Mini Expansion - Rectification

Re: Mini Expansion - Rectification

Postby Vic Davis » Mon Oct 03, 2011 5:34 pm

I've got a question for everybody. Are you all seeing the frame, blame and eliminate strategy happening as a dominant strategy that every game devolves into? I have a huge archive of games from player submitted bugs and rules questions and many of them are late game situations. I occasionally see situations like this but from what I can tell it's a small minority. My desire is that unless you go Prince of Lies and acquire (relic) buffs you are going to trip up at some point and get yourself excommunicated. If somebody is the Prince of Lies then that behavior should be apparent after a while and a little cooperation should hammer that down....if players are in a cooperative mood.....I want that to be an "interesting" decision and all that jazz.
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Re: Mini Expansion - Rectification

Postby Sen » Mon Oct 03, 2011 8:38 pm

My history of it is that it used to be a Prestige players trick to eliminate rival Prestige players. The guy in second place would cautiously try to snipe the guy in first with one ritual a turn at about 13/15 tokens drawn. The increase in Pandy's numbers helped remove this as a generally available option, but its still going to happen sometimes just because if you're not going to win, you have nothing to lose and might as well try. Having it work unreliably against you is a different kind of annoying.

Haven't seen the spoiler use where random frame attempts are aimed at everyone except once early on, because the people I played with just didn't roll like that. But we knew it was there and would mention it out to each other as if noticing it for the first time.

Its worth pointing out that Prince of Lies is a very strong perk which sometimes sees double figures of cards stolen in Looting the Vaults. Its fairly common.

So in my opinion, framing currently is just this thing that has some purposes which are unreliable or just bad for the game, leaving everyone with hurt feelings and sense of deflation. The one bunch of guys who can make regular use of it are Economy-Turtles going straight for a Usurper victory. Excomming themselves is a part of this and its great for them if they can divide the rest of Hell into Loyalists and Excoms at the same time. It doesn't even have to be their big rivals (who are probably running Dem.Prem anyway). Even a minor player who can leap on your stronghold is an incredible security threat so framing here is a great way to force conflict between two neighbours each of whom knows that the first strike is the most important. And if the turtle excommunicates himself a turn early, its no big deal to them.

I guess I think its the repeatability and spamming of framing that I think is an issue. No limit on how many attempts can be made.
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Re: Mini Expansion - Rectification

Postby Sord » Mon Oct 03, 2011 9:50 pm

I believe I have only been in maybe two games where someone tried to frame an excommunication. In both cases they failed and I believe they only tried out of desperation as the game was nearly done.

One possibility that I have been pondering (but haven't seen, nor have I tested) is the misery loves company angle. If you've already been excommunicated, the risk of excommunicating yourself is gone, so you can take nearly free potshots at pandemonium, and if one of them works, you are no longer the only target. The more players ousted, the better your position is. And all those failed framings are also weakening pandemonium making it easier to capture.
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Re: Mini Expansion - Rectification

Postby Vic Davis » Tue Oct 04, 2011 5:33 am

Yes, the spamming by already excommunicated players to try and hose prestige players is a dumb thing. I just went in tonight and added a new rule and a system to keep track of failed frame attempts on Pandemonium. If you fail to frame once and are detected (and therefore excommunicated) then you now cannot try and frame that same player again....you will get a message saying that you can't fool the Infernal Conclave again and that your efforts are useless. This should hopefully eliminate any encouragement for the frustrating aspect that frame spamming was creating.
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Re: Mini Expansion - Rectification

Postby Marble Mouth » Tue Oct 04, 2011 1:38 pm

Nice 666th post. That sounds to me like an elegant solution to this problem. You clearly always intended for Pandemonium attack framing to be an option, but it is no longer a certainty, even for a sufficiently wealthy and dedicated fiend. I agree that spamming it was kind of a go-to (if you had the Cunning for it) spoiler for the revenge player, who will now have to get somewhat more creative.
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Re: Mini Expansion - Rectification

Postby Chaosguy » Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:52 pm

Its easy to see why game developers get so exasperated. Not only do the players fall into different camps based on concerns (Sen got hit by excomm once it seems and wanted it removed, I was alarmed about the strength of the "rogue" strategy, and Marble was concerned for turtles who planned on taking Pandemonium from turn 1)-- but it would seem despite the misgivings that started this thread, based on the replies so far, the excomm spam tactic isn't popular in actual play. Closing the loophole on excommunated players using it ad naseum on the faithful does seem a good move still.

I haven't played enough MP games to really input but your 'gut feel' from your blog of 70/13/13/4 on the victory conditions seems off based on the game reports I've read here & elsewhere. But then, maybe people only post the non-typical games. My take would be that the first % for prestige wins is closer to 50 than 70, which still might be okay for what you intended. Which of the other categories that extra 20% goes into though...? Perhaps the more experienced players could give more input to Vic's OP in this thread-- how often do you see prestige victories versus other kinds?
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Re: Mini Expansion - Rectification

Postby Moth Bones » Tue Oct 04, 2011 9:21 pm

I can't say for sure as my memory is patchy, but my impression is that I'd agree with about 70% for Prestige victories, with the remainder split between Pandemonium usurpation and rival elimination. I don't feel that turtles are particularly overpowered or that it is too easy a strategy, though I do welcome cutting down on framing spam. Framing should be bloody difficult imo, and spamming it a near impossible gambit of absolute desperation. To look at it from the game's point of view, if the Conclave is easy to fool then why are the archfiends fighting for its favour in the first place?

Liking the look of the new stuff a lot.
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Re: Mini Expansion - Rectification

Postby manveruppd » Thu Oct 06, 2011 3:25 pm

Yeah, I'd say definitely over half for prestige victories, but that doesn't tell the whole story: I've been in many games where the prestige leader (and sometimes the second in prestige too) were denied their victory by an excommunicated player either framing them via Deceit or taking their stronghold, but then subsequently failed to win the game, leading to a prestige victory by whoever was 3rd or 4th in prestige. Do you still count those as prestige victories?

I have no problem with victory through excommunication, but it kinda makes you lift your hands up when the one guy who was stuck in the middle of the pack and had basically given up on any hope of winning is suddenly thrust in the lead by a would-be usurper self-immolating and taking the prestige leaders with him! :mrgreen:

Of games that were won by excommunication, wiping out enemy strongholds was by far the most common result. Usurping and holding Pandemonium for 5 turns only happened once in any game I was in I think, and I haven't been in a single game where anyone managed to frame EVERYONE and get them excommunicated.
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Re: Mini Expansion - Rectification

Postby Sen » Thu Oct 06, 2011 5:02 pm

manveruppd wrote:Yeah, I'd say definitely over half for prestige victories, but that doesn't tell the whole story: I've been in many games where the prestige leader (and sometimes the second in prestige too) were denied their victory by an excommunicated player either framing them via Deceit or taking their stronghold, but then subsequently failed to win the game, leading to a prestige victory by whoever was 3rd or 4th in prestige. Do you still count those as prestige victories?


I think theres almost a rock/paper/scissors thing going on here. Turtles, hybrids and high-prestige players. High-prestige players blow all their resources on trying to get to 1st place and can exhaust themselves by competing against each other. Turtles beat them through military strength. Hybrids are those through chance or choice who are somewhere in between.

But theres interaction between the strategies, at least with very aware players. The more high-prestige players there are, the more resources get spent on prestige so the relative strength of players spending their orders on economy and military increases. However given that a turtles worst enemy is a turtle, a hybrid strat that has just enough prestige but also enough strength to run out the token countdown while surviving becomes viable. The only problem is "enough prestige" is a perpetually moving target that some high-prestige player will leap on and recklessly drive higher, forcing the hybrid player to take an entirely turtle stance.

Basically, my impression is turtling is the endpoint of strategies because its useless to be the second prestige player while turtles don't experience big penalties vs. each other and a hybrid trying to sneak in will probably get forced to commit to one of the polar strats. Additionally, turtling is not reliant on the map generator, but can beneft greatly from it if it begins beside 3 high value PoPs and so can get an easy prestige income while still using the methods of the turtle.

Luckily perhaps, I think most players just go with some prestige strategy because its more fun and don't investigate other options thoroughly as because its the way you're told to win.

manveruppd wrote:I have no problem with victory through excommunication, but it kinda makes you lift your hands up when the one guy who was stuck in the middle of the pack and had basically given up on any hope of winning is suddenly thrust in the lead by a would-be usurper self-immolating and taking the prestige leaders with him! :mrgreen:


Had this happen plenty and been on each side of the role.
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Re: Mini Expansion - Rectification

Postby Chaosguy » Thu Oct 06, 2011 9:34 pm

manveruppd wrote:I have no problem with victory through excommunication, but it kinda makes you lift your hands up when the one guy who was stuck in the middle of the pack and had basically given up on any hope of winning is suddenly thrust in the lead by a would-be usurper self-immolating and taking the prestige leaders with him! :mrgreen:

I'd say this is working as intended. Vic's even put an event in the game that can randomly excommunicate someone. The idea is that until conclave token #15 is drawn, there's no guarantee as to who will win. Even a guy way out front with a great army can't be 100% certain of victory. It keeps the game interesting. Why bother staying in the game to play if this weren't the case?

Sen wrote:Basically, my impression is turtling is the endpoint of strategies because its useless to be the second prestige player while turtles don't experience big penalties vs. each other and a hybrid trying to sneak in will probably get forced to commit to one of the polar strats. Additionally, turtling is not reliant on the map generator, but can beneft greatly from it if it begins beside 3 high value PoPs and so can get an easy prestige income while still using the methods of the turtle.

I agree with your analysis though i think you overstate the issue with turtles. Or more specifically its not turtling as a strat, but how it tends to play out. MP player game 4 turtles, 2 prestige-- who has the advantage? As you yourself note, a turtles worst enemy is another turtle. Its conclave token 9, and you're playing as a turtle and now have everything you need to pounce on the prestige leader and take your place in front-- will you? No, you probably won't as it just makes you the target for the next turtle. And yet if you don't, the prestige players' odds get better with every turn... Excomming them doesn't really buy you any advantage versus the other turtles either. This leads to the issue I've been concerned about this whole thread-- the "going rogue" strat. Tag Pandemonium just for the excomm, then kill em all. Its the best way for a turtle in a 3+ turtle game to be sure of victory. The advantage here though is to the prestige players, they gain a perverse immunity by being the obvious target, so it seems more that which ever way the balance swings, its the minority strat that has the advantage.

manveruppd wrote:Of games that were won by excommunication, wiping out enemy strongholds was by far the most common result.

Case in point.

Sen wrote:Had this happen plenty and been on each side of the role.

As Vic was looking for rough data feedback, could you give a guess as to what the % breakdown has been for victory in your case, Sen? I mentinoed this thread to Saggersin in our game and he also feels it leans towards a 50/50 split, hopefully he'll come on the post his experience more specifically as well. I'm curious myself what players experience, & right now the majority opinion seems to back Vic's gut instinct based on the data he has.
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