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Subject: Expert Scenario: Imp Preservation Society rss

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C&H Schmidt
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Today we played the expert Imp Preservation Society scenario on Easy Mode -- not because we are experts at the game already, but because we wanted something shorter.

After our speedy loss, one main question presented itself:
At the start of the game, a troll and an imp portal are placed in the same room (the Unstable Room), and according to the special rules for this scenario, they do not eliminate each other. So every time threats in the Unstable room are activated (which happens multiple times per pass through the disaster deck), the newly appearing imp gets eaten by the newly appearing troll, so the mana crystal loses 1 mana.
Due to the order of the threat interaction, this always happens before the troll can be destroyed by anything else in the room.
(We started a fire in the Unstable Room to kill any trolls that appeared, but when the Unstable Room itself shows up in the disaster deck, the troll still gets to eat all imps in the room first.)

Now, in principle that's fine, right? You just have to come up with a way of getting one of those portals out of that room before you lose.
Here is the problem, though: Since none of the spells in this scenario are pre-determined, it can happen that you do not have any spell that can manipulate portals, and in that case, you would just lose mana all the time without being able to do anything about it, which seems extremely unfun.

What experiences do other people have with this scenario?

We did actually have a spell that could get rid of portals, but it was in the last level. Since we did not manage to save any imps before running out of mana, we did not get access to it.

If I play this scenario in the future, I will always make sure up front that there is at least one spell that can manipulate portals; otherwise I'm pretty sure the scenario is not winnable. (I don't mind hard, but I do mind not winnable.)

Edit: Ok, I just read online that darkness stops the trolls from doing anything (i.e. this interaction happens before eating imps). Is it guaranteed that there is a way to put darkness into the Unstable Room? Maybe either darkness or some way to manipulate portals is guaranteed to be in the game? I'll count the relevant spells tomorrow!
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Morten Monrad Pedersen
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NorseWiz wrote:
Yeah, the way I see it the lack of pre determined spells for each scenario is the game's biggest flaw. Never knowing if you'll have the tools you need to tackle disasters is - as you say - extremely unfun. I've written about this and a few other issues here:
http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1612070/issues-i-have-wizard...


EDIT, I moved my comment to the above mentioned thread, where it belongs instead of having it here, where it had no business to be .
 
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C&H Schmidt
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I don't dislike the random spell set up in general at all -- this thread is specifically about the expert scenario named in the title and what experiences people have with it.

Did you find that there is always a way tp get rid of the troll portal quickly? Because you will lose very speedily if not.

I still think I will only play this particular scenario again if I know that the spells I drew contain either a way to make darkness or a way to move/ eliminate portals.
(This scenario does not contain any fixed spells; all are random!)
 
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Morten Monrad Pedersen
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Gswp wrote:
I don't dislike the random spell set up in general at all -- this thread is specifically about the expert scenario named in the title and what experiences people have with it.

Did you find that there is always a way tp get rid of the troll portal quickly? Because you will lose very speedily if not.

I still think I will only play this particular scenario again if I know that the spells I drew contain either a way to make darkness or a way to move/ eliminate portals.
(This scenario does not contain any fixed spells; all are random!)


Sorry, no, as said I haven't tried this scenario, it was Loke's comment that I reacted to. I should of course have replied in his thread instead of derailing yours. Sorry about that.
 
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Morten Monrad Pedersen
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mortenmdk wrote:
Gswp wrote:
I don't dislike the random spell set up in general at all -- this thread is specifically about the expert scenario named in the title and what experiences people have with it.

Did you find that there is always a way tp get rid of the troll portal quickly? Because you will lose very speedily if not.

I still think I will only play this particular scenario again if I know that the spells I drew contain either a way to make darkness or a way to move/ eliminate portals.
(This scenario does not contain any fixed spells; all are random!)


Sorry, no, as said I haven't tried this scenario, it was Loke's comment that I reacted to. I should of course have replied in his thread instead of derailing yours. Sorry about that.


I've moved my response to Loke to his thread and removed the one I made here.
 
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C&H Schmidt
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No worries, just trying to make more precise what I was going for with this thread.

I guess noone else on the Wizard's Academy forum has played this scenario yet?
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Morten Monrad Pedersen
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Gswp wrote:
Today we played the expert Imp Preservation Society scenario on Easy Mode -- not because we are experts at the game already, but because we wanted something shorter.

After our speedy loss, one main question presented itself:
At the start of the game, a troll and an imp portal are placed in the same room (the Unstable Room), and according to the special rules for this scenario, they do not eliminate each other. So every time threats in the Unstable room are activated (which happens multiple times per pass through the disaster deck), the newly appearing imp gets eaten by the newly appearing troll, so the mana crystal loses 1 mana.
Due to the order of the threat interaction, this always happens before the troll can be destroyed by anything else in the room.
(We started a fire in the Unstable Room to kill any trolls that appeared, but when the Unstable Room itself shows up in the disaster deck, the troll still gets to eat all imps in the room first.)

Now, in principle that's fine, right? You just have to come up with a way of getting one of those portals out of that room before you lose.
Here is the problem, though: Since none of the spells in this scenario are pre-determined, it can happen that you do not have any spell that can manipulate portals, and in that case, you would just lose mana all the time without being able to do anything about it, which seems extremely unfun.

What experiences do other people have with this scenario?

We did actually have a spell that could get rid of portals, but it was in the last level. Since we did not manage to save any imps before running out of mana, we did not get access to it.

If I play this scenario in the future, I will always make sure up front that there is at least one spell that can manipulate portals; otherwise I'm pretty sure the scenario is not winnable. (I don't mind hard, but I do mind not winnable.)

Edit: Ok, I just read online that darkness stops the trolls from doing anything (i.e. this interaction happens before eating imps). Is it guaranteed that there is a way to put darkness into the Unstable Room? Maybe either darkness or some way to manipulate portals is guaranteed to be in the game? I'll count the relevant spells tomorrow!


Couldn't you destroy one of the portals using the Mana Crystal? It's pretty costly, though.
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C&H Schmidt
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Oh, can you just do that?

If yes, I feel a little dumb -- spending one mana to destroy the troll portal in the first turn is a lot less costly than losing a mana every time you draw the Unstable Room in the disaster deck (which I would think is guaranteed to happen before you find a spell to remove the portal; or to produce darkness).
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Wesley Jones
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Gswp wrote:
Oh, can you just do that?

If yes, I feel a little dumb -- spending one mana to destroy the troll portal in the first turn is a lot less costly than losing a mana every time you draw the Unstable Room in the disaster deck (which I would think is guaranteed to happen before you find a spell to remove the portal; or to produce darkness).


I have not played this scenario but from my understanding of the rules:

1. Yes, you can spend mana to destroy anything. The rule states, "spend mana to eliminate a threat as if it had entered the Mana Crystal. This costs one more mana than the elimination would normally cost." Because Troll portals normally cost two mana, you would have to spend 3 mana with this rule. But Imp portals normally cost one mana, so you would have to only spend 2 with this rule. Dpend two mana and get rid of the Imp portal right off the bat.

2. If you can get a Demon portal in there, Demon portals destroy Troll and Imp portals.

3. Start the scenario on easy mode and add more mana at the beginning of the game.
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C&H Schmidt
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Oh, 3 mana is kind of expensive... But I guess it's at least a possiblity; we didn't realise you could do that!

No, it's definitely the troll portal that needs to go, because the Unstable Room is where the wizards have to bring the imps to "save" them, which is done with a room action -- but trolls stop room actions, so you can't have any in there; and at that point it's probably easier to just get rid of the portal in the first place.

We did think about putting a demon portal (not that we had a way to do that; just hypothetically), but I'm not sure that actually brings you any closer to winning. Demons destroy imps as well, don't they? And you are penalised heavily for losing any imps in this scenario.

(We already played on easy, I think. Started with 5 mana.)
 
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Greg
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So...spoilers ahead, if you like figuring things out skip this post

Mana destruction, portal destruction and darkness are viable options.

Mana destruction isn't that efficient though. There is only one threat card that will activate all threats in the unstable room, so the instant eating can only happen once per cycle through the deck. That is to say at most three times in a game - so arguably it's better to let that run its course than to spend three mana to blow it up.

Deck manipulation might be possible, using intensify to swap the 'unstable room activate' card into the progression deck (at the cost of having to deal with a higher level threat in its place) would skip 1-2 of the activations. There's also a higher level spell that can let someone discard a disaster card when boosted and a lower one that lets you rearrange the top of the disaster deck (which would let you delay it in the last cycle so that the third hit would happen after you win anyway).

In easy or normal you have enough mana to just put up with those losses if you do well elsewhere.

The Demon Portal solution works because it also removes the Imp Portal as well as the Troll Portal. For that matter a lone demon works too, since they kill the imp before the troll can and you don't lose a mana (getting the lesser penalty).

Double ice also prevents trolls eating imps. They'd get eaten when it melts, but you could teleport or ghost walk into the room in order to do something about that before the melting.

That's it off the top of my head, but there are probably other solutions. People surprise me with this game all the time.

Incidentally: The original threat interaction rules let players execute the interactions in the order of their choice. The ordering is a simplification which speeded the game up by automating the order that gets rid of the most threat tokens, based on the prediction that's what people would want 99% of the time. It's probably still be valuable to remove what was often a "no brainer" decision point, but it's a shame that in this case it stops the "Fire to burn trolls" solution, because I kind of like that.
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C&H Schmidt
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Thanks for the ideas, Greg! Several things that hadn't occurred to us and that would be good for other scenarios, too, I guess.
We need to try again and see which spells come up.
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Noble Knave
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Fire works fine if you activate the Troll Portal first and then the Imp Portal. The Troll is dead before the Imp spawns.
 
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C&H Schmidt
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I thought they had to activate at the same time?
 
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Morten Monrad Pedersen
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x_equals_speed wrote:
So...spoilers ahead, if you like figuring things out skip this post

Mana destruction, portal destruction and darkness are viable options.

Mana destruction isn't that efficient though. There is only one threat card that will activate all threats in the unstable room, so the instant eating can only happen once per cycle through the deck. That is to say at most three times in a game - so arguably it's better to let that run its course than to spend three mana to blow it up.

Deck manipulation might be possible, using intensify to swap the 'unstable room activate' card into the progression deck (at the cost of having to deal with a higher level threat in its place) would skip 1-2 of the activations. There's also a higher level spell that can let someone discard a disaster card when boosted and a lower one that lets you rearrange the top of the disaster deck (which would let you delay it in the last cycle so that the third hit would happen after you win anyway).

In easy or normal you have enough mana to just put up with those losses if you do well elsewhere.

The Demon Portal solution works because it also removes the Imp Portal as well as the Troll Portal. For that matter a lone demon works too, since they kill the imp before the troll can and you don't lose a mana (getting the lesser penalty).

Double ice also prevents trolls eating imps. They'd get eaten when it melts, but you could teleport or ghost walk into the room in order to do something about that before the melting.

That's it off the top of my head, but there are probably other solutions. People surprise me with this game all the time.

Incidentally: The original threat interaction rules let players execute the interactions in the order of their choice. The ordering is a simplification which speeded the game up by automating the order that gets rid of the most threat tokens, based on the prediction that's what people would want 99% of the time. It's probably still be valuable to remove what was often a "no brainer" decision point, but it's a shame that in this case it stops the "Fire to burn trolls" solution, because I kind of like that.


This is one of the reasons why I think this game is great. Many problems that seem insurmountable has a solution with the available tools, you just have to get creative.
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Noble Knave
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Gswp wrote:
I thought they had to activate at the same time?


I've always activated threats sequentially... If that's not the case, I've misplayed a number of times.
 
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Greg
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Each threat being activated is sequential in the order of your choice, due to the helpful hand of fate. The fire solution of having the troll come through first works.

The only time I can think of that something happening somewhat simultaneously is that if you've got a flood or fire spreading and it's going to hit the mana crystal. In that instance you should pop down all of the extra counters before resolving the hit.

Though this is still somewhat sequential in that you place the tokens one at a time and in principle could place the one in the mana crystal first - it's just that you don't move on to resolving attacks on the mana crystal until you've finished resolving the threat activation. I'm not 100% sure the RAW supports this as well as I'd like, so I'll try to get it into an errata.
 
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C&H Schmidt
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Aha, thanks Greg!
Then we have played wrong a numger of times. Maybe that helps...
 
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