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Subject: Does this game require any tactical thinking? rss

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Orlando Moreira
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Hi, I have been playing the game with my son (10 years old), and we have played the first 4 quests with Ecarus and Volkor.
My son has been enjoying himself very much, but I personally feel that the game is too easy and, much worse than that, that my tactical decisions do not affect the outcome in a meaningful way. It feels a lot like the videogame equivalent of bottom-mashing through Diablo. I seem to get a lot more fun with Zombicide.

The weird thing is that I played a demo of this game at Spiel two years ago, and what lead me to join the KS was that the game felt a lot more interesting in tactics than either Wrath of Ashardalon, Mice and Mystics or Shadows of Brimstone, all games that bored me because of the lack of challenge or tactical depth.
It is not about just being difficult, or deep. I mean, Zombicide is not particularly challenging, and even if it is not too deep, you do have to think through your moves. I have seen times and times over that a wrong choice can get you killed easily, even if it is arguably not too difficult to avoid it. This sense of danger has been altogether missing in my playthrough of S&S.

Now, it could be that playing with only two characters, the small number of spawned monsters makes movement and positioning a moot point. It may be that his is aggravated by having a particularly lucky Ecarus build (a perfect tank with his counting as two figures for supremacy purposes, taunting, with a magic Shield, the shield power and the flaming sword, magic armour, and a defensive artifact, maybe I also got lucky with the treasure draws).
The way we play, Ecarus takes all damage, bashes people out of the square to gain supremacy, and Volkor kills them off with a spear from the adjacent square. Until now we have been unstoppable.

I would like to hear what others think. Does the game gain more tactical challenge with more characters? Was I too lucky with my Ecarus treasures/build? I really want to like this game...
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Gorka Morka
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landorian wrote:
Hi, I have been playing the game with my son (10 years old), and we have played the first 4 quests with Ecarus and Volkor.
My son has been enjoying himself very much, but I personally feel that the game is too easy and, much worse than that, that my tactical decisions do not affect the outcome in a meaningful way. It feels a lot like the videogame equivalent of bottom-mashing through Diablo. I seem to get a lot more fun with Zombicide.

The weird thing is that I played a demo of this game at Spiel two years ago, and what lead me to join the KS was that the game felt a lot more interesting in tactics than either Wrath of Ashardalon, Mice and Mystics or Shadows of Brimstone, all games that bored me because of the lack of challenge or tactical depth.
It is not about just being difficult, or deep. I mean, Zombicide is not particularly challenging, and even if it is not too deep, you do have to think through your moves. I have seen times and times over that a wrong choice can get you killed easily, even if it is arguably not too difficult to avoid it. This sense of danger has been altogether missing in my playthrough of S&S.

Now, it could be that playing with only two characters, the small number of spawned monsters makes movement and positioning a moot point. It may be that his is aggravated by having a particularly lucky Ecarus build (a perfect tank with his counting as two figures for supremacy purposes, taunting, with a magic Shield, the shield power and the flaming sword, magic armour, and a defensive artifact, maybe I also got lucky with the treasure draws).
The way we play, Ecarus takes all damage, bashes people out of the square to gain supremacy, and Volkor kills them off with a spear from the adjacent square. Until now we have been unstoppable.

I would like to hear what others think. Does the game gain more tactical challenge with more characters? Was I too lucky with my Ecarus treasures/build? I really want to like this game...


Short answer: Luck of the draw regarding treasures makes a huge difference, since there are only a handful of non-consumable good items. If you got the flaming sword, one of the two magic armors, the magic shield and a defensive artifact (jade earrings?) then you got the best items there are for Ecarus in tank-mode. Character balancing is a so-so thing in this game. Ecarus and Volkor are both strong characters if you don't pick especially bad powers (Dragon's Breath...). There are much weaker chars in this game (like chaos Samyria or Victoria). Player count also matters, initial shadows can be brutal in 4+. Try playing with two characters each and you'll see. Lastly the spear is a misprint, which one of the designers confirmed here on the forums. It's an Act 2 emporium item costing 60 crowns, not an Act 1 stash item.

Edit: And you know that supremacy is checked at the beginning of an attack, yes? So even if you bash an opponent out of an area during an attack and then would have supremacy, you don't add the hit to that attack.

Regards, Gorkar
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David Kartzinel
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Hmm, well, I've only played a couple of times so far (real life totally gets in the way!), so it seems to me the bigger danger comes when you hit red and purple enemies - I feel like they wanted you to feel truly heroic, so the mobs aren't necessarily that big of a threat. You might try adding a few more blue and red spawns to up the threat level a bit - maybe replace a couple of greens with blues and a blue or two with reds? I'm just thinking out loud.

It sounds like you might get more out of Gloomhaven. You get slightly less of a heroic feel (but still are pretty awesome) but dang are tactics SUPER important. Not sure if your son would enjoy it as much...

I do think treasure drops are HUGE, in my two quests, a lucky firesword drop made things much easier for one of my heroes...
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I really like how people already know about game balancing and hero power levels.... zombie
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David Russell
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It requires some tactics sure - if you just separate and take your hero and wander off aimlessly you will soon endanger either yourself or you fellow adventures or both.

More players usually means more to think about as there are more frequent spawns and two players is likely to be the lowest on tactics as you are more reliant on pursuing your primary purpose. Much of this is also down to the combined characters chosen, if you take the enchantress and assassin i expect you will find it much more challenging tactically speaking to survive the quest.

There is definately more to think about than Ashardalon and Mice but this isnt a Gloomhaven, where every turn you are looking through all your cards to decide what to play - i cant see a 10 year old liking Gloomhaven much, it is very tactical but not necessarily as fun to play unless you have the right group. With a 10 year old feeling like you are winning and heroic is actually the best way to keep them playing. If its a grind with loads of deaths and downtime thinking they wont stay with it.

Sword is largely ideal for a fun game, and you are getting a great time with your 10 year old so what is there to worry about. I have had a great couple of four player games with some friends with no complaints and it came down to very close final battle. If you think you have over built for the level you are on, then maybe drop a couple of items for the next run and decide they are in for repair and see how it goes.

Dungeon Crawlers in my experience have never been overly tactical, it is more about the story, character development and the moments of madness or glory that arise. That is why i like them.
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Jason S
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crusaderlord wrote:
It requires some tactics sure - if you just separate and take your hero and wander off aimlessly you will soon endanger either yourself or you fellow adventures or both.

More players usually means more to think about as there are more frequent spawns and two players is likely to be the lowest on tactics as you are more reliant on pursuing your primary purpose. Much of this is also down to the combined characters chosen, if you take the enchantress and assassin i expect you will find it much more challenging tactically speaking to survive the quest.

There is definately more to think about than Ashardalon and Mice but this isnt a Gloomhaven, where every turn you are looking through all your cards to decide what to play - i cant see a 10 year old liking Gloomhaven much, it is very tactical but not necessarily as fun to play unless you have the right group.

Sowrd is largely ideal for a fun game, and you are getting a great time with your 10 year old so what is there to worry about. I have had a great couple of four player games with some friends with no complaints and it came down to very close final battle. If you think you have over built for the level you are on, then maybe drop a couple of items for the next run and decide they are in for repair and see how it goes.

Dungeon Crawlers in my experience have never been overly tactical, it is more about the story, character development and the moments of madness or glory that arise. That is why i like them.


Positioning and tactics certainly matter. There is a story event in Quest 2 we ran ran into. Vague as I can keep it spoiler:

Spoiler (click to reveal)
It causes a combat when a hero moves onto it. We had the rogue and the elf. First time, we sent the rogue ahead in case there was a trap. Two baddies spawned and, with the domination bonus, slaughtered the rogue. We tried it again immediately afterwards with the elf going first, he sent in his wolf to begin with... we didn't trigger the story event when the wolf went in assuming it didn't count as a hero for that purpose, if that's incorrect then I'm still playing it that way because the event involves a conversation with one of the heroes and nothing indicates anywhere that it is a taking wolf... the elf followed the wolf in, triggering the combat, and between the elf being a bit tougher and the wolf's presence denying the enemies the bonus for dominating, they didn't rough the elf up too bad, and he and the rogue were able to win the fight.


So, yeah, tactics definitely matter, although you do have to do some guesswork regarding your tactics, figuring what's likely to happen and what's the worst scenario, etc... since you don't know what it coming up. You have to develop your tactics and be able to adjust on the fly when things go wrong.

Edit: originally said Act 2 mistakenly instead of Quest 2
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Skaak
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Wait, this seems familiar.

We've got at least two people now who have played Ecarus + Volkor and feel like the beginning of the game is too easy. I'm guessing that's a very strong hero pair.
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Skaak wrote:
Wait, this seems familiar.

We've got at least two people now who have played Ecarus + Volkor and feel like the beginning of the game is too easy. I'm guessing that's a very strong hero pair.


...or maybe it's because those two are just GREAT for killing Gremlins...
 
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Scott Cantor
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Gorkar wrote:
Lastly the spear is a misprint, which one of the designers confirmed here on the forums. It's an Act 2 emporium item costing 60 crowns, not an Act 1 stash item.


Act 2? I missed that part of the correction...so we shouldn't buy it even at 60 crowns for now?
 
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landorian wrote:
The way we play, Ecarus takes all damage, bashes people out of the square to gain supremacy, and Volkor kills them off with a spear from the adjacent square.


Based on what I have quoted above, are you activating the enemies after each character's turn or only after all characters have taken a turn?
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Orlando Moreira
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I do know about supremacy. He bashes in one Ecarus ability shield attack, then attacks with flaming sword the other guy. The second attack has supremacy.

And thanks for your answer. Looks like I was really lucky with the treasures. It is true that since nothing interesting has come by and I got the cool stuff in the first two scenarios.
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Orlando Moreira
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After each character's turn. So Volkor gets the occasional attack, yes. But it just takes keeping Ecarus a bit wounded and with more coins than Volkor to guarantee that along with Taunt he gets to be targeted by the majority of the attacks.
 
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Something else to consider - are you playing Ecarus' taunt/preferred monster targer correctly?

My wife and I have been playing Ecarus & Auriel. We're 1 & 1. No deaths but lost due to event deck running out on Mission 2. Got some rough spawns that slowed us down.

But we were playing taunt would force the monster to hit Ecarus. Reading through the rules forum (yes, I do that for fun) I realized we should be applying the behavior FIRST then looking for preferred target within the area of the behavior. I blame me and skimming the rules while applying how I thought it should work, rather than how the timing actually works. Something to consider. Hindsight I think there might have been a higher chance of death in the two we've played.
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Orlando Moreira
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Good point. I also checked how Taunt works and I used it incorrectly a couple of times in our first game. I tend to be thorough in applying rules. I think the "problem" is really that my Ecarus build is really too strong with all the magic stuff I have, augmented by Volkors awesome spear. Apparently that one we shouldn't have... but it would break my son's heart to lose his awesome weapon, so I guess I cannot rectify that issue... hum...


By the way, my son's favorite game is the Lord of the Rings card game (LCG), so it is not that he cannot handle the complexity or challenge. He actually loves almost every board game I throw at him. He just doesn't like playing against me, so we mostly do coops. I also KS Massive Darkness and 7th continent but passed Gloomhaven because my wife is starting to become aggressive, especially after the Cthulhu Wars onslaught 2 package arrived.

Edit: I will try a second game after we finish the campaign in hard mode with 4 characters.
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Gorka Morka
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More Mellotron wrote:
Act 2? I missed that part of the correction...so we shouldn't buy it even at 60 crowns for now?


Simone wrote (emphasis mine):

Simone Romano wrote:
The Spear is an emporium Weapon (not included in the core set, it will be part of the next expansions) and its cost is 60 Crowns.


So I assumed that it's act 2 only. Might be wrong though.

Regards, Gorkar
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That's amazing that your son enjoys LOTR the card game! I would think that most regular dungeon crawlers would be tactically easy compared to that level of decision making.

As an aside, you guys should try Warhammer quest adventure card game. Excellent game, plays similarly but without the deck preparation and building. You swap in cards but they're all in the base game it's just upgrading skills you already have. Such a good game though and tactically engaging.

I would suggest gloomhaven but if that's out then take a look at Descent 2nd edition. It can be played co-op with the app and every turn can be tactically challenging. There are times where you can see your death coming and you have to really figure out how to avoid it and hope for some good rolls.

Every turn pretty much requires discussion and thought about how to optimally make the most of it.

The nice thing is, if he ever wants to go against you, the game is ready for that with the campaign and overlord mode.

I would give it a look. The only thing is you really need to know how to play before you start using the app. You need to know the basics of how characters play and interact and the monsters abilities. You could probably play solo campaign a bit to get a handle on it. You can't really learn how to play just from the app alone.

Lastly I would say that if you want to stick with S&S then just kick it up a notch yourself. Give every enemy extra damage, more life, fun nasty AOE attacks when they die. There's nothing stopping you from making things hard for yourselves.
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dreadknot69 wrote:
Lastly I would say that if you want to stick with S&S then just kick it up a notch yourself. Give every enemy extra damage, more life, fun nasty AOE attacks when they die. There's nothing stopping you from making things hard for yourselves.


If you really want to jack the difficulty up, play with GD defense rules for the enemies: enemies roll 1 blue die per incoming HIT regardless of their defense values. I accidentally played my first several games of the early prototype that way, and it's really punishing.
 
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Orlando Moreira
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dreadknot69 wrote:
That's amazing that your son enjoys LOTR the card game! I would think that most regular dungeon crawlers would be tactically easy compared to that level of decision making.

As an aside, you guys should try Warhammer quest adventure card game. Excellent game, plays similarly but without the deck preparation and building. You swap in cards but they're all in the base game it's just upgrading skills you already have. Such a good game though and tactically engaging.

I would suggest gloomhaven but if that's out then take a look at Descent 2nd edition. It can be played co-op with the app and every turn can be tactically challenging. There are times where you can see your death coming and you have to really figure out how to avoid it and hope for some good rolls.

Every turn pretty much requires discussion and thought about how to optimally make the most of it.

The nice thing is, if he ever wants to go against you, the game is ready for that with the campaign and overlord mode.

I would give it a look. The only thing is you really need to know how to play before you start using the app. You need to know the basics of how characters play and interact and the monsters abilities. You could probably play solo campaign a bit to get a handle on it. You can't really learn how to play just from the app alone.

Lastly I would say that if you want to stick with S&S then just kick it up a notch yourself. Give every enemy extra damage, more life, fun nasty AOE attacks when they die. There's nothing stopping you from making things hard for yourselves.


It is better than that. I have the LOTR game in English, I am Portuguese, my wife is German, my son tuaght himself English by reading the card texts. I could not believe it. It just shows that if there is a will, there is a way, as the saying goes.

We also played Warhammer Quest. We liked it quite a bit, but gets a bit repetitive after a while, due to the fact you only really play the same 4 cards over an over. Plus, no expansions, so once we played the 6 quests we were done.

I am considering gloomhaven or descent next, indeed. Was with some hope to get an app for Imperial Assault (we have the game but my son refuses to play agains me)... I also have Massive Darkness soon coming.
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landorian wrote:
dreadknot69 wrote:
That's amazing that your son enjoys LOTR the card game! I would think that most regular dungeon crawlers would be tactically easy compared to that level of decision making.

As an aside, you guys should try Warhammer quest adventure card game. Excellent game, plays similarly but without the deck preparation and building. You swap in cards but they're all in the base game it's just upgrading skills you already have. Such a good game though and tactically engaging.

I would suggest gloomhaven but if that's out then take a look at Descent 2nd edition. It can be played co-op with the app and every turn can be tactically challenging. There are times where you can see your death coming and you have to really figure out how to avoid it and hope for some good rolls.

Every turn pretty much requires discussion and thought about how to optimally make the most of it.

The nice thing is, if he ever wants to go against you, the game is ready for that with the campaign and overlord mode.

I would give it a look. The only thing is you really need to know how to play before you start using the app. You need to know the basics of how characters play and interact and the monsters abilities. You could probably play solo campaign a bit to get a handle on it. You can't really learn how to play just from the app alone.

Lastly I would say that if you want to stick with S&S then just kick it up a notch yourself. Give every enemy extra damage, more life, fun nasty AOE attacks when they die. There's nothing stopping you from making things hard for yourselves.


It is better than that. I have the LOTR game in English, I am Portuguese, my wife is German, my son tuaght himself English by reading the card texts. I could not believe it. It just shows that if there is a will, there is a way, as the saying goes.

We also played Warhammer Quest. We liked it quite a bit, but gets a bit repetitive after a while, due to the fact you only really play the same 4 cards over an over. Plus, no expansions, so once we played the 6 quests we were done.

I am considering gloomhaven or descent next, indeed. Was with some hope to get an app for Imperial Assault (we have the game but my son refuses to play agains me)... I also have Massive Darkness soon coming.


That's absolutely incredible! You've got one of a kind kid there sir. I think Gloomhaven might be the right call then. Or if he likes Zombicide as much as you then perhaps Massive Darkness may fit the bill.

I personally really like Descent for its tactics. But I haven't played Gloomhaven yet though, I can only go by what others have said.

Maybe you could find a board game cafe that you can try Descent at? Might be with a try.
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landorian wrote:
dreadknot69 wrote:
That's amazing that your son enjoys LOTR the card game! I would think that most regular dungeon crawlers would be tactically easy compared to that level of decision making.

As an aside, you guys should try Warhammer quest adventure card game. Excellent game, plays similarly but without the deck preparation and building. You swap in cards but they're all in the base game it's just upgrading skills you already have. Such a good game though and tactically engaging.

I would suggest gloomhaven but if that's out then take a look at Descent 2nd edition. It can be played co-op with the app and every turn can be tactically challenging. There are times where you can see your death coming and you have to really figure out how to avoid it and hope for some good rolls.

Every turn pretty much requires discussion and thought about how to optimally make the most of it.

The nice thing is, if he ever wants to go against you, the game is ready for that with the campaign and overlord mode.

I would give it a look. The only thing is you really need to know how to play before you start using the app. You need to know the basics of how characters play and interact and the monsters abilities. You could probably play solo campaign a bit to get a handle on it. You can't really learn how to play just from the app alone.

Lastly I would say that if you want to stick with S&S then just kick it up a notch yourself. Give every enemy extra damage, more life, fun nasty AOE attacks when they die. There's nothing stopping you from making things hard for yourselves.


It is better than that. I have the LOTR game in English, I am Portuguese, my wife is German, my son tuaght himself English by reading the card texts. I could not believe it. It just shows that if there is a will, there is a way, as the saying goes.

We also played Warhammer Quest. We liked it quite a bit, but gets a bit repetitive after a while, due to the fact you only really play the same 4 cards over an over. Plus, no expansions, so once we played the 6 quests we were done.

I am considering gloomhaven or descent next, indeed. Was with some hope to get an app for Imperial Assault (we have the game but my son refuses to play agains me)... I also have Massive Darkness soon coming.


Try the RAIV for Imperial Assault, it's a deck of cards that allows you to play the missions fully co-op.
 
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