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Subject: Sell me on Swords and Sorcery rss

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Virtually Jason
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Why do you guys love Swords and Sorcery? I've been playing Gloomhaven (and loving it), but we're approaching the end of our campaign (after a year of playing it almost every weekend) and so I'm looking to add some games to my queue. I've read a few S&S vs. GH comparisons, but most of them were written speculatively before one or both even came out. I'd like to list my favorite aspects of GH, and I'm wondering if you guys can tell me if you think S&S might appeal to me.

What I like:
1) The tactics. I feel like every round in GH I'm making an interesting tactical decision about what cards to use as we try to figure out how we're going to tackle the current situation
2) The story. GH doesn't have an exceptional story by any means, but it's just enough to string things together and keep me interested / trying to find out what's next.
3) The characters. Each character brings something unique to the game, forcing you to learn new tactics every time you get a new character and, to a lesser degree, whenever one of your friends retires.
4) The components. I love the minis and wish that GH had more of them! That looks like something that S&S does wonderfully =)
5) The level-up mechanics. Levelling up is awesome, as you add some cool new card to your repertoire and incrementally improve your modifier deck so that you're more likely to draw a beneficial modifier card.

What I don't like:
1) The fiddliness. It can be tough to manage a hand of 10+ cards, each of which has 2 unique ways that it can be used. Also, setup and tear-down can take a while, and managing monsters during combat can slow the game down (although there are some great apps to help with that). That's kindof 3 points in one...

From the play videos that I've seen, the characters don't seem to have that many interesting options in S&S (move, then basic attack, repeat), although I like the control/dominating mechanics as it leads to some interesting positioning decisions. What do you guys think? Will S&S appeal to me or would buying it be setting myself up for disappointment?
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Rezard Vareth
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S&S is a great brain burner. There is some chance involved because of the dice, but the results are actually fairly predictable (for example 7 of 10 faces on the red dice have "hit" results on them).

The character powers are quite cool and it feels great when you can put a combo together (e.g., using a shield to bash an enemy out of your space to gain dominance over another).

But the biggest puzzle and the funnest part is that you always know what an enemy will do if it is activated normally (though it might not be). So you need to think about how your actions will or won't protect the mage behind you, or expose another character, etc. The genius of this game is in the monster AI.
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Greg
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I really like S&S, but it's no Gloomhaven. From what you've said, I think you would be disappointed with it. However, you can read my review if you want more details:


https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1894263/sword-and-more-cery...
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Virtually Jason
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Please tell me more about the monster AI. What I saw had a monster with a set of actions based on its distance to the nearest player, where it might attack, move then attack, or do a ranged attack followed by a move, or just move. That part seems pretty straightforward, but what I wasn't super clear on was how you figure out what monsters are activating. Is it always based on the event card that's drawn (so sometimes all green monsters activate or sometimes your monsters activate) or does each player always activate all of their monsters after their turn?

The shield bash to manage dominance move sounds very interesting to me; what other cool tactical situations have you seen come up?
 
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John M
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An encounter card is drawn after each players turn. This card states which enemy or types of enemies will activate (green, blue, red, dexterity, magic type, etc.) When enemies are spawned, the enemy cards are distributed around the board with the active hero getting the first one. There is a rule about duplicates and where they go as well. When the encounter card is drawn, if the active hero has any of the type of enemies that are activating this turn in front of him (monster cards), he activates them. It then goes around the table until all enemies that are supposed to activate have done so.
 
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Aaron Bredon
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liquidavatar wrote:
Please tell me more about the monster AI. What I saw had a monster with a set of actions based on its distance to the nearest player, where it might attack, move then attack, or do a ranged attack followed by a move, or just move. That part seems pretty straightforward, but what I wasn't super clear on was how you figure out what monsters are activating. Is it always based on the event card that's drawn (so sometimes all green monsters activate or sometimes your monsters activate) or does each player always activate all of their monsters after their turn?

The shield bash to manage dominance move sounds very interesting to me; what other cool tactical situations have you seen come up?

A thief hiding and sneaking past the mosters to grab treasure.
Knocking an enemy down to bypass its armor.

I remember one scenario where we had to split the party to open a locked door (2 buttons had to be pushed at the same time)
I went around and right outside the door were some enemies. We triggered the door, which also opened the door the rest of the party was at, and the others came through to kill the monsters in my area before i got killed.
You can also lure enemies through fire to cause them damage over time.
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Virtually Jason
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Maybe I should approach it from another direction - how does S&S compare to the D&D Board Games? It looks to me like the combat experiences are very similar between S&S and Ravenloft (which is the only one that I've played). Is that a fair comparison?
 
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Vasilis
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Whenever someone asks me to compare D&D boardgames, Descent and S&S, instead of posting walls of text I just post this and (I believe) they immediately understand how these games differ. I think it will help you too.

So here goes:


D&D boardgames
Spoiler (click to reveal)


Descent

Spoiler (click to reveal)


S&S

Spoiler (click to reveal)


Now you know. meeple
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Jolly G. Giant
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liquidavatar wrote:
Maybe I should approach it from another direction - how does S&S compare to the D&D Board Games? It looks to me like the combat experiences are very similar between S&S and Ravenloft (which is the only one that I've played). Is that a fair comparison?


S&S and Ravenloft are difficult to compare unless you want to talk more about the differences.

The similarity of S&S to the DDAS is they are both a fantasy themed puzzle that needs solving, but a game like Ravenloft asks less of the players, is far less fiddly, plays faster and is easier to get to the table and for me, still appealing to play even after a day of mentally taxing work. S&S requires some rules dedication and is more of a "set up and leave" or a weekend game.

One thing you may find important (and subjective - so take this as you will), I think S&S has less of an adventure and exploration feel to it than the D&D system. Because Ravenloft is a bit more abstract, and you draw random tiles, and there really isn't a fixed campaign or story (just mini adventures within a larger arc), you are required to fill in the blanks in your mind. Depending on your personality, this can lead to a grand epic if you buy all of the D&D games and mix them together. This gives you a large variety of environments and monsters, meaning high replayability.

S&S has a built in campaign that plays out over the course of the game. Your alignment and decisions impact later sessions and everything ties together in a cohesive story.

Tactically speaking, even though Ravenloft is more abstract (there isn't even true LOS rules), S&S feels like it gives you more freedom on the board to maneuver while fighting. S&S presents itself more like a traditional tabletop RPG battle when you get into it, and the monsters can be fun to fight because of the AI system.

In Ravenloft, quickly eliminating monsters is important so you don't become overwhelmed, and the monster AI, while present, is not as sophisticated. Combat in general is easier to resolve and faster moving.

There are many more points that could be compared, but hopefully this gives you a general sense.



 
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Tomer Mlynarsky
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He nailed it with the bike comparison.
The D&D games are meant for kids. I'm not even saying that as an insult.
They are extremely simplistic and constantly repeating themselves.



While I do like S&S a lot, I'm not 100% it has what you're looking for unless you are unsure on what you're looking for.

I currently have both campaigns of S&S and Gloomhaven running at the same time. They are both good games but for different reasons. One wouldn't replace the other for me.

liquidavatar wrote:

1) The tactics. I feel like every round in GH I'm making an interesting tactical decision about what cards to use as we try to figure out how we're going to tackle the current situation

S&S isn't on the same tactical level as Gloomhaven for sure. For start, you have large oversized tiles where everyone can stand on while Gloomhaven gives you specific squares.

Gloomhaven also has the whole hand management thing while in S&S, characters have relatively few options. Characters at max level would have between 5-8 powers that they pick as they level up (and 2 more from the generic talent pool).

The big decision in S&S is order of players. That sounds like it's not a big deal, but it is a huge deal on occasion.

Do you send the Tank forward? Move the DPS to the back? Do you rush to heal someone before they get killed?
Do we send the mage that fireball the heck out of all the little critters?
Or do we send the thief to sneak attack and possibly kill the big guy?


That's the big decision since most of the other stuff is pretty minimal. In S&S, unlike Gloomhaven, you draw a card that says which monsters operate on that person's turn. So it's hero->monster->hero->monster

Unlike Gloomhaven where initiative is given, so if you have something like :

Hero 1 : 20
Monster 1 :30
Hero 2 : 35
Monster 2 :60

You know to kill\stun Monster #1 first and then Monster 2 and neither will operate.

In S&S it's :

Hero 1
Draw encounter card - > Says activate all goblins
Hero 2
Draw encounter card -> Says activate all wounded enemies

liquidavatar wrote:

2) The story. GH doesn't have an exceptional story by any means, but it's just enough to string things together and keep me interested / trying to find out what's next.

I think both games have a story that's pretty much a given cliche.
I'll admit I haven't finished Gloomhaven campaign (about 80% done) but neither game impressed me one way or another in that regard.

Of the two, S&S would be the better one as the story is far more interactive. You make choices during missions, not just after.

liquidavatar wrote:

3) The characters. Each character brings something unique to the game, forcing you to learn new tactics every time you get a new character and, to a lesser degree, whenever one of your friends retires.

Keep in mind that Gloomhaven retire mechanics is unique to it among the heavily hitters at the moment.
In S&S, you'll be playing the same character from start to finish.

The characters are unique in S&S. If you want to have a look, I put up some threads on some of them in the strategy section. It can give you a perspective on how different they are.

liquidavatar wrote:

4) The components. I love the minis and wish that GH had more of them! That looks like something that S&S does wonderfully =)

If you like components, the tiles would knock your socks off compared to Gloomhaven.

liquidavatar wrote:

5) The level-up mechanics. Levelling up is awesome, as you add some cool new card to your repertoire and incrementally improve your modifier deck so that you're more likely to draw a beneficial modifier card.

Hmm... Sadly... It's not exactly the same in S&S.
In S&S, each character has a "soul gem" which is basically table of stats only decently made with a rotating dial to show you yours.

You have 4 stats : HP, #attacks, #actions, #powers
If you level up and gain a power, you get to pick from your character's pool or if instructed from a general pool. So you could have 3 of yours and 1 from the common pool.

The maximum level is 7. All characters at level 7 would have exactly 2 powers from the generic pool and usually 5-8 powers from their own pool.


As S&S use dice and not modifier deck, at best you either get more rerolls, more dice or more targets.

Power selection can often bring some really cool things to the table. But there are some characters where you get your most notable ability at early level and it will just get more dice over time.
Like Druid bear form or Morigan's whip attack.

Though technically there are 2 types of dice - blue and red. So sometimes you'll roll more red than blue over time so it's kind of like improving your modifiers.


I will admit that as I did the review of characters threads, there was very little talk about them. Whereas in Gloomhaven you will see some people argue over which Mindthief option is better, barely anyone talked about options of characters in S&S.

That means that either not enough players exist on this forum or the choices are rather slim picking and too much of it is "obvious" pickings.

liquidavatar wrote:


What I don't like:
1) The fiddliness. It can be tough to manage a hand of 10+ cards, each of which has 2 unique ways that it can be used. Also, setup and tear-down can take a while, and managing monsters during combat can slow the game down (although there are some great apps to help with that). That's kindof 3 points in one...

Have you tried using the Gloomhaven app? Makes running the monsters so much easier. I consider Gloomhaven unplayable without the app.


S&S is much better in that regard. I do think it could be much better with a decent app but I don't think it's unplayable in it's current form.


S&S requires you more to pay attention to things. For example, you need to note if your character has a condition, if there's some special event effect this round, if the monster has some passive ability etc

liquidavatar wrote:

From the play videos that I've seen, the characters don't seem to have that many interesting options in S&S (move, then basic attack, repeat), although I like the control/dominating mechanics as it leads to some interesting positioning decisions. What do you guys think? Will S&S appeal to me or would buying it be setting myself up for disappointment?

Characters don't have a lot of choices compared to Gloomhaven, that's true. But on the other hand, the board vastly changes as opposed to Gloomhaven.


Some notable comparisons :

* Monsters in S&S always come with 1-2 powers randomly drawn.
So if you play the game several times, you'll meet a gremlin with flaming sword in one encounter, a flying gremlin that can't be knocked down in another and a regenerating gremlin in another.

* Gloomhaven monsters attack once each round. In S&S the same monster(s) can attack multiple times in a round. You don't know when each one will operate if at all and how many times (Except some bosses who attack after every hero of course!)

* Due to the above, crowed control is far easier in Gloomhaven then S&S. If you stun a monster it's done for the round. If you shoved loads of curses into the monster deck they can barely hit you. If you move your tank forward the monster will not focus on anyone else.

In S&S, the monsters have a given AI true, but they operate possibly several times that round. So you may stun me and I lose the first action but I can still operate later on.

Additionally, monsters aren't always going after the closest hero. So tanking is a bit trickier.

For example, a monster could have something in it's AI like this in concept (it's not phrased as horribly in the game) :

Look for a hero in 0-2 spaces, if you can aim for Magic user. Walk up to hero and attack it.

So if you have your fighter in the front row with the monster and a wizard 2 rows back, the monster will jump to the wizard and attack it.

This means that non-tanks need to be careful about positioning themselves vs certain monsters.

In Gloomhaven this never happens.


* S&S has randomly drawn events from a special deck that is built for every quest. You draw them every other round. That means that things could happen, monsters could pop up, certain game effects can occur like not being able to use certain abilities, a treasure suddenly drops etc

In addition, there are story points. When you kill the boss read paragraph 1.1, when reach a certain point in the map, read paragraph 1.2 etc

If you tried the recent community campaigns in Gloomhaven, it's something very similar.

So in S&S there is always a certain risk factor that doesn't exist much in Gloomhaven. Nothing really changes in Gloomhaven except when you open a door.

* There are no decision to be made during Gloomhaven run.

Literally 0. The map is all drawn out, you do your thing. At best, you decide what adventure to follow next.

In S&S, a mission can change somewhere in the middle based on your decision.

Let's say you read the story of a struggle in a tavern between a king's messenger and the thief guild. If you side with the king, you'll need to escort his messenger to safety. If you side with the thieves, you'll suddenly be attacked by lots of guards.
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Tomer Mlynarsky
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liquidavatar wrote:

The shield bash to manage dominance move sounds very interesting to me; what other cool tactical situations have you seen come up?


Other examples :

* Have the summoner load a spot with fire then bash monsters into it.

* Kill a monster with an AOE attack then have the necromancer revive it to attack all monsters

* Kill a specific monster that drags its target away, then revive it so that when it kills another monster that retaliates against everyone in its square nobody gets hurt (Note : Said monster was only in the GD monster pack)

* Buffing up the demon huntress (Dex character) knowing that enemies will attack it so the monsters will gang up on her and the wizard can blast them later in the turn with a single AOE

* Turning the thief invisible so it can sneak around all monsters and rush to trigger a story event that will cancel out some major penalty for the party (only works on a second playthrough though)

* Sending the wizard forward to stand next to the tank risk taking massive damage but allowing the tank to activate an ability that would reset the wizard's cool down.

* (Note, this one is one I haven't done in practice but possible in theory) Giving the shaman immortality for a round with the barbarian's ghost power than have her use her voodoo doll to give enemies damage as she runs around taking attacks of opportunity.
(Note, both barbarian and shaman will be dead at the end of the round from this... So it's not exactly game breaking)

* Try and weaken all enemies so that a character with a beneficial ability on killing will get the credit. Like Dreadlord (more XP), Pirate (more gold) or anyone wielding a specific magical dagger (more treasures)



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Virtually Jason
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Thank you guys (especially you, Tomer) for the thorough descriptions! I feel like I've got a better idea about what bringing S&S to the table would be like =)
 
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Skaak
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As far as your cons go, S&S is fairly fiddly, but in a different way than what you describe. The fiddliness in S&S comes from having a lot of tokens and decks of cards to keep track of, but once they're on the table it's really straight-forward (and if you're playing solo, it scales beautifully at all hero counts; just need lots more table space as you gain more heroes). New players often get frustrated by needing to track enemy and player powers, as well, but moving methodically and remembering to check the AI card (tarot sized cards with enemy AI details) when you see an icon on the enemy card (small cards with specific enemy stats) helps a lot.

Setup and teardown is pretty bad in S&S. Comes with the modular gaming territory. My particular pet peeve with S&S is that often you'll setup a mission, play two rounds, and then the Book of Secrets will spawn in an enemy that isn't mentioned anywhere (necessitating getting the box completely unpacked as you search out that enemy's miniature and related cards). Surprise factor is awesome; taking 10 minutes in the middle of a round to pack and unpack the box...not so much.

Managing monsters will feel like a ton of work initially, but it smooths out very quickly (often over the course of a single mission). The way S&S handles enemy AI is truly fantastic.
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James W
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liquidavatar wrote:
Maybe I should approach it from another direction - how does S&S compare to the D&D Board Games? It looks to me like the combat experiences are very similar between S&S and Ravenloft (which is the only one that I've played). Is that a fair comparison?


The DDAS games’ combat system is pick an ability to use, roll a d20, and do what the card says. Most enemies have 1 or 2 hit points (health). Enemy AI is simple but mostly involves one or two simple instructions. Enemies are found in new tiles and then get to activate before you do.

S&S is you roll multiple custom d10s and activate special effects from your weapons or spells based on symbols showing. Enemies have various health values and both offensive and defensive abilities. Enemy AI is more detailed with enemies changing behavior depending on range, health, etc.

DDAS is mostly a race through a dungeon to find a special tile/event and bad things happen when you draw encounter cards (either for not exploring a new tile or the tile showing the wrong color arrow). S&S you are working your way through a set dungeon and find enemies as you go. Enemy activation is based a card drawn after each hero’s turn.

So these games are quite different. Their biggest similarity is the high fantasy theme.
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Russell Waddel
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liquidavatar wrote:
Maybe I should approach it from another direction - how does S&S compare to the D&D Board Games? It looks to me like the combat experiences are very similar between S&S and Ravenloft (which is the only one that I've played). Is that a fair comparison?


I have not had the privilege of playing the more "modern" Dungeons and Dragons board games. As such, let's look at three "older" DnD games and compare them to S&S (at least, the videos I have seen from YouTube about play mechanics).

The three board games I will look at are as follows: Dragon Strike, D&D Dragon Quest and The New Easy-to-Master Dungeons and Dragons. Please note, each of these board games have been fully reviewed by myself, and I have played them extensively. The mechanics also rely heavily on one thing: They all require a DM to facilitate the rules. So, depending on the DM involved, he (or she) could be a cheating rotten bastard or a nice person. depends on their personality. Same with Hero Quest. That being said, S&S is attempting to let the system be the DM (ala a computer or video RPG, wherein the monsters follow preset AI scripts and attack or move as the situation warrants). I think it is innovative, if not a bit on the steep side of a learning curve. If you make the wrong move, your characters can easily die. Something that a DM in a D&D board game could easily avoid for first time players. Just saying.

Now, on to the comparisons.

Dragon Strike - This game had an innovative "doom tracker," where the players needed to get into a dungeon and kill an enemy, retrieve an artifact, etc and get out before Darkfyre the dragon dropped in and smoked they asses back to the stone age. It was possible (after the heroes acquired a few handy treasures) to kill Darkfyre, but in the first few scenarios, the heroes are likely to be burned to a crisp by the dragon. Hence the name. Sword and Sorcery does this through the use of the "event deck," wherein you have a limited amount of time to complete the scenario before the event cards are all gone. This does add in an element of suspense to the game, as if your heroes don't move every turn, they could very well lose the scenario because of time. The characters here are very generic as well. There are no "names," just classes like "Warrior," "Wizard" and "Elf." You can "name" your characters, but there are no "character sheets" but cards much like S&S. The HP are kept track of by clips on the side, rather than tokens. Gold is irrelevant, as there are no "generic equipment" cards or shops. Anything other than what the characters start with is provided solely through the use of "Treasure cards." Also, this game came with 4 boards depicting unique locales: City, Castle, Valley and Caverns. This offered so much more variety to the game, in that in one scenario you are in a dark cavern, and another in a brightly lit valley. They boards were decorated well, and it seems as though WoTC learned from this, because their "dungeon tiles" sets were very modular and useful for various quests. See the Dungeons and Dragons Basic Game for 3.5 Edition as comparison. Another unique feature to Dragon Strike was the ability to "talk" to monsters. As with most "hack and slash" board games, this one was par for the course. As such, there weren't many NPCs to chat with, so they wanted to add in some RPG elements and allow the players to converse with monsters. Some monsters were outright friendly, and if the heroes attacked them, they would sound the alarm. If they held off, they could learn valuable information that could (potentially) knock off a few turns and allow them to complete the quest within the Doom Tracker time limit. S&S doesn't do anything like this, since it is straight up a hack and slash. Players get to control the monsters, and so they can attack someone who they feel aren't pulling their weight. Most of the videos I have seen on YouTube are solo runs, so the person operating the camera is the same one moving all of the heroes and monsters. One last comparison, dice. Dragon Strike uses a d8, d10 and d12 for "ability." A warrior (for example) swings his sword with a d12, while simultaneously rolling a d8 for magic saves. A Mage might roll a d12 for magic saves, but rolls a d8 for picking locks. Things like that. S&S uses specially made D10s with symbols (much like Hero Quest or Battle Masters) that give special actions to the characters or monsters. Just saying, this one might be a good "look into" if you want something cheaper that does the same thing.

D&D Dragon Quest - Released in the early 1990s, this was a "DnD Basic Game" for the original Dungeons and Dragons. As Advanced DnD was a few years from "First Quest," this one served (before Dragon Strike) to entice players into the game. It has pre-made characters, much like the ones featured in S&S. There are character sheets, were you keep track of your PCs, and all of their loot. It is built (as well as S&S) on cooperation, but sometimes you could dominate things and just move and kill. I played this to death with friends back in the day, and we loved it. With that being said, you also can buy things at a shop in between adventures. There are "equipment" cards (not unlike the "stash" cards in S&S) which represent common items such as daggers, swords, rope, torches, etc. You can also loot treasure cards after killing monsters. This one functions the most similar to S&S, but only has 3 pre-made adventures. After that, you are on your own in terms of what you can make. It is good, as the board is very modular in what you can make, even if it has a pre-set number of squares (ala Hero Quest). Like S&S, the possibilities are endless. The Ral Partha minis that came with the game were a plus (real metal miniatures) plus the addition of six plastic minis, which meant that as long as you had players, you could play with many different characters. S&S has about the same in terms of playable characters, plus sidekicks who can accompany you on your journey as well. Plus, Dragon Quest had more monsters than you could possibly use on the 3 pre-made adventures,so they practically BEGGED you to make more adventures. There are printable sheets, but be careful. One set I bought off of eBay was missing a few character cards, the metal minis, and the cardboard monster standees. Make sure you get one that says "100% complete" or at least in the high 90s. Oh, and it was missing both books. What good was it if I couldn't play the damn adventures? On to the dice. This one played much like a session of DnD, with players and the DM rolling a D20, adding or subtracting modifiers, and comparing that to an "armor class." Then, if they hit, they roll another die (d4, d6, d8, d10, d12) for damage. That is what determines how fast the monsters go down. Just like with Dragon Strike, a player could take down a monster in one hit. Anywho, you could probably buy S&S for the same price and have just as much fun.

The New Easy-To-Master Dungeons and Dragons - This is a true-to-life RPG adventure, which takes the form of an escape from a dungeon in which the players wake up in a prison cell with one NPC. How they react to said NPC gives them their classes, ability scores, alignment, etc and forms the basic outline of the character they wish to play. Once they escape, the adventure truly begins. Because of the proximity of the release of this game to Dragon Quest (within a year, I think), they re-used the board from Dragon Quest, or Dragon Quest uses a simplistic version of the board here. The board here is just a laminated floppy board, and all of the characters, monsters, doors, etc are cardboard standees. Not "high production," by any means. But, it gets the job done, as when the players emerge from Zanzer's dungeon (the Orc who imprisoned them), the world of D&D is at their disposal (meaning, go buy the core rules and explore, man!). This one is probably the LEAST like S&S, as most of the first few sessions, the players are stuck in a jail cell. Most players would rather go and hack and slash their way out of the dungeons, rather than sneak up to doors, listen at keyholes, and do RPG-like things. If you have played "hack and slash" games, and the players would like something more along the lines of an actual RPG, then this board game is a must. It uses the same dice as Dragon Strike above, but with more annoying rolls for things. Not a straight up Hack and Slash. It is a great addition to any D&D collection, but not really like S&S at all.

I hope this clears things up for you. Like I said, I haven't really played the newer DnD board games, so I can't help you there. But these games? Hell yeah. If you want something like S&S, get Dragon Strike or Dragon Quest. Otherwise, grab up some S&S and play a scenario or two. See how you like it. I have seen some of the videos, and I generally like the concept. I pre-ordered "Ancient Chronicles" this year, and can't wait to play it. Of course, I will have to wait a year...
 
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Martin Besaliel
Indonesia
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hi, since someone said about companion app for S&S,
I wanna know, is this companion app reliable?
because after reading app's review in playstore some said having problem like data loss or can't access unless paid something
 
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Tomer Mlynarsky
Israel
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The app is free, but content from expansions or other heroes is behind a pay screen. People who donated to the KS got access codes for free.


As far as the app goes, it really is just a campaign tracker. I honestly don't bother with it. You can just use a couple of bags to put every hero with their gear\gold\xp and you're good to go until next session.


It doesn't allow you really control the game the way stuff like RTL or Gloomhaven Helper does.
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Gene Chiu
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I know it's an older thread, but I thought I'd chime in anyway.

liquidavatar wrote:
What I like:
1) The tactics. I feel like every round in GH I'm making an interesting tactical decision about what cards to use as we try to figure out how we're going to tackle the current situation


The tactical decisions in S&S include tactical positioning, deciding on what targets to attack, managing consumable resources and managing cool downs. There are other aspects such as player order. Someone with a buff/debuff ability may want to go first, so the effects apply to everyone going after in the turn. You also need to manage who may be taking hits, so positioning is important. There are other tactical decisions to be made as well.

Quote:
2) The story. GH doesn't have an exceptional story by any means, but it's just enough to string things together and keep me interested / trying to find out what's next.


So far, I'm half way through the first campaign. I love the story. There are decision points in the middle of each quest that results in a different outcome. There are story elements you read to everyone throughout each quest that describe what the maps represent. There are NPC's in each quest during some of these story elements. The first campaign contains a lot pop culture references which annoy some people. I think it's kinda cool.

Quote:
3) The characters. Each character brings something unique to the game, forcing you to learn new tactics every time you get a new character and, to a lesser degree, whenever one of your friends retires.


Every character has different abilities and you have to play them differently. Tank characters will want to take more of the damage. Some characters have powerful attacks with cool downs. Some have pets. Many characters have some useful out of combat abilities that actually do make an impact.

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4) The components. I love the minis and wish that GH had more of them! That looks like something that S&S does wonderfully =)


Personally, I'm not too fussy about the quality of the components. I care more about the functionality of the components. For instance, I want to be able to look at the board and be able to tell which units are which. In that sense, they are pretty good. The only criticism I have is that there are often two copies of the same unit, but one is a little stronger. It is hard for me to tell these two apart. I solve this by placing a sticker and write the #2 on the base. The differences between these figures is usually one of the weapons it is holding is different. All minis are of one solid colour, so a different weapon doesn't stand out.

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5) The level-up mechanics. Levelling up is awesome, as you add some cool new card to your repertoire and incrementally improve your modifier deck so that you're more likely to draw a beneficial modifier card.


Levelling up, you may gain a new ability. Some of your stats (like hit points) usually go up. It's a combination, but you do get stronger. Some characters may not get an ability at a new level, but may get an extra action for instance. The extra action is really important for some characters.

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What I don't like:
1) The fiddliness. It can be tough to manage a hand of 10+ cards, each of which has 2 unique ways that it can be used. Also, setup and tear-down can take a while, and managing monsters during combat can slow the game down (although there are some great apps to help with that). That's kindof 3 points in one...


S&S is rules heavy. Even with my experience with Galaxy Defenders (the predecessor), it took me a number of plays before I managed to not make many rules errors. Setup and tear down takes a while as well. Managing monsters is something you need to do. Different monsters have different AI's and fight differently. It is outlined on the cards, so it's a matter of just reading the card and follow the steps. The AI is a very strong feature of this game. You have to adjust your tactics against different enemies.

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From the play videos that I've seen, the characters don't seem to have that many interesting options in S&S (move, then basic attack, repeat), although I like the control/dominating mechanics as it leads to some interesting positioning decisions.


Positioning decisions is an important part of the game. You don't position yourself the same way against every enemy. Some enemies you want to bunch up to get bonuses. Some enemies, you don't want to bunch up because of AoE effects. Some enemies run away from you which creates a challenge for melee characters. Just when you think you got the positioning down, there could be story events that throws a wrench into things.

When positioning, you also need to consider what happens after your turn. Monsters activate after every players' turn and you want to ensure your squishy characters don't get ganged up on.

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What do you guys think? Will S&S appeal to me or would buying it be setting myself up for disappointment?


One main difference between S&S and Gloomhaven is that S&S relies on dice rolling for attacks. GH from what I heard has a hand management type of game. GH seems to be possibly more deterministic as once you use card resources they are gone. S&S is about rolling dice and sometimes you get good rolls and sometimes bad. I'm sure there are other differences, but I have not played GH, so I can only comment on what I heard in a general sense.
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Gene Chiu
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liquidavatar wrote:
Maybe I should approach it from another direction - how does S&S compare to the D&D Board Games? It looks to me like the combat experiences are very similar between S&S and Ravenloft (which is the only one that I've played). Is that a fair comparison?


I personally hate the D&D boardgames. The reason is that it doesn't feel like a good D&D experience to me. You move through the dungeon. Monsters appear and then all this random stuff happens for no apparent reason. Walls turn to lava. Earthquakes happen (maybe not this specific thing, but you get the picture). Random events are rather incoherent. It's like some crappy DM is running the game and just throws random stuff at the party just to screw them up. I've played two different D&D boardgames and the experience was the same.

S&S is a much better experience and feels like a good DM is running the show. Events that happen make more sense. Story events move the quest in a new direction. Sometimes an ambush is set up properly like how you would really set up a smart ambush. Events happen that make you do things you normally won't because it fits the story. S&S does have a more complex rule set that the D&D boardgames, but I think the extra complexity is well worth it.
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Gene Chiu
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GrandMasterFox wrote:
As far as the app goes, it really is just a campaign tracker. I honestly don't bother with it. You can just use a couple of bags to put every hero with their gear\gold\xp and you're good to go until next session.


I just track everything in a spreadsheet I made. I have multiple campaigns going on, so putting things in bags don't work for me. It was a good idea until I decide to play a solo campaign as my friends ended up playing other games for a long spell.
 
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