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Subject: How does game flow work? Chapters VS. Missions rss

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Bryan Gerding
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How, exactly, should we play this game? Do all 9 Candlepoint missions then all Skinwalkers then...

Because the rulebook and the JDBG are very vague on if this is supposed to be played like a campaign or if the structure is loose.

Should I open all my chapters and get access to every Saint? Does that effect the difficulty?

Do I completely reset characters between chapters or do I use the same ones? By doing so do I make the next chapter easier if there isn't a structure?
 
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Kevin B. Smith
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This is probably my biggest disappointment with Apocrypha, relative to PACG. It's not clearly spelled out, and at least as I understand it, I don't love the way it actually works. If I had known this in advance, I probably wouldn't have bought it.

My current understanding, which could be wrong, is that you can play any mission from any chapter with any saints at any time. That you can progress saints through multiple missions (in any order) if you wish, but you can also have saints drop out or join in at any time. In fact, some feel that the game will get too easy if you try to take the same entire group through all the chapters, so rotating saints in and out is recommended.

I appreciate some flexibility. But I really miss having a campaign. Both from the standpoint of a narrative story, and especially in having characters grow and evolve over many sessions.
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C Sandifer
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Yeah, it's wide open in how you want to play. However, most players want a standard campaign (myself included), so people aren't sure what to do.

I'd recommend the following:

Take the same set of characters (say, three of them) through Candlepoint.

Then, when you get to get to Skinwalkers, do one of the following:

- start over with 3 brand new characters (most difficult option)
- keep one character and retire the other two (my preference, probably)
- keep two characters and retire the third
- keep all 3 original characters (too easy, not recommended)
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Bryan Gerding
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So this is not a campaign game like Pathfinder?

Great...
 
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Instead of having one 99 mission campaign, Apocrypha has 10 self-contained narrative arcs (I'm not sure how much the hybrid missions mesh together vs just being a sort of ex chapter). Each chapter presents its own mystery and issue that you resolve throughout its missions, with occasional overlapping and interactions with others. The Damned in particular is the most obvious about this.

Opening all the saints isn't a problem. Each one has different strengths and weaknesses; other than being particularly suited to their chapter's challenges, they don't have that much variation in power.

As far as advancement between chapter goes, having more powers makes things easier but the game has a few mechanics to balance itself against that. Sacrificing Omens of Hope is subtile and has varying degrees of success on this front. You also tend to have to rebalance your decks to be more effective against each chapter, depending on the degree in which you plan your playlist. Advancment in general is fairly limited though. The fragment and card limits stalls comparativly quick as opposed to PFACG's constant increases. Saints also tend to be a bit more specilized with each Fragment, rather than constant small boosts of numbers.

Roughly speaking, following the order on The World's cover would have the game ramp up in complexity the smoothest. Candlepoint should be first, and Serpents should be near the end if not last. Other than that, pick chapters that are the most interesting and play through their mission in clumps.
 
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C Sandifer
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Apocrypha is definitely a victim of its Pathfinder pedigree and massive amount of content, though there are other issues as well.

Many of us are coming from a Pathfinder background, and naturally assumed that a single campaign would be possible. We were wrong, but that's possibly on us - or on the game's advertising, as stated above.

Gloomhaven and Apocrypha have approximately the same number of scenarios, but no one on the Gloomhaven forums is complaining that you can't take a single party through the whole thing. That's because (a) it would be boring, (b) no one had any such expectations going in, and (c) Gloomhaven's innovative, long-term, retirement-based progression system is clearly laid out in the rulebook. Apocrypha has no suggested progression system, which is why I decided to port over Gloomhaven's rotating retirement system to Apocrypha.

Also, there are plenty of fantasy games on BGG that have only 6-12 scenarios in their entire campaign. Strangely, if that were true of Apocrypha, people might like it more. It's because the game has a zillion scenarios that people don't know what to do.

If it's any easier to swallow, just pretend that Apocrypha consists of 10 or 11 completely different games, each with its own stand-alone 9-game campaign.

My problem isn't currently with the campaign system. It's just playing at all. My family was excited to play through the base box, Fae, and Golems. But then Betrayal Legacy came out, and they lost interest. And now that the new Pathfinder is only weeks from being released, they'll never return to Apocrypha again. They're already expressing excitement about the new PACG, and Apoc is now mostly forgotten.

I imagine that I'll have to finish Apocrypha completely on my own, as my non-family gaming buddies could never even come to grips with the rules difficulty of Mummy's Mask - so the symbol confusion in Apocrypha would likely kill them. I'll never try Apoc with my friendly group. No way. So it's solo or the highway.

Apocrypha is a game that I would have loved playing weekly back in college, assuming it was the only game available and I was joined by other unencumbered folks equally as motivated to learn and play. Getting away with the same thing now ain't so easy.
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