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Subject: A ton of little issues after only two stories rss

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Ben Turner
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This started as a couple of niggles I was going to post up on the Facebook community page, and then fell out as a full blown "cards on table" issue list. Might be a little generous to call it a review. But here it is anyway.

End of the second story, and like many Greenbriar games, I'm trying to like the excellent theme, but getting bogged down in what seem to be poorly thought through gameplay issues.

Like it costs 10 coins for Holy Water, or 15 coins for liquid frankincense, when at the chapel. But the Exorcist has a special power when he's at the chapel to upgrade Holy Water to Liquid Frankincense. For the absurd price of 20 coins?!! Why not buy a brand new one for 15?

In one story you take X vita damage a turn until you reach a space. There is no agency at all here - if it's 12 spaces away, and you have stride 4, you are going to take 2 lots of X damage getting there. No agency, no decisions, just pointless busywork

Honestly, combat is mostly a roll and see affair. Most special monster powers, with a little forethought, can be minimised or optimally managed. Then it's just dice rolling.

The archeologist can roll to reuse bandages. So always give him your bandages out of combat, and let him use them, for a possible double-use. Given they are a free action to use in combat, it's usually fine to do this trick in combat as well.

Search tokens - basically a coin flip, for a random thing. Very lack lustre.

Once you run out of ammo, you are reduced to punching. Buying a back-up melee weapon is expensive; most of our money goes to bandages, resting at the inn and the like, and we don't make much coin. We'll get there in one more sotry, I reckon, but that's still three stories where the witch hunter and telepath both get to a point in combat where they are do little to no damage each round.

The witch hunter has two powers - for 1 power they can get an extra ammo, and for 1 power then can reroll a miss. Surely you'd always prefer to spend power on doing the latter? Both are effectively giving you one more attack roll with the weapon before it runs out of ammo, but the reroll means you can "attack again" (by rerolling the miss) immediately, rather than wait for next turn. Again, an obvious choice to make each round, and very little agency.

Gah, overall we did enjoy the bits of the story, and the final fight was super close (three ghosts out of four !) - of course, this means all the extra money we earned is going to resurrecting everyone, rather than buying new things which might open up some more interesting options in the game.

But it does feel like there is very little real agency in the smaller decisions in the game - bit like the old fighting fantasy gamebooks - you pick where to go, and then just roll dice to see what happens. But there are very few choices even in what you do during the story, which leaves us feeling like we're investing a lot in very little.

I just wish the nuts and bolts of the game had the same love and attention as the overarching theme. But with clumsy, imbalanced prices, lack of real options, and some busywork which plays thematically, but makes you wonder why the game is making you do it.

All said, I think we're going to give story 3 a go; at least we have ability points to spend now. But I'm having a feeling the weight of the game design flaws in this game is going to weigh it down for us to want to play just for the story parts, which is a real darn shame, and a sadly familiar feeling from Greenbriar, I have to say.
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Jason B
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Absolutely love this game. My favorite board game by a pretty wide margin. It is not perfect by any means and there are things I would change. Nothing is perfect. I've always wanted something to bridge the RPG-boardgame worlds, and this is it. That is probably why I enjoy it so much, it's the closest so far. You can play and RPG co-op or solo. Everything else out there is a tactical miniatures game. I like those too, but this is meant to be a board game like D&D. If you don't like that, I am not sure why you bought it. It's like buying a euro and complaining there is no theme. No offense, just surprised.

The rules have been available for 2+ years I think, and definitely before pledging in kickstarter. If this isn't what you were looking for, I am sort of confused. Also most of the issues you have are because you are low level. That is exactly how RPG's are. At low levels you suck, and you basically try to stay alive. Things are expensive...of course they are. In old school RPG's, it was special to stay alive to 10th level. Many low level characters just died. This can be frustrating if you look at it like a board game. They mitigate this and bridge the expectation gap by making you a ghost. You can still stick around and participate, and the party can work to resurrect you. It's closer to a video game, where death really just slows you down.

Once you run out of ammo- I had secondary weapons of some kind for most of my characters by this point. The telepath has cool things like Push, which at low levels is even better than a weapon. I always felt as though I had choices, but again, it felt just like an RPG. It's not a puzzle, which I think you are used to from board games. I understand that, but there was no secret before this game came out. The rules didn't change. Gloomhaven is more like a puzzle when the theme of a dungeon crawl. It's awesome, but that is different. More boardgame-like mechanisms. RPG's use dice. The strategy is how you use your abilities/weapons/modifiers at points without burning them too early and dying. It's about your team working together. Yes, it's simpler than the teamwork in Gloomhaven, but it's closer to the old RPG feel. I love them both.

You certainly have the right to dislike the game, but I don't think it's fair to slam something for being what it had advertised. Just my opinion.
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Raul
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Totally agree with Jason. I'm an "eurogamer" at heart myself, but by any means I don't compare this to the strategy level involved in Gloomhaven for example, as it was already mentioned. It's exactly as it should be for an RPG - board game. The level of strategy and tactics is just right for this game. I don't feel it's unbalanced, neither perfect, but Jason explained it better there.

My only complaint is the administrative part. It's very easy to forget things as they are written down on different sheets and you have to take into account those + items + abilities + companions.

I'll give 2 examples of things I think should've been in the game. One big and one small:

1. There should've been tokens for everything, especially statuses and bonuses. That would've made it much easier to have an overview of what's going on with your character and less probably to forget an effect, bonus, status.

2. Companions - I almost always forget that I've trained my companion to fight along with me. A token for showing this would've been great.

Too bad that those haven't been added in the 2nd edition.
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Trent Y.
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jasonbaz77 wrote:

The rules have been available for 2+ years I think, and definitely before pledging in kickstarter.

You certainly have the right to dislike the game, but I don't think it's fair to slam something for being what it had advertised. Just my opinion.


The rules of a game merely explain how a game operates. They do not reveal how much fun a game will be. Many games are greater than the sum of their parts. I will always use Cyclades has an perfect example because the rulebook is 6 pages long. And yet the gameplay is made so much deeper once you get into it because there is a massive strategy hidden in the first part (bidding for a god’s favour).

Thus I find it a little silly when people bring up this counterpoint of the rules being available. The rulebook hardly brought up how the entire item deck is shuffled into a single deck and you’re at the mercy of blind luck to pull a much needed weapon or armor. The rulebook did not have a list of skills that shows how some characters have agency (choices) while others have none (look at the woodsman who has to face particular class of foes for his starter skills to trigger). And on that point, I’m using the Slayer who has a keyword that is on maybe two skill cards, one of which is a starting skill (making the keyword all but irrelevant).


The OP is not slamming the game for being ‘as advertised’. The game is damn random and that wasn’t a big selling feature on the KSer page. The game is listed as an RPG in a box but his point is that RPGs give the players a ton of agency. Folklore sometimes gives agency but other times it gives none. He cites the one dungeon part where you’re taking damage every round you stay and there is virtually nothing to do but run through it. That is not a choice, you just mechanically move your minis and mark damage. I thought that was a very poor design choice (they could have, for example, allowed a trickery roll to disarm the constant damage).

I do like Folklore but I feel that it has a ton of small flaws, like loose threads on a piece of clothing. For some, that’s a well worn shirt that they love. For others, they will pull at those threads and the whole thing becomes unraveled.

Folklore is a good game that could have been a fantastic game, except for several small design choices.
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John W
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I haven't played the game yet, I pledged for the second edition. So my input could be invalid and some will let me know with vitriol but here is an idea. Rather than buy dead heros how about starting with a new hero?
 
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King Maple
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Not sure about other issues, but aren't powers once per fight kind of thing?
 
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Matt Price
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We've played one story, and I do agree it's a bit random, and some of the design choices don't (yet?) make too much sense to us. A few in no particular order:

1. The economy does appear to be a bit wonky. We did not earn much coin in our first story, and the things we found to buy were expensive. As Jason notes above, this is possibly due to the fact that we're just low level, and not meant yet to have the resources to buy what we want. But it is a bit of a bummer to spend all our coin to just barely bring us back to being healthy

2. The crafting items seem kinda weird. I got a recipe (one of the most expensive!) for a pistol, that required three (!) resource things to be found in our rather impressive, inches-thick item deck. There was simply no way we would find them, and we sold the recipe (and will sell all recipes we find, likely). And how disappointing is that to go buy something, and draw only useless resources instead? I sure wish they'd put crafting-related items into a separate deck, to help provide meaningful choices to those heroes who want to explore recipes and crafting vs. those who need ready-made items. Maybe this is a rule we missed, and there should be more than one item deck?

3. Some of the starting class choices seemed rather swing-y: choose (or select randomly, maybe?) a class of enemies, when you defeat that type of enemy, something (typically good) happens. We never encountered any of those types of enemies, but had we randomly gotten the right kind (wolves, I think) we would have been swimming in rewards in the first story. That alone would have really changed our fortunes.

4. I agree with Raul also - it's darn hard to remember what bonuses and penalties we need to track! The character sheet is so tiny as to be nearly useless; tokens with +1, +2 or something similar would have made a world of difference. They really should have paid more attention to this.

So far, despite these reservations, I really like the game! To me, that seems impressive - that a game with such weird issues was still really fun. We're going to start the second story in a week or two, and I'm looking forward to it.

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Matt Price
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Slashdoctor wrote:
Not sure about other issues, but aren't powers once per fight kind of thing?


You have "power" and are able to spend it on certain powers. So you can opt to use some more than others, typically a few times during a fight.
 
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Dan Anderson
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I have not yet had a play through as I am waiting on my 2nd edition pledge. I wonder if anyone has tried to classically "grind" like in other RPGs. I know you only gain coin outside of adventures but perhaps a little of adventuring between points in a story could help boost before you continue on. Also Rumor cards seem to offer opportunities to beef up before you have to continue down the story line.

All of the play throughs that I have watched so far just follow straight down the story line and do not do any adventuring. It is that pausing of the game action to just adventure that I am really looking forward too.
 
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Gurnikan
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I think this is a big game with a lot of features so it's difficult to have everything set as you would like to be. I understand it more as nice sandbox in which just adding some house rules you can get the game you are looking for. For some of the things stated here there are already some variants that can be used:

Big item deck problem: https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1894087/expanded-items-and-...

Reduce random factor: https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1894754/mini-status-tokens-...


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Jason B
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rault wrote:
Totally agree with Jason. I'm an "eurogamer" at heart myself, but by any means I don't compare this to the strategy level involved in Gloomhaven for example, as it was already mentioned. It's exactly as it should be for an RPG - board game. The level of strategy and tactics is just right for this game. I don't feel it's unbalanced, neither perfect, but Jason explained it better there.

My only complaint is the administrative part. It's very easy to forget things as they are written down on different sheets and you have to take into account those + items + abilities + companions.

I'll give 2 examples of things I think should've been in the game. One big and one small:

1. There should've been tokens for everything, especially statuses and bonuses. That would've made it much easier to have an overview of what's going on with your character and less probably to forget an effect, bonus, status.

2. Companions - I almost always forget that I've trained my companion to fight along with me. A token for showing this would've been great.

Too bad that those haven't been added in the 2nd edition.


I am with you on those complaints, Raul. They have addressed some of it- but not all. I am glad we will have cards for items you get later. I like the new tracker solution. But there is a lot of admin duty. I think it gets easier as you play enough, but it's still a lot. If you got the mystery box, there are tokens for status, but I agree it would be good if they were included. The mystery box+Player playmat help here somewhat. Some people don't like them, but I like them.
 
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Jason B
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Strategic Variant wrote:
I have not yet had a play through as I am waiting on my 2nd edition pledge. I wonder if anyone has tried to classically "grind" like in other RPGs. I know you only gain coin outside of adventures but perhaps a little of adventuring between points in a story could help boost before you continue on. Also Rumor cards seem to offer opportunities to beef up before you have to continue down the story line.

All of the play throughs that I have watched so far just follow straight down the story line and do not do any adventuring. It is that pausing of the game action to just adventure that I am really looking forward too.


I have used the rumors and love this aspect of it. It's nice to take a detour from the main quest line. It's pretty much their equivalent of grinding. It's not easy grinding though.
 
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