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Luck vs Strategy

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I just finished playing my first full game, and well it seamed like the luck of the die roll played a huge factor in the game.  I know this is a game and to some degree there is always a little luck in a game such as this but I feel that the best games balance the luck vs strategy, with legion it seams the scales are tilting more toward the luck side.  Granted I have only played a few Demo games, and one full game, but I can't help but notice what I see as an imbalance.  I'm going to keep playing and hope that more strategic layers unfold, but I'm also wondering what everyone's experience has been like in rearguards to this games balance of luck vs strategy, all "In my experience there is no such thing as luck" puns aside. 

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Legion is a very swingy game.

Strategy is going to be how you get the edge over luck and statistics, but luck will always be a factor. (Winning games because Luke cant seem to fail a defense roll etc)

Probably my biggest complaint with the game  (and it's not much of one) is that SWL doesn't do anything new. It does a lot of old stuff, well, but nothing actually new.

As a result, we have an old dual layer attack die system with a shiny new coat of paint that you can and should influence to some degree to attain victory, but with every attack passing through two layers of randomization... yeah, it's gonna be random.

Personally, I just don't see SWL as a good crunchy tournament game. Awesome fluffy narrative game, and even pretty well balanced for the most part. It does what all the other major wargames are doing better.

Most of those games are incredibly random and no good for competitive play either, in my opinion.

All that said, it's a great game, just know what to expect. We'll see how the game develops.

Edited by Tvayumat

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So, at this point in the game there are very few meaningful upgrades (hardpoints and heavy weapons are just math) and most of the units are well balanced against each other.  This is good, but also means that, all things being equal, there will be a more significant luck factor at this point.  It's likely later we'll start seeing more assymetric units with the Snowtroopers and Fleet Troopers being good examples i.e. they are weaker at long range than existing options, but have devastating close range potential.  As the game develops and there are more choices other than "what has better numbers" (a concept that will be painfully familiar to anyone who played the first few waves of X-Wing...another TIE Swarm you say, your originality staggers me, sir) and more meaningful upgrades that provide useful abilities without being a straight power add, the game should hit it's stride.

Edited by MasterShake2

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Yeah I expect as more upgrades and different keywords are introduced luck will not be quite as much of a factor as it is right now. At the moment, the only ways to mitigate luck are aim tokens, dodge tokens, and cover/positioning in general. There's definitely room for Gear and Personnel upgrades that can affect dice rolls in different ways (i.e. a free action that you can exhaust to change one die face to a hit/crit/block)

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Complaining that luck is predominant over strategy makes me wonder how much and what kind of terrain you're playing with. There's enough there, along with target selection, choices between focus fire and spreading suppression around, and activation order that there's room in this game for good strategists to play and tilt the scales in their favor.

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This is true. Finding the right terrain makes the game.  I wish there was more guidance here.

In imperial assault the terrain is made for you. I like the freedom here but my games so far have suffered from inexperience with the rules and too little or too rigid terrain

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21 minutes ago, AldousSnow said:

Between the commander system and the mission/objective /condition setup, I think this game brings tons of new elements to the genre. I dont understand any saying this game doesn't do anything new. But as far as luck goes, the key is to tip the scale with solid strategy. 

I represent this statement!

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12 hours ago, AldousSnow said:

Between the commander system and the mission/objective /condition setup, I think this game brings tons of new elements to the genre. I dont understand any saying this game doesn't do anything new. But as far as luck goes, the key is to tip the scale with solid strategy. 

The above is present in hundreds of wargames; Legion is a pleasant synthesis. The only thing new Legion brings to the table is proprietary FFG componenents.

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19 hours ago, Ken on Cape said:

In my experience, there's no such thing as luck.  

 

;)

Exactly!

 

 

I have played a lot of “similar” games (Wathammer, 40k, Flames of War...) to a reasonable / high tournament standard and the same “luck is too important” could be said got any of them - but yet the same people were Always the ones doing well in tournaments.... funny that. 

 

Managing the vagaries of the dice, and stacking odds in your favour has always been the hallmark of most miniature war games. Enjoy! ;-).

 

As for bringing something new - Vader and speederbikes in a miniatures war game.... what else do you need. New doesn’t always mean better :-).

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3 hours ago, GreatMazinkaiser said:

The above is present in hundreds of wargames; Legion is a pleasant synthesis. The only thing new Legion brings to the table is proprietary FFG componenents.

So, you say that synthesizing existing elements into something else is not creating something new? Wow, I was so proud of my new drink... but it has vodka and other things, so I guess it's nothing to brag about :P

Also, there is not much "new" for a veteran wargamer to be found, I guess.

I've played some wargames (LotR, WFB - well, Mordheim tbh, WM&H, Armada, X-wing), dabbled in others a little bit (Malifaux, Infinity, Frostgrave) and I still find Legion to be a very refreshing and cinematic experience. As far as luck factor goes, it's hard to best LotR/Hobbit and WH40k, and those game still had (have?) quite a tournament scene :)

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In short, yes. You’re right. I’ve played a couple games (not many) but at least two of them have been won/lost based on a slew of very good/vs/very bad dice roles in succession.

-BUT Cover. Cover as a mechanic is so important in this game as it is not random. It is definite. If you aren’t playing with enough pieces of cover on the map (and I mean cover, not just LOS blocking terrain), and if there isn’t a standard minimum amount of cover in all tournament games, then this game will start to fade due to the random nature of the dice. 

-That’s not to say you can’t test your luck and try to make a daring move out in the open to get to a particular position. That’s risky. The dice may be with you or against you. That’s where a huge part of the fun in this game comes from to me. If that pays off it’s gonna we great. If it doesn’t, it’s your own fault for making a risky move and not hedging your bets behind a barricade. 

-Also worth mentioning as more mechanics come out that allow for synergy on the tabletop, these random elements become less of a problem and will have slightly less impact on the winning or losing of a game.

 

Guardian as a keyword is A good example. If I understand it correctly, if Leia (for example) gets a horrendous defence role, a unit next to her can make checks to try and take the brunt of some of that damage.

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IMO most games comes down to equal thirds of skill, luck and experience. I think this will be true to Legion as well. Skill can be learned, experienced can be gained , but luck is up to the gods

Edited by jocke01

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This is an interesting take since that was the part of X-wing that always intrigued me - how well you can mitigate variance while still trying to be "strategic". I very much appreciate the similar focus in legion and haven't played another wargame were you can't guarantee when all of your units move. The randomness of activations, plus the suppression mechanic seems to be fairly unique in the wargame space, making it a nice fusion of some traditional mechanics with a more swingy game like X-wing.

While variance will always play a part in any game with dice, isn't mitigating that dice sort of the whole point? If things like aim tokens, dodge-tokens, surges, and hit-to-crit conversions didn't exist, I'd be more inclined to agree with the "it's all luck" but the tools are there to give yourself better odds and with new upgrades I only expect those options to grow. 

@Kojib I do agree about terrain though - that will be a HUGE part of any game and figuring out how to build good tactically interesting battlefields will be key :D

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A lot of early wargames feel like there's a lot of luck involved because to some degree by definition of it being new, everyone is on a pretty similar level of play experience.  This can also sometimes lead to an exaggerated sense of balance, fwiw.

The game definitely has more decision making points than a lot of wargames I've played (and I play a LOT of wargames).  I don't think its quite as crunchy as my favorites, but its got a lot more going on than 40k.  Orders and suppression combine to make for some really interesting decisions on activation order as there's a lot of value in attacking a model even if you won't kill it and a lot of value activating a "safe" model before it gets suppressed.  I find play often revolves around who is playing to the scenario the best.  I've seen losing games won by spreading fire around ineffectively to keep units too suppressed to reach the objectives and others lost by being too careful and having to throw too much away to become relevant as the game winds down.  

A ton of the games I've seen are still locked in the mindset of winning the turn but I think the game really only starts showing its potential when you start playing for turn 6 before you drop the first command card.

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I have been playing wargames for about 50 years and anytime dice are involved, there will be randomness (insert 'luck' if you like). nature of the beast. Skill/experience go a long way to mitigating some randomness. Like knowing what opposing unit can do, helps me determine if my move/attack is a good or less than favorable action.  Sometimes one just has to hope the roll of the dice work out better than average.

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There are actually a fair few ways to mitigate luck with this system, and a lot of options for future releases to go even further if they so choose.  Can't hit anything?  Bring Scopes and aim, getting shot to pieces?  Use cover better and dodge, or prioritize suppressing threats before they can activate.

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After playing a few games, I truly believe that strategy comes into play more than luck.  As a group we use quite a bit of terrain, probably about 25% coverage.  We use line blocking and terrain for cover.   If you leave your troops in cover you are going to negate 2 normal hits, throw in a dodge and that is another hit negated, that takes a lot of the luck out of the equation.  

The other key piece of the game is using suppression.  Suppression takes away one action, which takes away being able to use aim or dodge tokens.  This also limits being able for troops to move and attack.  This in turn hurts your opponents strategy if you are cutting their options in half.  So, the strategy becomes the best way to put suppression on troops, which is being able to go first in the round which leads to choosing the right card at the right time, the other factor is deciding which units get their order tokens placed.    Another key strategy is keeping your leader near your troops to help minimize suppression effect so they do not run off the board.    This is just a brief summary of how suppression effects the game.

These are just some of my observations I have noticed with the games I have played.

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There is a convention that FFG has established with a lot of their games where even though their games have luck factors as is typical for miniature games, there is a lot of dice control and stability brought in through the manipulation dice through upgrades.

Legion is more in line with what is more standard for more established games like Warhammer 40k for example where luck plays a much bigger role.  This may change of course, depending on what sort of content (upgrades) they produce in the future.  But for now its considerably swingier than there other games (Armada, Runewars and X-Wing), but still considerably less than more established games in the market... again like 40k for example.

Edited by BigKahuna

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