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Subject: Potential variant to make diplomacy a bit more interesting rss

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Chris J Davis
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Inspired by a post in this thread:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/491127/runewars-inspired...

I've literally just thought this up this second (well, as much of it is mine, anyway - real kudos goes to Kaiwen Zhang from the thread above)), so don't know if the numbers would work out well or anything (maybe someone else can chime in on that part), but hows about this:

When attempting diplomacy with neutral units, pay an amount of influence as usual. Then draw cards from the fate deck one at a time, checking the icon in the quadrant of the card that corresponds to the base shape of the units until you have dealt out a number of "wound" symbols equal to the amount of influence you paid. Then choose one of the dealt cards to resolve, as normal.

If there is more than one base shape in the group of neutrals, use the base shape of the creature that appears lowest on the reference sheet (i.e, the strongest creature).

The idea is to make weaker units easier to recruit, and stronger units harder. It may be that it would be better off using the rout symbol or something, but you get the basic idea. Thoughts?
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mateo jurasic
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sounds like a good idea. Have you tried it out with the fate deck to see how it affects the odds?
 
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Chris J Davis
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Having a look through the fate deck, it seems it would be more appropriate to be either:

1) Number of non-miss results, or
2) Total values of all non-miss results

I'm not so brilliant with probability. Can anyone run the numbers on these two methods using the data in this thread:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/489637/runewars-fate-dec...-

EDIT: Initial "feel" is that it should be based on non-miss results, as the number of misses in each quadrant seems to scale well, giving a 40% better chance to recruit triangles/circles, 33% better chance for squares, and 20% better chance for hexagons.
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Cameron McKenzie
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That's not enough data. If there are any trends between the destiny symbol and the quadrant symbols then that is important to know. Destiny symbols and symbols in a certain quadrant could be equally probably, but if they always appear together that is a way different situation than if they rarely appear together!

Someone who actually owns the game can probably come up with some numbers for you, but if you feel like sending me detailed card data I can work on it for you. You know my e-mail ;-)
 
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Chris J Davis
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Your wish is my command.

E-mail sent.
 
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Kaiwen Zhang
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Oh wow, thanks for making a thread blush

Your implementation is pretty clever, however for a variant like this which can be parametrized, "piggy-backing" on existing probabilities may not get you the probabilities you exactly want (in fact, we don't know yet what probabilities we want!). The best would be for a future expansion to reprint the fate deck.

Another possibility may be to designate more ways to achieve positive results depending on unit type.

For example, you could say that for triangle units, 4 "misses" gives you a retreat (equivalent result to 1 retreat symbol), and 2 retreat symbols is equivalent to ally result. This way you have a lot more incentive to spend more influence because it "unlocks" the possibility of having multiple cards combining for a positive result.

The disadvantage would be that you would need to print an extra reference sheet for that. I still think my original idea of integrating it into the sections is ideal, but of course it's not house-rulable.

Maybe we should post this on FFG forum as well, see what Corey thinks.
 
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Chris J Davis
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I know, but we gotta play with what we've got!

The rough probabilities I came up with above seem about right though. Currently, any group of neutrals has an approximately 60% chance of being charmed to your side using a fresh fate deck and six influence. With the above fiddling, it should increase to approximately 85% for triangles/circles, 80% for squares, and 72% for hexagons.

Cameron is quite right though in that it isn't quite as simple as this, and that the cards need to be checked to see if certain types of outcomes are tied to particular symbols on the cards.

The only thing is that I have faith in Corey as a designer - he has proven that he designs very well balanced games, and so I should imagine (hope) that there is a reason that neutrals are as hard to recruit as they appear to be (to prevent the influence-heavy races from being able to recruit large armies, an area they are supposed to be weaker in, for instance).

Please post to the FFG forums - it's actually your idea after all! I doubt Corey would respond though, as the FFG designers tend not to comment on variants very much.
 
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Graham Smallwood
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I think the math comes out much easier if you disconnect the symbol you are looking for with the Good result on the top of the card.

Problems with current system:
One unit can scare off 2 dragons. One beastman is as easy to get as 5 beastmen, or 5 dragons. Monsters are Cool, and should be involved in the game instead of herded in to a dead end and murdered.

Attacking with Words(tm):
Draw cards equal to influence spent.

Routs take effect on the shape they appear on or lower, read down.

Then damage on a shape convinces that many hitpoints of that shape or lower to join, read down.

The rest attack, but the new converts don't participate.

Example:
Three beastmen sitting on the edge of a lake chillin'.
Spend 2 influence to say 'sup.
Check routs: Zero on circle, zero on triangle, one on square, none on hex. One guy flees.
Check damage: One on circle, none on triangle, none on square, one on hex. One guy joins since circle is too low.
Last beastman attacks, but joining beastman stays out of fight to see who wins.

What it accomplishes:
Partial success is possible, beastmen like shinies but hellhounds want to bite you. Tougher units are harder to get, hits need to all be on Hex for a dragon; two dragons not gonna happen (but they could split). Sending in a single guy won't work unless he gets the whole group, the others will smash him. One influence won't buy a dragon no matter what. Spending a small sum on a small group is viable.

Final percentages:
Uh... I dunno. Ooh, you could make a sim that calced chances not only for a new deck, but for all possibilities of a particular sized deck. Factorial time, but my algo prof isn't watching so nyah... 6 influence has the right % to get a giant though, but it will also hella convince two beastmen to join if they don't freak out and run at your awesomeness.


Data from Scott Lewis's post:

Circle:
12 Misses
12 Orbs
4 Damage (all 1)
2 Rout (all 1)

Triangles:
12 Misses
6 Orbs
8 Damage (all 1)
4 Rout (all 1)

Rectangles:
9 Misses
6 Orbs
10 Damage (6@1, 4@2)
5 Rout (3@1, 2@2)

Hexagon:
6 Misses
6 Orbs
12 Damage (5@1, 4@2, 3@3)
6 Rout (1@1, 5@2)
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Therron Thomas
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I will play devils advocate here. I like the suggestion but I propose two issues.

1. This method seems to abstract time and tasks oddly. The rules method makes me envision a leader sending influence to an area during a season to help his on ground commander gain the favoritism of the locals. Gifts, help, musicians, sparkly bits... whatever would gain the natives favor. If it came down to the baddest dude being harder to gain, it just seems too similiar to combat. My big bad guy scares your big bad guy so you all work for me.

2. This method also seems to make this more of a one time, 'join us or die' type thing. Again I like the feel of the courtship over a season to gain the favor. I mean if diplomacy was this easy, shock and awe would have every insurgent in Iraq waving american flags and singing yankee doodle.

Diplomacy seems to be more related to the overal commander or king or whatever getting word that Sir James is just thiiiiiiiiiiiis close to getting the wild giant to sign up on his side. The giant however loves goats to eat and just doesn't have enough. Thus the king sends herds of goats to make the giant like Sir James.

Just tossing out my thoughts for arguments sake.

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Cameron McKenzie
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bleached_lizard wrote:

The only thing is that I have faith in Corey as a designer - he has proven that he designs very well balanced games, and so I should imagine (hope) that there is a reason that neutrals are as hard to recruit as they appear to be (to prevent the influence-heavy races from being able to recruit large armies, an area they are supposed to be weaker in, for instance).


Hmm... which games are you thinking of?

Quote:
Your implementation is pretty clever, however for a variant like this which can be parametrized, "piggy-backing" on existing probabilities may not get you the probabilities you exactly want (in fact, we don't know yet what probabilities we want!). The best would be for a future expansion to reprint the fate deck.


No problem with that. We know what the current probabilities are, or rather can easily figure them out. We also know that we want diplomacy success to be based somewhat on unit type. I'll try a few different things out and see if I can come out with a distribution that's similar to the current one, except slightly easier for weaker units and perhaps slightly harder for stronger ones.

twthomas wrote:

2. This method also seems to make this more of a one time, 'join us or die' type thing. Again I like the feel of the courtship over a season to gain the favor. I mean if diplomacy was this easy, shock and awe would have every insurgent in Iraq waving american flags and singing yankee doodle.


Different doesn't necessarily mean either. Depending on how exactly we do it, we can probably make tougher units harder to recruit than they already area, and weaker units easier. The average result is the same, it's just that success varies based on the toughness of the unit.

The toughness of your units has nothing to do with it, so it's still diplomacy and not not bullying. The only thing is that tougher units are harder to recruit, presumably because everybody wants them and you have to make a pretty sweet offer to win them over to your side.
 
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Cameron McKenzie
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I'll worked on the numbers you sent me, and this is what I've come up with with a fairly balanced system. I didn't figure out any probabilities but I compared some statistics with the original diplomacy system and thought it looked okay.

When you attempt diplomacy, spend as much influence as you like and start drawing cards. As you draw, every damage symbol adds its number to the total "cost." Every rout symbol adds 1 to the "cost" (even if it was a Rout 2) and every special symbol adds 2. Once the total symbols have met or exceeded the amount of influence you spent, stop immediately, but keep the last card you draw even if you went over. Then choose the best result you got on all of the cards you drew.

Using this system, I've come up with a "difficulty rating" for each unit type:
Triangle - 20
Rectangle - 30
Circle - 28
Hexagon - 35

In this context, the original diplomacy system would have a difficult rating of 26 for EVERY unit type, so this is a bit harder for everything except triangles.

This statistic is simply the added total of all the cards that don't have a success (since the symbols are irrelevant if you've already drawn a success) and is really only useful for comparison.


Edit again - I misunderstood something about neutral results, so one of my suggestions doesn't work. However, I also forgot to mention that variance makes diplomacy attempts easier, and the difficulty ratings of each symbol are this system have more variance than the "26" benchmark, so rectangles and circles are likely to be pretty close, and hexagons might not be QUITE as difficult as they appear but still harder than they used to be. Triangles are WAY easier but that's okay because people probably didn't waste time trying to diplo them if diplo is especially hard.
 
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Chris J Davis
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MasterDinadan wrote:
bleached_lizard wrote:

The only thing is that I have faith in Corey as a designer - he has proven that he designs very well balanced games, and so I should imagine (hope) that there is a reason that neutrals are as hard to recruit as they appear to be (to prevent the influence-heavy races from being able to recruit large armies, an area they are supposed to be weaker in, for instance).


Hmm... which games are you thinking of?


First let me just insert a caveat to say that they are still obviously Ameritrash games, so they're not balanced to the point of being a Euro... but he tends to get AT games as close to being a Euro as possible (as tight, elegant mechanics as can fit in an AT game), IMO.

So... BSG, obviously. The TI3 expansion. WoW:TBG. Starcraft. Even Middle-Earth Quest (despite the missions problem - our games have always been very close). I've never played Tide of Iron or Warrior Knights, so can't comment on those.

Put him beside, say (to pick a name out of the air at random) Kevin Wilson, whose games are a chaotic, unbalanced luckfest (see: Arkham Horror, Descent, Android) and there's really no comparison.

Oh, and I don't think Corey had *that* much to do with Pegasus, by the way - I think it was more this Dan Clark person, whose name coincidentally also appears on the shambles that is Android.
 
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Cameron McKenzie
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I guess you are right. I incorrectly attributed Corey to a few game designed that were actually Kevin Wilson's, so I stand corrected. MEQ was just unbalanced enough to bother me and Pegasus was a mess but I guess that may not be Corey's fault =P
 
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