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The Funnest Way to Play Puzzle Strike

Just saw this post asking for opinions on this old topic (which hasn’t been discussed in a long time now!) and thought I’d start a new thread, since the other one is already underway:

I think the most fun format is:

  • Pick Character Before Bank (like official format rules say to do)
  • Random Bank EVERY GAME (unlike official format rules say to do)

I agree with Sirlin’s old posts on the first point (basically, seeing bank first and then picking characters means the character selection process is not really “choose a character”, it’s closer to “pop-quiz on which character has best synergy with this bank.” The latter is more boring and seems to go against the design goals of the game (actually was confirmed to go against them. It seems the randomness from playing a disadvantaged bank was deemed an acceptable level of randomness to have (along with the many other random factors in the game!), and I agree

Which is why I wonder why you don’t just random EVERY bank. Playing the same bank again doesn’t seem to be the way people actually prefer to play Puzzle Strike, and if you can counter pick a character into a revealed bank, you’re kinda introducing the “pop-quiz” element I described above that Sirlin was against anyway, you’re just delaying it to Round 2.


100% agree with you !

I’ve never seen Puzzle Strike played -really- competitively, but competitive players might prefer to minimize randomness as much as possible.

I prefer to play Puzzle Strike for fun thought.
I don’t like random banks, I prefer balanced banks (some 1 or 2 :psgem: chip, some 3 or 4 :psgem: ones, some 5 or 6 :psgem:… I don’t like gold chips and I don’t like banks with for example no gem that costs less than :ps4gem:.)
I prefer to play PS with only shadow expansion chips (I sticked some original PS characters PnP from the 1st extension on some blank chips to add more diversity to the roster) but yeah I don’t miss 1st extension OP chips that much.

I do agree with you in principle that a random bank every time is fun and best fits how the game was designed. I will say that I’ve had fun playing games with my sisters where we kept the same bank and maybe changed one chip occasionally and had fun just learning that particular setup more deeply than we would be able to in a single game, but part of why I’ve not changed the bank out from under them each game is also because they don’t get to play often enough to avoid having that be completely disorienting.

The bigger issue with doing that in the context of something like @vengefulpickle’s Forum Ranked series is that the interface for online Puzzle Strike enforces the tournament rules—the loser may choose to randomize the bank, but if they do so they forfeit the right to either change a single chip (not an issue if you picked the random bank) or change their character (!). I’m sure someone could come up with a workaround for those who want to both change characters and randomize the bank, but it would take extra effort.

As for why the rules are this way? I think it’s simply because Sirlin tried to graft the traditional tournament counter-pick rules into a game that really would have preferred an alternative. It’s telling that in Fantasy Strike, the fighting game he always dreamed of making even before Yomi, he intends to replace the counter-pick system with a new variation on Team Battle that hasn’t appeared in any other game and completely removes the ability to counter-pick.


I disagree with you (and Sirlin) on the first point, but only because the bank swings are so wild. If you pick a character and get completely screwed on the bank, then you kind of end up playing a game that isn’t very fun.

So the format I’ve liked is random bank every game and both players re-pick characters (double-blind) after they see each new bank.

You still get a ton of variety since the bank is random every game, but I would rather see both players play a game where they feel like they can do cool stuff with their character because they picked a character who has bank synergy rather than feeling stuck because there are no econ chips or no attack chips or no washers or whatever it is that their character needs to be fun to play.

(Credit to deluks for introducing me to this Puzzle Strike format!)

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Random banking idea souds like a good idea in general.

Although it may favour characters that perform well regardless of the bank (I love those kinds of characters) :smiley: But just thought I should mention it.

I think the team battle thing done in fantasy strike would be a kind of solution to the problem. Go check out sirlin’s video on it if you have not yet before:

But in fantasy strike team battle mode works especially well as its only about the characters, whereas PS has a bank to be dealt with. Should the bank then be randomized in between plays then in puzzle strike format? Or should there be some middle ground, like a half random bank? I dunno, just throwing out ideas.