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cvtheoman

Rebel handicap?

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After playing a dozen or so games, I think the game is slightly (repeat: slightly) skewed toward the Empire.  A little over half the games have been close calls, where either the Rebels pull off an objective just in time, or the Imperials crush the base with 1-2 spaces between the Time and Reputation markers.  The rest have been pretty decisive Imperial victories.  Anyone else come to similar conclusions?  If you disagree, why?

 

If you agree, fortunately there seems to be a fairly easy way to give the Rebellion a "handicap", if you will.  We're now starting with the Rebel's Reputation marker at 13 instead of 14.  If that still seems off, we might move it to 12, but I think even the one-point change will be enough to rebalance the mechanics.  Anyone else tried this?  Or have another balance suggestion?

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You know to be honest I find the complete opposite to be true me and my friends were joking about it this weekend about how the rebels have a decisive advantage so I find it odd that You See It reversed what kind of techniques do you use to play the Empire well

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I think the Rebels are more forgiving of mistakes, but it still seems to be the Empire's game to lose. I won on Saturday night as the Empire. On turn 4. That wasn't the first time, either. My friend group is at the point where the big question is "how does the Rebellion fight back", which is weird because it makes everyone want to play the Rebels!

 

I think that moving the Reputation marker's starting position is a perfect way to give a handicap to either side. I've considered pushing it to 15 when teaching, since it makes a lot of sense to put the newbie on the Empire. 

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I find the game to be VERY balanced.  The Rebels work in the shadows and it can be hard for the Empire to judge how close they are to victory.  The Rebels lack resources, but see most of what the Empire is up to.  In my games the Empire is 3 and 2.

 

Here is a number to keep in mind... "6".  This is how many rounds the Empire can assume it has to find the base before the Rebels win.  This number is good for both sides.  It keeps the Empire from resting on it laurels, and not doing enough, and the Rebels a guide to how hard they should push to gain those points.

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We have played 7 games and 5 have been a case of either the empire find the base this turn or the rebels win. 1 was quick imperial victory like turn 6 and that was luck and the other was 1 turn between markers. So all our games have been very close calls

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We have played 7 games and 5 have been a case of either the empire find the base this turn or the rebels win. 1 was quick imperial victory like turn 6 and that was luck and the other was 1 turn between markers. So all our games have been very close calls

I've had the same experience with mine.  That is the sign of a well designed (and tested) game!  In all but one game, it's had that down to the wire Star Wars feel.

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I think the game is balanced but different play styles and strengths can add variables. So if you want to add a handicap to YOUR game, you are perfectly welcome to do so. Don't worry about the opinions here. Do what works best for your play group.

And changing the starting position of the influence marker is absolutely the most balanced way to handicap the game (in either direction).

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And changing the starting position of the influence marker is absolutely the most balanced way to handicap the game (in either direction).

Whoever loses the last game, gets the influence marker one space in their favor. Imperials win a game, the marker starts on 13, they win another, the marker starts on 12, the rebels win the third game, the marker goes back to 13. This seems like a really easy and fluid way to balance out the game.

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For every post I see about the Imps being OP, I see another for the Rebels being OP.

Nearly every game I've been involved with has been a pretty close affair.  A couple rolls, 1 objective, 1 different move is often all that changes the course of the game.

There has been some absolute blow outs, but those are rare, and usually due to a perfect storm scenario (perfect starting setup, coupled with a very specific strategy, coupled with the opposing side never having the right missions to oppose the strategy).

 

What I find to be the most dramatic point of influence is who is leading the events.  If the Imps are constantly reacting to the rebels, they don't have the actions to discover and destroy the base.  If the rebels are constantly reacting to the Imps, they can never focus on completing the objectives.  The person that acts tends to control the game.

 

I'd say that all things considered, the game is very well balanced.  If you see a group always having 1 side win, it's likely due to a failure to understand how to handle the losing side.  Actions are being wasted or used inefficiently, faction goals are being ignored, something.  Moving the turn marker is an OK idea, but only in the short term.  You really need to have someone focus on playing that losing side, someone creative that can dig out those strategies for the win.

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Might also be worthwhile to switch sides for the next game and see what happens.

 

Now that my buddy and I have the game down to 2 hours, we decided to try playing 2 games when we get together - one on each side. A TRUE victory requires a win from both sides of the board!

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I think the Rebels are more forgiving of mistakes, but it still seems to be the Empire's game to lose. I won on Saturday night as the Empire. On turn 4. That wasn't the first time, either. My friend group is at the point where the big question is "how does the Rebellion fight back", which is weird because it makes everyone want to play the Rebels! 

 

Do they not just move the base when you get close (or when you don't)? I see base hopping as a good way to destroy the validity of old information. Each time the base moves, the empire only knows its not on the probe cards and where he currently has ground forces (not where he used to, which is important). When I get close to the base, Rebels just move it. Since they can try once a turn, they usually get a valid spot quickly.

 

I definitely can't see winning IMP on turn 4 outside of luck (lucky ground troop mission happens to be on rebel base planet) or apathy (rebel player sees you close last turn, but chooses not to move base). Since you can't chain your fleet movement, the IMP is a very slow machine. It's easy to move the base around as often as needed.

Edited by omegalazarus

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In general, I'm very thorough as the Empire. That means I'm leaving stormtroopers everywhere, especially on Remote planets, and doing my best to build up loyalty. I usually open with Rule by Fear and R&D, and 2 fleet movements, unless I get a really killer starting hand like Fear Will Keep Them In Line, or something similar. I think the turn 4 victory was somewhat luck, where not only did I find the base but had enough around to be able to drop it in one assault. 

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I do think the Rebels are slightly favored initially, but I also suspect the Imperials will have a big long-term advantage. Somewhat surprisingly, the Imperials actually seem to have most of the control in the game - they can undo basically anything the Rebels do with actions to spare, while the Rebels can have idling leaders because they have no good or useful missions and no forces they can usefully move. Only two of the Rebels' core mission (Sabotage, Build Alliances) are generally useful, while the Imperials can usefully run all their core missions every turn if they get lousy draws (never mind moving units on the board). The Imperial ability to subjugate also gives them a lot of flexibility, while the Rebels gain almost no advantage from occupying planets where they don't have loyalty (no production, and most objectives require rebel units on rebel planets).

I think Imperial players tend to make two big mistakes.

The first is to over-focus on loyalty and the economy. If you build up a lot of loyalty you can easily blow out the unit mix and have almost the entire force pool of Imperial units on the board, but you don't need anything like that much to actually win the game. You just need to have enough units available in the right place at the right time to wipe out the rebel base.

The second is to leave themselves with too little flexibility. The huge problem the Imperials have is not in having enough units, or in finding the Rebel base, but in concentrating forces once the rebel base is found. The build limits and slow movement make it really painful to get the forces in position once the base is found. What you want to do is leave a few big units (Super Star Destroyers, AT-ATs) on the build track and not deploy them to the board until you're pretty sure you know where you need them, using smaller contingents of smaller units to locate the Rebel Base first. A star destroyer on the opposite side of the board from the Rebel Base is worthless.

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We're two and two in our games with two of them coming down to last turn victories. One for Rebels and one for Imperials. I was a bit put out last game as one of the setup decisions I made as Imps was blown out of the water on the first revealed mission. And the Reb player moved the base but he'd got a bad draw on new locations. But I'd not have had enough units if I'd stayed spread out to take the base and he wouldn't have needed to move at all. I thought at that point it was more or less over for me but turned out to be wrong. But the Imperials captured and turned Luke and sent him to lead the final assault on the Rebel scum. 

 

But the fundamental difficulty for the Imps (which I'd lost the prior two games as rather badly) is keeping the Rebels from making you chase your tail. So you need units spread out about the board as cFarrell suggests. But you also have to find the base in time enough to get enough of those units there. The Rebels have the same number of leaders as you but can dedicate all of them to hampering you and contesting your missions and to bringing planets in (particularly Mon Cal and Utapau for the big cruisers) for units without needing many of them to simply move units around. The Imperials have to walk a tightrope with doing missions to find the base and moving units to find the base and making those unit groups big enough that the Rebels don't peck at you and steal easy rep points and kill units for free. 

 

I think the game is very fair but far more difficult for the Imperials. They have a much finer line to walk. 

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Played my first game today. and played as the Rebellion.  My Han Solo got captured, interrogated and subdued to the dark side.  That was a crippling blow.  I had to name three systems on the board with one containing the rebel base.  I listed Tatooine (my base), Endor, and Ilum.  I got lucky in that he had none of these cards.  He ended up constructing the 2nd Death Star above Tatooine -- and after some rule reading (and FAQ) we realize that did NOT reveal the rebel base.  He was somewhat far away from getting a reasonable force to take Tatooine after he discovered that Endor and Ilum were empty.  I was letting the 'death star' under construction finish on it's own, since it was isolated, and I desperately wanted to use my Death Star Plans to get the 2 reputation to nearly end the game.  So I decided to not use Ackbar at the end of my turn to move in some Rebel forces to take it out.

 

Unfortunately I was not aware of the Imperial mission that can accelerate a unit down the build track, and he had already acquired a super laser project and had it queued up with Tarkin.  

 

The rebels were vaporized in a sandy fireball at the end of turn 6.

 

Really enjoyed the game, so very tense playing as the Rebels, great theme.

 

EDIT: And now I realize I could have used my plans against the Death Star under construction to get that 2 reputation right away.  Ouch Rebels.

Edited by Glucose98

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The Rebels have had an edge in the games I've played in since they can meet objectives in different ways depending on the board setup. Infiltration is a must early in the game to cycle for more feasible objectives, and given all the Empire wants to do in the first few turns there's a chance the missions could go unopposed and hopefully without the risk of capture. The Empire has a lot to balance early on for actions since the player will probably want to do some R&D and move at least one fleet, and this is part of the challenge for playing the Empire since the player must maximize action economy.

 

I've seen Rebel victories where their fleet is wiped out early in the game but thanks to widespread diplomacy, well drawn objectives and a relocation they were able to hold out. Conversely, they've also won amassing large fleets of cruisers forcing the Empire into an unfavorable confrontation.

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I am beginning to realize that the Imperials are a lot more nuanced and a lot less forgiving of errors.  I originally thought they were all about power, while in reality, its about using that power efficiently.  Consolidating 2 fleets or leaving a fleet vulnerable to a rebel objective at the wrong time can be game ending.  Meanwhile, the rebels have a lot of at least moments.  At least I got a reputation point, at least I stopped that fleet from moving, at least I tied up an enemy leader, at least hes not building two start destroyers this turn.  They can afford half victories.

 

Its something I like about the game, but it does make playing Imperials more challenging while the rebels can follow their noses.

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I don't want to gripe about a bad beat poker-style but when my Imperial opponent opened the game with Fear Will Keep Them in Line and then recruited Fett for a Bounty of Mon Mothma and a Lure of the Dark Side in Round 2, my diplomacy game was shattered as were my potential builds. He then was able to capture Dodonna later and got Yularen to interrogate him. It was a perfect storm, right down to Piett using the Long Range Probe to confirm my base far earlier than normally in our games.

 

Often times the Rebels will start the game with their base missions, but if the Imperials get a really good draw they can go to town on special missions with powerful leaders like the Emperor and Vader.

 

It does go to show how important capture is for the Imperials, I think it could be worth playing Capture Rebel Operative early on (could let Tagge assign it as a bluff to lull the Rebels into thinking he's doing R&D and bring Vader in to oppose the Rebel Sabotage/Infiltration mission or merely activate to chip in) as the early drain on the Rebel leader pool is useful and the opponent may not have rescue missions or appropriate leaders to go on those missions.

Edited by Darth Coupon

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