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Stegmaier announces tweaks to Tapesty to address balance

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21 Nov 2019 16:38 - 21 Nov 2019 16:39 #304428 by Jackwraith
(Making a new topic, since there was enough conversation in the Playing thread that Gary would likely want to move it to its own thing.)

stonemaiergames.com/wp-content/uploads/2...-191121-1024x791.png

Proving, yet again, that almost no amount of playtesting in-house will ever match thousands (or, in the case of video games, millions) of players hammering the design into shapes the designers probably couldn't imagine. To his credit, they've been pretty out front about this kind of thing, rather than waiting months for an expansion to fix things (or, in the case of classic GW, just saying something like: "Learn how to play better!" before plummeting sales changed their mind.) I guess he had similar problems with Viticulture?

I will say that flat out giving certain factions a point lead seems a bit blunt when addressing a design flaw, but maybe the situation just is that bad?
Last edit: 21 Nov 2019 16:39 by Jackwraith.
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21 Nov 2019 17:42 #304429 by Michael Barnes
Too lazy to dig it up but insert Jennifer Lawrence “OK” meme here.

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21 Nov 2019 17:42 #304430 by Erik Twice
As it turns out, the faction I used to win my first game yesterday was one of the nerfed ones. I'm not surprised. Tapestry is a zero-interaction game and the powers are very simple and broad. It's no surprise that they are of wildly different power levels.

This is obvious and it's awful they did not bother to adjust them. Tacking VP gain or loss to balance a power is also awful game design.
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21 Nov 2019 17:59 #304431 by Shellhead
I haven't played Tapestry.

I do know from personal experience that playtesting is a pain, but it is also an essential step in the game design process. It's your last chance to get the game right, by seeing what does and doesn't work in actual play, or even what might not be clearly written in your rules. Too many Kickstarter games have clearly skimped on the playtesting because there wasn't a publisher or editor who could enforce the need for playtesting.

If the game is solitaire or co-op with open information, it's possible that the designer can do a lot of "playtesting" without actual playtesters. If Tapestry is truly a zero-interaction game, then it might be possible to "playtest" Tapestry as if it was a solitaire game.

An especially elusive aspect of playtesting is fun. If the playtesters are dutifully following the rules of the game but are not visibly enthusiastic about playing the game, the game might not actually be fun. From recent comments here, it sounds like Tapestry also comes up short in terms of fun.

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21 Nov 2019 18:17 #304432 by Gary Sax
I mean, looking at it from his perspective, he's in a real jam. His only changes can be ones that can be implemented from a short update sheet. So the changes have to be somewhat crude.

<3 Jackwraith

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21 Nov 2019 18:23 #304434 by HiveGod
BETA TEST PHASE I HAS ENDED. THANK YOU FOR YOUR PARTICIPATION.

BETA TEST PHASE II COMMENCING—NOW.
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21 Nov 2019 19:27 #304435 by Michael Barnes
My big thing with this is...who the fuck cares! There are like 100 other new games this month, probably 10 about like this one in mechanisms or subject matter and more are on the way. So good grief, can we just cut this one loose and move on? The game is a bust, it’s headed for flopsville and the discount table. NEXT!

I guess if I were suckered into fronting a successful publisher the money to make a game, I’d be pretty pissed and remorseful, maybe this would help a little I don’t know.
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21 Nov 2019 20:52 #304437 by Jackwraith

Shellhead wrote: If the game is solitaire or co-op with open information, it's possible that the designer can do a lot of "playtesting" without actual playtesters. If Tapestry is truly a zero-interaction game, then it might be possible to "playtest" Tapestry as if it was a solitaire game.


Part of the Reddit thread had some discussion about the fact that solitaire play was kind of an eye-opener for a lot of people as to how these factions played and how they were unable to beat the AI of the game at basically any difficulty level. Some people felt that the complaints about that approach to the game are what triggered these changes because if you can't beat the automaton, you are really unlikely to beat other humans.

Gary Sax said:

I mean, looking at it from his perspective, he's in a real jam. His only changes can be ones that can be implemented from a short update sheet. So the changes have to be somewhat crude.


Sure. I get why that's his approach, especially when it comes to maintaining the sales snowball, which will come to a jarring halt if the popular perception on BGG and Reddit is that only half of the game's factions are playable. I don't know anything about how each of them function, because I've never played, but it still strikes me as a real problem if your only fix to a group of people in a race is to start 2 or 3 of them 100 yards ahead of everyone else. That means those people shouldn't be in that race because they can't compete. In this case, it means that the problem with those factions goes much deeper than "balance issues." It means they don't work.

Michael Barnes said:

My big thing with this is...who the fuck cares! There are like 100 other new games this month, probably 10 about like this one in mechanisms or subject matter and more are on the way. So good grief, can we just cut this one loose and move on? The game is a bust, it’s headed for flopsville and the discount table. NEXT!


Y'know, I go through phases where I decide that I never really want to be associated with this idiot site again and this is one of the things that triggers them.

It's a news item. It's about a game that's highly popular right now. You know who cares about this? People interested in design. People who are thinking about playtesting their own stuff. People who like Stonemaier Games. Or just people who are interested in games, in general, because this is something to talk about on a discussion forum.

Uba, Gary, other staff members: you want a case example of why only 1% of the site viewers participate in the forum? Exhibit A.
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22 Nov 2019 00:33 #304444 by Space Ghost

Jackwraith wrote:
Michael Barnes said:

My big thing with this is...who the fuck cares! There are like 100 other new games this month, probably 10 about like this one in mechanisms or subject matter and more are on the way. So good grief, can we just cut this one loose and move on? The game is a bust, it’s headed for flopsville and the discount table. NEXT!


Y'know, I go through phases where I decide that I never really want to be associated with this idiot site again and this is one of the things that triggers them.

It's a news item. It's about a game that's highly popular right now. You know who cares about this? People interested in design. People who are thinking about playtesting their own stuff. People who like Stonemaier Games. Or just people who are interested in games, in general, because this is something to talk about on a discussion forum.

Uba, Gary, other staff members: you want a case example of why only 1% of the site viewers participate in the forum? Exhibit A.


Seems like a bit of an overreaction to Barnes’ comment.

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22 Nov 2019 00:36 #304445 by Space Ghost
On topic, I don’t see what the big deal is about starting people at different places on a vp track.

It’s inelegant, but the same thing is happening behind the scenes with any game with highly asymmetric factions (I don’t know if that applies to tapestry or not...zero appeal)

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22 Nov 2019 05:17 - 22 Nov 2019 05:20 #304446 by ModelVillain
I generally have enjoyed Stonemeyer's titles, but this one really left me cold. I was able to get into a game at SHUX, and was kind of shocked by how poorly I thought it executed on what (ostensibly) it was trying to do. Actually cold isn't the right word... more like left me with a slowly building, seething rage. The more I thought about the whole thing, the more irritated I spent like 3 hours with it

It's a barely civ-skinned multiplayer solitaire that never manages to engage meaningfully with its theme, despite having a shared hex grid in the middle of 4 concurrent advancement tracks, set amidst each player's civ powers sheet and "asymmetric" tetris board, serving as each's capital and puzzle minigame

With the revised rules they should perhaps consider a name reboot: "Advancement Tracks: A History: The Game: A Bullshit Story"

Not sure what they were thinking, with this one
Last edit: 22 Nov 2019 05:20 by ModelVillain.
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22 Nov 2019 09:37 #304447 by RobertB

Space Ghost wrote: On topic, I don’t see what the big deal is about starting people at different places on a vp track.

It’s inelegant, but the same thing is happening behind the scenes with any game with highly asymmetric factions (I don’t know if that applies to tapestry or not...zero appeal)


Tresham's Civilization is an acknowledged classic in the field, and it handicaps players. Babylon needs 2100 points to win, Thrace only need 1800, etc.

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22 Nov 2019 10:16 #304449 by Michael Barnes
Doug there is a bit of back story here- I actually pissed in Marc’s cornflakes yesterday prior to writing that post, which is definitely not in line with my history of gentle, reserved and soft spoken commentary.

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22 Nov 2019 11:04 - 22 Nov 2019 11:07 #304451 by jpat
Perversely, this thread has intrigued me about a game I hadn't even heard of.

I get the cynicism angle, because while I'm not quite there myself, I've definitely "detached" from the hobby in some respects and am nostalgic for a time when the universe of games was at least seemingly more manageable and comprehensible, but everyone's at different stages, and it's a little ironic to harp on people for actually singling out a game as worthy of enough plays and attention to explore strategy and balance in order to try to shoehorn in a point about the ephemeral nature of the hobby in 2019.

I'm also not defending the balance tweaks--like I said, didn't even know about the game--but was there similar hand-wringing about similar blunt-force balancing in, say, Cthulhu Wars? Or are we just picking on this one?
Last edit: 22 Nov 2019 11:07 by jpat.
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22 Nov 2019 11:18 #304452 by hotseatgames
Cthulhu Wars and Root have both had faction updates / retcons.
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