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Subject: Tricky Tricksters rss

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Introduction

So yeah Tricksters. Often times these guys are labeled as one of the weakest factions in this game and they get a lot of flack for it. So I decided to write this up so that maybe people will at least understand them better. Some of this I’ve posted before but I’ve updated it. As a reference the Tricksters



Now I actually wasn’t too sure about these guys when I first saw them. I didn’t remember the players who had them seeming all that impressive. Then I played them and they rose to being a faction I rather liked a lot. However there is a rather annoying problem with them which is why I’d warn anyone drafting to think carefully before selecting them. Their problem is they scale very very badly based on the number of people playing. Regardless of who they are paired with the Tricksters perform much better with fewer players. Namely in 2 and 3 player they are an extremely solid faction and very good with just about any partner. Once you go to 4 players and above the Tricksters utterly fall apart without a good supporting faction. So why is this? Well we are going to have to look a little more at the Tricksters to see why.

Card Overview

First of all The Brownie and the Gremlin. What I like about these 2 minions is that they were given the “right” ability. What do I mean? Well I've heard these cards as being described as bad because it is too easy for your opponents to avoid the negative effects from these cards. Is that true? Well it kinda is. It is easy for your opponents to avoid the random discard. Randomly discarding cards from your opponent's hands is very terrifying but you don't really want to kill your own Gremlin (you know unless you are in the Cave of the Shinies) cause that's counter productive and if your opponent knows that attacking those minions will affect them negatively than your opponents will not attack your minions... Wait what did I just say? Your opponents will not attack your minions? Bingo that’s basically the secret of these 2 minions. Their abilities are not supposed to be aggressive attacks that you want to use to harm your opponents with but rather passive defense abilities that will prevent your opponents from going after them.

Now what do I mean above when I say these 2 minions were given the “right” ability? Well you see when I say “attacking” a minion I’m usually referring to destroying/moving/returning/attaching an action/reducing their power. Obviously the most common type of attack in this game is simply destroying and when it comes to destroying minions it’s almost always easier to destroy a lower power minion than it is to destroy a higher power one (there are a few exceptions). The Gremlin being the Lightweight Trickster minion is thus in the most danger of being attacked/ destroyed. Hence having a lightweight minion with a defense to being killed ability if great. Forcing all other players to discard a random card is a pretty big deterrent against killing them. Most players will save a powerful card or two for just the right opportunity and I think most players would agree with me that the risk of losing say King Rex is just not worth killing a lonely power 2 minion not to mention allowing the owner of the Gremlin to draw a card. Hence Gremlins are for the most part left alone once played which when you consider they are the most vulnerable to being killed is a very good thing. Of course there are other things you can do to them like returning or moving them but these attacks are a lot rarer and often not power restricted hence using them on a lightweight minion probably won’t be high on your opponent’s priorities.

Now how about the Brownie? In the base game the Brownie, the Buccaneer and the War Bot were 3 very similar minions. All were power 4 minions with a defensive ability. However the Buccaneer and the War Bot’s abilities completely protected them from being destroyed whereas Brownie could be destroyed but did bad things back to the opponent in return. However the Brownie’s ability isn’t only restricted to attacks to destroy. Of the 5 types of attacks I listed above the Brownie counter attacks 4 of them which is where we get to the “right” ability part. In this game it is relatively difficult to destroy minions of power 3 and even moreso power 4. While by no means impossible there are very few factions that can do it without jumping through hoops (Robots/Tricksters need 5 minions on a base, Trickster’s Flame trap is not really their choice, Dinos need a power 5 minion on the base, Bears have to set up High Ground, Plants need a full turn). Really only Ninja’s and Minions of Cthullu can do it without jumping through hoops. Hence I find a power 4 minion with only a defense to being killed ability rather superfluous unless you have “destroy a minion for benefit” card or if someone CAN destroy high powered minions easily in which case you’ll be glad for it but I find these cards relatively rare..

On the other hand when it comes to attacks involving moving/returning/attaching cards to minions there are far fewer that are restricted by a minion’s power. The Brownie protects against all of them (though not ones that decrease power without directly attaching itself to him). Discarding 2 cards randomly is a HUGE deterrent to attacking the Brownie and in my experience people leave the Brownie alone for this reason. Hence I often feel that the Gremlin and the Brownie were given the “right” abilities cause the low power Gremlin is far more in danger of being targeted for destruction whereas the high powered Brownie is in danger of being attacked in just about every way.

Now Gremlins usually are the first minions I play to start off my Trickster game (assuming I have them in my starting hand) and Brownies are my second choice (though I might save them if I have a lot of other minions in my hand for their 4 power). I like being able to play them with the knowledge that my opponents will likely leave them alone and I don’t have to worry that I might be “wasting” an on play ability that I might want later. Unless you are up against Aliens, Gremlins are pretty much left alone. Brownies are just about always left alone no matter who you’re up against especially in the early game. I really like this because it buys me time to set up a stronger foundation and I don’t need to worry as much about my opponents trying to mess it up. True it’s not foolproof. I once was up against an opponent who thought it was hilarious to make most of the players (including himself) randomly lose a card so he killed every Gremlin he could. That being said I’ve found this type of player more often than not to be the exception.

Now the next Linchpin in my Trickster game is getting an Enshrouding Mist. It’s a little sad to say this but the only action card that Tricksters have to actively help them break bases is their 2 Enshrouding Mist cards. Fortunately Enshrouding Mist is a very strong action card (one of the best in the entire game) that gives an extra minion play each turn which naturally means it works well with the Gnome. Sadly the fact that it’s the only Trickster card that assists in base breaking contributes to part to what makes the Tricksters feel so weak (we’ll talk more about that and this card later when we talk about the Trickster’s weaknesses).

Of course no talk about Tricksters is complete without talking about their main specialty, base lockdown. The Tricksters have a lot of cards that make it much harder for opponents to play minions on base namely Pay the Piper, Flame Trap, Block the Path and the Leprechaun. That being said most people get the wrong impression about these cards and think that their purpose is to keep opponents off of bases so that Tricksters can break bases all alone. While not entirely wrong this is actually not exactly how you should be playing the Tricksters and some of their base lockdown has issues (again we’ll be putting this off till later)

Lastly the Tricksters have some pretty good miscellaneous cards. Take the Shinies is utterly terrifying and I’ve seen it win games before. For example I once got a Tech Center from the robots and 2 random minions from Plant-Dinos. This crippled the robot player since his hand was reduced to 2 cards afterwards and he had to spend several turns coming back whereas in the end the Plant-Dino Player ran out of minions and was stuck trying to flip his deck full of action cards. Another time a player kept using recovery cards to play TtS over and over again and ended up getting both my Invaders and my Terraform cards when I was Aliens (Major major pain for me that game). Mark of Sleep does exactly what you’d expect and is pretty good at buying a turn is someone else is close to 15 points. Hideout is a little weak as most of the Trickster Minions don’t really need it (built in defense) so save it for your linked faction or your Leprechaun. Lastly there are their Disenchants which… we’ll get to in a sec.

Basic Strategy

The basic Trickster strategy is simple (you of course have to modify it based on their partner and what combos are available to the two of them). First focus on getting minions on lots of different bases most notably your Gremlins and Brownies. These 2 minions will likely be left alone which means if the other players go for a “quick break” you will likely pick up a third place consolation prize making them great minions to start off the game with. That’s not to say you should “aim” for taking third on all the bases. If a base is close to breaking and you can break it and get first or maybe even second (depending on how good the second place prize is) than of course go for the break. Otherwise consider this, the difference in points between 1st and 3rd is usually about 2-3 points for most bases, very rarely more. If you have just 1 Gremlin on a base your opponents will usually have to provide 15-21 (ish) additional power (on average) to break a base. Assuming it is early game and your opponents go for a quick break taking third place with such a cheap investment after your opponents invest much more to (hopefully) fight each other for first isn’t that bad at all. Not to mention while your opponents have thrown a lot of focus and power on 1 base you have been working to set yourself up on several other bases. Remember your Brownies and Gremlins will usually be left alone making them perfect for picking up 3rd or even 2nd place (if 1 opponent does a massive power dump) off of a cheap investment.

Once you get a presence across the board you can begin focusing on actively trying to take a base. If you have a Enshrouding Mist card and have a bunch of minions in your hand feel free to play it on a base you are interested in and then start playing 2 minions a turn. I would actually suggest playing the minions on 2 different bases rather than playing both of them on the Enshrouding Mist base (unless of course doing so will let you break the base in first in which case take what you can grab so no one else can take it from you.). The base will break a lot sooner otherwise and you won’t get your Enshrouding Mist benefit as long as you could. Just be careful about bringing a base too close to breaking cause you don’t want to accidentally hand a base you invested a lot on to an opponent.

All this while you should be on the lookout for bases you want to halt. Flame Trap and Pay the Piper are easy cards to throw down and your goal should be to make it much more annoying to play on these bases. Look for bases which have a large difference in points between first and third and put them there as you would rather your opponent invest a lot in bases which won’t allow them to get a large point lead if they win it. Something very important to note is that overall the Tricksters are pretty bad at dropping a ton of power so you want to capitalize off your opponents as much as possible hence why you should not try to break a base on your own with them. While these 2 cards won’t completely stop them it will slow them down somewhat and buy you time.

On the other hand Block the Path and the Leprechaun are far more important. They are much more reliable when it comes to stopping your opponent(s) from playing on a base so you want to save these for just the right time. Since Block the Path puts an absolute damper on 1 faction you will want to wait and see which opponent is the most dangerous and use it to block him at a critical time. You will also want to save the Leprechaun (even if it means not playing a minion for a turn) until he is useful. First of all he is a high power minion and most of the Trickster’s base breaking potential come from minion plays so his high power can be used for a quick break off of a minion play (especially if you have Enshrouding Mists in play) if the chance is there. More importantly you will want the Leprechaun if a very abusable base comes out. For example The Homeworld and The Secret Grove both give all players access to lots of extra minion plays whereas Rhodes Mall and the Factory have the potential to give a ton of points to the winner. Any of these bases are a great place to put the Leprechaun. Your primary goal is to stop your opponents from abusing these bases as much as possible. Your second goal is to abuse these bases yourself if the chance is there. Protip: NEVER put your Leprechaun in The Cave of Shinies willingly but feel free to throw and kill as many Gremlins as you can there.

This is also where a little bit of diplomacy comes in. Hopefully your opponents aren’t automatons because when some of these cards hit the table, especially the Leprechaun, eyebrows will be raised. So what do I mean by automatons? There is a breed of player who sadly cannot see beyond what is blatantly laid out in front of him. Just like a computer if he has a card Y that lets him attack opponent card X he will attack opponent card X. Never mind how good card X was, never mind whether or not card X is a threat, never mind if card Y was an amazing card much better saved for a later time. When it comes to The Leprechaun (and a lesser degree the play on base actions that hinder opponents) pay attention to who your opponents are and more importantly who can mess with him wasily. You can then drop subtle hints why he might not want to mess with him.

Case in point. If the Homeworld appears (additional power 2 minion plays), I have the Leprechaun in my hand, and one of my opponents is the Bears, I will gladly play The Leprechaun on the base and then give the Bears a friendly reminder that one of his factions have no power 2 minions meaning he cannot abuse the base very well, but on the other hand the Zombie-Wizards next to him are probably really really itching to drop 10 minions in a single turn and to consider if he really wants to to give that opportunity to them. It won’t always be this exact situation and if I currently have the lead he probably won’t take the bait but it’s important to make sure your opponents are aware that just because it’s your card doesn’t mean it’s not helping them too.

One of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen was a fantastic base for Robots appeared. Plants played Sleep Spores while Tricksters played Block the Path to stop the Robot player from abusing it. Aliens figured it would be a brilliant move to Terraform the base not because he could take it but because there were 2 actions played on it by his opponents that he could destroy. Because using the strongest card in his deck to undo something set up to stop a completely different opponent was a real winning move.

And that there is the basic Trickster strategy. Get a presence on the board relying on your minion’s built in defense to keep them on the board while picking up points off of cheap investments while your opponents invest far more. Use your Enshrouding Mists to get a lot of minions into play while looking for a chance to break a base in first all the while slowing down or stopping your opponents from focusing on bases that are really good for them (again keep in mind who can bypass your blockade) and harder for you to capitalize on. Cards I haven’t mentioned above have obvious uses and remember that the Tricksters will not be working alone on this so balance their specialties with the other factions specialties and see what you can get to work.

The Bad

Wooooooooooo Tricksters are amazing! I get it now! I’ma gonna go out and win me a game!

Not so fast cowboy. There’s a reason why people have such a hard time getting them to work. I’m sad to say that the Tricksters have some glaring flaws and while I do like them as a faction I have been burned by them and there are times where even I wouldn’t go near them given the choice.

First and foremost the Number of Players. Tricksters work really well in 2 or 3 player games… and crash hard in 4 player. In fact it is almost shocking just how bad going from 3 players to 4 players is for them on just about every front which you will see in the following analysis.

1. Low Drawing:

First and foremost Tricksters are terrible at drawing more cards. Now I have said it many times but the worst thing that can happen to you with a faction is to go many turns without being able to make a meaningful play and this is far more likely to happen to a factions with low to no card drawing. Gremlins are it as far as card draws are concerned and of course you should not be killing your own minion off for just 1 card. However Tricksters are hurt by this far more than most factions without drawing abilities are. When it comes to breaking bases the only ability that the Tricksters have to help them is the Extra Plays from Enshrouding Mist (They have no other abilities that let them increase or otherwise manipulate their power). Now many minion plays is great but it is only half of the equation, getting a lot of minions into hand is the other half. Unfortunately since the Tricksters are bad at drawing this means that the likelihood of being able to take full advantage of Enshrouding Mist without a proper supporting factions is rather low and the likelihood of having “dead” turns increases greatly. This is only further made worse by having 2 Disenchant action cards. While Disenchant might be a rather good card (getting rid of a powerful action is very good and sometimes I am desperate to draw one) most of the times when the Tricksters are desperate for power they want to draw a minion. Drawing Disenchant is very situationally helpful and the Trickster really could have used a pair of cards to help them find more minions rather than a highly situational card that often doesn’t give them what they need. With 4 players the amount of power your opponents can play between your turns increases and as such the game speeds up (You get fewer turns). This gives the Tricksters far less time to get the cards that they need as their only drawing is end of game drawing but it’s even worse than that which leads us into our next point.

2. How 4+ players makes Low Drawing and Basic Strategy above so much worse

Now their bad drawing is a pain and as such Tricksters are desperate for time. Not only does 4 player rob them of time but it has an even worse effect on them. Take a look at the strategy I outlined above. Notice anything about it? Well it is only applicable if there are 2/3 players in the game and it flat out doesn’t work otherwise. A huge part of playing the way I outlined above is to buy the Tricksters time to find the cards that they need while at the same time keeping your score within striking distance due to getting a few points off a cheap investments and setting yourself up to take first on other bases. However this relies on 1 very important thing. In 3 player you are under no pressure to actively be aiming to be Ranked. Points are given out to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd hence all you need is 1 minion present and you are fine. In 4 player the person with the lowest power gets shafted so that lonely Gremlin that was trying to hold down the fort will likely come back empty handed. This highlights why I dislike 4 player so much. 4 player actively forces you to play on bases that are near breaking or risk coming in 4th and finding yourself down a lot of points down. Even if you have no chance at first you are still forced to add more power to a base to prevent it from being an utter lost cause and in doing so you are expending precious resources for poor return and ultimately assisting the player in first get his points sooner without having to work as much for them (by adding more power and making the base break sooner thanks to your efforts). For the factions whose only drawing is the end of turn this is a nightmare as they often need the game to last longer so they can find their good cards and they don’t really want to be wasting plays to pick up a bad place. If he isn’t going to get me points a Gremlin on a base is basically helping my opponents by “Reducing” the breaking point for them so his presence there is far less significant than in a 3 player game. In a sense the Tricksters take a double hit here cause not only do they lose draws dues to fewer turns that there naturally are in a 4 player game but they now have to actively work to get any points at all when a base breaks (which will happen more often too).

If I was ever given the ability Change #1 I’d make to the Tricksters would be giving them at least 2 card that lets them draw more minions either directly or indirectly and without strings attached.

3. Underwhelming Base Lockdown

Now one of the Trickster’s specialties is to “Lock-Down” bases but sadly some of the cards that they were given to do it with are really underwhelming. Now The Leprachan and Block the Path are great but Flame Trap and Pay the Piper both leave a lot to be desired. While both cards might slow the opponent down neither will really do much to flat out stop an opponent and in a few cases they will do nothing or even help the opponent.

The biggest problem with Flame Trap is that the Tricksters have 0 influence on what triggers it and who it will hit. Opponents that have protection from being destroyed (Pirates, Bears, Robots) or highly expendable minions (Zombies, Insomouthians, Robots) won’t bat an eye at it.

Change #2 I’d make would be to make Flame Trap trigger optionally at the Trickster’s discretion whenever a minion was played on the base (it would still destroy itself upon activation). This would not only preventing opponents from tripping it at a bad time but would have an indirect effect of forcing opponents to only play weak, low power minions (or immunity to being destroyed minions) on the base greatly slowing down their ability to add a lot of power to it at once.

Pay the Piper is actually much much worse. While it might dissuade some opponents it will not even remotely slow down a fanatic opponent from breaking the base and not only that but it might even help them. Specifically factions with discard related abilities such as Zombies, Ghosts or Steampunk might WANT to discard certain cards and use your card to do it. Helping our opponents do their dirty work is super unappealing which leaves me feeling that Pay the Piper was a very poorly thought out card.

Change #3 that I’d make would be to either make the discard from PtP random or let the Tricksters draw a card at the same time (which would not only go hand in hand with Change #1 but is thematic to the card itself). I don’t really mind if my opponents are not being stopped or even if they are getting a small benefit if I’m getting one too.

4 Player Base lockdown woes

The following is an over dramatic interpretation of the response of opponents to the Tricksters Playing a Lockdown ability given the number of people playing (reminder, bases = # of people playing +1).

2 Player: Waaaaaa waaaaa no fair, there are no bases I can play on waaaaaaa Tricksters are OP

3 Player: Ugh that’s really annoying. I wanted to play on that base that base *grumble*. Fine I’ll play somewhere else *pout*.

4 Player: meh whatever dude. You go ahead and work on that base. The three of us will be over here breaking this other totally awesome base you didn’t block.

Okay okay, stop looking at me like that, I said it was over dramatic right? But really it illustrates what I mean. As there are more and more bases making 1 harder to play on just doesn’t have as big an impact. With so many more alternatives opponents won’t even bat an eye plus the likelihood that one of them can counter your card increases substantially. The Leprechaun still does his job of keeping people off a super strong base but all the other cards just reduce in effectiveness.

Faction Pairs

So no Trickster game is fought alone and when it comes to assistance the Enshrouding Mist that Tricksters have has a lot to offer but who will get the most out of it?

High: Any faction that’s good at drawing a lot of minions (or drawing in general) will like the Tricksters as a partner. Most notably Wizards, Robots, Plants, Zombies and Insomouthians. The Trickster’s Enshrouding Mist want the player to consistently have a lot of minions in their hand and all these factions happen to be really really good at that.

Mid: Here we look for nice miscellaneous benefits. Pirates like Tricksters to a degree because Tricksters are good at getting minions into play and keeping minions in play. The Pirate cards are really good at manipulating minions that are in play so this is a big benefit to them (although the lack of drawing is terrible). Steampunk are a fan too cause naturally Steampunk like play on base actions which Tricksters have a bunch of.

Low: Most of the other factions. While no combo is completely useless none of the other factions are particularly good at getting a lot of minions although many of them aren’t good at playing lots of minions so they’ll be glad for the extra plays.

Last Words

Often times people look at any faction they look for "Flashy" abilities. Those that make big effects like killing any minion, gaining points, reviving minions, dropping a lot of power on bases to name a few. These powers are very good but that's not what the Trickster's strength is. The Tricksters are mainly about, to put it plainly, limiting your opponent's options. They stop your opponents from playing on bases, they stop your opponents from attacking your minions and every now and then they take things away from your opponent's hands. Sadly their weaknesses and lack of cards to assist them in dropping a lot of power at once is their biggest hindrances and can make them rather difficult to play especially in 4 player. Rather than factions that have abilities designed to directly help themselves most of the Trickster actions are designed around hurting opponents. Sadly I often find that in games like this helping yourself is more valuable than hurting someone else, especially in high player count games.
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Mike Beiter
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Thanks for the detailed analysis.

I remember my first game of Smash Up was playing Wizards and Tricksters, but sadly I came in last place.
We had the same situation you described in your story. I would play a card to inhibit a base, and the other players would just shrug their shoulders and play elsewhere.

They are a "tricky" faction to use effectively. If played with the wrong match up of factions they end up being little more than a speed bump.

But I am always up for a challenge so I think I will play them more to see how effective they can be.

I know the last time they were played they dominated and I can not remember who they were paired with. I think it was dinosaurs surprisingly enough.
 
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J
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A quick update with something I forgot to say above.

You might have noticed I like the Brownie quite a lot. As far as defensive abilities go he has one of the biggest deterrents in the game making him a great minion to play down early. However there are some indirect benefits to this.

First of all he protects your minions on a base from "affect all" abilities. More than once I've had opponents try to play Crop Circles against me only to change their mind when I pointed out that the Brownie would Ping them back.

Another thing he protects against is "Opponents must choose a minion to destroy" abilities to a degree. Whenever one of these is played with my Brownie in play I reflexively point out to my opponents that if I choose the hit the Brownie that they'll be pinged back and to consider if they want to still play it. Note that I simply point out that the option is there and I don't commit to destroying the Brownie but I want to make sure that my opponents are taking the Brownie into account while making their decision. The threat of 2 random discards has been enough to make my opponent change their mind about playing the card which is why I feel it is only fair (for both of us) to ensure that my opponent is aware that the danger was there prior to playing his card so that he can make an informed decision about it.
 
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Ryan Post
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Love the write up!

I can't tell you how dead on you are about players who can't see the true strength of a card. I think Leprechaun is a subpar minion, yet people screw with him ALL THE TIME. They just see his number and immediately go for him. They don't even consider faction strength or vp leader either. I try to use him as the 2nd to last minion on a base, but because Tricksters lack cycling so much, I get stuck either using him or playing nothing, which I hate.

I wouldly highly suggest avoiding using Tricksters if you play with a person/group like that. See what factions they take first. If the guy who isn't deeps strategically takes Bears or Ninjas or Pirates, do not take Tricksters.

I think the only thing I disagree with is Gremlin. I screw with the Gremlin all the time. If I have a hand that isn't great, or I am Ghosts (my favorite) or Zombies, or a deck that can draw easily, I find a way to target the Gremlin (not because I enjoy discarding cards). A smart person in 4 player wouldn't mind giving Tricksters an extra card to lose a minion they need fairly badly (as you showed in your write up that you should typically never destroy your own Gremlin just for card, as you need the minion more), and making their opponents lose a potentially great card when they need them is a great bonus. One game I destroyed back to back gremlins, lost two semi-worthless cards, and made my 3rd opponent lose Invader and Full Sail. Ouch. Also better to target the gremlin when your cards are bad, than when you get a fantastic hand and someone else does it. Smart players can manipulate the Gremlin as a target, and therefore he stinks. Badly. His power should definitely be something like search your deck for a minion to replace him if he dies, and the discard random for everyone. Or maybe person who destroys discards 2, while everyone else discards one. Less incentive to be the one to destroy.

I have never really used the spread em out strategy: A lot of time with Tricksters I find myself trying to build with Enshrouding Mist after I blocked a base after they put down some minions. Next time I play I will pick them up and try a more spread out strategy. I also used to put base blockers wherever they start building, no matter the strength of the base (just to get first and have at least some help). I think in the future I will save them for better bases.

Whenever we play Smallworld Underground, my friend who focuses on slowing others down always gets last. This is another example like what you said about Tricksters: trying to screw with others isn't going to help you win nearly as much as strong cards that boost yourself. Trickster guy becomes the one who targets the leader while everyone else catches up!

Great write up; I had a great time reading it. Thanks!
 
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Ryan Post
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Follow up:

How do you think the next expansion will work with tricksters?

I don't see how Time Travel or Apes will help, but I think Shapeshifters and Spies would be a nice combo. Spy/Trickster would be a lot of torturing people, but also helps cycle with spy actions.

Shapeshifter seems to be extremely beneficial to minions who can't be destroyed or get benefits from it. You could destroy your own gremlin, get a card, make them discard, and replace him with just another gremlin (from discard or deck depending on shapeshifter action). Also helps to search for minions, which is similar to cycling.

Just my thoughts!
 
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J
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posterchild21 wrote:

I can't tell you how dead on you are about players who can't see the true strength of a card. I think Leprechaun is a subpar minion, yet people screw with him ALL THE TIME. They just see his number and immediately go for him. They don't even consider faction strength or vp leader either. I try to use him as the 2nd to last minion on a base, but because Tricksters lack cycling so much, I get stuck either using him or playing nothing, which I hate.

No kidding. I actually try to play him with Hideout for that reason (which is really the only minion tricksters have that needs the Hideout). That's also were a little diplomacy comes in


Quote:
I think the only thing I disagree with is Gremlin. I screw with the Gremlin all the time. If I have a hand that isn't great, or I am Ghosts (my favorite) or Zombies, or a deck that can draw easily, I find a way to target the Gremlin (not because I enjoy discarding cards). A smart person in 4 player wouldn't mind giving Tricksters an extra card to lose a minion they need fairly badly (as you showed in your write up that you should typically never destroy your own Gremlin just for card, as you need the minion more), and making their opponents lose a potentially great card when they need them is a great bonus. One game I destroyed back to back gremlins, lost two semi-worthless cards, and made my 3rd opponent lose Invader and Full Sail. Ouch. Also better to target the gremlin when your cards are bad, than when you get a fantastic hand and someone else does it. Smart players can manipulate the Gremlin as a target, and therefore he stinks. Badly. His power should definitely be something like search your deck for a minion to replace him if he dies, and the discard random for everyone. Or maybe person who destroys discards 2, while everyone else discards one. Less incentive to be the one to destroy.

Yeah I'd agree with you here too. In 4 player it's much more likely he'll be destroyed by someone without any essential cards in his hand. Since he gets the added bonus of hitting 2 other players at the same time. That being said I've found the random discard does protect him to a degree even if it's not perfect and for the most part players that actively target Gremlins seem rarer than those who try to take advantage of him.

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I have never really used the spread em out strategy: A lot of time with Tricksters I find myself trying to build with Enshrouding Mist after I blocked a base after they put down some minions. Next time I play I will pick them up and try a more spread out strategy. I also used to put base blockers wherever they start building, no matter the strength of the base (just to get first and have at least some help). I think in the future I will save them for better bases.

If I recall correctly you mostly play 4 player. The spread em out strategy is mainly viable in 3 player where you can waste time and sit on bases. 4 player is a different story because of the dynamics of possibly not placing when you score a base.

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Whenever we play Smallworld Underground, my friend who focuses on slowing others down always gets last. This is another example like what you said about Tricksters: trying to screw with others isn't going to help you win nearly as much as strong cards that boost yourself. Trickster guy becomes the one who targets the leader while everyone else catches up!

It's kinda sad really. Of the 10 trickster actions only 3 give some sort of direct assistance to the Tricksters when it comes to breaking/winning bases but they lack the second part of the equation to make Enshrouding Mist work well. Further they were given 2 Disenchants which is rather dumb as Disenchant is a very specialized card that you only really need badly vs a few specific factions. If they ever released a Ver. 2 or tried to re-balance the factions they really should be given more card cycling/drawing.

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Great write up; I had a great time reading it. Thanks!

No prob. It's nice to know that someone actually reads these.


posterchild21 wrote:
Follow up:

How do you think the next expansion will work with tricksters?

I don't see how Time Travel or Apes will help, but I think Shapeshifters and Spies would be a nice combo. Spy/Trickster would be a lot of torturing people, but also helps cycle with spy actions.

Well apes would be pretty good. The thing to remember is that each time you add another action on a minion you just increase the likelihood of that minion being targeted making the Brownie's built in defense a great minion to attach actions to. Without seeing their actions I really cannot say any more about that.

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Shapeshifter seems to be extremely beneficial to minions who can't be destroyed or get benefits from it. You could destroy your own gremlin, get a card, make them discard, and replace him with just another gremlin (from discard or deck depending on shapeshifter action). Also helps to search for minions, which is similar to cycling.

Just my thoughts!


No real disagreements here. Again don't know enough about Shape shifters but at least 1 of their card lets you destroy for benefit which works with the Gremlin.

Spies are the type of faction I'd describe as having abilities that are universally desirable most notably deck manipulation. No matter what faction you have you always want to draw the right cards at the right time and drawing the wrong cards can be a game ender (I wish there was a rule to help balance this) so a faction that can manipulate your draws is almost as desirable as one that can draw a ton.
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Mike
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Really great analysis of the Tricksters. They've become one of my favorite factions because of how many believe them to be bad. I can't wait to try out some of these strategies when I play next.

I'm interested to hear how you feel the Tricksters pair up with the new factions. I've only gotten a chance to pair them up with Cyber Apes so far. It went fairly alright. Granted, I had little to no draw power, but the idea of being able to equip a Gremlin or, better yet, a Brownie with a boost sounds very enticing and I really want to try this combo out again.

I'm also really excited to see how they play alongside the other new factions. I'll have to come back here and post my thoughts sometime.

One love for Tricksters.
 
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J
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Alexandria
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Ugh so many things I want to type up but I'm super busy this month. I'll knock this one out.

Thanks for the complement. Lets see. From SFDF:

Apes: Indirectly the extra minion plays that Tricksters have work well with the Apes who have none. Tricksters also have counter-attacks on some of their minions making them a little safer to play actions on and of course if you power up a Leprechaun it becomes even harder for opponents to play minions on his base. Not a spectacular combo but it works.

Shape shifters: The obvious combo here is taking advantage of the several "destroy a minion for benefits" that the Shape shifters have to kill your Gremlins for double benefits.

Spies: Spies can help find Enshrouding Mists and keep the minion flow going which is nice and both factions can target opponent's hands but overall nothing particularly unique about these 2 that I would say makes them synergize.

Time Travelers: Right off the bat these two get started on the wrong foot. One of the things TT wants strong "On play" abilities to take advantage of reusing them, something the Tricksters greatly lack. However something Tricksters want is a faction that is good at getting lots of minions in hand to make use of Enshrouding Mist whereas TT want lots of extra minion plays to take advantage of their ever Jumping Jumpers. Additionally TT wants good actions to recover and Tricksters offer 2 distinct options. First of all is of course Enshrouding Mist which we've already talked about using it with Jumpers however there's another Trickster card which is really good and only gets better the more times you play it, Take the Shinnies. If your opponents are bad at drawing you can really cripple them with 2 or 3 (or 4 or 5) plays of it. Plus as an added bonus if they are afraid you might play it they won't want to hold onto their best stuff to "drop the bomb" with and it'll disrupt their game.
 
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Mike
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I've only played two games with Tricksters paired up with Cyber Apes (have yet to test others out, but I can't seen them working well with Spies). Here are my thoughts...

It's great getting Enshrouding Mist out to play more of your apes. It's great to have extra actions that will protect your apes that tend to become the targets of your opponents.

However, the lack of draw (Cyber Uplink, or whatever it's called, is all the Apes have to aid the themselves/Tricksters) holds the deck back. Also, while it's great getting to play more minions, both of these factions rely on their powerful actions and, in these games, I've found myself unable to play all of my actions. It's a bit of an action overflow with Baboom posing as the only way to play extra actions.

However, as you've said, the combo does work. There is some synergy here. I've enjoyed playing the combo both times I've played it and I'm interested in playing it more. I think the Baboom is the key minion to play in this combo (imagine having multiple Babooms out) alongside playing Enshrouding Mist.

I'm definitely going to have to try this combo out more and I'm excited to try out Trickster/Shapeshifters too.
 
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