Maps for 3 Players

Could we get maps for (or have options to choose) currently unsupported numbers of players?
I have two friends who want to start a game right now but we’re having significant difficulty recruiting for a 4th (and really we’d prefer it just the 3 of us) so we’ve pretty much abandoned that play session.

I could be woefully mistaken though and there are options for 3 players I’m not aware of. I’d be happy to learn as much. :slight_smile:

There isn’t yet, but we are planning to make 3 player maps soon. I’ll push it to the top of my maps to-do list. Any particular race combo you’re keen on?

I’d be up for any combination to be honest.

But some interesting combos might be a combo of the more monstrous races (orc, goblin, troll), another of the standard fantasy races (human, elf, dwarf), and maps that have “monster” settlements that match the theme: ex. spiders and hydras in the monstrous 3-player, and gryphons and such in the standard races map.

And then of course maps that play with those expectations and put interesting and unexpected combos together.

There’s a new small map up for 3 players - Guardians of the Thicket (I will probably change the name as it is a bit long).

Here’s a test game: Blight of the Immortals

Another 3 player map - Green Valley - for Goblins, Orcs, and Trolls.

Here’s a test game (with a new Jester) - Blight of the Immortals

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Has anyone else tried the new map Green Valley? Ours is wrapping up pretty quick, but there were a couple of points where it could have gone really pear-shaped.

I missed the last one; I’ll probably make a new one when this insane Nightmare Fountain game wraps up (one way or the other…)

First off, thanks for doing this!

Now, for feedback…

I’m currently playing Guardians of the Thicket with some mates and WOW, things have gotten crazy challenging with this map + new deployment restrictions.
Two of us have played before (have a bunch of cards) and kicked ass (lowest was 68% survival and highest was… 85% I think) on several different 2-player maps and we’re doing okay (after VERY careful strategizing and checking in quite often), but the third guy (new player started on this map, NE position) is REALLY struggling, even with our help and some good luck on card pulls.

I like the map, but we’re playing on the easiest (Normal) difficulty, and I’m wondering if some thought should go into making a few 'Introduction" multiplayer maps and maybe having a difficulty scale shown somewhere to reflect exactly what you’re getting into.
I know we nearly lost this player to “this game is ridiculously hard” and he’s a long-time strategy player! We managed to keep him on sharing stories of earlier victories, and just always being really positive about the game, but I’m thinking if we’d all been new players we wouldn’t have stuck around to keep playing, let alone buying a Premium account.

Maybe a few maps of each player count (2, 3, 4, etc) that serve as “Introduction” maps to make the game more accessible and forgiving to brand new players. Or, if there’s already “easy” maps in there, making that ranking/distinction a little clearer at map selection.


Disclaimer: I haven’t played this map yet. That said…

Guardians looks like it can be quite unforgiving in the top and bottom positions, especially if the Zombie Dwarves go north and south, respectively. Your struggling friend is playing the Humans, who are faced with a couple obvious problems on this map that need to resolved pretty much immediately, or else things get much harder:

  • Two Giant Caverns, one which might be blighted before the game starts.
  • A line of settlements leading the Human Zombies straight to Bards Plain.

If this situation doesn’t get locked down right away, the secondary threats become magnified:

  • An indefensible Mana Pool in the northwest.
  • Blighted Gryphons to the south.

My guess is that your friend, being a new player, suffered from at least one of three common new-player problems at the outset of the game, and together they conspired to make the situation harder for him:

  • Few or no rare Hero Cards (specifically Houndmasters).
  • An insufficient appreciation for the importance of careful play in the first hours of the game.
  • An insufficient appreciation for the power of compulsion effects.

None of these are faults, and all improve with experience! But, they do tend to make games harder. For instance, in the starting position that BlightedPea posted, that big stack of Zombie Humans is only about 12h from Bards Plain at the outset of the game. Fallen Human Fortresses generate a lot of Zombie strength, so saving Bards Plain has to be the top priority (followed by wiping out the graveyard at Badgers Barrow).

Now, the Humans have many ways to save it, but they all basically require that you make your first card drop a Houndmaster, Wizard, or Dragonhelm Knight in order to reach it in time. In other words, you must recognize that it needs rescue at the outset of the game, or else whatever you deploy (six hours in at best) could be too late. A very common mistake I see newer players making (especially with the Humans for some reason) is focusing on raw military power much too early, dropping a Mighty General or 20 Knights as their first card, when they really need to get some compulsion effects onto the field right away. It took me until about halfway through all the single player missions to get an appreciation for compulsion: it was about when I moved from the Elf missions to the Orc missions, and suddenly realized how much I missed the endless cheap crowd control.

Of course some maps are harder than others. I certainly agree with you on that point, and I’d even extend it: I think some races are much harder to succeed with than others, especially as a new player. The devs have done a great job giving each race a very distinct playstyle, and until you understand what those playstyles are, it can be quite difficult to understand how a race is supposed to function at all (e.g. my first multiplayer games as the Trolls were not pretty).

On your point of introductory maps: I consider the single player campaigns (on normal difficulty) to be pretty good introductions to most of the strengths and weaknesses of each race. They provide a lot of experience with the most important concepts, and at the end of the day, experience is the best teacher there is. I definitely recommend playing through all of them!

And finally, before you start your next game, have him pop over to the Strategy Guides and take a look at a guide to the race he’s going to play. There’s a lot of good information over there.

And feel free to PM me if you need another player :wink:

Both of the 3 player maps are quite small, tough maps. You need to stay on the ball, or bad things will happen. I’ll make some larger, more relaxed ones at some point.

I can take them out of the hosted rotation, so new players don’t see them as first game options.

I understand your response as interpreting the underlying point as being the map is too hard, and appreciate your suggestions toward resolving that.

But the point I was trying (and possibly failed) to make is actually served stronger by your response.
You delivered an experienced players suggestion to overcome a challenge based on that experience and the stronger decks that an experienced player would have at their disposal.

But the underlying concern is that a new player should not be expected to know and do the same things that you would. They can play the single player maps, yes, but few new players I’ve tried to introduce to the game want to take the time to do that. They join for a cooperative multiplayer experience and want that.
The issue is that the game, as presented now, doesn’t do as good a job as it could of introducing new players to what can be a very challenging game.

The difficulty I’m trying to highlight is not one of learning to overcome difficult maps, but one of approachability. For an excellent read on the topic, and to get started thinking on the issue I’m sensing, I recommend:
There are also links at the bottom of the article that cover the topic in more depth.

There are many things that can be done, but among the simplest is identifying for new players (and those who want to bring in new players which, really, should be a shared goal even if some people are better at it than others) which maps - multiplayer or single player - will permit them an enjoyable experience. Such as telling them the relative difficulty between maps, and perhaps some maps that are more forgiving, where maybe a few obvious choices enforced, being made as suggested starting maps for new players.

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That all makes sense, and increasing the overall approachability of the game is certainly a laudable goal. I personally enjoy getting beaten up a fair bit while learning a game (the first multiplayer game I ever took up as a kid was StarCraft), but it’s certainly true that that doesn’t work for everyone.

The point that I had intended (but altogether neglected) to make in my original post was just that general difficulty ratings for multiplayers maps may be nearly meaningless, or even harmful. The different races and starting positions often have very different challenges on a given map, and some of those might be beginner-friendly while others aren’t. You could try to give maps “average” difficulty ratings, but that’s not likely to accurately describe anyone’s experience.

It does seem like it would be a good idea to, if not actually giving all maps discrete ratings, identify the two or three most beginner-friendly maps and suggest them somehow. That seems to me like a feasible endpoint that could improve the new player experience if done properly.

I agree with you wholeheartedly that a good challenge actually makes me MORE engaged and likely to come back, but yeah, if my time with this game (and several of my favorite board games) has taught me anything, accommodating other players who like their early efforts to be a little less… punishing… tends to mean they’ll come back for more next week. Or in this case, become paying (and continuing as paying) players.

I think you’re on to something with ideas on identifying “beginner friendly” maps. And you’re also right that race choice and starting positions make a huge difference to the experience, but I’d say what you suggest on identifying maps for starting players can still be done insofar as map choice does actually directly tie in to available races and starting positions. It also controls bosses that are likely to spawn (which, as can be discerned in many threads on the forums, currently makes a huge difference on challenge on some or all maps they show up on), and the early battle conditions (ex. some maps have definite choke points, like bridges, while others have a much higher risk for more “random movement” conditions, being settlements that are all the same distance from zombies and their projected paths).

Might be an idea to see if we can get a sense, from new players and old, on which maps are consistently selected as a “beginner-friendly” experience.

There’s one hiccup though… I’ve played several maps and already have opinions, but with the recent “deployment cooldown” change it’s thrown that experience up into the air. What was easy then may have been because of free deployment rules at the time, and what’s hard now could be a result of suddenly facing that new mechanic.
So I’d suggest limiting feedback on relative ease of maps to experiences that have occurred since that change.
As example, I’ll say now that Guardians is NOT beginner-friendly, haha.

Hello Challak,

Great feedback. I’ll have a read of the blog post.

Ideally what I would like is for all maps to be roughly equal and for the difficulty setting to adjust how difficult the map is. We collect stats for each mission, and every now and then we’ll look back and adjust those maps that players constantly fail.

Along these some lines, we are not going to rotate the free player maps any more, and we are going to adjust the difficulty of the first few of these down a little and design them assuming the player has not cards of thier own in thier collection yet.

Anyhow, it’s exactly this kind of polish that I want to think about over the next few weeks.


If the free to play maps aren’t going to rotate you should adjust the text on the Free Scenarios option.
Every month a new selection of maps

We haven’t stopped rotating them yet. At least for now it’s getting people to test all the maps. We also haven’t decided on the right set of intro maps. I think we need to create at least a new Human map for new players.

Ok cool, I like the idea of rotating maps vs static if I was still a free to play :slight_smile: