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Hour of Need Designer Diary #3

Villains in the Shadows

Welcome back for another entry of our Hour of Need designer diary! Today let’s take a look at the thing that every hero needs: villains.

The villain decks in Hour of Need present the main opposition for the heroes, as well as the overall win condition in the form of a central enemy to defeat. The main components of the villain deck are the double-sided villain card, lackey cards, peril cards, and the rest of the villain deck that presents new challenges each round of the game. We’ll start with the villain card.

Each villain card has 2 sides: a Scheming side and a Showdown side. The villain card begins the game on its Scheming side with 1 hidden token per player placed on it. While heroes share a scheme panel with a villain’s figure, they may attempt to solve the villain card in order to flip it to its Showdown side, initiating a climactic battle. But before heroes can reveal the villain, the must remove each hidden token from the villain card—and this can only be done by progressing the issue, which we’ll discuss on the next designer diary.

While the villain hides and schemes, the heroes will have to contend with the cards within the villain’s unique deck. Each round of the game begins with the villain turn, in which each player draws and resolves 1 villain card. Each villain card usually consists of 1 or more villain icons, which will place minions in scheme panels, trigger special events, damage heroes, or cause the villain to resolve the scheme effect of their current scheme panel. However, sometimes a player might draw a lackey or peril card.

Lackeys are the villain’s loyal agents, and perils represent unique threats such as bombs, illusions, or other environmental hazards. Both of these cards will be placed in the threat area of the hero that drew them, and then the corresponding miniature (in the case of a lackey) or peril token is placed on the corresponding place on the map. These 2 elements divert attention to the tactical map while heroes would normally be focused on investigating the villain’s schemes in the scheme panels.

Finally, most cards in the villain deck will contain Showdown effects. These are dangerous and unpredictable effects that will trigger each time a hero attacks the boss during the showdown. So while heroes may be able to learn the standard tactics of each villain, there’s an unpredictable nature to rushing in to attack the villain, which creates a thematic dynamic to the final climactic battle between these heroes and villains.

Next time, we’ll take a look at the issue deck, which represents the heroes’ main loss condition in the game! - Brady Sadler

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