Recently, I had the privilege of taking the lead in designing the newest set of cards for the Mega Man Trading Card Game. The set is called Classic Set 5, and it is based on the fifth game in the classic Mega Man video game series. I’m now posting some Design Journal articles that will discuss some of my process in creating these new cards for the game, and offer previews of some of the new cards. This is the third of those articles. In the first article I talked about building synergies among minions. In the second article I talked about expanding the “Marked” and “Trap” mechanics. Today we’ll look at one of the new character cards, and how I developed the character’s theme and mechanics.
As a kid, playing Mega Man 5 on the classic Nintendo Entertainment System, one boss and level stood out to me more than any other. The ability to reverse gravity in Gravity Man’s level was just such a novel idea at the time. I had never seen the like of it in any video game. Gravity Man wasn’t an especially difficult boss to beat, but the most challenging thing about fighting him was being ready so that when he reversed gravity in his boss room, you would have a shot at him lined up and you wouldn’t collide with him in midair. When creating the character card of Gravity Man and his associated tactics cards, I wanted to capture that theme of getting the drop on your opponent by way of a sudden reversal.
Gravity Man (Set Classic 5, #3) has a Cost of 3, a Power of 8, an Armor of 3 and a Speed of 2. He has the Robot Master keyword, and the “force” element. His special ability is what makes him interesting. At the start of the Action Phase, if you have the “1st” Token, you can give that token to your opponent and have Gravity Man perform an immediate basic attack at -1 Power. Giving the “1st” Token to your opponent may give them a slight advantage, as it might allow some of their units to go before some of yours during the rest of the round, but in exchange Gravity Man gets a free attack. The nice thing is, since the “1st” Token will revert back to you at the end of the round, you can do this every round, so long as you’re content to let your opponent go first in every Action Phase.
Gravity Man also has four tactics cards associated with him. Three of these let you give up the “1st” Token at the beginning of the Action Phase in exchange for some benefit. For example, Gravity Draw (Set Classic 5, #65) lets you give the “1st” Token to your opponent in order to draw 3 cards. The fourth tactics card also interacts with the “1st” Token, but in a slightly different way.
Overall, Gravity Man is a pretty well-rounded character. His primary advantage is his offensive capabilities, but his tactics cards provide a few other options for him as well. Moreover, while having the “1st” Token during the Action Phase is generally an advantage, Gravity Man’s ability can guarantee that you hold the “1st” Token during the Production and Deployment Phases, and at the end of any round. This creates some interesting synergies with older cards, such as with Flash Man (Set Classic 2, #5) or Conveyor Belt (Set Classic 2, #81).
I hope you enjoyed this preview. I’ll be posting a fourth and final preview next week. I’d like to make this last preview a reader request. Let me know what specific character, minion, card type, or concept you would like to see previewed.