Season 4 Preview: Come on Baby! Do the Magic Hand Thing!

*Contains major story spoilers for The Mandalorian, episodes 1 and 2. View just the cards here, but you should probably at least watch the first episode before you look.

“No puck. Face to face. Direct Commission”. Greef Karga reaches into his pocket to pull out a plasticard chit. No puck? No chaincode? This is highly unusual for a guild assignment. But at this point, the low-grade bail jumpers and spice smugglers you’ve been bagging haven’t even been able to cover the fuel costs of hunting them down and bringing them back. Unusual might be worth it, if it’s a real payday. “Do you want the chit, or not?” Karga asks. A moment of consideration. But only a moment. You take the chit from his hand. 

Your would-be client sits across a small table, a golden medallion imprinted with the seal of the now-dead Galactic Empire hanging around his wrinkled neck, surrounded by 4 guards wearing tattered, rust-stained Stormtrooper armor. But your attention stays with the invaluable slab of metal that has been placed in your hand, more precious to you than any amount of New Republic or Imperial credits, with a camtono full of the same promised upon delivery of the asset. Alive. “Although I acknowledge,” he leans forward, “that bounty hunting is a complicated profession. This being the case, proof of termination is also acceptable for a lower fee.” His second begins to argue, but is put in his place by the client’s quiet authority. The client hands you a tracking fob with the target’s last known location, but the only thing they can tell you about the target is their age. 50 years old. Fob in hand, you set out to earn your pay.  

Having just fought through what felt like 30 mercenaries to make it into the heart of this desert stronghold, you stand before an oblong metal sphere that your tracking fob has led you to. At the press of a button, the sphere hisses open. Inside is not the 50 year old asset you were expecting, but a small green infant. The IG hunter droid that assisted you in your conspicuous infiltration of this fort reminds you that different species age differently, before raising its blaster to the child. A flash of light, a blaster shot rings out. The hunter droid crumples, its cranial core processor sizzling. You lower your blaster. In an instant, you realize your fate has now become bound to this child’s. You reach out to it, and it reaches back with a tiny hand no bigger than your index finger. Your target has now become your ward, and now you are no longer just a hunter, but now also a guardian.  

This attachment can only be played in a Mercenary army, but can be attached to any unique Guardian figure that doesn’t already have an attachment, regardless of its original faction. Since The Child companion is considered a token, it can be retrieved by any unique figure, including the opponent’s, for 1 VP by performing an Interact action, but only after the Guardian figure with the Clan of Two attachment has been defeated. In fact, this is the first card in the game that has an effect that continually affects the game only while the figure it’s attached to is defeated. If a figure that retrieved the Child token is defeated, it will drop the Child token in its former space, able to be retrieved again. Note that carrying the Child does not give you access to any of its abilities, those are reserved for its original Guardian figure with the Clan of Two attachment.

So far the child’s repulsorlift durasteel cradle has proven convenient for your newfound Guardianship. It floats along with you via an invisible tractor-tether, and is sturdy enough to protect the child from any stray shrapnel or combustion shockwaves, anything but a direct attack against it, so long as it remains closed, though if the child is allowed to wander about on its own it is left exposed. With the IG-11 droid’s attempted murder of the child, and a subsequent attack by fob-carrying Trandoshan Hunters on the child’s life, you realize this is a precious cargo with many interested parties looking to attain or eliminate this strange infant. But they will have to kill you first before they can take their prize. 

The Child companion marks the debut of the “Incapacitated” rule in Skirmish, a rule that has existed since the beginning of the game and is often used in Campaign missions. Unlike when a figure is defeated, an incapacitated figure remains on the map. While a figure is incapacitated, it cannot suffer damage or conditions, can’t perform any actions, does not block line of sight or movement of other figures, cannot use any abilities or spend movement points, and is unaffected by other abilities unless they specifically affect incapacitated figures. This makes “Force Exhaustion” effectively limited to one use per game. Check out the FFG Rules Reference Guide and this BGG thread to learn more about this rule.

You’re suddenly on your back. Again. Your vision blurs, though you can already barely see through your mud-caked visor. Sharp pain comes with every breath, likely meaning multiple cracked ribs from your last trampling. The mud around you is slick, but you struggle to your feet. Your weapons and equipment, designed for humanoid quarries carrying blasters, have proven woefully ineffective against this hulking shagged behemoth and its monolithic, bone-crushing horn. As it prepares one final enraged charge, you bring your last remaining weapon to bear, a dagger. You didn’t think it would end like this, but your clan code, and not just the foot-thick mud in every direction, dictate that you fight until the assignment is complete or your last breath is drawn. You fear the latter is imminent. 

The beast charges, and you brace yourself, dagger tip forward. But the moment of impact never comes. The beast hangs in the air in front of you, even more infuriated, but seemingly trapped. You look over, and see the child holding its hand up towards the animal, a look of intense concentration on its face. Surely it can’t be doing this, you think. But then the child collapses back into its cradle out of exhaustion, and the beast falls back to the ground, momentarily letting down its guard. Your instincts kick in before its rage returns, and you slip past it’s giant horn and your dagger strikes true, a weak point behind the massive skull. The beast falls dead, your life and the child’s no longer forfeit to it. You walk over to check on the child. It lays there, alive and breathing, but incapacitated, and will remain so for hours if not a day. Now, you wonder, who is guarding who?  

This article is part of our Season 4 Preview series. Until the end of July 2020, the Steering Committee will be revealing the cards that make up our Season 4 content. You can discuss these cards in the comments of this post or on the IACP Reddit.

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