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Subject: Might Discard = Impossible Economy? rss

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Chad Taylor
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The updated version of Shadowrift arrived, and I gave it a play. I should say "I tried to give it a play" because, frankly, the game played me. Hard. I do not remember the original game being this ball-bustingly challenging. My two heroes really had no chance at all. We defeated only two fire dragons. Everything everywhere was on fire.

One of the biggest problems that I see in this new version of the game is that there is no way to generate one of the key resources, Prowess. You need it to buy almost everything in the game, but you only get what you start with unless you purchase Might. The problem with Might is that it costs 2 Prowess itself and then disappears once you use it. What the hell is the use of that?! I checked the original rules and, sure enough, you did not have to discard Might back to its stack when you used it. I honestly don't see how you're meant to generate enough income to get anything done in this game with that rule change. Either I'm missing something or that's a grievous mistake.

I'm aware, by the way, that you can keep Might in your deck if you use it to keep powers in front of you, but that's still extremely limiting.

Anyway, I remember really enjoying this game the few times I played it. This session was kind of miserable. I truly hope I'm doing something wrong.
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Brian M
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Well...that's worrying.
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Brian C
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*Focuses the light-beam Bat Symb-- Shadowrift Symbol up onto the cloudcover above to hopefully summon Jeremy*
 
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David Harrison
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Haven't tried it yet, but I did playtest the 1st edition with the proposed might changes and the game wasn't that much harder for me, so I doubt the game's really that much harder.

I'd also like to point out that one of the complaints about shadowrift was it being too easy; still, I'll try a game out soon and report back with the results.
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Matt Simpson
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coblackmagus wrote:
Haven't tried it yet, but I did playtest the 1st edition with the proposed might changes and the game wasn't that much harder for me, so I doubt the game's really that much harder.

I'd also like to point out that one of the complaints about shadowrift was it being too easy; still, I'll try a game out soon and report back with the results.


Sounds like variant material
 
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David Harrison
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I should point out that, whereas in the old rules buying might was one of the top priorities, buying might in the new edition is something you'd do only if you had a very specific purpose in mind (e.g. helping to build walls, keeping skills out, etc.).

If you try mass buying might (which was totally a valid strategy in the first edition) you're going to be in for a really bad time since you're spending 2 prowess to get in effect 1 temporary extra one on a later turn. Instead, focus on buying useful loot and a couple of good attacks/actions.
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Jeremy Anderson
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This is written as intended.
Obviously I'm not shooting for you to have a bad time, but the prior version was far too easy because of the way Might worked. Players could buy their way into a full complement of walls in just a few turns once they got going.
For an easier variant you could make it so that you only return Might when you use it to buy something. This lets you bulk up easily to become better at healing yourself and firing Strikes from range, but doesn't result in that 2-turn Wall victory or an empty Traveler deck.

The truth is that Might - the player's buildup of economy - was never really supposed to be a core part of the design. It's not an economy game, the way you get in Dominion or Ascension. The output to push toward is healing, or damage, or seals, and when the output people push toward is more prowess I feel I've done something wrong in how I presented the puzzle.
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Chad Taylor
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Okay, I get wanting to make Might less of a hoardable item. I might have done that through limiting the supply available, though.

As it stands, at least in the suggested starting set, there is literally no way to buy anything except with your starting meager Prowess (and a Villager that sometimes pops up and gives someone 1). And if you're using 2 of those Prowess to buy Might, the only other available Prowess source, and it's only worth 1 Prowess itself that's going to disappear as soon as you use it, it's an obvious waste.

As it stands, there's no way to even buy the healing, or damage, or seals you desperately need, because you cannot afford them.

If you buy the lower level stuff, it clogs up your deck, making it even harder to get a big enough hand of Prowess to buy anything else. Nevermind the fact that if you're playing that suggested beginner set against the Dragons, those burns are going to be either sapping your resources or generating even more deck fodder every time they come up.

I'd love to see some playthroughs of the 2nd Edition to figure out if I'm just missing some key strategy of some sort, but I just don't see how you're not going to be overwhelmed almost immediately. Seriously, my two guys only took out two dragons over the whole game! And they were both weak enemies.

I was so excited for the reboot of this game, because I really enjoyed the first version, and the idea of improved materials and streamlined iconography and gameplay just sweetened it, but I'm pretty frustrated at this point.
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Brian M
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karishi wrote:
The output to push toward is healing, or damage, or seals, and when the output people push toward is more prowess I feel I've done something wrong in how I presented the puzzle.

I don't know 2e works, but it was largely impossible to increase your healing/damage/seal output in 1e due to the action limit; more than one action card at a time was generally a waste. Building up to afford coins/walls/villagers was the main way of improving your abilities.
 
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Chad Taylor
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StormKnight wrote:
karishi wrote:
The output to push toward is healing, or damage, or seals, and when the output people push toward is more prowess I feel I've done something wrong in how I presented the puzzle.

I don't know 2e works, but it was largely impossible to increase your healing/damage/seal output in 1e due to the action limit; more than one action card at a time was generally a waste. Building up to afford coins/walls/villagers was the main way of improving your abilities.


You can still only do one (though there are ways around that with Villagers and some pumped up abilities).
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Brian C
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-A preposterously premature variant for the new players wanting to kick a little Shadowrift buttocks-

Play this awesome game exactly as normal, except for the following change: The first Might a Hero buys each Round costs 1 Prowess instead of 2.

Edit: Slight tweak.
 
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Chad Taylor
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I may just have to go back to just keeping them in the deck.

I'm hoping that people get the game this weekend and can test this out for themselves. Maybe going into the game knowing about this will uncover strategies that make it playable.

Man, I hope so. I really loved the original, and I'd love to find out there was still a fun, playable game here. Sure, I'd hate to find out I'm an idiot that missed something, but I'd get over that to know that the game is still great.
 
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Bullwinkle wrote:
I may just have to go back to just keeping them in the deck.

I'm hoping that people get the game this weekend and can test this out for themselves. Maybe going into the game knowing about this will uncover strategies that make it playable.

Man, I hope so. I really loved the original, and I'd love to find out there was still a fun, playable game here. Sure, I'd hate to find out I'm an idiot that missed something, but I'd get over that to know that the game is still great.


Definitely give it some more plays as-is first - I think you'll find after a few games it's not (quite) as soul-crushingly difficult as it seems.
 
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Brian M
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Hopefully mine will arrive soon. Though, as things have turned out, I'm going to be having a bunch of games arriving around the same time, and a con this weekend, so even if Shadowrift does show up soon it may not get played for a while.

I'm really not feeling optimistic about it based on this thread though.
 
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Gabor Pivarcsi
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StormKnight wrote:
I'm really not feeling optimistic about it based on this thread though.

Maybe I'm missing something here, but this whole negativity is based on one play session, which turned out bad due to a strategy not working. Maybe we should try to find out a working strategy instead of writing off the game without even playing it.

I'm pretty positive it'll be winnable with the necessary amount of luck and good strategy. And if not, then there'll soon be some house rules that'll address the difficulty.

I'm much more angry about the zombies being misprinted, thus the game isn't spotless.
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Matt Simpson
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StormKnight wrote:
Hopefully mine will arrive soon. Though, as things have turned out, I'm going to be having a bunch of games arriving around the same time, and a con this weekend, so even if Shadowrift does show up soon it may not get played for a while.

I'm really not feeling optimistic about it based on this thread though.


My half game we played last night we purchased might only a couple times. Using it as an upkeep prowess they you kept in your deck was nice and I never felt like we were short on available income. Planning around your available villagers and making every purchase count just feels important. Watching rahdo's old video, they only purchased 1 might in 6 turns
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Brian M
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gaborpivarcsi wrote:
StormKnight wrote:
I'm really not feeling optimistic about it based on this thread though.

Maybe I'm missing something here, but this whole negativity is based on one play session, which turned out bad due to a strategy not working. Maybe we should try to find out a working strategy instead of writing off the game without even playing it.

No, it is more based on concerns that:
A) The OP said that the game is ridiculously harder, and the game designer mostly seemed to agree that it was meant to be harder. I've found that most attempts to make co-ops "harder" usually make the game less fun, especially when they make the game harder by making the players able to do less.

B) I thought a big problem with the first one was that the one action/turn limit and the need to split your money between your personal deck and walls/villagers made it too hard to actually build your deck and get a good deck/fun combos going. So, what you COULD do was try to build up a good bit of might and heroism to afford walls and expensive villagers. I was really hoping 2e would improve the action situation, but apparently it has not. But from the description it has made it a lot harder to buy walls/villagers. So what do you actually do in the game?


Quote:
I'm much more angry about the zombies being misprinted, thus the game isn't spotless.

Yeah, that's another reason for my annoyance about the game. I hate misprinted cards.
 
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David Harrison
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Reporting back with a playthrough of the first (Fire Dragons) scenario with 2 players (played solo):

Sadly, this scenario was a loss due to the town being filled with corpses. It started out with some of the worst luck I've ever had; a Shadowrift and 2 Rain of Fires came out on the very first turn, increasing monster power point generation from 2 to 5 for succeeding turns. My opening moves were buying the Pilgrim (Priest from 1st edition) and a seal for each deck.

This opening let me get rid of all the cards in the monster power area by turn 4 or so, but due to the Rain of Fire's new effect (gain burn when buying villager or wall or playing a seal) it came at a cost of a few burns. By the time I was able to damage control the monster power area, I was already taking a beating from the monsters.

As the game went on, I ended up sinking a bunch of resources into just wound/burn prevention/removal as well as buying villagers back into the village (b/c so many villagers were dying) that I never was able to mount very effective attacks against the monsters, killing only 3. However, I was able to seal all the ones which escaped, buying me some time. Ultimately though, without any way to remove corpses (the last time the gravedigger showed up I couldn't afford him) I lost the battle of attrition against the Fire Dragons due to the last corpse being put out.

Despite the loss, I wouldn't necessarily say the change to the might has made the game too hard. I did make a few strategic errors in hindsight and should have focused more on killing the monsters. There were times in fact where the change to might worked out in my favor (there were times I had 2 prowess and nothing I could spend it on b/c coin cost was increased to 3), and honestly I'm not sure I would've won even with the 1st edition might given the difficulty / mistakes I made.

I will mention that one of the biggest increases in difficulty are the 0-cost monster cards (e.g. Rain of Fire) that go directly to the monster power area. They were a pain in the 1st edition b/c they would increase monster power points until you sealed them without any benefit for the heroes, but not that they have ongoing effects it's just brutal.

In fact, I think the game would've been easier with 4 (or more) players, because then at least the huge gain in power points the monsters got at the beginning wouldn't have been as big of a deal. I might houserule splitting up the 0-cost cards between the two deck halves (just like with Shadowrifts) just to avoid such a brutal situation of opening with
3 cards that go straight to the power area turn 1.

I should point out that not all changes from 1st to 2nd edition make the game harder. For example, as far as I can tell, there is now no limit to the number of times a given player can request aid from the villagers, making villagers more powerful especially with lower player counts. Also, explore is no longer an 'action', so it's easier to weed out infiltrators without worrying about your action limit.

Finally, as I mentioned, I did playtest the new might some time ago, and even found the game with alternate might easier (partly due to experience with the scenario and a better start). Here were my thoughts:

1st game (normal):
This game was actually the harder of the two games, as there were two very early cold snaps that we had to deal with. My opening plays were might and wild charge while my partner got a seal and holy aura. I continued buying up mights thereafter and eventually got another wild charge and frenzy while my partner bought a variety of magic cards (a couple of heals, another holy aura, fireball) and only a couple of mights. Our biggest difficulty was that I was the only one with a single attack card for a decent portion of the beginning, and combined with the cold snaps, our town got populated by freezes and corpses. Fortunately we had made an early investment in the priest which slowed the monsters down enough for us to eventually get our game together and win by building the walls once we got the momentum.

2nd game (alternate might):
This game went much smoother. There were no early cold snaps and the first monster was a 5, so we spend the first couple of rounds just buying 1 holy aura and fireball each. We then continued to split the fireballs evenly between the two of us, buying mights when we didn't have enough prowess, until we each had 3 fireballs. We also got a fairly early priest buy, which helped slow the monsters down and not have to buy a seal. From there I focused on buying up coins to start building walls while my partner bought a couple of extra cards (flanking and a seal) and then also focused on building walls with me. We had magic barriers up early, so those combined with having the fireballs and priest bought led to a very smooth victory.

My overall opinion is that I really like the alternate might; it allows the players to focus on a strategy for the hero cards instead of just something that is always a good, and fits thematically better with the coin. The second game was definitely easier, but I attribute that more to a better strategy as well as just luck. Ultimately I think the change is a (arguably necessary) nerf to might, but not a gamebreaking one, since players can now focus on killing the monsters earlier instead of buying permanent mights.
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Jeremy Anderson
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The game is harder as in "when you have 3 prowess available you are making an actual decision of what to spend it on even before the Might stack is empty."
For most 1st Edition groups that had been playing a while, that wasn't true, and Might's place as the overwhelmingly obvious choice made the game less fun even as it made it easier.
Might's place in the game is now much more parallel to Coin, both in terms of its cost (2 instead of 3, which also means players have an actual choice to make when they have a 2-prowess hand) and its purpose (improving your purchasing power on some later turn in return for handing it back in).

Of the games of 2nd Ed Shadowrift played at GenCon, more than half were wins. The game is easier than it used to be in a few ways, and harder than it used to be in a few ways, and all of those ways involved making the game include more interesting choices for the player.

The game designer does not actually agree that the game is "ridiculously harder." I agree that the specific way in which the OP found it harder was intentional, but don't agree that that's game-breaking by any stretch.
Might is seriously not a necessity to winning.
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Brian C
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Interesting. After my first night with the game ended in a loss, I felt similar frustrations as the OP. I think it's because I bought this game to be my first "pure deckbuilder," so I came in with the intention of building an economy/engine where none may exist. Next time I'll try playing it on its own terms.

It does seem like it would be really hard to get those 4 cost cards later in the game though, after all the deck clutter starts to arrive..
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I played my first game tonight, using the Solo variant and my experience was exactly the opposite. Maybe the Drow are just easier. I never played first edition and it is entirely possible I'm doing something wrong - however, you start with 7 prowess and the highest cost for Prowess I ever saw was 5. This is about the same for any other deckbuilder I ever played, except there is no way to burn your crap cards later in the game.

I was able to buy a couple good attacks, which gave me Heroism rewards thereby increasing your Prowess by a bunch and allowing you to cycle your deck. I bought Might a lot at the end just to allow me to burn through my deck to get the key cards I needed (Raging Inferno and Bountiful Harvest).

I finally won having only lost one villager the entire game. I was killing the monsters before any of them got to zone 3 and the wounds I was taking are actually useful with Raging Inferno.

The villager that gives you the free coin is huge.

I believe it may the be Solo Variant that was making it too easy, rather than the rules for the game itself.

Edit - my game was just using the Randomizers so it may be I just got lucky with my available options.
2nd Edit - The Fisherman villager from the new expansion is also very helpful in cycling for Prowess. I played a 2nd game tonight and felt the Prowess squeeze against the Lycanthropes, but it felt like a tense game and not an impossible one.
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David Harrison
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Had a rematch with the Fire Dragons (same conditions), and this time I beat them very handily. There were no 0-cost cards at the top this time so I was able to stack a player with 2 Armor of Mists before the first reshuffle and before the first monster even came out. I then bought the player with the Armor of Mists a Wild Charge and got a couple of heals for the other deck. I continued stacking Armor of Mists and by the time I got to 6 I was able to kill monsters most of the time before they even moved to the '1' space. Shortly thereafter I focused on buying walls and that was that.

Overall, it didn't the difficulty didn't feel much different to me than a 1st edition game; my 2 cents is that this is just a repeat of the complaints when the first edition came out: some people complained about the game being impossibly hard while others tinkered with all kinds of variants to increase the difficulty.
 
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Chad Taylor
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My complaint (which started as really more of a question, and I'm glad others are answering) isn't the challenge itself so much as the new limitation with the Might cards and what that change does to the game.

The challenge has shifted as a result, which I know was the plan, but so has a core part of the original, in my opinion.

I also replayed the Fire Dragons under the same conditions, and while I still lost, it wasn't as brutal as the first round.

However, between my two characters, I was only able to buy six cards for them total, along with a couple of villagers and a couple of walls.

To me, that's frustrating when you have such a wide selection of possibilities available. Your chances of getting any of them at all dwindle significantly as the game progresses, because your only available Prowess is sparsely spread out (even with some Heroism in there), it becomes clear that you won't be partaking in many of those cards.

To me, it feels like I'm playing with my hands tied.

I liked original quite a bit (rated it a 7.5), and I was really looking forward to this new edition, but it just feels more frustrating than enjoyable.

It's a testament to my fond memories of the original that I still plan to play a strictly solo game (which was the way I played the 1st edition most often) with a new setup, and I will then try another game with the old Might rules in place to see if that brings back my enjoyment.

I'm glad others seem to be having fun, and that this doesn't seem to be a hurdle for some of you. I wish it was the case for me.
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Brian C
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Just wanted to report back after game #2.

I didn't go in this time aiming to build an economy, but rather a lean, mean, fighting machine right from the start -- well, two of them actually, as I was playing the game 2-handed.

I have some nitpicks that I may try to put into a Review at some point, but overall I had an absolute blast. I came in dubious too, not sure what I had here if not an economy-driven deckbuilder, but by the end of the game I was perma-grinning, glad that I had backed it. In particular, I love how the game has two angles that you must work (your own deck, and the Town Deck) -- forsaking either will lose you the game.

That really ups the ante in terms of tension. Love it.

Thanks Jeremy and Team for bringing us this gem of a game.
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Exo Desta wrote:
Just wanted to report back after game #2.

I didn't go in this time aiming to build an economy, but rather a lean, mean, fighting machine right from the start -- well, two of them actually, as I was playing the game 2-handed.

I have some nitpicks that I may try to put into a Review at some point, but overall I had an absolute blast. I came in dubious too, not sure what I had here if not an economy-driven deckbuilder, but by the end of the game I was perma-grinning, glad that I had backed it. In particular, I love how the game has two angles that you must work (your own deck, and the Town Deck) -- forsaking either will lose you the game.

That really ups the ante in terms of tension. Love it.

Thanks Jeremy and Team for bringing us this gem of a game.


Awesome. Glad you enjoyed it!
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