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grillepainman

Forgotten age difficulty...(sigh)

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At least Depths of Yoth has a defined endpoint. Sure, you're running around in circles and doing a lot of the same things again, but you're also racing against a clock, so you've got a reason to keep going. That really shouldn't be an upside, since every scenario is supposed to be a race against the clock, but Heart of the Elders (Part I) can literally end with no change whatsoever in the state of the campaign. The ideal strategy in Heart of the Elders is just to resign whenever things look the least bit hairy and wait for a decent run of luck to slowly chip away at the pillars.

(Also, Heart of the Elders (Part I) is just The Untamed Wilds. Exact same mechanics, with one Location and less than half the Mythos deck swapped out. I like this campaign more than most, but even I'm never going to defend this scenario.)

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15 hours ago, Soakman said:

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.

I thought Depths of Yoth was one of the most interesting thematic scenarios yet. You're barreling down this underground world, being chased the whole while. And what you find is some repeated types of areas, some new ones, and it's all a jumble, looking different at every level. I just really like that picture.

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14 hours ago, Allonym said:

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.

My argument wasn't very well reasoned, and I take your point. But what I'm trying to say is that it is probably pretty difficult to build a unique cycle that feels like it has a different approach and different theme without both experimentation and some investigators just being better suited to the tasks at hand. I feel the experimentation here was not implemented as well as it could have been. But I, personally, do really appreciate the attempt to acclimate the players to investigator deaths and trauma. I love that in this game if you fail a scenario, you are not instructed to start it over. I love that the outcome gives you branching choices. This system would not work well for players that do not see that some trauma is unavoidable, and seeing things through despite failures is at the heart of the game.  

The criticisms about redundancy and not very well implemented supplies are definitely good things to point out, but I think overall the cycle gets a worse judgement than it deserves.

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1 minute ago, PJimo said:

I thought Depths of Yoth was one of the most interesting thematic scenarios yet. You're barreling down this underground world, being chased the whole while. And what you find is some repeated types of areas, some new ones, and it's all a jumble, looking different at every level. I just really like that picture.

I appreciate that the scenario worked for you. I like the concept for sure, I just was not particularly enjoying the experience. I even managed to finish it off with a "I'll see you in ****!" epic moment that nabbed us 3 extra xp (I think it was 3). It was fun to visualize, but we were also getting really held up on our way down, so maybe it just dragged out too long for our group.

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I'm not sure at what point their design is final, and at what point it's locked in by virtue of printing logistics, but it at least feels like the later scenarios fixed some of the flaws of the first few. Specifically for supplies. As implemented in the first 3 or 4, it was awful. Forgot to pack a comb? Take a trauma! No lip gloss? Take a trauma! Just random, dumb stuff that you'd have no reason to guess. And when you have 4 people, no allocation to pack for. The supply mechanic in the later scenarios is at least properly scaled. No mulligan. 3 fewer resources. Etc. Those are all properly scaled for missing on random event. And there's even times where picking correctly got you a bonus.

I'm not a fan of, "Take a damage and Surge" which IIRC some of the poisoned events were. First, people taking a damage isn't something that should just automatically happen. Almost always people are given some way to defend themselves and pass the test. It's crushing to just know that the wrong card comes out, welp. You get hurt. That's made even more terrible when that's not even the real card you're resolving for that turn.

We've played it as 4. And we generally do pretty well, both in past campaigns and in this one. We restarted 1 scenario that half of us were dead on the 3rd turn or something stupid. One of our investigators is Finn, so we've been doing a lot of evading throughout and kept Vengeance really low. The difficulty of the campaign was definitely in the early going. Scenarios were 6 & 7 were really easy. We absolutely breezed through the last one. We did all take about 2 trauma during the Interludes. And there were a couple scenarios where we would have lost or someone would have been defeated on the next turn. And that made the middle scenarios really tight and exciting.

So I don't think the FA is that terribly or unfairly hard. It's just hard at the wrong time in the campaign, where it should have ramped up instead of ramping down. And the design choices of random resolutions to supplies, making them extremely severe for a wrong guess, was terrible awful. Their consequences in the 2nd half of the campaign are much more sensible and much more fair.

Edited by PJimo

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17 minutes ago, Soakman said:

I appreciate that the scenario worked for you. I like the concept for sure, I just was not particularly enjoying the experience. I even managed to finish it off with a "I'll see you in ****!" epic moment that nabbed us 3 extra xp (I think it was 3). It was fun to visualize, but we were also getting really held up on our way down, so maybe it just dragged out too long for our group.

We have Ursula, who's competent at getting clues, and Finn, who has 2 lockpicks and Lola to buy clues, and Ikachi with a Rite of Seeking. So we blew through it. Sacrifice our rope for an extra level. Collected 20 clues on one of them for an extra level. Played the Pocketwatch for an extra turn. Used the Relic to delay the advancing of the Agenda for 1 turn. Had I don't know, maybe 6 turns before the Harbinger showed up at the time that we finished. Definitely wasn't so long that it felt repetitive to me.

Edited by PJimo

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1 minute ago, PJimo said:

We have Ursula, who's competent at getting clues, and Finn, who has 2 lockpicks and Lola to buy clues, and Ikachi with a Rite of Seeking. So we blew through it. Sacrifice our rope for an extra level. Collected 20 clues on one of them for an extra level. Played the Pocketwatch for an extra turn. Used the Relic to delay the advancing of the Agenda for 1 turn. Had I don't know, maybe 6 turns before the Harbinger showed up at the time that we finished.

We had no rope, Calvin was a yithian, and Finn got locked down by a will test that prevented him from moving.

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34 minutes ago, Soakman said:

We had no rope, Calvin was a yithian, and Finn got locked down by a will test that prevented him from moving.

Oh man.  I've played too many D&D campaigns.  Literally the first thing I grabbed was rope.  And then caltrops.  Which weren't there so I guessed after that.  Kinda rambled here, but what I meant was playing D&D has made me always go for the ROPE!

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2 hours ago, Soakman said:

My argument wasn't very well reasoned, and I take your point. But what I'm trying to say is that it is probably pretty difficult to build a unique cycle that feels like it has a different approach and different theme without both experimentation and some investigators just being better suited to the tasks at hand. I feel the experimentation here was not implemented as well as it could have been. But I, personally, do really appreciate the attempt to acclimate the players to investigator deaths and trauma. I love that in this game if you fail a scenario, you are not instructed to start it over. I love that the outcome gives you branching choices. This system would not work well for players that do not see that some trauma is unavoidable, and seeing things through despite failures is at the heart of the game.  

The criticisms about redundancy and not very well implemented supplies are definitely good things to point out, but I think overall the cycle gets a worse judgement than it deserves.

I see what you mean. Your viewpoint is completely valid and it is certainly good to acclimatise people to being happy to accept taking a bit of a beating, even if I question their methods (one of the things I like a lot about Calvin is that he shows players that it's completely fine to take damage and horror and even trauma if you have to - even if I don't think he's a particularly fun or effective investigator per se).

I've not played past Heart of the Elders part 2, so I haven't managed to experience the endpoints of the campaign yet, and I'm starting to feel a bit less critical towards it - I certainly will try it again eventually, even if it will be my least favourite so far, below (Return to) the Night of The Zealot. By the same token, I still think it's worth pointing out the various issues with the implementation of the campaign.

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2 hours ago, Duciris said:

Oh man.  I've played too many D&D campaigns.  Literally the first thing I grabbed was rope.  And then caltrops.  Which weren't there so I guessed after that.  Kinda rambled here, but what I meant was playing D&D has made me always go for the ROPE!

Yeah, but in D&D, you always bring everything. If you show that equipment list to a D&D player, he'll say, "Yes, one of each please. Also, more candles, some chalk and a mirror."

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22 minutes ago, Eldan985 said:

 

Yeah, but in D&D, you always bring everything. If you show that equipment list to a D&D player, he'll say, "Yes, one of each please. Also, more candles, some chalk and a mirror."

Exactly.. we were kind of like... welllllll... we can eat, or we can have a rope just in case. ?

Also that poison is so nasty that we tried to stock up on antidotes, but there's really not many points at which you are able to administer them.

I regret my pickaxe. I thought, well caves, so obviously... Torch + pickaxe. Shoulda went Torch + Rope.

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On 10/25/2018 at 10:54 PM, rsdockery said:

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.

Well first:

You CAN consider AH LCG a kind of continuing series ... you pay for like in an MMO.

AND punishing or frustrating the average player -for him/her- too much will simply mean ... you will loose that player.

So it is exactly like any other game series to hold that interest. That passion will be lost by frustrating play, be that too easy or too hard or well lousy designs...

Secondly:

My boardgame example came from that one card in EH that lets you loose that one victorious mission card you fought so hard for ... to simply take it OUT of your victory pile. Simple mechanic but dumb mechanic, which has nothing to do with your skills really. Just based on a card draw that punishes play without any other reason than make the game longer.

Third:

I am all for difficult games as Vanilla Diablo3 was an extreme hard game at launch (“we made it extremely hard and then DOUBLED it...”) and got flak for being too hard and too much influence for the Auction Houses, which btw was only GOLD in the hardcore game mode I played (instant death and loss of character, start from zero mode). So D3 turned after the departure of Pardo into a present day cake walk which is as bad or even worse than being too hard.

This all being said, I have not played this last AH cycle yet, but if it is really too frustrating I will think about buying extra cycles or not. I remember stopping LotR once too ... until they introduced easy mode, so I could CHANGE the modes to progress when I got stuck.

In conclusion AH LCG and LotR LCG stand both in the absolute top 10 of my gaming lists. Great games, but do not underestimate player frustrations. FFG have to earn their continued expansions. :)

Up to my personal playing experience I only found one bad AH expansion pack and that was the Labyrinth expansion. It was subpar in my 3 play throughs (1 in a group of 4 and 2 solo ones). The others were great to excellent.

 

 

 

Edited by MMOfan

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Played Shattered Aeons this evening to complete my campaign. Only Just won, I wouldn't have survived to the end of the round if the skill test leading to the resolution hadn't gone my way.

Some of the twists and the resolution were unexpected.

This has definitley been my favourite cycle.

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4 minutes ago, CaffeineAddict said:

Played Shattered Aeons this evening to complete my campaign. Only Just won, I wouldn't have survived to the end of the round if the skill test leading to the resolution hadn't gone my way.

Some of the twists and the resolution were unexpected.

This has definitley been my favourite cycle.

I'm so happy to hear someone say that.

It is definitely NOT mine, but there's a ton about it that I appreciate. I'm excited to see how it plays out, but I'm probably dead meat.

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46 minutes ago, CaffeineAddict said:

This has definitley been my favourite cycle.

Agreed.

My wife and I love the skin of our teeth suspense that nearly every scenario has provided. I've also noticed that we get more trauma than weaknesses through FA. In Cascosa, our lead investigator had 6 weaknesses in her deck by the end.  A couple of trauma seems mild in comparison. We still have to start our Depths run, but we've accumulated 26 vengeance, so I think payback is coming.

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Finished the cycle and believe it or not I did not die! And the resolution was so fitting! Survivor has stayed true to its faction name. I started the scenario with a single health (because of traumas), and made it to the end.   

Thank goodness we were on easy!

 

Edited by Soakman

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Hmm...trying to finish my second forgotten age campaign, and I'm slightly stumped by the setup in Shattered Aeons. The relic of Ages was removed from my deck for the rest of the campaign during Depths of Yoth, but my campaign log says "the investigators found the missing relic", so I'm directed to the setup that says I still have it...and I know it's crucial to winning the scenario. Am I missing something?

Edit: ah, there is errata for that part of the depths of Yoth setup, to change "the investigators found the missing relic" to "the relic is missing" in the campaign log. I wasn't aware of that.

Edited by CaffeineAddict

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1 hour ago, CaffeineAddict said:

Edit: ah, there is errata for that part of the depths of Yoth setup, to change "the investigators found the missing relic" to "the relic is missing" in the campaign log. I wasn't aware of that.

Where is the errata?

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For me, a lot of the difficulty in this campaign comes from unbelievably terrible luck i have never seen in any campaign before. It is like the game wants my character to die. Yesterday, playing the second scenario with 4 players and me being Leo Anderson, basically the only encounter card i drew was The Last Mistake. (Test Agility (2). +1 Difficulty for each doom on your location. If you fail, take 2 damage). Since Leo only has only 1 Agility, it makes total sense that i was drawing -every- -single- -one- of these cards (6 in total)...Nevertheless, somehow i managed to survive.

 

And it even goes beyond that. Today i woke up sick and my car battery died. Talking about the curse of Yig...

Edited by Raahk

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On 11/23/2018 at 2:57 AM, Raahk said:

For me, a lot of the difficulty in this campaign comes from unbelievably terrible luck i have never seen in any campaign before. It is like the game wants my character to die. Yesterday, playing the second scenario with 4 players and me being Leo Anderson, basically the only encounter card i drew was The Last Mistake. (Test Agility (2). +1 Difficulty for each doom on your location. If you fail, take 2 damage). Since Leo only has only 1 Agility, it makes total sense that i was drawing -every- -single- -one- of these cards (6 in total)...Nevertheless, somehow i managed to survive.

 

And it even goes beyond that. Today i woke up sick and my car battery died. Talking about the curse of Yig...

That was the story of our The Night’s Usurper playthrough at Arkham Nights.  Leo drew the bulk of the Agility weaknesses, while Ursula (me) kept wish that she were drawing them.  That scenario has a lot more need for agility than any I think I've ever played.

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So far, we are halfway through and I’m enjoying this the least (played NotZ, Return to NotZ, Dunwich, Carcosa, and most of the one-offs). 

When I’ve finished the prior campaigns I’ve generally been impressed by their uniqueness and difficulty levels. So far I’m mostly feeling intensely randomly punished. 

In fairness, many of the prior campaigns had elements of this, but somehow Forgotten Age seems to have more of intensely random and swingy bad stuff than the prior campaigns in a way that I personally find less satisfying. It may also be that I have been very lucky in prior campaigns, e.g. in Carcosa we parlayed with everyone at the mansion before they turned and then burned it down making the rest of the campaign easier. Perhaps if we had gotten nobody I would have found Carcosa more difficult. Unsure.

The supplies concept seems super punishing also for the first/blind play through and when you combine it with the explore mechanic it feels like a double whammy since many of the supplies could have mitigated the explore mechanic. Some predictably, others less so. (E.g. in scenario 2 where without a rope you likely end up taking repeated blows [horror + damage if I recall correctly].)

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I just picked up Forgotten Age yesterday and gave it a try. 2 player with me as Mateo and my partner playing as Ursula. We were destroyed. Not so bad in the first scenario, but obliterated in the second.

I'm excited to try again however. Now that I know what's coming I think it'll be easier. 

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