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Subject: Too hard? rss

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János Lukács
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Somewhat rant-ish post inc
So we played our first game with 5 players today and I'd say we pretty much got our @$$es handed to us. I'll explain briefly how it went.
5 players, in order of play: ranger, rogue, fighter, warlock, druid, all 8+hp characters.

I've set up a basic dungeon crawl for us, what could go wrong? We went into the first scene the rogue having the +1 additional encounter because of 5 players so we decided to defend him, killing off his mobs first, because he took a huge 3hp hit on his first turn - unlucky. Then, after the first turn went down, we managed to pull the "Dangerous Waters" dragonfire card - bingo! ([Dragonfire 1+]: Each character heals half of their total lost HP (rounded down). [Deadfall 1+]: When this card is placed in the discard, each character takes 3 damage.) Only 2 of the 5 characters healed for 1-1 hp each, then on the end of the round each of us took a 3 hp hit from the card - ouch. I already knew we were just flat out going to lose, no matter what. Basically from this point on we were playing from our back foot and our mindset was mainly about damage mitigation - playing reactive more and proactive less. We were focused on not letting people go stunned and/or killing things off from low hp characters asap.

After that, the next dragonfire card was "Haunted" ([Deadfall]: When this card is placed in the discard, also place the top card of the Dragonfire deck in the discard but don't resolve its effect. (Then reveal a new Dragonfire card as normal.) [Deadfall][Dragonfire 5+]: Instead, when this card is placed in the discard, place the top card of the Dragonfire deck in the discard and resolve its effect (if any).). This accelerated our pain even further.

Going in quite withered to the second scene (everyone below 4 hp, despite all starting out 8+), we all had our big spells ready so we managed to pile right through the encounters, suffering only minimal damage due to the more powerful cards ready in hand, having no dragonfire card in the majority of the first round, and due to also some good card/encounter management (confusion, hex, brawl, etc.). Also, no one got stunned up until this point, so we were starting to get a bit of hope.

So scene 3 started, and we managed to hold on for some time but we pretty much already knew from the start that it's literally impossible to beat. We lost our rogue in round 3 and things accelerated from that point. I think we managed to kill 5 mobs, 3 left that went around in a conga line bashing every remaining member of the party to pulp.
If I think back, maybe we could've held on for another round, since dragonfire level was already through the roof, just to get some better and more cards in our hands for the next scene. But also that wouldn't have made that much of a difference... who knows, maybe next time.

Now don't get me wrong, I don't want to win each and every game, but it just seemed so brutal that we tried everything, even did some things wrong like forgetting in the second scene that the additional encounter for 5 players doesn't award gold, also played magic missle wrong applying its damage to the same encounter, but still it seemed like after the first scene we were doomed to fall.
And our group is of battle-hardened veterans, playing Mansions of Madness back to back, sometimes leaving 4-5 star difficulty missions without a scratch, or half the party going insane but still getting out victorius. We're not new to the deck building genre either, having played Clank! and some other games on some ocassions.

I don't want to come off as whining about this, but I really wasn't expecting to - despite our experience and best efforts - get utterly destroyed on the first and probably the easiest quests of the game. And we didn't even start the campaign, having read the rules for the first mission and also some threads about the difficulty presented there... isn't this a bit too much? I mean I don't mind if a game is hard, but if you're winning 20-25% percent of your games at best, that doesn't sound like fun to me.

I'd like to hear what kind of experiences you had about the game so far. Hope I'm not alone finding the game a bit too much on the brutal side
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Kevin
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I started a thread titled “Finding the game too hard? Customize it!”

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1915780/finding-game-too-ha...

...but this seemed to be met with mixed reactions. I’m with you on this, but others here are much more “hardcore” it seems and enjoy the “challenge”.

When played without modifications, it racks up a lot of “losses”. I’m beginning to realize that’s kind of built in and expected. But for my gaming group, it wasn’t going to stay at the table without nerfing it a bit (see link above) to achieve more of a 50% win rate.

And just FYI, the game actually plays even more difficult with 5 or 6 players due to the gold being spread too thin around the table AND the game rules also making it even more difficult by penalizing you with additional encounters (and no gold for them) for a 5p or 6p game.

I love the game, but there just aren’t enough gamers around my neck of the woods with the patience for it as designed, so I’m having to adjust.
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Jowanson wrote:
Somewhat rant-ish post inc
So we played our first game with 5 players today

I mean I don't mind if a game is hard, but if you're winning 20-25% percent of your games at best, that doesn't sound like fun to me.


You're 0 for 1. How do you get to 20/25% from that?

Take 3 xp each, you got to Scene 3.

Do it again, maybe change your marching order a little bit (I personally think your Rogue is too early in the play order, you want large starting hands to go earlier).

If you get to the 2nd scene, you'll all have at least 2 xp and can pick up your first Feature for 5xp. And speaking of that, do yo have background stickers? If not, you just earned them, so go make some choices.

 
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kcurtis wrote:
I started a thread titled “Finding the game too hard? Customize it!”

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1915780/finding-game-too-ha...


I think it's inappropriate to suggest game modification after one play, one loss.
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Kevin
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I disagree, it’s not inappropriate to give suggestions that may ease gaming groups into this game, allowing them to find some immediate enjoyment, get their feet underneath them, etc. Groups are being turned off by this game on first impressions. That’s not good. Reviews across the web, it’s pretty clear. Even if groups just “don’t get it” yet, we don’t want them running away from the game before they give it a fair try. Offering suggestions to reduce its initial difficulty is not only very appropriate in this case it’s proving to be necessary.

We fundamentally disagree on this, and that’s ok. Neither opinion though is inappropriate.
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You're misreading me. That's your choice. I'm not attacking you. I'm asking you to give other players opportunities to experience the game they bought before they remove content due to some early perception of difficulty.

A single game loss is not enough to assess if the OP's group can or cannot handle the game. I also don't get the feeling from the OP that they've thrown their hands up and need bumper cushions put onto the game to even get it to their table. Let them try a few more times before recommending they switch to a tricycle. They deserve a chance and I hope that they choose to reject modifications to the game this early. If it really proves that difficult with 5p, then yes -- modify it if you really have to.

I get that your situation is different. Your group apparently does not enjoy the journey, only the destination. That's really unfortunate and I empathize with your situation. If you have any ability to influence their perception of what is fun -- take it. Hanging personal enjoyment and self worth on an uncontrollable condition (winning or losing games) is not a good way to travel through life. Enjoy the journey win or lose. Appreciate the destination. Cherish the victories. Learn from the defeats.

My recommendation to the OP:
- go to the strategy section and read up. It sounds like you're a good group that enjoys a challenge. By all accounts, you've found it.
- if you want extra reading, go look at the Shadowrun:Crossfire forums, since the games are similar.
- when you get success or more defeats, keep us informed.





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Kevin
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Your thoughts are good in theory but in reality this rigid approach will limit the game’s potential for broad appeal. Not everyone appreciates the “journey” of what feels to them like losing due to what they perceive to be an unfair difficulty level. Maybe this game isn’t meant for broad appeal though. Maybe it’s intended audience is much more specific and I’m wishing it could be something that appeals to a broader fan base when it can’t without modifications.

So to your point, this is a legacy campaign D&D card game and if a player isn’t in it for the long haul then it’s probably not the game for them anyway.

I love the game. I love the challenge. I wish more did. In my world, my original gaming group of 9 players who have tried it (no not all at once) has dwindled down to 2 that are even willing to play it with me since Christmas...and it’s always the same reason: “That game’s too hard.” It makes me sad.

The number one adjective you hear to describe this game is “brutal”. All over these forums, here with the OP, on Amazon, etc. I’m just not sure that’s a good first impression thing. Maybe I’m wrong.
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Rob Davis
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kcurtis wrote:
Your thoughts are good in theory but in reality this rigid approach will limit the game’s potential for broad appeal.

Maybe a lot of us don't want a game with broad appeal. Perhaps we want a game that provides a difficult challenge and truly requires the group to work together as a team.
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Rob Davis
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Jowanson wrote:
Then, after the first turn went down, we managed to pull the "Dangerous Waters" dragonfire card - bingo! ([Dragonfire 1+]: Each character heals half of their total lost HP (rounded down). [Deadfall 1+]: When this card is placed in the discard, each character takes 3 damage.) Only 2 of the 5 characters healed for 1-1 hp each, then on the end of the round each of us took a 3 hp hit from the card - ouch.

Often it just comes down to the luck (or lack of luck) of the draw. Consider if you had pulled that card on round 3 instead of round 2. Most of your characters would have healed a HP or two, and the odds are that you would have finished the scene that round, meaning the Deadfall never triggers.
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Kevin
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davro33 wrote:
Maybe a lot of us don't want a game with broad appeal. Perhaps we want a game that provides a difficult challenge and truly requires the group to work together as a team.


I understand that. Games with a cult following are fun. And that's kinda always been what D&D was anyway - a cult following game.

If Dragonfire was a little less brutal though and a little more forgiving, it would actually enhance the "work together as a team" dynamic, allowing for more mistakes/misplays to be made around the table without it crippling the overall effort. As it stands now, this game is much more susceptible to "quarterbacking" instead of a true team effort. You know what I'm talking about...the alpha player basically dictating how it should go, maximizing the chance for success.

Again, I love the game, but I think it could potentially be tweaked to hook in more players, have a better first impression, and therefore garner a broader appeal.

So to the OP, that's my side, but you will find many more comments here on the other side. Those who love the game's difficulty as is seem to be the majority of those here on the Dragonfire forums and that's expected. Most of those on my side of the fence have likely already moved on to a different game unfortunately like my gaming group did.

I'm in it for the long haul though so you guys are stuck with me.
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davro33 wrote:
kcurtis wrote:
Your thoughts are good in theory but in reality this rigid approach will limit the game’s potential for broad appeal.

Maybe a lot of us don't want a game with broad appeal. Perhaps we want a game that provides a difficult challenge and truly requires the group to work together as a team.


Just to second this, there are a ton of games out there right now, not everyone should appeal to everyone. One of my favorite things about crossfire and now dragonfire is precisely the difficulty. I want a game that is just on the cusp of winnable and that punishes you for even minorly suboptimal plays.
 
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Kevin
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Huger wrote:
I want a game that is just on the cusp of winnable and that punishes you for even minorly suboptimal plays.


Then this game as designed is the game for you. That quote above though is not most people's idea of a good game night unfortunately I'm afraid.

I guess I have to submit to the reality that this game is not for the majority. That's cool. I get it.
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kcurtis wrote:
Huger wrote:
I want a game that is just on the cusp of winnable and that punishes you for even minorly suboptimal plays.


Then this game as designed is the game for you. That quote above though is not most people's idea of a good game night unfortunately I'm afraid.

I guess I have to submit to the reality that this game is not for the majority. That's cool. I get it.


It's okay to like things not everyone else likes...
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Sean Gibbons
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davro33 wrote:
Jowanson wrote:
Then, after the first turn went down, we managed to pull the "Dangerous Waters" dragonfire card - bingo! ([Dragonfire 1+]: Each character heals half of their total lost HP (rounded down). [Deadfall 1+]: When this card is placed in the discard, each character takes 3 damage.) Only 2 of the 5 characters healed for 1-1 hp each, then on the end of the round each of us took a 3 hp hit from the card - ouch.

Often it just comes down to the luck (or lack of luck) of the draw. Consider if you had pulled that card on round 3 instead of round 2. Most of your characters would have healed a HP or two, and the odds are that you would have finished the scene that round, meaning the Deadfall never triggers.


This! The first adventure in the core campaign is a great example. The outcome is 100% (maybe 90%) luck driven. If I don't get an Oil or MM early, it's game over later. Not much a party can do to mitigate tokens in that quantity over 3 scenes. I wish that was an exaggeration, but it's not. It isn't about being better, smarter, wiser...in that scenario it boils down to 'the perfect storm' of card draw to win. With no Oil or MM, I've never won that scenario. It comes down to simple math...with 4 players, assuming 2 were unlucky each scene and get 3 tokens, I need 40 colorless damage to deal with tokens ON TOP of whatever Deck 1 and 2 beasties are in front of us.

I like a game which mitigates the luck of dice with pure strategy, but this game doesn't completely do that. It is highly dependent on luck of the market in each scenario. I look at other deck builders and they cycle your discard pile back into your hand much quicker, making you feel more powerful by the end of the adventure, purchases feel more impactful. In those cases, I feel like my market choices are affecting my long-term game.

Dragonfire does the opposite. If I buy Lightning Bolt or Twist the Knife in Rd 1, as a non-human, there is a decent chance I don't see it again during crucial later rounds. Instead I draw 2 basic cards during refresh of key rounds in the game and end up saying things like "I can do 1 green and 1 black and can't assist" A LOT!

All that said, I like the framework of Dragonfire, I think it's challenging and has great potential. Frankly scenario 1 of the campaign forced most of my group to give up and I have sadly not gotten very far beyond that.

Here's what I hear:
"There's no way we could have ever beat what's out there"

"Why the hell would anyone play a mage? I can just buy cards from any class, with a few exceptions, and be just as powerful and have as many hitpoints"

"What do you mean in scenario 2 I start with the same cards"

Just my $.02
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Kevin
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gibby290 wrote:
[I like the framework of Dragonfire, I think it's challenging and has great potential. Frankly scenario 1 of the campaign forced most of my group to give up and I have sadly not gotten very far beyond that.

Here's what I hear:
"There's no way we could have ever beat what's out there"

"Why the hell would anyone play a mage? I can just buy cards from any class, with a few exceptions, and be just as powerful and have as many hitpoints"

"What do you mean in scenario 2 I start with the same cards"

Just my $.02


"Great potential" is how I feel about this game too. I'm totally with you on this. I feel like I'm going in circles on this topic, but as I've said on other posts in other threads, if I don't tweak this game it's gonna end up in the closet.

It's ok to like things not everyone else likes, true...but enough people around you have to like it that you can put a group together that will play it, and right now as it's written I don't. Sounds like I'm not the only one with this issue.
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Sean Gibbons
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kcurtis wrote:
Huger wrote:
I want a game that is just on the cusp of winnable and that punishes you for even minorly suboptimal plays.


Then this game as designed is the game for you. That quote above though is not most people's idea of a good game night unfortunately I'm afraid.

I guess I have to submit to the reality that this game is not for the majority. That's cool. I get it.


This is a HUGE problem for the developer...it has to be accessible to sell more than just the core box. Particularly for a D&D license.
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kcurtis wrote:
gibby290 wrote:
[I like the framework of Dragonfire, I think it's challenging and has great potential. Frankly scenario 1 of the campaign forced most of my group to give up and I have sadly not gotten very far beyond that.

Here's what I hear:
"There's no way we could have ever beat what's out there"

"Why the hell would anyone play a mage? I can just buy cards from any class, with a few exceptions, and be just as powerful and have as many hitpoints"

"What do you mean in scenario 2 I start with the same cards"

Just my $.02


"Great potential" is how I feel about this game too. I'm totally with you on this. I feel like I'm going in circles on this topic, but as I've said on other posts in other threads, if I don't tweak this game it's gonna end up in the closet.

It's ok to like things not everyone else likes, true...but enough people around you have to like it that you can put a group together that will play it, and right now as it's written I don't. Sounds like I'm not the only one with this issue.


Whether it's intended or not, the audience for this game is solo gamers. It's the ultimate puzzly-deckbuilding-campaign game right now. Assuming they release enough I suspect it will be a solo-classic in a few years.
 
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"Why the hell would anyone play a mage? I can just buy cards from any class, with a few exceptions, and be just as powerful and have as many hitpoints"

"What do you mean in scenario 2 I start with the same cards"
_________________________________________________________________

I haven't dived in to the game yet, but I've honestly wondered the same thing. I don't quite see the advantage to playing different character classes/races.

But perhaps the differences come out more with the stickers?
 
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Jim Adams
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mcd1982 wrote:
"Why the hell would anyone play a mage? I can just buy cards from any class, with a few exceptions, and be just as powerful and have as many hitpoints"

"What do you mean in scenario 2 I start with the same cards"
_________________________________________________________________

I haven't dived in to the game yet, but I've honestly wondered the same thing. I don't quite see the advantage to playing different character classes/races.

But perhaps the differences come out more with the stickers?


Definitely the stickers.
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Barry
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mcd1982 wrote:
"Why the hell would anyone play a mage? I can just buy cards from any class, with a few exceptions, and be just as powerful and have as many hitpoints"

"What do you mean in scenario 2 I start with the same cards"
_________________________________________________________________

I haven't dived in to the game yet, but I've honestly wondered the same thing. I don't quite see the advantage to playing different character classes/races.

But perhaps the differences come out more with the stickers?


Some market cards, have an added bonus if played by that class, like an added effect, typed instead of colorless damage, or an assist option.
(e.g. Magic missile, Grapple, Hex, Spiritual Weapon...)
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Rob Davis
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gibby290 wrote:
This! The first adventure in the core campaign is a great example. The outcome is 100% (maybe 90%) luck driven. If I don't get an Oil or MM early, it's game over later.

I spent 10 XP on my Half-Orc Fighter for Fighting Style Dueling. Play 2 Glory, kill 2 tokens, and kill a third for free. Over half of his starting deck is black, and he has 4 cards for his opening hand, so it is not uncommon for me to start with 4 Glories in my opening hand. 6 dmg is usually enough to kill every token on the first turn.

Quote:
Not much a party can do to mitigate tokens in that quantity over 3 scenes. I wish that was an exaggeration, but it's not. It isn't about being better, smarter, wiser...in that scenario it boils down to 'the perfect storm' of card draw to win. With no Oil or MM, I've never won that scenario. It comes down to simple math...with 4 players, assuming 2 were unlucky each scene and get 3 tokens, I need 40 colorless damage to deal with tokens ON TOP of whatever Deck 1 and 2 beasties are in front of us.

You are drawing extra cards when you get 3 tokens right? Even if you only had 2 basic cards in hand and draw another basic card, you should be able to kill all of the tokens facing you during the first two scenes.

The gamble is then that someone will be able to buy a Flaming Oil or MM (and sit on it) for the 3rd scene.

Quote:
Dragonfire does the opposite. If I buy Lightning Bolt or Twist the Knife in Rd 1, as a non-human, there is a decent chance I don't see it again during crucial later rounds. Instead I draw 2 basic cards during refresh of key rounds in the game and end up saying things like "I can do 1 green and 1 black and can't assist" A LOT!

Whoever is playing your Mage should have at least 1 Misty Step in their deck. It's their deck cycler.
Rogues should be playing Expertise to pull their Twist the Knife back out of their discard.
Fighters should be buying as many cards w/Sword icons as they can, so they get extra draw.
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Joshua Gottesman
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mcd1982 wrote:
"Why the hell would anyone play a mage? I can just buy cards from any class, with a few exceptions, and be just as powerful and have as many hitpoints"

"What do you mean in scenario 2 I start with the same cards"
_________________________________________________________________

I haven't dived in to the game yet, but I've honestly wondered the same thing. I don't quite see the advantage to playing different character classes/races.

But perhaps the differences come out more with the stickers?


As others have mentioned, the stickers and the restricted cards. Also on saves. Some saves are class specific, and if you try to turn your fighter into a mage by buying blue cards, you're more likely to miss martial saves with blue cards clogging up your deck.
 
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János Lukács
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davro33 wrote:
Jowanson wrote:
Then, after the first turn went down, we managed to pull the "Dangerous Waters" dragonfire card - bingo! ([Dragonfire 1+]: Each character heals half of their total lost HP (rounded down). [Deadfall 1+]: When this card is placed in the discard, each character takes 3 damage.) Only 2 of the 5 characters healed for 1-1 hp each, then on the end of the round each of us took a 3 hp hit from the card - ouch.

Often it just comes down to the luck (or lack of luck) of the draw. Consider if you had pulled that card on round 3 instead of round 2. Most of your characters would have healed a HP or two, and the odds are that you would have finished the scene that round, meaning the Deadfall never triggers.


Thanks for your comment
Yes, we had pretty bad luck with the dragonfire deck and there's nothing I think we could've done about it.
I think my post was also partly influenced by 1-2 of the individuals who stated that this game was boring as hell and disappointing to them, like solitaire. Which I took a bit too personal because I think I really wanted them to like this game.
Your comment made me realize that there's just some things that we cannot fix: luck of the draw, and some games just don't fit some people.

I also read some of the posts from the strategy forum and I think you can do some stuff to mitigate some of the things the game throws at you but there's a limit to that, and after you've done what you can you can only take the next few hits as there's no ace up your sleeve.

I read one guy said if you go to scene 2 with 3 or higher dragonfire level you might aswell start a new game as chances are pretty slim that you can finish. OK, cool. So you already know the story of how the dragonfire deck played out. But as we had 5 players, there was 1 additional mob facing our rogue who happened to have a strength of 2. Meaning we had to get rid of it ASAP for the rogue to only suffer one hit from it. Meaning we took one other and this mob down the first round which had a gold value of 0 because of the rules.

Now I'd like to ask this: playing with 5 players is already harder as someone pointed out earlier, because the gold is split 5 ways instead of 4. Now add +1 mob each round with 0 gold value, and if you happen to be as unlucky as us that in order to mitigate damage you have to kill it first/second, and it pays 0 gold, how on earth are you supposed to finish the first scene in max 3 rounds? Maybe I'm shortsighted on this one but I find it quite impossible. And I haven't even counted in the possible negative effects of the dragonfire cards.
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Rob Davis
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Jowanson wrote:
Now I'd like to ask this: playing with 5 players is already harder as someone pointed out earlier, because the gold is split 5 ways instead of 4.

Yes the gold is split 5 ways, but there is more of it. In Scene 1 there are 5 encounters awarding gold instead of the 4 you would have in a 4 player game.

Quote:
Now add +1 mob each round with 0 gold value, and if you happen to be as unlucky as us that in order to mitigate damage you have to kill it first/second, and it pays 0 gold, how on earth are you supposed to finish the first scene in max 3 rounds? Maybe I'm shortsighted on this one but I find it quite impossible. And I haven't even counted in the possible negative effects of the dragonfire cards.

Yes, 5 players is a bit harder. But as any Crossfire veteran will tell you, you've just got to play out the encounter. Don't just quit b/c things look bad. (Especially with the way Dragonfire awards XP!)

My group played a game last night that was a perfect example. This same scenario with 3 players. We crushed scenes one and two and entered scene 3 with the Dragonfire lvl only at 2! But things got bogged down and my fighter got Stunned. One of the guys joked about quitting, and the other joked about how horribly the next Dragonfire card was going to screw us. It was Dangerous Waters! I went from 0 to 5 HP, and one of the cards I drew from healing was Shield Wall. So instead of getting smashed in the face and going unconscious, I used my Shield to block all but 1 dmg from the 3 encounters facing me, which allowed us to hold on for one more turn (the 3 dmg from Dangerous Waters left me at 1) and win the game. It was awesome!
 
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The advantages of playing a Wizard???
- Cloud of Daggers (Assist) ability
- Extra Cantrips makes Lightning Bolt easier to play
- Specific Features that speed up deck cycling
- Being the character all encounters are drawn to by a specific Dragonfire Card (maybe YOU don't think that's an advantage, but your team mates will thank you)
- Your team will try to defeat your encounters early in order to keep you alive and unstunned

The differences are subtle, especially early in the campaign.
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