Dominion Strategy Forum

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Pages: [1]

Author Topic: "Demon", the Druid of Hexes  (Read 402 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

jonaskoelker

  • Explorer
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 318
  • Grand Market = cantrip Woodcutter
  • Respect: +368
    • View Profile
"Demon", the Druid of Hexes
« on: April 09, 2018, 10:11:39 am »
+2

The basic idea is this:

Demon
Action — Attack
Cost:
[Some moderate bonus, I'm thinking +]
Each other player receives [some of the set-aside hexes]

Setup: Set aside the top n Hexes face up.

This looks similar to Tormentor. Cool, if you were re-designing Nocturne don't include them both. I don't care that much that it's similar. Demon makes it feasible for the same Hex to be dealt out multiple times in succession, which is different, and when Demon is stacked, it might change which Hex is strongest; Bad Omens followed by Famine seems like a pretty mild attack.

If you set aside the top 1 Hexes and it's Delusion, and the on-play causes each other player to take at least one of the set-aside Hex, I think it's ridiculously powerful. Also, a stackable Demon that always gives out Greed is BANANAS. So it should set aside at least two Hexes, and it can't give out all of them. Which ones should it give out? How should that be determined?

If it's simply "the attacker chooses some subset of a fixed size", we're back at perma-Delusion, so the victim has to make some choices. If both attacker and victim makes choices it might become slow. Let's try out the simplest version of this idea:

Demon
Action — Attack
Cost:
+
Each other player receives a set-aside Hex of their choice (leaving it there).

Setup: Set aside the top 2 Hexes face up.

If the two hexes are Plague and Poverty, this is almost always a Torturer with a +$2 on the first play, but it stacks differently—and a lot of the power of Torturer is the stacking. In fact, any time Poverty is set aside, Demon is weaker than Militia: either it's a $5 Militia—okay, more expensive is not strictly worse, edge cases everywhere—or the other Hex is weaker than the Militia attack in which case it's even weaker. Provided your opponent chooses correctly. Hm. Put that in the "problems" column.

If one of the hexes is Misery and the other is a very strong one, Demon might simply become a terminal Harem. Oh wait, there's Twice Miserable, it might become a terminal Silver worth 4 VP for the first copy (if you get to play it twice) and 0 for each subsequent one. That... sounds fine? I'm not the most expert Dominion player so I might mis-evaluate things, but it seems like it might be slightly bland mandatory buy due to the on-play being worth 4 VP. One of them is definitely better than a Duchy. That is, if Misery is set aside, for which the probability 1 in 6.

Probably the strongest pair is Delusion/Envy—that's bound to hurt an engine one way or the other. Luckily, Demon provides some unenviable virtual money. Self-synergy? ;) — anyways, this combinations seems really strong, but it screws with everyone evenly and is thus balanced (lol), and in any case this pair only comes up 1 out of every 666 66 Demon games.

Let's think up one that involves attacker choice as well. Two modes I can think of are pie rule and vetoing.

Pie Rule Demon
Action — Attack
Cost:
+
Choose a set-aside Hex. Each other player receives that Hex or the two others, their choice (leaving them there).

Setup: Set aside the top 3 Hexes face up.

Veto Demon
Action — Attack
Cost:
+
Choose a set-aside Hex. Each other player receives a different set-aside Hex of their choice (leaving it there).

Setup: Set aside the top 3 Hexes face up.

If they only set aside 2 Hexes, the pie rule becomes victim chooses (which we already did) and the veto becomes attacker chooses (which is bad). So at least 3 Hexes, and that's probably plenty.

With Veto Demon, the attacker vetoes the (situationally) weakest Hex, the victim vetoes the strongest and takes the middle one. With Pie Rule Demon, the attacker chooses as even a split as possible, which if intuition serves is always done by picking the most powerful. So with Pie Rule, the victim takes the middle and weakest Hex. There might be complications, e.g. if the victim takes Bad Omens followed by Locusts, it's close to just being a Locusts, but Pie Rule on the face of it looks stronger than Veto. Also, I'm not quite sure how to compare middle-of-3 vs. weakest-of-2.

However, if it's fairly obvious to both attacker and victim which is most powerful on both the first, second and nth play of Demon, once you think about it enough, the more complex choice rules which include attacker choice might slow the game down for very little benefit, even if picking their poison is fun. So, based on thinking about this and never playing with it, the first design looks best, though the other two should be tried out and probably dropped if they aren't noticeably better.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2018, 10:24:29 am by jonaskoelker »
Logged

faust

  • Mountebank
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2099
  • Shuffle iT Username: faust
  • Respect: +2898
    • View Profile
Re: "Demon", the Druid of Hexes
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2018, 10:26:15 am »
+1

The first version of Demon is way too weak. There are plenty of mediocre Hexes, and a weakest-of-the-two attack is almost always going to be inconsequential. This could easily get away with costing $3. An issue is that sometimes, it will be a must-buy if the Hexes are both really strong, but that is only maybe 5% of the time and doesn't really warrant upping the cost to $5.

Veto demon is similar, but a bit stronger. It's neat because a bunch of Hexes don't stack well and you can block the non-stacking one on the second play. Pie Rule makes the choice for both players less obvious, which could be fun, but it may lead to excessive analysis paralysis.
Logged
Since the number of points is within a constant factor of the number of city quarters, in the long run we can get (4 - ε) ↑↑ n points in n turns for any ε > 0.

jonaskoelker

  • Explorer
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 318
  • Grand Market = cantrip Woodcutter
  • Respect: +368
    • View Profile
Re: "Demon", the Druid of Hexes
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2018, 10:40:44 am »
0

The first version of Demon is way too weak. [...] This could easily get away with costing $3. [...] Veto demon is similar, but a bit stronger. [stacking and blocking is fun]
Yay, I overcompensated on the side of too weak rather than too strong ;) — it occurred to me after I posted that attacker choice interacts interestingly with idempotent attacks (and limited-stacking ones in general, e.g. Haunting)

So maybe it should be Veto Demon for $4?

An issue is that sometimes, it will be a must-buy if the Hexes are both really strong, but that is only maybe 5% of the time and doesn't really warrant upping the cost to $5.
Okay. That suggests that $4 is reasonable, maybe? Then you can open with one of them, but not two unless Baker, Alms, Cursed Gold or other tricks are around. Pricing it at $4 also helps address the sometimes-weaker-than-Militia problem.

[Pie Rule, analysis paralysis]
I think the attacker should always choose the (situationally) strongest Hex, but picking that consists of comparing six things: A vs. B-then-C, A vs. C-then-B, etc. Veto Demon only requires you to compare three things: weakest among B and C, weakest among A and C, weakest among A and B. Also, estimating the effect of X-then-Y takes more effort than estimating the effect of one Hex.

So I agree, and I had that at the back of my mind: Pie Rule Demon is very likely to be slow. Heck, Spy is slow in multiplayer and that's just a bunch of independent yes/no decisions; or so I hear at least.

Thanks for the feedback, I appreciate the time and attention! :)
Logged

trivialknot

  • Minion
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 597
  • Respect: +926
    • View Profile
Re: "Demon", the Druid of Hexes
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2018, 10:54:39 am »
+1

Another idea is that the set-aside hexes could rotate.  Like, whenever someone plays a Demon, they discard a hex of their choice and draw a new one.  There are plenty of ways to do this, but here's one:

Rotating Demon
Action - Attack
+$2
Each other player receives a set-aside hex of their choice.  Draw and set aside a hex, and then discard a set-aside hex.
-
Setup: Set aside 2 hexes
Logged

faust

  • Mountebank
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2099
  • Shuffle iT Username: faust
  • Respect: +2898
    • View Profile
Re: "Demon", the Druid of Hexes
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2018, 11:15:42 am »
+1

Another idea is that the set-aside hexes could rotate.  Like, whenever someone plays a Demon, they discard a hex of their choice and draw a new one.  There are plenty of ways to do this, but here's one:

Rotating Demon
Action - Attack
+$2
Each other player receives a set-aside hex of their choice.  Draw and set aside a hex, and then discard a set-aside hex.
-
Setup: Set aside 2 hexes
I feel like this would make it too similar to existing Doom cards. A main point that makes the concept interesting is that you know what you will get, similar to how Druid works.
Logged
Since the number of points is within a constant factor of the number of city quarters, in the long run we can get (4 - ε) ↑↑ n points in n turns for any ε > 0.

jonaskoelker

  • Explorer
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 318
  • Grand Market = cantrip Woodcutter
  • Respect: +368
    • View Profile
Re: "Demon", the Druid of Hexes
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2018, 11:20:39 am »
0

Another idea is that the set-aside hexes could rotate.  Like, whenever someone plays a Demon, they discard a hex of their choice and draw a new one.
That's a cool idea. It's no longer The Druid of Hexes, but that's cool too.

Rotating Demon
Action - Attack
+$2
Each other player receives a set-aside hex of their choice.  Draw and set aside a hex, and then discard a set-aside hex.
-
Setup: Set aside 2 hexes
An easy way of including attacker choice is by cycling a Hex before rather than after the attack. I like attacker choice, and would probably favor that version. It becomes somewhat similar to Veto Demon, where the third set-aside Hex is instead drawn on each play, and the vetoed one is discarded. Are there any problems with doing it this way?

Of course, if you play two Rotating Demons, the post-cycling of the first helps you steer the second attack, and your discard after the last attack helps you defend yourself by setting up a milder attack for your opponent(s). So when mirrored, the attack is stronger with pre-cycling.

If the attacker vetoes the weakest of the three, maybe it'll eventually converge at the strongest pair with pre-cycling, where the incentive to weaken the attack is stronger with post-cycling because stacking Rotating Demons will be rare? ("Strongest" might be ill-defined in case of non-mirrored strategies.)



A bit about phrasing: I copied "(leaving it there)" and the phrasing of "Setup: Set aside the top n Hexes face up" from Druid. It seems to have a proven track record and if it ain't broke don't change it, so I would re-phrase Rotating Demon a little, without functionally altering it.

I think "(leaving it there)" is there to explicate the exception to the rule that Hexes are normally discarded when received. I think "the top n" is a short way of spelling out the method whereby the Hexes are chosen (i.e. randomly), and I dunno why "face up" is necessary, but I figure the most common way of getting Hexes is from a face-down deck so this explicates another exception.
Logged

jonaskoelker

  • Explorer
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 318
  • Grand Market = cantrip Woodcutter
  • Respect: +368
    • View Profile
Re: "Demon", the Druid of Hexes
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2018, 11:27:32 am »
0

I feel like [Rotating Demon would be] too similar to existing Doom cards. A main point that makes the concept interesting is that you know what you will get, similar to how Druid works.
On each turn you know that as well with Rotating Demon. When the Hex set is static, you also know that from one turn to the next and by induction throughout the game, so you can evaluate how strong it'll be as part of your kingdom evaluation.

I like the static Hex pool better than the rotating one, but if you want rotation I think Rotating Demon is a quite elegant design—incremental drafting of a shared resource can be a very interesting mechanic in general. Maybe fiddle with pre- vs. post-cycling?

I think the fact that you know on each turn what Rotating Demon will do makes it sufficiently different from other Doom cards that it'll be interesting enough. Also, hey, I forgot to add the Doom type :)
Logged

LastFootnote

  • Adventurer
  • ******
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 6937
  • Shuffle iT Username: LastFootnote
  • Respect: +9555
    • View Profile
Re: "Demon", the Druid of Hexes
« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2018, 03:50:53 pm »
+2

I believe Tormentor originally turned over the top two Hexes and gave the victims a choice between them. Or maybe not "originally", but it was definitely a version we tested. It was waaaaay too slow. Especially if you didn't have the Hexes memorized.

I like the Druid version here better. Specifically one that lets the victim choose between two static Hexes. Rotating brings back the slowness. Having three static Hexes is maybe too much to think about, and having just one can often be too harsh. Two seems reasonable. Although I haven't thought about each combination of Hexes. Obviously if Misery is one of them, I think you just take the -4 VP and call it a day.
Logged

trivialknot

  • Minion
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 597
  • Respect: +926
    • View Profile
Re: "Demon", the Druid of Hexes
« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2018, 12:18:37 am »
+1

The rotating demon, for sure, is slow.  It's at least as slow as the veto demon, because you are effectively vetoing a hex, but now you also have think about the long-term implications of that choice.

I agree with LastFootnote that the thing to try is just two boons, opponent chooses one.  $4 for a terminal silver seems reasonable.

I think beyond Delusion and Envy, the other one you need to worry about is War.  I just tried flipping up the top two hexes and they were Delusion+War and doesn't that sound nasty?
Logged

Asper

  • Governor
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 4540
  • Respect: +4884
    • View Profile
Re: "Demon", the Druid of Hexes
« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2018, 02:10:15 am »
+1

Pretty sure this card was brought up in another thread already. I remember suggesting it to give a Hex based on the attacked player's choice, too. There never was any real discussion though, so it's nice to see it here.

Fragasnap

  • Apprentice
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 265
  • Respect: +388
    • View Profile
Re: "Demon", the Druid of Hexes
« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2018, 07:50:35 am »
+1

Quote
Demon
Types: Action, Attack, Doom
Cost: $3
+$1. Each other player receives a set aside face up hex (leaving it there). Turn each hex that was chosen face down. If all the set aside hexes are face down, turn them face up.
Setup: Set aside the top 3 Hexes face up.
Players each choose a face-up hex (and can choose the same one) before any hexes are turned face-down. All 3 must be chosen at some point before they turn face-up again.
Logged

jonaskoelker

  • Explorer
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 318
  • Grand Market = cantrip Woodcutter
  • Respect: +368
    • View Profile
Re: "Demon", the Druid of Hexes
« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2018, 11:56:26 am »
0

[Tormentor once did 'victim chooses one of two random hexes'] It was waaaaay too slow. Especially if you didn't have the Hexes memorized. I like the Druid version here better. Specifically one that lets the victim choose between two static Hexes.

Rotating brings back the slowness. Having three static Hexes is maybe too much to think about. Two seems reasonable.
Interesting. So I guess you looked at Pie Rule Demon and instantly concluded that it was too slow? Do you have any insight into what makes things slow and how to avoid it that you can articulate?

I guess "more decisions" and "more hard-to-calculate consequences of each decision (on average)" are two key factors. With a static Hex pool, there are (1) no rotation decisions; (2) that much less to read on each play, because you remember the effect of the two set-aside Hexes; and (3) you can generally estimate which Hex will be strongest against the kind of deck you're building, and quickly estimate whether the evaluation has flipped in each situation. Also (4) with a static pool, figuring out the interactions between the hexes when dealt out sequentially can be done as a one-time thing. (It's always a per-pool thing, but with a static pool there's only one pool, duh.)

Having just one [Hex] can often be too harsh. [...] Obviously if Misery is one of them, I think you just take the -4 VP and call it a day.
Yay, I spotted things on my own that others agree with :)

I don't like that you can just take -4 VP and call it a day when that occurs once every 6 Demon games. That's why I really want Veto Demon to be good.

I think beyond Delusion and Envy, the other one you need to worry about is War.  I just tried flipping up the top two hexes and they were Delusion+War and doesn't that sound nasty?
Uh, yeah. Especially with only one gain per turn—do you give up this turn's action card gain, or do you give up an earlier turn's gain? Demons trashing Demons, Knight-like fight to see who gets to keep a trashing attack, that could get really dicey and insert a long preamble before the real game begins. Except Demon (currently) doesn't have trash-the-attacking-card text, and I think it would be clunky if added. Or you just play Smithy/BM against this combination :D —I recall there was a bit in the pinned thread saying "your card should not excessively encourage players to play uninteresting strategies".

That is definitely a concern. Well spotted. Also, both Veto Demon and Pie Rule Demon face this; one obvious way around this is to change "3" to "4" on Veto Demon, but that makes it weaker and probably slower on average. Another is to buff the non-attack on-play of Demon and bump it up to $5; that way it can't be trashed by War, which... accomplishes something? It makes the very powerful Hex pair Demons stay around longer—which is great, mission success! ;D

Hm. Hmm. Interesting. Well spotted.
Logged
Pages: [1]
 

Page created in 0.119 seconds with 21 queries.