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dcdennis

Agenda's are what add variety to the game….Why try and discourage their use?

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Hah! You're right. Winter throws the gold curve so that Flank isn't good. Suffice to say that in non-Winter the statement remains true. You'll be hard pressed to convince me otherwise on that one.

Also, I objectively rate cards by their effect on the game. There really is no preference in the way I construct decks unless two cards are of equal value. Two cards are almost never of equal value, either. It's usually very straightforward identifying which card is better. I do factor in synergies, though. That actually leans more on ktom's point that in some decks cards will be better than in other decks. For example, Steelshank's Reserves is an amazing card in my deck because I focus on high initiative plots. It's not a Bolton Deck either, but I'd be hard pressed to say it's not a high impact card in my deck. Right now this sort of deck construction, making uniquely suited cards better, I feel is rare. It happens with agendas because they're so in your face obvious.

You could convince me that this game is taking the standard competitive path. Copycat the best build while the truly top players are innovating. This results in a playing field that sees limited builts because no one really innovates. There remain cards that you borderline have to play, like Cavalry Flank, but I could get behind that line of thinking if some people put the effort in to make some very distinctly unique builds that were ultimately copetitive with top tier decks.

Going back to the agenda topic, though. They still are the easiest way to create diversity. I hate that fact, but what can be done to change it? That's the question we need an answer to.

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 I fail to see what Agendas add to the game.  As Rings pointed out, because they start in play and are not targetable, they are the hardest to balance.  Yes, they can (& some have) been done right.  However, do they really add anything to the game that couldn't be done with other card types?  I just don't get the idea that they somehow open up the game/add anything new.  I certainly didn't notice that when they were first introduced as a card type.  Maybe, it's because, as others have said, they have not been done 'right'.  

However, I'm still not a fan.  In my opinion, the game would certainly not be any worse if there were not any agendas. 

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 Card design should be judged solely based on… 

1. How many real choices they create without significantly complicating/disrupting fundamental mechanics.

2. How flavorful and thematic they are.

The first point must factor in the environment. For example, Tin Link is bad because it, combined with the Maester's Path, significantly limits overall deck building options. As a distant second reason, it is not flavorful in terms of how it reflects the source material, even if it is thematic in how it focuses on maesters. Similarly, the original Jaquan is poor design because it is so powerful that a competitive deck must include it or specific cards to deal with it.

 With specific regard to agendas, "balance" remains an insufficient criterion since everyone has a different, highly subjective definition for balance (me included). As a concept, there is nothing inherently dangerous with agendas, in terms of whether or not they will limit choice. It certainly seems true that they can be both flavorful and thematic, and there are some indications that they might add choices…for example, trait based decks tend to be easier to run with agendas, and treaty type agendas (including the shadows agenda) seem to add quite a bit of diversity.

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Debating Agendas as a card type appears off target when specific agendas pose the problems. Furthermore, specific cards, be it well above average or well below average value, are present in all card types. Agendas +/- value is possibly more obvious, because they essentially define the player's deck from the outset.

Conceptually, Agendas are good for a few reasons: They allow a House to hyper specialize OR, like neutral characters, to address its specific weaknesses OR to diversify it's mechanical abilities. Additionally, when a body of cards in the pool do not see play and/or perform below the competitive average, Agendas can address them specifically.

However, In practice, Agendas cause problems when they impart more than one of those four benefits to a House and/or bolster a specific body of cards that have limited thematic value to the players. It is also worth noting that, simply by existing, Agendas limit the design space as much as they bolster it.

example: Siege limits the use of Renown and Stealth on non-expensive/non-not while running an agenda Stark characters, since both key words greatly accelerate Siege's ability to rush, which in turn essentially removes 'rush' (non-siege) from Stark's deck options. This may not be a bad thing, as it differentiates Stark 'rush' from Bara rush, without just making Stark rush more target kill focused than power-enhancing focused.

These design conflicts are understandable for a product that is supervised primarily by one person, adds 20 cards every month* and must not make major retroactive revisions to cards for economic and logistical reasons. The 20 cards a month* model creates additional drama because it spreads out the impact of a new design concept, which can lead cards to be artificially +/- average value for a time, which is usually at the heart of player consternation.

At the end of the day, the effective deck pool is reasonable diverse. Could it be more diverse? Certainly. Could the pool be less Agenda-defined? Possibly. However, without an Agenda-abolishing reboot, it is unlikely that an expanded card pool will provide each house with such focused/tailor made opportunities to hyper specialize / plug natural weaknesses / expand abilities at the volume offered by agendas. Even if that were the case, a player with a no-Agenda deck is, in effect, playing a deck with an Agenda. That Agenda just happens to be blank.

In closing, a more productive discussion may be to define all the +/- average value situations currently in the pool and provide the design team with feedback on them. It is certainly valid to rail on TMP/cards that belong on restricted list/needing errata in general but it would be equally pleasant if the Designer was motivated to revisit Reinforcements/Bannermen/Epic phases/Millitary Battle plots/etc. that are, to a degree, dead cards in the current pool.

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Penfold said:

HoyaLawya said:

 

tofubones said:

 

 Response to Agendas: In a world without agendas you might actually see more tier 1 deck types.  Rather than getting the decks main effects from the agenda you would get them from the cards themselves, possisibly making deck building and tactical play more important  As it currently stands, cards that cannot slot into an agenda deck are automatically rendered tier 2, which I feel limits the variaty of tier 1 decks.  There have been many discussions in the past about agendas, and I always felt agendas should be rare and have strong negatives. Since that is not how it's worked out, I think there probably needs to be more just to increase the number of tier 1 decks.  Anyway those are my quick thoughts. 

 

 

You think there would be more tier 1 deck types without agendas? If the only effects are coming from the cards themselves, each house will have a single build using the most efficient in-house cards and possibly a few neutrals to fill in gaps. If a card is not good enough to slot into an agenda deck, it's probably not good enough to slot into a T1 agendaless deck. Instead of thinking of agendas as reducing the number of playable cards, I say it's the exact opposite. Agendas make cards that are otherwise not as good to be much better because of their synergies with the specific effects of the agendas. Take seasons as an example, do you really think people would be playing summer and winter decks without the agendas?

We all want a greater variety of tier 1 decks. Without agendas there would actually be fewer than what we have right now. 

 

 

Prove it.

No seriously, prove it. You are stating your opinion as a fact, I'd like to see you prove that in a world without agendas each House would be reduced to a single build of the most efficient cards. There is too much linear and non-linear design purposefully done in this game in my mind to be able to build a deck that is created purely around a matrix of strict values.

Now you could make a claim that each House would end up with a couple of builds based on the linear and non-linear designed cards which act as the core but the chassis of the deck would still be its most efficient cards… but that is exactly the situation we have right now, but the agenda is being used in place of the linear and non-linear cards, or occasionally in conjunction with them.

THe simplistic argument for no agendas equals more choices for T1 is that all other cards are still available, you just lose out on the agendas that people are using to provide an additional advantage.

And the idea that there is some mystical agenda that will bring diversity and numerous deck builds to each faction is ridiculous. Any such agenda would see a bunch of various designs, just like the Maesters Path did, and then each faction will settle on what is believed to be the most efficient use of it… boom and suddenly we have a single agenda knocking all the others out and each faction putting forward a single perceived top deck. Boooring.

That the Agendas are not perfect, and that they have varying abilities and strengths depending on which faction you try to use it with, and each faction can field decks with multiple agendas is a strength, that you apparently believe is a design flaw. Munchkins in rpg's say very similar things about everything being optimized and the system designed for min-maxing. They don't understand that weaknesses and discovering how to compensate for them spur creativity. That simple answers are more likely to kill it, and anything perceived as being very strong will warp the field as players gravitate towards it, but cards that people disagree on or even argue over whether it is good or bad or simply okay are what drives the creative process.

There's been quite a bit of discussion since I last visited. I did attempt a response over the weekend until losing it all when I clicked publish (it just took me back to this page with a blank box). I've chosen Penfold's post as the one to respond to directly since in responding to it I believe I'll answer ktom's comments.

Penfold, you ask for proof that without agendas we would have lower deck diversity. We wouldn't have any seasons decks, no maester decks, no stark siege, dragons wouldn't be viable in melee withouth the agenda, wildlings wouldn't be viable (i will give you that maybe a night's watch implementation that didn't require those agendas could be viable since it's not competitive as is), multi house builds like the Bara/Martell treaty deck that did well in CA during regionals wouldn't be possible, and there would be no dedicated shadows decks. Those are all separate builds and diversity we lose without agendas. I just remembered knights decks. Without the knights agenda a themed deck built around knights wouldn't be competitive having to give up other better characters for knights.

What do you mean by linear and non-linear builds? Are you commenting on the way FFG makes some generic cards (non-linear) tries to force specific decks onto the players (linear) like House Dayne? Guess what, House Dayne isn't competitive. I would love to be able to play a House Dayne deck at a tournament and know I wouldn't struggle just to break even. There are many subthemes in all the houses, but they aren't equal. They also don't have drastically different feel to the way they play. This goes back to ktom discussing different strategies. Agendas provide different strategies through the way their advantages and drawbacks work. They also make otherwise competitively unplayable cards worth putting into decks. Maybe Bolton or Dayne decks could be viable if they were given agendas to work off their themes. People really do try to make those decks competitive. More than any other game, AGOT is full of players wanting to create something new and find a new deck type. AGOT players don't like "the flavor of the week." We experiment all the time here in DC. Even Corey was trying to find a viable Raider deck the other week. It's just not possible.

"THe simplistic argument for no agendas equals more choices for T1 is that all other cards are still available, you just lose out on the agendas that people are using to provide an additional advantage." How is this even an argument that no agendas give you more T1 choices? [sarcasm] Hey, you can still play all those average cards in place of the good cards, except you no longer have an agenda to make bump the average cards to the good card category. Now you have more competitive choices. [/sarcasm] Just because I can still play cards that benefit from an agenda without the agenda does not mean it is worth the card slot over other cards when the agenda is not available. Example, without summer or possibly wildling agendas increasing her use, Gilly wouldn't see play.

I never mentioned a mystical agenda, but I will say wait for the next chapter pack.

Actually, if you read my post I say that the fact that agendas have varying strengths and some can be played by multiple factions is a strength of not only design but of the agenda card type itself. I never said it was a design flaw, and to the contrary hang my argument for agendas pretty centrally on that hook. What exactly does min-maxing in rpgs have to do with AGOT? RPGs are cooperative story telling adventures. AGOT is a strictly competitive card game. In an RPG I pick abilities based on what matches my character's personality. In AGOT I pick cards based on their utility and ability to win me the game. Are you saying I should pick cards based on theme and take that deck to a tournament and can expect it to win? Or are you saying I should be given an award for bringing a non-competitive deck to a tournament because I had to be more "creative" in finding ways to make the subpar cards win games for me? Deckbuilding isn't a story of overcoming adversity. It's looking through the cardpool for good cards that synergize together. A strong element that brings synergy to cards is the agenda.

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HoyaLawya said:

 

 

There's been quite a bit of discussion since I last visited. I did attempt a response over the weekend until losing it all when I clicked publish (it just took me back to this page with a blank box). I've chosen Penfold's post as the one to respond to directly since in responding to it I believe I'll answer ktom's comments.

Penfold, you ask for proof that without agendas we would have lower deck diversity. We wouldn't have any seasons decks, no maester decks, no stark siege, dragons wouldn't be viable in melee withouth the agenda, wildlings wouldn't be viable (i will give you that maybe a night's watch implementation that didn't require those agendas could be viable since it's not competitive as is), multi house builds like the Bara/Martell treaty deck that did well in CA during regionals wouldn't be possible, and there would be no dedicated shadows decks. Those are all separate builds and diversity we lose without agendas. I just remembered knights decks. Without the knights agenda a themed deck built around knights wouldn't be competitive having to give up other better characters for knights.

What do you mean by linear and non-linear builds? Are you commenting on the way FFG makes some generic cards (non-linear) tries to force specific decks onto the players (linear) like House Dayne? Guess what, House Dayne isn't competitive. I would love to be able to play a House Dayne deck at a tournament and know I wouldn't struggle just to break even. There are many subthemes in all the houses, but they aren't equal. They also don't have drastically different feel to the way they play. This goes back to ktom discussing different strategies. Agendas provide different strategies through the way their advantages and drawbacks work. They also make otherwise competitively unplayable cards worth putting into decks. Maybe Bolton or Dayne decks could be viable if they were given agendas to work off their themes. People really do try to make those decks competitive. More than any other game, AGOT is full of players wanting to create something new and find a new deck type. AGOT players don't like "the flavor of the week." We experiment all the time here in DC. Even Corey was trying to find a viable Raider deck the other week. It's just not possible.

"THe simplistic argument for no agendas equals more choices for T1 is that all other cards are still available, you just lose out on the agendas that people are using to provide an additional advantage." How is this even an argument that no agendas give you more T1 choices? [sarcasm] Hey, you can still play all those average cards in place of the good cards, except you no longer have an agenda to make bump the average cards to the good card category. Now you have more competitive choices. [/sarcasm] Just because I can still play cards that benefit from an agenda without the agenda does not mean it is worth the card slot over other cards when the agenda is not available. Example, without summer or possibly wildling agendas increasing her use, Gilly wouldn't see play.

I never mentioned a mystical agenda, but I will say wait for the next chapter pack.

Actually, if you read my post I say that the fact that agendas have varying strengths and some can be played by multiple factions is a strength of not only design but of the agenda card type itself. I never said it was a design flaw, and to the contrary hang my argument for agendas pretty centrally on that hook. What exactly does min-maxing in rpgs have to do with AGOT? RPGs are cooperative story telling adventures. AGOT is a strictly competitive card game. In an RPG I pick abilities based on what matches my character's personality. In AGOT I pick cards based on their utility and ability to win me the game. Are you saying I should pick cards based on theme and take that deck to a tournament and can expect it to win? Or are you saying I should be given an award for bringing a non-competitive deck to a tournament because I had to be more "creative" in finding ways to make the subpar cards win games for me? Deckbuilding isn't a story of overcoming adversity. It's looking through the cardpool for good cards that synergize together. A strong element that brings synergy to cards is the agenda.

 

 

How do we know that several of the current possible no-agenda decks for each house would not be T1 competitive decks without the agendas we currently have?  Just playing the devil's advocate here.

I'm interested in the Seasons decks and how they play without their respective agendas.  The additional card draw can be a huge advantage, but it's 95 times out of 100 times put into effect after Round 1 because you must make it Summer/Winter.

How often does the Kings of Winter agenda change the outcome of a match?  I'm very interested in these agendas being the reason a seasons deck is T1 and it's not just the seasons mechanic.

The point I'm trying to make is that the season itself is what makes their affected cards better, not the agenda.  It's an example of synergy-dependency that is not based revolving around the agenda.  Now, the season and the agenda absolutely can give you that card advantage easily….

So, what is it about agendas that we like and depend on?  The ones that provide card advantages suggest that you want to easily have a way to obtain a card advantage over your opponent with little to no drawback.

Siege of Winterfell is probably the best example of an agenda that you will build a deck around because of how it morphs how you obtain power by forcing your deck to focus on a strength.  If we can get more agendas that do the kind of stuff Siege of Winterfell does, then I think we'll have some unique and interesting decks.

Knights of Hollow Hill is probably the next best example of a deck you completely change to take into consideration the resource advantage you obtain.

 

Anyways, I'm not going to get into the other agendas that I like the concept behind, however I don't think that some agendas necessarily force the synergy like explained above.  There are several that provide an advantage or only some support to the existing synergy that is not created by the agenda itself.

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The agendas are actually quite important in seasons decks. Summer agenda is just as important to summer decks as the knights agenda is important to knights decks. That extra card per turn of draw ends up being big advantage over 5-6 rounds with it active considering the houses that get the most out of summer are control and play longer games. Winter agenda is equally important. Yes it makes the Marauders and Meera better, but there aren't a ton of cards winter makes better. The houses that typically play winter (Stark and GJ) have little draw and benefit from the hand destruction of their opponent.

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dcdennis said:

 Hey dont pick on dayne :P i took dayne 4-1 in dc regional ( then promptly got trounced by erick in top 8 match).

That deck had some House Dayne, but you weren't playing Starfall or the full body of House Dayne characters, just Darkstar, the reducers, and the renown army if I remember correctly. Were you not also running the Knights of the Realm agenda to help draw?

As you said, you were trounced in your top 8 match.

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HoyaLawya said:

dcdennis said:

 

 Hey dont pick on dayne :P i took dayne 4-1 in dc regional ( then promptly got trounced by erick in top 8 match).

 

 

That deck had some House Dayne, but you weren't playing Starfall or the full body of House Dayne characters, just Darkstar, the reducers, and the renown army if I remember correctly. Were you not also running the Knights of the Realm agenda to help draw?

As you said, you were trounced in your top 8 match.

no comment :)

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HoyaLawya said:

The agendas are actually quite important in seasons decks. Summer agenda is just as important to summer decks as the knights agenda is important to knights decks. That extra card per turn of draw ends up being big advantage over 5-6 rounds with it active considering the houses that get the most out of summer are control and play longer games. Winter agenda is equally important. Yes it makes the Marauders and Meera better, but there aren't a ton of cards winter makes better. The houses that typically play winter (Stark and GJ) have little draw and benefit from the hand destruction of their opponent.

I totally agree that over 5-6 rounds the card advantage is huge, but is the card advantage from the agenda that sole reason it is T1?  Or is it the deck and the cards itself the reason(and the synergy with Black Raven making it summer)?  I have seen decks that have the agenda and black raven just to get the card advantage on its own, but I don't know how well that deck does even with just that advantage.  That being said, if the Summer synergy is not, then wouldn't a lot of decks that had this card advantage be able to beat most Summer themed decks?  I don't know, but that is what makes me think the Summer synergy with the deck itself is what makes the deck strong and not as much the card advantage.  Otherwise I should just build a non-Agenda deck(without summer synergy directly) with the King's of Summer agenda and it should excel(if the deck is good of course).

Stark Winter, is it Winter and the card disadvantage that is the reason they are T1?  Or is it because the characters and the deck itself is just so **** good?  Sometimes you don't even know they have the Kings of Winter agenda because you don't happen to need to trigger it's debilitating effect.  Same with Greyjoy winter cards and synergies.  Is it because of the agenda or is because Greyjoy Winter cards are brutal?

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For a deck to be T1, there never is a sole reason why they are T1. You have to take all the bad cards out and put in only good cards to have a T1 deck. I'm sure the synergy of the seasons contribute to those decks being T1. In the same way, the agendas bring card advantage. If you take away either of these or other things like just having solid characters the deck is no longer T1. My response was focused on the question of, can a seasons deck be T1 if you build it exactly the same but don't play the agenda? I say the answer is no because the agenda is a vital part of the decks' card advantage.

The same is true for synergies. Remove Maester of the Sun from Martell summer, Fairweather Followers and summer burn events from Targ summer, Marauders from GJ winter, and Robb and Meera from Stark winter and those decks are no longer T1.

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I guess my next comment is that I don't think it's an agenda dependency then.  I think the other deck themes just don't have enough overall support.

If a summer deck without Kings of Summer is not T1, then that may imply a T2 non-Agenda deck built with good cards should be able to compete against it.  So, if I were to take the same non-Agenda deck and gave it Kings of Summer(and made it summer), then might it be upgraded to T1?

I generally think Stark Winter and Greyjoy Winter do not need the Kings of Winter agendas to compete against T1 decks.  Their cards are so freakin' good(even if you don't make it winter) that they can still beat a lot of decks without the agenda and likely without making it winter.

I also wanted to make this point - You are not building around the Kings of Summer or Kings of Winter agendas like most of the other agendas.  The agendas themselves are not what provide a deck focal point.  The seasons themselves or the cards within the deck are what make the deck great.  Any deck may count on the card advantage and any deck can make it Summer/Winter and use the agendas even if there is no other synergy with the seasons.  As long as the deck has great synergies/cards within itself, then shouldn't that should suffice?

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 I like Erwo the Elder and The King G's suggestion that there should be a card that simply blanks all agendas (maybe another agenda, maybe a character that attaches as Agenda, maybe an Attachment agenda, etc) but a card that essentially blanks the Agenda. That may need some work (for instance if TMP is blanked what does that mean for Chains still on the Agenda, etc) but I think that might be necessary. After all, we can blank plots and if Agendas  are sooo over-used in the environment, why not be able to blank them?

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LaughingTree said:

 I like Erwo the Elder and The King G's suggestion that there should be a card that simply blanks all agendas (maybe another agenda, maybe a character that attaches as Agenda, maybe an Attachment agenda, etc) but a card that essentially blanks the Agenda. That may need some work (for instance if TMP is blanked what does that mean for Chains still on the Agenda, etc) but I think that might be necessary. After all, we can blank plots and if Agendas  are sooo over-used in the environment, why not be able to blank them?

this will never happen. not saying it is either a good or bad idea, just that it wont happen.

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dcdennis said:

LaughingTree said:

 

 I like Erwo the Elder and The King G's suggestion that there should be a card that simply blanks all agendas (maybe another agenda, maybe a character that attaches as Agenda, maybe an Attachment agenda, etc) but a card that essentially blanks the Agenda. That may need some work (for instance if TMP is blanked what does that mean for Chains still on the Agenda, etc) but I think that might be necessary. After all, we can blank plots and if Agendas  are sooo over-used in the environment, why not be able to blank them?

 

 

this will never happen. not saying it is either a good or bad idea, just that it wont happen.

 

Why not?

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 Because if there was a card that blanked agendas it would be mandatory to run it in every single deck, and FFG has gone to great lengths to ensure there are no auto-includes in any deck. Also, if they reverse the 'Agendas are not in play' rule, it opens a bottomless pit of rules issues.

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dcdennis said:

 Because if there was a card that blanked agendas it would be mandatory to run it in every single deck, and FFG has gone to great lengths to ensure there are no auto-includes in any deck. Also, if they reverse the 'Agendas are not in play' rule, it opens a bottomless pit of rules issues.

 

If it was like the character agendas it couldn't be an auto-include and all you would need is some downside if opponents were not running an agenda. If the 
"blanks agendas" was an agenda itself it also wouldn't open up any bottomless pit of rules issues.

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Bomb said:

I guess my next comment is that I don't think it's an agenda dependency then.  I think the other deck themes just don't have enough overall support.

If a summer deck without Kings of Summer is not T1, then that may imply a T2 non-Agenda deck built with good cards should be able to compete against it.  So, if I were to take the same non-Agenda deck and gave it Kings of Summer(and made it summer), then might it be upgraded to T1?

I generally think Stark Winter and Greyjoy Winter do not need the Kings of Winter agendas to compete against T1 decks.  Their cards are so freakin' good(even if you don't make it winter) that they can still beat a lot of decks without the agenda and likely without making it winter.

I also wanted to make this point - You are not building around the Kings of Summer or Kings of Winter agendas like most of the other agendas.  The agendas themselves are not what provide a deck focal point.  The seasons themselves or the cards within the deck are what make the deck great.  Any deck may count on the card advantage and any deck can make it Summer/Winter and use the agendas even if there is no other synergy with the seasons.  As long as the deck has great synergies/cards within itself, then shouldn't that should suffice?

I agree that seasons are a little bit different than some of the other agendas in that you can basically just include 4-5 cards (2x samwell, 2x raven, and 1x gilly in summer decks) and 1 plot (a time for ravens) and you make any deck a seasons deck. Good seasons decks have other cards that synergize with the season. I think Martell's maester of the sun and GJ's wintertime marauders are the best examples. Those houses might possibly run the season without the agenda in a world where the agenda was suddenly banned. Look at Stark, Robb and Meera are both still quite good without winter. I think there's a fair number of decks that would drop seasons without the agenda and replace those 5 cards with 5 better cards from the house to be that one top agendaless deck.

We do both agree that other deck themes don't have enough support to be viable. My argument is that a good way, and perhaps the best way, to simultaneously increase support for those themes and make them feel different (i.e. give them different strategies) is through agendas.

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LaughingTree said:

 

dcdennis said:

 

 Because if there was a card that blanked agendas it would be mandatory to run it in every single deck, and FFG has gone to great lengths to ensure there are no auto-includes in any deck. Also, if they reverse the 'Agendas are not in play' rule, it opens a bottomless pit of rules issues.

 

 

 

If it was like the character agendas it couldn't be an auto-include and all you would need is some downside if opponents were not running an agenda. If the 
"blanks agendas" was an agenda itself it also wouldn't open up any bottomless pit of rules issues.

 

 

It's a little ironic that your answer to agendas is to create an agenda. ;)

Edit: Rules conundrums with cards aside, blanking agendas would create two situations that I would think a designer would avoid (at least I hope): 1) treaty decks would be completely screwed mid-game, making them further unviable, and 2) a City of Shadows deck would suddenly become illegal mid game.

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AGoT DC Meta said:

 

LaughingTree said:

 

dcdennis said:

 

 Because if there was a card that blanked agendas it would be mandatory to run it in every single deck, and FFG has gone to great lengths to ensure there are no auto-includes in any deck. Also, if they reverse the 'Agendas are not in play' rule, it opens a bottomless pit of rules issues.

 

 

 

If it was like the character agendas it couldn't be an auto-include and all you would need is some downside if opponents were not running an agenda. If the 
"blanks agendas" was an agenda itself it also wouldn't open up any bottomless pit of rules issues.

 

 

It's a little ironic that your answer to agendas is to create an agenda. ;)

Edit: Rules conundrums with cards aside, blanking agendas would create two situations that I would think a designer would avoid (at least I hope): 1) treaty decks would be completely screwed mid-game, making them further unviable, and 2) a City of Shadows deck would suddenly become illegal mid game.

 

 

 

Sure it is ironic. But so are many other things in this game and in life ;)

Also, if something like that was created there  would of course need to be clarification for some circumstances. Like for instance, City of Shadows blanked wouldn't be "illegal" in the sense that it would auto-disqualify the player but rather simply that player wouldn't be able to play new cards from shadows that were out of house "house X only". Cards  on the table already would be fine but for instance if shadows Arya went back in shadows, she couldn't be brought out while the agenda was blanked. Yes, this would entail some more rules clarifications but with the huge amounts of errata to cards  we already have and  how confusing to new players the game can already be, I really don't see this as a big problem for game design. The card text already doesn't match the actual card rules with FAQ and errata in many  cases. I don't really see it as more troubling for game design than many situations we already have (TMP  currently, The North agendas in the past, etc), it would just need some new clarifications which is  already happening anyway with new mechanics being introduced with every chapter pack cycle (Doomed to shadows to the new naval enhancement).

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Blanking an agenda for a phase or so could work, but making it a permanent effect with an agenda would be overpowered against some agendas.  It completely disables some deck types.  I wouldn't mind an event that did this and maybe it was Deathbound or something.  Sure, disable the Treaty/Alliance agenda for 1 Marshaling phase or disable TMP for 1 challenges phase.  That could work.  But permanent disabling is too strong.

 

EDIT:

And if you have such an agenda like that, then I think a steep penalty for the opponent not having an agenda is in order.

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HoyaLawya said:

Penfold said:

 

HoyaLawya said:

 

tofubones said:

 

 Response to Agendas: In a world without agendas you might actually see more tier 1 deck types.  Rather than getting the decks main effects from the agenda you would get them from the cards themselves, possisibly making deck building and tactical play more important  As it currently stands, cards that cannot slot into an agenda deck are automatically rendered tier 2, which I feel limits the variaty of tier 1 decks.  There have been many discussions in the past about agendas, and I always felt agendas should be rare and have strong negatives. Since that is not how it's worked out, I think there probably needs to be more just to increase the number of tier 1 decks.  Anyway those are my quick thoughts. 

 

 

You think there would be more tier 1 deck types without agendas? If the only effects are coming from the cards themselves, each house will have a single build using the most efficient in-house cards and possibly a few neutrals to fill in gaps. If a card is not good enough to slot into an agenda deck, it's probably not good enough to slot into a T1 agendaless deck. Instead of thinking of agendas as reducing the number of playable cards, I say it's the exact opposite. Agendas make cards that are otherwise not as good to be much better because of their synergies with the specific effects of the agendas. Take seasons as an example, do you really think people would be playing summer and winter decks without the agendas?

We all want a greater variety of tier 1 decks. Without agendas there would actually be fewer than what we have right now. 

 

 

Prove it.

No seriously, prove it. You are stating your opinion as a fact, I'd like to see you prove that in a world without agendas each House would be reduced to a single build of the most efficient cards. There is too much linear and non-linear design purposefully done in this game in my mind to be able to build a deck that is created purely around a matrix of strict values.

Now you could make a claim that each House would end up with a couple of builds based on the linear and non-linear designed cards which act as the core but the chassis of the deck would still be its most efficient cards… but that is exactly the situation we have right now, but the agenda is being used in place of the linear and non-linear cards, or occasionally in conjunction with them.

THe simplistic argument for no agendas equals more choices for T1 is that all other cards are still available, you just lose out on the agendas that people are using to provide an additional advantage.

And the idea that there is some mystical agenda that will bring diversity and numerous deck builds to each faction is ridiculous. Any such agenda would see a bunch of various designs, just like the Maesters Path did, and then each faction will settle on what is believed to be the most efficient use of it… boom and suddenly we have a single agenda knocking all the others out and each faction putting forward a single perceived top deck. Boooring.

That the Agendas are not perfect, and that they have varying abilities and strengths depending on which faction you try to use it with, and each faction can field decks with multiple agendas is a strength, that you apparently believe is a design flaw. Munchkins in rpg's say very similar things about everything being optimized and the system designed for min-maxing. They don't understand that weaknesses and discovering how to compensate for them spur creativity. That simple answers are more likely to kill it, and anything perceived as being very strong will warp the field as players gravitate towards it, but cards that people disagree on or even argue over whether it is good or bad or simply okay are what drives the creative process.

 

 

There's been quite a bit of discussion since I last visited. I did attempt a response over the weekend until losing it all when I clicked publish (it just took me back to this page with a blank box). I've chosen Penfold's post as the one to respond to directly since in responding to it I believe I'll answer ktom's comments.

Penfold, you ask for proof that without agendas we would have lower deck diversity. We wouldn't have any seasons decks, no maester decks, no stark siege, dragons wouldn't be viable in melee withouth the agenda, wildlings wouldn't be viable (i will give you that maybe a night's watch implementation that didn't require those agendas could be viable since it's not competitive as is), multi house builds like the Bara/Martell treaty deck that did well in CA during regionals wouldn't be possible, and there would be no dedicated shadows decks. Those are all separate builds and diversity we lose without agendas. I just remembered knights decks. Without the knights agenda a themed deck built around knights wouldn't be competitive having to give up other better characters for knights.

What do you mean by linear and non-linear builds? Are you commenting on the way FFG makes some generic cards (non-linear) tries to force specific decks onto the players (linear) like House Dayne? Guess what, House Dayne isn't competitive. I would love to be able to play a House Dayne deck at a tournament and know I wouldn't struggle just to break even. There are many subthemes in all the houses, but they aren't equal. They also don't have drastically different feel to the way they play. This goes back to ktom discussing different strategies. Agendas provide different strategies through the way their advantages and drawbacks work. They also make otherwise competitively unplayable cards worth putting into decks. Maybe Bolton or Dayne decks could be viable if they were given agendas to work off their themes. People really do try to make those decks competitive. More than any other game, AGOT is full of players wanting to create something new and find a new deck type. AGOT players don't like "the flavor of the week." We experiment all the time here in DC. Even Corey was trying to find a viable Raider deck the other week. It's just not possible.

"THe simplistic argument for no agendas equals more choices for T1 is that all other cards are still available, you just lose out on the agendas that people are using to provide an additional advantage." How is this even an argument that no agendas give you more T1 choices? [sarcasm] Hey, you can still play all those average cards in place of the good cards, except you no longer have an agenda to make bump the average cards to the good card category. Now you have more competitive choices. [/sarcasm] Just because I can still play cards that benefit from an agenda without the agenda does not mean it is worth the card slot over other cards when the agenda is not available. Example, without summer or possibly wildling agendas increasing her use, Gilly wouldn't see play.

I never mentioned a mystical agenda, but I will say wait for the next chapter pack.

Actually, if you read my post I say that the fact that agendas have varying strengths and some can be played by multiple factions is a strength of not only design but of the agenda card type itself. I never said it was a design flaw, and to the contrary hang my argument for agendas pretty centrally on that hook. What exactly does min-maxing in rpgs have to do with AGOT? RPGs are cooperative story telling adventures. AGOT is a strictly competitive card game. In an RPG I pick abilities based on what matches my character's personality. In AGOT I pick cards based on their utility and ability to win me the game. Are you saying I should pick cards based on theme and take that deck to a tournament and can expect it to win? Or are you saying I should be given an award for bringing a non-competitive deck to a tournament because I had to be more "creative" in finding ways to make the subpar cards win games for me? Deckbuilding isn't a story of overcoming adversity. It's looking through the cardpool for good cards that synergize together. A strong element that brings synergy to cards is the agenda.

HoyaLawya said:

Penfold, you ask for proof that without agendas we would have lower deck diversity. We wouldn't have any seasons decks, no maester decks, no stark siege, dragons wouldn't be viable in melee withouth the agenda, wildlings wouldn't be viable (i will give you that maybe a night's watch implementation that didn't require those agendas could be viable since it's not competitive as is), multi house builds like the Bara/Martell treaty deck that did well in CA during regionals wouldn't be possible, and there would be no dedicated shadows decks. Those are all separate builds and diversity we lose without agendas. I just remembered knights decks. Without the knights agenda a themed deck built around knights wouldn't be competitive having to give up other better characters for knights.

What do you mean by linear and non-linear builds? 

First you didn't prove anything at all. You just said there would be no decks with those agendas. That isn't even anecdotal evidence. IF there were no agendas, how do you know Dragon decks or Military/Murder decks wouldn't be a type? Magic the Gathering doesn't have Agendas yet they definitely have tribal based decks as well as mechanically similar or synergistic decks.

And Linear design goes well beyond tribal trait-based decks, but also includes decks defined by similar mechanics such as a burn deck. When you can include a large enough number of cards that seek to do the same thing and then a second supporting tear of cards to better leverage that first selection of cards that were all designed to go together and have it do well that is a linear design at work

When you use disparate cards with effects that combo together or create a synergy (the sum greater than the individual pieces in impact) despite not having similar effects, and in some cases have at first glance contradictory or at least non-complimentary effects, and end up with a deck that does well, that is non-linear design.

I've seen dedicated Shadows decks that didn't use City of Shadows and Summer and Winter decks that did not use Kings of Summer/Winter agendas respectively, are you saying you have not?

There is no evidence that has been presented that Agendas add anything to the game that could not be achieved in other ways as far as number of decks being played. All that has been said is that these specific decks that use this agenda would no longer use the agenda.

The reality is that "No Agenda" is still an incredibly popular choice at tournaments. You may think that those people are "playing wrong" by not including them, but the very existence of those decks acts as contrary evidence to your statement.

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