As another attempt to bring life to interesting combos and strategies that aren’t normally practical under the standard rules, I’ve been devising these variant rules. Commentary and criticism are welcome and encouraged.
Instead of 3 heroes, your roster consists of all 20 heroes.
As such, you only choose a starter deck at the beginning of the game. (I briefly considered allowing infinite copies of each card, but in addition to being completely impractical when playing with physical cards, I think that would also encourage stale gameplay where players just keep teching the same few cards instead of leveraging cards from multiple factions, not to mention degenerate gameplay loops such as one player repeatedly teching in Flagstone Garrisons and the other repeatedly teching in Nature Reclaims.)
In addition to the faction cards for all 20 heroes, your codex contains the 6 starter decks you didn’t choose.
This makes every card in the game available to each player, every game. However, players must decide whether it’s worth spending opportunities to tech in faction cards in order to use cards from multiple starter decks.
The multicolor building penalty is removed.
Otherwise, it would apply to all players. Since either way it loses its value to adjust the balance between single-color and multi-color decks, removing the penalty is preferable as it gives players more flexibility in the early game where gold is scarce.
The multicolor spell penalty still applies, so the perk of choosing the Neutral starter is preserved.
Players no longer choose a spec when building their Tech II building.
Being limited to 1-2 specs would largely defeat the purpose of having access to so many cards. (An alternate approach would be to allow multiple simultaneous add-ons, such that players would choose a spec normally, but could then build as many Tech Labs as desired. Of course, this would also apply to other add-ons, which would maybe not be so bad? Build 17 Heroes’ Halls and summon all 20 heroes at once, if you can avoid dying to Earthquake for that long. This would also be impractical for physical play, and I think such uncapped potential may be better suited to a different variant with the specific goal of encouraging epic board states.)
With no need to declare a spec, it’s no longer possible to build a Tech Lab, as there would be no point. (I briefly considered repurposing the Tech Lab to allow an optional 3rd card to be teched each turn, but that would devalue cards that pull directly from the codex.)
Apologies for leaving you guys hanging over at Nudging the tiller - balance, but I was focused on tournament preparation.