Decision Trees



Something that you’ll find on many cards in Star Wars Destiny is the ability to make a decision beyond whether or not you’re going to play this specific card. In most games, the decisions are simple. I make play A, then thing B happens. Occasionally you’ll find cards that say “choose one:” and then have a list of two or three effects, but these are exceptions to the rule. Destiny, conversely, gives us many options, and that adds quite a bit of depth and decision making to otherwise straightforward gameplay.

Let’s start with a very simple card that I like a lot: Unpredictable.

On the surface, this card does exactly what it says it does – reroll a die, then take an additional action. However, the impact of it being either player’s die is meaningful; it means that there are so many ways that this turn can play out!

Way 1: I reroll your die, it’s blank, I take an action.

Way 2:I reroll your die, it comes up with a symbol matching other dice, I play Block/Dodge/Force Misdirection.

Way 3: I reroll your die, it comes up something useful to me, so I play It’s A Trap.

And so on, and so forth. That’s just a very small sample – far from an exhaustive list – and only covers if I roll one of my opponent’s dice; I haven’t even touched on the possibilities if I reroll one of my own. Regardless of what I do with the card, there are options that cover so many scenarios and this branching decision tree has potential impact on the next several turns of the game.

Pretty impressive for a neutral common.

Jedi Council is another such card, though in this case is a support. You have the option to either curate your draws or distill what is in your opponent’s deck. There is risk involved, but there is also information. Even if you force your opponent to draw something potentially useful, you now know what that card is and can plan for them to play it.

01123Cards like these offer a lot of versatility, which is pretty important in a game where your deck is limited to 30. They are very unlikely to be dead cards in your hand (or on the board, in the case of upgrades or supports), something that is also very important in light of Destiny’s deckbuilding constraints.Right up until the point that you play it, it’s like having two cards.

This concept is so essential to the game that it was included in the starter sets through Rey’s ability, which basically gives any upgrade that you play on her “Ambush.” We talked about this in the Action Advantage article, but it comes up again here. This is a simpler version of branching decision trees than “choose one”, but nonetheless important. While learning the game, a player will just take another action and not worry about it. As you develop decks and start to understand other cards, though, you start to have a purpose for what else might work when played immediately after this upgrade. Does the upgrade you play at a specific time depend on what else is in your hand? Do you hold out or wait for a different card? Does it impact how you mulligan? And so on.

While it is possible that Mr. Litzinger and Mr. Konieczka simply included Rey in the starter only for thematic flair, I like to imagine that including an ability that starts to get a player thinking this way was intentional. It’s an aspect of the game that is present in Awakenings and, I would hope, is going to be around for quite some time.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s