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Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords – Base Set» Forums » General

Subject: Game length variant? rss

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Timothy Cole
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Can someone please help us out? My wife and I really like this game, but sometimes it can seem to drag on or last longer than we'd like / longer than we have time to play. We'd love to know if anyone has a way of playing a shorter version by using less cards in each location / blessings deck and if so, what # do you use?


Thanks!
 
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Marty McFly
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It might help to know how many characters (and which characters) you are running and how long your games are tending to take. Also, how long would you want your games to take?

For example, I've been playing a 3-player (i.e. 3 characters) campaign, and games/scenarios are typically around an hour, including reworking our decks after the scenario is over. Sometimes we can get it done faster if we find the Villain quickly. We're playing Ezren, Harsk, and Merisiel. All our characters have a way to examine the top card(s) of the location -- either with spells, powers, or a Spy Glass -- so if we find the Villain early, we can generally speed up the game with a very focused strategy for closing a couple other locations and then returning to the Villain.

But, if you're looking for a variant that helps ensure a shorter game, you might try this (although I've never tested it, so I can't say how well it will work or what it might do to game play):

1. Construct you location decks according to the instructions on the location cards.
2. Shuffle the location decks.
3. Deal the randomized Villain/Henchmen onto the location decks.
4. Draw the top 7 (or maybe 8) cards from each deck, shuffle them, and return them to the deck.
5. Play the Scenario.

What you've then done is kept the integrity of the location deck's card distribution, but also guaranteed that the Villain and Henchmen will never be in the last 3 (or 2, or whatever you choose) cards. Chances are, you'll be finding those cards a little faster, and so your game should be a little shorter.

Again, I've never actually tried this, but it might help you a little.
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Byron Campbell
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You could always take 10 cards off the timer and play with 1 fewer location. Otherwise, I would say randomly remove x cards from each location (before adding villains/henchmen) and remove 2x cards from the timer.
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Marty McFly
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kittenhoarder wrote:
You could always take 10 cards off the timer and play with 1 fewer location. Otherwise, I would say randomly remove x cards from each location (before adding villains/henchmen) and remove 2x cards from the timer.

Good call. I wasn't thinking about the fact that if you make the location decks smaller, you really need to make the Blessings deck smaller or else the game could become too easy.

I would be worried that removing a location might also make the game too easy. You'd only need to close 1 location before finding the Villain and potentially winning (assuming you can temporarily close all the remaining locations). But if you did go that route, you'd want to remove from the Blessings deck accordingly -- which will depend on the number of locations that were supposed to be there. (For example, in a solo game, you'd have 3 locations, so removing one would mean removing 1/3 of the Blessings deck, or 10 cards. But in a 3 player game, you'd have 5 locations, so removing one would mean removing 1/5 of the Blessings deck, or 6 cards -- possibly 7 or 8 if you find it's too easy now that you only must close a single location -- instead of two -- to potentially win the game in the next few turns.)
 
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Timothy Cole
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Hey guys thanks for the input!

We've been playing just the two of us each playing one character. I've been playing Harsk and she has been playing Seoni. She has been struggling more with Seoni than I have been with Harsk.

Our games have been taking 90-120 minutes and we'd like to get it closer to an hour.

Bad combination?

 
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Marty McFly
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Fxguy1 wrote:
I've been playing Harsk and she has been playing Seoni...Bad combination?

Not necessarily. I'm certainly no expert at the game (I've run a few solo Peril adventures to learn the game, and then we started with our party of 3 -- sometimes 4 when our Kyra player shows up) but I think that's a workable combination. Harsk is great for always knowing what's coming next, and for giving a ranged "hand" if Seoni needs it. You both have Blessings, so that should help you get some extra explores and/or make checks if you're in trouble. Those extra explores (and you can get them from your Allies, too) should help speed up the game a little.

If she doesn't already have one, I might want to get Seoni an Augury spell and/or a Spy Glass (and/or Harsk could use a Spy Glass, too). Like I said, we are no experts, but we have found that the game can go a lot faster if we know what's coming next. If it's the Villain, then we can move on and close some other locations as quick as possible, then return to the Villain without worrying about an escape. If it's a Henchman, then we know that the Villain isn't at that location, so we can either close that location or move on and keep searching for the Villain (this might depend on what other locations are available, how early it is in the game, and whether or not the character is equipped to take on that Henchman at that time).

Of course, extra explores can mean that the Villain/Henchmen pop up unexpectedly, but if you're spread out at different locations (typically the ones that you have the best chance of closing temporarily), then you can help limit where the Villain might run to.

Basically, for us, the key to a faster game is planning where we move --generally, the place a given character has the best chance of closing -- and finding the Villain quickly. Anything that lets us examine location decks has helped us with either of those.

(BTW, there's a few different strategy threads that discuss specific characters and/or compare characters. You might want to check out those that pertain to Harsk and Seoni. They might give you some strategy tips that will help speed up your games.)
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Andy M
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Fxguy1 wrote:
Our games have been taking 90-120 minutes and we'd like to get it closer to an hour.


3 or 4 minutes per exploration? maybe you guys are just slow.
 
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Timothy Cole
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moss_icon wrote:

3 or 4 minutes per exploration? maybe you guys are just slow. :)


Quite possibly! We are in the process of trying to narrow down our collection. Quite often it can be a while between plays (due to playing other games) and so we end up having to reread the rules, setup, etc.. By the time we get halfway through it clicks again and speeds up.

We learned from committing to playing Arkham Horror 3 times in a row that by that 3rd time we were down from 4+ hours to 2.5 hours total, just from not having to reread the rules / setup and not having to refer back as much to the rulebook.

My wife can suffer from Analysis Paralysis at times and so that slows her up.

 
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Marty McFly
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Since the character deck section of the insert has room for 6 characters, and you're only playing with 2, perhaps, you could use that space for the next game. At the end of a game, setup for the next scenario right away while the rules are fresh. Then, your next game's setup is just a matter of laying out the location decks, counting out 30 Blessings, reading the scenario card, and jumping right into the action.

Something that I've found that really helps with setup speed as well: I have the available cards facing the front of the box, and the unavailable cards facing backwards. (In other words, if I'm on the 1st Adventure Path, anything 2+ is facing backwards.) There's no great revelation here, but it helps me keep everything organized, and I can easily pull only what I need. Scenario setup takes us about 3 minutes.
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Timothy Cole
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martidem wrote:

Something that I've found that really helps with setup speed as well: I have the available cards facing the front of the box, and the unavailable cards facing backwards. (In other words, if I'm on the 1st Adventure Path, anything 2+ is facing backwards.) There's no great revelation here, but it helps me keep everything organized, and I can easily pull only what I need. Scenario setup takes us about 3 minutes.


Didn't think about this... We'll give it a try! Its the little things sometimes.
 
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Andrew Warner
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Fxguy1 wrote:
martidem wrote:

Something that I've found that really helps with setup speed as well: I have the available cards facing the front of the box, and the unavailable cards facing backwards. (In other words, if I'm on the 1st Adventure Path, anything 2+ is facing backwards.) There's no great revelation here, but it helps me keep everything organized, and I can easily pull only what I need. Scenario setup takes us about 3 minutes.


Didn't think about this... We'll give it a try! Its the little things sometimes.

I use deck dividers to the the same thing. Here are the ones I made, but there are quite a few others in the files section. You might like one of those more.

Also, the game did get shorter for me the more I played. I think my first scenario took nearly 2 hours. Now I'm consistently about an hour. The more you play, the more you know your cards. For exampe: The more you play Valeros know the 3 weapons in your hand and which one is the "best" and whether the difficulty of the check you are attempting is worth using your "best" weapon on. So familiarity with the game and with your character will help greatly.
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