My group just played through "First Blood" and "A Fat Goblin" last night. I, as the Overlord, lost horribly at every turn: no goblins escaped, no crops were stolen and Splig didn't find his target until he had already taken 8/13 damage and failed two interrogate checks.
I was feeling pretty disheartened last night, especially since it took us 4.5 hours to do all that and it was obvious I was going to lose each encounter by the heroes' second turn. I don't feel quite so bad this morning since three of the heroes are first edition veterans and the fourth was taking their suggestions while I've only played the first quest from first edition once.
My biggest "victory" was the Tripwire card and it didn't slow them down any.
My biggest problem, by far, is one of the heroes (Ashrian) whose ability stuns all minion monsters that start their activation adjacent to her and the player took the Disciple class for healing and whose starting weapon has a stun effect. The players' tactic consists of rushing Ashrian into the biggest pack of minions (and with the narrow corridors it's easy to have most of an entire group adjacent to her) while the remaining heroes massacre the rest.
Here is how "First Blood" went:
Heroes' turn 1: Scout kills master goblin archer with ranged attack. Ashrian has enough movement to get next to EVERY REMAINING goblin archer (all minions crammed into that back corner) and locks them down with her passive. She then uses her feat and stuns both ettins. The bloodthirsty dwarf then bum rushes at the stunned ettins (can't remember if he got in melee range or not). Necromancer casually strolls up.
Overlord's turn 2: Summon dead goblin archer. Draw card (nothing useful). Activate ettins and spend "action" removing Stun effect. Activate goblins, minions are immediately Stunned because they are next to Ashrian, use Scamper on Master goblin to move through everyone and then take a shot at Ashrian (doing 2/10 damage).
Heroes' turn 2: Scout uses range to kill fleeing master goblin and then moves behind Ashrian to serve as a human shield. Dwarf "fatigue moves" to Mauler and double attacks. Necromancer summons Familiar. Ashrian does nothing.
Overlord's turn 2: Summon dead goblin (again). Draw Dash card (monster gets extra move action). Dash + Scamper master goblin. Attack with goblin did nothing noteworthy and is making haste for the exit, minions are still stunned thanks to Ashrian's ability. Mauler beats on dwarf. Second ettin moves to the middle of the map and throws Scout aside so I can attack Ashrian next turn using Reach ability.
Heroes' turn 3: Ashrian "fatigue moves," hits ettin but fails to trigger weapon's Stun effect, fatigue moves back to keep goblins Stunned. Neromancer and familiar kill ettin. Dwarf and Scout gang up and kill Mauler. Encounter ends.
Both encounters for "A Fat Goblin" went the same way except drawn out because the maps required the heroes to move further and/or store crops. The end result was that small rooms and smaller corridors meant that monster groups were Stunned and destroyed like an assembly line. Reinforcements were too far away to get to the heroes before the current group was wiped out and the heroes had turned to face the newcomers.
Damage to the heroes was either healed by Ashrian, taken as fatigue by the Scout, rofled at by the dwarf because I did a whopping two damage and he could take another four hits like that before being worried (but still standing). The Necromancer kept to the back and used her familiar to kill monsters in one hit or assist another hero in killing something that didn't go down immediately.
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I've played Overlord against three different groups and they all included Ashrian, so I feel your pain. You really have to keep Ashrian's power in mind constantly and make sure you space out your minion monsters if at all possible, even if it means leaving a few behind at their spawn location. You can also try using master monsters to physically separate your minions from Ashrian. Additionally, note that the minion monsters are stunned when they are activated. I have successfully used the Dark Charm card to move Ashrian away from my minions before activating them. You could also, for example, use the master Ettin's Throw ability.
Read up on both encounters in the quest. The quest's prize goes to the victor of the second encounter. The first encounter only serves to provide some bonus in the second encounter. Learn what that bonus is and adjust your gameplay in the first encounter accordingly. In "A Fat Goblin", the extra HP for Splig is nice, but not critical (especially if you are only playing against a couple heroes). In "The Masquerade Ball", on the other hand, the advantage for winning the first encounter is huge (plus, you get extra monsters on the map as you unmask guests).
I now know from experience that rescuing crops is really hard in "A Fat Goblin", so I save most of my Overlord cards and focus on just dishing as many wounds out as I can, in an effort to stack the odds in my favor for the second round. I'll go for one crop total and only if the opportunity presents itself. A round or two of playing multiple Overlord cards can rapidly turn the tide of the game. I generally try to start the second encounter with at least three cards still in-hand.
Finally, I haven't played into Act II yet, but remember that your monsters are going to get a lot beefier. Also, by then you should have more experience so you can specialize your Overlord deck to get some of the really powerful level 2 and 3 cards. The game allows you to temporarily reduce your deck down to 15 cards before each quest and I highly recommend setting aside as many level 0 cards as you can to increase the chances you will draw your better powers. Shrinking your deck doesn't really hurt you at all - you reshuffle your discard pile once you've used up your draw pile.
Am I missing something? Ashrian's ability just eliminates an action. Once your monsters discard the stun as their first action they no longer "have" it and your monsters still have either a move or an attack action. It seems to me that you played your quests without activating any stunned monsters. This would definately make the outcome pretty lopsided. Try it again as the rules are intended. At the very least your pack of ability-stunned monsters can beat the snot out of Ashrian with your hero's kamakaze stun tactic.
Yes, Ashrian's abilities, if used properly, are very powerful (also has stone skin that can add a defense die per turn to any character). It is correct that the stun effect only costs the loss of one action, but that ability, if used correctly, makes the forum discussions concerning how "easy" it is for the overlord to block characters and win every encounter somewhat laughable. Agressive use of fatigue for movement should give the characters the edge in movement and position. Still, with all of the different ability combinations, the game seems very interesting so far.
This all of course assumes that you are on the side of the on-going debate about how stun works. Some claim the intent was to allow you to remove the stun card, and then since you no longer have it, allow you to spend your remaining action as you please. The other side of the debate is that you can only get rid of the card period .. no further actions allowed.
I tend to take you interpretation which results in a stun only eliminating one of your two actions. Nevertheless, I don't think we are going to know FFG's "intent" until an FAQ comes out.
I can see where the wording could be interpreted differently and some clarity by FFG would settle any ambiguity. The problem verbiage is the inclusion of the statement "while you have this card or token". If the developers wanted the entire turn to be shot then why add that last phrase? That being said, our interpretation is that no other action can be performed until you burn an action to discard the stun. Perhaps I am wrong, but I can say for a fact that playing this way is definately more entertaining than the OP's frustration-filled evening.
Absolutely !!! That is one of my strongest reasons for stun being interpreted as just losing 1 of your two actions (requiring the first to get rid of the Stun card). Otherwise, the stun affect becomes enormous.
I was unaware that there was a debate going on regarding how Stun worked. After re-reading the Stun condition card in light of what Rico said, it changes everything about how we played last night. This would not be the first time my group has misinterpreted a card to game-breaking effect and nobody caught it immediately.
Many thanks, Rico!!
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