Deck Building Ain’t Hard

A combination of two things inspired this post.  First, there’s the newsgroup topic about how someone’s group isn’t having fun wherein I emphasize the need for people to build new decks regularly.  Second, there’s the ongoing conversation with Azel in the comments section of the first Virgo post.

One distinction paramount to framing the discussion is whether we are talking about building any deck or building a good deck.  Building any deck can be a matter of slapping together the minimum number of cards and promptly being eviscerated by someone who built a competitive deck.  The extreme, therefore, is irrelevant; however, as with most things, there’s a spectrum and I’m more concerned with people building passable decks than with them building some sort of masterpiece.

There’s a line, somewhere, between the desire to build a masterpiece and the general desire to build decks well.  I think these get confused in people’s minds even when there’s no real interest in trying to build the best deck.

Different CCGs have different thresholds of viability.  Even choosing the opening hand wrong for a Wheel of Time deck means losing an hour or two later (if you are quick).  Rather than take the approach of looking at a number of CCGs, I’d rather focus on the one that makes a difference to me these days and one that people often complain about in terms of length of time building decks.

Yes, it’s time for another V:TEScentric article.

What seems to give people trouble with building V:TES decks is … I’m not sure what it is for any particular person.  I could guess, but I don’t think it matters.  Nevertheless, here are some possibilities.

  1. Most cards have small effects and the game in general is about building off of numerous small effects, whereas many other CCGs have cards with more obvious strengths.
  2. There are a lot of disciplines, and there are tons of ways to combine disciplines.  Other CCGs may have deckbuilding components with more obvious themes.
  3. The lack of card limits radically increases the number of choices.  With a four card limit game, most good decks are likely to play four copies of the best cards and look for support elsewhere or specialty plays elsewhere.  With V:TES, whether to play 6 copies of a card or 8 copies may be agonizing.
  4. There are lots of clans and multiple sects.  I don’t know that this is anywhere near as troublesome as the number of disciplines because it’s just so easy to build monoclan or like-clan decks.  Most people don’t build a deck for each clan in the game, so a simple place to start in one’s deckbuilding career is to build decks for clans never played before.

There are different types of deckbuilders as CCGers have a large variety of desires and eschews.  It’s amazing sometimes, actually, how stubborn some people can be about what they won’t build.  Anyway, I can’t cover every personality type and what they are looking for and what they aren’t, so my focus is on helping people who aren’t terribly experienced with the game build rather ordinary decks.  Even if ordinary doesn’t cut it, maybe there’s something about philosophy that will help.

Fortunately (as I left this hanging above), building a viable V:TES deck isn’t terribly difficult.

Bleed Bounce

The single most desirable element in a V:TES deck is bleed bounce.  Yes, it’s arguably not the best defense in the game.  Even if it isn’t, bleed bounce isn’t (just) a defense.  Bleed bounce is the most efficient way to win the game being both an extremely powerful defense combined with an, on average, medium level of offense.

Any deck without it better have a great reason why.  As to quantities, an old belief was in minimum six in a 90 card deck, but I’m more of the minimum eight or 10% of the library.  There is a maximum that makes any sense, of course, even for bounce that doubles as intercept.  I ran 20 bounce cards in a major tournament and discarded a number in the finals, though that was mostly due to using ones that didn’t work against larger vampires.

But, what about bloat?

Bloat

Some argue bloat is the best defense since it doesn’t limit itself to any particular attack strategy (well, ignoring that combat stops your ability to act and most bloat comes from actions).  What do we mean by bloat?  It matters.  I tend to think of the term referring to substantial bloat, such as Tap & Cap, Con Boon, and the like.

If we are talking about any level of bloat, then only the most aggro weenie decks can get away without it.  If we are talking about substantial bloat, then there are pros and cons to relying upon it instead of something else.

One of the dumbest things I’ve ever done was to forget to put Blood Dolls in decks.  Whether it’s BDs, Vessels, Minion Taps, or Villeins, there needs to be a strong reason not to play with the blood management masters.

I put the number of Blood Dolls at five, i.e. in an eighty card deck, a minimum of five slots should go to them.  If I play Vessels, I’ll probably play more or combine them with Villeins.  Back when Minion Tap was worth playing, I’d play at least six or play less and add some BDs.  With Villeins, I’ll tend to run four or five and play some BDs.

Wakes

I started with bleed bounce because it is both offense and defense.  Bloat can turn into offense by enabling bringing out more minions.  Waking is squarely in the realm of defense, the realm of not getting ousted.

In certain environments, I can imagine not caring a lot about wakes and certainly some deck types don’t gain much from them.  But, if there’s anything that boggles my mind more than why people so often short the number of wakes they play, it’s probably just why people continue to play Elder Library.

Unless you think you are a better deckbuilder than I am, and you probably do, minimum 10% wakes.  The days of six WWEF in a 90 card deck ended for me at least five years ago.  Even for my unordinary decks, it’s unlikely I’ll play few wakes.  After all, the wakes in the game worth playing are either Freak Drives that cost no blood or give +2 intercept.

Stealth

Moving from how not to get ousted to how to oust, it was probably after Bloodlines came out that I really thought about how important stealth is in the game.  I was trying to decide how to best win with !Salubri and realized that Kennies (Embraces) with Dominate (this was before Camarilla Edition made Embraces something of a specialty play) was not the best way to go about it.  Kennies with Obfuscate made a lot more sense because it doesn’t matter how good your actions are if they don’t go through

While I’ve done many, many things with !Salubri and finally decided to play !Salubri vote in a major (2007 NAC, day two), my current view on building a !Salubri deck with comfortable viability is to graft/splash Obfuscate.

Stealth enables victory.  Given an infinite amount of time and an infinite amount of your predator not killing you, getting actions through will eventually oust your prey.  Contrast with bruise and bleed’s philosophy.  There’s a reason evasion bleed has been many times more effective in the history of the game than B&B.  Okay, smash all of your prey’s vampires, now watch the table rescue empty chump blockers.  Not to say that there aren’t good B&B decks, weenie B&B decks have that winnie magic.  But, it’s so much less work to just not have people block.

Other evasion can be as good but rarely is.  Crocodile’s Tongue is not Lost in Crowds.  It’s not even Resist Earth’s Grasp.

The other reason to stress stealth (delivery) over payload (+bleed or whatever) is that it’s actually really easy to find payload.  Computer Hacking, bleed retainers, bleed equipment – common like dirt.

Many decks aren’t going to be stealthy.  It’s just not worth forcing stealth on every deck.  But, if trying to build a viable deck is an issue, it’s better to start by looking for where stealth is easy than where it isn’t.

Enchant the Unaligned Spirits

There’s a reason that Govern the Unaligned, Kindred Spirits, and friends show up so often in successful decks.  In one card, you get offense and defense, sort of like bleed bounce only bounce doesn’t require a successful action.

I don’t play these much anymore, but then, I don’t play ordinary decks much anymore and too many of my decks aren’t really viable.  While I’m no fan of Social Charm and Legal Manip, even Enchant Kindred makes a huge difference over not having these sorts of two-way cards.

Voltron

Putting it together, my idea of an ordinary deck is going to have 10% wakes, 10% bounce, 5-8 blood management masters, 10-20 stealth cards, and …?

Maybe a better way to envision the process is to thing about where to find the things you want.  Bounce only really comes from two sources.  Stealth is best from Obfuscate, but there are other possibilities.  Govern is Dominate, Kindred Spirits is Dementation, Enchant Kindred or Public Trust or Undue Influence are Presence.  Dominate + stealth, yeah, that’s a winning combination.  Auspex plus bleed plus stealth – I think that has worked, too.

It may sound like I’m being overly limited in how to quickly throw together new decks.  The reality is that AUS and/or Dom are everywhere in this game.  Evasion is pretty damned common as well.  What about vote decks, you say?  Combat decks?

Vote Decks

I think too often people play too many votes.  I have two ordinary tournament winning vote decks (Mellow-Yellow Drama, Pale Panda Warriors) that have a fair number of votes – 17 out of 80, 14 out of 75.  I’m not thrilled with having an ordinary deck be more than 20% vote cards.  Vote decks can (almost) always bleed, and vote damage is often pound for pound much higher because a successful vote won’t be bounced.  If you want an idea of an absurd vote deck, check out the Guruhi precon.

Stealth isn’t as important in vote decks and room needs to be devoted to things like establishing vote control, but the other principles of bleed bounce, wakes, blood management masters still apply.

Combat Decks

I think of two sorts of decks when I hear someone say combat deck:  rush; intercept combat.  B&B is a bit different in that it’s far more successful if it never gets into combat.

I would imagine that building a decent rush deck is one of the harder things for people to do.  I don’t feel qualified to dispense advice as I’ve never had any tournament success with rush.

Intercept combat, I’m much more comfortable with, whether people who play with me agree is questionable.  The main problems I see with people playing intercept combat are relying upon too few minions and putting too little ousting power in.  It’s possible to win games by not dying, but it’s a hard way to advance in larger tournaments.  It’s still worth considering stealth since, at some point, you are likely to need to get actions through to be successful.  Propping up empty chumps works against an intercept deck that destroyed its prey’s minions just as much a rush deck that has.

The problem is striking the right balance.  If you don’t run enough intercept, mighty stealth will annoy you; if you don’t run enough combat, fighty decks will annoy you; if you don’t run enough preykill, not getting any VPs will annoy you.  Judging the metagame well is a big help, where a stealth bleed deck can pretty much hope for the best against anything.  A low stealth, high combat environment means very different card choices from a high stealth, low combat environment.

Good Stuff

V:TES has tons of good stuff cards – cards that are just generically useful in lots of situations.  Information Highway, Sudden Reversal, Wash, Direct Intervention, .44 Magnum, Ivory Bow, Heidelberg, Parthenon, Carlton van Wyk, Mylan Horseed, and on, and on, and on.

Once you get the basics of your deck in, made sure you had enough blood management, made sure you had enough wakes, made sure you had enough bounce, top off with whatever good stuff you prefer, there really isn’t a whole lot (or any) space left.  Bam!  New decks just roll off the assembly line.

Then, if you don’t like your decks, well, changing them shouldn’t take that long or be that painful.  There are a lot fewer things going on in this game mechanically than people seem to think there are.

But, what about ideas?  First, if you haven’t built a deck for every clan, do it.  If nothing else, it will force you to think about the strengths and weaknesses of each clan and make you familiar with a lot more cards.  If you haven’t built a deck with every discipline, do it.  Same reasoning, plus since you probably aren’t going to be using just one discipline, the number of combinations means building an absurd number of different decks. 

Honestly, there are some really terrible deckbuilders out there who post decks publicly.  I find that they focus way too much on flavor, specific vampires, convoluted strategies, and the like to where they miss that even unique decks should be viable and play good cards.  I’m not going to worry about how someone wants to build their one vampire, nine discipline deck that wins off of The Path of Lilith and Leadership Vacuum.  I’m concerned with those people who really can’t seem to frame basic deck construction to where somehow they are discouraged by the idea of building 1+ new decks a week.

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13 Responses to Deck Building Ain’t Hard

  1. finbury says:

    I’ve been having deckbuilding trouble lately. Not because the decks don’t work reasonably well, but because of two distressing tendencies:

    1. I try to make unbalanced decks work
    2. I try to do too much in one deck.

    By 1, I’m mostly thinking of decks that try to make use of too many copies of a key card, or try to stack things to unreasonable levels. Once you have the idea that your deck should pack 10 copies of Hierophant, or 12x Change of Target, or 8x Tunnel Runner, it’s hard to shake, and it’s in direct contradiction to the basic deck construction ideas above. There’s a temptation to sacrifice the basic soundness of the deck for the concept.

    By 2, I mean that sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in a chain of “well, X goes with Y, and Y goes with Z, so it would be so awesome if I had X, Y, and Z in a deck” – but then you’re stuck because X, Y, and Z all require a 20-card module, and you’re left with 30 cards in which to fit 8 wakes, 8 bounces, 6 blood gain masters, and combat defense. It’s almost the opposite of the “too few ideas” problem.

    So, lately, I’ve been trying to keep a couple of principles in mind when I build decks.

    A: sometimes less is more. If I want to use Can’t Take it With You, the best approach is probably not to make a deck that runs 12x Bloodstone or Concealed Weapon / Wooden Stake rush. It’s better to build a conventional-type vote deck, configure my permananents so they don’t trigger CTIWY, and run four copies along with whatever standard vote deck offense is about.

    B: Unique stuff is king. So many of the most powerful cards in VtES only work in small quantities – Art Museum, Giant’s Blood, Political Stranglehold, Bowl, Heart, Ivory Bow, etc. Rather than seeing this as a problem that I need to route around (Alastor! Magic of the Smith! Goblinism!), I’m trying to embrace the idea that a deck will contain single copies of these cards, that they need to be support for the strategy rather than the center of it, and that enough of them should come up every game that I get the benefit without having to pay the extra slot cost of doubles / tutors et al.

    C. Synergy can be subtle. This is something that struck me when looking at the NAC-winning Guruhi deck – http://www.thelasombra.com/decks/twd.htm#2k9nacday2. Nothing in that deck particularly screams “overpowered”, until you start counting the synergies:
    – Nana’s extra master phase special makes it easier to play masters; if some of those masters are intercept locations, that combines well with an overall intercept combat strategy
    – Nana and Nangila’s hand size specials make it easier to play two-card combos, like Pack Alpha / Raven Spy, or equipment / Guruhi Are The Land
    – There also little combos: Guruhi are the land / Leather Jacket, Nangila / Monster, Therebold+Tshwane / locations, Tshwane / gear
    – This deck can get a lot of permanents into play quite quickly. For example, the first turn that Nangila is in play, you could potentially drop Monster on her, have her equip a Flak Jacket, untap with GATL, play Well Marked, rush, play Pack Alpha / Raven Spy, fight to clear red cards from hand, untap with Monster, equip with Heroic Might… That makes the Ashur Tablets extremely strong, as the transient-to-permanent ratio of the deck will steadily increase as time goes on.

    The big wake-up call for me was that a lot of these combos are only present in small quantities – only 2 copies each of Monster, Leather Jacket, Pack Alpha. My natural inclination with these things is to run “7x Concealed, 7x .44” style numbers. That way, though, the deck pretty much needs to rely on the combo, whereas this one seems to be a bit more versatile. It may not start actually dunking people until it’s gotten a couple of combat permanents into play, but it’s still defensively OK from the get-go, and I wouldn’t expect it to have the issue I’d expect where I’m 3/4 of the way through my deck, at 4 pool, desperately need a wake, and instead draw another Concealed/.44 pair.

  2. Azel says:

    yeah Finbury, i’ve walked the whole “must have premium optimization of my combo!” path. so i’d either throw in too many Discipline Masters or 7/7 Concealed .44s and the like. but i’ve learned that yes, you can survive just playing the basic level, and yeah, sometimes two or so copies is enough.

    what i do not do, lately, is play with AUS/dom bounce, if i can avoid it. i’m just done to death with them. i can’t take it anymore. i’ve already tried big caps w/ LiT, such as Appolonius with Lost in Translation (not all that bad!) and 4 vision imbued with 5 convictions and 5 Determines mixed into a regular 60 card vampire deck (worked half and half; either triggered or sat around with extra imbued oust). but still, nothing beats pulling up a 4 cap or less to bounce with AUS/dom. very, very boring.

    i also agree with oodles more wakes. i still promote 6 wakes, because 6 doesn’t seem so bad to new/resistant players. but ideally there should be more. 10% minimum, and more for running heavier crypt, is a great baseline. hope it gets through some people to cut down on their 50 card block of red combat cards…

  3. iclee says:

    Is it any more boring to play Deflection than to play Blood Doll, On the Qui Vive, Cloak the Gathering?

    I actually think it is. Much like Dementation bores the hell out of me even though it has interesting cards – why bother playing them when you can (should) play KS, et al?

    Even Obfuscate stealth seems less boring because it’s just stealth, not Govern + Conditioning + Deflection = “oh look, pretty much a deck”.

    Auspex isn’t as bad as you still need something else unless you are playing the tedious weenie Auspex deck. Still, it’s hard to justify the dullness of Auspex bounce when compared to LiT – what’s really so different about them? That I’m forced to play large vampires (most of which have AUS or Dom)? At least AUS and Dom are so common that you can build ridiculous numbers of decks with them. Though, I keep building decks without them for much the same reason – been there, done that, want a pony- … pony.

    Could play around with Aksinya, btw.

    I think an epic fail with V:TES is in not shaking up the metagame more. I often lament not doing more for other disciplines not because I somehow dislike Auspex and Dominate but because variety is interesting and I routinely need to build suboptimal decks to find it rather than have a healthy metagame of constantly shifting top tier strategies. Imbued shook things up but not in any sort of healthy way as it didn’t promote what existed but simply threw in a random nuke that did little to change people’s habits, even less so once a parade of hosers and the banning took away the only good thing about the Imbued – that they forced people to build decks differently.

    • Azel says:

      this attempt at qualitative analysis of what makes certain things boring (while wholly subjective, and wildly detached from the competitive game as it stands) sounds like a delightful exercise into game theory. i’d love to wade in this a bit more. i feel the same way emotionally about cards, but why should that be?

      i too find Dementation excruciating because if you aren’t playing KS and friends, why are you playing it? that’s a card that really shelves so much of the discipline that it’s embarrassing. and i ask myself, why? here’s my view:

      because it is not a core mechanic, but a trump/rule-breaking card. stealth, blood/pool management, intercept… i can all see how Cloak, Doll, Spirit’s Touch can end up dull, but forgivable. they are at least something so core that it can be overlooked. they don’t break rules, they merely boost or facilitate what already is inherently experienced in the system.

      but KS is not just another “bleed boost mechanic with a special”. its inferior offers two major effects, bleeding any meth w/o bleed cap, and gain a pool. it’s the superior that’s essentially the base bleed boost mechanic, which would normally be glossed over if it was alone on the inferior. something about being so efficient at such a basic level leaves it from being a specialized bleed boost, to a staple oust card, devaluing much of the other DEM cards there are.

      what would happen if the card read:
      Kindred Spirits
      Action
      dem: (D) Bleed with +1 bleed. Gain a pool if successful.
      DEM: as above, but you may bleed any methuselah.

      still horrible, but suddenly your “going forward,” your oust, isn’t now your defense (to go backwards) as well — crowding out even more of your deck. there suddenly is an excuse (albeit still pretty damn small) to include the weird dem harassment cards for backwards defense. the bloat at basic is still problematic, but there’s still enough of a shift from moving one effect up to superior. if i moved both add effects up, and moved bleed boost down, it’d still be a crazy strong card, but would seem even more specialized.

      what i’m trying to find is why certain cards make the rest of a discipline feel anemic, while others — even if the best at their job — don’t make the discipline feel the same way. my hypothesis is currently the tension between basic game mechanics vs. rule-breaking mechanics.

      which is probably why i feel a similar way about TS + IG compared with KS. i mean, if you are playing potence w/o TS+IG, you better be doing something specialized or splashed because you’d just leave me confused. i’m sure there’s similar examples out there.

      actually, the big question i have, though, is this: what would you recommend substituting for bounce?

      i just can’t take grafting AUS/dom bounce anymore, and the shuffling about with LiT or Determine substitutes sucks out my deck creation inspiration. again, there’s nothing like a 1st or 2nd turn vampire who can deflect 5 coming down the pipe. LiT can’t reliably do that until likely around the 3-4th turn (IME). i can accept something not being the equal of bounce, but at least mildly fun to survive against S&B dropping 5’s down the pipe by turn 2 onward. the best i’m thinking is either a wall of Raven Spies and the like or twice as many Dolls, around 20%, and bloat farm them into quiescence. i don’t find backrushing reliable to consider, unless it’s a weenie combat deck, and that’s the weenie carrying the deck IMO.

      • iclee says:

        That’s the thing, there isn’t a card play in the game that compares to bounce. There are only deckwide strategies.

        Major Boon isn’t a replacement for bounce. Two Wrongs addresses being a bleed sink but isn’t bounce. Reduction isn’t bounce as reduction isn’t offense. Though, reduction has been getting stronger and at least is an annoying defense.

        To compensate for lack of bounce, you need much if not all of a deck. Horde Boon is popular because it can bloat a ton and has plenty of offense from the horde. Parity Shift was big at the NAC for the obvious reason that PS is a hugely powerful recovery mechanic (equal to four or five inferior Kindred Spirits kind of, sort of).

        Sure, you can permacept up, you can vote bloat, you can backrush, or whatever. But, it’s usually less effort to play/graft Dominate than do any of those things. Bounce takes up relatively little of a deck, which means you can play a wide range of strategies and cards and have a bounce module or you can play specific strategies if you don’t include bounce.

        One of the things about Pleasanton play is that bounce isn’t necessary. When I came in, people were surprised by how often I’d bounce a bleed since they were used to various combat strategies, weenies, or master bleed. Now, I tend to play less bounce while others more. But, then, we are talking about an environment where serious bleed is discouraged (beyond Return to Innocence being playable). In an environment like that it’s possible, in tournament environments, you are just spiting yourself while trying to spite the game.

  4. Andrew says:

    Thanks for writing this, its helpful and encouraging even if it should be common knowledge already. I often wonder how much the game would change if there were a simple discipline-less bounce besides LiT? Something perhaps restricted to generation 7+ vamps with a blood cost of 1 and tapping. Would there be any interest in of “introducing” this card for one game or maybe even one weekend play session?

  5. iclee says:

    I long ago wrote up text for what a disciplineless bounce card should say. Can’t put too many limitations on the card or it won’t impact the game significantly – see LiT. If anything, the closer a disciplineless card is to Deflection, the better. Think about how limiting the game would have been if WWEF was Thaumaturgy, like it should have been.

    I don’t see a lot to be gained by playing with fantasy cards, an exception I could see would be for create-a-clan events, build-your-own-storyline events, or when you have a personal vampire card.

    V:TES has had tons of opportunities to make key changes and has moved incredibly slowly on some, made some that were incomprehensible, and largely ignored most.

  6. Brandon says:

    Great piece. I know you’ve talked a lot about this stuff before and having it written down makes it a bit more concrete. I frequently find myself in deck building paralysis, more because I can’t decide on a particular deck, but sometimes because it is hard to tell what ratios to include. I think that the better you understand the game, the less it matters what deck you play. Understanding the mechanics of the game is a large part of the difference between winning and losing while other things remain constant.

  7. Azel says:

    just referred a new player to this template, in case he continues his ambitions to build a Giovanni deck. this should help him immensely. he’ll likely struggle trying to figure out what to do for stealth, as necromancy is no longer worthy being called a stealth discipline. perhaps block fails with Call the Hungry Dead and Seduction, however that brings its own problems with leaving the block tech in your target’s hands…

    anyway, this should help write off a good third of his deck. it’d give him a core of viability while letting him experiment.

  8. iclee says:

    If all you want to do is bleed, Dominate has as much stealth (well, more) as Necromancy. Always has. So, Dominate Kine + Bonding + Spectral Divination + Call of the Hungry Dead + Seduction + Pentex Subversion + Misdirection/Anarch Troublemaker is enough evasion.

    That deck is okay. It’s trying to get by with SD and CotHD to reliably get through key actions (ironically, most bleeds aren’t key actions) that is rough.

  9. Azel says:

    well, the discussion is going on at the google groups message boards about bounce v. non-bounce reduction.

    i tried my best to get my point across. however i am afraid they do not understand why reduction, while reaching annoying levels, does not equal bounce — and more importantly seems to be a draining direction for the game. i agree with, was it Ben Peal?, who said that more reduction just lengthens games, and increases time outs. and i also agree that having every game go to time is not the direction we should want to go in.

    however people are still milling about confused. when you break down the mechanics of why bounce is there, then you can see it as a good thing. you helped me realize the error of my bounce hating ways that it’s the only real counter-point to big bleed currently (besides AI, which is also another poor game direction). then to understand why reduction differs from bounce really highlighted why a) bounce is good & b) why this goodness should be shared.

    i could continue on that topic, but i fear things will just get lost in the shuffle. might piss around a few more times, but often message boards are as much about personalities holding court as it is about topic discussions.

    • iclee says:

      I’ve just lost the will to argue with idiots.

      … blah blah blah … every discipline the same …

      I’m so tired of that inane argument. Okay, don’t want everybody to be able to do everything, WWEF is now a Thaumaturgy card, Forced Awakening a Fortitude card, On the Qui Vive – allies only. Have fun playing nothing but Tremere and !Trem.

      I just find it sad. It’s not just people who don’t know what the game is like in actual play, it’s also people who don’t care what the game is like in actual play. Lot of really good players of CCGs don’t care about the quality of the game but just use the best tools available.

      CCGs sell on variety. When a relatively small amount of strategies are competitive, there are problems. With V:TES, it’s actually different from most CCGs. The problem is lack of churn in competitive strategies. Interestingly enough, I think multiplayer CCGs tend toward this problem where two-player CCGs tend to have the problem of small numbers of strategies being viable at any given time.

      Why should discipline X have effect Y? You keep getting the same illogical answer – because X already has Y. Um, what if instead of X, Z had been given Y when the game was designed?

  10. Brad says:

    Spot on!

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