So A&C have said on the podcast that the Time Cataclysm environment deck doesn’t really represent a place in which a battle is fought, but rather a backdrop of “this story is taking place across many places and times”. This suggests that there ought to perhaps be two categories of something akin to what we call “environment decks”, one representing the location and one for the circumstances of the fight. I would like to now look at what it would look like to redesign one such deck into the other.
Since the Cataclysm is by far the most obvious place to start, let’s use that deck. OblivAeon-style, this battle takes place across multiple environment decks; involving later-published environments would require manually building a substitute deck out of index cards or the like, but the Cataclysm can be done just by putting the existing cards into black-backed sleeves. To accomplish this, sleeve the following decks accordingly:
- Insula Primalis
- Ruins of Atlantis
- Wagner Mars Base
- Silver Gulch 1883
- Rook City
- Pike Industrial Complex
- Mobile Defense Platform
- Tomb of Anubis
- Realm of Discord
- The Block
That’s 11 decks, folks! Now begin the game in Time Cataclysm, but whenever the environment plays a card other than Rift in Time, Fixed Point, or Hurricane, do the following:
- Replace the current environment deck with one corresponding to the card just drawn (eg if Tendrils of Madness is played, switch to the Realm of Discord). Whenever this happens, destroy all non-target Environment cards; targets already in play remain.
- Shuffle both Rift in Time cards from the Time Cataclysm into the new Environment deck, along with the card which triggered this shift.
- Immediately play a card from the replacement Environment. (For all card effects that react to every card play, treat this entire action as a single card being played - thusly, you don’t count both Tendrils of Madness and the first Realm of Discord play twice.)
The Rift in Time card’s current text is ignored unless it is played from the Time Cataclysm deck; instead, whenever it is played from another environment, switch the Environment back to the Time Cataclysm. This still counts as the current Environment play, so you won’t shift again until the next environment turn. If a Rift in Time is played from the Time Cataclysm, it remains in play long enough to play two cards from that deck, then the second such card triggers an environment shift as described above (thusly, you might have a Triceratops that falls into the Rift with you when the Tendrils lead you into Discord). The Rift is destroyed along with other Environment cards, unless Fixed Point prevents this.
Obviously you don’t want to go to all this work for just any villain; it’d be an appropriate way of handling someone like Gloomweaver or Chokepoint, who isn’t as powerful in gameplay terms as their story significance suggests they should be. Let me know if you see any blindingly obvious ways that this rule is likely to break; if it works out, we can start thinking about how to homebrew a version that works with newer Environments.