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A Touch of Evil: The Supernatural Game» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Brother Marcus & The Void = Broken rss

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Lee Valentine
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Here's a trick with the Void and the Unspeakable Horror. Its pretty broken, and, if you ask me, a sign of a lack of playtesting. This trick works well with Brother Marcus, but a similar trick can be done with a high Cunning character.

So you boost Brother Marcus' Spirit a few points. Pick your method: the Church, the Monastery shop, etc. Now, you make sure you buy a Burning Censer. Then you find a Void to explore. It's an Action but, and here's the key, it is NOT a once per turn Action. You roll. On average, if Brother Marcus has 7 Spirit, he'll roll a 6. If he does. Roll again. Any time you fail, you re-roll all the failed dice with the Censer. Once you've used the Censer you are pretty much done for the turn. You've probably collected 10 Investigation or so on one turn. A Mystery pops up when you now Encounter the Void. If you don't like it, try and zap it, you have Investigation to spare and you are playing Brother Marcus. Lather, rinse, and repeat. You'll rarely take significant damage, and with the Censer, you probably won't take damage at all.

In a co-op game, on the off chance you do take damage, your pals can sometimes play an Event to prevent the damage and gain Investigation at the same time, which they can use against the Unspeakable Horror.

Against the Unspeakable Horror, you can spend 2 Investigation to get +1 Fight Dice. But wait, it gets better. With Brother Marcus and the Burning Censer you crank your Fight Dice into orbit and then use the Burning Censer to re-roll all the misses.

I saw Brother Marcus roll 35 dice and, between the roll and the re-roll of the misses, he did about 19 Hits in one Fight Round.

This technique can be done with either Cunning or Spirit with the appropriate item from the Monastery. Brother Marcus is ideal because he can also often zap the Void Mystery Card that you'll have to draw using this technique. If this happened in a competitive game instead of a co-op game, then if I wasn't playing Brother Marcus I might just toss the game out the window. This particular combination felt most definitely NOT playtested and it's easy to accomplish, particularly in a co-op game. I spotted the combo, but didn't realize how gross it was till I saw it in action. A friend came up with it independently, so it wouldn't have been hard to playtest.

The big problem I have with exploring the Void: it's incredibly dangerous unless you have the right toys, and then it's just grossly favorable to do. Not really a balanced game effect.

Lee
 
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George
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I have not yet played the Unspeakable Horror and that does sound somewhat exploitable, however I wonder how big an advantage Brother Marcus has over the other Heroes.

The Void test can be made with Spirit, Cunning or Honor. His advantage is he has 4 Spirit and the ability to fight with it so he will naturally be developing a high spirit. However, plenty of other characters start with a Spirit or Cunning of 4, and they most certainly will be grabbing the Town Items that let them fight with it (whether or not those are available in a game with many players is a different subject I suppose). The heroes least likely to develop Spirit or Cunning are those that start with high combat, i.e. Scarlet Shadow and Karl, and they have high honors of 6 and 5. Everyone else has at least Cunning or Spirit at 3 so they aren't too far behind.

The other ability is Brother Marcus' canceling Mystery cards. I actually don't see this as an advantage at all for Voids because Mystery cards rarely affect the person drawing them. More often, they affect everyone or a random person.

All that said, I could see house ruling that you can only explore a Void once on a turn. I almost wonder if it was intended to be that way.

Hmmm, I'm going to have to play against the Unspeakable Horror soon and check all this out now!
 
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Greg Pritchard
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I don't have the expansion yet, so I haven't read the rules, but I can't believe exploring a void would be something you can do more than once per turn. Do you do this instead of encountering the space, or after encountering the space?
I see a future rule errata coming for this one.
If not, it's pretty obvious that this will need a house rule.
 
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Bela's dead and Vampira won't talk
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gpritch3 wrote:
I don't have the expansion yet, so I haven't read the rules, but I can't believe exploring a void would be something you can do more than once per turn. Do you do this instead of encountering the space, or after encountering the space?
I see a future rule errata coming for this one.
If not, it's pretty obvious that this will need a house rule.


"When Encountering a space with a Void, you must first draw a Mystery Card. Then Encounter the space as normal.
While in the space, a Hero may explore the Void as an Action. Make a Spirit, Cunning (...)"

I think the original poster's reading is technically correct based on the wording, but it seems clear to me that the intent was to make this as a once per turn action (as if it were a portion of the Encounter, though of course it's technically not).
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Greg Pritchard
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Yep, sounds like the intent was obviously to make this a once per turn thing. Looks like at errata should be coming for this. Darn Flying Frog rules obscurity strikes again. I still enjoy the game though.
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Lee Valentine
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soosy wrote:
The other ability is Brother Marcus' canceling Mystery cards. I actually don't see this as an advantage at all for Voids because Mystery cards rarely affect the person drawing them. More often, they affect everyone or a random person.


We were playing Co-op, so having Brother Marcus available to cancel a nasty Mystery draw was useful. Marcus is useful, as you pointed out, because he comes pre-built to fight with the same attribute that you are making the Void test with. Additionally, one item in the Monastery both boosts your Spirit AND lets you cancel Mystery cards. All these scream Brother Marcus. Since Marcus doesn't have to spend 8 Investigation on a Runic Amulet, he can go on a shopping spree over at the Monastery early on. The Burning Censer makes him a combat monster early on, and then later makes him an Investigation gathering machine in the Void.

le_cygne wrote:
Quote:


"When Encountering a space with a Void, you must first draw a Mystery Card. Then Encounter the space as normal.
While in the space, a Hero may explore the Void as an Action. Make a Spirit, Cunning (...)"


I think the original poster's reading is technically correct based on the wording, but it seems clear to me that the intent was to make this as a once per turn action (as if it were a portion of the Encounter, though of course it's technically not).


I disagree; the two are not obviously one and the same Action. You can Encounter the space before or after other Actions, so I didn't read the exploring the Void Action as part of the Encounter the Space Action. Further, since you HAVE TO Encounter the space, but you MAY explore the Void, a "may" and a "must" in this context suggest two separate categories of Actions.

Except where specified in the rulebook or on a card, all Actions can be repeated as often as you want on your turn.

This is largely unimportant, however, because Brother Marcus can often roll a pair of sixes if he has a 7 Spirit at the Burning Censer, meaning that you'll often hit 10+ Investigation per turn even doing this Action once per turn. Doing it more often is only useful if you roll a 6 the first time around without using the Burning Censer. Even doing this once per turn is extremely gross and has minimal risk (Mystery card aside) if handled appropriately.

To me, this was called a lack of playtesting.

I will say, however, that this is likely to be less of a problem in competitive play, as the other players can work together to use Event cards to haze Brother Marcus if he gets out of hand.

Lee
 
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Bela's dead and Vampira won't talk
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hudarklord wrote:

I disagree; the two are not obviously one and the same Action. You can Encounter the space before or after other Actions, so I didn't read the exploring the Void Action as part of the Encounter the Space Action. Further, since you HAVE TO Encounter the space, but you MAY explore the Void, a "may" and a "must" in this context suggest two separate categories of Actions.

Except where specified in the rulebook or on a card, all Actions can be repeated as often as you want on your turn.


I agree that you're playing it correctly, and I know that actions are repeatable and disparate from the Encounter. If I were asked to rule on this in a tournament setting or some such, I think you're definitely playing correctly.

What I meant was that exploring the Void is (I think) thematically intended as part of the character's lower-case e encounter with the space. If I'm hanging out in the Bog and there's a rift to another dimension, I can either explore it or choose not to. It's only speculation on my part, of course, but I doubt they imagined exploring a void several times at once (as opposed, say, to healing or investigating the secrets of multiple elders).

Quote:
This is largely unimportant, however, because Brother Marcus can often roll a pair of sixes if he has a 7 Spirit at the Burning Censer, meaning that you'll often hit 10+ Investigation per turn even doing this Action once per turn. Doing it more often is only useful if you roll a 6 the first time around without using the Burning Censer. Even doing this once per turn is extremely gross and has minimal risk (Mystery card aside) if handled appropriately.

To me, this was called a lack of playtesting.


I'm not saying this couldn't be a playtesting issue, and I do appreciate you bringing this up, since I think you're basically right, at least with the rules as written.

With the once per turn limit, it's still very, very good, but certainly less broken than the huge sums he could get with 7 or 8 Spirit and no per-turn limit. Like you say, "it's an Action but, and here's the key, it is NOT a once per turn Action. You roll. On average, if Brother Marcus has 7 Spirit, he'll roll a 6. If he does. Roll again."

At least with once per turn, you're not getting that 5 free investigation per go (on average), and you are getting additional Mysteries that he can't counter(assuming he's countering those from the Void), the Shadow Track is still moving along, and the chart is still being rolled on in co-op (and as you say, other heroes will be improving and working to thwart him in competitive, or perhaps pursuing similar strategies themselves). I admit that this is still pretty amazing--maybe even too amazing--but then so is Isabella with a huge pile of investigation from the right Mysteries, or Danforth with "I say..." in a co-op game.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I kind of assumed that the reason you could get so much investigation from the Voids was precisely to use it for the Last Hope ability if you were a non-combat oriented character. For now, I'll probably just house rule it to once per turn and make sure players are prepared to counter it if we run into it competitively.
 
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Lee Valentine
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le_cygne wrote:

Maybe I'm wrong, but I kind of assumed that the reason you could get so much investigation from the Voids was precisely to use it for the Last Hope ability if you were a non-combat oriented character. For now, I'll probably just house rule it to once per turn and make sure players are prepared to counter it if we run into it competitively.


I will concede that perhaps they could have intended this to be once per turn, although failed to apply the rules appropriately. I'll go along with that.

Even with a once per turn roll, however, with the Burning Censer it is easy to get 10 Investigation per round. The real insult to injury was that if Brother Marcus ever rolls 6 damage on himself going way against the odds, somebody in co-op play can Honorable Gesture and earn 12 Investigation. Unreal.

Lee
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Bela's dead and Vampira won't talk
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hudarklord wrote:
The real insult to injury was that if Brother Marcus ever rolls 6 damage on himself going way against the odds, somebody in co-op play can Honorable Gesture and earn 12 Investigation. Unreal.

Lee


Yeah, that card is absolutely crazy in co-op, and as you say, even more ridiculous in this situation. Yet another reason I'm convinced competitive play is supposed to be the main focus of the game.

As you say, other players hammering you with Events is one of the better ways to mitigate some of the more--shall we say--"unexpectedly powerful" setups that can arise.

(But who am I kidding? I like their games because Flying Frog just gets horror and does the theme better than anyone. If something like Descent is beer and pretzels, then for me Touch of Evil is wine and candles, so I'm quicker to jump to "designer intent" assumptions than I would be with something like T&E or Agricola.)
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Mr. Sarcasmo
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I agree with the OP's assessment, but I also find Brother Marcus to be one of the strongest characters overall. I think the highest I've had one character rolling was 21 dice, and it's not hard to do. In a competitive game, any villain out there can only put up with a few rounds of that.
 
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Eric Finley
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I concur, and moreover in my experience using Cunning or Spirit in place of Combat was already too dominant a strategy, before introducing the Burning Censer and Scroll of Knowledge. It's my biggest disappointment with the expansion (and the game overall).

I just finished posting two possible house-rule alternatives for this, here. Comments welcome.
 
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Tomas Hejna
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Hellequin wrote:
I concur, and moreover in my experience using Cunning or Spirit in place of Combat was already too dominant a strategy, before introducing the Burning Censer and Scroll of Knowledge. It's my biggest disappointment with the expansion (and the game overall).

I just finished posting two possible house-rule alternatives for this, here. Comments welcome.

As I have 'answered' in your thread, already - I think I will make a shortcut here - the quick & dirty one:

I'll remove both the Burning Censer and the Scroll of Knowledge from the game.

Both items seems to me that they are doing quite alot of harm to the game in a long turn - either through the spirit/cunning combat, via the Void above or simply in the case for some other Villains (it could be the Gargoyle's Stone touch as well, in example).
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