file Theory in VTES - Risk in VTES

08 Jun 2013 22:59 - 09 Jun 2013 09:01 #49641 by Juggernaut1981
VTES is a game filled with managing risk.

Metagaming Risk is obvious in VTES. It's called Seating Scissors-Paper-Rock or VTES Ro-Sham-Bo or any countless number of other variations. It's the risk you had of bringing a knife to a gun fight.

Minion Risk is the risk of losing the investment in a minion. As time goes on, the risk in a minion decreases because you will have spent more blood, taken more actions, blocked more actions and generally seen results from your investment. (i.e. the 'loss' on a minion which was torpored on 0-blood = its cost in Transfers but the 'loss' on a minion which was Villeined for 6 is Cap in Pool + Transfers - 6 pool)

Pool Risk is the risk of being ousted within a given time frame (usually your next turn). Many players put this risk at about 10-pool-in-hand. Others, like a player from my group, Joe, runs at about 2-pool-in-hand.

Lunging Risk is the risk of spending all your available resources forwards to oust and your roll of the dice comes up 'snake-eyes'.

[Edit because of Robert Goudie's GREAT addition]
Draw/Hand/Card Risk is the risk of having ineffective cards in hand (either having ineffective cards, unplayable cards or cards which are currently ineffective). This risk manifests as the classic "Jam" (i.e. Stealth Jam, Master Jam, Hand Jam) and people attempt to alleviate the risk with the "crazy cycling" (or as I have sometimes heard it described the Lance Armstrong Tactic).

Many of the most powerful cards in the game act to reduce these risks or relocate these risks to other places.

Blood Recursion moves risk from your pool back to your minions.
Wakes/Reactions reduce your Pool Risk and Lunging Risk.
Metagaming risk tends to be mitigated by tool-boxing, but will transfer that risk into Minion Risk, Lunge Risk and Pool Risk.

[Edit because I thought of this part way through writing the reply below]
For an easier handle on it... Risk tends to flow in the opposite direction to counters (pool, blood counters). If you transfer counters into your pool you are transferring risk out. This analogy doesn't work well with Hand/Card Risk but I'm sure you can get it from the thoughts I plan to go through below.

So, for the more theoretical thinkers (ICL, Darby being two I'm thinking of in particular) should we consider starting to analyse cards for their abilities to mitigate these risks?

[Edit to make comparisons between VTES and other games]
From my own experience of MtG most of its 'risk' is found in Metagame Risk and Card/Hand Risk. Most of VTES's Risk, from my experience, is found in Metagame Risk, Lunging Risk and Card/Hand Risk in that order. I found MtG games to be highly metagame dependent and that bringing the metaphorical knife to a gun fight meant a very boring FNM. However, VTES Tournaments do overtly attempt to manipulate Metagame Risk between rounds, which leaves the majority of risk in a VTES tournament to be found in Lunging Risk and Card/Hand Risk. One of those is chance, one is decision making. I think that is one of the reasons why I still love playing the game: because more often than not, it is my own good or bad decisions which get me the results in the games... Not my bank balance (I'm looking at you Old Type 1 MtG where people own 60-card piles enough to put a 30-40% deposit on a detached home in Sydney), not because I'm 'out of touch with the times' and not because I just got screwed by 'fate'. Mostly, I win or lose because of good risks and bad risks taken during the game.

:bruj::CEL::POT::PRE::tha: Baron of Sydney, Australia, 418
Last edit: 09 Jun 2013 09:01 by Juggernaut1981.
The following user(s) said Thank You: self biased

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08 Jun 2013 23:41 #49642 by Robert Goudie
I like it. I think it would be interesting to group cards into the categories you suggest.

We also deal with risk when deckbuilding. Risk of a not having the right card at the right time...or having an unusuable card. Cards like Dreams mitigate that risk.

I work in a big Bank where risk is a huge focus. One of the things we do is set our risk appetite each year. How much risk you are willing to take could be re-considered each turn when you consider pool gain or hunting vs. aggressive actions like rush or bleed.

Risk does seem to be associated mainly with the idea of staying in the game and staying viable each turn. I think it will be interesting to see how the concept of risk is blended with all of the more offensive minded considerations.


Robert Goudie

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09 Jun 2013 08:44 - 09 Jun 2013 08:46 #49646 by Juggernaut1981
Using Risk to analyse some obvious examples.

Gird Minions
Type: Master
Move any number of blood counters from your pool to 1 or more vampires you control.

Why do we rarely see Gird Minions played?

Traditional Answer
Because you could easily get the same blood from hunt actions and still have the same pool.

Risk Analysis Answer
Gird Minions takes pool resources and converts them into minion resources. Minion resources are a moderate-yield-low-loss form. Pool resources are a low-yield-high-loss form. (i.e. Minions may give you more, but losing a minion costs you far less unless you get tricked by yourself into a Sunken Cost Fallacy).

You are transferring minion risk into pool risk and generally pool risk is a 'more dangerous' risk form. Most players would prefer to reduce their pool risk at the expense of minion risk.

Giant's Blood
Giant's Blood
Type: Master
Fill a vampire to full capacity with blood from the blood bank. Only one Giant's Blood can be played in a game.
Why do we have consensus that Giant's Blood should be once-per-game?

Traditional Answer
Because you get to fill a vampire completely for the cost of a card + 1 MPA. (Note: this is ALSO very similar to why you play Voter Cap in a Vote deck).

Risk Analaysis Answer
You have removed all of the accumulated minion risk from the minion, as well as done so for a low investment (1 MPA + 1 card) AND no doubt gained significant benefit from the minion as it accumulated its minion risk (i.e. it spent the blood preserving you or ousting your prey). Plus you do not need to take risks in your Minion Phase.

So you have:
- removed accumulated risk on the minion (i.e. it was on low-to-zero blood)
- this has cost you comparatively little (1 MPA + 1 card)
- you have already gained benefit while you were accumulating the risk
- there is no need for the potentially risky action of a hunt action with a minion that already contains high accumulated risk (i.e. limited blood)

Type: Reaction
Requires: Dominate
Cost: 1 blood
[dom] Only usable when you are being bled, after blocks are declined. Tap this reacting vampire. Choose another Methuselah other than the controller of the acting minion. The acting minion is now bleeding that Methuselah.
[DOM] As above, but do not tap this vampire.
Why is this card considered by many to be broken, and during deck construction it is considered worth the additional effort to gain access to this card?

Traditional Answer
Your predator helps you oust your prey.

Risk Analysis Answer
For very low investment (1 card, 1 blood and maybe a tapped minion) you can completely transfer all the risk of a predator's bleed action to another player. Doing so to your prey aids you in your goal and is why My Enemy's Enemy is so rarely played.

The risks transferred include:
- Minion Risk (you don't have to worry about blocking)
- Pool Risk (you aren't the one losing pool)
- Hand Risk (you only play 1 card, so your chances of drawing into numerous ineffective cards is limited. However you also cannot use the situation to enhance a current hand state particularly far.)

:bruj::CEL::POT::PRE::tha: Baron of Sydney, Australia, 418
Last edit: 09 Jun 2013 08:46 by Juggernaut1981.

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09 Jun 2013 10:35 #49647 by self biased
also, bounce cards are useless if your predator doesn't bleed you.

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09 Jun 2013 11:01 #49648 by Ohlmann
I don't see the benefit of this concept. Or maybe I just don't get the idea at all ; it look like saying (true) general statement in a confusing way and adding risk to the keywords used.

The "traditional" answer look almost alway significantly clearer and more comprehensive than the new one ; the main difference is that in thoses "traditional" answers you never talk about card flow while you do in the other ; but card flow is hardly a new concept in VtES.

Not sure how to improve since it seem I don't get it, but maybe making the "new" analysis shorter and clearer may help. To be honest, I would just remove all the "risk" talk and just talk about card flow, since it look like it is not a widespread concept.

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09 Jun 2013 11:28 #49649 by Juggernaut1981
Actually the point is to create another way to look at VTES. People traditionally have couched VTES tactics and card design from a viewpoint of:

- offence
- defence
- pool

By changing the terms, to things like "risk" you have the potential to see a common thread to cards and people's choices. I tend to view VTES as a game os complex risk-based decisions. Less a game of chance than poker, more of a game of chance than chess... closer to games like Bridge/Whist/500 (games where you can make something out of nothing by taking the right risks at the right times).

So yes, I don't care if you find the 'traditional answers' easier. They are familiar, I expect them to be easier and they are also distilled because we have all heard them.

My point about Giant's Blood is that it removes a lot of risk by refilling the minion. It becomes a simple decision to use the full minion, because the choice comes with comparatively little loss if it goes wrong. On the flipside, taking an action with a valuable minion that is low on blood... then you may decide to sequence your turn to mitigate that key minion being the one that is blocked. And so on. People already play VTES taking calculated risks, they think of it that way even if they never say it overtly. I want to extend the idea of risk beyond just 'taking this action or that action now' to talk about how the cards influence the kinds of risks there are in a game.

Voter cap removes the risk of playing Awe. Almost any vote is worth an Awe if you have a Voter Cap in hand. It also removes your own pool risk (by giving you 2 pool) AND reduces the risk of Lunging (since it bolsters you for basically lunging).

Lilith's Blessing removes hunt actions, as a byproduct of all of its text which removes minion risk. It also removes Draw/Hand/Card Risks by flushing out Master: Discipline cards. It allows you to avoid the risk associated with an empty vampire if you decide to drain it of blood (moving your 'pool risk' to 'minion risk').

And so on.

:bruj::CEL::POT::PRE::tha: Baron of Sydney, Australia, 418

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