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Subject: How do you use Preludes? rss

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Allison Macrae
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Victoria
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Back when MoM came out, I posted complaining about the balance of Preludes. Since then, we've had several expansions introduce more of them, up to 20 now, many of which I find to be much better balanced. However, it's undeniable that some of them are much harsher than others. I'm curious how people use them.

Some Preludes straight up make the game harder; "Improve 2 skills and Impair 3" is the most obvious, but most of the Old One specific preludes start you off with an epic monster or rumor, which is not entirely balanced by the Clue they give you in return.
By contrast, several of them simply give you the option of starting with advantages. The particularly unbalanced ones come from MoM, but even the fair trade ones (gain a Dark Pact and a Promise of Power) are all upside, because you can take the deal if it's worth it, and pass if it's not.

With my group, we've house ruled several of the preludes to be easier, or harder, to bring them in line with being balanced with each other, while cutting some entirely. Do you play with preludes? If you do, do you use all of them, or are there some you leave in the box? Are you okay with the highly disparate power level, or have you tried something to balance them out more? I certainly don't think there's a right or wrong way to handle them, but I'm curious what other people have done.

Here are our specific changes, for those who are curious. I'm not asking anyone to agree or disagree with them, just presenting them in case you're curious how my group has handled them:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Under the Pyramids: always spawn the two monsters, plus an extra Gate. Unlike Antarctica, the Egypt sideboard is inherently helpful, permitting faster travel between India and the Pyramids, opens up several new helpful encounters, puts more gates in one easily accessed area, and also comes with an easy and very powerful adventure. This requires some kind of drawback, as so far every game we play with the adventure has been defined by its success.

Doomsayer from Antarctica: always spawn the Rampaging Shoggoth. The Shoggoth isn't such a bad monster, because it doesn't impact people not on its space. Antarctica is less useful than Egypt, so it requires less down side, but we still feel the added inconvenience of the Shoggoth helps to balance the adventure.

Call of Cthulhu: never spawn Cthylla. Without the epic monster spawn, this prelude inconveniences, or potentially inconveniences, investigators, and drains their sanity in exchange for a clue. How bad it is depends on your starting investigators, but overall I think it's fair. Adding an epic monster off the start just hurts.

Drastic Measures: Improve 2 skills, and impair 2. This is pretty self-explanatory. Not only does it balance out, for all the investigators with a 1 stat, this is what this prelude did anyway, so it's just making everything fairer.

Ultimate Sacrifice: Don't place the artifacts on the defeated investigator sheets. Since you have a reasonable chance to retreat doom, you're gaining free equipment, at the cost of a little travel and a chance of increased doom. Overall, still somewhat balanced.

Key to Salvation: Spend 2 Sanity and 2 Health. Starting the game with tasks can be very strong, as you get all game to power them up. We felt the cost needed to be a little higher.

Unwilling Sacrifice: cut entirely. Starting with Unique Characters is too powerful to reasonably balance, in my opinion.

The King in Yellow, Epidemic, The Dunwich Horror, Rumors From the North: all cut. As written, they add a rumor or Epic monster to the start of most games, which is a significant jump in difficulty, not balanced by gaining a clue. Also, I tend to find having to fight a monster immediately to not be the most fun way for a game of EH to develop. Also, they all just result in players starting with extra clues, which is duplicated on several prelude cards, so they are removed to increase variety as well as for balance.
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Jim Black
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What I do is randomly draw 2 and pick one of them to play. Since we draw investigators randomly, if we feel the group is weak, we may choose the one that seems more helpful/less harmful. If we feel the group is strong or we are up for a challenge, we'll pick the harder one. I think there's only 4 or 5 preludes we have never drawn- I think at least three came in the King in Yellow set and are fairly new to the deck for us.
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Krzysiek Domański
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gathraawn wrote:
I'm curious how people use them.
If I need to tune up the difficulty a bit, I pick one of the preludes by hand.
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Chris Knapp
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I haven't played at all with preludes yet, mostly because it seems like most of them make the game even harder. When I start using them I will probably hand pick some of the easier ones to start.
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Kenneth H
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Simply as written. I always draw a prelude before setup and use it. I have been known to redraw sometimes if I get Rumors from the North, though. The freaking Wind Walker is always in my Mythos deck anyway.
 
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David "Davy" Ashleydale
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We shuffle them all up and pick a random one for each game, no changes.

Some are harder, some are easier. Some Mythos cards are harder, some are easier. Some Mysteries are harder, some are easier.

Play it as it lays.
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As written, just random.

I dont think improve 2 impair 3 is that bad. You can specialize your character.

The only thing is some preludes say you MAY do something for something (e.g. gain dark pact for a spell). I feel like those are almost never worth it and are redundant to have. I've considering changing the wording to be you MUST or else those preludes will never do anything.
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Mark Tattersall
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Choose never to use them. They seem unnecessary.
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mark tattersall wrote:
Choose never to use them. They seem unnecessary.


That's what I thought for a long time but sometimes they actually add a nice twist to the game. It's quite surprising considering they don't really add any new mechanisms. I've played a lot of games though so maybe I just enjoy the increase setup variation. Give it a try if you get the chance.
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Richard Little
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Always use a prelude, selected at random. I've got all the expansions so given the size once I've used a prelude I place it out of rotation for a while. Also if I do hit a particular "prelude + AO" combo that I've seen before I'll pick a different prelude.

Do agree with others that initially the preludes tending to be more helpful than harmful, however with later expansions this is no longer true. For example, I've yet to beat a game with The Dunwich Horror prelude (4 tries to date). Despite that I'm not going to remove that prelude from play since some AOs need the increased difficulty. Case in point: I've played nine games against Rise of the Elder Things and the only loss was when the prelude was The Dunwich Horror.
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Rob Hart
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Since I'm curious:

Poll: How do you use preludes?
Preludes have now been around for a couple of years, starting with the Mountains of Madness expansion. How are they used in your game group?
1. How often do you use preludes?
Never
Some games
Most games
Always
2. How do you pick which prelude to use?
Completely random
Semi-random (IE, draw two choose one)
Specifically chosen
We don't use preludes
      37 answers
Poll created by Raubythyme
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Jonathan A
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Always. Completely random. goo
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Oded K
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Always.
Random, but the last four preludes used are excluded from the drawing.
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Jan Probst
Germany
Kiel
Schleswig Holstein
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Usually use the option to choose prelude, usually to get in some content I want to play (sideboards, decks) or to use Before the Storm or whatsitsname as a sort of "quick start".
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Igor Persin
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quick question. I have MoM, but I plan to buy today Caracosa and UtP I think. SInce I never used prelude from MoM, do I only use them when playing with one of GOO from MoM expansion, or can I use them for any GOO?

And with new ones I get, I just shuffle them altogether(from all expansions that come with them) and draw one before game?
 
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H-B-G
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smurfORnot wrote:
quick question. I have MoM, but I plan to buy today Caracosa and UtP I think. SInce I never used prelude from MoM, do I only use them when playing with one of GOO from MoM expansion, or can I use them for any GOO?

And with new ones I get, I just shuffle them altogether(from all expansions that come with them) and draw one before game?


They can be used with any GOO and you shuffle all of them together drawing one before the game.
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