What’s the Bug?
The colors of the cards “The Elsburg Syndicate” and “The von Jaedts” are swapped. The von Jaedts should be silver, and The Elsburg Syndicate should be black.
Why Does it Matter?
There should be only one version of each unit type/color combination. If “The Elsburg Syndicate” is silver, then both they and “The Argent Legion” give you control of the silver spies. Likewise, if “The von Jaedts” are black, then both they and “The Brothers of Garus” give you control of the black priests. The game tokens have different background shapes and the colors are in different places. You can tell them apart, but the language is ambiguous.
What’s the Fix?
If you have a first-printing of Lyssan, then your set contains the bug and the fix. Every first-printing Lyssan set comes with 2 replacement cards and an extra mini-sheet of tokens holding the 8 replacement tokens. The fix is to use these replacement cards and counters for The von Jaedts and The Elsburg Syndicate, in place of the cards and tokens in the main deck and punchboard.
Later printings of Lyssan do not contain this bug.
How These Things Happen
Bugs like this get spotted in the months of playtesting leading up to publication. But this bug slipped in after playtesting: It happened in the final graphic design pass before the game went to print. It slipped by because the bug was the side effect of a fix that happened elsewhere in the game.
The Argent Legion was always meant to be silver. It’s in their name, even: Argent means silver. When Allan did the final graphic design for the game, however, he switched around a few of the colors to versions that looked better to him. In the other cases I agreed. But for story reasons, I asked him to swap the Argent Legion back to being the silver knights and spies. Prior to the swap, they’d been black, so they swapped with The Brothers of Garus.
The problem is that each vassal is paired with another. If one vassal is the silver knights and spies, then somewhere else in the deck there will also be the silver nobles and priests. That way we only need 6 colors for the 12 different vassals in the game.* So when we swapped “The Argent Legion” with “The Brothers of Garus”, we should have also swapped the two vassals they shared colors with: “The Elsburg Syndicate” and “The von Jaedts”. But that got missed. It didn’t get caught until some games after Panda Game Manufacturing sent over the first-off-the-factory-floor copy of Lyssan. I’d already gone over the print job, thought it was right, and given the go-ahead to start the full run. When the bug came up in a game, the cards and cardboard parts were done being printed. But we still had time while we were waiting for the plastics to finish to slip the replacement parts into the game.
It’s a Feature?
There was one silver lining to the bug: Since I had to make an extra print run of cards to make the fix, it gave me a chance to print more promotional cards. These “promos” are the cards that aren’t in the main set, but that we save to give out to tournament winners, gamers who help spread the word, and kickstarter backers. At the factory, cards are printed a deck of 54 cards at a time, and the smallest batch they’ll take an order for is 1,500 decks. So we were committed to printing 2,000 decks just to make the fix for the 2,000 first-print-run copies of the game. But there’s a few extra cards in every deck: Lyssan is a game with 96 cards. That fits in two decks of 54 cards each: 108. So for every copy of Lyssan printed, we get the chance to print 12 promos. (108 – 96) Between printings, these promos change, so we get to make new promo cards each time there’s a print run.
To make this fix, we pre-printed 2,000 decks for the NEXT print run of Lyssan, and used 3 of the promo card slots for the fix. That left room for 9 extra promos at launch time for the game. Starting with an extra reward for the Kickstarter backers and an extra allotment of bonus cards to award took some of the sting out of the event.
* The first alpha version had 12 vassal colors. It didn’t last. Players would stop to ask what color “gunmetal” or “puce” or “ecru” were. Four colors of player factions plus 6 colors of vassals is already 10 colors. You can easily have 8 distinct colors: The primaries (red, yellow, blue) the secondaries (green, orange, purple), plus black and white. Past that you start having to get tricky. The alpha edition with 18 colors was just out of hand!