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Subject: Quest for the perfect endgame variant rss

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Lipa LeChuck
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I've been thoroughly enjoying Elder Sign for almost a year now. Sure, the game was indeed a bit on the easy side right out of the box, but I’m not afraid to make up new rules and variants, if this means more fun for me. So I’m regularly using a few house rules to make the gameplay more interesting (for example I’m using 9 adventure cards with the investigators only able to move to adjacent spaces, I don’t allow buying Elder Signs and so on).

However, the thing that I’m still not happy about is the game ending. Simply getting all the Elder Signs just doesn’t feel right to me. I tried to follow the variant where you have to battle the GOO to win, but this also feels somewhat flat to me – I can’t help but find the GOO battling mechanics a bit dull and repetitive.

So I’m really trying to figure out an interesting endgame variant, but so far I haven’t had much success. I would like to somehow make all the collected Elder Signs meaningful, and I would like to make the final battle more exciting, but I just can’t seem to come up with the right balance.

So far I’ve been thinking about the following (thematic) endgame variant:

Basically, the investigators are searching the museum for clues to find the GOO and destroy it. Once the investigators collect the necessary number of Elder Signs, they are able to locate the GOO (the GOO card is moved next to the museum entrance). At the same time, upon disturbance, the GOO becomes partially awake. From now on, the investigators can still roam the museum and try to complete the adventures, or they can try to battle the GOO by completing its task. Each midnight from now on, however, the GOO will attack, and the midnight effects will occur as well. (If from now on the Doom track gets filled for any reason, the GOO becomes fully awake and the investigators are trapped at its location; they cannot visit the museum any longer – the official endgame rules apply).

Now the idea is to get rid of the accumulated Doom tokens. This way, the GOO is destroyed. If the investigators choose to spend the turn battling the GOO, this is straightforward (each successfully completed task removes one Doom token). However I’d like to make the Adventure cards useful as well. So at first I thought that every Elder Sign reward on the Adventure cards would remove one Doom token. But then I realized that this would probably make the game too long, especially if the Doom track is almost full, and it wouldn’t really add much to the game (basically, you would just have to collect almost twice the number of Elder Signs to win, with the only difference that the GOO would attack each midnight in the second half of the game). Also, I’d like to somehow make all the collected Elder Signs useful. Maybe an Elder Sign could be spent to cancel a GOO attack? Maybe two Elder Signs could be spent to remove one Doom token? So the investigators could still collect Elder Signs and then spend them to remove the Doom tokens (at least at 2:1 ratio, of course). But does this make any sense thematically? I don’t know, but these are the ideas I’ve had so far...

I would really be interested in hearing more ideas from you. Do you also have issues with the endgame conditions as they are at the moment? Did you implement any house rules to make it more interesting?

To those who are interested, maybe we could come up with an interesting endgame variant together? I’m looking forward to your comments / suggestions!
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Nick Storm
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I'm with ya on the 'awwww' ending. Here's my variant to keep playing and 'runnin' the table' and keep battling new GOO's as long as you're alive and sane, that is...

The GOO are also finally played right – Supremely deadly, as they should be. BTW they are not called “ancient ones” -they are “Great Old Ones” (GOO – love that acronym). They attack EVERY turn when awakened not every 12 hours, BUT players may use a common and unique item and even an Ally, to gain the red and yellow dice against them-obviously, strongly advisable. GOO Aid – Large.


Three ways to “win” or at least keep playing.

1. ’Defeat’ the museum by solving / completing and removing all six (06) Adventure cards. Coupled with a deployed Elder Sign Glyph is a Complete or “Hard” Player Win.

2. Not completing all six (06) Adventure cards BUT using a single Elder Sign token to ‘seal off’ the GOO from entering our world coupled with battling and driving the GOO back = “World is Safe for NOW” outcome. Soft Player Win.

If unable to solve all six (06) of the Adventures, then you MUST battle the GOO.

a. If you have already placed an Elder Sign token on the GOO, you have effectively sealed off his possible entry into our world but you must still battle the GOO – if you lose / die…our world is still safe with the employment of the Elder Sign glyph. Sacrifice tie.

3. If you did not complete all six (06) Adventure cards AND DID NOT place an Elder sign glyph on the GOO, you must battle it. If you successfully drive back the GOO, you live and our world survives (sacrifice Tie) but if you fail and perish, our world falls into a Mythos related hell. Complete Fail.

4. Should you win completely (hard win #1 above) You may now enter yet another game Variant and collect the ‘defeated’ GOO card as an ultimate trophy and draw another random GOO card and a new six (06) Adventure cards starting a whole ‘new’ game – also referred to as ‘Runnin’ the table’. All cards / Adventure cards are NOT recycled or ever used again.

As always, I look forward to questions regarding this variant / home rules set.

~Nick S.
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Lipa LeChuck
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Interesting ideas! I especially like the idea to "clear the remaining adventure cards". This makes sense, because besides battling the GOO you'd also want to defeat all the remaining monsters etc... Nice!

Looking forward to more ideas!
 
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Lipa LeChuck
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Lately I've been thinking some more about the end-game ideas and I've come up with the following variant, which seems to me the best so far (but of course, more play-testing is needed). So here goes:

If the Doom track is full before the required number of Elder Signs are collected, the game is lost. However, the investigators my choose at any time to trade in 3 Elder Signs to remove 1 Doom token from the track.

Once the required number of Elder Signs are collected, the GOO awakes. At this moment, immediately spawn as many monsters as there are Doom tokens on the Doom track and distribute them across the Museum following normal rules for monster placement (at the same time, remove the Doom tokens from the track). This is the GOO's final defense against the investigators.

From now on, no new Adventure cards are drawn, but the clock still moves forward and midnight effects still apply. And more importantly, the GOO attacks each midnight.

Now all the investigators need to do is to come close to the GOO in order to seal him off. However, to achieve this, they must defeat all the monsters and complete all the Adventure cards in play first. If they succeed in doing that, the GOO cannot defend himself any longer and the investigators are able to seal him off using the collected Elder Signs.

(As a side note, I think it is quite important for this variant to use the 9 Adventure Card variant, as it might be quite brutal if the newly spawned monsters would be placed on only 6 cards... on the other hand, some might like the challenge.)
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Tiger Wiccan
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LipaB wrote:
Lately I've been thinking some more about the end-game ideas and I've come up with the following variant, which seems to me the best so far (but of course, more play-testing is needed). So here goes:

If the Doom track is full before the required number of Elder Signs are collected, the game is lost. However, the investigators my choose at any time to trade in 3 Elder Signs to remove 1 Doom token from the track.

Once the required number of Elder Signs are collected, the GOO awakes. At this moment, immediately spawn as many monsters as there are Doom tokens on the Doom track and distribute them across the Museum following normal rules for monster placement (at the same time, remove the Doom tokens from the track). This is the GOO's final defense against the investigators.

From now on, no new Adventure cards are drawn, but the clock still moves forward and midnight effects still apply. And more importantly, the GOO attacks each midnight.

Now all the investigators need to do is to come close to the GOO in order to seal him off. However, to achieve this, they must defeat all the monsters and complete all the Adventure cards in play first. If they succeed in doing that, the GOO cannot defend himself any longer and the investigators are able to seal him off using the collected Elder Signs.

(As a side note, I think it is quite important for this variant to use the 9 Adventure Card variant, as it might be quite brutal if the newly spawned monsters would be placed on only 6 cards... on the other hand, some might like the challenge.)


That sounds like alot of things need to be done to win the game.
 
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G Allen
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I like this idea. I will give this one a shot and respond in due time.

It's the idea that when you have to face the final boss, the mechanic to do so should change as well. In this, you've added almost a middle phase (that appears like it may be more deadly than anything) with the monster shower/final defense + GOO attacks. I'm very excited about this, but I fear it'll be damn difficult with any character other than a 5/5 or 4/6-6/4 sanity/stamina match. I play solo with one character more often than not, so I probably won't be trading in my ES's anytime soon.
 
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