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Rookie/Heroic Modes Announcement

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How is that FFG is a smaller company that has multiple games but looks at their own community boards and takes in feedback and works on improvements in a much quicker turn around time.

Yet Wizards of the Coast can hardly manage the two games that are their bread & butter, Magic: the Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons, by mostly ignore community feedback and taking far to long to make needed changes/adjustments.

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53 minutes ago, Hyperjayman said:

How is that FFG is a smaller company that has multiple games but looks at their own community boards and takes in feedback and works on improvements in a much quicker turn around time.

Yet Wizards of the Coast can hardly manage the two games that are their bread & butter, Magic: the Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons, by mostly ignore community feedback and taking far to long to make needed changes/adjustments.

WOTC got rid of their community forums, plus being a larger company actually probably works against them as there's maybe more gears that have to turn. But also @Barbacuoprobably has the right of it.

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I've been using heroic mode with Rhino for some time. Just this weekend I ran him with +1 card and Legions of Hydra. It was not easy.

I don't really think it will fix Risky Business as it is still has some fundamental issues that the encounter cards dont solve. I've played heroic 1 before and was still easy. It might be a challenge with enough Heroic levels (but more likely it will just be an unfunny slogfest).

Overall, I'm happy this is an official variant.

I'm already planning how I'm going to tackle Klaw heroic 3...

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1 hour ago, maniakmedic said:

Wasn't Team Covenant already basically doing this? Not that I'm unhappy with the announcement, I'm actually glad to see official variants.

It’s sort of what team covenant was doing if I understand it all correctly. Team covenant only dealt one extra encounter card per turn. So player 1 got and extra card but player 2 didn’t. 
 

in official expert mode each player gets dealt and extra card per level. So expert level 1 it’s not just one extra card that gets dealt but one extra card to each player. So each player gets 2. Then expert level 2 gives two cards to each player so each player would get 3 encounter cards each turn. 
 

So similar concept but different. 

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1 hour ago, SpiderMana said:

Really makes me want to try out Black Widow + Spidey for maximum treachery negating fun. 😢

BW-J & SM-L would be a legit combo for that scenario I think.

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Meh?  Honestly, it feels like the laziest possible change to the difficulty, and seems like at least a backhanded acknowledgement of how bad the difficulty scaling in the game was in the first place.  They pretty obviously didn't have a lot of knobs to turn on this, being limited to things which were already out the door.  That tells me pretty strongly that this is a development failure.

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1 hour ago, Buhallin said:

Meh?  Honestly, it feels like the laziest possible change to the difficulty, and seems like at least a backhanded acknowledgement of how bad the difficulty scaling in the game was in the first place.  They pretty obviously didn't have a lot of knobs to turn on this, being limited to things which were already out the door.  That tells me pretty strongly that this is a development failure.

I mean, I don’t know that I’d go so far as to say it’s a development failure. The game is great. I do agree that I was a little...not disappointed but underwhelmed. 
 

I think you’re right about the number of knobs they have for general difficulty scaling but again I don’t think that speaks to design failure. Turns out you don’t NEED a lot of knobs if the ones you do have are so effective. And it is effective. Having more encounter cards each turn does indeed make it more challenging. The encounter decks, especially the modular encounters and the sets brought in by Shadows of the Past, have some cool synergies and combos, but they don’t always get a chance to actually DO those combos. With more cards dealt each turn there’s more of a chance for the combos to actually go off. But....it’s also what a lot of people were already doing anyway which is maybe why it felt underwhelming to me. 

So is it the most interesting solution? Well no probably not. I still hold out hope they do things like add modular environments you can add to any encounter to change the rules in some way, or revisit old encounters with nightmare versions in the future. But what I do like about this is the infinite scaling. I look at it kind of like the nightmare levels or whatever they’re called in Diablo 3 where you’re constantly trying to get better gear and optimize your build so you increase the difficulty and play in higher nightmare levels. Maybe right now my group can only do rhino heroic 3 for example. But with new heroes and player cards and more refined decks in the future we can do it on heroic 4. Or 5. So there’s potentially reason to go back to old encounters that would otherwise be obsolete due to power creep. That seems pretty cool. 

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6 hours ago, The Team said:

I think you’re right about the number of knobs they have for general difficulty scaling but again I don’t think that speaks to design failure.

I'm not saying it's not effective (more on that in a minute) but the fact that they were limited to post-release knobs indicates that it WAS a design failure.  If we grant that the game needed more difficulty modes then being limited to post-release knobs indicates that this was missed in the design phase.  Hence, a design failure.

While Heroic especially will certainly make the game harder, I'm not sure that it does so in a good (or even interesting) way.  Difficulty in Champions tends to be very random and very spiky; Shadow of the Past being drawn is a MASSIVE difficulty bump in any given game.  Increasing the odds of that happening just makes the difficulty spike more often.  On the other hand there are undoubtedly (though I haven't done an exhaustive survey) cards with more boost icons than nasty effects.  These cards actually get easier to handle in Heroic since they'll show up as draws rather than boosts.  What's more, the "draw more" presents a difficulty that players can't actually respond to.  There are a limited number of ways to handle treacheries in the game, so Heroic just pushes you towards those options more.

All of this can be contrasted with Arkham Horror.  There, pretty much every action requires a test and increased difficulty means every test will be harder to pass.  This is something that presents a smooth scaling which every player can respond to without requiring specific investigators or cards.  That should be the goal for the game - one where the difficulty increase is consistent and can be responded to outside of a very specific (and limited) set of must-have cards.  Champions seems to have missed the boat on both.

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They should have went with the original plan that punishes smaller decks by adding an extra acceleration token plus and extra encounter when your deck runs out.  That would make the deck building more interesting.

Either way Im ignoring this option altogether.  3-player Ultron Expert and manditory 50-card decks is challenging enough as it is.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Lily Chen said:

An idea that I heard somebody say was to create new environment cards to start the game with. To me that sounds like a mucher more fun and creative way to make things harder.

@KennedyHawk2 has already done that. I haven't played with them yet, but I'm getting them printed so I can give them a try.

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/10RCs-Vf3jU0GyHG-z7JN_U0ZqNYXaiDc

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Posted (edited)

+ encounter cards is a simple yet effective and universal way to increase difficulty. Sure Environment cards are more creative and maybe we'll get them in the future, but those take time due to playtesting and they would have to do a different one for every scenario. It would also require printed materials, as in be part of an expansion, where as this is a solution they can just give to us as a rules reference addition.

I've been playing with Heroic mode on the easier villains for a while now and it is an effective way to increase difficulty. It does increase the randomness a bit, but at Heroic 1, it is still not too bad and it also opens the door for it being the right play to play around the possibility of certain cards, like Advance or additional attacks. Beyond Heroic 1 is unleashing craziness but i don't think that is required for a satisfying game (except maybe Risky Business, since +encounter cards dont really solve its problems).

Edited by Deadwolf

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TLDR: I think it’s too harsh to say this is a design failure. There’s something for everyone.

In the article about the new modes one thing I read loud and clear was:

Quote

The Marvel universe is one of inclusivity and variety, having a little bit of something for everyone, and this philosophy is one that we strive to emulate, ensuring that players of every level have an experience they can enjoy.


I read that as confirming the IP is going to bring in a lot of first-time or novice LCG players who are going to need some thematic gaming options and fun experiences for variable abilities.


I think to the extent this is a design goal they’ve done a pretty masterful job. I will admit that this is pretty late in the game to message that, though, and the expert fringe might have been served with that info earlier on.


I know there are highly experienced expert LCG gamers here and/or those with the time and wherewithal to dial in the meta precisely. By definition a LCG is begging for you to sort out the meta and this game rewards those efforts. Game-over bombs that are unavoidable regardless of skill or investment in meta thinking are not the kind of difficulty anyone really wants in an LCG, by definition. But it also should not only be winnable by experts or force you to reference a deck-building DB.

I like the balance this game brings between putting in effort building a deck before the game and making decisions in game. But I do admit I’m not for running the same engine every game and expecting x win percentage from it.


Also it seems to me that for Marvel LCG the gaming configuration has an outsized impact on outcome. Single player, single-player multihanded, and 4-player are very different when applied to some scenarios. And then you can add or subtract an alpha gamer for varying mileage on top of that. Seemingly more so than other LCGs (for my money) so I recommend exploring that.


Keep in mind they are trying to make a game for the player who does not necessarily want to equip Black Widow with Jarnbjorn and sort out the meta from there. But also for the gamer who does. It’s ambitious and difficult but they’ve come close to the mark IMHO. I find FFG games in general to be on the hard side historically but I’ve seen a bit of a shift and I do admit this is a noticeable one (but not fatal or lazy).


But I’ve run the game with first-time LCG gamers and with prebuilt decks and we’ve won and lost and always has fun. Iron Man out of the box is a challenge for novice even if they have an analytic mind. But not overly and in the end is rewarding to figure out.


The game totally has the capacity, as is, to accommodate more difficult scenarios. I’m sure we will see them. If anything they should stick with a difficulty system and label product as such so people can make their buying choices from there.


I hope for the gamers that are not finding a challenge in this game that FFG can accommodate you further with more challenging scenarios or variant rules but it would be a shame to leave that inclusivity or more casual gamers like myself behind. I think that’s what they are trying to do here and I appreciate the outcome of this difficult goal.

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6 hours ago, usgrandprix said:

TLDR: I think it’s too harsh to say this is a design failure. There’s something for everyone.

I think you're misunderstanding what I mean by "design failure" here.  It seems clear at this point that the core game needed more control and granularity over difficulty.  That should have been apparent during design, but they missed it.  Now they're left with the fairly inelegant solution of throwing more encounter cards at players, because there's not really anything much else they can do.

The rest of your post seems to be suggesting that players who want more difficulty are trying to do that at the expense of others.  I don't think that's the case at all.  In fact, it's my entire point - the core design of Champions makes difficulty erratic and hard to control.  Standard is often too easy, and Expert too punishing, even for lighter players.  The modular sets vary in difficulty but in a very erratic way.  A single card (Shadows of the Past) can take any given game from trivial to punishing in one jump.  Nemesis sets don't actually seem to match nemesis power to hero power at all, which would be an interesting balancing mechanism (although still erratic).

If the difficulty system was well designed it would be able to handle a much broader range of player skill and depth, from ones who just want to take the Cap pack off the shelf and never change it to the most serious of deckbuilders.  I'm not saying what we got with Heroic didn't make the game harder, it does...  I just don't think it does so in an interesting way, and the fact that they had to do it without any changes to the components or even core rules points to it not being considered during design.

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@Buhallin
"I'm not saying it's not effective (more on that in a minute) but the fact that they were limited to post-release knobs indicates that it WAS a design failure.  If we grant that the game needed more difficulty modes then being limited to post-release knobs indicates that this was missed in the design phase.  Hence, a design failure."

I disagree with the baseline assumption.

If they want to adjust difficulty, as designers, they have plenty of design choices. I think this was just the least disruptive to the game itself.

The merits of this choice are clear: 
1) Easy to implement (+1 card)
2) Precedented: Green Goblin II and III already deal cards to the players.
3) Not a new mechanic to learn (eschew the fiddly)
4) No change in step procedures (avoids confusion)
5) Scales virtually infinitely
6) Doesn't rely on Additional Product Purchase (It's applicable to everyone, even those with only the core set).

That it ticks all the boxes doesn't make it a failure, if anything it's admirably restrained, because it keeps open the future options if they really wanted to:

A) New versions of Villains
B) New versions of the Standard/Expert card sets (making them swappable/combinable, whatever)

"All of this can be contrasted with Arkham Horror.  There, pretty much every action requires a test and increased difficulty means every test will be harder to pass.  This is something that presents a smooth scaling which every player can respond to without requiring specific investigators or cards.  That should be the goal for the game - one where the difficulty increase is consistent and can be responded to outside of a very specific (and limited) set of must-have cards.  Champions seems to have missed the boat on both."

Boost cards already replicate this in the 0-3 range for villain attacks/schemes. Some of which * for additional card draw, which gives a range wider than 0-3.
The Arkham Horror bag is, in general, kind of a feel bad mechanic.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Buhallin said:

I'm not saying what we got with Heroic didn't make the game harder, it does...  I just don't think it does so in an interesting way, and the fact that they had to do it without any changes to the components or even core rules points to it not being considered during design.

Hey you make some great points here and I agree with this in particular. It would be nice if any given villain were even more scalable. I think that’s what they are going for with modular encounter sets, expert cards, level 1/2/3 villains  but that missed the mark for some I guess . And I’m disappointed they abandoned the modular encounter difficulty rating. 
 

My main point is that they are trying for inclusivity and that’s ambitious and I think they did a good job. There are a lot of tools to tinker with in this game.  I hope there’s still room to get what we all want out of the game.

 

 

Edited by usgrandprix

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On 3/23/2020 at 3:30 PM, Deadwolf said:

I'm already planning how I'm going to tackle Klaw heroic 3...

I want to say 2 characters feels like a good number? Because you get more and more encounter cards the more Heroes you play with, but one Hero on his own feels tough in a different way?

But what do I know, I gave up after the villain’s second phase. 😂 I think solo Aggression is gonna be your best bet against it, and probably with one of the Captains or maybe She-Hulk. But there’s no room for a Justice/thwart-heavy playstyle in Heroic 3.

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25 minutes ago, SpiderMana said:

I want to say 2 characters feels like a good number? Because you get more and more encounter cards the more Heroes you play with, but one Hero on his own feels tough in a different way?

But what do I know, I gave up after the villain’s second phase. 😂 I think solo Aggression is gonna be your best bet against it, and probably with one of the Captains or maybe She-Hulk. But there’s no room for a Justice/thwart-heavy playstyle in Heroic 3.

It is threat that is the real killer. It is just insanity, even with Leadership+Justice. But maybe I'll try again once we get more threat management tools in BW's pack.

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9 hours ago, usgrandprix said:

And I’m disappointed they abandoned the modular encounter difficulty rating.

They could only do that because the card pool was locked. Once you start expanding the card pool you can’t get a guaranteed number because more variables need to be checked, but can only be considered with those variables. For example Legions of Hydra gets worse the more Hydra cards available. Klaw, Ultron & Green Goblin(either scenario) have 0 Hydra cards for it to be worse. Yet Rhino has Hydra minions meaning it much stronger for him. Also Captain America has a Hydra nemesis which makes it worse for him. 
So it’s a 1 for Klaw, Ultron & Green Goblin since it doesn’t push them much more.

A 2 or 3 for Rhino...depending on when it hits.

And a 4 or 5 for Captain America...if you fight against Rhino...if the Legion scheme hit....if Cap got hit with a Shadows of the Past.

Thats not even counting the story box where eventually getting based on Red Skull which is bound to have lots Hydra cards in it alone which would make Legions of Hydra a pain in the **** for every hero, but a total nightmare for Captain America.

The more modular scenarios we get will only make getting a definite number impossible.

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18 hours ago, Hyperjayman said:

They could only do that because the card pool was locked. Once you start expanding the card pool you can’t get a guaranteed number because more variables need to be checked, but can only be considered with those variables. For example Legions of Hydra gets worse the more Hydra cards available. Klaw, Ultron & Green Goblin(either scenario) have 0 Hydra cards for it to be worse. Yet Rhino has Hydra minions meaning it much stronger for him. Also Captain America has a Hydra nemesis which makes it worse for him. 
So it’s a 1 for Klaw, Ultron & Green Goblin since it doesn’t push them much more.

A 2 or 3 for Rhino...depending on when it hits.

And a 4 or 5 for Captain America...if you fight against Rhino...if the Legion scheme hit....if Cap got hit with a Shadows of the Past.

Thats not even counting the story box where eventually getting based on Red Skull which is bound to have lots Hydra cards in it alone which would make Legions of Hydra a pain in the **** for every hero, but a total nightmare for Captain America.

The more modular scenarios we get will only make getting a definite number impossible.

I do find Legions of Hydra to be, by far, the hardest module, and that’s mostly because it has so much threat on it to begin with and you can’t deal with Madame Hydra until that is resolved.

MODOK you can at least take out before dealing with the side scheme. 

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