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Hellenica: Story of Greece» Forums » General

Subject: Themed AI Decks rss

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Scott DeMers
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I was asked to give a little bit more color on the themed AI decks that are available as an add-on in the pledge manager for Hellenica: Story of Greece. This post is an attempt to provide some more information. First, a fair warning:

1) The specifics of the cards are still being play tested for balance as of the time of this post. There may be changes in the final product for the examples given below.

2) The themed AI decks are not needed to play the game. There is a basic AI deck included in every copy of the game. This basic deck is shared by all city-states being played by the AI. Thus, Athens plays with the identical deck as does Troy as does Sparta, etc.

3) Each themed deck has unique art to make them easily identifiable. This art is not finalized (see example below).



The purpose of the themed AI decks is so that certain city-states will “tend” to pursue more historical goals for that city-state. Tend is the right word to use here. These tendencies are meant to be nuanced and most often noticeable over the course of many plays rather than in a single play. It will still be possible that a game could have Sparta ruling the Aegean sea while a massive army of Athenian hoplites march out to conquer their neighbors. Meanwhile, Troy builds a massive number of temples and Byzantium becomes the birthplace of Western democracy. However, Sparta will more often than other cities pursue land power. Athens will try to dominate the sea, and so forth.

Let’s discuss a few specifics of how this is achieved. There are 32 cards in each AI deck, basic or themed. In each themed AI deck, 11 of the cards are identical to the basic AI deck. This is to ensure that core behaviors remain in place for all city-states. The remaining 21 cards have subtle differences unique to that city-state. Note that the DECKS are balanced, not the cards. Thus, any one card in the Athens deck may be weaker than the same card in another deck, even the basic AI deck.

For each city-state, I chose a primary and a secondary focus. The primary focus is then buffed in terms of quantity and/or quality (not always both and not on all cards). The secondary focus is buffed, but to a much lesser degree. Those buffs come at the expense of other areas and so from 1 to 3 other areas are then nerfed. The focus areas buffed or nerfed are Advancements, Philosophers, Favor, Commerce, Supply (movement), Triremes, Hoplites, Cavalry, Heroes, City Walls, and Wonders of the World.

Let’s take a look at a sample card, “Ships and Cavalry” to show an example:
- On the left below is the basic AI deck card. The left column shows what the city-state flipping this card would receive on turns 2 or 3. The right column shows what would be received on turns 4 or later.
- The middle image shows the same card for Athens. In early turns, the Athenians would get another Advancement and an extra elite Trireme, but would not receive a Commerce token. In later turns, this card would provide similar buffs and nerfs.
- The image on the right shows the Spartan themed AI card. The Spartans receive a Cavalry in early turns that is not present on either the basic AI card or the Athenian card. In later turns, the Spartans get an extra elite Cavalry, lose one of the elite Triremes, and lose the Commerce present on the basic card. Sparta is pursuing a military strategy.



The differences may appear minor, but across the 21 cards in each deck, they create tendencies that are unique to each city-states and give results that are difficult to predict as a human player. You can usually know that Sparta will be bringing the army to you, but not always. Similar to when you play that friend who tends to turtle in a game. When they surprise you and play very aggressively, it is (almost) always a great game night.

I hope this helps you understand the themed AI decks and how they play.

As always, feel free to PM me on BGG.

Thanks,

Scott
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Peter Andersson
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Thanks for the detailed run through!
This really convinced me that it was a good idea to add the decks in the pledge manager. More flavour/historical accuracy is always welcome!
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Ryan Jenkinson
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Considering doing a late pledge (as a solo-only gamer for this sort of game) but had a question about the AI Board and how it deals with multiple AI decks. I skimmed the Heavy Cardboard playthrough and saw how it works with a single AI deck, but do you use the same board with multiple AI's, or does each AI get their own AI board?
 
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Scott DeMers
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transcend11 wrote:
Considering doing a late pledge (as a solo-only gamer for this sort of game) but had a question about the AI Board and how it deals with multiple AI decks. I skimmed the Heavy Cardboard playthrough and saw how it works with a single AI deck, but do you use the same board with multiple AI's, or does each AI get their own AI board?
There is one AI board. All AI Player's information is tracked on it (units are placed on the map). There are only 5 cubes on the AI board for each AI Player. It is that simple. Plus, the AI Board is larger than the Player boards. It is also recessed.

If using the themed AI decks, they are placed to the side of the AI Board and you would have one deck for each AI Player vs. 1 deck for all AI Players.

Let me know if that does not answer your question.
 
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Ryan Jenkinson
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Ah I see, so each AI gets a set of different colored cubes, and they're all tracked on a single board, so for example if there's 2 AI's there 10 cubes on the board?

I am really interested in the degree of effort put into the solo AI based on your comments in playthrough videos and your updates - you might have another backer
 
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Scott DeMers
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transcend11 wrote:
Ah I see, so each AI gets a set of different colored cubes, and they're all tracked on a single board, so for example if there's 2 AI's there 10 cubes on the board?
Exactly!

transcend11 wrote:
I am really interested in the degree of effort put into the solo AI based on your comments in playthrough videos and your updates - you might have another backer
How can I help you understand it better? Would love to have your support.
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Stefanos Pallas
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transcend11 wrote:
I am really interested in the degree of effort put into the solo AI based on your comments in playthrough videos and your updates - you might have another backer
Having tried it on TTS, I can tell you that the effort put into the solo AI is minimum no matter the number of AIs.
 
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Ryan Jenkinson
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stepal wrote:
transcend11 wrote:
I am really interested in the degree of effort put into the solo AI based on your comments in playthrough videos and your updates - you might have another backer
Having tried it on TTS, I can tell you that the effort put into the solo AI is minimum no matter the number of AIs.
Can you offer any brief impressions based on your TTS playthroughs of how different the themed AI's feel, if you enjoy having more vs less AI's, and how replayable/variety per game it's been for you so far solo?
 
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Stefanos Pallas
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First of all, I have to make clear that TTS module doesn't include the themed decks, just the basic.
I've played twice as Athens VS 4AIs. Both plays, the AIs have been expansionist and aggressive.

The variety came more from the world events but I felt that my opponents would react and adapt their strategies to match mine.
If I was following an aggressive strategy, they would have been responsive and more aggressive. If I was following a peaceful strategy, they would expand and fight each other until they meet me.

Two plays are very few to help me acquire a good picture of the game but I enjoyed it.
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