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Subject: The making of a major disappointment (and how to fix it?) rss

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tom-le-termite
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You know, if you place your expectations very high, you are bound to a disappointment. It holds true for many things, but it does not excuse mediocrity.

Massive Darkness had everything to make me backup the KS campaign. Dungeon Crawler, a plethora of monsters, heroes with asymmetrical powers, power up system for characters, light/dark rules… Everything looked great and CMON was promising a lot. Hype is the one thing that really made this whole game happen.

The game arrives (Finally!), rules are read, setup, and go.
2h later, a curious sense of disappointment filled me up. Hold a second there, did CMON forgot to actually put a game in there?

My grievance goes on for a very long list, so I will be concise about what this game should have been in my eyes. The fact that we spent >$100 on it, MAKE us want to love it. But let’s be objective. This failed.

Good things about the game

-Production: Excellent manufactured product. Great artwork, fantastic minis, Big box filled with goodness

-Character diversity: With the KS, a great choice of characters and skills is available for various game experiences

-Many monsters: Again, the KS promised a great deal of diverse monsters, as fantastic as possible.

Bad things about the game

-Gameplay: As I finished my first game, it occurred to me that the playtesting was poorly conducted, which is rather surprising for a game of this scale. So many things either did not make sense or the absurdity of the situations made the whole things ridiculous, yet, not fun.

Difficulty: nonexistent. Unless you are VERY unlucky with dice rolls.

Decisions making: Extremely limited. The rules make the gameplay extremely linear with no real decision. Move there, kill this, loot. I know this is the existential concept of dungeon crawlers as a whole, but MD amazingly succeeded in striping the fun out of it, primarily because of the heavy book keeping.

Not epic: I played 100+ games of Battlelore, with buckets of dice involved, yet each game were truly epic. For MD, I felt robbed from the epic it should have been. Without any sense of challenge, the feeling of actually accomplishing something is gone.

What went wrong?

Timing of actions. First of all, the game can go for rounds without any actual action. Guards (/monsters) spawn, and they are all killed on the spot before they even get the chance to do anything. It took us Level 4 to have our first wound. This is the result of the timing of spawning and the following round of actions from the players. As guards spawn from an event, for a 3-hero game, there will be 9 actions (NINE ACTIONS) before they can move. As a result, they are all annihilated, mercilessly by the heroes. No challenge, the minis stayed 1.09 min on the board. Little rocks would have done as good as a proxy for figurines for this level of interactions.

Absurd amount of treasures. We piled up treasure cards at an insane rate, with 15-20 items in our inventory (each). You will tell me that the action for conversion should fix it but it is NOT a fix at all. If I want better objects, then exchange 3 for 1 for the cost of an action is a poor choice when in comparison, you can open a door for potentially 6 to 10 cards, killing weaklings for a few actions. So, here we are, with more items than we really need, piling up.
Mobs rules. Minions are functionally HPs for the boss. No mass effect in the gameplay, no feeling that the group is a threat. They’re just all meat.

Woops, I’m dead. And here comes level 4, a mob finally can hit, poor defense roll. Blam. Dead hero. What? After 2 hours of no threat? Tss.. Oh yes, it’s ok, there is a lifebringer token to “fix” this kind of events… What?

Events/doors. The poor variability of door/events cards reflect a poorly thought process in the game design. The AI of the game relies on these two type of cards, and yet nothing original comes up to break the monotony of the gameplay.

Blocked enemies. So yes, this one was frustrating. An enemy cannot attack back if the hero is out of range, or blocked by another hero. By using this single rule, we were able to dance around the dungeon, killing all enemies with no real challenge, nor sense of realistic battles.

Shooting range THROUGH other heroes. Again, with blocked enemies, a range attack can decimate enemies without any risk of friendly fire. Not even a chance these mobs can do anything at all.


How to fix it?


So, in any other instance, the game would have been given away. But we put a lot of money. So we want to love it. As a result, there are 98+ house variant proposed out there, going to 26 different directions. This is clearly the sign of a broken game, where the community is trying to save it. Here is a scoop: how about designing a game in the first place? This usually works.

The problem with variants and house rules, is that the game departs from a consensus for what the game actually is, and gamers just reused the minis and some of the core system to build and customize their own game. Again, this is not how it should work. I read many interesting suggestions, but I still feel that it’s not right. What we should have is CMON releasing shortly rules 2.0 . But I am not very optimistic on this one, so here we go, I will go with my own fixes/suggestions and take ideas with some of what was said out there.


Suggested changes (for me)

(...yet to playtest them).

Timing of actions. To prevent spawns to be annihilated too easily, and the last player to have nothing left to kill (because the first few heroes killed everything), 2 actions (instead of 3) per hero will change the pace of the game drastically. In addition, each hero take one action at the time clockwise, which means that each heroes have a chance to do something. So the Hero’s phase is actually 2 rounds of actions. All enemies that were attacked and still alive at the end of the second round of actions can counter-attack (following the priority rules). Now each decision will be important, because the consequence of an attack are much more risky.

Absurd amount of treasures: Door cards should be overhauled to reduced drastically the number of treasure so that an item have much more value altogether. With the current cards, No chest in the first room, and from 1 to 3 chests in the last room. Count the total number of chests on the card and convert the 5 or 6 treasures -> 1, 7->2 and 8->3. Guards are spawned the same.

Mob rules: This is where the core of the change must occur. Increase the HP for bosses by their level. A hero can only target a limited number of minions per action (all extra hits are lost). If the number of spawned minions is x1 the number of players, then a hero can only kill one minion per action. If spawned minions is x2 the number of players, then a hero can kill two minions per action max. When a mob attacks, each pair of minions (rounded up) attack independently, without the boss’ item power, but the attack is spread across the heroes in range. First the boss (with item) attacks the priority hero, then the pairs of minions (no item) will go down the ladder of priority for heroes. If there are more minions than heroes in range, then start over to the priority hero, and go down the ladder again, until all minions have attacked. There is now an incentive to not attack Mobs alone, so you can spread the risk across heroes. When a mob counter attacks, consider the boss making this attack against the priority hero that took part in the attack at the end of each round of the hero’s phase (not at the end only, as monster and agents would do).

Events/Door. Some Geeks have posted some thread with their own costumed deck. I will go there first.

Blocked enemy/friendly fire: range cannot attack enemies if their shot goes through over heroes, without a risk of friendly fire (roll a yellow dice for each hero in the way).

Coclusions.

While I want to love this game, I have to say, I have very cool toys, but I don’t have a game. With tempering, here and there with the rules, and keep track of some of the suggestions out there, I will house rule it, waiting for an eventual fix from CMON (or I will go play Gloomhaven).


PS: This is (mostly) a rant resulting from the disappointment of my high expectation of the game. I am sure some gamers have a lot of fun with the current game system. I just expected something else.


EDIT:

So,

I was able to get this game on the table again. We did Quest number 6, with the core book rules again, to make sure that we experience the game as is.

My initial thoughts were confirmed on many aspects, but we enjoyed it slightly more than our previous game, mostly because of the insane absurdity of our powers, which had self-entertaining power.

Overall, the game is overwhelmingly tilted toward the heroes, making situations ridiculous. at level 4-5, the wizard was just cleaning up roaming monsters in a couple of rolls, the bloodmoon assassin, was defeating mobs easily, and the paladin of fury was taking the hits for everyone, without having to worry really.

The balance of powering-up really appears out of wack. The bookkeeping remains horrendous, slowing down everything. Mobs still don't feel right.

So, yes we gave it a chance. If this game wants to hit the table again, we are going to have to house rule here and there.
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Christian Gindlesperger
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Overall, mostly agree with your assessment. It seems like MD started as a solid foundation with some cool new ideas, but my guess is things got out of whack during the Kickstarter, when backers suggested and/or demanded changes such couldn't be properly implemented in time for prediction.

One thing to consider--try the original rules as written, and see how differently the game plays. Mob rules, monstet AI, turn order, XP rewards, Shadow mode, door cards, and even the win conditions are all slightly different, and in most cases, better than the streamlined, dumbed down final version.

The WIP rules are not perfect either... there's still tons of loot, one shot deaths are still (maybe even more) possible, and Story mode is just "keep your character upgrades every game", which doesn't make much sense. But you can at least get a better idea of what the original feel of the game was supposed to be like.

House rules abound, but as you say, they go in a lot of various directions and address different sets of problems with different solutions. Best case is that the best suggestions while rise to the top, while everyone can find some ruleset they like--but the bad news is that everyone will be playing the game differently, which is bad for the MD community and the game in the long term.

One rule, though, I think is really worth everyone trying is loot and transmutation nerfing--too much loot leads to overpowered equipment which leads to too wimpy monsters which leads to too much XP which leads to too many hero skills...which snowballs into an uninteresting cakewalk of a dungeon crawl.

By far, the easiest house rule to add in--without changing any components--is to make treasure chest opportunities to draw cards, rather than treasures themselves. So, when picking up three treasure chests, you draw three cards, and keep only one (with 5-6 players, this should probably be keep two).

Combine that with the house rule of making transmute an action, and loot acquisition goes down considerably. It might still not be enough, but it certainly helps.

Another rule which I think tweaks the game a little more towards reasonable difficulty is that--when there are no enemies to activate during the Enemy phase, you must draw and resolve an Event card. This generally puts more enemies in the board, and in particular slows down heroes that are too efficient at cleaning house. Plus, it ends up putting more Roamers in play, which is really the showcase of the KS edition of the game.

This particular house rule I'd very similar to the WIP rule stating that any time you have to place a figure and can't because of component limits, you draw a Roaming monster instead. Even more challenging is the further WIP rule that if 5 Roamers were in play at the same time, the heroes lose. I've not tried that personally, but might if a particular scenario seems to let you hide too much...

There's so much potential, I really hope CMON revisits the design they started and issues some fixes.

Varying terrain effects (like the WIP rules Apothecaries and Guard Rooms), a more robust Shadow mode, more tactical options (disengaging from rnemies, stealing items from guardians, friendly fire or AoE damage) better monster AI (movement based on preferred attack type, unique targeting, better Mob rules), retuning the event and door decks, better treasures (with new powers like knockback, poison, enrage, more combos, and maybe even some sort of set collection minigame)...there are a ton of ideas that wouldn't add much in complicated rules overhead but would increase challenge and depth significantly.

Hopefully, official fixes will come from CMON (along with whatever changed components are required to make them work)...but without house rules, MD as it stands is mostly a massive blandness.
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Jo Bartok
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How to fix?
Don't blind-buy CMON
(unless it is maybe Lang)?
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tom-le-termite
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Invictus5000 wrote:

Hopefully, official fixes will come from CMON (along with whatever changed components are required to make them work)...but without house rules, MD as it stands is mostly a massive blandness.

We are on the same page thumbsup Thanks for suggestions and thoughts.

ionas wrote:
How to fix?
Don't blind-buy CMON
(unless it is maybe Lang)?


Lesson learned
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Alexander
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tom-le-termite wrote:

What went wrong? As guards spawn from an event, for a 3-hero game, there will be 9 actions (NINE ACTIONS) before they can move. [...]

Absurd amount of treasures. We piled up treasure cards at an insane rate, with 15-20 items in our inventory (each). You will tell me that the action for conversion should fix it but it is NOT a fix at all. If I want better objects, then exchange 3 for 1 for the cost of an action is a poor choice when in comparison, you can open a door for potentially 6 to 10 cards, killing weaklings for a few actions. So, here we are, with more items than we really need, piling up.
Mobs rules. Minions are functionally HPs for the boss. No mass effect in the gameplay, no feeling that the group is a threat. They’re just all meat.

Woops, I’m dead. And here comes level 4, a mob finally can hit, poor defense roll. Blam. Dead hero. What? After 2 hours of no threat? Tss.. Oh yes, it’s ok, there is a lifebringer token to “fix” this kind of events… What?



1) 9 actions before they can move is not really true. they get to counter attack. I assume you played it correctly, but this statement is a little misleading.

2) your amount of treasure items seems way exaggerated. 15-20 items each seems rather unlikely. each tile spawns roughly 12 treasure chests (about 2 per room, assuming the tile has 2 chambers with 3 rooms each). if you don't equip any of those and never transmute them and if you don't draw any potions, then at the end of the dungeons your statement may be true. I must admit that there are too many treasure items none the less, but not that many.

3) you complain about the lack of any threat, yet you complain about the possibility of being one-shoted as well. that seems contradicting. in my opinion the possibility of being one-shoted is a threat. I can understand that people don't like that about this game. either you don't get hurt at all or you get one-shoted. however, first, zombicide is very similar this way (after all your characters only have 3 HP in zombicide) and no one seems to complain about that and second, I personally like this aspect. if I get an axe into the face that's probably it. How many hits is someone supposed to endure when being hit by a giant troll?

4) in your conclusion you say that you will go play Gloomhaven. Well, if that is what you compare this game with than your approach is unfair anyways. these two games are completely different. I personally have received exactly what expected with Massive Darkness. Obviously your expectations were very mislead.

I agree that this game has a lot of unused potential and that balance is not perfect. But many critiques here on BGG seem a little harsh and exeggerated.
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tom-le-termite
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LX1986 wrote:



1) 9 actions before they can move is not really true. they get to counter attack. I assume you played it correctly, but this statement is a little misleading.


Yes. with two mobs, one hero kill one mob, the second hero kill the second mob, and the last hero has nothing left to kill.

Quote:
2) your amount of treasure items seems way exaggerated. 15-20 items each seems rather unlikely. each tile spawns roughly 12 treasure chests (about 2 per room, assuming the tile has 2 chambers with 3 rooms each). if you don't equip any of those and never transmute them and if you don't draw any potions, then at the end of the dungeons your statement may be true. I must admit that there are too many treasure items none the less, but not that many.[/] This was the end of the game of quest 1 (scorched earth. With items coming from chests (5 to 8 per rooms) and from enemies, i did not exaggerate. Transmutting is not attracting for the reasons I highlighted above.

[q]3) you complain about the lack of any threat, yet you complain about the possibility of being one-shoted as well. that seems contradicting. in my opinion the possibility of being one-shoted is a threat. I can understand that people don't like that about this game. either you don't get hurt at all or you get one-shoted. however, first, zombicide is very similar this way (after all your characters only have 3 HP in zombicide) and no one seems to complain about that and second, I personally like this aspect. if I get an axe into the face that's probably it. How many hits is someone supposed to endure when being hit by a giant troll?


I am complaining about the all or nothing issue. 2h of gaming with not a scratch, and then one death in one blow. I understand the probabilities of things, but some middle ground on the game experience would be nice.


Quote:
4) in your conclusion you say that you will go play Gloomhaven. Well, if that is what you compare this game with than your approach is unfair anyways. these two games are completely different. I personally have received exactly what expected with Massive Darkness. Obviously your expectations were very mislead.


Sorry about this one. I was being a bit sarcastic (from my ranting). I don't even own gloomhaven

Quote:
I agree that this game has a lot of unused potential and that balance is not perfect. But many critiques here on BGG seem a little harsh and exeggerated.


please read my PS:

tom-le-termite wrote:
PS: This is (mostly) a rant resulting from the disappointment of my high expectation of the game. I am sure some gamers have a lot of fun with the current game system. I just expected something else.


We agree that there are things in the game the don't work, and the fact that so many variants are proposed demonstrate that the game did not meet the expectations of many. As a rule of thumb, it confirms that the game needs a rule makeover.
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Most of the imbalances and lack of decisions stem from the quests mostly being too easy. In the challenging quests, such as quest 2, the decision space reveals itself to be a lot deeper than it would seem at first glance. Judging the game based on the tutorial or quest 1 isn't very accurate.
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aries wind
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FYI: even if you kill the mobs in one turn, the boss still gets a counterattack. the only way to avoid a counterattack is to either kill all mobs and the boss or get out of range and in the shadows

also we havent found there being quite that much loot. at least in the missions we've been doing there is 3-5 chests in a 2 space room and 5-7 in a 3 space room. keeping in mind there are quite a lot of potions and 'not interesting' items (wands for a melee character, axes for a ranged, etc)

if you get a roaming monster (or two) in level 1 or 2 you're suddenly in mortal danger because a monster throwing 2red+1yellow vs your 1 or 2 blues is asking to be 1 or 2 hit.
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Christian Gindlesperger
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One thing to keep in mind about loot is that, though there is a lot of it (prolly 10-15 cards per tile, plus 2-5 from guardians on average)--it doesn't scale based on player count, at all.

That's kind of an egregious oversight, I think. Even at the low end, 10-12 treasures for one hero is a ton; for 6 heroes it's barely adequate. I kinda feel like the design decision was "hey, players can transmute, so let's shower them with loot, it won't matter"...which is an argument I could have bought initially, but with further plays, I see scaling is out of whack.

And SpoDaddy makes a good point about mission design--earlier quests are easier, and there's a lot that can be remedied in individual mission rules (like rusty if there was a grumpy ttyl that stole your equipment, or a special space which was the only place you could transmute, etc.). Unfortunately, it seems like the missions were built around the base rules, and were intended to be straightforward (with some exceptions).

Better level design could certainly help, but I also still feel that there are global issues that need addressing across the existing missions (player scaling being one).
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Mr Suitcase
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SpoDaddy wrote:
Most of the imbalances and lack of decisions stem from the quests mostly being too easy. In the challenging quests, such as quest 2, the decision space reveals itself to be a lot deeper than it would seem at first glance. Judging the game based on the tutorial or quest 1 isn't very accurate.


Yes. OP says he judged it after an hour or two.

SpoDaddy is exactly correct. Just play Quest 2, where you face a GREATER roaming monster that rolls 3 reds and stuns you 80% of the time (Hopefully it isn't worse after you attach its piece of gear!). With 4 heroes, it's got 28 Health.

You're on a timer, and by the time you're forced to engage it, you will barely have anything at level 2 gear, let alone any level above that! (Reason: are only 4 chambers, and they are mostly 2 rooms only). And if you waste time trying to get that gear, other guards and roamers from event cards will bog you down.

Note: since it doesn't count as a roaming monster for event cards, you'll probably have another roamer (or in our case, 2).

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tom-le-termite
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I understand that quests bring various game play experience. It does not change the fact that the general system needs a major makeover to make stand alone quests interesting, without the need to create scenarios as a remedy.

My frustration with the system is widely shared according to the impressive list of house rules offered in these forums. For a KS campaign of this magnitude, you expect a well polish game, with solid rules. (hence my disappointment, again... it's all about the expectation).

Again, I want to love this game, but here, you guys are pointing out what is good in this game, while I am pointing out what is bad, which are not mutually exclusive.

The game has tremendous potential, but the current core rules does not deliver.

PS: By the way: I will continue to play the various quests, for the sake of playing the game through, but I don't think it will change drastically my opinion on the game system.
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mrsuitcase wrote:
SpoDaddy wrote:
Most of the imbalances and lack of decisions stem from the quests mostly being too easy. In the challenging quests, such as quest 2, the decision space reveals itself to be a lot deeper than it would seem at first glance. Judging the game based on the tutorial or quest 1 isn't very accurate.


Yes. OP says he judged it after an hour or two.

SpoDaddy is exactly correct. Just play Quest 2, where you face a GREATER roaming monster that rolls 3 reds and stuns you 80% of the time (Hopefully it isn't worse after you attach its piece of gear!). With 4 heroes, it's got 28 Health.

You're on a timer, and by the time you're forced to engage it, you will barely have anything at level 2 gear, let alone any level above that! (Reason: are only 4 chambers, and they are mostly 2 rooms only). And if you waste time trying to get that gear, other guards and roamers from event cards will bog you down.

Note: since it doesn't count as a roaming monster for event cards, you'll probably have another roamer (or in our case, 2).



@mrsuitcase I agree, quest 2 was noticeably different than 1, and felt rewarding to slay the spider when we did. We had a number of close calls and epic moments. Perhaps OP should attempt that quest and reconsider Con of difficultly and decisions making.
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tom-le-termite wrote:
I understand that quests bring various game play experience. It does not change the fact that the general system needs a major makeover to make stand alone quests interesting, without the need to create scenarios as a remedy.

My frustration with the system is widely shared according to the impressive list of house rules offered in these forums. For a KS campaign of this magnitude, you expect a well polish game, with solid rules. (hence my disappointment, again... it's all about the expectation).

Again, I want to love this game, but here, you guys are pointing out what is good in this game, while I am pointing out what is bad, which are not mutually exclusive.

The game has tremendous potential, but the current core rules does not deliver.

PS: By the way: I will continue to play the various quests, for the sake of playing the game through, but I don't think it will change drastically my opinion on the game system.


Everyone's opinion is valid. I'm just saying if you thought the game lacked choices or was too easy, trying the later scenarios may redeem the game on those points for you. (it might not redeem the other points for you!)

And from what I've played, I think the strength is in the scenarios themselves. The game is indeed tied to them as you point out. The system allows for all those creatures to integrate with practically any scenario you create, and there are some really good ones in the book. However, does that genericism take something away from the game? That puts a lot of burden on the ingenuity and creativity of the scenario designer to keep things fresh.

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tom-le-termite wrote:
I understand that quests bring various game play experience. It does not change the fact that the general system needs a major makeover to make stand alone quests interesting, without the need to create scenarios as a remedy.

My frustration with the system is widely shared according to the impressive list of house rules offered in these forums. For a KS campaign of this magnitude, you expect a well polish game, with solid rules. (hence my disappointment, again... it's all about the expectation).

Again, I want to love this game, but here, you guys are pointing out what is good in this game, while I am pointing out what is bad, which are not mutually exclusive.

The game has tremendous potential, but the current core rules does not deliver.

PS: By the way: I will continue to play the various quests, for the sake of playing the game through, but I don't think it will change drastically my opinion on the game system.


If the general system was the problem the challenging quests wouldn't have meaningful decisions. The problem isn't the general system, it's many of the quests not being hard enough (and perhaps the door and event decks not scaling well enough to player count). The general system is fine.
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Spencer S
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@spodaddy and mrsuitcase- both great points above. KS Backers personal expectations aside, the game is exactly what was advertised (with a few rule adjustments address in the process). So looking back at what was advertised, It was clearly not going for "Gloomhaven" like status.

If you just look at the simple core rules, the game could be considered boring, thoughtless, unrewarding, and easy to learn. However, the scenario design and variety of treasures/event/enemies/skills is where the system can either shine or fail. CMON delivered on the game as they advertised, but the game enjoyment falls upon 1)scenario design and variety 2)personal taste.

To me, the simple core rules are an invitation to create your own quests and modification. House ruling is a positive in this game, and it's invited by the developer. As an example, the official quests in the book uses variations on the rules. This opens the door to plenty of gaming and lots of possibilities.
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As for the idea that many postings regarding Variants, etc... means a game is broken or poorly designed?? Gloomhaven has 103 Variants posted and 1,400 Rules posted in it's forum.

Quite honestly this 'genre' of games has universally always spawned a lot of house ruling, tweaking, variants, etc...Massive Darkness is no different. However, after reading the rules and a few plays, I found the fixing or improving Massive Darkness very easy compared to other games. I made more options/choices for Players and cranked up the difficulty.
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You simply haven't played enough of the game to render an objective view, especially when you only played the first quest with relatively good luck.

As others have mentioned, the more players you have, the harder it will be to get useful weapons. And you didn't have the misfortune of spawning Roaming Monsters, Agents and Guards altogether.

I played with 5, and in the first turn, 2nd room we opened spawned an Agent, which meant we couldn't get the treasure from the second room. So we only had 3 items to split among the 5 of us. With 5 players and limited equipment, the Agent itself took a bit of time to take down.

We couldn't finish him in the first round, but in the 2nd round we spawn a roaming monster... mind you we were just one zone away from the start zone so both the Agent and Roaming monster was in attack vicinity.

We eventually took out the agent, but with a few wounds, then it was a very uphill battle against the Roaming Monster even after collecting our Loot. It was another 2 rounds before we could kill it, and by then, another mob had spawned.

Long story short, we barely survived and it was an incredibly intense experience.

Basically, I think your review could use a bit more play time experience. Try with more players and see how your luck averages out in the long run.

And yes, Quest 2 is quite a challenge, especially if you pull a strong equipment card for the Giant spider. Trying to get through his 2 Blue and 2 Green defense with low level items is pretty tough.
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artt3k wrote:
You simply haven't played enough of the game to render an objective view, especially when you only played the first quest with relatively good luck.

As others have mentioned, the more players you have, the harder it will be to get useful weapons. And you didn't have the misfortune of spawning Roaming Monsters, Agents and Guards altogether.

I played with 5, and in the first turn, 2nd room we opened spawned an Agent, which meant we couldn't get the treasure from the second room. So we only had 3 items to split among the 5 of us. With 5 players and limited equipment, the Agent itself took a bit of time to take down.

We couldn't finish him in the first round, but in the 2nd round we spawn a roaming monster... mind you we were just one zone away from the start zone so both the Agent and Roaming monster was in attack vicinity.

We eventually took out the agent, but with a few wounds, then it was a very uphill battle against the Roaming Monster even after collecting our Loot. It was another 2 rounds before we could kill it, and by then, another mob had spawned.

Long story short, we barely survived and it was an incredibly intense experience.

Basically, I think your review could use a bit more play time experience. Try with more players and see how your luck averages out in the long run.

And yes, Quest 2 is quite a challenge, especially if you pull a strong equipment card for the Giant spider. Trying to get through his 2 Blue and 2 Green defense with low level items is pretty tough.


He really is not coming to any different conclusions about some of the key design elements then a number of other posters and other reviewers who have played a lot more. If a games flaws are fundamental enough and significant enough they can come out in one play. Based on how close his review is to others with significant play, is it possible that is the case?
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bk375 wrote:
He really is not coming to any different conclusions about some of the key design elements then a number of other posters and other reviewers who have played a lot more. If a games flaws are fundamental enough and significant enough they can come out in one play. Based on how close his review is to others with significant play, is it possible that is the case?


While I agree with the criticism that I have not played the game enough to have a good vision of the game, I think BK summarized my perception of the game in a nutshell. I can see from a core mechanics that something is not working, even if it is with limited experience.


To do justice to this critics, as said above, I will play the game through with the core mechanism (no alteration) to complete my experience of the game. Again, I don't think it will change much my perception of it.
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bk375 wrote:
artt3k wrote:
You simply haven't played enough of the game to render an objective view, especially when you only played the first quest with relatively good luck.

As others have mentioned, the more players you have, the harder it will be to get useful weapons. And you didn't have the misfortune of spawning Roaming Monsters, Agents and Guards altogether.

I played with 5, and in the first turn, 2nd room we opened spawned an Agent, which meant we couldn't get the treasure from the second room. So we only had 3 items to split among the 5 of us. With 5 players and limited equipment, the Agent itself took a bit of time to take down.

We couldn't finish him in the first round, but in the 2nd round we spawn a roaming monster... mind you we were just one zone away from the start zone so both the Agent and Roaming monster was in attack vicinity.

We eventually took out the agent, but with a few wounds, then it was a very uphill battle against the Roaming Monster even after collecting our Loot. It was another 2 rounds before we could kill it, and by then, another mob had spawned.

Long story short, we barely survived and it was an incredibly intense experience.

Basically, I think your review could use a bit more play time experience. Try with more players and see how your luck averages out in the long run.

And yes, Quest 2 is quite a challenge, especially if you pull a strong equipment card for the Giant spider. Trying to get through his 2 Blue and 2 Green defense with low level items is pretty tough.


He really is not coming to any different conclusions about some of the key design elements then a number of other posters and other reviewers who have played a lot more. If a games flaws are fundamental enough and significant enough they can come out in one play. Based on how close his review is to others with significant play, is it possible that is the case?


I'm definitely not saying the game isn't without its flaws, and I agree with some, that with my current playthrough, the higher level scaling becomes less challenging. When you're maxed out with great gear and all your skills, the minions and bosses and even Roaming monsters don't offer much challenge.

But as the OP stated, and perhaps based on other similar reviews, that the difficulty was non-existent. But based on my play, that wasn't true, particularly at earlier levels.

Limited decision making. Based on my experience when I have 2 mobs sandwiching us with a Roaming monster, our team did have to take our time and decide who tanks, risk death, or run and hide and who to target first, and whether someone should slip through and grab the chests and hope there's something we can use, or try to eliminate the mob with more fire power. Of course, this is based on luck of the draw. Some rounds we get just one mob and it was easy as pie.

Too much loot? Try with 6 players, with just starting weapons (obviously not story mode), and go at Quest 2. You'll be wishing there were more usable loot. This is a good indicator that the quest itself makes a huge difference, if made well.

I'm just saying it's not as black and white as some seem to make it, especially when there hasn't been enough play to experience the unlucky draws.

It's also not a game to compare with other, more in-depth dungeon crawlers. This was meant to be a kinda of an Intro to Dungeon Crawlers, where you can jump right in, hack n slash, and finish a quest or two in an evening. At least for my group, this casual gameplay works well.

Other than that, I also look forward to future mods that will improve upon this game.
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tom-le-termite wrote:
bk375 wrote:
He really is not coming to any different conclusions about some of the key design elements then a number of other posters and other reviewers who have played a lot more. If a games flaws are fundamental enough and significant enough they can come out in one play. Based on how close his review is to others with significant play, is it possible that is the case?


While I agree with the criticism that I have not played the game enough to have a good vision of the game, I think BK summarized my perception of the game in a nutshell. I can see from a core mechanics that something is not working, even if it is with limited experience.


To do justice to this critics, as said above, I will play the game through with the core mechanism (no alteration) to complete my experience of the game. Again, I don't think it will change much my perception of it.


I think even with sticking to the core mechanic, you can make the game harder by removing some cards. Just like adding more or less Life tokens for resurrections, you could also consider removing some or all of the Positive event cards, therefore increasing Monster encounters. I think the idea of removing some cards doesn't fall into it being too big of a mod, or house rule scenario. Just simply changing the difficulty of the game, using the same mechanics.

I'm sure there will be great variants to try out, but I personally disagree this game is that bad, out of the box. IMO.
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I've been reading quite a bit about player count in the forums of MD. This seems especially salient in terms of the amount of loot. How many did you play with, Tom? (I may have missed that, but don't see it above.) Did you try other counts? I'm just curious.

It may be the case that the game design did not adequately address scaling. Admittedly, that is a difficult aspect, and must be addressed for each scenario. But honestly, one expects a design to successfully scale to at least some degree. It feels as if, from people's comments, that this is an aspect at which they failed. I also think you see a lot of these comments because people tend to have a group of a certain size for these types of games, and that they don't often explore other player counts. This could to some degree explain why some have poor experiences and some have good ones, if scaling is a problem.
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It was a 3 player game (Sorry i failed to find more players, obviously a flaw on my part...)

laugh

joke aside, I think the problem is beyond the scaling issue. Some of my points were supported by many other critics throughout the forums. I don't think it would take much to fix most of them, I just hoped that CMON would have taken these scaling (and others) issues into account before releasing it.
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bk375 wrote:
artt3k wrote:
You simply haven't played enough of the game to render an objective view, especially when you only played the first quest with relatively good luck.

As others have mentioned, the more players you have, the harder it will be to get useful weapons. And you didn't have the misfortune of spawning Roaming Monsters, Agents and Guards altogether.

I played with 5, and in the first turn, 2nd room we opened spawned an Agent, which meant we couldn't get the treasure from the second room. So we only had 3 items to split among the 5 of us. With 5 players and limited equipment, the Agent itself took a bit of time to take down.

We couldn't finish him in the first round, but in the 2nd round we spawn a roaming monster... mind you we were just one zone away from the start zone so both the Agent and Roaming monster was in attack vicinity.

We eventually took out the agent, but with a few wounds, then it was a very uphill battle against the Roaming Monster even after collecting our Loot. It was another 2 rounds before we could kill it, and by then, another mob had spawned.

Long story short, we barely survived and it was an incredibly intense experience.

Basically, I think your review could use a bit more play time experience. Try with more players and see how your luck averages out in the long run.

And yes, Quest 2 is quite a challenge, especially if you pull a strong equipment card for the Giant spider. Trying to get through his 2 Blue and 2 Green defense with low level items is pretty tough.


He really is not coming to any different conclusions about some of the key design elements then a number of other posters and other reviewers who have played a lot more. If a games flaws are fundamental enough and significant enough they can come out in one play. Based on how close his review is to others with significant play, is it possible that is the case?



Depends upon the criticism. Since the Quests are preset up it will depend upon how Events are drawn, etc...some Scenarios may seem easy one time and more difficult the next...I would call that a positive and adds to the replay value. legacy style games typically lack that variation.
 
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Agree 100%. Massive disappointment more like.
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