Stranger Synergisms

More Goodies for Strange Synergy

by Joe Taylor

The super-powers combat game Strange Synergy offers a staggering number of power combinations with its 100 Power Cards. Despite the variety it offers, most people who play the game quickly think of new powers, new teams, or new variant rules that would make the game even cooler. Almost everyone immediately thinks of other game maps they already have that Strange Synergy could be played on. The game even thoughtfully comes with markers for two extra teams that are left undefined.

Below you will find new variant rules, new team powers, and new Power Cards. Incorporating these into your Strange Synergy games will require some ingenuity, since additional figures, team cards, and power cards are not provided. Index cards can easily serve as Warrior Cards, new Gadgets can be hand-drawn and cut out (or existing unused Gadgets can serve as substitutes), and almost anything of the appropriate size can serve as a warrior's figure. New powers can also be written on index cards, but these will be obviously different than the Power Cards that come with the game; in fact, it would be nearly impossible for homemade efforts to duplicate existing Power Cards well enough that they could be shuffled together and dealt out without anyone knowing who got some of the new powers. A simple way around this is to go ahead and print the new powers on index cards (or whatever you like) and deal one out to each player, then deal out only eight Power Cards from the original set. Some of the new powers also require markers that do not exist in the original game -- notably "Flying," "Fallen," and "Shrunk" markers -- which can easily be produced by hand.

New Teams

Strange Synergy comes with flags, bases, figures, and Warrior Cards for four different team colors (red, green, blue, and yellow). It also comes with a base and flag for hypothetical orange and purple teams. Below are optional team powers for the four existing teams, and two different team powers for the orange and purple teams. In games that use more than one set of colors (with two green teams, two red teams, and so on), this allows teams with the same color to have different powers.

Map Hazards

Fans of Frag may want to add hazards to the map. Whenever a warrior first moves into a square containing a hazard, roll one die. On a 5+, the warrior managed to avoid it, otherwise, he suffers the effects of that hazard.

When incorporating the new powers described below, it is possible to have more than one hazard occupying the same square. The hazards interact in the following ways:

Walls

Some players will want to use or create other maps to fight on. For maps that replicate buildings and similar structures, you may wish to include rules for breaching walls. Unlike obstacles which occupy map squares, walls run along the line between squares. A warrior on one side of a wall is unaffected by powers unleashed on the opposite side -- if a wall would block the line of sight between two warriors, those warriors cannot use powers on one another. Only Hard or Energy attacks can breach a wall. Mental attacks don't harm inanimate things and Sharp attacks merely poke holes through them. For Strikes that require a roll to hit, add 2 when targeting a wall. If a wall runs along the edge between squares, it is considered to be ?in' any square it touches. If a wall takes 3 or more hits from any single attack, it is breached on that square -- place a marker on it. A warrior may now move through the breach normally. To simulate tougher or weaker walls, raise or lower the damage required for a breach.

New Powers

GRENADE LAUNCHER
Gadget, Magnetic
Strike
Range: 6
Energy (1-3)
Auto

You have an unlimited supply of grenades and may launch one per strike. A grenade may be shot 6 squares in a straight line. A grenade may be launched into a square with a warrior, but not into a square with a solid obstacle.

Wherever a grenade lands, it explodes, doing 1-3 damage to all warriors within the 3 × 3 area around the target square. In addition, all warriors within the 3 × 3 area are knocked one square away from the target square. Warriors ON the target square roll randomly.

SHRINK RAY
Gadget, Magnetic
Strike
Range: 4
Special
4+

Your victim shrinks to one-half his normal size! Place a SHRUNK marker on him. At the end of his turn, the victim may roll one die, on a 4+, he regains his normal size. While shrunk, his movement, the range and area of any powers, and the damage his strikes do are all reduced by half (round down). Unless the warrior is a Mad Scientist, while Shrunk, he may only carry one gadget (Mad Scientists can carry two while shrunk).

ACID STREAM
Mutation
Strike, Defense
Secret
Range: 4
Sharp (1-2)
4+

You can shoot a stream of powerful acid from your body. If you shoot this stream at a warrior, you hit on a 4+ and roll one die. On a 1-3, the strike does 1 damage, on a 4-6 it does 2.

You can also shoot your stream at up to 3 squares in your range. The stream automatically hits. Place an acid counter on that square.

You take no damage from acid.

PYROMANIA
Super-Power
Strike
Secret
15 × 15 Area
Special
Auto

You can spontaneously create fires. On a turn in which you do nothing else you can place flame counters on up to three squares within your range. They will last until the beginning of your next turn. If you create a flame hazard in the same square as a warrior, he must immediately roll a 5+ or take 1 Energy damage.

KUNG-FU MASTER
Skill
+Strike, Defense
Secret
Range: 0 or 1

You are a master at hand-to-hand combat. Your basic strike hits on a 2+ and you may employ diagonals for your basic strike. You may parry Hard strikes directed against you. Roll a die after the strike hits. On a 4+, the strike is parried and has no effect.

JUMP
Skill
Move
Secret
Hard (1)

You can jump long distances. When jumping, you can only move in a straight line, but you may move one extra square. You leap over any warriors or hazards (though not obstacles such as pillars) and only physically occupy the squares you jump from and land in. You may land in a square occupied by another warrior -- if so, you may attempt to land on him. The victim may attempt to dodge by rolling a die. On a 4+, you fail to land on him, but still end up in the same square. If he does not successfully dodge, you inflict 1 Hard damage on him as you land. This does not count as a strike.

ICE SLICK
Super-Power
Strike
Secret
Range: 7
15 × 15 Area
Auto

You may use a strike to place up to 3 ice patches on any square within a 15 × 15 area not occupied by an obstacle or warrior.

You may also strike to place a single ice patch in the same square as any warrior within your range. That warrior must roll 5+ or fall down.

"I AM YOUR FATHER"
Special
Strike
Secret
Mental (1-6) & Special
Range: Infinite
Auto

You reveal to one warrior in your range that you are, in fact, that warrior's father (regardless of whether or not this is actually true). That warrior is automatically stunned (place a Stunned marker on him) until the beginning of your next turn, and suffers 1-6 Mental damage. Discard this power card after use.

REVIVE
Magic
Special
Secret
15 × 15 Area
4+

When a warrior dies within your area of effect, you may immediately attempt to bring him back to life. On a roll of 4+, you succeed and may spend 1 hit to instantly revive the dead warrior. He is restored to life with all the powers he had at the time of his death, and half his starting hit points (round up). Zombies cannot be revived.

EXTRA LIFE
Bio-Mod
Special
Secret

When you lose your last hit point, you may reveal and discard this card to have all your hit points restored.

EXOPORT
Super-Power
Special
Secret
9 × 9 Area

You have the ability to teleport other people and objects. On a turn in which you do nothing else, you may attempt to teleport any warrior (including yourself) or unowned gadget within your power's area to any other square in that area. Pick what you wish to teleport, the target square you wish to teleport it to, and roll one die;.on a 4+ the teleport was successful. However, this method is less precise than the regular Teleport power. Roll for random movement to determine how far from the target square the victim actually arrives. This can place something outside your normal Exoport range. If a gadget would have been teleported into an obstruction, the teleport fails and the gadget stays in place. If a warrior is teleported into a solid object, he dies and any gadgets he had remain in his original location.

SURPRISE
Special

When you assign this power to a warrior, draw another Power Card and place it on top of this one, face-up. At the end of each of your turns, you must discard the power card on top of this one and draw a new power card. Assign the new power to this warrior and turn it face-up (even if it was secret). This does not count as a strike.

JINX
Magic
Special
Secret
5 × 5 Area

You may strike to attempt to jinx those around you. All warriors within your 5 × 5 area must roll one die. Unless they roll a 6+, they are Jinxed (place a Jinxed counter on them) until the beginning of your next turn. A Jinxed warrior subtracts 1 from all his to hit and damage rolls. Anyone attempting to hit a Jinxed warrior may add 1 to their roll.

TINFOIL HAT
Gadget, Magnetic
Defense

While wearing the Tinfoil Hat, you are immune to Mental damage, Confuse, Bewilder, Mind Control, Soul Swap, and stunning attacks.

ENTROPIC FIELD
Magic
Defense
4+

A magic field surrounds you, making it difficult for other warriors to successfully strike you. If any strike that would cause you damage hits you, roll one die. On a 4+, the strike misses anyway.

TIME BUBBLE
Super-Power
Strike
Secret
Range 4
Special
4+

You can attempt to place a warrior within your range (including yourself) in a time bubble. Write down that warrior's position on the map and then remove his counter from the board. He is now outside the space-time continuum and is unable to interact with our reality. At the beginning of your next turn, that warrior reappears in the same place on the map where he was before.

MACHINE GUN
Gadget, Magnetic
Strike
Range: 6
Sharp (1-6)
4+/5+/6+

When you strike with the machine gun, it shoots three times. The first shot hits on a 4+, the second on a 5+, and the third on a 6+. Each shot does 1-6 Sharp damage if it its. All shots are directed at the same target.

FORCE FIELD
Super-Power
Defense
Secret
Area: 9 × 9

On a turn in which you do nothing else, you may project a force field around any warrior within your 9 × 9 area (including yourself). Place a Force Field marker on him (or just use a Statue marker). Until the beginning of your next turn, that warrior is immune to Hard, Sharp, and Energy damage. However, that warrior is also trapped inside the Force Field; he may not move and may not strike to cause Hard, Sharp, or Energy damage.

VAMPIRE
Mutation
Strike & Special
Range: 0, 1
Sharp 1
4+

You have vampire fangs that drain life force from other warriors! On a successful strike you cause 1 Sharp damage. If your target loses a hit point, you gain one hit point at the same time.

CLOAKING FIELD
Gadget, Magnetic
Defense

You have a cloaking device that obscures your exact location. Any attempt to strike you is at a 2 to the roll.

SPINES
Bio-Mod
+Strike
Range: 0, 1
Sharp 1

Your body is covered with pointy spines. Whenever you perform a basic strike or are involved in a collision with another warrior, add 1 Sharp damage to any other damage you cause.

X-RAY GLASSES
Gadget, Magnetic
Special
Range: 6

Your X-Ray Glasses allow you to see all your enemies' powers -- even secret ones! On your turn, you may look at the secret powers of any one warrior in your Range (this power is not blocked by obstacles or walls). This does not count as a strike.

VENOM
Bio-Mod
+Strike
Secret

Your strikes that cause Hard or Sharp damage except for strikes with Gadgets poison your victim. Place a Poisoned marker on him. At the end of his turn, he must roll a die; on a 1-3, he loses one hit. If the warrior has any hit points healed remove the Poisoned marker.

SOUL SWAP
Magic
Strike
Secret
Range: 3
Special
4+

You can attempt to swap your soul with that of another warrior! If you succeed, you control that warrior's body and he controls yours. His counter now represents you (and visa versa), you have his powers (including team powers) and he has yours (including this one). You have the hit points of his body and he has the hit points for yours. You each still act during your own team's turn as before. Your victim wasn't expending the swap, though -- place a confused marker on him until the beginning of your next turn.

LIGHTNING
Magic
Strike
Secret
Range: 6
Energy (1-6)
4+

You can shoot magic lightning bolts. If your target is magnetic or is holding a magnetic gadget, your roll to hit him is at +2.

MAGIC MISSILE
Magic
Strike
Secret
Range: 8
Energy 2
Auto

When you fire the magic missile, it moves up to 8 squares in any (non-diagonal) direction. It cannot go through obstacles. The first warrior whose square the magic missile enters automatically takes 2 Energy damage.

Flight Powers

The following rules and powers add a new dimension to Strange Synergy: the ability to fly. Power cards which allow flight are considered to be a fifth category alongside Attack, Defense, Movement, and Special powers. With these extra powers, the following rules governing flight must also apply.

Any warrior in flight should have a Flying marker placed on him. Though the warrior remains on the board, he is, conceptually, now considered to be above it. When a character is flying he is not considered to be an obstacle, nor does he consider other warriors to be obstacles. A flying warrior is not harmed by any hazard he flies over. Movement while flying is determined by the text of the Flight power card. Power cards which affect normal movement do not apply to flying movement; while flying, any Movement powers are effectively canceled.

When targeted by a ranged power or basic strike, a flying warrior is considered to be at a range of one extra square. For example: if a flying warrior is 3 squares away from a warrior on the ground who is trying to hit him with a Flame Blast (Range: 3). Because he is flying, the first warrior is considered to be 4 squares away, and out of range. Another example: a flying warrior can only be hit by a basic strike from a warrior on the ground if they are both in the same map square. However, to a flying warrior, the ranges stay the same (a flying warrior CAN perform a basic strike from one square away, even though a warrior on the ground could not hit him back). Powers that effect an area also effect flying warriors normally. Flying warriors cannot pick gadgets up off the ground.

Any strike which normally causes knockback has a chance of knocking a flying warrior to the ground. If the flying warrior rolls a 1-2 on one die, he falls to the ground, taking 1 Hard damage on a roll of 1-3. If a flying warrior must roll for random movement, a result of "1" means that he falls to the ground. If a flying warrior is susceptible to Magnetism powers, he can be pulled directly down. If a flying warrior is Stunned or turned into a Statue, he automatically falls (roll for damage as above). A warrior who is Frozen while in flight, stays in the air. If a warrior is killed while flying, his body falls straight down.

Now for some flying powers:

Strange Synergy with Two Sets

If you and a friend both have a copy of the game, you can use these optional rules to employ them both in a large game for five to eight players (or even 12 players if you use the orange and purple teams). With this many teams, the standard map would get too crowded. If you don't wish to create your own, larger map, you simply use each map from the two sets. Rather than comprising one large board, though, the two maps each represent a separate environment (whether you consider them to be arenas, pocket dimensions, or whatever). Warriors can move between the two maps by stepping from a square at the edge of one board to the corresponding square on the other board. For example, a warrior standing on square A, 1 of one board could step into square A, 1 of the other. As an option, players can agree to impose other restrictions on cross-map movement as well, such as not allowing teams to cross until only one is left on each map, or requiring a warrior take no other action on a turn he moves between maps.

With up to six teams, each team can still have a different color. With more teams, players will either have to find a way to represent additional colors, or double up on existing ones. Having two teams with the same color can not only be confusing, but can pose an unfair advantage to teams needing to capture that color flag. An even number of players allows for games where all the colors in play are duplicated. Teams sharing the same color can either compete or cooperate, leading to negotiations and back-stabbing. Of course, the game could do away with flags in favor of a "last team standing" approach.

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Special thanks to Brian, Eric, Kirk, Jamie, and Rob.




Article publication date: April 23, 2004


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