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Subject: Game Balance Variant - Party Formation & Inn Cards rss

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Michael Bay
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Georgia
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Since a number of people, myself included, feel the balance of this game is somewhat off, I set about creating a few optional rules to help it out a bit. These rules are all designed to make the game harder (particularly combat against monsters), and are basically designed to nerf one of three things: an invincible party due to one strong character, going before the monsters, and recruiting lots of characters on turns 1-2 with a special card.

First off, the big one: Party Formation

Similar to an old dungeon crawl CRPG, in this variant, you have a front and back row to your party. You can split the characters between them as you want, but you can only reorganize at the start of your turn (except for forced moves due to a character dying). The following rules apply to the front and back ranks:

-The CM can target ANY of your front rank characters with a monster's regular attacks (CM's choice). Attacks that could target anyone without this rule can still target anyone, including your back rank.
-Characters in the back rank have -1 dice of all colors when making a regular attack roll. This doesn't apply to spells, prayers, attacks with bows, etc.
-You must always have at least as many characters in the front rank as in the back. If characters in the front die, you might have to immediately move a back rank character forward to keep this rule satisfied.
-Subject to the above rules, a character you recruit during your turn can go in either the front or back rank.


Combine this with a few nerfs to some of the more overpowered inn cards:

-Any effect that allows you to damage monsters or act before the monsters is limited to 3 uses per game. Use axe tokens to mark how much "ammo" they have left. This applies to magic missile, divine haste, the bows, throwing daggers, one character's special ability, etc. Once a card runs out of ammo, it is still attached and provides stat bonuses if applicable, but its preemptive strike effect no longer functions.

-Reduce the number of successes you roll by 1 when casting Mass Blessing. If you roll 1 or 0 successes, it has no effect.

-You must roll Holiness TN3 when casting Hold Monster or it has no effect. Failing to cast Hold Monster still takes the cleric's turn.

-You can't cast For the Fallen unless there's at least one character in the dead pile.

-You can't cast Town Portal in the inn

(The reasoning for the last two "nerfs" is that if you draw one of them on turn 1, you get a massively unfair advantage to drafting characters compared to the other players. Not only do you get multiple recruits in one turn, but you get to pick the best characters while doing so. Mass Blessing and Hold Monster's overpoweredness is probably more obvious.)


I've found that, with those rules, monsters suddenly become scary again, even if you keep party size at 5 and the crypts at their printed sizes. Of course, for maximum carnage, you might want to combine these rules with a variant to increase crypt size (my favorite is to deal two extra random cards, one face up and one face down, to each crypt after normal setup). I don't really recommend smaller parties combined with Party Formation ... you'll need the extra bodies.

Needless to say, this variant extends game length quite a bit (there's LOTS more character death going on), so you won't want to use it if you're in a hurry.

Have fun!
 
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Chemist .
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Hold Monster, I believe, is broken. You can use it each combat round and guarantee a victory against one-monster crypts.
 
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Michael Bay
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SDSUChemTA wrote:
Hold Monster, I believe, is broken. You can use it each combat round and guarantee a victory against one-monster crypts.


All cards are one use per crypt raid (not that a lone monster is likely to survive a round of attacks to make that matter). Even accounting for that and a failure rate per the variant, it's still one of the most powerful cards in the game -- if you think it's still too powerful, maybe make it discard on use?
 
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Chemist .
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Thanks for the response. I really wish for a 2nd edition rulebook! I am not personally doubting you, I just wish there was a link to that ruling from a developer. If that card had said "Use only once per raid," then I would put this baby to bed.
 
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David Tolin
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SDSUChemTA wrote:
Thanks for the response. I really wish for a 2nd edition rulebook! I am not personally doubting you, I just wish there was a link to that ruling from a developer. If that card had said "Use only once per raid," then I would put this baby to bed.


No ruling necessary, though. The rulebook explicitly states that all Inn cards are limited to one use per turn. I'm not familiar with all of the cards in the game, but assuming that "Hold Monster" is not a Treasure card, it faces the once-per-turn limitation.
 
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Gary Bradley
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XaneHS wrote:
Since a number of people, myself included, feel the balance of this game is somewhat off, I set about creating a few optional rules to help it out a bit. These rules are all designed to make the game harder (particularly combat against monsters), and are basically designed to nerf one of three things: an invincible party due to one strong character, going before the monsters, and recruiting lots of characters on turns 1-2 with a special card.


Interesting. In every game I have played thus far, with one exception, the parties were always being wiped by the monsters, even with a very strong character.

Some points anyway, addressing each of your three issues:

a) I believe you can only equip ONE traited card in TOTAL per character; and not ONE per TRAIT. Re-read the rules on this, in fact they are ambiguous and could be read either way. However one trait card per character in total solves the invincible party member issue, so I go with that rule.

b) The monsters always go first in (normal) combat. So I don't get your comment above

c) While there maybe a special card that lets you recruit many people in 1-2 turns, I have never seen it. In all my games, recruiting 5 members before setting off is almost always a losing strategy as smaller parties have already raided 2-3 small crypts (which they probably loaded with good stuff) and are already more powerful than the 5-man party by the time the latter sets off.
 
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David desJardins
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GaryB wrote:
I believe you can only equip ONE traited card in TOTAL per character; and not ONE per TRAIT.


Huh? You're trying to say that if you have a sword, you can't also wear armor? That's ridiculous, and obviously not what the rule intends.
 
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Michael Bay
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GaryB wrote:

a) I believe you can only equip ONE traited card in TOTAL per character; and not ONE per TRAIT. Re-read the rules on this, in fact they are ambiguous and could be read either way. However one trait card per character in total solves the invincible party member issue, so I go with that rule.


Others have addressed this; we play that you can wear a weapon, armor, etc. at once (makes the most sense to me). The combo that's really a problem is Full Helm + any other armor.

GaryB wrote:

b) The monsters always go first in (normal) combat. So I don't get your comment above


There are many, many cards that change this: Short Bow, Heavy Crossbow, Charge (tactic), Divine Haste, one wizard character with 2 red attack who always moves before the monsters, and some others. If you get two of these in your party, it's trivial to wipe out at least one monster pre-emptively, and since most crypts only have 1-2 monsters...


GaryB wrote:
c) While there maybe a special card that lets you recruit many people in 1-2 turns, I have never seen it. In all my games, recruiting 5 members before setting off is almost always a losing strategy as smaller parties have already raided 2-3 small crypts (which they probably loaded with good stuff) and are already more powerful than the 5-man party by the time the latter sets off.


I listed the two cards that are a concern in my "nerfs" section: For the Fallen and Town Portal. Playing with the game's basic rules, you could take a Cleric as your starting character, draw a payer, get For the Fallen, and then, on your first turn, recruit and cast FtF to have 5 characters ON TURN 1 -- if you won the die roll, the other players haven't even had a turn yet! I have trouble imagine any competent player losing at that point, which is why I have the house rule to prevent that play (you can't cast For the Fallen unless there's a dead character). The spell is clearly intended to help you recover from getting wiped out and it even mentions "the fallen", so this restriction makes sense to me. Town Portal is admittedly less of a problem, but it still lets you have 5 characters on turn 3, or, more importantly, the -best- 3 characters in the inn on turn 2.

Thanks for the response! Hope that clears up your questions.



 
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Everett Scheer
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Sorry for the rez, but I wanted to post a fix for "For the Fallen" that matches the theme of the card. change "recruit up to 3 characters" to "recruit a character for each character in the dead pile (max 3)" This nerfs the instant 5 character start party problem, while it still allows for a dessimated player to quickly recover later in the game.
 
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