One of the unique points about Flesh and Blood is its resource system. While it’s not the first game to let you use any card as a resource, most games that do that make the resources permanently in play. FAB instead has a pay-as-you-go system, where to play any card (or use equipment/weapons) you have to pitch a card immediately. That leads to plenty of decision points, and today we’re going to take a look at some heuristics for maximizing your resource usage as you play.
Aside on heuristics:
The definition of heuristic is: A heuristic, or a heuristic technique, is any approach to problem solving that uses a practical method or various shortcuts in order to produce solutions that may not be optimal but are sufficient given a limited timeframe or deadline.
If you’ve ever listened or read my material, you may have picked up on the fact that I love heuristics as a teaching method. Heuristics basically are rules of thumb, shortcuts that are mostly (but not always) correct. The reason I love them so much is that by teaching heuristics, you give people the mostly-right answer, which sets a baseline. From there, you can teach exceptions, reasons why and all the other info that would cause you to break from the heuristic and do something else. Keep in mind during this (and other) articles that I’m writing for the general case, and there will be plenty of times where you should do the opposite of what I recommend.
Resource efficiency is far and away your first priority. It may seem obvious, but I want to make sure it’s clear – wasting resource points is a Very Bad Thing. The average turn of FAB usually ends up such that you can generate four to six resource points to play two other cards, or in some cases up to nine resource points so you can play one giant card (or a big card plus a weapon attack). Having a card in Arsenal or a way to draw cards changes that, but I think a baseline of around four to six resource points ends up being reasonably accurate.
Given that, wasting a resource point could easily be 15 to 25 percent of the resources you generate in a turn, which is disastrous. You can’t spend too many turns making inefficient plays and expect to keep up, as these losses of value add up.
In many cases, rather than make a play that doesn’t use all your resources, I’d rather opt for putting a card in Arsenal and making a less impactful play. You should feel a twinge of pain at the prospect of leaving resource points on the table, as it is not what you want to be doing.
That said, sometimes it certainly will be correct to make a play that costs one or two and pitch a blue card to pay for it. The whole idea behind heuristics is that they’re mostly correct, not always correct, and I’ve made plenty of inefficient plays when they seemed to be the right thing to do. All I ask is that you double-check any play that involves wasting resources, as more often than not you’ll have a better option available.
Deckbuilding in FAB requires balancing a number of different elements, and one very important one is pitch values. You can’t just look at the cards you want to cast and jam them all into your deck, at least not if you want to succeed. You also need to make sure you have the right amount of pitch values to pay for those cards, ideally in an efficient manner (as we just covered). Take a look at this Bravo deck by Steven Chang.
Class: Guardian Hero: Bravo Weapons: Anothos, Sledge of Anvilheim Equipment: Arcanite Skullcap, Crater Fist, Goliath Gauntlet, Helm of Isen's Peak, Nullrune Boots, Nullrune Gloves, Nullrune Hood, Nullrune Robe, Tectonic Plating (2) Blessing of Deliverance (red) (2) Command and Conquer (red) (2) Crippling Crush (red) (2) Pummel (red) (2) Sigil of Solace (red) (1) Remembrance (yellow) (2) Righteous Cleansing (yellow) (2) Buckling Blow (blue) (2) Cartilage Crush (blue) (2) Chokeslam (blue) (1) Cranial Crush (blue) (2) Crush Confidence (blue) (2) Crush the Weak (blue) (2) Debilitate (blue) (1) Disable (blue) (2) Pummel (blue) (1) Pursuit of Knowledge (blue) (2) Show Time! (blue) (2) Stamp Authority (blue) (2) Staunch Response (blue) (2) Towering Titan (blue) (2) Unmovable (blue)
Look at the sea of blue, with only small amounts of red and yellow on each side. There’s a reason for that – Bravo’s cards are expensive. Steven made a wise choice in including that many high-resource cards, as the deck isn’t functional unless you built it that way (and that’s the typical way Bravo decks are built as a result).
Even for less extreme heroes (ie, most of them), you still need to make sure you have enough vegetables (blue cards) and not all dessert (red cards). Red cards are more powerful and exciting to play, but pitching two red cards to cast a two-cost red card is a really bad deal, so you need to make sure you have building blocks so you can play the game.
Note about yellow cards (pitch 2’s) – As I’ve mentioned before, these are the worst of all worlds. They’re worse to play than red and worse to pitch than blue. As a result, most decks play very few of them, and usually just from the two following categories: cards that are so integral to the deck that you just play the max of six copies and cards that only appear in yellow. Try to avoid playing a ton of yellow cards, as they are generally bad value.
There are two places you can go that really help get the most value from your cards. The first is the Arsenal, which lets you save a card for your next turn. The reason I see this as connected to resource points is that every time you use up your whole hand, you give up the value of putting a card in your Arsenal. I value that highly, as having a 5-card hand (effectively) opens up a ton of possibilities, and lets you have a stronger than average turn.
As such, I strongly consider putting a card in Arsenal over playing an extra card, especially when it lets you have a more efficient overall turn. For example, instead of pitching two cards for six total resource points and playing two cards that cost five total, pitch two cards to play a three-cost card and use a weapon that costs three to save a card in your Arsenal. Even if your weapon is cheaper, you still get better value by having a slightly weaker turn and making your next turn more efficient and more powerful.
From what I’ve seen, the Arsenal, while powerful, is slightly underused, and it’s a great place to look when you’re trying to get the most from your cards.
Weapons are another way to really save on resources. The example I just gave above even touched on it – when you use a weapon, it’s like casting a card except you don’t actually use up a card. Granted, a weapon that costs two to attack with is likely weaker than most two-cost attacks, but you’re up an entire card by using it, so that’s to be expected.
When planning out your turn, try and prioritize using weapons so you can conserve cards and resources, as you’ll pull ahead in the long run by doing so.
These small changes may not seem like much, but they add up. By striving to make your turns less wasteful and more efficient, ultimately you’ll find that your overall game becomes more powerful. Add to that a well-constructed deck and an increased reliance on your Arsenal and weapon, and you’ll have a well-oiled machine in no time.