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Imperial Settlers: Aztecs» Forums » General

Subject: Will the Aztec expansion include any Common Cards at all? rss

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Josh
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Full disclosure: I only own, and have only played, the base game, but I have my eye on the expansions and I've been reading a lot of threads about deckbuilding.

It seems as though the game is converging toward a "Standard" format, where each time you play, each player chooses one expansion to mix their Faction Deck with (reducing it back to 30 cards), and then you use only the Base Game's Common cards. That is, there's a little bit extra setup and the Common cards from the expansions will just stay in the box forever.

So, I wonder, will the Aztec expansion further reinforce this rule by not bothering with Common Cards at all, and suggesting Standard as the One True Format?
It seems like, if your choices are "Open/Everything" or "Standard", and nothing in between, the new Common Card effects are going to have a strange sense of balance.

 
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Mike Qunell
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I believe I read somewhere that it will be similar to Atlanteans and will include new common cards and cards for each faction that will in some way use a mechanic unique to the Aztecs.
 
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Josh
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So, then, really, how do people (outside of "tournaments") actually play as far as deckbuilding goes?
Do you use the Common cards or not?
Do you mix all expansions and hope for the best? Or do you follow any of the expansion-limiting guidelines?

My ultimate goal is to have a game that I can equally introduce to "gamers" and "casuals" alike without boring or intimidating either.
So some hard-and-fast rules would be nice.
 
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Łukasz Wachowski
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In Open Format I use all Common cards I have (shuffling takes some time) and build my deck of 30 cards from a pool of faction cards from all sets I have. But lastely we play only tournament format, the game in this format is shorter (we play by 3-5 players), more skillful, more balanced and provides more interactions. And preparing the game (deckbuilding) take much less time then.
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Josh
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So, basically, Lukasz, what you're saying is that when you receive the Aztec expansion, you will simply never use the Common cards that come with it?

Expanding my tangent on the original subject.. I'm just looking to maintain the ability to "take the cards out of the box and play" as quickly as possible, including with a group of players who aren't interested in -- or are intimidated by -- the deckbuilding aspect.
As a game completionist, I also feel uncomfortable with a game that comes with components and then says "If you want to play the game properly, don't use these!"

Is there a way to have a compromise? Would the game even mechanically function properly if you just used All of the Faction Cards (so the Faction Decks are much more than 30 cards) *and* All of the Common Cards?
Or is that too much chaos and randomness to be fun?

Are there, at least, lists of "best" decks anywhere that can be constructed from the expansions so far and always played that way?

Thanks!
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Łukasz Wachowski
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Yes, I'm not going to use Aztec Common cards unless I would play with any new players and teaching them (constructed isn't important then) or playing a singleplayer campaign (I'm going to try out after Aztec release).

Idea about ALL cards is fine if you like to quick game start, but due to randomness I suggest you a home rule of 3 points described below:
1. At the start of the game, when players receive their 4 starting cards, they are allow to replace any number of them. Then you discard card(s) you don't want, and draw another from the same deck (normal/faction).
2. During lookout phase (I believe it's the proper name of the phase) draw X+2 cards instead of X+1 cards (where X is the number of players).
3. At the start of each round when the players draw one faction cards, they may look at this and decide to discard it and gain another faction cards.
Another variant of 3rd point is drawing 2 cards and discard one of them.

There isn't yet place where you can browse decks, but you may visit my project on http://i3ackero.pl/isorganizer/ where you can build your deck online and share its signature somethere. I'm working on better disign, deckbase and voting/comment system, so it would be upgraded soon
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Deb Cutler
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What did with all the expansions to make expansion deck building was a bit time consuming and pricey, but I love the game so I am happy to pay for quick and flexible play.

First I sleeved it all using Ultra Pro Pro Fit Sleeves:
http://www.coolstuffinc.com/p/178677

Then I identified each expansion by adding a tiny color file folder dot to a corner:

https://smile.amazon.com/Avery-Assorted-Removable-See-Throug...

Finally, I sleeved them once again in traditional sleeves to protect the dots. I made sure to put them on the opposite direction of the Pro Fit sleeves.

Now it is easy to take the faction deck of choice lay it out and replace cards for whichever expansion we wish to play with.
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Josh
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My ultimate preference would be to have a set of decks that I can "always use" when I want to play with people and use the expansion materials but have zero deckbuilding step at the start. Just take the cards out, shuffle and play.

If I purchase expansions (likely in one big gulp after Aztecs comes out), I will probably work to try and create a "best" 30-card deck for each faction and leave them in the box that way, probably use ALL the Common cards... and then, if the players are feeling a bit adventurous, we'll dismantle my prebuilt decks and try creating our own.

Since I haven't seen/absorbed all of the expansion cards yet, I don't know if such an "optimal setup" exists.

Backero's suggestion of using ALL the cards mixed together with some additional "draw extra, pick one" might be the best compromise.

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Tucker Rumm
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My wife and I play with the open format, allowing you to use standard 30 card deck building rules but with cards from any and all expansions. This has led to significantly higher victory point totals and can definitely lead to "imbalanced" game play.

Or personal house rule is "Use any cards you want, within the 30 card deck building rule, but you are required to have all Open Production cards available to your faction." It's not a rule I would suggest for normal play, but it's one we like to have just for our personal games.

When we play with friends, we normally only use the base set or we use the Standard format of base + 1 expansion; however, we play with every player using the same expansion so that everyone has a similar experience.
 
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Tristan Rickett
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Well, I am glad that we still get common cards because my wife and I still play in the WCWBF/Atlanteans "standard" format where the same single expansion is used for building the faction deck and common decks. It allows us to figure out the new cards and mechanics. I will switch to the new standard format at some point after the Aztecs and when tourneys start happening locally.
 
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Jim Ant
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jozxyqk wrote:
. . . zero deckbuilding. . . . Just take the cards out, shuffle and play.


FWIW, that's the way we play when I bring the game to my FLGS, usually with 3 or 4 players, no deck building, no tournament play, just a very fun game with brilliant unique factions, tiny charming artwork on every card, and lots of variability from game to game. If "winning" is really important to the people you play with, then they might not like this format.

At the moment we only have the base game and Why Can't We Be Friends (plus the 4 promo tiles). We're planning to get Aztecs and throw it all in. We actually enjoy larger decks with more randomness. But again, if someone draws "lucky" cards and pulls ahead in points, nobody complains. Other groups may play differently.

Why Can't We Be Friends states the following on its instruction page:

"Mix the cards from this expansion with the corresponding cards from the Imperial Settlers base game and have fun!"


Basically, I operate on the principle that if the designer designed it, I'm going to toss it into the mix. My Runebound shop card pile got so high that we eventually had to divide it into 3 piles by price (which incidentally helped to speed up the game, a bit of serendipity there).
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Josh
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Since I made this post, I found some Amazon credit and went out and ordered all the existing expansions.

With everything mixed together, the 4 original factions have 60-card decks, the Atlanteans have a 50-card faction deck, and the Common Deck is 130-ish cards (including a *single* "Event" card that has to be explained because it has unique behavior, but I digress).
Especially with certain special cards in the expansions (like Emma the Witch in WCWBF, for example), and the Technology tokens which are mostly only coveted by Atlanteans, mixing everything together can swing the balance into random territory.
The Aztec expansion will probably add 10 more cards to these 6 faction decks, have 50-70 cards itself, and add some unknown number of cards to the Commons, including its new "Prayer" mechanics.
It could lead to the decks being too diluted to be able to even think of developing a strategy as you play.

The game will still be fun, but ironically, the thicker the decks, the lighter the game.

Meanwhile the "Standard" rules are described differently in each of the 3 expansions, and talk about this theoretical "Tournament" concept, which apparently doesn't exist.

I'm hoping for something "formally described" but somewhere in between. But we'll see.

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Łukasz Wachowski
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From Portal's Essen annoucement:
Quote:
Imperial Settlers: Aztecs, an expansion that requires the base game to play. The expansion includes a new faction board, the Aztecs faction deck, blessing tokens, and expansion cards for the original factions that complement the Aztecs abilities.


No word about common cards and it's okey for me. But I know some of you may be not happy with it.
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Tucker Rumm
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jozxyqk wrote:
[T]he Common Deck is 130-ish cards (including a *single* "Event" card that has to be explained because it has unique behavior, but I digress).
There are currently 133 Common Cards with all expansions (134 with The Watcher's Guild promo).

Three of those are Event/Instant cards: Volcano, Earthquake, and Spring. We always take those three out of the game when we play though, because our local group dislikes the way that they work, in that it's not one of the factions doing something but something that "just happens."

jozxyqk wrote:
It could lead to the decks being too diluted to be able to even think of developing a strategy as you play.
Yeah, definitely. Regardless of whether you do "Open" or "Tournament" deck building, I highly, highly recommend not using a deck larger than 30 cards. Even with a finely tuned deck, it can be difficult to draw through all 30.
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Josh
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Rizban wrote:
Three of those are Event/Instant cards: Volcano, Earthquake, and Spring.


My point here was this:
The 2 "Instant" cards are cards that you play from your hand. They may work differently from the locations, but they still kind of make sense. Someone can draw it, look at it funny, but at least the card text will tell them what to do.

There is only one "Event" card, though, and there is a special rule that this automatically happens no matter how it is drawn. It is a rule that has to be explained for that 1/130 chance.
Aztecs might introduce more "Event" cards, but they will still be extremely rare.


 
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Łukasz Wachowski
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I asked Trzewik on Twitter:

Q: Will Aztec expansion include common locations and solo cards?
A: Nope.

So no Common cards and no solo ones. Well, I understand this, but excepted at least Aztec faction cards for solo.
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Josh
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Backero wrote:
So no Common cards and no solo ones. Well, I understand this, but excepted at least Aztec faction cards for solo.


That is definitely interesting. An Aztec solo "faction card" could at least be fan-created and doesn't need to worry much about card-back or anything.

But if there are no Common Cards at all in the box, then I wonder if the wording of the Open and Standard Rules has changed at all.

I guess only time will tell.
 
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Łukasz Wachowski
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jozxyqk wrote:
An Aztec solo "faction card" could at least be fan-created and doesn't need to worry much about card-back or anything.


You still choose random faction as your enemy in solo game. The more problematic is fact that many players (includes me and my boardteam) uses these card in multiplayer to choose factions randomly but lastely each of us pick his favourite faction
 
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Josh
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Backero wrote:
jozxyqk wrote:
An Aztec solo "faction card" could at least be fan-created and doesn't need to worry much about card-back or anything.


You still choose random faction as your enemy in solo game. The more problematic is fact that many players (includes me and my boardteam) uses these card in multiplayer to choose factions randomly but lastely each of us pick his favourite faction


Sure, but for both of those cases you could easily use the score-tracker faction tokens to pick one.
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Tristan Rickett
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From this week's AskBoardGames, Igancy said there will be no commons in the Aztec expansion. I am a little sad but still super excited about the expansion!
 
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Mike Qunell
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I guess there doesn't really need to be new commons as long as the other factions get new cards to "play" with the new faction. It sounds like this is happening.
 
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Brian L
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Rizban wrote:
jozxyqk wrote:
[T]he Common Deck is 130-ish cards (including a *single* "Event" card that has to be explained because it has unique behavior, but I digress).
There are currently 133 Common Cards with all expansions (134 with The Watcher's Guild promo).

Three of those are Event/Instant cards: Volcano, Earthquake, and Spring. We always take those three out of the game when we play though, because our local group dislikes the way that they work, in that it's not one of the factions doing something but something that "just happens."

jozxyqk wrote:
It could lead to the decks being too diluted to be able to even think of developing a strategy as you play.
Yeah, definitely. Regardless of whether you do "Open" or "Tournament" deck building, I highly, highly recommend not using a deck larger than 30 cards. Even with a finely tuned deck, it can be difficult to draw through all 30.


I completely agree with both of these - my wife and I have played countless games of Imperial Settlers and just keep the event cards separated out because they just don't seem as fun to us. We have the 2 small box expansions (for some reason I just don't love the idea of the Atlanteans), and we always build 30 card decks before we play. It doesn't add that much time due to the restrictions on the various numbers of cards you can have in a deck, but does allow for some more overall strategy, which we enjoy.
 
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