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LionCub

Let's discuss balance

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So we have asymetrical factions which is awesome, but makes balance more of an issue so I figure we could have a discussion here about just that. The balance in the game. Having played very few games so far I haven't really settled on any clear cut edge for one faction over the other so I would like to hear other peoples opinion on this. I think we might however want to start with listing the factions strengths, weaknesses and abilities.

 

SPHESS MAHRINES! (Ultramarines Chapter)

 

Strengths:

Durability

Morale

Versatility

Easy access to Tier 1 and 2 ground units (Space Marines and Land Raiders)

Increased amount of Tier 2 ground units (Land Raiders)

 

Weakness:

"EMPRAH'S FINEST HAVE NO WEA-"

Average attack value

Mostly average combat cards

Weak Tier 0 ground unit (scouts)

 

Chaos (World-eaters)

 

Strengths:

High attack value

Routing

Expansion

Strong combo's with Tier 0 ground unit (Cultists)

Mobility and ability to bypass Warp Storms

 

Weakness:

Weak Tier 0 ground unit (Cultists)

 

Orks (Evil-Sun Orkz Clan)

 

Strengths:

High attack value

Strongest combat cards

Durable

Superior ground combat control

Best Tier 0 ground unit (Ork Boyz)

Spawn ground unit on any friendly world with dominate

Deploy building then make use of building

 

Weakness:

Weakest space units (Tier 0 and Tier 2)

Low morale

 

Eldar (Uthuahahaha-something-something-darkside)

 

Strength:

Good attack values

Strongest space units (Tier 0 especially)

Access to 6 Tier 0 space units

Very mobile

 

Weakness:

3 less Tier 0 ground units (Aspect Warriors)

Fragile units

 

 

I think we also need to go into depth of the combat cards, combat cards upgrades, order upgrades, event cards and faction abilities to really land on anything here. Balance should also be considered in respect to 1vs1, 3 player and 4 player games. We are seeing some very asymetrical strengths here were we have Eldars being the strongest in space, Orks being the strongest on ground, etc. Do these asymetrical benefits balance out on the game board?

 

And finally, kudos to FFG for creating a very fun and engaging boardgame in the warhammer 40k universe that does not only play well, but also keeps the thematic lore of each faction from the universe itself. I am looking forward to playing this more and seeing all the great expansions that could be added on top of this. Discuss!

Edited by LionCub

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Faction sheets summary:

 

 

MMhizJa.jpg

 

In regards to unit count:

 

 

Baseline:

  • 6 C0 [zero cities] ground units.
  • 3 C0 void units.
  • 6 C1 ground units.
  • 3 C2 ground units.
  • 3 C2 void units.
  • 3 C3 ground units.

This makes for a "baseline" of 24 varied units per faction. In addition, each faction tweaks some of these numbers:

  • Eldar have +3 C0 void units (total of 6), but -3 C1 ground units (total of 3).
  • Space Marines have +3 C2 ground units (total of 6).
  • Orks and Chaos each have +3 C0 ground units (total of 9).

 

 

 

More to come later (including faction abilities, combat cards, etc.).
Edited by LionCub

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add mobility to chaos. the order and the scheme to move trough warpstorm is a huge pro.

 

Can't believe I forgot about that one. Thanks for the reminder. OP updated as well as second post with forum summary.

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So lets kick off this discussion with Orks. From my latest session, my opponent said he found the Orks to be overpowered. He redacted this some and changed it to "a little overpowered". This in regard to ground battles. Two battles specifically had him think this. One case of me invading his planet with 3 of my Ork Boyz while he was defending with 1 land raider and 2 reinforcement tokens. I managed to destroy both reinforcement tokens and rout his land raider without suffering any losses myself. The other one was me invading with 1 Nob and 3 Ork Boyz against his planet with 2 land raiders and 2 scouts. We did this battle in 3 attempts to test for balance. First one I failed due to bad luck (rolled 6 shields out of 8 dices and didn't pull a single combat card that lets you re-roll shield dices). Second (good roll) and third (average roll) I won. If you figure out unit cost against each other there (9 material value for Orks, 12 for space marines) you could argue that the space marines should have the advantage, yet the Orks were clearly the stronger part.

 

I think we all know that the Orks have an edge on ground combat, but the question is - is that balanced? I personally think it is due to their lackluster spaceship forcing them to be dominant on the ground, but I'd like to hear others opinion on this.

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I played four games with different races and the results are. in the 3 games of 4 players, won chaos and the last win considerably. 3 in the game without chaos prevailed even Ork 2vs1 battle against Eldar and marines. for me is all chaos and Ork supremacy is to play with the basic tier. SM counterexample looks strong for its racial skill but without the start landraider combat cards that support ends up losing against lv0 or lv1 units with appropriate combat cards. The chaos supremacy also depends about control the warpstorm. you can't use a warp for protect yourself against him and he can protect him self surrounding with WS

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 I personally think it is due to their lackluster spaceship forcing them to be dominant on the ground, but I'd like to hear others opinion on this.

 

But Orks have the ability to travel across voids without even using a ship. That is what is causing them to seem a bit overpowered in our game group.

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So the general vibe people are getting is that the Orks are a bit overpowered?

 

The Ork Roks are balanced by the fact that you can only move two units over with each advance order.

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Tips for SM:

Establish a good fleet and use bombardments/drop pods early and often

Build Cities asap, SM need strong late-game units, SM's alone will not win the game

Buy upgrade cards for late-game units asap, Land Raiders need upgrades to be effective
DROP PODS! Bomb a planet, then take it on the same turn, even without any nearby units

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So the general vibe people are getting is that the Orks are a bit overpowered?

 

The Ork Roks are balanced by the fact that you can only move two units over with each advance order.

 

Maybe I got the rule wrong, but how do orcs have worse advance order than the others who, by rules, can move over as much units as they want given the 5 per world limitation does not exeed?

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can you post the number of units also? some players  maybe feel weird when you notice CSM are less units than SM but you have more cultist than scouts

Edited by 4m4d1s

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I strongly think that a player must game ~20 or so games with a given race before forming a strong opinion one way or another...... just a thought, and I don't own the game yet so I cant comment with full gusto. :)  

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I strongly think that a player must game ~20 or so games with a given race before forming a strong opinion one way or another...... just a thought, and I don't own the game yet so I cant comment with full gusto. :)

This. I found some strategies to be easier to see / deploy than others, hence some races appear to be stronger just because they are more immediate to play. There are a lot of elements to take into account, not just the mere brute strength but also the way your decks were built, orders were upgraded, and so on.

Also, balance depends on how good you are at reading the moment and place and resolve the right orders.

Don't get me wrong, the OP is making a great job here and all contributions are really interesting to read, but it's quite a difficult task because every race is really different from the others. During the months the testing windows lasted, I've read quite a lot of session reports, and the thing that really struck me was witness how different the same race played according to the gaming style of its player.

Looking forward to read further in this analysis, good job everyone :)

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So the general vibe people are getting is that the Orks are a bit overpowered?

 

The Ork Roks are balanced by the fact that you can only move two units over with each advance order.

 

Maybe I got the rule wrong, but how do orcs have worse advance order than the others who, by rules, can move over as much units as they want given the 5 per world limitation does not exeed?

 

 

I was talking about the benefit you get from Ork Roks order upgrade card. This allows you to travel up to two ork units accross a void as if it were friendly whenever you activate an Advance order.

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I personally didn't think Orks were overpowered, but of the two games I have played in they won both.  That said, the person running the Orks owns the game, is the most enthusiastic about it and clearly spent time the rest of us didn't looking over the rules, components and thinking about strategy.  His selection of Orks was a default, being curtiousy allowing guest to choose their races first so its not like he hand picked the best race either.

 

I do think they are strong, but in our case I felt that I was simply out played (outmanuvered, out strategized) rather than simply beat by a better race. 

 

In my first game ever I played as the Eldar and for 4 rounds I was effectively fighting and winning a two front war, my first instinct was to say that Eldar are over powered because I was straight bringing the beat down on two players simultanously.

 

Though in retrospect I can say that while I think the races are fairly balanced, there are game elements and strategic advantagous that if certain races get they can become quite tough to beat.

 

For Orks it definitly happens if the player running them is not aggressively oppossed at all times.  Orks is not the race you want to have a couple turns to build up because with a couple of combat card upgrades and a city or two, they can very quickly domino out of control on the power scale.  That may very well be the reason why people are finding them overpowered, I think most of the races have a far more even development route.  While the Orks are kind of a sharp "boom" out of nowhere kind of development route.  It can be quite shocking and difficult to prepare for.

 

The Eldar on the other hand are super strong right out of the gate.  You can easily take on two opponents at once and not only hold them back but win battles and be pretty aggressive.  Their default combat cards are really good.  They are tough opponents in the early game and if played really well can very quickly overwhelm and put players out of contention early.

 

I don't have a very good feel for the other races, I didn't really get a feel for them.

 

I do think Forbidden Stars has one quintessential issue, really kind of a classic area control/war game issue and that is the Triad problem.  War games have a tendency to fail as 3 players games and I think Forbidden Stars has some serious balance issues in a 3 player game because of how slow the build up can be.  If you are unfamiliar with the Triad problem, it goes something like this.  Its difficult to suistain a conflict where you both invade and defend at the same time in Forbidden Stars, you ultimatly have to leave yourself exposed to a degree in order to gain objectives and typically you expose yourself and consquently expose one other opponent as you go for an objective and use your resources to fight each other (one on attack, one on defense), hence giving the third player an oppertunity.  If that third player is smart, he'll squeeze the weak spots of both of the other two players and sweep the win.

 

This I can see is going to be a reocurring problem in Forbidden Stars.

I think as a 4 player game its going to be significantly better and a more balanced game.

Edited by BigKahuna

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One observation about the Triad problem: the race in the middle tend to suffer, basically because ypu can't rely on corners to avoid being blind-sided. Those who start on a corner of the board can move the frontline without being worried too much of defending the most remote systems.

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One observation about the Triad problem: the race in the middle tend to suffer, basically because ypu can't rely on corners to avoid being blind-sided. Those who start on a corner of the board can move the frontline without being worried too much of defending the most remote systems.

 

 

Yes indeed this is an issue, I experianced it first hand, although in my case I played as the Eldar which is probobly the best race to play from that position as they are very capable of fighting on multiple fronts in the early game at least.

 

Its worth mentioning though that one drawback of being in a corner is warp storms, they tend to have greater impact on you when you already have sides that have permenant barriers.  In my game I very effectively cornered people in ways that greatly impacted their ability to take strategically effective actions.  If your more central you naturally have more options as a result of blockading warp storms.

 

Still, the Triad issue in Forbidden Stars has at least for me put this game out of prefered selection for a game night when only 3 players are available.  I haven't tried it 2 players and probobly never will, I tend to want to play games specifically made for 2 players when that occurs.  So really FS is a 4 player game, no more no less.  I think the downtime of combat is acceptable (although on the edge) in a 4 player, but will be too much if we ever see a 5th player added, so I think its forever destined to remain a 4 player game to me.  A great one which I will happily play, but a lot less flexible than I had hoped.

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I respect your view on the game; though, I'd like to suggest you a 2p game, sooner or later. I find FS surprisingly good and quick (75 minutes tops, not counting setup) when played 2p. Just my 2 cents on the matter.

 

Good point about warp & corners :)

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Actually, I found the game to work rather well with 3 : Getting your objectives being more important than denying the others, you have little incentive to expose yourself too much in doing so.

I found it to work much better than Eclipse, Twilight Imperium, or even Nexus Ops.

But it is true that hexagonal tiles and a stup like TI or Nexus Ops would have worked better with 3 players . Starcraft with Brood War scenarios might work better with 3, but there are not that many combat games I can think of that do.

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My experience is that this game is best at 2 or 4 players and takes about an hour per player, including setup and re-packing. The issue I have with 3 players is that it tends to result to 2 players crushing the 3rd early and then just playing the game together. Not too cool for the one player.

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So far our experience has been that when you play 1vs1, certain races has an advantage against others. For a 1v1, Space Marines seem to be the underdogs against Orks when it comes to ground battles. When we played 2v2 however, these advantages were not as noticeable because of the grand picture going on.

 

What little imbalance there was however was hardly noticeable and I think overall the races are well rounded against each other. Having played the Space Marines against Orks, I didn't feel I was outpowered. The battles I lost was due to bad rolls or bad moves, not greatly underpowered units or cards. I was also unlucky with orbital strikes, having space superiority, but only getting 0 or 1 bolter for three strikes in a row (with both orbital strike upgrade cards). Orks are stronger on the ground, but they are suppose to be.

 

All in all, I think it is all well balanced.

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I have now played quite a few games, and at times its seems tilted towards one side, but I think a lot of it is just the differences in races, and how quickly you can get your decks upgraded, if one person gets ahead on an upgraded combat deck, with the representative unit to go with it, then combats can become very one sided.

 

I was finding orks particular difficult to fight against in a couple of games, it was not so one side, just that the way they can make both sides re-roll all hits or misses, can completely change the balance of the combat. If you started with good defence, and played cards to go with it, then had to reroll all your defence, your card choices you have made could become completely useless, you would not have enough of either to be effective.

 

However the last game we had, I have been playing Eldar, I got up to tier 3 combat combats with a titan, and walked all over the Ork player in the last few rounds of combat.

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I think it's pretty clear that it's best at 4 players and with no alliances.

 

This game, while not overly complex is not something a simple person will enjoy. I feel confident that the average gamer liking this game is smart enough to read the game so that there are very few instances where one player gets far away with the lead. Alliances tend to bring the 3 player dilemma that was mentioned before and 2 players have some balance issues.

 

At least this is how I see it.

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