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Josh Kaufman
United States
West Hills
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So I somewhat enjoy this game, but there seems to be some flaws with the game. And I'm wondering if people have come up with ways to address some of these flaws. I think the flaws become more evident in the later rounds as you mix more cards together.

1) If you have a bunch of expensive stuff in the market, it can limit the ability to build decks and get traction going to start defeating the villains. Maybe a setup guideline at start or maybe being able to stagger the decks with certain cost items and whenever a card gets bought, the players can choose which deck to add to the market?

2) Nasty villain combos, especially early on when you don't have the firepower to attack them with. Maybe arrange the villains in stacks form easy to hard and everytime a player defeats a villain from a certain stack, replace the villain from that stack or move to the next highest stack, when that runs out?

3) I think the dark arts cards where you draw an additional dark arts cards seem insanely overpowered, especially considering what some of those dark arts do. If you get the wrong dark arts draws, you can basically go from 10 to 0, even if you are just drawing one dark arts. Maybe there should be a rule that you can only draw one additional dark arts card, no matter how many times you draw an additional dark arts card.

Seems like there should be rules to stagger the decks or something so as to give the characters a chance to win. Or else you can basically just lose on a crappy setup. This seems most problematic for book 7.

Just curious what people think in terms of these issues, especially as it pertains to book 7. And curious if there are any variants people have tried that they liked.
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David Jones
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If its not clear enough from the title, this post is going to be spoilerific for year seven stuff....

hobbes27 wrote:
If you have a bunch of expensive stuff in the market, it can limit the ability to build decks and get traction going to start defeating the villains. Maybe a setup guideline at start or maybe being able to stagger the decks with certain cost items and whenever a card gets bought, the players can choose which deck to add to the market?


There is an official workaround for this already where, once per game, a player can forgo any purchases in order to clear the market. I have not had to use this rule yet, but I think it would be sufficient for situations where this problem comes up. That said, the game is significantly easier when you have one player running Hermione and another player running Charms running in the same game. Market clog simply doesn't happen with this combo. So my only complaint about this being a "flaw" in the game is that it does kind of bottleneck your team into picking specific things. The problem with any kind of 'staggering' variant is that it would require a lot of setup time.

Quote:
Nasty villain combos, especially early on when you don't have the firepower to attack them with. Maybe arrange the villains in stacks form easy to hard and everytime a player defeats a villain from a certain stack, replace the villain from that stack or move to the next highest stack, when that runs out?


Again, there is another thread on this, although there is no official variant to address this. My only comment in this regard is that I have won a game when Dementor / Quirrel / Lucius were the starting villains. So the game is not unwinnable here. The only worse combo I could imagine would be Dem/Q/Bellatrix. It seems like the easiest rule would be to allow the team to mulligan the start villains if they don't like the first three, but aside from the initial setup, villain targeting and management is, IMHO, part of the strategy of the game. Staggering again requires judgement calls from the community as to what are hard and what are not. Wormtail is a tame villain if he comes out early but a brutal villain late in the game. The Basilisk has similar issues because in the early game you don't have card draw in your deck yet but in the late game it can be crippling. (Same for Riddle.) If you script when these cards come out, you lessen the variability of their difficulty.

The only variant I have done here, once, was to put all the year seven villains at the bottom, then year six on top of them, then five, and so on, in order to play the game "chronologically". It does reduce the game difficulty by quite a bit since you can bottleneck the villains while you build your deck up. It might be a good way to play in order to help you get a grasp on how to win year seven, but I don't think I would advocate this as a normal mode of play since it makes things a lot easier.

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I think the dark arts cards where you draw an additional dark arts cards seem insanely overpowered, especially considering what some of those dark arts do.


I'm not sure how I feel about this. I have run into this issue a couple of times of going from 10 to 2 in one turn. Its disheartening, but I've not lost because of it. The thing is, while this situation does suck, it usually means that all the bad cards come out at once. This means that you either had an easier time with the deck getting up to that point or you will have easier cards coming in the future if this happens early. There is a tradeoff here that I'm not sure you are considering. The game can be won regularly on year seven so I'm not convinced this is necessary from a difficulty perspective.

Quote:
Just curious what people think in terms of these issues, especially as it pertains to book 7. And curious if there are any variants people have tried that they liked.


IMHO, the difficulty jump in year seven has more to do with the Horcrux deck than the new Dark Arts cards, although I do admit that the new Dark Arts cards for year seven are brutal. The penalty for playing an Ally seems tame, but its just enough to make life more difficult. And if you get rid of that card, the one underneath it is arguably worse.

More specifically, its hard to address a post claiming that aspects of the games are "flaws". The game can be won with the right strategy. That being the case, how "flawed" can it really be? The game can certainly be very swingy. The comments about a bad flip on the Hogwarts deck are the ones that I think are most legitimate. My experiences so far are the victory is highly correlated to how many cards you can buy that remove control tokens early in the game. (If you can acquire the deluminator in the first four rounds of the game, you are almost certainly guaranteed victory.) By the same token, if you've lost control of the first location after ten turns, you're probably done for. The outcome of the game depends so much on the first 10-15 rounds and I think this is where the flaw in the game design shows up the most. Its not any one specific mechanic in the game, its just a matter of how the luck of all of the things flows into each other. You're either in control of the game or you are not. Its unusual to have a "balanced" situation where you and the villains are tugging at each other with equal power.
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Josh Kaufman
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I guess I see it more as flaws because of it being too random. But we haven't played the game a lot, so maybe with much more experience, the randomness doesn't get to the point where it basically determines if you even have a chance to try year 7.
 
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Seth Goodnight
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Well, lots of randomness is part of the game. You have 4 different decks of cards (Hogwart's, hero, dark arts, villains) that can all either come up in your favor, or completely hose you (or anything in between). There's no way around it with deck building games.

Year 7 makes everyone a lot more powerful (good guys and bad guys), so the game can swing really fast. I have had turns where I drew 6 dark arts cards, and turns where I dealt 7 damage and healed everyone for 5 health (thanks Neville).

We will on occasion mulligan the starting villains, but the Hogwart's cards have not been a problem (yet).
 
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Tim P.
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Ref the clogged market official solution mentioned above, here is the response
Re: Clearing the market
This give the players a once-per-game (not per player) scrapping of the cards.

As game 7 is so reliant on dice and Dark Marks, I can even see people using this in hope of getting cards with dice or the ability to remove Dark Marks.

Ref game setup, I would rather spend 5 minutes setting up a villain deck than risk spending 2 hours playing a game that is impossible to win.

In 2 of my 13 games, the starting combo of Lucius Malfoy and a Dementor have beaten us before we could get going, this results in a very frustrating experience.
 
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David Jones
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oi_you_nutter wrote:
Ref game setup, I would rather spend 5 minutes setting up a villain deck than risk spending 2 hours playing a game that is impossible to win.


My issue with setting up a villain deck was not time, but the fact that it requires judgement calls based on the perceived difficulty of the villains. My strategy for winning basically involves creating a situation where you can "stop" the villains from hurting you so you can clean out the Horcrux deck and then go back to actually trying to win the game. If you can cherry pick which villains come out, this strategy becomes easy peasy. You really need the tension of not knowing what villain is on the top of the deck to keep the game interesting. The decision to keep the setup you have vs risking something worse flipping is important. Aside from that, certain villains are easier/harder depending on when they flip, so again, if you can cherry pick if they come up during early game or late game you've kind of ruined the effect.

The long setup time was in reference to the comment about having a staggered Hogwarts deck. Are you going to sort the deck by year? by effect? by price? How many decks do you want to make? If you have four or five decks, how do you decide which spots in the market belong to which decks? Does this give the players too much leverage to cherry pick cards? The list of concerns goes on. I mean I'm not going to get in anyone's way if the want to work on this, but its more trouble than what its worth IMHO.
 
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Tim P.
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Cherry picking things is not being advocated at all, what feels a little too random is every thing is just mixed together and there are so many cards that you can have a lopsided initial setup.

After two games where the initial villians had unbeatable combo effects and we could not even defeat one villian, that all seemed too random and there was nothing we could do about it. On the other hand once the players have acquired cards and got momentum the weak villians are not much of a threat and are easily defeated.

By setting up a villain deck, I mean staggering or grouping the cards such that that you are more likely to get weaker villains while the players are weak, and the stronger ones later.

The goal is to ramp up both sides abilities so there is a balance to make the game a challenge.

It just feels a bit too random !
 
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Josh Kaufman
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davypi wrote:
oi_you_nutter wrote:
Ref game setup, I would rather spend 5 minutes setting up a villain deck than risk spending 2 hours playing a game that is impossible to win.


My issue with setting up a villain deck was not time, but the fact that it requires judgement calls based on the perceived difficulty of the villains. My strategy for winning basically involves creating a situation where you can "stop" the villains from hurting you so you can clean out the Horcrux deck and then go back to actually trying to win the game. If you can cherry pick which villains come out, this strategy becomes easy peasy. You really need the tension of not knowing what villain is on the top of the deck to keep the game interesting. The decision to keep the setup you have vs risking something worse flipping is important. Aside from that, certain villains are easier/harder depending on when they flip, so again, if you can cherry pick if they come up during early game or late game you've kind of ruined the effect.


I'm not advocating cherry picking and I agree with you about the randomness. Some randomness is good as you describe. Its frustrating to play a game where it feels predetermined whether or not you can even try to win the game, because of how the cards are. Maybe some of this can be addressed with experience and someone who plays year 7 100 times can handle even the worse of setups.


 
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Tim P.
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A known problem is one or more villains who have a strong combo effect, like Lucius Malfoy and a Dementor. Later in the game they are still a problem, but early they are devastating.

The official solution to a clogged market was a once-per-game market mulligan, so taking that idea another step it could offer a solution to the over-powered combo.

So the idea is a once-per-game redraw of a Villain. When the villains are initially drawn, or later when a new villain is revealed the players can draw a new villain, shuffling the discarded villain back into the villain deck after the replacement villain is drawn. This redraw cannot apply to Voldemort.

As a penalty for using this villain redraw option: a hero must be stunned. The players chose a player to be stunned following the normal rules for being stunned. If the ability is used on a starting villain then the first player is stunned.

Imagine one of the heroes is tasked with distracting the villain, they get stunned in the process.

Thoughts ?

 
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Morten Benzon
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I have yet to play game 7 as more than 2 players. But in a 2 player game the ring horcrux is simply too powerful. In effect, you can never overload a location on the player with the rings turn. No matter how many death marks are added you can always remove one. The other player simply picks up all remove death mark cards and then it really doesn´t matter how many times you die.

I have played and won 3 out of 3. And every time we have kept it on location 2 or 3 with this tactic.

Did we missread the rules or has anyone else had experience with the ring being too powerful?
 
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David Jones
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Benzon wrote:
I have yet to play game 7 as more than 2 players. But in a 2 player game the ring horcrux is simply too powerful. In effect, you can never overload a location on the player with the rings turn. No matter how many death marks are added you can always remove one. The other player simply picks up all remove death mark cards and then it really doesn´t matter how many times you die.


If the wrong set of villains turn up, possible (but rare) to end up in situations where you frequently have three or fewer cards. There is a tipping point in the game where once the villains start beating down on you, its nearly impossible to recover. So first, you have to play the game well enough to get the ring and second, I don't know if you could still win the game in this state or if you would just get stuck in a loop. I don't play 2P, so I'd have to actually see this to comment further.

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I have played and won 3 out of 3. And every time we have kept it on location 2 or 3 with this tactic.


I can quite frequently keep the game at location one without this tactic. If this is your justification that the ring is OP, bear in mind there are better strategies available.
 
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