Letter From a Backer

Dear Faeria,

About a year ago you wrote me a nice letter, in which you apologised for failing me. A few weeks ago you failed me again, this time sans fancy letter. I thought this time I’d write you one instead.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to harp on the decision to do a one-eighty on your business plan (again!). I understand there are business realities that are not apparent from the outside, and you do what you have to do. What does bother me about it is that it’s difficult to believe that you really couldn’t see this coming, especially considering that some of us (including myself) warned you of exactly the same issues you now point towards as justification for the change. It does make me wonder what this was all about.

Anyway, I’m heavily invested in the game and I want to see it succeed. The remainder of this letter will focus on what I see as some remaining flaws in the current game design, which I believe most people will not tell you about because it’s not cool to do so. I will be “that guy” and I’ll be wearing my asbestos suit, so don’t worry about my health.

Pacing Issues

Let me preface this by going back to your original kickstarter design. Back then the game had many unique ideas (of which unfortunately very few stood the test of time), but it had terrible pacing issues. For a card game which is highly RNG based by nature of the draw, the game was just way too slow.

At the time I started saying that the game either needs to be more tactics and less RNG, or the game simply has to be a lot faster. I was hoping you’d go for the former, but when it became clear that you wouldn’t, I suggested / encouraged some of the changes part of the community now hates you for (you are welcome), including the strikeback change and simplified economy.

When you presented the redesigned result I was thoroughly impressed. The current version of the game is like night and day compared to the original, and that’s not just because you cut out the daylight cycle! I think it’s fair to say that the current version is a massive improvement, and I’ve sunk a ton of time into it. But is it perfect? Is it the absolute best rendition of the concept that will ensure permanent growth and the ability to go head to head with your largest competitors? No, I don’t think so.

This became more clear to me when I tried to be more measured about the amount of time I invest into the game. It just didn’t feel right, and I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about why this is and how I believe the issues could be fixed.

The main issue is, that the core game design is still too slow for what it does. I know this is an unpopular notion, not a lot of current players will agree with this, so let me elaborate…

First of all, to anybody tempted to accuse me of lacking patience, I would ask this: Have you ever spent six continuous hours on a tournament chess game before? Because I have, and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. This is not about preference or what I personally like, this is about what’s right for this particular game.

It’s important to note that just requiring more brains and strategy than Hearthstone does not make Faeria a different type of game. It is still a (digital) card game with all the core aspects of CCGs which favour a short match duration. These include:

  • The RNG. There may be less than Hearthstone (though Unbound would like to have a word about that), but it is still a card game. Win or lose depends very heavily on the luck of the draw, which is why we talk about winrates and increasing your odds. Skill only really shows over a number of matches, and shorter games make it much easier to play a large number of them.

  • The Rock, Paper, Scissors Design. I’ve argued quite vehemently against this in the past, but it’s clear that it is not going to go away. Certain decks countering other decks has always been a staple of card game design, but that makes it all the more annoying if the few games you are able to play on an evening (or in a tournament!) are ruined by running into your deck’s counters.

  • Deck Building. Obviously that’s a huge part of the game, but to test a new deck you have to play a seizable number of games do get a decent idea of how it works. Another aspect of this is that it’s very easy to ruin your rating by playing a lot of experimental decks which lose early and hard. It is much more difficult to get your rating back up once you’ve found a deck that works and the longer a game lasts, the bigger this rift between experimental losses and serious wins. Basically the longer an average game lasts, the more you are punishing experimentation.

  • The Nature of the Game. While the game has some strategic elements, ultimately it’s a card game and won like any other card game: By making smarter decisions based on probabilities and playing around what your opponent likely has in their hand. But the only way to get this kind of experience is to play a lot of games. This is exacerbated by a constantly shifting meta and balance updates, meaning that even seasoned players can struggle getting ahead if they can only play infrequently.

  • No Easy Way Out. In deterministic strategy games, you generally resign when you fall too far behind. With the unpredictable nature of card games you are generally encouraged to play through to the bitter end, since it’s all about squeezing out those last few percentages of the winrate. This means you will constantly suffer through games which are practically lost, and this is much easier to swallow when the games are over fast.

So while faster games help with all the above issues, they also provide a few more benefits:

  • Better Matchmaking. Shorter games = more players looking for games at a time = faster and more accurate matchmaking.

  • Improved Accessibility. Some people can’t schedule large blocks of uninterrupted time. The shorter games are, the more players can enjoy the game.

  • More Mobile Friendly. Mobile games are played on the bus, on the loo, or while waiting for the water to boil. You know that Faeria has the potential to be a massive hit on mobile, but it won’t be at current game lengths. It could be. It should be.

Pandora’s Box

I know you are aware of the game’s current pacing issues and that you have taken steps to rectify it. In constructed you have done so by pushing deck types which fix or improve those issues. For Pandora this was not an option so you took more drastic measures.

In the end, these feel like band aids to the fundamental flaw. In constructed it is going to rear its ugly head again every now and then, and the Pandora solution feels a little bit ham-fisted. While it succeeds at ending the game within reasonable time, it does so at the cost of butchering the natural flow of the game. The usual flow goes something like this: Boring opening phase, interesting middle game, eventual climax / lethal. What Pandora does is essentially to cut out the middle bit, so you go straight from boring to climax. I would also argue that it makes the opening bits even less interesting because it’s almost impossible to gain any kind of advantage that will survive the box opening. It’s no wonder then that players largely favour rush and burn decks, since direct damage is just about the only way to gain a guaranteed advantage.

This is good for the pace of Pandora, but with all these excessive measures being required, you got to wonder whether there isn’t a more elegant approach to fixing the underlying issue.

Skill Ratio

I’m sure some people will object that faster games require less skill, but that is just not true. Let’s say one game requires 20 meaningful decisions and lasts 10 minutes. Another game only requires 10 meaningful decisions but lasts 5 minutes. Which of the games is more skill based? In terms of “skill per minute”, it’s exactly the same. Of course things are not so straight forward in reality and there are many factors to consider, but it illustrates the point. I’m not talking about dumbing things down, but about streamlining the game to the point of condensing all the meaningful decisions into a smaller time frame and to cut out any non-essential bits.

So with that said, let’s move on to the actual meat of this post. I am convinced that there is something we are just not seeing yet, a blindspot of sorts, that unleashes the game’s full potential. I can feel it in my gut that it’s really really close and it might just need a little bit of nudging to get there, but it definitely still needs something. I am going to propose a few things, maybe they will work maybe they won’t, but in any case I hope that it will get brainwaves moving.

Time Control

When talking about speeding up the game, it seems natural to talk about the timer first. I understand this aspect isn’t easy to improve. Any time controls which limit your round time to a minimum are likely to be insufficient during big turns. Anything involving a time bank becomes a lot more complicated.

But Faeria is not Hearthstone. There is a lot to do during some turns and players are more likely to actually make use of their timer. If each player spends two minutes on only a single turn, you are already at the 4 minutes mark which is when many casual games are already over. This is insane. I do believe that something needs to be done about this, it may just not be possible to have your cake and eat it too.

One approach could be an adaptive timer which gradually increases as the game goes on or based on the number of units on the board. This could be quite confusing of course, but if well designed it will simply feel to the user like they got “enough time to finish their turns”.

Personally I would prefer a well crafted and intuitive time bank system. An absolute time limit as in your tournament mode (if that hasn’t been changed by now) is far from ideal, since it opens up the possibility of getting into Zeitnot. In a game where the length of a match is completely unpredictable and you constantly lose time from the little lags and animations, that is just not appropriate in my opinion.

My suggestion would be a modified Bronstein system, adapted to Faeria like so:

Players get a buffer of 10 seconds or so to do an action (move a creature, draw a card, etc). Whenever they complete an action, the buffer is reset. If the buffer runs out, time starts ticking from the time bank (which can be something small, e.g. two minutes). If the player has no time left on the bank when the buffer runs out, the turn is skipped and they now have to do each action within the duration of the buffer to avoid their turns being skipped.

Visually this could be presented pretty nicely by using the current hourglass animation to subtly indicate the buffer. When the buffer is out, the remaining time bank should be highlighted and the hourglass circle could pulse in a scary colour to indicate that time bank is being used up. Ticking sounds would only ever be necessary during the last few seconds with no banked time remaining.

While more complicated than the current system, I believe that this ticks all the right boxes: Fairly easy to understand, very forgiving (more forgiving than the current system in some ways since you can’t get yourself into that situation where you don’t have enough time to execute your moves); while also ensuring that the game keeps moving along at a steady pace and fast thinking and concentration is rewarded.

Board Layouts

The board is probably the most obvious thing to turn to. It was already shrunk before, arguably with great success. But is it really the ideal setup? In many ways, the board is saying “don’t bother attacking, just go sit back and farm your wells”. It also necessitates a fair number of moves just for any tension to happen. Considering how much trouble you are going through to fix the issues arising from just that behaviour, it stands to reason that the board is the root issue.

Obviously we wouldn’t want to shrink it too much, in the end it is the one truly unique aspect of the game and it’s vital to maintain the feeling of strategic positional choices. So with that in mind, here are two possible tweaks for consideration:

Version One:

This version simply moves the orbs one tile towards the centre, removing only the tiles right above and below the orbs. It’s a seemingly small change yet it makes the board feel a whole lot more intimate. It’s like the orbs are in the middle of the fighting rather than distant from it, and perhaps that is a good thing. Incidentally this would also allow you to zoom in closer to the board as it gets rid of a lot of white space, and I’m sure you already realised how important this will be on mobile devices.

Balance wise this is almost guaranteed to have drastic consequences of course, which aren’t all easy to predict. The centre would gain a massive amount of importance as it allows for efficient attack and defence. Yet going around is still viable as you gain a lot of extra Faeria and just like a fianchetto opening in chess, you can aim to control the centre from the sides.

The most dubious part about this may be that Player One can immediately claim the centre tile, although this would give Player Two a chance to be the first to deploy and contest it so I’m not sure how that would work out.

Version Two:

This version gets rid of the entire middle row, yet it feels less dramatic than the previous one. Personally I really like this one. The lack of a centre row makes openings a bit more balanced and adds early tension, increasing the value of the centre but not as extremely as the previous version.

The most interesting element in my opinion are the asymmetric wells (which could give 2 Faeria a pop to compensate if necessary). This would have a number of effects:

  • It creates a natural defensive lane on the left and offensive lane on the right. Aggressive decks are more likely to go for the centre right away to pressure the opponent’s well.

  • Assuming the attack happens over the right side, defence has a lot less Faeria advantage which should encourage both sides to press the attack. This is exactly what the board should be doing in my opinion.

  • “Left or right” stops being arbitrary and becomes a very meaningful decision in the opening stage of the game.

  • It actually opens up a part of the board and makes it feel more spacious (despite being smaller), allowing more room to flank an orb from the side.

I do think this strikes a really nice balance and I would love to give this one a try.


A great way to give these alternate layouts a proper beating would be a kind of weekly brawl format. I’m sure you have thought of this, and I believe this would make a great addition to the game. You already have custom boards and rules for your epic quests, so extending those to brawls seems quite natural.


Wait, I’m not quite done yet! While not related to everything else, this is kind of important as well. The ranged mechanic as it is feels like a failed design. Whenever you have a keyword that requires roughly two paragraphs to describe all the details and yet it barely features in general gameplay, you know that something is wrong. To make matters worse, when it does feature it generally happens in a very polarising way, where ranged either leads to an easy win or is completely useless. I think it’s time to go back to the drawing board with this.

My suggestion would simply be this:

Ranged: Can only attack targets two tiles away. Only retaliates against ranged attacks.

Two simple sentences and it says everything. No “in a straight line”, no “can’t move”, or any other complication.

This sounds ridiculously overpowered, doesn’t it? After all this makes ranged units able to kite their attackers and become practically untouchable. Putting ranged units behind your frontline suddenly becomes an extremely strong tactic. And just imagine putting them behind a taunt creature.

Yes it would be powerful, but at the same time ranged units would be a huge liability, vulnerable to movement tricks, haste, or simply being cornered (especially if you consider this in combination with a tighter board as described above). The best thing about it is that the power level would remain relatively constant throughout the game and ranged would likely feature very heavily in most deck builds. It would add a lot of tactical and positional considerations.

It would also open up additional design space, for instance:

Strikeback: Retaliates against all kinds of attacks (see what I did there)

Shielded: Immune to ranged attacks.

##Closing Thoughts
That’s it, the wall of text has been built. Heck, my text editor classifies this as a “short story”. I really appreciate if you took the time to read it, I understand it is a lot to ask. Then again it’s the least you can do after still not getting me my golden badge or custom lands kickstarter rewards. :wink:

In all seriousness, my feedback may be harsh at times, but I don’t mean to discourage. All in all you are doing a fantastic job, which is why it is so exasperating when things just don’t really click yet. I feel like Faeria is really close to greatness, and yes it is fun as it is, but I find it hard to fit it anywhere into my life as it is and I have a strong feeling that a userbase explosion is not going to happen until it truly finds its place, wherever that may be.

Please give it one more push. I’ve never spent as much time and energy on a game I haven’t worked on myself than I have on Faeria, and at the risk of repeating myself, I really want to see it succeed on a broader scale. This post will probably not elicit particularly positive responses from the community, which currently largely consists of hardcore Hearthstone or MtG players who don’t mind the time requirements. I do hope that at least some will be able to see that speeding up the game would open it up to a much wider audience without necessarily taking anything away from the game (to the contrary in my humble opinion).

Yours truly,

Zenity / DanielB

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A little addendum (I guess it wasn’t possible not to forget something crucial):

Regarding the pacing, I have only really talked about match time, without properly going into the “pacing” bits. What I am talking about is what you see when you watch two beginners play mono green against each other. The natural tendency for the game is to have an extremely slow buildup and no clear incentive for aggression (other than to eventually push an advantage).

You have worked around this with card design in constructed and additional mechanics in Pandora, but it’s a fragile balance and far from perfect. Constructed can only be controlled to an extend (especially when it comes to beginners) and like I said in the original post, the mechanics of Pandora kind of butcher the flow and end the game abruptly, rather than really fixing the pacing issues.

And for the record, I believe a good average game length to aim for would be 5-10 minutes, with 10 being on the high end. Perhaps this is the case right now with top level decks and Pandora (updated stats on this would be really useful) but I am quite certain that it is not the general norm right now. The goal would be to ensure this kind of timeframe for all types of matches, not just the ideal ones played on a high level between two players who kindly refrain from roping.

Another thing I forgot to mention is that even with a changed board, I would still leave the Pandora shards mechanic as it is. It adds some fun elements by itself and it can’t hurt to have an additional way to close out games just in case they don’t naturally end in time. The only thing I would change is to reduce the Faeria gain after Pandora opens from 6 to 4 per turn. With a board that naturally favours aggression and with help of the treasures this should be plenty to close out games without the huge swings you can get now.

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Among all of this, that line has made me jump. That has no meaning whatsoever in a turn by turn game. A game in which you make 20 decisions, whether it is in 5 or 10 min, will still be more skilled-oriented than a game where you make 10 decisions. Actually, in 10 min, you’d be able to think more about your 20 decisions, so it would be different types of skill involved (ability to think fast or make decisions based on a lot of factors). What could have a meaning is “skill per turn”, but not “skill per minute”, that’s bullshit.

Apart from that, as a former player of M&M DoC, I actually have an affinity with games that give each player time to think through their options and I absolutely love a hard fought battle where every decision count and is well-thought. I guess in that way, our two views clash. However, if it’s where the game have to go in order to survive, then so be it… Might do the same as Duelyst, though : flash games done over in a few minutes, from which you retain no pleasure in winning or loosing, which is why I left Duelyst for Faeria.

Hey Zenity,

There’re are some really interesting thoughts there, and I want to give you some feedback as one of those “probably not positive community response”. :wink:
I’ll do that in quite a reverse order though.

1) Ranged
I like this approach. I understand that the current ranged system feels either useless or unfair most of the time, while there rarely is any middle ground. This is also what I see many (especially new) players complain a lot about (many “ranged is op” claims, though it might actually be balanced, but the results are way too shifty).

Your proposal takes out one of the positioning aspects (blocking line of shooting), but adds another very very interesting aspect as compensation: No retaliation vs melee attacks. So it’s basically the system I know from the Fire Emblem series: Archers can attack anything 2-tiles away, but won’t retaliate within melee range. On the other hand, mages exist, who can attack 1-2 tiles away with retaliation against both, melee and ranged, but only receive retalation, if standing within the exact attack range of their opponent. Last of which (“mage mechanics”) would be your strikeback keyword.
All together, I appreciate this approach in general. However, archers have to be squishy for that system to work, so you can at least have a rather easy removal with damaging events (I’m looking at you, Siege Engine and buffed up archers).

This system would also fit with the smaller board version 2; for version 1 though, it would become problematic, if archers can still hit the opponent’s orb.

2) Different board versions
Tbh, I don’t like them. I’m probably biased here, because I love and only know the current board version (didn’t play Faeria beck then, when it had a bigger board).
Problems I see with these boards are this:

Version 1:
This version promotes rush decks. A lot. As long as you keep the possibility of placing double praeries from turn 1 on, you’re basically at the opponents’ orb from turn one. Rush decks are one constant point many players think are “op” and frustrating to play against. Promoting these and basically discarding any version of control would, in my opinion, be a very bad design idea.

I think this would also eliminate the aspect of the Faeria wells. There’s no point and time to build towards or even fight them, if you can just hit your opponent’s orb from turn two onwards. That is, if you don’t make up for that option by doubling the orbs’ life or something, which would increase the game length again.

I might be wrong, but I think with this version, you have to completely rework all kinds of rush decks from point zero - which would consume an unbelievable (maybe impossible) amount of development time. We were promised to be only one major update away from a full release. Drasting changes to the design of the board (and therefore the very core of Faeria itself) is nothing you could throw at the existing playerbase with just the “hey, we officially release now” patch. It is rather something to be done in the beta.

Version 2:
Better than Version 1, but still promoting rush decks to an extend.
However, it looks as if it’d be quite hard to fight over opponent’s well, since you don’t have any incentive to build towards them early on. Your opponent’s well is a minimum of 4 tiles away without an own well in the middle as compensation for even attempting to go that way. I could be wrong about this, but at least this is what it looks like to me.

Any kind of in- or decreasing the boardsize would probably result in neccessary balance changes of a major amount of the current card pool - which, again, would consume a lot of development time.

Current board being too big for mobile version:
I see a major point of improvement here, without changing the current board: Mobile versions will probably use the widescreen of any mobile device. So if you just tilt the board for about 30°, so the bottom-board line is not only occupied by the orb alone, but by the orb and the complete edge of tiles to one of the wells, you can win some space there to display your hand. (Pretty much like the old versions with the bigger board I’ve seen.)

3) Time Control:
I approve to the idea of shortening the round timer with a 5-10 seconds buffer as compensation for every move you make. I don’t see the current time/turn (which is only 90 seconds btw, if I’m not mistaken?) as too much of a problem, but then again, maybe I’m just one of those “too patient players”. :wink:

4) Skill Ratio:
I don’t think your comparison of 10 meaningful decisions in 5 minutes vs. 20 meaningful decision in 10 minutes is a realistic approach here. Reducing the amount of total decisions to be made throughout the average game, basically eliminates longterm strategies/plans at one point, which results in a shallower strategy total. If you only need like 5 meaningful decisions/game on average, these decisions become repetitive over a certain amount of games easily, essentially eliminating the nature of “decisionmaking” as a whole.

5) Pandora:
I see the opening aspect of pandora as a problem regarding the build up advantage from the early game as well. What I don’t like is to see the wells depleting, because it removes a core aspect of the board. I’d like the wells to still do something at that point (not necessarily faeria), maybe giving a player the option to buff a creature, give all friendly creatures on board some kind of buff/collection etc. (just some wild ideas). You know, something that still rewards you for having taken the control of the wells (up to that point).
Regarding the “boring opening phase”, I can only say that I had a lot of success in building quick aggressive lands, either towards the opponent’s orb right away, or towards one side of the wells, so I could attempt to take of an opponent’s well (and build aggressive lands on assault spots = opponent’s orb within reach with 1 movement) asap, usually as soon as turn 3 or 4. I found this quite effective and it also rather skipped the “boring opening phase” to the “interesting midgame phase”. So in my last 8 or so pandora runs, I didn’t feel any slow kind of pace. Then again, this may just be my playstyle.

That would be even less then I experienced from Hearthstone, where I still had plenty of those 15+ minutes games. (Admitted, that was with control priest, patron warrior etc., but still, I don’t think even Hearthstone has an average that low! And that’s without the need to build a board.)

Tbh, using the treasures/pandora opening to just close out the game is what I frequently do in pandora already, even with green control decks (see my post above at the end). That is, of course, if nothing crazy happens like pandora opening on turn 4.
I could live with just 4 faeria instead of 6 per turn, without the wells depleting. That way, having the board control wouldn’t eliminate a major part of your advantages during early- and midgame.

While it’s true that new players usually have a much slower attempt to the games pace (especially with mono green, blue or red decks), I think this is only natural, but inefficient: At least in my experience, both in constructed and pandora, it’s seldom a good idea to lean back and play passive until some opportunity opens. (Better to aim and create these opportunities yourself, as soon as you can.)
However, new players still learn the game, so they take a slow attempt of what it’s like to build the board, take control over the wells and see how big an actual faeria advantage can become. I agree that the game needs some improvement in the regard of teaching new players the game. Taking their time and slowly attempting to do anything is a sign of new players not really knowing what to do - which eventually results in feeling (!) a slow game pace, because very often, both (new) players bring up this slow pace upon theirselves.

The single player conotent could do a great job in that regard, by introducing challenges (like the epic challenges) that make a very aggressive attempt. Most players I talked to didn’t have much problems in clearing the solo content, except for the last few epic quests maybe. Time to give them some real challenge there (without changing the game mechanics), by having a good AI with a fast pace to pressure them (rush-style decks as well as aggressive approaches of taking control of one side of the wells and attacking the player from their own wells).

I don’t do justice to all you wrote, but I just don’t have the time to get through all of this.

Like Taiyodori, I like the idea about ranged units, which could be great if implemented well. It would also allow something like “Ranged 3”, to shoot even further.

I also despise the amount of luck involved in this game and would be more than happy if it would get reduced, but I doubt it will happen. It starts with all those instant buffs, that can change the whole board position for just a few Faeria, while new creatures cost more Faeria and time (no haste). I don’t mind the randomness of the card effects themselves, but the instant impact they have. I would love to have the ability to react to those buffs, instead of hoping that my opponent doesn’t have one…

What came to my mind instantly was that a buff will take away your option to attack in this round (just like moving a ranged unit right now). That would probabbly slow the game down a bit (not necessarily, though!), but as a game that says it offers “deep strategy”, I expect much more than the random mess we have right now.

The skill ratio argument doesn’t quite make sense. It’s harder to make 20 good decisions in match than 10. The amount of time the match takes doesn’t change that. The more decisions there are per match, the more room there is for error.

If the matches were half shorter, it would be easier to play matches perfectly. It would make the game less interesting for people who enjoy strategic matches, since there would be less to think about in a match. Shorter matches would also remove a lot of long term strategies from the game.

The buffered timer sounds like a good idea. It would encourage people to play cards throughout their turn and not wait until the end to do everything. It would be more interesting for the other player and any audience to watch that way.

Ranged is pretty clumsy in the game right now. It tends to either be too hard to deal with or useless, without much in between. The suggested change sounds like it would be less polarizing, although I’m not sure it would be balanced. It might be too good against green, which has very few ways of moving their creatures more than one space. It would be hard for them to hit a ranged creature hiding behind another creature. Still, it should be easier to counter overall than the current system.

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Good point.
What just struck me though was that there’s absolutely no reason to reduce the board size in order to fasten the pace of the game: Movement can do the same thing in a way which doesn’t need such a drastic change. Moving faster is essentially the same as decreasing the size of the board - for the creatures that have this ability that is.

As green is in a bad spot in general right now (because of too few movement options), a good attempt might be to develop new movement mechanics, especially available for green creatures. More movement means faster pace to an extend, so maybe this would work to make everyone happy.
I believe some players in discord already made proposals like this: A creature (or effect) that forces a creature to move 2 (maybe more) tiles in one movement for example; pretty much like jump or charge, but without being able to move just one tile.
I’m sure someone will come up with a theme that would fit this mechanic into a green card (perhaps some animal or spirits from the forest that move fast but being unable to slow down once moving? (boars or raging bulls/taurus come to mind, think stampede)). This might even be combined with a mechanic to be only able attacking what’s in a cone in front of the creature after movement.

If you rework Range, then you can create abilities that work around it, like Zenity said about Shielding, or why not give that ability to adjacent creature :slight_smile: This way you’d have a Ranged unit on one side, a blocker in front, an opponent blocker in front, and the shielder behind :D. Anyway, it’s true that you probably can’t change Ranged mechanic to this new one (which I find pretty interesting) without changing a few things as well.

Thanks for all the thoughtful responses!

I want to make one thing clear which seems to be a common misunderstanding: Of course I’m not saying that the game with 10 decisions is as skillful by itself as the one with 20 decisions. What I am saying is that by the time you play the 10 minutes game, you can play two of the 5 minute games and that’s how it balances out. This also translates to tournaments, where shorter games mean that you can potentially play more individual games to decide a match (e.g. a bo5 instead of a bo3).

Of course there are many nuances to it and that’s a complete oversimplification, but you get the idea.

Also it is absolutely true of course that drastic changes like this will require severe amounts of re-balancing. I’m not taking this into account, because the only thing that matters to me is that the game becomes a success and I can justify allocating a non-trivial amount of time for it. If that’s not the case, then everything else is really irrelevant to me. I’m sure changing the business model so close to release and essentially creating a two-class society of full collection owners and those who came later was also a bitter pill to swallow. But apparently this was necessary and I believe that fixing the game design is just as essential if not more.

Moving on…

Our views don’t actually clash on that. I am pretty much genre-agnostic, and as I wrote in the post I’m quiet happy playing a single six hour game of chess when it feels worth it and there’s something to think about every single minute of it. But give me a 30 minutes game of Faeria and chances are that I’ll be bored out of my mind. Especially when it ends up being decided by a lucky draw or the outcome was pretty much predetermined by the matchup, which happens frequently enough since after all this is a purebred card game.

I don’t mind if the game is slow or fast paced, I just want it to find its place and the ideal setup for what it’s trying to do, so people like me who play any kind of game can find a place for it. I just don’t believe it’s there yet.

Yes that’s an interesting point. I assume you are thinking of the scenario where one side splits up and the other pushes on one of the sides. This scenario doesn’t really exist with version 2, and you’ll basically have to make a choice: Either approach on the right side where the field is wide open and defenders don’t have their own well for support, or go for the centre right away and try to pressure the opponent’s supply chain (if not even take it over and starve them of resources).

What I find most interesting is what will happen when both sides take the natural path of securing their own fonts, then move forwards on the right side to pressure the orb. You have to walk a fine line between charging forward and keeping your left flank secured.

Yes so did I, and I kind of alluded to this when I said that rush and burn is most popular in Pandora right now. The Pandora mechanics do a good job of forcing this kind of aggression, I just think that the price for it is too high. There is no real long term planning anyway as things can be thrown upside down on a moment’s notice (even without treasures Pandora would be a much less predictable affair than constructed). So basically what you do is make the best of the constantly changing situation, but if that’s the case then why not go straight to the middle game part and skip part of the setup phase.

I’ve tried to look this up, and what I found indicates an average play time of well below 10 minutes. Example.

You can have some longer games of course, that’s why this is only an average. :slight_smile: And keep in mind that even in Hearthstone some people complain about certain deck types being too slow. Games feel slower than they might actually be because there just isn’t a whole lot to do. I’m not generally the impatient type, for the longest time I practically refused to play blitz chess even online in favour of games which could last up to an hour. And if anything I’d find that the time passes too quickly and I wished I had more of it. But comparing Faeria to tactical board games is wrong, land building or not it is still fundamentally a card game and that changes everything.

I don’t know, do you remember Lifecoach playing green in the first GoFaeria tournament? It was some of the most mind numbing stuff I’ve ever seen and I believe he went to the finals so it was pretty effective. If this has changed now than this is largely due to aggressively adjusting card designs to fix it. Not to mention the entire Pandora system which primarily exists to control pacing in Pandora. The original colossi were another attempt at controlling Pandora which had too much impact on constructed so it had to be revised.

Do you see a pattern? The designers consistently have to jump through hoops to deal with the inherent pacing issues of the game. Perhaps the litmus test should be what the gameplay is like when you play with nothing but vanilla cards. If you nail the pacing of this, I believe that everything else will fall into place and become much more coherent.

That would be true if you didn’t have to build your lands first. That’s pretty much the crux of it. Having part of the board pre-built is another option I consideredt. There are complications with it but if you want to speed up the early development while still leaving the same amount of room to manoeuvre, then this could be an interesting approach.

I’m not saying I have the perfect answer to fixing the issue, just that there is an issue and I’m trying to present some options hoping that something will stick. Just to illustrate how many possibilities there are, consider this:

What if the centre of the board was a special tile (accessible by all) and both players would be allowed to build around it just like they can build around their orb. Meaning you can be as offensive or defensive as you like right from the start, and the initial landbuilding process becomes about a hundred times more involved with a myriad of options basically from move one. Then to balance this early aggression, give the orbs some kind of protection that wears off after a few turns, giving players a chance to properly set up their defences before all hell breaks loose.

This may be difficult to visualise without pictures, but I’m just saying. There are so many possibilities, I bet hiding somewhere is this perfect solution that is so intense, so challenging, and so much fun, that we will wonder how we ever put up with the previous version.

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Good morning Zenity!

I find a lot of your feedback very interesting! Thank you for taking the time to write this down.
It is 4am and I am falling asleep but I want to just say a few things :slight_smile:

I am very intrigued by your suggested board-change (version two). I would love to try that out - it changes a lot, and I think some kind of change is needed.

The time control part is a hot topic lately on discord. I am absolutely in favor of more time, but I agree that there are very many turns where you dont need a lot of time. I think slightly shorter turn-timers, and a 3~ minute timebank would be good.

I like your idea about ranged units aswell.

Good night Zenity!

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Good mornight Joke! Wowzers, if the High Lord Of Fatigue (And Other Forms Of Sadism) sees merit in my suggestions, there truly must be hope!

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I want to go a bit more into why I think that version 2 of the board would have much improved pacing.

Imagine players follow the natural guidance of the board and build towards their well, like a typical green mirror between beginners:

The red lines show how players would naturally continue on the current board, either by building towards their second well on the left or by doing the “bend around” to set up double harvesting. If both players do this, we are in for a very sluggish confrontation on both sides of the board until one side is able to slowly push an advantage.

In this version of the board that wouldn’t make sense because there are no additional wells, so the more natural continuation is to proceed forward towards the upper right or towards the centre, or perhaps build towards the left to challenge the opponent’s offence.

In any case, the asymmetrical nature creates two parallel offence lines and almost immediate tension, where players will have to strike a balance between offence and defence.

The circled spot also should be far from useless, since it allows you for instance to put a charger or ranged unit far away from the opponent’s well but in line of sight of the orb.

With faster paced decks and in high level gameplay, I expect that players will value the centre more and possibly open up with double prairies to contest it like so:

After that you have a lot of reasonable continuations (indicated by the dashed arrows) and you’ll probably adjust your plans based on the situation and your card draws. In any case there is immediate tension and important decisions to be made. Incidentally this has a certain similarity to the most common opening moves in chess:

Chess is a much slower game than Faeria and yet it has better pacing in my opinion because from the first turn on there is tension as both players contest the centre in one way or another, which requires you to adapt to the opponent’s plans immediately. Unless you play something cheap like the hedgehog defence, but then you are making a very conscious decision to bury your head in rather than to follow the natural flow of the game. In Faeria right now it feels like the opposite, where the natural flow of the board suggests an overly defensive approach while you have to make a conscious decision to go against this and play more aggressive instead. And this is why we need all those tacked-on incentives for players to actually do so.

I just played my first game of the day. It was Pandora, and took exactly 29 minutes.

I’m already trying to play fast and aggressive decks whenever I can, but these things still happen far more often than is reasonable. For a card game that requires playing a large number of games to get meaningful enjoyment out of it, that just makes it extremely hard to find a place for it in my life. And that’s a shame because otherwise I really enjoy playing it.

Well, your version 2 looks like I’d give it a try.

What do you think about this slightly modified version of yours, though? (forgive my missing paint skills…)

What my scribblings are meant to show are the addition of 2 faeria wells to your version 2, but more or less “outside” of the actual board. That way, you don’t remove the possibility of the currents’ board double collection between two wells (while still needing at least two tiles to do so), but it’s still asymmetrical.
The natural (defensive) approach as the bottom player would be to take control over your right well. However, if you choose to instead contest your opponent’s well asap, you don’t get punished that hard for taking the long road, making the green-circled spot a more valuable tile for both players, instead of just ranged/charge creature placement for the aggressor.
That way, there’s also no need to gain +2 faeria for just controlling one of the wells.
Dunno whether it’d work as I described and imagined it in reality, but hey, it’s just an idea.

I had not responded to your proposition of altering boards, so I’ll do it : V1 seems too close , far too easy to rush, and you would never consider doing anything else. V2 is interesting, though. But I’m afraid that going on the side to harvest only 1f will not be enough of an incentive, and you’d still rather go face. Not to mention that harvesting for only 1f (as taking control of both wells might be hard) will probably make it impossible to play control decks at all (well, that might be your objective considering you want to reduce game time).

However, I always felt akward to have to build 2 useless lands to the side if you wanted to double harvest. It slows down a lot progression after all. However, it may work if you stated that harvesting from a well gave you 2f instead of 1. This way, you can still have reasons to harvest and battle for the wells, while not slowing down your pace by building lands out of your way. How would that be ?

Yeah I even mentioned that, if necessary the wells can give 2f to compensate. :slight_smile:

Also I changed my mind for Pandora, with that board I think that the wells wouldn’t need to deplete any longer. I would still keep the treasures and shards because it’s a fun system and it doesn’t hurt to have another way to close out games just in case both players decide to be chickens.

As for control decks, consider that control vs. rush or midrange is always relative to each other. So control decks would certainly still exist but maybe look a bit different to how they look now.

Distance alone will not make rush decks reign supreme, just like face hunter isn’t unbeatable just because cards can hit the opponent instantly. It does make it harder to defend though so that needs to be taken into account (whether it’s in deck building or card balance).

A smaller board would probably make the 2nd players explore card op, I guess? I mean, even with version 2, if the first player doesn’t build 2x praerie towards the enemy orb, player 2 will have instant access to an assault spot just with 2x praerie + explore. (With the understanding of an assault spot being: Each tile, where you can place a creature that would be able to attack the opponents’ orb with just 1 move on its next turn)

I can see the merit, although it would look a bit awkward (and create a lot of dead space on the sides, which may not be an issue though).

I don’t think this would be necessary though and it would bring back some of the oddities of the current system like being encouraged to build along the right side edge all the way to the top rather than use a more direct route. I don’t think offence needs a forward well for support, all you need is to keep one harvester next to your well and your resource supply will be fine. This also makes harassing the opponent’s harvester a lot more interesting strategically speaking. At any time you will have to choose between reinforcing the offence, reinforcing the defence, or to interrupt the opponent’s Faeria supply.

I think that would make things a lot more interesting than the current situation where the wells are wherever you go and distant farmers don’t have a huge impact on the game (unless they can double harvest unchallenged, which is the rare exception).

Sure that’s why starting with a double prairie to the centre might be a good idea, unless your deck is built around being able to handle early aggression. Keep in mind that if p2 goes full on assault and you get your single well just in time, you’ll be at a +2 Faeria advantage each turn. This would be equivalent to the situation where you built sideways to secure both of your wells on the current board, conceding the spot right in front of your orb. This has traditionally been one of the most effective ways of dealing with a rush.

Also consider that while it’s faster to be rushed, it’s also faster to launch a counter-attack. Right now you are often tied up in defence against a rush because you can’t really afford to spend the resources on getting your units to their orb. With the smaller board this becomes easier so the rushing player has a lot less time to kill you before your resource advantage becomes decisive.

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