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subochre

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Everything posted by subochre

  1. Well...I can honestly go either way. I'm not normally this sassy, but I figured it would be acceptable to turn it up a bit given your tone and demeanor in previous threads (maybe this is part of why they're not blaming me? I agree that you haven't said anything here that I didn't bring on myself). That said, if "lively" debates make other people uncomfortable, I think they're within their rights to ask us to be a little less rowdy or adversarial. I'm actually in a similar boat regarding the "game/show" issue. The game was what got me into the show, and although I do like the show I find it frustrating in a lot of ways, but I think the game captures all the very best things about the premise, plot, setting, and atmosphere, while avoiding things like the insultingly hamfisted politics, dopey theology, gratuitous sex, and complete disregard for continuity.
  2. Yeah, these debates really are fun, even if they rarely lead to any real consensus. About that PBF data, I do agree that there's not a lot that can be drawn from them...the author went into more detail in some of his other posts about statistical significance and whatnot, and I think that's just silly. So we know that the difference between Tyrol and Zarek has a less than 5% likelihood of being due to chance...so what? That accounts for bad crisis draws and other possible variables that you mention, but what we should be asking for game balance is how much of the difference isn't a result of chance, and what is it a result of? Maybe Boomer did so well because a certain type of player likes to play Boomer. (After all, I know for a fact that a certain type of player likes to play Baltar.) Anyways, I do think there's one useful thing we can say based on that data, and that is: whatever the intrinsic differences in quality might be between Apollo and Tigh, you can still play 40 games with each of them and have Tigh win more than Apollo. That's pretty much all it takes to forestall the "giggling to myself while I trounce the guy who's helpless because he has Tigh" scenario. I mean, I'm not saying that math has proven that Tigh is objectively 49% good and Apollo is objectively only 41% good, and I'm not drawing any conclusions about the reasons for the differences in win/loss ratios in that data set; all I'm saying is that if Apollo is sooo OP, he's not OP enough to keep from losing the majority of a randomly selected large number of games. I'm willing to call that "balanced enough."
  3. I hadn't considered that--like Brandon, I generally don't OPT for red if I can avoid it--but it's a really nice point. The fact that Anders can play military leader all game and then transform into a viper pilot when you need one (he's kind of like a Decepticon?) has always been his one selling point...but when you put it in terms of the Hangar/OPT "Suddenly I'm between you and the civvies with a hand full of EMs and MFs, so bring it" maneuver, it reminds me a lot of the one thing that singlehandedly makes Apollo (...let's say "arguably" ) the best pilot. Namely, he doesn't need to sit around in space to keep Galactica safe. (Starbuck and Boomer, on the other hand, manage at least to be decent pilots by being good at sitting around in space.)
  4. Unsurprisingly, I disagree with you about a lot of the specific examples*, but in the end, I don't think anyone can reasonably deny that the characters vary substantially in power levels, and that this was an intentional design choice. But I'm finding I'm less interested in brainstorming character tweaks--of which hundreds have been proposed over the years--then in your rhetorical question "why did they think that was necessary?" And, actually, a number of possibilities present themselves. As you say, there has been a definite overall trend towards more powerful characters with each expansion, so that seems like a good place to start looking for explanations (and also because, unlike you, I think overpowered characters are a much bigger concern than underpowered ones). The most cynical and least defensible explanation is that they keep making more powerful characters just for marketing reasons. In order to keep players coming back, they have to make the characters more and more exciting, so that people will go "OMG did you see what Gaeta can do, I have to buy this." The less cynical version of this (inspired by the Arkham Horror investigator power creep) is just that the expansions keep getting harder and introduce more and more powerful effects like Mutiny and 6-point skill cards and Rebel Basestars, so they need more powerful characters to keep up. On either of these explanations, the solution might just be to encourage players to match characters up by their league, and not play, for example, a Tigh/Anders/Tory/Cain game. But then I got to thinking, well, why not? Why does everyone need to be perfectly equal? As gamers, we tend to import weird ideas about balance and fairness, but in a game as susceptible to group dynamics as this, there's an extent to which perceived differences in player strength will be self-correcting. --I had an extended discussion here about the differences between Tory and Cain in how they can swing the game for each team as opposed to for their respective players, but it wasn't adding much, and this post is getting way too long already.-- Anyways, I don't want to suggest that I think that Tory's crazy yellow draw can be offset by the mere recognition that she's powerful, but still. In the end, I think that it would be nice if every character had the exact same chance of victory, but that this is the wrong game to be worried about everyone being on an equal footing. *and, honestly, I tried really hard not to get into it, but instead I'm just gonna confine it to a footnote Someone did an analysis of the first 79 play-by-forum games on BGG, and the results are pretty interesting. (Unfortunately, it looks like the numbers haven't been updated since December 2010, and there aren't even enough Pegasus games to be terribly informative, so I'll just stick with Table 7.) So, for example, Tigh lost more games than he won, with a win rate of 47%. You know what Apollo's, that powerhouse, was (seriously, Apollo is your pick for "near unstoppable," you delightful madman? <3)? 41% And actually, Boomer, though low on a lot of people's lists, narrowly beat Roslin as Best Overall. All of which goes to demonstrate both the point you made above, and my closing comment: our perceptions of a character's strength might not accurately reflect their actual strength--and even if they do, this doesn't seem to meaningfully affect their likelihood of winning. (That's why I agree with your admonition to not let the discussion turn to subjective analyses of why Tigh's great or whatever, but, on a somewhat snarkier note, I find this funny coming from you, since when people have tried to invoke statistics to rebut your claims about the yellow's dominance in skill checks, or about the uselessness of Strategic Planning, your response has basically been "numbers schmumbers, my anecdotal experience says otherwise." )
  5. I'm with you. Anders is the guy whom everyone loves to hate, but as I see it, he's still across-the-board better than Kat: he's got a much better skill set, his OPT, while fairly situational, is useful when you've got a hand full of garbage or really need to dig for that Scout for Fuel, whereas hers basically just turns most of the cards in her hand into slightly-more-interesting Strategic Plannings (which is mainly what she was drawing already), and his OPG is, again, lackluster, but not as bad as hers. More than anything else, people seem to be down on his weakness, which definitely isn't one of those dopey Adama/Cain "XO your way out of it" pseudo-weaknesses. It hurts, and more importantly it happens all at once, right at the beginning, so it has more of a psychological impact than if it were spread out. But the start of the game is when you don't really need as many cards, and, hey, you know who else loses a bunch of skill cards? Kat, every single time she holds still long enough to actually defend a civvie and doesn't get XOed out of sickbay. I'd also claim that, card for card, his weakness is less of a deal than Roslin's (who's powerful enough to justify it), Boomer's, Apollo's, Hoshi's, and possibly post-Daybreak Ellen's (who aren't). And if you're really that upset about losing those cards, use your first action to XO someone in the Press Room. There: you've just recovered from most of your weakness. In short, he's not great, but he's hardly the most horrible character ever.
  6. Two things about D'Anna: 1) her skills are so good (which matters even more given the new Human Fleet), and 2) she's got some definite Demetrius synergy: obviously, she's the queen of the Rebel Basestar, but can also deal with the destruction of the Hub better than most. Sure, her OPT is costly and inefficient to use more than once--assuming you weren't on your way to the Res Ship anyways--but that's because it's a slightly scaled-down version of (arguably) the best OPG in the base set. An OPT detector is game-changingly important in all the ways that Baltar's OPG is, and a few others besides. Unrevealed cylons (especially those pesky pre-sleeper cylons) will have to lay low just knowing that she's out there, and a well-placed false accusation can wreak all sorts of havoc. I mean, clearly she's more of an Ellen than a Tory, but still very playable. (But then I think the rampant Anders hate is pretty overblown, so what do I know? )
  7. Like you say, there's plenty of room to disagree about characters (Chief sucks), but this one is totally quantifiable and really easy to settle; in fact, people have run all sorts of analyses of the color distribution of crisis cards (which is good, because I'm lazy ) Unfortunately the only one I could find was just of the base set (I think I read somewhere that the first two expansions even up the numbers a bit, making the top three colors closer and either red or blue a bit better), but from those results purple is the most important for skill checks by a considerable margin. Granted, yellow/green seems to be the single most common combination, but all that means is that green can be substituted for yellow. If your military leaders "can't help because they don't have yellow," and they're not cylons (not to mention very poor liars), then you must be on one of the two crises in the whole deck that has yellow but not green, in which case they can still play purple. edit: also, yellow/green crises tend to be some of the easiest to pass. (I do agree that yellow has really good effects. With green everything that isn't an XO is pretty much skill check fodder, but CP and IC are both pretty good, and yeah, that one yellow card is the best skill 6 (but again, I think you're undervaluing purple).)
  8. Isn't that the whole point of the Demetrius and its distance-gaining missions, that traveling ten distance solely by jumping (blind or otherwise) is really hard? Though if you're just going to Kobol, that's another matter entirely. As for the trust issue, I think the main concern is not that someone would jump poorly or refuse to participate, but that they would, for example, blow all of the team's miracle tokens out the airlock, which is really not a bad soft reveal. I mean, I'll grant that it's potentially a strong strategy. I'd be surprised if it was broken, but if it is, I'll just regard it as a special case of Cain's pre-existing brokenness, and one more reason not to play her (or, at the very least, not with New Baltar)
  9. The two-player variant (which I still have yet to try) is also similar to what you're proposing: no cylons for the first part of the game, then the sleeper phase loyalty deck is constructed with one YAAC card and 2+x YANACs, where x is the number of resources currently in the red. So if you've had a really easy game, one of you will probably turn cylon at sleeper, with the likelihood dropping the more resource-starved you are. I've heard good things about this variant, although the pdf provides a pretty strong disclaimer about how you lose a lot of the fun and intrigue by not playing with the standard rules.
  10. Man, I hear you. Somehow I never read Dune until just now, and as I do so, I'm struck by how much of the universe the game captures perfectly, whereas with Rex I'm just like, "so...the Xxcha can prevent the use of a given weapon because they're...diplomatic?" So do let us know if you come up with a solution; I've had similar thoughts, but haven't gotten any farther than wistfully glancing at artscow.
  11. This is a really good thread, both in terms of opinions and resources, and I have very little to add to it, except that the above quote has me thinking about the factors that shape my expectations of a game. For example, I still haven't played Elder Sign, but based on the previews and videos I've seen, I imagine that the immersion would break very easily for me, and that my experience would suffer. But at the same time, immersion failures are part of what I absolutely love about the LCG. I defy any of you not to smile at the thought of a Clever Zoog driving a Getaway Car. The game succeeds beautifully, but on its own terms. And maybe that's why MoM sparks such an ambivalent response...AH, visionary and baroque as it is, is either your kind of game or completely not your kind of game (and you can probably tell without even opening the box), whereas MoM has that "designed by a marketing committee" feeling of being almost the right game for a wider range of people, but just ends up leaving a lot of them frustrated. (Not that I have anything about hybrids and other crossover-type games, mind you; when they work, they're fantastic, but there's definitely a trade-off between, say, gamist and narrativist elements, and some combinations will work better for a given set of design goals than others.)
  12. subochre

    Android Wiki

    These bioroids are not nearly up to HB's usual standards
  13. Man! I haven't played most of those, but yeah, it looks like you've got your work cut out for you. A lot depends on your group; if your goal at the outset is just to find a game that won't scare them away, Cosmic Encounter is pretty easy to learn, but it doesn't have that much in common with most of your other games, so I'm not sure how gateway-ish it is. On the other hand (and since you're here ), I will say that Arkham Horror has roped in a surprising number of my formerly nongamer friends. It's really intimidating, true, but if you think these folks won't run from the sight of a huge board with a billion pieces, open-information cooperative games are often the best for new players, since you can provide a basic overview to start and then worry about explaining the intricacies of strategy and mythos timing rules and so on as the game progresses. And once they've done AH, they'll be ready for anything
  14. I sort of agree; gateway games certainly serve a vital role, and if it's something that I'd also enjoy when I don't have several hours for a game of AH, then so much the better. What concerns me is whether they can produce an adaptation that's lighter and more mainstream but also meaty. Simple but not simplistic, as it were, since designers too often assume that "accessible" has to mean "watered down." (I'm not qualified to offer an opinion about ES, but this is a complaint I often hear about it.) So I definitely see where Lilikin is coming from. But I guess we'll just have to wait and see...
  15. The specifics can vary quite a bit (and GenCon probably will complicate them), but their usual teaser pattern means that we'll see a series of previews first, and won't get the rules until a week or two before release, which I've seen given as both Fall and Q4, so yeah, late October/early November sounds about right.
  16. This is a good point; more content is generally good, and is almost never bad. Still, I find myself thinking about the revised Dark Pharaoh. I'm pleased with how it turned out, but if it hadn't been very good or novel, my thoughts would have been something like "this is an unimaginative money grab," then "well whatever, I just won't buy it," and "it's a pity they didn't spend all that time and money on something better," eventually followed by "goddamit, Miskatonic Horror isn't compatible with the old one?!" I imagine having versions of all of these thoughts about EH. I mean, I hope I'm wrong, and I'll happily eat my words if I am, but for now it feels an awful lot like the announcement of D&D's fifth edition.
  17. I like the Conditions mechanic and I think I like the Mysteries, and if the gameplay is interestingly different, it'll be a welcome addition to my Arkham experience. And I want to be optimistic, but yeah, wow, I'm with Julia in definitely not seeing much to suggest that there's anything going on here besides Corey's favorite recycled ideas from Descent 2 and MoM.
  18. You can choose either, and then just discard however many you have. They don't mention this in the section of the rules dealing with crisis cards, but put it on p. 30, next to the credits
  19. Hahaha, your music isn't any use to you now, Patrice! Nothing can save you except your absurd rate of clue generation
  20. Yeah, at present we have no way of knowing whether they'll be better or worse than before-that'll depend on the distribution of values on the treachery cards and on how their effects compare to those in Pegasus.* All that's changed is the fact that the frequency of bad consequences is more or less constant, rather than depending on effects that give out treachery. *for example, I understand that in some groups, the colonials would deliberately Broadcast Location to help maange the CFB
  21. It's hard to be sure from the pictures, but some of them actually look pretty cool. If it was me, I'd just roll with it; try to find a lacquer with a hint of yellow or sepia for an aged finish, and pretend it was intentional
  22. My Lovecraft knowledge is far from comprehensive, but I remember that Walter Gilman definitely died, and I think the protagonist of Dagon did too. But probably all it means is that none of the player characters are the narrators of their story :dangitwheresthedevilemoticon:
  23. Can't be delayed or arrested, reduce sanity losses by one, and you get a dollar whenever you have less than two! Even Patrice is impressed.
  24. Leoben is so much fun. It's true that he's not a blunt instrument like Cavil, but the way I see his abilities, they're as much about reducing randomness as they are susceptible to it. His command of the destiny deck is the envy of pre-Pegasus Investigative Committee; what's more, if he plays an IC on his turn, he'll be the last one to play into a check that he (and he alone :devil:) knows exactly what it takes to pass or fail it. And, much as in the show, his per-turn ability provides not only spooky insights, but opportunities for misdirection and sowing confusion. For me, the most annoyingly metagamey part of the game is counting the reds, blues, and oranges in destiny, but when Leoben's around, the only one who can really do that is Leoben himself.
  25. The possibility of a PoD expansion comes up every once in a while, and it'd work as long as the new cards aren't anything that needs to be shuffled in with the old ones. So, no general events or new twilight cards, but they could make new murders, new detectives with their own complete sets of components... Honestly though, we're a lot more likely to see a 2nd edition than an expansion. I mean, that's pretty much how FFG rolls even with their successful games, so I can't imagine that after all this time they're going to try to kindle interest in an expansion for a game that (sadly) never had that good a reception in the first place, and which they've been trying to unload clearance-priced copies of for at least a couple years. People aren't going to say "hey, an expansion for that game that I didn't buy five years ago? Count me in!," but a brand new revised edition might be able to ride Netrunner's coat-tails. Probably not as a Kickstarter, but I suppose one never knows.
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