Recommend
1 
 Thumb up
 Hide
39 Posts
1 , 2  Next »   | 

Scythe» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Saxony and unfair secret objectives rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Guilherme Lima
United States
Alaska
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmb
Last weekend in a five player game I had Saxony and the Mechanical mat. Already this is not a great combination. Furthermore, my secret objectives were:

Harvest Advantage: Control at least three farm territories; (awful for Saxony)
Shore up the Shore: Control at least 5 territories surrounding the same lake (very complicated in a 5 player game).


I didn't even try. A significant part of my faction's special ability was just scrapped due to sheer bad luck. Meanwhile, the Rusviets, Nordics, and Crimeans are in complete control of how they use and what they gain from their special abilities...

Now imagine I had Saxony and these two secret objectives:

Northern Advantage: Control at least 3 tundra territories
Underworld Advantage: Control at least 3 tunnels.

You can get them both in one move action since 2 tunnels are tundra (and on top of that there's underpass and disarm...).

Secret objectives already annoy me a little bit. I feel that they are a very cheap game mechanic, in the sense that you can pretty much insert them into any game just to add a bit of chance and variation into it. But besides that, does anyone else feel like luck can have too much of an influence with this specific faction? Stats people out there: what's the points' variance for Saxony compared to other factions in your groups?




2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Benjamin Tompkins
msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Those objectives might not have been what you wanted, but they are not awful. That is one of the great things about Scythe, working with what you've got. I don't have the game board in front of me, but even if your starting peninsula doesn't have farmland that is not a hard objective.

Although your complaint is objective based, I have a mat/faction combo example from just the other night of working with what you are dealt. I won the other night with the Albion player and Engineering mat. I built four mechs even though the Engineering mat rewarded no money for them (rushed a factory card that let me build them) and I built no structures because I had no wood available, even though the Engineering mat rewards 3 coins for each structure. Rushing a sixth star surprised the other players and landed me a victory.

Scythe is great, just change your strategy depending on what you get.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Richard Young
Canada
Victoria
BC
flag msg tools
Old Ways Are Best!
badge
Check Six!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Or, get the Scythe: The Wind Gambit and select the tile that let you trade objective cards using your airship - rinse and repeat until you get some that work for you better...
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Fair
United States
Damascus
MD
flag msg tools
designer
Or maybe PowerGrid?
badge
Yeah, that's me. Handsome devil, I know.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I'll admit that i would be way less than happy with those objectives too. Part of what makes the objectives OK with me, even though i usually don't love secret mission cards either, is the fact that if one becomes really hard to do, you can focus on the other. Saxony gains the ability to do both, but loses the flexibility to switch focus, realistically.

Maybe you could consider house-ruling that Saxony gets 4 (or 3?) objectives, and when they complete one, they discard two (one?) of the remaining, leaving them one more to accomplish. I dunno, this is very, very, off-the-cuff.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brendan Slade
msg tools
mbmb
Generally in Scythe it doesn't matter if you can't fulfill objectives as there are lots of other ways to get stars but it is rather annoying with Saxony as it is your faction special ability.

In a way I have found all of the factions special abilities hard to utilise at times. Getting all of the encounters in a 5 player game for example is pretty tough.

Being able to repeat your actions is often not particularly useful as you need to vary your actions naturally or you would run out of resources pretty fast.

Moving workers across rivers isn't that exciting

Discarding combat cards is no good if you don't have any combat cards.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Guilherme Lima
United States
Alaska
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmb
BeyondMonopoly wrote:
Saxony gains the ability to do both, but loses the flexibility to switch focus, realistically.

Exactly!

BeyondMonopoly wrote:
Maybe you could consider house-ruling that Saxony gets 4 (or 3?) objectives, and when they complete one, they discard two (one?) of the remaining, leaving them one more to accomplish. I dunno, this is very, very, off-the-cuff.


I was thinking of just removing the secret objectives from the game, but then since Saxony's special thing is to be able to do two there's the risk that they'd become underpowered... ARGH...!!!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Frank Farside
United States
New Jersey
flag msg tools
GFLima wrote:
BeyondMonopoly wrote:
Saxony gains the ability to do both, but loses the flexibility to switch focus, realistically.

Exactly!

BeyondMonopoly wrote:
Maybe you could consider house-ruling that Saxony gets 4 (or 3?) objectives, and when they complete one, they discard two (one?) of the remaining, leaving them one more to accomplish. I dunno, this is very, very, off-the-cuff.


I was thinking of just removing the secret objectives from the game, but then since Saxony's special thing is to be able to do two there's the risk that they'd become underpowered... ARGH...!!!


Keep in mind that this is only half of their faction ability. Being able to get more than two combat stars is also very useful, especially in higher player count games where reaching your objectives may be more difficult. I think their power is slightly lower in power overall than the others but it makes up for it in flexibility.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Laudermilk
United States
Orange County
California
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
So the objectives didn't work well with the faction or action mat. So what. Ignore them and get on with the main strategy.

I rarely pay much attention to the objectives to be honest. If they happen to work out that I'll achieve one in the process of pursuing my main goals, then great, If not then I just set those cards aside & ignore them.
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andrew Lund

Minnesota
msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
claudermilk wrote:
So the objectives didn't work well with the faction or action mat. So what. Ignore them and get on with the main strategy.

I rarely pay much attention to the objectives to be honest. If they happen to work out that I'll achieve one in the process of pursuing my main goals, then great, If not then I just set those cards aside & ignore them.


^^^^ This so much, this is exactly what I tell new players, if you happen to be able to do the objectives awesome! if not, don't go out of your way to do them, it will cost you the game.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Diane Mountford
United States
Minneapolis
Minnesota
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Deeken wrote:
That is one of the great things about Scythe, working with what you've got.


I would argue that this is THE thing about Scythe. There are enough avenues to victory that you have to try to maximize your particular situation in every individual game. That may mean you have to abandon your faction's main power (usually something you want to pursue) and do something different this game. Or you ignore your objectives and do something different.

If Scythe gives you lemons ...
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Guilherme Lima
United States
Alaska
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmb
DMountford wrote:
Deeken wrote:
That is one of the great things about Scythe, working with what you've got.


There are enough avenues to victory that you have to try to maximize your particular situation in every individual game.


Can you prove that there are enough avenues to victory? Even though play testing was very thorough, given that there is no mention about avoiding Rusviet+Industrial in the official rule book and this was added post hoc I think it is fair to question the balance of the game, i.e. some factions have more avenues to victory than others...

The issue is not about being flexible, but in questioning the game's fairness to each faction, since it is already well established that faction+mat combinations are not balanced.

As much as I love this game I think we need to accept the possibility that it might be slightly broken. If Scythe gives one faction lemons I'll riot until they give each faction the steak they deserve in the second edition.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eric Hogue
United States
O'fallon
IL
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
GFLima wrote:
Can you prove that there are enough avenues to victory? Even though play testing was very thorough, given that there is no mention about avoiding Rusviet+Industrial in the official rule book and this was added post hoc I think it is fair to question the balance of the game, i.e. some factions have more avenues to victory than others...


There is enough luck in the game (how well encounters fit a strategy, the objectives you receive, etc.) that there would be no way to perfectly balance each individual game.

Rusviet+Industrial is not generally strong, it has a specific sequence of actions that make it strong. Unless a player knows/uncovers that sequence, it is not noticeably stronger than many other combinations.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jamey Stegmaier
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I have the playtester data to prove there are enough avenues to victory.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Guilherme Lima
United States
Alaska
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmb
jameystegmaier wrote:
I have the playtester data to prove there are enough avenues to victory.


Can I see? laugh
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Allen Brown
United States
Brandon
Florida
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
You can easily score 1 of those objectives still, and then you have the option to fight more combats. I've personally won at least once with every single faction in all manner of ways. There are a lot of paths to victory every game. You just need to solve the puzzle presented to you and adjust as you go.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Leigh Ryan
Australia
Richlands
QLD
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
You have what you consider to be a bad game with Saxony and a couple of objective cards, so you put forward the idea that "we need to accept the possibility that [Scythe] might be slightly broken".

Come on, seriously.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Guilherme Lima
United States
Alaska
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmb
LineOf7s wrote:
You have what you consider to be a bad game with Saxony and a couple of objective cards, so you put forward the idea that "we need to accept the possibility that [Scythe] might be slightly broken".

Come on, seriously.




Fair point. Maybe "broken" was a bit strong. But still, the idea that the five base game factions are unbalanced and that Saxony is in the losing end has been put forward by 3 different users' stats here, here, and somewhat here.

And what I'm conjecturing is not only that their average point score is low, but that they also have a higher variance than other factions, and that that the secret objectives card draw can has a big correlation with this. But hey, I've only played this game 20 times or so, and only 4 or 5 times with Saxony, which is why I'd really like to look at the playtesting stats.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Guilherme Lima
United States
Alaska
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmb
EricHogue wrote:
GFLima wrote:
Can you prove that there are enough avenues to victory? Even though play testing was very thorough, given that there is no mention about avoiding Rusviet+Industrial in the official rule book and this was added post hoc I think it is fair to question the balance of the game, i.e. some factions have more avenues to victory than others...


There is enough luck in the game (how well encounters fit a strategy, the objectives you receive, etc.) that there would be no way to perfectly balance each individual game.

Rusviet+Industrial is not generally strong, it has a specific sequence of actions that make it strong. Unless a player knows/uncovers that sequence, it is not noticeably stronger than many other combinations.


In the tournament rules featured in the Stonemaier Games website it says that "if Rusviet/Industrial is randomly paired, reshuffle", and I believe that this is due to the fact that it has been found to be overpowered. You can check for yourself here
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Allen Brown
United States
Brandon
Florida
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
GFLima wrote:
EricHogue wrote:
GFLima wrote:
Can you prove that there are enough avenues to victory? Even though play testing was very thorough, given that there is no mention about avoiding Rusviet+Industrial in the official rule book and this was added post hoc I think it is fair to question the balance of the game, i.e. some factions have more avenues to victory than others...


There is enough luck in the game (how well encounters fit a strategy, the objectives you receive, etc.) that there would be no way to perfectly balance each individual game.

Rusviet+Industrial is not generally strong, it has a specific sequence of actions that make it strong. Unless a player knows/uncovers that sequence, it is not noticeably stronger than many other combinations.


In the tournament rules featured in the Stonemaier Games website it says that "if Rusviet/Industrial is randomly paired, reshuffle", and I believe that this is due to the fact that it has been found to be overpowered. You can check for yourself here


You completely missed the point, which is that it's just a specific sequence similar to Halifax Hammer in A Few Acres of Snow.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Allen Brown
United States
Brandon
Florida
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
GFLima wrote:
LineOf7s wrote:
You have what you consider to be a bad game with Saxony and a couple of objective cards, so you put forward the idea that "we need to accept the possibility that [Scythe] might be slightly broken".

Come on, seriously.




Fair point. Maybe "broken" was a bit strong. But still, the idea that the five base game factions are unbalanced and that Saxony is in the losing end has been put forward by 3 different users' stats here, here, and somewhat here.

And what I'm conjecturing is not only that their average point score is low, but that they also have a higher variance than other factions, and that that the secret objectives card draw can has a big correlation with this. But hey, I've only played this game 20 times or so, and only 4 or 5 times with Saxony, which is why I'd really like to look at the playtesting stats.


And this is where you totally lose your argument. Those 3 links don't prove your point at all. The first link is the best for you, but it has Albion last, and it's only 50 games. Moreover, the author of that post clearly shows that the largest variation among the scoring differences is player (3 times as much as other factors).

The 2nd link shows Saxony tied for 4th among faction wins, and that's an even smaller player count.

The 3rd link shows Saxony tied for 3rd! Come on, man. There were a thousand play tests and many thousands since.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Guilherme Lima
United States
Alaska
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmb
NocturnalAllen wrote:
GFLima wrote:
LineOf7s wrote:
You have what you consider to be a bad game with Saxony and a couple of objective cards, so you put forward the idea that "we need to accept the possibility that [Scythe] might be slightly broken".

Come on, seriously.




Fair point. Maybe "broken" was a bit strong. But still, the idea that the five base game factions are unbalanced and that Saxony is in the losing end has been put forward by 3 different users' stats here, here, and somewhat here.

And what I'm conjecturing is not only that their average point score is low, but that they also have a higher variance than other factions, and that that the secret objectives card draw can has a big correlation with this. But hey, I've only played this game 20 times or so, and only 4 or 5 times with Saxony, which is why I'd really like to look at the playtesting stats.


And this is where you totally lose your argument. Those 3 links don't prove your point at all. The first link is the best for you, but it has Albion last, and it's only 50 games. Moreover, the author of that post clearly shows that the largest variation among the scoring differences is player (3 times as much as other factors).

The 2nd link shows Saxony tied for 4th among faction wins, and that's an even smaller player count.

The 3rd link shows Saxony tied for 3rd! Come on, man. There were a thousand play tests and many thousands since.


Maybe I wasn't clear enough when I said that "Saxony is in the losing end". By that I mean that they do worse than average. And as I mentioned, I was also restricting myself to the 5 base game factions (Saxony, Polonia, Rusviet, Crimea, and Nordic). In the first link they are the worst of the 5 base game factions. In the second they also do worse than average and tie in last place with Polonia. The third link doesn't really say that they are worse, but mostly shows that they do not do well, and also tie in last if you only consider the 5 base factions and hence are below the mean (but not the median...), but indeed, the sample space there is very small.

You are right that the author does indeed say that most of the outcome is dictated by player ability. Nonetheless, there is a correlation between faction and performance, it just has a smaller impact on the game. That being said, with players with equal of close to equal ability the unbalances in the factions will play a more significant role. It's a bit like chess: a much better player will beat a worse player with any color, yet it is well known that, all things aside, white is usually better of.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Allen Brown
United States
Brandon
Florida
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
It's doubtful you know better than the thousands of plays at this point. It's also very likely that no asymmetrical game could ever be perfectly balanced, but it's close enough to leave it alone. The one major issue was corrected. Just enjoy the game.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Laudermilk
United States
Orange County
California
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
What Allen said.

There's no way an asymmetric game is going to be perfectly balanced for all iterations. Just look at it as a challenge. IMHO Scythe does a pretty god job of keeping them all reasonably close.

I have only played Saxony a few times and I struggle with that faction. On the flip side, Nordic doesn't get a lot of love around here, but I'm pretty successful with it.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Guilherme Lima
United States
Alaska
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmb
First, I’d like to mention that in my original post I never affirmed that any faction was under of over powered. I implicitely assumed that the average win rate of Saxony was the same as the other factions (even though I doubt it is…) but that the variance (or standard deviation) in their score was much higher, and conjectured that the secret objective cards influenced their game more than it influenced other factions. The purpose of my post was to see if anyone could share their stats so as to better analyse the issue. My main concern is with fairness in tournament play and also with better understanding the faction itself.

Still, it was I who questioned the game’s general balance in a subsequent reply, which seems to have lead to a derailment of the topic…

I personally believe that scepticism can be a good thing, and that it is via constructive criticism that board games evolve into better versions of themselves via improved second editions. Furthermore, the boardgaming community can play a crucial role in game development. Games can be playtested thousands of times and still have room for improvement. For instance, the aforementioned issue with the balance of A Few Acres of Snow, where the feedback from users here at boardgamegeek influenced a rule change, mentioned in this awesome blog post about erratas in board games. There are numerous postings here on the Scythe forum addressing how to improve its balance via house rules, which reflects the community’s concern with the issue.

Yes, it is hard to balance such an assymetrical game, but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. It might be the case that the issue can never be “fixed” and that the best one can do is to be zen about it and just try to improve your personal average with that faction - but I feel that this outcome is kinda sucks for people who want to invest in tournament play.

Now, I’m not saying that “SCYTHE SUCKS!!!” and everyone who plays it is an idiot. Scythe is my favorite multi player game, and my third favorite boardgame over all (after chess and hive). I track our gaming group’s stats, I’ve number crunched many aspects of the game, I’ve designed score sheets (coming soon) and I’ve even written Python code so as to simmulate the first initial moves with each faction/mat combination. Different people enjoy the game in different ways.

All that being said, I’d like to personally as Jamey Stegmaier if he could be so generous as to share his playtest data with me. Even though I'm not a statistician I do have a PhD in Pure Mathematics from Cambridge. I think I can adequately handle some numbers. Besides, maybe given my background, I personally think it would just be absolutely friggin awesome to look at these figures!

Now here’s a picture of my cat on a Scythe box to help everyone chill.

Peace out! meeple

3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bruno Alberth Silva Barros
Brazil
flag msg tools
mb
In all my plays so far (6), Saxony won 4 times.

Therefore, they are overpowered.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.