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Subject: No purchasing of Elder Signs... at least not for the win rss

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♫ Eric Herman ♫
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The more I'm playing this game, the more I'm liking it. Yes, the rules are a little wonky and the game does seem too easy, generally speaking, but there are a lot of good decisions to make throughout and I really do enjoy the experience.

However, one thing that really bugs me, and it's been the case in almost every game that I've won (which is almost all of them), is buying an Elder Sign for the win. Talk about anti-climactic. In my last game this morning, I was playing 3 characters and two of them had 10+ trophies and I had 11 Elder Signs against Cthulhu, so it was just a dull matter of getting to those players' turns to finish it off. Considering his doom track wasn't that close to the end, there wasn't really any danger of losing from a Mythos card before those players' turns, or from the other player being devoured or anything like that.

I'm actually inclined to say there should be no purchasing of Elder Signs at all. That would add a decent measure of difficulty right there. But especially not for the win.
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Kevin Kam
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I'm right there with you, I've been doing the same thing. "Hey, only one more sign to go! And I have like twenty trophies . . . I guess I win?" It takes all the tension out of the endgame.

I haven't even purchased Elder Signs for anything except the very last one (I have an unnatural aversion to shopping in general in this game) so I would definitely houserule no buying Signs at all.
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♫ Eric Herman ♫
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I think this a matter where the game doesn't scale very well, because if you have 5-6 players, then each player isn't that likely to accumulate that many trophies. But with 3 players, those trophies add up pretty easily.

Basically, with Elder Signs being the victory commodity, I think you should have to work for each of them, especially when the game can seem easy enough as it is. But thinking back on all of the games I've played so far (about 9-10), I know I've purchased at least one Elder Sign in each win. Take that away, and in many cases I probably still would have won, but it would have been closer.

To be honest, the whole Entrance could probably be done away with and I don't think it would change all that much, and it would help with the difficulty issues. I have used the First Aid a few times, but if that wasn't available, then there would be more devourings and more doom tokens added, making the game harder... I've never used the Search function and I'm not sure I ever would. And I've only purchased items there in one game where I was against Yig and wanted to stock up before Final Battle. I have purchased Allies a few times, and I suppose that's the main way you would get them (I think only one or two Other World cards provide them as a reward). I'm not even inclined to feel that Allies are really worth that much in some cases, but if I have trophies to spend I sometimes grab one.
 
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Jay Lacson
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I'm going to disagree, at least from a solo perspective.

During my game, I was purchasing Elder Signs throughout the game. At 6:00pm on what was to be the last night, there were 2 doom track token spots left on Ithaqua. Upcoming midnight effects: Mythos card that added 2 tokens and an adventure card that added 1 token.

I was 2 Elder Signs away from victory and had 9 trophy points. On the board was a 1 point adventure card with a Elder Sign reward. My entire game rested on this one monster (and purchasing the last Elder Sign).

If I wasn't allowed to purchase the Elder Sign, the game would've been over already. Making it, at least in my opinion, an anti-climatic defeat.

Now, if you were to play out the entire situation...yes, I would kill the monster and then next turn, uneventfully purchase an Elder Sign. However, when I succeeded the last task...I quietly rejoiced and started packing up the game. I knew I won already...why draw out and diminish the victory by going through the unnecessary steps.
 
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♫ Eric Herman ♫
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That's one situation where that made a difference, and otherwise you would have lost. And that would be a good thing... This game needs more losses, IMO. In most games that I've played, I've very easily won, and purchasing an Elder Sign just made it that much easier, and that much less exciting of a way to finish.

The emphasis of need seems to be well in favor of more difficulty. I'd rather lose a game once in a while where there was your situation, to be able to have more of the cakewalk games be closer and more dramatic.
 
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Phil Miller
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I have to agree with this one. The world is on the verge of being consumed by an Ancient One and all I have to do to stop it is visit the museum souvenir shop?

That would be the climax of all anti-climaxes.





 
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Brian M
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I really don't see purchasing an Elder sign for the win as being anti-climatic. Rather, rewarding for all the effort you spent to save up that many trophies while risking losing them by being devoured.

Quote:
To be honest, the whole Entrance could probably be done away with and I don't think it would change all that much...

Wow. That would be fun when you've got no tasks you can try and no way to build up. And no way to ever recover sanity or stamina.
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♫ Eric Herman ♫
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StormKnight wrote:
I really don't see purchasing an Elder sign for the win as being anti-climatic. Rather, rewarding for all the effort you spent to save up that many trophies while risking losing them by being devoured.


It's anti-climactic to win virtually every game that way. It gets to a point where I see I have 10+ trophies and know, usually a few turns ahead of time, that it's a sure thing. But for the rare situation that arcane220 described above, there's no drama in that.

StormKnight wrote:

Quote:
To be honest, the whole Entrance could probably be done away with and I don't think it would change all that much...

Wow. That would be fun when you've got no tasks you can try and no way to build up. And no way to ever recover sanity or stamina.


Brian, you have to understand this is all from the perspective that the game is too easy. You can disagree about that, but so far it seems to be a pretty wide consensus.

In many of the games I've played, I've barely lost sanity or stamina with some characters. And it's been pretty rare that someone ran out and was devoured. And the thing is, if you do run out of sanity or stamina and are devoured... that would be a good thing (from the perspective of the game being too easy) because then you'd lose your stuff and a doom token would be added. It would be more of a challenge. There's always a task you can try and if they're all too dangerous and you'll likely die from trying any of them, well then again... that's a good thing. You have to sacrifice yourself to do what you can. And usually you can at least kill off a monster, if nothing else.

I'm speculating somewhat, but I really don't think from my experience so far that removing the Entrance would have changed that much in the games I've played, in terms of won-loss record. I think I still would have won most if not all of those games. But it definitely would have made them closer and more uncertain and more challenging.
 
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Perhaps it's just a matter of perspective. If you had 20+ trophy points and needed only 2 Elder Signs to win you could view the victory conditions as 13 Elder Signs or the equivalent in trophies. I know you have to actually exchange them first, but the tension would be placed in trying to acquire the trophies, not in turning them in. A mind game to be sure.
 
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♫ Eric Herman ♫
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vonkohlmann wrote:
Perhaps it's just a matter of perspective. If you had 20+ trophy points and needed only 2 Elder Signs to win you could view the victory conditions as 13 Elder Signs or the equivalent in trophies. I know you have to actually exchange them first, but the tension would be placed in trying to acquire the trophies, not in turning them in. A mind game to be sure.


I would agree, except that the game is often a cakewalk. If it was going to be tight more often, or situations like arcane220 describes were more of the norm, then sure, it would still be satisfying to get Elder Signs by shopping for them. But this is a proposed variant for making the game more difficult, and also to end with more of a bang (or roll, as it were).
 
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Jay Lacson
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I may just be unlucky, but I'm failing tasks left and right...stupid terror effects :grumble:

What about making limiting adjustments? I haven't checked out the rest of the variants section, but I thought of an easy way to make the game harder (although, I'm sure in some cases impossible). Instead of choosing where to go, you have to a) follow a straight path or b) only allowed to move to adjacent adventure cards.

A) Cards are set up in a line and you proceed from left to right without refilling completed adventure cards, and with your only other option to go back to the entrance. When you reach card 6, refill cards 1-5 and move from right to left. Repeat until you lose....errr, awaken the GOO.....or possibly win.

B) This is probably the variant I think is the most interesting and provides a certain ambience...kind of like you're actually moving through different rooms in the museum. You'd refill the adventure cards after you move to an adjacent card.

But, in any case...I think purchasing Elder Signs are pretty key to winning. I've not come close to winning without purchasing a few.


Note: I just remembered, I forgot I imposed a house rule which makes the game a bit more unforgiving. If an investigator gets devoured, they're out of the game.
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DK Kemler
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What about after reaching 10 elder signs, they are no longer for purchase? You can buy them early to speed up the game, but need an adventure reward to win?
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Dave Hamson
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I really like the idea of not being able to buy the last elder sign to win the game, just like I prefer to spread out my monsters instead of having them all stack up on one adventure. I might implement both those variants to the game by default and see if that is enough.

I am also really interested in the idea of removing the entrance all together. Hmm that would certainly make things extremely tense and feel a lot more Lovecraftian. It should be difficult to obtain elder signs, it should be stressful losing a task and not being able to easily regain your health and sanity. I'm going to seriously consider that as an option for my group.

Right now I only have 2 games under my belt, both were 3 player games and we won easily, once against Yig, whose track barely moved...the other against Asathoth who crept up a bit, but not to the point where we were all that worried about him waking. Between the two games, one investigator was devoured.

Great suggestions Grudunza.
 
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Tomas Hejna
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degamer wrote:
What about after reaching 10 elder signs, they are no longer for purchase? You can buy them early to speed up the game, but need an adventure reward to win?

They can be surely counted and stacked on the SShop at the beginning of game - and after they run out, no more of them would be there available from that moment on.
Also, you can experiment with the optimal number depending either on the number of players or the number of ESigns needed for the curent GOO or just simply how hard you wish to have the game (let's say most often 7 or 9 or 10?).
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Perhaps purchasing Elder Signs shouldn't be automatic; there should be element of chance. Players could roll 1 green die and on any roll but Investigations an Elder Sign is acquired. Otherwise the player must sacrifice additional trophies equal to the Investigations number rolled to get the ES, or lose the original 10 trophies paid without gaining the ES.
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Chris Farrell
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A lot of cooperative games - even really good ones - can suffer from tension draining out at the end when you know you've got a won game (or a lost one, for that matter). I was a little surprised when I noticed the issue in a game of Star Trek Expeditions, but Pandemic and Forbidden Island can have it a little bit too. Ghost Stories has the opposite problem, frequently forcing you to play out a game you know is lost. I think it's just a structural thing, cooperative games have to have a certain amount of unpredictability to work, and given the different player dynamics, it's hard to guarantee they'll end at the right time from a narrative tension perspective. It's just a question of limiting the problem. Star Trek, Pandemic, Forbidden Island, and Ghost Stories all work well for me, despite (admittedly infrequent) low-tension endgames, because when they occur they are at least short.

Arkham Horror though I had a problem with for (among other things) it's frequently very anti-climactic endgame, with wins virtually locked in for 30+ minutes as you go through the motions of finishing it off. It certainly seems a pattern at this point of laughably low difficulty levels in Launius' games. The original Arkham Horror (before the various rules tweaks) was easy to the point of being broken.
 
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