Monday, April 9, 2012

Azrael - The Angel Of Death

There are 7 archangel cards in Battle For Souls. Right now the plan is to have a player start with a single angel or devil card chosen at random. From there, players can earn another angel card by guiding a soul to sainthood.

This is the preliminary prototype card for Azrael, the angel of death (click to enlarge). Each angel card is worth 3 victory points and can add 1 holy point each turn to any soul that shares the same heavenly virtue color - in this case yellow as shown in the +1 circle in the top left of the card.

In addition, each angel has some special power they bring to the table. In some cases, the power is limited to certain amount of uses per game, as is the case with Azrael. If a card has limited uses a marker track is provided on the card to ensure no confusion about how many times a power has been used.

Angel and devil cards offer decent advantages, but where they can tip the balance of power too far, we limit them. I'm sure the power and number of uses for each will change as we playtest in order to get the balance just right.

In Azrael's case, the angel can reap a soul in play without a reap card. This will allow the player to score victory points by reaping souls that are neutral to holy, or Azrael can deny the devil a soul that he has been working on bringing to hell.

This is a pretty powerful card that is essentially worth 9 points. But even more, those who play the devil will hate this card as it will force them to spread unholy points evenly across souls as spending too many unholy points on one soul will just be lost to Azrael. If we find this is too powerful, we can reduce the purgatory power to only souls with a single unholy point, reduce the total number of uses, or remove the purgatory power all together.


  1. Azrael seems overpowered, and could make it difficult to balance the angels considering you start with a random one.

    My concern is sending Unholy souls to purgatory, which really hampers any plan the devil is enacting. At the very least, I would remove that line. In some cases, it will be possible to send a soul to purgatory once the holy point is added.

    One flavor alternative is:

    "Azrael can reap a soul X times a game. Every time a soul is reaped, place a victory-point card on Azrael."

    1. In that case, you would probably want Azrael to independently be worth zero victory points. It's hard to navigate the balancing because I'm not sure how often souls get reaped in a typical game.

      Did you get the chance to playtest?

  2. Jason,

    I have the same concern about Azrael. I am getting the first deck made at Gamecrafter right now and hope to start playtesting by next week. We will need to playtest a great deal, being sure to begin the game with each of the angels and devils in the player's hands.

    What do you think of allowing Azrael to send only send souls with a single unholy point to purgatory?

    1. I think making that change to Azrael would slightly lower her power level, but I think the increased card complexity makes it a negligible change (i.e. One not worth making).

      My earlier suggestion was from some basic wikipedia research that made it seem like Azrael is more concerned that souls go somewhere at all than where they specifically arrive.

      I do think she can work with the current ability, but it may need to be tweaked throughout playtesting. One test of power level is to record what angels/devils playtesters take if you give them the choice. (In addition to random distribution, as intended)

  3. I like your idea here too, but are you saying that the victory point is only added only for souls that Azrael reaps with his special ability, or is the victory point gained every time heaven gains any soul reaped?

    1. I was actually thinking Azarael could get a victory point every time any soul is reaped, to connect flavorfully with his "real-world" applications.

      It would also provide incentive to reap souls destined for hell using Azarael's special ability. Some players might not realize there are times you would want to do so. (e.g. About to get four or eight unholy points)

      I think your latter suggestion would work more than the former, which seems too weak. It's hard to tell, though, because everything can be tweaked to compensate, including how many times Azarael can reap a soul.

  4. I really like your ideas, can't wait to see how it all plays! That will be what dictates how we go with each card.


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