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Subject: How to win with the Xanathar rss

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Brian Soulliard
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I hear a lot of complaints, in real life and online, that the Xanathar is underpowered. I've had pretty good results with him, though. I think he's a little weaker than most other lords, but it's not a terrible imabalance, and it can be offset with the right strategy.

The problem is, most people make big mistakes when playing him. Winning with the Xanathar isn't always intuitive, so I'd like to share the strategies I've discovered that work with him.

Complete big quests
If you see a 25 or 40 point quest, or one of the other big Undermountain quests, grab it immediately. Smaller quests are balanced around the idea that they let you get your lord bonus more frequently, so they don't help the Xanathar much. The Xanathar shouldn't have trouble completing big quests, because he can afford to take more corruption in exchange for lots of adventurers.

If you play the Xanathar right, you might have an easier time collecting adventurers than collecting quests to spend them on, which can lead to a rough end game if no good quests come up. So any time you see a good quest, grab it with your next agent placement, even if you won't be able to complete it for a while.

Take corruption until the penalty is above -7, or until you have 12 corruption
Corruption was balanced around being worth roughly -4 VP at the end of the game. If you look at the quests and buildings that give corruption, they give you an extra 4 VP worth of resources to compensate (4VP ~ 4G ~ 2F ~ 2R ~ 1C ~ 1W). This has significant implications for how the game is played. For most lords, it's worth collecting corruption when the penalty is below 4, and it's worth returning corruption when the penalty is above 4.

The Xanathar's bonus changes things significantly. For him, it's generally worth collecting corruption when the penalty is below 8, and it's worth returning corruption when the penalty is above 8.

As a practical example, let's say the corruption track is at a -6 penalty, and the Xanathar needs to collect a wizard and a cleric. Should he use Skull Island, or Blackstaff Tower + The Plinth? The corruption from Skull Island would set him back 2 VP after his bonus is counted, but it would give him 8 VP worth or adventurers, for a net gain of 6 VP. This is better than the 4 VP worth of resources you can get from most of the basic buildings, so Skull Island is the better choice.

Yes, this means that at the end of the game, when the lords are revealed, the Xanathar will lose more VP than he gains for the corruption he's collected. But if you played well, you gained a ton of adventurers in exchange for that corruption, and used them to complete lots of big quests. You should be well ahead on the scoring track by the end of the game, and can eat whatever penalty you get and still come out ahead.

There's one caveat to this strategy. If you've taken substantially more corruption than the other players, increasing the corruption penalty will be especially painful for you. If you have far more corruption than the other players, you may want to aim for a -6, or even a -5 penalty instead. As a rule of thumb, if you have 12 corruption in your tavern, you probably shouldn't collect any more.

Let other players return corruption
If you see a building come up that lets the user return corruption, build it! You probably won't use it yourself, but if other players use it, it benefits you greatly. Note that this only applies to buildings that let you return corruption to the track, not those that let you remove it from the game or place it on the board.

There are two reasons for this. First, since you're driving the corruption penalty up so high, any other players that have collected corruption will desperately want to get rid of it. If they have to use your building to do so, you can reliably get that owner benefit.

Secondly, when another player returns corruption, this drives the corruption penalty down. Since you should have far more corruption than the other players, this benefits you the most.

The Xanathar's weaknesses
There are a few situations beyond your control that can make it very difficult for the Xanathar to win. They are the reasons I consider the Xanathar to be a little on the weak side.

The Xanathar is best in games where players get fewer starting agents, and worst in games where players get more starting agents. This is because the Xanathar can only benefit from taking corruption so many times before the corruption penalty becomes too great, even for him. In practice, collecting more than 12 corruption is rarely beneficial. On the other hand, the bonuses provided by the standard lords are much greater when players have more agents at their disposal, since they'll be able to complete many more quests. In a 2-player long game, the other player will be getting so many points from completing quests that it will be very difficult for the Xanathar to keep up.

The Xanathar is completely ruined if the Promenade of the Dark Maiden gets built early. This building lets players remove 2 corruption tokens in their tavern from the game. It's a very powerful building that is used every round, and sometimes multiple times per round. It's even worth using for the Xanathar. It's not unusual for games with an early Promenade to end with most of the corruption tokens removed from the game, which means that the Xanathar's bonus adds up to very little in the end. It's almost like playing without a lord bonus. Another building, Delver's Folly, has a similar effect, but it's much, much less extreme.

Finally, inexperienced players may see you rocketing ahead on the scoring track, without considering the end-game penalties you'll be taking from the corruption. They'll consider you to be a runaway leader (even when an experienced player would recognize that you're not), and they'll target you with mandatory quests, etc. There's not much you can do about this except hope that the other players will get better at identifying who the true leader is after they've played the game more.
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Rodney Sheldon
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The best analysis of Xanthar I have read. Thank you for doing the math and posting this.... excellent!
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Allison Macrae
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I agree with this review, very well stated. I played a 4 player game yesterday with an inexperienced but competent player who played The Xanathar and fully committed to the corruption strategy. He ended the game with 17 corruption worth a total of -119 (before lord bonus). He ended up 30 points behind the rest, but only because I hit him with an attack on the final turn that kept him from completing a 40 point quest, which would have given him victory with 190 points.
 
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Bruno Dantas
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I agree with this analysis, but I still think he's too much underpowered. Yesterday, I played a game where almost every skull token was taken by the players (I was the Xanathar). The thing is, there were 2 buildings that removed skulls from the game. So, in the end, the corruption tracker was at -8 but but every player were with 2 skulls or fewer (most with 0, we were 5 playing). So, even with Xanathar, having a skull was a great disadvantage for me.

I tried to focus on big quests, but it's not always that simple. Skullport actions are good for everybody, even if you get a skull and specially if you have buildings and/or quests that remove or return skull tokens.

At the final score, I made 0 points with this lord, whereas other plays did 16 or more. That cost me the 1st position. And we all agreed that he's not vaguely as good as the other lords.
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Brian Soulliard
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There's only one building that removes skulls from the game - the Promenade of the Dark Maiden. I mentioned it in my first post because it single-handedly ruins the Xanathar. If that building doesn't come into play in the first half of the game, then the Xanathar is much more competitive.

You had back luck for it to appear in the game you played. In that situation, there's nothing you can really do but hope the game goes quickly enough that there will still be time for another.
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Richard Collins
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A very sound analysis, Brian, and largely in line with my own number crunching on this topic.
It is certainly worth highlighting a few of your points and extrapolating upon them.



Net Benefit

You are quite correct to add in the approximately 4vp benefit gained by all players when taking corruption. All corruption-gaining buildings & quests offer at least this much reward for taking on a corruption token. Some other online analyses ignore this fact and just compare corruption penalties to your Lord bonus, which is entirely incorrect.

However, this 4vp level can certainly be disputed. On the one hand, some sources of corruption could be argued to offer more than 4vp per token. Furthermore, and quite crucially, taking corruption early in the game can allow you to power out a plot quest (or expensive building) a turn or two earlier than otherwise possible. This, in turn, is likely to make the plot quest more profitable over the duration of the game and could thus be considered to give the corruption building a dramatically greater value for this kind of analysis.

Countering this is the fact that the 4vp valuation considers only the comparison between a basic building and a Skullport building. In reality, the majority of agent placements over the course of any game will yield in excess of 4 points. Purchased buildings generally yield 6 or 8vp worth of cubes/coins and, once the game is in full flow, basic buildings offering 4vp of resources are typically taken only when reassigning from the harbour; the agents involved should be considered to have returned both the Intrigue reward and the 4vp for comparison purposes. This is particularly true for games where both Skullport and Undermountain are being used.

Regardless of the above points, I consider 4vp to be a sensible start point for analysis.



Xanathar’s weaknesses

Three excellent points.

The Xanathar certainly doesn’t benefit as greatly from extra agents as it has a finite ceiling of how much it can abuse its Lord bonus whereas most other Lords do not.

I also agree with your suggestion that The Xanathar is weak against inexperienced players. Not only are they likely to target you due to incorrectly assuming that you are ahead, they may also ruin things for you and themselves by overusing corruption – more on this later.

Promenade of the Dark Maiden is, indeed, your deadly enemy for the reasons which you mentioned. Good luck finding the Intrigue cards necessary to deal with this issue!



Target Corruption

I disagree with your general statement here. A -7 per corruption token “target” is obviously correct if you assume that each corruption token taken yields a benefit of 4vp (discussed above). However, I disagree that you only want 12 of the 17-19 corruption tokens necessary to yield -7vp/token for yourself.

Indeed, my view would be that you ideally want nobody else to have any tokens at all. Every token which has left the corruption track costs you victory points but only the ones which you yourself have will trigger your Lord ability. Thus, you want as high a proportion of in-play tokens to reside with you.

Indeed, you do allude to this fact when stating that you actively want your opponents to have access to means of returning their corruption tokens to the track.

Returning to the statement that -7 per corruption token is your “target”, this topic is worth discussing further. It is not, strictly speaking, a target. Indeed, it only holds up if taking corruption yields 4vp in excess of the alternative options available to you. As discussed previously, this is unlikely in the later stages of the game as numerous better options may exist. You certainly shouldn’t consider -7 to be an actual target to chase; just work out what placement offers you the best payout and go for it. For example, with the corruption track at -6 a corruption building would pay out 6vp but you would rather take a non-corruption 6vp alternative to avoid using up one of your last few profitable corruption actions.



Further Conclusions

The most surprising conclusion which I have drawn from my analysis of The Xanathar is that it is the only Lord where you actively want your opponents to know which Lord you are. Once they know that Xanathar is in the game experienced players will know that the penalty per corruption is likely to finish up greater than -4 points and possibly at -8 or worse.

This should have the happy consequence of making your opponents less likely to take on corruption tokens and/or more keen to get rid of them. Both aims suit you very well so it is in your interests to let them know that you are playing The Xanathar. It will also help if your opponents have the commonly-held opinion that the Xanathar player is at a huge disadvantage in the game. Hopefully this will lead them to favouring you when choosing a recipient of free resources and leave you alone when attacks are looking for targets.

Sadly, the rules state, “Keep this card face down – your identity is a secret to your opponent.”. Quite clearly, you are not allowed to physically prove that you are The Xanathar, which is a shame. However, I don’t see anything wrong with allowing players to verbally claim to be a certain Lord.

I would even suggest a house rule that players should be allowed to play with their Lord face up, if they so wish. Only the Xanathar player would actually wish to do this so, if your play group believes that the Lord is stupidly underpowered then this might help somewhat.
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Brian Soulliard
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Good in-depth response. I think we're largely in agreement. I want to respond to just a few points...

Quote:
Countering this is the fact that the 4vp valuation considers only the comparison between a basic building and a Skullport building.

I consider advanced buildings as well. The 4vp valuation also applies to them. If you compare the Hell Hound's Maw or Thrown Gauntlet to the classic 8-cost buildings, for example, you'll see that they give the user an additional 4vp of adventurers in exchange for the corruption.

Quote:
However, I disagree that you only want 12 of the 17-19 corruption tokens necessary to yield -7vp/token for yourself.

To clarify, my point was that you should take corruption until the penalty is greater than -7, or until you have 12 corruption. The ideal game ends with the Xanathar taking 12 corruption and no one else taking any.

Here's an example to demonstrate why. Let's say you have 12 corruption and no one else has any. The net penalty from all this corruption, including your lord bonus, is 0. Then you take 3 more corruption, for a total of 15. This increases the net penalty from all the corruption to -15. Because it increases the penalty from all the corruption you've already taken, this additional corruption is more costly than you'd otherwise expect. It's effectively -5vp per token, probably not worth taking.

Also, sitting on lots of corruption lets other players do things like take a single corruption token to increase the corruption penalty, which will hurt you a lot more than it will hurt them.

Quote:
The most surprising conclusion which I have drawn from my analysis of The Xanathar is that it is the only Lord where you actively want your opponents to know which Lord you are.

This is a really good point. A lucky Open Lord card (or even Blackmail played on you) is really helpful. Announcing that you're the Xanathar, and taking loads of corruption early to make it obvious, can certainly be beneficial.
 
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Michael Trevino

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There's two Xanathar threads, and I thought this one would be most appropriate since the other thread is devoted to the lord being broken.

My wife was playing LoW with both expansions on the ipad. It was a two player game, and my wife was the Xanathar.

She won the game with 214 points (222 before the final scoring). The second player was the building girl, Larisa? and she had 208 points. It's was kind of like winning a challenge that was stacked against her.

What else has anyone scored when they are the Xanathar, and did they win? I know there's strategy and reality, but I would to see how the reality is shaping up.



 
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Steve R
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Just lost my third game as Xanathar this past weekend. I'd like to figure this lord out, I think a win with Xanathar would be worthy of a celebration.

With Xanathar, you need to go after big point quests (or at least quests that offer the best VP:Cube ratios). The problem is that other players will notice you taking big quests and they really notice when you complete them. An early VP jump with Xanathar is almost impossible to avoid if you are playing big VP quests. A game with fewer workers would benefit Xanathar because you can jump later in the game with less visibility and other players don't have time to catch up or mandatories might then be too late.

This is a situation in which other players knowing the Xanathar lord would decrease mandatories as experienced players would discount that player being a threat. The Intrigue card allowing you to reveal your lord and not take mandatories would REALLY benefit Xanathar.

If you play with Undermountain mixed in, Xanathar's behavior of big VP quests could be confused with Danilo Thann or especially Trobriand. Other players are going to pounce on any one going for 20-40 VP cards regardless but especially if Undermountain lords are possibly in play. Trobriand is an interesting lord because the strategy would be almost the same as Xanathar (big VP quests) but that lord gets 5 VP for every quest over 10 regardless of type, quite a juxtaposition with Xanathar only receiving less penalty for corruption.

My most recent game, I got hit with three mandatory quests. I came in third, but I was close to second. With only one mandatory, I would have had second. With no mandatories, I may have had a chance. The builder won the game because no one noticed his plan (which I was pointing out to the other players!) and I got the mandatories. I think the builder is bad for Xanathar because it gives other players more options and they don't get corruption by going to Skullport. The "remove corruption from the game" building was also out and that also seems to hurt Xanathar as corruption gets more painful.

So my thought for next time is just amass cubes and take quests without completing them for the first five rounds. Don't fulfill the quests until round 6 or so unless it is a plot quest with benefits. Jump very late on quests but leave enough time to deal with a mandatory and perhaps very small cube adjustments. I'd like to try that and see how it works, I think I could win Xanathar with the right combo of quests and avoiding mandatories.

Overall, I think Xanathar cannot win with pure strategy and a win relies on various setup aspects and luck during gameplay. Skullport expansion only with lower worker counts and no "remove corruption from the game" buildings (no builder character either, for that matter) or intrigues are good scenarios. Xanathar getting the reveal your lord Intrigue in the initial draw is a massive coup. Other players "figuring out" you are Xanathar would be beneficial as you'll be seen as less of a threat and can hopefully avoid mandatories following the big VP jumps. A few other things have to go just right, too, such as quests that build off each other well and good plot quests.
 
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Brian Soulliard
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Interesting thoughts! Sorry for my somewhat delayed reply.


Quote:
She won the game with 214 points (222 before the final scoring). The second player was the building girl, Larisa? and she had 208 points. It's was kind of like winning a challenge that was stacked against her.

That sounds like an interesting game, but for what it's worth, I consider Larissa and the Xanathar to be the two weakest lords in a two-player game, since their bonuses don't scale with the number of agents.


riverc0il wrote:
A game with fewer workers would benefit Xanathar because you can jump later in the game with less visibility and other players don't have time to catch up or mandatories might then be too late.

This is probably true when playing against inexperienced opponents. Experienced players will know that they should factor your corruption into your score, so they won't worry about you rocketing ahead on the scoring track.

That said, the Xanathar is better in games with fewer agents, because his bonus doesn't scale with the number of agents.

Quote:
I think the builder is bad for Xanathar because it gives other players more options and they don't get corruption by going to Skullport.

I disagree completely with this. As the Xanathar, you don't want other players taking corruption. It drives your penalty up like crazy. In fact, I recommend that you construct buildings that let players return corruption. It sounds counterintuitive, but it works!

Quote:
The "remove corruption from the game" building was also out and that also seems to hurt Xanathar as corruption gets more painful.

This building (The Promenade of the Dark Maiden) is almost certainly the biggest factor in your loss. If it gets built in the first half of the game, it becomes almost impossible for the Xanathar to win. It's such an imbalance that I'm considering a house rule where the Xanathar gets VP for every corruption token removed from the game.

Quote:
Overall, I think Xanathar cannot win with pure strategy and a win relies on various setup aspects and luck during gameplay. Skullport expansion only

I don't think the Xanathar does significantly worse with the Undermountain expansion mixed in. He's hurt by the higher agent counts of a long game, but he benefits more from the larger quests.
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Steve R
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Soulliard wrote:
I disagree completely with this. As the Xanathar, you don't want other players taking corruption. It drives your penalty up like crazy. In fact, I recommend that you construct buildings that let players return corruption. It sounds counterintuitive, but it works!

Good point. I guess it depends how the game plays out. If there are not a lot of options to return or remove corruption, other players either don't take as many powerful corruption giving worker placements, or they get negative points if they take too many. But I've never seen a player take a big corruption hit, almost every game I've played, there are rarely more than 1-2 corruption tokens in each tavern due to ways to remove corruption. I've never played in a game in which corruption was avoided or couldn't be remedied somehow. So yes, I agree with your point on second thought.

I really like the idea that Xanathar gets points when Corruption is removed from the game. It would be an interesting decision for other players... if they thought Xanathar was a lord at the table... do they or do they not set themselves up to remove corruption from the game and give Xanathar points? That might be the balance Xanathar needs to be competitive in all games rather than only in optimal setups and card/building draws.
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Justin Shaikewitz
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It still seems to me it would make for better games if Xanthar wasnt even an option. Even a good experienced knows they are at a dissadvantage from the begining and thats not a good experience.

The other lords seem pretty balanced againast each other but Xanthar requires too much luck. There shouldnt be a situation where its completly out of your control to win. I wish the video game had an option to deal two lords to each player so you dont have to get stuck with him.
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Darin Bolyard
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Soulliard wrote:
You had back luck for it to appear in the game you played. In that situation, there's nothing you can really do but hope the game goes quickly enough that there will still be time for another.

This fact alone is enough to make him weaker than any other lord in any given game. No other lord is sunk the moment a particular building comes out, or if certain quests never appear. Even if that building comes up mid-late game, it's still a considerable detriment to the Xanathar.

He's at a disadvantage in the long run every time, and merely has a mitigating bonus rather than a gaining bonus. Nearly all of the things you mentioned as strategies for the Xanathar are useful for almost any lord. About the only thing that has the potential to put Xanathar on par with the other lords is if everyone, including Xanathar, ends the game with a large and equal amount of corruption, or the Xanathar is about the only one with corruption, having allowed him to take the Skullport actions considerably more than others, all whilst leaving corruption at a low negative. But that rarely (if ever?) happens.

Still, if you're going to play the Xanathar, most of what you said is true if you want to have any hope of being the slightest bit competitive with him.
 
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Joshua Weddle
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I received this expansion for Christmas and I had been wanting to try this lord, but wasn't sure how to play it. I played it for the first time and thanks to this post talking about taking corruption early to #1 make people think twice about taking it & #2 giving yourself a big score jump at the beginning with big quests. I was able to have some strategy for this unique lord. I finished with my highest score of 344 and my wife finished with a respectable 215. Taking corruption early and getting some key plot quests completed helped a lot. Being able to return an extra corruption, getting a bonus purple every time & half way through the round being able to get the owner benefit on buildings even when I played on my own helped a lot. We both completed 19 quests, but I was able to snag three 40 pt. and a couple 19 & 20 pt. quests. I finished the game with 6 corruption and the track at -3, meaning each corruption actually gained me a point! We are still loving this game and we feel we are getting faster at playing it. This was during a two player game, I'm curious how it would play with more people. So far, not house rule is needed, but I'm guessing it would depend on the group you play with and a house rule might be needed. Either way, this lord was fun to play. I expect next time one of us gets it we will have another high scoring game.

I'm also curious why you want someone to know this is your Lord. Won't that make people try to block you getting corruption, kind of like if you have the building lord? Is it because most people think you can't win with this lord? I also ended up resetting the quest a decent amount which gave me first choice at 4 quests. Our board was low on money spots, no buildings gave is money without taking corruption & then it was only an owner reward of 2 or 3 coins. We played most of the game with either my wife or I taking the 4 coins and the 5 coin, quest, intrigue & corruption space. We used the first few rounds completing quests that gave us money & let us complete other, plot quest & larger quests that needed money. We also had few options to get black. We needed black so much that we used Skull Island for two blacks & a corruption. It was a very interesting game.
 
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Joshua Weddle
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riverc0il wrote:
[q="Soulliard"]

I really like the idea that Xanathar gets points when Corruption is removed from the game. It would be an interesting decision for other players... if they thought Xanathar was a lord at the table... do they or do they not set themselves up to remove corruption from the game and give Xanathar points? That might be the balance Xanathar needs to be competitive in all games rather than only in optimal setups and card/building draws.


I think it would be even more interesting if not only do you get those points, but you don't have it count against you. When corruption is removed from the game, Xanathar gains 4 victory points. I like that idea, especially when there are multiple people.
 
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Joshua Weddle
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dbolyard wrote:
Soulliard wrote:
You had back luck for it to appear in the game you played. In that situation, there's nothing you can really do but hope the game goes quickly enough that there will still be time for another.

This fact alone is enough to make him weaker than any other lord in any given game. No other lord is sunk the moment a particular building comes out, or if certain quests never appear. Even if that building comes up mid-late game, it's still a considerable detriment to the Xanathar.

He's at a disadvantage in the long run every time, and merely has a mitigating bonus rather than a gaining bonus. Nearly all of the things you mentioned as strategies for the Xanathar are useful for almost any lord. About the only thing that has the potential to put Xanathar on par with the other lords is if everyone, including Xanathar, ends the game with a large and equal amount of corruption, or the Xanathar is about the only one with corruption, having allowed him to take the Skullport actions considerably more than others, all whilst leaving corruption at a low negative. But that rarely (if ever?) happens.

Still, if you're going to play the Xanathar, most of what you said is true if you want to have any hope of being the slightest bit competitive with him.


I guess you could also hope for the intrigue cards or quests that let you destroy that building, but again, low percentage chance of you getting that & normally placing a worker to get intrigue cards is a person better used.
 
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Steve R
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LifeWorthRISK1 wrote:
I received this expansion for Christmas and I had been wanting to try this lord, but wasn't sure how to play it. I played it for the first time and thanks to this post talking about taking corruption early to #1 make people think twice about taking it & #2 giving yourself a big score jump at the beginning with big quests. I was able to have some strategy for this unique lord. I finished with my highest score of 344 and my wife finished with a respectable 215.

344 points, wow! I don't think I have ever seen a game go over 200 points. Perhaps it is easier to get higher scoring games with 2 players? Makes sense since you have more agents. I think I've only played 2p once, I usually play 4p.

It seems like 2p may be easiest for Xanathar? There is less competition for 20/40 point quests, especially if your opponent lets you have them. Xanathar really needs those big 20-40 point quests since he doesn't get bonuses for quest completion. 40s get snagged quick in games I play. 4p means there are 3 opponents that might get the big quests before you instead of just 1 opponent.

Also, if your opponent does not go in for corruption, it may stay low and limit Xanathar's loses (as always, a lot depends on whether corruption can be returned to the track which is prefered or removed from the game which is death for Xanathar).

Curious what you mean that other players would "block you getting corruption". I don't think anyone would take corruption specifically because of Xanathar. Maybe players that haven't seen Xanathar flail and fail?

When we first played Xanathar, everyone was pretty afraid. But after a few failures, I think most players knowing who Xanathar is would discount that lord as a possible threat. My group has discussed at length that none of us have ever seen Xanathar win.

In that sense, I might want other players to know I was Xanathar because they might focus their attacks on other players. You never want to be seen as the leader in this game. If players know Xanathar is weak, then it would be great for players to know I have that lord. But rules prohibit sharing that information.
 
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Joshua Weddle
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riverc0il wrote:
LifeWorthRISK1 wrote:
I received this expansion for Christmas and I had been wanting to try this lord, but wasn't sure how to play it. I played it for the first time and thanks to this post talking about taking corruption early to #1 make people think twice about taking it & #2 giving yourself a big score jump at the beginning with big quests. I was able to have some strategy for this unique lord. I finished with my highest score of 344 and my wife finished with a respectable 215.

344 points, wow! I don't think I have ever seen a game go over 200 points. Perhaps it is easier to get higher scoring games with 2 players? Makes sense since you have more agents. I think I've only played 2p once, I usually play 4p.

It seems like 2p may be easiest for Xanathar? There is less competition for 20/40 point quests, especially if your opponent lets you have them. Xanathar really needs those big 20-40 point quests since he doesn't get bonuses for quest completion. 40s get snagged quick in games I play. 4p means there are 3 opponents that might get the big quests before you instead of just 1 opponent.

Also, if your opponent does not go in for corruption, it may stay low and limit Xanathar's loses (as always, a lot depends on whether corruption can be returned to the track which is prefered or removed from the game which is death for Xanathar).

Curious what you mean that other players would "block you getting corruption". I don't think anyone would take corruption specifically because of Xanathar. Maybe players that haven't seen Xanathar flail and fail?

When we first played Xanathar, everyone was pretty afraid. But after a few failures, I think most players knowing who Xanathar is would discount that lord as a possible threat. My group has discussed at length that none of us have ever seen Xanathar win.

In that sense, I might want other players to know I was Xanathar because they might focus their attacks on other players. You never want to be seen as the leader in this game. If players know Xanathar is weak, then it would be great for players to know I have that lord. But rules prohibit sharing that information.


Yes, our scores for 2 player are a lot higher than our 3 & 4 player games. We also just broke the 300 barrier this past week. My wife had a huge score in the last two rounds and came back from 80 points behind me to beat me by almost 50 pts and finish at 325. I was dumbfounded on how many she completed in her last two round. (I am curious to try Xanathar with 3 & 4 player games. I was curious why people seemed to have such issues with him and not the others new lords. I think the lord that you just choose one quest type would be harder, but with multiple people, I think the building lord would be really tough as well.)

I didn't really play a lot different than I have with to "Quests over 10 count for 5" Lord, I just took a little more corruption and I wasn't worried about having extra in my tavern. Most games we play people end up with only a few corruption because we use intrigue cards or finish quests that return corruption. The most I had during the game was 9 corruption. I thought it would prevent my wife from taking any more, but she still did due to the penalty being less than the reward to the quests & also she had it planned out she would be able to return all but one of her corruption.

My thought on blocking corruption is that if people know you want a certain amount of corruption, they may be willing to take some extra corruption to prevent you from getting those spots or if it is spread around you may not want to take any either. I'm not sure if it would really happen but our group is pretty competitive. My wife and I stopped using the mandatory quests fro 2 player since there is no choice on who to give them to. We also took out the open lord & other intrigue card that lets you reassign blame and remove a mandatory quest. We still keep in most of the attach cards, but often try to use them early to we get cubes and it does not hurt the other player. We play friendly, but still both of us want to win.

I will agree, you never want to be seen as the leader in this game because you do immediately become the target, even if someone is about to finish a quest and take the current 1st place from you. We seem to have some table talk about who has big quests or is getting tons of resources to complete some quests. I use to complete a quest as soon as I had all the resources. now I sometimes wait another turn or two when it is the middle game, unless it is a plot quests or gives me intrigue cards. We have found sometimes those intrigue cards can be the difference between 1st & 2nd place or let you finish that one last quest to bump you into 1st place.
 
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Steve R
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Ha! You are playing without MQs and playing "friendly" no wonder you got over 300 points.

Xanathar doesn't want to have corruption tokens at game end so again, I don't think other players would take corruption specifically to hurt Xanathar. Xanathar NEEDS to utilize corruption to get more cubes to complete more quests. But if corruption is higher than 4, it hurts Xanathar.

If corruption track is REALLY high, Xanathar can't win because that lord will loss too many points with a lot of corruption tokens. But again, it is a losing strategy to specifically play against Xanathar who is the weakest lord. Other players need to play to win, not play to beat Xanathar. I know you won with him but in all of my plays, Xanathar has never won, I don't regard Xanathar as a threat. Even players at my table like me that want to try to win with him and who study him still can't win (4p games).

Best case is Xanathar is the only one with corruption at the end of the game and has a ton but the track is still only at four. Worst case is a lot of tokens are removed from the game and the track gets high regardless of the number of tokens.

I think you'll have a different experience with Xanathar in a 4p game, especially if you add in MQs. You start completing a few 20-40 quests with Xanathar and you'll get MQ'd quick. When I've played Xanathar, I've always been in the hunt. But you go for big quests and you get called out with MQs.

If Xanathar got 4 VP per MQ, that might help level the playing field a little bit... you could play Xanathar more aggressively without fear of MQ and really go big...
 
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Brian Soulliard
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LifeWorthRISK1 wrote:
I finished the game with 6 corruption and the track at -3, meaning each corruption actually gained me a point!

You probably would have done even better if you had taken more corruption. For the Xanathar, corruption is almost always worth taking, unless the penalty is above -7, or you already have 12 or more tokens. The extra benefits from the corruption spaces would more than make up for the VP penalty.

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I'm also curious why you want someone to know this is your Lord. Won't that make people try to block you getting corruption, kind of like if you have the building lord? Is it because most people think you can't win with this lord?

That's part of it. If you're rocketing ahead on the scoring track, skilled players will be less worried if they know you're the Xanathar, which makes you less of a target. It also signals to other players that, in this game, corruption penalties are likely to be high. Other players are less likely to take corruption, which means you can take more of it without the penalty going up as high.

Blocking corruption spaces isn't practical. There are too many of them, and anyone other than the Xanathar will be killed by the high corruption penalties.

Quote:
I guess you could also hope for the intrigue cards or quests that let you destroy that building, but again, low percentage chance of you getting that & normally placing a worker to get intrigue cards is a person better used.

There's only one intrigue card that lets you destroy a building, so yeah, there's not much chance of that happening.

Quote:
It seems like 2p may be easiest for Xanathar?

I'd say the opposite is true. Other lords get a bigger bonus when they have more actions available, because they can complete more quests. The bonus from the Xanathar is going to be roughly the same regardless of the number of players. There's only so much corruption you can take before the penalty goes too high.

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I think the lord that you just choose one quest type would be harder, but with multiple people, I think the building lord would be really tough as well.

The builder lord (Larissa) is better in games with more players. For the same reasons as the Xanathar (other lords can't complete as many quests with fewer actions available).
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Joshua Weddle
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riverc0il wrote:
Ha! You are playing without MQs and playing "friendly" no wonder you got over 300 points.

Xanathar doesn't want to have corruption tokens at game end so again, I don't think other players would take corruption specifically to hurt Xanathar. Xanathar NEEDS to utilize corruption to get more cubes to complete more quests. But if corruption is higher than 4, it hurts Xanathar.

If corruption track is REALLY high, Xanathar can't win because that lord will loss too many points with a lot of corruption tokens. But again, it is a losing strategy to specifically play against Xanathar who is the weakest lord. Other players need to play to win, not play to beat Xanathar. I know you won with him but in all of my plays, Xanathar has never won, I don't regard Xanathar as a threat. Even players at my table like me that want to try to win with him and who study him still can't win (4p games).

Best case is Xanathar is the only one with corruption at the end of the game and has a ton but the track is still only at four. Worst case is a lot of tokens are removed from the game and the track gets high regardless of the number of tokens.

I think you'll have a different experience with Xanathar in a 4p game, especially if you add in MQs. You start completing a few 20-40 quests with Xanathar and you'll get MQ'd quick. When I've played Xanathar, I've always been in the hunt. But you go for big quests and you get called out with MQs.

If Xanathar got 4 VP per MQ, that might help level the playing field a little bit... you could play Xanathar more aggressively without fear of MQ and really go big...


We play friendly, but we still attack & take cubes from each other with intrigue cards or block money for a round, take back 1st player, etc. We just feel the MQ are kind of unfair since there is no one but each other to give them to, even if the other player is behind. They just don't seem as fair in a two player game. We just play nicer when it is the two of us. It's about the experience not as much about winning....

HOWEVER, once it is no longer just the two of us playing the MQ go back in the mix and it's all bets off. We still apologize to each other for attacking, but we still do it. We like to have fun, but we are pretty competitive as well.

I will look forward to seeing how this expansion and base game continues to play out. I was actually tempted to take a couple more corruption and just get some extra cubes. I guess if I broke even I could probably be able to get more quests done or acquire more points vs the 6 points I received. the problem was the last round either my wife or I took them all, they were not left for my last couple agents.
 
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Joshua Weddle
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Soulliard wrote:
LifeWorthRISK1 wrote:
I finished the game with 6 corruption and the track at -3, meaning each corruption actually gained me a point!

You probably would have done even better if you had taken more corruption. For the Xanathar, corruption is almost always worth taking, unless the penalty is above -7, or you already have 12 or more tokens. The extra benefits from the corruption spaces would more than make up for the VP penalty.

Quote:
It seems like 2p may be easiest for Xanathar?

I'd say the opposite is true. Other lords get a bigger bonus when they have more actions available, because they can complete more quests. The bonus from the Xanathar is going to be roughly the same regardless of the number of players. There's only so much corruption you can take before the penalty goes too high.

Quote:
I think the lord that you just choose one quest type would be harder, but with multiple people, I think the building lord would be really tough as well.

The builder lord (Larissa) is better in games with more players. For the same reasons as the Xanathar (other lords can't complete as many quests with fewer actions available).


Thanks for the advice Brian. I will try to be more aggressive with those early rounds and not shy away from those Skullport spots. I was trying to get my corruption penalty as close to 0 as possible and wasn't able to finish any more quests. My wife had the awesome plot quest that let her choose any of the quests of the four out she wanted and treated them like they were hers. That was neat.
 
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Frederico Camara
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Let me see...

Xanathar strategies depend on all other lords being evenly balanced in corruptoon, few corruption being taken out of the game, and you taking roughly 12 corruption more than the others.

I havent been seing it discussed but during the game, intrigue cards will be against you. They would:

Take skulls out of the game
Take skulls from the track to actions
Hurt whoever has more skulls
Return skulls to the track

That being said, it is reasonable that whoever plays Xanathar ends the game with lots of worthless intrigue cards for him to play. In a 3+ player game, if Xanathar ties with another player with more skulls than anyone else, Xanathar would have no possible bonus strategy. He would have a hard time competing for corruption action spaces and in the end this other player would drag his score backwards with him.
 
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mister lee
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Even without the Xanathar lord being played, I always use the remove 3 skulls from the game intrigue to make people holding the skulls panic.

I play this twice and can remove 6 from the game.

This alone makes it very hard for Xanathar to win.

He should get points for any skulls removed from the game.
 
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