GeekGold Bonus for All Supporters at year's end: 1000!
8,218 Supporters
$15 min for supporter badge & GeekGold bonus
20 Days Left

Support:

Recommend
 
 Thumb up
 Hide
18 Posts

Dragonfire» Forums » General

Subject: Is Terror in the Catacombs possible with only two characters? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Keith Jones
msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
In Terror in the Catacombs, scene one begins with the characters split between two locations. The players have one round before each character gets another encounter in front of it. The locations are sequestered from each other, so that (unlike normal rules) the players can in no way interact with each others' encounters or location. You can only help someone at another location (by moving to that location) once there is no encounter in front of you.

With 4 or more players, this means that at least two people can still help each other, and moreover, there are 4 turns of damage to the locations before the encounters come out at the end of round 1.

With 2 players, this means that essentially for the entire first scene, each player is totally on their own. First, this really sucks the fun out of the game, since it's antithetical to the way the game is meant to be played. Second, it seems to make the game impossible at 2 players. One player is not equipped to handle a location and a monster at the same time without assistance. Leveling to level 3 doesn't provide any particular help with this, unless I've really missed something about leveling. (If I had my full complement of starting hand, maybe(?), because I started with training; but of course both locations require the players to discard cards.) The 2 gold Iget from defeating the Castle Prison means I'm left to deal with the next encounter with nothing more than basic cards and a 5-gold purchase (or a 2 and 3 purchase), given my 3 starting gold.

Out of about 6 plays, the only time we even made it to Scene 2 was when I decided to relax the rules to say that once you defeat the location, you can then aid at the other location. (We did utilize this relaxation, but we probably would have made it anyway, this time, 1 or 2 rounds later.)

Then Scene 2 comes around and we have #players + 2 cards (including the slaad portal). At 4-6, this is maybe not bad, but at 2 players, this is two cards per player, one of which does damage to every player and has maybe a 25% chance of summoning a new monster each round. We were incredibly lucky that in about 5 rounds, the portal never summoned. Moreover, the Rakshasa never banished either of us. We still got destroyed. I'm lucky if I have been able to spend a total of 10 gold before this scene comes up.

Catalyst, this is a great game, but please spend some time revising your scenarios so that they're balanced at all player counts. Why on earth were the Portcullis and Terror in the Catacobs published with the game, when it's clear they were never playtested with all player counts? I'm really, really, hoping the expansion scenarios feel more balanced.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
B C Z
United States
Reston
Virginia
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
To answer the question posed by the thread title: Yes, it's possible. I've done it with at least 3 duos.

A few tips:

1: Everyone takes the Feature Tranquility (10xp). This is temporary and will be removed/covered later, but it's critical to this adventure. Training (10xp) also helps, getting an extra card in hand. Between these two Features, you're up 2 cards from your normal starting hand and then down whatever the discard value is.

2: Your Swap out card (or cards) (rules, p27/p28) need to be for the color of the card you'll be landing in at the start, especially if that is your 'off' color. Also, your swap-out card should be worth 2 damage at a minimum.
Level 3: Flaming Oil or Augury are good choices
Level 4: Command Presence or Spiritual Weapon are good choices

3: Expect to take a hit or two. If you cannot defeat the location on turn one, do NOTHING to it and wait. It may be more important to kill your encounter than the location and you need your full hand. Only play to the location if you need to do so in order to get to 3 cards in hand to enable a draw.

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Principia

Virginia
msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Since I see your original question has already been addressed, I wanted to chime in on Portcullis.

Portcullis is the Dragonfire version of the Shadowrun Crossfire mission "Close the Portal," which is recommended to be run by 4 players. I've found that being able to win Portcullis as 2 players requires great luck in either the encounters you're dealt, or in the encounters building up at the Portcullis. So far, the only times we've won Portcullis have been because the encounters we got were so weenie that we were able to beat them up and immediately bumrush the Portcullis, or because the cards building up on the other side of the Portcullis happened to turn up all 4 colors almost straight away.

There are definitely some Adventures that could use more specific and meaningful modifications for 2 players, and I hope Catalyst takes the feedback folks here and elsewhere have provided to make sure all of the content in future expansions are viable for 2 players.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Keith Jones
msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
byronczimmer wrote:
To answer the question posed by the thread title: Yes, it's possible. I've done it with at least 3 duos.

A few tips:

1: Everyone takes the Feature Tranquility (10xp). This is temporary and will be removed/covered later, but it's critical to this adventure. Training (10xp) also helps, getting an extra card in hand. Between these two Features, you're up 2 cards from your normal starting hand and then down whatever the discard value is.

2: Your Swap out card (or cards) (rules, p27/p28) need to be for the color of the card you'll be landing in at the start, especially if that is your 'off' color. Also, your swap-out card should be worth 2 damage at a minimum.
Level 3: Flaming Oil or Augury are good choices
Level 4: Command Presence or Spiritual Weapon are good choices

3: Expect to take a hit or two. If you cannot defeat the location on turn one, do NOTHING to it and wait. It may be more important to kill your encounter than the location and you need your full hand. Only play to the location if you need to do so in order to get to 3 cards in hand to enable a draw.



On #2, I'm confused. This is a level 3 adventure, and we have level 3 characters. So according to the Rulebook, we do not use the "Modifying Adventure Level" rules and therefore do not swap in anything except Bless, since swapping in higher levels cards falls under these rules. Am I missing something?

I also really don't like the idea of having to take a specific feature just to overcome one adventure. Certainly that couldn't have been the designers intentions. (I know you're just trying to be helpful, and I appreciate that. I'm not trying to argue with you about this, just saying that I probably won't take your advice on Tranquility, and if it's really the case that everyone needs it to have a fair shake at this scenario, I think that stinks. Given how situational most of the features are, and how the scenarios are very different situations, it's somewhat unsurprising though. I just hate the idea of struggling with a scenario a bunch of times and then having to pour over the features to figure out if any will help in that temporary instance; or alternatively, having to have encyclopedic knowledge of the features. Just doesn't strike me as the design intention of the game, and doesn't strike me as fun gameplay.)
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
B C Z
United States
Reston
Virginia
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
keithjones wrote:
Quote:
2: Your Swap out card (or cards) (rules, p27/p28) need to be for the color of the card you'll be landing in at the start, especially if that is your 'off' color. Also, your swap-out card should be worth 2 damage at a minimum.
Level 3: Flaming Oil or Augury are good choices
Level 4: Command Presence or Spiritual Weapon are good choices


On #2, I'm confused. This is a level 3 adventure, and we have level 3 characters. So according to the Rulebook, we do not use the "Modifying Adventure Level" rules and therefore do not swap in anything except Bless, since swapping in higher levels cards falls under these rules. Am I missing something?


They are separate sections - the font is hard to see, but 2p/3p swap ins are independent of having to raise the level of an adventure.

Quote:
I also really don't like the idea of having to take a specific feature just to overcome one adventure. Certainly that couldn't have been the designers intentions. (I know you're just trying to be helpful, and I appreciate that. I'm not trying to argue with you about this, just saying that I probably won't take your advice on Tranquility, and if it's really the case that everyone needs it to have a fair shake at this scenario, I think that stinks. Given how situational most of the features are, and how the scenarios are very different situations, it's somewhat unsurprising though. I just hate the idea of struggling with a scenario a bunch of times and then having to pour over the features to figure out if any will help in that temporary instance; or alternatively, having to have encyclopedic knowledge of the features. Just doesn't strike me as the design intention of the game, and doesn't strike me as fun gameplay.)


In games with more players, Tranquility isn't as necessary because you have 2 players in each environment, twice the hit points and a bit more time.

2p is a different beast. Every time we fail, we analyze what went wrong and determine if it was a bad beat, a bad decision or misuse of the current XP/Feature load. Sometimes we believe that the Feature load out is good, and stick with it. Other times, we realize that a feature didn't get used and we change some variables. Repeatedly hammering with the same Features and hoping for a change in the other variables, when you can control your Feature load doesn't stink, it's the design.

As you said, many of the Features are Situational. TRANQUILITY, if you KNOW you are going to discard a card (or two) on the first round of the game is equivalent to TRAINING in terms of first round damage. To me, it's no different then getting your butt handed to you in an adventure and then, after licking your wounds, changing a few things about yourself before returning to the same situation.

One of the things I recommend when having the party split into forced discard scenarios is to be Tranquil.

Please share other solutions if you find them, I'm always up for learning new tips and tricks.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Principia

Virginia
msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
keithjones wrote:
I also really don't like the idea of having to take a specific feature just to overcome one adventure. Certainly that couldn't have been the designers intentions. (I know you're just trying to be helpful, and I appreciate that. I'm not trying to argue with you about this, just saying that I probably won't take your advice on Tranquility, and if it's really the case that everyone needs it to have a fair shake at this scenario, I think that stinks. Given how situational most of the features are, and how the scenarios are very different situations, it's somewhat unsurprising though. I just hate the idea of struggling with a scenario a bunch of times and then having to pour over the features to figure out if any will help in that temporary instance; or alternatively, having to have encyclopedic knowledge of the features. Just doesn't strike me as the design intention of the game, and doesn't strike me as fun gameplay.)

Problem-solving in terms of what Features you choose to take into the game, which of your Magic Items you choose to bring with you, etc., is a significant portion of the gameplay to me. Very few of the Features in the game are considered permanent (e.g., the Warlock's Patron, the Ranger's Chosen Enemy [though taking that Feature is a choice]), so yes, the intent is to be able to swap powers around as needed. If every scenario were solvable by bringing in any random assortment of Features and my deck construction both before and during the game made no difference, to me that would indicate that the distinctions between the Features, characters, Magic Items, and Market cards are effectively meaningless. The intent is to fail once or maybe twice and then make adjustments, versus running into the same brick wall over and over. That would definitely be un-fun.

Set knowledge is helpful to almost any game, and that's true here as well. Trudging back and forth through the stickers did annoy the crap out of me when the game first came out, which is why I made the Features booklets, and probably why Nachofan made his even-more-comprehensive spreadsheet (which includes Market cards, Encounters, etc., on top of the Features). It's not necessary to have all of the Features for all of the classes memorized; I'm probably more familiar with them than many, after having put the booklets together, but I hardly have them tattooed on my brain.

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Keith Jones
msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I guess there is a big piece that I was forgetting, regarding the features: it's about adding the total cost, so you can swap in a 10xp on top of another 10xp "at no charge". The only issue is that the supply of any given sticker is extremely limited, so that you can only "swap" something out a few of times before it stops existing (or you spend another $20 another copy of the heroes expansion).
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Principia

Virginia
msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
keithjones wrote:
I guess there is a big piece that I was forgetting, regarding the features: it's about adding the total cost, so you can swap in a 10xp on top of another 10xp "at no charge". The only issue is that the supply of any given sticker is extremely limited, so that you can only "swap" something out a few of times before it stops existing (or you spend another $20 another copy of the heroes expansion).

There are several threads on what folks use in lieu of stickers; we use Post-It tape that we write on, but others have more elaborate solutions.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Lawson
United Kingdom
Yateley
Hampshire
flag msg tools
designer
Principia wrote:
keithjones wrote:
I guess there is a big piece that I was forgetting, regarding the features: it's about adding the total cost, so you can swap in a 10xp on top of another 10xp "at no charge". The only issue is that the supply of any given sticker is extremely limited, so that you can only "swap" something out a few of times before it stops existing (or you spend another $20 another copy of the heroes expansion).

There are several threads on what folks use in lieu of stickers; we use Post-It tape that we write on, but others have more elaborate solutions.

I prefer to stick the stickers on Post-It tape.

That way it looks good (since you are using the actual Feature stickers) but they can be removed and re-used thanks to the Post-It tape.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Keith Jones
msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
byronczimmer wrote:
keithjones wrote:
Quote:
2: Your Swap out card (or cards) (rules, p27/p28) need to be for the color of the card you'll be landing in at the start, especially if that is your 'off' color. Also, your swap-out card should be worth 2 damage at a minimum.
Level 3: Flaming Oil or Augury are good choices
Level 4: Command Presence or Spiritual Weapon are good choices


On #2, I'm confused. This is a level 3 adventure, and we have level 3 characters. So according to the Rulebook, we do not use the "Modifying Adventure Level" rules and therefore do not swap in anything except Bless, since swapping in higher levels cards falls under these rules. Am I missing something?


They are separate sections - the font is hard to see, but 2p/3p swap ins are independent of having to raise the level of an adventure.



Looking at Page 27, the "Two- and Three- Player Games" font is exactly the same as "Five- and Six- Player Games", "Additional Modifications", and "Additional XP", all slightly smaller (at 1/8") than section header "Modifying Adventure Levels" (just over, but clearly over, 1/8"), implying they would all be subsections in this section, and that they only apply if the party level is higher than the adventure level. I just pulled out a measuring tape to check. The "Building the Market" section is the next section with font size the same as "Modifying Adventure Levels".

Moreover, in the intro paragraph to "Modifying Adventure Levels" it uses the phrase "at higher Adventure levels" to indicate that the player level is higher than the adventure level, and this same phrase is used in the second paragraph of the "Two- and Three- Player Game" (sub?)section.

I would love to hear that I'm interpreting this wrong, as you say, and that whenever our characters are level X in a level X adventure, we can swap in a cost X card; but do you have verification from the designer that this is the intention in the rules? (I ask because I know you have been in communication with them on a variety of things like this.)

I admit it seems pretty weird that you would only gain the "swap in" benefit when your characters are alreadysomehow more powerful than the adventure assumes --- going from no added benefit to suddenly having a free cost 4 card seems a little stark when balanced by only increasing the dragonfire level by 1.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Keith Jones
msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Principia wrote:
keithjones wrote:
I guess there is a big piece that I was forgetting, regarding the features: it's about adding the total cost, so you can swap in a 10xp on top of another 10xp "at no charge". The only issue is that the supply of any given sticker is extremely limited, so that you can only "swap" something out a few of times before it stops existing (or you spend another $20 another copy of the heroes expansion).

There are several threads on what folks use in lieu of stickers; we use Post-It tape that we write on, but others have more elaborate solutions.


Yeah, ultimately, I think we'll do this.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael Kindt Dalzen
United States
Seattle
Washington
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I agree with you that I’m not a fan of changing Features just to address a specific Adventure. Contrary to other posters here and elsewhere, I absolutely don’t think that it is the intended design or balance for the game. Yes, you may cover Features. No, it wasn’t intended that you do this constantly or trivially, especially as side grades. If you like it and it helps you enjoy the game, by all means do it. However, it isn’t necessary.

We were able to complete Terror in the Catacombs in our 2p campaign with a Devotion Beastmaster and a Deception Wizard. I’ll have to look back and see if I can remember some of our specific strategies for the Adventure. I know I had Tranquility at one point but covered over it before this Adventure and cursed myself a bit as it seemed like it might have been helpful. I know we sacrificed the Halfling late in the game by allowing him to go Unconscious to remove his Location from play.

The rule about swapping in cards is absolutely not clear from the RAW. As written, you should not swap if undertaking a Level 3 Adventure at Level 3. However, Jay has clarified here on these forums that the 2p/3p swaps were intended to be separate from the rules on playing higher level Adventures and that you should always take the swap in 2/3p games when undertaking Adventures past Level 1. This helps, but is not essential to success. We hadn’t seen Jay’s errata at the time and played this Adventure without the 2/3p swaps.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Keith Jones
msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
daskindt wrote:
I agree with you that I’m not a fan of changing Features just to address a specific Adventure. Contrary to other posters here and elsewhere, I absolutely don’t think that it is the intended design or balance for the game. Yes, you may cover Features. No, it wasn’t intended that you do this constantly or trivially, especially as side grades. If you like it and it helps you enjoy the game, by all means do it. However, it isn’t necessary.

We were able to complete Terror in the Catacombs in our 2p campaign with a Devotion Beastmaster and a Deception Wizard. I’ll have to look back and see if I can remember some of our specific strategies for the Adventure. I know I had Tranquility at one point but covered over it before this Adventure and cursed myself a bit as it seemed like it might have been helpful. I know we sacrificed the Halfling late in the game by allowing him to go Unconscious to remove his Location from play.

The rule about swapping in cards is absolutely not clear from the RAW. As written, you should not swap if undertaking a Level 3 Adventure at Level 3. However, Jay has clarified here on these forums that the 2p/3p swaps were intended to be separate from the rules on playing higher level Adventures and that you should always take the swap in 2/3p games when undertaking Adventures past Level 1. This helps, but is not essential to success. We hadn’t seen Jay’s errata at the time and played this Adventure without the 2/3p swaps.


Thanks for the clarification from the designer, that's very helpful.

Regarding swapping features, if we swap them out all the time, then features really aren't about character development, which is how you would think about them in a typical RPG, and certainly how I envisioned them for Dragonfire. But taking Dragonfire for what it is (a great puzzle game, with a campaign built on top of it, as opposed to a puzzly RPG), it might make more sense for gameplay to just always swap for what you need. Of course, this makes the discussion about "saving" XP for a feature moot, since if stickers aren't limited, you might as well always spend as much XP as you can, for each adventure.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
B C Z
United States
Reston
Virginia
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
keithjones wrote:
byronczimmer wrote:
keithjones wrote:
Quote:
2: Your Swap out card (or cards) (rules, p27/p28) need to be for the color of the card you'll be landing in at the start, especially if that is your 'off' color. Also, your swap-out card should be worth 2 damage at a minimum.
Level 3: Flaming Oil or Augury are good choices
Level 4: Command Presence or Spiritual Weapon are good choices


On #2, I'm confused. This is a level 3 adventure, and we have level 3 characters. So according to the Rulebook, we do not use the "Modifying Adventure Level" rules and therefore do not swap in anything except Bless, since swapping in higher levels cards falls under these rules. Am I missing something?


They are separate sections - the font is hard to see, but 2p/3p swap ins are independent of having to raise the level of an adventure.



Looking at Page 27, the "Two- and Three- Player Games" font is exactly the same as "Five- and Six- Player Games", "Additional Modifications", and "Additional XP", all slightly smaller (at 1/8") than section header "Modifying Adventure Levels" (just over, but clearly over, 1/8"), implying they would all be subsections in this section, and that they only apply if the party level is higher than the adventure level. I just pulled out a measuring tape to check. The "Building the Market" section is the next section with font size the same as "Modifying Adventure Levels".

Moreover, in the intro paragraph to "Modifying Adventure Levels" it uses the phrase "at higher Adventure levels" to indicate that the player level is higher than the adventure level, and this same phrase is used in the second paragraph of the "Two- and Three- Player Game" (sub?)section.

I would love to hear that I'm interpreting this wrong, as you say, and that whenever our characters are level X in a level X adventure, we can swap in a cost X card; but do you have verification from the designer that this is the intention in the rules? (I ask because I know you have been in communication with them on a variety of things like this.)

I admit it seems pretty weird that you would only gain the "swap in" benefit when your characters are alreadysomehow more powerful than the adventure assumes --- going from no added benefit to suddenly having a free cost 4 card seems a little stark when balanced by only increasing the dragonfire level by 1.


I have been assured by the Devs that in 2p, you always get the swap ins, regardless of printed level of adventure.

I'll see if it was a public post or private correspondence, and if it was private, I'll ask them to post here.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jay Schneider
United States
Washington
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
Hi All,

Quick answer but I suspect y'all are familiar with background and details:
If you are X level and playing with less than 4 players, you add in X cost of card(s).

Jay Schneider
Designer
D&D: Dragonfire
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael Kindt Dalzen
United States
Seattle
Washington
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Geeborg wrote:
Hi All,

Quick answer but I suspect y'all are familiar with background and details:
If you are X level and playing with less than 4 players, you add in X cost of card(s).

Jay Schneider
Designer
D&D: Dragonfire


In a 3 character game, only the character play two classes gets the swap, yes? Or has that rule been altered too?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
B C Z
United States
Reston
Virginia
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
daskindt wrote:
Geeborg wrote:
Hi All,

Quick answer but I suspect y'all are familiar with background and details:
If you are X level and playing with less than 4 players, you add in X cost of card(s).

Jay Schneider
Designer
D&D: Dragonfire


In a 3 character game, only the character play two classes gets the swap, yes? Or has that rule been altered too?


My understanding is only characters that double up on roles.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Keith Jones
msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Thank you Byron and Jay for the feedback!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.