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guatoman

Game Difficulty

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So I played some games and understand (and like) the fact that investigators facing godlike creatures are mostly going to die, but I wonder if I'm doing things wrong cause I die most of the time. Whenever I look at the -8 token, I wonder whenever I ma going to use it, if I can barely make through a -3. How do you succeed ability checks?

How do you beat an enemy with 3 health? You have to spend 3 actions and hope they all succeed. And then? you're supposed to spend a lot of actions to do many other useful things. 

I played Night of the zealot. I got 2 cultists out of 6 and in the final showdown I had 4 of them waiting to be engaged.

 

I mostly play 0 level characters cause I like to build them up along play via exp points, but I tried a deck with 2-5 level cards and still found difficult to beat the game in the easiest settings?

So am I doing something wrong or is the game this difficult?

anyone tried modyfing something to get it easier to beat it?

I tried using more +1 tokens but still encountering enemies meant having to spend more actions to beat them

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)
15 minutes ago, guatoman said:

How do you beat an enemy with 3 health? You have to spend 3 actions and hope they all succeed. And then? you're supposed to spend a lot of actions to do many other useful things. 

Weaponry is your friend here. Cards such as Machete, .45 Automatic or even the humble Knife give you a way to deal 2 damage with a single action. Higher level cards, like Shotgun, can deal 3 or more damage in a single attack.

Allies can help out. Guard Dog deals damage to an enemy when it takes damage and Beat Cop can deal testless damage without taking an action.

There are some events that deal 2+ damage, such as Dynamite Blast and Backstab, and the skill Vicious Blow increases the damage of any Fight test.

There is also the option to evade an enemy, which deals with one enemy for the round using a single action regardless of how much health it has.

I can’t really comment on the -8 token, I’ve never played on Expert. I imagine testless cards like Working a Hunch, Drawn to the Flame and Will to Survive become crucial to pass key tests.

Edited by Assussanni

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succeeding at ability checks:   Don't be too scared of the -8 token just now.   For the moment it is only used on expert difficulty.   So don't play that difficulty level,  very few people do.   If you are having trouble with the game I strongly suggest the "easy" difficulty, and once you get a handle on the game you can adjust as you like.  To succeed at a skill check it is helpful to have a higher skill value,  so playing cards that can give you modifiers is helpful.    Beat Cop, for example, gives you +1 to your combat score.  Committing skill cards or non-skill cards to a check for their skill icons can also help.   Talent cards (physical training, hard knocks, dig deep, etc)  can also help.  Taking less skill checks is another way you can go (automatic damage via guard dog, dynamite blast, etc).  Still,  you simply aren't going to pass a skill check every time you reach into the bag.   If you don't succeed, try again.   

High health enemies:   Mostly weapon cards.  Look for any ways to deal extra damage,  you'll need these.

Night of the Zealot:   Are you talking about the special, "named" cultists in the final scenario?  I think you are.   Having 4 active cultists can be tough.   You can power through them with guns/dynamite,  or try to evade them and get to the location you need.   You could also replay the campaign and hope to do a little better on the Midnight Masks scenario,  then you wont have as many cultists to deal with.

character XP:   You are not supposed to start the game with any XP.   You're intended to progress through the game, spending XP that you earn.   Learning deckbuilding is an essential skill of the game.  Just because something costs more XP doesn't necessarily make it better.  Much of the time it is better,  but not always.    Be careful in what you put in your deck, and spend your XP wisely!

are you doing something wrong:   Quite possibly.   Not too long ago there was a poster who was in a similar situation and we found out that they didn't realize they could assign damage to their assets, making things much harder for themselves.   That said,  I can't tell if you are doing anything wrong or not from your post.    Maybe we could try to help you if you walk us through a sample turn, and we could look to see if you are making any errors.    On easy mode, I don't think the game is so difficult.  But that's a subjective thing.   Plenty of people have come up with their own rules to make the game easier.    That's your choice ultimately with how you'd like to do it.   But if you were asking me for my opinion,  I'd recommend against doing this.   I'd say you were robbing yourself of the experience of the game.   I'd suggest it's more important to learn the rules and understand the mechanics of the game, even if you have to eat a few losses on the way.   I honestly believe that if you understand the rules fully and have a grasp of basic strategy,  you can beat the game on the FFG easy mode setting, with no further adjustments necessary.
 

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So the game is certainly difficult, but could I ask a couple of questions that might help inform a better response?

 

1. Are you playing solo?

2. Do you own just the core?

3. Are you using the starter decks in the guide?

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Our group started playing on Easy, but now we try new campaigns on Standard and replay campaigns on Hard.

Early campaigns on Standard difficult demand you beat a skill test you want to pass by at least 2 and late campaigns demand beating the difficulty by 3. Now, this "beating by 2" isn't a guarantee, but it's like an 80+ % chance.

For Hard, those numbers change to 3 in early scenarios and 4 in the late campaign. Skull tokens also get really variable, swinging between -0 to -7 in some scenarios. This difficulty requires more game knowledge for risk/reward assessment. The resources required to beat a skill test by 3 all the time are very limited, and it's especially punishing to spend those resources and get a bad pull, so decks tend towards getting stuff without pulling tokens or by having silly combos. So it's important to know ahead of time the scenario mechanics and goals with everyone clear on their duties like an MMO raid.

Any token outside these planned numbers we consider extra "auto fail tokens." Which can of course be mitigated by spending even more resources on the most important pulls. Recognizing which pulls are the most important is the game knowledge.

It is also worth mentioning that reducing the difficulty of a skill test (Flashlight) is strictly better than increasing a stat since zero is the minimum skill pull (if Stat + token < 0, then the test = 0)

Art Student is a great example of a card that does something everybody wants but doesn't pull a token. So is Will to Survive. These types of cards are more popular at higher difficulties. Survivor is actually pretty great at higher difficulties.

Luke Robinson using Vantage Point when he goes to his Dream gate is an example of a combo. Not only does this a remove a clue from somewhere, which might be mechanically advantageous, but also Luke could then investigate. Since Vantage Point reduces the shroud of the Dream Gate to zero, his token pull doesn't matter, unless it's the auto fail, since worst case Luke's 3 investigate - 6 token pull = 0 in this game and investigator wins ties.

Look for these types of interactions. Learn how to prioritize cluing, killing, evading, scenario mechanics, and so on. We all started by getting curb stomped by cultists in the woods (I still haven't beaten that scenario and we've beaten the TFA cow level on Hard)

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As others have said, the game is quite difficult, not only to play, but also to understand. I've been moving enemies with "prey" wrong since Dunwich. 

All that said, the third scenario in NotZ is absolutely brutal, and gets my vote for worst scenario ever. If you have the option, you might try switching over to one of the full campaigns like Dunwich. Dunwich is a much more gradual ramp up in difficulty, and it's very beginner friendly. Even if the only campaigns you've got are The Circle Undone or The Forgotten Age (widely regarded as the most difficult campaigns), I still feel those would be a better experience for a beginner than the actual tutorial scenarios. 

Of course if you don't have that option, I think downshifting all the way to "Easy" is a great idea. I also like to re-read the rules when I'm confused or something feels unfairly difficult.

Good luck out there.

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Posted (edited)
On 5/3/2020 at 6:52 PM, Ildirin said:

So the game is certainly difficult, but could I ask a couple of questions that might help inform a better response?

 

1. Are you playing solo?

2. Do you own just the core?

3. Are you using the starter decks in the guide?

solo and 2 players

just one core

no I build trying to get the post form the special abilities.

for instance I used a deck with agnes to take advantage of her ability with horror damage.

I tried daisy but I found not many tomes to use. maybe cause I don't have all expansions I guess

maybe Ii's just bad luck

Edited by guatoman

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Posted (edited)

Thanks for answering.

So I usually play with a group of 4, but recently played some solo and two-handed. Solo investigators, and to a lesser extent 2 investigators, are very fragile and it really only takes a bad draw or two to go from a situation that's fine to completely hopeless. I tried playing with an extra action when it was true solo and felt it helped smooth out the challenge without drastically changing my odds of success. 

I feel like the core scenarios are still some of the most difficult ones, though I haven't played any of the Dream-eaters scenarios. There's a fair amount of times where doing the thing the game expects right away can be a waste of time or screw you over. Yes you can "fail" scenarios and progress, but this usually comes back to bite you in the *** hard later. I still think the game is quite entertaining though and feel that any expansion is an improvement on the core scenarios.

On daisy, it's a bit unfortunate that there's really no choices for tomes in the core. Old Book of Lore and Encyclopedia are good cards, but I think Medical Texts is pretty bad. There's definitely more tomes to improve her consistency in some of the later expansions.

You didn't mention what difficulty you play on, but I think naming one of the difficulties "easy" and saying you just want to experience the story was a mistake. I think it can make people feel like playing "standard" is what they're supposed to do. For the core scenario, "easy" can still be a brutal beatdown to the investigators. Point is, playing on easy doesn't mean you're bad at the game. 

Edited by Ildirin

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Hi. When an investigator takes damage equal to their health or horror equal to their sanity, what are you doing? They aren’t dead or insane. They can continue to the next scenario, but with 1 physical or mental trauma. Are you committing Skill cards like Overpower to your skill tests?

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11 hours ago, Kafitrar said:

 Are you committing Skill cards like Overpower to your skill tests?

what do you mean?

I investigate with a 3 int versus 3 shroud. commit a card with a int icon and then draw a -2 token and that means I fail, right?

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20 hours ago, guatoman said:

what do you mean?

I investigate with a 3 int versus 3 shroud. commit a card with a int icon and then draw a -2 token and that means I fail, right?

Yes. I was just checking if you were committing cards. Like Villefere wrote, you should aim for +2 to improve your odds.

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3 hours ago, Kafitrar said:

Yes. I was just checking if you were committing cards. Like Villefere wrote, you should aim for +2 to improve your odds.

I sure do that but as long as I have cards to commit or I don't think I could need them in the rest of the game.

fact is in a 0 difficulty situation  in easy mode you have more negative tokens than good, so you have to commit a lot of cards

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Just a silly question:

Do you mulligan for cards in your opening hand? (From the 5 cards that you draw at the beginning of the game <discarding all weaknesses>, you can then discard the cards that are not as useful at the beginning and draw more until you have 5 cards again in your hand)

That way, if for example you are playing Roland, you SHOULD try to get at least 1 weapon on your opening hand (which will give you at least a +1 in combat), and try to find a Flashlight too (which is really useful for finding clues).

Also, talking about flashlight, keep in mind that the lowest that your ability can go on a skill test (after drawing tokens and stull) is 0, so if you are investiganting a shroud 2 location and use the flashlight (the test difficulty now is 0), then you will ALWAYS succeed on the test unless you draw the autofail (because the low that your ability will get is to 0, so you'll always be equal or higher than the test difficulty).

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27 minutes ago, Henryillusion said:

Just a silly question:

Do you mulligan for cards in your opening hand? (From the 5 cards that you draw at the beginning of the game <discarding all weaknesses>, you can then discard the cards that are not as useful at the beginning and draw more until you have 5 cards again in your hand)

 

not so silly since I know mulligan from playing magic (a long time ago) and I thought it worked the same way.  you're right to say it helps a lot.

still maybe I just have to realize that it's just a difficult game and so I have to keep playing and get the best of the cards and characters

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One core makes the game harder. With two you can have two pistols, two machetes in Roland deck along his own.

i did try this game with one core and it was swingy. If I did draw machete I was fine, if not it was hurt. Having douple the essestial items help a lot in deckbuilding. In the Beginning I Also included a loput of those two icons skill boost cards in the deck so that I can pump up the test more. 
and +2 is the nice spot to get before drawing the token. 

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On 5/6/2020 at 10:16 PM, guatoman said:

I sure do that but as long as I have cards to commit or I don't think I could need them in the rest of the game.

fact is in a 0 difficulty situation  in easy mode you have more negative tokens than good, so you have to commit a lot of cards

If you are having trouble passing tests its possible your deck may not be optimized enough. Make sure to include enough assets and skills which boost your investigation and combat tests. That is the most important thing.

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Posted (edited)
On 5/3/2020 at 11:50 AM, awp832 said:

are you doing something wrong:   Quite possibly.   Not too long ago there was a poster who was in a similar situation and we found out that they didn't realize they could assign damage to their assets, making things much harder for themselves.   

 

I was that poster and a clearer understanding of the rules made a huge difference. I was hamstringing myself in multiple ways.

 

On 5/4/2020 at 12:32 AM, SGPrometheus said:

All that said, the third scenario in NotZ is absolutely brutal, and gets my vote for worst scenario ever. If you have the option, you might try switching over to one of the full campaigns like Dunwich.

 

*quietly and happily packs away the NotZ Part 3 he was about to play and switches to Murder at the Excelsior Hotel* ;)

 

On 5/5/2020 at 9:32 AM, Ildirin said:

Solo investigators, and to a lesser extent 2 investigators, are very fragile and it really only takes a bad draw or two to go from a situation that's fine to completely hopeless.

I've had some horrendously bad draws where I have drawn auto fail tokens two or three times in a row and essentially making victory impossible for myself. I'm suspicious that my bag draw is biased because I have this habit of drawing the same unique token multiple times in a row. I'm wondering if I need to shake the bag, rather than twirl the contents with my hand. I'm suspicious right now that I'm just moving my hands around the tokens and always pulling from the same part of the bag. Unlikely, but I have this knack of drawing completely skewed from what the ratio of good to bad tokens should be.

Honestly, I started to enjoy the game more when I gave myself a single mulligan "pull something different from the bag" in every game. Purists, I don't care what you think about that.

Those responses out of the way, let's get to the honest truth TC. FFG has purposely made a game, like all deck-building games, that gets easier and more fun when you buy more stuff. I'm not going to sugar coat it for you. The game is not designed to be a single core purchase. I couldn't make hardly any headway with just the core set. I'm fortunate that I have the money right now to buy more, but had I bought the AH core ten years ago (pretend it existed), when I was not as well off, I would have felt completely swindled. I wouldn't have had the money to buy expansions and the game would have just collected dust.

When I added the Dunwich main expansion it got a lot easier. Constructible deck games basically just require that you have a myriad of card options to be successful, and the game is designed with crappy cards and good cards. I couldn't get close to playing a campaign without having more cards and more XP-costed cards to choose from. At first I scoffed at the idea of buying two cores, but now that I have about a dozen games under my belt, it makes total sense.

I've basically been leapfrogging through several scenarios:

NotZ 1

Dunwich 1

Dunwich 2

NotZ 2

(I was going to do NotZ 3 here, but I now plan to do Murder at the Excelsior Hotel and/or Miskatonic Museum instead.)

From one new player to another: I want you to get past the wall. The only thing that got me past it was more cards.

 

Edited by klecser

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48 minutes ago, jonamok said:

@klecser Did you manage to pick up the Miskatonic Museum MP? I can't find it in the UK at all (at a price I'll pay anyway).

Amazon US has it. But that's one of the only ones in the Dunwich Cycle.

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Thanks. Took a look, But comes to about $35 to get it delivered to the UK once you add shipping and import fees.
 

I can definitely wait for the reprint, and likely play the rest of the Dunwich campaign on TTS in the meantime.

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On 5/10/2020 at 11:42 PM, klecser said:

 

From one new player to another: I want you to get past the wall. The only thing that got me past it was more cards.

 

yeah that quite sums it  up.

some characters seemed lame but after getting more cards they turned out to be be useful.

I don't have problems with the game difficulty as I stated from my first post.  When you read a HPL novel you know the characters are going to die (if not already dead), so it's fair that I have to fight my way through victory.

but what of the extra stuff when you buy a 2nd core set?

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