file New Blog - Gaming with BS

01 Mar 2016 17:07 #75617 by elotar
Replied by elotar on topic New Blog - Gaming with BS
Second: Deflection to all of them.

I don't like this idea at all.

Yea, dominate is better then celerity and clans without it are not so competitive. But is it a problem? No!

You yourself mentioned - if somebody really want to play "very competitive" gangrel they got crypt with dominate, if you really in need you can add it to blood brothers with skill cards.

But are you really in need?

Not really. TWDA clearly shows that you can win nearly with any deck, maybe not so often, but it's impossible to got absolute equallity. VtES I think by now got the widest diversity of winning decks from all ccg.

The other problem - criteria of diversity itself. We can easily get GtU, Conditioning and deflection to all disciplines, as vell as Vignes, Arika e t.s. Will get more diversity in clans (maybe) in TWDA.

But will it be real diversity if all the decks will be generally the same with different variants of the same cards?

Lack of bounce is the feature of the "lesser clans", the game will be less fun without it.

:splat: NC Russia
:DEM::san::nec::cap4:

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01 Mar 2016 19:16 #75618 by brettscho
Replied by brettscho on topic New Blog - Gaming with BS
Hi Elotar, thanks for contributing. I appreciate your posts, but I'm not entirely sure that I understand what you are trying to say here. It seems that you are suggesting that its not only ok that some clans aren't competitive, but desirable. That players should be forced to play Dominate if they want to be competitive (so anybody playing Gangrel without Stanislava is purposely choosing to have a less competitive deck. And thats ok.

Please feel free to correct me, but if that is your point, I'm honestly not entirely sure how to respond to that. I have to admit that this idea is rather contradictory to everything I think should be true in game design. Why even bother printing cards or clans or disciplines if they have no way to win or meaningfully interact with the game? If your best option is to slap Dominate skill cards onto your Salubri Antitribu, then why are there Salubri Antitribu in the first place? For that matter, if we want to have weak clans, why print anything to help them? Should the VEKN design team simply stop designing cards for those clans? If this imbalance of power is so desirable, maybe we should focus on printing better Dominate cards!

Looking at the TWDA, we indeed see that almost every clan is represented (save for Abombination and Nagarasa, but they basically aren't clans), but the numbers of representation simply aren't the same. Looking at the decks that I've separated into clan (2008 to prsent) major clans (so no bloodlines, no liabon) with Dominate got, on average 70.8 wins. Compare this to an average of 34.5 win for clans without Dominate. And that figure includes clans like Malkavian and Gangrel where a majority of the wins are coming from those crypts that have access to Dominate. If we remove those, the disparity becomes much worse.

And then we get to the truly pathetic clans like Nosferatu Antitribu. In those 8 years, they've managed to scape together a total of 5 wins. Without doing something to help that clan, we effectively say that they don't exist outside of "for fun" games. I agree that not every clan needs to be equally competitive, but saying that it's ok for a clan to have fewer than one victory every year (or claiming that this fact is desirable) is... well again, I don't know what to say. The idea that the only way you should play Blood Brothers is to add Dominate skill cards to them is again... odd to me.

As a quick aside, I think it is impossible to compare VTES to other card games to see which game has more "diversity" in their winning decks. It's really not a metric that gains us anything, and it's really impossible to say. But to suggest that VTES with it's 3667 has produced more distinct winning decks than Magic with it's 15625 cards is... statistically improbable. Hell, every year when they release a new set of cards, the same basic winning deck would change because some cards rotate out, while new ones become available.

Finally, I'd like to address this comment because it brings up a very good point:

Lack of bounce is the feature of the "lesser clans", the game will be less fun without it.

Well, it could also be said that not winning very much is a feature, and we should rigorously defend that "feature." But perhaps the more important question is why? Why is bleed bounce something given to Dominate and Auspex? Because Richard Garfield decided to give that ability to those disciplines. Really, all we're going on here is precedent. Jyhad gave those discipline bounce, and we've never thought to change that equation. Given how horrible the game balance was in Jyhad and the vast number of errata that the set sparked, I would suggest that it's a rather poor precedent to be following. And if nothing but precedent will sway you - look to Lost in Crowds. Even LSJ saw that confining bleed bounce to those discipline was causing problems. Even he wanted to extend that defense to other clans. He did so in a very tentative way, and it's failed to have any impact on the game. All I'm suggesting is that we take the next step, and make Lost in Crowds playable.

I'll leave you with this last thought. If we accept that that the best way to make a deck viable is to add dominate to it and that we should do nothing to help the unsuccessful clans, then I submit that tournaments should ban decks without Dominate. That would be in accordance with the rule that you must attempt to win.

Check out my VTES blog: Gaming with BS

I also host a google doc which separates the TWDA into clans . That means I track how often clans win, which crypt groups get used, and how many people attend events. You can access all of that info here:

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01 Mar 2016 20:38 #75619 by Ke.
Replied by Ke. on topic New Blog - Gaming with BS
It's more challenging and in-turn satisfying to win with a deck that does not play GTU and Deflections (or bounce in general). Add "Deflections" to all deck types and that challenge disappears.

Yes, many decks will be greatly improved with access to bounce. But if everything is essentially dominate then why bother playing something other than dominate?

The disciplines dominance is quite fitting given it's name and I believe having a clear "benchmark" discipline has probably helped a lot in terms of balancing the game.

When you're predator's first minion pops out with DOM you know you that any miss play could cost you 6 - 7 pool which raises the stakes, intensity and definitely adds to the game. If all decks had the same power level you wouldn't have that reaction.

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01 Mar 2016 21:30 - 01 Mar 2016 21:31 #75622 by brettscho
Replied by brettscho on topic New Blog - Gaming with BS
Very reasonable points, but let's be clear. The proposal is to provide all clans with a bleed bounce card that is strictly inferior in every possible way to Deflection. I'd argue that it's strictly inferior to every existing bleed bounce card with the exception of Lost in Translation. Nobody (not even somebody as crazy as am I) is suggesting giving Deflection or Govern or Conditioning to all disciplines.

Also, if you like challenging yourself, I think that's great. And there are a plethora of tools available to you: play a atypical clan strategies, play with powerful disciplines but not their most powerful cards (we have a local player who has a personal ban list), make unique combinations of disciplines, try to make a thematic deck (all primgoen!), etc. The list really just goes on and on. I happen to really like making cards that heavily feature bad cards. That's my own personal challenge.

But the question is - should there always be horrible clans so that you can feel challenged? Or put another way, should the VEKN sets specifically include bad cards so that I can feel challenged? Well, I'd say no to both. It's not worth telling a player "Oh, you like Clan X... yeah, we designed them to lose, so that other people could be challenged. Here's a Malk 94 deck." I assume that many players were introduced to the game from the RPG, and I assume that this remains one of our best sources for new players. Imagine if you wanted to play Legend of the Five Rings (another card game based around clans), and you read the theme & lore on one clan and really fell in love with it, and you wanted to go and play it. You'd be pretty devestated if you found out that clan had been designed as a "hard mode" for players who had already won with everything else.

Also, allow me to comment on benchmarks. What's the point of having a benchmark that is better than anything else? I think that it would be rather easy to create cards that are simply better than any. A more important benchmark (to my convoluted mind) is a middle of the road situation. Or a guideline for how powerful an "average" discipline should be for a specific aspect of the game. That way you can have some disciplines that surpass the benchmark (or average power) in one area, but fall short in another. As an example, let's say that Obtenebration is our benchmark for stealth (4 total cards, 3 cost blood, can get up to 5 stealth). Now we can start talking about disciplines that are worse at stealth, but better at something else like bleeding (like Vicissitude), or disciplines that are worse at stealth, but have a stronger focus on combat (like Celerity). To me this is useful.

But having a benchmark which is superior to everything else ever provides no useful information. Imagine creating a free card that says "Bleed with +100 bleed and +100 stealth, this cannot be bleed bounced." That would certainly be better but I have no idea what it means if we set that as the benchmark. Now obviously this is a ridiculous example, but if that benchmark is useless, why is a benchmark that is just a little bit better than everything else useful?

Yes, many decks will be greatly improved with access to bounce. But if everything is essentially dominate then why bother playing something other than dominate?


Forgive me, but I don't see how giving bleed bounce to other clans make everybody play Dominate. This seems akin to saying that Weighted Walking Stick or Target Vitals are similar to Potence cards and once they were released, everybody stopped playing other forms of combat and just used Potence. I don't know about your Meta, but I see WWS and Target Vitals a lot more than pure Potence combat.

Check out my VTES blog: Gaming with BS

I also host a google doc which separates the TWDA into clans . That means I track how often clans win, which crypt groups get used, and how many people attend events. You can access all of that info here:
Last edit: 01 Mar 2016 21:31 by brettscho.

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01 Mar 2016 22:05 #75624 by Zombieking
Brett, I do agree with your thinking that Lost In Translation is not good enough for its cost. I've almost included it in several decks but always cut it out before playing. It would be nice to have a slightly better version, and I do like your suggestions. It'd be a great tool for any deck to have.

However, my worry would be that it would then suddenly appears in almost every deck.
Y'see, I hate playing against someone with bounce - it's just so damn frustrating!
Ive seen bleeds get passed back and forth around the table like a tennis ball many times as it is - I dont like the prospect of that becoming even more common!

...or maybe I just need to find better strategies to deal with bounce?

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01 Mar 2016 22:55 - 01 Mar 2016 22:57 #75626 by Ke.
Replied by Ke. on topic New Blog - Gaming with BS

Yes, many decks will be greatly improved with access to bounce. But if everything is essentially dominate then why bother playing something other than dominate?


Forgive me, but I don't see how giving bleed bounce to other clans make everybody play Dominate. This seems akin to saying that Weighted Walking Stick or Target Vitals are similar to Potence cards and once they were released, everybody stopped playing other forms of combat and just used Potence. I don't know about your Meta, but I see WWS and Target Vitals a lot more than pure Potence combat.


Let me flip my comment, both apply: "But if everything is essentially dominate then why bother playing dominate?". Diversity is good.

Target Vitals is a good example of a highly effective low cost (not monetary) card weakening the appeal of a discipline. It's a great card — but why bother playing potence when you can just play TV + whatever ousting mechanic. I'm not convinced it's added to the game; if anything it's decreased diversity — the fact that it's commonly played doesn't negate that.

If every deck could bounce then that may lead to more diversity in terms of the types of decks played; however it I don't think that would necessarily increase diversity in terms of gameplay as by definition every deck could and most likely would bounce. The end result is less diversity in terms of game play.

I think it's a difficult thing to theorise — probably best to test it.
Last edit: 01 Mar 2016 22:57 by Ke..

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