I agree with this if the only consideration is cost, as I agree people can just opt to purchase when they are ready and those that are can enjoy the faster release schedule. However, an overly aggressive release schedule can also have an impact on quality. Personally, if the choice is a faster release schedule with each new set more of the same with just a new setting and some small changes in gameplay versus a slower release schedule but each new set having more of a unique feel with significant changes in gameplay and much richer theme (e.g. more story text included) then I would much prefer that approach. Of course, it is possible to have the best of both worlds but I'm not sure from what I've read so far that is the case. I've not yet played S&S so I can't speak from firsthand experience, but many of the threads on BGG say that it is a little more difficult and some more variety in scenarios, but not a drastic change from RotRL.
I agree with your comments on the difficulty, but would also like to add that if future sets are made more difficult they need to be done so in a clever way. What I mean is not just making the dice rolls more difficult and adding more luck, but making the decisions needed to win less obvious and requiring more thought.
Ability to keep up with the pace of the release schedule seems to be a common theme. Personally, my preference would be 1 adventure path released a year, using the extra development time to come up with really interesting variations on the mechanics and adding more theme so that each individual scenario (or at least adventure pack) stands out as unique. As I posted earlier, for me to keep buying future sets either the story and theme need to become more pronounced or the mechanics and gameplay need to be really unique between sets (preferably both).
I’ll start by saying that I currently own the base sets as well as all adventure decks for both RotRL and S&S. I’m about ½ ways through the RotRL adventure and have not yet started S&S. Unlike many posts in this thread I picked up S&S because the pirate theme appealed to me. However, I don’t plan on purchasing the next base set and am on the fence about any purchases for subsequent sets.
To put my feedback in perspective I’ll give some background on myself. I have limited time for playing games due to job and family responsibilities, and when I do play it is often solo. My favourite solo game is the Lord of the Rings LCG. The art is excellent, the mechanics require a lot of interesting gameplay decisions and each new adventure pack has a rich theme and unique mechanics. I’ve logged over 200 plays and still enjoy it.
When RotRL was first announced I had high hopes for it as it sounded like a fantasy card game with interesting campaign play and character progression. Now about half way through I’m enjoying it, but I’m not sure I’ll still have an appetite for more after I finish. My main concerns are:
Now my perspective is coming from someone who plays strictly solo. I am also playing with 4 characters as I thought this would promote more interesting decision making. In hindsight I think it is preventing me from enjoying the main strength of the game, the character building, as it would if I’d stuck to 2 characters since I’d be able to get more invested in each character. I also suspect the game comes to life more when playing with a group as it seems more geared to a social experience as opposed to a solo one. The limited time I have to play probably also detracts from the experience because it can be a few weeks between games for me which limits the immersion I have in the game. However, I suspect a large pool of current or target players are in the same situation as me – have limited time to play and play strictly solo.
Adding more variation and decision making to the mechanics would be the biggest positive change for me, but also the hardest to implement. Easer things to do that would also have a positive effect and might keep me purchasing subsequent sets would be:
Not sure if these ideas have been already been suggested, but here are a couple of suggestions on how to make the thematic experience richer and the individual scenarios more unique:
1. Include a map in the base set that shows the area and different locations that the adventure takes place in. A map would help enrich the experience and give more of a sense of context when traveling to different locations.
2. Include a new type of card such as an "event" or "story" card. Include several of these in each adventure pack - some specific ones for each scenario. The idea is they get inserted into the blessings deck (say in between every 8 or 10 blessings) and each ones tells a little bit of story or triggers some scenario specific event to happen. I think this would help make the scenarios more interesting and give each one more of a different feel from the others.