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Subject: How often does clogging occur? rss

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Paul Smith
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I’m seriously considering buying this game, but I have a tendency to dislike games that have design flaws.

It appears that one design flaw is the clogging of the dungeon in the early game. I realize some might say this isn’t a design flaw, but a feature and creates a different game experience. I might agree that it actually is a feature, although it appears to simplify the game and take away meaningful choices. For me, when the game goes on auto-pilot it is less fun. The question I have is how often does this occur? Does it occur only in the setup, or can it happen throughout the early game?

The second issue that I’ve read about is that in the mid-end game, the dungeon gets clogged with weak creatures. No one has incentive to kill the creatures because it’s more advantageous to let your opponent do it. Is this really an issue and how frequent is it? Is this only an issue when the Thunderstone pops up with weak creatures in front? I haven’t seen as much written about this. This one appears to be a more serious issue in that if it’s in no ones best interest to go to the dungeon then the game has a serious flaw.

Overall, I’m just trying to get an idea how often these things occur and how detrimental it is to the game. If it’s 1 in 10, then I’m willing to try the game. If it’s more, like 1 in 2, then I’ll be more concerned. Thanks.
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Brian M
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So far, I haven't really seen it happening. Tough monsters just means more time spent building up in town. Weak late game monsters are still worth points.

The only monster that we tend to not want to attack at all is a humanoid that isn't worth any victory points, but there are only 2 of those so they can't jam up the whole dungeon. They do tend to be a very good target for 'Banish' or other effects that remove cards.
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Ed Browne
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I don't see it as that big a deal. In fact, it is good for teaching an important concept to this game: deck thinning. When you figure out you aren't going to be able to beat any of those dragons with militia, you start thinning out those militia (perhaps torches and rations too) to try to get six cards that will defeat those tough monsters. Then when the clog breaks you start realizing just how easy the easy and medium monsters are to defeat when your deck has gotten thinner and know to do that every game.

However, to a more casual gamer, especially one who thinks the game plays like Dominion, this sort of thing can be very frustrating. You can casually play Dominion without thinning out minor cards by simply picking cards that allow you to draw more cards, etc. Drawing extra cards in Thunderstone is very, very rare. So you have to get 6 cards that combine to beat a monster. Casual gamers may feel like the game isn't moving as fast as Dominion because they are still trying to think of it as Dominion. We had a game with an early "clog" the other night and the guy who frowned and said, "Why are you ditching good cards?" was the one who, not suprisingly, got very few victory cards.


I don't know if this helps. I guess I'm saying clogging is a puzzle I enjoy facing and helps teach the important lesson of thinning. Others might be frustrated because they wanted a D&D version of Dominion and Thunderstone just isn't that. This helps weed those folks out.


Edited: For typo and changed "village" to "victory" cards.
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Brandon Richards
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Grimstax wrote:
I don't see it as that big a deal. In fact, it is good for teaching an important concept to this game: deck thinning. When you figure out you aren't going to be able to beat any of those dragons with militia, you start thinning out those militia (perhaps torches and rations too) to try to get six cards that will defeat those tough monsters. Then when the clog breaks you start realizing just how easy the easy and medium monsters are to defeat when your deck has gotten thinner and know to do that every game.


Which leads to another issue that would decide if I buy the game or not: When you build your deck strong at the beginning to defeat the tough monsters, is the last 2/3s of the game anticlamatic if you can easily defeat the simpler monsters?
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Ed Browne
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Quote:
Which leads to another issue that would decide if I buy the game or not: When you build your deck strong at the beginning to defeat the tough monsters, is the last 2/3s of the game anticlamatic if you can easily defeat the simpler monsters?


The answer is...uh...maybe. If everyone getting a monster a turn is "anticlimactic" then yeah. It can cause a rush similar to everyone grabbing a province per turn in Dominio in the endgame. You can also see it as an opportunity for other strategies. In our recent "clog" game, when the monsters started getting easier, I then was using my Elf Wizard to send monsters to the bottom of the deck to keep others from cutting into my lead.

Some might think the game would be better suited with a mechanism that makes sure the easier monsters come out first, then the mediums, then the bigs. But I enjoyed the challenge and the difference in the way the game played. It actually allowed for more use of the village as we fine tuned out deck than we were seeing in other games where easier monsters came first.

Of course you can always just choose to go into the dungeon knowing you will be defeated and send a tough monster to the bottom of the deck (never to be seen again). That rule fixes clogs too. No need to learn how to fine tune a deck to beat one of 3 tough monsters when you can just walk into the dungeon with a crappy hand and send a dragon out of the game to make room for easier monsters. Game moves faster that way for those who think that going to the dungeon is the only way the game moves (meaning they think the village and fine tuning their deck is "boring"). So clogs don't have to be a problem at all if you can send any monster out of the game with 2 torches, 1 militia, 2 iron rations and a disease.
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Edwin Karat
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Grimstax wrote:
I don't see it as that big a deal. In fact, it is good for teaching an important concept to this game: deck thinning. When you figure out you aren't going to be able to beat any of those dragons with militia, you start thinning out those militia (perhaps torches and rations too) to try to get six cards that will defeat those tough monsters. Then when the clog breaks you start realizing just how easy the easy and medium monsters are to defeat when your deck has gotten thinner and know to do that every game.

However, to a more casual gamer, especially one who thinks the game plays like Dominion, this sort of thing can be very frustrating. You can casually play Dominion without thinning out minor cards by simply picking cards that allow you to draw more cards, etc. Drawing extra cards in Thunderstone is very, very rare. So you have to get 6 cards that combine to beat a monster. Casual gamers may feel like the game isn't moving as fast as Dominion because they are still trying to think of it as Dominion. We had a game with an early "clog" the other night and the guy who frowned and said, "Why are you ditching good cards?" was the one who, not suprisingly, got very few victory cards.


I don't know if this helps. I guess I'm saying clogging is a puzzle I enjoy facing and helps teach the important lesson of thinning. Others might be frustrated because they wanted a D&D version of Dominion and Thunderstone just isn't that. This helps weed those folks out.


Edited: For typo and changed "village" to "victory" cards.


Well said. That is what I learned this weekend -- the power of thinning your decks.

Another strategy I saw was the use of banish cards to set up a weak monster in the first rank with a tough monster in the second, so that the weak monster can be defeated easily but the others have trouble defeating it themselves.
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John Anderson
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StormKnight wrote:
Weak late game monsters are still worth points.
While that's certainly true, is it really worth the risk of killing a 1VP monster and then having an 8VP flip in its place? Yes you technically got a point, but the next person will probably get 8. I see this as a pretty common issue, and in our last game we got into a few situations where nobody really had incentive to kill anything. And Banish wasn't available.
 
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David Vanden Heuvel
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filovirus wrote:

Which leads to another issue that would decide if I buy the game or not: When you build your deck strong at the beginning to defeat the tough monsters, is the last 2/3s of the game anticlamatic if you can easily defeat the simpler monsters?

Dominion suffers from the same "problem" in that if you've finely tuned your engine, buying provinces(aka VP's) at the end of the game isn't the same "challenge" at the end of the game as buying provinces at the beginning.
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Mik Svellov
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chucker101 wrote:
The second issue that I’ve read about is that in the mid-end game, the dungeon gets clogged with weak creatures. No one has incentive to kill the creatures because it’s more advantageous to let your opponent do it. Is this really an issue and how frequent is it?

With only one game played, I cannot say how frequent it is, but it certainly ruined our game:

First we had to increase the power of our parties to nail the monsters, and once we had done that, no-one dared to kill those cuddly toys that suddenly appeared for fear of letting a better monster onto the scene for the next party.

Eventually I 'sacrificed' myself to have the game move forward, and I was instantly punished when the other players received the better spoils.

Same with the end game: no-one wanted to give 6 points to the next player when you could get 2 or 3 points yourself.

In fact my main complaint about the game is that you can lean, mean party machine that can kill everything in sight - and still not see anything worth killing when it is your turn, while another player is rolling is having a field day killing all the biggies.
 
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Mik Svellov
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Deefer wrote:
filovirus wrote:

Which leads to another issue that would decide if I buy the game or not: When you build your deck strong at the beginning to defeat the tough monsters, is the last 2/3s of the game anticlamatic if you can easily defeat the simpler monsters?

Dominion suffers from the same "problem" in that if you've finely tuned your engine, buying provinces(aka VP's) at the end of the game isn't the same "challenge" at the end of the game as buying provinces at the beginning.

While it is true that you cannot do anything useful with a weak hand in either game, in Dominion you can ALWAYS use a strong hand - you are never forced to buy an measly Estate (1 VP) with your 9 gold. In Thunderstone you can be the greatest fighter in the world and only be able to get a single point, and immediately reveal a 7 point monster for the next player.
 
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Maciej Teległow
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I do not consider clogging an issue in Thunderstone. Even if in the mid game there are weak monsters it always generate other interesting and cutthroat race for other assets like higher lvl heroes. If you have more exp points then your opponents you can take better heroes for yourself or if you have better buying power you can buy them for yourself. There is always race for something in this game and moments when someone can discount his better earlier play. After 30 games I can say that looking at each other eyes and waiting who would have to kill cheap monster while you can build your deck better is very nice. And there are cards which helps to go through monster deck like elf wizard and banish or some other high lvl hero.
 
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John Anderson
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MacTele wrote:
After 30 games I can say that looking at each other eyes and waiting who would have to kill cheap monster
But why would anyone ever have to do that?
 
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Ted Vessenes
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I've noticed it happening about one in three games, and especially when playing with Humanoids. If there are no banish-style options, the game literally does grind to a halt while everyone tries to purchase level 3 heroes rather than letting someone else end the game for a bonus 3 points.

You can fix this problem by making the Thunderstone worth 0 points instead of 3.
 
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