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Tyranny of Goblins Order Cards
Design & Development
By Chris Dupuis

D ungeon Command: Tyranny of Goblins is the third faction pack for the Dungeon Command miniatures skirmish game. Don’t know about Dungeon Command? It’s all explained here.

Last week we discussed the Creature Cards. Today, we’re going to focus on the Order Cards and the leaders!

Creating an Order Card Set

As I pointed out last week, we want a faction pack to feel balanced right out of the box, but also to contribute to players’ ability to create their own warbands. As we usually do, we created a structure for the Order Card deck, designed more cards than we needed to fill all the available slots, and then playtested, playtested, playtested.

As we playtested, some cards got modified, some got invented at the playtest table and added to the mix, and some got summarily tossed. In the end, we wound up with a faction pack that feels balanced yet unique, and also gives players who have the other faction packs some tools to use in creating fun warbands.

Playing to Your Ability

When we created this set, we knew Dexterity was going to be one of the core abilities. That would feed well into a drow/goblin warband, but we wanted to make sure we gave players that had the Heart of Cormyr set some tools for warband building, as well. Luckily, Constitution was an ability on four of the creatures in the Cormyr pack, so even though the Hobgoblin Soldiers, Feral Troll, and Horned Devil didn’t have the “Adventurer” keyword, they could blend into a warband alongside the Dragon Knight, Dwarf Cleric, and Dwarven Defenders.

Nimble Strike and Acrobatics are two examples of Dexterity cards in the new set. Acrobatics grants the Scuttle ability, which allows a creature to skirt around the battlefield and get into a better position. Nimble Strike represents the kind of the added mobility that we want Dexterity creatures to have. These cards provide more options to keep opponents on their toes when building your Dexterity-based Order Decks.

We want Constitution creatures to be able to soak up damage. Mortal Wound is an immediate card that you use when the creature is about to take lethal damage. He ignores that damage for now, but at the end of your next turn he succumbs to his wounds (unless of course you are able to remove the card somehow). Reckless Attack shows another way that Constitution creatures can use their HP—with it, they can sacrifice a bit of health to make a bigger impact with their attack.

Charisma creatures are supposed to be leaders, so a lot of their cards influence other creatures on the battlefield. Goblin War Cry allows them to boost their goblinoid allies’ attacks for that turn. Death Sentence allows them to command an allied creature as a minor action to make a melee attack, even if it has already attacked this turn.

Intelligence cards were an issue later in the design. We had only one creature with the INT ability, and a bunch of really cool Intelligence cards that we wanted to give him. Unlike previous faction packs, the Intelligence cards weren’t usable by more than one creature in the set (as was the case in Heart of Cormyr), and they didn’t have strong affinity powers that let them be accessed by other creatures in the set (as in Sting of Lolth). We needed to come up with a way to use those Order Cards so they wouldn’t be dead cards in your hand if you hadn’t activated the Hobgoblin Sorcerer. To solve this challenge, we created Arcane Scroll.

Arcane Scroll allows a creature to cast one INT spell, even if it doesn’t have the Intelligence ability. This not only helps Tyranny of Goblins work more cohesively, it gives all players greater options when creating Intelligence-based warbands.

Using the Graveyard

Sometimes, you just need more goblins. That’s where the Reinforcements Order Card comes in.

You can use Reinforcements to discard a Creature card and shuffle all the Creature cards in your graveyard back into your deck. It’s a gamble, but if you are playing a warband with a bunch of smaller creatures, or if your key creature just died, it can be the difference between success and defeat!

Two Leaders

Your role in Dungeon Command is to play the Leader of the warband. We’re excited that the Leaders in Tyranny of Goblins can work with any warband.

Snig: No one is really sure whether Snig is the goblin or the axe.

Snig is the first commander with a starting Leadership of 6, but he’s also the most versatile commander we’ve released so far. As Snig, you can deploy creatures at the start of your turn, allowing you to take full advantage of all the Leadership points you gained when your creatures died during your opponent’s turn.

Tarkon Draal: A king without a throne.

Tarkon is a commander that will push his troops across the battlefield and punish the weaklings on your opponent’s team. Every time an enemy creature decides to cower, it costs one extra Morale.

Thanks for taking a look behind the curtain at the design and development of the Tyranny of Goblins faction pack. While you’re here, take a look at the gallery of miniatures. I’ll be back in a few weeks to start talking about the upcoming Curse of Undeath faction pack!

About the Author

Chris Dupuis is a traveling bard who recently found himself in the Pacific Northwest with his wife and 2 cats. When he’s not spinning tales about the majestic mountains, he’s rolling dice as a Tabletop Game Designer for Wizards of the Coast. His recent credits include Heroscape, Risk Legacy, Dungeon Command, and the Dungeon! board game. You can follow him on Twitter, where he’s @gameguruchris.

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