Welcome back to the Guardian! Curt Crane here to give you a sneak peek on a new ally to help guide you through the world of Tala …
… but before we do that, let’s look back to one of the big changes we made to the starting cards – namely, the Thunderstone shards.
Thunderstone Shards can have a dramatic impact on the early game. Basically, they encourage you to set foot in the dungeon before your deck has been “optimized,” or to attack low-level monsters you might otherwise avoid.
XP is one thing that sets Thunderstone apart from some other games in the field, and part of our goal was to shine a bigger spotlight on it in this set. As a result of Thunderstone shards, you will find that XP is more available in the game. To match this, we wanted to give you a few new options that interact with your XP pool.
One of these is your new best friend, your familiar.
Many Talans are already linked with familiars when you arrive. (Keep an eye out for them on the hero art!) Familiars don’t simply attach themselves to new adventurers automatically, however. First, you have to earn their respect.
Familiars start the game in a face-down pile, placed to the side of the dungeon at the game’s start.
After defeating your first monster, you may randomly choose a familiar from the stack to join you on your quest. Remember–familiars choose you, not the other way around! You never know which one you’ll end up with. (Mind you, there are variants available for those not willing to brave a random draw.) Each player can only partner with one familiar, so once you’ve drawn your familiar, you can’t get another one.
A New Experience
Your familiar stays face up in front of you until you decide to use its power. You don’t automatically discard it at the end of your turn. See the 0 XP, 3 XP, and 6 XP? You don’t have to spend this XP to use your familiar’s abilities either. You just have to possess it. So, if you had 3 XP on you, you could use the Dire Wolf to gain Physical Attack +1. If you had 6 XP, you could use it to switch the position of any two monsters. In either case, you KEEP the experience.
Every familiar comes with three abilities: a 0 XP village ability, as well as a 3 XP and 6 XP dungeon ability. Even if you don’t want to focus on the dungeon right away, getting one kill with some starting regulars and picking up a familiar will help you manage the village more effectively.
At the end of a turn in which you use a familiar’s ability, it goes to the discard pile and (eventually) get shuffled back into your deck. Once a familiar appears in your hand, you can automatically put it back in play at the start of your turn, where it will stay until you call on it once more.
You’ll note that the familiar’s abilities are less powerful than many village cards. They’re intended to be a minor boon; to help you through a battle where you fall a bit short, or to give your starting village turns a boost. They can be a little bit much to keep up with! In fact, we recommend new players avoid using familiars for their first few games until you have the rest of the game down.
For experienced players though, you might find that familiars give you that little edge you need at just the right time.
Plus, you just can’t help but become attached to the little guys. Once they choose you, they just keep coming back.
Check back on Friday for a peek at more familiars!