Frustration (balance) and Timing Questions

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Frustration (balance) and Timing Questions

Post by Skilfing on Thu Mar 26, 2015 2:05 am

This week a played a game of forgemaster (me) vs. warrior (my wife) and want to share some thoughts and ask some questions.
My frustration:
Before the final battle phase I managed to
- Augment all my creatures
- Deal a critical card to the hero (crippled defense)
- Gather 3 (three – my entire hand full) Omen cards
- Have 2 lvl 3 creatures und 2 lvl2 creatures
… and still I did not manage to win one single final battle card. I feel like I worked very hard to set me up for success and then felt very frustrated, that I didn’t manage to win one single final battle challenge. Is the game really supposed to work that way? I must add that I only lost one finale battle challenge due to bad dice luck, the other times my roll was fairly decent.
Ok, the hero killed quite some of my creatures in the quest phase and had 1 lvl 3 skill and 2 lvl 2 skills, but still – happy to hear your thoughts on that.

My Questions:
During our game, we faced a couple of timing questions that we felt could not be resolved by the rules entirely:
• Some Warrior Skills allow him to choose a creature the dungeon lord must use in a fight. If the warrior does that, can the Forgemaster still play an augmentation to any creature if the augmentation power says “before a creature is chosen”. If not, it would really just be “whoever calls out the actions first”, which is not entirely satisfactory to me.
• The Forgemaster Power Card “Detonate” asks to remove an augmentation from a creature. Can I play “detonation” if none of my creatures has an augmentation?
• Can a dungeons lord’s or hero’s ultimate ability be activated before any dice are rolled? This can be beneficial, if the dice role of “ultimate ability charges” is expected and the ultimate ability is already fully charged.

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Re: Frustration (balance) and Timing Questions

Post by WTG - Tom Green on Thu Mar 26, 2015 11:05 am

Hello Skilfing,

It's very difficult to give you a clear answer on why one specific game was a big win or loss without actually being there. There are so many factors that can affect a game's outcome that it's rarely just a "here's why" or "the game is completely unbalanced" answer that can be given, but I'll try my best.

Augment all my creatures - That's definitely an edge for the DL. Some augments help directly with challenges while others provide resources for the long haul, so having four augments helps but obviously doesn't seal the deal.

Deal a critical card to the hero (crippled defense) - 2 Critical cards are average per game (I believe it's actually 1.94 criticals but let's round it up for simplicity), so you were behind in this category. I'm guessing you had wounds on the armor card but just hadn't breached it a second time. With just 1 Critical card, the hero has the edge here. On top of this, crippled defense is not a helpful critical in the final battle. It is designed to help sink in even more criticals which unfortunately didn't happen.

Gather 3 (three – my entire hand full) Omen cards - That's very strong for the Dungeon Lord. As long as these had triggers you could use, then they should have really helped. But it's hard to comment on without knowing the cards you had, when they were played, and the situations they were played in. But overall, this is your strongest edge going into the final battle.

Have 2 lvl 3 creatures und 2 lvl2 creatures - This is what you should have for an average result through the story cards. A 3-3-2-2 Creature setup is dead on average.

hero...had 1 lvl 3 skill and 2 lvl 2 skills - This is well above average for the Hero. That is 28 experience points worth of skills going into the final battle where as the average expected XP for the hero is 25 and that's at the end of the game (I think going into the FB average is 22?) The average is a 3-2 skill setup going into the final battle, while snagging maybe a last ditch level 1 in the left over skill. So going into the final battle with a 3-2-2 is a significant edge for the Hero.

So again, not knowing what was played throughout the challenges, what power cards were used or discarded, what rewards taken, what a "decent" roll is, did either of you do the classic burn all your resources in the first challenge of the final battle...etc, etc, etc...the only thing that stands out is that some perceptions of strengths on your part are actually average (creature levels) or below average (critical card), which may lead you into thinking you were entitled to a strong victory which was not the case. Your best bet is to dive back in to the game and adventure some more. You'll start to get a better feel for where you're at in the game and how to give yourself the edge more in the challenges.

The one thing I can say with confidence is that we did not test the game just a few times. We have spreadsheet after spreadsheet tracking dozens and dozens and dozens of games per version (with many versions developed before the final release), tracking all sorts of stats (rate of Fortune, rate of XP, wounds, creature levels, average dice probabilities scaled throughout the game, and far more) down to the hundredth of a decimal point. We put a lot of time into balancing Fallen with all its moving pieces. And we will never be satisfied with its balance. We could have continued testing it for two more years fine tuning things with how detailed orientated we can be. So by all means, play a bunch of games and let us know what you think. Maybe there's a broken card combo or something similar that we can fix. Who knows?

Now on to your questions:

There are several trigger windows in the game, but not many. "Before a creature is activated" is one of those. Any player can announce an effect during the window. The player who first announces they want to play an effect during the window does their effect first. If both players announce they want to do an effect at the same time, then the Dungeon Lord decides which card is played first (checkout the rulebook pg 26). If this is not satisfactory to you, then you can house rule something like the dungeon lord always goes first, but we found this slows down the game considerably as the hero has to wait each window or has to ask if the DL is gong to do anything.

Detonate should require an augmentation to be discarded before the rest of the effects can trigger, but it is not worded clearly. I'll add it to the list of possible FAQ entries for the future. Nice catch.

Yes, you can play your ultimate (and fortune) as part of your initial roll thereby getting full value of any charges rolled. Check out page 14 & 16 under step #3 "These additional dice can be rolled together with the dice above (#2), rolled afterwards in any order, or not used at all."

Hope that helps,

Tom

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Re: Frustration (balance) and Timing Questions

Post by Skilfing on Thu Mar 26, 2015 1:57 pm

Thanks for the quick reply. Getting some of the math actually really helps positioning what happened and makes me feel like I understand some mechanics better. Statistics never lie, after all. I will just go ahead and play more games to make your tested statistics comply with my individual experience better Smile

Also thanks for the answers. Just one more question about the timing: does the warriors skill to choose a creature that the DL must use for this challenge automatically end the "before a create is activated phase" or can the DL still play power cards as if being in the pre-selection phase?


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Re: Frustration (balance) and Timing Questions

Post by WTG - Tom Green on Thu Mar 26, 2015 2:16 pm

Players can use multiple effects during any window, such as "Before a creature is activated" and can continue to do so until they are ready to move on.

The Tactician skill gives the choice of active Creature to the Hero. Both players can continue to play effects, then once that window is over, the Hero (instead of the DL) chooses the active Creature at the normal time.

Tactician does NOT force a Creature to become active and cancel the window.

Tom

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Re: Frustration (balance) and Timing Questions

Post by Unisus on Fri Mar 27, 2015 7:40 am

I think the question was about the timing of the decision.

If i understand it right, after the warrior chose the creature to activate the dungeon lord still can play effects, as the creature isn't activated yet, only chosen to be activated as soon as the action window is over.

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Re: Frustration (balance) and Timing Questions

Post by WTG - Tom Green on Fri Mar 27, 2015 7:56 am

Then it sounds like clarification of the wording may be needed.

How it is being incorrectly interpreted (possibly due to poor wording):

"The Hero chooses a Creature and activates that Creature."
Prompting the question: Does this mean the Before Activation window is over?


What the intent of the card really is:

"When the time comes for the Dungeon Lord to choose a Creature to activate, the Hero chooses the Creature."

So nothing changes whatsoever with the timing. The only thing that changes is who gets to decide which Creature is activated.

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Re: Frustration (balance) and Timing Questions

Post by Skilfing on Fri Mar 27, 2015 7:58 am

Perfectly clear now, thank you.
PS: I like the playmats :-)

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