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Subject: Path of the Serpent -- best card? rss

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PK Levine
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Admittedly, we've only played one game, but no one got more mileage out of a card than the player who picked up Path of the Serpent ("You may charge other players a coin in order to cross each different shipping route with their figures"). Several islands can only be entered via shipping routes, which meant that he consistently had twice as many coins as anyone else. Anyone else think that this one feels a bit OP?
 
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Marc S
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There were very few shipping routes used during my first game. I would guess 8 times total. It was a 4 player game and the provinces that are only available via shipping routes were often free of battle. The card that got a lot of mileage for us was:

Path of the Light (Spring, Archway set) - Shinto Upgrade - At the end of a Recruit Mandate, you may place an extra Shinto on a Shrine.

That player had his way with the temples. I'm not ready to call it imbalanced, but it did have a huge impact on the game.
 
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Casey Smith
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pkitty wrote:
Admittedly, we've only played one game, but no one got more mileage out of a card than the player who picked up Path of the Serpent ("You may charge other players a coin in order to cross each different shipping route with their figures"). Several islands can only be entered via shipping routes, which meant that he consistently had twice as many coins as anyone else. Anyone else think that this one feels a bit OP?


There is only 3 islands, and one of those starts off belonging to Dragonfly Clan who can fly anywhere and don't have to pay to move.

No idea on how you played it, but my interpretation of the rules, you only have to pay once per mandate per shipping route, so if you have 4 guys wanting to storm an island (Kansai to Shikoku) that's only one coin.
 
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PK Levine
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SwissQueso wrote:
No idea on how you played it, but my interpretation of the rules, you only have to pay once per mandate per shipping route, so if you have 4 guys wanting to storm an island (Kansai to Shikoku) that's only one coin.

Right, that's how we played it. But I'd say he acquired at least 3-4 coins each season from us, which is actually double that in terms of swing because it was down for us, up for him.
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Michael R

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pkitty wrote:
SwissQueso wrote:
No idea on how you played it, but my interpretation of the rules, you only have to pay once per mandate per shipping route, so if you have 4 guys wanting to storm an island (Kansai to Shikoku) that's only one coin.

Right, that's how we played it. But I'd say he acquired at least 3-4 coins each season from us, which is actually double that in terms of swing because it was down for us, up for him.


Even if each guy had to pay 1 coin, it's just a couple of coins. In my opinion, the strongest card in the game is Path of the Builder (from the Mountains set), which is the safest way to get all your strongholds out quickly. My opinion is obviously biased by watching/playing games with stupid AI players. I would be curious to hear how often human players get all their strongholds onto the board by the end of Season 2 (with or without Path of the Builder).
 
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Richard Dickson
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It's a useful card, but in our game it didn't seem to have too big an effect.
 
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Luka Kovač Plavi
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Why are people constantly talking about balance, OP and 'best' after they have played one or two games?
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Mr. Octavius
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Avtomatik wrote:
Why are people constantly talking about balance, OP and 'best' after they have played one or two games?


Strikes me as a game where everything feels OP. Of course, if everything is OP then nothing is OP, but anything fully exploited in a game is going to feel really powerful.
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Michael R

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Avtomatik wrote:
Why are people constantly talking about balance, OP and 'best' after they have played one or two games?


Well, they are probably curious about others' impression precisely because they only played one or two games...

Maebon wrote:
Strikes me as a game where everything feels OP. Of course, if everything is OP then nothing is OP, but anything fully exploited in a game is going to feel really powerful.


+1

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Henry Clark
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Path of the Serpent does look strong to me, but I guess it’s only as strong as your opponents make it. Dragon Fly doesn’t care, and you choose whether to move your people over ship routes. So I guess if your group just carries on merrily using ship routes without a care in the world it will be strong, but if you limit interaction with them and find other ways to challenge those provinces that are isolated (building a Stronghold and recruiting there) or just focus on other things it might not earn much coin back...
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James Hamilton
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As a follow up question: if you move figures to an island with Dragonfly clan (ie can go anywhere), does path of the Serpent trigger?
 
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Casey Smith
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jimmehhh wrote:
As a follow up question: if you move figures to an island with Dragonfly clan (ie can go anywhere), does path of the Serpent trigger?

Nope, because they are flying.
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P H

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FearLord wrote:
Path of the Serpent does look strong to me, but I guess it’s only as strong as your opponents make it. Dragon Fly doesn’t care, and you choose whether to move your people over ship routes. So I guess if your group just carries on merrily using ship routes without a care in the world it will be strong, but if you limit interaction with them and find other ways to challenge those provinces that are isolated (building a Stronghold and recruiting there) or just focus on other things it might not earn much coin back...


Exactly this. The player with Path of the Serpent only benefits as much as their opponents allow them to. Definitely not OP.
 
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Rob Barger
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Also keep in mind, he doesn't have to charge, he MAY charge. So potentially he would give his Ally a free pass, or the player in last place to hopefully go after the player in first place, or only charge if you enter a province he's going for, or ask for Ronin instead, or future consideration in a battle/Kami race/choosing a mandate/choosing a future ally, etc...

Or the opponents can demand to not be charged or else they WILL go after him.

There will/are certainly OP cards, but the game is designed so that the players SHOULD balance these out themselves.

I played as Bonsai, put out my 4th Stronghold, and the other players "allowed" me to buy both Stronghold VP cards for 24 VP! (dunno name, or if they are core season cards, but we used Archway set) Was that OP, absolutely, but I was 30 points behind at the time I bought both. Lost by 1 point to Turtle Clan! 62 to 61.

"Power is relative to those who have it, to those who want it, to those who weld it, and to those who fear it." -RobboNJ ninja
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Cthulhu Dreams
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tricil wrote:
pkitty wrote:
SwissQueso wrote:
No idea on how you played it, but my interpretation of the rules, you only have to pay once per mandate per shipping route, so if you have 4 guys wanting to storm an island (Kansai to Shikoku) that's only one coin.

Right, that's how we played it. But I'd say he acquired at least 3-4 coins each season from us, which is actually double that in terms of swing because it was down for us, up for him.


Even if each guy had to pay 1 coin, it's just a couple of coins. In my opinion, the strongest card in the game is Path of the Builder (from the Mountains set), which is the safest way to get all your strongholds out quickly. My opinion is obviously biased by watching/playing games with stupid AI players. I would be curious to hear how often human players get all their strongholds onto the board by the end of Season 2 (with or without Path of the Builder).


You've probably got the best evidence of what's overpowered. Track what the winner plays in every AI game, then count for each card what the +/- is. E.g. if Path of the Builder is played by the winner that's +1 and if it's played by anyone else that's -1, or maybe -0.25 if you're testing with 5 players). It'll work better once you've put learning in.

Plus minus is pretty crude but seems super usable here.


 
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Michael R

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CthulhuDreams wrote:

You've probably got the best evidence of what's overpowered. Track what the winner plays in every AI game, then count for each card what the +/- is. E.g. if Path of the Builder is played by the winner that's +1 and if it's played by anyone else that's -1 9or maybe -0.25). It'll work better once you've put learning in.


Yeah, this has been on my agenda for a while, but it's really tricky to get a big enough sample size, because many cards/abilities are very situational. That is, random playouts take less than a second but will only tell you how strong a card is in a vacuum. Learning/playing out long-term strategies would tell you more about the true power of a card, but requires a lot of computation. I could run 1000s of games per day on a compute cluster, but it'd probably still require 10 times more to see whether a specific season card has a significant impact (due to differences in setup, etc.) [and then to start learning a counter strategy]. Not saying it cannot be done, but there are other things that should be done first (e.g. making the code more efficient).
 
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Steven Becker
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Robbonj wrote:

I played as Bonsai, put out my 4th Stronghold, and the other players "allowed" me to buy both Stronghold VP cards for 24 VP! (dunno name, or if they are core season cards, but we used Archway set)


Of course anyone can house rule as they please, but going with the official rules, are players actually allowed to make trades/deals with their VPs (or I could also think about Season cards)? The rulebook only says "Players are free to give Coins and Ronin tokens from their Reserve to other players in order to try to convince them to do something" which makes me believe players are not supposed to make deals with VPs or Season cards...

And about "Path of the Serpent": Am I correct that if someone doesn't have any coins, the player with "Path of the Serpent" could deny that other player to use any shipping route?
 
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George
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Replect wrote:
Robbonj wrote:

I played as Bonsai, put out my 4th Stronghold, and the other players "allowed" me to buy both Stronghold VP cards for 24 VP! (dunno name, or if they are core season cards, but we used Archway set)


Of course anyone can house rule as they please, but going with the official rules, are players actually allowed to make trades/deals with their VPs (or I could also think about Season cards)? The rulebook only says "Players are free to give Coins and Ronin tokens from their Reserve to other players in order to try to convince them to do something" which makes me believe players are not supposed to make deals with VPs or Season cards...


No, you can't trade VPs. Pretty sure he's just saying the other players didn't snatch up those cards to prevent him from scoring big VPs on them.

Replect wrote:
And about "Path of the Serpent": Am I correct that if someone doesn't have any coins, the player with "Path of the Serpent" could deny that other player to use any shipping route?


Yep! I suppose the player with no coins could beg the other players at the table for coins (try to negotiate a deal)....
 
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Dave Maynor
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There is no over powered. There is no under powered. This is a diplomacy game. Path of the Serpent is a great bargaining chip. I had it one game and told the opponent I would charge him if he went one way, but I wouldn't charge him if he went another. Yeah, it was 1 coin, but it swayed his decision a bit.

Love this game.....
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Monsieur Ped
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quick question about this card this is what happened on my last game me (player A) was alone versus player B and C in an alliance:
-player A with path of the serpent
-player B wants to use a shiping route and before that gives all his money to his ally so can't pay the serpent tax
-player C does the same with player B
-they give each other the money they had at the begining thus canceling the serpent's way

legit or not?
 
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Michael R

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Monsieur wrote:
quick question about this card this is what happened on my last game me (player A) was alone versus player B and C in an alliance:
-player A with path of the serpent
-player B wants to use a shiping route and before that gives all his money to his ally so can't pay the serpent tax
-player C does the same with player B
-they give each other the money they had at the begining thus canceling the serpent's way

legit or not?


Trading money does not cancel Path of the Serpent. They cannot use a shipping route unless they pay A or A lets them pass for free.
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Mr. Octavius
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tricil wrote:
Monsieur wrote:
quick question about this card this is what happened on my last game me (player A) was alone versus player B and C in an alliance:
-player A with path of the serpent
-player B wants to use a shiping route and before that gives all his money to his ally so can't pay the serpent tax
-player C does the same with player B
-they give each other the money they had at the begining thus canceling the serpent's way

legit or not?


Trading money does not cancel Path of the Serpent. They cannot use a shipping route unless they pay A or A lets them pass for free.


Correct. If they can't pay they can't pass.
 
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