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Subject: Official Tapestry Civilization Adjustments rss

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Wolkster
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zjhomrighaus wrote:


I agree that Traders is weak and Futurists are strong. The issue is not that imbalance has been identified. The issue is that balance changes are being made using data that is not controlled for player experience. Considering the nature of some of the changes (straight VP buff or nerf), the fact that we don't know whether the scores were generated from 1st and 2nd plays or from veterans hitting their point ceiling means the adjustments are just a guess... perhaps an informed guess, but to pretend that science has somehow been used to balance the game is hopeful at best. Again, I direct you to the fact that Architects produce some of the highest scores in the hands of experienced players, yet they get a buff in the rebalance. I posit that this is because Architects has probably the widest gap between a scoring floor and ceiling... new players are going to score terribly with Architects, but with experience, you can absolutely break the bank. I don't think the "it all averages out" arguments really holds water in this case, so why do we have to assume it does for every other Civ?
I find these discussions interesting, because it's the same ones that have been discussed over and over in Advanced Squad Leader forums for 25+ years. Scenario balance is extremely important to ASLers. There are now over 7000 ASL scenarios available to play and a database that keeps track of what is being played and what side wins/loses those scenarios (ROAR):

http://www.jrvdev.com/ROAR/VER1/RecordByPub.asp

There are several ongoing topics of discussion:

* What is balanced? Must a scenario be 50/50, or is 55/45 or 60/40 good enough?
* How many times must a scenario be playtested?
* When playtesting is it better to have experienced players or new players playtesting it?
* When playtesting are we balancing it for new players or experienced players, because they WILL play the scenario differently?
* When recording who won should it be noted that the players are beginning or experienced?
* How many games must be played of a scenario before the ROAR results can be trusted; 10, 50, 100, more?
* Should players trust the ROAR results?

Similar to this discussion you will find that players sit on the opposite side of the fence on many of these issues. Each person is different and you just have to find a level that is right for you.


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Curtis Frantz
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Stomski wrote:
tribefan07 wrote:
Cool. I challenge you to a game. I'll be the Futurists and you be The Chosen. We can even play 10 times if you want.
I'll play you and still have a good time regardless.

We can play Talisman and I'll let you pick my character if you like and you can have the Prophetess and I'll still have a good time regardless.

We can play Agricola, I'll take a random set of occupation cards and you can choose from a larger dealt hand and I'll still have a good time regardless.

We can play Cards Against Humanity and I'll have a hand of 3 instead of 7 and I'll... oh, actually, no.

This is probably a strawman post, gotta be honest, didn't read the conversation that lead up to tribefan07's post above.
I'm not arguing whether one can have fun playing an imbalanced game. I'm simply arguing that the game *is* imbalanced.
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If I follow this logic, then all playtesting effort of any game before release is useless as those playtesters will be (for the most part) 'new players' of the latest playtest iteration of the game they are testing.

This also means, that the Tapestry playtesting done by Stonemaier before release was completely useless in trying to establish any kind of balance. If this argument is valid, the most Jamey could determine based on playtester feedback was if the game 'feels cool' or not to the players.

But this also means that using this 'new players' argument to say that the game (as published) is balanced is ridiculous. If you take this absurd argument seriously, it means that there is no way to determine if the game is balanced or not, and we will have to wait years for that to know.

My 2 cents: this is complete nonsense.
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Jonathan Kinney
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I would argue that the civilizations themselves may not be imbalanced, but instead the combos of certain cards paired with a civilization may be imbalanced. So to blanket a civilization with a handicap, that could be doubly handicapped by by tapestry and tech card draws could lead people to complain the other way.

I have fun playing games. I'm not focused on winning (I probably win less than 10% of the games I play). I love playing with friends.

The adjustments will make for interesting talk around the table, but as I said before, I doubt we'll use them.

The other thing to consider with the reporting is that only two types of people will report: a) the dedicated: a loyal few who want to help Jamey, b) the axegrinders: those who have been duped out of a game by a faction they believe is OP. So they could be creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.
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Zachary Homrighaus
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kissgg wrote:
If I follow this logic, then all playtesting effort of any game before release is useless as those playtesters will be (for the most part) 'new players' of the latest playtest iteration of the game they are testing.

This also means, that the Tapestry playtesting done by Stonemaier before release was completely useless in trying to establish any kind of balance. If this argument is valid, the most Jamey could determine based on playtester feedback was if the game 'feels cool' or not to the players.

But this also means that using this 'new players' argument to say that the game (as published) is balanced is ridiculous. If you take this absurd argument seriously, it means that there is no way to determine if the game is balanced or not, and we will have to wait years for that to know.

My 2 cents: this is complete nonsense.
ummm, not so much. The logic you are deploying here assumes that no one is ever experienced and that all playtesting has the same goal of fine-tuning balance. Both of those assumptions are (to borrow your phrase) complete nonsense.

The first time a playtest group plays a game, they are inexperienced. they have never played, they don't know the rules well, they haven't learned from mistakes, etc... just like new players who buy the game and bring it to their gamenight. Over the course of multiple plays, both of these groups will gain experience and eventually improve their play. They will not make rules errors, they will find and exploit synergy, they will pay more attention to what their opponents are doing / need and alter their strategies accordingly.

No designer is looking for balance suggestions after the first play. They may well be wanting feedback on whether the game was easy to learn, easy to play, fun to play, lasted too long or ended too quickly. Later during playtesting as the game is more solidified, they will be seeking different feedback. Things like faction balance, card balance, etc. happen in this phase.

There is also blind playtesting that is focused on how easily a brand new player / group can open the box with final components and successfully learn and play the game. That has zero to do with balance in so far as the designer isn't going to tweak a faction based on feedback from this new group... BUT if the report is that the game sucks because it's unfair and XYZ has an advantage, that might be something the designer should look into. Perhaps the rules or iconography are not allowing players to see opportunities to stop XYZ faction from steamrolling. Perhaps they are missing a rule somewhere and it needs to be highlighted in the rulebook, but by this point, game balance should have been ironed out to the designer's satisfaction (note I said the designer's satisfaction and not the tester or buyer... those could well be different things).

Soooo... what are you on about again?
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Morten Monrad Pedersen
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In case anyone is interested in a little bit of info about how this works for the solo mode external playtesting.

Playtesters report all their plays via a Google Form. Part of that is that they report how many plays of the game they've done and we have playtesters who play one time and we have playtesters who play a lot. IIRC we had on playtesters who played Tapestry solo 20-30 times. We can of course track how many plays they report, but that's not necessarily the same as the number of times they've played total.

Figuring out how much each playtester should factor into the balancing work is hard. As is figuring out whether playtesters who report outlier results are making rule errors.

If we make significant rule changes that invalidates previous scores in other cases we can make fairly simple normalization of scores after small changes, so that we can user a wider range of tests and consider both the normalized scores for that wider range of scores and a separate evaluation for plays reported only for the latest revision.

I don't think external multiplayer playtesting gets to so many plays per player, because it's dependent on getting a group together who have the time, schedule compatibility, and willingness to test that much. Solo is completely different in that regard.
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terry chay
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jonocop wrote:
In the immortal words of Peter Olotka, the designer of Cosmic Encounter, "Balance is boring, Life is unfair!"
As has been beaten to death many times on other threads in this forum, that statement only works when the game has interactivity mechanisms that give the players agency to mitigate the imbalance. Peter's games (Cosmic Encounter and Dune) have that in spades, as does nearly every multi-axis assymetric amerigame dating back to Diplomacy and Risk in the early 1950's.

Tapestry as it currently stands (without expansions) doesn't have anything close to that.

I find Jamey's promosed changes, for now, acceptable (it's far better than a straight VP point adjustment he had originally suggested he might do). It is my hope that future expansions up the interactivity so these ballpark adjustments will eliminate the need for further balance. It'd also make the game more fun as the FUTURISTS are more annoying to play against than just their VP edge,
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mortenmdk wrote:
In case anyone is interested in a little bit of info about how this works for the solo mode external playtesting.
It is unfortunate that some civilizations/tapestry cards were excluded in solo mode testing. I have a feeling it might have nabbed the two most imbalanced civilizations (FUTURISTS, TRADERS) if it was possible as it is much easier for many external testers to do solo than multiplayer.
 
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tychay wrote:
mortenmdk wrote:
In case anyone is interested in a little bit of info about how this works for the solo mode external playtesting.
It is unfortunate that some civilizations/tapestry cards were excluded in solo mode testing. I have a feeling it might have nabbed the two most imbalanced civilizations (FUTURISTS, TRADERS) if it was possible as it is much easier for many external testers to do solo than multiplayer.
Solo playtesting definitely helps in finding issues in the game itself for multiple reasons. I wrote about this in a design diary entry on the 16th of August: https://stonemaiergames.com/games/tapestry/design-diary-tape... (it's not my first entry on the page, so scroll or Ctrl-f for my name).

On the other hand this only goes so far because of the differences between solo and multiplayer. The Futurists are an example of this because they're extra powerful against the Automa since they allow the player to game the Automa's simplistic behavior.
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David Vestal
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tychay wrote:
It is unfortunate that some civilizations/tapestry cards were excluded in solo mode testing. I have a feeling it might have nabbed the two most imbalanced civilizations (FUTURISTS, TRADERS) if it was possible as it is much easier for many external testers to do solo than multiplayer.
Those are two of the more interactive civilizations though, so I'm not sure how much more you'd gain from solo playtesting. Traders explicitly rely on the actions of others to gain benefits, and Futurists mere existence affects the players around them (landmarks, tech upgrade requirements, Tapestry cards like Socialism).

You might be able to get some insights from solo-testing Civilizations that don't explicitly interact with other players, like the Leaders.

But my playgroup also thinks the Futurists are vastly overrated, so I think you get pretty diminishing returns as you can only do so much to try to make a diverse field of players feel like variable powers are balanced, fun to play, and meaningfully different. I think they could've play tested an extra year and still received 95% of the same complaints.
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Paul Ferguson
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jwarrend wrote:
I don't mean to be a big poopypants here, but have these changes been tested, and if so how much? It seems like the data on which they must have been based has only just started to arrive fairly recently.

(My point being, if the intent is that this is a proposed set of changes that the community can test, report back on, and further tweaking and refinement will result, that's one thing; whereas if these are an authoritative set of changes resulting from extensive testing, that's another thing. It's fine whichever thing it is, but it seems the OP should say which one it is.)

Yes, you the consumer are the testers. Also based of his previous works, if it has been tested, it won't be to an extent that would quantify or justify a released product that consumers are paying top dollar for.
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Allen Brown
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itmo wrote:
jwarrend wrote:
I don't mean to be a big poopypants here, but have these changes been tested, and if so how much? It seems like the data on which they must have been based has only just started to arrive fairly recently.

(My point being, if the intent is that this is a proposed set of changes that the community can test, report back on, and further tweaking and refinement will result, that's one thing; whereas if these are an authoritative set of changes resulting from extensive testing, that's another thing. It's fine whichever thing it is, but it seems the OP should say which one it is.)

Yes, you the consumer are the testers. Also based of his previous works, if it has been tested, it won't be to an extent that would quantify or justify a released product that consumers are paying top dollar for.
Nice baseless attack. These changes are based on thousands of reported plays, and the game was great at release, which is why it's geting so many plays reported.
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Tom Stearns
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So why do people who don’t like the game, designer or publisher subscribe to the games forum and follow this thread?

Oh wait, nvm. Pretty sure I know the answer to that question. whistle
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Jon W
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gohrns wrote:
So why do people who don’t like the game, designer or publisher subscribe to the games forum and follow this thread?

Oh wait, nvm. Pretty sure I know the answer to that question. whistle
What is the answer? I'm genuinely curious. Should people not be critical?

Here's my answer: I still follow these threads because while I like the ideas and design goals of most of SM's games, and occasionally feel tempted to buy another, I also find them below average in execution. I think SM are great at marketing and production, and average at design. I'm open-minded about Tapestry, which sounds good in theory, but no way was I going to buy it at release (based on past experience). So I wandered into this thread to see where it was currently at.
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Tom Stearns
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waddball wrote:
gohrns wrote:
So why do people who don’t like the game, designer or publisher subscribe to the games forum and follow this thread?

Oh wait, nvm. Pretty sure I know the answer to that question. whistle
What is the answer? I'm genuinely curious. Should people not be critical?

Here's my answer: I still follow these threads because while I like the ideas and design goals of most of SM's games, and occasionally feel tempted to buy another, I also find them below average in execution. I think SM are great at marketing and production, and average at design. I'm open-minded about Tapestry, which sounds good in theory, but no way was I going to buy it at release (based on past experience). So I wandered into this thread to see where it was currently at.
LOL then you have waaayyy more free time on your hands than I do. I don’t have enough time to digest info on the games and designers I DO like. Tracking publishers and designers that I find below average? Nope, no time to waste on that.
 
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He has time to read about games, you have time to post about him having that time. It all balances out in the end.
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Tom Stearns
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SevenSpirits wrote:
He has time to read about games, you have time to post about him having that time. It all balances out in the end.
Touché but I’m reading and following a thread on a game and designer/publisher I like. I’m not spending my time in a forum of game and designers/publisher I don’t like. I mean what’s the point of that? Other than to pile on and be negative?

It was asked if being critical is allowed. Sure. Constructive criticism is helpful most of the time. Every game has positives and negatives. I just found his preface that he doesn’t like Jamey’s games to be curious.

I don’t like a designers games but I’m going to follow his games and post in the forums how I don’t like his games? As I said usually only one reason to do that.

Guess I’m the minority opinion on that though. So carry on, don’t mind me. I guess I just see that behavior different than most.

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gohrns wrote:
So why do people who don’t like the game, designer or publisher subscribe to the games forum and follow this thread?

Oh wait, nvm. Pretty sure I know the answer to that question. whistle
Maybe people are irritated that Jamey seems to get away with releasing yet another imbalanced/unfinished product and this time, consumers got to pay top dollar to be his beta testers. I was burnt by his First game Viticulture, which was a broken and what seemed to be, poorly tested game. He fixed it by offering consumers the option of spending another $90 on the Tuscany expansion.

I wonder why he seems to get no push back from the community. Are people too nice, are his fans too accepting?

Jamey is a great salesman, a marketing genius but not a great game designer and doesn't seem to learn from previous mistakes.
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itmo wrote:
gohrns wrote:
So why do people who don’t like the game, designer or publisher subscribe to the games forum and follow this thread?

Oh wait, nvm. Pretty sure I know the answer to that question. whistle
Maybe people are irritated that Jamey seems to get away with releasing yet another imbalanced/unfinished product and this time, consumers got to pay top dollar to be his beta testers. I was burnt by his First game Viticulture, which was a broken and what seemed to be, poorly tested game. He fixed it by offering consumers the option of spending another $90 on the Tuscany expansion.

I wonder why he seems to get no push back from the community. Are people too nice, are his fans too accepting?

Jamey is a great salesman, a marketing genius but not a great game designer and doesn't seem to learn from previous mistakes.
Tuscany was $45, not $90. Viticulture (with Tuscany), Scythe, Between Two Cities, Tapestry, and Wingspan are all among my favorite games ever. He's a terrific game designer/developer who keeps getting better.

Viticulture, the original version, did need some work. I thought it was just good, originally. But Tuscany, one of the greatest expansions ever, addressed everything wrong with it and enhanced it. Since then, Stonemaier is almost nothing but gold. My least favorite Stonemaier game, Euphoria, I still like, and it got an expansion that made it better, too.

He has a lot of fans because he puts out great games. Those games are rated highly for many reasons.
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Okay so you don’t like Jamey or his games. That’s fine with me. Not everybody likes every designer or game. Liking or not liking isn’t my point.

Axe grinding and trolling is what bothers me. Guess what. I have designers and games that I don’t enjoy. Guess what I don’t do. Show up on their forums to tell everybody how much I don’t like the game. Some people make blanket statements that a game is broken or imbalanced etc. That is opinion not fact. I’m a war gamer. I read constructive criticism of published games every day. So again that’s not the issue. Camping on a forum to disparage a game and designer is not constructive criticism. It’s axe grinding and trolling. Just calling it like I see it.

BTW Euphoria is my favorite JS game. I also think it’s his best designed game.
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fess37 dk
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If u start with the architetects, in a 5 player game. Do they then start with 40 points?
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fess37 wrote:
If u start with the architetects, in a 5 player game. Do they then start with 40 points?
Firstly, well done on actually asking a question relating to the topic.

Secondly, to answer your question, yes.
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gohrns wrote:
Okay so you don’t like Jamey or his games. That’s fine with me. Not everybody likes every designer or game. Liking or not liking isn’t my point.

Axe grinding and trolling is what bothers me. Guess what. I have designers and games that I don’t enjoy. Guess what I don’t do. Show up on their forums to tell everybody how much I don’t like the game. Some people make blanket statements that a game is broken or imbalanced etc. That is opinion not fact. I’m a war gamer. I read constructive criticism of published games every day. So again that’s not the issue. Camping on a forum to disparage a game and designer is not constructive criticism. It’s axe grinding and trolling. Just calling it like I see it.

BTW Euphoria is my favorite JS game. I also think it’s his best designed game.
The user you're responding to is notorious in these forums, you're wasting your time engaging with him.

I have never played Euphoria but I've seen it pop up in some top 9 posts in the Dice Tower facebook and have generally heard good things about it recently. I should check it out.
 
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samwise222 wrote:
gohrns wrote:
Okay so you don’t like Jamey or his games. That’s fine with me. Not everybody likes every designer or game. Liking or not liking isn’t my point.

Axe grinding and trolling is what bothers me. Guess what. I have designers and games that I don’t enjoy. Guess what I don’t do. Show up on their forums to tell everybody how much I don’t like the game. Some people make blanket statements that a game is broken or imbalanced etc. That is opinion not fact. I’m a war gamer. I read constructive criticism of published games every day. So again that’s not the issue. Camping on a forum to disparage a game and designer is not constructive criticism. It’s axe grinding and trolling. Just calling it like I see it.

BTW Euphoria is my favorite JS game. I also think it’s his best designed game.
The user you're responding to is notorious in these forums, you're wasting your time engaging with him.

I have never played Euphoria but I've seen it pop up in some top 9 posts in the Dice Tower facebook and have generally heard good things about it recently. I should check it out.
Euphoria is an interesting game and is one of my wife's favorites. You should try it if you can.

I really like how it's a basic incremental cube-pusher where every faction path is structured the exact same (except those darn Icarites) BUT there are just a few tiny-little hooks to organically guide people to doing different things to optimize their personal engines. You've got to find the clever little advantages to save yourself actions which is by far the most important economy in the game.

The fact that you are incentivized to team up on some things but going for the same stuff too often ends up benefiting your opponents is a lovely design goal.

I don't think it's perfect (Wastelanders have a rough time in the base game, Icarites are too often the default faction choice, the points of differentiation are so small and gameplay so tight that just a few good/bad dice rolls can decide the whole thing...) but I really like it. It's also my favorite art in a boardgame, the board art is actually my desktop wallpaper!

Man, I really should try the expansion...
 
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Hi,

Has it been answered if the bots (especially the shadow empire in a game with two human players) are counted as players for the adjustments as well?
For example will I get 20 additional points for my architect at the start of the game when playing with the SE and one human player?
 
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