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Dead of Winter: The Long Night» Forums » General

Subject: Some Suggestions for Combining Base DoW with The Long Night DoW rss

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oldschoolgamr
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I was underwhelmed with the guidance provided on combining the cards from the base DoW game with this new expansion. I was convinced the rules would address this in detail so that game balance and playability would by retained. Instead, the rules include very little on this topic and it is really limited to a warning that the game can be VERY affected by how you combine location cards from each game...

As a result, I examined the cards from each location and decided in most cases to replace the base cards with the expansion cards, with some exceptions when it comes to unique cards (mostly Tools, Books, and in some cases Medicine).

I believe the item card ratios should be maintained - the whole point of DoW is strategic resource collection to meet specific goals - often under a difficult time constraint and under rapidly changing conditions. You may only have one shot to search a location and it can be game changing if what you expect to be there isn't. Shuffling 40 cards and randomly dealing 20 for each location is game breaking IMO and I wanted to detail what I did to maintain what I consider to be a critical part of enjoying the game. Note 1: I do plan on playing with all the new modules, so the decks reflect that greater difficulty (which means the extra food in one of the locations decks for The Long Night has been maintained). Note 2: Base = Original Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game; TLN = Expansion Dead of Winter: The Long Night.

Starter Deck: I simply replaced the Base starter deck with the TLN starter deck. There have been some comments about improving the 5-player game with excess starter cards, so that could be a future option, but for now, a complete replacement seems the best.

Location Cards: I evaluated each location, comparing the Base decks to TLN decks and realized after replacing the resource cards (Gas, Medicine, and Food) there are clear substitutions that make sense and add some fun randomization to each game WITHOUT introducing frustrating unpredictability to an already completely unpredictable game... This does add some time to setup - but it is well worth it IMO. You add some cards from Base to TLN as described in "Combine" and you separate, shuffle, and randomly (blindly) add to the rest of the deck as described in "Setup" for each location below:

Library - Combine: Add the 7 book cards from Base to TLN. Setup: Randomly select 7 of the 14 book cards.

Hospital - Combine: Add the two Adrenaline Shot cards from Base to TLN. Setup: Randomly select 2 of the 4 Shot cards.

School - Combine: 4 Book cards and Megaphone and Baseball Bat from Base to TLN. Setup: Randomly select 3 of 5 Tool cards and 4 of 8 Book cards.

Police Station - Combine: Add Padlock and two Tactical Rifle cards from Base to TLN. Setup: Randomly select 3 of 4 Tool cards and 6 of 8 Weapon cards.

Gas Station - Combine: Add 1 Switchblade card from Base to TLN. Setup: Randomly select 2 of 3 of the following: Katana; Shotgun; Switchblade.

Grocery Store - Combine: Add Rotting Flesh card from Base to TLN. Setup: Randomly select 4 of 5 Tool cards.

I think this approach is the best to maintain the playability of the game.

Crossroad Cards: I don't like the idea of diluting the likelihood of triggering Crossroad cards, since very few ever triggered in the Base games I played. So, I am following another users suggestion to increase the probability in light of the immense number of cards there are now. Original Post

trenttsd wrote:
Between games, I sort all Crossroads cards into two piles - character-specific ones and non-specific ones.

At the start of a game, I pull out all of the character specific ones and find the ones matching our starting characters. I then split the remaining character specific ones in half and all of the non-character ones in half and use half of each deck (along with the starting character Crossroads cards) to make a freshly-mixed Crossroads deck. Whenever someone gets a new character, that person searches the leftover Crossroads cards for that character's card and, if they find it, they shuffle it into the in-game Crossroads deck.

This makes a dynamic Crossroads deck for each game that's always going to be a little different. It's a little more work, but it's good.


I am sure others will have input on this topic, but I am curious what playtesting revealed and wonder if any official opinion will be stated - I suppose it best to let the community figure it out... or is it?

OSG
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J. Chris Miller
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Yeah I agree the suggestion for combining is weak. Since I don't want to be spoiled about the contents of TLN's item decks, I'm just gonna roll with TLN-only for a while. When I've discovered enough of the items I'll customize the decks according to my liking.
 
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Ossian Grr aka "Josh"
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Those are awesome suggestions.

With the Crossroads Deck, again, with Felicia, I feel like there's more flexibility allowed on which "character-specific" cards can go in (even if she isn't in the initial draw).
Not exactly sure what I'm going to do there, but I'm tempted to still split between "character-specific" and "non-character-specific" but just blindly use half of each and hope for the best.

I personally don't find it too problematic for turns to go by without Crossroads triggering, though, so my mileage varies.

It's just a little disappointing that Plaid Hat didn't supply any specific rules like this.

 
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JonnyRotten
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Crossroad Cards: Mix both set's together, and when one triggers, remove it from the pool permanently.
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Alexandre Santos
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jgilmour wrote:
Crossroad Cards: Mix both set's together, and when one triggers, remove it from the pool permanently.


This is what I've been doing with the base set, although I don't remove character related crossroad cards
 
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Jean-Philippe Thériault
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Be aware that the TLN location decks have more/better Food cards than the Base set's, probably to balance out Food intake when bandits are in play. So you might want to use the base set's distributions instead of TLN's as a starting point when not playing with the bandits module.

Personally I'm more interested in the "shuffle all 40 together and deal" option, for more uncertainty.
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Ossian Grr aka "Josh"
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jgilmour wrote:
Crossroad Cards: Mix both set's together, and when one triggers, remove it from the pool permanently.


I know that's what you do, Jon, and it probably helps the ability to playtest those dozens of cards.
But I'm not a fan of this option, even with a plethora of custom cards to add to the "infinite" queue.
There isn't exactly balance between the effects of the Crossroads Cards, so it's nice to be able to mix some of the "better" ones back in. Or, conversely, for particularly nasty ones to resurface.
Also, maybe you paid good money for some of the promos and want to see those Crossroads show up more often than not.

And, for example, knowing for a fact that Sparky's Crossroads card triggered in a game on July 8th, but playing a game with a different group of people on September 19th, is a weird bit of information to hold on to. It isn't quite a "campaign" game in that sense.

Personally I'm going to go with something closer to oldschoolgamer/trenttsd's suggestion.
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Todd France
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I'm wondering if a "hybrid" solution might cut your prep time down significantly while mostly achieving your desired effect. Create permanent location decks by adding in all the cards you suggested. Then at game setup, simply remove x cards from each location deck to bring the total back down to 20. So you'd remove:
Library - 7, Hospital - 2, School - 6, Police Station - 3, Gas Station - 1, Grocery Store - 1
I think for everything but the Library and School you're looking at a negligible difference in item type breakdown. Then the question becomes how big of a deal is it to upset the balance of those last 2 locations? FWIW, the Library is already inaccurate in it's listing (unless it was corrected in TLN) because there are more Outsiders than there are Tools, and any possible discard combination will preserve Books as the most likely item pull. Personally, I think I'd be fine for that deck with the tradeoff of increased likelihood to get a good book vs. no longer knowing if a specific book you want is even in the deck.

The School is the real sticky wicket, going from a reliable source of Food to that being a secondary item, behind both Books and Tools. Not sure that's treatable without the meticulous setup procedure you describe.

For other decks, there are probably some more tweaks you could make to fine tune the balance and reduce your setup overhead. Hard to know without knowing the full item list for the new decks. But I see you chose to include both Tactical Rifles, but only one Switchblade, so there are some value judgements being made. As an example, you could possibly only add in 1 Tactical Rifle, and remove one of the (I'm assuming) 3 Colts, which would only leave you 1 card over 20, and make the deck a lot more reliable.
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Todd France
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XDarkAngelX wrote:
Personally I'm more interested in the "shuffle all 40 together and deal" option, for more uncertainty.

So, you like the uncertainty in the location decks, but not in the starting items? maybe this is the wrong thread to ask about that...
 
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What about - if you draw a Crossroads card for a character that isn't currently in play, draw a second Crossroads card? (Only once per turn.)
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Jean-Philippe Thériault
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pseudotheist wrote:
XDarkAngelX wrote:
Personally I'm more interested in the "shuffle all 40 together and deal" option, for more uncertainty.

So, you like the uncertainty in the location decks, but not in the starting items? maybe this is the wrong thread to ask about that...


You can mitigate the uncertainty in the location decks but not in the starting items. IMO you need that buffer to know that you can take care of crisis for the first few turns and need to plan accordingly for the future based on what you get from your searches. Whereas if you don't have medicine in your starting hands you just get screwed if first crisis is medicine.

Plus, theme-wise, I find it easier to justify having the colony start with the resources they need and needing to replenish stock (with the vagaries of luck) than them starting with haphazard supplies but knowing exactly what's out there to raid.
 
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oldschoolgamr
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XDarkAngelX wrote:
pseudotheist wrote:
XDarkAngelX wrote:
Personally I'm more interested in the "shuffle all 40 together and deal" option, for more uncertainty.

So, you like the uncertainty in the location decks, but not in the starting items? maybe this is the wrong thread to ask about that...


You can mitigate the uncertainty in the location decks but not in the starting items. IMO you need that buffer to know that you can take care of crisis for the first few turns and need to plan accordingly for the future based on what you get from your searches. Whereas if you don't have medicine in your starting hands you just get screwed if first crisis is medicine.

Plus, theme-wise, I find it easier to justify having the colony start with the resources they need and needing to replenish stock (with the vagaries of luck) than them starting with haphazard supplies but knowing exactly what's out there to raid.


I would love to hear how those plays go where you are pulling random 20 cards from the combined pool of 40. I just have too many players in my group that want need to at least feel like they had a fighting chance to reach their goals. Can't blame them really - as the game asks them to partake in meeting certain goals it kind of presumes that the means to do so will be available.

I see some interesting narratives with unexpected resources - just like in real life... But I am not sure I want my GAMES to be that realistic... Especially considering the starting point DoW is coming from without randomizing the location decks.

Keep us posted!

OSG
 
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Todd France
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XDarkAngelX wrote:
Plus, theme-wise, I find it easier to justify having the colony start with the resources they need and needing to replenish stock (with the vagaries of luck) than them starting with haphazard supplies but knowing exactly what's out there to raid.

Fair enough. I definitely appreciate the ambiguity of pulling even one card out of the deck (maybe there just aren't any Hospital Blueprints here) so long as it's not taken to the extreme of the contents of the deck determining the outcome of the game.
 
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David "Davy" Ashleydale
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To me, the only thing that would definitely be bad is if someone failed their Secret Objective at the end of the game and then we verified that it wasn't even possible due to all of a certain type of item being removed from every location.

I'm really not going to sort everything out between games and set up the location decks that meticulously every time. I'm hoping that it's just not very likely that someone's Secret Objectives will be made impossible by doing the 20 random cards for each location.

We'll try it a few times and see how it goes.

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Part of the game's charm is not knowing whether your game has a betrayer or not. The unknown is what drives the atmosphere.

I feel the same applies to the instructions to mix the cards. It is okay if the rare game turns out to be "unsolvable" due to randomness. This also adds to the atmosphere.

"Johnny was the betrayer. How could we have known?" can be frustrating. So can "there was NO food at the grocery store!". But both of these can be part of the atmosphere and so, part of the theme.

Thematically- No food at the grocery store? someone cleaned it out before you got there and you searched in vain.

Consider that Rigging the decks so each one has what you need might actually be a negative. And yes, not everyone will agree. This is a matter of taste.
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mrsuitcase wrote:
Part of the game's charm is not knowing whether your game has a betrayer or not. The unknown is what drives the atmosphere.

I feel the same applies to the instructions to mix the cards. It is okay if the rare game turns out to be "unsolvable" due to randomness. This also adds to the atmosphere.

"Johnny was the betrayer. How could we have known?" can be frustrating. So can "there was NO food at the grocery store!". But both of these can be part of the atmosphere and so, part of the theme.

Thematically- No food at the grocery store? someone cleaned it out before you got there and you searched in vain.

Consider that Rigging the decks so each one has what you need might actually be a negative. And yes, not everyone will agree. This is a matter of taste.


Totally agree with respect to the matter of taste. Some people play for the experience, some for the game, most for some amount of both. I have very limited game time and I don't want to sacrifice the game part of the activity for something limited to the experience. Again, just my preference.

The designers have presented an outline of mechanisms that create both a game with important decisions that impede success when made poorly and an experience that is entertaining for sure... I just fall into the camp that wants to be making those decisions with the amount of information the base game offered - there was enough uncertain under those conditions for my tastes.

A similar play style preference is the reading of crossroad cards. The game was designed to present the outcomes of each option so that both thematic and strategic decisions could influence choices made. Many enjoy not reading the consequences and simply choosing options based on theme and dealing with outcomes - game vs. experience. I prefer the former, but many prefer the latter. As long as we are all enjoying the product we all win.
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oldschoolgamr
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XDarkAngelX wrote:
Be aware that the TLN location decks have more/better Food cards than the Base set's, probably to balance out Food intake when bandits are in play. So you might want to use the base set's distributions instead of TLN's as a starting point when not playing with the bandits module.

Personally I'm more interested in the "shuffle all 40 together and deal" option, for more uncertainty.

It is just one location (can't remember which), but it has one more food card than base (at the loss of an equipment card - I think....) But yeah, I did see that and should have noted I plan to play with all modules going forward... Keen observation, no doubt.
 
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oldschoolgamr
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I played a game this weekend and there is one important note to consider when combining location cards between the Base and TLN:

The TLN location cards are cut slightly different than the Base location cards. As a result, you can see where the Base game cards fall in the deck by looking at the edge, as they are clearly different than the bulk of cards from TLN.

THIS IS FRUSTRATING. It is difficult to "not" see and I don't see any way of getting around it besides using upwards of 180 opaque sleeves.

OSG
 
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Ossian Grr aka "Josh"
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oldschoolgamr wrote:
I played a game this weekend and there is one important note to consider when combining location cards between the Base and TLN:

The TLN location cards are cut slightly different than the Base location cards. As a result, you can see where the Base game cards fall in the deck by looking at the edge, as they are clearly different than the bulk of cards from TLN.

THIS IS FRUSTRATING. It is difficult to "not" see and I don't see any way of getting around it besides using upwards of 180 opaque sleeves.

OSG


Is the same true for Crossroads/Crisis/Survivor/etc cards?
 
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oldschoolgamr
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jozxyqk wrote:
oldschoolgamr wrote:
I played a game this weekend and there is one important note to consider when combining location cards between the Base and TLN:

The TLN location cards are cut slightly different than the Base location cards. As a result, you can see where the Base game cards fall in the deck by looking at the edge, as they are clearly different than the bulk of cards from TLN.

THIS IS FRUSTRATING. It is difficult to "not" see and I don't see any way of getting around it besides using upwards of 180 opaque sleeves.

OSG


Is the same true for Crossroads/Crisis/Survivor/etc cards?

I have heard the Crossroad cards of TLN are slightly washed out colorwise on their cardbacks, but it was not enough to notice nor did it disrupt the game I played. I do not plan to sleeve them.

There are some difference seen on the cut edge for Crisis and Survivor cards, but it does not disrupt gameplay as the number of cards of each is more even, so the stack just looks variable when shuffled well - you can't exactly tell which type is which or when they will come up like you can with the location cards. I do not plan to sleeve these either - FWIW.

 
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Does it really make any difference if each location had 25 cards instead of 20? How so?
 
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David "Davy" Ashleydale
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tigerwalms wrote:
Does it really make any difference if each location had 25 cards instead of 20? How so?


25 wouldn't make as much of a difference as 40, which is what the two sets combine to. But still, there are some consequences to running out of cards at a location, so the more cards you put there, the less likely that will happen.
 
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I keep hearing this about the consequences but surely these are negligible enough that they'd barely make any difference? Apart from the mission where you have to clear one deck, is there anything else?
 
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If the decks have more things, it makes the game easier, since there's more weapons to go around, more food, more fuel...
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Todd France
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tigerwalms wrote:
Does it really make any difference if each location had 25 cards instead of 20? How so?

Aside from the objectives related to clearing out locations (there are both main objectives and secret personal goals that use this) larger decks have 2 obvious impacts:

1) Your resources are less prone to run out in longer games. Finding stuff is pretty easy in the early rounds; you just go to the location where the items are most likely to be. Once those locations have been mined though you have fewer options for the Food you need to keep the Colony fed, or possibly for that Fuel you need to spend every round. Either the longer deck will include more of those items, drawing out the utility of those locations, or they will not, decreasing the reliability of those locations to begin with.

2) Several characters have abilities related to specific location decks. Those abilities effectively have an expiration date, and tweaking the size of the deck also affects the duration of utility for those characters (again, particularly in longer games).
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