I’ve played quite a few games when a player has the crown of command but has problems killing off the other characters due to free healing etc. The last example was the Druid who spent 45 minutes moving backwards and forwards around the board between the Chapel and the Healer. We couldn’t rule this as being futile or a stalemate as the Druid was building himself up and drawing cards rather than just healing. The Druid went on to be stronger than the character on the crown and went on to win the game.
I think with both the Crown then it should be highly tipped in your favour to win and just give the other players a last chance to make a quick run at the end. With this in mind I plan to implement the following table which boosts the strength of the command spell after you have been alone for 10 or more turns.
Turn 10 - Command Spell works on 3+
Turn 20 - Command Spell works on 2+
Turn 30 - Command Spell always works
Turn 40 - Command Spell takes 2 Lives
Turn 50 - Command Spell takes 3 Lives
Turn 60 etc
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I think the situation you've described should be left alone. The true problem with Talisman's endgame here is not that other adventurer's are too hard to kill off. It's that the game has so many freebies that anyone can and does get into the CoC without really building the superior, winning adventurer.
That's what the Druid player was doing, regardless that a less worthy adventurer took the CoC first. That's why the Druid was able to hold off the CoC long enough to take it. Yes, he was getting healing, but as you said, he was building up along the way as well. If playing the standard endgame, this is the way it should work. Seeking to shorten the game through changing the rules without changing the endgame doesn't make sense to me. Expedient perhaps, but it doesn't mean the most worthy adventurer truly wins. And if that's the way it gets pushed, it's no longer worth all the work to win.
Half the games I've won when playing the standard "king of the hill slaughters all" endgame, I wasn't the first one to the Inner Region, let alone the CoC. If you want to keep the game short, better to declare ahead of time that the first one to the CoC automatically wins. Make a race instead of a king of the hill endgame... though that usually means players do more toy gathering that actually building a winning adventurer.
That's how we play. After seeing TOO many people consistently fail, we decided that it just dragged the game on. However, we have pretty much played with other things in the end game (I've got BI 4th Edition versions of some of my cards from the my recent expansions), so it has never been an anti-climax.
Having said that, my girlfriend prefers it if there is a big slaughter in the middle! :D
"Shall I tell you what I find beautiful about you? You are at your very best when things are worst." - The Starman, Starman
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Yes, most of our games are now "race" based... and my wife prefers that to a dragged out game. Part of it for us is that we all build characters less based on equipment than pumped up S, C, L... and spells. We've seen many games in the past (even with only 3 players) where the standard endgame can last for at least half as long as it took for one adventurer to take the CoC first.
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