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Executive Officer
By jadziadax8 (Maggie Geppert)
 - Executive Officer
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The Traveler
2E North American Continental Semi-Finalist 2023
ibbles  Trek Masters Tribbles Champion 2023
#598968
Please join us in June for the Deep Space 9 Regional Championships. All Regionals will take place at Games Plus in Mount Prospect, IL.

First Edition
Sunday, June 11th starting at noon

Second Edition
Sunday, June 25th starting at noon

Tribbles
Sunday, June 25th immediately following 2E

Please preregister!
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Executive Officer
By jadziadax8 (Maggie Geppert)
 - Executive Officer
 -  
The Traveler
2E North American Continental Semi-Finalist 2023
ibbles  Trek Masters Tribbles Champion 2023
#600023
Bump for the 1E Regional coming up on the 11th.

Side note: this is my wedding anniversary. Nate is moderately vexed at me for holding a tournament on this day. Make this worth it!
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Executive Officer
By jadziadax8 (Maggie Geppert)
 - Executive Officer
 -  
The Traveler
2E North American Continental Semi-Finalist 2023
ibbles  Trek Masters Tribbles Champion 2023
#600295
Attention @JeBuS, @Comicbookhero and @datanoh! Games Plus is completely booked up this Sunday, so I am changing venue to the Basement of Doom, AKA my house. Chris, I'm just around the corner from G+. The basement has a fully-stocked bar and a clean bathroom, so I hope it will be an acceptable substitute.
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Executive Officer
By jadziadax8 (Maggie Geppert)
 - Executive Officer
 -  
The Traveler
2E North American Continental Semi-Finalist 2023
ibbles  Trek Masters Tribbles Champion 2023
#600578
DataNoh wrote: Fri Jun 09, 2023 10:46 pm Sounds good, same place as last year? Thanks for arranging this and hosting!
Yes, same as last year. It'll be great to see you again!

And for anyone who's coming who hasn't been here in the last year, we have a dog now. I mention this for allergy purposes. She'll bark when you come in, but settles down afterwards. We'll be in the basement, and she won't follow us down there (afraid of the stairs).
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Executive Officer
By jadziadax8 (Maggie Geppert)
 - Executive Officer
 -  
The Traveler
2E North American Continental Semi-Finalist 2023
ibbles  Trek Masters Tribbles Champion 2023
#600696
Congratulations to @JeBuS on his Regional win and earned bye for Continentals. I'm so happy to lose to a well-constructed Obsession deck that also nuked me from orbit.
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Director of Operations
By JeBuS (Brian S)
 - Director of Operations
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#600699
@BCSWowbagger, we got to test the new rules for points that don't count towards winning.

First game against @jadziadax8 resulted in a true tie, where I scored 111 bonus points.

Second game against @DataNoh, we had to figure out the result of 110 bonus points plus 30 mission points versus 5 bonus points.

A couple other notes from this tournament I wouldn't mind chatting with you about later, related to cards, not scoring.

How is it that no matter how many games of [1E] I play, I still am asking questions every game?
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First Edition Rules Master
By BCSWowbagger (James Heaney)
 - First Edition Rules Master
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Community Contributor
#600705
JeBuS wrote: Sun Jun 11, 2023 8:14 pmFirst game against @jadziadax8 resulted in a true tie, where I scored 111 bonus points.
GOOOD GOOOOOOOD
Second game against @DataNoh, we had to figure out the result of 110 bonus points plus 30 mission points versus 5 bonus points.
Quizzing myself without checking the OPG to see if I got it right: MW 60-5 (+55)?
A couple other notes from this tournament I wouldn't mind chatting with you about later, related to cards, not scoring.
Hit me, although I still have a PM from you from a few weeks ago (regarding my funky 1E format) that is open in a tab waiting for me to make time for a reply.
How is it that no matter how many games of [1E] I play, I still am asking questions every game?
I wonder whether the answer to this isn't, "Inadequate rules documents."


EDIT: I was WRONG! OPG says it's MW 100-5 (+95). Intermix Ratio determines the result but plays no role in the score. I know this! Dagnabbid!
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Director of Operations
By JeBuS (Brian S)
 - Director of Operations
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#600710
I'll post my deck in the morning when I'm at my computer. For now though, so I don't forget...

@BCSWowbagger
Notes from the tournament:

1) Finally Ready to Swim is in play. T'Lar is played. Is the discard from FRtS a cost of playing her? Must it occur before she's "in play"? Is there a window for her to use her download for Fal-tor-pan before the discard?



2) I found that Dominion Battleship could reliably destroy Planet Killer three times per game, with the first on turn 2. Between Obsession, Urgent Warning, a self-seed or two, and It Must Be Destroyed, it was really easy. Probably too easy. My deck, which was by no means a good deck, could score two of them for 52 points by turn 4 or 5.

Now, that doesn't sound like much, in the grand scheme of the great decks and players of this game. But keep in mind, I'm not a great player. But I had a behemoth of a ship smack dab in the middle of the spaceline every game. It cost me nothing to menace my opponents and literally let my points come to me. A 14-15-16 ship, before tactics, was roaming the middle of the table for almost the entire tournament, scoring points, and getting beefier as the game went on, from further boosters. Planet Killers were easy pickings.

The Battleship could attack the Planet Killer during my turn, then sit there and let the Planet Killer attack it at the end of turn. That's 100% damage on a single turn from a single ship.

I could Spacedoor for another ship and do it without the need for a second battle. And my ships wouldn't be stopped, thanks to the tactic. And they weren't even damaged by PK.

So, question time.
• Does this seem out of whack? (I know you're Rules, not Balance, but you were a designer for the main enablers, right? Consider these questions for Designer James.)
• Should It Must Be Destroyed be tweaked so the +4 Attack only applies on battles you initiate? (This would have made it much more difficult to use a single ship to destroy PK in a single turn.)
• Should Urgent Warning be tweaked so you can't download a copy of a [Self] that's already been in play? (This would shave a few points off, and probably take a bit longer.)
• (Controversy Warning!) Should Neutral Outpost be banned in Modern? (I didn't come up with the idea, but... It's intriguing.)
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First Edition Rules Master
By BCSWowbagger (James Heaney)
 - First Edition Rules Master
 -  
Community Contributor
#600721
JeBuS wrote: Mon Jun 12, 2023 12:12 am 1) Finally Ready to Swim is in play. T'Lar is played. Is the discard from FRtS a cost of playing her?
Yes. I don't know how to make "when you play" and "you must" less ambiguous than they are, but, as far as I can think, that is exactly what they must mean.
Must it occur before she's "in play"?
Yes. Costs must be paid before initiation is complete, which happens before responses, which happens before resolution, and she's only in play after resolution.
Is there a window for her to use her download for Fal-tor-pan before the discard?
No.

Apologies to the Vulc in question.
2) I found that Dominion Battleship could reliably destroy Planet Killer three times per game, with the first on turn 2. Between Obsession, Urgent Warning, a self-seed or two, and It Must Be Destroyed, it was really easy. Probably too easy. My deck, which was by no means a good deck, could score two of them for 52 points by turn 4 or 5.

Now, that doesn't sound like much, in the grand scheme of the great decks and players of this game. But keep in mind, I'm not a great player. But I had a behemoth of a ship smack dab in the middle of the spaceline every game. It cost me nothing to menace my opponents and literally let my points come to me. A 14-15-16 ship, before tactics, was roaming the middle of the table for almost the entire tournament, scoring points, and getting beefier as the game went on, from further boosters. Planet Killers were easy pickings.

The Battleship could attack the Planet Killer during my turn, then sit there and let the Planet Killer attack it at the end of turn. That's 100% damage on a single turn from a single ship.

I could Spacedoor for another ship and do it without the need for a second battle. And my ships wouldn't be stopped, thanks to the tactic. And they weren't even damaged by PK.


So, question time.
• Does this seem out of whack? (I know you're Rules, not Balance, but you were a designer for the main enablers, right? Consider these questions for Designer James.)
Wearing my Designer Hat: Obsession is pretty good, but we aren't seeing it in every deck, or even most decks. We see it in decks that are well-suited to using it, decks that already have access to beefy boi ships for other reasons, which are already packing some degree of heat, and which therefore complement the Monster Hunter theme pretty well.

I'm perhaps not the least biased person in the world, since not only did I do a lot of design work on the Monster Hunter cards, but I also just did pretty well in the online regional with a deck that tries to kill Planet Killer early. On the other hand, that was the first deck I've put Obsession into in years, and it only fit because I was running a TNG Romulans deck whose main goal was to pump out WEAPONS in order to prevent anyone from entering the Neutral Zone. It's got five warbirds and all five matching commanders in a 37-card deck that draws itself out by around Turn 8. That's a great fit for Monster Hunting! For my [1E-TNG] [SF] deck, it would make a lot less sense, and so I don't put it in there.

There are some balancing elements that make Obsession (it seems to me) good but not out of whack:

* First and foremost, because of Intermix Ratio, the return on investment is limited and diminishes rapidly. Killing a Planet Killer makes a two-mission win possible if you can find another 5 points somewhere (and suffer zero point loss). Killing a second Planet Killer makes the two-mission win easier. Killing a third Planet Killer doesn't have much benefit. Killing a fourth or fifth has no meaningful impact at all, at first blush.

These kills aren't free. The resource investment, in terms of seeds, card plays, staffing, and committing an early ship (or two) to monster hunting, for perhaps several turns, all adds up to something substantial. Still worth it, to a lot of decks, but not cost-free.

Now, I know this doesn't matter to you much at all, because you are not mostly playing your games in order to win them, but just to make the combo go off. Go nuts with that! Score 111 bonus points and then True Tie at 0-0. But that's not unbalancing. It's just eccentric!

* Because of the diminishing returns, people aren't running a lot of Planet Killers (and, if they are, they're wasting precious seed slots on them). Urgent Warning sees play, but rarely. I personally think that playing It Must Be Destroyed is a bit of a trap, if you're trying to win; you give up having an actually good tactic simply to make it easier to kill the one or two [Self] cards you actually need to kill. It's a security blanket (which many players need and will happily invest in) but not a winning strategy.

* Players shouldn't sleep on the risk that their [Self] points will get stolen. This happens! The modal player response to seeing Obsession right now is "oh, I don't want to deal with that, stick it on your end." But I've had some top players say, "Please put that on my end," swiftly kill the Planet Killer, and now they've robbed me of 26 points while adding 10 of their own. It's like having a mission stolen, and Obsession / Urgent Warning players are openly inviting it!

Obviously, if you play against someone who cedes space supremacy to you right away, or who doesn't have enough WEAPONS to catch the Planet Killer quick on their end, then you're getting those points, pretty easily -- but if you can't actually control the entire spaceline (and swiftly get anywhere on it, in force, which costs even more infrastructure), starting on Turn 1, then you really can't count on scoring any [Self] points.

(P.S. Correct meta response to seeing more monster hunting is to add more early WEAPONS to your deck. Design has been pushing that for a couple years now. I'm not sure whether it's conscious or not (if it is, I missed the memo), but The Dogs of War set, Staging Ground, HQ: Shipyards, the Scimitar -- it's all saying "you need to invest more in ships, because the game isn't just about facing dilemmas; it's also about getting to missions alive." So go steal your opponent's monster hunting points, and then enjoy having the extra WEAPONS against armada decks anyway.)

* ...or your opponent can just run Khan! to make you a sad panda.

Again, Obsession is pretty darn good. But I don't think it's a game-breaker, by any means. Its recent tournament record seems to support that: relatively few people are using it, and they don't seem to be performing particularly well at events when they do.

My personal worry about Obsession is that it's an example of "fake interaction." It puts stuff on the spaceline and invites opponent to come mess with it, but, in practice, opponent only occasionally has means, motive, and opportunity to mess with it, so it degenerates into a kind of solitaire bonus point farming. This isn't unbalancing; it's just bad gameplay. I have often said that I really dislike Test For Weakness for being a "bonus point farm" card doing "fake interaction," but you can at least make the argument that, despite its higher investment cost and the whole "opponent chooses the spaceline end" thing, Obsession is doing something pretty similar to Test For Weakness. I would like to see more people respond to Obsession by actually trying to steal the kills, and, if there were one change I could make to the card in retrospect, it is that I would allow both players to score the points in order to incentivize that. If Obsession always functions as a bonus point farm, never as something contested by both players, it will have failed, in my view.

(Relatedly, point-scoring objectives that don't make you face dilemmas or other cards owned by your opponent are probably a bad idea? But this is probably fodder for a different post.)
• Should It Must Be Destroyed be tweaked so the +4 Attack only applies on battles you initiate? (This would have made it much more difficult to use a single ship to destroy PK in a single turn.)
• Should Urgent Warning be tweaked so you can't download a copy of a [Self] that's already been in play? (This would shave a few points off, and probably take a bit longer.)
• (Controversy Warning!) Should Neutral Outpost be banned in Modern? (I didn't come up with the idea, but... It's intriguing.)
Since I think this combo is currently not overpowered, my answer to all of these is "no."
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Director of Operations
By JeBuS (Brian S)
 - Director of Operations
 -  
#600747
Deck posted


@BCSWowbagger In general, I don't disagree with you on most of your take on Obsession decks. But, there's definitely some... let's say "feel bad" moments in the tournament. Could the deck be teched against? Yeah, all decks can be. But, does teching against this specifically make you weaker to more prevalent stuff? :shrug:

This feels like a sneaky meta call that can wreck a tournament. Those have a place, I guess.

Mostly what I wrote above was just the stuff that came up in conversation as we discussed the games.

Let me stress again, I don't think I built the "final form" of an Obsession deck. I think it can be done better. And I think it can be played better than I can play it. So that's where some of my sense of concern comes from.
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Director of Operations
By JeBuS (Brian S)
 - Director of Operations
 -  
#600783
BCSWowbagger wrote:I personally think that playing It Must Be Destroyed is a bit of a trap, if you're trying to win; you give up having an actually good tactic simply to make it easier to kill the one or two cards you actually need to kill. It's a security blanket (which many players need and will happily invest in) but not a winning strategy.
You make a good point here.

Having now started to absorb more about how the deck played, I've come to realize that this deck didn't need IMBD at all. It was really just a relic of the previous iteration which tried to use Alpha Attack Ships.

For this version, I could just have well stocked the Battle Bridge with Full Phaser Spread, Phased Polaron Beam, Target Engines, and Target Weapons. They all would have been more versatile against the opponents' ships, and they would have given me all the boost I needed for a Turn 2 score against Planet Killer.

So basically, the next iteration would be more deadly to the opponent, but no less effective against Planet Killer.

I think maybe I'm coming around to the idea that most tactics shouldn't deal more than 24% HULL damage. It's too easy to blow things up. Meanwhile, there's a full spectrum of interesting damage effects that could be applied instead, but aren't really much in play because it's just simpler to follow up with a kill shot than to let the ship limp away.

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