River erratum (proposal)

Errata issued by the CoE, open discussion of candidate rules for errata, and submissions for the Annual Rules Vote.
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Manuel
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River erratum (proposal)

Post by Manuel »

I believe this has been discussed several times in the past, but I've always thought as river being too determinant and powerful. It forces moving companies to have more than one ranger and/or ways of untapping those rangers, and in doing so it also encourages squatting decks.

I'm not sure about the intentions of ICE when they designed this card and by any means I'd like to bring this discussion here. I'm just talking as a player that has many many games under his belt, and who has played with people from all over the world, both offline and online. I personally would like to see more variety and taste in decks. There are certain deck archetypes that are directly discarded because of river, and that's a pitty.

My proposal would be simple: cannot be duplicated on a given site. It's still a powerful card, but you have to pair it with other cards to make it work, and get a bit more creative.

What does the community think about this?

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CDavis7M
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Re: River erratum (proposal)

Post by CDavis7M »

Manuel wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 9:44 am
I'm not sure about the intentions of ICE when they designed this card and by any means I'd like to bring this discussion here.
I think the intentions are important to any solution to this apparent problem. It seems like the River errata was a way to make Rangers important. In the beginning mere presence of a single Ranger was sufficient to bypass River's effect: "A company without a ranger that has moved to this site this turn must do nothing during its site phase." However, tapping is the fundamental limiting mechanic of the game so the original card wasn't interesting. With Untapping and Redirection being themes in The Dragons, it made sense to have Rangers tap in the Unlimited River erratum that came along with the expansion. Now (or then), Warriors tap for combat and hopefully MP, Scouts tap to avoid combat, Sages tap for Marvels Told, and Rangers tap against River. It's just what they all do.

1 River can be mitigated by 1 Resource. And Rangers don't even have to play a resource to cancel the first River, unlike like Scouts vs Creatures. Seems fair but you actually have to include these untapping/redirection resources in your deck. Why is it not competitive to include 3 Butterflies VS 3 Rivers? Are Risky Blow and Dodge not competitive? There's this variety of resources that have so many uses if people wanted variety.

Apparently these resources are not competitive so forget about them. But if someone is saving up 2-3 Rivers and Mouth in their hand, then surely they could have come up with a different combo more devastating than just "do nothing." Corruption + Balance of Things + Roving Eye; Dragon's Desolation + Smaug + Prowess of Age; Awaken/Arouse + Incite + Tidings of Bold Spies; 3 Assassins; 2 Chilled Elf-Lords, etc. So then why does River feel so bad? The glaring difference to me is that River involves no luck or chance. Some hazards require luck in the company moving through a particular type of region or to a particular type of site. Some hazards involve the chance of a dice roll. Other hazards without luck or chance are less punishing. Snowstorm is also strong but it requires Doors and it can be canceled. River can always be played, it's always powerful, and no one has butterflies anyway, so that's why people like using River. I get it. So maybe River should be balanced?

As for the proposal, my understanding is that this game doesn't use the "cannot be duplicated" mechanic to solve this type of gameplay problem. Plus, if a Ranger taps during the M/H phase for River's effect, River's effect is no longer in play per the "cannot be duplicated" rules, and so it can be played on the same site again. Combined with the restrictions on activating resources between the M/H phase and the site phase, what is "cannot be duplicated" really accomplishing? The effect would need to be something like "until the end of the turn, River cannot be played on the site," and this game just doesn't really include effects like this on short events.

Restricting the site path or adding a dice-roll are too far removed, but I think River would be in line with other roadblock hazards if it were an "environment," able to be cancelled by Twilight and Gates of Morning.

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By the way, are we really sure that River is that important to the player community. Maybe the players would rather confirm basic rulings from 1996 or rewrite the rules and cards for apparent internal consistency on Dragons, Orc Mail, influence attempts against Fallen Wizards, Witch-king of Angmar, Elven cloak, Wizardhaven, Gollum's Fate, detainment attacks, Treason the Greatest Foe, Agent deck construction, Farmer Maggot, Incite Denizens, They Ride Together, RW player Deck Construction, FW Site use, "playing a card," The under-gates, and The Ithil-stone.

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Theo
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Re: River erratum (proposal)

Post by Theo »

Manuel, I'm sure my experiences with highly competitive environments is less extensive than yours, and I would value hearing more details of your viewpoint. My mental framework values analytical assessment the most, but even anecdotal would help.

Also, I know DC rules adopted such an errata. Maybe they can discuss any analysis that went into that reasoning.
It is not our part here to take thought only for a season, or for a few lives of Men, or for a passing age of the world.
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CDavis7M
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Re: River erratum (proposal)

Post by CDavis7M »

Theo wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 3:57 am
Also, I know DC rules adopted such an errata. Maybe they can discuss any analysis that went into that reasoning.
You can read about it here: [UEP, accepted] Multiple Rivers only require one ranger .
UEP Proposal wrote:Solution: Being able to tap one ranger to cross all Rivers already payed and resolved.

Delete the following current CRF ruling: You must tap one ranger for each River played on the site. Replace with: Tapping a single ranger to meet the requirements of River also meets the requirements of any other Rivers already played and resolved on the same site.
So, you can't just dump a bunch of Rivers. But if you have other hazards to tap the Rangers then the UEP makes no difference since you'd tap the Rangers and then play 1 River each time they untap. So despite the rationale for the proposal, your company still needs to have multiple rangers?
UEP Comments wrote:when one card demands the same attention as whole group of hazards, that's the clearest indication yet that something's wrong with it.
...
Hopefully most people will eventually realize that rivers were not meant to hinder more than corruption or creatures or both combined.
...
Maybe players need to better explore ways to untap their rangers to deal with river (hundreds of butterflies, narya, cram, and forth he hastened, haz limit reduction, show things unbidden, bane of ithilstone to prevent recycling).
>>We aren't saying its impossible to deal with multiple Rivers, but you need to dedicate a lot of cards to it. Its easier and more efficient just to include a company full of rangers, which is not very interesting.
...
Hundreds of butterflies: Will increase HL for the next River
Apparently including 3 Butterflies vs 3 Rivers is too difficult even though ICE specifically gave you 5 extra slots just for Marvels and Untappers. including three butterflies is just as easy as including three rivers.

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miguel
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Re: River erratum (proposal)

Post by miguel »

After giving this some serious though, in my opinion River is slightly overpowered. But because it is also very easy to play, you run into decks with three of them more often than you perhaps should based on the card's power level alone. I'm up for encouraging variety in deck building and even giving non-squatting decks a bit of a helping hand. Maybe could start with a house rule at Lure, if there isn't enough support for an outright erratum?

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Theo
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Re: River erratum (proposal)

Post by Theo »

In general, maybe it would be worth having wider discussion as to what criteria to evaluate balance complains being well-matched for CoE rules vs. alternative format/playgroup rules?
It is not our part here to take thought only for a season, or for a few lives of Men, or for a passing age of the world.
One [online community] with hammer and chisel might mar more than they make... Cautious skill!

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