In our Season One Announcement, the Project Steering Committee released this suggested change to the On the Lam card text:
Use when an attack targeting you is declared, before any attacker abilities, to perform a move.
Since the announcement, we’ve gotten a significant amount of feedback about the project — thank you for all your comments! — and this change in particular. Many of you have told us that the wording is confusing and they aren’t exactly sure how the On the Lam (OtL) is used. Others asked why the card should be changed at all. This post is to help clarify our thinking behind the change and start a discussion about how the community feels about On the Lam.
Why We Suggested This Change
On the Lam is a card that forces a conservative play style that the Committee believes is harmful to the game. Players often are afraid of using any cards against a Smuggler figure because of the massive penalty incurred when countered by On the Lam. The two main problems the steering committee are trying to address are:
- On the Lam can be saved for later when the defender rolls a Dodge.
- On the Lam can gain massive value by completely negating other command cards and conditions.
We believe that our proposed changes address both of these issues in a way that won’t cripple the Smuggler trait, but also won’t create games that are decided by whether or not someone is holding this one card. It also allows On the Lam “mind games” to still be a tactic for a player running Smugglers, though the attacker loses less resources when On the Lam is played.
How This On the Lam is Played During An Attack
Our On the Lam change is specifically worded to operate in the following manner:
- The attacker declares an attack on a target. This is the Declare Target step of an attack as described in the IA Rules Reference Guide, page 5. During this step, effects are resolved from mission rules first, then attacker, then defender, as specified in the Timing section of the IA Rules Reference Guide, page 2.
- Mission rule effects related to declaring an attack step occur: Focus is applied to the attack, the attacker must choose to use the attacking figure’s Experimental Weapon effects from the Abandoned Research mission on Tarkin Initiative Labs, etc.
- The attacker’s timing window for declaring an attack occurs. This is where the defender may interrupt to play On the Lam.
- If OtL is played, as per the IA FAQ v.30 Rules Updates and Clarifications section on page 11, “…the attacker must then re-declare a target space. If none of the defender’s spaces are eligible, the attack misses, there is no target space, and abilities that refer to a target space have no effect.” Hidden is discarded because the attack resolves.
- If OtL is not played, the attacker’s timing window continues. The attacker may play Command cards, choose to spend a power token or use any other ability that uses the “declare an attack” phrase (such as IG-88’s Relentless).
The current, official version of On the Lam operates in a unique timing window (after dice rolls, before attack modifiers). This change simply moves this unique timing window up to the On Declare step of the attack.
Should On the Lam Be Changed?
Some of the feedback we’ve already gotten is of the opinion that forcing an attacker commit Command cards to an attack, and then have those cards be tossed when On the Lam is played, is a core strength of the card. We’ve heard that our weaker On the Lam doesn’t present the same “mind games” that a Smuggler player needs to keep their Smugglers alive. Others told us that the only problem with On the Lam is that it can be played after dice are rolled, and that by changing the language of On the Lam to specify the card can be only be played before dice are rolled is the most optimal solution.
We want to know how you feel about On the Lam. Specifically, we want to hear your answer to this question: What is a fair punishment for an attacker when he risks attacking a Smuggler who has On the Lam? It’s our opinion that losing Command cards & any other resources committed to the attack AND having the defender be able to check the defense roll before using OtL is just too much punishment. We want to know if you agree that, or if you think OtL should be changed in a different way, or if OtL is fine as it is currently printed.
Your feedback matters! The Committee will change our On the Lam suggestion (or drop it entirely) based on the feedback we get from the IA Skirmish Community. We would like to implement any change we make no later than Friday, April 19th.
You can contact us in many different ways. The Season 1 Announcement Survey has questions specifically about On the Lam. The Committee’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. You can leave a comment on this post. You can jump into the #iacontinuityproject channel on Zion’s Finest Slack chat (our How to Participate page has instructions on how you can join the Slack if you haven’t already).