Darin Bolyard
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I've heard many people say they thought this scenario is one of the easiest and even boldly state that it's so easy that they don't even bother to play it anymore. I have gone 0/5 solo on #2 The Cursed Island. I've played as the carpenter 3 times, the explorer once, and the cook once and have come to the same fate each time. Each time I've attempted a different route to getting the 5 crosses built. In this thread I want to point out what has made this so challenging and question whether those who say it's "easy" are encountering the same challenges or even playing it correctly.

I'll first list how I play the fog effects as the rules and scenario card dictate, along with a couple items use interpretations. Then I'd like to hear from other players to see if you play it the same way, and whether you find it challenging or not. Then I'll weigh in on how these effects have made this scenario so challenging for me.

Fog is placed on the board, 2 tokens at a time, any time the book icon appears on an event card. Fog also automatically covers any tile you've explored displaying a totem for the 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th times.

Any island location containing fog receives the following effects:
1. produces NO resources during production; this includes resources that would be gained from the shortcut if it is on a tile covered in fog. The snare and pit are still effective however, as animals would more easily stumble into them because of the fog.
2. requires an extra pawn to do ANYTHING (including gathering, building a cross on--which requires an extra pawn to do on tiles adjacent to your camp tile already, and exploration)
3. makes inventions (not already built items) associated with that terrain type inaccessible unless another tile of the same terrain remains without fog.
 
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Xenothon Stelnicki
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Yes, yes, yes. A couple things. Use the explorer, use a high-morale strategy, don't forget your extra initiative if playing solo, don't explore a LOT- control your pace so you can use the initiative to determine what tile you place.

Finally, but most importantly, you know you can place the fog on unexplored areas of the board, right? That's always the big hang up for people on this one...
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Jonathan Schindler
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xen911 wrote:
Finally, but most importantly, you know you can place the fog on unexplored areas of the board, right? That's always the big hang up for people on this one...


YES. I lost this scenario repeatedly in solo until I came to the boards and found this. I think I beat it on my next try. laugh
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Tyrone ..................
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I'm with you. This is one of the ones that you can lose the scenario before you've even begun depending on how the map tiles got shuffled. If you get to where the tiles for building the bell are the ones that automatically come out covered in fog you're screwed. This scenario does not seem to have been very thought out or play tested.
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Byron Campbell
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The difficulty of the scenario depends completely on the order the book and totem icons come out. If they are all shuffled near the top, it can be literally impossible to win. If they are shuffled toward the bottom, it can be almost impossible to lose.
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Darin Bolyard
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kittenhoarder wrote:
The difficulty of the scenario depends completely on the order the book and totem icons come out. If they are all shuffled near the top, it can be literally impossible to win. If they are shuffled toward the bottom, it can be almost impossible to lose.


^Yep. You just saved me from writing a lengthy post about the challenges I've faced. That about sums 'em up. Once the fog sets in, it's over. It doesn't matter that you can place fog on unexplored tiles first. In fact, if you play that incorrectly, it can actually play out in your favor if you do a minimum of exploring in the early rounds while the book icons pop up without effect. However, this would be playing the scenario incorrectly. I did just that on my first play-through and got hammered because I explored like mad trying to find uncovered grass and hills. Even after correcting that, my 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th play-throughs didn't look any different due to the explosion of fog in the early rounds anyway.
 
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I cannot say anything about playing this one solo. But if you play it with at least 2 players (one of them the explorer), it becomes quite easy to manage. I played it 5 times and never lost.
Of course, if the cards come out wrong, then you are screwed. But if that makes it hard, you better not try scenario 5...


I don't want to sound condescending, here. And I understand that you struggle, and have a hard time. Also, questioning the general opinion here is your prerogative, of course. However, realistically it is more probable that the majority of people who agree on it being easy play it correctly, and (in turn) you either make a significant mistake or have not found the strategy to win yet. Or are unlucky as hell...
 
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Darin Bolyard
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a commentary on challenge, not meant to offend
I have only played this solo, but could see the difficulty of this scenario decreasing with more players. I had expounded on that in my original post prior to submitting it, until I saw that the length of my post would have likely needed to be approved by a moderator before posting. So I held off, as I wanted to see other users' comments.

This...
kittenhoarder wrote:
The difficulty of the scenario depends completely on the order the book and totem icons come out. If they are all shuffled near the top, it can be literally impossible to win. If they are shuffled toward the bottom, it can be almost impossible to lose.

and the events of my first several plays reveal a bad case of exactly this:
Dumon wrote:
...Or are unlucky as hell...

Ironically, I went for another solo attempt after my last post here tonight and decided to log each step. It was a perfect example of how the lack of heavy book icon card draws and only 3 totem appearances allowed me to win in round 7! This is my first win for scenario #2. I already posted the game session and wanted to link to it, but it is apparently awaiting moderation (long post I guesswhistle).

Having only just attempted scenario 2 is due to the fact that my game partner (my wife) is put off by the exorcist theme. We have played three of the other scenarios together many times and myself solo even more. I simply have not seen comments about the ease of the other scenarios as much as I have this one. Thus my post. And my skepticism toward some of those comments merely flows from my experience with the other scenarios I have played combined with my first 5 plays of this one. Moreover, there are plenty of players who have openly confessed to playing aspects of RC incorrectly. The rules section of the RC forum is rife with examples. Moreover, it can be easy to forget how all of the effects of things play out from scenario to scenario. I welcome a challenge, and was glad that the scenario whooped me as it did. The "no guaranteed win" nature of this game is one of the things I love about it.
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Darin Bolyard
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Oak Grove
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Remarkably easy in comparison to all previous attempts
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1165442/1st-victory-on-s...
^Link to last night's victory session.

It was extremely uneventful in comparison to previous sessions and the most notable change in strategy was that I sought not to build any of the inventions unless absolutely "forced" to by some game-changing event. There was no, "that will be 'useful' later on" thinking this time. The only reason I went for shelter was because I received a hide from a discovery token and didn't have enough wood that round to build a cross. I did not want to spend my precious wood building anything but crosses as long as I could help it. Since I had the hide, the shelter provided the best benefit among the other action options. Though it was almost a toss up with gathering wood.

Between very nice [and convenient] card/tile/token draws and my very conservative use of wood, I would label this particular play-through relatively easy. It will take several more sessions like this one without being countered by sessions like my previous 5 before I could call the scenario itself easy. Had the fog encroached on my camp or it's adjacent tiles one or two rounds sooner, that change alone would have made this play-through a challenge.
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Without wanting to belittle any of your experiences, I'd just say you get the hang of the scenario now...
...or, basically, any scenario. Do only what is absolutely necessary besides focussing on the objective itself. This can be a little different regarding the different number of players, but it's what drives the game. And you have to figure out for each scenario what is and is not necessary.
Everything else comes down to luck of the draw and/or the roll.

 
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Darin Bolyard
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So, "easy," or "easier?"
Dumon wrote:
I don't want to sound condescending, here...

Dumon wrote:
Without wanting to belittle any of your experiences...

I'd like to make a moral statement here: It is often better not to make a statement that requires such prefacing, as the stated desire is usually betrayed by what follows.
Dumon wrote:
Everything else comes down to luck of the draw and/or the roll.

^Precisely my intended point from the beginning. I'm going out on a limb here, but I'm gonna predict that this scenario can still pose one heck of a challenge to players at all levels. Can anyone say with 100% certainty that they'll win this scenario 100% of the time? And so I still question it being labeled "easy." Easier than the rest? Perhaps so. I clearly do not have the experience to make either statement with 100% certainty myself, especially the latter.

edit: Again, I have only experienced this scenario solo, so ALL of my statements must be weighed with that fact in mind.

I will observe, for my own part, that this scenario lacks some of the potential depth and variety of the others. This is certainly true for 1, 3, and 6 imo.
 
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Not 100%, but 80% of the time, I'd say. The card draws, dice rolls and tile stack must be VERY bad to lose that, I'd say. But, in contrast to your experience with Solo play, all of my plays are with 2-4 players.

Regarding my statements - I have been told that sometimes my texts sound condescending, without that being my intention. To prevent this, I sometimes have the tendency to over-explain or to make such statements that try to prevent that.
I am sorry if that made it worse, or felt like sarcasm or whatnot. It wasn't meant to be. Not being a native speaker, it is even harder to get this right...
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Darin Bolyard
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It's all good. I've got a pretty thick skin, though not impenetrable modest. Thanks for your comments. I appreciate contributions to the thread.
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James Burns
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Can you build all 5 crosses on the same Island Hex or do you have to move base camp to build a new one?
 
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You can build all 5 crosses FROM the same island hex, but not ON the same island hex.
 
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Darin Bolyard
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j-train1 wrote:
Can you build all 5 crosses on the same Island Hex or do you have to move base camp to build a new one?

The text on the scenario card (Z-MAN print) reads:
"Build the Cross item five times, each time on a different island tile..." (emphasis added is mine)
It's clear from this^ that you must explore at least 4 [other] locations, and build a cross on each of 5 different island tiles. So, I assume your question may rather mean this: "Do you have to have your camp on an island tile in order to build a cross on it?"

I have found nothing clear in the rules to answer this, but I have played it thus (what follows is my own thematic interpretation and answer...which may have been influenced by some forum post somewhere in the myriad of forum posts related to this game):
When building things in this game, it makes sense thematically that you would build at your camp. This scenario presents a unique case in which you must build crosses at different locations on the island. This opens up the chance that you may, thematically, end up going elsewhere besides camp to build something. So, keeping with what makes sense to me, I play that one may also build a cross on an island tile that is adjacent to your camp if you use the same additional pawn requirement that is applied to the gathering and exploration actions when gathering or exploring beyond an adjacent tile. The reason being that, if it takes 1 or 2 pawns to build at your camp location, then it makes sense thematically for it to take 2 or 3 pawns to build on an adjacent tile. After all, whether you build a cross and carry it to the other location, or hike to the other location and then build a cross, it's going to require more energy and effort to do so. It certainly doesn't make sense [to me] to be able to plunk down a cross on an adjacent tile without applying this requirement.

So then, for an adjacent tile with a fog token on it, the requirement would go from 2 or 3, to 3 or 4 pawns. Similarly, if the island tile on which your camp is located has a fog token and an adjacent one does not, the requirement for building at either would then be 2 or 3.

Generally, it makes sense to move your camp to build a cross, as you free up potential tiles to receive fog tokens so that you can maintain some kind of production and/or efficiency in building. Conversely, in the absence of an immediate fog threat, it may instead make sense for your camp to remain on an island tile in favor of its stronger production the following round, even if you have to spend one additional pawn to build in the current round. After all, if you move from a tile that produces +1 wood and +1 food to a tile that only produces +1 wood or +1 food, then you've effectively guaranteed a gathering action through the following round's production phase with the single pawn you added during the previous cross building action on the adjacent tile...mull that over...

...Of course, an official ruling on this may nix my interpretation. Though like other similar cases of potential ambiguity in the rules, this one [to me] has a simple, thematic solution.

edit:
Dumon wrote:
You can build all 5 crosses FROM the same island hex, but not ON the same island hex.

...or what he^ said.
 
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As you can gather and explore adjacent to your camp tile without additional workers, so you can build adjacent to your camp tile without additional workers, too.

I left the "where to build" part out, because the explanation is quite complex.

The original rules made it sound like you could only ever build on the camp tile, or on tiles adjacent to it. This was the rule for some time.

Later, this rule changed to "you can build anywhere", even several tiles away from camp, IF you adhere to the distance rule (+1 pawn per tile you have to cross in order to get to the camp tile). This meant you could even build shelter on a tile that is not the camp tile - prompting an insta-move of the camp.
This has been the rule for some time, and has been incorporated into the last Polish version of the rules. However, some here at BGG still adhere to the older rule, as it makes more sense to them.

Most recent, the German rules tackled that subject differently. In the German rules, you can ONLY EVER build on the camp tile. Special items like crosses or traps (scenario #7) being the exception (included as special rule in the scenario itself). For them the rules of distance apply.

You can therefore choose:
1. Do you prefer the original approach?
2. Do you prefer the newer approach (this is official)?
3. Do you prefer the German approach (this is official, too)?
 
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Darin Bolyard
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Dumon wrote:
...you could even build shelter on a tile that is not the camp tile - prompting an insta-move of the camp....

In a multi-player game, I would have a hard time reckoning how everyone finds the newly built camp if/when built a couple of tiles away. Moreover, the the English (Z-MAN) rules state: During the Night phase, players can decide if they want their Camp to stay on the Island tile it currently occupies or move it to an adjacent tile. Remember that the the Camp’s location will impact the next round’s Production phase and which tiles/spaces will be adjacent for the purpose of Gathering Resources and Exploration.
There's more to a "camp" than shelter vs. no shelter. While there would obviously be no roof or palisade to pack up and haul to the newly built shelter, there may be many other things such as a corral, snare, fireplace, hides, food, weapons, etc. If allowed to build a shelter beyond an adjacent tile, then you'd have to break the above rule due to moving your entire "camp" beyond an adjacent tile during the night phase. Or there would need to be some sort of penalty to do so, such as a wound for each player. More work during the night phase means less sleep. In fact, there are event cards which demand penalties for getting less or no sleep.
But...
Dumon wrote:
You can therefore choose:
1. Do you prefer the original approach?
2. Do you prefer the newer approach (this is official)?
3. Do you prefer the German approach (this is official, too)?

...this^. None of the choices I have faced in how to play such special circumstances have thus far proven to be noticeable game-changers.
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Unfortunately, the Polish rules seem to state (as far as deduction goes, Polish is not a language I speak) that even the Shelter can be built anywhere.

Logically, if you build Shelter anywhere else than Camp, this creates an insta-move of the whole camp. And it would not even prohibit another move during the night.

I concur that this is problematic, at best. But it usually does not break the game - not even in scenario 4, where movement of camp is vital. You are correct in that one, too.

On the other hand, not much would break the game...
 
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