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concerning the role and direction of the agenda card type


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#1 finitesquarewell

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 10:08 AM

jmccarthy's post on the maester's path prompted me to start a forums conversation i've been meaning to start for a while; i'm starting a new thread, however, as i don't want to hijack a thread that will be dedicated to justified complaining over that particular agenda.

in that thread, jmmccarthy wrote:

IMO, I think FFG should make a bunch more cards like the Stark armies, KLE Red Viper, and the old HOTH Tywin that care whether a person is running an agenda or not.  


i disagree with this fairly strongly, as my assessment of the problems seemingly inherent to agendas requires looking at the card type in a very different light. i'm of the opinion that it would be a very good thing for the game instead if we had a cycle that consisted of something like 30+ very different agendas and a bunch of cards that helped to flesh out the huge variety of new themes that those agendas brought into the game, or the existing themes that those agendas were designed to enhance, so that each and every deck played an agenda, each of which allowed that deck to do something fairly different than a deck built around every other agenda. agendas are the card type that has the greatest potential to bring flavor to the game; if we had a broad and diverse array of agendas to choose from (a mix of agendas that could be played out of any house, and agendas that were house specific, and treaty agendas specific to different sets of houses -- e.g. martell and targ, or stark and baratheon -- that allow players to combine houses in thematic ways that a generic treaty agenda like alliance can't support), players would build very different deck types within each house, each of which might take advantage of the different building blocks a house has to offer in very different ways. instead, we have a small set of competitively playable agendas in the current environment which don't do much to encourage diversity of decktypes within each house. as of right now, within each house there are one or two competitively viable decktypes, even though we have a ton of cards in the environment; and half of the few agendas we do have pretty much address the same issues of card and resource advantage in different ways.

for example, there are tier-1 or tier-2 competitive builds of martell/maester's path, martell/kings of summer, martell/kothh, and martell/city of shadows in the current environment. sadly, each of those lists looks and plays substantially the same when optimized -- each is within something like 10 cards of each other, and they all really are using the same key cards and overall goals to win games. the agendas we have right now don't do anything for me if i want to make a competitive "martell/sandsnake/red viper revenge deck," or a "martell/house dayne/summer/fortress"; instead, agendas like kings of summer simply allow for building the usual martell stuff with more card advantage, and kothh simply allows you to add to that usual martell build some events with influence. city of shadows just allows you to bolster your martell deck with king's landing and some control locations that play well with all the other control cards the deck has, and the maester's path just allows you to take that same spicy martell sauce and play some extra chains for toolboxing and to fill in the gap martell has concerning attachment hate.

the few agendas that encourage diversity are fairly new -- alliance and heir to the iron throne (only in its targ-only form) -- and don't yet have enough support to make decktypes in joust that are consistently competitively viable. then there are a bunch of agendas all of which simply give card or resource advantage, and don't do much to make for deck types between and within the houses that feel much different: kings of summer, kings of winter, knights of the realm, the maester's path, and to a great extent knights of the hollow hill (i'll write more on this one later). there are still other agendas that simply make decks more efficient: the wildling and night's watch agendas don't give rise to different deck types; rather, they're used to fill in the holes in the character bases of the houses (NW largely for intrigue, and the wildlings in houses that lack a lot of stealth or beef). the stark and targ nw/wildling decks i played to great success last year didn't look different than non-nw/wilding stark and targ decks would have looked at the time; they simply allowed me to draw on a pool of very bland but cost-effective and highly efficient neutral characters that i could use to remedy the lack of efficient characters within either of those houses. gualdo, dobbler, and rings last year all played martell/wildling decks that played exactly the same as a non-wildling martell deck; the wildlings just gave them better characters to fill in the holes where crappy in-house characters would have gone instead. the brotherhood agenda is more of the same; if there were a bunch of efficient, in-house brotherhood characters it might have been different, but instead we have a neutral deck that is the same no matter what house it's in (it just happens to be best in lanni and martell because those are the decks with the best card advantage and in-house tricks). city of shadows has largely been used in the same way as the last two subsets of agendas i've described. and in yet another example, siege of winterfell didn't give rise to a new type of stark deck -- it just encouraged players to cut some of the beefier stuff with MIL icons for smaller and faster stuff with MIL icons, and the resulting deck plays out in the same fast aggro way any other stark deck does.

an example of how a different approach to designing one of the bland agendas could have led to different and distinctly flavorful decktypes within each house: consider the way the maester theme was approached in the oldtown cycle. the maester's path could have required that you place chains on maester characters only, not allowing for the apprentice collar to allow you to use the agenda with any old character. at the gates could have required you to pull an in-house maester only, and instead of a bunch of neutral maester characters (and other non-maester junky characters the houses didn't really need) the oldtown cycle could have given each house a few unique maesters and a non-unique maester or two. in this way, each house would have had a maester theme that had a distinct flavor, rather than the same small bunch of specific maester-themed cards being played out of each house with fewer variations. and to make each in-house implementation of the maester theme feel "maester-y," each could have done something that simulated the maesters supporting the house's main lords of ladies, or sending messages via ravens, or studying and teaching, or any of the other things maesters do. (we get a little bit of that in the set, as those of you who have seen the spoilers on the uncut sheets or on agotcards know, but it's a minority of cards in oldtown, and many of them are inefficient or just sort of useless.) instead, we'll have a bunch of decks with the maester's path agenda played out of each house that aren't substantially different from the other decktypes in that house (see the martell example above), and each of which use the same few very powerful maester cards independent of the house being played (every house will have a deck that puts a few key chains on the maester's path, pulls luwin on the first turn, uses the same few very powerful maester/learned crest events that are neutral, etc. -- and these components won't be much different between any of the houses).

with this in mind, it's important not to accuse the agenda card type of anything, but rather the game designers for not using the card type in a way that gives rise to a variety of distinct and creative (and competitive) decks in the environment. agendas could be designed to bolster very specific themes; and i contend that the game would be much better off if every competitive or casual player had a huge variety of different agendas to choose from no matter which house he or she is playing, or no matter which theme he or she wanted to use. would it not be awesome for the game if every time the designers decided to introduce a new theme like "dothraki" or "raider" or "clansmen" they printed not one but two or more different agendas to be used with that theme -- one agenda that allowed the theme to be played on its own, and at least one that tied that theme in with other existing in-house or neutral themes in very different ways? furthermore, agendas that are similar to the brotherhood or NW agendas could be created for use in any house, so that instead of guiding a specific use of a theme on a player as some agendas would, we also have a huge variety of agendas that could be used very creatively by players to give rise to unexpected decktypes within each house that were simply enabled by an agenda, rather than being dictated by one. greg's knights of the hollow hill agenda, too, is one designed with this hope in mind; in theory, it should encourage decktypes that use cards with an influence cost where other cards cannot. however, it hasn't yet given rise to many unexpectedly creative deck types due to the fact that there aren't many in-house, competitively playable cards that do anything substantially different than cards without an influence cost. if the current mode of design continues to dominate, i think the best thing it will do for the game is add to the existing decktypes alternate builds that allows for favorable ground to be played to combat decks based heavily on locations; but because of its inherent slowness, i have my doubts about that, too, and i'm still waiting to see the day when a location-lite kothh deck rises to the top of a large, very competitive tournament.

i know that some in the old guard have predispositions that would lead them to rue an environment in which agendas are ubiquitous, but i think these attitudes are founded in great part on the specific uses of the agenda card type we have seen in this game, many of which i would classify as poorly designed cards. i'd encourage those players to rethink whether they simply want a bunch of cards to be printed to discourage players from playing agendas -- or whether we should beg the designers to make cards that discourage players from making use of the bland set agendas we have today, and direct our collective whining toward making a bunch of agendas each of which is fun to play with. if agendas were made more along the lines of what i've described above -- agendas that give us a reason to play house dayne, clansmen, dothraki; and do so in ways that make it actually feel like we're playing something different than the usual sauce in martell, lanni, or targ, or combine those themes with the houses' most efficient cards in ways that give rise to decks that don't feel like the other efficient in-house builds -- i contend that there would be few players who would not enjoy the environment immensely more. i agree that more agendas along the lines of the maester's path or knights of the realm aren't the way to go, but at the same time i think we should be begging more creative thematic diversity of our designers rather than marginalizing the agenda cardtype altogether.



#2 Saturnine

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 10:22 AM

 I whole-heartedly agree.



#3 rings

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 10:22 AM

~Whew, you need an editor! 

I have stated my love/hate relationship w/ agendas.  I think they are easily the most difficult card to balance in the game (far out-stripping plots).  Any card that starts in play, and is close to untargetable as you can get, is putting a VERY big burden on unpaid playtesters w/ time constraints and the ability to be overruled (justly) by the publisher.  Of the cards that truly needed to be banned/changed in the last 5 years, agendas (or how cards worked with agendas) were the lion's share of them. 

They are really cool to open up further gameplay and customize decks - as Erick said very well.  It is great to think about not just your house, but your agenda.  However, if their ability is card draw (or the equivialent) or income, they have to be seriously looked at since both of those break the games basic balancing mechanics.  The worst of the Wildling ones was income.  The worst of the others (Defenders back in CCG, Summer and Maester now) is card draw or similar effects.  *shrug* 

I don't know.  We have had them for quite a long time now, and they are part of the game.  I just don't know if they are a needed and helpful part as currently produced, tested, ruled, and how they translate into cards.  I tend to agree there needs to be more 'hate' vs. agendas rather than just cards that rock when you have a certain one out.  ~Hell, if they can make anti-Lannister traitors you can beat me down with, why not anti-Agenda ones? 


Oh, King eh? Very nice...

#4 finitesquarewell

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 10:30 AM

rings said:

They are really cool to open up further gameplay and customize decks - as Erick said very well.  It is great to think about not just your house, but your agenda.  However, if their ability is card draw (or the equivialent) or income, they have to be seriously looked at since both of those break the games basic balancing mechanics.  The worst of the Wildling ones was income.  The worst of the others (Defenders back in CCG, Summer and Maester now) is card draw or similar effects.  *shrug* 

it appears i do need an editor, because your comments here indicate you didn't read the lion's share of my post



#5 Stasis

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 11:04 AM

No offense, but your post is very difficult to read because it lacks capitalization and has run-on sentences. 

I did happen to read it all, however. I think agendas on the whole have been very bland in this game. The concept of a card outside the game changing how you approach the game and build your deck is a very good one and could have a huge effect on deck diversity.

Unfortunately, it's not a good idea when most of them are just simple pluses and minuses either of cards drawn, resources provided, whatever have you. I agree that agendas would be best served if they had components that really changed the way you played the game and required you to build your deck around. Like you said, right now they don't really change your deck much, whatever an optimal Martell build is is going to be converted to any agenda save maybe 10 cards difference. 

This goes back to one aspect of the game that really bothers me as a whole. There are many themes running around in the game but not many of them have much card support. Martell Summer is popular... OK, just how many cards does it run that have any interaction with it being Summer? Maester of the Sun, anything else? I highly doubt Bronze Shield is used. There just isn't all that much card support for the vast majority of themes in the game. Even themes that have a decent amount of card support don't usually have many good cards of that theme that are worth running. 

Maximizing deck diversity would also mean you'd need incentives for people not to run agendas. This can be easily accomplished by creating cards that give bonuses for not running one, you don't need cards that punish others for running them to accomplish that. Each agenda should have a sufficient downside or be balanced out so that you don't need a bunch of cards in the pool that specifically punish people for running them. 

Thinking about cards that give bonuses for having no agenda, thematically it seems really flavorful in Stark since Ned wasn't too into the whole intrigue scheming and such - he had no agenda... ha ha ha.



#6 Shenanigans

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 11:08 AM

How do you really feel Erick? ;)

Erick I do see your point as to how more house and/or theme-specific agendas would help to diversify the game, and hence probably make it more fun/interesting, as opposed to the current agenda situation giving us slight variations on existing decks (your analysis of Martell being rather indicative of the trend.)

I think you're definitely right in your analysis, and I agree with your thought that seeing competitive House Dayne,  Dothraki, Clansmen, etc. decks would be great. Personally, I'd love to see some kind of Dragon agenda. I do, however, enjoy being able to take a "neutral" agenda and see how it would work in a variety of houses, even if the most effective builds cluster around several houses (e.g. KotR in Baratheon, Brotherhood in Martell/Lannister). I also would like to see a greater selection of Alliance/Treaty agendas.

Also, I enjoy Nedly agendas that build on a house's existing theme, like Siege in Stark, and Heir in Targaryen, as well as ones that encourage more counter-intuitive builds, like all the Stark Shadows and Shadow-interactive cards from the KL cycle. I don't know that those cards were great, but I appreciate the effort of the devs nonetheless. Agendas, for the reasons Rings mentions, are difficult to balance.

Lastly, I'm always for cards that temper the strength of what's hot in the current environment, just like I was in MtG. I'm not saying we need an absolute influx of anti-agenda tech, but if I read your post correctly, you're endorsing an environment where almost everyone plays an agenda of some type, which I don't necessarily hold with. I'm not sure why, maybe it's my very vanilla, Midwestern tendencies. :)

 



#7 finitesquarewell

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 11:51 AM

Stasis said:

 

No offense, but your post is very difficult to read because it lacks capitalization and has run-on sentences.

 

 

i'll concede my laziness on capitalization, but i challenge you to find a single run-on sentence anywhere in my post.

 

Stasis said:

 

This goes back to one aspect of the game that really bothers me as a whole. There are many themes running around in the game but not many of them have much card support.

 

 

this is a huge, huge problem, i agree. using agendas as i propose is one way of fixing the pervasive "dropped theme" problem efficiently and flavorfully, but it would only do that to a certain extent; at the end of the day, the designers just need to revisit a bunch of themes to bolster them and bring them up to competitive standards. indeed, trying to use an agenda to fix, for example, the sandsnake theme would likely just require an overpowered agenda because the sandsnakes themselves aren't good cards. i definitely think the game would be better off if an entire chapter pack cycle were dedicated to reinforcing existing themes. all that said, making a huge variety of agendas for established themes and new themes as they released would do a lot to add that much more variety in the ways in which those themed cards are used.

 

Stasis said:

 

Maximizing deck diversity would also mean you'd need incentives for people not to run agendas. This can be easily accomplished by creating cards that give bonuses for not running one, you don't need cards that punish others for running them to accomplish that. Each agenda should have a sufficient downside or be balanced out so that you don't need a bunch of cards in the pool that specifically punish people for running them.

 

 

why is it the case that the goal of maximizing deck diversity necessarily demands incentives for players not to run agendas?

think of decks that don't run agendas as decks that have a "blank agenda" card, and think of the maester's path + apprentice collar to be the "base agenda" -- the agenda you always play if you're just going to play the blank agenda. the two agendas -- blank and base -- are not substantially different; one adds nothing to your deck, while the other decreases it by one card (probabilistically insignificant) and gives you access to a single pump attachment (which may be significant now and again, but on average it's just +1 strength to one guy and protection from a few cards that many players don't care for anyway). how do a bunch of decks running the blank agenda, or the ever so slightly better base agenda, add more variety to an environment in which there are a ton of good and different agendas? put more concretely, if every time i sat down to build a stark deck i had 6-7 different agendas to choose from, each of which would result in a reasonably different deck from the others, why is upping the number to 7-8 with the blank or base agenda card any different than upping that number to 7-8 with another flavorful agenda? and even if you feel that it is different, why is it the case that upping that number of deck type choices to 7-8 is better done using the blank agenda rather than the base agenda? indeed, the fact that you could print a number of different base agendas that function roughly as the blank agenda but with slight variations (example: an agenda that allowed you to name a single character in your deck at the beginning of the game and treat that character as if it had printed 3 STR), but which have to compete with the ton of flavorful agendas out there driving diverse deck building, implies that integrating this concept of "base agendas" into the game automatically results in more diversity than encouraging players to play with the "blank agenda," especially if this is accomplished by printing a bunch of anti-agenda cards that will have to fit boringly into already established themes to be efficient enough to see play.



#8 Mathias Fricot

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 12:07 PM

If I win GenCon, I will help make this dream come true.



#9 Kennon

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 12:36 PM

Hmmm... I don't see how having a significantly larger number of agendas to play would increase deck variety at the "competitive" level. What increases deck variety is using different cards to build the deck. As is, we have hundreds of cards available to us and 60 (or more) that make up a draw deck. Given that you'll only ever be using one agenda except for special cases like the Wildling/NW agendas, you're less likely to have a significantly different deck makeup due to the single card. Why don't we see a greater variety of cards at your definition of competitive play? As the king of efficiency, I think you know the answer. As someone that has already pared down their draw decks, plot decks, and agendas to their own concept of perfect efficiency, what would a greater number of agendas cause? Nothing more than a (possibly) different definition of which is "best."

Which isn't to say that I don't think that agendas should exist, but I do find what appears to be an argument against min/maxing from the meta's biggest min/maxer to be.... amusing.



#10 Twn2dn

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 02:50 PM

Generally speaking, I agree Erick. Since grammar and run-on sentences are apparently catching as much reader attention as content, I'm going to lay out my thoughts in bullet form to avoid distractions from substance:

--Conceptually I agree that agendas have not been explored enough by the design team, and I think there is a lot of potential to not only open up innovative, new builds, but also to provide more flavor and dynamism. This seems natural, since I think there's a general feeling that agendas are something *additional* or *optional*, whereas I think you are beginning to see agendas more as a necessary component of every deck and simply wish that extra card allowed for a bit more flexibility. Nothing wrong with that, but I suspect there will be some old-timers who dislike the idea of adding a new (virtually) mandatory card type, which is what you're proposing.

--I agree with Rings that there are big risks given the nature of agendas, though I disagree with him that these may be overly difficult to navigate. I really think it comes down to establishing a base set of principles that you then generally maintain and stray from only occasionally.

--I dislike the idea of house-specific agendas in general though. If the whole point is to open up options, why print a card that is 1/6 as useful as it potentially can be? Similarly, I'm beginning to feel that trait-based agendas are a terrible idea. The problem is, either you print something that makes the particular trait too powerful (wildlings) or something that doesn't provide enough incentive (Kingsguard). And more often than not, in the process you severely restrict the trait to ensure playing it with the corresponding agenda isn't overpowered (night's watch or brotherhood, both essentially unplayable without the agenda). For the record, The Maester's Path is another trait-based agenda, and many chains are unlikely to see much play outside of decks that run this agenda, which also happens to have the added downside of probably being slightly too powerful (though hopefully not broken...yet). Again, no real inherent problem with The Maester's Path, except that because of this agenda, FFG had to go and create a dozen chains that will see very little play outside of Maester decks...kind of a waste if the whole idea of agendas is to encourage innovation.

--Agendas should thus focus on design or mechanics. KotHH was the first in a long time that does this well. I was definitely a non-believer pre-restricted list, but with Fear of Winter a little less common now, I think KotHH will be an outstanding card, as much for its creativity as for its utility. Currently, it's useless in some houses that lack good influence-using cards...hopefully this will change at some point. Alliance may ultimately prove to be the same, and future agendas that focus on game mechanics should be the goal.

--I'm also not sure I like agendas that mess with fundamental aspects of the game (more challenges of one kind at the expense of less of another). The problem is cards like Heir interact with a variety of current and future cards in ways that may be unintended. These types of agendas definitely *do* require a ton of playtesting, and even then often come out unbalanced.

--I think when it comes to agendas, the design team should constantly ask itself "What does this agenda need to open up more options for players to deck build and use their old cards in new ways, without breaking the game?" Instead, it's very clear that design approaches agendas with a different question: "What hole does the current block have, and how do I fill it with a catch-all agenda?" Or to perhaps put a better spin on the question..."What agenda would really tie this block's theme together?" Note though that these two questions are essentially the same, since the solution to a mechanic/trait that can't stand on its own should NOT be to print an agenda.

 



#11 schrecklich

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 03:10 PM

 Could you give a couple specific examples of agendas that would meet your criteria, finite?  Since you suggest that it would be good for the environment if almost every deck ran an agenda, it seems that you are perhaps implying that having running an agenda be strictly better than not running one would be okay or perhaps preferable.  Is that because you feel that the current policy of balancing each agenda relative to the absence of an agenda is hampering the creativity of the designers?  That agendas would be more interesting if they did not have to come with drawbacks roughly equal to their benefits?



#12 Mathias Fricot

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 04:00 PM

I would like one that benefits you if you use all in house cards, y'know? no neutrals can hurt you pretty bad with the loss of some important toolbox cards



#13 Mathias Fricot

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 04:04 PM

You could call it House Loyalty, and give it the flavour text when the blackfish was flying stark banners from riverrun even after the red wedding. Boom.



#14 baragwin

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 04:05 PM

Regarding agendas being more difficult to balance: yes, they are, but does that matter?  If FFG released a set with 30 agendas, the worst-case scenario would be that one of those 30 was considerably (and obviously) more powerful than the other 29.  This worst case would result in a competitive environment not unlike the worlds environment from last year (wildlings).

However, with 30 dynamic new agendas to choose from, it is likely that many new decks will emerge.  Over time, a concensus would probably form around a few as the best, but that process would take longer and be less obvious than it is now.  And by the time a concensus emerged, FFG would have released five new agendas and changed everything we thought we knew.

Doesn't that sound like a much more interesting and dynamic game (compared to the current deck-building environment, which essentially amounts to: 1) choose a house 2) choose a card advantage mechanism 3) put the rest of the good cards from the chosen house into the deck)?  What's the downside?



#15 Staton

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 08:31 PM

 I actually really like this idea. However it is 230 in the morning and I don't have the thought power to type up much. So I'll just start that I really think that if you have that many agendas, then without having cards that reward you for not running an agenda, everyone runs an agenda just as Erik described. I think that would actually be bad for the game from a deckbuilding standpoint. I feel like people would pick then Agenda and then build a deck around that agenda. Then as new cards came out, people would look at them and say, "does this fit in with any of the agendas I like?" If the answer was no, then the card isn't going to see play. This would seem to force designers to only print cards that work well with the agendas. You could say, "well then just keep printing agendas!" And that's where you run into a problem with how do you get the card space for all these agendas? Also, how do you balance these Agendas when there are so many out there. Or how do you print enough cards to make every agenda relevant? In theory everything seems golden, but in practice I fear that it wouldn't work as nearly as well. All that being said, there def needs to be some better agendas that focus on something other than just resource or draw.



#16 Staton

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 08:33 PM

baragwin said:

However, with 30 dynamic new agendas to choose from, it is likely that many new decks will emerge.  Over time, a concensus would probably form around a few as the best, but that process would take longer and be less obvious than it is now.  And by the time a concensus emerged, FFG would have released five new agendas and changed everything we thought we knew.

Given 30 Agendas, the top tier players would be able to rank the agendas in order of effectiveness in about a week.



#17 Stasis

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 09:30 PM

I agree that promoting the use of no agenda is not absolutely necessary. You can create less specific agendas that can work to augment any type of deck. When I said that I was thinking about the group of players that may not be so excited by agendas and making sure that they weren't required. I'm the type of player that will use an agenda as long as it makes sense for the deck and have no philosophical aversion to them.

I also agree that agendas can be used to accentuate themes, but not as a crutch to the exclusion of releasing card support for the themes in the game that are ill-supported, which is most of them. I would definitely like to see a chapter pack that is dedicated to shoring up existing themes as well. I don't think FFG should be releasing new themes when they have so many that are flimsy. 

Hopefully we've given the designers some good feedback in here and it will help them in the future. It's easy for us to talk about how we feel agendas should be, but much harder to actually execute what we're talking about in terms of agendas. I do think it would be difficult to balance agendas that aren't simply pluses and minuses because it becomes a much more intuitive process than a quantitative one and requires a lot of testing. I am not sure how FFG does playtesting, but I am sure that they could get a fairly large group of hardcore players that would test extensively for free. I know people who were playtesters for Magic and Star Wars LCG and did it for free just because they were hardcore tournament players and winners and wanted to help make the game better. 

Supporting existing themes shouldn't be very problematic at all though, it's just a matter of adding more cards to the existing themes and making sure they don't all suck. 



#18 The Nick-ler

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 10:23 PM

 well written finite (even if it is mostly theoretical). at the very least people should take away a notion of how agenda's may be poisoning the serious deckbuilding folk among us. when i came back to the game i did so under the assumption the card pool was large and varied enough to do the things i wanted to without being railroaded into a specific build. i think i came back at about the right time, though sometimes i do feel like i'm being pushed into running some cards over others just... because.



#19 kpmccoy21

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 11:59 PM

Kennon said:

Hmmm... I don't see how having a significantly larger number of agendas to play would increase deck variety at the "competitive" level. What increases deck variety is using different cards to build the deck. As is, we have hundreds of cards available to us and 60 (or more) that make up a draw deck. Given that you'll only ever be using one agenda except for special cases like the Wildling/NW agendas, you're less likely to have a significantly different deck makeup due to the single card. Why don't we see a greater variety of cards at your definition of competitive play? As the king of efficiency, I think you know the answer. As someone that has already pared down their draw decks, plot decks, and agendas to their own concept of perfect efficiency, what would a greater number of agendas cause? Nothing more than a (possibly) different definition of which is "best."

Which isn't to say that I don't think that agendas should exist, but I do find what appears to be an argument against min/maxing from the meta's biggest min/maxer to be.... amusing.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who picked up on this.

@ Finite: So to go back to your Martell example, say FFg created Martell/Maesters, Martell/House Dayne, Martell/Sandsnake, and Martell/NW agendas in the next set and produced cards that expanded each of these themes, what are you and Cory gonna do? You are going to sit down with each agenda, min/max the build from each agenda, and exclusively play that build which is the most efficient. Unless Martell/Summer still proves to be the best min/maxed build. And then you'll only slightly tweak Martell/Summer to handle the new cards. And 20-30 people will nedeck that build. And the other cards will never see play by the majority of competetive players at large events. Because at the same time you and Cory are doing this, so will Longclaw, Dobbler, Mathlete, etc with similar results. You mean to tell me you won't look for the best agenda that maximizes VB, Game of Cyvasse, Arrianne, TRV, BotS, He Calls it Thinking, etc. as well as any new goodies you get in that expansion?

The problem is playstyle, not cardpool. As long as people min/max. the "competetive" cardpool will always be small. Some cards will always be more efficient than others.

I also agree with Rings  that Agendas are the hardest  to balance, and should be handled carefully.

I don't like House specific agendas. The cardpool is too small to support that in the LCG model.

I'm all for cards that penalize a player for running an agenda. Starting with an agenda gives players an inherent advantage over players who don't. I should be able to toolbox against that inherent disadvantage if I choose not to run an agenda. A cycle of bomb cards for each house on the level of AHoTh Tywin would be nice to make people think twice about Running agendas.

I always find it ironic the people who call out playtesters and designers.



#20 Stasis

Stasis

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 12:25 AM

Who is "calling out" the playtesters and designers in here? I don't see anyone doing that by my definition, what are you talking about?






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