Legacy Lore 004: Battlefield Conditions
Ah, Battlefield Conditions. One of the cooler additions to the game that quickly got so powerful that the rules had to be changed to reign them in. And the “silver bullet” for Battlefield Conditions became so common place that it took a lot of the fun out of playing them. But we must start at the beginning before we get to the end.
So, let's start with what Battlefield Conditions (BFCs) are, for the newer players:
Battlefield conditions change the environment of the battlefield. When assembling your force, you can include a single battlefield condition. A battlefield condition has no point value and does not count toward the point total of a force. During Step 2 of Preparing For Battle, after starting areas have been determined, all players reveal their battlefield condition card simultaneously.
A battlefield condition alters the rules of the game as explained in its card text. Battlefield conditions affect only characters on the map. If multiple copies of a battlefield condition that causes a die (or dice) roll to occur are in play, roll the die (or dice) for each copy in play. If a player’s force is defeated, his or her battlefield condition remains in effect until the end of the game.
And here's an example of what a BFC looks like:
BFCs are “Unique by Name” and when new ones were printed with the same name, they completely replaced the older version. You could create a list of BFCs equal to the number of rounds in a tournament (three, in your average weekly tournament) but only use one per tournament round. You did not have to use any BFC in a tournament round, if you did not want to but you would have to use a “dummy” card to “reveal”. But this is where the silver bullet came in.
Once themed teams were created, they were given a benefit that directly countered BFCs. A themed team could choose a BFC that was going to be used for that game and cancel it, which simply meant it was removed from the game. The small twist was that you could choose your own BFC, if you wanted to for some reason. However, the official rule was that you could only cancel a single BFC per tournament via the Themed Team benefit. Which is why many people brought the “Ordinary Day” BFC which allowed a player to do the same thing.
After a BFC is used in a tournament, it cannot be used for subsequent tournament rounds. For larger tournaments, you were also required to provide a list of possible BFCs available you could use, along with notations of which ones you had previously used. And if an Event Dial was allowed to be played, BFCs could not be played.
Battlefield conditions could have any number of massive effects on the game and became just another element that players felt they needed to be competitive. For BFCs, at least, you could print and play them so you were not excluded by being unable to travel or open a huge amount of product. But as special powers, traits, and more special objects came into the game, BFCs just became more problematic. More moving parts means more confusion and more room for exploitation.
And with two ways to simply remove them from play, themed teams and Ordinary Day, it became harder to even play them at your local weekly venue. And so they rotated into Golden Age where they were left to become incompatible with the Modern game like so many other effects.
We have seen different variations on the BFC model creep back in, however. Orange rules text was an attempt almost a decade ago. Location Bonuses and Special Terrain changed the way the map played, with Special Terrain actually adding a physical element. Terrain markers can also have a huge impact on the map and now we're seeing the debut of Effect Terrain Markers. As we're going to see so often in this article series, everything old is new again.
Because while we may not like the specific iteration of an idea or feel it becomes too powerful, we're all looking for cool new ways to play with our toys.
Thanks for reading. If you have an older effect that you're curious about feel free to write into email@example.com and maybe we'll cover it in a future Legacy Lore.