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Subject: Specific Investigator Skill Variant Idea rss

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Awake Land
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Idea for Elder Sign to make investigators more skill specific:

As per Arkham Horror
Fight = Peril Dice
Lore = Lore Dice
Will = Terror Dice
Luck? = Investigator Dice (no observation stat like Eldritch)

The idea would make each investigator's roll stats be more unique per character. So we'll need to look at taking something away from each ES investigator.

Main Idea: provide specific dice focus available per character, usable once per adventure card. Some ES investigators have strong abilities, to change a die roll, but others like the Vincent Lee, the Doctor, have the heal ability but are not differentiated in any other way.

Vincent's AH skills are:
Speed 0 1 2 3
Sneak 5 4 3 2
Fight 0 1 2 3
Will 4 3 2 1
Lore 2 3 4 5
Luck 4 3 2 1

So his lore is actually his best stat, and his sneak is decent also.

Harvey Walters on the other hand has skills of:
Speed 0 1 2 3
Sneak 5 4 3 2
Fight 0 1 2 3
Will 3 2 1 0
Lore 3 4 5 6
Luck 4 3 2 1

His lore is only slightly better.

Idea: Each investigator can focus the die / dice once per adventure, but ONLY of a specific type(s) - thus weaker than regular Elder Sign.

Essentially this gets rid of normal focus, to make the game HARDER, and only allow focusing 1(or more) type of die face for each character - and no other type. This would work the same way for shared investigators.

Focus Ideas:

Vincent Lee
___________
Can Focus 1 lore scroll per adventure (and no other type)

Harvey Walters
___________
Can Focus 1 lore scroll per adventure (and no other type)

Mark Harrigan
___________
Can Focus 1 peril (skull) scroll per adventure (and no other type)

Amanda Sharpe
___________
Can Focus 1 investigation face per adventure (and no other type)

"Ashcan" Pete
___________
Can Focus 1 terror (tentacles) die per adventure (and no other type)

Bob Jenkins
___________
Can Focus 1 terror (tentacles) die per adventure (and no other type)

Carolyn Fern
___________
Can Focus 1 investigation face per adventure (and no other type)

Darrell Simmons
___________
Can Focus 1 investigation face per adventure (and no other type)

Diana Stanley
___________
Can Focus 1 lore scroll per adventure (and no other type)

etc and so forth.


Thus each characters focus is weaker, but more specific.

Perhaps there are some weaker investigators who have 2 good stats in Arkham Horror who could focus 2 types of die faces.

Note: This could also include the Wild red die face, so the Wild die would NOT be able to be focused unless the character had the specific focus, perhaps Dexter Drake (trying to think of a jack of all trades or someone who needs it). Perhaps Drake could focus the wild die, but nothing else.

Anyone have ideas for the die faces to use per character and/or how many which ones per investigator?
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Ron Reaser
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Morgantown
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I feel like this variant would over-complicate a rather elegant system that is intentionally less varied than Arkham Horror.

Specifically, I think this would make focusing nearly useless, since rarely do you get what you need to focus anyway and the new restriction would make a valid occurrence even more rare.

I think the fundamental distinction between Elder Sign and Arkham Horror regarding the investigators is that in AH there is a real significance to which investigator you are playing, whereas in ES your character provides only one tiny differentiated ability which amounts to just one extra resource to manage along with your clues, extra dice, and spells. I think the arbitrary choice of which particular die an investigator is allowed to focus would do very little to distinguish the characters.

Would it make the game harder? Yes. But I think there are simpler ways to make the game harder.

Then again, your mileage and my mileage may vary, and so this may be a perfectly reasonable house-rules variant for use among your group. I'm certain our group would not like it, however.

Anyway, may I suggest a modification to your proposed system to make things a little less arbitrary? I would have each player roll a single green die once on the very first turn with their investigator (which means if they get a new investigator due to being devoured they would do it again). Whatever symbol comes up (terror, lore, peril, or investigation) is the one symbol they are allowed to focus for the life of that investigator, and they could receive a little symbol token to take note of that.

This would require you to make some tokens, but it wouldn't require a reference sheet for each investigator, nor would it require paste-ups for the investigator cards. I guess it depends on what is most logistically feasible.

Also, are you intending for this variant to apply to assistance as well as to focusing?
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Bloodcinder wrote:

Also, are you intending for this variant to apply to assistance as well as to focusing?


Yes, tested it last night, and it worked well enough and required more people to assist on adventure cards, there seemed to be more cooperation.

Also the choosing the focus skill, lore, peril, or whatever based on the best stat of the Arkham character worked well as the people who have high sanity usually could focus lore and those with high stamina could would usually focus peril(fight) or terror(will).

Overall it worked well, the difficulty was harder, which for us is important. Other than Abhoth as the AO, we have never lost out of many games played.

While we can make the game harder by things like clock advance variants, we generally end up never even trying certain adventure cards using those rules, which feels like we're only playing 1/5th the game (or adventure cards).

I must say the Skill Dice variant was in my mind when I though of a more simplistic method, mainly because that variant adds difficulty, every roll (I think) the investigator may lose sanity or stamina, more like similar games (Eldritch and Arkham).

We need the sense of difficulty in a co-op game or the fun is not there as much, more like an exercise. With Arkham and Eldritch losing is always at hand, which is more exciting.

It would be great if ES theme could be increased via mechanics that are simple while at the same time making the game a real challenge and also increasing theme.

Other than that, pulling out every easy mythos card is another way to make it harder, but still, it is similar to clock advance, it does not differentiate the investigators thematically.

I'm guessing that's why there are so many ES difficulty variants - many others are having the same issue with it. We still like it, but it would be *great* to get in a short exciting game that felt even 50% as exciting as Eldritch or Arkham.

If anything this variant to limit focus came up all the time in our play-testing, as we use focus all the time. it is a statistical decision to help complete an adventure. Probably some rule variant should even go farther, Skill Dice may be that variant, but perhaps there is something even more simple that gets halfway there.

 
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Ron Reaser
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I'm glad it worked out for your group. But are there Arkham Horror character cards for every investigator in Elder Sign? What do you do about ones that are not? I guess I have a habit of trying too make things like this apply generally without extra resources; by that I mean that since I don't have Arkham Horror it would be impossible for me to play this variant without a cheat sheet. So for purposes of making the variant approachable to people without Arkham Horror, would you just create a reference based on the Arkham Horror cards, and are there any characters that Arkham Horror won't cover in Elder Sign?

The difficulty level of Elder Sign seems to be polarizing. It seems like a lot of people either find it too easy or too hard. My group in particular has a strange trend. We'll usually play two full games in a setting, and we almost always lose both or win both. I think a lot of it is just up to luck, and it's entirely possible for random probabilities to converge for a certain gaming group to cause it to generally be easier or harder than it is "supposed" to be. So I think that's why there's such a spate of hard-mode variants for this game.
 
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Nick Storm
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I do kind of like this, but one of the nice things about ES is the ease of play - the ANTI - Arkham Horror. You def don't want to complicate it too much.

That said, I LOVE any ideas of making the game harder, as so many people feel it's too easy and I agree.

I have added your ideas to my house rules set (10 pages long now !)

thanks for the ideas !!
 
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I'll add it to the list of things to do, but then again if there are other ideas in this vein, we could all come up with ideas to theme the ES investigators more also!
 
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ppayes wrote:


I have added your ideas to my house rules set (10 pages long now !)

thanks for the ideas !!


Oh my, I agree, we *always* play one of the dungeon crawl variants, move 1 NSEW which really ups the difficulty (but not enough) and forces us to encounter cards w/ terror effects AND work together as a team more (trading rules also). The movement variants definitely helped us enjoy the game more - feels more like a dungeon crawl.

Thanks!
 
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