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Subject: Are there difficulty spikes in the campaign? rss

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Ronald Cruz
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I don't have the game in the front of me -- I've printed off materials and have started the KS campaign with some friends -- but I can't stop thinking and talking about this game!

I wonder whether, in general, one scenario set at X level is going to be consistently about as difficult as X level in the next. Do people have an answer to that, while hiding spoilers?

I want the answer to be No -- I don't want to always know what's ahead of me, and I rather like the idea that the party will occasionally encounter something that it's not prepared for, have to lick its wounds, regear, and come back. I also want any main "story" quests to be harder and more memorable!

I have a second question: does the campaign get "harder" as you progress? Although the scenarios adapt to the party's average level, do you find that the scenarios become more challenging, both on your party's resources and on your player knowledge? (For example, presenting escalating puzzles and challenges that build on previous ones.)

To this I want the answer to be Yes, but I understand it could be a harder thing to pull off...
 
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Drake Coker
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I would answer neither "yes" nor "no".

By design, the scenarios auto-adjust to your level and should be approximately the same difficulty regardless of level.

However, a lot depends on the mix you bring to a particular scenario and how you've tuned your decks. In my experience, sometimes scenarios end up being easy, sometimes medium, sometimes hard. I've redone scenarios with one group and found some extremely hard whereas my first group breezed through.

It's a fine flow throughout, IMO. The epic moments will come, though they may not coincide with the conceptually epic moments of the story line.
 
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Mathue Faulkner
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Not really. If you're familiar with Rahdo, this is about his only complaint with the game. The game scales so well with player levels that things don't naturally get harder.

There ARE certain scenarios that can be really tough though. For better or worse, a few of those are actually being nerfed for the reprint. Some remain untouched though.

There is also a bit of an ebb and flow with how the scaling works, but it's minor. Every time new characters are introduced, the levels seems to get more difficult as well.

Lastly, you can artificially make things more difficult by simply playing on Hard (or Very Hard) mode.
 
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Chris
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ronaldsf wrote:
I wonder whether, in general, one scenario set at X level is going to be consistently about as difficult as X level in the next.

Yes, that is generally the case. There are a couple of scenarios that are marginally more or less difficult than average, but Isaac did a very good job of balancing in general.

Quote:
I have a second question: does the campaign get "harder" as you progress?

No, it gets easier. As you gain experience with the game you develop more effective tactics and understand better how to coordinate as a team, which makes the game easier. Also, as Gloomhaven's prosperity level increases you unlock better, more powerful, items that make the game easier because they do not factor into the level system.

We started out on normal difficulty, switched to hard after 8 scenarios, and went to very hard after about 30 scenarios.
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Jessey
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The biggest impact I have seen on difficulty is party composition. We play 2 player, and some of our teams have steam rolled scenarios, while others (our most recent pair) have found the game to be vastly more difficult then before (because the characters don't synergize as well as other teams have). The thing is, this isn't something you (or the game's arc) has any control over really. You just sort of find out when you roll up to a scenario and discover that your particular team lacks the central abilities to get the job done. This will be even less pronounced with more characters (at 4 characters I can't see party composition ever being a difficulty -- except for the few pairs are REALLY effective together).
 
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Ronald Cruz
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Thanks for the answers, everyone. I rather like the choice has made here, however, because it gives players the tools to tailor the game to their liking. For example, we might choose to dial up the difficulty for a story quest, or as cbrua says dial up the difficulty as the campaign progresses.
 
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Moose Detective
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We've only played two and have run up against the occassional sscenario that is super hard for our character mix. I suspect that would be less frequent ar four But some scenarios are harder/trickier in general, especially if you dont figure out quick what the "trick" is. And some scenarios can have random swinginess - specifically anything with an enemy summoner.

 
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Wes Holland

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I would say yes, there are difficulty spikes. They're more of 'tactics gates', in that you need to learn a tactic or 'trick' to progress. One of the first things you learn is to not burn all of your Lose cards in the first room of the scenario... Later on there's a scenario that's vastly easier if you nuke the first room. Some scenarios reward patient play, some reward reckless charging into the next room.

So the simple answer is 'It depends on what you think of as Difficulty.'

The ability to change the level of the scenario helps a ton as well.
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Ronald Cruz
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@CrushU, that all sounds exciting. I like that the scenarios reward strategic thinking, not just maximizing each individual round.

During Kickstarter Scenario 2, our party learned that it was better to:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
not kill everything, since the Win condition is simply getting at Barty. We ran through the 2nd room with cannons blazing. Pretty cinematic and cool!
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Wes Holland

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ronaldsf wrote:
@CrushU, that all sounds exciting. I like that the scenarios reward strategic thinking, not just maximizing each individual round.

During Kickstarter Scenario 2, our party learned that it was better to:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
not kill everything, since the Win condition is simply getting at Barty. We ran through the 2nd room with cannons blazing. Pretty cinematic and cool!


That is in fact probably the 'correct' way to play that scenario. I've run into that a few times. Make sure you know what the scenario's Goal actually is before you start trying to kill all the things.
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Jason Winterfeld
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Does it have spikes? Yes as some have said certain group composure and certain scenarios make it harder then others. So having a well balanced group does help alot. My group had 4 melee classes and no support heals in one scenario, we won but man was that hard to work through. It was so crowded in melee and we had to squeeze through tight corridors
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Scenario 18 to be exact
.

But honestly I think the most difficult scenario to date had to be the first! At first I thought it was due to the fact we were all learning but I replayed it myself a few times and WOW it still comes down to the last card.
 
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