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Subject: Modification Playtest Session #2 rss

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Adam Boudreau
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First session: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/383501

If you’ve read my last session report you know we’re in process for modifying this game. We decided to give it another go this weekend. At first we ran through without changing much of the previous modifications. We have the character cards filtered to a point where you really can’t choose one at random outside of the class anymore. So we decided that instead of starting with a set beginner card and one random card, you would choose two cards from the class at random. This actually seemed to work out much better!

This allowed us to pull some of the more powerful cards from our decks instead of waiting to level up for them. It felt a little more balanced. Unfortunately as we played the game like this the invader character was still way too overpowered. We determined that the power was in the fact that they were using the decks from both the expansion and the original game set. So after Kate got close to ruining us towards the beginning of the game we decided we should start over and only use the original card set for the invader player. We seriously barely made any new ground, despite the fact we had stronger cards for our characters this time around AND lowered the difficulty level to one below normal. I won’t get into a play by play of that particular unfinished game, because we restarted the level right after that with the changes and what a big difference.

I went with the red Marine, again, Dan was Green, and Kate played Blue. I played a class more to my liking with Lt. Headshot. It’s not that Sgt. Toolbox was useless; it just wasn’t my kind of character. I’m much more comfortable playing the role of a sniper, even in video games! Dan went with Private Marinja, which was his favorite, and Kate took Captain Hewge again. She tried out Sgt. Toolbox in the first round, but found the cards far too conflicting for her to also play as the Invader in our play testing scenarios.

That being said, trying out our "draw at random" from the class method I picked up the "Assassin" and "Efficient Killer" cards. What a dominating combination! This was great to play as and I found I was much more effective in the game. I was able to do significant damage to a lot of the larger creatures and if I aimed at the dogs before taking a shot I usually managed to kill them. This was a boon to my other players because those dogs do so much damage! Don’t get me wrong, Kate got in some attacks with her dogs, but they didn’t charge through and destroy us completely this time. Dan chose the cards "Scout" and "Lithe." This was a pretty good combination as Dan likes being able to have extra movement a lot. It didn’t feel like he was dominating the board either, like last weeks game with his ability to always set Alert. Kate pulled the "Special Ops" and "Killer Instinct" cards for her character. What a devastating combination. She easily secured the most kills out of anyone in the game! This time the Captain Hewge character was a lot more effective. Granted Kate managed to roll a little better, but the card combination really helped.

Despite these amazing card combos we still managed to have a very tense and evenly matched game. The marines managed to secure a victory, but Kate still got five frags on us for the Invader character. One more and she would’ve won. We escaped by the skin of our teeth really! It was an incredibly hard fought game despite the fact she was only using the invader deck from the original game and we played on the "Hey, not too rough" difficulty setting. We think we might be on to something with this modification so we’re going to play level two in the campaign next week and really try out the level up mechanic. We made one more change to the system and that is we share our kills between all the player characters. We think this will help the characters more and even them out, plus we should be able to level up all at the same time. We also played with the rules that the shotgun gets knock back rather than blow through. We also used the rule that you can always use the pistol, which was a modification mentioned in the "Expansion Set." Here I thought I was being original in the last session with my suggestion that we should use it like Left 4 Dead, when FFG apparently thought of it first!

I think those are all the adjustments we made to our modification that I brought up in my last session report and all the FFG suggested mods we also implemented. We’ll probably play this every weekend until we get these worked out correctly and I’m looking forward to next weekend when we can hopefully score enough kills to level up our characters! Until next weekend! I should have another report for everyone interested in this modification.
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Rauli Kettunen
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EtherealCleric wrote:
That being said, trying out our "draw at random" from the class method I picked up the "Assassin" and "Efficient Killer" cards. What a dominating combination! This was great to play as and I found I was much more effective in the game. I was able to do significant damage to a lot of the larger creatures and if I aimed at the dogs before taking a shot I usually managed to kill them.


I'm curious about how often/how you used the Aim order. As I see it, Tactician + Assassin is a combo that really benefits each other (choose Ready, you get to move, attack AND place an order, so basically 4 move + 1 Aimed attack each turn). Combine that with Unending Pistol and you can snipe anything up to a Demon most likely in a turn with just the Pistol, no need for ammo (of course, having BFG with that combo is just sick ). Without Tactician, you're stuck with 0 move + Aimed attack or move 4 + give Aim, but with the latter you need to hope/make sure nothing damages you before your next turn or your Aim is gone. Also, if the Invader doesn't manage to remove your Aim, he can spawn monsters out of your Aimers LOS, again nerfing your Aim. Would like to hear how you got around those hindrances. Maybe having 4 (or only 3 this time) Marines helped?

Quote:
I think those are all the adjustments we made to our modification that I brought up in my last session report and all the FFG suggested mods we also implemented. We’ll probably play this every weekend until we get these worked out correctly and I’m looking forward to next weekend when we can hopefully score enough kills to level up our characters! Until next weekend! I should have another report for everyone interested in this modification.


Are you using the standard level-up chart still? Just thinking about it, isn't new Marine card like 65 points?
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Now known as; YearoftheCat
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When you say Class, do you mean you have the marine deck divided up into various cards based on classes of soldier (tactical, front line, command etc) or what? Did I miss a link to the mod you're using? ;)
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Ruin Shatterhouse Prime, the Third.
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@Arcana:
We took the 28 Marine cards and divided them up into 4 groups of 7 based on any similar themes they had. i.e. the "Scout" class has the Scout, Lithe, Danger Sense, etc. cards, and the "Sniper" class has Sniper, Crack Shot, Perfect Aim, etc.

At the start of the game every player chooses/gets assigned a class and pulls a couple random cards from only those 7. When 'leveling up' by spending kill points for a new card, the new random card is pulled from the same group of cards for that class.

@Rauli:
When you pull Assassin as a starter card, you find yourself using Aim any time there's something in your line of sight that can survive more than one wound.
Unfortunately the Tactician card is not in the 'Sniper' class deck, but we're thinking about shuffling Front Guard in there to make him more mobile. As it stands now, all the classes can move and shoot pretty well except the Sniper, depending on how lucky they are with their cards.
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Here are the four classes as balanced as I could think:

1.) Support-type, nickname "Toolbox":
Tech Ops,
Medic,
Officer,
Tactician,
Careful,
Prepared,
Ground Assault

The defensive guy with great potential to save everyone tons of grief. This is the guy you wish was always around, but not played by you. Tactician/Medic lets you heal up while advancing, and unless I got it wrong, lets you heal people without being adjacent to them. We threw Ground Assault in there because the other six cards just aren't very kill-oriented.

2.) Speed-type, nickname "Marinja"
Scout
Lithe
Recon
Danger Sense
Alert
Special Ops
Marksman

The one who can move more spaces, through grates, and even through enemies and obstacles. Not too much attack potential unless you score "Alert" for a free Guard order every advance, but it's a lot of fun to grenade-and-run. Marksman wound up in here because it was a left-over.

3.) Sniper-type, nickname "Headshot"
Sniper
Crack Shot
Efficient Killer
Assassin
Perfect Aim
Marksman
Front Guard

This is a real good deck for people who like bullets. If you pull efficient killer, you can't run out of bullet ammo, and also get a range and deadly bonus to all bullet weapons. The only card that seems out of place here is Front Guard, but this guy needs the ability to move and shoot twice to keep up with the other three classes. Otherwise he's stuck standing still and aiming, really.

4.) The Big Guy, nickname "Hewge". Other nickname: Lenny.
Big Guy
Tough
Special Ops
Survival Ops
Survival Ops again
Lean&Mean
Killer Instinct

The Big Guy. The hardest one to kill with his extra base armor and health bonus. Also got everyone's favorite Killer Instinct.


Comments/Suggestions welcome.

There are a couple different things we're trying to do here.
1.) Go with themes. Did that pretty well.
2.) Avoid combos that are way too good, like Killer Instinct and Ground Assault, or Killer Instinct and Front Guard. At the end of the last campaign-type game we played I had Killer Instinct, Ground Assault, and Special Ops,(+4 other cards) and it just wasn't fair to the invader at that point. Or the other Marines who wanted some kills.
3.) Avoid combos that completely suck, like Prepared/Danger Sense, Prepared/Survival Ops, Prepared/most things, really. Might want to consider letting the support guy draw his starting hand twice.


--edit, typos--
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Adam Boudreau
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ArcanaGamer wrote:
When you say Class, do you mean you have the marine deck divided up into various cards based on classes of soldier (tactical, front line, command etc) or what? Did I miss a link to the mod you're using? ;)


haha, yeah I think you did. It's in my first session report, I'll link it to the top of this entry now. I didn't message you because I haven't had a chance to read through yours in full yet. I plan to, work is slowing down a bit, so I should have some time. I kind of wanted to develop our own system without any influence, but now that we seem to be on our way, I'll scope our your mod.

As to the others. The aimed attacks were very devastating to use, but I didn't get a chance to use them enough to make the game unfair in my opinion.

Shatterhouse, is the way we're using AIM a modification? Because I don't think we're using it the way the person above described...
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The way we've been using Aim is mostly correct except for the small error I emailed you yesterday. To use it the way Rauli described it would require the Aimer to possess either the Tactician card or the Perfect Aim card.
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Rauli Kettunen
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Shatterhouse360 wrote:
The way we've been using Aim is mostly correct except for the small error I emailed you yesterday. To use it the way Rauli described it would require the Aimer to possess either the Tactician card or the Perfect Aim card.


To be clear, Perfect Aim with the Assassin or Tactician with anyone in the group, as he can give the order to any Marine IIRC.
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