$35.00
Recommend
1 
 Thumb up
 Hide
22 Posts

Conan» Forums » Variants

Subject: How to adjust difficulty? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Marek Picha
msg tools
mb
I have played the first scenario (In the clutches of Picts) several times as Overlord and also as a hero in different groups. Overlord always won. I would like to adjust the difficulty of the scenario and make it harder for OL. I would very much appreciate suggestions in the manual itself from the designers, which parameter to change to make it more challenging for one of the competing sides. What would you suggest? I am considering some of the following:

a) Give crossbow and chainmail to heroes as starting items and reduce number of chests by 2 (i.e. remove those two chests at hyena's).
b) Reduce Giant's Snake hitpoints by 3.
c) Reduce number of OL crystals by 2.

Do you have the similar experience with the first scenarion? Do we miss something crucial regarding hero's tactic? Thanks.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Stephan Beal
Germany
Geltendorf
Bayern
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
tracnik wrote:
I have played the first scenario (In the clutches of Picts) several times as Overlord and also as a hero in different groups. Overlord always won. I would like to adjust the difficulty of the scenario and make it harder for OL. I would very much appreciate suggestions in the manual itself from the designers, which parameter to change to make it more challenging for one of the competing sides. What would you suggest? I am considering some of the following:

a) Give crossbow and chainmail to heroes as starting items and reduce number of chests by 2 (i.e. remove those two chests at hyena's).
b) Reduce Giant's Snake hitpoints by 3.
c) Reduce number of OL crystals by 2.

Do you have the similar experience with the first scenarion? Do we miss something crucial regarding hero's tactic? Thanks.


Probably the simplest way to adjust difficulty for any scenario is to give the OL fewer (or more) gems (and maybe having more of them start in his Fatigue zone so that he cannot defend against the heroes on their first turn). Maybe also/instead changing the OL's regeneration rate, too (the tiles labled 3, 5, 7, and X, where X is a scenario-specific value).

Likewise, add a couple gems to the heroes, or start them with fewer gems in their Fatigue zones, but i suspect that adjusting the OL's gems provides a better/more predictable overall result.

Changing hero's equipment can potentially have relatively drastic side-effects. e.g. giving Conan the Battleaxe in the Hunting the Tigress scenario unduly swings the balance in his favor, and swapping his Battleaxe for a Sword in the In the Clutches of the Picts scenario puts him at a notable disadvantage.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dave Smith
United Kingdom
Gillingham
Kent
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Yup, just adjust the gem count would do it.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mad Halfling
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
sgbeal wrote:
Probably the simplest way to adjust difficulty for any scenario is to give the OL fewer (or more) gems (and maybe having more of them start in his Fatigue zone so that he cannot defend against the heroes on their first turn). Maybe also/instead changing the OL's regeneration rate, too (the tiles labled 3, 5, 7, and X, where X is a scenario-specific value).

Likewise, add a couple gems to the heroes, or start them with fewer gems in their Fatigue zones, but i suspect that adjusting the OL's gems provides a better/more predictable overall result.


This is what I was going to say, but bear in mind that the two options have quite different results.

If the Overlord is just about winning every time, but the games are still close, then moving some more gems into the Overlord's fatigue zone to start with will slow up his/her start, but not hamper them during the game, which should even things up.

If the Overlord is trouncing the hero players, then I'd try reducing the amount that the Overlord gets back during their Recovery Phase - this will hamper them in a more sustained manner, and will (esp later in the game) stop more rapid re-activation of units unless they concentrate on the cheap units in the River for a couple of turns. I'd start by just reducing the amount by 1 as this will probably have more of an effect than you'd think.

2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Stephan Beal
Germany
Geltendorf
Bayern
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Mad-Halfling wrote:
I'd start by just reducing the amount by 1 as this will probably have more of an effect than you'd think.


That is easy to demonstrate with a simple thought experiment: how often do you find yourself shouting, "man, if i only had one more gem!"?

3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeff Moore
United States
Baxter Springs
Kansas
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmb
I just played this as Overlord, but there were only 2 heroes instead of 3, so we adjusted the energy available to the Overlord by 2 and used the 3 per turn refresh tile. I made these changes based on the example set by the scaling of the scenario from 4 to 5 players. In our game, the players won. (But, just barely!)
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loig Roumois
Switzerland
Baden
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
hmmm I don't agree
we played the scenario a couple of times as well and who won was quite evenly spread between OL and heroes. The heroes must really make use of the individual strengths. For example there is no better way than to scout for the princess with Shav and the mage. and keep conan back to barg into the hut with the princess once found... otherwise keep him on croud control in the middle of the village...
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mathieu Hatt
France
Brest
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Before changing the setting of a scenario that has been playtested dozens (hundreds) of times to ensure about 50/50 chances of winning, perhaps you should first check that you have played according to the correct rules and that you did not make any mistake that favors the OL.
All the reports I have seen about this scenario until now have reported about 50/50 after a few games. We played it this week end twice, first game the OL won easily, second game the heroes won (not easily but at round 7 nonetheless) after drastically changing their strategy.
For example, how do you use Hadrathus teleport spell? It is quite expensive but can allow you to visit several hutts in the first rounds to help localize the princess.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loig Roumois
Switzerland
Baden
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
my speech exactly!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Stephan Beal
Germany
Geltendorf
Bayern
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
mathhatt wrote:
For example, how do you use Hadrathus teleport spell? It is quite expensive but can allow you to visit several hutts in the first rounds to help localize the princess.


My tip is to rest him on his first turn, gaining 5 gems, then teleport like mad on his second turn. If he has gems left over, he can loot the chests even if there are enemies in the hut because of his Concentration skill.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Marek Picha
msg tools
mb
mathhatt wrote:
Before changing the setting of a scenario that has been playtested dozens (hundreds) of times to ensure about 50/50 chances of winning, perhaps you should first check that you have played according to the correct rules and that you did not make any mistake that favors the OL.


I was suspecting the same and made sure that we play appropriately. We use teleport correctly, exploit evasion, circle strike, apply leather armor (yellow dice) to every defense.

Finding the princess was never an issue. In the last play Hadratus found her on the turn 0, Conan broke the wall to her hut in the same turn (to reduce cost of movement with her). OL even played slightly suboptimaly but still ... Conan died and the rest was to weak to complete tasks.

Dominant strategy of OL was always focus on Conan. Pin him down with Snake or Pict Warriors and keep some crystals for their defense. Even with cautious play, Conan was not able to leave the area and slowly and painfully died. Other heroes were effectively enable to rescue the princess because of her weight - it is easy to stop them with regular hunters when encumbered.

If played incorrectly, it must be something with Conan survivability. Any tips then? Thanks.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Donato
Netherlands
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
This is why I am very happy that we got the Kings Pledge now. There is probably an optimal strategy for the OL and for the players. If the OL uses this optimal strategy and always will win unless the players are very lucky then switch some of the Heroes for more powerful Heroes, maybe switch Conan for Conan the Mercenary.

Plenty of options to keep the game fun and fresh.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Marek Picha
msg tools
mb
Wait, can Mitra's Halo be cast on different hero then the spellcaster himself?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jens Larsen
Denmark
Horsens
flag msg tools
tracnik wrote:
Wait, can Mitra's Halo be cast on different hero then the spellcaster himself?


No.

Your armor value is increased by 2.

"Your". Not "the target's".
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mathieu Hatt
France
Brest
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
agentdonald wrote:
This is why I am very happy that we got the Kings Pledge now. There is probably an optimal strategy for the OL and for the players. If the OL uses this optimal strategy and always will win unless the players are very lucky then switch some of the Heroes for more powerful Heroes, maybe switch Conan for Conan the Mercenary.

Plenty of options to keep the game fun and fresh.


I would say that if the OL always win, then the players are not playing well (or are very very unlucky). We managed to win the scenario as heroes even though we got a lot of unlucky rolls. So again, before switching things around, I would suggest trying to get it done right
However, switching heroes and/or equipment can also be a lot of fun of course, it is just likely to modify strongly the balance between heroes and OL.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Marek Picha
msg tools
mb
Sure, we can be lame as heroes, but if none in our groups sees the winning strategy and heroes got beaten seven times in a row, it is maybe wiser to restore fun by some adjustments. And that was my original question. :-(
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Donato
Netherlands
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
What gives you the most trouble in this scenario?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Christian
France
Lyon
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
Maybe you can implement some on-the-fly difficulty adjustment like this one (in a specific scenario):

When the OL wins, he has one less gem in his next game.
When the OL loses, he has one more gem in his next game.

That works pretty well in some games, when I play with my son, to adjust the difficulty dynamically. You don't even have to estimate the bonus or malus, you reach automatically a kind of stable point after a few games, but it's not fixed, it can evolve with the players.

I haven't tested this method in Conan yet.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Justin Colm
msg tools
mbmb
tracnik wrote:
mathhatt wrote:
Before changing the setting of a scenario that has been playtested dozens (hundreds) of times to ensure about 50/50 chances of winning, perhaps you should first check that you have played according to the correct rules and that you did not make any mistake that favors the OL.


I was suspecting the same and made sure that we play appropriately. We use teleport correctly, exploit evasion, circle strike, apply leather armor (yellow dice) to every defense.

Finding the princess was never an issue. In the last play Hadratus found her on the turn 0, Conan broke the wall to her hut in the same turn (to reduce cost of movement with her). OL even played slightly suboptimaly but still ... Conan died and the rest was to weak to complete tasks.

Dominant strategy of OL was always focus on Conan. Pin him down with Snake or Pict Warriors and keep some crystals for their defense. Even with cautious play, Conan was not able to leave the area and slowly and painfully died. Other heroes were effectively enable to rescue the princess because of her weight - it is easy to stop them with regular hunters when encumbered.

If played incorrectly, it must be something with Conan survivability. Any tips then? Thanks.



This is more or less exactly what's happened in our two plays of this scenario. The snake camps on Conan and no-one else can really carry the princess as they lose their abilities (not to mention having to drop equipment) and get drastically slowed if they do... on top of that someone other than Conan (who is occupied with the snake) still has to pop in and kill Ziggy Zag. Hadrathus is useless for killing anything as his offensive spell is more prone to injuring himself than anything else; he needs line of sight to use it so cannot cast it into a hut and if he uses it in the same area as himself he has more chance of damaging himself than an enemy with 3 Armour(next time we play we're going to swap it out for an Area of Effect damage spell that doesn't affect the caster,) and as long as the Overlord keeps some gems he can keep Zoggy safe from Shevatus' relatively average attacks.

Ganging up on the snake seems to be the only workable strategy but it's not going to leave a lot of time to kill Zag, get the princess etc and actually escape the village.

I'm not saying the heroes can't win but it's not close to 50 / 50 balance. IMO anyone who claims it is isn't playing the OL role even close to optimally. It's very slanted in the Overlord's favour to the point where the heroes need almost perfect strategy and a little luck to win. Conversely, we found the 'Tigress' pirate ship scenario to be the exact opposite: strongly weighted to the heroes with the OL needing a very specific strategy, near perfect timing and a bit of luck. Now, to me, it's no use saying 'it's balanced if the OL plays a perfect strategy or one very particular strategy'. That's not balanced. In a balanced scenario players of equal experience should have roughly equal chance of winning, luck notwithstanding. Even the advantaged Overlord (me most recently) found the scenario boring to play because of its narrow strategy. I found my strategy proscribed for me. After two scenarios with the same experience I'm very worried this is going to be the norm: one disadvantaged side which has to discover the 'true' strategy to give that side a fighting chance.

My play group is disinterested in playing the same scenario many times to discover the 'true' (ie the only winning) strategy with whichever side is disadvantaged in a particular scenario, with the other winning comfortably (and thus boringly for them too) until they do. We would like to be able to create our own strategy, to adapt, to improvise, not discover the designer's intent and recreate the designer's optimized performances. The scenarios are too rigid in their setup. Dare I say, they come across as being TOO play-tested so that all of the potential for ingenuity is boiled out of the game, leaving a narrow strategy to follow or else lose (if you're on the unlucky side who that particular scenario is slanted against).

The 'Block' ability seems to us an absolute joy-killer. Not fun for the heroes and not even fun for the OL who recognizes the clear intent for its use and has to un-enthusiastically go along with the boring, chokingy, fun-killing strategy.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mathieu Hatt
France
Brest
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
High Flying Bird wrote:
tracnik wrote:
mathhatt wrote:
Before changing the setting of a scenario that has been playtested dozens (hundreds) of times to ensure about 50/50 chances of winning, perhaps you should first check that you have played according to the correct rules and that you did not make any mistake that favors the OL.


I was suspecting the same and made sure that we play appropriately. We use teleport correctly, exploit evasion, circle strike, apply leather armor (yellow dice) to every defense.

Finding the princess was never an issue. In the last play Hadratus found her on the turn 0, Conan broke the wall to her hut in the same turn (to reduce cost of movement with her). OL even played slightly suboptimaly but still ... Conan died and the rest was to weak to complete tasks.

Dominant strategy of OL was always focus on Conan. Pin him down with Snake or Pict Warriors and keep some crystals for their defense. Even with cautious play, Conan was not able to leave the area and slowly and painfully died. Other heroes were effectively enable to rescue the princess because of her weight - it is easy to stop them with regular hunters when encumbered.

If played incorrectly, it must be something with Conan survivability. Any tips then? Thanks.



This is more or less exactly what's happened in our two plays of this scenario. The snake camps on Conan and no-one else can really carry the princess as they lose their abilities (not to mention having to drop equipment) and get drastically slowed if they do... on top of that someone other than Conan (who is occupied with the snake) still has to pop in and kill Ziggy Zag. Hadrathus is useless for killing anything as his offensive spell is more prone to injuring himself than anything else; he needs line of sight to use it so cannot cast it into a hut and if he uses it in the same area as himself he has more chance of damaging himself than an enemy with 3 Armour(next time we play we're going to swap it out for an Area of Effect damage spell that doesn't affect the caster,) and as long as the Overlord keeps some gems he can keep Zoggy safe from Shevatus' relatively average attacks.

Ganging up on the snake seems to be the only workable strategy but it's not going to leave a lot of time to kill Zag, get the princess etc and actually escape the village.

I'm not saying the heroes can't win but it's not close to 50 / 50 balance. IMO anyone who claims it is isn't playing the OL role even close to optimally. It's very slanted in the Overlord's favour to the point where the heroes need almost perfect strategy and a little luck to win. Conversely, we found the 'Tigress' pirate ship scenario to be the exact opposite: strongly weighted to the heroes with the OL needing a very specific strategy, near perfect timing and a bit of luck. Now, to me, it's no use saying 'it's balanced if the OL plays a perfect strategy or one very particular strategy'. That's not balanced. In a balanced scenario players of equal experience should have roughly equal chance of winning, luck notwithstanding. Even the advantaged Overlord (me most recently) found the scenario boring to play because of its narrow strategy. I found my strategy proscribed for me. After two scenarios with the same experience I'm very worried this is going to be the norm: one disadvantaged side which has to discover the 'true' strategy to give that side a fighting chance.

My play group is disinterested in playing the same scenario many times to discover the 'true' (ie the only winning) strategy with whichever side is disadvantaged in a particular scenario, with the other winning comfortably (and thus boringly for them too) until they do. We would like to be able to create our own strategy, to adapt, to improvise, not discover the designer's intent and recreate the designer's optimized performances. The scenarios are too rigid in their setup. Dare I say, they come across as being TOO play-tested so that all of the potential for ingenuity is boiled out of the game, leaving a narrow strategy to follow or else lose (if you're on the unlucky side who that particular scenario is slanted against).

The 'Block' ability seems to us an absolute joy-killer. Not fun for the heroes and not even fun for the OL who recognizes the clear intent for its use and has to un-enthusiastically go along with the boring, chokingy, fun-killing strategy.


If this is really how you feel, then I suggest the game is not for you. You may consider reselling it.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Marek Picha
msg tools
mb
In our last session I have reduced as Overlord my "recuperation value" to 3 gems. Three heroes managed to win, but it was close. With such a small increments I felt restricted maybe too much and it wasn't that much fun for OL, but the fight was real and intense. Way to go for me.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
guinch Nudrevil
France
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
The print n play version of the scenario, which was probably the tested version, was easier pour the heroes.

Look at that thread where I explain the differences (gems and starting point). I suggest you too play the pnp version with less gems for the OL and more freedom for the heroes starting points.

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1679323/scenario-1-clutch-p...
 
 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.