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Subject: Difficulty Level: Impossible? rss

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Gabriel Rockman
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I just got this game yesterday. It talks about difficulty levels for the campaign version, but for doing a non-campaign game it doesn't say anything about starting out at level 2 or anything like that to make it easier.

Did I miss something in the rules that's supposed to make the game easier? I've tried playing it a bunch of times, but I normally give up on the first floor, and I've only made it to the boss fight a couple of times. Normally when I fail, it doesn't feel like I made a bad strategy decision, it just feels like I had a couple turns in a row of bad dice rolls and my character dies. Or like in this case, I open four doors, and all four are impossible.

If we're doing it outside of campaign mode because we want to actually learn the basics of the game before starting the campaign, and to figure out how the game works, are we supposed to start on level 2? What are we supposed to do to make this game possible?

I'm pretty unhappy with how this seems to be an extremely luck based game. You can make a good strategy, but all it takes is a couple turns of bad luck, and you're screwed. It's not like bad luck makes you adjust your strategy and it makes it tougher. It's literally just bad luck makes it impossible.

Unless I've missed something in the rules, I think the only way this game can even be playable is if I rewrite the rulebook.
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Trevor Taylor
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gabrielrockman1 wrote:


I just got this game yesterday. It talks about difficulty levels for the campaign version, but for doing a non-campaign game it doesn't say anything about starting out at level 2 or anything like that to make it easier.

Did I miss something in the rules that's supposed to make the game easier? I've tried playing it a bunch of times, but I normally give up on the first floor, and I've only made it to the boss fight a couple of times. Normally when I fail, it doesn't feel like I made a bad strategy decision, it just feels like I had a couple turns in a row of bad dice rolls and my character dies. Or like in this case, I open four doors, and all four are impossible.

If we're doing it outside of campaign mode because we want to actually learn the basics of the game before starting the campaign, and to figure out how the game works, are we supposed to start on level 2? What are we supposed to do to make this game possible?

I'm pretty unhappy with how this seems to be an extremely luck based game. You can make a good strategy, but all it takes is a couple turns of bad luck, and you're screwed. It's not like bad luck makes you adjust your strategy and it makes it tougher. It's literally just bad luck makes it impossible.

Unless I've missed something in the rules, I think the only way this game can even be playable is if I rewrite the rulebook.


It sounds like bad luck and perhaps some unfortunate decisions when encountering cards. Are you remembering that even if you fail to fully 'defeat' a card, you still end that encounter and get the card for XP/Item/skill/potion. It's just you suffer effects for not fully covering it in dice.

This IS a rogue-like game. You expect to not always get to the end boss, let alone defeat it. But from scratch with no levelling you can definitely beat the dragon and it doesn't require MANY plays.

If you're not playing a campaign, you're really going to struggle against the harder dungeons though.
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Cory Kneeland
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I lost all of my early plays.... I eventually learned when to flee, when to minimize injury, etc. The game is a steep victory curve. Let me add that when you first taste victory (add you will), it tastes all the sweeter!
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Todd
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It's meant to be a rogue-like game, so yes, expect it to be very difficult. And because it's a dice chucker, bad rolls can doom you. My suggestion is just to play a few non-campaign games, to get the rules down, then dive into the campaign. The game is much, much more fun in campaign mode IMO.
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Mat Thomsen
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ckneeland wrote:
I lost all of my early plays.... I eventually learned when to flee, when to minimize injury, etc. The game is a steep victory curve. Let me add that when you first taste victory (add you will), it tastes all the sweeter!


This has been my experience. I found the small boosts given by the campaign game provide a nice difficulty cushion.

Great game. Starting to find my rhythm with it.
 
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Gabriel Rockman
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negatrev wrote:
gabrielrockman1 wrote:


I just got this game yesterday. It talks about difficulty levels for the campaign version, but for doing a non-campaign game it doesn't say anything about starting out at level 2 or anything like that to make it easier.

Did I miss something in the rules that's supposed to make the game easier? I've tried playing it a bunch of times, but I normally give up on the first floor, and I've only made it to the boss fight a couple of times. Normally when I fail, it doesn't feel like I made a bad strategy decision, it just feels like I had a couple turns in a row of bad dice rolls and my character dies. Or like in this case, I open four doors, and all four are impossible.

If we're doing it outside of campaign mode because we want to actually learn the basics of the game before starting the campaign, and to figure out how the game works, are we supposed to start on level 2? What are we supposed to do to make this game possible?

I'm pretty unhappy with how this seems to be an extremely luck based game. You can make a good strategy, but all it takes is a couple turns of bad luck, and you're screwed. It's not like bad luck makes you adjust your strategy and it makes it tougher. It's literally just bad luck makes it impossible.

Unless I've missed something in the rules, I think the only way this game can even be playable is if I rewrite the rulebook.


It sounds like bad luck and perhaps some unfortunate decisions when encountering cards. Are you remembering that even if you fail to fully 'defeat' a card, you still end that encounter and get the card for XP/Item/skill/potion. It's just you suffer effects for not fully covering it in dice.

This IS a rogue-like game. You expect to not always get to the end boss, let alone defeat it. But from scratch with no levelling you can definitely beat the dragon and it doesn't require MANY plays.

If you're not playing a campaign, you're really going to struggle against the harder dungeons though.


I do know that I get the card (most of the time) when not fully defeating it. But the ability to heal between battles seems very limited, and losing half my health or more in one battle hurts a lot. It doesn't take many times losing 3 to 5 hearts in one battle before you run out of options and die.

Having a bad roll of the dice where I can't cover all of the green shields really hurts - that's why I fled from both the Phantom and the Glooping Ooze.

It seems really odd that the game is supposed to be tougher outside of campaign mode. That's the reverse of how it normally is in games like this.

Most games have like a tutorial mission or easy mode setting to help you learn the game. But here it seems like you're supposed to learn it by playing it on expert level right from the start?
 
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Gabriel Rockman
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ckneeland wrote:
I lost all of my early plays.... I eventually learned when to flee, when to minimize injury, etc. The game is a steep victory curve. Let me add that when you first taste victory (add you will), it tastes all the sweeter!


I don't mind losing, but I do mind losing when I am not able to figure out what was wrong with my strategy. How am I supposed to learn when I can't figure out what I did wrong?
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Gabriel Rockman
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uuneter wrote:
It's meant to be a rogue-like game, so yes, expect it to be very difficult. And because it's a dice chucker, bad rolls can doom you. My suggestion is just to play a few non-campaign games, to get the rules down, then dive into the campaign. The game is much, much more fun in campaign mode IMO.


It doesn't seem difficult as in it's difficult to come up with an effective strategy. It seems "difficult" in that even with an effective strategy you have to dodge bad dice rolls three times through the deck and then once more against the boss. The difficulty seems to come from the luck factor, not from the strategy. In this case, I don't think difficult is the right word. Trying to win the lottery isn't difficult. I am not sure what the right word is.
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If you have a hard time getting to the boss, my best suggestion would be to focus more on preventing health damage - you can probably afford to lose more time and discard more cards, and taking 3+ damage per card is not something I would consider normal, so you likely shouldn't be going through potions that quickly. Shields are going to be common, but if they're of appropriate colors, don't be afraid to tackle them. And, if you're taking that much damage, don't forget to use the black dice you're getting on the Warrior's Heroic Feat.

Remember, not all squares will inflict the same amount of damage, so don't be afraid to ignore some squares to fill out more important ones, and don't be afraid to use some higher value dice to create additional black dice.

If you're having trouble, there should be rules for beginner mode/adept mode/etc. in the rulebook - I'd look at those as a method of making the game easier while you learn.

In the end, the game still has a fair amount of luck involved, so you won't always win - however, there's a lot you can do to start mitigating that.
 
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Jarad Bond
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Is the game easier with 2p? I haven't really played it solo in a long time. It seems like I haven't lost a game with my brother in just about as long of a time.

We don't normally run away from encounters, as the time cost can add up. If you're running away from more than a couple per dungeon level, especially if it is early in the level, then you're going to run out of time. We prioritize more dice (and focus on two colors) as a reward unless the ability is to die for (ha!), and it seems like we often lean toward the mana skills and characters (you can combine blue dice to use magic abilities, and they often give you yellow and pink). With two colors, you are usually very well situated to take on just about any encounter. The rare dodge is when we draw a powerful combat encounter that is heavy in our missing color or especially when the easier peril is in our missing color (we've always had a more difficult time with perils).

We often use the hero ability if it has a cost (like the one who spends two time to add a black die) to tackle a difficult encounter, and are willing to get a little bruised in order to take on the encounter. Of course, extra max health plus the die is very good so that you can last longer while wounded (then heal with a potion).

We try to get level 2 also before the first dungeon level is complete. Having that extra black die is very good, and the extra potion usually heals most of the wounds we took in the first level.

We often get pretty good dice rolls... but it is a mix of 5's and 1's a lot of the time. Abilities help a lot to use those 1's (and combining two 1's of different colors to make a hero die and use it to power a skill works, afaik). Only rarely will we throw a whole roll of 1's, 2's, and 3's, and those are indeed painful. There are potions to mitigate that, but it seems we always forget about those.

 
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Darren Quinlivan
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gabrielrockman1 wrote:


I do know that I get the card (most of the time) when not fully defeating it. But the ability to heal between battles seems very limited, and losing half my health or more in one battle hurts a lot. It doesn't take many times losing 3 to 5 hearts in one battle before you run out of options and die.

Having a bad roll of the dice where I can't cover all of the green shields really hurts - that's why I fled from both the Phantom and the Glooping Ooze.

It seems really odd that the game is supposed to be tougher outside of campaign mode. That's the reverse of how it normally is in games like this.

Most games have like a tutorial mission or easy mode setting to help you learn the game. But here it seems like you're supposed to learn it by playing it on expert level right from the start?


If you're unfamiliar with rogue-likes as they exist in the video game world I can see how this seems backwards. The term has come to cover a broader ground of late, but at its purest a rogue like gives you no persistent improvements from game to game and is very much luck dependant; the skill comes in mitigating the luck as best you can within a random set up and other random factors, but it's always possible to get a bad dungeon and die very quickly. So to that end, the base game of ODD is like a pure rogue like.

Then you have modern takes on the rogue-like which do give you some persistence, with the game Rogue Legacy being a prime example - depending on your performance in a given run, you can buy persistent upgrades to help out on future runs and getting "deeper" into the dungeon. This is similar to the campaign game in ODD, but purist would say this is not a true "roguelike".

So yes, if you are unfamiliar with classic roguelikes it may seem backwards that the campaign mode is easier, but actually it's completely consistent with genre in the video game space.
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Gabriel Rockman
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felicitous blue wrote:
gabrielrockman1 wrote:


I do know that I get the card (most of the time) when not fully defeating it. But the ability to heal between battles seems very limited, and losing half my health or more in one battle hurts a lot. It doesn't take many times losing 3 to 5 hearts in one battle before you run out of options and die.

Having a bad roll of the dice where I can't cover all of the green shields really hurts - that's why I fled from both the Phantom and the Glooping Ooze.

It seems really odd that the game is supposed to be tougher outside of campaign mode. That's the reverse of how it normally is in games like this.

Most games have like a tutorial mission or easy mode setting to help you learn the game. But here it seems like you're supposed to learn it by playing it on expert level right from the start?


If you're unfamiliar with rogue-likes as they exist in the video game world I can see how this seems backwards. The term has come to cover a broader ground of late, but at its purest a rogue like gives you no persistent improvements from game to game and is very much luck dependant; the skill comes in mitigating the luck as best you can within a random set up and other random factors, but it's always possible to get a bad dungeon and die very quickly. So to that end, the base game of ODD is like a pure rogue like.

Then you have modern takes on the rogue-like which do give you some persistence, with the game Rogue Legacy being a prime example - depending on your performance in a given run, you can buy persistent upgrades to help out on future runs and getting "deeper" into the dungeon. This is similar to the campaign game in ODD, but purist would say this is not a true "roguelike".

So yes, if you are unfamiliar with classic roguelikes it may seem backwards that the campaign mode is easier, but actually it's completely consistent with genre in the video game space.


You're correct, I am not familiar with the class or roguelikes. I do really enjoy playing X-Com, and that's known as one of the more challenging games. But I don't think that qualifies as a roguelike game.

I'm trying to learn from my failures, but I am mostly just learning when to give up. I have improved at learning when to flee and when to fight, but in the example I showed with the four doors I opened with the warrior, I had progressed to the point that I fled all four times because I recognized how much damage I would take each time. Even when I played my very first time, I could recognize that attacking the Glooping Ooze with its two boxes with shields for blue dice would not work out well for a warrior that has only one blue die. I haven't really progressed too much in skill, since common sense and basic arithmetic takes you pretty far.

I've learned a little bit about which skills and items to use, and when to flee versus when to fight. But mostly I've just learned when to give up and start over.

I guess this just isn't the right game for me. I'm more of the "learn, adjust, try again" type, not the "repeat the same thing over and over until your luck doesn't suck" type.
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Gabriel Rockman
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logris wrote:
Is the game easier with 2p? I haven't really played it solo in a long time. It seems like I haven't lost a game with my brother in just about as long of a time.

We don't normally run away from encounters, as the time cost can add up. If you're running away from more than a couple per dungeon level, especially if it is early in the level, then you're going to run out of time. We prioritize more dice (and focus on two colors) as a reward unless the ability is to die for (ha!), and it seems like we often lean toward the mana skills and characters (you can combine blue dice to use magic abilities, and they often give you yellow and pink). With two colors, you are usually very well situated to take on just about any encounter. The rare dodge is when we draw a powerful combat encounter that is heavy in our missing color or especially when the easier peril is in our missing color (we've always had a more difficult time with perils).

We often use the hero ability if it has a cost (like the one who spends two time to add a black die) to tackle a difficult encounter, and are willing to get a little bruised in order to take on the encounter. Of course, extra max health plus the die is very good so that you can last longer while wounded (then heal with a potion).

We try to get level 2 also before the first dungeon level is complete. Having that extra black die is very good, and the extra potion usually heals most of the wounds we took in the first level.

We often get pretty good dice rolls... but it is a mix of 5's and 1's a lot of the time. Abilities help a lot to use those 1's (and combining two 1's of different colors to make a hero die and use it to power a skill works, afaik). Only rarely will we throw a whole roll of 1's, 2's, and 3's, and those are indeed painful. There are potions to mitigate that, but it seems we always forget about those.



Once I get to level 2 its much easier, because I have the black die and I have acquired some skills that are useful. But before level 2, there's just so little I can do to mitigate bad luck.

I really like the combination of a rogue with the skill that lets you take any red die and use it to roll two yellow dice. That's such a great way to make use of a low roll on a red die.

But before I get the black die and a few useful skills, I'm really limited in what enemies I can attack without taking huge damage in health or time, as well as not having as many ways to deal with bad luck on dice rolls.

And of course, I've learned that if I take too much damage timewise on the first floor, and I'm still level 1 by the time I'm forced to descend to the second floor of the dungeon, then I might as well just give up as soon as I realize that I'm not reaching level 2 before the end of the first floor in the dungeon.
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Alan Castree
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I’m usually not into dice because I feel like it all comes down to chance, however I don’t feel that as much with this game’s dice. There certainly is a chance element but there’s enough choice and mitigation to make it feel less of a determining factor when winning or losing.

That being said, the game sometimes does come down to luck of the draw. If you start out with 4 big nasties it can certainly dampen you chances for long term success. Can’t win them all, right?

I’m still new to the game but have beaten the Dragon Cave twice, once with the rogue and once with the archer. Both times I made it my goal to be level 4 by the time I reached The dragon. Those two hero dice help a lot!! Also, don’t forget to add potions to your reference card. Every time you add a new potion ability it adds a new potion token. So there’s two ways to add potion tokens. And some potions are awesome, like “roll 3 magic dice” that helps when you don’t have a lot of magic or you need more numbers to convert to hero dice.

Anyways, I hope you’ll keep at it. I was real worried at first about he dice and the amount of luck involved, but after s few plays I loved crunching the numbers, converting my dice pool (via skills or hero dice), and managing all my resources (items, skills, potions, and time). Good luck!!
 
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gabrielrockman1 wrote:

I've learned a little bit about which skills and items to use, and when to flee versus when to fight. But mostly I've just learned when to give up and start over.

I guess this just isn't the right game for me. I'm more of the "learn, adjust, try again" type, not the "repeat the same thing over and over until your luck doesn't suck" type.


I would suggest not giving up so soon; in fact, not giving up at all, but instead clinging to dear life as you struggle through the dungeon. That tension is the point of the game. Remember that you're not *supposed* to be able to make it through the dungeon every time, or even almost every time; that would make it too easy and a very boring solo game. So seeing how far you get, and those times that you do beat it, are really the point. By giving up every time you feel your luck isn't with you, you're short-circuiting the game, and you never know how far you would have made it. I can't tell you how many times things started off terribly for me, and I was sure I was doomed, only to find that I was able to make it to the boss and maybe even beat it.

The game isn't as luck based as you seem think it is, and I think the whole "give up when things go wrong" amplifies that misapprehension by creating a bias akin to selection bias. The adventures never go swimmingly -- if they did, it would be boring and there would be no point in playing. So far, in my experience, once you get the hang of the game you can make it to the boss almost every time.

Yes, since there are dice involved, there is some element of luck, but it's impossible to have a solo game with zero luck-factor, since solo games are just puzzles, and a puzzle with zero luck involved can only be solved once.
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