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An Open Letter to Caleb Grace - More Secrecy Please!


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#1 Titanium

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 12:32 PM

I’d like to cast my vote in support of developing the secrecy mechanic.  I think it is an intriguing concept, but not currently viable on a consistent basis with the available cards.  In addition to more secrecy cards, we need a few external changes to help this mechanic enter prime time.  Going forward, fewer enemies under 20 engagement cost would be preferable.  Since most non-secrecy decks start out above 20 threat, all the existing enemies with engagement costs in the teens are really overkill in my opinion.  We also need more ways to reduce threat outside of the spirit sphere, so secrecy decks aren’t so dependent on it.

As far as the types of secrecy cards I’d like to see in the future, I think we need more ways to eliminate enemies in the staging area or negate their threat.  Unengaged enemies can pile up threat or overwhelm the non-secrecy players at the table.  The secrecy players need a better way to contribute to the fight, directly or indirectly. I think “Hidden Strike”, “Ranger Spikes”, “Hands Upon the Bow,” and “Great Yew Bow” are AWESOME, and I’d love to see more like that.  I’d like to see cards that allow you to evade and sneak by enemies and put them back in the encounter deck or discard pile.  This type of thing may already be in the works – I certainly hope so!

Thanks for a great game.



#2 Ellareth

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 12:45 PM

I don't get why people think Secrecy is dead.

Secrecy was introduced during 1st Adventure pack of Dwarrowdelf Cycle
and last Secrecy card was seen in 6th (last) Adventure pack of Dwarrowdelf Cycle.

We haven't had any 'regular' releases so far.
Laketown = PoD
Hobbit = Saga expansion
HoN = Delux expansion (Khazad-Dum did not contain any secrecy cards neither)

While Secrecy decks are certainly weak at the moment, I wouldn't be surprised (infact I expect) to see new secrecy cards once the proper cycle begins.

P.S. I would like to see an attachment that will add 20 to enemy's engagement cost while making engagement check with player whoes threat is 20 or below.



#3 Gizlivadi

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 01:13 PM

Are we seriously writing a letter to Caleb Grace? In that case, we should also make clear many people in the fanbase (including me) think that the current quests are absurdly difficult, especially when playing solo. We should ask him to design easier quests that can actually be beaten by new players without having to buy everything else that has been previously released apart from the core set. Also, I think it's an important point (especially for lore fans) to give locations a better and bigger role and not just make them quest "boosters" that loom in the horizon until they are explored as quickly as possible to avoid negative effects. I will post more points I deem important as they come up. I will try to contribute as much as I can if it has to do with making this game better.


"A straight road lay westward, now it is bent."


#4 Dain Ironfoot

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 04:52 PM

The HoN quests are significantly easier solo, not more difficult (note that I'm not saying they are easy solo - just easier). And you can't please all the people, all the time. Most were screaming for harder quests and now that we have them, people want easier quests - can't have it both ways!

As for newer players, I get the critiicism, but there has to be a way to keep the long time players engaged and interested, and easier quests are probably not the way.

Also, while I understand the desire for more secrecy, I'd not expect it to return this cycle, as the cycle has already been designed (they are designed about a year out, IIRC) and Caleb didn't have a ton (if anything) to do with HoN.



#5 Titanium

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 05:48 PM

I don't think Secrecy is dead; it just hasn't been implemented so far in a manner that lends itself to viable decks, and I really hope that changes soon.  As a case in point, Secrecy was trumpeted early on with a series of articles entitled, "Sneaking Past the Watcher in the Water."  When the "Watcher" scenario came out, however, it had at least 12 enemies with engagement costs below 20 (including 8 enemies at 12!), and three "Doomed 5" Treachery cards (Disturbed Waters).  What a tease!  No Secrecy deck at the time could avoid the 12-point enemies, nor would it remain below 20 threat for long  with "Disturbed Waters" popping up.

Exacerbating the problem, the preponderance of Secrecy cards are in the Leadership and Lore spheres, while the majority of threat reduction cards (vital to maintaining Secrecy) are in the Spirit sphere.  The Lore version of Argaorn could have been an exception, but at  a whopping 12 starting threat, most of the other heroes you can pair him with will put you uncomfortably near or above the magic number of 20.

Without many options for dealing with enemies in the staging area or engaged to other players, it often feels like the Secrecy players can't pull their own weight when they are teamed with non-Secrecy players.

Despite these problems, I think there is a lot of potential for the Secrecy mechanic.  Therefore, I have offered some thoughts as to how it could become truly viable as a deckbuilding strategy.

As to the extreme difficulty of the scenarios, I have to agree.  It can be very discouraging to get completely trounced when trying to introduce new players to the game!   I think the best solution would be scalable difficulty levels for each scenario, which could be achieved through encounter card substitutions.



#6 leptokurt

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 11:55 PM

I can only support Titanium's request. I'd really like to see more secrecy allies. I also wouldn't mind a resource phase action like "lower your threat by X points during this phase".



#7 GrandSpleen

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 01:04 AM

Secrecy decks ought to have "Doomed" insurance.



#8 lleimmoen

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 01:21 AM

Dain Ironfoot said:

The HoN quests are significantly easier solo, not more difficult (note that I'm not saying they are easy solo - just easier). And you can't please all the people, all the time. Most were screaming for harder quests and now that we have them, people want easier quests - can't have it both ways!

Yeah, many people also wanted quests to become as hard coop as they were solo. I have been saying for a while some of the quests had already been harder coop (I feel some of the criticism was based on a lack of experience in coop); but HoN has certainly gone that way, big time.

And yes, so many people were wishing for harder quests overall, and now we got that. The problem is that some of the set ups are so rediculous (which is totally similar to Dol Guldur solo) that you don't really feel the challenge, you just lose very quickly. However, perhaps we shall see cards that will be able to deal with such cases…

As for secrecy, what the strategy really needs, I feel, is allies. Allies that cost 3 or 4 but have 2 or 3 secrecy discount. It is allies that can step into the shoes of the missing hero(s). Right now the only secrecy good enough to challenge non-secrecy decks is the three-hero with Glorfindel. And the options for those decks are very limited.



#9 Gizlivadi

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 05:35 AM

Titanium said:

 I think the best solution would be scalable difficulty levels for each scenario, which could be achieved through encounter card substitutions.

I think that this, along with making maybe not more difficutl, but more "innovative" quests, will solve a big part of this problem, making new players able to beat the quests while also keeping old players interested.


"A straight road lay westward, now it is bent."


#10 Dain Ironfoot

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 06:59 AM

Titanium said:

As to the extreme difficulty of the scenarios, I have to agree.  It can be very discouraging to get completely trounced when trying to introduce new players to the game!   I think the best solution would be scalable difficulty levels for each scenario, which could be achieved through encounter card substitutions.

Also, experienced players should never use HoN to introduce players to the game, just as Massing or Lake-town shouldn't be used either. Or Shadow and Flame, or ….. I could go on and on.

That is what the Core Set is for - it's the intro to the game!

Of course, other quests could be used - but you really want to pick something as straightforward as possible, following the base rules (i.e. not questing with ATK or DEF strength as your initial intro to the game).

Additionally, the rule book states that new(er) players can choose not to deal enemies Shadow cards as they engage with a player. While some might feel like that's "cheapening" the game (or something), but it's certainly a better way for new(er) players, who only have a few APs, the Core Set, and HoN to tackle these newer quests.



#11 GrandSpleen

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 11:27 AM

Dain Ironfoot said:

 

Also, experienced players should never use HoN to introduce players to the game, just as Massing or Lake-town shouldn't be used either. Or Shadow and Flame, or ….. I could go on and on.

 

I think the easier Khazad-dum quest is a great intro (The Seventh Level right?  The one with the book).  Great theme, lots of little goblins to chew up, and it's not hard. 



#12 benhanses

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 11:49 AM

Ellareth said:

P.S. I would like to see an attachment that will add 20 to enemy's engagement cost while making engagement check with player whoes threat is 20 or below.

Not sure this would be effective as an attachment.  Would need to be an effect of some sort…  As an attachment, it would have to be played in the planning ans resource phase BEFORE any enemies were revelaed during the quest phase.  This means you'd have to wait to the following P&R phase to play the attachment.  By that time the theoretical enemy would probably have already engaged. attacked, etc.

 

 


"... but I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend...."       -Faramir, The Lord of the Rings, Book IV, The Window of the West)

 

"Since it is so likely that children will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage."     - C.S. Lewis


#13 benhanses

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 11:54 AM

… but for the record, I am very much in favor of developing Secrecy  MUCH more than it already has been.  I think most of us at least thought the idea was a decent alternative mechanic.  It just feels like a great TV show that had a great pilot episode then went nowhere….  It's not like it's gonna happen RIGHT now or all in one AP.  But they gotta give us something to convince us they aren't just abondoning the idea all-together…  They've fed us small morsels trying to keep our hopes up…


"... but I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend...."       -Faramir, The Lord of the Rings, Book IV, The Window of the West)

 

"Since it is so likely that children will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage."     - C.S. Lewis


#14 Beano

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 12:08 PM

Definitely agree. Secrecy is key word should be used much more often, even if it is a modest 1 or 2 discount. And we absolutely need more threat reduction options in general as well as non-Spirit spheres (although I'll note that the most resource efficient threat reduction is in the leadership sphere . . . sneak attack gandalf)



#15 Titanium

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 12:55 PM

Dain Ironfoot said:

Also, experienced players should never use HoN to introduce players to the game, just as Massing or Lake-town shouldn't be used either. Or Shadow and Flame, or ….. I could go on and on.

That is what the Core Set is for - it's the intro to the game!

 

 

Certainly, but after a while you get tired of "Passage Through Mirkwood"  :)  I ran into problems when friends, understandably inspired by the movie, insisted on trying out the game with the Hobbit Saga quests. Needless to say, we were pounded into a pulp by the trolls.

IMHO, any quest of difficulty 4 or less ought to be suitable, but that is definitely NOT the case in reality.

If FFG could pull it off, truly scalable difficulty levels (not just skipping shadow cards) would be pretty remarkable for a game like this…



#16 NotAZombie

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 05:28 PM

I have actually made a reasonably successful solo secrecy deck, (not amazing, but it holds its own). Single hero is elrond, using almost all the secrecy cards (not O Elebreth, Githonel! (SP?)) and maybe one other. I've only played it a couple times, but with Resourfulness, Vilya, Imladris Stargazer, Light of Valinor, and…  (can't remember the name) that spirit attachment that readies attached hero, it manages to pull enough allies (spendy ones too with Vilya! Think Gildor, Beorn, ect…) and other cards to stay afloat till it needs to start making real progress and killing enemies.



#17 Dain Ironfoot

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 08:07 PM

Beano said:

 

Definitely agree. Secrecy is key word should be used much more often, even if it is a modest 1 or 2 discount. And we absolutely need more threat reduction options in general as well as non-Spirit spheres (although I'll note that the most resource efficient threat reduction is in the leadership sphere . . . sneak attack gandalf)

 

 

As soon as other spheres start to be able to reduce threat, the spheres begin to lose their distinctiveness, perhaps to the point that there might be little need to even have spheres. To be sure, we've had sphere "bleed" already, and it's probably inevitable, but I'd prefer Spirit be the sphere that excels at threat management.

That's not to say other spheres can't dabble in it, but by no means should they be as manipulative of threat as Spirit.



#18 Noccus

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 08:54 PM

Hi, I’m quite new to the game, I’ve played it only a couple of times, but from what I’ve seen there are several cards that will work great in a secrecy deck; without the secrecy ability.

I can’t list all I’ve seen from the top of my head, but for example:

Peace and thought. For 1 resource you get to draw 5 cards.

Drawback is that you have to exhaust 2 hero’s.

Ok. So if you’re thread is low enough nothing will engage you from the staging area right?

(again, I’m new to the game so correct me if I’m wrong.)

So you basicly get to draw 5 cards for 1 resoucre without any danger. Sounds good to me!

 

I haven’t tried a secrecy deck yet , but from what I’ve seen it should work especially fine in multi-player. What I’m thinking is Lore + Leadership. Your buddies keep the monsters engaged and you draw cards and heal with Lore, and dish out Leadership cards to your buddies without anything engaging you.

 

In short, my idea when I went over the cards for a secrecxy deck was that a secrecy deck uses secrecy cards as a added bonus. There are cards without secrecy that would work great in a deck build for it, making a worth playable deck in multi-player.

 

Off-topic:

This is my first post, though I’ve been lurking for a while.

Because of the friendly community responses in all threads I decided to join J

Anyway, I’d like to ask a question.

I have a idea for the game, but I haven’t seen a forum to post/discuss playerbase suggestions.

Where should/can I do that?


"Not all those who wander are lost"

#19 leptokurt

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 07:19 AM

Noccus said:

Hi, I’m quite new to the game, I’ve played it only a couple of times, but from what I’ve seen there are several cards that will work great in a secrecy deck; without the secrecy ability.

I can’t list all I’ve seen from the top of my head, but for example:

Peace and thought. For 1 resource you get to draw 5 cards.

Drawback is that you have to exhaust 2 hero’s.

Ok. So if you’re thread is low enough nothing will engage you from the staging area right?

(again, I’m new to the game so correct me if I’m wrong.)

So you basicly get to draw 5 cards for 1 resoucre without any danger. Sounds good to me!

 

I haven’t tried a secrecy deck yet , but from what I’ve seen it should work especially fine in multi-player. What I’m thinking is Lore + Leadership. Your buddies keep the monsters engaged and you draw cards and heal with Lore, and dish out Leadership cards to your buddies without anything engaging you.

 

In short, my idea when I went over the cards for a secrecxy deck was that a secrecy deck uses secrecy cards as a added bonus. There are cards without secrecy that would work great in a deck build for it, making a worth playable deck in multi-player.

 

Off-topic:

This is my first post, though I’ve been lurking for a while.

Because of the friendly community responses in all threads I decided to join J

Anyway, I’d like to ask a question.

I have a idea for the game, but I haven’t seen a forum to post/discuss playerbase suggestions.

Where should/can I do that?

 

Hi there!

 

I tried to play with Peace, and Thought in some of my decks, but I used it only on a few occasions. I am playing solo, and I'm certain this card might be more handy in a multiplayer game. However , in most of the cases this card makes no sense anyway. To play this card in a secrecy deck you need 1) a lore hero which 2) has a low threat. That's Bifur, Ori, Bilbo and Denethor. Ori and Bilbo already offer advanced card draw, and Bifur can make use of Legacy of Durin to get you more cards.

But the main point is that there already exists are card that is better than PaT - A Very Good Tale. That is a card that should be in every secrecy deck. Ok, it is  card that should be in every deck. And there is of course Ancient Mathom which can also provide you with some cards.

If you want to use PaT you sould probably include a Hobbit hero, as they can easily be readied with a Fast Hitch at the start of the next round.



#20 Raven1015

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 03:15 PM

I support there being more secrecy, if for no other reason than it bugs me to have a mechanic in the game that is essentially unfinished.

 


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