The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

Posts Tagged ‘Fairy Tale

All Factorio All The Time

And not much boardgaming. I actually took the TaoLing to game night this week and played …. one game of Jump Drive. Just wasn’t in the mood to play much. It happens. On the Factorio front I’m building a mega-ish-base (ish because once 0.15 drops I’ll probably upgrade and restart). An interesting learning experience (quite different from speed runs). Also learning how to deal with big alien bases. (I do hope they do something interesting with Laser Turrets in the new expansion, because there are lots of inferior weapon types, and Laser Turrets.

A large up front cost to build, but no ammo cost (assuming your power is fine).

I’ve actually just been watching a lot of Factorio as well. Watching the TaoLing play, and some youtube channels.

On the actual game front, been playing Sentinels and finally convinced the TaoLing to play Advanced villains, so its a challenge. Also played a few games of Fairy Tale.

Written by taogaming

March 22, 2017 at 8:44 pm

Fairy Tale Strategy

Now that 7 Wonders snagged the IGA, I’m playing Fairy Tale. (That’s the kind of cutting-trailing-edge gamer I am). Casting my eyes on the geek, I wipe away a tear seeing that there are zero strategy articles. Let us rectify that situation.

The path to victory comes by accumulating VP. No shock there. Higher numbers are better, but you can win by denying everyone else a good score. But saying “Score more than everyone else” doesn’t help. What should you aim for? My personal belief is that you’ll need a 40-50 point score to win most games. That works out to 3.5-4 points per card played. That’s the base metric. You could win with 3 points per card played, but that’s rare. Sometimes you lose with high forties.

If you could force everyone to play crappy cards, then you could win with a much lower score. But you can’t. Anyway, for now my thoughts will be directed towards the 5 player game, so assume that.

How The Draft affects Play

In 7 Wonders, you draft 18 cards. Up to 3 go into your Wonder. Some get pitched for money, although if you cash in more than 1-2 cards you typically lose. For those cards and those cards only you draft defensively, It doesn’t matter what the card is. You play cards instantly on drafting; so you decide right then.  Sometimes you play a slightly sub-optimal card to really stick it to your neighbor, but in a large game you focus on optimizing your score (unless your downstream neighbor is the leader).

There are also temporal issues in 7 Wonders. The big VP cards happen in Era III, so you don’t want to be playing defensively then …. you need to score points.  In Fairy Tale, cards don’t cost resources & you draft your big point cards as they come. You play exactly 60% of your drafts. Once you draft 3 great cards in a round, you pick defensively.  If you have two great scorers, you can risk drafting a mediocre card to deny your neighbor a windfall. Since your last last card is always luck of the draw you should expect it to be poor, so realistically plan for one defensive draft a round, three offensive (scoring) draws, and one random card.

Given that players will mainly (but not exclusively) focus on offensive drafting means that you should look for opportunities to rejigger a card value so that it’s good for you, but not for anyone else. If it’s fantastic, you risk a defensive draft. But pushing cards into the “Better, but not overwhelming” category may see it slip by.

Early on, flexibility matters. If you draft a card that combines well with cards available later, you may get lucky.  Draft a Story-9 point card which requires the Hero (3 point card that hunts) of that suit to score and you burn one pick unless you get the matching hero later the same hand (or have the trickster). Odds are — a zero point play. Drafting the Hero is a different story — he’s worth 3 points and has an effect. It’s a flexible draft (in fact, it’s good). Now if you get the 9-conditional, that’s huge; if not, you aren’t down much. Drafting the hero has good implied odds early on. The story is (hopefully) still in the deck. Nobody else will want the payoff (barring the trickster) so you’ll get it, or force a defensive draft.

I rate picks on flexibility; I rate Tableaus on robustness. With that hero and story-9, you’ve got 12 points. But if you have to close a card of that suit and don’t have a spare, you are back to 3. Have the hero, story and a friend in that suit, you have 15 points. Your average fell from 6 per card to 5, but now an attacking close only costs you a bit. If you have many cards in a (non-shadow) suit, you tend to be robust, unless every card is absolutely necessary. The spare provides robustness. It’s insurance, a premium against disaster. You can’t always take insurance, and sometimes it isn’t necessary. Which brings us to our first card…

Card Analysis

I’m starting with the shadow cards, as they provide direct player interactions.

The key cards are the closers (the Demon, Werewolf and Vampire, which force all players to close a Dragon, Holy Empire or Fairywood card, respectively). They tie in with robustness/fragility. If you don’t have cards in a suit you are safe, and can pick & play a closer with impunity. Its only 2 points, but will cost every other player (with a card in that suit) at least a point. If they aren’t robust, you cost them dearly. Assuming that each other player has a card in that suit, this makes closers 3+ point plays. A solid, not great round 1 draft. Late in the game they often force a defensive draft by a fragile tableau (assuming it gets to him). If you see both closers played/gone, then that suit is safe, and you don’t need to take out insurance anymore. Also note that if you hit a fragile tableau with a closer, it’s not a horrible loss if they play the opener in that suit (they get back their scorer, but the opener itself is only a point) Note that the order is Hunt-Open-Close, so a closer played as the 12th card can’t be responded to.

The Dark Angel costs you a point, but lets you open two cards. This is obviously a conditional draft … pick her if you have two face down cards (or maybe if you have one and expect another to be attacked this round …). If you combine this with two locations (the 6 point cards that force you to close a card) you have 11 points in 3 cards.

The Magic Circle forces you to close a face up card, but it’s worth five points. That makes it and any other card worth 2.5 points, which isn’t great. If you could close a Dark Angel that would be a 6 point swing, to be sure. More realistically, you have probably drafted a risky card (a story you don’t expect to fulfill, or one of the asterisk cards) and you are making the most of a bad situation.

The Trickster … ah the Trickster. Negative one point, but able to make a name for himself. If you play the Trickster, you can draft any (one) Story-9 in safety. You can combine him with a large friend stack, or the squares. You’d rather have the real card, of course, but it’s a solid play. Early on, taking the trickster provides great flexibility, at a cost.

The shadow story cards are straight forward. Chapter 1 scores 6 points if you have the most shadow cards. Chapter 2 scores 7 points for the most home cards, Chapter 3 scores 7 points if you hve the most story cards, and Chapter 4 scores 8 for the most stories.

The “Good” factions

Remember that the good factions are all mirrors, so we discuss them as one.

Each faction has one Hero who scores 3 points and is required for the 9 point story card of that faction (“Chapter 4”). As discussed above, that makes a good play, since the story card becomes great … for you. Additionally, heroes hunt. When in doubt, I play the hero card 3rd, particularly in the first draft. That’s because a player holding a shadow closer will typically wait to let other players get into a faction they haven’t started. (Later on, the player may look for a moment when that particular faction is fragile, since waiting may let a spare card make it robust). Dark Angels also tend to appear in the 3rd round, after dropping a few  homes. As your group starts to save heroes, shadow cards will tend to move to the 2nd round, so this becomes a “You know I know” situation…

The Homes for each faction are worth 6 points, but close one card of that faction.  The obvious combo is to play the location, then play that faction’s opener (1 point character which opens a card of that faction). That earns 7 points in 2 cards, and are ready to play the 7-point story (“Chapter 2”) which requires one of each. That’s a decent (fragile) combination worth 14 in 3 cards. If you don’t get the story card, the 1 character makes your tableau robust. If you just drop down the 6-1 combination in all three suits, you can also go for the 8-point story cards (“Chapter 3,” requires two cards in the other suits). Exceedingly fragile, but you’d average 5.5 points a card with no conditionals outside your control. There are 4 of each home & opener.

Each suit has 4 friends, which provide 3 points each. The next suit up the line also has 4 allies that score 3 points for each friend. So if you get four matching friends and all four allies, you’ll earn a whopping 60 points (in 8 mere cards). If you get a respectable set of 3 and 3, that’s 36 points in 6 cards, still great. If you only manage one friend of a suit, allies are a slightly inferior 3 points. That makes drafting and playing an ally with only one friend slightly risky, but means that any later friend becomes worth 6(+) points. As always, the key is to remember what you’ve seen go by.

The Square cards are worth the number of that card you played (so the total points equal the squares). There are seven of them in each suit. The first card you play is terrible, 1 point. The next card is 3 points, the next is five. So if you get to 3, you are doing OK. The fourth card is 7 points, and now things look start looking good. Still, when you draft squares you’ll need a spare card in the suit. Exactly how valuable these are depend on group think, and whether the players next to you are drafting them.

You can also play your first square as a sacrificial lamb towards that faction’s home. If you get a few more squares, then you worry about opening the card. The *-6 combo isn’t as great as the 6-1 (it doesn’t help for as many stories, and scores a point less) but sometimes it’s what you are dealt. More so than any plan, squares depend on groupthink. If your group doesn’t like them, you’ll get a few big wins. And then you’ll find drafting them harder.

The faction stories — Chapter 1 scores 6 if you have the most cards of that faction. Straightforward, although note that the lead can’t change because of the closer. (Really, the Dark Angel is the only way you suddenly lose the lead …. or a drought of cards to draft). Chapter 2 scores 7 if you have the home + opener combination. Chapter 3 scores 8 for having 2 cards in the other two suits, and Chapter 4 scores 9 with the hero.

No doubt there’s more strategy than what I’ve described, but having a good grasp of the deck and options provide a necessary basis.

Written by taogaming

October 2, 2011 at 8:00 pm

Posted in Specific Games, Strategy

Tagged with

A comforting thought

“My insights into Fairy Tale strategy are markedly better than random play.” OK, it’s not that comforting.

Based on feedback, I’m skipping the Neural Network and just going with a correlation matrix (which will eventually evolved). I’ve hardcoded my default correlation matrix (80 x 40) and initial weighting of cards (1 x 40). [Player #1 is the non-random one].

INFO  9859 - GameState - Player #1 won 82 games.
INFO  9859 - GameState - Player #2 won 9 games.
INFO  9859 - GameState - Player #3 won 5 games.
INFO  9859 - GameState - Player #4 won 8 games.
INFO  9859 - GameState - Player #5 won 3 games.

Right now I’m just using a “Play the card you like best each round”, but perhaps I should look at the breakpoints … if I know I won’t be playing two of the cards at all, perhaps theirs a way to let it evolve ways of ordering the rest of the card play.

Now I just have to program a mutator, a serializor and a reaper. Then it’s off to the evolutionary races! (Eventually I’ll need to write a GUI so I can play against it, assuming it gets good enough …)

I’ll write some more bridge in a few days. And some actual game stuff later…

Written by taogaming

May 5, 2009 at 11:15 pm

Posted in Artificial Opponents

Tagged with

Fear my L33t

Or just help it out. If you’ve done Neural Nets in Java, can you lend a hand?

While I figure out what to do, I’ll start writing some test cases for obscure scoring issues for the game I implemented. Or not. (Don’t expect a release anytime soon, this is mainly a NN testbed right now. Doesn’t even have a GUI yet).

Written by taogaming

May 4, 2009 at 3:27 pm

Posted in Artificial Opponents

Tagged with

Thursday Night Gaming (4/21/05) & Open Thread

I played Keythedral, Ingenious & closed off with two games of Fairy Tale. [I passed on the chance to play Formula De mini since I was tired. My sleep schedule is still out of whack.]
I’d never tried Keythedral, I’m not sure how I feel. The random law cards (either help yourself or “Take that”) cost me twelve points twice (in a game where the final scores were 62, 61, and two people in the 30s). The law cards are too variable for my tastes (in face, it’s my number one pet peeve). Some cards are huge, but others are worth a cube of your choice, which is what they cost to buy. Since you buy them face down, you never know what you are getting.

So if I evalue Keythedral as a light little game, it’s OK. But the other mechanisms proclaim “Serious resource management.” So, I am inclined to dismiss this. But I’ll certainly try one more time (if offered) just to see.

So, what new games have you been playing? Or do you want to see reviewed?

Written by taogaming

April 23, 2005 at 10:59 am

Posted in Session Reports

Tagged with ,

Fairy Tale

I enjoy Alex Rockwell’s writing, particularly on strategy. So when he recently posted to SpielFrieks calling Fairy Tale the “Best Filler Evar” it put the game on my radar and I hoped to play it. Last night I got the chance.

Fairy Tale has a deck of 100 nicely illustrated cards in four suits. Three of the suits represent the `nice’ fairy tale races (Fairies, Dragons and Knights) and are functionally identical. The fourth suit represents chaos or evil. A game has four rounds. The dealer gives each player five cards. You keep one and pass the rest, then keep one of the (four) cards you get passed, and so on. After everyone has drafted five cards, players pick a card and simultaneously reveal them. All played cards are kept, but may be turned face down.

Cards can have three special powers: Hunting, Opening and Closing. If any card “Hunts”, all of the affected cards played at the same time are turned face down. For example, each of the three good suits has a card that `hunts’ the evil suit (black, of course). There aren’t many hunt cards. Cards that open allow the player to turn one or two cards (usually of a specific suit) face up. Cards that close require the player (or all players) to turn a card (again, usually of a specific suit) face down.

So, you draft five cards, then play three (one at a time). Discard the other two. Repeat four times and then score. Only face up cards count for scoring, and the cards have a variety of mechanics to score. Some cards have a flat value (positive or negative). Some sets score based on the number of cards. Others are conditional – to get the points you must have the most of a type. Type could be suit, but cards also have a theme (story, location, character) which may be counted. Lots of ways to score.

Fortunately, the cards’ symbols explain the scoring. It took a game or two to figure the symbols out, but a game only lasts 15 minutes. The cards also show their frequency (by saying x/100) and the distribution of any cards that they require, so the conditional `7′ that requires a `Green 6′ and `Green 1′ indicates that there are four of each of those cards. The cards look nice with typical fantasy artwork.

Having played four times, I consider Fairy Tale an enjoyable filler, and there may be depth. For the first game, you try to learn the cards. Then in the second game, you start combining some defensive play (“I want this card a bit, but I cannot let the next player have that card”). Scoring combinations and what they require also starts to inform your analysis. Standard tricks of play get noticed (playing a high value card that forces you to close one of your cards in that suit, then a low value card that opens one card) and countered (with hunts) at the appropriate time.

I’d rate thinking as optional but useful for this game. For a late night `closer’ game, that seems right. One interesting note is that with 5 players, the entire deck will be dealt out, but with less that isn’t true. And there are several cards that occur exactly once in the deck. The partnership four-player variant supposedly adds to the strategy, but I haven’t tried it.

Due to the fact that Fairy Tale is imported from Japan, expect mild sticker shock. On the other hand, recent Steve Jackson Games cost more, with worse production values. I want to play this a few more times before deciding if it’s a fad or has real staying power. It’s too early to proclaim it the best filler, though. I’m not rushing out to buy it, but I’d certainly trade for a copy. When I’ve played more games I’ll chime in, one way or the other. Early impression – favorable.

Written by taogaming

February 2, 2005 at 4:52 pm

Posted in Reviews

Tagged with

Struggle of Empires & Fairy Tale

Tuesday night boardgaming saw Struggle of Empires hit the table. Overall quite enjoyable. As I thought, the first war took a while (particularly the first 2-3 rounds). But after that things picked up. Unfortunately, we needed another 30-45 minutes to finish the last war, so we called it at 2 wars. Overall time (including rules) about 2:30-2:45. Call it 3:30 hours for the first game with all new players. The time speed up was dramatic. About 1:15 for the first war, :45 for the second (the rest for the rules).

Now that I’ve played it, my worries seem overblown. There are plenty of options, but I doubt anyone put themselves out of the running in the first few rounds (while getting a feel for the game). A new player (or two) in a crowd of experienced gamers would be at a disadvantage. I happened to win, but given that we decided at the end of round 4 to just play out the last round of war 2 and call it, that’s more luck than anything else (several players had taken turns that aimed at the long term).

Unsurprisingly, I look forward to playing again.

While waiting for everyone to show, some of us played Fairy Tale. After Struggle broke up, we played 3 more quick games. A very good filler, and one that I’ll review … later.

Update: I forgot a quick game of Lord of the Rings, the Confrontation.

Written by taogaming

February 1, 2005 at 11:15 pm