I really do respect the work you have put down to allow the comparison in terms of earnt gold, and I think your analysis proves that the addition of the Nothing card seems to help to mitigate the issue with the gold. You could extrapolate your maths to 3-heroes and see if the conclusion remains the same. This said, with the exception of your comment about the +1XP for the LoW quests, you have only considered the heroes' perspective. It doesn't invalidate your analysis at all, but I think something is still missing from your rules to make up for the original issue with rumor quests. To me the issue is not just the gold. It's an overall balance issue that does not have much to do with Rumor quests in such, but are highly exposed by them.
As the OL in all our campaigns (I have never played as a hero in this game), I feel like the incentive to play an extra quest [that is the Rumor quest] is close to nothing. Okay, bar theme, bar having-fun-tonight, bar give the heroes some air at the price of competitivity. There might be divergent opinions about what I'm going to say but hey please comment if you would. Feeling like I need to explain where I'm coming from first.
Bluntly put, there are a few quests in this game which are auto-wins for heroes. Fewer are auto-wins for the OL. Then my experience with my playgroups and campaigns is that quests are far from 50/50 sided. I really need to play well in order to pull out a win. I misroll this attack that keeps me in the game and I lose on the spot. There are too many of these moments in the game. Heroes can miss an attack or two, it doesn't matter as much, far from it. They groan a bit when it happens because their standard is to deal 10 damage per attack, then somebody else attacks instead and does 12. I for my part cry when it happens to me because I suddenly cannot pull out enough damage regardless of other monsters I am yet to activate, they will just be able to recover it all. Then of course you have the Immobilize issue. I have Merriods too, but the difference is that every hero can shoot.
I read some comments saying that some OLs have a high win ratio but I don't understand how. I win some quests, but might still lose the ones where I have good defense rolls because there are too many actions against me. This plus I am virtually instructed by the game NOT to play my plot deck because doing so gives away even more actions to my heroes and rerolls for these precious missed attacks from these heroes. Turn 1 mission accomplished and so on. So yeah, that's my situation and therefore adding a quest to the campaign has to be a HELL of a lot more interesting for me to even consider. I simply cannot afford it.
Plot cards are largely overestimated and almost entirely situational. That makes earning threat tokens much less of an incentive to play a quest. Yes, I do get the threat token 95% of the time whenever a hero falls but that's just to keep my heroes on their toes knowing that I have access to these plot cards lined up all shiny next to the map. They're shiny because I virtually never use them. Cannot afford to play them. Their presence is more political than anything else really. And if I go nuts and start playing them, then I get more pressure from getting back these threats and the game turns into Hardcore Mode because of the broken Fortune tokens mechanism. Let's take OL relic cards now: they are so situational, as opposed to Hero relics which can be wielded all the time. I like some of them, but there is no point if nobody can wield it/can only wield one at a time/the lieutenant gets one-shotted before you can activate him/her.
My conclusion for rumor quests in particular: it always feels like you're not going for the reward at all, you're going for the heroes not getting their reward.
My heroes often pull out this Travel card forcing me to play a Rumor quest. I hate this card.
My point is that this game is very challenging for the OL if your heroes know what they are doing. Therefore, you cannot afford to miss any opportunity to upgrade, and you cannot afford to play quests that will allow your heroes to kick your butt even harder. I am not playing games competitively normally, but I have to with this one. This aside, I am having a blast and wouldn't be here if I hadn't, but this game can be frustrating at times. How many times did I lose because of a dice roll?
This is my take: the Act I rumor relics do a great deal helping the heroes smooth up the transition to Act II. I found that my heroes had good enough equipment to cope with the first Act II monsters and I did have a hell of a work to do during the interlude.
As the OL considering Rumor quests, I would make sure:
- the Heroes do not get out of control with the extra gold (you addressed that point)
- the Heroes do not get a shopping phase for this quest
- Everybody gets 1XP even if you lose
- I get more XP or a useful OL card reward if I win. Or "take a class II card of your choice and add it to your deck". THAT would be nice.
I have been toying with the idea of designing upgrade cards to monsters. Since people complain that only having act I and act II versions doesn't scale well enough with the heroes' constant upgrade process. Like, having a deck with cards with one-shot effects saying things like this:
- This monsters gets 1 extra move point this turn.
- This monster starts the encounter with an additional +2 Health.
- This monsters gets 2 extra damage for the next attack.
- Name a condition and select a monster at the beginning of an encounter. Target monster is immune to this condition for the rest of the encounter.
- This monster heals up to 3 damage this turn.
- Select a monster adjacent to a hero. This monster steals 50 gold from the Heroes and is allowed to escape through the Entrance/Exit. If defeated, return the gold.
- Same as above with an unequipped item from the hero the monster steals from.
- Same as above with a search item/potion.
- This monster can attack with one additional green dice this turn.
- This monster gains an additional brown dice for defense during this encounter.
Etc. Following this logic, I would be happy to get hold of some of these upgrades as part of rumor quests. Like XP, I get to draw one upgrade card regardless of who won, then maybe +1/+2 if I win.
Plot cards are messier to fix. They don't integrate well to the game and probably need to be addressed within their own mechanism. But maybe an emblem as a reward saying: "during an encounter, play any plot card for 0 threat cost and discard this emblem". That would be interesting.
But of course, we are looking at some much bigger changes compared to the ones you described. I just fear that only fixing the gold issue would give an excuse for the Heroes to force the playgroup to assimilate these quests, although the Overlord still has no good reason to play them even with your change taken into account.
Edited by Indalecio, 12 May 2014 - 07:31 AM.