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Titanium Man

Custom Solitaire House Rules

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After a few games, it feels like the encounter deck is a bit stacked against the solo player, so in an attempt to even the playing field, I'm testing some solitaire house rules.

1. The staging area is currently limited to a maximum of five cards.

2.  Questing is optional.

3. The required amount of progress tokens to explore quest and location cards are reduced by half, rounded up. (To even this out, I'm thinking that a four-player game adds half of a quest/location card's progress token requirement to the base total. For example: to explore a 10-token location, you pay 5 tokens in one-player, 10 tokens in two-three player, and 15 in four player.)

4. Instead of having the enemy attack first before the characters, both enemies and characters exchange damage at the same time. However, when you engage an enemy determines who does damage first. If a player voluntarily engages an enemy, his character will do damage first. This is a good way to quickly kill weakened enemies and come out unharmed. Otherwise, the enemy will do damage first. Exhausting characters and having the ability to "gang up" with multiple characters still applies in their respective phases, but this way, choosing who to block still gives you the opportunity to make your mark.

So far, one game brought me close to an even-handed victory, and this time it feels like it's more of an uneven deck than an overpowering encounter deck.  Time will tell where these rules go, but you're free to try them yourself and suggest changes.

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I don't see a need for this myself. If you are finding the game too hard modifying the game to make it easier to win is not the way to go. You should modify your deck builds to make them so you can beat the scenario you are on. Somehow changing the game to me feels like cheating.

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No, I definitely feel it's more balanced when two players are involved, and it comes more down to luck when it's solo.  Deck construction does matter but that's not the only part of the equation to consider.  My goal is to even things out all-around.

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Titanium Man said:

My goal is to even things out all-around.

 

Because I'm sure that this wasn't done in the year+ of R&D or anything...

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Again I don't see this as the way to win. If you have to change the game to win you are cheating. I have beat the game solo with a deck I built so it can be done as is. It is hard yes, but I would rather it be hard than easy. If it was easy it would get boring.

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conykchameleon said:

Because I'm sure that this wasn't done in the year+ of R&D or anything...

I want you to say to me with a straight face that every game ever passed through R&D has been balanced and playable out of the gate.

Please think about what you are saying for a minute here.

 

Anyway, I'm not cheating, it's simply too uneven for a solo player, so I'm working on a fix.

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Titanium Man said:

After a few games, it feels like the encounter deck is a bit stacked against the solo player, so in an attempt to even the playing field, I'm testing some solitaire house rules.

1. The staging area is currently limited to a maximum of five cards.

2.  Questing is optional.

3. The required amount of progress tokens to explore quest and location cards are reduced by half, rounded up. (To even this out, I'm thinking that a four-player game adds half of a quest/location card's progress token requirement to the base total. For example: to explore a 10-token location, you pay 5 tokens in one-player, 10 tokens in two-three player, and 15 in four player.)

4. Instead of having the enemy attack first before the characters, both enemies and characters exchange damage at the same time. However, when you engage an enemy determines who does damage first. If a player voluntarily engages an enemy, his character will do damage first. This is a good way to quickly kill weakened enemies and come out unharmed. Otherwise, the enemy will do damage first. Exhausting characters and having the ability to "gang up" with multiple characters still applies in their respective phases, but this way, choosing who to block still gives you the opportunity to make your mark.

So far, one game brought me close to an even-handed victory, and this time it feels like it's more of an uneven deck than an overpowering encounter deck.  Time will tell where these rules go, but you're free to try them yourself and suggest changes.

I play this game solo most of the time - around 25+ plays now in total - and for me personally the above mods would take away most of the suspense and challenge in this game, and to be totally honest - quite dull!  As others have said, the game is challenging solo but (perhaps with the exception of Escape from Dol Guldur) is perfectly winnable.  Due to the absence of any "intelligent / living" opponent, a game of this nature needs to be challenging otherwise it would quickly become stale.  In some ways I liken this to the Lord of the Rings boardgame - you are playing "against the game" and success is far from guaranteed.  I've taken many a beating in both games but have also experienced the joys of winning on several occasion; each victory feels well earned and very satisfying, and after every beating I can't wait to just have "one more go" in an attempt to win.  This for me gives this game excellent replay value.  

The game rules currently scale the challenge appropriately in my opinion for 1 player by reducing the number of encounter cards drawn during the staging step of the quest phase (for instance).  

That said, I am yet to have any real success against the 3rd scenario but the cynic in me says that FFG have added this as a tease - its a great scenario in concept but if you want a chance then you need to spend more money on the monthly adventure packs (which hopefully will provide new cards to bolster solo decks and provide a greater chance of beating the scenario).  As I have every intention of getting the adventure packs I don't feel too hard done by this and I can't really blame FFG for taking that approach.  They want to suck people into a game system (they are a business at the end of the day) - when a game is this good it doesn't take much to become absorbed in the game.  Bring on the adventure packs!!!!

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I just think it doesn't scale enough.  Consider that the solo player has to do the work of both players - he has to address all the locations and enemies by himself, he has to put all the tokens on himself.  The rules seem balanced at first glance, but it assumes there's a second player helping out.  By yourself, you're simply not able to clear locations and kill enemies fast enough without the deck stacking too quickly.

I'll admit the combat fix was due to personal taste, and it could definitely be left out in the future, but since it's pretty easy to find yourself battling three enemies at once, who have shadow cards and who can swing first, it makes the game a desparate struggle.  Nothing wrong with that if you enjoy it, but I'm not a fan of pointlessly hard scenarios.  I don't want to win super easily but I don't want to feel like I have to fight tooth and nail to win a game.  (Those struggles are better saved for the real world, I find!)

Also consider the prisoner scenario - in a two player game, this still gives you five heroes worth of resources, but in a one-player, it only gives you two, which is far more crippling.

As mentioned before, some of these problems can be fixed with the right deck setup, but that's kinda lame to me.  I want options, and every deck should get a sporting chance.  I don't want it to be a game that only centers around a few viable deck types when you're solo.

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It's lame to you that you need the right deck setup ? You realize this is a game of deck building right ?

There is no reason to apply your mods to the rules and it takes too much away from the game. The game is fine solo as is. I have had no trouble building one winning deck already, leadership/tactics. Instead of changing the game to make it so you can win, change yourself and your decks so you can win. Rise to the challenge of the game.

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I agree with Toqtamish in that I don't think you are taking the right approach to this. I can see maybe easing up on a couple of rules, if you are having a rough time. But the changes you have implemented just about cripple the encounter deck. The challenge of any card game is to find decks and combos that work against the best your opponent can throw at you. If you are concerned that successful decks are all going to be somewhat similar, you are right. The card pool is limited and therefore, so are the combos. Those are the growing pains of a new game. If you are satisfied playing this way, then so be it, at least you are enjoying your version of the game, but I know I couldn't do it. 

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Toqtamish said:

It's lame to you that you need the right deck setup ? You realize this is a game of deck building right ?

There is no reason to apply your mods to the rules and it takes too much away from the game. The game is fine solo as is. I have had no trouble building one winning deck already, leadership/tactics. Instead of changing the game to make it so you can win, change yourself and your decks so you can win. Rise to the challenge of the game.

Deck building doesn't mean sticking with one deck type.

I want to mention these rules aren't in stone yet - as I mentioned, I was testing them.  They're bound to change and/or disappear, because as I've said before, I don't want to win super easily.  But I've got no desire to beat something so clearly stacked against the solo player.  I'll grant that the limited card pool and this being a new game is a part of that - fair enough.  But right now, it's uneven and I'm only looking to slide the scale so it's more reasonable.

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Titanium Man said:

conykchameleon said:

 

Because I'm sure that this wasn't done in the year+ of R&D or anything...

 

 

I want you to say to me with a straight face that every game ever passed through R&D has been balanced and playable out of the gate.

Please think about what you are saying for a minute here.

 

Anyway, I'm not cheating, it's simply too uneven for a solo player, so I'm working on a fix.

 

Of course not every game, because there's usually the element of player vs player that is more difficult to account for. If you don't think that an army of playtesters played thousands of solo games and the encounter deck was tweaked along the way then you're the one who needs to 'think about what you are saying for a minute here'.

Although ultimately its your game and you can play it however you want. It's just getting really annoying coming on here and seeing that every other post is "this game is too hard.... but I don't want to have to build/tweak decks". Like people said above this is a DECK BUILDING game. And there are many different deck types that have emerged just out of the Core Set. And I wonder what we can chalk that up to? Wait for it... ... good R&D and playtesting! aplauso.gif

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Titanium Man said:

Playtesters have done poorly before.  They have done so here.

I think the current rating on boardgamegeek and the general consensus of public opinion that I have read so far would beg to differ here?  

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Titanium Man said:

Playtesters have done poorly before.  They have done so here.

This is my issue with your argument. You think that you know better than the DESIGNER OF THE GAME and the playtesters who have spent exponentially more time playing the game than you have.

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Titanium Man said:

Toqtamish said:

 

It's lame to you that you need the right deck setup ? You realize this is a game of deck building right ?

There is no reason to apply your mods to the rules and it takes too much away from the game. The game is fine solo as is. I have had no trouble building one winning deck already, leadership/tactics. Instead of changing the game to make it so you can win, change yourself and your decks so you can win. Rise to the challenge of the game.

 

 

Deck building doesn't mean sticking with one deck type.

I want to mention these rules aren't in stone yet - as I mentioned, I was testing them.  They're bound to change and/or disappear, because as I've said before, I don't want to win super easily.  But I've got no desire to beat something so clearly stacked against the solo player.  I'll grant that the limited card pool and this being a new game is a part of that - fair enough.  But right now, it's uneven and I'm only looking to slide the scale so it's more reasonable.

 

Where in anything I said did I say one deck type, if anything you need 3 for the core set, one for each of the scenarios. What you have done is essentially create a different solo game entirely than the one that we are all playing and that was playtested and designed by FFG.

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I agree with the idea that this seems like cheating to change the rules to make it more playable because you are losing.  I think instead of changing the rules you may want to try working on building a two-sphere deck and tweaking it down.  the solo portion of this game is challenging but not impossible.  Solo play works fine and it is a lot of fun.  Just keep working on understanding deck building if that is where you are hitting a wall.

Just my two copper...

Soulbearer

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I'm gonna have to say that although solo play is more difficult, I feel as though it has to be.  A challenge is always needed in any game to offer any fun.  When you're working with two or more people, there is a fun factor in cooperation.  But when you are alone, the fun comes from overcoming exteremely difficult circumstances.  I have played the game solo only twice now and have lost brutally both times.  But I see, that in order to win I'll need to create a better, balanced deck.  I love the fact that it is extremely challenging when played solo.  Otherwise, it would have no allure for me.

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Why does it really matter to anyone if he makes up his own rules?  Its not like he's going to go compete in tournaments and insist on using his modifed ruleset.  If you are playing a solo game, and not having fun, it makes a lot more sense to change things up than it does to just quit or keep playing and not having fun.

Does anyone really think a single core set is balanced SOLO for all 3 scenarios?  To me, this game seems like it was playtested with 2 players.  I have no doubt they played games with 1, 3 and 4, but the focus seems to have been on balancing it for 2.  The game is disproportionately hard solo compared to 2 player, and really easy with 3-4 players.  2 players is challenging, but manageable.  The quests don't even scale properly with additional players, often times being 50% more difficult for 1 player as they are for 2.  1st quest phase for Journey Down the Anduin: SOLO - 3 enemies vs 1 player, a 3:1 ratio.  DUO - 4 enemies vs 2 players, a 2:1 ratio.

Most of the reports of people beating the 3rd scenario solo are people who have made good decks out of 2-3 core sets, and then played the scenario a TON of times until they got a lucky set of cards that made it possible.  I'm not saying the won only because of luck, I'm sure they made many good deckbuilding and play decisions throughout the game.  But I believe the first person to post that they did it had a starting reveal of 2 Treachery cards that had no effect, and a Jailor.  If you get Caught in a Web to start that game, or in the first couple turns, you are probably done for. 

I'm sure others will disagree with me, but I find the single player pretty unsatisfying right now.  For a person with only a single core set trying to enjoy playing the game solo, making some tweaks to the rules sounds like a lot more FUN than just "rolling the dice" with my deck until I get a set of cards that makes it possible.  Many of my solo games are effectively over in the first 2 turns.  I don't find it fun to realize there is nothing I could have done differently to produce a better outcome.  And nothing I can realistically change in my deck to give myself better odds in the next game.

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My computer crashed before I could edit the last post.  I had the numbers wrong in my scaling example, for Journey Down the Anduin 1A/B its actually

Solo 3:1, Duo 5:2, 3 player 7:3

For the 2nd phase of that quest each reveal is 2:1, 3:2, and 4:3, respectively.

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I suspect what needs to be improved is your ability to play the game. It is a new game, there is little chance that you are playing it as good as you can. You are undoubtedly making play mistakes (as we all are). The thing is changing the rules will not lead to real improvement in your game. It is the equivalent of playing a video game and upon dying your first handful of times using the same strategies you look for a cheat code that halves all the enemies strengths and  doubles your ammo and health.

What decks have you been using against the quests? What heroes? What strategies have you tried?

I have a friend that has beat all three quests without resetting his Threat dial. Of course he is obsessive and played the game for something like four hours over three days before he created the right deck and developed the right strategy.

Then again, I beat the first quest on my first game through just using the unaltered Leadership deck. It as hard and each hero was a single HP from being killed, but I did it.

Strongly recommend you play more games before you muck around with the rules of the game. Ask questions here for the parts where you are having the most difficulty. You will undoubtedly receive plenty of help on ways to beat the game without having to change the game.

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Entropy42 said:

Why does it really matter to anyone if he makes up his own rules?  Its not like he's going to go compete in tournaments and insist on using his modifed ruleset.  If you are playing a solo game, and not having fun, it makes a lot more sense to change things up than it does to just quit or keep playing and not having fun.


 

Well, obviously none of us can stop him from playing as he sees fit on his own. It's just that I believe people think he is circumventing the spirit of the game. If you can't hit a baseball, do you go and practice to get better or do you ask them to slow pitch it to you? It wouldn't be too bad to relax on a couple of rules while you take a deep breath and work from there. But he has changed several of them to the point where a good (not great) deck should breeze through some of those scenarios. It's not easy, but is it really that hard? Quest one is very beatable even with some of the starter decks. Quest two takes a lot more work, took me 12 tries before I've came up with a deck that has now beaten that scenario twice in a row, but it is not unbeatable. Quest three I haven't tried, and I understand it's extremely difficult, but not unbeatable, either. The point is to adjust, adapt and overcome, not invent a brand new version of the game. While I don't want to discourage anyone from playing this game, if you have to change the game rules to such an extent, maybe it's just not for you.

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My point is just that (particularly with a single core set), there are quests you aren't going to beat with "practice".  To take your analogy, if you are facing a major-league pitcher and he strikes you out 99% of the time, but sometimes you just get lucky and make contact with the ball, are you going to want to keep batting?  Or are you going to want them to slow the pitches down?  I can practice all I want, I will never reliably hit fastballs from a pro pitcher. 

Personally, I wouldn't want to use any of these rules on the first quest, as its reliably beatable for me out of the box.  Quest 2 is probably also reliably beatable if you construct the right deck.  Quest 3 is simply not balanced for solo.  How does it make any sense that you lose 1/3 of your heroes and resources in a solo game, but only 1/6 in a 2 player game?  There are clear scaling issues with this game, and if people can address them with rule mods, I'm always interested to see them.  That said, I agree that these rules seem to be over the top.  It should be pretty easy to win if all those bonuses are given.

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I think it's really a lot about what the quests do.

Q3 takes away one hero among all players, so it's obviously much much harder solo. If, say, one hero per player was captured, it wouldn't be the same thing. OTOH, a solo player is almost unaffected by the restriction to one ally total per turn.

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