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Subject: Thunderstone (advance) math question rss

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J.A.H. van de Laak
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Hi all,

A year ago I bought Heroes of Graxia, but sold it last week as we didn't like it. It has great artwork and production values, but what the game broke for us was the extensive (annoying) math all the time.

Next month or so, will see the release of Thunderstone Advance which looks really interesting. Having NOT played Thunderstone yet, my question is whether Thunderstone in general has irritating math, or only a little bit which doesn't break the flow of the game, or makes it annoying like Heroes of Graxia.

We like Dominion, Arcana and Nightfall.

Any advice is very much appreciated, thanks.

A.J.
 
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Martin Larouche
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I can't speak for Graxia as i have not played it.

Thunderstone is *very* close to Dominion in it's ruleset.

The maths are there... but never complicated.

This is an example of the "almost" worst-case scenario:
- You have 2 militias with attack +1
- You have a hero with magic attack +2 and strength 3
- You have a hammer weapon with attack +3 that requires strength 5
- You have a food item that gives +2 strength.
- You have torch which give 1 light level.

The monster you want to defeat is in the second rank of the dungeon, with darkness of level 2. He his magic imune and has 4 of health points.

Here's how it goes:
- You give the food to the hero, which will give him enough strength to weil the hammer.
- You add your attack for a total of 5 (+1 militia, +1 militia, +3 hammer)
- You do not add your magic attack as the monster is imune to it.
- You have one light, which reduces the darkness level by one. So you have darkness level 1 instead of 2... which removes 2 attack for each level. You now have attack 3 (5 - 2 for darkness).
- You do not have enough attack to defeat the monster's 4 HP... you will lose the fight.

The whole process, after half a game, takes about 5 seconds in your mind to compute.

So yes, there's math in Thunderstone... although it's really basic math.
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J.A.H. van de Laak
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Many thanks! That doesn't sound too bad. Again thanks for the clear example, very much appreciated. I think I will order it
 
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J.A.H. van de Laak
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One more thing, does or will Thunderstone have some direct conflict with the opponent? It seems its solitaire, correct?
 
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Martin Larouche
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Thunderstone is almost exactly like Dominion, but has a tad more player interaction.

However it's not PvP, nor anything directly confrontational.

Both players, on their turn, have the choice to 1 of 3 actions:
- Rest (remove an unwanted card from their hands.
- Go to the village (buy a card to add to their deck and level upo heroes with XP)
- Go to the dungeon (defeat monsters who provide victory points).

Sample of interactions:
- If player A defeats a monster, that monster is no longer available to other players. The special effects on the monster defeated will also
not impact the other players as well.

- The items to buy in the village and the heroes to recruit are in limited supply. If they are sold out because one player bought it all, other players can no longer buy those items.

- Some cards allow direct interaction:
- A thief character might force another player to discard a card.
- Some items force other players to go to the dungeon wether they are ready or not.
- Some items would provide light for all players and not just the player using said item.
- Some traps can affect all players, regardless of who sprung the trap.
- Some treasure cards can affect other players.
- etc.

We still don't know much of the new cards in Thunderstone: Advance, but these cards do exist in the older sets. I expect some interactive cards like that to also appear in Advance.

Thunderstone CAN be played solitaire, but it's mostly a multiplayer game.

The base of it is that you start with a small deck full of pitiful heroes. With that small deck, it's easy to get a bunch of pitiful heroes and win a few battles against monsters.
The more monsters you defeat and put in your deck, the more difficult it will become for you to draw a hand with pitiful heroes in sufficient quantity to defeat more monsters.
At that point, you need better heroes and equipment (and spells, villagers, mercenaries, etc.) to compensate. That way, even if you get a few monster cards that don't help in the dungeon, your lone hero is more capable of doing thing by himself and may even become stronger than the bunch of pitiful heroes you have at the start.

The game works that if someone takes the lead in monster mashing, he will have to stop doing so at one point to clear his deck of unwanted cards and gain more powerful ones, letting other players "catch up" to him. A deck full of monsters makes it hard to go to the dungeon as those cards are usually useless in a combat. But the monsters are the cards that can grant you victory at the end...
 
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HenningK
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I have to say I disagree with Martin on a few points. Compared to Dominion, Thunderstone is pretty math-y. You have numerical values for money, cost, strength and weight on the cards (additional to victory points). It's not exactly advanced calculus, but you have to juggle with a lot of numbers which is a bit annoying since it's not clear which number means what.

Also, as far as the base game goes, Thunderstone is even less interactive than Dominion. I think there is only one card in the whole basic game that deals with your opponent at all. It really does feel like multiplayer solitaire, a lot more than Dominion if you play with a single attack card.

Since I haven't played Heroes of Graxia, I sadly cannot comment on the differences in complexity there.
 
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Timothy Goddard
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I'd say it's at least as interactive as Dominion, and probably more consistently so.

- While the base set may only have one direct interaction card, additional sets have added many more, and he's looking at Thunderstone Advance, which will probably continue that trend.

- There are more scarce resources to contest in Thunderstone. The three monsters out per turn are the most obvious, but the race to get the level two and, in particular, level three heroes is a key part of the game. In my experience, this leads to more conflict, even if not direct conflict, than I've ever had in Dominion.

Regarding the numbers, Thunderstone Advance looks like it's doing a much better job of making the numbers clear. Admittedly, that's not something that ever caused me any problems, so I may not be the one to speak on that, but it's an issue they are addressing.
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J.A.H. van de Laak
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Thanks guys, keep them coming. Very interesting!

Another issue I had with Heroes of Graxia, was that you had to put "damage" cards under cards that were hit. Very fiddly and time consuming. This, on top of the math was very annoying.

So you had the character card + weapon / spell card - damage cards, and those powers you had to add or subtract from the character cards power. Then you had to compare it again the monster or opponent (you can attack directly)... pfff... you get the point. Way too much.

As far as I understand, Thunderstone doesn't have any damage cards / counters that you need to slide under/place on top.. you just resolve the battle and the cards will go the pile to build your deck. That will make a huge difference in time and fiddly math.

My daughter (7 year old) and I like monsters, heroes, weapons, spells, (is there any 'sleeping spell / paralyze, or control spell" as well? She would LOVE that.

I guess Thunderstone will be something we might like. (a lot, hopefully)

 
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