When you lose is it because you made a poor strategic decision?

Or is it because the AI either got lucky or filled his troops with a chain of cascades completely outside your control?

[Or is it because your Impervious troop got Devoured :stuck_out_tongue: ]

In the past, I could really only lose this (IMO casual) match three game because I wasn’t paying attention. Now I take 2-3 turns, the board explodes with AI mana matches, and then I lose.

I personally don’t find that to be fun or intellectually stimulating or challenging. At best it’s boring and at worst it’s frustrating (GW).

The only long tactical matches I play now are me fighting the AI’s mana drain, but even half of those end because the AI cascaded his way to a victory.
I’ve seen Famine fill in 2 turns in a #2 or #3 slot, without any mana buffing traits other than the banner, and even then it’s rarely a Famine-centric banner (Yellow/Green/Brown).

What should I have done differently?

Lately the only answer I can come up with is: play a different game.


And that’s not even getting into the Great Gem Squeeze of 2017. I’m already VIP 10, I’m not about to start buying gems at the ridiculous in-store prices just so I can enjoy my VIP chests.

I didn’t want to get off topic from the OP, but my desire to play GoW really is hanging by a thread, and that thread is my awesome guild and RL friends who still play.

I’ve cut way back on GoW and lately I’ve been playing Eternal (a card game that is either Hearthstone+ or Magic- with very generous Free To Play rewards) and Gwent (in beta).

Neither of those are match three games [and so not direct competitors with GoW] but they are both casual enough for my taste.

Like a lot of people, I also have 100 unplayed games in my Steam library. Every day they look more and more tempting.


Funny thing, I’ve been playing Gemcraft in Steam a lot more than Gems of War because Gemcraft doesn’t rely on stupid RNG tweaks to make the game harder.

I’m sick of being told I’m not being a strategic player when I complain about the AI giving itself a huge cascade when I very rarely get so lucky and almost never get that lucky in a GW battle. Most GW battles end with me taking 1-2 turns and then getting buried because the AI gets ‘lucky’.

This has ended my three year long love affair where I only played Gems of War. And soon, I see the writing on the wall. The game is no longer designed to retain old players, just attract new. As a result, I may transition into not playing at all very shortly because no 2017 patch or change has made the game MORE fun, only less fun, less interesting, and more frustration.


I’ve been playing Gwent for a week now (a bit late to the game I suppose). I absolutely LOVE the platform crossplay including unified leaderboards, and 100% compatibility with your collection being totally available on PC or console (where ever you sign in)! Unfortunately, The graphics are too intense for mobile though.

No problems with purchasing packs/items etc on one platform and playing with them on another?

I’ve just been playing Eternal. (And some of my unplayed Steam library when I have time.)

I gave up on Gwent because I found the excessive deck manipulation to be very tiresome. It felt like every other card was “Search your entire deck for X” or something similar and it just wasn’t fun.

Zero so far. I gave them $5 (for the starter pack) as its still only in “Game Preview”, so I suppose there are no guarantees but well worth it in my opinion. 6 rounds per day is all you need for a card Keg . Even if you face someone that is 5x your level you can eek out a round win out of three.

I usual only play to 18 round wins per day (the rewards are a bit reduced with each daily level).

Yes it does crash. The only major negative IMO

@Ariel I can see your point. Though I don’t mind it, yet. What faction did you use as your main deck?

I don’t think there will ever be a form of Gems of War (or any other match 3 game) where the answer is definitively “yes”.

There are many sources of variance in the game:

  • The gems that fall from the sky.
  • The gems that may be created by your troops.
  • The gems your troops may randomly destroy.
  • The gems your troops may randomly explode.
  • Stats that may be increased or decreased randomly.

…and so on. Any time you see the word “randomly” in text there is a chance for the RNG to alter your fate no matter how sound your decisions may have been.

This can still be “a tactical decision”. When I think about activating Rock Worm, I have some choices to make. If the board only as a few brown gems, and they’re scattered, I’m not likely to get any matches at all or an extra turn. I might decide to hold the activation until more gems appear. On the other hand, what if the opponent’s last troop is very powerful? I might opt for the activation to achieve the goal “kill that as fast as possible”. What if there’s an obvious cascade on the board? It might suit my purposes better to gather that mana and hope for a free turn.

This comes up in Magic: the Gathering a lot. A popular podcast introduced the notion of “thinking RoTty”, where “RoT” stands for “Results-Oriented Thinking”. This is a trap for critical thought, where you decide if something in the past was a good decision not by the information you had at the time but instead by what happened.

Would you wrestle a cheetah? Probably not. They are dangerous animals and you’re likely to die. There are people who have wrestled cheetahs and survived. Does that change your decision? If not, congratulations! You understand that whether a few people have survived doesn’t change whether wrestling a cheetah is a safe or profitable proposition.

That’s how you have to consider randomness tactically. Think about Rock Worm again. Let’s say there’s 20+ brown gems on the board. Is it a good idea to activate Rock Worm? Heck yeah! Now let’s say you activate it and don’t get an extra turn. Was it a bad idea to activate it? Heck no! It feels bad because you are in the unlikely “bad” case. But if you played 1,000 games and activated Rock Worm in that scenario 1,000 times, you would get an extra turn more often than you would not. That means it’s the right move in that situation, even if sometimes it doesn’t work.

Good players think about randomness that way and try to figure out when the odds are in their favor. They also intuitively understand sometimes the odds swing the “uncommon” way and a good decision yields bad results. They do not let those experiences change their opinion. Sometimes they hit a bad luck streak: that’s a good time to set up the scenario on the forums, explain what you think is the best move, and see if other people agree. Maybe you calculated the odds wrong.

You can’t have a game with so many random traits that is “pure tactics”. You can still make “good” decisions in a game with randomness, but it comes with the understanding that sometimes the person who made the best decisions will still lose.

That’s not to say all is right in Gems of War. I think the playerbase is indicating it believes looping teams are too swingy, and difficult to overcome in too high a percentage of cases. I’ve already discussed some solutions that seem smarter than mucking with mana surge in other threads. It follows directly from, “The highest defense win rate comes from running this team” combined with, “There are rewards for having a very high defense win rate.” You can’t blame players for making the choice that is most tactically sound, so the solution will involve making other decisions more tactically sound.


I ‘liked’ this for the effort and the sensible reasoning, but I don’t agree with what appears to be the main conclusion: you suggest games are lost because we made moves thinking they were the best but didn’t appreciate how randomness affects success and failure. That might be true of some plays for some players in some matches, but the current state of the game has far too many games lost to sudden swings and chains that arise irrespective of which from a small number of possible moves we chose. I agree that GoW can’t be, and never has been, a game of pure skill without luck - but right now the moments where blind luck creates a win or loss are far too frequent, and skill appears to be oft redundant…


Read through to the last paragraph.

Is it possible to upload some videos of this? I have yet to see it and i am quite interested




For those of us on iOS, sadly not.

I am sure someone on pc can tho since its so pervasive

I had done so. I do agree with that final paragraph, but that’s making an entirely different point.

since we got unity, your above statement to me applies to entire game
the % of rng in the matches gradually and systematically kept convincing me to give up on the strategy part

I don’t think so?

When you start at any board, you know your expected win rate is never 100%. If this were a game of pure strategy, there might be situations vs. certain teams where it is due to the skill differential. But an element of luck is involved, and there’s a teeny chance of odd things like a 100-skull cascade that will kill you on your opponent’s first turn. Those are so unlikely we can ignore them.

But when you stand up to a team like Nobend (which I’ve started facing a lot in PvP), that win rate plummets. When I see a Nobend team, I immediately know my expected win rate hinges on how bad their first skill activation goes for me. If I get my defenses/buffs up first, and it doesn’t start a long chain, I have a pretty good chance of winning. If it starts looping itself, I have a pretty good chance of losing.

Those swings in my win rate have nothing to do with my skill. I need some cascades of my own to have the best chance vs. Nobend, and I need to be able to activate my skills in specific orders. In theory I can build teams that might be more effective, but I think everyone agrees this is a situation where I have to win a few dice rolls AND make good decisions.

The pendulum swings both ways. In a lot of recent matches, I get down to my last troop. I tell myself “play conservatively, deny mana, etc.”. Then some move I make leads to 6 skull matches in a row and I win. Again, that had nothing to do with strategy: I got lucky. But it’s way more fun when luck works this way!

I think there are a lot of approaches to solving it and mucking with mana surges are the least effective. We may need more strategies that get stronger vs. a looping team. We may need game mechanics that introduce diminishing returns as loops go on. It’s hard to say we need nerfs on the key players, because a “wins ridiculously 40% of the time” team is still fun when you have time to kill. I’m not sure what “right” is.

It’s certainly not all strategy. But it’s definitely not all luck. I think most people are very bad at understanding their “expected win rate”. It’s much lower than you think until you actually get ahead in the match.

I’m sort of used to this from Magic: the Gathering. In the Pro Tour, having a 60% win rate is amazing. You can lose a perfect matchup if your deck delivers too many or too few lands in your first few draws. When you crunch the numbers, even in top-tier decks, that can happen 20-30% of the time. Probability is a jerk. That’s why people who finish in the top 8 are all considered the winners of a tournament: everyone sane admits that 1st and 2nd are routinely decided as much by luck as by skill, so getting very close to it consistently is considered an indicator of skill.


Most of the games I’ve lost are due the following, either singly or in combination:

1.) Board gave me no useful mana
2.) Board gave AI easy mana
3.) AI’s spell proceeds to cascade, killing off vital troops from the get go

Take note that none of these things are in the player’s control. And with Wisps, #2 is already a given.

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Again, I sympathise but don’t entirely agree. GoW is a massively simpler game than mtg. Until recently it was (loosely) dominated by preparation (have more stuff with bigger numbers), strategy (take a better suited counter team) and tactics (read, skill, the moves you choose in-game). Luck contributed, but much less so. Now in the current version, the importance of other factors has declined versus the uncontrolled sheer randomness that hands you a loss irrespective of your team or skill. That could happen occasionally before. Now it’s endemic. No one likes to lose, for sure, but losing in ways you couldn’t expect or prevent are really frustrating - and for many players this game appeals for collection building and/or relaxation just as much as challenge or tension.