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Dandy06

The Forgotten Age vs The Circle Undone

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Hi,
I’ve read through many forums, these two cycle get the most hate it or love it, no in between.(for example almost everybody loves Carcosa)
What is your opinion about them, why do you like or dislike them? 
Which has better storytelling and better player cards?

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43 minutes ago, Dandy06 said:

Hi,
I’ve read through many forums, these two cycle get the most hate it or love it, no in between.(for example almost everybody loves Carcosa)
What is your opinion about them, why do you like or dislike them? 
Which has better storytelling and better player cards?

They're both REALLY different.  And I would say that they're both harder than Carcosa or Dunwich.

The Forgotten Age's gameplay is punishing and doles out a LOT of trauma. Its story is a really great adventure type with some time travel horror thrown in.

The Circle Undone's gameplay has a lot of punishing encounter cards with several of them stacking in your play area. Its story is DARK and is more conspiratorial and more of a mystery that you have to puzzle out yourself.

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That’s a big question, so for now I’ll just give my opinion on the player cards.

  • Guardian. I’d give this to TFA. While TCU brought some nice cancellation and healing cards, TFA brought us the BAR, the Flamethrower and Scene of the Crime.
  • Seeker. I think TCU wins this hands down, with Fingerprint Kit, the Hawk-Eye Folding Camera and everyone’s best friend Mr. Rook.
  • Rogue. Both have good cards for rich Rogue builds and both have a great high xp card in All In (TFA) and Double, Double (TCU). A tie.
  • Mystic. TCU edges this for me due to the general usefulness of Sixth Sense and Deny Existence. TFA is the only place to get Seal though, which is a fun mechanic.
  • Survivor. Another close one. TFA has Take Heart, Cornered and Alter Fate. TCU has Drawing Thin, Meat Cleaver and Track Shoes. I think TCU just edges this too by the narrowest of margins.
  • Neutral. A clear win for TFA with Ornate Bow, Timeworn Brand and Trench Coat, while the best TCU can offer is Anna Kaslow and The Ace of Rods.
  • Investigators: I looked at the list and realised it was impossible to choose, but TCU has 6 compared to TFA’s 5.

Conclusion: I think if you are only interested in player cards then TCU comes out ahead, although it lacks any big weapons which TFA has in spades.

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In general I prefer TCU because I don't feel like I have to use an investigator who can evade. For instance, I just made a Leo/Agnes duo for solo play. I could run them through TFA, but without stacking every evade event Leo can take (which I'm not interested in) and stray cats and cunning distractions (again, not interested), I feel like it would be an absolute nightmare. I could do it, sure, but not without getting 100 vengeance by the fifth scenario.

TFA punishes you severely for playing it "wrong," TCU punishes you some too if you're lacking willpower, but it doesn't outright crush you. That's my feeling on the two campaigns.

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, Assussanni said:

That’s a big question, so for now I’ll just give my opinion on the player cards.

  • Guardian. I’d give this to TFA. While TCU brought some nice cancellation and healing cards, TFA brought us the BAR, the Flamethrower and Scene of the Crime.
  • Seeker. I think TCU wins this hands down, with Fingerprint Kit, the Hawk-Eye Folding Camera and everyone’s best friend Mr. Rook.
  • Rogue. Both have good cards for rich Rogue builds and both have a great high xp card in All In (TFA) and Double, Double (TCU). A tie.
  • Mystic. TCU edges this for me due to the general usefulness of Sixth Sense and Deny Existence. TFA is the only place to get Seal though, which is a fun mechanic.
  • Survivor. Another close one. TFA has Take Heart, Cornered and Alter Fate. TCU has Drawing Thin, Meat Cleaver and Track Shoes. I think TCU just edges this too by the narrowest of margins.
  • Neutral. A clear win for TFA with Ornate Bow, Timeworn Brand and Trench Coat, while the best TCU can offer is Anna Kaslow and The Ace of Rods.
  • Investigators: I looked at the list and realised it was impossible to choose, but TCU has 6 compared to TFA’s 5.

Conclusion: I think if you are only interested in player cards then TCU comes out ahead, although it lacks any big weapons which TFA has in spades.

I think I have limited card pool with just one core set, full Dunwich and Dream-Eaters 1-5(waiting for the last pack before start), so I take player cards also in consideration ty for your examples, this helps a lot. The better storytelling and gameplay is more important than the cards so I can not say I’m only interested in them.

Edited by Dandy06

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27 minutes ago, Dandy06 said:

I think I have limited card pool with just one core set, full Dunwich and Dream-Eaters 1-5(waiting for the last pack before start), so I take player cards also in consideration ty for your examples, this helps a lot. The better storytelling and gameplay is more important than the cards so I can not say I’m only interested in them.

You're welcome. My gut feeling is that you are more likely to get feedback on the scenarios rather than the player cards, so I hope it is useful.

If you are currently trying to decide between which cycle to get next (a position I was also in after finishing The Path to Carcosa) then I think one question that is worth considering is how often you get the game to the table:

  • If you don't play regularly then I'd recommend getting The Circle UndoneThe Forgotten Age can be very punishing the first time you play it if you don't know what is coming and has one particular "mechanic" that I really dislike.
  • If you do play regularly and know that you will play the campaign several times in reasonably quick succession then I'd recommend The Forgotten Age because I think it has the most replayability of any campaign released so far, not only because of the challenge but also because of the branching paths of the narrative.

My final comment, which isn't really in favour of one or the other, is that I'd say that the high points of TFA are better than those of TCU while the lows of TFA are also worse than those of TCU. In particular, the TFA scenarios Threads of Fate and Depths of Yoth both make excellent stand-alone scenarios, whereas I'm not sure I'd say the same about any of the TCU scenarios.

I hope that helps, I know from personal experience it is a difficult decision!

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3 hours ago, CaffeineAddict said:

It may be punishing, but I definitely had more fun with (most) of the scenarios and story of The Forgotten Age, over The Circle Undone.

Totally agree.

I enjoyed TCU but TFA is my favourite cycle so far. It's story is compelling and though I lost one investigator along the way and had to create a new one, there was no loss in the atmosphere this campaign weaves. I reached the end only to fall at the last, suffering from traumas and a deck loaded with weaknesses earned through injury and experiences of horror.

The punishing affects of TFA, to me, feel definitely woven into the story. Would suffer again.

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I'm definitely in the forgotten age is better camp.   

In the Forgotten Age your characters are going to take trauma.   It's not impossible to avoid it but it is very hard to avoid it,  and if you do manage to avoid it...  you are likely giving up on something else that is important.   It's part of the dulling of the power curve for the campaign.    For example,  the Carcosa and Dunwich campaigns (but especially Carcosa) flood your deck with weaknesses.   You'll end up having lots of weakness cards in your deck by the end of the campaign,  and while sometimes you can maybe avoid one or two, for the most part there's nothing you can really do about it,  it just happens.   Forgotten Age doesnt flood you with weakness cards, it gives you trauma instead.   And in the same vein,  while you can avoid it sometimes,  a lot of the time there isn't much you can do about it.   Some people,  for whatever reason,  really dont want to take trauma.   This makes Forgotten Age a problem for them.   Accept that you're going to take some trauma,  and that it will be fine,  and you'll have fun.

Also in TFA,  the game does encourage you to evade a bit more,   but if that isn't your cup of tea,  I have done it plenty of times just going in guns-a-blazin' and it works just fine.   The scenarios are fun and cool.   Some people are mad at some of the scenarios (like heart of the elders) but I sort of disagree with them for the most part.   Heart of the Elders often gets booed as "worst scenario ever"  and I hear their objections... but I guess it doesnt really bother me.   What people complain about,  I just dont really mind.   I think the scenario is fine,  heck,  I'll go one further... I like it.   I do sort of not really care for City of Archives,  but the rest of them are very good IMO.

Circle is much worse IMO.   It would be easier to pick out the scenarios that I do like than the ones I don't.   Almost every single scenario has something annoying about it,  right from the start.   It is also punishingly difficult.   Far harder than TFA.   We played through everything up to and including Forgotten Age on hard mode,  but when we played the Circle Undone we reduced difficulty to standard after several attempts, because we just couldn't get through the scenarios.  

Finally, the storyline of Forgotten Age is legitimately much better.   There's lots of intrigue and different people you can help,   there are even separate endings you can get depending on what choices you make.   There's also an "alternate ending, bonus scenario" finale that is difficult to get,  but my favorite ending.  Very cool.   There's ancient civilizations and time travel and all sorts of cool stuff.     TCU the choices are false,  no matter what you pick everything ends up sussing out in basically the same way, and it's lame.   That was really my biggest disappointment with the campaign.   Without spoiling what little plot elements there are to be had to the reader,  that's all I can say.   With such awesome source material to draw from with the Witch House and Carl Sanford and the Silver Twilight Lodge, the plot is extremely unsatisfying.

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Posted (edited)

For me it just comes down to story. I really dug TFA's lost civilization motif, and agreed that you're just gonna take Trauma, a nice way of heightening the tension (I mean, it came with Calvin who lives on Trauma, and Leo's Agility is 1 so he disposes of a lot of allies instead...). But TFA felt fresh and immersive. There were a few kinks in there but it's in my top 2 campaigns (although it's #3 now that Dream Eaters is almost done).

I really didn't like TCU. Felt boring and a retread where you end up back in a rift to another dimension again (spoilers, not spoilers). I realize they're trying to emulate the 2e board game for a while but there was a chance to do something else here. Some of the mood of inevitability is nicely written, but most of the scenarios are quite boring IMO.

As for player cards I get everything so am losing track of which is which:) Although Leo Anderson and the BAR (with Stick to the Plan and Contraband from other sets) are hard to ignore.  I do like playing Carolyn Fern a lot and she's a CU card. So if your main priority is player cards I'd check the lists and see what tickles your fancy.

Edited by Krysmopompas

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Posted (edited)

I’d say Forgotten Age is more difficult than Carcosa, but if Carcosa is out of stock and you can get hold of TFA then I’d say there’s no reason to wait on picking it up.

The exception would be if you know when Carcosa will be back in stock and you are happy to wait that long. Edit: and that’s only because personally I prefer Carcosa to TFA.

Edited by Assussanni

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