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Eu8L1ch

Economic-based Speculation on Game Flow

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Disclaimer

 

Not having played the game, this is purely speculation on my part - reasoned speculation based on what we know so far, but speculation nonetheless. Read at your own peril!

I guess with the recent drought of information, it might be a good time to have some fun trying to figure out something more about the game and the Clans' playstyles.

 

I think the most significant decisions in the game will revolve around: 1) The Rings 2) The amount of characters played 3) The fate placed on those characters 4) The importance of the Conflict cards for your deck 5) The Path to Victory you choose to take.


 

The Rings


 

Air: This will be the ring you're after when you want to close the game (for certain decks more than others, presumably). Since it is inefficient when compared to other effects (see below), it will be a good choice only when you can afford to forgo a more signifcant benefit.

Earth: This to me looks like the strongest ring; contrary to the other ones, its ability will be very useful in every situation. It's often going to be immediately useful by allowing you to draw an impactful card while also discarding another from your opponent's hand, but it could also be very strong in the long run by providing you with more pieces for combos/synergies and reducing your opponent's options at the same time. Note that, if we rate a card at 2 honor, the effect is worth an astounding 4 honor.

 

Fire: Another ring that's very strong. The benefit it gives will be akin to that of a cheap conflict card (+1/+2) but it will stick for as long as the character does, improving your board position for the next rounds as well. In addition to this, it will give you 1 honor in a future round. It also synergises with cards targeting honored/dishonored characters.

 

Water: The bowing condition is rather situational, so the main point here is the readying effect. The effect is as strong as the strongest character you have in play; however, due to the conflict limitations, its best use will be on a character that's strong both in political and military conflicts (or one with a very powerful ability activated by bowing). Potentially very strong, but requires a specific board position to shine.

 

Void: It's an investment for future rounds, netting you no immediate gain, except if you're trying to pull out a combo with the Water ring. Even then, it's good only if your opponent has a really powerful character in play that you have trouble dealing with. Very situational.

 

 

 

The Characters

 

The core dynamic governing playing characters will probably be trying to achieve the right balance between short-term gain and long-term board position. Every additional fate you elect to place on a character strengthens your position for the future round(s), but at the same time limits your options for the current round – which, in turn, could easily lead to losses compromising the very advanatage you were trying to achieve.

In theory, due to how the fate system works, more expensive characters tend to be a much better long-term choice, in that a single additional fate placed on them is worth their whole cost for that round.

However, in practice, it seems to me that 1-cost characters (which are the ones theorethically you wouldn't have much of a reason to bolster with extra fate) tend to be more cost-efficient, meaning that they'll still be a decent option.

From what we have seen so far, the formula to determine "standard" stats for higher cost characters (2-3 and above) with a good ability seems to be: Mil + Pol = 2 * Cost – 1.

Now, take for example the Doji Whisperer (1 cost, 0/3): it provides a hefty boost to your political strength, way beyond its price. It doesn't have any ability of course, which has to account for something, but she undoubtedly is a very helpful political workhorse. This means that you can easily afford to place extra fate on such a low-cost character without sacrificing too much of your board presence for the current round.

There are however two critical aspects left out of that picture. The first is the presence of strong removal/bowing effects that can target only characters with a printed cost of 2 or lower (for example, Assassination). The second one, is the card cost: playing a 1-cost fate character costs you one of the spots on your four provinces for the round, the same as more expensive characters.

The former means that investing more than 1-2 additional fate into a low cost character is probably too risky of a gambit; the latter means that, if you fill your deck with 1-cost (or generically cheap) characters, you won't have any options at all to spend your fate: you'll just play everything that pops up for the round, regardless of its usefulness in the current context – not to mention that if you were able to afford an expensive character, that would make for a better option to invest extra fate on. The conlcusion is that one cannot rely on low-costers alone, despite their efficiency.

In addition to the above, there is another type of cards in your Dynasty deck that competes for province slots, i.e. the Holdings.

In fact, holdings allow you to give up province slots in exchange for a benefit, meaning that a deck that chooses to focus on spending their fate on fewer dynasty cards can benefit from an increased efficiency. Thus, cards with a higher cost (3+) not only benefit from being more difficult for your opponent to remove and a better long-term investment (even a single additional fate on a very powerful character can be game breaking, if you can afford it), but also allow you to play with more holdings in your deck.

But this is not all, as there's still one piece missing.

 

 

 

The Conflict Cards

 

Given the general lack of tools to permanently increase your production, Fate is a scarce, precious*, commodity. Investing it into characters from the dynasty deck means being left with very little for the conflict phase, which in turn means shutting oneself from the powerful effects that can be found on expensive conflict cards. Thus, a deck that focuses heavily on costly conflict cards will be unlikely to make use of all the province slots every round, potentially freeing up room for holdings.

*But a single conflict card is arguably more valuable than a single fate.

 

 

 

The Paths to Victory

 

From what we know so far, the main path seems to be the "Conflict victory" (i.e. breaking four provinces). This is due to the fact that winning conflicts is inherently rewarded by being able to claim a Ring's benefit, whereas – mechanically speaking - you will not experience any such benefit for being close to a Honor victory or for you opponent to be close to a Dishonor loss.

There are two main objections to this: 1) there might be more cards like the Steadfast Samurai (1 cost, 1/1, cannot be discarded during the Fate Phase if you have 5 or more honor than your opponent) and 2) despite no "mechanical" advantage, being close to a win/loss threshold forces your opponent's hand (for example, being close to 0 honor forces your opponent to be very cautious when bidding for cards/duels).

While I think both have to be kept in mind, right now it seems to me working towards a honor/dishonor win might lead to a significant tempo loss while you wait to get close to the 25/0 honor mark, whereas for Conflict wins it's the opposite, since you benefit from a "positive feedback" dynamic.

 

 

Game Lenght

 

The game was stated by the designers to last between 3 and 7 rounds. Expected game length will be a fundamental thing to consider in decision making, both when choosing how much fate to place on a character and which ring abilities to trigger.

For example, the Air ring might be generally subpar, but if you're close to the end of a lenghty game in which many honored characters left play and both players played very defensively, it might very well be invaluable in making sure you hit the 25 honor threshold before your opponent does.

In general, I think most Clans will be able to convincingly attempt to break a Province with a single type of conflict from round 2-3 onwards, thus meaning most games will revolve around trying to thwart your opponent's plans to sneak in an additional win in one round (or a honor win at the very last moment).

 

 

 

 

 

Final Note: Another article coming soon, in which I'll attempt to extend the speculation to each Clan's playstyle, basing my analysis upon the above criteria.

EDIT: Here is the article about the Clans.

 

 

 

Edited by Eu8L1ch

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I agree that province destruction is going to be the more accessible path to victory, but, I question your assessment of the Ring of Air.  Instead of just gaining two honor or taking one from your opponent, it also changes the math on how future honor bids works which in turn has an impact on both players number of conflict cards.

What really appeals to me in this version of L5R is that the value of the cards, rings, etc. will constantly be in flux.  As the board state changes certain lines of play become better/worse.  The same could not be said of Old5R. Outcomes were often predetermined before the first card was flipped. Barring horrible/amazing luck, some matchups were near unwinnable.  The game lacked the flexiblility to alter your game plan. In Nu5R being able to anticipate your opponent and change your game plan is a big part of the game. 

Regadless of how logical it might seem to take a certain approach with certain clans, I think we will see a much wider variance in deck/play styles as there are many more options for a player to take in any given game.  Not trying to suck up but I really think the excellent design of this game has a lot to do with it and FFG should be commended for doing such a great job.

#cantwait

 

Edited by Ishi Tonu

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Ishi Tonu, while I certainly wouldn't mind being given the Ring of Air benefit for free, it's a matter of cost opportunity. The benefit you gain from the Ring of Air can be changed into a card's advantage for the next round (2 honor swing = 1 card), but the Ring of Earth has a much bigger impact and, even more importantly, affects your options immediately, not in the next round. Ring of Fire, if timed well, can give you half a card's worth in honor, in addition to the stats benefit (which alone is stronger than a free conflict card as the Fine Katana, provided you have a glory 2 character in play).

As for the fact the values will be in flux, I certainly agree. However, the Ring of Earth seems to be just a bit too good compared to the rest, since, in addition to its considerable raw value, it requires no additional conditions to be worthwhile - which is bothering me, right now. In addition to this, I am strongly against random discards. This might come from my Warhammer Conquest background (I hate DE random discard theme), but they needlessly add an influx of luck to the game. I am happy they at least saw fit to introduce the "Puerto Rico-mechanic" to balance your options, but I'm totally not a fan of a potential random discard every round.

As for the rest, the game really looks promising, and I too can't wait to see what there's in store for us. ;)

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In my games so far (and take this with a grain of salt as they're without the full card set), earth is one of the least appealing rings to choose. Generally speaking, the card draw mechanic means both sides have as many cards as they want. In the first few rounds, void is usually super strong, because it can get rid of a turn from a 3+ fate character. Fire has an immediate effect that is often strong and can last for a few turn potentially, followed by an honor swing. Water can often save a province, which is a huge effect. By contrast, often you dont even have enough fate to play the cards in your hand, so a drawn card might be pretty much useless to you unless it happens to be free. Earth is ok. But it is generally eclipsed by stronger options, in my experience.

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@Eu8L1ch I don't think it's as simple as saying a 2 point honor swing is worth 1 card so Ring of Earth = 4 honor......because that just overlooks so many things.  

You yourself said Ring of Air could be good at both closing out an honor victory and can be cashed in for future card advantage.  To me that shows Ring of Air has more flexibility than Ring of Earth.  Additionally your opinions on the Rings seems to assume certain game conditions.  If you are participating in the last conflict of a turn, Ring of Earth gives you no immediate advantages.  If you are at the beginning of a conflict phase and expect more coflicts, then Earth is likely a more desirable option.

Air directly impacts a win condition which Earth does not.  Yes I know that a player that sees more cards is more likely to win than the player that sees fewer cards, but, drawing cards is not a win con, honor/dishonor are.  Honor is also a resource to be used in duels which can put you in better position to not only win the duel, but to pressure your opponent with a faster honor victory.  The more honor you have the more options you have.

I don't think there is any denying the raw power of a two conflict card swing, I just think there are too many options to say with any certainty that one ring is better than another.  Especially considering that after the first turn is over, at least one Ring will have an extra fate on it and that changes the equation entirely.

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5 hours ago, Eugene Earnshaw said:

By contrast, often you dont even have enough fate to play the cards in your hand, so a drawn card might be pretty much useless to you unless it happens to be free. Earth is ok. But it is generally eclipsed by stronger options, in my experience.

That might also be due to the fact you didn't have enough options for cheap cards maybe? The newly spoiled Good Omen, for example, looks like a pretty good 0 fate card.

Re: The of statement that both players can have as many cards as they want seems to me to be right only with one condition: if they *both* want to draw many cards. If one player starts bidding lower, then the other one cannot keep bidding high without facing any consequences.

If you are able to draw one card with Earth you can effectively bid 1 lower and still have the same amount of cards, while your opponent losing one card means he'll have to bid 1 higher to have the same amount. This also answers to a few of Ishi Tonu's points I think: honor can generally be converted into cards (but the vice versa is not true, generally speaking, so that's why the Ring of Air has a place in the game). Since you need cards to win, cards are desirable. To make an extreme example, you could be sitting at 23 honor and still lose the game, if you have nothing on the board and no card in hand.  You do spend honor with the bidding system to gain them, so here's why I think assuming that **in general** 1 card = 2 honor is warranted.

I don't think Ring of Air is worthless, but it's probably going to be an inferior option for most of the game - unless an honor rush win is feasible (which is something we have yet to see).

Does this make the Earth Ring better? In most situations, I think the answer is yes - unless honor rush (I'd say 3-4 rounds honor victory) turns out to be a solid strategy.

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8 hours ago, Eu8L1ch said:

In addition to this, I am strongly against random discards. This might come from my Warhammer Conquest background (I hate DE random discard theme), but they needlessly add an influx of luck to the game. I am happy they at least saw fit to introduce the "Puerto Rico-mechanic" to balance your options, but I'm totally not a fan of a potential random discard every round.

 

I don't think that card discard abilities would be some sort of random effect added in this game in order to simply add 'flavor' to a given Clan. It just seems to me that the removal of Dynasty cards will be really powerful, due to the limitations that would be incurred by the owning Player through limiting their otherwise small card hand. Though I do understand your example with the DEs from Conquest as I played that game in the past. 

Im not familiar with the Puerto Rico mechanic, so can't comment on that. 

Good post. 

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Thanks. :)

I am not against discards per se (provided that they are not so excessive that they lead to card deprivation), I just hate the fact they are random. You can have 7 cards in hand and still lose the most important one, as well as lose a totally unimportant one. Since the Ring of Earth already seems pretty strong to me (although posters above do not agree with me) I think it could've been a non-random discard instead.

 

2 hours ago, LordBlunt said:

It just seems to me that the removal of Dynasty cards will be really powerful, due to the limitations that would be incurred by the owning Player through limiting their otherwise small card hand.

 

I assume you meant Conflict cards? Otherwise I don't understand. :)

As for the "Puerto Rico mechanic", it boils down to this: when the players have to pick options from a given set, the options not picked receive some kind of a bonus for the next round, that can even be accumulated for subsequent rounds if they keep being ignored. It's a self-balancing mechanic that has been implemented also in later games, such as Twilight Imperium 3rd ed. and Smallworld. In this game it is the placing of Fate tokens on any Ring that was not contested during the round.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, Eu8L1ch said:

That might also be due to the fact you didn't have enough options for cheap cards maybe? The newly spoiled Good Omen, for example, looks like a pretty good 0 fate card.

Re: The of statement that both players can have as many cards as they want seems to me to be right only with one condition: if they *both* want to draw many cards. If one player starts bidding lower, then the other one cannot keep bidding high without facing any consequences.

If you are able to draw one card with Earth you can effectively bid 1 lower and still have the same amount of cards, while your opponent losing one card means he'll have to bid 1 higher to have the same amount. This also answers to a few of Ishi Tonu's points I think: honor can generally be converted into cards (but the vice versa is not true, generally speaking, so that's why the Ring of Air has a place in the game). Since you need cards to win, cards are desirable. To make an extreme example, you could be sitting at 23 honor and still lose the game, if you have nothing on the board and no card in hand.  You do spend honor with the bidding system to gain them, so here's why I think assuming that **in general** 1 card = 2 honor is warranted.

I don't think Ring of Air is worthless, but it's probably going to be an inferior option for most of the game - unless an honor rush win is feasible (which is something we have yet to see).

Does this make the Earth Ring better? In most situations, I think the answer is yes - unless honor rush (I'd say 3-4 rounds honor victory) turns out to be a solid strategy.

The more good cheap cards that are usable in a variety of situations there are, the better earth will be, definitely. I would say that good Omens is very situational -- but if you are in a position to play it, Earth probably looks good.

Do you know what I think it is? If neither player is honor running, then earth is usually weak because both players will generally be drawing high and 1 more or less card from 10+ card hands is not very impressive. Water or void matter more because they have a much bigger impact on board position. But if one or both players threaten an honor win or loss, then Earth is often eclipsed by Fire or Air, because those are directly relevant to one of the victory conditions.

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On 6/10/2017 at 6:51 PM, Ishi Tonu said:

I agree that province destruction is going to be the more accessible path to victory, but, I question your assessment of the Ring of Air.  Instead of just gaining two honor or taking one from your opponent, it also changes the math on how future honor bids works which in turn has an impact on both players number of conflict cards.

What really appeals to me in this version of L5R is that the value of the cards, rings, etc. will constantly be in flux.  As the board state changes certain lines of play become better/worse.  The same could not be said of Old5R. Outcomes were often predetermined before the first card was flipped. Barring horrible/amazing luck, some matchups were near unwinnable.  The game lacked the flexiblility to alter your game plan. In Nu5R being able to anticipate your opponent and change your game plan is a big part of the game. 

Regadless of how logical it might seem to take a certain approach with certain clans, I think we will see a much wider variance in deck/play styles as there are many more options for a player to take in any given game.  Not trying to suck up but I really think the excellent design of this game has a lot to do with it and FFG should be commended for doing such a great job.

#cantwait

 

I took everything you said seriously, until I saw "Nu53". 
I will never call anything Nu.
That's just wrong.

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I think it would be a mistake for either player to ignore honor/dishonor in this game.  Sure you will see games where, for example, two clans traditionally thought of as "military" clans get locked into a sequence of province trading.  If both players just continue to bid high every time, both put themself at risk of having the game decided more by luck than superior play.  Threatening honor/dishonor opens up many more lines of play. By ignoring it, you raise the importance of certain cards, rings, etc.  In doing so you are also at greater risk of getting blown out when losing a confict for the "only ring that matters."

I think players that build decks without the option to seriously pursue more than one win con are putting themself at risk of having their deck shut down hard if their opponent can identify their line of play and start cutting off options.  Identifying when to change your strategy seems to be rather important this time around, as the mechanics allow for it.  Gone are the days of packing some meta cards, hoping you draw them or you get favorable match ups.  Good play will get you furter that good deck building and luck.  Limiting your options on purpose is not a good way to be successful in this game.

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9 hours ago, Eugene Earnshaw said:

Do you know what I think it is? If neither player is honor running, then earth is usually weak because both players will generally be drawing high and 1 more or less card from 10+ card hands is not very impressive. Water or void matter more because they have a much bigger impact on board position. But if one or both players threaten an honor win or loss, then Earth is often eclipsed by Fire or Air, because those are directly relevant to one of the victory conditions.

I think you might have a point. After reading this I ran a quick mental simulation: while my calculation is correct, it doesn't take into account that both players start with a significant buffer before being threatened by a honor/loss win - and that is obviously tied to the importance of the Ring of Earth. In addition to this, by triggering other Ring effects you can gain some honor/dishonor, pushing you further from dishonor loss/slowing your opponent's honor win (Fire in particular seems a very good choice). Additionally, it doesn't matter a lot - at least in the short term - if you're close to loss by dishonor and your opponent is close to a honor victory if your opponent can pursue just one of those: this means that effects that influence both sides of the equation (your honor and your opponent's) might not be as effective as ones that influence a single side. The conclusion is that if neither player is able to effectively pursue a honor-based win condition and/or the game is short, Earth might not quite as significant, despite its raw efficiency. However, when one of the decks is capable of pursuing a honor-based win, Earth is going to be very helpful in making it possible for you to bid less while gaining the same amount of cards. Finally, in longer games the initial "honor buffer" is likely going to be squandered, thus making every single point gained/lost more impactful.

Edit: It just occurred to me that Duels will be another opportunity to leverage a "honor gap", potentially accelerating the impact of honor gains/losses. Also, at least 4* out of 7 clans (from the little we know so far) look like they will be able to pursue a non-conflict wincon, which means honor might end up being relevant in the majority of the games.

*Crane, Lion, Scorpion, Phoenix (speculation).

 

7 hours ago, Ishi Tonu said:

I think it would be a mistake for either player to ignore honor/dishonor in this game.

[...]

I think players that build decks without the option to seriously pursue more than one win con are putting themself at risk of having their deck shut down hard if their opponent can identify their line of play and start cutting off options.

I agree with this. In fact, I think we're probably going to see more options to gain honor/force a loss (probably in the Dynasty packs). I am under the impression that honor effects will be used to control your opponent's ability to draw cards, giving you the ability to push for a win if your opponent plays recklessly and/or the stars align, especially in long and attritious games.

Edited by Eu8L1ch

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I think that the fact that we have a limited fate pool to play with, will limit the power of the Earth ring. Keep in mind that you get up to four new dynasty cards per round, plus at least one conflict. Most of the time you won't even be able to play all of these cards. This means that getting your conflict(hand) cards discarded will not have as much of an impact, since you can just buy/invest more on the dynasty cards. There will never be a time when you will run out of cards to play unless you reveal something like 3 holdings from the dynasty deck and you can still choose to discard them eot for new ones. Also having lots of conflict cards in hand, means that while you are more likely to have the answers you need, in order to have fate open to play them, you also have a weaker board state.

 

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18 hours ago, Eu8L1ch said:

That might also be due to the fact you didn't have enough options for cheap cards maybe? The newly spoiled Good Omen, for example, looks like a pretty good 0 fate card.

Re: The of statement that both players can have as many cards as they want seems to me to be right only with one condition: if they *both* want to draw many cards. If one player starts bidding lower, then the other one cannot keep bidding high without facing any consequences.

If you are able to draw one card with Earth you can effectively bid 1 lower and still have the same amount of cards, while your opponent losing one card means he'll have to bid 1 higher to have the same amount. This also answers to a few of Ishi Tonu's points I think: honor can generally be converted into cards (but the vice versa is not true, generally speaking, so that's why the Ring of Air has a place in the game). Since you need cards to win, cards are desirable. To make an extreme example, you could be sitting at 23 honor and still lose the game, if you have nothing on the board and no card in hand.  You do spend honor with the bidding system to gain them, so here's why I think assuming that **in general** 1 card = 2 honor is warranted.

I don't think Ring of Air is worthless, but it's probably going to be an inferior option for most of the game - unless an honor rush win is feasible (which is something we have yet to see).

Does this make the Earth Ring better? In most situations, I think the answer is yes - unless honor rush (I'd say 3-4 rounds honor victory) turns out to be a solid strategy.

I do think you can force your opponent to go for fire and Air however. if they bid high early for cards and you bid low, they can no longer afford to ignore those 2 rings. assume from what we have seen Lion start at 12, Crane is 11. I'm going to conjecture that 8 would be too low of a start so scorpion at 9, phoenix 11, crab 9, unicorn and dragon at 10. if any of these clans lose 4 honor for a heavy card advantage on turn 1, the 2 honor loss that could be caused to them by Air and Fire almost forces them to go after at least 1 of them a turn. fire provides a better win help, where as Air could get you out of danger faster. Where as Earth although limiting your opponents options and helping yours, does nothing to bring you up from the 4-6 honor you are at now. and your opponent could use them to knock you down even further. I do not think any of the rings are necessarily better than the others. The all feel like they will be situationally important.

JMO

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11 hours ago, SoulKick said:

I took everything you said seriously, until I saw "Nu53". 
I will never call anything Nu.
That's just wrong.

Unless "Nu" is the official spelling in a brand name, in which case saying "New" would be incorrect.

2 hours ago, blackheartz said:

I think that the fact that we have a limited fate pool to play with, will limit the power of the Earth ring. Keep in mind that you get up to four new dynasty cards per round, plus at least one conflict. Most of the time you won't even be able to play all of these cards. This means that getting your conflict(hand) cards discarded will not have as much of an impact, since you can just buy/invest more on the dynasty cards. There will never be a time when you will run out of cards to play unless you reveal something like 3 holdings from the dynasty deck and you can still choose to discard them eot for new ones. Also having lots of conflict cards in hand, means that while you are more likely to have the answers you need, in order to have fate open to play them, you also have a weaker board state.

 

I think this is a little bit of an oversimplification.  For one thing, it's much easier for the opponent to plan around characters on the board than around potential Conflict cards that may pop into play at any moment.  More importantly, though, the Conflict cards don't even do the same things as the Dynasty cards.  The game has two decks for a reason.  Yes, playing more Dynasty cards will be preferable to playing nothing, but losing Conflict cards still impacts the game.

I think a lot of it will be situational, even depending on what clan you're facing.  I think some clans will have one deck a little stronger than the other, so clans that focus more on the Conflict deck may like the Ring of Earth less, and clans that focus more on the Dynasty deck won't mind it that much.

 

Speaking of which, I would just like to say how much I love that so many things in this game seem to be situational.  Obviously, we'll have to wait to see how it actually plays out to determine which situations are more likely to happen, but I really like the fact that there appear to be relatively few "obviously correct" choices.

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25 minutes ago, JJ48 said:

Unless "Nu" is the official spelling in a brand name, in which case saying "New" would be incorrect.

I think this is a little bit of an oversimplification.  For one thing, it's much easier for the opponent to plan around characters on the board than around potential Conflict cards that may pop into play at any moment.  More importantly, though, the Conflict cards don't even do the same things as the Dynasty cards.  The game has two decks for a reason.  Yes, playing more Dynasty cards will be preferable to playing nothing, but losing Conflict cards still impacts the game.

I think a lot of it will be situational, even depending on what clan you're facing.  I think some clans will have one deck a little stronger than the other, so clans that focus more on the Conflict deck may like the Ring of Earth less, and clans that focus more on the Dynasty deck won't mind it that much.

 

Speaking of which, I would just like to say how much I love that so many things in this game seem to be situational.  Obviously, we'll have to wait to see how it actually plays out to determine which situations are more likely to happen, but I really like the fact that there appear to be relatively few "obviously correct" choices.

Well of course it is, we do not have enough information for complex analysis right now. Trying to go for an in depth analysis at this phase is a waste of time, we do not have the whole card pool, we do not have a meta, we have nothing. 

All I did was speculate that the Earth Ring's power will not be as great as people think. Why? Because you will always have at least 5 to 9 cards to play at any given turn. The Earth ring's effect will take place after the victory of the first conflict which means you can actually play any important conflict cards you have. This is not like other card games where discard can cripple you by sending you into topdeck mode for the rest of the game.

I agree with you on the rest. I am very excited too!!

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