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Subject: Threat Levels rss

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Joel Schuster
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Anyone curious about how the threat levels are done as well ?

I noticed this oddity in several games now:

When, after two turns probably, everyone ticked his dial twice in total. Everyone, but Nurgle, has his first upgrade card. Everyone made some progress towards victory. Everyone can possible win by dial, not so much Nurgle though, since he still has the longest way to go.

Now you'd think that naturally Nurgle is to be considered the one with the lowest threat so he can at least decide about event cards, but he is not. At that point, for whatever reason, it is Tzeentch who has the lowest threat. So poor Nurgle does not have an upgrade card, despite everyone else and he cannot even decide about events, which is sometimes quite important. Imagine Meteor Shower coming up, everyone on the same dial level and Tzeentch can even decide where to put those tokens, while he has the second shortest dial ! With experienced players it is more likely than not that by having ties over the double ticks, everyone just ticks his dial once for the two first turns.

L:01-02-03-04-05-06-07-08-09-10-11
K:03-06-12-14-17-23-28-31-32-VV
N:01-05-10-13-18-22-26-30-33-34-VV
T:02-07-09-15-20-21-25-29-VV
S:04-08-11-16-19-24-27-VV

As you can see on Level 03 it wraps around between Tzeentch and Nurgle, Tzeentch only going from 7 to 9, while Nurgle effectively doubles his threat from 5 to 10, even though he is the only one without an upgrade card reward and still has the longest way to go by dial.

Tzeentch remains the most harmless for another level before it is reversed again and Nurgle takes over the lowest rank.

Then, all of a sudden on Level 05, Tzeentch is now the one with the highest threat, even though Slaanesh is only three ticks away from winning, closer than anyone else. Thats last to first within two ticks for Tzeentch for no obvious reason.

On Level 06 it is the first time ever that Slaanesh actually takes first spot, at the moment he is only a double tick from winning. Odd enough, on the next level, if Slaanesh ticks again and is just one more tick before victory, Khorne takes over first place, who is at that moment still three ticks from winning and thus has actually little chance at all.

Of course, not everyone will always be on the same level, someone is likely to lack behind and will thus clearly have the lowest threat and is in decision on the events.

Nevertheless you have to consider everyone ticking up simultaneously and then the one with the longest way to go by dial should have the lowest threat and make the decisions. Thats not always applied though and I am seeing some wild jumps there.

Anyone to comment ?
 
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Joel Schuster
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Why are the dials not linear, like this:

L:01-02-03-04-05-06-07-08-09-10-11
K:02-06-10-14-18-22-26-30-33-VV
N:01-05-09-13-17-21-25-29-32-34-VV
T:03-07-11-15-19-23-27-31-VV
S:04-08-12-16-20-24-28-VV


So, the one closest to victory by dial always has the highest threat. On the same level, the one with the longest way to go has the smallest threat and is thus allowed to decide about events.

I am no game designer or a math expert, so please enlighten me by convincing points
 
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Chris K.
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well, for level two my best guess would be:

If Nurgle actually manages to reach level two at the same time as everyone else, then everyone else must have messed up big time, so Nurgle likely actually IS the greatest threat at the moment.

Without too much analysis I'd assume that it takes into account what are likely constellations of the dial advancements, for instance Korne, Tzeentch and Slanesh grabbing the occasional extra tick, so even with their "same level-lowest threat" they are likely not the one with the actual lowest threat as they are one or two steps ahead of some of the others.

Also if a power isn't just going for the dial, but for points instead it may not be the closest to winning by the dial and yet still be the closest to wining.
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Ragh Gavar
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Tzeentch is the Master Manipulator. More often than not, his schemes decide where things go.
 
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Joel Schuster
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You can never take victory points into account for deciding about dial threat since you simply dont know about that. So you have to leave that out of the discussion for sure. It is a point that doesnt fit to this at all, it is unknown information, so you'll have to treat it like that.

Nurgle is unlikely to win by dial, but not because his trigger condition is so bad, or because he is unlikey to match it very often. In fact his condition is as good as any other, he can even get more dial tokens by his greater demon upgrade (in theory) which noone else can. I think the more important point is that his dial is too long to see the end of it.

But lets not derive too much from the original topic. All on level 3 of the dial, Khorne is considered the most threat even though he has the second longest way to go. Nurgle is NOT the least threat, even though he has the longest way to go still. Thats quite a mismatch for me.

You can go with individual player powers, but there are certain issues with it. I think this game does exceedingly well to avoid such issues, just not this one for instance

Going individual for the threat level doesnt add much for making the player powers unique, but it may cause some troubles on the other hand.
 
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Chris K.
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Actually I think that this game works so well exactly because it takes into account more dimensions for a given board situation.
So just taking into account what is the likely VP Situation at a given time of equal dial advancements would very well be something I'd see the designers doing.

Also I think that just checking equal standings is really distorting it big time, as it is a VERY unlikely situation.

Anyway, we can theoretize all we want, the only person that will be able to give you a really qualified answer for that design decision would be the designer himself.

I am merely pointing out what I assume are possible reasons.
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Joel Schuster
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chrisdk wrote:
Also I think that just checking equal standings is really distorting it big time, as it is a VERY unlikely situation.


May agree with the rest, but I have to disagree with this one.

The more experienced a group gets, the better their eye for the dial advancements and how to set up ties so noone ticks away. Also securing your regular single dial tick gets very important. It happenened in quite some games to me that initially everyone ticked exactly once for 2 or 3 turns, until enough Chaos reached the board, so someone could sneak away or was left behind in ticks. Thus I feel it is important that the levels make sense when everyone has the same position.
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Alex Katsoufis
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Umbratus wrote:
You can never take victory points into account for deciding about dial threat since you simply dont know about that. So you have to leave that out of the discussion for sure. It is a point that doesnt fit to this at all, it is unknown information, so you'll have to treat it like that.

Nurgle is unlikely to win by dial, but not because his trigger condition is so bad, or because he is unlikey to match it very often. In fact his condition is as good as any other, he can even get more dial tokens by his greater demon upgrade (in theory) which noone else can. I think the more important point is that his dial is too long to see the end of it.

But lets not derive too much from the original topic. All on level 3 of the dial, Khorne is considered the most threat even though he has the second longest way to go. Nurgle is NOT the least threat, even though he has the longest way to go still. Thats quite a mismatch for me.

You can go with individual player powers, but there are certain issues with it. I think this game does exceedingly well to avoid such issues, just not this one for instance

Going individual for the threat level doesnt add much for making the player powers unique, but it may cause some troubles on the other hand.


Damn Eurogames

Balance does not come from how same the factions are. The idea behind this game is that every factions plays completely different from the others, yet in the hands of experienced players the balance is near-perfect.

You might be right that Nurgle's trigger condition is as good as the others in the aspect of how easy it is to achieve it but it is the only one that is sure to give him a considerable amount of points by dominating the Populous regions.

In the first round Tzeench's and Slaanesh's target regions are dictated by luck wich means that they could very well be not that much of a prize points wise. And even if it happens that their regions coincide with the Populous ones Nurgle has to choose from 4 and they have less (3 the most for Tzeench) making them a good target for Khorne. Who, because he has to play with warriors (cost 2) will end his turn sooner than the others and he needs a safe bet as to where to "park" his them as everybody else moves around them trying to avoid them.
In subsequent turns Tzeench and Slaanesh will have much more options but by now Nurgle will have established domination in the meaty regions and while if the other two come to claim corruption in those regions everybody will tick some and Nurgle will get a shitload of points in the proccess. But wait if he is to keep up with the others he will have to get 2-3 dial advancment tokens per turn, wich means 6-10 points minimum PER TURN. Put ruination on top of that wich will almost certainly have Nurgle as the ruiner and with the most ruination, then yes, if Nurgle is keeping up dial-wise he is the biggest threat.

The first Nurgle victory I saw was exactly because the Nurgle player stayed low in the dial, letting us take the heat from the heroes and deciding what would happen with the events, while getting just enough points to stay on the lead, so when the ruinations started to pop up he shooted beyond 50 and ended the game with a big smile.

While now in the PBF game we're playing he has the MOST dial ticks and he is painting the floor with us...shake

PS.In a Khorne-less 3 player game I realised that the role of the Old World bully is passed on to Nurgle with his cost 1 warriors so keep in mind that also.
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Joel Schuster
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I didnt say the game is not balanced, I said the threat makes no sense at some levels. On which levels the threat significantly changes forth and back can never be savely connected to events during a game since this is random and everchanging.

So you can only connect it to the dial itself and there it makes no sense at some specific points only. Generally it does but there are some exceptions, and I'd like to know why



 
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Travis Hall
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Umbratus wrote:
You can never take victory points into account for deciding about dial threat since you simply dont know about that. So you have to leave that out of the discussion for sure. It is a point that doesnt fit to this at all, it is unknown information, so you'll have to treat it like that.

That's not entirely true. With an appropriate amount of data collected from playtesting, it would be possible to assess a correlation between dial advancement and victory points. A little Bayesian inference can go a long way. (Not that the designers necessarily did formal statistical analysis, of course. I'm just saying it is possible. And game designers being game designers, they may have attempted to assess such a correlation by eyeballing it, which can have a degree of success.)

There may be another assumption you make which is likely to be more problematic, though. You seem to be assuming that Threat Value is indicative of a player's probability of winning, or probability of achieving a dial victory, at a given moment in time; possibly even that Threat Value is a mechanic that is supposed to provide a catch-up mechanism. This may not be the case at all, or may only be partly true.

It may be that Threat Value is simply considered, by the designers, to be indicative of how much the people of the Old World fear the given evil god; that Threat Value is only partially, and possibly indirectly, linked to the probability of winning.
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Joel Schuster
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Thats all true Travis and may or may not be the reason why the threat values are as they are. I pointed out this issue to make people aware and because I'd like to know the real reason

I kindly asked Mr Lang to provide the answer if he has the minutes to spare. Noticed before that he thumped some reviews and sessions, so he certainly is around at times...
 
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Alex Katsoufis
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Umbratus wrote:
I didnt say the game is not balanced, I said the threat makes no sense at some levels. On which levels the threat significantly changes forth and back can never be savely connected to events during a game since this is random and everchanging.

So you can only connect it to the dial itself and there it makes no sense at some specific points only. Generally it does but there are some exceptions, and I'd like to know why


You cannot take an aspect of the game and view it as something completely independent from the rest of the mechanics.

My point was that since the factions in this game play completely different you have to view their dials differently.

Khorne's dial is vital to his victory (never seen a Khorne point victory), and he needs to double tick most of the time to keep up with his opponents so it makes sence that his threat level will augment in a slower pace from tick to tick... but since he double ticks it's not as slow as it seems in comparison to Nurgle.

In the other hand, each time Nurgle ticks (and don't forget many times he will tick only one with more than one dial advancement tokens) he is getting points from domination AND bringing closer to ruination one of the Populous regions, the ones with the greater payoff.
So he is advancing with a quicker rate than the others on each tick.
 
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Drake Coker
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It could be as simple as the designer wishing to give the advantage to different people throughout the game too. Assuming even dial ticks between all the players, I can't think of any reason to give Nurgle the power to decide every event card. That would be pretty strong! So perhaps it just gets mixed up a little and there is no real pattern or deeper rational to find.

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Vern Ryan
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Umbratus wrote:
I didnt say the game is not balanced, I said the threat makes no sense at some levels.


That's because it's Chaos, it's not supposed to make sense. wow

I've wondered about the threat levels myself but without extensive tracking them in multiple plays it would be hard to see if there is a reason for them. I dont find it surprising that Nurgle tends to be behind on the track since his victory isnt tied to it and I dont find his upgrades to be as strong as many of the others. I dont think it's horrible for Nurgle to miss getting an advancement tick on his turn if he manages instead to plop down a ton of corruption in an out of the way corner of the old world.
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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The universe doesn't move along in tidy little increments, with everything homogenized into boring consistency. The unexpected, the irregular, the singular events punctuate life, and games, making them interesting.
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Fabian
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This is getting quite philosophical when you think about the fact that it's just some jumbled numbers printed on cardboard.
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Nathan Sharpe
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Fabian, I think of games sort of like a book. Books can also spark philosophical comments even though they're just a series of letters printed on some paper.

I noticed Slannesh's low threat values and thought that it was because he spends time corrupting nobles and heroes. He is so insidious none of the hero tokens would dare prioritize Slannesh over the others! I also think Alex and Christophs' logic for Nurgle to have a value of 10 at its third dial tick makes sense. In my experience so far, Nurgle is the last to get to three dial ticks. If somehow he wound up there quickly enough to take the lead in threat, especially if it somehow got its upgrade first, then I would agree that it probably would have scored more points along the way and that it would indeed be more of a threat at that early stage of the game. The point of the game where Nurgle crosses the threshold of the first upgrade is definitely justifies its threat doubling.
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Bryan McClendon
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Because the threat dials are not linear or equal in any way. They are different lengths and give different benefits, so trying to compare them just by looking at the number of ticks is really missing the point.

This is clearly illustrated in the rules book when it describes the different roles and their strategies. For example in the section under playing Nurgle it says "It is easier for you to win by scoring victory points than advancing your Threat dial."

So in your example of every God gaining 2 ticks, the Nurgle player not getting the benefit of being the least threat truly has handicapped himself by trying to play the threat race game against other players who are also using the same strategy effectively.

In other words, the game is balanced but the threat dials are not, this is by design.
 
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