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Subject: What's the purpose of separating market cards into 1 and 2 dots? rss

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The market deck can be set up in 2 ways:

(1) The standard rule is to separate 1-dot cards from 2-dot cards, shuffle separately, and place 1-dot deck on top of the 2-dot deck.

(2) The official variant is not to do any separation, but just shuffle all cards together to form the deck.

Without having played the game (and being way to hyped to just sit and wait without even thinking about it), I'm almost confident that I'll just use the official variant and mix all cards together. The rulebook states that this adds more variety to the game, particularly in 2-player games, so isn't that a good thing?

But I still don't understand what the 1- and 2-dot separation was aimed to accomplish in the first place. Maybe if I understand that, I can make a more informed decision on whether to use the official variant or not.
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Keith Matejka
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Good question. By separating the 2 decks, the cards come out in a more favorable order. Three general reasons.

1) The card types cards are forced to be a little more spread out throughout the deck. For example, 2 of the leather pieces are in the 1-dot deck, while the other 2 are in the 2-dot deck. This reduces the chances of there being a market just full of leather pieces.

2) Some cards aren't as useful if they come out late. Example: The Jeweled Dagger is in the 1-dot deck. It increases the value of all your gold-colored dice when scoring the attribute goals on your class card. If you get this in the beginning of the game, you can create a strategy around it, and make it much more easy meet your goals. If you buy this late in the game, it's more likely going to mess up your plans than give you any real advantage. Another example: Reckless gives the player 2 points for each attribute that is 5 or less. If you got this at the end of the game, it wouldn't be very useful as you probably were pushing your stats up not down throughout the game and there aren't many turns left to change course. Get it at the beginning, and you can build your entire strategy around it to earn a huge number of points.

3) Some really powerful cards are in the bottom of the deck to limit their utility. Example: Concentrate allows the player to activate ANY attribute action. Really powerful, but since it comes out in the later half of the game, the number of times you'd be able to use it is limited.

The problem is, in the 2 player game you only see about 36 of the market cards (12 turns with 3 cards in the market each turn). That means if you use the stacked deck, you'll always see all the 1-dot cards and about 1/2 the 2-dot cards. After a lot of games like that, you can start to predict which cards will come up when. To break that, you can just not bother sorting and just have an entirely random market deck, keeping in mind they may not come up in a particularly useful order.

I hope that helps. I'm happy to answer any additional questions you might have.

Keith
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Interesting! These are some good reasons. I can definitely see some players preferring the more controlled and balanced layout, especially until they played the game enough to start seeing patterns. I will start with the sorted deck first myself, as it is essentially random until you played the game heaps.

Although, personally, I don't mind having cards coming out not in a perfect order, so eventually I might switch to your variant. Here're some thoughts on how I think the points that you mentioned are not really a problem strictly speaking, but more of a matter of taste (I think):

kmatejka wrote:
1) The card types cards are forced to be a little more spread out throughout the deck. For example, 2 of the leather pieces are in the 1-dot deck, while the other 2 are in the 2-dot deck. This reduces the chances of there being a market just full of leather pieces.

If the market is full of leather armour, on one hand, it might give an advantage to classes who benefit most from leather. But on the other hand:

- These classes are not guaranteed to have enough money and/or opportunity to actually buy the leather armour available.

- If 2 pieces of leather armour show up at the same time, one player cannot buy them both, which means that the other piece will get discarded or purchased by somebody else, and so it cannot come up again in later rounds. Which is a potential drawback of having too much leather clumped together rather than an advantage for these classes.

- You never know how much leather armour there will be present in future rounds, and so it's always a risk. And there are other good cards you may want to buy too!

kmatejka wrote:
2) Some cards aren't as useful if they come out late. Example: The Jeweled Dagger is in the 1-dot deck. It increases the value of all your gold-colored dice when scoring the attribute goals on your class card. If you get this in the beginning of the game, you can create a strategy around it, and make it much more easy meet your goals. If you buy this late in the game, it's more likely going to mess up your plans than give you any real advantage. Another example: Reckless gives the player 2 points for each attribute that is 5 or less. If you got this at the end of the game, it wouldn't be very useful as you probably were pushing your stats up not down throughout the game and there aren't many turns left to change course. Get it at the beginning, and you can build your entire strategy around it to earn a huge number of points.

If a card is generally less useful at the end of the game, it can still be very desirable if you happened to develop in the same direction as the card wants you to either because of luck or because you had this card in mind all along! Plus, not every playthrough should have an option of building your strategy around a certain card present at the beginning of the game. Nothing wrong with that.

kmatejka wrote:
3) Some really powerful cards are in the bottom of the deck to limit their utility. Example: Concentrate allows the player to activate ANY attribute action. Really powerful, but since it comes out in the later half of the game, the number of times you'd be able to use it is limited.

There is competition to get market cards. If some really strong card comes up early, you will be forced to grab the lowest value die to guarantee that you can get that card.

But if there are a couple of cards that were designed to be put on the bottom of the deck and are too strong otherwise (Concentrate? Anything else?) a super easy solution is to shuffle them into the bottom half of the deck and keep everything else random. I think if that's the case you may even want to add a line next to the Random Market market variant, "If you use this variant, you may want to shuffle the following cards into the bottom half of the deck to maintain their optimal power level."
 
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What if market cards were split into 3 types:
"1 dot": Cards that should be shuffled into the top half of the deck.
"2 dot": Cards that should be shuffled into the bottom half of the deck.

and:
"0 dot": Cards that are shuffled and then split evenly between the 1-dot and 2-dot piles.

 
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kmatejka wrote:
The problem is, in the 2 player game you only see about 36 of the market cards (12 turns with 3 cards in the market each turn). That means if you use the stacked deck, you'll always see all the 1-dot cards and about 1/2 the 2-dot cards. After a lot of games like that, you can start to predict which cards will come up when. To break that, you can just not bother sorting and just have an entirely random market deck, keeping in mind they may not come up in a particularly useful order.

Hey Keith, it just occurred to me!

Super easy: make the deck out of 18 random 1-dot cards on top of 18 random 2-dot cards. This way the order is still favourable, but players don't end up seeing too much of 1-dot cards in 2-player games.

Edit: Okay, not super easy, Pick Lock seems to be the only card that will mess it up, as it allows you to draw extra cards from the market deck. Is there a number of cards you can safely discard from the 1-dot deck before the setup to make the game a little less predictable but still prevent a possibility of running out of cards if someone goes heavy into lock picking?
 
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But then what do you do in a 4-player game? 10 rounds of 5 cards is 50 cards. If somebody picks any number of locks the deck will run out too early.

This may need to be readjusted?

(Or just ditch Pick Lock which would solve all these problems altogether. If nothing can draw extra cards from the market deck, you can make the setup "Place X 1-dot cards on top of X 2-dot cards" at any player count. That'd make the game feel a bit more simple and polished, like a euro. This one special rule kinda throws things off a little.)

As the rules are, it's not ideal, and shuffling all cards together could be even worse, if there are overpowered cards for the early game. I don't mind drawing useless cards, as there's always a choice of what to buy, but drawing overpowered cards is a balance problem, as there's nothing a player can do to prevent the starting player getting the overpowered card.
 
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I've actually been thinking about this lately. I could see discarding x cards from each deck at the start of the game to make each half of the deck smaller, making sure you get to the B deck sooner in a game with less players.

So, for example, in a 2 player or solo game discard 7 random cards from each deck before stacking them. That allows some wiggle room for Open Lock, but allows play to get to the second half sooner.
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kmatejka wrote:
I've actually been thinking about this lately. I could see discarding x cards from each deck at the start of the game to make each half of the deck smaller, making sure you get to the B deck sooner in a game with less players.

So, for example, in a 2 player or solo game discard 7 random cards from each deck before stacking them. That allows some wiggle room for Open Lock, but allows play to get to the second half sooner.

So there are 53 cards in the game. If in a 2-player game we discard 14, it makes it 39. During the course of the game we will draw 36 + any cards that a player chooses to buy with Open Lock. In this case, to avoid breaking the game, I would house rule that Open Lock can be used to buy the maximum of 3 cards per game. Because nobody knows what happens if you can't draw enough cards on the last round, or do you?

Just find a solution of what to do if the market deck runs out. Reshuffle the discard pile back to make a new draw deck and keep drawing doesn't sound like such a bad idea, especially if it will almost never happen, as it can only happen if someone uses Open Lock at least 4 times to buy a card (in a 2-player game). thumbsup

Edit: Although hang on, there are abilities that interact with the discard pile. I think reshuffling it might make them less unique and at times impossible to use. thumbsdown

Okay, I get back to my suggestion to remove Open Lock then (or change it so it doesn't draw from the Market deck). For one, imagine how easy it is to add new Market cards in future expansions if each game plays with a predetermined number of Market cards (36 for 2 players, 44 for 3 players, and 50 for 4 players). No matter how many more cards you add to the pool, players will simply draw the required number for their player count.
 
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I know, I know!

Can you make Open Lock allow a player to buy the top car from the Market deck but after it's been added to the market on the next turn, as a free action? Something like, "Before the Dice phase, you can buy the first card in the market."

This will simulate the same thing, letting you decide whether or not to buy 1 random card before everybody else can buy it, as a free action, but it won't make the Market deck run out faster!

And this way you can keep the card (and the artwork!) in the game, and the card still makes thematic sense (well, except the part where you have to pay, but it's the same in the original. I guess one could say that you're paying for the tools required to open the lock, and the advantage you receive is getting the contents when you're not supposed to ).
 
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No-no-no, even better!

How about you keep Open Lock exactly as it is, but if it's used, in the next round players will just reveal 1 less market card. The reason is, well, somehow one of them has disappeared last night. whistle Did anybody see it? There is a chest here, but it's empty.
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Update. Keith made the changes to the rulebook on subject. Looking good to me!

Setup
7. Separate the Market cards into single-dot and double-dot card piles (dots are in the upper right corner of the cards). If playing with three players, discard three cards from each pile, or if playing with two players, discard seven cards from each pile. Shuffle the piles separately and place the single-dot pile on top of the double-dot pile to form the Market deck.

Clenup
4. The Start Player draws a new set of Market cards for the next round (equal to the number of Initiative cards) and places them face up to form a new Market. If the Market deck is depleted and additional cards need to be drawn, the Start Player shuffles the discard pile (single dot and double dot together) to create a new Market deck before drawing the necessary cards.

This will fix the issue of seeing all 1-dot cards and only some of the 2-dot cards in a 2 player game. And if the market deck ever runs out in the last couple of rounds (my uneducated guess is that it should be very uncommon), reshuffling the market discard seems like a perfectly fine solution. thumbsup

@Keith, "discarding" during the setup doesn't mean putting the cards into the market discard pile, but rather putting them back to the box, right? If so, maybe you should say so explicitly in the rules.
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Keith Matejka
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Hey German,

I did make the change based on your feedback. Thanks for that.

I've tested it quite a few times at this point, and I think it improves the issue you cited.

I did intend for players to create a discard pile with this stack of cards (not out of the game). Changing the draw deck increases replayability significantly. Moving them to the discard pile still makes them available for Druid or the player who buys Move Silently.

Also, in the rare chance that the draw deck needs to be shuffled, those discarded cards enter play, which I think is interesting.

I've also been working on an expansion for the game, and putting these in the discard instead of out of the game is important in certain situations in the expansions I'm planning as well.

That being said, you're free to "house rule" them out of the game, if you wish.

Keith
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Hey Keith,

Oh, I see. Yeah, that'll work too. As long as it doesn't make druid and/or move silently overpowered in some 2-player setups, but I trust that you considered that and it's not too bad.
 
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