Things Get Played - Kingdom Death: Monster - We don't talk about Gems Light...

Warning - This will get gruesome...

Last night, with more KD:M games looming next weekend, I decided to start my own solo campaign. Gems Light. I wanted to run through the game a few times in the hopes of starting a full blown campaign. I was tired from the heat, but I still wanted to do this.


As you might guess from the title, it didn't end well, but nonetheless I'm going to blog about it, and turn it into a learning experience... I hope...



For some reason I decided to name the survivors after gemstones, and after trying to recall more than about two name in the heat, decided metals could be used as well. Later I would just name survivors after things like Cordite, which in retrospect probably means I gave up on these survivors quicker than I thought I did..

Anyway, my previous times through this game had all started very positively as I recall, with survivors getting home in one piece, and nothing bad happening. This was different. Quickly surrounding the line, the survivors start hacking at it for a few turns doing NO DAMAGE! After a while, and a few hits back from the Lion, Plata got a crit on the Glorious Mane, and I start thinking of Lion Headdresses that should be made for these survivors. Things start looking up from there, until Emera starts constantly drawing the Clever Ploy trap card. Every time she swung, she would hit and get this card, causing her to get savaged more and more, and resetting the Hit Location deck. Eventually her mauling wasn't too effective, as a fellow survivor, Onyx, had his arm torn off at the same time he was gutted, killing him. Now near the end of the wounds on the creature, Ruby stepped up, sliced away it's most tender resource, and stabbed it once more for good measure, finishing the fight. 



I came away from the fight with a decent resource haul, down a survivor, but found 10 more. Gems Light was off to a positive start. It started to go downhill shortly after though, when I realised I would be best to use all my innovations to build locations, and not actually start up an Innovations deck as much as I would have liked. I also realised that I don't build the Catarium straight away like I remembered doing from a while ago, so I would have to wait to make some White Lion gear. At the same time, I forgot that crafting gear does not user Endeavours, so I thought I couldn't build any gear anyway! ARGH! My survivors were going out to hunt a Level 1 White Lion, and they had no new gear! On top of that, Ruby was at home staring at Lanterns, so Plata and Emera were going to have to lead the hunt for more another Lion. 

Things I Learned: You don't use Endeavours to craft gear. I should have crafted everything I could to go after the Lion, and probably have used all the fancy resources as basic ones to start off with, just to get gear into the Settlement to assist with everything later. 

The Level 1 White Lion was next, so I bowed my head and went in to the fight. I took two new survivors - Rubellite and Peridot. They marched off into the darkness, hunting the Lion. Due to the Graves Innovation caused by Onyx's death, the new Survivors had better understanding, starting with 2 thanks to another bonus I had picked up at some point (Which I can't recall at the moment). During the Hunt they picked up some more, getting a Story event which they failed miserably, but giving them rerolls on Random Events. Not only did the first event cause one of them to get a disorder, I used the second reroll to generate the same thing, creating two stragglers, and loading up on disorders. Why did I reroll the second event? Because I got greedy when I thought there was no benefit in the first one "and I could do better". 


It didn't go well. Aside from setting up the debris in the wrong spot (I realised this later), I thought I was getting into a good place with this Lion. Peridot lured it to the grass, then immediately did two wounds to it. Now this is where my heat-affected brain starts to come into play. The Lion goes into Ground Fighting, basically creating a zone where no one can melee it without being attacked first, for huge damage and speed. To end this, you have to wound the monster. Seems right to me. I spent some time moving my survivors into position, thinking I could weather an attack, strike back, and wound it. 

Not true. Within minutes of starting this Showdown, Rubellite is dead, and Emera follows soon after. My last chance is for the other two to run, I realise, and quickly start sending them away. Without the Monster attacking them at the same time, they managed to get away after a few turns and arrive alive, however Peridot was completely mangled (See above). Both survivors had taken enough damage to skip the next Hunt, but got to recreate it first! This went off without consequence (I can only imagine when asked "How did you go?", Plata recreated this by pushing over Peridot, kicking him wordlessly for five minutes, then dragging him away, while Peridot numbly accepted his fate.), and due to Graves I had a stack of Endeavours, but no resources to really use them with. Discovering I could craft without Endeavours meant I built a Skull Helm and Bone Darts for Ruby, so that they could attack the next Lion from a distance if it went into Ground Fighting. The other three survivors packed up to leave as well. I could have spent more Endeavours to try to trigger Intimacy, but at this point I was too cowardly to try, as I knew someone would die eventually. 

Things I Learned: After the fact, I realised I could have thrown a Founding Stone to end Ground Fighting, and that would have saved a lot of trouble. I probably should have risked the Intimacy event as well to try to replace the Survivors I keep sending to their doom. But I learned how to run away, which was important, however in hindsight I should have made the call as soon as I saw how much damage a Ground Fighting Lion does to survivors with nothing but a cloth to either run or spend a founding stone. 

Surely I have learned from my mistakes, right? I mean, at this point, I'm tooling up for the final battle of the evening to get some Lion resources. I started by immediately finding a White Lion cub, and having the father turn up. This was almost a relief after having so many bad things happen in the previous hunt, plus I got four resources to start with!




WHY DO I SAY THESE THINGS OUT LOUD! At first, I managed to kite the lion around a bit, and surround it, causing a wound and lowering it's speed. That puts it at the same speed as my survivors, which seems good until you factor in how many of it's reactions move it around. Ruby managed to get a mane from it, and Tempest (I gave up with names in the heat) got a claw. This meant it couldn't grab, which was going to help with my survival a bit more. This only seemed to anger the Lion though, as after a few more rounds, it knocked over Maelstrom and clawed his head off onto the stones. Moments later, he tore Tempest's leg off and left him for dead. At this point I thought I could still manage to get some hits in to finish the Lion, but it would be close (Oh look! Ego!). Ruby stood up to the brunt of a full on attack just for me to realise that I forgot to use survival for the other two! They could have lived! She managed to avoid having her head crushed, but laying down on the ground meant she was any easy target to be stamped on moments later and have her chest crushed. For a while, Cordite, the final survivor, made a good show. She was knocked down a few times, but managed to survive, and I was just two wounds from winning. Instead of going for it, throwing the Founding Stone, and trying to bit and claw my way to a win, I kept attacking normally, generating numerous bleeding tokens until she lost an eye, dying from the trauma and blood loss. 

I was done for the evening. Just after 2am, and I needed rest. I decided i had made too many mistake, but also head to learn from them, and start again. Which brought me to my final lesson...

Things I Learned: Survival. Use it. I'm not sure now how many times I could have used it and lived, but just forgot. It's a worry, but I'll be sure to use it in the future. Probably tonight, when I start a new game...

Which probably brings me to a good point about this game. I've seen people ask if the cost is worth it, if it is fun, and so on. I love this game. Last night, I spent hours watching a card-driven AI slowly destroy my survivors and plans, dice work against me, and my ideas crumble. This game will push you over, kick you when you are down, but it's still fun. I think that, for me at least, beyond the aspect of building something from scratch each time you play, and watching the story evolve in a pick your own adventure style of board game, there is also the element of success. I can't wait to play another Prologue knowing that if I plan better and use what I learned, winning will be easier. A triumph in this game isn't a victory that will last an afternoon. It's one that builds into something more, and like a good roleplaying game, can be discussed later with fond memories, just the same as the defeats. 


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