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Subject: Gloomhaven Lesson 2: Know Your Own Strength and Your Enemy's rss

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Isaac Childres
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Ah, I see you're still alive. That's good. You must have taken my first lesson to heart. Don't relax yet, though, because you still have more to learn about combat.

Let's get started.




ATTACKING AND ITS MANY EFFECTS

First of all, any damage you do or have done to you all comes down to the basic "Attack" action. Any time you see that, it'll be followed by a number which tells you the base damage you'll be doing with the attack.



Before you go throwing around damage tokens, though, keep in mind that that base damage can get modified by a number of different things.

First off, it'll be modified by any attacker bonuses. For instance, the Scoundrel gets lots of opportunistic bonuses based on the positioning of the enemy.


The Spellweaver might get a bonus for expending any elements infused in the battle.



Next, you've got to flip over an attack modifier card. Combat is never an exact science. If it were, it wouldn't be nearly as exciting. The attack modifier card represents that small amount of random chance in every swing.

A lot of times it will go through exactly as planned.


Or it might go a little better or worse than you planned.


Rarely, you may even land a critical strike or, on the other hand, fail to connect at all.


It happens to everyone on occasion.

If the attack does connect, though, next you'll be looking at modifiers your opponent has. You'll often run into enemies with "Shield," which means they'll reduce your incoming damage.


Or if you poison an enemy, they'll take extra damage on every attack.

So in the end you'll probably do a bit of damage to the enemy, but combat wouldn't be all that exciting if it was just throwing damage back and forth. A lot of your attacks will come with extra juice in them, like the ability to stun or poison your enemy or push him face-first into a trap.



Even if you don't do damage with your attack, any of its extra effects still go through to the enemy, which is way better than nothing.


THE ENEMY'S SIDE OF THINGS

All right, so now you know how to attack, but doing well in combat is also about knowing how your enemy attacks.

All enemies you face have a base statistics card which gives you the health, movement, attack, range and special traits for both the normal and elite varieties.



These base values can even be modified by rotating the card depending on how hard or easy of a scenario you want to face.



Each round, each type of enemy will play an action card of their own which specifies their initiative and gives them their abilities for the round based on their base stats.


For instance, with this card, a normal bandit guard (move 3, attack 2) would first move up to 4 (3+1) and then perform an attack 1 (2-1) if able. Before he does any of that, though, your enemy, who has a (small) mind of his own, is going to focus on a target - either you or one of his companions.

He's going to focus on whoever is closest to him.


And if there are multiple targets the same distance away, he'll focus on whoever has the lowest initiative for the round.


Once your enemy has a focus, he'll move the shortest distance he can so as to maximally attack his focus.



Knowing these concepts should give you some insight into where to stand and what initiative to play depending on whether you want to hide in the shadows or take the brunt of the enemies' attacks. Keep in mind that enemies ultimately attack the same way you do - the attack value will get modified by attacker bonuses, a modifier card, and defender bonuses.

As I said last time, just remember not to die and you should be fine.

So those are the basics. There's lots of other exciting things you can do in combat like heal your allies, retaliate against attackers or even summon additional allies to fight along side you.

Our time is limited, though, so you'll have to figure that stuff out on your own. Next week we'll be looking at the larger picture and talking about character progression, experience and money.
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John Gonzalez
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Very much enjoying this series of lessons.

Will monsters have distinctive attacks or powers (perhaps described on their initiative/modifier deck) or do they only vary in basic stats (speed, attack, armor, etc.)?
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Mr Ashbless
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Lesson No. 2... (Scribbles down on palm to cheat in test)

Thanks for this update. This did seem to focus largely on melee type attacks in moving towards an enemy then attacking.

There was a symbol on one card of a bow and range so archers have a distinct range limitation it would appear. Do Spellweavers have a similar range restriction on casting 'magic missile' or equivalent distance attacks?




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Isaac Childres
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Jongoloid wrote:
Very much enjoying this series of lessons.

Will monsters have distinctive attacks or powers (perhaps described on their initiative/modifier deck) or do they only vary in basic stats (speed, attack, armor, etc.)?

Monsters vary in 2 ways - both in their base stat cards and their ability card decks.

In addition to their normal stats, the stat cards also specify any permanent abilities the monster has - like the ability to poison or muddle, permanent shield values that reduce attacks (like the guard in the picture above) or the number of targets the monster can attack at once.

Each type of monster also has a unique set of ability cards that specify their initiative on a given round and what they're doing. These cards could just be "move" and "attack" with modifiers to their stats, or they could specify a special area attack or ranged attack that the monster wouldn't normally be able to do. Part of the tension of the game is not knowing what the monsters are going to be doing on their turn when you are planning your own.
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Isaac Childres
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Ashbless716 wrote:
Lesson No. 2... (Scribbles down on palm to cheat in test)

Thanks for this update. This did seem to focus largely on melee type attacks in moving towards an enemy then attacking.

There was a symbol on one card of a bow and range so archers have a distinct range limitation it would appear. Do Spellweavers have a similar range restriction on casting 'magic missile' or equivalent distance attacks?

Yes, range functions how you would expect it to. If an attack doesn't specify range, it is considered melee and can only hit adjacent targets. An attack with range means that you can target anything within that number of hexes.

Enemies with ranged attacks will only move until they are within range to hit their target and then attack.

There is one drawback to attacking an adjacent enemy with a ranged attack, however. You have disadvantage and have to play two attack modifier cards from your deck and apply the worse one.
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Sir Gaulen de Loria
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I have a question about "attack modifier cards". These cards are created to avoid the use of dice, I know you don't like them, Isaac, but would these cards be reshuffled each time you pick one or discarded? If they are not reshuffled the options would be unbalanced in my opinion because if you have for example two critic cards in this deck and they appear at the beginning you know that there will not be more of these cards. With dice there is always the same percentage of getting the number (I mean refreshing the odds) but if you don't reshuffled the deck the odds will be reduced. Right now I'm thinking about Runewars,a great game without dice, and when you have to attack, or other options, you choose from a deck that isn't reshuffled reducing the possibilities. In the end, when few cards are left, maybe they are all too bad and that is not balanced to me. What do you think?

What I'm trying to say is that if I throw a dice (eg. 1D10) I always have 1 to 10 in each throw. If I choose from a deck that isn't being reshuffled this is not the case. I think that in Arkham Horror the location cards are reshuffled each time an investigator go to interact with, so next investigator has the complete deck to draw and full possibilities again.

I admit I love dice in board games (for combat mainly) and if a game isn't going to use them I would like to know if the essence of dice possibilities will be considered and maintain.

Thanks and waiting desperately the KS in autumn.

Keep up the good work!!






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Isaac Childres
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So there is always 1 double damage card in the deck and 1 no damage card. If either of these are drawn for an attack, that triggers a deck shuffle, which happens at the end of the round. This ensures that those two cards are always a possibility.

It's true that the odds of drawing cards are determined differently than dice, but I don't see that as a bad thing. In fact, I like that after you draw a string of negative cards, that sense that you are "due" for something good is actually somewhat justified. Or that feeling you get when your deck is running low and the double and no damage cards still haven't shown up. I think it provides more tension than dice do because of the prior knowledge.
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Big Tom Casual
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Cephalofair wrote:
So there is always 1 double damage card in the deck and 1 no damage card. If either of these are drawn for an attack, that triggers a deck shuffle, which happens at the end of the round. This ensures that those two cards are always a possibility.

It's true that the odds of drawing cards are determined differently than dice, but I don't see that as a bad thing. In fact, I like that after you draw a string of negative cards, that sense that you are "due" for something good is actually somewhat justified. Or that feeling you get when your deck is running low and the double and no damage cards still haven't shown up. I think it provides more tension than dice do because of the prior knowledge.


This type of thinking is exactly what is setting this game apart from being just another dungeon crawl.

Well done Isaac!
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Jo Bartok
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I am not against dice at all (I do actually love the D1E dice combat system. It is very mathy and has a lot of tactics and strategies to consider)... but the modifier deck itself isn't bad. Easy to customize and I like the "equalized" randomness... much more in line with how we "expect" dice to work vs true randomness (don't forget, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1 is true random!)
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Franz Rogar
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Cephalofair wrote:
It's true that the odds of drawing cards are determined differently than dice...

Sorry for nekroposting, but I need to make an important note. That's not true, and it was mathematically proved in 1992 by Bayer and Diaconis.

It's been proved that there's a shuffling way to achieve the exact random for each card like any number in a dice. The proper way is to do 7 (seven) Riffle Shuffle (no less than that it won't be properly random).

Here's a video from Diaconis himself talking (and showing) about this issue:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AxJubaijQbI
 
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Paul T.
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franzrogar wrote:
Cephalofair wrote:
It's true that the odds of drawing cards are determined differently than dice...

Sorry for nekroposting, but I need to make an important note. That's not true, and it was mathematically proved in 1992 by Bayer and Diaconis.

It's been proved that there's a shuffling way to achieve the exact random for each card like any number in a dice. The proper way is to do 7 (seven) Riffle Shuffle (no less than that it won't be properly random).

Here's a video from Diaconis himself talking (and showing) about this issue:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AxJubaijQbI


Pretty sure he meant when you're not shuffling the deck after every draw. When you draw from a deck without replacement each card drawn subsequently affects the next draws. The draw events are dependent.

Not true for dice; each roll is independent of the ones before and after.
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Franz Rogar
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5hrike wrote:
Pretty sure he meant when you're not shuffling the deck after every draw. When you draw from a deck without replacement each card drawn subsequently affects the next draws. The draw events are dependent.

Not true for dice; each roll is independent of the ones before and after.

Well, true, but on a subtractive deck, if you don't do the 7 (or more) Riffle Suffle, then, the rest of the cards aren't really with the same probability (it's explained in the video), hence, giving the exact same probability for each card as in each dice face. I always think that a subtractive deck as a diminishing die: first you use a 20-facet die, then a 19-facet die, etc.

So, in truth, even tough you only shuffle at the start (with the exception of special cards...), each time you will have the exact same probability of take one of the cards in the pile. (It's so hard to explain that being not English my native tongue...)
 
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Dee Wongsa
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7 or more riffle shuffles are needed for a standard 52 card poker deck. The ~20 card attack modifier deck is going to require fewer shuffles to achieve randomness. So don't worry too much if you don't riffle shuffle a full 7 times! That would really slow down the game.
 
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