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Darkest Night expansion #4

 
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Manxome
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Joined: 07 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2015 8:14 pm    Post subject: Darkest Night expansion #4 Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

In Tales of Old is the fourth expansion for Darkest Night, my co-op fantasy boardgame. It introduces "mystery" cards that provide clues to the locations of the holy relics. It also adds 4 new playable heroes (the Alchemist, Bard, Conjurer, and Tamer), 7 new blights, and 3 new items.

It will be available for 10% off during the publisher's 4th of July Sale this weekend.
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Orion
Prince


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2015 10:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I have the first three, and I'm starting to feel some expansion fatigue. Would you be willing to give a brief pitch to tell me why I should buy it, or one someone who didn't own the previous ones should buy this instead?
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Manxome
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2015 11:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

It seems to me that the mystery cards have evoked more playtester enthusiasm than anything since the quest cards back in the first expansion. Like quests, they give you more reasons to move around the map, more ways to use your abilities, more variation between games, and more flavor/atmosphere for the world.

Unlike previous expansions that added a new mechanic OR new blights, this expansion adds both (but does not add new events or artifacts). You may or may not consider that an advantage, but to me it subjectively feels "bigger" than the others.

If you'd like an outside opinion, I've seen posts on BGG that people are starting to receive their expansion kits, so user reviews should start popping up about now. One user recently finished a video playthrough of Darkest Night but just started a new one because they were so excited about getting expansions 3+4.
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Orion
Prince


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2015 6:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

New blights are a mixed bag for me. They add huge value to my solo plays, but even the existing blights feel like too many for a teaching game. I'm too lazy to separate out the tokens and cards for new players. New events, on the other hand, I can leave in, and it's always nice to draw metamorphosis or blink in an otherwise vanilla game. I'm 100% on board with no new artifacts. The existing ones are sufficiently weird that most people I play with choose a treasure chest over an artifact, given the choice, and I doubt that any further artifacts would be more intuitive. I'm pretty sure there are artifacts I've never seen as it is, and I've contemplated culling down my own artifact deck to just the ones I find interesting.
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Manxome
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2015 7:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Any thoughts about what would make an expansion "must-have" for you?
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Orion
Prince


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 01, 2015 7:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

The selling points are content I can interact with every game and/or content that I can use with a first-timer to create novelty for me without increasing the information overload. I think the best way to make content newbie-friendly is often to make new mechanics override old ones theway Darkness cards override the old darkness track. At this point, new events and artifacts probably won't come out often enough for me to care. A third set of blights is exciting to me, but will probably force me to separate out my map deck for newbies because that's too many unique blights for them to learn. Also, I suspect 3 sets of blights will be the maximum. A 4th set has the event/artifact problem where they just don't come out often enough. New characters are always somewhat exciting because I can choose them and be guaranteed to use them all game, and because your designs are interesting, but at the same time your characters are interesting enough that I'm not even close to getting bored of the ones I have. Mesmer and Valkyrie and Wanderer have a ton more play in them; I love Shaman but have never used a totem build; I still want to try to make Acolyte work. Paragon is also very cool, though less so as quests get less common.

Darkness cards were a really great mechanic because they add almost nothing to the learning curve of the first game. You just don't tell the players about the default power-ups and use the deck instead. A few are extremely complicated, but most are only slightly harder mechanics than the default ones, and it really helps to have the rules in large print on visible cards rather than in tiny print on the bottom of the board is a color that blends with the background. Plus, in the base game you should be planning ahead for the power-ups (Dark 10 especially) which newbs won't do, while with Darkness cards everyone is equally surprised.

Quests are a mixed bag. As the first expansion, they were great for veterans. I loved playing Pall of Suffering. Newbie reaction splits 50/50; some like getting a clear direction to go; others are overwhelmed. As expansions accumulate they become a little awkward. Quests + Darkness Cards + 2 sets of blights is definitely too much for newbs and sometimes a little much for me.

Looking over the game components, I feel like power cards might be the place to go. Blights, events, and artifacts all get saturated, while things like quests and presumably mysteries (I don't know what those are) take up limited brain slots for new subsystems. Power cards are used every game and have only been changed or added to by the release of new characters. I realize that monkeying with power progression is extraordinarily difficult to balance, but it would certainly get my attention. I'm thinking new powers for old classes (either swapped in to preserve deck size, which probably creates OP builds, or shuffled in with the originals, which is probably a huge nerf) You could leave old classes alone but make an expansion with some kind of character creation system instead of new classes. (Class/subclass? generic/Specialty? Freeform deck build?) You could have have "ultimate" or "evolved" powers, or prestige classes. Honestly, I know these are mostly all terrible ideas but the point is something something powers.

Outside of that craziness, I think what would really excite me would be an expandalone or expandalone-ish expansion. It wouldn't necessarily have to ship with a new board and a new necromancer chip and set of health trackers, or actually playable by itself. It would just have to do total replacement on stuff in the current game. For instance, if you do make a 4th set of blights, why not design them as a total replacement for the first set? (Do you think the 2nd or 3rd sets are playable standalone? Does it do anything excessively weird to the item drops or combat / noncombat ratio?) I'd also be interested in a new win condition that removed relics entirely, or an alternate big bad with drastically different abilities, or a new map layout. Even some proposed "theme decks" of artifacts would be fun -- small decks constructed from new and existing artifacts built around a couple of mechanics. I suppose that suffers because it requires other expansions, but at least it's just wasted text in the manual, not wasted components.
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Orion
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 01, 2015 8:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

It would be really great if a future expansion, future editions of core, and/or a promo character came with 4 little reference cards showing probability of success for X dice against Y might. Printing the chart onto the game board in a future edition would also work. I can do most of the probabilities in my head but lots of players can't.

Trying to crunch numbers for Terror is what popped this idea into my head, though of course the handout probably wouldn't give odds for terror, since that would require an entire second table. Expansion #4 really should have shipped with probabilities for Terror printed in the rule book or on 1 reference card (don't need 4).
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 01, 2015 8:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

If an alternate boss were written, perhaps it could be designed and balanced to be played by a human.
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Manxome
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2015 12:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

New powers for existing heroes is something I'm considering.

Playing with just the expansion blights and not the original ones is probably a non-starter without a whole new map deck, because the expansion cards still include occasional references to the original blights to help round things out. I'm sure you could do something along those lines if you were willing to make a new map deck specifically for it...
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