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Subject: The “Low Frustration Tolerance” House Rule rss

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Lon

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I shared this here elsewhere in a comment, but figured I’d codify it in Variants as a House Rule that people could refer to and discuss on its own merits.

I think it’s important to try to play each Adventure on the terms of the game as written. That said, like its predecessor Shadowrun: Crossfire, Dragonfire can be a real challenge, particularly when there are fewer than 4 characters. Some people only have so much frustration tolerance for starting over again and repeating, or grinding, or whatever else you want to call it. Even if the gameplay itself is fun. (Some people prefer the fun of progressing through the story, others the fun of making progressive attempts against a tough challenge.) To balance all of these valid considerations out, I propose the following:

Low Frustration Tolerance House Rule
When repeating a failed Adventure, give each character +1 starting gold for each previous failed attempt.

Which may be adjusted to

Extremely Low Frustration Tolerance House Rule
When repeating a failed Adventure, give each character +1 starting gold for each previous failed attempt. In addition, give each player a single bonus draw into their starting hand.
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Kevin
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I’m a fan of whatever variant it takes to keep this game at the table and provides your group the most enjoyment while keeping it challenging. I’m in the minority here though it appears.
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Lon

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Yeah, we had very limited timeline for having everyone together for Gloomhaven get togethers. So failed scenarios (maybe 5 out of 35 so far?) were not going to ruin it or result in narratively untenable repeats. If it was a very close loss, we just Mulliganed success. If we were still a ways from reaching the objective then we gave up our “per scenario” XP in exchange for the Mulliganed success.
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Slamin Perfect
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I find that the low-frustration rule is already built into the game with XP being gained for each scene started.
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Matthew Jones
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Slamin wrote:
I find that the low-frustration rule is already built into the game with XP being gained for each scene started.


Still can be pretty frustrating if you don't actually make it through said scene. Happened on my very first run in Shadowrun. Led with my elf, first three characters pulled dragonfire crossfire cards that basically sunk him in the first three player turns. Game over, man! Game over!

Now, to be fair, in addition to the +1 for each character, I also +1ed my knowledge about the game and don't lead with, employ, or even speak to elves in that game. laugh

Similar things can happen in Dragonfire, since the game is really SR:Crossfire with the word "Cross" crossed out and "dragon" written in, in crayon. (Man didn't have the right forms...)

Kcurtis: Count me in as a person who is willing to sacrifice a difficult rule for fun in my choice of recreational activities. Yes sometimes I use cheatcodes on my video games too. I want to see the story and I HATE grinding.
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Lionel
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Slamin wrote:
I find that the low-frustration rule is already built into the game with XP being gained for each scene started.


Grinding XP with failed quests is very slow, getting better upgrades can take 5 or more replays. The game will go out of the table for sure.

My group dropped Crossfire very fast for this reason.
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Lon

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Yeah, on about the 8th time playing Wasted by Ancient Tokens, when I had reached the first round of Scene 3 yet again and was instakilled by like 12 hp to the Ranger/Arcane and then the Rogue/Devotional took like 17, both of them already stunned/exhausted... it didn’t matter how many XP I had gained so far. In fact that kind of made it worse: What I knew was that being level 3 and still not having completed the first scenario of the main quest after 8 tries vs. the Tokenpocalypse was getting to be pretty un-fun. I did give it its due trying the right way... but I’m much more enjoying it now that I mostly able to complete by [EDIT] ATTEMPT 3 on a given Scenario.

Maybe if the multi-class Market Card addition had been a little beefier. (Might go do some run throughs with a kicked up multi-class House Rule to try... something like: if a character is multi-classed, replace 1 basic card of primary and secondary-class with a cost 3 Card from the Market in same class type. Again, I personally wouldn’t bring in such a rule until I had tried it as written and failed. YMMV.
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Lon

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Sopota wrote:
Slamin wrote:
I find that the low-frustration rule is already built into the game with XP being gained for each scene started.


Grinding XP with failed quests is very slow, getting better upgrades can take 5 or more replays. The game will go out of the table for sure.

My group dropped Crossfire very fast for this reason.


Yup, mine too, after about the 7th time restarting and never having made it to the finale.
 
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Andy Garvens
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I kinda like this idea. I might try suggesting this and seeing if I can get anybody to play with me again.
 
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B C Z
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Slamin wrote:
I find that the low-frustration rule is already built into the game with XP being gained for each scene started.


This, exactly.

1xp minimum per run - more likely 2xp or 3xp since losing on scene one should be an extremely rare occurrence.

Failure still gets you moving towards the next chosen Feature, and those Features can and will change the game.

The proposed variant is functionally giving players;
- at least 10xp (+1 gold) on first failure
- an uncountable amount of xp (more than +1 gold) since there are no Features that allow this (with the exception of specific classes or races)

It's a fairly significant boost. Are you denying players XP if they use these rules?

All that said, if you *have* to modify the game to keep your group happy, this is probably a better solution than removing content, especially since presumably the bonus reset after a victory.
 
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Andy Garvens
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byronczimmer wrote:
Slamin wrote:
I find that the low-frustration rule is already built into the game with XP being gained for each scene started.


This, exactly.

1xp minimum per run - more likely 2xp or 3xp since losing on scene one should be an extremely rare occurrence.

Failure still gets you moving towards the next chosen Feature, and those Features can and will change the game.

The proposed variant is functionally giving players;
- at least 10xp (+1 gold) on first failure
- an uncountable amount of xp (more than +1 gold) since there are no Features that allow this (with the exception of specific classes or races)

It's a fairly significant boost. Are you denying players XP if they use these rules?

All that said, if you *have* to modify the game to keep your group happy, this is probably a better solution than removing content, especially since presumably the bonus reset after a victory.


I was actually doing this wrong and was only awarding xp per scene completed. My group would actually have significantly more xp than I had thought.
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Nathan Huntley
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Lonfiction wrote:
Yeah, on about the 8th time playing Wasted by Ancient Tokens, when I had reached the first round of Scene 3 yet again and was instakilled by like 12 hp to the Ranger/Arcane and then the Rogue/Devotional took like 17, both of them already stunned/exhausted...


You shouldn't be Stunned coming in to Scene 3 because the Short Rest will have healed you for one. Similarly, you shouldn't be Exhausted after a Short Rest unless you were Unconscious beforehand. So even if you were Stunned at the end of Scene 2 you'll at least be unexhausted and on 1 hp at the start of the scene, giving you at least one full round before you get finished off and the death spiral begins. Probably wouldn't save the day in the example provided, but worth bearing in mind.
 
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Lon

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Quote:


You shouldn't be Stunned coming in to Scene 3 because the Short Rest will have healed you for one. Similarly, you shouldn't be Exhausted after a Short Rest unless you were Unconscious beforehand. So even if you were Stunned at the end of Scene 2 you'll at least be unexhausted and on 1 hp at the start of the scene, giving you at least one full round before you get finished off and the death spiral begins. Probably wouldn't save the day in the example provided, but worth bearing in mind.


You are of course correct in those details. I was posting quickly from a meal where I should have been paying attention to people at the table and so rushed the particulars—-but not the spirit of my earlier experiences. Most of the deaths were second round of scene 3, after being stunned in the first round of Scene 3. It just seems like it happened earlier because the death spiral was already locked in and clearly visible when Scene 2 ended.
 
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Lon

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kcurtis wrote:
I’m a fan of whatever variant it takes to keep this game at the table and provides your group the most enjoyment while keeping it challenging. I’m in the minority here though it appears.



FWIW, I think the real minority overall is people who enjoy gameplay that consists of “restarting failed levels” over and over (I.e. people with a high frustration tolerance). However, this particular board does have a very vocal cadre of people with that particular preference. Probably because the true majority simply give up and move on without comment or looking back or trying to improve the experience. Which is a shame, because there is so much to enjoy about Dragonfire.

All that to the side... I’m pretty sure that if someone were to offer up an “Abandon All Hope” House Rule, I’m confident the same folks who pipe up at every whispered hint of making it easier are people of consistency who would also bristle at the suggestion of a House Rule in the other direction. Meanwhile, us more easygoing types would just ignore a House Rule we had no interest in.

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B C Z
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300+ ratings at 8+

Not sure that counts as a 'minority'.
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Slamin Perfect
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Lonfiction wrote:
[q="kcurtis"]All that to the side... I’m pretty sure that if someone were to offer up an “Abandon All Hope” House Rule, I’m confident the same folks who pipe up at every whispered hint of making it easier are people of consistency who would also bristle at the suggestion of a House Rule in the other direction. Meanwhile, us more easygoing types would just ignore a House Rule we had no interest in.


I think it more likely that they would ignore the house rule that wasn't tested by the designers and play-testers of the game.
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Kevin
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This game can be enjoyed by both types of players: “hardcore strictly by the rules as designed” types, AND the more “easy going let’s make the game more fun for our group” types.

I say let’s co-exist and respect both sides.

It’s a great game and should be enjoyed by all who have an interest in a deck builder with a D&D skin. Keep the game alive at your table however you choose to and let’s all hope for more and more content supporting it down the road.
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Kevin
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Which variant are u saying would ruin the game entirely? I’m so confused. The one Lon suggested in his original post about an extra gold?
 
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Lon

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byronczimmer wrote:
300+ ratings at 8+

Not sure that counts as a 'minority'.


To be clear, by “minority overall” I meant a minority of people who enjoy playing board and card games. Of which 300 is definitely a minority.

Not people who like to post reviews on this one particular site, of which 300 is still a minority.

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Lon

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Slamin wrote:


I think it more likely that they would ignore the house rule that wasn't tested by the designers and play-testers of the game.


Not trying to stir up the hornet’s nest, guy, but the pattern of responses in this forum, even when carefully placed here under the “Variants” subthread, seems to indicate “ignore the House Rule” is a pretty unlikely outcome.

::shrugs::

At any rate, I enjoy the game, and enjoy talking about the game here with you all. I like it as written, and I also like it with minor tweaks to make it more enjoyable to a broader audience who’d otherwise abandon it unplayed because of the difficulty level. I’m cool with however you want to enjoy it., too. Peace.

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Lon

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byronczimmer wrote:

All that said, if you *have* to modify the game to keep your group happy, this is probably a better solution than removing content, especially since presumably the bonus reset after a victory.


I appreciate you noticing the goal to be minimally invasive and “reset.” Really, at root this is offered as a possibility for players or groups who just can’t abide more than 2 or 3 times of starting the same level over.

Regarding the denial of XP question: I personally don’t plan to. I’ll let /encourage players to self-deny xp in order to not have to play campaign adventures at higher level, or maybe so they don’t miss out on that level’s Dungeon Delve if the order gets wacky. But the alternative to that is grinding out Adventures at a higher level and therefore getting reduced XP for them anyway. At least with the Low Frustration Tolerance House Rule, the number of times restarting the same adventure over and over is reduced, which is probably a net wash compared to playing Wastes of Ancient Empire for the millionth (hyperbole-not an exact playcount) time at level 3 and then Rolling in to Level 4 somewhere in the middle of replaying Bodyguards some exaggerated number of times.
 
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Principia

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Lonfiction wrote:
kcurtis wrote:
I’m a fan of whatever variant it takes to keep this game at the table and provides your group the most enjoyment while keeping it challenging. I’m in the minority here though it appears.



FWIW, I think the real minority overall is people who enjoy gameplay that consists of “restarting failed levels” over and over (I.e. people with a high frustration tolerance). However, this particular board does have a very vocal cadre of people with that particular preference. Probably because the true majority simply give up and move on without comment or looking back or trying to improve the experience. Which is a shame, because there is so much to enjoy about Dragonfire.

All that to the side... I’m pretty sure that if someone were to offer up an “Abandon All Hope” House Rule, I’m confident the same folks who pipe up at every whispered hint of making it easier are people of consistency who would also bristle at the suggestion of a House Rule in the other direction. Meanwhile, us more easygoing types would just ignore a House Rule we had no interest in.


An official, playtested choice for making the game harder already exists: the Optional Scenarios on the Adventure cards provide mechanics for making the Adventures more difficult, for bonus XP at the end. We have yet to play with those Optional Rules, whereas in Shadowrun: Crossfire we did so very frequently due to the differences in how over-level play was treated.

If you were to insist on playing Monopoly with house rules where you don't bother with the auction mechanic, and where all fines and taxes go in the center of the board and whoever lands on Free Parking gets to scoop up that money, because you find that makes the experience more enjoyable, that's your option, but it doesn't make the people who play the game as intended humorless "hardcore" funsponges, nor does it mean you're actually playing Monopoly.

The possibility of failure is baked into this game, as it is with D&D in general unless you've always played with extremely lighthanded DMs, and I feel it is dealt with a lot more encouragingly than it was in Crossfire, where the usual end result of a blown run would be "better luck next time, chummer."

One of the key elements of most co-op games is the ever-present specter of the consequences of failure... if you lose at Pandemic, congratulations, the world just ended. Here, it just means the players get to try again, moving forward with lessons learned and more XP. I find the play of the game itself interesting and fun enough to keep going. If I didn't, I wouldn't play.

There are games I find dreary and annoying, and my solution to not liking how those games were designed is to not play them, no matter how much I might like the themeing in theory, or whether or not I win them. There are games I can consistently win that I can't stand. There are other also really good D&D themed boardgames on the market that people who can't get into Dragonfire might have a better time with, like the adventures-in-a-box games from the Dungeon Command line.

I don't presume to speak for any of the other players who prefer to play this game by the rules, but I find it somewhat disheartening to see so much effort invested in what comes off to me as trying to convince others it's not worth playing Dragonfire on its own terms in order to justify a personal decision.
 
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Lon

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For the record, I personally don’t think anybody here is a “hardcore, humorless fun sponge.” (Though that wording made me laugh out loud so hard it scared the animals.)

I don’t find the same things disheartening as you, obvy. And I also don’t presume to speak for others with an interest in homeruling the game to better meet table expectations.
That said, I do think it seems a little weird and compulsive the way so many on this particular forum go out of their way into a “Variants” subfolder and rail against the existence of Variants on every thread that appears. I get it in the other threads, it’s all about message control and the One Pure Way out there. But seriously I’m a little—or a lot—baffled at this pressing need to have one’s opinion that there shouldn’t be any Variants heard on the threads of a subfolder labeled “Variants”—-effectively drowning out (rather than talking about) the advantages vs. trade offs and intent of any proposed variant.
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Kevin
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Principia wrote:
I find it somewhat disheartening to see so much effort invested in what comes off to me as trying to convince others it's not worth playing Dragonfire on its own terms in order to justify a personal decision.


It’s not worth it to many gamers to play certain games repeatedly if the win rate is too low, or if the difficulty level becomes unenjoyable due to multiple losses in a row. They simply move on to other games. In an effort to keep this game at the table, the OP proposed a very good variant option to assist with eventual success.

Remember this is the Variants section of the Dragonfire forum. Proposing variants here is encouraged, that’s why we are here.
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Principia

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Lonfiction wrote:
For the record, I personally don’t think anybody here is a “hardcore, humorless fun sponge.” (Though that wording made me laugh out loud so hard it scared the animals.)

I don’t find the same things disheartening as you, obvy. And I also don’t presume to speak for others with an interest in homeruling the game to better meet table expectations.
That said, I do think it seems a little weird and compulsive the way so many on this particular forum go out of their way into a “Variants” subfolder and rail against the existence of Variants on every thread that appears. I get it in the other threads, it’s all about message control and the One Pure Way out there. But seriously I’m a little—or a lot—baffled at this pressing need to have one’s opinion that there shouldn’t be any Variants heard on the threads of a subfolder labeled “Variants”—-effectively drowning out (rather than talking about) the advantages vs. trade offs and intent of any proposed variant.

This is the first time I've spoken on any of the threads about house-ruling/character-buffing in order to better please the folks at one's local table. I suspect part of the frustration that manifests itself as comments in what started in the general forums and have become Variant threads is because many folks have invested a fair amount of time in trying to help make sure people are playing the game based on how it's intended to function. There are a number of "it's too hard" comments that have turned out to be because people were doing something wrong that was making the game more difficult for them than it is supposed to be. I would rather make sure folks aren't hamstringing themselves than go "you know what, you're right, it's too hard, let's start everyone off at level 2 and with more money" or "let's remove a bunch of the pain in the butt cards."

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
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