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Subject: Vile Ghoul vs. Nightmare Unicorn rss

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Jonathan Chaffer
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Last night we tried a three-player game with all new roles: Cave Ghost, Vile Ghoul, Nightmare Unicorn. As the Ghoul I felt really hampered compared to the other two roles. I managed one successful attack on the unicorn; the unicorn won the game with the cave one turn from full collapse. Wondering what I could have done better to stay competitive.

It seemed very difficult to gain traction in this scenario. The unicorn became Unbridled, which quickly meant that nearly every turn it was possible for it to attack me at 3 Anger if it wanted, advancing its victory condition while also removing my cards as fast as I could get them. I could avoid this by staying away from the unicorn's location, which would be feasible in a setup where I was chasing the knight, but in this scenario that was counter-productive since I needed to be close to the unicorn at the start of my turn to have a hope of getting a hit in.

Gaining Terror through treasures or crystals wasn't really an option until late in the game, since there was no Knight or Dragon in play to light up a bunch of the map (the unicorn basically gobbled up all the treasures as they appeared, and the cave would place them at the other end of the map). And again, when I did this I lost the card almost immediately to a unicorn attack.

Any suggestions on what I could have done better? Is this just an unfortunate combination of roles? I came away thinking that both unicorn and cave ghost seemed like a lot of fun to play, but that the ghoul lacked interesting options since all the cool choices are tied into the Terror cards I was unable to draw and keep.
 
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Kyle
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You picked one of the most difficult role combinations possible - for the Vile Ghoul, at least.

Catching the Unicorn is already a little tricky for the VG because (unlike Goblins) it can't attack from multiple angles, and with the third player being a ghost you can't make many diversionary attacks to build up Terror cards and/or skitter to better positions. One big thing you can do is when you do manage to gain Terror cards, don't be afraid to burn through them immediately to either set yourself up for a better position or even make attacks when possible. It's natural to want to keep them for the longer-term benefits, but if the Unicorn keeps taking them away, there's no point in trying to stockpile them.

It's not entirely on the VG, though - like many other setups with the standard Cave, the Cave Ghost needs to play equalizer to some extent to prolong the game in her favor. She doesn't have Spores to take upgrades away from the Unicorn, but she can keep pushing it away from the VG with telekinesis and/or possession to force it to waste time doubling back, and she can block off easy routes with rockslides or with tile rotations (Crystal Curse) forcing it spend more cards teleporting to get around the map. She can also safely feed a lot of treasures to the VG because those don't directly advance its victory condition, and a stronger VG will make the Unicorn more likely to run off exploring new tiles instead of lingering nearby.

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If you play that particular combination again and are still having trouble with the VG, you could try giving it the Flare card to make searching tiles easier. It's not included in that variant setup, but the standard Ghoul does get it in most 3+ player setups so it's not going to thrown things off significantly. Another more drastic option is to take away the +1 Armor ("Ash Dragon") bonus that the Unicorn normally starts with in that setup, although that may make attacking it too easy if the VG gets an early jump on it.
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Adam Boyers
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I played a two-player Vile Ghoul vs. Nightmare Unicorn game last night, and the combination seemed nearly unplayable. The Vile Ghoul didn't land a single hit and the Nightmare Unicorn won easily just after the Collapse had started.

It is true that I had rotten dice luck. I rolled nearly all 1's and 2's. I was only able to gain two Terror cards (from treasure) which did not help me much at all (Sneak and Seize).

But really, it seems like it would be very difficult for the Vile Ghoul to compete regardless of the dice results. Its first turn is completely useless, since all tiles are dark and it can't explore them. All the Nightmare Unicorn needs to do is run away and gain Radiance by exploring the cave. The Vile Ghoul will have a very hard time catching up. He has an average of ~3.5 movement points per turn, which can't compete with the Nightmare Unicorn's mobility. Not to mention that if the Vile Ghoul is lucky enough to roll high and catch up to the Nightmare Unicorn, that just means he doesn't have enough Attack to actually land a hit, unless it's very early and the Unicorn hasn't improved Armor yet.
 
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Paolo Russo
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same story here with 3p: nightmare unicorn, vile ghoul and knight.

We were thinking to houserule the dice roll, so that you must use all the choices (1,2,3,4,5,6) once each, before you can use them again. This way you may plan to move and attack properly.
Plus, maybe we should give Flare to the poor sad Ghoul, who often doesnt do much, just sit down waiting for ... nothing
 
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