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Solo quests

Discuss Quests, Cards, Monsters etc, from the Elf Quest Pack: The Mage of the Mirror.

Re: Solo quests

Postby wallydubbs » Monday November 11th, 2019 4:37pm

So in about a week or two I'll be getting a friend of mine to play through the solo quests of Mage of the Mirror and Frozen Horror, as I've already tested a variation on my girlfriend. In many cases adjustments were made for the lack of playtesting, but now I'll be getting fresh eyes to test this on.
My friend has never played Hero Quest, but seems to show an interest in DnD type games (albeit she's never played that either). So I'm hoping, with my adjustments to these quests, I've made it enjoyably challenging, yet simple enough for an inexperienced player to get through (no doubt I'll have to make friendly suggestions along the way) as she will be starting with base stats. The game system gives the 4 heroes 14 quests to max out. In solo quests they only have 3.

There seems to be only 1 big advantage to solid quests. In group quests heroes will often throw caution to the wind and try milk their turns for all it's worth, often neglecting trap searches and secret doors. In solo quests a hero can proceed leisurely: first attack phase, killing off monsters in the room, end turn; search for traps, end turn; search for secret doors, end turn; search for Treasure, end turn; move, whatever action, etc.

The Barbarian quests normally come down to luck of the dice, as it primarily relies on physical attacks... and there are ways around this by either adding mercenaries or extra healing potions.
My main concern here, however, lies on the Elf quests and finding suitable spells. Spells are very helpful and have a maximized potential in group quests, but aren't entirely up to par in a solo mission:
Air Spells:
Genie: it's a one off maximized 5 attack dice, still very helpful... and then there's the door thing.
Swift Wind: loses its merit in a solo quest, it could be used to make a hefty rescue or lend a helping hand if a hero is eight spaces or so away; sometimes it's used for a lagging hero to play catch-up; or it could be used to make a quick escape. In a solo quest the escape option seems to be the only use of this spell.
Tempest: this one also loses merit; it's often played by the Wizard to give a defending hero a breather from bombardment; preventing an enemy spellcaster from casting a spell; or disabling Fireburst traps. There are no spellcaster in solo quest and if a Fireburst trap is drawn from the Treasure deck... well that was his action. If you play this on a regular monster you just used an action you could have used to attack, so it's practically a waste, unless you open a door and don't have enough spaces to reach the monster across the room, it could hold I'm off until your next turn... or you can use it on a monster, preventing movement to give yourself some time to escape.
So Air spells are not all that great to use on solo quests.

Spells of Darkness:
Arrows of the Night: still has a valid use, it's great for killing mummies, but it's not gonna kill a giant Wolf.
Chains of Darkness: pretty much has the same effect as Tempest, which isn't much in a solo Adventure.
Cloak of Shadows: is kind of a double edge sword; it's great for defense, if you walked into a room with a bunch of monsters you have an immediate defense against all attacks. However others monsters can now use it for their own protection as well. I've always thought of this as a way to trap an evil spell caster (if you have mercenaries) to prevent them from casting spells too, but that's out on solo quests.

Spells of Detection:
Clairvoyance: it'll give the Elf a heads up into one room if she chooses this one. I also add in the stipulation to identify traps and room Treasure as well.
Future Sight: since this spell lasts until the end of the spellcaster's next turn, it still has good use: it could give the Elf a boost in offence and defense, especially if you want to use potions (Defense, strength, heroic brew) with it.
Treasure Horde: this is another double-edge sword. It could really turn on the hero using it, depending on the luck of the draw. I can understand the prospects of an unequipped hero being optimistic with this spell, but if you don't have any friends to help, 3 Wandering Monsters could be the death of you.
Detection Spells could make things rather interesting...

Earth Spells:
Heal Body: even though it costs an action to use, this spell is much more valuable in a solo quest. Conserving body points is key in a solo mission, in group quests you can get someone else to pick up the slack if a character is in danger of death, so this is a rare occasion where a spell actually increases in value on a solo mission.
Pass Through Rock: this has always been a risky spell and a careful hero wouldn't wander into the unknown. However in Avenger Returns, this could be used as a quick escape if she opens the chest regardless of the trap and activates the undead... or it's a quick way out of the southern section of the map without having to use the trap door.
Rock Skin: a very good protection spell for an unequipped hero. It could last a while or fail on the first defence. But when up against a Giant Wolf, odds are it'll break then and there.
Earth Spells, apparently would be ideal for a solo quest.

Elf Spells:
Deep Sleep: it's a useless spell unless you're doing a group quest. It would be a waste to pick this going solo.
Disappear: it's a good spell for scouting, using this going through a trap door negates any traps. I can envision the Elf scouting the hole map first. In this circumstance it would be helpful, but there would be a lot of monsters left on the board once the spell was broken. However the spell doesn't really specify if it could go through monsters or not. I assume since the word "Unseen" is specified in Veil of Mist, an unseen hero, in this case, should be able to.
Double Image: it's a great defensive spell, but it seems to lose something in a solo quest. It could be used in a big battle to protect one hero during a big battle while other heroes are fighting. In a solo quest you miss an opportunity to be offensive. But I guess it would help if facing a group of monsters... but in no solo quest does a room consist of more then 3 monsters.
Flashback: the fact that this spell doesn't require an action makes it very helpful. Draw a Wandering monster in the Treasure deck or roll poorly in battle, it could be very helpful if the Elf needs to replay his turn.
Hypnotic Blaze: another spell brought down by lack of characters. The spell can be like a grenade in group quests, but in solo, if it takes hold, it's already been 1 turn before you get to make your first attack.
Slow: force heavy hitting monster like a Chaos Warrior or Giant Wolf, this spell shines brightly in a solo quest. Limiting a big monster to 1 movement while revoking an attack and defense dice gives the Elf a chance to dance back and forth around a monster. If the 2nd attack doesn't work you could back away, preventing the monster from attacking back.
Time Stop: in a solo quest you're the only one you can cast this on, so you're practically losing an action and only giving yourself another movement. If you have your action but not enough space to reach a monster, this is the only time this spell will come in handy. In a group quest it should be used on the Barbarian, so he gets 2 attacks, but rarely should the Elf use it on himself.
Twist Wood: no comment.
I guess Disappear, Flashback and Slow would be the 3 ideal spells for a solo quests... maybe Double Image.

Fire Spells:
Ball of Flame: a fine attack spell, no qualms with using that.
Courage: like Double Image, you lose an action to cast it on yourself. Although that extra 2 attack would be useful in each subsequent attack, you gotta wonder how much damage will that Giant Wolf inflict on you before you can start using them?
Fire of Wrath: not as good as Ball of Flame, but it's an attack spell but only worth it against an orc.
Fire Spells are very offensive, but you gotta wonder if Courage is worth losing an action over to activate it...

Spells of Protection:
Dispell: there are no enemy spell caster's in a solo quest, so this would be useless.
Invisibility: doesn't really last as long as Disappear, but I'd find it more useful then Tempest if walking into a room full of monsters.
Wall of Stone: not a bad spell if you're fighting on two fronts. But it still costs an action to use.
Probably not the best spell group to use, but some of the spells can be useful.

Water Spells:
Sleep: this spell increases in power with each expansion (except for Return of the Witch Lord) as the monsters get bigger and their mind points get smaller. This spell will be your best friend when facing a Giant Wolf. So for the Elven Solo Quests, even if you don't get much use from Veil of Mist, this spell is well worth it.
Veil of Mist: the need to get around monsters isn't as crucial as killing them, as they will just give chase in a solo quest. But in the event that monsters have you cornered or sandwiched and running is your best option, it's not a bad spell to have.
Water of Healing: same as "Heal Body", it's more important in solo quests then group quests.
On past group missions I've ranked Spells of Darkness higher then Water Spells, but in this quest pack Water Dpells might be one of the better options for both group and solo quests.

It seems like Earth and Water spells would be her best options. To some degree Fire and (depending on choice) Elf Spells are practical options too.

It's apparent that some spells aren't compatible with solo quests: Tempest, Chains of Darkness, and Deep Sleep are nearly useless. Perhaps an extended turn for these spells (as well as Hypnotic Blaze) would make them more valuable.
If Time Stop could be cast and not take effect until the Elf's next turn, this too would become a formidable spell, as actions are very important and some of these spells are only reliable in group sessions.

Does anybody else think certain spells should be amended for Solo play? I recall playing the solo quests with my girlfriend and she chose air spells, which she later regretted and didn't find them useful at all.
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Re: Solo quests

Postby The Admiral » Monday November 11th, 2019 5:09pm

Interesting. I would definitely want a Healing Spell, so as you say it's Earth or Water. Sleep v Rock Skin is a close tie. Both very useful or useless. So it's down to Mist v Rock, and I think I Pass through Rock gives a better opportunity to really get out of a situation, maybe to give time to cast that Healing spell. So I would go for the Earth Spells.


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Re: Solo quests

Postby lestodante » Monday November 11th, 2019 5:46pm

Earth Spell are probably the best defensive set of spells in my opinion!
Rock Skin is amazing, you can cast it on the beginning of the quest to earn +2 dice in defense until you get wounded. So it can teorically last till the end of the quest. The only risk is that you may fall into a stupid pit trap suffering 1 BP and losing the spell benefit.
Pass Through Rock will help you if you are trapped or in bad situationa nd need a fast way to escape.
And Heal Body... is very useful, you know.

Sleep spell I really don't like instead. You can put a monster to sleep and he can still try to defend, but at this point I prefer to cast a fireball or fire of wrath. Why making a monster fall asleep when you can kill him?


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Re: Solo quests

Postby The Admiral » Monday November 11th, 2019 6:04pm

lestodante wrote:Sleep spell I really don't like instead. You can put a monster to sleep and he can still try to defend, but at this point I prefer to cast a fireball or fire of wrath. Why making a monster fall asleep when you can kill him?


It is in the context of the Elf Solo quest where it could prove useful against a Giant Wolf. 1MP I believe, so there is a good chance it will slumber while the elf hacks through those 5BP's. Ball of Flame and Fire of wrath over two turns won't take out that wolfie with a nasty bite.


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Re: Solo quests

Postby lestodante » Monday November 11th, 2019 6:26pm

oh yes... you're right then! And obviously better than a Deep Sleep spell also!


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Re: Solo quests

Postby Jalapenotrellis » Monday November 11th, 2019 7:55pm

lestodante wrote:Earth Spell are probably the best defensive set of spells in my opinion!
Rock Skin is amazing, you can cast it on the beginning of the quest to earn +2 dice in defense until you get wounded. So it can teorically last till the end of the quest. The only risk is that you may fall into a stupid pit trap suffering 1 BP and losing the spell benefit.
Pass Through Rock will help you if you are trapped or in bad situationa nd need a fast way to escape.
And Heal Body... is very useful, you know.

Sleep spell I really don't like instead. You can put a monster to sleep and he can still try to defend, but at this point I prefer to cast a fireball or fire of wrath. Why making a monster fall asleep when you can kill him?


Actually if they are sleeping, they do not defend. Tempest they lose a turn but can defend.

I haven't played this far yet, but like the analysis and will want to look back here when when we get here. I would think water spells for sleep and heal or Elf spells, but I have yet to really ponder them. They are so far away since we just started Kellar's Keep.
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Re: Solo quests

Postby The Admiral » Tuesday November 12th, 2019 8:01am

Jalapenotrellis wrote:Actually if they are sleeping, they do not defend. Tempest they lose a turn but can defend.


Which is why in a solo quest sleep could be great against a low MP powerful monster, while a Tempest is absolutely useless.


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Re: Solo quests

Postby wallydubbs » Tuesday November 12th, 2019 12:01pm

The Admiral wrote:
Jalapenotrellis wrote:Actually if they are sleeping, they do not defend. Tempest they lose a turn but can defend.


Which is why in a solo quest sleep could be great against a low MP powerful monster, while a Tempest is absolutely useless.


Right, they have 9 movement, 6 attack, 5 Body, 1 mind. I don't think Rock Skin will hold up well against its offense... but I think Slow and Sleep are the best options. This is why I include a Potion of Recall as a findable treasure.
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Re: Solo quests

Postby lestodante » Tuesday November 12th, 2019 2:28pm

wallydubbs wrote:Right, they have 9 movement, 6 attack, 5 Body, 1 mind. I don't think Rock Skin will hold up well against its offense... but I think Slow and Sleep are the best options. This is why I include a Potion of Recall as a findable treasure.


Well.. I play with European version.. so I guess the Elf got at least 1 shield and 1 helm and maybe even a Borin's Armor so he starts the new quest with 4 (2+1+1) or even 6 (4+1+1) dice in defense.
Rock Skin in Europe adds +2 so he goes to 6 or 8 defense dice, in the US it adds only +1 die... I don't know why the american rocks are softer... :mrgreen:

I agree, SLEEP is weak in the beginning when all monsters have 1 BP (in EUR version at least), it becomes more powerful when you go on with the harder quest pack.


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Re: Solo quests

Postby wallydubbs » Tuesday November 12th, 2019 7:15pm

lestodante wrote:Well.. I play with European version.. so I guess the Elf got at least 1 shield and 1 helm and maybe even a Borin's Armor so he starts the new quest with 4 (2+1+1) or even 6 (4+1+1) dice in defense.
Rock Skin in Europe adds +2 so he goes to 6 or 8 defense dice, in the US it adds only +1 die... I don't know why the american rocks are softer... :mrgreen:

I agree, SLEEP is weak in the beginning when all monsters have 1 BP (in EUR version at least), it becomes more powerful when you go on with the harder quest pack.


Ah, but I'm trying to experiment on getting an unequipped Female Elf to max out over a series of 3 solo quests. (The same applies to the Barbarian quest pack). As these quests are much more difficult I intend to use a 5 hero group for them.
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