while I haven't yet experienced Redemption in a playtest, I'm looking forward to how and when it might come out into play.

Ok, so that's a generous look into the English Faction Deck for RP&S! Next, I'll be talking about the Franks Faction Deck, which synergizes quite nicely with the English Faction Deck. If you have any thoughts or suggestions feel free to post a comment or pm me! Happy New Year, everyone!

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gamejournal | by Dr. Radut