Aftermath Preview: Action Cards
Play Your Hand Wisely!
Hello providers! Leading up to the release of Aftermath, we will be publishing a series of articles that show off some of the game world and how it plays. Today we will be talking about action cards that are the core mechanic central to the game. We will also touch on player turns since the action cards are such a big part of how players conduct their turns.
The Action Deck
In previous Adventure Book games, players used dice to control their turns and the actions they could perform. For Aftermath, we wanted to change things up a bit while still providing an experience that is similar. Now we can offer more player control, while also offering new dynamics associated with cards. Players will be able to share a little better, plan a little better, and mitigate luck a little more effectively.
The aesthetic of the action deck is intended to feel like you are playing with an old well-worn deck of traditional playing cards left behind by the humans. However, looks can be deceiving as these cards, upon closer inspection, have a very thematic critter motif.
Taking a Turn
When playing Aftermath, the first thing you do on your turn is draw cards until you have five cards in your hand. You’re not allowed to have more than five unless an effect or ability permits it.
The action deck has an assortment of card types. The cards that are directly linked to your character’s actions are color and symbol coded.
Red cards represent strength and martial prowess. Red cards are used to initiate melee attacks, and red skill tests are thematically linked to activities where strength or brute force are needed.
Green cards represent agility and precision. Green cards are used to initiate ranged attacks, and green skill tests are thematically linked to speed, dexterity, and activities that require agility.
Blue cards represent resistance and fortitude. Blue cards are used to initiate resistance, and blue skill tests remove negative effects from your character and are thematically linked to defense, toughness, and endurance.
Yellow cards represent instincts, perception, and communication. Yellow cards are used to initiate scavenge skill tests or to communicate with strangers in the hopes of convincing them to join your colony. Yellow skill tests are thematically linked to activities where diplomacy or intuition are forefront.
White cards represent heroism and talent. White cards are used to initiate any color skill tests or to power up your special abilities. These cards are thematically linked to adaptability, perseverance, and spirit.
Influence cards represent a character’s influence on the whole group. These cards are not in play until the Adventure Book indicates so. This usually happens when you accomplish an important task. Influence cards act like normal action cards of the same color and are usable by any character, just like any other action card.
In addition to the action cards, there are also black threat cards. These represent the dangers threatening your heroes as you adventure in the world of Aftermath. When you draw a threat card, you will usually place it on the threat track located on the sideboard at the edge of the adventure book. If there are enemies in play, the numbers on these cards will dictate the actions for those enemies when they take their turn. If there are no enemies in play, these cards will force the passage of time, or even trigger events.
It’s a dangerous world and survival isn’t guaranteed. Some small critters don’t return from missions and are never seen again. The mice refer to this as the “Calamity catching up with them.” When a player draws the Calamity card you might suffer the event listed for the area you’re adventuring in, based on how long you’ve been away from the colony. This is usually bad.
The way the cards work in the game is pretty easy. Almost everything you do where the outcome is uncertain will require some form of skill test. For instance, attacking is a skill test, and so is defending, or scavenging, or communicating with strangers.
All skill tests have a type and a difficulty number associated with it. In order to pass a skill test, you must initiate one by playing a card from your hand that matches the type of skill test you’re attempting. You can play additional cards to the test that match the color or number of the first card, then total up the value of all the cards played to that test. Add any bonuses for items, abilities or character attributes. Finally, you will roll the white die and adjust your total by the number rolled. If your total equals or exceeds the difficulty number of the test, you succeed.
Some skill tests are opposed. This normally happens when an adversary is in play and is actively trying to oppose your skill test, such as in combat. The defense of the enemy is your difficulty number for that test. Opposed skill tests follow the exact same procedure except you will also roll the black die and adjust the skill test’s difficulty accordingly.
On your turn, you can share one or more of your cards with fellow players to help them succeed at the tests they might be taking on their turns, or to help them defend against attacks.
Any of your action cards can be discarded to move. The number of spaces is equal to the number value on the card. Some spaces on the map will be divided by a colored line. This represents terrain that might slow you down. In order to cross these lines when moving, you must use a card with the matching color, or pay 3 movement points to cross.
Now you know how the action cards work. With a little practice, you’ll be ready to provide for your colony and survive the Aftermath!
Aftermath is expected to hit store shelves early October. Which means there is still time to pre-order your copy! Pre-orders in the 48 contiguous states qualify for free shipping.