By Vivafringe Curious how some of your favorite Puzzle Strike chips came to be? In Hidden Gems, we explore the development history of various chips. This time we take a look at a number of . Up until now, I’ve covered huge, sweeping changes: massive reworks that shook the foundation of Puzzle Strike itself. Today, I’m doing something a bit different. Rather than cover the sweeping changes, I want to talk about some of the tiny polishes. 1. Chips for Free Originally, Chips for Free cost 3 instead of 4. While at first this seems like it wouldn’t matter much, in this case the reduced cost made a massive difference. The key here was that you could use Chips for Free to upgrade into more copies of Chips for Free! This effect caused things to get completely out of hand whenever it was in the same bank as Improvisation. The basic idea of this combo was to completely eliminate the s from your deck. When Improvisation flipped more Improvisations and cyclers, the deck would explode, often drawing itself completely every turn! For a long time, Chips for Free remained untouched, because many loved the degenerate deck that resulted. But others hated the long, non-interactive turns, and reasoned that if games were this slow for online play, live games would most likely be absolutely atrocious. After the novelty wore off, players agreed that the combination needed to be toned down somehow. As it turns out, the solution was deceptively simple: Chips for Free was increased by 1, which crippled the combo’s speed. 2. Color Panic For nearly the entire development cycle, Color Panic had this text: Color Panic (Red Fist): +. Choose a color: brown, purple, red, or blue. Each opponent reveals his hand, then discards a chip of that banner color if he can. If any can’t, +. Color Panic is strong and certainly the most powerful 3 cost red chip. As I mentioned with Hundred Fist Frenzy, this is perfectly okay! However, also like old HFF, Color Panic was by far the best when played in multiples. The first Color Panic was a fun guessing game - you didn’t know what they had, so you had to make an educated guess and play the odds. However, your second Color Panic was often a no-brainer: with full info on what they had, you could usually the strip the best chip in their hand, or name a color they didn’t have for the +. As a result, once you bought one, you usually wanted as many as possible! This led to a “first to three” dynamic similar to the old HFF. When both people went for them (and they were powerful enough that this was often the case), the person who got three tended to have a big advantage. Ultimately, the solution we decided on was subtle: rather than reveal a hand whether the opponent discarded a chip or not, the new Color Panic reveals chips only if they cannot discard the named color. This made chaining Color Panics less powerful, and had a nice side-benefit of increasing the number of fun “guessing games” that Color Panic caused. As it turns out, this new wording was so long that it only barely fit on the chip. Notice that the colors have been reordered from the standard order of brown, purple, red, blue to eke out just a bit more space! 3. Really Annoying This chip has always lived up to its name. However, originally, it was more like Really Really Annoying. It had the following text: This chip has always been deceptively powerful for its cost. However, when Combine was changed to its version, it’s power quietly got pushed over the top. Much like Argagarg, the mono-purpler who inexplicably got stronger after the change, the best counter to a Really Annoying strategy is to go heavy combines. After the change, this became much less feasible. Every Combine you purchased now made it harder to buy another one. With the natural counter weakened, players being assaulted by Really Annoying (particularly when used by demonic, up-to-no-good Setsuki players) usually just fell over dead. The solution we came up with was to make wounds go to your discard instead of your bag. This gave an extra shuffle before they started to hurt you. 4. Chip Damage Our last chip is Chip Damage, formerly known as “Combo Practice.” I think the new name is just about perfect, but that’s not actually the tiny polish I’m talking about. See if you can spot the difference between the two: The change is that putting a chip on your bag is now optional. Why even bother? This time, the reason had nothing to do with power. In one tournament game on fantasystrike.com, a player played Combo Practice with a wound that Argagarg had left in his discard. He said, "Oops, I forgot the effect was mandatory" and had to put the wound on top of his bag. Fair enough. But what if this had been a live tournament? He had 100% legitimately forgot about it; it's an easy thing to do. But this sounds like a really good opportunity for a slimy guy to take advantage of and "forget" to activate it. Also, in casual games people were misplaying this chip all the time. For some reason it's just an easy thing to forget. As a result, the “may” clause was added to prevent forgetful players from causing rules nightmares.