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By Ausgang (Gerald Sieber)
 - Beta Quadrant
 -  
#572724
PantsOfTheTalShiar wrote:Just a heads up that this cube is only designed to support up to 6 people, so if more are interested, you'll have to have multiple sessions, or sleeve up multiple copies of the cube, or have players tag-team. I wasn't thinking about side events at major tournaments when I put the cube together, I was thinking about just getting some people together some random evening to play some Trek, so that's why I designed for a small number of people.
I think that's a good number especially for the current time. With having no idea about how many people are going to show up at Kaiserfest I don't agonize about that right now and start adapting when the event draws closer.

However, I've spent most of past Sunday's morning to scavenge through my collection and print sheets to start assembling the cube. Whilst doing so I detected an anomaly: If I understood it correctly, the missions listed in the affiliations are just for reference, and the actual, complete list is in the Non-Aligned list (in total 48 missions). But, they are not matching, so which one is the most current one?
Here's a list of the anomalies:
  • listed in Non-Aligned but not in Aligned: Hostage Situation, Observe Ritual, Qualor II Rendezvous.
  • listed in Federation but not in Non-Aligned: Diplomacy Mission, Reported Activity
  • listed in Klingon but not in Non-Aligned: Reported Activity, Seize Freighter
  • listed in Romulan but not in Non-Aligned: none


I am not commenting much about the cube until I've got my first first-hand experiences with it, but I'm curious about how certain strategies or subthemes worked out in your groups so far. Especially infiltration.

Cheers :cheersL:
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By PantsOfTheTalShiar (Jason Tang)
 - Delta Quadrant
 -  
Contender
#573245
Ausgang wrote: Mon Feb 28, 2022 3:34 am...snip...
However, I've spent most of past Sunday's morning to scavenge through my collection and print sheets to start assembling the cube. Whilst doing so I detected an anomaly: If I understood it correctly, the missions listed in the affiliations are just for reference, and the actual, complete list is in the Non-Aligned list (in total 48 missions). But, they are not matching, so which one is the most current one?
Here's a list of the anomalies:
  • listed in Non-Aligned but not in Aligned: Hostage Situation, Observe Ritual, Qualor II Rendezvous.
  • listed in Federation but not in Non-Aligned: Diplomacy Mission, Reported Activity
  • listed in Klingon but not in Non-Aligned: Reported Activity, Seize Freighter
  • listed in Romulan but not in Non-Aligned: none


I am not commenting much about the cube until I've got my first first-hand experiences with it, but I'm curious about how certain strategies or subthemes worked out in your groups so far. Especially infiltration.

Cheers :cheersL:
Oops, yeah, the Non-aligned list is the correct list. I'll update (or maybe just remove?) the missions in the other lists. Sorry for the slow response, I was busy trying to prepare for a tournament this past weekend.

Also, I hope I'm not too late, but FYI I designed the draft process so that you could use 3 different color sleeves: one color for the 48 missions, one for the 96 dilemmas, and one for the 240 other cards. It makes setup and cleanup a lot easier.

Haha, yes, I am aware that I am somewhat insane for including infiltration. It was mostly a desperate attempt to include SOME affiliation flavor in the cube. Warp Speed puts huge limitations on the cards you can use because card draws and bonus points basically do nothing. I considered a Romulan capture theme instead, but there's actually not a lot available there to begin with, and a lot of the rewards are draws and bonus points. I also feared that pushing capture too much would go against the spirit of Warp Speed, because the format lets you regenerate your discard pile to reduce the chances of being in a situation where you have permanently lost the personnel you needed to win.

There's also a question of how much affiliation flavor is really necessary as long as the core gameplay of using your personnel to overcome dilemmas and solve missions is good. Looking at the history of Block, the most popular Block format was the one with the least amount of affiliation flavor.

I wish I could tell you more about how infiltration works in practice, but I think I'm the only person who tries to draft infiltration, and I've only gotten to do an actual draft once. I did try to force infiltration, and I honestly don't remember how it turned out since it was several years ago. People don't pick the infiltration verbs, so if someone really wants them, there's a decent chance they can pick them up. If the infiltration player avoids drafting Federation cards, then most if not all of their opponents will be Feds and can be infiltrated. It's not going to work out every time, but I'm fine if it only works out some of the time.

The good news is that there are at least some other themes that have worked out for other players. I don't have time for a full rundown now, but I'll just say that Live Long and Prosper/Vulcan Mindmeld, Empathic Touch, Treachery Missions, Genetronic Replicator, and Ocular Implants are some of the cards that guide decks in a particular direction that I've seen used successfully. Some of the other themes need to be reworked or replaced. :)
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By PantsOfTheTalShiar (Jason Tang)
 - Delta Quadrant
 -  
Contender
#577477
This project is going into hibernation for the next couple months since I don't really have time to work on games anymore. Just wanted to make a couple of notes, mostly for myself.

- Reunion
+ some |FED| -only planet mission
As a mission solvable with one personnel, it's hardly unique, and as a mission with rare requirements, there's no upside, unlike Save Stranded Crew. It's kind of a trap for players who are drawn to Story Mode. The personnel are still great, though.

- Personal Duty
+ some [Dual] dilemma
When Commander Joe hate-drafted this (or at least said he thought about hate-drafting), that was a red flag. With Friendly Fire, it's really out of place as the only constructed-caliber combo in a format with lower power than constructed. Personal Duty really ONLY combos with FF or Irrational Commander (the off-brand FF), so they will frequently end up together, and there are few, if any, ways to actually pass the combo. Since FF is more flexible and we need to cut [S] dilemmas anyway, Personal Duty's the one to go.

Bonus sneak peak regarding two-person draft:
I don't have time to cover this fully now, but Joe and I did have fun with a two-player draft earlier this year. Basically, I think any method of drafting can work as long as you end up with twice as many (or even slightly under twice as many) cards as you will need for each category (missions, dilemmas, everything else). I have a hunch that Minneapolis draft, or something similar, works best out of all the 2-player draft formats I know, and that's what Joe and I did. Just make sure that you make enough packs such that you will end up with enough cards.

When I did some solo tests of Winchester drafts, I found that I almost always just wanted to take the largest piles, which seems like it takes some fun out of the draft. I assume Winston draft might have similar issues, in addition to how slow it is. Grid draft has potential I think, but since all cards are face up, it would become skill-testing in the same way that 2E skill tracking is, i.e. not everyone's cup of tea.
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Director of Organized Play
By LORE (Kris Sonsteby)
 - Director of Organized Play
 -  
1E World Semi-Finalist 2021
Regent
1E Andoria Regional Champion 2022
W.C.T. Chairman's Trophy winner 2014-2015
#577488
I hope we can still play it at Continentals as one of the side events! :cross:
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Director of Organized Play
By LORE (Kris Sonsteby)
 - Director of Organized Play
 -  
1E World Semi-Finalist 2021
Regent
1E Andoria Regional Champion 2022
W.C.T. Chairman's Trophy winner 2014-2015
#577520
Looks like the Germans ran a pretty fun gig this weekend using the Cube Draft. Can any of those attendees' comment on what they liked / didn't like? I know @PantsOfTheTalShiar is always looking for refinements to this fun and refreshing format.
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By Kaiser
 - Delta Quadrant
 -  
Contender
#577521
LORE wrote: Sun May 22, 2022 10:50 am Looks like the Germans ran a pretty fun gig this weekend using the Cube Draft. Can any of those attendees' comment on what they liked / didn't like? I know @PantsOfTheTalShiar is always looking for refinements to this fun and refreshing format.
We talked about a bit afterwards, there were a few things I/we thought could be changed, but overall I had the impression that everybody enjoyed it a lot . I think Gerald was planning to send Jason some feedback anyway.
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By martok88
 - Beta Quadrant
 -  
Contender
1E German National Champion 2021
1E Swedish National Runner-Up 2018
#577522
The tournament was really fun. Thanks to Gerald for hosting! I hope we can play this again soon, maybe at Kaiserfest.

+ the drafting procedure worked very smoothly
+ piggyback cards are fun!
+ the number of drafted cards per player (8 missions, 40 draw, 16 dilemmas) seems perfect
+ I love the idea of one seedable treaty. The decision to play one or two affiliations is a tough one and very balanced at the cost of a seed slot
+ the starter pack everyone gets if good as it is
+ the format immediately attracted new/returning players - amazing! It is just the right mix between easy accessibility (no preparation, warp speed rules) and strategic options (draft)

As Kaiser said, Gerald might give a more complete set of suggestions for Jason, but before I forget everything, I'll write my notes down now:

- We did not like the concept of including the Mission II's with build-in outposts: This means that if you are lucky enough to draft one, you win a seed slot because you don't have to seed an outpost. One possibility would be to just leave those out (I guess replace them with regular missions) and maybe then allow 13 seed cards so that the number of dilemmas does not go down.
- I would suggest getting rid of Lower Decks. There's a good reason this card is even on the OTF watch list! If something is too powerful for OTF, it is definitely too powerful for a draft.
- The combo that won me most of my games might be a litte overpowerd, not sure though: Atmospheric Ionization + Interphasic Plasma Creatures + Hanonian Land Eel is pretty brutal! Maybe Atmospheric Ionization is a bit too strong for the format, but I'm not sure about this one - could be fine.
- The combo Genesis Planet + Unstable Matrix might be too strong. If was not played in our tourney though (lack of skills to solve it), but if it works, opponents are usually down 4 dilemmas (space dilemmas) which is brutal
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 - Beta Quadrant
 -  
#577600
martok88 wrote:- I would suggest getting rid of Lower Decks. There's a good reason this card is even on the OTF watch list! If something is too powerful for OTF, it is definitely too powerful for a draft.

I agree in the specific, but I disagree on the broad principle. There are plenty of cards that are broken or powerful because of the environment they are in or synergy with other cards, or broken because they are in multiples, where in a cube draft you are limited by what you can get.


Looking at the OTF ban list, I can see several cards that all would at a glance seem fine to me in a cube type environment:

- Palor Toff
- Romulan Minefield
- Senior Staff Meeting
- Excaliban Surak
- Rogue Borg Mercenaries
- Clone Machine / DQSS
- All Threes
- Ceti Eel

And that's just at a glance. Some of those could be very strong, possibly even the strongest in the cube, but cube hits that spot between limited and constructed, and power levels can be very different then in constructed.
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By Ausgang (Gerald Sieber)
 - Beta Quadrant
 -  
#577627
First of all, I agree with both posts above, that the draft was very fun. Overall, it became quite obvious that you already put extensive effort in the cube as it already runs very smoothly and is balanced very well.

The following feedback is based on just one draft, so everything has to be taken with a grain of salt ;-)

I’ll add to the comments already made first:
We did not like the concept of including the Mission II's with build-in outposts: This means that if you are lucky enough to draft one, you win a seed slot because you don't have to seed an outpost. One possibility would be to just leave those out (I guess replace them with regular missions) and maybe then allow 13 seed cards so that the number of dilemmas does not go down.
I would definitely cut them. For one they are very strong as they come with an extra seed slot, and have easy requirements (and their inherent drawback of low points becomes a wash in Warp Speed). Five out of six players seeded a Mission II which is quite telling. Even more problematic for me is how they tamper with the drafting experience. They are clearly first-pick-material, but they also soft-lock you in an affiliation unless you want to give up the huge advantage they provide. One of the fun things about drafting is figuring out what the players next to you are drafting (i.e. which affiliations are open), but this element gets hamstringed by the Mission IIs.
I would suggest getting rid of Lower Decks. There's a good reason this card is even on the OTF watch list! If something is too powerful for OTF, it is definitely too powerful for a draft.
I mildly disagree. First of all, constructed and limited cannot be compared that easily as they are totally different monsters. LD can be leveraged a lot better in constructed than in a limited environment. Secondly, I didn’t perceive it as being too strong; in the relevant matches it provided its bonus to about a quarter of the ATs/crews (I think the hand weapons and PADDs were much more effective). Yes it foils some dilemmas, but these are mostly the walls that tried to shoehorn big teams into an attempt and it is good these get some counters. Thirdly, I actually think LD has a balancing effect on the format, especially in regard to the missions where some of them come with attribute requirements while others don’t and this makes them more comparable power-level-wise.
The combo that won me most of my games might be a litte overpowerd, not sure though: Atmospheric Ionization + Interphasic Plasma Creatures + Hanonian Land Eel is pretty brutal! Maybe Atmospheric Ionization is a bit too strong for the format, but I'm not sure about this one - could be fine.
Not sure about it being too strong, but this combo would actually be an argument for keeping Lower Decks :D Also take into account, that the more drafts we are doing the more the strong is getting identified, which makes it harder to get such combos in the future.
The combo Genesis Planet + Unstable Matrix might be too strong. If was not played in our tourney though (lack of skills to solve it), but if it works, opponents are usually down 4 dilemmas (space dilemmas) which is brutal
If someone can pull it off, it is probably super powerful. I am not sure if I remember correctly, but one player picked Genesis Planet very early, and failed to collect all the requirements to solve it in a reasonable way. I’d describe it as a trap card (high power at high cost). What I don’t like is how it contradicts the function of piggybacks as all the other cards give an indication of what they are piggybacking, whereas this needs some external reference (which is also not a good thing for the lesser experienced players).

The following is a collection of my personal impressions and comments which I picked up throughout the day:

- Range 7 seems to be the minimum you want on your ships. In every game my opponent seeded a 4-span mission next to my base, so in order to get to the second mission I always needed at least 7 range. I had the I.K.C. K’Ratak in my deck and it was big speed-bummer. While drafting I mostly tried to get a certain amount of ships and didn't pay much attention to the stats, but going forward I will never pick a 6-range ship again in a draft unless I absolutely have to (which is unlikely with Mercenary Ship being in the starter pack). I’d probably cut those ships to avoid this frustration point, unless of course they provide some other synergy.

- Lack of Preparation seems weak with all the low-requirement missions running around. All-Available Personnel (piggybacking Skeleton Crew) might be a more reliable alternative.

- AMS is quite strong in my opinion as it jumpstarts the game and can be considered as “an extra turn for the cost of a seed slot”. I’m not sure if I cut it though, but I would definitely remove Dr. Farek from the starter pack to raise its opportunity cost.

- I don’t like the Shades of Grey stuff. Most of the dilemmas that they enhance are unexciting without SoG, hence to make them on-par with other dilemmas you’ll need to spend an extra seed slot. That is probably too costly, and I’d rather play two good dilemmas instead of SoG and one dilemma. Villagers With Torches works somewhat similarily; it usually prevented one red-shirt (like an Armus) and eventually it would have been better to slot a dilemma instead.

General observations:
The cube provides a good mixture of build-around cards, filler material, and splashy stuff. Between putting together a good skill-matrix, grabbing essential pieces, and including some fun/surprise tech, it hits the sweet spot between accessibility and skill-intensivity, concerning both the draft itself and the games. Not too streamlined, and not too complex. :thumbsup:
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By Kaiser
 - Delta Quadrant
 -  
Contender
#577628
The combo Genesis Planet + Unstable Matrix might be too strong. If was not played in our tourney though (lack of skills to solve it), but if it works, opponents are usually down 4 dilemmas (space dilemmas) which is brutal
If someone can pull it off, it is probably super powerful. I am not sure if I remember correctly, but one player picked Genesis Planet very early, and failed to collect all the requirements to solve it in a reasonable way. I’d describe it as a trap card (high power at high cost). What I don’t like is how it contradicts the function of piggybacks as all the other cards give an indication of what they are piggybacking, whereas this needs some external reference (which is also not a good thing for the lesser experienced players).
That is correct, we picked Genesis Planet as our first mission I think, as it seemed super powerful, but we simply had bad luck getting the personnel to actually solve it. If I remember correctly, our first Geology showed up in the fourth stack we drafted, and we only found 2 overall; Biology (first set of requirements) we only found 1, and Transporter Skill (for the second option) we didn't get at all. I remember at one point we had the chance to pick Nick Locarno, but we were heavily invested in Federation at that point (and probably wanted something else more, solving GP reliably already seemed unlikely at that point).

Something completely different that I found mildly irritating was suddenly running into stuff like Hanonian Land Eel, or Horta, to a lesser extent Villagers with Torches, and a few others I don't remember, mainly because for some reason I went into this expecting it to primarly centered around the PAQ-era, and didn't expect to see Horta etc.; but that's strictly on me for not looking at the card pool before, won't be an issue for next time.
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By PantsOfTheTalShiar (Jason Tang)
 - Delta Quadrant
 -  
Contender
#578006
Thanks so much for the feedback, everyone! I'm glad that you were able to decipher my instructions and enjoyed the format.

(And BTW, @LORE , I'm still on for playing this around Continentals, I just can't guarantee that I will make any changes to it by then.)
Ausgang wrote: Tue May 24, 2022 1:56 am First of all, I agree with both posts above, that the draft was very fun. Overall, it became quite obvious that you already put extensive effort in the cube as it already runs very smoothly and is balanced very well.

The following feedback is based on just one draft, so everything has to be taken with a grain of salt ;-)

I’ll add to the comments already made first:
We did not like the concept of including the Mission II's with build-in outposts: This means that if you are lucky enough to draft one, you win a seed slot because you don't have to seed an outpost. One possibility would be to just leave those out (I guess replace them with regular missions) and maybe then allow 13 seed cards so that the number of dilemmas does not go down.
I would definitely cut them. For one they are very strong as they come with an extra seed slot, and have easy requirements (and their inherent drawback of low points becomes a wash in Warp Speed). Five out of six players seeded a Mission II which is quite telling. Even more problematic for me is how they tamper with the drafting experience. They are clearly first-pick-material, but they also soft-lock you in an affiliation unless you want to give up the huge advantage they provide. One of the fun things about drafting is figuring out what the players next to you are drafting (i.e. which affiliations are open), but this element gets hamstringed by the Mission IIs.
Yeah, a big reason I included Mission IIs was to be first-pick material. I felt that starting off with a pack of just generic missions wouldn't be exciting and wouldn't really provide direction, especially if you didn't know the cube's skill distribution. I am a little shocked that you didn't like them, because no one else has mentioned it before to me, but I totally get it. If the p1p1 is too obvious and you're never tempted to abandon it, that's not ideal either.

The other reason I wanted Mission IIs is so players could seed them face-down as their 2nd or 3rd mission and build them during the game. Building outposts would make it easier to solve your furthest mission and/or mess with your opponent, adding more variety to gameplay. I think I'm the only person who's built an outpost during a game, but it was very effective both times I did. I think both times I built outposts that I had stocked in my deck, though.

Outpost building is also a big reason for AMS, but if you want to scale back its power, it's easy to move Dr. Nydom to the starters and Dr. Farek to the draft. I almost did that in the first place.

My goal is to get the proportion of [1E-S] dilemmas down to 25%. (I think now they are around 33% of all dilemmas in the cube.) Then, the 3-planet Genesis Planet deck should only blank 2-3 dilemmas, not 4 dilemmas. I think(?) that's fair for using what is by far the hardest mission in the cube and spending a seed slot on Unstable Matrix. But I don't know if anyone else has tried to draft the Genesis Planet deck because of how hard it is.

Otherwise, I pretty much agree on the underpowered stuff, I just don't know when/if I'll get around to replacing it. All Available Personnel is a good idea, though. I'll keep an eye on the overpowered stuff. Glad the piggyback cards worked out and were fun; I think eventually I would want to put some kind of mark or stamp on a (virtual) card to indicate that it comes with a piggyback, and then a separate mark on the piggyback card itself so it's easier to put back together for the next draft.
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