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Subject: Comparison to Claustrophobia rss

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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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StormKnight wrote:
How are you actually seeing this situation come up? I'm really not envisioning how this happens.

Edit: And wolves attack from 2 tiles away...
I'd like to keep this thread focussed on the differences between the two games, rather than get into tactical nuances in Ravenloft, but after bailing on you yesterday, I figure I owe you a full explanation. Here's a minimalist diagram for reference:

ABC
xyz


A, B and C represent three tiles in a line that I've already explored, and x, y and z are at this point unexplored. I've probably also explored more tiles to the left of A, but these are all I require for the explanation, which starts with me exploring tile z from the leftmost square on tile C.

Let's say I find that pesky wolf. Like any other monster, he gets his first shot immediately - I move him adjacent to me, but leave him on tile z. If I place him on my tile, and fail to kill him, he'll probably be able to attack me again after I move, so putting him on z takes that out of play.

On my next turn, I move back across B to the nearest corner square on A, and explore x. (That only takes 5 movement, so any hero can do this). Let's say I find a skeleton. In the Villain Phase, the wolf can't reach me for an attack, despite his movement of two, so he moves through C to B. I put him adjacent to me though, so I can whack him before my next move (stupid wolf).

If I've got an attack that hits two monsters on one tile, I'll probably put the Skeleton next to the wolf on B when he activates, then explore from x on my next move after taking a shot. It's all very simple. The idea is to put the monsters who move adjacent onto tiles from which they can only trail along behind you next turn, rather than deliver a follow-up attack.
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Chris May
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I understand your arguement here, but I move the monsters onto my tile when it says adjacent. I know that is not technically correct, but it makes the monsters much stronger.
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Chrisgmay wrote:
I understand your arguement here, but I move the monsters onto my tile when it says adjacent. I know that is not technically correct, but it makes the monsters much stronger.
Everybody should play in the way that pleases them most. Maybe the best way to enjoy Castle Ravenloft is to just play for the experience, helping the monsters as best you can. My problem with that is that I enjoy competition, whether against opponents or, when there's an AI, against the game itself. If I'm helping both the adventurers and the monsters, it puts me in the role of an observer, and lessens the involvement I seek from such games.
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Jonathan Dietrich
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Sphere wrote:
Everybody should play in the way that pleases them most. Maybe the best way to enjoy Castle Ravenloft is to just play for the experience, helping the monsters as best you can. My problem with that is that I enjoy competition, whether against opponents or, when there's an AI, against the game itself. If I'm helping both the adventurers and the monsters, it puts me in the role of an observer, and lessens the involvement I seek from such games.

I agree... play for fun!!!
Perhaps you can come up with a new rule or two to add to the AI so that you aren't playing both sides, but simply following a smarter script for the baddies? Such as...

Chrisgmay wrote:
...move the monsters onto my tile when it says adjacent.

Edited because I hadn't read the your earlier posting, sorry...

Sphere wrote:
It isn't that I couldn't make house rules or adopt somebody else's. (A remarkable number of posts in the CR forums go something like "this game is so close to being really good, if only someone will make the necessary changes".) Good rules need thorough play testing, and that is the developer's chore, not mine. I review what the game is, not what it might be.

Agreed... good rules need thorough play testing, and a review should be about what the game is, not what it might be. That said, for the sake of fun, tinkering or altering things to make it right for you can be fun.
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porter235 wrote:
Edited because I hadn't read the your earlier posting, sorry...
Good for you; I appreciate that. (I was just pondering how to avoid repeating it all without sounding snippy.)

porter235 wrote:
Agreed... good rules need thorough play testing, and a review should be about what the game is, not what it might be. That said, for the sake of fun, tinkering or altering things to make it right for you can be fun.
Roughly speaking, Claustrophobia has been out a year, and Castle Ravenloft a month. The listed number of owners is nearly the same, 1077 vs. 1161 (which I think reflects both the Hasbro distribution advantage and the draw of the D&D brand). Given the near parity in number of owners, and far longer time playing the game by the Claustrophobia crowd, I am amazed when I compare the number of threads in the respective Variants folders: 15 for Claustrophobia, 89 for Ravenloft. That is a staggering disparity, and food for thought.
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Sphere wrote:
I am amazed when I compare the number of threads in the respective Variants folders: 15 for Claustrophobia, 89 for Ravenloft. That is a staggering disparity, and food for thought.

So are you saying variants are a good or a bad thing?
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Rauli Kettunen
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Giving the Variant sections of the two games a glance, seemed like CR has already quite a few Adventures made by people (it already has a GL just for keeping track of all the HB Adventures!), whereas only saw 2 or 3 (going just by thread titles) for CL. Different food for thought.
 
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I prefer eating my food, not thinking about it

Claustrophobia hasn't got many fan scenarios because its been well supported by CROC and Asmodee with lots of scenarios released via pdf. So, with the option of playing two completely different roles (as demons or humans), there has not much need for custom scenarios yet as the re playability that Claustrophobia has offered has been fantastic.

Enjoy thinking about food.

Kindly,
Ben.
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Chris May
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Sphere wrote:
porter235 wrote:
Edited because I hadn't read the your earlier posting, sorry...
Good for you; I appreciate that. (I was just pondering how to avoid repeating it all without sounding snippy.)

porter235 wrote:
Agreed... good rules need thorough play testing, and a review should be about what the game is, not what it might be. That said, for the sake of fun, tinkering or altering things to make it right for you can be fun.
Roughly speaking, Claustrophobia has been out a year, and Castle Ravenloft a month. The listed number of owners is nearly the same, 1077 vs. 1161 (which I think reflects both the Hasbro distribution advantage and the draw of the D&D brand). Given the near parity in number of owners, and far longer time playing the game by the Claustrophobia crowd, I am amazed when I compare the number of threads in the respective Variants folders: 15 for Claustrophobia, 89 for Ravenloft. That is a staggering disparity, and food for thought.


I think the explanation for the disparity in variants is simple:

Two reasons for Castle Ravenlofts huge number of variants.

THe bad: The game has flaws that many feel could have easily been fixed and the variants is an attempt to do that

The good: The game only has five classes and D&D 4e has lots more than that. We all want to see our favorite classes/monsters, etc. D&D has so much source material it is inevitable that a lot of it gets converted for use in the board game.
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Sphere wrote:
Everybody should play in the way that pleases them most. Maybe the best way to enjoy Castle Ravenloft is to just play for the experience, helping the monsters as best you can. My problem with that is that I enjoy competition, whether against opponents or, when there's an AI, against the game itself. If I'm helping both the adventurers and the monsters, it puts me in the role of an observer, and lessens the involvement I seek from such games.

Sphere, I believe when you say you enjoy competition, it is in the context of "a good challenge". So in Castle Ravenloft, the "challenge" consists of monsters and encounters. As a co-op, the game obviously needs a "little help" from players. I'm sure all can agree that the encounters and monsters have very clear and simple instructions. The problem arises with the monster placement.

Monster placement should be seen as a function of the hero's role. You can see my extended reply for a longer explanation.

Even if you see it as playing the DM and helping the monsters, the change in perspective shouldn't be difficult for most, a good example being the fellow I quoted below:

Sphere wrote:
How do you want to play?
1) Solo
Each side has cards that are not revealed until played in Claustrophobia, and that will make solo play difficult for some. As an old wargamer, that isn't an issue for me, and I find that Claustrophobia works well solo. But I know many are happier with formal solo rules, and for them, Castle Ravenloft will serve best, as a split personality is not required.

devil Seriously though, just enjoy the social interaction as players discuss the best square to get the monster onto then make the final decision as the DM with a view towards balancing the level of randomly inflicted difficulty experienced so far, resulting in a fun experience for all.
 
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Quote:
...rather than get into tactical nuances in Ravenloft, but after bailing on you yesterday, I figure I owe you a full explanation.
Well, I appreciate the explanation. I'm not sure the discussion doesn't fit though, since one of the big points being made against Ravenloft is how "dumb" the monsters are.

Is your wolf really so stupid? Well, first, is it even likely to have the chance to be? For the situation you describe to occur:
1) The wolf misses you. If it hits, you'd be slowed and couldn't get away.
2) You miss the wolf. If you'd hit, you'd have just killed it.

Already just counting the die rolls involved, we're at around only a 15% chance of this situation coming up. But now:
3) You have to have an unexplored tile within reach where you can position yourself like this. The ways walls and passages lead, this often won't be the case.
4) No other heroes are within 2 tiles of the wolf. This means you are pretty much stuck out on your own - a risky prospect.

So assuming all that happens, the wolf "stupidly" moves next to you. What if it hadn't? Well, then you'd probably shoot it - an at-will option available to every single hero. You may not have taken a power for that, but isn't expecting a wolf in the heat of the chase in a dark catacomb to do detailed threat-analysis of a humanoid foe a bit unreasonable anyway?

Ok, so you can melee the wolf and it didn't get to attack you. Except, what happens if something goes wrong with your plan? Like, instead of a skeleton, you find a ghoul, which immobilizes you. Or an event immobilizes you. Or an event makes your monsters activate twice or move closer (all combined, these aren't uncommon occurences!) Or another hero draws a wolf and your wolf activates again.

Guess what...a wolf that starts adjacent is over twice as deadly! So if any of those several possible combinations occur, the wolf's move was actually a smart maneuver! (And you may well be kicking yourself for setting yourself up to take extra damage).

"Outmaneuvering" the skeleton falls prey to similar issues; sure, if you could set that up (where are your other heroes again?) you can get away next turn (assuming you don't just kill it). But can you do that on a regular basis? That works against a wraith as well. But skeletons and wraiths are both monsters that hit hardest up front and will hit hard again if you give them the chance.
What if you drew:
Zombie? Works here too. Then again, zombies are the weakest beasties in the game. If you actually DO outrun the zombie, its more likely to actually do more damage when it catches up to you since it may have buddies along!
Ghoul? You can place this to get away, but it immobilizes you if it hits. And hurts a lot when it starts adjacent and attacks.
Wolf? See above.
Kobold? It shoots you.
Spider? Shoots you. Slows you if it hits. And, oh, does much more damage when starting adjacent.
Blazing Skeleton? Shoots you.
Gargoyle? Moves onto your tile - no choice there. And slows you if it hits.
Rat Swarm? Moves onto your tile as well.
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Sphere wrote:
Roughly speaking, Claustrophobia has been out a year, and Castle Ravenloft a month. The listed number of owners is nearly the same, 1077 vs. 1161 (which I think reflects both the Hasbro distribution advantage and the draw of the D&D brand). Given the near parity in number of owners, and far longer time playing the game by the Claustrophobia crowd, I am amazed when I compare the number of threads in the respective Variants folders: 15 for Claustrophobia, 89 for Ravenloft. That is a staggering disparity, and food for thought.

Comparing just numbers can be deceiving. A person may assume there were 89 variant rules for CR, making it look bad. Another may assume it's 89 custom-made adventures/character/monsters, making CR look like the best thing since sliced bread. We should be able to do better than that.

The truth (as always) is somewhere in-between. The streamlined CR rules are certainly very attractive to people wanting to mod it for want of a different game experience but if you sort the variant threads by thumbs, it leans very heavily towards the custom adventures, characters and monsters (even tiles!). In fact, I just had a game with 3 custom characters. So unless Wizards does a GW, the future definitely looks bright and will only get brighter once more compatible games in the series are released (Wrath of Ashardalon).

I don't feel it's right to expect the same of Claustrophobia due to the vast difference in the scope of their respective mythos. However for what it is, I do think CROC has designed some very interesting scenarios. I'm checking them out to see if there are ideas I can adapt to a custom CR adventure.
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ninjadorg wrote:
Sphere wrote:
I am amazed when I compare the number of threads in the respective Variants folders: 15 for Claustrophobia, 89 for Ravenloft. That is a staggering disparity, and food for thought.

So are you saying variants are a good or a bad thing?
I'm saying the answer is complex, which is why I called it food for thought. There are both positives and negatives; Chris' post was a good one in response to this.

chromaticdragon wrote:
Seriously though, just enjoy the social interaction...
This is the umpteenth time I've been told to "just enjoy" or "just have fun" by various CR boosters on one thread or another. I am the world's foremost expert on how I have fun, and it clearly differs in some measure from how you have fun. At some point I hope you'll accept that we disagree. (I promise I won't ask you to "just stop having fun".)

StormKnight wrote:
Quote:
...rather than get into tactical nuances in Ravenloft, but after bailing on you yesterday, I figure I owe you a full explanation.
Well, I appreciate the explanation. I'm not sure the discussion doesn't fit though, since one of the big points being made against Ravenloft is how "dumb" the monsters are.
Whether if fits or not, I'd rather not spend the time debating it. My example was a quickie, culled from memory from my last game, in which I had attack actions that made the adjacent placement attractive. I chose it because it featured the wolf, which as you noted moves farther than the others, all of whom are easier to take advantage of.

If you'd like to get into the nuts and bolts discussion, there are numerous threads that have addressed the question. I just did a fast check, and came up with two recent ones, here and here. I think shnar sees this particular issue much as I do, and appears to be more willing to discuss it in depth.
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Sphere wrote:
This is the umpteenth time I've been told to "just enjoy" or "just have fun" by various CR boosters on one thread or another. I am the world's foremost expert on how I have fun, and it clearly differs in some measure from how you have fun. At some point I hope you'll accept that we disagree. (I promise I won't ask you to "just stop having fun".)

Sphere, I didn't mean to offend you. I agree fun is in the eye of the beholder. It's just that in your OP, you mentioned no problem enjoying Claustrophobia as a solo game but later had a seemingly contradictory opinion saying that CR's requirement that players assume the roles of heroes and DM reduced your sense of involvement and enjoyment.
 
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chromaticdragon wrote:
Sphere, I didn't mean to offend you. I agree fun is in the eye of the beholder.
No offense taken. I think I've just reached the point where I have nothing useful left to say about CR, and am burning out on the subject. I'm going to put it back on the shelf for awhile, and give it another shot some time in the future.
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Sphere wrote:
chromaticdragon wrote:
Sphere, I didn't mean to offend you. I agree fun is in the eye of the beholder.
No offense taken. I think I've just reached the point where I have nothing useful left to say about CR, and am burning out on the subject. I'm going to put it back on the shelf for awhile, and give it another shot some time in the future.

I know you're not big on variants Sphere having read you don't like to be a playtester but like to play the game as is...and I totally sympathize because by and large that's me too.

However, rather than put the game back on the shelf, you might want to consider this variant which at first blush looks like it has some promise.

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/568832/barkams-system-im...-

 
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Thanks, Mike, but I need the break. I actually do playtest games from time to time, but I don't dabble at it, I commit fully or leave it alone. I'm not sufficiently invested in CR to take that step.
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hey Sphere...I do remember reading that you have play tested games before and have had to turn down requests.

For what it's worth your masterful and totally unique review of Claustrophobia "The 1/4 Dirty Dozen," means I now have that game in my collection, (bought it Friday).

I especially liked the title of your review because I too am old enough to have seen that movie starring Lee Marvin (remember Cat Ballou?!) when it first came out.

Your play-by-play review was ingenious. I actually knew how to play the game before I bought it and was literally able to play it right out of the box.

Anyways....I didn't give you kudos at the time, but nice job!
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I hope you get a lot of fun out of Claustrophobia.

Lee Marvin was in a lot of great movies. I think he got an oscar for Cat Ballou.
 
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Well if he didn't he should have. It was sheer comic genius the way he played both the drunken washed up gunfighter and the killer hired to take him down.

Jane Fonda did a pretty nice job too.
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2097 wrote:
Sphere wrote:
It follows that the cornerstone of tactical play in Castle Ravenloft is figuring out how to place monsters in the absolute worst tactical position, from the monster's point of view, and I find that somewhat unsatisfying.

I try to look at it as movement / relative positions being somewhat abstracted. I.e. I choose to put myself within range of both the spider and the rats (or what have you). But that’s a cop-out answer, of course.

I actually like the fact that the monster-placement rules create tactical decisions. It's always nice putting that gargoyle in a spot where you can just run away from him next turn. I concede that some of it can feel a little "gamey" or un-thematic if you like, for example the importance such a rule places on standing at the corners of tiles: it gives you (usually) a greater number of possible tiles to place a monster on, which in turn gives you greater control over the gameboard situation.

Anyways, I'm an unapologetic fan of CR. It isn't exactly chess, but...dungeons! Vampires! Kobolds! Because kobolds are exciting.
 
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