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Combat slowing the game down? Advice?


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#1 igotsmeakabob!!

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 05:34 PM

I have six players in my group, and quite frankly, combat has begun to slow the game down to a crawl.

Two of the players are Black Templars; whenever they use their ability, they end up getting a whole bunch of hits (a max of 9 for the Assault Marine). They're not the sole reason for the slowdown, however. We also have the Devastator with a heavy bolter, up to six hits (as he tends to get when he steps away from an enemy, takes the hit, and unloads at point blank).

Two fights involved the team fighting an elite each; Chaos Marines, and Raveners. They cut down the Marines fairly quickly, but the Raveners, with their high wounds and dodge, were really bad.

Anyone have similar difficulties? Advice on how to keep combats short and sweet in this system?



#2 DJSunhammer

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 05:37 PM

Where does 9 hits from an assault marine come from? I don't think that is possible, even if you use Black Crusade rules.



#3 igotsmeakabob!!

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 06:53 PM

Black Templar's chapter squad mode ability lets them get an extra hit for every successful attack up to their agility bonus. 60 agility, plus Lightning Attack.



#4 DJSunhammer

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 08:05 PM

Well the first thing you could do is change that squad mode ability. Reduce the cap on the extra attacks from AB to half-AB. You could also limit the effect to only attacks that deal damage, not all attacks. You should also remember that the ability only works for Standard Attacks, and not anything else. That should go a long way to reducing the amount of dice rolled in combat significantly. By more than half from the Black Templars if my math is correct.



#5 WittyDroog

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 11:09 PM

 Wait. If it can only be used for Standard attacks how is he getting an extra attack for each "hit" beyond the first one? What's the point of having extra attacks "up to your Agility Bonus" if you can only make a Standard attack?

UNLESS, is it supposed to work like this?

When going mono-a-mono with someone, you basically get two attacks against the enemy, one for the standard hit, one for the extra attack.

When going against a horde, in which you gain extra attacks much like Swift Attack by virture of attacking a horde, you get extra attacks based on how many "hits" you get.

Is this power intended to be used to maul the hell out of hordes and not be that effective at single targets? Then again if they get an extra attack AFTER the hit has been registered does that mean the opponent cannot dodge it if they already used their reaction? Maybe that's the benefit here?

Wish I had my book in front of me but it sounds like, if I'm correct, the full AG bonus isn't an issue, but perhaps an understanding of the flavor of the attack.



#6 DJSunhammer

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 11:39 PM

No, you just make a Standard Attack. If it hits you make another. If that hits you make another and so on until you hit the AB cap. You don't have to deal damage to get extra attacks. It works equally well against single targets or hordes. The problem with the ability is definitely in the amount of attacks you can make in one turn.



#7 Chastity

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 12:01 AM

What's the specific problem here, is it individual combat rounds taking too long, or combat as a whole lasting too long?

If it's the former, then this might just be a problem of table discipline. Make sure everybody has their own dice for both attacks and damage, and make sure everybody gets drilled to roll really fast.

For Holy Vengeance, remember that (a) it can only be used with a standard attack and (b) DW FAQ suggests that to-hit bonuses for size only apply to shooting (this should make them more likely to miss).

I recommend rolling attacks first, then damage, since it's quicker than going attack-damage-attack-damage.

If it's the latter, then I'd suggest just reducing enemy Hit Points and perhaps "forgetting" to have them use their dodges (and remember that you only get one Reaction per round, so the PCs are better off focusing fire on a target that has already Dodged than attacking another target that still has a dodge remaining).



#8 WittyDroog

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 12:02 AM

 Oh so it actually does allow you keep rolling. Without the book in front of me I was assuming it meant each hit OF the attack itself, not subsequent attacks, and not that it "explodes".



#9 Minnjitsu

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 05:43 AM

 I would just have them roll attack and damage at the same time and enforce a time limit on how long they can make actions.  This can also add urgency to their rounds.



#10 N0-1_H3r3

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 05:49 AM

Minnjitsu said:

 I would just have them roll attack and damage at the same time and enforce a time limit on how long they can make actions.  This can also add urgency to their rounds.

This. I give each player 30 seconds to decide what actions they would take on any given turn - failure to decide results in inaction. Considering that the rounds represent 5 seconds of game time, I think it's quite generous to give them a six-fold increase to represent the instincts, skill and insight of the Astartes.


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#11 Adeptus-B

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 05:59 AM

Problem with the Desavstator stepping back to use his heavy bolter: firing on Full Auto is a Full Action (unless you are substituting the Black Crusade/Only War rule set?), so it can't be combined with moving in the same round. This is why Devastators hate hand-to-hand combat…

But to speak to your core point: yeah, combat slows down my game as well. Fortunately it's my players' favorite part of the game, so no one minds it taking up most of the night. One possible gimick that might speed things up a bit is to announce who's turn will be next, so they can start planning their actions in advance: "Now it's Zuriel's turn; he'll be followed by Marcus." "Octavius is up, Gabriel is 'on deck'". That might help a bit.

I've seen suggestions to have players pre-roll attacks to speed things up, but I don't recommend that: if you know what your roll will be in advance, you can unfairly adjust your tactics accordingly.

Hmm… maybe you can set a time limit for each player's actions? Set a timer, and any actions not completed/rolled within one minute is lost? Sell it as making your players experience some of the tension that their characters are going through.

EDIT: Looks like N0-1_H3r3 beat me to that last point…



#12 afterimagedan

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 08:47 AM

This game is made for combat so if you think that combat is taking up too much time, either your players are less interested in the combat phases or you should maybe try Rogue Trader (which is less combat focused and some love it). I think the turn time limit is a good idea. What are you players doing that takes so long? Do they know the rules well enough to know what they can do? Are they new to RPGs and don't know what to roll? Are they surfing the internet on their phones while waiting for their turns? Ideally, you want players plotting as a team what they are doing tactically as a group during the combat and interested in what they and other players are doing. I find that when the squad makes strategies together, things go quickly and everyone loves it. 



#13 Charmander

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 10:09 AM

Adeptus-B said:


Problem with the Desavstator stepping back to use his heavy bolter: firing on Full Auto is a Full Action (unless you are substituting the Black Crusade/Only War rule set?), so it can't be combined with moving in the same round. This is why Devastators hate hand-to-hand combat…

Caviat: without special abilities.  Armor histories and wargear can allow you to move and fire, but that is the exception and not the rule.  If said Devastator has that gear, simply figure out how to get him in hand to hand with enemies that you do not want to get a free hit from, and taking that free hit is equally or more dangerous than staying in hand to hand (for example, if you're in hand to hand with a genestealer it still might be worth taking the hit by leaving hand to hand combat because 1 un-parryable hit is better than 4).

Adeptus-B said:



But to speak to your core point: yeah, combat slows down my game as well. Fortunately it's my players' favorite part of the game, so no one minds it taking up most of the night. One possible gimick that might speed things up a bit is to announce who's turn will be next, so they can start planning their actions in advance: "Now it's Zuriel's turn; he'll be followed by Marcus." "Octavius is up, Gabriel is 'on deck'". That might help a bit.

+1 here, I've used this to some effect- you can get into trouble when players get distracted or start side conversations (which is tempting for the players if ther turn is 45 minutes away) and aren't ready when it's their turn.  Giving people a bit of notice in advance that their turn is fast approaching seems to work. 

Another thing is that the people in my group mostly use cheat sheets for their attacks that streamline what bonuses they might have, which makes it easier for them to figure out all their bonuses and negatives.  That aside, even once a player has decided what to do, 4-6 attacks can take a long time to work out.

I'd also use Chastity's suggestions and 'forget' to have the NPCs dodge or get clever so they die more quickly, reduce wounds, reduce the number of enemies present, etc., if combat is still taking too long for your taste.
 



#14 igotsmeakabob!!

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 12:11 PM

Thanks for all the advice, it should definitely help. I might also have thrown too many elites at them at once; typically I'd throw 3 elites and two Hordes as a 'challenging' encounter. Over the last two sessions I was basically allocating an elite to each player, give or take one.



#15 Darth Smeg

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 07:21 PM

You can also use electronic tools to substitute for lots of dice rolling.

I made a little web-page that we have on an iPad when we play. It speeds up rolling damage for 7 hits with the Heavy Bolter quite a lot! 


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#16 CrunchyDemon

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 06:37 AM

I don't know if you've checked out the official living errata on here, but in the very back is chart with revised weapon damage stats that FFG threw in there to speed up combat. 

My group uses the revised damage numbers.  Basically you're rolling less dice for damage and instead getting larger pluses to the result.  It's working very well for us and while it may not totally fix your group's combat slowness, rolling fewer dice each roll should help a bit.


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#17 Zappiel

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 11:49 AM

I must diverge from the previous posters, who seem to blame yer players - sadly, combat is clunky and slow in this game…which is odd for a game so focused on combat…..if yer players get distracted waiting for their turn, it's because they're waiting for their turn - this is not good!  A combat round, in real time, should take as much time as it takes to state yer actions and roll/sum yer dice; this is not the case with dw….the fix must, unfortunately, come from you and yer players together……you folks will hafta decide what rules to modify for yer game to flow smoothly - i can't offer specific advice, because it seems to me that each game group will have different idears and attitudes on this subject; i can say that we use a cinematic, storytelling system wherein plot and character outweigh mechanics - but such a system freaks a lot of people out, people who need the structure of a solid rules set (which dw, let's face it, is not).  So, if you guys can 'wing it,' I say wing it; if you guys prefer structure, I say get together one night and hash out a house-rule system you can all live with (and, hey, fixing and tweaking the rules can be fun, if done right).  Remember, the game's about bein' friggin' space marines in the grimdark; not about how to squeeze an extra coupla attacks out of the rules…..so whichever way you go, just remember to keep havin' fun!



#18 Zappiel

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 11:52 AM

I must diverge from the previous posters, who seem to blame yer players - sadly, combat is clunky and slow in this game…which is odd for a game so focused on combat…..if yer players get distracted waiting for their turn, it's because they're waiting for their turn - this is not good!  A combat round, in real time, should take as much time as it takes to state yer actions and roll/sum yer dice; this is not the case with dw….the fix must, unfortunately, come from you and yer players together……you folks will hafta decide what rules to modify for yer game to flow smoothly - i can't offer specific advice, because it seems to me that each game group will have different idears and attitudes on this subject; i can say that we use a cinematic, storytelling system wherein plot and character outweigh mechanics - but such a system freaks a lot of people out, people who need the structure of a solid rules set (which dw, let's face it, is not).  So, if you guys can 'wing it,' I say wing it; if you guys prefer structure, I say get together one night and hash out a house-rule system you can all live with (and, hey, fixing and tweaking the rules can be fun, if done right).  Remember, the game's about bein' friggin' space marines in the grimdark; not about how to squeeze an extra coupla attacks out of the rules…..so whichever way you go, just remember to keep havin' fun!



#19 Zappiel

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 11:55 AM

…well how in the warp did that happen…???    smeggin' grots in the servers again???



#20 borithan

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 11:53 PM

CrunchyDemon said:

I don't know if you've checked out the official living errata on here, but in the very back is chart with revised weapon damage stats that FFG threw in there to speed up combat. 

That is the reason they stated. The real reason was because the original stats were… well, totally unhinged.






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