Marco Wong
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Some background about me
I have always been a 'low volume' user: Rarely would a game got played more than 5 times, even for those games I love. I think it's rather common for us boardgamegeeks: buying too much but playing too infrequent. This phenomenon has changed since I received Battlecon in 3/2012. I've played it 28 times face to face by now, plus 14 on-line plays. In this review, I'm going to tell you why I rated this game a 10 since Puerto Rico, which was published 10 years ago.

Game Basics
BattleCon is a 2 player cardgame trying to simulate 2-D fighting videogame like Street Fighter or Guilty Gear. The winner is the first who deals 20 damage to the other player, or who has more life at the end of the 15th round.
At the beginning of each game, each player would choose their character, then place their chosen characters on the starting position of the board, which consists of 7 spaces in a straight line.
Each round, the players would each play a pair of cards. The pair consists of a card known as style (left hand side) and a card known as base (right hand side). These cards combined govern what you do in the coming round, including movement, range of attack, damage if you can hit, priority (who acts first) and special effects. After seeing the result of your opponent and cancelling your movement is simply not possible! The tricky part is that each individual character would have his own 5 unique styles together with 1 unique base. 6 generic bases shared by all characters are added to those 6 cards forming an initial hand of 12 cards (5 styles plus 7 bases). 2 pairs would be 'locked' and won't become available till later rounds. You then get to choose 1 style out of 3 and 1 base out of 5 to form your attack pair. See the picture below prepared by
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Evacuation Grasp is the current pair, while Evacuation is a style card (with graphics unique to the character) while Grasp is a base card (generic to all characters). After the current round this pair would move to discard 1, and you'd get the discard 2 pair back to your hand with previous discard 1 becomes discard 2.

How could you achieve the 20 damage goal?
1. Hit while your opponent can't
- move to a range that only you can hit your opponent
  - fast strikes that stun your opponent and make them can't fight back
(virtually all successful strikes would cause stun, however cards that grant stun guard/ soak X is going to ignore this rule by a certain extent)
2. Trading punches while you deal more damage than your opponents', like using cards with high damage and stun guard

3 stages that You're going to Experience
1. You know nothing about both characters
This is the most difficult stage as the you are still figuring out how to make effective strikes. Common mistakes include striking at wrong distance, using the best card pairs against dash (aka dodge)...
2. You know your characters but know nothing about the opponent's
In this case you can make effective strikes, but sometimes would be frustrated by opponent's attack pairs. Anyway, you'd find this game much more interesting when you can occasionally match his strike with a better one.
3. Both players know their characters well
This game would become an ultra-brain-burning and double guessing game that both players would enjoy.

It is just like Sun Tsu, the famous Chinese tactitian, has mentioned the following in his book 'Art of War' over 2000 years ago:
If you know the enemy and know yourself,
you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.
If you know yourself but not the enemy,
    for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat.
    If you know neither the enemy nor yourself,
you will succumb in every battle.


What do I like about this game? 
1. Simple to learn rules, yet deep strategy
As you can see, the rules can easily be described in few minutes. However, as each character has 35 moves available (5 unique styles x 7 bases), a few games are required just to grab the feel of the game. However, this game truly shines when both players remember all cards in play. Then this game becomes one with much double guessing/ calculation.
2. Captures 2D fighting's positioning best
As in grand-daddy En Garde, positioning of your characters on the board is extremely important. A skillful player can position himself with as much options available and at the same time limiting his opponent's options.
3. Fast gameplay, but yet you feel like playing something epic
I believe this is one of the most imporatant reason I love this game. Many short games give you a filler feel, however in BattleCon, despite each game lasts for rarely longer than 20 minutes, involves lots of decisions and mental exercise. Would I go for long range despite its low priority? Or would I escape with dash? You need to think of both your opponent's and your characters at the same time, and it's just a single turn.
4. Lots of different characters to choose from
It's really lots. 18 total plus 3 kickstart promo plus 1 BGG Ernie. They all play really very different. No 2 style cards are the same and each character plays very diferently. This makes the game much more replayable considering the simple ruleset.

Some problems that others would dislike
1. Balanced?
Many match-ups that other players and I have tried, both in the actual game and iOS game, are rather balanced. However there're a few match-ups that have been found to have potential issues, like Regicide vs Amberdeen, or Cadenza vs Demigrande/ Regicide. The author has tried to explain that in each situation, there should be a way out. However, I doubt whether this is true or not: In this game, when it reaches high level playing, resolves much around the double guessing nature and the available options would greatly affect whether your attack pair works or not. For the above match-ups, 1 side is in general handicapped with maybe only 2-3 options that works, sometime even less. I've 'played' against myself open handedly for over 100 games, and the finding is quite consistent. The follow-up question would then be: Is it fun? As I've mentioned, most match-ups are alright. So as long as you're not playing tournament (or tournament with limited choice of characters), this works perfectly fine for me.
2. Expandable
The game is very expandable and the box even comes with extra blank cards for you to design your own charatcter. The designer has also mentioned that there would be a 18 character standalone set coming next year. So the follow-up question would be: Should I get this game now? My answer is yes. Even without the expansion, 18 characters from the baseic set is enough for years of enjoyment already. Why wait for another year then?
3. Only those who know the game can enjoy the game
This game is not designed for casual players, so cult of the new, please stay away. For those who play this game less than 5 times, it's quite likely that they can't grasp the characteristics of the character and not enjoy the game. See the '3 stages' above.

iOS version
The electronic version comes with 12 characters, among them 4 are available free of charge from the start. The controls are functional but not exceptional compared with games like Elder Sign/ Neuroshima Hex. As it has only been launched for a short time, it takes a bit of time to find a on-line opponent. BTW, I think the iOS programme is designed for veteran players as:
1. Average interface which is not appealing to ordinary iOS gamers;
2. Short thinking time (30s per round) plus not clearly shown discard pile makes players familiar with the characters almost mandatory;
In short, you can try this game online but have to expect the highest level of opponents you're facing. So if you want to try the game, it'd be better you ask someone who bought the game or get the free printout version.
BTW, my Game Centre id is 'marcolian2002'. Send me an invitation guys!

Conclusion
I've played many excellent 2 player games, including Commands & Colors: Ancients, Summoner Wars, Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation, and many euro designs. I've played many multi-player games, long or short. I've played boardgames since 1997. None of the games before have made me so excited and eager for my next play. This game is BattleCON: War of Indines. I sincerely recommend it to all of you boardgamegeeks. It is simply a masterpiece that no one should miss (cult of the new excluded).
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Noah Bogart
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Lubi123 wrote:
1. Balanced?
Many match-ups that other players and I have tried, both in the actual game and iOS game, are rather balanced. However there're a few match-ups that have been found to have potential issues, like Regicide vs Amberdeen, or Cadenza vs Demigrande/ Regicide. The author has tried to explain that in each situation, there should be a way out. However, I doubt whether this is true or not: In this game, when it reaches high level playing, resolves much around the double guessing nature and the available options would greatly affect whether your attack pair works or not. For the above match-ups, 1 side is in general handicapped with maybe only 2-3 options that works, sometime even less. I've 'played' against myself open handedly for over 100 games, and the finding is quite consistent. The follow-up question would then be: Is it fun? As I've mentioned, most match-ups are alright. So as long as you're not playing tournament (or tournament with limited choice of characters), this works perfectly fine for me.


I have a feeling that some match-ups are absolutely terrible, but they're not the ones we immediately see (such as Rukyuk vs Demitras). The game just needs more people playing and talking about the game, and more focus on the deeper mind-games. Yomi, for example, has some surface problems that seem absolutely killer, such as Argagarg's Bubble Shield or Setsuki's Ninpo Flash. But on further plays and intensive discussions, those moves aren't game-breaking at all, they're just tricks in a larger arsenal.

I hope and think this game has the potential for really deep match-up analysis, because it's definitely worth it.

Good review. :-)
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Marco Wong
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Thanks Noah for your reply!
I think Brad's primary objective is not to strive for perfect balance (as David Sirlin mentioned in his design diary for Puzzle Strike 2 to make it tournament friendly), but to give you as much simulation and theme as possible while minimising the complexity. 1 particular match-up that I think is imbalanced is Cadenza vs Regicide, which I've played 6 games as Regicide by now and only managed to get 1 win. The difficulty in using Regicide actually adds some theme to the gameplay: How am I, an assassin, could 'kill' a giant robot?
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Nate K
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Love this game!
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Tobias Moos
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kurthl33t wrote:
Love this game!


Me too. And everyone I played it with as well. However it gets increasingly difficult to hook new players to the game as I get more and more experienced. As mentioned in the review that's a huge advantage and new players are usually not too excited to play again after I pull three perfect victories in a row. I might have to start with the 'Ex' version of the characters for them in the future..
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Marco Wong
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scud wrote:
kurthl33t wrote:
Love this game!


Me too. And everyone I played it with as well. However it gets increasingly difficult to hook new players to the game as I get more and more experienced. As mentioned in the review that's a huge advantage and new players are usually not too excited to play again after I pull three perfect victories in a row. I might have to start with the 'Ex' version of the characters for them in the future..

You don't need to give them the ex version. My limited experience and advice would be:
1. Don't let them choose the character. They need to start with Cadenza. It is the easiest character to start with (not necessarily mastering) as he's almost always slower, he had excellent staying power and the decision of whether to use the iron body token can be delayed till mid-turn.
2. I'd intentionally misplay a few turns so that even if my opponent lose, it'd just be a bit. I learnt this while I taught Balloon Cup to children few years back. Get them hooked is more important than a few wins. BTW, if you want real challenge, there's iOS version!
3. Or you let your opponent choose your character!
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One Armed Bandit
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Some matchups just suck, and no amount of balancing can fix that. What pleases me is that, not only are there VERY few super bad matchups... but even those are still winnable.

One thing to remember is that BC is not a game about taking your favorite character and always winning. You're meant to play multiple characters. You're also meant to play multiple games.

The tournament rules reinforce this. Everyone picks THREE characters, and chooses which one they want to use for each match. This means that if your preferred character is going up against one of their bad matchups, you can swap out for someone better suited.
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Tobias Moos
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Lubi123 wrote:
1. Don't let them choose the character. They need to start with Cadenza. It is the easiest character to start with (not necessarily mastering) as he's almost always slower, he had excellent staying power and the decision of whether to use the iron body token can be delayed till mid-turn.


Good advice. I might consider that.

Lubi123 wrote:
2. I'd intentionally misplay a few turns so that even if my opponent lose, it'd just be a bit. I learnt this while I taught Balloon Cup to children few years back. Get them hooked is more important than a few wins.


I agree. But while I don't mind playing weak against children, I'm having a hard time to do the same with intelligent adults.

Lubi123 wrote:
BTW, if you want real challenge, there's iOS version!


That would require a device with iOS running on it. No such thing in my household.

Lubi123 wrote:
3. Or you let your opponent choose your character!


Tried that last time, didn't work Even if I pick a character that I never played before, I immediately grasp the important points. Once you understand the mechanics, even new character are not a problem against new players.

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One Armed Bandit
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Start them with Cadenza until they get the basics down, and then move them on to Luc. Luc is still very straightforward to play, but he is currently the most powerful character.
 
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Alex Brown
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palmerkun wrote:

The tournament rules reinforce this. Everyone picks THREE characters, and chooses which one they want to use for each match. This means that if your preferred character is going up against one of their bad matchups, you can swap out for someone better suited.


I really can't stand this, and think it lazy development of a game.

I know in fighting games, counterpicking is kosher. However, in the boardgame world, 'balance' is a tighter concept.

Why is perfect balance so lofty a goal? Other boardgames strive for it.

In all seriousness I think fightinggame-to-boardgame designers overestimate their own abilities and should look at the great designers of their new medium rather than falling back on fighting game cliches.
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One Armed Bandit
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Alex Brown wrote:
I really can't stand this, and think it lazy development of a game.

Have you even played it?
I see you consider Yomi a perfect 10. Yet Yomi has every single issue you're complaining about here.

Quote:
I know in fighting games, counterpicking is kosher. However, in the boardgame world, 'balance' is a tighter concept.

Counter-picking exists in board games too. Any game where you can make choices that foil another strategy has it. A very simple example is Dominion. I go for a Thief strategy, and you counter-pick Moat. There are hundreds of games where this is part of it. Defensive drafting, action blocking, resource denial. Same thing, different game.

Yomi features counterpicking in tournaments. Why praise it but damn this?

Quote:
Why is perfect balance so lofty a goal? Other boardgames strive for it.

The only way to get "perfect" balance is to reduce the whole thing to a mathematical exercise, and the world already has too many Knizia games.

Yomi has some horrible matchups and very divergent tiers.
http://www.fantasystrike.com/forums/index.php?threads/saberm...
Why does it get a pass from you?

Quote:
In all seriousness I think fightinggame-to-boardgame designers overestimate their own abilities and should look at the great designers of their new medium rather than falling back on fighting game cliches.


Again, you rate Yomi as a 10, despite it's many flaws, and how it fits every accusation you level against BattleCon.
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Tiger Wiccan
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palmerkun wrote:
Alex Brown wrote:
I really can't stand this, and think it lazy development of a game.

Have you even played it?
I see you consider Yomi a perfect 10. Yet Yomi has every single issue you're complaining about here.

Quote:
I know in fighting games, counterpicking is kosher. However, in the boardgame world, 'balance' is a tighter concept.

Counter-picking exists in board games too. Any game where you can make choices that foil another strategy has it. A very simple example is Dominion. I go for a Thief strategy, and you counter-pick Moat. There are hundreds of games where this is part of it. Defensive drafting, action blocking, resource denial. Same thing, different game.

Yomi features counterpicking in tournaments. Why praise it but damn this?

Quote:
Why is perfect balance so lofty a goal? Other boardgames strive for it.

The only way to get "perfect" balance is to reduce the whole thing to a mathematical exercise, and the world already has too many Knizia games.

Yomi has some horrible matchups and very divergent tiers.
http://www.fantasystrike.com/forums/index.php?threads/saberm...
Why does it get a pass from you?

Quote:
In all seriousness I think fightinggame-to-boardgame designers overestimate their own abilities and should look at the great designers of their new medium rather than falling back on fighting game cliches.


Again, you rate Yomi as a 10, despite it's many flaws, and how it fits every accusation you level against BattleCon.


It would be too easy to call them a Yomi fanboy...
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Brad Talton
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Alex Brown wrote:
palmerkun wrote:

The tournament rules reinforce this. Everyone picks THREE characters, and chooses which one they want to use for each match. This means that if your preferred character is going up against one of their bad matchups, you can swap out for someone better suited.


I really can't stand this, and think it lazy development of a game.

I know in fighting games, counterpicking is kosher. However, in the boardgame world, 'balance' is a tighter concept.

I think the problem is being confused here with the solution. Counterpicking is a problem, which is why players have to pick 3 characters at the very start of the tournament. You have to play those 3 characters all throughout, precisely so that you can't shift to a more favorable matchup. Also, players pick their characters against each other blind from their pool of 3, so even if you have a strong match against your opponent's preferred pick, there's no guarantee you can counterpick, as he could counter-counter-pick just as easily. Ultimately, the most reliable thing to do is play your preferred character as well as possible.

Alex Brown wrote:

Why is perfect balance so lofty a goal? Other boardgames strive for it.


It's a lofty goal because it's not truly possible in an asymmetric game. As your game becomes more calculatedly balanced, it becomes closer to symmetric, and thus more sterile. I decided that I wanted to create a kind of "gonzo balance" where everyone was so outlandishly different they couldn't really be compared. The few matches that do seem bad aren't as bad as they look--but new strategies do have to be discovered to make them winnable, which can be admittedly frustrating when you're used to a standard play style.

Alex Brown wrote:

In all seriousness I think fightinggame-to-boardgame designers overestimate their own abilities and should look at the great designers of their new medium rather than falling back on fighting game cliches.


I entirely agree. I've made a detailed academic study of many of the best designers and games of the past two decades (actually planning to publish it soon) as well as many of the designs that have failed (especially in the case of trying to capture a fighting game's essence). To that extent, BattleCON is primarily a card game informed by fighting game principles, not the other way around. I've endeavored to use as many possibilities of the medium as I can, such as including whole subsystems for each character, rather than merely flavorful special effects.

All that said, I'd encourage you to give it a play. It's free to download, after all: http://tinyurl.com/freepnp

Edit: I took a look at your review of Yomi for the Voice of Experience Contest. I think if you give it a play through, you'll find that many of the things you like about Yomi you'll also like about BattleCON--perhaps even more so.
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Thanks for the input guys!
I think that the tournament rules is actually not character balance (as in Street Fighter/ Yomi) but is rather like Pokemon/ King of Fighters. Each character has its strengths/ weaknesses and some matchup could result is disastrous loss. That's why you need to gather team members (aka pokemons) to cover each character's weaknesses. That's 2 different approaches, really.
To Alex: You got to try this game. In many other games, while I lost and I notice even some minor differences in balance, I would just say 'fxxk!' and play another game. In Battlecon, even though I found Regicide weak against Cadenza, I still play the similar matchup again and again till I won. I believe the vastly different playstyles between characters gives me so much theme to go on and on. Could Yomi do the same?
 
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Bun Sham
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Lubi123 wrote:
Some background about me
As you can see, the rules can easily be described in few minutes. However, as each character has 35 moves available (5 unique styles x 7 bases), a few games are required just to grab the feel of the game.


Totally agree, except that each character should have 31 moves instead of 35? All dashes are the same?

Lubi123 wrote:
3. Fast gameplay, but yet you feel like playing something epic I believe this is one of the most imporatant reason I love this game. Many short games give you a filler feel, however in BattleCon, despite each game lasts for rarely longer than 20 minutes, involves lots of decisions and mental exercise. Would I go for long range despite its low priority? Or would I escape with dash? You need to think of both your opponent's and your characters at the same time, and it's just a single turn.


I remember yesterday I was using Luc Von Gott. Even I tried to use more "dash" than usual in order to collect 5 time tokens and stun the opponent. We can finish a game for about 15-20 minutes.

Lubi123 wrote:
Some problems that others would dislike
1. Balanced?
Many match-ups that other players and I have tried, both in the actual game and iOS game, are rather balanced. However there're a few match-ups that have been found to have potential issues, like Regicide vs Amberdeen, or Cadenza vs Demigrande/ Regicide. The author has tried to explain that in each situation, there should be a way out. However, I doubt whether this is true or not: In this game, when it reaches high level playing, resolves much around the double guessing nature and the available options would greatly affect whether your attack pair works or not. For the above match-ups, 1 side is in general handicapped with maybe only 2-3 options that works, sometime even less. I've 'played' against myself open handedly for over 100 games, and the finding is quite consistent. The follow-up question would then be: Is it fun? As I've mentioned, most match-ups are alright. So as long as you're not playing tournament (or tournament with limited choice of characters), this works perfectly fine for me.


You can also say characters in BattleCON varies very differently. For me, this is good as you can play the same game system with totally different strategies. Think about playing the traditional Super Mario Brothers, what's the point of picking Mario or Lugi? They were clone of each other. If someone wants to play games with perfect balance, then Chess and Go are their games, but I would rather play BattleCON as it is more fun and the theme is very strong.

Lubi123 wrote:
3. Only those who know the game can enjoy the game
This game is not designed for casual players, so cult of the new, please stay away. For those who play this game less than 5 times, it's quite likely that they can't grasp the characteristics of the character and not enjoy the game. See the '3 stages' above.


The first time I played BattleCON, I picked Luc Von Gott and played badly. Don't know what I was doing after a game. Then Marco let me tried Cadenza and I can slowly pick up the game. Yesterday I tried Luc Von Gott again, I find many of his moves become reasonable now. You need to lose more to gain experience about the game system and also get familiar with different characters.
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ammms wrote:
Totally agree, except that each character should have 31 moves instead of 35? All dashes are the same?


Not at all. For starters, you modify the priority on the dash. If you dash with a -2 or -3 priority, several characters can beat that and hit you first.

Secondly, when you do dash, you also get the effects of your style, whatever those may be. Cadenza's Clockwork Dash lets him move even more spaces. Hikaru's Trance Dash lets him recover a token. Zaamassal's Dashes let him assume new paradigms.
They're all subtly different, and those differences matter
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What I usually do when teaching a game is telegraph my moves. Like, I'll play card and say, "The reason I am playing this card is because I know that you played that card..." etc.

It effectively makes my play worse because it's like playing against someone who can read your mind.

Sometimes, I will also point out what I think they are doing on their turn. Again, letting them 'read my mind.'

I don't do it constantly because that would be annoying, I just do it when a new situation pops up that is worth pointing out.

Usually, in this kind of game it's the thought process that you need to get down and this helps them.

They will probably beat you this way, but they won't get too cocky because they know that you were helping them.

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palmerkun wrote:

Have you even played it?
I see you consider Yomi a perfect 10. Yet Yomi has every single issue you're complaining about here.
He's giving his opinion on using 3 characters versus 1 in a tournament. He thinks its lazy. I don't see why you feel the need to attempt to change his opinion.

Quote:
Counter-picking exists in board games too. Any game where you can make choices that foil another strategy has it. A very simple example is Dominion. I go for a Thief strategy, and you counter-pick Moat. There are hundreds of games where this is part of it. Defensive drafting, action blocking, resource denial. Same thing, different game.

Very different concepts and I'm not sure if you are getting at what he's saying. He's saying that he understands imbalances will be in fighting games and that's accepted in the community. He just doesn't understand why it's taken to a further degree in boardgaming. And the examples you mention aren't the same as fighting games. With fighting games, the fundamental design of your character is at a disadvantage against another person, no matter what you do. In a game like Dominion, when you buy moats in reaction to a person buying spies, you are simply counter-reacting. That has nothing to do with character imbalance where what you can do is fixed to the character.

Quote:

The only way to get "perfect" balance is to reduce the whole thing to a mathematical exercise, and the world already has too many Knizia games.
While I don't claim to know how to balance a game myself, I don't believe that this is the ONLY way to balance games.


Quote:
Yomi has some horrible matchups and very divergent tiers.
http://www.fantasystrike.com/forums/index.php?threads/saberm...
Why does it get a pass from you?
You are taking data that's over a year old. Try a newer version where people know more about the game. Of course the balance is still not perfect and you have 6.5 to 3.5 matchups, but it's not as bad as your link.

http://www.fantasystrike.com/forums/index.php?threads/its-ti...

Quote:
It would be too easy to call them a Yomi fanboy...

Actually, a fanboy would be someone who takes personal offense to criticism to a game they favor, which seems like what you are doing.
 
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Berjerber Sanchez
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Revelade wrote:
palmerkun wrote:

Have you even played it?
I see you consider Yomi a perfect 10. Yet Yomi has every single issue you're complaining about here.
He's giving his opinion on using 3 characters versus 1 in a tournament. He thinks its lazy. I don't see why you feel the need to attempt to change his opinion.

he is talking about needing to have backup characters/strategies to help in bad matchups being lazy. every fighting game has picks and counterpicks as well as good matchups and bad matchups. that's not bad design; it's character diversity.

just look at street fighter. let's start with ryu and ken. they have a pretty even matchup against eachother and they play similar to each other. now add akuma. he plays slightly different but vortex aside his kit is fairly similar and the matchups are close again. now we add in grapplers like zangief and t.hawk and get some wacky matchup swings.

the point is, once characters start getting more diverse in their play, the matchups start to swing more and there is simply no way to balance that. if character a wants to play keep away and character b has a kit dedicated to closing in and causing pain, character b kind of takes a hot steamy dump on character a's chest. it would result in a 7-3 or worse matchup. how do you balance that? you either give the keep away character more/better keep away tools to even that matchup up or you nerf the character that excels at closing in until you have a nice 5-5 matchup (or 4-6/5.5-4.5 as they seem to love on the yomi forums). one problem... buffing the keep away character gives him an even larger advantage against the rest of the cast assuming the matchups were even/close before. following suit, you buff all of them until all matchups are even but since eventually you get back into our closer getting buffed you're back to square one. on the other hand, nerfing the closer to keep him out of mister keep away's grill would also lower his ability to play on par with the rest of the cast. follow suit and nerf into oblivion all members until back to square one etc... having a large and diverse cast that do not play very similarly is something that is nigh impossible to balance.

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Counter-picking exists in board games too. Any game where you can make choices that foil another strategy has it. A very simple example is Dominion. I go for a Thief strategy, and you counter-pick Moat. There are hundreds of games where this is part of it. Defensive drafting, action blocking, resource denial. Same thing, different game.

Very different concepts and I'm not sure if you are getting at what he's saying. He's saying that he understands imbalances will be in fighting games and that's accepted in the community. He just doesn't understand why it's taken to a further degree in boardgaming. And the examples you mention aren't the same as fighting games. With fighting games, the fundamental design of your character is at a disadvantage against another person, no matter what you do. In a game like Dominion, when you buy moats in reaction to a person buying spies, you are simply counter-reacting. That has nothing to do with character imbalance where what you can do is fixed to the character.

so how exactly are these imbalances taken to a further degree here?

in a game like dominion, each person playing is effectively playing the same character and their choices build their moveset. everybody starts on an equal playing field. in monopoly, everybody starts out even.

battlecon is neither dominion nor monopoly. comparing them doesn't make too much sense. the imbalances between specific characters isn't too easy to eliminate since each character has a different purpose and design.

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The only way to get "perfect" balance is to reduce the whole thing to a mathematical exercise, and the world already has too many Knizia games.
While I don't claim to know how to balance a game myself, I don't believe that this is the ONLY way to balance games.


if the only perfectly balanced games have only 5-5 matchups then it really would be.

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Yomi has some horrible matchups and very divergent tiers.
http://www.fantasystrike.com/forums/index.php?threads/saberm...
Why does it get a pass from you?
You are taking data that's over a year old. Try a newer version where people know more about the game. Of course the balance is still not perfect and you have 6.5 to 3.5 matchups, but it's not as bad as your link.

http://www.fantasystrike.com/forums/index.php?threads/its-ti...


why point out that it's an outdated list only to link to an updated list that gives the same support(slightly less?) to the same idea? also, slow your roll. "balance is still not perfect" due to some 6.5-3.5 matchups? having good and bad matchups is what shows the character's diversity. rock should usually beat scissors should usually beat paper should usually beat rock. that is well balanced. while a roster of 5-5 matchups would technically be balanced, it would show that the cast has little difference in their design. it is NOT balanced when the bottom line of a character's matchups is too high or too low. take all matchups, subtract 5 from each, and take that number. if there are 10 characters and the guy ranking in at 1 has somewhere around a +30 winrate then guess what, that character (and possibly the game) is imbalanced (see: meta-knight or vanilla sagat). even if there are a bunch of 7-3 and 7.5-2.5 matchups but every character is within 3 points of 0, there is some serious balance going on. each character has as many good matchups as they do bad ones. of course, you should definitely rework the 10-0 matchups, but keeping everybody around 0 keeps the roster balanced while keeping the characters potentially diverse.

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It would be too easy to call them a Yomi fanboy...

Actually, a fanboy would be someone who takes personal offense to criticism to a game they favor, which seems like what you are doing.


i am a fan of battlecon and i am a fan of yomi. when it comes to the rosters, battlecon just feels more diverse and more like a real 2d fighting game. the characters actually feel different. in yomi, the differences are more of an afterthought when choosing your moves. regardless of which character you are playing, you want to block their non-chipping attack in the early stages of the game (aside from some sets hands, but i guess she's the diversity there). the whole roster wants to build their hands and combo off. of course, comboing off is different with each character but everybody builds a hand while occasionally poking early on and goes for the throat later on. that's it. throws will pretty much always beat the dodges beat the attacks beat the throws. in battlecon, that is not the case. each character has their own unique goal for how the game would optimally progress and it truly feels different.

also, the 0 luck factor is huge for an unlucky guy like myself. if you play yomi and consistently get the blockless opener you'll know what i mean about yomi luck. or worse, the 4 ace taunting you but nothing else ever setup is pretty bad. you can outplay your opponent all you want, but if they don't have what you expected them to or don't have what you need to beat it it doesn't matter how much you can out yomi them.
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Rick Teverbaugh
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Alex Brown wrote:
palmerkun wrote:

The tournament rules reinforce this. Everyone picks THREE characters, and chooses which one they want to use for each match. This means that if your preferred character is going up against one of their bad matchups, you can swap out for someone better suited.


I really can't stand this, and think it lazy development of a game.

I know in fighting games, counterpicking is kosher. However, in the boardgame world, 'balance' is a tighter concept.

Why is perfect balance so lofty a goal? Other boardgames strive for it.

In all seriousness I think fightinggame-to-boardgame designers overestimate their own abilities and should look at the great designers of their new medium rather than falling back on fighting game cliches.


I totally disagree with nearly everything written above. My favorite two-player game of all-time is Anachronism and tournament rules were best-of-3 or even best-of-5 and nobody had any problems with the game or the system and nobody thought it was an example of lazy design.
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Excellent review. I particularly like the Sun Tzu reference which actually makes immediate sense in the given context.
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Marco Wong
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jhaelen wrote:
Excellent review. I particularly like the Sun Tzu reference which actually makes immediate sense in the given context.

Thanks!
 
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I enjoyed your review!

I know the title is "Why I know I'd still be playing BattleCon 20 years later"

....just wondering how it's holding up for you 4+ years later?

Thanks!
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Thanks! I have been quite busy in the past month and have not attend regular gaming sessions as frequently as before. Anyway this game is still as sharp as before and I will not sell it. It is definitely a better design than Exceed: Red Horizon – Reese & Heidi vs. Vincent & Nehtali.
Would definitely find some time and spread my love for this game with others!
 
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