The Circle Undone Frustrations
By - AnthonyDuricko
I consider the first two scenario XP farming grounds, definitely more easy than anything on the Campaign and easier than the House always Win (if played second) by far.
However I can understand why you think they are difficult, you don't know how to exploit their mechanics.
As you said it yourself, the Witching Hour starts easy, as long as you aren't too specialized (which is generally a bad idea in this campaign), you can go around the various locations with little problems. The only enemies are witches 3 of which have 2 on all the stats and only deal 1 horror. It's best to evade them or not kill all of them before the Priestess spawns.
Now if you don't know how to exploit this scenario, you'll probably advance the act as soon as you can. Bad move. Rather just get in advance all the clues that you need to reach the last act. As a matter of facts I usually get every single clue from the 5 locations before advancing the first act, because, as I said, I farm XP in these scenario.
After that you want to end the scenario in 2-3 rounds. On the first round you'll get rid of the goat spawn (possibly by passing the test or evading it) and move back to one of the initial locations ready to move from there to the witch's circle. By this time you should be already prepared to either kill or gather clues. Generally what I do is having a 2 clue gathering card (drawn to the flame, Intel Report, Look what I found, Deduction, Rite of Seeking, etc.), so I can move and investigate/gain clues two times so to gain all the clues from the location and end the scenario. you'll take AoO but that will only be 2 damage and 2 horror.
This is a solo strategy, but if you are playing with more than 1 investigator then you have higher chances of keeping the boss at bay for an additional round, but you don't really want this to last more than that.
You can also kill the boss instead, which is doable in one round as well, but that's not my preferred choice since it affects the last scenario.
Now let's move to at Death's Doorstep, aka the most cheesable and exploitable scenario ever made (yes even more than the Devourer Below).
On the first phase you only need 3 clues per investigator. Now there's so many ways to get clues that this really shouldn't be a problem, you might get extra doom, but honestly I usually only need 4 rounds to get what I need. Don't waste time parleying with cultists, ignore them, and that includes the one that gets a Doom every mythos phase, as a matter of facts the least time you spend in this phase, the least chances you'll have to get swarmed by enemies at the start of the second part.
If you aren't confident about getting clues in time, then just be sure to get Penny on the prologue and don't get any clue. You'll end up with 6 clues on the balcony which is a 1 shroud location. What else do you need?
Now before the second phase starts, you want to be on either the Balcony or the Billiard Room. Also if the Keeper of Secrets spawns, spawn it on the opposite site, in other words at the same location where Josef Meiger will spawn.
And here comes the beautiful trick, when the Watcher hunts it will hunts silver twilight enemies as well as you, so as long as you aren't closer to it than Josef Meiger is, just make it hunt Josef Meiger, on the opposite side of your location. Also remember that "Prey" is a tie breaker, if Josef Meiger is closer to the watcher than you are, watcher's grasp will still make it hunt Josef Meiger instead of you.
Just wait a few rounds to let the Watcher get close to Josef enough, and the rest will just be an effort to remove clues from the VP locations. Ignore every location that doesn't have a VP, you don't need those. Eventually the Watcher will defeat Josef, that's good, because Josef will go to the victory display, and you will gain 2 XP by letting the Watcher do the job instead of you.
You might end up needing to face the Watcher before the end if you aren't fast enough, but by that time you should be close to get the 4th clue and win the scenario.
Okay now you might be asking: "what if I want to save Josef?", and my answer is: "why would you even want to do that?"
Okay there is one advantage in saving Josef but that's a huge spoiler >!You can win the campaign at scenario 6, skipping the last two scenario, which, in my opinion, is very lame. Also it's not an easy task. !
Thats funny, the last time I played circle with a group of new players I let them make all the choices since I had played it several times already, and they managed to pull off your spoiler on what was essentialy their blind run.
Most people prefer to enjoy the experience and not 'game' it to death.
I don't know why you'd want to follow an on-rails strategy for a game that's meant to be an immersive narrative experience. This isn't a Super Mario speedrun, man.
I enjoy the game however I please, and I'm not telling you that you are doing it wrong if you are playing it otherwise, but if someone is complaining about the game being too difficult I assume they would gladly receive some of the inputs I can give them.
It’s called having a strategy, it’s something you develop over multiple play-throughs and it’s actually very rewarding. But I guess if you’d rather blunder through blindly every time in the name of ‘immersion’ then you do you.
If you get the Overgrown Barn in scenario 1 you can also dodge the goat spawn and other enemies that way.
That shouldn't work for two reasons.
The first is that the Goat Spawns (and the Dark Young) do not spawn on witch-haunted woods locations but on Arkham Woods locations.
The second is that someone needs to be at that location to activate the ability (and nobody will be at that location when the Goat Spawns spawn, as everyone is automatically moved to an Arkham Woods location right before that).
It is difficult, but so far nothing has surpassed og forgotten age deluxe box difficulty for me. TCU really punishes you if you don’t have someone who can get a lot of clues quickly. Also, TCU taught me that sometimes it’s wiser to just stock up on clues and prepare when you can rather than just advance each act as quickly as possible. Edit: typo.
Ha- I ran into that too-
Circle Undone was my first campaign after the core, so I learned early on to get ALL THE CLUES before advancing- I didn't realize that was unusual until I played EVERYTHING ELSE.
I personally think that The Forgotten Age has a harder opening set of scenarios than The Circle Undone. I actually started a TCU campaign yesterday and found The Witching Hour to be pretty straightforward, although it probably took us a little longer to find the first set of clues due to the locations we happened to draw. >!We ended up hacking Annette into submission!<. I think it's just being prepared and maybe specialization is a little more useful in this campaign, at least right out the gate.
For me Circle Undone was difficult, but manageable. I think we've actually been quite lucky on the last scenario and have managed to win in the last possible turn.
Worse for me were the rules which in a few scenarios were written in a really unclear way, to the point we had to stop and try to figure out what the fuck game actually wanted us to do. Like with >!the phantom in Wages of Sin that you Parley with then on the back side it tells you to disregard Parley and go for attack or something like that. We've gotten quite confused with this one!<
I've never had a problem with Witching Hour tbh. In fact I like it since it hands out a lot of xp and you're rarely under any kind of severe pressure from the doom clock. Death's Doorstep is a little tough the first time you play it but when you know what to expect it's basically fine.
Not sure where one is to get all the cards for Wages of Sin? Either they were missing from my pack or I misplaced them. had to print out a few.
I don't think the first two scenarios are all that difficult but TCU on a whole certainly ramps up difficulty, to a point where i'd say it's more consistently at a higher level than Forgotten Age. Enemies are rough, the treacheries that stick to you are a pain and most of the encounter decks don't offer much in the way of "mild" draws to catch your breath. Some scenarios like Clutches of Chaos are just relentless in the amount of crap they throw against you. Personally, i like that, but it's certainly an adjustment when coming from the other campaigns.
The one-two-punch of Secret Name, then Wages of Sin is a particular standout. I don't think TFA ever ramps up to a level of difficulty as presented by those two scenarios.
By bookkeeping you mean writing down stuff in your campaign log? True, TCU has a lot of that. Not sure i really think that's a bad thing, though.
I'm pretty sure the one with breaches and shit is actually impossible.