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 Post subject: Card Overload?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2011 3:35 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2010 10:33 pm
Posts: 245
I read an interesting story about this lady in Oregon who sells a variety of homemade jams at a local farmer's market. She makes a wide variety of jams that you don't find in standard grocery stores and by accounts these jams are very good and their uniqueness draws a lot of attention from customers browsing the farmer's market. The interesting part of the story is this: she sells many more bottles of jam when she only brings five options on a given day as opposed to twenty options. Even though having twenty varieties may bring more of an awe factor to get a customers attention, it leads to fewer customers actually making a purchase because its too difficult for them to make a decision on which jam to buy and so they move on.

Although I have a very nice collection of cards, I've noticed I always prefer to play sealed. The reason for this, as I can best describe it, is that I can never decide on "just" twelve cards out of my collection. There are so many cards that I like that it makes it difficult to choose which to "exclude." Picking cards to use is easy (I have plenty I like), picking which cards to exclude is more difficult. Some of these new premium cards are rather cool, and there are huge forum posts of additional card suggestions, but any cool new cards means one more cool card that has to be excluded.

Additionally, the card balance in this game may actually be too well-designed. When such a large number of cards are so well balanced, it makes the decision even tougher. The fact that common cards are often just as good, or better, than rare cards leaves a player's head spinning when deciding on a deck. In every deck I want to have at least one or two of each of the following: (1) blinds; (2) immobilize/no fly zone; (3) enlist for cheap units; (4) infantry movement; (5) airlift; (6) heal; (7) range buff for artillery; (8) binoculars for recon; and (9) minor art. Although there are only nine groups, realistically these nine groups total more than twelve cards.

So what am I to do about the cards I actually think are cool, such as sniper, squadron leader, delta force, major artillery, tank factory, titanium armor, sabotage, and ghost? All of these are ultra rare or premium, but their cost-effectiveness ratio is either on par or worse than the nine categories I named above. Why should I pay money to buy packs or subscribe for a membership in order to get cards that get pushed aside for a common blind? I'm not actually asking this question myself, but rather posing it to be considered.

While the gold cost associated with each individual card plays an important role, it is also a great source of frustration. The reason it is frustrating is that it often acts as a secondary layer of consideration on top of a very difficult first layer of consideration. The first layer of consideration is the fact that bringing a card uses one of twelve limited spots. As I noted above, this layer is already extremely difficult to maneuver through with the high number of fun or important cards. The second layer then serves as a deterrent for selecting the cards in the first layer. This double layer of difficult decisions is often overwhelming.

Just when I've decided to bring a "lethal artillery" I get deterred that the cost is too high because a 100g minor artillery along with one shot from another unit can do it in. Just when I decide to bring my squadron leader for a fighter, I get scared that a no fly zone along with a single AA will quickly do it in my 195 combined gold purchase. I could bring an evacuate card but now I've had to commit to bringing a second card just to protect my first, with the chance that bringing the evacuate may wind up going unused.

This is why I prefer sealed. Easy decisions (grab enlist, blinds, immobilize, etc - skip almost any buffed unit, they aren't worth it) and then play and see what happens. Because of the limited decks, I may well include an ultra-rare I normally wouldn't and get to have fun with it. The only problem with this is that this is a collectible card game. The goal is to acquire cards in order to help your chances. Acquiring an ultra-rare often allows a player to utilize a new strategy based around that card - unfortunately this requires doing homework, i.e., designing a specific deck for JUST ONE specific map (a process that in itself requires all sorts of math on gold and inquiries into what an opponent may or may not bring). Players want to play, not do homework (even though the game replay system IS really cool on here).

While this suggestion may be impossible to work in now, it is worth noting anyhow. With the exception of "enlist" cards, it would be nice if the cost of using cards were more or less identical, and the effect of a card would "slightly" increase with its rarity, without also grossly inflating the cost. Again, set all the "enlist" cards aside, and think of how nice it would be if all cards cost "0g" and the only decision to make was which twelve cards to bring. Suddenly, deciding on a card does not involve doing math, figuring out if you will have enough gold for it on turn X, or if it is really even worth it. The decision is solely based on the strategy you want to employ and countering the strategy you think your opponent is going to employ.

Sorry for the essay, but with the low amount of forum posts on here I think this is good food for thought. Even if my comments result in a completely different conclusion, I hope sharing this thought process from the standpoint of a player is useful.

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