Monday 23 September 2013

Progenitor - Tempo: Purging & Turnover

In the last couple of posts I've discussed some key mechanics of Progenitor, and how gaining cards affects tempo.  Here I'll put the two together, analysing the tempo gains/losses of a purge and a turnover.  First up, let's look at purging.

When you purge you get to gain cards from the board, trigger any purge effects, then destroy all cards you have in play.  Each of these steps can change your tempo, so working out the tempo change for a purge is probably the most convoluted calculation applicable to Progenitor.

First, you add up the tempo you get for any cards you gain, which is the Energy Requirement of each card plus one.  Then add any tempo changes from purge effects.  Finally, you destroy all cards you have  in play, and thus subtract tempo for all the Energy and Primes you lose.  It doesn't matter how a card leaves play, be it an opponent destroying them with a card effect or you purging, you still lose the tempo in exactly the same way.  This would seem to imply that building up and purging is a massive waste of time, as almost all the tempo you gain with your plays will be lost again as soon as you purge, but the purge is letting you gain cards from the board, and it's this gain of cards which is the overall tempo increase you are scoring.

0ER, +1, [starting deck is made of these] 1ER, +1, +1 Prime.
Let's look at the example I used before, where you have 2 Charge (0ER, +1, [starting deck is made of these]) cards and a Supply Shuttle (1ER, +1, +1 Prime) in play, giving you a total of 3 Energy and 2 Primes.  When you purge in this sitation you have four different options as to what you take from the board.  You may gain:

Thursday 19 September 2013

Progenitor - Tempo: Gaining & Losing Cards

Up until now tempo has dealt purely with cards as they enter and leave play.  A card which gives you +2 Energy is worth 2 tempo while it's in play  Destroying a card which would provides an opponent +1 Energy causes them to lose 1 tempo.  But how is tempo affected by adding cards to our deck, or losing them from it?

When you gain a card you put it into your discard pile.  If you gain it as part of a purge action then it is never in play: it goes straight from the board into your discard pile.  It may appear that this has no effect on tempo at all.  This is not the case!

Friday 13 September 2013

Progenitor - Windows Of Opportunity

In games like Progenitor it's not uncommon for a player to get into a commanding position: a place of power which can make them seemingly unassailable.  In Progenitor this manifests in two ways:
  1. Play Presence.
    By having a lot of cards in play you can have a plethora of effects continually providing you with benefits. Defensive cards can stop any opponent from messing with you, while utility cards like Permutator (2ER, +2, At the beginning of your turn you may look at the top card of your draw pile, then discard it or put it back.) or Entropy Engine (3ER, +0, At the beginning of your turn draw a card) can give you extensive card draw or a way to lock-down / control your adversaries.

  2. +2, 2ER, At the beginning of your turn you may look at the top card of your draw pile, then discard it or put it back.
    Having this in play is pretty nice...
    +0, 3ER, At the beginning of your turn draw a card.
    ...but not as nice as this.
  3. Hand Size.
    Your hand is your materiel, your ammunition.  The more cards you've got in hand the more options you have in your turn.  Add to that the presence of defensive cards like Blink Drive (2ER, -1, You may play this card when an opponent targets you or your cards to nullify opponent's card, played: Draw a card) and a large hand of cards can give you a large psychological advantage, as well as the actual advantage of having lots of answers to your opponents plays.
-1, 2ER, You may play this card when an opponent targets you or your cards to nullify opponent's card, played: draw a card.
Simply having this in your deck can deter opponents.
There are two key play mechanics in Progenitor aimed at redressing these advantages.  That is not to say it removes them: after all, a player who has played well enough to get into a position of power deserves to be rewarded for it.  They do, however, provide a couple of ways through, a couple of chinks in the armour that a canny player can take advantage of to pull a game back in their direction.

Wednesday 11 September 2013

Progenitor revision 2013.09.11 changelog

Progenitor changelog 2013.09.11


AM ShellAdded 'playable' when playing with a card from hand to stop instant win with All-In.
Adaptive ShieldingOpponent may discard card with same Energy Requirement to stop gain.
Blink DriveIncreased Energy Requirement from 1 to 2.

Monday 9 September 2013

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Progenitor - Tempo: In Play

+0, 1ER, played: Destroy target card. +1, 0ER, [starting deck is made of these]
When using tempo to analyse plays in a game we need to look at how the play changes the state of the game, as opposed to the theoretical numbers we used previously.  For example, if you were to make a play that would destroy an opponent's card, we no longer consider this card destruction worth a flat 2 tempo (your opponent loses a draw and a play); instead we need to look at the card we are going to destroy.

Let's say you play a Laser Salvo (1ER, +0, played: destroy target card).  If you destroy an opponent's Charge (0ER, +1, [starting deck is made of these]), what have they lost?  They have lost 1 Energy.  Ignore that they had to draw and play the Charge; that is irrelevant. The direct change to the state of the game is that they now have 1 less Energy than they did before.  You might think that your play was therefor worth 1 tempo, and it would be, except that them losing 1 Energy is not the only change in the state of the game: you now have 1 less card in hand than you did before.
Therefor, your play was worth 0 tempo: you have set them back by a point (of Energy) at the expense of a point of your own (a card in hand; a draw).

Scoring your tempo is an interesting idea: obviously, the more tempo you gain the better, so you would want this to be high.  If it were a computer game (or you were particularly bloody minded) you might be able to derive stats after the game was over, like your average tempo per turn.  While it is clearly a good rule of thumb that the bigger-the-better for tempo/turn, during play it won't actually be key that this number is bigger than some goalpost figure: rather, it is important simply that it be bigger than your opponents'.  Note that in a heads-up, 1v1 game the tempo score is zero-sum: any time you gain tempo your opponent loses it, and vice-versa; it's only in a multiplayer game that having a goalpost is possible; I'll look at tempo in multiplayer in a later post.  Let's look at 1v1 now, as it's much simpler.  In 1v1 tempo can be looked at as a peg moving up and down a number line:

Thursday 5 September 2013

Progenitor - Tempo: Take Two

As discussed in the previous post, tempo is calculated by adding up your gain and your opponent's loss from a card effect when you play it.  I stated that Laser Salvo (1ER, +0, played: destroy target card) is worth 2 tempo: when it destroys an opponent's card it costs them 1 draw and 1 play.  However, in order to generate that destroy effect it has cost you 2 tempo as well: you have had to draw the Laser Salvo and then play it.  Thus it could be argued that Laser Salvo is worth 0 tempo: -2 tempo from your draw & play, +2 tempo for opponents loss.  If you imagine a play situation: opponent plays a Charge, then you destroy it with Laser Salvo. The game has moved on 0 tempo from your previous turn.

Theoretically you can calculate tempo in either of these ways: as the total produced by the cards effect, or that total - 2 (for your draw and play); as long as you do it consistently it would still work, since you are only comparing these numbers with each other.  However, it is generally better to use the former, especially when we go on to use tempo to analyse actual plays: