Band of Blades Length and Limited Time

I’m debating increasing the total amount of time to complete the campaign. My group feels pressure to advance after every session. They have 17 time left and just arrived in the Barrack Mines. This means they have 5 more advances to make, at a minimum of 10 time and 5 advances/sessions. Realistically this is probably closer to 13 or 14 time? Has anyone had success with increasing the amount of time you have to arrive at skydagger keep? Have I messed something up that is causing the game to be much shorter than it is for others?

These are the 4 missions we have run so far. The players have been aggressive in making sure they don’t get any time penalties on any missions so far.
Start with 3 Time. Complete Starter Mission rolled a 6 on the one pressure dice, time is now 6.
Plainsworth: +1 time (7)
Plainsworth +1 Time advance, roll a 6 on one pressure die after horses, time is now 11.
Long Road: +1 time, advance and roll a 2, time is now 13.

I’ve debated changing the time generated when advancing from roll Pressure-Horses to increase time by Pressure-Horses (no roll). This would give my group back 4 time, and allow them to feel more confident about spending an acquire assets on horses to gain extra time.

Your players have been a bit unlucky in their advance rolls. Maybe things will balance out a bit.

Obviously, if you add more time, the game will be easier. It"s like you make the goal bigger in football.

Rules say that you can lose this game. We arrived at Skydagger, I think with 1 or 2 time left. And that"s with a LTP we did to gain time by having allies stop the undead around Eastlake.

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Great insight here. Tools exist within the ficrion to add time.

Long Term Projects are a good suggestions.

If you’re dead set on hacking the game, might I suggest instead of adding more to the clock, instead adjusting the way Pressure rolls work, so that instead of advancingb the clock 1/2/3 ticks, it’s 0/1/2. This is an extremely simple hack to implement that requires changing nothing else in the game, and would ease things up considerably, I think, while still maintaining the tension of the game.

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Thomas’ suggestion is excellent. You wouldn’t even have to change the clocks or add one to the Commander’s role sheet.

That said, I would add that the worries the OP feels are normal. I don’t think many groups haven’t encountered a moment in their campaign where they thought : this or that (or the whole game) is too tough, what should we change to make it easier. For me, it was the secondary missions which were a problem. In the end we kept to the rules (in my game as a player) and finished the campaign, with a low score (95), but it was very rewarding anyway. But it also means that when I launch my second campaign as a GM, the expected difficulty will be an important part of the discussion.

Hey all, thanks for the replies, and I’m here with an update after 2 weeks and two more sessions.

My primary concern is not that the game is too tough, but that since you almost always have to advance, there essentially is no choice. My group definitely exasperated this by rolling poorly and choosing the long road. We probably should have done the time math and decided that was a bad idea. I think we where all still stuck in the “which route seems cooler” mentality.

I went with thomas’s solution of lowering the clocks to 0/1/2. I also ended up changing gallows path on the longer northern route. Instead of taking +1 time I made take two missions to progress through the pass. Essentially this forces the players to play out a mission for that +1 time.

The RAW timing still feels a bit off to me. There’s no reason to linger in any location for more than one session, other than the towns and mines to acquire assets. This seems at odds with some of the other mechanics, such as the spymasters long term clocks that get reset when advancing. Realistically it takes 4 sessions to fill up one of those 8 tick clocks, which seems almost impossible with the initial time requirements, especially if you take the longer road.

With 9 advances, and 3 starting time, and the 1 time from gallows pass you’re at a minimum of 22/30 time taking the long road. It seems like this rounds out to about 12 sessions. I’m hoping with Thomas’s suggested change this rounds out to about 16 sessions before the keep.

Otherwise I’ve been loving this game. My group meets weekly and we have done two games of Blades, and one game of Scum and Villainy so far, over the course of about two and a half years. We have been enjoying the new meta elements of Band of Blades.

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