Erich
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I've played 4 games of Box 1 and lost them all due to an Encounter cards that were made essentially impossible to beat by the giant Hogwarts Deck not randomly spitting out the necessary cards.

Being unable to find cards that let you roll House Dice can make the game impossible to win. With the addition of Detentions (a cool idea), it can be even more difficult to get the necessary cards to appear in your hand even if you do find them in the market. Due to the bloated Hogwarts Deck, it's also difficult to get rid of the onslaught of Detentions you incur when you also can't find any of the new Banish cards (another cool idea).

Similarly, the increased difficulty (which I did want) makes it more difficult to stay on the first Location card (which is more fun), but cards enabling you to remove Control Tokens are also no easier to find.

Basically, I think an edited down Hogwarts Deck could help solve the problem I'm struggling with.

My first suggestion would be the cards that let you put Allies, Spells, and Items you purchase from the Hogwarts Deck market on top of your deck instead of your discard pile. I've never found this worth having available.

TL;DR Does the large Hogwarts Deck make the game too difficult now and how can I to try to solve the problem?
 
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Wil
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One new option/action you can do is to not buy any cards and to instead clear the face up cards and draw six new ones. That option should help you out in situations like that.
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Jeffery Hudson
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My group decides the market deck in two; 1-4 gold cost and 5+ gold cards. After buying a card you can choose from which market deck to replace from. This has really helped with "market lock".
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David Jones
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I think I've lamented about this issue in a couple of other posts. It does create situations where the game's difficulty can hinge on how "well balanced" the first 25-30 market cards are. It might be more accurate to say that it is another way in which the game can be "swingy," which is not necessarily a comment about how difficult it is.

Back when I was having a problem winning Game 7, I house ruled a variant where all four Hogwarts History cards were taken out of the deck and were always available for purchase, but each hero could not have more than one. I found that variant to make the game a little too easy so I scrapped it. I've though about doing something similar with Tergeo cards, but having played games where I was able to thin my deck out only four or five starter cards, I can see where early Tergeo's might similarly be too powerful.

I do feel like the game could benefit from something like Ascension where players have created preset "cubes," which are customized center decks that balance various game mechanics. I don't know if anyone here wants to spend the time working on such a project.

Regarding the rule to clear the market, that is a once per game option. While it can help, I have had games with no banishing mechanisms in the top 40 cards of the market, so even that rule cannot fix a situation with a statistically unfortunate setup.
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Jay Johnson
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davypi wrote:
Back when I was having a problem winning Game 7, I house ruled a variant where all four Hogwarts History cards were taken out of the deck and were always available for purchase,

four? isn't there six in the deck?
 
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David Jones
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JayJ79 wrote:
four? isn't there six in the deck?


Yup, my bad. I think I put the others to aside to due the self imposed one per player rule.
 
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jeff bee
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What cards would you suggest banishing from the deck? Every card is unique and useful in some way. You can't just purge all of the 1-3 cost cards because those are nice and cheap cards to buy when you don't have a ton of influence. You can't purge all of the 6-8 cost cards because those are some of the most powerful cards.

Most people seem to think influence is the least useful token, so do you want to pull all of the influence cards out? What about things like spell that is draw a card or 2 influence (drawing a blank on its name, but it costs 3)? Or what about Arthur Weasley who gives everyone influence. Or perhaps the Tri-Wizard Cup, which gives influence and other stuff?


Your suggestion would be to remove the sorting hat and the 3 (or is it 4?) Wingardium Leviosas. I'm not going to disagree one way or another, but we're talking about 5 cards here, not that big of a deal. To see any meaningful thinning you'd probably have to pick about 20-30 cards to remove.

PS - Those abilities can be super useful (if a tad bit situational). Assuming you have a draw a card action, then you can purchase and immediately use those cards. Which can be clutch in skull removal to stay on the same location. You basically get to choose what card you draw next based on which card you buy.
 
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Tim Hipkiss
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We have a house rule where any turn you may forego buying anything and clear one card from the shop. Less ham-fisted than clearing the whole shop once during the game.
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David Jones
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Tengmalm wrote:
We have a house rule where any turn you may forego buying anything and clear one card from the shop. Less ham-fisted than clearing the whole shop once during the game.


What I don't like about this is that I think it becomes too easy to game the system. The next player has seven influence in their hand? I guess I should wipe the market and see if we can get a power card into the game.
Similarly, I've figured out that Nox is an extremely powerful card. With your rule, it would almost be worth deliberately cycling the market every turn just to force one of them into play.

With respect to the base game, Game 7 can be easily won without wiping the market. Its a good rule to have because occasionally you do hit early game gridlock before you have an influence engine running, but multiple wipes would make it too easy. I'm still playing around with Monster Box, but my win rate is going up, so I'm not yet convinced this is needed either.
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Aaron E.
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We have always played with one small change, make one Hogwarts a History card available in the starting market. For Box 1 of Monster Box we also added a Tergeo as well (because of detentions and because it's even).

It sounds like a small change, but for us it ensures that we have at least some means of rolling a required house die symbol.

As far as removing cards from the Hogwarts deck itself, yes there are certainly some that seem like they're hardly ever purchased, but most of them can be comboed in some unique way that may make them valuable at times. For example (box 3 spoiler below),
Spoiler (click to reveal)
I just discovered a fun combo between Hermione's Time Turner (a starting item I usually would banish if possible) and her Patronus.
For reasons like this, I am hesitant to straight up remove any.
 
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Erich
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wgerken wrote:
One new option/action you can do is to not buy any cards and to instead clear the face up cards and draw six new ones. That option should help you out in situations like that.


Yeah, we've been using this since before it was made official by this expansion and was just a comment by a developer on BGG. It's only once per game and doesn't help much.
 
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Erich
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davypi wrote:
I do feel like the game could benefit from something like Ascension where players have created preset "cubes," which are customized center decks that balance various game mechanics. I don't know if anyone here wants to spend the time working on such a project.


Yeah, this is kind of what I feel the most organized and guaranteed solution would be, but it would probably change the way the game works too much.

I also thought about some way to "upgrade" cards like Alohomora! into Tergeo! or some other spell (that is probably 1 Influence plus 1 other small effect) without it being in the market. Or something like Maria Hill in Marvel Legendary that is 2 Influence that is always available, but then I'd worry about your player deck getting crowded with mostly influence spells.. maybe you have to trade an Alohomora! in for a better version..
 
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Erich
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MrAaronSA wrote:
We have always played with one small change, make one Hogwarts a History card available in the starting market. For Box 1 of Monster Box we also added a Tergeo as well (because of detentions and because it's even).

It sounds like a small change, but for us it ensures that we have at least some means of rolling a required house die symbol.


Funnily enough, today we won our 5th try at Game 1 today and there was randomly Argus Filch and a Hogwarts: A History in the Hogwarts Deck market (I think there was also a card to remove Control Tokens). Who'd a thunk having necessary cards available would make it so much easier! :/. It's just anti-fun to have no chance to win unless the game is set up a certain way.
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Old Hobo
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One thing that we do to moderately help this is play with the house rule that when you acquire a Hogwarts card, you can banish it instead of putting it into your deck.

Everything else triggers as normal (Dolores, encounters, etc.) , you simply can opt not put the purchased card into your deck. You still have to pay full price.

This allows you to clear out cards that have questionable utility to try and get through the Hogwarts deck to get 'key' cards that might be lacking in the random draw. It creates a smoothing effect and certainly improves the value of influence as more influence allows you to dig for critical cards.

Does it make the game easier? Yes, a little bit, though I don't think substantially. You are still having to buy stuff and getting NO benefit from it. What you are doing is getting no benefit, instead of active harm to your deck. With the release of the expansion, we may revisit this house rule since there is now a mechanic to clear out the dregs of your deck once they are no longer useful...but we'll see.

Does it make the game more fun? Unquestionably. Basically, we are of the opinion that acquiring a card that you are disappointed to draw just isn't fun. You want to buy cards you are excited to see when you draw them...at least part of the time. Obviously not every card is great every turn but putting a Wingardium Leviosa into your deck on turn 15 of the game is just a sad addition that will remind you of it's sadness every time you see it your hand.

It also promotes more harmony at the table. Say when the market is 4 shmeh cards and two good cards, a player can leave good cards for the other players for whom they would be optimal and still take useful purchasing actions. Previously, either you bought crappy cards (for your deck) that often actively weakened it, or you bought a card that is good for your, but would be awesome for someone else, or you bought nothing. Those are all pretty unsatisfying choices. By buying and banishing some of the shmeh cards (that no one else would really like of course) you feel useful and allow everyone else to have cards they are really excited about.

Clearly, this doesn't really help with the clogged board of 6s and 7s that no one can afford but it *does* help with the clogged board of junky 2s and 3s that no one wants.

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Alan Acevedo
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When it became obvious that the villains would win games 4-6 (generally in landslide fashion) without having Hogwarts cards to remove villain control tokens, we instituted a house rule. It works thus:

1) A dozen cards must be purchased from the Hogwarts deck
2) If no control token removal cards made an appearance after that first dozen, twice per game, players may elect to replace an empty slot in the Hogwarts market with a card that permits removal of control tokens.

Card selection is done by looking at the bottom of the cards in the Hogwarts deck until we find the first control token removal card.

Note that it is only twice per game that it's permitted, it's not 2x per player per game.

For game 7, we expanded the rule to allow for dice rolling cards to be picked instead.

We've found that the games became much less swingy this way. It's not a guaranteed victory by any means for the heroes, but it's just no fun for my kids to see the heroes get completely blown out of the water quickly in landslide fashion, so this was our compromise.

For Monster Box, we expanded this to allow for cards with a banish effect.
 
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Max Jansson
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My group banishes card from the market buy paying their cost. This helps clear up the market of thrash but it will not help if everything is high cost, then we refer to the once per game wipe the market rule.
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Ron Harper
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I like the idea of being able to buy junk cards that you don't have to put into your deck. I have considered that before but i thought it would make the game too easy. We are now stuck on box 4 of the expansion and it is so freaking hard! I think I am going to give this a try.

We tried the house rule where there are two draw decks for the higher and lower cost cards and it didn't seem to matter much.
 
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Blake Curry
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My personal house rule helps a lot. Any time I start a new box, I always start the market with 3 of the new cards (chosen at random, of course) to 1.) guarantee that we see something new and 2.) make it more likely that we get to utilize whatever new mechanic may have been added.

From there we just treat the market normally, but we have found this is both helpful and keeps things interesting.
 
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Jay Johnson
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Homey_Christ wrote:
My personal house rule helps a lot. Any time I start a new box, I always start the market with 3 of the new cards (chosen at random, of course) to 1.) guarantee that we see something new and 2.) make it more likely that we get to utilize whatever new mechanic may have been added.

From there we just treat the market normally, but we have found this is both helpful and keeps things interesting.

I've started doing something similar. I'll shuffle up the old cards, then grab the top 20 or so cards from that deck, shuffle in the cards from the new box (and if there are horcruxes in play, or other mechanics requiring dice rolls, I'll also shuffle in one "hogwarts a history" per player along with the new cards. Then I'll play that group on top of the rest of the deck.

Other variants I like to increase variety of the market:
- if there are duplicate copies of a card that come up in the market, I'll place them on top of one another so that they only take one spot. thus ensuring that there are always 6 different options available for purchase
- immediately replacing cards that are purchased instead of waiting until the end of turn
- sometimes I'll experiment with having 9 slots in the market instead of just 6
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Mike Krajewski
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This variant works really well for us.
https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1839378/so-many-hogwart...

Instead of taking cards out, it helps you go through cards faster. With the brutal difficulty in the expansion, I'm not worried if this makes it easier. I don't feel it drastically changes the difficulty but it does change the feel and it's less frustrating. With how many cards we have in our Hogwarts deck, we might start drawing 3 instead of 2.
 
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Blake Curry
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mkrajew wrote:
This variant works really well for us.
https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1839378/so-many-hogwart...

Instead of taking cards out, it helps you go through cards faster. With the brutal difficulty in the expansion, I'm not worried if this makes it easier. I don't feel it drastically changes the difficulty but it does change the feel and it's less frustrating. With how many cards we have in our Hogwarts deck, we might start drawing 3 instead of 2.


In other words, so long, Essence of Dittany!
 
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Dennis Harrison
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We have been very successful with the base game and the expansion. What we have found is that there are vital mechanics of the game than need to be managed which is the key to winning. Most of them are covered in various places in the forums and I won't 'spoil' the game by giving away our strategies here since discovering new and better ways to beat a game is one of my prime enjoyments in gaming.

We play with the full rule set, no house rules at all and have about an 80% win rate including the optional 'beat every villain' setup now 3 for 3. Some starting setups look impossible, but we just take it as a challenge. We are now looking for variants to make it yet harder again. We normally play with 2 or 3 people, but beat the base set with 4 also.

I say this all because managing the Hogwarts board is one of our key focus areas as a team. The last game we had, we only had one purchaseable card early on and we still managed a win by designating an influence collector early on... even one Accio card can turn a bad board into a fluid market if you do this. We have only had to board wipe once in our games and that was due to an early influx of Detentions with no banish cards until after the wipe. A single wipe and a concentration of influence by one of us tends to keep the board moving.

Try this strategy and see if you can keep the board moving for your next game.
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