Wow, so this is what you get for 100 pieces of gold.
It had been a couple of years when we last played. After refreshing our memories on the first scenario, we decided to try “A Mindful of Gems”. We didn’t realize that involved a new map. In our first game, I was the wizard, Craig and Don who were a team played the archer, Ken was the dwarf, while Trevor was the fighter. Looking at the map, there were gems on spaces 4/3/2/0, so it looked like if we rushed down, picking up herbs to get more movement it was possible to beat the lone Gore to them. Craig/Don and Ken ran all the way to space 60, while Trevor and I meandered in the fog collecting the runes. This turned out to be a mistake, since we found a gore where the rune and this triggered the alarm, releasing more monsters into the game, and they ended up clearing up the gems before Craig and Ken could get to them. “Sorry about that chief”, I muttered sheepishly when I turned over the Gore.
Ken was ready to give up and played like it, heading the dwarf towards the merchant to gain his strength for one last gasp and get ready for the next game. But something strange happened. We realized that if we killed the monsters, they would count for gold as well, and the troll on space 61, worth 6 gold was guarding 6 gold. That would be 12 pts towards the required 46. We got a couple gems which raised the fireballs, and that caused us a bit of grief as well.
There weren’t any good event cards in the pool. I think one of them made you spend willpower so you could gain time on the track, and Don spent the willpower to buy us more time. The monsters were starting to run out on space 0, moving the end of game counter closer each time. By the time we got down to the troll, we told Don to spend his 7 value of herbs for attack, and we regretted it. There was only 1 round left, and someone had to run all our wealth to space 60 to win. But we didn’t need to burn up the 7 herbs for combat, they could have been used for movement, and we all died with the winning wealth in the pool – 8 pts of gems and the rest gold.
We only have 8 pts of gems, but still got 46 pts worth of goods, but foolishly burned the herbs for the troll which wasn't necessary, and could have gotten 1 person out with those herbs.
Game 2: Craig had to leave, so I was the dwarf, Don was the wizard, Ken was the fighter while Trevor was the archer. We thought long and hard about clearing up the gems in spaces 4/3/2/0 and we came up with a plan. We would completely avoid the fog, which only gave us 3 gold total, and event cards which didn’t really advance our cause. All of us would head to space 60 in round 1. For good measure, the 5 gold we had at the start of the game, we left at space 60 to lower the amount we needed to win.
Now came the part that we couldn’t really control. In this scenario, when a monster reaches the same space as a character, the alarm gets raised, causing more monsters to show up and suck up the gems. So we give everyone but one character a bow, and we ambushed our way into the dungeon getting adjacent to the monsters and used bows to eliminate them.
We had to plan how to pick up the gems as well, as there were fireballs activated, and we let the people with shields pick up the gems, mostly Trevor and Don. When we retrieved most of the gems, Trevor stayed behind to clear out the boulders blocking our way, while the 3 of us were ready to take on the troll, but raising the alarm when it didn’t matter, since we had gotten all the gems.
We thought we were in rally good shape, but we still had to run out of the dungeon, and we just barely escaped before the game ended on us. This time we got 24 pts worth of gems and at least 25 pts from gold.
The stealth approach nets us 24 pts of gems and a victory.
This scenario really made us work together to solve the problems and it was a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to trying the last scenario with the dragon.
I love how, in this game, killing the monsters is almost NEVER the right answer! Instead of a superior hero running through a mission killing everything in sight, this game is about a bunch of "normal" heroes trying to out-think the superior forces of evil to "steal" a victory from the jaws of inevitable doom! A win feels SOooo much more victorious in this game, and a loss almost ALWAYS finishes with a discussion on what we could have done differently to win.