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Subject: House Rules to fix under- and over-powered investigators rss

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PK Levine
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Since my other thread about house rules seemed popular, I figured it was time to talk about the other side of the coin: investigators. With so many, it's impossible to keep them truly "balanced" -- but a few have abilities that are so clearly weak that no one wants to play them, or (less often) are so strong that including them effectively reduces the difficulty of the game.

Here are the tweaks that we've made -- first a general rule, and then specifics, along with why. We've been using all of them for a while (in Tommy's case, since SOA came out) and they've been 100% balanced in our opinions.

(Signature Gear)

If an investigator starts with a unique item, that item is permanently theirs. This means that they cannot lose it, drop it, trade it, etc.

(Why: We found it lame to have a special ability that isn't actually tied to you in any way. This zero-sum change -- "can't trade" balances "can't lose" -- makes the gear more than just an item. Instead it's an item that only you can properly use or at least get full benefit out of. Duke won't listen to anyone else, the Flux Stabilizer is too confusing to explain, and Becky just seems to jam in anyone else's hands.)

Akachi Onyele

(We've gone through a few of these, which I'll put in a spoiler block, but this is probably the simplest and best fix.)

Add: "You may also spend your Clues on behalf of other investigators within range."

(Why: By the gods her ability is weak! How often are you forced to discard Clues? This beefs up her basic ability enough to make it actually useful.)

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Alternative Fix One: Change to: "Once per turn, you may look at the hidden side of a Spell card in your possession and you may choose to randomly replace the card."

Alternative Fix Two: Change to: "Effects cannot cause you to discard Clues or items unless you choose to. Once each round, you may grant the same protection to one other investigator within range."

Amanda Sharpe

Add: "Also, once per round as a free action, you may interact with an item in your possession displayed under the inventory button (e.g., read from a journal)."

(Why: Her ability isn't bad, but the odds of it coming up are slim on most maps. This just adds a second, equally rare extra that plays nicely and thematically into her role as a student; she can read books, maps, etc. as a free action.)

Bob Jenkins (EDIT)

Change to: "Once per round, when you spend an action to interact with a Person or to trade with a PC, you may flip 1 Horror facedown or discard once facedown Horror."

(Why: It's a good ability, but Persons are rare and widely spaced on most maps, and sometimes even nonexistent! This just broadens the concept of what "social interaction" means for Bob.)

Rita Young

Change to: "Once per round, when you take a Move action, you may move an additional space."

(Why: I doubt that I have to explain this one. Rita is a beast on every map, because movement is key! This isn't a big nerf -- it just changes her "six-space dash" to a five-space one -- but it at least makes it reasonable to consider playing a game without her.)

Tommy Muldoon

Actually, this is a fix for Becky. Change its special ability to: "Once per round, you may reroll a die in combat (when attacking or defending)."

(Why: Starting with a 4-damage gun is already nice, especially since the app doesn't hold it against you; in other words, if your group was already going to get a .45 Automatic, the fact that Tommy starts with Becky doesn't change that, and now you have two guns. Giving him an unrestricted reroll as well? That's just insanely good. So this is a very mild nerf that prevents Becky from also making Tommy the best searcher, evader, etc. He's still the best in a fight.)

Wendy Adams

Change to: "You cannot be come Dazed, Restrained, or Stunned."

(Why: The latter two conditions come up rarely enough that it was easy to forget that she even had a special ability. Honestly, even adding Dazed may not be enough, because it's such a mild condition, but at least it comes up often enough that it feels more like she's getting something.)
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Andrew Turpin
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Bob the salesman. Let him also have his horror recovery happen when he takes a trade action while another sane investigator is in his space. I like the ideas so far. I know my wording might be bad but we can work on that.
 
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Nicola Zee
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Overall all well argued and good ideas.

pkitty wrote:

(Signature Gear)
If an investigator starts with a unique item, that item is permanently theirs. This means that they cannot lose it, drop it, trade it, etc.
...

I like to go for minimal changes. Rather than making this a general rule effecting all such items, I prefer modding some of the cards. For example, I like your idea that Duke cannot be lost, dropped or traded and I'm going to add this to the text of the card. I, also, like the idea of modding Becky as it is much too powerful. So I'm thinking of nerfing it as you suggest but with the following:
"If this item is owned by Tommy Muldoon, once per round, Tommy Muldoon may reroll 1 die in combat (when attacking or defending)."
This means that the rifle can be lost, dropped or traded.

pkitty wrote:
...
Akachi Onyele
Change to: "Effects cannot cause you to discard Clues or items unless you choose to. Once each round, you may grant the same protection to one other investigator within range."

(Why: By the gods that ability is weak! How often are you forced to discard Clues? This beefs it up in two ways, which makes it just barely useful.)

I agree with your assessment. Her ability is not only rubbish - it's also boring. I'd really prefer a completely new, more dramatic ability that better reflects her background! : )

pkitty wrote:
...
Amanda Sharpe
Add: "Also, once per round you may interact with a book, map, etc. that you're holding as a free action."

(Why: Her ability isn't bad, but the odds of it coming up are slim on most maps. This just adds a second, equally rare extra that plays nicely and thematically into her role as a student.)

I like your ideas but the mod seems vague. There is no map trait. In addition, few Tome items have an action - so the free action is not of much use. How about something like the following?
Action: Once per round, if you have a Tome asset, you become Focused.
Or maybe?
Action: Once per round, if you have a Tome asset, gain 1 Clue.

pkitty wrote:

Rita Young
Change to: "Once per round, when you take a Move action, you may move an additional space."
...

IMO a good idea. I was already considering this nerf - for obvious reasons. I'm, also, thinking of making the picture a bit less white!

pkitty wrote:

Wendy Adams
Change to: "You cannot be come Dazed, Restrained, or Stunned."

IMO a good idea.

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Gutripper
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Nicola Zee wrote:
pkitty wrote:

Amanda Sharpe
Add: "Also, once per round you may interact with a book, map, etc. that you're holding as a free action."

(Why: Her ability isn't bad, but the odds of it coming up are slim on most maps. This just adds a second, equally rare extra that plays nicely and thematically into her role as a student.)

I like your ideas but the mod seems vague. There is no map trait. In addition, few Tome items have an action - so the free action is not of much use. How about something like the following?
Action: Once per round, if you have a Tome asset, you become Focused.
Or maybe?
Action: Once per round, if you have a Tome asset, gain 1 Clue.



I agree with all of Nicola's comments and changes - all very nice simple changes - with the exception of one

I like pkitty's idea for Amanda better but it should maybe just be phrased more simply as

"Once per round, gains a free action to interact with an item in her inventory"

This rules out free actions for spells but applies to all items

Alternatively if this is too good, since it can be used on any common or unique items that require an action, it could be reduced to (as per pkitty's original intention)

"Once per round, gains a free action to interact with an item in her possession displayed under the inventory button"

That definitely doesn't seem too strong - and items under the inventory button that can be interacted with tend to be books, journals or maps so well in character with Wendy
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PK Levine
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Gutripper wrote:
"Once per round, gains a free action to interact with an item in her possession displayed under the inventory button"


That's a better way to put it, yes! Editing my OP to steal this phrasing.
 
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Nicola Zee
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pkitty wrote:
Gutripper wrote:
"Once per round, gains a free action to interact with an item in her possession displayed under the inventory button"


That's a better way to put it, yes! Editing my OP to steal this phrasing.

Good-oh!

That now just leaves the issue of what to do with Akachi Onyele!
IMHO her ability should have something to do with her backstory about her communion with spirits.

The obvious thing would be to give her a bonus in terms of spells but there are already several characters with such bonuses.

[Added]
How about a variation of Marie Lambeau's ability?

Once per turn, you may suffer 1 facedown Horror to cast a Spell without spending an action.

 
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PK Levine
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NFLD wrote:
Bob the salesman. Let him also have his horror recovery happen when he takes a trade action while another sane investigator is in his space. I like the ideas so far. I know my wording might be bad but we can work on that.


I agree that Bob could probably use a bit of beefing up as well, but this seems to just mimic Preston's ability ("Please give me an item so I can shed Horror").

Maybe let him waste an action to count as "interacting" with another PC? Something like...

"Once per round, when you spend an action to interact with a Person or take a special component action while in the same space as another investigator, flip 1 Horror facedown or discard 1 facedown Horror."
 
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Andrew Turpin
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Bob could lose a horror when he ends his turn with another investigator as well as his original power. I like Bob... hoping to find a nice way for him to be a chatty guy who goes crazy if left alone. Lol
 
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Nicola Zee
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pkitty wrote:
NFLD wrote:
Bob the salesman. Let him also have his horror recovery happen when he takes a trade action while another sane investigator is in his space. I like the ideas so far. I know my wording might be bad but we can work on that.


I agree that Bob could probably use a bit of beefing up as well, but this seems to just mimic Preston's ability ("Please give me an item so I can shed Horror").

Maybe let him waste an action to count as "interacting" with another PC? Something like...

"Once per round, when you spend an action to interact with a Person or take a special component action while in the same space as another investigator, flip 1 Horror facedown or discard 1 facedown Horror."

This would work but I'm not sure it fits with his backstory.

How about the following:

"Once per round, when you spend an action to interact with a Person flip 1 Horror facedown, discard 1 facedown Horror or gain 1 Clue."

This fits with his ability to extract information and - although situational - could gain him several clues.
 
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PK Levine
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Nicola Zee wrote:
That now just leaves the issue of what to do with Akachi Onyele!

Personally, I'm okay with just beefing it up as shown in my OP. But that said, I'm glad to help you brainstorm a new ability.

Quote:
IMHO her ability should have something to do with her backstory about her communion with spirits.

I agree, and I think it's important not to just make her a copy of another character, which is why I don't think your Lambeau variant is a good idea -- it's just too similar.

Spirit communication usually represents having access to strange knowledge and lore that you learn from the loa, etc. In most games, I'd go for a "peek at the top X cards of Y deck" ability, but that doesn't really fit MOM/2e since all of the future-divining stuff is hidden in the app!

But it might be reasonable to do a "card peek" ability that interacts with spells while still being unique. What about:

"Once per turn, after you cast a spell and flip the card over, you may return it, shuffle, redraw a copy, and follow its instructions instead."
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PK Levine
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NFLD wrote:
Bob could lose a horror when he ends his turn with another investigator as well as his original power. I like Bob... hoping to find a nice way for him to be a chatty guy who goes crazy if left alone. Lol

I think that's too potent. At a minimum, something as great as losing a Horror should cost an action. Otherwise, Bob basically becomes immune to insanity as long as you pair him up with another 'gator.

Nicola Zee wrote:
This would work but I'm not sure it fits with his backstory.

In what way?

Quote:
How about the following:

"Once per round, when you spend an action to interact with a Person flip 1 Horror facedown, discard 1 facedown Horror or gain 1 Clue."

This fits with his ability to extract information and - although situational - could gain him several clues.

The trouble is that Bob's ability isn't weak because of what it gives him. It's weak because there are usually very few Persons on the board, and they're often hard to get to, move around, get killed, etc. I think shedding Horror is more than potent enough on its own -- it would just be nice for him to have another way to do it.
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Nicola Zee
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pkitty wrote:
NFLD wrote:
Bob could lose a horror when he ends his turn with another investigator as well as his original power. I like Bob... hoping to find a nice way for him to be a chatty guy who goes crazy if left alone. Lol

I think that's too potent. At a minimum, something as great as losing a Horror should cost an action. Otherwise, Bob basically becomes immune to insanity as long as you pair him up with another 'gator.

Nicola Zee wrote:
This would work but I'm not sure it fits with his backstory.

In what way?

Quote:
How about the following:

"Once per round, when you spend an action to interact with a Person flip 1 Horror facedown, discard 1 facedown Horror or gain 1 Clue."

This fits with his ability to extract information and - although situational - could gain him several clues.

The trouble is that Bob's ability isn't weak because of what it gives him. It's weak because there are usually very few Persons on the board, and they're often hard to get to, move around, get killed, etc. I think shedding Horror is more than potent enough on its own -- it would just be nice for him to have another way to do it.

Bob's title is 'The Salesman' which IMHO implies talking to people.

But - as you've pointed out - if there's no Allies to talk to he is stuffed!

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Nicola Zee
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pkitty wrote:
Nicola Zee wrote:
That now just leaves the issue of what to do with Akachi Onyele!

Personally, I'm okay with just beefing it up as shown in my OP. But that said, I'm glad to help you brainstorm a new ability.

Quote:
IMHO her ability should have something to do with her backstory about her communion with spirits.

I agree, and I think it's important not to just make her a copy of another character, which is why I don't think your Lambeau variant is a good idea -- it's just too similar.

Spirit communication usually represents having access to strange knowledge and lore that you learn from the loa, etc. In most games, I'd go for a "peek at the top X cards of Y deck" ability, but that doesn't really fit MOM/2e since all of the future-divining stuff is hidden in the app!

But it might be reasonable to do a "card peek" ability that interacts with spells while still being unique. What about:

"Once per turn, after you cast a spell and flip the card over, you may return it, shuffle, redraw a copy, and follow its instructions instead."

Good points about the peeking at cards. Ironically it would be easier in 1st ed to do something like this.

How about the following which is more generic?

"Once per turn, if you gain a two sided card, you may look at the text on the hidden side and you may return it, shuffle and redraw another."

This might though be too powerful?

[Edited]
Edited to remove ambiguity regarding two sided item cards and make the ability less powerful!

"Once per turn, if you gain a Spell, Elixir or Insanity card, you may look at the text on the hidden side and you may choose to suffer 1 facedown Horror to return it, shuffle and redraw another."

 
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PK Levine
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Nicola Zee wrote:
Bob's title is 'The Salesman' which IMHO implies talking to people.


Right. That's what the "action in the same space as another investigator" represents -- he's taking a full action to talk with the other 'gator, which has the same effect as if he were taking an action to talk with an (NPC) Person.

Was that not clear? Maybe I should have phrased it like this:

"Once per round, when you spend an action to interact with a Person or take the new "chat" action below, you may discard 1 facedown Horror or flip one Horror facedown.

Action: Chat with another investigator in the same space. No game effect except as noted above."
 
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PK Levine
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Nicola Zee wrote:
How about the following which is more generic?

"Once per turn, if you gain a two sided card, you may look at the text on the hidden side and you may return it, shuffle and redraw another."

This might though be too powerful?

I think so, yes. I'd stick to just supernatural cards.

Quote:
Edited to remove ambiguity regarding two sided item cards and make the ability less powerful!

"Once per turn, if you gain a Spell, Elixir or Insanity card, you may look at the text on the hidden side and you may choose to suffer 1 facedown Horror to return it, shuffle and redraw another."

IMO, it would be powerful enough if it were just limited to Spell and Elixir cards. I wouldn't include Insane cards -- I feel like no one deserves a monopoly on sanity.
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pkitty wrote:
The trouble is that Bob's ability isn't weak because of what it gives him. It's weak because there are usually very few Persons on the board, and they're often hard to get to, move around, get killed, etc. I think shedding Horror is more than potent enough on its own -- it would just be nice for him to have another way to do it.


Just take his printed ability and add: “Once per round, Bob may move an extra space before or after interacting with a person.”
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Nicola Zee wrote:
pkitty wrote:
Gutripper wrote:
"Once per round, gains a free action to interact with an item in her possession displayed under the inventory button"


That's a better way to put it, yes! Editing my OP to steal this phrasing.

Good-oh!

That now just leaves the issue of what to do with Akachi Onyele!
IMHO her ability should have something to do with her backstory about her communion with spirits.

The obvious thing would be to give her a bonus in terms of spells but there are already several characters with such bonuses.



I thought that maybe in addition to her ability she ignores any effects of being mesmerized (Note - not the same as not being able to become mesmerized as she wouldn’t be able to use the Tome of Secrets)

It seems a bit in character that she is in control of the spirits around her
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tlloyd wrote:
pkitty wrote:
The trouble is that Bob's ability isn't weak because of what it gives him. It's weak because there are usually very few Persons on the board, and they're often hard to get to, move around, get killed, etc. I think shedding Horror is more than potent enough on its own -- it would just be nice for him to have another way to do it.


Just take his printed ability and add: “Once per round, Bob may move an extra space before or after interacting with a person.”

Or possibly, Bob may interact with a Person in an adjacent space?

[Added]
As he would not gain an extra move this would be slightly less powerful.
 
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Nicola Zee
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Gutripper wrote:
Nicola Zee wrote:
pkitty wrote:
Gutripper wrote:
"Once per round, gains a free action to interact with an item in her possession displayed under the inventory button"


That's a better way to put it, yes! Editing my OP to steal this phrasing.

Good-oh!

That now just leaves the issue of what to do with Akachi Onyele!
IMHO her ability should have something to do with her backstory about her communion with spirits.

The obvious thing would be to give her a bonus in terms of spells but there are already several characters with such bonuses.



I thought that maybe in addition to her ability she ignores any effects of being mesmerized (Note - not the same as not being able to become mesmerized as she wouldn’t be able to use the Tome of Secrets)

It seems a bit in character that she is in control of the spirits around her

Good idea about mesmerised.

How about the following?

"Once per turn, you may look at the text on the hidden side of a Spell, Elixir or Mesmerised card in any investigator's possession and you may choose for that card to be randomly replaced."

The idea is the spirits guide her to what is going on and help her - even with investigators she cannot she.

This would fit in with her mystical powers - but might make her too powerful.

[Edited]
After some thought I think this would make her too powerful and so I am going back to the earlier suggestion:
"Once per turn, you may look at the hidden side of a Spell, Elixir or Mesmerised card in your possession and you may choose to randomly replace the card."
 
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David Tinney
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Nicola Zee wrote:
tlloyd wrote:
pkitty wrote:
The trouble is that Bob's ability isn't weak because of what it gives him. It's weak because there are usually very few Persons on the board, and they're often hard to get to, move around, get killed, etc. I think shedding Horror is more than potent enough on its own -- it would just be nice for him to have another way to do it.


Just take his printed ability and add: “Once per round, Bob may move an extra space before or after interacting with a person.”

Or possibly, Bob may interact with a Person in an adjacent space?

[Added]
As he would not gain an extra move this would be slightly less powerful.


What about adding to the printed ability:
"Once per round, when you spend an action to interact with a Person, you may flip 1 Horror facedown or discard 1 facedown Horror," and you may convert 1 [investigation result] into a [success result] if a test is resolved.
 
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Tyler Lloyd
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Yallow wrote:
Nicola Zee wrote:
tlloyd wrote:
pkitty wrote:
The trouble is that Bob's ability isn't weak because of what it gives him. It's weak because there are usually very few Persons on the board, and they're often hard to get to, move around, get killed, etc. I think shedding Horror is more than potent enough on its own -- it would just be nice for him to have another way to do it.


Just take his printed ability and add: “Once per round, Bob may move an extra space before or after interacting with a person.”

Or possibly, Bob may interact with a Person in an adjacent space?

[Added]
As he would not gain an extra move this would be slightly less powerful.


What about adding to the printed ability:
"Once per round, when you spend an action to interact with a Person, you may flip 1 Horror facedown or discard 1 facedown Horror," and you may convert 1 [investigation result] into a [success result] if a test is resolved.


Bob's already got 5 influence, so he doesn't really need help succeeding at person-interaction tests.
 
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David Tinney
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tlloyd wrote:
Yallow wrote:
Nicola Zee wrote:
tlloyd wrote:
pkitty wrote:
The trouble is that Bob's ability isn't weak because of what it gives him. It's weak because there are usually very few Persons on the board, and they're often hard to get to, move around, get killed, etc. I think shedding Horror is more than potent enough on its own -- it would just be nice for him to have another way to do it.


Just take his printed ability and add: “Once per round, Bob may move an extra space before or after interacting with a person.”

Or possibly, Bob may interact with a Person in an adjacent space?

[Added]
As he would not gain an extra move this would be slightly less powerful.


What about adding to the printed ability:
"Once per round, when you spend an action to interact with a Person, you may flip 1 Horror facedown or discard 1 facedown Horror," and you may convert 1 [investigation result] into a [success result] if a test is resolved.


Bob's already got 5 influence, so he doesn't really need help succeeding at person-interaction tests.


Good point. What about this instead:
Once per round, when you spend an action to Trade or to Interact with a Person, you may flip 1 Horror facedown or discard 1 facedown Horror.

This is similar to PK Levine's suggestion:
Quote:
"Once per round, when you spend an action to interact with a Person or take the new "chat" action below, you may discard 1 facedown Horror or flip one Horror facedown.

Action: Chat with another investigator in the same space. No game effect except as noted above."

but simpler IMO
 
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PK Levine
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Trouble is, that makes him better than Preston when it comes to that. Preston already effectively sheds Horror when he trades, so you're just copying him.
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Nicola Zee
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pkitty wrote:
Trouble is, that makes him better than Preston when it comes to that. Preston already effectively sheds Horror when he trades, so you're just copying him.

It does have the advantage of clarity but you make a very good point.

How about something like the following to balance things out?
"Once per round, when you spend an action to Trade or to Interact with a Person, you may discard 1 Clue to discard 1 Horror."

This adds a penalty of spending a Clue but offsets the cost by discarding a face up Horror in one go.

Or would this be too weak?
 
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David Tinney
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Quote:
Trouble is, that makes him better than Preston when it comes to that. Preston already effectively sheds Horror when he trades, so you're just copying him.

Preston may discard horror when he gains an item, whether he picks it up, finds it in a search action, or in a trade. Perhaps Bob can be limited to discarding horror as in his original ability, plus when a trade involves another 'gator.

This would prevent him from discarding horror during searches and picking up items on the ground.
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