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Duel of Ages II» Forums » Strategy

Subject: How to handle monsters, maulers, bullies, and beatsticks rss

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John
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My friends and I have played DoA2 only a few times now, so there is still a huge amount for us to learn about the game’s strategy and tactics. It seems like our first big challenge is to figure out how to deal with a particular kind of opposing character. You know the type: they have a nasty natural melee attack, decent defenses, and usually good armor and health. Often they can’t or won’t use items, but they don’t really need to in order to inflict terror in the early game.


At the bottom I’ve listed the maulers that I’ve run into so far in my sessions, but first let’s get to the big question: how do we deal with these things? I have some ideas of my own but I’ll also incorporate yours into this first message.

1. Keep your distance. Most of these bullies seem to be of average speed, so if the potential victim is as well then it’s usually possible to stay away. Terrain can make this tough sometimes though, and dismissals/banishments are a big X factor here.

2. Don’t dismiss a character just before an opposing bully is about to dismiss. I learned this lesson the hard way in the last session. I didn’t notice the implication of the opposing Mulgoth Dominant’s maneuvering to bust a friend out of our prison, so I sent my Zygoid on a future adventure. Everything went well, and I dismissed him far from harm... or so I thought. On the other team’s turn Mulgoth succeeded on its prison break and dismissed itself to a dome that was on my Zygoid’s dome key, but with a two-hex head start. At that point the Zygoid’s fate was pretty much sealed. It was a running battle that took a couple of rounds because the Zygoid had a pistol for Op Fire and not horrible melee of his own, but he couldn’t escape.

3. Fight fire with fire. I’m not so sure this is optimal though. If you feel like your team can keep everyone pretty safe from the other team’s mauler, then it’s probably not a good idea to tie up your mauler going after theirs.

4. Team up. Do you have a character with a ranged weapon? Pair him with a character with a decent natural melee attack and go hunting. Ideally you won’t even lose the ranged weapon this way since your natural melee can hopefully deal the final blow.

5. Pick at least one character with high Strength. Some of these bullies like to subdue with double-amaze attacks. It can be tough to lose a character or two to prison early in the game and to only have a Strength 4 or 5 character on hand to try to bust them out.


What other pointers do you have for me and other newcomers? Help us--you’re our only hope! cry



As I mentioned up above, here are some examples of the kinds of characters that I’m talking about. These are ones that have popped up in our games so far:

Bladed Terror the Deadly Lifeform. Very fast and climbs cliffs. High Melee, Power, and Damage. High defenses and Armor. This was our first run-in with the archetype... just nasty.

Mulgoth Dominant the Infernal Construct. Pumps out a lot of melee damage and has more than enough Health and Armor to deal with early-game weaklings.

Reaver Mk. VII, the Battered War Machine. Nasty but not overwhelming in melee. Horrible defenses but really good Armor. Good Health and it regenerates. Luckily for its victims it is slow, but it can use rifles well so it doesn’t become obsolete in mid- and late-game.


And now a couple of others from our sessions. Honorable mentions, I suppose:

Finnabar Taint the Pessimist. Fast, with a great natural attack and wonderful React. Will never auto-subdue someone though and is actually a bit ineffective against true weaklings.

Fen Lin the Kung Fu Master. Very high Wits and Melee combined with good Power and the ability to attack everyone in his hex. Much more vulnerable than the “real” maulers though.
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Adam Lucas
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It's a perfect day for some mayhem!
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Mulgoth is a paper tank. A few turns of op-fire and a few other hits will take him down.
Also remember that the big scaries are usually very bad at adventuring and the Combat Achievement is a single point. If he is chasing around your heroes then he's not earning his keep. If you can bait him towards labryinths then even better.
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Adam Mitchell
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6. Use characters with powers which will neutralize the Beatstick threat-There are a fair number of characters with natural anti-Beatstick abilities and you should take advantage of this to the fullest.

For example, Gregory will not allow any melee attacks in his space except against him, thus shielding all of the allied characters who accompany him from hand-to-hand harm. Furthermore, anyone who attacks Gregory and gets a Luck of seven switches sides, which serves as one heck of a deterrant!

Thotus can use his mental ability to take over the minds of opposing characters, and has an especially easy job doing this to most Beatsticks, whose intellect generally leaves something to be desired.

Similarly, Catspaw has a mental aura of four which prevents enemies from making ANY attack rolls if they are within it (though it doesn't prevent YOU from attacking THEM!).

Baba Yaga can "talk down" most Beatsticks in her space and, like Gregory, her power is not a mental ability and so works even on those like Reaver, who are immune to such abilities.

You get the idea.

7. The Obsidian Fangs-Yes, I know that it's a long journey to get to the Fangs, unlike the Tower of Maneuver in DoA1. Still the ability to dismiss an ally, banish an enemy, or both is absolutely invaluable when you're trying to avoid becoming Beatstick chow.

8. Shoot him to death with your starting weaponry-Many characters begin the game with cards and sometimes if you're lucky those cards are powerful ranged weapons. Just a few games ago Damon Raven, the Assassin, began the game with the mighty Terra Gun! With that awesome armament he could have easily annihilated anyone on my team, and he did vaporize poor Genghis Khan.

9. Send your Henchman to handle the Beatstick-If you have one of the characters who comes with a Henchman or two, use that against the Beatstick. Blast away at him from range if you start with a ranged attack, or engage him directly in combat if your Henchman is a sufficiently powerful Beatstick himself, such as the Ice Giant or Misanthropic Werewolf.
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Beatsticks are more powerful towards the start of the game, less powerful closer to the end of the game. So if your team is beatstick light and the opposing team beatstick heavy, play for the long game, keep alive, and get the cards that will help handle them. Cards are the answer to beatsticks. Also, sometimes you have to sacrifice a character to keep others alive, so keep this in mind. Sacrificing a henchman is much better though, if you can.
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Adam Mitchell
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Oh, and I almost forgot:
10. Play with no less than four platters and at least eight charcters per side (we go with ten)-Any fewer platters and it will be far too easy for the Beatstick to catch his targets. Any fewer characters and a Beatstick will have a disparate impact because there are so few characters in the first place.
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John
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Thanks for the great tips so far, everyone! Some seem so obvious in hindsight, like using the Obsidian Fangs to give a bully a timeout in some far-off corner (why didn't I think of that?!). But even a more "meta" solution like making the map larger would help, definitely.

Interesting. Keep 'em coming! thumbsup

Oh, and if dealing with these early-game beatsticks is the first challenge for new players, what would you say is the next? Map design, perhaps, or base defense? That'll make a good subject for another thread.
 
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Adam Mitchell
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You're the new player; what do you think is the next challenge? I'd probably say it is finding the proper balance for your team between aggressiveness and adventuring, and between risk-taking and caution.
 
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Johan Haglert
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Solan wrote:
You're the new player; what do you think is the next challenge? I'd probably say it is finding the proper balance for your team between aggressiveness and adventuring, and between risk-taking and caution.
Are any stats better as far as adventuring goes?
 
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Josh Koehn
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I heard (from someone I can't remember where) that the bottom four, the traits, are the most common in adventures.
 
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John
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Solan wrote:
You're the new player; what do you think is the next challenge? I'd probably say it is finding the proper balance for your team between aggressiveness and adventuring, and between risk-taking and caution.

Hmmm, good question and good point. For now my gaming group seems most concerned with the known unknowns: how to survive the early game against maulers and beatsticks, what is the science and art of map assembly, assessing whether to imprison or kill a defeated opponent, and so on.

But then there are the unknown unknowns, and I suspect that there are many of those but of course I don't know what they might be. Hopefully those will become more apparent with experience!

One thing that may be complicating matters is that in order to prolong the game's "newness factor" we have avoided reading through the character and treasure cards until they have come up in game, so a lot of what we run into is just plain new to us. For example, someone busted out an (the?) Anti-Cube during our first session, killing the low-health character who had tried to use their own cube. Now we're all worried about using cubes when low on health, but maybe that's just one little card and thus pretty unlikely to show up again for a while.

We have another session coming up this weekend, and I'll be sure to share folks' advice with my gaming buddies. One thing is for sure though: this game is fun to play but it is also fun to learn.
 
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Charles Waterman
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Combat achievement is only a single point.....But it's the most important one and leads to much wailing and gnashing of teeth!

Montebanc

PS Thanks for the strategy tips, feelitmon!
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