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Subject: It's been about a year now since release - is Loki strategy balanced or not? rss

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Miguel Pacheco
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Ive only played Blood Rage about 4 or 5 times, not enough to really have a true sense of balance issues, but our group still hasn't solved how to counter a committed Loki strategy other than being lucky and hate drafting key cards.

I guess there are two questions here - now that so many of you have played the game for a quite a while I would love updated opinions on:

1. Is the Loki strategy and suite of cards unbalanced?
2. Does the Loki strategy fundamentally make Blood Rage less appealing or "fun" to play? This is very subjective I know, but I guess what im getting at is does a full on Loki strategy just contribute to a frustrating game session or is the game still fun even while trying to overcome a Loki player?

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Thaddeus MacTaggart
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1. Never had troubles with it. You still have to draft them, and chances some important cards aren't in the draft or taken by someone else.
Thus far the highest win scores were by Odin's Throne/Quests and the Dragons/ships tactic.
2. No.
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Brian Nguyen
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Teowulff wrote:
1. Never had troubles with it. You still have to draft them, and chances some important cards aren't in the draft or taken by someone else.
Thus far the highest win scores were by Odin's Throne/Quests and the Dragons/ships tactic.
2. No.


From your post, it seems you're agreeing with the OP that you have to hate-draft the cards which is a strategy in itself, but still a fact that it's overpowering enough compared to other cards. (And Odin's throne was another card that was considered imbalanced earlier on in its release and had a discussion about it.)
 
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Thaddeus MacTaggart
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tekshi wrote:
From your post, it seems you're agreeing with the OP that you have to hate-draft the cards which is a strategy in itself, but still a fact that it's overpowering enough compared to other cards. (And Odin's throne was another card that was considered imbalanced earlier on in its release and had a discussion about it.)

Well "hate" draft sounds so emotional, which it isn't. It's rational. If I have a Sea Serpent and my opponent gets Loki's Dragons 1st it may be smart to take it before me.
There's a lot of situations where you know you shoot yourself in the foot if you don't counterdraft.
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Phil Schmidt
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Loki cards are good solid cards and you should strongly consider taking them, no matter what your plans are. Loki cards are good for just about anyone, and usually turn out to be as many or more points than quests; even if only a small number of your minis are released each age. With minor adjustments to play, Loki cards are worth even more than quests.

I think what most people fail to realize is that most strategies involve quite a few of your units dying, and players may underrate the return on drafting a Loki card themselves.

So, yes it's nearly unbeatable if someone manages to get all the Loki cards. But unless one person was dealt all those cards initially, no one should be getting all of them because frequently Loki cards are the some of the best cards and should be drafted early by just about anyone.
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Jacob Casper
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I have never lost to a Loki strategy as it is ready to counter if you keep it in mind during drafts.
 
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Miguel Pacheco
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UnlivedPhalanx wrote:
I have never lost to a Loki strategy as it is ready to counter if you keep it in mind during drafts.


Would you mind sharing some of those counters? My playgroup is struggling with beating it, and we are finding it limiting that we have to pick it over some other more fun strategies or combos we would like to pursue in order to not get wrecked by whoever is collecting the sets.

 
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Chad Edmunds
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The last game I played, one player got all the Loki cards:

Loki's Trickery,
Loki's Blessing,
Loki's Domain, Eminence, Wrath (which he stole with Loki's Poison as I hate drafted it),
Eternal Dragons (replacing Fire Dragons from Age 2),
Sea Serpent and
Frigga's Domain

The player to his right feed him the cards and colluded with him on the strategy. Colluded is an ugly word...the Loki player was new and the other player was helping him. But it was collusion.

In Age 1 he managed just 4 points from Loki's Domain.

In Age 2 he managed to get 33 points from Loki's Domain and Eminence and 8 points from Fire Dragons

In Age 3, he was getting 6 per figure released, but only managed to get 5 in Valhalla, for 30 points. He also got 16 points from Eternal Dragons.

He managed to only get 1 Glorious Death in Age 2, and had 3 other quests squashed.

He won 3 battles with his Sea Serpent, for 3 glory each.

He got 0 on upgrades. Missed Ragnorok each Age.

His total was 108. I won the game with 176.

Max stats. 60 points
6 Quests, including 3 in Age 3 with Odin's Throne. 54 points
Several won battles, Thor's Conquest and the 5 point reward 3 times for the rest.

I knew the player was going Loki all the way. So, I knew I would get from him all the non-Loki cards he had. But the keys to success were:

- end Ages quickly
- have a rage efficient plan per Age, knowing Loki will steal 1-2 rage
- plan to squash Loki's late bids for quests, if they get played.
- hate draft, particularly Blessing in Age 1 and Wrath in Age 3. Both help you anyway, so not much of a hate draft.

Without Blessing getting figures on board for free, Loki will struggle to "lose battles". Without Wrath, the Loki player will not be able to compete with max stats bonuses.

My last few games I have been passing on Loki's Trickery, although I never went full Loki anyway. But the reason is, it is actually easy the beat Loki.

The game struggles wrt new players playing with experienced players, because Loki will beat up on the new player. Always. But once players are experienced with the game, full Loki is extremely difficult to pull off for a win. Pieces of Loki (like Trickery, Blessing, Poison, Wrath) can all be used as tools in a Hybrid approach. But full Loki - trying to lose every battle - that approach has not worked at our table in several games, once everyone had a few games in. They come close...often Loki will come in second. But they have not won in a while.



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Luke Heineman
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Part of the drafting phase is draft denial. You can't ignore what's going to help your opponents.

That being said, the Loki strategy is the most straightforward. It literally tells you what you need to do to succeed. Other strategies are not weaker, they're just not so apparent. In a group that sees this game over and over, you will find the Loki strategy less successful over time.
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Todd Parker
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AJEddy wrote:
The last game I played, one player got all the Loki cards:

Loki's Trickery,
Loki's Blessing,
Loki's Domain, Eminence, Wrath (which he stole with Loki's Poison as I hate drafted it),
Eternal Dragons (replacing Fire Dragons from Age 2),
Sea Serpent and
Frigga's Domain

e
In Age 3, he was getting 6 per figure released, but only managed to get 5 in Valhalla, for 30 points.


Of course he lost, he made awful decisions. He must have played Lokis domain and blessing in age 1. Then played lokis eminence in age 2.

Then in age 3, he must have played friggas domain, discarding lokis blessing. Seems odd that he would choose to keep the 1 point per release card over the card that lets him invade with an extra warrior. Then later in the 3rd age, he discarded friggas domain for lokis wrath.
Again, odd decision to throw away one of the best cards in the game instead of the 1 point for release card.
 
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Chad Edmunds
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toddpark75 wrote:
AJEddy wrote:
The last game I played, one player got all the Loki cards:

Loki's Trickery,
Loki's Blessing,
Loki's Domain, Eminence, Wrath (which he stole with Loki's Poison as I hate drafted it),
Eternal Dragons (replacing Fire Dragons from Age 2),
Sea Serpent and
Frigga's Domain

e
In Age 3, he was getting 6 per figure released, but only managed to get 5 in Valhalla, for 30 points.


Of course he lost, he made awful decisions. He must have played Lokis domain and blessing in age 1. Then played lokis eminence in age 2.

Then in age 3, he must have played friggas domain, discarding lokis blessing. Seems odd that he would choose to keep the 1 point per release card over the card that lets him invade with an extra warrior. Then later in the 3rd age, he discarded friggas domain for lokis wrath.
Again, odd decision to throw away one of the best cards in the game instead of the 1 point for release card.


Correct: Blessing > Frigga's Domain > Wrath

And I agree (I even told him to keep Blessing and ditch Loki's Domain for Frigga's Domain) but he was enamored with the little bits of glory. As are many of the players with this game who often come second, but rarely win.

The ditching of Frigga's Domain for Wrath makes sense as his last play of the Age however.
 
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Brian Nguyen
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Teowulff wrote:
tekshi wrote:
From your post, it seems you're agreeing with the OP that you have to hate-draft the cards which is a strategy in itself, but still a fact that it's overpowering enough compared to other cards. (And Odin's throne was another card that was considered imbalanced earlier on in its release and had a discussion about it.)

Well "hate" draft sounds so emotional, which it isn't. It's rational. If I have a Sea Serpent and my opponent gets Loki's Dragons 1st it may be smart to take it before me.
There's a lot of situations where you know you shoot yourself in the foot if you don't counterdraft.


I guess my main problem with that is you can't or don't counter draft any other strategies in the game (Except maybe the valhalla release, but that's a loki thing too.) That in itself makes it stronger relative to the other cards.
 
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Chad Edmunds
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tekshi wrote:
Teowulff wrote:
tekshi wrote:
From your post, it seems you're agreeing with the OP that you have to hate-draft the cards which is a strategy in itself, but still a fact that it's overpowering enough compared to other cards. (And Odin's throne was another card that was considered imbalanced earlier on in its release and had a discussion about it.)

Well "hate" draft sounds so emotional, which it isn't. It's rational. If I have a Sea Serpent and my opponent gets Loki's Dragons 1st it may be smart to take it before me.
There's a lot of situations where you know you shoot yourself in the foot if you don't counterdraft.


I guess my main problem with that is you can't or don't counter draft any other strategies in the game (Except maybe the valhalla release, but that's a loki thing too.) That in itself makes it stronger relative to the other cards.


Sure you can. And do. And should.

If the holder of Sea Serpent gets Eternal Dragons AND Frigga's Domain, the group messed up.

Also:

- Frost Giant away from the controller of Yggdrasil.
- Frigga's Protection away from Lord of Hammers.
- Odin's Tide from everyone when you are strong on board.
- Quests after handing over Odin's Throne.
- Frigga's Sacrifice away from Frigga's Succor.

There are many card combos that you could - and should - hate draft to break up.

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Davi Rosa
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O bought the Gods expansion in hopes it would help, since most gods value winning and not losing, but I havent played with it. Would it help?
 
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Patrik
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Honestly, if someone focusses solely on Loki, you can straight up counter this going for battles, raising your axe stat and ending ages early. You will outrace this player easily in terms of points. So yes, it is balanced. Blood Rage might not seem so at first glance, however it is an incredibly nuanced game that allows for a lot of strategies and counters to them!
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optimus pride
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can REMOVING some or all those loki strategy related cards fix the issue?
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Panon Stormcrow
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OPTiMUSPRiDE wrote:
can REMOVING some or all those loki strategy related cards fix the issue?


The ship upgrades from second and third age, and the realese from valhalla from second age. Also, if you're playing with the 5th player expansion, leave only two glorious death quests.

You will probally need the mystics or the KS monsters to fill the deck so that you have the necessary cards for the draft. And since you're removing cards, remove odin's throne as well, as it's really broken.
 
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Kaganishu Khan
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After having advanced from Blood Rage to Rising Sun, I recently came back for a little lighter round of BR, and realized that the Loki strategy, and the entire drafting process, was in hindsight a great hint to Mr. Lang as to why Rising Sun would be more controversial than Blood Rage:

There is a sizeable portion of players who like drafting, but they despise counter-drafting/hate-drafting a LOT, because it makes them feel they are intentionally weakening themselves, or shooting their own strategy in the foot, just to balance out a perceived issue with the game.

In BR its mostly Loki, in Rising Sun its pretty much half the strategies that require you to take stuff AWAY from others, moreso than TOWARDS yourself.

The Loki strategy, as all other strategies in BR, are balanced by player actions. That is the core conceit of this game - you need multiple cards for certain combos, and other players can deny them as soon as they know about them. RS has that same thing too - dont give the Dragonfly Clan the Oni of Spite early in autumn. Is it OP? Not if you manage it.

Blood Rage expects you to do the thing all the popular eurogames (Terraforming Mars for example) dont allow you to do: Directly ruin your opponents plan, by taking something that is not ideal to your own engine. And I believe its that expectation that people have a hard time living up to, thus feeling Loki is too strong.
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mike mcalister

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OPTiMUSPRiDE wrote:
can REMOVING some or all those loki strategy related cards fix the issue?


Our gaming group has a few dozen games played. Most of those are base+mystics. The last 15-20 with KS monsters (stand-ins). Only a handful with the Gods, but we're starting to add them in just to mix things up for ourselves.

We went thru a similar cycle that I see on the BGG boards in regards to certain combos: Initially it seemed like Loki was over powered and "not fun". Same for other combos (resurrecting ships), etc. We also toyed with the idea of removing cards are changing things to "balance" it. We resisted the temptation, and I am glad we did. What it forced us to do was look closer at all the cards, and find new & interesting ways they could combine to help us in each situation.

Now, Loki is so quickly countered that it is hardly drafted. When it is played, the owner can expect to get 1-3 rage tops, and essentially loses board presence and/or clan stats; it is not a good (winning) trade off at all.

Best advice I can give for all of you out there tempted with removing cards or other means of artificial balancing - resist the temptation. Struggle thru a good 5 to 8 games against the obvious card combos and other strategies begin to present themselves because you learn what the other cards are and how they interact.

Blood Rage has become a game that is so rich I enjoy the playing it and hardly care about winning. The fun has become more about the dynamic adaptation to the other players and the draft. Many times we have a good laugh at how many times our strategies adapt in a single game because of someone's incredible win or not finding the cards needed in the draft. And it's not always hate drafting the causes the draft to change, there are many creative ways to make cards interact and overlap is inevitable.

Rage on!

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Alejandro Magno
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Ive played way more than 8 games and I think loki strategy is by far teh strongest in the game. I'm stronglyu considering banning cards from it.
In fact we mostly stopped playing because I don't want to go through the process of playing against/with loki strategy.
It doesn't always win, but it win the most. It needs some luck in drafting but when it does, it's unstoppable imo.

The idea that you can counterdraftingit is ridiculous. You can counterdraft a strategy that requires 2+ cards per age. Loki strategy does not, all you need to do is get serpent+ Frigga's domain and you won.
That means once you draft serpent, you almost autowin 25% in 3rd age when you open domain. That's insane. it's not that when you don't you lose, you still have your game. that means that if you win 25% when you open it, and you do an average 25% when you don't , you win 50% of the games in 4p game. where do i sign?
Ive yet to see serpent+domain not win.
 
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Kevin Rush
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Waterd wrote:
Ive played way more than 8 games and I think loki strategy is by far teh strongest in the game. I'm stronglyu considering banning cards from it.
In fact we mostly stopped playing because I don't want to go through the process of playing against/with loki strategy.
It doesn't always win, but it win the most. It needs some luck in drafting but when it does, it's unstoppable imo.

The idea that you can counterdraftingit is ridiculous. You can counterdraft a strategy that requires 2+ cards per age. Loki strategy does not, all you need to do is get serpent+ Frigga's domain and you won.
That means once you draft serpent, you almost autowin 25% in 3rd age when you open domain. That's insane. it's not that when you don't you lose, you still have your game. that means that if you win 25% when you open it, and you do an average 25% when you don't , you win 50% of the games in 4p game. where do i sign?
Ive yet to see serpent+domain not win.


How in the world does just the Sea Serpent (3 -This monster counts as a ship) and Frigga's Domain (0 - You may pay 1 rage to invade with any one of your figures from Valhalla) create a winning 2 card combination? During the third age (in a 4p game), half the provinces the Sea Serpent can access are destroyed. Additionally, why is reinvading with the Sea Serpent so beneficial... Or do you mean there are actually 3 cards that are necessary to pull of this combo? If that is the case then your estimation of auto-winning 25% of games is vastly over estimated.
 
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Alejandro Magno
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You can bring the sea serpent and ship, fight, lose gain tons of pointgs (it depends which of the loki ships do you have, the 2nd level is the best one, but all work), you lose with both, gain points, reinvade, lose again, ec.

Yes you need one of the 3 loki dragons, but there are 3 copies of it.
 
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Chris Hainz
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This is NOT the Loki strategy. And the strategy is stronger if you sacrifice your ships for track advancement. But it‘s not stronger than the Leader, Odin‘s Throne or Loki strategy. Please do not be so fast to judge a strategy as broken. I saw each of these strategies win and lose. Furthermore, I saw some totally vile, different things, so I would recommend to NOT remove any cards and be creative.
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Alejandro Magno
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Quote:
I saw each of these strategies win and lose.

What is this argumnet? AA in poker win and loses, does it stopped from being by far the best hand of poker?
the loki strategy is to kill your own units to gain points.
You need lokis dragons, sea serpent, for it to be op.
I agree if you remove sea serpent, is just an ok strategy.
 
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Chris Hainz
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I‘m sorry but you are mixing different strategies. The Ship strategy is NOT the Loki strategy. I wanted to keep it short - sorry for that, no offense meant; your posts indicate that you haven‘t played enough games yet to discuss this topic where all facets have been taken into account.
 
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