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Subject: 4th Scenario - What a slog rss

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Steve Billups
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- Update - Possible Spoilers - I am describing what I feel like are weaknesses in the mechanics and construction of this scenario. No specific plot points are revealed, but if you want every aspect of the scenario to be a surprise you may want to play it before reading.

Despite my initial positive impression of the game, I'm starting to have doubts after my first attempt at the lengthy 4th scenario ...

1. I played for 2.5 hours and spent the entire time talking to people and clicking on search tokens. No monsters. No combat. Nothing particularly creepy (other than one description of a game some children were playing). It was like when you go into a town in a fantasy RPG computer game and click on random townsfolk who have nothing particularly interesting to say. I am assuming it is a slow build up based on the proposed length of the scenario, but my interest is rapidly fading.

2. Despite the mundane events, my characters are absolutely terrified. I keep getting random Horror checks that don't make any sense based on what's going on in the game. Because there has been nothing 'out of the ordinary' really happening yet, it is pulling me out of the game when suddenly one of my characters goes into Hysterics while browsing in the bookstore and somehow breaks his arm (?). My other character has already gone insane based on random Mythos events.

3. Rather than giving you a mystery with subtle clues that make you think, the game instead makes you race through the investigation by giving you a limited amount of turns in each area before night falls and you have to return to investigate another area on the following day. This just feels cheap to me and reminds me of the artificial penalties imposed by the similar Descent app. The information you discover either goes nowhere or is spoonfeeding you plot points. Your progress in the investigation seems to completely depend on which people/search tokens you happen to click on, rather than any kind of detective skills you may possess.

4. A minor thing, but I experienced some glitches in the app where it seemed to be giving me Mythos events during the Investigator phase at one point. Nothing game-breaking, but it seemed kinda wonky at one point.

I enjoyed my first two plays, but this scenario seems to really show the cracks in the system. The Horror checks make sense when you're being chased by a mob of angry fish people the entire time, but not when you're talking to a pleasant hotel owner about her art supplies. With all the positive hype the game is getting, I wanted to share my experience.
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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First off, you probably should have put some spoilers on this

The 4th Scenario is by far my favorite scenario. It's an actual investigation. Yes you have a limited amount of time, but you use the hints your investigation has given you so far to figure out where the best place to go is next. And it works. Follow the clues, you can solve it nicely. Just go randomly and it feels like a lame scenario.

And I love the fact that there is no combat until the very end. It's exactly what a Lovecraftian story should be like!

-shnar
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Steve Billups
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shnar wrote:
First off, you probably should have put some spoilers on this

The 4th Scenario is by far my favorite scenario. It's an actual investigation. Yes you have a limited amount of time, but you use the hints your investigation has given you so far to figure out where the best place to go is next. And it works. Follow the clues, you can solve it nicely. Just go randomly and it feels like a lame scenario.

And I love the fact that there is no combat until the very end. It's exactly what a Lovecraftian story should be like!

-shnar


Updated with general spoiler warning.

I agree it is a cool idea to have a slow build up, but the Horror checks should be appropriate to what is going on. When your characters are just randomly terrified for no apparent reason, it takes you out of the story and reminds you there's a game engine that is running in the background.
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Anthony Ronda
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1 and 2 are totally valid points. I think this will be a divisive scenario for those reasons.

Where we disagree: I find the way it challenges your real-life intuition to be really impressive, not cheap, not based on random luck. The characters and searchable items that provide actual leads aren't obvious, but I think putting a little thought into which leads to follow has a better chance of taking you in the right direction than randomly tapping along. Maybe you'll turn around on this when you finish the scenario.

Artificial penalties? There is nothing artificial about racing against the clock to solve a mystery. After all, Scooby Doo usually has to wrap it up in under half an hour. It would've been nice if they had some clock sound effects and owl hooting to make the passage of time in-game more thematic, and maybe change up the text a little.
 
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chuck reaume
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i view the horror checks as general unease and fear associated with the task at hand. i agree they could probably be a bit more relative to the situation but overall i feel they really add to the mood.

i have yet to play the fourth scenario, however, so maybe they'll lose their appeal in a longer engagement. we'll see.
 
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Everett Daniel
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I've only played the 1st and 4th scenarios but I like the 4th much more. I actually don't like combat in board games too much and would rather focus on things less damaging and random so the investigation seemed really awesome and thematic with a nice payoff. I haven't seen something like it in a board game before and the clearing of the board plus the variety of locations was awesome.

The challenge for me came through choosing to investigate the right leads and who you think is suspicious, and doing that in the limited timeframe. As for my events, I thought those were thematic. Things like seeing a monster in a shadow and causing a small fright wouldn't be unheard of with all the stress they have. I actually avoided a lot of events because I wasn't outside or in an alley, but when I was they still made sense and added some challenge. One of my guys went insane as well in between nights which felt kinda cheap because he had nothing for sanity healing and it hurts so much but it didn't affect my performance, plus it still made sense thematically.
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Christopher Best
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Is that the Rising Tide scenario? If so, yeah my group had the same thoughts. Literally four hours of just searching bookshelves with absolutely nothing exciting happening...
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Michael Gardner
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I could see this one being derisive, but it was my favorite!
 
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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McCrank wrote:
Is that the Rising Tide scenario? If so, yeah my group had the same thoughts. Literally four hours of just searching bookshelves with absolutely nothing exciting happening...

It's the difference between a murder mystery and an action adventure. The best part of this scenario is how it highlights that this game can be an action game and it can also be an investigative mystery game. I'm extremely excited to see future scenarios of both types.

-shnar
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Kain
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They need to balance these scenarios a bit more. 4 hours of one thing can wear down anyone.
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phil mccrackin
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rondaa wrote:
1 and 2 are totally valid points. I think this will be a divisive scenario for those reasons.

Where we disagree: I find the way it challenges your real-life intuition to be really impressive, not cheap, not based on random luck. The characters and searchable items that provide actual leads aren't obvious, but I think putting a little thought into which leads to follow has a better chance of taking you in the right direction than randomly tapping along. Maybe you'll turn around on this when you finish the scenario.


Surprised you found it challenging. Our group played it for the second time and got the same clues, same investigation all the way to the end except it was Marsh instead of Little. Finished in the same map, same location as well. Given the clues, there was no investigation to be had we knew it was Little, but the app chooses who it wants. Are we the only ones seeing this?
 
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Scott Sexton
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McCrank wrote:
Is that the Rising Tide scenario? If so, yeah my group had the same thoughts. Literally four hours of just searching bookshelves with absolutely nothing exciting happening...


I don't get this at all. This game is all about story, mood and exploration. If those don't do anything for you, this is the wrong game for you. This is NOT a tactical combat game. It isn't a dungeon dive game.
 
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Steve Billups
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scottatlaw wrote:
McCrank wrote:
Is that the Rising Tide scenario? If so, yeah my group had the same thoughts. Literally four hours of just searching bookshelves with absolutely nothing exciting happening...


I don't get this at all. This game is all about story, mood and exploration. If those don't do anything for you, this is the wrong game for you. This is NOT a tactical combat game. It isn't a dungeon dive game.


This issue is that the story was not compelling and I guessed correctly who one of the suspects was in the first five minutes of game play. It was so obvious that I thought it had to be a red herring.
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Christopher Best
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scottatlaw wrote:
McCrank wrote:
Is that the Rising Tide scenario? If so, yeah my group had the same thoughts. Literally four hours of just searching bookshelves with absolutely nothing exciting happening...


I don't get this at all. This game is all about story, mood and exploration. If those don't do anything for you, this is the wrong game for you. This is NOT a tactical combat game. It isn't a dungeon dive game.


Yeah, and once again, we didn't think it did any of those things really well. All we had done after hours is literally search book upon book upon book for clues. It got so dry we found ourselves just rush clicking through everything to get to the roll.
 
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Scott Sexton
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McCrank wrote:
scottatlaw wrote:
McCrank wrote:
Is that the Rising Tide scenario? If so, yeah my group had the same thoughts. Literally four hours of just searching bookshelves with absolutely nothing exciting happening...


I don't get this at all. This game is all about story, mood and exploration. If those don't do anything for you, this is the wrong game for you. This is NOT a tactical combat game. It isn't a dungeon dive game.


Yeah, and once again, we didn't think it did any of those things really well. All we had done after hours is literally search book upon book upon book for clues. It got so dry we found ourselves just rush clicking through everything to get to the roll.


This is a subjective complaint about one of the 4 scenarios. For as disappointing as you've found it, others have found it satisfying. Worst case scenario is that players won't equally love every story the game tells. The same thing can be said about any story telling game (namely if the story isn't any good, the game fails). I happen to enjoy certain Time Stories expansion more then others, does that make it a flawed game? No. I guarantee you, there is no way every scenario is going to be equally enjoyable for everyone. The nice thing is that FF seems interested in supporting this game with content and I think its a safe bet we'll see many more scenarios to come.
 
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Erik O'Rourke
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it's certainly a "call" out to Call of Cthulhu RPG.

some people just can't appreciate it, and i understand that.

but, i've had some of the best fun investigating occurrences by spending half a day at the Library to gather information. while other people are off getting thrown through windows by death beds, i'm at the library, uncovering the truth behind a cult thought extinct, or find paperwork that appears to have been forged, or maybe an asylum document for a patient that shares the name with the town mayor.

Cory K certainly LOVES CoC RPG and he tries very hard to implement it into his board games, and personally i love it.
 
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Pat Mccrotch
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scottatlaw wrote:
McCrank wrote:
scottatlaw wrote:
McCrank wrote:
Is that the Rising Tide scenario? If so, yeah my group had the same thoughts. Literally four hours of just searching bookshelves with absolutely nothing exciting happening...


I don't get this at all. This game is all about story, mood and exploration. If those don't do anything for you, this is the wrong game for you. This is NOT a tactical combat game. It isn't a dungeon dive game.


Yeah, and once again, we didn't think it did any of those things really well. All we had done after hours is literally search book upon book upon book for clues. It got so dry we found ourselves just rush clicking through everything to get to the roll.


This is a subjective complaint about one of the 4 scenarios. For as disappointing as you've found it, others have found it satisfying. Worst case scenario is that players won't equally love every story the game tells. The same thing can be said about any story telling game (namely if the story isn't any good, the game fails). I happen to enjoy certain Time Stories expansion more then others, does that make it a flawed game? No. I guarantee you, there is no way every scenario is going to be equally enjoyable for everyone. The nice thing is that FF seems interested in supporting this game with content and I think its a safe bet we'll see many more scenarios to come.


Sounds like you just explained why he can't argue *for* his point of view in exactly the same way you argued against it. His opinion is just as valid. And if you're going to say his isn't worth innumerating (because many disagree and are happy), shouldn't you stop short of providing your own subjective opinion?
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I enjoyed it solo but I hear all of your points and think they are valid (especially on #2). I was randomly given out horror and often had no way of dealing with it/counter it.
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Justin Colm
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I think point 2 is a very good one. On the one hand, portentious dreams and highly strung characters is very Lovecraft but on the other hand taking so much horror over the 'investigative' phase of the game when nothing is happening to the investigators save some bad dreams and jumping at their own shadows whilst wandering around town felt cheap and contrived, like artificially softening the investigators up for the end phase in a way they can't negate. For example, if you take any character with less than 7 starting Sanity they will be driven insane by the final day just from the aforementioned bad dreams. That feels pretty silly (and irritating). It could have been handled in a better way.

The other disappointment with this campaign has also been highlighted: the investigation is easy. The game opens with the premise that the investigators need to discover the two suspects and the location for the ritual, but in actual fact they only need to discover one of the three to reach the end game, a task so easy I find it hard to believe there is anyone who wouldn't solve it.

On top of that it become clear at a certain point that the mystery is artificial. It's not really necessary for the players to deduce anything, just do leg work. When certain actions are performed the players are practically told by the game who the culprits are - even to the point of getting a little sound effect from the App! Nothing the suspects say during the course of the adventure is really important. The mystery actually resolves mechanically: finding the correct items - just like in any other scenario.

For example:
Spoiler (click to reveal)

Find the right key to open the right door: ding ding! 'Gain the 'Honestly, you're absolutely stupid beyond belief if you're not getting it yet' card from the Unique Items deck'.


The mystery basically auto-solves. Thematically it's a mystery; mechanically it's a procedure.

The final encounter also felt a little anti-climactic after the long build-up. I was anticipating all Hell to break loose but ultimately... I just fought a few cultists.

I still enjoyed it... but ultimately it was a bit of a let-down, and yes... I think too long for what it was.

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Pat Mccrotch
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High Flying Bird wrote:
I think point 2 is a very good one. On the one hand, portentious dreams and highly strung characters is very Lovecraft but on the other hand taking so much horror over the 'investigative' phase of the game when nothing is happening to the investigators save some bad dreams and jumping at their own shadows whilst wandering around town felt cheap and contrived, like artificially softening the investigators up for the end phase in a way they can't negate. For example, if you take any character with less than 7 starting Sanity they will be driven insane by the final day just from the aforementioned bad dreams. That feels pretty silly (and irritating). It could have been handled in a better way.

The other disappointment with this campaign has also been highlighted: the investigation is easy. The game opens with the premise that the investigators need to discover the two suspects and the location for the ritual, but in actual fact they only need to discover one of the three to reach the end game, a task so easy I find it hard to believe there is anyone who wouldn't solve it.

On top of that it become clear at a certain point that the mystery is artificial. It's not really necessary for the players to deduce anything, just do leg work. When certain actions are performed the players are practically told by the game who the culprits are - even to the point of getting a little sound effect from the App! Nothing the suspects say during the course of the adventure is really important. The mystery actually resolves mechanically: finding the correct items - just like in any other scenario.

For example:
Spoiler (click to reveal)

Find the right key to open the right door: ding ding! 'Gain the 'Honestly, you're absolutely stupid beyond belief if you're not getting it yet' card from the Unique Items deck'.


The mystery basically auto-solves. Thematically it's a mystery; mechanically it's a procedure.

The final encounter also felt a little anti-climactic after the long build-up. I was anticipating all Hell to break loose but ultimately... I just fought a few cultists.

I still enjoyed it... but ultimately it was a bit of a let-down, and yes... I think too long for what it was.



Same, after
Spoiler (click to reveal)
actual live hours of running around to see things, then ending up on one map with just a few waves of boring monsters - was more than underwhelming. How hard would it have been to tell us we come upon a summoning in process (either with separate tile or no), and have us attempt to negate it, (if we stop it less trouble, if we don't, more)
then deal with the fallout? Would have been almost the same thing technically (as far as the app with non-existent Ai was concerned) as what happens now... but thematically would have been a much better payoff.
 
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lovecraftgeek wrote:
High Flying Bird wrote:
I think point 2 is a very good one. On the one hand, portentious dreams and highly strung characters is very Lovecraft but on the other hand taking so much horror over the 'investigative' phase of the game when nothing is happening to the investigators save some bad dreams and jumping at their own shadows whilst wandering around town felt cheap and contrived, like artificially softening the investigators up for the end phase in a way they can't negate. For example, if you take any character with less than 7 starting Sanity they will be driven insane by the final day just from the aforementioned bad dreams. That feels pretty silly (and irritating). It could have been handled in a better way.

The other disappointment with this campaign has also been highlighted: the investigation is easy. The game opens with the premise that the investigators need to discover the two suspects and the location for the ritual, but in actual fact they only need to discover one of the three to reach the end game, a task so easy I find it hard to believe there is anyone who wouldn't solve it.

On top of that it become clear at a certain point that the mystery is artificial. It's not really necessary for the players to deduce anything, just do leg work. When certain actions are performed the players are practically told by the game who the culprits are - even to the point of getting a little sound effect from the App! Nothing the suspects say during the course of the adventure is really important. The mystery actually resolves mechanically: finding the correct items - just like in any other scenario.

For example:
Spoiler (click to reveal)

Find the right key to open the right door: ding ding! 'Gain the 'Honestly, you're absolutely stupid beyond belief if you're not getting it yet' card from the Unique Items deck'.


The mystery basically auto-solves. Thematically it's a mystery; mechanically it's a procedure.

The final encounter also felt a little anti-climactic after the long build-up. I was anticipating all Hell to break loose but ultimately... I just fought a few cultists.

I still enjoyed it... but ultimately it was a bit of a let-down, and yes... I think too long for what it was.



Same, after
Spoiler (click to reveal)
actual live hours of running around to see things, then ending up on one map with just a few waves of boring monsters - was more than underwhelming. How hard would it have been to tell us we come upon a summoning in process (either with separate tile or no), and have us attempt to negate it, (if we stop it less trouble, if we don't, more)
then deal with the fallout? Would have been almost the same thing technically (as far as the app with non-existent Ai was concerned) as what happens now... but thematically would have been a much better payoff.


Hmmm... That's actually what happened when I played it (solo). Edit: I'm referring to your hypothetical in the last spoiler box.
 
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