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Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle» Forums » General

Subject: Swinginess in games and other issues rss

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Adam Tucker
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So far in almost every game, the heroes have absolutely steam-rolled over the game (frequently finishing with zero control tokens on the starting location), or have been completely curb-stomped by the game (not even close to revealing the final villain). It seems like the break/swing point for the game tends to be very early on and the rest of the game is elementary. It seems kind of disheartening or disappointing or even absurd to play the game out once the game has been decided.
Does anyone think there is any way to keep the tension throughout the game?

Other issues:
Other than playing with only 2 players, there is very little that will vary strategies for building your deck once your character is determined.
Hermione wants spells, particularly spells with card draw.
Ron wants allies (allies that provide card draw and attack in particular).
Neville wants cards that provide healing (Molly, Hagrid, Fawkes, and Sprout are better on him than Ron).
Harry just wants to support all the other characters.

No way to trash, which means that even late in the game you can have a hand of all Alohomora! cards, which is underwhelming.

No way to flush cards from the supply, so it can get filled up with Wingardium Leviosa cards.

Admittedly, the game "works" okay as is, but the swinginess makes it seem like the randomness, especially early (first few villains that come out, first few events, early hero cards available, how soon a control removal card shows up, etc.) has more impact on whether the game is won or not than player skill.
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David Jones
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SPOILERS for years six/seven are ahead. You've been warned.


It really is hard to disagree with most of what you said. I think the cause of this is that the Dark Arts deck does most of the damage to you over the course of the game, so moving from location one to location two (regardless of what year you are in) represents a major shift in power against the players' favor. So you have a specific point in the game where the game gets nearly twice as hard. In contrast, player decks grow in power at a slow and steady rate. If the players can control location one long enough to get their deck built up, they never his that doubling point. In contrast, if the villains take control of location one too quickly it becomes significantly harder for the players to continue to build their deck. I think out of about 30 games, I've only had two games where player/villain equilibrium happened at location two and one game at level seven where I actually won the game at location four. All other times, one side basically steamrolls the other. In order to maintain tension throughout the game, you basically need to have some kind of mechanism that measures the players' power and then forces control of location one to be ceded at a certain power level that is commiserate with the effect of having to flip that second DA card every round.

Something else that I think is a bit more troubling is that the more I experiment with different game seven setups, the more I confirm the idea that you cannot win the game without either Hermione, Charms, or Neville/Herbology. In order for players to maintain enough deck power to hold control of location one, they need to buy more cards costing 5 or higher. Because only eight of your starting cards give you money, you can only get to 5 with the right shuffle, and even then you can only do that every other turn. Once you start buying cards that don't give you money, the odds of hitting 5 influence continue to go down. You need some other ability to push you over that hump. Hermione, Charms, and Herbology are the only three things that do this for you out of the gate. The only other way to do this is with cards that allow you to give coins to other players, and there aren't many of them. So, IMHO, the issue not just with swinginess but also that game forces you into certain setup combinations if you want to win at all. If someone can explain to me how to reliably beat year seven without one of these three things, I would be interested in knowing how.

A few other comments...

Quote:
Ron wants allies (allies that provide card draw and attack in particular).

I agree that Ron needs attack and card draw, but I disagree that he needs to do this via allies. Nimbus 2000, Expelliarmus, Incendio, and Descendo are also great cards for Ron. Confudus is also one that I would typically rather have in Ron's deck than Hermione's because you typically have Ron built up to have the three attack needed to trigger the added ability. Finite also a good one for Ron if Harry is in the game because Harry can give Ron the attack token. I wonder if you are fixated on using Bernie Bott's rather than simply looking at things that will help him get to the three attacks he needs.

Quote:
so far in almost every game, the heroes have absolutely steam-rolled over the game...
No way to trash, which means that even late in the game you can have a hand of all Alohomora! cards, which is underwhelming.


If the heroes can steamroll a victory, they don't really need a trashing mechanism do they? You're complaining about a lack of balance and then whining that heroes don't have enough power. I have to admit I thought this was off-putting when I first started playing, but viewed objectively, its not something that is really needed for this game. I really want someone to present an argument that it is needed rather just saying they really want it.

Quote:
No way to flush cards from the supply, so it can get filled up with Wingardium Leviosa cards.


This is another issue which I'm not sure is a valid complaint or not. There are certainly games during which I feel I'm being forced to buy garbage in order to open up the Hogwarts deck for better cards. But similar to my point above, if the game couldn't be won this way, we would see more complaints about it. I can't tell if this was a deliberate design decision in the game or just something they never thought about. I think the problem is that, as experienced gamers, we are somewhat upset that weakening our deck (by these "forced" purchases) means that we aren't being afforded a strategic choice in our deck building decisions. Part of me wants to agree with you that this is a bad design decision, but the skeptic in me wants to see the proof that its actually causing you to lose games. (And the hypocrite in me is remembering that I've deliberately removed Leviosa from my game.)

Quote:
it seem like the randomness, especially ... how soon a control removal card shows up has more impact on whether the game is won or not than player skill.


Similar to my comment above, this is also where Flying Lessons becomes a big game decision. I've won quite a few games without bringing this card with me, so I can't say its a necessity, but there is a significant difference between having it and not. So again, how bottle-necked are players in terms of setup choices if they want to win?
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Jason Webster
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Developers already posted that once per game a player can discard all the cards in the market to get new cards. The player is not allowed to buy any cards that turn.
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Matthew Cordeiro
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tuckerotl wrote:
It seems like the break/swing point for the game tends to be very early on and the rest of the game is elementary.

This does happen often, but I've had games that started out well and then escalated quickly once a particularly difficult combo of villains was revealed. This is especially true in games 5-7 due to the "last villain" mechanic in those games. Likewise, I've had a couple games that gave us fits in the first few rounds and then became more manageable once we got past a difficult couple of villains.

tuckerotl wrote:
Other than playing with only 2 players, there is very little that will vary strategies for building your deck once your character is determined.

I suggest trying different combinations of characters and
Spoiler (click to reveal)
proficiencies

from game to game to keep it fresh.

tuckerotl wrote:
Ron wants allies (allies that provide card draw and attack in particular)... Harry just wants to support all the other characters.

Actually, Ron wants attack cards first, and allies would be his second priority. Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans is his only starting card that rewards playing allies. By mid- to late-game, you might only see that card every 4 turns of so. And Harry wants control removers, like Dobby, Moody, finite, etc.

tuckerotl wrote:
No way to trash, which means that even late in the game you can have a hand of all Alohomora! cards, which is underwhelming.

It's possible, but unlikely. Chance are, something is going to make you discard cards - events, villains, stunning, your own cards... Those Alohomoras are the ones that get discarded (unless you have a card with a "when discarded" effect). And really, if you could trash cards, the game would probably be too easy. You know those games where you said you've won it after the first few turns? Imagine that same game except, you can trash Alohomoras.

tuckerotl wrote:
No way to flush cards from the supply, so it can get filled up with Wingardium Leviosa cards.

True. The solution is either a) buy it when you have an extra couple influence to spend to free up a slot in the supply or b) use a house rule. At the end of the day, my group just chalks it up to luck of the draw. There's no getting around the fact that this game has a luck element. But there are plenty of decision points in the game to keep it interesting. Which heroes to play with, which cards to buy, which villain to attack, which card option to select...
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Moo Cow
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This game just did everything to screw us in this last game, and in the end, it won. We seriously came really close to doing it, but in the end it kind of felt like we were just screwed over.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Game 5: Pettigrew and Lucius as two of our first 3 villains - so that took a bit of time to finally get around; their combo is beyond annoying. Then we have several turns where we'd go from a nice hand to stunned and cardless because of this 'draw another dark arts card' nonsense. I don't mind it one in a while, but having to draw 7 cards on a turn is a little ridiculous, and it happened more than once. The game was just trying to screw us over at every turn. In the end, we got it down to Voldemort and I would have won had I not drawn a 'turn the top card of your deck over...' scenario. It made me discard the one card that would have won us the game, and instead we lost with Voldemort having 3 health remaining.


We really did well - but in the end the villain and dark arts combos were just too much... Like we've got a nice hand and we're controlling the location well; now we're both stunned, have no cards and the location has 5 tokens on it after one turn.

It happens in games, though. I just think perhaps it goes a little too far in this game, especially because of the ridiculous amount of "draw another dark arts event". I think those cards should have been more limited than they are.

Ah well. Hopefully we'll get it next time.

Update -> We played Game 5 again and beat it with 0 control tokens on the 1st location. Was a totally different game the second time.
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Moo Cow
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Since my last post, we've played game 6 now several times and just run over it each time.

Daughter is still finishing up book 7, so we can't start it yet. I'm looking forward to seeing how it alters the difficulty and adds to the gameplay with the new features it introduces. Looks pretty crazy.

I have been getting bored playing 6, though. Each time we've beaten it with almost no control tokens on the locations. It hasn't even been a worry. Other than that one Game 5 I mentioned previously, we've just trampled the game. I really hope 7 is more challenging for some longevity.
 
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Woo-Hoo Gamer
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Moo Cow wrote:

I have been getting bored playing 6, though. Each time we've beaten it with almost no control tokens on the locations. It hasn't even been a worry. Other than that one Game 5 I mentioned previously, we've just trampled the game. I really hope 7 is more challenging for some longevity.


We had to play Game 4 three times to get past it, and Game 5 four times to move on. We just played Game 6 this morning for the first time, and while we were able to get pretty deep into it, we still lost.

All in all, from our experience I would think that Games 5-7 provide a pretty good challenge. Is it possible you've missed a rule that's made it a bit easier? (Just asking)

Spoiler (click to reveal)
We initially thought that when a villain was defeated, a dark arts marker was removed from the location AND we received the reward for defeating that particular villain. This made the game much easier. Once we only started removing them when a card allowed us to - or when it was the reward for defeating a villain - the game became a bit more challenging for us.
 
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Moo Cow
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WooHoo1 wrote:
Moo Cow wrote:

I have been getting bored playing 6, though. Each time we've beaten it with almost no control tokens on the locations. It hasn't even been a worry. Other than that one Game 5 I mentioned previously, we've just trampled the game. I really hope 7 is more challenging for some longevity.


We had to play Game 4 three times to get past it, and Game 5 four times to move on. We just played Game 6 this morning for the first time, and while we were able to get pretty deep into it, we still lost.

All in all, from our experience I would think that Games 5-7 provide a pretty good challenge. Is it possible you've missed a rule that's made it a bit easier? (Just asking)

Spoiler (click to reveal)
We initially thought that when a villain was defeated, a dark arts marker was removed from the location AND we received the reward for defeating that particular villain. This made the game much easier. Once we only started removing them when a card allowed us to - or when it was the reward for defeating a villain - the game became a bit more challenging for us.


No - we've got the rules down pretty well.

How many people are you playing with? I'm playing through with just my daughter now and I have a theory that the game isn't balanced very well in terms of how many people are playing and that with 2 people, it's far easier than with 3 or 4.
 
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Kev O
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We noticed this issue at the lower levels. To make it more fair at the earlier games is to start the first location with two tokens on it. Sometimes an early removal spell will still make this a non-issue for the heroes, but it can be the correct timing adjustment needed to reintroduce challenge back into the game.
 
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