Vanguard: Saga of Heroes - Special Report (Day 5)

Vanguard's diplomacy system is completely different in its approach to any other kind of faction-building politics simulator and that's what makes it one of our favorite parts of the game. In keeping with the "gameplay is king" thrust of Vanguard, diplomacy has been built as an incredibly entertaining card game. The concept centers on simulating conversations as verbal fencing with all of the thrust-parry-riposte kind of tactics represented by different cards.

It works like this: after learning the basics of diplomacy, your diplomacy trainer will give you a starter deck of statements (each statement is represented as a card), then you choose five cards to use during a diplomatic session (called a Parley). When engaging in a Parley, you'll have access to only these five cards which can be played one at a time on the diplomacy pane (which opens once you initiate a Parley). The diplomacy pane has four sections: a slot for your opponent's current card, a slot for your current card, the expression bank and the dialogue indicator. The expression bank lets you know how many points you've accumulated in any given expression category, and these points are used like currency to play cards. There are four different expression categories, including: demand, reason, inspire and flatter. While cards may cost expression points from a specific category, they may award you expression points as well (as indicated on the card). The part that really matters is the dialogue indicator which tells you how well you are doing in the argument. You and your opponent take turns playing cards, accumulating expression points in order to play cards that will earn you the most gains in the dialogue indicator.

There are four different conversation types and some of them lock out certain expression categories, similar to actual conversations. Here are the conversation types and what expressions they prohibit:

Incite - prohibits flattery
Convince - prohibits inspire
Interview - prohibits reason
Gossip - prohibits demand
Entertain - prohibits nothing