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Cthulhu Realms» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Scratching my head rss

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Dan Moore
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First, disclosure. I've only played the app, in two player. I have played Star Realms a good deal, using the app solo and online, two-player only.

My questions/comments, quick version first.

It Takes Too Long. It takes too many cards, played over too many turns, to overcome the Brakes built into the mechanics.

Long version:

Am I doing this right? Normal games (against the AI) are generally prolonged seesaws of slugfest-ness. If I or the AI concentrate on purple, the life points gained balance points taken away. Sooner or later one of us collects enough strength to gnaw (or devour) the other, but it can be a grueling wait. Sometimes it's neck and neck but even then it's prolonged. Concentrating on yellow seems to give the most value in hit points; being able to draw and play furious numbers sometimes (but see the Purple Slog effect above) means a quick-ish victory. I confess not to have grasped a winning green strategy.

The slog factor seems to be built-in. Start hands have a (higher than Star Realms) purchasing power, but there are (seeming) fewer cards to buy with any higher purchase strength. 6 is very much a ceiling for the early phases: not only does this make assembling a decent hand a longer process in and of
Itself, there is very often cases of the market being jammed with cards unbuyable by either side. This can last several turns, owing to the fact that buying more of the 2 pt purchase Iniates doesn't, generally, Raise the average above 6.

And attack powers are individually weak. Without playing umpteen cards attacks must be repeated turn after turn. Collecting cards to make this happen is, per above, horrible prolonged.

My feeling is that the card interactions could be more subtle than I've grasped. The high value cards lead me to hope and believe so. Mostly I don't see what makes them (saving Necronomicon's draw strength) worth having.

Hoping I'm getting it all wrong, I turn this over to responses.

(Oh. One thing I have learned-as a indication my level of play-is that No, one faction alone can't win.)
 
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That mirrors my experience so far. I don't think there's anything you're overlooking. I found it quite amazing how a game that is superficially so similar to Star Realms can be so boring.

Star Realms feels exciting, and I really get that feeling of slowly building up to a well-oiled engine of destruction. And the game ends right when it's the most fun (well, actually, sometimes a bit earlier).

In Cthulhu Realms there's no sense of achieving anything much. You can buy almost all of the cards right away, and even if comboing a dozen cards in a row, the result isn't great - you're just slogging along and games seem to take forever.
About the only 'new' thing that I liked is the ability to put trashed cards on top of your deck. At least in theory that allows for great turns.
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Scott Heise
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My experience after a few dozen online games of Cthulhu Realms (and thousands of Star Realms) is that the game is all about being able to form deep combos and trigger all of the abilities on your cards. In SR, the strength of most cards is in the primary ability and you get it automatically, but in CR most of the card abilities have a prerequisite. They key is being able to build a deck where you are constantly triggering all of your abilities, every turn. Playing 5 card hands each turn just isn't going to get it done in CR like it can in SR... there's not enough raw attack power and too many bases/life gain to win efficiently.

For example, there are tons of draw a card abilities in CR, far more than in SR, but most are hidden behind a prerequisite. Abjuring your starters or buying a lot of yellow cards are good ways to build combos that trigger lots of card draws blow through your deck every turn. That should be your goal in every game.
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HomerJr wrote:
They key is being able to build a deck where you are constantly triggering all of your abilities, every turn.
Well, what you are calling deep, I call random. The combo conditions are all over the place, sometimes triggering off discarding cards, sometimes triggering off banishing, different factions, having places in play, etc., etc.

It doesn't really matter which cards you buy, as long as you're able to discard & banish every turn (because that's the most common 'deep' triggers). But, as mentioned, even if you are, and you draw an additional ten cards, the outcome isn't impressive. Typically, it adds up to being able to buy the most expensive card every turn, destroying one or two locations and dealing about 10 damage to the opponent.
The only really _big_ turns happen if you banish lots of high cost cards, then you can dish out 40+ damage in a turn, but that's obviously only useful as a finisher - and usually overkill, anyway.

Imho, the biggest problem is that you see every potential danger coming from miles away. Very unlike Star Realms you have all the time in the world to adjust your 'strategy' and focus on buying the cards that help to deal with it, be it healing, stacking places, banishing, etc.
That's because nothing much happens in a turn, so you can be pretty sure, you'll hang on long enough to cycle your deck once or twice. And by then, the danger is averted.

So, at least in the app, Cthulhu Realms is like Star Realms in bullet-time.
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Scott Heise
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jhaelen wrote:
HomerJr wrote:
They key is being able to build a deck where you are constantly triggering all of your abilities, every turn.
Well, what you are calling deep, I call random. The combo conditions are all over the place, sometimes triggering off discarding cards, sometimes triggering off banishing, different factions, having places in play, etc., etc.

It doesn't really matter which cards you buy, as long as you're able to discard & banish every turn (because that's the most common 'deep' triggers).

Well, that may be true late in the game after your deck is filled with lots of non-starters. I find the skill of the game is in the early to mid game, in making the right decisions to build up to the point that you're hitting all your triggers before your opponent can do the same. This is certainly not random, as it takes some planning to know which cards are going to get your deck to "full efficiency" faster than others, whether it be via abjuring, recycling, acquiring, locations, etc.

You're right that the combos may not be that impressive, even after your deck has reached peak efficiency. And I agree that CR definitely has a different pace than SR, though perhaps some would prefer a faster game to a slower game. On the flip side, there many who complain the SR is to quick a game so perhaps CR was designed to appeal to those kinds of players.

 
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HomerJr wrote:
On the flip side, there many who complain the SR is to quick a game so perhaps CR was designed to appeal to those kinds of players.
Yep, that's true. I recall several players who house-ruled SR e.g. using a higher starting authority in order to extend play time.

I suppose CR might also appeal more to players who feel that there's too few decisions to be made in SR, since CR's abjuring is more flexible, and there's more things to keep track of (i.e. the 'deep' combos).
 
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