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So I think anyone who's been to these forums a while can remember the buzz of activity that surrounded some of the earlier base sets.
I wasn't around for ROTR but it doesn't seem like it was that big of a blip forum wise, at least more than it warranted.
SAS was a jump in difficulty but still largely enjoyed and praised.
WOTR though was a Billious Bottle of activity. The difficulty shot into the stratosphere out of the box and many harsh words were typed. It didn't seem like it was for everyone. Entire threads were dedicated to scenarios that were difficult to finish.
So we're two AD's into MM and I haven't really seen a whole lot...
Or maybe it's just that I haven't seen a whole lot of complaining and registering that as something being wrong. I mean if you do something, anything someone out there isn't going to like it!
Is it being played in the volumes it was before and during WOTR?
I dunno, but I do know when I put something out there I like to get feedback on it to know if what I did works and what didn't.
So I'll just come out and say it...
Mummy's Mask is the best base set Paizo has done.
Seriously this is the #$%^. I was worried with the direction WOTR had taken especially in the beginning scenarios but good golly this blew away all my worries and expectations.
The scenarios are challenging but not punishing, or at least it feels that way. We've failed a couple but it was less of a crawling struggle to stay alive and more of a hurried sprint that we came up just short of winning. We gave it our all and didn't get to the goal instead of just enduring punishment and getting nothing for it.
The trader mechanic is amazing and I'd love to port it to other sets. Plunder was alright but you ended up with just as many or more wooden shields as valuable boons. Trading serves a dual purpose in making you want to acquire boons you'd like to use as trade fodder as well as giving a far more controlled reward system.
The banes sting, but don't obliterate us. It's more death by a thousand cuts rather than getting utterly annihilated by a flesh golem in the B scenarios or a Billious bottle blowing you away turn after turn. Or the flip side of barriers not being challenging at all with temptations that were anything but tempting, instead we got the trapped box that lets you take more damage for items *maybe*. I'm actually more willing to take that trade off because of the trader mechanic.
The boons have taken it to a new level as well. Weapons that provide utility out of combat, early armor that reduces multitudes of damage types and blessings that have me drooling for more blessing card feats. Seriously these blessings continue to shock me with versatility. The increased recycl-ability with the basics is interestingly balanced. As we add new and more powerful non basics the ancients become less and less useful.
Triggers are the medicine I know I needed but didn't want to admit I had a problem. Adding a scouting ability to any of the other base sets made them very predictable. You'd walk into any location with the tools you needed since you knew what was coming. Now though I don't scout unless I know I can handle whatever may arise. Even taking alhazzra's power feat to examine 3 instead of 2 was a calculated risk... For a power feat! Who knew a power feat could be risky?! Well outside hand size that is.
The set is just superb and I'd love to hear how everyone else is loving or hating it. I was disappointed not to see so much buzz about this beautiful thing.
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I haven't gotten a chance to play past the B scenarios of the box set (though I've played through that 3.5 times) and the OP scenarios, but I'm really liking Mummy a lot. I don't know that I like it BETTER than Skull & Shackles, but I like it about as well.
I think I've said it on the boards a couple of times, but it's worth repeating because I never thought I'd say it: I LIKE triggers. They're fun. They make scouting interesting, and they offer extra explores. They bite, but I agree with ryanshowseason2 that they, like everything else in the game, don't bite so hard that I don't want to play anymore. Which sometimes happened with Wrath.
My opinion is still out on traders, because I haven't played them at a high enough level to make them actually challenging. In the B set, you can mostly have anything the trader pulls out, but I think it'll get more interesting when you have to give up your high level cards to get the high level cards.
I have mixed feelings about the blessings. I love the Osirion gods being included, and in general I like the powers. But their "If this card matches the top card of the blessings deck" powers often get... fiddly. I don't love fiddly.
Overall I enjoy Mummy's Mask. It's a good set. I wish I were playing more of it.
My group only had enough time to try out the first B-scenario twice, we lost both times.
First time due to terrible rolls the whole time.
Second time, well, little embarrassed to say that I might have had one more location than we actually needed, and that really screwed us since we would have had the villain cornered on the last combat. It didn't help that we flubbed the villain combat check the second time we found him by rolling three 1's.
So, combination of errors and terrible luck for the second time.
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Our party of four experienced gamers have played through all the other base sets and the unanimous consensus is that MM is the best. Vic/Mike had mentioned in a previous thread that MM is the first set whose creation began AFTER the full release of one of its predecessors, and it shows.
In addition to the qualities OP mentioned, our favorite mechanic that was expanded is the rewards/penalties associated with defeating banes and acquiring boons within a specified margin of error. The days of throwing every blessing but the kitchen sink at a check have been diminished, and we're now forced to optimize our resources and calculate probabilities in a different way. Ahmotep is a terrific character in this regard, and we love it. MM rocks!
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I've played thru everything multiple times (except Wrath - only finished it once, second run starts after xmas), and so far we've played all of the MM we could.
I have to say, this set is very, very good. It may be my new favorite.
The scenarios have plenty of variety and often force you to think rather than plow ahead. The boons also have an incredible variety - they never seem stale and instead create all sorts of dilemmas about what to keep and what card feats to take.
The challenge level is just about right. We have yet to blunder into any kind of death trap or negative play experience, nor have we cake-walked a scenario without taking a single point of damage (or scourge, etc).
Plus, we really have enjoyed the marrying of theme and story with mechanics. Whether it's the constructs that you can salvage items from if you don't break them too badly, or the way the town almost burned down that one time.
I'm enjoying it, but I'm concerned about the complexity level increase. There's a lot going on with a lot of the cards, and it reminds me of why Magic had to introduce New World Order. I wouldn't use it to introduce a new player to the game.
At this point, Skulls and Shackles is still my favorite set.
I have to join the chorus in saying this has been a fantastic set. Probably my favorite to this point as well. I can understand Borodino's concern, seeing as it does have a lot of little issues going on, but for someone like me that's done all the adventures, this has been a sublime experience.
Easily the most fun I've had since RotR (I don't have the same fond memories of S&S as everyone else here seems to have) and RotR had the new set smell and I'm sure wouldn't even compare were it the 4th set that I'd tried. Major thumbs up to the team here.
We just started playing the second Adventure Deck - and everyone is having a blast. It is by far the most interesting set so far. The new mechanisms actually add a lot to the game, allowing for more interesting choices.
I particularly like the idea of the traders, who I hope will be carried over into the next base set, as they make collecting boons worthwhile and allow for a chance to actually get an item you'd like.