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Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle» Forums » General

Subject: Difficulty (Spoilers through game 3) rss

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Trey brumley
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I have heard a lot about this game being very easy and people clearing all villains without any locations being cleared. Our group felt that way with the first two scenarios which went by very quickly. However, we really hit a wall in game 3 which leads me to believe we are either doing something wrong or that we have gotten really unlucky.

Basically the first location was always being cleared around 10 rounds of play (so everyone goes through their starting deck and is just able to use their bought cards when the second location is revealed). Most of these are added by the Dark Arts cards themselves, then about one other effect (Wormtail or a Stun) adds the others. Once the second location is out, the fact that 2 dark arts cards were revealed each turn puts the pressure on too much when you haven't had the chance to add that many cards to your deck to mitigate it.

Lucious Malfoy seems especially devastating to us if he comes out early (we even made sure we only focused on him), but even with that strategy he was able to heal just himself so much that we really had to put about 12 damage on him to die).

I've also noticed that playing with 3 players seems easier than with 4. While certain cards give resources to all players which makes playing with more players better, there are too many downsides to playing with more people. First, there are a lot of Dark Arts cards that say "All players discard X, or lose 2 health". When There are only two players that isn't so bad because you have fewer dark arts cards drawn between your turns. Additionally, the time it takes for you to get cards you bought is longer. For instance, if you are the first player in a 2 person game than there will be 5 DA cards revealed before you can potentially draw a card you bought on your turn. If you are the first player in a 4 person game, then there will be at least 9 DA cards drawn.

My group is very experienced with harder co-ops and deckbuilders (Xcomm/Eldrich Horror/Pandemic/Robinson Crusoe/Dominion/Shadowrift), so I don't think it has to do with inexperience or ability to handle harder games. Game 3 was probably one of the hardest co-op scenarios we have played (we had to try it 3 times before we barely squeaked out a win).

Anyone else had a similar experience or are we just unlucky/playing poorly?
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Mike Martins
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I just finished a game with the Game 3 cards and it was much tougher. We won (4 players) but not by much... we were on the 3rd location with 3 spots left. Playing with 2 villains is tough and there are some deadly combinations... Pettigrew and Draco... luckily we drew Pettigrew early in the game so his effect had less impact. We were also lucky to draw Lucius later so he was easier to eliminate with the cards we had purchased throughout the game.

Remember to use the new hero abilities... they are very helpful, especially Harry, Neville, and Ron. Hermione's is useful early on to buy cards but later in the game we're just focusing on eliminating villains, and healing (to avoid adding skulls when heroes are stunned). It was lots of fun... can't wait to play Game 4.
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Trey brumley
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mikemartins wrote:
I just finished a game with the Game 3 cards and it was much tougher. We won (4 players) but not by much... we were on the 3rd location with 3 spots left. Playing with 2 villains is tough and there are some deadly combinations... Pettigrew and Draco... luckily we drew Pettigrew early in the game so his effect had less impact. We were also lucky to draw Lucius later so he was easier to eliminate with the cards we had purchased throughout the game.

Remember to use the new hero abilities... they are very helpful, especially Harry, Neville, and Ron. Hermione's is useful early on to buy cards but later in the game we're just focusing on eliminating villains, and healing (to avoid adding skulls when heroes are stunned). It was lots of fun... can't wait to play Game 4.


I agree the game is a ton of fun (I like challenging co-op games). I was mainly just curious as to reading that everyone thought the game was way too easy after we did game 3.

Just out of curiosity about how many turns did it take for the first location to be taken over by the villains? I think we may have been unlucky the first two times starting with Dementor+quirrell and Lucian + Draco
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Mike Martins
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tipbruley wrote:

Just out of curiosity about how many turns did it take for the first location to be taken over by the villains? I think we may have been unlucky the first two times starting with Dementor+quirrell and Lucian + Draco


Don't remember exact turns but it was surprising fast. 3 of us got stunned pretty early in the game and we had only defeated 1 villain at that time. We then focused Neville on cards that heal everyone and Ron focused on attack cards... we wanted to maximize their abilities. We also looked for cards that removed skulls to use Harry's ability. We got into a bit of a rhythm afterwards and were using the special abilities quite frequently... I think this is what saved us towards the end... we were able to reduce the times we got stunned while defeating villains quickly (Ron and Harry were doing 3+ damage each every turn).
 
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Jarrod Babel
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The game is designed for people who have never played a deck builder. So game 1&2 are the 'learning' games. As such the designers dont want new players to be discouraged (especially in game 1). Game 3 is when the game starts to fight back and game 5 is when it really starts getting tough. have fun.
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Phil Wickline
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We've had a similar experience, though we seem to have hit a wall with Game 4, rather than Game 3. Specifically, we breezed through Games 1 and 2, and felt more of a challenge with Game 3, but still won generously. We've now played Game 4 three times, losing miserably twice, and almost making it on the last game. (Interestingly, this was our first shift from a 4-player game to a 2-player game.)

Though I need to take the time to look through the cards to verify this, here's my current theory -- somewhere around Games 3 and 4, there's a shift in balance with respect to Dark Arts cards that result in a control token being placed on a location (more frequent/probable), and a decrease in probability of drawing a Hogwarts Card that results in a control token being removed from a location. I'm guessing this decline in probability is a function of the Hogwarts deck getting larger, but not necessarily with cards that remove tokens.

During our last game, we kept on playing after we lost the last location, and kept track of how many control tokens were added/removed. As we moved through the decks, it struck me how we cycled through the Dark Arts deck and got slammed with control tokens, but kept turning over Hogwarts cards, but none had the desired effect. I had Mad Eye in my deck, but only 1 card (don't know off-hand if there is more than 1 copy of the card). Off the top of my head--at least from the vantage point of Games 1 through 4, I can only think of 2 cards that remove tokens -- Finite and Expecto Patronum.

I'd love to hear others' take on the difficulty level of this game. We'll keep at it, but I worry that my enthusiasm for this game may dwindle if it continues to be this difficult to win. cry
 
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J Emmett
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All our games have been two players. Games 1-3 were comfortable wins. We lost Game 4, one attack token short on the last villain, but we were playing the new dice wrong (forgetting to give both of us the benefit!). Game 5 was our easiest win—our decks were working almost immediately (Ron with lots of allies and both polyjuice, Hermione with lots of high-value spells). We lost Game 6 the first time in a desperate fight to stave off the inevitable, dealing with a market that gave us 85%+ items. Then we lost our first try at Game 7, and haven't played again yet.

Difficulty is a hard thing to peg for any group, but with the number of difficulty levels that HPHB offers, I think it's right on. Games 1-2 are definitely the Intro to Deckbuilding 101 games, and then after that just find the level you're comfortable with. If we somehow end up finding Game 7 too demoralizing, we could always go back to 6, which still feels like a proper game. But I think my wife would be too proud to do that...
 
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Mike Krajewski
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We're into Game 4 now, and it seems like the game can be quite swingy in difficulty depending on both the order of the cards in the Hogwarts deck but perhaps more importantly the order of the Villians.

When you have 2 villians out, certain villians combo well together and can make it very difficult. It also depends on if you get some of the tough ones toward the beginning of the game or not.

Getting spells that take off the control tokesn early makes a big difference, though you can't control when they come up for sale. If you don't have those choices, it may be good to bulk up on health cards so you can try and avoid getting Stunned so often and attempting to keep off the Control tokens that way.

That being said, we like that each game feels different because of this. We've just played game 4 a bunch of times and we've won still on the first location. We've also lost, and won a narrow victory with 2 spots left on the 3rd location. Once you lose the first location, things get much harder due to having to draw more cards so try as best as you can to stay on the first location.
 
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David Jones
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Quotes are from different users....

Quote:
Anyone else had a similar experience or are we just unlucky/playing poorly?
I had a similar problem when going from Year Three to Year Four, but I found Year Three to still be pretty easy. Part of the problem was that the earlier years kind of lull you into this idea that you have time to build your deck before villains start coming after you. By Year Four, the villains are hitting harder. You need to start putting attacks into your deck right away and, IMHO, you need to start using your starting ally for attacks more than for healing. Its hard to build a deck with the idea that you are going to support other characters because everybody needs to be able to do a little bit of everything.

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I've also noticed that playing with 3 players seems easier than with 4.
I would agree with this. The "easy math" on this conclusion is that control tokens are essentially the countdown timers in the game. Supposing that a player gets a card that removes control, at best you can only play it once per eight turns in a four player game, but you can play it once per six turns in a three player game. Its much harder to turn back the clock as the player count goes up.

Quote:
We've had a similar experience, though we seem to have hit a wall with Game 4, rather than Game 3.
As noted above, this was my experience. Year Three did not seem that difficult. I think the "issue" with year four is that three of the eight Dark Arts cards require you to draw another card, two of them add control. The frequency of things that make your life hard jumps quite a bit that year.

Quote:
Getting spells that take off the control tokens early makes a big difference...
Get used to this. Winning at the high levels (including Year Seven) really relies on being able to keep locations under control. Again, the "cheap math" on this is that once you've lost control of the first location, the Dark Arts deck is hitting you twice as often. If this happens to soon, the game will just snowball out of control. Spare no cost on holding on that first location.

Quote:
I'd love to hear others' take on the difficulty level of this game.
I've been wanting to write up a strategy article about the game now that I can beat Year Seven pretty reliably. It would be nice to compare notes with other players and see if there are tricks/aspects of the game I am missing. However, it still looks like a lot of people don't have copies yet and many of those who do have not progressed that far in the game. I'm not sure when a good time drop such an article on the forum would be. For now, the capsulated version would be:

1) Player count matters.
2) Ability to remove control tokens matters. This often depends on the initial cards from the Hogwarts deck.
3) Setup selection matters. Its harder to win without Hermione. There is another issue related to setup that matters here, but to say more would be a spoiler.
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Kevin B. Smith
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davypi wrote:
I found Year Three to still be pretty easy.

I just played game #3 twice, with 2 heroes each, and won both games pretty comfortably. In one, I was stunned a few times, and lost the first location (but no others). In the second, I was never stunned and never lost a location. I felt like my luck was probably average in both cases, as far as villains and Hogwarts cards.

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I've been wanting to write up a strategy article...I'm not sure when a good time drop such an article on the forum would be.

I think any time is fine, as long as you put it in th Strategy forum and note at the top that it contains spoilers. People who don't want the strategy parts spoiled should stay away from that whole forum, and people who don't want specific spoilers can avoid reading the article until they are ready.

If you wanted to go above and beyond, you could split your strategy thoughts into article(s) covering only up to specific game levels.
 
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Sean Fletcher
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jbabel wrote:
The game is designed for people who have never played a deck builder. So game 1&2 are the 'learning' games. As such the designers dont want new players to be discouraged (especially in game 1). Game 3 is when the game starts to fight back and game 5 is when it really starts getting tough. have fun.


My experience has been that the odd-numbered games ratchet up the challenge pretty heavily. Even in workshopping the Beta versions of it, we got our butts handed to us a few times.
 
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Phil Wickline
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David, I'd love to see that strategy article right about now.

I agree with Kevin that, as long as it's listed under "strategy" and indicates possible spoilers, all's fair in love and Hogwarts Battle.
 
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Trey brumley
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mkrajew wrote:

Getting spells that take off the control tokesn early makes a big difference, though you can't control when they come up for sale. If you don't have those choices, it may be good to bulk up on health cards so you can try and avoid getting Stunned so often and attempting to keep off the Control tokens that way.


I think one of the things that made the game difficult was that we didn't have any control removal Hogwarts cards out at all and by the time they showed up, it wouldn't matter since it would take so long to cycle through.
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David Jones
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peakhope wrote:
If you wanted to go above and beyond, you could split your strategy thoughts into article(s) covering only up to specific game levels.


The issue here (for me) is that years Four and Seven are the only two that I've played repeatedly. Years three and five I beat the first time though so I just moved on. I think I played year six twice to experiment with the new mechanics, but the victories were fairly easy.
 
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Kevin B. Smith
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davypi wrote:
The issue here (for me) is that years Four and Seven are the only two that I've played repeatedly. Years three and five I beat the first time though so I just moved on. I think I played year six twice to experiment with the new mechanics, but the victories were fairly easy.

A pair of strategy posts, one for year 4 and one for year 7, sounds very reasonable.
 
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Uy T

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Game 3 is definitely where things get harder and you have to change strategy.

What I have noticed though is that the difficulty is a LOT dependent on luck.

Imagine your first two villains are Tom Riddle and Crabbe and Goyle. And then you get access to two Hogwarts cards that let you control the location. At this point, you can basically coast vs these two villians forever until you build a good deck.

Conversely, you can get the Dementor and Lucius and cry. And then not get any attack cards in the Hogwarts pool.

What I'm really missing in this game is some way to either "burn" your own cards, or at least "burn" cards in the Hogwarts queue.

And as you said, playing with 4 players seems harder because of cards that say "all players must lose 2 health or X." Contrast this card with the potion or allies that let you heal one person. So in a 4 player game, what you have to do is hope to get lots of attack and just go all out attack and just let the stuns come.
 
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David Jones
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nalgae wrote:
Imagine your first two villains are Tom Riddle and Crabbe and Goyle. And then you get access to two Hogwarts cards that let you control the location. At this point, you can basically coast vs these two villians forever until you build a good deck.


This really is kind of a key point. The basic strategy, even up into year 7, is that you aren't just trying to build a deck that can take out villains, but you are trying to build a villain setup on the game board that gives you control over the game. With the kind of situation you are describing above, you can effectively "pause" the game, build yourself up, and then unpause the game with whatever arsenal of weapon you've stacked up. If you don't get a setup that puts the game under your control (and you rarely will), the object is then to find a way to get the game under control. This then comes down to selection of what villain to kill, card purchases, and deciding when to trigger hero abilities.

Quote:
What I have noticed though is that the difficulty is a LOT dependent on luck.


This is a difficult comment to address. Yes, there is luck, I'm not going to deny that. But deck builders are rife with luck because of shuffling and purchase options. You can also live and die by the same luck in Legendary, but people don't seem to complain about it in that game. So in some sense, its hard to not be dismissive of this comment if we (as a community) aren't going to apply this yardstick evenly across games. However, I still have to admit that it is something that is worth bringing up because I think those effects are felt by the players much earlier in Hogwarts than in most other co-ops. The snowball effect of being ahead or behind happens at a faster here than in other games.
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Joseph Calungsod
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Regarding luck, one thing I definitely noticed, especially in the later games, is that you really have to shuffle the hogwarts cards extremely well.

I have a systematic approach where I slowly shuffle each new game hogwarts cards slowly into each other: shuffle game 2 and 3, then game 23 into game 1. Same for the later games, so that each game set is, atleast in theory, spread a lot more evenly.

But the issue is you can get a really crappy 'store' with 6 hogwarts cards that cost 5 or more, and almost impossible to acquire new cards without the help of hermoine, especially if villains or dark arts card are constantly forcing you to discard a card, or prevent you from drawing extras.
 
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Uy T

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davypi wrote:
nalgae wrote:
What I have noticed though is that the difficulty is a LOT dependent on luck.


This is a difficult comment to address. Yes, there is luck, I'm not going to deny that. But deck builders are rife with luck because of shuffling and purchase options. You can also live and die by the same luck in Legendary, but people don't seem to complain about it in that game. So in some sense, its hard to not be dismissive of this comment if we (as a community) aren't going to apply this yardstick evenly across games. However, I still have to admit that it is something that is worth bringing up because I think those effects are felt by the players much earlier in Hogwarts than in most other co-ops. The snowball effect of being ahead or behind happens at a faster here than in other games.


You missed quoting the part of my post in which I tell you the way to mitigate luck with certain mechanics, either by burning cards in your own deck (a la Dominion) or by "burning" the queue cards, a la Lord of the Rings deckbuilder.
 
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