Recommend
4 
 Thumb up
 Hide
20 Posts

Catacombs» Forums » General

Subject: Is Catacombs A Proper Game Or An RPG In Disguise? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Chris Spray
United Kingdom
Cardiff
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
I do have a couple of reservations about this game.

The first is the enjoinder in the manual that the overseer is responsible for ensuring the rest of the players have a good game. No other game (non-RPG) has such a rule in place.

So what is the role of the overseer? Is he trying to win? Is he trying to let the players win? Is he pretending to try to win, but secretly trying to give the players a narrow and thrilling victory, thereby making them feel good about themselves?

If Catacombs is to be considered a game then the role of the overseer has to be to try to win, otherwise it is a carebear RPG lite.

My second qualm is related to the first.

Given that the players always go first, it seems to be a good idea for the overseer to set up his monsters out of LoF (line of flick) of the players, thus forcing the players to either expose themselves to taking damage, or forcing a stand-off.

Naturally the Barbarian could use his special power to flick to a place where he does have LoF to a monster. But that forces the Barbarian to use his special power, which then won't be available later on when things get tough.

There are two ways I have considered to prevent this stalemate:

1. Require one or more monsters to setup in LoF to the player's setup area, and/or,

2. Require a monster to take a hit if all monsters are out of LoF at the end of a turn, thereby putting the onus on the overseer to play aggressively.

Please note these observations are basing on having read the rules and examined the components only.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rich Moore
United States
Oxford
Ohio
flag msg tools
badge
Gotcha!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
By all means the overlord should try to win. My 7 year old son plays the overlord and I can tell you he doesn't hold his punches. The overlord isn't a GM and he isn't trying to weave a narrative other than having his monsters kick the hero's butts.

The second issue...well, there's an optional rule to let the overlord set up first if the hero set-up first is found to be too difficult for the heroes.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Todd
United States
Bridgewater
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
badge
All glory to the Hypnotoad!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The OL doesn't have to try to throw the match. If you play with a bunch of people who eat these types of games for breakfast, play to kill. If you're playing with casual gamers/family, play to thrill.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Spray
United Kingdom
Cardiff
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
rcmoore4 wrote:
By all means the overlord should try to win. My 7 year old son plays the overlord and I can tell you he doesn't hold his punches. The overlord isn't a GM and he isn't trying to weave a narrative other than having his monsters kick the hero's butts.

The second issue...well, there's an optional rule to let the overlord set up first if the hero set-up first is found to be too difficult for the heroes.


Thanks for the reply.

How does your son tend to setup his monsters. My instinct as a veteran gamer was to set them up out of LoF, to try to force the players into exposing themselves to damage.

From reading them, the optional rules don't seem to solve the problem. Hence my suggesting two options to break stalemate.

Maybe I am thinking about this too much.
1 
 Thumb up
0.01
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Christoph M.
Germany
Unspecified
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
with equally skilled players, the ol can play as mean as possible, and the heroes still have a chance to win! very good balancing in this game!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Funk
United States
Springfield
Ohio
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
When I'm playing Overseer, I don't put anything in LoF.

As a player, I would never hit something on the first turn that was in LoF. In that first turn, everything is concentrated in one area. Going up immediately and hitting something on the first turn almost guarantees getting severely beaten about the head and ears.

I find placing them behind barriers is actually good at leading heroes into a false sense of security. I like to position other monsters so I can use them to knock a beatstick into open territory. Someone will say "Well, he doesn't have a shot if I go right here..." and then I use my zombie to kick a scorpion around the barrier and then smack for 2.

If there was a rule about placing something in LoF, I'd stick a crap token out there and chant "Heeeeeere kitty, kitty, kitty..."

Now, as for the place the Overseer needs to take in the game competitively, if the heroes are having problems, I'll suggest strategy that would help them. I don't mind losing. Besides, it makes for a more competitive team when they take those strategy tips to heart in the future. I'll just help them less the next time.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Funk
United States
Springfield
Ohio
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Also, I may offer strategy to help, but I don't take prisoners. If the heroes think they're always going to win, they have no real pressure to do well.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Lee Fisher
United States
Downingtown
PA
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
FunkyBlue wrote:
When I'm playing Overseer, I don't put anything in LoF.

As a player, I would never hit something on the first turn that was in LoF. In that first turn, everything is concentrated in one area. Going up immediately and hitting something on the first turn almost guarantees getting severely beaten about the head and ears.

I find placing them behind barriers is actually good at leading heroes into a false sense of security. I like to position other monsters so I can use them to knock a beatstick into open territory. Someone will say "Well, he doesn't have a shot if I go right here..." and then I use my zombie to kick a scorpion around the barrier and then smack for 2.

If there was a rule about placing something in LoF, I'd stick a crap token out there and chant "Heeeeeere kitty, kitty, kitty..."

Now, as for the place the Overseer needs to take in the game competitively, if the heroes are having problems, I'll suggest strategy that would help them. I don't mind losing. Besides, it makes for a more competitive team when they take those strategy tips to heart in the future. I'll just help them less the next time.


Thanks for these tips!

I played my first game the other day as overseer against my father and he pretty much kicked my butt. I was putting too many outside and by the time my turn came, half of my creatures were usually dead.

Using the lesser monsters to push bigger creatures into position is great too!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rich Moore
United States
Oxford
Ohio
flag msg tools
badge
Gotcha!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Krasny wrote:
rcmoore4 wrote:
By all means the overlord should try to win. My 7 year old son plays the overlord and I can tell you he doesn't hold his punches. The overlord isn't a GM and he isn't trying to weave a narrative other than having his monsters kick the hero's butts.

The second issue...well, there's an optional rule to let the overlord set up first if the hero set-up first is found to be too difficult for the heroes.


Thanks for the reply.

How does your son tend to setup his monsters. My instinct as a veteran gamer was to set them up out of LoF, to try to force the players into exposing themselves to damage.

From reading them, the optional rules don't seem to solve the problem. Hence my suggesting two options to break stalemate.

Maybe I am thinking about this too much.


The boy definitely places the monsters behind columns and out of LoF...

Speaking of stalemates, it's my understanding that attacking (flicking) is optional. So the heroes could opt not to move on the first turn...which could lead to the overlord doing the same. I think there's an optional rule to deal with this, but I just thought I'd mention that the heroes don't have to endanger themselves on that first move.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Robert MacGregor
Canada
flag msg tools
As far as the idea that the Overseer is responsible for the fun, it's up to him to set the pace of the game. As you said, the OS could just sit behind obstacles and wait. Doesn't make for a very enjoyable game. I think what they are getting at is that the OS has to know the people he is playing against.

He can make a game go by excruciatingly slow if he wants and this might give him the best chance to win, but at the end of the day, those heroes may walk away from the game with a sour taste in their mouths and never want to play that painful, boring boardgame again. Whereas an OS who plays with those same players and takes a couple risks here and there, and keeps the tempo of the game high, would probable endear the game to them by making it a much more upbeat experience.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bob
United States
Utah
flag msg tools
badge
Yes, that's a Japanese CTR ring shield cut in half...
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Speaking of set up--I'd like to try setting up a small screen so both sides could secretly place their pieces, then reveal, then roll for initiative
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Cameron Chien
United States
Rancho Cucamonga
California
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I like this idea!

Cameron
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Spray
United Kingdom
Cardiff
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
Rob2Kx wrote:
As far as the idea that the Overseer is responsible for the fun, it's up to him to set the pace of the game. As you said, the OS could just sit behind obstacles and wait. Doesn't make for a very enjoyable game. I think what they are getting at is that the OS has to know the people he is playing against.

He can make a game go by excruciatingly slow if he wants and this might give him the best chance to win, but at the end of the day, those heroes may walk away from the game with a sour taste in their mouths and never want to play that painful, boring boardgame again. Whereas an OS who plays with those same players and takes a couple risks here and there, and keeps the tempo of the game high, would probable endear the game to them by making it a much more upbeat experience.


This exposes the major flaw of Caracombs. The conflict of interest between the overseer trying his best to win and ensuring that the players have a good game.

I'm looking for rule change suggestions to alleviate this conflict, I don't think setting up behind a screen would really change anything in that the monsters can still setup out of LoF.

Maybe make grunt monsters, setup in LoF?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Funk
United States
Springfield
Ohio
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Krasny wrote:
Rob2Kx wrote:
As far as the idea that the Overseer is responsible for the fun, it's up to him to set the pace of the game. As you said, the OS could just sit behind obstacles and wait. Doesn't make for a very enjoyable game. I think what they are getting at is that the OS has to know the people he is playing against.

He can make a game go by excruciatingly slow if he wants and this might give him the best chance to win, but at the end of the day, those heroes may walk away from the game with a sour taste in their mouths and never want to play that painful, boring boardgame again. Whereas an OS who plays with those same players and takes a couple risks here and there, and keeps the tempo of the game high, would probable endear the game to them by making it a much more upbeat experience.


This exposes the major flaw of Caracombs. The conflict of interest between the overseer trying his best to win and ensuring that the players have a good game.

I'm looking for rule change suggestions to alleviate this conflict, I don't think setting up behind a screen would really change anything in that the monsters can still setup out of LoF.

Maybe make grunt monsters, setup in LoF?


Honestly, as OS, you can do whatever you want. If you want to play it that way, then feel free to do so. I don't feel it's right to force the OS to put things out in the open.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Alex Rockwell
United States
Lynnwood
Washington
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Krasny wrote:

This exposes the major flaw of Caracombs. The conflict of interest between the overseer trying his best to win and ensuring that the players have a good game.


imo, It should be balanced for if the Overseer is trying to win. If its not, it can be rebalanced by variants to make it this way.

I think it works perfectly fine with the overseer trying to win, and if its not balacned then that should be fixable.

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris
United States
Cheektowaga
New York
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I think the official additional rules help in this situation. If the OS is grouping all the monsters out of LoF then instill the anti grouping rules where no two disks can be within 1" of anything including the edge. Also yes the heroes go first but they don't have to actually shoot anything

Quote:

Does a hero or monster need to make an action?
No, all actions are optional. Also, if a hero or monster has multiple actions, such
as the Crypt Spider, they may skip any actions they wish; however, they may not
change the order of any of the actions.


Of course then you need to use the wandering monster rules if the Heroes don't attack a monster.

Then again if your taking this light little dexterity game that seriously then maybe you should be playing something else.

The goal of this game is to have fun that is why they put the quote in the rules about the OS setting the pace and ensuring the players have a good time. The game is VERY heavily sided to the OS and if played aggressively the OS will almost always win. If you as OS constantly pound the heroes into the ground you are not going to get very many people playing with you again. After playing as both OS and Heroes I think the biggest change I would make is switching the Healer and the Level 2 room around. Even as the OS I felt that the heroes didn't stand a chance once they cleared the level 2 room. The level 2 room beat them down so much that the OS (both myself and the other OS when I played as a hero) had no problem just killing off the heroes in 2 or 3 turns.

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Spray
United Kingdom
Cardiff
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
How about giving the monsters something to do other than hurt heroes and not die. Such as rewarding the OS if he manages to flick a monster onto the player setup zone?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris
United States
Cheektowaga
New York
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Krasny wrote:
How about giving the monsters something to do other than hurt heroes and not die. Such as rewarding the OS if he manages to flick a monster onto the player setup zone?


That is actually very easy to do and has happened quite a bit in the games I have played.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Funk
United States
Springfield
Ohio
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Krasny wrote:
How about giving the monsters something to do other than hurt heroes and not die. Such as rewarding the OS if he manages to flick a monster onto the player setup zone?


I've never really seena dungeon where the monsters say "Should I hurt the intruder or... Pick some daisies. Flowers are pretty...."
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Spray
United Kingdom
Cardiff
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
It gives the monsters additional tactical options, EG. Cutting off the retreat of the Heroes.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.