oldschoolgamr
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Introduction

So I continue to battle villains with the base game and Rook City expanson of SoTM. For most of these games I have attempted to use three heros versus the villain and things were pretty rough. I chronicled by attempt to beat Omnitron, admittedly one of the easier villains, in the session report: The Omnitron Opus: The Struggle to Evaluate Tracking Games with Pencil/Paper. Then I tackled (repeatedly) Plague Rat in Rook City (five matches were required for the the win) which was described in the session report: Five Session Goal: Is it possible to defeat Plague Rat in Rook City with only Three Heros?. I has clearly having trouble with the game - in contrast, much of what I read on-line was victory after victory. Still, even without amazing wins, I was enjoying the game mechanics and appreciated the fact that it was a challenging game.

I figured maybe I was following the rule more closely than others, or maybe the card draws I got were more often less helpful than was typical. Despite reading that the base game was designed with the intent to allow ANY three heroes to defeat ANY villain (one of the game designers is quoted saying that somewhere on BGG), it was clearly a more difficult feat for me. Of course, maybe I wasn't playing each hero as effectively as possible - discarding key cards and playing less useful, more immediate damage attacks that only added slowly... That has something to do with it - the old learning curve. But I really think that it has a lot to do with the environment - villain - hero combinations you choose. I think that even more after the experiment described below, where in some of the sessions I picked all of the categories at random, without consideration of hero combinations or villain/environment alignment.

Regardless of the reasons, I like playing the game and also enjoy writing about it. Each match typically has an interesting strategy, outcome, or overall feeling that is worth getting down on "paper". If others like reading about it for whatever reason - cool - below are summaries of seven four-ish? (see EDIT not at bottom) recent matches. If not, click on through and get back to fighting your own enemies...

Match 1
Baron Blade
Mr. Fixer; Haka; Tachyon
Pike Industrial Complex


As stated above, this was the first of a handful of matches where I randomly drew for villain - environment - and heroes (three heroes for the first few matches, more after the frustration grew to be too much...). I used the character cards for heroes/villains and one card from each envrionment deck to shuffle and draw blindly the fate of the match. Given my experience, maybe that wasn't such a good idea - or maybe my SoTM skill level wasn't quite ready for the mayhem that ensued... (Sorry dear Sentinels - my regrets and apologies for your repeated incapacitations and humiliations... I promise to practice more and get better eventually...).

From the beginning, the Pike location was kicking hero behind: two simultaneous Supercooled Trisolvent Baths (1 cold damage for each card played; 3 various damage types at the end of the turn). I played them as additive effects - so the damage was brutal. The following turn The Baron drew a chain of three villain cards, most of which were Hasten Doom and Slash and Burn, the damage from these took out Tachyon from the fray pretty early. Mr. Fixer managed to stick around, but he does so little to both excite me or to damage his foes. Cardplay is nearly nonexistant with him and I feel like his character is for people that want to multitask - maybe play SoTM while they are surfing the net or sending Tweets...

The Baron had Living Force Field out for most of the game of of course drew Fleash Reparing Nanites for +10HP. There is nothing like slowly working a villain down 10 or so HP over the course of a couple (2-5?) turns to see him gain it all back with a single card draw. Must I have a villain deck "manager" hero in every game? What if I don't want to commit to The Wraith or Visionary every match? To top it all off, while we had 12 cards already in the villain deck (The Baron was only at FRONT SIDE and 6HP), the heores managed to perish at the hands of a single mutated sewer rat... just plain embarrassing. Haka was the only hero with a semi-respectable performance: he played Haka of Battle and discarded 5 cards which added +5 to the damage of Haka's Taiaha (total of 8 damage to 2 targets). Way to go big guy - but you still lost (and in my experience that much damage from Haka is rare).

Match 2
The Chairman / The Operative
Absolute Zero / Fanatic / Legacy
Insula Primalis


Again, same random draw setup procedure. Excited to play AZ, especially knowing Legacy can Galvanize all day! Fanatic has a couple of tricks up her sleeve that make me hopeful that the entire team can deliver that elusive victory. Spolier: they couldn't (Yes, I am blaming them). The Chairmen has a lot of villain cards that accumulate - at one time he had 12 additonal cards in play. I want to enjoy this game and instead I am spending my time doing "HP accounting" and "cummulative ability management" - this should not feel like it's work! There are other Rook City Villains that are like this as well and suddenly I am hoping the charm of the game is not limited to the base set.

AZ horrible, poor, useless equipment pulls - which pretty much renders him useless. Fanatic did OK, and Legacy just supported - big deal - it wasn't enough, that much is clear. Every time I worked through a turn to cause damage, the Villain would simply heal up and then force new thugs or bosses on me... good times!? The Thief card is a major pain, the Enforcers card a headache, and the Informat card nearly worse than the two combined - and even if you get rid of them in a turn, the boss brings them right back along with all their end of turn actions - yeah! The frustration is mounting at this point and I am hoping it's the hero combination - just not enough strategic kutzpa to get the job done... The soluion, keep the random draw in place (determined to complete that challenge, for now...) but choose four heroes instead of three. Maybe that will do the trick... (Please.)

Match 3
Citizen Dawn
Visionary / Wraith / Tempest / Ra
Wagner Mars Base


Talk about diminishing returns... This match had a crazy long Visionary solo endgame. However, it only dragged out the inevitable defeat as there were just too many Citizens in play and not nearly enough attack juice. On of the last cards drawn before the Visionary solo standoff was Meteor Storm, which could have really changed the direction of the game if only is was drawn earlier in the match. Dawn has a crazy number of destroy ongoing and equipment cards that gave the phrase "starting from scratch" a whole new meaning.

Visionary was the last remaining hero when Meteor Storm was played and I attempted to use her "Psychic Cocoon" after playing "Wrest the Mind", but the damage wasn't significant and the environment cards were eventually cleared (as well as the ongoing cocoon card). Wraith did have the incapacitated ability to heal 2HP which delayed the end a quite a bit, but the citizen damage was just too much to absorb. Dawn still had 54HP at the end...

One of the key turning points was a double stack up of "Villainous Weaponry" PLUS "Assult/Battery" PLUS "Dare" - a combo that basically wiped out all the heroes but Visionary in a single round... Before that each hero had at least one great ongoing card that was set up but never used due to Dawn removing all of them with "Devastating Aurora". THat single card draw removed "Mega Computer" (Wraith); "Chain Lightning" (Tempest); "Drawn to the Flame" (Ra); and Demoralization (Visionary)... It was basically a citizen rampage and the healing done by Citizen Spring was incorrectly ommited with respect to Dawn herself, who I later realized in hindsight, is also a "citizen"! So the game outcome should have been even more bleak than it actually was! So four heroes isn't necessarily the answer... Let's try it once more...

Match 4
Grand Warlord Voss
Expatriotte / Tempest / Fanatic / Bunker
Atlantis


So GWV ain't a big deal - his slowly growing leagion of minions on the other hand is a big deal and ended up that did us in combined with, you called it: Forced Deployment… First four turns were NO DAMAGE to ANY OF THE VILLAIN CARDS! The group had three -1 damage modifiers out from the start… Which according to math (also likely conspiring to make this game more difficult) means I need to do four or more HP of damage just to subtract 1! Sweet! By the time heroes were capable [Bunker had 4 powers out and went into Assult Mode with 3rd power possible via Embolden courtesy of Fanatic; Tempest finally got shakles out; ExPat never really got there, but did manage to pull Pride and Prejudice; Fanatic - not so much...] there were 8 minions in the trash and Force Deployment was pulled. Once destroyed, the stacked minions were nearly undamageable and regardless whether they ended the game once the villain turn came back around, they did 12 damage to each hero (max HP for all heroes was ...

EDIT: Not sure where the rest of the post disappeared to, but for some reason the final three sessions are missing. Fixed the reference to seven sessions, but don't have my original text to fix this...
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Andrew Arenson
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Last night Christopher, Galen, and I played Expatriette, Absolute Zero, and Tempest against Baron Blade in Megalopolis, nominally the easiest villain/environment combination there is, and got destroyed. That's three experienced players, including the designer of the game.

A few months back I was in a game against The Chairman with five players where prison break came out late and brought out all five underbosses and thus all five thugs all at once. We lost horrendously at that point.

A couple months ago I played in a four player game against the Matriarch where the env (Pike industrial) combined with Darken the Skies to destroy the heroes on the _second_ round.

None of these were on advanced mode, which I rarely play.

SO, it's going to happen that you can't win.

Just because Christopher knows that he _can_ beat any villain on advanced mode with any three heroes doesn't mean that he expects to be able to do so every time he plays.

Still, your string of difficulty sounds worse than I'd expect.
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oldschoolgamr
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arenson9 wrote:
A couple months ago I played in a four player game against the Matriarch where the env (Pike industrial) combined with Darken the Skies to destroy the heroes on the _second_ round.


Now THAT I would have like to have seen!

I agree that the "Any three/Any villain" quote doesn't mean ANY TIME.

I have always felt like a solo/co-op game is better when you don't easily win... in that respect I am totally digging SotM.

I think as I manage the cards better the win count will edge up and outweigh like you said - this string of difficulty.

A losing game of SoTM is better than a lot of things I used to thing were a good time... (not everything of course).

Thanks for the feedback!
 
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shawn
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I have beat spite,baron blade and omnitron each time useing four heros. the times I used only three I always get beat down. I hvae also lost a lot more then I have won but still really enjoy playing this game.

I would recomend useing four heros and having an awesome battle cry ready for the hero phase. I have been going with "SPOOOOOOOOOON" but each to his own.
 
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Bryan Graham
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gooch62 wrote:
I have beat spite,baron blade and omnitron each time useing four heros. the times I used only three I always get beat down. I hvae also lost a lot more then I have won but still really enjoy playing this game.

I would recomend useing four heros and having an awesome battle cry ready for the hero phase. I have been going with "SPOOOOOOOOOON" but each to his own.

Yeah, because of the H mechanic introduced in Rook City, those villains scale much better than the original, regardless of 3/4/5 heroes. The original villains don't, so playing them with 4 should give you a leg up. The Enhanced Edition will add H mechanics to the original villains, so hopefully they'll be a little more kind regardless of how many heroes show up to the battle.

I'm part of the playtest group for this expansion, so I play lots of 4 hero solo games, because that way, even if 2 of my heroes get a bad draw, I've got 2 more heroes that should be able to help out. With 3 hero games, you're a little more susceptible to bad hero draws and/or "fortunate" villain draws.
 
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Bryan Graham
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Oh, btw
http://www.spiffworld.com/sotm/randomizer.cfm
if you want a nice randomizer. Spiff from the >G forums wrote it.
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oldschoolgamr
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Broccoli wrote:
Oh, btw
http://www.spiffworld.com/sotm/randomizer.cfm
if you want a nice randomizer. Spiff from the >G forums wrote it.


That is really cool - thanks for the link! Interesting to see that others are into playing matches where the fates decide the players.

Cool.
 
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