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Subject: Underwhelming, frustrating aspects of the Invader's game rss

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Flawed Hero
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Let me start by saying, I truly appreciate this game. I love the theme, the art, the components and everything else. The mechanics marry perfectly with the theme and many games could take a page out of that book. And I hate to be another voice crying "imbalance," but after playing many games as the invader however, there are a lot of things that are beginning to frustrate me to the point of never wanting to play according to the rules again, not without house ruling some things.

First, I've found the goblins to be rather ineffective. They are hardly any good for putting on the wall. If I do manage to get a decent number of goblins onto a wall to launch a goblin frenzy, it usually ends up getting canceled via an order mix-up. Goblins only seem decent as a way to earn rituals, and hence going towards the 12 needed for the extra glory point. But even that isn't always possible though: if you get a Phase 5 card that requires only 1 goblin per line, then you won't have enough for the duration of the game to get that point.
The goblin's fire is quickly rendered all but useless too. It won't take the defender long to swap their marksmen off a wall where they are endangered by goblin fire. Once that happens, any Master Trenchers or Master Archers that you've bought here are pretty much useless.

The altar is very underwhelming. For 4 wood + workers you can buy up to two of these, which are added to 1 wall each turn, where they will get you +1 strength. Hardly enough to make any difference, at least any that will destroy many defenders. The altar is 1 out of 3 siege machines on a Phase 2 card, and I'd rather have a ballista, catapult or a siege tower any day of the week.

Much negative has been said about the battering ram, and for a bunch of my first games I used it, trying hard to make it a viable part of the game. Battering rams play such an integral part of siege lore, and it's a shame that it's not more effective in the game, or that the gate isn't used for anything else besides it.

Moving on to bonus points. You can earn one by having units on 7 different walls. If you can manage to muster enough resources and time to getting this many units up onto walls, you are rewarded -- IF you can do it -- with a measly point. Same with destroying any wall twice in the game. Assuming you choose to go for the extra point by destroying two walls, you'll have to have a catapult, trebuchet or detonating orcs. You have to concentrate these forces on one wall, draw hit cards for your siege machines, and get the orcs onto the wall and have your order go through to detonate. All the while the defender is rebuilding them as fast as you can destroy them, sometimes faster. If you do manage to do it, you've ended up wasting so much time and resources for one glory point that the rest of the game is lost.

The dispatches give the defender far too many hourglasses. It's so difficult as it is to get enough units up in a position to get on a wall, what with all the cannons, marksmen, poles, cauldrons and traps that are picking them off along the way. By the time they're up there, there's barely any left to take any defenders out.

I've found the cathedral powers to be pretty overpowered. The sharpshooter only costs two hourglasses, yet killing one unit can mean all the difference in the world. Unearthly glare is a pretty cheesy way out, in my opinion, though to be fair it's pretty costly too.

At the same time, most of the Rituals are underpowered for what they are, like the gale and panic. These will hardly help the defender, let alone be worth the hourglasses I'm giving up to use them.


So, enough of the whining. Here are my initial thoughts to fix some of these things. Not necessarily to implement them all, but perhaps a combination of some to even things out a bit:

*Make cauldrons go away after used, so they have to be bought again
*Make the Accurate Shot last permanently on a siege machine
*Lose the hospital and all defender losses, ranged or melee, are gone for good
*Make poison effective on any defender, not just marksmen
*Make Possession affect the leader's battle strength bonus as well.
*Extend the effectiveness of the Cover to include protection from cannon fire as well as markmen fire.
*Ballistas will not kill the strongest invading unit
*Allow goblin fire to take out soldiers too
I can't really think of a a way to beef up the Altar or battering ram off the top of my head.


In short, I do think this game suffers from huge balance issues that are just not fixable by good game play. I've seen total noobs as defenders beat experienced invaders. Twilight Struggle is a good example of a game that has build-in asymmetry, where the tide of the game purposely shifts to balance it out over different times of the game. There is none of that here. If the tide starts to turn in favor of the invader, then it's usually at just the time where the last glory point goes over to the defender's side of the board that gives them the win. Some solutions that others have been posted here are:

1 Invader starts with 12 points instead of 10
2 Game is won by the invader if he can breach by round 8, otherwise he loses
3 Players bid for sides
4 Ignore the Honor Guard
5 Double points awarded for breaches
6 No Glory points are put onto the defender's special actions; instead it takes a glory point to be able to use one of these.

Yes, I realize all the defender actions cost them hourglasses to respond to. But the truth is, in our experience with the game, there's still enough leeway left for the invader to get the short end of the stick. I've had so many games where I've thrown everything I had at the defender, and the game just ends up giving the defender another way out of everything I do. There just is not enough time to win the game. You may get lucky draws on your siege machines at the same time that you happen to make some headway on a wall. But by then it's turn 5 or 6, the defender is getting Honor Guard points, and it's mathematically impossible to win. My biggest beef with the game is, why would anyone want to play though 3 more turns when they know the game is over? I don't care to play a game where everything has to be lined up just right for one side to win. A 10-turn game of this would be fantastic, one where it's more tense and neither side is sure of victory until the very end. I want whoever has the best strategy and can put it into play to win. That certainly doesn't happen here. I'll be using one of the above methods for our future games of Stronghold for sure. I truly do like this game too much to be done with it for good; that certainly isn't the answer. I wish there was a way for someone to talk me down from the bridge here, but the proof has been in the play and things are just too imbalanced.
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Charles Simon
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I think that I may update my strategy posts on Stronghold, both to reflect some of the changes in the VG edition and the changed that I have had with more gameplays under my belt. Hopefully those posts will both act as a good way to start discussion on strategy ideas as well as advance the Invader learning curve a bit.

But in the meantime, I want to respond to some of your comments:

Jim K wrote:
Let me start by saying, I truly appreciate this game. I love the theme, the art, the components and everything else. The mechanics marry perfectly with the theme and many games could take a page out of that book. And I hate to be another voice crying "imbalance," but after playing many games as the invader however, there are a lot of things that are beginning to frustrate me to the point of never wanting to play according to the rules again, not without house ruling some things.


First and foremost, I understand the frustration. I also understand that someone popping up every now and then and defending the game by saying "learning curve!" doesn't really do much to make the game seem more approachable and it can make me come off as being snobbish.

But I definitely understand where you are coming from. If it was not for theme and the strategy potential that the game opened to me on my first plays, I would have chalked it up as unbalanced and moved onto something else. But I was obsessed with the potential of the game and, in the process, ended up realizing a few things strategy-wise.

However, it doesn't take away the fact that those first games are unbalanced. The simplest way of getting around this in the early games is a "Glory Bid" to play the Defender. For example, Player A offers to give the Invader +4 Glory Points if Player A can be the Defender. Player B counters and offers +3 Glory Points to be the Defender. Player A mulls it over and decides to give +2 Glory Points to be the Defender. Player B accepts that offer and then Player A is the Defender and Player B is the Invader, but starts with +2 Glory.

In theory, this works. But in practice (in my games), it would not. I find the Invader to be the much more interesting role, so I would want to play it even if I was resigning myself to lose.


Quote:
First, I've found the goblins to be rather ineffective. They are hardly any good for putting on the wall. If I do manage to get a decent number of goblins onto a wall to launch a goblin frenzy, it usually ends up getting canceled via an order mix-up. Goblins only seem decent as a way to earn rituals, and hence going towards the 12 needed for the extra glory point. But even that isn't always possible though: if you get a Phase 5 card that requires only 1 goblin per line, then you won't have enough for the duration of the game to get that point.


I've seen some Invader strategies vary a bit (my friend Mike) loves Goblins for the off change of a successful Goblin Fury), but ultimately I am more in your camp. They are Ritual fodder for me. I'll throw Spectres into the Hospital on Turn 1 even though I don't have anyone on the walls--it gets me to the bonus Glory Point and gives me flexibility on later turns in case I draw no Goblins or I actually need the little buggers for something on the board.

However, there is another use of them: Make them rush the walls. If one Goblin is on a Wall with 3 Marksmen, a Goblin Cauldron and a Hook on the adjacent Tower, he will die. However, he's effectively blocked the 3 Marksmen on the wall from shooting into your Rampart that Phase, effectively protecting your Orcs and Trolls laying in wait for next turn.

They're also good on the board for that 7-wall rush. Send them out to get the extra walls even though they are going to die. It beats being forced to waste a Troll on a wall knowing it'll die.


Quote:
The goblin's fire is quickly rendered all but useless too. It won't take the defender long to swap their marksmen off a wall where they are endangered by goblin fire. Once that happens, any Master Trenchers or Master Archers that you've bought here are pretty much useless.


In my earlier games, I was much more keen on Goblin Master Archers. I still find some use to them, but ultimately, I don't use them as often as I did. However, you are missing out on the use that you mentioned here: Placing a Master Archer forces the Defender to move his Marksmen to another Wall Section. First, that costs the Defender Hourglasses to do. But also, he's moved his Marksmen away from being able to fire at the Rampart with the Master Archer in it. That means that you now have a protected Rampart where you do not have to worry about his archers hitting. It also means his weaker Units have moved to other positions and possibly weakened them instead.


Quote:
The altar is very underwhelming. For 4 wood + workers you can buy up to two of these, which are added to 1 wall each turn, where they will get you +1 strength. Hardly enough to make any difference, at least any that will destroy many defenders. The altar is 1 out of 3 siege machines on a Phase 2 card, and I'd rather have a ballista, catapult or a siege tower any day of the week.


I pretty much agree with you. It's one of my least favorite of the Invader's Machines. However, it is only on 1 card, and since the Invader draws 2 of each Phase Card, it's easy to choose another card instead and avoid the Altar. The card with the Altar on it has Ram-Ballista-Altar. My preference in strategies also usually has me avoid the ram, but this is out of personal preference. However, there is only 1 card that I would draw that one over: Cover-Ram-Catapult. I don't use Cover (again, a matter of strategy preference) and I would prefer to have a Ballista to a Catapult (again, preference).


Quote:
Much negative has been said about the battering ram, and for a bunch of my first games I used it, trying hard to make it a viable part of the game. Battering rams play such an integral part of siege lore, and it's a shame that it's not more effective in the game, or that the gate isn't used for anything else besides it.


I think the Ram can be effective in the VG edition. I playtested and played a number of games that had a Ram victory and a number that were close, tight games where the Ram strategy lost, but not by much. My play preference, however, is to use a different strategy. The Ram strategy pretty much forces you to go all-in with it. I prefer the flexibility of using other methods.

However, it is still a viable strategy in the VG edition.


Quote:
Moving on to bonus points. You can earn one by having units on 7 different walls. If you can manage to muster enough resources and time to getting this many units up onto walls, you are rewarded -- IF you can do it -- with a measly point.


Yes, but considering most of my games end with somewhere around 10 or 11 points, that one measly point is 10% of my total score. The 7 walls Glory Point is tricky to do, but usually by Turn 4, I've flipped over my Phase 1 Card and I'm drawing 16 Units. They start to fill up the board since I've stopped building stuff by then. So it becomes a lot more realistic to get them onto the walls with a good double Dispatch Turn.

Quote:
Same with destroying any wall twice in the game. Assuming you choose to go for the extra point by destroying two walls, you'll have to have a catapult, trebuchet or detonating orcs. You have to concentrate these forces on one wall, draw hit cards for your siege machines, and get the orcs onto the wall and have your order go through to detonate. All the while the defender is rebuilding them as fast as you can destroy them, sometimes faster. If you do manage to do it, you've ended up wasting so much time and resources for one glory point that the rest of the game is lost.


Since I prefer Ballista over Catapults, this is the Glory Point that I'll most often miss out on gaining. However, if you are going for Catapults, I would suggest that you get them on the board as quickly as possible. This means you start weaning out the Miss cards and end up with tighter, more accurate Catapults by the mid-late game. And also, one of the most effective things to do with Catapults (and Ballistae) is to build them on adjacent Ramparts. This way, both can fire at the same Wall Section. This means that you could possible score 2 hits on a Wall Section in one turn. It also means that the Defender will start to reinforce that Wall Section heavily. Then, in Turns 3 build another Catapult on the opposite side of the board. The opposite side of the board is also going to be ripe for Orc Detonation as well.


Quote:
The dispatches give the defender far too many hourglasses. It's so difficult as it is to get enough units up in a position to get on a wall, what with all the cannons, marksmen, poles, cauldrons and traps that are picking them off along the way. By the time they're up there, there's barely any left to take any defenders out.


This is part of why I'll build like crazy in the first 3 Turns or so of a game. I'll give the Defender mountains of extra Hourglasses as I try to produce as much as possible (including trying to get as many Rituals cast as possible to add to my Goblin Sacrifice count). Then, usually around Turn 4 or 5, I'll flip over my Phase 1 Card to stop drawing Resources and start drawing more Units. I'll usually flip my Phase 2,3 and 4 cards at this time as well, simple to reinforce to myself that I'm done buying things (and giving extra hourglasses--there are exceptions, however. I might keep my Phase 4 card up if I have Saboteurs, or if I have the extra wood, I might maybe keep up my Phase 3 card to place a last minute Poison or Banner--though these are most cost effective if I've already built them and just use the flipped Phase 3 card to move them to a better spot).

So, let's say I flipped my cards on Turn 4. I've barely bought (maybe Rituals) and so I will have from 14-16 Units that get places onto the Foreground with a Major Dispatch at the end of Turn 4. Leave them there. They are out of range of the Marksmen and only have to worry about Cannons and a Sharpshooter.

Then, on Turn 5 you draw 16 more Units. With everything flipped, you don't have much to buy, except maybe a Ritual or two, but hopefully you have hit your Goblin Sacrifice mark by now and you are only casting useful Rituals and not just sacrificing for the Glory. Now, I would take a double Dispatch action at this point. Take a Major Dispatch first: Move 7 Units from each Foreground to the Ramparts. Place 7 Units to replace in each Foreground from your Camp. Then Take a Minor Dispatch: Move Units up from the Ramparts to the Walls (with this double Dispatch, they've reached the walls without ever being in range of the Defender's Marksmen). You then also move 5 Units out of each Foreground to reinforce the Ramparts that just had Units move up to the Walls.

Granted, you've just given the Defender 8 Hourglasses from those moves (or 9, if you used multiple Orders). That's a lot to defend with and this Assault Phase might seem a little ugly. However, you should weaken his forces somewhat.

Then, on Turn 6, do not buy anything. Do not cast a Ritual unless you absolutely have to. You will probably have a smattering of Units on the walls after last Turn's Assault. Now only perform a Minor Dispatch to reinforce those walls with the Units that refilled the Ramparts last Turn. You should now have strong units on the walls and have only given the Defender 3 Hourglasses to react to it with (plus the 2 he gets at the start of his Turn). That is not much at all.

This is just one of the strategies that I use. But it is incredibly strong for the Invader to cut off the Hourglasses like that during an Assault, especially if you are threatening multiple walls. I've also been able to get a victory by sending wave after wave with the double Dispatch approach and never slowing down on it, even though I'm giving up more Hourglasses. It depends on how the board looks and what I draw from the bag before I decide which way to go.

But do not underestimate the strength of a Double Dispatch Turn. And also the effectiveness of cutting off Hourglasses by doing a well-timed and well-planned Minor Dispatch only.


Quote:
I've found the cathedral powers to be pretty overpowered. The sharpshooter only costs two hourglasses, yet killing one unit can mean all the difference in the world. Unearthly glare is a pretty cheesy way out, in my opinion, though to be fair it's pretty costly too.


I used to hate the Unearthly Glare as the Invader. Now I love when the Defender is forced to use it: It's an Hourglass hog. Usually it's only done when the Defender knows that there will be a breach and this is the only way to stop it. That's fine and annoying. However, if you can pull off the minor Dispatch tactic that I mentioned before, the Defender is getting 5 Hourglasses on the next turn. Unearthly Glare costs 4. That's almost all of the Defender's resources. Either he has to give up the Glare or he has nothing left to defend other Wall Sections. A tip for the Defender: Do not use Unearthly Glare unless there is absolutely no other way that you can protect a Wall Section from a definite breach, or it is Turn 7 or 8 and you do not think that the game will go on beyond this with points.


Quote:
At the same time, most of the Rituals are underpowered for what they are, like the gale and panic. These will hardly help the defender, let alone be worth the hourglasses I'm giving up to use them.


If you can throw away your Goblins in Turns 1-4 on Rituals to get the extra point, do it. If you have Catapults, Bloodstones are a requirement to use every Turn. Gale is actually very useful in the end game on Wall Sections that the Defender is forced to swap Units on to defend. Fire on the Cathedral is amazingly effective in the last Turns of the game if you are cutting off the Hourglass supply to the Defender. Accident is costly, but it's nice to have. A lot of times I've found that just having the card makes the Defender decide not to place Cauldrons on the walls because of what could happen.

Possession is a meh Ritual for me, but it's nice to throw Goblins onto in early Turns for the Goblin Sacrifice. Panic is situationally useful, but I never rely on it because you do not know if it the right situation may occur in the game--but at least you can throw Goblins onto it for early Sacrifice so you don't have to give up Hourglasses later in the game. Spectres isn't that useful, in my opinion, other than to get your Goblin Sacrifice quota up early since you can use it every Turn.


Quote:
So, enough of the whining. Here are my initial thoughts to fix some of these things. Not necessarily to implement them all, but perhaps a combination of some to even things out a bit:

*Make cauldrons go away after used, so they have to be bought again
*Make the Accurate Shot last permanently on a siege machine
*Lose the hospital and all defender losses, ranged or melee, are gone for good
*Make poison effective on any defender, not just marksmen
*Make Possession affect the leader's battle strength bonus as well.
*Extend the effectiveness of the Cover to include protection from cannon fire as well as markmen fire.
*Ballistas will not kill the strongest invading unit
*Allow goblin fire to take out soldiers too
I can't really think of a a way to beef up the Altar or battering ram off the top of my head.


Since I'm past the balance issues, these wouldn't work for me. It would make the Invader unstoppable. However, I understand that you are looking for balance in your games, so these may be viable. And while I do not think that it needs it, why don't you have the Altar give +1 Strength to ALL Invader attacks on the side of the Stronghold it is on? The Ram is trickier, because too much power and it becomes unstoppable. I think that it is well-balanced in the VG edition: It is a winnable strategy, but it is not guaranteed. Too much tinkering and it could become a definite win if the Invader goes all-in on the strategy.

My suggestion on balance would be the Glory Point bid. It keeps the mechanics the same and as the Invader strategies improve, the bidding lowers until it is naturally weened away. The problem with implementing mechanics change is that as the Invader game improves, you alter the mechanics back to the standard use and then have to learn how to effectively use them all over again.

But ultimately, it's whatever works and is fun is most important.


Quote:
In short, I do think this game suffers from huge balance issues that are just not fixable by good game play. I've seen total noobs as defenders beat experienced invaders. Twilight Struggle is a good example of a game that has build-in asymmetry, where the tide of the game purposely shifts to balance it out over different times of the game. There is none of that here. If the tide starts to turn in favor of the invader, then it's usually at just the time where the last glory point goes over to the defender's side of the board that gives them the win. Some solutions that others have been posted here are:

[q] My biggest beef with the game is, why would anyone want to play though 3 more turns when they know the game is over?


We don't. There is no shame in conceding when you know there is no chance of winning. Neither side gets anything out of extended play.


Quote:
I don't care to play a game where everything has to be lined up just right for one side to win. A 10-turn game of this would be fantastic, one where it's more tense and neither side is sure of victory until the very end.


I understand the frustration, but I disagree about everything lining up perfectly for an Invader win. I think Timing is the first lesson that an Invader needs to learn. And next, double Dispatches and cutting off Defender Hourglasses is next important. However, even the second lesson is really a part of the first: Timing means that it is a 7 (maybe 8) Turn game for the Invader, but it also means that building stuff should be done at the start of the siege. Usually, by the end of Turn 3 or 4, I'm flipping most of my cards. There's no point in building extra stuff and giving the Defender more Hourglasses once I'm on the walls.


Quote:
I want whoever has the best strategy and can put it into play to win. That certainly doesn't happen here. I'll be using one of the above methods for our future games of Stronghold for sure. I truly do like this game too much to be done with it for good; that certainly isn't the answer. I wish there was a way for someone to talk me down from the bridge here, but the proof has been in the play and things are just too imbalanced.


I have 2 primary partners for this game. My wife (Jeska) and my friend Mike (snarf135). My wife prefers the Defender role and as I've become a better Invader player, she's (annoyingly) become a better Defender player. With me as Invader and her as Defender, we run about 50-50 on our victories. She has a certain style of play, but she's is also (annoyingly) flexible in reacting to changes in my play and strategy.

Mike and I both like the Invader role, so we'll swap off who plays which more often then my wife and I will. However, it means that Mike hasn't played as often as I have (since I get in a lot of games with my wife) and out of his plays, half or so are as the Defender. Because of the lack of experience, he's a weaker Invader player than I am (which is fine because of my lack of experience, I'm a weaker Defender player than my wife is--he'd have no chance against her. She's merciless.). However, when I play Invader against him, I am much more likely to breach and win than I am against my wife. That's because he doesn't have the experience.

None of this is to say he's a bad player at all. It's just a matter of experience. So, in my experience, the more experienced player has more of a stronger sense of strategy and tactics and usually has a better chance of winning.

But to comment on one more thing that you posted about getting a "lucky draw" with one of your Catapults or Ballistae. Sure, luck is a factor in it, but you are mitigating the luck as each miss is removed from the deck. I look at it more as the odds are getting better for a hit each round. That's not so much blind luck, especially when strategically, one side can add to the number of hit cards or the other can add to the number of miss cards. I wouldn't classify it as luck when I know that Catapult A has 2 Hit cards in it and 2 Miss cards in it--it has a 50% chance of hititng, while Catapult B has 2 Hit cards and 4 miss cards in it--it has a 33% chance of hitting. So I can make the decision as to which one to place my Bloodstone Ritual token onto. It's a really minor thing, but I think when you look at it as odds in the deck instead of luck of the draw, it starts to open up strategy behind it: For example, getting Catapults and Ballistae built as soon as possible to get the Misses out of the deck is vitally important! Because of the chances of a miss, there is no point in building a Catapult on Turn 6. In fact, I actually get bummed when my Catapults or Ballistae get a hit in the first few Turns. I'd rather get the Miss Cards out so that they are more accurate for when I have Units on the walls and it really counts.

Good luck and I hope that I either talked you down a bit, or that your fixes work for you and your group!
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Thanks to both of the previous posters for their thoughts. Since I've yet to play the game (bought it on sale to fill out an order!), from reading these posts, I've developed the concern that the Invader is more fun to play. It reminds me of Space Hulk, where playing as the Gene Stealers is OK, but playing as the Space Marines is where the game shines. Any thoughts on that? Or, if necessary, how to fix that?
 
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It's preference, really. My wife prefers the Defender. However, she also prefers the Genestealers. She likes the more set options and play. I enjoy trying to come up with the strategies as the Invader with what I have.

So, while I agree with your comparison of Space Marines vs. Genestealers, to Invader vs. Defender, there are some players who prefer the Defender position.

I also think that with more plays and as the game becomes more balanced, it is actually the Defender's play which becomes more tense and calculated. But it comes down to the Invader plays a more strategic game and needs to focus and plan early on, while the Defender is much more tactical and reacting to the moves of the opponent and dealing with everything more "in the now". Depending on your preference in play style might dictate which you would prefer to play more.
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Thank you so much for your detailed and thoughtful response. It was excellent. I’ve enjoyed reading your other posts about the game. I know you’re a true Stronghold fan.


thinwhiteduke wrote:
But I definitely understand where you are coming from. If it was not for theme and the strategy potential that the game opened to me on my first plays, I would have chalked it up as unbalanced and moved onto something else. But I was obsessed with the potential of the game and, in the process, ended up realizing a few things strategy-wise.

Exactly my thoughts, that’s why I tried coming up with some possible solutions instead of just giving up on it. There’s way too much of a game here to walk away from it, and the nice thing is that the game is easy modifiable without getting too crazy.

thinwhiteduke wrote:
However, there is another use of them: Make them rush the walls. If one Goblin is on a Wall with 3 Marksmen, a Goblin Cauldron and a Hook on the adjacent Tower, he will die. However, he's effectively blocked the 3 Marksmen on the wall from shooting into your Rampart that Phase, effectively protecting your Orcs and Trolls laying in wait for next turn.

Good point, except I’m not sure it will be worth it. What I mean is, you’re using a dispatch or maybe two to send the goblins up, then you’re actually using the goblins themselves. All to prevent a couple marksmen from firing down into a rampart, which they will be able to do next turn anyway because your goblins likely won’t survive the round with wall pieces and anything else they might do.


thinwhiteduke wrote:
Placing a Master Archer forces the Defender to move his Marksmen to another Wall Section.

I know, but you also need some goblins there to threaten the marksmen. If later on you don’t have any goblins there, it won’t matter if you have a master Archer there or now. Plus, if you don’t have any cover, you’re dead anyway since marksmen fire first.


thinwhiteduke wrote:
However, it is only on 1 card, and since the Invader draws 2 of each Phase Card, it's easy to choose another card instead and avoid the Altar.

True, it’s just too bad there has to be a throw-away card because one of the weapons that came with the game is lame. I guess they can’t all be great though.


thinwhiteduke wrote:
I think the Ram can be effective in the VG edition.

Yeah, I’m still pretty much on your side on this one too. I do feel it’s underwhelming for now, but I’m still using it. I haven’t given up on it, and I love the idea and how they made it operate. Mechanically it makes the game shine.


thinwhiteduke wrote:
And also, one of the most effective things to do with Catapults (and Ballistae) is to build them on adjacent Ramparts.

It sounds right on paper. That’s what I tried doing the last couple games, flipped the Phase 1-4 cards over. I built like crazy the first couple turns, ballistas and catapults directed at the same 2 walls + bloodstones. I just couldn’t draw enough hits for the first few turns of the game. It was too late by the time I started getting hits. By then it was like turn 6 or 7 and mathematically I had lost. There’s hardly any leeway for the invader at all. Everything has to fall into place exactly at the right time with the right cards and with luck on your side so you to have a chance, and that’s very frustrating to me. I made sure I timed everything just right, had the right resources and tools, put extra hits in the weapons decks, but in the end the defender was just able to stop everything.

thinwhiteduke wrote:
But to comment on one more thing that you posted about getting a "lucky draw" with one of your Catapults or Ballistae. Sure, luck is a factor in it, but you are mitigating the luck as each miss is removed from the deck.

Yeah, and again that is another of the mechanics that really makes the game shine otherwise. I’ve just found that sometimes the hits come too late in the game that the misses have come out.


I hope I'm not coming off as a punk, and I'm certainly not trying to be difficult. If I didn't like the game, I would have given up long ago on it. We're going to try starting the Invader with 12 glory points next time we play, and then after that we’ll try the breach by Turn 8 variant. I am looking forward to more plays of this and hope we can make it work a little better. I know the game has been playtested, but that doesn't always mean a whole lot. thanks again for the great reply!

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Flawed Hero
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BlueJackal wrote:
Thanks to both of the previous posters for their thoughts. Since I've yet to play the game (bought it on sale to fill out an order!), from reading these posts, I've developed the concern that the Invader is more fun to play. It reminds me of Space Hulk, where playing as the Gene Stealers is OK, but playing as the Space Marines is where the game shines. Any thoughts on that? Or, if necessary, how to fix that?


I think the Invader is more fun to play since it feels like you're doing more in a way: building weapons, moving armies, etc.
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Taylor Liss
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I've only played one game of Stronghold, so my opinion probably doesn't count for much... But, I agree with the OPs post. I was the invader for my first game and felt very ineffective in my siege. I think that if you implemented some of those house rules (not all of them), the game would be more enjoyable. I called it quits at turn 7ish, and I felt really sad that it wasn't neck and neck until turn 10.
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Cameron Chien
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Your first time should be as Defender, IMO. There are fewer things you can royally screw up as a Defender. Plus, playing as a Defender really prepares you to be devious, evil Invader.

Cameron
 
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