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Burning of Prospero game: problems

Burning of Prospero game

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#1
Lord Thørn

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Hi there! This is my first real forray into this section of the forum. I've been having a bucket of fun with Betrayal at Calth, as I enjoy the fast, dynamic nature of it - especially the alternate activation. However, when I looked at the Burning of Prospero ruleset I had a sinking feeling, putting off playing it for a month or more.
 
Anyway, I played it for the first time last week, and my fears seemed grounded in truth: first of all, all the conception time seemed to have been used up thinking up the psychic cards and the "will" cards rather then putting any thought into differentiating the weapons (a second chainsword gives you the same benefits as a thunderhammer? Space Marine troops can't have flamers? etc.), the scenarios seemed lackluster at best and so on.
 
My main problem with it though is the primary concept - one side (TSs) has psychic powers, and the other has (sometimes) a slight boost to dispell the powers.
For those who haven't played, the system is basically this: The casting side can (nearly) always cast three spells in his turn, and he has five (or six) spells to choose from, some of which are dictated by the scenario. Once you choose the casting unit, the spell and the target, each side gets the right to turn over up to three random cards from a deck of "will" cards - there is a deck for each player with different effects. Each card has a value of 0 to 3, and most have an additional special effect. Once each player has drawn the three cards (or less depending on circumstances), they add up the total will values. If the TS has a value equal or greater than, the spell is cast - no additional saving or anything.
Ok, so you can already see the main problem with it: this is mostly random (there are probably one or two cards per deck that have an additional non-random effect), and with no real destructive problems on the TSs side, meaning that the SW player is on the receiving end with nothing to do about it. Imagine it like the psychic phase in 40k, but only with one chance in 18 to get perils of the warp (and even then you don't have to suffer from it).
Some additional things to consider about it: with the will values small, equalities seem fairly common. There are two or three cards that give a bonus for having Sisters of Silence or Adeptus Custodes on the board for the loyalist side, but it is only an equivalent of an additional will point (or two if your sisters are close to the casters... knowing that the caster can be pretty much any unit on the board for the TS, as long as they have line of sight, so this effect will probably never come into consideration.) There's also one or two cards that mean that the caster won't be able to launch any subsequent powers, but the current power will still probably go through. On the opposite side, there's a card that says that this power automatically goes through but stops subsequent powers, a second with a choice between the same effect or a will value of one, and a single (I think) will card that offers a choice between getting 1 willpoint or 3 willpoints, in which case a single model suffers a peril on a roll of 6...
Basically, these cards seem to be balanced so as to see two powers go off per turn on average (will points included). The loyalist player seems to have little choice but to suffer them.
 
I have other criticisms to make about the game on the whole, but those can wait for another day. But for now, I'd like to ask:
Has anyone else tried playing the game? Did you have fun with it? Have I missed something in the rules? Did you houserule anything to make it more interactive and less "turn over the first card in the deck"? Do you think some kind of system for creating a "hand" of cards and choosing which cards to play for which power would be better? Do you think a more deadly system of perils would work well?
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#2
Space Truckin

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Can't say that I've played this but have followed  discussions on BGG about it.   I was considering this vs. buying Calth.  

I was hoping the psychic phase would be more of a mini card game or at least some kind of  perils like risk for drinking too much warp juice.  

 

Seems like there could be a way to deal out hands poker style? - Draw 3 cards... just don't know how to handle special rules though.


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#3
Lord Thørn

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Can't say that I've played this but have followed  discussions on BGG about it.   I was considering this vs. buying Calth.  

I was hoping the psychic phase would be more of a mini card game or at least some kind of  perils like risk for drinking too much warp juice.  

 

Seems like there could be a way to deal out hands poker style? - Draw 3 cards... just don't know how to handle special rules though.

Thanks for the advice: have you got a link to that discussion?

 

Unfortunately, though I think there may be a way to repair the game, at the present it feels like you'd have to rewrite half the rules - I was really hoping I'd just missed something ^^



#4
paulJam

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thanks for the rules review Lord Thorn, i was also looking at getting this eventually, but the rules don't sound like my cup of tea (nor most of the models for that matter).

will probably wait for the separate release of the custodes for this one.

 

it strikes me as a bit strange that they didn't stick with a similar game mechanic across the boxed games.

on one hand this means they won't be promoting a counter-following to the main rule set, but on the other hand the rules are inconsistent for people who like that sort of game.

 

as you have played both (B@C and BoP) do you see a method or possibility for slotting the BoP psychic rules into an underlying B@C ruleset?

B@C kind of has a 'non-combat' aspect in allowing boosts from command cards, is there room for psychic stuff as well?

 

[ed:]

these might be relevant to bgg links...

https://boardgamegee...ayal-calth-they

https://boardgamegee...omparison-calth

... mixed reviews from what i read.

 

p.s. once you've played alternating activations you'll miss it when it's not there   smile.png


Edited by paulJam, 17 January 2017 - 09:43 PM.

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#5
Lord Thørn

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Thanks for The links, paulJam.

I could see the psychic phase being able to fit in in some way, either before the action phase, or as a possible action for the thousand sons, though the system felt unbalanced... perhaps using it as an action would make it better by forcing the thousand sons player to choose between a psy power or shooting...
Actually, thanks for the idea, I may try out :)

#6
Space Truckin

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Thanks for posting up the links paulJam    Nothing specific on changing up the psychic phase card draw but just kinda throwing out some ideas.

Seems like there are a few main issues around the psychic phase, pinning and line of sight.

I might pick up the game later this year if nothing new and shiny doesn't distract me first.  Gotta say though, it seems like even the small percentage of people that actually do buy this for the boardgame come to the conclusion to just use the minis for more Calth reinforcements.



#7
Corswain

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I've been playing it through with my girlfriend and I haven't found it terribly unbalanced. Obviously luck has a lot to do with it but at the moment we have 2 wins a piece out of the first four scenarios.

Yeah, I've been taking, on average, a few psychic hits per round on average (I'm playing Loyalists, obviously ;)) but even still, you get an armour save (unless I've missed something) so I've taken relatively few casualties from them.
It will also depend on what Psychic powers you get too. The Traitor player my only have one actual "attacking" card and the rest may be movement or defensive. Or they might end up with 3 "attacking" cards. Luck of the draw.

Dont forget Wolves (Loyalists) also have the win on initiative and attack dice draws to level the playing field a bit.

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Lord Thørn

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I've been playing it through with my girlfriend and I haven't found it terribly unbalanced. Obviously luck has a lot to do with it but at the moment we have 2 wins a piece out of the first four scenarios.

Yeah, I've been taking, on average, a few psychic hits per round on average (I'm playing Loyalists, obviously msn-wink.gif) but even still, you get an armour save (unless I've missed something) so I've taken relatively few casualties from them.
It will also depend on what Psychic powers you get too. The Traitor player my only have one actual "attacking" card and the rest may be movement or defensive. Or they might end up with 3 "attacking" cards. Luck of the draw.

Dont forget Wolves (Loyalists) also have the win on initiative and attack dice draws to level the playing field a bit.

Out of interest, which scenarios did you win/lose? I lost both first scenarios (as the loyalist) and haven't played any more yet :)

I think you do get the armour saves, but they're often pretty bad, and the "non-attack" cards are often more interesting anyway (in particular the power that gives the TS the initiative)

 

I must admit I didn't see the Wolves had the win on initiative (or else I can't remember), but for the attack draws it's only in close combat, which the Thousand Son player can stay away from rather easily in my (small) experience.



#9
Corswain

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The scenarios I won were the ones with Custodians, I think that's the second and fourth.
For me, they seem the most unbalanced part of the game. Their second attack is pretty awesome and If you use the banner for armour re-rolls they can soak up a lot of punishment. Plus that +1 willpower thing comes in to play. Does seem to make a difference.

You're right, the "non-attacks" are pretty good. The barriers are very good for funneling Loyalists where you want them and the one that re-animates dead Traitors is just infuriating. :)

It might be a lot to do with playstyle too. My girlfriend tends to be more defensive and use her powers to protect herself more than attack me, so I might just be recieving fewer hits than you.

The initiative is definitely a big help, "he who hits first" and all that...

#10
Lord Thørn

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The scenarios I won were the ones with Custodians, I think that's the second and fourth.
For me, they seem the most unbalanced part of the game. Their second attack is pretty awesome and If you use the banner for armour re-rolls they can soak up a lot of punishment. Plus that +1 willpower thing comes in to play. Does seem to make a difference.

You're right, the "non-attacks" are pretty good. The barriers are very good for funneling Loyalists where you want them and the one that re-animates dead Traitors is just infuriating. smile.png

It might be a lot to do with playstyle too. My girlfriend tends to be more defensive and use her powers to protect herself more than attack me, so I might just be recieving fewer hits than you.

The initiative is definitely a big help, "he who hits first" and all that...

I must admit, I have no idea how to win the 2nd scenario if you haven't equiped all your guys with sword and board - the Thousand Sons are just too far away from the Custodians to get into close combat, if the TS hangs back and shoots.

 

After all, you only get one save at d8/d10 (whichever it is for Custodes I can't remember) - with Plasma, melta or HB, you're going to have good scores on the other side with potentially a high number of critical hits (any roll above 6 removes 2 wounds)



#11
Corswain

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I used a couple of custodes to get aggressive and get up close with the TS and kept the others close to the statue as that can only be destroyed in close combat.
I have 4 Custodes with spears and one with the banner and shield. I kept one Custodian with spear and one with shield and banner next to the statue. The shield and the re-rolls on the banner saved this scenario for me. Without it, I can imagine it would be much tougher.
They are certainly more effective later when you can use the Wolves as meat-shields for them.
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#12
KurganFr

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After playing the first two scenarios as the Thousand Sons, I am really not enjoying the game anywhere near as much as I did Betrayal at Calth. I had trouble getting psychic powers out in the first game due to poor card reveals, but in the second game the power that allows a squad to take an extra shoot action meant the Custodes were toast by turn 3. It feels a lot less dynamic and fluid than Calth. Without the action points system, it is very difficult to keep track of which models have moved. The special weapons feel a lot less special somehow; rolling six dice for a heavy bolter is a lot more exciting to me than rolling a D10. It is also a bit silly (if my understanding is correct) that the Custodes Captain can boost the attack of other models in his square if he is equipped with the sword and dagger (2 D8 attacks), but in Scenario 2 there is nobody to boost as all the Custodes already have a D8 melee attack.

 

Lord Thorn: the Warhammer 40,000 2nd edition psychic phase and the Warhammer Fantasy 5th edition magic phase were very similar to the Prospero system, albeit with a hand of cards, and they worked OK as far as I remember from my early teenage years. If you can get your hands on the 40K Dark Millennium supplement, that should give you some extra context for your "hand of cards" variant.


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"The objective of the game is to win; the point of the game is to have fun. Never confuse the two."


#13
Corswain

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I've got the Shield Captain with a guardian spear so I hadn't noticed his wargear options really. Just seems like a bit of an oversight to me. If he takes the sword and dagger he can't take the shield though so he's not as tough.

We haven't found too much difficulty with tracking the movement. At most you have 31 models to move and between the two of us it hasn't been that bad. It'd be much worse if you had to alternate between players.

I agree about the special weapons. There's something very satsfying about throwing a fistfull of dice at someone. :)
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