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Subject: Is it Time to Buff/Errata the Concentric Circles Class? (Spoilers Inside) rss

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Mark Kwan
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I'll start by saying that we all know this is a cooperative game and yes we can do what we want and no the police won't show up at our door.

With that being said, it helps (and feels better) if the variant/alteration is approved and given the nod by the official designer themselves.


*Spoilers Below you've been warned*


The summoner class is viewed by majority of players as a weaker class. Some of the weaknesses:

1. Summons AI (focus, etc) is inherently poor, hammering retaliation targets or shielded targets and failing to focus down high priority targets (such as Cultists summoning Living Bones).

2. Summons scale poorly (HP don't go up as enemy damage ramps up), they die very quickly to AoE.

3. Inherent low hand size as many cards (summons) are lost cards. Thus with a low hand size of 9 you're often either lacking options for summons or other cards. Basically, lack of options.

4. Poor initiative. This hurts more than it helps (although it does help once in a while).

5. Low move speed activation order (before the player) makes it awkward to reposition existing summons far distances (to another room) or another location in general.

6. Enemies with curse and attack multiple targets will very quickly clog the Summoner's attack modifier deck.


Potential errata could be:

-buff the hand size to 10 or 11

-change the way a summon establishes focus only for players

-Anything really to help with this class.

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Andrew Sarnowski
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I think giving the class an inherent bonus to their summons would be good. I have a thread that talks about a Summon AI deck for the classes summons but I don't think its exactly balanced yet.
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Mauro Moura
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The Summoner Is not a weak class at all, it has many mechanical problems that is a fact, but despite the frustrations you run into with your summons bein stupid and you having to be adjacent to them all the time to issue commands its actualy quite powerfull if you play it right.

Don't get me wrong, it needs a redesign to work better mechanicaly, but it does not need a buff.
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Andrew Sarnowski
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DakonBlackblade wrote:
The Summoner Is not a weak class at all, it has many mechanical problems that is a fact, but despite the frustrations you run into with your summons bein stupid and you having to be adjacent to them all the time to issue commands its actualy quite powerfull if you play it right.

Don't get me wrong, it needs a redesign to work better mechanicaly, but it does not need a buff.

Nothing huge, but the class is weak. Her endurance is low. Her mechanics clunky. And the reward for the skill it takes to play her well isn't proportional. Too much of a buff breaks her. That's certain. Summons have a potential much higher than any other lost card. But the chance of reaching that potential is minimal.
And summons clog up the board making things more difficult for your allies. Which means that nobody wants to have a Summoner along either.
 
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Mark Kwan
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DakonBlackblade wrote:
The Summoner Is not a weak class at all, it has many mechanical problems that is a fact, but despite the frustrations you run into with your summons bein stupid and you having to be adjacent to them all the time to issue commands its actualy quite powerful if you play it right.

Don't get me wrong, it needs a redesign to work better mechanicaly, but it does not need a buff.


While I do believe Summoner is doable and winnable with, I feel that your first two statements "Summoner is not a weak class" and "has many mechanical problems" contradict each other.

There is not many ways to "play it right" when you get into situations where your summons are standing there doing nothing and you have to go open a door. Even if one were to line up a bottom movement action + a top command action to reposition a single summon to the door that summon would likely be killed as the new monsters in the new room would still activate.


There's also only so many ways to "play it right" when you need your summons on priority targets (bosses, other enemies which summon).

In general the deck will have 3-4 summons, 2-3 command cards, 1 recover card (stuck in the deck won't ever be removed), that leaves only 1-3 utility cards.

On small maps with limited rooms where you can rapid summon without much repositioning the summoner is fine. However these types of scenarios are the minority rather than the norm.


As a suggestion there should be a card/ability which allows the player to place the Summoner's token (the small circular one) on an enemy which will force all summons to focus that enemy or consider that enemy as focus
 
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Mauro Moura
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blackhalo23 wrote:
DakonBlackblade wrote:
The Summoner Is not a weak class at all, it has many mechanical problems that is a fact, but despite the frustrations you run into with your summons bein stupid and you having to be adjacent to them all the time to issue commands its actualy quite powerful if you play it right.

Don't get me wrong, it needs a redesign to work better mechanicaly, but it does not need a buff.


While I do believe Summoner is doable and winnable with, I feel that your first two statements "Summoner is not a weak class" and "has many mechanical problems" contradict each other.

There is not many ways to "play it right" when you get into situations where your summons are standing there doing nothing and you have to go open a door. Even if one were to line up a bottom movement action + a top command action to reposition a single summon to the door that summon would likely be killed as the new monsters in the new room would still activate.


There's also only so many ways to "play it right" when you need your summons on priority targets (bosses, other enemies which summon).

In general the deck will have 3-4 summons, 2-3 command cards, 1 recover card (stuck in the deck won't ever be removed), that leaves only 1-3 utility cards.

On small maps with limited rooms where you can rapid summon without much repositioning the summoner is fine. However these types of scenarios are the minority rather than the norm.


As a suggestion there should be a card/ability which allows the player to place the Summoner's token (the small circular one) on an enemy which will force all summons to focus that enemy or consider that enemy as focus


What I meant is, the class is clunky to play with, and you have to jump trough some hoops to make it work, but if you do make it work its capable of some spetacular things, mostly because the class has a very strong mod deck and if you ever get off three summons attack in a single turn its enought to shred most enemies to bits. She needs a very specialized item build and knowledge on how to get around the mechanical shortcomings to flow, but when it flows its quite awesome. I played my summoner from lv 3 to 7, in some scenarios she is godlike (small single rooms scenarios where the summons never get left behind and need repositioning mostly), in some she has serious trobles, but on average she is more or less on the same level as other classes.

And about doors, don't open them, ever. Theres aways at least 1 other character on the party, he opens the door, you play as late as you can on that turn so that your summons will walk in and attack rather tha walk in and get murdered.

My opinion on the elementalist is the same btw, the class is super clunky and the whole premise of the mechanic the class is based on kinda acts as a deterent for the class rather than an advantage. But if you do manage to get around the mechanical issues and work with the class clunkyness, its actualy quite strong.
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Justinas K.
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DakonBlackblade wrote:

What I meant is, the clas is clunky to play with, and you ahve to jump trough some hoops to make it work, but if you do make it work its capable of some spetacular things, mostly because the class has a very strong mod deck. She needs a very specialized item build and knowledge on how to get around the mechanical shortcomings to flow, but when it flows its quite awesome. I played my summoner from lv 3 to 7, in some scenarios she is godlike, in some she has serious trobles, but on average she is more or less on the same level as other classes.

And about doors, don't open them, ever. Theres aways at least 1 other character on the party, he opens the door, you play as late as you can on that turn so that your summons will walk in and attack rather tha walk in and get murdered.

My opinion on the elementalist is the same btw, the clas sis super clunky and the whole premise of the mechanic the class is based on kinda act as a deterent for the class rather than an advanatge. But if you do manage to get around the mechanical issues and work with the class clunkyness, its actualy quite strong.


i've played her, and enjoyed her quite a bit (though my party members were annoyed by summons blocking certain hexes and me saying "and now, its my turn" after going with all summons first ) she DOES need certain items to work great, she generates exp like a monster, she (Well her summons mostly) does huge amounts of damage, even though it's hard (not impossible) to control targets of those attacks. she does have more trouble against shielded and retaliate monsters than some other classes. but besides her clunkyness i would strongly argue that this class is strong.

while elementalist... well he's not rewarding to play with, needs even more foresight, more planning than summoner even while attacks... doesn't feel so awesome and rewarding for all that trouble.
 
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Andrew Sarnowski
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walktime wrote:
DakonBlackblade wrote:

What I meant is, the clas is clunky to play with, and you ahve to jump trough some hoops to make it work, but if you do make it work its capable of some spetacular things, mostly because the class has a very strong mod deck. She needs a very specialized item build and knowledge on how to get around the mechanical shortcomings to flow, but when it flows its quite awesome. I played my summoner from lv 3 to 7, in some scenarios she is godlike, in some she has serious trobles, but on average she is more or less on the same level as other classes.

And about doors, don't open them, ever. Theres aways at least 1 other character on the party, he opens the door, you play as late as you can on that turn so that your summons will walk in and attack rather tha walk in and get murdered.

My opinion on the elementalist is the same btw, the clas sis super clunky and the whole premise of the mechanic the class is based on kinda act as a deterent for the class rather than an advanatge. But if you do manage to get around the mechanical issues and work with the class clunkyness, its actualy quite strong.


i've played her, and enjoyed her quite a bit (though my party members were annoyed by summons blocking certain hexes and me saying "and now, its my turn" after going with all summons first ) she DOES need certain items to work great, she generates exp like a monster, she (Well her summons mostly) does huge amounts of damage, even though it's hard (not impossible) to control targets of those attacks. she does have more trouble against shielded and retaliate monsters than some other classes. but besides her clunkyness i would strongly argue that this class is strong.

The question is "Stronger than what?"
Certainly none of the starting classes, bar maybe the Tinker(but the Tinker's deck size gives it a wide array of flexibility and phenomenal endurance to offset its weaknesses). I really do think she's the weakest of the classes and by a fair margin. Definitely weaker than the ones I've seen. That doesn't make her unusable. Just... in need of a couple quality of life changes that make her more accessible.
 
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Marcel Cwertetschka
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I still strongly stand to the opinion that the summoner class is not the weakest class but the hardest to play with great payoffs if you manage her well. My friend and I managed to beat the whole kickstarter campaign on hard playing only the Summoner and Beasttyrant. We didnt failed any mission.
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Justinas K.
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Aminar wrote:
walktime wrote:
DakonBlackblade wrote:

What I meant is, the clas is clunky to play with, and you ahve to jump trough some hoops to make it work, but if you do make it work its capable of some spetacular things, mostly because the class has a very strong mod deck. She needs a very specialized item build and knowledge on how to get around the mechanical shortcomings to flow, but when it flows its quite awesome. I played my summoner from lv 3 to 7, in some scenarios she is godlike, in some she has serious trobles, but on average she is more or less on the same level as other classes.

And about doors, don't open them, ever. Theres aways at least 1 other character on the party, he opens the door, you play as late as you can on that turn so that your summons will walk in and attack rather tha walk in and get murdered.

My opinion on the elementalist is the same btw, the clas sis super clunky and the whole premise of the mechanic the class is based on kinda act as a deterent for the class rather than an advanatge. But if you do manage to get around the mechanical issues and work with the class clunkyness, its actualy quite strong.


i've played her, and enjoyed her quite a bit (though my party members were annoyed by summons blocking certain hexes and me saying "and now, its my turn" after going with all summons first ) she DOES need certain items to work great, she generates exp like a monster, she (Well her summons mostly) does huge amounts of damage, even though it's hard (not impossible) to control targets of those attacks. she does have more trouble against shielded and retaliate monsters than some other classes. but besides her clunkyness i would strongly argue that this class is strong.

The question is "Stronger than what?"
Certainly none of the starting classes, bar maybe the Tinker(but the Tinker's deck size gives it a wide array of flexibility and phenomenal endurance to offset its weaknesses). I really do think she's the weakest of the classes and by a fair margin. Definitely weaker than the ones I've seen. That doesn't make her unusable. Just... in need of a couple quality of life changes that make her more accessible.


i haven't seen only moon class. but considering damage output in general, lightning class is probably only which is better. if looking for pure AOE damage then yea, at least 3 or 4 are better, if single target focus amongst large group of other monsters well here is summoners weakness. she does huge amount of damage even though she doesn't always control what to attack.
halfway through my personal quest i stopped bringing lava golem card because i was level 9 and didn't even need exp from summoning it since i used bottom action only 2 times at the beginning of learning this class.
me and my group got used to playing around summons and positioning ourselves the right way, they stopped dying so fast. slow initiative is easy way not to get your summons focused, and there are enough fast cards to burst down enemies when needed. yes, it's sometimes annoying to play her, and quality of life could be improved in some way, but being able to control all summons even more than now would lead her to being way too powerful.

saying that she is weaker than all starting classes except tinkerer just shows how poorly you understand summoner. yes, they can excel in certain jobs better than one or other class, thats how it is with all classes in gloomhaven, i would say almost all classes are very well balanced in a way that they have certain things that they can do very well in a different way (except maybe for lightning and note classes... for some reason i think they are too strong, too good at what they do)
Morthai wrote:
I still strongly stand to the opinion that the summoner class is not the weakest class but the hardest to play with great payoffs if you manage her well. My friend and I managed to beat the whole kickstarter campaign on hard playing only the Summoner and Beasttyrant. We didnt failed any mission.

that is pretty good combo i would say, seeing as summoner can help BT quite a bit in controling dat beast :O
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Mark Kwan
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I think the statement above was a bit harsh.

Each class has an achilles heal, their weakness. Summoner just happens to have more weaknesses than the other classes.

There are very few scenarios where you would prefer a summoner over potentially any other class. So far, I think I've seen maybe one or two, the scenarios which are small with very few (or no) doors.

Once a high scenario level (3+) is reached, almost every scenario will have either a shielding, retaliating or enemy which summons more monsters. Summoner's summons are poor at dealing with all of these.

 
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Mauro Moura
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Aminar wrote:

The question is "Stronger than what?"
Certainly none of the starting classes, bar maybe the Tinker(but the Tinker's deck size gives it a wide array of flexibility and phenomenal endurance to offset its weaknesses). I really do think she's the weakest of the classes and by a fair margin. Definitely weaker than the ones I've seen. That doesn't make her unusable. Just... in need of a couple quality of life changes that make her more accessible.


I have never put any real tought into the matter of ranking the classes, but you do realize that regardless of how much you tweak things theres always gona be one class that is gona be weakest and therefore everyone will say its underpowered.

My point is, the summoner is not weak, its quite capable of great things, its just mechanicaly very clunky and it needs quite a bit of itens and mastery of the class to function properly. Where it stands on the totempole amongst the other classes is an entire different matter.

If I had to choose a class to be on the bottom thatd be the Elementalist because his mod deck sucks, it adds 0 damage and only gives you elements to use on the next turn, if you attack for 5 you can bet you are gona hit for exactly 5, no extra damage is gona come your way. Even so I still don't think the Elementalist is a weak class.
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Mark Kwan
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From the posts so far we have two broad groups.

1. Summoners are weak and need help.

2. Summoners are clunky/messy/finicky (however you want to word it) and don't need help.


I think the bottom line is that Summoners can use some adjustments. Whether that's to directly address power levels (Ex: increase hand size) or to reduce some of the mechanical difficulty (Ex: adjust methodology or provide additional control for summon/pet focus).

Having the same (or even slightly higher) potential doesn't really matter if on average you're unable to realize that max.

It's like comparing rolling a D10 versus a weighted D12 which rolls <4 a large majority of the time.

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Tyler Nolto
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I think the summoner is a great class and is quite powerful. We play with 4 characters and our summoner is very powerful and helpful in almost any of the scenarios (aside from races, which many classes are unable to do well in).

If your summons are all getting killed before they can do much, then you're either summoning them without much thought, or your party is not assisting you in protecting them. The summons are not going to be your tanks. Just like the Scoundrel would be a terrible class if you were trying to use her as a tank.

Edit: In other words, I don't think the Summoner needs any tweeking.
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Mauro Moura
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blackhalo23 wrote:
From the posts so far we have two broad groups.

1. Summoners are weak and need help.

2. Summoners are clunky/messy/finicky (however you want to word it) and don't need help.


I think the bottom line is that Summoners can use some adjustments. Whether that's to directly address power levels (Ex: increase hand size) or to reduce some of the mechanical difficulty (Ex: adjust methodology or provide additional control for summon/pet focus).

Having the same (or even slightly higher) potential doesn't really matter if on average you're unable to realize that max.

It's like comparing rolling a D10 versus a weighted D12 which rolls <4 a large majority of the time.


I think you misinterpreted group 2, group 2 is "Summoners are clunky/messy/finicky (however you want to word it), deal enought damage, but definetly need tweeks cause a clunky/messy/finicky class isn't a good thing regardless of the damage it does"
 
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Jeremy Steward
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The summoner is weird. She can be either extremely powerful or completely useless depending on the mission.

There are mechanical issues such as doing nothing after clearing the room, and won't help when the objective is to destroy an object. These can and should be houseruled imo.

My biggest grief is the overall low HP of the summons, even with a tank, I've had my summons utterly decimated by a group of ranged monsters pulling a target 2 card and yes, retaliate also sucks.

But many of the points in the OP, I haven't had much problems with.

-The AI is fine most of the time, retaliate is the biggest issue.
-Hand Size: With the right items, this is a non-issue, especially once you hit prosperity 4+. I summon the lava Golem early and have no problems with stamina.
-Initiative: It isn't great, but you should have 3 or so cards below 25, which you can use to get below most monsters if you need to.
-Monsters that curse aren't super common, so I don't think th3y are a huge deal and you can always just focus down any problem monsters as a team.
-I do agree however, that it would have better if summons activated at the end of the activation, it could be worth trying. Tho I think it is still fine how it is.
 
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I would say it's ridiculous to call the summoner weak. She does have quite a learning curve though and is not as straight forward as other classes.
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Brian Woerth
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People mention needing items, what are those items?
 
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bwoerth wrote:
People mention needing items, what are those items?

Let me start by quoting a bit from this spot-on reply from @Complex in a great Circles thread (I've added a few extra spoiler tags).
Complex wrote:
I played the class myself and I absolutely loved it. Concerning items, I went very heavy on the small items:

both stamina potions as well as the item from the solo scenario, stun powder and two unlocked small items:

(EDIT - Spoiler from treasure chest)
Spoiler (click to reveal)
doomed compass (last priority, this was a luxury item, but nevertheless it came in handy often enough for the obvious reasons)


(EDIT - Prosperity 6)
Spoiler (click to reveal)
pendant of dark pacts - most valuable item


Especially the latter of the two gives a load of flexibility and is definitely made for this class, as
Spoiler (click to reveal)
with all those attack 1s and 2s I could not care less about the single curse. For this you get to use both stamina potions again, enabling you to last much longer. Thanks to the pendant, in some scenarios I even managed to summon the golem for the last room because I did not run out of cards.


Add to this the cloak (to be able to carry them all) and the standard +2 move boots, and you are very well equipped.

------------------
Adding to that, in my own group, our first Summoner also got these items.
Footwear, Prosperity 2
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Boots of Speed

Footwear, Prosperity 6
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Boots of Quickness


Torso (random item)
Spoiler (click to reveal)
#73
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Blinking Cape


Small item (random item)
Spoiler (click to reveal)
#94
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Scroll of Healing


------------------
I just started a Summoner myself (different campaign, level 1) and have found a little bit of tanking gear is nice to have when I need to tank for my summons.
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J J
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Morthai wrote:
I still strongly stand to the opinion that the summoner class is not the weakest class but the hardest to play with great payoffs if you manage her well. My friend and I managed to beat the whole kickstarter campaign on hard playing only the Summoner and


Spoiler, my good man, spoilers!
Spoiler (click to reveal)

Beasttyrant

Morthai wrote:
. We didnt failed any mission.


I know this is an old comment, but Two Minis is generally understood to be one of the best 2 player classes in the game. It also helps that that it's literally the best possible complimentary class for Summoner.

My personal favourite Summoner card is Endless Spikes. You know, a card that depends on fast initiative to give your summons retaliate before they get hit, but has a 97 initiative value shake .
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Darren Nakamura
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Huh. When people mention items that are good for the Summoner, I usually think they mean stuff like:

(Prosperity 4)
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Falcon Figurine and other items like it. With these, Summoner can pull off Turn 1 attacks (summon with an item and immediately use Mighty Bond/Bonded Might). Also, she can be controlling summons that do not reduce her overall stamina, so she can control a larger horde without exhausting too early.


And of course like Complex said (and eldur quoted above):
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Pendant of Dark Pacts, but to get those item-fueled summons back, not to get stamina potions back.
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Carsten Neumann
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It is nice that you create strong summoners with five small locked and prosperity 6 - items. But, what about low-level and low-prosperity summoners?

And, *if* the solution to play the summoner succesfully is taking two stamina potions, then: yep, she is broken. Taking two stamina potions is just lame...

Once I unlock this class in my campaign I will try her, of course, anyway.
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Darren Nakamura
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I think the "need" for Stamina Potions on her is overstated. To be clear, I haven't played Summoner, but I've watched my teammate play her. He has two Stamina Potions (he reads and follows a lot of online guides), but he hasn't even come close to exhausting in most scenarios lately. Like, he gets to the end and just plops the Lava Golem down for XP because he was saving it for the card recovery and just never needed it.

How to play a low-level Summoner is a mystery to me though. I've only seen it at 5+. I'd be interested to see how she plays at 1-2. I bet she still works fine.
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Gabriel Rockman
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horstderadler wrote:
It is nice that you create strong summoners with five small locked and prosperity 6 - items. But, what about low-level and low-prosperity summoners?

And, *if* the solution to play the summoner succesfully is taking two stamina potions, then: yep, she is broken. Taking two stamina potions is just lame...

Once I unlock this class in my campaign I will try her, of course, anyway.


The main limitation is not gear or perks, it is skill.

Triangles is a lot more reliant on gear/perks to be good. Non-concentric Circles is mostly about skill.
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Mihai Valceanu
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horstderadler wrote:
Taking two stamina potions is just lame...


Is that a fact then?! lol. I don't find it "lame" in the slightest. Nor does my group... We prioritize having a minor and major stamina portion on most characters (prosperity permitting) and at least one health potion to get rid of pesky conditions. That's called playing smart and (for us at least) I think it enhances the fun especially if the goal is to beat the game on the hardest difficulty. I find gimping myself rather lame personally...
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