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Subject: This Character is Overpowered (Poll) rss

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Chris Smith
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So, I've seen in a few places in these forums, and heard during games, opinions that some characters are considerably stronger or weaker than others to the point it's very imbalanced.

I don't think it's all too bad, but I wanted to make a poll and get general opinions on each character. So please chip in and let us know what you think is weak, balanced, strong or just plain overpowered! I'd also love to hear particular scenarios where you've found an ability or special moment to work well, especially for the weaker characters.

Poll
How powerful do you think the characters of Kings of Air and Steam are?
  Weak Balanced Strong Very Strong (Overpowered)
The Emperor - Harvey Golding (Old Empire)
The Emperor - Reginald Kain (Capital)
The DaVinci - Aurelia Bayley (Transmogrify)
The DaVinci - I.S.A.A.C (Perpetual Motion)
The Sphinx - Victor Blane (Rail Baron)
The Sphinx - Eva Blade (New Construction)
The Rose & Thorn - Flora Kingston (Market Sense)
The Rose & Thorn - Bishop Kingston (Demand Control)
Kings Over Aces - Sebastian King (Gamble)
Kings Over Aces - Corey McQueen (Bamboozle)
The Sky Castle - Clint Castle (Expert Pilot)
The Sky Castle - Eli Diamond (Expert Mechanic)
The Godfather - Thaddeus Birch (Intimidate)
The Godfather - Ezekiel Crane (Steal)
      12 answers
Poll created by Smoothsmith
 
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Mathue Faulkner
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I don't think this poll is constructed as well as it could be. First, are you looking for the most powerful character? Or any and all overpowered character(s)? And what if I feel that they are all balanced?
 
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Mathue Faulkner
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Smoothsmith wrote:
mfaulk80 wrote:
I don't think this poll is constructed as well as it could be. First, are you looking for the most powerful character? Or any and all overpowered character(s)? And what if I feel that they are all balanced?


I was thinking to have people put down what they think are stronger than the rest of the pack, so to speak. So if there's 1 you think is unfair and the rest are even, put that, if there's 3 that're better than the other 11, put those 3.

If you think they're all balanced, just post here as you have ^^

Apologies that it's not well constructed, I don't really know how I can improve upon it from what you said, unless you just mean to edit what the post says rather than the poll itself.

Well, first thanks for putting together the poll. I know it's kind of a pain to do.

I think it could be improved by having at least 2 options for each character. Maybe 1) Overly strong, & 2) Balanced. Three options would be even more informative as you could include an option for 'too weak' as well.

Edit: Poll has been changed since the comment was made.
 
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Aaron Bohm
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The other thing that might throw off the poll a tad is that most people are going to judge a character based on the ability. However, there are strong characters with a late turn order and weak characters with an earlier turn order. Second, not all the ships are created equal and some upgrades are more efficient and cheap. Lastly the "special" card is different for each.

That's a lot to weigh.
 
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Chris Smith
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You're correct, it is a lot to weight. That's why it's difficult to look at and guess from a glance and is why I wanted to put a poll up on here.

My hope is that over time people will discover ways that a king is particularly powerful or effective and that it will become reflected in the poll.

Also, I'm more interested in peoples opinions and viewpoint on the situation rather than the maths of it. If I really cared which was mathematically best, then I'd try and do the math properly =P
 
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Mathue Faulkner
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I'm going to vote, but I'll wait until I can pull out the game and weigh the differences a bit more...
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Klure Junior
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mfaulk80 wrote:
I'm going to vote, but I'll wait until I can pull out the game and weigh the differences a bit more...


Yeah, i need a few more games with more of the characters abilities in play to know.

I think the Girl who can create a new track for $1 and get a free depot is kinda OP because she can get major ROI of VP for Money. In our game the person who played her was able to drop 4 depots for $4 because so many cities were one hex apart. He did not realize how powerful she was until too late and did not win, but it seemed very powerful to me.
 
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Mathue Faulkner
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klurejr wrote:
mfaulk80 wrote:
I'm going to vote, but I'll wait until I can pull out the game and weigh the differences a bit more...


Yeah, i need a few more games with more of the characters abilities in play to know.

I think the Girl who can create a new track for $1 and get a free depot is kinda OP because she can get major ROI of VP for Money. In our game the person who played her was able to drop 4 depots for $4 because so many cities were one hex apart. He did not realize how powerful she was until too late and did not win, but it seemed very powerful to me.

Oh, I just meant the instructions so that I can remember everything about the characters.

As far as Eva Blade (who I think you're speaking of), most setups don't seem to have that many 1-link rails.
 
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Klure Junior
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mfaulk80 wrote:
As far as Eva Blade (who I think you're speaking of), most setups don't seem to have that many 1-link rails.


yeah I do not remember having that many the first time we played, but we had at least 4 in this last game.
 
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Mathue Faulkner
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Someone (or a combination or people) think(s) very differently than me!

There are some interesting votes right now. Way too early to say much else though.
 
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Aaron Bohm
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Before I cast my vote let's see if I can break it down a bit.

So for turn order, for the most part, going first is better (with a couple interesting exceptions).

Turn Order Rankings:
1. Reginald Kain/Harvey Golding
2. ISAAC/Aurelia Bayley
3. Victor Blane/Eva Blane
4. Flora Kingston/ Bishop Kingston
5. Eli Diamond/ Clint Castle
6. Sebastian King/ Corey Mcqueen
7. Thaddeus Birch/ Ezekiel Crane

Next will be ships and this one could be tricky but it essentially boils down to storage and diamonds per level. Luckily 3 of them are identical and that's also identical to the base ship which is:

(turn order) [1st diamonds]-[1st storage]/[2nd]-[2nd]/...

(x) 0-2/1-2/1-3/2-3/3-4/4-5

The 3 that match it are:
1. Reginald Kain/Harvey Golding
2. ISAAC/Aurelia Bayley
6. Sebastian King/ Corey Mcqueen

Right off the bat, we know the Godfather's ship is slightly better
as he gets 1 extra storage one phase earlier with no other differences.

We also know that the Spinx is slightly worse, as through 2 phases it
has 1 less diamond with no other differences.

The last two are the hardest to place.

The Rose and Thorn has 4 phases that it is 1 less diamond from the "average" and 3 phases where it has more storage. Compared to the Spinx, it only has 2 phases it has less diamonds and 3 phases where it has more storage. IF diamonds are equal to storage, the R&T is technically better but things like when those phases are is important and I might say storage is less important but that double zero is really what persuades me. R&T; not as good.

Then there's the Sky Castle. 3 phases 1 less in storage from the average but 4 phases where it has more diamonds. Compared again to the
Sphinx it has 3 less storage, 4 more diamond. Compared to the Godfather it has 4 more diamonds and 5 less storage. I'm still inclined to favor diamonds over storage but this could go either way, a major question might be whether it's better to get an extra storage in phase 2 upgrade or an extra diamond in phase 3.

Really close, without being definitive I would place them as such:

Ship Upgrade Rankings:
1. Sky Castle [5. Eli Diamond/ Clint Castle]
2. Godfather [7. Thaddeus Birch/ Ezekiel Crane]
3. Emperor [1. Reginald Kain/Harvey Golding]
3. DaVinci [2. ISAAC/Aurelia Bayley]
3. Kings over Aces [6. Sebastian King/ Corey Mcqueen]
4. Spinx [3. Victor Blane/Eva Blane]
5. Rose and Thorn [4. Flora Kingston/ Bishop Kingston]


Special cards. Another tricky one, even moreso. Cards and powers are going to get into the territory of subjective so I'll just post what I think and give my rationale afterwards.

Special Card Ranking:
1. [3. Victor Blane/Eva Blane]: Move 2 and ship 1 good
2. [1. Reginald Kain/Harvey Golding]: No move, load unload, +1 action
3. [4. Flora Kingston/ Bishop Kingston]: Move 2 twice
4. [7. Thaddeus Birch/ Ezekiel Crane]: Move 0 to 2 and steal 1 good
5. [5. Eli Diamond/ Clint Castle]: Move 6
6. [2. ISAAC/Aurelia Bayley]: Move 7 in a straight line
7. [6. Sebastian King/ Corey Mcqueen]: Move 0 to 3

Rationale

First off, I'm a sucker for extra actions. Worst case scenario, you buy a depot for $4 and make 6 victory points, right? So the first characters where ones I picked due to the ability to get some kind of extra action in.

Move 2 and ship 1 good: This probably one of my favorites and my top pick. Cost is 1 diamond, so it can be used as soon as 1 upgrade. This allows you do do something else, anything else, with the action you would have spent shipping, so in essence a free action every time you use it to ship. Also, the movement is important. This is because the most victory points you can get in the game is through shipping (if you can). There are some neat combos then with, after dropping something off (and not shipping but doing something else) using this to ship whilst off to another factory to load again or visa versa.

No move, load unload, +1 action: If it was a 0 move that allowed a load/unload, this would by far be the best card. It's only 1 diamond, 1 upgrade and honestly I'm not entirely sure how many times a game I would use it but having the option of getting two actions in on a play seems like it would be worth it. Open the game with an upgrade then the next card to buy 2 depots perhaps.

Move 2 twice: For the same reason, this is pretty awesome. It doesn't give an extra action, per se, but it does allow you to pick up AND drop off in the same card. Very powerful. Why do I rank this one lower? It costs 2 diamonds. "Well, that's not a big deal!" you say.
It is to the Rose and Thorn, it takes 4 upgrades to even be able to use this card. The card itself is definitely better than where I ranked it, but the "cost" is substantial.

Move 0 to 2 and steal 1 good: I've personally been able to use this in a game and even though I only got it to work once (almost twice) it's your move PLUS your action PLUS 6-8 victory points worth of booty. 1 diamond, 1 upgrade. The fact is, you may only successfully get it to hit once, and perhaps never in which case the usefulness of the card decreases dramatically.

Move 6: I may be showing a bit of inexperience or group-think here as I've only played the game about a dozen times now but thus far I haven't seen a lot of BIG MOVES. Mainly, people farm the area around them, less likely to try and go cross country and for the most part this works as there are not a lot of big travel cards and you want to make sure to stay near productive factory/depot/city combinations. It isn't really till end game where you need big cards. I like this one over the others however since you could use it to travel shorter distances or longer, it's nice and flexible. 2 diamonds and 3 upgrades needed does put it on the tad expensive side as well.

Move 7 in a straight line: Unless for some reason you really need to book it in some vague, general direction away from where you are (which more than likely had to be some place useful or you wouldn't be there in the first place). 2 diamonds, 3 upgrades, and why bother?

Move 0 to 3: Now, I'm willing to concede that this is a great card for beginners. 1 diamond, 1 upgrade. It also helps Kings over Aces overcome the late turn order. But I've played this game and even from the first play I'm very good at not wasting movement cards. With something like 90% efficiency, I get to where I need to go with 1 static number. Even if I miss (and route adjusts I feel are a terrible waste of an action) I rarely think, "oh, if only I had a 2 instead of a 1." This card is for people who have a hard time planning or often get beat by the plans of the opponent and it is near useless if you can plan around those things anyway.


Last but not least, character powers! Again, mostly subjected, ranking first, rationale later.

Ability Rankings
1. New Construction [3. Eva Blane]
2. Perpetual Motion [2. ISAAC]
3. Transmogrify [2. Aurelia Bayley]
4. Steal [7. Ezekiel Crane]
5. Old Empire [1. Reginald Kain]
6. Capital [1. Harvey Golding]
7 Rail Baron [3. Victor Blane]
8. Gamble [6. Sebastian King]
9. Bamboozle [6. Corey Mcqueen]
10. Expert Pilot [5. Clint Castle]
11. Expert mechanic [5. Eli Diamond]
12. Market Sense [4. Flora Kingston]
13. Demand Control [4. Bishop Kingston]
14. Intimidate [7. Thaddeus Birch]

Rationale

New Construction: I'll jump on the band wagon here as well. Eva really does 2 things for you. Usually it's going to be a discount for a depot. While it may be difficult to find 1 space connections, it's usually possible to find 1 as well as a number of 2 and 3 hex ones. The second thing she does however is she also makes it possible to circumvent opponents trying to block your delivery routes. This becomes increasingly important as the $4 depot placements begin to disappear and transporting across country becomes more necessary in late game. Her action should net you about 15 victory points as well as potentially save you 5-10.

Perpetual Motion: This is tough and in all honesty this will probably net you more points than Eva's. 5 extra depot placements at 6 VP net per depot means 30 points. But the strength is also the weakness as the key to this ability is flexibility. More often then not, you're going to use this to get that extra train upgrade or ship upgrade you need, or to place depots or make forgotten shipments. Unlike Eva's, this doesn't give you a discount and in fact is going to require you to have more capital on hand.

Transmogrify: This is huge at the beginning of the game. Go to ANY depot, pick up a good. Go to another. Now drop off 4 goods of anything you want. Start the game with something like $24 dollars (where on average you maybe get $12-$18?) and still have 3 transmogrifies left over. Now, you do have to spend actions to do it so I guess the rationale is, is the extra good worth more than the action? On average it probably does, but not enough to warrant this ability a higher place.

Steal: This is another personal preference. The issue with Godfather is, being last in order means people will race in and take your stuff. This gives you kind of a unique feature. Either they will
be scared to lose money and stay away or you can make a decent living off of bumping into them. It pairs nicely with their special card and it's possible to get multiple hits. It's not unheard of to get this ability into the 15-30 vp area, which is also an additional swing of 3-9 points in your opponent losing points and it's psychological effect is quite rewarding. Worst case scenario, everyone avoids you and you make a ton of points trading exclusively in your area.

Old Empire: The next 3 abilities both net you victory points and help give you a head start early in the game. This first one gives you 10 points! It does so with an extra depot, helping to give you a leg up on board positioning. Placing extra depots like this is also a good way to earn some good trade cash. Very useful.

Capital: 8 Points! I guess now you'll have more money to... erm.. buy extra depots. And generally help with early game cash flow.

Rail Baron: Essentially 1 extra point per depot, to a max of 10. Yawn. Here you still need the cash flow and it's likely you are going to annoy the heck out of people placing all your depots and you may come into a little bit of trade money but the discount isn't terribly useful. Make it -$2 maybe and we're talking.

Gamble: Now I don't like this ability, but others really like it and have persuaded me to see the higher points. Best case scenario, you perhaps are spending $3 on a shipment of 5 goods, a 60% chance to make an extra $10 at a cost of 3. 1:1 odds favor a 50% chance to double your money in which case 2 goods would be 60% to more than double it with 5 goods tripling. If you bet max 5 times you'll on average lose $6. The more cubes you bet on the overall better you'll do so if you average 2.5 cubes, say, you'll make about $15 for a net of about $9. Not awesome, a lot of luck involved, fortune favors the one delivering a lot of cubes with this ability. I'm not sure if you'd ever want to bet less than $3.

Bamboozle: Very similar to the transmogrify ability. On the plus side, this doesn't require an additional action. In fact, this can help save an action which should make it higher up on my list. On the down side, it does not give you an additional cube. Rarely do I see opportunities in the game to use all 5, it's somewhat useful beginning of the game but the ability has a very "meh" quality to it to the point where I probably don't give it a fair shake.

Expert Pilot: I like this ability. Here is where it's ultimately going to save you. About 3 times every 2 games, my last card will get me to a factory. Normally, I don't load and pick a 0 next turn. This allows you to avoid skipping that card. It's absolutely great!... about 3 times every 2 games.

Expert mechanic: Very similar and a tough one to place, this is similar to the "move twice" card. Except it costs an action. All the same benefits, a much higher cost. Now, if they had the move twice card, this ability would be much more useful.

Market Sense: The next two are good late game abilities. Now, rarely do I could on demand tiles coming up late game to "save" me and I'm pretty much able to always find a main city to trade late game. That being said, this is powerful not only in being able to make sure you're farming spot stays sweet, but there also is a pretty good screw-age factor. It doesn't however net you any actions, victory points or what-have you.

Demand Control: Also useful more late game, this merely means you keep the city you're delivering to most open longer. About 1-3 deliveries or so longer. I've used this ability before and made the most of it, but this isn't going to win you any medals.

Intimidate: Very rarely do I have to use an opponents depot. Every game, a few people have to use the depots of others but I'm not paying attention to their game enough to figure out whether it's poor planning or not. Here is what this is not designed to do: it's not designed to save you a ton of points. Instead, what it's saying is, "it's okay to not build as many depots, instead gain flexibility by tacking on to other's routes." So what problem do I have with this? Depots are the second best source of victory points. You'll want to buy depots anyway. So why not just build the depots you need, where you need them, and save yourself the hassle? A near useless ability as it's mainly good as a consolation other players have good abilities that allow them to place depots.

Overall Character analysis? (Perhaps later after some other people weigh in.)
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J
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Fun. My turn to break it down further.

First of all I think your breakdown was pretty good albeit I disagree with you on some things. It is correct that every character has 3 things which distinguishes them from most of the other characters.
1. Ship Movement/Cargo
2. Special Move
3. Special Ability

Simply breaking it down and granting each of these a score to each part and then summing the score won't yield that character's "score". Very important is the interplay between the Ship, The movement and the Score so I feel that You really must look at everything as a whole rather than ship, movement and abilities individually albeit initially ranking the Ships, Special Movement and abilities does make it easier to understand them individually.

Here is my current breakdown and views of the Kings. I will give my judgement on whether I think the King is BALANCED or UNBALANCED. I will say right now that I don't feel that any of the Kings are overpowered though I won't deny that some do lean towards the "better" end of things. I do however feel that some are underpowered. (note: a * before a King's name means I have never actually used this king in a game, two ** means that I have never seen the King used in a game. In both cases I'm just giving my overview)

First of all I'm going to say this right now. The game is called Kings of Air and Steam. Since the game has chosen the term King to effectively mean Masters that's the term I'm using. Please no accusations of sexism. Funny note, when I first heard it pronounced I thought that the person was saying Kings of Aronstein so now it's an inside joke in my group that we are playing to be King of the Jews ie. The King of Aronstein.

1. THE EMPEROR
Initiative: 1
Ship upgrade: Standard
Special move: 1 Diamond, No Move, X2 Actions
Ship Notes: Overall a very solid Ship. Standard Growth means no real weakness and a 1 Diamond cost Special Move lets THE EMPEROR start to use it right away (ie after 1 upgrade). The Special move itself is very solid cause actions are at a premium and using more early on means you get a better infrastructure. High initiative means they always have tiebreaker during every round.

King 1:
HARVEY GOLDING: Old Empire
Harvey Golding is an excellent example of why Kings need to be considered as a whole with respect to their Ship. Harvey's ability of a Free first placement would be a whole lot less useful if it was attached to a ship with a low initiative cause in that case you would likely have an early placement anyway. Harvey is more useful depending on the number of people playing and the size of the board. He is probably the obvious choice if you are playing:
3 Player Cut-throat
5 Player
7 Player

Since in these setups the ratio of board area to number of player's is the worst and getting first choice is far more significant. He is also a great choice if the board is "weird" and it seems like one section or link is clearly superior to the rest.

Lastly Harvey Gains no particular benefit from the special move of the THE EMPEROR beyond having a nice start. That's not to say the movement isn't good, just that it has no particular Synergy with Harvey's ability.

Judgement: Due to a solid ability which has good synergy with his ship which can help him jump start his game as well as a Ship that has the highest initiative and pretty good special move I have no problem labeling HARVEY GOLDING as:
BALANCED


King 2:
**REGINALD KAIN: Capital
REGINALD KAIN is a good counterpart to Harvey. Whereas Harvey's ability works very well with the THE EMPEROR high initiative but is not particularly synergistic well with THE EMPEROR's special move, Reginald works very well with THE EMPEROR's special move but has no particularly synergistic with it's high initiative.

However Starting with more money works really well with the special move of THE EMPEROR. Many Kings will have tons of things that they want to do on the first turn however they are highly restricted by what they can do by their money. Of their 4 turn 1 actions 1 of them is usually used to take money. Not only can Reginald have 5 actions on his first turn but he can make all of them count thanks to his increased income. Having 1 extra action each turn is great... unless you can't use it well and Reginald sees to it that every action is utilized to its fullest.

Judgement: Similar to his counterpart, a solid ability which has good synergy with his ship which can help him jump start his game as well as a Ship that has the highest initiative and pretty good special move I have no problem labeling REGINALD KAIN as:
BALANCED

2. THE DaVINCI
Initiative: 2
Ship upgrade: Standard
Special move: 2 Diamond, 7 Move Straight Line
Ship Notes: Not really the greatest Ship. While a Standard Growth means no real weakness and Initiative 2 is nothing to scoff at the Special Move is not particularity good. Costing 2 Diamonds means you need 3 airship upgrades before they can consider using it plus until they max out their diamonds it's a pretty heavy toll on your diamonds overall.

A Giant movement does have it's perks but it's inflexible meaning the King in control of THE DaVINCI will want to recognize key locations early on, most notably Links that are exactly 7 spaces in a strait line away from production factories allowing you to move directly off a factory into a depot. Both Kings in charge of THE DaVINCI can get some nice early game momentum and income so don't be afraid to play a depot on a link someone else is already on if it means you can jettison yourself to it easily from a factory.

King 1:
AURELIA BAYLEY: Transmogrify
AURELIA BAYLEY is a very good King who's ability in a weird way actually does synergize very well with her Ship though at first glance it's not very obvious why. Here's the thing. In probably over 90% of it's games THE DaVINCI is going to be the last player to place her ship during game start up. The only time some places after her is if REGINALD KAIN of THE EMPEROR is in the game and from personally experience it seems that people choose HARVEY GOLDING most of the time.

So what does this mean for Aurelia? Well she should expect to get a pretty bad placement that's not too close to many good factories and cities. This is really bad right? Well not really. Thanks to her Transmogrify ability Aurelia is a lot less concerned with getting the perfect placement. As long as she places between 2 different city types and close to a factory or two that she can reasonably expect to get to first she has the ability to make her less than perfect placement a much better one especially if she gets lucky with the market tiles early on. This will allow her to get a big shipment early on easier than just about any other King and thanks to that big shipment it puts her in good position for the rest of her game.

As I noted above using 7 Move Strait Line well hinges on a lot of fore-planning and good placement of depot so if you get a huge sum of cash early on don't be afraid of building a depot that is strategically good for you on a claimed link. It's only a 3 coin difference from a random depot on an unclaimed link and if you have the money to spare the utility value could more than make up those 3 extra dollars. Not only that but extra money means she can upgrade her ship faster to get more diamonds.

Transmogrify also has great utility in the mid and late game as well. The main source of extra cubes at that point is picking up more cubes than you can deliver to a city or not having access to the correct cities for the cubes you have. Other Kings might have to throw it away if they can't find another place that wants it. As for Aurelia? Who wants Nuclear Milkshakes?

Judgement: Although it has good priority her ship has some clear faults and her special move isn't all that great. However due to the overall usefulness of her ability and the way she can use it to take all her Ship's faults and overcome them and turn it to her advantage I have no problem labeling AURELIA BAYLEY as
BALANCED

King 2:
*I.S.A.A.C.: Perpetual Motion
I.S.A.A.C. is another good King who's ability very weakly synergizes with his ship. 5 extra actions is great, nothing to it. 5 more times to build, upgrade, ship or do just about anything. At worst you ask for money 5 times and get 15 extra points though likely you'll be able to get much more than that. I usually see people using their actions early in the game to set up infrastructure or late to assist in big shipments

As for his synergy with his ship, as i noted above his ship is very high maintenance. He will likely get a bad starting position on top of a difficult to use special card. He will want to use some of his extra actions setting himself up to overcome his bad starting position and making his 7 line move more useful. Not much more to say about him as a lot about him speaks for itself.

Judgement: While he definitely has a great ability and he seems very good, I have seen him being played several times by average players and they never see to do particularly better than their peers. I don't know what it is but until I get more intel to suggest otherwise due to his good initiative yet high maintenance ship combined with his ability to maintain it well at this point I am going to label him as:
BALANCED


3. THE SPHINX
Initiative: 3
Ship upgrade: Slightly Bad Diamonds
Special move: 1 Diamond, 2 Move Ship 1 Good
Ship Notes: Here we have a very interesting ship. It's the last Ship which can be considered to have "Good" initiative. However the Ship clearly has a problem. It is the only ship which has been given a detriment in one area with no clear boost in another to make up for it. It's special move is pretty good. It is the only card in the game which mimics an extra action on top of letting you move. However shipping just 1 good has it's limits (I believe it is just 1 good and not 1 type of good). Early on it's a great ability. Most players spend an action to ship a good on round 1 whereas THE SPHINX can simple use it's special card. Later on however it becomes a lot harder to use. Single good shipments are not so great later on where you want massive multi-good shipments. Late game "ship 1 good" because a lot less useful with it's main use being shipping a leftover extra good or shipping to a city with only 1 spot left in it.


King 1:
*VICTOR BLANE: Rail Baron
VICTOR BLANE pays 1 less for rails... and that's it. What does this mean? Well it means that every time Victor builds a rail he nets 1 virtual money so if he builds all his rails he netted 9 money.

So yeah 9 money with strings attached. Woo hoo yay. This is so ummmmm great...

Really WTH?!!?!! I mean common. Lets do some simple comparisons shall we?

REGINALD KAIN: 8 money, No Strings attached
I.S.A.A.C.: By turn 3 9 money, No Strings attached and more

Ship Comparison:
THE SPHINX has worse initiative AND worse upgrades than both.

Special Card Comparison:
THE SPHINX probably better than THE DaVINCI due to difficulty of using move 7 strait line but due to the reduced usefulness of shipping just 1 good late game and the usefulness of a bonus action throughout the entire game I cannot rate "Move 2, Ship 1 Good" as being superior to "No Move Extra action"

When I first started playing this game I set out with a goal to show everyone that Victor was better than everyone was giving him credit for. I thought that for sure that there were secrets yet to be uncovered with him. My first game with "Kings" I was given THE SPHINX and I thought that this would be my chance. Then I realized that I was on a 3 player cut throat board and I could not even begin to justify picking him.

I got chances to see other players use him later on and none of them ever really did very well. The more I learned the game and saw the limitations to "Move 2, Ship 1 Good" in the real game (which i previously had used to try and justify him) the more I moved towards the conclusion that a mistake was made with him.

He has very very weak synergy with his ship. Although his ability assists him in building depots it does not assist him much in the early game and does nothing for him in regards to upgrading his rails.

Judgement: Although he is a very easy King for new players to use his ability is very inferior to other Kings as it is effectively just money but with strings attached whereas others have money with no strings. His ship is handicapped for no particular reason and his special move reduces in usefulness as the game goes on. I tried to defend him when I first learned about this game but sadly the more I play the more I reach the same conclusion and I have no choice but to label him as:
UNBALANCED

Bonus Notes: The more I think about it the more I think that the designers wanted VICTOR BLANE to be the "Long Range King". Effectively they wanted him to be able to throw depots everywhere early on make his game about shipping far via rails and focusing on rail upgrades rather than traveling with his airship. Sadly they did a very poor job at this. First of all Depots are in very high competition in the early game making it difficult to get a lot of them while they are cheap. Second they did nothing for him in terms of his rails. Lots of Depots all over the board are only useful if you have the means to use them and sadly Victor is very lacking in that area. Your ship is always useful to upgrade and upgrading rails is only noteworthy if there's something you can do with it meaning that Ship upgrades usually take presidence over Rail upgrades and since Victor does not have a particular advantage to upgrading his rails this rule applies to him too.

I am currently of the opinion that a very simple Fix can make Victor not only balanced but much more interesting to play. Simply make it so that in addition to his current ability Victor gets Rail upgrades at 1 cheaper as well and he gets to start his game with his rails on the 2 spot. This effectively bumps his money with strings up to 15 from 9 and gives him 1 free action at game start. Doing so would make it not only advantageous for Victor to throw depots everywhere but it would give him the means to use his depots early on and let him focus on upgrading his cheap rails rather than his Sluggish ship. Doing so would let him be the True Rail Barron he was meant to be rather than the fake one he is right now.


King 2:
EVA BLANE: New Construction
EVA BLANE has a very unique ability. The ability to build new links and get Depots on them for very cheap is super strong. In my experience she can expect 2~3 depots from her ability which assuming she would have had to spend 7 to build each one means she gets to save 9~16 money on average and has a bunch of cheap builds that cannot be taken away from her. While the ability on it's own is very flexible if you want to build 3 depots with it you are likely going to have to sacrifice all that flexibility as most boards are very rigid in where you can build them. It is very strong to be able to gain access to cities that other players might have tried to monopolize.

Weak Synergy with her ship what with the weak Diamonds though the Depots could potentially help her with the "move 2 ship 1 good card". Again she doesn't have any benefit in doing rails which is her main hindrance.

Judgement: A strong ability providing a lot of points and not blockable by other players and various degrees of flexibility but coupled with a weak ship I have no problem labeling her as:
BALANCED


Part 2 Coming Later
***Edit***
Not coming due to a lack of interest in Part 1
***Edit 2***
Not coming until I have first hand experience with either Rose and Thorn or Kings Over Aces
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Aaron Bohm
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allstar64 wrote:

Part 2 Coming Later
***Edit***
Not coming due to a lack of interest in Part 1


Slacker.
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Ryan Tharp
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I wouldn't say lack of interest, we were just waiting to hear the rest
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J
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Hmmmmmm well if you guys want me to I will finish it. In the past I've done stuff like this and received no clear interest in it which makes me hesitant to continue doing it since it takes me a lot of time to do it. I guess I'll finish it up and probably post it in it's own thread later.
 
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Chris Smith
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It does kind of deserve it's own thread ^^

In the name of being completely honest. I didn't read every detail as it's quite long, but I did skim through and think about what you said. The main reason I didn't post a response about it is that I either agree on a point, or haven't really played enough times to have much of an opinion of my own.

In fact that's the reason I made this thread, having a poll across many people makes it a lot easier/quick to see balance issues than trying to play a game 30 times myself. While I could see myself playing that much eventually, it does take time and I have a lot of games I've bought in just my first year in the hobby, so...yeah =P

I am glad to read such things though, as I like to be able to help people out with things like picking who to play for example, as it doesn't feel fair for example to take a character that's a bit over-strong against a newbie who picks a weak character.

Anyway look forward to seeing your thread about it =)
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Eric S.
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Victor Blane:
In a 2-player game I used this character to decent effect.
Early Game: Building depots.
Late Game: Shipping single goods to cities with one spot open while sending a larger shipment to another on the same turn.
I did not upgrade my airship past the $3 level (one diamond, 3 goods).
I focused on rail upgrades and depots.
My score wasn't epic (164), due to the market spiking value on the other side of the board, but a win nonetheless.
Played against Sky Castle/Eli Diamond (149).

EDIT: If the special move card would allow "Move 2 and ship all of one good," would THAT be considered overpowered or more balanced?
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Aaron Bohm
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SmedleyX wrote:

EDIT: If the special move card would allow "Move 2 and ship all of one good," would THAT be considered overpowered or more balanced?


It's interesting you bring that up as there are some in our group that insist this is the intended meaning of the "ship 1 good" phrase and I'd love to have something official that says one way or the other even though, with the wording in the rulebook, I'm leaning the other way.

I personally don't think shipping all of 1 good type would be overpowered with Victor; that powerful card combined with the fact that he has one of the worst ships and abilities would balance quite well. With Eva however, she'd be hard to beat.

Although 1 good is weaker, it's still one of my favorite abilities - especially in the beginning of the game - but not enough really to balance Victor's horrible ability. While at first $1 off of depots seems nice and allows a quicker start (you could build 4 depots in the first round instead of 3 with your initial cash) in comparison the ability Capital is fairly simple and benign and in my opinion much better as it would allow a hypothetical 5 depots to be built without any additional cash as well as flexible enough to allow more of other purchases.
 
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Seth Jaffee
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Never Knows Best wrote:
SmedleyX wrote:

EDIT: If the special move card would allow "Move 2 and ship all of one good," would THAT be considered overpowered or more balanced?


It's interesting you bring that up as there are some in our group that insist this is the intended meaning of the "ship 1 good" phrase and I'd love to have something official that says one way or the other even though, with the wording in the rulebook, I'm leaning the other way.


1 good does indeed mean just 1 cube, not all cubes of 1 type. It is not a full Ship Goods action, just a single cube.
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Aaron Bohm
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sedjtroll wrote:
Never Knows Best wrote:
SmedleyX wrote:

EDIT: If the special move card would allow "Move 2 and ship all of one good," would THAT be considered overpowered or more balanced?


It's interesting you bring that up as there are some in our group that insist this is the intended meaning of the "ship 1 good" phrase and I'd love to have something official that says one way or the other even though, with the wording in the rulebook, I'm leaning the other way.


1 good does indeed mean just 1 cube, not all cubes of 1 type. It is not a full Ship Goods action, just a single cube.


I know this but knowing it is one thing, having everyone else take your word for it is another.
 
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Seth Jaffee
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Never Knows Best wrote:
sedjtroll wrote:
Never Knows Best wrote:
SmedleyX wrote:

EDIT: If the special move card would allow "Move 2 and ship all of one good," would THAT be considered overpowered or more balanced?


It's interesting you bring that up as there are some in our group that insist this is the intended meaning of the "ship 1 good" phrase and I'd love to have something official that says one way or the other even though, with the wording in the rulebook, I'm leaning the other way.


1 good does indeed mean just 1 cube, not all cubes of 1 type. It is not a full Ship Goods action, just a single cube.


I know this but knowing it is one thing, having everyone else take your word for it is another.

You asked for something official... if they won't take your word for it, maybe they'll take mine
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Aaron Bohm
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Ah, yes. I was a tad suspicious but wasn't sure whether you were official TMG or not (I had to Google you). Also, Eminent Domain is one of the few TMG games I've never played but probably should have recognized the name/avatar anyway.

Anyway, appreciate the answer "officially," it sucks sometimes being the one who teaches games to a group.
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Lane Taylor
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I'm trying to get some more games in soon. I still haven't played with all the special characters (or even all the different ships yet), but the early evaluations of the players seem to be that some of the characters seem 'overpowered' initially, but that's only because their power/ship combo is easy to use/more flexible (ISAAC, for instance), but for more experienced players, some of those thoughts seem to be changing.
 
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