So I introduced the campaign to my monthly gaming group, but we only made it through the first two scenarios. I played the OL in both scenarios.
They were unimpressed with the bonus gem idea and didn't bother. They were very unhappy about equipment changes between scenarios. After I explained that it was a loose campaign, but ultimately they were unique scenarios written by different people they were OK with it - except for not being able to carry the spellbook to scenario 2. That really bothered them.
Scenario 1 – The Time for Flight is Nigh
This scenario was thematic, fast-paced, and fun. The Evil Hound was disruptive in the first few rounds, but the heroes quickly outpaced it due to its movement cap. The slowest hero is normally Hadrathus, but with teleportation he became the fastest. The constant flow of assassins allowed me to keep the pressure on. They died almost as quickly as they spawned, but they were able to get a few hits in and were a dangerous enough threat that they couldn't be ignored. The Honor Guards did their duty as speed bumps. The Tower Guards were next to useless, and I was glad when the last unit died so I could remove its tile from the river. (Maybe it is just me, but I never understood the concept of giving squishy, easily killed units Block.)
The scenario had a climactic finish with the heroes barely winning. Ikhmet ended up giving Hadrathus the explosive orb, who used it in his own zone to kill the final Honor Guard and Shaung Mian (as well as wounding himself). Barely alive, he used his last gem in the last round to teleport away and escape.
1. "Small stairs" - Looking at the map, it seems to me there are 3 sizes of stairs on levels 1,2,&3: small, medium, and large. My group disagreed, saying there were only 2 size stairs (large and small) and therefore wanted to apply the 2 model limit to all but the biggest. Perhaps the stairs could be specifically marked to avoid confusion/disagreement?
2. Map issue 1 - This is not related to the scenario, but we had trouble matching staircases between levels. Sometimes we would place out units on the "up" rather than the "down" (or vice versa). When we realized our mistake, we had to backtrack our actions to get them on the right spot. Nothing to change on the scenario, just a map observation.
3. Map issue 2 - This is not related to the scenario, but the bonus map (levels 0 and 4) is not aligned the same way digitally as it is in printed form. This complicated the original setup. Again, nothing to change on the scenario, just a map observation.
Scenario 2 – Fight or Flight
Since there is no timer or immediate pressure on the heroes, they began by resting. As overlord, I activated units so I could get the dark demon on the board, but there was nothing to actually do but try to recruit the pirates. The heroes then proceeded to head as a group to the temple, kill all the guards, and retrieve the medallion. By the time the dark demon appeared, most of the heroes were already on their way to the boats. I decided to attack the straggler (Ikhmet) with a double activation from the dark demon - especially because he was the one carrying the medallion. I managed to deplete his entire reserve of gems, but not get any damage through.
At this point, the other heroes began systematically killing all the minions on the board - and the dark demon was too far away to impact anything. Realizing the game was lost for the overlord, instead of finishing the scenario we agreed to undo the dark demon's attack on Ikhmet and instead move to the center of the board for better positioning. I was able to lock down Yogah and Hadrathus this way, but then Ikhmet and Shentu proceeded to systematically kill all of the overlord's minions. The Dark Demon could not damage Hadrathus (he rolls an average of 6 hits, but Hadrathus blocks 2 with Mitra's Halo and has enough gems to defend against the rest) so I attacked Yogah. I managed to hurt Yogah, but Hadrathus healed him the next turn. With so many minion tiles in the river, and no ability to call reinforcements, it was difficult to put pressure on the heroes. Eventually I was able to dredge the river enough to activate the dark demon twice every other round, but Yogah was in full passive mode with total defense with Hadrathus healing. I could have moved the demon to attack Ikhmet or Shentu, but that would have freed up Yogah and Hadrathus.
When all the minions were gone and only the dark demon remained, the heroes found the merchant. Shentu ended his turn to flip the merchant token, and then Ikhment picked it up and left the board. Looking back, I am not sure if the merchant rule is for the hero (singular) to end their turn or all the heroes (plural) to end their turn before flipping the token. If the later, the overlord should have had one more turn, but I am not sure it would have made a difference. We discussed the game afterwards and could not figure out what I should have done differently to win. I could have moved the dark demon to the exit point, but with teleportation that would not have helped anyway.
Did we play this wrong, or is there an OL strategy I missed?
Can we change the text for the medallion to reduce the demon's guard "by 1" rather than "to 2"? This could lead to confusion in later scenarios determining the order of applying bonuses.
"The Medallion of Zhangpau : The Medallion is in the space marked with the number 1. It can be removed from its holder with a complex manipulation with a difficult of 4. If the Dark Demon is in the same area as the Medallion, its Guard is reduced by 1."