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grillepainman

Forgotten age difficulty...(sigh)

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you know it's interesting you would bring up D-3...  since although the game sold ok, it was viewed as a disaster from it's primary fan base :  IE:   Those coming from D-2.   D-2 was a punishing game that for the most part, didn't allow you to go back on wrong choices.  Changing your characters stats/abilities was extremely difficult to do, in direct contrast to d-3, where it's very easy to do.  Maybe it was not for everyone,  but the fans of d-2 still consider it to be one of the greatest games of all time,   because when you made a character that worked,   you had worked for it.   You earned it.  

Whereas d-3 will go down as mediocre no matter who you ask.    Too many carrots makes you not interested in carrots any more.   You need intermittent carrots.  

Anyway, I feel the game is very reward focused.  Even if you do poorly on a scenario, you'll still net some XP.  I admit there are a few things in FA that I don't like (and all of them are from City of Archives), but my complaints arent with the exploration deck -which is fine-,  or the supply mechanic -which is great-, or the difficulty -which is appropriate for the expanding card pool.  

And if you dont want a punishing game,  play on easy mode.   That's what it's for.  

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Waow! 832 views and counting! :) I am happy.

I would like to take a second and thanks everyone who is passively/actively participating in this discussion that I started...my goal was exactly this...to initiate a constructive and mature discussion regarding a game we all really like.

Hopefully, the devs and designers of arkham horror:lcg will read it and maybe re-think/re-evaluate some things following this constructive discussion.  Taking a step back to re-evaluate life is a good thing to do (usually).

Keep on and thanks again

Peace

Dom

Edited by grillepainman

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12 hours ago, MMOfan said:

BUT it is often referred as bad game design when you punish a player too much. I remember Rob Pardo of Diablo3 and World of  Warcraft fame saying this multiple times in an interview.

 Reward should be a focus not punishment. A player will keep playing if he looses but still has the IMPRESSION he is rewarded any how. This applies to any game. 

Well, of course Rob Pardo would say that. He ran a subscription-based games service that made absurd amounts of money by getting as many people as possible to play for as long as possible. That doesn't mean it applies to "any" game, just any subscription-based game that primarily exists to turn a profit.

Plenty of punishing games still manage to get fans. Nethack is an RPG where instant-death traps and enemies are all over the place, and you mainly win by repeatedly dying until you learn through trial and error exactly how to become immune to all the hazards that don't care about HP (and then you finally get to the end and discover that somebody switched out your MacGuffin for a cheap plastic duplicate, so go play the game again and don't let that happen next time!). Gary Gygax loaded the earlier editions and modules of DnD chock full of save-or-die (and a few "no save, just die") effects. There are even unironic fans of I Wanna Be the Guy (a joke platformer where hidden traps will kill you instantly if you're not absurdly precise with your movement) who spend their spare time making fangames that are even less forgiving.

I guess you could say that overcoming a difficult challenge is its own reward, but that's turning Pardo's statement into some Emiya Shirou-level "People have fun when they are having fun" obviousness.

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13 hours ago, MMOfan said:

BUT it is often referred as bad game design when you punish a player too much.

Define "too much"?

That line is highly subjective.  For a mass-market game where the goal is to keep people playing (and paying microtransactions) as long as possible, going out of your way to pat the player on the head and make sure you never do anything they don't like can make sense.

But as C2K mentioned, the idea that we're all doomed is baked into everything Lovecraft does.  Arkham Files already goes a long way down the road of rewriting that, becoming more pulpy in allowing investigators to win against those impossibly vast horrors, albeit usually at great personal cost.

Different games will cater to different preferences.  AH (and LOTR) definitely skew towards games that tend to be harder and more punishing, for players who like that challenge.  It's not uncommon for people to want to play even though they disagree with that - see all the discussions on people who want to remove the autofail token.  But that doesn't mean that it's bad game design, it's just targeted to a different set of players.

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It depends on whether the difficulty feels arbitrary and punitive or whether it's something you feel as though you could have done better. The former is incredibly off-putting whilst the latter encourages more play in order to improve. I think the problem with Arkham Horror is that the sudden difficulty spikes can seem to come out of nowhere and due to the campaign nature of the game, it's not always easy to just give a scenario "another go".

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I am about to start the Forgotten Age for the first time and I need some advice.

I am remembering the early days and how brutal it was.  Going into each scenario, it was a coin flip if we would get a positive or negative outcome.  Now I assume we will have a positive outcome going in.  I kind if miss the fear.  We have been playing on Normal.

Do you all think we should kick it to Hard for FA or continue on Normal?

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3 hours ago, Jobu said:

I am about to start the Forgotten Age for the first time and I need some advice.

I am remembering the early days and how brutal it was.  Going into each scenario, it was a coin flip if we would get a positive or negative outcome.  Now I assume we will have a positive outcome going in.  I kind if miss the fear.  We have been playing on Normal.

Do you all think we should kick it to Hard for FA or continue on Normal?

We've found FA to be fairly punishing on Standard, even after rolling through Carcosa with little difficulty.

A split difficulty may be a good option to step it up.  Keep the Standard bag, but use the Hard token effects.  It's a good middle ground to add some more challenge without quite the big leap that comes from fully going from Standard to Hard.

 

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Forgotten Age isn't difficult in the sense its difficult to do anything.  Its difficult because what you think is the correct play, is actually the wrong play in some situations.  It messes with the way you play the game, and add in the fact that the first time playing with the supplies will be a crap shoot, that's why I think its left a lot of people salty. 

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35 minutes ago, C2K said:

Forgotten Age isn't difficult in the sense its difficult to do anything.  Its difficult because what you think is the correct play, is actually the wrong play in some situations.  It messes with the way you play the game, and add in the fact that the first time playing with the supplies will be a crap shoot, that's why I think its left a lot of people salty. 

Not sure I agree with this.  Reasons below, with spoilers from the first two scenarios.

I do think there are a number of very painful cards/mechanics which, at the very least, change the game in ways which make everything you knew about building teams/investigators wrong.  Vengeance as a whole punishes "kill everything", and the treachery in the second scenario which limits you to one clue per location per investigator is REALLY painful for specialized teams.  Some of these you know, some of them you don't, but the game is working overtime to take pretty much everything that worked well so far and make it bad.  There are also a number of locations which feel a lot like the location investigation from Where Doom Awaits - the "spend 3 resources to investigate this location" is basically "You'll never get these clues" for a LOT of characters.

Maybe that's what you meant :)  And I don't necessarily think it's a bad thing.  But I do see it trending more in LOTR's direction, where your first play is to figure out what you have to do, then you tweak decks to do it.  I've generally felt like Arkham just let you build good decks to get you through without needing to build for specific stuff, which is a hallmark of LOTR.  Forgotten Age doesn't really work like that any more, IMHO.

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7 hours ago, Buhallin said:

Not sure I agree with this.  Reasons below, with spoilers from the first two scenarios.

 

  Reveal hidden contents

 

I do think there are a number of very painful cards/mechanics which, at the very least, change the game in ways which make everything you knew about building teams/investigators wrong.  Vengeance as a whole punishes "kill everything", and the treachery in the second scenario which limits you to one clue per location per investigator is REALLY painful for specialized teams.  Some of these you know, some of them you don't, but the game is working overtime to take pretty much everything that worked well so far and make it bad.  There are also a number of locations which feel a lot like the location investigation from Where Doom Awaits - the "spend 3 resources to investigate this location" is basically "You'll never get these clues" for a LOT of characters.

Maybe that's what you meant :)  And I don't necessarily think it's a bad thing.  But I do see it trending more in LOTR's direction, where your first play is to figure out what you have to do, then you tweak decks to do it.  I've generally felt like Arkham just let you build good decks to get you through without needing to build for specific stuff, which is a hallmark of LOTR.  Forgotten Age doesn't really work like that any more, IMHO.

 

 

Some of what you were saying is what I was alluding to.  But I'll be more direct.

That aside, I don't think you need specially structured decks to do well in FA.  I think you can win with any investigator grouping still.  You just need to adjust your playstyle to what the game expects of you and any balanced team can do that. 

Most obvious is the Vengeance mechanic.  In Arkham, killing things is usually the norm.  But as you said, you will get punished for going into FA guns blazing.  The game wants you to evade enemies, not fight them.  If you fail to do this, you get monsters that are like Mini-bosses later on in the scenario. 

Supplies also catches people off guard, because they all have a function.  They help you for taking them, and punish you when you don't take them.  All of them.  You have to weigh which punishment you can handle with the ones you think you can mitigate.  Things like Blankets are more important than Maps... which you think in an exploration, the map is almost necessary to not get lost.  After your first playthrough, you know better in what to take.

Finally, Poisoned.  This weakness is arguably the most punishing aspect of the campaign.  You want to do everything in your power to not be Poisoned.  In your first play, when you are confronted by this, you are probably going to ignore it.. because it does nothing in your play area.  But when the cards and effects that trigger off it come into play, you will get slapped around the campaign.  This is probably why most people get destroyed in Boundary Beyond.  You will learn to respect the brutality of this weakness after the first playthrough, you might even throw in some allies and damage shielding just to avoid it.  Not getting the Poisoned Weakness is the key to survival in the jungle.

Honorable mention is the Chaos bag.  A player in my group noticed that token setup for FA can be misleading with that +1 token, and you have a higher chance to fail with the other tokens.  I don't think its a major deal compared to the other 3points.

 

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The jungle scenarios feels cheaply difficult in places when you go in blind.  Arrows from the trees in particular is really annoying in that you take unavoidable damage when I already have a boatload of trauma due to my choices in supplies.  On top of that you may be starting down cards or supplies, then when you discard cards to explore a location you get hit by another treachery....

My group is limping through this campaign(having already replaced our starting guardian who was killed) but some of those jungle based scenarios have been extremely un-fun for us.  We're sticking with our resolution to see how it goes but since we only get to play through each campaign once due to scheduling I've been disappointed by this one.  Theme is an A+ to me but I feel less like Indiana Jones and more like the hapless sherpa who gets an arrow in the neck as soon as I move a vine out of the way.  ? 

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22 hours ago, StormyWaters said:

The jungle scenarios feels cheaply difficult in places when you go in blind.  Arrows from the trees in particular is really annoying in that you take unavoidable damage when I already have a boatload of trauma due to my choices in supplies

Scenario, singular. Arrows from the Trees only comes up in two scenarios: The first one (when you have no trauma) and Boundary Beyond.

Of course, Boundary Beyond is already an insanely brutal scenario even without adding in the "All the damage! Die, die, die!" encounter set. It's especially annoying when you negotiated with Ichtaca in the first scenario and earned her in the third, but still didn't get both tokens because you didn't run after her when she told you to leave her alone. I'm sorry, game, I thought she wanted some space when she asked for some space; how was I supposed to know the mighty tribal guardian was a bloody tsundere?

*ahem* But, yes, Boundary Beyond is ludicrous. I can't blame you for that. You'll be happy to know that future scenarios don't have the Guardians of Time encounter set. At least, I'm assuming Shattered Aeons doesn't, on account of you being deep in the bowels of the earth where the light of the sun cannot reach.

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1 hour ago, rsdockery said:

...It's especially annoying when you negotiated with Ichtaca in the first scenario and earned her in the third, but still didn't get both tokens because you didn't run after her when she told you to leave her alone. I'm sorry, game, I thought she wanted some space when she asked for some space; how was I supposed to know the mighty tribal guardian was a bloody tsundere?...

A) Thanks for making me look up a new word.;)

B) I don't know, role-play a 1920s' man for whom no means yes?

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On 10/30/2018 at 12:16 PM, Duciris said:

A) Thanks for making me look up a new word.;)

B) I don't know, role-play a 1920s' man for whom no means yes?

This same thing happened to us too. I assumed she didn't actually want us to follow her.. Silly me. That's okay.... she got hers in the end. ?

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I didn't read the whole thread, but I will still mention how I feel about the game. Lately because of kids and work I became a casual gamer and anyway, I don't play to beat a mathematical engine but to play the story. For me the good guys (the, protagonists, the character(s) I'm playing) neet to win (at least most of the time).

When the game came out, I thought it will be the perfect game. Focused on story, and has 4 difficulty levels. I thought this is the game for me. I bought the base game, tried ot and found it to be extremely difficult on easy mode. If a game has 4 difficulty levels then I think it's not unbelievable to expect the easiest difficulty to be be easy. I lost interest from here on. I mean, the base game on easiest mode was still too difficult. What would happen later where you even have to do deck-building?

I was really (and still am) really disappointed that they did not include a "real" easy mode. Some PC games might call it story mode. What I need is a mode where I win at least 50-60% of the time without deck-building (too much).

I think the main problem is that the difficulty modes just change the tokens and not the cards. There should be game cards that are left out of the game or work completely differently on easy mode. Maybe even include cards that you only use when playing easy.

Anyway, this game is "dead" to me, even if they change it in the future it won't change too much for me. I hope at least that the next single player story based game that they will be doing, will have a real easy mode.

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9 hours ago, stadi said:

 For me the good guys (the, protagonists, the character(s) I'm playing) neet to win (at least most of the time).

 

That's just not how Lovecraftian story telling works.  The "Good Guys" lose more often than they win.  Lovecraft didn't write many happy endings, if any at all.  It isn't a shortcoming of the game, its a part of story itself. 

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13 hours ago, stadi said:

I didn't read the whole thread, but I will still mention how I feel about the game. Lately because of kids and work I became a casual gamer and anyway, I don't play to beat a mathematical engine but to play the story. For me the good guys (the, protagonists, the character(s) I'm playing) neet to win (at least most of the time).

When the game came out, I thought it will be the perfect game. Focused on story, and has 4 difficulty levels. I thought this is the game for me. I bought the base game, tried ot and found it to be extremely difficult on easy mode. If a game has 4 difficulty levels then I think it's not unbelievable to expect the easiest difficulty to be be easy. I lost interest from here on. I mean, the base game on easiest mode was still too difficult. What would happen later where you even have to do deck-building?

I was really (and still am) really disappointed that they did not include a "real" easy mode. Some PC games might call it story mode. What I need is a mode where I win at least 50-60% of the time without deck-building (too much).

I think the main problem is that the difficulty modes just change the tokens and not the cards. There should be game cards that are left out of the game or work completely differently on easy mode. Maybe even include cards that you only use when playing easy.

Anyway, this game is "dead" to me, even if they change it in the future it won't change too much for me. I hope at least that the next single player story based game that they will be doing, will have a real easy mode.

Give yourself a free 10-20xp. Done.

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You could do that, sure.    Bonus XP would help.

But really... you probably need to play it a  bit more and get some more experience with the game.   I really feel anyone ought to be able to win 50%+ games on easy mode with minimal effort.   If you can't then there is a good chance you are doing something wrong.   

If you are in fact doing everything right then 
1) kudos.  
2)  get some practice in.   Maybe just run through Midnight Masks a few times and try to get as many cultists as you can.  Or post a deck list,   browse for advice..     Honestly, easy mode should be fine for everybody.   

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If this is the new normal then I'm out as well. In fact either way I'll probably take a break and catch back up after the next cycle is complete. Partially to let others vett it, but also just because this cycle has left such a bad taste in my mouth.

I have enjoyed everything up to TFA tremendously. My group doesn't full out min-max and math it up, but we know what we're doing deck buildingwise. The 3 of us play on normal and we generally end up with decent resolutions or get very close in scenarios we fall short(prior to TFA). We did average in Dunwich and we utterly dominated carcosa. So I know it's not just us needing practice. 

This cycle isn't just difficult, it's arbitrarily punishing in ways that aren't fun at all. Unlike others, I'm not a good guys need to win guy. I love feeling the rush of nearly failing or failing and sensing we fell just a turn short. I even love the more punishing moments like when I lost Essex on the second or third turn due to a bad draw. I like the punishment when it's well thought out and the execution fits the mood. 

" Start over and do it over again" isn't any of those things. It's just lazy design. Worse it's disrespectful to players time. In my group we aren't casual gamers in mindset, but we are in the amount of time we have to play Arkham.

Like most, my group has to juggle jobs, kids, and our partners schedules and desires to get a once a month or so game in. There is nothing quite as enthusiasm draining as being excited to play only to play 3hrs, fall short and realize it's not going to have a meaningful impact on the story for our next. Session; nope, we just have to go back and do it again. Then when we finally come back weeks later start again; everyone draws ruinous combinations of mythos cards really early leading to having to decide to either basically take our tiny progress and resign and then take a third crack at the same scenario or risk spending even more time trying to survive long enough to complete it, but with a high chance we'd fail again and still have to do it a third time (we opted to resign and go again). 

I admire the developers for their engagement with the community, but I am starting to wonder if they've engaged a bit too much with the hardcore fans who are more in it to math it out and min max the crap out of the game and lost sight of why many play. 

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Totally get where you're coming from Yellow 5. However, I honestly think that they want each cycle to have its own feel. Dunwich was the investigating under the cover of night feel, Carcosa was the going mad feel, Forgotten Age is the we're dealing with hideous creatures from the jungle and limping through the foliage feel. 

I agree that the punishing nature of the supplies is a bit unexpected, and I can even see how they might feel unfair, but I'm not 100% sure that the scenarios are badly designed. I think they just require different strategies or different skill sets. 

I completely understand wanting to play whatever character you want in any scenario, but the truth is that Daisy, a librarian with no means to avoid enemies or help herself, is not likely going to do well in the jungle. My guess is that your group composition is light on evasion or damage because you really need both to excel in these scenarios in my opinion.

I think the Circle Undone is going to be much less domineering, but, of course, I could be wrong. I think this is just the feel they were going for with the jungle expeditions, and perhaps they read their audience wrong, but I appreciate the cycle as another piece of the puzzle. Do I prefer other cycles? Definitely. But they have succeeded in making it feel much different than the last two. 

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1 minute ago, Soakman said:

Totally get where you're coming from Yellow 5. However, I honestly think that they want each cycle to have its own feel. Dunwich was the investigating under the cover of night feel, Carcosa was the going mad feel, Forgotten Age is the we're dealing with hideous creatures from the jungle and limping through the foliage feel. 

I agree that the punishing nature of the supplies is a bit unexpected, and I can even see how they might feel unfair, but I'm not 100% sure that the scenarios are badly designed. I think they just require different strategies or different skill sets. 

I completely understand wanting to play whatever character you want in any scenario, but the truth is that Daisy, a librarian with no means to avoid enemies or help herself, is not likely going to do well in the jungle. My guess is that your group composition is light on evasion or damage because you really need both to excel in these scenarios in my opinion.

I think the Circle Undone is going to be much less domineering, but, of course, I could be wrong. I think this is just the feel they were going for with the jungle expeditions, and perhaps they read their audience wrong, but I appreciate the cycle as another piece of the puzzle. Do I prefer other cycles? Definitely. But they have succeeded in making it feel much different than the last two. 

I hope you're right and this one stands as "the punishing cycle" when compared to the rest. If that's the case I'll pick up the next cycle somewhere along the way.

As it stands though, we are Roland, Mateo and Ursula, we're doing city of archives tonight. Counting our initial failed campaign that ended in our premature demise we are all on our second or third investigators and currently have a combined 9 trauma on our current characters. Not counting mateos xp and one of us who got a bonus in an interlude, we have only managed 12xp and 5 of that we just got after heart of the elders.

 Barring the remaining scenarios just blowing me away some how (if we even make it) I am look forward to forgetting this age. 

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42 minutes ago, Yellow 5 said:

" Start over and do it over again" isn't any of those things. It's just lazy design. Worse it's disrespectful to players time. In my group we aren't casual gamers in mindset, but we are in the amount of time we have to play Arkham.

Now that I can't argue with. Particularly with Heart of the Elders, where you don't get any say in the matter. At least with Doom of Eztli, you can just dynamite the place if you'd rather not go at it again (I'm not sure why they even give you the option to retry; Alejandro's obsessive enough to go for the explosive option first). They should have just said "You spend a laborious amount of time solving the rest of the puzzle" and had you start the second half with penalties based on the number of missing pillars or something. Or maybe "In frustration, you decide that the stupid pillars are probably broken and just knock the door down. Cross off "Ichtaca has faith in you" and add two marks to Yig's Fury for each missing pillar."

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35 minutes ago, rsdockery said:

Now that I can't argue with. Particularly with Heart of the Elders, where you don't get any say in the matter. At least with Doom of Eztli, you can just dynamite the place if you'd rather not go at it again (I'm not sure why they even give you the option to retry; Alejandro's obsessive enough to go for the explosive option first). They should have just said "You spend a laborious amount of time solving the rest of the puzzle" and had you start the second half with penalties based on the number of missing pillars or something. Or maybe "In frustration, you decide that the stupid pillars are probably broken and just knock the door down. Cross off "Ichtaca has faith in you" and add two marks to Yig's Fury for each missing pillar."

Depths of Yoth also feels somewhat similar to this. I didn't care for it either, but again, the idea is that you are being pursued as you run headlong into the depths of the Earth. It's supposed to feel daunting, treacherous, and yes, probably long. I still don't care for the design. I'm hoping we don't see a lot of this kind of scenario in the future. It's interesting as a one-off but it feels far too repetitive.

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1 hour ago, Soakman said:

[...] the truth is that Daisy, a librarian with no means to avoid enemies or help herself, is not likely going to do well in the jungle.

I'm afraid I can't see how that's anything other than really bad design. "You aren't meant to use the majority of investigators for this campaign, but we're not going to tell you that, you'll work it out when you're 3 scenarios deep and made terrible choices that you couldn't have known were terrible". It's not like, say, Ursula is useless in Carcosa or Dunwich, and investigator "flavour" has never been an issue before - a grave-digger isn't exactly my first choice thematically when recruiting for a mission to raid an asylum, nor is a Nigerian shaman what I think of when I think of an undercover operation in a speakeasy, but there's no mechanics in Unspeakable Oath or The House Always Wins that heavily mandate a limited selection of investigators.

Now, that would have been an interesting use for the idea of supplies, where you have a training montage to get your pampered city-dwelling investigators ready for what they'll encounter in the jungle, but instead both investigator choice and supplies are just "Gotcha!" mechanics.

Edited by Allonym

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