So, with “The Best Defense” on the table, I wanted to really get into combinations and such for the powers I’ve put forward. My combat mechanics thus far are based primarily on comparing numbers with no dice involved. As a player, you’re trying to manipulate the circumstances of your character when they engage in combat.

“Pick your battles” will be a huge part of my game’s strategy, because you don’t really have the dice to fall back on — there will be some circumstances in which you simply can’t win. If your opponent is playing a tactic that is superior to yours, you’ll have to play stronger cards and a largely defensive game while you search for an opportunity.

As I’ve mentioned before, “Evade” and “Absorb” are intended for use in a pretty straightforward way. In fact, all of the defensive tactics are intended to have a straightforward use, but these two have the most obviously applications. With Evade, you put your best defense forward and try to reduce the damage you sustain.

With a defense based on Absorb, you eschew the hope that you’ll be able to avoid attacks, and assume that you’ll take some hits. It’s a matter of pragmatism. You reduce the damage you take from being hit, lessening the impact of each attack that lands.

Now the other three defensive tactics are a bit more complex. Blocking an attack allows you to take the damage from an attack that hits an ally. Note that there are two conditions for this power to work: first, you have to have an ally, so it’s no good if you’re by yourself, and second, they have to be hit by the attack.

Bear in mind that they still suffer any secondary effects of the attack — so blocking is more about keeping a particular ally alive, more than it is about completely protecting them from harm. Blocking is hands-down the best power suited for cooperation.

Counter is the power you pick if you want to deal the most damage. If you take a hit, you can dish out damage as though you missed. The major drawbacks are naturally, A) you have to be hit by an attack, and B) your damage triggers anything that might occur should you miss with an attack. This will be explored in greater depth later on.

Finally, Negate is the ultimate defensive power, though it comes with a pretty hefty price tag. First, you must be hit by the attack you’re going to Negate, and then you take additional damage, as though you were hit by the attack twice, in order to ignore the secondary effects of the attack. Still worried about turning to stone?

When it comes to these latter two powers, Counter and Negate, both have effects that are triggered based upon being hit. The Block tactic synergizes really well with both of these powers, enabling an ally to take the damage while you Counter or Negate the attack — Negate actually has two possible interpretations here.

The extra damage from Negate isn’t specified as coming from the attack or the defense itself, which allows the players to choose whether a blocker takes some or all of the damage (they can split the hit between them, if they choose). I deliberated on whether I should rule one way or the other, and decided both were workable.