Thursday, August 12, 2010

Equilibrium Playtest

GenCon rekindled some PnP interest for me.  I got to try out a few prototypes too, and so I decided it would be a good time to revisit some of my designs.  I sat down tonight for a round of Equilibrium.

Early Game

I started right off with nailing the "First Pair" score cards in my first two hands.  Nice boon for me.  I followed it up with the permanent "+2 Draw" to let me really control what I paid with.  Notice I didn't actually signal what colors I was collecting.  This left my wife in the dark for quite awhile so I counted on her trashing a nice spread of cards.  Unbeknown to my wife, I was trashing all the yellow out of my deck setting myself up to score blue or red later.

My wife played the "Discount Score Cards" as her first card.  Then she started alternating between score cards for Red and attack cards to reduce my deck.  I think she made me trash and extra 7 cards over the course of the game.  So even though she didn't know what color to hit, she was still making me pay.  Unfortunately for her though, I knew she was going Red and started sniping the red out of her deck.

Mid Game

I played a "7+ of 2 Colors" to delay giving Ang info for another round, but then I finally had to signal a color.  I did about 3 blue score cards back to back.  I had the nice large hand size to work with though, so I could weed out the yellow while going lightly on trashing blue.

My wife was a score card machine.  Dropping more and more red.  And then even the hard to achieve "12VP for 11+ of a single color".  Her early discount meant she could play far more score cards than I since they were each subtly cheaper for her.

Last Plays

My last play was a gambit "Guess Opponent's Blue".  Ang never actually signaled if she was collecting a second color, but I noticed a lot of yellow down and remembered feeding a lot of blue back into her deck.  So I went with "7" as my guess.  The turn after that she drops a "7VP for 9+ Blue" right on top of a "+3VP if Successful" so I thought my guess would be way off.


I slimmed my deck all the way down to a lean-mean 18 cards.  Exactly 7 Red to nail my "7+ of 2 Colors".  And 10 Blue so enough to score all my own score cards.

Ang had to stop earlier than she wanted since she knew I'd been sniping her Red.  She actually went a turn longer than I, but still ended with a bigger deck due to her discount permanent and the number of attack cards she'd played.  Turns out she hit *exactly* 11 Red for the big 12VP bonus, AND exactly 9 Blue for the extra 10VP from her earlier gambit.  (But the 9 was just in range for my guess to pay off)

After tallying the scores, Ang had 2 more positive points than I, but my deck was 4 cards smaller so I won a very close game by 2 VP.  (If I'd guessed one lower, ang would have won.  If Ang had had 1 less Red or Blue in her deck, then I would have won.  If I'd had one less Red in my deck, Ang would have won.  It was all razor thin to me.)


I had a lot of fun.  Our strategies were sufficiently different, and yet reached very similar scores.  You can tell our skill has come up since we both managed to collect exactly the cards we needed in our remaining deck.  Some of that is closely counting cards, but even then you can't exactly know.  You have to guesstimate how much your opponent is trashing of what colors as you go.  It's an engaging and intriguing exercise to me.  And that's how I like it.

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Behave. Your mamma could read this.