Rob H
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Pacing and hero to monster power feels like it is the biggest drawback for SDE FK. Basically that means heroes get gear too fast, monsters become trivial quickly, and everything after the first tile is a long winded victory lap for the heroes. As such I have been using some house rules designed to use existing game components while adding as little fiddly as possible. It is designed with arcade mode in mind, but should be adaptable to other modes. Even though I have not played in awhile the results were very good and I just realized that maybe others might find value in them too. Thus, I thought I would share:

House rule summary:
--Chap loot fix (see below)
--Chap pacing fix (see below)
--Treasure drop rate mod (see below)
--'When summoned' effect is still in Arcade (i.e. Environment card for classic)
--Mighty chart bonuses apply to B's and Mini B's not just minions
--Bosses are a spawn point for their native spawn point (i.e. Starfire spawns as a dragon clutch when a spawn command is drawn rather than standing there)
--Spawn commands remove status effects from B's and Mini B's

Chap's loot fix:
Each minion killed is worth 2 blue dice to roll for up to 3 minions (6 dice) during the power up phase and is marked by putting a skull token on the backpack. During the power up phase, 2 blue dice are rolled for each skull on the backpack and each heart icon rolled (again max 3) is worth 1 loot draw (so 1/6 x2 chance for loot per minion). Each elite kill is a standard loot draw and lowers the maximum minion rolls by 2 blue dice (i.e. 1 skull token) along with lowering the max loot that could be gained by heart rolls. If an elite is killed, put a loot card on the backpack as usual. If a minion is killed, put a skull token on to remind you to roll the 2 blue dice (but you can't have more than 3 total loot cards plus skulls). If you have 3 skulls tokens on the backpack for minion kills then kill an elite, replace a skull token with a loot card. This should create a smoother curve of 0 to 3 loot each turn.

Example: Questing Knight kills 3 minions. He puts three skulls on the backpack. Princess Emerald then kills a minion (no more skulls allowed) and an elite. A loot card is put on the backpack for the elite and one skull token is removed. The heroes then go to power up phase and roll 4 blue dice per the 2 remaining skull tokens. Hearts are worth 1 more loot up to a total of 2 more loot (the elite's loot already counts against the 3 hard cap). An amazing 4 hearts are rolled and the heroes pull two more loot to get to their maximum of 3 per turn.

Next turn the heroes killed 5 minions (3 tokens per the hard cap of 3), so six blue dice were rolled. No hearts came up. Sorry, no loot this time heroes.

Chap's Pacing fix (to nudge the heroes forward so they don't farm and give the game an "against the clock" tension:
The Dungeon Boss is trying to keep the heroes from stealing his precious treasure, but he needs to gather his strength and minions before his hoard can be relocated as the heroes are already attacking. Evil, nasty heroes!

1) Put 2 knockdown (!) tokens next to the mighty monster chart. That is to say, the heroes start at 2 tokens.
2) Add a (!) token every time a spawn command is issued per spawn point that is spawning (yes this can be multiple tokens on some Arcade cards)
3) Remove a (!) token every time a spawn point is destroyed
4) Remove a (!) token every time a mini-boss is killed
5) If the token pile gets to 4 (!) tokens, then the Dungeon Boss has managed to move some of his treasure out of the Heroes' reach. Remove the treasure chest that is closest to the heroes from play. Reset the counter to 2 (!) tokens. If no chests remain in play when 4 (!) tokens are reached, then advance the Mighty Monster chart one setting and move back to 2 (!) tokens. If the chart is already at 5, start the chart again continuing to add bonuses (i.e. the mighty chart can loop around to give the monsters ever growing power).

On the pacing chart above, if the chart ever hits 4 (!) tokens, when the chart is reset to 2 (!), the "When Summoned" effects go off per the Dungeon Boss's card to signify his growing strength (note just the effect, such as fire or slow, not the actual summoning or anything).

Treasure drop rate mod:
When treasure chest is worth 2 cards, draw one and also roll three red dice. If any die shows a potion icon, then there was more treasure in the chest. Draw the second card as usual.

When a treasure chest is worth 1 card (such as smashing), then roll three red dice. If any die shows a potions, then there was still something of value left after the vandalism. Draw a treasure as usual.

I might have forgot something, but I'm pretty sure that is how I was playing. Give it a go as, in my opinion, it really takes things to the next level and addresses most of the shortfalls of SDE:FK vanilla.
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Lunar Sol
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I've just altered the Command Deck to be more aggressive, personally. If you take out the "spawn and do nothing" cards, heroes don't really get a chance to farm as you need to keep the elites down just to not get overwhelmed.

I'd be very wary of adding MMC to the bosses and mini bosses as well. It certainly would make them more challenging, but there are quite a few that are very dangerous as long as they're not standing around doing nothing.
 
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Jonah Rees
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I think the Loot/Treasure rules are just adding too much extra to the game unnecessarily. I'd just stick with the Loot only for Elites, no dice rolling/stars to determine whether you'll get extra. I think Treasure is fine too personally. Although this is from the perspective of Classic rather than Arcade as we prefer that mode of play.
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Kevin Outlaw
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It's always interesting to see how other players are adding timer mechanisms and ironing out creases in the standard rule set, but while there is some interesting stuff here, for me these are a bit too fiddly.

I really like the rule that you only get loot for killing elites. It's easy to remember, implements instantly and seamlessly, and really does make it much more difficult to get lots of items.

Personally, the game has so much dice rolling already, I don't really fancy the idea of adding more, and I would definitely forget to keep shifting around the knockdown tokens for the timer mechanism.
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Rob H
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LunarSol wrote:
I've just altered the Command Deck to be more aggressive, personally. If you take out the "spawn and do nothing" cards, heroes don't really get a chance to farm as you need to keep the elites down just to not get overwhelmed.

I'd be very wary of adding MMC to the bosses and mini bosses as well. It certainly would make them more challenging, but there are quite a few that are very dangerous as long as they're not standing around doing nothing.
Of course folks can do what they like. In my experience, Arcade mode Bosses and mini bosses are just super weak after the first tile (maaaaaybe two) in vanilla Forgotten King. Elites are also toothless as heroes decked out heroes can stand neck deep in them and nothing happens. Some of this comes from the fact that monsters have static numbers that are right in the middle of their statistical range for classic. This means monsters can never push past hero loot with a power roll in Arcade because, well, they are static values and as such don't roll dice. The other part is that 3 loot a turn and at least 3 treasure draws a tile make it so the heroes have super gear and ideal loot very very early. So even with removing the "stand around and do nothing but spawn" cards the heroes just can't be hurt (even with mighty chart applied to all) unless they completely flub a defense roll.

Yes, there are some exceptions as some B's and Mini B's are head and shoulders above the others (Glimmerwing for example due to status effects). Play those for a crazy hard game or put them later in the dungeon. Most are kittens though. An attack or defense roll for most of them just can't hope to stand up to a hero with a single green die and a few trash loot dice unless the hero rolls terribly.

The point of the house rules above is to:
1) slow loot and treasure down so that loot remains exciting and monsters stay a threat. This is the biggest problem. Three loot a turn is just too much when most arcade attacks are static 1-3 stars. After the first tile you need heroes to wiff rolls for anything to happen.

2) make the spawn command cards a randomized pacing tool (the knockdown tokens) that threatens to lower player power curve with less treasure draws and later more ticks on the mighty chart. It creates tangible urgency as anything short of ruthless aggression makes the heroes slowly fall behind the monsters in power which is very different than any other version of FK that I have seen. By being a semi-random urgency it also adds agency as the heroes need to make tough calls on how and where to push ("Boris is wrecking our faces, but if we don't kill that spawn point this turn and a Spawn command is drawn then the forth token hits and we lose that treasure chest... We could smash it, but then we get less from it... Can we kill Boris in one round, if we do the chart tokens drop and we have time, but the mighty chart..." Etc etc).

3) spread out and balance the player power curve. With vanilla rules they get to maximum power by the end of tile two with most of it in tile 1. The monsters in contrast barely change in vanilla and are already handicapped with averaged out static values that can never spike. The pacing of the above has the added value that the game stays tense and exciting for ALL tiles. You want a nail biting 6 tile epic run? Go for it. You want a two tile or even single tile boss fight? Go for it. It works.

It's Arcade mode. It is a cooperative experience and should be both tough and rewarding to get to and possibly defeat the boss. It should not be a sleepwalk after the first tile. That was my motivating problem when I started in on these rules many months ago.
 
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Rob H
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The problem with loot from elites only is that it skews certain spawn points to be super loot intensive and others nearly totally dry.

While it reads fiddly it really isn't. Instead of a loot card on the backpack you put a token when a standard monster dies (up to the usual cap of three). At power up, roll two dice per token. Count hearts. Draw. It takes seconds and any other way that I have seen creates a feast or famine (until the next tile which will be a feast) situation which ultimately is the primary problem (loot gain rate) in Forgotten King.

The benefit of the skull token to dice change is you create a smooth curve of 0-3 loot per turn no matter which types of spawn points are used. Think about Old Growth Hollow. If you split it as required by Arcade, half of the spawn is an elite fest loot bonanza and the other half is a single loot per spawn grind.

With multiple plays I counted loot draws at the end of the game and they were always very close to 1 per turn. Sometimes you get 3, sometimes none, often 1 or 2. This means the power up phase stays exciting rather than, "nope, I got better than all three of those" by the end of the first tile.
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Lunar Sol
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chaplin717 wrote:

Of course folks can do what they like. In my experience, Arcade mode Bosses and mini bosses are just super weak after the first tile (maaaaaybe two) in vanilla Forgotten King. Elites are also toothless as heroes decked out heroes can stand neck deep in them and nothing happens. Some of this comes from the fact that monsters have static numbers that are right in the middle of their statistical range for classic. This means monsters can never push past hero loot with a power roll in Arcade because, well, they are static values and as such don't roll dice. The other part is that 3 loot a turn and at least 3 treasure draws a tile make it so the heroes have super gear and ideal loot very very early. So even with removing the "stand around and do nothing but spawn" cards the heroes just can't be hurt (even with mighty chart applied to all) unless they completely flub a defense roll.
I've only found this to be true when the heroes get multiple rounds without reprisal. It's a twofold thing. Not only are you taking more attacks because more attack cards happen (and if there's more Unique commands its generally even more attacks), but you're also not getting as many attacks in between to earn hearts and potions and kill monsters to reduce the next round of attacks.

I had a game the other day (Halloween Grabby Houses and Pumpkin Patch) where I was rolling 4R2B for my defense, but fell behind and couldn't handle the dozen or so attacks I was taking a turn. Sure, the stars weren't super high, but when you roll defense that many times a turn, the dice fail you at least a couple of times.
 
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Kristian Agerkvist
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This sounds pretty interesting I must say. Truth be told I haven't gotten around to playing the game yet, since I made the mistake of reading too much about it before actually playing and all the complaining made me loose a little momentum, but I just started reading the rules again so I'll have a go soon. These house rules seem like a very good fix for some of those issues.

I will try these out for sure, just have to decide if I try a few games with the original rules first or jump right into house ruling

Thanks alot for sharing
 
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Nippel Hack
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I would advise anyone to first try the rules as written before adding house rules.

I always play the arcade mode with three heroes and I never got to the point that the heroes are too powerful. Each hero can only use one treasure card, heroes are not allowed to trade items and there are many loot cards which are weak. So for me the elites still pose a threat and the Forgotten King is always a challenge. Hey, he attacks with 6 stars. And rolling 5 stars to hit him isn't easy either. I always feel that I have to pick the right time to take down a spawn point to keep the board and wrath under control. And I like it that way.

But I only own the base game. Perhaps these heroes are weaker than others.

And of course everyone can play in any way he wants, so thanks for sharing, too.
 
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Kristian Agerkvist
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Sounds great Hack, I'll definately try with the proper rules first after reading this. I bought this to play with four heroes tho since that our player count in my group so interesting to see how the whole picking heroes to activate will work.

Thanks Fen, seems like sound advice.
 
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Rob H
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I will also pile on with the support that you should start with the normal rules. If nothing else there is a whole lot to chew down when learning gang formation and movement. In general I suggest playing Classic first, then trying Arcade mode.

Once that is done and if you find yourself, like I did, wondering how on earth is a static 2 star monster or 4 star boss supposed to be a threat when I have been averaging 5 or more stars a roll after the first tile, THEN look at modifications. I did the same. I started in the book (such as elite only) and then quickly found those too were not fully baked ideas (spawns vary in number of elites, as such, so does loot). The rules I have put together here are designed to make all monsters equally worthy of attacking, spawning, or whatever while also keeping pacing tense. The loot curve is gradual as the monster too have a gradual curve rather than the anemic line found in vanilla.

Losing treasure is a motivator. Slow but uncapped monster growth is a factor to worry about. It comes down to loot and treasure draws. The reason why folks point to 'elite only' as a fix is that it lowers the amount of loot earned in the game. However it does so by making non-elites the main factor on how good a spawn point is for the heroes. When playing 'elites only', choosing if you start on the Turnips/Wisps side or the Mooks/Sprout side of the Old Growth paired spawn has more of an impact on the outcome of the game than any other decision made in the game because one is loot heavy and the other has basically none.

The rules above make either spawn choice a more balanced effect on loot gain and then provides simple mechanics to let monsters grow along WITH the heroes. This is done using only items in the main box. In my games I have the backpack card for storing upside down loot (garunteed loot) as per the vanilla rules and skull tokens (potential loot) next to the mighty chart that has 0-4 tokens noting the hero (knockdown) clock. It's a very small area for simple mechanics (waaaayyy easier than gang rules) that IMO take the game from B- to A territory.

It's not like I threw this together. I tested many variables in the book, modified from the book, and put up on the net. I then tried and retried ideas until I landed on this. It was a totally different post when pondering Legends that reminded me that I never put this up for public benefit.

If someone is willing to count up all the blue, red, and green dice a million times a game, or learn the sort of ingenious insanity of gangs, then spending a few seconds a turn to make the WHOLE GAME a more paced and challenging experience seems a no brainer. All I can say is try it. By tile 2 or 3 it should be clear how it is all meshing together to compliment vanilla Arcade into a tense Warhammer Quest difficulty type cooperative dungeon crawl. I still lean towards "lootometer" for Classic, but I never really put in the time to adapt these for Classic as Coop is where my heart is at.

Whatever you do. Don't dismiss SDE FK. It's 90% super awesome, but the ball just needs to be carried a bit further. If this isn't the fix for your group then back up a few pages and peruse the variant forum some more. Borrow or adapt whatever. It's your house and your rules. It's easy to dismiss games nowadays as there is always the perceived new hotness right around the corner on Kickstarter. Despite the "meh" on SDE, it all is rooted in pacing. And... Pacing is very adjustable.
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Luke
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Rob I think you did a great job with these.

I keep coming back to Arcade Mode to try and make it more interesting.

I always found it too slow, then suddenly too easy, but somehow still slow and clumpy.

I'm going to give these a shot. Thanks for writing them up.
 
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Luke
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NHack2013 wrote:

I always play the arcade mode with three heroes and I never got to the point that the heroes are too powerful. Each hero can only use one treasure card, heroes are not allowed to trade items and there are many loot cards which are weak.
I also play arcade mode with three heroes.

The heroes don't need to trade loot though. It's equipped during power-up, and can be equipped to anybody. I've found that's where the optimal choices come in.

Sometimes you have to discard something that it would've been nice to trade to another hero, but for the most part I find that heroes just get equipped correctly as loot is drawn. Dex items to the dex person, str to the str person, etc.
 
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Xris Wraith
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Thanks for sharing.

Why do you start with two (!) tokens? Is it so the heroes have some buffer in case they are very fast in destroying the first spawner? Else, your counter doesn't go below 2 :/
Will try this variant out with my zombies. Just have to decide which mini-boss to get out first. George is too hard as a first.

Another thing: I collect house rules/small variant on the SPM forum.
Would you share the completed thing there, too?
There are probably less people there wanting to make SDE what it's supposed to be", but also more people liking the different experience

Cheers.
 
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