Thursday, December 25, 2008

Card Distribution in "Keepers of Tradition"

After finally receiving the booster boxes of the VtES expansion "Keepers of Tradition" I eagerly opened them, but then always had the distinct feeling, that I see the same boosters (in some variation) over and over again. So instead of just ripping the boosters open and sorting the cards immediately, I started writing down what cards appeared in which section (common/vampires/uncommon/rares). And soon I could see some distinct patterns in the distribution.

I must admit the sample size of 2 booster boxes is quite small, but the fact that just I received such a peculiar distribution would be too much of a coincidence.

Common Cards
The common cards are coming in "sets" of 5 cards each, which fits into 20 sets for the 100 common cards. The good thing is each booster display with 36 boosters contains 1-2 of the sets. So you're guaranteed to get 1-2 common cards in each booster display.
  • Aid from Bats -- Sleep Unseen -- Dive into Madness -- Aproximation of Loyality -- Sleep of Reason
  • Brick Laying -- Leverage -- Backstep -- Haunting -- Perfectionist
  • Camera Phone -- Pursuit -- Meat Hook -- Bundi -- Deep Song
  • Can't take it with you -- Special Report -- Stunt Cycle -- Chain of Command -- Serenading the Kami
  • Conditioning -- Slam -- Rego Motus -- Seduction -- Wrong and Crosswise
  • Crododiles Tongue -- Brute Force -- Horseshoe -- Spirit's Touch -- Neonate Breach
  • Diversity -- Glancing Blow -- Carrion Crows -- Reins of Power -- Forgery
  • Eluding the Arms of Morpheus -- Ashur Tablets -- Walk of Flame -- Cooler -- Minor Irritation
  • Empowering the Puppet King -- Armor Of Vitality - Eyes of Argus -- Form of Mist -- Kine Resource Contested
  • Enrage -- Indomability -- Harass -- Undying Tenacity -- Mouthpiece
  • Eyes of the Beast -- On the Qui Vive -- Forced Vigilance -- Aura of Invincibility -- Honor the Elders
  • Fleetness -- Telepathic Misdirection -- Finding the Path -- Sense the Savage Way -- Claws of the Dead
  • Flurry of Action -- Bang Nakh -- Earth Shock -- Force of Personality -- Mirror Walk
  • High Ground -- Sonar -- Taunt the Caged Beast -- The Oath -- Resist the Earth's Grasp
  • Into Thin Air -- Soak -- Agate Talisman -- The Summoning -- Torrent
  • Loki's Gift -- Cloak the Gathering -- Desert Eagle -- Zillah's Valley -- Murmur of the False Will
  • No Trace -- Year of Fortune -- Eyes of Chaos -- Keep it Simple -- Kindred Spirits
  • Public Trust -- Instinctive Reaction -- Theft of Vitae -- Life in the City -- Stutter Step
  • Steadfastness -- King's Rising -- Beretta 9mm --Quick Meld -- Read Intentions
  • Veil the Legion -- Scattershot -- Concealed Weapon -- Anima Gathering -- Majesty
Uncommon Cards
The uncommon cards come in ~50 sets of two each, but these sets seem to be more irregular than the sets of common cards, e.g. "Change of Target", "Society of Leopold" and "Flesh of Marble" appear twice in the sets below.
  • Academic Hunting Ground -- Ventrue Headquarters
  • Aching Beauty -- Dawn Operation
  • Arms Dealer -- The Becoming
  • Asylum Hunting Ground -- Persona Non Grata
  • Behind You -- Sniper Rifle
  • Blood Hunt -- Papillion
  • Blood of the Sandman -- Vulnerability
  • Bomb -- Raven Spy
  • Burst of Sunlight -- Minor Boon
  • Caseless Rounds -- Psyche
  • Change of Target -- Society of Leopold
  • Charming Lobby -- Toreador Grandball
  • Dark Influences -- Eagle Sight
  • Dark Mirror of the Mind -- Wash
  • Delaying Tactics -- Coterie Tactics
  • Dragon Breath Rounds -- Elysium
  • Effective Management -- Childling Muse
  • Elysium Versailles -- Powerbase: Chicago
  • Fame -- Assault Rifle
  • Fifth Tradition -- Flesh of Marble
  • Flesh of Marble -- Protected Resources
  • Frontal Assault -- Graverobbing
  • Ghoul Retainer -- Zoo Hunting Ground
  • Helicoper -- Taste Of Vitae
  • Heroic Might -- Weighted Walking Stick
  • Immortal Grapple -- Scourge
  • Improvised Flamethrower -- The Labyrinth
  • IR Googles -- Archon Investigation
  • Kevlar Vest -- 3rd Tradition: Progeny
  • Kindred Intelligence -- Perfect Paragon
  • KRCG Newradio -- Instability
  • Leech -- Ankara Citadel
  • Light Intensifying Googles -- Rumors of Gehenna
  • Loyal Street Gang -- Voice of Madness
  • Major Boon -- Pier 13, Baltimore
  • Mask of 1K Faces -- Amaranth
  • Metro Underground -- Elder Kindred Network
  • Muddled Vampire Hunter -- Change of Target
  • Old Friends -- Movement of the Slow Body
  • Owl Companion -- Scorn of Adonis
  • Repair the Mortal Flesh -- Weather Control
  • Scrounging -- Justicar Retribution
  • Second Tradition Domain -- Shatter
  • Society of Leopold -- Vast Wealth
  • Spying Mission -- Backways
  • Still the Mortal Flesh -- The Rack
  • Torn Signpost -- Charismatic Aura
  • Uptown Hunting Ground -- Aura Reading
  • Villein -- Slum Hunting Ground
  • Warzone Hunting -- Fast Hands
  • Will of the Council -- Fourth Tradition: The Accounting
  • Wooden Stake -- Bounty
Vampire Cards
The vampires do not appear in sets since the remainder of total cards (100) divided by cards in that slot (3) is not zero, but one. So you get kind of "rolling set", and with that type of distribution you can always predict the next two cards after seeing the first in a set of three. For example, if your first vampire is "Baron Dieudonne", the next two are guaranteed to be "Jeremy Wix Wyzchovsky" and "Iris Bennett", or if the first vampire is "Iris Bennett", the next two are guaranteed to be "Kalila" and "Rutor". The order of vampires are:
  • Baron Dieudonne -- Jeremy Wix Wyzchovsky -- Iris Bennett -- Kalila -- Rutor -- Aidan Lyle -- Gerald Windham -- Robert Price -- Santaleous -- Zelios --Karen Suadela -- Philippe de Marseilles -- Montecalme -- Troius -- Talbot -- Lord Ephraim Wainwright -- Gwyedd -- Fergus Alexander -- Allanyan Serata -- César Holfield -- Victor Donaldson -- Slag -- Bloody Mary -- Dmitra Ilyanova -- Count Zaroff -- Gustaphe Brunnelle -- Tarrence Moore -- Claus Wegener -- Gracetius -- Ruxandra -- Tara -- Portia -- Ariadne -- Donald Cargill -- Frank Weisshadel -- MacAlister Marshall -- Fakir al Sidi -- Gunnar -- Lynn Thompson -- Dr. Solomon Grey -- Vasily -- The Ankou -- Beth Malcolm -- Johan Wrede -- Mistress Fanchion -- Tyler McGill -- Bernard, the Scourge -- Don Caravelli -- Bulscu -- Andrew Stuart -- Reiner Stoschka -- Carlak -- Harold Tanner -- Lisé -- Miguel Cordovera -- William Thorbecke -- Andre LeRoux -- Graham Gottesman -- Lillian -- Ezra Hawthorne -- Shiloh Marie, Vengeance -- Arthur Denholm -- Nichodemus -- Josef von Bauren -- Lindsay Yates -- Bethany Ray -- Vidal Jarbeaux -- Walker Grimes -- Gabrielle di Righetti -- Unmada -- Foureyes -- Sheva Carr -- Themistocles -- Bela -- Keller Thiel -- Alex Wilkins -- Sergei Voshkov, The Eye -- Jack Tredegar -- Dr. John Dee -- Freddy Gage -- Masdela -- Gem Ghastly -- Honest Abe -- Mictlantecuhtli -- Rathmere -- Paul Calderone -- Don Cerro -- Lord Fianna -- Viktor, The Night General -- Federico di Padua -- Emily Carson -- Mary Anne Blaire -- Randall -- Alonso Petrodon -- Zane -- Beetleman -- Pedrag Hasek -- Lodin (Olaf Holte) -- Joseph DiGiaccomo -- Benjamin Rose -- Baron Dieudonne -- Jeremy Wix Wyzchovsky -- Iris Bennett -- Baron Dieudonne
Rare Cards
Here the sample I have is too small for an exact analysis. But from what I learned during conversations with other players, there seem to be a similar pattern for the rare cards as for the vampire cards. In this case the slot for the rares is not a single booster but a single booster display. So again the remainder when dividing the total number of rare cards (100) by the slot size (36) is non-zero, so you can see often the same rares when comparing two booster display contents. But again for a complete analysis, the sample size I had is just to small. On the other hand when opening the first booster display during the german Limited championship and my own first booster display, we had two times all the three pool gaining cards ("Arcane Library", "Eco Terrorists" and "Art Museum").

Summary
The distribution in the "Keepers of Tradition" boosters is only pseudo-random at best. You can predict for the non-rare cards what you are going to get in a given booster in each rarity slot when seeing the first card in that slot. The randomness of booster content comes more from the composition of different common, uncommon & vampire "sets" as shown above.

I am not sure if this is a good thing or not. On one hand you can have a very flat distribution of cards in the area of common/uncommon/vampire cards, so you'll always have one or two "Mirror Walks" or "On the Qui Vive" in your booster display. On the other hand you'll never have the chance of getting more than two common cards in a given display. The worst thing is the seemingly non-random distribution of rare cards, where the same pattern/order of rare cards are encountered. So if you're buying two booster boxes, you maybe unlucky and get almost the same set of rare cards twice.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well, I bought 2 boxes as well and the worst thing happened to me. 32 same rares! So maybe your assumption is not THAT precise.
Anyways, I was pissed, lots of double rares of which I already had a few.
But what me worry? Among those 8 different rares was an Enkil Cog and now I have 2 Scourge of the Enochians' and 2 Unmaskings, which is exactly the amount I would have them in use. Enkil Cog is nice, but I wouldn't want to build a deck leaning only on that card. Only one is a nice extra.

-TH

Joscha said...

I bought two boxes too and had nearly the same set of rares. As it included two Mind Rapes, two Charisma, two Unmasking and the poolgaining locations I wasn't too much pissed. Although getting no Touch of Clarity, no Warsaw Station, no New Carthage and Heart of Nizchetus is annoying.

Anonymous said...

Same here. The same 32 rares in two boxes.
And calling a card 'common' which shows up 1 or 2 times in a display is simple a joke.

Anonymous said...

Well, the common cards not being a common are due to the same problem that are in other big sets eg. Legacies of Blood. It's all mathematics (36*5/100=1.8) so what did u expect? It's not a joke, the set is just too big. And it's all there to be seen before u buy a box. Personally I prefer getting 1-2 of all the cards than getting 0-10 of every card in a box. And I'm still talking about commons. The distribution of uncommons and rares is the problem.

I think the main reason for complaining not getting enough new commons is the Horseshoes. It's like a new hype; everybody wants 16 horseshoes to build an irritating deck that I believe would not even be that efficient. (I already have my tre-weenie deck with 27 cryptic missions, it's fun, everybody hates it but it still isn't that efficient)

-TH