Sunday, November 15, 2009

Equalizing Equilibrium

Another post back on my prototype of Equilibrium.

Back from the very beginning I've been focused on trying to make a few different divergent strategies work in Equilibrium.  Primarily I've focused on making the 1, 2 and 3 color strategies balance out.  And I think I've been doing a pretty good job at that.

But somewhere along the way I stopped comparing the different score cards individually and just looked at them in the whole.  This works for basic long term strategy, but it means that a given hand of 5 cards might not offer that interesting of a choice.  For example I had some score cards that gave 4 points and some that gave 7 points and I had them cost just the same.  Now the 7 point one was riskier, but not by a great deal.

So I decided I should step aside from my own calculations and just view the "efficiency" of all my score cards and try to bring them into loose alignment.  After a little tweaking I came up with the following chart:

The cost and reward are very straight forward.  (Cost = How many cards are removed from your deck.  Reward = VP earned for playing it)  The "Risk" is a little more ambiguous.  I arbitrarily defined the riskiest card as a "2" and the safest card as a "1".  And then I filled in the others as best as I could estimate them.

Then I calculated the "efficiency" as Reward / (Cost + Risk)

And when I first did it, man I was all over the board.  Had some values at 0.8 and some at 1.5.  After some tweaking (primarily) with cost and reward I got everything into a 1.1 -> 1.3 range for the most part.  I got to play one round with these new figures and I do think they added a lot to the game.  In particular for a given hand there is a higher chance of an interesting decision upon which score card to play instead of just hitting the most obviously efficient one.

Yea, you still probably want to play those 12+ vp ones, but the lowly 4-vp for 5+ cards looks a lot tastier at their cheap price.

I also had to reign in the "guess" cards since they were way ahead of the efficiency curve.  And then I had to fix the "7+ of two colors" card some.  It had to be neutered to 8 VP for game balance, but then I needed to go back and lower it's cost so it still was at least somewhat efficient.

Anyway, if Seth is reading this I'm probably nearing a point that I'd like him to try it out again.  It may be another few weeks until I'm happy enough to spend the time printing off another prototype, but then again, I know he and a lot of other people are partying it up at BGG.con right now too :)


  1. Interesting article... have the rules changed, or is the hand size still 5? It appears it will be pretty difficult to pay for most of those score cards. In fact to pay 5 you'd have to have played a blue Permanent or Single Use card - which is kinda cool I guess, only it really sounds like you won't have much control over what comes out of your deck. For all the 4 costs you will be discarding your entire hand.

    I started marking up the cards you sent to try these new costs, but (a) I don't have any of the 'new' cards, and (b) I don't know what your response will be about these costs. So I feel like I can't try it with these new tweaks at BGG.con :/

    - Seth

  2. Hey Seth,

    The "cost" on these isn't the number in the corner, it's how many cards are removed from your deck. So it's actually the number in the corner + 2. (I'm including the card itself and the additional one trashed at the end of the turn.)

    So yea, you can still afford all of these with a hand size of 5.

    The only other major change is honeymooning every turn at the end instead of just randomly cycling and trashing.

    I'll send along a pdf of the cards and a link to some mostly updated rules for your perusal.

    Have a great time at BGG.con!


Behave. Your mamma could read this.