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Subject: Buka thoughts rss

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Jack Wraith
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This might be one of the most draw-dependent decks in the game, alongside the Flit and the Khind. With only two cards with a value higher than 4 and timing SO crucial on the placement and loading of ships, it's very difficult to deal with some of the sledgehammer decks like Vulca and Terrah.

I think the Bluffing mechanic needs serious work. There are only 3 Fire bluff icons and 3 Earth bluff icons, but 11(!) Clear icons. With the latter being automatic losses if called, it makes it extremely difficult to get any positive use out of the Bluffing mechanic unless you play several games in a row and your opponent falls prey to your planned 'tells' in playing pattern. My wife discovered quite quickly that it was best to call the Bluff at any time in which she was unable to continue, because the likelihood of more than one card being used as a Bluff and retaining the same icon as the element in play was, uh, minor, to say the least.

I like the Brotherhood of Pirates cards, but they come up very short against the aforementioned sledgehammer decks, which don't use multiple boosters or character, have very few icons, and don't often use multiple supports, either (except for the Terrah storms, in which I won't even bother to play the Free BP because I don't want to give up a dragon at the beginning of my opponent's next turn, only to win it back if they can't respond (IF.)

Overall, I like the idea of the Bluffing and the Ships, but packing all of the new mechanics into the Booster/Support phase was an error, I think. And placing the execution of Landing a ship at the Beginning of Turn phase, before you can even use the sole Leadership card in the deck to assist that mechanic, certainly doesn't help.

Overall, I'd have to say that the deck is not one of my favorites. As much as I love poker, the opponent in that game generally has to risk a bit more when calling a Bluff. Against the Buka, it's a good idea probably 90% of the time. Perhaps my opinion will change with more plays, but I think Kosmos missed the boat on this one.
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Matthew M
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Gotta disagree.
The Buka thrive on hitting you hard three times and ending the game. It's reasonable to expect any of these hits that work to also be worth two dragons. Also, consdering that you can load one ship immediately upon playing it you only need six total support phases to fill the others - fewer if you can play any number of Support cards.

The Leadership card is intended primarily to fish out a ship in case the three cards are all late in your deck. Being able to play it to also load a ship simply keeps the card from being useless if the ships are early.

The bluffing isn't meant to be the power of the deck. The bluffing just buys time until you can get a ship ready to launch. You don't even have to actually bluff - just playing the safe bluff icons in the appropriate battles. I've seen the Buka never play a false bluff and win and I've seen them get away with makign false bluffs and lose. Neither time did having a tell or a poker face play into decisions to call or not to call - it was entirely based on the game-situation.

If your opponent feels it is a good idea to call bluffs 90% of the time, don't bluff. Eventually your bluffs will stop getting called and you can get away with an actual bluff or two when needed. Also don't ignore the opportunity to discard your own played bluffs at the start of your turn. It can be a useful play to play a clear bluff for only a single round just so you can get a needed low-power text-bearing character in play. Your opponent will likely be able to match your power without needing to call the bluff, so would it be worth it in the case that the card is legit? Next turn you show your clear bluff and play on - perhaps even baiting a legit card to get called in the future.

-MMM
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Joe Gola
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Octavian wrote:
You don't even have to actually bluff - just playing the safe bluff icons in the appropriate battles. I've seen the Buka never play a false bluff and win and I've seen them get away with makign false bluffs and lose.

That was my impression as well. I've played one five-crystal match vs. the Aqua, three games, and I won 6 to 2 without ever once trying to pull a fast one with the bluff cards. I only played them when they had the matching symbol.

I think that as a whole the deck is more about the ships than about the bluffing; the bluffing just gives them a little extra flexibility.
 
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AxonDomini
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I think the temptation to bluff when you first play the Buka is a natural response, but in reality you don't want to bluff very often. The vast majority of your "bluff" card plays should be with the proper element - that way your opponent will be reluctant to call you and lose a dragon. I've also played multiple games where I had more than one bluff card of the proper element. It's all about the timing. Of course, don't forget about the Letter of Marques ("You may not call my bluff") booster, which is handily Free and a 2/2. Avoid playing the true Fire/Earth bluff cards as characters early in the game unless you need to. You're just giving away free info that way. Choosing when to bluff is also key - if you're up two or three dragons, your opponent may be very reluctant to call your bluff and give you that extra dragon (or the game).

And, yes, the deck is draw dependent, but it's also FAST. The ships let your move through your deck quickly as you load them, while also setting up combos for future use. Also, keep in mind the BP cards are great loaded on ships when their text isn't useful. They're 3/3's, and thus can be landed usefully in just about any fight.

It took me about a half dozen games to start getting a handle on how to play the Buka, and I'm still working on it. They are a tough deck to play well, but not weak. I finally managed a win against the Khind the other day, and my wife is killer with that deck. However, I think they're also the most subject to "personal taste". I love them, but my wife doesn't care for them. Then again, she also loves the Flit and I find them "meh". That's the beauty of the game - there's a deck for every taste, but I think it's a rare person that loves them all.
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Christopher Dearlove
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Jackwraith wrote:
My wife discovered quite quickly that it was best to call the Bluff at any time in which she was unable to continue, because the likelihood of more than one card being used as a Bluff and retaining the same icon as the element in play was, uh, minor, to say the least.


Not when I play. The point being that most FIRE BLUFF and EARTH BLUFF cards are used as bluff cards (unless you need the earth value, maybe in a ship) while most EMPTY BLUFF cards are not so used (or shouldn't be). So the probability of two bluff cards both being real is entirely in the hands of the Buka player - he can make it 100% if he chooses. In fact if I were playing against someone who called my bluff every time they couldn't continue it would be 100%.
 
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Christopher Dearlove
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Jackwraith wrote:
This might be one of the most draw-dependent decks in the game


I may still be the only person to have had all three ships and Entreat Favor (effectively the fourth ship) as the last four cards of my deck. And I believe I won that game (I certainly won one that I wasn't able to use a ship at all). I forget which deck my opponent had. (Yes, I could dig through my notes. No, I'm not going to do so.)
 
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Christopher Dearlove
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Octavian wrote:
It can be a useful play to play a clear bluff for only a single round just so you can get a needed low-power text-bearing character in play.


Nastiest trick I've played. Current element is fire, I play an EARTH BLUFF card as a bluff card. Next turn I play Old Goo Laa's Ghost, having "forgotten" to discard the bluff card. My bluff gets called. Oops. Two dragons to me.

Best in a strict game - in a friendly game your opponent may let you discard the bluff card. It works even better if your opponent plays a mutant.
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Christopher Dearlove
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Gola wrote:
I think that as a whole the deck is more about the ships than about the bluffing; the bluffing just gives them a little extra flexibility.


One of the playtesters would disagree with you. He'd suggest that because bluffs and ships compete (a design feature - see my article) by concentrating on ships you often reduce the value of bluffing, and actually bluffing is stronger than it is often played. And if nothing else, the "big bluff" (article again) is worth almost as much as a ship.

After all, bluffing offers six 2/0 or 0/2 supports, a total of 12 points. Only the Hoax and Aqua can beat that. Fortunately (?) the supports have some drawbacks.

(Note: my comments are meant to provoke response, not to shut it down. I'm interested in how people view the Buka. Some like it, some hate it, some have a more middle position. I'm interested in them all.)
 
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Jack Wraith
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OK. One crucial aspect I missed was the ability to discard your bluff cards at the beginning of the turn. I actually played Oo Laa's Ghost to save a fight and ended up winning it because my bluff wasn't called. I'm pretty sure my wife thought that I had set it up so that I had Earth Bluffs in play and played the Ghost to shift the element to Earth so that she didn't want to call.

If I can dump the bluffs on my turn, then it becomes a lot better.

I have to say that reading and re-reading the rules for Blue Moon is becoming almost a science. With most games you can get by with a single read or even skim through stuff that's obvious (take heart counters when you receive wounds in Runebound... blah, blah, blah) but the language is so precise in Blue Moon that I find myself going back to the Emmissaries and Buka pamphlets on a regular basis.
 
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Christopher Dearlove
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Jackwraith wrote:
If I can dump the bluffs on my turn, then it becomes a lot better.


Not in my article (can't have everything) but we started with a rule that bluff cards were automatically discarded when the element changed, and then moved to the current rule as it also works with Letter of Marque, and allows tactical plays like giving up a bluff (players would delay calling a bluff until they reached six cards) or the case I indicated.

One single rule that covers many cases, good.
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Matthew M
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It should be a rare hand indeed that doesn't have anything you can do with it. Assuming you need at least one bluff card of the current element or one ship (or the Leadership that gives you a ship) you've got about 25% of the deck accounted for.

And if your bluffs are never called, that begs the question why you aren't faking more often...

-MMM
 
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Christopher Dearlove
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Octavian wrote:
It should be a rare hand indeed that doesn't have anything you can do with it.


I usually have the problem of deciding which of my options to do with it. What I don't know is how often I get it right.
 
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Matthew M
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MrSkeletor wrote:
Octavian wrote:
And if your bluffs are never called, that begs the question why you aren't faking more often...


A 3 dragon penalty for being called out just seems too harsh.


If there weren't a hefty penalty there decision in whether or not to risk wouldn't be as interesting.

And the penalty is only two dragons unless you've let your opponent get to six cards. At which point you can discard your empty bluffs.

-MMM
 
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Joe Stude
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Eesh. I'm gone for a day and lookit all the activity.

I personally love the Buka. Speed decks are not normally my style, but so far I've better results with this deck than any of the other standard decks. I haven't, however, played vs. Vulca or Hoax (lots of antiship cards) with it yet.

Bluffing: So far in all 9 or so games I've only bluffed using empty bluff cards once or twice. All the advice given so far is pretty much what I go by: don't waste your real bluffs, be sparing with empty bluffs, etc.

BP cards: Every deck has cards that are relatively useless against one deck or another. Jeffk said it best: load the BP cards that don't apply onto ships or just play them as regular characters. Obviously knowing what's in the decks you're playing against is key.
 
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Joe Gola
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Dearlove wrote:
Gola wrote:
I think that as a whole the deck is more about the ships than about the bluffing; the bluffing just gives them a little extra flexibility.


One of the playtesters would disagree with you. He'd suggest that because bluffs and ships compete (a design feature - see my article) by concentrating on ships you often reduce the value of bluffing, and actually bluffing is stronger than it is often played. And if nothing else, the "big bluff" (article again) is worth almost as much as a ship.

I didn't feel that manning the ships competed with my playing the bluff cards, but then I didn't necessarily work towards a "big bluff." I was once able to put together two (or three?) bluffs plus the bluff-doubling character, but that was more due to luck than planning. My opponent was not happy.

Anyway, I really enjoyed the deck. It's a great addition to the system. My hat is off to RK and all the playtesters.
 
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Christopher Dearlove
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Gola wrote:
I really enjoyed the deck.


And that is all that matters.

Of course if you ever felt like trying to compete with your renowned Amun Re session report ...
 
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Matthew M
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Do we really need to hear about this TuTu or that TuTu taking a crap in the fire temple?

-MMM
 
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Joe Stude
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yes, yes we do.
 
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Octavian wrote:
Do we really need to hear about this TuTu or that TuTu taking a crap in the fire temple?


There are aspects of the original that aren't perfect. But one should draw the right Men in Black II conclusion.

(OK, off topic here.) Men in Black was a good fun film. At one point there was a joke that of the strange looking guy and the dog, it was the dog, which could talk, that was the alien. Simple joke, fitted in with all the other off the wall stuff. It wasn't the best of the jokes. Now Men in Black II, the right conclusion is: we want more unexpected stuff. Conclusion drawn by studio executive: more talking dog. Result: MiB II was a dog.
 
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Joe Gola
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Octavian wrote:
Do we really need to hear about this TuTu or that TuTu taking a crap in the fire temple?

A TuTu taking a crap in the sacred fire temple? How could you even think such a thing? I'm surprised at you, Matthew.

The watchtower, maybe, but the fire temple? Never!


Really, though, I think if you take a quick read you'll see that very few of my session reports make any reference to crapping; really it's just the Amun-Re one and the one for Roughage: The Game of Digestive Wellness.
 
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