Legacy Lore 006: Throw a Grenade

Posted July 5th, 2023 by Joe Pangrazio

Throw a Grenade was, in my humble opinion, a very fun addition to the game. It was incredibly thematic with the sets it was introduced in (Halo and Gears of War) and just added a fun different take on standard powers like Energy Explosion or Pulse Wave. But before we go too far, let's take a look at how Grenades actually worked.

Throw a Grenade

Give the character a power action, decrease the number of grenades in your grenade pool by 1 (if greater than 0), and choose a type of grenade listed on the character’s character card.

Choose a target square within 5 squares and line of fire and for this attack, this character can use [Improved Targeting]: Characters. Make a ranged combat attack targeting all characters occupying or adjacent to the target square. Deal damage to each character hit based only on the type of grenade chosen.

So, just to go back over in modern verbiage, throwing a grenade is a POWER. You have to decrease the number in your grenade pool (more on that in a moment) and choose a type of grenade. Then you choose a square within 5 squares and line of fire, using IT: Characters. Then you would target all characters occupying or adjacent to the chosen square and deal damage based on the type of grenade chosen.

Let's talk about the Grenade Pool. So, characters with the Grenade trait all had a number on their card that added to the Grenade Pool. On the Gears of War characters, this was actually right below their keywords and would read “Grenade Pool: +2” for example. Even if you play Halo and Gears of War characters together, the Grenade Pool still increases based on all the characters played. So if your pool is 10 at the beginning of the game, that means that the Throw a Grenade trait can only be used 10 times during the course of the game by your team. Even if only one character uses all 10 grenades.

Then we have Grenade types. All characters don't have access to all grenades. To again go back to Gears of War, can you tell I loved that set, the Grenade Types a character could use would be listed to the Grenade Pool.

Flashbang (No damage): The target square for this grenade can be within 8 squares. Place an action token on all hit characters that have zero action tokens.

Frag (2 damage): A hit character in the target square is dealt 1 additional damage. Each other hit character is knocked back from the target square.

Ink (1 penetrating damage): Place a hindering terrain marker in the target square. At the beginning of your next turn, deal 1 additional penetrating damage to each character occupying the target or adjacent squares, then remove the marker.

Plasma (No damage): Mark a hit character in the target square. At the beginning of your next turn, deal 2 damage to the character marked in this way and 1 damage to all adjacent characters that are friendly to that character, then remove the marker.

Smoke (1 damage): Place a hindering terrain marker in the target square and up to two adjacent squares. Remove them at the beginning of your next turn. Characters occupying squares with these markers can’t make ranged attacks.

Thermite (1 damage): Destroy up to 3 squares of blocking terrain or walls adjacent to the target square.

A lot of fun, cool effects in that list. It's also important to remember that not all grenades were available to both properties. So, Ink was exclusive to Gears of War and Plasma was exclusive to Halo. As time went on, we did get to see a few grenades find their way into other sets. The Assassin's Creed micro-sets had Throw a Grenade and the Utility Belt had a Flash Grenade. The Punisher Van had some grenades as well, but they were special versions of Energy Explosion instead of Throw a Grenade.

All in all, I can understand why grenades didn't quite fit into the superhero combat system. Even though there are numerous references and uses of grenades in comics, including Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Punisher, and others; the whole “explosives with shrapnel” is a bit of a graphic concept for a family friendly game.

The whole notion of targeting a square instead of a character is also something that is better left in history and/or just not used that often. It can create complications that are unintuitive and just not really worth the effort.

But if we ever got some video game sets again, you better believe I'd hope for a return of grenades.

Thanks for reading. If you have an older effect that you're curious about feel free to write into joenexus36@gmail.com and maybe we'll cover it in a future Legacy Lore.


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