ackmondual
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PP = Prestige Point = the physical chit, but the whole mechanic itself as well
PL = Prestige Leader

Normally, "who cares?", but that has caused more drama than I'd care to count. There are cases where Race simply doesn't get played at all; we do a house rule where PP are COMPLETELY ignored (ie don't count the PP printed on the card next to the VP, ignore all PP related powers, and certainly no PL); or I end up having to fishout all of the exp #3 cards to play with just exp #1 and exp #2. The usual arguments and counter-arguments also ensue.

Anybody have any luck convincing people otherwise?

For one case, "go to BGG" won't work if they don't bother with this sort of thing. I try to make a comparison with another game such a person knows, like Carcassonne, and state claims like "prestige is overpowered" is like saying "farming is OP". If you're lucky and have a good PP setup, then go with it. Otherwise do something else. The person who gets PL does NOT always win (the usual card + VP argument, and yes, did remind that the +1 card is only gained if you put a PP on the PL tile that round), as others can get +20pts in just one round!

In other cases, a "boardgamers instinct" kicks in, and tells me that I'd better not even bother going on after a 5 to 10 minute discussion about that.
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Re: Do you have to deal with the stigma of of Prestige? If so, have you been successful in getting BoW anyways?
I dimly remember seeing some statistical analysis somewhere that there is not a strong correlation between being prestige leader and winning among strong players, but there is a correlation among weak players.

Might be from here:

http://rftgstats.com/bow/index.html

If the analysis is not there, I think at least the data is there (that can be painstakingly analyzed), which I'm 90% sure will support the above statement.

If somebody thinks prestige is overpowered, point them to the above link and challenge them to explain the data.
 
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Re: Do you have to deal with the stigma of of Prestige? If so, have you been successful in getting BoW anyways?
ackmondual wrote:
Anybody have any luck convincing people otherwise?

I have a very anti-house rule mentality and am pretty vocal about it. No one in my playgroups has ever suggested messing with the rules of RftG in any way that's not in the rulebook. :P No one's even complained about Prestige, but i don't know if it's because they don't want to invoke my wrath, or because they actually haven't had the thought.

But most of the time people have no idea i feel that way. I'm usually the more experienced RftG player, teaching them. Eventually if they stay with the game they get good at the game. And again, none of those has ever complained much if at all about Prestige. Certainly no one has ever suggested playing w/o Prestige in some way.
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Re: Do you have to deal with the stigma of of Prestige? If so, have you been successful in getting BoW anyways?
rbelikov wrote:
I dimly remember seeing some statistical analysis somewhere that there is not a strong correlation between being prestige leader and winning among strong players, but there is a correlation among weak players.


I think that introducing prestige is a huge challenge, and stigma isn't really the main problem. Let's face it: Prestige is a bit weird. In summary: Prestige gives itself a bad rap by "seeming" unbalanced and unnecessary, and it's a long journey to seeing that it is balanced.

Before you even start to explain the Prestige rules, you have some perfectly valid hurdles to overcome:
* "Too many counters, this is supposed to be a card game."
* "The deck's getting far too big, it's already a bit too random even with 2 expansions."
* "Takeovers are already too much for me, why clog it up with even more mechanics?"
* "Race is supposed to be a short fun little game..."

If you get through all that and get to explaining the rules, it's still hard. It's partly because gamers become easily unsatisfied when design decisions aren't very clear. It's not at all intuitive at first glance how balances the game, or why it was included. It took me a while, for definite, and I was going on my very strong faith in the designer. (I even house-ruled for a couple of games before making the effort to try and "get it".)

And all that's before you even get started on the learning curve itself... plenty of valid opportunities for newcomers to jump ship.
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Re: Do you have to deal with the stigma of of Prestige? If so, have you been successful in getting BoW anyways?
Noone in their right mind thinks that PL is OP. PGA on the other hand... ninja
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Re: Do you have to deal with the stigma of of Prestige? If so, have you been successful in getting BoW anyways?
rbelikov wrote:
there is not a strong correlation between being prestige leader and winning among strong players, but there is a correlation among weak players.
nickjanaway wrote:
And all that's before you even get started on the learning curve itself...
entranced wrote:
Eventually if they stay with the game they get good at the game.

I think that everyone playing needs to accept that there is a long learning curve on this game - this includes the people who are reluctant to play with prestige (who might need to trust the design and just try it), but also the people eager to play with prestige (who might need to accept that a particular group doesn't have enough experience to get value from the introduction of a whole new mechanic).

nickjanaway wrote:
It's not at all intuitive at first glance how [prestige] balances the game, or why it was included.
I agree that it's not intuitive to a group that (still) plays Race as a game of 'cards and combos'. But I would expect players who focus more on the interactive aspects of the game - eg. phase choice, or flexibility/finesse play - to see what prestige adds, and how.

ackmondual wrote:
or I end up having to fishout all of the exp #3 cards to play with just exp #1 and exp #2
This sounds like a good tack, if your group is happy with takeovers. After some more games of RvI it should be clearer to them what prestige adds to the game in conjunction with the BoW cards. I would much rather do this than play with the BoW cards but no prestige.
 
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Rob Neuhaus
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Re: Do you have to deal with the stigma of of Prestige? If so, have you been successful in getting BoW anyways?
Race basically died out in my play group shortly after brink of war came out. Perceived imbalance with prestige was a big cause.
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rrenaud wrote:
Race basically died out in my play group shortly after brink of war came out. Perceived imbalance with prestige was a big cause.
So it was so bad that nobody wanted to go back and play with just RvI or TGS?


EDIT: clarification
 
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John Richert
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RFtG died out shortly after TBoW was released due to prestige. I was one of the big proponents of the game, and the last expansion killed the game for me.

The first two expansions and the base game were very well balanced. The last had some great card ideas, but the prestige added with very synergistic cards led to our games becoming much more pronounced in who won/lost. There had been some point differential creep with the first two expansions, but the last one really threw things off.

I recently started with a new player, using only the base game, and enjoyed the game a ton. I was looking forward to adding the first expansion and while flipping through cards, found a number of "offending" cards, each one of them came from TBoW.
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I think the Brink of War is brilliant, which is no surprise to anyone who knows how much I've played it. However, the dominance of Pan-Galactic Affluence has become a big detraction. The large fraction of games won with PGA is ridiculous, and takes away from an otherwise well balanced environment.

There are some other cards which are undercosted, and lead to an overemphasis on playing BoW cards, such as Federation Capital, Galactic Markets, and Terraforming Engineers. However, I can live with those, because the careful imbalance in the cardset is an important part of Race for the Galaxy's balance. In other words, it is important to have cards that reward searching and provide non-linear scoring opportunities.

That said, PGA is just silly, and it is depressing to see it win time after time. It is not like Terraforming Guild in the sense that TG balanced a strategy (Settle Spam) against the dominant engine strategy. PGA fortifies an already powerful strategy (Dev Spam) to an unnecessary degree.

I think the card could be fixed with a minor change (half extra points for PP, or no PP for playing it, etc.), and would be more interested in suggestions along those lines than out and out dismissals of BoW.
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I also think BoW is brilliant. IMO it is far and away the best version of the game. Surprised to hear so few experienced players agree with that. Perhaps time for a poll.

Rainstar wrote:
However, the dominance of Pan-Galactic Affluence has become a big detraction. The large fraction of games won with PGA is ridiculous, and takes away from an otherwise well balanced environment.

Just thought i'd weigh in, as i've heard the above from someone else on here as well. The strength of PGA doesn't bother me at all. I only have 625 plays though (that honestly doesn't feel like a lot for BoW).
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+1 from me that BoW is brilliant!

Here's my theory (as I stated on another thread).

To a gross approximation (but useful in this case), there are two ways of winning in BoW:

1. Take advantage of the seemingly overpowered parts of BoW such as prestige or PGA.

2. Use advanced and subtle strategies and combos that do not rely on prestige or PGA.

Inexperienced players (or players inexperienced with BoW) will tend towards #1 much more than #2. Therefore, to them prestige and PGA will seem overpowered. Experienced players will strike a balance between #1 and #2, or even tend more towards #2.

Inexperienced players should stay away from BoW, and experienced players should give it time, it will grow on you and then it will shine.
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Rob Neuhaus
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The stats seem to say rain knows what he is talking about.

He is 2nd there.

http://jburnim.github.com/rftgstats/bow/
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... I know BoW is the discussion, but on a related note, doesn't it also bother ppl that Gal. Fed has been spammed countless times to victory?
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rrenaud wrote:
The stats seem to say rain knows what he is talking about.

He is 2nd there.

http://jburnim.github.com/rftgstats/bow/


Hey, rrenaud, what happened to the old stats page?

(The one in which I was #8 whistle)
 
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rbelikov wrote:
Hey, rrenaud, what happened to the old stats page?

(The one in which I was #8 :whistle:)

Presumably this is the most recent version. Also it's BoW only, you can see all plays if you go up one level to http://jburnim.github.com/rftgstats/
 
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ackmondual wrote:
... I know BoW is the discussion, but on a related note, doesn't it also bother ppl that Gal. Fed has been spammed countless times to victory?


This is of course another common complaint. And I can agree that GF is very strong. It could probably survive a small adjustment in power (only -1 to dev, or 1 vp instead of 2 vp for 6-? devs). However, it's current strength doesn't bother me: it is the capstone for a develop strategy and within (although at the very top of) the statistical envelope for card performance.

You'll notice that PGA is well outside the group of other cards in that diagram. Note that the other two cards outside the envelope are fine: Galactic Rennaissance doesn't get played very often, but it is occasionally great; and Investment Credits is a standard play, but is actually not a big contributor to winning. It is only when a card is way out in both dimensions (played often, and very strong) that there is a real problem.
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Some unorganised thoughts (I might come back and organise them later, but don't count on it ):

I tend to agree with rainstar that it's not prestige that's the problem, it's that some (many?) prestige-related cards are very powerful. All of the repeat-prestige generators bar Imperium Capital are strong or very strong for their cost, for example.

A random example of a prestige card I think is costed well: Information Hub. There are a lot of situations where I'd play other 3-defence military worlds over this.

There are proportionally very few cards in the deck that can repeatedly generate prestige, and this distribution may be a significant problem. A version of Race designed from the ground up to incorporate prestige would look very interesting.

The more I play BoW, the less I find myself playing PGA, but I couldn't explain why.

Prestige presents the same problem as "most" goals: you have to know when to chase it and when not to. Sometimes chasing it is the right decision but you still don't catch up because of a lucky set of card draws by your opponent; this is incredibly frustrating, more so than other swings of luck which aren't so obvious. Corollary: in multiplayer games, players chasing prestige when they shouldn't will often hand the game to another player. Inexperienced players chase prestige all the time. This is part of why BoW can feel very swingy.

I disagree that dev spam is as strong in BoW as RvI. One of the design successes of BoW is the way prestige shuts down tableau spam that is founded on early card advantage; you need card advantage and prestige advantage for it to be reliable. (Sadly, an early prestige engine like Rebel Freedom Fighters gives both.)

The important one for the OP:
Just play RvI. You don't have to use all the expansions. (I resent BoW a little, because I felt there was still a lot of RvI strategy space to explore when it came out - but people, being people, want to play with all the expansions. I still get RvI to the table occasionally, but less than I would've done if BoW didn't exist.)
Edit: Oops, I see you actually mentioned this and I totally failed to read it. But I'd still recommend it; whatever gets people playing.
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Matt Kearse
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There is a variant I posted a while ago where if you are the sole prestige leader and earned prestige the previous round you get to choose either a card or a VP, but not both.

It works fairly well at slightly reducing the power of the prestige engine cards (e.g. Pan-Galactic Affluence) while still keeping prestige strategies viable.
 
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Martin G
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Quote:
The more I play BoW, the less I find myself playing PGA, but I couldn't explain why.

I try to avoid playing it because it feels like less of a win. In my 2pa games we actually houserule that if you are dealt PGA in your starting hand, you have to discard it.
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Derry Salewski
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I just think it made the game clunkier. It made me want to play it less. But I also hate new things . . . don't even know if I've tried takeovers or goals . . . hah. And maybe 6/3000 of the games I've played have been with more than 2 players . . .
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Martin G
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I really like BoW, and don't find the prestige unbalancing in general. But it turned it from a card game into exclusively a computer game for me, which is kind of sad. I'm hoping AA, when it finally appears, will be 'back to basics' enough for me to start bothering with the physical game again!
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I think PGA is the TGS Terraforming Guild "problem" all over again.

A lot of the top players (not gonna sugar coat it, i include myself) subconsciously feel like they should win every game. I don't fault anyone for that, i think it's normal human psychology. When you win 75-80% of the time [edit: 2pa], the losses tend to fade away "he got lucky/i got unlucky, no big deal, next!" Unless one card keeps being the source of them, then it can start to sting.

This is just a guess but i think that's what happens with Rainstar. Anytime i play PGA the air in the room changes. :P Like it's an undeserved win being stolen from him, or a game he's very unlikely to win. I think good players should try hard to squeeze out every bit of advantage against it, rather than feel demoralized, unconsciously playing below their maximum potential (contributing to the problem in a self-reinforcing cycle). Take it as a challenge, even if you know you're in a difficult spot.

There's no question PGA is incredibly overpowered. But IMO, much more importantly, i think Tom would say it's part of his keystone: texture. That's why i said PGA doesn't bother me. In fact, i love the card! It's so much fun to play, possibly my favorite in the set. Its texture definitely contributes to that.

As often as i get the card and cruise to a fun win, someone else will and i will lose. It may help that in my line of work, i've learned to reduce the effect that bad luck and variance have on my psyche. It's hard but it's possible, even if it's from a known overpowered card.

Sorry for contributing to turning this into a PGA thread, rather than about Prestige. :P
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qwertymartin wrote:
I try to avoid playing it because it feels like less of a win. In my 2pa games we actually houserule that if you are dealt PGA in your starting hand, you have to discard it.

TBH i think it's far harder to win (tho still not that hard) with PGA in your starting hand than when drawing it a few turns in (after your first trade, basically). So perhaps you could try a different houserule: if you draw it anytime after your opening hand, it can only be used as cash. ;)
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Martin G
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entranced wrote:
Anytime i play PGA the air in the room changes. Like it's an undeserved win being stolen from him, or a game he's very unlikely to win.

Heh, that's just how it feels with me and my regular opponent.

I totally get this 'texture' thing - a game with all cards created equal would be very boring. But you can only take it so far, right? I mean what if there was a card which had the effect 'You win immediately'...
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