HappyDaze, April 20, 2013 in Relic
I think I know what causes this dilemma.
All of the inner tier spots have the same 2 problems that make it impossible to catch the first player in there (assuming they aren't just killed or corrupted outright).
1. Even if you fail a test, YOU STILL GET TO MOVE FORWARD 1 SPACE per turn. This only HELPS the lead player.
2. Even if you pass a test, you ONLY get to move forward 1 space per turn. This only HURTS the pursuing player. There's no way to "catch up."
These problems exist even if you have a cool mission at the end (many of which try to balance the game by punishing the leader, actually)- because you still have to grind through the inner tier to get there.
Try these house rules and see if they help.
Now it is possible for the leader to get stuck (esp, if they are under-prepared), and for the pursuing players to catch up (if they are better prepared, which they should be after loitering in the easier tiers earning stuff). Allowing players to drop back out to the middle tier when they fail a test gives them a chance to build up whatever stat they failed at- and more importantly, a chance for other players to get ahead of them!
The next suggestion is a bit trickier, but a lot more fun (and gives players some way to affect each other during the endgame):
Example: Bob discards a Fabius Bile he beat with help from Mary, so both of them can go up a level. Instead of placing the card in the discard pile, Bob puts the card on the Warp Rift space (no player is already on it, and it doesn't already have more than 10 points of enemies on it). Ha, now when someone tries to blaze through the inner circle, they won't be able to skip spaces based on their level, etc. because the text box for the Warp Rift doesn't apply- Fabius Bile must be defeated instead! No additional enemy cards can be placed there until Bile is defeated though, as his total value is more than 10.
In addition to throwing road blocks in front of the lead player, this rule also allows players a last chance to earn some skill points, levels, trophies, etc. through combat. This is very satisfying if you spent most of the game building up your fighting skills, where without this rule you do virtually no fighting in the inner circle.
So there you have it- hope you like this variant! We'll be playing all our RELIC games with these house rules from now on, ensuring that even the end game is entertaining and competitive.
Try these house rules and see if they help.
For the skill test spaces (Palace of Slaanesh, Garden of Nurgle, Fortress of Khorne, Maze of Tzeench), you MUST pass the test before you can move forward. If you pass, you may IMMEDIATELY test the next square, and so on, until you fail or reach the end (see mission). [Note: for faster games, drop the attribute checks down to 12, or even 10].
If you fail, your turn ends, and you must still pay the penalty as indicated. But you may also choose to drop out of the inner tier (move to the Guardians of the Rift space and end your turn).
I dislike this house rule, as it makes it nearly impossible for more specialised characters to ever reach the central space. Forcing the Ogryn to pass Willpower and Cunning tests to proceed, for example, is unrealistic. Even fully levelled he's unlikely to manage it!
Also, this takes a lot of the risk assessment out of the game, as part of the skill of the game is knowing when to make the run. With this variant in place, you're forced to spend much longer grinding to get your level up, knowing that it'll be nearly impossible to make it in alive otherwise.
I personally don't think the inner tier needs errata at all, but if I were going to suggest one, it'd be this:
* On a failed test on the Inner Tier, miss your next turn.
* On the Maze of Tzeentch, still only miss one turn, but also draw a corruption card.
To me, the main things that need fixing here are the endgame scenarios: especially Corruptis. Its nearly impossible to reach him with fewer than 4 corruption cards in place, save getting Bones of the Fallen Saint, which also translates into an "I win" button. The Chaos Manufactorum is too random and has a nasty newbie trap in reaching it with too little influence/trophies, and doesn't reward players who reach it first well enough, because the charge counters aren't character specific. Kairos is ok as he stands, even with the random element, though I'm not keen on all the battles being fought consecutively without any turn end (save losing). The Mystery Beyond is ok, though if one player gets to the inner tier with enough life to spare, you can usually say he's won straight away rather than playing it out. Thats not a huge problem to me though, as it makes it a good choice for a game where you want to fit in a whole game of Relic in 45 minutes. The Lost Battlefleet is my favourite scenario: more or less perfect in design.
Corruptis is the big problem for me: his games stretch out to 2 hours plus, as we all read the odds and refuse to go anywhere near the inner tier till we have at least a 50% chance of winning the fight.
Games of Relic do tend to see a few players take the lead early and retain it until the end of the game: Part of the problem is that once you can survive the middle tier, you gain exp and kit much faster than anyone stuck on the outer rim. This is particularly notable with the more specialised, less balanced characters, as it is easier to pick on certain enemies which you can combat with your best stats.
Whilst this can make the game less enjoyable that it ought be, a bit of sportsmanship among players can go a long way to mitigating this.
And I suspect that once Nemesis introduces better PvP elements, it will go a long way towards helping negate an early lead advantage.
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