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Muelmuel

Random Order Activations

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So I haven't seen this proposed yet although it has been mentioned somewhere how Armada takes lessons from xwing and legion learns from Armada too. How does a random order activation sound? Place ID tags on your ships and place their corresponding chips in a bag, fish one out when u have to activate. Could have rules for setting aside a set number/type of ship that activate by choice not random(though I haven't thought of some yet)

Edited by Muelmuel

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17 minutes ago, Muelmuel said:

So I haven't seen this proposed yet although it has been mentioned somewhere how Armada takes lessons from xwing and legion learns from Armada too. How does a random order activation sound? Place ID tags on your ships and place their corresponding chips in a bag, fish one out when u have to activate. Could have rules for setting aside a set number/type of ship that activate by choice not random(though I haven't thought of some yet)

Why doesn't each player just roll a D6 before the match and the higher number wins, saves a couple of hours.

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It sounds... well, I won't say terrible, but... a negative player experience.

If you're looking to house rule an alternative activation system for your games, you could always adapt the one from AT-43. It was an awful game in most respects, but it totally nailed the activation system.

Without going into too much detail: at the end of each round, each player secretly sets the activation sequence for the next round by ordering a pile of cards, one per unit. Players then take turns revealing the top card from their deck and activating that unit. Rinse, repeat. When a unit is destroyed, the card is removed from the deck. The catch is that "command points" could be spent to pass your turn, or move a card to the bottom of the deck. But these points were also needed to execute special orders, or to bid for initiative. So you could be flexible in your activation order... at the cost of your units' efficiency.

If one really wanted to do so, it would not be too difficult to adapt to Armada.

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I'm pretty skeptical that this system is going to work. Granted, I have barely payed any attention to Legion (really doesn't interest me), so I haven't watched any games played. Anytime you take something as important as activation and randomize it, I think that removes too much from the game.

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2 minutes ago, DiabloAzul said:

Without going into too much detail: at the end of each round, each player secretly sets the activation sequence for the next round by ordering a pile of cards, one per unit. Players then take turns revealing the top card from their deck and activating that unit. Rinse, repeat. When a unit is destroyed, the card is removed from the deck. The catch is that "command points" could be spent to pass your turn, or move a card to the bottom of the deck. But these points were also needed to execute special orders, or to bid for initiative. So you could be flexible in your activation order... at the cost of your units' efficiency.

I've never played AT-43, but this sounds similar to how Heroes of Normandie works. You assign secret activation tiles to your units indicating which will activate when. This would add a pretty interesting aspect to Armada, I think it would raise the skill ceiling. That said, I think it would also raise the floor and make it a more difficult game for new gamers to grasp.

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3 minutes ago, DiabloAzul said:

Without going into too much detail: at the end of each round, each player secretly sets the activation sequence for the next round by ordering a pile of cards, one per unit. Players then take turns revealing the top card from their deck and activating that unit. Rinse, repeat. When a unit is destroyed, the card is removed from the deck. The catch is that "command points" could be spent to pass your turn, or move a card to the bottom of the deck. But these points were also needed to execute special orders, or to bid for initiative. So you could be flexible in your activation order... at the cost of your units' efficiency.

If one really wanted to do so, it would not be too difficult to adapt to Armada.

Ooh, I kind of like the sound of this. Could be interesting to try out in a casual game.

2 minutes ago, LennoxPoodle said:

It would definitely weaken the need for getting as much activations as possible. Doesn't that you have a bazillion of flottilas if your hard hitters might activate first anyway. 

Each flotilla would still at least decrease the chance of that happening though.

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Maybe, if they had done it from the beginning on, they could have balanced with a fifth symbol on the command dial which allows the ship to activate whenever it wants at the cost of not getting any of the other orders. The matching token could allow you to activate the next ship first or something.

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For Random Order Activations, don't just torpedo the idea just yet. From a broad lore overview, it now comes to directing your ships in general, but the firing/moving/etc depends on crews speed and timing, and not something u can control directly. So you are an admiral but with your ships subject to "in the heat of the moment" instances. So the way to play changes. As the admiral you have to give general directions but be prepared for things not going precisely your way. Reducing variability, suitably, is impt for such a system, to establish a semblance of influence/control. While Legion uses the commander-pre-planned activation rule, similar thing could be done for Armada commanders(in range of commander? limited to x number of activations?) or else in range of large ships/ships at long range of each other forming a chain/etc.

For Pre-planned Order Activations, that sounds like a nice touch! The only caveat is that usually you and opponent both kinda know what you want to move already, except maybe in mindgames/tight matches. It does not really address the numbers part of activation advantage too. 

(ofc ffg is unlikely to change the system coz they have invested too much into the current system like flots and SA)

Edited by Muelmuel

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1 hour ago, LennoxPoodle said:

Maybe, if they had done it from the beginning on, they could have balanced with a fifth symbol on the command dial which allows the ship to activate whenever it wants at the cost of not getting any of the other orders. The matching token could allow you to activate the next ship first or something.

This is ... brilliant. Could have made this a "skip activation" that was only available to large ships, eliminating the need for Strategic Advisor, and making Pryce and Bail not so much of an idea.

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3 minutes ago, Muelmuel said:

For Pre-planned Order Activations, that sounds like a nice touch! The only caveat is that usually you and opponent both kinda know what you what to move already, except maybe in mindgames/tight matches.

It's better than you think.

Imagine this scenario:

  • Ship A threatens ship X
  • Ship B threatens ship Y
  • Ship X threatens ship B
  • Ship Y threatens ship C

Player ABC goes first, player XY goes second.

  • If A goes first, it may kill X, saving B.
  • If B goes first, it may kill Y, saving C (and escaping X).
  • If C goes first, it will escape Y.
  • If X goes second, it may kill B... but only if C acted first, or A acted first and missed. If B acted first, X will escape A.
  • If Y goes second, it may kill C... but only if A acted first (in which case it will also escape B), or if B acted first and missed. If C acted first, Y will escape B.

Under vanilla Armada, player ABC chooses a ship to activate based on his own priorities. Then player XY chooses which ship to activate depending (only) on what player ABC did. And so on.

In AT-43, player XY chooses the order based on what he believes player ABC will do - and if he gets it wrong, he could lose both units. Sure, he can spend precious command points to change the order after seeing ABC's first action... but those command points could have been used to do other cool stuff or, more importantly, for bidding to wrest initiative from player ABC.

37 minutes ago, Muelmuel said:

It does not really address the numbers part of activation advantage too. 

Games without forced movement do not really suffer from this issue so no, the system of AT-43 would not address it if ported as-is. When adapting it to Armada, you would need to tweak it accordingly. The first solution that comes to mind would be to make the command point pool dependent on total command value of all ships (while keeping the cost of passing or delaying an activation fixed). It's not perfect by any means* but it gives you an idea.

Example:

  • Passing your turn costs 3 command points
  • Sending the top card to the bottom of the deck (and activating the next ship instead) costs 2 command points
  • Player 1 has one ISD + 4 flotillas (=7 command points)
  • Player 2 has two VSDs (=6 command points)

The activation advantage is still with player 1, but the ratio has now gone down from 5:2 to 7:4. With less uneven matchups, it can mitigate activation advantage quite a bit.

*: while it makes VSDs/AFMk2s more attractive (which is good), it also encourages the use of flotillas over HHs, Raiders and CR90s (which is not!)

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1 hour ago, Muelmuel said:

So I haven't seen this proposed yet although it has been mentioned somewhere how Armada takes lessons from xwing and legion learns from Armada too. How does a random order activation sound? Place ID tags on your ships and place their corresponding chips in a bag, fish one out when u have to activate. Could have rules for setting aside a set number/type of ship that activate by choice not random(though I haven't thought of some yet)

That's Legion! Some way. 

Seriously the system for Legion is cool. With just some fixes it could be really interesting. 

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Since I'm ancient, I'm fine with Full Thrust's  mechanic: plot all movement, execute all movement simultaneously. In FT you alternate firing, player with initiative first (die roll each turn), with effects applied immediately, but I prefer systems where you designate all targets first (simultaneous or alternating, whatever), do the shots, and then apply damage only after everyone has fired. It's a good way to get rid of the whole last/first thing, which bores me a little.

Movement plotting looks like: 2L,S,R (2 left clicks of yaw at end of first segment, straight at end of second segment, 1 right click yaw at final position). Very quick to write. Simultaneous plotting completely eliminates activation padding.

What to do about squadrons, since you can't plot by clicks? I'd have to think about it more, but I don't mind alternating activations for them. You could plot by distance and eight-point direction, then do alternating activations for exact moves. Squadron Strike uses something like that for plotting. Squadron orders let you activate your squadrons at any point in the order? Ooooooh, use the trumping systems from Tank Leader! The most brilliant activation mechanic ever (since it was designed by John Hill, that's not exactly a surprise).

As you can tell, I'm not wild about the Armada activation system.

1 hour ago, BrobaFett said:

So you want to take the strategic part out of the game?

No thanks.

Strategy should be about maneuver, not choosing which ship acts first. IMNSHO. And, well, plotting puts an enormous amount of strategy into the game. I'm sure some people hate it because of X-Wing.

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I like that the only random part of Armada right now is the dice. Adding in random activation order would take away from Armada's chess-like long-game feel. If you wanted to try an alternative, how about alternating small, then medium, then large ships? In this way, a 1+4 would gain no activation advantage over a fleet with three medium ships. As a primarily Rebel player, it would be stressful, but I'd be willing to try it sometime.

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30 minutes ago, comatose said:

I like that the only random part of Armada right now is the dice. Adding in random activation order would take away from Armada's chess-like long-game feel. If you wanted to try an alternative, how about alternating small, then medium, then large ships? In this way, a 1+4 would gain no activation advantage over a fleet with three medium ships. As a primarily Rebel player, it would be stressful, but I'd be willing to try it sometime.

Demolisher would always activate before ISDs or MC80Hs, for example. That's a significant balance change.

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The natural evolution of the effects that Governor Pryce and Bail Organa have this wave is to allow players to choose which ships their opponents must activate first (or last).

"At the start of the Ship Phase, you may discard this card to place a *name* token on a ship that does not have a round token. Your opponent must activate that ship first this round."

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I could have seen a set activation order working.. at the start of the game you choose the order your ships activate in and it's the same every turn. There could be upgrades and maybe a new order that allows you to move a ship up or down the queue, or jump to the beginning or end.. something like that. 

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12 hours ago, Mogrok said:

why not just flip a coin at the beginning....

 

For Legion spamming similar type units is going to be the thing to guarantee you can activate what you want.  With a low initiative card to guarantee what you want to activate

You make it sound like covering the board in stormtroopers is a bad thing.  I REFUSE to believe that covering the board with stormtroopers can be a bad thing

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I think the only reason we are even discussing activation as it applies to Armada is flotillas, I mean no one had issue with how turn order, initiative and activation worked until the flotilla was introduced and it kind of broke that mechanic.  Prior to flotillas it was both practical and common to build 3-4 ship lists and while you could still get out activated, people didn't really add anything in a list that was there purely for activation.  Every ship had a purpose in a list as it would be a waste of points to add a 50+ point ship just to get an activation and it was possible to build lists, run tactics and have a strategy for what to do when you are out activated by 1 or 2 activations. 

Flotillas at 18 points with nothing on them are more like an upgrade to let you skip a activation which is no doubt why they are introducing cards like strategic adviser which accomplishes the same thing for 4 points.

I don't think this will solve the problem mainly because its an officer slot upgrade, this is the one error in the thinking here. Had they placed this in a less important slot like Offensive Retrofit or support team, it would have been far more attractive.  For many ships, especially large ships, the way you make them super effective is to add an appropriate officer.  As such I think the flotilla issue and thus this conversation about how to "fix" activation will continue, though personally again, I don't think the activation mechanic is the problem in Armada.  It works quite perfectly as it is, we just have 1 problem ship causing all the chaos.

In any case I don't think a core rules change is required here, but perhaps something more subtle.  For me, Flotillas should fall into the "squad" category, so personally I think if they had flotillas count against the squad point spending limitation that would be enough to give everyone pause in particular given that most flotillas lists are all about leveraging elements of squads like bomber, relay and ace pilots.  Having it cut into squad building would render most flotilla heavy lists quite benign as players would have to reconsider the importants of their capital fleet by comparison.  Activation is important but you still need a plan for what to do with that advantage.  If you don't have the capital ships and squads to leverage activation advantage, the entire purpose of it becomes useless.

In any case I can't imagine that FFG would change a core mechanic like how activation works just because the entire game is effectively designed around it, the impact would be on far more than just activation, it would render a lot of objectives, units and entire ships basically useless.  Ships like Gladiators, Neb B's, Corvettes and MC30's all rely on well executed timing, without that they can get one shotted in any number of ways and that's just the tip of the iceberg.

To solve the current mini crisis in Armada, FFG needs to direct its attention on the actual problems and that is simply that flotillas are being used for activation spam.  This is clearly not an intended effect so, fix the problem, fix the ship and we won't have to have these "what if" conversation in attempt to find a work around.

Edited by BigKahuna

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