Combat Cards

The Horror Of Balancing by docboffin
8 +00002007-02-01T12:41:08+00:00282007b+00:00Thu, 01 Feb 2007 12:41:08 +0000 2006, 12:41 pm
Filed under: Balancing, Doc Boffin, Game Design

Last week at Friday Fights we noticed that the horror demo deck seemed to be more powerful than the fantasy demo deck. I started thinking that it must be possible to work out if there is an imbalance and fix it with a spreadsheet, but last time I tried that my brain melted. This time I started small and here’s where I got to:

Imagine 1 player has all the 2 turn fantasy combos and the other has all of the 2 turn horror combos. They both play random combos.

Redeswire Rip does 14 damage and regenerates 6 health when it’s unblocked and 0 damage and 0 regeneration when blocked by a fantasy 2 turn combo.

Let’s add regeneration to damage for now, as they both increase the health differential between you and your opponent, regeneration just makes the game take longer.

On average the card will be blocked 1/3 of the time as each fantasy 2 turn combo card blocks 1 location.

So, on average Redeswire Rip does (14 + 6) * (2/3) + 0 * (1/3) = 13.33 damage per use against a 2 turn fantasy combo card.

The best fantasy 2 turn combo card is Demonic Spear which has no regeneration, but does a small amount of damage when blocked by a 2 turn horror combo card.

On average Demonic Spear does 14 * (2/3) + 4 * (1/3) = 10.66 damage per use against a 2 turn horror combo card.

Aha! Bingo! The horror cards seem to be more powerful in this scenario. Working out the numbers for all the horror and fantasy cards it turns out that the horror cards will do 5.67 damage per turn (DPT) average and the fantasy cards will do 4.33 DPT.

Tweaking the numbers I can make both sets do 5 DPT average without changing the fantasy card stats by reducing the defence and regeneration of the horror cards.

Using the same method on the 3 turn cards I can get the sets to balance at 6.44 DPT without changing the fantasy stats, which makes 3 turn combos more powerful per turn than 2 turn combos, as they should be.

Factoring in regeneration again: on average a 2 turn horror combo will regenerate 1.5 health per turn while letting 1.0 DTP through when blocking, so games with horror cards will be slightly longer on average, but I think that’s OK.

The cool thing about developing Combat Cards in SL is that it’s really easy to tweak the numbers and then play some more games to find out if the theory works in practice. I just need to copy the new numbers to a notecard and we can try them out at Friday Fights tomorrow!


4 Comments so far
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I’ve been giving this a think… tell me if I’m off on this:

First, you generate a list of all possible combos. Associated with each combo is: A) total damage, B) number of cards in the combo, C) health modifyer (I’m sure you’ll want to play with “cause extra damage by sacrificing some health” eventually)

Add health modifyers to damage. Then you balance those numbers out from one set to the next so that the 1, 2, and 3 card count combos are all the same damage.

THEN you balance the high/med/low attack/vulnerabilities so that there’s a mix of possibilities at each damage range and combo count.

Does that cover it or is there more? What about buffs and status effects? (For future decks… that’s my contribution to driving you totally insane.) 🙂

Comment by Onder

I’m sure you’ll want to play with “cause extra damage by sacrificing some health” eventually

See the blood drop with black text symbol on the bottom right of Santa Slay 😉

I think the approach you’re describing is pretty much what I’ve done. It gets slightly tricksy as attacks hit more often than they’re blocked on average with the current cards, so you have to weight attacks more heavily than blocks, but that’s done with the 2/3 and 1/3 factors in the equations.

You’re right that sacrifice can be factored in as a damage reduction, but sacrifices always happen whereas attacks only hit sometimes, so you need to weight it again.

As for how you measure non-damage things like discarding or drawing cards, I have no idea, we’ll just have to play around with that manually I think.

Comment by docboffin

[…] The Horror Of Balancing […]

Pingback by The Official “Combat Cards” Blog

hey guys, what a good job!!

In real life, theres a card game wordly knowed called “Magic the Gathering” (owned by Wizards of the Coast the owner of Dungeous dragons copyrights and other famous titles).

This card game have a lot of strategy envolved, mechanics, storyboard described in novels. This game have some mundial envents and even a MUNDIAL CHAMPIONSHIP!!

well, im just giving a place to get more food for thoughts to help improve your Combat Card.

If you guys need a help/support please contact me at: or send a IM in SL to:

j0hnny Carter.

Keep the good work on :0)

Comment by bombtrap

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