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Subject: Either this game is horribly broken, or... rss

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Greg Lott
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...I'm doing something horribly wrong. A little about me first.

I love deckbuilders. Almost virtually all of them. I have every expansion of Dominion and Ascension, and have played each dozens upon dozens of times and love both dearly. I own both the DC Deckbuilder, Marvel Legendary, Trains, and even Penny Arcade. I really enjoy all of them to some varying degree. So Star Realms seemed like a logical fit. I played a game with a friend and LOVED it! I was eager to show my other deckbuilder loving friend and he showed up just as the first game ended. So my first friend left, and I sat down and played with Chris... And he flat out broke the game. He concentrated on draw cards, which are always powerful. I just went about my business doing some cool faction synergies, and suddenly WHAM! Chris' deck exploded. It was a matter of time really at that point and soon I was put out of my misery. As I've stated, I'm no beginner at deckbuilders and saw immediately what Chris did. With a pit in my stomach, I asked if he wanted another game. He agreed. I knew he'd employ the same strategy and I was keen on proving to myself, as much as anyone, that buying card draw wasn't only not a dominant strategy, but that it wasn't the ONLY strategy. So we began... He kept buying anything w card draw, and I set up buying bases, building up attack and authority gain with fairly solid faction structure. I gradually built up a nice lead and had around 60 authority while he was around 20. And then he basically played his entire deck. He hit me for 35 and gained 25, and then bought the best card in the lineup... like it mattered. The following turn he finished me off.
In a dazed moment of "wtf just happened" I asked to see Chris deck. This my third game, so I may be wrong. I HOPE I'm wrong. But there are WAY too many "draw card" abilities in the game, and they all feel undercosted. In all the other deck builders, card draw is fairly rare, and you typically pay a lot for it. In this game, roughly 1/4 of all the cards are about card draw, and it crosses multiple factions. So... What the heck. We read the rules multiple times after that and both concluded we were playing it right. Card draw is even more powerful in this game since drawing more cards increases the likelihood of triggering secondary abilities.

So... No one else is talking about balance. So what gives? And please don't say "don't let him buy all the draw card cards". Because if that's true, then there really is only one strategy. If buying anything else when a draw card card is on the table, then the game is uninteresting at best, and savagely broken at best.

Help me, oh Star Realms Jedi. You are my only hope.
soblue

*edit - for grammar
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Erik Webb
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This game is built to reach a critical mass relative early compared to other deck-builders. The same would have been said if he bought all the Blob cards, assuming they came out.

This is more a tactical deck-builder than a strategic one. You need to adjust quickly to what cards are coming out. And if a lot of synergistic draw card cards came out, then yes you should not have let him get them all. This is not to say it is the only strategy, but it was the prevalent one in your particular games.
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Greg Lott
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galagaew wrote:
This game is built to reach a critical mass relative early compared to other deck-builders. The same would have been said if he bought all the Blob cards, assuming they came out.

This is more a tactical deck-builder than a strategic one. You need to adjust quickly to what cards are coming out. And if a lot of synergistic draw card cards came out, then yes you should not have let him get them all. This is not to say it is the only strategy, but it was the prevalent one in your particular games.


Ok, I like that answer! And I agree, the snowball gets big quick in this game.

Still clinging to hope that this game is good.
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Aditya C
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I often find that the games end very quickly in this game. Card draw is pretty strong, so you don't want to let your opponent buy all of them. Generally, you can't start this game with a preset strategy in mind simply because the factions won't necessarily distribute evenly.
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Greg Lott
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Caibre wrote:
I often find that the games end very quickly in this game. Card draw is pretty strong, so you don't want to let your opponent buy all of them. Generally, you can't start this game with a preset strategy in mind simply because the factions won't necessarily distribute evenly.


This sounds very close to " if card draw is available, buying anything else is wrong".
:/

Would you hate draft anything else like that? If the opponent has a bunch of green cards, would you be like "I can't let him get anymore"?
 
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Aditya C
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You will likely have to. I mean if that many green cards are coming out, it's likely to very little else is coming out so you should get yourself some of that action as well.

You could even try to get some yellow cards to force your opponent to discard. Card draw will only be a problem if you let them hoard every single one of them, which kind of makes them a faction on their own.
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Steve Malczak
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As you can see in my thread about the Explorers, going with early card scrapping can also be extremely powerful. If you get a few of those low-cost Machine ships with damage, card removal, and additional damage you can quickly rid your deck of almost all Vipers and Scouts.

After that, pick on one heavy hitter and keep the deck to about 10-12 cards and you'll likely kill your opponent before he can set up enough card draw...
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Henry Allen
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ferris1971 wrote:
Caibre wrote:
I often find that the games end very quickly in this game. Card draw is pretty strong, so you don't want to let your opponent buy all of them. Generally, you can't start this game with a preset strategy in mind simply because the factions won't necessarily distribute evenly.


This sounds very close to " if card draw is available, buying anything else is wrong".
:/

Would you hate draft anything else like that? If the opponent has a bunch of green cards, would you be like "I can't let him get anymore"?


Uh, hell yeah! Green is a great example. Letting somebody buy up a flood of early green is a good alternative way to get your ass handed to you if you'd like.

My very first game I let my opponent buy up every green card while I worked on scrapping cards and building up my economy so I could buy high end cards. A lot of good green synergy was coming out and I was dead before I knew what hit me.

Next time I saw that starting to happen, hell yeah I snapped up a few key green cards because I realized it was more important for him not to have certain ones than for me to get what I thought I wanted. It's not like you have to buy everything that might work in his deck. Just key pieces, huge threats, and/or things that also benefit you enough to make it worth it.

There's that blob ship that does 5 plus 2 on ally abilities and you can scrap it for 3$. Next time you play it it does 5 damage and you scrap it for $3. That sounds a lot better than 7 damage to your face repeatedly plus increased chance of triggering extra draws and damage from his other green cards right?
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Peter Rabinowitz
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I think if there are lots of draw cards on the market, then yes letting your opponent get all of them is a bad move. But if one is out there? I don't think it's necessarily a must buy. It depends what else it out there. As someone else said, you could get stomped by a high-damage deck pretty quickly if that's the way the market is going. And if I get scrapping powers early, I'll have a lean efficient deck while you're drawing scouts and vipers.
 
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Peter Rabinowitz
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Also, as has been said, this game is much faster than other deck-builders. If you take too long building your synergies then you will be stomped. Cantrips are fast, no doubt. But so are scraping cards IMO. If one player is buying outposts early and the other isn't, that can be a huge advantage too; early damage potential is usually not enough to break an outpost. There's lots of ways you can let one person get an early advantage. Slowly working up a nice engine isn't usually going to work in Star Realms.

Also, even if it is true that a cantrip should always be bought (I'm not sure that is true but let's just assume it is for the moment) then the game still isn't broken. You both buy every cantrip that comes out. OK, now what? Someone is still going to win and someone is still going to lose. If you feel cantrips are always the best first buy, then the winner will be determined by who can figure out the second best buy.
 
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Peter Rabinowitz
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KlydeFrog wrote:
There's that blob ship that does 5 plus 2 on ally abilities and you can scrap it for 3$. Next time you play it it does 5 damage and you scrap it for $3. That sounds a lot better than 7 damage to your face repeatedly plus increased chance of triggering extra draws and damage from his other green cards right?


I did that exact thing last night. There were two blobs out in the initial market, my wife went first and bought one. I bought that other just to keep it from her and then I scraped it when it next came up. There was one other time I took a card just to keep it from her. I also managed to get lots of scrappers. Late game she was doing 10 or more dmg to me a turn but by then I had 3 outposts and a deck so small I drew the whole thing at once. Bam.
 
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Henry Allen
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One thing I really like about this game is the quick ramp up and how a deck can suddenly hit critical mass and 'go off'. I've had several games end with me suddenly breaking out for a massive 20-30 damage turn to finish the game the turn before my opponent would have won from whittling me down.
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Greg Lott
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kc2dpt wrote:
I think if there are lots of draw cards on the market, then yes letting your opponent get all of them is a bad move. But if one is out there? I don't think it's necessarily a must buy. It depends what else it out there. As someone else said, you could get stomped by a high-damage deck pretty quickly if that's the way the market is going. And if I get scrapping powers early, I'll have a lean efficient deck while you're drawing scouts and vipers.


I counted. Over 30% of all ships have a card drawing primary or secondary ability. There's almost always going to be card draw available.
 
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Greg Lott
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kc2dpt wrote:
Also, as has been said, this game is much faster than other deck-builders. If you take too long building your synergies then you will be stomped. Cantrips are fast, no doubt. But so are scraping cards IMO. If one player is buying outposts early and the other isn't, that can be a huge advantage too; early damage potential is usually not enough to break an outpost. There's lots of ways you can let one person get an early advantage. Slowly working up a nice engine isn't usually going to work in Star Realms.

Also, even if it is true that a cantrip should always be bought (I'm not sure that is true but let's just assume it is for the moment) then the game still isn't broken. You both buy every cantrip that comes out. OK, now what? Someone is still going to win and someone is still going to lose. If you feel cantrips are always the best first buy, then the winner will be determined by who can figure out the second best buy.


Because a good and interesting game doesn't have that problem. It shouldn't be whoever manages to buy the most cantrips wins. At that point, just flip a coin.
 
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Aditya C
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Except it's not that. You shouldn't be letting your opponent build full synergy. That alone will lose you games. Even letting your opponent get all the damage our discard or scrap will end your game quickly.
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Greg Lott
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Caibre wrote:
Except it's not that. You shouldn't be letting your opponent build full synergy. That alone will lose you games. Even letting your opponent get all the damage our discard or scrap will end your game quickly.


And that's what I want to hear. Kc2 simply said you should buy cantrips any time you see one.

Thanks.
 
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T Scott
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I don't have very many games under my belt yet, but it sure feels like each game is over before it picks up steam. I'd really like to let a few things hit the table and get some more synergies going before the slugfest commences. This hasn't quite happened for me yet.

The relative quickness seems to be echoed by the comments in this thread so I don't think I'm alone. The game really does play super-fast, but (IMO) not in a necessarily good way.

The vibe I'm getting is that I should probably be playing with authority starting at 100 or maybe 150 in order to hit that 'fun' factor sweet-spot. Right now, that sweet-spot just isn't happening.

--tim
 
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Peter Rabinowitz
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ferris1971 wrote:
Kc2 simply said you should buy cantrips any time you see one.


I did not.
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R N
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It seems like the OP could be rephrased...
How obvious/varied are your buys?

alternately,
How well does this game reward skill, and how deep is it?
 
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Aditya C
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TScott wrote:
I don't have very many games under my belt yet, but it sure feels like each game is over before it picks up steam. I'd really like to let a few things hit the table and get some more synergies going before the slugfest commences. This hasn't quite happened for me yet.

The relative quickness seems to be echoed by the comments in this thread so I don't think I'm alone. The game really does play super-fast, but (IMO) not in a necessarily good way.

The vibe I'm getting is that I should probably be playing with authority starting at 100 or maybe 150 in order to hit that 'fun' factor sweet-spot. Right now, that sweet-spot just isn't happening.

--tim


I like the speed in this game but I also like the fact that I can just modulate the authority to adjust the length if I want a more lengthy game.
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Aditya C
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slacks wrote:
It seems like the OP could be rephrased...
How obvious/varied are your buys?

alternately,
How well does this game reward skill, and how deep is it?


I find the buys to be heavily on the tactical side rather than Strategic side. However, it's usually not a no-brainier because most of the cards feel strong so you have to weigh the importance of each card to both you and your opponent.

It's not a tremendously deep game however. It's more of a quick enjoyable deck builder with some critical thinking.
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Henry Allen
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Caibre wrote:
slacks wrote:
It seems like the OP could be rephrased...
How obvious/varied are your buys?

alternately,
How well does this game reward skill, and how deep is it?


I find the buys to be heavily on the tactical side rather than Strategic side. However, it's usually not a no-brainier because most of the cards feel strong so you have to weigh the importance of each card to both you and your opponent.

It's not a tremendously deep game however. It's more of a quick enjoyable deck builder with some critical thinking.


Well said, I agree.

Pretty much every card is good and more expensive cards are generally better than cheaper cards. But the true current value of every card at any given moment is really a factor of what is in your opponents deck, what is in your deck, current authority totals, what else is in the trade row, how soon you are going to get to reshuffle, possibly what is in your hand, and probably other factors.


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Eric Lucero
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Talenn wrote:
As you can see in my thread about the Explorers, going with early card scrapping can also be extremely powerful. If you get a few of those low-cost Machine ships with damage, card removal, and additional damage you can quickly rid your deck of almost all Vipers and Scouts.

After that, pick on one heavy hitter and keep the deck to about 10-12 cards and you'll likely kill your opponent before he can set up enough card draw...

This is a VERY good point.

Card advantage is the most powerful component to any card game. In deck builders drawing cards gets you access to more of the cards you put in your deck. It's quite obvious that this is going to seem over powered if someone gets too much of it. To think that a game that is about drawing and playing cards should not give an advantage to the person who can draw and play more cards seems kinda silly.

That said, I understand your position about choice; that there should be multiple viable winning strategies. I'm new to the game myself, but I think there are. A huge, easily overlooked strategy is deck thinning. In Star Realms, the cards do not contribute to your victory points to help you win the game like so many other deck builders. It's also not necessarily an engine building game. You don't need to keep buying cards. Once you got the ships you need, purge the ones you don't need, and you suddenly find yourself with a small deck that is consistently drawing you big chunks of damage turn after turn.

This game is all about getting your deck to be an efficient damage dealer (with an appropriate amount of defense according to your strategy). Whoever gets their military machine running well first is likely going to be the winner. Card drawing can help you have an effective military machine, but I don't think it's the only way or even the best way. You don't need to draw 10 cards a turn if instead the 5 you do draw are the power cards you want. Additionally, think about how much more powerful outposts are in a 12 card deck.

Keep exploring the game. Don't shy away from playing card draw strategies. Sometimes strategies seem more powerful than they really are when you only see them from the side of the victim. Play the strategy yourself and see how your opponents exploit you or what you fear them doing. Most of all, forget what you know of other deck builders, and approach this one from a clean slate. You must unlearn what you have learned.
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