Hey everyone! Today we will be discussing a few of the changes with the Sophomore deck. Sophomore year was designed to be reflective of sophomore year at my school: more difficult classes and less support. Even though the Sophomore deck has a lot more total action points than the Freshman deck, a large portion of the card effects have bad effects or focus on hurting other players. In addition, classes are significantly more expensive to correct Sophomore year. This has led to Sophomore year being one of the most difficult years, if not the most difficult year, to get all A’s in. Because of this fact, I’ve gone back and looked at some of the more problematic cards.
One very powerful strategy is to force another player into breakdown through giving them stress. I actually am a big fan of this because it allows players to make a choice between playing it safe and relaxing a lot, or being risky and having high stress. That’s why there are always a couple of stress-inducing cards in the event deck. On the other hand, I want breakdown to be relatively rare and difficult to pull off. At +5 Stress, Cheating Problems is a bit too strong. 4 Happiness is not uncommon, meaning that even a stress-free Freshman can enter Sophomore year with 5 Stress. While this seems like a minor change, I think that this will make it harder to cause another player to breakdown.
I have been trying to change the effects of all events that cause players to discard cards because discarding a card should be a lot rarer. Discarding has always been a very dangerous mechanic, and the switch from 5 card hands to 4 card hands has made it even more painful to discard cards. Whenever history fair in the past was drawn, it always led to a shockingly difficult Sophomore year. While this is good from the perspective of speeding up the game, players are also barely able to correct classes to A’s or execute their strategy- which is bad. To put things into perspective, a recent play test had the players on average correct 1.5 classes to an A Sophomore year. On the other years, players were getting 2 to 3 A’s on average. That’s a large difference and in part due to History Fair being played.
When I was designing Hide Homework, I was going for a card that would have a very powerful effect and not a lot of action points. However, I’ve discovered that players really dislike cards with low action point values because they are very inflexible. In addition, the effect of Hide Homework was actually next to useless since the target can just save the Stats for the next year, or go for a different class. Thus, I thought that the card was deserving of a couple more action points.
Letting others copy also falls into the sub-par tier. I’ll talk more about this reason when I get to writing about Offensive Social Media Post, but essentially the effect is not very strong and can be stopped by another event card. At 2 Action Points, and -1 Resume Point due to the Integrity mechanic change, Letting Others Copy was another card that was just not worth playing. The change to making this card not lose an Integrity as well as the change to another event card will make it a lot easier to get advantage out of this card.
It has been pointed out to me several times that Snow Day was a little bit too powerful. I initially didn’t want to change it though, because I like attacking cards and Snow Day never seemed like a broken card. After many play tests though, I feel like the card didn’t actually create interesting interactions because both the effect and action card value was really good. It basically was an automatic pick for drafting, and something you could play at any time. I feel like this change will make Snow Day something you have to think about playing, because you don’t want your opponents to benefit too much from it’s stress reducing effect.
I really dislike cards that completely void a particular strategy, which is why I was surprised by how well Offensive Social Media post does so. Also- and I am not kidding about this- Offensive Social Media Post has negated the effect of Letting Others Copy three separate times! This change clarifies that players can still gain friends from Teacher Abilities, club effects and event cards. That doesn’t sound like a big difference, but it really can be as it makes gaining Friends much more difficult, but still possible.
Were these changes fair? Let me know what you think in the comments below!