View Full Version : Looking for help - Wandering Xykon

2011-10-10, 07:52 PM
Hi Everyone,

I recently received my copy of the Shortening and so far have been able to play 2 games. In the first, we used both the time limit and the wandering Xykon rules, but we hit our time limit before Xykon left his lair due to teaching new people to play. The second time we played, it was with 4 somewhat experienced players, although we were still on a learning curve with all the new shticks, loot, etc.

The problem we ran into was that it seemed nearly impossible to get past Xykon's attack/defense - 4 times. In the traditional game it would always come down to one player surviving long enough to get to the lair and then dumping all of his loot on one chance at killing Xykon. In the game we played, Xykon had accumulated enough of a horde that his stats were at 26. The best combat shtick anyone had gave a +6 or +7, leaving a gap of nearly 20 points to overcome (including the dice roll). Since nobody wants to pitch a bunch of loot and still rely on a really lucky dice roll, we would offer up almost all of our loot to other players for assistance to overcome his numbers.

Varsuvius was the first to try, and despite everything he tied with Xykon and resulted in a draw (rolled a 3). We quickly realized that each of us was going to have to dump all of our loot and still rely on a good roll (assuming all players were on the same floor) to harm Xykon, and the odds of doing this 4 times in a row before he could get back to the safe haven seemed slim.

One thing that hindered us was that we interpreted Turn Undead in such a way that it couldn't be used, since it says it cannot target Xykon and since he was the first monster in the stack we assumed it wasn't an option. I've since read that you can use Turn Undead, you just have to beat Xykon's defenses and it would affect all other undead in the room if you hit, just not Xykon. This seems to be the simplest way of getting Xykon's numbers into something more manageable, but we didn't know it was an option (I'm curious if other people have seen Durkon's Turn Undead wipe out the whole horde leaving Xykon stranded).

We were playing Durkon, V, Haley, and Belkar. Haley tried using Sniper to thin out the supporting horde, while Belkar used the shtick that allows him to move the lowest defense monster to the top of the stack to fight (I'd also like some input if this is a legal move or not). Aside from those and fireball, we couldn't think of anything else at our disposal to reduce his horde (nobody had any I Forgot They Could Do That Screw This! cards to eliminate his Assist ability).

What we ended up doing is adding an on-the-fly house rule that basically allowed a character to continue battling through the stack if they hit Xykon, just as if they had killed the top monster in a stack. This allowed those lucky enough to hit the first time a chance to whittle down the horde so that the next players had a better chance of hitting Xykon. By the time Xykon was fleeing, he only had 3 supporting monsters and so Haley was able to finish him off with a ranged longbow attack.

So if anyone has any suggestions or would like to share their experience on the subject, I'd appreciate it. The four of us playing were completely understanding of Xykon being tough, but I'd like to know if there's another approach to make defeating him a little more plausible.


The Giant
2011-10-11, 07:46 AM
There's not really any one suggested strategy for fighting an overpowered Xykon. Generally, the Wandering Xykon rules should result in a Xykon that is much weaker than the regular, full-game Xykon (who is supported by both Undead AND Goblins). There are only 14 Undead monsters in the game; Wandering Xykon starts with a base of 14 - level, so that when he begins on the 3rd floor down, he should have a base of 11. (Note that this is the opposite of original Xykon, who adds the level to his score rather than subtracts it.) To get a score of 26, that means he must have had either all 14 Undead monsters in play and/or at least one of the 5 Demon Roaches. So statistically, the likelihood of you getting a 26 again is very, very low. Whoops! Assist adds +2, not +1. Math is Hard. Most of the time in playtesting, Xykon ended up with a total score of around 18, which is much more beatable.

However, a lot of the strategies you mentioned were exactly the ones intended to help fight a killer group like that. The new shticks for Haley and Belkar that allow them to fight monsters not at the top are the best choices, though a lucky shot with an area effect shtick like Fireball or Turn Undead will also work to thin the herd. All of these can be used over and over again, and Xykon can only increase his horde if there are undead on the board that he picks up. Therefore, if Xykon is too powerful, it should be possible to utilize a "hit and run" strategy of picking off Xykon's minions and fleeing back to the Dungeon Entrance. Of course, this is not really a fast strategy, so it may not end up appreciably shortening your game after all.

Conversely, you can try to keep Xykon on the lowest level of the game, because unlike regular Xykon, Wandering Xykon gets weaker the lower down he is. Sure, it's only the difference between a 13 on the 1st level and an 11 on the 3rd level, but two points is two points.

In addition to the "I Forgot I Could Do That" Screw This! card that you mentioned, the following cards can also help:

Mano y Mano and Minion-ectomy: These Screw This! cards prevent Xykon from getting assistance for one battle. While this seems like an easy way to shave a Wound off of him, consider that there's nothing preventing you from using an Area Effect shtick in those battles. So, you reduce his Defense with this card, then lay on a Turn Undead or Fireball down, now that all the monsters below him no longer have his ultra-high defense to count on.

Surprise!: If any of the undead in the stack have a Range > 0, use this card to force them into attacking you. If you win, you can eliminate them from the stack.

Monster Team-Up: Use this Screw This! card to change Xykon's support to some other monster type on the same floor, then hit him with an Area Effect shtick.

Dramatic Shot: Basically, Haley's sniper shtick in Screw This! form.

Exploding monsters: Try luring Xykon into a room with an Exploding monster, then use something like Haley's sniper shtick (or a successful Area Effect) to pick off that monster. It will clear out every monster in the room except Xykon himself.

Elan's Poorly-Planned Illusion: If you can hit with this once, you can disperse most of Xykon's horde into adjacent rooms--or better yet, up the stairs to another floor. Once the horde is on another floor, Xykon gets no support from them. Just make sure no one goes back up or he might land on their room and pick them back up. The new shticks Marginally-Improved Illusion and Magical Advice can improve this strategy significantly, and Belkar can take advantage of it even if the monsters remain on the same floor by using his Let's Me and You Dance shtick to eliminate support from other rooms.

Belkar's Sexy Shoeless God of War: Boosting this shtick (such as via the Get Angry Screw This! card, or Vaarsuvius' Buff Spell shtick) will increase Belkar's Attack by +1 per monster under Xykon, effectively canceling his bonus to Defense.

Roach Motel, Vaarsuvius' Banishing Spell shtick: If Xykon is getting to 26, he must be getting some help from the Demon Roaches. These cards can help clear them out.

Finally, while this isn't useful for a Xykon who is already pumped up, try dumping your Undead cards onto the board as soon as you get them. If you have no Undead at the end of your turn, you have to flip a card from the Battle Deck...but the chances of getting an Undead from that are a lot lower.

Anyway, I think in the end, if you play the game a few more times, you'll find that a Wandering Xykon with a 26 is an anomaly, not the norm. Hopefully, if it happens again, some of these ideas can help out.

2011-10-11, 01:30 PM
Hi Rich,

Wow, thanks for taking the time to post all of these ideas and options. Definitely some things we hadn't thought of!

One thing that concerns me that we may have overlooked is that you mentioned that a score of 26 would mean that all undead plus a roach was in play. We actually had only 7 undead and no roaches, and we were counting them at +2 each for the Assist ability. So at level 2 he was base 12, plus the 7 undead (+14 assist) made for 26. Should that only have been 19?

Thanks again!

2011-10-11, 07:01 PM
Great post!

A lot of the suggestions that I would have made have already been covered. I do have one strategy to offer that hasn't already been suggested.

Durkon uses W.W.T.D. (at the very start of the game) to reach 20 cards in his battle-hand.

There is no good time to miss turns but very early in the game seems to be the least painful.

One of the guys that we regularly play the game with use to cheese everyone off by immediately resting SIX times in a row every time he played Durkon. He was going for a specific Screw This card, but would give up after his battle-hand got too big to hold in one hand.

It turns out that this gave him an almost god-like ability to play just the right card at the right time throughout the entire game. Add to that the nearly guaranteed chance that he would never lose a Screw This card meant by the end of the game he would have exactly the Screw This cards that he needed to take on Xykon single handedly!

He eventually stopped playing this way. Two factors: A) everyone ganged up against him every time (because he pissed us off) and B) he never won the game (because skipping six turns just costs too much).


Now that Durkon has The Hope of Returning Home the same cards counts can be achieved with only half the number of rests; making this a viable strategy once again. It really depends on how early that Shtick turns up.

In My Humble Opinion W.W.T.D. is the most powerful (single) Shtick in the game

P.S. I'm suggesting this as a nearly guaranteed way to get the I Forgot They Could Do That Screw This card by the time Xykon starts wandering. (also to hoard that card from the other players, which will make them gang up against you if they realize what you are doing).

The Giant
2011-10-12, 12:35 AM
One thing that concerns me that we may have overlooked is that you mentioned that a score of 26 would mean that all undead plus a roach was in play. We actually had only 7 undead and no roaches, and we were counting them at +2 each for the Assist ability. So at level 2 he was base 12, plus the 7 undead (+14 assist) made for 26. Should that only have been 19?

Geez, this is why I need to check every single card before answering. Yes, you are correct, Assist does indeed give +2 per undead. I was going by memory in the middle of the night and I should have double-checked before posting.

So, a 26 isn't as absurd as I had thought, though I would still say that getting half of the deck's Undead into play is "above average" for Xykon's strength. Still, all the strategies I suggested are still valid.

P.S. I'm suggesting this as a nearly guaranteed way to get the I Forgot They Could Do That Screw This card by the time Xykon starts wandering. (also to hoard that card from the other players, which will make them gang up against you if they realize what you are doing).

While unbelievably cheesy, this is also technically valid. While HoRH may make the card acquisition faster, the division of Xykon's Bragging Points among the four people who take his Wounds also makes it less effective for actually winning the game. Saving one Screw This! will only let you take 1 of his Wounds, other players will earn the points for the other three.

I think this may be part of the reason we gave Belkar and V shticks that let them "save" a Screw This! card for the final fight, too.

2011-10-12, 11:35 AM
Thanks again for verifying. I was kind of crossing my fingers for a +1 assist rule I missed somewhere. :smallsmile:

I'm getting my group together tonight for a 6-man game, we'll definitely try the new ideas. This game is still a blast.

PS - Not sure which forum this should be on, but I think adapting the character tokens to fit a 1" grid scale would be killer. Ever since the game came out I thought about how awesome it would be to have all of your D&D characters and monsters in the OotS style on the game board. Food for thought!