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This article assumes you know the game so if you haven't played you can jump into the rules on the Skull game page or watch a How to Play video by SU&SD on the game's page as well.
As I dive into scenarios that help explain the strategies and thoughts behind it, we'll assume there are 4 players named A, B, C and D (You're A).
It's advantageous to go first. The basic reason is that you have the most power, influence, and ability to get information. Let's go through some examples to see why.
- Skull + bid 1. Most of the time someone will bid 2 or 3 and your trap will be set.
- Rose + bid 1. Early game this can be used to just see who passes and take note of potential people who put Skulls down as well. If players know you as a Skull player, then this could be a free win for you.
- Rose + bid 2 or 3. If you have a good read on other players you can put pressure on them to let you win the round or overbid.
- Rose + bid 4. This is risky and comes down to your read on other players. You can get a quick win or easily lose a disc. If there have been a Skulls played the last two rounds, players typically start playing Roses to try and get a round win. If you've got discs to spare then you'll at least get to go first on the next round as well.
- Rose + Rose. If another player decides to start the bidding you know at least 1 more disc than everyone else after the bidder. You can use that to make higher bids if others pass.
- Rose + Skull. Your trap is set. If players B or C start the bidding with a 2 or 3 and you can easily pass without suspicion and your trap is set. You can bluff a bid if Player D starts the bidding with a good chance it'll get increased after you.
- Skull + Rose. Don't do this. It's a trap for yourself and you likely give away information too easily in this situation. You are forced to either wait, bluff, or wait and bluff. It's better to go with the Rose+Rose strategy and catch other players falling into the Skull+Rose scenario.
It's worth going first. Don't be afraid of overbidding in the early game so that you can start the next round going first.
The scenario: Player A might win the game with a bid of 2 and Players B and C both pass. That's a poison pass to player D.
The burden of preventing player A from winning is on D. It's a great move by Players B and C if player D has 1 or 2 discs remaining. Here's some scenarios to look at assuming player D has 3 or 4 discs.
- If B has 3 or 4 discs, they should increase the bid to 3 for the sake of starting the next round. It doesn't matter if they placed a Skull or Rose. They're representing a Rose and players C and D could reasonably raise the bid to 4.
- If B has 1 or 2 discs, they should pass no matter what they placed. Bidding 3 could likely lose them the last disc or the game. Poison passing is great in this scenario.
- If B passed and C has 3 or 4 discs with a Rose face down, they should increase the bid to 3 to start the next round. If player D put a Rose they're still pressured to increase the bid to 4 (to prevent a potential win) and will always pass if they placed a Skull.
- If B bid 3 and C has 3 or 4 discs with a Rose face down, they should increase the bid to 4 to start the next round.
- Play to win in the long run. Don't play to "not lose".
- Player D should always bid if they have 3 or 4 discs to start the next round. If they has 1 or 2 discs they should never bid. Whether or not player A wins, this puts the pressure back onto players B and C to bid to prevent future game wins.
One on One
As much as you control, try to be the first player in a one on one scenario. If you have more discs than your opponent then you have more liberty to play aggressively.
If You're First
- Rose + bid 2. You'll win the round or get to go first again. If you've already won a round, make this your first move. It's even more advantageous if your opponents have discs missing.
- Skull + bid 1. Your opponent will up the bid and lose or pass and you can lose a disc and go again.
- Rose + bid 1. Only do this if you know your opponent will pass.
- Rose + Skull. Only do this if your opponent has 1 disc left. Since you have more info than them, they're more likely to start with a high bid and bust.
- Rose/Skull + Rose. Don't do this. You're putting your fate in your opponent's hands.
If You're Second
Going second is MUCH harder. The strategies are more varied based on the game scenario.
- If your opponent has won a round place a Skull and always bid if you can. If they bid 2, they'll lose a disc and if they only bid 1, it's worth losing a disc of your own to start the next round.
- Have you won a round? Place a Skull. They'll likely place a skull and start the bidding. Pass and let them lose a disc. If they didn't place a Skull, they may have lost that disc already.
- Neither won a round? Place a Rose and Bid the max to try and sneak in a win and at the very least chose to go first.
Playing With 1 Disc
If it's a Skull then you're winning by the other players busting. Try to bluff some bids when you can but hope no one flips your disc till the very end.
If it's a Rose you need to win a bid with an exact guess to have the first player advantage.
If you've already won a round and you're first you can pressure other players with a low bid number threatening a win. It's better to try and read your opponents in this situation and aim for an exact bid.
Here's some general tips when playing to think about.
Never Place All Your Discs
If you have less than 4 discs remaining, then you're giving away the precious information of whether or not you have a skull remaining. Don't give that away to opponents freely!
Blindly Placing Discs
Playing discs randomly without checking doesn't help you play better in the long run. Don't do it if you're trying to improve your gameplay.
Playing Without Your Skull
Play to win and take a higher bidding strategy based on how well you can read your opponents. If you're playing first then the opportunity to play a Rose+Rose turn makes more sense so that you have more knowledge of the discs for others to start the bidding. But remember, don't place all your discs.
Be observant of what other players are doing. If you're watching and seeing when they change behavior you can use that to your advantage. Are they placing a Skull and starting the bidding low often? What for the times when they bid high or pass.
Have a plan before you place your disc. Are you hoping to start bidding, will you increase it, will you max it out to guarantee you go first next?
Try out different strategies early in the game to get a good read of the other players and in subsequent games exploit what you see.
I am trying to decide my next Gloomhaven character. So far I have been the Cragheart (Good), Angry Face (Loved!), and Two Mini(Not my cup of tea).
My options for this retirement that no one has played yet are Scoundrel, Tinkerer, Sun. I am also considering going back to the Angry Face cause I liked it so much. I am leaning towards the Sun class.
Our party ranges from 2-4 people and right now have a Music Note, Eclipse, and Cthulhu. I will be coming in at level 4.
Any thoughts are appreciated. Is there one of these characters that will fit our group better? I am leaning towards the Sun class, but am worried that the role is already covered by others in our group. (I would be more specific but I don't see a way to cover spoiler tags)
So many videos talk about new games, so few talk about playing them well. I thought i'd try something different with this video and actually talk about the skills and mindset of play board game better
I know we've spoken about this before but we have a lot of new people so I'm interested again. Plus I know people's opinions can change over time. So...
1. What is your favorite Root Faction and why?
2. Do you have a strategy you like to employ? Does it every cause problems playing other factions (I'm going to give my example in the comments)
PS - @philryuh (I couldn't find the Feedback Friday post but I was going to do this originally as a poll, but we can only do 4 poll options. Any chance we can up that?)
7 Wonders is one of those games that's simple to learn, but difficult to master, while still being a game you can enjoy on your first play. It's one of my favorite games of all time, and so I wrote a strategy guide for it. If you want to check it out, here is my 7 Wonders Strategy Guide! I give tips and tricks on how to play that should apply to beginners and advanced players! I even got some of the top ranked 7 Wonder players to look over it, so I'm confident its all correct.
So I just started playing #Terra Mystica in a slow way (i.e. we each take our turn separately and just get an email when it is our go) on board game arena.
Unfortunately, I haven't played before so while I have read through and understand the rules, no one has been able to explain what my priorities should be: I am playing darklings and any advice would be appreciated!
By Mr. Saint
Ken has always been one of my favorite fighting game characters. Going all the way back to Super Street Fighter II Turbo, where his character design broke with the traditional shoto fireball style in favor of a rushdown style that relied on knee bash loops, a superior jab dragon punch, and crazy combos. What better way to start our new Exceed Fighting System focused blog series, “A New Challenger”, than with this archetypal paragon of fighting games.
True to his video game roots, Ken, as portrayed in Exceed, is a character defined by relentless aggression. Take his unique character ability (UA), which allows him to Close 1 and draw a card. As long as what you want to be doing is moving towards your opponent, Ken’s UA gives you a very economical way to do that. In a similar vein, attacks like Shoryuken and Knee Bash reward you for being the one to initiate a Strike (+2 speed for Shoryuken and +0-1 Range for Knee Bash). So you should always be pressing to move into and continually strike at Range 1 then, right? What I’m about to say is the secret to unlocking Ken’s true power: Ken is at his best at Range 2.
To drive this point home, let’s look at what may be Ken’s best special attack: Axe Kick. Thanks to its “Ignore Armor” clause, seasoned players will know that it is dangerous to play Block against Ken at close range while Axe Kick is live. Further, if you can afford to critical Axe Kick by paying one gauge, it becomes an on curve attack at Range 2, beating Cross if you were the one to initiate the Strike (Critical is the Season 3 mechanic, whereby Street Fighter characters can spend one gauge when setting their attack to gain access to that attack’s critical text). If you were at Range 1, you would have to worry about Grasp, but because of Axe Kick’s “step-in” (Before: Close 1) you can safely blank Grasp by using Axe Kick at Range 2. Notably, Axe Kick still loses to both Sweep and Focus, trading marginally on damage and putting the Ken player down significantly on resources (especially if the Axe Kick was critical).
So the answer is obvious then. If Ken initiates a critical strike at Range 2, players should respond with Sweep or Focus, right? Another one of Ken’s specials, Tatsumaki Senpukyaku (Tatsu for short) beats both Sweep and Focus cleanly at Range 2. The combination of Axe Kick and Tatsu (or Spike) at Range 2 force the opponent into a high risk/high reward guessing game, with an incorrect answer resulting in a sizable chunk of damage and a refund on Ken’s gauge investment. Ken can even throw some critical Shoryukens into this mixup in order to beat Range 2, Speed 7 attacks such as EX Cross or Akuma’s Goshoryuken (though not without risk, as Shoryuken loses just as badly as Axe Kick to Sweep and Focus).
Because Ken already hits reasonably hard, his kit synergizes particularly well with Power boosts. Fierce (Grasp’s boost) removes the ambiguity from the Range 2 mixup we detailed above. With +2 Power, Axe Kick will beat Cross, Block, Sweep, and Focus. The boost on Ken’s Hadoken, Overpower, is also useful for this, providing +1 Power and the opportunity to strike immediately. This blanks Focus and denies the opponent the opportunity to reposition or tech your boost on their turn. True Master (the boost on Guren Senpukyaku) all but guarantees a win for the next strike, and is a card I actively look to mulligan into if it is not present in my starting hand.
Ken is at his best against characters that want to continually position out of close range to be most effective, such as Eugenia, Syrus, or Sagat. Against these types of characters, Ken can control the pace of a match, gaining resources with his UA while he moves into his preferred ranges. Once there, opponents may find it difficult to escape, especially if Ken is in Exceed mode, where his UA gives him a steady stream of resources while allowing him to continue to strike every turn and maintain the initiative. Conversely, Ken can have trouble against characters who greatly benefit from sticking to Range 1. Specifically, Zangief’s powerful options and dangerous UA at Range 1 make him a tough opponent for Ken.
As another weakness, Ken is fundamentally playing a fair game of Exceed. I spent paragraphs praising the dynamic gameplay around Axe Kick, an attack that requires gauge to be on curve at its preferred range. Characters that get to break the normal rules of Exceed can also give Ken trouble. Remiliss is a nightmare, with her ability to create and empower EX attacks whenever Ken starts to gain momentum. The Radiation Transformation (on Toxic Tendrils) is particularly difficult to deal with, as it makes EX Grasp effective at Range 2, opening up Remiliss’s options in Ken’s best range. While an Exceeded Zsolt is scary for just about anyone, Ken suffers more than most from chained together attacks with advantage, as this denies Ken his stat boosts for being the one to initiate a strike.
Ken is relatively simple to pick up and play, appropriate for his status as one of the demo deck characters (along with Ryu). His game plan of sticking close to the opponent and maintaining momentum via initiating strikes is easy to grasp, which allows Ken players to focus on the fundamentals of Exceed. He also has some powerful options, making him a reasonably competitive choice. This makes Ken a great character to grow with, as he will reward increasing understanding of the game as one’s mastery of Exceed’s systems mature.
So that's a wrap on our first post in what we hope will be a long running blog series. I’m an Exceed enthusiast, not an Exceed expert, so I welcome discussion and constructive criticism on this post. Let me know if you enjoyed it, or if there is something specific you would like to see covered in a future post!
If you enjoyed this post, please check out the blog post with images on our website: www.gamingwiththesaints.com and be sure to follow us on Twitter to get updates on when new content is released @Saint_Gamers.
[Root: The Riverfolk Expansion, Root, Root: The Underworld Expansion]
[EXCEED Fighting System]
$456,652 / $50,000
Two new expansions for the renowned Planet Apocalypse boardgame PLUS a sourcebook to bring the Apocalypse to your D&D 5e campaign
Ends in 5 daysSee Kickstarter