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Subject: Judge Strategy for winning the "Hunted" scene rss

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Warning: spoilers below for the Hunted scene. If you haven't played it yet you may want to enjoy it first before reading

.......

So what strategy have you used to win the Hunted scene as the Judge? The first time I ran this scene I played it naively, and lost. But it's definitely winnable. Here is one strategy; I'd love to hear if people have others.

Map Analysis

Looking at the map, there are eight columns of areas. Since Gliders can only move 1 area by themselves, they'd normally only be able to move through five columns in five rounds. Thus the obvious trick is to 'bounce' Gliders off the Thornwatch, to let them move farther. A bounce plus a move means covering two columns in one turn, so ideally you could reach the end in 4 turns. The trick is arranging players so you can still move out of squares after attacking.

My first attempt was to bounce all of the hero's back toward the objective. However, this is tough because the Thornwatch can all help each other, and you can't move ahead unless you clear all of the heroes out of one area. It seems more effective if you cut one hero off from the party and bounce them forward while holding the rest of the heroes back close to the start. This also has the nice effect of making the party feel separated and helpless, as they watch their companion shoved toward failure

Basic Strategy - Round By Round

The basic ideal play might go as follows.

Start:



The map looks like this, with Thornwatch in front of the Gliders, blocking the path to victory. But not for long!

Round 1:

Four Gliders use their glide attack against heroes in column 2 and knock them back to the top area in column 3. Because at least one Thornwatch will be present in that square for the first four attacks, Gliders will be forced to remain in column 2. The final Glider can knock a hero back to the bottom area of column 3, and use their move action in the now hero-free square to join them in column 3.



Round 2:

The main objective is for the Glider on the bottom area to knock a hero into column 4, and follow. Gliders want to move as far towards the goal as possible each round.

It's most fun to split up the party, so two of the gliders can swoop into the top area of column 3 and knock two heroes back to column 2. They're stuck in that space. The remaining two gliders, however, can knock the same heroes back into column 1, leaving them quite far behind. The last glider to move is free to leave column 2, since it is free. It may as well swoop into the lower area of column 3, and join its fellow glider far ahead in column 4. That gives the Judge the most pushing power the farthest ahead on the board.

At the end of the round the board looks like this:



Round 3:

The main goal is for the front two gliders to push their hero onward. The first can push back one square into column 5 and stop.



The second glider can move into column 5, then push the hero into column 6 and follow. Getting close!



The remaining Gliders are there to run interference. Push two heroes back to column 2 if you can, and one can be pushed to column 1. Playing Gliders in the ideal order and traveling along the bottom means the Judge can end with Gliders in columns 3, 4, 5, and 6.



Round 4:

Again, the main goal is on the right. One Glider pushes the hero back to column 7



The next closest moves up and pushes the hero to column 8.



The Gliders have now basically won the scene, unless the Thornwatch can kill all of the gliders within reach or prevent them from moving.

Gliders in the back could optionally continue towards the goal, in case something goes wrong, or work interference with the left-bound heroes.



Round 5:

Either Glider bounces the lone Thornwatch back to column 8, and follows. Victory for the Judge!




Fin

Of course, this assumes that none of the Thornwatch move backwards to thwart your plans. You'll likely have to keep pushing them each round with several Gliders. And all plans could change with some well placed kills or spells. But you get the idea.

I think the Judge is highly incentivized to spend ebb in the first two rounds of this scene - having the Gliders act first in rounds 1 and 2 seems critical to success, so you can separate a hero from the party and use them to bounce to the end. Buying extra enemies also helps the Judge push more heroes around to get the configuration they want. Buying Ebb Infusion at the start might give you the edge you need to avoid death and keep the pushes coming. I feel that makes this scene a better choice to use as the second or later scene in an adventure; having another scene before this gives the Judge more chance to earn ebb for the Hunt.

I like this scene. Two simple mechanic twists - "damage to push one space" and "can't leave the area with heroes" - are easy to learn but add depth. They make for a fun and suspenseful chase scene, and the Judge is rewarded for learning how to use their resources well.
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