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Scythe» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Unbalanced White Faction- Am I missing something? rss

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Jesse Black
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I absolutely adore this game! I fell in love with it the first time I played it, and it's definitely a 10/10 for me. There's so much to like about it. I've played three times and gotten three victories thus far! The first game was by about 5 points, the second game I ended up around 65 while my other two opponents were in the low 30's, and my final game score (with 5 people) was about 47 while second place had 31. I think I have a good insight into what works really well in the game and how to score a win. Now that I have my highly sought after credentials out of the way (that's a joke by the way), here's my claim: all of the factions have some seriously great and advantageous special abilities except for the white one.

I can utilize and build strategies (or certainly incorporate my factional ability into my strategy) around all four other factional abilities, but the white ability to choose two options on an encounter card seriously pales in comparison to the others. If you focused your strategy around collecting the encounter tokens around the board, you'd certainly have less of a benefit from the ability because the advantage just isn't that great. First, the encounter cards rarely offer two amazing options. One is always pretty good, a second is always meh, while the third almost always can't compare with the other two. (who wants to give up a ton of popularity?). Second, when you play a five player game, the board is too tight for you to go frolicking around the board collecting encounter tokens without having several combat sessions. On top of that, if you lose a combat session with your leader, he gets sent all the way back home where he is far from any of the remaining encounters. Third, most players are generally attracted to the encounters. Why not have the options to choose from and get immersed into the world of Scythe? Therefore, they end up going pretty quickly because of the fun factor, not really due to the vast benefits. Fourthly, I think that the movement action is the least efficient one to take, unless you're simply trying to control more territories or initiate a combat. I will not expand upon that point here because it would take too much time. I can see how some of the White's mech abilities can help alleviate those issues, but I'm not sure it's enough to focus a lot of my efforts on grabbing the encounter cards.

Does anybody else agree with this view point? Is there a great advantage to having this faction? If you read this Jamey,
1. What were your thoughts in making this a factional ability?
2. Do you think it's equally as good as the Red faction's ability? That's my favorite by the way
3. What's your favorite factional ability?
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A J
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I think the ability to take two options from an encounter essentially jump starts your economy. It pretty much gives you maybe the equivalent of 1-2 extra turns per encounter you do. Being able to get some items and also pay money for 3-4 extra resources on your 2nd or 3rd turn is a pretty big deal, I think. Coupled with the ability to jump to an inactive faction's territory and take their "natural" encounter...I can't complain.
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Mus Rattus
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Encounter cards are pretty great. And being able to take two options makes them better.

Usually, one option gains you popularity while another costs you popularity. Being able to pick both and get the largest benefit (often a mech or a structure) essentially for free is very good.

However, you are quite right about the difficulty of getting the encounters before other players, and the risk of having your character sent home hampers your ability to grab those encounters.
Polania might have better luck at lower player counts.
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Mathue Faulk
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Check out this thread: http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1607475/faction-discussion-p...

Edit: Also, I think you're focusing too much on just their Encounter ability and not on their mech abilities. They can push people around without losing popularity, and pop up all around the board. The Encounters ability helps early, and the mech abilities help late. If you focus too much on the former then you're going to be inefficient.
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Paul Ferguson
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I don't feel it is unbalanced, in fact some players I played with whinged it was too powerful, that I got all of the encounter tokens, when in fact in only got 3 of 11. Their racial ability is a good one to kick start your economy, and gives you an early direction, but remember it only lasts as long as their are encounter tokens, then it is useless, where as all the other races, their ability lasts the entire game.
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Klaus Kristiansen
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Kongens Lyngby
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I have not yet played the game (I will get it the day after tomorrow), but others have remarked how blue's advantage is very powerfull for the first few turns, and not much use thereafter. It looks to me that white's is comparable. A jump start for the economy.

Others have called white overpowered because of Cameradery.
 
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Max Maloney
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"If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason." -Jack Handey
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Even doubling the first encounter in your starting area is significant. You probably get a building/mech/recruit/upgrade for cash and a load of free resources that lets you immediately take a second one. Similarly, your second encounter, if reached early, can be another significant accelerant.

Extra early resources and advancements in an engine building game are a big deal.
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Jonathan Kinney
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It's so funny how this works. After two plays there's one of my friends who is convinced that the White ability is WAY too powerful. And if the white player can get out and explore early (get that mine built) they can really get a jump on the competition.
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Jesse Black
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Thanks for the input everyone! I definitely don't think that white is overpowered, but I certainly see how you could have some pretty fun and unique strategies with white. I really appreciate the in depth article that was posted earlier in the thread. That article rocked! Thanks again everyone!
 
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Adrian Todea
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I won with White last game - encounter card that allowed me to build so I dropped the mine then went from there. Combined with Camaraderie and I got 6 stars in top Popularity.

I find most of the options are so good on these cards that you want to do them all so picking two is quite an advantage early on as most have suggested.
 
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Vivienne Raper
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We also felt the white faction was unbalanced two player. There's a huge amount of uncontested board space in the two player game, and my husband was able to fast-accelerate his economy with massive quantities of encounter tokens. In the early game, he'd already reached 3/11 tokens before I had any chance of stopping him militarily. I fell behind and eventually conceded.

I'm confident Jamey has thoroughly playtested his game at different player counts. As such, can anyone recommend how the other factions can stop this happening?
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Mathue Faulk
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veemonroe wrote:
We also felt the white faction was unbalanced two player. There's a huge amount of uncontested board space in the two player game, and my husband was able to fast-accelerate his economy with massive quantities of encounter tokens. In the early game, he'd already reached 3/11 tokens before I had any chance of stopping him militarily. I fell behind and eventually conceded.

I'm confident Jamey has thoroughly playtested his game at different player counts. As such, can anyone recommend how the other factions can stop this happening?

Red can get out to the middle faster than anyone. There is a thread about them gobbling up Encounters as well. I'm a 3p game, I took a bunch of Encounters with Yellow's base jumping ability, but white also won that game so I obviously wasn't effective.

With any other Faction, it could be smart to go Mine first instead of River walk, etc., so that you can move straight to there Metal River walk space. It could be a disaster too, but I'm just throwing out ideas.
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Matthew Brown
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I trust Jamey's testing but we have had 6 games with all different players of varying skill levels on white, and literally every single game white has won. I'm so confused. I'm searching for what we could he doing wrong. Every 4-5 player game!!!!
 
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Ponder Stibbons
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OfficialGAYMER wrote:
I trust Jamey's testing but we have had 6 games with all different players of varying skill levels on white, and literally every single game white has won. I'm so confused. I'm searching for what we could he doing wrong. Every 4-5 player game!!!!
that's odd, but not outside the bounds of reason for a balanced game. at the risk of oversimplifying: if I saw a normal, balanced coin land tails-up six times in a row I wouldn't bet money that it happens six more times, although it still might. i can, however, appreciate that you're checking to make sure someone has verified that the coin has two different sides.
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GAF Blizzard
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OfficialGAYMER wrote:
I trust Jamey's testing but we have had 6 games with all different players of varying skill levels on white, and literally every single game white has won. I'm so confused. I'm searching for what we could he doing wrong. Every 4-5 player game!!!!

Is white following similar strategies each time, even with different boards?

One of their faction abilities is the double encounter thing. Are they always chasing that or doing something else?
 
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Matthew Brown
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They have chased Encounters every single game. They almost always win the popularity track. I feel like next game I have to attack and purposely lose with workers in my space against white before they get their upgrade that lets them never lose popularity when sending back workers. But that doesn't seem like it should be part of normal balancing. I shouldn't have to explicitly attack white every game. Basically they get double encounters and never have to attack people. White didn't have a single combat the whole game. I know we need to attack each other more, but this is still crazy that we have to actively take white down or else they win by default it seems.

What's so crazy to me though is Jamey said white lost more times in his playtests than any other faction?!
 
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Ryan Malmberg
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From our plays (4 and 5 players), white is a juggernaut no matter who draws the lucky straw. Winning this game is 100% dependent on popularity, and Camaradarie is just too darn good compared to everything else. Last game, white trapped me in my home due to some lucky timing; had I pushed out, I would have lost popularity and guaranteed losing the game.

Submerge does not seem to be too good; however, it is still very powerful, especially when paired with Camaradarie. For example, yellow can can move to any inactive home base using Wayfarer -- this is pretty good for spreading some control; however, our experience is that homes rarely become inactive, and now you're on the edge of the map; meanwhile, Submerge allows you to stay near the center of the map with lakes evenly spread across the map.


ryudoowaru wrote:
Keep in mind that Camaraderie only applies when actual combat occurs, and Jamey has already verified that "displacing workers without actual combat" does not count, and Camaraderie does not apply.

We realized the detail on "combat" versus non-combat displacement thanks to Ryudoowaru and others. Clearing the rule should balance White for us, as we can now rush them with workers and force their hand if they look like they may run away with the game.
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Trevor Schadt
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Keep in mind that Camaraderie only applies when actual combat occurs, and Jamey has already verified that "displacing workers without actual combat" does not count, and Camaraderie does not apply.
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Ponder Stibbons
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OfficialGAYMER wrote:
I feel like next game I have to attack and purposely lose with workers in my space against white before they get their upgrade that lets them never lose popularity when sending back workers.
Note: only the attacker ever loses Popularity due to dead workers. if the defender accidentally squashes a few workers the proletariat just shrugs and goes back to farming.
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Trevor Schadt
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Rumbelow wrote:
OfficialGAYMER wrote:
I feel like next game I have to attack and purposely lose with workers in my space against white before they get their upgrade that lets them never lose popularity when sending back workers.
Note: only the attacker ever loses Popularity due to dead workers. if the defender accidentally squashes a few workers the proletariat just shrugs and goes back to farming.
Personally, from a thematic point of view, I think if the attacker brings workers with them and loses, the attacker should lose popularity because they brought civilians along as meat shields. Not cool, man, not cool.
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Matthew Brown
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Oh thank you guys. I think you guys may have figured it out. This might be the big deal change I was looking for. Because I wouldn't have lost popularity for displacing workers and I probably would have won with black.

EDIT: Nevermind, I misunderstood.
 
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Matthew Brown
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Wait, I just looked up the rules and it still sounds like kicking out workers loses popularity. Is this a major errata?
 
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Matthew Brown
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Oh wait, I just realized what you're saying. Camaraderie is the name of the white power that lets them not take popularity hit. I thought it was the name of the rule with displacement. So this doesn't change anything since white never attacked anyone.
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Greg
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Kicking out workers that are by themselves will lose you popularity.

Kicking out opponent workers when you are the attacker in combat, will lose you popularity.

Kicking out opponent workers when you are the defender and win combat will NOT lose you popularity.
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Michael Logan
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OfficialGAYMER wrote:
I trust Jamey's testing but we have had 6 games with all different players of varying skill levels on white, and literally every single game white has won. I'm so confused. I'm searching for what we could he doing wrong. Every 4-5 player game!!!!


I think it a big issue is it is obviously how white should approach the game and utilizing the special ability. it is also pretty obvious how to use reds ability. The other factions have abilities where it is less clear how to use the advantage.

I'd just assume that the learning curve isn't level on each faction. (This could end up being incorrect and there could be an imbalance, but if this ends up being true, everyone just just play knowing that the imbalance exists and try to stop the person who is starting with the stronger factions. The game should almost self balance eventually.)
 
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