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Gears of War: The Board Game» Forums » Variants

Subject: "Villain" mode? rss

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Kelly Overholser
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So, the game's still new and all, but I'm wondering how possible it would be to have a "one vs many" playstyle, similar to Doom or Descent.

The easiest way would be to have the Locust player simply have a hand of AI cards, picking which one to play and the order in which locusts activate. The catch here is that having a human control the game means it's much harder for the COGs to win. So perhaps some sort of advantage is in order.

I'm thinking, the Locust player starts the game with a hand of 3 AI cards. At the end of each COG's turn, instead of doing the Locust Activation step, the Locust player can play one card, following all the instructions, but he chooses the order of which locusts activate.

Instead of playing a card from his hand, he has two other options available. He can play the top card of the deck, not knowing what it is before revealing it, or he can skip the activation step and draw two cards. There would be a maximum hand size attached (4-5, maybe) to keep him from simply drawing the whole deck and playing whatever cards he wants.

If the Locust player plays a card that would normally draw another AI card, instead it means to play another card off the top of the deck; the AI player can't pick which card to play next.

The idea of forcing the Locust player to spend a turn drawing is to balance the fact that he can pick what card would hurt the COGs the most; he can do more damage, but not as often. Alternatively, if he likes the cards in his hand a lot, he can just play the top card without having to spend another turn down the line drawing more cards.

Thoughts?
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Blue Jackal
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I thought of something similar.

Hand size of 3 or 4.

Allow the Locust player to skip the activation step and discard two (or three) cards to draw two cards (or three.) Unless the Locust player can play more than one card, well, ever, then there's no reason to complicate things with a variable hand size, right?

I'd possibly stipulate that you can't play more than two Drone (or Wretch, or Boomer etc.) cards in a row - otherwise the Overlord player could possibly get a hand where he activates one Locust three or four times in a row. If the Locust player has played two Drone cards already and only has Drone cards (or whatever) in hand, he discards one and flips from the AI deck until a non-Drone card comes up. (Cards that activate ALL Locusts is exempt from this rule.)

To give the Locusts a draw back, maybe give them a maximum range, or maybe give all the COGs +1 card or something.
 
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Frank Franco
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If the Locus player simply gets to draw or play a card a turn... well it sounds like it's not much of a fun role to play.
 
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Purple Paladin

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I may get this game. After reading the rules a dozen times, I intend to play it with them; me, as the GM, drawing every card and moving evyer enemy units. Them, playing as a team while I help them learn. Seems just natuaral to help a new group.
 
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Cameron McKenzie
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I think that a hand of 3 with a "draw 1, play 1" deal would be fine, with one caveat: the Locust player ignores all text that instructs drawing another AI card - this nerfs several events and also means the Locusts choices may be totally gimped if they have multiple "For Each" cards with none of the appropriate Locust in play. That may be enough to balance the the "smart" opponent.

Of course, the locust should also be able to make all choices regarding locust activation (such as which COG to attack when more than one is equidistant, etc)
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Anthony Pham
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To be honest, I see FFG putting out a mini-expansion that does just this. Adds in an option to play the locust commander.
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Kelly Overholser
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MasterDinadan wrote:
I think that a hand of 3 with a "draw 1, play 1" deal would be fine, with one caveat: the Locust player ignores all text that instructs drawing another AI card - this nerfs several events and also means the Locusts choices may be totally gimped if they have multiple "For Each" cards with none of the appropriate Locust in play. That may be enough to balance the the "smart" opponent.

Of course, the locust should also be able to make all choices regarding locust activation (such as which COG to attack when more than one is equidistant, etc)


That's not a bad idea, but it seems that games with fewer players are too easy to get rid of all of a certain type of locust. With limited spawning opportunities, it's also possible for the COGs to just let the locusts come to them, and the locust player is stuck doing nothing for several turns since they can't cycle through the AI deck to find a spawn card.

More players in the game might make it less of a problem, since there's significantly more locusts on the map to start, however.

I do think that if a card lets you draw again, then cards are only played off the top of the deck; the locust player can't keep picking cards to play after the first.
 
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Blue Jackal
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Sethala wrote:
The locust player is stuck doing nothing for several turns since they can't cycle through the AI deck to find a spawn card.


Maybe this is where the option for the Locust player to skip his activation phase and discard up to 3 cards comes into play?
 
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James Buchanan
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I think it's a bit silly to bring in a human player and then constrain him to the very specific instructions of the AI deck.

Instead you should give the AI player the Locust cards and the weapons those locust drop. You make a batch of cards or chits with 2 Cs, 4 Bs, and 6 As. Give the Locust player a hand of two cards he uses one each turn.

Now you'll probably have to change these for some of the critters but in general when you play a card you can take each locust of that type and:

*)Move three Areas
*)Move two Areas and attack a CoG in your space
*)Move one Area and attack a CoG with your weapon

OR if you don't move (or attack with any Locust):

Spawn two Locust of this type in two different emergence holes.

You may also want to put a card in there that allows you to do some of the general effects, but it might be unnecessary with a smart enemy.

If people are really really interested in this I could do a little work and make up cards.
 
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Blue Jackal
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JBgames wrote:
I think it's a bit silly to bring in a human player and then constrain him to the very specific instructions of the AI deck.


I don't think it's that silly, given the COGs are restrained to what they can do via their hand of cards. Maybe if an AI card said that the Locust moves three towards the COG, you can let the AI player move the Locust 0 to 3 areas in any direction. Similarly, you can let the AI player target two equidistant targets.

With a hand of 4 cards, it might give the AI player sufficient choices. Or not, but I think it might be wise to see how it works before coming up with a more complicated scheme.

An interesting idea though, JBgames.
 
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Cameron McKenzie
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The AI cards bring a lot of the uniqueness to the different locust types, regarding their "personality" and capabilities. Giving the Locust player generic actions to take with any Locust would take away from that, especially with regards to attacking.

For instance, Drone AI cards involve more movement than Boomer AI cards, but the Drones only attack at short range. If we want to give generic actions for the Locust player, do we have to have separate move and range values for each Locust type?

That seems a little boring anyway. The AI card mechanic is one of the interesting things about the game because it is very unpredictable. Allowing the Locust player to bypass the mechanic might make the game harder, but not necessarily more interesting, as he starts to just repeatedly take the most obvious best move.
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James Buchanan
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BlueJackal wrote:
JBgames wrote:
I think it's a bit silly to bring in a human player and then constrain him to the very specific instructions of the AI deck.


I don't think it's that silly, given the COGs are restrained to what they can do via their hand of cards. Maybe if an AI card said that the Locust moves three towards the COG, you can let the AI player move the Locust 0 to 3 areas in any direction. Similarly, you can let the AI player target two equidistant targets.

With a hand of 4 cards, it might give the AI player sufficient choices. Or not, but I think it might be wise to see how it works before coming up with a more complicated scheme.

An interesting idea though, JBgames.


Well I think you got to the crux of my issue. I'm fine with the Locust being constrained. But the current AI cards don't tell you what you can do as much as what you must do. And just to be clear- COGs always have the option of using any card to move 2 Areas or do 1 Attack- so I was just giving the Locust player the same kind of choice. I'm most worried that the Locust could be really boring like LNOE rather than awesome like IFOS (both flying frog games.)
 
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Blue Jackal
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JBgames wrote:
I'm most worried that the Locust could be really boring like LNOE rather than awesome like IFOS (both flying frog games.)


A legitimate fear, but you might want to avoid making the Locust Player's turn too difficult, otherwise you might add a significant amount of play time to the game. The Locust player could play up to 4x as many cards as a COG player, so I think he'll be kept busy.
 
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Andrew Martin
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Honestly I think there are enough games that do what you describe. I like the fact that this one is pure co-op with initial reports indicating that the AI system is more robust than that used in the Ravenloft games. Time spent shoehorning a versus system for Gears would IMO be better spent playing Claustrophobia, Incursion...Space Hulk or if multiplayer is required Descent or even Mansions of Madness. Not to mention Doom...although I'm just assuming on that one...I've never played it.
 
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