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Scaling Issues in Campaign (# of Heroes)


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#1 Styfen

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Posted 11 August 2012 - 10:06 PM

 I'm playing as the hero player in a 2 player campaign at the moment and I'm really struggling to gain any traction.  We're about to start the next encounter and currently the situation is this:

First Blood - Hero win with 1 Search Card Gained (Ettin blocked off second one and as the scenario ended when I killed it - hard cheese).

Masquerade Ball - OL Win (Decisive Loss, 3 Search Cards gained, one was blank, couldn't reach the fourth search card before Lady Farrow escaped)

A Fat Goblin - OL Win (Another Decisive Loss, I didn't even get close to killing Spig.  3 Search Cards Gained).

I'm sucking hard on items, most of the time the cards flipped have revealed items I can't afford for the most part, so I've had to make do with what I can get. and it's made me start wondering about the scaling in the campaign.


2 Heroes is giving me potentially 4 searches per quest (normally works out that I can reach 3 of them within the time limit the scenarios have set out),  that's roughly 35 gold per successful search (on average, not taking into account the item result).  Most of the items are priced at 75 or higher and you only get to reveal 3 cards with 2 heroes.  Results in lowered quality of items to consider and lowered buying power for them.

 

More heroes puts more search tokens down in the scenario, increasing the potential earnings (if you can reach them), which improves the odds of hitting that sweet extra item card (and the dreaded nothing card) AND it gives more shopping items after the quest, which increases the chance of improving the party in a significant fashion (Exp advances is only half of the party improvement schedule).  Additionally, I'm just gaining 2 standard experience per scenario for the party vs the OL's 1, obviously with more heroes this increases to 3 vs 1 and 4 vs 1 exp gain.  

 

I'm currently feeling that the campaign is not well balanced for 2 heroes as my progression speed is very low, true there are less monsters to deal with in each scenario but with less heroes I'm unable to undertake blocking actions and any failed tests or knock downs have significantly more impact because I'm losing 50% of my party for a turn.  

 

We're going to try with 3 heroes and 4 heroes to see what the sweet spot is, but I'm definitely not feeling that the campaign was balanced for 2 heroes - especially as I'm about to start the 3rd Quest with virtually no gear (Next time we'll play with more heroes).  Has anyone else played with 2 or 3 heroes and are they having a rough time of it or am I just suffering a statistical anomaly? 



#2 Rico

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Posted 12 August 2012 - 03:53 AM

Nah, your points are totally valid. Honestly, I only have been playing two-hero runs as individual quests and using the Advanced or Expert Level rules. I have been running Campaigns with four heros. Maybe try setting a House Rule to double all gold values (including quest rewards) for two-hero Campaigns?  Or maybe allow your heros to pick their store items from any in the deck? Either way, you should post your thoughts on the FAQ thread so it's on FFG's radar to address.



#3 any2cards

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Posted 12 August 2012 - 04:47 AM

Styfen said:

We're going to try with 3 heroes and 4 heroes to see what the sweet spot is, but I'm definitely not feeling that the campaign was balanced for 2 heroes - especially as I'm about to start the 3rd Quest with virtually no gear (Next time we'll play with more heroes).  Has anyone else played with 2 or 3 heroes and are they having a rough time of it or am I just suffering a statistical anomaly? 

We just finished playing a 4 hero campaign.  The 5 of us are all experienced gamers, and have played well over 500 hours of Descent 1e.  The OL is the most experienced gamer of all of us.

Nevertheless, the Heros won First Blood, and then DID NOT WIN another quest.  We did win several first parts of a 2 part encounter, but never won the second part, so we never actually won the overall quest.  We also lost the Interlude and the Finale.

Now we did choose to do something different than most of the players on this board.  Both the OL and the Heroes went into each and every quest within the campaign blind.  Meaning, none of us read anything within the quest book until we actually were on that quest.  As this was the very first quest, we wanted to be surprised by the various quests.

In addition, we made a pretty significant mistake early on in not always getting all of the search cards that we could, and subsequently their gold value, because we somehow assumed that later quests may have more gold, award gold for winning, etc.  This was not the case.

In retrospect, seeing the amount of gold in the game (or lack thereof), the next time we play, we will have to make a concerted effort to get all of the gold we can.  We entered Act II with relatively poor weapons and armor compared to the Act II monsters/lieutenants we faced.  As a result, things seemed to snowball on us as we lost one quest after another.

We are keeping an open mind, and thinking about the choices we made for heroes, skills, etc.  Hopefully the next campaign goes better.  We were actually wondering if things were more balanced in a 2 or 3 hero quest, but at least for the small sample you have provided, apparently not.



#4 Sythion

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Posted 12 August 2012 - 05:27 AM

I played a few games solo with an OL that plays following some general rules (which I sometimes break for his benefit). I'm trying to use as much OL cheese as possible, but I'm getting hero victories that are fairly surprising. I've gotten unlucky equipment too, and have only purchased a leather armor. I think part of it is my combo, which is Jain Thief and Dwarf Knight, which is an absolutely broken combo. Jain can get wherever she wants and Dwarf can teleport to her and triple hit an adjacent enemy.

Here's the details:

Castle Darion 1 - When I first played this with 3 other players against an OL we lost insanely bad, but that was partially due to us not catching an error on the OLs part where he blocked us from even entering the door on the first turn with Shadow Dragons (which are broken as hell, btw). This time I ran Shadow dragons in the first room and Flesh Moulders in the top. I got all but one of my peasants in the "safe room" with both doors shut, and the third only got a single shot off. Meanwhile, I set Dwarf to guard the entrance of the "safe room" from the dragon and Jain ran around at super speed grabbing every objective with free rerolls. Won on turn 4 after losing only one peasant.

I didn't see any problems with scaling here. There's just one single viable strategy that has to be played.

Castle Darion 2 - I'm not sure if the extra zombies would have made the difference here. I had the OL try to block the entrance with goblin archers (only option that gave me enough to enclose the area) which worked for a turn due to prepped defensive cards, then block the rubble with an Ettin. The ettin fell pretty quick to triple attacking teleport Dwarf, and the rest could just not muster enough damage to even remotely hurt Alric. I think he took 11 HP before Alric and master goblin archer fell on the first turn.

This level definitely needs to have Alric scale with the number of players, since less players means less damage to Alric AND more difficulty blocking the heroes out. My suggestion is to have him start with HP = 8 * numerOfPlayers.

Masquerade 1 - This was a surprisingly good game. The guests ended up being east and south, which was largely to the OL's advantage. One guest was impossible to save, but the second we blocked the exit when Elvira was 1 square away from exiting. Unfortunately I rolled a 2 on the white dice, so I guess I didn't save host. Oh well, turns out not to matter.

Masquerade 2 - This was a joke. I ran up with Jain, killed the spider guarding the door (needed a power potion), unlocked the door, then spent my last fatigue point to get adjacent to Elvira (boss spider took up the rest). Dwarf spends 2 fatigue to move and another to teleport triple attack to insta-gib her.

This level needs to have Elvira stand further to the East of the map. It could have been a good game if I couldn't reach her on the first turn.

A Fat Goblin 1  - This went about as expected, everyone rushed the wheat, and each side got 2. Possibly could have stopped the third, but left dwarf behind to get treasure, and Merriod locked him in.

A Fat Goblin 2 - This was surprisingly an OL victory, but partially due to some crazy luck and bad play. I mis-played my dwarf, which let Jain get trapped behind a Shadow Dragon she had no chance to kill. Not to be deterred, my dwarf reached the prison on the second turn, and attempted to kill the goblins (Which would amount to an instant win, since no one could teleport them). Unfortunately he missed twice, and the OL pulled two tripwires and a pit, effectively keeping him there. Correct prisoner was found on the second turn, and the walk out was unopposed.



#5 LordUrban

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Posted 12 August 2012 - 06:52 AM

My friends and I are also having trouble running two heros against the OL. My friend and I who are playing the heros always make sure to play for the objective. However it seems like the OL is always halfway to completeing his goal before we can intervine. It seems like the senarios start out as the OL's to lose rather than an even contest. It is very possible though that us hero players are missing some very obvious tactics. I would apreciated any pointers folks want to throw out.



#6 Rico

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Posted 12 August 2012 - 02:19 PM

Sythion please clarify your uber combo. The dwarf Knight has one triple attack that I am aware of. Oath Of Honor attack requires an action to be spent and you burn your heroic feat. Also, Jain's move twice and attack heroic feat is just that - a heroic feat can only be played once per encounter. One-time abilities are not unbalanced. You used them at the right moment and your one attempt to use them worked well. Good strategy. But you can't use that Combe more than once per encounter. 



#7 Styfen

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Posted 13 August 2012 - 06:35 AM

Thanks for replying guys, I'm glad it wasn't just misplay or bad luck that is making this so difficult.  I'll just have to keep plugging on till the bitter end and see how things turn out. 



#8 MasterBeastman

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 02:20 AM

Sythion said:

Masquerade 2 - This was a joke. I ran up with Jain, killed the spider guarding the door (needed a power potion), unlocked the door, then spent my last fatigue point to get adjacent to Elvira (boss spider took up the rest). Dwarf spends 2 fatigue to move and another to teleport triple attack to insta-gib her.

This level needs to have Elvira stand further to the East of the map. It could have been a good game if I couldn't reach her on the first turn.

You forgot to spawn the monsters in that room when the door opens. Those monsters are supposed to block your first turn attacks on Eliza.



#9 Rico

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 05:02 AM

Good point on the monster spawn, I assumed the OL was not versed in blocking techniques and allowed the heros to slip past. In which case the OP made a sweet tactical move and shame on the OL for not realizing how open he had left his Lt. However, if no monsters were placed at all, then bad form overall. Either way, the duo of Jain and Grisbane is far from broken - the dwarf has to be within three spaces to use OOH so the mobility issues that arise from using Jain's full 20 space Feat + Fatigue Burn coupled with Grisbane's 7 total movement points (with reserve for Feat) defeats the purpose. If you're using Jain's feat to gain an extra attack with some movement then fair enough, but she would still need to be within three spaces of Gris for him to be effective with OOH. His skill works great to bypass blocking monsters, but he still has severe mobility issues the player must deal with.






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