Wrath of Not Reading the Cards

“Magic?”

“Yep. Requires the magic trait or is undefeated.”

“Um…anyone?”

Wrath 1We were playing The Traitor’s Lodge scenario, from Wrath of the Righteous, last night when the above conversation happened around the table. Karsos the undead minotaur villain was revealed and clearly stated on his card; no magic trait in check to defeat Karsos is undefeated. Meaning, unless you or someone at the table had a way to give you the magic trait to your check no matter how well you did, Karsos escaped.

After the game, one of the kids asked me how come I did not know about that. The implication being, I was the person who opened up the box, I organized the cards, I sleeved the cards, I read the rules, and lastly I set up the board thus I had at least five separate incidences where I could have and should have read the cards. Thus, I should have known in advance about Karsos’s magic requirement and I should have told the group before we started.

Try to imagine their surprise when I told them, “I don’t read the cards.” I read the rules. I read the character cards. Since Rise of the Runelords I have not read cards before we played and the only reason I read some of the cards then was because the game was new to all of us and I needed to see what the rules were talking about. Reading the cards in advance takes away some of the “surprise” factor and leads to pre-planning.

The first time cards are encountered, is the first time for all of us. I don’t want to know in advance. I don’t want to have a leg up that first time around. Later, when we are playing a second time through, that leg up is nice, but for that first play through I want the joy, the pleasure, and the surprise of encountering each card for the first time. Was losing to the villain a pain the ass last night, especially after we had played well the entire game, yes. However, the enjoyment of trying to work on the fly instead of plan for when-on subsequent play thrus cards with the magic trait will be held in hands-is what I enjoy.

So while we lost and will loose again, I do not go into any of the scenarios with any foreknowledge of the cards unless it is something written on a location that everyone will see. When Karsos remained undefeated, guess what, we had to build the Maze on the fly. Next game, tonight in fact, the Maze is pre-built because we know what happens when a character fails to defeat Karsos. I also know that many cards with the magic trait or that give the magic trait will be held by players instead of playing them. Knowledge of the cards does change how the game plays and flows.

Do you read the cards before your first play through?

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