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Dice Throne: Season One» Forums » General

Subject: Game Balance rss

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Duke Drizzt
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I've been really impressed how balanced this game is. Even when it feels like there's a clear "leader" towards the beginning of the match I haven't played one game yet where someone has won by 10 or more health points. It's usually around 5 or so and is literally anyone's game on the final turns. That's a testament to the devs and the time it took to playtest it all. Great work, guys.
I can't wait for the next Kickstarter. I'll be backing again.
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Manny Trembley
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Thanks, Duke. That's been our experience as well. I have seen maybe a handful of "blowouts" over the 1500 games I've played. And when they happen, you just re-rack after the 20 minutes played. Getting blown out is almost a non-issue due to the speed of games (even more so once you get comfortable with the game).
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Lane Russell
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I'll go ahead and post my thoughts on PnP balance here, since this seems to be a great thread to do so.

First off, I completely agree with Duke that this game's 6 main characters are extremely well balanced and I love it! Seriously amazing work. The fact that my way-less-competitive-than-me wife is constantly itching to play this game and truly doesn't care which character she plays with says it all.

However, since Christmas when you guys released the Cursed Pirate, we've been playing as her character quite a few times and she does seem to be a tiny bit OP. At least in our playthroughs, she hasn't lost a single time. It didn't matter if she was on a team, a 1v1, or even when a brand new player was using her.

I LOOOOVE the idea of her character, and she is seriously one of my favorites in the entire game, but I have to admit she feels OP.

After thinking about it a lot, I think it comes down to two main things:
First - and I think the most significant - is her unbelievably good defensive roll. She rolls 5 dice, and anything from 1-5 is x_damage. Then on top of that, she prevents 3x damage for every 6, which is just crazy good. Compare that to the "glass cannon" Pyromancer, where you only deal damage back on 1-3 with no chance whatsoever of preventing (which makes sense for a glass cannon.) That level of preventative defense is on the level of (if not better than) some of the best defenders, AND you have more return damage than any other player in the game. So basically, no one ever wanted to attack the P/CP in a team game because she wrecked so hard in return that every other possible character's defense roll paled in comparison. And in a 1v1 (or free for all) attacking the P/CP was just a way to speed up your own death and probably not deal a ton of damage.
Second - and slightly less significant - is that she never really deals a small amount of damage. Aside from the [quite uncommon] 4 dmg from Cutlass, here's what she hits: 6, 8 | 7 & steal | 6 & powder keg | 9 & powder keg | 7 undefendable | 7 undefendable. I'll admit that maybe this just seems like a lot because she's also defending so strongly. So maybe if one was nerfed, the other wouldn't feel so strong. But because she always seems to be hitting so well (especially with the two instances of undefendable) it just seems like there isn't really a way to stop her.

And - final note I promise - all this is before she even becomes cursed (if it ever happens)... at which point she starts handing out cursed doubloons like free candy. In a 1v1, getting her cursed is the best way to beat her. However, in a team battle, even being cursed doesn't help a ton because she can easily stack up to 2-3 per team member, which then completely balances out her own -5 per turn. Oh, and then when she's cursed, she hits even harder.

Alright, those are all my thoughts. I completely understand that every playthrough is super different, though, so I know there's a good possibility that others have had different experiences when playing with her. I just thought I'd thrown in my thoughts, and I hope they're helpful. Thanks again for making such an awesome game. I am sufficiently addicted.
 
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Manny Trembley
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Lane! Great feedback. Thank you for being so thorough. It is super helpful.

So...

1- We are still in playtesting with her. She is the least balanced of the 4 Fan Heroes for sure. But she's also received the least amount of work so far. We expect that she will iterate a few more times before retail release.

2- Her defense only deals dmg on 1-3. Unless I opps'd and uploaded a file that was misstyped. Which is on par with the Pyro but she also can prevent which is good.

3- One of the interesting design challenges is that her main board needs to be strong enough to mitigate the fact that you don't upgrade her board. And then when it flips, she goes to lvl 3's across the board basically. But because she is now taking 5 dmg a turn, we are trying to level that out. We want the game over as fast as possible once her board flips. The feeling we want is that when that board flips, players need to get a little worried. An "Oh, snap!" moment. Which she does elicit.

Her board dmg output is about on par with the Moon Elf for dmg. 5-7's as you state. So can't have her hit much softer on the normal main board.

You bring up a TON of great feedback and as we continue to fine-tune her, we feel confident we'll get her to that sweet spot. We want her to feel like a swashbuckling pirate up front and then a thing of terror as she brings it all down around her in cursed state.

Thanks a ton, Lane!

Don't hesitate to share more player feedback. Is there a hero that has her number? Does she auto-win in certain match-ups?

In our playtesting, she has a losing record. So the more feedback we get, the better.
 
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Duke Drizzt
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I've yet to play with any of the pnp characters and want to really bad. I've looked em all over and they look amazing and really fun to play. I just need to get more ink and do it.
Do u guys recommend a thicker stock of paper or u just using the regular stuff? How are u attaching the symbols to dice? What's the easiest way?
 
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Duke Drizzt
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lane182 wrote:
The fact that my way-less-competitive-than-me wife is constantly itching to play this game and truly doesn't care which character she plays with says it all.


This is the exact same deal with my wife. In fact, whenever anyone comes over she talks em all into playing and is introducing it to her friends. All of them so far have really gotten into it and liked it and they're not as big into games as I am. Helps that they can beat me too. Hah!
 
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Manny Trembley
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We build our PnP's using a company called Print and Play. But we spend a lot. I know there have been threads on our reddit about print and play. If you ask around I know people have shared some of their strategies. Sadly, a nice print and play can be very expensive.
 
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Duke Drizzt
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I used regular paper when u allowed us to do the main set before we got the game and I ran through a bunch of paper and ink. Didn't like it cuz the amount of ink used on such thin paper caused all of them to curl and just a bunch of other issues. I wonder if I could do it from a 3d printer? I don't know much about those things but have a buddy that's building them and made me a dice tower from it. I just don't know if they can do images
 
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Lane Russell
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mannyt wrote:

2- Her defense only deals dmg on 1-3. Unless I opps'd and uploaded a file that was misstyped. Which is on par with the Pyro but she also can prevent which is good.


Manny, totally my bad. On her defensive roll 4-5 are prevent x1, which is how we played her. But then when I looked at her sheet to write up my impassioned thoughts, I jumped the gun and started writing on incorrect info. Haha, sorry about that.

That being said, my personal thoughts are that her defensive still seems super powerful because you roll 5 right off the bat, whether it ends up preventing or dealing damage, they're both pretty strong outcomes compared to the other characters. Maybe one less die while you're normal Pirate? Or treasure chests only prevent when cursed? I don't know. These are all opinions, so feel free to ignore me.

mannyt wrote:

We want her to feel like a swashbuckling pirate up front and then a thing of terror as she brings it all down around her in cursed state.


This is such a rad idea, and knowing this gave me a thought. It seems like some of the strategy to her character is deciding whether you want the higher risk/higher reward of going cursed, or whether you want to keep her normal and swashbuckling for the time being. And that choice is so different from other characters in the game that I think it makes her a really fun character to play. However, in the ~7ish playthroughs we had with her, it didn't really seem like there was a ton of motivation for the one playing with her to ever make her cursed. Her normal side felt so strong that there was never a dilemma to go cursed or not, and they just kept her normal as long possible. Like you said, she hits like the Moon Elf, and the Moon Elf can easily win a game on her own. So maybe as your balancing her that's something you guys can discuss. If she was ever so slightly weaker on her normal side, then whoever is playing her has a more strategic decision: do they stay Pirate where they're doing just "ok", or do they go cursed where she is a thing of terror and brings it all down around her, but is going to get substantially hurt every turn in the process?

Again, these are all just personal opinions so you can pretty much ignore them You guys clearly know how to balance your characters, because you've already made an amazing game that does that. I just wanted to share my thoughts on what is already my favorite character.
 
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Lane Russell
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Duke, you don't want to 3D print dice that you roll. It doesn't have even weight distribution at all, so your rolls would be super off. The only dice you could 3D print would be damage-tracking ones like in D&D because you're not rolling them.
 
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Manny Trembley
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Great feedback.

We have been playing more games with her and we're trying a few different things.

And the one less die on defense is one of the first tweaks we made.

We have a handful of other small tweaks we're working on as well.

We like her and I personally flip her board at the earliest convenience. If I can hit shiver me Timbers turn one, I do it.

I just love the cursed side. I lose most of my games with her that way but I'm cool with that.
 
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Lane Russell
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Hahaha. Next time I play her, that's what I'm going to do. Even if I lose, it sounds like a great time.
 
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Duke Drizzt
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lane182 wrote:
Duke, you don't want to 3D print dice that you roll. It doesn't have even weight distribution at all, so your rolls would be super off. The only dice you could 3D print would be damage-tracking ones like in D&D because you're not rolling them.


Yeah, I thought about that after I posted. I dont think they'd come out that great for 6 sided. When I got back into town from work I went over to my buddy's house to pick up my dice tower he made with his 3d printer he's designing (him and his brother are trying to break new ground in the 3d printing field this year). But he also printed off a cool 20 sided dice holder. I think it's in the pic i posted on my "idiot" thread. Dice like that (D10 on up) would work pretty well I think.

Have you tested out the gunslinger yet? My wife and I will try her and the pirate tonight.
 
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Lane Russell
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Yeah we have! The gunslinger is fun and her character name describes her playstyle well. She is a consistent hitter who you can count on to just keep doing damage. She doesn't defend super well except for the random times where she evades the attack altogether with her plentiful evasive tokens. She's also got some really solid upgrade cards.

We've never done a 1v1 Gunslinger vs. Pirate, but that sounds like an awesome matchup...and now I want to go home and play that matchup myself.
 
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Duke Drizzt
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lane182 wrote:

That being said, my personal thoughts are that her defensive still seems super powerful because you roll 5 right off the bat, whether it ends up preventing or dealing damage, they're both pretty strong outcomes compared to the other characters. Maybe one less die while you're normal Pirate? Or treasure chests only prevent when cursed?


That is the case on the cursed side. Her normal side they give CP.

However, finally playing her last night I kinda felt the same way as you with regards to not a ton of motivation flipping her over. Now lemme say right off the bat, I destroyed my wife with her. Granted, the dice were not in her favor. I gave her 3 powder kegs and they all blew up on her. LOL. Plus she was 2x withered and parlayed once so you can see where it could be a lopsided victory 1v1. Having said all that, I do feel like her defense is pretty good on the normal side. I don't feel like she should be preventing damage at all on that side. Especially since she has no upgrades and some of the original characters can't prevent on normal defense. Eliminating a die could be a worthwhile compromise and if the devs are adamant she heals on that side just make it a 1x and not a 3x. That seems way overboard, imo.
She does good damage but I might even drop the dmg from the keg to 3. 4 is a lot, especially in a 1v1. I know they'll get her right though. I'm confident in that.

MannyT wrote:
If I can hit shiver me Timbers turn one, I do it.


What do you mean by this? Is it just so you unload your dabloons? If it is I don't understand cuz you still have to remove one at the end of the turn. So when there's no more to take off that's when you flip the board to cursed.
 
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Manny Trembley
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Yes, Duke. IF I can hit Shiver Me Timbers turn one, I push all 3 doubloons off to my opponent and then flip my board and enter cursed state and play the whole game that way.

It's by no means the optimal strategy.

But I love it.

We take game balance very seriously (within the warm embrace of dice).

We know games can be swingy with dice and we enjoy that. But our objective in game design is that every matchup, each hero has a fighting chance.

When I and my family play cursed pirate, she rarely wins. My boys LOVE playing with her and they don't optimize all angles. But when Nate and I play, we do everything we can to "next level" the other.

So we start game design from the mindset of high-end users know that we want my wife and kids (5 and 7) to play and enjoy those same heroes.

 
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Duke Drizzt
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Well then I guess I've interpreted her wrong concerning dabloons. Those are persistent and "cannot be moved or removed from any player except as a result of abilities on the Pirate's hero board". The only ability that let you move dabloons (outside of inflicting them) is the Shiver Me Timbers(and that's just from your board to an opponents).
And the only ability that let's you remove one is the Passive ability at the end of the turn.

My interpretation of that means that as long as there are dabloons in play, whether on yourself or enemies, you still have to remove one until there are no more on the boards at which point then you go cursed. Without that passive ability on the normal pirate there's no way to remove them which is why i figured if you want to go cursed then you should roll for abilities that dont gain you any.
 
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Manny Trembley
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Right. But when you read her board it says she starts with 3 cursed doubloons. Then it states she removes one and if she cannot flip her board.

Shiver me Timbers allows be to move any number to my opponent. I do that and then have none to move or remove. Thus flipping my board.

It's a fun way to play but by no means a good plan.
 
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Duke Drizzt
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I understand that part but I think you need to read my interpretation again. You still have dabloons to remove they're just not your board. If I'm reading that wrong then there's misinformation on the pirate status effect sheet. The ONLY way to remove dabloons (whether your own or not) is from the passive ability before she goes cursed at which point they never can be removed again.

I.E. you start off with the 3 dabloons and never roll an ability that gains you one OR even roll Shiver Me Timbers where you can transfer them. You still are at a minimum of 3 turns before flipping and going cursed.
 
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Manny Trembley
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I can see how that could be clarified. That is not as intended. She starts with 3. And if she ever has a turn where SHE cannot remove one from her board, then her board flips. At this stage in development that is as intended.

Good feedback.
 
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Duke Drizzt
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Interesting. Mmk, so I guess you guys intend to make it that dabloons are never removable (from other players) then even when she's normal. That's a big change from how we've been playing her. We'll see how that changes our playing. Thanks
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