Mini Expansion - Rectification

Re: Mini Expansion - Rectification

Postby Fuu » Fri Sep 23, 2011 5:39 am

By invalidating existing builds I just meant that if you increase the cost of certain perks/objectives, some currently valid builds will cost more than 30 avatar points. Certainly some perks could benefit from being reduced in cost!

I didn't mean anything about particular strategies becoming 'invalid' - with respect to that I generally agree with your comments on 'player imposed balance'.
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Re: Mini Expansion - Rectification

Postby Sen » Fri Sep 23, 2011 12:28 pm

There should not be excessive reliance on the meta-game to balance the game.

I saw two metagames developing. One where multiple people were economy turtling which forces everyone else to do likewise, and the other where during avatar creation everyone hints to each other that they're not going to really pump charisma. I stumbled into one of the latter games, missed the subtle cues, chose charisma/cardinal/paranoia, won 1v5 and felt like a dick.
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Re: Mini Expansion - Rectification

Postby manveruppd » Tue Sep 27, 2011 11:28 pm

At the risk of derailing this, I'm not sure if it's so much economy turtling that's overpowered as the means by which these people are achieving victory. Specifically the combination of Infernal Juggernaut/Strategic Deception. It really shouldn't be as easy to wipe out every other player on the map and not get caught. I can think of an easy way to subtly nerf that combo and that would be to slightly bump Corruption of Essence. Maybe by EITHER increasing the base slots affected to three, OR by giving it +1 slot per Destruction level instead of per 2 levels. And possibly making it durational, allowing it to have a chance of stopping the potential usurper from recasting those 2 crucial rituals without his opponents wasting another order.
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Re: Mini Expansion - Rectification

Postby Chaosguy » Wed Sep 28, 2011 3:37 am

Sen wrote:There should not be excessive reliance on the meta-game to balance the game.


I think you miss the point, no disrespect. This game IS about the meta game. I don't know Vic but from what I've read on these forums I'd say that if "player A" plays with a certain playstyle which leads him to victory, and the other 5 players ignore it to their detriment & lose, then I imagine he'd say "Well, that's what they get for not being clever enough to know when to gang up & stop that guy".

Thus all strategies are allowed and many viable, but when one player climbs ahead of the rest due to whatever, it is the players, not the game's mechanics which are obligated to stop that person.

I'm not saying that some of the mechanics shouldn't get a little tweaking, in fact the expansion seems to address the turtling concerns both through (as someone pointed out before me) allowing you to challenge a turtle for what little territory they have, potentially green-lighting a blood feud in short order if they don't react to it, or thru the canton count periodically, & over time, vastly boosting active players prestige, forcing the turtles to come out of their shells sooner before the prestige players run away with it.
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Re: Mini Expansion - Rectification

Postby Sen » Wed Sep 28, 2011 10:37 am

manveruppd wrote:At the risk of derailing this, I'm not sure if it's so much economy turtling that's overpowered as the means by which these people are achieving victory. Specifically the combination of Infernal Juggernaut/Strategic Deception. It really shouldn't be as easy to wipe out every other player on the map and not get caught. I can think of an easy way to subtly nerf that combo and that would be to slightly bump Corruption of Essence. Maybe by EITHER increasing the base slots affected to three, OR by giving it +1 slot per Destruction level instead of per 2 levels. And possibly making it durational, allowing it to have a chance of stopping the potential usurper from recasting those 2 crucial rituals without his opponents wasting another order.


I think its difficult to say that level 6 in any of Mar/Dec/Wic is overpowered relative to each other, with Prophecy being a clear support stat intended to make your main one go more smoothly. They're all overpowered which makes for a more interesting and unstable form of balance. I think the issue is the limitations on accessing them. An economy turtle will have one first and will have two when you have one. The thing about being first to the abilities offered by a wide margin is it can be enough to outright kill everyone else on the board.

Chaosguy wrote:
Sen wrote:There should not be excessive reliance on the meta-game to balance the game.


I think you miss the point, no disrespect. This game IS about the meta game.

So you don't just disagree with what "excessive" reliance is, you disagree with the statement outright?

I don't know Vic but from what I've read on these forums I'd say that if "player A" plays with a certain playstyle which leads him to victory, and the other 5 players ignore it to their detriment & lose, then I imagine he'd say "Well, that's what they get for not being clever enough to know when to gang up & stop that guy".

I'd say they lost on the character creation screen as the 5 included a Kingmaker, a Super-legion build, a Praetor duelist and a Master Archer/Sword who got boxed.

Thus all strategies are allowed and many viable,

Really? I'd say the current hurdle you have to jump to be viable is being able to stop a turtle breaking out as part of a group, which is a surprisingly high hurdle. It certainly didn't include the ones I mentioned immediately above.

but when one player climbs ahead of the rest due to whatever, it is the players, not the game's mechanics which are obligated to stop that person.
I'm not saying that some of the mechanics shouldn't get a little tweaking, in fact the expansion seems to address the turtling concerns both through (as someone pointed out before me) allowing you to challenge a turtle for what little territory they have, potentially green-lighting a blood feud in short order if they don't react to it,

Yes, that was me. I pointed that out. I'm also slightly concerned the AoW will turn out to be over a single neighbouring tile with no ability to capture others. In any case, theres a loophole for players who don't care about prestige. They just repeatedly never accept an insult and challenge you to praetor duels that they don't even have to show up to. Doesn't count towards blood feud, doesn't allow territory capture.

or thru the canton count periodically, & over time, vastly boosting active players prestige, forcing the turtles to come out of their shells sooner before the prestige players run away with it.

How does this boost prestige players at all? Why would turtles come out of their shells sooner? It doesn't look to increase the strength of prestige players in anyway and turtles have the option of winning by other means.

Prestige is this useless number that can be made irrelevent at any time after turn 30. Framing players for excommunication is not too difficult a challenge and even if it backfires, the Deceit-using player is allowed as many goes as he likes and hes probably the one better able to tolerate the state of being excommunicated.

I find it difficult to predict how the census will affect things. On the one hand it may lead towards more martial builds with boots on the ground which will discourage any kind of sloth build about praetor dueling or silly stuff (despite how much I like the silly stuff). Might lead to a higher average strength for prestige players. On the other, cantons ususally stay fixed for most of the game so there will be an early scrabble for them that will lead to stagnating economies as the prestige players waste even more early order slots on things that are not Demand Tribute.

Earlier you mentioned the meta-game situation where 5 players should have banded together to stop 1 player. Yeah, its sensible and all, take down the leader. Thats a within-meta situation in a single game. If those 6 players play again (which is pretty common as the playerbase is small and tends to be clumps of friends) do you think there will be more players adopting the build that had to be opposed in numbers, or less? If Economy-Turtling gives a better than 16.6% chance of winning in a field of 6 players, what will the player makeup of games eventually look like? Then add in the discovery of the excommunication button.

Meta is between games as well as within games. In the next game you have to account for whos out for revenge and if they have a very available and powerful means to seek this.
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Re: Mini Expansion - Rectification

Postby Chaosguy » Wed Sep 28, 2011 11:25 pm

So you don't just disagree with what "excessive" reliance is, you disagree with the statement outright?

Yes. To put it even more straightforward, the metagame IS the game. SI is much like poker were everyone knows a full house beats 3 of kind, the players once they are familiar with the rules and options are playing the person sitting across form them, not the cards.

I'd say they lost on the character creation screen as the 5 included a Kingmaker, a Super-legion build, a Praetor duelist and a Master Archer/Sword who got boxed.

Should I put up 15 random starting line-ups to back my point as well? What about 6 turtles? etc. regardless of line up, its up to the players to recognize the main threat and react-- SI is about working with your enemies against an even bigger enemy.

Really? I'd say the current hurdle you have to jump to be viable is being able to stop a turtle breaking out as part of a group, which is a surprisingly high hurdle. It certainly didn't include the ones I mentioned immediately above.

Only if there's only one turtle and other players all assume he's someone else's problem. Not uncommon granted, but again its players not game mechanics that would have to control this. Since we're all about scenarios: Imagine youre playing as a turtle-- there are 3 other turtles in your game and two prestige players. Who are you most threatened by? & Who are you going to feel the need to take action against before they do the same to you? In so doing might you be more inclined than otherwise to rush to strike first?

How does this boost prestige players at all? Why would turtles come out of their shells sooner?

Assuming the canton count when selected grants prestige based on census on every conclave token, it would put prestige players so far ahead, it would make the turtle's only options clear and easier to prepare against. Your average turtle has what, 8 cantons? -- Maybe just enoguh to snag that nearby PoP if they even bothered? Your average prestige players is likely to have 20+. That means by conclave token #8 the prestige player has easily double the prestige of the turtle and by endgame will have far more than secret & publci objectives can make up for. This means the turtles only recourse is framing or seizing Pandemonium. Knowing its coming gives the prestige player time to prepare for it, and a much better chance of actually surviing the game to win by traditional means. This means the turtle might decide that he needs to take action sooner rather than later to better his chance of success, perhap even adopt a hybrid strat.

If those 6 players play again (which is pretty common as the playerbase is small and tends to be clumps of friends) do you think there will be more players adopting the build that had to be opposed in numbers, or less?

Depends. Did the turtle lose? Because then, yeah, I'd say they might not be too impressed with it.

Meta is between games as well as within games. In the next game you have to account for whos out for revenge and if they have a very available and powerful means to seek this.

You're absolutely correct, but here's the thing-- regardless of what the rules & game mechanics are-- if you only play against the same 5 people over & over, your games are going to start to look/play the same. I recommend you try inviting new people into the mix for variety.
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Re: Mini Expansion - Rectification

Postby Sen » Thu Sep 29, 2011 1:23 am

I wrote a big post then realized it was unnecessary.

Cooperation is not a counter to turtling. By saying cooperation is the counter, you are acknowledging that turtling is a better than average chance for a single player to win. Assuming players are determined to win, it will increase in frequency as a strategy after players learn it. More turtles makes everyone miserable.



Edit: Actually, this paragraph is worth saving.
That means by conclave token #8 the prestige player has easily double the prestige of the turtle and by endgame will have far more than secret & publci objectives can make up for. This means the turtles only recourse is framing or seizing Pandemonium. Knowing its coming gives the prestige player time to prepare for it, and a much better chance of actually surviing the game to win by traditional means.

Its not the turtles only recourse, its their plan from the start and they're very good at it. You always know its coming with a dread sense of inevitability. How do you prepare against framing, apart from doing it first? The thing about framing is it throws the winning by traditional means straight out the window making any effort spent on prestige worthless. You can survive but you've still lost, and if there is a prestige victory, it will go to some undeserving.

Turtles being good at the military victory is half of it, everyone being a dice roll from being locked out of the Prestige victory is the other.
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Re: Mini Expansion - Rectification

Postby Marble Mouth » Thu Sep 29, 2011 1:27 pm

Sen wrote:Cooperation is not a counter to turtling. By saying cooperation is the counter, you are acknowledging that turtling is a better than average chance for a single player to win


I disagree with your evaluation. Turtling is only stronger than average in a vacuum. Many of the game's natural elements, e.g. Threat Order List and progressively greater demands, make it so that once you've decided to hurt someone, it's easier/better to continue hurting them than to switch to another target. Turtles are supposed to get punished early and often. A significant trade off to turtling is that by keeping to yourself, you forego punishing others. So by turtling, you shift your role from punisher to punished.

Sen wrote:There should not be excessive reliance on the meta-game to balance the game.


And this, of course, is why you disagree with my evaluation that the metagame provides an effective balance to turtling. I don't know why you say this. In-game-metagame is an essential consequence of more-than-two-player games. I am an unapologetic worshiper of metagame. I think it's strongly emphasized in SI, and I thoroughly enjoy exploring its power and its limitations. It clearly doesn't prevent turtling from happening or even prevent it from winning, but it does reduce its overall viability. The stronger that turtling is perceived to be, the more that people will play against it, and the less strong it will become. There is that stickied thread "Survey: How have your games ended." I haven't dug through the whole thing and compiled the stats, and I'm not sure they would be meaningful if I did, but it's full of anecdotes where turtles don't win and other anecdotes where turtles do. Turtling is neither a guaranteed win nor a prerequisite for winning. Perhaps it does win disproportionately many games, I don't know. Even if it does, that has not driven us all to turtle every game. For me, the question is not "Which strategy is best?" but rather "What are the best responses and counters to each strategy?"

Edit: I also feel compelled to respond to this
Sen wrote:How do you prepare against framing, apart from doing it first? The thing about framing is it throws the winning by traditional means straight out the window making any effort spent on prestige worthless. You can survive but you've still lost, and if there is a prestige victory, it will go to some undeserving.


Framing attacks on Pandemonium isn't easy, but with repeated attempts it is certainly possible. Possible preemptive counters include killing the turtle, but also just putting him under enough pressure that he has to divert resources away from improving his Deception. When he goes for it, unless he gets particularly lucky, he'll excommunicate himself before he's excommunicated many of the players at all, so if a couple of you have legions close to his stronghold (or a Puzzle Cube), he'd better watch his step. At that point, unless he expects to survive the dogpile he's inviting, he's just playing spoiler, which anyone can do at any time. Also, game length. I keep coming back to this when I think about the metagame: short games just don't give turtles as much time to build up. They reward short-term investments much more than epic games do. I especially disagree with your assertion that the winner can possibly be undeserving. This game's mechanics are often arbitrary and unpredictable. A win is a win. Sometimes, making the fewest enemies is the winning strategy. If you didn't want that "undeserving" player to win, you should have stopped him.
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Re: Mini Expansion - Rectification

Postby Sen » Thu Sep 29, 2011 3:25 pm

Marble Mouth wrote:
Sen wrote:Cooperation is not a counter to turtling. By saying cooperation is the counter, you are acknowledging that turtling is a better than average chance for a single player to win


I disagree with your evaluation. Turtling is only stronger than average in a vacuum. Many of the game's natural elements, e.g. Threat Order List and progressively greater demands, make it so that once you've decided to hurt someone, it's easier/better to continue hurting them than to switch to another target. Turtles are supposed to get punished early and often.


How do you reliably identify and punish turtles early? If you're a prestige player how do you not fall behind in the prestige race while wasting your efforts on a stalling turtle who is very carefully counter-demanding 1 turn before your next demand becomes available and no-show minimum wager praetor duels.

Threat Order is something that nearly works but doesn't. It could be better replaced with a simpler Most Hated Enemy choice who costs Rank 1 while all other players cost the current Rank 2. It just causes active players who engage with others to get focused while passive ones get ignored. It benefits turtles.

A significant trade off to turtling is that by keeping to yourself, you forego punishing others. So by turtling, you shift your role from punisher to punished.

This statement is ridiculous. This isn't Civ where you can make the long term profit from war of incorporating enemy cities, or sometimes even the immediate profit of war loot. In SI you spend tribute and order slots, blood and sweat and get prestige back sometimes. How do you put the hurt on a turtle and how do you make sure that the relative costs come out in your favour, even ignoring that there will be players alongside paying no costs and and gaining all benefit you generate.
Sen wrote:There should not be excessive reliance on the meta-game to balance the game.


And this, of course, is why you disagree with my evaluation that the metagame provides an effective balance to turtling. I don't know why you say this. In-game-metagame is an essential consequence of more-than-two-player games. I am an unapologetic worshiper of metagame. I think it's strongly emphasized in SI, and I thoroughly enjoy exploring its power and its limitations.

Most of that applies to me, I just think theres a better game beneath the current turtle influenced one.

It clearly doesn't prevent turtling from happening or even prevent it from winning, but it does reduce its overall viability. The stronger that turtling is perceived to be, the more that people will play against it, and the less strong it will become. There is that stickied thread "Survey: How have your games ended." I haven't dug through the whole thing and compiled the stats, and I'm not sure they would be meaningful if I did, but it's full of anecdotes where turtles don't win and other anecdotes where turtles do. Turtling is neither a guaranteed win nor a prerequisite for winning. Perhaps it does win disproportionately many games, I don't know. Even if it does, that has not driven us all to turtle every game. For me, the question is not "Which strategy is best?" but rather "What are the best responses and counters to each strategy?"


Thankfully, turtling is the least fun thing you can do in a game that lasts weeks. People would rather do stuff than not do stuff. Doesn't mean its not a problem.

Sen wrote:How do you prepare against framing, apart from doing it first? The thing about framing is it throws the winning by traditional means straight out the window making any effort spent on prestige worthless. You can survive but you've still lost, and if there is a prestige victory, it will go to some undeserving.


Framing attacks on Pandemonium isn't easy, but with repeated attempts it is certainly possible. Possible preemptive counters include killing the turtle, but also just putting him under enough pressure that he has to divert resources away from improving his Deception.

How do you kill someone and put yourself in a situation where you are capable of winning the game? For that matter, how do you even pressure him?

When he goes for it, unless he gets particularly lucky, he'll excommunicate himself before he's excommunicated many of the players at all, so if a couple of you have legions close to his stronghold (or a Puzzle Cube), he'd better watch his step. At that point, unless he expects to survive the dogpile he's inviting, he's just playing spoiler, which anyone can do at any time.

The option to play spoiler is the worst thing about the mechanic. Its tactical use to exclude players from the Prestige game and Bazaar is merely irritating by comparison.

Pandemonium defends against a ritual at 2D6 + 12. (not 8, as its level might otherwise suggest). If I'm reading the formulas correctly then Pandemonium reveals identities at only 2D6 versus the casters 2D6 + Deceit Roll. Even at a mere +6 from max Deceit score and not having a Prince of Lies/Relic bonus, thats down into the single figures percent chance to excommunicate yourself per ritual. I really, really hope someone can tell me I'm wrong and that theres a second hidden modifier unique to Pandy otherwise the risk distribution is very unfair.

And a Puzzle Cube isn't a deterrent, its a cause for a pre-emptive strike in self-defense against the owner.

Also, game length. I keep coming back to this when I think about the metagame: short games just don't give turtles as much time to build up. They reward short-term investments much more than epic games do. I especially disagree with your assertion that the winner can possibly be undeserving. This game's mechanics are often arbitrary and unpredictable. A win is a win.


I don't see how you reconcile the content of those last 3 sentences.

Look, i'm not some huge baby who cries about any smidgen of luck. Wholly deterministic games are boring. Luck is a very immedate way to generate excitement and anticipation of the next turn and to create narratives like about this one time you know my pawn beat 3 knights and a Queen in a row what a hero so cool yeah etc. I don't want to spreadsheet my way to victory. I'm not just tolerant of, but happy to manage risk, preferably with excessive overkill. And sometimes after assessing all options and finding few available, you just have to risk the outcome of a battle on a hard 6 because the alternatives are worse. Thats making a weighty decision.

But the luck should be proportionally and evenly distributed between players and across the timespan of the game. By and large, thats what I see happening. You lose your first legion bought to Capricious Wrath and your first PoP to Insurrection, but the Book of Enoch turns up in the Bazaar just after everyone else spent all their Darkness.

What I don't like is that the final outcome of the game comes down to a single dice roll (hell, its not even a single dice roll, it gets rolled repeatedly) that looks surprisingly safe to perform, but has disasterous consequences if it works.

Thats not an even distribution. Its not a momentuous decision. Its just A Thing that is very easy to do. Just a devaluing of the entire prestige game right there. Why even bother playing, why not have just rolled it right at the start to determine winners? At least give me some way to defend against it other that pre-emptively Masked Corruption of Essence on as many players as possible.

Sometimes, making the fewest enemies is the winning strategy. If you didn't want that "undeserving" player to win, you should have stopped him.

Pfffff, the meek never inherited the earth and where would man or demon be if they avoided conflict. Anyway, do the math on the relevent formula and decide if undeserving applies or not.
Last edited by Sen on Thu Oct 06, 2011 11:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mini Expansion - Rectification

Postby Marble Mouth » Thu Sep 29, 2011 7:28 pm

Sen wrote:How do you reliably identify and punish turtles early?

I guess, and I demand and I play the map. It's not reliable. I'm ok with that.

Sen wrote:If you're a prestige player how do you not fall behind in the prestige race while wasting your efforts on a stalling turtle

Sen wrote:there will be players alongside paying no costs and and gaining all benefit you generate.

Sen wrote:How do you kill someone and put yourself in a situation where you are capable of winning the game?

If all the prestige players ignore the turtle(s), then they'll probably all lose. Maybe it's up to the guy in 1st place to ensure that the game actually ends by prestige victory. Maybe it's up to the guy with the closest stronghold to the turtle, since he's in the most immediate danger. Maybe nobody takes responsibility for it, and the turtle eventually runs wild. It's up to the prestige players in each game to work that out for themselves, and I love it.

Sen wrote:This isn't Civ where you can make the long term profit from war of incorporating enemy cities, or sometimes even the immediate profit of war loot.

Agreed. In this game, most of your diplomatic decisions are about whether to engage in mutually detrimental fighting, or to leave one another alone. That's why turtling can be so strong. You're leaving everybody else alone, hoping they leave you alone while weakening eachother. That's why the prestige players (loyal to the conclave) must band together against the aloof would-be-traitors before they succeed in usurping the throne.

Sen wrote:The option to play spoiler is the worst thing about the mechanic. Its tactical use to exclude players from the Prestige game and Bazaar is merely irritating by comparison.

This, I believe, is an inescapable fact of more-than-two-player games. If you don't care about the cost to yourself, you can launch an all-out attack on a target of your choice and significantly reduce his chances (and your own) relative to everyone else. I also love this.

Sen wrote:Pandemonium defends against a ritual at 2D6 + 12. (not 8, as its level might otherwise suggest). If I'm reading the formulas correctly then Pandemonium reveals identities at only 2D6 versus the casters 2D6 + Deceit Roll. Even at a mere +6 from max Deceit score and not having a Prince of Lies/Relic bonus, thats down into the single figures percent chance to excommunicate yourself per ritual. I really, really hope someone can tell me I'm wrong

When I first found out from these forums that this was even an option, I tried it in single player immediately. I failed to frame 4 times in a row while succeeding at some of the Afflictions. Those 4 trials clearly do not constitute a statistically significant body of data. Hopefully, someone else will have done this already, but I will run a lot more trials when I get the chance and post the results if this remains unanswered. This really is kind of central to this whole argument.

Sen wrote:
Marble Mouth wrote:I especially disagree with your assertion that the winner can possibly be undeserving. This game's mechanics are often arbitrary and unpredictable. A win is a win.

I don't see how you reconcile the content of those last 3 sentences.

What I meant to say is that the final outcome of the game can be rather arbitrary and that speculating on the deservedness of a win is silly. I enjoy the sharp tactical decisions that I'm forced to make at every turn. It doesn't bother me at all that I can make a series of good moves and still lose, or that someone else could seem to play a weak game and then win.

I think it's funny that you bring up chess as an example. There is no luck, no hidden information in chess. It's all there for you to see, if you look far enough into the game, but chess isn't a trivial, boring game. I'm not really going anywhere with that.
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