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Darth Meanie

MathWing: The Downside

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So, a lot of people were pretty bent that the devs said that most ships are not released based on math computations, but rather based on table feel.  It seems that the general feeling is that the game needs to be 100% balanced based on a rigorous formula that can be applied to ship design.

Does this help the game?  Or does the game devolve into a state of One Ship Only.  If the main complaint is that the meta is stale because only a few ships are worth it, then how does it help things to have every ship in the game assigned a mathematical probability of winning??  No one will take anything but the ship that has a 0.001% chance of doing better, assign it the upgrades that give it another 0.001% boost, and only assign tokens based on the mathematical probability that the number of dice rolled will given them the best chance (see the Focus vs. Evade thread).

Unless the formula were a secret, this game would become nothing more than probability management (which it already feels like most days).

It seems to me that the touchy feely element of the game is what makes games interesting, not cold, hard math.  And, yes, I know balance is important. . .but separating the chaff from the grain through play is what gaming should be about.  Playing the game should not be about collecting data points for future analysis.

(Begins putting on asbestos suit for inevitable flame attacks. . .)

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I can't agree more.  I have been a professional poker player for a very long time.

Poker is a game with many similar situations to the on-going debate in X-Wing.  There are poker players that are hard core MATH people, doing everything to make the best EV or GTO play possible, and there are people who are hard core FEEL players, that go with their feel, their gut instinct, and their reads of others.

I personally feel that the best place to be is a hybrid of these two choices.  The same can be said, in my opinion, for X-Wing.

EDIT: The funny thing is that the best EV or GTO play in poker is often not the same. Makes things interesting.

Edited by any2cards

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10 minutes ago, Darth Meanie said:

If the main complaint is that the meta is stale because only a few ships are worth it, then how does it help things to have every ship in the game assigned a mathematical probability of winning??

That's... not really how it works.  The idea is that having a math system to base your point costs on will give you a more accurate starting position for design and then you can fine tune it with playtesting.

 

3 minutes ago, Darth Meanie said:

No one will take anything but the ship that has a 0.001% chance of doing better, assign it the upgrades that give it another 0.001% boost, and only assign tokens based on the mathematical probability that the number of dice rolled will given them the best chance (see the Focus vs. Evade thread).

I really don't think this is true at all. If you only have a tiny theoretical chance of winning more with a jumpmaster than an X-wing, do you really think most people are not going to still go with the X-wing?  The closer you get to a balanced game across all ships, the easier it will be for people to choose the ships they like for other reasons than just pure efficiency.

As for choosing actions based on probability... isn't that exactly how it should work?  You pick actions based on how effective they are, either by probability or other details like focus being usable on both offense and defense, with you sometimes having to make this decision with incomplete information on the board state for the next combat round.  How else are you supposed to choose actions, just based on which token you think looks cooler?

I think you're kind of missing the point in general.  Math does not create these issues, even without doing any calculations players can and will sort out the good stuff from the bad stuff by simple play experience and observation.  What math can do, at least to some degree, is to explain and predict these results.  If you can get a decent math system worked out to help with game development, you have a higher chance of a more balanced game.  If you take even a cursory glance at this forum, I think it's pretty obvious that many/most players are looking for that.

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@MajorJuggler:  Math Wing!

FFG:  Eh?

@MajorJuggler:  The predictability of random game events. The notion that X-Wing as we know it, past, present and future is actually a mathematically predictable preordained system.

FFG:  So somewhere out there in the vastness of the unknown is an equation... for predicting future waves?

@MajorJuggler:  An equation so complex as to utterly defy any possibility of comprehension by even the most brilliant human mind... but an equation nonetheless.

FFG:  Oh my God...

@MajorJuggler: What?

FFG:  I've got some ****ing Jaffa Cakes in my coat pocket!  Woohoo!  *dances*

Edited by FTS Gecko

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yes, the game should be mathematically balanced. this isn't even a question

that way, you get to **** around with ship capability based on how inefficiently they are priced. The less efficient they are, the cooler the stuff they do

example, the X-wing should not be **** awful because all it can really do is joust (or be Biggs). It should win just about every fight when it does the literal only thing it's good at (trading dice).

by contrast, high PS pilots should cost more for their advantages on platforms that can better abuse them (i.e, ships that are incredibly maneuverable) so those ships aren't the obviously best ships in the game at any given moment

 

 

now, in the super ideal case, you adopt Armada dice. Why? So ship efficiency can vary with range! That way, you get variety even just between jousters because they'll vary in effectiveness at range 1, 2, and 3. That way, it won't just be able who's mathematically TEH BEST, but which player can actually position to get the most out of their ships

Edited by ficklegreendice

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3 minutes ago, Effenhoog said:

That's... not really how it works.  The idea is that having a math system to base your point costs on will give you a more accurate starting position for design and then you can fine tune it with playtesting.

I really don't think this is true at all. If you only have a tiny theoretical chance of winning more with a jumpmaster than an X-wing, do you really think most people are not going to still go with the X-wing?  The closer you get to a balanced game across all ships, the easier it will be for people to choose the ships they like for other reasons than just pure efficiency.

As for choosing actions based on probability... isn't that exactly how it should work?  You pick actions based on how effective they are, either by probability or other details like focus being usable on both offense and defense, with you sometimes having to make this decision with incomplete information on the board state for the next combat round.  How else are you supposed to choose actions, just based on which token you think looks cooler?

I think you're kind of missing the point in general.  Math does not create these issues, even without doing any calculations players can and will sort out the good stuff from the bad stuff by simple play experience and observation.  What math can do, at least to some degree, is to explain and predict these results.  If you can get a decent math system worked out to help with game development, you have a higher chance of a more balanced game.  If you take even a cursory glance at this forum, I think it's pretty obvious that many/most players are looking for that.

Or, you can just get there with more personal playtesting.

And, yes I do.  I think the MinMaxing crowd wouldn't hesitate for a second to improve the chances of a win by 0.001% if they could.  By definition (using a different system), they play the half-ogre monk not because the are fascinated by humanoid races and Asian culture, but because that race/class delivers high damage the most consistently.  And MathWing gets them there instantly.

 

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43 minutes ago, Darth Meanie said:

  And, yes, I know balance is important. . .but separating the chaff from the grain through play is what gaming should be about. 

 

9 minutes ago, ficklegreendice said:

yes, the game should be mathematically balanced. this isn't even a question

that way, you get to **** around with ship capability based on how inefficiently they are priced. The less efficient they are, the cooler the stuff they do

No, it's not even a question.

But where does the math end and the magic begin??

Are you advocating solid math for chassis and magic for pilot abilities?

Edited by Darth Meanie

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1 minute ago, Darth Meanie said:

Or, you can just get there with more personal playtesting.

And, yes I do.  I think the MinMaxing crowd wouldn't hesitate for a second to improve the chances of a win by 0.001% if they could.  By definition (using a different system), they play the half-ogre monk not because the are fascinated by humanoid races and Asian culture, but because that race/class delivers high damage the most consistently.  And MathWing gets them there instantly.

 

That's where the balance comes in, though. The current Jumpmaster vs X-Wing is a bad comparison, obviously, but to step out into the hypothetical:

The X-Wing chassis has a 10% greater chance to win than the JM5K. This is the baseline, though, comparing bottom-level generic to bottom-level generic, ie, just comparing the chassis. But, the JM5K has twice the upgrade slots as the X-Wing. EPT on the X-Wing, though is rated higher, it adds 5% whereas it only adds 2% on the Jumpmaster. but all together, the other upgrades manage to balance out the difference, and now, despite one chassis being "better," or having access to upgrades that "push it over the top," ultimately the two ships are "balanced" -- optimal builds for both being near-equal on a point-for-point basis. Likely one costs more than the other, but has the same pointwise effectiveness. But that's when you now have to look at the rest of the list, and how many points are left.

And there's certainly room in that to create upgrades, if not aspects of the ships themselves (dial, for example, so long as it's not something ACTUALLY like the real JM5K) that really don't have a mathematical impact, but nevertheless add to the game, and present viable options. That part is the "feel" part.  Maybe that accounts for an increase of 0.001% in chances of winning. But at some point, I think, you have to say, "how small an additional % doesn't matter?"

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You use mathematics to determine if something is priced correctly compared to other similar items, and sanity check everything via play-testing and smooth the edges. Data analysis and math does the heavy lifting, though.

It's not black and white, one way or the other. Its another tool for the toolbox that they should be using much more than they are.

Edited by kris40k

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10 minutes ago, Darth Meanie said:

Or, you can just get there with more personal playtesting.

And, yes I do.  I think the MinMaxing crowd wouldn't hesitate for a second to improve the chances of a win by 0.001% if they could.  By definition (using a different system), they play the half-ogre monk not because the are fascinated by humanoid races and Asian culture, but because that race/class delivers high damage the most consistently.  And MathWing gets them there instantly.

 

The current development system seems to be almost purely based on playtesting, and I think we can see the results.  It could be better with more playtesting, sure.  But it would probably be best with math as a more accurate base and then playtesting to fine-tune it.  You also seem to be assuming that the math formulas are simple and that they would be openly released to the community, which is probably not how it would actually work out.

You're also implying that the community is pretty much entirely made of minmax type players, and that math is the only way to get there.  As noted already, people will find the best stuff anyway, even without using any math.   I also think you are downplaying other aspects of what makes people choose various things, like personal playstyle/preferences, ease of use, aesthetics, etc.  In a well-balanced game, if a player feels more affinity to using a TIE swarm rather than a jumpmaster, if their capabilities are reasonably equal then you'll see a lot more people playing the swarm because it works better for them, or they just plain like it, even if it's slightly less powerful in theory.  I think this is pretty well supported by historical evidence, as there are plenty of games in plenty of genres where even though there is a well-established top tier of options, you still see players choose and succeed with choices that are not quite top tier but still strong.  If we can get most ships into this category, then we'll see a much wider variety of competitive options, and if making math a major part of the development process can help get there, I see absolutely no reason not to use it.  It certainly does not invalidate "game feel" as a tool for both developing and playing the game.

I genuinely don't understand what the argument would be against using math as a development tool if it yields superior results.  The entire base of this argument seems to be that players will be able to reverse-engineer the equations and thus theoretically figure out the "best" stuff in each wave immediately upon release, instead of taking a few months to arrive at the same conclusions like we already do now.  In many cases, that is already being done even without the developers using math as a dev tool, because math is ultimately an important core aspect of a dice-based game. 

If you want to make math less important to X-wing, you need to replace the dice system with some sort of guessing/bluffing/gambling system (I've given this some thought myself but couldn't come up with anything).

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1 hour ago, any2cards said:

I personally feel that the best place to be is a hybrid of these two choices.  The same can be said, in my opinion, for X-Wing.

 

I would agree. Sometimes I go with my "feel", and it will confound a mathwinger type who was expecting a more "correct" maneuver/tactic, and vice versa. Feel players can sometimes miss the more advantageous tactic because they didn't understand the odds. (Disclaimer, most players I think fall in-between these two extremes)

Edited by Koing907

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6 minutes ago, Effenhoog said:

I genuinely don't understand what the argument would be against using math as a development tool if it yields superior results.  The entire base of this argument seems to be that players will be able to reverse-engineer the equations and thus theoretically figure out the "best" stuff in each wave immediately upon release, instead of taking a few months to arrive at the same conclusions like we already do now.  In many cases, that is already being done even without the developers using math as a dev tool, because math is ultimately an important core aspect of a dice-based game. 

If you want to make math less important to X-wing, you need to replace the dice system with some sort of guessing/bluffing/gambling system (I've given this some thought myself but couldn't come up with anything).

Uh, isn't that why Major Juggler has been nominated to join the design team??  He discovered the math foundations of/reverse-engineered the whole system?

Or this guy:

Maybe the devs are claiming there is a table feel component (and no math formula) to keep the mystery alive. 

(No, I don't believe that either.  But what I do believe is that the devs might think that if this game went to pure math, the entire game would become a boring collection of differential equations.  By using a table feel approach, they know they will be wrong sometimes, and the game will remain interesting, because you can't really compute it.)

And as for making the math less important, I have been arguing for years that the game needs ways to affect the 100/6 component.  The environment is a non-variable, and if it were one, you could spend points not on ships, but on manipulation of the battlefield to your benefit.  Minefield Mapper, Seismic Torps, and similar cards are movement in that direction, but not enough to make a true difference in the ship vs. ship equation.

One last radical idea in changing the system to make it less predictable with be to give each player a 3-7 card hand of "instants."  An effect you could play at any moment to change the outcome of that die roll/movement/asteroid bump, etc.  That would change the game by a lot, however.

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42 minutes ago, Darth Meanie said:

Uh, isn't that why Major Juggler has been nominated to join the design team??  He discovered the math foundations of/reverse-engineered the whole system?

More accurately, he established a math system to evaluate, explain, and predict the results of the game's pricing system, which is essentially the core feature that determines game balance.  Whether or not the developers used some sort of equation when designing the game is ultimately irrelevant, as no matter what their method is it has been shown to not work that well.  People support MajorJuggler's system because it has been proven to more accurately predict the efficiency of many things before they are released, as well as suggest a more accurate price point that would promote a more balanced game.

No one is advocating for a pure math system, but not for the reason you seem to be suggesting.  Rather than a mathematical base making the game boring, it's more likely that the system would just not be able to perfectly handle certain aspects of the game on its own, such as the various card combinations or abilities that involve movement or otherwise shifting the position of objects on the board.  This is where playtesting comes in, as another important tool in yielding the best end product possible.

The math already exists in the game, even if the developers don't always consider it when designing (see: Expose).  Probabilities still exist, and it still takes X average number of shots to kill something.  To balance the game, we take all this stuff into consideration and try to give it a numerical value so that even if ships aren't equal in power, you can have close to balanced squadrons overall.  Even if you determined the price point of every card in the game by throwing darts at a dartboard, the players would still boil it down to what the best stuff is by experience, but mostly what they are really doing is just math by brute force repetition.

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1 hour ago, Darth Meanie said:

One last radical idea in changing the system to make it less predictable with be to give each player a 3-7 card hand of "instants."  An effect you could play at any moment to change the outcome of that die roll/movement/asteroid bump, etc.  That would change the game by a lot, however.

I disagree with you that math would make it predictable but I love love love this idea. Put a deck in the starter and maybe in aces packs and each card has a point cost asigned to it just like an upgrade, you pick a up to say 5, and it’s a one use instant speed effect. No counters though **** that **** it isn’t mtg. One card to swing a tide per phase per player. Love it.

As for math, I believe MJ and other math people are fighting to make ships closer to equal across the board. Sure some thing is going to be “mathematically” better by a pinch but if I can still win 49.99999% against an equally skilled opponent with a choice of 5 different lists in a faction, which btw also have that ballpark chance of 48-49% to win against the other 2 factions lists, I get to pick 1-5 of lists I want to play in each faction. What we have now is, oh you want to play the best? Here’s Scum and it’s 2 lists, Rebels pretty strong here’s their 2 lists, imps sorry try in 4 months. Now THAT is predictable and boring.

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4 hours ago, Darth Meanie said:

So, a lot of people were pretty bent that the devs said that most ships are not released based on math computations, but rather based on table feel.  It seems that the general feeling is that the game needs to be 100% balanced based on a rigorous formula that can be applied to ship design.

Does this help the game?  Or does the game devolve into a state of One Ship Only.  If the main complaint is that the meta is stale because only a few ships are worth it, then how does it help things to have every ship in the game assigned a mathematical probability of winning??  No one will take anything but the ship that has a 0.001% chance of doing better, assign it the upgrades that give it another 0.001% boost, and only assign tokens based on the mathematical probability that the number of dice rolled will given them the best chance (see the Focus vs. Evade thread).

Unless the formula were a secret, this game would become nothing more than probability management (which it already feels like most days).

It seems to me that the touchy feely element of the game is what makes games interesting, not cold, hard math.  And, yes, I know balance is important. . .but separating the chaff from the grain through play is what gaming should be about.  Playing the game should not be about collecting data points for future analysis.

(Begins putting on asbestos suit for inevitable flame attacks. . .)

Hey, Darth Meanie,

I think this disagreement may be based on miscommunication -- 'arguing past each other'.

It seems that when I and others advocated for maths-based balancing, you heard, 'a game stripped of flavour, discovery, and creative abilities.' This was not my intention. I don't think I'd enjoy such a game nearly so much.

The purpose of the mathematical balancing is simply to ensure, as nearly as possible, that each flavourful, creative ability and ship is of approximately equal value for its cost to all others. If this were achieved, it would enable the player to select whichever ships and abilities he or she found most flavourful and interesting and use them with equal chance of success as his or her opponent (some abilities should be better with certain others or in certain strategic contexts to encourage creative and strategic list building).

The purpose of the mathematical balancing is to tend away from the One Ship Only meta by ensuring that as many ships as possible are equally cost-effective. Indeed, under such a system, a ship might be 0.001% better than the others, but under the current system, ships might be 10 or 20% better than the others (I think this is quite clear with the Jumpmaster).

The game would not be about probability management because the probabilities would have been managed in advance. It would be up to the players only to make sound tactical choices with the ships that feel right in their hands according to the strategy they have chosen.

The only part I think mathematically based balancing does detract from is the discovery part, the 'separating the chaff from the grain through play.' With mathematics, we would know in advance that every ship is equally good when used as intended. However, in X-Wing as it stands, once the discoveries about each wave are made, which generally seems to be quite rapidly, the tournament meta becomes stale, as the best options are known, and numerous players are left disappointed that their favourite ships don't make the cut. With mathematically based balancing, the meta could be a lot more fresh, as players would be free to experiment with whatever ships, abilities, and combinations they desired without reference to viability. We would indeed trade the mystery, for the happy discovery that we are always free to use our favourite ships, the ships that feel right in our hands, to victory or defeat determined solely by tactics, by gameplay. That's the game I want to play.

Edited by TheHumanHydra

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2 hours ago, Darth Meanie said:

One last radical idea in changing the system to make it less predictable with be to give each player a 3-7 card hand of "instants."  An effect you could play at any moment to change the outcome of that die roll/movement/asteroid bump, etc.  That would change the game by a lot, however.

This is an interesting idea. I know when I was in the Campaign Against Cancer tournament, the TO had allowed those who purchased/donated to get the Tournament Coin could spend it to alter a single die result per game ala Old School Palp. It did have an interesting effect as there are certain times that a single die roll can alter the course of a game, such as getting PS killed without a shot, or instead surviving long enough to return fire, destroy your attacker, and eating one more attack from the opponent preventing damage to another one of your ships.

Your idea could be cool.

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4 hours ago, Darth Meanie said:

Does this help the game?  Or does the game devolve into a state of One Ship Only.  If the main complaint is that the meta is stale because only a few ships are worth it, then how does it help things to have every ship in the game assigned a mathematical probability of winning??  No one will take anything but the ship that has a 0.001% chance of doing better, assign it the upgrades that give it another 0.001% boost, and only assign tokens based on the mathematical probability that the number of dice rolled will given them the best chance (see the Focus vs. Evade thread).

So, I get what you’re saying, but keep in mind:

- people can do statistical analysis anyway. Whether or not the game is algorithmically designed, people can run the numbers, because the game is inherently very precise and mathematical.

- people have run the numbers, and some ships in the game as it is have like an 80% higher chance of doing better. It seems to me that 80% is a lot higher than 0.001%. And yet people still occasionally fly other ships than the Jumpmaster, right?

- if all the ships were even within about 10% power level, no statistical analysis could make the game state stale, because there’s so many different options for upgrade cards, and a number of the abilities on the upgrades are almost impossible to algorithmically analyze due to their dependence on strategy and the human element.

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1 hour ago, LordFajubi said:

I disagree with you that math would make it predictable but I love love love this idea.

 

13 minutes ago, kris40k said:

Your idea could be cool.

OK, I think I need to begin to brainstorm this.  It may be my contribution to Alt X-Wing.

34 minutes ago, TheHumanHydra said:

The only part I think mathematically based balancing does detract from is the discovery part, the 'separating the chaff from the grain through play.' With mathematics, we would know in advance that every ship is equally good when used as intended. However, in X-Wing as it stands, once the discoveries about each wave are made, which generally seems to be quite rapidly, the tournament meta becomes stale, as the best options are known, and numerous players are left disappointed that their favourite ships don't make the cut. With mathematically based balancing, the meta could be a lot more fresh, as players would be free to experiment with whatever ships, abilities, and combinations they desired without reference to viability. We would indeed trade the mystery, for the happy discovery that we are always free to use our favourite ships, the ships that feel right in our hands, to victory or defeat determined solely by tactics, by gameplay. That's the game I want to play.

Unfortunately, I think MathWing would only accelerate this process.

Secondly, in the perfectly balanced game, where all ships are equal, all randomness is quantifiable and controllable, then Git Gud becomes the only decider of victory.  Practice a lot or die.  There's no magic.  No twists of fate.  No fog of war.  No Force.  If you are a known better player, I can go home.  Now you've made the game for the elites only, those who have played enough to make it into the inner circle.  Now, the prerequisite to play isn't finding the right ships, it's losing enough to be allowed victory.

XWM has now become professional ice skating:  everything is so perfect all the time, that winners are only determined by mistakes and reputation.

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21 minutes ago, defkhan1 said:

I can see nothing but good things coming from a more mathematical approach to the game.

Exactly. I have no idea where this thought process that math would replace playtesting and destroy creativity or the thrill of the game comes from.

 

There are two options-

1) go entirely on “feel” and miss busted combos in playtesting.

 

2) use math and playtesting and determine what is fun and fair. “Feel” can be used as well, but should have hard data to support it wherever possible.

 

Is option 2 totally devoid of error? No, but it sure is better than option one.

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18 minutes ago, Darth Meanie said:

Secondly, in the perfectly balanced game, where all ships are equal, all randomness is quantifiable and controllable, then Git Gud becomes the only decider of victory.  Practice a lot or die.  There's no magic.  No twists of fate.  No fog of war.  No Force.  If you are a known better player, I can go home.  Now you've made the game for the elites only, those who have played enough to make it into the inner circle.  Now, the prerequisite to play isn't finding the right ships, it's losing enough to be allowed victory.

... huh?

 

Aren’t the best players supposed to win? This is MUCH more preferable over a bad player winning because he flew a list that meant his decisions didn’t matter.

 

The magic of the game isn’t some mystical force that keeps bad players good. It’s the perfect maneuver at just the right time that actually MATTERS. It’s rolling all blanks on that bomb roll and it MATTERS. It’s that direct hit pulled that’s just enough to blow up your opponents biggest threat and it MATTERS. It’s an xwing being flown against Tie Fighters, or ANY combination of ships you love being flown WITHOUT sacrificing competitiveness OR casualness.

 

More math means more of this and less of “oh, look. I have a very small chance of winning this match up because his ships are inherently stronger than mine.” Or “oh, look. My opponent thinks I’m a jerk for flying the ships I love casually that happen to be stronger than they should be.”

 

 

And balance does not mean equal. Of course ships should be different and perform different roles! But that’s where a point system comes in that can quantify just how valuable what a ship does is. How do you find that number...? Probably want some math, and some playtesting, and maybe a little feel as well.

Edited by Kdubb

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Nobody expects perfect balance, and nor is perfect balance necessary for improved diversity in chosen ships and upgrades.  All that's needed is "close-enough" balance so that the other factors in the game can play their intended rules.

Maneuvering skill, dice variance, list-building ... all of these should have a real place in the game.  It's only when there are ships, pilots, and upgrades that are waaaay off-balance that these things stop mattering as they should.  It's just not that difficult to bring the real outliers into the "balance band" in which X-Wing works best.

To put it another way, X-wings don't need to be as good as JM5Ks to see play.  The ships just need to be close enough in power that a squadron of X-wings has a reasonable chance to beat JM5Ks when all else is equal.

So I reject your premises, which, unsurprisingly, leads me to reject your conclusion.

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40 minutes ago, Darth Meanie said:

Unfortunately, I think MathWing would only accelerate this process.

Secondly, in the perfectly balanced game, where all ships are equal, all randomness is quantifiable and controllable, then Git Gud becomes the only decider of victory.  Practice a lot or die.  There's no magic.  No twists of fate.  No fog of war.  No Force.  If you are a known better player, I can go home.  Now you've made the game for the elites only, those who have played enough to make it into the inner circle.  Now, the prerequisite to play isn't finding the right ships, it's losing enough to be allowed victory.

XWM has now become professional ice skating:  everything is so perfect all the time, that winners are only determined by mistakes and reputation.

To the first sentence, actually, yes, I suppose you're right that it would. However, the discovery should be that the best ship is only the best by such a marginal amount that it doesn't practically matter -- in stark contrast to the present system.

To your second paragraph, hmm, I see where you're coming from. Mark Rosewater of MtG has talked about the variance of card draws being important to ensure that a less skilled player can still defeat a better player and have fun when playing him or her. This is the role dice play in our game (which of course would not be removed by mathematical balancing. All the same methods of controlling randomness that currently exist, say, Expertise, would remain, they would only be costed accorded to their worth where they aren't already). Beyond this core variance to make outcomes unknown, unfortunately, I do believe that skill should be the majority factor in deciding victory. As Kdubb pointed out, skill-based victory gives agency to the players: their decisions matter, more than anything else. Their gameplay matters -- i.e., their playing of the game matters. If my hand in playing the game doesn't matter (as much as anything else), why play? It's possible there's an answer, but for me and many it cannot be as compelling as one that involves my actions having consequences. (I actually think this is the principal appeal that games have for humans, but that's floating off into fairy-land.)

This skill is still coupled with uncertainty, not only in the dice, but also, more importantly, in the setting of the dials. This is a highly effective method of creating a fog-of-war without resorting to a gamemaster and I think the chief appeal of X-Wing over other games (other than Star Wars). It's doubly great because it directly fuses skill and uncertainty. Herein lies the magic of the game, for me.

In sum, I believe that the key elements that produce uncertainty and magic, the dice and the dials, would remain intact in a mathematically balanced iteration of X-Wing. The game would indeed become more skill based, but by stealing from the, for lack of a better term, netlisting portion of the pie rather than the unpredictability slice, resulting in a wider and more personally expressive variety of play experiences. While a mathematically founded version of the game sounds cold and mechanistic, I think it would play out with its warm and beating heart not only intact, but pumping better than ever.

Edited by TheHumanHydra

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5 hours ago, Darth Meanie said:

Or does the game devolve into a state of One Ship Only.  If the main complaint is that the meta is stale because only a few ships are worth it, then how does it help things to have every ship in the game assigned a mathematical probability of winning?? 

You misunderstand what it means.

There are 5 base stats, with values between 0 and 9. Then there are several slots for upgrades, plus pilot abilities, plus maneuver dials. To top it off there are three factions which provide different wingmates and different upgrades.

If two ships have the exact same thing of all these factors then yes, then they will be the same.

But what MajorJuggler is doing is something else. He assures that these factors get an appropriate point cost, which OPENS your options! So I heavily disagree with everyone who sees a race to the same builds with appropriate balance. Much to the contrary, better balance will allow more different builds to become viable.

Why is anyone against that?

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