With the latest changes to the card set we made Shields a scale-able mechanic, just like it was intended to be originally. It now reads like this:
A static ability. Prevent the first X damage dealt to this card each turn.
Pretty straight forward, isn't it? No shield counters anymore, and they now operate more like how traditional sci-fi energy shields. If enough damage is dealt during the course of one turn, the damage goes through the shields. After a while the shields restore.
This change makes the ability more dynamic, and it may make the ships that have it be a lot less affected by Asteroid Fields. this version of the ability doesn't say anything about Boarding, and it will be interesting to see how gameplay will change with that part of the ability gone.
There a couple of concerns that this change raises, however:
First, my gut feeling is that this change might make the ability a bit too powerful, making ship-to-ship combat less relevant as a strategy. However, since during the last iteration it was the boarding mechanic that was the lesser strategy, this change will likely even out the two.
Secondly, this change negatively affects cards like Asteroid Field. Their effect now becomes almost trivial with shielded ships. I can't yet tell if this will decrease or increase the amount of Asteroid Field cards players will end up including in their galaxies, that's something to keep track of.
What are your experiences with playing with this new version of the ability?