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thoughts on Foul play expansion


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#21 DanFelder

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Posted 03 August 2014 - 09:52 AM

Foul Play's teams are all awesome in terms of gameplay. Each brings something different and interesting to the game. Some power levels might overshadow the teams that were already being overshadowed in the core set, but it gives the better teams more competition instead of adding more guys for them to beat up. That's a good thing. It'd be nice if they could give the previous weaker teams a boost too, but that's really hard to do without changing their deck (not within the capabilities of an expansion).

 

The debilitating Stadiums and Penalties are not for everyone. Neither is the referee. The point of an expansion is to provide many players with new options. Most of us can enjoy the three new cool teams and come away happy. However, there are also several new rules options for your playgroup to change up your experience. If you don't think these options will be fun, that's fine - you don't have to use them. If you enjoy them, awesome.



#22 Oatmeal

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Posted 03 August 2014 - 03:12 PM

You can make changes/patches to cards from base game in an expansion. It's been done before, even by FFG, in Battlestar Galactica for instance.



#23 Indalecio

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 04:44 PM

We just had our first game with the expansion. We played a 5 players game with all three new teams, Wood Elves and Humans, and all of the additional rules as described in the rules book.

 

We all agreed that it was too much, a lot of things were going on everywhere, and that it took far too long to play the game, 4 hours I think, granted we were 5 and some of us really like to take our time... On the other hand, I think we all enjoyed the game despite the fact some players -including me- were a bit reluctant about the randomness. It turned out to be like I said previously, but I wanted to observe the new mechanisms even at the price of my capacity to strategize.

 

Before I go and explain what we thought about Foul Play, I need to say that we assumed that all the penalty cards saying "next time you would draw a <insert reward>, discard one of them" would apply in the next scoreboard phase, as opposed to affecting the current payouts. Penalties resolve once all payouts are stacked in piles before revealing them, so that's AFTER you draw the cards. If you think we did this wrongly please give a shout. It felt strange that some penalties would not apply straight away as you could intentionally decide not to go for whatever payout type because there's a penalty sitting there and waiting to remove it from you.

 

None of us went off with the penalties thingy, still we managed to draw 3/4 of the deck somehow. We only defied the stadium regulations a couple of times, one because of a misplay and one (me) because it would help me to win a matchup on the spot. Otherwise nobody dared applying skills in a stadium having the corresponding limitation. We liked the additonal payouts from the stadiums. It made us think more about where to commit players. The "2 strength or more" stadium should have been "3 or more" though. 2 or more is 95% of all players and some teams don't even have 1 power players, so this particular stadium felt a bit like a miss.

 

Because of the steeper rules, we were sort of forced to rationalize more and put our heads around the sequencing of things a lot more than what we normally in with this game, which added further to the time. The yellow card mentions about the replenish phase, which nobody except me knew about as there was no reason for me to even mention its name before. The resolution of the faceup cheating tokens, when to apply disease tokens, the referee mechanism etc. there are MANY more instances when you need to think about which phase you´re currently in and how it interacts with all of the upgrades and so on. Overall, we think it was a bit too much. The game needs to flow nicely.

 

Fouling as a skill is horrible and does a ton of grief, but I am biased because I absolutely hate discard strategies in any game. Still, I did not want this aspect in a game like BBTM where the cards you draw are already random and where you can force your opponent to play the wrong card at the wrong matchup by baiting him or faking your interest on rewards you are not intending to go for anyway. It feels like there were ways already to force your opponents' hand without having the need to hard-draw one card and force a discard. It led to tensions in our playgroup. Most of us like to keep a strong card for the last play and the Fouling skill nerfs this strategy by removing said card. So yeah, I feel a bit robbed by this skill, as including the new teams forces me to play with this mechanism.

 

The penalties that sticked around were really cool. The "no penalty" card was cool too, as it gave you a hope that you could get away with the penalty. Red card and yellow cards were really powerful as expected. The loss of fans really affected our total scores. The winner ended up with 45 or so, which is pretty low compared to our previous games sans the expansion.

 

We liked the referree more than I though we would, because it introduced a new element of strategy in the game, e.g. knowing when to commit players to a matchup in order to move him and therefore force players to get sent off or managers to get a penalty. The downside though, which kind of made the thing fall a tad flat tbh is that you need to commit players across more matchups to get a chance to get access to matchups where he stands, which is something not every team can afford. But when we could it was fun. I´m just still sceptical regarding the referree as it really interfered with my plans as a coach. I was either hoping that this damn ref would move away from my matchups, or that I wished he had been where I´m at to take away the whistles I had on my players.

 

I did not like the various restrictions in the game, following up on what I said earlier, so that I´m not going to expand on that any further. Stadiums, Fouling etc. This being said, I think it all comes down to your attitude towards the game. If you can adapt and accept the randomness factor then you can enjoy this. If you don't want anything to spoil your capacity to make choices then this is not for you. You see, I prefer CHOOSING to get a penalty for applying a forbidden skill at a stadium rather than suffering a random effect from the game or getting fooled by an opponent. I like the "you play cards, I play cards" aspect of the original BBTM game so to me moving on to a "I try to play cards, you try to play cards" is not an obvious move to make.

 

About the teams. I played Nurgle (and lost). I did not find the disease tokens being as double-edged as some people here said earlier, because I made sure that I was in control of the matchup and did not have to commit more players to it if these tokens sat in midfield. The team upgrades were really weak though. The one making your linemen stand up lost relevance very quickly as I aquired freebooters and got rid of said rotter linemen. The additional disease tokens from the upgrade can be nice but you are limited to 6 of them, and if you compare these upgrades to the ones your opponents get then you can feel a difference in game impact. Toying with one or two disease tokens was only situationally good. I found that the Beast of Nurgle was cool but hindered me more than helping me because of the Pestigors, also because I wanted to draft players with the passing skill as a way to remedy to the lack of... passing skill in my roster. All in all, I am not sure about this team. It was the weakest of the three by far for that particular game, but I have to say, also because the Goblins were present and sucked in all the disease tokens especially at tournaments, making them totally inefective since they have players ignoring player power upon tackling them. If the Goblins are not around then maybe it gets easier for the Nurgle team. I wouldn't go as far as saying they are weak and in pair with Vampires or Dwarves, but I haven't experienced a good sequence of play with them. No particular interaction or synergy, and an overall lack of firepower against the other teams.

 

The Goblins were really cool and nasty, but also very random. They are a huge chunk of the randomness effect in the new expansion.The bombardier player, the short fuse upgrade making you down all standing players if you roll a tackling sysmbol etc. They had a major impact on the game. Not sure yet if they are a top tier team, but I liked the potential. It felt however like they replaced Orcs and therefore made them obsolete somehow. Hoping that I´m wrong.

 

The Chaos Dwarves were impressive. I really liked the fact they could down a player, which would execute his down skill, for getting an additional tackling skill. Synergy-wise, they felt really strong, The best team of the three, at least most stable than the others, I like their players, they have insane star players, I like their upgrades. Really a team I would like to play with.

 

I think the new mechanisms put some teams ahead of the rest. I can plainly see Chaos being more competitive now as they can collect cheating collects in a far more effective way. I think top-mid tier teams will stil be able to compete, but I pity Dwarves and Vampires, No idea how to compete with that, unless you intend to surf over the wave of randomness and hope for a cheaty victory.


Edited by Indalecio, 05 August 2014 - 04:50 PM.


#24 Oakwolf

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 08:25 PM

The goblins stormed our first try with them here. Foul is a really potent mechanism, and can be very harsh for a player to deal with (some teams are particularily vulnerable to this)...to the point it has our evil eye on it, but we'll have to play it again to see if it keeps doing the same.

 

And yeah, game lenght requires more discipline than before. The ref rule is optional though, so some circles may want to opt out to remove some added complexity/delays.


Edited by Oakwolf, 12 August 2014 - 08:28 PM.


#25 Indalecio

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 01:56 AM

Agreed. 

For our part we will need a couple of more games to be able to settle on which rules will be kept or not. Feels like something has to go. I wish it was Fouling, but unless I can photoshop away the symbol on the player cards and find a way to compensate for it, it looks like we are stuck with it as long as we want to play with the new teams :-/


Edited by Indalecio, 13 August 2014 - 01:57 AM.


#26 kinor

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 03:59 AM

Concerning the PPG syndicate (my favourite one !), i would have more seen the chaos dwarves in the CWC (Chaos...) syndicate and conversely, the orcs team in the PGG (Putrid...) syndicate. It would have been more logical.

 

Another singularity of the syndicates is the presence of downed skills (and among them, regeneration ), not only in the DSS one. It would have been more regular to find them only in the DSS (Sorcery) and not also in the PGG, because this is a specificity of it's own.

 

In the same way, the FOUL skill is specific to the PGG (and mainly to the tricky goblin team). If we'll find again the FOUL skill in the next expansion, i think that this would be a kind of "spiritual betrayal" of this syndicate and it's a pity.

 

So we won't be amazed to find another originality in an eventual next syndicate (a "jungle" one) including the lizard-men, the amazons, and the....norses ! Although a slanns team would be more suitable.

 

Well, wait and see.


Edited by kinor, 13 August 2014 - 10:57 AM.


#27 Oakwolf

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 06:01 PM

Given that GW really waved away the slaann "frog" team, i doubt it'll see the light of day officially, even in team manager. Amazons, Lizardmens and Norse or High Elves would be quite fitting for an expansion.



#28 Marginal Hulk

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Posted 15 August 2014 - 12:36 PM

I like the Foul mechanic. It makes you have to plan your moves in a manner more sophisticated than "lets see where my last huge superstar should go!" Also, the new staff upgrades and Spike! magazine cards give the old teams who sprint a lot more chances to foul and stand on a more equal ground with the new teams.

 

The stadium feature generally gets left out of ours, we'll try it a few more times to see if it's out for good though. 

 

We generally also love the corrupt ref. 


So say we all.


#29 Scottgun

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Posted 16 August 2014 - 05:21 PM

I've been playing a few games with all the options thrown in. Seems like a lot at first, but I think it becomes second-nature quickly and doesn't really add too much more time to the game. The other thing I'm noticing is that the scores seem much closer. With the base, it always seemed like one guy ran away with the whole thing with not much chance to catch up. With this one, even the much maligned Dwarves were holding their own against newer teams. I did however leave out the Underhanded Dealings and Rowdy cards to the No Salary-cap pile because I found them to be OP fan factories.


Edited by Scottgun, 16 August 2014 - 08:28 PM.


#30 Indalecio

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 12:42 AM

I like the Foul mechanic. It makes you have to plan your moves in a manner more sophisticated than "lets see where my last huge superstar should go!" 

 

Hang on.... Whaaaat?  The "sophistication" in your moves is that you CAN plan for commiting players to matchups depending on player, matchup settings and whatever other factors are in the balance. The sophistication is that I have Griff Oberwald in my hand in the last round and that I want to make sure that he will have a major impact in the matchup I'm going to commit him in, which usually takes a chunk of calculation from my side along with prediction of my opposition's next move. And hope that my opponents' respective star players are either commited elsewhere or do not blank out what I just did. The fouling mechanisms just takes this capability, throw it into the fire, and ditch the aches into Mount Doom, by effectively stripping you of a card at random. You cannot plan anything any longer since you don't know what's going to be in your hand when you start your turn again. Fouling is a cheaty way (in the context of gaming in general, I'm not talking about the theme in Foul Play here) to force your opponents to discard their best cards and in some cases leave them with nothing in hand but linemen or stuff that won't do anything.

 

I am curious to see people's opinions about the expansion and I can definitely understand some people enjoy some of the mechanisms in it more than we do. However I find completely mindblowing to see people claim that Fouling would add another level of strategy to this game. It's not, it NEGATES strategy, that's all it does. Even if you mean the psychological game of being forced to play your stars by fear of discarding them next round, I mean I fail to see how players can think of this as a satisfying way to play a game. If you're in for a randomness extravaganza sure, by any means, but if you're gathered with friends that are expecting a bit of strategy in a game then I really don't know what you can find that appealing with it.



#31 Marginal Hulk

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 08:24 AM

I want to point out that I was making this post with the hopes that FFG wouldn't think the only opinion is that these things break the game.

The sophistication is that you can't hold your best cards to the end with no fear of losing them. You have to play them a little earlier and I think it makes the game more exciting. That's just my humble opinion. In our games it has forced people to play some of the big guys a turn or two earlier, and if you do that the foul skill becomes worthless. So a player must try to calculate the risk of holding a player and losing him, or playing him and the risk that he will be tackled or his skill negated.

 

Using Griff as an example is great. I will do the same. If you commit him a round or two from the end it ensures he's in the game. It puts him at risk of a tackle, though, and I appreciate that. (I want to put in my math disclaimer here- I've not mathed out the game or players other than when I'm thinking about making a move in-game) The best chance anyone will have is if there is a star power 6 or above player with tackle ability, or a that player has tackle coach. This is very unlikely, so it will allow the other players to make an unfavorable tackle attempt. I like using the A-team tactics and do the high risk/high reward action. It results in nothing happening to Griff, or the tackler going down, or a very unlikely and exciting tackle happens. None of that would've happened if he was the last guy on the pitch. 

I suppose I have an over-active imagination and enjoy the thematic elements of the game a little too much. Hopefully you can see why I like it, even if you don't agree with me. 

I also want to point out that I like the civility of the discussion here, and that no one has taken to cursing my ancestors for disagreeing with you.


So say we all.


#32 Scottgun

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 08:47 AM

I want to point out that I was making this post with the hopes that FFG wouldn't think the only opinion is that these things break the game.

The sophistication is that you can't hold your best cards to the end with no fear of losing them. You have to play them a little earlier and I think it makes the game more exciting. That's just my humble opinion. In our games it has forced people to play some of the big guys a turn or two earlier, and if you do that the foul skill becomes worthless. So a player must try to calculate the risk of holding a player and losing him, or playing him and the risk that he will be tackled or his skill negated.

 

Good points. The fouling, corrupt ref, and stadiums mean the old, tired way of everyone claiming their initial zone spots with linemen and holding the passing skills until the end in a mad dash for ball control are not necessarily over, but now someone might want to try something else. Also, the fouling is a subtle catch-up mechanism because I usually use this skill early and pick the manager with the fan lead and try to take some starch out of his shirt. Of course it can backfire. :)


Edited by Scottgun, 18 August 2014 - 08:48 AM.

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#33 wombatvvvv

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 04:11 AM

I think that new referee is silly. Played half a game with him. Just way too complicated and didn't add anything but randomness. He stays in the box from now on.



#34 Scottgun

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 06:21 AM

I think that new referee is silly. Played half a game with him. Just way too complicated and didn't add anything but randomness. He stays in the box from now on.

 

 

Actually, there is nothing random about him at all because managers have lots of control of him. I waited until having plenty of familiarity with the expansion before adding the optional elements and the ref was the last thing I added, so it didn't present anything that complicated. I imagine if someone just added all the options on their early games, it might be overwhelming, but it becomes second nature quickly. Like I mentioned earlier, all the options from the expansions seem to have a good balancing effect, which is for me a good thing because I always thought the base was a little too see saw and favored some teams over others. 


Edited by Scottgun, 19 August 2014 - 08:03 AM.


#35 Koma76

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Posted 20 August 2014 - 08:21 AM

 

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#36 Marginal Hulk

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Posted 20 August 2014 - 08:25 AM

 

I think that new referee is silly. Played half a game with him. Just way too complicated and didn't add anything but randomness. He stays in the box from now on.

 

 

Actually, there is nothing random about him at all because managers have lots of control of him. I waited until having plenty of familiarity with the expansion before adding the optional elements and the ref was the last thing I added, so it didn't present anything that complicated. I imagine if someone just added all the options on their early games, it might be overwhelming, but it becomes second nature quickly. Like I mentioned earlier, all the options from the expansions seem to have a good balancing effect, which is for me a good thing because I always thought the base was a little too see saw and favored some teams over others. 

 

Personally, my group likes the FU factor the ref brings into the game. I love it when someone gets ejected because they forgot to move him... It's happened to me a couple of times, and it's painful for sure-- but you never forget to manage him after that.


So say we all.


#37 Indalecio

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 05:48 AM

I want to point out that I was making this post with the hopes that FFG wouldn't think the only opinion is that these things break the game.

The sophistication is that you can't hold your best cards to the end with no fear of losing them. You have to play them a little earlier and I think it makes the game more exciting. That's just my humble opinion. In our games it has forced people to play some of the big guys a turn or two earlier, and if you do that the foul skill becomes worthless. So a player must try to calculate the risk of holding a player and losing him, or playing him and the risk that he will be tackled or his skill negated.

 

Using Griff as an example is great. I will do the same. If you commit him a round or two from the end it ensures he's in the game. It puts him at risk of a tackle, though, and I appreciate that. (I want to put in my math disclaimer here- I've not mathed out the game or players other than when I'm thinking about making a move in-game) The best chance anyone will have is if there is a star power 6 or above player with tackle ability, or a that player has tackle coach. This is very unlikely, so it will allow the other players to make an unfavorable tackle attempt. I like using the A-team tactics and do the high risk/high reward action. It results in nothing happening to Griff, or the tackler going down, or a very unlikely and exciting tackle happens. None of that would've happened if he was the last guy on the pitch. 

I suppose I have an over-active imagination and enjoy the thematic elements of the game a little too much. Hopefully you can see why I like it, even if you don't agree with me. 

I also want to point out that I like the civility of the discussion here, and that no one has taken to cursing my ancestors for disagreeing with you.

 

I also hope FFG watch these discussions closely, although I seriously doubt they do especially since the prime FFG discussion forum is probably not FFG's own but BBG :( ,and listen to the criticism so they can enhance the quality of their designs. I play BBTM a lot and we all love this game. This said, we didn't like Foul Play at all. We're just one playgroup though. That doesn't invalidate our views, though :) You can go ahead and praise FP here but FFG may snap the 100% positive feedback and keep the same direction for their next coming expansions. Which is fine if you like FP. I personally would hate this.

 

Because I think the games we have had with Foul Play have drained our experience of many good things and turned the game into a completely different one, along with the fact the game takes too much time to run now (bearing in mind we have 4-5 players sessions).

 

I'm not going to write another wall of text explaining my views about this since they remain the same as previously exposed. I will however reiterate that the referee, while not random per say, is completely unmanageable unless you commit players to every matchup, hold good cards for the sole purpose of moving him instead of commiting same resources to a matchup where you really need said resources, and even then the final decision about its final position does not only depend on you unless plenty of conditions are met (it is not as given as you make it sound like). Yes, you can control some of his moves but that often comes at the price of not putting your resources where they should be put in, plus the fact that every referee move will often upset another manager as a result, who will then in return commit a player and move the ref one more time, so that's square 1 again, not necessarly for you but at least for somebody else. I like this circular logic, mind you, I like that you have to play along with this risk until the risk directly affects your own matchup and your players. then you get rid of said risk, it moves off, and then comes back to you etc. But if you have played your last card and somebody sent the ref to your matchup which you suddenly lose on the spot, I fail to see what you can do about that. Even the last player does not have control of the ref if he has not commited to the matchup he's currently at. I will disclaim that the referee is one of the best parts of Foul Play. I don't like it much in a sense, but I cannot deny that it brings another factor in the equation without ruining the game in exchange. I am fine keeping him in. He makes ejections more interesting. This said I am still concerned about how Chaos may take advantage of the extra cheating tokens, but we haven't seen them run yet with the expansion so I can't say more for now.

 

However about Fouling, there is no question about it, I got to bash on it as hard as I can because it's utterly terrible along with stadiums. Our experience of Foul Play in the games we've played so far with it over the past month is that it made the game less fun to play and had us a lot more stressed out. It added tension to the game, but not in a good way. It forced us to make assumptions as for who would be picking on you rather than just dealing with your opponents "in the game". Fouling is a in-game skill by definition since players themselves carry it out, but the effect is definitely at manager level and does nothing to the matchup per say. I just don't like a mechanism building on those values. Like I said earlier, there could have been a much finer way to achieve the same thing, like a player ability stating that none of the two managers at the matchup can commit star players to it as long as said player is still standing. It could have been that you have another ability stating that every time your opponent commits a player and execute a tackle, you may execute a sprint in response. That would have been a lot more interesting. You don't spoil any player of his options, but instead you make the opposition gain a slight advantage for doing so. On the other side, Fouling, discard a card. BAM! Your only sprint player. Coooool, dude! And it's not only terrible for the guy who's already winning the game, it's a disaster if you play this run-up team who already struggles and you get that slice through your own neck all of a sudden. What's your playgroup like? No way I would invite "anybody" to a session when we have a significant risk of having plays like that. With my game experience, I can take it even if that means it makes me hate the game, but bringing a friend to this and having him pulled apart by a **** card liike this? No ******* way, excuse my French.

 

If there are people out there who think this is a great skill then by any means enjoy that. Not going to shut up for saying it's wrong for us though. I don't think my playgroup is special or anything but we don't see what it brings to the BBTM experience aside from removing even more options from your hand, limiting your choices, forcing you to make bad plays etc. Like stadiums. I don't know what you guys talk about after your sessions, but we talk about these awesome plays we made at the last second, we talked about that guy who held a star player up to the right moment and then devastated a whole matchup. We talk about the upgrades we drafted, not the ones we lost due to a stupid penalty. We don't jiggle over this Morg N Thorg I stripped off this other guy or this player with Sprint ability who was the only way Dwarves could achieve something in the game. I'm just perplex about how can people think of this as a cool thing to implement.


Edited by Indalecio, 25 August 2014 - 06:34 AM.


#38 Scottgun

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Posted 07 September 2014 - 06:29 AM

Got this to the table with my game group last week. 3 of the 4 of us had experience with the base game and one who never played it. It was Orcs, Nurggles, Elves, and Undead. We used the stadiums, but cycled them every round so people could see the various stadiums. I omitted the corrupt ref so as not to overwhelm the new guy.

 

Orcs beat the Undead by one fan with the other teams trailing close behind and the new guy put in a good showing. Perception of game length was mixed. One thought it went one round too long (a similar complaint with the base), but another said it would be cool to go extra rounds just to build the decks. Most importantly, it was fun. We pounded the table in "We Will Rock You" fashion and other sports tropes. Everyone liked the fouling.



#39 Prepare for War

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Posted 29 September 2014 - 06:12 AM

Re the new mechanics:

 

We've not tried the stadiums or referees yet, but reading the rules I'm expecting to like the stadiums and dislike the referee.

 

I have no problem with penalty cards, other than that they increase the RNG factor somewhat. Still, if I hated RNG mechanics, there's a lot more to this game to hate. Luckily I don't, so no problem!

 

Re: the foul skill, I love it. I love the way it changes the dynamic of the hand, and encourages bold risk-taking early plays. Before fouls, playing the cards was starting to feel automated, with an obvious optimal choice present almost all the time, and some cards obviously being early plays and other ones being late ones.  Now, its much more a case of skilful risk assessment and taking the gamble.

 

All in all Foul Play has added a lot more random to the game, but also added more decision making. The "assess risks and take a gamble" aspect has increased significantly.

 

What this game isn't, and can never be fixed to being, is a game of deep strategy and clever outthinking of an opponent.

 

What it is, and is becoming more so, is a complex game of gambling and risk management, working the mathematics of probability to give the best chance of success and roaring in amazement when everything comes crashing down, which thanks to the nature of the risks, happens at least once a game. My friends and I have realised that your chances of winning the game basically come down to how many "critical failures" you generate! A good gambler takes the big losses as sad but an inevitable part of playing a gambling game, and pushes on regardless. When I roll "X X" on a block, I shout out "1 in 36 chance! Dammit!" but the rational gambler in me knows that when you are making that many RNG plays, you're going to get critical fails every now and then.


Edited by Prepare for War, 29 September 2014 - 06:14 AM.





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