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Dungeons & Dragons: Temple of Elemental Evil Board Game» Forums » Variants

Subject: Encounter Cards are a Drag rss

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Now, I just KNOW that I'm not the only one to finds the Encounter cards to be a suck-fest. No one in my group likes them nor how they're implemented.

Not only are many of them auto-damage "events" that can't be avoided which in turn nickel and dime you to death (yes - I know that avoiding these kinds of cards is what experience is for, but given the amount of them in the deck you still get hit with what feels like a bunch of cheap shots), but worse they're not fun; at best they're boring and tedious, at worst aggravating and obnoxious. The whole deck just strikes me as the product of quick, dirty and lazy design.

Compare them to Arkham Horror or Eldritch Horror encounter cards and there IS no comparison; those cards usually present a situation to be resolved and their presentation & flavor text stir the imagination - invoking atmosphere and fantastic imagery (yes, both of those games do have outright "screw you" cards, but they're kinda rare). And in my opinion, the Adventure System encounter cards should do something similar; should give you the impression of exploring a dungeon along with all the excitement, adventure & peril that comes with it, not just hammer you over and over again in what seems like an offhanded manner.

Here ended the Rant.

Now for a solution to this problem I'm thinking about writing my own "themed" Encounter Cards; for ToEE that probably means 10 cards for each elemental glyph on the tiles (e.g., the tile you just flipped over has a Fire symbol, so you draw and resolve a Fire Encounter Card). Would intel stuff like Wandering Monsters and Hidden Traps of course, but also situational stuff in line with the element card being pulled. And most would have a mitigating die roll to resolve the situation or to reduce or avoid any damage (and I can see certain class types getting bonuses to certain situations; e.g. "Sneaky" guys like Rogues or Assassins getting a bonus or Advantage when it comes to "reflex saves" and the like).

To maintain balance, that probably means drawing an Encounter Card every turn or every time you pull a new tile. Probably would have to do away with the whole "experience to avoid cards" mechanic too.

But anyway, you guys have any opinions or suggestions? I welcome all comments whether positive, negative or whatever.
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Yani
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I view encounters as a bang on the head I have to go through each turn. Once you realize that, you are either cool with the game or not. Doesn't make sense to fiddle with it if you don't, just move along and pick another game to enjoy. Just my personal opinion.
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Yeah, but I like the rest of the game (and I spent money on it, so I'm gonna make it perform to my liking).

But opinion noted and thanks for your response.
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Fernando Amaral
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There is a similar thread about Encounters here.

Btw, your idea of creating custom cards remided me of the room event decks, like this one for LoD. But right now there isn't a ToEE version.
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I agree with these being very punishing at times.
If you want to see encounters done right check out Shadows of Brimstone.
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Kelly N.
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If you move forward with this, I would just untilize a "book of encounters" type method. Write up your new encounters in a "book". Use the existing cards to point you to a specific encounter (either by assigned number, type, page/paragraph, etc.).
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Knaife wrote:
There is a similar thread about Encounters here.

Btw, your idea of creating custom cards remided me of the room event decks, like this one for LoD. But right now there isn't a ToEE version.

Ah - kewl beans! Thanks!
 
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N0mE wrote:
I agree with these being very punishing at times.
If you want to see encounters done right check out Shadows of Brimstone.

Thanks dude - I'll check it out.

EDIT: Well hell yeah - this looks pretty fawkin' kewl. Remember seeing it at a gaming store in Durham NC (good ol' Atomic Empire), but didn't really give it a close look. Gonna order a copy at some point in the near future.

Thanks dawg!

 
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Frank Clark
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I like the always draw an encounter card on a new tile.

I do that in my games with some printed cards. They take some ideas from the room cards mentioned above.

I like the thematic card groupings, but that limits the non-elemental encounters. The room card mentioned above are another great way of maintaining theme.

You could have the rule that you redraw if. Is the tile has an element and the card has a different element. This allows cards that summon no monsters but are just a scream in the distance, an npc, scratches on the wall, bloodstains etc.

this could also work for the other games where you have references to other markings on the tiles (skull, outline arrow, solid arrow)

We could have the icons on the encounter cards to show what possible markings the card could be used with.

I now have to get those markings into MSE to make new encounter cards

I still like the use experience to avoid the encounter card. I think it fits that the more experienced chRacters have some how learned to avoid the encounters.
 
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sabbat00 wrote:
If you move forward with this, I would just untilize a "book of encounters" type method. Write up your new encounters in a "book". Use the existing cards to point you to a specific encounter (either by assigned number, type, page/paragraph, etc.).

Now that is good idea - lot less work that way.

Oddly enough, I'd thought of doing something similar with monsters; instead of going to the trouble of creating a bunch of new cards, I'd have a list of alternate, simple stat blocks that would be used in place of the standard monsters (e.g., "bugbear" = Gladiatron), but it hadn't occurred to me to do something like that for this.

Thanks!
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Lythaeum wrote:
I like the thematic card groupings, but that limits the non-elemental encounters. The room card mentioned above are another great way of maintaining theme.

You could have the rule that you redraw if. Is the tile has an element and the card has a different element. This allows cards that summon no monsters but are just a scream in the distance, an npc, scratches on the wall, bloodstains etc.

this could also work for the other games where you have references to other markings on the tiles (skull, outline arrow, solid arrow)

We could have the icons on the encounter cards to show what possible markings the card could be used with.

Hmm. Good food for thought.

Thanks.
 
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I haven't played TOEE for a few months, but I was thinking about the encounters the other day. I was thinking of implementing a system to randomly determine whether an encounter is drawn.

Roll d20 to determine if an encounter needs to be drawn based on where the hero is at the end of the hero phase. The below numbers are based on two assumptions. One, that the black tiles are more dangerous than the white tiles and two, that exploring a new 'unknown' tile is more dangerous than staying on your current tile.

d10-1 Hero explored a new tile and the new tile is black - encounter occurs on 1-12 (60% chance).
d10-2 Hero did not explore a new tile and their current tile is black - encounter occurs on 1-11 (55% chance).
d10-3 Hero explored a new tile and the new tile is white - encounter occurs on 1-9 (45% chance).
d10-4 Hero did not explore a new tile and their current tile is white - encounter occurs on 1-8 (40% chance)

I haven't tried this out yet so the numbers may need adjusted a bit, but I definitely want to give it a shot because I agree that the encounters get annoying and can sometimes detract from the 'story' generated by the game.
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After owning each of the d&d board games (and successfully trading each of them away) I have to say the two most annoying parts are the encounter cards and the initial auto attack of each monster. There are an insane number of threads and discussions on the topic, some of which the authors appear to find the perfect house rule. This approach worked for me for awhile, but it didn't take long to grow stale. Especial because there are so many games out there which do it better, even other d&d games. I understand the tightrope this game walks to make it cooperative and preserve the d&d rules but the best solution for me truly was to find a better game. There are a staggering number out there, no need to commit to a game whose core system is flawed. But if you treat your board games like a treasured ratty blanket and you don't care it's riddled with holes and stains because it's YOUR ratty blanket, this game should be fine.

Ugh sorry about the major rant. I guess I'm a bit bitter. I was very excited about these games and even tried adding some print and play cards from a bunch of user content here on bgg.

tl; dr encounter cards are a drag, this game has other issues. Best solution is not a bandaid but a trade.
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kevinruns262 wrote:
I haven't played TOEE for a few months, but I was thinking about the encounters the other day. I was thinking of implementing a system to randomly determine whether an encounter is drawn.

Roll d20 to determine if an encounter needs to be drawn based on where the hero is at the end of the hero phase. The below numbers are based on two assumptions. One, that the black tiles are more dangerous than the white tiles and two, that exploring a new 'unknown' tile is more dangerous than staying on your current tile.

d10-1 Hero explored a new tile and the new tile is black - encounter occurs on 1-12 (60% chance).
d10-2 Hero did not explore a new tile and their current tile is black - encounter occurs on 1-11 (55% chance).
d10-3 Hero explored a new tile and the new tile is white - encounter occurs on 1-9 (45% chance).
d10-4 Hero did not explore a new tile and their current tile is white - encounter occurs on 1-8 (40% chance)

I haven't tried this out yet so the numbers may need adjusted a bit, but I definitely want to give it a shot because I agree that the encounters get annoying and can sometimes detract from the 'story' generated by the game.

Huh. I kinda like it. Might try it out this weekend.

Thanks.
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draight wrote:
Ugh sorry about the major rant. I guess I'm a bit bitter.

Naw dude - I feel you; this game has potential, but just seems to misfire.


draight wrote:
Best solution is not a bandaid but a trade.

But... b-but, I must... try to... fix it. cry
 
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Frank Clark
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Yeah I am all for bandaiding the ratty blanket.

The encounter cards suck so much energy from the game.

The monsters auto-attack and drawn for each tile both suck.

I roll for monster spawn (modified by noise) and I use an encounter card on every tile. I have a lot of just nothing encounters and a lot of monster/trap.

In this way the board game still feels like a d20 based experience and reminds me of the old role playing days even though the "AI" controls the monsters.

Also I use the same system for other games now. My kids only had to learn one game to experience the different genres. (We tromped around in a modern zombie-infested city most recently)

Because of this thread I will add location icons to my encounter cards to make them thematic in where they can or cannot work. We had built separate decks for different areas or just been discarding them until the card didn't feel like it was the opposite of the tiles feel.
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Hmm... some good ideas here.

Thanks.
 
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The TOEE from PC is very similar to the boardgame. you are walking and bam a trap hits you. you are opening a chest and bam, monsters appears from nowhere.

Without encounters, the game is very easy. try to remove the direct damage from the deck and it become more enjoyable.

Or you can try to get warhammer or heroquest or descent coop rules and make your own design.
these games are made to be moddified, make the rules you like and keep crawling.

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topera wrote:
try to remove the direct damage from the deck and it become more enjoyable.

Yeah, me and a buddy of mine tried something similar this past weekend:

Any Encounter card that causes direct, unavoidable auto-damage that can't be mitigated or lessened in some way becomes a "Wondering Monster" card; pull a random monster, place it on your tile and continue with the Villain phase.

Rage of Imix is a special case; the Imix tokens are now Monster Portals. Every time a Rage of Imix card is drawn, a new portal is placed on the active Hero's tile and all "Imix Portals" in the dungeon spawn a monster. Was toying with the idea of setting aside all Fire Cultists and Fire Bats in a separate deck just for Rage of Imix, though ideally I'd rather have bunch of Fire Elementals for that purpose.

I haven't checked yet, but are there "medium sized" Fire Elementals in any if these games? If not, I suppose I could use those Lava Men(?) from Heroscape and make them into "Agents of Imix". Hmm... maybe I'll do that anyway...

EDIT: Yeeeeah... Obsidian Guards (actual name of "lava men") as Minions of Imix. Probably stat 'em similar to Earth Cultists, but they blow up at death like Fire Cultists.
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TheBoogerMan wrote:
To maintain balance, that probably means drawing an Encounter Card every turn or every time you pull a new tile. Probably would have to do away with the whole "experience to avoid cards" mechanic too.
That might work, if you're willing to invest the time to design new encounters.

Personally, I'm perfectly fine with the encounters. They're just a balancing mechanism introduced to punish players that are dawdling to offset that you don't have to encounter a new monster.

Imho, it doesn't make sense to compare it to Arkham Horror. It's a completely different game! I'd also like to point out that AH games tend to take several times as long as a typical D&D Adventure Board game.

For me it's 'take it or leave it': Either you enjoy playing the D&D board games or you don't. If you don't, go play something else. There's plenty of alternatives that might better suit your tastes.
 
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For me it's "force it to comply". There's potential here and I'll hammer it and jury-rig it until it functions properly.

Stupid developers sent out a malfunctioning game, but I'll fix it by gum!
 
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coralsaw wrote:
I view encounters as a bang on the head I have to go through each turn. Once you realize that, you are either cool with the game or not. Doesn't make sense to fiddle with it if you don't, just move along and pick another game to enjoy. Just my personal opinion.

Best description of Encounter cards I've ever heard. Makes me want to go play right now.
 
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TheBoogerMan wrote:
For me it's "force it to comply". There's potential here and I'll hammer it and jury-rig it until it functions properly.

Stupid developers sent out a malfunctioning game, but I'll fix it by gum!


Have you tried duct tape? It seems to fix everything.


I personally like the encounter cards. I understand why they are in the game. I would hate it if I was taking a fixed amount of damage instead. Its a risk/reward situation and adds that element of strategy if used correctly.
 
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rhadamanthine wrote:
I understand why they are in the game.
Are they any less annoying than what a DM would normally throw at your party? Random Encounters and all? I like the HeroQuest way of putting random monster encounters in the "Search the Room" deck. The D&DAGS doesn't have a Search the Room mechanic. It's all just killing monsters and stealing their stuff. I guess part of that is because it doesn't HAVE rooms?
 
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rhadamanthine wrote:

Have you tried duct tape? It seems to fix everything.
.

Ok so I duct taped all my cards together? What now?
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