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Talents Difficult To Use


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#1
phillosmaster

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So I've played through the core campaign now and have attempted the first scenario a couple times trying different builds and I noticed I never used the Talent assets.

 

I've drawn them, but I could never justify their cost.  So I just ditched them to skill checks.  I have yet to actually play a Talent.  Therefore I think I'm not going to include them going forward.  I usually need my resources to play assets with permanent buffs or events with powerful effects.  It feels like Talents are such a resource sink.  Sure I can see situations where they would have saved me in a skill check, but I wonder if spending all those resources to pass the check would set me back more than just failing the check.  In addition they aren't free to play.  Two resources to play a Talent you might not use is a big setback.  It feels like to really utilize Talents effectively you need some sort of alternate resource generation in your deck (not just Emergency Cache).  Maybe Rogues will have an easier time playing them.  I've not tried Skids yet.  Perhaps a Rogue investigator can double down on resource generation and just pay for their skill buffs with Talents.  That would be a fun build.

 

So what has been other people's experience with this card type been? 

 

Add: I mean specifically Talents that allow you to boost skills for resources.  It was brought to my attention that other assets have this keywords as well.



#2
MightyToenail

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Mplain appearance imminent.




But yeah, I agree. Seems kind of expensive. Should be a one or even zero cost card.

#3
Ironswimsuit

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Don't let mplain catch you talking like this!  :)

 

I haven't had a chance to play any games in the flesh since I'm not a tester or one of the fortunate few who went to Arkham Nights,  but... pump cards aren't generally too stellar. The only pump cards I can recall (right now) that were decent/great are Fireball(cuz Channel), Power Sink(Tempest version), Howl from Beyond and Drain Life(cuz Dark Ritual), but that's competitive, and it's Magic.  That said, all card games are about optimizing the current turn while building on previous turns. If the talents move a player forward, or provide enough use to prevent a player from moving backward, then they'll have a place, boring as they are.  The amount of resources to use these cards may have a higher yield in certain situations. I' don't like these cards, but I intend to drop 1x in each deck until I see something definitively better.


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#4
MagnusArcanis

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I assume you’re referring to the specific set of talents that cost 2, but allow you pump up your choice of two skills for a test. Cause the other talents seem awesome.

I imagine that they’ll have more value in harder scenarios or on characters that aren’t already good at a particular test.

Taking Roland for example. He already has strong Combat and Willpower. So Physical Training isn’t nearly as necessary. However, when you’re up against an enemy you can’t blast away but desperately need to get away from, having Hyperawareness isn’t the worst option for an evade test.

Another possibility is to look at them as combo pieces. Physical Training with a Shotgun for instance makes a lot of sense. Rogue’s seem to have a decent amount of effects where you if you succeed by X or more you get a bonus effect. So those talents could go a long way into accomplishing those goals.

Still, worst case scenario, they are versatile pitch cards. So I won’t feel bad if they take up a deck slot or two.
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#5
MagnusArcanis

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I assume you’re referring to the specific set of talents that cost 2, but allow you pump up your choice of two skills for a test. Cause the other talents seem awesome.

I imagine that they’ll have more value in harder scenarios or on characters that aren’t already good at a particular test.

Taking Roland for example. He already has strong Combat and Willpower. So Physical Training isn’t nearly as necessary. However, when you’re up against an enemy you can’t blast away but desperately need to get away from, having Hyperawareness isn’t the worst option for an evade test.

Another possibility is to look at them as combo pieces. Physical Training with a Shotgun for instance makes a lot of sense. Rogue’s seem to have a decent amount of effects where you if you succeed by X or more you get a bonus effect. So those talents could go a long way into accomplishing those goals.

Still, worst case scenario, they are versatile pitch cards. So I won’t feel bad if they take up a deck slot or two.

#6
phillosmaster

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Ah you are right.  I had assumed these were the only cards with the keyword Talent, but things like Forbidden Knowledge and Scavenging are also Talents and they are awesome.

 

So I mean specifically the Talents that allow you to boost skills for resources.


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#7
Gaffa

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I think it's just how you're valuing resources down the road.

 

Assuming an average game (which means we're looking at the results when you play an arbitrarily large amount of Arkham Horror, tending towards infinity, and not just the bias of looking at 3 or even 12 games), a few things happen in general:

 

1. Your investigator board gets filled. You have the cards you need and/or can play at the moment that are doing a sufficient job.

2. Because of that, you tend towards resource glut in the late game. You gain a resource every turn, but do not always have things to spend them on.

3. Resources are more replaceable than cards. You gain a card and a resource each turn, but "mana" in this game is "colorless". Your resources can pay for any of your cards. You also gain a card every turn, but cards do unique things while in your hand that resources do not while in your pool. Spending a small bonus of resources for a gain is therefore less committing than using a card in your hand, because you'll get more resources, all things being equal. You will not get that card back (yes, you could shuffle through your whole deck, lose a Sanity, and eventually draw into it again, but that requires such a huge scenario that we'll have to see if they design for things to be that long).

4. For what it's worth, you have a maximum amount of cards (8), but not resources, which also pushes up the importance of cards vs. resources in a minor way.

 

You can avoid these things in part by having, say, an Event-heavy deck that can always use its resources every turn, but even then, in the long run, you tend to be card-shy and resource-heavy in the late game. You've invested your cards for their unique abilities, and have a pool of indistinguishable resources.

 

Now we need to look at what difficulties we're facing. For the default adventure, under Standard difficulty, and ignoring iconography (because we kind of have to), the average draw from Ye Olde Chaos Bag is -1 (obviously, adjust this metric when you're playing with a different bag). That means on any given test, you can look at the difficulty, look at your character skills, and subtract 1 from them to see what your average draw will result in.

 

So for the first campaign, a 1 resource investment on a Skill Talent will negate the expected result of the Chaos Bag...and that's resuable every turn. That's excellent value for the dollar.

 

Furthermore, the best you can do from the Chaos Bag on Standard is +1 (disallowing weird Elder Sign draws for some characters). That means a 2 resource spend on your chosen Skill Talent will not only negate the standard penalty of the Chaos Bag, it will turn your average draw into the best possible draw it could be. That means if your Location or Agenda has a particular test that you have to pass, and things are looking grim, with an appropriate Skill Talent out, you could take two actions to gain 2 resources and then you will do as best as you possibly can, on average, on that vital test. Every turn.

 

If you're rolling in the dough, you can spend more to avoid the -4s and -3s, but effectively those are like drawing the Tentacle -- a loss that probably is not worth mitigating on an average budget.

 

Now, this thought experiment is simplifying a bunch of stuff. For instance, if you have a 2 Skill in something, and you need a 4 to get through a nasty Agenda requirement, you're looking at spending at least 3 resources to negate the effect of the Chaos Bag as best you reasonably can. We're just looking at a default situation of trying to get your Skill draws to parity vs. the bag.

 

But the net result is: resources are more expendable and less unique than cards. You tend towards resource glut in the long game. Not every card drawn has an icon that is useful to commit to every possible test, but with a Skill Talent out, you can reliably smooth out the bad distribution in the Chaos Bag for important tests. By and large, you don't need to negate the -3s and -4s with a huge resource spend; they're typically the same as drawing the Tentacle, but the option is there for truly game-saving draws. And, finally, Talents don't take up character slots, so you can develop the rest of your board without having to consider Hard Knocks or Baseball Bat, say.

 

They're very efficient ways to make your average draw smoother, along with an oh-**** panic button mode that lets you turn a huge resource glut into a ludicrously high bonus, and as such I'm a big fan of them.


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#8
dboeren

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Yeah, in many cases I can see them as being somewhat questionably value, although there are some times when an important check is time sensitive and you can't afford to just fail a couple times - like when that boss enemy is waiting to attack.  It's not strictly a value proposition and there are definitely times when I'd be willing to trade a LOT of resources in return for clearing my current problem.

 

One niche I see for these cards though is for solo games.  If your investigator isn't very good at some skill in a solo game, you can't just think that you'll let one of the other investigators do that task for you.  You have to cover it all.  In that base it might make a great deal of sense to include these pump Talents and offset it by making sure you've got enough economy cards that the expense is no big deal.  Rogues in particular may be able to afford to do this as they seem to be good money makers.


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#9
Gaffa

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Don't let mplain catch you talking like this!   :)

 

I haven't had a chance to play any games in the flesh since I'm not a tester or one of the fortunate few who went to Arkham Nights,  but... pump cards aren't generally too stellar. The only pump cards I can recall (right now) that were decent/great are Fireball(cuz Channel), Power Sink(Tempest version), Howl from Beyond and Drain Life(cuz Dark Ritual), but that's competitive, and it's Magic.  That said, all card games are about optimizing the current turn while building on previous turns. If the talents move a player forward, or provide enough use to prevent a player from moving backward, then they'll have a place, boring as they are.  The amount of resources to use these cards may have a higher yield in certain situations. I' don't like these cards, but I intend to drop 1x in each deck until I see something definitively better.

 

Pumping mana into an X spell in Magic is an entirely different resource metric than spending resources on a Skill Talent in this game, due to the vastly different ways the games manage their "mana", and the expected number of tests in any given time frame in Arkham Horror vs. dumping all your mana for a big spell in Magic. You cannot compare them, nor expect Arkham Horror resource sinks to work the same way.



#10
phillosmaster

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I can see where you are coming from Gaffa and I'm sure there are builds where this will be the case, but in my limited experience so far I was rarely swimming in resources and I hated using an action to take a resource.  I think Rogue cards make these things more valuable.  Using something like Burglary to ramp your resource curve I thinks makes using these Pump Talents more practical.  Also in situations where failure is not an option sitting on a bank of resources for the pump abilities sounds like a nice plan.  Though you are so stressed for time in all three of the core scenarios.  I never felt like I could just sit on resources.  They were leaving me just as fast as the cards I was playing.  Then that might have been my play style.  Perhaps I was spending on events and assets when I didn't need to optimally.



#11
Ironswimsuit

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Pumping mana into an X spell in Magic is an entirely different resource metric than spending resources on a Skill Talent in this game, due to the vastly different ways the games manage their "mana", and the expected number of tests in any given time frame in Arkham Horror vs. dumping all your mana for a big spell in Magic. You cannot compare them, nor expect Arkham Horror resource sinks to work the same way.

 

33294-dont-tell-me-what-I-cant-do-jo-Fsd

 

 

Also, see the part where I said Magic is different. I apologize for not spelling out the differences in a fastidious manner.


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#12
mplain

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Blasphemy!!  :o


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#13
Gaffa

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I can see where you are coming from Gaffa and I'm sure there are builds where this will be the case, but in my limited experience so far I was rarely swimming in resources and I hated using an action to take a resource.  I think Rogue cards make these things more valuable.  Using something like Burglary to ramp your resource curve I thinks makes using these Pump Talents more practical.  Also in situations where failure is not an option sitting on a bank of resources for the pump abilities sounds like a nice plan.  Though you are so stressed for time in all three of the core scenarios.  I never felt like I could just sit on resources.  They were leaving me just as fast as the cards I was playing.  Then that might have been my play style.  Perhaps I was spending on events and assets when I didn't need to optimally.

 

Yeah, that's the thing; your playstyle may be such that you prefer a lower curve on your resource spending. That's fine. The Skill Talents are definitely not as useful if your deck is built to spend 1-2 resources every turn (through events and cheap gear). In the end, for games like this, where the competition is self-imposed really, the choice of using them is much more about play style than whether the cards are good enough to play or not.

 

I've seen a lot of comments on this and other sites about how awesome Hot Streak is for Skids, for instance. And, yeah, it's great -- if you want to generate lots of resources. Not every deck wants that. Not every deck needs it. Some decks don't run to run the risk of running a card that does effectively nothing when you draw it late in the game and you desperately need *something* from your deck to help you push past the last location or monster. Some decks would want to run it, but 4 XP is a ton of XP. I mean, each campaign only has so much XP, so any card you choose to buy becomes cards that are also good you're choosing not to buy. Is a playset of Hot Streaks worth 8 XP to your deck? Maybe, sure. Maybe Skids wants to be able to survive, so he'll buy some Elder Signs and Bulletproof Vests instead. And what if you end your adventure on 3 XP; do you sit on it waiting for the 4 XP for Hot Streak, or do you invest in cheaper cards that will upgrade your deck now?

 

Those are all interesting choices, and something I'm looking forward to in playing the game.

 

Meanwhile, back to the Talent Skills -- I think the current choices are fine cards for nearly all decks that aren't hoping to spend all their resources every turn. They even come with two icons so you can throw them away if needed in a pinch. They're open-ended and don't take up character slots, so I'd default towards using them over a more specific card in general.


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#14
phillosmaster

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So I tried tooling a Roland deck to spend less resources. Then I included Physical Training and Hyperawareness.  I actually played them in scenario one and they were useful in a pinch.  It was very different from how I was playing before, but it does seem like even in the core set it's a possible avenue of deck building.  Roland wasn't rich enough to use them all the time, but it did help with the Treacheries in scenario one that usually hit Roland quite hard.  Also it was nice when the Shroud value on locations got too high (Flashlight was one of the things I cut).  I need to try Skids.  I suspect these things will be very easy for him to use more often.  I'm also tempted to try and use Burglary, Baseball Bat and Hard Knocks to make Wendy a more consistent fighter.  That seems like it would work.  Wendy might be harder than Roland because I was spending a lot of resources on her events when I was playing her.  For Roland I just needed to not switch out items in his hands so much and really hope I get Machete early.  That saved me quite a bit of cash.

 

It was kind of nice in Roland's deck that his two pump Talents don't have overlap.