Following some time in the public test build, and after some more testing internally, we’re making a few balance changes to Fourth Horizon. Updates like this will not all be made public—the PTB has a somewhat limited shelf life and it will eventually be phased out as we near the release of the game. However, we wanted to support the free build a bit longer, so we’re pushing this one to the PDF and Tabletop Simulator mod. You can try it out for free right now! If you do, we would love to hear what you think of the game.
So what are the changes in this update? First we’re offering new optional deckbuilding rules that should both make it easier for new players to get involved in the game, and offer a new challenge to experienced players.
Additionally, we’re announcing thirteen total changes to the cards. Overall, they were made to improve game balance, which previously seemed to favor the Atekere. Plus, there were a few cards that were either confusing or simply didn’t get played, so those have received improvements or were reworked with new abilities.
Plus, we’re including a new completed illustration by Javier Bahamonde in the PTB. Check it all out below!
Say Hello to Draft Mode
While we view deckbuilding as a fun and engaging skill in Fourth Horizon, it can also be daunting when you first pick up the game. After all, there are dozens of unique cards, some of which have intricate effects or new keywords to learn. Alternatively, as with just about any card game, experienced players may find that over time as they master the game it can feel quite similar each time. Games eventually get “solved” if this is not addressed.
Our answer to both of these issues is draft mode.
Drafting is a different style of deckbuilding that takes place ahead of your games. When drafting your deck, you will have to make difficult choices from limited options, creating a space where new players don’t have to learn all the cards in the game to get started—only three at a time. As an experienced player, though, drafting will test your judgement and understanding of the game in a way that deckbuilding on your own doesn’t quite match.
Overall, these changes to the Atekere cards sought to make more diverse playstyles for the Atekeri, who previously relied a bit too much on their insanely powerful strategies with Mods.
Annabel didn’t really play into any strategy Atekere had, which is odd considering she’s the president of Atekyu. Now she works with both Swap and Mod strategies, which Atekere is known for using well. Plus, she makes an immediate impact on the game now with a Play ability.
Was: At the start of your turn view the top card of your deck and Play it or Discard it. If you Play the card, Exhaust this.
Now: Play: Swap a card in your hand with the top card of your deck. Repeat this Play ability whenever you play a Mod.
Override Implant was simply too easy to include in any deck, and swung the game in your favor too easily. It now it’s a bit better when not seizing the target by giving the opponent -2 points, and a bit worse when seizing the target (because you also are stricken with the -2 point value).
Negative Influence isn’t really a new mechanic, but it’s a new way to use Influence (points) that no other card has yet. We’ll be testing it a bunch, but I have high hopes for this, and expect to see it on mother Glitches in the future as the game expands.
Was: 1 Influence. Play: Exhaust and Seize the target, plus any Mods attached to it.
Now: -2 Influence. Play: Exhaust the target. If it was already Exhausted, Seize it and its Mods instead.
Cosmods were always intended to be able to get a bit out of control if left unanswered, but they were a bit too good at that, so we’re changing how they gain value over time. No longer do you gain Influence, but instead there is a base value and you gain 1/1 Freelancers over time, now whenever you Swap a card. This helps the Swap archetype a bit, and the new +1/+1 buff Cosmods gives the target helps that Ally survive damage.
Also, the art for Cosmods is in development and I can’t wait to share it. Cosmods is short for cosmetic modifications—basically body mods designed to make a person look more attractive or simply to suit their personal style more. It’s kind of like a really complicated jacket. Not everything in the world of Fourth Horizon is completely practical, after all. But, of course, when you are able to sculpt your body into what is (for you) the perfect form, that certainly commands the attention of people around you.
Hence the bands of mercs coming to help you.
Was: 1 Influence. Other Augmentations that target the attached Ally grant +2 Influence.
Now: 0 Influence. The attached Ally has +1/+1. Whenever you Swap a card, gain a 1/1 Freelancer.
Swapping cards is a bit easier to do with the aforementioned change to Annabel, and there’s now a more potent reward with the updated Cosmods. Being able to swap a card every turn was good before, but now it likely would be a bit too strong. Because of that we’re updating CorSec Examiner to be something that you have to build onto to Swap cards. This allows you to—potentially—Swap multiple times in a turn. However it also makes the effect require some investment now.
To compensate with the new conditionality of this effect, we’ve increased the card’s Influence by 1.
Was: 1/4. At the end of your turn, Swap a card in your hand with the top card of your deck.
Now: 2/4. After you attach a Mod to this Ally you may Swap a card in your hand with the top card of your deck.
- Fixer: Reduced Resolve (health) by 1.
- Technophile: Reduced Resolve (health) by 1.
Atekere: New Art
We’re also excited to show off a new illustration for Fourth Horizon—the Lightning Implant! This card has been a staple for the Atekere ever since it was first conceived, and our artist Javier has brought it to life.
You can find the newly illustrated card in both versions of the PTB.
The Browse keyword is being removed for now in favor of making more use out of Nihland’s signature resource: nivemhelite crystals.
Andre Lee Evans
Let’s talk about Browse. It was really powerful, and kind of confusing. Browse fulfilled the fantasy of taking your resources to go shopping and get something new fine, but all too often players were left confused by how to use it, or disappointed about what their opponent pulled from their deck. It created more unpleasant experiences than fun ones, so it’s being removed from the game for the time being. Cards, such as Andre Lee Evans, that used Browse have new effects centered around Crystals.
Andre becomes a central part of any crystal deck in this update—and could find a place in any deck seeking extra resources. If not Exhausted or removed from play quickly, he represents and additional eight to nine extra resources to spend. And three points to boot.
I expect to see a lot more of Andre moving forward.
Was: 3 Cost, 2/3. Play: Browse (1). As an extra option, whenever you Browse, you may choose to gain 1 Crystal instead for (0).
Now: 4 Cost, 3/4. At the start of your turn, if you have no Crystals, gain 1.
Back Alley Bargain
With Browse out of the picture, Back-Alley Bargain needed an update, but Nihland still needed a way to get cards from their deck. Now you can spend (3) to draw a new card. If you spent any crystals on Back-Alley Bargain, you get to pick any Ally from your deck instead! It’s a great way to get that specific card you need, even if you didn’t get it in your hand at the start of the game.
Was: 1 Cost. Play: Browse (2). The first Browse action with this costs (0) if you Spent a Crystal on it.
Now: 3 Cost. Play: Draw a card. If you Spent a Crystal on this, search your deck for an Ally and draw it instead.
This guy just wasn’t that helpful. A 1/4 Ally is decent, but its effect could easily backfire and help the opponent. Because of that, we’ve changed the effect a bit and—because we anticipate the new version will be slightly more useful—lowered the resilience a bit.
Was: 1/4. Play: The player with the fewest cards draws one. Destroyed: The player with the most cards discards one.
Now: 1/3. After a player draws a card, all other players draw a card.
Leshere Aristocrat was meant to be the standard Browse card. It still gets you resources, but (perhaps more true to its haughty name) now requires a premium price to be paid. Getting Crystals is easier now with the help of Andre’s aforementioned new ability, and the Aristocrat puts them to good use.
Was: Play: Browse (1).
Now: Play: If you spent two Crystals on this, draw a card.
- Knuckledusters: Improved Influence (point value) by 1.
Svaleg Arn: Changes
A few minor changes to reign in the power of mana and action-based decks.
The concept behind the Collection Drone worked, but it created a possibility for potentially infinite draws if you got them both out on the field. This new version retains the spirit of the card (helping you benefit more from spending mana to draw) but does so by getting you more cards—not retaining mana.
Was: Whenever you Spend Mana to draw a card, gain 1 Mana at the end of your turn.
Now: Whenever you Spend Mana to draw a card, draw two instead.
- Assembly Clerk: Increased cost to play by 1.
Share Your Decks With Us!
These changes should help the game’s balance and make it possible for new strategies to surface. Plus, draft mode unlocks an entirely new way to deckbuild. We’re excited to play with them some more, and hope you all enjoy as well!
If you’d like to chat more about Fourth Horizon, swing on over to our Discord server to chat with our community and share with us what awesome decks you’ve built in the public test build!
Also, don’t forget if you’ve played Fourth Horizon to leave us some feedback using this short form! It’s immensely helpful for us as we continue the game’s development. <3