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Subject: Official Tapestry Civilization Adjustments rss

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Jared
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HexStarDragon wrote:

The only other reaction I'd have is that I think Heralds can be one of the most "swingy" Civilizations, based on their initial Tapestry card draw.
The Heralds were the biggest reaction I had as well. There are three problems here:

1. Your first Tapestry card could be a dud.
2. You could well go through half the game or more without drawing WHEN PLAYED cards.
3. Other players can (and often should) deny you WHEN PLAYED cards

HexStarDragon wrote:
Something like "You may play your first Tapestry card over maker of fire. If you do, lose and additional 5 VP" rather than a flat loss of points?
Something along this line, where you pay to get the first ability would certainly be better.

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Nick S
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I appreciate these changes and hope they continue to be tweaked. Some of them just seem to "make sense" to me in terms of what I felt was needed. However...

blazcowicz wrote:
Just thought about it but I'm surprised Heralds don't lose points according to the number of players, because we've found them way less efficient in a 2p game than 4p. The last time I played 2p my opponent only had "this era" tapestries so I could only use the cubes with mine and had to waste one, so it seems strange to lose 15 points no matter what.
This is my concern as well. I've tried Heralds once in 2p and it did next to nothing for me the entire game because my wife avoided playing any "when played" tapestries after her first and I never drew one. Consequently, I've not played it since. It seems like it needs OPTIONS in order to be good ... and there aren't really a whole lot of options in 2p.

I also don't like the possibility of losing points/resources mid-game if these civs are drawn due to the end of the military track / radio tech. Seems like too big of punishment for what is supposed to be a huge benefit.

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Sean McCarthy
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Important perspective: it's not that Tapestry appeared fully formed and then they tested it 300 times and changed nothing. Those playtests cover a long development process during which a game changes substantially.

It's fair to expect the game to be much better than its first draft. It's not reasonable to expect it to be perfect. You can't say, let's test this 100 times, see if there are any balance issues, make a change and test it 100 more times, repeat. Balance isn't even the main thing that needs to be tested for. Most testing effort goes towards making the game work at all, and polishing it to something that people can intuit.

It is not economical to spend a thousand person hours getting a game from mostly balanced to very balanced.

That said I also have to agree with people who point out that some factions can trivially be seen to be better than others. Still more can easily be understand to be that way with 10h experience playing something close to the final game version plus 3h of math.
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Jared
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Xonim wrote:
I appreciate these changes and hope they continue to be tweaked. Some of them just seem to "make sense" to me in terms of what I felt was needed. However...

blazcowicz wrote:
Just thought about it but I'm surprised Heralds don't lose points according to the number of players, because we've found them way less efficient in a 2p game than 4p. The last time I played 2p my opponent only had "this era" tapestries so I could only use the cubes with mine and had to waste one, so it seems strange to lose 15 points no matter what.
This is my concern as well. I've tried Heralds once in 2p and it did next to nothing for me the entire game because my wife avoided playing any "when played" tapestries after her first and I never drew one. Consequently, I've not played it since. It seems like it needs OPTIONS in order to be good ... and there aren't really a whole lot of options in 2p.

I also don't like the possibility of losing points/resources mid-game if these civs are drawn due to the end of the military track / radio tech. Seems like too big of punishment for what is supposed to be a huge benefit.

Shhh... draw two pick one...

Good point on player count. Something like -5vp per neighbor, you may lose an additional 5 vp to play a Tapestry card over maker of fire might be better. Though I'm not sure how powerful getting this first ability is or not.
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JS Bragg
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Jamey Stegmaier Something to consider: At the beginning of the game you get multiple civs and choose one...with these changes it becomes critical that that should be ANYTIME you gain a new civ get 2 choose one. Otherwise the three "when you gain lose things" cards make for a VERY bad game experience for people which is antithetical to how you design your games. That simple change can make from a very negative game experience to a more positive for people.
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Jean-Philippe Thériault
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ErnestoPavan wrote:
With all respect, it takes literally one minute to read two civilization mats and realize that, for example, Merrymakers going up the first and last column of their board get a total of 4 resources, 1 armory and 5 points over the course of the whole game, while Futurists get 12 bonus advancements (albeit with no bonuses) and 4 resources right from the get-go. Does it really take "thousands of plays of a game upon release" to realize that they are not balanced?
"Albeit with no bonuses" is doing a lot of work in the above paragraph.
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Zachary Homrighaus
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I pleased that SMG supports their games and cares to strive for balance when possible. I have been critical of the data used to spur this balance adjustment and I remain so... but I'm not trying to relitigate that conversation. I guess time will tell once most of the data collected is from experienced players.

As for the adjustments, I'm surprised by a few things:

1. That only Chosen and Architects take into account player count... and how drastic those adjustments are. To be honest, if you need to add 15 VP per opponent, I think the Chosen should just be removed... It feels pretty lame to start 60 VP ahead knowing it's because your Civ sucks...

2. That VP were used for balance at all. If we've learned anything from the long debate about the data, it's that the Tapestry cards are a larger source of randomness that produce meaningful gaps in scoring ranges. Assuming that 10 VP here or 15 VP there is the exact right number seems very hopeful.

3. That there was no effort to sort or tier the Civs. I would have preferred fewer changes (7 Civs got updates) and a combo of tiering and sorting so players can choose the sort of experience they want. For instance, sort a few Civs with specific player counts (e.g. do not play Chosen in 4 or 5 player games)... or identify 3-4 Civs as Beginner (Leaders, Entertainers) and others as Advanced (Architects, Mystics). This keeps the Civs mostly intact (might still need a few tweaks) while letting players choose what sort of experience they want.
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Steven S
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Perhaps another solution to the Heralds is to only take away points when the ability is activated, that way you aren't punishing players who are unable to use it (especially if received midgame). Something like At the start of your income turns 2-5, you may spend 4 VP to .... That way over the course of the game you may lose 16 VP while taking full advantage as it's set up now but don't lose anything if you are unable to.
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Richard Dewsbery
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A number of suggestions here (such as "draw two, pick one" and "when someone plays an X, you do Y") might well be very sensible. But they are extremely unlikely to be adopted. I’m betting that Jamie absolutely does not want to change any of the abilities of the cards during play, and really really won’t want to change the rules as written. The "fix" he proposes is less than ideal, but it’s the least-worst option and only needs referring to at the start of the game (or in the relatively unusual situation in which a new civ is drawn during play).
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Jamey Stegmaier
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Richard, you're correct that I'm very hesitant to change game rules, as the rules are all there for a reason. I did consider the draw 2 pick 1 rule during playtesting, but instead I added Tapestry cards to an income track--that free card replaced the idea of draw 2 pick 1.

Part of my guidelines when looking at the civilizations post-4000 reported plays was that we don't change their core abilities. I didn't want players to have to remember those types of changes during the game when they're trying to think about so many other things. That's why all of the changes are enacted at the point of gaining the civilizations (at the beginning of the game or when civs are gained during the game).
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Morten Monrad Pedersen
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Thinsilver wrote:
mortenmdk wrote:
Btw. is your avatar from Wolfenstein 3D?
Doesn't his username tip you off?
I semi-recognized it, but wasn’t sure about it. It’s probably been 25+ years since I played the game, so my memories of it are getting hazy .
 
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Morten Monrad Pedersen
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blazcowicz wrote:
mortenmdk wrote:
blazcowicz wrote:
mortenmdk wrote:
blazcowicz wrote:
I hope J. Kaemmer will adapt his poll too.
I think he will - he was a major part of making these adjustments.
Glad to read that, I'm still amazed by the amount of work he put into it.
You and me both .

Btw. is your avatar from Wolfenstein 3D?
Damn right! My favourite game of the series is Return to Castle Wolfenstein but this avatar is way cooler.
I never tried that one. I stopped at Spear of Destiny (am I remembering the title correctly?) Those were the days .
 
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Arnaud Fradin
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sheogorath09 wrote:

Perhaps another solution to the Heralds is to only take away points when the ability is activated, that way you aren't punishing players who are unable to use it (especially if received midgame). Something like At the start of your income turns 2-5, you may spend 4 VP to .... That way over the course of the game you may lose 16 VP while taking full advantage as it's set up now but don't lose anything if you are unable to.
Now that's a great idea! That way you aren't punished for drawing them during the game and you can still put them to good use.
 
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Arnaud Fradin
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mortenmdk wrote:
blazcowicz wrote:
mortenmdk wrote:
blazcowicz wrote:
mortenmdk wrote:
blazcowicz wrote:
I hope J. Kaemmer will adapt his poll too.
I think he will - he was a major part of making these adjustments.
Glad to read that, I'm still amazed by the amount of work he put into it.
You and me both .

Btw. is your avatar from Wolfenstein 3D?
Damn right! My favourite game of the series is Return to Castle Wolfenstein but this avatar is way cooler.
I never tried that one. I stopped at Spear of Destiny (am I remembering the title correctly?) Those were the days .
Yep that's it, but I was way too young to play them on release! You should really try RTCW, it has everything I love from movies like Indiana Jones, Where Eagles Dare and a lot of pulpy B-movies, the soundtrack is amazing and some levels still give me the creeps to this day (damn catacombs)!
 
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Ernesto Pavan
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HexStarDragon wrote:

Of all the Civs in the game, those are hardly directly comparable. The Merrymakers get that as one possible option of many, so other options may be more impactful and there is some benefit to the flexibility.
But that option is literally worse than the Futurists bonus. And the Futurists bonus is hardly not flexible, as extra steps on tracks and extra resources (1 of every kind, no less) are always good.

Quote:
Then slipping in "albeit with no bonuses" is a huge caveat while trying to claim the Futurists "get 12 bonus advancements". The Futurists have more expensive actions, don't have access to the earlier advancement actions (and, along with other issues, need more buildings from other sources to get toward the end of the income building tracks), miss the 2x2 landmarks (which are easier to place).
Well, if they did get the bonuses, that would be hardly fair, would it?

Seriously, though, those extra steps are definitely a strong bonus, as they allow the Futurists to get stronger actions from the start. And while it's true that they don't get the early monuments, they are almost guaranteed one or two of the tier 2 ones.
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Nat Brooks
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jameystegmaier wrote:
Part of my guidelines when looking at the civilizations post-4000 reported plays was that we don't change their core abilities. I didn't want players to have to remember those types of changes during the game when they're trying to think about so many other things. That's why all of the changes are enacted at the point of gaining the civilizations (at the beginning of the game or when civs are gained during the game).
The seems reasonable to me. I can see why you might prefer giving the Heralds -15 VP at the start over taking away 4 VPs each income turn, for example. We can deal with the slight oddity of allowing negative VPs in this one case but no other.

It's too bad that The Chosen ended up needing so many points in a large game. It is as if they're being paid VPs for playing without a Civilization. I guess that's the point. Their ability does not scale well at all.

I hope to try some games soon with these adjustments. The biggest benefit I see is that all the Civilizations will see some action, instead of players gravitating to a few favorites.
 
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David Vestal
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ErnestoPavan wrote:

But that option is literally worse than the Futurists bonus. And the Futurists bonus is hardly not flexible, as extra steps on tracks and extra resources (1 of every kind, no less) are always good.
Your post suggested that it was a "1 is greater than 2" comparison that should have been caught by "looking at it for 1 minute". That's false, and the suggestion is trollish.

That specific option may be worse, in your opinion, but it's not comparing apples to apples. And even if that specific option for the Merrymakers is worse, the fact that they have 11 other options to pick from for a bonus provides flexibility that is in itself, an asset, and you'd have to argue that all 11 combinations are obviously "strictly worse" than the Futurist bonus.

Starting extra steps on the tracks are not always good - the increased cost is definitely a downside, not all the advanced action spaces are better, and as I already mentioned, missing the 1 or 2 income building benefit/bonuses on each track means you have more pressure to get income buildings form other sources in order to uncover scoring bonuses. The 5th spot on the Explore track is particularly bad in the Futurist's starting position because it's 3 resources for 1 point and 1 farm. The 5th spot on the Technology track is generally worse than the 3rd spot of every other track because you are spending 2 resources for 1 income building instead of 1.

I don't think the Futurists were bad, as printed, and I think the benefits outweighed the downsides (i.e. the Futurists would perform better than having no Civilization). But it's a poor-faith argument to suggest you could determine that Futurists were more powerful than Merrymakers at a 1-minute glance.
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Steve H
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ErnestoPavan wrote:
HexStarDragon wrote:

Of all the Civs in the game, those are hardly directly comparable. The Merrymakers get that as one possible option of many, so other options may be more impactful and there is some benefit to the flexibility.
But that option is literally worse than the Futurists bonus. And the Futurists bonus is hardly not flexible, as extra steps on tracks and extra resources (1 of every kind, no less) are always good.
The Futurists ability is literally the opposite of flexible. You have no choice in the matter.

And advancing on tracks without benefits is *not* always good. It’s the equivalent of the “X” Science die rolls, which is one of the weakest benefits in the game.
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Zachary Homrighaus
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Scion13 wrote:
ErnestoPavan wrote:
HexStarDragon wrote:

Of all the Civs in the game, those are hardly directly comparable. The Merrymakers get that as one possible option of many, so other options may be more impactful and there is some benefit to the flexibility.
But that option is literally worse than the Futurists bonus. And the Futurists bonus is hardly not flexible, as extra steps on tracks and extra resources (1 of every kind, no less) are always good.
The Futurists ability is literally the opposite of flexible. You have no choice in the matter.

And advancing on tracks without benefits is *not* always good. It’s the equivalent of the “X” Science die rolls, which is one of the weakest benefits in the game.
So are you guys now arguing against all that data that these changes are based on? It sounds like you are trying to make the case that Futurists are at parity with the other Civs and Merrymakers in particular.
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David Vestal
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natbrooks wrote:
It's too bad that The Chosen ended up needing so many points in a large game. It is as if they're being paid VPs for playing without a Civilization. I guess that's the point. Their ability does not scale well at all.
Unfortunately, that level of point handicap might not scale well for different skill groups either. If some of the playgroups are averaging ~150 points in a game, getting a flat 45-point bonus is going to have a larger impact than for a playgroup averaging high 200s/low 300s.

If a new player scores 150 and loses to someone else scoring 110 plus a 45 point "handicap", is that going to be a better experience for them? If it were me, I'd rather have no handicap, lose 110 to 150, and figure that some Civilizations are weaker, or harder to figure out, or just that we're all new and we all still have a lot to learn about the game if we want to be competitive about it.
 
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David Vestal
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zjhomrighaus wrote:
So are you guys now arguing against all that data that these changes are based on? It sounds like you are trying to make the case that Futurists are at parity with the other Civs and Merrymakers in particular.
I'm specifically saying it's not a "look at both for a minute and it's obvious" type of imbalance that the designer missed because of negligence.

In terms of the data, that's a separate issue. My take would be that, again, balance isn't a single number and adjusting based on the mean (especially when everyone is new to the game, and presumably, still improving their own skill at the game) doesn't take into account all the situations and factors that could lead different Civilizations to perform well or poorly.

Without getting exhaustive, an easy example is the Architects. It appears based on our experience, that they are a "low floor, high ceiling" Civilization. New and casual players are probably scoring lower with them than other Civilizations while more experienced and competitive players might be scoring higher. Adjusting based on the mean doesn't fix the problem for either group - it's not enough to make up the gap for the new players, and it makes an already strong Civilization for experts even stronger.

How many of the recorded data points are 1st or 2nd game players? Probably a higher percentage than we'll see a couple months from now. It's likely the mean scores for some Civilizations increases more than others. So any adjustment isn't some "correct" number. It's a choice - trying to sacrifice in some areas to provide a better play experience in others. You can choose to make adjustments based on the mean scores now, because 1st and 2nd games are valid player experiences, or you could wait and adjust when the data likely presents a profile of games with a higher average player skill. It's a choice either way, with context and priorities.
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Zachary Homrighaus
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HexStarDragon wrote:
natbrooks wrote:
It's too bad that The Chosen ended up needing so many points in a large game. It is as if they're being paid VPs for playing without a Civilization. I guess that's the point. Their ability does not scale well at all.
Unfortunately, that level of point handicap might not scale well for different skill groups either. If some of the playgroups are averaging ~150 points in a game, getting a flat 45-point bonus is going to have a larger impact than for a playgroup averaging high 200s/low 300s.

If a new player scores 150 and loses to someone else scoring 110 plus a 45 point "handicap", is that going to be a better experience for them? If it were me, I'd rather have no handicap, lose 110 to 150, and figure that some Civilizations are weaker, or harder to figure out, or just that we're all new and we all still have a lot to learn about the game if we want to be competitive about it.
Yes, this is why I was surprised not to see any tiering for player experience. That's the potential unknown issue with the data used to arrive at these modifications and your point highlights the significance player experience has on VP modifications. I won't be surprised if we see a few forum posts crying for a nerf to the Chosen because they easily won a game with inexperienced players... to them, it will feel like the the pre-nerfed Futurists... they both have a high floor, so when the other players sat around the table aren't able to achieve their Civ's ceilings, it will feel like a mismatch.
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Zachary Homrighaus
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HexStarDragon wrote:
zjhomrighaus wrote:
So are you guys now arguing against all that data that these changes are based on? It sounds like you are trying to make the case that Futurists are at parity with the other Civs and Merrymakers in particular.
I'm specifically saying it's not a "look at both for a minute and it's obvious" type of imbalance that the designer missed because of negligence.

In terms of the data, that's a separate issue. My take would be that, again, balance isn't a single number and adjusting based on the mean (especially when everyone is new to the game, and presumably, still improving their own skill at the game) doesn't take into account all the situations and factors that could lead different Civilizations to perform well or poorly.

Without getting exhaustive, an easy example is the Architects. It appears based on our experience, that they are a "low floor, high ceiling" Civilization. New and casual players are probably scoring lower with them than other Civilizations while more experienced and competitive players might be scoring higher. Adjusting based on the mean doesn't fix the problem for either group - it's not enough to make up the gap for the new players, and it makes an already strong Civilization for experts even stronger.

How many of the recorded data points are 1st or 2nd game players? Probably a higher percentage than we'll see a couple months from now. It's likely the mean scores for some Civilizations increases more than others. So any adjustment isn't some "correct" number. It's a choice - trying to sacrifice in some areas to provide a better play experience in others. You can choose to make adjustments based on the mean scores now, because 1st and 2nd games are valid player experiences, or you could wait and adjust when the data likely presents a profile of games with a higher average player skill. It's a choice either way, with context and priorities.
I couldn't agree more with literally everything you said.

As for my comment, I was being a bit facetious, but I do find it funny that the forums were railing against Futurists for being OP and now that we have a nerf, some are now arguing that Futurists aren't as bad as everything thought.

But on the main topic, you are 100% right and I totally agree that these sorts of VP nerfs or buffs are going to feel right some of the time and lead to feelings of imbalance the rest of the time... when it's an extra resource or something like that, it is very hard to point to that resource at the end of a game and know how much it was worth... but if you lose by 10 to a player who got 30 VP because of the Civ they chose, it's gonna feel artificial despite all of the math that went into determining that VP handicap... and when you factor in variable player experience and the fact that most people these days play more games fewer times while some groups still play their games 50+ times, it's very tricky to put a VP stake in the ground.
 
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Eric Hogue
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ski6913 wrote:
Unfortunately, I have to agree. I understand that hundreds of playtests were done before release, but the idea that no one realized that one civ (Heralds) is apparently 75 points better than another (Chosen) in a 5-player game is sort of astounding. An effective 75-point effective advantage for one civ over another (in the game as designed, without these modifications) is just crazy, and the fact that playtesting didn't recognize it is nuts.
Unless the game itself is very swingy, where the standard deviation of performance within a faction itself is 50+ points (say, 150-250 points), in which case thousands of playtest could reveal a bias you don't see in hundreds of playtests.
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Tim Yatsco
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Can you post pdf on BGG files?
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