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Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle» Forums » Rules

Subject: Clearing the market rss

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Rob Duncan
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After a few plays I've noticed that occasionally the market gets locked down with really expensive cards; drastically slowing the game down.

This weekend, about ten rounds in the market consisted of one card that cost 5, four cards costing 6 and Dumbeldore for 8. It took a number of rounds to finally clear it for stuff we could afford. The basilisk was definitely part of the problem but I like its ability to not let us draw cards and I've seen the market get locked down without the basilisk "contributing"

Also, I'm curious how this works if you start the game with 6 cards that all cost 6+ money? Hermione can give someone a money when she uses three or more spells. So I mean it's technically able to move forward if someone has five Alohomora's (+1 money) and a coin from Hermione but that seems like a pretty dreadful start.

Is there some way to clear the market or it this just a sucky/boring edge case?
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David Jones
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(Caveat: Have not yet played this game.)

This problem actually happens from time to time in Ascension. It can be particularly annoying if a lot of high cost cards come out in the early game because everyone is forced to buy Heavy Infantry or Mystics in order to get the game moving again. I'm guessing that Hogwarts does not have an "always avaiable" type card that allows you to get better currency in your deck?

The Star Trek deck builder actually has a somewhat elegant solution to this issue - once per turn each player can send one card in the purchase area into a discard pile. Not only does this prevent the area from being clogged with high purchases, it also cleans it out of cards that nobody wants to buy. I don't know if this would be a game breaking variant to add to Hogwarts Battle or not.
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Rob Duncan
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davypi wrote:


This problem actually happens from time to time in Ascension.


I've seen this as well; but the mystics and infantry cards help to alleviate and mitigate this effect; as you've mentioned. Though I find having mystics and infantry are actually very reliable cards to have, most of the time.


davypi wrote:
I'm guessing that Hogwarts does not have an "always avaiable" type card that allows you to get better currency in your deck?


That's correct.


davypi wrote:
The Star Trek deck builder actually has a somewhat elegant solution to this issue - once per turn each player can send one card in the purchase area into a discard pile.


That is rather nice; I've not played this one yet.

I don't think it'd be game breaking since it's not an action to be used aggressively (co-op game).
 
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Travis Dean
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davypi wrote:
This problem actually happens from time to time in Ascension. It can be particularly annoying if a lot of high cost cards come out in the early game because everyone is forced to buy Heavy Infantry or Mystics in order to get the game moving again. I'm guessing that Hogwarts does not have an "always avaiable" type card that allows you to get better currency in your deck?


This was the exact scenario I poised when I suggested this issue. Specifically, mentioning how Ascension has Heavy Infanty and Mystics as an "always available" solution, despite being slow, to get over this hump.


I like the sound of that Star Trek solution you mention. Especially for a co-op, it shouldn't be a problem.
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Rob Duncan
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Dolus wrote:
davypi wrote:
This problem actually happens from time to time in Ascension. It can be particularly annoying if a lot of high cost cards come out in the early game because everyone is forced to buy Heavy Infantry or Mystics in order to get the game moving again. I'm guessing that Hogwarts does not have an "always avaiable" type card that allows you to get better currency in your deck?


This was the exact scenario I poised when I suggested this issue. Specifically, mentioning how Ascension has Heavy Infanty and Mystics as an "always available" solution, despite being slow, to get over this hump.


I like the sound of that Star Trek solution you mention. Especially for a co-op, it shouldn't be a problem.


Yeah, I did kinda steal your suggestion. It was totally Travis' idea. hehe

Yeah I may home-brew the Star Trek solution.
 
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Travis Dean
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asketes wrote:
Dolus wrote:
davypi wrote:
This problem actually happens from time to time in Ascension. It can be particularly annoying if a lot of high cost cards come out in the early game because everyone is forced to buy Heavy Infantry or Mystics in order to get the game moving again. I'm guessing that Hogwarts does not have an "always avaiable" type card that allows you to get better currency in your deck?


This was the exact scenario I poised when I suggested this issue. Specifically, mentioning how Ascension has Heavy Infanty and Mystics as an "always available" solution, despite being slow, to get over this hump.


I like the sound of that Star Trek solution you mention. Especially for a co-op, it shouldn't be a problem.


Yeah, I did kinda steal your suggestion. It was totally Travis' idea. hehe


Prompted by your session report. whistle

Teamwork!
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Rob Duncan
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Dolus wrote:
asketes wrote:


Yeah, I did kinda steal your suggestion. It was totally Travis' idea. hehe


Prompted by your session report. whistle

Teamwork!


go team!
 
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Kevin B. Smith
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davypi wrote:
The Star Trek deck builder actually has a somewhat elegant solution to this issue - once per turn each player can send one card in the purchase area into a discard pile. Not only does this prevent the area from being clogged with high purchases, it also cleans it out of cards that nobody wants to buy. I don't know if this would be a game breaking variant to add to Hogwarts Battle or not.

That could work. But it might give players quite an advantage, to be able to remove cards they don't care about, while keeping ones they want. An alternative that might offer a more interesting strategic decision would be to find a way to allow flushing *all* of the cards. That way, the players would have to decide whether getting rid of those couple cards they have no interest in is worth losing those couple cards they do want.

But it seems like players should have to pay something to flush all the cards. Since I haven't played the game, I have no idea what a reasonable price would be.
 
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Rob Duncan
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This is a reasonable response as well. It could absolutely throw enough clout into the player's hands to keep it unbalanced in their favor.
 
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David Jones
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peakhope wrote:
That could work. But it might give players quite an advantage, to be able to remove cards they don't care about, while keeping ones they want.


I wondered about that too when I posted the variant, which is why I commented that I wasn't sure if it would break the game. If you can fish the cards you want out of the deck it could become too easy. However, what I will say in response to this is that if there is no flushing mechanism and no "always available" cards I'm a bit bothered about the strategic implications this has on the game. If there are any particular cards that turn out to be good but cheap and a lot of them end up on the top of the buy deck, you've got a game where the initial shuffle could have more influence over winning/losing than strategic deck building. So I think there needs to be something in the game that allows you some control here.

I do like the idea of having to flush the whole row so you have to take the good and the bad that comes with that. Maybe something as simple as having a player skip their turn (except for the villain step) and discard their hand would be a good "cost" for allowing them to empty the purchase row.
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Brian Zamarron
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Someone else had mentioned a house rule of spending 2-3 influence (the purchasing currency) to flush the entire field.

Skipping a full turn would probably be too extreme, and I find personally skipping turns to be quite boring. However, I also think a base cost of just 2-3 is a bit too little.

I will probably house rule it as 3 cost at first to see how that plays out or, more likely, using all influence in hand and on my board (not other player's boards) to flush the field.

That way you still have access to heals, damage and card draw mechanisms if you want them.
 
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David Jones
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zamarron wrote:
Skipping a full turn would probably be too extreme


I've been playing some solo games at Year 3. I've already run into situations where I don't gain any attack tokens and the center row is either too expensive or the cheap cards are not worth buying. Skipping a turn would not be that damaging.
 
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Rob Duncan
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davypi wrote:
zamarron wrote:
Skipping a full turn would probably be too extreme


I've been playing some solo games at Year 3. I've already run into situations where I don't gain any attack tokens and the center row is either too expensive or the cheap cards are not worth buying. Skipping a turn would not be that damaging.


Just drawing the extra one (or two) Dark Arts cards; that can be a little damaging. hehe
 
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Jason Webster
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This had to have come up in playtesting. What did the game designers do?
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Kevin B. Smith
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I could have used a rule like this in my learning game #1. The market was clogged with cheapo cards that I didn't want to buy, so I was only cycling "good" stuff through 2 slots. I did eventually want buy a couple of the cards I had been ignoring, but until then I was imagining the market could have gotten stalled.

I'm curious about which game pack will add all these 5+ cards that would clog the market. (No need to spoil it. I'll get there soon enough.)
 
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Dan
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I'd have a tough time implementing a house rule because I don't WANT to act.

The need for this rule is to eliminate instances where you CANNOT act. In multiple playthroughs I've found all 6+ early-ish in the game. This has lead to 25 round games where we bought less than 5 cards.

That said, it's a huge miss either way. Especially when there are multiple deck builders that have already identified and rectified this issue.
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David Jones
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Cone Defense wrote:
I'd have a tough time implementing a house rule because I don't WANT to act.

The need for this rule is to eliminate instances where you CANNOT act.


I certainly understand the philosophy you are expressing here, but the problem is that Hermione can get to a six cost card with Tales in her hand. Once you get to year three, she can get to seven with the right shuffle. So unless Hermione is out, the center deck is never permanently clogged. But you can end up in situations where it could take a long time to unclog it. At what point do you change your tune from "cannot" act to "highly unlikely to be able" to act? At what point do look at the game and say that you lost because of poor strategic purchases or that you lost because the Hogwarts deck put you into an unwinnable position? I'd rather be winning/losing due to skill than to dumb luck. So the issue here IMHO is, what mechanic introduces the correct cost/reward so that cycling purchases becomes a strategic option yet doesn't make the game so easy as to hand the players wins?
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Bubba P
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There is a price to removing those high value cards from the game. They will no longer be available. How about removing one card (and replacing it) for each influence token (or health) spent?
 
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Dnasearchr wrote:
This had to have come up in playtesting. What did the game designers do?


We did encounter this a few times in testing and development. We felt like it occurred infrequently enough that it was not necessary to address, and very rarely bogged things down so much that the game reached an impasse.

Now that the game is out there for public consumption, and we've seen a few threads pop up regarding this, we've discussed a possible optional rule as a solution that we feels maintains the integrity of the game and is least likely to be abused, while also keeping design space open for possible future mechanics, if we decide to explore them.

Our solution is as follows:

Once per game, a player may forego acquiring any cards for his or her turn. If he or she does, take ALL SIX available HOGWARTS cards, and place them on the bottom of the deck, replacing them with six new cards.

We feel most comfortable with this option, because it does not allow players to manipulate by picking and choosing which cards they might want to remain available, and which ones they want to cycle through. Basically, it wipes the slate clean, and gives players a fresh selection of six cards to acquire.

Andrew Wolf
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Rob Duncan
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nethershadow wrote:
Dnasearchr wrote:
This had to have come up in playtesting. What did the game designers do?


We did encounter this a few times in testing and development. We felt like it occurred infrequently enough that it was not necessary to address, and very rarely bogged things down so much that the game reached an impasse.

Now that the game is out there for public consumption, and we've seen a few threads pop up regarding this, we've discussed a possible optional rule as a solution that we feels maintains the integrity of the game and is least likely to be abused, while also keeping design space open for possible future mechanics, if we decide to explore them.

Our solution is as follows:

Once per game, a player may forego acquiring any cards for his or her turn. If he or she does, take ALL SIX available HOGWARTS cards, and place them on the bottom of the deck, replacing them with six new cards.

We feel most comfortable with this option, because it does not allow players to manipulate by picking and choosing which cards they might want to remain available, and which ones they want to cycle through. Basically, it wipes the slate clean, and gives players a fresh selection of six cards to acquire.

Andrew Wolf
Game Designer - USAopoly



Andrew, this solution seems pretty decent indeed!
 
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nethershadow wrote:
Once per game, a player may forego acquiring any cards for his or her turn. If he or she does, take ALL SIX available HOGWARTS cards, and place them on the bottom of the deck, replacing them with six new cards.

I (mostly) like it. To make it easier to track, and fairer for scaling, should it be limited to the group doing it once per game, rather than each player being allowed to do it once per game?
 
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peakhope wrote:
nethershadow wrote:
Once per game, a player may forego acquiring any cards for his or her turn. If he or she does, take ALL SIX available HOGWARTS cards, and place them on the bottom of the deck, replacing them with six new cards.

I (mostly) like it. To make it easier to track, and fairer for scaling, should it be limited to the group doing it once per game, rather than each player being allowed to do it once per game?


Yeah, I realize now my phrasing was a bit ambiguous. The intent is that, collectively, players can do this once per game, not once per each player per game.

Andrew
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Elliott Prasuhn
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We've ran into a few instances were all the cards were expensive, but it hasn't broken the game and we were able to get enough influence to buy some of them and cycle in some new cards. So far I've played around 15 games, so it seems like it must be pretty rare for this to be a game breaking issue. Andrews suggestion seems like it would solve the problem for those rare times it is an issue.
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David Jones
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Now that I have a better grasp on year seven, I have some new thoughts about this, but they are quite spoilery....

Spoiler (click to reveal)
This problem goes away quite a bit once you get to the year seven level. Hermoine's ability get upgraded such that everyone gets the coin, not just her. Between that and Tales, you can possibly give every player two coins on her turn. There is also the Charms proficiency which gives everyone a coin and card draw. I don't want to accuse the designers of not testing the game at every level but I imagine more testing had to be done on the later years than the earlier years to make sure all the mechanics worked well. The market blockage issue is more likely to happen in earlier years when you don't have these team mechanics to augment your income. That said, I am looking at having to use a very specific build to avoid the issue. I would hope that the game is meant to be played in a way that other proficiencies are useful and in way that you can win without Hermoine if you are playing with less than 4P. But if you bring Hermione, give Neville Herbology, and someone else has Charms, its more common to have more influence that you know what to do with than to be poor. I need to start playing with differeince proficiences to see if the market blockage issue happens without these builds.

That said, I did run into a frustration in one game where I had made about 15 purchases without seeing a card that allowed a die roll. You need to roll dice to destroy horcruxes, and you can't win until you've destroyed all six. So cost blockage isn't the only issue with the Hogwart's deck - you can have dice scarcity as well. Having a clearing rule also helps solve this problem, and once per game seems a fair amount to solve it.

The last thing I would add to this is that one important aspect of deck building that is sometime lost on new players is that sometimes buying a card can make your deck worse. I'm finding situations where a character can have a well balanced deck that can do quite a few things, but the cards available for purchase are going to weaken the deck. So you can end up in a situation where you have to gamble as to if buying a weak card is going to release enough powerful cards into the row to offset the "damage" you've done by weakening your deck. So you do hit a point in the game where the deckbuilding stops and you just run with what you have. You know there is stuff in the Hogwarts deck that would make your deck better, but it isn't worth the added cost of "junking" your deck to obtain it. I'm not sure if this is a strategic decision that the designers intended for players to have to make or if this consideration never crossed their mind. In the end, I have to admit that this a bit of a whiny complaint. If your deck is built so good that four cost cards are going to hurt you, your deck is probably solid enough to carry you through the rest of the game. (On a related note, I'm a bit disappointed that the game doesn't have a trashing mechanism, but now that I'm winning at the year seven level, I have to admit that the game doesn't really need one.)
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Matt Martin
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Having played a lot of deck building games, it irks me when we get to a point in this game where there's a card (or cards) sitting in the buy area for several turns because no one wants it. Your deck is supposed to be improving over time, and with no trash mechanic, your deck could get pretty bloated if you have to buy junk just to get to something useful. As if I really want multiple essence of dittany or quidditch gear in game 6/7. I'm trying a house rule where you can trash a card from the buy area by paying the card's influence cost. Or maybe only allow that if you already have one in your deck, if that seems more balanced.
 
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