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Zombicide: Black Plague» Forums » Variants

Subject: Nerfing "+1 Damage" skills rss

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Bone White
United Kingdom
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As often discussed on the forums, +1 damage skills are considered rather over-powered. Being able to take out an abomination with a hammer (which is a starter item in hero box 1) changes the game mechanic pretty massively.

So, as a couple of options to counter this we've taken to trialling the following options:

1. Using +1 damage on your attack is optional. If you do choose to use it, you must use 1/2/3 (decide this before the game starts) additional activation to apply the extra damage.

2. +1 damage skills can only be used on weapons that have 1 damage (not accounting for weapon effects e.g. Disintegrate)

3. The user elects to only use that weapon in an attack, gaining no benefits from dual wielding or secondary weapon's abilities.


Our experiences so far:

Options 1 may be more suitable to most groups who wish to tone down the effectiveness of the +1 damage skills. You can adjust how many additional activations you need to spend to enable the extra damage. It does result in people getting "sticky feet" staying too long near zombies trying to finish them off and not having an escape, improving the risk vs reward part of the +1 damage skill.

Option 2 with lots of abomination variants results in us rapidly running out of Dragon Bile because we have no repetative way of dealing with the abominations, but does result in very fast-paced and intense games which everyone enjoys trying to escape abominations and make hero sacrifices. It does often result in losing though it remains our favourite variant

Option 3 is more thematic... picture someone holding their hammer in two hands for a massive swing to get that extra damage. It really tones down the overkill potential of some weapon combinations by forcing you to use only one per attack.


I think going forwards we'll use both option 1 (1 extra activation) and option 3, now we're fed up of dying so much due to option 2, but I thought I'd share my experiences with you all.
 
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Angelus Seniores
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maybe you could give abominations an armor saving throw, same as the heroes, vs such hits, while keeping the dragon bile as automatic kill.
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Bone White
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Angelsenior wrote:
maybe you could give abominations an armor saving throw, same as the heroes, vs such hits, while keeping the dragon bile as automatic kill.


I had considered that, but it would then reduce the effectiveness of e.g. Disintegrate, Earthquake Hammer, which I don't have a problem with.
 
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Alexander
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maybe you would like giving your abominations Hit Points.

Here's my house rule wich effectivley only affects skills and weapons that deal 3 damage.

https://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/135511/zbp-epic-abominati...
 
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Bone White
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LX1986 wrote:
maybe you would like giving your abominations Hit Points.

Here's my house rule wich effectivley only affects skills and weapons that deal 3 damage.

https://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/135511/zbp-epic-abominati...


I appreciate the input, but as with Angelus' suggestion, it has other implications: it lowers the effectiveness of weapons which have a chance to kill abominations, which wasn't the aim here.

We only wanted to lower +1 damage skills' influence on the game, without making changes that affected things we are otherwise happy with.
 
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Jeffrey Nolin
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Leave things as they are and add more abominations, more necromancers and the bosses.
 
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Bone White
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longagoigo wrote:
Leave things as they are and add more abominations, more necromancers and the bosses.


Which keeps the power-gap between +1 damage skills and other skills, making +1 damage skilled characters even more viable/required and unbalanced when compared with other skills - again not what we are looking for.
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Max Maloney
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"If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason." -Jack Handey
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Bone White wrote:
a hammer (which is a starter item in hero box 1)

Hammer is a starting item in the core box. Hero Box-1 only gives you extra starting items for 7+ player games; they are all duplicates of existing starting items.
 
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M H
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I've addressed my same concerns by implementing a health based system for Aboms.

https://boardgamegeek.com/article/23257210

Short story is Aboms have scaling health according to heroes. 4 blue, 5 yellow, 6 orange, 7 red. This is tracked by placing a d6 next to the Abom when he takes damage. Aboms take 1 less damage from attacks. A Str 2 attack will deal 1 damage, Str 3 will deal 2 damage, etc.

This minimizes the impact of Str 3 attacks without making them obsolete. They are nice so you can kill Aboms quicker, but not a requirement.
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Luke Jacobs
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I've yet to use Hoodwink's abom rules, but I expect to as they fix situation a bit.

If I find it still needs more tweaking for my tastes, I may take inspiration from a thread title I saw here and make sure certain survivors count as 2 for purposes of mission limits.
 
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Jeffrey Nolin
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Bone White wrote:
longagoigo wrote:
Leave things as they are and add more abominations, more necromancers and the bosses.

Which keeps the power-gap between +1 damage skills and other skills, making +1 damage skilled characters even more viable/required and unbalanced when compared with other skills - again not what we are looking for.

Do we really want all skills to be vanilla? I think you should try seeing your perceived problem from a different perspective. Skills are meant to be different. Different heroes, different skills. If you don't need the skill in a scenario, don't use the hero with that skill. Keep the skills as they are, change the way you select heroes and choose/make scenarios. With so many heroes, you don't need to use +1 damage heroes. If you want to use a +1 damage hero, then make the sceario harder. Sure, the +1 damage heroes are still more powerful than their teammates, but there will still be plenty of work to go around, plus the +1 damage hero can't be in two places at once, so the difficulty of dealing with an abomination in an different area still remains. There is a lot of challenge in building a custom scenario with a hand picked team facing a lot of tough opponents.
 
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C M
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Pretty sure this is what the troll is for.
 
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Bone White
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I think my personal issue with all the other suggestion is that you're trying to work around the problem rather than fix the problem itself.

If the +1 damage skill is a flat tyre, then why would you take the bus, or drive really slow? Fix the flat tyre.

The argument to increase the difficulty of the missions again causes the power-creep that pushes you to pick these characters in order to have a chance at winning the game. Let's face it, we all like winning.

I guess wanting to keep the power level between the heroes similar without affecting the "other" heroes' gameplay isn't what most people go for at the end of the day.

Still it's interesting that no one yet has said this is a good idea.
 
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Shane
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We've taken the approach of allowing the skill to improve with each level. If it's a hero that has the skill in blue, it doesn't activate until yellow. In yellow, it only succeeds on a 6. In orange, on a 5 or 6. And in red, on a 4 or more. In all instances, it only triggers if they actually hit (i.e. if they are in red, and roll a 4, but the weapon needs a 5 to hit, it will not trigger.)

This has worked well for us thus far.
 
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Jack Reda
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I don't think it's the +1 damage that's the problem. It's the combat system in general. Needing a 3 damage hit to kill and abomination in one swing and otherwise never being able to do anything against it is fundamentally not that interesting.
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Bone White
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The Warp wrote:
Needing a 3 damage hit to kill and abomination in one swing and otherwise never being able to do anything against it is fundamentally not that interesting.


I disagree. The current system makes the game more resource-management which works fine in the setting and in practice.
 
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M H
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Bone White wrote:
The Warp wrote:
Needing a 3 damage hit to kill and abomination in one swing and otherwise never being able to do anything against it is fundamentally not that interesting.


I disagree. The current system makes the game more resource-management which works fine in the setting and in practice.


I disagree with this unless you are talking about vanilla BP. Once you add in Wolfbominations and other boss Aboms, you have to have ways of dispatching them, unless you specifically leave most of them out or take specific characters with +damage.

This is why I came up with my variation. +damage is no longer a requirement, but is nice to have. You don't have to have dragon fire, but it's nice when you're in a pinch against a horde. It also allows you to use all of your Aboms in a single game without shopping for certain characters.

If you run Abominatroll and have Evil Troy, that's pretty much 2 dragon fires of your 4 right there. Better hope you are really lucky at searching if you run standard Abom rules and have other Aboms in there.
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Mark Livett
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I am painting the heroes so every time we play there are a few additional ones to chose from, we usually pick one of the new painted characters. The pool of heroes changes every game and so the game experience is always changing, sometimes easier, sometimes harder, but always fun.

The kids have discovered that Xuxa is a bit handy and now anyone not playing Xuxa dies pretty quickly as she gets into the higher colours radiply, and we all lose the game because we can't keep up.

It is overpowered if all the players have the extra bonuses but if just one or two have it then they still have to play as a team in order to win the game.
 
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Jeffrey Nolin
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Bone White wrote:
I think my personal issue with all the other suggestion is that you're trying to work around the problem rather than fix the problem itself.
If the +1 damage skill is a flat tyre, then why would you take the bus, or drive really slow? Fix the flat tyre.
The argument to increase the difficulty of the missions again causes the power-creep that pushes you to pick these characters in order to have a chance at winning the game. Let's face it, we all like winning.
I guess wanting to keep the power level between the heroes similar without affecting the "other" heroes' gameplay isn't what most people go for at the end of the day.
Still it's interesting that no one yet has said this is a good idea.

I see it as a tire iron, rather than a flat tire, and flat tires don't happen 'that' often. Everyone on the team has their usefulness, and there should be plenty of useful stuff for everyone to do, and a need for everyone's special skill. The +1 damage skill is not the most powerful one in every situation. Actually, it's only useful when abominations are around, so controlling the number of abominations through the number of abom cards will also affect how powerful it is.
 
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Mark L.
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To help balance this skill, we have made it optional with a chance downside. You must elect to use the skill and when a six is rolled there is a chance the weapon is destroyed. After the damage is applied to the zombie, you would then roll a die for every six that came up in the "to hit" roll. If a six comes up again, then the weapon is destroyed. Again this is a choice to get the extra damage. Otherwise the weapon does its normal damage and there is no fear of losing it.
Thematically, this could be a case of using a bit of extra strength to swing or use the weapon and it shatters, rendering the weapon useless for future use.

If memory serves me correctly, in three of four plays, we have lost a weapon once. It was rather dramatic as when we did lose it, no one in that group had a weapon that could kill a Fatty. Things were definitely interesting for a few turns after that.
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Brian
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Don't include a hammer in the starting gear if a character has +1 damage at blue. Reduces the impact of the skill at blue, but still lets it matter at yellow and above and leaves the balance in place.

Super strength is the skill I have a problem with... Make that 'just +1 damage: melee' or use the tweak I proposed in another thread that is too complex to repost here and off topic besides.
 
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Ian Clarke

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Any one tried treating it as Roll 6: +1 Damage (Maximum +1 Damage)

Doesn't stop it being useful, especially with the right weapon, but does tone it down.
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Sebastian Rogers
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We finally played the Black Current having avoided him due to his +1 Damage Melee and found him not to be overpowered!

Being able to deal with the abominations at Blue seems great until you realise it means physically getting him to the abomination which wastes time. Also when he kills the abomination (which he does) he gets 5XP so suddenly he's at Yellow before everyone else, this threat of sudden level up persists throughout the game so he must never takes objectives.

Once the vault artifacts are uncovered his 'special ability' becomes less useful.

So all in all happy to play him.

Just a thought, next time we play with him he'll get a short sword as in his hands its a fatty killer and at low levels that is definitely more useful.
 
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The Clansman
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SebastianRogers wrote:
We finally played the Black Current having avoided him due to his +1 Damage Melee and found him not to be overpowered!

Being able to deal with the abominations at Blue seems great until you realise it means physically getting him to the abomination which wastes time. Also when he kills the abomination (which he does) he gets 5XP so suddenly he's at Yellow before everyone else, this threat of sudden level up persists throughout the game so he must never takes objectives.

Once the vault artifacts are uncovered his 'special ability' becomes less useful.

So all in all happy to play him.


We were also playing the Black Currant yesterday (vs. a zombie deck containing multiples of most of the Abominations in the "Simple Campaign for KS Backers"). At first it was great: slaughter the aboms (and, indeed, everything else) especially when he found himself a flaming greatsword and dagger.

Then, suddenly, he's orange, two other characters are still blue and we get caught with a double spawn of necros in exactly the wrong place...three totally unnecessary Survivor deaths and a failed mission because the Black Currant got carried away too early in the game.

We're going to finish the campaign using the basic rules, but for the future, I think we're going to adopt the house rules which have been suggested by others to give aboms more hit points (so that they can't be one-shotted) and probably mix the "special weapons" in with the vault cards (we're finding that the value of the NPCs disappears by mid-orange as all the available vault weapons have been collected), thus there's no point in holding them, so all they do is dilute the risk of double-spawns due to running out of Zs.

I think this will reduce the OP of the +1 damage characters, reduce the OP of the special weapons (Genevieve + Chaos Longbow = medieval MLRS) and give added value to the NPCs. It might also make things a little harder... :-)

 
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