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Subject: Flash duel future/balance rss

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James Riemers
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lets talk about the philosophy of this game and the balancing there of
(based on extensive play)

the need is that the game requires a more uniform balance among the characters. so now that we have a goal we must discuss the means of achieving that goal. typically in game balance it is better to make the weaker characters more powerful than it is to limit the powerful characters. but before we jump the gun on this one lets take a look at some ideas.

1. there is a large amount of under powered vs top tier. jefferson degrey, girl stormalong (jaina stormborne), brad pitt-time thief (max geiger) are the top tier. so to make every other character competitive with the top tier is going to require a major effort
2. we have to take into account the integrity of the characters. to make the mass of weaker characters stronger, we may ruin what makes them special, or their flavor. imagine making gambling panda better by taking away the risk of using his abilities, he would no longer be a "gamble". since he is the "dan" of flash dual, perhaps he should be underpowered
3. one of the most important philosophy of balancing is the fun factor. this is why we try not to make strong characters weaker, because it is not fun to use something that use to be powerful. however we must ask ourselves, are the top tier characters fun to play against? they tend to have easy, or cheap wins with almost no skill involved in using them. they are characters for novices, or often have advantages of playing both offensively and defensively. given the nature of the game, it would be hard to give the 7 remaining characters more effective moves to compare with the top tier still have smooth game mechanics.
4. when balancing a game, the most important idea is to remember that we need to balance it, because that is the goal. this means that points 1,2,3 are good to have in mind when balancing a game, however hey cannot totally interfere the balancing process. however a perfectly balanced game is chess, and flash dual is not chess, thus the best course of action is to create the illusion of balance. one way to do this is by making certain characters trump other characters (much like the weakness/resistance system of pokemon) also known as rivalries.

lets also take into mind that this game may need a re-release with good taste such as sf-turbo/championship, or possibly even an expansion. one possible idea is to add 1 new ability to each character so that each character now must choose three out of four possible choices of abilities before the match.

we must also take note that if this was a computer/online game, the cards would be patched or changed on regular basis until they achieved optimal balance. we must also take note that if this was a computer/online game the play test would go easier due to a larger pool of players. plus this was Sirlin's first attempt at a card game. perhaps we should make no changes to any cards and just deal with the established tier list (which isn't that bad). whatever happens this is still one of the best card games i have ever played, and will always be a great source of entertainment.

Those are my thoughts, this is my question: What course of action will be taken? and why do so many characters have eye-wear?

Suggestions:
1.consider the success of small games like plants vs zombies and put this game on the iphone,
2.consider the future success of the once ds game turned xbox live might and magic: clash of heroes. Xbox live psp network ftw
3. use consistent game language, defined in a rule book
4. team up with penny arcade (sirlin+penny arcade= infinite amounts of good game knowledge")
 
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Adam Ruzzo
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Dude, this is one of the lightest games I own. Are you really talking about balance? I don't even find a problem with any of the characters being underpowered.

I mean, the game is primarally random anyway. The outcome of a single round is almost always based on who got which cards when. Did you have a 5 in your hand when he dashing struck you? If you did, you win the round with a block and a counter. If you didn't, then you lose the round due to retreating and getting hit on the next turn.

Sure, there's some skill in calculating risk, and playing to your character's strengths (which is why this game is better than En Gaurde), but the outcome is still so heavily dependant on luck.

That doesn't make the game bad, that just makes it a light non-competitive fun game. My understanding is that Yomi is the more competitive game that should be more concerned with balance.
 
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Chad Miller
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So, James, just curious, are you saying that the tiers are:

-Jaina, Geiger, Degrey
-Everyone else
-Lum

?

What would you estimate to be the winrate of top vs. mid?
 
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Adam Ruzzo
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Lum isn't at the bottom! I won two rounds in a row with him using his make a straight power, both on turn 2! My opponent called BS
 
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Guy Srinivasan
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Bridger wrote:
I mean, the game is primarally random anyway. The outcome of a single round is almost always based on who got which cards when.

...

Sure, there's some skill in calculating risk, and playing to your character's strengths (which is why this game is better than En Gaurde), but the outcome is still so heavily dependant on luck.

I was off playing Cities and Knights while Robin and Adam played 12 matches upstairs. Robin won 11/12. Maybe Robin's good, maybe Adam's bad, but you don't get a result of 11/12 if the game's as luck dependent as all that.
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Some Donkus
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Selphie wrote:
4. when balancing a game, the most important idea is to remember that we need to balance it, because that is the goal. this means that points 1,2,3 are good to have in mind when balancing a game, however hey cannot totally interfere the balancing process. however a perfectly balanced game is chess, and flash dual is not chess, thus the best course of action is to create the illusion of balance. one way to do this is by making certain characters trump other characters (much like the weakness/resistance system of pokemon) also known as rivalries.


What?
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stephen hope-ross
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Bridger wrote:
I mean, the game is primarally random anyway. The outcome of a single round is almost always based on who got which cards when. Did you have a 5 in your hand when he dashing struck you? If you did, you win the round with a block and a counter. If you didn't, then you lose the round due to retreating and getting hit on the next turn.

Sure, there's some skill in calculating risk, and playing to your character's strengths (which is why this game is better than En Gaurde), but the outcome is still so heavily dependant on luck.


in playtesting, people mostly dashing-struck with doubles, and the game was designed with that in mind. Dashing-striking with a single is basically asking for a counter-attack, like you said. If you start doing that, and start looking for openings, you can see a lot of choices in actions. The game might be light-weight, but it has a lot of depth. Remember to look for tells in the opponent's plays too.
 
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Adam Ruzzo
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That is true Stephen. I was not implying that my example was perfect play. I was attempting to demonstrate how much luck plays into the game. The game has some very fun risk calculations, but aside from that, it's a very light game. There is nothing wrong with that, but once you understand the risk calculations the rest of the game boils down to luck.

So if two players are both playing optimally (which I would argue is possible in this game), my argument is that luck plays a larger part than the powers currently do (as they are close enough to balanced as to have little impact when used properly).
 
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Chad Miller
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Well, the real argument then is if the game really is solved. Literally all games ever (even deep ones) become either luck of the draw or foregone conclusions if optimal play is possible.

Chump: I ignored that part on purpose tbh
 
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Colin Street
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It seems rather bold to claim not only that DeGrey/Jaina/Geiger is the top tier, but that they are far above the rest of the cast. I disagree with both of those statements.

The illusion of balance seems obviously worse than proper balance. There invariable be local imbalances in an asymmetrical game (though we can try to reduce them and may disagree about where they are). Designers don't need to introduce more imbalances on purpose.
 
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John Fanjoy
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Selphie wrote:
3. use consistent game language, defined in a rule book
Um, what? The cards all seem pretty consistent with each other and the rulesheet to me.
 
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Justin Simonson
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The one balance problem I see is Arg, who strikes me as weak. I'd like someone to convince me otherwise.

Here's what I'm seeing:

SLIPPERY FISH
Someone in another thread mentioned that the "free" retreat doesn't further Arg's goal of reaching time out. And when using it, Arg still loses his next turn.

BUBBLE SHIELD
Extremely edge case. The cool thing is that you can retreat from an attack (normally retreats only work against dashing strikes). But you have to have a pair of the same card in hand (not guaranteed). Using that pair means you won't have it to attack with or defend later. You still lose the next turn for retreating. And it only works if the opponent attacks with a 1, which I find rare. (I'm much more likely to dashing strike with a 1 to apply pressure, rather than move, wait for the Arg to act, then attack with the 1. Is this just me?) I wish it worked against any attack, or perhaps 1, 2, and 3 attacks.

PACIFISM
In the few games I've played, timeout seemed to be very rare, unless Setsuki was playing and DSing all over the place. Every time there was a timeout, someone won with a final attack, making Pacifism moot.


I really wish Arg had some card draw ability. Ideally it would be less reactive, or would react to a wider range of triggers than Bubble Shield. Card draw would put the round closer to timeout, or (if Bubble Shield were still around) would make it less harsh to lose a pair as cost.

EDIT: I do agree with Bridger (above) that Flash Duel is very high-variance. Luck plays a big part. That's the flip side to a game that's so quick to pick up and play. The relatively high number of rounds (3 of 5) makes up for this a bit, but if it's still feels to random, doing best 4 of 7 might be a good alternative.
 
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Colin Street
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Pacifism seems obviously powerful to me. His other abilities are not stellar, but Pacifism more than makes up for that.

Slippery Fish would be insane without the turn skip, so saying "you still skip" as if somehow this makes the ability bad is flawed reasoning. You're comparing it to something that cannot exist.


The variance in this game feels overstated. I feel there are some rounds where I just get locked out, but I think don't think it often decides the result of a set.
 
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stephen hope-ross
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ARMed_Pirate wrote:
]
SLIPPERY FISH
Someone in another thread mentioned that the "free" retreat doesn't further Arg's goal of reaching time out. And when using it, Arg still loses his next turn.

yeah, it doesn't, but retreat with one means you lose the least amount of ground. Unless retreating one puts you at a range to die, its the optimal strategy.

ARMed_Pirate wrote:
]
BUBBLE SHIELD
Extremely edge case. The cool thing is that you can retreat from an attack (normally retreats only work against dashing strikes). But you have to have a pair of the same card in hand (not guaranteed). Using that pair means you won't have it to attack with or defend later. You still lose the next turn for retreating. And it only works if the opponent attacks with a 1, which I find rare. (I'm much more likely to dashing strike with a 1 to apply pressure, rather than move, wait for the Arg to act, then attack with the 1. Is this just me?) I wish it worked against any attack, or perhaps 1, 2, and 3 attacks.

This ability is a bit tricky, but something you should think about is, not when does it get used, rather how do I get to use this ability? It may be a reaction ability, but you can set yourself up for it. If you've got some 2s in your hand, get right in their face and wait for them to attack you with a pair of ones, then play bubble shield and timeout! You do lose a pair, but you draw cards back and probably get another pair. Also, you run the deck out with this ability a lot!
I have to point this out: You always have a pair in your hand unless you have the straight.
ARMed_Pirate wrote:
]
PACIFISM
In the few games I've played, timeout seemed to be very rare, unless Setsuki was playing and DSing all over the place. Every time there was a timeout, someone won with a final attack, making Pacifism moot.

You have to play around this ability! I can't stress this enough: you need to play around the characters strengths. Playing every character the same is not the optimal strategy. You need to waste cards as Arg with enough room to retreat. He can dashing-strike, but it should only be to gain ground. Don't push the advantage too much, and leave yourself enough room to get out of range whenever possible. Remember to watch the size of the deck and the cards in the discard.



I agree with Rebb. The strategy may seem light right now, but look as deeply as you can, and approach it like you would chess or Rock-Paper-Scissors (for those of you in the RPS world championships, and yes that does exist and does demonstrate that even RPS is deep.)
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Aaron
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CitizenFry wrote:
Selphie wrote:
3. use consistent game language, defined in a rule book
Um, what? The cards all seem pretty consistent with each other and the rulesheet to me.

I agree with John, the language is used consistently. This is very fortunate, as there are certain things that are not directly explained in the rulebook (exactly what happens when one round ends and the next begins) that I had to infer from other rules (time-out and setup).
 
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Allen Sorensen
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I wasn't crazy about the use of the term "Pre-Combat" after playing years of Magic the Gathering. I mean, doesn't the combat happen when you attack and dashing strike? I get that you use Pre-Combat abilities before you Move, Attack, or Dashing Strike, but you all catch my drift.
 
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Fede Miguez
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CitizenFry wrote:
Selphie wrote:
3. use consistent game language, defined in a rule book
Um, what? The cards all seem pretty consistent with each other and the rulesheet to me.
there some little issues. Some cards mention white/light spaces and dark spaces. It should all be black/white or dark/black spaces.
It's a pity that you have to resort to a FAQ to understand what "Counter" means. I think overall keywords were not stressed enough to make it clear from the first play. Like having Attack always capitalized or in italics to show it's a keyword. We mixed up lots of abilities between attack and dashing strike in our firsts plays ( like dragon form, ninja dashing strike when opponent blocks on Attack, not a dashing strike).

Btw, this topic is very lacking. What are the imbalances people are talking about? Why are DeGrey, Jaina and Geiger better than the rest? No reasons are mentioned.
The thing i see they have in common is that they have the "i move me/you, i attack and you lose" type of ability. Push/Pull from DeGrey, Charged Shot from Jaina and the Fast Forward from Geiger. This abilities don't work by themselves and can be worked around them without too much effort. And they need cards to be used, so the player has to make them happen.
The only case i see is a hard counter is Rewind Time against Pacifism, won't argue that one.
Panda is weak? He is random, lose big or win big. He can win 2 rounds with you not able to do anything (Raise the Stakes and Poker). Won't happen often (i seen it done) but pays off big.
Haven't played enough with fish guy to argue, but i think he just plays differently, not to win but avoid losing (and avoid that last strike!)
 
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