elgin dorhop
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I know you can use the suggested starting hands for characters found at the end of the rule book, or you can make your own starting hand (using basic cards).

I was wondering about the thinking process that we go through in deciding how we start. Do we say, "I want the pure experience so I'll start with the game makers' suggestions," or "Screw that--I want to ditch some of the weaker suggested cards," or "Let me challenge myself with non-traditional picks as starting cards," or some variation on a theme?

There is no right answer here, obviously. The choices we make are all our own. I was just curious about what others think about when they start with a new character and need a starting hand.
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Mark Buetow
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McHenry
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I'd say if you're experienced with RPGs in general and you want to take the time, go ahead and look the cards and make your own deck that you like (using the rule to only include cards with the "Basic" trait).

On the other hand, the suggested decks will enable you to jump right in and start playing with a minimum of fuss. After the first scenario, you'll likely have cards you'll want to keep and so already your initial decks will be replaced with some of the swag you find.

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Tor Sverre Lund
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s/hand/deck

Snark aside, I usually go with the "designer's suggestion" the first time I play, and always "force" new players to do so (same with starting position in Civilization, e.g.), but love that there's an option for customization if one wants to. They could just as easily have not made any suggestions, but having them can also help you save time and get the game started (especially if you have one of those AP prone people in your group).
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James Goodfriend

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Gawain wrote:
s/hand/deck

You're gonna want a g on the end of your substitution, buddy, or you're only going to replace the first instance on the line.

Personally, I go with the suggested deck. A lot of the fun is improving decks and finding loot, and that's accentuated when you start with noticeably bad gear. Additionally, this game certainly doesn't need less challenge. When I want to customize my deck, I play something else.
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Matt Roberts
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I'm running a test group of some new characters just to see how they play. So I made all-custom starting decks...and realized that there really aren't all that many options in the set of "Basic" cards. Sure, there's a bit of "how many cures vs. utility spells do I want," and you have to make obvious choices like making sure that the weapons for non-proficient users don't require proficiency to use the card's powers, but it's not all that crazy. With so few choices, I doubt you're going to miss something of outrageous benefit that will dramatically improve your chances of survival by customizing vs. going with the suggested decks.
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Purple Paladin

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Be aware, they put mistakes in the suggested decks. Make sure they are only "Basic" cards; the list includes non-basic and Elites too. shake
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Mike Clarke
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Port Coquitlam
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Purple Paladin wrote:
Be aware, they put mistakes in the suggested decks. Make sure they are only "Basic" cards; the list includes non-basic and Elites too. shake


Screw that! :-). I gave Seelah her half plate right from the get go because what's a Paladin without plate mail? In this case I think they made the "right" decision with her starting equipment. I just consider her an exception to the general rule. (And yes I know the designer concedes it's a mistake but I'm not entirely sure he believes it himself). If he admitted that he'd open up a whole new can of worms for the anal rules lawyering set.
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Matt Smith
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Troy
Michigan
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Personally, I've always started with the suggested deck. My friends wanted to search through the cards to customize their deck. Either way it works. We're all former RPG players, BTW.

My one friend didn't take a suggested mace, then encountered skeletons and wished he had kept the mace. By playing the game, you come to understand more of what you may face, and will judge new cards differently.
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Joseph Cochran
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We started with the suggested decks. They're not perfectly tailored to every play style, but they're a good introduction to what the character does. And after Brigandoom you have a good feel for what you think you wanted more or less of and you can swap out Basic cards as you see fit anyway.
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Eugene Ko
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Lakewood
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In my gaming group we all concurred that Holy Water wasn't a very useful starting item for the cleric, who already rocks against undead (I can't recall offhand what we used in its place). Otherwise, though, I agree that the suggested decks are a good way to start off.
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Stu Jones
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eugene256 wrote:
In my gaming group we all concurred that Holy Water wasn't a very useful starting item for the cleric, who already rocks against undead (I can't recall offhand what we used in its place). Otherwise, though, I agree that the suggested decks are a good way to start off.


I always start with Holy Water with Kyra. Item with the Divine trait means it can be used for her power.
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Fromper Fromper
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Deekow wrote:
eugene256 wrote:
In my gaming group we all concurred that Holy Water wasn't a very useful starting item for the cleric, who already rocks against undead (I can't recall offhand what we used in its place). Otherwise, though, I agree that the suggested decks are a good way to start off.


I always start with Holy Water with Kyra. Item with the Divine trait means it can be used for her power.

With all her blessings and spells, she already has 9 out of 15 cards with the Divine trait without it. With a 5 card hand size, if she can't get a Divine card into hand, then she's got other problems.

She only gets one item to start. Give her something to help her get past barriers. Thieves Tools are good for any character.
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Stu Jones
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Fromper wrote:
Deekow wrote:
eugene256 wrote:
In my gaming group we all concurred that Holy Water wasn't a very useful starting item for the cleric, who already rocks against undead (I can't recall offhand what we used in its place). Otherwise, though, I agree that the suggested decks are a good way to start off.


I always start with Holy Water with Kyra. Item with the Divine trait means it can be used for her power.

With all her blessings and spells, she already has 9 out of 15 cards with the Divine trait without it. With a 5 card hand size, if she can't get a Divine card into hand, then she's got other problems.

She only gets one item to start. Give her something to help her get past barriers. Thieves Tools are good for any character.


I don't disagree with the fact it's easy to get a divine card into her hand. However, spells and blessings have a much greater purpose than the divine trait that allows her power. Using the Holy Water just gives you flexibility to use an item for that power also. It's not difficult to upgrade it, and I'm not suggesting to hang on to it if you do find something better (Masterwork tools, for example). But, I still maintain it's a great card for starting with.

It also gives the benefit of being a card no one else is likely to choose so you can leave the Thieves' Tools for the other players to grab.

I'm also indicating how I play, not suggesting others are wrong for making other choices.
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Richard Poole
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We just go straight for the throat with starting decks. If we feel the need to up the challenge, we just play weaker characters or add more locations. Using weaker cards is up there on the fun scale with using worse tactics.
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Richard Dewsbery
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The first two or three scenarios are going to give you LOTS of opportunities to morph your deck from the one you start with, so I wouldn't worry that the suggested setups aren't always the best. But what they are is quite evenly balanced and not gimped - which could happen if you chose your own starting cards without knowing enough about how the game plays or what works with your character.
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