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Subject: Is this another game without Purpose? rss

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Brian C
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I've recently became aware of a certain breed of board game that presents itself as "complete," when there's a major component missing: Purpose.

The type of game I'm thinking of has all of its work done on its mechanics, on how it performs on a turn-by-turn basis - and absolutely no thought is put into why the player is playing in the first place.

This type of game doesn't come with a campaign - it's assumed the players will come up with their own motivations to play the game. Maybe they make up their own campaign (after tons of playtesting?). Maybe the players don't need purpose at all, but are content in playing un-connected one-offs. Whatever the case, this sort of game gives the players a myriad of tools, but no schematics, if you follow me. It gives the players a choice of an AK-47, a Bazooka, or a sawed-off Shotty, and then tells them to imagine the target that they are supposed to be shooting at.

I won't name names, because I've kind of set this up in a negative light (which it is, for me - absolutely the worst surprise I've had in board gaming to date, finding out that the practice is not only accepted in this hobby, but encouraged) - but it seems to me that Myth is another such game.

My TL;DR question is: did the 2.0 rules change this significantly? If I buy into this game, will we be able to play a continuous succession of quests/adventures where there's character progression that happens, and we the players feel that we are up against the game.. instead of playing against ourselves?

For example - we want to make all our decisions based on trying to defeat the challenges presented by the game, not base our decision off what would be most fun, or what we're in the mood for, etc. I guess we look at gaming more as a sport than as a hobby - and we need our games to challenge us in that way.

Will Myth 2.0 do this? Or will we be waiting on you generous and kindly and wise BGG souls to come up with player-made content to "finish" the game?
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Jonathan Rowe
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I must say that, although you express this distinction delicately and with illustrations, I'm still not entirely sure what this quality ("Purpose") is and in what way Myth lacks it. I'll try to spell it out myself, but of course I may be misinterpreting you.

OK, a game like Shadows of Brimstone tells you exactly where you're going (down a mine, into an eldritch ruin) and why (to stop eldritch horrors taking over the world) and gives you a bunch of tightly scripted scenarios to play. It's proposed you _could_ create your own scenarios, but the game sort of assumes you don't.

SoB is clearly, by your definition, high in Purpose. Galaxy Defenders is, I guess, like this too. Aliens are invading: drive them back, strike at their command posts, capture their tech. The Purpose is pre-loaded into the game concept and dictated to you by the set-up.

If there's an opposite to "Purpose" then surely it's "Creativity" - a game where you are given a mechanic for resolving tactical and mystical confrontations, a set of characters and an advancement system and a mechanic for generating conflicts and quests, then off you go, making the game your own. Sentinel Tactics is like this: you make superheroes fight supervillains for reasons of your own. X-Wing is like this. Scenarios are provided, but it's assumed you are coming up with your own permutations, building your own fleet, constructing your own storyline... or just making spaceships blow each other up for the fun of it.

If this distinction is fair, then Myth (it seems to me) straddles the two genres. Quite explicitly, it can be played Adventuring/Freestyle by people who want to treat it like D&D and build their own saga, or else Story Quest/Modules by people who want to be told a story where they get to make tactical decisions and roll dice. Or, indeed, mixing both (or at any rate, you used to be able to mix both in 1.0... I'm not sure you can mix both in 2.0).

Now you might say the standard of the Story Quests in 1.0 was pretty patchy and left fans with a lot of work to do. I wouldn't disagree but the slick Modules being premiered on the Journeyman KS suggest that Megacon isn't doing it that way anymore. Personally, I'm going to miss "Free Range Myth" when the factory-reared variety becomes normative. But then, I like bringing my own Purpose to games.
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jef stuyck
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This is already true in 1.0.

When you finish a story quest, you can do character advancement. In 2.0 this will occur more often.

Also the bosses have their ratings, from hard to impossible.

But there is just no rule that says you have to do this story/module quest first. It is up to you to decide. Do you want to make it difficult and go straigth for the module with the impossible boss? Or level up a bit first and go for the hard boss.

I am not sure what you mean with purpose? I think the purpose is here are some story quests, good luck and have fun completing them.
 
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Brant Benoit
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I think what you're looking for from Myth is being introduced in the current Kickstarter: Modules.
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Brian C
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deadmarlowe wrote:
..a game like Shadows of Brimstone tells you exactly where you're going (down a mine, into an eldritch ruin) and why (to stop eldritch horrors taking over the world) and gives you a bunch of tightly scripted scenarios to play. It's proposed you _could_ create your own scenarios, but the game sort of assumes you don't.

SoB is clearly, by your definition, high in Purpose. Galaxy Defenders is, I guess, like this too. Aliens are invading: drive them back, strike at their command posts, capture their tech. The Purpose is pre-loaded into the game concept and dictated to you by the set-up.


Thanks for the thoughtful response Marlowe.

These two examples illustrate my concerns to the letter. What I meant by Purpose in this thread is like.. an over-arching reason to be playing the game in the first place (outside of "to have fun," that is). What are the players trying to achieve? Or: what is the game trying to achieve, that the players must prevent?

What is the motivation of it all. Why? Why are we playing this thing.

Shadows of Brimstone is a great example of this (from this perspective). It does a great job of setting the players up with a ruleset that tells an amazing story from one play to the next - but that story goes to waste without a reason behind it all. What happens if you don't clear a mine and are successful in your last mission? Oh, nothing. You lose a location from the next nameless town your posse will be visiting. Can you lose the game at any point? Nope.. you just keep on playing till you feel like retiring that character.

There's no tension in this style of play - and it ruined what should've been an awesome game for us (we're huge fans of all things dungeon-crawl.. and brimstone did a lot of things right on that front).

But without a reason to enter that next mine, to clear it successfully.. the urge to enter the mine in the first place kind of went away.

Whereas Galaxy Defenders is on the opposite side of that spectrum: it gives the player an obvious goal - save the earth from an alien invasion! Then it lines the player out with a set of missions in which to do this.

I'm not a huge fan of the linearity of GD's campaign, but the purpose it provides is real and tangible. Edit: The thought process, during normal play, always has that tint of - are we doing well enough in the grand scheme of things? Are we gaining weapons at a high enough clip to get us geared out enough to be able to defeat the next encounter? How about the final encounter? Etc.

There's just an underlying sense of tension to a game that gives its players a reason to play it - I guess it's this tension that I'm after.

Thanks again for your thoughts - hope that cleared up where I was coming from.
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David Jackson
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MCG has likened Myth to their take on a MMORPG in board game form. If you don't like the general ideas behind MMO's, you may not like what Myth has to offer.

From an overall standpoint, you are trying to drive back and defeat the darkness.

But ultimately, it's about having fun working with friends, fun , crazy combat, questing, and improving your character to meet bigger and better challenges.

Like a MMO, I don't feel that there is an ultimate goal or tension behind it (though some people take their MMO's very seriously). It's simply there to entertain, and challenge you by taking the next "big boss" down through character growth and good play.

It would be hard to take any final conclusion or victory point seriously in Myth if there was one, due to the fact that there are more expansions planned down the road that will bring bigger better everything. The credits don't roll in a MMO when you take down the boss, because there's going to be a new boss that hits harder, is tougher, has more tricks, and is 5 levels higher in the expansion a year down the road.

A lot of dungeon crawlers grow outwardly with expansions, but few expand upwards. That excites me about Myth.

I have played co-op games with tension, but they were not dungeon crawlers.

I have played dungeon crawlers with tension, but they were not fully co-op. Descent 2.0 is a good example because you were A) playing against a human B) Not 'winning' a scenario makes the other team stronger.




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Itai Rosenbaum
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When I'm asked about MYTH, I describe it as the half-way point between a board game and a table-top RPG.

When you play D&D, or Pathfinder or what have you - you're also lacking that "purpose" you spoke of. It's even more loose-knit than MYTH, as in an RPG there's no quest deck or module to go through.

That's why I like MYTH, btw. It's a sand-box, a toy-box. They give you some instructions on what to do with your toys, but you're in no way limited by those instructions.
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Jonathan Rowe
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Exo Desta wrote:
There's just an underlying sense of tension to a game that gives its players a reason to play it - I guess it's this tension that I'm after.


I think I see what you're saying. It's not a huge deal for me personally, but I agree that Myth doesn't have that built-in plot or existential dynamic. Galaxy Defenders doesn't have a huge metaplot but the situation is inherently tense because the context is "We're being invaded by aliens and our species is on the brink!". Brimstone has the built-in plotline which, as you say, can be a bit limiting.

Megacon seem to be addressing precisely this aspect in the new KS. Villains like Herastiel and Teraxas seem to belong to a more apocalyptic plotline and this is hinted at in the Kanis setting with an ancient god returning to Earth. The whole context of Myth adventuring seems to be placed in a more concrete fantasy setting and it seems to be one approaching Doomsday. The Darkness is becoming less of an abstract malevolence, more of an immediate threat to Life As We Know It.

There still seems to be enough stuff that's light-hearted and "beneath the apocalypse radar", like the clockwork monsters and the slime critters, but the sense of Purpose you find wanting in 1.0 seems to be getting injected into 2.0 quite consciously by the designers.
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Josh Murphy
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Perhaps another way of looking at what you (and many others, myself included) desire is a defined "endgame"?

Galaxy Defenders ends. There is something you're building to. You get stronger to take out the big bad and save the world. SoB does not end. Character development is excellent, but a hollow experience in the end since there's no ultimate villain we're growing to overcome. It's growth for its own sake.

Myth was more like SoB, but seems to be steering towards modules that will set short term end-goals, though the game ultimately will still have no end.

I have a lot of fun with Shadows, but I do have a hankering for a campaign or perhaps a module story system like Myth is adopting.
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The Purpose is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentations of their women!

Oh wait... wrong game.
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Myth is a sandbox, a game that could never end and only real purpose is gather your party and go adventuring (with quest, story qyest or even without them with only your fantasy) smashing monsters and equip/develop all your heroes. Myth did a thing that other boardgame didn't do, it gave you a tool to use as you want with a base set of rules that can scale with your fantasy, this left sooo many players with a sense of vague, someone even said Myth was broken or a stupid game, incomplete and so on, it was sad to see so many boardgamers with so few imagination, shouldn't an ameritrash gamer have a lot more fantasy to be free from scripted adventures?
Myth isn't a perfect game, it has flaws, but it gives us a lot
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Łukasz Majewski
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To say that all people who didn't like the game lack imagination is extremely condesending.
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Paul Aceto
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Quote:
My TL;DR question is: did the 2.0 rules change this significantly? If I buy into this game, will we be able to play a continuous succession of quests/adventures where there's character progression that happens, and we the players feel that we are up against the game.. instead of playing against ourselves?


It appears the modules will address this issue to some extent, but quite honestly you can do this now with the base game. I don't think it's a question of imagination, it's more whether or not you are comfortable with having to provide some of the campaign structure yourself.

As an example, let me describe a solo campaign I just set up. I decided up front what my goal was: to finish all three of the Fury of the Fireborne quests now available on the MCG website. My guess is that this will be good training for the upcoming modules.

Then I decided to take a party of three (Soldier, Acolyte and Trickster), and then I decided how I would level them up to get ready for FotF: first by doing a simple Adventure quest (three tiles chosen randomly), then a randomly-chosen Story quest card, and finally a quest from the KS quest booklet chosen randomly through a die roll.

I even gave myself a bit of a back story, and some house rules to fit the story. And I am having a blast. I figure this will give me several weeks of gaming fun.

Here's a link to my initial AAR if you are interested in seeing more details.

https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/182515/item/3807717#item3...



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Denis Maddalena
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I'm still confused what OP's definition of "purpose" is. What games have purpose in your mind?

Shadows not only has the issue if you fail a mission, but it has permadeath. While not purpose in itself, it does add tension. I believe it's one of few current era dungeon crawls to actually give that particular form of tension. Descent had its thing where the GM got evil points for killing you, actually giving the GM a reason to really play the best he could. Mansions of Madness does something similar, albeit in a one-off sort of way.

Anyway, purpose can't mean plot, because most Ameritrash and RPG settings have these in spades. Maybe you want a definitive endstate? Any game can provide that with simple house rules. Fail and TPK, start from the beginning.

Meanwhile, several of the best games I've ever played have no real plot, at least not an engaging one, but the purpose is to outwit and outscrew. Tokaido and Glen More are both equally good at this. Kulami is an interesting area control abstract. I know these sorts of things aren't for everyone, but every game has purpose is the point I'm trying to illustrate.

Myth is very much a cooperative RPG with tactical elements kicked in. There isn't a big bad boss to end the game, but if that's what you're going after, Doomrock is about the only dungeon crawl i can think of with something intended as a really true final boss. Meanwhile, Myth is about inventing your own story, using the game as a framework. It's alright as a mindless crawl because you can make it about as easy or hard as you want it, but that flexibility is a downfall to many. It takes work to make it "complete". There are a lot of Myth fanatics, a lot of people turned off by the complete overhaul of the game post retail shipping (you have to PnP everything to make the 2e version right now... hard copies won't be available until the current KS delivery, which may well be 6 to 18 months past their projected dates).

I do feel like you need an imagination and patience to really play Myth. But mechanically, the game is alright. It's fluid enough, but it's not a particularly epic game, either. Kinda like Mercs. Interesting ideas everywhere, but execution causes a lot of mixed feelings. Counter initiative things slipped in. Oversights and constant errata.

Buuut, the creators of Myth are certainly passionate about their games. They have little manic freakouts if someone dislikes their stuff openly. The comments sections and various updates are both funny and sad to read post KS. The Mercs office crawl stuff took a moody turn from hell about a month ago.

Kinda rambling here. So, full circle, what are you expecting out of a game like Myth?

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Shawn Hubbard
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It sounds like you are wanting a metaplot, like Road to Legend or Descent 2nd ed. Is that the case? If so, that doesn't currently exist in Myth. A while ago the designers hinted at that coming - they called it a Myth. But we haven't seen that materialize yet.
 
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Daniel Heidenreich

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From what the OP has said so far I think the simple answer is that you will not like this game.
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Brian C
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eypyeash wrote:
So, full circle, what are you expecting out of a game like Myth?


It seems like, well, the most promising modern games in this genre, to me, have all this same fatal flaw: they have a focus solely on their short-term gameplay elements; what sorts of tiles to use, how to figure in movement and how to generate the map using these tiles, the mini's and all that goes with that side of the game - and then into the nitty gritty mechanics of combat, character progression, and on down the line. All the staples are covered, but there's always that one last step it seems to me that isn't finished.

In the case of Brimstone - where was the overland map, the named locations that you could actually - nay, must visit with your posse in tow, to help clear this or that mine in order to claim a special kind of loot card used to finally, after amassing much power in the way of items and experience and just plain badassery, you could use to summon the big bad and have a shot at ending this madness once and for all.

That just seems to be the next natural step in playing this sort of game - and it's not a far stretch of the imagination to get here. I'm not breaking any new ground here I don't think? Nor, in the case of Brimstone, would it have cost them much more in time or otherwise to come up with a system like this. Makes me think it was purposely left without an ending - like it's its own sort of game entirely.

Like you have Roguelikes on the one end of the spectrum, and this type of game on the other.

I was hoping Myth 2.0 would be more on the Roguelike side of things. I mean, imagine having the sort of gaming system that Myth provides (the card based combat.. omgerd looks so freaking fun....) --- but used inside another framework of rules that told you when you won, or when you lost. When you had to start over.

What if it gave you a map, and told you where you had to go and what you had to do in order to avoid losing. But all of this wrapped up and dealt out in a randomized way, that changed from one campaign to the next.

It's already set up to do this, since it has a set of Quest cards. A few extra places on those cards for the new info that must be added, and a map! - a gorgeously drawn map that sucks the players in to a faraway land that must be defended, or plundered, or simply waded through in order to meet some final goal they all share.

I would be so into this game it wouldn't be funny.

But without that land to defend, or those particular quests that you must achieve, or whatever other goals that could be set before the player, but aren't, it's like: we are just there to admire the mechanics of the game. There's no actual reason we're playing it. It's like an exhibition of what could have been. And it makes me sad.

soblue

But maybe this is just a case of one poor shleb wanting it all.
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What you want is a video game. Legend of Zelda maybe. Something that tells you when you're done playing and let's you know that yes, you got every weapon and maxed out all of your skills. Congratulations.

I think most people playing Myth aren't looking for an end point. Not to say that it couldn't have one. But they are looking to keep playing. Adventure after adventure. Let the good times roll!
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Michelle
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Exo Desta wrote:
eypyeash wrote:
So, full circle, what are you expecting out of a game like Myth?


It seems like, well, the most promising modern games in this genre, to me, have all this same fatal flaw: they have a focus solely on their short-term gameplay elements; what sorts of tiles to use, how to figure in movement and how to generate the map using these tiles, the mini's and all that goes with that side of the game - and then into the nitty gritty mechanics of combat, character progression, and on down the line. All the staples are covered, but there's always that one last step it seems to me that isn't finished.

In the case of Brimstone - where was the overland map, the named locations that you could actually - nay, must visit with your posse in tow, to help clear this or that mine in order to claim a special kind of loot card used to finally, after amassing much power in the way of items and experience and just plain badassery, you could use to summon the big bad and have a shot at ending this madness once and for all.

That just seems to be the next natural step in playing this sort of game - and it's not a far stretch of the imagination to get here. I'm not breaking any new ground here I don't think? Nor, in the case of Brimstone, would it have cost them much more in time or otherwise to come up with a system like this. Makes me think it was purposely left without an ending - like it's its own sort of game entirely.

Like you have Roguelikes on the one end of the spectrum, and this type of game on the other.

I was hoping Myth 2.0 would be more on the Roguelike side of things. I mean, imagine having the sort of gaming system that Myth provides (the card based combat.. omgerd looks so freaking fun....) --- but used inside another framework of rules that told you when you won, or when you lost. When you had to start over.

What if it gave you a map, and told you where you had to go and what you had to do in order to avoid losing. But all of this wrapped up and dealt out in a randomized way, that changed from one campaign to the next.

It's already set up to do this, since it has a set of Quest cards. A few extra places on those cards for the new info that must be added, and a map! - a gorgeously drawn map that sucks the players in to a faraway land that must be defended, or plundered, or simply waded through in order to meet some final goal they all share.

I would be so into this game it wouldn't be funny.

But without that land to defend, or those particular quests that you must achieve, or whatever other goals that could be set before the player, but aren't, it's like: we are just there to admire the mechanics of the game. There's no actual reason we're playing it. It's like an exhibition of what could have been. And it makes me sad.

soblue

But maybe this is just a case of one poor shleb wanting it all.


Waitwaitwaitwait...I thought I was following you until you said you wanted this game to be a roguelike??

Isn't a Roguelike the very definition of playing the game for its mechanics and for the fun of overcoming the game's challenges? Honestly, I think Myth *is* pretty roguelike. It has procedurally-generated tiles, random loot drops, and implements a resetting type of progression system where you don't get to move forward with everything you've gained between acts/modules.
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Brian C
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To me, the main attribute of a Roguelike is that there is an end-point. It doesn't last forever. You have a set of skills/items/abilities at your disposal, which you must use to try and get as far into the game/maze as humanly possible.

Then, when you fail.. it just starts all over again from the start.
 
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Denis Maddalena
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That's something for the future, I'm sure. Looking at your Owned list, i don't think any one of those fits your Roguelike bill. Maybe PACG because you just reset at the end of the sixth module, no continuation. But we all know that story continues outside the scope of that particular campaign.

Descent is a bunch of wobbling around various dungeons, a constant loop of character progression until you literally can't do anymore. But no "final last boss".

No, Myth, those little side acts you're talking about are sort of played out in the game via interlude type miniquests, and you can choose to do those as often as you might want. The characters develop the story themselves using the tiered cards and quest chains and their imagination.

I mean, generic fantasy is pretty keen on neverending threats. There's no peace, just temporary respite before the DM says "okay, this particular continent is settled, but now you look above you into the gaping maw of Azathoth the Blind and realize you have to take to magical airships to fight that hooligan. But first, rescue space princess Zooey."

You might try Mice and Mystics. Its difficulty is solid, and it's got a nice little story to every campaign as you progress.

Or try Myth and see how you like it. It might surprise you. Take the lead on storytelling and it'll go far. Make up your own bosses and supply the figures, you might wind up with the endgame you want. There was a Tiamat released not long ago by D&D minis... can't think of a better last boss than that crazy broad.

I can't tell if you have a fixation on the rules of the game or the spirit, but Myth was intended to be as open and definite as you want it to be. If your group are the bunch who want a game's campaign to last forever or to get do overs, you might try having a heart to heart with them. You can certainly play any game, Descent or Gears of War or any other, as a permadeath reallyfail gameover style. Problem is, people get attached to their characters. While permadeath is in PACG, you can also "time out" if you feel in over your head, just skipping into an adventure, grabbing loot, and idling for 30 or less turns. It prevents death. It also abuses the system.
 
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Exo Desta wrote:
To me, the main attribute of a Roguelike is that there is an end-point. It doesn't last forever. You have a set of skills/items/abilities at your disposal, which you must use to try and get as far into the game/maze as humanly possible.

Then, when you fail.. it just starts all over again from the start.


My group runs Myth this way with free-form questing/Adventure mode. I make a small custom Quest deck that contains a subset of the Chapter and Act quests included in the core plus 1st and 2nd expansions. I also add in some custom Story Quest cards; a helpful BGG user broke up some of the Story quests into chapter-type quests and those got included in one of the PrinterStudio decks I printed up before 2.0 came out. The quest deck is small enough that we're pretty much guaranteed to get through it in 2-3 play sessions, and I use a spreadsheet to track what quests should be in the deck on a given play session so I don't have to keep the decks together and we can have multiple sessions going.

We free quest through effectively random tiles, tied together with the custom Quest deck that grows and changes as we finish chapter, act and story quests. Players track their character progression with the sheets MCG provided on their website. If someone dies and there's not enough Serendipity to bring them back to life, they're dead! They lose progression and can join the party anew (or with a different hero if they want) when we start our next tile. If the party wipes, we lose - reset the Quest deck and start over.

If we ever got through all the Story quests then we'd call that a win. We haven't yet - Bosses are hard. Still, the possibility is there.

This play method isn't described in the rule book, but for us (long-time RPG group with me as GM) it emerged readily from the toolkit the game provided.

Cheers!
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Brian C
United States
Lansing
Michigan
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zogre wrote:
This play method isn't described in the rule book, but for us (long-time RPG group with me as GM) it emerged readily from the toolkit the game provided.

Cheers!


Genius, I must say. Myth's version of the kind of endgame that would totally sell me into buying in. Too bad something like this wasn't the focus of the game from the start!
 
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Łukasz Majewski
Poland
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I'm using a system similar to the Hand of Fate computer game. I place down a "map" using special cards that represent specific encounters. At the end of each floor there are either stairs or an end boss. Reaching the boss ends the game.
 
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Michael Callahan
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Texas
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To me this is so simple,.... The structure of the initial Story quest and now "modules" is I think what you are looking for,... Not just detailing what you do or how you set up, but also the why and the fluff, lore, what have you.

These things typically have a three gaming sessions (acts), and when you get done, you face a boss and take them down,...... Game Over,....

But yes,.... Two weeks later you can get the band back together and do it all over again, just with a different story and boss to kill!

After this KS, there should be at least 14-15 bosses out there,..... That's a lot of killing!

But I guess time will only tell if the module give you that feeling of purpose and finality that you are looking for.
 
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