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Subject: culling--> slippery slope rss

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Kevin Hadley

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As an avid fan of deck-building games, I recognize the utility of cleaning out your deck to make room for more efficient/powerful cards.

Am I reading right and you only get to "cull" when you score? It seems that is a slippery slope kind of response. The player who is successful at earning points can make his "deck" more efficient, allowing him to earn even MORE points at a faster rate than the other player who can't seem to summon a creature, or keep them alive. So while one player gets way more powerful, the other player gets knocked down by the more powerful player and can't clean out the junk in his "deck"

So, am I reading this right?
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Mikhail Kruzhkov
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I also had this concern while reading through the rules...
Maybe they were thinking along these lines: when you summon a creature it often means that you forfeit buying a better die but as a trade-off you get a chance to "cull" some junk. But until I get a chance to play I cannot judge whether this solution is reasonable.
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Rich Chamberlain
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I think there's two arguments to this.

I believe that Culling would make your collection more efficient, not necessarily more powerful, but that in culling you'd likely be getting rid of Quidity and/or Pawns which if taken too far mean you could pull out 6 powerful creature dice and no quidity to summon them with.

Also in your argument you state one player is doing well with a focused collection and is able to cull, while the other player is stuck with Junk - surely this is actually an argument about one player being better than another, since if a player has junk it's only their fault. So you could be arguing that you want to remove an aspect of the game to protect against players making rubbish choices...?

But as usual we can only speculate - whereas I'm dying to find out by actually playing this game!
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Anthony Reynolds
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yukonhorror wrote:
As an avid fan of deck-building games, I recognize the utility of cleaning out your deck to make room for more efficient/powerful cards.

Am I reading right and you only get to "cull" when you score? It seems that is a slippery slope kind of response. The player who is successful at earning points can make his "deck" more efficient, allowing him to earn even MORE points at a faster rate than the other player who can't seem to summon a creature, or keep them alive. So while one player gets way more powerful, the other player gets knocked down by the more powerful player and can't clean out the junk in his "deck"

So, am I reading this right?


No. Scoring is not the only way to cull. It's the only way to cull that is always available because it is a rule. There are other card effects that allow you cull as well.

In Dominion if you don't have a kingdom card in play that allows you to trash cards, then you don't have that option in that game of Dominion. In Quarriors you always have a way to cull your dice even if the setup doesn't contain a card that gives you that option thanks to the cull when you score rule.
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Dustin Hermann
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KnagrocK wrote:
yukonhorror wrote:
As an avid fan of deck-building games, I recognize the utility of cleaning out your deck to make room for more efficient/powerful cards.

Am I reading right and you only get to "cull" when you score? It seems that is a slippery slope kind of response. The player who is successful at earning points can make his "deck" more efficient, allowing him to earn even MORE points at a faster rate than the other player who can't seem to summon a creature, or keep them alive. So while one player gets way more powerful, the other player gets knocked down by the more powerful player and can't clean out the junk in his "deck"

So, am I reading this right?


No. Scoring is not the only way to cull. It's the only way to cull that is always available because it is a rule. There are other card effects that allow you cull as well.

In Dominion if you don't have a kingdom card in play that allows you to trash cards, then you don't have that option in that game of Dominion. In Quarriors you always have a way to cull your dice even if the setup doesn't contain a card that gives you that option thanks to the cull when you score rule.


Still wondering if the culling from having to score from moster affects the game. Though it seems the apprentice is an easy monster to score early on.
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Kelly Overholser
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The problem with the mechanic is that it doesn't combine well with the idea that you have to roll the correct side of the monster in order to even try to score it. Culling the starting dice is almost always going to be a good idea, since it means you can get other dice with more resources or other monster dice more often, which can lead to scoring more often, and so on. The reason this is a problem with the dice system is that it's entirely random whether you're able to score or just have extra resources (and no, being able to buy a more expensive monster doesn't always make up for the fact that you still have weak, crappy dice in your deck).
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Rick Teverbaugh
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The culling mechanic works fine in my opinion. The reason is because it adds another strategy element. I think it is easy to reason that culling Assistants is a good thing in most every scenario. But not the Quiddity. Since the creatures will only produce Quiddity about half of the time, what good is it to have a handful of creatures, roll them with the creature sides up on all of them and not be able to summon a single one because you have no Quiddity dice or Assistants to provide the needed Quiddity?
 
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Kelly Overholser
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That would be true, if a handful of monster dice actually meant you'd have monsters to summon. Admittedly, this is only my experience after playing one game and looking over a few of the components, but since monster dice are usually half monster, half quiddity, the issue tends to be not having monsters to summon in the first place, not "not enough quiddity to summon".

Regardless of whether culling is a good or bad idea, or how much strategy goes into what you cull, the fact still remains that the system rewards you for scoring by giving you an advantage over the other players, making it easier to score again and get more advantages, and so on. (This is actually a direct contrast to most other deckbuilding games, where the point cards you earn early on will clog up your deck, meaning you're closer to winning since you have more points, but your deck is now less efficient because of it.)

This may not be so bad if there are other ways to cull dice, but since the setup is random, you can't rely on that for game balance in general. The problem is increased further by the random nature of scoring, especially in the early game. A player that rolls four Assistants in his first two turns will have a much higher chance of scoring some and culling some dice than someone that rolled only quiddity. (It's also worth noting that two assistants in one turn means you kill off one assistant for each other player, meaning you score more and they score less, which can be a pretty large early-game advantage.)

Finally, the game's short duration (at least in a 4 player game) means that you won't get a large dice pool, so every die you cull will count, more than if you usually end the game with 20-30+ (again, as in most deckbuilding games).
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Rick Teverbaugh
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But each creature is about half creature sides and half Quiddity so isn't it feasible to have all sides come up creature and have no Quiddity to summon them? Or even have five creature sides and one Quiddity so that only one of those creatures can hit the ready area and that only a one level creature?

As for the four-player being a short game, did you play it that way? It seems to me the four player might be longer than two player. It has to be so much more difficult to keep creatures alive long enough to score with three potential attacks coming after you summon.
 
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Kelly Overholser
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rickert wrote:
But each creature is about half creature sides and half Quiddity so isn't it feasible to have all sides come up creature and have no Quiddity to summon them? Or even have five creature sides and one Quiddity so that only one of those creatures can hit the ready area and that only a one level creature?

As for the four-player being a short game, did you play it that way? It seems to me the four player might be longer than two player. It has to be so much more difficult to keep creatures alive long enough to score with three potential attacks coming after you summon.


Yes, it is possible for every creature die to come up as a creature, however such an event is very unlikely, and it's also rare that you'll be able to get rid of all 8 of your quiddity dice quickly, so you'll usually have at least one quiddity die in each throw. Also, I believe the higher level creatures also have more quiddity on their dice, although I can't remember for sure. So not having enough quiddity to summon is a pretty rare occurrence.

Plus, the quiddity die isn't the only one you can cull; an assistant or a weak monster you bought because it was cheap can also be tossed. Regardless of how strategically sound culling is in the late game however, the point remains that it's still an advantage, especially in the early game when you've got more quiddity dice than monsters in your bag.

As for the four player game, the game I played went by quick, with most of the strong monsters surviving a full go around the table - they don't save damage after each turn (unless we were playing that wrong), so if a monster has a lot of health, someone else has to roll a lot of damage in that same turn to kill. Also, only one player was able to summon monsters regularly - as you can probably guess, that same player was either the first or second to score, managed to cull a lot of his quiddity dice, and ended up with a lot of monster dice each throw, so he usually had at least one monster to summon, which could score and let him cull more dice, which meant each throw had more monster dice to roll... and so on.

If your setup includes a lot of high-attack and few high-defense monsters, it may be different, although keep in mind that the game also ends when any four piles in the supply are empty, which will happen faster ("faster" = less turns per player, not total playtime necessarily) than in a 2- or 3-player game.
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Rick Teverbaugh
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I won't spend much more time arguing with you because you believe you are right and I'm convinced I am and both of us have played very few games. So I'm still going to lean toward the game's creators being right in testing the game that culling isn't overpowered and that the four-player game isn't too short and that spells are really worthwhile. The reason I'm feeling that way is the game comes from two of the best designers in the field and I'm sure they have played probably 40 or 50 games or more for every one game both of us have played combined.
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Kelly Overholser
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So, to get back to the OP's actual question...

Scoring monsters isn't the only way to cull dice from your bag, but it is the only way that's in the rules and not tied to a particular card, so it's very possible that some setups have the scoring rule as the only way to cull cards, and it's probably the most reliable method as well.

If played right, this can give an advantage to the player that scores early or often, though it's entirely possible to cull your bag too much and end up with too little resources to actually do anything on your turn. The actual strategic value depends on the setup and the players, but as this does give an extra option to whoever scores, it is an advantage, if only a slight one.

Players who are used to other deckbuilding games like Dominion or Thunderstone might find this an odd "bonus" to scoring, as both of those games instead have a system that penalizes you for scoring (namely, adding useless or mostly-useless cards to your deck), instead of a system that rewards you for scoring (beyond the score itself, that is).

Because of the double-random nature of the game, it's entirely possible that any advantage gained by an early score could be lost by a few (un)lucky draws or rolls, although in my opinion that doesn't mean it's not an advantage, just that it's one that could be negated by luck. On the other hand, it's also something that could be intensified by lucky rolls on the part of the player that's in the lead, making the problem worse, so read into that what you will.
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Kevin Hadley

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itchyrichy wrote:
I think there's two arguments to this.

I believe that Culling would make your collection more efficient, not necessarily more powerful, but that in culling you'd likely be getting rid of Quidity and/or Pawns which if taken too far mean you could pull out 6 powerful creature dice and no quidity to summon them with.

Also in your argument you state one player is doing well with a focused collection and is able to cull, while the other player is stuck with Junk - surely this is actually an argument about one player being better than another, since if a player has junk it's only their fault. So you could be arguing that you want to remove an aspect of the game to protect against players making rubbish choices...?

But as usual we can only speculate - whereas I'm dying to find out by actually playing this game!


NO, if one player keeps getting quiddity on creature dice, there is nothing to summon, thus no culling, thus inefficient dice pool, thus less powerful dice pool.

The randomness of dice is what really can shift the balance in winning early on, where as dominion, it is all the same.

And in dominion, if one person can trash they all can, because the cards are available to ALL players.

I know SOME of the cards/dice let you cull, but apparently, you can only cull if you score (in ALL games).
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Dustin Hermann
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I have played this 3 times and socring and culling definitely appeared to be an issue. A key strategy in all of the deck-building games is to rid of the less useful cards (or chips or Dice) so that you have a better chance of drawing the more useful cards and more often because your cycling through your deck faster. This occurence did appear to happen a few times for those that happened to be scoring early and getting out that clutter. The ones that scored early were able to get out good monsters more easily while the ones that did not maybe got in a few creatures but they would get killed by those that would more stronger creatures more often, keeping those with a disadvantage at a siadvantage. That being said, the ones with an well built deck didn't always win because they will sometimes roll all money or all creatures in critical moments and allowing others to win.

Everybody still enjoyed it and had fun including me. I'm unsure on whether this game has lasting valude once I get over the wow factor.

 
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Kevin Hadley

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manga3dmann wrote:
I have played this 3 times and socring and culling definitely appeared to be an issue. A key strategy in all of the deck-building games is to rid of the less useful cards (or chips or Dice) so that you have a better chance of drawing the more useful cards and more often because your cycling through your deck faster. This occurence did appear to happen a few times for those that happened to be scoring early and getting out that clutter. The ones that scored early were able to get out good monsters more easily while the ones that did not maybe got in a few creatures but they would get killed by those that would more stronger creatures more often, keeping those with a disadvantage at a siadvantage. That being said, the ones with an well built deck didn't always win because they will sometimes roll all money or all creatures in critical moments and allowing others to win.

Everybody still enjoyed it and had fun including me. I'm unsure on whether this game has lasting valude once I get over the wow factor.



That's exactly my point. Yes, luck has a LOT more weight in this game than other deck-building games (which I tend to like), but it makes leveling the playing field hard.

I am thinking up a variant to help alleviate it.
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Cameron Chien
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As others before me have pointed out, it's a dice game.

Why on earth are you trying to "alleviate" randomness from a game that involves throwing a bunch of dice?

There just seems to be a lot of people trying to pound square pegs into round holes around here...

Cameron
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Anthony Reynolds
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yukonhorror wrote:
manga3dmann wrote:
I have played this 3 times and socring and culling definitely appeared to be an issue. A key strategy in all of the deck-building games is to rid of the less useful cards (or chips or Dice) so that you have a better chance of drawing the more useful cards and more often because your cycling through your deck faster. This occurence did appear to happen a few times for those that happened to be scoring early and getting out that clutter. The ones that scored early were able to get out good monsters more easily while the ones that did not maybe got in a few creatures but they would get killed by those that would more stronger creatures more often, keeping those with a disadvantage at a siadvantage. That being said, the ones with an well built deck didn't always win because they will sometimes roll all money or all creatures in critical moments and allowing others to win.

Everybody still enjoyed it and had fun including me. I'm unsure on whether this game has lasting valude once I get over the wow factor.



That's exactly my point. Yes, luck has a LOT more weight in this game than other deck-building games (which I tend to like), but it makes leveling the playing field hard.

I am thinking up a variant to help alleviate it.


Luck doesn't make leveling the playing field hard, it makes leveling the playing field unnecessary...

Zeede wrote:
As others before me have pointed out, it's a dice game.

Why on earth are you trying to "alleviate" randomness from a game that involves throwing a bunch of dice?

There just seems to be a lot of people trying to pound square pegs into round holes around here...

Cameron


Right, you either enjoy the game or you don't. It's not flawed because of the randomness. The game exists because of it. To remove the randomness you have to remove the dice. Then you are left with nothing interesting or unique, just another Dominion clone. Embrace the randomness or move on.

It doesn't hurt to have tons of fun while playing board games you know...

 
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Cameron Chien
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Seriously, I think I'll go post a rant in the Dominion forums about how much I hate the lack of randomness in Dominion! I hate how when I draw a Chapel, it's always a Chapel! I want it to be a Copper sometimes too!

Then I will post a variant making the cards more random.



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Mark Lewis
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I purchased the game over the weekend (@ GenCon) and played it a ton since then. I can confirm that a player able to cull more often 9 times out of 10. Given the randomness of the dice it is possible to come back with is exciting but it is a slim chance. Still I like the game for it's variability and play. I think it is just fun.
 
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S Marstiller
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If it is true that culling increases your odds of scoring points (winning) it seems that NOT scoring a creature at the start of your round should be the only way (besides specific card abilities) to cull. That seems to be the process most similar to other deck building games - scoring slows down your ability to score.

The real equivalent would be to only allow culling when a creature/spell allows it and having point dice of varying amounts that your creatures could defeat/purchase and playing until all of the highest one is depleted or four spell/creature types are depleted.

Someone do the math and figure out what the cost and worth of those dice should be and then convince Wizkids to add the dice to the first expansion so I can get rid of this silly scoring track.
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Edwin Twentier
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I agree that the game does have a slippery slope kind of feel to it, hard to get back into a game after a few runs through your bag without scoring a critter. I do feel however that the game tends to balance itself out. If I roll an apprentice on turns 1 or 2 I activate that critter and have 4 to 5 quiddity to spend on a die. I now have a smaller dice pool (assuming he scores) and have picked up a point and a 4 drop critter or spell to replace the die I've just scored. Meanwhile my opponent does not roll any apprentices and end up with a 6 or 7 cost critter. Mighty Knights of the Pale (+1 or 2 to summoning costs of all other players critters) and Mighty Deathdealer (Add his attack to your total the first time you kill a critter) can both swing a game heavily, especially early on.

Also in this example, the player who starts off has culled his basic quiddity or apprentices, starts turning into a game of white weenie, Lot of critters to get one or two points through while the other player has some meat. Doesn't happen often, but in this case the player who is playing the control bag can start to come back. Essentially rolling one bigger monster die is about the equivalent of rolling 2 smaller critters. The Knights for example will almost always score against a player with smaller critters, defense of 5 against a player who has to roll 2 or 3 monsters to kill him is fairly balanced as the player with the less expensive monsters is going to be rolling more monsters as they've presumably culled basic quiddity.

Another thing to consider about this is the Quiddity ratings on said dice. A wizard sits at approximately 2Q as no matter what you roll you'll either end up with a 3 or 4 glory critter with good stats or a 1Q+Portal 1, a 2Q, or a 2Q with a potential reroll depending on the version of the Wizard. A dragon is even better than that with a better than half chance of rolling a monster when you need one and an average of 2Q on the other 3 faces. A Knight is 1Q, 2Q, 2Q if memory serves and has a good chance of scoring if it comes out as a critter. On the other side of the spectrum the goblins are 1Q, 2Q and 4 Monster Sides that realistically won't survive at the point in time you roll them while the Order of the Query are the same with a slightly better chance to score if memory serves.

Basically you have to modify your playstyle not only on the cards, but also what your dice do in the first few turns. Realistically the Apprentices are only going to score turns 1 and 2 without something to put in front of them. Leading me to yet another point, if you have a high defense critter in your pool it is so much easier to score with an apprentice or any other low Defense critter.

The thing that makes this much different from other deckbuilding games is that you actually start with a fairly strong economy, the challenge of this isn't to build up to a strong economy, but rather manage the one you've been given. Hope my observations are at least pondered and I thank you for taking the time to read this.

Wow, just realized how long winded this response came out to be. Hope a few of my points have been made and that all my recollections are accurate about the dice and cards that I've referenced.
 
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