Let’s look at adversaries for a moment. Adversaries come in different types; minions, who automatically perish after an engagement, but trigger a condition if they win. A sentry minion who loses an engagement dies. Sentry minion that wins triggers an alarm. Minions also have a free ‘commanded’ ability.
Standard adversaries are regular foes; high damage, low hp for quick, punishing fights that emphasize tactical play at melee and range. These are the meat of any combat encounter, and generally are the hardest hitters.
Commanders are elite foes that can deal tremendous damage and issue commands to minions once a turn as a free action. There’s an incentive to target Commanders first, otherwise the heroes may find themselves in real trouble. Commanders generally have a power that allows them to spawn new minion reinforcements.
Last, legendary foes need more than damage to beat: e.g. Medusa’s reflection in the bronze shield or the fire that was used to seal the Hydra’s wounds. Heroes must identify and overcome weakness in order to defeat a legendary foe, and identifying the weakness is a quest unto itself. Kicking down the door and assaulting a Legendary adversary will result in a “heroes wanted” shingle going up at the local inn.
Every adversary belongs to a grouping; the Marauder, Knife, Sargent, and Hatchet are all brigands, for example. Grouping isn’t just a label, it has mechanical impact. Every adversary belonging to the same grouping shares a common tactic. In the case of brigands, it’s “Strike and Fade.” Each of them is able to make an additional move after winning an engagement. This makes brigands highly mobile opponents, unlike militia, whose “Form the Line” tactic shuts down forced movement when two are adjacent. Immediately, the two types play differently in combat; brigands are going to move all over, and militia are going to try and link together.
Adversaries also have strategies. These are effects that apply across groups and are applied based on the most common adversary in the fight. If the players are up against 4 brigands and a criminal, the brigand strategy, “Encirclement” applies. If there were more criminals, it would be “Emboldened.” The strategy applies to all adversaries in play so that lone criminal also has access to Encirclement.
Encirclement means that any adversary may move off one side of the battlefield and reappear at the opposite after a round. If Emboldened was in play, each round more than half the baddies win an engagement, two new criminal minions are added. By combining different tactics and strategies, fights take on a radically different feel even when sharing many of the same adversaries.