Boardgaming in 2018!

We played Sidereal Confluence. 8 first time players. A lot to keep track of. Very interesting. Looking forward to trying it again.

Asmodee Digital is having a sale in conjunction with GenCon.

Well my copy has arrived, I am putting the feelers out to those who have enough patience to learn new games, and my lil sister because she’ll learn she just admits to tuning me out when I talk about how to play. Fortunately her fiance is a major geek so he more than makes up for her just play habits.

I have a few complaints about the EH expansions. The major one is the big box expansions with the sideboard weren’t well done. My gaming group seems to also bounce hard off ANY sort of expansion board, even the AH ones. A few too many mechanics were added in later: focus, and degrading skills. I didn’t mind the focus one so much since clues were harder to come by for re-rolls and you often needed them for mysteries.

And the damn Asset deck was 2’ tall at the end.

I also wasn’t a fan of the prelude, etc. cards. A lot of the stuff we just skipped over. With the new AH, I feel like with the random board, expansions will overall be better.

Tell us your thoughts, por favor!

Not sure what to think about FFG’s just-announced “unique deck game”.

If the core game is interesting enough I could see the appeal of cheap sealed deck style play, but I’m still unclear on exactly how the handicapping/balancing works.

Guess what just arrived:

KeyForge… looks interesting, but there’s a bit of bait and switch going on here…

With a vast array of creatures, artifacts, and abilities and over 104 quadrillion possible decks, every deck is completely one-of-a-kind

But

Every Archon Deck has its own title and unique card back, displaying the figure of your Archon

So… unless they came up with 104 quadrillion titles and card backs, there aren’t 104 quadrillion possible decks. How many different decks will be available at retail? It’s gonna suck if you buy a deck ($10), open it and discover you already have that one.

It strikes me as being a lot like No Man’s Sky. Sure, there may be 104 quadrillion possible combinations, but how many of those are going to be distinct in an interesting way?

Apparently the unique title and card back are achieved through procedural generation. Think names of random loot in Diablo/roguelikes, and images being made up of multiple overlayed shapes and colours.

There’s some suggestion that the decks aren’t purely random ie you can’t get a deck with zero creatures.

That said, I imagine the play experience would be similar to what you get with sealed deck leagues/tournaments ie a mish-mash of cards with questionable levels of synergy. The fact each deck focuses on three (of a possible seven) ‘houses’ (think MTG colours) may mean that the deck algorithm can produce more ‘sensible’ decks, but the jury’s out until we see more decks played.

Clearly there will be decks which are better than others. How the handicapping system works (I don’t really understand it yet) and whether it can make for competitive (in a balance sense) matches without resorting to “play a game then swap decks” is the big question for me.

I really super doubt that. They don’t just have to pick the names and art, they have to print it. 7 choose 3 is 35. So what I suspect is that there’s one deck for every possible combination of the 3 out of 7 houses; that is, 35 decks, each curated to be interesting and more or less competitive.

This doesn’t seem that different to me than the way pre-con decks work in Magic. Every set has, what 5 or 10 of these? The only difference is that once you’ve opened up a Keyforge deck, you’re stuck with it, you can’t pull it apart to make other decks.

Don’t bother using the manual to learn the game - its a fine reference - but not a great learning tool. Instead watch this official how to play rules video - it does a great job!

I think that’s the technical advance that’s made this possible. Two example deck backs:

https://i.imgur.com/LIbWfo0.jpg

Well that’s unfortunate. I like game manuals for a little night time reading. Thanks for the heads up though. I guess I better schedule a… 41 minute video!?

Being in the printing business this is definitely doable.

It comes down to variable printing (think phone bills but with image layers overlapping instead of text). The complex part isn’t that actually because you’re just generating random combinations of images/text/card. The struggle is with the quality control process.

If at the end of the line you reject 1 card because of an issue, you have to replace it somehow. And this without screwing your production run or wasting everyone’s time.

The only way to do this is with a highly automated line:

  • Camera systems that controls print quality on every single card during printing with automatic rejection of bad cards
  • More camera systems that accounts for all the cards right at the final packaging process
  • All this linked up to a nice database so that missing/rejected cards can be sent pack on press with minimal intervention
  • Somehow each replacement needs to join back it’s specific deck

I find the idea neat for a card game but this stuff as been done for years with pharmaceutical packaging where quality control is even more strict.

I just don’t see it.

How many different decks are you actually going to make? A thousand? Ten thousand? You’re going to generate all those names and all that art, no human hands are going to check that it doesn’t look like a penis? Or that the name is pronounceable?

No. That’s clearly nonsense. I don’t doubt that they have tools that helped them generate all that art, but there are going to be on the order of 100 decks, probably fewer. Each one will have been checked out by a human (deck list, art, and name), and probably the art will have been given a once-over by a human artist.

I could be completely wrong. Maybe this is a random product generated by an algorithm. In which case I have no interest in buying it. Would you buy pre-con magic decks that were 60 completely randomly chosen cards? No, it would completely suck.

I don’t really see any real reason to play Keyforge when it has even less in-game depth than MTG and also eschews deckbuilding entirely for something just as random.

Garfield was a one-hit wonder and honestly the closest thing to his vision coming to life was Meier’s Shandalar implementation.

I mean, it depends on what you mean by hit, but if you mean “one popular, well-selling game”, that’s factually incorrect as he’s designed quite a few very successful games (if none as money-printing as Magic). If you mean “one good game”, he’s designed at least three card games I think are vastly superior to Magic. I doubt this will be one of them, but still.

I don’t think it’s that unreasonable. Procedural name generation isn’t anything new and, judging by the two example decks I posted, it doesn’t seem they need to produce something sensible.

Art may be even simpler. Have ‘x’ number of locations within the printable area, with ‘y’ choices of art per location. Even a relatively conservative 9 locations and 10 choices of art for each would produce a billion permutations. I can imagine they’ve done a lot more than that given the art is basic silhouettes.

Given the number of elements making up the art is relatively small it would be fairly straightforward to ensure some kid doesn’t end up playing the penis deck.

That said, I completely agree that the decks themselves could suck from a gameplay point of view. My gut tells me that they’re going for an entry-level CCG ‘feel’ where newcomers can rock up to a cheap 'Friday Night Magic-type event without feeling thoroughly out-matched by the regulars. Seems like a very niche market though…

I agree, I also have hard time seeing how all this will create something fun. I mean, I’ve played MtG for years and the idea of buying a complete random deck that doesn’t fit in anything else sounds underwhelming at best.

But I’ve seen and worked with software that could definitely deliver what’s promised with next to no human intervention once you’ve setup your variables. It’s not creating unique cards, it’s a unique combination of cards with a unique back image and deck name.