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Angelshard

playing with open discard piles

15 posts in this topic

My group have recently started playing malifaux, and we're loving it.

One of the only issues with the game I've had is the closed discard piles, as some in our group are a lot better at counting cards than others.

It can give a pretty big advantage if you know what cards have been used in a turn while the opponent can't really remember more than a joker and a couple of high cards.

So we've started playing with open discards. 

Also as you already have premeasureing and the only other hidden factor is your hand it doesn't seem like there is a reason to have closed discard piles.

Is there something I've missed about this?

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I can't remember if it's in the main rulebook or in the Gaining Grounds (=tournament) document, but only top card of the discard pile is known. Obviously Wyrd isn't going to come and confiscate your figures and fate decks if you decide to do a little house rule for this particular thing.

I've always assumed the main thing it's supposed to do is discourage people slowing the play down and digging through everyone's discard piles. Either way, I routinely forget even jokers and seem to do all right.

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Open discard piles would tend to slow the game down, especially during the critical activations in which a bad flip could make the difference from scoring a VP or not.
Counting cards is a skill that you can practice, but it's also something that naturally happens over time. As you get familiar with your crews and the mechanics of the game, being able to pay attention to less salient stimuli (such as what cards have been flipped and cheated so far) is a byproduct of practice.


If all players agree to open discard piles nothing prevents you from playing in this manner but keep in mind that it is a different experience compared to what the game designers had in mind.

Also, if you want to play in tournament settings later on, you would find yourself with one less tool than what you're normally used to play with.

The most important thing is to have fun in this game, so it really is up to you.

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I wonder if you can't do the same thing, faster and probably more in line with normal rules, by keeping a simple count on a piece of paper.  Set out a grid, fourteen columns:

  • black joker
  • red joker
  • low Rams (1-5, weak)
  • high Rams (6-10, moderate)
  • Royal Rams (11-13, severe)
  • low Tomes (1-5, weak)
  • etc.

Hashmark in each column when that card is discarded, and go to a new row when the deck is shuffled.  Or, maybe simpler to track, but it's two hashes per discard:

  • red joker
  • black joker
  • rams
  • tomes
  • masks
  • crows
  • 1-5 (weak)
  • 6-10 (moderate)
  • 11-13 (severe)

So if 4:ramis discarded, put a mark in the weak column and the Rams column.

If I was trying to train myself to count cards, that seems like the counts I'd be trying to track want anyway.  Because those are the counts you'd be reasoning from, usually, rather than trying to remember every individual card.

Really, digging through the discard pile would really just be something you'd want to do to double check your counting, anyway.

 

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^ that's why I personally don't care for hidden open information in games, if it can be defeated by just making ticks on a piece of paper, then I feel like it's not a particularly interesting challenge.

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3 minutes ago, Dogmantra said:

^ that's why I personally don't care for hidden open information in games, if it can be defeated by just making ticks on a piece of paper, then I feel like it's not a particularly interesting challenge.

As a TO I'd disallow discard pile tracking on sheets of paper. It's a violation of the spirit of the rules, and it causes slow play.

It's fine for practice in casual games where everyone agrees to it, but in a competitive setting you need to be able to count cards. That is part of the skill of being good at Malifaux.

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I mean, how is rote memorization in any way an interesting skill to test?

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That is our reasoning.

On top of that we have two players who have a hard enough time keeping up with the new rules, so putting card counting in too seems an extra disadvantage.

I know it would be different in tournements. 

The main thing was wether or not it could impact play on some model or rule we don't know about/have missed

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You can count far easier by applying a +/- system. Each deck starts as 0. For every 9+ you play you substract 1, for every 5 and lower you add 1. There are 21 cards of each category in every deck, so the score can range from -21 to +21 (of course you can only count 4 and lower and 10 and above, that would make a range of +/- 17)

Say you draw 11,13,10,1,4,7 that's an score of -1. Over the next few activations you flip total nonsense of 7 low cards, adding the score to +6. 6/21 gives you an rough estimation of your chances for the rest of the Flips. (No actual percentage!).

But I found for Malifaux cpunting cards ra rely gives you an edge.

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3 hours ago, KrazyIvan said:

As a TO I'd disallow discard pile tracking on sheets of paper. It's a violation of the spirit of the rules, and it causes slow play.

It's fine for practice in casual games where everyone agrees to it, but in a competitive setting you need to be able to count cards. That is part of the skill of being good at Malifaux.

I think banning due to slowed play makes sense, but I'm not sure recording results is opposed to the spirit of the rule.

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2 hours ago, Angelshard said:

The main thing was wether or not it could impact play on some model or rule we don't know about/have missed

I'm pretty sure there aren't any abilities which manipulate the discard pile.  There are a few which manipulate the deck (taking cards from the hand and placing them at the top or bottom of the deck, or rearranging the top cards of the deck), though.

So there shouldn't be any problem knowing the order or contents of the discard pile, unlike the obvious problem that looking through the deck would cause.  

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4 hours ago, KrazyIvan said:


It's fine for practice in casual games where everyone agrees to it, but in a competitive setting you need to be able to count cards. That is part of the skill of being good at Malifaux.

Personally I don't think card counting should be a part of being good at malifaux.

I love the game for using cards instead of dice, giving much more interesting interactions and possibilities for reducing randomness .

But I also don't want card counting to give an edge in a tactical game where it isn't an essential thing like in poker.

Especially if there aren't any models or rules that effect discard.

Also it doesn't take that long to check hos many of a suit of seven or higher you've used. Generally we only see it where someone needs to see if they have used a lot of high cards in a specific suit or how many 10 or higher the opponent have used

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23 minutes ago, Angelshard said:

Personally I don't think card counting should be a part of being good at malifaux.

I love the game for using cards instead of dice, giving much more interesting interactions and possibilities for reducing randomness .

But I also don't want card counting to give an edge in a tactical game where it isn't an essential thing like in poker.

Especially if there aren't any models or rules that effect discard.

Also it doesn't take that long to check hos many of a suit of seven or higher you've used. Generally we only see it where someone needs to see if they have used a lot of high cards in a specific suit or how many 10 or higher the opponent have used

I think the easy thing to overlook is that both players actually have an equal interest in counting both of the discard piles.  The rules do, after all, make the point that the cards being discarded by the other player are open knowledge as they are being discarded.  By the rules, you're only allowed to look at the top card of the discard pile, but you're allowed to know what's being discarded as it is being discarded.

But I think that's important to keep in mind.  If you're going to let a player examine their discard pile, you have to let the other player examine that discard pile as well.  Not just let a player examine their own discard pile.  I mean, if I'm playing against a Dreamer player, I want to know what the high masks in their discard pile are as much as they do.

So if could rig up something where both players tallied their cards as the cards are discarded, and they can both see the tallies, that seems like it would be the fairest and most expedient thing to do.  And it avoids stalling situations where one player's gone through three quarters of their deck and now both players want to dig through that deck to see what's left.

 

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I wasn't actually aware the discard pile was obliquely hidden - where's that rule?

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34 minutes ago, Palooka said:

I wasn't actually aware the discard pile was obliquely hidden - where's that rule?

P 24 in the full rulebook, "The Discard Pile" section.

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