I played my second game yesterday as Keeper. I chose Blood Ties this time. Previously I've played the first scenario with 1B against my girlfriend. It didn't go to well for me; My girlfriend was just randomly looting the other side of the house from the altar, making it hard to get samples. I'd spawned a maniac on round 1, but the cost of moving him or the zombies it just to expensive. (It's an entire turns income). There was no way to catch her and take a sample. (I did get one with a zombie but she just killed it straight away).
So my hopes weren't exactly high for this next scenario, this time with 4 investigators against myself and my GF as keeper. I was willing to give the gave some slack though. We were playing a 1v1 and I suspect the game isn't really designed for that, even though it claims 2-5 players.
So for Blood Ties I chose 1b 2a 3a 4b 4b, mostly at random. This led to a very bizarre layout, in my mind, which required the investigators to ping pong back and forth if they wanted to win. It also allowed me a very easy victory, as all you have to do is move zombies from the crypts into the altar room.
The situation on the board was:
The crypt, where the magic skull was (which is the item the investigators had to destroy), was in the bottom corner of the map. Its door was locked with a silver key. So this is their "goal", essentially, though obviously they don't know this. This is also a room in which I can ( and did) spawn my zombie hordes, marching them down to the altar room (but more on that later).
The sewers existed in the yard and allowed them entrance to the caves -- fine. The door next to the sewer entrance, I can't remember it's name, possibly the patio, was locked by a magic lock. The room beyond that was the furnace room, which had a sealed door which was unopenable by any of the items present on the board. Therefore the patio room was a deadend, sealed by a magic lock, but it contained the required silver key.
In order to open the magic lock, the investigators need some magic words. The magic words are down in the caves, in the rope bridge section.
The investigators therefore needed to go into the sewers, up into the caves to the ropebridge room, solve the puzzle, and bag the magic words, take this book back through the caves, up the ladder and into that locked patio. This would give them a silver key!
Then they had to take that key, back through the ladder, up into the caves, into the crypt. Then they had the skull, which they had to take all the way back outside and throw in the graveyard. Phew.
I can image, even if they knew what was going on, that someone would have a hard time pulling this off. Especially as the crypt-cave-ceremony room was a zombie highway. Add to the fact that on my first turn I started a fire and then slowly spread it about the place over the coming turns (as well as the graveyard), meant that they didn't have a lot of places they could go and every time they needed to ping back and forth they had to do so through an inferno.
Now, in this particular game, the investigators had basically lost within an hour, with them having only just opened up the sewer ladder and popped on through. This is because I had spawned 2 zombies in the crypts and just marched them down into the altar. The construction worker, now a zombie, had basically walked across the yard, (pulling a sample along the way to help him along), walked through the magically locked door. He now couldn't be followed. Sure, he had been attacked and even killed along the way. But I just spawned him again before anyone could run over to his body and burn it. No big deal for the zombie. So I had 3 zombies in the altar room and the investigators had only jsut opened the sewers. They weren't exactly tardy as well -- they hadn't just been randomly looting everything. (Though they did make the mistake of thinking the sewers was the "mud room"). And when they went into the caves I was able to spawn another zombie by them via a mythos card I think.
I can't remember what I did but I gave them a bit of slack, preventing me from getting a further 3 points and winning the game, which allowed someone with the elder sign thing to sprint into the altar room on their next turn and repell them all out. Then they had to play the ping pong game going back and forth, back and forth, all whilst my zombies spawn and march towards the altar.
I had many, many chances to kill them or finish the game. Technically, all you need to do is have a zombie by altar to get a token, and all that requires is using the move action. Not exactly hard! Especially as zombies drop corpses which you can just resurrect on your go for 2 cost. Sure, they can find a torch with which to make a fire in the caves. But by the time they found it and used it it was already past the "I've won 20 times over now" point.
And that raises an intesresting question: Where can they make that fire? In the altar room? Like I care, I just march zombies in. It doesn't matter if they get a bit burn. They're there at the end of the turn. DING. Put it in the caves? Great idea. It's not like they need to go through that ladder chokepoint multiple times.
Due to all the lee-way I gave them, the game lasted much longer and everyone had much more fun. It was very dramatic, due to all the "close-calls" I engineering for them, mostly to do with fires, evade tests and injury card. I was too, too easy on them though: I regularly didn't wound them on failed evade tests and sometimes I just couldn't be bothered making them do 4 horror tests as the zonbie horde burst into their room. (They were all at less than 4 sanity anyway).
I even allowed the person who finally unlocked the magic door to test Strength and knock their way into the the furnace room, rather than have him go back outside and down the ladder. (As virtually all rooms outside, including the building with the first clue in, were on fire )
I also spread the fire through the entire cave system, just to help them stop the zombies. I also allowed them to roll against luck to dodge the fire to stop them burning so much at the end of their turns.
I was really disappointed with this session. Did I just accidently choose a convoluted layout that allowed me a very, very easy victory? Would this scenario have been any better with the other choices? I know some people say that this game is hard on the investigators, but when someone says "hard" I imagine they at least have a fighting chance. We could have just rolled some dice and declared me the winner. That would have been as fun as my "original" victory.
After this game and my previous one, I'm not too impressed by this game. There all these layouts and choices: great! But they appear to all be entirely one-sided or flawed in some way. I'm not asking for perfect balance, and I understand that virtually any competitive game will involve some imbalance, but from what I can tell by the games I've played and looking at the cards is that most of the games will simply play out for 15 turns or so, then a card will be turned over which says "this side won". That's it. Woohoo what fun.
I'm not sure if I'll bother playing this in the future.
This particular problem, zombies marching easily underground from crypt to altar room, was discussed here last week. If you only allow zombies to be spawned in the graveyard, it should be much more of a challenge.
I believe it is a particularly egregious demonstation that the final version of the scenario was not playtested properly, if at all.
Here's the link
- Last edited Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:22 pm (Total Number of Edits: 2)
- Posted Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:15 pm
I'd actually read that thread -- but I'd skimmed over the first post! I definately remember reading the post by kungfro about -1/2 threat.
From my experience of the game and from these forums so far, I find it hard to believe that any map was tested.
edit: Infact I relpied to it! In my defense, I was skimming threads trying to find the "best", or rather, "least hated" scenario to play with other people. I guess I should have paid more attention to the OP of that thread.
- Last edited Thu Jun 16, 2011 1:10 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Thu Jun 16, 2011 1:04 pm