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Nudging the tiller - balance


The market has spoken and they are very against me changing/improving a board game over time. So no changes are planned. Improving board games had a good run, but I can’t do it when there is a massive financial penalty and massive PR penalty attached to it. We are NOT working on a new version of Codex right now. There is no reason to post “waiting for next edition” as we see commonly posted about Codex on other websites. We’re working on Fantasy Strike right now, not on Codex.

That said, you can think about this stuff all you want. Some comments:

Calypso Vystari is not a named card and therefore should not be legendary. Calypso is an adjective and Vystari is the name of a race or group of people, and neither word is her name.

Scorch I know the most about. For a lot of development it cost 2, so I know all about how that is. I have personally played red more than other colors so I really know how it is, and it’s like this: I noticed that I would never ever ever consider using it as a worker. Like the very thought of that was ludicrous. It was a key card to always use, but it was so extreme that it was a key lategame card. I’d almost always use it as a finisher, as well as multiple other times along the way. Not that I did that sometimes, but that I was basically forced to because of how good it was. It was just crazy as a starting deck card.

At cost 3 it works how it should. You use it sometimes, not others. I still use it as a finisher sometimes for the last damage. It’s useable other times occasionally as removal, or the last damage on a tech building. I think it’s a serious misplay to auto-worker it always. I can’t even imagine that actually. Red should be blitzing hard and the option of another burn spell, even an inefficient one, is correct to have at least some of the time. It doesn’t matter how it compares to some black card or something; it matters if red’s desperate plan ever needs Scorch and from playing red a lot I can say: yes it does, and it’s useable as it is. Sometimes you need ANY card that will do that last 1 or 2 damage to their base and having a card that does it that you didn’t even need to tech for can be a life-saver.

Knight of the Conclave should not mess with time runes. It should be the simplest possible thing. An expansion card was planned to have arrive: mess with time runes. This card should remain simple.

Drill Sergeant and Blooming Ancient do a similar thing, but in a different way very much on purpose. If we could do it all over again, I would not change that they work differently. It’s intentional variation and not some kind of mistake, nor is it consistent (because the exact way they gain runes doesn’t need to be, and shouldn’t be, “consistent”.)

Fruit Ninja is not “always worker” in Bashing vs. Finesse. Quite the contrary, it’s a key card and usually good. That match is often about can you deal 4 damage on an attack against a hero or not on the turn you need it, and he is one of the “outs” that can do it (him plus either bloom/spark/wither).

Warpgate Disciple. I’m surprised to hear a compliant on this one, actually. He really says “answer me right away or lose.” If you let him do his thing even a couple turns, it’s nuts. He’s kind of a trickshot, but his existence helps as a mixup of various things they HAVE to respond to. He’s seemed pretty ok in games I’ve seen.


Thanks for weighing in @Sirlin - we all know an update won’t happen, so this is all for fun. I hope you don’t take this thread as a low-blow critique of you or the hard work you put into the game.

My aim was to start a thought experiment on how to get underplayed cards played more, rather than a semi-predictable overeliance on certain key cards once a spec is chosen. Given the speed of the game and efficiency of certain cards (e.g. Drill Sergeant/Flagstone Garrison), more defensive cards are often getting left behind (e.g. Debilitator Alpha) - in the present meta at least.

To that end, what are your suggestions with regards how to best use Arresting Constable? Are we missing something obvious?


Thought experiments are fun, go right ahead.

I have no particular thoughts on them at this moment thought, about to head to Game Developer’s Conference.


Law + Present seems like it might be worth exploring.


For the use of Now! with Arresting Constables?


Ready or Not
Arresting Constable
Justice Juggernaut

Temporal Distortion + Insurance Agent to get x3 gold from something? (edit: this doesn’t work)

Guardian of the Gates/Injunction + Ready or Not

I mean, this is all Tech II shenans and it could just die before you get there, but it seeeeeeems like there might be something there. Third spec is probably very important but you already have Argonaut as a pretty good Tech I unit on defence. Hmm.

[Codex Puzzle] Insure ALL the things!

Temporal distortion plus insurance agent, I don’t think works out to x3. Insurance runes only function with the instance of the agent that made the rune. Replaying an agent is a new instance.


It took me a minute to figure out how this works. Play Insurance Agent from hand and put a rune on something, then Temporal Distortion puts Agent back in hand and summons another from your Codex, placing a second rune. Replay the first Agent for a third rune, then suicide the thing with the runes for all the money ever and three cards.

Imagine doing that on a Rambasa Twin or Twilight Baron, or maybe something that costs 5 or 6 gold from Tech II. Now I’m wondering what the theoretical maximum payout from insurance runes in a single turn would be…

Never mind, that doesn’t work. See below for details.


The re-played Agent is a new instance. You can never get more than 2x payout.

Also, the runes themselves mean absolutely nothing. They only exist for flavor/ease of tracking.


Looking at the official rulings, you’re right. A bit of a shame, but I guess it would be too abusable otherwise. @mysticjuicer, was that sequence what you meant?


Yeah I misunderstood how Insurance Agent worked. Thanks @EricF! I still think there might be something there with this. I’ll try it out on Tabletopia. At the very least it should make for some atypical (for me) gameplay!


Yeah, Geiger’s spells seem like they work well with several things in Law, so it looks fun to try. I hope you’ll record at least one game with it so we can see how it goes!



Like everyone else, I’m really grateful that you’ve commented. I feel moved to respond personally because you expressed surprise that I had “complained” about Warp Gate Disciple. I understand how it came across this way, but I was not complaining about the card at all. I just brought it up because someone else had used as criticism of Arresting Constable that he is just a 2/2 for 4 gold, with an ability that (it is claimed) is less good than a spell. That made me question whether we should not instead be criticising WGD, because he is a 1/1 for 4 gold. Clearly both these cards have really useful abilities which makes them sometimes worth playing (although the current expert opinion seems to be that AC is never worth it) - personally I really like the idea of WGD but I can rarely justify teching something that costs 4 but is only a 1/1, because I almost never have enough defence at the Tech 2 stage of a game to think he’s likely to stay alive.


I think most people think of Scorch as an auto-worker when using it in a multi-color deck. (I certainly do.) Costing $4 half the time is just not worth it. But you make a strong argument for why it’s costed the way it is, and does seem really strong in mono-Red. Hotter Fire never made it worse, either.

Hope GDC goes well. I’ll miss it this year, as last, due to baby, but if you’re able stop by the CA Lounge for playtesting again, say hi for me.


It would be interesting if a PBF tournament was run with a restrained list of balance changes like @EricF 's… then you wouldn’t have to run one with randomized specs not including demonology.


That was more of an experiment then an attempt at balance change. Note that in the current CAPS tournament, with no restrictions, there is only 1 vandy to be found and the previous flavor of the month(peace engine) is at severely reduced numbers.


Fair enough, and there’s plenty of depth to the gamse that can still be discovered, but it could be an interesting experiment executed in a format that allows it fairly easily, especially once you have some significant tournament data to lean on. Of course, as others have said, this is not a knock on the current game.


If changes were tested I think I’d like to see some sort of reverse Frenzy given to Blue. Call it Defensive or some other defense sounding name and it gives +1 attack to the unit/hero on the opponents turn.

I’d want to try it out on Bluecoat Musketeer, Scribe, and/or Tax Collector.

The tech I units in Truth seem to be really niche. I’d like to see Spectral Hound have resist 1 or Dreamscape gives all your illusions resist 1. Hallucination gets a new ability, Synergy. Synergy makes it so if you play two copies of the same card in a turn (so in this case if you play both Hallucinations in a single turn) you draw a card. So many parts of Truth require a lot of set up to get going and the goal is to alleviate some of that set up.

Then make Peace a little less good.


sounds like you’re dreaming up reinventing the wheel, especially considering you’re mentioning some cards that already see play and are therefore not really prime targets for buffs.

I would definitely not go so far as to start trying to make up so much new stuff… small changes here and there on severely under or overplayed units and heroes could potentially have large repercussions if it changes the meta.


I think this is a really good litmus test for balancing starter deck cards. Pretend we’re talking about Deteriorate - anyone else think the above quote still fits?