For anyone that has played Maladum’s sister game, Core Space, the Event Deck will be a familiar feature. Drawn at the start of every round, the cards spice up games in ways that make them feel unique. The specific cards included can tailor a scenario to its setting, modify difficulty and create unexpected challenges. This is one of the things that makes Core Space so much fun, you could play a scenario many times but the cards are one of many things that would make it different every time. Having a giant, and hungry, Rock Worm suddenly appear next to your objective makes you reassess your plans in a hurry. This kind of emergent gameplay has led to some of the most memorable moments in my games of Core Space – the panic you feel as all the doors lock just as you need to make a quick exit is not something you forget in a hurry!
Maladum takes all of this but builds on it, generating new environmental effects, new kinds of events, allowing for enhanced NPCs and more flexibility for future expansion. The cards have also given us the opportunity to make some rules easier to remember – more on that later.
In the core set there are seven types of card and they have an impact all kinds of elements of the game. This can be things like the foes you’ll face, the environmental conditions and people you’ll meet on your adventures.
The locations you visit in Core Space feel lived in and more authentic because of the NPCs that you encounter. Corporate employees go about their day jobs (when their office isn’t being blown up by the Purge at least), scavengers attempt to pinch your loot before you can get to it and media teams hunt for a great story. This is great fun, but with lots of character types in play it can sometimes get a little tricky to work out who is going to act how.
In Maladum you’ll still encounter a varied cast of interesting characters – from heroes on a quest for glory to people who are lost and in need of your help. These are the Denizens of Maladum and they are affected by the Denizen Cards. This is one of the changes that we’re most excited about because it creates a huge amount of flexibility to create new and exciting options.
Most of the time, drawing the card will bring a Denizen into play, tell you what type they are and list how they will act. This means that you can place the card next to the Denizen’s board and it acts as a reminder of what their goals and actions are. Not only is this convenient for you but it also allows us to create an unlimited variety of characters and goals without needing a new rulebook.
The examples below show how much flexibility we can add to games of Maladum and how easy it is to keep track of the actions the NPC will take:
On the hunt
The cards in the core set are just the start and expansions will bring even more variety to your games. This might include the Questgiver (a Denizen that interacts with the new Side Quest deck to offer new objectives) bounty hunters, highwaymen and even tourists!
Dungeons are dangerous places even without having to deal with the undead. The Dungeon Cards make the location feel like a real dungeon, with crumbling masonry that make every step a potential hazard and ancient traps patiently waiting for their victims. For example the Fading Light card makes your adventurer’s day worse by plunging them into the dark.
No dungeon is complete without traps and the pit trap never goes out of fashion, triggered by the Trap – Pit card it’s sure to test your characters. It also comes with a cool terrain piece to mark its location when triggered – shame that wasn’t there when you stepped on it.
While these cards only apply to dungeons, we have exciting plans for other locations, like towns or forests.
The dungeons of Enveron are alive with creatures and they are rarely pleased to find you wandering around their home. As with Denizens, their cards trigger their arrival and outline their behaviour. This gives us the ability to create a rich bestiary of creatures with unique behaviours to keep you on your toes. Bloodwyrms can’t move but will block a corridor and drag people into its tunnels, the Alary is hard to hit and spits acid, and the Skin Shifter increases the Dread constantly while it’s alive. This gives us lots of opportunities to add new and challenging creatures that all feel different from each other as the game grows.
Environment Cards change conditions for your party and will be relevant in almost all games of Maladum. This can be for good or ill – sometime a tremor will throw your party to the ground and at other times a surge of magical energy could empower them.
AS one door closes
These card modify the behaviour of Revenants, bringing in reinforcements or give them access to special abilities. This can really change your plans or introduce a whole new element to think about. Nothing ruins your day quicker that a furious Rot Troll turning up beneath your feet!
Each scenario will tell you how many of each type of card to shuffle into your deck. In addition to setting a tone for the encounter, this is useful as way to adjust the challenge of a scenario beyond just the starting point of the Doom Tracker. Two types of card are used for this: Novice cards and Veteran cards, with the former offering respite for your party and the latter adding extra obstacles. As a rule, a deck with more Veteran cards will create a more difficult scenario than one with more Novice cards.
Blaze of Glory
As you can see, Event Cards add a huge amount of depth and variety to your games. This is just that start too, we’ve got loads more exciting things planned. Watch this space for new types of opponent to confront, a wider range of environmental challenges to overcome and a growing cast of NPCs to spice up your games.