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Subject: 2 on 2 Session Report: Taurens of Trouble rss

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Judd Jensen
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Last night my group played its second game of World of Warcraft and this game played much faster than our first one, finishing in 2 hours rather than 5 hours. Not only did all of the players play faster, we also played better as teams and had a better understanding of character abilities and combat. And, most importantly, both sides focused on the goal of killing the Overlord as soon as possible rather than worrying about leveling up to maximum strength. This meant the game ended with the death of the overlord Nefarian in turn 22... which is the number one reason the game went so much faster.

Here's a quick summary of events.

The Horde included both Tauren characters, the Hunter and the Druid. They worked on most quests as a team and spent the first few turns leveling to 2nd level safely. Then, after both had some experience in their belts they split up to tackle quests solo to gain some fast gold and experience. My turn 21 the 4th level Druid was becoming a real powerhouse in the dice pool and the 3rd level Hunter was stacked almost completely for defense, rolling 5 green dice. They had successfully completed one of the two Wars on the board which had given them a nice boost and were just about ready to tackle the Overlord when the Alliance beat them to the punch.

The Alliance, which included the Human Paladin and the Gnome Mage, succeeded because of how powerful their combo was and some good planning for the final battle. Throughout the game the duo worked as a team on quests except when it was obvious that the Paladin could complete them by himself. One interesting strategy they used was to basically ignore the grey (beginner level quests) and went to work on green quests as a team, then moved onto the yeloow quests once they had both reached 2nd level. By the time both heroes reached 3rd level they had developed a nice combo of the Paladin healing and generating 4+ attrition, while the gnome mage poured out blue dice and could spend energy to buy extra defense if needed. On turn 20, the heroes went to town and spent their hard earn gold on every available potion and gaining a few more useful skills for the main fight. Then on turn 22, they used a flight path to reach the dragon overlord and began combat. Now even though they were only third level the combination of potions and a good choice of skill combos meant they had a fighting chance as the Paladin could dish out combat and heal while the mage could dish out blue dice (reroll them) and buy defense dice with energy. This latter ability proved extremely important as Nefarian's skill is that only 8's go into the defense box making it hard for the heroes to survive many rounds of combat. Yet even well prepared the battle was still very tense and almost failed, coming down to the heroes needing to generate one blue dice success in round 4... or they both would have perished if the dragon attacked as they were both out of potions and tricks to save themselves. Fate was kind to them and they generated not once success but 2.

Lessons learned: Start preparing for the Overlord from the first turn of the game. Design your characters to work well in combination and make sure to buy up any potion that appears in the market deck as they can give weaker characters a fighting chance in harder enchounters, ie the Overlord combat.

We also found it works better to be cautious early (ie working as a team until heroes reach 2nd level) and to be risky late (working seperately on weak to midlevel quests OR working togethor to complete harder quests and gain better treasure).

Enjoyment: All four players had a great time and enjoyed our second playing even more than our first. Of course the fact we finished in two hours rather than five... probably has a lot to do with this. Also, the fact all the heroes were pushing the harder quests made the combats (and the game) more exciting than "playing it safe".
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J. Green
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Excellent post! Sounds like your group has some great strategies for maximizing their characters as well as their enjoyment of the game. Working together, going after riskier quests, complementing each other's strengths and weaknesses, etc.

This is a good lesson for people who say the game takes too long. Once you're familiar with the system, downtime is reduced and you're more willing to take those risks, and earn those rewards. And I guess those three extra hours are quite a reward as well!

Thanks for sharing those strategies.
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Judd Jensen
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Just to add on to my own thread, my group got in its third game of World of Warcraft last night. In this game, we had two new players and two experienced players so the early part of the game was spent teaching the rules and the first 12 turns or so were played at a slow pace to allow the new guys a chance to figure things out without being rushed or force fed the rules. We wisely put one new player and one experienced player on each team though so that the new guys would have some experience to help them along.

The evil overlord for this game was Lord Kazzak who proved a worthy challenge. In fact, I would say he almost requires the players to adopt the "extended game" format where you play until the overlord is killed. This is due to his special rules which place five tokens on the map which you have to spend time searching in order to reveal his true location. Since this is a race game and this extra searching takes time, it will not be uncommon for the players to be ready to fight Lord Kazzak but still in the search mode of finding him. Anyways, here is a brief summary of how both teams performed and some more lessons learned.

The Horde: In this game we had the Tauren Hunter (Fred, experienced player) and the Orc Warrior (Kevin, new guy). They spent the first two turns adventuring togethor to gain 2nd level safely and so that Fred could help Kevin figure out how combat worked. Unfortunately, for them, after completing their first few quests their new quests summoned lots of blue monsters between them and their other quest goals. It also hurt that the Event deck released a Boss monster who stole some of their hard earned loot and took it back to his lair. (Note: He also robbed the Alliance players of some sweet gear as well, which earned him the hatred of both sides). By the time the Horde had fought through the blue monsters they were falling behind the Alliance significantly and it looked like things might be a runaway until...

The Alliance: The "good guys" included both the Human Warlock(Judd, experienced player) and the Dwarf Cleric (Nick, new guy). Like the Horde, the first few turns were spent traveling togethor to teach rules and level safely. Once the heroes were at 2nd level, the Alliance began to take significantly more risks than the Horde and in the early going these were paying off handsomely as the Alliance reached 3rd level quickly and had acquired a lot of cool gear to aid in their quests. And then, just as it looked like they might runaway with things...

Disaster struck. After reaching the mid point in 3rd level, the Alliance choose a red quest and it spawned a red Doom Guard directly on top of the Boss monster who had stole everyone's goods. In a moment of great bravery (or perhaps stupidity) the Alliance determined the time had come to really put the game away. Using the flight paths they quickly traveled to the location of the monsters and slew the boss monster after taking only moderate damage. The next turn, after arming themselves with the reclaimed treasure and resting, they challenged the red Doom Guard hoping to reach 4th level and be ready to begin the hunt for Lord Kazzak. Unfortunately, neither the Doom Guard nor the Dice Gods thought much of this plan and the heroes fell two successes short of killing the monster before he sliced them apart and sent them to the nearest graveyard.

While the Alliance licked their wounds and thought of a new plan to reach 4th level, the Horde had a few turns to catch up. After fighting through a horde of blue monsters, they had positioned themselves into an area with three quests within short distance of each other and they quickly went about smacking ogres to gain gold and experience. By the time the Alliance players had recovered from their fight, the Horde was breathing down their necks and things were looking tight until...

The event deck sent forth a Goblin Zepplin (ie taxi service) who gave the Horde players a quick ride over to an area which contained a war which was too tempting for them too pass up. Unfortunately, in their excitement they failed to notice that one end of the war was right next to one of the Alliance flight plaths and that the fully recovered Alliance heroes were also standing on a flight path as well. And to make matters worse for them they placed the orc warrior on the territory closest to the flight path and the event deck had earlier placed a bounty on his head.

Needless to say the alliance players tried to keep on their poker faces as they saw the great windfall that had come their way. When it was their turn they quickly raced to the territory of the Orc Warrior and chopped him down before the Horde could complete the war. Plus the boost finally brought the Alliance to 4th level and they moved back into the territory with the red Doom Guard for a little revenge. This time the Dice Gods only decided to laugh at the Warlock but the group was strong enough that even with poor dice rolling they still delivered the monster a sound thrashing (ie rolled lots and lots of blue dice and the cleric could heal what damage the Doom Guard did deliver).

By this time in the game both sides had reached the point where they were ready to start hunting for Lord Kazzak but the turn marker was at turn 27. With this in mind, it was decided to keep going until one side had slain the Overlord. (Also for point of referece the game had lasted about 2 hours at this point).

As fate would have it 3 of the 5 Lord Kazzak markers were swarming with blue monsters, some of them quite challenging like the Blue Drake. Others even had multiple sets of blue monsters on the counter, one of which contained both a blue wraith and a blue worgen. Needless to say it took some time to clear blue monsters and both side also took the opportunity to complete quests that were near the Kazzak tokens while they searched. Unfortunately, neither side had much luck finding the secretive overlord and it wasn't until the 4th token searched by the alliance that they found him. By this time, the Alliance had both reached 5th level and were both rolling the maximum blue dice plus an assortment of green and red. The cleric also had 7 attrition and only lost 2 of it due to Kazzaks's special power. Needless to say, the fight was short and the overlord was soon destroyed although things might have gotten ugly if the heroes had failed to slay him at the start of the 2nd round with blue "range combat" dice.

Lessons learned: As before, we find the game a lot more fun when the teams are pushing to fight the harder challenges, especially after the heroes have reached 2nd level and acquired some decent gear. Even if the occasional Doom Guard spoils your plans... its still very exciting and worth a laugh.

This was also our first game fighting Lord Kazzak and we found the extra searching both fun and time consuming. Depending upon how lucky you are with searching he can really be a challenge to find and don't be suprised if it takes more than the normal 30 turns to get it done. The total game lasted just a little over 3 hours (not counting set-up or take down).

And most importantly, the group really had another great time playing this game. After each of the 3 games I have upped my opinion of this game and my rating of it is now a 9. Its probably not for everyone (ie those who do not like RPG-lite) but for those who do... I think you will enjoy the team aspects of this one tremendously. Its best played with multiple people on each side so that each person only has to manage one character and I'm really looking forward to a chance to play it with 6.

Judd
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Judd Jensen
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I managed to get in my 4th and 5th games over the weekend. Both games were 1 on 1 matches with me and Fred (the only other player who has participated on all the games thus far and another big fan of the game). As has been the norm he played the Horde while I stuck with the alliance. One of these days we'll have to switch sides to see how the other half lives but... its easier to pick up strategy when you keep some things the same each game. The one new addition for this play session was a 2nd set of D8's which made the game flow a lot faster and meant less time passing things back and forth across the table. Anyways, here is a short description of the two games we played.

Match #1 was against the undead plague lord. Fred chose a team of orcs, the fighter and the shaman, hoping that the combination magic and fighting, plus bonus attrition would be hard to beat. I tried out the rogue class for the first time and teamed it up with the Dwarf hunter so that I could generate a lot of first turn blue dice. In this game, I also decided to be more aggressive from turn 1 on so I split my heroes up immediately and started going after the grey and green quests solo. This forced Fred to be more aggressive as well and unfortunately for him his Shaman got defeated in her first two battles and then had two blue ghouls spawn on top of her which meant another quick death in her first five turns of play. My own characters, proved stonger (or luckier) and I got off to a strong lead in experience. To Fred's credit though he didn't give up and started focusing on defeating wars and "event card" bosses to get him back in the match. He also teamed up his stronger orc fighter with his weak shaman to take on tougher challenges so that the shaman would gain the bonus experience to help her catch up. Unfortunately, by turn 28 both my characters were 4th level and I defeated the undead lord before Fred could finish his come back. This game lasted about 3 hours.

Match #2 saw a new overlord, this time the foul dragon Nefarian. Fred decided to stick with the orc fighter who had proven a strong asset his first match but then added in the tauren druid to see if she would make a better partner. Meanwhile, I swtiched things over completely choosing the human paladin and warlock. This game proved much closer with both sides gaining experience almost perfectly even for the first three levels. The difference maker in the match was likely a "lucky" quest spawning which placed a new quest directly beside the quest I completed while Fred's quests ended up more spread out at the end. This allowed me to get to level four one turn in front of Fred and thus end the game 1 or 2 turns before fred could have challenged the dragon. This game lasted about 2 and half hours, ending on turn 24.

Conclusions: There is definitely some luck to this game, but I'm still enjoying each game and am having a blast with the different combinations of heroes and overlords. Fred is already talking about "next game" as well so I'm sure are next match will be a lot of fun and a challenge as well. Here's hoping I can keep my winning streak alive.

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Joel Yoder
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Wow, a three for one session report! Nice job, too, I really got a feel for the way the games went.

--Joel
 
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Joel Yoder
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I should actually say 4 for one, since your third post described two separate games. Again, nice work. I'll make sure you get the three extra GG you deserve.

--Joel
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A Yao
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Some good reading here, but as an avid online (pc) WoW player, I object to the use of the phrase "good guys" to describe the Alliance in a post above. The Alliance are cowardly scum who should be skewered at every opportunity. The Horde are the good guys in WoW, not the Alliance. I don't know how you were led astray, but somebody has been feeding you some sinister misinformation. Probably some Alliance scumbag.
 
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Parmenio wrote:
Some good reading here, but as an avid online (pc) WoW player, I object to the use of the phrase "good guys" to describe the Alliance in a post above. The Alliance are cowardly scum who should be skewered at every opportunity. The Horde are the good guys in WoW, not the Alliance. I don't know how you were led astray, but somebody has been feeding you some sinister misinformation. Probably some Alliance scumbag.


Quoted For Truth.

I'd also like to give my kudos to this session thread. I demo'ed this at GenCon and lucked into one session and my feelings are a mix of the good and bad reviews I've read, although I feel with a relatively sharp/alert group most of the bad stuff can be de-emphasized. I had a nightmarish session where our side was done in (literally) 5 second to 2 minutes, while our opponents took at least 15 minutes per turn. Even after that experience I'm looking forward to playing this with my regular group. The luck aspect is slightly concerning but it seems from these session threads that there are definitely some strategic elements to be found. Beyond that, it just seems like "fun".
 
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Ronald Carlson
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Ronald Carlson
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