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Subject: Colony Wars - Indepth Review on Balance changes rss

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David Bellman
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Intro

So with colony wars we had an entirely new iteration to the wonderful and surprisingly deep Star Realms.

We get new cards for all of the four original factions (Blob, Star Empire, Trade Federation and Machine Cult) but using the exact same mechanics.

I’ll start by saying I’m going to assume that someone reading this has played Star Realms and wants to know why they should(n’t) buy Colony Wars and what differences it offers to the Base game. Another assumption for this review is that you’re reading this for the physical game rather than the app. This actually isn’t a significant reason, however I think that the aesthetics are more of a factor in the physical game, as the cards are much smaller on a phone.

Anyway, to this extent I intend to do an in depth analsyis of how the balance differs, as well as a discussion on the aesthetics.

About me:

So I’ve been playing boardgames for maybe 10 years and have spent the last 5 years of that playing almost exclusively 2 player games, with my wife. I’ve owned star realms for maybe a year and a half and Colony Wars for a year and have played over 100 physical games on each. I’ve also played A LOT of Star Realms on the app but I don’t count that towards my play count for boardgamegeek purposes.

I’d say Star Realms (and Colony Wares) is in my top 5 games, with only Race for the Galaxy hitting the table more. This is partly down to easy of setup and how quickly we can smash out a game (always under 30 mins).
How’s it look?

I’m going to be frank here, I don’t think the artwork is as good as Star Realms. I can’t totally put my finger on it but I just find the images to be uninspiring and often pretty samey in comparison, maybe even more cartoony. Take blob for example, their 2 ‘Ticket’ items are Moonwurm and Leviathan (below). They’re both basically big slugs, floating through space, which do almost the same thing. As for the Swarmer and Predator, again there’s very similar generic look between them. In fact, there’s a very same look about all the Blob faction cards, with the background a static blue flash, with a brown/green slug/fish in the foreground.



Compare that to the originals below, where we have a more dynamic colour range, and variation in perspective. Cards like the blob carrier just felt awesome (IMO), whereas I just don’t get the same feel from the cards in colony wars.



When I looked at the Star Empire cards Battlecruiser and Dreadnaught from the base game there was a frantic battle going on and they felt like awesome ships to own. Emperor’s Dreadnaught is a cool ship, but I feel like the other ships in the Star Empire faction just don’t give a dynamic story like the base set’s did. Even the Imperial Frigate had a presence about it, and it was just a 3 cost card in the original.
I guess this just could be personal preference, but there you go. That said the artwork's still pretty good on its own merits and definitely isn’t bad enough to detract from the game as a whole. I’m just not a particular fan of it.


Overall Balance

I’ll go into a lot more depth and then do an analysis by faction, but here is my overall view on how Colony Wars differs from Star Realms.
Firstly, gold is more plentiful. Not vastly but by about 5-10% more depending on whether you count trashing abilities and gold options. Also, the star empire has seen a significant increase to its access to gold compared to the base game, whereas the Machine Cult’s has actually going down.

Damage is less available. This is a bit simplistic and doesn’t paint the full picture of where the changes have happened, but overall true. Primary abilities do almost exactly the same damage as before, however damage from allied bonuses and trashing have gone down significantly, by more than 20%. The biggest loser here is the Trade Federation, which now has no damage locked into allied bonuses or trashing (while machine cult has got more).

There’s has been a rebalance of the faction specific abilities. For the star empire a lot of the ‘Target opponent discard’ ability cards have had the ability move to the allied bonus (it was only 40% in the base game, in CW two thirds of the ability only triggers as an allied bonus). Authority bonus has gone down in both primary and allied bonuses for the Trade Federation, with almost 30% less authority available. Blobs however have more cards that can scrap cards from the trade row, and all 5 of those cards hold the ability in their primary ability. On paper it looks like more cards scrap for Machine Cult too, however 7 of these cards are situational: 4 only scrap in hand, and 3 scrap only from the discard pile. Most significantly for the Machine Cult this effects its 6 cheapest cards, so scrapping is made slightly less effective (or the cards less desirably comparatively).



For me the biggest change is the balance of the factions individually. I feel like the Trade Federation has been further shoehorned into the early money support role and lost a lot of power as the major faction in a deck compared to the base deck. Star Empire is more balanced and able to play a significant role in a deck. Blob have lost a bit of their raw damage but have been given much more early game options, and the ability to trash a lot of their gold cards later on to thin the deck for damage. Plus more prevalent row scrapping abilities to keep the outposts and high cost cards out of play. Machine Cult has had a bit of the early game power curtailed (less options with scrapping and no gold in the 1 cost ship) but gets more damage and some cards with interesting choices.

Most importantly all factions have cards that help their early game and can be useful to a deck building up. In the base game you kind of felt compelled into getting Trade Federation or Machine Cult early given the power of the Cutter for the Trade Federation and power of the machine cults scrapping cards. Blob and star realm just hurt your deck because so much power was contained in their allied bonuses. But you can be a lot more confident now that money will appear and you shouldn’t get locked out. In fact, I’d argue the importance of getting damaging cards not too late into the mid game is even more important in Colony Wars, because it feels like the distribution gold cards means you sometimes find a trade row with no damage mid to late game and you’re relunctant to purchase anything. This definitely happens more often in Colony Wars.

Nonetheless, all four factions have cards that are worth investing in early now that the early Trade Federation and Machine Cult cards have been powered down.

New Mechanic

I guess I should make a special shout out to the new ability in Colony Wars. Each faction has one new card that gives the below ability:
When you acquire this card, if you played a [insert faction] card this turn, you may put this card directly into your hand.



It’s a nice bonus if you focusing on that faction and very cool for triggering allied bonuses. But there’s only 4 new cards in the deck so it’s not a particularly big change to be honest. I guess that very issue of triggering allied bonuses could make them too strong. With that it should be noted that the Machine cult one (below) is the only one with multiple copies of (x3) and is also the cheapest. This actually has a rather pronounced impact in enabling players to trigger that factions allied bonuses





Anyway, lets delve a bit more into the figures for each faction and how Colony Wars deviates from the base game. 



Trade Federation

Primary Abilities


• Almost no trash abilities (except frontier ferries rather useful destroy base), compared to 16 dam, 1 card draw and destroy base in original.
• More gold 42 vs 35
• More damage, 21 vs 16, although the 16 damage from trashing in the original actually gives the better potential IMO and takes the total to 32
• Less authority 24 vs 35

With Allied Bonus

• There is no damage increase from allied bonuses, compared to +14 in the base game.
• A lot more card draw 7/2, however 6 of this comes from solar skiff and trade hauler.
• Less Authority: 12/16.

Overall

• Both have comparable level of destroying bases, ‘putting cards on deck/hand’ powers and bonuses from stacking bases.

With trade federation there is a fundamental shift as to its ability to function as the majority faction within a deck. This was actually my first impression of the expansion, and almost made me not like it (due to the TF faction being my favourite in the base game). Basically, if you mainly buy TF in Colony Wars your damage output will be significantly less. In fact, the total damage including all trash and secondary abilities is 25 less than the base game, or a 54% reduction. Authority is 15 less or 29% reduction. That is huge, and greatly effects it’s ability to function as the main faction within a deck overall.

Furthermore, I’d argue Colony wars TF offers much less options when it comes to high value end game cards. Basically, once you’re 3+ shuffles through you really don’t want to be getting just money cards unless you’re looking at a stupendously drawn out game. The base game arguably offers you 6 cards that will be useful to any deck in a single instance usage later on in the game (Trade Escort, Flagship, Command ship, Barter Worlds and Defence Centre). Whereas with Colony Wars I’d argue peace keeper is the only card really worth investing in regardless of your faction. Yes there are cards which would be beneficial if nothing else really works: Patrol Cutter, Colony Seed Ship and Loyal Colony, but 3 damage just isn’t generally worth their investment unless you’re heavily investing in blue already, or it’s still early days. For 5 cost, nearing the end of the game there are just much better alternatives to a colony seed ship in the other factions. Yes you can use the 2 new ‘ship goes on top/hand’ bases to spend that cash quicker, but it’s still slower, and the costs are high.



IMPORTANT NOTE: If you get these in the App their power is significantly reduced. You can’t use their abilities with allied card draw because the app automatically uses allied bonus Card Draw, which makes them less powerful. In the physical game their power is significantly increased because you can trigger the allied bonus at any time in the main phase (as per the rules), so you can trigger the ‘put on top of deck’ ability first, then the card draw.

In summary, weaker as primary faction in general and weaker as a secondary faction in later stages of the game. If you go for the cheap blues you have to diversify later to stand a chance (which makes your cheap cards worse due to their secondary abilities). However, offering 3G from x3 2 cost cards is a good opener whatever, and the trashing ability of the frontier ferries for an offensive bonus is amazing, given how good 3 gold and 4 authority is early. Just don’t expect to win without spending all that gold on a faction that can actually do damage.



Star Empire

To note, I have apportioned Fleet HQs damage between primary and allied bonus in a 3/3 split. This is pretty arbitrary, but mainly down to the level of card draw you get from other SE cards if you focused on that faction primarily.

Primary Abilities

• More gold access, twice as much actually (10/5). Both Colony Wars and Star Realms offer 8G through trashing.
• However damage, card draw and forced discard slightly lowered to compensate. Most notably, you have to spend at least 4 (on a gunship you’ll probably trash) for a primary, forced discard ability. In the base game there are 6 cards (between imperial fighter and frigate) that offer that ability without allied bonuses for 3G or less.
• While card draw is slighty down much card cycling is up (5/2). Only recycling station offered that ability in the base game, whereas in Colony wars both orbital platform and command centre cycle or give a bonus for discard

Allied bonus

• This was where was at for SE in the base game. With 27 more damage coming from allied bonuses it was really beneficially to keep getting those SE cards. Colony wars actually does reward SE a lot as well with slightly less damage, but a not to be scoffed 19, however this is where the faction’s card draw and forced discard come into play.

I feel like star empire is slightly more balanced now but not majorly different. There’s more opportunity for cheap gold early on. But there’s also benefits from continuing to buy Star empire cards as the cheap cards give you the ability to force discard with allied bonuses and the more expensive cards have card draw, forced discard and respectable damage in their primary abilities.

The bases also offer more interesting choices, with Supply Depot (6 cost outpost) giving damage or gold bonuses for discarding cards and Command Centre (x2 4 cost outpost) giving damage for playing SE ships.
Furthermore, I feel like Star Empire ships are still a good choice as a minor faction in a deck, due to a lot of their 3+ cost ships holding most of their power in their primary abilities.

So if you can get early gold with the 1 cost Star Barges then you can focus on getting as many further SE cards as possible afterwards, it’s all reward really.

Also, Emperor’s Dreadnaught is just immense.





Machine Cult

Primary


• Less access to gold in real terms. To explain, the total gold is similar for both editions, however Star Realms had 33% more cards with Gold abilities, with an average cost of 2.5 compared to 3.33 in Colony Wars. So easier to get early.
• Furthermore, scrapping has gone up, but on the cheapest 6 cards the ability is either in hand or in discard.
• Much more damage. In fact 50% more from primary abilities. Plus the damage is accessible at 1, 2 and 3 cost cards.
• No card draw. At all. Brainworld laughs in the face of this situation.



Allied Bonus

• Not a vast difference here, although you will need to spend more to get damage from your allied bonuses. Again I think that’s a bit of curtailing the power of the cheap Machine Cult cards from the base deck.
• No scrapping ability in the allied bonus now.

So, there’s been quite a big shift in the emphasis of Machine Cult cards. They’re still your go to for scrapping, but it’s hard to come by earlier and if you want to get a card with income that offers damage in an allied bonus for when you’ve thinned your deck you need to spend 4 on a Mining Mech. So you can’t just buy cheap income cards, scrap and then still do quick a bit of damage.

But there is more damage to be got and this has the dual effect of making them more appealing to add to your deck later on, and also gives you more options if you’re focusing on machine cult early on and want damage. I definitely prefer Machine Cult now, it’s a more dynamic faction which fits into a lot more strategies than in the base game.
No Brain World though, and the Wrecker/Incinerator just aren’t as good. Sad times.





Blob

Primary Abilities

• More gold, 33% more. Although Star Realms has a ton of Gold in trashing cards (Ram/Blob Wheel), which takes it above Colony Wars if you add this in
• Less damage (8%), but 10% MORE if you add in trashing abilities. Blob in fact have 6 cards that can be trashed for 3 damage each, all gold producing cards too.
• Much more ability to manipulate the trade row, 5 vs 2 cards, with one of the new cards being able to scrap 2 cards



Allied Bonus

• Not much, although slightly less card draw when you take into account Blob World. Plus Blob Fighter gave access for only 1 cost, which was great if you were going heavily blob and 1 appeared in the trade row.

Blob haven’t changed vastly but they feel slightly better at doing their job. The job of smashing face.

The factions trashing abilities are better suited to this end now I feel, with the new early income cards giving the option of trashing for damage later. There’s also much more access to the ability to disrupt the trade row, which can be invaluable if you’re trying to keep high cost cards out of slower decks.

In all I just think the cards just make more sense in terms of the Blobs goal. Cards from the base game like ram were cool thematically but weren’t really part of the game plan. Here’s a card you want to keep as blob, but you have to trash it for gold. Now you have access to the right powers at the right points in a game. Even the allied bonuses on Leviathan and Moonwurm (if you can get them) lend towards getting cheap damage, wuick and fast.

My only negative is the artwork. Just not a fan of how they’ve themed Blob in Colony Wars. Sorry.




Verdict


So what does this all mean? Well, I do enjoy Colony Wars. I actually much prefer it as a separate game to Star Realms (rather than added to make a giant deck), so you can feel the change to the balance more acutely.

Is it better? I wouldn’t say so to be honest. There’s definitely more balance for the Blob, Star Empire and Machine Factions but the Trade Federation now doesn’t function like the others, or how it did in the Base game.

I do like the new ability of being able to purchase certain cards if you have a card of its faction in play, helps to create allied bonuses and adds a new element.

I also feel like the 8 cost cards aren’t as awesome. Blob’s is just a slightly bigger version of it’s 7 cost ship, the same for the Trade Federation base. The Machine Cult’s Incinerator only really works if your scrapping heavily, but then requires this to continue to be worth it, so timing its purchase is really hard. Emperors Dreadnaught for the Star Empire is cool though.

If you owned Star Realms:

• If you like Star Realms I’d buy Colony Wars – it offers enough of a different experience to star realms to fill a different itch.
• Don’t expect the factions to all function the same, especially Trade Federation.
• It’s definitely less forgiving if you get your ramping up wrong so you have be more careful in purchasing cards for resources and how you select your factions.
• For some reason I don’t get the same excitement for any of the cards as I do when I see Brain World or Command Ship.

If you don’t own Star Realms and read this review anyway:

• It’s a great game. I don’t see why you shouldn’t get this if you prefer the look of it Star Realms.
• It offers infinite replayability
• It offers interesting tactical decisions (arguably more than Star Realms).
• It still plays very quickly and has a very small footprint for how deep the game is.
• NOTE: if you do buy this or Star Realms get an app to track you’re Authority (life), straight away. There is just no reason to use the cards supplied to track it, they offer nothing. My wife and I have never played a full game using those cards.

Overall I give it an 8/10. However, this should be taken in the context of really liking Star Realms in general.
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v b
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Have you ever tried taking the Trade Federation from the original game and swapping it for the Trade Federation in Colony Wars? I'd be interesting if that "fixed" the negative change you address above...
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Honto nanoda,
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Help, I'm being held prisoner in an overtext typing facility! I don't have much time, they could find out at any m
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Nice write-up. Command Center doesn't cycle though, were you thinking of Supply Depot there?
 
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David Bellman
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Well you are right, it's just orbital platform that gives a cycling ability. I guess that bit may not have been to clear. I was mainly insinuating that the discarding of cards is used both cards, one to cycle, the other to do damage...
 
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Steve Wrenn
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What? You thought I'd have some interesting overtext?
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Awesome write up. I have only played the original a few times. I own Colony Wars and so play that a lot more, and wondered what the differences were.
 
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Chris Fell
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Skrell wrote:
Have you ever tried taking the Trade Federation from the original game and swapping it for the Trade Federation in Colony Wars? I'd be interesting if that "fixed" the negative change you address above...
I might try that idea v b. I have played both and I prefer SR over CW. I really could not put my finger on why. CW does play differently. CW seems like SR but from a parallel universe. Star Realms seems more clean, lean, and mean while Colony Wars seem more Kumbaya even tho I get my but kicked a lot in the app playing CW. IMHO

Cool review David. I will have to read it again when I'm awake. Thanks for posting.
 
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Sándor Kolok
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Vow, you (by that I always mean the OP) put a huge work into this thorough review, kudos to you for that! thumbsup

Here go some thoughts from an experienced/devoted SR player (mainly digital, physical as well).

First, I'd like to note that - due to the way the SR universe has been/is being created - IMO you really cannot analyze the (cards, factions) of the set in isolation or only compare them to the original set (vanilla). I mean I understand comparing the 2 standalone sets was one of the main scopes of this review (and it really did a nice job of that) but - especially when analyzing/evaluating single cards - one has to take a full picture of all material available.

A perfect example demonstrating that is the high-end Red cards. There are always those discussions going on about card valuations (UP/weak, fair, strong, OP/too strong, broken ) and if one has to single out one card in the SR universe for which there's the biggest consensus to be in the OP/broken end, that is the Ark (Red 7, from the Y1 promo set). The consensus is considerably smaller/weaker, but quite a lot of players also regard Brain World OP. Taking a look at the high end Reds in CW (Wrecker, Incinerator) from this angle is pretty illuminating, IMO they are by themselves as close to a public admission of their said peers being too strong by the designers as it gets.

(So to put it simply: IMO not Incinerator is weak but Brain World is too strong. I mean, if BW is out in the TR early it usually prompts the players to race for it (albeit if there's enough combat for sale at this point some would resort to that instead) while Incinerator won't likely have the same effect. And IMO that's a sign of a more balanced design, even the most expensive cards shouldn't be like ones you want to get no matter what.)

The designers actually set a 'double dual mandate' for themselves with the way they have been/are enlarging the SR universe: they've been treating physical and digital equally right from the outset (as opposed to digital being an adaptation of physical), and they also have always 'big deck' in mind, i.e. design every new expansion to complement all other material released up to that point for the players to be able to put any/all cards together.

So I keep wondering if the different feel and 'meta' of CW isn't partly a 'by-product' of that design approach? Only partly, though, because the steeper resource curve (more gold) doesn't follow from the foregoing, and also there's that new 'into hand' mechanic. But I may overthink the issue, fact of the matter is: SR is a simple game, there are basically trade, combat, heal, scrap and discard tossed around btw the auto, ally and trash departments so the designers can only do so much within the system to create new cards (where they even imposed some extra restrictions upon themselves by making some abilities faction-specific).

Otherwise I think you're spot on with a couple of things, especially with Blue having been nerfed quite a bit. IMO, in a sense Blue and Yellow have swapped places compared with vanilla as, while there Yellow was heavily reliant on ally bonuses - and was widely regarded 'weak' because of that (and also of being under-traded) - in CW it is Blue that needs those allied heals to be competitive. One card which you don’t seem to appreciate enough though is Factory World – it is of course slave to the trade row but more often than not it has game changing potential so you gotta respect it enormously, and IMO it’s worth getting even late.

An interesting and at first seemingly counterintuitive observation is that actually there's less combat available in CW (the wide consensus seems to be that it definitely plays faster than vanilla). The keys for resolving this ’contradiction’ may be the steeper resource curve, into hand mechanic and last but not least the relative shortage of healing, in any form: as you pointed out Blue lost a lot of (auto) heal, and there's an eye-popping reduction in the number and cumulative shield of cheap (3-4 cost) outposts (34 vs 19)!

Green objectively losing some punch also seem to defy my subjective observations , where the faction actually seems to be more brutal than ever, and not primarily because of Leviathan (which is still insanely strong though). I think their power in CW relies in the cheap (1-3) department: Swarmer (when allied) packs the highest combat/price ratio to date, Ravager emulates that with reg to auto combat, to go with its ability. The key player IMO is Cargo Pod, though. I also disagree with you a bit where you say ’ I just think the cards just make more sense in terms of the Blobs goal’, and you also contrast Ram to its CW peers. Well, IMO Ravager does indeed have a different role but it is also quite similar to Ram in that it fits into any deck, out of color (well, at least into my decks ). And ditto or even more for Cargo Pod.

Red: you seem to get into a bit of a self-contradiction there saying that the power of cheap Reds has been curtailed (w reg to those +2s) but also point out that Red has a lot more (auto) combat. IMO the latter is the key as you gotta give more weight to auto abilities, and the CW Reds are more combat-oriented as ever. In fact, Yellow is usually singled out as the most-improved faction (and even I, a lifelong Star Empire fanboy can attest to that ) but Red comes pretty darn close IMO, key cards are Convoy Bot, Battle Bot, Oracle, Mech Cruiser and the Beacon, which is a very important gear in the Red machinery as you also very rightfully pointed out.

As for the artwork, I can’t stand the Blobs in general but I detested them right from the beginning. As for the other factions, to me the CW artwork is on par with the base set.

All in all, thank you for taking your time to write such a carefully crafted, detailed review/analysis!
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David Bellman
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kolok wrote:

An interesting and at first seemingly counterintuitive observation is that actually there's less combat available in CW (the wide consensus seems to be that it definitely plays faster than vanilla). The keys for resolving this ’contradiction’ may be the steeper resource curve, into hand mechanic and last but not least the relative shortage of healing, in any form: as you pointed out Blue lost a lot of (auto) heal, and there's an eye-popping reduction in the number and cumulative shield of cheap (3-4 cost) outposts (34 vs 19)!
Thanks for the detailed response.

I guess when I was writing this I was trying to avoid detailing the overall picture because as you probably know if you delve deeply into strategy you start to pull away from factions and into playstyles (i.e. just because a card is blob doesn't mean it's attack only, like Cargo Pod).

I wanted to focus on factions because that's how most people view the game and how they can understand the change in balance.

However, if I was to be super descriptive I would focus on the model of Defence/Attack/Velocity. For those that don't know what I'm talking about it's a kind of paper/scissor/stone model that says: Defence (so bases/authority) beats Attack, which in turn beats Velocity (so deck speed and efficiency, through scrap, cycling and card draw), which then beats defence. There's a much better explanation of this by
Ben Gartner
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in the Star Realms forums which covers thishttps://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1451424/benjotrons-wheel-st...

Looking at the game this way we can in fact see why the game feels quicker. Forgetting the ability to trigger allied bonuses very slightly more easily with the new mechanic, it comes down to the relationship between these play styles.

Velocity is reduced. Scrapping is harder to do early because of the conditional nature of the new low cost Machine Cult Cards. Card draw/cycling is also reduced greatly: in the base game it was possible to 21 draw cards through a primary ability or trashing. In Colony Wars the total is 9! Plus there's no recycling station. To balance this...

Defence is reduced. You also pointed this out, but it's mainly a factor when compared to the rest of the game. Authority has gone down 30%. Total base defence has gone down only 10% (from 127 to 115), however if you look at outposts the total defence as well as the number of cards it has gone down 24% (from 78 to 59). Interestingly, there are actually more bases now, 27 vs 25. Getting rid of some of the high cost cards has also meant that the average base in Colony Wars costs you 4.1 instead of 4.8. Still, it's harder to prolong the game through authority gain and outposts.

Attack is only very slightly reduced. There's actually more primary damage out there now, the reduction has come in allied bonuses and trashing.

So what this means is that while velocity and defence have been slightly reduced, attack has stayed pretty static. If you take into account the new mechanic, where all the cards involved trigger allied bonus and have a form of damage on them, this can only speed up the game.
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Scott Heise
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kolok wrote:
An interesting and at first seemingly counterintuitive observation is that actually there's less combat available in CW (the wide consensus seems to be that it definitely plays faster than vanilla). The keys for resolving this ’contradiction’ may be the steeper resource curve, into hand mechanic and last but not least the relative shortage of healing, in any form: as you pointed out Blue lost a lot of (auto) heal, and there's an eye-popping reduction in the number and cumulative shield of cheap (3-4 cost) outposts (34 vs 19)!
I completely agree with this. CW plays 1-2 turns faster than Vanilla does, and I think this is exactly the reason why. The lower amount of total attack in the CW deck is more than offset by the lower amount of low/mid cost defense, both from bases and outposts but also Trade Fed lifegain.
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Tyinsar -
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Thank you very much for the excellent review thumbsup

My biggest question is this: Is this less "luck" based / random than the base game?

I got the app and think I can beat the medium AI a little over 50% of the time but I find that some games I'm unstoppable and others I just can't get a break: there are no cards I really want so I buy a moderately good card only to see it replaced by a card I really want then see the AI buy it - three rounds in a row! Other times I have a deck of decent cards (I know it needs thinning) but always get the wrong mix (all income when there's nothing good to buy or when I really need to knock out a base and then damage once the good cards come out - but not enough to get past the bases and do decent damage). The next game it's the opposite. It just feels WAY too random - fun but really more of a luck game. I think I can often predict the outcome by the third / fourth round.

I can see that there are strategies that could improve my win rate but it feels like it's a large leap in game play for only a slight chance to mitigate the luck factor (i.e. I can't use these better strategies if I the cards I want come up at the wrong time).
 
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Sándor Kolok
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Tyinsar wrote:
Thank you very much for the excellent review thumbsup

My biggest question is this: Is this less "luck" based / random than the base game?
With the presence of those into hand/play cards CW has another source of randomness on top of all those already present in vanilla.

Tyinsar wrote:
I got the app and think I can beat the medium AI a little over 50% of the time
In what format, pure CW? Well, I haven't played the AI for ages but when I did I felt offended if I did not win at least 80% of the games in a stretch vs the hard AI.

This is not for bragging but to show that the game is maybe less random than you seem to think. Also, that wasn't really playing pure CW - if that's what interests you - rather than some bigger deck format, including both vanilla and CW, and also several expansions.
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Tyinsar -
Canada
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Alberta
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My games were with the base game only. I didn’t track the wins but felt it was above 50%.

I just tried a few against the hard AI - won 2, lost 1, won 1. lost 2 - so 50/50 so far - It doesn’t seem that much smarter yet.

Thank you for the quick reply. I’m glad to hear that you see more strategy in the game. Perhaps I need to look into that more.
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Sándor Kolok
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Tyinsar wrote:
My games were with the base game only. I didn’t track the wins but felt it was above 50%.

I just tried a few against the hard AI - won 2, lost 1, won 1. lost 2 - so 50/50 so far - It doesn’t seem that much smarter yet.

Thank you for the quick reply. I’m glad to hear that you see more strategy in the game. Perhaps I need to look into that more.
Our convo made me re-check upon my claims so I played 10 games with the hard AI, vanilla only. I went 8-2 or 80%, phew. A small sample but luckily in-line with my memories. I intend to do the same with Colony Wars as well.

But I think the SR (hard) AI isn't regarded as a too formidable opposition among the experienced player pool, you gotta play PvP games, and play a lot if you really want to assess your skill level, and also if you want to improve your game.
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