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I am not the best at expressing my thoughts but I figured I would do a large post about how I think around Malifaux. This is not new or unique, or at least not to me. Malifaux has several very interesting thoughts and ideas hidden in it in such a way that might go unnoticed if you do not examine the game and actions, such as opportunity cost, activation power, “true” cost and secondary synergy. Opportunity cost: I will start with opportunity cost because it really is the item at the center of it all. To help I will use examples of models and cards. Also be aware that what you are will to pay in a opportunity cost will be different from me and probably others, this is to be expected. Opportunity cost originated in economics and can broadly be defined as the difference in return of a chosen action and one that is necessarily not taken. Lets say that you have a 1, 5, 7, 9, 13, and 13 in your hand and you wanted to summon a model that takes a 13. This is not a bad use of a card but what does that 13 represent, it could be a hit that you really needed later, a tactile action that you wanted to have, or a defense in a dire situation. With two 13 the cost of using one for a high summoning or a decisive blow is not a hard choice because you have another one to fall back on. Where as if your hand is a 1, 5, 7, 9, 10, and 13 this choice gets more difficult because the use of that 13 has a high cost then before and may be needed till later. We all have probably played games where holding onto a high card late into a turn has helped for some reason or another. Though I have only talked about it with the numeric values there is a opportunity cost associated with the suits of the cards as well. The holding onto the 1 of mask for 3 turns just so Tara can be safe from a possibly deadly bullet is in fact banking your opportunity cost on protection. The numeric number of the cards has no value but the suit is extremely important and is where the cost resides but in holding onto that card instead of discarding it your lowing number of chances of drawing a high card into your hand by 1. Some models such as summoning masters have ways of dealing with the opportunity cost of there summoning. I will discuss with the use of Nicodem, Ramos, Kirai, Dreamer as examples. Collodi has no way of lowering/lessening the opportunity cost of summoning other than soul stones. So thanks to Stryder, I actually found out that Nicodem has a way of lessening the cost of summoning models at the expense of corpses. Ramos on the other hand can set the numbers of steam arachnids he seeks to summon which adjust the card value and suit he needs to summon a model. All you need to gain two models is a __ of tomb in you hand. Kirai may sacrifice a friendly spirit to gain a +2 to her casting skill. This will let her summon a hanged on a 11 of crows instead of a 13 of crow. That is a change from a .04 percent of the time to .07. The Dreamer on the other hand can have a daydream activate and sacrifice its self to gain lucid which gives him a + mask to his casting till the end of his next turn. This almost quadruple the possibility of summoning. These all effect the opportunity cost of the action and the value of the cards. Activation power: I was helping explain to a new player this weekend about the power of activation numbers and the cost of activating models with companion or accomplice. This to can be thought of an opportunity cost in the game but has a lot of effect that is more abstract then cards. Very simply the activation power at any given time is the number of activation one side still has left minus the number of activation the other side has left. This means that killing a model that has already activated causes no change in the activation of the other side, though it may be worth it to prevent it use next turn. This also means that a model that gains reactivate adds activation power to there side. The value of an activation is sometimes just the value of letting the board progress and seeing how your opponent acts. At other times it is the ability to act before another action happens. The cost of a chain activation is that by lowering your total alternating activation count you gain a more powerful moment in one activation count. This is all rather simple but what does it cost you. If your opponent opens up with a double defensive action on a model then they are trying to advance the field in an extremely safe manner. Similar actions are often taken, such as the double walking of small models. This is a use that we all do and think little of. The more interesting use of activation power is with how it runs into chain activation and sequential activation planing. Chain activation can have a lot of power and can be a dangerous trap. The core of it is the player is exchanging 2 activation power instead of 1, the models that will activate, in order to gain a stronger activation. Is this always worth doing, no but like many things in the game it has its moments. I most often do this with summoning masters as the the generation and lost of the activation power are the same, excluding concern about other costs. One of my friends love to activate Ophelia and Francois in a chain activation, the problem he started running into with this very powerful activation is that he did it to early he was using actions to get into range of the targets he wanted to kill with this. There is a strange concept from World War 2 humorously called the tank equations by some. The concept is the fire power and damage caused by one tank is that of one tank where the fire power and damage of 2 tanks is that of 3 tanks. This had to do with the time it took to destroy the second tank. In the game of Malifaux anything with armor 2 or high tends to take a significant amount of resources to finally kill, such as Izamu, Joss, or the Gracie. This is heightened when there are 2 such model near each other, such as Joss and Gracie. Luckily most of the time one of these models can be separated through just the difference in activation timing. Another use of the same idea of the tank equation can be found in the gremlins as they can work amazingly well at maximizing the use of there actions and there activation. Lenny can toss Ophelia and Francois 8 inches down the field and then be pushed into base when Ophelia activates. Though this is not so much a matter of armor it is a way of moving 2 to 3 dangerous models across the board quickly and will soak up the resources of some crews to a disproportionate amount. Sequential activation planing is when to optimize a model for its role you will have another model activate to modify it in some way. An example with the Dreamer summoning and the use of daydreams to give him Lucid before he activates. This in effect means that to ramp up the Dreamer you have to think about 2 separate independent activation and what the board may look like when you take the empowered Dreamers actions. Another master that is very involved with this is McCabe and his handing/taking of upgrades, his ideal cycle is the model with the upgrades activates, McCabe activates and pics up the upgrades to hand to another new models, that newly upgraded model activates. For the Gremlins Lenny is a great model for sequential activation planing with his toss and his giving of rams. “True” cost: What is the worth of a soul stone when your actually playing? That is a hard questions and for me I figure it is 2 wounds because I mostly use them to prevent damage. By contrast I find what is the “true” cost of a model much easier, even if that model uses souls stones. The true cost of a models in stone is a combination of what you pay for the model and upgrades as well as what stones you spent on the model through out a game. This number is one that has the ability to change but a close approximation can be calculated. I want you to think of your favorite henchman and/or master, now how many stones do they use in a game on average? Now that you have the number, that is what I use for a close approximation of what a model will used in a game to help figure out the average true cost. I tried to explain this to someone once they, there response is that it sounded like a tax. This is not a tax but rather a way of assessing how I personally use soul stones and is that worth the opportunity cost of the use and do I have enough to do what I normally do with my soul stones. Secondary synergy: This is synergy that is important to the model but does not stand out in any great way given something else. For instance Yan Lo being a spirit master because of Fury of Yomi or the combination of Ototo with Sidir to make use of Empty the Magazine giving slow. One of my favorite recently, this last week, was with Anious and a few talking about how great he is with Tara. I told them I would run him with Lady Justice and got a few puzzled looks to which I responded well not exactly her but with her Death Marshals because they bury thing in a guild force and he can make them fast. This is a great example of people glossing over a models synergy or confusing it. Anious and Tara have a synergy through burying models and through action point control but I find that Tara tend not to bury models herself so there is a go between in this synergy that people gloss over. Alternatively, if you identify that go between, in this case the bury and models that do it, you open up another option you might miss. Anios with Death Marshals and the Brutal Emissary can really leverage his effect on buried models possibly as much or more then Tara. Same goes with Anios ability to move markers and Illuminated, Lilith, the Carrion Emissary. I hoped you enjoyed this. As I said I do not think there is anything new or revolutionary here. Just a little economics, probability, opinions and concepts.