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AnFeasogMor

[Spoiler] Dream-Eaters 1-A, am I missing something

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Mostly just venting. So, after months of looking forward to it and not having time, we *finally* got to start the Dream-Eaters today, and after playing Scenario 1-A, I am not sure I even want to bother playing the rest of it.

We decided, after getting to the bottom of the stairs, that we would stick to the path and not wander, even though it was *a freaking nightmare* gathering the clues we needed in time with whole turns having to be dedicated to generating clues on the location and obscuring fogs and other shroud increases popping up on what was already an 8 shroud location. We figured that the whole point was to tempt you to stay; it almost certainly would have been easier to go off the path and search other locations, and that the difficulty of sticking to it was meant to tempt you away to an easier solution. We stuck it out though, barely managed to finish it with two actions left before the Agenda flipped, read through the resolution, and saw that we got...0XP. Not a *single* experience point. I figured there must have been some sort of mistake, but looking around at people's threads online, the general consensus seems to be that sticking on the path is a fake out, that you're supposed to stray, and that straying can potentially yield as much as 11XP, and average 6 or 7.

I honestly have never been this annoyed at a game design. Like, I love Arkham specifically because it is challenging, and I have no problem, generally, with delayed rewards, fake outs, or foiled expectations, but there is obviously a line between a clever fake-out and outright bad design, and this definitely crosses it. Spending two hours intentionally slogging through the harder option on the scenario just to have it go "haha, because you took the hard path, you get to play through half of the campaign with an un-upgraded deck" just feels like a massive FU to the player.

Was anyone else irritated by this scenario. Or better yet, have I actually missed something? Have the designers come out and said "oh yeah, we forgot to include X, obviously we're not complete a-holes," etc?

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We did not opt to stick to the path so I'm not sure and don't want to spoil anything. I stumbled across a similar question though at some point, and it SOUNDED like there was some sort of effect later on. But I could be completely wrong because we didn't do that. If there is no effect, it would really bother me too, so I completely get where you're coming from.

Not only is staying the path harder, it also (to me) seems quite a bit more boring. So, all I would have to say is.. yuck. I hope that's not the case.

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Posted (edited)

I haven't played the campaign or scenario yet, but I've heard this a couple times now. Was wondering if anyone who has played through the entire campaign could weigh in on whether there is a significant effect later on?

From a thematic storytelling standpoint, "don't leave the path" is absolutely a classic concept, but it does sound like there may be a problem with implementation here.

Edited by mwmcintyre

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In honesty, it doesn't really bother me at all. The investigators should learn a lot of weird things about the Dreamlands by wandering off the path and getting to see all kind of weird and wonderful perils, and shouldn't be gaining experience for stolidly walking down an uninteresting path, slowly and steadily, and not experiencing anything. It could have been a bit better forecast but eh, it has always been the nature of the game that your first time through a campaign might contain unwelcome surprises and poor choices.

I believe that there is no consequence of any kind anywhere in the campaign for not straying from the path.

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Posted (edited)

Yeah how are you suppose to get an XP in the Dreamlands if you just stick to the path.  You didn't take the risk of exploration. 🙂

I don't recall there ever being a consequence for straying from the path.  I don't know if you get some special resolutions or bonus later for sticking to the path.  I thought it was just a thematic mechanic to reinforce that going off path is risky (and it is. Things can get out of hand quickly depending on where you go).  I honestly would never stick to the path though.  Exploring the woods is just so XP beneficial.  I think you can get something like 12-14 xp in that scenario if you manage it all.  I'm surprised you guys managed to not submit to the temptation of looking through those other locations.  Also sticking to the path looked pretty boring.

Edited by phillos

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Honestly, sticking to the path was really not "slow and steady," "boring," it anything else. Like I said, it looks like it would have been legitimately easier and less challenging to go off path. Trying to figure out how to manage Shroud 10 investigations with essentially only half the actions we otherwise would have had while getting our planning derailed left and right by whatever the encounter deck threw at us, and having to deal with swarming enemies that were growing every turn because destroying the enemy boosting them would require going off the path was hardly an uneventful experience.

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Like it's a little weird to be like "oh, well, you didn't take the risk," when literally anyone comparing the prospect of generating 5🕵️♂️ clues off of a single Shroud 8+ location with half your actions lost each turn to just going off the path where you're almost certainly going to find more easily acquired clues should see that sticking to the path is, from a play perspective, the far more risky prospect.

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Posted (edited)
15 hours ago, mwmcintyre said:

From a thematic storytelling standpoint, "don't leave the path" is absolutely a classic concept, but it does sound like there may be a problem with implementation here.

This was part of why we actually decided to try sticking to it. As far as tropes go, people *always* stray from the path. It's what's actually expected, it's the narrative path of least resistance. I'd go as far as to argue that within the trope, people stray from the path because the path is challenging or not what they wanted/expected, and stray is *easy*, and often they miss what it is they're supposed to find/learn/understand because they're looking for quick solutions. The game design, meanwhile, seemed to be setting up staying on the path as the unexpected and actually more difficult thing, and generally taking the more challenging route yields the better reward.

Edited by AnFeasogMor

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Posted (edited)

I agree and if there is no benefit to sticking to the path, I finally feel like the design on one of these scenarios was handled poorly. Balancing and difficulty I give a lot of flexibility to. Heck, I am even fine with TCU prologue and FA repeat scenario because they have some merit even if you only play it once.

This is like asking you to only play half the scenario at an advanced difficulty... just because. Thematic or not, there are ways to make this more interesting. Sitting on a single location For multiple turns with less actions waiting to be ambushed just isn’t my idea of fun. Especially just as a red herring moment.

Thankfully it is optional and now that I know it appears to do nothing, I’ll just never bother trying to do it.

Edited by Soakman

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Posted (edited)

I played through the whole "A" campaign and most of the "B", so haven't seen the epilogue. But

spoilers (how do I shroud these again? don't look anyone not interested)

 

 

IIRC you avoid one monster in 2-A that would give you XP if you off it. Otherwise there is no benefit to staying on the path up until the epilogue comes out which others may know about.

I personally don't mind, nice for the game to futz with you now and then. You can always replay it.

Edited by Krysmopompas

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