I've been stewing over this defender's role a lot lately, as it's basically holding up everything while I try and figure out how I want this game to play. But what if -- he doesn't follow the same rules at all?
So a big problem I had with the previous system was that the defender's buildings were an afterthought. The tools provided in my system made the buildings more of a nuisance than a fun aspect of the game -- and who wants to play defender if attacker is so much more fun?
But what if the defender's turn structure and his resources and hand and basically everything were catered towards the goal of defending?
Hear me out:
So buildings become locations. The attacker right now is fighting to get into these locations, and when his attacker has an unguarded location that he attacks, the attack is discarded as if he goes into the location. And if so many attackers go into a location, the location is toast. Or maybe there's three barriers, and they have to break the barriers and then breach the entrance.
So what if the defender's resources were structured different? What if each lane's resources were independent so that each lane got resources? What if a central point of playing defense was relying on your barrier's abilities as if they were towers in a tower defense game? What if the defender had a "pool" of resources, and it constantly grew each turn? What if they had cards that were exclusively for defense?
My point is, I think the answer to my issues is to focus on what, as a defender, would make the game a lot of fun. Rules can be broken just as quickly as they're created when you're designing.