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Subject: Playing Without Character Packs rss

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Ash .
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Hey folks,
I was excited to receive my copy of Hero Realms a few days ago, but after 20+ games I'm finding the game horrifically unbalanced. I've been playing without any character packs, and I don't know how much they would change the flow of the game. I have only been playing the game 2 player so far.

The game seems to suffer from a fundamental issue, that of drawing your faction cards 'out of sync'. If you have purchased 4 cards - 2 from 2 different factions, and you draw a hand like this: 1 gold, 1 gold, 1 dagger, 1 Blue card, 1 Gold card then it guarantees that you can't get faction bonuses on your next hand of 5.

Basically, for getting reasonably unlucky in one turn, you get punished on your next few hands too. Does anyone else get frustrated by this issue? It usually means you can call the winner of the game about half way through and you just sit there waiting for the inevitable - not much fun!

Maybe I've been approaching the game incorrectly, but I'm rather bummed that the game isn't quite what I expected. I love the flow of the game and the general mechanics but I feel like the game should have either a way of resetting or removing cards from the market, or a way of being able to shuffle your discard pile in to your draw pile to somewhat mitigate the 'out of sync' faction issue.

Do the character packs change any of this?

On the plus side, I've been enjoying the hell out of Epic Card Game!

Anyone have any suggestions regarding my perceived issue? Am I just playing the game badly? Is it just a better game with 3-4 players?
Cheers
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Kyle A
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This is basically the core of the game, and of deck building games in general.

Compared to Star Realms, I find Hero realms to be a bit swingy. Bigger hits and combos. That said, I don't see unbalance issues.

It is frustrating to get a crap hand, or be forced to discard cards, but achieving what you want out of your deck is part of the game. It won't happen on its own.

And give it a few more plays. Like you said, you just got it a few days ago. The out of sync faction issue, as you call it, is really a feature of the game. Factor it into your strategy, and dont rely on combos, as much as you take advantage of them.

Haven't opened the character packs yet myself.

Cheers,

Kyle A.

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Dániel Lányi
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TheAttackFerret wrote:
Hey folks,
I'm finding the game horrifically unbalanced.

The game seems to suffer from a fundamental issue, that of drawing your faction cards 'out of sync'. If you have purchased 4 cards - 2 from 2 different factions, and you draw a hand like this: 1 gold, 1 gold, 1 dagger, 1 Blue card, 1 Gold card then it guarantees that you can't get faction bonuses on your next hand of 5.

Basically, for getting reasonably unlucky in one turn, you get punished on your next few hands too. Does anyone else get frustrated by this issue? It usually means you can call the winner of the game about half way through and you just sit there waiting for the inevitable - not much fun!


The game is balanced. Your problem is called "luck of the draw". Here's my take on it: Yes sometimes your opponent always draws the right cards and you don't and that sucks. But the tradeoff is that the game is really fast so just play another one. Sometimes you'll get very lucky, sometimes your opponent does, but most of the time, you'll have about equal ammount of luck each game. Getting faction abilities is not a guarantee but if you really build your deck that way, it becomes less and less luck-dependent. There's a reason there are cards without faction abilities, it's just one part of the game.
My experience was that it's most of the time a pretty close game, so I don't really know why your experience is that you can see who will win halfway through.


TheAttackFerret wrote:

Do the character packs change any of this?

A bit yes. All of the champions have cards that sometimes let you draw more cards so you cycle through your deck faster and getting combos more frequently.

TheAttackFerret wrote:

Is it just a better game with 3-4 players?


It's a matter of taste, really. I think this is a great two-player game with okay multiplayer variants. If you are into that kind of thing (for the record I hate it) you can play multiplayer and if someone is playing better and/or is more lucky, you can gang up on them. That's one way

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Jesse Bethany
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I'm not sure why you would say the game is unbalanced because of this, as each player is going to have to contend with not drawing optimal hands sometimes. Since everyone is in the same boat with this, it's not unbalanced.

You might just mean that you find the gameplay unbalanced in terms of what you are capable of from one turn to another since some turns you can do a lot and other turns you can't do anything so that it feels like your turns have a sort of limping cadence to your own play. But that's precisely what a deck building game is supposed to do. You have to hone your deck into an engine that doesn't suffer from limping as you go. One way to avoid this is to just focus on one faction, guaranteeing that you don't draw mismatched combos. Another way is to focus on scrapping out cards so you are drawing less "fluff" like your basic gold or starting action cards, making it more likely that you draw cards that will combo with one another. Another way to do this is to focus on just one type of card and let combos be nice surprises rather than the core of your strategy. For example, you can just buy champions and simply zerg champions each turn. If they combo, great. If not, they're either going to eat combat that would be going to you or they're going to stick around and be more likely to combo next turn.

In short, your issue is with the core mechanic of any deck builder and the precise way that the mechanic introduces a fundamental obstacle to your gameplay. The character packs do nothing to help with this, other than giving you some starting cards that already have some built in combos.

I'm not sure what you could do to fix it otherwise, aside from being able to pick the 5 cards you want each hand, which is less deck building and is more of an exercise in playing the same combo over and over each time. You could draw whatever 5 you want, then discard them after playing the hand, then draw 5 more of your choice from the options remaining, then discarding, then drawing 5 more from the options remaining, etc. But, this is still going to leave you with a hand or two of cards that just don't do much other than give you gold after you've played all of your good cards previously. Might be more fun for you since you can decide when you strike with a particular combo. It would turn it into a game of trying to decide when to have a ton of gold to snag a particular card in the market or when you should play champions because you know your opponent is likely to play a nasty combo he just bought last round. If that sounds more fun, give it a try.
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Ash .
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wallwaster wrote:

My experience was that it's most of the time a pretty close game, so I don't really know why your experience is that you can see who will win halfway through.


The issue I have is that you're punished for a number of turns for having bad luck on just one turn, and there isn't any way to mitigate that at all.

Say both players have bought 2 green faction cards, and 2 blue faction cards, so both players have 11 cards in their deck. Player a draws 1 blue, 1 green and 3 other non faction cards. They get unlucky this one turn and miss the chance of a powerful faction bonus.

BUT, this leads to my main issue.

They're 100% guaranteed to have no faction bonus next turn either. You get punished across multiple turns. Simply, if the opponent in this situation happens to hit a faction bonus whilst you don't at this early stage in the game, it very frequently gives a disproportionate advantage. They are more likely to draw into another faction bonus next turn.

This leads to a conveyor belt effect, that leads to you being more likely to miss faction bonuses for the rest of the game.

In the games we played, we noted when these 'syncing' issues occured and the player who was 'out of sync' early on almost always lost from that position.

A possible solution might be to shuffle in every single card that is used or purchased straight back in to your drawable deck. This makes sure you always have a chance to draw out of your previous bad luck, instead of just having a compounded effect. This suggestion doesn't play very well with the red sacrifice cards effect, though.
 
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Ken Staples
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I'm about half a dozen games in (2-4 players). The first couple of games I lost getting the feel of the cards. Now I have a better idea of how it plays and how it differs from Star/Cthulhu Realms.

It is swingy - I've been down to under 10 health and then my engine kicked in and won with almost full health. I'm finding the combos I like and getting the feel of the game.

I should clarify we're just playing the base game. I'm waiting to buy character packs/bosses/campaign at my FLGS and I haven't added in the KS & Promo cards yet.

I'm enjoying it quite a bit.
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Again, you should not have any synching issues in the early game, because you should not be depending on drawing "ideal" hands in the early game. Being over-reliant on ally abilities is a common trap that new players will fall into. You need to realize that unless you have built a deck to specifically trigger ally abilities (and that will take you most of the game and a ton of luck), you will not get ally abilities reliably. You should treat them as a bonus ability that you sometimes get, but generally do not.

Now, you might point out that if a player builds for allies and then hits them all, that player will most generally win. That perfect hand rarely happens in real play (maybe 25-30% of the time) and so that player will lose most of their games against a player who focuses on getting good cards that are valuable on their own (but will synergize together if you have both in your hand).

From about half a dozen plays, I found the most powerful strategy to be buying up cheap, early champions that give trade or combat and buying up cards that, on their own, deal a lot of damage. I then focus on killing off my opponents champions and having more resources due to a bunch of weak expend abilities (also, with a variety of champions, ally abilities activate naturally).
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Jarad Bond
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TheAttackFerret wrote:
The issue I have is that you're punished for a number of turns for having bad luck on just one turn, and there isn't any way to mitigate that at all.
[...]
They're 100% guaranteed to have no faction bonus next turn either. You get punished across multiple turns.

You seem overly focused on getting "punished" multiple turns in a row. The person who hits all their ally cards together in their first hand after a shuffle is "punished" even harder for the rest of their deck, because they won't get any more good cards until they shuffle.

You really should think of it in cycles of your deck. Through one cycle, you either get a couple ally abilities or you don't. As the game progresses and you get more cards, you have more chances to get more ally abilities through one cycle through of your deck. That's the luck aspect. If you play Hero Realms, or Star Realms, you are going to lose games no matter how good you are. It's the luck aspect. It is also a 20 minute game, so just play another round. Enjoy it vicariously through your opponent when you're getting slaughtered and revel in it when you do the slaughtering.

As was mentioned, you can go down to 10 hp in the first couple deck cycles, then hit all your yellow cards together in the third or fourth cycle and end up at 41 HP, winning the game. In my experience, you absolutely don't know who is going to win halfway through, ever.
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Ash .
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ThinkingThatsAll wrote:
Again, you should not have any synching issues in the early game, because you should not be depending on drawing "ideal" hands in the early game. Being over-reliant on ally abilities is a common trap that new players will fall into.


It's not a case of depending on the abilities though. 56 of the cards have ally bonuses, a fair bit over half of the available cards. If you have 2 cards of comparable power level available to purchase, it makes sense to buy any that share ally type with cards you already own. The point I'm trying to make is that when both players hit the 4~ purchased cards, the potential for ally sync issues arises. By sync, I don't just mean the ability to hit 1 bonus ally bonus in 1 turn, I'm talking about the compounded effect that drawing mismatched ally bonuses has on the draws for the next few turns. This happens all the time, even if you're not specifically building towards ally synergies. Obviously it's not an issue if your first 4 cards purchased are all from different factions, but usually players prioritise ally cards if the purchase decision is close.

5 cards in deck = 1 red, 1 yellow, 3 gold

5 cards in hand = 1 red, 1 yellow, dagger, shortsword

cards in discard pile = 1 red, 1 yellow, 4 gold

In a situation like above, you miss on bonuses for 2 turns in a row.

5 cards in deck = 2 red, 3 gold

5 cards in hand = 2 yellow, dagger, shortsword

cards in discard pile = 1 red, 1 yellow, 4 gold

In this situation you hit two bonuses in a row.

Introducing a method of shuffling your discard pile in to your deck before your deck is empty would help avoid this issue.


This situation occurs *all the time* from the games we've played, and absolutely does put one player ahead of the other significantly. There are no ways to meaningfully avoid it from occuring, and importantly it happens even though you're not necessarily building towards a particular ally strategy.

The game has been a blast when these early sync issues haven't cropped up, but when they do, it has a negative impact on the game and makes it less enjoyable.


 
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Ash .
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logris wrote:

You seem overly focused on getting "punished" multiple turns in a row. The person who hits all their ally cards together in their first hand after a shuffle is "punished" even harder for the rest of their deck, because they won't get any more good cards until they shuffle.


This is true if a player only had say, 3 green cards, and drew them all in one turn.

My issue is when a player has a deck roughly split between 2 colours (which from my games has been a reasonably frequent occurence). A player who draws 2 red in a turn then has a much higher chance of drawing an ally bonus of the other colour they have in their next draw. However, a player who draws 1 of each can't draw a bonus the turn after.

It feels like rolling snake eyes in some dice game, to only be forced to carry that result over to your next turn in some random dice game. Doesn't feel great. When this doesn't happen, the game is an absolute blast. There would be simple ways to prevent such issues happening, and I don't feel the game benefits from being setup this way.


I'll play the game a bunch more, of course, but this was something that came up for both players around 5 times in 20 games. It feels like the equivalent of resource-screw in various card games, which is never a fun thing (and is something Epic Card game has managed to avoid!).
 
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Dániel Lányi
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TheAttackFerret wrote:

The issue I have is that you're punished for a number of turns for having bad luck on just one turn, and there isn't any way to mitigate that at all.

Say both players have bought 2 green faction cards, and 2 blue faction cards, so both players have 11 cards in their deck. Player a draws 1 blue, 1 green and 3 other non faction cards. They get unlucky this one turn and miss the chance of a powerful faction bonus.


Yes there is a way. Kind of. If you feel like faction abilities it's where it's at, buy just one faction. Problem solved. Of course you will buy some other cards too but you will only expect to trigger faction abilities on these cards. You'll also eventually see the use of the cards that don't trigger faction. I mean I think your problem is mostly a matter of expectation and confirmation bias. The thing is both Star Realms and Hero Realms has quite a bit of luck, but what suprises me about your complaint is that it's mostly in what the trade row gives you I think. But ultimately I think the question is, do you have fun? Because I think then just go and have fun, stop overanalyzing each match, and try to see the game more in terms of like 5-6 match series.

TheAttackFerret wrote:

A possible solution might be to shuffle in every single card that is used or purchased straight back in to your drawable deck.


If you try this just be aware that the game isn't balanced for this. Some cards will get weaker, some will get stronger. For example cards that allow you to topdeck things will get weaker.
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Jarad Bond
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TheAttackFerret wrote:
logris wrote:

You seem overly focused on getting "punished" multiple turns in a row. The person who hits all their ally cards together in their first hand after a shuffle is "punished" even harder for the rest of their deck, because they won't get any more good cards until they shuffle.


This is true if a player only had say, 3 green cards, and drew them all in one turn.

My issue is when a player has a deck roughly split between 2 colours (which from my games has been a reasonably frequent occurence). A player who draws 2 red in a turn then has a much higher chance of drawing an ally bonus of the other colour they have in their next draw. However, a player who draws 1 of each can't draw a bonus the turn after.

It feels like rolling snake eyes in some dice game, to only be forced to carry that result over to your next turn in some random dice game. Doesn't feel great. When this doesn't happen, the game is an absolute blast. There would be simple ways to prevent such issues happening, and I don't feel the game benefits from being setup this way.


I'll play the game a bunch more, of course, but this was something that came up for both players around 5 times in 20 games. It feels like the equivalent of resource-screw in various card games, which is never a fun thing (and is something Epic Card game has managed to avoid!).

Well, I've played Ascension, Star Realms, Dominion, Hero Realms, Thunderstone, Marvel, all of which are deck-builders, and all of which have this same property. If you draw your cards in the non-ideal configuration, you don't get a good run through your deck and you say, "Aww man!" The opponent does that in a round or two and it continues to go back and forth... or just back and back sometimes. It's a fundamental principle of deck-building games. It sounds like you don't enjoy that. I don't enjoy rolling two dice to try to roll an 8, but I generally don't play games where I have to do that.

You're welcome to try any variant and share it with us. Out of curiosity, why is this not a problem with Epic? I haven't ever played that. Is it a deck-builder?
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Ash .
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logris wrote:
TheAttackFerret wrote:
logris wrote:

You seem overly focused on getting "punished" multiple turns in a row. The person who hits all their ally cards together in their first hand after a shuffle is "punished" even harder for the rest of their deck, because they won't get any more good cards until they shuffle.


This is true if a player only had say, 3 green cards, and drew them all in one turn.

My issue is when a player has a deck roughly split between 2 colours (which from my games has been a reasonably frequent occurence). A player who draws 2 red in a turn then has a much higher chance of drawing an ally bonus of the other colour they have in their next draw. However, a player who draws 1 of each can't draw a bonus the turn after.

It feels like rolling snake eyes in some dice game, to only be forced to carry that result over to your next turn in some random dice game. Doesn't feel great. When this doesn't happen, the game is an absolute blast. There would be simple ways to prevent such issues happening, and I don't feel the game benefits from being setup this way.


I'll play the game a bunch more, of course, but this was something that came up for both players around 5 times in 20 games. It feels like the equivalent of resource-screw in various card games, which is never a fun thing (and is something Epic Card game has managed to avoid!).

Well, I've played Ascension, Star Realms, Dominion, Hero Realms, Thunderstone, Marvel, all of which are deck-builders, and all of which have this same property. If you draw your cards in the non-ideal configuration, you don't get a good run through your deck and you say, "Aww man!" The opponent does that in a round or two and it continues to go back and forth... or just back and back sometimes. It's a fundamental principle of deck-building games. It sounds like you don't enjoy that. I don't enjoy rolling two dice to try to roll an 8, but I generally don't play games where I have to do that.

You're welcome to try any variant and share it with us. Out of curiosity, why is this not a problem with Epic? I haven't ever played that. Is it a deck-builder?


Epic is not a deckbuilding game in the same sense as the ones you listed, but a deck is 'drafted'. Most cards in the game have an option to cash them in to draw two cards, and most cards are either very powerful threats or powerful answers. It leads to a very balanced game, that you can't really draw badly in, and certainly aren't heavily punished if you get unlucky on one individual turn. There is no traditional resource system, so you also don't get screwed over in that department.

Most Epic games come down to leveraging card advantage over a great many turns. It's not as swingy as something like Hero Realms, which may be a downside for some.


Back to Hero Realms, I do enjoy the game overall but feel there are a few too many lopsided games that are out of the players control. I suppose the feeling of helplessness when something swingy happens just isn't my thing - I respect that a ton of people enjoy that aspect though!
 
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Josiah Davoli
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Did anyone notice Ash is thumbing his owns posts?
Sorry if I'm pointing out the obvious, but what's the point Ash?
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Scott Heise
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It's all part of the luck of the draw. HOWEVER, The likelihood of triggering the ally ability for a card relative to the composition of your deck MUST be a part of your valuation of the card before you buy it. For this reason, how you evaluate the overall value of a card should be based on the primary/non-ally abilities of the card, otherwise you're just blindly gambling and you're not going to make optimal purchases. In order to properly evaluate how much value the ally ability of the card is worth to you, you need to consider the odds of triggering it in future decks. The odds may be much lower than you think, especially early in the game.

If you want to get into the math of it, hypergeometric probabilities using the excel function HYPGEOM.DIST or a web tool like this can be used to calculate odds such as these.

For example, say you buy 2 yellow cards with good ally abilities with your first two buys as player 2, and you want to know the probability that they'll be drawn together after the next shuffle (Deck 2) and trigger those ally abilities.

In the first hand after the shuffle, you'll have 12 cards in your deck with 2 "successes", thus the probability of drawing 0/1/2 yellow cards in this hand is 31.8%/53.0%/15.15%. Obviously, if you draw both yellow cards here then you've already hit the jackpot but the odds are not good (15%). If you draw just 1, then you're out of luck and they won't combo this deck. But if you draw 0 here, then you get another chance... in the second hand after the shuffle, you'll have 7 cards in your deck with 2 "successes", and the odds of drawing 0/1/2 yellow cards here is 4.76%/47.62%/47.62%.

So ultimately, the odds of drawing both yellow cards with either hand in Deck 2 would be 0.1515 + 0.318*0.476 = 0.303 = 30.3%. Pretty meh odds, honestly. So before you buy those yellow cards in the first place, you'd better double check that you're buying them for their primary ability because less than 2/3rds of the time you're not going to combo them until later in the game, if at all.

So yes, the luck of the draw can make or break a game, but it is a hallmark of an advanced player to take the odds into account when valuing cards in the market and making decisions about which cards to buy and when.

3davoli wrote:
Did anyone notice Ash is thumbing his owns posts?
Sorry if I'm pointing out the obvious, but what's the point Ash?


Clearly, Ash is a very confident individual.
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Ash .
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3davoli wrote:
Did anyone notice Ash is thumbing his owns posts?
Sorry if I'm pointing out the obvious, but what's the point Ash?


New to BGG, I'd find it hard to live with myself if I didn't agree with what I'd posted . Removed them now. I'm only trying to discuss a perceived problem, and asking for friendly advice on how to approach the game. There have been some good responses. What's the point with your passive aggressive post? Not particularly welcoming

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Ash .
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HomerJr wrote:


So yes, the luck of the draw can make or break a game, but it is a hallmark of an advanced player to take the odds into account when valuing cards in the market and making decisions about which cards to buy and when.


I get all this, but it's not the point I've been failing to put across. I've just been frustrated at the compounded good or bad luck. As in my hand example in my above posts, when someone gets lucky with ally pairings the luck carries on to the next hand draw. Inversely this happens with bad hands with mismatching allies too. I'm not saying that I purposely seek ally bonuses, but I do prefer them if a card purchase choice is close. I understand playing the odds, I'm not new to card games, but thus far hero realms contains very few meaningful choices (mostly due to discarding hand at end of turn) and can be uncontrollably swingy - more so than most card games I've played. It's still a fast and fun game, but the outcome of a number of games has been partially down to accidental ally syncing.
 
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TheAttackFerret wrote:
HomerJr wrote:


So yes, the luck of the draw can make or break a game, but it is a hallmark of an advanced player to take the odds into account when valuing cards in the market and making decisions about which cards to buy and when.


I get all this, but it's not the point I've been failing to put across. I've just been frustrated at the compounded good or bad luck. As in my hand example in my above posts, when someone gets lucky with ally pairings the luck carries on to the next hand draw. Inversely this happens with bad hands with mismatching allies too. I'm not saying that I purposely seek ally bonuses, but I do prefer them if a card purchase choice is close. I understand playing the odds, I'm not new to card games, but thus far hero realms contains very few meaningful choices (mostly due to discarding hand at end of turn) and can be uncontrollably swingy - more so than most card games I've played. It's still a fast and fun game, but the outcome of a number of games has been partially down to accidental ally syncing.

It could be that you perceive the chink in the armor of this game. I do think that you can fall into the trap of relying on ally synergies too much, where the shrewd player will find useful cards that help him win without them.

But it would be a lot more interesting if the ally synergies were more skill-based: what if some/many cards gave you Faction Energy that you would accumulate over the course of the game in the form of faction-colored tokens, and instead of the ally abilities on the cards, you would have 1-3 abilities that you could spend your Faction Energy on when you play the card. Maybe you automatically lose one Faction Energy each turn, of each faction type, so that you need to keep playing cards of that type to use those faction's abilities.

But in that way you would have choices, and you wouldn't rely so much on that perfect card draw. But then it's not going to play as fast either..

I dunno, I see what you're saying -- but this is just a flaw in the overall system. It's a fast, fun game that doesn't require too much thought. Sometimes you shuffle well and get your synergies, sometimes you don't.
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TheAttackFerret wrote:
HomerJr wrote:


So yes, the luck of the draw can make or break a game, but it is a hallmark of an advanced player to take the odds into account when valuing cards in the market and making decisions about which cards to buy and when.


I get all this, but it's not the point I've been failing to put across. I've just been frustrated at the compounded good or bad luck. As in my hand example in my above posts, when someone gets lucky with ally pairings the luck carries on to the next hand draw. Inversely this happens with bad hands with mismatching allies too. I'm not saying that I purposely seek ally bonuses, but I do prefer them if a card purchase choice is close. I understand playing the odds, I'm not new to card games, but thus far hero realms contains very few meaningful choices (mostly due to discarding hand at end of turn) and can be uncontrollably swingy - more so than most card games I've played. It's still a fast and fun game, but the outcome of a number of games has been partially down to accidental ally syncing.


First of all: welcome to BGG and thank you for your contribution!

I understand your point. But the meaningful choices are more centred around which cards to buy and thus on a strategical level. On a tactical level, playing each round, what to do is often fairly obvious and also dependent on luck.

At least in Star Realms which is similar, skill is definitely needed as evidenced by leaderboard positions in the digital app...
 
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I think I see what you're saying Ash, when I first started playing Star Realms I thought it was luck based, then I got Massacred on Hard mode with the app.

After maybe 100 plays on the app I consistently beat the app, and anyone i plsyed against with the real thing.

Hero Realms (from the few games I've plsyed) is undeniably more swingy, but only time (or a smarter oponent/App) will tell for certain.

(P.S. this video shows a complete game of HR being played against the designer, and spoiler alert Designer loses, which hardly ever happens in Star Realms from what I've heard) so I think there's merrit in what both sides say for now.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=NPAl8st-JnU
 
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TheAttackFerret wrote:
I get all this, but it's not the point I've been failing to put across. I've just been frustrated at the compounded good or bad luck. As in my hand example in my above posts, when someone gets lucky with ally pairings the luck carries on to the next hand draw.

I get what you're saying here. I didn't realize you hadn't played any other deck-builders. With deck-builders, you are playing odds and building up a statistical likelihood of drawing the cards you want to draw together. I think your frustration is due to your perception. You're not getting "compounded bad luck" if you look at it over the course of your whole deck. I understand that you get two or three turns in a row that aren't perfectly optimal, but if that's happening later on, it is because you're not sacrificing enough cards and/or getting bad luck in the draws and offer.

All deck-builders are significantly more luck based than Magic or Epic. You are forced to start with a crappy deck and are tasked with making it better, faster than your opponents.

When your deck is small, you always have to look at it as the "luck of your whole deck". You have to keep in mind what effect your luck is through 2-3 hands, then 3-4 hands, then 4-5 hands, as you buy more cards. As your deck gets larger, you have more possible ways those 3-5 hands will come out. You might get some really good ones and some really bad ones. Or get all of them slightly below average. Or, if you keep your deck tight (sacrificing cards and NOT buying a card even when you can afford it), you might always get the same perfect hand each time.

TheAttackFerret wrote:
and can be uncontrollably swingy - more so than most card games I've played

Can't argue that! It gives your newbies a chance. Trust me, nobody wants to play against you if you always win. It is closer to poker than Magic, and you have to play the odds a bit.



 
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Or, if you keep your deck tight (sacrificing cards and NOT buying a card even when you can afford it), you might always get the same perfect hand each time.



I was going to ask about this. Intentionally not spending gold came up a few times, and I was never sure if it was correct to decline purchasing for a turn. This often seemed to lead to odd standoffs, where both players avoid buying anything.

As I understand it, star realms has a way of resetting the market cards - the absence of this in hero realms seems odd to me. It sounds like something the game would benefit from. What are star realms thoughts on this being missing from hero realms?

Jared, I often find hero realms games are over before deck thinning truly made a difference and a deck engine was established. Red seemed to be relatively weak early on. Is hero realms fundamentally faster than star realms?
 
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IDK Magic is pretty swingy. Usually you go best out of 3 because individual matches can be dominated by luck, even at high levels of play. Considering that the best players in the Star Realms app have like 65% win rates, I'd be inclined to look at all three Realms games in a similar light: luck is a significant factor and skill looks like winning 2/3rds of your games instead of 1/3rd. And yeah, I mean. That's a relatively high luck factor, but I don't necessarily think that's an inherently positive or negative thing, it's just a feature of the genre (and adjacent genres). If you want the more skilled player to win 80%+ of the time, this may not be the game for you.

Deckbuilding Games (as in the genre where the building a deck is the main action of individual games) are about the strategic decisions of what to buy each turn to design the deck you want as you go. Coming from a game like Epic or MtG where deck building is a metagame activity or takes place in a drafting round before the game begins, this is a huge shift in perspective. Normally in those types of games you play multiple games with that deck, against multiple opponents. If you draft well, you'll win 70% of your games, and if you draft poorly you might only win 30%. Well in the Realms series you basically only get one game off of each draft, because the draft, the competitive construction of your deck, IS THE WHOLE GAME.

To speak to the specific issue in question here, most faction abilities don't snowball. Only a handful actually give you coin or have other acceleration abilities like putting cards on top of your deck. Which means that if you miss out on a faction ability or two, it's not affecting your future shuffles. Honestly, I'm more worried about the luck of how you draw your money cards on your first two shuffles and what's available in the trade row than I am whether or not I faction on my second shuffle. In most cases that you're describing with an early synergy hitting or missing, you're losing out on a bit of damage or some healing, which is an advantage, but it's a flat advantage that required a gamble to pay off. If most of the faction abilities were acceleration abilities that thinned your deck or got you to the those tasty big buys early I would be more concerned than I am. Like sure you bought some cards for a 30% chance at an extra 8 damage and got it. Congratulations. If your games are coming down to 8hp I'd say they're pretty close.

One of the hardest things to get your head around when you're learning to play deckbuilding games is to think of your deck as a whole as you go. You're asking yourself questions like "How much damage per shuffle do I have, and how much does my opponent have? Can I survive another shuffle? Is this card better than the average card in my deck right now?" And that's in addition to the usual considerations about faction and synergy and denial. That's where a lot of the strategy and skill and depth comes from, in weighing those high-level questions and assessing the odds rather than tech and clever combos. Deckbuilding games are more different from their cousins than a lot of people realize or give them credit for.
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TheAttackFerret wrote:
Quote:
Or, if you keep your deck tight (sacrificing cards and NOT buying a card even when you can afford it), you might always get the same perfect hand each time.



I was going to ask about this. Intentionally not spending gold came up a few times, and I was never sure if it was correct to decline purchasing for a turn. This often seemed to lead to odd standoffs, where both players avoid buying anything.

As I understand it, star realms has a way of resetting the market cards - the absence of this in hero realms seems odd to me. It sounds like something the game would benefit from. What are star realms thoughts on this being missing from hero realms?

Jared, I often find hero realms games are over before deck thinning truly made a difference and a deck engine was established. Red seemed to be relatively weak early on. Is hero realms fundamentally faster than star realms?


Yes, not buying is often the right answer, especially in the later half of the game, if the trade row is mostly early game cards, or if you have the clear advantage.

Star Realms (and especially Cthulhu Realms) have more ways to get a problem card off of the market, but there is (almost) no way to reset it. If the market hits a stale mate, then the game changes to the player with more damage trying to finish the game quickly while the other player tries to unclog the market.

I agree that Hero Realms does seem a bit too fast to make scrap a viable strategy. I attribute this more to the player skill level rather than a flaw in the game. White Wizard Games has a track record of balanced games, so I don't think that they would have screwed up balance this time. On the other hand, everyone that I have played with, so far, has been very experienced at Star Realms, but new to Hero Realms. I imagine as players play with the cards more, they will find ways to stop a champion rush and trade heavy strategies will be discovered. Once those start being played, deck thinning will start to also start getting played as a way to counter them.
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TheAttackFerret wrote:
Quote:
Or, if you keep your deck tight (sacrificing cards and NOT buying a card even when you can afford it), you might always get the same perfect hand each time.



I was going to ask about this. Intentionally not spending gold came up a few times, and I was never sure if it was correct to decline purchasing for a turn. This often seemed to lead to odd standoffs, where both players avoid buying anything.

As I understand it, star realms has a way of resetting the market cards - the absence of this in hero realms seems odd to me. It sounds like something the game would benefit from. What are star realms thoughts on this being missing from hero realms?


The answer is: it depends. There are two main factors you want to take into consideration.

- Is this card better than the average card in my deck? Late in the game, a low cost card might actually dilute your deck and make your average hand worse.

- Is buying this card going to help my opponent more than it helps me? If the trade row is clogged up with 1-cost and 2-cost garbage and you have like 4 coin, maybe it's better to skip your buy and let your opponent take the hit. You'll get first crack at whatever flips, so if you have more money it may be worth it to break the detente in hopes that you get something good. If I've got 7+ coin in hand, I'll buy the cheapest card out there just to see what else I get (this feels a lot like topdecking in MtG to me).

If a standoff develops, you'll also want to consider who's winning right now and how close the game is. If you're probably going to lose if you keep playing with your current decks, then you might need to be the one to take the hit and get the trade row moving if only out of desperation. If it's close and you figure you're on top, you may want to wait for a strong had of money and be the one to break the standoff. You can afford to wait a little longer than if you were losing, but if you make the move it prevents your opponent from seizing the initiative.

re: trade row scrapping effects, there's another post here dedicated to that very question: https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1678592/no-scrapping-tr...
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