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Subject: Game Variant: Permanent Death rss

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Jeremy Reed
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After putting off reading the rulebook for over a year because I knew my excitement for the game would skyrocket, I finally caved and read the entire thing over the last few days.

I was right about my excitement.

Anyways, I saw this variant and I'm both really excited about it and a bit cautious. Permadeath is one of my favorite parts of both XCOM and Fire Emblem (two of my favorite video game franchises), but I'm not sure how well it translates to a game where unlocking content depends on the survival of your characters.

Does anyone plan on using this variant? I certainly plan to pitch it to whomever I end up playing the game with to see what the consensus is.
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Dennis Schwarz
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I certainly won't use this variant.

I've played the game at Essen this year for the first time and one of our characters out of a four person party died in the third round and even though we clearly made some mistakes that could possibly have prevented this and we won the scenario in the end, the game felt very tough, since the enemies really do a lot of damage, too and I don't think I would take a gamble there...

It felt bad enough having one player eliminated from the session (even though it didn't last that long after this).

I tried using the permanent death variant while playing Space Alert, but we lost so frequently that I didn't really make a lot of progress with my characters, so I dropped it and never looked back ever since. It's just more fun for me this way...

I would even go so far as to say that the player elimination part during the scenarios is my least favorite part of the game and I hope that it won't happen very frequently during our games. Maybe someone should come up with a no-player-elimination variant instead...I might think about playing that.
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Jeremy Reed
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Awesome, I was hoping for the input of someone who has tried out the game.

I guess I just enjoy the "every decision matters" feeling this variant seems like it'd bring to the game. It'd definitely need to be something everyone understands and agrees to for me to think about using it though.

In XCOM and Fire Emblem, it works out because one person is controlling the entire squad, but I can see how being the person who gets killed is a bummer, especially as I normally abhor player elimination.
 
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Lieven Stassen
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I like the idea. I might consider it depending on who participates. I have some rpg buddies that wouldn't mind upping up the ante.

I might consider reading the rules myself. Thanks for the suggestion.
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Paul Johnson
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My understanding is that actually having all characters surviving through to the end of the run is uncommon if not downright rare. Especially towards the end things tend to start coming apart as attrition really sets in.

I would really hesitate on using this rule. I expect it would result in one or more people rolling up a new character after every single encounter.
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Brian C
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Khift wrote:
My understanding is that actually having all characters surviving through to the end of the run is uncommon if not downright rare. Especially towards the end things tend to start coming apart as attrition really sets in.

I would really hesitate on using this rule. I expect it would result in one or more people rolling up a new character after every single encounter.

I wonder about a variant that plays into the attrition aspect that you speak of: A deck of debuff cards, where you draw one whenever your Hero drops to zero HP. Unless it has a duration listed on the card, it stays with you forever (or until it's healed).

They could be actual wound cards that have a negative passive effect that the hero has to deal with from now on (Broken Leg [less move speed], Gouged Eye [less accurate], etc).

But this seems like a hefty system to build -- would need to institute ways of healing said Wounds, and would be nice to have other game mechanics interacting with them (healer-type classes would be deeply involved).

Tinkering this early is foolish nonsense, ofcourse. But if the game doesn't go this last mile in terms of adding weight to character death, it could be worth pursuing eventually (for those of us who like our tension turned up a notch).
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Dennis Schwarz
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Exo Desta wrote:

I wonder about a variant that plays into the attrition aspect that you speak of: A deck of debuff cards, where you draw one whenever your Hero drops to zero HP. Unless it has a duration listed on the card, it stays with you forever (or until it's healed).

They could be actual wound cards that have a negative passive effect that the hero has to deal with from now on (Broken Leg [less move speed], Gouged Eye [less accurate], etc).


Now this is a neat idea.
If you don't want to go THAT far, they could be lasting effect cards that stay on the table and somehow reduce your characters stats (movement -1, etc.), but either may be healed (instead of 2 or 3 health points) or / and heal themselves after the scenario is over.
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Jeremy Reed
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Khift wrote:
My understanding is that actually having all characters surviving through to the end of the run is uncommon if not downright rare. Especially towards the end things tend to start coming apart as attrition really sets in.


This is good information to know, creating new characters every scenario would definitely make the game less appealing.

Exo Desta wrote:
I wonder about a variant that plays into the attrition aspect that you speak of: A deck of debuff cards, where you draw one whenever your Hero drops to zero HP. Unless it has a duration listed on the card, it stays with you forever (or until it's healed).

They could be actual wound cards that have a negative passive effect that the hero has to deal with from now on (Broken Leg [less move speed], Gouged Eye [less accurate], etc).

But this seems like a hefty system to build -- would need to institute ways of healing said Wounds, and would be nice to have other game mechanics interacting with them (healer-type classes would be deeply involved).


I agree that this is a good idea. It could definitely be a fan expansion after the game is released. You could even have character death attached to it in some way. Have ways to heal them but if you end up accumulating too many simultaneous wounds you die, or something.

The possibilities this game has are many, it's exciting to mull them over.

Come quickly January
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Paul Grogan
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If playing with permadeath (which we are not in our campaign), it only happens when someone drops to zero HP. Not when they are exhausted. These are two different things, but both remove a character from the scenario.

There are ways to prevent damage, so I'm not sure how it is possible for a character to actually die on round 3. You can always lose 1 card from hand or 2 from the discard pile to prevent any amount of damage.
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Dennis Schwarz
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A thanks Paul - while we knew about the rule that you could lose cards to prevent damage (even from the discard, if you lose 2 instead), we played it wrong in that we discarded a card for EACH POINT of damage instead of for the whole damage from the source, which would have made quite a difference.

This little details must have slipped my mind .
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Brandon Wickersham
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I'm sorry, I'm sure it's in the rulebook and I've read the whole thing (a month or so ago), but how is exhausted and 0 HP different from one another?
 
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Jeremy Reed
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Exhausted is when you have 0-1 cards left and can no longer make a valid move, as you need to play two cards per turn. You simply can't go on anymore and are effectively out of the scenario, but you haven't been reduced to 0HP.

Though if you're playing with permanent death on, you would stay on the board and still be a valid attack target when you are exhausted.
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Anon Y. Mous
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Given the difficulty of the vanilla game, full-fledged permadeath might be a bit too punishing for a lot of groups. But there's no denying that it adds a lot of tension to the game when there's something like that at stake. So here's a variant of it, inspired by the roguelike Tales of Maj'Eyal.

Mediumcore Mode
Follow the normal rules of the Permadeath variant in the rulebook, with the following exceptions:
-At level 1 when a character is created, then again at levels 3, 5, 7, and 9, they gain a Cheat Death point (for a total of five such points throughout the character's life)
-A character created at a higher level has the corresponding number of Cheat Death points.
-At the end of a scenario, if a character would die, he or she may spend a Cheat Death point to remain alive, but forfeit any gold or EXP found during the scenario. If he or she has no Cheat Death points remaining or chooses not to spend any, the character is permanently dead.
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