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Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn» Forums » Variants

Subject: "Balanced" PreCon List rss

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Hello everyone!,

I'm looking for a way to modify the precon deck lists to improve the balance and play-ability between all of them. I've read a decent chunk of the strategy posts here about specific match-ups and strategies, but the general consensus is that certain Phoenixborns are generally weaker than others.

I'm not talking about specific match-ups either, I mean overall, players tend to complain about Noah and Aradel in general.

My set of players is generally on the light-competition. They wont be making their own customs, and they wont be buying their own sets. The current set of the deck place too much power in the hands of Silver Snake/Blue Panther, and would make it hard for an average player to compete against another average player.

We want a standard set of "new" precon lists, so we don't have to make our own customs, and balance is a lot closer. I know this is very difficult, and may not be possible, but I wanted to know if anyone else has worked toward this?

I saw some great hints of things doing this in a Noah post in the strategy forums,
https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1412796/guide-noah-redmoon-...
Which suggested swapping some Coal and Noah cards for added power to Noah, and some added to Coal as well. I'm looking for things generally along these lines, bringing as many Phoenixborns as possible to decent matchups against each other
 
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Chris Hewlett
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I haven't seen many complaints about Aradel being weak. Noah isn't necessarily bad, but he is much more difficult to play and mistakes with him are much more punishing. A good player with Noah will actially result in close games, a bad will result in terrible losses.

With Noah:
You can swap out small sacrifice for chant of revenge with Noah, but you will lose the ability to exhaust units so would not recommend those changes vs Jessa or Coal, but definitely would against Aradel.

As Jessa
Swap cut the strings for small sacrifice which works well with Leech Warriors.

The problem is one deck can work different ways when facing different opponents. E.g. Noah vs Maeoni, Noah relies on False Daemons as his defensive line as illusion slows the Snakes' growth. But vs Jessa, he wants to build up a line of Wolves/widows that Jessa is not as efficient at killing. So different matchups will require different balances of cards.

Some part of the solution might be identifying problem matchups and making small changes in those cases not blanket changes.
 
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Marc Bennett
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the problem is every card is in a precon, so to modify the precons you have to take a card away from another precon.

when more cards become available the problem wont get any better because all cards will be part of a precon somewhere.

IMO the only way you are going to get the balance you are looking for (ie better than the precons as they are now) would be to deckbuild, which your group does not plan to do currently (which may change as they continue to enjoy the game)

I would recommend then setting up some kind of handicap system. perhaps start with some damage? but I would tie the handicap to the player not the phoenixborn. for example each player picks a deck they like for the night, play a number of one off games (2 v 2, switching partners) every time someone wins they go into the next match with 1 damage at the start of the game. do that all night then next game night switch up phoenixborn and reset the handicaps.

at least that's what I would do. would still be fun, and once everyone is acclimated to the game they will have their favorite phoenixborn and be faily good at them. by this time the noah player will be competent enough player that the matches will be fun and close, and people will have learned how to deal with the aradel player.
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Lluluien
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albino_penguin wrote:
A good player with Noah will actially result in close games...


That depends on which opponent Noah is facing and how good your opponent is. If your opponent is a good Aradel, then Noah isn't going to have a chance. It's not about whether or not Noah got "close" to killing her; it's about the fact that if you play 10 games, Aradel is going to win 9 of them. It doesn't matter if Aradel was at 1 life in all 9 of those wins.
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Chris Hewlett
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lluluien wrote:
It doesn't matter if Aradel was at 1 life in all 9 of those wins.


Yes and no. Those 9 games would be incredibly fun and close! There is entertainment value to that. I would prefer to lose 6 close games then win 6 easy games.
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Marc Bennett
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albino_penguin wrote:
lluluien wrote:
It doesn't matter if Aradel was at 1 life in all 9 of those wins.


Yes and no. Those 9 games would be incredibly fun and close! There is entertainment value to that. I would prefer to lose 6 close games then win 6 easy games.


agree. but the issue with aradel and noah isn't that aradel is stronger than noah its that aradel is so much easier to play. a good noah player and a good aradel player will be about 6-4ish not 9-1, and I don't think aradel is necessarily the 6 in that equation.
 
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Lluluien
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Klaxas wrote:
albino_penguin wrote:
lluluien wrote:
It doesn't matter if Aradel was at 1 life in all 9 of those wins.


Yes and no. Those 9 games would be incredibly fun and close! There is entertainment value to that. I would prefer to lose 6 close games then win 6 easy games.


agree. but the issue with aradel and noah isn't that aradel is stronger than noah its that aradel is so much easier to play. a good noah player and a good aradel player will be about 6-4ish not 9-1, and I don't think aradel is necessarily the 6 in that equation.


The "incredibly fun and close" is actually a really good counterargument to what I said.

On the other hand, I disagree with the 6-4 and don't think that it comes down to only 1 life, either. I do genuinely, really, truly believe that match is ACTUALLY unbalanced, and not just down to player skill.

Edit: Talking about the precons, to clarify that if it wasn't already. You can definitely build an evil Noah deck, but the precon deck ain't it.

Edit: One more edit, for that matter, that I always had to remind people of when we talked about Runner/Corp imbalance at the initial release of ANR. If the matches are split 6:4, then the 60% guy isn't winning 20% more games than the 40% guy. He's winning 6/4 = 1.5 => 50% more than the 40% guy. That's horrible imbalance. I don't see that as any kind of real failure in Ashes, if it's the only matchup that's this bad, but that doesn't change the fact that 6:4 is really horrible (and 9:1 is worse )
 
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Marc Bennett
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well to be perfectly fair, I delved into deckbuilding fairly quickly.
 
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Klaxas wrote:
the problem is every card is in a precon, so to modify the precons you have to take a card away from another precon.

when more cards become available the problem wont get any better because all cards will be part of a precon somewhere.

IMO the only way you are going to get the balance you are looking for (ie better than the precons as they are now) would be to deckbuild, which your group does not plan to do currently (which may change as they continue to enjoy the game)

I would recommend then setting up some kind of handicap system. perhaps start with some damage? but I would tie the handicap to the player not the phoenixborn. for example each player picks a deck they like for the night, play a number of one off games (2 v 2, switching partners) every time someone wins they go into the next match with 1 damage at the start of the game. do that all night then next game night switch up phoenixborn and reset the handicaps.

at least that's what I would do. would still be fun, and once everyone is acclimated to the game they will have their favorite phoenixborn and be faily good at them. by this time the noah player will be competent enough player that the matches will be fun and close, and people will have learned how to deal with the aradel player.


Right, it is difficult because every card is involved, but because every card is involved there may be a way to arrange them all in a more "fair" overall distribution.

Everyone's made great points so far, but I'm trying to avoid the "skilled player" argument. We will have some skilled players with us, but we also plan to have a decent amount of casuals as well, still only with this one set, and the variety with 6 different decks is nice.

I think the handicap suggestion is the best thing we have right now, more like a custom life value.

albino_penguin wrote:
The problem is one deck can work different ways when facing different opponents. E.g. Noah vs Maeoni, Noah relies on False Daemons as his defensive line as illusion slows the Snakes' growth. But vs Jessa, he wants to build up a line of Wolves/widows that Jessa is not as efficient at killing. So different matchups will require different balances of cards.

Some part of the solution might be identifying problem matchups and making small changes in those cases not blanket changes.


Also a great point, but isn't this how the decks need to react against the other precons' basic setup? If the other deck has been changed as well, maybe then you wont need a different build against everything. We aren't looking to "strengthen" everyone, we're mainly looking to weaken Aradel and Maeoni so more casuals can have a chance, but still maintain varied play between the decks (and strengthen some like Jessa and Noah so they are more forgiving).

Overall though, maybe the minor changes is an option, so we can stick with that while we look for a new deck list as well. One we get something figured out we'll be sure to post it here for feedback.
 
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Marc Bennett
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twoohfive205 wrote:

Right, it is difficult because every card is involved, but because every card is involved there may be a way to arrange them all in a more "fair" overall distribution.

Everyone's made great points so far, but I'm trying to avoid the "skilled player" argument. We will have some skilled players with us, but we also plan to have a decent amount of casuals as well, still only with this one set, and the variety with 6 different decks is nice.


I'm not sure you could find a more "fair" distribution. although your welcome to try. I wouldn't know where to begin.

you really cant avoid the "skilled player" argument. "casual" and "skilled" are not mutually exclusive. I consider myself a casual player, but I am moderately skilled. everyone has a "skill" level, even if its your first game. and remember ashes in general is a game that rewards skill over luck. if you have two new players playing their first game against each other, if the game "clicks" to one player faster they will be more skilled and have a far better chance of winning.

this counts for both the game in general and when playing a specific precon deck. you can be a good player and if the premade deck doesn't "click" with you then you will do poorly.
 
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Chris Hewlett
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Another solution would be adding a 'wound handicap' ro certain matchups. If Aradel is consistently beating Noah with 3-5 life remaining, start her with 3-4 wounds on.

This solution would balance the game for your players/ playstyle i.e. If no-one is good at Noah's style of play, their handicaps will reflect that.
 
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Marc Bennett
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albino_penguin wrote:
Another solution would be adding a 'wound handicap' ro certain matchups. If Aradel is consistently beating Noah with 3-5 life remaining, start her with 3-4 wounds on.

This solution would balance the game for your players/ playstyle i.e. If no-one is good at Noah's style of play, their handicaps will reflect that.


this is a good idea, or if no one is proficient with noah just no one play with him. do you regularly have 6 players? when the first set comes out you will have more options of precons.
 
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Julius Besser
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If you are trying to create six perfectly balanced decks using all the cards so that you can play six decks from one box, you are still going to run into the issue of not having enough dice. Maybe you will be better trying to build four decks you like and feel are balanced using all the dice, as that will give you a bit more flexibility in cards.

Alternatively, have to tried drafting?
 
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jayelbird wrote:
If you are trying to create six perfectly balanced decks using all the cards so that you can play six decks from one box, you are still going to run into the issue of not having enough dice. Maybe you will be better trying to build four decks you like and feel are balanced using all the dice, as that will give you a bit more flexibility in cards.

Alternatively, have to tried drafting?


That is exactly one of the issues we've run into. We aren't aiming for perfect balance though, more like semi-balance? To make it so the other 4 can more easily (esp for the newer players) compete against Aradel and Maeoni, and to stop Noah and Jessa from being so unforgiving as well. (those seem to be the main issues we've had/seen on the boards here).

The 4 decks idea is great, and something we can definitely try too.
As are all of the handicapped damage options that have been thrown out, because it is quite interesting how all of the decks "feel" different when played, and we don't "want" to change them, we just felt it could be done.

And no, we haven't tried drafting. Some of us are okay with it, but others don't want to add extra setup time to the game, It seems like it would work better with balance, but it seems we'd lose out on the nice synergy the decks have now
 
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