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Subject: 2 Player Variant rss

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David Griffin
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I have NOT played the 2 player variant with the linked adventurer cards as yet, but I did play 4 characters and summon Femke and Diem (ending up with 6 characters to control solo). I had a thought.

Both the summoned ESPERs were actually pretty easy to control and quite effective really. I can't help but think that larger "absent" adventurer cards designed similarly to the LOYAL ESPERs would probably be more effective at boosting 2 characters actually being played and would require a relatively low workload. No gear, you'd build in the attack dice as a set of variants (like the Cave Sickles) based on adventurer level of the actual playing characters, along with armor and defense (again like the sickles). They still wouldn't have all the various gear, but with a few abilities on them similar to the ESPERS I think it would work AND would be easy to run. Easier than the link cards? No, but maybe more effective as a replacement for those two missing characters.

Anyway I was really impressed at just how good those summoned folks were and how easy they were to run.
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Brooklynn Lundberg
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carbon_dragon wrote:
I have NOT played the 2 player variant with the linked adventurer cards as yet, but I did play 4 characters and summon Femke and Diem (ending up with 6 characters to control solo). I had a thought.

Both the summoned ESPERs were actually pretty easy to control and quite effective really. I can't help but think that larger "absent" adventurer cards designed similarly to the LOYAL ESPERs would probably be more effective at boosting 2 characters actually being played and would require a relatively low workload. No gear, you'd build in the attack dice as a set of variants (like the Cave Sickles) based on adventurer level of the actual playing characters, along with armor and defense (again like the sickles). They still wouldn't have all the various gear, but with a few abilities on them similar to the ESPERS I think it would work AND would be easy to run. Easier than the link cards? No, but maybe more effective as a replacement for those two missing characters.

Anyway I was really impressed at just how good those summoned folks were and how easy they were to run.


We actually designed a set of these. The issue we ran into was scaling. We could do it but it would be harder for the Adventure Mode.

I'm glad you came to that conclusion though, it means that we were likely onto something.
 
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David Griffin
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It's really not much more table space (between a linked adventurer card and a LOYAL ESPER sized card), and the cognitive load in running 4 characters is not the card itself so much as the card with 10 cards surrounding it (gear, abilities, consumables, etc.).

I found Femke and Diem wonderfully easy to run. I was actually running 4 full characters in solo AND the two of them and it was very smooth to add those characters. I felt like if I had 2 actual full characters and two "LOYAL ESPER" type cards for the two other main characters, it would have been very manageable.

The thing is, when I was fighting Water Loas, I had to concentrate all my attacks from all four characters to actually kill it (with no symbols to use). When I was up against the boss in Crawl 1, again I needed everyone to give it all they had. If I had it to do all over again, I'd try to get summoning earlier and bring in the girls too. Just two characters trying to kill a monster with armor or high defenses just seems like a job for an entire team. It's a trial to manage though with 40 cards on the table and 4 characters. Could be I'm more tolerant of this due to playing Shadows of Brimstone which is similar (maybe worse).


Imagine managing 4 of these solo in a game. maybe Middara is easier to manage than I thought. Note that here there are tiny counters with blue tac over the top of the attributes because in SoB you improve your attributes pretty steadily too. It's a bit of a mess.
 
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David Griffin
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After playing through two crawls and the MAST (twice but only once solo with 4 characters), the worst management experience was Crawl 2 because I'd been through a lot of encounters and using level 2 gear. It's basically the same (very very high) cognitive management problem as with Shadows of Brimstone. I like Middara better as a game (except for the Urgency tokens) than SoB but they're both about an equal trial.

As it is, the two player variant just gives 2 characters an extra perk, 1 extra SP, and some extra durability but does not scale the monsters. It IS a lower workload than even the LOYAL ESPER card because the later needs a mini and its own set of actions. But if you want to keep with this system, I think you're going to have to balance the hit points of the monsters too, as well as perhaps their abilities (including maybe armor).

For instance, a monster with a lot of hit points might get 1/2 in 2 character mode. Maybe an Animate's armor would be 1 in 2 character mode. Water Loas are trickier as the no symbols thing NEEDS a lot of attacks which you can't easily do with 2 characters unless you give them more than 1 SP so they can conduct more attacks.

We had that driven home to us yesterday when I blundered the Water Loas for the first encounter with them by forgetting their symbols thing. We fought them, set up the next encounter, remembered that ability and fought more Loas and MAN the difficulty level was entirely phenomenally higher. As in my crawls, we had to have all four characters hammering on them with every attack to get 1-2 points through for each attack till we killed them (before they healed).

I guess I'm saying I believe there's no EASY answer to scaling the monsters down to 2 characters but halving the hit points would help as would halving the armor. Maybe for the Water loas, only SHIELD symbols would not work leaving books and stars.

Or maybe it's just a harder game with 2 characters. I'd be interested to hear stories about the experiences of people using this experimental mode (experimental since it is not in even the 1.07 version of the rulebook). Maybe I'm wrong and the boosted characters work fine.

I will also admit that in Shadows of Brimstone, playing with 4 characters is not as necessary. You CAN play with SoB with 2 characters pretty effectively, I've seen it done. I just like the benefit of a lot of different skills and put up with the workload (as I do here). Though every time I play I think about not playing with all 4. Even with a 10 foot conference table to play on it fills the entire table (SoB not Middara, though Middara does take up a pretty big table).
 
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