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Subject: Tile based searching rss

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Adam Smith
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So after seeing several discussions about room searching and the possibility of farming, I've thought of another way of organising the Item deck

1. Deal the Item cards into a number of piles equal to the number of map tiles in play. You should deal 2 cards per survivor to each pile (2 Survivors=4 cards per pile)

2. The piles of cards should mirror the map setup exactly, like this:



3. Now begin the game. Whenever you search a room, you must draw an item card only from the corresponding item deck.

4. Lastly, during the Resolution Phase deal 1 item card to each of the decks.

What this creates is a finite amount of resources, encouraging players to move around the ship. Items slowly replenish in rooms previously searched, so if you do eventually return to a room there would be new things to discover.

You could take this even further. During step 2, you could deal a Med Kit card to the top of a deck that is linked with a Med Bay, or a weapon card to one twinned with an Armoury. Thoughts?

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Jonathan Rowe
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You're addressing the problem of 'farming' while trying to avoid the fiddliness of setting up themed decks beforehand. That's elegant.

Does it work? Up to a point:

In a 3-player game (that seems to be the standard), the nearest room would start with 6 cards in its Item Deck. Most missions place the Survivors at the start near a room that doesn't have Enemies in it and, assuming there isn't too much Noise, players can hope to stay there, unobtrusively gathering equipment.

Three Survivors will probably gather 3 Items/Noise in the first turn, then the deck stocks up to 4, which they will easily exhaust in the second turn. Now they've gathered 7 cards (of which 1-3 will probably be Noise cards) and it's fruitless for them to stay any longer, because the deck replenishes at 1 card per turn, which isn't much.

So now they have to head off and an encounter with an Enemy is pretty inevitable. Clever strategies might involve using the Scout or devices like the Teleporter to get someone into a safe part of a room on a neighbouring tile, but that's situational and, in any event, that sort of strategizing and risk-taking is precisely the play we're hoping to encourage over the old "farm it till you own it" approach.

The only catch is that this can swing too far the other way. If the first tile yields only Med Packs, Power Cells and Swarmer Legs, the Survivors will be in no state to confront Enemies deeper into the ship. Adding themed cards to themed decks would certainly redress this. If you _know_ there's an assault rifle in the Armoury deck, then a desperate strike-out to obtain it might be the best option: someone must act as a decoy or sacrificial lamb so that someone else can get to the tile and draw the card, but this again is exactly the play we wish to encourage.

How to regulate the adding of cards to decks is something that must be considered. Perhaps when the new cards are added to each deck during the Resolution Phase they can be shown face up to the players, then shuffled into each deck in turn. However, each turn the players can nominate one card to go on TOP of a deck rather than be shuffled into it. This way, you will know where at least one Item can be found each turn (and may know more, if you have a good memory).

How would the Psychic's Passive Ability factor into this?
 
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Adam Smith
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deadmarlowe wrote:
You're addressing the problem of 'farming' while trying to avoid the fiddliness of setting up themed decks beforehand. That's elegant.

Does it work? Up to a point:

In a 3-player game (that seems to be the standard), the nearest room would start with 6 cards in its Item Deck. Most missions place the Survivors at the start near a room that doesn't have Enemies in it and, assuming there isn't too much Noise, players can hope to stay there, unobtrusively gathering equipment.

Three Survivors will probably gather 3 Items/Noise in the first turn, then the deck stocks up to 4, which they will easily exhaust in the second turn. Now they've gathered 7 cards (of which 1-3 will probably be Noise cards) and it's fruitless for them to stay any longer, because the deck replenishes at 1 card per turn, which isn't much.

So now they have to head off and an encounter with an Enemy is pretty inevitable. Clever strategies might involve using the Scout or devices like the Teleporter to get someone into a safe part of a room on a neighbouring tile, but that's situational and, in any event, that sort of strategizing and risk-taking is precisely the play we're hoping to encourage over the old "farm it till you own it" approach.

The only catch is that this can swing too far the other way. If the first tile yields only Med Packs, Power Cells and Swarmer Legs, the Survivors will be in no state to confront Enemies deeper into the ship. Adding themed cards to themed decks would certainly redress this. If you _know_ there's an assault rifle in the Armoury deck, then a desperate strike-out to obtain it might be the best option: someone must act as a decoy or sacrificial lamb so that someone else can get to the tile and draw the card, but this again is exactly the play we wish to encourage.

How to regulate the adding of cards to decks is something that must be considered. Perhaps when the new cards are added to each deck during the Resolution Phase they can be shown face up to the players, then shuffled into each deck in turn. However, each turn the players can nominate one card to go on TOP of a deck rather than be shuffled into it. This way, you will know where at least one Item can be found each turn (and may know more, if you have a good memory).

How would the Psychic's Passive Ability factor into this?


There's several approaches that could be taken:

1. Make sure you deal a weapon to each pile during setup.

2. Extrapolate the room/item duality theme further by placing Plasma Cutters in Engineering, Medical Lasers into Med Bays, etc.

The only issue that you risk causing is a long and prolonged setup to the game, which is counter-intuitive to the core design. The Psychic's ability could be simply adapted to say that they may look at the top card of any of these piles, instead of the Item deck.
 
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Jonathan Rowe
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I experimented with a few methods while running the first campaign with my youth club players.

Prescription Pickup used the Themed Location system from the Unofficial Rules document. It threw up interesting outcomes immediately. With no Military tiles (Armoury, Robotics Bay, Primus Cell), there's nowhere to go to get powerful ranged weapons. The Shotgun and Assault Rifle might turn up in another deck but there's no guarantee of that. The strategy instead revolves around melee weapons like Medical Lasers and using the hapless Scout as a decoy while the Medic and Engineer escape. Very satisfactory.

With the second mission, Bug Hunt, it's a chore to make up the Themed decks again so we used Adam's tile-based searching method (above). The mission itself slightly undermines things by making a selection of firearms available in the Armoury tile where you start. The limited deck gets exhausted in the first tile but by that point the other tile decks have filled up, so searching essentially proceeds as normal. There are a lot of Item Decks to keep track of in this 6-tile mission. This time the Engineer commits suicide while being swamped by monsters and the Medic and the (new) Scout survive.

For the final mission, Ever At Our Heels, we used the original system of one big randomised Item Deck. Most of us are kitted out now with firearms and armour - it's only the new Engineer who needs to go foraging. Getting across this big 8-tile board turns out to be surprisingly easy. When the Titan turns up, it only has 5 health, so a couple of shotgun blasts eliminates it straight away.

(The Health scores suggested for the Titan are very low - especially considering the Survivors will be well armed by this point, especially after Bug Hunt - I'd be tempted to double thrm to 10, 20 and 30).

If the new rules include module-style variants for Searching, then missions could advise which variant works best. Systems which restrict searching and send you further afield work best early in the campaign - when you don't mind a bit of extra setup - but become rather irrelevant by the 3rd mission - which is just as well since dividing the Item Deck back into subdecks becomes tedious by then.
 
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