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Subject: Removing the Terror Die rss

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GeekInsight
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I first played Elder Sign at Gateway 2011 and was taught the game by Kevin Wilson, the designer with Fantasy Flight. I fell in love and then got the game for Christmas. But, upon reading the official rules, I noticed two things very different from what Mr. Wilson told us.

#1: He expressly stated that if there are no monster areas on adventure cards, the monsters must be distributed evenly among adventures and can't all be piled at the bottom of one. This rule does not exist in the rulebook.

#2: He also said that if a task was failed, and you had to remove a die, you MUST remove a terror die if able. Thus, you can't focus a terror die (unless you rolled more than one) for use in your second roll. That makes terror tasks slightly more difficult. This rule is also absent from the book.

Has anyone else heard of these two rules? Or was I subject to some last minute rule-tweaking for the FAQ? (the game had just been released).
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MyParadox wrote:
I first played Elder Sign at Gateway 2011 and was taught the game by Kevin Wilson, the designer with Fantasy Flight. I fell in love and then got the game for Christmas. But, upon reading the official rules, I noticed two things very different from what Mr. Wilson told us.

#1: He expressly stated that if there are no monster areas on adventure cards, the monsters must be distributed evenly among adventures and can't all be piled at the bottom of one. This rule does not exist in the rulebook.

#2: He also said that if a task was failed, and you had to remove a die, you MUST remove a terror die if able. Thus, you can't focus a terror die (unless you rolled more than one) for use in your second roll. That makes terror tasks slightly more difficult. This rule is also absent from the book.

Has anyone else heard of these two rules? Or was I subject to some last minute rule-tweaking for the FAQ? (the game had just been released).


For #2, are you certain he wasn't referring to the Terror effect on some cards where it states that you must remove all terror dice (from the dice just rolled) if you fail a task?
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Yep, I'm sure. He was very clear in differentiating between terror effects and a non-terror effect fail that nevertheless had a terror die in it.

Some terror effects say: Discard all terror dice. Meaning that if you rolled three terrors, you'd have to discard three dice. By contrast, when you fail, you only have to remove one, but it has to be a terror die if able.
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MyParadox wrote:
#2: He also said that if a task was failed, and you had to remove a die, you MUST remove a terror die if able. Thus, you can't focus a terror die (unless you rolled more than one) for use in your second roll. That makes terror tasks slightly more difficult. This rule is also absent from the book.


#2 makes a great amount of sense, I might start using that if the game should get too easy (hasn't happened for me yet).
 
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Jonathan Franklin
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I am assuming this is a benefit to the red die, as the wildcard symbol would not be considered a terror die for this purpose, but could serve as one on a later turn.

Why not just say that you cannot store a terror when focusing, assisting, or storing dice on spell cards?
 
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Chris Lawson
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MyParadox wrote:
I first played Elder Sign at Gateway 2011 and was taught the game by Kevin Wilson, the designer with Fantasy Flight. I fell in love and then got the game for Christmas. But, upon reading the official rules, I noticed two things very different from what Mr. Wilson told us.

I wonder more and more just what involvement the three game designers (Launius and Wilson, not forgetting that Konieczka is named as Executive Game Designer) had in the evolution of the game. The core mechanic was directly stolen from Risk Express, and I do mean directly stolen, but the added chrome (which makes Elder Sign a "meatier" game) seems to have been thrown together by a committee with no thought of ensuring the game was correctly balanced or consistent. Did any of the designers actually read the draft rules? Did any of the designers actually playtest the game, or get involved in the playtesting? It seems more like the three designers just threw some untested ideas together and then left some poor intern to produce the game.
MyParadox wrote:
#1: He expressly stated that if there are no monster areas on adventure cards, the monsters must be distributed evenly among adventures and can't all be piled at the bottom of one. This rule does not exist in the rulebook.

This has been mentioned and discussed in a number of threads. Seems like the situation never came up in playtesting, or wasn't considered an issue.
MyParadox wrote:
#2: He also said that if a task was failed, and you had to remove a die, you MUST remove a terror die if able. Thus, you can't focus a terror die (unless you rolled more than one) for use in your second roll. That makes terror tasks slightly more difficult. This rule is also absent from the book.

I haven't heard of this twist. Seems like just another idea tagged onto the Elder Sign framework. While I can see the logic, I wonder if the added complexity or fiddlyness is really worth it. It is at best a minor tweak that won't really change much. There doesn't seems anything wrong with the idea, a sort of afterthought that gets added as a house-rule but is it really needed.
MyParadox wrote:
Has anyone else heard of these two rules? Or was I subject to some last minute rule-tweaking for the FAQ? (the game had just been released).

I suspect a post-production rule tweak that if implemented should have been done during the design stage or the pre-production playtesting stage. If the rules are going to be changed, then make them more than just a tweak.
grandslam wrote:
I am assuming this is a benefit to the red die, as the wildcard symbol would not be considered a terror die for this purpose, but could serve as one on a later turn.

Why not just say that you cannot store a terror when focusing, assisting, or storing dice on spell cards?

Just to pick on one point here. Kevin Wilson only applied this as a restriction to Focusing / Assisting, not to spending Spells.

I don't see why a Spell can't have a Terror dice applied to it. After all Focusing / Assisting are only applied after a failed roll and a roll is only failed once the player cannot or does not wish to meet a tasks requirements. What I'm saying is that it only fails once the player announces it's a fail (because before then Clues can be spent to reroll the dice). Clues and Spells are applied before the fail is announced. Focusing or Assisting are applied after the fail is announced.
 
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Jonathan Franklin
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Chris, I am fine with that. I just thought it out of keeping with the game's theme that you cannot focus if there is one terror, but somehow you can if there are two.
 
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Chris Lawson
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Interesting to note that the new official FAQ makes no mention of the following
Quote:
#2: He also said that if a task was failed, and you had to remove a die, you MUST remove a terror die if able. Thus, you can't focus a terror die (unless you rolled more than one) for use in your second roll. That makes terror tasks slightly more difficult. This rule is also absent from the book.
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xris wrote:
I wonder more and more just what involvement the three game designers (Launius and Wilson, not forgetting that Konieczka is named as Executive Game Designer) had in the evolution of the game. The core mechanic was directly stolen from Risk Express, and I do mean directly stolen, but the added chrome (which makes Elder Sign a "meatier" game) seems to have been thrown together by a committee with no thought of ensuring the game was correctly balanced or consistent. Did any of the designers actually read the draft rules? Did any of the designers actually playtest the game, or get involved in the playtesting? It seems more like the three designers just threw some untested ideas together and then left some poor intern to produce the game.


I had the pleasure to interview Kevin Wilson as part of my podcast. And to discuss the game with him as we played. He let me know that the basics of the game were put together by Richard Launius. Mr. Wilson's role was largely in converting Arkham Horror cards over to Elder Sign effects. I can't recal for certain, but I think Mr. Wilson also developed the clock as a scaling mechanism. But I may be mis-remembering that.

xris wrote:
This has been mentioned and discussed in a number of threads. Seems like the situation never came up in playtesting, or wasn't considered an issue.


It seems common sense. I wonder if this was simply an accidental omission when putting together the rules. It comes up often enough that even very minimal play testing would reveal it as an issue.

xris wrote:
I haven't heard of this twist. Seems like just another idea tagged onto the Elder Sign framework. While I can see the logic, I wonder if the added complexity or fiddlyness is really worth it. It is at best a minor tweak that won't really change much. There doesn't seems anything wrong with the idea, a sort of afterthought that gets added as a house-rule but is it really needed.


Well, it does help to further distinguish the terror result from the others. I think that's a good thing since terror can be both a helpful and a harmful result for the players. Someone above mentioned a less fiddly rule of "you can't focus terror dice" which largely has the same effect.

xris wrote:
I suspect a post-production rule tweak that if implemented should have been done during the design stage or the pre-production playtesting stage. If the rules are going to be changed, then make them more than just a tweak.

Again, I wonder if the fault here is simply an omission in the rulebook rather than failure to playtest. Since the co-designer explained that rule (and this was just as the game was being published), I tend to think that it may have been just accidentally omitted by whoever wrote the rules.

[q="xris"]Just to pick on one point here. Kevin Wilson only applied this as a restriction to Focusing / Assisting, not to spending Spells.

I don't see why a Spell can't have a Terror dice applied to it. After all Focusing / Assisting are only applied after a failed roll and a roll is only failed once the player cannot or does not wish to meet a tasks requirements. What I'm saying is that it only fails once the player announces it's a fail (because before then Clues can be spent to reroll the dice). Clues and Spells are applied before the fail is announced. Focusing or Assisting are applied after the fail is announced.


Kevin Wilson didn't address this specific scenario, but I think it only makes sense that a terror symbol on a spell would not be discarded. After all, if you fail and have a terror symbol on a spell, you wouldn't also apply a "Terror effect" on the failed adventure, would you?
 
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xris wrote:
Interesting to note that the new official FAQ makes no mention of the following


That is interesting. Can you link me to the official FAQ? I looked for it on the FFG website before posting here to see if my question had been answered and couldn't find it.
 
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Chris Lawson
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MyParadox wrote:
xris wrote:
Interesting to note that the new official FAQ makes no mention of the following


That is interesting. Can you link me to the official FAQ? I looked for it on the FFG website before posting here to see if my question had been answered and couldn't find it.

Elder Sign FAQ (low-res) Elder Sign FAQ (high-res).

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Jonathan Franklin
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http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/ffg_content/Elder%20Sign/s...
 
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Yep. No mention of the Terror Die being removed. Maybe that was something Kevin Wilson was just trying out?

The other interesting thing in the FAQ is that the spell is cast after the roll of the dice, not before. That's definitely the way we played it at Gateway. After reading the rules, I just thought we had played it wrong.
 
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Eirik Johnsbråten
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Sigh. I might just wait for a Elder Sign revised edition before I go and buy this.
 
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