This forums is for questions, answers, and discussion about First Edition rules, formats, and expansions.
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By Shepard (Matt Carroll)
 - Beta Quadrant
phaserihardlyknowher wrote: Thu Sep 29, 2022 9:26 am
Caretaker's Guest wrote: Thu Sep 29, 2022 2:02 am Just leave the Ref be, mark my words. Fix the things you might find most abusive on a level not to make them unplayable (this is important!) and leave the Ref mechanic as strategic choice. As Julius claimed: View it as a strategic element and a chance, not a burden.
I don't really understand how [Ref] is strategic. There's no cost, no timing element and no counter. You basically say "no you can't do that" and that's the end of the strategy. It's a magic bullet that you can fire whenever you want and never misses. I always feel like I'm missing something obvious, but if it's an auto stock and you can't stop it, how is it different than a de facto rule?

Compare that to another meta policing card like Lack of Preperation where both sides have some choice to make and making a choice counter to the meta is a meaningful risk. That seems more strategic than [Ref].
I don't agree that there's no cost to stocking ref cards as counters. At a minimum they take up deck/tent space, and to be most effective you need to invest at least 1 seed space for Tribunal or Q the Referee. I can't speak for anyone else, but seed slots are incredibly valuable to me.

There's also almost always strategic choice involved in choosing which ref cards to include ( unless you're devoting resources to include every single 1, which is another cost). For instance, unless I'm using QT:CW I typically don't include White Deprivation in my decks because it doesn't come up enough to warrant it. The choice not to include some ref cards (which, side note, you can't even fit all of them in the dedicated ref side of QT:CW alone) is therefore absolutely strategic because you have to decide which abusive strategies are most common/most crippling to your deck and weigh out the cost/benefit of including the respective counters in your deck with the odds you will encounter those strategies.
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Director of Operations
By JeBuS (Brian S)
 - Director of Operations
Why should [Ref] be part of the game, if the "strategy" involved in its inclusion is merely a judgment call of which abusive strategy you would prefer to lose to? Why not just remove the abusive strategies?
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European OP Coordinator
 - European OP Coordinator
1E European Continental Quarter-Finalist 2022
2E European Continental Quarter-Finalist 2022
1E German National Runner-Up 2021
2E Austrian National Runner-Up 2020
BCSWowbagger wrote: Wed Sep 28, 2022 11:44 pm
Clerasil ToB wrote: Wed Sep 28, 2022 9:47 pm An idea that came up my mind lately: what about making the [Ref] -set a really adjustable one? As an example: Temporal Narcosis - Revolving Door was played; everybody agreed how broken/unintended this is. Just bring out a new [1E-Int] or [Inc] or whatever with the [Ref] icon just to Nullify Temporal Narcosis (or whatever broken card) - it would solve the case without banning and afterwards it could go through playtesting to see, what else "damage" this card could do...
Friendly question, as I'm trying to understand your perspective: what's the practical difference between "make a new [Ref] card that kills Temporal Narcosis [or whatever broken card]" and "ban Temporal Narcosis [or whatever broken card]"?

If we ban Temporal Narcosis [or whatever broken card], nobody can play Temporal Narcosis. The abuse is prevented. Playtesting can then work on an errata at leisure and eventually put out a working version.

If we make a new [Ref] card to nullify Temporal Narcosis [or whatever broken card], people can technically play Temporal Narcosis, but, in most games, they will simply see it nullified. The abuse is mostly prevented. Playtesting can then work on an errata at leisure and eventually put out a working version. Then what? Do we ban the anti-Narcosis [Ref] card we just created, since we fixed the card?

These seem very similar to me, in practical terms, but the first option seems more effective (it blocks all the abuse) and less expensive (no new card production needed, no future ban needed, no pressure on players to stock [Ref] /Tribunal/Civil War.) That's why I prefer bans to [Ref]. But clearly you see some benefit in doing a [Ref] instead, and I'm trying to fully understand that benefit.
GooeyChewie wrote: Tue Sep 27, 2022 2:12 pm
boromirofborg wrote: Tue Sep 27, 2022 1:51 pm My magic wand fix, is a rule that report with crew = number of staffing icons. (Minimum 1).

Then you are literally reporting with the crew, and no extras.
Not only would this fix prevent report with crew from becoming crazy powerful, but it would make more sense as well. It confused the heck out of me the first time I had an opponent drop a "report with crew" with way more personnel than just the crew. Bonus benefit, it gives players more reason to use ships with big staffing requirements.
I'm personally fond of this idea, but it is worth noting that it would break / require errata to at least Type 18 Shuttlepod and Bajoran Raider.

EDIT: oh, right, and Brunt's Shuttle.
The result would be the same, that's absolutely correct. The point of this argument is lying somewhere else (I'll try to elaborate):

Almost since the very beginning of CC's engagement in 1E there was one major goal: streamline rules by printing as much as possible on the new cards (or on erratad cards). With success - the Glossary shrank down even if there were lots of new cards. New stuff, like [1E-TNG] or [1E-DS9] was elaborated on the cards themselves and not with a new rule or Glossary-entry or whatever. There are almost no "new" Glossary entries regarding new cards.

So the goal seems to be: as much as possible on the cards themselves, Glossary and rules should shrink down.

But with the ultimate counter weapon [Ref] it works (or should work) the EXACT OPPOSITE way. Some basic [Ref] cards like The Big Picture or Intermix Ratio were included into the OTF rules. Existing cards became banned (and I see a ban list as another RULES document in some way), just to add the exact same effect into the rules.

So on the bottom line, regarding [Ref] , it seems to be the approach to get rid of cards (or card effects) and add them into rules, Glossary, ban list,...

Those two approaches don't fit together in any way...
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By winterflames (Derek Marlar)
 - Delta Quadrant
1E The Void Regional Participant 2022
Isn't there a difference between Being reasonably certain that the dilemma combos you bring have a chance of working (Big Picture) and Opponent played his entire deck on the first turn (Empok STP drop deck) where rules or bans are concerned?

One is a matter of, if opp wants to bring all space so he gets essentially 2 of my dilemma combos to whiff, they have to do 1 or 2 more missions, facing a larger number of dilemma combos than a more evenly split mission selection would have to do.

The latter is, I don't even get to actually play the game. Like hexany.
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First Edition Rules Master
By BCSWowbagger (James Heaney)
 - First Edition Rules Master
Community Contributor
1E North American Continental Runner-Up 2022
Aha! Thank you, @Clerasil ToB . That helps a lot. Several things you've been saying make considerably more sense to me now.

Do you see errata the same way? In other words, is errata another way we add more stuff into rules documents? Or is errata "less bad" than banning a card or turning it into a rule?
 - Beta Quadrant
On reflection, I think a lot of people are talking past each other in these [Ref] discussions. Part of the problem is that strong strategies, and the tools for dealing with them, exist in many forms. For instance, we could create an "axis of cheese" with guidepoints like:

A. You auto-lose (*) unless you can counter the strategy.
B. You are at a major disadvantage unless you counter the strategy.
C. You are at a minor disadvantage unless you counter the strategy.

(*) By this I mean you have no chance of winning, with no future recourse.

As examples from old strategies (staying away from the current metagame in hopes we can view them more dispassionately), "Wormhole all your ships to Montana Missile Complex" would be A, "Kivas/Kivas/Kivas/Red Alert megacrew" would be B, playing Masaka to mulligan your hand would be C. Or, in terms of battle decks, A is "all your facilities are destroyed", B is "you lose a ship and large crew", C is "a ship is damaged with a casualty or two from Tactics".

We can add a second, perpendicular axis along these lines, ranging from "uncounterable" (1) to "only stoppable if you stock expensive cards that aren't otherwise useful" (2), all the way to "easily countered by actions not requiring you to stock specific cards" (n).

How problematic a strategy is depends on where it falls in this matrix. An uncounterable auto-win (A/1) clearly breaks the game. Strategies at the other corner (C/n) are harmless, but rarely played. The interesting discussion happens along the other diagonal of the matrix: minor advantages that are hard to stop, and very powerful strategies that can be cheaply countered.

The tools we have for fixing "problem cards" -- ban/errata, [Ref] cards, other specific counters, do nothing and let the metagame fix itself -- shift where strategies lie along this second axis.

My point in introducing this framework is that not all "potential NPEs" are equal in terms of impact on gameplay balance. I think we all agree that different strategies need different counters; I hope this gives us a vocabulary to discuss *why*.

For example -- I said that the interesting discussion happens on the "minor impact/hard to counter" to "huge impact/easy to counter" spectrum. But these are not symmetrical: the latter leads to "high-variance" games which boil down to whether the right counter was stocked or not. This is where my issues with [Ref] stem from: it puts the onus on the defender, rather than the aggressor. We get better gameplay if the risk is directly borne by the player choosing to use the strategy in the first place. Example: White Deprivation should not be a [Ref] card; instead, it should be a mandatory download on Jem'Hadar Shrouding and/or other key [Dom] engines. This way the risk of the strategy is inherently baked in whenever someone plays it. This makes for a more stable play environment, and is MUCH friendlier to new players. Especially since [Ref] very easily gets into complex timing rules (and not the fun kind of complexity).

To summarize, as this post has gotten very long, even for me:

Very few category A threats should exist in the game, and those that do exist (think Stop First Contact or armadas blowing up facilities) should be costed high. Ban/errata is the right tool for cards on the wrong side of that line -- ideally, errata so that an appropriate cost or risk is built in upfront.

If you're worried about category C threats, stock regular counters like Kevin or a targeted bullet.

Category B threats is where "boosted" counters like [Ref] should be. If you want protection, it's there. If you don't, you are taking some additional risk, but NOT the risk of being shut out of the game. Mirror Image against Kivas is fine. Pre-errata Operate Wormhole Relays was not.

I was never a huge fan of the [Ref] mechanic for many reasons -- it puts the onus on the defender, adds friction to deckbuilding, involves complex and legalistic timing rules, and isn't even thematic (Q was a trickster himself, if anything he would delight in exploiting loopholes) -- but at least this way nobody runs the risk of an auto-loss if they don't plaly it.

TLDR: [Ref] can stay in the game as protection against mid-level threats. But no player should feel obligated to play [Ref] lest they lose to a Category A strategy.
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By Smiley (Cristoffer Wiker)
 - Gamma Quadrant
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
Game design is a pretty researched material now, so there is quite a lot of information and knowledge on things like this if you want to use it.

In my day job, we try to make the experience for the players as smooth as possible, and we have to take all of them into consideration. That means that the lowest bar we have to meet is always the new players. And time has shown that silver bullets have an adverse effect on the game as you place the agency on the attack and non on the attacker. That means that there is no upside to the play of such a mechanic.

The only way to handle an abusive strategy is to remove it. And I've heard over and over that the next most abusive strategy would then be next and that is right. They would all go away until they would not be abusive. As the abusive strategies can be quite easily spotted as they are well undercosted for their impact on the game and often a feelbad experience on the opponent as well.

The decision by D back in the day was never a good decision as it has shown that everyone needed to play the [Ref] cards to be able to go to a tournament to not get hit with some kind of bad mechanic. And they just had to make more and more over time, and the power of them just became more powerful for each iteration as players never really stopped playing the cheese as it was always worth it compared to the fines until the later sets. That's where D decided that enough was enough and put a permanent stop to some of them, more or less banning the cards if you decided to play them or not. But the problem is the ebb and flow of the meta, and that does not blend well with the cheese as it has a tendency to come back as soon as people stop stocking the counters when they are no longer needed (again because the agency is forced upon the attacked).

So, removing (via ban or errata) cards/strategies/rules that forced the agency to the attacked with only one outcome as it is played too often is a good thing for the game.

There are some counters that still can be said to work, and that is the one that is more like the magic card Anarchy. It's a counter to a specific strategy, but it might not show up every time, and if it does, it has a pretty powerful effect but not a game-ending one, and they often come at a high cost to stock/play.

And I'm not advocating that there should not be counters to things, but they should be more general/broader and less powerful.
By NoComment
 - Alpha Quadrant
Clerasil ToB wrote: Wed Sep 28, 2022 8:44 pm
NoComment wrote: Tue Sep 27, 2022 9:58 pm
MidnightLich wrote: Tue Sep 27, 2022 5:16 pm

The Department of First Edition has nothing to do with forum moderation. Nothing. Any concerns you have about 1E you are welcome to share; concerns about forum moderation can be discussed here.

As the Ghostbusters would say, don't cross the streams.

nothing has to do with anything. im not confusing my amusement about your constant fails to properly manage the game or the team with the other half of the board decaying in anarchy as well.
i admit I like to put salt in the festering wound the board really became, but now the pus is all over the forum and i wasnt even here. HAHAHA
ofc nobody steps back until the game is gone for good, so keep going
i think you should ban empok nor or STP or both, just to prevent the game from evolving.
I feel sorry for you - obviously you don't have better things to do than doing this try to break the community apart...
I feel sorry for you all - obviously you don't have better things to do than destroying your own work and alienating new players inputs

btw the most obvious ban would be revolving door as its also a piece in the empok nor combo
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By Professor Scott (Mathew McCalpin)
 - Delta Quadrant
1E World Participant 2022
As has been stated elsewhere, the expectation is a quick turnaround for errata on Temporal Narcosis. With Worlds being neigh, banning TN is expected to have less impact on players than banning Revolving Door as so few players/decks employ TN. In a perfect world, yes, banning Revolving Door to repair the damage from an arguably poorly-worded prior errata on it might have been the best choice, but this is not a perfect world. The fact that the Balance Team decided not to ban Empok Nor has had no bearing on their decision to ban TN, obviously.
By Se7enofMine (ChadC)
 - Delta Quadrant
My playgroup is so small and we arent world beaters, so we dont try to go for cheese, in order to break something, to win. We play much more casual.

As such, we dont even use QtR. At all.

BUT, reading this thread, i can definitely see both sides of the issue. Im just not sure where i come down on the issue.

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