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Subject: Really that simple? rss

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Steve Duff
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Um, no, it's not.

If it's simple to win, you're playing it incorrectly.
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Brian M
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Just based on what you've said I'm mostly sure you're doing something wrong. The "unlimited resources" alone indicates a problem.

Are you:

Only moving to one location per turn, and using a card to do so?

Only taking 1 action and only picking up 1 item per turn?

Paying costs for taking objects?

Drawing monsters (1 with 2 players, 2 with 4 players, alternating 1/2 with 3 players) every turn?

Only refilling a location when all three items have been removed?

Drawing an event at the end of each set of player turns?

Rolling the die when you move to a location with a monster?

Placing the gates face down?

Maybe you can give us more details about how a game is going and we can figure out what's wrong.
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David Hoffman
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Some thoughts:

(1) when the final GOO is revealed, their powers go into effect automatically. Shadows' powers go into effect when they are moved to Arkham.

(2) order in a turn is this: play a card / go to a location / trade with another player at the location / fight a monster / use an item / purchase an item. So a single player cannot purchase an item and then use it in the same turn. Additionally, a single player cannot take an item and then -- having a match -- vanquish a monster in that same location (b/c the "fight" part of their turn is over.) I do, however, think that Player 1 taking an item, then trading it to Player 2 at that same location is the key to successfully winning this game.

(3) while I don't agree with it, portals stay face-down the entire game and you're not allowed to directly communicate a portals' identity to the other players.

(4) you can only kill a monster with a dagger if the Witch is present on your location.

(5) If you seal a portal that was really a wall, you lose the game (though, you shouldn't find this out until the very end of the game).

(6) Tiles are drawn from the bag -- one cannot strategize where to put a book, glasses, etc.

(7) Monsters are placed out on the board in location-order.

(8) The Witch moves according to location-order, as per the Event cards.

There's probably more stuff I could think of but the bottom line is, yeah, there are pretty much only two scenarios here. Either you're playing one or more things wrong, or somehow the planets have aligned to place the perfect items in the perfect locations with the perfect distribution of both monsters and GOO's to enable you to win easily.

Witch of Salem is, quite simply, not a game one wins easily.
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Steve Duff
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superflypete wrote:
Yeah, I'm doing everything within the rules, as indicated in the proper order, it's just not been that difficult for us.


I'm sure you're doing something wrong. Post a detailed session report, we'll double check it.

Here's mine: Attempt six to save the world... you could look through it and see if anything seems different than your games.
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Steve Duff
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superflypete wrote:
...you endlessly circle trying to close them while getting your nuts stomped by the minions and the shadows.


laugh Heh. I told ya.

Well, don't give up. Folks tell me you can win if you concentrate on monsters, and lots of trading (something we've tended not to do).
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Brian M
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Its not unwinnable played normally. Just nasty. devil

You shouldn't be 'endlessly circling' though. In fact, unless a Witch hits you should probably never look at a given location more than once. You'll just want to take responsibility for closing the gates you find - or making clever deductions based on what other players do.
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Brian M
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We've recovered from someone going insane. We've recovered from early witch hits, multiple witch hits, being on the brink of Necron hitting, and all sorts of other stuff.

But we've also lost. A lot. We only win maybe 1 out of 3 with 2 players and 1 out of 4 with 4 players (though our four player games generally have 2 new players, so we're always fighting the learning curve )

But to me, that's half the fun. Its supposed to be a challenging game! If you want it easier, by all means alter it.

For the record, if all but one player goes insane, you just lose, since you need at least 2 players to win.

Also for the record, the Blood Hunter (is that the English version? Still have the German copy...) which makes you lose 2 sanity is very, very nasty. Banish it. Banish it FAST. You knew it was there - shoulda done something about it!

Also also for the record, 2 hours seems like an awfully long time for Salem. I think we usually take about half an hour for a 2 player game and an hour for a 4 player game.
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Robert Kuster
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I wish it were simple for us, haven't won yet and we'll probably try some house rules to atleast get through it one time. Still a really fun game with 2 or more players.
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Brian M
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If you want to tone down the difficulty, try pulling a few random bad events out of the deck before hand. This will tilt the mix to more good events and gradually help you out; the more you pull, the easier it will be. You probably want to be sure to leave at least one 'Shadow at MU' card, however.

Another side note on losing to the Blood Hunter - its obvious when the Necron track is nearing the end that you're in danger of losing. It may not be quite as obvious, but when sanity scores are in the 1-2 range, you are also in imminent danger of losing. That's a 'your life bar is flashing red', "investigator needs food badly!" situation. If you don't do something about it, you are taking a big gamble.
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Ian Armstrong
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Ya know, playing within the actual rules of not being able to talk about the portals is really not that hard. We never play with turning portals face up upon viewing. Something we will always do is when someone looks at the portal, they would then say "Well I think next turn I'm going somewhere to get the blue rune... ", which just so happens to match the rune needed to close the portal they just viewed.

At this point everyone else can infer that the portal they just viewed was an open one. It's still playing within the rules set out by the game, as we never directly say "Oh that portal is open / closed."

Try it sometime.. I think everyone over reacts at the rule re: portal discussion. It's really not that much more difficult.
 
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David Anderson
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My wife and I each look at the portals on one side of the board. She takes three and I take three. You are allowed to tell the other players when you think its safe to take on the final GOO. So when we both agree it's time to seal the final portal we are sure that they all have been sealed.
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Scott Woodard
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Five attempts this weekend (with 3 players) and ALL five were losses. This game is just too damn difficult to beat!
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Ian Armstrong
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I've played this game upwards of 20 times since getting it, and finally we had our first win last night. We always play by the rules included with the game, which means we don't talk or show portals once they are viewed.

I really don't get what the big deal is about this rule. If you manage things correctly, it doesn't become that much of an issue. We only ever play 2 player, and always assign one person to manage books, while the other goes around looking and closing portals. That way you don't get things mixed up between two people. And really, is it that hard to figure out where a portal is once viewed? Rules state you can't talk about the portal, but there's nothing stopping you from telling your fellow players "Next turn I'm going to go to XXX and get that blue artifact." Oh, that just so happens to be the artifact colour needed to close the portal you just looked at? Ok, well chances are that's an open portal then!

You just have to be smart about it, and I'm pretty sure that's what the game designers were getting at with the "no table talk re: portals" rule.

All in all this is a great game, and very difficult to win. I have to say we both felt pretty good about ourselves after finally winning last night!
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Brian M
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Quote:
...and always assign one person to manage books, while the other goes around looking and closing portals.


For the record, this probably isn't a very good idea. Being flexible and opportunistic is a very important thing in Salem, since you can't go back to locations right away. Trying to keep the tasks separate like this is a recipe for disaster. As indicated by a 1 in 20 win rate!

Quote:
"Next turn I'm going to go to XXX and get that blue artifact."

This probably goes past what I'd consider allowable talk. My general rule of thumb is "if you are saying it to convey info about a gate, don't say it." Instead, you just go there next time, pick up the rune, and people learn that way.

But the game doesn't break no matter how you handle talking about the portals. Heck, talk about them freely and it will still be a brutally nasty game devil

EDIT: OK, 'allowable' may be too strong a word. And there are times this would be perfectly fine to say. As I said, to me its more about the spirit of what you say; I think you know pretty well if you're saying something just to tell people about a portal! As a general, rule, I simply don't talk about artifacts or portals.
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David Hoffman
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If folks are still having a rough time, give a look at my strategy thread, What Kind of Game is this Really for my view on how to approach Witch of Salem with a better strategic approach.

If you're desperately lazy and don't like clicking on things, here's the crux of the matter: Witch of Salem is NOT an adventure game -- it's an inventory management game. Once you develop a good strategy for managing items . . . well, it doesn't become "easy" but we have been winning.

Still, a tremendous game. We just got some friends into gaming and now I want to play this with them.
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Justin Heimburger
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My wife and I just played our first game of this last night, and we beat it. We only just beat it, to be sure - the Necron card came out late and pushed Necron to the final space on his track before the dimensional rift, but we managed it. I don't expect we'll have that much success, though. My one other play of this seemed like it was going well until the very end, when the whole thing unraveled in a hurry.

Great game, though. I can't wait to play it again.
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