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Everything posted by Runix

  1. There are plenty of ways to get past [Terror] icons for insanity effects - Scotophobia is the go-to card for Hastur for that. A couple of other good cards in the same vein are The Enchanted Wood and The Rays of Dawn (I particularly like the latter, as most characters with [Terror] have only one, and Hastur has a large number of unique characters). Sweet Dreams is good but situational (and doesn't combo with The Rays of Dawn particularly well!) Willpower is a lot more difficult to remove - Hastur (Carcosa) is the best and really the only option, as Keeper of Dreams is hard to find and annoyingly unreliable. There are also some alternatives for rendering text boxes blank, but most of them are not all that useful, e.g., like The Bootleg Whiskey Cover-up and The Night. Best option for Hastur against Willpower-heavy decks like Agency is to cross fingers and hope to hang in there until the Lord of Carcosa shows up. I also like the new Carl "turned over a new leaf and not evil any more" Stanford. He basically has a built-in T'tka Halot, but one that requires a resource rather than exhaustion, which is nice, as it means he's available for the story phase. More Spell/Ritual recursion on the way - ST/Yog decks will definitely benefit. The elimination of cost reductions will also be really nice against Shub decks and against MU decks, which now have even more cost reduction than they did previously.
  2. Taking control of Jamburg is not a great option, as he's useful only after the Dimensional Rift has blown the world up - so the player is going to keep him in his hand until after that, and very likely will pick up him before the end of his turn, and quite simply, there just aren't the cards available to take control of a character in the enemy player's turn. The most straightforward solution is to cancel the event. But that's really only an option for Hastur - Power Drain and Performance Artist will both work fine, as they cancel the effect but not the sacrifice of the Rift, which is part of the cost. After that, it becomes a matter of who can get the cards out of the discard pile faster (Hastur already has Alyssa Graham for that, but now has a Prophecy that allows them to recycle the discard pile with ease, so it's not a guarantee that the Jamburg/Rift player will win the race). Rendering Jamburg insane would also work. That would either delay the combo for a turn, or for longer than that with something like Song of Suffering. But again, that's really only an option for Hastur. Using an Event of some sort to destroy Jamburg as soon as he comes out would work, at least for Cthulhu with Deep One Assault, although other factions may have similar options. For delaying tactics, Master of the Myths would work, and Dreamlands Fanatic could also make things interesting. There are also some very situational solutions. Cthulhu Serpent decks would laugh at this combo - the discard pile is a perfectly fine place for Serpents to be, as the Cthulhu player can spring Uroborus at no cost, and can bring back the whole lot with one Sibilant Cry. For Miskatonic, Professor Nathaniel Peaslee would shut this combo down with little effort. Library of Pergamum plus any Tome in play would work decently well. In the new expansion, The Claret Knight is totally immune to triggered effects (not just targeted effects), so would presumably survive these sort of "mutually assured destruction" combinations; plus, he's neutral, so he goes into any deck, and he can beat Jamburg in a 1v1 story matchup. (I wish the Disk of Itzamna worked the same way, but since it mentions the attached character being the target of a triggered effect, I don't think it does.) Overall, though, I think the best solution would be more tools for shutting down discard pile fishing. All we really had previously was Snow Graves (and some more limited use cards like Trophy Room); but Atlantis from the new set gives the player a lot more control over the other side's discard pile, so I think the game designers are actively thinking about this problem, and may have other solutions going forward.
  3. StrangeLibrarian said: I've recently picked up the game again after a few years of hiatus, and I'm also looking for starter advice. I've been thinking about building a hastur/miskatonic deck (more forthematic reasons than anything else, to be honest). Anyone got any tips or pointers? If Hastur/Miskatonic is the direction you want to go, then definitely pick up Seekers of Knowledge - it's mostly Miskatonic cards, but as I noted in the General Discussion thread, there are some strong options that combo well with Hastur. Misk U now has a lot of abilities that not only deal with insanity, but even benefit from it. "Double yellow" Hastur/MU decks should definitely be viable now. Beyond that, I would recommend Beyond Tartarus, which has Stygian Eye - a critical card for any Hastur deck - and Archaeology Interns and Mask of Sthenelus, two very good cards for MU. The Ancient Relics Cycle and the Revelations Cycle generally have strong cards for Hastur and MU, although which individual packs to get will depend on what specific strategy you are trying to develop.
  4. Off topic, but I never really understood the interest in Arkham Horror - yes, it's thematic, but underneath the theme, it's basically Clue of Cthulhu (Mansions of Madness even more so - if it doesn't have a Lead Pipe and a Candlestick, it really should). I actually like Elder Sign a bit better, even though, yeah, it's just Yahtzee-sothoth. Both are more or less rehashed classic boardgames with a whole lot of complexity piled on top, but at least Elder Sign is fast. On topic, I also am curious as to composition of winning decks - very interested what the dominant metagame at the moment is.
  5. Interesting - Ipiutak definitely has some clear uses (it's a very handy anti-destruction card, for one), but I'm intrigued by why you think it's so useful. One interesting thing I am seeing as I'm looking through MU's cards - they have a couple of Lunatic types and some "drive this character insane" effects. While most of MU's cards are oriented toward making mono-MU not just viable but strong, there's also some significant thought given to making double-yellow decks (Hastur/MU) viable. E.g.: Catacombs Docent 2 [A] 2 Faculty. Lunatic. Response: After a character you control is made insane, drive Catacombs Docent insane to add 1 success token to a story with less than 4 success tokens on your side. As a broader theme, it appears that they're trying to build out a Lunatic-central strategy for Hastur (with some help from MU, as per the above card). Hastur's big card for the expansion is: * N'yog-Sothep (The Nameless Mist) 5 [T] [T] [A] [A] 5 Ancient One. Invulnerability. Villainous. Forced Response: After a non-Lunatic character is restored, it goes insane unless its controller pays 1. That's just asking for a deck built around Lunatics and insanity effects. I've got to get to bed, but one last card - and it's a big one. For Agency: * The Company (Arm of the Shadow Government) 4 [C] [C] [C] 5 Government. Heroic. Willpower. Government characters gain Toughness +1. I don't often play Agency decks, but if I did I think that that would be the first card I would include.
  6. So in case you're wondering, yes, this is my "oh look at me I just ran out and got Seekers of Knowledge before the rest of you" post. Quick verdict: this is a great expansion, no question about it. Yes, it's very much focused on Miskatonic University - and honestly, with 37 (!!!) MU cards, it's a must-have expansion for anyone even halfway serious about MU - but there's a lot of great stuff for every faction. And let me say it: the artwork is gorgeous. Good job to the artists - some of the cards look so good I'll be looking for excuses to include them in decks. By the numbers, although FFG may have already released them - 37 MU cards, 2 for each other faction, and 4 neutrals. But for non-MU players, there actually is some really good stuff, as each of the factions get a Prophecy along with another very solid thematic card. But the real gold in the expansion for non-MU players, in my opinion, is the neutrals. There are only four of them, but they are solid, and fit into a lot of deck compositions. I actually think the composition of the expansion works really well. With an absolutely huge allotment of cards for MU, the designers had a lot of freedom in exploring the faction and adding a lot of useful tools to their tool chest. Also, the composition allowed for some neutral characters to be added, which is great, we hadn't seen significant numbers of them in a while. And while it may look like the other factions are getting short shrift, that just isn't the case - each gets a couple of cards that really amp up faction-specific characteristics. The days of Asylum Packs with two or three "safe", somewhat generic cards for each faction are definitely gone. The designers have a lot more freedom with this new format, and they're using it to good effect. I simply can't preview all the cards, because honestly, 37 MU cards alone, really. But MU gets a whole slate of 2- and 3-cost characters, with a good representation of 0- and 1-cost to supplement. Most are relatively weak in isolation, but have lots of cool little abilities that work really well together. I particularly like this fellow: * Lucas Tetlow (Eternal Curator) 2 [C] [A] 2 Faculty. Invulnerability. Disrupt: When a player would play a non-Location support card, discard one of your success tokens from a story to instead put that card into play under your control, as if you had just played it from hand. What's that, a Khopesh of the Abyss? Why yes, we already have one in the collection. And then there's this great card (anyone who's been one will appreciate it): Overworked Graduate Student 1 [A] [A] 0 Faculty. Student. The cost of the first Research card you play each turn is reduced by 2 (to a minimum of 1). Action: Exhaust Overworked Graduate Student to reduce the cost of the next Student or Faculty character you play this phase by 1. This is just one of several cards that boost Student and Faculty sub-types, so Student and/or Faculty themed decks are a very good option; here's another: Campus Security Guard 3 [C] 3 Faculty. Toughness +2. Disrupt: When a Student or Faculty character would be wounded because of a [C] struggle, instead wound Campus Security Guard. Disrupt: Discard Campus Security Guard from your hand to prevent a Student or Faculty character from going insane. One new (I think) sub-type introduced is the Lost Civilization, a new type of Support card. I think they already previewed Atlantis, so here's another: * Mu (Cradle of Civilization) 1 Lost Civilization. Response: After you lose an icon struggle, exhaust Mu to restore 1 character or remove 1 wound token from 1 character. OK, I don't really want this post to go on forever, so let me get to the really good stuff: the neutral cards. I really like them all, so here they are. * The Claret Knight (Her Sworn Champion) 3 [T] [C] [A] 1 Servitor. Immune to triggered effects. Response: After a Tactic card is played, ready The Claret Knight. * Aliki Zoni Uperetria (Resourceful Servant) 3 [C] [A] 3 Servitor. Response: After Aliki Zoni Uperetria exhausts to commit to a story, choose and drain 1 domain. * Amaranth (Opener of Ways) 3 [C] [C] [A] 3 Conspirator. Servitor. Amaranth may commit to conspiracy cards while exhausted. Response: After you succeed at a story where Amaranth is committed, search your deck for a conspiracy card and add it to your hand. Then, shuffle your deck. * Er'nrawr (Death and Entropy Manifest) 5 [T] [T] [C] [C] [A] 5 Ancient One. Invulnerability. Fast. Er'nrawr's text box cannot be blanked or treated as if it were blank. At the beginning of a player's turn, that player must wound a character he controls or drain one of his domains. I don't have room for each of the other faction cards, but let me do both of Syndicate's; as with the other non-MU factions it's only two cards, but I can see them going in a lot of decks. Hanyatl's 12:3 ("The horn blew and the hordes came.") 0 [steadfast: 1 Syndicate] Prophecy. Play during any player's draw phase. Action: Place this card face up on your deck. Response: After a character has its skill lowered by a card effect, discard Hanyatl's 12:3 from the top of your deck to put a [syndicate] character into play from your hand. * Peter Clover (Playing the Odds) 3 [C] [C] 3 Criminal. Action: Choose a character committed to a story and reveal the top card of your deck. If the cost of the revealed card is lower than the cost of the chosen character, uncommit that character. Then, either put the revealed card on the bottom of your deck or discard it. (Limit once per story, per turn.) That's an amazing card - just being able to shut out high-cost characters from the story phase is great, but with a Bootlegging Operation running at the same time . . . A couple of other random notes: Polar is back! Several Polar keyword cards included. Also, a couple of Day/Night themed cards, so they're not forgetting that either. A fair number of characters that interact with Prophecy cards (not surprising), and a whole lot of Explorer themes with cool effects. Oh, and a short story included! Anyway, I'm short on time so that will have to be it for tonight. Hopefully this helps people get a feel for the expansion.
  7. Welcome, DIVM! For next purchases, I would definitely consider Secrets of Arkham, which will really open up deck-building possibilities - it has a good distribution of strong cards for all six of the basic factions. Beyond that, the Yuggoth Cycle is a good place to start - again, a good distribution of relatively strong cards for the six basic factions, and you already have the first pack (Whispers in the Dark) for that cycle. Just a note, one of the deluxe expansions adds a new faction - Order of the Silver Twilight - and the expansion packs beyond it all include cards for it. If you don't yet havethat expansion, those cards won't be particularly useful. Even so, I really like the last couple of cycles, including Ancient Relics (you have the first one of that, The Shifting Sands) and Revelations, both of which have some very important, game-changing cards. I would be cautious about picking up any cards from the Dreamlands cycle - that cycle was printed under an older card distribution format, where you don't get three of each card, which can be annoying. Also, it's out of print and not easy to find, although there is a chance it may be reprinted (hopefully with the new 3x format). If you're a determined collector, you can still find Dreamlands cycle packs out there, but I would put them at the bottom of the list for priorities.
  8. I picked this up the other day, as I take an interest in novel game designs and the previews were intriguing. My initial thoughts on it follow; bear in mind that I've only played solo games to this point and (obviously) only cards from the Core Set, and with only a little bit of customization, so take it for what it's worth. Asymmetric Play: I think the asymmetric play is really interesting, even game-defining. While a part of me wonders if that could have been done in a way that allowed players more flexibility rather than simply picking one of two roles and going with it, it's still a welcome development, in that it strongly encourages very different styles of play and very different strategies. Bluffing: The bluffing inherent in the running mechanic is really great - even in solo play I could certainly see its potential. This is one of the first CCGs/LCGs where bluffing plays such a central role. As with traditional card games that feature bluffing, it adds a very human element to the game, while at the same time still giving big benefits to players with a deep understanding of the card pool and the game mechanics. Bidding: I'm a bit surprised this hasn't been discussed in more depth yet, but this game definitely has a very strong bidding aspect to it, also as part of the running mechanic. The question of how much the Corp player is willing to pay in protecting his servers, and in how much the Runner is willing to pay in taking a run at them, is effectively a bidding process; but there is also direct bidding in the Trace mechanic, as well as built into some of the individual Ice and Icebreaker cards. As with bluffing, I see this as a strong feature of the game, bringing over a solid and interesting mechanic from the traditional board game realm. Income/Economics: All CCGs/LCGs have some sort of economic model - at a minimum, cards are a resource, but most also have one or more additional resource types (mana, money, etc.), and that certainly is the case here with both Clicks and Credits. One critical issue with the game, however, is that the supply of Credits is highly variable. While both sides get a steady supply of Clicks, and can generally trade one Click for one Credit, a few cards can very rapidly accelerate income - most notably, Hedge Fund and Sure Gamble. Even if the draw cost of the card (one Click) is taken into account, they're basically three free Credits for one Click, which is much faster income than the default. Given the very high importance of cash on hand - see below - the income acceleration cards seem to be very powerful to me; drawing a lot of them will be hugely beneficial, and drawing very few of them will create a very difficult situation for the player. Ice/Icebreaker: Like the Ice/Icebreaker concept overall - it is, again, something of a bidding war, but where deploying the right types of cards can shift the economics of the bidding in a player's favor. The problem with the Ice, as it currently stands, is that too much of it is really expensive. Given that the Corp player is looking at protecting - at a minimum - three servers (HQ, R&D, and a Remote for Agendas), it's hard to see when a cost "8" can be deployed to good effect - particularly when the Runner has Inside Job handy. Overall, Ice seems very expensive, so much so that I think that only the most affordable Ice - generally, anything with a cost of "4" or less - will see regular play. (This should hardly be surprising, as competitive CCG/LCG play has, over the long term, migrated away from resource intensive cards and toward relatively low resource cards.) And as mentioned above, if the Corp player does not get good income acceleration, well, he can get the Ice out but it won't do him any good. The situation is not as critical with the Runner, as the Runner has a variety of Icebreakers available - some very cost-efficient - and only needs one good Icebreaker for a run, as he or she is always on the offensive. Luck: Luck is always a factor in any card game, that is a given. But in this game, luck plays a very strong role in the first few turns of the game for the Corp player in particular. Drawing a hand full of Events and Agendas is a disaster, while drawing a hand full of income cards and cheap Ice is the basis for a very early Corp lead. The first turn is particularly important - more so than any CCG/LCG I have played so far. It's just extremely important for the Corp player to get two Ice down, on HQ and R&D, or Bad Things Happen. Like, for instance, the Runner having Account Siphon in hand, which against an unprotected HQ on the first turn would be a total disaster for the Corp player. Deck Building: This is admittedly a topic for much more discussion. But the nature of the situation for the two players is, not surprisingly, very different. The Runner can use typical deck building principles: an appropriate mix of Icebreakers, Hardware, Resources, and Events, looking for strong synergies between cards, and effective counters for what the Corp might try to do. Interestingly, there are stronger incentives for the Runner to diversify his deck than for most deckbuilding games, as a wide diversity of Icebreakers puts a lot of tools in the Runner's toolbox (hence the limit on out-of-faction cards, of course). The situation is radically different for the Corp, as I see it. Given the critical nature of having Ice readily available - and not just any Ice, but something that can be rez'ed on the first turn - there will be very strong incentives to stack the deck with cheap but effective (anything with "End the Run") Ice to avoid the dangerous situation of having a hand full of useless cards on the first turn. At the same time, income generators will be critically important as well. At this point, I think the clearly dominant strategy for Corp players will be lots of cheap Ice, lots of income generation, the bare minimum of Agendas, and very few other cards (e.g., maybe one copy of Scorched Earth, just to put the fear into the Runner). Given the critical situation of the Corp in the first few turns, I think any other strategy that tries to get clever, with Events or expensive Ice or a Trace-heavy approach, is going to be extremely vulnerable to aggressive Runners with efficient Icebreakers that start running on the first turn. Long Term: I'll be interested to see how this game develops out in the longer term. Right now, I think there is a slight advantage to the Runner, just because the Runner already has a solid variety of cards available that are relatively useful and more or less cost-efficient; while the Corp decks are currently weighed down with lots of useless high-cost Ice (Heimdall 1.0, looking right at you) and unreliable income generation. Over the long term, I think the balance will shift in the Corp's favor, as more low-cost high-efficiency Ice becomes available, but also as more income generation cards become available. Unfortunately, I don't yet see a way for more variety to make its way into Corp play just yet; as soon as more cards become available, I think the cheap-Ice-and-lots-of-income approach will be too effective and too safe for sensible Corp players to consider anything else.
  9. richsabre said: still its a hard balance to get. ffg not only need to bring new players in but also cater to those who have been here from the start and need a challenge, otherwise it is we who will go away (ok i wont, but i know some who will). I agree, but I think FFG is completely and totally blowing that balance - it is all catering to the hardcore players at this point. I do think that having a few extremely challenging quests is good - e.g., Battle for Laketown - if for no other reason than to silence the usual "this game is too easy, I'm bored" forum trolls. But it isn't just Battle for Laketown and Massing at Osgiliath - it's virtually every scenario that's been released since Khazad-dum, with average difficulty somewhere in the "7" range. This is not, in any way, shape or form, an accessible game for new gamers - and it's getting worse, not better. FFG is obviously abandoning new players and selling to a shrinking player base of gluttons for punishment, and there are no signs they even think of it as a problem. At this point, I am not inclined to put any more money into this game until FFG actively makes an effort to sell to a wider range of gamers than just the ones who think that difficulty "10" scenarios are a dream come true.
  10. ArachneJericho said: Karma kicked me arse. I now agree; 6 Threat after set-up is nothing compared to Hill Troll, Hill Troll, Marsh Adder, Eastern Crows surging Gladden Fields over the first four turns. (What would reliably counter THAT? I guess one could snare three times, and Feint a lot, but chances are very, very low.) But… it was still fun. It let me know that Journey Down the Anduin hadn't lost its bite. It let me know that every win against that scenario is to be treasured. And it made me humble to know that an Elrond/Vilya deck won't solve everything that comes its way. Just to follow up on this: I think your karma paid me a visit as well. I thought, "Say, I haven't played Anduin in a while", sat down to play it and . . . Dol Guldur Orcs and Hill Troll in the setup, Eastern Crows surging into Hill Troll in the Quest phase, all by the end of Turn 1. It wasn't fun. I think we have different definitions of "fun". I don't have to win for it to be fun, but I do have to feel like I actually have a chance, and I didn't. Anduin is just a bad scenario. After having played it many times, I have come to a simple conclusion: if I get Snare on the first turn or two, and no other big enemies show up, it's an absolute cakewalk. No Snare and/or lots of other big enemies making an appearance, and I'm dead by the third turn. That isn't fun, it's just dumb luck.
  11. I don't know why so many people here can't see the obvious: this card is horribly broken, and a clear sign of bad design. It's a "You Lose" card, plain and simple. It does not make the game more exciting, it makes it incredibly, frustratingly random. The "solution" is no better. Yes, Denathor, Hennamarth, and most particularly A Burning Brand will take care of it. But that's the problem: once you have A Burning Brand in place, you never see another Shadow card ever again. So it all comes down to putting A Burning Brand in your deck and then crossing your fingers and hoping you get it early. That isn't strategy, that isn't tactics, that isn't subtle gameplay, it's dumb luck. One clear problem with this game is how incredibly binary it is. Both Encounter cards and player cards are a mix of incredibly powerful and incredibly weak effects, so that it comes down to whether you get your ridiculously overpowered cards out first (Steward of Gondor, A Burning Brand) or if the Encounter deck gets its horribly overpowered cards out first (Sleeping Sentry, pretty much any of the Trolls). It's bad design. It's not subtle or interesting, it's just stupidly random. What I find to be particularly egregious is that the designers have quietly conceded to significant mistakes in player card design (read: Zigil Miner), but can't be bothered to fix obviously broken Encounter cards like this one (or obviously broken quests like Rhosgobel, for that matter).
  12. The original poster may have gotten some of the rules wrong, but I think there is still a legitimate concern there. If the Corp draws a poor starting hand, he may not have what is needed to protect even just HQ and R&D, and can quickly fall behind as a consequence. IamSalvation said: Hint: With Weyland your best Option to win is: score posted bounty at the beginning of your turn, play 2x scorched earth, if you don´t have a 2nd privat security force can also do it or search one with aggressive negotiations… This only reinforces the point: when the advice offered is the equivalent of "just make sure you have good cards in your starting hand", there's a problem.
  13. richsabre said: interesting you should say that the number of impossible set-ups outnumber the standard ones I actually do not think that's the case - for some, like The Hunt for Gollum (one of my favorites, truth be told), bad setups are a rarity. But it is a very frustrating rarity nonetheless. Like I said, it's something like a "You Lose" card; it doesn't matter how often it comes out of the deck, it matters that it's a possibility in the first place. Granted, the number of extremely difficult setups (which could theoretically be beat) is larger than the number of truly impossible setups, but the point is still the same. It's not the presence of luck - it's that, in some cases, but particularly in the setup, luck plays too powerful a role. I prefer chess, not craps, and I think most players feel the same. I think the game is - very slowly, and in fits and starts - improving. But one serious problem is that the starter set is so bad. I've said it before, but I suspect most players who pick up the starter set run into the brick wall of unwinnable scenarios (good luck with Anduin or Dol Guldur using just one Core Set), throw it into the corner, and never look at it again. I love this game too - although, to be honest, it's mixed with a certain amount of hate. But overall, I worry that FFG has more or less written off making this game accessible for a large player base, and instead is increasingly catering to a shrinking playerbase of players who love brutal challenges and aren't particularly bothered by nearly unwinnable situations.
  14. I'm beginning to think that this game is a magnet for gluttons for punishment, which would neatly explain both the design of the scenarios and the meager size of the player base. Yes, you are correct, in that two Hunters from Mordor would be worse. So would drawing three Crows in a row, followed by two Signs of Gollum guarded by Hunters from Mordor. And I am sure there are worse combinations than that. But that isn't even the point. (Although I will note that a rapid pile-up of Locations is particularly brutal, as unlike Enemies and Treacheries, they cannot quickly be cleared out of the staging area - and once the total threat of Locations in the staging area exceeds your questing ability, you're finished, as nothing short of a very timely appearance of a Northern Tracker will save you.) The point is, it's bad design for a game to be so luck-dependent that my ability to play the game so frequently has no impact on the outcome. If I wanted to play a purely luck-based game, I'd play Chutes and Ladders or Candyland. You can lose Chutes and Ladders despite your best efforts, but that does not in any way make it hard - it's just because it is purely random. For games which are clearly catered to players who appreciate challenges, that is bad design. A good design would make some effort to moderate the amount of luck in the very early stages of the game. This game does not do that. Adding a "you lose" card to the game does not make it more challenging, it makes it a bad game. Doomed, Surge, Trolls showing up in setup or on the first turn, etc., do not make the game more challenging, it just makes it far more luck-dependent. Yes, they can generate the rare come-from-behind victory, but for every one of those, there will be any number of I-never-stood-a-chance games. I'm willing to play the odds to a certain extent, but not if there is such a significant chance of going into a game with no chance of winning.
  15. The Hunt for Gollum The Hunt Begins Setup: Reveal 1 card per player from the encounter deck, and add it to the staging area. Signs of Gollum. Guarded. Signs of Gollum. Guarded. The East Bank. Threat 3 Gladden Fields. Threat 3 GG From the FAQ: (1.01) Encounter Keywords Surge, Doomed, and Guarded keywords should be resolved any time the card on which they occur enters play, including during setup. This is, to put it bluntly, a stupid ruling, in that it creates totally unwinnable situations in opening startups. And what's more, it would be incredibly easy to fix: either get rid of randomize setups (which are a recipe for wildly varying difficulty), or give players a chance to "mulligan" by reshuffling and starting over if two or more Guarded or Surge cards show up in the starting setup (I rather suspect that most players already do just that.) I'm not expecting the developers to fix all of the problems with the design of this game. But it would be nice to see some indication - any indication, really - that the developers are at least aware of the won-or-lost-within-the-first-three-rounds tendency that seriously cripples this game, and make some sort of effort to work on fixes for it.
  16. My general sense is that FFG will wait for the current stock to deplete itself before considering reprints. At this point, that's mainly the Dreamlands cycle, although I am hearing that a couple of other cycles are starting to run low on supply. Logistically, it's just a lot easier for FFG to reprint using individual packs rather than the larger expansion size - although it wouldn't surprise me if they switched to larger expansion size reprints, if for no other reason than to reduce the LCG footprint at retailers (who have to be complaining about the shelf space the bazillion Cthulhu/Thrones/Rings/Warhammer LCG expo packs take up).
  17. Just a follow up from the original complainer, or rather, the original poster. Somebody asked about quests - I have not played the very latest, as I am still working my way through them. I did recognize in my second post, however, that they are making progress making the quests more interesting - but it is very slow progress. I totally agree with Glaurung and HilariousPete, above - the Encounter deck needs to build more slowly. Too many quests are decided within the first two turns. There are two problems here: one is the very weak synergy in the Encounter deck (some Encounter decks have almost literally zero synergy between cards), and one is the very strong synergy in the player deck. The former is easier to fix, the latter is not. As for solutions, there are some available solutions, but some things where there simply is not an easy solution. Basically, the quests can be improved, but there's very little that can be done about the player decks, other than the belated balance-by-errata, which is clunky and far from ideal. Someone mentioned "cannot have attachment" monsters and "cannot be canceled" effects - those aren't solutions, those are belated recognitions that certain player cards are broken. Preventing the player from doing anything about an Encounter deck effect is bad design, only tolerable because it's obvious that certain effects available to the player are way too strong. Ideally, the player should always be able to do something about whatever pops out of the Encounter deck - but not easily. That's the problem, it's just too easy to negate certain Encounter deck effects, so the designers have to make them immune to player effects. Again, bad design. Far better would be to always give the player the option to do something, but make the player work or sacrifice for it. As far as constructive suggestions, I second the suggestion above of Encounter deck effects that scale off the size of the player's board, or even the size of the player's hand. Also effective would be Encounter deck effects that are difficult, but which can be handled in more than one way - e.g., a card that the player can deal with either through a questing effect or a combat effect or just by having a certain combination of items in play, which would reward creativity on the part of the player. And as already mentioned, quests should start just a bit slower but rapidly accelerate, particularly as the player's actions accelerate. I also like the multi-quest idea which they've toyed around with previously, but which has new life in The Hobbit expansion. Taking quests one at a time just doesn't "feel" right - ideally, quests would be chained together, and what happens in one would roll forward to what happens in the next one. I'd also like to see a lot more mechanics built around keywords. Again, they've done a bit more of this recently, with Dark locations from Khazad-dum and so forth, but it's very inconsistent - and, unfortunately, encourages building quest-specific decks, which I personally do not prefer. It would be nice to see a lot more keyword interaction - both positive and negative - between the Encounter deck and the player deck (right now there is a lot of keyword interaction within the player deck, and some within the Encounter deck, but very little between the two).
  18. Dain Ironfoot said: except this isn't quite true. Battle of Laketown has you trying to accomplish the quest before laketown burns down, and Smaug is the only monster in the set. You have the choice of *not* placing progress on the quest, but instead, removing damage from laketown. from what we see from HoN, the enemies now attack locations, which is totally different that what we've seen before. in The Hobbit, whatever progress you make isn't actually just placing progress, it's discarding cards from the encounter deck (the sun is coming up/night is ending, to speak in thematic terms). Riddles are another cool twist on the treachery cards. on top of that, many current and upcoming enemies have different stats/abilities when other cards are in play, again, pointing to the fact that the encounter deck does interact with itself, as much as a random, non-human controlled deck can do. i don't disagree with some of your larger points, but you are completely missing/ignoring the (what i consider drastic) changes in quest mechanics we have coming up. I should have qualified what I said a little more. The designers have been building more variety into the scenarios, although it does feel like very slow progress, and the system doesn't really seem to be built to do more than the default locations/encounters/fighting, so some of the mechanics feel a bit awkward. But I should recognize that they are trying to shake things up a bit, at least on the encounter deck side. But that still leaves the player side of the problem. And it is a problem. Whatever's in the encounter deck, the players are using the same tools, and not even in creative ways. The designers may put some interesting and surprising treacheries in the deck, but it doesn't really matter when all the player does is swat it away with A Test of Will. The encounter deck may add threat in clever ways, but it doesn't matter, because the player will just Greeting it all away. The encounter may do clever things with monsters, but it doesn't matter, because the player will just tank-and-spank them (when the player is not Forest Snare-ing-and-sniping them). The encounter deck may lay on some direct damage, but the player will just use the Daughter to heal it all away. Whatever the encounter deck does, it's the same solution from the player side. The only question is the balance of the deck: how much of questing vs attack/defense vs threat reduction vs encounter deck control. That's it. Moving away from that would involve a major change in game design philosophy - specifically, reducing the power of a lot of the most common player cards, and changing mechanics to be more interactive, rather than "have a specific problem? here's the one card to play that will fix it" that the current design features. (As an aside, I'm just amazed that the card set doesn't have something that moves monsters directly from the staging area to the discard pile - it already has one-card-solutions for locations and treacheries.) One thing that would really help the design out would be player cards that can be used in multiple ways, albeit with significant limitations on their power, thus building more flexibility for deck-building. Toning down the power of the player decks - while retaining some flexibility - would also provide a good excuse to tone down the quests, away from the current "whoops, looks like you drew a series of Surge and Doom cards followed by a Troll on turn 1, may as well shuffle and restart" situation. I'm more and more inclined to think that getting the game to where I think it should be would involve a full reset, but obviously that's not going to happen. Gathering up all the copies of A Test of Will, The Galadhrim's Greetings, Steward of Gondor, and Zigil Miner, and burning them - and then rebalancing all the quests based on the fact that they are no longer beatable without those cards available - would be a good start, but again, that's not going to happen. Anyway, I'm just complaining, and that's not productive, so I'll quit.
  19. I will freely admit that I go back and forth on my feelings on this game; and that's probably not a good thing. I really want to like it, but there are things about it that drive me crazy. Currently, the one thing that is driving me crazy: it seems that recent scenario design is just "more of the same". Threat, nasty treacheries, hard-hitting monsters . . . and more threat, nastier treacheries, and even harder-hitting monsters. I was hoping for a change in direction with The Hobbit and with Heirs of Numenor, but the previews here for both sets are MOTS: more threat, nastier treacheries, and even harder-hitting monsters. The original set had some Doomed and Surge cards; the new sets have even more Doomed and Surge cards. The original set had nasty never-want-to-ever-see-them treacheries; the new sets have even nastier never-want-to-see-them treacheries. The original set had 6/3/9 monsters; the new sets have 7+/3+/12+ monsters. This is supposed to be compelling gameplay . . . how? One problem is that this just feeds into the current meta-game of sticking with a very narrowly defined does-it-all strategy that can routinely dispatch most quests with little difficulty, and is only challenged by the most brutal swarm of hard-hitting treacheries and monsters. Greetings and Gandalf for threat reduction, Test of Will so you never have to worry about another treachery again, and loads of dwarves with axes and armor to finish off the hordes of monsters. There is little flexibility and little innovation, and frankly, it's boring. Even worse, it's unthematic. If you never read Tolkien's original works and your only experience was from the LCG, you would think it was all about bands of dwarves roaming the land hacking apart impossibly tough monsters while occasionally stopping in to rest at the local elf-run tavern. Subtlety: none, really. Diplomacy: none. Magic: what magic? Interactions between heroes: they're all in this together and the best of friends. Humble people succeeding against impossible odds: why bother with the hobbits when Gimli and Glorfindel can handle just about anything? My complaint is about scenario design, but now that I think about it, it may simply be that the deeper game design is flawed. They do not have a solution, for one thing, for power creep. Hence the need for more threat, more nasty treacheries, and harder-hitting monsters. This is a problem the designers should have seen coming a long way off, but they made no considerations for it in the game design. (Why not just leave the power creep in place and consider it part of the game? Because the nastier the encounter decks get, the more of a chance there is that the player will lose simply by virtue of what is drawn out of the deck in the first few turns. Since the player's power scales up slowly over time, but the encounter deck can hit the ground running - particularly with Doomed and Surge - the more difficult the scenarios are, the greater a factor luck plays, which is a bad thing.) The other problem is that the designers gave themselves relatively few tools to work with - locations, monsters, and treacheries aren't that much when you come to think of it. You travel, fight, and reduce threat, and that's about it. And what's worse, the mechanics on many of the cards are very straightforward: place progress tokens, do damage, reduce threat, cancel a "when revealed" card. The game has nowhere near the complexity of interaction of mechanics that Call of Cthulhu has, let alone Android: Netrunner, where cards interact in interesting ways, which encourage the development of deep strategies. And the encounter decks are worse than the player's decks; there is little to no interaction between cards in the encounter decks, so all the designers can do is just turn it up to "11". I will give the designers credit for attempting to strike out in a new direction with Secrecy. But that seems to have gone nowhere, as most players simply ignored it, and so it's back to the standard approach. That's unfortunate. I'll keep watching this game, but right now it just isn't a temptation to get the more recent releases, when they're just Mirkwood with Doomed and Surge and more hit points.
  20. I think I agree with Penfold on the rules interpretation, which does take The Marked down a bit, as it means you won't be able to do super nasty combinations with The King in Yellow Folio, Library of Nalanda, etc. It does work well with Hastur's character-based and event-based insanity, however, of which there is plenty, e.g., Victoria Glasser, Deranged Diva, and so forth. It obviously combines very well with Hastur (The King in Yellow). Overall, I suspect Hastur may be better served by insanity protection removal through other means - Hastur (Lord of Carcosa) is the best, but I find that Enchanted Wood and Rays of Dawn also work very well, and are much cheaper. But it's still nice to have The Marked as an option. Hastur can get its titular Ancient One into play a bit faster through Seeker of Mysteries and Demented Phrenologist, although not nearly as quickly as Shub, and with not very good card efficiency. I would consider the ability to get a very quick Ancient One out to be faction-specific, and probably a good thing; a very early Hastur (Lord of Carcosa) could run rampant in the story phase. I picked up the actual expansion pack the other day, like the well-programmed consumer that I am, and am overall very impressed. The new Conspiracies, in particular, are very compelling. I think FFG has done a good job of designing cards that are appealing in their own right, and specifically that invite new and innovative strategies. Well, except for Arthur Todd, whose ability is compelling . . . but the artwork! The new Conspiracies and Tomes, though, are practically asking to be considered in new decks. I'm really warming up to the new Conspiracy for Hastur, The Court of the Dragon (nice reference, by the way). It's a relatively safe story for Hastur, and comes with a potentially devastating resolution. Definitely worth considering in a Hastur deck, although I could also see it in a dual Hastur/Cthulhu or Hastur/Shub deck as well.
  21. dboeren said: There was another Silver Twilight/Shub deck in the top 8 (a Three Bells deck) and I think a couple more somewhere but I didn't face them . . . One thing in particular is that I think I could make good use out of some strong Neutral cards. i tend to avoid using those much - old habit from other games perhaps, as well as trying to avoid resourcing issues, but having just a few isn't a big deal. In fact, one of the reasons I switched from Dreamlands Fanatic to Black Dog was for smoother resourcing even though it was only a few cards. Well, actually at the time I also had Eldritch Nexus but I swapped that for Wooden Homunculus too and ended up pure silver & red. Please tell me she called her deck "Silver Bells". Black Dog is a new favorite of mine - that critter can really cause trouble for early game rushes, and (unlike Master of the Myths) can trim down the other side's board at minimal cost. The main difficulty is that if they survive to the skill struggle, you can't effectively block with just the dog alone, as it's 0 skill. But a lot of early characters aren't going to get that far. The main problem I have with Black Dog is as soon as the other side gets a serious Combat character out, or - worse - an early Invulnerable character, like Y'Golonac or Carl Stanford. At the point that the "heavy hitters" start coming out, Master of the Myths becomes the superior choice by a good margin.
  22. How do you get Curse of the Stone to hit so hard? Through Things in the Ground? I've been interested in trying to get Curse to work - particularly since it can be easily replayed through The Large Man or the T'tka Halot - but it seems difficult to get it efficient without giving up stories to the other side.
  23. I'm not as worried about Shub forcing in a big Ancient One early in the game. They were already able to do that with Priestess of Bubastis and Y'Golonac - this just expands it out to include the other Ancient Ones in the Shub list, and reviewing the list, there aren't many, if any, that I would consider to be game-breaking. Getting an Invulnerable Terror character out fast is good, but again, they had that with Y'Golonac (and for other factions, cards like Carl Stanford, etc.) The main threat would be something like Shub-niggurath (Dark Mistress of the Woods) and paying 2 to drop a hand full of Dark Young on the table, but, well, Shub has always been able to flood out Dark Young. It's powerful, but not quite game-breaking in my opinion.
  24. Thanks for the recap and the deck list! It's good to see Silver Twilight doing well - I know there had been doubts as to their viability, hopefully this will help address that. Also great to hear that there was a diversity of factions in play and being competitive, which is also great news. It doesn't surprise me, though, that Shub was in the two top decks - I think they have the best tool kit available right now across all the factions. I like the 2x format with some cards - that really gives the deck some additional flexibility. I find have in 2x of 3 cards with parallel roles but slightly different abilities to be superior to 3x of 2 cards - and that goes double with unique cards. 3x is good for cheap disposable cards, and for cards critical to the deck, but for everything else, 2x may be a better default. I'd be interested to see what as in the Three Bells decks - had I come, I likely would have played my new mono Shub Three Bells deck. Good to see I'm not the only person who sees some potential there. Interesting that you found Meticulous Scribe to be a strong component. My Tome-based Silver Twilight/Yog deck used Knight of the Eclipse in roughly the same role, but I found it difficult to get him out due to the cost combined with the Loyalty requirement - Meticulous Scribe may be a decent replacement that I can roll out faster. Although I'll probably still try to find a place for the Knight, with the T'tka Halot he is just so, so good. Speaking of which, I have found the T'tka Halot to be a solid addition to a Silver Twilight deck. The additional investigation is great, but it also helps with card advantage and keeping your Rituals and Spells in play.
  25. The Core Set is the best place to start - it has the rules (handy!) and one set of Story cards, which are needed for play. It also has a good set of cards for each of seven factions. After the Core Set, the Secrets of Arkham is the best thing to get next - it has additional cards for each of the seven factions, and considerably expands deckbuilding possibilities. The Order of the Silver Twilight adds an eighth faction, but also has a few additional cards for the other factions - I would consider it optional until you are ready to start building Silver Twilight decks. After that, you can consider the smaller expansions, which each provide a few cards for each of the factions. Of the various cycles, the best to get are probably the first cycle, Forgotten Lore, as well as the most recent cycles, Ancient Relics and Revelations. Also note that the first expansion pack of Ancient Relics - The Shifting Sands - has the most current version of the Story deck, which is needed for tournament play. All of the cycles are in print, except for Dreamlands, which is out of print, somewhat hard to get, and has an uneven card distribution (one of some card, three of others). Also as mentioned above, going forward, FFG is switching to a system of deluxe expansions only, with each expansion focused on one faction.
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