2-Player Rules and Bosses
I'm going to do a longer post tonight to talk about a couple of things that turn out to be related. First, I have been working on a post about mid-bosses and wizards. Second, I want to talk about our two-player games this weekend, and our experience with the mid-boss we encountered.
Bosses and Wizards
You probably already know that instead of drawing a floor for the third level players instead draw a random mid-boss. A mid-boss looks a lot like a floor card, in that it contains a number of enemy peril cubes to drop, effects of cubes in the field, and peril effects.
Here, there's just a single effect - if peril ever reaches 10, the party's over and players lose!
Patchwork Adams is accompanied on the floor by four lightning flies.
These guys are unusual in that they don't trigger when there are a certain number of yellow cubes in the field. Instead, they damage the party whenever the players perform a melee attack. Additionally, Patchwork Adams has an effect where fireflies cause the party double damage when there are four black cubes in the field.
And Adams does 10 damage to the party when there are five red cubes in the field!!
Assuming the party manages to defeat Patchwork (he has 30 health!), the mid-boss card is turned over, and the players resolve the effect.
Patchwork Adams steals some of the hero cubes, and these are not available for the rest of the game!
The top-level wizard (or boss, for the expansions) work the same way, except they don't have a reverse side - the players win if they can defeat the wizard!
We played two 2-player games this weekend to experiment with using one hero apiece. (Currently, the rules call for two heroes apiece for a 2-player game.)
We played with the knight and the burglar. The knight is good for dealing big damage to a single target in the front rank, and the burglar is good for manipulating the game.
We did fine for the first two levels, although as we were to find out, we hadn't done a great job keeping our party's wound count under control.
Knight Skills at 3rd Floor:
Steel Fist (default): Melee attack. Drop blue cubes and pull blue cubes from the field to damage one enemy in the front rank.
Grandfather's Blessing: Drop white cubes and remove white cubes from the field to gain luck.
Healing Touch: As a passive action, remove white cubes from the field to heal the party.
Burglar Skills at 3rd Floor:
Burglary (default): Drop an extra cube of any color when dropping cubes.
Lightning Quick: Exhaust skill to gain 1 luck point and not drop any enemy cubes that turn.
Taunting Words: Move an enemy from the rear rank to the front rank and gain 1 luck.
We drew Patchwork Adams as the mid-boss. Our first piece of business was to eliminate the lightning bugs in the front rank so that yellow cubes didn't accumulate in the field and do massive damage each time we did melee damage.
The burglar spent a lot of her actions using the Help generic action to feed blue cubes to the knight for his Steel Fist. We quickly eliminated two lightning flies, and the burglar used her Taunting Words to move the other two flies to the front rank, so the knight could clean them up.
A worthy strategy, but we'd come into the level halfway beat-up already. We were at 12 wounds out of a total of 25 before entering the level, and we took 4-5 more damage just killing the flies. We used the knight's Healing Touch to eliminate a few of those wounds, but in the end, Adam's massive crushing blow took us out with a single blow, as we didn't have a way to clear red cubes. We didn't stand a chance.
Since our goal was to make the game playable and fun using just a single hero per player, we tried again with the same heroes, same rooms, and same mid-boss. We made the following change:
- Instead of randomly drawing a single level 1 skill to start the game, each hero selected two first level skills.
So, by the time we got to the third floor, the heroes had
Steel Fist: As above
Meat Shield: Party's max wounds increased by 2, ignore first wound done to hero each turn.
Healing Touch: As above
Grandfather's Protection: Party heals 1 wound each time luck is gained.
Burglary: As above
Lightning Quick: As above
Taunting Words: As above
Smoke Bombs: Exhaust skill to remove all red, yellow and black cubes from the field (not crypt)
This time we better-managed the party's wounds so that by the time we got to Patchwork Adams we were at only 6-7 total wounds. Even though it was a use-once skill, the burglar's Smoke Bombs were instrumental in making sure we didn't get any red cubes that Adams could use to do 10 damage at once.
Even more important was the burglar's ability to gain luck with Taunting Words and Lightning Quick, and the knight's ability to heal with Grandfather's Protection and Healing Touch. While the knight's healing skills are nothing compared to the doctor's skills, they were more than enough to take us through the level. We got through level 4 before we ran out of time, but I felt good about our chance.
It's possible (probable) that we overcompensated by letting each hero select two first-level skills. I think maybe just one would be sufficient - at least for experienced players. We will play more before deciding on a rule, though. Essen Spiel is coming up and we'll have a LOT more time to test the game.
Kickstarter Live Tomorrow
We hope that you join us tomorrow evening at 7:30 central on the Kickstarter project page as we play through a couple of Stygian Society levels, including a boss!