$20.00
$60.00
Recommend
8 
 Thumb up
 Hide
16 Posts

Duel of Ages II» Forums » Variants

Subject: Some Variants & deep thoughts on Quicker Play rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Garth Pickrell
Canada
Saskatoon
Saskatchewan
flag msg tools
mbmb
Whew! Well we just finished an 11 platter 6-week long Epic. For me, there is no question this is the best 2-player game ever made. There is so much game by game variability in characters, game set-ups, bad adventuring, heroic David vs. Goliath kills, crushing defeats & thrilling victories. I am thankful that I have a playing partner close at hand, and a large pool table. We can leave the board set up & a week can go by before we get back at it. We have been playing almost non stop (we have the odd Eclipse game) since DOA2 was released. Of course my pool table hasn’t seen a ball on it for 2 years, but there are always trade offs. Thought I’d drop a line on some variants we use, and ways we have sped up the games.

VARIANTS WE DO ABOUT ½ THE TIME:
• Build the board first. This saves a lot of time. We throw some platters, keys & labs out there & build it in about 5 minutes. We then draft our characters. We draft all different combinations; 1-2-2-2-1, give one-take one, take one-draw 1 random. However you want to do it. But we never discard characters. All revealed characters must be drafted or you get some who are never used, and that’s not right. Agent 911 can dominate just as much as The Terror can.
• You make a Challenge Roll for Amaze Honor Bonuses. On a Squeak or better you get the bonus. Brings in the ‘9’ rolls for the higher Honorable characters, plus gives the truly despicables (deplorables?) a chance to squeeze out a bonus. Of course a bad roll can cut down an automatic bonus. Part of the fun. It usually evens out anyway, but it adds to the game narrative.

VARIANTS WE DO ALMOST ALL THE TIME:
• Characters must take at least 1 damage when deciding to Imprison. These are for characters who are down to 1 life. We found our prisons were filling up & it seemed to slant too far in that direction. So if a character is down to 1 life & takes damage, there is no option. He’s dead. “Sorry Sarge, I only wanted to wing ‘em.”
• Sentinels cannot be placed in Caverns. A sentinel is already a pretty powerful deterrent, but they seem too powerful used a full blocking mechanism as well.
• For the Lith, both sides can use the Adventures (Pool, Cave or Fangs), but for every 2 points of Favor that you are behind, -1 to the die roll rounded up. So 2 Favor behind = -1 to the roll. 5 Favor behind = -3 to the roll. Lith is a cruel mistress. Best to keep her happy.
• One Achievement Point is awarded for obtaining the most Lith Achievements in the game. We found in many instances the Lith Achievements determined the winner to the detriment of the rest of the match.
• Take 1 less card reward for Encounters. There seemed to be too many cards to fast. We’ve played a couple of times with max 2 encounters per platter & earning full cards. That worked well.
• Increased the Amaze Honor bonus that temporary increases ratings to two turns from 1. A 1 turn benefit rarely came into play.

THINGS WE DO TO SPEED IT UP:
Because we have played so much & it’s second nature, it’s easy for me to say that game moves quite quickly. But that is our experience. Something like having your opponent draw your labyrinth cards for you & clean up the board while you Dismiss saves an incredible amount of time. You can even have a house rule that you can’t look at your cards till after your Adventure Phase (not our favorite thing to do, but it’s fair for both teams. You can review them all when its his turn to move).
Op Fire can be a time killer. Watch his hex moves so you are ready to go with your shots. You won’t be able to remember all your shots without a review of your unrevealed cards, but by having a few shots ready to go really helps. When you move, move your ‘automatics’ right away. If Cassie is heading to the Colonial lab & no one’s around, move her & get her out of the way. Here’s some others:
• Lose the dice. This was the hardest one. We love chuck’n dice, but the cards are so quick & readable that we finally had to give up the ghost. There’s always Tomb or Betrayal/House/Hill to get our dice fix.
• Put sticky notes on the character. We bought a couple of small pads & when a game change takes place, we put the note on the character. It saves having to remember specific game situations & a quick review of the sticky's during the game can really speed things up. You can use it for a lot of things: Reminds us which Hunter is after which character. Who’s affected by the Caltrops, When Damon or Ygonna’s used one of their abilities…… lots of uses.
• When we move, we do ‘areas’ (roughly platters) on the map. We used to go ‘left to right’ in character order, but doing a section goes faster. Works for Op fire as well.
• Get your trades ready for your next Free Action while he’s doing his Adventures. You don’t have to physically move the cards, but know which ones you’re pretty sure you’ll move when it’s your turn.
• Build a random map, and draw random characters. You miss a huge component of the build map strategy, but you’ll get going a lot quicker.

P.S. We’ve made about 30 characters that we use along all the rest. Here’s a couple you might like to play with. You can just go to Lair of the Lith & make your own. It’s also good to donate to their cause.
13 
 Thumb up
0.25
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jimmy Pattaya
Canada
Mississauga
Ontario
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Very interesting article, Garth. DOA2 is also my favourite two-player boardgame of all time --- and it isn't even close! That's saying a lot because I have played hundreds & hundreds of different games in my 40+ years in this hobby.

I guess we Canadians love our monster epic battles. You're the first person I've encountered who plays this game in somewhat the same fashion as my friend and I do. And I'm convinced it's the best way to play, although not everyone has the desire or the space to keep a single game going for weeks & even months at a time. My friend & I live in different cities & we can only get together once a week --- and the game remains set up on my dining room table until either someone gets a Valor victory or 35-50 turns have taken place (a dice roll determines exactly when the game ends.)

You said you played with 11 platters. We always play with 12 random ones as well as 12 random Adventure Keys & 13 Encounter tokens. As for the characters, we did a massive draft of all 192 at the outset, so we each have a stable of 96 that only we can play with to enhance our sense of ownership & identity. However, for each new game, characters are drawn randomly until we each have a roster of 16 characters. Sometimes our teams are strong & in other games they are weaker, but with 16 characters apiece, it all seems to balance out nicely to make every contest competitive. And as you pointed out, with Agent 911, every character has a unique contribution to make to the overall effort.

Many of your suggested Variants look good. I especially like how you use the Lith adventures, and it's one we will adopt immediately. It also dovetails somewhat with Brett's recent rule change concerning the Lith platter. We haven't introduced any Variants ourselves, although we have kept the superior (in our opinion) Reinforcement rule from DOA1.

Thanks again for your thought-provoking article. It certainly got my creative juices flowing --- and hence my detailed response.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
corum irsei
msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
You're all nuts! Really good info about variants, though.

I've also been thinking about adding a bunch of tokens to indicate temporary effects and stuff - similar to your sticky notes.
GarRobPick wrote:
P.S. We’ve made about 30 characters that we use along all the rest. Here’s a couple you might like to play with. You can just go to Lair of the Lith & make your own. It’s also good to donate to their cause.
I recently looked at the site, but it appears to be at least partially dead. Half of the links aren't working (including the link to donate...), and I wasn't able to register because I didn't get an email

I suppose it still works for those who registered at some point in the past.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Kessel
United States
Beaverton
Oregon
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
I've played a LOT of DOA 1 and DOA 2 takes quite a bit longer.

The single biggest increase in time, by far, is the amount of equipment given to you in DOA2. It requires a lot more checking of cards, figuring out who to try and trade with, more opfire opportunities and more checking what enemies have equipment when moving, etc.

I think there were about 10 characters that started with equipment in DOA1.

Plus, DOA1's alt labyrinth were set challenges that didn't give cards (though they did have other benefits). They were more like base challenges. In DOA2, it's all card-giving challenges now, so that plows yet more cards into the player's hands.

Speed improvements, for me, have come almost exclusively with mental tricks for remembering cards and who you want to get them to. But there's little to help ingrain those tricks beyond lots of playtime.

Sadly, I think DOA2 is a step backwards with the quantity of equipment doled out. It really slows the game down and tilts the game focus towards equipment and combat to the detriment of maneuvering/positioning and reduces the value of core melee stats (damage/power).

Reducing character counts will help the game play faster as well. DOA2 recommends more characters per side than DOA1, 12 for a 4 platter game. DOA1 recommended 8-10 per side, a guideline I still find makes for a better game (I use 9 per side with 4 platterS). The change to 12 makes the tilt towards combat even more pronounced and lengthens the game further.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Kessel
United States
Beaverton
Oregon
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
I realized as I read some of the variants I had a comment or a question on it:

GarRobPick wrote:

• Characters must take at least 1 damage when deciding to Imprison. These are for characters who are down to 1 life. We found our prisons were filling up & it seemed to slant too far in that direction. So if a character is down to 1 life & takes damage, there is no option. He’s dead. “Sorry Sarge, I only wanted to wing ‘em.”

Interesting, we rarely imprison. Guarding prisons consumes significant resources. Then you've got to assign a full time base protector and one Obsidian Fangs dismissal and the protector is gone. Or the enemy comes in with a bigger, badder character and kills the protector. Or if you don't protect it at all, they free the prisoners.

If you both like to imprison, is destroying prisons a big part of your strategy? Then your opponent couldn't use imprison.
GarRobPick wrote:

• Sentinels cannot be placed in Caverns. A sentinel is already a pretty powerful deterrent, but they seem too powerful used a full blocking mechanism as well.

I'd be happy to see my opponent put a sentinel in a labyrinth . It vastly cuts down on its field of fire, effectively cutting down its impact by half or more. The most devastating spots for sentinels in our games tends to be that half-way point between two adjacent dome tiles. Dismissing to any of those 6 domes forces the character to walk through at at least a couple turns of opfire.

GarRobPick wrote:

• One Achievement Point is awarded for obtaining the most Lith Achievements in the game. We found in many instances the Lith Achievements determined the winner to the detriment of the rest of the match.

You mean those Secret cards that can give you a point if you fulfill them? We really rarely even have 1 achieved. I think there's only maybe 10 or so in the entire secret deck. How are you achieving multiple in a game?

Or do you mean the labyrinths? In which case you're compressing 4-6 points into just 1 point? That'd tilt the game massively towards combat, favoring melee and shooters over adventurers.
GarRobPick wrote:

• Increased the Amaze Honor bonus that temporary increases ratings to two turns from 1. A 1 turn benefit rarely came into play.

The honor bonus that bumps stats is a permanent increase (see "Leveling" in the rule book), not temporary. The temporary one is the XP marker.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Garth Pickrell
Canada
Saskatoon
Saskatchewan
flag msg tools
mbmb
Good posts. I still like DOA1. I made a computer game & my son & I will bang off a game every now and again. But for me DOA2 really shines, especially with the 10-rating spread upgrade over the 6-rating spread. The characters strengths & weaknesses are much more pronounced & the differences are much sharper, which I really like.

We jail quite a bit. It takes a lot of resources to break people out of jail. It usually takes a 'beater', which takes him away from, well, beating on people. Unless there is an open HQ, he has to gain access to the HQ, fight or get shot at, then hopefully pass the breakout test. The -1 Combat point can is very valuable in a close battle for the Combat achievement. Getting 4 or 5 guys in Prison (which we used to have often) takes huge resources to keep breaking them out. It just seemed more thematic as well; that if you were down to 1 life, that you died if you took damage. We do try to destroy prisons get get away from double amazes, especially against guys prone to jailing like Santiago.

We used to put the Sentinels on the cavern entrances. You had the best of both worlds. You have a full 180 degrees of fire area & two or 3 turns getting past the sentinel. That's definitely just a personal preference of ours.

Maybe because we tend to have the longer games that more Lith Achievements get completed. Shock & Awe, Imprisoning the Monster, Maxing out a Lab. There's usually a couple each game.

It's not the Leveling up. It's Challenge Cards that say '+4 React until the end if your next turn'...... those types.






1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Kessel
United States
Beaverton
Oregon
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
GarRobPick wrote:

It's not the Leveling up. It's Challenge Cards that say '+4 React until the end if your next turn'...... those types.

Heh, even after maybe 20 games of DOA2, there are still cards I haven't seen apparently! Well, I've seen every challenge card of course, but I don't look at the honor bonus unless I'm drawing for one.

I'm curious, how many characters and platters do you usually play? That might be the biggest reason for our different experiences. Also, sounds like you play with encounters, which I haven't used much, which also probably changes the experience quite a bit.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Garth Pickrell
Canada
Saskatoon
Saskatchewan
flag msg tools
mbmb
We play with between 3 & 3 1/2 characters per side, per platter. So a 4 platter game would be between 12 & 14 characters. That's another great thing about the game. For 4 platters you could have a 20 per side blood bath, or an Adventure laden 8 character game with limited interaction. WE play with Encounters about 1/2 the time. It's ok. I personally like limiting them to a couple per platter.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Kessel
United States
Beaverton
Oregon
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
Ah, yea, you definitely play with a higher character count. I typically use 9 characters per side in a 4 platter game. That's what DOA1 recommended and I find it fits my preference for how much maneuvering matters. With 12-14 characters per side, you're definitely going to rip through a lot more cards and thus see more Lith achievements.

I know DOA2 recommends 12 per side with 4 platters, but I tried it once and it just felt like chaos and slanted the game towards combat and away from feint and maneuver.

I talked with Brett at one point about the change in character counts and he said it was to avoid an end game feeling too sparse if there were a lot of deaths. Of course, the trade off is having the early game be more cramped. It has other balance impacts I didn't like either, more character mean more dismissals per turn which meant dome choices can get very limited which made the choices about dismissal less interesting. Adding more characters took away some of the parts of the game I really value . It's part of why I rate DOA2 lower than DOA1, some of the core changes altered the game to ramp up combat.

It already takes me a good 5 hours to play with 9 characters per side. It'd probably take me 8-10 hours to play a game with 14 per side . My brain hurts just thinking of trying to keep track of some 30-40 pieces of equipment!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
corum irsei
msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
jhaelen wrote:
I recently looked at the site, but it appears to be at least partially dead. Half of the links aren't working (including the link to donate...), and I wasn't able to register because I didn't get an email
I have an update on this:
As it turns out, an email was sent after some delay, ending up in my spam folder. Since it had already expired when I found it, I retried it and this time I was able to register - yay!

I've also been able to create a test character, but it was quite a bit of trial and error. Unfortunately the link to the list of official special abilities doesn't work (http://app.lairoflith.com:8300/characters/guide#official-cha...).
Likewise the 'codex search': http://cgi.lairoflith.com/codex-search...
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David desJardins
United States
Burlingame
California
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Esto wrote:
You said you played with 11 platters. We always play with 12 random ones as well as 12 random Adventure Keys & 13 Encounter tokens.


Where did you get more than 12 adventure keys? There are only 10 in the box (4 labyrinths, 4 alternate labyrinths, Lith's Lair and Alliance).

The Alliance key seems kind of unappealing compared to the others. Henchmen are definitely good, but the cost to get them seems high and you aren't getting cards or any other benefits in the meantime.

I've been thinking about whether I have good ideas for making some additional variant adventure keys.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rob Judy
United States
Cottonwood
California
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
I use tokens to make many of the happenings on the board. Each character has a token off his card, and after I move him/her I put the token on the card to indicate his/her movement is done. I also have pairs of numbered discs, marked hunter #1, hunter #2 etc.. and hunted #1, hunted #2... the tokens will show targets at a glance.
I have other numbered tokens to mark spaces on the board where cards are dropped (with a matching number to put on the cards to the side).
When I play solo, Have a laminated sheet that helps track the phases. I can even place colored tokens on the sheet to help remind me when I have something in a specific phase to do.
Other discs to mark possible op fire hexes I also find very useful.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Garth Pickrell
Canada
Saskatoon
Saskatchewan
flag msg tools
mbmb
I bought a complete 2nd set. I was terrified something would happen to my 1st set, and if it was sold out my life would be over. So for the 12 platter game we have now, we have 16 adventure keys, the 2 HQ & the Lith.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rob Judy
United States
Cottonwood
California
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
So funny you posted that, I just ordered my 2nd set last night!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jonathan Dietrich
Canada
Waterloo
Ontario
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
jhaelen wrote:
Unfortunately the link to the list of official special abilities doesn't work (http://app.lairoflith.com:8300/characters/guide#official-cha...).
Likewise the 'codex search': http://cgi.lairoflith.com/codex-search...


Try these...

http://app.lairoflith.com/characters/guide#official-characte...

http://app.lairoflith.com/codex/search
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
corum irsei
msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks!

I've since found a spread-sheet version of the Codex that I somehow overlooked when I checked the official web page for Doa2.

The spreadsheet even lists the starting equipment and standard bonuses (if any)!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.