Earlier today, I spent some time responding to a statement on the Elder Kindred Network forum.
I have never actually seen a proper argument why they [Ashur Tablets] are broken.I felt obliged to offer an opinion on the subject, since it's one close to my heart.
On second thought, this topic may be closer to my ass than my heart
because I think wholesale library recursion is shit as a game mechanic.
There are 2 related aspects of library recursion that suggest brokenness.
First, V:tES is a card game. Intimately tied to that definition are common threads
- the random draw of objects from a predefined set and
- the imperfect knowledge that results from that action.
Second, V:tES is structured for each player using 3 basic resources for play.
- pool as the global resource,
- crypt-based minions to act in one's playspace and
- library cards to connect resources and manipulate the playspace.
It's time to look at how Ashur Tablets can violate both of those fundamental design properties.
Ashur Tablets accesses a fourth resource, the Ash Heap. This resource is not available to every player by default. It seems reasonable to conclude that any player who gain additional (valuable) resources might have a strategic advantage.
This new resource either develops naturally or can be profitably grown with Liquidation. Beyond the cards used to access this resource, there is no opportunity cost in using it. Arguably, even that cost is offset by the 3 pool gain realized triggering a set of Ashur Tablets.
So far, we've got to free access to a resource not every player has.
But since we haven't proven that resource is valuable, it is best to continue.
If Ashur Tablets read "shuffle your Ash Heap. Put 12 random cards from your Ash Heap into your Library, and one into your hand" then it would be truly redundant and I wouldn't be writing this.
Selecting 13 tactically appropriate cards to return is a different matter. It significantly reconstructs a deck at point of use. We're using perfect knowledge of cards in the Ash Heap and reliable information about other player's minions and Ash Heap to rebuild a deck in-game.
Perfect knowledge (and solid inferences) in a game of imperfect knowledge....
that seems like a strategic advantage in the hands of any capable player.
This messes with the random nature of drawing from a predefined set.
It's not really predefined anymore.
We're stacking the odds in our favor as the library empties.
Recursion can smooth variability in past card draws. Hit too many of card "X" in the first 1/4 of the deck......recur as needed to re-balance the set of available objects again.
The minimizes the effect of unfavorable permutations drawn early in a game.
It creates a new set of a more favorable options for subsequent draws.
This seems like a double whammy on the whole randomness aspect of the game.
As an analogy, imagine playing poker and being able to draw your cards from a face-up muck. Immediately, you transform the probability of "hitting your draw" into a simple function of your ability to reach into the muck for what you need.
As the ease of recursion increases, the mechanic becomes increasingly broken.
|Derek Zoolander in Jacobim Mugatu's "Derelicte" fashion line|
Zoolander, Parmount Films, 2001
As long as this card is on the tournament scene, we'll see players "pulling a Mugatu" by recycling trash, giving it a fancy name like "Girls Wear Derelicte" and trying to profit from the stupidity of others.
Tell them to "Relax" then string them players up by their skinny little piano key neckties.
If you'll excuse me, I may actually have to go build "Girls Wear Derelicte" now.........