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Subject: Does ignoring the secret information break the game? rss

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Thomas
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I want to pick this up as a co-op but don't like the hidden information rule about the gates. If we ignore it playing with two players does it make the game too easy or unbalanced?
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David Anderson
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Nope. It's still hard as hell.
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Thomas
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turtleback wrote:

Nope. It's still hard as hell.


Is it winnable, how is the replay value of this one?
 
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Michael F
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Haven't played this one, but I watched a video about it on the Dice Tower, and it was described as being a Euro version of Arkham Horror. They also made it a point that the secret information rule is pretty dumb.
 
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Kevin B. Smith
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I have played mostly 2p, and ignoring the secrecy rule in all but one of the games. Of my 19 plays, I have played twice with 3p, and once with 4p.

We have won most of the time, with the biggest factor being how often the "Necron" creature card is drawn. He is really nasty, advancing the timer AND shuffling himself and all the discarded creatures back into the deck. If he shows up 3 times in a game, we generally either lose, quit, or just decide he has overstayed his welcome and throw him back in the game box.

Played this way, it is one of my wife's two favorite games of all (the other being Vanished Planet). We tried with secrecy once, and it a) was a bit harder, b) felt less cooperative, c) was hard to obey the communication limits, and d) generally seemed less fun.

If you do ignore the secrecy rule, you'll have to decide how to handle the witches. When a witch (creature) triggers, you are supposed to shuffle all the tiles that are not sealed. We have chosen to play it "easy", where as each portal is revealed, we flip it over so we can see and remember it. When a witch triggers, we do NOT flip blank walls face-down and shuffle them. We only shuffle unrevealed and revealed-unsealed-rift tiles.

Since our win rate is good, we might try the harsher version of the witch effect. On the other hand, most of our games don't have a single witch activation, so it wouldn't make a huge difference most of the time. When it did happen, however, it would be painful.

Unlike some people, we don't mind winning our co-ops. We try to set the difficulty level to the point that we will have good tension, and the outcome will be uncertain for as long as possible. If we end up winning 90% of the time, that's fine, as long as it was in doubt. On the other hand, winning less than half of the time would probably be too frustrating for us. We would rather start off with a game that is too easy, and ramp up the difficulty, rather than starting too hard.

After 19 games, we are both looking forward to playing it more. I'm not sure it will last to 100 for me, but we have already gotten more than our money's worth out of it. I like it best with 2, and least with 3, just because of the rules for flipping creatures. With 2p, one creature comes out every round. With 4p, two come out per round. With 3p, you alternate 1,2,1,2, which I find slightly fiddly to track.

Some others who have played it with us haven't loved it as much. One dislikes the die roll, in particular, because it can really shatter your plans. Another isn't a fan of co-ops in general, and found nothing in it to change that. People looking for a game with lots of flavor text will be disappointed. But for my wife, the map and large creature images make it far more thematic than Elder Sign.

Hmmm. I wrote a blog post that might also help you decide: Light-Medium Lovecraftian Face-Off: Witch of Salem vs. Elder Sign
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David Anderson
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My wife and I have played this game 46 times with about a 20% win ratio. The only rule we don't use is the secret information rule. We used it for our first 10 or so games, but decided it was dumb. Mostly because we came of with conventions that told what the gate is without actually saying what it is. If you get what I mean. Our win percentage is pretty good for this game. I don't believe you can do much better unless you are altering more rules or playing a rule wrong. If you can win more I'd like to know how. Regardless it's a fun game and I'm not sick of it yet. We've already more than got our money's worth out of it.
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Gláucio Reis
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I disagree with the other posters and say that the game will be much easier without the secrecy rule. With it, when you discover a portal, you usually have to close it yourself. That takes at least two rounds, often more: go get the artifact, return to Miskatonic University, go close the portal (or skip the university step by paying one sanity). Without secrecy, the players can easily do everything in a single round and without a penalty, and the witches, normally quite annoying, become harmless.

And just because you don't like a rule and feel it goes against the theme doesn't mean it's dumb.
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Bruno Pigeon
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I don't understand why people keep on saying that having a coop game where you don't have access to 100% information is dumb. It's not, and it add an important part to a coop game: you have to trust your partners in some part of the game, not knowing what they need to do and hoping they will do their job correctly. Victory or defeat depends on it.

I you can't trust anybody else in the game, then maybe you have serious issues with control.
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Thomas
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super_bruno wrote:
I don't understand why people keep on saying that having a coop game where you don't have access to 100% information is dumb. It's not, and it add an important part to a coop game: you have to trust your partners in some part of the game, not knowing what they need to do and hoping they will do their job correctly. Victory or defeat depends on it.

I you can't trust anybody else in the game, then maybe you have serious issues with control.


I asked about balance not if it was dumb.
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Bruno Pigeon
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You didn't but other in this thread did.

As I said, this rules add an important part to the game. Which is to trust your partners.

And not using this rule could change the game a lot or not at all depending on how you houserule it.

The rule as written means that the same players has to discover a portal and then seal it. It will take several turn to do so. If you play with the houserule that the player can reveal that he has found a portal but that only that player can seal it, then it won't change the difficulty to much. But be aware that it will allow you lay out your plan of action by having access to more information than you are meant to.

Or you can play that when a portal is revealed, then anybody can seal it. Which means the game will be easier because you can seal it on the same turn it was revealed. Normally it takes 3 turns to seal a portal. One to discover it, one to return to university, and one to seal it. And that's assuming you already had the rune in your inventory.

And if you play that revealed blanks do not get shuffled when the second witch appear, again the game will be much easier.

So it does not break the game, but it will make the game a lot easier.
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Thomas
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It seems the majority feel that ignoring the rule doesn't make it easier so thats good to hear. I think I will pick this up and give it a try. Another reason I asked is because I want to play it solo.
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Kevin B. Smith
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LunarSoundDesign wrote:
It seems the majority feel that ignoring the rule doesn't make it easier so thats good to hear. I think I will pick this up and give it a try. Another reason I asked is because I want to play it solo.

I think the majority of people who posted here think that ignoring the rule DOES make it easier. There are people who think it makes it a little easier, and those that think it makes it a lot easier. Many feel that making the game easier to win is not a bad thing.

Most feel that ignoring the rule does not "break" the game.
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David Anderson
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I didn't mean the rule is dumb. It was just silly for us to keep it a secret since it would become obvious what the other saw anyway.
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Gláucio Reis
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LunarSoundDesign wrote:
It seems the majority feel that ignoring the rule doesn't make it easier so thats good to hear.

You do realize that this "majority" is saying they have a good win percentage. One person even says he wins most of the time. This is a very hard game when played by the rules.
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Steve Duff
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LunarSoundDesign wrote:
I want to pick this up as a co-op but don't like the hidden information rule about the gates. If we ignore it playing with two players does it make the game too easy or unbalanced?


We've lost every time, 0 wins 6 losses when ignoring the rule. The game is still insanely difficult. Ignore it.

GSReis wrote:
You do realize that this "majority" is saying they have a good win percentage. One person even says he wins most of the time. This is a very hard game when played by the rules.


The majority is saying they do not have a good win percentage. The one person saying they win most times is playing with additional house rules like not properly shuffling the tiles.
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Juan Medina
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To reiterate what others have said, it does not break the game. We do, however, respect the rule that makes the witches shuffle any non-sealed portals.
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Javier Perez
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I don't think it breaks the game, but we still made a compromise that goes well with the theme: we only share information when we go back to the University. That forces us to plan when we come back an we still get a few moments of desperation every now and then when someone is facing the great old one but there's still a portal to be closed.
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Chick Lewis
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Incredibly lame house rule, PeakHope.
 
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Kevin B. Smith
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chicklewis wrote:
Incredibly lame house rule, PeakHope.

Thanks for your thoughtful and productive input, regarding a rule that improves the game dramatically for us, and for *some* other people. As with any house rule, if you don't like it, don't use it.
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Justus
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some people just can't seem to handle the fact that others have the right to play games as they see fit.
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doom 18
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PrivateMeggido wrote:
To reiterate what others have said, it does not break the game. We do, however, respect the rule that makes the witches shuffle any non-sealed portals.

Could you point me to that rule (when to shuffle non sealed portals). I cannot seem to find it. Thanks.
 
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Kevin B. Smith
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doom18 wrote:
Could you point me to that rule (when to shuffle non sealed portals). I cannot seem to find it. Thanks.

It's not in the rulebook. It's on each witch card: "Pick up and shuffle the portal tiles without artifacts. Then, place those artifacts back on the board."

I should mention that recently we have been obeying that rule, rather than leaving blank walls unshuffled. Since witches only activate in perhaps 10% of our games, it hasn't affected our win rate much. We do try harder to kill witches before they activate, which of course distracts us from other work, so the effect is less direct.
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Kevin B. Smith
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Looking at our last 10 games, all of which were played with no secrecy, but all of which were played where if a witch activated, she scrambled all non-artifacted tiles:

Loss (early witch; 3 creature activations in the first 4 rounds!!!)
Loss[1] (no witch)
Win (no witch)
Loss (no witch)
Win (no witch)
Loss (no witch)
Loss (no witch; 3 Necrons)
Win (no witch)
Win (no witch)
Loss (no witch; 5 horrible die rolls right near the end or we would have won)

[1] With the German rules, this would have been a win. The shadow that makes Necron advance 2 spaces per round in the English rules is really brutal, and I favor playing by the German rules where he only advances 1 per round. By the German rules, we would have won.
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doom 18
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peakhope wrote:
doom18 wrote:
Could you point me to that rule (when to shuffle non sealed portals). I cannot seem to find it. Thanks.

It's not in the rulebook. It's on each witch card: "Pick up and shuffle the portal tiles without artifacts. Then, place those artifacts back on the board."

I should mention that recently we have been obeying that rule, rather than leaving blank walls unshuffled. Since witches only activate in perhaps 10% of our games, it hasn't affected our win rate much. We do try harder to kill witches before they activate, which of course distracts us from other work, so the effect is less direct.

Thanks. I had not played the game then. By now I have played it three times, all with no secrecy rule. First one we won but did many things wrong. The second one with good rules enforced we also won. The third one we were doing great and just before we were going to close the portal at Miskatonic University our "friend" Craven sends us to MU so we have to move out AND back, lasting one more turn, in that turn we deal the NECRON card and a Zombie (4 players) reaching NECRON the portal at the doomtrack and loosing the game... Thanks Craven!!

I am happy I lost for that means I WILL have to play again. I played with the no secrecy rule for it was easier to teach to non gamers, but I think it is a rule hard to enforce, we would just KNOW. By the way, no witches activated so far.

One more thing, this last game I used 5 Necromicons to discover the last deep one at the underwater town, but with only 4 I already knew who it was (there are 6, one is turned up at the setup, and I have a card with the available ones). During the game are 5 Necromicons suppossed to be used or only 4?
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doom 18
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peakhope wrote:

[1] With the German rules, this would have been a win. The shadow that makes Necron advance 2 spaces per round in the English rules is really brutal, and I favor playing by the German rules where he only advances 1 per round. By the German rules, we would have won.

With Spanish rules only one movement is done, if I am not mistaken.
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