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Sentinels of the Multiverse» Forums » Variants

Subject: Playing Sentinels with only 2 heroes rss

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bryden
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Sentinels for Two:

We have been playing SotM with 2 players almost since it came out with the following rules:

edit: Setup is always like there are 3 heroes in play. So any reference when setting up a villain consider the H to be 3.

1. Each hero will take 2 ‘turns’ (alternating between the players) before the environment and villain take another turn. However, you have only 1 start of turn (before first action) and only 1 end of turn (end of second action).

2. During each ‘turn’ you may play a card and/or use a power as long as it has not been used “on one of your turns” and then draw a card.

a. Note: You may only draw 2 cards once during your 2 action phases.

b. Clarification on the use of powers, if your partner permits you to activate a power you can use a power up to a 2nd time. You cannot trigger the same power twice. Make sure to tap the power that you used during your first action.

3. When an environment or villain card says to H-2 anything (draw/play a card, take damage etc.) consider a minimum of 1. Only defense etc. that reduces the affect can take the damage etc. to zero.

Verdict:
The game plays very well with 2 players in this manner. We have played close to 50, 2 player games and maintain a good ratio of wins to losses. It is certainly harder but doable. We played Iron Legacy recently and needed just one more turn to finish him off another when playing another villain (which I can’t remember for some reason) was won on the last possible turn before we would have been overrun. We have had cakewalks and total drubbings too but these are rare.

I would definitely recommend playing it this way over playing 2 heroes each which I don’t care for due to the possible bookkeeping problems and gamey elements that it brings into play. My boys just can't handle the extra considerations needed to combo multiple heroes.

As a variant creator I can ensure all those that read this that we have playtested this method thoroughly and that it plays and feels very much like the 3+ player game. It is very much like playing Race for the Galaxy where you play 2 cards instead of 1. The combo possibilities rise with this method.

edit: Added the (alternating between the players) clarification in the appropriate location.

edit#2: Added the setup note that applies for some of the villains that you might encounter.
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Rob Rob
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Are you taking two turns in a row or are you alternating player 1, player 2, player 1 and finally player 2?
 
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bryden
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Robrob wrote:
Are you taking two turns in a row or are you alternating player 1, player 2, player 1 and finally player 2?


Good question that I did not clarify:

A full round sequence is:

Villain Turn
Player one (Start of turn actions trigger then, 1st action turn)
Player two (Start of turn actions trigger then, 1st action turn)
Player one (2nd action turn, end of turn actions trigger)
Player two (2nd action turn, end of turn actions trigger)
Environment Turn
 
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Julian Wasson
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I'd still rather run two heroes apiece, but this is one of the more appealing 2-hero variants I've seen.

One question:

Quote:
Clarification on the use of powers, if your partner permits you to activate a power you can use a power up to a 2nd time. You cannot trigger the same power twice. Make sure to tap the power that you used during your first action.


You mean if your partner lets you use two powers in the same turn? I'm not really sure how this varies from normal play. Power use is tracked on a per-turn basis so if you used a power on your own turn, other heroes can freely let you use that power again on their turn, but if another hero lets you use two powers on their turn, you could not activate the same one twice.

I'm also not super clear on the necessity of the additional one-power-per-round stipulation. It severely nerfs certain heroes who rely on a single power or their innate power. Mr. Fixer would be borderline unplayable with this variant, and Argent Adept would have difficulties.
 
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bryden
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Cosmonaut Zero wrote:
I'd still rather run two heroes apiece, but this is one of the more appealing 2-hero variants I've seen.

One question:

Quote:
Clarification on the use of powers, if your partner permits you to activate a power you can use a power up to a 2nd time. You cannot trigger the same power twice. Make sure to tap the power that you used during your first action.


You mean if your partner lets you use two powers in the same turn? I'm not really sure how this varies from normal play. Power use is tracked on a per-turn basis so if you used a power on your own turn, other heroes can freely let you use that power again on their turn, but if another hero lets you use two powers on their turn, you could not activate the same one twice.

Your turn is broken into 2 parts. Therefore, to maintain balance, a power can be activated only twice before the villain takes a turn. At most you can activate it and then your partner activates it for you (twice total). Or perhaps (not sure if it is possible) your partner is able to activate it twice for you as long as the same power is not being used.

If you could reuse powers, it might be possible with the right combination to fall into a loop that compounds heavy damage.

Quote:
I'm also not super clear on the necessity of the additional one-power-per-round stipulation. It severely nerfs certain heroes who rely on a single power or their innate power. Mr. Fixer would be borderline unplayable with this variant, and Argent Adept would have difficulties.

Just like the example I mention, we noted early on if you could reuse powers (since you have 2 actions per turn) this can tip the balance and reduces the need to cycle your hand and build up your abilities.

I have played Argent Adept and you just need to get out your instruments to give yourself another power to use. I have not seen it to be too big of a disadvantage but this depends on your enemy. A random draw is not recommended in the 2 player method I mention.

I have all expansions other than Vengeance and all have been in play in 2 player scenarios. You may not be able to play the advanced villain but this is OK.
 
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Julian Wasson
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Sentinels is a game that tends to err on the side of letting players do cool stuff rather than imposing lots of restrictions. The only times Christopher has ruled against greater leeway for the players is when his wording didn't communicate his original intent, and when it generated full near-permanent immunity for the whole team (which is clearly an abusive and un-fun case). It just feels like an extra layer of fiddliness and bookkeeping.

Are there particular combos that you've noticed are degenerate? Are they any worse than simply having Greatest Legacy on your team?
 
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Roberta Yang
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Why only one Start/End of Turn phase per round? It doesn't seem to provide much benefit (I guess it makes things like Divine Focus more affordable?) and has obvious unwanted side-effects (letting you double-dip effects like Slip Through Time).

Considering you're getting four hero turns per round, I'm surprised you're using (H)=2, even with the "(H)-2=1" stipulation. It seems like it would be an easy win for the heroes despite the smaller total HP pool.

And why the restriction on "pass turn, draw 2" to once per round? If your hand is so bad that you want to skip two turns to draw cards, it probably means you should be allowed to do so because your draws have been awful. What's the benefit of disallowing it? Like the power restriction, it feels like you're making up extra restrictions for the sake of making up restrictions.

Why not just go with the standard "Each hero gets two turns per round; (H)=3"? It's like what you're going for here except with the unnecessary fat trimmed off, and should play much better too.
 
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bryden
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Cosmonaut Zero wrote:
Sentinels is a game that tends to err on the side of letting players do cool stuff rather than imposing lots of restrictions. The only times Christopher has ruled against greater leeway for the players is when his wording didn't communicate his original intent, and when it generated full near-permanent immunity for the whole team (which is clearly an abusive and un-fun case). It just feels like an extra layer of fiddliness and bookkeeping.

Are there particular combos that you've noticed are degenerate? Are they any worse than simply having Greatest Legacy on your team?

That was my point with the 2 hero variant. If you play as directed all works just as it is supposed to.

However, in this variant to trigger the same power multiple times "regularly" was overpowered and imbalanced the game (this variant). This is why you can only activate a power once per turn (which is composed of 2 actions phases). This also means that others will do likewise.

It is all to maintain balance. And speaking from much experience it works. I have played more 2 hero SotM games than any other way by far. The result is a streamlined normal experience.

You can only activate a power once per turn (you only have one) therefore the balance is there.

To your comment/question: I don't find any powers/combos degenerate if executed as intended. Once per turn. If cards that permitted you to use 2 powers and you could use the same power twice was permitted then I think a number of cases can be created.

All that I mentioned is in the name of maintaining balance as the game was designed. If you give the variant a shot play where you can use the same powers twice, you will soon find out the degenerate combos. There will be many.
 
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bryden
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salty53 wrote:
Why only one Start/End of Turn phase per round? It doesn't seem to provide much benefit (I guess it makes things like Divine Focus more affordable?) and has obvious unwanted side-effects (letting you double-dip effects like Slip Through Time).

Think Omnitron-X. He would lay waste to everything by triggering his start and end of round actions twice. There are other heroes (Unity to name another) who also create imbalance as well. When limited as I mention, the balance is maintained.

Quote:
Considering you're getting four hero turns per round, I'm surprised you're using (H)=2, even with the "(H)-2=1" stipulation. It seems like it would be an easy win for the heroes despite the smaller total HP pool.

The damage from the villains and environments are more focused with fewer heroes. The likelihood of both(all) heroes being affected is much higher. Easy win? not really. I guess it depends on how experienced you are but having played well over 50 (probably closer to 100) 2 hero games we are maybe around 60-70% wins. We play normal and not advanced villains most of the time. So if you find it too easy there is still the advanced mode.

Quote:
And why the restriction on "pass turn, draw 2" to once per round? If your hand is so bad that you want to skip two turns to draw cards, it probably means you should be allowed to do so because your draws have been awful. What's the benefit of disallowing it? Like the power restriction, it feels like you're making up extra restrictions for the sake of making up restrictions.

Extensive playtesting indicated that drawing 4 cards was too much. If you want to play an easier game(variant) then you can permit the "draw 4". It feels right. You are using the "power" to draw 2 cards once. This is consistent with using a power once.

Quote:
Why not just go with the standard "Each hero gets two turns per round; (H)=3"? It's like what you're going for here except with the unnecessary fat trimmed off, and should play much better too.

Good question. The answer came in the end of turn draw closing your action phase. When we permitted the 2 actions back to back the options of play were more limited because the game state did not change. Permitting each player to draw after his/her action phase and then to alternate actions created more "combo" space. The heroes could work together a bit more and determine how to increase probabilities and such.

If I can anticipate a follow up question, why not play, power, draw and play, power, draw to complete an action turn. My answer is the same. The game state was not changing between actions. Maybe I want you to activate some power or cause some damage so then I can then finish him off. In a way it mitigates the turn order a bit.

Finally, it keeps the players more involved. I find this part to be very enjoyable.

I/we have tried all of the things that you questioning and have arrived at the rules that I mention above. They work well and there is not much to remember. I have used this power already is the only addition.
 
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Julian Wasson
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Well, I was assuming that you tried it the simpler way and found specific things that were too good or broke the game, as you did with start/end turn phases. I can think of things that would be good, but they're all good as a symptom of getting 4 power activations in a round with H=2, and none of them break the game.
 
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Fede Miguez
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At first I thought the rules were kinda unnecessary but going over the answers I think it's a good approximation to how a 3 player game works. Lower HP in general with a bit of extra action than a 3rd Hero would give but less than 4 Heroes would. The H=2 (even with H-2 >= 1) makes damage reduction for Heroes amazing... basically all damage the Heroes would receive would be either 1 or 2. Might need to keep the H=3 minimum established. Gonna try this!

Edit: Fixer is indeed nerfed in this format since he doesn't have access to a second power in his deck. I guess either don't play him or make an exception for him.
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bryden
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PePe QuiCoSE wrote:
At first I thought the rules were kinda unnecessary but going over the answers I think it's a good approximation to how a 3 player game works. Lower HP in general with a bit of extra action than a 3rd Hero would give but less than 4 Heroes would. The H=2 (even with H-2 >= 1) makes damage reduction for Heroes amazing... basically all damage the Heroes would receive would be either 1 or 2. Might need to keep the H=3 minimum established. Gonna try this!

Edit: Fixer is indeed nerfed in this format since he doesn't have access to a second power in his deck. I guess either don't play him or make an exception for him.

I should note and will update above:
Ssetup and victory conditions are set equivalent to 3 players. See Dreamer for example. 2 and then 4 incarnations for victory is way too easy. So 3 and 6 it is. This is the same for all other villains that have an H setup. 3-

To your point with Mr. Fixer, he is the poster child of the draw twice and then use a power during your second action phase unless your partner needs some kind of assistance.

I don't particularly care for Mr Fixer as he is a bit boring to play. I always seem to get him to a particular setup and then just lay down the damage turn after turn. That is unless there is a villain taking away his stuff. I use him occasionally to play a light game where I don't want to think about playing too much.

I would rather play Absolute Zero, Argent Adept or Chrono-Ranger etc. These heroes are much more dynamic and interesting to play in any format.
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Fede Miguez
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NoDicePlease wrote:
I should note and will update above:
Setup and victory conditions are set equivalent to 3 players. See Dreamer for example. 2 and then 4 incarnations for victory is way too easy. So 3 and 6 it is. This is the same for all other villains that have an H setup. 3-

To your point with Mr. Fixer...
Huh, then it might be better to just let H be 3 and save some hassle of double meaning.
About Fixer, then I guess you agree with the notion he is nerf'd. Personally I use variants with him so I enjoy playing him.
 
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bryden
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PePe QuiCoSE wrote:
Huh, then it might be better to just let H be 3 and save some hassle of double meaning.
About Fixer, then I guess you agree with the notion he is nerf'd. Personally I use variants with him so I enjoy playing him.

Leaving H as 3 during play has led to some bad (impossible) situations when it comes to destroying hero equipment and ongoing cards. This is also limited by the villains in play. Setup for 3 and then min 1 works fine and does not create any confusion during play.

However, if you prefer a tougher game, go for it.
 
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