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Subject: Dilution? rss

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Xplo Eristotle
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A question for people who use Colonial Horror or the other expansions with Dark Gothic - do you find that adding all those cards together dilutes the impact of the expansions? For instance, do you find that Roaming Minions come up too rarely when using CH as an expansion rather than a standalone game? Or, for another example, do the lost journal pages from Forgotten Island (which are worth more the more you have) become too rare to be worth buying when you've also got other expansions in the mix?
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Rich Moore
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xplo wrote:
A question for people who use Colonial Horror or the other expansions with Dark Gothic - do you find that adding all those cards together dilutes the impact of the expansions? For instance, do you find that Roaming Minions come up too rarely when using CH as an expansion rather than a standalone game? Or, for another example, do the lost journal pages from Forgotten Island (which are worth more the more you have) become too rare to be worth buying when you've also got other expansions in the mix?


Absolutely. And I'm not sure what to do about it, if anything.

I am actually a fan of this game, and prefer it over Ascension and Thunderstone because of the theme and the unique mechanisms it brings to the game (variable player powers, semi-cooperative feel, big boss battles). Of course, being a fan, I've wanted to get every expansion and put them all together. Who wouldn't? But the flavor of the mini-expansions is all but snuffed out, and many of the game-saving mechanisms of Colonial Horror (like the roaming minions, more threatening shadow), are diluted by half.

Thing is, the only way I see around this is to separate the different expansions and pick and choose only a few to play with at any time. This requires sorting work that I just don't want to bother with. This is, I think, an issue with any Ascension-style deck-builder, and it's one reason I refuse to play "Epic Thunderstone" (I HATE that variant of Thunderstone!).

The game does play fine even with the dilution, and some games you may see a few journals pop up (but rarely in significant numbers) or someone may become a werewolf. But apart from sorting the cards out and picking and choosing what goes in the deck, I'm not sure how one can avoid the dilution factor.
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Xplo Eristotle
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I really feel like this game needed more development time - seems they couldn't decide whether to make it co-op or competitive (there's a timer that forces a loss condition, but also strike cards that screw all your allies?), and the gameplay additions from CH would have been better off baked into the main game. Makes me slightly regret buying it, although there's still a lot of goodness.

Some sort of mechanism to force center row refreshes in the absence of player buys would be nice, gets those roaming minions and bad cards coming out and also refreshes crap that no one wants to buy or spend resources feeding to the Hungry Dead. Hey, what if the Hungry Dead actually moved along the row, eating (non-minion) cards as it goes? What if instead of just swapping places, roaming minions ate non-minion cards and advanced into empty spaces? So if there's a card in front of a roamer you want, you'd better buy it before it's gone... but buying it makes the roamer advance that much faster, whereas leaving the card as "bait" slows it down. Maybe instead of the current roaming mechanics, on each player's turn, they roll the omen die, and on a skull, they choose a minion to advance... this means that games with more players and longer rounds won't be able to leisurely deal with minions while 2-player games scramble like mad to clear the center line.

Anyway, dilution...

Adding roaming minions to the base game (to preserve their menace) is trivial if you want to mark the cards, or fairly easy if you don't; someone suggested making all costs-4-or-less minions roaming until the first villain is defeated, then all costs-5-or-less, and then (after the second villain) all minions, which means that the difficulty and tension ramps up at the end, but maybe that's what you want? Adding more curses would be harder as that would affect card balance, and maybe unnecessary anyway; not everything has to be cursed, after all. I'm not even sure curses add that much to the game as there's a somewhat-similar mechanic built into fighting minions.

Mixing all the expansions may just be a bad idea. The biggest problem is the werewolf expansion. Look, this is meant to be a fairly quick, tight game about beating evil - a summer movie, not a TV series - does it really have room for side stories about how one player might be a werewolf? Or should that, cool as it sounds, get left on the cutting room floor? To a lesser extent, the same is true for the island - like, are you exploring a foreboding island, or not? Pick one! So in both these cases, the best answer might simply be "if you want to play those themed expansions, remove all the other added stuff". Not sure there's a better fix for that.

The Smuggler's Den cards seem compatible with pretty much everything, from what I've seen of them. But you still have the dilution problem.

One remedy for CH might be just going through and pulling out some of the duplicates, especially the ones that resemble other cards and/or don't do anything particularly interesting. That will definitely get you a tighter main deck. It's kind of a pain - and it makes the high price of these cards even more egregious when you're not even using some of them - but if you keep the castoffs sequestered, you only have to do it once.

I'm spitballing here. All responses welcomed.
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