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Subject: Should Game 4 Be THIS Hard? rss

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Annie Tipton
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I've played game 4 a total of 10 times now, and the heroes have won ONLY 2/10. We've played with 2 heroes, 3 heroes, and 4 heroes, tried various strategies in which Hogwarts cards we try to acquire, but the villains are really kicking butt. We won't go on to game 5 until the heroes win again.

Anybody have any strategies that you've found to be most effective?
 
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Corey Hopkins
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That's dedication...we move on to the next game as soon as we win once!

Here are some things on top of my head:

1. Choose which villains to defeat first carefully. Take into account both the negative effects and the rewards.

2. Play to the strengths of the characters. Hermione should get spells, Ron should get attack, Neville should get healing.

3. Game 4 introduces the Hogwarts dice. Remember that EVERY hero gets the benefit.

4. Also remember that the villains don't gain control of the location until the END of the turn. I take this to also mean that control tokens in excess of the maximum are not placed (someone can correct me if I'm wrong about that).

5. Make it a priority to keep the first location in play as long as possible.
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J Emmett
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The first time we played (and lost) Game 4, we kept forgetting that the dice give all heroes the resource. After ten tries I assume you know the rules, but I figured I'd throw that out there!

chopkins828 wrote:
That's dedication...we move on to the next game as soon as we win once!

I missed that part in the OP! Yeah, if you've won Game 4 once, you're good.

Confession time, we didn't actually win Game 4: we were one attack token short on the last villain. Then hours later we realized we had been mis-playing the dice, and decided that we definitely would have won if everyone was getting the rewards, so we moved on to Game 5. whistle
 
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David Jones
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This has been brought up in a couple of other threads. Things do get harder in year four, but once you figure out how to win at that level, you have a handle on years five and six.

The main strategy shift is that you have to get more aggressive. In years 1-3 you have more time to deck build before you have to start beating up on villains. In year four, you need to come out punching and attack everything right out of the gate. You need to your starting allies for attacks more often instead of healing. Make sure you are getting the right cards to the right players. (i.e. a Butterbeer is much better in Neville's hands than Harry's. Cards with two attack need to go to Ron. Spells that give card draw are better for Hermione.) Make sure you aren't wasting money on cards that don't do much - for example Wingardium really isn't that good of a spell and Chocolate frogs, IMHO, dilute the power of most decks. Prioritize your enemies. I mean, I realize this is obvious, but now that I have more experience with the game Lucius and Tom are not as big of a problem as I used to think they were.

I'm hoping to write up a strategy article over the weekend. The plan is to break it out by year four and then by year seven. I need to play around with year four a bit more, but maybe I will have some better tips for you in a few days.
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Trey brumley
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chopkins828 wrote:

4. Also remember that the villains don't gain control of the location until the END of the turn. I take this to also mean that control tokens in excess of the maximum are not placed (someone can correct me if I'm wrong about that).


Uggg. Have not been playing this rule! That will make it way easier.
 
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Corey Hopkins
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tipbruley wrote:
chopkins828 wrote:

4. Also remember that the villains don't gain control of the location until the END of the turn. I take this to also mean that control tokens in excess of the maximum are not placed (someone can correct me if I'm wrong about that).


Uggg. Have not been playing this rule! That will make it way easier.


Like I said, the second part of that is my own interpretation. But the first part is definitely correct: If you can remove the last control token by the end of the turn it was placed, that location is not lost.
 
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GodRob
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chopkins828 wrote:
tipbruley wrote:
chopkins828 wrote:

4. Also remember that the villains don't gain control of the location until the END of the turn. I take this to also mean that control tokens in excess of the maximum are not placed (someone can correct me if I'm wrong about that).


Uggg. Have not been playing this rule! That will make it way easier.


Like I said, the second part of that is my own interpretation. But the first part is definitely correct: If you can remove the last control token by the end of the turn it was placed, that location is not lost.


Your second part is definitely correct.

Page 12:

If you need to add more villain control markers on a Location than there are spaces, you get a reprieve, ignoring any additional villain control markers that would be added this turn.
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Joseph Calungsod
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One strategy that you probably should practice getting used to if the situation presents itself is to spread damage. This is especially important in game 5, but is just as useful in game 4. Obviously this is very situational but is definitely worth it from game 5 and up, without spoiling anything. Getting more aggressive in game 4 is usually beneficial but sometimes can backfire if you keep killing one just to bring a full one that may be even more annoying to kill with the other revealed villains.

If you get a bunch of villains together who won't do much damage and you can manage location control without much trouble, you can take that opportunity to slowly spread damage and build your deck without much penalty. Then kill them when your full or close to full hearts. Likewise, you can get all the villains to 1 heart remaining then kill one off, and draw a new villain next turn, and decide whether or not you should immediately kill that other villain or spread damage again. This way you don't get two or more villains at full health that are a nasty combo.

Another thing my wife and I do is wait to kill villains so that the reward isn't wasted. For example, if there are no skulls and a villain that takes one away is almost dead, we start working on another one, until one is added. I actually do this more often when theres a villain that allows you to draw from your discard.

Just like everyone else said, you should also prioritize your characters buy plan. When I play Ron, I never buy anything unless it gives a lightning bolt or is Accio. Accio, Nimbus 2001 is like my go to combo on Ron, haha.

These are just my opinions so if it doesn't work for you, sorry, but it works for me and my play group more often than not.
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B C Z
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chopkins828 wrote:
2. Play to the strengths of the characters. Hermione should get spells, Ron should get attack, Neville should get healing.


I don't feel that Ron should focus on Attacks. What is making you suggest this?
 
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Joseph Calungsod
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byronczimmer wrote:
chopkins828 wrote:
2. Play to the strengths of the characters. Hermione should get spells, Ron should get attack, Neville should get healing.


I don't feel that Ron should focus on Attacks. What is making you suggest this?


I personally agree with Ron getting attacks. The more attacks he has in his deck, the easier it is for him to get 3 a turn, which is also 2 hearts to any player. So not only is he dealing damage, but hes offering some healing support just by focusing on attacks.
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Corey Hopkins
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schmoe1 wrote:
byronczimmer wrote:
chopkins828 wrote:
2. Play to the strengths of the characters. Hermione should get spells, Ron should get attack, Neville should get healing.


I don't feel that Ron should focus on Attacks. What is making you suggest this?


I personally agree with Ron getting attacks. The more attacks he has in his deck, the easier it is for him to get 3 a turn, which is also 2 hearts to any player. So not only is he dealing damage, but hes offering some healing support just by focusing on attacks.


This. And I forgot to mention that it's also helpful for Ron to get Allies, since they will combo with Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans.
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Phil Wickline
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I've mentioned in a couple of other threads that I've found Game 4 to be significantly harder than the previous games. Just for fun, I ran some numbers to see if I could pinpoint the source of this increased difficulty. Maybe this is obvious to others, but read on if you're curious.

Originally, I thought the overall proportion of the Hogwarts deck that allows you to remove Control Tokens (CT) gets smaller with each game. This isn't the case, though: in Games 1-4 0%, 6%, 8%, and 7% of the Hogwarts deck is comprised of these cards, respectively.

Then I started to wonder whether the number of Dark Arts cards that add CT to the locations increases disproportionately across games. There seems to be a little bit of truth to this hypothesis. The percent of the Dark Arts deck that unconditionally adds CTs to the location is relatively steady across games -- 30%, 33%, 26%, and 26%, respectively. However, there are 3 cards in Game 4 that possibly add CTs to the location if certain conditions are met (e.g., if stunned). This brings the Game 4 deck up to 37% full of cards that can add CTs.

In addition, Game 4 increases the number of Dark Arts cards drawn each turn in two ways: 1) Locations 2 and 3 require you to draw 2 Dark Arts cards instead of 1, and 2) three of the 27 Dark Arts cards (9%) require you to draw an additional card. (In the designers' defense, this effect appears to be thematic. It only occurs on the cards for the 3 unforgivable curses -- Imperio, Crucio, and Avada Kedavra.) Thus, in Game 4, there's a slightly higher chance of drawing a card that potentially adds CTs to the location in general, and this chance increases significantly because you may be required to draw more than 1 card. (Someone who has more skill calculating probability will have to chime in here with exact numbers.)

The one other thing to consider is the strength of the villains in Game 4. While there's a small, steady increase in the total number of villains across the first 4 games, there's a marked increase in their total strength over time. The total strength of all the villains increases 195% from Games 1 to 2, 134% from Games 2 to 3, and 124% from games 3 to 4. From Games 1 to 4, then, the villains increase 327% in total strength. While not something unique to game 4, it's worth noting that the villains are STRONG in Game 4.

Part of me wonders whether the increased difficulty in Game 4 is partially thematic. If my memory serves me, this is the first book in which the threat of the bad guys becomes very real. Though not the darkest book in the series (book 5 for me), it left me with the feeling of "how are they going to be able to defeat these guys?"

While others may be able to chime in with better strategy suggestions, this information seems to support what others have already said -- 1) the game is probably "swingy" depending on which Hogwarts cards can be purchased at key points in the game, 2) try like the dickens not to lose that first location, 3) come out of the gates swinging and focus on attacking villains, and 4) a variant in which you only ever draw one additional Dark Arts card might ease the difficulty a little.

Obviously, the game is more complex and none of this considers things like player count, character abilities, card combos, etc. I just thought I'd put this out there for others who, like me, find themselves quoting the venerable words of Ron Burgundy in the midst of Game 4: "Boy, that escalated quickly... I mean, that really got out of hand fast!"
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Annie Tipton
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Good stuff! Thanks for your thoughts! We're playing even more intentionally to the characters -- as you say, buying what makes most sense. And good news -- we WON game for during lunch today!
 
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Annie Tipton
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schmoe1 wrote:
If you get a bunch of villains together who won't do much damage and you can manage location control without much trouble, you can take that opportunity to slowly spread damage and build your deck without much penalty. Then kill them when your full or close to full hearts. Likewise, you can get all the villains to 1 heart remaining then kill one off, and draw a new villain next turn, and decide whether or not you should immediately kill that other villain or spread damage again. This way you don't get two or more villains at full health that are a nasty combo.


That is great advice. We'll definitely try this in Game 5. Thank you!
 
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David Jones
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philwickline wrote:
The one other thing to consider is the strength of the villains in Game 4. While there's a small, steady increase in the total number of villains across the first 4 games, there's a marked increase in their total strength over time. The total strength of all the villains increases 195% from Games 1 to 2, 134% from Games 2 to 3, and 124% from games 3 to 4. From Games 1 to 4, then, the villains increase 327% in total strength. While not something unique to game 4, it's worth noting that the villains are STRONG in Game 4.


I truly do not understand the claim made in this analysis. There is no keyword of "strength" defined in the manual. If you mean health, in year three there are two villains added for a total of 15 health while in year four there are two villains added for a total of 14 health. By this measurement, year four has a less pronounced increase in difficulty than year three (although the average health of each villain does increase from year to year). A 300% increase means that something has quadrupled in value and I can't see any value in the game that jumps four-fold between year three and year four. As best as I can tell, this analysis is either wrong or it using a subjective measurement.

Being honest, I can't really see any one thing that makes the game harder though. This is the first year that Dark Arts cards can invoke card draw, but only 11% of the time are you pulling two cards instead of one. The number of cards that drop location tokens jumps from 26% to 29% (not counting Avada or Heir) so this isn't a huge increase and you get an extra spot on location one which is more than enough to compensate. I do think this is the first year for which all cards cost 4 or higher, so the average cost of Hogwarts cards goes up, but four still isn't a hard number to reach. It may just be the cumulative effect of a bunch of little things.
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Annie Tipton
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annietipton wrote:
schmoe1 wrote:
If you get a bunch of villains together who won't do much damage and you can manage location control without much trouble, you can take that opportunity to slowly spread damage and build your deck without much penalty. Then kill them when your full or close to full hearts. Likewise, you can get all the villains to 1 heart remaining then kill one off, and draw a new villain next turn, and decide whether or not you should immediately kill that other villain or spread damage again. This way you don't get two or more villains at full health that are a nasty combo.


That is great advice. We'll definitely try this in Game 5. Thank you!


Update: I used this strategy in Game 5 last night, playing with Ron and Neville. It worked extremely well in that round. Heroes' victory with no locations falling.
 
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Phil Wickline
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davypi wrote:
philwickline wrote:
The one other thing to consider is the strength of the villains in Game 4. While there's a small, steady increase in the total number of villains across the first 4 games, there's a marked increase in their total strength over time. The total strength of all the villains increases 195% from Games 1 to 2, 134% from Games 2 to 3, and 124% from games 3 to 4. From Games 1 to 4, then, the villains increase 327% in total strength. While not something unique to game 4, it's worth noting that the villains are STRONG in Game 4.


I truly do not understand the claim made in this analysis. There is no keyword of "strength" defined in the manual.


Sorry, you are right, when I said "strength" I meant "health" (i.e., number of hearts).

davypi wrote:
If you mean health, in year three there are two villains added for a total of 15 health while in year four there are two villains added for a total of 14 health. By this measurement, year four has a less pronounced increase in difficulty than year three (although the average health of each villain does increase from year to year). A 300% increase means that something has quadrupled in value and I can't see any value in the game that jumps four-fold between year three and year four. As best as I can tell, this analysis is either wrong or it using a subjective measurement.


I went back and looked at my math, and see that I was wrong. I also may not have been clear in what I was trying to communicate (speaking of bad combos...). In terms of total cumulative villain health, there's a 95% increase from Game 1 to Game 2 (i.e., 22 to 43), a 35% increase from Game 2 to Game 3 (i.e., 43 to 58), and a 24% increase from Game 3 to Game 4 (i.e., 58 to 72). The total cumulative increase in villain health from Game 1 to Game 4 (i.e., 22 to 72) is 227%.

I was trying to convey that, across the first 4 games, some aspects stay relatively stable (e.g., proportion of Hogwarts deck that removes CT) or increase only incrementally (e.g., total number of CTs allowed on Locations). However, the cumulative amount of villain health increases more substantially. This isn't something that makes Game 4 drastically harder than Game 3, but it supports your strategy of "coming out of the gates swinging" and focusing on attack.

davypi wrote:
Being honest, I can't really see any one thing that makes the game harder though. This is the first year that Dark Arts cards can invoke card draw, but only 11% of the time are you pulling two cards instead of one.


In my opinion, this is the aspect of Game 4 that is qualitatively different than prior games, and is the biggest source of increased difficulty, especially if you have lost the first location and are drawing two Dark Arts cards right off the bat. Again, this supports your strategy of holding on to the first Location at all costs. I haven't played it this way yet, but this is why I suggested a variant/house rule where you draw a maximum of 1 extra card per turn.

I wish I was better at stats computation - I'd like to see how the cards that make you "Draw another Dark Arts card" affect the probability of placing one (or more) CTs each turn, especially if you are on Location 2 or 3. Just from playing, it seems like this aspect of the game can make it spiral downward quickly.

Thanks for your Year 4 through 6 strategy guide post. I'm excited to give Game 4 another go this weekend.

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Kevin B. Smith
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Given the relatively minor changes between game 3 and 4, we were shocked at how much harder game 4 seemed.

We played game 3 twice, and both were easy wins. In each, we were not stunned more than once, and we ended with zero control tokens on the first location.

Our first shot at game 4 resulted in a tense game where we were each stunned at least twice, and we were 1 control token away from being defeated. My wife nearly lost hope, and considered giving up at one point. We did win, but with a bad dark arts draw at the wrong moment, we easily could have lost.

We're going to play game 4 at least once more. It will be interesting to see if additional plays are also that tough, or if it was more of a fluke. Looking at the math, I still don't understand why game 4 would be more than "a bit" more difficult. Obviously, as davypi and others have pointed out, holding location 1 is critical. Maybe that "bit" is just enough to (often) take out location 1 before the player decks ramp up.
 
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Bobby G
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peakhope wrote:
Given the relatively minor changes between game 3 and 4, we were shocked at how much harder game 4 seemed.

We played game 3 twice, and both were easy wins. In each, we were not stunned more than once, and we ended with zero control tokens on the first location.

Our first shot at game 4 resulted in a tense game where we were each stunned at least twice, and we were 1 control token away from being defeated. My wife nearly lost hope, and considered giving up at one point. We did win, but with a bad dark arts draw at the wrong moment, we easily could have lost.



We had the same experience. Breezed through Game 3 but got destroyed in first attempt at Game 4. We won the second time, but barely. Last location was fully controlled, but we were able to remove one by defeating the remaining villain . . . made for a great finish, but, yeah, we were shocked (although not totally unhappy) at the difficulty ramp up. Looking forward to Game 5.
 
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