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Subject: What auto-concede villain combos have you seen? (possible spoilers) rss

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Seth Goodnight
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Having played through game 5, I have found that there are just some combos (one in particular) of villains that spell automatic loss for the heroes.

Specifically when you get the Dementor and Quirrel with another troublesome villain (Luscious Malfoy has been the worst for me), you may as well concede. The first two are handing out 3 damage per turn on top of whatever is coming from the dark arts deck. You are very likely to have one or more heroes stunned after one or two rounds with them both up. Then Luscious heals what little damage you've been able to do, and it's nearly impossible to make any progress.

If they show up late in the game, you might be okay, but if they are the starting lineup, I say just redraw.

What about you? Any other terrible combos out there? Any dramatic stories of triumph against them?
 
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Elliott Prasuhn
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We've played games 1-6 and haven't ran into any combos that were instant losses. Definitely some close calls. Luscious is a pain as is wormtail. How many people have you been playing with? I'm curious about the difficulty at 3-4 players with the higher games.
 
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Robert Knapp
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My wife and I just finished Game 3. We got the combo of the Dursley brothers and then the one that makes you discard a card if it is 1 or more value and also lose 2 health. So when you discarded a card you would lose 3 health. Combo that with a dark arts card that made you lose 2 life or one that made you lose a life and discard a card and you're looking at 5 life lost each turn.
 
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Seth Goodnight
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eprasuhn wrote:
We've played games 1-6 and haven't ran into any combos that were instant losses. Definitely some close calls. Luscious is a pain as is wormtail. How many people have you been playing with? I'm curious about the difficulty at 3-4 players with the higher games.


So far we've played with 2 and 4 heroes, and the difficulty feels about the same, but the dynamics are different. With 4 the cards that do something for everyone are much more powerful which makes things more volatile. You are more likely to die on another hero's turn (say if everyone draws an "all heroes lose 1 heart" card), but things like the dice have big payouts because 4 people get to draw cards (or whatever you roll).
 
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David Jones
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I just played a year six game with Quirrell, Dementor, and Death Eater as the start villains. Not a fun way to start the game but pulled through without losing control of the first location. I think the major key is to use your starting allies and attacks instead of heals and kill the Dementor first. You're going to suck up a lot damage, but healing is just a wash in terms of health which means the Dark Arts deck will flip forever. If you kill that Dementor first, you still have time to keep control of the first location.
 
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Joshua Benziger
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I would agree any Combo with Luscious is annoying. If you flip Luscious and Peter Pettigrew late game could be a disastrous. Nothing that seems impossible to beat however, I had dementor down to one health and Luscious down to two health. They both stayed alive for another 5 or 6 turns but was able to save face and win the game. Haven't ran across a terribly hard rush set up for the villians. I do think the punishment for being "stunned" is not hard enough. The tension of running out of health does not warrant a lot of "healing cards" in your deck sure one or two.
 
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Sean Fletcher
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I have a total love/hate relationship with Lucius. He doesn’t do any damage to the players on his own, but he makes everything else about the game SO MUCH MORE DIFFICULT. Totally flavorful in that he’s basically the ultimate support card for the villains while being careful to never actually get his own hands dirty (the coward). Incredibly deceptive the first time you see him in how urgently he needs to be dealt with. The design is fantastic, but playing against him is infuriating.

Net result is that he’s exactly right for the game.
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Tim P.
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In 2 of my 13 games we have had starting villains such that we lost or conceded without defeating a single baddie.


The combo of game 7 start with Lucius and Draco Malfoy, and a Dementor resulted in the worst death spiral combo so far. Truly evil.

 
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J Emmett
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Lucius + Pettigrew + Bellatrix would be my nightmare.
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David Jones
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Gravey wrote:
Lucius + Pettigrew + Bellatrix would be my nightmare.


In contrast, I would be happy with this as starting setup. Lucius is annoying, but he doesn't attack you back. You can attack faster than he can heal. Pettigrew can't hurt you during the first two rounds of the game and its still hard for him to get you the four rounds after that. He's not worth worrying about as a start villain. Bellatrix is a nightmare for sure; she and the Dementor are my most feared villains. But if you take Bellatrix out at the top you don't have the fear of her arrival looming over you the rest of the game. After that, I probably go after Wormtail, but it really depends on who replaces Bellatrix. If her replacement is tame enough, you can slow the game down and do a little bit of deck building before you need to go back on the attack. Also bear in mind that Bellatrix is going to let you put an item back in your hand, so you can get that extra coin you need for whatever card you're itching to add to your deck.
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J Emmett
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davypi wrote:
Gravey wrote:
Lucius + Pettigrew + Bellatrix would be my nightmare.


In contrast, I would be happy with this as starting setup. Lucius is annoying, but he doesn't attack you back. You can attack faster than he can heal. Pettigrew can't hurt you during the first two rounds of the game and its still hard for him to get you the four rounds after that. He's not worth worrying about as a start villain. Bellatrix is a nightmare for sure; she and the Dementor are my most feared villains. But if you take Bellatrix out at the top you don't have the fear of her arrival looming over you the rest of the game. After that, I probably go after Wormtail, but it really depends on who replaces Bellatrix. If her replacement is tame enough, you can slow the game down and do a little bit of deck building before you need to go back on the attack. Also bear in mind that Bellatrix is going to let you put an item back in your hand, so you can get that extra coin you need for whatever card you're itching to add to your deck.

Good points well made. I wouldn't concede if they were the first three, but they're each the most annoying I've found so far (notwithstanding the advice in your strategy post—we've only played Game 7 once yet). ...But I would still cry if they all popped up together in the second location.
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Matthew Cordeiro
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I played a year 6 (I think?) game this week that was Bellatrix, Fenrir, and Basilisk. No card draws, no health regeneration, and an extra event. We had turn after turn of getting stunned, discarding half our hand, then dropping from 10 health to 3 or 4 really fast. I bought 6 cards the entire game - in a 2-player game - and that was with buying a card every chance I had. The silver lining is that the game was over quickly, we reset the board, and had a much easier time the next game.

In general, I'd say Bellatrix is the character you least want to see in initial setup. The first location is always just 1 event, and you need to keep that location on the board for as long as possible so things don't get out of hand too quickly. Bellatrix eliminates that grace period, and it's like dealing with the 2nd location, but with your starting 10 cards.
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Joseph Calungsod
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cordeiro wrote:
In general, I'd say Bellatrix is the character you least want to see in initial setup. The first location is always just 1 event, and you need to keep that location on the board for as long as possible so things don't get out of hand too quickly. Bellatrix eliminates that grace period, and it's like dealing with the 2nd location, but with your starting 10 cards.


This is so real. I think in a 4-player game, its even worse because it takes so long for you to get to your turn before discarding cards and losing health, while a bad dark arts draw can prevent you from gaining health or just flat out stun you before you can even play your hand. With Lucius, along with regeneration and other cascading dark arts events, its extremely difficult to quickly focus down Bellatrix while trying to keep the first location.

Has anyone came up with a strategy to effectively manage any bellatrix combo? My group's worst experience by far was bellatrix, dementor, and draco/lucius as first villains. with fenrir though, yea he sucks, but atleast he makes your game plan simple since decisions between gaining health vs damage are obvious.

 
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J Emmett
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Gravey wrote:
davypi wrote:
Gravey wrote:
Lucius + Pettigrew + Bellatrix would be my nightmare.


In contrast, I would be happy with this as starting setup. Lucius is annoying, but he doesn't attack you back. You can attack faster than he can heal. Pettigrew can't hurt you during the first two rounds of the game and its still hard for him to get you the four rounds after that. He's not worth worrying about as a start villain. Bellatrix is a nightmare for sure; she and the Dementor are my most feared villains. But if you take Bellatrix out at the top you don't have the fear of her arrival looming over you the rest of the game. After that, I probably go after Wormtail, but it really depends on who replaces Bellatrix. If her replacement is tame enough, you can slow the game down and do a little bit of deck building before you need to go back on the attack. Also bear in mind that Bellatrix is going to let you put an item back in your hand, so you can get that extra coin you need for whatever card you're itching to add to your deck.

Good points well made. I wouldn't concede if they were the first three, but they're each the most annoying I've found so far (notwithstanding the advice in your strategy post—we've only played Game 7 once yet). ...But I would still cry if they all popped up together in the second location.

After winning Game 7 twice, I've completely come around to davypi's argument. The earlier (but not too early) Bellatrix is dealt with, the better. She's top priority, but if we've stayed on the first location, as we should be, then her effect is relatively mitigated. Pettigrew is also better met early, and after some more Game 7 experience, Lucius is annoying but not damaging.

Fenrir and the Dementor are the biggest PITAs right now, and a starting trio of Fenrir + Dementor + Quirrell wouldn't be auto-concede but it'd be rough.
 
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Annie Tipton
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We played game 7 at lunch today with Ron, Neville, and Harry and lost in record time with the following 3 starting Villains:

- Barty Crouch Jr.
- Bellatrix Lestrange
- Peter Pettigrew

We were able to defeat Barty, but not until the first location had fallen. (Next revealed Grabbe and Goyle, so that helped a bit.) Bellatrix came next, but not until location 2 had fallen. (Next revealed the Dementor, so that was a bad trade all around.) Stunning left and right and location 3 fell. Then we finally defeated Peter Pettigrew and revealed Tom Riddle. The damage was too far gone by that time, and we hadn't been able to build our decks enough to defend the location, ourselves, or play offense in any real way.

We were able to defeat one horcrux by sheer luck, I think.

Total play time was probably 20-25 minutes. Worst loss to date.
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C Sandifer
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We've been playing a 3-player campaign, and we won games 1-6 without a single loss. Some were very close, but we pulled out a victory every time.

Then we played game 7 with a starting Bellatrix, and our streak was broken, our backs were broken, and I rapidly achieved a broken mental state. We lost in 20 minutes, and it was one of the most brutal and demoralizing co-op losses that I've experienced in the past five years. (We were pushed into location 2 almost immediately, and we'd only defeated 3 villains by the end of the game.) The other two horrific losses: Pandemic Legacy (mid-campaign) and Legendary: Firefly.

Given that there's a ~20% chance that Bellatrix will be one of the starting villains, that means that roughly 1 in 5 games will be an auto-loss. (In a family game? Strange.)

This is easy to houserule, though. It seems that certain villains shouldn't really be allowed to appear in the first 1/3 of the game - Bellatrix being one of those villains. So I'll probably just shuffle her into the bottom 2/3 of the villain deck (bottom half?) from now on and call it a sane variant.

I'd also agree that, by game 7, there are too many "draw another card" Dark Arts cards. It's 9 cards out of 41 - nearly a quarter of the deck - which is incredibly painful with Bellatrix.

Still, Hogwarts Battle is a fun game. It's just entirely too sensitive (in the later games, particularly) on the starting villain draw. If I were playing with kids, I might even suggest that the villains in game 7 should come out in order by year (1-7). Or perhaps stack the villain deck in two halves: years 1-3 (randomized), then years 4-7 (randomized). Or something similar.
 
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David Jones
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wkover wrote:
Given that there's a ~20% chance that Bellatrix will be one of the starting villains, that means that roughly 1 in 5 games will be an auto-loss. (In a family game? Strange.)


This is simply not true. I have won several games where Bellatrix was a starting villain. This is not an auto-loss situation, it simply means you haven't figured out all of the strategies to the game yet. I would agree that there are certain start combos with Bellatrix that become extremely difficult to win, but her alone is not sufficient.
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C Sandifer
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davypi wrote:
I have won several games where Bellatrix was a starting villain. This is not an auto-loss situation, it simply means you haven't figured out all of the strategies to the game yet.


Fair enough, I'm happy to admit that Bellatrix is not necessarily an auto-loss. But I'm confident that there's no strategy that we could have followed to win our particular game - not with the cards that we had available for purchase, anyway. I forget which starting villains we had: Bellatrix, Pettigrew, Dementor?

Very early on, we had one or more players getting stunned every single go-round. This added markers to the location, made it harder to purchase better cards, etc. (Nothing you don't already know.)

I just think it's interesting how family-unfriendly Hogwarts Battle can be with certain random set-ups. As in, kids would get beaten so severely that they would never want to play any game ever again - let alone this one.

Depends on the kids, I guess.


 
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Annie Tipton
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We recently played a round of game 7 where we set up the villains stack in game order (but random order within each game). We (incorrectly) figured it would be an easy round to win -- with milder villains at the beginning that would allow us to gain some good Hogwarts cards, but the deck had other ideas.

We couldn't get ahead on any front -- health, location tokens, influence tokens to acquire better cards, horcruxes, villains -- from the beginning to the excruciating end, we were at the mercy of the Dark Lord puppetmaster himself.

So although there are some villain combinations at certain points in the game that are pretty difficult/nearly impossible to come back from, I'm more inclined to assign equal responsibility to the Hogwarts cards as I am to Villains/Dark Arts events. And although there's some skill to playing your heroes to their abilities/proficiencies, the more I play, the more I think it has more to do with the luck of the Hogwarts card draw.
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David Jones
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annietipton wrote:
So although there are some villain combinations at certain points in the game that are pretty difficult/nearly impossible to come back from, I'm more inclined to assign equal responsibility to the Hogwarts cards as I am to Villains/Dark Arts events.


I think this is a very important point to address. I had game a few days ago that started with Bellatrix, Barty, and Dolores. With Bellatrix's nine HP, you need about as many turns to take her out, but thanks to some lucky shuffles we had eight attack tokens on her in about seven turns. So it was starting to look like it the situation was salvageable. But then we pulled Regeneration (villains heal 2) and Fiendfyre (all heros lose 3) on the same turn. This was enough to knock out two heroes and the resulting discards made set the team back far enough that they couldn't buy anything. You can certainly argue that if Bellatrix hadn't been in play, we wouldn't have had to play two DA cards, but by the same token, any other two cards would have kept us in the game. On the Hogwarts front, I had situation today with Bellatrix, Basilisk, and Crabbe/Goyle. We managed to take out the first two while only losing control of the first location, but the of the top 25 cards in the Hogwarts deck, only one of them had an ability that let me remove control tokens. The only way to hold locations was by defeating villains for the control removal rewards. Unfortunately this meant killing easier villains and revealing more difficult ones. In the end, we couldn't keep pace with the DA deck. If there had been access to spells that removed control, this story wouldn't have ended differently. So the problem was not all together an issue with the start villains, but with other variables in the game.
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Eric Phillips
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Regarding the Bellatrix early vs. late discussion, I would much rather have her late game as long as she isn't the last (before Voldemort) villain.

You get two benefits with her being late game, you can deal with her much quicker and you have the opportunity to curate the other 2 villains. This is the key to the game, keeping around the villains that hurt the least and preventing the snowball from starting to roll against you (mainly by holding onto the first location).

Bellatrix with [random 2 villains] hurts a lot less than Bellatrix with Crabb/Goyle and a Death Eater.

Regarding the bigger question, for me the worst starting combination is Dementor, Greyback, and Bellatrix. The damage those guys put out in combination with the lack of healing ensure that you're going to be on the 2nd location early and at that point it's only a matter of time before you lose.
 
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Joffrey N.
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On my 1st game for year 6, initial villains were :
Bellatrix
Dementor
Barty Crouch Jr

It gave a diabolical spiral where drawing additional DA card each turn + getting 2 wounds + NOT being able to remove any marker on 1st location quickly got rid of Knockturn Alley.
Then by the time I got enough bolts for Bellatrix, I was already drawing 3 DA per round (getting stunned and stunned along the way so difficult to buy good cards this way), which quickly ended the game (I think in about 30-40 min).

Focused on Dementor initially to not get stunned too fast, but maybe would have been better to stun Bellatrix which is a real pain in the ass as a starter (when you don't have enough attacking card).

Who would you stun first in this configuration ?

Let alone that on 2nd or 3rd round, I draw 6 DA cards (I hate these "draw another DA card"!) in a row which ended up in both hero getting stunned... shake

 
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David Jones
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La_Gofr wrote:
On my 1st game for year 6, initial villains were :
Bellatrix
Dementor
Barty Crouch Jr

Who would you stun first in this configuration ?


I had a similar setup the other day. My thinking was that if I take out Bellatrix before Barty, I don't get the control removal bonus on Bellatrix's card, so I should do Barty first. The problem is that after taking out Barty, Bellatrix still probably caused about eight control tokens to drop before I was able to kill her. So the two control I "saved" did not outweigh the final cost. I honestly don't think there is any situation in which Bellatrix shouldn't be your top priority. There are too many DA cards that cause you to draw a second DA card, so the amount of damage she can cause in one turn is simply beyond anything any other villain can do.
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Jeff Dougan
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I solo'd a Year 5 game last night were I started with Pettigrew, Draco, Death Eater and proceeded to draw 3 consecutive Morsmordres. Had lost first location before Hermione (first in sequence) got her second turn.
 
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Michael Tagge
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davypi wrote:
wkover wrote:
Given that there's a ~20% chance that Bellatrix will be one of the starting villains, that means that roughly 1 in 5 games will be an auto-loss. (In a family game? Strange.)


This is simply not true. I have won several games where Bellatrix was a starting villain. This is not an auto-loss situation, it simply means you haven't figured out all of the strategies to the game yet. I would agree that there are certain start combos with Bellatrix that become extremely difficult to win, but her alone is not sufficient.
It all depends on the dark arts cards that are pulled. I've had a game 6 where the 2nd and 4th player were stunned on their first turn (player three had an item to discard) and players 1 & 3 on their second. Bellatrix was the reason for the loss with the Dementor doing the finishing blows. Two Hogwarts cards were bought when the first location fell. We could have pressed on, but why bother?

No "strategy" prevents stuns before you can take any action.
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