By now, the first Psyke and Neck-o posts should have gone live. And, if not, I'm off somewhere huddling to myself in the corner, rocking back and forth, sobbing, weeping, and quietly murmuring to myself in low, guttural voice "it's only a game, it's only a game, it shouldn't be this hard."
That means that all of the characters I've got in my head - at the moment - have at least seen the light of day. But, with only a few days left until we wrap this project up, a few of them might have only a brief lifespan.
Simply put, I want to get to 20 characters and that means I've got 5 too many. 1 in each of the Psychos, Necros, and Rockers, and 2 in the Gangster. They've got to go. But the question is who gets the axe?
So consider this an open invitation to give me some feedback about which characters you think are working and which ones you think need to get shuffled back into the deck. Drop me a line, in comments or otherwise - you know the drill - and let me know what you think.
But rather than just bleg a solution, I'm working on it myself, so, here are how I'm currently ranking the characters myself along with some of the reasons why. Subject to change, of course, but the cut-off is 5 so anyone at or below that point is in dire straights.
- N1. The Animator. This card is crazy go nuts. I don't know what I was thinking handing out these kind of abilities. He has the potential to crack the game wide open by bringing his teammats back to life and then I go ahead and compound that by making him into a half-way decent healer with a good nuke? He's insane. So, of course, I love him. The Necros are all about outsized effects and this guy's like the poster child.
- N3. The Undying. This card almost has to be included in the group. He just so perfectly illustrates everything the Necros are about. He's an evil, evil card but still a team player. He studded with powerful, gamebreaking effects that go so far beyond the normal mechanics that they explore strange territory. He's completely and utterly impractical and yet still insanely cool.
- N4. The Minion Master. I have a bit of a soft-spot when it comes to token characters, I'll admit. And the power levels that this guy is packing are bordering on the obscene. But, really, that's the whole point and, at the moment, I really dig what this character can do and how we plays on the Necros central themes.
- N2. The Re-animated. I've taken the Bapho idea and made it worse by piling on with a bunch of healing. And you thought the old Ox was bad. Still, I like how this card is shaping up and I'd really like to see his innate get into play because it's such an interesting concept that could do a lot for the game.
- N5. The Ritualist. Feels a little bit bland to me, to be honest. That's not a good thing in a line that's supposed to be so far off the wall it's about an inch deep in the shag carpet discovering a race of microscopic humanoids and replacing their dieties. I'm not really sure why but I don't think she's quite living up to the promise of her concept just yet.
- N6. The Graverobber. A bit of an oddball for this line. Really, I think it's going to come down to him or the Frankenstein rip-off I call N2. And, at the moment, it's not him. Mostly, this is because while N2 might be a shameless grab at established characterization, this guy here is a rip-off of an already existing character. The Gravedigger is just Tafari with the serial numbers filed off and some interesting corpse exploitation thrown on and, really, I can do better.
- P5. Shadow. I love Shadow. She's just such a neat card. That is all.
- P2. Stalker. Of all the Mimic Psykes, I think the Masked Madman is the best. Good gimmick and the mimicry is both central to his character and well under player control. P1 might be a little more effective but P2 is, I think, the better designed. And, well, I guess you know where my priorities lie.
- P1. Mind-taker. If I had to pick one Mimic to play, this would be the one. And that's because I like to win. The Mind-taker, the Dream Walker, the Thought-Killer, whatever I wind up calling him, P1 has the potential to be a really solid card that can make a strong impact on a game. He'll play like a Popo and have very uncertain results but, when the rolls are going your way, he can make a big splash.
- P3. Doppleganger. Having troubles with this one. Like all overly defensive characters, he's just a headache waiting to happen. Except I really can't wait and need to wrestle him into his box. Of all the Mimics, I think he's the worst. But, really, I'm pleased with the Mimics as a whole, so I think he'll be alright. Just wish I could think of a better 4th skill but that's not an unusual hurdle for me.
- P4. Slasher. Honestly, he wins a spot in the line almost by default. P6 is so bad that he'd have to be utter dreck before I tossed him out first. But while he's not utterly wretched, he's not far off. Just not working as well as I'd like, being a mishmash of powerful disruption and powerful attacks that makes for an unholy combination and a bar that's a mess.
- P6. Nightmare. I don't know what it is about debuff/debilitate characters. Maybe I used up all my good ideas in previous sets but I just have not been able to make one this expansion that's worth a hill of beans. This guy's no different. I don't think he adds much to the game, let alone this group, and his bar is currently a mess. Still time to pull him out of the tailspin but he's currently in freefall.
- G6. The Moll. This little darling is vicious. Maybe a little too much but wonderfully so. I set out to make her the hardest hitting card in the line - and, here, that's saying something - and I think I've succeeded. She's morphed from a flex-range character in to a far-ranged specialist but I think it's a change for the better.
- G1. Scareface. The prototypical Gangster has had problems, true. He still has some issues with damage ratios and energy curves. And there are some built-in problems here that I'd rather not have to deal with. But this is a killer card. Not just because he can slice through his opponents but because he fulfills his purpose so well - he was supposed to be the platonic flex-ranged scrapper. A card that hits hard, hits well, and hits often from anywhere on the field. A frenzied fighter who longs to be in the middle of the fray. A power card that can throw down with the best, not one of these namby pamby cards with intricate mechanics or complicated play - just a card you play when you want to deal more damage than your opponent. He lives up to that, I think, and he lives up to it well.
- G4. The Killer. This card has been great since the revision. So good that I've almost been afraid to touch it in case I mess something up. I think Sully's not quite there and could use a bit of a tweak or three to make him run like a well-oiled machine but he's not that far off. More to the point, he's an interesting card with some nice twists and a deadly one besides. This card is supposed to be the Gangster's Hit Man, the character who does the dirty jobs. A scary, silent man lurking in the shadows with a bullet with your name on it. And while I might not have perfectly captured that, I think I've come pretty close and I can live with the results.
- G3. The Thief. Okay, so, as the comments have been saying, Pick Pocket is over-powered are, by and large, right. I'm working on it but put aside the lack of mechanical perfection and step aside and look at what I can see: a killer concept that can make for a killer card. This guy is excellent because he does exactly what a Gangster should do: he doesn't care about range, he doesn't care about resistance, and he has a lot of other ways of getting rid of other weaknesses, as well. Dude is just going to hit the field and mix it up, biting and clawing his way to victory. Oh, and he'll eat up single-ranged characters and spit them out at their owners feet and ask if they've got seconds.
- G2. The Goon. I'm a bit close to the latest revision here but I think Ox is working better. At least, better than the overpowered mess that was his earlier version - I'm still convinced I could have made that work and that Bapho deserves to see play but I also think that his latest version cleaves much closer to the vision of the Gangsters as a whole. Ox was always supposed to be the anti-Gangster, the card in their group that stood for all that they didn't, the built-in counter to the rest of his teammates and, I think, the idea of a flex-range character who goes about it in a completely novel way is a powerful way to get that done. He, I think, makes the cut if only for the diversity he brings to the line.
- G7. The Vamp. I've always been high on this character but, really, 's just a problematic idea. So much disruption on one bar is just hard to handle and I've never been able to figure out a way of dealing with it that keeps the theme I was trying to get. I could strip a lot of it out but, then, she just wouldn't be Vamp. I think the biggest problem here, though, is that she just doesn't feel like a Gangster card. She's definitely an oddball to the rest of the group. If you scrubbed all the details off and just laid out all the flavorless bars side to side, I think I'd guess that this card was something else and that's a problem.
- G5. The Snitch. Just doesn't work for me. I can't really put my finger on the why but he's never really come together. Always has felt like an after-thought. I'm not sure why since he has a lot of solid mechanics and a good niche. But, maybe, he's never distinguished himself from the other Gangsters. He feels like another variation on a tested theme and when there are cards like G1 and G3 around he's redundant - he's not making the grade before they do. And when there are more interesting cards like G5 and G7 around, too, he's also getting shoved to the side. Interesting idea but I don't think I ever found a way to make it work.
- R6. Juke Box. The prototypical Rocker has grown on me immensely. He does everything that I want a Rocker to do. Deals decent enough damage, supports his teammates, and plays nice for a soft card that can't stand too much pressure. He needs a little something more but he's close. Real close.
- R1. Bopper. I'd rate the big guy higher if I wasn't so scared of his healing. As it is, he's a potential problem but I think he's within the bounds of fairness. And, if he's alright, then he's a solid card with some interesting bits. Can't really ask for much more.
- R5. Thrasher. Really nice card, all around. Good theme and, with the recent change to her Ballad is no longer playing against type quite as much. She's still an odd Rocker in that her next hit mechanic makes her switch adverse but, damn, this is a card that hums. She lacks a solid innate, though, and her cutting against the design grain makes me downrate her somewhat, though.
- R3. Slicer. I'm having problems balancing him so he's sliding to the bottom of the pack. He still deals a little bit too much damage but I'm having a hard time figuring out how to get him to deal less while still remaining a credible threat. But I like the concept and what he does so I think rather than ignoring the problem I'll have to deal with it.
- R4. Grungy. The recent change (see the latest patch if you missed it) has, I think, done the job as far as the Grungy one is concerned, and pulled him up just far enough to stave off the axe. It's not as if he's good yet but he doesn't have to be - he just has to be better than the Glam One. And with a solid bar and a solid theme, he is. Really, it's his Ballad that's kept him around this long - I love it and think it's one of the best around.
- R2. Glammer. In real trouble. Glammer has always been a problematic card with his stunning and stealing and crack-broken innate. I've tried juggling him around to fix it and I don't think I've been able to. And, at this point, his problems are more severe than R4's so I'm about ready to give up. What makes me regret this fact is his flavor - I like the character concept here a lot better than I like Grungy's, feel it adds more to the group, helping to bridge the gap between R1 and the rest. But flavor's one thing, but function is the rest. And this is one card with a serious dysfunction.