Jump to content



Photo

Advanced Deployment (Aircraft): Issues / fixes?


  • Please log in to reply
28 replies to this topic

#1 phocion

phocion

    Member

  • Members
  • 11 posts

Posted 14 November 2012 - 10:10 AM

Hi All

I'm relatively new to Dust, but DT has rapidly become on of my favorite games.  I don't really have a problem with 99% of the DT rules and I accept that they are streamlined and abstracted for a reason.  But I recently played a few games where one rule in particular has made me think that no one thought it through particularly well before release.  That rule is the Advanced Deployment rule for Aircraft in the Zverograd expansion (p10).

The issue in a nutshell is that an SSU player who activates last (either through initiative or having more units than you) can out manoeuver you with Advanced Deployment of his helicopters after all your units have activated, putting his helicopters right into your face (when you cant stop him) and that even if you win the initiative next turn, you are probably not going to be able to stop a chopper (unless you happen to be playing Axis: see below) with one activation, from destroying a significant part of your army as he will activate a chopper each activation in future and sustained fire all his single use weapons off, guaranteeing (in my experience), 3 units or vehicles killed or combat ineffective.  Reactive fire probably wont help much here either.  Most AAA units have not got the chops to take down a helicopter in a single sustained fire action, though the Axis probably have the lions share of those units that could (Lara & Heavy Recon or Fleigerfausts, Sturmkonig).  Bar the Grim Reapers, Allies dont have a single unit that can put up enough dice to realistically scrub a chopper from the board in one go (we will see what the new heavy AAA walker does).  Even if you do play Axis, unless you have a lot of the above units spread across the board you are still vulnerable to this tactic.

This is particularly frustrating when you as an Axis or Allied player can be out activated by the SSU relatively easily without the SSU player pulling a '**** move' and definitely out activated if they did.  The friend and I that played saw a very simple, obvious way to break or at least severely abuse the advanced deployment and probably decide (if not win) most games within the first couple of rounds unless an opponent has set his army up to counter the specific tactic of Advance Deploying SSU attack helicopters, probably leaving them weak against any other balanced army.  Not really something I would like to see a lot of in games if I was competing in a tournament and nor am I (and lots of others I guess) prepared to spend a lot of money on multiple Sturmkonigs or Allied Heavy AAA Walkers.  Plus being beaten because your opponent uses a tactic you can't effectively counter takes the fun out of the game and I really enjoy DT.  I am happy to play competitively, the aim of the game when you play is to win, however the reason you play the game is to have fun.  If you cant win against a particular tactic, you aren't likely to have fun playing that game.

It sounds like I am kinda fixating on the SSU here, which is not the impression I want to give.  I like the SSU faction and I am not complaining about SSU in particular, nor do I think SSU or their choppers are particularly broken.  SSU have the only aircraft in the game at the moment, but I can easily see this becoming an issue when more faction aircraft become available.

I can go into more detail about what I mean if people don't know what I am talking about.  We already wrote the points up for Oliver.

Of course YMMV, but I am wondering what the consensus is.  Has anyone else been on the receiving end of this kind of tactic?

Thanks for listening.



#2 Kriegschatten

Kriegschatten

    Member

  • Members
  • 207 posts

Posted 14 November 2012 - 01:59 PM

Oh, it's definitely not just you.

I think almost everyone who reads the aircraft rules and then looks at the stats for the SSU Ground Attack Helicopters starts to think about ways to abuse multiple activations in about 10 seconds.

It gets really crazy when you combine a Helicopter with a Command squad.  Because, then you could (theoretically):

 

ROUND 1

(1) Deploy helicopter

(2) Deploy Command squad.

(3) Command squad reactivates helicopter.

(4) Helicopter sustain attacks one or two enemy units and obliterates them.

 

ROUND 2

(1) Win initiative.

(2) Activate helicopter.  Move, attack, and obliterate another enemy unit or two.

(3) Activaite command squad.

(4) Activate helicopter again.  Sustain attack another enemy unit (maybe two) and wipe them out.

 

 

Yes, the above does depend on some pretty lucky rolls with your command squad, as well as relying on your helicopter not getting blown out of the sky around the second turn of Round 2, but it's not as unlikely as, say, a Hermann taking out a Karl Marx in a single round.

 

Just be glad that the SSU doesn't have any NCO Command Squads.  At least they can't rearm the helicopters in the middle of battle.

 

Sadly, it seems pretty clear to me that the game designers intended things to work this way.  Why else would they give the SSU a hero that virtually guarantees they will win intiative every round?

 

Of course, when more sides get aircraft, that will balance things a bit more, but I agree it will be kind of sad if you have to expect your two best units to get blown off the map before they can do anything everytime you play.

 

The easiest solution is probably to play indoor maps--no helicopters there!  Of course, that means no artillery, either (which may not be a bad thing, since they can be kind of cheap, too).

 

But if you're expecting some sort of official "fix"?  Yeah, I wouldn't hold my breath…

 



#3 Major Mishap

Major Mishap

    Member

  • Members
  • 1,727 posts

Posted 15 November 2012 - 01:27 AM

It's not just the attack choppers (not go to use mine yet though) Fakeyeli jumping out of a helicopter is almost as bad and have more units for activation purposes.  To counter the expensive attack helicopters SSU does need to be out-activated, but that shouldn't be to difficult to do really.



#4 phocion

phocion

    Member

  • Members
  • 11 posts

Posted 16 November 2012 - 11:47 PM

I wouldn't say it was that easy though.  If the SSU player decides to pull a **** move, like I said before and throw all their points at out activating you to make the helicopters work, it would be really difficult to have enough units to out activate them and still have a chance at even hurting their choppers.  Even at small point battles an SSU player can just bulk out his force with Chinese volunteers, snipers or spotter squads and a balanced Axis or Allied army wont be able to out activate an SSU force.  I don't agree with having to make a broken army to stop a broken army, its just a nuclear arms race.

I think one of the things we came up with when we saw a way to completely abuse this rule was 300 points of SSU consisting of 3 airblasters and then the rest of the points made up of spotters, so about 21 units in total.  You could do a similar thing at 100 points (so an airblaster and 6 spotters) and most Axis or Allied balanced forces would be smaller than 7 units at that size and wouldnt likely have much in the way of effective AAA.  Even if you went with a force of heavy recon grenadiers or grim reapers, which are two of the most effective AAA units, you would still only max out at about 4-5 units in 100 points.

These are examples of extremely unbalanced forces I know, but we did it to prove the point.  An SSU player can still have a reasonably effective army as well as the choppers, but have enough cheap bulk up units to give them the activation advantage.  Unless the allies or axis played an army which was just as broken and massively weighted towards AAA units, they are not going to get a chance to stop the SSU player dropping helicopters on the board unopposed with advance deployment, or then destroy them by either winning initiative or reactive fire.  The SSU player can then just make sure he put airblasters right next to the juiciest targets and wait for the second round.  When you also consider Yakov's skill, as already discussed, the SSU are going to be sitting in the position for a killing blow at the start of round 2 and there aren't many units that could scrub a chopper in one round of sustained fire (not to mention reactive fire). 

If the SSU player is thinking their deployment through, they could wipe out any units which could pose a threat to his choppers this way at the start of round 2.  Fine; all his 1 shot weapons might be used up to do this, but mopping up the remaining infantry with those horrible quad MGs isn't difficult, not to mention whatever else the SSU player has left to lend a hand. At this point I wouldn’t see much point in continuing a game which I had pretty much lost in the first activations of the second round unless there was a really good reason.  Especially when you consider the scenario win conditions.

You can see where I am going with this, so I won’t labor the point. The current advanced deployment rule is pretty broken, or at least so open to abuse that it upsets the game balance. I cant believe that this was intentional.  I have gamed this through and it works the majority of the time, so all I would ask is that you try this for yourselves. Proxy the units if you have to, set up a map – we used the largest battlefield from the Core Set (revised) 2 posters - and then try dropping 3 Airblasters right on one side’s front doorstep after all their units have activated and roll the dice next turn.

I am not complaining that SSU choppers are broken, nor am I bashing SSU players, I hope it doesn't come across like that - I have seen as many Allied and Axis players abusing the spotters for example.  Aircraft are perfectly counterable when they start on the other side of the table and you have a chance to organize a defense against them. However I do think the Advanced deployment rule needs work and with the way that the current reactive fire rules work, it is possible to break the spirit of the rules with aircraft advanced deployment and being able to out activate your opponent.

There is an easy solution to this which might also ease some of the complaints I have read about the reactive fire and activation issues.  After discussing it with the friend that I played during the games with the SSU choppers, though there are several solutions to potentially nerf Advanced Deployment, the simplest and most elegant solution is to allow units take overwatch actions, or something similar. Essentially it will allow an unit which activates to take an Overwatch action in order to reserve that single action to watch for and react to enemy movement at any point in future.  Effectively reserving a chance to reactive fire. For example: an Allied Rattler activates and moves 1 space and also then goes onto Overwatch using both its actions and ending its activation for now. You would place an overwatch counter on its card to show the status. We already do this with things like reload, so the mechanic is not a big departure. The Rattler could then activate later cashing in the overwatch token for 1 action, when for example an SSU helicopter Advance Deployed within 6 squares of the Rattler.

This way, a single Rattler on Overwatch or even better a squad of Grim Reapers (which bizarrely are more effective against aircraft than a purpose built AAA platform) could actually be an effective deterrent. This I feel is a lot more realistic than what we have now where a single chopper can hover over an army in view and range of multiple adequately armed units. Any chopper that tried that today would be flaming wreckage before it could actually do much good.  A single man with a light or medium machine gun is a threat against low flying helicopters especially in today’s battlefield and Choppers won’t fly into an obvious threat zone without good reason. I am talking here from recent military experience in Afghanistan where the use of helicopters in support of manoeuver on the ground is a daily occurrence.  This is also a fairly sensible way of looking at the role of some units such as AAA. A dedicated AAA unit would not normally contribute to the ground kinetic battle if there was an air threat, they would be holding back, deliberately watching the sky one step back from the front line and dominating a significant proportion of airspace to prevent or deter enemy aircraft, such as that big, fat, slow, vulnerable; hovering chopper which is dropping into your zone of control.   Maybe you could say that overwatch could be unique to AAA units, however I don’t think it would break the current game mechanics to leave it open to all units. An infantry unit could benefit from overwatch for example (again, a realistic task for infantry today) and could cash in its Overwatch token to attempt to fire at an enemy unit which moves or activates in range at a later time. This also wouldn’t take away reactive fire, as you could still use this for units which had yet to activate.

There are lots of possibilities with Overwatch, however I am trying to keep the idea simple. Just as Reload is an Action, Overwatch for 1 action would prevent too much sustained fire at aircraft and would at least go some way to preventing such **** moves as spamming your opponent with large numbers of 5 point units in order to ram 3 Airblasters in his face after he has activated his fewer balanced units. Yeah, I know DT is not real life and some people always play more competitively etc, etc. However against the tactic I described above I do not see many effective defences and it’s a cheap tactic which takes advantage of a loophole in the current rules set. 

Overwatch is only one possible solution, there are others. I don’t want to lengthen this post more than it already has been but what do people think of overwatch as an idea?  Will it break the current mechanics?  We are testing it as a house rule, but I also think I will put it in the proposal to the Dust crew.

Again, thanks for listening.
 

 

 



#5 Kriegschatten

Kriegschatten

    Member

  • Members
  • 207 posts

Posted 17 November 2012 - 12:55 AM

Unfortunately, as much as I would like to see some sort of Overwatch mechanic for storing unused action points, I really doubt that we'll get something like that.

The fact that they gave us Reactive Fire is a pretty clear indication of how they want to handle attacks in response to enemy actions.

 

There are, though, still a few things they can do:

(1) Get rid of the advanced deployment rule.  Aircraft have enough advantages already that they don't need it.

(2) Significantly increase the point costs of aircraft.  Like, by, oh, 50% or so.  If a unit is going to be able to ambush opposing forces, you might as well make the player pay for that ability.

(3) Boost the power of anti-aircraft units.  Make them all /skull weapons (just against aircraft, though).  So, that lowly Recon Boys machine gunner who is now rolling 1/1 against aircraft would now be rolling 1/skull, while the Sturmkonig would be rolling 9/skull.  It makes aircraft into glass canons, which is, I think, a bit more realistic than having them be as tough as a medium tank.

 

I really don't expect FFG to take any action in the near future, though.  In fact, I doubt that we will see them do anything unless the SSU start to dominate in tournaments by using helicopters--and the ground attack helicopters aren't even on the list of tournament legal units yet.

 

 



#6 Major Mishap

Major Mishap

    Member

  • Members
  • 1,727 posts

Posted 17 November 2012 - 01:33 AM

If you have layers who re Dicks, not heard that in eargames terms before :), then you need to tell him not to be a **** and play for fun.  Luckily my group is not like that and we all only have 2 sts of snipers/spotters each.



#7 SeismicShock

SeismicShock

    Member

  • Members
  • 67 posts

Posted 17 November 2012 - 05:00 PM

 I'm of the opinion they should have opened up the variety of weapons that can hit at aircraft more. I don't understand why lasers and phasers can't hit aircraft. You would think that it would be way easier to point a light at a chopper than to lead it and account for bullet drop. Honey can't seem to aim at aircraft, but give that same guy a bunch of machine guns and he's a heli-killer. Would make phasers more useful in my opinion.



#8 phocion

phocion

    Member

  • Members
  • 11 posts

Posted 18 November 2012 - 02:46 AM

Kreig: Yeah you are probably right, removing Advanced Deployment would simply make the problem go away.  However I actually like the principle of the rule, its exactly what helicopters should be able to do, with the obvious restriction that parking in front of that big walker that can fill your chopper with its own weight in lead, would be a bad move.  yeah the dice/skull idea would probably work and would really make getting anywhere near AAA a one way trip.  However would also make attack choppers useless unless they could kill their target outright in one activation.  Like you said, total glass hammers.  Or you could drop the health of choppers by 2 and with aircraft armor 2 most choppers wouldnt last long against even light AAA.  There are a lot of positive solutions, but I kind of figure the one you can use which makes the least impact to what is already in place would be the best one.  But as you already said, I don't think this will be a quick fix from the Dust team.

Seismic: yeah I never figured out why lasers couldn't damage choppers, unless it was simply because of the range issue, I think lasers are supposed to be short range compared to rifles etc, due to beam attenuation in the atmosphere (phasers are pretty short range too looking at the stats).  But you are right, it would just be a point and click method of operation - point laser at chopper, push the firing switch, maybe wave it round a little to get it on target; et Voila! 

I will submit this stuff to Oliver and if I get a reply I will post it here somewhere.

 



#9 fhaugh

fhaugh

    Member

  • Members
  • 183 posts

Posted 18 November 2012 - 11:46 AM

phocion said:

Overwatch is only one possible solution, there are others. I don’t want to lengthen this post more than it already has been but what do people think of overwatch as an idea?  Will it break the current mechanics?  We are testing it as a house rule, but I also think I will put it in the proposal to the Dust crew.

Again, thanks for listening.

I think overwatch is a great idea.  The only suggestion I would use would be to make it use both actions.  Otherwise there is no downside to it and games could quickly stagnate with no one willing to break cover first.  A whole lot of "we're on overwatch, come get some",  and not enough "CHARGE!!!"  But that's just my opinion, I've been wrong before.



#10 Rasputindarksyde

Rasputindarksyde

    Member

  • Members
  • 12 posts

Posted 18 November 2012 - 05:55 PM

I have just started using the attack copter.  I have also done this thing.  I never really thought of it as a "****" move.  It is what it is.  It is designed to do that. IMHO.  All of the copters have pretty much 1 space range which can be mitigated if you deploy a bit better.  True there are some longer range weapons that can be on them.  After you fire those weapons the vehicle is pretty much useless.  So this is really the only way I see it being worth the points that you spend for it.  If I was to play against this I would split my squads up so he has a hard time to kill multiple units. 

 

I am new at this though.  I have only been playing for about 2 weeks.  I just got the copter on friday. 



#11 Kriegschatten

Kriegschatten

    Member

  • Members
  • 207 posts

Posted 19 November 2012 - 01:57 AM

Rasputindarksyde said:

All of the copters have pretty much 1 space range which can be mitigated if you deploy a bit better.  True there are some longer range weapons that can be on them.  After you fire those weapons the vehicle is pretty much useless.  So this is really the only way I see it being worth the points that you spend for it.  If I was to play against this I would split my squads up so he has a hard time to kill multiple units. 

I kind of disagree.

While the napalm and 250 KG bomb are really good (especially the napalm), the rocket pod is nothing to be laughed at, either, and it has range 4.

Plus, even after your fire off the limited-use weapons, the quad cannons are still a pretty good anti-infantry weapon, so I certainly wouldn't call it useless once it's limited-use weapons are gone.

Finally, the copter does have move 2, isn't affected by obstacles, and can't be targetted at anything over 6 spaces, so it's pretty easy for it to move into a firing position.

Which is kind of why I feel that it doesn't need advanced deployment on top of that.

 

 



#12 Rasputindarksyde

Rasputindarksyde

    Member

  • Members
  • 12 posts

Posted 19 November 2012 - 06:18 AM

Sure, but without advance deploy it is not going to survive with range 1 weapons on it, at least IMHO.  With the axis having so many units with AA it will get swallowed alive.  I expect it to die the turn it drops everything.  That is why I use that tactic.  It is to fragile to survive for long periods of time to make it worth the points that it is now. 

The only weapon that makes it worth while to not advance deploy it can't hurt half the vehicle out there.  I am having a hard time dealing with 5 and above AV walkers.  None of the KV's can hurt them without being so close.  The tanks are awesome but expensive to play and tough to move.  The units lack walker killing, except for the CC squad.  But I have to get there. Not to mention all the U range weapons that axis has. Mind you I am not trying to say the SSU are weak.  I am just saying that we need this for the higher level walkers.  But again I am new so my point of view is alittle off at the moment. 

 



#13 Lska

Lska

    Member

  • Members
  • 487 posts

Posted 19 November 2012 - 06:30 AM

 Hmm i have a feeling i read that beafore….



#14 Major Mishap

Major Mishap

    Member

  • Members
  • 1,727 posts

Posted 19 November 2012 - 06:42 AM

 Greed, choppers without advanced deployment will be useless, they will never get close to their targets - the same way their KV47's can't.



#15 Lska

Lska

    Member

  • Members
  • 487 posts

Posted 19 November 2012 - 07:56 AM

 Well it's a matter of the map, i have faith in those walkers (yeach it's easy when you don't play SSU hue hue hue). Still waiting to face the choppers but i bealive they are counterable.



#16 Major Mishap

Major Mishap

    Member

  • Members
  • 1,727 posts

Posted 19 November 2012 - 09:23 AM

Lska said:

 Well it's a matter of the map, i have faith in those walkers (yeach it's easy when you don't play SSU hue hue hue). Still waiting to face the choppers but i bealive they are counterable.

Nah, have played on plenty of maps, it doesn't matter what it is they still don't have the speed to get close and are outmaneuvered to easy by enemy infantry or shot at down fire corridors and have to suffer at least two rounds of shooting.



#17 Lska

Lska

    Member

  • Members
  • 487 posts

Posted 19 November 2012 - 10:29 AM

Hmm i stopped using Hot-dog since inf 3 came in the way, but we used to use such things, like the mentioned hot-dog. And they even killed stuff! What happend to us and our arsenal:(



#18 Gothik

Gothik

    Member

  • Members
  • 97 posts

Posted 19 November 2012 - 09:18 PM

Last time I used Hot Dog was when I got my OCS in August, 2011 :D



#19 Kriegschatten

Kriegschatten

    Member

  • Members
  • 207 posts

Posted 20 November 2012 - 01:15 AM

Major Mishap said:

Lska said:

 

 Well it's a matter of the map, i have faith in those walkers (yeach it's easy when you don't play SSU hue hue hue). Still waiting to face the choppers but i bealive they are counterable.

 

 

Nah, have played on plenty of maps, it doesn't matter what it is they still don't have the speed to get close and are outmaneuvered to easy by enemy infantry or shot at down fire corridors and have to suffer at least two rounds of shooting.

 

So, we're talking about the SSU walkers now instead of the helicopters, right?

If so, I agree that the Nadya and the Natalya will most likely get blown off the map before they can actually hurt anything.

 

What about the Natasha, though?  That seems like a perfectly good anti-infantry walker at a fairly cheap cost.



#20 fhaugh

fhaugh

    Member

  • Members
  • 183 posts

Posted 24 November 2012 - 12:20 PM

 Correct me if I'm wrong on this, but the issue on the table is the abuse of the advanced deployment rules, yes?  If I understand the flow of things, the SSU player will bulk out his activations with a bunch of cheap units.  During the first turn he will deploy all of these cheap units first, and once the enemy has deployed all of his important/AA units, the SSU player will advance deploy all of his choppers adjacent to these priority targets.  Because of Yakov, the SSU will most likely win initiative on turn two and going first will begin attacking, and probably destroying the unit most dangerous to them.  The enemy will be unable to counter this move because of the difficultly in bringing down a chopper in one turn.  Am I right so far?

Advance deployment simulates the mobility provided by air units, thus allowing them to detect and engage the enemy ahead of the rest of the force.  With that in mind, shouldn't the units using advance deployment be the first units you deploy?  In game rule terms, "Any unit(s) in the players force using advance deployment must be deployed before any units in their force not using advance deployment.  Once a player has deployed a unit without using advance deployment, no further units in the force may use advance deployment."

If you want to get your attack choppers in their face, your going to have to face the initial barrage of AA fire.  (Sound rather realistic, doesn't it?)  If it is as hard as people claim to take a chopper down in a single turn, then they will still be there on turn two for you to start bombing the AA units.






© 2013 Fantasy Flight Publishing, Inc. Fantasy Flight Games and the FFG logo are ® of Fantasy Flight Publishing, Inc.  All rights reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Contact | User Support | Rules Questions | Help | RSS