Would have enjoyed pumping the volume on atmosphere, but I was mostly reduced to teaching. That's expected w/ complex game. But, I wasn't expecting the degree that occurred. The maps now I question for efficacy?
I’m tempted to write a Three Phase system of encounters, but I think that is not the mechanic needed here. I do like three depths: Subterranean, Beyond Deep and Abomination.
When combat is event driven, the other parts of the game must overcome that sacrifice of control. Game requires enhancement in two aspects.
A. Player feeling he controls his direction in Fog of War or a Grand Map.
B. Player feeling he is describing his actions overcoming obstacles.
Combat stays event driven to gain swagger and slaughter for intermediate loot.
Flip card loses completely the “I go here aspect.” How needed is that control? Is a choice of How to Go (Milestone, Hunch or Tactic) viscerally the same? For me it is, but I’m not a fan of freewill as illusionary. Blank map is a black unknown map. (Law 546)
Turn Sequence Idea
The Ref starts w/ Quest Complexity of forty+. Optional up or down w/ display of skills for preparations (advanced rules).
Each player round the table on his turn will select from three:
I. Follow Milestones and gain Catbird (+3) but only lower Quest Complexity by one.
II. Pursue Hunch (x8 Options) and lower Quest Complexity by two.
III. Added Tactics of Company (x8 options) and lower Quest Complexity by three.
Milestones stress stores and ranks increasing depletion. Could force Due Diligence.
Hunches brings forth denizens, added combat.
Addition of Tactics causes Mishaps.
After resolving what occurs, Depletion Mitigation and Due Diligence, Combat or Mishap, then Ref rolls 2D8 and sees if the company reaches Climax Challenges.
Climax can be flip card as well or schematic or underworld layout design. Lead-in of travel encounters is typical in free-style, adding to experience.
Each of eight Hunches and Tactics may be done once. Once adopted they stay Turned ON. All have flairs inside combat, so using them can add danger to combat (which is inevitable). Safe course is to press Milestones, until you run out of stores. But players are never a safe conservative bunch.
Maybe turn OFF Hunches and Tactics but then lose that benefit of minus two or minus three. Could group start with everything ON? Seems like a short gamingly game? More you use the more likely things go bad might also work. If the result causes wounds to character the desire will be lean on someone else to be the martyr.
Care to comment and also tell me what you find most memorable of say Cutlass as a reference for Delvers. I will also add my own brainstorming here.