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Posted (edited)

Feel free to shoot me but I think making the Nantex blockable would be anti-thematic.

For the sake of argument, let's say you could create any errata to PTA except that it had to start with "After you execute a maneuver" and had to involve tractor.

For me the simple answer is you have to spend all tractor tokens to move the ship. Sure it makes non-ensnare Nantexes much better (maybe even playable), but it also makes ensnare much worse.

Maybe for balance we could try this:

"When a ship is tractored, it may receive a stress token to decide whether it is moved or keeps the tractor tokens. If it does not choose to do so, the opponent decides. If the ship is moved, the player that applied the last tractor token decides the final position of the ship"

Still stress to mitigate the nasty stuff, but no stupid 90° turn, no bonkers double-repo-plus-agility-reduction ensnare, non-ensnare nantex gets to be good but not broken and will probably get stressed a lot, gravitic deflection is still good and has reasons to take it, etc.

Also makes the Lancer, Quadjumper, etc. a lot less nasty, and almost makes the tractor beam function like a very limited flechette cannon, but not with unblockable double-stress or unblockable ship movement. More decision points, more player interaction, less rules. Everybody wins.

To me that makes tractor more fun and less complicated than the current rule.

Also throw my vote in the ring for "Default force effect should be re-roll, not focus conversion" because it's less guaranteed and means force is more likely to be wasted, it's more thematic for force users to be constantly focusing than constantly target-locking, and the force isn't supposed to be so predictable/deterministic anyway. Sometimes you won't succeed.

Wouldn't mind seeing all pre-movement repositioning in the system phase. Not a deal-breaker for me because I feel like the drop in generics makes super-duper-dodgers a little less viable than before anyway but I'm no expert.

Oh and the VCX needs a config or errata for one passive shield regen. I know it's crazy powerful but at 0agi and only 14 health it's less tanky than an X-Wing and can't play the dodge game anyway. It's always simply a matter of time before it burns out which is just sad and off-theme and makes any upgrades but Magva and force a poor investment. Plus crit-trains make the VCX pretty much useless as soon as it starts taking hull damage anyway.

Edited by ClassicalMoser

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2 hours ago, ClassicalMoser said:

For me the simple answer is you have to spend all tractor tokens to move the ship. Sure it makes non-ensnare Nantexes much better (maybe even playable), but it also makes ensnare much worse.

This was still my favored change (if we aren't changing PTA to fully execute). It still allows Tugs to move small bases and reduce agility if they get it in bullseye. Tractor beams shot that apply more tokens than the base size needed could do the same.

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20 minutes ago, 5050Saint said:

This was still my favored change (if we aren't changing PTA to fully execute). It still allows Tugs to move small bases and reduce agility if they get it in bullseye. Tractor beams shot that apply more tokens than the base size needed could do the same.

🤨 I think you misread. @ClassicalMoser's suggestion is that all of the tractor tokens get spent to reposition the tractored ship, not #of tokens required for the tractor effect to be applied. So the net effect to tugs and tractor beams would still be move the affected target or keep the -1 green die that spending the tractor tokens suggestions have almost always hinged on.

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Just now, Hiemfire said:

🤨 I think you misread. @ClassicalMoser's suggestion is that all of the tractor tokens get spent to reposition the tractored ship, not #of tokens required for the tractor effect to be applied. So the net effect to tugs and tractor beams would still be move the affected target or keep the -1 green die that spending the tractor tokens suggestions have almost always hinged on.

Agreed but his point reminded me that order of operations comes into play; the tokens get added one at a time, so you could spend one to move it, then add the next one. Technically.

But I think the Stress counterplay would actually be pretty important for balancing it and would potentially reduce the NPE of tractors currently in use.

Might help bring down their cost too.

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, ClassicalMoser said:

Feel free to shoot me but I think making the Nantex blockable would be anti-thematic.

I can understand a preference for unblockable Nantex, but I don't get how it'd be anti-thematic.  I don't see it as any more anti-thematic as Full Throttle not triggering if you bump, since you still had to be going at quite some speed, and that seems to be what FT represents.

I've also always hated "spend the tractors for movement" since it just becomes way too powerful to tractor your own stuff.  I also don't think it significantly lessens the NPE of being tractored, since the frustrating thing is having your ship moved.  Losing green dice isn't great, but being moved without losing dice still sucks.

Edited by theBitterFig

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39 minutes ago, theBitterFig said:

I can understand a preference for unblockable Nantex, but I don't get how it'd be anti-thematic.

The whole idea of the PTA is that they're essentially grappling ships at extremely close range. With the stated abstraction that bumping means you're going directly above or below the other ship this should be the pest possible range for PTA to work at. For gameplay reasons I absolutely 100% agree it's annoying but to do otherwise would feel off-theme.

41 minutes ago, theBitterFig said:

since you still had to be going at quite some speed, and that seems to be what FT represents

FT doesn't work because you're too distracted not hitting the other ship to focus on not getting hit, not because you're slamming into the ship at insane speeds. You're still moving (very) fast.

42 minutes ago, theBitterFig said:

I've also always hated "spend the tractors for movement" since it just becomes way too powerful to tractor your own stuff.

I mean... kind of, but how easy is it even to do that in the first place? The Nantex and Quadjumper are the only things I can think of that do that off the top of my head, and everyone knows that the Nantex without Ensnare is just horribly awful, so would it be that bad? It would make the Quadjumper more interesting, but not really more powerful...

43 minutes ago, theBitterFig said:

Losing green dice isn't great, but being moved without losing dice still sucks.

What if you could take a stress token to choose which happens? I like that much better than the current "oh, both are gonna happen, but you can take a stress to make one of them happen just a teensy tiny bit less."

That was what my earlier suggestion entailed:

"When a ship becomes tractored, it may receive a stress token to choose reposition or agility reduction. If it does not, the opponent can decide. The person to apply the last tractor token decides the final position of the ship."

Seems like a perfectly happy solution to me.

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1 hour ago, ClassicalMoser said:

The whole idea of the PTA is that they're essentially grappling ships at extremely close range. With the stated abstraction that bumping means you're going directly above or below the other ship this should be the pest possible range for PTA to work at. For gameplay reasons I absolutely 100% agree it's annoying but to do otherwise would feel off-theme.

FT doesn't work because you're too distracted not hitting the other ship to focus on not getting hit, not because you're slamming into the ship at insane speeds. You're still moving (very) fast.

Shouldn't the same logic apply to PTA, though?  You're too occupied with not-hitting to effectively use the tractor effects to manipulate your own ship?  I just don't find "they should be able to do this while avoiding collisions" at all convincing, and I don't think it'd be off-theme or some sort of lore buzzkill.  To each their own.

1 hour ago, ClassicalMoser said:

What if you could take a stress token to choose which happens? I like that much better than the current "oh, both are gonna happen, but you can take a stress to make one of them happen just a teensy tiny bit less."

That was what my earlier suggestion entailed:

"When a ship becomes tractored, it may receive a stress token to choose reposition or agility reduction. If it does not, the opponent can decide. The person to apply the last tractor token decides the final position of the ship."

Seems like a perfectly happy solution to me.

Just seems really confusing.

I like that the current way gives players a means to opt-out of a bad facing (whether for rocks, board edge, or just no-shots), and after that, I'd rather just restrict tractors through price and format and such.

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20 hours ago, ClassicalMoser said:

I mean... kind of, but how easy is it even to do that in the first place? The Nantex and Quadjumper are the only things I can think of that do that off the top of my head, and everyone knows that the Nantex without Ensnare is just horribly awful, so would it be that bad? It would make the Quadjumper more interesting, but not really more powerful...

Agreed. Nantex are already kinda, sorta getting tractor-token-less reposition anyway. Using the tractor to reposition a droid is a neat trick, but not overpoweringly though. For Scum, self-tractoring sound like a very Scum trick to do Tugs, but it also costs an action, so it works out to be a pseudo-coordinate limited to only roll or straight forward boost. The Nantex again seems to get the better of it still as it is actionless, but I'd choose the "spend a token to move or get my agility reduced" over "I'm getting moved and getting my agility reduced, but might get a shot for a stress" at any point.

20 hours ago, ClassicalMoser said:

"When a ship becomes tractored, it may receive a stress token to choose reposition or agility reduction. If it does not, the opponent can decide. The person to apply the last tractor token decides the final position of the ship."

This seems a tad too confusing and with a few too many steps. The more steps there are, the more rooms for rules questions to pop up in.

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17 minutes ago, 5050Saint said:

This seems a tad too confusing and with a few too many steps. The more steps there are, the more rooms for rules questions to pop up in.

Yet somehow still simpler than maneuver-difficulty-alteration or the abilities queue.

Not even any more complicated than current tractor rules, really.

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4 minutes ago, GreenDragoon said:

Next poll: who enjoys dice variance?
Not the small bit around the expected result, but the extreme ends (nattie hits vs blanks)

I like when you get a one in a million shot. I hate when i'm in the receiving end of it. Same with narrow, almost imposible escapes. They are high emotion moments in a game that's played to be fun. They fell cinematic.

 

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36 minutes ago, Bucknife said:

The extreme ends of variance make this game feel alive. 

Without that emotion, I might as well be playing chess with spaceships. 

I wouldn't play X-Wing if there was no variance. 

What I meant, but better. Have a pint on me.

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Less fond of dice than cards. Less fond of variance than hidden information.

Now, if we had a deck of 2 crits, 6 hits, 6 blanks and we couldn't reuse any till we'd used them all up, that would play into the strategy a bit...

But it would also make this game something it never was nor was intended to be. It's perfectly acceptable as-is.

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10 minutes ago, ClassicalMoser said:

Less fond of dice than cards. Less fond of variance than hidden information.

Isn't dial setting and guessing the hidden info part of the game?

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Just now, LUZ_TAK said:

Isn't dial setting and guessing the hidden info part of the game?

It is. I don't disagree.

It's kind of a personal philosophy thing as a game designer myself but I wouldn't force it on others as it's really up to the individual, but essentially I believe the place of randomization in game is in creating environments and decision points, but players should have full control of those outcomes. Variance for outcomes works in casual games but isn't my preference in general.

And to answer a common objection, no, that doesn't mean games would have to be "solvable" or deterministic because hidden information in player choices creates the classic psychological "bluff/double-bluff" dilemma and randomization can rapidly change the environment, forcing players to double-down or hedge their bets, depending on playstyle.

Definitely too deep an answer for the question, move along.

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3 hours ago, GreenDragoon said:

Next poll: who enjoys dice variance?
Not the small bit around the expected result, but the extreme ends (nattie hits vs blanks)

I do.  Those games where my dice are absolutely on fire, or when they're such absolute garbage that I can't win no matter what, given the right opponent and a nice casual game, can be hilarious.

I suppose that's not enjoying the variance in itself, but having a good time playing with friends, and seeing some crazy things happen.

1 hour ago, ClassicalMoser said:

Less fond of dice than cards. Less fond of variance than hidden information.

Now, if we had a deck of 2 crits, 6 hits, 6 blanks and we couldn't reuse any till we'd used them all up, that would play into the strategy a bit...

But it would also make this game something it never was nor was intended to be. It's perfectly acceptable as-is.

Personally, I think that's way too small of a shoe, essentially a 2-dice shoe.  Too easy to count, and I think that'd wind up being a lot less fun..  Reminds me of a great bit where the magician Ricky Jay is playing poker with people with a 10 card deck, and winning every hand.  "Tell you what, you can look at the card and decide if you want the card or you want to give it to me."

I'd consider a 4-dice shoe to be the minimum realistically, 6 probably best.  I'd also copy something from cards-based Catan where you'll discard the first few cards (say, one per die's worth) of the deck, so you can't can't keep perfect count.

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2 minutes ago, theBitterFig said:

I'd consider a 4-dice shoe to be the minimum realistically, 6 probably best.  I'd also copy something from cards-based Catan where you'll discard the first few cards (say, one per die's worth) of the deck, so you can't can't keep perfect count.

Perfectly fair. More is better until you get to so many that you never have to use your bad ones. Playing the tradeoff becomes a fun game in itself.

But ultimately I recognize that that's not the game that the FFG devs ever intended to make, and I'm perfectly fine with that.

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2 minutes ago, ClassicalMoser said:

Perfectly fair. More is better until you get to so many that you never have to use your bad ones. Playing the tradeoff becomes a fun game in itself.

More than an 8-dice-shoe seems like... just roll actual dice.

4 minutes ago, ClassicalMoser said:

But ultimately I recognize that that's not the game that the FFG devs ever intended to make, and I'm perfectly fine with that.

And yeah, I'm mostly only interested in it as a thought experiment, to see how much of a difference it'd make in terms of perception.  The hassle seems like it probably isn't worthwhile, but as a thing to think about?  Interesting enough.

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Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, theBitterFig said:

More than an 8-dice-shoe seems like... just roll actual dice.

Oh no, I mean you get to choose your dice results for each roll. You can choose to blank out on this roll to get 3 hits on the next one, etc. With a sufficiently limited deck size (3-4 dice) it becomes tricky because once you use up your good evade cards, you're very vulnerable until you run your hand out and your opponent can play into that.

But again that would be a super super different game, and probably too easily optimized.

Edited by ClassicalMoser

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Thanks for the answers. I largely disagree ^^

 

I'm much more interested in the dial setting. For me, dice mean mainly one of the following:

  • Do you get bailed out despite making a mistake?
  • Do you get punished despite making the right call?
  • Do you get roughly what you deserve based on the choices (hidden info part and taken actions)?

I would want to at leadt double the dice while somehow flooring/ceiling the results. Maybe locks can reroll only up to 3, maybe focus can only change 2-4. the idea with cards sounds neat, too, but would probably change too much. Maybe Armada-like dice if they help in that regard.

You say variance adds emotion. For me, that emotion is largely negative. I hate it when the dice rob my opponent. For example, I played and won against Oli, but he was so much better it should not have been close. Except that dice happened.

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Posted (edited)
26 minutes ago, GreenDragoon said:

I'm much more interested in the dial setting. For me, dice mean mainly one of the following:

  • Do you get bailed out despite making a mistake?
  • Do you get punished despite making the right call?
  • Do you get roughly what you deserve based on the choices (hidden info part and taken actions)?

I agree that less variance would make it a better game. I also agree that removing pre-maneuver repositioning to the systems phase would make it a better game. And that a different basic force effect would make it a better game. And that more complex combo-based pricing would possibly make it a better game.

But on the other hand, I think that in a large sense, those things make X-Wing something it wasn't really intended to be at the outset. I absolutely prefer games that are as close to 100% skill-based as possible etc. but we have to remember that X-Wing is supposed to be a mostly-casual game. There are no cash prizes, and even the world championship nets you little beyond bragging rights. If the dice steal that from you, what's really on the line anyway?

We have to remember that we aren't the designers. It's perfectly fair to disagree with them and to point out obvious flaws with how the game isn't doing what it intends to do. Ultimately though, we have to defer to the designers in terms of what solutions are chosen (Side note: In game design they always tell you "the play testers will always be right about what's wrong with your game, but they'll usually be wrong about how to fix it. Problems are objective, solutions are subjective"). They want variance to be a part of this game, and they want some super-powered combos to be a part of this game. We have to take that into consideration and do what we can to balance around that. It's not ideal from a game-theory perspective, but ultimately they're the arbiters of what the ideal "feel" of the game should be, not us.

Sometimes what we want could end up being something of a different game altogether. I absolutely encourage everyone to go out and try designing your own tabletop games yourself! It's not that hard to get started and make something fun to play, and it's super rewarding. On the other hand, it is extremely hard to make something that's both deeply engaging and well-balanced, and still manages to feel the way you want it to. Props to the devs for doing their best.

Edited by ClassicalMoser

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I thourougly enjoy no variance, pure skill games (top of the list: Go/Baduk/Weiki), even if I suck big time at most of them. It's just not what I want for X-wing. I like cinematics over chess-like calculations and 10-step-chain-combos.

I like the game we have now, or  better with even with less... clutter? Like the "revealed maneuver" ruling fiasco and the like.

But, to each its own.

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