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Imperial Settlers» Forums » General

Subject: Game Balance? rss

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Ori Markovitch
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Hey, I play the base game and I got the Atlanteans expansion lately.

I wanted to ask people who managed to play the game several of times by now in probably different expansions, several questions:

1. Do you feel the factions in base are balanced? A friend claims Egyptian is easy and will win most cases.
2. What about expansions? Do some factions get overpowered by certain expansions? If so, which gets which stronger in your opinion?
3. If you let each faction choose one expansion (like later rule books tell you you should do) does the game get balanced by everyone playing a certain (and different) expansion?

Just got interested with it and thought I should ask.
 
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Krisztian Posch
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1.Yes, it is balanced if you play with players of same level of experience.
2.We've just got the Atlanteans and after four games neither of us managed to win with them. Still, there are some threads which claim that in fact the Atlanteans are too OP so I guess it is just a matter of time.
3.We tend to mix together everything and don't separate out the expansions, but the game still feels balanced (but again, we haven't played enough with the Atlanteans to say whether that's the case if we use their cards as well).

When a game has asymmetric factions there are usually a handful of threads arguing whether one faction is better than the other. In case of IS our experience with the base game (which we played more than 30 times now) is that the game is well-balanced, even after you add the two empire packs in the mix. If I have one complaint it is that experienced players can usually beat the newbies very easily...
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Aernout Casier
Netherlands
Nijmegen
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First let me say I agree with the above. The factions work out well an balanced enough for us. Sure, there is the element of luck of the draw, but we enjoy trying to think on our feet and fix whatever bad luck we're having. The beauty and challenge of the game lies to some extent in that.

If, eventually, we feel a faction is less powerful than other factions, we might end up
* auctioning them (for points)
* using them to counterbalance difference levels of experience.
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Konrad Borowiecki
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Same here, the game is balanced.
The final result of the game is a sum of your action and luck of every player.

First experience against Atlanteans was the same as Krisztian's. Until I played my favourite Barbarians then I manged to come on top, simply because I feel this faction the most.

Furthermore re Atlanteans I think their win or loose in highly dependent, much more than in case of other factions, on the starting hand and first 2 rounds. If you do not manage to get production out in these two rounds you are doomed. They do not have good own production and need good common cards to pump them up with their technology to benefit the most from their VP engine.

Remember this is a strategy game and before you can claim any judgement you must play each faction a couple of times to get what they are about.

All the Best enjoy the game
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Ori Markovitch
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With the Atlanteans it's mainly a question of how much do you attack them and how much can they protect from it.
They have some ways to, for instance, pay 3 wood to gain 9 points, which is crazy. By using the right combination of Victory Tech and Simple Tech and Defense tech they are a faction that you have to lay your eyes on.
 
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Sebastian Zarzycki
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Poznan
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In general, the player who will be able to draw more cards, will win, no matter which faction.
 
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Jonathan Challis
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Szajko wrote:
If I have one complaint it is that experienced players can usually beat the newbies very easily...


If a game doesn't have this feature then it's more luck based than skill, and none of us would play it. It wouldn't reward skill and experience, nor have a need for many replays...
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Konrad Borowiecki
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rattkin wrote:
In general, the player who will be able to draw more cards, will win, no matter which faction.


(For the heck of it) I disagree as the recent experience proves it, my wife was drawing many cards each round and 'none of them' were worth playing as they were features or actions where production was needed. This was what sunk the Atlanteans.

For the completeness the above mentioned situation only took place once over many games.

In this game you need 'the right cards in the right time' so if you just draw the basic you can still win if it blends well with your engine.

Though generally speaking in most cases you are right yet still 'quality of the cards' you draw is more important then their quantity.
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Michael Johnson

Athens
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rattkin wrote:
In general, the player who will be able to draw more cards, will win, no matter which faction.


I believe this is true only if the other player(s) are not drawing many cards. For example, if I draw an extra 10 cards during the game, and you draw an extra 8 cards, it would be a stretch to claim that I'd generally win. However, if I draw that extra 10, and you only draw 4 cards... then, yes, I have put myself in a better position to win.

Drawing cards is an important facet of mitigating the luck of the draw. The more you draw, the better options you have.
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Sebastian Zarzycki
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KBoro wrote:

Though generally speaking in most cases you are right yet still 'quality of the cards' you draw is more important then their quantity.


Thing is, if you draw more, you increase your chances to get to the "quality cards". The rest is just food for enabling them.

Even if you draw 8 and I draw 10, my chances are just slightly better, assuming equal level of play. That's why I've said "in general". The skill in the game is applied to maximize you draw engine, the rest is just arranging the order of play, to get a maximum yield.

It's kind of interesting, it tickles the brain, but it also feels like a chore sometimes. But since the question was about balance, that would be my answer. The game is balanced, maybe just not the way you would think at first. That said, it's static game, meaning there is a "golden path" of your faction cards - to show up and be played at specific time, to get the most points possible. As with all good cards games, the trick is to handle the natural variance, because these most likely will not come in the expected order. The person who manages this better, wins. The way to manage it, is to extend your options. It just lacks a meaningful interaction. That's why (in my opinion), skilled player would probably choose Barbarians.
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Łukasz Wachowski
Poland
Rudnik nad Sanem (podkarpackie)
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1. The faction in base game is balanced in my opinion, but before we had any expanion Barbarians won most times.

2.
- Why Can't We Be Friends doesn't change the balance so much and gives a positive interaction especially for Aztecs. It;s worth to mix Aztecs with this expanion in games of three or more players, but not so much in 1v1.
- Atlanteans (exp, not faction) is balanced between base factions except Barbarians, whos get one powerful card that allow you to build one strong deck and tactic just around this card (One Machine Horse). The weakness of OMH deck is a fact, that it needs to ramp, so it may be easy countered by "siege" cards (that removes enemy faction location). If you are 1v1 and prepare for tournaments, siege cards are autoincluded vs popular Barb+Tech deck. I don't know how technology works with Aztecs yet.
- 3 is a Magic Number expanion supports builders deck, so fit very well with basic Roman tactics, but I didn't found it's OP for them yet. For sure this is an expansion that support ALL factions the most and allow them to hit 130 pints easly. It also increases the game time the most and its very passive (few interactions) and this is the reason I don't like this expanion so much. I found that Japanese are powerful there (the most onecolored cards - red). But the set-oriented deck have some weaknesses: in 1v1 they are weak vs Atlanteans + they have score cap its hard to pass so experienced players will win with you anyway. And Atl+3iAmn mix is weak as well.
- Aztecs (exp, not faction) are the newest expanion and I can't say if its balanced or now, but I found the japanese are VERY powerful here and I think the Japanese players will surely mix them with this expanion. They have new 3 powerful cards, especially the Dragon (+10 cards to support Praises). Befare praising Japanese civ.

3. If you have all expanions in your pool, I think the game is still balanced. Deck I propose:

a) Classical Rome (Romans+3iaMN)
Just support your rase+buildings. Autoinclude Proper World Wonder and key builders locs, save swords to attack other players (you have to need black anyway), don't raze cards from hand (it may be nessesary in few cases, but often better to pass). Grab ruins, greys and castles/towers in lookout. You need a lot of cards, so use workers on other resources only in crysis.

b) Junkrats (Barbarians+Atl)
Grab One Machine Horse and grab a techs a lot. You have a lot of deck space, so you can easly support your raising and drawing. You need drawing to build a OMH quickly. Grab also siege card to destroy enemy's siege card, so he won't be able to destroy your OMH.

c) Golden Empire (Egyptians+WCWBF)
This expansion include very powerful card to double your stored resources, which is autoincluded. You just focus on gold and milling it into vps, you don't need even an army (unless you play with Junkrats or Atlanteans).

d) Nile Deck (Egyptians+3iaMN)
Grab only gold/grey cards and focus both on building and milling gold. You have 3 main gold sources then: gold milling, easy sets and a Nile.

e) Statues (Egyptians+Azt)
Try to build up to 3 statues and support your score by milling gold. You need a lot of stone (or gold as wild) but each statue gives you 15VP.

f) Red Metropolis (Japanese+3iaMN)
Focus on buildings reds. You have very easy rotation so it won't be card to build them all and score from sets. Avoid deals so you replace deal support cards from your deck.

g) Silver Dragon (Japanese+Azt)
Grab a Silver Dragon and support your praises to gain a lot of resources. Then it's easy to score by them and also by new powerful mass apple->vp location. Grab also a siege card to siege an enemy siege card to prevent him to destroy your key locations (you have a lot of them). Don't forget about Samurai.

h) Best Friend Forever (Aztecs+WCWBF)
The best in 3+ game, but in 1v1 can also be good versus some factions. This deck allows you to gain a lot of resources, especially workers, which are extremely valuable good for Aztecs, but you also help your enemy, so try to increase lenght of your turn to make an opponent pass first, sou he wouldn't beneit, for example instead of exchange 4/6/8+ workers as base action, replace 2 each your turn.
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Ori Markovitch
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So no suggestions for Atlanteans with any expansion?
 
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Konrad Borowiecki
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@Sebastian now that is the answer I like, a complete explanation that the drawing more is simply a step in the direction of controlling the game.

As to Barbarians I could not agree more. Love those little 'green' buggers
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Łukasz Wachowski
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Rudnik nad Sanem (podkarpackie)
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I don't play by them (don't like the mechanic), but I found the Aztec expanion haven't really give them any good card.
 
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martijn
Germany
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As for the Atlanteans, I have a feeling that most newbies just produce a lot of steam that ultimately is not turned into anything useful, just wildly pumping out resources and not doing a lot with it. In the end, they usually just produce a lot of hot air instead of powering their economy correctly.

My experience with playing Atlanteans is quite the opposite from what others experience here. If your fellow players do not actively gang up on you and strategically destroy your action buildings (which will be the point generators in the late game) then I'd regularly score games in the 150+ points area... (including one 189 and one 237).

Production buildings are a must for every faction, so I'll leave that out for the moment. The great thing about Atlanteans is their ability to activate buildings several times due to technology and to produce a ton of VP with advanced tech - plus you can easily make it harder for others to destroy buildings or even giving you points when they do so (and I'd like to see Barbarians and Egyptians regularly spend 3 swords per building just to get that one option killed that generates points for you - when you easily build the next point generator on your very next turn that is also protected by shield-tech costing them another 3 swords...).

From what I've seen, the Atlanteans are the faction that profit single most from their fifth turn - after all others have passed they accumulate a devastating amount of points with card draws that you can easily gain through buildings that are powered with basic technologies. A 100 point gain in the final round is something that other factions cannot accomplish as easily(although Egyptians can do that in the same manner as the Atlanteans - activating buildings like crazy).

The most effective buildings I found for Atlanteans are the ones that let you generate gold and VP by building one color of buildings and saving that particular building until the last round (when Egy, Jap and Rome have activated their destruction/control-buildings). Then put that point generator out together with basic and advanced VP-tech as well as a shield(tech) and build all cards that you've collected from that color.
Save as many card-draw abilities until the final round so that you can draw a lot of cards in the final round without others disturbing you - either because they passed or because they lack resources to manipulate your actions.
This can result in amazing amounts of cards drawn/played in one game (my personal highscore was 86 cards drawn in a 3 player game, 30 faction, 56 common - needless to say that other factions can't compete with that amount of card draws). Granted - those were games where others would leave me alone most of the time and that strategy was changed in later games to harass me sooner, but nevertheless Atlanteans are a force to be reckoned with.
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