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Subject: Game balance? rss

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EDIT: Figured it out! Finally played the 4-hero-at-a-time game and WOW does it play differently compared to 3 heroes. Things are much more in the heroes favor for sure... the game was definitely balanced around the 4 player variant. In the 3 player variant, the hero team has 2 less turns per round, 1 less city action per round, and 1 less body to give bonus die, block the sins player's movement, and soak up damage and corruption. At the end of every round, of course, the sins player draws more cards, places more tokens, summons more monsters, and increases the apocalypse track, all which GREATLY help him/her. I might make a separate post about it at some point once I try out some rule changes to balance the 3 player variant (I'm thinking 2 heroes get a third turn token, and every round they can rotate who gets them), but for now I'd recommend viewing 3-heroes-at-a-time as a challenge mode for the FAITH team and using 4-heroes-at-a-time regardless of how many people you're playing with. /end edit


How are you finding the balance between sins players and heroes? And how many heroes did you play with at once (3 or 4)?

I've played 2 games so far with 3 heroes first against Pride and then against Sloth, both on Haven's Last Stand, and the Sins player crushed the heroes both times. Looking back on both games, I'm not sure what the heroes players could have done differently. Both games the sins player holed up in a space filled with pentagrams and monsters, making the last mission impossible without suiciding, though in the game against sloth the heroes died before they could even cross the map to TRY to suicide the death room.

Is the game only really balanced in 4 hero games? Or is the game unbalanced if you have a really good sins player? Or is the throw-everything-in-one-space strategy OP for certain stories? I might have to come up with some house rules regardless.
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Lawrence
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I haven't received my copy yet, but from what I've seen of Eric Lang's interviews, he designed the game such that the heroes will die. To him, this is a redemption story and redemption doesn't come without sacrifices. I assume this means that part of the balance was based on having to suicide at least a few heroes.

If the game really is as balanced as Lang says (60% win rate for the sin), then the sin will win most of the time between evenly skilled players. With a skilled sin player, this should increase dramatically.
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Andrii Chabykin
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zombie Most one versus many games are not balanced. And this makes them interesting and fun to play.
 
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Chabster wrote:
zombie Most one versus many games are not balanced. And this makes them interesting and fun to play.

I love asymmetric games, but it's certainly not the imbalance that makes them fun. My friends aren't going to be pumped to play a game where they're all likely to lose horribly.

I just want to figure out why exactly the games I played panned out the way they did, and if there IS a huge imbalance then I can fix it with some house rules.
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Paul Glickman
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Chabster wrote:
zombie Most one versus many games are not balanced. And this makes them interesting and fun to play.


Asymmetrical games can and should be balanced. Just not identically equal on both sides.
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Mark Thompson
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We played at Gen Con... we were an unlucky dice roll away from winning the game twice as the members of F.A.I.T.H....skill checks and anti-corruption ftl!

Holing up is not hard to crack and can absolutely destroy a sins player. first off you send your corrupted player in with +3 auto hits needing only 4 or less successes to succeed. If you fail.. you are at least killing one abomination or 2 acolytes whittling down the forces. FAITH assigns the damage.

Sure your hero may die...by holing up the forces it makes it a lot easier to take out the marked monsters.
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William Aull
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I am reading a lot of reviews/sessions where the Sin player just dogpiles everything they can in 1 spot in order to keep the FAITH player from being able to accomplish their goal.

If this is the overall strategy of this game, count me out.
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r0cky143 wrote:

Holing up is not hard to crack and can absolutely destroy a sins player. first off you send your corrupted player in with +3 auto hits needing only 4 or less successes to succeed. If you fail.. you are at least killing one abomination or 2 acolytes whittling down the forces. FAITH assigns the damage.

Sure your hero may die...by holing up the forces it makes it a lot easier to take out the marked monsters.


The issue I see with that strategy is that it assumes the FAITH players have enough bodies in reserve. If the sins player has the avatar, the controller, and an abomination marked all in the same space, the FAITH player has to deal 14 total damage if they need to kill every marked monster in a single round. Not impossible if you have multiple heroes to suicide at it, but if there are no more heroes in reserve you might as well give up at that point. I guess an easy fix would be to add the rule "marked monsters cannot share the same space".

Hillean wrote:
I am reading a lot of reviews/sessions where the Sin player just dogpiles everything they can in 1 spot in order to keep the FAITH player from being able to accomplish their goal.

If this is the overall strategy of this game, count me out.


At least there are multiple story boards. Do a mission where you have to clear out corruption or rescue civilians and suddenly the dogpile strategy isn't viable.
 
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Geoff ...
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"Hey Eric, I played your game twice and it's not balanced!

EPRIC FAIL!"
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Jurn de Ruijter
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Geoff wrote:
"Hey Eric, I played your game twice and it's not balanced!

EPRIC FAIL!"


lol
 
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Richard Keene
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I’ve only played a couple games but balance actually seems better than most in this genre. Or let me rephrase, most games that are similar usually end up feeling like the Overlord is a facilitator instead of an opponent. With The Others, it feels more like it is supposed to be competitive instead of a storytelling adventure.

Most of the unwinnable scenarios that people have described seem more like they came about because people didn’t understand the mechanics, allowed the problem to get out of hand, or a mix of the two.

Sin cards aside; there is no hidden information in this game so heroes should be able to plan for the next phase of a mission. Marking monsters in particular: You know when this is going to occur and the sin player has to do it immediately. With this knowledge, you can influence which monsters get marked by killing other ones to make it easier for you to deal with in the next phase of the mission. Monsters are pretty limited in how they spawn and movement options even more so, which should allow the heroes to lock down areas of the map and prevent snowballing.
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May I ask if you played with 3 or 4 heroes on the board at a time?
 
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Diversion Architect
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Holing up is a poor strategy. As described above, it's easy to sacrifice one hero and win.

It's better to force players to deal with each space, slowing them down. Moving past monsters costs precious wounds.

The longer the game lasts, the better for the sins player. Since they get more sin cards and more apocalypse cards.
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Patrick Reynolds
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My daughter has been the Sins player in both games I've played so far, and she hit on the "dogpile monsters + pentagrams" strategy pretty quickly. And it worked, because nobody had played the game more then once previously.

In thinking about ways to counter this, what I've come up with are a couple of strategies that I'll be trying the next time we play

1) By piling monsters in just one space, the Sins player leaves most of the board wide open - exploit this by stocking up on upgrades and using the orbital laser to thin herd a bit.

2) Use heroes to block off access to the space where the dogpile is happening. Becaus the Sins player will broadcast a location where he/she intends to pile monsters by moving them there during reactions instead of moving toward heroes and attacking, the heroes can move to block nearby nests, making it difficult for the Sins player to continue to put monsters into that space. Monsters can't voluntarily move out of spaces with heroes, so sitting on the spawn points or the street spaces around the building where the dogpile is happening will lock incoming monsters in place and make them easy to destroy.

Once you have the space locked down and have orbital laser blasted a couple of abominations, send in a geared up bruiser like Thorley to hulk out with full corruption and wreck shop.

Sure, it's not 100% foolproof but I guarantee you that the first time you exploit the dogpile strategy and then crush it, your Sins player is going to look for different strategies for future games and things should hopefully open up and become more interesting.
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diversionArchitect wrote:
Holing up is a poor strategy. As described above, it's easy to sacrifice one hero and win.

It's better to force players to deal with each space, slowing them down. Moving past monsters costs precious wounds.

The longer the game lasts, the better for the sins player. Since they get more sin cards and more apocalypse cards.

It doesn't take many monsters to make a death room, though. The avatar, controller, 1 abomination, and 3 pentagrams will give the sins player 17 dice, which is more than enough to kill most heroes. In the games I played the sins player then put the rest of the monsters around the death room to weaken and slow the heroes, as you suggested.

pkreynolds wrote:
My daughter has been the Sins player in both games I've played so far, and she hit on the "dogpile monsters + pentagrams" strategy pretty quickly. And it worked, because nobody had played the game more then once previously.

In thinking about ways to counter this, what I've come up with are a couple of strategies that I'll be trying the next time we play

1) By piling monsters in just one space, the Sins player leaves most of the board wide open - exploit this by stocking up on upgrades and using the orbital laser to thin herd a bit.

2) Use heroes to block off access to the space where the dogpile is happening. Becaus the Sins player will broadcast a location where he/she intends to pile monsters by moving them there during reactions instead of moving toward heroes and attacking, the heroes can move to block nearby nests, making it difficult for the Sins player to continue to put monsters into that space. Monsters can't voluntarily move out of spaces with heroes, so sitting on the spawn points or the street spaces around the building where the dogpile is happening will lock incoming monsters in place and make them easy to destroy.

Once you have the space locked down and have orbital laser blasted a couple of abominations, send in a geared up bruiser like Thorley to hulk out with full corruption and wreck shop.

Sure, it's not 100% foolproof but I guarantee you that the first time you exploit the dogpile strategy and then crush it, your Sins player is going to look for different strategies for future games and things should hopefully open up and become more interesting.

The problem with 1) is that the sins player DOESN'T need to leave the whole board open to execute this strategy... 3+ monsters and some pentagrams can do the trick. And even then while you're running around getting upgrades and using the orbital laser to pick off an abomination or two, you can't kill the controller or avatar (or hell club) with the laser, and the sins player is getting stronger due to the apocalypse track.

2) is an interesting strategy... I'm sure it would be easier with 4 heroes. Maybe throw a fixer in early on to clear out pentagram tokens if you can manage. If they've chosen the death room far away from the start point you better hope your characters don't die, though.


Despite what some are assuming, I'm not trying to insult the game or imply it's broken. I think it's tons of fun, and I'm just trying to understand what I've experienced so far so I can further improve my enjoyment. If it's inexperience that caused the heroes to lose so badly, great, I can work around that and have the people most experienced with the game play the heroes and let the newbies play the sin. If it's because I was doing the 3-hero at a time variant instead of the 4-hero, great, that's an easy fix, too. Or if it's this strategy that just needs a proper counterstrategy, that's fine too. I just want to know and understand.
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Richard Keene
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For what it’s worth, we’ve always played with four hero players.

Four heroes’ gives you a pretty good shot of killing six monsters in a round without too much trouble and still getting to spread out. That said, the real benefit from four versus three heroes is that you get to use one more district action per round. This means you are probably getting an extra piece of equipment every round. I can see that being huge over the long term.
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Matthew M
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SoopaSte123 wrote:
EDIT: Figured it out! Finally played the 4-hero-at-a-time game and WOW does it play differently compared to 3 heroes. Things are much more in the heroes favor for sure... the game was definitely balanced around the 4 player variant. In the 3 player variant, the hero team has 2 less turns per round, 1 less city action per round, and 1 less body to give bonus die, block the sins player's movement, and soak up damage and corruption. At the end of every round, of course, the sins player draws more cards, places more tokens, summons more monsters, and increases the apocalypse track, all which GREATLY help him/her. I might make a separate post about it at some point once I try out some rule changes to balance the 3 player variant (I'm thinking 2 heroes get a third turn token, and every round they can rotate who gets them), but for now I'd recommend viewing 3-heroes-at-a-time as a challenge mode for the FAITH team and using 4-heroes-at-a-time regardless of how many people you're playing with. /end edit


Not sure that's absolute-capital-T-TRUTH.

Yes, the hero team gets 2 less turns per round. However the Sins player gets 1 less reaction. That ratio is identical to the 4 player game, so it's a wash.

The main advantages for 4 players is an extra body to potentially tie up an altar (but not always), an extra potential bonus die (but not always), and a potential extra city action (but not always).

Working against that advantage is the fact that with 4 characters in play the Sins player needs to kill 4 characters. With 3 characters in play the Sins player needs to kill 5. That's huge. Killing an entire extra character is no small thing. And it's not going to be easy pickings. The Sins player can focus on the 4 weakest characters out of 7 to win a 4 character game. But the Sins player is going to need to off one of the 3 strongest characters available in order to win the 3 character game.

So while there may be some degree of balance shift between the different player counts, your analysis completely ignores the main factor that keeps it from being a completely one-sided advantage between fielding 3 characters and 4.
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Lester Festertester
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This the usual mistaking idiotic play choices and inept strategy being confused for poor game play/balane issues
 
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Murder jester
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Do you like grinding other players into the dirt while being the overlord? welcome to TPK the miniatures game..
 
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Giancarlo Tosi
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unfortunately the dogpile strategy has made it so my group will no longer play this game... Seems too simple for the Sins player to do and to overcome it is very difficult unless you have experienced players. We are not impressed with the playability of this game.
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William Aull
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Gianca wrote:
unfortunately the dogpile strategy has made it so my group will no longer play this game... Seems too simple for the Sins player to do and to overcome it is very difficult unless you have experienced players. We are not impressed with the playability of this game.


If the SIN dogpiles, walk around and build up equipment so you can send someone in there to nuke your objective. Dogpiling means enemies arent chasing you around.
 
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Andrii Chabykin
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Paul G wrote:
Chabster wrote:
zombie Most one versus many games are not balanced. And this makes them interesting and fun to play.


Asymmetrical games can and should be balanced. Just not identically equal on both sides.


How many asymmetrical balanced games have you released so far? How many there are in the world in total?

Starcraft gets 50 patches before it is balanced. Can you patch a board game?
 
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Patrick Reynolds
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Even with the monster-stacking tactic, every game of The Others I've played has been very close between both sides, often coming down to a single dice roll that decides the outcome.

I call that pretty well balanced.
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Michael Gardner
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Interesting. I have found the opposite to be true. I've played 5 games. The heroes won three games when there were three heroes, and we're demolished in the two games that there were four heroes. I mean crushed. Now, there are a lot of variables in this game, from SIN choice, to heroes chosen, to which scenario you play. Just to name a few. In other words, you could play a hundred games and have trouble convincing me that is a large enough sample size to determine if the game is balanced around 3 heroes, or 4.
 
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Jo Haugen
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Dogpiling is a pretty good strategy. Both monsters and fire/corruption tokens. Try killing the avatar when you have to enter 5-6 fire tokens. And each round you wait he adds another one, and possibly the apocalypse track advances.

So far I'm not finding the game balanced or fun. Maybe we just haven't found the right way to play as Faith but playing as Sin really doesn't feel challenging and thus isn't fun. And playing as Faith just feels random. Oh, the Sin player exploded a few dice on your first move, you die.

The randomness of the dice is frustrating to the extreme.
 
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