Tuesday, July 05, 2005

PhD in VTES?

I recently posted the following hierarchy for winning to a discussion thread on another site. I thought I would put it here to start some discussion...maybe. John Mickle and I, while traveling to and from the DC qualifier had some time to talk while we drove through central PA on the way home. A large part of this post had its origins in that dark ride.

Each game (ccg, board, traditional card) has a hierarchy of factors that determine who wins. For example:
A hand in poker
Owning and using Rares in Star Wars CCG
the skill of your opponents
Team based or solo games

But each of these can be maximized or minimized by another factor. For instance in poker you might be holding a Straight Flush (one of the best hands) but if you can't bluff and play the betting correctly in order to get the other players to stay in and challenge you by upping the bets you won't win much money. You might have heard about someone having or not having a "poker face."
I've got some thoughts on what the VTES winning hierarchy is. In order of determining factors that lead or don't lead to a win are:
1) Deck-to-deck relationship between you and your predator (the person to your right trying to oust you from the game)
2) Deck-to-deck relationship between you and your prey (the person to your left whom you are trying to oust)
3) Your ability to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of the above relationships
4)(tie) Random chance (the cards that you draw and the sequence you draw them in
4)(tie) Your ability to interact with other players and form cooperative relationships
5) Your ability to play the cards in order to exploit predator/prey weaknesses while minimizing yours and to minimize the predator/prey strengths while taking advantage of yours. And so on...
I can have the best deck at the table but if it's designed to defend against bleeding but my predator never bleeds and instead gets into combat then I will have a hard time trying to win because the part of my deck built to defend against bleeding is useless. However if my predator is a constant bleeder then I should be fine...until #2-5 kick in.

The bottom line is that VTES is about the relationships between decks more than the decks or the players. Being the only political or combat deck in a game is can be a HUGE advantage but if you and your predator have similar decks (not even the same clan is needed) then it's going to be harder for either of you to do well unless... You cooperate with other players and make deals.

So what do you think?



Blogger Matt said...

I have found that generally I'll only be completely trumped in an endgame situation. If there are still three players in the game, then the possibilities are wide open. If it's down to two, then the trump deck will win, provided it's not misplayed.

1:52 PM  
Blogger Josh Duffin said...

My experience is that VTES can easily become a game of players instead of deck interactions - if there's enough table talk, it hardly matters what anyone is playing. That's not universally the case, of course, but it's definitely something I've seen happen. (And in my opinion at this point, kind of a flaw in the game. I'm not sure if it's the result of a tacit gentleperson's agreement to not overdo the diplomacy or more to do with a hard-headedness having developed among my playgroup, but either way, I'm glad we mostly avoid that extreme.)

That said, I like your analysis; I'm not sure if the you/predator versus you/prey interactions truly deserve to be prioritized with one more important than the other - it seems like there might be a necessary symmetry to that, since each player is someone else's predator and prey? - but it's an interesting argument.

4:21 PM  
Blogger Tobin said...

Your point of extreme diplomacy is something that I only began to encoutner here in PA. The Brothers Mickle, through benefit (or otherwise) of having played together for SO long are constantly trying to play the diplomatic game with one another and others. It does get tiring when you're not used to it.


3:02 PM  

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