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Author Topic: What would it take for a card or combo to be banned?  (Read 8161 times)

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NoMoreFun

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What would it take for a card or combo to be banned?
« on: June 10, 2013, 01:35:45 am »
0

Is Dominion even the kind of game that's capable of such a thing? What would be "broken" is most games would be "game warping" or "overcentralizing" in Dominion, but both players still have an equal chance of winning, and there's still usually ways to play the strategy "better" than the other person. Then that particular card has a random chance of not being present in the next game, so the game warping doesn't last long.

Perhaps extreme first (or second) turn advantage and/or a luck based strategy that works often enough to seriously thwart even the best players, but I'm not even sure things like GUILDS SPOILER Baker/Double Treasure Map will be grotesque enough, and at any rate, they have such a small chance of popping up in the same game.
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eHalcyon

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Re: What would it take for a card or combo to be banned?
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2013, 02:27:13 am »
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It really depends on the context.  Maybe in a serious tournament setup (likely 2p to start, before getting into a whole mess of other considerations) one might consider banning particularly swingy cards like Tournament and, sure, Treasure Map.  But in general, I don't think anything needs to be banned.
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ftl

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Re: What would it take for a card or combo to be banned?
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2013, 03:06:31 am »
+2

Seems unlikely. Dominion has pretty good balancing:

1) Both players can go for a strategy. Yes, the game can come down to luck then, and it can be sort of un-fun when you're both doing the same clearly obvious formulaic thing. Or it can come down to minor tweaks of the same strategy - that's skill!
2) DXV has extensively playtested, in a fairly competitive environment with high-skill players; this isn't some game that suddenly became competitive when it had only been playtested casually.

So I think that it would take a LOT for a card to be "so broken that it needs to be banned", and I don't think any currently published cards that are even close to that, and it seems unlikely that any will.
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Re: What would it take for a card or combo to be banned?
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2013, 07:37:53 am »
+15

I think if there was some way of gaining all the cards from the supply by turn 4, or something ridiculous like that, it would be banned.
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Qvist

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Re: What would it take for a card or combo to be banned?
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2013, 09:33:36 am »
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- I don't think anything would and should be banned.
- I don't think swingyness should be banned as the player who goes for the swingy card already takes some risk, especially in tournament environments.
- The only reason a card or a combo should be banned in my opinion is when it statisically advantages first player with more than like 80 - 90%. I don't think such a card/combo exists.
- The only thing that I consider bannable is the Masquerade pin so far, but still, this is a 3-card combo and isn't even a strict "to go for combo" as you can still win ignoring it, depending on the board. Hermit/Market Square or other really strong two card combos that are hardly ignorable on any board lead to mirror games that strongly advantage the first player, but there's still a lot of skill involved.

Witherweaver

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Re: What would it take for a card or combo to be banned?
« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2013, 09:53:09 am »
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I would emphatically disagree with the idea of banning a card or combo.  From what I can see, all the "I win" combos that are essentially undefendable (e.g., emptying the supply on Turn 4 without any cards that would let your opponent mess it up) have almost negligible chance of occurring.  I would guess that a player that went for a turn like that would likely lose most games, since they aren't making their deck towards a high-win-percentage strategy.  And if both players went for it, you'd probably just see a sub-par game.

More common strategies and combos (e.g., Masquerade pin) are neat, but I don't think they're the dominant strategy almost ever.  I thin most experienced players that play in tournaments would be able to defend against it, or play it themselves if it's a good idea.  And if not, well, make tournaments match format (which, I think, most are).  The chance of a crazy combo existing in two random boards is pretty small.

And if you're still concerned about it, well, there's Veto Mode.  I would imagine it would be pretty rare for there to exist a game-breaking combo that requires only two out of three particular cards. (Say you want to ban it and your opponent doesn't).
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Re: What would it take for a card or combo to be banned?
« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2013, 10:05:39 am »
+5

Quote
What would it take for a card or combo to be banned?

A huge fuckup by Donald X and his playtesters.
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kn1tt3r

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Re: What would it take for a card or combo to be banned?
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2013, 10:40:35 am »
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The main reason why there's no point in banning cards (aside from them being well balanced overall) is that in general the availabilty and accessibility is the same for every card and each player. In games where cards have been banned by the community (like Agricola for example) it's mostly a matter of individual cards being unique and only available to the player who happens to draw them.
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Stealth Tomato

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Re: What would it take for a card or combo to be banned?
« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2013, 11:03:19 am »
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Of note, the swinginess in many cards is exactly why most/all tournaments use significantly long match play (>3 games)
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Tables

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Re: What would it take for a card or combo to be banned?
« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2013, 12:02:26 pm »
+2

The main reason why there's no point in banning cards (aside from them being well balanced overall) is that in general the availabilty and accessibility is the same for every card and each player. In games where cards have been banned by the community (like Agricola for example) it's mostly a matter of individual cards being unique and only available to the player who happens to draw them.

Not necessarily. If there's something overcentralising in a game, it can often be removed to improve balance and enjoyment. Like even in magic formats that allow proxies, things like Black Lotus are banned, because they're too powerful.

As an extreme example, say there was a card costing $5, which read "Roll two dice, +VPs equal to that roll, the game ends." Now I'd say most of the time that's in the game, whoever can buy and play that first is going to win. Both players have equal access to it, but if it were an official card, should it be allowed in tournaments? I'd say probably not, it's too dominating and almost uncounterable.
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Re: What would it take for a card or combo to be banned?
« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2013, 12:12:12 pm »
+2

The main reason why there's no point in banning cards (aside from them being well balanced overall) is that in general the availabilty and accessibility is the same for every card and each player. In games where cards have been banned by the community (like Agricola for example) it's mostly a matter of individual cards being unique and only available to the player who happens to draw them.

Not necessarily. If there's something overcentralising in a game, it can often be removed to improve balance and enjoyment. Like even in magic formats that allow proxies, things like Black Lotus are banned, because they're too powerful.

As an extreme example, say there was a card costing $5, which read "Roll two dice, +VPs equal to that roll, the game ends." Now I'd say most of the time that's in the game, whoever can buy and play that first is going to win. Both players have equal access to it, but if it were an official card, should it be allowed in tournaments? I'd say probably not, it's too dominating and almost uncounterable.

On the other furniture, your example Dominion card doesn't exist.  I think banning should be discussed in the context of extant cards, not in theoretical OP cards.

NoMoreFun

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Re: What would it take for a card or combo to be banned?
« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2013, 12:14:23 pm »
0

Quote
What would it take for a card or combo to be banned?

A huge fuckup by Donald X and his playtesters.

Scout exists, so this isn't an impossible scenario.
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DStu

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Re: What would it take for a card or combo to be banned?
« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2013, 12:17:19 pm »
+1

The main reason why there's no point in banning cards (aside from them being well balanced overall) is that in general the availabilty and accessibility is the same for every card and each player. In games where cards have been banned by the community (like Agricola for example) it's mostly a matter of individual cards being unique and only available to the player who happens to draw them.

Not necessarily. If there's something overcentralising in a game, it can often be removed to improve balance and enjoyment. Like even in magic formats that allow proxies, things like Black Lotus are banned, because they're too powerful.

As an extreme example, say there was a card costing $5, which read "Roll two dice, +VPs equal to that roll, the game ends." Now I'd say most of the time that's in the game, whoever can buy and play that first is going to win. Both players have equal access to it, but if it were an official card, should it be allowed in tournaments? I'd say probably not, it's too dominating and almost uncounterable.

On the other furniture, your example Dominion card doesn't exist.  I think banning should be discussed in the context of extant cards, not in theoretical OP cards.
Nope. If someone states "This principle is the reason why no cards need to be banned", you must use hypothetical cards to prove them wrong if you
a) believe that the principle is wrong
b) believe no actual cards needs to be banned.

Because of b), you can't find some actual card that you need to be banned that does not satify a), because you can not find any card that need to be banned.  Therefore, you need to invent some card that satisfies the claimed principle, but which you think should be banned.
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Witherweaver

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Re: What would it take for a card or combo to be banned?
« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2013, 12:19:59 pm »
0

The main reason why there's no point in banning cards (aside from them being well balanced overall) is that in general the availabilty and accessibility is the same for every card and each player. In games where cards have been banned by the community (like Agricola for example) it's mostly a matter of individual cards being unique and only available to the player who happens to draw them.

Not necessarily. If there's something overcentralising in a game, it can often be removed to improve balance and enjoyment. Like even in magic formats that allow proxies, things like Black Lotus are banned, because they're too powerful.

As an extreme example, say there was a card costing $5, which read "Roll two dice, +VPs equal to that roll, the game ends." Now I'd say most of the time that's in the game, whoever can buy and play that first is going to win. Both players have equal access to it, but if it were an official card, should it be allowed in tournaments? I'd say probably not, it's too dominating and almost uncounterable.

I'm not sure the Magic analogy works.  Black Lotus was discontinued and extremely expensive (they were running for like $300 back when I used to play in the 90s), so only lucky or dedicated money spenders could have it.  After discontinuing a bunch of cards in Revised, further expansions were balanced based on the assumption that cards like Black Lotus wouldn't be in a deck.  I mean it could be, but for the average player it won't.  So they made some nerfed versions of it and added different mechanics so you could have different types of decks. 

Now if you allow proxies (and thus take away the factor that the richest person has the best deck) and allow every card, then a lot of the balancing and game modifications that occurred later on in Magic wouldn't be so relevant, because everyone would go back and use the pre-Revised, uber-powerful cards. 

My point is, in Dominion, cards are balanced against other cards that are assumed to always be available as potential Kingdom cards.  Magic was balanced with the assumption that the "standard" or "sanctioned" version would not have certain cards. 
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DStu

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Re: What would it take for a card or combo to be banned?
« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2013, 12:27:23 pm »
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I think what is meant is that just the argument "everybody has (more or less) equal access, therefore it will be balanced" is not something that holds in every extreme.  It might make unbalances less severe, more tolerable, maybe even interestin.  For example the unbalance Wharf>Counting House would probably be not tolerable if one player has to play a Wharf deck and the other one has to play a Counting House deck.

Nevertheless, the cards needs to have some balance compared to each other, because it's not interesting when one or two cards always complete dominate the kingdom without the need and possibility to have other cards as support/payload and/or counter.

Edit: Actually, the reverse seems somehow not that severe, take Thief or Saboteur or named Counting House.  Usually these are ignorable, but sometimes they are not, and just for these twists where they suddenly shine makes the game the more interesting.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2013, 12:29:34 pm by DStu »
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NoMoreFun

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Re: What would it take for a card or combo to be banned?
« Reply #15 on: June 10, 2013, 12:37:56 pm »
0

I did intend this topic to be on hypothetical cards. Other than a certain double opening in Guilds, I don't think there's anything that would come close to seeming this unfair. Some things like Masq Pins or the Bishop/Fortress golden deck can lead to degenerate situations, but they're also beatable strategies.

I'd imagine in order for a card to be too strong without FTA, it needs to not only be by far the best strategy on every board, but the best version of that strategy also needs to have no tactical depth whatsoever in it. The moment one player can make a better version of a strategy using the "overpowered" card, it becomes fair. This will be hard to do; a card that gives a player infinite money would still have at least some strategic depth on many boards (+buys, attacks, alt VPs etc.), and the fact that both players would be forced to buy that card doesn't take away from the game's ability to be fair, interesting and fun.

FTA and luck dependence is when the argument of equal access falls apart, and things can start being unfair.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2013, 12:39:19 pm by NoMoreFun »
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Witherweaver

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Re: What would it take for a card or combo to be banned?
« Reply #16 on: June 10, 2013, 12:40:19 pm »
+1

I think what is meant is that just the argument "everybody has (more or less) equal access, therefore it will be balanced" is not something that holds in every extreme.  It might make unbalances less severe, more tolerable, maybe even interestin.  For example the unbalance Wharf>Counting House would probably be not tolerable if one player has to play a Wharf deck and the other one has to play a Counting House deck.

Nevertheless, the cards needs to have some balance compared to each other, because it's not interesting when one or two cards always complete dominate the kingdom without the need and possibility to have other cards as support/payload and/or counter.

Edit: Actually, the reverse seems somehow not that severe, take Thief or Saboteur or named Counting House.  Usually these are ignorable, but sometimes they are not, and just for these twists where they suddenly shine makes the game the more interesting.

I think "everyone has equal access, therefore it will be balanced" is not the proper argument.  I think the argument really should be, "Cards are designed and balanced with the knowledge of game mechanics and that each player will have equal access to them."  Sure there do exist cards that would be unbalanced---they did not make it through play testing.  DXV has listed a bunch or previous incarnations of cards that were too good.  You can consider that a kind of banning. 
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Davio

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Re: What would it take for a card or combo to be banned?
« Reply #17 on: June 10, 2013, 01:44:37 pm »
0

Well, suppose there was a card: "When you buy this, you win" it still wouldn't take much skill out of the game. Instead of trying to win a Province split, you're just racing to that card. Getting Provinces with Tournament is similar, it just creates a sub-game or secondary objective if you will.

Every "overpowered" card, as long as you don't start with it or have it available on the first few turns, will just create an alternative way of winning, but won't wipe out skill completely.
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Re: What would it take for a card or combo to be banned?
« Reply #18 on: June 10, 2013, 01:47:22 pm »
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I think equality doesn't give enough reason for something to be allowable. "Gain 30 VP chips" is a mechanic that all players might have equal access to, but it would not be a good card to let see play. In terms of actual cards, there are pins, but there is some skill to set them up, and you can very often elude the pin anyway. Still, that would be a consideration. As far as single cards, the only one I would think about is... Rebuild. Even there, there's a reasonable amount of choices, though it can well be fairly formulaic and extremely powerful...

PPE: Davio's card is another example of a horrible card to print which probably *does* take a lot of the skill out of the game.

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Re: What would it take for a card or combo to be banned?
« Reply #19 on: June 10, 2013, 01:52:47 pm »
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PPE: Davio's card is another example of a horrible card to print which probably *does* take a lot of the skill out of the game.
Depends on the costs.  I mean he has a point in that many "overpowered" cards simply change the game, see Chapel, Goons, Witch. 
Of course that does not work automatically, or better what the game is changed into is not automatically interesting, but say you would give it a costs of $40, this would just be a card like Goons that strongly(?) favours engines over the other type of decks.
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Re: What would it take for a card or combo to be banned?
« Reply #20 on: June 10, 2013, 02:07:02 pm »
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Well, suppose there was a card: "When you buy this, you win" it still wouldn't take much skill out of the game. Instead of trying to win a Province split, you're just racing to that card. Getting Provinces with Tournament is similar, it just creates a sub-game or secondary objective if you will.

Every "overpowered" card, as long as you don't start with it or have it available on the first few turns, will just create an alternative way of winning, but won't wipe out skill completely.

Well, if it costs $2...
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Re: What would it take for a card or combo to be banned?
« Reply #21 on: June 10, 2013, 02:33:39 pm »
+1

PPE: Davio's card is another example of a horrible card to print which probably *does* take a lot of the skill out of the game.
Depends on the costs.  I mean he has a point in that many "overpowered" cards simply change the game, see Chapel, Goons, Witch. 
Of course that does not work automatically, or better what the game is changed into is not automatically interesting, but say you would give it a costs of $40, this would just be a card like Goons that strongly(?) favours engines over the other type of decks.
Well, true. If it costs enough, it won't take skill out of the game so much as sit there dead.

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Re: What would it take for a card or combo to be banned?
« Reply #22 on: June 11, 2013, 06:28:58 am »
0

Like even in magic formats that allow proxies, things like Black Lotus are banned, because they're too powerful.
ISTR reading "Shahrazad" was banned because it made game too long to play, rather than because it was too powerful. Any Dominion equivalent? Kings Court+Possession, perhaps?
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Re: What would it take for a card or combo to be banned?
« Reply #23 on: June 11, 2013, 06:32:38 am »
0

PPE: Davio's card is another example of a horrible card to print which probably *does* take a lot of the skill out of the game.
Depends on the costs.  I mean he has a point in that many "overpowered" cards simply change the game, see Chapel, Goons, Witch. 
Of course that does not work automatically, or better what the game is changed into is not automatically interesting, but say you would give it a costs of $40, this would just be a card like Goons that strongly(?) favours engines over the other type of decks.
Well, true. If it costs enough, it won't take skill out of the game so much as sit there dead.
I wanted to make an argument similar to Rando-Chess in which the loser of a regular chess game rolls a fair die and wins on a 6. This increases luck, but doesn't take out skill completely. You still have a higher chance of winning by being better at regular chess. Likewise, if you're better at regular Dominion, you'll likely be able to buy that winning card sooner than your opponent or you can judge better whether it's actually worth it to go for it instead of trying to pile-drive something.
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NoMoreFun

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Re: What would it take for a card or combo to be banned?
« Reply #24 on: June 11, 2013, 06:53:26 am »
0

PPE: Davio's card is another example of a horrible card to print which probably *does* take a lot of the skill out of the game.
Depends on the costs.  I mean he has a point in that many "overpowered" cards simply change the game, see Chapel, Goons, Witch. 
Of course that does not work automatically, or better what the game is changed into is not automatically interesting, but say you would give it a costs of $40, this would just be a card like Goons that strongly(?) favours engines over the other type of decks.
Well, true. If it costs enough, it won't take skill out of the game so much as sit there dead.
I wanted to make an argument similar to Rando-Chess in which the loser of a regular chess game rolls a fair die and wins on a 6. This increases luck, but doesn't take out skill completely. You still have a higher chance of winning by being better at regular chess. Likewise, if you're better at regular Dominion, you'll likely be able to buy that winning card sooner than your opponent or you can judge better whether it's actually worth it to go for it instead of trying to pile-drive something.

Of course, what would it take to realise that getting rid of the dice roll makes for a much better game?
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