Here is how I'm going to be randomly generating these packs. The goal is to try and simulate an actual pack online. This post is fairly long and it's not crucial that you read it in order to participate in the challenge
. It's for the interest of others, a labor of love but also to help me get my ducks in order.
The process work and banned list should also be useful for anyone trying to make a fair sealed game.
I'm not trying to be exactly precise because that would be quite difficult. I don't have enough information either - perhaps the distribution changed from set to set anyways. The first golden rule will be this: All packs will come with 6 cards.
No more, no less.
What I've done is noted the number of cards that each ship uses based on its model. I will create the ships first and then let the number of crew cards be dictated by that. There must be 6 cards remember. The other golden rules are that there must be 2 ships and there must at least 1 crew (technically in a real booster pack the “game in every pack!” slogan has to be satisfied so each pack has to have at least 1 crew with treasure coins on it - I will
bend that rule for time’s sake).
The next thing I’ve done is to number each game piece by their category. There are 8 categories, determined by a combination of type of piece and rarity:
(red corners and the treasure coin generic crew cards)
(includes Unique Treasure. Events are included under whatever rarity they are under.)
Super Rare Crew
Super Rare Ships
So each piece is put into a category and numbered off in order. Example: In the Spanish Main, the Revenant was the first rare ship, so she is numbered “1” in the “Rare ships of the Spanish Main” category. The Snipe was the second rare ship so she is “2”. The Shadow, #005, is the first uncommon ship so she is “1”. Calico Cat is the first rare crew so she is “1”.
So now I can start creating the packs. I’ve decided to use a random digit table. I’m using this one: http://www.nist.gov/pml/wmd/pubs/upload/AppenB-HB133-05-Z.pdf
(please ignore their explanation on how to use it – I was taught differently). A random digit table is a sequence of numbers, with each number being selected independently of the others. This is better than me choosing a sequence of numbers because in trying to be random I actually won’t be random. Sometimes on the random digit table you’ll see something like “1717” or “999”. If I were generating these numbers I would never do something like that because repeating numbers like that doesn’t seem random, but it is!
I’m not sure exactly how they come up with the table I can only hope its randomness is reliable…
Here is a sample from a table:
9 2 9 0 4 5 5 2 7 3 1 8 6 7 0 3 5 3 2 1
You read the numbers left from right and if it applies, use it! Though if I’m supposed to choose an uncommon ship and there are 27 uncommon ships in the set I wouldn’t be able to use the first two-digit number “92” because there is no 92nd uncommon ship in this set! I would cross that number out and move on. I wouldn’t be able to use 90, 45, 52 or 73 either. I can use 18 though – that means the uncommon ship I need will be the 18th uncommon ship in the set!
So I start with the first ship. These are the probabilities I’ll be using for the ships:
Super Rare 1%, Rare 19-20%, Uncommon 30%, Common 50%
First you select a rarity for a piece. Then using the type and rarity you pick a number and select a piece from the category.
Say that 18th Uncommon ship above is my first ship and it has 3 cards, like the HMS Dunlap from Ocean’s Edge. That means that my second ship can’t have 3 cards because I’d have no crew! I’d pick again if I got another 3-card ship. Also if the first ship is a Super Rare that means the entire pack is Super Rare. If the first ship isn’t Super Rare then none of the pack can be Super Rare so the Rares will get the Super Rare’s 1%.
After I’ve chosen the ships, the remaining cards will be crew. The more ship cards used (and that usually means you’re getting bigger ships) the less crew you will get.
The probability for crew will be as follows:
Rare 30%, Common 70%
Wait a second, where are the Uncommon crew?! Well as it turns out there just weren’t that many uncommon crew – For Rev, SCS and DJC the uncommoners were just Firepot Specialists and BC didn’t even have any! Now, firepots are just too good at 2 points even with the “new” fire mast ruling. If I kept their probability high then all the fleets would be dominated by firepots. If I knocked it down to 10% or even 5% then a few fleets would get them, the other fleets wouldn’t have them, and the firepots would dominate anyway. So I’m just going to remove them entirely so that they don’t decide the games.
So that should do it. Now, here a list of things that will and will not be included in the packs:
-Again, I am creating random booster packs that are trying to simulate the real deals. So expect to only pull pieces that were available in the booster packs. That means that Special Edition, Limited Edition or Promotional items will not be in the circulation for this Challenge.
-Gold, islands, etc. will not be affected by the sealed nature of the game. That is, the only things that will be pulled from packs are ships and crew-type cards!
will not be in the circulation nor will they be used in the tournament.
-I have decided that Unique Treasures
will be in the circulation, however they will be limited to a maximum of one per fleet. If you get more than one I’ll disregard the extras and pick a new number. I don’t want all your crew spots being taken up by UT’s that don’t make sense in your fleet.
will also be in circulation. I’d put a limit on them, but they are all on crewfer-twofers so then I’d be cutting out crew, which I don’t like. Instead the 40 point limit will limit their usage anyway.
-I’ve decided that I’ll be excluding certain “God” (insanely strong powergamer pieces that push the envelope of balance) and “Garbage” (pieces whose usefulness is very questionable) pieces. Here’s the list:
-There is one “God” piece in particular that is being excluded by popular request.
It’s from Pirates of the Revoultion.
It’s a one-mast Pirate ship.
It rhymes with “Coffee’s Dry”.
La Monarca (another staple treasure runner that sets the bar way too high) Le Bon Marin (ditto), Bloody Jewel (ditto), Le Bonaparte (Potentially game-breaking)
Li Quin & Commodore Matthew Perry (0LR+5 – distorts the level playing field), Derrik the Red & Don Pedro Gilbert & The Headhunter & Zheng Li Kwan (the guaranteed extra action of SAC is overpowered), Kian Ng (4 points to eliminate a cargo with every shot? Ehhhh no). If any of these are crewfertwofers unfortunately the other crew will be eliminated for simplicity… Hopefully your substitute will compensate.
Poseidon’s Breath (Overpowered), Missionary (too hard on treasure runners), Wolves (if no one has a Musketeer or Marine I don’t want to have to deal with a stalemate headache) Kharmic Idol (this would give me a headache) Holy Water (ditto) Albatross (too easy to make a gunship fleet and saddle a gold fleet with that), Pandora’s Box (I don’t want to be opening THAT
box!), Monkey’s Paw (too anti-gold runner)
Mermaids (Too good for the cost) Favor of the Gods (now that Mermaids are out there’s no good reason to have this) Hidden Cove (Slingshot your choice of a gunship or goldship to a wild island for less points than Mermaids? No). For simplicity’s sake I’m just going to cut the crew out that were on the other side of these events.
It’s hard to draw the line of exclusion. What’s the difference between overpowered and just really good? If I cut the USS Enterprise (as I was tempted to) I found that the Black Swan and HMS Swallow had to go and then the line got blurred. Cutting the ‘Cry made excluding the other three much easier but some Barbary Corsair ships are similar to the above ones - the Corsairs suffer from factional problems which makes the tradeoff worth it but faction fleets aren’t the focus of sealed games. But if you’re going to cut the line anywhere at all, it’s probably going to cut these pieces.
Tiger (would be hard to make use of this one), Le Loup-Garou (17 points for a 3 master… Not justifiable in this setting), Banshee’s Wail (ditto), Hannah (Cheerleaders are too costly), Sea Wind (ditto), Majestic (ditto), USS Springfield (ditto).
Papa Doc (expensive and impractical), Sir Edmund Atkinson (ditto), The Unblinking 99 (Missed the cost mark by a mile), Marques Miguel Antonio (ditto – also helps that he’s on the flip side of Atkinson), White Crew (Would anyone really be able to build them into a strategy? At 7 points… No) Kiowa (terrain not going to be that big of a deal, if it’ll even be included) Sir Watkins Defoe (ditto), Phillipe Amqui (ditto), The Patch (ditto).
Sextant (terrain won’t be a huge deal), Livestock (very situational), Cursed Conch (I don’t think we’re going to get a lot of sea monsters)
False Treasure (a 10 point Event would be very difficult to include in a 40 point game)
I hope that I’ve only removed things that wouldn’t be useful. There’s probably a few more but hopefully people will only get things that they can at least consider
Questions or comments? Please post here!