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Shadowrun: Crossfire» Forums » Rules

Subject: Missions difficulty and Karma scaling rss

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Leo Matheus
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Hi there.
I started playing recently this game, and I thought that the measure of difficulty by the Karma and the Karma scaling rules are somewhat off.
First thing is the naming:
Normal - 0 karma
Advanced - 5 karma
Very Advanced - 70 karma
This jump from Advanced to very Advanced is huge!!

Another thing: from what I read here in the forums, the extraction mission is easier than crossfire, even though the official difficulty is that crossfire is easier.

And third: the interval for not having any karma penalty is very small for “Advanced” missions, as 5 karma is required to play but with 10 karma you are already being penalized. Maybe this interval should be a bit larger?

What’s the opinion of more experienced players?
 
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Iain
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I have characters at 40 Karma, all earned pukka and above board over the course of 40+ games.

Extraction is definitely easier to win than Crossfire. There is more going on in Extraction but you have a bit more control over the obstacles which I think helps.

I think the penalties actually work quite well, I felt I was getting stronger at a mission when the penalties hit which makes sense.

My overall thoughts are that the advantages you get from Karma upgrades are not game changing, they do not make the game significantly easier - there are more of a measure of your skill and knowledge of the game. I'm sure its possible to beat the dragon with 70+ characters; i'm also sure a team of experienced players could beat the dragon with low level characters
 
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Jason Walker
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Extraction is easier because it provides you with regular boosts of HP and cards. You get to make more tactical decisions about engaging obstacles, so it's a bit more advanced than the Crossfire mission. I don't think the rating is necessarily about difficulty on those two.

The Dragon is considerably more difficult. I wouldn't attempt it with less than 65 karma in upgrades for a very specific list of upgrades that makes the mission possible. The big jump is there as a warning not to attempt it too soon.

The upgrades generally provide smaller incremental boosts to your character that let you play better as the karma rewards decrease, forcing you to increase the challenge level to keep gaining karma at a steady rate.
 
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Two character duo (self and wife) using HCO.

Currently cresting 80 Karma each, so we just jumped to the 76+ penalty range. As a result, we took the training wheels off of the Pandemic Mission and tried it at 'regular strength'.

Still having a ball. My wife has opted for multiple upgrades to things like hand size, HP and starting money. I've chosen two synergistic features that accelerate card cycling in my deck.

We have started to look at 'end game' and what happens next.

We're already well out of bounds for basic Crossfire missions. We can start to put in 'kickers' (we can boost +2 karma two time and start with a positive crossfire level. Doing so will start us with harder obstacles, which equates to more effort for less payout.)

For "Against the Ancients". We might try some of the significant boosters, like creating the "Tir Intervention" deck - again, hard obstacles in every scene.

For Extraction, we've entertained being a DocWagon response team - that could be fun.

Basically -- there's options at the higher level - just pick one and try. The worst that happens is you don't succeed.
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Rick Pufky
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Extraction may seem easier than Crossfire, but I believe that is because you've already played Crossfire before playing Extraction. I believe that part of the reason Extraction is rated slightly higher than Crossfire is because there is so much more going on than just more obstacles. That is why I believe that Crossfire mission is rated at 0 karma -- less rules to understand and be able to work around.

There are also several karma levels at that "Advanced" level between the 5 karma and 70 karma levels.

That 10 karma cap before starting to be penalized on the 5 karma mission reflects the fact that it is easier to win.
 
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Ian Simpson
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byronczimmer wrote:
Two character duo (self and wife) using HCO.

Currently cresting 80 Karma each, so we just jumped to the 76+ penalty range. As a result, we took the training wheels off of the Pandemic Mission and tried it at 'regular strength'.

Still having a ball. My wife has opted for multiple upgrades to things like hand size, HP and starting money. I've chosen two synergistic features that accelerate card cycling in my deck.

We have started to look at 'end game' and what happens next.

We're already well out of bounds for basic Crossfire missions. We can start to put in 'kickers' (we can boost +2 karma two time and start with a positive crossfire level. Doing so will start us with harder obstacles, which equates to more effort for less payout.)

For "Against the Ancients". We might try some of the significant boosters, like creating the "Tir Intervention" deck - again, hard obstacles in every scene.

For Extraction, we've entertained being a DocWagon response team - that could be fun.

Basically -- there's options at the higher level - just pick one and try. The worst that happens is you don't succeed.
EMT Gig is a fun little modifier to Extraction; we almost always play with it now. If we want real hard times we throw in High Threat Response Team as well.

The only time EMT Gig screwed us over was with an unfortunate card combo in round one; because of the obstacle colours we couldn't pull all of them off the client, and we got the Crossfire card that only allows the current runner to attack obstacles facing them. No way to prevent damage to the client, so we just immediately re-shuffled and started again.

Still haven't tried Pandemic at full strength though.
 
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Rick Pufky
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MrPyro wrote:
Still haven't tried Pandemic at full strength though.
Only just getting up to full strength Pandemic ourselves (with the group). Our two highest level characters have successfully beat it once, but the larger group needed a bit more karma to be able to tackle it.

Next session should be fun!
 
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MrPyro wrote:
Still haven't tried Pandemic at full strength though.
We have about a 50% success rate on Pandemic with no kickers either direction at this point. We started it with the 'first level of damage on Pandemic cards is dealt when the card is flipped' (-2 Karma), but took the training wheels off when we hit 80+ Karma.

Just this past weekend, in order to get our characters aligned, we had my wife play a few rounds of a Crossfire w/ one level of the +2 Kicker with friends who have lower Karma characters. The difference between base Crossfire w/ 4p and Pandemic w/ 2p is night and day. It's kind of neat to see how the game changes itself up based on scenario conditions.
 
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Ian Simpson
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byronczimmer wrote:
MrPyro wrote:
Still haven't tried Pandemic at full strength though.
We have about a 50% success rate on Pandemic with no kickers either direction at this point. We started it with the 'first level of damage on Pandemic cards is dealt when the card is flipped' (-2 Karma), but took the training wheels off when we hit 80+ Karma.

Just this past weekend, in order to get our characters aligned, we had my wife play a few rounds of a Crossfire w/ one level of the +2 Kicker with friends who have lower Karma characters. The difference between base Crossfire w/ 4p and Pandemic w/ 2p is night and day. It's kind of neat to see how the game changes itself up based on scenario conditions.
We really should take the training wheels off; next mission we should probably hit 100 Karma (currently at 98 I think).
 
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MrPyro wrote:
byronczimmer wrote:
MrPyro wrote:
Still haven't tried Pandemic at full strength though.
We have about a 50% success rate on Pandemic with no kickers either direction at this point. We started it with the 'first level of damage on Pandemic cards is dealt when the card is flipped' (-2 Karma), but took the training wheels off when we hit 80+ Karma.

Just this past weekend, in order to get our characters aligned, we had my wife play a few rounds of a Crossfire w/ one level of the +2 Kicker with friends who have lower Karma characters. The difference between base Crossfire w/ 4p and Pandemic w/ 2p is night and day. It's kind of neat to see how the game changes itself up based on scenario conditions.
We really should take the training wheels off; next mission we should probably hit 100 Karma (currently at 98 I think).
98? Yeesh. Soon for us.

What characters/upgrades?

We have:
Dwarf
Drone Rigger
(20) Wired Reflexes (+2 start cards)
(20) Strength & Wisdom (+1 start card, +1 max HP)
( 5) Cigar Money (+$1)
(10) Prep Work (buy a card before game starts)

Human
Social Adept
(45) Show off (on draw/buy, instead draw 3 and discard 1)
(15) Luxury Option (on buy, +$1 to draw a card)
( 5) Cigar Money (+$1)

 
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Ian Simpson
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byronczimmer wrote:
MrPyro wrote:
byronczimmer wrote:
MrPyro wrote:
Still haven't tried Pandemic at full strength though.
We have about a 50% success rate on Pandemic with no kickers either direction at this point. We started it with the 'first level of damage on Pandemic cards is dealt when the card is flipped' (-2 Karma), but took the training wheels off when we hit 80+ Karma.

Just this past weekend, in order to get our characters aligned, we had my wife play a few rounds of a Crossfire w/ one level of the +2 Kicker with friends who have lower Karma characters. The difference between base Crossfire w/ 4p and Pandemic w/ 2p is night and day. It's kind of neat to see how the game changes itself up based on scenario conditions.
We really should take the training wheels off; next mission we should probably hit 100 Karma (currently at 98 I think).
98? Yeesh. Soon for us.

What characters/upgrades?

We have:
Dwarf
Drone Rigger
(20) Wired Reflexes (+2 start cards)
(20) Strength & Wisdom (+1 start card, +1 max HP)
( 5) Cigar Money (+$1)
(10) Prep Work (buy a card before game starts)

Human
Social Adept
(45) Show off (on draw/buy, instead draw 3 and discard 1)
(15) Luxury Option (on buy, +$1 to draw a card)
( 5) Cigar Money (+$1)

We play 2 player but 4 handed; I take the Sam and the Mage, and my wife takes the Decker and Face.

We flex the builds a little bit based on mission, but fairly common builds involve:

Ork Street Sam
(50) Killing Machine (+1 damage of any colour if 4 cards played)
(20) Wired Reflexes (+2 starting cards)
(5) Cigar Money (+$1)

Human Mage
(20) Wired Reflexes (+2 cards)
(20) Wealth and Power (+1 card, +$1)
(25) Stick to your Guns (+1 grey damage if 3 cards of same colour played)

(this one needs upgrading to make better use of new Karma totals, but I really like it...)

Human Decker
(can't remember exact build, but some extra cash and cards; recently experimented with)
(35) Wiz Decker (Once a Scene, 1 Mark deals an extra damage of any colour)

Dwarf Face
(can't remember exact build, but something like)
(20) Wired Reflexes (+2 starting cards)
(20) Wealth and Power (+1 card, +$1)
(25?) Inventory Hack (whenever you buy a card, you may choose to cycle another card in the BM)
(again, needs an upgrade for new Karma totals, but it's been an effective build so reluctant to mess with it)
 
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MrPyro wrote:
We play 2 player but 4 handed; I take the Sam and the Mage, and my wife takes the Decker and Face.

We flex the builds a little bit based on mission, but fairly common builds involve:

Ork Street Sam
(50) Killing Machine (+1 damage of any colour if 4 cards played)
(20) Wired Reflexes (+2 starting cards)
(5) Cigar Money (+$1)
Starts with deck drawn, does (up to) 8 damage on first turn. Strategy and Tactics may cause less damage to be done first turn.

Quote:

Human Mage
(20) Wired Reflexes (+2 cards)
(20) Wealth and Power (+1 card, +$1)
(25) Stick to your Guns (+1 grey damage if 3 cards of same colour played)
Starts with deck drawn, does (up to) 8 damage first turn. Strategy and Tactics may cause less damage to be done first turn.

Quote:

(this one needs upgrading to make better use of new Karma totals, but I really like it...)

Human Decker
(can't remember exact build, but some extra cash and cards; recently experimented with)
(35) Wiz Decker (Once a Scene, 1 Mark deals an extra damage of any colour)
4 card start hand, + whatever else you bought into.
Does up to 5 damage first turn. Strategy and Tactics may cause less damage to be done first turn.

Quote:
Dwarf Face
(can't remember exact build, but something like)
(20) Wired Reflexes (+2 starting cards)
(20) Wealth and Power (+1 card, +$1)
(25?) Inventory Hack (whenever you buy a card, you may choose to cycle another card in the BM)
(again, needs an upgrade for new Karma totals, but it's been an effective build so reluctant to mess with it)
5 cards, $6 first turn.
up to 5 damage first turn, pretty much guaranteed a buy.
Strategy and Tactics may cause less damage to be done first turn.

So first scene is probably pretty fast, but not THAT fast. The Pandemic deck will probably make it so you can't get out of Scene one without at least one crossfire in the discard deck.

Though you all come out swinging really hard, how do you carry through on the following turns and scenes?
 
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Ian Simpson
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byronczimmer wrote:
MrPyro wrote:
We play 2 player but 4 handed; I take the Sam and the Mage, and my wife takes the Decker and Face.

We flex the builds a little bit based on mission, but fairly common builds involve:

Ork Street Sam
(50) Killing Machine (+1 damage of any colour if 4 cards played)
(20) Wired Reflexes (+2 starting cards)
(5) Cigar Money (+$1)
Starts with deck drawn, does (up to) 8 damage on first turn. Strategy and Tactics may cause less damage to be done first turn.

Quote:

Human Mage
(20) Wired Reflexes (+2 cards)
(20) Wealth and Power (+1 card, +$1)
(25) Stick to your Guns (+1 grey damage if 3 cards of same colour played)
Starts with deck drawn, does (up to) 8 damage first turn. Strategy and Tactics may cause less damage to be done first turn.

Quote:

(this one needs upgrading to make better use of new Karma totals, but I really like it...)

Human Decker
(can't remember exact build, but some extra cash and cards; recently experimented with)
(35) Wiz Decker (Once a Scene, 1 Mark deals an extra damage of any colour)
4 card start hand, + whatever else you bought into.
Does up to 5 damage first turn. Strategy and Tactics may cause less damage to be done first turn.

Quote:
Dwarf Face
(can't remember exact build, but something like)
(20) Wired Reflexes (+2 starting cards)
(20) Wealth and Power (+1 card, +$1)
(25?) Inventory Hack (whenever you buy a card, you may choose to cycle another card in the BM)
(again, needs an upgrade for new Karma totals, but it's been an effective build so reluctant to mess with it)
5 cards, $6 first turn.
up to 5 damage first turn, pretty much guaranteed a buy.
Strategy and Tactics may cause less damage to be done first turn.

So first scene is probably pretty fast, but not THAT fast. The Pandemic deck will probably make it so you can't get out of Scene one without at least one crossfire in the discard deck.

Though you all come out swinging really hard, how do you carry through on the following turns and scenes?
Round 2 and onwards is very situational, and we tend to play by ear, based on obstacles and BM. Normal strategy would be for the Sam and the Mage to both kill something, generating cash and reducing incoming damage. Ideally the Sam will kill something in the $5-$8 range to get enough cash to make a decent purchase. This also sets up the Decker and Face to do some buying; they tend to carry round 2 a little more.

I normally try to ensure that the Sam has the cards to play Killing Machine every turn; this is easier in Pandemic and Extraction with the bonus card draw those missions give.

We mostly work on the principle that the faster you can kill things, the lower the Crossfire level, which in turn makes the later scenes easier.
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So we did it. At 99 Karma each, we once more sought to defeat Brain (Mastermind) and Pinky (his ghoul).

In scene one we got one of the Pandemic/Virus cards that keep one of the two of us silent.

In scene two we got a second one. Luckily they never came up at the same time, one on each of us. We managed to keep the crossfire level to zero entering Scene Two and then only rose to level 2 coming out of that Scene due to a somewhat timely Grenade! from the crossfire deck. Three Hard Obstacles (one of them was a Wreck) and Two Easy obstacles started our third scene, including one of the silences. We dispatched that quickly to allow us to converse.

There's something magical about getting two Icon Grabs from the Black Market and two deck draws for $6 total, even if your primary colors are red and blue. That foresight meant I had all the specific color damage I could need on my next turn, along with some card acceleration if I needed it.

Of course, fate has other plans. The crossfire card had the Decker choose an obstacle and move it, and then the new target would have to discard and draw their hand. We talked briefly. My wife had some good cards, but I pointed out that the Icon Grab x2 was a one time deal in my deck, and we probably needed that. She agreed, took one of my obstacles and cycled her hand. She spent her whole hand, pushing obstacle damage levels to where her color set was and ended her turn.

Her flipped Pandemic Deck obstacle? The other silence. As soon as my turn started she dropped a Backdoor on the table, giving me 1 Hack damage and canceling the only ability we cared about on the board, her Silence.

In what has become par, my Social Adept managed to cut through all remaining obstacles and perform a table wipe before the Pandemic deck ran out. In the Pandemic Scenario, if you wipe the table, the scene ends even if there's still obstacles waiting in the Pandemic deck. In scene three, a table wipe ends the whole scenario. It's become somewhat common for me to end things with one or two Pandemic cards waiting for us.

Now we're at 104 karma each. The Dwarf Rigger completed her set of (20) Karma power, she has each of the (20s) that gives a card draw + another basic stat, so +2 cards, +1 card/+$1, +1 card/+1 HP... Plus Prep work which she's cherished since having 10 Karma.

I'm not sure where to take the Social Adept. Accelerating Card Draw is an amazing thing in this game, and I'm currently doing that well with Show Off & Luxury Option. I'm thinking One Step Ahead + Tricks could also serve well. We'll see. Having something to flush the market or allow card purchases from the discard might also serve really well.
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