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What's with FFG's card driven combat fetish lately?


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#1 kevin9793

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 03:05 PM

I'm so sick of seeing the words "Inovative card driven combat system" that I could puke.

Did Corey get his hands on this game as well? What's the deal?

I realize I'm probably in the minority, but when I play games like this (or runewars or middle earth quest or starcraft etc etc) I enjoy rolling a hand full of dice. Yet everytime I read up on one of their new games, I see those dreaded words "Inovatice card driven combat" and my heart sinks.

As I just said, I realize I'm the minority, but I despise card driven combat. Middle Earth Quest was tolerable at best but I absolutely hated StarCraft and the more I read about Runewars, the more I hate Corey Konieczka.

FF has been doing some really "inovative" stuff with dice lately showing how much can be accomplished with them (Descent, WFRP, etc..) so why do all the new board games have to be card driven?? Why not show us what you can do when you add an "inovative DICE driven combat system" to a wargame? Especially a reprint of one that was dice driven in the first place???



#2 David Spangler

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 03:24 PM

I have to say I'm with Kevin here, though I'm certainly open to seeing how combat will work.  I thought the cards worked well in MEQ but I had nothing but problems with them in Starcraft. In effect, they ruined the game for me.  I'm all for innovation, but I agree, let's see some innovation in dice as well as cards, or maybe both together.  I suppose I'm old school, but I love to roll dice for combat. 

But unlike Kevin, I think Corey's one of the best designers around, so I'm willing to hold my opinions until I see the game in action.  Still, I  join with Kevin in hoping we're not seeing a trend here.



#3 Ruvion

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 06:59 PM

I for one cannot wait to see more card driven combat in boardgames and hope it really does establish itself as a trend (not limited to FFG hopefully). This does not mean I'm tired of rollin' dice either... I just like variety.



#4 David Spangler

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Posted 12 December 2009 - 12:38 AM

It's true that cards can add more variety to combat than simple dice rolling can, but it's also possible to combine the two for some very interesting effects.  One of the things attracting me to WFRP 3rd edition is the innovative use of story-telling dice, plus the use of action cards.  I just like that moment of tension as those little cubes roll across the tablelike I said, "old school" as I've been playing wargames for over forty years.  But it depends so much on what the card system is and how the cards are used.  Reserving opinion on HH until I get more information, though frankly I wouldn't let card-driven combat keep me from the game unless there were other factors that turned me off as well.



#5 Zadok13

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Posted 12 December 2009 - 02:00 AM

Out of my collection of games, most of them have dice combat, and a very few of them have card driven combat.  So for me, even though FFG seems to be putting this new system into every game they develop it still feels new and fresh to me.  The few games that I have played with card driven combat I have had a lot of fun with, and as of right now I honestly do not have a preference. 



#6 David Spangler

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Posted 12 December 2009 - 05:12 AM

I posted this in the Runewar forum, but I thought I'd repeat it here.  Originally I wrote it for Corey, but in this case, it's applicable to whoever is the design or development person on this project.

"I'd appreciate it if you'd do a Designer Diary about combat and why you are using cards rather than dice, the advantages cards give you, and so on.  Dice are being used in such innovative ways in WFRP; I 'm wondering if they couldn't be used in equally innovative ways for combat in a game like this, or even better a dice/card combination with cards setting up the visual/tactical feel of the combat and dice resolving it but perhaps in a way similar to WFRP.

I have no doubt the card-based resolution will work well; while I found it a bit clunky and confusing in Starcraft, I found card-based combat worked very well in MEQ. So I can see the technique evolving.  But it would still be nice to get some of your design thinking here about this, if you have the time.  Especially as card-based combat seems to be the new trend in FFG games, it would be nice to know why and the advantages it gives.



#7 Frog

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Posted 13 December 2009 - 02:20 PM

I agree.  I don't care for card-combat.  If I wanted straight up card combat I'd buy a card-game.



#8 Stinger

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Posted 13 December 2009 - 06:26 PM

I don't really care if it's dice or cards. As long as it's a good game!



#9 HauRuck

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Posted 13 December 2009 - 06:49 PM

Card-Based combat such as in MEQ is much less random than the vast majority of dice-based combat.  It provides for more strategic play than the bucket of dice most dice rolling games descend into.  Even Descent, for all the innovation there, is basically just a chore in counting and making obvious no thought decisions over which choice on a die to take or how to use the surges.  It feels like your making decisions but you aren't.  Cardplay like in MEQ is a richer gameplay experience IMHO and as stated above by others I don't have nearly as many games that employ it (Especially ones of the quality FFG puts out).  For that reason alone I'm willing to invest in more games with card-based combat though I too prefer something more along the lines of MEQ than STARCRAFT.  As long as there is ample emphasis on the board and other elements that in no way makes it any less of a boardgame or anymore of a cardgame.  For all the thousand cards in TI3 its still the best BOARD GAME around.



#10 Kias

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Posted 14 December 2009 - 09:16 AM

Gotta agree with HauRuck here as I vastly prefer card based mechanics over the normal dice rolling. Starcraft is the game that turned me over to it, as their is still elements of randomization, but the strategic choices are much more significant. Unit performance/situation resolutions become more dependable and avoid the Risk of blob strategies consuming the game.

Dice aren't bad, and they will be rolled aplenty in the many other board games and role playing games that use them, but they really are limited in how they can be applied. The fusion of card-game mechanics and board games just feels right to me and I think FFG would be silly not to develop the concept further.



#11 Marcin Przybyłek

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 01:24 AM

Here is what I think. As far as strategy is concerned there should be no place for random things, fate. Hence card based strategy is understandable an reasonable. I would like to se games which decrease the element of fate (dice), because they are just... how to say it in English, childlish?

On the other hand there are some really random situations in life: accidents, weather, market laws ;), and there something like dice should decide what happens. Like in life :).

 



#12 Captain IdahoIdaho

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 04:43 AM

I'm a long term gamer and was initially excited to hear of this board game. However it was totally spoilt for me personally is the realisation the game is going to be card driven. While I accept there are those who are fans of the type of game that uses card based combat, I think there are many more people who will be turned off by it.

At the end of the day Fantasy Flight Games are there to make money and introducing a game like this could bring in people outside the category of "dedicated gamer" into buying and playing the game, but not as a card driven game. This is because there are many people who will happily play boad games and not be considered gaming geeks like myself, who will play games such as Risk as wargames, yet would consider playing with cards akin to playing Dungons and Dragons and therefore uncool.

Whether they are right or wrong doesn't matter the key thing is by taking the mechanics of this game down a certain path that is considered niche will alienate potential customers and therefore a bad move.

And even though I am a wargamer I won't be getting this game as I don't like the mechanic, and clearly there are those who agree.

***Reason for edit*** As for dice being too random, chance has it's part to play in real life too and it isn't hard to stack statistical probability against chance or even eliminate it if things are so far out classed.



#13 Steve-O

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 09:19 AM

I don't generally care how a game's mechanics work.  Whether it's dice or cards or stripper poles, I just enjoy reading about new mechanics and then playing with them.  Whether that's using them as written, modding them with house rules or borrowing these ideas for my own fevered imaginings.

That said, I do agree that FFG is developing a trend of card-based combat engines lately and I'm not sure how I feel about that.  I enjoy all the previous FFG games I've played with card-based engines and I don't have any particular complaints about RW so far, but I fear the idea of card-based combat will get stale if they keep doing it all the time.  I certainly wouldn't mind seeing some new dice-based engines, or maybe even something else entirely (not sure what else could be done off the top of my head, but I'm sure there are other options out there.)  I'm not saying they should stop anything they're doing, but I wouldn't mind if they started mixing it up a bit more.



#14 Marcin Przybyłek

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 09:27 AM

Hm, maybe you are right, Captain, but look, the world is changing. Maybe it's just the wind of change? When we play chess and beat one figure with another, we do not expect that there will be a dice roll, do we? We made a good move, and we kill the enemy. I modified the chess game this way playing with daughter, and I realised it became... strange :).



#15 Captain IdahoIdaho

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 10:21 AM

Marcin Przybyłek said:

 

Hm, maybe you are right, Captain, but look, the world is changing. Maybe it's just the wind of change? When we play chess and beat one figure with another, we do not expect that there will be a dice roll, do we? We made a good move, and we kill the enemy. I modified the chess game this way playing with daughter, and I realised it became... strange :).

 

 

Well put. My main complaint (and perhaps not explained fully earlier) is while I am open to trying these new methods of gaming, there isn't a hope in hades of me convincing my mates to give it a go and thus not getting a chance to play a potentially cool game.

***Oh if there are any wandering Mods going by, I am having trouble navigating around the board. What I was trying to do was send a PM to a mod to request assistance with a name change, as I made a mistake logging on and added a second Idaho to my user name (supposed to just be Captain Idaho) ! I can't send an email via my personal account due to technical problems so I couldn't contact anyone - Help!



#16 Tretiak

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 08:28 PM

 Captain IdahoIdaho said:

[...]
 
At the end of the day Fantasy Flight Games are there to make money and introducing a game like this could bring in people outside the category of "dedicated gamer" into buying and playing the game, but not as a card driven game. This is because there are many people who will happily play boad games and not be considered gaming geeks like myself, who will play games such as Risk as wargames, yet would consider playing with cards akin to playing Dungons and Dragons and therefore uncool.
 
Whether they are right or wrong doesn't matter the key thing is by taking the mechanics of this game down a certain path that is considered niche will alienate potential customers and therefore a bad move.
 
[...]
 
 
 
 
Oh, I think it's great move. Everywhere I look, companies start dumbing down games just for the sake of attracting "new players" while completely dismissing their original fan bases. Warhammer 40K has turned slowly over the years into a mindless dice throwing extravaganza. I consider THIS to be uncool.
 
Therefore I am delighted to see FFG putting strategy into strategy games. And removing pure dumb luck. I think StarCraft reached it's goal in showing that card based combat is a far more satisfying experience. Hats down to FFG.


#17 flervk

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Posted 16 December 2009 - 01:16 AM

Well, I think I'll just wait and see if it's working - if I manage to get the money, that is :)


Just recently, me and my fellow gamers played A Game of Thrones for the first time. It was somewhat strange in the beginning (we're all used to rolling), but as the game progressed I was surprised by how much you could plan ahead - by determining your opponent's strength and choosing exactly which card is safe to play (strong enough, but not too much because you'd be wasting resources) and which you could save for some advantage later in the game (plus, there's that bidding element, which would IMHO suck really bad if it was dice-driven).


And then, there's Arkham Horror, for example. Yes, you can try to stick to the gate closing plan and all, but very often you get totally screwed by poor rolling, even though you clearly had advantage over enemy.
Not that AH is bad game (it's my favourite, actually, and exactly because of that unpredictabillity), and AGoT and HH maybe aren't even remotely similar (I don't know, I haven't played old version of Horus Heresy) - I'm just saying that if there's strategy/tactics involved dice maybe aren't the best option because you could have the best plan in the world but simple roll badly that very day.


Yes, in real life much could happen that isn't accounted for, but we're talking about strategic board game here - isolated space, practically strategic theory exercise, where you both know strength and weaknesses of your armies, and where shouldn't be even a chance of losing carefully planned battle if you have obvious advantage (which you got by your opponents mistakes, not by luck), and just because of few poor dice rolls.
it's simple: you don't think - you lose.
anyway, that's just my opinion, and maybe it's completely wrong, but we'll see. I'm used to dice and love them, but just as well I like to try new things.

 

by the way, is estimated date of release mentioned anywhere? 



#18 Steve-O

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 01:13 AM

flervk said:

by the way, is estimated date of release mentioned anywhere? 

I think I saw March 2010 floating around as a potential release date.

I'm not 100% sure if I'm going to get this one.  Not because I'm upset about any of the mechanics, mostly just because I feel like I'm reaching a critical mass of board games these days =).  I won't rule out the possibility of buying it either, but I doubt it will be within the first week.



#19 Jaegerpenguin

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 12:24 PM

I think it heavily, HEAVILY depends on the game.

Take a quick comparison between Starcraft and, say, Nexus Ops.

Starcraft:  Card driven combat.  Each unit has a range of powers, and thus a range of effectiveness.  Adding more or less cards with a unit type's picture also varies how often you can make effective use of that unit.  This makes bigger units more powerful, but not invincible if caught off guard.

Nexus Ops: Each unit rolls a d6 and "hits" on a certain number or higher.  Low units almost never hit, but get lucky occasionally, and are cheaper so there's more of them.  Stronger units are more powerful, but not invincible if unproperly defended.

In the end, both systems come out to about a similar sort of experience as to the effectiveness of units in the long run.    This, of course, ignores the strategy behind buying upgrades in starcraft (certain upgrades would add extra cards for other units, making them even more powerful and able to attack more often).

In the end, though, house rules are more powerful than written rules.   People would argue "why buy an expensive game to not follow the rules?!" but in the end, it's just the most important to play in a way that's fun.     From the VERY limited knowledge I have about this game, I feel that the card system will fit better than it did in Starcraft.



#20 Jaegerpenguin

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 12:27 PM

Also, don't forget that Warrior Knights is one of the best card driven combat games out there.   I have faith in these people. :)






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