Variance should be Paramount

SWCCG game play discussion.
The_Emp
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Re: Variance should be Paramount

Post by The_Emp »

I personally look through everything from a balancing and trade-off perspective, risk and reward if you will. In my opinion that is how you continue to balance the game and keep it fresh and fun.
Taking a look at locations as an example - Increasing variance in locations potentially played should be something we strive for. It expands the Star Wars universe and keeps things interesting and reduces down the monotony of seeing the same decks played.
Therefore - we should IMO look at everything from a risk and reward standpoint. There must be a trade-off for having more certainty/lower variance:

Starting Effect/Objectives (highest certainty) that pull locations - pay more force to pull a location or perhaps limit the locations available (great suggestion by Hazardville as an example)
Non starting effect - (middle certainty) - pay less force for a location since they have to find it. (Yarna v is a great example but is destiny 6 so that can be weighed with making it cost force to pull or restricting it's locations for example)
Interrupt (lowest certainty) - pull locations for free but has higher variance where you might get a slower start if you don't get them into hand. Can also be balanced by lowering the destiny numbers (e.g. 3 or 4) or by specific locations that it can get.



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Re: Variance should be Paramount

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CrazyCatTim wrote:
June 9th, 2020, 10:04 am
I agree with some of the above sentiments that the game could be helped by slowing it down so that mid-game didn't start turn two. I don't really know how to do this, though. I suppose one way to do this would be to create a host of new Objectives that would encourage new decks, as well as adjusting power levels that currently exist in the game. In my limited experience I don't find downloading sites to be totally problematic, and I do wonder if a generic effect for each side along the lines of "if you did not deploy an objective this game, once per turn \/ a battleground related to your starting location" which would also make your generic sites immune to No Escape / Ounee Ta would encourage more decks with CPv and CRv (I'll re-state I don't know the v-card pool enough to know if this is a terrible, terrible idea). Anything that would allow me to both explore new deck designs, and feel like I have two to three turns to get things set up before I really get into it would be welcome, at least to me.

As a footnote to all this, I do wish there was an option to indicate on GEMP that you're looking for a "kitchen table" style game to test out your fun / bad / janky deck. It would give a nice respite for me to say that "this is my Figrin D'an throws a benefit concert at the Cantina deck" where I do want to use open cards, but my turn one is going to be to drop a musician at the Cantina, if you drop four ISB agents there you'll overflow me for enough that this game will literally be over in ten minutes and it's not going to be particularly fun for either of us. This wouldn't help the major issue in serious play that's being hashed out, but it would allow for more fun play. It would also help me do what initially attracted me to SWCCG as a wee young lad, telling the stories of the SW universe that weren't on screen.
A lot of what you said is key. My personal opinion is that we should reduce down the power level of cards so they are in balance with Decipher cards, but I think a reset is close that it's probably smartest to do it then (though I think it would be a great exercise for D&D to try it for the next set).

A way we can greatly expand the star wars universe of locations being played is by rewarding an opponent not playing an objectives with their locations and force activation. Create more TRMs? No, don't create high destiny interrupt pullers that pull locations for free (and TRM goes first). Allow an effect such as your suggestion to pull locations. You're primary perk only being locations and activations, without all the other perks playing an objective would give you. Now suddenly people will be battling on random planets and using random characters that synergize well with said idea etc.

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Re: Variance should be Paramount

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Berm wrote:
June 9th, 2020, 7:11 am
lastastronaut wrote:
June 8th, 2020, 11:17 pm
There is a false equivalence that "automatic setup" and "fast setup" are the same thing. You can give decks the tools to have low variance access to necessary cards, but cost them so they roll out slower. Slower roll out leads to strategic variance as opposed to pure draw variance - e.g. it's turn 3, and usually my play is to complete the next steps of my "plan", but since the game is rolling out a little bit slower, now I have an opportunity to make decisions whether that's more important or to take advantage of a point of weakness because my opponent is setting up slower too.
Making Starkiller base cost 1 to pull a location
Making Xizor's palace cost 1 to pull a location & Go back to 2 force to pull the square

Both of these would slow their objectives down to a turn 2 start realistically.
Sebulba doesn't need to deploy free to mos espa (still turn 1 watto but now the DS player can't draw up 5 cards).

Same for Old allies - 1 force to pull a location would slow it down as well unless DS put a bunch of icons out (as well as removing the +1 activation for jakku sites or changing it so only +1 at sites occupied by resistance characters).


A lot of things could be properly costed but still allow for a slower roll out.
Agreed with this sentiment. I was really surprised to see Sebulba's deploy free text.
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Re: Variance should be Paramount

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hyvee_doughboy wrote:
June 9th, 2020, 11:59 am
Just curious: for those who want to get away from too many free pulls and redraws, how do you feel about 3PO and 4-LOM which let you cycle through cards?

I’ve personally always thought they were bad for the game and were just as big of a contributor to lack of variance as other cards.

But... I’m not a good player either so I’d like to hear what the experts think.
These cards in my opinion, similar to a Rescue in the Clouds v, are bad for the game in general as the reduce down variance and get away from the original mechanics of resource management. However, if they costed something then you can justify them, e.g. pay a force to draw one like Janus Greejas or Mirax etc.
For the Tutors like I Must Be Allowed To Speak v and Bow to the First Order, it should cost losing a force to search for any card in the force pile or used. Tunnel Vision was a lost interrupt and was a low destiny is how decipher balanced it. Force Push v is balanced since it's once per game since it is a destiny 5. Force pile pulls are bad, like Like My Father Before Me v and Rey, vs Tikkes who was a senator.
Now one balanced way of creating the 4-lom etc is how D&D did it with Guri and Stinger v, I think that's good design and balance.

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Re: Variance should be Paramount

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stephengascrub wrote:
June 9th, 2020, 10:44 am
The best way to do this without changing text on a lot of cards, which I think is bad, is to create new starting effects. These effects would make you pay 1 or 2 force to search your deck, or search your deck after the first time each turn. I think it's probably a lot more elegant then changing multiple objectives, locations, and other cards. You are much more likely to have less lost in translation, which is important in a game that already has a lot going on.
I have long wanted to design alternative starting effects. The starting effects we have now basically amount to a rules change and 59 card decks. That card is just not customizable in competitive events. I think it would be great if you actually had options for this card slot, like the original shields that play 3 shields per game (or perhaps a virtual version that let you store unlimited shields and play 3), vs a virtual shield that gives you 4 shields but perhaps a drawback like you propose. Could even do another with 5 shields but a more strict drawback. Then players could opt for the 3 shields + main deck more shield pullers, or 5 shields with a bigger drawback but not main deck shield pullers.
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Re: Variance should be Paramount

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quickdraw3457 wrote:
June 9th, 2020, 1:25 pm
I think it would be great if you actually had options for this card slot, like the original shields that play 3 shields per game (or perhaps a virtual version that let you store unlimited shields and play 3), vs a virtual shield that gives you 4 shields but perhaps a drawback like you propose. Could even do another with 5 shields but a more strict drawback. Then players could opt for the 3 shields + main deck more shield pullers, or 5 shields with a bigger drawback but not main deck shield pullers.
If you ran with this idea, there could be a series of starting effects allowing different numbers of shield pulls along with a gradient of powerful supplementary effects and/or drawbacks. For example: (a) you get to play 1 shield, but you also get a powerful effect out of the gate, (b) you get to play 2 shields, but get a small benefit out of the gate, (c) you get to play 3 shields, that's all, (d) you get to play 4 shields, but with a small drawback, (e) you get to play 5 shields, but with a large drawback.

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Re: Variance should be Paramount

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hyvee_doughboy wrote:
June 9th, 2020, 11:59 am
Just curious: for those who want to get away from too many free pulls and redraws, how do you feel about 3PO and 4-LOM which let you cycle through cards?

I’ve personally always thought they were bad for the game and were just as big of a contributor to lack of variance as other cards.

But... I’m not a good player either so I’d like to hear what the experts think.
Along with my other quote above, I'll add that I don't think these cards are necessarily issues in and of themselves. The cost of card slots is not insignificant. I think we can make efforts to reduce too-easily cyclable pulls elsewhere that would negate certain card advantage scenarios.

Ex: why does Master Luke need to pull Force Proj free once per turn? This boosts TWHPS value specifically in Legend. If Luke costs 1 to upload it, the cost becomes a little more fair in general and negates the instant card advantage interaction with TWHPS (and as a sidenote that ties us back to OP: wouldn't Force Projection be a much more interesting card if it WASN'T pullable by Luke? It's still really strong but doesn't become an autoplay card that's guaranteed an impact every single Legend game).
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Re: Variance should be Paramount

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Master Luke mirrors Emperor. Emperor pulls a better card every turn.

I can see why some things should not be free, but I'm the opposite on location pulling. If you pull 1 site per turn, I think it should be free.

Sebulba being free, sure that can be seen as an issue. But since he is not a great card in any other way, and Watto already have other ways to get a "turn 1 flip draw 4 cards, save 1 for barrier" it really feels like nitpicking in the grander scheme of things. Rey, Jedi lev as issues we can discuss, but Sebulba is not really moving the needle imo.


As for set 12, we could have tweaked 100 cards and people would not be content (well, except the ones who want a Reset?). We did target free stuff (Mothma is not free anymore) but there was a maximum number of cards we could possibly change in total.
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Re: Variance should be Paramount

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Don't take this the wrong way, but why is there a maximum?
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Re: Variance should be Paramount

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CrazyCatTim wrote:
June 9th, 2020, 10:04 am
When I first returned, I heeded the advice of picking a deck for either side and getting to know it, so I set out looking at deck lists for a few decks, settled on some choices, and built them. In my early matches I found that if I had made a choice in deckbuilding to include a card that wasn't standard in those builds, it was sub-optimal, sat in my hand, didn't have a use, etc., so I'd drop it and add something else. My decks very quickly returned to the median version of that deck. It strikes me as somewhat ironic as a game that has "customizable" right there in the name doesn't particularly reward customization, and in some respects actively punishes it.
This sounds about right. Every deck has a pretty optimal build because you see so many cards over the course of the game. There's also a big stack of matchup-dependent cards that you run (for example, Imbalance combo vs Sorry About the Mess/Blaster Proficiency), which also chews up deck slots.
I agree with some of the above sentiments that the game could be helped by slowing it down so that mid-game didn't start turn two.
There's a ton of cards that pull locations, which is why the game is so fast. More activation -> more stuff to deploy + more cards to draw -> more stuff to deploy ...

Wesa/Speak/Sonic Bombardment v/We Must Accelerate Our Plans are part of that problem because you can pull 4/0 or 5/0 activation and be pretty close to midgame activation. The Diplo chain is another example of too much location pulling. My ideal draw is turn 1 Alderaan, Chandrila, Lars Moisture Farm v for a total of 7/2 (which makes up for the bad 3/2 location start).

Objectives that pull their own sets of sites are (probably) the best thing out of Special Edition.
In my limited experience I don't find downloading sites to be totally problematic, and I do wonder if a generic effect for each side along the lines of "if you did not deploy an objective this game, once per turn \/ a battleground related to your starting location" which would also make your generic sites immune to No Escape / Ounee Ta would encourage more decks with CPv and CRv (I'll re-state I don't know the v-card pool enough to know if this is a terrible, terrible idea).
All of the problem generic sites are Decipher. The text on some of them is kinda nuts (Forest that makes all of your characters fully immune to attrition?). The Spaceport sites are fair, though.

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Re: Variance should be Paramount

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The_Emp wrote:
June 9th, 2020, 1:19 pm
A lot of what you said is key. My personal opinion is that we should reduce down the power level of cards so they are in balance with Decipher cards, but I think a reset is close that it's probably smartest to do it then (though I think it would be a great exercise for D&D to try it for the next set).
"What Decipher power level?" is the question. Theed Palace/Reflections 3 had some cards that are crazy high power level (EPP Maul, Screaming Lando, ...).

I think the PC has done an overall good job at getting stuff at the right power level. There's fewer binder fodder cards, and they've fixed a lot of the "blowout" cards that Decipher liked (Sandwhirl + Ice Storm?).
A way we can greatly expand the star wars universe of locations being played is by rewarding an opponent not playing an objectives with their locations and force activation. Create more TRMs? No, don't create high destiny interrupt pullers that pull locations for free (and TRM goes first).
I like the idea of a fixed Operatives v deck. Start with a system and pull the relevant Spaceport sites. You'd get a bonus for controlling/occupying the matching sites. They aren't going to be crazy different, but starting Chandrila (and the 4/1 activation) would be different from Kashyyyk (cheaper ships) vs LS Kessel (drain 3 in space).

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Re: Variance should be Paramount

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Decided to go chronologically through objectives made by decipher and see how the location pulling changed.

Special Edition:
DBO -- only pulls generic sites (all 1/1 with one 2/1)
Hidden Base -- easily the strongest objective in the set based solely on location pulling. Can pull any system (many 2/1) with only drawback being drain for 1 until you flip.
Operatives -- only pulls generic sites (all 1/1 with one 2/1)
MWYHL -- none but the location it starts pulls a 2/0, 3 1/0, and a 1/1. Drawback being the 2/2 starting ratio (compared to 2/0 for HB)
RTP -- none. starts with all locations it needs on table (4/3 ratio)

CCT -- pulls a single 2/1 and 2 1/1 sites that it needs
HD -- none. starts with a 3/0 ratio
Operatives -- only pulls generic sites (all 1/1 with one 2/1)
ISB -- none. starts a 2/0 ratio
ROPS -- only pulls generic sites (all 1/1 with one 2/1)

Summary of SE: 4/10 pull just generic sites, most others only pull specific locations they need (never more than one 2/x), only HB cacn pull multiple 2/x locations.

Endor:
RST -- Use 2 to pull a 0/1 site needed for your objective. 4/3 starting ratio at time of release, soon became 4/1.

Endor Ops -- None. starts 4/3 ratio.

Summary of Endor: Kind of a step backwards from SE. RST remarkably has to use 2 to pull a 0/1, and EOPS can't pull any even though it needs another site out to flip.

Enhanced Cloud City:
QMC -- Use 1 to pull any related site/cloud sector. Includes many 2/1, a 1/0, and a few 1/1.

TDIGWATT -- Free pull for a 2/1 sector or 2/1 system, both needed for the flip.

Summary of ECC: QMC is first objective (and only decipher objective) that can pull locations for characters and locations for ships (cloud sectors). The use 1 cost is new and the pull is more open ended than any other before. Can pull multiple 2/x. TDIGWATT can also pull 2 2/x locations.

Enhanced Jabba's Palace:
Profit -- none. starts a 4/2 ratio.

Court -- can pull docking bays (1/1 or 1/0) for free. Starts 4/2 ratio.

Summary of EJP: No great pulling but these are the highest starting ratios for any objectives to date. All 4/x starts before were 4/3, and a few other objectives had 3/0 or 2/0 but no 4/2.

Third Anthology:
MBO -- can pull for free any Yavin 4 site (3 2/0 sites, a 1/1, and a few 1/0). Starting ratio 3/2 with major activation drawback until you flip (the 2/0s are 1/0).

SYCFA -- Can pull for free any DS site (a 2/0, a bunch of 1/0, and some 1/1). Starting ratio 4/2.

Summary of 3rd Anthology: free pulling of multiple 2/x sites. Lots of non-battleground pulling enabled. MBO can pull more 2/0s, but has drawbacks. SYCFA can pull just one 2/x, but not real drawbacks.

Death Star II:
TIGIH -- No pulls. 5/1 starting ratio with the drawback that if they get an imperial to the DB it is a 1/1 starting ratio.

BHBM -- No pulls, 2/0 starting ratio. Technically can pull emperor for an icon though.

DS2 summary: No location pulls here, high risk high reward in the start for TIGIH.

Jabba's Palace Sealed Deck:
AITC -- No pulls. 4/2 starting ratio most likely.

MKOS -- No pulls, but you are likely starting Tat:JP to pull multiple 2/1 sites and some 1/0 sites for free. 4/2 starting ratio.

JPSD Summary: Again no pulls for LS, DS gets possibly the strongest pulls via JP though of any platform, with no restrictions or drawbacks.

Reflections 2:
WYS -- can pull a 1/2 or 1/1 system but starts a 5/2 ratio. the 1/2 is a good system obviously but no way to pull a 2/x.

AOBS -- No pulls. 3/0 starting ratio.

Ref 2 summary: WYS sets a new precedent with starting ratio but can't pull much activation for you. AOBS matches HD standard but unusually can't pull the locations it needs to flip (a BG -- but with IAO out at this point it can be assumed that you at least have an easy path to flip).

Coruscant:

LS Senate -- No pulls, 4/1 starting ratio
THGG -- 2/1 system pull, but you can't actually play it until you flip (which took a while). 3/2 starting ratio

DS Senate -- No pulls, 3/1 starting ratio
Watto -- No pulls, 4/2 starting ratio

Coruscant summary: Basically no legit pulls here, since THGG can't play the system. LS senate getting a 4/1 ratio is new to the game

Ref 3:

WHT -- no pulls, 5/4 ratio

Dark combat -- no pulls, 5/4 ratio

R3 summary: Pretty weird pair of cards, seemingly meant to fill a different hole in the game/try something new. Hard to analyze this one.

Theed Palace:

WHAP -- no pulls, but once per turn activate is like a 2/0. 5/3 starting ratio.

Invasion -- free pulls of any naboo site, including multiple 2/1, multiple 2/2, a 3/2, and a 1/1. 3/1 starting ratio (with a ship on table).

Theed summary: These really upped the activation level. WHAP getting unconditional 1 extra force per turn, and invasion getting multiple free 2/x sites and a 3/2 site, not to mention a ship. This is the last set released and sticks out like a sore thumb when compared to precedents.

Conclusion:

I think a few specific objectives stick out like a sore thumb. The theed objectives, WYS as the only 5/2, maybe LS Senate as a 4/1. Very few objectives let you pull multiple 2/x locations without fairly significant drawbacks/costs. Starting ratios are usually just net +2 (with the above exceptions) unless they have drawbacks (or start 3/0, like AOBS and HD).

I think if we look at the history of virtual objectives made, we have consistently combined the highest precedents decipher gave us into a single card. 5/2 or 4/1 were the gold standard for virtual objectives due to WYS. Multiple 2/x battleground pulls were the standard based on invasion, HB, MKOS (via JP). Very few virtual objectives have actual drawbacks, just some character pool restrictions, which don't have the same impact as something as severe as MBO, THGG, or TIGIH. Very few virtual objectives cost anything to download like QMC does.

I think in the future, the new standard should be more in line with what Decipher commonly did. Usually have a +2 ratio, rarely if ever a +3 unless there are drawbacks. If you are pulling multiple 2/x locations, it should cost a force. Pulling non-battlegrounds is ok if there are restrictions on how much you activate or how much it costs. Should never start ships on table (it is clear that IE and diplo are a problem because of this specifically). Some of these can be bent but I just feel that it is standard to have +3 ratio, or free 2/x pulls, or a ship on table. Gone are the days where you could only pull a couple specific locations that you absolutely needed to flip. We have given every deck the right to start/pull 9+ icons, and that's something decipher only really did with QMC, Invasion, HB, and MKOS (MWYHL was close but had by far the worst starting ratio of any of these decks).

I haven't even mentioned Wokling yet, which takes SO MANY decks and puts them in the 5/2 category that was previously reserved for just WYS. Had Wokling not existed since the reset, I'm sure a lot more of these virtual objectives that are 4/2 would have been 5/2 if not for wokling already making them 5/2.
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Re: Variance should be Paramount

Post by The_Emp »

Apollyon wrote:
June 9th, 2020, 7:59 pm
The_Emp wrote:
June 9th, 2020, 1:19 pm
A lot of what you said is key. My personal opinion is that we should reduce down the power level of cards so they are in balance with Decipher cards, but I think a reset is close that it's probably smartest to do it then (though I think it would be a great exercise for D&D to try it for the next set).
"What Decipher power level?" is the question. Theed Palace/Reflections 3 had some cards that are crazy high power level (EPP Maul, Screaming Lando, ...).
Yeah that's a great point. So to me, being more specific, I think of balancing in terms of balancing to ALL of the Decipher cards. So the later level sets were clearly more powerful.
I think balance can be achieved by adding cards that improve upon the weaker Decipher cards, as well as adding cards to reduce down or penalize the more powerful Decipher cards. Focus on moving cards closer to each other so there is a real trade-off and tough decision as to whether or not you play a card or not. IMO making 'automatics' is bad for the game as it greatly restricts down the SWCCG card pool of relevant cards.

For example, you take something sucky like Jawa's or Tusken Raiders or Musicians or a alien specie and add more modifiers that benefit them when they are together, I think using the cumulative rule is a good solution to raise up lower power level cards by using synergy and rewarding when they are together, which is also risky because it relies on them being together.
A more powerful level card like Boba Fett Bounty Hunter or EPP Maul or Screaming Lando etc. you could do something similar to Mandlorian Mishap Vor Perimeter Scan V or even an effect that reduces down there power.

That's where I think it would be fun to tap into the minds and creativity of the community and hear what your ideas are on balance with weak cards and OP cards. Fun stuff.

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Re: Variance should be Paramount

Post by Jedicon »

quickdraw3457 wrote:
June 9th, 2020, 10:52 pm
Decided to go chronologically through objectives made by decipher and see how the location pulling changed.

Special Edition:
DBO -- only pulls generic sites (all 1/1 with one 2/1)
Hidden Base -- easily the strongest objective in the set based solely on location pulling. Can pull any system (many 2/1) with only drawback being drain for 1 until you flip.
Operatives -- only pulls generic sites (all 1/1 with one 2/1)
MWYHL -- none but the location it starts pulls a 2/0, 3 1/0, and a 1/1. Drawback being the 2/2 starting ratio (compared to 2/0 for HB)
RTP -- none. starts with all locations it needs on table (4/3 ratio)

CCT -- pulls a single 2/1 and 2 1/1 sites that it needs
HD -- none. starts with a 3/0 ratio
Operatives -- only pulls generic sites (all 1/1 with one 2/1)
ISB -- none. starts a 2/0 ratio
ROPS -- only pulls generic sites (all 1/1 with one 2/1)

Summary of SE: 4/10 pull just generic sites, most others only pull specific locations they need (never more than one 2/x), only HB cacn pull multiple 2/x locations.

Endor:
RST -- Use 2 to pull a 0/1 site needed for your objective. 4/3 starting ratio at time of release, soon became 4/1.

Endor Ops -- None. starts 4/3 ratio.

Summary of Endor: Kind of a step backwards from SE. RST remarkably has to use 2 to pull a 0/1, and EOPS can't pull any even though it needs another site out to flip.

Enhanced Cloud City:
QMC -- Use 1 to pull any related site/cloud sector. Includes many 2/1, a 1/0, and a few 1/1.

TDIGWATT -- Free pull for a 2/1 sector or 2/1 system, both needed for the flip.

Summary of ECC: QMC is first objective (and only decipher objective) that can pull locations for characters and locations for ships (cloud sectors). The use 1 cost is new and the pull is more open ended than any other before. Can pull multiple 2/x. TDIGWATT can also pull 2 2/x locations.

Enhanced Jabba's Palace:
Profit -- none. starts a 4/2 ratio.

Court -- can pull docking bays (1/1 or 1/0) for free. Starts 4/2 ratio.

Summary of EJP: No great pulling but these are the highest starting ratios for any objectives to date. All 4/x starts before were 4/3, and a few other objectives had 3/0 or 2/0 but no 4/2.

Third Anthology:
MBO -- can pull for free any Yavin 4 site (3 2/0 sites, a 1/1, and a few 1/0). Starting ratio 3/2 with major activation drawback until you flip (the 2/0s are 1/0).

SYCFA -- Can pull for free any DS site (a 2/0, a bunch of 1/0, and some 1/1). Starting ratio 4/2.

Summary of 3rd Anthology: free pulling of multiple 2/x sites. Lots of non-battleground pulling enabled. MBO can pull more 2/0s, but has drawbacks. SYCFA can pull just one 2/x, but not real drawbacks.

Death Star II:
TIGIH -- No pulls. 5/1 starting ratio with the drawback that if they get an imperial to the DB it is a 1/1 starting ratio.

BHBM -- No pulls, 2/0 starting ratio. Technically can pull emperor for an icon though.

DS2 summary: No location pulls here, high risk high reward in the start for TIGIH.

Jabba's Palace Sealed Deck:
AITC -- No pulls. 4/2 starting ratio most likely.

MKOS -- No pulls, but you are likely starting Tat:JP to pull multiple 2/1 sites and some 1/0 sites for free. 4/2 starting ratio.

JPSD Summary: Again no pulls for LS, DS gets possibly the strongest pulls via JP though of any platform, with no restrictions or drawbacks.

Reflections 2:
WYS -- can pull a 1/2 or 1/1 system but starts a 5/2 ratio. the 1/2 is a good system obviously but no way to pull a 2/x.

AOBS -- No pulls. 3/0 starting ratio.

Ref 2 summary: WYS sets a new precedent with starting ratio but can't pull much activation for you. AOBS matches HD standard but unusually can't pull the locations it needs to flip (a BG -- but with IAO out at this point it can be assumed that you at least have an easy path to flip).

Coruscant:

LS Senate -- No pulls, 4/1 starting ratio
THGG -- 2/1 system pull, but you can't actually play it until you flip (which took a while). 3/2 starting ratio

DS Senate -- No pulls, 3/1 starting ratio
Watto -- No pulls, 4/2 starting ratio

Coruscant summary: Basically no legit pulls here, since THGG can't play the system. LS senate getting a 4/1 ratio is new to the game

Ref 3:

WHT -- no pulls, 5/4 ratio

Dark combat -- no pulls, 5/4 ratio

R3 summary: Pretty weird pair of cards, seemingly meant to fill a different hole in the game/try something new. Hard to analyze this one.

Theed Palace:

WHAP -- no pulls, but once per turn activate is like a 2/0. 5/3 starting ratio.

Invasion -- free pulls of any naboo site, including multiple 2/1, multiple 2/2, a 3/2, and a 1/1. 3/1 starting ratio (with a ship on table).

Theed summary: These really upped the activation level. WHAP getting unconditional 1 extra force per turn, and invasion getting multiple free 2/x sites and a 3/2 site, not to mention a ship. This is the last set released and sticks out like a sore thumb when compared to precedents.

Conclusion:

I think a few specific objectives stick out like a sore thumb. The theed objectives, WYS as the only 5/2, maybe LS Senate as a 4/1. Very few objectives let you pull multiple 2/x locations without fairly significant drawbacks/costs. Starting ratios are usually just net +2 (with the above exceptions) unless they have drawbacks (or start 3/0, like AOBS and HD).

I think if we look at the history of virtual objectives made, we have consistently combined the highest precedents decipher gave us into a single card. 5/2 or 4/1 were the gold standard for virtual objectives due to WYS. Multiple 2/x battleground pulls were the standard based on invasion, HB, MKOS (via JP). Very few virtual objectives have actual drawbacks, just some character pool restrictions, which don't have the same impact as something as severe as MBO, THGG, or TIGIH. Very few virtual objectives cost anything to download like QMC does.

I think in the future, the new standard should be more in line with what Decipher commonly did. Usually have a +2 ratio, rarely if ever a +3 unless there are drawbacks. If you are pulling multiple 2/x locations, it should cost a force. Pulling non-battlegrounds is ok if there are restrictions on how much you activate or how much it costs. Should never start ships on table (it is clear that IE and diplo are a problem because of this specifically). Some of these can be bent but I just feel that it is standard to have +3 ratio, or free 2/x pulls, or a ship on table. Gone are the days where you could only pull a couple specific locations that you absolutely needed to flip. We have given every deck the right to start/pull 9+ icons, and that's something decipher only really did with QMC, Invasion, HB, and MKOS (MWYHL was close but had by far the worst starting ratio of any of these decks).

I haven't even mentioned Wokling yet, which takes SO MANY decks and puts them in the 5/2 category that was previously reserved for just WYS. Had Wokling not existed since the reset, I'm sure a lot more of these virtual objectives that are 4/2 would have been 5/2 if not for wokling already making them 5/2.
Thanks for the write-up on this. Great stuff!

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Re: Variance should be Paramount

Post by stephengascrub »

quickdraw3457 wrote:
June 9th, 2020, 1:25 pm
stephengascrub wrote:
June 9th, 2020, 10:44 am
The best way to do this without changing text on a lot of cards, which I think is bad, is to create new starting effects. These effects would make you pay 1 or 2 force to search your deck, or search your deck after the first time each turn. I think it's probably a lot more elegant then changing multiple objectives, locations, and other cards. You are much more likely to have less lost in translation, which is important in a game that already has a lot going on.
I have long wanted to design alternative starting effects. The starting effects we have now basically amount to a rules change and 59 card decks. That card is just not customizable in competitive events. I think it would be great if you actually had options for this card slot, like the original shields that play 3 shields per game (or perhaps a virtual version that let you store unlimited shields and play 3), vs a virtual shield that gives you 4 shields but perhaps a drawback like you propose. Could even do another with 5 shields but a more strict drawback. Then players could opt for the 3 shields + main deck more shield pullers, or 5 shields with a bigger drawback but not main deck shield pullers.
So much yes here! Obviously you’d want to be careful testing this, but I think something like this could add a lot to the game down the line at some point.
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Re: Variance should be Paramount

Post by macgyver221 »

I always liked QMCs philosophy of spend 1 to deploy a CC location. I thought it was pretty fair/balanced (in the context of the decipher cards).

In the era of V cards, it feels archaic and expensive.

It's kind of a shame that cards like KDYv and the old Siths Plans (that was it right?) that cost 2 to \/ a BG don't really feel as viable compared to the efficiency of some of the other engines.

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Hunter
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Re: Variance should be Paramount

Post by Hunter »

• Variance helps lesser players win against better players (on occasion).
• Reducing variance helps better players keep winning (more).
Certainly agree with both of these.
• More successful / popular games often have a healthy amount of variance.
I'm not completely sure which games you have in mind when you say that. But I bet that those games are still not as successful/popular as Chess, which has virtually no variance at all.

Chess is (in my opinion) as close as humans have ever come to designing The Perfect Game. Lesser players manage to enjoy games against players they cannot defeat. And stronger players manage to enjoy games against players who cannot challenge them. Its success and popularity don't seem to suffer for its lack of variance.

So then where do we draw the line for the "healthy amount" of variance that you mention? My measuring cup doesn't have a line for "healthy amount."
Because tolerance for variance is very strictly a matter of personal preference.
If you increase variance in a way that is pleasing for some players, it will (inevitably) cause the opposite reaction in some other players.
• Star Wars isn't really gaining a ton of players - certainly not a rate that exceeds how many we "lose" over time.
Okay, so let me leap to a conclusion here, and infer that you might be saying that if SWCCG had more variance (like those other games that are more successful/popular) then it could draw some of them to SWCCG. If those players *like* variance, then would adding a bit more of it to SWCCG be enough to make them like it *more* than the games they're playing now? Are they going to quit their game, and come to SWCCG, and stay? Or would this boost in SWCCG's variance only be enough to make them like it more than they would now, but NOT enough to stay? NOT enough to keep them from going back to the game they play now?

I ask this because I feel like you could give SWCCG a mild boost in variance and still have it remain *pretty* low-variance, relative to many other games (especially if we're talking about the CCG/LCG realm, specifically). Surely, some of SWCCG's players are here *because* they like low variance. If they liked higher variance, they have tons of alternatives to play instead. But if they like low variance...they actually don't. If you removed SWCCG as a low-variance option (to the point where people who enjoy more variance might like SWCCG enough to switch and stay) then those players who prefer the low variance might have a tougher time finding themselves a new home.

Just some things to keep in mind.

TL;DR:
1) Increase variance a little, and you likely won't succeed in drawing new players away from games of higher variance
2) Increase variance more, and low-variance fans who have played and loved SWCCG for many years may end up homeless. :(

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Re: Variance should be Paramount

Post by allstarz97 »

TL;DR:
1) Increase variance a little, and you likely won't succeed in drawing new players away from games of higher variance
2) Increase variance more, and low-variance fans who have played and loved SWCCG for many years may end up homeless. :(
This is actually a really good point.

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Re: Variance should be Paramount

Post by dillen »

havent read all posts. I actually like losing or winning because of bad or good play. Thats why I love chess too. Agree on the redrawing argument, that you can lower that one, but drawing a bounch of zeros cause you cant pull your sites is not fun at all. Players who love higher variance can also play an older format. For variance in decks. In every card game there are just a few decks played in the meta which are the best. In magic I hate getting manascrewed and not be able to have a game. You dont have as much luck involved as in hearthstone during game but are much more dependend on your starting hand if you dont play blue and cycle through your deck... I love swccg and the current meta since I came back few month ago and I am hooked although I never played with objectives or past ds2 in real life when I was younger.

ps: Agree on the point, that having 15 force turn 2 is a little much too. Its hard for decks who have to put stuff out early in order to get your activation out of the deck. also there could be less chars who add to destiny, but it is what it is :-)

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Re: Variance should be Paramount

Post by aermet69 »

I think there is a bunch of misconceptions going on already here. Nobody is talking about having a bunch of locations in your deck that you can't pull and it's super fine to draw them for destiny. I absolutely think locations should be resonably pullable, and I think Quickdraw made a super good analysis on that. I think there is some talk about the rate and cost of how you get these out. Diplo can, now for 2 force - previously for 0, pull a massive 8-3 on top of it's 4-2 and wokling. It's a bit more likely that you want to pull Alderaan rather than a tat-site turn 1, so let's say 7-2.
Now if Imbats couldn't pull a site for free and neither could diplo, maybe you used your entire first turn to get this boost - but that means you didn't deploy a pilot to tantive and didn't draw a bunch of cards either.

What there is talk about, as I hear it, is cutting back on the destiny redraw and out-of-phase card searching. There is a lot of drawing going on, particularly with Rey, outside the draw phase. Getting your "planet" set up is fine, but there seems to be some agreement to not also getting your characters and maybe whatever key interrupt you need (from Bow, Rey or Imbats for instance).

What I'm hearing, or at least what I think I'm hearing is: 1) cut back on the safety nets for bad destinies - which I think should boost proper tracking. 2) Cut back on the speed of the game. Both are somewhat related.

This all kinda reminds me of the Slave 1 package in legacy, and what pushed me from against a reset to pro reset - that the same 'packages' showed up in decks across the board. I think this is something we see a lot again. Personally I really dislike the Resistance package (Leia, Solo, Chewie, Poe, Rey, Rose xX etc.). Sure in Legend and OA. But in QMC, TRM, HothCPv etc.? Boring. Predictable. Non-variance in deckbuilding.

Swccg should definitely still be about good plays, and skill. It "always" were (maybe not always always, but for a long damn while - as long as I can remember).
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