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Codex: Card-Time Strategy – Deluxe Set» Forums » General

Subject: How is balance? rss

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Joshua Davis
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So I just played a print n play. I loved it, and I am considering picking this up. I just want to know how is the balance? It's a lot make everything feel broken, so that nothing feels broken. And it seems the color all have responses to each other. Plus it's Sirlin, who had a good track record worth balancing games. But how does the balance feel for more experienced players?
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Jason Reid
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CloudBuilder wrote:
So I just played a print n play. I loved it, and I am considering picking this up. I just want to know how is the balance? It's a lot make everything feel broken, so that nothing feels broken. And it seems the color all have responses to each other. Plus it's Sirlin, who had a good track record worth balancing games. But how does the balance feel for more experienced players?


So I've played a decent amount online in an asynchronous, play-by-post fashion. I've also played a fair bit in person, though somewhat less than online.

On the whole, I find the game incredibly well-balanced, but there are several dimensions to consider. These are some thoughts I'm ruminating on in advance of possibly writing a review, so they're not perfectly developed yet.

Color vs Color
If all you want to do is play mono-color, you're in for a treat. Any color can beat any other color. Now, some colors require more skill than others, especially in certain matchups. They're not perfectly even. I'd probably put Green forth as the most "straightforward" color, and Blue or Purple as the most demanding, but in the hands of experienced players their overall power levels are close enough to even for me.

Spec vs Spec
If you consider the different Heroes/Specs separately, and plan to "deckbuild" (Codexbuild?) by mixing and matching them, I think it's pretty easy to divide the Specs into tiers. Of course you always need to consider them in combination, but some specs simply "give" more to whatever other specs they're combined with, while some are less generous. For example, within Black, Demonology and Necromancy have a lot to offer other specs outside of Black. Whereas Disease is more of a "taker" (I still love it the most though ).

So some specs are ultimately more useful than others, but you can win games with any of them.

Playstyle vs Playstyle
Here's where it gets a little hairy. While there are thousands of potential Codexes (and even more builds-within-Codexes) you could employ, they tend to fall into your basic CCG archetypes. Rushdown, Midrange, Control, etc. Put simply: I think that long-game-focused Control-style play is hard in Codex. The structure of the game seems to reward being aggressive; holding back puts you at a few disadvantages. First, you're subject to more long-term variance of your draw (decks will be bigger by the time you get to your "good stuff" whereas aggro players will be playing their "good stuff" while their decks are still thin). Second, I think that with a few exceptions, Control-cards in Codex are somewhat overcosted. Because the game is totally asynchronous, you pretty much have to "pre-counter" your opponents' moves with your Control spells and the like, and that of course requires you to make an effective read on what your opponent is planning. Which could be fine if counters are cheap, but they're generally not imo (in terms of gold, the card played, or the opportunity cost of teching something else into your deck). If you nail the read, and play the pre-counter just when you want it, you'll be glad you did. But sometimes they fizzle.

Now don't get me wrong; I like Control-style play in Codex. I don't win nearly as much as I'd like, but I very rarely go back over a game without discovering some mistake that I made, something I could have done better. So that's great! But it's hard.

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Cole Wehrle
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I can't improve on Jason's post just to say that I agree, the balance is excellent. I too have found rushdown-style decks to be a little dominant BUT there is usually a progression to the higher powered control-styles if the players are well matched (just like an rts).

(I've played the P&P about 50 times, 1v1s mostly)
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Leonid G
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I have something close to 40 games under my belt, and balance seems amazing so far. There's incredible diversity in playstyles to boot.

I'd like to argue a bit Jason's Rushdown vs Midrange vs Control thought. You have to approach the game more like an RTS than CCG in that regard. In RTS, you never turtle and play reactively (i.e. what CCG crowd usually means by "control" style). "Control" in RTS is proactively pumping out stuff on board and using it to exert your influence upon your opponent. Codex follows that philosophy.

All codexes are meant to be played tempo earlygame, and all of them have the tools for that. Midgame and lategame is very different between specs, and many of them offer different control-ish tools. Color pie is fairly spread, and its hard to point at a particular spec and define it as "control" or "rush". Law spec probably comes closest to pure control, it packs conservative defensive early game things, offers hard board wipe (which ignores heroes though), single-target sustainable crowd control options and some turn-wrecking tools like stealing your best creature from your hand. Ignoring that one exception, specs in Codex generally offer several playstyles to the pilot with fair options among early pressure, incremental advantage attrition, synergies, explosive combos etc etc.
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Jason Reid
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I don't disagree with any particular point that Leonid brings up, though I do think it's maybe easier than he suggests to group specs by their "Rush" ability, and the ones on the slow end of the spectrum tend to have more classic control tools available to them.

I especially agree that Control-style play in Codex is dependent on some sort of effective board presence. Though by definition (I think), you're going to be at a board disadvantage in the early game against an aggro player, and you need a plan to come back from that. And that plan won't always work!

Again, don't get me wrong. I like this playstyle. I like the problems it presents. I've played my control-style deck upwards of 30 times now, and no two games play out the same way, and I love that. I'm still learning about it...even my most recent games have taught me something dizzying.
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Clinton Paris
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As with RTS games, the early rush strategy is usually seen as pretty strong ("Opponent uses Zergling Rush! It's SUPER EFFECTIVE!") until you learn the game more. That said, don't be surprised if Red feels really strong early on, but stick with it and you'll find that the other colors can hold their own just fine.

meeple

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trevor

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I don't have as much experience as some of these other posters but I agree, this is very much an RTS feel.

If you get zerg rushed your first game, you normally adjust and it doesn't happen again. This is a game (much like an RTS) all about "scouting" what your opponent will do, counter, then be prepared to counter their counter to your attack.

It really does a great job feeling like I'm playing Star/War Craft and seems very balanced to me. The biggest problem I have is you really can't go into the game with a predefined strategy, because you have to react to your opponents counter attack, and so on and so forth.
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Don
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Also, there are buildings that all specs/colors can use so if you're getting rushed often a simple tower will discourage it or absorb some damage while you get the right cards in hand. Very good balance in my experience so far (Print and Play and TTS)
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Joshua Davis
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Don't worry guys I Pre-ordered it! Thank you every one.
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Denis
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CloudBuilder wrote:
It's a lot make everything feel broken, so that nothing feels broken.

Yeah, one has to be careful about jumping to conclusions on spec balance because a lot of stuff seems ridiculous until you learn to deal with it. When PbP started getting traction, many players were concerned about the Past spec, especially Hyperion, being too good.
Then people (and the meta) adjusted and other cards entered the spotlight.
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