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Equilibrium - A game of deck DE-construction

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Isamoor
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Joined: 08/06/2008

Been tossin' this idea around in my head for a while now. Finally got it ironed out into a working game in the last couple weeks.

Dominion is a blast of a game, and there are tons of new designs borrowing the whole "build your deck" idea liberally. I say more power to them. I thought it might be interesting if one were to design a game that was about taking a deck apart instead. After some trial and error, I've landed on this design and called it Equilibrium.

The short spiel:

"In Equilibrium, each player takes control of a fledgling country and tries to bring balance to it's economic, political and military aspects. Beyond the theme, Equilibrium is a novel card game in which each player will slowly deconstruct an identical deck. To play cards into your play area, you have to remove other cards permanently from your deck. Score cards played will reward players for the cards left in their deck. However, each card left in their deck also scores -1 VP no matter what. Players can decide to end their game on any turn... once they think their deck has reached Equilibrium."

So what do I have done? Already a week or so of home playtesting. It's definitely playable at this point. Now I just need to beg a few more sets of well trained eyes to look over the rules and cards before I release it as a PnP over on BGG. Would anyone be willing to at least read over the rules?

I've posted a live link to a google doc of the rules:

http://docs.google.com/View?id=dhdx9f7c_2267p7nkgcr

As I make changes and fixes they'll show up automatically there.

I also have a very beta pass at the cards. I wanted to hold off a day or two to look them over again before I uploaded them to the geek. In the meantime here they are in a semi-convenient rapidshare link:

http://rapidshare.com/files/271030820/Equilibrium_8-24-2009.pdf

Thanks a bunch to anyone that even made it this far in the post.

Silly design mumbo jumbo:

Equilibrium plays really fast in practice. Easily clocking in under 20 minutes. It usually runs 7-10 turns at most. I've only playtested 2-player, but I've tried to make all the cards multiplayer usable.

The choices are hard though. You have to decide pretty early if you're gunning for being deep in 1, 2, or 3 colors, and what combo of colors for 1 or 2. That gives you about 7 normal paths and a few odd ball strategies thrown in there too.

My wife's response was: good game, much more thinky than I expected.

Anyway. keep on having fun!

scifiantihero
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Joined: 07/08/2009
Initial reactions:

I'll start by going through the rule book (that's what I read first).

"(Keep the Trash Piles slightly messy to distinguish them from the Draw Decks.)"

I'm sure there a ton of people out there who would be annoyed by this and find a better way to distinguish it. Maybe it would make sense to just use a better way in the rules. I would suggest having the pile turned sideways if it is also going to be face down.

"If any player wishes to be done for this game, they just declare they are finished at this time."

In a multiplayer game, I can see this quickly dissolving into 'I'm only done if he's done,' 'well I'm only done if those two are done,' 'well I'm only done if everyone else is also done.' 'well I want to wait and see what the first guy says.' There needs to be a turn order for the game. A rotating 'dealer-button' mechanic might be fine for this.

"If you declare you are finished, then shuffle up your hand and place it on the bottom of your Draw Deck."

Why not just the hand on the top of the deck? This makes it sound like it shouldn't matter:

"You take no more turns the rest of this game."

So, there won't be trashing during the cleanup will there?

"There is no need to pause for this phase, it is up to the players to speak up before play moves forward."

Ew. It sucks to be the person in monopoly who doesn't quite notice that their property is getting landed on. While games should certainly reward players for being attentive, this rule of yours seems like it will waste more time spawning arguments about how much time a player has to 'speak up' than it will waste if it simply said to go around the table and check to see if each person is done (which would be easy if there was a set order to check it in!)

"All players hold their chosen card out in front of them face down."

It might make it easier to know when to move on to phase three if players had to set the card on the table once they were done choosing it. (Imagine a Magic draft!)

"5. Optional: 'Free 2-Cost Score Card' " and "6. Optional: 'Others Pay +2.' "

These optional phases feel a little clunky, and they seem like a fairly inelegant way to just make sure players don't try to make each other discard all their hands from the 'pay 2' card before anyone gets a chance to put their 'free 2 cost card' into play.

If the two cost card were worded 'before you pay for this card, put a 2 cost score card into play' (or something along those lines) and the 'pay two' card said 'After each player has paid for their cards . . .' (again, something like that) it seems like the cards wold be clear without creating two optional game phases.

"Put the top card of your Draw Deck onto your Trash Pile without looking at it."

Is this randomness needed? In a nine turn game, I just lost 1/6 of my deck that I had no control over losing.

"Put the top card of your Draw Deck onto the bottom of your Draw Deck without looking at it."

Am I missing something, or is that pointless?

I haven't had a chance to play this, so keep that in mind while I talk about the cards a bit.

The "others trash +1" card seems very important to draw. It becomes more important the more players are in the game. I imagine the fifth player to find this card in a five player game is going to have very little chance of winning. The first player(s) to get one are in a much better position the more players are in the game. Also, the more players there are, the less choice one has in playing it; it seems like an automatic choice. This card might have some serious scaling issues.

Is the "others pay+2" card good? It seems like it cant disrupt opponents actually playing anything on a turn, so all it does is make them lose two cards they didn't need as much from their deck at the cost of you having to lose two cards that don't do much from your deck (and they are now up a victory point on you!). Early in the game, I guess this is clearly a terrible play. I can't really see a game-theorish choice of 'play a card that will gain me something OR play a card that has a small chance to end up having disrupted other players later in the game, while knowing that my opponent may be faced with the same choice' ever resulting in not playing the card that gains points on the first few turns. Later in the game I guess it becomes a clock to end the game on one's own terms, and might be quite useful. This presents an interesting choice of saving them in the early game to shuffle back into the deck and draw later, or using them to pay for cards. Which then I guess presents opponents with the choice of playing the card early in case you are saving one early. I still think it will usually come down to a choice of playing a card for points or playing a card for negative points (giving them to the opponent in the form of extra cards gone) in the first half or so of the game. So, it might be worth thinking about having 1/9 of the deck being a card you'll not like to play for half the game. (It's the opposite of the draw +5 card, in that drawing extra cards early rocks, but may be impossible late game. The way the game works though, that style of card fits naturally, but the other one seems like it might not.) Also, this card seems like it will scale poorly. I'm not sure if it gets better or worse the larger the game, though.

The 'score cards cost 1 less' card is obviously better the sooner it's played. That seems okay as long as the point where it turns from good to junk is not too soon.

It concerns me a little that once you get the 'cost 1 less' card down, the 'free 2 cost score card' becomes useless (since it could simply have been trashed to pay for the cost of the score card). So if you happen to draw the pretty sweet permanent, you don't ever want to see the related single use cards. If you use a few of the single use cards early on to save some cards, then you probably are at the point in the game where the related permanent is not as good any more. Would it make choices a little more interesting to ALLOW the discounting of three cost score cards if both economic discounts are in play?

(I don't have any comments on the blue political cards)

And now for some more general thoughts:

Would it be possible to have a little more individualization of the cards? Something like single use draw two for zero, draw five for one, draw 8 for 2 as a rough idea?

Is the math behind the scoring cards good/proven/ tested? I'd just hate for one strategy to become optimal.

I think the simple reminder text that i have to turn my head sideways to read is probably a little unneeded.

I'd love to see individual, flavorful pictures on the cards. Especially if I were going to pay for this game.

I think the cards should all have names. Especially if I were going to pay for this.

I'd really like to pay for this. I mean seriously, it's a deck of fifty-four cards. You should look into selling this. Those really are not that expensive to produce (I've been looking into it for a game of mine. Sadly I want to include about 300 wooden cubes with the cards . . . so it, uh, is kind of expensive to produce). You could just sell the decks individually (I don't think you need different colored backs, though it would be cool, and probably not any more if you produced a lot anyway!). That would mean that if me and my friends all played, we just each have our own deck, and get together to play. Or, if I want to play it with different people, I shell out twenty bucks for four-five decks and I can have enough to share with people when we play. It would also let you offer deals on multiple decks. One hundred of these decks with a rules sheet from 'Superior Print On Demand' (I totally wrote this whole post just to advertise them, by the way!) would cost $420.00 and then maybe ten bucks shipping? Sell them for five bucks each and you just made seventy dollars. Granted that isn't enough to quit your day job, but it also would be easy to do if you get this into a tested, awesome game (with name on the cards and really nice graphics!)

Also, it seems fun. And it seems pretty original. If it actually works, I imagine you could get a publisher to take a good look at this.

I would buy this game if it ends up being good. I bet a bunch of other people would too!

:)

sedjtroll
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Joined: 07/21/2008
Interesting idea

I think scifihero had some good comments, but also think he missed the point of parts of the game...

scifiantihero wrote:
"(Keep the Trash Piles slightly messy to distinguish them from the Draw Decks.)"

I'm sure there a ton of people out there who would be annoyed by this and find a better way to distinguish it. Maybe it would make sense to just use a better way in the rules. I would suggest having the pile turned sideways if it is also going to be face down.


Sideways makes sense, but I'll note that what Isamoor wrote is exactly what it says in Race for the Galaxy's rules.

Quote:
"If any player wishes to be done for this game, they just declare they are finished at this time."

In a multiplayer game, I can see this quickly dissolving into 'I'm only done if he's done,' 'well I'm only done if those two are done,' 'well I'm only done if everyone else is also done.' 'well I want to wait and see what the first guy says.' There needs to be a turn order for the game. A rotating 'dealer-button' mechanic might be fine for this.


When I read the rules I thought it was an odd time to declare that you're 'done' - seems like the end of a round might make more sense. However I haven't played it, so maybe it's a natural time after drawing your hand *shrug*

Quote:
"If you declare you are finished, then shuffle up your hand and place it on the bottom of your Draw Deck."

Why not just the hand on the top of the deck?


This sounded kind of odd to me too. I don't recall if you move any further cards to the trash after you declare Done.

Quote:
"All players hold their chosen card out in front of them face down."

It might make it easier to know when to move on to phase three if players had to set the card on the table once they were done choosing it. (Imagine a Magic draft!)


I don't think this would help. I believe the mechanism is intended to be like any other Simultaneous Action Selection mechanism, such as Mission: Red Planet or A Castle for All Seasons, in which players hold out their card face down, and when everyone's ready, they flip them all face up.

Quote:
"5. Optional: 'Free 2-Cost Score Card' " and "6. Optional: 'Others Pay +2.' "

These optional phases feel a little clunky, and they seem like a fairly inelegant way to just make sure players don't try to make each other discard all their hands from the 'pay 2' card before anyone gets a chance to put their 'free 2 cost card' into play.


I also thought they sounded odd, and maybe inelegant. I'm not sure why each card played is simultaneous, but I also don't see why it shouldn't be. Seems like the game could be very solitaire-ish, especially if you're choosing your play each round in secret out of a randome assortment of your deck.

Quote:
"Put the top card of your Draw Deck onto your Trash Pile without looking at it."

Is this randomness needed? In a nine turn game, I just lost 1/6 of my deck that I had no control over losing.


I think the point here is to remove cards from your deck for scoring purposes. However, without seeing what card is leaving, does that allow you to make any sort of decision based on what cards are left in your deck? It sounds kinda random.

Quote:
"Put the top card of your Draw Deck onto the bottom of your Draw Deck without looking at it."

Am I missing something, or is that pointless?


Yeah, is it? I admit, I didn't know why this would be - my only guess is to change up the deck in case you get through it and re-draw cards - this mechanism might make it so that you do not see the same combinations of cards (of course, since you play a card each turn, I don't know if that's a real concern).

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The "others trash +1" card seems very important to draw. It becomes more important the more players are in the game... This card might have some serious scaling issues.

I don't think this is true at all. Each other player only trashes 1 additional card, so it's not like you're getting 4-to-1 card advantage in a 5p game vs 2-1 in a 3p game. You're just getting 1 card on each opponent. this card comes out of the deck - so it's for scoring purposes. As you mention, they gain 1 vp on you for losing a card, but they also make opponents scoring cards worth less. I am not sure that the effect isn't simply random because you are just milling random cards off their deck (and out of the game).

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Is the "others pay+2" card good? It seems like it cant disrupt opponents actually playing anything on a turn, so all it does is make them lose two cards they didn't need as much from their deck at the cost of you having to lose two cards that don't do much from your deck (and they are now up a victory point on you!).

The scoring cards give you points based on what's left in your deck. Losing cards mean you will get to a point where you can't really go on ("equilibrium") earlier, and therefore you'll have fewer chances to play scoring cards. At least, that's the impression I got.

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It concerns me a little that once you get the 'cost 1 less' card down, the 'free 2 cost score card' becomes useless (since it could simply have been trashed to pay for the cost of the score card).

That's true for the first Score card you play after playing the 'cost 1 less' card... but note that you then get the discount again for each additional Score card.

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Would it be possible to have a little more individualization of the cards? Something like single use draw two for zero, draw five for one, draw 8 for 2 as a rough idea?

I also thought the variety of cards was pretty low - but to an extent that might be the point.

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Is the math behind the scoring cards good/proven/ tested? I'd just hate for one strategy to become optimal.

I don't know about that - I'd worry instead that there is no strategy. You draw a random hand of 5 cards, you'll play just 1 of them, removing 2 or 3 of them from the game and replacing the last 1 or 2 into the deck. What decisions that leaves I'm not sure.

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I think the simple reminder text that i have to turn my head sideways to read is probably a little unneeded.

You're welcome to ignore it! :)

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I'd love to see individual, flavorful pictures on the cards [and names]. Especially if I were going to pay for this game.

I was going to say "for a prototype this is not important" - then I remembered he was about to put it up on BGG for print and play. Of course, he's not selling it, so if it's cool I'm sure some BGG'er will make nicer cards with photoshop.

My biggest question about this game is whether you can reasonably play cards toward winning, or if it's largely luck and solitaire. People claim that Dominion is solitaire, btu they don't know what they're talking about. However I think this game is different in that you're not using shared resources, and you're also not really racing to get VPs or end the game like you do in Dominion.

Isamoor
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Joined: 08/06/2008
Thanks a bunch for the

Thanks a bunch for the feedback guys! I'll try to respond to it.

1. Is there any strategy at all?

Yes. I think there's quite a bit actually. Most of the score cards reward you for being deep in 1-2 colors. You need to determine very early (by the second or third turn) what colors you are going to strive for this game. Then you have to keep those in mind and balance what you discard to pay for things the rest of the game. It's quite the balancing act in your head to remember how much you've churned of each color. Determining when to give in and play a score card in a color you are supposed to be saving can be quite the difficult decision.

One thing to remember is that this is an efficiency game. It's not about shrinking your deck super fast, it's about efficiently playing solid score cards that will have solid synergy with what you have intentionally left in your deck.

The yellow cards help you be more efficient.
The blue cards help you be more selective in what you play *AND* what you pay with (Very important).
The red cards really hurt your opponents' efficiency.

2. Why trash one and put one under your deck every turn without looking at them?

Because otherwise I'd strive to keep an *EXACT* total of how many of each card I have burned. And to me, that's not fun. I'd rather be able to keep an *approximate* total. (Think of playing Acquire with closed stock. You can maybe keep track of 5-6 counts, but not them all. You get about the same feeling from 2 mystery cards disappearing every turn.)

It also adds a strong "push-your-luck" quality. I don't know how many times I've tried to squeeze one extra turn only to drop below the 9 blue cards I needed for a couple of my score cards.

3. Quit Phase

First of all, yes, putting them on the bottom is stupid. I'll remove that. Once they've quit they are completely out of the action.

Second of all, I don't see a problem with allowing people to quit in response to others quitting. Trust me, people will quit eventually or their score will suck.

And why is it at the beginning? Because I want to allow you to see what you drew. If you are shooting for 9+ red and 9+ blue and you draw a hand with nothing but red and blue out of a deck of ~23 cards... you're probably going to quit. If instead you draw a "Free 2-Cost Score Card" (that happens to be yellow) then you're probably going to try and squeeze in one more hand. It's actually quite the tough decision.

4. The two "Optional phases".

Well, what do you guys suggest? I need to let those "Free 2-Cost Score Card" cards resolve at some point. And I don't want there to be a turn order. And yes, it *does* matter what other people play (especially the "Most Red" or "Most Blue" style score cards).

The "Pay +2" could probably be worked into the payment phase just fine. I'll go ahead and do that. That leaves just the 2-cost for free phase.

5. Does the math work?

Yes. Common scores are in the 10-20 range. The more attack cards played the lower the scores of course. You might not pull positive your very first try, but I can almost always pull over 10 now. And I can do it using 1, 2 or 3 colors with any combination of color choices for 1 & 2 color decks.

Is there a dominant strategy? I don't *think* so. I'm controlling that mainly by the "VP for 5+ of 3 Colors" "VP for 7+ of 2 Colors" and "VP for 11+ of 1 Color". They are the big score cards that really signal how many colors you are going for. I've had to really nerf the 2-color one because you can combine it with the "9+ Blue/Red/Yellow" cards easily. The single color one has got a boost because there are only so many score cards for any single color.

If I make a couple decks for some playtesters, then my only balance question is going to be: "How many colors did the winner have 9+ cards in" for each play. (Which if anyone is interested enough to playtest this, I could probably send some decks your way.)

6. "Others Trash +1"

Not actually that dominant. Why? Because you've given up a whole turn without scoring points. All you've done is pretty much taken away a turn from everyone else. Well that and you *know* what cards you burned on your turn and they *don't know* what cards are getting extra burned each turn.

I'm actually happy with it's power level. And it's not any more powerful in multiplayer since it gives you the same relative advantage over your opponents no matter how many there are.

7. "Others Pay +2"

This is one that becomes obvious how painful it is once you play the game. Each hand, there will be some cards you DO NOT want to pay with. You want to stock pile those back into your deck for the scoring phase. When you get hit with a Pay +2, guess what cards get nailed? That's right, those cards you did not want to lose.

This card is the pain. Why play it? Because I *KNOW* what I'm feeding it, and I'm knocking the crap out of my opponents scoring plan.

8. Permanents are better earlier they are played.

Yup. Definitely. That was a design choice.

9. "Score Cards cost 1 Less" makes "Free 2-Cost Score Card" stupid

Yes. It does. Intentionally. Otherwise how do you ever resist using those Free 2-Cost score cards and go long in Yellow? Basically an early "Cost 1 Less" probably means that player is shooting for going long in Yellow. (So don't drop a "Most Yellow" score card unless you can outdo them.)

10. Add in more individual cards?

Probably. But playtesting and balance becomes an issue pretty quickly. Given infinite time, sure. Right now I think there's enough variety for my tastes.

11. Is it solitaire?

The interaction is not "in your face", but it is there.

The attack cards are subtle but effective. If you frequently get hit with Trash +1 or Pay +2 you are going to have to quit a couple turns before you want to.

The biggest interaction is from the "Most" rewards. I know this is fairly weak, but it's very similar to the goal cards in RftG, only you are self selecting what goals you are aiming for.

It's important to guess what colors the other players are collecting. *Especially* if you go the 3-color route. You can probably sneak a "most' reward still, but you need to know what the other people are doing to know which one to play.

Thanks so much for all the input guys!!! You are all an invaluable resource!!!

scifiantihero
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Joined: 07/08/2009
It's interesting to hear your thoughts!

I'd definitely want to try playing this at some point so I could tell you more of what I think.

A few things to clarify though. When I said the "others trash one" card is important to draw, I meant it gets hurtful if you DON'T get it soon, because in a big game probably someone will have one down pretty quickly (it seems).

I'm not sure being forced to trash a card every turn at random cuts down on the memorization. I'd still be memorizing, then subtracting a guess at how many of each color might be gone now. I do like the push your luck element that it adds. I still wonder whether it's too much luck, though. I'd have to play, I guess.

I think being able to quit in response to people quitting is great, I just want it to be clear who chooses first :)

Holding cards out once you've chosen them works. I guess I'd just be the type who'd want to put it down while I'm waiting, and would want it to be very clear when everyone was done, probably just cause I know people who'd try to say that they had still been choosing after a couple red cards get revealed. Heh.

Also, I like how this feels like it has a theme, even with little clip art, and even when I KNOW it could be almost anything.

:D

sedjtroll
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response to comments

Isamoor wrote:
1. Is there any strategy at all?

Yes. I think there's quite a bit actually. Most of the score cards reward you for being deep in 1-2 colors. You need to determine very early (by the second or third turn) what colors you are going to strive for this game. Then you have to keep those in mind and balance what you discard to pay for things the rest of the game. It's quite the balancing act in your head to remember how much you've churned of each color. Determining when to give in and play a score card in a color you are supposed to be saving can be quite the difficult decision.


I'm not saying it sounds like there's no choices to be made - my concern is that you might not have enough control over the game to make those choices in a worthwhile manner, especially at the beginning.

And my other concern is the solitaire aspect ;)

Quote:
2. Why trash one and put one under your deck every turn without looking at them?

Because otherwise I'd strive to keep an *EXACT* total of how many of each card I have burned. And to me, that's not fun.


I agree with you there, but it sounds like it might be a chore to be trashing and moving cards like that. Also, isn't the trashing enough to mess up your count? Moving a card to the bottom doesn't change the makeup of the deck at all, just the order of the cards, which you already don't know. I'm not sure how this is supposed to help.

Quote:
It also adds a strong "push-your-luck" quality. I don't know how many times I've tried to squeeze one extra turn only to drop below the 9 blue cards I needed for a couple of my score cards.

I see what you mean here, but still - you don't know what card you're losing... so I guess "push your luck" is right.

Quote:
4. The two "Optional phases".

Well, what do you guys suggest? I need to let those "Free 2-Cost Score Card" cards resolve at some point. And I don't want there to be a turn order. And yes, it *does* matter what other people play (especially the "Most Red" or "Most Blue" style score cards).


Why not just allow people to pay for a 2-cost Score card with 1 single "free 2-cost Score card" card? That's what happens in effect, you have to have both the Free card and the Score card in hand, you play one and pay with the other. That would clean it up a lot.

Quote:
7. "Others Pay +2"

This is one that becomes obvious how painful it is once you play the game. Each hand, there will be some cards you DO NOT want to pay with. You want to stock pile those back into your deck for the scoring phase. When you get hit with a Pay +2, guess what cards get nailed? That's right, those cards you did not want to lose.


However, playing it you have to just HOPE they have such a hand that trashing 2 extra cards kicks them in the nuts instead of just making them discard cards they weren't 'collecting'. There's no way to know that. It seems to me I would play this if I didn't have a score card I wanted to play (since I have to play SOME card each turn).

Quote:
11. Is it solitaire?

The interaction is not "in your face", but it is there.


This is certainly the case in Dominion. And I had forgotten about the scoring cards that are relative (Score for having more Blue than another player)...

However, I don't see most of the cards my opponents trash. I see the ones they play, but not their discards (I assume - since the trash pile is face down). So how can I really base a decision about having more Yellow in my deck than my opponent?

Quote:
It's important to guess what colors the other players are collecting. *Especially* if you go the 3-color route. You can probably sneak a "most' reward still, but you need to know what the other people are doing to know which one to play.

But can this realistically be done?

I'd like to give this game a try, I thought about printing out some cards but haven't yet. I would need 1 deck per person, right? That's a lot of ink. you could almost play this with a regular playing card deck!

Isamoor
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The trashing 1 and putting

The trashing 1 and putting one under isn't difficult at all. It takes MUCH less time than the shuffling in Dominion. It also become second nature to:

Pick up your deck.
Trash One.
Flip one under.
Deal off 5 new ones.

And it is developed to my tastes of imperfect knowledge of course. I'm open to playtesters trying it other ways.

"Free 2-Cost..."

Yea, I thought about just "Reveal this and trash it to pay for a 2-cost" but it breaks the whole idea choosing a card to play. Still, it can probably be done and should be done.

"Judging Opponents Play"

Just by looking at what score cards they play you have a pretty good idea of what they are collecting. It's not that hard to make an educated guess and throw down a last minute "Most Yellow" if you think everyone has been neglecting them.

"Others Pay +2"

If anyone else comes up with another good attack card I would be willing to try it out. In my plays thus far, this one *has* been painful and hit things I'd rather it not.

sedjtroll wrote:

I'd like to give this game a try, I thought about printing out some cards but haven't yet. I would need 1 deck per person, right? That's a lot of ink. you could almost play this with a regular playing card deck!

Heck, seeing as how you're the lead developer for an up and coming publisher, all you have to do is ask and I'll send you a prototype :) Give me an address and tell me you want it and it'll be in the mail.

I've got a couple prototypes printed on card stock and sleeved. They play just fine for playtesting purposes.

sedjtroll
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Well...

Isamoor wrote:
The trashing 1 and putting one under isn't difficult at all. It takes MUCH less time than the shuffling in Dominion. It also become second nature to:

Pick up your deck.
Trash One.
Flip one under.
Deal off 5 new ones.


I get that it's not difficult, but I still don't see a reason to put one card under the deck. It changes the order of the deck, not the contents. Also, do you even cycle through the deck? Maybe once near the end of the game (10+ turns at 6 cards per turn, you get through the deck around turn 9 - 8 if you're putting cards under).

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And it is developed to my tastes of imperfect knowledge of course.

The trashed card, yeah - true. but not the cycled card.

Quote:
"Free 2-Cost..."

Yea, I thought about just "Reveal this and trash it to pay for a 2-cost" but it breaks the whole idea choosing a card to play.


Um, no it doesn't. You still choose a card to play, play it face down, reveal it, then pay for it. It's just that if you have a "free" card in hand you can pay it instead of 2 cards for a 2-cost score card.

Having or not having this card in hand may factor into your decision to play a 2-cost score card or not.

You don't have any cards that cost 0, do you? Or cards that go back in the deck once played? those could be interesting I think.

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Just by looking at what score cards they play you have a pretty good idea of what they are collecting.

Oh, good point!

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sedjtroll wrote:
I'd like to give this game a try, I thought about printing out some cards but haven't yet. I would need 1 deck per person, right? That's a lot of ink. you could almost play this with a regular playing card deck!

Heck, seeing as how you're the lead developer for an up and coming publisher, all you have to do is ask and I'll send you a prototype :) Give me an address and tell me you want it and it'll be in the mail.

Well, I'd hate to abuse my "power" as it were... but if you're going to twist my arm then I guess I can't stop you from sending me a copy ;)

I'll PM you my address.

Isamoor
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Joined: 08/06/2008
sedjtroll wrote: The trashed

sedjtroll wrote:

The trashed card, yeah - true. but not the cycled card.

Yea, I suppose you could just skip cycling the card. I still think it helps add "mystery" to what is in your deck. You know you've only seen 5 out of every 7 cards. It means that you shouldn't depend on ONE particular card showing up because there are 2 cards per turn that are outside your control. (Although I tried to design the game such that no strategy should depend on a single card.)

sedjtroll wrote:
You still choose a card to play, play it face down, reveal it, then pay for it. It's just that if you have a "free" card in hand you can pay it instead of 2 cards for a 2-cost score card.

Sorry, what I said didn't come across quite right. I acknowledge your suggestion is functionally the same and very clean. The only rough part is: What would I put in the upper left corner of the "Free..." card? I'd lean towards either blank, a dash or maybe an X (Although I fear algebra's influence on what we think X is.) And if I put any of those, newbies are going to look at the card and go: "WTF? I have to learn more mechanics?" Whereas if I leave the Zero, they all know they can play that for free and then resolve what it says. Really, the "phase" in the rule book isn't that important. It was just my cludge to get around those annoying people who would demand another player show what card they were playing for free first. In that, I still think it succeeded.

I mean, come to think of it, if you let people reveal the "Free..." card during payment, you'd still run into timing issues. I can just hear "But if he used his Free card I want to take my play back and use mine...". Especially if both those players are collecting Yellow. The current implementation just avoids that entirely.

sedjtroll wrote:
You don't have any cards that cost 0, do you? Or cards that go back in the deck once played? those could be interesting I think.

I played with other Zeros. The other "Single Use" cards could easily be made "0". Although zero isn't zero really since you still trash one card per turn.

Cards that go *back* into your deck? That could be interesting. I'd lean towards them being colorless. Otherwise it'd break a lot of the "VP for 7+ of 2 colors" cards if some colors keep jumping back in.

I could see some:

"0" Cost cards that are paid for by trashing the top card of your deck or something.

sedjtroll wrote:
Well, I'd hate to abuse my "power" as it were... but if you're going to twist my arm then I guess I can't stop you from sending me a copy ;)

Consider it sent.

Isamoor
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Joined: 08/06/2008
So I thought long and hard

So I thought long and hard about why or why not a player should place a card on the bottom of their deck every turn.

In the end, I think I found the most important reason they should:

If a player does not cycle 1 card to the bottom of their deck each turn it becomes possible to track exactly what was trashed in the first pass through their deck.

If they know they only saw 15 Blue cards in the first 54 cards of their deck, then they know that 3 blue cards were trashed.

If however, they are cycling cards too, then they don't know if those 3 missing blue were trashed or stuffed on the bottom.

Of course, I know I'm not capable of keeping track of that much :)

sedjtroll
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Joined: 07/21/2008
You have a point

Isamoor wrote:
So I thought long and hard about why or why not a player should place a card on the bottom of their deck every turn.

In the end, I think I found the most important reason they should:

If a player does not cycle 1 card to the bottom of their deck each turn it becomes possible to track exactly what was trashed in the first pass through their deck.

If they know they only saw 15 Blue cards in the first 54 cards of their deck, then they know that 3 blue cards were trashed.

If however, they are cycling cards too, then they don't know if those 3 missing blue were trashed or stuffed on the bottom.

Of course, I know I'm not capable of keeping track of that much :)


I guess if the deck cycles before the end of the game then that does make sense.

Isamoor
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Joined: 08/06/2008
So after letting the design

So after letting the design sit for a few days, I've got some ideas I'd like to test out. Mostly tweaks around the permanents and cycling:

1. Try cycling Zero cards and see if it changes much. Obviously it would be easier to understand doing this since the general response is "Why did you have them cycle one?"

2. Try cycling Two cards instead of One. Theory: It would hopefully get all players through their decks twice. Right now you need to play a couple blue action cards to fully make it through twice. Additionally, it might squeeze one more turn into the game since your deck will be more diluted in the late game allowing for more profitable plays still. Or maybe not.

3. Give some VP for permanents. Right now I'm not super convinced they make good return on their cost. If I rewarded 1 / 3 / 6 VP for players having 1 / 2 / 3 Permanents played I think it would bump them up to solid plays. Is that too confusing though?

4. Yelllow Permanent. Silly thing. I think it's valuable if you want to go long in Yellow, but otherwise it's just not better than the "2-Cost for Free" card. Maybe if it made *all* score cards only cost 1. But would the strategy of an early Yellow Permanent and then spamming cheap 3-cost score cards become dominant? You'd still have to stop early to get them to be Fulfilled. This would get rid of the "Does the Yellow Permanent and Yellow Action combine on the 3-Cost?" ambiguity too which would be a nice side effect.

Anyway, things for me to try over the next week.

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