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Elsaurio

Discouraged by the City Expansion

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I've always liked the City expansion best - it was one of the first expansions I ever got for the 2nd edition game as was eagerly awaiting the release for 4th. I feel that it really 'completes' the game - allowing an area that characters can rely on to heal up and purchase standard goods such as mules.

 

But with the release of the city in the Digital version I am playing it a lot more that ever before and have quickly found out that with the City included, there isn't much need for the rest of the game.

 

The city deck is very easy, with low-level monsters and a majority of cards that are outright beneficial, most giving a lot of money or free shop cards.

The shop cards themselves are very powerful, most outstripping the hard-to-find magical items in the main deck.

Everything in the city is surprisingly cheap, cheaper than the equivalent cards or locations in the main game.

 

Previously I thought that the game would be 

1) Highlands to gain trinkets and gold; then

2) City to spend up on gear; then

3) Dungeon to grind enemies and build strength/craft.

 

But with the city deck so easy, all my games have now generated to the majority of characters looping around and around the city pathways. PVP is common as everyone attempts to grab the top items (spellbook, flail) off of each other. We commonly cycle through the city deck 2-3 times.

 

The only time the rest of the board gets touched is to run to the crown in the centre (possibly via the dungeon). And even then it's by very fast horse.

 

I think the basic design and layout of the expansion is great, and I want it to work, but the numbers needs to be re-balanced otherwise it's throwing the whole game out.

 

Or is it just me? 

 

 

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I find the highlands good for grinding gold, unlike the city. There aren't that many ways to get gold there.

 

I agree when it comes the the dungeon though, usually you power up enough that you don't have to go to the dungeon, becuase it's youre playing with random treasures it's easier to get arnkell and tp straight to the CoC, and if you play without random treasures... only then it's worth it to go for the LoD.

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I have to agree with the OP.

 

When I first read detailed information about the City expansion I assumed I would dislike it because of the easy to buy powerful items.

Then after buying it and playing a lot of games with it, I have discovered that my main issue with the City isn't about the shops, but the City deck itself.

 

Countless times I have entered the City with only enough gold to buy one item, and came out full equipped with all sort of powerful gear (Flail, Spellbook, one or two Pets) because the City deck kept rewarding me for no real reason.

 

Aside from the cards that specifically let you gain more gold (of which there are quite a lot), the City deck is also full of cards that let you acquire items for free or for a very low price (such as Barterer, Racketeer, Loyal Companion, etc.).

 

The City deck is also quite generous with cards that let you teleport or otherwise affect other characters in any Region they happen to be (such as Assassin, Drunken Revelry, Taxation, Wizard's Chess). This means that when you see that another player is close to victory (or even at the Crown of Command) and you yourself aren't, you can just spend your time in the City and you will have a decent chance of disrupting their plans.

Edited by Loudo

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Ah, the 2nd Edition City!  There was a Talisman expansion, a true and excellent example of a rough and ready fantasy city.  The Watch was everywhere, with units ranging up to twelve Strength :blink: , Elementals of great power stalked the streets, and I lost more than one character to that bloody feral Dog Pack!  Like you, I greatly enjoyed the 2nd Edition City, especially the advanced characters!

 

Sadly, the 4th Edition City is nothing like its illustrious predecessor, being far more akin to Disney World, right down to the animatronic Dragon in the City deck.  My group long ago removed the Flail, Battle Axe, Spellbook, Scribe, and Endless pouch from the game for being too powerful.  That helps quite a lot, but recently I've begun to consider removing the City board altogether.  Even without the worst offenders, there are just too many advantages and too little danger in the City.  As the OP pointed out, the City's unbalanced nature simply throws everything else off.  I'd get rid of it in an instant if not for the Deep Realm.  As it is, I'm still tending towards removing the City from our games.      

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This used to be a common reaction to the City Expansion after it was published. I recall a user saying something like "it's all carrot and no stick".

Games with the City tend to draw characters there, lured by the chances of buying the powerful items. It's very true that the City deck is not dangerous and that the worst thing that can happen there is to lose time and not gain enough power-ups. However, I don't see the City as a reliable source of gold, and it's not suitable for levelling up too. Characters need to go elsewhere to gain Strength and Craft, as they need them to win the game. Not many options to gain Strength and Craft in the City, since the High Temple is just horrible.

I think the City deck would be more balanced if it had more negative encounters that make you lose gold or turns, in order to force characters to ponder a bit more whether they shall enter or not.

In my games, characters go there when they have gold to spend, but don't linger too much. Some have tried their luck entering the City without gold: some ended up with more than what they expected, others just lost time. Cycling the entire City deck is something that I've never seen, because it takes too long to draw cards from there at the rate of max 1 per turn. People prefer to go elsewhere once they have the gear, provided someone else doesn't steal it away.

I don't always play with the City though. Sometimes I want players to find their fortune randomly and amass useless gold, as it used to be before the City.

Edited by The_Warlock

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I thought this post was about the Digital City expansion, but it seems to have included the board game as well, thus I can now comment.

 

I only play 2 player, with my wife; I can't interest anyone else into playing; whatever.

 

So when it first came out, it did seem not very daunting.  But upon many repeat games, we find it as just a part of the game.  It is not the end all or be all to go there and gold and great weapons.  We still go there, of course, but we don't find it unreasonable.

 

Yeah, my wife hates it when I get the Scribe follower, but I hate it when she gets her weapon of choice, the Flail.  Funny thing is she exploits that a heck of a lot more than I exploit the Scribe.

 

We just enjoy the adventure; no two games are ever exactly alike.

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I find the highlands good for grinding gold, unlike the city. There aren't that many ways to get gold there.

 

I agree when it comes the the dungeon though, usually you power up enough that you don't have to go to the dungeon, becuase it's youre playing with random treasures it's easier to get arnkell and tp straight to the CoC, and if you play without random treasures... only then it's worth it to go for the LoD.

 

Completely agree.  Sometimes You don't even need to bother with City if luck goes your way :)

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I have to agree with the OP.

 

When I first read detailed information about the City expansion I assumed I would dislike it because of the easy to buy powerful items.

Then after buying it and playing a lot of games with it, I have discovered that my main issue with the City isn't about the shops, but the City deck itself.

 

Countless times I have entered the City with only enough gold to buy one item, and came out full equipped with all sort of powerful gear (Flail, Spellbook, one or two Pets) because the City deck kept rewarding me for no real reason.

 

Aside from the cards that specifically let you gain more gold (of which there are quite a lot), the City deck is also full of cards that let you acquire items for free or for a very low price (such as Barterer, Racketeer, Loyal Companion, etc.).

 

The City deck is also quite generous with cards that let you teleport or otherwise affect other characters in any Region they happen to be (such as Assassin, Drunken Revelry, Taxation, Wizard's Chess). This means that when you see that another player is close to victory (or even at the Crown of Command) and you yourself aren't, you can just spend your time in the City and you will have a decent chance of disrupting their plans.

 

Not to mention if you happen to be the Alchemist you have a massive head start on your competition.  I find it hard to get the gold for the powerful items with most characters though, a trip to the highlands usually helps out there.  

 

The assassin is so cheap, you can kill players too easily without challenge which effectively just drags the game on.

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it's actually the opposite, most of the cards in the city do nothing or next to nothing. You are almost certain to completely waste your time there. The only character i'd recommend playing in the city is the alchemist

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