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Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Card rankings rss

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Pertti Perämies
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Hello

I'm gathering data to excel sheet to determine card values in a vacuum. I understand that TTA is all about opportunities and situations, but I want to create rough guideline to card rankings.


Spoiler (click to reveal)
My questions to you before the data harvesting are:

1) Method of data gathering:
-PM to me (this prevents groupthinking and leaning to one person's opinions)
-Post on this forum (more convenient?)

2) Categories:
I'm thinking about 11 categories (age A, I, II, III leaders; governments from all ages; Age A, I, II, III wonders; war technologies from all ages; urban technologies from all ages)
-Should there be more? (Yellow cards, tactics?)
-Should I combine some categories?
-Should I separate some categories?

3) Point system:
Each card gets points from 1 to X where X is the number of cards in that category. For example there are six age A leaders, therefore the best one would get 6 points and the worst one would get 1 point.
-Is this the best way?

After these issues are resolves, I will post the cards in each category and you can start voting.


Category number 1: Age A Leaders
Sort these leaders from strongest to weakest:
Rank for four players only!
Alexander, Aristotle, Caesar, Hammurabi, Homer, Moses.

Categories number 2 and 3: Age I and II Leaders
Sort these leaders from strongest to weakest:
Rank for four players only!
Barbarossa, Columbus, Genghis, Joan of Arc, Leonardo, Michelangelo

Then sort these leaders from strongest to weakest to new list:
Bach, Cook, Napoleon, Robespierre, Newton, Shakespeare

Categories number 4 and 5: Age III Leaders and all Governments:
Sort these leaders from strongest to weakest:
Rank for four players only!
Churchill, Einstein, Game Designer (Sid Meier, Alex Randolph), Gandhi, Rock & Roll Icon (Elvis Presley), Tesla (Bill Gates)

Then sort these governments from strongest to weakest to new list:
Communism, Constitutional Monarchy, Democrasy, Fundamentalism, Monarchy, Republic, Theocracy

Categories number 6, 7, 8 and 9: Age A-III Wonders
Sort these wonders from strongest to weakest:
Rank for four players only!
Colossus, Hanging Gardens, Library of Alexandria, Pyramids

Then sort these wonders from strongest to weakest to new list:
Great Wall, St. Peter's Basilica, Taj Mahal, Universitas Carolina

Then sort these wonders from strongest to weakest to new list:
Eiffel Tower, Kremlin, Ocean Liner, Transcontinental Railroad

Then sort these wonders from strongest to weakest to new list:
Fast Food Chains, First Space Flight, Hollywood, Internet

Category number 10: Age I Technologies
Sort these technologies from strongest to weakest:
Rank for four players only!
Irrigation, Iron, Theology, Alchemy, Bread and Circuses, Printing Press, Drama, Swordsmen, Knights, Warfare, Code of Laws, Cartography, Masonry

Categories number 11, 12 and 13: Age I-III Tactics:
Sort these tactics from strongest to weakest:
Rank for four players only!
Fighting Band, Heavy Cavalry, Legion, Light Cavalry, Medieval Cavalry, Phalanx

Then sort these tactics from strongest to weakest to new list:
Classic Army, Conquistadors, Defensive Army, Fortifications, Mobile Artillery, Napoleonic Army

Then sort these tactics from strongest to weakest to new list:
Entrenchments, Mechanized Army, Modern Army, Shock Troops

Age A Leaders: Results:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Aristotle, Julius Caesar, Moses, Homer, Alexander the Great, Hammurabi


Age I and II Leaders: Results:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Leonardo Da Vinci, Christopher Columbus, Frederick Barbarossa, Michelangelo, Genghis Khan, Joan of Arc

Napoleon Bonaparte, Isaac Newton, Maximillien Robespierre, James Cook, William Shakespeare, J.S. Bach


Age III Leaders and all Governments: Results:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Albert Einstein, Game Designer, Rock & Roll Icon, Nikolai Tesla, Winston Churchill, Mahatma Gandhi

Constitutional Monarchy, Republic, Fundamentalism, Democracy, Monarchy, Theocracy, Communism


Age A-III Wonders: Results:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Pyramids, Hanging Gardens, Library of Alexandria, Colossus

Universitas Carolina, St. Peter's Basilica, Great Wall, Taj Mahal

Transcontinental Railroad, Ocean Liner Service, Eiffel Tower, Kremlin

First Space Flight, Fast Food Chains, Internet, Hollywood


Age I Technologies: Results:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Alchemy, Iron, Knights, Irrigation, Swordsmen, Warfare, Code of Laws, Bread and Circuses, Theology, Cartography, Printing Press, Masonry, Drama


Age I-III Tactics: Results:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Medieval Army, Phalanx, Legion, Fighting Band, Light Cavalry, Heavy Cavalry

Classic Army, Napoleonic Army, Defensive Army, Mobile Artillery, Conquistadors, Fortifications

Modern Army, Shock Troops, Entrenchments, Mechanized Army


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Chris Berger
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I think you should do it as a poll. Way easier for the user than any other means, and it hides the answers until you vote (although it's still possible for someone to click results and then allow that information to influence their vote... doesn't seem like a big concern).
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Tim Seitz
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Except these things are almost always conditional. Other than Age A/I cards, Napoleon, and FSF, I don't think I can pick any in a vacuum.
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Chris Berger
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out4blood wrote:
Except these things are almost always conditional. Other than Age A/I cards, Napoleon, and FSF, I don't think I can pick any in a vacuum.


How about, "based on experience, this card is more likely to be useful than that card in a given game"?
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Pertti Perämies
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out4blood wrote:
Except these things are almost always conditional. Other than Age A/I cards, Napoleon, and FSF, I don't think I can pick any in a vacuum.


There's similar thing going on in MtG. During the draft, card's value changes according to your earlier picks, passed cards and content of the booster pack the card is in. Still there are these kinds of rankings for each card (newest sets) on the internet.

I would appreciate your input, since you seem to know a thing or two about TTA.
 
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Tim Seitz
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arkayn wrote:
out4blood wrote:
Except these things are almost always conditional. Other than Age A/I cards, Napoleon, and FSF, I don't think I can pick any in a vacuum.


How about, "based on experience, this card is more likely to be useful than that card in a given game"?

I'd say that ignores the impact when it is useful.

Example: Selective Breeding might not be all that useful in most games, except when you lack Irrigation, and then it becomes a necessity.
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Eric Phillips
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It would probably be interesting to poll us for the top 3-5 and the bottom 3-5 of each category, but trying to figure out all the rankings in the middle sounds like an exercise in futility, for the reasons Tim has mentioned.
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Nacho Facello
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I think the best way to do this would be by comparing the correlation between picking the card and winning. Opinion might be biased by many other factors.
 
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Pertti Perämies
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Fortuna wrote:
It would probably be interesting to poll us for the top 3-5 and the bottom 3-5 of each category, but trying to figure out all the rankings in the middle sounds like an exercise in futility, for the reasons Tim has mentioned.


I don't know how to make such poll. I could make it manually, but I think that poll is a lot easier. That's why I'll just put all the cards in one category for the poll.

nachof wrote:
I think the best way to do this would be by comparing the correlation between picking the card and winning. Opinion might be biased by many other factors.


If I had the data available, this would be viable. Altough I don't, therefore we have to rely on polling.
 
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John S
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I agree with Chris that a poll is the best way of collecting the data.

My opinion on Tim's point is that for most of the categories a sensible vote can still be obtained by considering both how often a card is useful and its impact. For example, it would be surprising if Napoleon didn't win the Age II leader vote. Newton is more generally useful than Napoleon but Napoleon's impact can be so much greater; Cook's impact can be bigger again but he is useful in a much smaller set of circumstances. So Napoleon is not the most generally useful or the highest impact but when you combine the two to my mind he's a hands down winner of the category.

The situational aspect is more acute with the Age II technologies but not insoluble. Let's take Tim's example of selective breeding; if I've got irrigation I'm not interested whereas if I don't its a top priority. Now compare this to coal (after all we are trying to rank things and therefore need to do it comparatively). To a large degee its similiar, if I don't have iron its a top priority whereas if I do have iron its not. As there's not much difference in the number of games where I find myself without iron compared to the number of games where I'm without irrigation so far there's no difference between them. But whereas I'll (almost) never take selective breeding if I've already got irrigation I'll take coal as a nice to have if I've got the railroad even if I've already got iron. On this basis I'd rank coal ahead of selective breeding.

Personally I'd combine war and urban technologies and do them age by age. For example I think alchemy v knights is a more interesting comparison than knights v cavalry and is the way value judgements more often appear in the game.

Finally, I'd like to offer a different perspective than Eric on the merits of ranking all the cards v ranking only top and bottom. Taking the technologies (for the other categories if you rank top three and bottom three you've ranked them all anyway) in an average game you end up with approximately 5 per age. The top three for an age are ones almost everyone is trying to take every game, the bottom three are the ones where there is surprise at the table if anyone takes them and whether something is the worst card of the age or only the second worst really makes little difference (you're generally not touching it unless the moon is blue). It's around that 5th, 6th, 7th spot where you're making the decision whether to take the technology at all or letting it go. It's the rankings around this area which I'd probably find the most interesting.
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Riku Koskinen
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nachof wrote:
I think the best way to do this would be by comparing the correlation between picking the card and winning. Opinion might be biased by many other factors.


It depends on what the statistics will be used for. Helping new players understand the value of cards, nice-to-know information for people who like to know this kind of stuff, or something else? Some cards win more often than others when they're picked, but maybe they won't be picked very often. For example Cook could score highly using the above method, but it doesn't mean you should go and grab it always with 3 CAs. First Space Flight is arguably the best age III wonder, but because it gets picked in every game it probably won't have as high a win-% as Cook.

My initial idea was to suggest ranking cards by how many CAs you're willing to pay for them. For example Iron/Alchemy/Knights are a solid 2 CAs for me, but Irrigation I am more willing to pass at 2 CAs. Even this metric doesn't work that well, because the amount of available CAs and your previous level of tech affect this a lot (Coal goes from uninteresting to must-have depending whether you have Iron or not). And I might pick Cook with 1 CA if I have only one colony, but with 3 if I have 3 or more.

It's a tough nut to crack.
 
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Alex Bove
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Another important factor is the number of players in the game. Napoleon is by far the best Age II leader in any 2-player game because of the importance of military strength there. However, in a 4-player game, he is much less valuable because you can only wage war/aggression against one player at a time.

As others have suggested, I'm not sure trying to come up with an absolute value for each card is a very useful exercise. There are just too many factors that determine card value. We've discussed things like the value of Coal for players with Iron vs. players without Iron, but we should also consider the value of Coal very early in Age II vs. very late. Many cards that are very weak when drawn/played late in an age can be very strong if played early (Universitas Carolina, for example).

In fact, the variable (situational) value of cards is one of the game's greatest strengths. If it were true, for example, that certain cards were absolutely worth 1/2/3 CAs, regardless of game state, Through the Ages would largely be a game of luck. If you happened to be able to choose the "right" cards at the "right" prices all game long, you should win. But that's not how the game works at all. It's possible to win without Iron/Coal/Oil, or to win with drama/printing press.

If you still want to embark on this Herculean task, it seems to me that your system will have to rely on conditional values. You could, for example, create polls that rank each card on a conditional scale. For example:

Coal (3 CAs)
-Always take
-Take only if lacking Iron
-Usually take
-Sometimes take
-Never take

James Cook (3 CAs)
-Always take
-Take only if 3+ colonies
-Usually take
-Sometimes take
-Never take

And so on. You'd have to poll each card for each CA value. It would be a long slog, and I'm not sure how many people would take the entire poll, but your results would have much more value this way.
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Mark van den Boer
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If only you could access the data from all played games on BGO, you could get all the data you want and correlate the cards as well.
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Pertti Perämies
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syrinx2112 wrote:
If only you could access the data from all played games on BGO, you could get all the data you want and correlate the cards as well.


That would be sweet. Data from thousands of games would provide very interesting results.

To make things clear, I'll do this manually. I'll update OP and post a new post every time we change category. I'll put them in excel sheet and let the functions do the magic.

Category number 1: Age A Leaders
Sort these leaders from strongest to weakest:
Rank for four players only!
Alexander, Aristotle, Caesar, Hammurabi, Homer, Moses.
 
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Riku Koskinen
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Wermine wrote:

Category number 1: Age A Leaders
Sort these leaders from strongest to weakest:
Alexander, Aristotle, Caesar, Hammurabi, Homer, Moses.


Player count matters here, so I'm gonna list thrice.

2p
Caesar
Aristotle
Moses
Alexander
Homer
Hammurabi

3p
Aristotle
Caesar
Moses
Homer
Alexander
Hammurabi

4p
Aristotle
Moses
Caesar
Homer
Hammurabi
Alexander

There's logic to this, but it takes some space to explain it so I'll leave it out, at least for now.
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John S
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Aristotle
Moses
Julius
Alexander
Homer
Hammurabi
 
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Dan Freedman
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Julius
Aristotle
Homer
Alexander
Moses
Nobody
Hammurabi
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Brian Schroth
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I only play 4P:

Caesar
Aristotle
Moses
Alexander
Hammurabi
Homer
 
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Jack Rudd
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Aristotle
Julius Caesar
Moses
Homer
Hammurabi
Alexander
 
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Chris Berger
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Moses
Caesar
Aristotle
Alexander
Homer
Hammurabi
 
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Eric Phillips
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Aristotle
Moses
Caesar
Homer
Hammurabi
Alexander

There's sure a lot of variation here! Looks like I agree with Riku, though, at least on 4p.

 
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Jack Rudd
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Fortuna wrote:

There's sure a lot of variation here!

There's variation, but within quite narrow parameters: all bar one of the respondents so far have put {Aristotle, Moses, Caesar} as the top three and {Homer, Hammurabi, Alexander} as the bottom three.
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Tim Seitz
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Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But God does not take away life; instead, he devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from him. 2 Sam 14:14
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That's a reasonable stratification.
 
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Jeff Bridgham
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Aristotle
Moses
Caesar
Hammurabi
Alexander
Homer

 
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Brian Schroth
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Yeah I think if you asked people to rate them on more than just a numeric ranking you'd see people have ratings that are very close and high for Caesar, Aristotle, and Moses, and ratings that are very close and low for Alexander, Hammurabi, and Homer.
 
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