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Mansions of Madness: Forbidden Alchemy» Forums » Variants

Subject: How best to fix Crawling Hands? rss

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Roberta Yang
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Crawling Hands is a really cool idea, but as written it's not really worth the Keeper's while to actually set up anything clever with it. Costing Threat per token to move, costing Threat per token to attack, not being able to move and attack in the same turn, not having any automatic effects akin to Horror/Evade checks, and having an attack whose effect is only especially good when comboed with something else make them too expensive for too little gain. The result is that what could have been a really cool mechanic allowing for some really clever plays is reduced to not doing anything unless an Investigator steps on a hand of their own accord.

I've been thinking of trying out a variant that makes them act more like Creature of the Night and less like Command Minion:


When a corpse marker is placed on the board (including during setup), place 2 crawling hand tokens in its space.

Action:
Use this only once per turn. For each crawling hand token, you may either move the token one space or choose an investigator in the token's space to test Dexterity.

Fail: The investigator is stunned.


This gives the Keeper incentive to actually move tokens around and actually use them, instead of letting them sit there until the Investigators decide they're so non-threatening that it's fine to just step on them. The hands can't move three spaces in one turn anymore, but that's fine by me - why, thematically, should a crawling hand be one of the fastest things in the game anyhow?

An alternate possibility I've considered is to have the first activation of Crawling Hands each turn not cost any Threat. Taking that free activation still requires thought (Which hand do you use it on? What do you do with that hand? Is it worth taking the free Crawling Hands activation over the free Evil Presence?), so it doesn't make the game mindless, and it allows the Keeper to set up clever uses of the crawling hands without paying through the nose to do so.

Thoughts?
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Jeff C
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The Crawling Hands card has "Action: Once per turn per crawling hand token, you may either move the token 3 spaces or choose an investigator in the token's space to test Dexterity."

I may be wrong but I think the phrase "per crawling hand token" indicates it applies to all the crawling hand tokens. Therefore, by paying one treat you can move all the crawling hand tokens (or choose an investigator to text Dexterity if the crawling hand token does not move).

If the Crawling Hands card is supposed to apply to only one crawling hand token then it is horribly underpowered.
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Paul C
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Crawling Hands
Just my thoughts...

I believe Crawling Hands does only apply to one token and this exactly why Roberta is asking the question of how to fix the card as it appears underpowered. It clearly says "the token" which I would certainly take to mean that the keeper must pay one threat to activate each hand.

However, having played the scenario, I believe it should stay as it is. Basically the keeper gets two free crawling hand tokens every time the investigators manage to kill a Zombie (and several more for good measure). And although they do not cause horror tests the hands can move three spaces and stun investigators easily.

If the scenario is played by investigators with low dexterity and the objective is to escape the mansion, it is already going to be very difficult to win with the current rules as the keeper can keep putting the hands in the path of the player causing them to either get stunned or waste an action to kill them.

Plus it only costs the keeper 1 threat to activate a hand so if the keeper was able to move all the hands for 1 threat you would quickly get a situation where the investigators were attacked by several hands at once each turn, putting them in a permanent state of stun (stuns actually stack in this game and only one can be removed each turn).
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Bob Holmstrom
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salty53 wrote:
Crawling Hands is a really cool idea, but as written it's not really worth the Keeper's while to actually set up anything clever with it. Costing Threat per token to move, costing Threat per token to attack, not being able to move and attack in the same turn, not having any automatic effects akin to Horror/Evade checks, and having an attack whose effect is only especially good when comboed with something else make them too expensive for too little gain. The result is that what could have been a really cool mechanic allowing for some really clever plays is reduced to not doing anything unless an Investigator steps on a hand of their own accord.

I've been thinking of trying out a variant that makes them act more like Creature of the Night and less like Command Minion:


When a corpse marker is placed on the board (including during setup), place 2 crawling hand tokens in its space.

Action:
Use this only once per turn. For each crawling hand token, you may either move the token one space or choose an investigator in the token's space to test Dexterity.

Fail: The investigator is stunned.


This gives the Keeper incentive to actually move tokens around and actually use them, instead of letting them sit there until the Investigators decide they're so non-threatening that it's fine to just step on them. The hands can't move three spaces in one turn anymore, but that's fine by me - why, thematically, should a crawling hand be one of the fastest things in the game anyhow?

An alternate possibility I've considered is to have the first activation of Crawling Hands each turn not cost any Threat. Taking that free activation still requires thought (Which hand do you use it on? What do you do with that hand? Is it worth taking the free Crawling Hands activation over the free Evil Presence?), so it doesn't make the game mindless, and it allows the Keeper to set up clever uses of the crawling hands without paying through the nose to do so.

Thoughts?


Some good ideas. As it's written, CH is pretty much useless. I never used it as the keeper in our 1 playing of Reanimator. It would be interesting to hear from the playtesters as to how they used Crawling Hands to any effect.

As to changing CH, how about allowing the keeper to move or attack with ALL crawling hands instead of just one, making the card a "one use only" per Keeper action phase, and increasing the threat cost to 2 or 3?
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Bob Holmstrom
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Mansions of Madness: Forbidden Alchemy » Forums » Variants
Re: How best to fix Crawling Hands?
Another possible fix would be to make the threat cost scalable.

For example:

1 Threat: activate two hands.
2 or 3 Threat: activate all hands.
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J W
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Okay, this is tangential, but in addition to (maybe) adjusting the cost, I've got another house rule I'm gonna try.
Limit 2 hands per humanoid, people! ;-)
When a corpse appears, two hand tokens go on top if it. If the body gets zombified, the hand tokens stay on the base and tag along. if zombie dies, it loses a hand - which now becomes a crawler. If it dies again, it drops the other hand. Now there are two crawlers! If the zombie dies again (without any hands) i'm considering having it removed from the game. Even zombies can take only so much punishment before they become mechanically unviable. (A scene with a certain black knight comes to mind.)
Think that would still work for Return of the Reanimator?

In Blood Ties I also allowed two other corpse disposal methods: tossing them into the chasm (for the price of an action- just like the campfire), and disintegrating them with an especially successful--and graphic!-- shriveling spell. There's at least one in the deck that says it rips your target apart "at a molecular level." gulp Thematically it seemed the right thing to do.
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Nicola Zee
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Eagle Ov Death wrote:
Just my thoughts...

I believe Crawling Hands does only apply to one token and this exactly why Roberta is asking the question of how to fix the card as it appears underpowered. It clearly says "the token" which I would certainly take to mean that the keeper must pay one threat to activate each hand.

However, having played the scenario, I believe it should stay as it is. Basically the keeper gets two free crawling hand tokens every time the investigators manage to kill a Zombie (and several more for good measure). And although they do not cause horror tests the hands can move three spaces and stun investigators easily.

If the scenario is played by investigators with low dexterity and the objective is to escape the mansion, it is already going to be very difficult to win with the current rules as the keeper can keep putting the hands in the path of the player causing them to either get stunned or waste an action to kill them.

Plus it only costs the keeper 1 threat to activate a hand so if the keeper was able to move all the hands for 1 threat you would quickly get a situation where the investigators were attacked by several hands at once each turn, putting them in a permanent state of stun (stuns actually stack in this game and only one can be removed each turn).


Yes, I think you're right. A permanent state of stun is no fun at all for any of the players.

I've not yet played the scenario but I plan to play it soon. My initial thoughts about making them a bit more effective and interesting is to add a one-shot Keeper Action Card. This card could be played in the same turn as Crawling Hands but is discarded once played. I've made the threat cost low, so its a cheap alternative to attempting to stun the investigators.

Tearing Hands - Cost 1 Threat
The hands tear at your flesh
All investigators in the same space as a crawling hand token
tests Dexterity:
Fail: Take 1 damage and 1 horror
Discard this card once it is played
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Roberta Yang
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The fact that the Investigators are punished rather than rewarded for killing Zombies by spawning additional hands is not the problem I originally intended to address here, but if we are making Crawling Hands worthwhile then it will become a problem, so we should look into that too.

My initial reaction to that is to, when Raise Dead is used to resurrect a corpse, allow the Keeper to discard two Crawling Hands tokens from the corpse's space. If the Keeper does, the Zombie is spawned as normal. If the Keeper does not, however, some sort of marker (a darkness token or mutation token or something similar with no meaning in this scenario that won't be missed) is placed on the Zombie to mark it as a handless Zombie. Handless Zombies receive some sort of penalty (like giving Investigators an additional +1 when that Zombie attacks or triggers an Evade check) and don't spawn hands when they die.

All of this could be spelled out in the scenario's Special Rules.

This seems a thematic way to deal with the Zombie Hand Factory problem, doesn't stop the Keeper from generating new hands (the Crypt is full of bodies, you can essentially buy two new hands for 1 Threat), and leads to interesting decisions (is it worth making my Zombie stronger at the cost of the hands?) for the game.

brigade wrote:
If the Crawling Hands card is supposed to apply to only one crawling hand token then it is horribly underpowered.

Comparing the wording on Crawling Hands to the wording on Command Minion and Creature of the Night makes it clear that it only affects one token per activation.

Eagle Ov Death wrote:
However, having played the scenario, I believe it should stay as it is.

...

Plus it only costs the keeper 1 threat to activate a hand so if the keeper was able to move all the hands for 1 threat you would quickly get a situation where the investigators were attacked by several hands at once each turn, putting them in a permanent state of stun (stuns actually stack in this game and only one can be removed each turn).

Even if this proposed fix doesn't work, the current version is still bad so some sort of fix is needed. We have more than two options available.

I did mean to bump the cost up from 1 to 2 (but forgot to say so), but you're right that permastun is just not fun. But there's an easy solution to that: Crawling Hands can't grab stunned Investigators. This prevents permastun from ever being an issue and actually makes a lot of thematic sense to me. The hands stun Investigators by grabbing at their ankles to limit their mobility - which should have an effect right now, but shouldn't still be doing anything three turns from now when the hands are all several rooms away.
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Nicola Zee
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salty53 wrote:

My initial reaction to that is to, when Raise Dead is used to resurrect a corpse, allow the Keeper to discard two Crawling Hands tokens from the corpse's space. If the Keeper does, the Zombie is spawned as normal. If the Keeper does not, however, some sort of marker (a darkness token or mutation token or something similar with no meaning in this scenario that won't be missed) is placed on the Zombie to mark it as a handless Zombie. Handless Zombies receive some sort of penalty (like giving Investigators an additional +1 when that Zombie attacks or triggers an Evade check) and don't spawn hands when they die.

This seems to me a lot of work for a relatively small gain.

salty53 wrote:

Even if this proposed fix doesn't work, the current version is still bad so some sort of fix is needed. We have more than two options available.

Yes I agree but I would prefer a minimal simple change if possible.

salty53 wrote:

But there's an easy solution to that: Crawling Hands can't grab stunned Investigators. This prevents permastun from ever being an issue and actually makes a lot of thematic sense to me.

I like this idea a lot as it's simple and thematic. How about combining it with a benefit if the investigator is stunned? This at least gives the keeper more interesting options.

Investigator tests Dexterity
Fail: If the investigator is not stunned, he is stunned. If already stunned, he takes 1 damage and 1 horror.


Thematically, the hands tear at the defenceless victim. I believe the test of Dex will be at -2 because the investigator is stunned.
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Chris J Davis
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I'm thinking something like this for when I get around to revising the scenario:

(1)
Whenever an investigator or cultist is killed, place 2 Crawling Hands tokens in its space.

Diminishing Action: Choose a Crawling Hands token to move up to 2 spaces. You may then choose an investigator in the same space to test Dexterity:

Fail: Place the Crawling Hands token on the investigator's card.

At the start of each round, for each Crawling Hands token on an investigator, choose 1 for the investigator to receive: a stun token; 1 damage; 1 horror.

Then add to the special rules for the scenario:

The investigators have the following action available to them during this scenario:

Action: Test Strength:

Pass: Remove a Crawling Hands token from an investigator in your space (including yourself) and place it on the board within 1 range.

I can't remember if the scenario actually contains any cultists or cult leaders, so may have to change the first paragraph of text on the card accordingly.
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Nicola Zee
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Strategery21 wrote:
salty53 wrote:
Crawling Hands is a really cool idea, but as written it's not really worth the Keeper's while to actually set up anything clever with it. Costing Threat per token to move, costing Threat per token to attack, not being able to move and attack in the same turn, not having any automatic effects akin to Horror/Evade checks, and having an attack whose effect is only especially good when comboed with something else make them too expensive for too little gain. The result is that what could have been a really cool mechanic allowing for some really clever plays is reduced to not doing anything unless an Investigator steps on a hand of their own accord.

I've been thinking of trying out a variant that makes them act more like Creature of the Night and less like Command Minion:


When a corpse marker is placed on the board (including during setup), place 2 crawling hand tokens in its space.

Action:
Use this only once per turn. For each crawling hand token, you may either move the token one space or choose an investigator in the token's space to test Dexterity.

Fail: The investigator is stunned.


This gives the Keeper incentive to actually move tokens around and actually use them, instead of letting them sit there until the Investigators decide they're so non-threatening that it's fine to just step on them. The hands can't move three spaces in one turn anymore, but that's fine by me - why, thematically, should a crawling hand be one of the fastest things in the game anyhow?

An alternate possibility I've considered is to have the first activation of Crawling Hands each turn not cost any Threat. Taking that free activation still requires thought (Which hand do you use it on? What do you do with that hand? Is it worth taking the free Crawling Hands activation over the free Evil Presence?), so it doesn't make the game mindless, and it allows the Keeper to set up clever uses of the crawling hands without paying through the nose to do so.

Thoughts?


Some good ideas. As it's written, CH is pretty much useless. I never used it as the keeper in our 1 playing of Reanimator. It would be interesting to hear from the playtesters as to how they used Crawling Hands to any effect.

As to changing CH, how about allowing the keeper to move or attack with ALL crawling hands instead of just one, making the card a "one use only" per Keeper action phase, and increasing the threat cost to 2 or 3?

I'm slowly working my way through the FA scenarios.

For an alternate Crawling Hand Keeper Action Card how about the following:
Threat Cost 2

Action: Once per turn, you may either move all crawling hand tokens 1 space or choose an investigator in a space with crawling hand tokens to test Dexterity for each token.

Fail: The investigator is stunned.

Only 1 stun is added if attack succeeds - avoiding permastun. All hands move - but very slowly - this seems more on theme to me.



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David Botartt
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I've just played RotR once and, in reading previous entries about how hard they were to utilize, decided to allow them to attack and move in one turn, for cost of 1 threat per hand. They turned out to be quite bothersome & fun. Quite effective, so much so that I think they should be weakened a little.

First, I agree that moving 3 is too fast...same as a running human? This should be 2. Also I didn't like the idea of having a zombie lose 2 hands and be as strong. But in the interest of less things to keep track of, I thought that the Keeper could place 2 hands instead of a corpse when playing Raise Dead. This would make things less cluttered both on the board and on the Zombie figures. Also, it gives the Keeper a decision to make, strategically, which is never a bad thing. Finally, as written, it seems that the keeper can very easily flood the Crypt & Graveyard stretch with Zombies & hands, making it almost impassible (which would hurt some hurt some victory conditions...1C especially).

One thing I also liked was the idea that if someone is already stunned, a hand can inflict 1 damage. It didn't happen but a gruesome death by swarm of hands would be cool...
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guinch Nudrevil
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Re: How best to fix Crawling Hands? Y
Crawling hands are traps. Played Raw I had à lot of fun once they are moved on crossroads... Or burning room. They cost one action to be destroyed and take away a movement when they success to stun. Whatever it is, they cost Time to the party. Great idea.
 
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