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Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Game» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Basic Good/Evil Strategies For Newer Players rss

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Dickie Crickets
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If you haven't done so yet, make sure you check out the fully updated and revised rules for the game, available at this site. The Buffy board game is chock full of little situations where you're not quite sure what the rules are, and the charming but inadequate manual will often be of no help. Printing out the properly revised rules will prevent a lot of pointless debates and keep the game moving along smoothly and accurately.

Anyhow...

My friends and I have introduced the game to a lot of people over the years, and while they've all enjoyed it, they tend to say the same thing: "I'm not quite sure what to do with my turn. There are so many options." So I've punched up some basic strategies here that can help newer players along.

Good Guys
- Stick together, team! Yes, it's a boring and predictable strategy, and Evil might complain to no end at what is basically the Buffy equivalent of 'turtling.' But it works. Have everyone get together near a spot where they can acquire all three types of cards (such as Giles' place) and load up on goodies. With everyone watching each other's backs and plenty of resources around, Evil will think twice before leaping in to attack. Once you've loaded up with potent Weapons and Help cards (and a few spells for Willow), move en masse towards your foes.
- Make sure at least one of your characters has a Spell of Healing at all times. (Except for Oz, of course, who will just wind up losing it when he transforms.) You'll generally want to save it for when Buffy gets hurt, although you can take a chance and heal Willow or Xander if Buffy is in good shape. Don't bother healing Oz, though, unless it's an emergency, since he gets his health back every time he switches forms.
- If you get the Soul Restoration spell card, have Willow keep it in her spare Research card space. This will prevent Evil from summoning Angelus as a reinforcement, or better yet, he'll forget you have the spell and summon Angelus anyhow. Then, with a little luck, you'll transform him into Angel and make the Evil player use all kinds of bad language. You can also use it to 're-soul' Xander or Buffy if they get sired.
- On the show, Xander was a man of many jobs. In the board game, he has but one: courier service. Have him round up cards for his two powerful female friends, and do occasional hit-and-run cheap shots if he gets his hands on some good Help cards. It can be tempting (and hilarious!) to send him on a suicidal 'blaze of glory' assault on the Big Bad, but he's much more useful long-term as a card-nabber and sidekick.
- Because Oz gets his health restored every time he transforms, don't be shy about using him as a meat shield. Stick him in important doorways and chokepoints, and let him absorb the damage while the others stay safe. Nothing frustrates Evil more than seeing their hard work erased when Oz transforms his wounds away.
- Don't be shy about burning through the card decks. Even if you have some decent stuff, you can always improve. Buffy should always try to acquire a permanent weapon card (like the Sword or Machete), and use her other Weapon space for disposable items like stakes and explosives. Help cards generally fall into two piles: excellent, or crap. If you have a little time to spare, keep digging. Why charge into battle with an Amy Madison card when Angel or Kendra might be next in the pile?
- Willow is as fragile as she is powerful, so Evil will probably come after her first if possible. Keep her in the pack, and if she goes for an artifact, be sure she has a bodyguard. If she gets her hands on the Spell of Oblivion, though, don't be shy! Get her a Help card with a big boost to magic dice (like Jenny Calendar) and let her land a major blast on the Big Bad. And remember: casting a spell does NOT end your movement phase, so have Willow move in, cast the spell, and use her remaining movement points to try to escape as best she can. (Or, better yet, have a Spell Of Disappearance in the other Research spot.) And while I generally don't advocate Willow going on semi-suicidal assaults, the Willow Supernova (Willow using the Spell of Oblivion and the Glove artifact while amplified by the Jenny Calendar card) is a sight to behold. I've taken down Adam in one shot with this technique, although it's nearly impossible to pull off, due to the difficulty of acquiring the three specific cards involved.
- If you're going to get Buffy involved in a protracted slugfest, have her finish her turn on top of a Weapon or Help card space. Getting a new Weapon or Help card every turn can seriously tilt the battle into your favor. Along the same lines, don't make your move on the Big Bad if he's standing on an Evil card space.

Team Evil
- Bad news, Evil... you're the underdog. The general consensus amongst the Buffy Board Game community is that good has a slight-to-solid advantage overall. You'd better fight fast and dirty.
- Even with all of those vampires and demons at your beck and call, your most valuable resources are... Sewer Crawl cards. Seriously. Many a whiny little do-gooder has been picked off, thanks to having Spike or Drusilla pop out of a manhole and then go to town on them. While Good tends to bunch up into a pack for safety's sake, they usually get complacent over time, and Willow or Xander will finish a turn somewhat separated from the group. Take this opportunity to do the infamous Sewer Crawl 'dipsy-doodle' and take a bite out of Good. This strategy works best if you have two Sewer Crawl cards, of course, and a Surprise Attack to go with them wouldn't hurt.
- Carpe jugulum! (Or, in clearer terms, seize the throat.) Always use a Sire a Vampire card if there's a remote chance of turning one of the Good Guys to your side. The Evil deck is packed with them, and you'll probably burn through it quickly. No point in discarding a Sire card that you could've used against your foes.
- You can replace dead minions; Good cannot. So if you have a chance to take out one of the Good characters, spare no expense or health points. If it means sacrificing one of your guys to the Wrath of Buffy to take out Xander or Willow, so be it... you can always summon a replacement later.
- Good tends to get very excited when Oz is about to become a werewolf, and they'll plan their strategies accordingly. This generally includes letting Oz get beat up, knowing he'll get his health back when the full moon rises. So always try to keep an Eclipse card for these occasions. Suddenly, the about-to-be-mighty Oz is just a beat-up guitarist with little fighting power, and you can move in to finish the job. You can help your cause by 'selling' your fake concern about the upcoming full moon. Saying things like "no moons!" while rolling the movement dice tends to work, or you can also try my personal favorite: "you stupid minions better kill Oz soon, or we're screwed!." Hey, you're Evil... lying comes with the territory.
- Since most of your minions are about the same, base your attack strategies on what reinforcement cards you have. For example, if you get the Summon Kathy card, don't be shy about letting your current blue minion get torn up in a heated battle. In many ways, Kathy is superior to Darla and Vamp X anyhow, since she suffers no vampire-related weaknesses.
- If Good has the Soul Restoration card, do NOT summon Angelus. Just don't. However, if Good tosses the Soul Restoration card away, summon Angelus ASAP. It'll be a long time before Good can burn through the Research deck to get the spell back, leaving mighty Angelus all kinds of time to kick some Good Guy rear end.
- Since you don't have to reveal your cards or Artifacts until you use them, be sneaky. If you're playing Season 2 or 3 and one of your minions draws an artifact that ISN'T the Story card, have them act like they did. Move them slowly towards the appropriate place (the Judge's summoning spot, or the Mayor), and make Good think you have the Arm/Box. This trick works especially well if you happened to draw the Majik Sword or Amulet, as you'll have a nasty surprise waiting for any Good hero that cuts you off at the pass.
- You get two Evil cards per draw during the New Moon phase, so don't be bashful. Use Invitation and Surprise Attack cards willy-nilly, and keep burning through that deck. If nothing else, you'll land a few reinforcement cards which you'll need later.
- Season 3 is by far the quirkiest of the four, and arguably the most fun for Evil. You get the best minion in Faith, and a Big Bad who is wimpy but invincible. If you can get your hands on the Majik Sword or Amulet, give it to the Mayor and let him go wild on the Good Guys. Just make sure you get your hands on the Box Artifact too, and play keepaway with it.

I hope these tips helped a little. If you have any further suggestions, send me a message!
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Andy Hunsucker
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Nice article. One point though, wouldn't turtling and delaying for a couple of turns to pick up items give the evil player a head start on finding the artifact needed? Most of our games, Good is able to hit 2 maybe 3 corners with the right cards, but only if they dash there.
 
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Dickie Crickets
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Rushing for the artifacts is generally not a good strategy for the Good Guys, since they have to reveal what they have and Evil will know who has the Arm/Box. Willow is too soft to go on her own, Xander and Buffy need magic-boosting Help cards to uncover an Artifact with any reliable success, and Oz will end up just dropping the darn thing. Your group's playstyle might be totally different from ours, but Good and Evil generally end up claiming respective halves of the map depending on starting locations, and let the chips fall as they may. Even if Good doesn't get their mitts on the Story Artifact, at least they'll be armed and ready to deal with the consequences.

An Artifact rush might be fun to try some time. But with the variances of Season 2 (all three minions get to move) and 3 (Faith running amok), and the fact that half of the game's Artifacts are underpowered, make it a risky proposition.

This is all blathering, though. I think the reason my group doesn't really pursue Artifact-burning is because we prefer a gory streetfight.
 
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Micheál Keane
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Just wanted to chime in and agree with your tactics.

I've noticed BtBG goes through three phases.

Early phase - Everyone's rushing for artifacts and establishing position. Evil has the advantage by virtue of its stronger minions, especially if it's aggressive. Keeping Good on the defensive and unable to stock up is the key to prolonging this phase.

Mid phase - Good starts getting cards and now has the upper hand in combat. Evil minions start dying. Good now has an opening to complete its objectives and win the game.

Late phase - Judge and Demon Mayor are on the board. Good starts losing players. Evil reinforcements start arriving. Probably pretty even when it starts but the longer it drags on, the better chances Evil has of winning.


Moon management is a lot easier with the original edition of the game which has a extra Summon Eclipse cards in place of Summon Harmony and... another card I think.
 
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