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Subject: So, are we missing something? rss

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David Tolin
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Got this game in the mail yesterday and had a few friends over the play it last night. As suggested by the rulebook, we just read the rules on turn order and skipped discussion of quests until mid-game, and we did not include a traitor on this maiden voyage. The knights we had in play were: Kay, Percival, Galahad and Gawain.

We enjoyed the game, but I'm left wondering if we may have missed something important, because it never really felt very difficult and we beat the game on our first playthrough. It was close, I suppose, but not dangerous close--the only way we could have lost at the end was if the siege engines overran us, and we were down to the last siege engine, but we weren't really concerned as they seemed pretty easy to defeat. Three knights just stood on the battlefield and fought them each turn until the last knight defeated the final quest to fill the round table. It all felt very... simple. Which surprised me after reading some of the comments here. I realize the addition of a possible traitor will make the game harder, but the impression I got from these articles was that the game was plenty fun/hard without the traitor in play. I'm worried that it might not have much shelf life if it can be beaten so easily on the first try. And--remember--on this try we didn't know how a single quest worked when we started the game. For this reason, we didn't even swap cards initially or anything--we just started playing and read up on the rules for the quests when we went to them. Has anyone else had this experience?

A brief synopsis (as far as I can recall it), in case it helps illuminate an error on our part:

The first black card drawn was a Mercenary card, which was placed on the Pict quest. So, the next three knights went to that quest, defeating it in approx. three rounds. The fourth knight went to the Grail quest and worked on it during this time. After the Pict quest, two knights defeated the Saxons quest, and then the Pict quest was defeated two more times before the end of the game (the last sword was earned in this way). So Pict/Saxon quests amounted in 5 white swords total (the fifth was earned using the Heroism card). The grail quest was won about halfway through the game, with minimum difficulty (only two desolation cards ever hit the table), earning 3 more white swords. By this point the excalibur quest was looking grim and one knight spent a turn or two trying to get it under control before giving it up for lost. We also lost the Lancelot quest without bothering for it at all. The Dragon quest was never attempted and didn't come close to completion before the game was over. The Black Knight was not really focused on, though we did win it the one time that it completed.

And that was really it. I think we had twelve swords total at the end, 4 of which were black for the Lancelot and Excalibur quests. We didn't really draw black cards that often, and usually expended life points as our evil action unless we were already down to '2'. Only two knights ever healed by discarding, and the rest simply survived by completing quests. In all, it really seemed like it came down to the Pict/Saxon swords--they were easy to get since they weren't solo quests, and they prevented many siege engines from hitting the board.

So, what gives? (And, thanks to anyone who read this long post!)
 
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Adam Smiles
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From your description, it doesn't seem like you missed a rule, although it's certainly possible. It's possible that the card distribution was simply favorable and the forces of evil never got the "right" cards to thwart you.

The game will play differently for different groups. With experienced gamers you can probably through the traitor in right off the bat. You can also move quickly to the squire variant if things don't start to challenge you in future plays.
 
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Matt
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"The first black card drawn was a Mercenary card, which was placed on the Pict quest. So, the next three knights went to that quest, defeating it in approx. three rounds. "

Perhaps you were playing this wrong. Getting to the Pict 'battlefield' takes three turns alone. Then they would have to spend another five turns of laying down the 1 - 5 cards. Remember, a player can only play one card on his turn. The minimum amount of turns they could beat the Picts is five, IF those knights sacrificed a point of life for a bonus action. But from the sound of it, that wasn't done. Therefore, it should have taken those knights eight turns to defeat the Picts. If they didn't spend one turn per card played while defeating each Pict/Saxon invasion, they incorrectly skipped a lot of bad events. Every additional turn incurred furthers the progression of evil.

Another thing to consider, were the knights collaborating explicitly? Teamwork is the spirit of the game, but you are not supposed to be direct in discussing what cards you have or what knowledge you have about face-down evil cards. If this rule is not observed, the game becomes much easier.
 
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Matthew M
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I think he means 3 rounds around the table. Then it's very possible to do it without a life point spent. First round three knights get there. Second round the 1, 2, and 3 get played by the knights. Third round the 4 and 5 come out.

-MMM
 
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Tim K.
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Since you didn't read through ALL the rules before playing, I think it's safe to assume you missed more than a few rules.

One rule that my group knew about on first time playing but conveniently forgot:

You may not perform the same type of action twice within your turn

So you may not play a card on a quest, sacrifice a life point, then play another card on the quest.
 
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Adrian Acu
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EvilTimmy wrote:
Since you didn't read through ALL the rules before playing, I think it's safe to assume you missed more than a few rules.

One rule that my group knew about on first time playing but conveniently forgot:

You may not perform the same type of action twice within your turn

So you may not play a card on a quest, sacrifice a life point, then play another card on the quest.



Could you clarify that rule? I thought your turn consisted of just a bad and a good action, so how can you perform the same type of action twice within your turn?
 
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Matthew Fisk
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Round = a full time around the table.
Turn = a single individual's turn.

Based on reading I am honestly VERY suprised at how little damage you took from the other quests. You can spend no more than two turns (or rounds for that matter) giving up life before you are at the 2HP lower limit you discussed. It would take at least three rounds to defeat either the Picts or the Saxons even once and you are discussing doing it 5 times. If you committed 2 knights each to those quests (leaving NONE on the others) it would still take at least 9 full game rounds to claim 5 victories. I am not even including having to go BACK to camelot to replenish your hands (assuming the four of you were acutally lucky enough to have an initial draw each of 1-5 valued fight cards / which still leaves a 5th Saxon/Pict defeat you had, REQUIRING you to go back to Camelot for cards)

9 game rounds = 36 total dark turns of which only 8 could be dodged through giving up life (based on your 2 life statement). That still leaves 28 dark turns unnaccounted for. If you pushed your ultimate limit of siege engines (ie putting 11 on the board) that still leaves 17 more dark turns.

I suppose you could have gotten lucky and drawn ALL 12 possible Saxon/Pict/Mercenary cards as you were doing this, however the odds staggering.

In all our game sessions if we had been that committed to the saxon/pict wars I guarantee we would have been totally overwhelmed due to our lack of attention to the other quests.

Yes, I am killing my last 5 minutes at work
 
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Matthew Fisk
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Adrian,

You are allowed to sacrifice a life to take another Heroic action. Although it must be a DIFFERENT heroic action than the one you already took.
 
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Adrian Acu
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Gotcha, I wasn't aware of that, hehe, with only one test run game under my belt.
 
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David Tolin
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Sylvus wrote:
Round = a full time around the table.
Turn = a single individual's turn.

Based on reading I am honestly VERY suprised at how little damage you took from the other quests. You can spend no more than two turns (or rounds for that matter) giving up life before you are at the 2HP lower limit you discussed. It would take at least three rounds to defeat either the Picts or the Saxons even once and you are discussing doing it 5 times.


Four times, actually. Heroism bumped one of the victories up to a two-sword affair.

Sylvus wrote:
If you committed 2 knights each to those quests (leaving NONE on the others) it would still take at least 9 full game rounds to claim 5 victories. I am not even including having to go BACK to camelot to replenish your hands (assuming the four of you were acutally lucky enough to have an initial draw each of 1-5 valued fight cards / which still leaves a 5th Saxon/Pict defeat you had, REQUIRING you to go back to Camelot for cards)

9 game rounds = 36 total dark turns of which only 8 could be dodged through giving up life (based on your 2 life statement). That still leaves 28 dark turns unnaccounted for. If you pushed your ultimate limit of siege engines (ie putting 11 on the board) that still leaves 17 more dark turns.

I suppose you could have gotten lucky and drawn ALL 12 possible Saxon/Pict/Mercenary cards as you were doing this, however the odds staggering.


Well, as I remember it, let me explain how we managed it:

First, few of us ever went back to Camelot for cards. Galahad defeated the first Pict war while alone on the space because the other two knights had no cards to play and were forced to leave. Thus, he earned 4 more cards, which set him up for the Saxon war. Also, one of those cards was Fate, which he played for his special action the next turn, allowing all others to draw a white card. The white card he drew for this was Reinforcements, which he used the next turn to draw 4 additional cards for himself. This left him in a good position for defeating the Saxon war and then the next Pict war. Since I was playing Galahad, I don't really remember how everyone else fared on their hand sizes, but I do know that Gawain was doing just fine by drawing three every once in a while. Convocation was also played once, as I remember. The three knights at the Grail Quest shared 7 more cards, too. Cards just didn't seem to be in short supply--though neither deck was exhausted during this game. The white deck came closest, where we came within the last 2 cards.

Second, I don't mean to give the impression that we *only* took life damage as evil actions--there were quite a few black cards drawn: The aforementioned despair cards, enough Lancelot cards to end that quest and 5-6 black knight cards. Excalibur was also pushed off its quest board by black cards. The only special blacks I remember explicity were the one that prohibits Merlin cards from being played--which came out the turn before a quest ended (convenient)--and the one that causes everyone to lose one life--which was ignored by discarding three merlins. Otherwise, we put six to seven siege engines out really early in the game. Plus, don't forget that people were getting life back pretty regularly by popping for the last round of the war quests or completing quests of their own.

I'm tempted to think we had a really lucky card distribution, since it seems we played everything else correctly. We did *not* take identical Heroic Actions by sacrificing life, for example--other than the Grail Quest, I don't really recall many people sacrificing for extra actions, anyway.

Clearly, we just need to try it again and see how we fare. I want to reiterate that we enjoyed it a lot--it just seemed really easy. Once we got six white swords early on (one for the Picts, two for the Saxons [with Heroism], and three for the Grail), it all seemed sort of perfunctory after that.
 
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David Tolin
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Octavian wrote:
I think he means 3 rounds around the table. Then it's very possible to do it without a life point spent. First round three knights get there. Second round the 1, 2, and 3 get played by the knights. Third round the 4 and 5 come out.

-MMM


This is exactly what I meant, thanks. Each of the three knights was playing cards, so it wasn't a five-round proposition. I think that's why we ended up ignoring the Solo quests, for the most part--they don't have very punitive loss conditions and they seemed like they'd take forever. I'll have to play another game before I'm convinced that a concentrated military (i.e., Pict/Saxon) focus isn't the best option for victory.
 
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Matthew Fisk
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Mine was not a criticism and I hope it didn't come across that way, was just point out odds as I saw it. Distribution must have been good for you as we were totally slaughtered our first time out in the game. Our second game was barely won and that was thanks to the power of King Arthur (who has a powerful ability).

We controlled the black deck a bit by not quite finishing excalibur and thus nullifying 21% of the deck as it made its way back slowly to the other side... As a matter of fact it was taking TOO long because we had 10 swords and were desparate to finish the 12 sword requirement before being overwhelmed by siege engines. It finally hit the opposite shore so we won

Ours were always quite tight and we are all veteran board gamers...

M'eh - hopefully you get more of a challenge next time.
 
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David Tolin
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madhatter wrote:
Another thing to consider, were the knights collaborating explicitly? Teamwork is the spirit of the game, but you are not supposed to be direct in discussing what cards you have or what knowledge you have about face-down evil cards. If this rule is not observed, the game becomes much easier.


We were pretty careful to stay within the spirit and rules of the game where cooperation is concerned, but I would be interested to find out how other people deal with this issue.

For instance, Percival's special ability--it's not like he has to announce to the table that the next black card is undesirable. If he checks out the top card and then takes another Evil action instead, it's a pretty good bet that we want to avoid that card. So, even his silence is giving away quite a bit.

Also, the "roleplay" aspects are difficult to quantify. Frequently, during the Pict and Saxon quests, the other players would ask me something like, "Sir Galahad, do you have those damnable Saxons taken care of?" If I were to answer, "Aye," that's a pretty clear indication that I have all the cards I need and don't need help. In cases where I was lacking a card or two, I would answer, "These Saxons are a tough lot, but I can handle them for a short time." Things like, "If you can hold out for a while, I think I can help you finish them off," would often come back in reply.

Now, there's some grey area there: It's not clear from my statements whether I'm lacking a 3,4, or 5-- or even a 2--but it's clear I have a 1. And I think from the "finish them off" response that the other player has a "5." Would anyone here say this was going too far? It seems within the rules to me.

I did avoid getting too cheeky--even though I wanted to, at times, for humor's sake. Statements like "I often tire of a fight right in the middle" or "I could fight most of those Saxons, but the first wave looks really scary" were strictly verboten, for example.

How far do you guys push this stuff? I don't really think it had much to do with our ease of victory, but looser table talk could certainly have made it even easier.
 
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Alexander Corzo
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Don't mean to sound so obvious but sometimes people miss silly things. Are you counting movement correctly? It takes an action to move to a quest and although the Wars and the Black Knight are on the same board as Camelot it requires one movement action to get there.

Remember you cant look at the cards when you use King Arthur's special ability. they both should be traded face down before you look.

Maybe its a good strategy to go for the wars and to avoid Catapult Overrun...We lost badly on our 2 initial games. I've heard the game gets easier for experienced players but I'm at a lost of why begginers had such an easy time of it. Beginner's luck? Tell us how the second time went.....

cheers,

Alex
 
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Though it does seem like you got the gyst of the game down, maybe you did commit a few mistakes. You only laid down 1 white card per turn, correct? Also, did you put down the Pict and Saxson cards IN order (1 to 5)? Are you sure you fought the siege engines correctly, since, in our games at least, getting rid of one is not really a trivial ordeal.

I dunno, maybe you're just a lot better at SOC than us
 
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My wife and I have played two games, with each of us playing two knights, each with his own separate hand of cards. Both games were miserable defeats, and I came away with the feeling that the game is very difficult with only four knights.

Although, in the first game I don't think the cards got a proper 'just out of the box' shuffling, and that ended with a high volume of same black cards that wore through some quests faster than it normally should.

However, for the second game, we shuffled the heck out of the cards and we still failed badly. My wife thinks that our communication was to blame (rather, lack of good communication), but it just felt to me that none of us ever had enough cards and the 2-3 turn delay caused by sending a knight back to Camelot, drawing cards until he was prepared to take on a quest, moving back to the quest, and finally participating in them was resulting in a lot of the quests moving toward the bad endings.

We nearly had the grail, though, but never got it. The black card that immediately plays the next three ended up killing off three of the four knights (all knights take 1 hit point of damage). That pretty much ended the game.

The black cards are terrible - you never want to take one. But if you don't, you place a siege engine or take a hit to your knight, and both of those start to become almost unbearable choices as the game progresses. At the end, we had expended all of our Merlins taking away siege engines, with 10 on the board still, and three knights had 1 life point from taking the hits, and that got them killed.

For us, as a counterpoint to your easy game experience with four knights, the game seemed very difficult. What could we have done better? What did your group do that we could have? I don't know. I just offer this experience as a way of showing that the game can have very different results with the same number of players, so don't write it off as easy because you had a win the first time out.
 
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Nathan Baumbach
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Actually, when the table talking is limited down to a certain amount, the game gets harder. When you are not allowed to talk about cards, life points, details, etc., the game slows down and actions are less certain. I've played six games - we won four and lost two. In fact, we lost the second game quickly.
 
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David Tolin
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pkreynolds wrote:
For us, as a counterpoint to your easy game experience with four knights, the game seemed very difficult. What could we have done better? What did your group do that we could have? I don't know. I just offer this experience as a way of showing that the game can have very different results with the same number of players, so don't write it off as easy because you had a win the first time out.


I'm not writing it off--don't worry! My main concern was the fact that we had such an easy time of it and we didn't have a gameplan to start with (since we didn't read up on how the quests worked until we chose one to tackle). Plus, two of our players rarely play any boardgames at all, so we weren't a bunch of pros. Those two factors don't seem to indicate a long shelf-life for a 'versus-the-system' type game, but I'm heartened by the fact that this may have been a fluke.

What I think I'm going to do is track our next game very closely and write up a session report for it if we have the same experience. From some of the discussion in this thread, it seems almost certain that we did something wrong... but none of the suggested mistakes fit the bill (i.e., we handled movement, turn order, siege engines and actions correctly). My guess is that the black cards played into our favor in large ways. We only saw two specials, and neither one had an effect, so the only ones we had to deal with were Saxon/Pict (no problem) and quests like Excalibur and Lancelot that we ignored. Ultimately, we hardly put a dent in the black deck.
 
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David Tolin
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Donkey Thong wrote:
Though it does seem like you got the gyst of the game down, maybe you did commit a few mistakes. You only laid down 1 white card per turn, correct?


Yup.

Donkey Thong wrote:
Also, did you put down the Pict and Saxson cards IN order (1 to 5)?


Yup.

Donkey Thong wrote:
Are you sure you fought the siege engines correctly, since, in our games at least, getting rid of one is not really a trivial ordeal.


This is one thing that seemed pretty simple to us, too. We didn't bother fighting them until they started piling up close to 10 engines--which was very late in the game since we never lost a Pict/Saxon challenge. At that point, at least 2 knights--and sometimes 3--remained on the battlefield fighting them, as we only needed to last a few turns for the fourth knight to complete a final Pict war successfully. In those few turns, it was only a matter of using a Heroic Action to draw two cards, then sacrifice a life to gain another action, discard those two cards (at least), roll the die and hope for the best. Since the knights were pretty healthy, this wasn't tough--and the one knight in a rough spot just killed himself and then resurrected with the Grail, replenishing hit points.

It did come close--we finished with just one empty siege space left--but it never really felt perilously close. It felt more like biding time.

 
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DavidT wrote:


It did come close--we finished with just one empty siege space left--but it never really felt perilously close. It felt more like biding time.



David,

from a brief reading, I am quite convinced the team would have been toast had an even moderately experienced Traitor been in the mix. When there is a Traitor (or even the potential of one), the group will get wiped out if many of the knights sacrifice life points at once like you suggest (there are some black cards that will cause lose of life points, a big pb when you are down to 1 or 2). Also, if a potential traitor is in play, you cannot afford to take the risk of voluntarily letting 10 or 11 Siege Engines creep up (though sometimes you have no choice, lol).

So my suggestion would be to try the game in normal mode, with a potential traitor in the mix, the difficulty should become meaningfully greater .

Eric @ DoW


---edit---
admin edit to fix quoting
 
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Mik Svellov
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pkreynolds wrote:
My wife and I have played two games, with each of us playing two knights, each with his own separate hand of cards. Both games were miserable defeats, and I came away with the feeling that the game is very difficult with only four knights.


The game is easier with more people, but the game is perfectable playable with four players. I my 14 games I have had had some which were easy to win (although never as easy as the one at the top of this thread, but we are always afraid of being betrayed!) and some have been impossible to beat - like the one where we lost Lancelot's Armor in the second game round!
Mik
 
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David,

One other , relatively minor issue.Correct me if I'm wrong, but it is my understanding that you may not both draw cards at Camelot and fight a siege engine in the same turn,both of those being quest related actions. I have found in my games that although Sir Kay is excellent at fighting siege engines, the drain of placing 2-3 cards per engine just slows the action terribly in terms of getting rid of the engines.You wind up killing an engine one turn and then drawing the next,thus defeating an engine every other turn.With Knights other than Kay, it will be more like 3 cards per turn as you will not be able to risk the life loss associated with rolling higher than your card total.

Another issue I have found, and this will likely speak to your experience directly, is that games vary widely in flavor depending on the knights taken,mode of table talk and card draws, as well as the presence of a traitor (or lack thereof).I have had three games so far and had one easy time winning, one time blown out, and one time a skin of my teeth victory.I suggest trying the game a few more times and then reporting back on the ease (or lack thereof) of victory,My first game was a 10-2 white sword romp which was never in doubt, all three artifacts claimed and my knights back in Camelot killing siege engines by mid game, waiting for the end.cool

Perhaps this is a thought for another thread, but I have also found that some knights, due to their powers are much stronger than others.I have found Kay near invaluable along with Arthur.Gawain and Galahad are pretty strong.Bedivere with Arthur is also a good combo ,Arthur passes his junk to Bedivere, who discards it and redraws, etc...Percival can be decently effective as well.I have found Tristan and Palomedes weak in comparison, particularly Tristan.I have suggested to my group that Tristan be allowed to travel among quests for free as well, except for returning to Camelot.My attitudes may be colored by my experience, though.As we draw knights randomly, our one 3 player loss was with Tristan and Palomedes in the mix.It just seemed as though we could not make any headway whatsoever.cry

Thoughts?
EW1
 
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David Tolin
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Eagle Warrior 1 wrote:
David,

One other , relatively minor issue.Correct me if I'm wrong, but it is my understanding that you may not both draw cards at Camelot and fight a siege engine in the same turn,both of those being quest related actions.


Are you saying since they're both quest related for that location, they count as "identical" actions and cannot be taken back to back by sacrificing a life? This would make a big difference, and you may have found what we were doing wrong if this is the case. I wasn't one of the knights handling siege engine duties, but I'm positive at least one of them was employing this technique.

Thanks for the input.
 
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Mik Svellov
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Yes. The designer has clarified that you may sacrifice a life to perform two Quest related action at different locations only.

The easiest way to explain it is to use the headlines in the Quest Book:
Each diffeernt quest has it own separate headline and a specific symbol.

Camelot is described on page 8 and has a siege engine as symbol. This quest has two different actions of which you only perform one per turn.

Mik
 
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David Tolin
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Great Dane wrote:
Yes. The designer has clarified that you may sacrifice a life to perform two Quest related action at different locations only.


Noted and appreciated. However, one additional clarification: How could you "sacrifice a life to perform two Quest related actions at different locations," since movement itself is a heroic action?

Also, are there other such clarifications that supercede the written rules? As far as I can tell, drawing cards and fighting siege engines are two distinct actions, so should be permissable by the rules as written. We will adopt the designer's clarification, however, as it will make the game a little tougher.

Thanks!
 
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