Double-sided Station cards

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Spiff
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Double-sided Station cards

Station cards are double-sided so they can be flipped to advance the cause of Badness in the game. However, since you add Station cards to your personal deck when you buy them, the fact that they don't have normal backs means you can see them when shuffling and will know what the card is if it's on the top of your deck. People have commented on this as a possible problem, and its definitely a deviation from standard protocol when it comes to deck building games, where normally, the cards you buy have the same backs as the rest of the cards in your deck so they can be seamlessly shuffled together. 

I've heard some weak defenses of the issue, mostly in the form of how it's not really so bad or advice for avoiding feeling like you're stacking your deck when shuffling. What confuses me though, is if it's enough of an issue that the most anyone can say is that it's not as bad as you'd think, why is it still in the game? Is the positive it brings so much better than the negative?  What exactly is the positive?  I'd imagine that having double-sided Station cards avoids having to include an additional deck -- with an additional Badness deck, you could just discard a Station card and replace it with a Badness card, which would have the same effect as flipping the Station card. Are there other advantages I'm not seeing?

There must be a solid reason for keeping this controversial aspect of the game. Anyone know what it is?


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Pydro
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Yes, there is. Each Station card has a specific Opp side. if you simply played a card form the Opp deck, then each time a card was flipped you would have to search the Opp deck for the exact card to be played. Not to mention that you have to look through the deck just to find out what the Opp side does (not so great for new players). This is such an essential element of the gameplay. You are not just buying cards that help you, but also trying to buy the cards that help the Opp the most. If you randomly took a card from the top of the deck, this entire element would be lost.

EDIT:

Spiff wrote:

What confuses me though, is if it's enough of an issue that the most anyone can say is that it's not as bad as you'd think, why is it still in the game?

I am only saying that because I feel that the arguements against it are just theoretical. I have no problem with this, as you should always do as much research as possible before spending your hard earned money. I have not had a problem with this at all, but you might. My suggestion, try it out and see if it will be an issue for you. Grab a deck of cards, flip some over, and start shuffling. If you honestly feel that this is an issue that you can't overcome, then maybe this isn't the game for you. As I mentioned there are very specific reasons for the double-sided cards, and the game works wonderfully with this unique setup. I would STRONGLY encourage everyone to give it a try, but this is no different than any other mechanic that a game would have. If it is not for you, then it is not for you.


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codermike
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I presume you could print the opposition effect and the station effect on the same side of the card but this would end with either cramped cards or necessitate bigger cards right?


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Pydro
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Not to mention that the art would have to go.


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Pydro
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Found this thread on BGG that was somewhat relevant:

http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/883891/does-the-ability-to-cheat-make-the-game-flawed/page/1

There is of course another way to cheat in The Resistance that is completely relevant to our situation. Have you ever tried to shuffle 2 cards? How can you possibly not pay attention to which card is where? And that is a competitive game. Whenever I do it, I put them under the table and try not to pay attention to it. Does it say that in the rules? No. Is the game completely flawed and broken that it shouldn't be played? No. If you try, it is completely possible to overcome the inherent ability to "cheat." The fact that some people feel the need to shuffle in a certain way does not inherently destroy the game. Once again, I am not saying this isn't an issue, but if you feel that it is in a co-operative, you will probably never play, The Resistance, Dixit, Agricola, or many other games where 1 person shuffles a few number of cards.

GSF is a fantastic game with very unique mechanics. Some of the mechanics may cause some minor issues, but I feel the complaints are taken out of proportion. What more do you want me to say than "it isn't a big issue." As a playtester here there will probably be some biased. You can always wait for an official review, but I can't imagine anyone being more specific than "it is/isn't an issue." If you feel this is really important, don't back the KS, and wait until you can get your hands on it.

EDIT: I apologize if this came off a little harsh this wasn't my intent at all. My point is this. There are many games that will give you many sitautions to be dishonest. The nature of this hobby, however, is that you try to be honest in every situation. Some of the unique strategic elements of GSF might require a little effort to reach that pure level of honesty, but no more so than some other games.


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Wasn't it said somewhere that being able to stack your deck a little was actually intentional by design?

Pydro
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I could be wrong, but my understanding wasn't that it was intentional by design, but rather allowed due to the circumstances. GtG wasn't going to say shuffle under the table, but also didn't want to go so far and say you can arrange your deck (it would take too long each round).


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Spiff
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You are not just buying cards that help you, but also trying to buy the cards that help the Opp the most.

That's the first time I've heard this, and it's a strong argument as long as it's legal and typcial for people to flip over Station cards before they've bought them to see not only what they'll buy if they get the card, but what Opposition mojo they'll be removing from the game if they do.  It doesn't remove the awkwardness of the double-sided cards, but at least it provide a solid rationale for it, I think.

However, you could solve both problems by making Station cards single-sided, with the face having Goodness effects on the top of the face and Badness effects on the bottom, couldn't you?  There are Magic: the Gathering cards which do that while still having room for card art (though it's cramped to be sure).  Or if space on the card is an issue, perhaps using longer cards like in War of the Rings would be a solution.

I'm just casting about for a solution which solves 100% of the problem rather than one which is good but still leaves some awkwardness.


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How can you fix a problem when there isn't actually a problem? It's really only becomes a problem if someone makes it a problem. I've played the game several times and I don't have the backs memorized to their responding card, so I never know what my next card would be. I shuffle just as I do any other game and I never have a problem with stacking the deck. So i'm not understanding what the deal is. Unless you look at both sides of your trash before reshuffling memorizing what's on what, than watching the way you shuffle than you will not have a problem with it.

Pydro
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Spiff wrote:

That's the first time I've heard this, and it's a strong argument as long as it's legal and typcial for people to flip over Station cards before they've bought them to see not only what they'll buy if they get the card, but what Opposition mojo they'll be removing from the game if they do.  It doesn't remove the awkwardness of the double-sided cards, but at least it provide a solid rationale for it, I think.

Not only is it legal, but as of right now, the name of the Opp side it is written on the SF side.

Spiff wrote:

However, you could solve both problems by making Station cards single-sided, with the face having Goodness effects on the top of the face and Badness effects on the bottom, couldn't you?  There are Magic: the Gathering cards which do that while still having room for card art (though it's cramped to be sure).  Or if space on the card is an issue, perhaps using longer cards like in War of the Rings would be a solution.

I'm just casting about for a solution which solves 100% of the problem rather than one which is good but still leaves some awkwardness.

I have to be completely honest here, I didn't even consider that as a possible solution (perhaps because I didn't consider it an issue). If I were to guess, I would say it wouldn't work for a few reasons. 1) It is very cramped and the pics on either side are sometimes very different. Some cards have W/D symbols, phase symbols, etc. that are all bigger so that they can easily be seen at a glance. 2) I can't say this for sure, but I imagine that it would cost more to have a non-standard set of cards. Not to mention that all the cards would need to be the same size even if they weren't double sided (and then shuffling would be akward). 3) Unlike MtG, the cards aren't in your hand, but in the middle of the table. The text has to be as big as possible so that you can read at least the title from where you are sitting. 4) Each SF deck (as of right now) has its own back. In order to do this, each one would need the same back, which would make separating them a big pain.

Also something to keep in mind. You are drwaing 4 cards a round and playing 4 cards a round. There are very few times that you aren't playing all 4 cards. The game is a lot less about getting the right combination of cards, but rather playing each of your cards in the best possible way.


Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing.
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I don't see this being a big issue for me. If you can shuffle Ambuscades traps back into his deck than this should be no problem. Like Ronway said, you don't see the strike force side just the opposition side when you draw.  You won't know exactl what you ae drawing, just that it is a purchased card. 

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Pydro wrote:

Also something to keep in mind. You are drwaing 4 cards a round and playing 4 cards a round. There are very few times that you aren't playing all 4 cards. The game is a lot less about getting the right combination of cards, but rather playing each of your cards in the best possible way.

i wanted to explain this statement a little more. Unlike Dominion where you need a couple of specific cards in your hand to be effective, in GSF you are always effective. You can (and will) play all 4 cards every round. There are some nice combos between the cards, but the game isn't based around those. The game not about finding combos between different cards then making sure they are in your hand at the same time, but finding the unique combos that the specific cards in your hand can create that round. Each round is about how to maximize the efficiency of your cards, and it is a thrill to try to uncover it. The game is not about specific combos that you just watch happen (anyone ever draw your whole deck in Dominion), but ois about actively trying to find the combo each time.


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Spiff
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It's really only becomes a problem if someone makes it a problem

Which means that it's a potential problem, no?  I'm just trying to give the outside perspective based on just what I've read on the box (so to speak), one that's been expressed by some on BGG already, and brainstorming possible ways to keep the good but remove even the possibiilty of bad.  If the word is "it's not optimal but it's not that bad", that's how Microsoft makes software.  If the word is, "it's not optimal so let's keep iterating until we make it optimal", that's how Apple makes software.

I'm fully aware that I'm making an un uninformed point based on incomplete information.  I have to do something while I wait for the game to come out. ;)  I want the game, when it comes out, to be Apple-perfect, not Microsoft-acceptable.  I think we all want that.


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Pydro
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Like Apples maps, right? (Not getting into this though.)

I don't think this is a case of "its good enough." I think it is a specific design choice where the pros and cons were considered carefully, and the benefits of the system far out weigh the potential problems. If there is a better solution, great. I am just not sure what it would be.

However, GtG has already said that the Station cards will remain double-sided (yes, we have discussed this a bit in the PT forums).


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How about putting in proxy cards that just say "draw a station card" and keeping the station cards hidden elsewhere (like an opaque bag) this way you have no idea when a station card will show up and you can still keep the station cards double-sided?

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I have no problem with people coming up with a system. I do think your system might be more of a burden. Unlike normal deck-builders, you deck in GSF is constantly fluctuating. That means each time you shuffle, you will have to recount everything. You will also have to find the the card from the deck each time a card is drawn. There is also the issue of having proxy cards for each of the SF decks (since they have different backs).

There are 2 issues with the double-sided. Knowing where the card is in your deck and stacking it. In GSF there really isn't so much of an issue of knowing where it is. usually your deck doesn't have enough cards for more than 2 or 3 hands. That means that if a specific card doesn't come up in the first hand, you know it will probably come in the second. Regarding stacking, just shuffle normally (it doesn't seem to hard to ignore it), or you can try the system I described in the other thread.


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I must say, I'm quite surprised by the skepticism here.  From a thematic standpoint, the double-sided cards are quite fun, in my opinion.  You "requisition" these cards from a station, and when they're on the top of your deck, you know that your supplies you worked hard for are about to be "delivered".

If you know what the back of the card is, it's essentially the same as following a tracking number.  You have an idea of when it'll show up at your doorstep.  It can be quite useful knowing what's coming up in your deck, as draw effects (depending on which phase they're in) can potentially be very punishing if a phase-specific card is drawn and that phase has already passed.  It could be abusive, assuming you plan on abusing your human players and teammates and not obliterating the Opposition NPC.  Fortunately, that isn't really supported by the game.  In my playtesting experience the double-sided cards aren't really an issue.

EDIT:  Also, protip, if you're playing pretty much any card game, make sure you play with trustworthy people.  Generally, if someone in my group feels like they've gotten an unfair advantage or the rules were accidentally fudged in their favor, they usually say something.  That's what's great about a >G co-op game:  the game actively encourages teamwork and honesty to ensure an exciting game with a thrilling and satisfying victory.


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Hmmm OK. Sounds like it should be fine. 

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I must say, I'm quite surprised by the skepticism here.

When you're operating in a low-information situation, it's easy to see potential problems where perhaps none exist.  I'm in no way saying a problem exists, since I haven't played the game.  But since there are comments on BGG from people with similar concerns, I wanted to hear people defend this design decision and see what other solutions had been considered.

My interest is in avoiding what happens in a lot of design situations -- a sub-optimal design gets put in place, people get used to it, and you never get to "best" because you stopped at "not bad" along the way.  If you guys say that this is the best possible design, I believe you.


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Pydro wrote:

 

Pydro wrote:
Also something to keep in mind. You are drwaing 4 cards a round and playing 4 cards a round. There are very few times that you aren't playing all 4 cards. The game is a lot less about getting the right combination of cards, but rather playing each of your cards in the best possible way.

 

i wanted to explain this statement a little more. Unlike Dominion where you need a couple of specific cards in your hand to be effective, in GSF you are always effective. You can (and will) play all 4 cards every round. There are some nice combos between the cards, but the game isn't based around those. The game not about finding combos between different cards then making sure they are in your hand at the same time, but finding the unique combos that the specific cards in your hand can create that round. Each round is about how to maximize the efficiency of your cards, and it is a thrill to try to uncover it. The game is not about specific combos that you just watch happen (anyone ever draw your whole deck in Dominion), but ois about actively trying to find the combo each time.

This sounds a lot like the Mage Knight board game. I am pleased.


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I guess you could always go Fury of Dracula style and draw off the bottom of the deck?

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Mezike wrote:

I guess you could always go Fury of Dracula style and draw off the bottom of the deck?

Interesting. Is there some in-game mechanic that could hurt this idea? 

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I don't think it's terribly necessary and it seems a little too cumbersome.  Plus, it would mean you would know where your double-sided station card was for multiple turns if it was on top of the deck rather than the one turn it would take to draw it.


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