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Campaign Manager 2008» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Why card draw is not the only way to win Campaign Manager 2008 rss

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Jesse Dean
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There is the perception in certain circles that focusing on card draw is the most effective way to win the game. Based on both my experiences in the game (currently at 27 plays) and how the game is structure, I would suggest that this is not the case. Card draw is a useful tool in the arsenal of tricks available to the successful player, but is only one of several tools available.

Leaving aside for now the cards that allow you to draw three or draw two and play one, the cards that provide card draw allow you to either gain 1 support in a state, move a state’s issue track one space in either direction, or let you change a state’s demographic. Cards with similar functions combine two of the other options together, providing movement along the issue track plus an influence, an influence plus a demographic shift, or a demographic shift and movement along the issue track.

So let us, for a moment assume that you need to gain one influence and move along the issues track once in order to win a state. With the gain one influence and move once along the issues track this takes one card
play. With the gain one influence/move once on the issues track + draw a card cards this would take two card plays. Granted you would have replaced both of your cards used with these two card plays, but this would also give your opponent time to retaliate and prevent you from winning the state with the second card play, whereas the one influence + one movement along the issues track card would not. Additionally, this single card can be replace with a simple draw a card action, meaning that you are essentially giving your opponent the opportunity to prevent you from winning a state in exchange for seeing an additional card. The same applies for any other combination of two actions involving the board.

This is not to say that you always want to take the cards that give you a combination of two actions. The cards that allow you to do something and then also draw a card are useful when that one item is the only thing you need to do. After all, it is at least a little bit of a waste to play a card that moves you along an issue track and changes the demographic when you just need to move along the issue track to win a state. In those situations it is better to play a card that lets you move along the issue track and draw a card.

The exception to this general rule about card draw not necessarily being better than combination of actions is violated for the cards that allow you to draw three (Online Fundraising/Private Fundraiser) and allow you to draw two and play one (Oprahpalooza/The Governator). These are both very powerful cards and generally superior to pretty much everything else that you can get (except for, perhaps, the negative campaigning cards). There power does not come, however, from their card draw abilities but simply due to their exceptional efficiency. Each one is the equivalent of taking an extra turn. The draw three card replaces itself (0 turns), and then gives you two draws (one turn for the first draw, two turns for the second draw) for one action, leaving you with a net gain of a single action. The draw two play one works similarly replacing itself and then providing you the equivalent of a card draw and a card play, with some restrictions (the cards have to be from among those that you drew). I generally prefer the draw 3 cards, but both are very powerful and there are few situations where I would take other cards over either of them. This has nothing to do with their card draw properties, however, and is merely due to the effective extra turns that they provide.

So as you can see, while cards that provide additional card draw can be useful in the right circumstance they are not a dominant strategy in Campaign Manager 2008. Building an effective, reasonably balanced deck and hand management are what allow you to win a game of Campaign Manager 2008, not how many cards you draw over the course of the game.

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doubtofbuddha wrote:
So let us, for a moment assume that you need to gain one influence and move along the issues track once in order to win a state. With the gain one influence and move once along the issues track this takes one card
play. With the gain one influence/move once on the issues track + draw a card cards this would take two card plays. Granted you would have replaced both of your cards used with these two card plays, but this would also give your opponent time to retaliate and prevent you from winning the state with the second card play, whereas the one influence + one movement along the issues track card would not. Additionally, this single card can be replace with a simple draw a card action, meaning that you are essentially giving your opponent the opportunity to prevent you from winning a state in exchange for seeing an additional card. The same applies for any other combination of two actions involving the board.

This is not to say that you always want to take the cards that give you a combination of two actions. The cards that allow you to do something and then also draw a card are useful when that one item is the only thing you need to do.


I have not played nearly as many times as you, but inasmuch as this is a theoretical discussion, to me it seems that Campaign Manager is largely won and lost in the deck-building phase, before either player takes a turn. You're highlighting that non-cantrip cards come with two abilities rather than one. But the whole point of a card-advantage deck is that you almost never lose steam. It doesn't really matter what your opponent is doing on individual plays, it only matters that the time will come when they run out of gas and you score points on them while they sit on the sidelines.

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The exception to this general rule about card draw not necessarily being better than combination of actions is violated for the cards that allow you to draw three (Online Fundraising/Private Fundraiser) and allow you to draw two and play one (Oprahpalooza/The Governator). These are both very powerful cards and generally superior to pretty much everything else that you can get (except for, perhaps, the negative campaigning cards). There power does not come, however, from their card draw abilities but simply due to their exceptional efficiency. Each one is the equivalent of taking an extra turn.


This leaves me a little confused - the whole point of card advantage is to never be without turns. That's what card advantage is: the efficiency means that you're never caught in a lull, and you can simply wait around until your opponent is because the single effects on CM's cantrip cards are enough to maintain stalemates until they run out of gas.

I'm willing to see it differently based on a few more plays.
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JohnRayJr wrote:


This leaves me a little confused - the whole point of card advantage is to never be without turns. That's what card advantage is: the efficiency means that you're never caught in a lull, and you can simply wait around until your opponent is because the single effects on CM's cantrip cards are enough to maintain stalemates until they run out of gas.

I'm willing to see it differently based on a few more plays.


Yes, but Jack you are approaching the game as if pacing at all times is equally important. The player winning the states controls pacing. If you've depleted your hand to do so, bring out an insignificant state. What you don't want is to be depleted with a bunch of large states facing you. That is easily managed by good tactical play. In any event, since drawing a card, placing an influence, shifting an issue, or altering the key demographic all comport to one action, its relatively easy to discern that any combination of the two has situational advantages. To be sure, I usually put one of the fundraising cards in my deck, sometimes two, but an all draw deck is likely to leave you grasping to close the deal against some other possibilities.

But that's the point, you design your deck, I design mine, and we see situationally which one works better.

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JasonMatthews wrote:
Yes, but Jack you are approaching the game as if pacing at all times is equally important.


Right now I'm approaching it as a contest of endurance. If one player never has to recharge and the other player does, it should not matter which states are out. Generally speaking, back-and-forth play continues until one player cannot keep pace. They falter, lose a state, re-enter a slow downward spiral of deck-fatigue, falter, lose a state, and so on.

I understand that the intention is for individual cardplays/decisions/hand-management to counter-balance it, and I'd like to take an ideal demographic-support deck and try it a couple of times to see what happens. Right now it seems an awful lot like all individual cards and decision-making are simply forfeit in the face of indefatigable card draw. That's always been the point of card-draw decks in comparable games for the last two decades: the merits of individual plays are drowned out by constant play.
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Jesse Dean
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JohnRayJr wrote:


I have not played nearly as many times as you, but inasmuch as this is a theoretical discussion, to me it seems that Campaign Manager is largely won and lost in the deck-building phase, before either player takes a turn. You're highlighting that non-cantrip cards come with two abilities rather than one. But the whole point of a card-advantage deck is that you almost never lose steam. It doesn't really matter what your opponent is doing on individual plays, it only matters that the time will come when they run out of gas and you score points on them while they sit on the sidelines.


I clearly have not explained myself nearly as well as I should have. Double effect cards + 1 draw = two card draw cards. You are ending up in the same place after both, but one of them lets you potentially win a state without your opponent having the ability to respond against you. The other one lets you look at one more card, but to be quite honest, I would rather be able to win a state without a proper response.


Quote:

This leaves me a little confused - the whole point of card advantage is to never be without turns. That's what card advantage is: the efficiency means that you're never caught in a lull, and you can simply wait around until your opponent is because the single effects on CM's cantrip cards are enough to maintain stalemates until they run out of gas.

I'm willing to see it differently based on a few more plays.


I did not properly explain my terminology. When I say turn I mean either playing a card or drawing a card. With the draw 3 and draw 2 play/1 you are given the essentially getting an additional turn out of playing the card, either an additional card draw or an additional card draw/card play. I don't mean a turn = an additional card play. Now the fact that these cards are slightly more efficient then other ones available may give the appearance that card draw is paramount, but really these are only two cards, and while I would highly suggest getting one of them, two of them are not simply nice rather than necessary.

The place one influence on each issue card also essentially gives you an additional turn (since playing influence is the more powerful than either moving on the issue track or changing the demographic) but with the risk that some or all of your bonus will be negated by the going negative roll.

What is interesting about the discard 2/place 2 influence card is that you are essentially losing a turn by playing the cards (and potentially even more if the going negative roll is particularly bad), but in exchange are potentially winning a bigger state without your opponent ever getting a good response opportunity.

This is one situation where I really wish Campaign Manager had an on-line interface, because then I could clearly demonstrate this. There are a lot of subtleties to board play that are difficult (for me at least) to explain on-line. I get a sense that people (not just you, but others who have complained about the game as well) are playing it very differently then how I have been playing it.

John, could you explain how the game generally evolved for you during your two plays?
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Jack,

I am not trying to stiffle debate. Nor do I want to keep someone from answering Justin's challenge directly. But, I really do mean that persuading people in these sorts of forums is a mixed bag at best. I speak from VERY long experience with Twilight Struggle. For me to do so personally, only appears defensive. OF COURSE, I am going to say the game is balanced. Illustrating it in person does work. But more often than not, people who are willing to give the game a workout, will reach the conclusion on their own. That, of course, is the best form of persuasion.

Some will not be willing to commit the time. I certainly cannot fault that decision. Heavens knows I have discarded many, many games that seem to be flawed to me in some way, but if I worked at them, might not be.

But, you certainly shouldn't take my refusal to accept Justin's challenge as an insult to you, or Justin. I just wanted him to know that I was neither dodging him, nor likely to take him up on it.

Jason
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DscGlfr wrote:
houjix wrote:
I don't want to get caught up in the debate any more than I already have. Give the game six or twelve months and the community will give us an answer one way or the other. The community has passed its judgement on Twilight Struggle and 1960 and so shall it be with Campaign Manager.

For the time being I'm still going to politely ask you or Jason or anyone to put your money where your mouth is. Give us an ideal 15 card deck McCain deck and an ideal 15 card Obama deck. We'll run it through the paces and ask questions as necessary if we're not getting it to work properly. Let's stop the hand waving and theoretical discussion. Give us a list. It's an extremely simple starting point (though I recognize it may just be a starting point) for us to "see the light".


You'd have to define ideal before it's possible to design the decks. It's like asking someone to design the ideal Magic: The Gathering deck. You can design a deck which wins a good percentage of games, but if the contents of the deck are known, it's foil can be designed.


See this thread.
 
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JasonMatthews wrote:
I am not trying to stiffle debate. Nor do I want to keep someone from answering Justin's challenge directly. But, I really do mean that persuading people in these sorts of forums is a mixed bag at best. I speak from VERY long experience with Twilight Struggle.


I don't disagree with you. I don't think anyone expects you, personally, to hold forth on the inner workings of the game.

I also don't think I've seen all that much that covers the topic DoubtofBuddha started, and I'd like to read more, and I really do mean (teehee) that I would be interested to see an anti-cantrip deck posted - the foil referred to a couple of posts up. That, or I'd be curious to read session reports describing the move-countermove of 10-12 cardplays between these two types of decks.

As a matter of preference, I think the fact that a cantrip-heavy deck even exists in CM08 sucks. And that's not your problem. It does make me less inclined to tool around with the game more on my own ("you'll see"). Does anyone owe me strategic advice? No. But then we're here on the CM08 forums, talking about something, after all.
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Justin,

I have two roadblocks with your request. The first is that my vision of an "ideal" deck is a bit different from yours and Jack's. Maybe it would work out better if you posted an ideal card draw deck, and I presented you with an alternative that you could test against?

The second is that I would prefer to test out potential deck's myself before I hand it over to you, in order to make sure I have the mixes right. While I am fairly certain that card draw is not the be all, end all of this game there are certain cards that I am still working out the value of. Unfortunately, I don't currently have anyone who I can test this with as my previous two player game partner has suffered a rapid loss of interest in gaming as of late. Still, I will see what I can do.

Jack,
I hope you did not get the impression that I was suggesting you "play it and you'll see." The reason I was specifically asking you about your experiences was so that I can get a better idea of why my impressions were so different from yours (and Justin's).
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Justin, I see the deck now. I will see what I can do. That does look like a pretty strong deck, but I have a few idea of what may work against it. We'll see what happens. I do appreciate your contributions to this thread and forum, and I did not get any impression but the one that you stated you were giving. I am hoping this discussion will help others who might have had the same impression (but are silent) to come to a conclusion about whether heavy draw is the strongest way to go.

I am actually hoping that Alex Rockwell or bankler will end up contributing to this thread too. They both seem fairly positive about the game, and have written extensive strategy articles in the past. They also seem to have more active two player options.
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doubtofbuddha wrote:
There is the perception in certain circles that focusing on card draw is the most effective way to win the game. Based on both my experiences in the game (currently at 27 plays) and how the game is structure, I would suggest that this is not the case. Card draw is a useful tool in the arsenal of tricks available to the successful player, but is only one of several tools available.


I agree with your thoughts. The Draw3 and Draw2/Play1 cards are both definitely strong cards due to their efficiency. They are superior action-wise to what you could achieve by just drawing or playing normal cards with the same actions. Everyone seems to agree on this.

The 'do 1 thing, draw a card' cards are similar in power to the 'do two things' cards, but different. Sometimes getting both effects at once is critical, if it helps win the state, and then you can spend time reloading. Often the fight over a big state is not determined by players going back and forth until one runs out of cards. Instead, one player often can out-tempo the other to win.

The 'do two things' cards have a tempo advantage over the 'draw + 1 thing' cards that often makes them better. However if you dont need both effects then they are worse. Its a tradeoff.




I have also found the Draw3 to be better than the Draw2/Play1 card, because sometimes you'll draw two cards that are both unhelpful to the current situation. Also the draw3 can set you up into a huge hand which has advantages (and can make a small deck after a shuffle).
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I still only have about 8-10 plays or so, but I tend to like the 'do 2 things' cards when I am pretty sure I will want both effects in most cases, and the 'support + draw' cards otherwise.

For example, I really love:
1 support + 1 issue move in minority issue.
1 support + 1 issue move in candidate's strength.
2 issue move (toward minority)

These cards provide two actions at once towards winning a state and/or preventing the opponent from winning on their side. These cards are incredible when you begin to play them on a state where your opponent just put one support down on the other issue! You initiate a battle there while giving yourself a lead.

One side effect of this is that I dont like to initiate a battle over an important state without a couple of these cards in hand!


I also love:
1 support in weak issue + draw a card.

This card plays great defense! You play this somewhere that the opponent is trying to win and you arent, to slow them down. If you play this a couple times, they probably have to go drawing to get more support cards or they might waste good cards that give support + issue move, just for the support! Obviously, the counter to this is for them to play their support+draw card to counteract your play. For this reason, I also like to have a support+draw in my own support strength, to counteract this, and also because its a good way to begin playing into a state without depleting my hand.


I am not so fond of:
Change issue + draw.

If you play this to defend in a state the opponent is trying to win, after they played 1 support into it, then they can hammer you by playing 'support + issue move' back, and win the state. Your defense did nothing in that case.

If you gained support and they play a 2 support negative attack card, to counteract your play and win, then you made them pay dearly.


Yes there are times when change issue + draw is good. Its just less often that support+draw, so I dont want as much of it.


I am not fond of issue + demographic change. When you want one of these effects you often dont care much about the other, so it can be wasted.
I like demographic change + support, because it gives me control of the decided voters right before I set up the demographic to win the undecided ones.
Demographic change + draw is ok in a demographic deck, but I prefer the support card.


Demographics cards are tricky. Overloading on them seems terrible, I played with 4 demographics cards and got destroyed. I think that to play them right you need to focus on about 2 of them, and work on setting them up well. With too many, you lack the support to finish off states or defend. And they clog your hand such that you end up playing them to gain in one state, which is kindof like playing a support card that had restrictions.



For the attack cards, the gain 2 support on one issue cards are really expensive. They clearly should be played only on big states. Often a series of issue+support plays will do a better job of winning much more efficiently, while the opponent wastes some time trying to defend. A big advantage of the gain 2 support in one issue attack cards is the ability to sometimes win a state that your opponent just placed onto the table. They may have been planning a demographic play with it.

The gain 1 support in each issue is good in battles, where you are racing back and forth with support+issue change cards. Pretty good when it works, but the die roll can destroy you sometimes.

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Good show, but it tells us little about the effectivness (or ineffectivness) of the Demographic Deck. It seems to me that you are advertising concidering the 10 "double function" to replace some or all of the 10 "play and draw" cards that are available. It says little about what to do, and how to play the Demographic Cards that, according to sceptics is the problem in this game. How would you incorporate those in the deck along with the other 2 types?
 
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Anything yet?

Has anyone got a sample deck that can go up against the "draw up your entire deck" and win deck?
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chearns wrote:
Anything yet?

Has anyone got a sample deck that can go up against the "draw up your entire deck" and win deck?


Haven't seen any demonstration of anything that can beat the "draw" deck in all these years.
There seem to be some imaginary friends named "Jack" and "Justin" in this thread whistle

Some in this thread said it would be easier to show counters to draw-decks using an online interface - that exists now! On Yucata.
I like the basic system of the game, but for now I consider it a bit "broken" due to that one dominant strategy - but I'd love to be proven wrong.
 
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