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Tvboy

Thoughts and Observations While Playing the App [No Story Spoilers]

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Let's use this thread to talk about what we've found out while playing the app about how it works and what our thoughts are. But please no story spoilers or at least spoiler tag them. 

I told myself I was going to wait and play through it without spoilers, but I just couldn't help myself and fired up the app on my lunch break and went through a couple of missions and encounters to see what it's like and how it works. I decided to go with Hard mode and use my dice app to simulate how the first mission might go with the heroes I had chosen.

Mission Design and Difficulty: Hard mode seems legitimately challenging by virtue of just flooding the board with Imperials every turn. However it didn't really feel like the Imperials were snowballing on turns when I wasn't able to kill most of them off, so I think it takes into account what's on the board when it decides how much stuff to deploy at the end of each round, in fact at one point it actually asked me how many stormtrooper figures were on the board before it deployed. Also it seems that the type of enemy that appears is somewhat randomized, as each time they deploy a short little roulette like animation flashes through all the enemy types before locking down. The app is also very generous with ally figures even in the first mission which helps immensely, and is also not very aggressive about attacking your allies like a human would be, but it does eventually start attacking them. The scenario also gives you an escape route for your unwounded hero to run and hide when things start to go bad, so I really appreciate that. At the end of the simulated first mission that I played, 3 of my 4 heroes had been withdrawn while my 4th unwounded hero had run away. Interestingly in the first mission the AI didn't prioritize attacking non-wounded heroes and in fact seemed to be purposefully spreading its damage around, focusing on a new hero each round, but once all the wounded heroes were out of the way, the AI started double moving its troops towards my hiding healthy hero. 

While the first mission was definitely combat focused, it seems there is actually a lot of role-playing elements incorporated into the game as well as exploration and detective work for certain missions. Mission events are often times highly detailed and really immerse you into the scene. There are tons of non-enemy NPCs in the game that players can interact with and players are able to respond to NPC dialogue Mass Effect style with select responses that alter how the NPCs in the game respond to you. Non-combat related choices can change the way in which a mission unfolds.

Encounters are actually really interesting, the one that I did wasn't a full mission that used map tiles, but was in fact a moment-by-moment flavorful description of a pitched space battle where your team of heroes had a very specific role to fulfill in the battle as pilots (which also definitely opens up some crossover potential with other FFG games), which was acted through decision trees and cumulative attribute tests where everybody adds up their successes and inputs them into the app to see what happens. It really makes these feel like a team effort and also allows for one character to feel like the MVP when a test that matches their favored attribute comes up and they carry the team through that part of the encounter.

Fame is earned primarily by killing bad guy groups, which is nice as it seems to have a direct impact on how many credits you earn after a mission, and the bigger the bad guy the more fame you get, so trigger-happy players are going to be rewarded in this game. Crates typically grant you a medpac, a small amount of credits and a supply card, but occassionally will give you 2 supply cards. 

BTW, the ambient noise in the app is amazing. You can hear voices calling over the loudspeaker just like you hear in the movies on the Deathstar hangar or the Yavin IV hangar in Rogue One, or the constant sound of ship engines when your in space, or clank of dishes and voices in a cantina. Probe droids buzz and mumble when they deploy, and Stormtroopers yell "Blast 'Em!" when they appear on the app. Sadly, all the text including mission briefings are not narrated like they were in Road to Legend, so prepare to have somebody do a lot of reading out loud. 

I'm really looking forward to getting this on the table with some fellow players in the coming weeks. I'm impressed by how different the app games feel to the regular campaign, way more like an RPG board game hybrid than the tabletop version. 

I will say though that being limited to just the Core set bad guys is kind of lame after playing with the expansions for so long. Keep in mind that the only non-villain mercenary units in the Core are Trandoshan Hunters and Nexu, so in a mission perhaps focused around a criminal element isn't going to have very interesting criminals to fight against. Those missions desperately need for some Hired Guns or Weequay Pirates. 

Edited by Tvboy

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I was thinking of starting a similar thread, glad someone beat me to the punch to save me the effort :)

That's great to hear about Encounters, Fame, and the ambient noise.  I'm very excited to play the campaign but waiting to play it with friends before running it solo.  At least that's my plan - we'll see if I can actually hold off for three weeks to play it... extremely tempted to start a solo campaign tonight!

Overall, it sounds like FFG did a great job in designing the app based on the feedback so far.

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I was skeptical about the AI at first, that it might be too predictable, but then as I was simulating a fight against the Probe Droids in the first mission started off as cagey snipers that kept their distance, but once the real fighting broke out and the Rebels were just trying to survive, the Probe Droids switched into kamikaze mode and would charge the nearest Rebel and self-destruct if its health fell below a certain threshold. I thought that was really cool. 

The Imperial perks that each group also helps to make up for the AI's shortcomings. For example the AI will often move the first stormtrooper away from the group and then fire, but to make up for the loss of squad training it will give the first stormtrooper figure in the group that attacks an extra green dice. Then after it repositions after its attack, it will often just happen to be in the perfect spot that the next stormtrooper that moves up will be adjacent and get squad training.

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Squad Training is an optional ability, and thus not by default used when playing with the app. (The app rules say to ignore optional abilities.) They are compensated by the Bonus abilities.

You can still use them to make the missions even harder.

28 minutes ago, Tvboy said:

I'm impressed by how different the app games feel to the regular campaign, way more like an RPG board game hybrid than the tabletop version.

It's a different way of playing. Told you so. :D

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5 minutes ago, a1bert said:

Squad Training is an optional ability, and thus not by default used when playing with the app. (The app rules say to ignore optional abilities.) They are compensated by the Bonus abilities.

You can still use them to make the missions even harder.

Yes, I was using it based on the Imperial Rule and I knew that one of the die could only improve with a reroll (it was a blue die with a 2acc+surge and the stormtrooper already had a surge on the green die). I just thought it was cool that the app seemed to be compensating for the fact that AI stormtroopers can't rely on having squad training. 

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Some more observations as I play around: How much fame you earn from killing a group seems to be directly tied to their group deployment cost. Killing an Officer earns 2 fame, killing a pair of Royal Guards earns 8, and killing a villain earns their deployment cost in fame. Also noted that it doesn't matter how many times those groups were reinforced before you finish them off, it's always a set amount of fame. You only get 8 fame for killing a Royal Guard group even if that group was reinforced 3 times. 

In Hard mode at least, the app reinforces all groups back up tot their figure count each round. Also, in hard mode at least, it seems that during survival focused sections of the missions where you are in a location and waves of enemies are coming at you, the app seems to spawn 3 groups at the end of the turn, but won't go above 6 groups on the table at one time never mind, replayed the first mission in normal difficulty and the AI put 8 groups into play, so it might be mission specific. I wonder if this is related to the Threat level, which I noticed was at 3 when I observed that the app was deploying 3 groups per turn (I'm in a section of the 2nd mission where there's no time limit, and if I wasn't cheating the heroes probably would have all gotten wounded by now). 

Also noted that when a villain is defeated, a little customized message pops up that flavorfully describes its defeat and subsequent escape. I thought that was a nice touch. Sadly unique allies do not get this same message when they're defeated. 

Edited by Tvboy

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40 minutes ago, OccasionallyCorrect said:

Any idea on how long the campaign is?

 

FFG stated that the campaign is 5 missions, the first two are about the same length as a regular campaign mission. The Encounter I came across would likely have taken 5-10 minutes for a group reading it aloud and making decisions by committee.

Edited by Tvboy

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27 minutes ago, Tvboy said:

FFG stated that the campaign is 5 missions, the first two are about the same length as a regular campaign mission. The Encounter I came across would likely have taken 5-10 minutes for a group reading it aloud and making decisions by committee.

So maybe an hour to run the whole campaign, outside of setup and laying down tiles?

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9 minutes ago, OccasionallyCorrect said:

So maybe an hour to run the whole campaign, outside of setup and laying down tiles?

No, the Encounters are the the little role-playing segments that happen BETWEEN missions. The actual 5 missions will probably take between an 1-2 hours each depending on how fast you play, which will probably be slowed down if you are playing solo because one person is having to set everything up and move every figure. 

Think more along the lines of a mini-campaign. 

Edited by Tvboy

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Ooh, if you want to do over a mission that hasn't finished yet, you can go to the Load Mission screen and the gear icon on the mission files gives you the option to reset that files current mission back to the beginning. Seems like a useful feature if you think you got unlucky or if you accidentally wound one of your heroes or something.

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This app is the best thing since sliced bread.

I just finished mission 2 and the roleplay as well as the hidden elments during the missions are amazing. I think sometimes you can bug out the nexu in tight corridors, but that's okay IMHO. Gonna go sleep now and write more ... much more ... over the weekend.

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1 hour ago, MandoBard said:

So will this be a good way to introduce newcomers to the game mechanics? My sisters are kinda tired of me destroying them in high level games

It does have a tutorial and it is co-op, so you don't get to destroy them and they have plenty of female heroes to choose from.

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My phone went into sleep mode and all the empire were in the centre of the screen. Then I couldn't read who the stormtroopers were supposed to attack as their icon covered the text. I save and quit but when reloaded it was stuck not able to move beyond me surrendering. So I'm charging the pad to see if that's better. First mission was nearly done but was fun. Crates are good.

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Everything seems very good.My only complaint is that I want to see the hero and vilain markers on the app...What if we have to cut a session short. Would be helpful if we could see the markers all the time so when you load a scenario in progress we could see where everything was the last time we played. Otherwise a stellar job.

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23 minutes ago, Dayne said:

Everything seems very good.My only complaint is that I want to see the hero and vilain markers on the app...What if we have to cut a session short. Would be helpful if we could see the markers all the time so when you load a scenario in progress we could see where everything was the last time we played. Otherwise a stellar job.

Well, what do you do if you have to cut a regular session short? Same thing here, right? They don't want to add the markers on the map cause then it would be very close to not needing the board game itself to play.

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My sentence didnt have the proper syntax sorry...What I ment was every time you load, everything should be visible, and then by pressing lets say "continue" the map could revert to its previous normal state.I think this would facilitate set up .

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1 hour ago, Dayne said:

What I ment was every time you load, everything should be visible

What everything? The app doesn't track where everything except some object are.

You probably have a camera if you play with a phone, so take a picture. It's much easier than entering the locations of every figure on the app. (The app doesn't even know how many figures of each multi-figure groups are left.)

Edited by a1bert

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Perhaps that's an obtuse question but I don't seem to be able to find the answer anywhere and I'd rather stay away from spoilers :)

I run the tutorial mission solo to familiarise myself with the rules and to be able to explain them to my group later when we were to launch the first campaign. After the tutorial mission ended, I selected the gear and the skill cards and then a message popped up that told me that I'm now ready to launch the actual campaign, however there were still options to choose from. I run the encounter and then started a mission however, now I'm starting to feel that I've actually started doing the stuff for the actual campaign. Can anyone advise me if the part I'm describing is still a part of the actual campaign or is it still the tutorial material that I need to go through and it's going to show me some new rules for the app-play I've not seen yet?

Edited by Spieler1723539

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- The sound effects are amazing but the “Rebel Base” ambient music was really starting to get to me after an hour or so.

- Reading! My biggest fear came true. Not a major problem but in-app narration would be greatly appreciated.

- The NPC elements in the first mission are extremely thematic. So, so good! Can’t wait to dig into the other missions

- Encounters are an excellent touch.

- In an ideal world, the app would track hero and imperial figures so the app could do all the heavy lifting for imperial activations. 

It’s not enjoyable pausing to discuss situations that involve the Imperial Rule: some will want to make sure that it’s the most punishing move to make while others are more lenient with it. I can't imagine it feeling very good if a player finds an optimal game winning move the figure could’ve made and mentions it aloud after a decision was finalized. 

Even if the imperial figure’s decision is left to chance, it’s really just a waste of time.

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