History of Hundred-Fist Frenzy

Discussion in 'Announcements' started by skeller, Oct 10, 2012.

  1. skeller

    skeller Well-Known Member

    By Vivafringe

    Curious how some of your favorite Puzzle Strike chips came to be? In Hidden Gems, we explore the development history of various chips. This time we take a look at Hundred-Fist Frenzy.

    Hundred-Fist Frenzy is a crazy chip that, at its apex, was arguably the most powerful bank chip ever tested. There were several times when I was doubtful any version of the chip would work, so it's something of a miracle that the chip ended up fun, powerful, and not broken.


    In the base set, red attacks could be used to keep your opponent off balance, but you would eventually have to switch to buying purples if you wanted to actually kill them (and not die yourself). Also, this was at a time when the boogie words “mono purple” were still being repeated ad nauseum—because combine chips did not cost $1 to play at the time, going “mono purple” by just buying combines and crashes was very viable. As a result, Hundred-Fist Fenzy was created to make red chips a viable end-game plan all by themselves.

    It started out as “Red Crash,” which made your red chips able to combine and crash:

    Red Crash (red, cost 5)
    Each opponent trashes a red-banner chip from his discard pile. Play a :psfist: chip from your hand or discard pile as if it were a Combine or a Crash Gem.

    The chip fulfilled its intended purpose; people were indeed using red chips to win. But (and there is always a but in development) the chip achieved its purpose too well. When the chip was in the bank, players would simply go “mono red” as opposed to “mono purple.” Red Crash was a dominant strategy and didn't feel much different from mono purple.

    For a long time, this alternative was used:

    Red Crash (red, cost 5)
    Swap a gem in your pile with a gem in the next opponent's pile, then crash a gem. (You don't get :ps$:)

    Unfortunately, this didn't turn out to be too interesting (it's just a crash gem with an incredibly minor attack attached). So the question came up of how to go back to the old, broken Red Crash, but have it be fair and not "mono red." The solution was to rename the chip to Hundred-Fist Frenzy, and give it the following ability:

    Hundred-Fist Frenzy (brown, cost 5)
    Ongoing: After you attack with a :psfist:, you may reveal a brown :pspuzzle: chip from your hand. If you do, crash a gem in your gem pile.

    Pow! No more mono red! Now you needed some goofy mixture of red chips, brown chips and Hundred-Fist Frenzy. Everyone lived happily ever after! Cue dramatic irony music.

    This chip survived for quite some time untouched, because people instinctively didn’t want to play with it. This version looks like a slow, clumsy, bookkeeping headache! People noticed that Lum seemed to do very well with it, but otherwise the chip was largely ignored. And so the cost was reduced to 4.

    Now people began to try it, and realized it was obscenely powerful. Off the charts bonkers. If the opponent tried to rushdown with purples, you could hold off the rush indefinitely with just one HFF. If the opponent went for a long-term economic strategy, you would buy two or three Hundred-Fist Frenzies. In devastatingly short order, you would be crashing as many as 10 gems in a single turn! Naturally, nothing could fight this, not even the almighty Master Puzzler.


    This chip was a must buy for everyone, but it turned Lum :clum: into an absolute monster. With his quick deck cycling and big hands, Lum was literally unbeatable (except by other Lums). In one notable game, Lum activated Living on The Edge and Bang Then Fizzle in the same turn! Oh, the humanity.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    There was a period of disbelief. This kludgy-looking, unplayed chip that we had had to buff was actually the best chip in the game? What!?

    In addition, a valuable lesson from the base set was that it was actually OK to have incredibly powerful chips. For instance, Stolen Purples looked too good, but because either player could buy it, it actually did great things for gameplay and wasn’t particularly unbalanced. So at first, when people started claiming the chip was really, really absurd, designer David Sirlin’s reply was something along the lines of “Great! Working as intended.”

    As it turns out, however, HFF was a rare example of a chip that was, indeed, too powerful to be printed. Stolen Purples can be argued to be an autobuy in pools where it appears (it’s really good!).


    But here is the key: the first person to buy three Stolen Purples does not automatically beat the person who buys two. Since Stolen Purples returns to the bank when played, the other player can eventually buy a third himself. HFF did not work that way! In fact, testing showed that it was actually impossible for a person with two HFFs to beat someone who had grabbed three. While it would seem that plunking three HFFs in front of you was slow enough to be beaten, this was not the case in practice. And, again, if the person decided to rushdown instead of buying HFFs, you didn’t have to get three copies of Hundred-Fist Frenzy. All you needed was one to stall indefinitely and eventually kill the rushdown player.

    So while it might have been fine if HFF had only been a must-buy chip, this “first to three copies wins” dynamic ended up killing the chip. A change was needed. People zeroed in on the fact that HFF had no discard clause. Eventually, we settled on the ingenious solution of letting the opponent skip his turn to discard it. This fixed the “first to three dynamic” quite neatly, since you would lose all of your multiple copies if an opponent skipped his turn. Now you'd only ever want one, maybe two copies floating around in your bag.

    Hundred-Fist Frenzy (brown, cost 4)
    Ongoing: Whenever you play a :psfist: attack, you may reveal a brown :pspuzzle: chip from your hand. If you do, crash a gem in your gem pile. Discard if an opponent skips his action phase.

    Unfortunately, this made the chip a tad weak. Geiger :cgeiger: and Lum could still make it work, sort of, but in general the chip became ignored again. The solution was to remove the brown chip reveal, which gives us the chip we have today. Since Hundred-Fist Frenzy was itself brown, and since mono purple as a problem had been mostly solved, no one even mentioned the previous "mono red" hubbub.

    Today, HFF is nowhere near the monstrosity it used to be. But be careful! It’s still a terrifying end-game plan for red chips.

    Next Article: History of Jaina in Puzzle Strike

    Attached Files:

  2. -Y-

    -Y- Well-Known Member

    Great article Skeller. I look forward to more such articles in the future.
  3. skeller

    skeller Well-Known Member

    We should be clear that Vivafringe wrote the article, not me. I'm just editing/posting content to the front page and farming likes from the work of others.
    Plum likes this.
  4. zem

    zem Super Moderator Staff Member

    The bold text doesn’t really stand out in the italics. I would maybe also put “By vivafringe” on its own line at the top, in bold.
    skeller likes this.
  5. skeller

    skeller Well-Known Member

    That's a good idea. I'll edit when I'm at home and not typing on my phone.
  6. skeller

    skeller Well-Known Member

    Is it more clear now?
  7. zem

    zem Super Moderator Staff Member

    I hope so!
  8. Lofobal

    Lofobal Well-Known Member

    I think it is much clearer now.
  9. -Y-

    -Y- Well-Known Member

    Well tbh, kudos to whoever did it. It is quite awesome. I look forward to more such articles (but not expect them or anything).
  10. vivafringe

    vivafringe Moderator Staff Member

    Thanks -Y-! There will be at least 4 more articles, probably about 10 total.
    Xom, -Y- and Star Slayer like this.
  11. Star Slayer

    Star Slayer Well-Known Member

    The final Hundred-Fists Frenzy is great. With at least one stack of good reds, it presents an alternate path to victory. You have to decide if you wanna go down that path or stay on the usual purple road. HFF can be an effective alternative, but is not that powerful that taking that route becomes an obvious non-decision. Simply put: It is at the perfect spot for a puzzle chip.
  12. dustman

    dustman Member

    wow, what a great article :)

    I still don't think the chip is that powerful now since the opponent can easily remove it whenever he wants to.

    when using Hundred Fist Frenzy will it also activate if you use a red fist as a reaction (for example really annoying)?
  13. vivafringe

    vivafringe Moderator Staff Member

    Thanks, I'm glad you liked it! You are correct, Really Annoying does trigger HFF on reaction.
    Xom likes this.
  14. Rox Robstah

    Rox Robstah Active Member

    It's not always the case that you can remove Hundred Frenzy whenever you want. In the late game, you are almost always sacrificing some of your own pile control to remove the chip, whether it's sacrificing the ability to play Combines, Safe Keepings, or your own HFF combos. And if you get 10pile from a bunch of Sneak Attacks + HFF, then you are forced to let the opponent keep HFF in order to survive.

    Although sacrificing a turn's worth of pile control during the late game also means sacrificing much of the opponent's pile control as well, that choice isn't always available to you (or obvious).

    It's a pretty cool chip.
    NidoKing likes this.
  15. rabid_schnauzer

    rabid_schnauzer Well-Known Member

    I'd argue that the choice of whether to sacrifice a turn to remove HFF *is* in fact obvious, and that 90%+ of the time, the following 5 point checklist gives the optimal answer:

    1. "will I lose if I pass on this turn?"
    2. "will I be playing a 12! chip on my turn?"
    3. "will I be able to X-Copy at least one Double Crash Gem" AND "am I likely to draw enough :psblueshield:s to have a hand the following turn?"
    4. "will my opponent have zero :psfist: chips no matter what they do on their turn?"
    5. "will my opponent be able to return HFF from their discard to play and still play :psfist:s next turn?" (mainly Quince or Geiger off a fork, but sometimes slimdeck/cycling can have this result)

    If you can't answer "yes" to at least one of these questions, it's probably optimal to skip actions to end the opponent's HFF
    deluks917 likes this.
  16. Rox Robstah

    Rox Robstah Active Member

    Ya, the (or obvious) part was for super extreme cases which might pop up in a ridiculously complex game like this one, so I put it in parentheses.

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