I’m taking a break from talking about advanced strategy to write a little about one of my other favorite things about Factions: Battlegrounds: the way the game’s mechanics are really able to capture the flavor of both the individual cards themselves as well as the factions as a whole and the cultures that inspired them. For anyone who doesn’t know, in game design “flavor” references aesthetic or narrative parts of a game that, by themselves, have no impact on how the game is played. “Mechanics” are the opposite, they’re sort of like rules but instead of governing how to play the game, they describe how the game itself operates. The most basic example of mechanics representing flavor in Factions would be the fact that a flying creature like a dragon or a gargoyle has the ability to fly in game. Now, without further ado, let’s look at how Zyan combines mechanics and flavor!
First, let’s look at two simple units that are nevertheless extremely flavorful:
Farm Peasant, just like Doom Sand’s Goldminer Captive, is a unit that represents a worker rather than a combatant, leading to it having only one health and zero attack, but being able to generate an additional gold per round! Similarly, Zyan Infiltrator is a spy rather than a footsoldier, so its stats lead it more towards moving across the battlefield quickly and away from actually engaging in combat. In addition, its Tactician ability rewards you for getting it all the way to your opponent’s side of the table, and if that’s not infiltration, I don’t know what is!
Now let’s look at some units that use one of Zyan’s unique keywords, Phalanx!
A “phalanx” is an Ancient Greek military formation in which troops would march together in tightly packed ranks, with their shields up and their spears out, essentially become one massive, heavily armored unit. The phalanx mechanic in Factions makes your phalanx units get increased health while they’re next to each other, encouraging Zyan players to actually emulate the strategy of the culture that inspired the faction!
Finally, let’s look at two of Zyan’s elite units!
“Armored Cavalry” above also had the Joust ability, so let me really quickly just talk about why it’s such a good representation of mounted combat. In real-life jousting, riders must continue riding past their targets once they attack, because they can’t make their horses stop on a dime. In factions, Joust lets your units move or continue moving after making an attack! Unicorn Warhulk amps this up because it also has bullrush, letting you attack a unit, knock it out of your way, and keep moving, just like you’d expect from a powerful charging animal!
Royal Battlelord’s Inferno Oil ability deals two damage to all units on water spaces. To some, only hitting water spaces might seem strange. After all, it’s called inferno oil, and nothing about that screams “water”. However, it’s actually a reference to “Greek fire”, which was naval weapon used by Ancient Greeks to set enemy ships on fire!
Hope you all liked reading about this topic, because I’m definitely planning on writing more about it in the future, in addition to advanced gameplay strategies. Let me know what you thought in the comments! As always, I’ll see you all on the battlegrounds!
2 thoughts on “When Flavor and Mechanics Collide: Zyan”
The infernal oil on water units is vicious, so factions like Ihalaban and Zermano will have to take out the Battlelord asap. I really like that the creators gave the abilities names that stand out and have meaning behind it instead of just applying a beefed up ability out of nowhere unrelated to what they are. Great post Afraid. I hope we get to meet each other soon and meet on the Battleground!!
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