Good fun, but....

Good fun, but....

Postby manveruppd » Fri Jun 03, 2011 3:19 am

Well the game seems a bit too easy at times, too dependent on luck. Some games I found myself rich, powerful, and drawing 6 cards within a few turns, but this last game I played a few minutes ago I struggled to even make enough money to pay for my posses, was constantly in the red - AND STILL WON!

To my mind the problem is with balance and lack of choice. I have a few suggestions, though I'm not sure how feasible they'd be:

1. The blue "special actions" for each card are usually extremely powerful. If you get a few lucky ones early on you're golden. Especially the ones that give you extra cards to draw and the ones that cause an enemy to lose a deed - there were some games where I didn't hold on to a single deed for more than a turn, and it seems a bit unbalanced that a deed that might've cost me $10 can be removed by playing a card for no cost. Perhaps assign a small activation cost to them?

2. I find the poker hand system for combat a little unsatisfying, especially in terms of assigning cards. Poker has simply too many variables for it to be useful - you could have given your posse two Aces in the hole and find yourself soundly beaten by a flush. Perhaps it would be more useful if the cards you assigned to your posse weren't hole cards but EXTRA cards, that the player has the option to substitute for one or both hole cards he gets dealt if it would give him a better hand. (But make it an option, as maybe if your posse is already winning you don't want to waste your cards.) Imagine your posse is cheating, keeping these extra cards in their sleeve and slipping them in unnoticed. "Sleeve cards" rather than hole cards! ;) :mrgreen:

3. The game feels a little slow moving, especially in the beginning. I would have loved it if we started out drawing a greater number of cards, or at the very least drawing more cards and choosing which ones to keep (ie. maybe instead of getting dealt just 2 cards to start with you draw 4 and discard 2). I realize this might give players a little too much power early on, but you can fix that by simply upping the default VP total, and perhaps adopting my fist suggestion and assign an activation cost to the "special" blue actions (in which case you'd NEED the extra cards to pay for it them!)

That's all for now I think. I'm having fun, thanks Vic! :)
manveruppd
 
Posts: 231
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2010 2:21 am

Re: Good fun, but....

Postby screeg » Fri Jun 03, 2011 1:04 pm

Regarding the influence of luck, I think having every location restricted to one Dude class is much too restrictive. You can have three locations in play and no opportunity to take one until someone else has, or you can have a two player game where both players are waiting hand after hand to form a Posse who can actually go somewhere. I'd like to see this broken up a bit (a lot), with only the most rewarding locations restricted to a single Dude. Otherwise they could have easier hurdles like Gunfighter-or-Outlaw, Military-or-Lawman, player must have $20, or one deed, or a posse with three members. A little variety would be an improvement. I honestly think the game would be better with at least two fewer Dude types (as it stands with the current location restrictions).

I love the poker game combat as a concept, but I agree it definitely needs work. Before I played the game, I thought it would be more like a real poker hand, ie. deal different cards to the two sides instead of drawing from the same pool, but that would make it more dependent on luck. To make the hole cards more valuable you could have a first deal, discard then second deal. This would require the AI to make sensible decisions about poker rules so I'm not sure if this is feasible. With one of these alternate systems, it would also be nice if you could choose whether or not to use your hole (sleeve!) cards.

No matter how many times I read that the winner of the poker hand keeps the site and the winner of the gunfight deals out wounds, it still seems counterintuitive. I'd rather the team with the most points keeps the site. Then you have a situation where the underdog in Gunfighting can still get lucky and prevail, but a team that is overwhelming in Gunfighting but equally matched in cards doesn't constantly get rebuffed based on blind luck. I wouldn't mind if both sides got wounded in this case, if the winner got to pick all distribution, minimizing his own losses but maximizing punishment for his opponent.

So far I haven't found Deeds to be worth the cost. With Deeds favoring certain Dudes, again the issue of too many classes comes up. I find I can usually keep drawing two or three cards, buying tradesmen or prostitutes, and selling non-essential cards to scrape by, especially with Special Action $3-$9 coming up regularly. Then again your enemy has regular opportunities to screw up your Deeds.

Regarding Actions being powerful, they are, but be careful about adding costs. Perhaps you could restrict their use to one per turn (an Action Phase)? Don't include them on every card or restrict them based on a few Boss types? Disallow a different play (lots of options: Posse movement, Dude recruitment, Draw Cards, etc) on a turn where you play an Action.

I disagree about point 3, the game being too slow at the beginning. I don't mind if things start slow, as long as the players don't get bogged down by lack of opportunities.

One last thing: the disappearing Apaches. I feel the fact that they don't play with non-Apaches is restrictive enough without them randomly vanishing. I know there's an Apache Canyon deed, but that's not enough of an offset for this entire class.
screeg
 
Posts: 14
Joined: Sun Apr 13, 2008 3:30 pm

Re: Good fun, but....

Postby manveruppd » Fri Jun 03, 2011 1:48 pm

screeg wrote:I love the poker game combat as a concept, but I agree it definitely needs work. Before I played the game, I thought it would be more like a real poker hand, ie. deal different cards to the two sides instead of drawing from the same pool, but that would make it more dependent on luck. To make the hole cards more valuable you could have a first deal, discard then second deal. This would require the AI to make sensible decisions about poker rules so I'm not sure if this is feasible. With one of these alternate systems, it would also be nice if you could choose whether or not to use your hole (sleeve!) cards.

That was my first thought too, that maybe draw would work better than Texas hold 'em. The problem with hold 'em is that the strategy in a hand of hold 'em comes from the different rounds of betting (sizing up your opponent, trying to guess what he has without giving your own hand away etc), and the way it's implemented here there's no betting of course. Drawing all 5 common cards in one go instead of 3/1/1 and betting in between each draw removes all the decisionmaking that a player normally does during a hand of hold 'em. You're not playing poker at all, you're just presented with a hand of poker that you can't change at all, so it's basically just a really fancy atmospheric way of adding randomness to combat (could've been roll 2d6+gunfight instead)! :P And there's nothing wrong with that, but I think it could be a lot more awesome with a bit of work! Vic has the beginnings of something really interesting here!
manveruppd
 
Posts: 231
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2010 2:21 am

Re: Good fun, but....

Postby Grudunza » Sat Jun 04, 2011 2:29 am

screeg wrote:Regarding the influence of luck, I think having every location restricted to one Dude class is much too restrictive. You can have three locations in play and no opportunity to take one until someone else has, or you can have a two player game where both players are waiting hand after hand to form a Posse who can actually go somewhere. I'd like to see this broken up a bit (a lot), with only the most rewarding locations restricted to a single Dude. Otherwise they could have easier hurdles like Gunfighter-or-Outlaw, Military-or-Lawman, player must have $20, or one deed, or a posse with three members. A little variety would be an improvement. I honestly think the game would be better with at least two fewer Dude types (as it stands with the current location restrictions).


+1 on that for me. I don't mind the different dude types, but I very much agree that the stories seem too limiting when they always require one exact type.

I disagree about point 3, the game being too slow at the beginning. I don't mind if things start slow, as long as the players don't get bogged down by lack of opportunities.


I agree. I like the pace as it is. Don't forget that you can start with $10 or $15. I like to start with $10, which helps to be able to do a little more to begin with.

One last thing: the disappearing Apaches. I feel the fact that they don't play with non-Apaches is restrictive enough without them randomly vanishing. I know there's an Apache Canyon deed, but that's not enough of an offset for this entire class.


I would agree, except that Apaches usually have no cost for upkeep, and usually a low up front cost, so I think that makes for a good trade off for their potential negatives.

2. I find the poker hand system for combat a little unsatisfying, especially in terms of assigning cards. Poker has simply too many variables for it to be useful - you could have given your posse two Aces in the hole and find yourself soundly beaten by a flush. Perhaps it would be more useful if the cards you assigned to your posse weren't hole cards but EXTRA cards, that the player has the option to substitute for one or both hole cards he gets dealt if it would give him a better hand. (But make it an option, as maybe if your posse is already winning you don't want to waste your cards.) Imagine your posse is cheating, keeping these extra cards in their sleeve and slipping them in unnoticed. "Sleeve cards" rather than hole cards!


I've already stated my general dislike for the combat system in my other thread... I also had the idea that instead of hole cards always being dealt to you, regardless, that you either have to add them (I like your designation of them being "sleeve cards") or you don't get them. That way, adding them is a lot more useful because they really are added.
Last edited by Grudunza on Sat Jun 04, 2011 3:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Grudunza
 
Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2011 11:16 pm

Re: Good fun, but....

Postby manveruppd » Sat Jun 04, 2011 12:10 pm

Grudunza wrote:I've already stated my general dislike for the combat system in my other thread... I also had the idea that instead of hole cards always being dealt to you, regardless, that you either have to add them (I like your designation of them being "sleeve cards") or you don't get them. That way, adding them is a lot more useful because they really are added.

You can't not get hole cards, then it's not Texas hold 'em! :PI just thought maybe the extra cards should be a more definite advantage by giving your posse a chance to cheat the hand they were dealt.

Would be a hassle though cause it would mean redesigning the UI to make space for the sleeve cards, and tbh I think Vic was looking for feedback more on the bugs front instead...
manveruppd
 
Posts: 231
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2010 2:21 am

Re: Good fun, but....

Postby Grudunza » Sat Jun 04, 2011 3:53 pm

(snip - duplicate post)
Last edited by Grudunza on Sat Jun 04, 2011 3:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Grudunza
 
Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2011 11:16 pm

Re: Good fun, but....

Postby Grudunza » Sat Jun 04, 2011 3:56 pm

manveruppd wrote:
Grudunza wrote:I've already stated my general dislike for the combat system in my other thread... I also had the idea that instead of hole cards always being dealt to you, regardless, that you either have to add them (I like your designation of them being "sleeve cards") or you don't get them. That way, adding them is a lot more useful because they really are added.


You can't not get hole cards, then it's not Texas hold 'em!


Then don't make it Texas Hold 'Em. As someone else pointed out, what makes Texas Hold 'Em is the ability to bet between card draws. This is just a random bunch of cards thrown out there that happens to include 7 cards, of which 5 matter, and 2 of which you might be able to specify ahead of time (which may or may not be better than the 2 cards that would have been drawn for you, anyway).

I just thought maybe the extra cards should be a more definite advantage by giving your posse a chance to cheat the hand they were dealt.


I agree that would be a definite improvement. But what difference does it make if you add the sleeve cards on top of the hole cards, or just don't have any hole cards (call it 5 card stud plus sleeve cards) but can add some?

tbh I think Vic was looking for feedback more on the bugs front instead...


Well, then he gets an advanced critique of the game with suggestions for improvement for no additional cost. :)
Grudunza
 
Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2011 11:16 pm

Re: Good fun, but....

Postby manveruppd » Sat Jun 04, 2011 4:45 pm

Grudunza wrote:
manveruppd wrote:You can't not get hole cards, then it's not Texas hold 'em!


Then don't make it Texas Hold 'Em. As someone else pointed out, what makes Texas Hold 'Em is the ability to bet between card draws. This is just a random bunch of cards thrown out there that happens to include 7 cards, of which 5 matter, and 2 of which you might be able to specify ahead of time (which may or may not be better than the 2 cards that would have been drawn for you, anyway).

That was me, and I agree, there's just no strategy if you can't bet between draws. I'm just saying I think it's a cool atmospheric idea to actually have a real life card game determining the random element in a battle. :) If you're just drawing 5 community cards and don't have hole cards at all then it's not any recognisable real life card game. He could turn it to normal "draw" poker instead though. Texas hold 'em is more popular these days, and because of its name everyone associates it with the Old West, but ironically it only really took off in the 20th century - in the old west if anyone played poker it would most likely have been the standard 5-card draw! :P

I agree that would be a definite improvement. But what difference does it make if you add the sleeve cards on top of the hole cards, or just don't have any hole cards (call it 5 card stud plus sleeve cards) but can add some?

Oooooh, I see, you mean EACH player gets 5 cards? OK, that DOES make it a real life variation of poker. I thought you just meant dealing 5 community cards in the middle and then... well, I was a bit fuzzy about what would happen then! :)
manveruppd
 
Posts: 231
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2010 2:21 am

Re: Good fun, but....

Postby Forest st.John » Mon Jun 20, 2011 7:41 pm

Since this seems the comment on balance rather than bugs thread, I'll throw in my two cents :)

First off, I quite like SGS so far. The artwork is beautiful, the music is nice, in 8+ hours of play I haven't had a single crash, the game is easy to learn and you can start and finish a game pretty fast, in no parts thanks to the quick resolution of combat. I really like the way the poker mechanic decides who stays and who goes at a story card, which is why strategically played hole cards have their use for me.
I also want to praise Vic on the AI's target selection for upkeep, lower handsize/ cripple VP points actions - this is working very well.

I've only recently downloaded the game, and so far, I've been playing exclusively 4 player random, unlimited Boot Hill, unlimited number of turns, 50 points games, so please keep that in mind. The disadvantages outlined below on that setting may be less apparent or disappear in a faster game.
On this setting however I find the game heavily favors reactionary play: moving into an occupied story card with a party of characters with as high a combined gun statistic as possible (imho, the game is a bit too dependent on this statistic).

So far, i've come across the following issues that enable this tactic to work so well:

One, many story cards require a certain set-up that is detrimental to a party's efficiency (especially the few with the Townsfolk requirement, seconded by the ones requiring a cowboy or gambler. The AI and myself usually leave the Apache ones gathering dust). Only moving into occupied slots alleviates this issue, and especially with control over Isaac Parker and State Prison, you'll still get points when the AI fights AI.

Two, to move in and wipe out the occupying party grants in and of itself a VP score. If you go home on account of losing the poker game, your high prized party is safe from retaliation by other players and opponents have to match the story card's conditions again. If you stay, additional points can be scored and perhaps another gunfight happens without your party having any of the downsides of the entering requirement. It is a win-win situation.

i think something of a fix might be required here - perhaps forcing the second party to also comply to the entry requirements? It would slow down play as there would be far more switching of dudes between bunkhouse and posse, and the need to keep someone of every trait around may lead to economic difficulties that will not allow a high VP/ low turn number game to finish before the maximum turn number is reached, but the above search & destroy abuse would be limited and posses would be more equal in fighting strength. Faster games might allow less stat-hoarding and thereby alleviating this issue.

A few other remarks.

Imho, the General is easily the worst leader and may need a boost (+2 to gunfight for townsfolk?). The closest comparison is probably Boss Snead who definately has his uses, especially once your economy is (nearly) breaking even and you've managed to increase the amount of cards you draw. Playing hole cards gives a much increased chance to stay on a story card, and his added compensation makes him pretty good.

The main problem with Crook is his trait. Earp and Lucien can maintain and enhance the best leaders and arguably the best/ most versatile shooters (due to lawmen and outlaws having to be kept seperate), Chacon can afford to lose/ fire people at a whim because he has cheaper replacements, El Indio and Dirty Dave (awesome ability, perhaps the best of them all) have options to create a second bunkhouse through their third posse, and Snead has already been mentioned.

The general however has a bonus that is to compensate two weaknesses: a low gunstat on townsfolk (often only increasing a 0 to a 1) and the loss of economic benefits whenever a townsperson gets shot on account of most of them bringing cash to the kitty, thereby crippling your economy. The times where you can play Retired on Billy the Kid, the Man with No Name, the Major or Frank Canton to create a Townsfolk powerhouse are (too) few.

On dude types, I find myself building parties around Lawman leaders (thus being forced to cash in/ play Outlaws for their action), gunslingers and every now and then the occassional gambler. For versatility a few more high statted gamblers, cowboys and outlaws would be really welcome, or to compensate, more effectiveness from the abilities on cards that work for these types - for example, the 1-4 gunfight bonus only working on Gamblers, the move 2x per turn working only for cowboys, or some such. I think the game is capable of checking these parameters.

I like the Apache subtype, and with their Deed, they're pretty good for a third posse. Awfully draw dependent, but cheap and hard hitting. The military subtype is sufficient (not in the least because of the Fort Deed) although the cannon and gatling are economy breakers and therefore somewhat unreliable if there are multiple gunfights involving their posse in a turn.

Finally, actions. Actions are very powerful and their opportunity cost is very low, which is cool as they can really allow you to crawl back into the game or punch a challenger down. However, the amount of bonuses to gunstats packed on actions may be too many - or the bonuses themselves are too high.

With gunfight being the only stat that decides win or loss and thereby being the primary stat for survival and Leadership of 2+ being so limited, there really is really no reason to not play every single card that gives a gunfight bonus on the dudes you already have - you're almost always better of taking the bonus rather than buying the dude and moving him around: it takes less turns for the card to become effective (a dude has to be moved around from bunkhouse to posse to field before it can start fighting at story cards), it saves the purchase cost and the upkeep (if any), and the slot he'd take in a posse can be taken at another time by a dude with better stats or a better subtype.

The AI certainly does a good job of targeting your most threatening people with extra upkeep cards and reducing the VP worth of your dudes to 0 to reduce the amount of points you can take from stories, but if you consistently cripple their posses, they can't get points either and you still creep ahead.

Finally, the economy backlash becomes irrelevant at some point in the game. At 35 out of 50 VPs, a bank filled with 24 dollars and an gross income of 6, an 11 gunfight 3 leadership Major is still worth a 9 dollar upkeep (due to him having two girlfriends and an alcohol addiction), simply because he can haul in a lot of VPs each turn, despite the 8-9 dollar net loss you make per turn to maintain him and his posse, and can always throw away cards to stretch the amount of time you can afford him.

Perhaps by reducing the height and frequency of the gunfight bonuses and increasing the amount and value of Wound Point bonuses, the game will become less favored towards these high gunfight subtypes?
Forest st.John
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Jun 19, 2011 6:52 pm

Re: Good fun, but....

Postby ManwithNoName » Thu Jul 07, 2011 7:31 am

I agree with most out of the box it seems pretty easy. In fact all too easy. But, I found someone has made a mod for it and it's very challenging.
http://www.filefactory.com/f/74ad8ae914531455/
There's installation instructions over at the Wargamer http://www.wargamer.com/forums/tm.aspx? ... 70&mpage=1
ManwithNoName
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2011 12:47 am


Return to General Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron