Richard Dewsbery
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Without wanting to put words in anyone's mouth, let alone misquoting someone, a number of peoples' views boil down to this:
"This game is too easy, but losing on time feels cheap".

Is it a fair criticism?

We've now finished AP1, so have completed all 8 scenarios in the box. I've probably played about two-dozen times, successfully completing a scenario about half of the time. Over the course of those games, I've seen *one* character death, but four or five near-misses (including several games where a character would have died on their next turn, or if they had explored again and encountered any of the trickier banes).

Most of the checks have been passed easily, although from time to time things have been a little trickier (for example, Nualia(sp) can be a proper handful). One of our players has said that he feels that the game is playing him; not least because he *always* uses blessings and allies for extra explores (important as we only lose on time), and his character can pass pretty much every combat check he's likely to need to make. Personally *I* don't feel that way, as with Sajan when and how to play blessings is pretty important and requires decisions, but I can respect where he's coming from.

But *is* the game too easy? I'd say not, given that we only have something like a 50-50 win/loss ratio. And *is* losing on time "cheap"? Again, I'd say not as managing time is very important, you know that it's important going into the game, and you have to make decisions that allow you to save time (or not waste any) to avoid the losses. It doesn't feel like an artificial way to build-in challenge to me, any more than running out of money in Monopoly is artificial. But YMMV.
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Michael Denman
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Losing on time isn't cheap and I don't see why anyone would think so. Goblins are raiding the town and about to murder everyone. You have 30 days to stop them. If you don't make it, the town dies and nobody really cares how healthy you remain or if you can murder all of the goblins on the next day.

We're undecided on whether the game is too easy or not. We've gone through everything once (and the first scenario a few extra times with different people trying the game out). No losses yet, but there have been some close calls where we won on the last turn. We're about to get a different set of characters and do it all again. I HOPE that we might fail at least once but... we'll have to see. It's pretty easy to tinker with the difficulty though. Just up every check by 1. Not enough? Up them by 2. And so on.
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Mike Selinker
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RDewsbery wrote:
But *is* the game too easy? I'd say not, given that we only have something like a 50-50 win/loss ratio. And *is* losing on time "cheap"? Again, I'd say not as managing time is very important, you know that it's important going into the game, and you have to make decisions that allow you to save time (or not waste any) to avoid the losses. It doesn't feel like an artificial way to build-in challenge to me, any more than running out of money in Monopoly is artificial. But YMMV.


If you'd like some philosophy on this, here's my take.

We strongly considered putting in a penalty for losing a scenario. The leading contender was "Shuffle your deck, draw one card, and banish it." And we tested that among some of our players. It was not popular, because losing the game -- and specifically bailing out of a scenario early -- was its own penalty. You just spent an hour doing something you would not gain a reward for. Yes, you might've acquired some things, but you might've had to banish some cards as well.

Eventually, we came back to the principle of the game that was sometimes in my head as we were designing this game: Diablo. The Pathfinder ACG is one of the few card games with a "save button." And if you don't like where you would save the game, you can erase your progress. Yes, I know that in this case your deck will be different, and that you can abuse this by grinding through your homebrew scenario of the Temple and two locations you'll never visit. I get that. But if that's how you want to play, go do it.

We don't play that way: We play all the way up to the end, even if it means that someone will die. (Me, usually.) But we don't demand that people play that way in their houses.

Short philosophical answer: If you want to grind, grind. If you don't, don't. But try to forgive folks for picking the other path.

Mike
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Mark Campo
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8 mission in the base game,
3 the perils are a tutorial esque to easy, (go kill 10 rats)
(use if you want an easier ride on the main path only, as you might pick up a +1 weapon or better spell, )

the other 5 are burnt offerings the meat of it,
only the last 3 are interesting due to the powers of the villian henchmen,
love it when Gomgurt burns you hand before you attack him,
but the 1st 2 are if you miss the perils mission a chance to gain a few tricks,

SO in conclusion 3 of 5 being more challenging is a good mix
BUT technically i've not lost yet,
I only lost the missions in the perils quest when i miss read blessing as adding +1 not +1 die!

when i started tracking stats of the games
i've come the average of 9 monster defeated, 7 turns left, and hit points to be between 2-5 on the 4 heros so if my next turn went bad it coudl have been a loss, but so farI had the cards blessing when needed,

but when you look at is as 5 easy mission 3 harder ones your view on the base might change,

i'm picking to view its as ignore the my nick name for it "tutorial" and the 3 of 5 in burnt pack 1 as good with 2 adventures to tweak up a little
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Richard Ham
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mike selinker wrote:
But we don't demand that people play that way in their houses.


That's great and I totally respect that approach, but what would have been ideal is if you had included in the rules, an *official* 'running out the clock penalty' rule variant. Many (hell, maybe most) cooperative boardgames do this (include higher difficulty variants in the rules), to give players extra challenge levels to shoot for. Putting your official stamp of approval on a penalty variant would have codified it and given players who want that extra challenge a sense that they are playing the game "correctly" instead of "making up their own rules as they go along", and would have been much appreciated.

When I play videogames, I always play on the hardest setting. I don't begrudge anyone for playing on a lower one, but I want the extra challenge, and always appreciate it when it's there. The same would have been true for this as well, with no harm done to players who want less of a challenge...
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rahdo wrote:
That's great and I totally respect that approach, but what would have been ideal is if you had included in the rules, an *official* 'running out the clock penalty' rule variant.


Maybe we'll do that.
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mike selinker wrote:
rahdo wrote:
That's great and I totally respect that approach, but what would have been ideal is if you had included in the rules, an *official* 'running out the clock penalty' rule variant.


Maybe we'll do that.


Awesome! Now, fingers crossed for a "general store" that you only get to visit when you successfully defeat a scenario, where we can sell extra items for 1/2 their lowest acquire value rounded down, and can buy them for 3x their highest acquire value, with 3 things chosen randomly from any non-loot type of card available 'for sale' when you visit, and making my excess money be persistent. That would be AWESOME, and would be a positive way to address the 'time penalty' deficit that bothers guys like me! If running the clock out prevented me from getting to sell all the crap I picked up, that would make me much more likely to see it through!

(I'm sure I'm not the first person to ask for this)

Anyway, thanks for making a great game, my wife and I are really enjoying it!
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Mike Selinker
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rahdo wrote:
Now, fingers crossed for a "general store" that you only get to visit when you successfully defeat a scenario, where we can sell extra items for 1/2 their lowest acquire value rounded down, and can buy them for 3x their highest acquire value, with 3 things chosen randomly from any non-loot type of card available 'for sale' when you visit, and making my excess money be persistent. That would be AWESOME, and would be a positive way to address the 'time penalty' deficit that bothers guys like me! If running the clock out prevented me from getting to sell all the crap I picked up, that would make me much more likely to see it through!

(I'm sure I'm not the first person to ask for this)


You are not the first person to ask for this.
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My wife and I just lost our first scenario - Trouble in Sandpoint

We lost on time, but we were ironmaning it. Both of us at times had fewer cards left in our draw pile than our hand limit, etc... but at the end of the day we had an unlucky shuffle of every location deck. Each one of them had the henchman/villain in the bottom quarter of the deck, and we unluckily left the deck with the villain in it for last.

We were forced to waste about 4 turns with healing, using the other 26 for progression, but were unable to use many cards for additional explores and lost one turn to collapsed ceiling.

Even though we played hardcore, received no additional boons of noteworthiness, etc., I would still like a penalty for losing this way that would be somewhat a common house rule in the community.


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Jake Fernandez
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mike selinker wrote:

Eventually, we came back to the principle of the game that was sometimes in my head as we were designing this game: Diablo.


I knew it. I thought that this game reminded me of Diablo (huge fan of the randomized encounter system), and that was enough to convince me to get it. Even more glad that the designer himself has confirmed this.
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dyeyk2000 wrote:
mike selinker wrote:

Eventually, we came back to the principle of the game that was sometimes in my head as we were designing this game: Diablo.


I knew it. I thought that this game reminded me of Diablo (huge fan of the randomized encounter system), and that was enough to convince me to get it. Even more glad that the designer himself has confirmed this.


It has the same feel. My friend and I are huge into loot grind video games and PACG game scratches the exact same itch. It is truly amazing how well they captured the feel with a bunch of cards.
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Mike Selinker
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mostman79 wrote:
dyeyk2000 wrote:
mike selinker wrote:

Eventually, we came back to the principle of the game that was sometimes in my head as we were designing this game: Diablo.


I knew it. I thought that this game reminded me of Diablo (huge fan of the randomized encounter system), and that was enough to convince me to get it. Even more glad that the designer himself has confirmed this.


It has the same feel. My friend and I are huge into loot grind video games and PACG game scratches the exact same itch. It is truly amazing how well they captured the feel with a bunch of cards.


It certainly wasn't the only influence, though. Black Morn Manor, Risk: Legacy, and the videogame Ico were all swirling around in there as I put this together, as well as a game I helped make years ago, Betrayal at House on the Hill. Plus, y'know, Pathfinder.

Mike
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Yes, I agree, losing a scenario, we just shrug. There's no tension; no risk. In fact, the game seems to reward losing via time. You still get to keep the stuff you collected.

We have only lost once, but that was totally because we did not understand the rules. When we did lose, we thought we did not get to keep any of the cards we had acquired that scenario, and we were very disapointed, and also concerned to lose again.

Then we learned the "correct" rules, and never raise an eyebrow when the timer gets low now.
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I have played some 3 and 4 player games and we finished all loosing only one time ever. This one time was during the poison pill scenario where we decided to explore all the locations fully to gain as many boons as possible and to go for a photo finish in the last turn.
Sadly due to bad luck, we lost to the villain that last turn and the timer made us lose.

All other games, especially once we found the candle and once we have been using allies and blessing mostly for extra explores, we have not come anywhere close to the timer loss anymore.

Also with one player playing the cleric, we have not come even close to dying. We finished all 8 scenarios without any problems.

I also used a variant which I thought would be more fun, we used random basic cards to fill up our starting decks for each type and went from there straight into the first Brigadoom scenario.
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Purple Paladin wrote:


Then we learned the "correct" rules, and never raise an eyebrow when the timer gets low now.


What sort of paladin doesn't weep for the innumerable deaths of innocent townsfolk when the supposedly brave band of adventurers can't defeat the evil which plagues their community? WHAT SORT OF PALADIN?! soblue
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Richard Dewsbery
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I am in awe of all those people who almost never lose on time. Playing with 5 or 6, it's been a significant factor in almost every single scenario I've played so far; even the wins have been pretty close on time.
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I've tried all the heroes solo against Perils playing any loss as a real loss and only Kyra and Seelah made it through to Burnt Offerings. This game can get intense, and even moreso with 2 or 3 players.
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I've not tried with 2 or 3 (save for one attempt at playing solo with two characters which went badly wrong). Solo, I felt under no pressure of time but always worried about immpassable banes. I'm going to have to try it with 3 or 4, and see if it's as easy as some people make out.
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RDewsbery wrote:
I am in awe of all those people who almost never lose on time. Playing with 5 or 6, it's been a significant factor in almost every single scenario I've played so far; even the wins have been pretty close on time.

They key there is that you're playing with 5 or 6. With less characters, there's less locations to explore, so it's easier to get through them all without running out of time.

With 1 or 2 characters, they have to take more turns and face more encounters each, so the bigger threat is facing challenges that you can't handle. That could be impenetrable barriers, or just getting killed by burning through your deck.

The balance point seems to be 3-4, where both of those possibilities take on roughly the same level of threat. But the game is easy enough that winning without any deaths should happen most of the time in a 3-4 character game, as long as you play smart and have some sort of balance in your character choices.

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Richard Dewsbery
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Good points. I'm going to execute a couple of my regular players
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Malacandra wrote:
Purple Paladin wrote:


Then we learned the "correct" rules, and never raise an eyebrow when the timer gets low now. :(


What sort of paladin doesn't weep for the innumerable deaths of innocent townsfolk when the supposedly brave band of adventurers can't defeat the evil which plagues their community? WHAT SORT OF PALADIN?! :soblue:


I don't know which joke to go with...

Selection 1) A purple one.

Selection 2) [Ultima 8 or something] 'What's a paladin?'

You may all guffaw now.
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Sorry I could only muster a chortle
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rahdo wrote:
mike selinker wrote:
rahdo wrote:
That's great and I totally respect that approach, but what would have been ideal is if you had included in the rules, an *official* 'running out the clock penalty' rule variant.


Maybe we'll do that.


Awesome! Now, fingers crossed for a "general store" that you only get to visit when you successfully defeat a scenario, where we can sell extra items for 1/2 their lowest acquire value rounded down, and can buy them for 3x their highest acquire value, with 3 things chosen randomly from any non-loot type of card available 'for sale' when you visit, and making my excess money be persistent. That would be AWESOME, and would be a positive way to address the 'time penalty' deficit that bothers guys like me! If running the clock out prevented me from getting to sell all the crap I picked up, that would make me much more likely to see it through!

(I'm sure I'm not the first person to ask for this)

Anyway, thanks for making a great game, my wife and I are really enjoying it!


Wow Rahdo, you seem to have thought this through. You should probably just do this and let us know how it works out.
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Richard Ham
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drasher25 wrote:
Wow Rahdo, you seem to have thought this through. You should probably just do this and let us know how it works out.


Well, I'm pretty sure it would work, but the problem is that the game is already on the easy side, and this would simply make it easier. So adding this to the game would have to be accompanied by some sort of difficulty balancer, and I'm not sure what that might be... maybe an extra location in every scenario? I dunno...
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rahdo wrote:
drasher25 wrote:
Wow Rahdo, you seem to have thought this through. You should probably just do this and let us know how it works out.


Well, I'm pretty sure it would work, but the problem is that the game is already on the easy side, and this would simply make it easier. So adding this to the game would have to be accompanied by some sort of difficulty balancer, and I'm not sure what that might be... maybe an extra location in every scenario? I dunno...


I'd been thinking something like this could be incorporated into an actual location card. Something like:

Bazaar:
Once per scenario, you may choose a loot type. Draw 3 random cards of that type from the box. You may banish boons from your hand to add +1 to a check to acquire one of these three boons. At the end of this explore phase, banish the revealed boons to the box.

You may also attempt a Charisma check of 9 to add +1 to a check acquire a boon at this location. If unsuccessful, immediately banish all boons revealed at this location and end your turn.


Of course, making this into a location card takes away the incentive not to bail from the scenario if it were a finish reward--but I think the other incentive ideas out there are strong enough to just focus on the stuff trading idea.

The "one card banished = +1 to a check" just makes the math easier, and still makes for some tough choices--as does making this once per scenario. Gotta get your stuff in the right person's hands to make this worthwhile--but do you have the time to do that?

And the Charisma check, well, that may be cramming to much into one card (maybe a power for another location?)--but it's a little tribute to the good ol' "Haggle" button in Dark Tower!
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