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Subject: My journey to find the best rules for a 2 Players game rss

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Jack Darwid
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There is no official rules for a 2 Players game other than "a Player must use two Heroes or both Players must use 2 Heroes each". I don't like that. So, this is our journey to find the best rules for a 2 Players game. Usually I play this game with my 7 y.o. son, and sometimes with my friend.
Notes:
- this is an ongoing process and I will add any more information as we continue our journey.
- I try to make this variant as simple as possible, because there are already so much going on in an SotM game.
Last edit: 14 July 2018

DATA:
Players: 2
Number of 2 Players game played so far: 64
Expansions used: all, up to WotC.
Mini expansions used: all, up to WotC.

CURRENT BEST RESULT (Version 6)
Each Player uses 1 Hero.
Shuffle all Hero Character cards not used in this game, this will be the Support Deck, Incapacitated side up. The Support Deck represents the support that helps the Heroes, it can be a supercomputer from the base camp or sidekicks or team of heroes, etc.
So the total is 2 Heroes + 1 Support = 3 Heroes, H=3.

The Hero Turns is:
- Hero A Turn,
- Hero B Turn,
- Support Turn: each Player may choose 1 ability from the 3 abilities available on the top of the Support Deck. Hero A and B may choose the same Ability, in any order they want (Hero A or Hero B may choose first). After that put the top card of the Support Deck to the Support Discard pile.

Notes:
- The Support Deck and the Support Discard Pile do not exist in the game (no effect may be applied to them). Treat the Support Turn as an Incapacitated Hero's Turn, as in the Rulebook (according to here, an incapacitated Hero may skip his turn).
- If the Support Deck is empty, just shuffle the Support Discard Pile to make the new Support Deck.
- Against Vengeful Five: the Support Deck is the third Hero. The Support's Turn is the same as above.

Difficulty level:
A 5 Players SotM is easier than a 4 Players SotM. A 4 Players SotM is easier than a 3 Players SotM.
From our experience, this 2 Players variant has the difficulty level around a 3 Players SotM, if not a bit more difficult.

Here's a guide for Heroes/Villains/Environtments difficulty.

Have fun!


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
THE JOURNEY:
1) VERSION 1: 2 Heroes with 1 incapacitated Hero and use the incapacitated Power once a Turn.
RESULT: After one and a half game we were easily defeated with a long margin by Omnitron and Baron Blade.

2) VERSION 2: We still use 1 incapacitated Hero but use the Power twice (using more than one incapacitated Hero means more table space, I want to keep it minimal if I can). And we can choose which Power we will use twice a Turn.
RESULT: After one game we have our first victory agints Baron Blade! So, this is a good sign!

3) VERSION 3: the Hero Turn is: Hero A, Hero B, Hero A choose 1 Power from the incapacitated Hero, then Hero B choose 1 Power from the incapacitated Hero.
RESULT: After a defeat againts Omnitron because of a killer combo (you can read at the bottom of this post: here), we play the game again today. This version is good(give more choices for each Player) and Baron Blade seems too easy. I think we are on the right track !
RESULT: played twice today with newbie adults (using Haka-Ra & Tempest-Legacy) vs Baron Blade (1 normal, 1 alternate version) both in his advance version. Lose both but (I think) in the last turn! Arrghh!! The Baron is very different in the advance version, the pressure is there from the beginning! I still satisfied with this version. So far, so good!

4) VERSION 4: To make it clear, the "Hero A choose 1 Power from the incapacitated Hero, then Hero B choose 1 Power from the incapacitated Hero" is put inside Incapacitated Hero's Turn.
RESULT: Played 2 more times today. Fanatic+Haka vs Baron Blade (alt ver) then vs Ambushcade. Won both fight.
RESULT: Fight Grand Warlord Voss, twice (this is the first time we meet Voss). First game using Fanatic + Haka + Unity(Incapacitated) lose with a question mark: is this villain defeatable? Second game using Young Legacy + Fanatic + Wraith (incapacitated), and we win on the last Turn! (next Turn the Forced Deployment will bring all the Minions back!). What a great battle!
RESULT: Tychon+AZ with Ra(inc) vs Omnitron in Megalopolis, lose again (we win only once againts this 1 difficulty Villain so far!). Then AZ+Visionary with alt version Fanatic(inc) vs Citizen Dawn in Mars, lose the game but realize that we played some cards wrong (SotM is great, but I really wish the game is simpler to play, because I keep playing it wrong with so many cards on the table)
RESULT: Tempest+AZ with Young Legacy (inc) vs Omnitron on Megalopolis, win! Young Legacy is very powerful! Rematch: Tempest+AZ with Legacy(inc) on Insula Primalis. Lose when 2 Electro-Pulse Explosives show up...

5) VERSION 5: Mike Krajewski suggest to change the Sidekick with a Sidekick Deck (use all unused Hero Character cards). At first I think the Sidekick Deck is too powerful, but after around 15 games, it proves ok. The Sidekick Deck gives more option each Turn, which is very good! (it's always a surprise what your Sidekick can do to help you)
K.Y. Wong suggests to change the term Sidekick to Support. Fits the story better. Agreed!

6) VERSION 6: Kha Od Dro suggests that in the Support Turn both Players can use abilities in any order they want. This little change increases player interaction and adds more tactical variation without being too powerful. Agreed!
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Emma
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This sounds like a good compromise. I am playing solo and don't want to run 3 heroes. Will give this a go with 2 heroes and an incapacitaded one with 1 power per hero.
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James
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This is an interesting idea, Jack; I am very interested to hear your results going forward with this new "compromise" variant (or the results of anyone else using it). I may try it out myself solo just to see how it plays out. Thanks for posting this.
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Simon Kwong
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Think two heroes is entirely possible as long as you play super-optimal, had a close game with Tachyon and Bunker against Blade and was doing massive damage, but falling short at the end since I'd played some poor turns earlier or not realising certain card quirks till mid game - i.e the ammo drop card for Bunker is AMAZING, and how you should always play it above anything else as long as you're not gonna die, or with Tachyon, the LAST cards you should play are the ones which does damage = burst cards discarded, if you're hitting less than 15 hp for those then you're wasting them.

However, I think what you could do to soften it, is to draw two environment cards and pick one. In keeping with the theme,you can picture the heroes taking one path over the other, or deciding to save the citizens but walk into a bunch of paparazzi after? I think if this option was available we'd do it.. but would still be v.tight.

For me though, I like a challenge and got a bit bored of Lord of the Rings as I found that too easy after a while since all you do is start with low threat, build a massive army and walk over everything afterwards...I like the fact that to beat it with two heroes you have to REALLY know your deck and "become" the hero !
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Aaron Bohm
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JackDarwid wrote:
And there are no official rules other than "a Player must use two Heroes". I don't like that.


Out of curiousity, why don't you like that way? We've played a couple times with two and it works out pretty well.

Basically it's the same difficulty as a 4 player. As an added bonus, SotMV has the issue where, if your hero isn't clicking it can take some time before you can actually "do" something. That, and certain heroes synergize with others quite well. For these reasons, having two heroes per person can make the game more fun, since you have another hero to play in the event that your other one has stalled a bit, and you can more easily play one to set up the other.

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James
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Jack may have his own answer, Aaron, but if you don't me answering for myself, I think playing with just one hero enables a more thematic game. You "are" Bunker for that game, spouting his flavor text lines, riding the ups and downs. Playing with two heroes is fun for the reasons you've described in a spot-on fashion; to me I just feel a little more like a hero manager than an actual hero playing that way. It's just a thematic thing. YMMV, of course. That's why I'm particularly interested in the two hero/H=3 compromise; my own collection is a little slim on true two player co-op experiences and I love SotM.
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Matthew M
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This is cool!

I had one eyebrow-raising moment, though...
JackDarwid wrote:

2) We still use 1 incapacitated Hero but use the Power twice (using more than one incapacitated Hero means more table space, I want to keep it minimal if I can).




Table space? Really? This is a difference of one card.
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Greg Taylor
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I considered a similar thing, but my idea was to use "Zombie Hero":

Zombie Hero is:

- Incapacitated (you can use a power each turn, as you listed)
- Has an HP pool

The HP pool seems like it would help give more targets to take damage, and spread out the 'highest/lowest HP hero takes X damage" cards.

I was going to try this solo with 2 zombie heroes, but you might have some luck with one or two zombie heroes in a 2-player game.

With the added hp pool, you might want to include them in the calculation for (H).

Untested, as of yet, but it's an idea to consider.

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Jack Darwid
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Never Knows Best wrote:
JackDarwid wrote:
And there are no official rules other than "a Player must use two Heroes". I don't like that.

Out of curiousity, why don't you like that way? We've played a couple times with two and it works out pretty well.

Octavian wrote:
JackDarwid wrote:

2) We still use 1 incapacitated Hero but use the Power twice (using more than one incapacitated Hero means more table space, I want to keep it minimal if I can).


Table space? Really? This is a difference of one card.


There are some reasons for me/us:
-
Brother Jim wrote:
I think playing with just one hero enables a more thematic game.
Just like James said
- I want to make it as simple as possible. I bought Yomi and it has a steep learning curve, so it sits there staring at me the whole time. People I play the game with will be easier to play the game using one Hero than two. The simpler the better. So far, the game already on the edge with all of the effects, so it's good if I can make it simpler somehow.
I know 2 incapacitated Heroes will add only 1 card than 1 incapacitated Hero, but as there will be a lot of cards on the table, having one less card is great! (Well, I always challenge myself with the ACAP concept: it's As Compact As Possible, as you can see in my games ) Of course: with a different condition, you will like different result. I try to find the best way to play a 2 Players game, and this includes: the simplest way.
Choosing 1 Power from the 3 of the incapacitated Hero proves to be very good, it gives more choices but not too much. No need to add another one so far (this is a journey, so I will see the result from our next sessions)
- I hate to keep forgetting one or two effects, it just make the win 'not too official' (playing with 2 Heroes means my focus will be distracted more)
- So far, I have played the game with my son only as a two players game. My son still need help to read all those text and all those effects. So the fewer the better. (it will be too much if I have to take care 2 Heroes myself and answering + explaining all the cards+effect to my son)

Cheers!

JackD
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Shawn George
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I'll be trying this soon. My first game of this was with my wife before I realized that the game is not balanced for 2 heroes. We got thoroughly trounced. Since then, I played a 4 player, 4 hero game which was awesome, and then a 3 hero game and a 4 hero game solo. So while I certainly feel capable of playing 2 heroes, I would rather not for thematic and fluidity reasons. This sounds like an ideal way to play the game with 2 though.
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K.Y. Wong
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JackDarwid wrote:
use 1 incapacitated Hero (of your choice).

Good variant. Thematically the incapacitated Hero could represent a 3rd Hero supporting from afar whilst having to deal with another threat of world domination.
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Troy Hoffpauir
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Im considering trying this out tomorrow but I plan to have both players choose an Incapacited Hero EACH. However, each player can only use the power from their chosen hero.
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Jack Darwid
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Starsaver wrote:
Im considering trying this out tomorrow but I plan to have both players choose an Incapacited Hero EACH. However, each player can only use the power from their chosen hero.
One of the reason for me to use only 1 incapacitated Hero is because H=3, so it fits

Have fun!
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Edd Allard
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We tried a variation on this with 2 incapacitated heroes. Each player controlled one active Hero and one incapacitated Hero (H=4).

Turn order was:
Villain,
First player's active Hero,
First player's incapacitited Hero (first player assigns action),
Second player's active Hero,
Second player's incapacitated Hero (second player assigns action),
Environment.

We've only tried it once. We didn't win, but it was very close (much closer than our first attempt with just two heroes). And, it was a quite satisfying game experience. We each were able to focus on our single hero's abilities, we had sufficient action choices to keep each turn competitive, and we felt we were somewhat more balanced against the villain.

Active/incapacitated hero pairs were: Wraith/Ra and Tempest/Bunker. Villain was Omnitron. Environment was Megalopolis.
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Jeremy Arcus-Goldberg
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I do the same thing and it works very well.
Sometimes I make H into 3 or even 2 if a certain combo is just destroying the team. I find this okay because the team is starting with only about the normal HP of an actual 4 player team.

The most recent time I taught this style, I called the incapacitated hero for each player the sidekick for each hero. It worked really well to fit in with the theme of the game, and to explain why each player would control a main hero and a sidekick who could help out in a limited way. (Although does anyone else feel that destroying an ongoing or environment card actually makes them WANT to have an incapacitated hero around?)
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James
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tevacircus wrote:
I do the same thing and it works very well.
Sometimes I make H into 3 or even 2 if a certain combo is just destroying the team. I find this okay because the team is starting with only about the normal HP of an actual 4 player team.

The most recent time I taught this style, I called the incapacitated hero for each player the sidekick for each hero.

Remember, though, that the "H" mechanic isn't designed ever to be set at 2. If you're having fun, that's fine, but some weirdness is going to result.

I do like your thematic "sidekick" idea. I think it would work well with certain combinations. I had been going with the "Avenge the fallen!" theme, perhaps with two heroes, each with their own fallen buddy, brought together against a villain for a common purpose of settling a score. Mr. Fixer, Wraith and Expatriette seem to work thematically with that notion especially well. I like that your sidekick idea expands the cool narrative options.
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James
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OK, I finally had the time to test out the variant with two heroes and one incapacitated hero. Tachyon and Expatriette (with Argent Adept the man down) fought against Baron Blade (not using advanced rules) in Rook City. ...and it was a tight victory for the heroes. Both were below four hit points and couldn't have taken another round (nowhere near the fifteen cards in the villain trash for the special villain victory, though). It was a little embarrassing to come so close to defeat against Doctor Doofenshmirtz himself and I'll have to see if the variant is viable against more difficult foes. I hope it pans out because playing solo with two heroes seemed a lot more manageable and fun than managing three or four. I'm curious to hear the results of others trying the variant.
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Léan -
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Brother Jim wrote:
I'm curious to hear the results of others trying the variant.


I tried solo as well. I had Bunker and Absolute Zero as active heroes and Fanatic as sidekick. Environment was Megalopolis and the villain was Baron Blade.

I have to say that I am rather new to the game. Only played twice before, so I am not extremely familiar with the mechanics and I definitely made a few mistakes here and there. Mostly because I still had to watch and keep track of quite a bit of stuff on my own.

First thought: this plays well. 2 heroes plus sidekick (and environment and villain) is manageable, especially if you know the game reasonably well.

I lost, because there were 15 cards on the discard pile. HP wise, my heroes were still doing ok. Baron Blade was down to 4 HP. But indeed: a badder villain might become a real problem. I will test this some more too.

The idea is good though, and it plays well solo this way.
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Marc Chee
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I've also been trying this variant and I did uncover one issue when I had Tachyon in a team with a Bunker sidekick. Bunker's sidekick ability to put a card from the player's trash into their hand meant I was playing Lightspeed Barrage every turn . . . I think for 4 or 5 turns I did 13-17 damage each turn and basically burnt Omnitron away using just that combo.

I think we need to be careful with the sidekick variant that there are some sidekick powers that are nearly more powerful than a live hero.

I've only tested the sidekick variant 3 or 4 times, but I feel like at the moment Player A and Player B both being able to use the sidekick's power might be too much. Either that or I've just gotten lucky with some synergy.

Another option would be to limit specific cards from being sidekicks. I noticed also that Ra's ability to either purge an ongoing or an environment card was possibly too powerful for the sidekick role . . . it's something that a real hero can usually only do with difficulty.
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Jack Darwid
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Marcchee wrote:
I've also been trying this variant and I did uncover one issue when I had Tachyon in a team with a Bunker sidekick. Bunker's sidekick ability to put a card from the player's trash into their hand meant I was playing Lightspeed Barrage every turn . . . I think for 4 or 5 turns I did 13-17 damage each turn and basically burnt Omnitron away using just that combo.

I think we need to be careful with the sidekick variant that there are some sidekick powers that are nearly more powerful than a live hero.

I've only tested the sidekick variant 3 or 4 times, but I feel like at the moment Player A and Player B both being able to use the sidekick's power might be too much. Either that or I've just gotten lucky with some synergy.

Another option would be to limit specific cards from being sidekicks. I noticed also that Ra's ability to either purge an ongoing or an environment card was possibly too powerful for the sidekick role . . . it's something that a real hero can usually only do with difficulty.
Hi!
Yes, some combo are more powerful than others. I have tried many ability (Incapacitated Heroes ability) and have found that Young Legacy's ability and Wraith ability are among the best.
Maybe some abilities are strong BUT... it is the same condition if your partner is KO'ed. The KO'ed Hero will flip the card and you will get the same effect. So, I see no big difference.
With this variant, you can get the ability from the beginning of the game but there will be a few Burst card in your Trash. If you don't use this variant (your friend plays Bunker) you will get the combo later when your partner is KO'ed, then at that time you can get bigger attack since your trash has more Burst cards.

In your case: You deals 13-17 damage each Turn, I'm sure it's late in the game (you have many Burst in the Trash). And that condition is the same if you have a KO'ed Bunker, either you use this variant or not. Almost the same to me.

This combo is crazier with Fanatic (the one card where she deals Max HP - current HP, late in the game she can deals 25-30 damage with this card alone!). But again, it is the same condition if Fanatic is alive and Bunker is KO'ed in the middle of the game.

So, for me it's just part of the game
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Marc Chee
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Hi Jack,

Yeah, that does make a lot of sense. After I made my post, I thought back over the game I played and yes, it did take me a while to get that combo running and on top of that, my two heroes (Tachyon and Fanatic) were down to 7 and 5 HP each, which really means the game was quite close and could just as easily have gone the other way if I hadn't managed to get away with those powerful attacks.

Thanks for posting this variant also I find when playing solo, it's less cumbersome to try to remember what I was doing with a set of 4 heroes so playing with two and a sidekick works more nicely.
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Mike Krajewski
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Just as a point of discussion, how would it change if you took all the hero cards that aren't being used and shuffle them together and then draw a new one to use as a sidekick each turn? At least then the super-powerful abilities wouldn't be able to be used every single turn.

I'm watching this thread as we just got this game and mostly play games 2-player. It worked ok by playing a 3rd hero together, but I think it would be much better if we didn't have to play a full character.
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Jack Darwid
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mkrajew wrote:
Just as a point of discussion, how would it change if you took all the hero cards that aren't being used and shuffle them together and then draw a new one to use as a sidekick each turn? At least then the super-powerful abilities wouldn't be able to be used every single turn.

I'm watching this thread as we just got this game and mostly play games 2-player. It worked ok by playing a 3rd hero together, but I think it would be much better if we didn't have to play a full character.
What a GREAT IDEA! I tried this variant once today (I have edited the first post on this thread), and will surely try this variant more.

Thanks!

JackD
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Edd Allard
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edralla wrote:
We tried a variation on this with 2 incapacitated heroes. Each player controlled one active Hero and one incapacitated Hero (H=4).

Turn order was:
Villain,
First player's active Hero,
First player's incapacitited Hero (first player assigns action),
Second player's active Hero,
Second player's incapacitated Hero (second player assigns action),
Environment.

We've only tried it once. We didn't win, but it was very close (much closer than our first attempt with just two heroes). And, it was a quite satisfying game experience. We each were able to focus on our single hero's abilities, we had sufficient action choices to keep each turn competitive, and we felt we were somewhat more balanced against the villain.

Active/incapacitated hero pairs were: Wraith/Ra and Tempest/Bunker. Villain was Omnitron. Environment was Megalopolis.


We've now tried this varient 6 times. Only won once.

We've also played with H=4 (all heroes active at the start, full decks available). After 7 plays, we find that:
a. It really isn't that difficult. Since there are no "interupt" cards, heroes only need to play their cards during their turns. Therefore a player can focus on one hero at a time.
b. The villain's H=X abilities are really balanced against 4 active heroes ... not so much against H=4 with 2 incapacitated.
c. The villain's attacks against the heroes with the highest/lowest HP are more evenly distributed against 4 active heroes.
d. The hero abilities that affect all active heroes are more effective with 4 active heroes.

After 7 plays, we have won 5, lost 2, and all of them were very close.

I wanted to be able to have each player focus on a single hero during a single game, in order to get more of a "feel" for that hero. As it turns out, playing 2 heroes each doesn't detract from that too much, and having a better chance to win makes the experience more satisfying.

I think we'll be sticking to the recommended play format.
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Mike Krajewski
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JackDarwid wrote:
mkrajew wrote:
Just as a point of discussion, how would it change if you took all the hero cards that aren't being used and shuffle them together and then draw a new one to use as a sidekick each turn? At least then the super-powerful abilities wouldn't be able to be used every single turn.

I'm watching this thread as we just got this game and mostly play games 2-player. It worked ok by playing a 3rd hero together, but I think it would be much better if we didn't have to play a full character.
What a GREAT IDEA! I tried this variant once today (I have edited the first post on this thread), and will surely try this variant more.

Thanks!

JackD

Excellent! Glad to hear that on first try it went very well. I'll have to try this out with my wife and see how it goes over with her versus us putting a 3rd hero in the middle and playing it together. I believe this would at least drastically speed up the game, which would be good.
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