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Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords – Base Set» Forums » Variants

Subject: Best countdown variant? rss

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Richard Ham
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I don't mind the fact that the game is arguably a bit too much on the easy side... nice to have a break from punishing co-ops. But I do mind that there is absolutely no danger of death at all with the default rules because you can always choose to not explore and run out the clock with zero penalty.

There was a big thread about this in the rules section (http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1036042/letting-the-bles...-), but it was pointed out there that it should move to variants, so I'm moving it here. Would love some more discussion about what folks think is the ideal 'failure' option. Here's what was posited (and who by) in the that earlier thread so far:

REAL DEATH

Nssxxx: TPK everyone dies if the timer ends. Probably way too harsh, surely?

SJBenoist: Double Jeopardy the same TPK scenario, but only if you fail a 2nd time. So sure, be lax the first time, but the 2nd run... scary! That seems like a pretty good approach, though I fear too punishing at higher levels (when I understand the game does get tougher?)

Mateooo: Extra Lives. If you die OR fail X times, only then do you suffer permadeath. Requires bookkeeping, and very videogame-ish.

Rahdo: Sacrifice I suggested a softer alternate - on failure, half of the party, rounded down, dies (they sacrifice themselves so the others can escape). I *love* the drama of the "no, you go! Save yourself! I'll hold them off..." theatrics this would offer

Mateooo: Hand of Fate another softening of death penalty - after time runs out, everyone rolls a 1dX and suffers real death on a 1 (you didn't get away afterall). This seems like a good idea... really easy to implement, and also easy to scale. If you want more of a threat of failure, choose 1d4. If you want less threat, choose 1d12. With some inherent drama at the end of the game. Like it!

CHECKPOINTS

Kevin O: Save Games suggested mitigating TPK this implementing a 'save game', where when completing certain milestones, the state of the party is saved (a 'checkpoint'), so if everyone is wiped out, they can 'reload their save' and go back to that state. That helps, but seems like too much paperwork, IMO...

TheRiddler1976: Do Over If time runs out, reset all the characters to the way they were before the mission started (the mission never happened). Not unreasonable, IMO, but again, requires paperwork (or really good memory) to keep track of what new items were added, and feels like maybe it's to light. The only penalty is that we wasted our time. I'd rather have an in-game penalty instead of an out-of-game one.

LOSING STUFF

Mateooo: Bansish cards from your deck (and presumably replace them with basics). Variants of this were proposed by different folks, including...

Rahdo: Random Loss My suggestion for this would be on failure, take the 4 'highest level' cards you've got (based on acquire check number), and pick one at random to banish. Very dramatic, maybe you get lucky and lose something you don't care about, or maybe you lose that super special ally you found...

Mcmanzi: Ante up an ante card - remove a card at the beginning of the mission. If you fail, its banished. Nice, and adds some additional drama throughout he mission. I suspect it would have to be a targeted remove... if it's random, and my potential loss is a Blessing of the Gods, yawn.

MISSION GETS TOUGHER

Mateooo: Villain Level up on failing, the retry of the same mission gets tougher (higher number to defeat Villain) Nice, but seems like it would either lead to making the mission impossible to finish, or being inconsequential (likely the later).

Honeyralmond: Monster Rush another difficulty increase - add monster(s) to every location. Same approach as above, same issue.

Dykmobi: Influence Increase on reattempting the mission, add another location beyond what the rules call for (the villain's reach increases). Very cool idea - like it a lot thematically. I wonder if that would make it too tough too fast?

.
.
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So, any other ideas? Who likes which best? Let's talk! Would LOVE to hear from the developers on this topic as well, if possible. I definitely plan to cover it when I do my video runthrough of the game, and would love to be convinced which would be the best alternative (including leaving this as they are) from folks who've played more than me
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Mark Campo
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theory /idea : modify the blessing deck for evil blessing, still 30 cards but mark or proxi say 8-10 evil blessings examples or repeat these examples
(optional always have these evil cards in the 30 mix or random as normal)
1 must explore ( e.g wandering monster come and get you)
2 add 1d4 to the combatcheck difficulty
3 add 1d6 to the combat check difficulty
4 no blessing may be played this turn
5 add 1d4 to the non combat check difficulty
6 add 1d6 to the non combat check difficulty
7 no movement this turn
8 no assisting other characters this turn
9 tainted no divine magic this turn
10 dead magic zone no arcane magic this turn
11 -1 to the check for each dice used

if i could mock it up id have as a duel card still get the good effect of said bless but you must also abide by the bad,
a bit random wount always affect you so seems viable
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Richard Ham
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Oh that's cool... curses that can go into the blessing countdown, in case the 'bad gods' are watching on a given turn. More of them get added on subsequent attempts (or just to increase difficulty in general). Nice! They should strongly consider that for future expansions
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Mark Campo
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extra time pushing endurance
after timer ends each extra turn you take must bury a card, (maybe you may still bug out if you wish..)
and or hand size reduces by 1 each extra turn,

not sure how punishing this would be, reduce hand size would stop you bleeding out kinda off. so give you about 4-5 extra turns

(could also be 1 person on the team buries a card per round for more surviability)
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Richard Ham
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Actually, wow, that notion of not being able to bug out at all, you must see it through or die trying (like a proper hero), but when the timer runs out, things get progressively harder, is BRILLIANT! I think I maybe like that concept the best, though it probably would necessitate a change to permadeath...

So many good ideas!
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Mark Campo
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or after timer continue but brake out the custom evil timer deck as above :-)
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Guillaume Pages
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Maybe the simplest method is that the characters must explore every turn. Choosing not to explore is not a valid option.

Thematically, the party is going on this grand adventure to stop the nefarious plans of evil doers. The villains and henchmen are well aware that the heroes are out there and whilst the hero may want to stop because he/she is tired, the villains want the heroes dead. Exploring even when the character doesn't want to is more akin to the villains running after the character, chasing him/her down to kill them.

The character may not want to explore, but the enemy in the deck isn't stopping just because the character needs a breather. For example, in death angel, the reason the space marines keep on dying is because the villains deck is relentless. They never stop coming as every event card tells you how many genestealers come out. Exploring in PACG should be similar: relentless. The difference with Death Angel is that PACG has boons as well as bane, giving you a breather when you draw boons.

Another way to look at it: A character low on health may decide to join another character at a different location where they can then exchange cards, and most importantly help the wounded character with extra blessing of the gods, weapons, armor or potions. The wounded character can also get some help from the other character during combat as you continue exploring the location together. This is thematic. You are in the desecrated vault, you are doing badly, you move to the farmhouse where another character may give you a potion to regain health and help you out through the location. Great theme.

I believe having characters explore every turn should increase cooperation in games because there would be more times when characters would move together to common location to exchange cards. It would also increase the likelihood of death because the wounded character will still have to fend villains and traps until the end of the game.

This, to me makes sense.
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Richard Ham
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Yeah, I thought about the mandatory explore, but I also like the fact that a character can effectively 'hide' and stay safe from danger, still helping the team out, but not introducing any more risk to themselves. Downside? The timer runs out faster. Only problem with that? The timer is meaningless...
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Christian Gindlesperger
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Love the evil blessing idea--would be great for failed scenario punishment, or also for a thematic scenario/villain in a future adventure!

...though you'd have to tinker to get the number to add to the deck just right--too few, and there's no real consequence, too many and you could run into a situation where you're punished unduly. Playtesting required, of course, to find the answer.

I've been mulling over the simplest option for failed mission punishment myself--along the lines of the "Loosing Stuff" category above.

I think it's the least wonky and most thematic: a hero is forced to drops his trusty crossbow as he flees to refuge, the troubadour just can't keep up during flight and collapses panting at the side of the road. And since your cards also represent health and/or stamina, losing a card also could represent demoralization, especially after repeated losses.

I've been debating with myself between two options (thankfully, I haven't failed a mission yet, so I haven't had to decide):

1. Choose a card at random to banish from each surviving players' hand. Replace that card with a basic card of the same type. A gentle but real punishment. (This also has the advantage of scalability--it won't hurt so much in the first adventure, but by the time packs 5 and 6 are out, it could be a real pain having to pull a basic card (and potentially impossible, if all basics have been pulled by then.)

2. Choose a card at random to banish from each surviving players' hand. Do not replace it for the next adventure. (A little more drastic. In theory, your character could potentially die from repeated failures this way--but that's highly unlikely, since that's 15 repeat failures, and you can repair the damage by acquiring a boon to match the lost one(s).

The "Mission Gets Tougher" category is another one I've mulled over, but as mentioned, have issues with those possibilities:

Pumping up the Villain's difficulty check by one each time either won't matter at all, or will make success impossible after repeat failures.

Adding monsters is tempting, but again has the possibility of never being encountered. Perhaps swapping a boon for a monster might go better.

Adding random Henchmen per failure gets interesting--sure, more monsters to fight...but might help actually succeed a tough mission, because you get that extra opportunity to close locations...which is also bad, because you are more likely to loose out on boons if you close too early. Lots to think about here...may be worthwhile.

Adding locations I think really amps up the difficulty, moreso than adding monsters--tough scenarios might as well be skipped. Maybe swapping a beneficial town location (General Store, Academy, Apothecary) for a dungeon/evil location (Goblin Fortress, Altar of Lamashtu) might work--but kinda breaks the balance of the scenario. Worth a thought...

Anyway, I'm sure that's more than anyone wants to know about what I think--but I certainly agree with the premise that scenario failure should have some consequences. I gotta believe the design team considered some mechanism at some point--and maybe discarded it? I'd love to know if that's true, and if so, why it happened...

(edited to fix deck number boo-boo: chars have 15--not 30--total cards to loose.)
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Richard Ham
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Yeah, the more I think about it, the more 'replace an item with a basic of the same type' seems to be the way to go. In fact, I just tried a quick solo game, played hard and reckless on purpose taking big risks but picked up a few trinkets, and bugged out before I died. Afterward, before adjusting my deck, I took my 5 best items (based on the highest evade value numbers), shuffled them, was very nervous about what would happen, and drew a basic crossbow! Breathed a huge sigh of relief because it meant I didn't lose one of the things I really cared about, and went on my merry way, rearranging my deck.

It seemed to work really well, and I can imagine as I get to higher levels, and more and more of my deck is composed of things I've earned, that the fear of losing something would be pretty meaningful, and the choice to bug out when the going gets tough might be a bit harder to make...
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Guillaume Pages
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rahdo wrote:
I took my 5 best items (based on the highest evade value numbers), shuffled them, was very nervous about what would happen, and drew a basic crossbow! Breathed a huge sigh of relief because it meant I didn't lose one of the things I really cared about, and went on my merry way, rearranging my deck.


I like the idea. A bit more fiddling with the deck at the end of the game, but that isn't too bad. It's not too clunky either, choosing the top 5 highest numbers to acquire cards is relatively straightforward, then banish 1 card.

I like it and it is thematic.
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Christian Gindlesperger
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Cool! Yeah, I'm definitely going to do this if/when I fail (it's just a matter of time--I've just squeaked by on the majority of the scenarios so far, and these are the easy ones)!

...though I'm still not convinced of the need to limit it to the top five cards by acquire check number. Honestly, I feel I've tuned my characters finely enough by now that having to sacrifice almost any card in my deck is going to be a disappointment. Especially so if I use the "loose the card without replacing it" variant. But I'll try it and see.

For sure, by the time we get to the later adventures, losing a card (no matter how you pick it) will surely pack a nice punitive wallop.
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Fire Lord
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Caveat: I've only played a short solo game to learn the rules.

What if you only expose a new blessing if you explore? It means altering the order of actions on a player's turn, but it doesn't seem like that would be a large effect.

This allows players to take a breather, but does force players to explore to finish the game.
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Damien M
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Milarky wrote:
theory /idea : modify the blessing deck for evil blessing, still 30 cards but mark or proxi say 8-10 evil blessings examples or repeat these examples
(optional always have these evil cards in the 30 mix or random as normal)
1 must explore ( e.g wandering monster come and get you)
2 add 1d4 to the combatcheck difficulty
3 add 1d6 to the combat check difficulty
4 no blessing may be played this turn
5 add 1d4 to the non combat check difficulty
6 add 1d6 to the non combat check difficulty
7 no movement this turn
8 no assisting other characters this turn
9 tainted no divine magic this turn
10 dead magic zone no arcane magic this turn
11 -1 to the check for each dice used

if i could mock it up id have as a duel card still get the good effect of said bless but you must also abide by the bad,
a bit random wount always affect you so seems viable


That's actually almost exactly what my variant does:
http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1041949/variant-blessing-dec...
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I'm confused why you have to kill characters to make the game harder...
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Guillaume Pages
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slacks wrote:
I'm confused why you have to kill characters to make the game harder...


I don't think the killing makes it harder. I think there are 2 caveats which players have with PACG already.

1) that it isn't difficult enough. I think this may be a moot point since the designers have told us that the game will get harder later on. There are 6 adventures in total. It makes sense that adventure 1 (the one which new players start with) should be relatively easy to get into and not be brutally punishing.

2) that players are letting the blessing deck expired to avoid death and that there is no built-in punishment for this strategy.

In a sense, concern 2 doesn't have to do with difficulty. If there was a punishment for players letting the blessing deck run out, players might be inclined to keep trying to finish the scenario, putting their characters in more dangers towards the end of the game and potentially taking on the villain with few cards and risking death.

This would assuage the biggest concern that players have: that this game doesn't feel hard enough. If death was a real concern because there was no way out of the scenario by letting the blessing deck run out, then there would be increased angst and perhaps more tactical decisions being made every turn: "should I play my BotG or should i keep for next turn".

Making the game harder will increase the likelihood of death and the players are wanting more death and more difficulty. But players chicken out and let the blessing deck run out. It is a loop which needs to be broken by punishing players who let the blessing deck run its course. But the rulebooks says nothing about it.

Increasing the difficulty level makes no sense to me at this stage. Let us see how the difficulty develops over the next 5 adventures. What is important is not allowing the characters a way out. You are in the adventure, you go in or you go home. But if you go home, you should not be in a better place that you were before you started. In RGP (with my limited experience) characters who fail their quests may lose attributes or their items. This would be very thematic and should be something that the community of PACG players need to think about implementing.

Long answer to short question.




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Purple Paladin

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Most of these are really good ideas. But why help them develop their game for them. This is pretty no-brainer stuff they could have thought up and include themselves.

Or, if they had not printed out all of the future adventure packs in advance, they could have used all the advice and input from all their player base to improve the game via adventure packs over time.

You guys should consider making your own game (seriously), instead of giving your great ideas to them.

About the next 5 adventures: No way I'm spending another $80 on this game until I read raving reviews on the upcoming adventure packs.
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@guigtexas
Thanks for the explaination, that helps a lot. It is funny to me that abandoning a quest is a big problem but people are maybe okay with grinding a quest over again(?).

I love seeing variants regardless of if I understand the core motivation, although knowing that motivation can help with giving feedback.


@Purple Paladin
I don't understand why you don't like seeing variants.

We aren't helping the devs unless the devs actually use these variants. That certainly isn't happening in his case since the cards have already been printed. Even if the cards hadn't been printed, it is still uncommon in my experience for devs to "steal" variants from the forums.

Many devs don't go into the variants for games that they are working on to maintain artistic integrity, there is a good chance the PACG devs do not read the variants forum at all. Second, many variants significantly change the feel of a game. If that does not fit in with the dev's vision of their game, why would they even want to include it?

Finally, producing a new game is much more difficult than modifying an existing game.

*****
Anyway, I like Mcmanzi's ante suggestion.

I think the trouble is making sure the ante is significant enough that players actually care if they lose. I think the core problem here is assigning an appropriate value to the cards. Assuming that problem can be solved then there are some fun things that can be done with this:
1. Ante value is tied to a reward for finishing the mission
2. Set a minimum ante value

I was trying to come up with a bidding system to get around assigning value, but the problem is that different characters value cards differently. There is also the problem of collusion to inflate the value of anted cars.

I'm not entirely happy with basing a card's value on its aquire number, but that may be the best way to do it.
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Christian Gindlesperger
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So great to hear the thoughts from Mike Selinker about time out penalties: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/13539853#13539853

I'm going to start using--as a (quasi-)official variant--this rule: "If the party fails the scenario on time, each player banishes one card from his/her hand and replaces it with basic card of the same type".

Though I think there's still room for thinking about other variants to add dramatic and thematic time-out punishments to the game, and maybe even implementing them in future official adventure paths.

One that struck me in reading through all the excellent suggestions in this thread--why not have failure conditions specific to the villain?

For instance, if Jubrayl Vhiski gets away the first time--for the repeat, he's likely to have hired a few more henchmen to watch his back. Add in an extra henchman (or monsters) to the location decks, or increase their difficulty (since now they're expecting you). Maybe Black Fang dissolves one of your belongings--banish a card at random. A conquering warlord villain might have brought an additional location under his heel. A powerful necromancer might cause you to bleed out a card at a time after the blessings deck has run out--and possibly kill you! Other limited events (like the initial goblin assault on Sandpoint) might be unrepeatable--you fail, it's over and you can't try again, because the town has already been ransacked.

That's doable with just one line on the villain card, and virtually every idea listed above could be utilized. Each villain would have its own unique, despicable punishment to be mildly disappointed by, or abjectly feared. ...this is something I'll likely think on some more!
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Ale Jones
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Invictus5000 wrote:
I'm going to start using--as a (quasi-)official variant--this rule: "If the party fails the scenario on time, each player banishes one card from his/her hand and replaces it with basic card of the same type".


What if it says this instead: "If the party fails the scenario on time, each player banishes one random card of his/her favored card type and replaces it with a basic card of the same type"

For example, for Harsk, he would have to discard, randomly, one of his five (six if he card-levelled) weapons in his deck. That way, we are more sure that the penalty actually has some teeth to it.

I like the losing-item variants for their simplicity, but I do agree that the things-get-progressively-harder variants are better if only for thematic reasons (reinforcements?). I fear though that the latter type may lead to a situation where things have gotten so hard that players would be stuck facing an impossibly difficult scenario and not have any way to "get out" (other than committing suicide).
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Richard Ham
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wormization wrote:
What if it says this instead: "If the party fails the scenario on time, each player banishes one random card of his/her favored card type and replaces it with a basic card of the same type"

Brilliant and perfect. So simple to do, so scary to do! I guess this forced discard/replace with basic item would have to happen *after* post mission cleanup, otherwise before the mission is over, I could give all my important weapons to Lini, and she would give me all her important allies...

Good call Ale!
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Mark Eggert
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I've had this thought since the topic came up yesterday. If the party fails on time or bugs out early, the characters/players must bury one random favored card each before they restart the scenario. They would shuffle their favored cards and have one picked and buried without looking at it. When they are successful on the scenario, they stop burying the cards. As an option your could require a card be buried for each time they bug out early. You would also have to ignore the mulligan rule for not being dealt a favored card in your initial hand as you might be burying them all if you bug out enough times.

Mark
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Tom Påhlsson
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I haven't played the game but would this work:

The assumption is that each scenario is only attemted once. If the adventurers give up or runs out of time the Villain replaces one of the monsters in the next scenario. If he is not encountered and defeated he persists and might show up in the third scenario, and so on. Could be cool if the familiar villain suddenly shows up with a vengance when the adventurers are busy with a different quest.
"You should have stopped me when you had the chance! Moowaahahahaha!"
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Christian Gindlesperger
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Yup, that is a great idea--picking the favored card type. That's gonna add ouch, especially to characters like Seoni who can only hold 3 spells, each of which is critical to her play (at least in my construction so far).

Still hard to beat the simplicity (and quasi-officialness) of banish one card at random from your deck--but I think this mechanism could be great for Villain-specific penalties. (...as could the Villain who returns in the next scenario!)
 
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Purple Paladin

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I never said I didn't like seeing variants. Where in the heck did I say that??? In fact, I said they were really good ideas.

What I don't like is how so many are inputting all these great ideas for this game, that are just plain no-brainers, and should have been in the game from day one.

Consequences for losing a scenario; Variations and events in the Timer Deck; Increased challenge (not difficulty) to make the game more interesting and give a sense of excitement and risk to every scenario; oh, and a well written rule book (with an index/codex).

The above and more are just common sense. Every single person I have played this game with has commented on all the above, even after just one game. In fact, the phrase "I wonder why they didn't" comes out of every persons mouth, like clockwork, every time I've introduced this game. Yet, none of these were implemented.

And since they chose to print out every adventure pack in advance, shooting themselves in the foot as far as using player input to improve the game over time, it makes it even a bigger head-shaker.

The more rules "rewordings" and variants a game needs to make it "great", the more you need to wonder if it was taken out of the oven long before it was baked . . .

Looking forward to a V2 in the future.

 
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