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Subject: Solitaire Suiciding: Dungeon Alliance and the Leroy Jenkins Gambit rss

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Tom Chick
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I've got about ten solitaire games played at this point, and I'm finding that I do a lot of suiciding because, frankly, death isn't all that bad. If I can get in another turn with a crippled character, the -1 score penalty and the Strength Burst cost to heal a "dead" character feels like a relatively mild penalty. Even though I can only Strength Burst once, I'm finding that having a full character action is easily worth the supposed cost. And if I can move aggressively to earn more than 1xp on the final turn, I don't care if someone gets killed after his activation. The math seems to favor endgame kamikaze attacks.

In fact, this has me wondering if I shouldn't fuss with healers...

Does this match anyone else's experience playing solitaire and co-op? I realize in a head-to-head game, it comes down to whomever can optimize better, so avoiding those -1XP tokens can make a difference. But so far, my solitaire games have been pretty consistently getting me around 25 points, give or take. Those couple of red -1XP tokens in the final tally seem more than offset by whatever I earned getting my character killed instead of keeping him alive. So I ask, "Death, where is thy sting?"

Andrew, is this something that came up much during testing? Do you feel it's an issue? Is it maybe intentional, but I just feel weird with it thematically? I like these guys! I shouldn't be rushing them headlong to their deaths!

-Tom
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Michael Noakes
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Not as many games beneath my belt, but healers quickly felt a waste of time--a strong offense being the best defense, and so on. No need to heal from baddies that aren't on the board anymore. I hit 40pt in a recent game (assuming I didn't get anything wrong) off of a team of heavy-hitters.

But I don't understand what you mean by a Strength Burst to "heal" a downed character. I thought you couldn't attack once knocked out, under any circumstance.
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Tom Chick
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Whoa, 40 points! Nice! Are you using quests? I kind of feel that I'm not good enough to do quests yet. So they just kind of sit there, looking at me forlornly like puppies at the Humane Society that no one will adopt.

Weloi Avala wrote:
Not as many games beneath my belt, but healers quickly felt a waste of time--a strong offense being the best defense, and so on. No need to heal from baddies that aren't on the board anymore. I hit 40pt in a recent game (assuming I didn't get anything wrong) off of a team of heavy-hitters.

But I don't understand what you mean by a Strength Burst to "heal" a downed character. I thought you couldn't attack once knocked out, under any circumstance.


Oh my, have I been doing it wrong? My reading of the rules (page 22, under "Resting While Defeated") is that when a character is downed, he discards all wounds in excess of his health. Then, when you next activate him, you can immediately do a Strength Burst to remove one token so he's at full health-1, at which point he can take a normal turn. The other option is the two types of resting, which preclude attacking.

If I'm getting this wrong, I'd love to know! I almost hope I am getting it wrong, because that would make my suicidal charges a lot less effective.

-Tom
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Andrew Parks
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Yes, you can do the burst of strength to remove 1 wound token when you activate the hero next time.

Healing and protecting characters becomes much more important as you face greater challenges, especially final enemies. You will desperately need those bursts of strength to inflict damage on these guys. If you are using burst of strength just to stand up, you won't be able to use it to play 2 of the same card type, which can be very effective against the bosses.

Andrew
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Tom Chick
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Andrew Parks wrote:
Yes, you can do the burst of strength to remove 1 wound token when you activate the hero next time.


Phew. I was worried for a second there!

Andrew Parks wrote:
Healing and protecting characters becomes much more important as you face greater challenges, especially final enemies. You will desperately need those bursts of strength to inflict damage on these guys. If you are using burst of strength just to stand up, you won't be able to use it to play 2 of the same card type, which can be very effective against the bosses.



That makes sense. I think what's going on is that I'm relatively low on the learning curve, where I'm not messing around with quests and bosses because I'm not good enough at setting up and managing synergies yet. At this point, I'm intentionally taking the easier tiles, which means less xp. So then I'm hurling my characters at whomever shows up on the later tiles and calling it a day. Usually the easier later tiles. Fell Wraith? Basalisk? Hydra? No thanks! I'm just going to keep beating up these ogres and maybe the occasional minotaur.

It's like playing a videogame on an easier difficulty level, plowing through the fights, and not being able to fully appreciate the systems at work. I suppose it's time to break out of these 30-point doldrums!

-Tom

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Michael Noakes
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What drastically boosted my points was realizing that the single most powerful, er, power in the game was "open locked door" and/or "find secret door". Once I clued into the advantage of opening a door behind the biggest baddy in the room--assuming I had the cards in hand to drop it that activation--higher XP challenges became easier to take on. Obviously this makes movement boosting cards premium--my 40pt game (which included quests, which boost points quite a bit)--enjoyed a certain amount of luck in drafting boots of speed, and some other key cards.

And thanks for the correction on defeated heroes!--I missed the Burst of Strength bit and always went for Resting.
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Geoff Cost
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TomChick wrote:
I've got about ten solitaire games played at this point, and I'm finding that I do a lot of suiciding because, frankly, death isn't all that bad. If I can get in another turn with a crippled character, the -1 score penalty and the Strength Burst cost to heal a "dead" character feels like a relatively mild penalty. Even though I can only Strength Burst once, I'm finding that having a full character action is easily worth the supposed cost. And if I can move aggressively to earn more than 1xp on the final turn, I don't care if someone gets killed after his activation. The math seems to favor endgame kamikaze attacks.

In fact, this has me wondering if I shouldn't fuss with healers...

Does this match anyone else's experience playing solitaire and co-op? I realize in a head-to-head game, it comes down to whomever can optimize better, so avoiding those -1XP tokens can make a difference. But so far, my solitaire games have been pretty consistently getting me around 25 points, give or take. Those couple of red -1XP tokens in the final tally seem more than offset by whatever I earned getting my character killed instead of keeping him alive. So I ask, "Death, where is thy sting?"

Andrew, is this something that came up much during testing? Do you feel it's an issue? Is it maybe intentional, but I just feel weird with it thematically? I like these guys! I shouldn't be rushing them headlong to their deaths!

-Tom


"At least I have chicken."
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Tom Chick
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I can definitely see now what Andrew was talking about in terms of the cost of having to use a Burst of Strength to recover from being dead. Those Bursts are pretty important. Wasting a Burst on a rezz that could have been used to eke out that crucial extra point of movement or damage? Ouch.

EXCEPT...there's the issue of the last turn.

On the fourth turn, once a Hero has finished his cycle, I don't have much use for him anymore. I find myself piling attacks on the exhausted fourth turn Heroes. Intentionally setting them up to take the more damaging attacks. Let's see, a +1 attack against character A, who hasn't had a cycle yet, or a +3 attack against character B, who's finished being relevant? Easy choice, because I don't care if a character is dead at the end of the scenario. So I'm setting them up as meat shields once their last cycles are done. That red -1 token isn't enough of a penalty. So long as I can Leroy Jenkins someone to kill a 2xp monster, the death is a net positive.

In other words, the only time the deaths matter is before a character has taken his fourth cycle. After that fourth cycle has been implemented, there no incentive to keep a Hero alive if I can score at least two points with his death.

Now that's fine from a game mechanics perspective. Dungeon Alliance is about trying to optimize four moves per character, at which point the game is over. I can even justify it thematically as a noble sacrifice to save the castle or some such thing. But the design problem I have with this is how the meaningful penalty for death -- using a Burst of Strength -- is magically lifted at a certain point in the game. Is that intentional?

I wonder if maybe a post-fourth cycle death should incur a two-card discard? But even then, what do I care after the last Hero's cycle if I have to discard cards? Maybe each card I can't discard is another -1 token? Or maybe there should be an additional score penalty for each dead character at the end of a scenario? I'm wondering if there's some way to make death as undesirable after a Hero's fourth cycle as it is after a Hero's first, second, and third cycle.

Thoughts?

-Tom

P.S. I don't mean to make a big deal about this. I really like this game a lot, so I'm intending this less as a complaint and more as an observation about the design.
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Jake G.
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I like the idea of losing points for every defeated hero at the end of the game.

Maybe having a similar penalty as left over dungeon tiles, -4 points per, would be a good way to do it?

Since it's only when playing solo I don't think the exact amount matters too much, provided it gives enough incentive to keep that hero alive and stop him going all Leeroy!
 
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