Last weekend we played our first session of the order of Vampire Hunters (VH) with full 6 people using the night is darker (NID) expansion, so we played the first hunt of the NID Rulebook.
First and strongest complaint:
During the setup it appeared that it was very difficult to distinguish the cards from each other. All cards share the same image on their back.
On the second view they have a border of a different color and the writing of the card type has this same color, but still there are multiple card types with this same color. For example Items, Equipment and Skills all have the same back with the VH team, green border, green writing, just differing by the written word "Item", "Equipment" and "Skill". Unfortunately the not very readable (but cool looking) font isn't helping here either.
I had to add cards from NID to the base game decks (day and night activation). I quickly searched the NID card faces for a sign to distinguish the NID from the base cards, but didn't find one. So if want to restore the decks to base game I have a real problem, but since I'm not planning to do that it's no big deal.
Except these issues the setup was no problem.
Then starting the game.
We planned our first moves using the Extractor, but just from quickly scanning the description it was not clear how to use the weapon "harpoon". Also we couldn't find a card named "harpoon". Finally we read the example on the next page and could hardly believe, that harpooning a vampire didn't involve a dice roll!
Additionally placing the winch and grabbing the harpoon are FREE actions. Only harpooning and extracting combined costs an action. This enabled us theorhetically to use extraction 6 times at 6 different places in one turn for 6 free (but loud) vampire kills by one action per hunter. In the end we used it 4 times in the first turn iirc. This should be a bit more restricted imho.
When this "how to use extraction" mystery was solved VH gameplay was flowing. The hunter turns with their action/movement point system went really well, but this was no surprise since this is 90% Zombicide Black Plague gameplay.
The Vampire Activation cards turned out to be very clear too. The last section is nearly never used in daytime, because it only affects stalking vampires (vampires not in melee range), but at day you sneak into the den and surprise the vampires sleeping, so all vampires will be in fighting range or 1 area away and sleeping.
This changed at night when all vampires awoke and got closer every hunter activation.
But all in all the Activation cards we faced were too similar to each other.
1. Attribute Test / empty
2. V move to active hunter
3. V in melee range attack
4. Stalking V move closer
This made the impression that steps 2 to 4 could have been made to fixed behaviour rules.
I wished there were more diverse behaviour, granted there is the possibility that there is indeed more variation in both activation decks, but anyway not in the cards we faced this hunt.
The Vampires were no real threats. The "base" Vampires have an average of 2 life points (or 1 LP, 1 Shield). We went into the den with double teams and emptying the first rooms was child play, but hey, that's how it should be when trained Vampire Hunters surprise sleeping Vampires with harpoon and extractor, shoudn't it?
But even later when one hunter got separated with 4 Vampires on his neck, he was hardly harmed. With the two attack protections of the armour plus the quite high amount of hitpoints the hunters had a comfortable cache.
We didn't run into an elder Vampire. When the awakening happened an elder appeard in an outer room far away and he coudn't reach the hunters before they completed their mission.
We sucessfully ended the first hunt without much problems, but it was a "rescue item" mission and, of course, the 1st mission of a campaign. If it would have been a "fight the master of the den" mission it could have been more problematic.
Being used to playing pure coops I expected a harder challange, but we just scratched the surface of a campaign.
It also felt strange to just end the mission successfully as soon as the rescue item left the den, leaving a mass of vampires behind we could have fought since we all were quite healthy. Perhaps another secondary objective to kill at least a certain amount of enemies could have helped.
Additionally I'm not a fan of a rule like "if you reach turn 6, you lose", when it is not explained by the mission circumstances (e.g. den will collapse). Here in VH it is a general rule to lose when a certain turn is reached and I hate situations like "Hm, we are healthy, killed masses of vampires, the situation is under control, but now we lost because we reached turn 8 and rules say we've lost now!" :-(
If such a situation will appear, we will definitely play on until all killed or being killed.
We never used a combined attack (CA), because it wasn't necessary. But imho they could have been designed much more clearly arranged. The situation when the CA can be used is described in plain text such as (not exact quote, from memory):
"The first hunter kicks debris away to make a clear shot possible. The active hunter has to be 1 area away using a ranged weapon while an inactive hunter has to be in melee range to the vampire."
This makes it hard to see your option with a quick look at the card... and there are multiple of them (about 8 I guess). Much better would have been extra fields for active and inactive hunter like:
- flavour text
- active H: Ranged attack
- inactive H: Melee range
(plus usual fields focus cost, success bonus, failure penalty)
In addition they seemed too expensive focus-cost-wise. They cost 2 or more focus divided between involved hunters, but most vampires only grant 1 focus when killed. So these CAs can only be used effectively on elders or lords.
Imho it would have been far cooler and more tactical, if the CAs would be worth it for most vampires, so you constantly try to create situations where you can use one. This would also strengthen the coop aspect of this game. Perhaps we'll houserule this.
We enjoyed the game and will play it again. The theme is great, the mechanics are solid and there is definitely much potential for a lot of more fun (Skills, Relic building, using Combined attacks).
Since this is a first impression of just a first mission I will not give a rating number.
PS: If playtime is interesting for you, we played about 2 hours and didn't do the Downtime Phase (Buy Equipment and skills after hunt).
With setup and tear down it was about 3 hours, since the game components were new to me, I had this cardback distinguishing issue and I had to mix in the NID components.
- Last edited Mon Feb 26, 2018 4:42 pm (Total Number of Edits: 6)
- Posted Mon Feb 26, 2018 11:25 am
I agree with the card backs. They are really hard to distinguish, if you are new to the game and slightly overwhelmed by the plethora of cards.
Maybe a selfmade deckholder solution with labels would help.
We played a 4 player hunt yesterday and got obliterated:
One player unconscious/out of game, two other players hardly alive and, of course, the time limit not met in the end.
Lack of difficulty was definitely not the issue during our gameplay session. Gametime roughly 2 hours.
Still, we all had fun, even the girls. Maybe it's the theme, I don't know.
We need a FAQ/Errata. A mission/hunt/item/character creation kit would be great, too. And Rules translations, please.
- Last edited Tue Feb 27, 2018 5:45 am (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Tue Feb 27, 2018 2:47 am
"Additionally I'm not a fan of a rule like "if you reach turn 6, you lose", when it is not explained by the mission circumstances (e.g. den will collapse). Here in VH it is a general rule to lose when a certain turn is reached and I hate situations like "Hm, we are healthy, killed masses of vampires, the situation is under control, but now we lost because we reached turn 8 and rules say we've lost now!" :-(
If such a situation will appear, we will definitely play on until all killed or being killed."
This is my major complainment so far in one mission we had a situation where the elder was behind a door. We opened the door and attacked him and time ran out.
We lost our first mission (4 Player) because of the time.
You are not allowed to use the extractor in the first misson as far as I know.
I dont have the game to check out the scenarios but I am going to do the same thing a 4 year old would when i loose do to time,. USE MY IMAGINATION... and think of some reason based on the narrative of the scenario that I am playing.
- Last edited Thu Mar 1, 2018 1:27 am (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Wed Feb 28, 2018 11:35 pm
I played the first two 6-six-player games yesterday. I'm impressed you managed to get through so easily.
But then again, I feel like a lot comes down to luck (order of the cards, esp. activation cards).
I played a 3-player-game before and that was ~fine. We lost on time and time is the most restraining factor in the game. But it didn't feel unfair. Yesterday, though, it did. I thought about why this was the case. And I think it's because of how many enemies appear. I get it that the amount of enemies scale linear. Meaning, with just the core game, you draw a card and roughly spawn as many vampires as there are players (in a 4-player-game, you spawn about 3 to 4 enemies). With the changed mechanism in a 5- or 6-player-game (drawing two cards, not spawning everything from the core card), you roughly end up with 4 to 6 enemies in a room, maybe the average is 5. But things are fine, unless you need to draw Terror(?) card, in which case you'll get fucked right away.
Moving into and discover a new room will cost one our actions (if your turn began right in front of the door, otherwise you'll have one action left). You'll be able to dispatch 1 or 2 vampires this way. Leaving a lot of them.
You say that drawing a Day Activation card is not threat at all - I agree...unless it is one that wakes up all vampires. These often spawn one additional vampire, so you end up with about 5 or 6 enemies in the room which will all close in and all attack you. We played the very first scenario (Hunt 1) and the first three players entering the map got torn to shreds. I kid you not. They faced down these 'about 5 vampires', all woken up (back luck drawing the 'spawn one + wake up' cards), usually Thralls, Warriors and Upyrs (3 dice each, hitting on 5+). The very first turn, the very first player and he ended with a half dead hunter. Armor gone and 4 out of 8 life left. The two who came after didn't fare any better. Missing most of the attacks and then also getting attacked by all these enemies. I was number three, stepping one area into map (1 action), making two ranged attacks (killing one vampire, injuring another), getting attacked by one newly spawned warrior + all 4 enemies left. 5 out 9 life left (armor gone, of course). So we started the game with 3 people half dead. The other three managed to kill most of the enemies but then were heavily injured in the next rooms.
The first night round saw 4 out of 6 hunters getting turned. At that point, we were frustrated. Playing on felt like a drag. The turned hunters were unable to achieve their goals (because the Compulsion cards required them to do to much distractive things, not enough actions left to actually get to the lever) and of course the remaining two hunters couldn't achieve anything, facing around 20 enemies on the whole board.
Second game wasn't much better. At least, the 'spawn + wake up' weren't the first cards we drew (yay!). I get the feeling that the sheer amount of enemies spawned in 6-player-game is too much / doesn't scale well. I get it that more players get more actions and more attacks and can wipe out more enemies. But with how the activation cards are designed, you usually end up receiving all attacks from surrounding enemies and other players won't help you. And tanking ~6 attacks in one round is just too much.
- Last edited Sat Mar 3, 2018 11:15 am (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Sat Mar 3, 2018 11:11 am