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Co-Op Gameplay Overview

With Breachstorm's Covert Ops cooperative mode expansion now available for preorder on the store page, it's high-time we talked about the gameplay of this exciting new mode.

Covert Ops (CoOps for short) is an optional game mode that includes rules for playing solo or cooperative games with a team of your friends in a narratively-focused, PVE scenario referred to as a Mission. Two sample missions are now available in the Covert Ops rules document on the rules page, and the first Operation (a multi-mission campaign) will be available in April. These missions are meant to play alongside the cards and components included in the expansion pack.

Opposing Forces

Arrayed against the player and their teams are Opposing Forces; shortened to Opfor. These are 'AI' controlled units that are enemy to the player's teams, and their faction and composition are dictated by the mission being played.

Opfor activate as if they were another player; taking turns after each Player turn - but with some special rules regarding who they activate. Opfor units begin the game as Activity Markers - blips on your sensor screens that players will need to Discover to determine the actual composition of each squad.

Covert Ops is a mode focused on small teams infiltrating enemy territory under cover, and as such enemy squads begin the game Unaware of players until attacked or moved near.

While Opfor units have standing orders to attack player-controlled units on sight, and missions will typically impose some special behavior to make them act more naturally; the action these troops is determined by the Action deck.

These cards are drawn each time an Opfor unit activates at the start of their turn. While an Opfor squad is unaware of players, or represented by an Activity Marker, the compass on the bottom right of their action card determines where they move. While they are alerted to enemy presence however... they will also gain an additional benefit from the effect of the card.

These benefits can range from extra move actions, extra attacks, bonuses to their attacks, or even spawning additional Opfor units - all based on the card, its threat level, and the Opfor faction.

This makes it impossible to truly predict the movements of enemy units; since you never know how effective their counterattack will be, and in what way.

An Alarming Development

As Opfor units are alerted; and based on some action cards and mission rules... the Alarm level of the mission can be raised. This is tracked on the Alarm Tracker, which is broken up into escalating Tiers of alarm.

As new tiers are unlocked, the action cards available to Opfor units become more powerful. When action cards are drawn; draw a number equal to the current Alarm tier, and choose one with the highest Threat. Higher threat actions tend to move unaware Opfor units more aggressively, and give much more dangerous bonuses.

Some of these higher tier actions will be unique to the Opfor faction the players are operating against - and provide specialized bonuses that synergize with their unique playstyles.

The Inhuman Condition

In addition to mission specific special rules, missions can also be affected by Conditions from the Condition deck. These can modify the mission based on its narrative, and to reflect the unique combat zones around the Galactic Spur.

While you can enjoy each mission independently; the Condition cards can also be used to enhance replayability - adding a series of detriments, bonuses, and modifiers to make each playthrough more unique. Alongside swapping the team composition or even faction of player units, this can provide endless different experiences with each simple mission.

Pressing F to Pay Respects

Most victory conditions in Covert Operation missions require interactions just as in objectives for the competitive Tactical or Cyclic Ops modes - however life is harder for these elite teams. Interaction Tests are required for most Interact actions to succeed; which are typed based on the kind of skill required; including Hacking, Breaching, Engineering, and Medicine.

An update you'll find on many v1.0 Unit Profile cards are unique bonuses specifically for Covert Ops missions... many of which grant bonuses to these specific checks.

The unique bio-acid of Volgox Spitters has a variety of applications.

This forces commanders to make tough decisions when recruiting their teams - while Interaction tests can be brute forced through by repeated attempts from untrained operatives; only skilled professionals can efficiently complete mission objectives. This means particularly sticky tests along the line of a mission or campaign may encourage you to take a specialists with unique skills in that department.

Future Operations

Multi-mission campaigns that follow Breachstorm's storyline - Operations will act as the heart-and-soul of competitive play. Along the line of these missions, operatives within a team may unlock new upgrades, become injured, lose equipment and even be lost along the way. We're excited to unveil Operation: Brainstorm next month - the first Covert Ops Operation alongside a hefty dose of action-packed sci-fi narrative.

The Covert Ops expansion pack is currently available for presale - orders will ship next week.

See you in the combat zone, commanders!


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