Tom W -
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West Virginia
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I have seen a significant number of posts quite upset at pile-up tactics of the sin player ruining their enjoyment of the game. It looks like (based on what meager polls and totaled ratings/comments we have) that about 1/4 yo 1/3 of gaming groups this has ruined their enjoyment of an otherwise beautiful game. 65% of players give this game an 8 or lower. That's too many finding this game a mediocre experience. It's sad to me that one aspect of the way this plays out with canon dogma rules is souring their experience for some people.

I wanted to suggest several optional simple adjustments that would offset dog pile advantages that groups could try; while certainly making it easier for FAITH, if it lets people enjoy their game again then it is worth doing.

I would like your thoughts/comments on how well these work for your groups.

Needless to say, for the anti-house-rule crowd I know these heavily alter the play balance, so please don't waste comments on that - I know, I am TRYING to heavily alter the game balance. I'm trying to find A variation for players that helps all those 7/10 ratings and lower find more enjoyment or at least more game mechanic variety out of the game.

personally, my main priority in all games is 1: Fun and 2: challenge for ALL players, and 3: variety. I rate games on one outcome only - that ALL players around a table are smiling and having a blast, and that ALL players are sweating out their next move, me included.

Anyway here are my thoughts on various possible relatively simple adjustments:

1. Give the Faith heroes more HP per hero
Or
2. Make the orbital laser kill 2 creatures (corrupted and abominations only); the Faith player picks the first to die, the Sins player picks the second. This would make a dog pile necessitate having low tier corrupted models around to prevent rapidly having their abominations fried by the laser.
Or
3. Let snipers shoot into buildings on their same tile (from the street on the same tile)
Or
4. Max attack Dice for the Sins player have some cap, maybe 7 or 10 because that would be the Dice you have with the base set, or the base set+1 expansion.
Or
5. Let the heroes allocate hits on heroes in their same square. Ie they can help soak hits from An attack onto multiple faith members if they are in the same square. This would be tricky because you would have to fiddle with defense stats to prevent a wall of auto-blocks.

Any one of these would greatly change the balance of the game, so would probably require a counter-nerf to balance the forces out again - but that is easy: you can lessen the heroes hit points, drop their defense stat, decrease the size of the team (say to 5 faith heroes rather than 7), let the Sins player move creatures in groups, give the Avatar more hit poonts, or let the Sins player allocate hits against his monsters - i.e. Being able to use their lesser minions as meat shields.


So for me - In terms of having a "Cinematic" experience I lean towards #2 (the orbital laser bring more powerful) but the laser would also start a fire token in the targeted space as well. I would also use the counter-nerf of letting the Sins player assign damage when resulting from a standard fight (as opposed to damage from the laser), and letting monsters move in groups. This would make the orbital laser more awesome but more dangerous (fire tokens), as well as both highly discouraging AND highly encouraging the Sins player to group up monsters.

Thoughts?
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Krzysztof RabidBlackDog
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A little offtopic: a rating of 7/10 or is still a high rating meaning that the game is good and people are enjoying it. It's well above average. A rating of 8 very good. Consider that some people are overall more critical and their ratings are more strict, meaning a 10/10 for them is not just another very good game but the best game there is.

As for the subject. I don't know. Played only three games and honestly I don't mind if the balance is a little in favor for the Sins player as there are - for example - four minds to conceive a strategy against one. The game is surely easier for the Sins, as the time in the game is on their side. We, as heroes won one out of three games. We have to play some more to tell if the piling tactic is the easiest winning tactic that is hard to be countered. If so, I'll surely consider using your proposed variants.
I think the best and least balance-altering is the one with orbital strike. That's the one I'll go after should there will be a need to tweak.
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CK Lai
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You know this topic has been discussed to death ad nauseum in other threads?
 
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Tom W -
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As to the above comment - I have not seen any other suggestions of other pile-up-nerf variants, besides the max dice idea. Where are all these discussion of possible variants snd how they might affect the game? What other suggestions have you seen? What do you think if the ideas presented in the OP?
 
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Tom W -
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Please take into account my question in the OP!

I'm not asking about the merits of variant ruling.
I'm not asking for a starting guide- there are already nice posts detailing how to deal with dog pile tactics, when the map allows.

This is a Variants subforum. I'm asking has anyone has tried any variations and what there experience has been. I don't need a starting guide. I'm interested in if anyone else has thought about or tried out rule changes that specifically weaken pile up mechanics and specifically strengthen other strategies. I wrote some suggestions that would alter the game in some such ways. If I am the only one who has thought anything about possible such variations, then fine. But if anyone has heard of any variations, I would appreciate any sharing.
 
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Frank Franco
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It seems easiest just to have a stacking limit of 3 per side.

I'd never play like that but if stacking pisses you off that much and you are certain you are playing correctly just do that.
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Tom W -
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Stacking limit of 3 is certainly simple enough.
Anyone try anything else?
 
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So as far as easiest options, bumping health by 1 seems super easy. I actually include one less heart per hero in the bags for the FAITH team and just say "when you take a wound but can't place a heart, you're dead"

That said, I don't that really addresses the issue of piling up monsters.

I do also wonder if the piling up is an issue moreso in certain stories. It may be more of an issue in red stories than in say green or blue stories. It was not an issue in my last game of haven in flames (red).

More options could be to let players re-roll a certain number of action dice either before (or after for extra help) seeing the results from the SIN dice.

Another question- are you more often the SIN player or a FAITH player? Because as a SIN player you could make a personal rule to never put more than 3 monsters together (aside from using the acolyte or card effects). You can also advise the team of their options while working against them. I usually do that, with the important note that while I lay out options and likely outcomes, I also remind them that I have cards and the acolyte ability which can change those outcomes.

If piling monsters is the big issue, try to focus on that. You could even make lore reasons for it. Maybe 4 monsters can't fit into buildings- I don't think the dogpile issue is for street spaces, since shooters can well... shoot them in the street. I would not count acolytes as monsters for this purpose, just because the SIN player needs to be able to use them as a tool.
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Tom W -
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To be honest, I like the dog pile. It seems thematic - forces if evil all coalescing to some central "gate" where they expect the Avater to be born. I am the Sins player more often, and I just want the game to be harder for the Sins player (me). I want closer to a 50/50 win %. I see the faith players sweating out every move, and I want struggle as the Sins player as well.
I like to be as cut throat nasty as possible within the bounds of pre-agreed rules with my fellow players. Which is why I am playing around with variations that both let me pile up at choke points if I want to, but also work weaknesses into that tactic as well.
 
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Ted Govostis
United Kingdom
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That's what orbital lasers are for, softening up a large clump without getting ganged up on. Also, dog piling means clumping up your forces, and if they aren't getting killed, they aren't available for re-spawn, while the players run around getting upgrades until they are strong enough to take out the entire group. Don't forget to take voluntary corruption too, for a massive bonus on your attack.
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Bellmore
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I was considering allowing Shooters to fire into adjacent buildings but only if they are in a monster free space. I came here for feedback on this but saw the similar ability here. The sin player could then still try to block shooters with monsters.
 
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Trent Y.
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I've been thinking about this topic. IMO, overlord turtling is the biggest fault of this game. It's also kinda boring.

What i plan to try is this: the orbital strike will auto-kill one acolyte or abomination (as normal) and the player using it gets to make a skill roll counting hits against other enemies in that same zone. Hits must be applied to acolytes or abominations before they can be applied to controllers and then to the avatar.
 
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Tom W -
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Lately I played the suggested option of the orbital laser killing 2 creatures in the same space (acolytes or abominations), also causes a new fire token to be placed.

It worked awesome. As the Sins player I was reluctant to clump my baddies up, also made me want to defend not only the loot spaces but also try to defend the laser spaces. Yet I could still jump a hero by coupling up my controller with an abomination, and saving my insta-spawn acolyte for when I really needed it.

I still won the following 2 of 3 games as the Sins player, but man, I had to fight for it, and it was very close.

The fire token placement was just thematic, but everyone loved it and would turn a frequently blasted location into an inferno.

Give it a shot if you like.
 
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Tom W wrote:
... the suggested option ...


I am assuming this was the FAITH picks first and SIN picks second one from the top of the thread?

Was the killing orbital strike hitting two:
•a choice made whenever the orbital strike was activated
(FAITH player can decide to only hit one enemy even if two were present)
•always hit two (if possible) and always leave a fire token
•always hit two (if possible) and leave a fire token if two were hit

The option of choice sounds fun, but perhaps unbalancing. I'll try what you ended up using first, but if the choice doesn't unbalance it too much I like more decisions to make mid-game.

It's awesome to see you found something easy to implement that appears to have solved the issue and made the game much more fun for the group!
 
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Tom W -
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We played always hit 2 creatures (limited to acolytes and abominations), and always leave a fire token, even if there was only 1 creature to be hit.

I can't comment about balance other than we played it three times, Sins win 2, faith won 1. As the Sins player (me) it felt much more difficult, as I could not just rely on piling creatures up. I had to use my Controller much more, as well as careful use of my cards. I enjoyed the challenge.
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