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Subject: I played the demo on tabletopia and walked away very disapointed rss

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Johannes Benedikt
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Let me start this by saying that this is only about two playthroughs of the demo with the excact same party of 2 heroes (the chaotic dwarf and the ranger), so my impressions are very subjective.

Moreover I think a lot is lost from playing a boardgame on the PC and this was played with prototype components that will get streamlined and better, so don't take every detail of it completely seriously.
However one of the things that really got on my nerves is the fact that the over 50 sides large rulebook doesn't feature an index of any kind and on top of that is poorly structured across some parts (mainly concerning conditions on heroes and monsters being roughly 10 pages apart and formulated kind of unclear and the fact that there is no glossary for symbols and tokens, but they are cluttered throughout the 50 pages).


So let's get to my two biggest problems with the game right away.

1.) At least the demo presented no real decisions to me. No matter what enemies spawned, no matter their special power, I didn't need to apply more than one tactic throughout the game. In my second playthrough, I even specifically intended to pull through with just this one tactic, just to see if it works and it was very successfull.

2.) Once you have played a few rounds of the game and got how it works, it gets extremely easy and the enemy AI becomes easily exploitable. In fact the enemy AI in most cases made the enemies less efficiant instead of smarter and the encounter deck often made the enemies perform worse than if they just all activated each turn.


So here is a short rundown of my games.
I picked the ranger power that made it possible to apply a critical strike once per turn (1 turn cooldown), got the bow (1 damage guaranteed, blue die and bolt:+1 damage) some kind of medium armor (1 armor and some dies).
For the Dwarf I picked the skill that gives one hero +1 damage or +1 defense in their turn once per turn (1 turn cooldown), got the hammer and the heavy armor.
These decisions were no-brainers to me, because 1 turn cooldown abilities and raw damage of course is the way to go in a pure fighting game. So was the decision to grab the gear in the first place, I really don't know why heroes don't just start with the gear.

From there on I started with the ranger opening doors and getting the first range attack in, always with both abilities on the ranger, which effectivly made the bow an automatic 2 damage weapon therefore always critting, with the chance to do even more damage with the blue die and lastly circumventing the gremlins' defence ability. In case 2 enemies really did activate and engage, they were going after the dwarf, who gathered the gold, making him the one with the most wounds hence the target for every monster. The dwarf could always finish off the previously wounded monster or seriously wound the fresh monster and the ranger only had to walk into their area and with supremacy bonus instantly kill the monster afterwards.
After the beginning supremacy bonus became truly powerfull and I always moved in the same spaces whenever I knew a monster would reach me. The -1 damage made most of their attacks insignificant against the dwarf (most of the time in the end I rolled 1 die for the last point of damage and often blocked it) and decimated them in my next turn with the supremacy bonus. If their AI had commanded them to use their range weapon instead, this wouldn't have been so easy, but they always ran right into the area I commanded and got wrecked while doing very little damage at best.
This went on until the end of the scenario. I draw the last event card that made the monsters reinforce one room away from the last story event, so the monster effectivly spawned more than 4 areas away from my heroes, making it move extremly slowly (2 spaces per turn, if activated) and worked against the monsters respawning numbers at the last story event.
The red gremlin was K.Oed by the first shot of the ranger and beaten to death in the 2 subsequent turns with the help of supremacy bonus (the other enemy was too slow to arrive at the heroes before the quest ended).

I didn't gain anything through treasures, did not buy any items and didn't acquire talents or new character powers. So effectivly I didn't use any of the resources, apart from leveling my dwarf so he has 1 HP more and still I won without mixing up my strategy. Eventhough 2 blue gremlins spawned at the first door and I activated the second story event with the dwarf. (this was in my second playthrough were I tried to make the game as hard as possible)

After the first game I checked the rules again to make no mistakes, but I think I didn't, maybe someone can point something out I maybe have missed?


All in all I'm still in disbelief that this is supposed to be the game (and hope I made a lot of mistakes) and yes of course it's just the introduction quest, but I had much more interesting decisions in the Introduction-quest of Descent 2E base game. As this is a pure coop, I imagined it to be a lot harder. At it's worst I got remembered at the most unpleasent times I had with Shadows of Brimstone, when keeping up the simulation of the game was taxing your brain harder than actually the gameplay and decisions.
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Thanks for the confirmation!
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Joshua D
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So, as an introduction, did the scenario let you learn how the game works? It almost sounds like you wanted a major event in it, which as I understand, will be in the release game. And many of them.
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The Fire
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This is a bit of a problem when releasing demos based on starter scenarios. I think the intention was to let you experience may facets of the game without the frustration of challenge.
That can leave players with doubts about the game. Given that these are the people that created GD, I'm not concerned that the experience in the demo is representative of the challenge in the full game. I could be wrong in my confidence and that will be sad seeing I am killing my game budget for a year on this one.

As to the rules, it's the beta so I wouldn't expect much from it. The feedback is good so they can make changes.
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Josh Conner
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Thanks for writing out your thoughts. I find the majority of these co-op dungeoncrawls get extremely repetitive after a few plays. I tend to think it isn't just me as I see the same people going all-in Kickstarting these types of games time-and-time again.
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Johannes Benedikt
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KiwiStalk wrote:
So, as an introduction, did the scenario let you learn how the game works? It almost sounds like you wanted a major event in it, which as I understand, will be in the release game. And many of them.


Well, I think I don't really get what you mean. It's not really a tutorial, which means it didn't ease me into the game. I had to learn the game through it's alpha rule-book. I think I never needed to even think about something like bash, dash, evade, etc. and what the seemingly interesting options and actions are named. So I guess half of the options were of no relevance to this quest and thus have to be learned abstractly or during "real quests" if they get harder.

If this was any kind of tutorial, it made you do the same half of what you can do over and over again for around 2hours.
I really hope it didn't allude to the tactical depth of the game or the kind of decisions you are supposed to think about in later missions (because imo there was very little to decide and the optimal actions always were very clear).

What I was expecting, was some kind of an enjoyable expirience that showed me, what kind of decisions, situations and problems the game confronts you with and how different solutions to those play out.
I didn't expect a major event or twist, but at least an interesting situation, you can take on adequatly from different sides that shows you what the game can do.

Perhaps I was mislead in my expactations and this is supposed to be a basic tutorial that only touches half of what you can do and without references to the rules, in which case they imo should have called it "tutorial" and not demonstration.
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trevor

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I'm very confused, you played an introductory scenario and your 2 main complaints were it was too easy and it had no meaningful choices?
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Yiorgos Golfinopoulos
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@Johannes

To be fair, judging from the description of your session, you seem to be quite good at this type of games.
I am sure you can imagine that not everyone that tries the game out is going to be as efficient as you are, and Ares would not want to scare less experienced potential backers away by ramping up the dificulty right from the start...

Introductory scenarios are supposed to be easy. I wouldn't worry that this will be the case with later scenarios.
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Jerome Loisel
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@Johannes

Thanks so much for taking the time to test this and post your thoughts here. I will definitely need to try it out for myself now, as opposed to just back and hope for the best. I can't believe people are criticizing you. It's odd how involved people become in KS projects and just become dead-certain this game they've never played is the best thing ever, and become defensive when challenged about it.
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Jason Farris
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This is what I take from your comments. Anything that deals more damage is the best thing to take, thus there are no meaningful decisions. And you think picking starting gear is lame because there is no decisions in that either. You just min max.

Fair enough critique of the starting scenario. So here are my questions:

Did you play with every option in the game, or was this scenario limited in any way?

Do you think there would ever be a reason to take an ability that does not grant anythng other than more damage? In other words are there useful abilities that may be needed in other scenarios?

Do you expect all the other scenarios to play like this one? Is there a reward for anything other than min/maxing damage?

Did the opening scenario do a good job of demonstrating the mechanics, irrespective of hiw easy the scenario was?

To me the answer to these questions are what really matter. You certainly bring up concerns that are legitimate. The initial scenario of Galaxy Defenders is not a walk in the park and can be a lot for new players. I think having a beginner scenario for S&S is good. But the rest of the game needs to build on that.


edited for terrible spelling.
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Paul Glickman
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I found the starting gear automatic as well, I took that to mean each character had starting equipment in the stash.

It was fairly easy, though. I'm not sure where tactical decisions can come from. I'm holding out hope that as the famous Galaxy Defenders designers, they have some idea what they're doing, but it's possible that the game is too easy.

That being said, I believe the designers have said that they don't win every mission, so it's likely to just be a first-scenario's-too-easy problem.
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Byron Campbell
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It sounds like you played the first scenario very efficiently but made no allowances for the future. Remember, this is a campaign-based system. You are meant to balance completing the current objective with the long-term goal of improving your character, and it sounds like you completely ignore the latter.

At least when I've played the scenario, the gremlins are a pushover (they are the most low-tier enemies, so of course they are) but the red gremlin can be difficult to impossible depending on which random special ability it gains. I drew one that allowed it to heal damage by inflicting damage, and since the scenario dictates that the red gremlin activates each turn, it was literally impossible (with the gear and abilities my characters had) to kill.

Did you okay Galaxy Defenders? The introductory scenario in that is far from a perfect representation of the challenge and decision making of the later game.
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Johannes Benedikt
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Smilinbrax wrote:
This is what I take from your comments. Anything that deals more damage is the best thing to take, thus there are n meaningful decisions. And you think picking starting gear is lame because there is no decidions in that either. Y ou jusr min max.

Fair enough critique of the starting scenario. So here are my questions:

Did you play with every option in the game, or was this scenario limited in any way?

Do you think there would ever be a reason to take an ability that does not grant anythng other than more damage? In other words are there useful abilities that may be needed in other scenarios?

Do you expect all the other scenarios to play like this one? Is there a reward for anything other than min/maxing damage?

Did the opening scenario do a good job of demonstrating the mechanics, irrespective of hiw easy the scenario was?

To me the answer to these questions are what really matter. You certainly bring up concerns that are legitimate. The initial scenario of Galaxy Defenders is not a walk in the park and can be a lot for new players. I think having a beginner scenario for S&S is good. But the rest of the game needs to build on that.


The thing with the starting equipment is that you got the "choice" to waste your first turn to pick two items from the stash or you can just leave it.

What bugged me about it is the fact that it took me some time looking through all the rulebook to find a paragraph about starting equipment and found nothing. (This whole thing about the starting equipment can only be found in the quest setup rules) and although it's presented as a choice, it really isn't, because well, why would you head into the quest with no equipment?

My whole problem with the lack of meaningful decisions isn't just that imo picking skills and weopons was a no-brainer, but much rather that advancing through the map, using your skills and fighting enemies couldn't be tackled in a few ways that made sense and had to be mixed up when facing different rooms/enemies, but much rather the optimal way seemed to be always the same.

on to your questions:

Like I said I only played this with 2 characters (there are more characters available and you can play with about 4 at the same time I guess) for 2 times, just to make sure extreme luck didn't affect my expirience too much.

Of course there are other ways to boost your dmg than through these skills. However in the beginning and for the first skills I see very little sense in picking up other skills than what I did. (Obvious other skills for later levels include summoning spells that basically grant you more attacks via a summon, healing skills and AoE skills. They typically have higher cooldown though, so they wouldn't make sense as your only skill).
I don't know if there will be different scenarios than fighting scenarios, but the skills all revolved around combat-enemy interaction, so I think it's all about min maxing damage.

It's really hard to say if the scenarios will play really different. I guess the biggest part is if there are stationary enemies, multiple paths and enemy AI that doesn't only consider how far the monster is away from the heroes for deciding what the monster does. Also a more dynamical preferred target mechanism could play a big part in this.
In the demo there was non of this and the AI seemed to be easily exploitable, because you knew exactly how you have to act in order for them to act suboptimally. Often encounter cards didn't even activate every enemy which made the whole thing easier.
Last but not least there were no real time constraints, so luring the enemies around the map had no drawbacks. There is the event-deck, but apart from spawning new monsters now and then, they didn't feel that meaning- or impactfull.

Did this scenario did a good job of demonstrating the game? That's a hard question to answer.
Let me put it this way: Even to play this scenario you have to digest an over 50 pages long rulebook pretty throughly. The turn structure involves many things and there are many things that have to be cared about. From reducing the cooldown of your skills, to keeping in mind if it's an odd turn number, so you have to draw a new event-card, to which card represents each enemy, paying attention on dominating areas and so on. Even on this quest you are confronted by a lot of symbols, critical strike and conditions come into play from the get go and have to be cross-referenced every time with the rulebook and aren't in one place of the rulebook.
So there is quite a lot of effort involved in keeping track of everything, while the real gameplay is very light and instead of needing half of all the fiddly stuff in this quest and being engaged in getting to know all your gameplay options, it's the other way around. From dashing to focusing attacks, to provoking master enemies and whatnot that all sounded like interesting options when I read them in the rulebook, I never thought once about using them, or looking up what the super special attack of my weapon could do, because just adding damage via bolts and your skills were so successfull in beating the monsters.
So I guess it's for you to decide if this is a good demonstration.
Personally I was more intrigued after reading the 50 pages long alpha rule-book than after playing the scenario.


My prime reason to write all this is to prevent others from going into this demo with too high hopes and leaving as disapointed as me, because we all want to have enjoyable times when playing games right?
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Jason Farris
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Thanks for the more thorough assessment. The one thing I can say about the galaxy defenders initial scenario is that you face three types of aliens. One is melee only and rushes up to attack, another is shoot often and try to keep the nemy at a distance, amd the third will fire from a distance but also beat the snot out of you up close. So the AI was varied greatly.

I wonder if the demo, only having one enemy type does S&S a disservice
 
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Dom Hiob
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While I do find your report interesting, I'm still expecting S&S to be a great game.

As for why:

Never judge a book by its cover. I don't think the first scenario is supposed to be anything but rules-explanation. While the introductory scenario in GD was a bit harsher than your experience with S&S, it also obviously was meant to introduce rules gradually. Since GD may have been a bit hard for some new players, I can easily see why Gremlins would go for a more accessible first scenario in S&S. Also keep in mind S&S was made with Diablo-esque games in mind. Those typically start out with a really easy introductory "scenario".

Personally, I think that it's really useful that there is such a scenario. Because as you remarked: 50 pages of rulebook might leave you somewhat dizzy. So it's important to have a scenario that lets you get into the basic flow of the game. And it's good that this scenario is not too punishing IMO. It's basically preparing you for the harder stuff to come (or so I hope).

Also, S&S is not a total stranger. We have seen the way Gremlins work this type of game before -- with GD. I really loved the variety of mission goals in GD. I don't see any reason to doubt that we'll see the same variety in S&S. So I don't think it'll only be combat-based scenarios.

Last: If Gremlins don't win each scenario all the time, I don't think the game will be too easy...

just my 2 cents
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Ricky W
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Thank you for your opinion and I suspected many of your thoughts as I read the rulebook, too.

Let me add my thoughts:
+ the combat system seems to be great together with the usage of skills and their cooldowns.
+ the variety of hereos with their two alignments is great.
+ the line of sight solution is great.

o I bet the final rulebook will be much better structured AND the player summary sheet will help for fast references.

- I can't help but distrust the system of movement areas. They probably destroy all tactical possibilites. In Descent 2 the tactics was all about positioning and path-blocking in their small square fields. I really can't imagine how there can be done puzzly tactics with areas everybody can move in, move out and move through (although taking monster's auto strikes). And using control/dominate an area is an easy/auto tactics that is not really worth mentioning.

to sum up:
I hope somehow ares/gremlins manage to establish some increasing importance of tactics and choices in the following campaign quests, although I can't see real possibilies there myself
But I'm a fan of coop games and this will be the first dungeon crawler in my collection. So I will stay a backer.

My wish after your comment:
Give each monstertype 3 individual preferred targets instead of only one. Thus it will be much more difficult to steer the enemies as you want them to move.


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Bruno Salque
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Hi there,

first of all : I loved GD (so, I'm a little bit biaised)

Now, for my idea of your experiment : thanks to have test it on tabletopia (I couldn't give myself enough energy to succeed in doing so).

I think the IA of the game will make us love it in the long run, as some people won't attack the "mighty hero in shining armor" and chose to attack the squichy archer behind. But, in your playthrough, it may have been too easy. If you optimise everything (no critics here), usually, you win in this kind of game, but I though the GD equilibrium made us win with a very sligh margin in the end.

I won't be too much bothered by your playthrough (and hope you won't too, and will back the kickstarter if you think the alpha play you just experimented will improve 10X over the next year). What I don't understand is why didn't they give you any challenge... Maybe because they are like the critters, not very powerful but annoying... Could you try with a change of monster ? Would you love to ?
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Sebastian Lion
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I've tried the demo too, and it's true it's damn easy compared to Galaxy defenders , but it's a demo after all. Now in Galaxy defenders you can enhance the game difficulty ( a lot) with some extra rules that you can find in the storybook or with houserules too ( a simple + 1 armor +1 dice to all monters make a big difference).
 
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carraway0877 wrote:

- I can't help but distrust the system of movement areas. They probably destroy all tactical possibilites. In Descent 2 the tactics was all about positioning and path-blocking in their small square fields. I really can't imagine how there can be done puzzly tactics with areas everybody can move in, move out and move through (although taking monster's auto strikes). And using control/dominate an area is an easy/auto tactics that is not really worth mentioning.


This is my fear as well with the area movement as opposed to grid based movement and it was one of the reasons why i dropped my Conan pledge. However, IA allowed each figure to move through enemies also while in Descent movement was blocked, but this actually created a much more tactical gameplay (blocking enemies is a no brainer tactic), so i am optimistic.

I did not play S&S on TT, so correct me if i am wrong, but there are only Gremlins in the Demo, right?
If so i do not get the complaint made here, the tactic to lure them around the map with the tank carrying the most gold has been mentioned by the designer and is probably not very hard to figure out anyway. And of course the AI of one enemy type is easily exploitable, so i am not sure what people where expecting from the demo (Edit: to clarify in regards to the difficulty of the demo)?
 
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Corporal Joe Bauers
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If you're not sure what people were expecting from the demo, read the thread above your post: Nothing.

I can summarize: "Review of gameplay demonstration and rulebook denounced by claiming the game has just so much room for improvement that the demo can't possibly relate to the game at all."
 
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Symmetrical Docking wrote:
If you're not sure what people were expecting from the demo, read the thread above your post: Nothing.

I can summarize: "Review of gameplay demonstration and rulebook denounced by claiming the game has just so much room for improvement that the demo can't possibly relate to the game at all."



I worded it poorly, i meant the complaint about the difficulty.
 
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DA_Maz wrote:
Once you have played a few rounds of the game and got how it works, it gets extremely easy and the enemy AI becomes easily exploitable. In fact the enemy AI in most cases made the enemies less efficiant instead of smarter and the encounter deck often made the enemies perform worse than if they just all activated each turn.


You found a way to easily beat the first scenario, this does not mean that the whole game will be easy.

You strategy revolves around the fact that with the +1 Dam from the dwarven aura, the 1 auto hit from the bow and the +1 damage Focus action, you have a guaranteed one hit kill against green gremlins (3HP) and with your crit ability and the additional blue die, probably blue gremlins (4HP) too. You will take not wounds and the gremlins won't steal any gold, making the game very easy depending on what the red gremlin gets as ability.

So what could you do... raise the difficulty. The game system allows for that. Swap out the gremlins against raiders with 6+ HP and your one hit kills wont work anymore.
You will start to receive damage. You did not pick the healing power for the dwarf, so your combined 10 HP will dwindle very fast... it will be a very close call. Even if you dont want to raise difficulty, i doubt you one-hit-kill strategy will work in later scenarios with more and tougher enemies.

Here in contrast how my (lost) scenario runthrough was:
I played chaos (its the standard option). I picked exploding runes for the dwarf, the crit power for the elf and the evade power for the rogue (i could either take sword&dagger or sword&armor for her starting equipment and i didnt want her to have no armor, so the better dagger ability made no sense) All abilities where usable every round, like yours.

When you play chaos the elfs special ability is for swords, not for bows, and the rogues ability centers around daggers, so two of my 3 special abilities where unusable. A bad decision on my part, i should have changed setup and should have swapped ranger for archer.
Escpecially as there are not enough weapons in the stash to equip both two-weapon-fighters accordingly. (there is only Longsword, Scimitar, Knife @Gremlins: Would be nice if you added another knife or dagger)
I also should not have taken armour but Sword & Knife for the roque.

I agree that the basic equipment is almost a no brainer (altough i obviously managed to make game deciding errors here ), but for me it was clear that it was a story decision not to pre-equip them. The heroes were just summoned from death, so they are naked at the start.

So, my combat ability all in all was very mediocre... only the dwarf with the hammer packed a punch.

The first gremlins died fast enough, but not without scoring hits... so my HP slowly degraded over the first few combats. I was a bit unlucky with respawns, so i had at one time 2 blue 1 green enemy against me, who then all activated. Due to a lucky 4 hit-roll of a gremlin my Rogue was down to 1HP soon and could not do much for the rest of the scenario. The dwarf was more resilient but also was down to 2 HP when we entered the place in front of the cathedral. The elf was unharmed.

I had the chance to buy from the emporium but i could not buy the much needed healing potion, since i had all my money stolen (do you get your money back if the gremlins who have stolen it die?)
I took the knife from the stash for my rogue. (I ruled that i may get things from the stash for free when able to buy at the emporium, dont know if this was wrong, it made no difference since the rogue died soon after that)

After arriving at the cathedral place, the dwarf ran into a trap and received 1HP damage and a poison marker. Since he failed the save, he died at the start of the next round. The raider took out my roque (my fault, i should have healed him with the dwarves shout first thing).
The ranger could kill the raider, but not without taking hits.
I had only enough soul points to resurrect one hero and decided that i could not overcome the rest of the scenario, so i stopped before i spoiled the rest of the story for me.

In the end i had a somewhat negative experience like you, because it felt like my heroes were weak and flimsy and i wondered how i could win this scenario without taking the dwarves healing power.
But i was/am eager to try again... perhaps now using your strategy.
 
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Ricky W
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From Ares Games in the KS project:

Quote:
#Tabletopia demo 'review'- probably Simone will reply later, but the point is - it's a DEMO. It does not represent the entire game experience that S&S will offer.

Apparently, the main complaint is " the scenario was too easy to play" -- well, it was not MEANT to be hard. That quest is meant to give you a hands-on experience on gameplay, simple enough to get you acquainted with the core mechanics of the game (assuming you can get beyond the difficulties of learning the Tabletopia UI, of course).
The user says in the end it was "too easy" for him - and maybe it was, because he definitely looks like a good player, and the scenario is not meant to be hard. There's also no way to say if he made mistakes during play, who might have affected his game experience.

If the complaint is "it's not a perfect tutorial" - this is correct, because the proposal to work with Tabletopia came very close to the launch of the KS. So it was not possible to "optimize" the introductory Quest to become a "tutorial Quest" (which is a different concept, from a learning point of view).

Rather than replying with our own (biased) opinion, I'd rather prefer players who had a different experience with our Tabletopia demo to reply and/or post their own reviews. From the stats we got, it looks like a lot of people played, so I am sure there are different opinions out there.

 
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Sebastian Lion
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From Ares:

Quote:
...the final game will have a good balance for a medium player, and in addition there are 4 levels of difficulty in the storybook in order to offer an additional level of tuning...



Problem solved!
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Thibaud Dejardin
France
Ferrère-La-Grande
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carraway0877 wrote:

- I can't help but distrust the system of movement areas. They probably destroy all tactical possibilites. In Descent 2 the tactics was all about positioning and path-blocking in their small square fields. I really can't imagine how there can be done puzzly tactics with areas everybody can move in, move out and move through (although taking monster's auto strikes). And using control/dominate an area is an easy/auto tactics that is not really worth mentioning.
I feel exactly the same about the terrain. That is a real turn-off for me. I hated The dungeon ang dragon series for that, and even if SS does clearly better about characters personalisation and levelling, I don' think it will suit me.

I didn't have an easy time, because I didn't use the dominating rule, and didn't play the dwarf but the sorceress and the archer instead, and the red gremlins got a +1 armor, thus making me simply unable to beat him. I lost but only because I had a bad luck drawing this card.
 
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