I have hope that this play through of Skulls and Shackles will not only get past Adventure Deck 2, but all the way to the end. The third adult player loves the game as much as we do and is constantly asking to play. Always a plus. Unfortunately, school, college, kids, and a lot of homework have kept us at a brisk rate of 1 game every other day, give or take a day or two.
Last night we pushed through 3 scenarios in a row to finish off Adventure Deck 1. Our group consists of a bard (me), a pirate queen (Barb), and a witch (Shannon). This is far from an optimum group. The pirate queen is too independent at this stage of the game. The witch is great at arcane spell casting and lowering combat and barrier checks, but not much else. The bard is in a weird spot where he can fight, he can cast spells, but what he does best is use his cards to assist the other characters.
Skulls and Shackles has a lot of Barrier cards which have been the challenging portion of the scenarios. We can defeat most monsters, henchmen, and villains easily. Those we cannot defeat easily, get the teamwork approach which means someone usually rolls a fistful of dice. Barriers, however, tend to have checks that fall into areas that our group lacks or does well in, such as Constitution or Fortitude checks.
For our group there have been two approaches to Barrier cards AFTER we collectively groan and bitch about the card. The first approach, has been to wing and prayer it. This seems to be our primary method, but least successful. The second approach, has been to look at all of our options, vow to get more Blessing of Abadar (2 dice towards Barriers), and then see what we can do for the character facing the Barrier that uses the least amount of resources for the best chance of success.
Depending on where our characters are, which for most scenarios has been to travel as a group, we spend one or two blessings and one or two cards activating character abilities granting an extra die or lowering the difficulty. The problem with this approach is that it is very dependent on cards in hand and drains our decks more than fighting a lot of monsters.
There have been a few Barrier heavy scenarios where a last second draw of a Cure was the only thing that separated victory from defeat. In fact, the game where I drew the Helpful Haversack, acquired the card, and on my next turn used it to pull a Cure was the only reason our group still has a witch. That scenario the witch was using multiple cards to defeat Barriers and some particularly difficult henchmen.
Despite the difficulties and holes in our group, we keep plugging away. Now if someone could explain to us why the ship or boat mechanics are so blah, that would be great. The flavor of pirate is there, but the ships keep falling flat. I really would like to see a ship “character” card that we fill out to customize our ship to our tastes. Now that would be cool and pirate like. 🙂