Recently, I was reading through some reviews on boardgame geeks about the overall balance of the various campaigns (after my hero players quit a Labyrinth of Ruin campaign after losing Ruinous Whispers, Gathering Foretold and Fury of the Storm) and there I came upon some comments on the "What's yours is mine" quest from Lair of the Wyrm, particularly, the notion of certain markers (person or quest markers) being treated as "figures" (The shadow run campaign usually uses hero figures instead).
My personal understanding was that figures should be understood as in "familiars treated as figures", thus, treated just like a hero with the exception of not drawing overlord cards or of course not counting towards any of those hero marker specific things.
However, in the thread below, there was a quote from an official fantasy flight response about this which was quite different:
Justin Kemppainen wrote:He's treated as a figure (which means he blocks movement and line of sight), but he doesn't have an affiliation, so to speak. This means that anything that specifically targets heros or monsters has no effect on him (Overlord cards, hero abilities, etc), but he is able to be affected by hero and monster attacks.
So, erh, really?
If something is just a figure and not a hero figure, you cannot use any monster actions, overlord cards or anything?
Despite the fact that the only time the rules talk about "figures", it is in the context of familiars treated as figures with the opposite ruling concerning what affects them?
If so, then what is the reasoning for this?
I can understand the ruling in many quests that certain figures are immune to conditions and succeed in all attribute tests (simply because it would otherwise make certain cards too powerful in those situations), but how is anyone supposed to come to this conclusion in absence of a definite statement in the rules?
I admit, I think it is very weird both thematically AND from a game balance point of view.
So, what is the experience you have with this in play?
How many of you play by this ruling (or know of it) and how has it played out for you on the gaming table?
And, on a more official note:
The most recent FAQ and Errata version explicitly states that allies, familiars and anything treated as a hero figure cannot be targeted by plot cards.
Again, I can understand that for many plot cards that reference hero markers, stand up actions and similar.
However, what is the sense in not being allowed to use cards like "Bolt from the Blue" from Merrick Farrows deck (which allows you to make an attack with fixed dices, surge abilities, etc. on your turn on a hero) on an ally familiar or hero figure?
Also, why is this distinction made between plot cards and overlord cards?
I do not have many plot decks where this WOULD apply, granted (usually, the effects to buff up the monsters seem the best), but again, why make this rather arbitrary decision?
To sum it up, I am a bit upset that this ruling, like quite some other seem to be so "counterintuitive" and at odds with the rest of the official rules.
I cannot help but get the impression that the fantasy flight staff does not really think their answers through all that much and it is a bit upsetting.
I like the game, but I really dread that it will turn into a "meta game rule festival" that more and more loses touch with what it actually is supposed to model.
I always thought that any game rule should be as "common sense-like" as possible, if only to make it easier for new players to understand them, so really, please think of your long term prospects when making such rules!
Even if it may make a more balanced game on the "pro level", if I may use that term, a game needs fresh players if it wants to thrive and I can definitely say that it is exactly rules like that which do turn away players at the introduction stage (well, that and too much of a "hard-core" player mentality from those they game with... ^^ ; )