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Board Game: Kingdom Death: Monster
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Subject: The middle years- sessions 6-12 rss

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Nick Wirtz
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Continued from part 1.
Original article w/ more pics/formatting here.

Year 6-7
Other than being able to fight a Phoenix, which we thought was decidedly a bad idea so we waited, these were pretty uneventful years. We fought two more Antelopes, and made a Barber Surgeon and a Stone Circle from their parts somewhere in here, and got some utility gear from both. Most notably, things that generate more resources and experience points, plus half an Antelope suit.

Also, Squid was murdered and we used our house rule.

It was around this time when we'd refined it further. Our house rule is now a more costly

All survival (min 2) and miss the next hunt/showdown to avoid random event death.

edit: added the bit in italics 'cause it was referencing a prior post

(So far, we've used the rule 3 times in the campaign, out of the 5 opportunities. Also, we don't use this on things that cost you population, just things that name specific survivors.)

Oh, and I guess there was an event here: We'd officially surpassed our first settlement's life, and with plenty of people to spare!

Year 8
Our first level 2 fight!

We picked a Lion for our quarry, and on its hunt, we ran across all manner of bad stuff, culminating in a trail of corpses. We chose to brave it, which triggered a sequence of coincidental level-ups that meant, when we got to the end of the trail, we had roll buffs, and they were high enough that we ran into a knight who gifted us his unique Steel Sword and Steel Shield, and made our poor newb-ish Butch deaf from being so scary. This was huge, since our own technology caps at beating scrap metal until it's sharp or sticking poop in a bucket or wearing something's skull and yelling loudly. The shield hits better than most of our other weapons, and the sword is at near-unattainable levels of power.

Butch kept running into lion traps, but we barely managed to make it through the fight without any deaths, mostly due to Dash. We made some poor decisions, but mostly managed to fight it well.

Year 9
Squid (our veteran Twilight swordsman) fought his mentor and got a gaping chest wound for his trouble.

We then got Family, so we started being able to impart wisdom on our new kids, one of which was Huck, Chuck's son (one of a pair of twins), who came in knowing how to use a sword (for the upcoming fight). We built most of a Lion set with our pieces.

We then were met by a King's man.

We messed up because our crazy bone specialist had had all the crazy knocked out of her in the previous fight, so we needed our sword specialist to instead take over her role at the last minute, but even if we hadn't...

This was a really rough fight that wound up with all four party members dead. I felt pretty screwed by this fight. We didn't have very good luck, but it was just punishingly difficult- mostly within a realm I thought was reasonably hard for the next level of threat, but it had a pair of abilities, one of which was really punishing if you didn't know to prepare, and one of which as far as I can tell was just plain brutal.

We may have also of course been catastrophically unlucky and not recognized it, since our sample size is 1.

If you want the full Kingdom Death experience, then by all means go for it.

...If you want to avoid shooting yourself in the foot, though, a few tips to give you a little edge, which I've written as generally as possible to try to avoid spoilers. Tags for the purists out there, anyway.


(Kind of) Spoilers!
Spoiler (click to reveal)
• The Heavy gear keyword is your enemy.
• High-speed weapons are your friend.
• It might be worth sacrificing newbs. The rewards for winning the fight aren't even that good.




We also found one of the AI cards to be some horrible shit. You might get lucky and not get it in your deck, or knock it off, but if you get it, you'll probably know it when you see it. It's Basic and shouldn't be.

Year 10
Well, at least we got a bunch of Endeavors out of that slaughter- we were at 8 instead of the standard 0. Made me realize how much better Graves are since they give you a big opportunity to regrow if you lose a party that dies in the field (compared to cannibalism, which doesn't get anything extra if you lose guys in the field vs. in camp.

We fought another Antelope after the failure at our town gate. We were feeling kind of demoralized by that, honestly.

The antelope went down predictably easily, even though a pile of ticks had us coming into the fight with only two Survivors with survival points.

Year 11
Our survivors were bored so gave each other nicknames. We rolled very similarly, so I guess they weren't feeling very creative?

We then got a terrifying visit from a new guy who tried to explode one of our veterans, except we spent her survival following our house rule (4 uses of 6 times, now) and would be back in a couple years.

We then got a ton of weapons and finally got our Ammonia to use our Leatherworker (from a random tech tree, we'd tried nearly every opportunity to draw it). We ended up with two characters with very high attack rate (one with speed 4 swords and one with speed 7 katars).

We then hunted a level 2 Lion. We got lucky early and knocked it down and cut it balls off, which made it extremely angry at the cutter, and somewhere in here it got up.

Then we got another knockdown, and our Katar fighter scored 7(!!!) wounds in a row, taking out about half its health in one attack. It went down pretty easily after that tenderizing, and the target of its rage somehow lived to see another day (we'd expected her to come out with serious damage).

We thought we got pretty lucky in this fight. In retrospect, I think this was just our new build style hitting its stride. Katars have become our damage weapon of choice.

Year 12
There was a heat wave that meant our returning group was mostly too tired to fight this coming year. Our Settlement got bored again (too hot to do much, I guess?) and decided the meaning of life was to to conquer. *Insert Conan reference*

We luckily avoided this resulting in our guys smashing up their own storehouse, and instead one of our ladies struck a 90's action hero pose and became the Thundercaller, or some nonsense like that.

We also got a nice big buff from all our Innovations and a good roll, which resulted in a heavily buffed-out Savior being born understanding the world, understanding how to hit things, and understanding how to wield her mom's sword. Oh, and she had a magical shield aura that would have made her absurdly tough except for horrible things like kill strikes that circumvent evasion and armor.

We then had a terrible hunt phase where we were still too hot, in which we encountered a leper colony, something attacked us in the dark, and someone lost a weapon in a sinkhole. Fortunately, we slaughtered a helpless animal for some resources.

With that bad start, we went up against a lion, and Butch, the venerable patriarch of the Coolidge clan, was finally unlucky enough to be killed after numerous other disorders and injuries. We'd mostly been keeping him around to see what happened when you maxed out your courage, but it still was one of our worse Level 2 Lion fights. We did manage to kite extremely thoroughly, though, with another testicle-stealing survivor and 2 movement penalties.

Thoughts
We're feeling like we're pretty thoroughly getting the hang of fights and getting a much better sense of the flow of the game/campaign. We're finally getting resources and have recognized a snowballing effect once you're getting good enough to take on more rewarding monsters.

We're also feeling the Nemesis encounters are basically boss fights, except that if you lose you die rather than needing to try over.
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Skip Olivares
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It sounds like your house rule is really neutering the game.
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David Ainsworth
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That house rule definitely isn't for me but I'm all for whatever rule fits the group.
 
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Nick Wirtz
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Well, BGG ate my post. So, the short version.

Did anyone criticizing the rule read the prior iteration it's referencing? We've only been using the house rule for settlement and hunt events that don't allow you to choose to risk. (Edit: I've edited the initial post to clarify this)

We found that, with the most conservative planning and best strategy, you still weren't protected from random stuff killing your weapon specialists and it was really just aggravating trying to get veterans trained up when they'd just die to a stubbed toe or whatever. We're not overly attached to any given survivor, it was just the progress towards mastery that we had trouble with given how much effort went towards a random kill. We're using it this campaign, then decide if we want to keep using it.

However, I guess here's my question: how are people interacting with weapon mastery? Is anyone getting it? If so, what's your secret? Or is it something no one tries for because it's not worth it?
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Skip Olivares
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I did read the prior iteration; I've enjoyed reading your sessions.

spiralingcadaver wrote:
We found that, with the most conservative planning and best strategy, you still weren't protected from random stuff killing your weapon specialists
Well, it is called Kingdom Death.
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Nick Wirtz
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Thanks for the response (and for reading ), and I totally get that it's called Kingdom Death, and that that's a lot of the point, but I'm starting to feel like it's closer to Kingdom Random- I much prefer things to be skill-based/though decision difficulty than occasionally getting kicked to the curb every now and then and needing to recover, and that was what the rule was designed to combat.

But, again, I definitely recognized it could be too much, and am curious how people are handling attempting to hit weapon mastery, because it might just be that we're thinking about it wrong.

 
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ennui
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Your house rule makes much more sense now, and it's something I might consider using.

Does it mean that a survivor with less than 2 Survival is toast?
 
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Yep- the idea is that it's definitely still possible for one to die if they're pushed pretty far. The original rule came up when we came back from a hunt and we'd had 3 survivors pushed to the brink and our tank had been basically untouched (5 survival, still had most armor) and got wrecked by the hunt reenactment), when it was just annoying and felt decidedly random for the sake of random rather than at all narrative/thematic: So, this guy who could take the brunt of a monster's attacks without getting winded gets accidentally killed in a mock combat he willingly participated in (that we as players were forced to do)? *

...Which would be fine... if there weren't already the survival system built into the game for being able to avoid/compensate for bad situations.

*What, did the other survivor turn out to be the hulk and no one bothered to stop her? Or do you just not know how to dodge or use armor when you're not fighting something bigger than you?
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David Ainsworth
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It most definitely is skill based, though. I'm not poo-pooing the house rule, like I said I'd rather people be happy than miserable, but let me tell you why it isn't for me. For me, death - random death, even - is a huge part of this game. Not just in a narrative sense, though certainly I think that's part of it, but also because to me, KD:M feels very much like a boardgame iteration of a roguelike.

Now you can say "Well how can skill come into it when your guys just die totally randomly?" Well the skill comes in changing your playstyle to optimise the hand that's dealt to you. What do you do when your Twilight Knight is killed? How do you, as a settlement, deal with that? No, it isn't fair. Fairness isn't the point. I'm not even convinced at this stage that winning is the point. It's cliche but that's how this game presents itself to me.

I'm not saying the house rule shouldn't be used. Again, we all take what we take from the games we play. I'm just saying it's not for me. I've also enjoyed reading your reports.
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Agreed, when one of the alternate rules in the book suggests that your survivors never actually die in battle, this is certainly a legit house rule. I'll probably finish my first playthrough in "normal" mode and then use something similar, if just to see what the end game is like.
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Hellena Handbasket
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spiralingcadaver wrote:
Well, BGG ate my post. So, the short version.

Did anyone criticizing the rule read the prior iteration it's referencing? We've only been using the house rule for settlement and hunt events that don't allow you to choose to risk. (Edit: I've edited the initial post to clarify this)

We found that, with the most conservative planning and best strategy, you still weren't protected from random stuff killing your weapon specialists and it was really just aggravating trying to get veterans trained up when they'd just die to a stubbed toe or whatever. We're not overly attached to any given survivor, it was just the progress towards mastery that we had trouble with given how much effort went towards a random kill. We're using it this campaign, then decide if we want to keep using it.

However, I guess here's my question: how are people interacting with weapon mastery? Is anyone getting it? If so, what's your secret? Or is it something no one tries for because it's not worth it?
Pick one or two masteries to go for in a playthrough and level two identical weapon prof. characters simultaneously for each of them is what I've been doing. I've done it twice now and managed to grab at least one of those masteries both times. There are also a couple of ways to boost your proficiency level outside of combat, including a couple of ways that let you boost your proficiency multiple times in a single lantern year.

I have yet to actually go the family route with innovations. My guess is that's bound to help, too.
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Nick Wirtz
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Interesting take, Dave. That's definitely some food for thought.

Hellena, I like that idea. On family, the suite of family-based innovations pump out great survivors. On achieving mastery, it certainly accelerates/insures things, but we got family innovation right before all our veterans got slaughtered... but I guess our sword kid created a very healthy line, so that's probably an indication of utility. It allows something equivalent to mastery in that you're often fighting with specialization, but it's certainly less reliable/flexible.
 
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Dwayne Dibbley
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EnnuiX wrote:
Agreed, when one of the alternate rules in the book suggests that your survivors never actually die in battle, this is certainly a legit house rule. I'll probably finish my first playthrough in "normal" mode and then use something similar, if just to see what the end game is like.
I find that optional alternate rule (not dying in battle) a strange one, death in battle I find much easier to handle, it's when Grimm the Elder returns victorious from his 9th Level 2 Lion hunt only to trip over a loose stone and die in a card draw that I find hard to take.
 
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Nick Wirtz
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Dwayne, the optional rule is any death, not just in-combat ones. Anything that kills is turned into skip next hunt.

But yeah, 100% agreed that I find the random deaths way more frustrating.
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