Recommend
7 
 Thumb up
 Hide
31 Posts
1 , 2  Next »   | 

Race for the Galaxy: Rebel vs Imperium» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Finding RvI strategy more linear and parasitic rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
msg tools
Having played a small number (~12) of RvI games against Keldon's AI (2p adv, no goals), I was taken aback by how much RvI emphasizes narrow, high-variance strategies even beyond what I'd expect from a set that focuses on the military route.

More cards in RvI give large bonuses or discounts for playing cards of a certain type and little benefit for anything else. I find that the specialized military bonuses, discounts for specific types of worlds, and six-cost developments that count a narrow subset of cards give a huge reward for committing to a specific path or for being lucky enough to draw the exact right card to get a benefit. Draw later in the game, these cards are either godsends or worthless, depending on what's in your tableau.

I found less of this in TGS - even strategy-pushing cards such as Replicant Robots, Galactic Federation, and Galactic Trendsetters left me with decisions about how best to take advantage of them. In RvI, I found myself having to cross my fingers and hope to hit the jackpot and draw the right worlds or the six-cost development of my chosen path.

I imagine RftG cards as Lego bricks, and RvI as one of the themed Lego sets with large custom pieces that fit together in pretty much one way to make the castle or pirate ship shown the box.

Rebels and Uplift seem to be the worst offenders here. The second game of RvI that I played, I started with Rebel Cantina and snowballed into a mass of Rebel worlds, Rebel enablers, and Rebel six-cost developments, which led me to a win by a huge margin. Even though I didn't really know what I was doing, my hand won the game for me. The whole game felt like a spin of the Rebel roulette.

Now, I know that my draws were unusually lucky. Still, even if this happens rarely, every such game feels like a waste. There are few decisions (I'll play another card with REBEL in big letters in its name!), and the win or loss feels undeserved. Because the combo is so blatant, I don't even get to fill clever for exploiting the synergies.

Moreover, in a four-player game, the chance of someone getting a ridiculous streak seems decent, which makes me wonder how much chance a strong but non-all-out strategy such as produce-consume has at winning. I don't want the game to end thinking either than I couldn't possibly have won or couldn't possibly have lost.

What am I missing about RvI that makes RftG players gush about it so much? Why did the excellent designers decide to push it in this direction? Am I stuck in a TGS mindset, or perhaps missing the power of more subtle synergies? Should I be playing more Explore +5? Would playing with goals make the game better?
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
msg tools
UlyZed wrote:

I sympathise with you to a degree. There are linear plans that are magnified by RvI, but for the most part I don't think the Uplift draws or even Rebel draws (which are very strong) compete with less 'brandname' combinations like Interstellar Bank+Investment Credits/Public Works/Galactic Developers.

I found turbo-develop to be strong in TGS, and the addition of a Develop-supporting start world and another Development-scoring six-cost development in RvI can only strengthen the strategy. Moreover, the addition of military worlds, especially high value ones, and military six-cost developments seems like another blessing for the develop-heavy build.

The fact that insane development beats Uplift or Rebel isn't very reassuring. Even though it's more flexible, the development strategy has the hallmarks of a quadratically-growing, self-fueling, sometimes-my-hand-is-unbeatable strategy that wins 75 to 30 when it works. However, I do like that even if you don't draw more developments with phase 2 powers, you can still switch to a "legitimate" strategy that takes advantage of discounted developments, whereas linear strategies seem to have no way to switch tracks.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Johan Rising
Sweden
flag msg tools
I agree with OP to some extent. Linear strategies (in all engine games, not just RftG) are lots of fun and easy to get into; but RftG would probably have benefited from implementing more modular strategies as it progressed with expansions. I'm not primarily talking about balance issues or lack of strategy (because with goals and all the filtering that goes on in RftG; there's still a decent amount of decisions to make on even when you're hellbent on one singular, narrow build) but more so that RvI lacked the element of exploration. In my opinion; Rebel Cantina was a definite Hit, because it works pretty well with both a pacifist and a military build - but plays completely different depending on what route you take - whereas Uplift Code is just a swingy, crazy game of roulette (that, at least in RvI; you're most likely going to lose).

RftG is of course an amazing, amazing game, but if I could go back in time and have a word with Lehman, I would have said to him "you know, you should just ignore all those people who call RftG a multiplayer solitaire. What the game needs is definitely not wonky rules for direct interaction. These rules and cards you have designed about Takeowers... They're cute and all, but really, they don't work that well. No, just ignore those people. Everyone who gets it knows that the game is absolutely stellar in the interaction department; with all the bluffs, leechings, goalcompetitions and mindgames that are going on in this game.

But Tom; most of the competitive builds that are viable in this game have been pretty darn linear as of yet. Your developments pretty much says things like "hey you! Play blue worlds! No other worlds! Blue! Play a bunch of them, and then play me; and you'll score lots of points!" and although that was great for the base game, we need a bit more modular, creative stuff for the expansions; and builds that plays differently from one another. How about juicing up the Terraforming build with a development that let you produce one good on a windfall world during the settle phase? How about a development that gave you a VP every phase where the player discarded at least one card? That would make for some crazy synergies with New Military Tactics, R&D Crash Program and massive card drawing; and it would be lots of fun to explore those possibilities. Or how about a start world that let you discard goods to lower prices when developing - players loved the Black Market in San Juan and would probably think that it was cute if there was an hommage in RftG."

(I don't know about these examples, actually. I made them up just now. Don't focus too much on them)

RftG is an amazing game, but most of the builds are kinda disapointing to me. It's like if the only decks you could build in Magic: the Gathering were goblin decks with Goblin King, merfolk decks with Lord of Atlantis, elf decks with bla bla; etc.
4 
 Thumb up
0.25
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Johan Rising
Sweden
flag msg tools
Quote:
By far the majority of my games are won by my opponent or I with a cobbled together group of synergies that are efficient for scoring VPs but don't subscribe to a theme.


Hmm... You seem to be talking about how consistent the builds are; how likely it is that a player hits all combo pieces. I didn't really touch upon this subject; I was talking about the nature of the combo pieces themselves: If there's an interesting difference between Mining League and Galactic Genome Project, etc.

But okay; what you're talking about is interesting too.

If by "subscribing to a theme" you mean an unlikely series of events like "Galactic Developers, double Develop for Investment Credits and Interstellar Bank, then drop G-Fed and New Economy"; then sure, I agree. It's very rare that a player hits all combo pieces all the time like that.

I use a little looser definition of the word than that. If I see Alpha Centauri, some other brown worlds, Mining Robots and Mining League; I think of it as a build. Yes, that player probably has a bunch of other stuff going on in his tableau apart from that, maybe even another subtheme, but I think it's quite rare that a player makes a conscious choice to depart from a linear build if he doesn't have to. I mean, sure, I might play Alien Toy Shop over Pirate World even when I'm on to a blue strategy - I'm not saying that it never happens - but I do believe those situations to be quite rare.

The builds themselves are, in my opinion, extremely linear. I'm not saying that players consistently manages to make the most of them, however. Those are different things.
1 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
JW
Australia
Doncaster
Victoria
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Rising wrote:
Quote:
By far the majority of my games are won by my opponent or I with a cobbled together group of synergies that are efficient for scoring VPs but don't subscribe to a theme.


Hmm... You seem to be talking about how consistent the builds are; how likely it is that a player hits all combo pieces. I didn't really touch upon this subject; I was talking about the nature of the combo pieces themselves: If there's an interesting difference between Mining League and Galactic Genome Project, etc.

But okay; what you're talking about is interesting too.

If by "subscribing to a theme" you mean an unlikely series of events like "Galactic Developers, double Develop for Investment Credits and Interstellar Bank, then drop G-Fed and New Economy"; then sure, I agree. It's very rare that a player hits all combo pieces all the time like that.

I use a little looser definition of the word than that. If I see Alpha Centauri, some other brown worlds, Mining Robots and Mining League; I think of it as a build. Yes, that player probably has a bunch of other stuff going on in his tableau apart from that, maybe even another subtheme, but I think it's quite rare that a player makes a conscious choice to depart from a linear build if he doesn't have to. I mean, sure, I might play Alien Toy Shop over Pirate World even when I'm on to a blue strategy - I'm not saying that it never happens - but I do believe those situations to be quite rare.

The builds themselves are, in my opinion, extremely linear. I'm not saying that players consistently manages to make the most of them, however. Those are different things.

I agree when you say that most of the 6devs are quite linear, and each one gives reward to a lot of the same things, however, I must disagree with you about the 'rarity' of 'departing from a linear build'. It is much more rare to get Alpha Centauri, some other brown worlds, Mining Robots, and Mining League, than it is to get Alpha Centauri, a random assortment of blue and green worlds, and say Imperium Lords. What do you do then?

In the base game it may be more true that the 'linear builds' happen more frequently (and I think this was what I found most exciting about the base game, the fact that linear builds work and happen frequently), however, with the expansions in and the deck becoming larger, linear builds happen much more 'rarer'.

And in the latest expansion, there are cards like the ones you've mentioned that discard goods to give discount to phases.

Plus the prestige mechanic (which I think is awesome), but let's not discuss that here.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
msg tools
Rising wrote:
Linear strategies (in all engine games, not just RftG) are lots of fun and easy to get into; but RftG would probably have benefited from implementing more modular strategies as it progressed with expansions.

This is the design decision that most surprises me. Making the game more linear with newer expansions seems backwards.

I would have expected that obvious, name-brand strategies would be emphasized in the base set for players to start with. I've seen newbies completely bewildered by the dizzying array of choices in RftG, and who would appreciate the guidance of a card that suggests "Play lots of rebels!" Indeed, the military route is popular with new players. Name-brand strategies are exciting and flavorful, and much more likely to be appreciated by beginners that subtle, incremental approaches.

My intuition here comes from the popularity of tribal decks in Magic the Gathering (a CCG) among the casual crowd. These decks built around a specific race (Goblins, Merfolk, etc) with cards that give abilities and bonuses to that race. Some advanced players decried such tribal decks as unimaginative, blatant, and self-playing, preferring finding their own strategies that were not built directly into the game. (Of course, Magic differs from RftG in that one constructs one's deck in advance, allowing tribal decks to be consistent.)

I would have expected that since each RftG expansion draws more experienced players, the game would grow more modular to cater to players who are now capable of making complex decisions and taking advantage of subtle synergies. This would favor exceptionally good understanding of the space of strategies, favor out-of-the-box and flexible strategies, and reduce the luck factor. Surely this is the direction that players want the game to go as they progress in skill? But this is exactly opposite to the direction that I see RvI moving the game.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Johan Rising
Sweden
flag msg tools
crushedguava wrote:
however, I must disagree with you about the 'rarity' of 'departing from a linear build'. It is much more rare to get Alpha Centauri, some other brown worlds, Mining Robots, and Mining League, than it is to get Alpha Centauri, a random assortment of blue and green worlds, and say Imperium Lords. What do you do then?


You're talking about consistency here. I agree with you; due to the nature of RftG, combos revolving around a select few cards aren't very reliable.

But consistency and linearity are completely different things.

In San Juan; you could very consistently get Guild Hall and a whole bunch of production buildings, but you didn't want to build too many production buildings, because they didn't really help you all that much. The Guild Hall-build was therefore quite modular, because you did not want to commit too heavy into it. Players chose to round things off with some violet buildings to improve their engines, even if they did manage to have a production building in their hands every time the builder action was picked.

What you're saying is that it's difficult to commit to a monoblue strategy because I can't rely on drawing all the blue worlds (or the relevant developments) that I need. I don't disagree with you. The strategy is not very consistent. But if I do happen to draw those blue worlds, then I will almost certainly play them, because the strategy is so blatantly linear. If I have Free Trade Association I will most likely play any blue world over any non-blue world of the same cost, because the synergy is just too strong for me to do otherwise. And it's not like it takes a lot of brains and cunning strategy to figure out this synergy; it says right on the card: "play blue worlds! You will get cards and points. That is what the game is about, so play blue worlds if you got them."

That is the definition of a linear build. Just like "Goblin King + a bunch of goblins" in Magic: The Gathering. Consistency is a completely different matter. (But when powerful, linear strategies are inconsistent, you get a very swingy game; and that could be percieved as a problem)

Quote:
And in the latest expansion, there are cards like the ones you've mentioned that discard goods to give discount to phases.


Cool! I haven't gotten the latest expansion yet, but I'm looking forward to toy around with those cards.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
JW
Australia
Doncaster
Victoria
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Rising wrote:
crushedguava wrote:
however, I must disagree with you about the 'rarity' of 'departing from a linear build'. It is much more rare to get Alpha Centauri, some other brown worlds, Mining Robots, and Mining League, than it is to get Alpha Centauri, a random assortment of blue and green worlds, and say Imperium Lords. What do you do then?


You're talking about consistency here. I agree with you; due to the nature of RftG, combos revolving around a select few cards aren't very reliable.

But consistency and linearity are completely different things.

In San Juan; you could very consistently get Guild Hall and a whole bunch of production buildings, but you didn't want to build too many production buildings, because they didn't really help you all that much. The Guild Hall-build was therefore quite modular, because you did not want to commit too heavy into it. Players chose to round things off with some violet buildings to improve their engines, even if they did manage to have a production building in their hands every time the builder action was picked.

What you're saying is that it's difficult to commit to a monoblue strategy because I can't rely on drawing all the blue worlds (or the relevant developments) that I need. I don't disagree with you. The strategy is not very consistent. But if I do happen to draw those blue worlds, then I will almost certainly play them, because the strategy is so blatantly linear. If I have Free Trade Association I will most likely play any blue world over any non-blue world of the same cost, because the synergy is just too strong for me to do otherwise. And it's not like it takes a lot of brains and cunning strategy to figure out this synergy; it says right on the card: "play blue worlds! You will get cards and points. That is what the game is about, so play blue worlds if you got them."

That is the definition of a linear build. Just like "Goblin King + a bunch of goblins" in Magic: The Gathering. Consistency is a completely different matter. (But when powerful, linear strategies are inconsistent, you get a very swingy game; and that could be percieved as a problem)

Quote:
And in the latest expansion, there are cards like the ones you've mentioned that discard goods to give discount to phases.


Cool! I haven't gotten the latest expansion yet, but I'm looking forward to toy around with those cards.

Okay. I can see where you're coming from. Am I right in understanding that you'd like more cards that say 'play different kinds of things' rather than 'only play multiples of the same thing'?

I suppose that to an extent, yes, you are right, when you have one of those 6devs out in play, and you've got more of the corresponding cards, then I will more likely than not choose to play those cards. However, because of the consistency that you mentioned, very often you'll have to decide to play other cards, simply because the card that matches what you have just isn't available, or simply isn't the best choice you have.

I'll have to back Alex Brown here in saying that RvI actually favours "exceptionally good understanding of the space of strategies, favor out-of-the-box and flexible strategies, and reduce the luck factor". I think the blatantly linear 6devs in RvI are actually worse off for being linear, as the sheer size of the deck makes it very difficult to pull off a linear strategy. Of course, the linear strategies do happen.

I suppose I could say that some of the new 6devs in the latest expansion are less 'linear' as you have described, for example, the one that gives points to ALIENS and production worlds, which do not always overlap. Maybe that is something that you'd prefer over the card that gives points to UPLIFTS only?
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
JW
Australia
Doncaster
Victoria
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Just to reiterate my point in a different way.

There is only 1 (maybe 2) 6devs in the game, that gives you a consistent chance of winning if you get it down very early and then spend the remainder of the game putting down cards that score with that 6dev. No matter how linear it is, you'd tend to lose if you get it down early and only stick to that linear path.

The game is about building a good engine and it takes a good knowledge of card interactions to do this.

For example, have a look at this game: http://www.flexboardgames.com/games/10963

You could say my opponent had a very linear strategy. Rebel Alliance scored him 16 points (albeit it came at the very end). He had a number of high Rebel cards, although I'm not sure what he intended to do with the very linear Uplift Code he had at the beginning. He also happened to get most of the goals (all of them actually), while I only shared one with him. But I still beat him by 4 points. And I certainly didn't plan my cards based on the final two 6 developments that happened to come along.

I'd put down a 6 development early if I want to use its power though: http://www.flexboardgames.com/games/10082

My early Merchant Guild only scored me 2 points. I won the game partly because of Merchant Guild's power, but not its point scoring ability. My New Economy scored me 15 points, but I didn't play my early cards because I had a New Economy in hand.

Then there's this game: http://www.flexboardgames.com/games/12609

I put down an early Terraforming Guild and tried to go for lots of windfalls (linearity). It scored me 12 points but I lost the game.

And the final example; the only early 6 devs that can consistently win you the game if you spend the rest of the game putting down things that scores points with them: http://www.flexboardgames.com/games/15326

The reason this game was won wasn't even because of the 6devs though. Even if both his 6devs scored him 0 points, he still would have won the game.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Johan Rising
Sweden
flag msg tools
Quote:
I'm glad we have been talking about Mining League and Free Trade Association, because they are two of the weakest linear strategies offered when RvI is in.


Actually, those are just two "cards", right? They are both part of particular strategies, but, I mean, at least the monobrown strategy is in no way dependent on hitting Mining League to work.

Quote:
Frankly, I discard it a lot because it is such a niche card


Erm... That's exactly what we're talking about in this thread. Niche cards. Cards that fit into narrow, linear strategies. Cards that you often just automatically discard without even considering to keep. Hidden Fortress, Rebel Pact, etc.

Quote:
Modular and Linear strategies exist in many games but they are always opposite ends of the strategy spectrum. Race with RvI in is certainly a game that favours more modular thinking.


I don't really see modularity and linearity as being that different in terms of strategy; it's more like they provide different playing experiences.

Linear builds are a great way to help point out potential strategies for new players; and to deliver strong, different gameplay experiences. Big military with New Galactic Order in RftG is a great example of this. It feels totally different from running a normal produce/consume -engine; and new players can instantly grasp what it's about and what you could do with it.

When it comes to modularity, I think we should differentiate between modular gameplay and modular builds:

Agricola is a game of modular gameplay: You can't just specialize in having lots of sheep, plowing lots of fields or having a huge house. Aside from a couple of strong combos; the best strategy is to try and get a decent amount of everything. This makes for a rich palette of gameplay options, since all things in the game are relevant for all players (as opposed to linear and parasitic gameplay, where some options aren't interesting at all for players that pursue certain strategies (heavily costed military worlds in RftG, for example)); but also sameyness, since you're always doing the same things in every game you play.

Modular builds are open-ended strategies within a game that branches out in different directions that leads to wildly different gameplay experiences. They are more open to exploration and experimentation, and can leave new players stumped without having an idea of where to go or what to do. Observatory in S:t Petersburg is a pretty modular card. No other card in the game is anything like it, it can be used in multiple different ways, and although it can be a welcome addition to pretty much any strategy, it plays out quite differently depending on what you're trying to achieve. It takes some time to experiment with it and to figure out how to use it properly. Improved Logistics is a good example of a card in RftG that fit into multiple different strategies, while at the same time being a strategy pretty much in itself. It is quite open-ended in nature.

Modular builds are more difficult to overview and come to grips with, but provides more fun for players who wants to explore and experiment with different strategies. And although they provide lots of options, they can potentially feel like they are scattered all over the place.

I might agree with you that modular gameplay is overall better in RftG (but I believe it depends on the number of players. Risky gambits becomes much more attractive in a 3p game, and even more so in 4p (at least if all players play to win)) but there's no question about there being more linear builds available in RvI.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Johan Rising
Sweden
flag msg tools
crushedguava wrote:
Am I right in understanding that you'd like more cards that say 'play different kinds of things' rather than 'only play multiples of the same thing'?


Actually, I kinda like linear builds. They are a lot of fun; and leads to a more visceral gameplay; where you find yourself yelling out "hell yes!" when you draw exactly the cards you need to score ridiculously high or draw insane amount of cards.

From a strategy viewpoint, it would probably have been better if a card like Uplift Code gave you a lot of points if you had ONE (or maybe up to TWO) worlds marked "uplift", since that would have made the card much more consistent. It wouldn't be considered a dead card nearly as often, and it wouldn't rely on lucky draws to the same extent when you actually played it (or it's enablers). But then again, that would also have made the card a lot less fun, right? I can understand and sympathise with both viewpoints on this matter.

What I do think, however, is that too many of these linear builds play pretty much the same. They create pretty similar gaming experiences, and I consider that to be something of a mistake. The whole point of linear builds is to provide for strategies that feels fresh, exciting and different. I am definitely of the opinion that some of the builds in RvI are a bit too similar to one another; and that they rarely have any interesting cross-synergies between them.

Quote:
I suppose I could say that some of the new 6devs in the latest expansion are less 'linear' as you have described, for example, the one that gives points to ALIENS and production worlds, which do not always overlap. Maybe that is something that you'd prefer over the card that gives points to UPLIFTS only?


Yeah, I'm excited to try these out. They seem interesting.

Quote:
I think the blatantly linear 6devs in RvI are actually worse off for being linear, as the sheer size of the deck makes it very difficult to pull off a linear strategy.


I think you're right, but I'm not sure if that is such a good thing. Using consistency as a balancing mechanism is fine - since it means that even a beginner gets a decent chance of winning every once in a while by heading for one of those crazy, pipe dream-strategies and hope for the best. But it's ultimately kinda frustrating; the game tells you to do something, and then it punishes you for doing so. You end up feeling like a dog who gets scolded for peeing on the christmas tree. I mean; they brought in this beautiful tree into the house; perfect for you to pee on; but when you do, they get mad at you?

Uplift Code is kinda like that. It's just a heartbreaker. You will lose the game, and feel like Tom Lehman is laughing at you for being stupid. (luckily, in that rare instance when you DO get that stupid thing to work, it feels like Tom Lehman is right up there with you, doing the crazy chicken dance of epic ownage)

I think these are interesting questions to take under consideration in game design. On one hand; I believe that the funniest way to play a game should also be the most succesful. Otherwise, you're just being mean. But then again; one of the reasons why the New Galactic Order + Hidden Fortress -combo is so awesome is probably just because it's so inconsistent; it's just an amazing, visceral thrill when it comes together.

I consider Hidden Fortress to be a huge success, because it's only one part of a much larger build, and that build works perfectly well even when you don't get to draw that particular card. And Hidden Fortress works well enough in that build even when you don't get to combo it with New Galactic Order. When you do manage to get both of these pieces together, however, they are balls-to-the-walls-awesome, and they do something that no other cards in the game does. It just leads to cool gameplay moments.

Interesting food for thoughts.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Johan Rising
Sweden
flag msg tools
Ulyzed wrote:
I completely disagree RE: Agricola.


Ok. Disregard that example, then, and replace it with something that you think more accurately fits into my description of modular gameplay (I don't think it would be a good idea for us to start discussing Agricola in this thread). Or do you disagree with my definition at a whole?

Quote:
'Linear strategies' is a tautologous phrase. When you choose a linear 'strategy' you commit to playing on autopilot from then on.


No. You're doing a disservice to the term "linear" here, by equaling it with "mindless". That's not how the term is commonly used. I for one like linear builds. I am always eager to try them out when I see them in an engine game. I think of them as not only a great teaching device - they help by pointing out directions for beginners - but also as means to create more variable and exciting gameplay. I don't think it's fair at all to call them automatic. Just because the game says "hey, you can do this!" doesn't mean that there are no options available for you to decide how you want to pursue that strategy. As long as the design space is big enough, it's perfectly viable for a game to provide interesting and challenging gameplay even if it branches out in different linear strategies.

Quote:
Why I think its meaningless in the context of Race is because linear strategies are just not that successful in Race


I haven't really touched upon power issues of different builds, because that changes so much depending on the number of players, how experienced they are and so forth. That is probably something you should discuss with OP instead of me.

Quote:
In my experience, RFTG provides more meaningful choices in 20mins than nearly any other game I can think of.


You seem to imply that I've called RftG meaningless. I'm not sure where you've gotten that idea. I guess you're reading things into the concept of linear builds that simply don't belong there.

Quote:
The temptation to go linear is always there, but it rarely wins becuase it takes several turns to develop a hand large enough to hold enough cards for a particular strategy: you have to draw into a successful linear at some stage.


I'm just saying that they're there. They are definitely there in the cards; and to a much larger degree than they are in, say, San Juan; which is the game that is easiest to compare to RftG. If those builds are powerful or not doesn't really change this matter. If they are powerful, you consider going for them - if not, they will more often be dead cards in your hand. The question whether they are powerful or not is definitely an interesting question, but it's not something that I've been talking about much in this thread.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
msg tools
Rising wrote:
I haven't really touched upon power issues of different builds, because that changes so much depending on the number of players, how experienced they are and so forth. That is probably something you should discuss with OP instead of me.

I'm too inexperienced too judge this, and it is not my main concern. I'm more interested in the question of fun and playability. The issue is that I find linear strategies overall less fun both when they win and when they lose (though I do get a primal thrill from the pieces falling together and getting ridiculously high scores).

Rising wrote:
Using consistency as a balancing mechanism is fine - since it means that even a beginner gets a decent chance of winning every once in a while by heading for one of those crazy, pipe dream-strategies and hope for the best. But it's ultimately kinda frustrating; the game tells you to do something, and then it punishes you for doing so.

Linear builds put game designers in a tough spot. If the build wins too often, it drowns out more "fair" strategies and make the game hinge on lucky draws. If it's too weak, you have the problem Rising described, as well as experienced players getting frustrated when their opponents win with a weak strategy off a lucky draw.

crushedguava wrote:
[explaining why games rarely allow "just play brown"]
It is much more rare to get Alpha Centauri, some other brown worlds, Mining Robots, and Mining League, than it is to get Alpha Centauri, a random assortment of blue and green worlds, and say Imperium Lords. What do you do then?

RftG uses consistency to rein in linear builds - you often don't get the exact card that feeds into your strategy, and have to make do with what you have. What if you the game made it that you often want to use cards from different "veins", not just because you have to? This would be facilitated by more cards that encourage you to branch out or use use a hybrid strategy like the brown world that gives a trade bonus to green, the Alien Uplift world, and the new six-cost dev that counts both Alien and production worlds.

UlyZed wrote:
Race is a wildly modular game in my opinion. I guess I simply disagree with the premise of your concerns.

I'm curious: do you find RvI to be more linear than TGS?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Johan Rising
Sweden
flag msg tools
Quote:
Linear builds put game designers in a tough spot. If the build wins too often, it drowns out more "fair" strategies and make the game hinge on lucky draws. If it's too weak, you have the problem Rising described, as well as experienced players getting frustrated when their opponents win with a weak strategy off a lucky draw.


First; What you're describing here is "streaky" strategies. Inconsistent gambits. Although linear strategies are streaky in RftG - because of how the game works - that's not always the case. Innovation is a good example of a game with very modular builds - most cards have wildly different effects depending on what you combo them with and what your opponents are doing - and that game is highly streaky and inconsistent because of that modularity. (And a monocoloured deck is generally more consistent than a five-coloured deck in Magic; yet another example where linearity and streakyness doesn't sync)

I agree with you about streaky strategies, though. They are a bitch to balance. Particularly because streaky builds gets better and better the more players there are in the game (assuming you play to win, and not just to get a high score). It's also difficult to make them funny, interactive and challenging. They are of course heavily luck dependent by their very nature, but it's always nice when the player feels like he's in control; that he's engaged in an exciting game of bluffing and riskmanagement instead of just rolling dice and hoping for the best. I personally think that some of the linear strategies in RvI works pretty well in this regard; particularly big military/Rebel keyword-strategies, since they have so much support and works so well with each other.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael Brough
msg tools
mbmb
It's kind of funny - the game is so fundamentally modular that you're blind to it. See, you can't just put down a 6-cost that scores for a certain type of card, and then just play that type of card; that's an oversimplification.

The thing is, you need card income to be able to do that. And where the cards come from doesn't matter; it's modular. Scientific discoveries can be used to further the arts; profit from advertising can fuel your military conquests.
So how are you getting cards?
-> Trading goods. So you either have a production world, a windfall world + produce on windfall combo (modular), or you're settling plenty of windfall worlds.
-> Consuming goods for cards. So you have a production combo as above, plus a consume power. The consume power doesn't care where the goods come from (apart from colour); it's modular.
-> Various "draw a card on phase X" leeches.
-> Explore. Which is not adequate by itself without bonuses.

So when you plonk down Prospecting Guild and a bunch of brown worlds and score big from it, this might look quite linear, but have a look at the start of your tableau and notice the Replicant Robots + Terraforming Robots or Ancient Race + Genetics Lab + Trade League or whatever it is that's driving the whole engine with modular card income. And weep as your opponent crushes you with his modular Produce/Consume engine (which in my experience has eventually turned out to be the overall strongest strategy in each expansion so far, despite initial appearances).
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Johan Rising
Sweden
flag msg tools
smestorp wrote:
It's kind of funny - the game is so fundamentally modular that you're blind to it. See, you can't just put down a 6-cost that scores for a certain type of card, and then just play that type of card; that's an oversimplification.


That's true. If one defines linear strategy as not only being completely rigid and mindless, not to mention stupid and backwards (how often do you start with a 6-cost development?), then there are no viable linear strategies in RftG. No arguing there.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Johan Rising
Sweden
flag msg tools
UlyZed wrote:
You're obsessed with your own semantic juggling.


That's a rude way to say "you think it's meaningless to have a discussion unless people are talking about the same thing", but you're absolutely right. I do.

Quote:
I'm not sure anyone else knows what you are talking about


Thanks for the concern, but I think I connected with OP just fine. I know exactly what he's talking about when he explains that power-issues "is not my main concern. I'm more interested in the question of fun and playability. The issue is that I find linear strategies overall less fun both when they win and when they lose".
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Johan Rising
Sweden
flag msg tools
Of course you did. They mean exactly the same thing, though.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Johan Rising
Sweden
flag msg tools
I apologize if you think I've put words in your mouth. But if I've misinterpreted you, why don't you clarify the difference between these two things? Just saying "no" over and over won't help.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.