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Survey results are in; see the class rankings

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A few weeks ago I asked you all to participate in a survey  about which Arkham Horror classes you preferred. Here's my results:

https://ntguardian.wordpress.com/2019/02/18/comparing-the-classes-of-arkham-horror-why-survivors-need-work/

(In a week another post will come detailing how this analysis was done.)

I also discuss the issues I have with the cards in the Survivor class.

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The data collection is interesting, but I disagree with the conclusions. 

I think that, in general, survivor cards are more powerful on average than same cards of equal experience value. The lack of lvl 5 cards is actually a boon to survivors and allows them to pack more upgraded cards (so more consistent use of experience cards) than card pools like guardian that encourage the player to take 2 copies of two lvl 5 cards and there goes 20 experience. You can get probably 7+ really decent cards instead, which give you more consistent plays rather than relying on drawing your lvl 5 cards.

Additionally, I think survivor has one of the STRONGEST lvl 0 card pools available. Certain investigators just would not work without access to survivor card pool. Namely, Calvin and Preston. If you tried to design these characters without access to the survivor card pool, they would be a complete bust and nearly unusable. 

Survivor also has the CHEAPEST cards in the game meaning they are almost never pressed for resources and do not waste actions gaining resources and adding resource generating cards to their card decks. If anything, I would prefer to see more survivor card draw options as you can usually play multiple cards in a turn with no problem. Cards that generate resources are GREAT!... but only if you actually need them. There are a ton of 0 cost surivor cards. There are something like 28 cards that cost 0 or 1 resource to play in survivor currently. 

I feel like the conclusion here is that people like to feel extremely good at one thing instead of versatile and prepared to be better at a variety of things.

Note that mystic and rogue are also lower in the 'favorite' class. Both of which focus on versatility over a direct raw 'extremely good at this one thing' approach.

Personally, I love being able to handle all sorts of situations, Rogues and Survivors are my favorite card pools generally. And I know the data you gathered is not going to fit everyone's preferences, but I don't think these pools are 'weak' or done 'poorly.' I think they just do things differently than what the majority of people appear to enjoy most. 

But if you like having the flashy Lightning Gun, or the giant Deduction/Deciphered reality kind of moments, you can have those (by playing those factions). But the aim of a suvivor isn't to 'get all the clues' or 'kill all the things'... it is to survive efficiently with or without friends to pull your weight. Which, in my opinion, they do admirably well at.

And to your last question: Yes, I DO like the fact that there are no lvl 5 survivor cards. It means I can buy more cards with the same xp as the rest of the team and see them in my hand more frequently. And there is no way exile mechanics would even be considered if you felt that you had to spend 5 experience on a single card because it is 'better' than the rest of the pool. You would not feel as if you could exile anything without great loss. I think the survivor pool is interesting and excellently designed, to be honest. I appreciate your efforts, but they have done nothing to dissuade me, and at the most simply make me feel like there are a majority of players who prefer a different playstyle than I do. Which is great! But does not require a rework of the faction.

Edited by Soakman

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I'm not surprised by the result that Seeker and Guardian are the two most popular factions.  That makes sense.  Guardians and Seekers are just easier to play.  Their strategies are obvious.  So they can freight train some aspect of the game and the pilot always feels powerful. 

I disagree with the conclusion though.  I actually find the Survivor card pool to be the most powerful card pool in the game period since it will often just mitigate the luck factor.  Survivors theme is to gain a benefit on failure.  That coupled with the most generous icon spread out of all the factions on their cards makes them the most consistent investigators to play.  Also they need less on their board to feel powerful.  Therefore they come out the gate stronger and perform flatter than the other classes who build up to a more powerful state.  Having a good start in this game is significant.  Though kinda like the Mystic chaos bag manipulation theme the benefit you are getting can be less obvious and therefore feel less powerful.  People wanna feel powerful.  They wanna shoot a Ghoul Priest in the face with a Lightning Gun or swoop in and pull off stacks of clues in a single action.  You won't reach those heights with a Survivor, but at the same time you won't fall into the valleys that the other classes can (Seekers and Guardians being one sided, Mystics requiring setup, Rogues being very luck dependent).  Should they change Survivors to make them feel like Guardians or Seekers?  I argue no.  Then they wouldn't feel like Survivors.  Survivors are the regular people in the horror movie who survive to the end through luck and intuition.  Not through being prepared, highly skilled or better equipped.  They currently are working very well toward their theme.

Also people need to get over the Exile mechanic.  Just do it.  Exile cards.  What are you hoarding your XP for anyway?  That's what the Survivors are suppose to be doing with their XP late campaign.  I agree that you can destroy a deck build by upgrading inappropriately.  You shouldn't just blindly spend XP, and Survivors can definitely fall into the trap of upgrading into a worse deck.  Use the Exile cards people.  That's what you are doing wrong.  Do it!

Edited by phillos

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1 hour ago, phillos said:

Also people need to get over the Exile mechanic.  Just do it.  Exile cards.  What are you hoarding your XP for anyway?  That's what the Survivors are suppose to be doing with their XP late campaign.  I agree that you can destroy a deck build by upgrading inappropriately.  You shouldn't just blindly spend XP, and Survivors can definitely fall into the trap of upgrading into a worse deck.  Use the Exile cards people.  That's what you are doing wrong.  Do it!

2

I agree. This.  Exile cards are VERY powerful and cost less XP than a 5 xp card. Think of flare, a +3 combat +2 damage one time use card for ONE xp. You can use this card over the course of 5 scenarios to kill 5 different 3 health enemies for a total of 5 xp. Sure, if you get the lightning gun out and buy it first thing, you'll be able to do more damage, but if you DON'T get and use your flare, you did not just waste FIVE experience on a card you never saw.

Also, when you exile a card, keep in mind that you get to replace it with a lvl 0 card for free. And survivors have an AWESOME lvl 0 card pool. You're never going to exile a card and feel like you replaced it with a garbage knife or a cruddy first aid kit or whatever.  In a way, exiling a flare is similar to a WAY more powerful adaptable that only lets you swap 1 (that single flare card spot) instead of 2 of your choice. You can suddenly have a chance encounter if you think that will be useful, or throw in an improvised weapon if you need more damage.

Edited by Soakman

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Count me as one of the people who didn’t answer your survey. I considered it but the question phrasing forced rankings of classes I haven’t played much of to answer. Personally I enjoy where survivors fall and enjoy that I can use extra XP for intriguing neutral cards e.g. Key of Ys without hurting my build, etc.

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The thing that I found most interesting is that the number of Survivor cards that cost more than 2xp isn’t much smaller than all the other classes that go all the way up to 5xp cards.

I used to think that investigators with access to Survivor 0-2 were getting an unfairly large chunk of the Survivor card pool compared to an investigator who had access to Rogue 0-2, for example, but the disparity is actually much smaller than I thought.

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For the 3 xp Survivor cards, perhaps part of the problem is what they are.

Scrapper - stat booster, rather "vanilla" compared to the others, but solid

Rabbit's Foot - band-aid for failing, but you have fail spectacularly for it to be really worthwhile

On Your Own - pseudo-ally with no boosts or soak but it makes 1 event per turn cheaper, decent but not really better than the actual allies

Try and Try Again - another band-aid for failing getting you back a skill card used when you fail, but again dependent on failing

Old Hunting Rifle - rather buff weapon, definitely good even with the action drain for pulling a skull

Aquinnah - the one 3 xp ally who gives you 4 uses of reverse damage, reasonably decent

Alter Fate - boot a treachery card that attaches, really useful especially for cards that with tests your Survivor will have trouble with

Infighting - ignore non-elite attacks this enemy phase, nice but the Survivor should not be getting swarmed like that to begin with unless it is Silas Marsh or William Yorick

True Survivor - get skill cards back, not bad but needs a specific deck to really work and so mostly Silas Marsh and "Ashcan" Pete

Will to Survive - okay, this one is just win

Rise to the Occasion - for those desperate checks, but shouldn't you have Scrapper and other cards for that?

 

Overall 4 cards (Scrapper, Old Hunting Rifle, Alter Fate, Will to Survive) that are absolutely good, though only 2 of those (Alter Fate, Will to Survive) has no equivalent in another class; 2 cards (Infighting, True Survivor) that are investigator specific; 2 cards (On Your Own, Aquinnah) that are fallbacks in multiplayer when someone else is using Peter Sylvestre; 2 cards (Rabbit's Foot and Try and Try Again) so failing doesn't hurt so much; and 1 card (Rise to the Occasion) so you don't need those 2 cards as much.

Even if you get those "high level" Survivor cards, how many do you really want, compared to "high level" Guardian, Mystic, Rogue, and Seeker cards, where you want almost all of them but won't ever get that much xp unless 8 Delve Too Deeps drop in every part of a campaign.

Then go back to what Soakman pointed out about Exile cards. If you look at Flare as a "5 xp" card that you get to use once per campaign part up to 5 uses, then the Survivors do have those "powerful" cards, they just aren't priced that way directly.

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^ These are good points. I don't much think True Survivor is investigator specific though. I ran a Yorrick deck using it that was quite good, and because you can use it to get back both resourceful and rise to the occasion, it's actually a great addition to any survivor deck that has a low stat area. Calvin is the obvious fit and a True Survivor/rise to the occasion/resourceful deck on Calvin is quite ridiculous once you've taken enough hits. But it can really work on anyone if you care to focus more on skills for that deck.

I'd put True survivor as an absolutely good card, and it can only get better as more innate cards are added. 

I'm waiting for On Your Own to really pick up steam. Right now, survivor events are very cheap which makes the economy not so great and as you point out, allies are incredible and hard to replace. If you could be guaranteed to get -2 on a card once per turn for a whole scenario, it's be great! But most of the time you are packing 1 cost and 0 cost events. I suppose maybe it's meant to be used with strokes of luck and flares, which I must admit I've never tried. You would really need to be running a very Event heavy deck and relying on trench coats and keepsakes to keep you safe. Maybe Wendy with strokes of luck, flares, against all odds, waylays, snare traps, and will to survives? But it means losing out on Leo and Peter. 

I suppose you could also use it in a True Survivor deck in order to play rise to the occasions, and use true survivor to fish them back out at 1 resource (it's an event), and a resourceful to fish back out the True Survivor and repeat ad nauseum. I must say that when I've run the True Survivor combos before, the only sticking point was the 3 cost to play True Survivor. It can bust your tempo down if you are committing fast enough.

Edited by Soakman

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I've mostly used Yorick, with some Silas and Wendy, so True Survivor could work a lot better than I expect. (Though that is why I agree with you about the Exile cards. I used A Test of Will with Wendy recently, and . . . yeah. For 1 xp, it was more than worth it.)

I agree about On Your Own needing more events for its potential to really show. And yes, trading Leo or Peter for it really doesn't work - until you are in multiplayer and everyone who can take them wants them and On Your Own becomes a "default" 3rd choice. But a half dozen really good 2-3 cost events could turn that on its head. 

Actually, thinking about that now, "Look What I Found!" and "Oops!" As long as you can get them into your hand, and perhaps something "more" than Resourceful to get them back in your hand, On Your Own is churning out some "testless" clue gathering and damage. And all that synergizes absolutely with Dark Horse.

In fact:

https://arkhamdb.com/decklist/view/10042/wendy-adams-on-her-own-1.0

 

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I built a Wendy deck with True survivor and On Your Own as key cards amongst many innate skillcards (Resourceful, Manual Dexterity, Unexpected courage, Guts and Quick Thinking) to support teammates in skillchecks and Waylay and Backstab to deal with enemies on her own. The cool part is that you can get True Survivor back with Resourceful and with True survivor you're returning Resourceful plus two other innate skills to your hand. I was doing nothing but cycling through my discard pile and assisting fellow investgators with skill cards. The best thing is, that you can even move with them when you throw Quick thinking into their skill checks. Such a fun deck to play.

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A good read. The only part I find was not too on point is the number of levl 3+ cards, I've would prefere to see an average of "number of investigator that can include this card" per each class' card pool, but even that will be biased bacause deckbuilding restriction are part of what defines investigator.

My view on survivor is that they have to use XP on exile card on the long run, investing their xp on really powerfull one shot cards, the complete opposite to rogue that have lot of exceptionnal or high cost card to buy. It's their signature. But I also find their lake of good 3+ XP cards a shame... Having a 5 XP card would feel really weird, but some very thematic 4 XP would be a great addition. Don't forget that there is a lot of neutral cards with XP now, so spending XP is not a problem anymore.

Well, for my part, I'm playing a wendy "yes! I failed!" type of deck, rabbit foot is my main card and was my first upgrade. It really shine in high difficulty (we're playing on hard) were you often end up with 0 :p. We're rolling on the forgotten age cycle (apart from the 2 first scenario) and I'm sitting at 48 XP without having spent any XP on exile card... I have a skeletton key and an ornate bow, all the rest are... well, powerfull survivor ally, charisma, relic hunter and key of Ys (never add the opportunity to play it, though). I still haven't include will to survive yet! maybe for the last scenario...

I really wanted to include On your own, but the survivor economy really don't need this card at all... and Scrapper suffer the same fate, either you run on a low economy, or you are versatile and having boost for Combat/Agility doesn't align with your deck. Shame it doesn't have a quirk like the other faction.

All in all, I find that survivor really need one or two 4 xp cards to affirm their identity, something like a permanent card that allow you to recover 1xp if you exiled a card (in the line of charon/arcane research/shrewd analysis).

If I didn't oriented my deck on failling test, I would definitly have include Test of will/Stroke of luck. Flare would only be for a red gloved man deck, and Devil's Luck for Preston with Charon's Obole. Fire extinguisher is really, really bad, just look at adanced Survival Instinct.

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18 hours ago, ntguardian said:

A few weeks ago I asked you all to participate in a survey  about which Arkham Horror classes you preferred. Here's my results:

https://ntguardian.wordpress.com/2019/02/18/comparing-the-classes-of-arkham-horror-why-survivors-need-work/

(In a week another post will come detailing how this analysis was done.)

I also discuss the issues I have with the cards in the Survivor class.

Nice write up! Also - thanks for using some of my stats in the post. It's great to see them being used. 

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I think exile cards get a bad rep.

If someone buys a 1 exp exile card 5 times during a campaign, then that's a 5 exp card, just with the upfront cost spread out. Individually, they are also seriously under priced for Standalone situations. Standalone Survivors can have a frightening amount of power in their decks.

And those exile cards are Very Strong.

 

These cards I would pay 5 exp upfront for in any Survivor deck (and I do put them in my decks):

A Test of Will is more powerful than a 5 dot Ward of Protection and available Scenario 2. Sign me up.

Flare gets free allies or totally nukes an enemy. (Maybe not nukes for Wendy, but free Leo de Lucas...) This card is probably why there are no Guardian 0-5/Survivor 0-2 investigators yet, and I bet that if one does show up, they will have ally restrictions. Still, let your Guardian friend get some Agency Backup and then Wendy can still steal it for 1 exp. Many Guardians saturate their deck with allies, including Yorick, so this hits quite often. Catch 'em all.

 

These cards are used less and would commensurately have less exp spent on them:

Devil's Luck stops a ridiculous amount of damage. (Dunwich treachery, anyone?) Calvin decks are also drooling.

Stroke of Luck is an optional auto-success on any skill test. I mean... Why would playing this ever feel bad? Silas would probably upgrade this card to the "every game every time I need to exile it" list. For him, this card is a super-duper Lucky!.  I don't own Silas, but I bet he has, uh, Nautical dreams about this card.

 

This card is kinda trash, but might get played once or twice a campaign? I've never seen a situation I'd want it:

Fire Extinguisher... because it's an asset. The second ability would be pretty good if the thing didn't to be in play first. 

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On 2/18/2019 at 10:53 AM, phillos said:

Also people need to get over the Exile mechanic.  Just do it.  Exile cards.  What are you hoarding your XP for anyway?  That's what the Survivors are suppose to be doing with their XP late campaign.  I agree that you can destroy a deck build by upgrading inappropriately.  You shouldn't just blindly spend XP, and Survivors can definitely fall into the trap of upgrading into a worse deck.  Use the Exile cards people.  That's what you are doing wrong.  Do it!

+1 to this.  I found it really odd that one of the major complaints in the article was that there wasn't anything to spend XP on, then it turned around and bashed on the Exile mechanic.

My other pet peeve was that "Survivors" are not "Survivalists".  Survivors are rather explicitly people who are thrust into a situation they aren't prepared for and make do with limited resources.  Survivalists prepare extensively to make do with limited resources.  Very, very different things.

Mostly I question the entire foundation of the "statistics" in the article.  What it shows is not that Survivors have a problem, but rather that the Survivor playstyle is less popular.  Those are not the same thing by a long shot.  It's a pretty classic case of trying to make the statistics say what you want them to say, rather than analyzing them objectively.  Even were that done, it's a big jump from "This is a less popular playstyle" to "They should change it so I'd like it more."

Many of the other assertions are personal preference.  Wanting XP purchases to keep the same deck only better was one that stood out to me.  While I can understand that, the assertion that it is a problem is simply wrong.  If it were a problem, Norman would never exist.  Personally, I find decks that evolve their playstyle to be a very interesting aspect.

And that's what a lot of this comes back to - personal preference.  Matt has explicitly said in interviews that the card design presents different things for different playstyles and preferences.  That Survivors appeal to a smaller portion of the playerbase is not a problem, and people need to stop thinking that just because that playstyle doesn't appeal to them it needs to be changed.

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1 hour ago, Iuchi Toshimo said:

This card is kinda trash, but might get played once or twice a campaign? I've never seen a situation I'd want it:

Fire Extinguisher... because it's an asset. The second ability would be pretty good if the thing didn't to be in play first. 

Yeah I don't know anyone who likes Fire Extinguisher.  Seems just not good enough to justify the experience purchase.  That said they can't all be winners.

In addition Guiding Spirit is coming and that card looks great for any Survivor that actually wants to boost their Int.  I'm kinda excited to see if we get any other interesting exile cards.

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On 2/18/2019 at 7:02 PM, ntguardian said:

A few weeks ago I asked you all to participate in a survey  about which Arkham Horror classes you preferred. Here's my results:

https://ntguardian.wordpress.com/2019/02/18/comparing-the-classes-of-arkham-horror-why-survivors-need-work/

(In a week another post will come detailing how this analysis was done.)

I also discuss the issues I have with the cards in the Survivor class.

I just wanted to jump in and say that, despite not whole-heartedly agreeing with your conclusion, I always appreciate your write-ups and analyses of the game. They are thoroughly enjoyable, and always make me see the game from a new and interesting perspective.

Besides that, your point about off-class Survivors (level 0-2) getting almost the same benefit as main-class Survivors (level 0-5) is very valid, and something that hadn't really struck me before. I'm not sure how to fix that apart from doing as you suggest; i.e. making more level 3+ cards for the survivor class.

But I don't think the slight lack of people who picked survivors as their number one class is a big problem. From the way I read your results, it seems almost 15% chose survivors as their preferred class. That's not too far away from the ideal 20% split between all classes. I think this shows that the designers, overall, have made a good effort to make each class appealing to different kinds of people.

So, in conclusion: Yes, I agree adding more high level cards will help differentiate the main-class survivors from the off-class, but it's far from doom and gloom for the survivor class. I love 'em, and apparently I'm not alone if 15% of the other people in your survey answered the same as me.

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I think the Survivor primary investigators all have some really powerful or interesting ability on their investigator cards to differentiate them from Survivor off class investigators.  Yorick's recursion ability is just asking to break the game.  Wendy just saying nope to the chaos bag is ridiculously powerful.  Ashcan comes out swinging big in every skill category effectively with Duke out making him the best early game investigator.  Having played Rita her ability to get across a board quickly is fantastic and doing damage on evade is a great option to have in your arsenal.  She definitely felt better in a higher player count game where she can run support.  Once I upgraded to the Ornate Bow she felt like a real powerhouse.   Calvin is... well a puzzle to play honestly.  That has a place as well.

I guess in short I don't think the deck building needs to feel symmetric or fair across investigators.  I don't think that is actually important.  I do think that each investigator should present some unique experience when played.  In that capacity Survivors I feel succeeds magnificently.

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Well, I agree with the OP's conclusions for the most part.  In fact, I think they presented a fairly compelling case.  The results of the poll seem to indicate that Survivors are the least preferred class.   That seems fairly clear and the only way to argue against this is to say that the results of the poll are not representative of the general attitude towards Survivors.  It is possible, but I think that it is likely that the numbers in the poll do in fact give us an accurate representation.   

So if you are with me on that front,  then the only question left to answer is:  why?   Before I move on, one more thing is to say that I think the OP's intention -as well as my own when I discuss this-  was to talk about characters who are Survivors as their primary class.   Not as a secondary class,  or as "splash" cards in the case of the Dunwich set, or other investigators who can take a few Survivor cards.
The OP presents several compelling arguments.  

So, as far as I can tell, the possibilities are twofold.    Either it's because of the investigators themselves, or it's because of the card pool  (saying "the playstyle"  is pretty similar to saying the card pool again).

The first possibility:  It's at least possible that the Survivor investigators just happen to not be good.      I'm trying to say that we can at least conceive of a scenario where it just so happens to be that all the printed Survivor investigators have bad stats, mediocre abilities, or crippling weaknesses.     So I'm going to go ahead and say this is not the case.   Rita being excepted as I really havent gotten to do anything with her yet:   Wendy's ability is possibly the best in the game.   William Yorrick's ability is very solid.   Pete's is reasonable, and so I think the only real dud is Calvin.      Signature cards: Wendy's again is fantastic,  William Yorrick's is very very good,  Pete's is great, and the only real dud is Calvin  (it's not bad.  It's not great either).   Signature weaknesses:  Wendy's is manageable,  William Yorrick's should be no problem as long as you dont draw it too early,  Pete's is tame, and the only real dud is Calvin.    

So  the card pool?   I think this was sort of the OP's conclusion, and I can't say that they're wrong.  Maybe we disagree on the specifics of why,  but I generally agree with the sentiment that it's the card pool that is the problem, and pretty much any Survivor character who had access to a different card pool (instead of Survivor) would be a stronger character.  

-Lack of Level 4+ cards:   Actually I'm fine with this.  I don't think it makes a whole lot of sense, but I'm fine with it.  You're not exactly getting less XP, you're just spreading it around more.   I don't generally agree with the designer's sentiment that this in any way shape or form makes Survivors feel more scrappy, or more like they are just diving in making the best of it, than if they had level 4 and 5 cards.   Would having a level 5 shovel pull you out of theme?   It wouldn't for me.  Theme is about the style of a card, not about how much XP it costs.  But again, whatever, if that's how it is,  I have no real complaints from a gameplay perspective.

-Exile cards as stated are generally more powerful than a similarly costed non-exile card, so I'm ok with them too.  

-What I don't like about the survivor pool specifically is that it's too hard to get multiple damage or multi-clue access.  I thought that some of the cards of the last cycle like Winging It and Improvised Weapon were going to solve the issue, but now I can confidently say that they don't.    Their multi-damage/clue function is only single-use (until you draw them again), and to top it off they are too slow:  as first you have to get the card into your discard pile (harder than expected because they have no icons!) and then you have to play it from your discard pile.  Meaning after playing say, Winging It,  twice, assuming you succeed both times,  you've snagged 3 clues for 2 actions, 2 cards, and 2 resources.   Not great!!    Baseball Bat and Old Hunting Rifle help with the damage, but they are both two handed and have significant downsides on the skull draw.  Essentially, where a guardian can pick up a 2 handed weapon and go ham and just concede that they aren't getting many clues this game (relying on auto-clues like Evidence!, etc..)  , a Survivor character really can't do this without also admitting that they should have just played a Guardian.

The Survivors that can succeed tend to be the survivors who have big access to other card pools (Wendy and Yorrick),  where the ones that are stuck with the lions share of Survivor cards struggle mightily, IMO.

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I feel your assessment, but I still love the survivor card pool. I honestly don't think that the lack of doing 2 clues at once or 2 damage at once is holding them back. Those cards are great, yes, but both seeker and guardian (more guardian) have gotten insanely powerful cards in that respect. Guardian is spoiled by scene of the crime which is testless double clues generation that rewards them for being in a location with an enemy. That's crazy powerful stuff for a lvl 0 card.

But you also have to think about the fact that Survivor has cards like Cornered that let you discard cards for +2 to any given test. If you have that out and you discard winging it, you've just given yourself an opportunity to play it for better effect from the discard (despite not having pips) and gotten a bonus to your test. Or when a treachery forces you to discard cards and they happen to be improvised/winging it... it actually makes me excited. I feel like I've gotten away with something. Like I've pulled one over on the mythos. And once they are in the discard, you can use them at any time. It's like an extended hand of back-up plans.  I really enjoy that aspect.  Look What I found pairs very well with cards like Take Heart, or Live and Learn.  

I don't know. I am probably biased because I play multi-player (3 player games mostly). Sure maybe survivors seem slow to solo (do they?) but not everyone is going to have solid access to great cards like Scene of the Crime to pick up the slack on tests that they are typically rubbish at. Rogues also don't have solid ways to deal 2 damage or get 2 clues.

I think the issue is that these classes do not feel as inherently powerful as Guardian and Seeker and Mystic... but I'm of the mind that those classes are seeing a bit of power creep that I'm not overly a fan of anyway.  

Joe Diamond is always going to blow survivors AND rogues out of the water in terms of damage potential and clue efficiency, but it's because those factions he has access to are strong. 

If the idea is that you want survivor to be able to compete in these areas better, sure, you could make cards that give you 2 clues and stick a red border on the card or give them a few more high damage weapons... but I guess making all the classes good at everything seems like a mistake to me unless there are gameplay mechanics that support the class's identity as well. I don't know how you would work in recursion, discard, or fail-to-win mechanics that give you consistent damage/clues. But without those elements, the faction is just going to feel like guardian or feel like seeker.

I suppose you could create an asset that has unlimited uses that as a reaction lets you discard cards to get an extra clue or an extra damage or something, but those would be very strong if you didn't limit uses per turn.  I'm curious what (ignoring the 4-5 xp considerations) would make the survivor feel distinct and still compete with the big boys? The fact that guardian cards and seeker cards explicitly are meant to be good at such very key mechanics is a problem because as soon as you start giving access to that same ability to other factions, guardian and seeker are at risk of losing their identities. I mean, seeker maybe less so because they have, to some extent, card draw and mobility if you didn't want to clue-hoover. (EDIT: Even this I have trouble with because within seeker, if you are not stacking your deck with all the extra clue cards, you are just less likely to win the scenario... it's getting harder and harder to find card slots for non-clue seeker cards like shortcut, no stone unturned, and preposterous sketches... at least for me)

I personally feel like out of all the factions, guardian (though incredibly good) probably contains the least interesting cards.

EDIT: Sorry that was a wall of text and got a bit rambly.

Edited by Soakman

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1 hour ago, Soakman said:

I'm curious what (ignoring the 4-5 xp considerations) would make the survivor feel distinct and still compete with the big boys?


A good question.  I mean, mystics can still deal damage/get multi-clues without it treading on Seeker/guardian identity,  so why couldn't survivors?   As to what they could do....

Well,   IMO,  it would have been a good idea to make Survivors the medic characters rather than Guardians.   Guardians' role is to deal damage,  Survivors could have been to help the team absorb damage.   Cards like First Aid, If It Bleeds..., and I've Had Worse,   really ought to have been Survivor cards.  Then Guardians would have been offensive,  and Survivors defensive.   Making Guardians both of these things and giving Survivors nothing was a huge mistake as far as I'm concerned.   It's hard on Survivors, and it does no favors for Guardians either who typically end up ignoring most of these cards in favor of their offensive options.  

But that ship is very, very much sailed.    So what could Survivors get now that would help them out?   Well, let me talk about On Your Own first.    This was a great idea with an execution that makes you want to bang your head against the wall.   On the surface, a buff for your character that prevents you from use of the powerful ally slot is a nicely thematic idea.  The problem is that the buff they chose is -2 cost for Survivor events.   This has two problems.   1)  Survivors are the "cheap" class anyway, and they really dont particularly need to play their events cheaper.   So, this doesnt help them nearly as much as it would any other class.   2)  There simply arent that many 2+ cost survivor events.   

We could mitigate problem 2) by adding a lot more survivor event cards that cost 2 or more.   Strong events.  Events that are non-exile and cost XP, preferably,  so they can be retrieved with Resourceful (which can be retrieved with True Survivor.  And you have a Thing going).   I think this would go a long way towards helping survivors out.

A different idea would be a buff based on cards in your discard pile.  Perhaps a XP-costed, Exceptional (raising XP cost, and restricting to 1/deck) Permanent  card that says something like "When you discover a clue at your location:  If you have 10 or more cards in your discard pile, exhaust this card to discover 1 additional clue at your location".      You could do something similar for damage.   This would make Survivor class about managing their discard pile,  which ties in very nicely already to many of the cards that they already have.

Edited by awp832

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7 minutes ago, awp832 said:

Well, let me talk about On Your Own first.    This was a great idea with an execution that makes you want to bang your head against the wall.   On the surface, a buff for your character that prevents you from use of the powerful ally slot is a nicely thematic idea.  The problem is that the buff they chose is -2 cost for Survivor events.   This has two problems.   1)  Survivors are the "cheap" class anyway, and they really dont particularly need to play their events cheaper.   So, this doesnt help them nearly as much as it would any other class.   2)  There simply arent that many 2+ cost survivor events.   

I think you are looking at it wrong.  Its not a matter of 2+ survivor events.  Its a matter of 1+ survivor events.  Knocking a cost from 1 to zero is a huge deal.  That's 27 of the 30 survivor events.

I get wanting to get the most out of  a card, but there is a huge benefit in benefit in lowering a 1 to a zero.

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A different idea would be a buff based on cards in your discard pile.  Perhaps a XP-costed, Exceptional (raising XP cost, and restricting to 1/deck) Permanent  card that says something like "When you discover a clue at your location:  If you have 10 or more cards in your discard pile, exhaust this card to discover 1 additional clue at your location".      You could do something similar for damage.   This would make Survivor class about managing their discard pile,  which ties in very nicely already to many of the cards that they already have.

I really like this kind of thinking, but we again fall into comparing it with seekers who, with the addition of fingerprint kit, and of course deductions, can now get 2 clues per investigate quite often. Is it a good idea to rely on having cards in the discard before you can exhaust a card you first have to play for a single extra clue (per turn)? It could help with late game clues, but you are also limited to 1/turn use, and it is also playing AGAINST (at least a little) recursion cards like scavenging, resourceful, and Silas and Yorrick's ability. Not to mention it would be a very risky card to invest in with Wendy's weakness.

I like these sorts of ideas, but I can't help but feel survivors thrive on events and skills, which are always going to be one time use cards unless you use recursion or mechanics like winging it, but you're never going to get one-time use cards to get the same bang as an asset with charges unless you really amp them up (3 clue events?) and at that point it starts to get silly unless you're exiling them.

Winging it, I feel, is a step in the right direction (especially for a 0 cost card). I hope to see great survivor themed cards in the future that help narrow the power gap, but it seems unlikely just given how they play. It's a playstyle I enjoy, mind you, but keeping faction identity is essential I think.

Edited by Soakman

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On Your Own is such an enabler for Dark Horse builds it's almost insane.  And if you want to talk about multi-clue gathering, free Look What I Found combined with the many Survivor recursion abilities is nothing to laugh at.

Survivors (and Rogues, and Mystics) are less popular because they're harder to work with, and more fragile.  Because they can do multiple things at once they're subject to occasional "I didn't get what I need to X" states which Guardians and Seekers rarely are because they're so focused on one thing.  Guardians and Seekers get a pass because nobody expects them to do the other thing well, and you build your team around that.  Nobody comes out of a scenario where Daisy doesn't manage to fight well thinking that she's underpowered because of it.

Generally speaking, I think Arkham players like specialization.  They like reliability, they like the flashy moments where they scoop 6 clues in an action or drop 10 damage on a boss.  And there's a lot to recommend that, but it's not the only way to play, and it shouldn't be.  One of the most incredible things about Arkham is how well it flexes the difficulty within its card pool.  It's not just the difficulty choice for a scenario, but that some investigators (and yes, even classes) run more smoothly than others.  A Zoey/Rex pair may be great for players who struggle on easy, and you may have groups like mine that run a pure Mystic group (yes, even with Jim) on Standard but go to a more standard mix for harder difficulties.

The idea that Survivors are broken because fewer people like playing them is not only wrong, it's actively dangerous to the health of the game.

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What survivors need at level 3 is unique, flavourful approaches to clue gathering and monster-hunting.

Most of the good survivor cards are generic "good cards", such as Lucky, Live and Learn, Take Heart and Will to Survive, or universally applicable survival tools like Cherished Keepsake, Leather Coat and Peter Sylvestre. The problem with a card like Lucky! is that it's better for a non-survivor than for a survivor. This is because anyone can use it to pass any test that they otherwise would fail, and it's more effective to pass an otherwise-failing 4-ammo BAR shot, or investigation with Rite of Seeking (5) or Deduction, or whatever, than anything that Survivors can manage natively. The only "big" single-action effect that Survivors can consistently pull off is a shot with the Old Hunting Rifle, which is too unreliable and inaccurate to be a primary monster-hunting tool. This is at the root of why off-class access to Survivor often feels just as good as main-class access - because a Seeker or Guardian can use it to do Seeker and Guardian stuff more reliably just as easily as a Survivor can use it to do Survivor stuff.

it's also telling that most survivors have very strong investigator abilities - Ashcan Pete with an inbuilt weapon and investigation/mobility tool, Wendy with a huge boost to her chances of passing tests and the ability to make any card in hand useful in any situation, Yorick with unlimited recursion, Calvin with potentially massive stats, and so forth. It's also telling that Wendy often ends up making better use of Rogue cards than Survivor cards as she gets exp, and that Yorick has to lean heavily on Guardian or Neutral cards to be able to fight effectively.

This means that Survivors have a very flat power curve, where they have powerful in-built abilities and generically useful tools to help them succeed, but by the end of the campaign often still rely on those tools whereas other classes have hugely upgraded their core approach. It's an interesting design space to have them be innately good rather than relying on stuff, but it means they feel weaker and certainly very samey by the end of a campaign. Therefore I'd say they need one or both of: Decent upgrades to investigation and fighting so they can keep pace in contributing to winning the game (Old Hunting Rifle was a good idea in that direction but skull-as-autofail ruined it), like powerful level 3 versions of the Improvised events; or, interesting combos they can leverage to significantly increase their "base" power and help their core abilities stay relevant to endgame - we have a couple of these in the form of a Yaotl/Desperate build, infinite recycling of Will to Survive with Resourceful/True Survivor and some kind of resource engine, Oops(2)/Live and Learn to let you hit twice with one attack, and Dark Horse builds, but I don't feel like that's enough for a class identity, especially as some of those are usable by anyone with access to level 2 Survivor and they often feel more like gimmicks than a proper class identity.

2 of my top 5 investigators are Survivors, but I completely understand why they might have the least well-regarded card pool.

Edited by Allonym

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