Stormy Night Games
Apr 11, 2016
I was able to get the game out at April's Board Game Marathon on Sunday morning. I was expecting one person who wanted to play and had talked my friend Jason and his friend John into trying it. I had the game set up and started explaining it, even though the 4th person hadn't arrived. Having gotten that far, we decided to see just how a 3 player game would actually go since it turned out the 4th person couldn't make it. I had always assumed 3 wouldn't work well and thus had never tried it, but this seemed like the perfect chance to giver it a go, so we did.
I decided we wouldn't have someone start out as automatically influenced, but I did include it in the mix so it was at least a possibility. I also decided to remove the Clarity of Purpose card as having two of three players be unimpeachably good and third player also possibly on the good side, there would be no hope of game balance.
We played the game and the mechanics all seemed to work well. I gave out one token for successful infiltrations and if someone burned a green card on one of the red Dracula spaces, I gave them tokens equal to the value of the card. I was a little worried this might result in too many tokens being in the game, but that didn't happen this time. However, no one worked the Library aggressively either. However, we did do the math and realized it would take 75 tokens to use the Library to remove all of the crates from the Crypt. If they can successfully acquire and use that many tokens, then they deserve to win. So I think that mechanic will prove ok.
I played Jonathan Harker. With the Kingstead Churchyard space now allowing players to remove a card from the board, I found I never used his power at all. It seemed better for me to get rid of a Fear card in my hand to remove a Fear card from the board than it did to take another Fear card into my hand and leave a Courage card behind. There was also a lot of fuzziness about how it worked with face up cards vs. face down cards. I think I will scrap this power and search for another.
In the end, the good guys won. Not a single "The Fear Grows" card was revealed. Jason was the Protagonist and held 4 in his hand. I buried one on a space that we knew to be irrelevant. I felt the game played fine and I thought the mechanics all worked well enough, but overall the game was very much not compelling. Basically it reinforced my belief that there absolutely has to be at least one traitor in the game. In a three player game, I'm not sure how that would work. It seems like it would be fairly easy to decide between the two non-protagonists which one was being suspicious. Then again, all of the other mechanics seemed to work just fine with only three people, so maybe it's worth trying to figure out some alternate traitor mechanic that can work for three people.
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