How Hard Should it Be? Adventure Card Game Power Curves

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Now that Wrath of the Righteous is finally in players' hands, I'd like to talk with you all about the thematic and mechanical motivations behind the different difficulty of each Adventure Path. In order to do this, I'm going to talk about each set while trying not to spoil anything, just in case some of you haven't started one of the sets.

Let's talk about what it's like to work on a game that's always changing and yet always somewhat the same. We explicitly design each PACG Adventure Path to be compatible with all of the others. This means that once you know how to play the game, you can easily jump into any set... and if you really like a particular character from a particular set, you can bring it into a different AP. Our default example of this is Lirianne, the iconic Gunslinger character in Skull & Shackles. If you decide that you'd really like to play Lirianne in Rise of the Runelords, Wrath of the Righteous, or in our upcoming release, Mummy's Mask, you can do so, and she'll work just fine. For Lirianne, we recommend that you also bring along some of the firearms from S&S, but that's up to you—she works either way.

At the same time, we also spend a lot of time, effort, and brainpower to make each Aventure Path a new and interesting experience. We use a wide variety of techniques to do this, including new characters, new mechanics, and of course, a brand-new story with each one. One important technique we use that might not be obvious to everyone is the power curve. This is a technical term we use to roughly mean, "How hard is it to get through the adventure at different points along the path?" If you've ever studied writing and film—and especially if you've ever GM'd a long campaign—you've gone through at least some of this process yourself. How strong are the characters at the start? When things get tough (as they usually do), when does it happen, and how often? Do the characters have the resources they need to protect themselves? Do they use them wisely, or do they have to scramble to get where they need to be? As the plot unfolds, are they ahead of the game, behind the eight ball, or both... and do they know it?

In our first AP, Rise of the Runelords, the adventurers start out in the small coastal city of Sandpoint. As the adventure begins, the town is attacked! A few minutes later, the typical adventuring party is moving from location to location, finding goblins with torches and kicking them in their oh-so-many teeth.

Mechanically speaking, the characters start off in a position of relative strength, but also ignorance. Unless they are risky or get unlucky, the typical character can go toe-to-toe with the typical goblin and expect to come out on top most of the time, especially if there's some help available. In the story, though, it's unclear why these torch-toting goblins would trouble the town. Figuring out that secret is the step that takes Rise of the Runelords from a one-shot "defend the town" session to an epic campaign against an ancient evil of the first order. As the story progresses, the characters grow in both knowledge and power, facing and overcoming increasingly dangerous threats on their way (both figuratively and literally) to the top.

In Rise of the Runelords, the character power progression is more or less linear over time, while the difficulty of challenges is a curve that dips and then rises. Character power starts very slightly behind the power curve in Adventure B. Then the difficulty curve dips beneath the power curve through the middle of the Adventure Path, rising over time until, very near the end, the two lines approach.

In story terms, this represents the change in difficulty as...

Rise of the Runelords spoilers
... you discover the stone giants behind the ogres, the rune giants behind the stone giants, and eventually the ancient Azlanti behind it all.

In Skull & Shackles, the doughty adventurers are press-ganged into service on a vessel most piratical. You start off by learning to handle life at sea, including learning to crew a vessel (and learning to hate geese) and learning how to get along with the rest of the crew, be they friendly or otherwise.

Here the characters start the campaign off-kilter—they're quickly tossed into a situation that's unlike what they're used to facing. Whether you played Rise of the Runelords or not, you probably recognized at some gut level that Valeros could fight his way free of his captors, but he would be alone on a boat in the middle of an unfamiliar sea. From both a narrative and a mechanical perspective, Skull & Shackles was a bit more difficult than Rise of the Runelords because we forced you to learn to do new things. You could still focus on being the strongest fighter, awesomest bard, or stabbiest rogue, but unless you could also handle yourself underwater, navigate a ship, and manage a crew, you were very likely to run into serious trouble. In game terms, we forced you to spread out your resources. Most characters can't afford to dedicate every card and feat to a single, focused goal.

In Skull & Shackles, the difficulty is much closer to linear—the difficulty increases mostly steadily over time—but the character power progression follows a parabolic curve. In the very beginning scenarios, character power is somewhat above the difficulty line, but it dips down below the line quickly in AD1, and then rises above the line for much of the AP. Near the end, the character power curve levels out, and it comes very close to the difficulty line by the end.

In story terms, this...

Skull & Shackles spoilers
... represents the narrative progression of the characters as they start out as "fish out of water" and then come to master their new environment, as they escape from captivity, gain their own ship, then make their mark in the Shackles as part of the Pirate Council. Eventually, they discover an invasion plot and move from freebooting around the islands to confronting the Chelish fleet and taking the fight directly to the Hurricane King.

In our current Adventure Path, Wrath of the Righteous, you're in the city of Kenabres to celebrate a famous past battle against the demonic invasion into the Worldwound. Just when the festivities are about to officially start, something very bad happens. This time, though, it's not goblins with torches or pirates with whips. It's demons... lots of demons. Again, I don't want to spoil too much, but the title of the first scenario in Adventure 1 is "The Fall of Kenabres." (I can assure you that it's not the follow-up to "The Summer of Kenabres.")

This is our third set, and we have once again changed things while keeping the game the same. In this case, the characters start out "behind the curve," both in knowledge and in raw power level. The demons you face right from the get-go are tougher, more numerous, and just meaner than you've seen before. On the other hand, you have a bunch of new tools to even the score. In particular, Wrath of the Righteous adds both cohorts and mythic power. Cohorts are a new card type in this Adventure Path, representing important, named characters that will help you in your struggles against the demonic hordes.

Cohorts are bonus cards given to the party at the start of scenarios. They make you a little bit tougher, and in the right hands, they have some potent powers. Additionally, we've brought you mythic path cards, representing the unlocked potential for mythic power possessed by each of the characters in this set. Paul talked about these already, but the way they're added to the AP is important here: mythic paths are unlocked by a specific event that happens in the story. When you're playing Wrath of the Righteous, you get a chance to play a number of scenarios before you pick a mythic path card, which helps with your understanding of the card and the narrative arc of the story. On the one hand, you now have some experience with the character, and you can make a better choice of which path will be the most fun. On the other hand, it lets us level up the characters in a new way. This helps us create the feeling of being slightly overwhelmed and in trouble at the start of the AP, but it then gives you a dramatic moment where you start climbing out of the pit, bringing yourself up to the level of—and even potentially ahead of—the mass of terrible, evil banes we've assembled for you.

In Wrath of the Righteous, both the character power level and the difficulties they face are curved. Difficulty starts high, but dips quickly below the character power level before rising again. At the same time, character power level starts off relatively linear, rising as the characters recover their footing.

In story terms...

Wrath of the Righteous spoilers
... the characters start off behind the curve as the initial troubles with the Worldwound are overbearing. You don't start with the feeling that you can solve the problems of the Worldwound so much as you hope that you can withstand them. As those that survive the initial onslaught unlock their mythic potential, the character power curve catches up and exceeds the difficulty curve. These things are tricky, though, and only time (and more Adventure Deck releases!) will reveal what the future holds for your valiant crusaders!

The use of the d20 in mythic paths is the final piece in the puzzle here. While it increases the top end of your checks, it doesn't help with everything. It also doesn't change the bottom end at all. As many discovered while demoing and playing WotR at the recent Origins Game Fair, d20s roll 1s just like every other die. In a set like Skull & Shackles, the d20 would be "too swingy" to use often, but in Wrath of the Righteous, it's a great fit. You each have within you the potential to do truly amazing things, but so do your opponents. The results are far from certain... which is kinda what we were going for.

Since we released Wrath of the Righteous, we've heard from some people that the start of the Adventure Path— especially the scenarios in Adventure B—are tougher than they expected. Hopefully, you now have a better idea what we were trying to accomplish with this set and how did it. On the other hand, if you are finding that the start of WotR is so hard that you're not having enough fun, there are a number of options available.

First and foremost, remember that the B Adventure is optional for the Adventure Path. It's recommended, but it's not required. If you would prefer to start with Adventure Deck 1: The Worldwound Incursion, that's perfectly fine. Also, if you'd like to play a little bit of AD1 and then go back and complete the B Adventure, you should feel free to do so. In a more extreme variation, you might even choose to finish all of AD1 before completing the B scenarios, but be aware that you will be significantly stronger at that point. In the end, any way that you find to have fun is a great way to play.

Chad Brown
Adventure Card Game Lead Developer

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Grand Lodge

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Frencois wrote:
Chad Brown wrote:

...

Put another way: we guessed that there would be less crazypants insane replaying of B and AD1 than happened with RotR, but we didn't know how much less.
Hum I wonder if it's a joke ? Took us 3 tries to pass B2 and 7 tries to pass B4. And be sure we were so frustrated we didn't want that many. Seems that you guys made sure that there would be an insane lot of replaying.

I think they're referring to situations like in my post, where people would re-play after success.


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Scribbling Rambler wrote:
Frencois wrote:
Chad Brown wrote:

...

Put another way: we guessed that there would be less crazypants insane replaying of B and AD1 than happened with RotR, but we didn't know how much less.
Hum I wonder if it's a joke ? Took us 3 tries to pass B2 and 7 tries to pass B4. And be sure we were so frustrated we didn't want that many. Seems that you guys made sure that there would be an insane lot of replaying.
I think they're referring to situations like in my post, where people would re-play after success.

I'm sure Chad does. Still I felt it deserved an ironic iconic comment after my wife literaly sent the whole WotR box in the dustbin after she computed that we already had replayed (unwillingly) more WotR scenarii that what we altogether did in RotR+S&S+SotS, and are still stuck in B4.

We'll take a summer break and get back to it in September. I guess we can reach the amazing score of receiving AP6 in the mail before finishing AP0... If my wife didn't cancel the subscription by that time.

I will very welcome a Chad's blog on large group. With the level of experience we have now, I'd like to see his point of view on some tricky issues like :
- With 6 players, let's say I'm Balazar and last to play : I can be hit by Demon Horde and then by Arboreal Doom even before I play my first turn.
Meaning I already lost 6 cards, therefore lost my first turn cause I can do nothing without cards, have to draw 6 more, and only have 3 left in deck when the first player starts his second turn.
So when comes my already-second turn, I'm already doomed because I cannot afford to discard to reexplore or optimize my hand (else I will die, taking into account things I will have anyway to bury because of Wight-like monsters). I haven't played yet and I will only be able to play 4 or 5 explorations during the whole scenario (knowing that I should be doing a minimum of 7 or 8 if we want some chances of success).

Don't say it's bad luck, it happens to me around 40% of the games we play, whatever the die rolls.

I have a stats expert in my group (a real one, kind of Dean of the MIT), he concluded that if we didn't close 2 locations during our first 6 turns (1 per player) while avoiding emptying someone's hand, might as well stop and start again cause the chances were below 20%. Pb is : my players, wife included, love role-playing but hate puzzles and felt it started to look like Queen of Spades...
Playing Seelah and retrying the scenario until you roll 12 on the d12 is just not role-playing a paladin IMHO.

So indeed waiting for that blog...


Frencois, it sounds like you, your wife, and your group have moved well past the point where you are having fun with the game. A break such as you described is probably a good idea, and I would highly recommend you look back through several of the threads that we have both posted in to see players' recommendations about how to modify the contents of the game box to increase your group's enjoyment (and likelihood of success) when you return to the game.

A few folks have mentioned this before, but I want to reiterate the point: One of the aspects of the PACG system that I find most compelling is one that is not really advertised -- the customizability. By purchasing a base set and the accompanying character add-on deck and adventure decks, I view my game box as containing a complete universe, and I have control over what happens in that universe. Any time that I think I or my group would have more fun with a modification, then it is easy to make that happen. This possibility has been a huge selling point to me, and makes me much less worried about specific difficulty decisions from the designers.

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Just a quick observation - since turn order is a thing players have control over, why would you place vulnerable characters like Balazar last in said order? I understand that in previous sets it wouldn't have mattered this much, but I think we all understand now that Wrath is different on that point. It at least means that his first turn wouldn't be wasted.


Frencois wrote:

- With 6 players, let's say I'm Balazar and last to play : I can be hit by Demon Horde and then by Arboreal Doom even before I play my first turn.

Meaning I already lost 6 cards, therefore lost my first turn cause I can do nothing without cards, have to draw 6 more, and only have 3 left in deck when the first player starts his second turn.

So I grabbed my son's Balazar deck because we're playing WoTR and not seeing the difficulty that many are complaining about.

In his opening hand, I had Leather Armor, Blood Periapt, Force Missile, Frog, Raconteur, and BofAscension. And this is after having only played B1 so it hasn't been upgraded that often (Raconteur is the only non-Basic card in his hand).

So Demonic Horde appears and the random numbers are 1,3,3,2,2,1. So two characters have to fight two Demonlings. I was going to say that Balazar was going to be #6, but let's say he was one of those three numbers. He has two to fight. He has 1d10+1d6+2 to get an 11 if he puts Raconteur and Frog on top of his deck. My random numbers were 7+1 for a 10 and 7+5 for a 14. One killed and we take one damage from the other one. We do have the option of choosing how we're going to fight the Demonlings, so I'm assuming that we'd have Balazar go first so we can use blessings on him if necessary. But let's say that we didn't, so I've put Raconteur and Frog on top of my deck to fight the Demonlings and I recharge Leather armor to not take damage.

Then the Fiendish Tree shows up. I now use Force Missile for 1d10+2d4+2 to get a 13. I discard Blood Periapt for the BYA 1 damage and get 5,3,3 for a 13. Force Missile is banished (because it's an Attack spell) and I discard the blessing for the AYA damage.

He has no cards left in his hand, but he's only down to 13 cards with 1 discard, so it wouldn't be as bad as you played out (hand completely discarded).

Is this a bad turn for your party? Yes. Does it happen every turn? No. Did it happen in ROTR or S&S? Yes, but definitely not as often.

I understand your pain of having to replay a scenario over and over again. But for every story of someone replaying 5+ times, I have stories of parties that made it through the first time, so I'm still reserving judgement until we finish all five scenarios ourself.

Given that I've played Freedom: The Underground Railroad and never won, and played Robinson Crusoe and never won, and that both of those games are co-ops, the fact that WoTR isn't a breeze through the park like ROTR is good news to me. We enjoyed ROTR but I kept having the nagging feeling that it was a bit too easy for our party.


jduteau wrote:
Given that I've played Freedom: The Underground Railroad and never won, and played Robinson Crusoe and never won, and that both of those games are co-ops, the fact that WoTR isn't a breeze through the park like ROTR is good news to me. We enjoyed ROTR but I kept having the nagging feeling that it was a bit too easy for our party.

That's all well and good but the difference between those other co-op games and PACG is that this is a campaign. Meaning that you are supposed to complete the scenario and then move on to the next. Those other games are more one-offs. Sure you have different scenarios but they aren't strung together into one long serial campaign.

Having a couple scenarios in PACG that are difficult and take a couple tries to get through is perfectly fine. Having every scenario take 3+ tries to complete is not my (or my SO's) idea of a fun time. Neither is having a bunch of scenarios come down to shear luck. A bit of luck is great but having scenarios where you feel utterly helpless and are reliant on purely the draw of the cards is not fun either.

So far we house ruled that you can have up to 6 cards with the non-basic trait for the starting decks. This made slugging our way through the base scenarios a little better but it still wasn't nearly as enjoyable as the other two sets. It also feels "wrong" to have to make the game easier to have a good time but we were desperate at that point to try and squeeze some fun out of the base scenarios.


Zman1719 wrote:

...the difference between those other co-op games and PACG is that this is a campaign. Meaning that you are supposed to complete the scenario and then move on to the next. Those other games are more one-offs. Sure you have different scenarios but they aren't strung together into one long serial campaign.

Having a couple scenarios in PACG that are difficult and take a couple tries to get through is perfectly fine. Having every scenario take 3+ tries to complete is not my (or my SO's) idea of a fun time. Neither is having a bunch of scenarios come down to shear luck,

I will start out by saying that I totally hear and understand this complaint. OTOH, there isn't a DM/GM who can temper things if he realizes that the party is getting frustrated. I did that many times by fudging a roll if I felt that the party was trying the right solution and just failing due to bad luck or because I overestimated how difficult I had made the encounter.

I liken the trouble people are having with B4 to the "Escape from Dol Goldur" in another card game. That one actually seems completely broken because you have to a) have the right deck and b) have the right character in that deck be imprisoned. IF everyone reporting here was saying that they had this kind of trouble, I'd agree that B4 was broken. But I'm not seeing that happen. I am still reserving judgement until we play that scenario which should be soon.

I will say that I do think the one piece of advice we can have for the developers/designers is that this scenario seems too difficult to have in the Base scenarios - it's not something that I want to present as an introduction to new players. Having said that, at least we can be glad that it isn't the first scenario! :)


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Hooloovoo wrote:
Frencois, it sounds like you, your wife, and your group have moved well past the point where you are having fun with the game. ...One of the aspects of the PACG system that I find most compelling is one that is not really advertised -- the customizability.

Don't panic we are still huge fans of the game... But that doesn't mean we cannot sometimes express a deep concern. We played around 100 different scenarios before bumping into one that really creates an issue (not of difficulty, difficulty is good, but of lack of fun) 1 less good out of 100 is a tremendous quality from Mike, Chad, Vic and the others... But nobody's perfect. And if we do not recognize it, we won't improve. ;-)

And I want to fully support the above comment: there are two kinds of co-op games : one shot close success or die trying (Camelot, Pandemic, Captain is Dead, Zombicide, Battlestar Galactica, Conan...) where you have full control of difficulty via customization. I love those. But we play a game win or lose having fun and it's OK to restart from scratch next time, perhaps with different difficulty; then you have campaign games (real full ones I mean, that's why Zombicide belongs to the other group), where you really are into your character and the fun is more into the RPG than into the strategy puzzle or the " too bad you rolled 1 before getting the Holy Avenger so your are dead ". In this case you really want to play your character and the story in continuity. So there should'nt be customization because there is nothing heroic or mythic in that. Anyway I apologize: That's my vision and nobody has to share it, but I thought it was a piece of valuable food for thoughts.

To make that already too long story shorter this is my 2 cents: whatever the characters chosen, whatever the order of play, whatever the number of players, you should not (except if you really rolled 1 on your first 10 dice maybe) run into a situation where when someone plays his first turn, the group already wonders whether it's dead and we should start again.... IMHO.


Frencois wrote:

- With 6 players, let's say I'm Balazar and last to play : I can be hit by Demon Horde and then by Arboreal Doom even before I play my first turn.

Meaning I already lost 6 cards, therefore lost my first turn cause I can do nothing without cards, have to draw 6 more, and only have 3 left in deck when the first player starts his second turn.

You might want to adjust how you play Balazar. You can topdeck a card for each fight to get Arcane to your Strength check (including combat.) Also, though it's risky, you CAN "yolo" explore - though I'd imagine that your response would be "but then I'll just hit a Carrion Golem and lose three more cards."

Quote:
Don't say it's bad luck, it happens to me around 40% of the games we play, whatever the die rolls.

In 40% of your games, you get two bane-spreader barriers in the first round of turns?

Quote:
I have a stats expert in my group (a real one, kind of Dean of the MIT), he concluded that if we didn't close 2 locations during our first 6 turns (1 per player) while avoiding emptying someone's hand, might as well stop and start again cause the chances were below 20%.

This I have to challenge, even for 6p, based solely on raw maths.

80 location cards, 30 blessings in the deck = 2,66 (8/3) card-clears per character-turn in the worst case, which entails having all location bosses at the bottom and the villain's location chosen last, so that all cards will be encountered.
2,66 x 6 = 16; thus, the worst-case "pace" is an average of 16 card clears per round (1 per player,) not 2 locations which is 20. It sounds aggressive, but the first turn can be a bit behind as long as some cards get cleared as location closes will (usually) catch you up.

Even on a hand-wipe, you can still explore locations that don't have banes apart from the boss (I tend to call these boon locations.) There is the risk of finding the location boss, but you get information in that case - which is just as valuable.


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Agreed I'm pushing it a bit on the stats. This said if I may :

"In 40% of your games, you get two bane-spreader barriers in the first round of turns?" > Not that specific event, but in 40% of games by the time I play my second round something already happened that made the chance of success drop below 20% (be it barriers, golem, villain, bad henchman, any monster needing 13+...).

"You can topdeck a card for each fight" > Meaning you just get d10+d6+2 (average 11, below many monsters I encountered), and meaning you don't have the magic trait that is required by the 2 main opponents.

"Even on a hand-wipe, you can still explore locations that don't have banes apart from the boss" > Not in a scenario were failing to defeat the boss adds a new location thus killing you on time if you are 6 players.
Anyway, my point wasn't on the technicalities. I'm sure we'll win it someday. It's about the fun balance of things.

This said, thanks to all of you who gave their feelings, help and encouragements. Have a great game. We will...


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Frencois wrote:
then you have campaign games (real full ones I mean, that's why Zombicide belongs to the other group), where you really are into your character and the fun is more into the RPG than into the strategy puzzle or the " too bad you rolled 1 before getting the Holy Avenger so your are dead ".

Never a truer word spoken. And I think that is what the developers have missed as they have transitioned from RotRL to other sets. This is not Zombicide where we might expect to wipe/lose a scenario. This is essentially a RPG adventure. You hope and pray that it allows you to build and develop your characters, from novices to "mythic heroes".

Out of interest, was the actual original Pathfinder AP as punishing as the card version? That would seem... odd for a RPG campaign.


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Klandestine wrote:
Frencois wrote:
then you have campaign games (real full ones I mean, that's why Zombicide belongs to the other group), where you really are into your character and the fun is more into the RPG than into the strategy puzzle or the " too bad you rolled 1 before getting the Holy Avenger so your are dead ".

Never a truer word spoken. And I think that is what the developers have missed as they have transitioned from RotRL to other sets. This is not Zombicide where we might expect to wipe/lose a scenario. This is essentially a RPG adventure. You hope and pray that it allows you to build and develop your characters, from novices to "mythic heroes".

Out of interest, was the actual original Pathfinder AP as punishing as the card version? That would seem... odd for a RPG campaign.

Funny story. If you go to the Wrath sub-forum for the RPG here, there are actually myriad threads discussing how the campaign is broken because the players are completely UN-challenged. Granted, that's mostly for characters much farther along in the campaign, but it's still a funny parallel.


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Klandestine wrote:


Out of interest, was the actual original Pathfinder AP as punishing as the card version? That would seem... odd for a RPG campaign.

Can we stop conflating the AP with the base set scenarios? 'Wrath' isn't overly difficulty; almost all the complaints are coming, and rightly so, from people playing the 'b' scenarios. Things get much more fun and less crazy, difficult when you get to the actual adventure path.

From what I understand, some of the 'b' scenarios are based off of PFS that are notoriously difficulty.


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Let me reassure you Joshua I am totaly sure the AP is great and fun... After the b scenarii. That's exactly the point.


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Joshua Birk 898 wrote:

From what I understand, some of the 'b' scenarios are based off of PFS that are notoriously difficulty.

That actually may shed some light : PFS modules are by definition "one evening games" with not much emphasis on campaign continuity...


Yeah I agree Joshua - think the message has been labored to death now. In a perverse way, I'm actually looking forward to pitting my heroes against the infamous 'B scenarios' now. A glutton for punishment perhaps!

Be funny if the AP ends up too easy then, if it mirrors the original campaign!


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Scientists may have calculated that the chances of encountering 3 consecutive Arboreal Blights are millions to one.
But magicians have calculated that million-to-one chances crop up nine times out of ten.

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Frencois wrote:
Joshua Birk 898 wrote:

From what I understand, some of the 'b' scenarios are based off of PFS that are notoriously difficulty.

That actually may shed some light : PFS modules are by definition "one evening games" with not much emphasis on campaign continuity...

Not really. PFS is a campaign just like the Adventure Card Guild is a campaign. Sure you might be playing with different people every week and now you can switch between being a pirate and being a crusader, but both guilds aim for advancing characters to higher levels. The only major difference death-wise is that the RPG Guild's Prestige mechanic allows PCs to come back from the dead easier, but that doesn't happen that often - also it's harder to die in the ACG than it is in the RPG.

That being said, out of the 5 scenarios they picked for the B set (Port Godless, Elven Entanglement, Wardstone Patrol, Traitor's Lodge with some Weapon in the Rift mixed in, and Vengeance at Sundered Crag), Elven Entanglement is the one best known for being a killer scenario, although that's really unfair because when the first fight is run correctly, it's not really that killer at all. Port Godless on the other hand, can be absolutely brutal.

Importantly (and this is what surprised me when I found out that they were using these scenarios for the B set), none of these are for low-level characters. (Tiers = lvls 5-9, 7-11. 3-7, 3-7, 7-11) They feel weird story-wise for low-level characters to be doing, especially since some of these involve the PCs actually going into the Worldwound, and the Worldwound is supposed to be a higher-level area. I feel like a series of base scenarios where we get to know Mendev would've been a better fit. (Which might have included Wardstone Patrol, since that fits in nicely.)


Frencois wrote:
That actually may shed some light : PFS modules are by definition "one evening games" with not much emphasis on campaign continuity...

In Pathfinder Organized play, the scenarios are every bit as much of a campaign than the card game. Card game it takes me a maximum of 6 hours to go to the next tier, in the RPG it takes me 36 hours (to go up 3 levels, which is the next tier).

When you die in the RPG it also sucks because you are permanently set back gold, which equates to deck upgrades in the card game, even if you get resurrected.

Anyway, those were tough scenarios in the RPG (in particular Elven Entanglement was a killer) and it seems like they are the same in the card game.

Shadow Lodge

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Iammars wrote:
I feel like a series of base scenarios where we get to know Mendev would've been a better fit. (Which might have included Wardstone Patrol, since that fits in nicely.)

OMG! Scars of the Third Crusade would make a *brilliant* scenario!

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Developer

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Jason S wrote:
Anyway, those were tough scenarios in the RPG (in particular Elven Entanglement was a killer) and it seems like they are the same in the card game.

Without putting too big a spotlight on it, yeah, these scenarios turned out to be a little tougher than we had intended for the "natural second" scenario. In our playtesting it went fine, but that's always a risk in playtesting - at some point, the playtesters (especially our internal playtesters) are pretty good at the set (I assure you, there's an overlapping but different skillset for each AP), and so even on a fresh play-through, things end up balanced harder for the real players than we intended.

Like I said before, we're still looking at this to see if we need to take some sort of action (which would presumably errata of some sort), but in the meantime, I strongly encourage people who are feeling the fun flagging to press on past those scenarios for now, and come back later (or just leave them for a potential future).

We're also looking closely at the role of the B scenarios in teaching the game to brand new players, teaching the specifics of the AP to people who've have some other PACG experience, and also to providing an interesting on-ramp for people who've played PACG a lot (maybe this AP, maybe many others) and are looking to get into the story in an easy and fun way.

This ties deeply into the nature of the B scenario construction and the B scenario rewards. As a hypothetical example: if the WotR B adventure reward was something like "Each character chooses a type of boon other than loot and draws a random non-Basic boon of that type from the box." instead of "Each character gains a card feat.", would that be better? Probably, people would feel more inclined to just skip over B scenarios that they didn't like, but that's not obviously an improvement - we made those scenarios to be fun to play (remembering that there are many different kinds of fun and many different kinds of player), so maybe it's better to help people skip over the "intro", but maybe it's better to get people to complete the on-ramp instead.

It's a tricky question, and my exposure to board games, card games, video games, and demos of all of the above tells me that there's not yet One Right Answer. For my part, I'm sorry that some people aren't having fun with WotR, ecstatic that others are, and trying to figure out how to get more of the latter and fewer of the former. Thanks again for all your help, and thanks for playing!


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Great conclusion Chad, sorry to have been a little pushy on that one. I 200% support this last post.


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Chad Brown wrote:
so maybe it's better to help people skip over the "intro", but maybe it's better to get people to complete the on-ramp instead.

I'd definitely suggest making the B scenarios as compelling to play as possible, which would mean keeping the nice card feat reward at the end. Otherwise, people skipping straight to the 1 scenarios would mean that they are essentially missing 50% of the 'content' of their base set (if there were 5 B scenarios).

You could even offer a special loot item for one of the scenarios. Something a bit more of a boost in power than your usual B items. That way new players feel like they have acquired something cool - and veteran players can't necessarily keep farming, as the loot item is a one off. If that makes sense.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Chad Brown wrote:


We're also looking closely at the role of the B scenarios in teaching the game to brand new players,..

I think this should the the most important focus of the B scenarios for the longevity of the game

Chad Brown wrote:


This ties deeply into the nature of the B scenario construction and the B scenario rewards. As a hypothetical example: if the WotR B adventure reward was something like "Each character chooses a type of boon other than loot and draws a random non-Basic boon of that type from the box." instead of "Each character gains a card feat.", would that be better?

I think that this is much better reward for doing B scenario. Then if you choose to skip it is not a big deal, however rewards people who go through it

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Matsu Kurisu wrote:
Chad Brown wrote:
We're also looking closely at the role of the B scenarios in teaching the game to brand new players,..
I think this should the the most important focus of the B scenarios for the longevity of the game

One of the players in the work / lunch-time game I run expressed to me just yesterday at the July 4th office picnic that he wants to get PACG, to run with a group of his friends that can't realistically get together for full-length RPG sessions but can do the occasional game night. We're going through Runelords at work, and this guy is really enjoying it. I unfortunately had to say to him that I couldn't really recommend that he get Wrath of the Righteous - that either Runelords or Skull & Shackles would probably be a far better experience for him and his players.

Considering that sets probably won't stay in print forever, I hope that there will always be at least one set available to which one can point new players.


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Random card rewards are generally a disappointment.

If it's a weapon, there's a good chance you'll end up with the wrong one out of Dexterity/Strength based. Spells always seem to fall the wrong way on the Arcane/Divine split, and things like allies or items are just too random in general.

A single skill feat always felt like a good reward, fairly well balanced. I'm not sure that previously i would have been so excited about a card feat, but with the direct damage coming in Wrath, it feels absolutely vital.

downgrading the reward like this probably would make people less likely to play (not me, I like to get the full mileage out of any character I'm playing - i.e. 1 successful play-through of each scenario), but i think it would also make characters much more likely to die.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

In a large group, random card rewards are probably better because there would be more chances to swap cards around to the person who could best use it. I think Loot might be a good choice because you know what you're getting. But with a larger group there's a problem of splitting it up. So maybe have a party based Loot card that gives a tangible benefit.

I think that everyone should be encouraged to play the B scenarios because, as noted, they're half of what you get with the base game. But to try to balance for people replaying the scenarios just to refine their decks, that still seems really wrong. Let those people farm away and make everything easier for them. A lot of us want to get through the campaign only replaying when we have to.

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

What I think would me more interesting as an Adventure reward would be "Each players gains an Elite card of their choice that is one of their favored card types." In low-player games it's sometimes really hard to get the specific cards that you want early, and in high player games limiting it to their favored card type means that you will have 1-2 people looking through a deck at the same time. It would be a unique, cool reward without being super-overpowering.

Pathfinder ACG Developer

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I was thinking a non-loot boon of your choice from B set might make a good alternative to purely random rewards.

Some way to increase difficulty only for those experienced with PACG might also be cool, but the wording on that is trickier.


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Chad Brown wrote:
Without putting too big a spotlight on it, yeah, these scenarios turned out to be a little tougher than we had intended for the "natural second" scenario.

Just to be completely clear (since you quoted me), I have no problem with the difficulty in Wrath and I find it a refreshing change. When I played AD 1-2, we crushed it, although it was very close at times. We didn't fail in 13 scenarios, so for me, it could be a little harder.

I think the most important part of the game however is making cool and thematic stuff happen in the location and monster cards. So far I've liked what I've seen in AD 1-2.


MightyJim wrote:

Random card rewards are generally a disappointment.

If it's a weapon, there's a good chance you'll end up with the wrong one out of Dexterity/Strength based. Spells always seem to fall the wrong way on the Arcane/Divine split, and things like allies or items are just too random in general.

I agree. Perhaps a draw 3/pick 1?


Wait, so the knee jerk reaction to these B scenarios are pretty tough and not that fun for new players is to lessen the possible rewards and disincentivize them to play them?

I hope you played Paranoia the RPG good sir, as you just totally killed it on your Spurious Logic roll.

Sidebar. You probably ALWAYS need to blindest these things with new groups.

The same testers will eventually 'get' your groupthink and not notice shortcomings or rule loopholes. That's just how it works unfortunately


I am having a very frustrating time on The Gibbering Swarm with 4 players. My group did not have a terribly hard time with Adventures B or 1, a few losses here and there but this particular scenario is super swingy. I have failed the scenario a few times now, but what is worse than failing it is how incredibly tedious the gameplay gets. The issue is the Barriers, pulling Demonic Horde twice in a round with a DC 17 monster that destroys weapons and is immune to spells a portion of the time is just really super un-fun. I suppose if we had more Adventure 2 boons it might not be as tricky but since this is the first adventure and is all monsters and barriers there has not been a chance to get any. And then we pull a Arboreal Blight and find that this summon is also dc 17 in addition to the 2 points of auto damage. Yes the characters can beat a 17 somewhat reliably at this point, but only by spending significant resources. If they just pulled a different barrier on the previous turn, or if the random selection hits the same player hard well then some players just lost their whole hand before their turn. And if any of the four gets unlucky? You get to do it all again!

So I can see how we will beat this scenario - dumb luck of not drawing too many summoning barriers when the locations are built. All I have to do is keep trying again and again and not dieing along the way. I know random chance is a big part of these games so this is kind of always the case but here in particular it seems like progress is blocked entirely by luck. The prospect is depressing and un-fun. I'd be much better off just skipping the scenario, but then I might as well just put the box away and forget about the whole thing.


A bit of 2-1 advice might be in order.

1. Throw Queen Galfrey at Sacristy as soon as turn 1 starts. You'll either gain five boons, or four boons and topdeck the location boss - wouldn't that be exciting!

2. You know the other locations will have monsters first. Hand off a couple extra explores to Balazar (if you're using him) and let 'im rip through a choice location to grab more monsters.

3. Dark Forest is in play; exploit the free scouting and bane-avoidance you get there.

4. Bane-spreaders exist, and we know they're six levels of annoying. If they're shattering your fun, I don't think Mike will send a legion of Hellknights to my door for making this suggestion:

-There are three of each in your Barrier deck. Feel free to reduce that number as you see fit.


drjones wrote:

I am having a very frustrating time on The Gibbering Swarm with 4 players. My group did not have a terribly hard time with Adventures B or 1, a few losses here and there but this particular scenario is super swingy. I have failed the scenario a few times now, but what is worse than failing it is how incredibly tedious the gameplay gets. The issue is the Barriers, pulling Demonic Horde twice in a round with a DC 17 monster that destroys weapons and is immune to spells a portion of the time is just really super un-fun. I suppose if we had more Adventure 2 boons it might not be as tricky but since this is the first adventure and is all monsters and barriers there has not been a chance to get any. And then we pull a Arboreal Blight and find that this summon is also dc 17 in addition to the 2 points of auto damage. Yes the characters can beat a 17 somewhat reliably at this point, but only by spending significant resources. If they just pulled a different barrier on the previous turn, or if the random selection hits the same player hard well then some players just lost their whole hand before their turn. And if any of the four gets unlucky? You get to do it all again!

So I can see how we will beat this scenario - dumb luck of not drawing too many summoning barriers when the locations are built. All I have to do is keep trying again and again and not dieing along the way. I know random chance is a big part of these games so this is kind of always the case but here in particular it seems like progress is blocked entirely by luck. The prospect is depressing and un-fun. I'd be much better off just skipping the scenario, but then I might as well just put the box away and forget about the whole thing.

If the issue is the barriers, actively work to scout and play around them. Don't use the Queen in the Sacristy (sandslice has been playing 6 player games and has become addicted to the number of free explores he needs), use it in one of the barrier heavy locations to help scout potentially nasty barriers and facilitate a quicker close. If you don't find summoning barriers, hit that location to close it quickly.

If you find summoning barriers, focus on barrier free locations like Sacristy or dark forest (not technically barrier free, but you get the benefit for drawing two choosing one) to try and find the villain and reshuffle your problem decks. Or just use something like skitter to reshuffle your deck to help dodge the barrier.

Barriers are nasty, but if use the scouting you have and actively work to avoid them, they should be manageable. Or just include andowyn, which mkes everything easier


Joshua Birk 898 wrote:

If the issue is the barriers, actively work to scout and play around them. Don't use the Queen in the Sacristy (sandslice has been playing 6 player games and has become addicted to the number of free explores he needs), use it in one of the barrier heavy locations to help scout...

That, and Sacristy is the 5p location, so my bit of advice is something I didn't notice to be... somewhat less than relevant for him. >.<


Chad Brown wrote:

We're also looking closely at the role of the B scenarios in teaching the game to brand new players, teaching the specifics of the AP to people who've have some other PACG experience, and also to providing an interesting on-ramp for people who've played PACG a lot (maybe this AP, maybe many others) and are looking to get into the story in an easy and fun way.

Using the B scenarios for the opportunity to introduce new and returning players is exactly what I am hoping for.


I was always under the assumption that that was what the B scenarios were intended to be. If that's not what the designers had in mind, then what other purpose do they serve?

Are they meant to be a random one off adventure, unrelated to the main AP? If so, are they meant to be skipped over by groups intending to play the AP?

The feat reward at the end of the B adventure seems to suggest that you are supposed to play it before the AP, but I could be mistaken.

I hope that didn't come off as a rant. I'm genuinely curious about the purpose of the B adventure.


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Ashram316 wrote:

I was always under the assumption that that was what the B scenarios were intended to be. If that's not what the designers had in mind, then what other purpose do they serve?

Are they meant to be a random one off adventure, unrelated to the main AP? If so, are they meant to be skipped over by groups intending to play the AP?

The feat reward at the end of the B adventure seems to suggest that you are supposed to play it before the AP, but I could be mistaken.

I hope that didn't come off as a rant. I'm genuinely curious about the purpose of the B adventure.

I thought the same thing. When my SO and I first picked up Skull and Shackles (yes, we started with that one) we did the B adventures first because we thought "well, we don't know PACG so we should start with the intro scenarios first." I can tell you that all of my friends who play this game have thought and done the exact same thing. We all assumed that the B scenarios were an "intro" for new players and the AP as a whole. If this is not the case then I, too, would like to know their real intended purpose.

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Developer

Troymk1 wrote:
Wait, so the knee jerk reaction to these B scenarios are pretty tough and not that fun for new players is to lessen the possible rewards and disincentivize them to play them?

I'm not sure how you took the last of several posts over several pages as a "knee jerk reaction" to anything. :-)

As I said above, we're also looking at the function of B in sets. If you think it serves just one function, that's great, but I assure you it serves a different function for different groups, as well as for different sets.

Thanks for playing!


Chad Brown wrote:
Jason S wrote:
Anyway, those were tough scenarios in the RPG (in particular Elven Entanglement was a killer) and it seems like they are the same in the card game.

Without putting too big a spotlight on it, yeah, these scenarios turned out to be a little tougher than we had intended for the "natural second" scenario. In our playtesting it went fine, but that's always a risk in playtesting - at some point, the playtesters (especially our internal playtesters) are pretty good at the set (I assure you, there's an overlapping but different skillset for each AP), and so even on a fresh play-through, things end up balanced harder for the real players than we intended.

Like I said before, we're still looking at this to see if we need to take some sort of action (which would presumably errata of some sort), but in the meantime, I strongly encourage people who are feeling the fun flagging to press on past those scenarios for now, and come back later (or just leave them for a potential future).

We're also looking closely at the role of the B scenarios in teaching the game to brand new players, teaching the specifics of the AP to people who've have some other PACG experience, and also to providing an interesting on-ramp for people who've played PACG a lot (maybe this AP, maybe many others) and are looking to get into the story in an easy and fun way.

This ties deeply into the nature of the B scenario construction and the B scenario rewards. As a hypothetical example: if the WotR B adventure reward was something like "Each character chooses a type of boon other than loot and draws a random non-Basic boon of that type from the box." instead of "Each character gains a card feat.", would that be better? Probably, people would feel more inclined to just skip over B scenarios that they didn't like, but that's not obviously an improvement - we made those scenarios to be fun to play (remembering that there are many different kinds of fun and many different kinds of player), so maybe it's...

Chad, re-reading what you wrote I was the one that knee jerked!

You were proposing a hypothetical and then said it probably wasn't the answer. My apologies.

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Developer

Greyhawke115 wrote:
Using the B scenarios for the opportunity to introduce new and returning players is exactly what I am hoping for.

We certainly want to do this with some of the B scenarios. I'm curious if people think that this should be the main function of all 5 B scenarios, or not?

Alternatives include:

  • making some of the B scenarios optional, without cutting out the feat rewards.
  • Using some of the B scenarios to introduce the story of the AP.
  • Using some of the B scenarios to "level up" the characters.
  • Using some the B scenarios to introduce the background/setting of the AP.
  • Designing some of the B scenarios to be "full speed, full difficulty, fully-replayable" scenarios.

These obviously aren't mutually exclusive, and to some degree we try to do all of them (and other things) with the B scenarios. My questions on this topic are mostly about trying to figure out what's the best balance for future sets.

Thanks again for playing, and thanks for all the feedback!

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Developer

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Troymk1 wrote:

Chad, re-reading what you wrote I was the one that knee jerked!

You were proposing a hypothetical and then said it probably wasn't the answer. My apologies.

I appreciate and accept the apology, thanks. I do understand that things in WotR are more frustrating early-on for many people than we'd thought (and wanted, planned, hoped, etc) - and I appreciate that we're all trying to make it better.

Also, I can't fault anyone who references Paranoia, although I certainly don't know what you're talking about, because the Computer is my Friend. :-)

Thanks again!


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Chad Brown wrote:

...because the Computer is my Friend. :-)

So by questioning the wisdom of Ultraviolet Chad, I made myself aN awful mutant commi traitor.... Willingly presenting myself to the nearest extermination center right now. Hopefully my next clone will have the right answers....

Zap zap...
New frenchy yellow jersey clone steps in...
"Dear beloved computer, IMHO may I suggest that in its great wisdom the Computer could include in the next box of mandatory fun both a little intro-learning of maybe 3 scenarios and a full 5 scenarios AP for those buying only the box (such a behavior is clearly treason btw)? And making clear in the rules (as you always do dear computer) that that AP is to be played afte adding the AP1 cards for example...."
ZAP ZAP KABOOOOMMMMMMM
Memory overload
Way too many suggestions for the main processor to handle
Next clone


As a small note since I'm not at my normal computer at the moment: my group (never played WotRL, just finished Adventure 6 of Skull & Shackles a couple weeks ago and have embarked on Wrath. After playing through the basic adventure (mostly; we skipped the final scenario and just took the reward after failing others multiple times, for frustrating reasons that felt out of our control.

After finishing scenario 2 of the first adventure path, we finally agreed to make a house rule that Demonic Horde could be considered defeated after everyone had encountered their demon. We found that the card was beginning to feel too much like an unfun hand tax, and with two casters in the party (Seoni and Shardra) there was a good chance someone wouldn't have an attack spell to deal with their demon, which often meant running into the undefeated barrier a second time later.

It's not that anyone found the card unfair itself: it certainly sets the mood of the adventure path and helps to visualize the demonic hellscape the adventurer's are running around in. It's that combined with Arboreal Blight and location abilities that have multiple characters running into encounters when it isn't their turn, sometimes multiple times, we were routinely finding ourselves beginning our individual turns often with 2 or less cards in our hands. All in all, it just feels that, early on, there are too many instances where we have to fight out of turn. I believe the intention is to make us feel pressured, but the reality of my group's situation (I should note that it's Imrijka, the Cavalier who's name I can't remember, Seoni, and Shardra) is that we feel helpless. All that said, I'm pushing for us to go back to treating Demonic Horde as normal once we get to Adventure Path 2 or 3 and we've had some more barriers cycled in to even things out.

Finally, thank you guys for making such a great game. I can't wait to get my hands on Mummy's Mask, as I'm gonzo for anything Egyptian-themed.


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One thing I would suggest is perhaps considering just having three scenarios in the B adventure. I thought this worked well for RotRL. They gave you enough experience to get used to the game, were challenging (as you only had B loot available) and very thematic. But they also didn’t outstay their welcome.

I can only talk for S&S at this point (as haven’t played WotR yet) but having 5 B scenarios actually felt a bit much for me. Because of the weaker boons, after three scenarios I found myself quite keen to get stuck into the AP1 scenarios so that I could shuffle in some new cards. Also felt that the B scenarios became a little samey after a while in S&S. If someone asked me to describe one, I would probably struggle - but I can remember each and every one of the RotR B scenarios (who could ever forget the dastardly Jubrayl Vhiski, the poison pills and the mighty Fang!)

Just a thought anyway – as focusing down on maybe just three might be better, providing the introduction new players need, offering a some characterful backstory, but getting veteran players into the meat of the adventure path a little quicker.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

I tend to agree with Klandestine's assessment that five B scenarios seems a little long. It's a long way to go until you get a real, solid "upgrade" to mitigate some of the "swingy-ness" of the die for new characters.

The three from Runelords seemed like the perfect amount. If two other scenarios are necessary to include in the base set, I almost wish they were more like the Land of the Blind - extra, bonus scenarios that could be completed at any time after hitting a certain point in the adventure for an extra challenge (and perhaps reward).

Sometimes it would be nice to have an extra and optional scenario waiting in the wings to "loot" an adventure deck where there are particularly nice boons. It always feels like the sixth adventure deck in particular doesn't give a lot of opportunity to get and use the super-awesome boons included in the cards - it's all over a bit too quickly.

Putting off an adventure later might make things harder in terms of banes, but at least it doesn't unnecessarily prolong what might be the agony of the B-set and gives us a choice about how long the B-set would be.

Really glad you guys are willing to engage on this topic. Enjoying Wrath much more now that it's in AD1 & 2, and looking forward to Mummy's Mask.


Chad Brown wrote:


We certainly want to do this with some of the B scenarios. I'm curious if people think that this should be the main function of all 5 B scenarios, or not?

Mostly, I feel this should be the main function

Quote:


Alternatives include: making some of the B scenarios optional, without cutting out the feat rewards.

I like Calthaer's suggestion of 3 main scenarios, and two optional scenarios that can be dropped in later. This gives the 3 to learn the game, and two options for bonus/advanced scenarios to push the envelope. Only the 3 base scenarios would need to be completed to get the base adventure rewards.

Quote:


Using some of the B scenarios to introduce the story of the AP.

Yes please

Quote:
Using some of the B scenarios to "level up" the characters.

If you move to a solid 3 scenarios + 2 optional for later use, then I would suggest using the first scenario and the adventure rewards both for something cool in powering up to get the hook in early.

Quote:
Using some the B scenarios to introduce the background/setting of the AP.

This seems to tie in with story, so this would be nice.

Quote:
Designing some of the B scenarios to be "full speed, full difficulty, fully-replayable" scenarios.

Using the 2 "extra" scenarios for this purpose, as optional scenarios full bore designed to challenge, sounds like a great idea. Just make sure to warn of their challenge level. Maybe have them both for AD1, since it is also included in the base box. I would suggest some cool loot reward for each character if you complete both, that could only be obtained in this manner. But no feat rewards, because that will make them feel mandatory.

Quote:

Thanks again for playing, and thanks for all the feedback!

Thanks for listening!


Chad Brown wrote:
Alternatives include:
  • making some of the B scenarios optional, without cutting out the feat rewards.
  • Using some of the B scenarios to introduce the story of the AP.
  • Using some of the B scenarios to "level up" the characters.
  • Using some the B scenarios to introduce the background/setting of the AP.
  • Designing some of the B scenarios to be "full speed, full difficulty, fully-replayable" scenarios.

I mainly vote for option four - introducing the world of the AP, without actually the story itself. Cover what the characters were doing before the story began.

Give people (beginners and experienced players) the opportunity to work out some of how their character plays before actually getting into the higher-pressure environment of the storyline. Let them upgrade their deck a little with cards, and probably the current single feat.

Show off both the basic concepts of the game as a whole, and introduce some of the new concepts of the set in particular, in as simple a way as possible


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And just to make life difficult for PACG developers seeking feedback, I strongly and respectfully disagree with the suggestion to have only 3 B scenarios. :) When I saw that S&S had 5 B scenarios over Runelords' 3, my heart leapt with delight. This is a straight-up upgrade.

To respond to what Klandestine is saying:

It's true that the B scenarios of RotR are more distinctly memorable than the ones in S&S. However, to generalize from this that 3 scenarios are better than 5 is an exercise in flawed logic. I would have an easier time remembering the contents of each AD if it had only 1 scenario in it as opposed to 5; does this mean having 1 scenario in each AD is better than having 5?

Another reason why the Runelords B scenarios may be easier to remember is that they follow a simple story arc: arrive in place, encounter problem, try to solve it. In S&S, the players are just gallavanting around, doing pirate-y things. The human mind has an easier time memorizing things that are connected than things that are unrelated.

And finally, most of us probably played the Runelords B scenarios more times than the S&S ones, which of course would explain why we remember them better. All of these considerations point to the fact that "ease of memorability" is an irrelevant standard that should not be considered in deciding how many B scenarios to have.

Next: "Weaker boons?" Were we playing the same game? S&S has RIDICULOUS boons in its base set! Excepting the loss of Augury and Holy Candle, the boons in S&S are generally stronger across every single category than their counterparts in Runelords. Items and allies stand out the most as having some real knockouts, but the influx of superior blessings, weapons, spells (besides Augury) and even armors is keenly felt. Never once in the S&S B scenarios did I feel tired of playing the game for lack of quality boons to find.

If anything, the abundance of "this s$!@'s about to get way harder" veteran barriers made me glad I was still in B.

Finally, PACG is very, very, very expensive for a board game. The MSRP for an adventure path veritably dwarfs that of even the most expensive board games. For example, Agricola, one of the most expensive popular board games around, comes in at $70. A PACG base set is $60. And that's before you add $100 for the 5 adventures to complete the path. The only thing I can think of that rivals PACG in price is Dominion *if* you buy all the expansions, but that game is fully playable with just one box; the rest are extra. With PACG, what you get for $60 is nowhere close to the complete experience of the game. So adding value to the product by including 2 additional scenarios to the base set is a GOOD thing.

I'm not complaining about the price. The game is amazing, unique, and huge in scope, and I'd gladly pay double if I had to. But not every consumer is like me, and when what you're selling is the most expensive board game on the market, adding value is good. Taking it away after you've added it is bad.

Looking at it another way: it's much easier for someone who doesn't want to play extra scenarios to skip them than it is for someone who wants to play extra scenarios to add them. If players successfully persuade the designers to cut the number of B scenarios back down to 3, that will hurt players like me. But if the number of B scenarios stays at 5, it won't have any effect on players like you.

For these reasons, I respectfully disagree with Klandestine and hope intensely that the number of B scenarios stays at 5!

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