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OO Solo Board Gamers Guild

All discussions regarding Board, Card, and RPG Gaming, including industry discussion, that don't belong in one of the other gaming forums.

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Malificent
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Re: OO Solo Board Gamers Guild

Post by Malificent »

YellowKing wrote: Sun Dec 20, 2020 11:56 pm Finally got HELLBOY: THE BOARD GAME to the table (Tutorial scenario) and here are my quick takeaways:

- I can see why this gets compared to Cthulhu: Death May Die. While it's a bit simpler overall, it has much of the same feel of tile exploration, spawning minions, culminating with big boss fight.

- I had to hit the rulebook quite a bit on the first go-round, but by the end of it I was chugging along pretty good. There are quite a few things to keep up with (mainly remembering all the minutia of upgrading/downgrading dice), but it started to click to the point I was starting to do it naturally by the end of the scenario.

- I can tell this game could potentially get HARD. Base dice are practically worthless, and bad rolls seem to be extremely common. I did wind up beating the tutorial scenario on the first try, but that's with some minor rules flubs (pretty sure I forgot to downgrade dice for additional enemies). I may go through it again now that I have a firmer grasp on the rules.

- There are several mechanics I really like in this game. I love the result die, as it adds an extra bit of excitement to a rather boring "count the pips" action check. There were times in the game where it saved my bacon...or screwed me over.....and I liked that added thrill. And since 5 out of 6 faces are "good," it helps alleviate the pain of bad rolls more often than not. I also liked all the character specials and items - they make you feel powerful when you're using them, but they also have costs. Figuring out the most opportune times to burn your powerful items/skills added another layer to the puzzle that I really enjoyed.

Looking forward to getting into some "real" case files over the holiday break, but so far I think I'm going to like this one a lot. It's light enough that I feel like I'll be inclined to play it regularly, but seems challenging enough that I don't think I'll be able to just blow through it.

Sounds great - I'll keep it on my list. I love Death May Die. Now just to wait for a Kickstarter second edition...
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Re: OO Solo Board Gamers Guild

Post by hepcat »

So I'm halfway through my first solo game of Zona The Secret of Chernobyl and I have some thoughts.

This is Eldritch Horror but set in the world of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R books/video games. It's pure Ameritrash (which for me is not an insult...I love me some Ameritrash).

You have a map with three zones (green, yellow and red). The map is further split up by locations within the zones, including action spaces where you can perform actions specific to that place, or bunkers where you can rest up/heal up/use the market to buy/sell stuff. Finally, you have Secret Locations and the Sarcophagus. The Secret Locations are where you gather the two secrets you need to open the Sarcophagus in order win the game (after overcoming any tests that come about from opening it).

Furthermore, there are event decks for the green, yellow and Secret Location areas. If you end your turn in any of those, you have to draw and resolve the event card for that area. Just like in Eldritch Horror, each event card has multiple events and you resolve the one specific to the location you're in.

At the end of the round (after everyone has performed their two actions and the event phase has been resolved), you pull a rumor card. This usually has a meta event that affects everyone/the game state. It also indicates whether or not you advance your emission track. If the emission track is at the bottom after you advance it, you have a pulse emission (or whatever you call it), which wipes the board of threat tokens (the enemies...which are again, are treated very similarly to the monsters in Eldritch Horror), resets the market board, generates new threats and then causes damage to every player outside a bunker according to the zone they're in. You do get a chance to rush to a bunker if you're adjacent to one by spending 2 fatigue (fatigue is tracked using a dial...isn't everything these days?....and you normally use it by expending one fatigue to reroll one die during a test).

On your turn, you get two actions. The standard move, perform a location action, camp (if you're in a bunker), search (engage a threat in your location), interaction with something, or pass.

Your character can carry up to 5 pieces of junk or equipment in a backpack (represented by a player board). You can wear gear (which doesn't count towards your inventory limit) and carry artifacts (special items with unique powers that do count toward that limit).

The game is VERY icon heavy, giving it a Euro feel at times. The damage comes in three types: mental, physical and radiation. Tests are based off your stats and a roll of 3 dice. A plus adds to your stat, a negative subtracts from your stat total, and a triangle does nothing...unless you roll two and that's a damage. If you meet or exceed the test value, you win the test.

The game is punishingly hard so far. You'll be racing across the board trying to get the necessary money or items to open a Secret Location so you can acquire its secret for the end game. And if the rumor deck runs out, you lose (there are dozens of cards in the deck so it's not like you have 10 turns to win or something though).

The artwork is top notch, and the components are very nice. Linen finish all around.

I would say if you love Eldritch Horror and you love the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games, this is a great little game. But if you own Eldritch Horror already, you're going to get a similar experience playing Zona. So that may be a negative. Also, it IS very hard. So if you get frustrated easily, this may not be for you either.

I love it so far and plan on keeping it around. I love a good Ameritrash adventure game. Also, it plays very well in true solo (controlling one character) and you can add the competitive mode in a two to four player game by screwing over the other players as the Voice of Zona (the first player for that turn) who decides where threats and other negative events that arise from the rumor card appear. Beat them to the Sarcophagus and successfully open it to win the game.
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AWS260
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Re: OO Solo Board Gamers Guild

Post by AWS260 »

hepcat wrote: Mon Dec 21, 2020 9:31 pm Got a copy of Pavlov’s House as a present
Me too! I just played my first game. The Red Army forces survived to the end with a score of negative three, which the game tells me is a draw. Sadly, the titular Pavlov was killed by a sniper's bullet.

It's a really great solo system -- smooth and easy to run.
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Re: OO Solo Board Gamers Guild

Post by hepcat »

I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the best way to proceed in my first game. A run on bombing raids has left my operational side pretty decimated, so I’m spending more than I’d like on repairs.

It’s a great game that would been exceptional if the components weren’t so crappy, as Smoove pointed out earlier. My board is already warping, as are the cheap cards. Still, it’s like no other game I own. I was expecting a WWII state of seige style game like Dawn of the Zeds, but it’s quite different when you play. It feels more “thinky”.
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Re: OO Solo Board Gamers Guild

Post by tylertoo »

Santa brought Aeon's End: New Age. I have not played any prior versions of Aeon's End, and have very little experience with deckbuilders. I have now played the first two missions of the campaign in this and really love it. For me, it is just the right complexity level, and it feels tension-filled without feeling stressful. I lost the first mission twice, badly, so I figured I was doing something wrong, and sure enough I was (I had constructed the turn order deck incorrectly) so once I played correctly I won -- but it was an exciting battle, as was the second mission. Looking forward to more.
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Re: OO Solo Board Gamers Guild

Post by hepcat »

Such a great gaming franchise. You’re in for a lot of fun. Plus there’s a ton of expansion content out there to keep the game fresh if you get the itch for more.
I beat a camel to death with a monkey. Can I do that?
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You have to whack a few rabbits before you are ready to punch a camel.
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YellowKing
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Re: OO Solo Board Gamers Guild

Post by YellowKing »

I broke out THE LEGEND OF DRIZZT today.

I admit my first adventure (the 1-character tutorial) felt like a bit of a let down. Move, explore, kill monster, repeat. I knew the game was light, but this seemed trivial, and I really didn't understand why I could move 7 squares if all I was doing on a turn was moving a few steps and exploring. However, I decided to press on.

For the second adventure, I decided to take a full group of 5. :shock: The good news is that it was definitely manageable due to the simple ruleset, as long as I was methodical about checking all my powers and special abilities for each character each turn, and ran through the phases step by step. The bad news is I got DESTROYED as monsters piled up and I was unable to mount a defense.

However, the group play showcased what fun the game could be. The tutorial using one character is fine for learning the mechanics, but it fails to show the fundamental gameplay changes that arise out of multiple characters. For instance, movement speed actually becomes critical when you have multiple tiles opening up before a character's turn comes back around. There are various player interactions and powers that aren't possible with a lone character, and you really miss out on a bunch of strategic decisions.

At any rate, I had a blast on the second run even though I got my ass handed to me. I think for my second attempt I'll try a much more manageable party of 3. That feels like it may be the sweet spot for solo play.

I also picked up the European Expansion for WINGSPAN at the bookstore today on impulse. For the price it was a no-brainer for how much I'm loving the game.
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Re: OO Solo Board Gamers Guild

Post by Skinypupy »

Yeah, I've never played Legend of Drizzt solo and imagine it would suffer quite a bit. It's a blast with a group.

I've jumped back into LotR: Journeys in Middle Earth this weekend. The "Adventure" mode fixed my main complaint about the game, making it much more manageable by reducing some of the urgency of the timer and giving additional inspiration. Where I was massively frustrated before, I was able to get through the first three Chapters over this weekend.

I do think the game could still use some balancing though. With "success" cards and inspiration tokens being the vital currencies needed to win, it feels incredibly stingy with both. If you're unlucky enough to run out of either currency, you're basically screwed, since it feels like most mobs can either one or two shot most characters if you don't have any remaining ways to block. And if an attack does get through, the effect on damage and fear cards can be absolutely devastating and they tend to cascade very quickly.

Still, it feels lots better than when I bounced off it the first time. The app runs better, they seem to have fixed some of the bugs, and it doesn't chew through my iPad battery nearly as quick.
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Re: OO Solo Board Gamers Guild

Post by Blackhawk »

Some thoughts having played the hell out of for of the D&D Adventures games (including Drizzt.) These are non-spoilers, but they are strategies, so if you prefer to figure that out on your own, feel free to ignore it.

~I find that four is the sweet spot for solo.
~The mechanic is balancing the need to explore quickly - thus getting to the goal - with your ability to handle what you uncover. Explore too fast and you get eaten alive by monsters. Explore too slow and you get eaten alive by encounters (I find the encounters much more problematic than the monsters.)
~Related to that, make sure you're doing encounters at the right time. It's an often missed nuance. It's any time you reveal a black arrow, plus any time you don't reveal a new tile at all.
~Some characters do better near others. Other characters do better alone.
~I often specialize mine. Whoever makes the exploration will generally take the attacks, so when things are getting hairy, I sometimes have tougher characters doing the exploration and squishier characters taking encounters and doing the killing.
~Always, always have five XP put back to get rid of an encounter that can wipe you. Even if it means not leveling.
~Pay attention to when you're in the endgame (usually after you draw the eighth tile.) You may want to spend a turn or two cleaning up before you encounter the boss if you feel you need to.
~Pay attention to the objective. When you hit that you win, regardless if there are five monsters alive and all but one of your party are down.

My favorite so far has been Temple of Elemental Evil. They added a full campaign with character progression, which added a nice element to it.
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Re: OO Solo Board Gamers Guild

Post by YellowKing »

Blackhawk wrote:Some thoughts having played the hell out of for of the D&D Adventures games (including Drizzt.)
Thanks Blackhawk. I took a group of 4 through Adventure 2 again today and emerged victorious. This time I was much more careful with the pacing so I wasn't getting beat up by Encounter cards, and paying more attention to character positioning to maximize their attacks. We were still a bit beat up by the end of it, but I managed to win without having to use any healing surges which was pretty sweet.
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Re: OO Solo Board Gamers Guild

Post by YellowKing »

I've made it up to Adventure 7 in THE LEGEND OF DRIZZT and the game's really clicking for me now. Has become much more fun with the addition of the Advanced cards, and the scenarios have become more interesting as well. Rules are down pat enough now that sessions go really quick.

The best thing I can say about the game so far (running a 4-character party), is that everything seems well balanced. Every scenario has come right down to the wire, and it has always felt challenging but winnable. I've read that Drizzt is considered one of the "easiest" of the D&D games, and if that's the case I'm not sure I want to play the others. This one's giving me plenty of stress as it is. :D

Still, fun game. I'm not bothering painting any of the figures as this is probably a one and done for me, but I'm definitely enjoying it.
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Re: OO Solo Board Gamers Guild

Post by YellowKing »

Got to play my final Christmas present game over the last couple of days: AUZTRALIA!

The game is officially semi-cooperative (a genre I typically loathe), but includes solo, 2-player, and co-operative variants that appear to work very well. (I only played the solo game, but based on the variant rules I see no reason they wouldn't also be very good).

The theme is that you are battling Old Ones in an alternate early 1900s. The world was basically decimated by them years ago, but they were driven back. Now they are starting to awaken again on the Australian continent, and it is up to you to stop them. Players win if they have more victory points at the end of the game than the Old Ones.

The game has a lot of Euro-style mechanics that I'm not very comfortable with, but that I've been making a concerted effort to play more of. Actions require placing a cube and paying the action cost. Unlike many worker placement games, however, your number of actions are not typically constrained by the number of cubes you have, but by time. Every action has a time cost, and the game has a finite amount of time on the time tracker. In addition, using an action more than once requires spending gold. You can reset all your cubes at any point, but that too, costs time.

The general flow of the game is that you will spend the early part building railroads, gathering resources, and building up an army. Very quickly time runs out and the Old Ones awaken. Then you are in a constant back and forth as they advance the time tracker much as another player would.

Combat has some really unique mechanics that I enjoyed. You can purchase five different military units, each with their own strengths and weaknesses against various enemy types. Combat is resolved by flipping cards over in the enemy deck, which will have assorted outcomes for each monster. For instance a card may say infantry damaged a zombie, but it damaged your forces too. The next card may say nothing damaged the zombie, but it took one sanity from you.

The neat thing is that you can withdraw your forces at any time from combat if you feel things are going bad. Withdrawing carries no penalty, other than the time you spend to deploy your army and attack. Damaged troops are healed fully, and you live to fight another day. In this manner, combat has a bit of a "press your luck" mechanic that I found unexpectedly tension inducing.

There are some other neat things I like. You can hire "personalities" from a market that give you assistance. For example, you may hire a general that always does one damage in combat, or hire a railroader that gives you extra victory points for each railway you build. Again, the only cost is time, so deciding which personalities are worth advancing the clock is a fun decision. And in fact, that's really the underlying fun of the whole game. Every turn is a delicate balancing act between earning VPs, vanquishing Old Ones, building your infrastructure, and maintaining your army. You can't do all of them equally, but they're all equally important.

The solo game runs incredibly fast and smooth once you get the rules down. There is no fiddliness, and I've completed games in 45 minutes or so. There is a bit of setup downtime since the map is randomly seeded each time, but because this also makes each game play out very differently I didn't mind the extra time.

The game is difficult, or at least it's difficult for me right now. I haven't come close to defeating the Old Ones in my 3 plays on Easy, though every time through I learn new tricks to try to keep their score down and boost mine. I should also mention that the solo variant includes Solo goal cards that award extra VP at the end of the game. For instance, one may require you to build all your railroads, and another may require no Old Ones to end the game within 3 hexes of your HQ. I found this a great addition, as it added variety to every playthrough as I had to shift strategies to try to complete the goal. The 2 player variant also uses a deck of 2 player cards which similarly adds randomized game conditions.

Really, really enjoying this one and it's another step (along with Wingspan) in moving me out of my comfort zone. In fact, this game actually made me want to return to SCYTHE which I completely gave up on because the Euro mechanics were so foreign to me.

At any rate, highly recommended. I haven't played with a group yet, but I think it would also be a blast with more players whether you went semi-co-op or full. It's a neat hybrid, and I'm always fascinated by games that blend genres in this fashion.
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Re: OO Solo Board Gamers Guild

Post by YellowKing »

Got a gift card for my FLGS for Christmas, so I picked up UNDER FALLING SKIES today.

I was familiar with the game, having played it at a virtual GenCon session. I really loved the puzzly nature of it at the time, and learning that the retail game would have a full campaign put it high on my to-buy list.

I won't go into the details as I ran through them earlier in this thread (I think) when I did the GenCon preview, but suffice it to say it's just as much brain-burning fun as I remember.

The really fascinating thing about the game is that your dice placement directly affects how the enemy moves. So ultimately you are responsible for exactly what the enemy will do, and must balance that with doing the things you have to get done to win. There's a reason this game is solo-only - expect some analysis paralysis as you feverishly run through every trickle-down impact that could happen with every die placement.

The campaign, while not legacy, appears to be pretty meaty for a small box game. I haven't played it yet, but there are extra components involved that aren't used in the base game, comic book style panels guiding you through the story, etc. I think I'm going to keep playing the base game a bit first to get a bit better at the game before tackling it.

I think the game's an absolute steal, retailing for under $30. The components are great quality, there's a ton of replayability even aside from the campaign, as there are multiple cities and tiles can be flipped to scale difficulty in multiple ways.

Personally I'm enjoying this one more than WARP'S EDGE overall. While there is luck, it feels a bit more mitigatable than WE, and doesn't feel nearly as punishing. However, it does lean more puzzle-solving than WE's strategy lean, so YMMV.

I also picked up the Oceania expansion for WINGSPAN, which looks fun. Haven't had time to mess with that yet, but I adore that game at this point so completing the collection was a no-brainer.
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Re: OO Solo Board Gamers Guild

Post by Skinypupy »

After playing it a few more times (once through with each character), I think I may need to withdraw my endorsement of Sanctum as a recommended solo game.

There is some fun to be had, but there really isn't a ton of variety between the characters, it's almost 100% luck-based (from the dice rolls to what mobs come up), it's very easy to get in an unwinnable position (if you don't happen to draw monsters with the right colors to advance the skills you need), and the difficulty spike at the end is completely ridiculous.

I think it would probably be more fun with a group, although many of the same issues would apply. Once you've played through it a few times, there really isn't any need to go back. If they added an xpac with more mobs and a way to randomize advancing the skills for each character, it would add a ton to the replay value. As is, it gets old pretty quickly.
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Re: OO Solo Board Gamers Guild

Post by YellowKing »

Some thoughts on DUNE: IMPERIUM solo:

- The game looks really intimidating, but at its heart is a very simple worker placement game. The incorporation of a deck-building element (which dictates to some extent what actions you have available to you) is one of the game's strongest assets. You can find your best-laid plans brought to ruin with an unlucky hand, but at the same time there are ways to mitigate that situation which keeps it from being frustrating.

- While the AI deck is essentially just doing 'dumb" actions every turn (IE there is no grand strategy to the AI's play), the AI deck is remarkably effective at being a spoiler and forcing you to shift strategies to counteract. I've also found it to be remarkably consistent in its point advancement, with both rivals staying competitive not only with me but with each other. In other words, at least so far, I haven't experienced any wild swings in the AI's point accumulation.

- The game really starts to shine when you become familiar with how the various resources and systems interact with each other. While you have multiple options for victory open to you, you're never going to have enough actions to be able to fully exploit them all. And the AI is going to block paths you thought were open. I love how the game keeps you on your toes, constantly shifting from one strategy to another in order to scrounge up victory points.

Really enjoying this one, and I've been thrilled that worker placement games have finally started to click with me. It's a genre that I've largely avoided up to this point, particularly for solo play. I feel like I've unlocked an entire new category to explore, and already have my next few purchases in mind.
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Re: OO Solo Board Gamers Guild

Post by baelthazar »

^ YellowKing, I got so enthralled in other games that I totally forgot I have Dune: Imperium sitting here, waiting for a play!

Speaking of solo play, I am trying to do the 10x10 challenge this year (ten games, played ten times) and I have been hitting the solo gaming hard this week. I finished up another round of Core Space, which was still nail biting and excellent. It is amazing how what seems like a very easy and straightforward mission becomes an insane rollercoaster in mere moments! I still haven't incorporated the Megacorps Workers, the Galactic Corps, the Gangers, or Scavengers but I imagine this will make the game even more interesting and dynamic. My only complaint is the long set up and break down time, but this is mitigated by a pretty easy flow to the game.

After that, I moved on to solo playing Anachrony now that I have the Infinity Box to make the game much easier to get out and play. For over a year, I had the game sitting on my shelf and did not get it played. Other games came in, I played them, moved on, always thinking "huh, I need to learn that one." Something about the rules and the time travel element just seemed so daunting. I finally got the game put into the Infinity Box and started to play.

Wow... was I wrong. The game is streamlined, pretty easy to pick up (if you know worker-placement games) and the time travel element isn't all that difficult to manage (think of it like stocks in the rail-road games, you acquire debt to get immediate gain for a turn). I would go so far as to say Anachrony might be my favorite worker-placement game of all time (pun intended). It OOZES theme, there is an ACTUAL backstory to the entire game (if you get the Infinity Box you get the backstory guide) and the backstory actually translates into the gameplay. Yes, if you strip it all away, it is an engine building that builds toward moving away from a central board to focusing on your home board. In that, the gameplay has some similarities with Wingspan (on a larger level), and it has the same tightness, brain burning puzzle, and dynamism. Before I knew it, I had played 4 times this week, once with each of the stock factions (the new faction requires playing with the a new expansion module). I am hopelessly addicted.

What really draws me in to Anachrony is interactions. A good engine-builder/worker-placement game needs to have neat combos, and this one has it in spades. You have to consider the super projects, the buildings, and your workers to make the most streamlined VP engine that you can. Each faction has different VP goals (they actually have two, a side A and side B) that will factor into the way you approach the game. It all clicks and feels thematic. Each faction has the same basic style, but somehow feels very different based on their slightly different powers and VP focus. The interactions demonstrate an amazing game design.

But my real praise comes from the solo-bot, particularly the new Chronossus. I have played a lot of solo games and many of them use a dice or card based "bot" that does what YellowKing describes as "dumb" actions. The Chronossus, however, makes moves that almost appear to be intelligent. It is less that the bot picks good combos (because the buildings is builds only matter for the VPs) but more that it tends to make moves that block your plans well. There were several times that I said "That little %$#@ just took the building I needed!" He also seems to be able to intelligently keep his momentum, by getting resources and recruits to get more points. My only complaint is that he is a little easy on default level, you need to add in some of his difficulty mods to really ramp up the challenge.

I haven't even scratched the surface because I haven't tried any of the modules, but I have a LOT of game content available. It is crazy that the Chronossus can also use the modules. I love the game so much, I am pretty sure I will late back Perseverance.

After that, I jumped into Dwellers of Eldervale last night. I was a tiny bit underwhelmed (particularly coming from Anachrony), but I think I needed to get a handle on the system with that first game.
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Re: OO Solo Board Gamers Guild

Post by YellowKing »

Played Dune: Imperium last night with the companion app and that's now my preferred way to play. The biggest feature is that it adds randomized market turnover. One of the biggest criticisms of the solo mode as it stood was that there was no way to refresh the market other than buying cards yourself.

The other feature I love, however, is that the app provides checkboxed explanations for every action you need to do for each enemy card. As a relative newcomer to the game, this helped me a number of times remember to have the AI commit troops to combat, or only garrison troops if they drew a non-combat card.

I pulled out a win on Novice level against the two suggested easy rivals, and frankly did find it rather easy. While I stayed fairly even with them through the first 6 or 7 VPs, I was able to crush them in the two final combats for 4 VP and easily take the win. I think I'll play one more game on Novice with a different set of rivals, though their signet ring abilities come up so infrequently I don't think it's going to make much of a difference.
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