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Subject: No mandatory quests variant for a friendlier game rss

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I got my first play in tonight and one thing I noticed is the mandatory quest cards seem a bit unbalanced to me. I liked all the other attack type cards except for them. It seems to me that just as in my game if you had them in hand, you would wait until a crucial time to play them, like in the last round and then play them on an opponent when they have one or two workers left and basically screw them out of a huge quest reward. It could be like in my game, a 25 point swing. And then a big king making aspect could be introduced by this way of playing the card. It could also lead to some hard feelings as well, in many situations.

So I looked and there are only 6 of these cards in the intrigue deck, so taking them out altogether seems to me it would not upset the balance of the deck. If it would then a simple fix of disregarding the rules text on the card and perhaps making them worth 2 gold to turn in, and you are allowed to draw a replacement card. But probably simply removing the 6 cards from the deck is an easier solution.
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Kevin B. Smith
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I am curious about this as well, but will decide for myself after I have a chance to play the game (a few times).

As for getting blocked by a mandatory quest in the last round, my first thought was: Ban playing MQ's in the last round. But then I realized that if I'm crazy enough to count on completing a huge quest in the last round, I'm painting a target on my back. So perhaps it's my own fault for putting myself in a position where I'm vulnerable.

I would be interested in hearing from other conflict-averse people on this topic, and especially if anyone ends up trying the variant.
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Here is the other thing I don't like about them. They only hurt the opponent and don't help you. I was unlucky enough to draw a few of them, and I didn't like drawing them at all. I didn't want to play them because I felt they were too powerful and unfair, and they also gave me no benefit. There are other attack cards which hurt your opponents (all of them at the same time, not just targeting one person like the mandatory quest does) and at the same time as helping you. Those are the cards I wanted to draw.

I guess they just didn't seem like fun cards to either have in hand or play to me, and also the other cards had much more imagination and creativity going for them.

I thought about other variants to include them, and your idea of prohibiting playing them in the last round sounds decent. I was thinking you could make it so only one MQ card could be played on a person at a time, because otherwise somebody could get "mugged" and have several played on them by different opponents, and/or have a rule where you are only allowed to have one or two played on you the entire game. But then I thought why bother and just remove them from the game in the first place.
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Michael J
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I would have liked them to have equivalent value to the main quests, maybe even have a plot quest associated with them, and perhaps not count mandatory quests against a player's one-quest-per-turn limit. Then they'd be less harmful.
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Kevin B. Smith
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Your thought process seems clear, logical, and rational.

Perhaps: When you draw an MQ, you can choose to remove it from the game and draw a replacement intrigue card. That way, you would never have to play an MQ on someone else, but if someone else loves hitting people with MQ's, they still could. It's a bit like unilateral disarmament. The prevailing attitude seems to be that the MQ's are very strong cards, so maybe you're only hurting yourself by passing up the chance to use them.

It would be interesting if the MQ were changed to pay out more points (than the current/printed value) to whoever completed it, BUT the resources used would be given to whoever played the MQ card. Too hard to track, I suppose.

The more I hear about this game (good or bad), the more eager I am to play it.
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Oh, the game is fantastic though, I don't want to give a wrong impression. We had a blast playing it and I think the game is superb. Not sure where some reviews are coming from when they are giving this game a hard time. It has great atmosphere and game play. Everything else about the game I loved, this was the only small aspect that I disliked.
 
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Matt Shinners
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mjacobsca wrote:
and perhaps not count mandatory quests against a player's one-quest-per-turn limit. Then they'd be less harmful.


Just to make sure you're playing this right, you can complete more than one quest during your round, but only one during a given turn to place a worker. I just bring it up because another user was playing that you could only complete one quest/round, and that makes the mandatory quests MUCH more damaging.
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Michael J
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MattShinners wrote:
mjacobsca wrote:
and perhaps not count mandatory quests against a player's one-quest-per-turn limit. Then they'd be less harmful.


Just to make sure you're playing this right, you can complete more than one quest during your round, but only one during a given turn to place a worker. I just bring it up because another user was playing that you could only complete one quest/round, and that makes the mandatory quests MUCH more damaging.


Yes, we played it correctly. The MQ's are far more powerful than they seem at first glance. Not only do they take a few cubes out of your inventory, often just the ones you need for a big quest, but sometimes you have to go out of your way just to get a cube of a different color, causing the waste of another agent. And on the last turn, when you can often times complete 3 quests on the turn, losing the opportunity to complete a 10-15 pointer due to finishing a MQ is critical. I've had some played on me that were no big deal, but a couple seriously slowed me down, so I definitely fear them.

I'd like some intrigue cards to defend against the Mandatory Quests. Or perhaps there could be a denial value whereby you can reject the quest by paying 5 or something like that.

Either way, they are definitely good to have in the game. I like them, even if I fear them. I suppose it means you have to have a solid supply of cubes ready at all times, and not overspend on every single quest just because you can.
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T Guiles
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The one MQ that is most brutal is Quell the Riots. It's the one which requires 2 clerics to complete. I had it placed on me in a game where The Plinth was the only cleric producing location available the entire game, so it was a hot spot that was taken frequently. It took me 4 rounds to complete the MQ.

Fortunately, I was still able to gather a lot of resources along the way until I acquired the clerics, then I was able to rattle off a bunch of quests afterwards. It wasn't quite enough though and the damage that was done from that MQ was apparent.

It was a brilliant and perfectly timed move by one of my opponents. Keep the MQs, I say.
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mojo shivers
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Lords of Waterdeep » Forums » Variants
Re: No mandatory quests variant for a friendlier game
I like the idea of MQ's. Barring a direct way to undo opponents' quests, forcing somebody to spend adventurers is just enough direct interaction to make the game compelling. I think the beauty of the game comes from the idea that your quests are only completely safe when they're completed. It would become rather bland if, once you had the requisite cubes, your quests were as good as done.
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M. B. Downey
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mjacobsca wrote:
I'd like some intrigue cards to defend against the Mandatory Quests.


There is an intrigue card that does this. You can discard any quest you have for victory points.

If you don't like the Mandatory Quests, another idea is to say that the player loses that many victory points if they do not complete it. Just don't make the quest have to be completed before any other quests.
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Jacob Nushmut
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downeymb wrote:
mjacobsca wrote:
I'd like some intrigue cards to defend against the Mandatory Quests.


There is an intrigue card that does this. You can discard any quest you have for victory points.

If you don't like the Mandatory Quests, another idea is to say that the player loses that many victory points if they do not complete it. Just don't make the quest have to be completed before any other quests.


Good suggestion, I think. I'm not sure it's quite harsh enough, though. I think if you only lose the listed victory points, it might always be better to just ignore a mandatory quest. I think it would need to be you lose the listed victory points + 2, or double the listed victory points, or something. That way it's generally better to complete mandatory quests, but you can still ignore one if you have to to complete a 20 point quest on turn 8.
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Christian Morasse
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downeymb wrote:
mjacobsca wrote:
I'd like some intrigue cards to defend against the Mandatory Quests.


There is an intrigue card that does this. You can discard any quest you have for victory points.

If you don't like the Mandatory Quests, another idea is to say that the player loses that many victory points if they do not complete it. Just don't make the quest have to be completed before any other quests.


Good idea. I'd like an intrigue card that could give you 2X or 3X points for completing a MQ.
 
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M. B. Downey
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Nuzferatu wrote:
Good idea. I'd like an intrigue card that could give you 2X or 3X points for completing a MQ.


I think the intrigue card gives you 6 VP for discarding a quest, which is worth more than any of the mandatory quests (2 and 4 VP). So it essentially does that but you get to keep your cubes.
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Cracky McCracken
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peakhope wrote:
When you draw an MQ, you can choose to remove it from the game and draw a replacement intrigue card. That way, you would never have to play an MQ on someone else, but if someone else loves hitting people with MQ's, they still could.


This is an excellent idea. thumbsup
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Big Head Zach
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What about Mandatory Quests no longer being mandatory (i.e. you can finish other quests besides them), but being worth a negative amount of VP if they remain unfinished when the game ends?

A 4 VP MQ being played on you would cost you 4 VP if you left it but then give you an 8 VP swing if you finished it.

In the end, you're still giving someone point-scoring opportunities, but a nasty little boat-anchor.
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M. B. Downey
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bhz1 wrote:
What about Mandatory Quests no longer being mandatory (i.e. you can finish other quests besides them), but being worth a negative amount of VP if they remain unfinished when the game ends?

A 4 VP MQ being played on you would cost you 4 VP if you left it but then give you an 8 VP swing if you finished it.

In the end, you're still giving someone point-scoring opportunities, but a nasty little boat-anchor.


I couldn't agree more!

downeymb wrote:
If you don't like the Mandatory Quests, another idea is to say that the player loses that many victory points if they do not complete it. Just don't make the quest have to be completed before any other quests.


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Galen Ciscell
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Great suggestions for changes to Mandatory Quests, all!

My own experience: After a particularly nasty 3-player game in which I had three Mandatory Quests played on me over the course of the game (and the other players had none) I am absolutely ready to remove or alter them. Not only are they far more powerful than other Intrigue cards, but they remove a great deal of the fun from the game (i.e. selecting and finishing quests).

One of the things I really like about LoW is that it is fun even if you lose, because during the game you can still develop and pursue your own strategy, make key decisions, pull off big plays, and create your little empire of completed quests. Mandatory Quests take away many of those enjoyable aspects of the game, leading to a game in which you are not only likely to lose from the sheer power of them, but are also not likely to end up having much fun with the game either, especially if you're being hit with multiple Mandatory Quests in a game.

I know and love the game, but I can certainly see a new player being hit with just 2-3 Mandatory Quests and thinking, "This game sucks. I just sat here and wasted my actions getting only 8 points on these quests I didn't even pick while everyone else was getting cool ongoing benefits or tons of points. Why would I ever play this again?"

Anyway, sorry for the rant. I love the game but strongly dislike the current implementation of Mandatory Quests; so thanks again to everyone for coming up with some great alternatives! Most of the ideas I came up with myself have already been suggested by others, but I'll try to brainstorm a few more to add to the list!
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Galen Ciscell
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I would also like to note that Mandatory Quests become even more powerful (and more of a game-breaker) in 4-5 player games where you only have 2 (and later 3) actions a round (and are more likely to be blocked out of the spaces you need to complete the quest).
 
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gciscell wrote:
Great suggestions for changes to Mandatory Quests, all!

My own experience: After a particularly nasty 3-player game in which I had three Mandatory Quests played on me over the course of the game (and the other players had none) I am absolutely ready to remove or alter them. Not only are they far more powerful than other Intrigue cards, but they remove a great deal of the fun from the game (i.e. selecting and finishing quests).

One of the things I really like about LoW is that it is fun even if you lose, because during the game you can still develop and pursue your own strategy, make key decisions, pull off big plays, and create your little empire of completed quests. Mandatory Quests take away many of those enjoyable aspects of the game, leading to a game in which you are not only likely to lose from the sheer power of them, but are also not likely to end up having much fun with the game either, especially if you're being hit with multiple Mandatory Quests in a game.

I know and love the game, but I can certainly see a new player being hit with just 2-3 Mandatory Quests and thinking, "This game sucks. I just sat here and wasted my actions getting only 8 points on these quests I didn't even pick while everyone else was getting cool ongoing benefits or tons of points. Why would I ever play this again?"

Anyway, sorry for the rant. I love the game but strongly dislike the current implementation of Mandatory Quests; so thanks again to everyone for coming up with some great alternatives! Most of the ideas I came up with myself have already been suggested by others, but I'll try to brainstorm a few more to add to the list!


That is what I had in mind as well, I feel the game is so much fun, and a large part of that is in completing quests, and its one of those kinds of games where playing is rewarding and winning or losing seems not as important. And the problem you noted regarding the MQs, especially for new players also is along the same lines of what I was thinking. I have one player in my game group whom I know would hate the game when he plays it for the first time if he was hit with a correctly timed MQ, and it would leave a rather negative impression of the game.

I just feel these cards add too much negativity and potential problems to the otherwise elegant game play, but its nice to see the different ideas that people came up with as other variants.
 
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Anthony Rubbo
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I'm not annoyed enough to ban them, but, it is something I would not have included in the design. Nobody seems happy when a mandatory is quest is played. The person who drew the card wishes he had drawn something more personally useful, and the victim feels screwed. No good feelings anywhere. There are more fun ways to incorporate direct interaction, and more elegant ways to allow players to come from behind.
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Nick Jordan
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quinnox wrote:
Here is the other thing I don't like about them. They only hurt the opponent and don't help you. I was unlucky enough to draw a few of them, and I didn't like drawing them at all. I didn't want to play them because I felt they were too powerful and unfair, and they also gave me no benefit. There are other attack cards which hurt your opponents (all of them at the same time, not just targeting one person like the mandatory quest does) and at the same time as helping you. Those are the cards I wanted to draw.


This, to me, is the problem with these cards. They are dead weight in your hand if you are not 1st/2nd, since you are wasting an action to hit the leader and help someone else get ahead. The 4th/5th place player playing one of these cards is effectively just playing kingmaker for no personal benefit. Drawing 1-2 of them early in a MP game is also crappy, because you don't know who is worth slowing down. I don't think I'd take them out completely, but I would like it if they conferred some benefit to the person playing them.

Also, its impossible for a mandatory quest in the last round to cost you 25 points. You just keep the resources instead, and any 25 pt quest will have 5-10 points worth of resources.
 
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Mike Forrey
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Eidolon wrote:
The one MQ that is most brutal is Quell the Riots. It's the one which requires 2 clerics to complete. I had it placed on me in a game where The Plinth was the only cleric producing location available the entire game, so it was a hot spot that was taken frequently. It took me 4 rounds to complete the MQ.

Fortunately, I was still able to gather a lot of resources along the way until I acquired the clerics, then I was able to rattle off a bunch of quests afterwards. It wasn't quite enough though and the damage that was done from that MQ was apparent.

It was a brilliant and perfectly timed move by one of my opponents. Keep the MQs, I say.


THIS is exactly why they should stay and the OP needs to play more games with them to figure out that they aren't as bad as you think. Forcing players to be adaptive is a key strategy in the game. I wish there were more of these types of quests in the intrigue deck.

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John Sugden
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Lots of good observations in this thread.

There is an economy in the game that stays true for the basic elements of the game until final scoring. 1 agent placement = 1 wizard = 1 cleric = 2 rogues = 2 fighters = 2 cards = 4 gold = 4 victory points. When you are using a basic board space or completing a quest, this economy is pretty much always true. Buildings break this economy by providing surplus value for their use, and USING (as opposed to acquiring) intrigue cards also tends to break the economy.

When you look at this economy, mandatory quests suck - both for the player playing it and the victim. If you play it, you give up a card (worth as many resources as a fighter or rogue) for no direct personal benefit. The opponent gets a chance to get victory points out of the quest, but at a bad exchange rate - they give up resources worth 2 or 2.5 wizards and receive back 2 or 4 victory points. That is like tossing a wizard and a fighter in the trash.

In effect: When you play a mandatory quest (early in a game) you hurt yourself about 1/3 as much as you hurt the guy you play it against. In other words, playing it is like giving a bonus to the players other than you and the player you play it against.

The only time it really makes sense to play it is towards the end of the game when it really blocks off a player's ability to complete quests they may have saved up. As such, they become 'kingmaker' elements where if you've been lucky enough to draw them you can really hurt someone else that hasn't cleared their quest queue early enough to avoid being blocked.

To that end - NOT FUN. Whether you have one in hand is pretty much entirely a matter of luck. They should generally not be played until the end of the game, and playing them at the end of the game is just a huge and random 'screw you'.

In an expansion, they need to add intrigue cards and or plot quests that block mandatory quests and/or provide benefits for completing mandatory quests. I spent a few hours working out a set of intrigue cards and errata to the game that I would put in place to make the game better. I think the game could go from an 8 in my opinion to a 10 with just a small number of changes that could be easily added via an expansion.
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Steve Burris
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I really like the idea of "voluntary disarmament" described above--i.e. opting to discard a mandatory quest and simply draw another intrigue card.

Here's another idea that might alleviate the "king-maker" aspect of mandatory quests while also making them more valuable to the person who plays them.

(NOTE: I've only played one game so far, which didn't really count (we forgot about reassigning agents sent to the harbor). So I hope this makes sense.)

What if mandatory quests were global, targeting all players except the one who presented the quest?

My only worry is this might simply be too disruptive. Imagine the bottlenecks in obtaining the necessary resources when everyone needs them at the same time. Also, in a typical game I imagine any given player might be affected by 3 or 4 of these--not the rosiest proposition to contemplate.

Each player would track their completion of the quest by placing a building control marker on the quest card, and the quest would be discarded after placement of the final marker.

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