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Astech

HotAC Rules Supplement

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Heroes of the Aturi Cluster (HotAC) is a fantastic cooperative fan-made expansion. It's just a pity how hopelessly outdated it is. I'm hoping to create a bit of a HotAC rules supplement to bring HotAC up to speed with the final pieces of X-wing 1.0. What I have so far is listed in a spoiler at the end of the post.

Have I missed any important, exploitable loopholes? Perhaps the A.I. is faulty in some circumstances? Are there any mechanics that you think would be a fun addition to the campaign?

Buffs to Support Weaponry

Almost all support abilities and weapons are awful at earning experience points. Ionised an entire group of TIEs with an Ion torpedo, causing them to fly away from the fight? Good for you, have a gold star. Here's some buffs to the various support weapons and crew.

Jamming and Jamming Tokens: just a bit of additional flavour and a slight buff to jamming weapons.

When an A.I. controlled ship receives a jamming token (and does not have a focus, evade or blue target lock token assigned to it) it will do two things. If it is in a formation, it will immediately break formation. Then, during its next 'determine target' step, if the ship still has a jamming token, the players may collectively decide the target of that ship for that turn, even if the target is not in that ship's firing arc.

After a ship performs an attack that assigns a jam token to the defender, they may gain 1 experience point.

Tractor Beams and Tractoring Ships: more flavour and another slight buff to experience point gain.

When an A.I. controlled ship receives a tractor beam token, it will immediately break formation if it is in a formation. If a ship with a tractor beam token overlaps an obstacle, it rolls 1 additional die when determining damage suffered from overlapping the obstacle.

After a ship performs an attack that assigns a tractor token to the defender, if that ship is moved by a tractor mechanic onto an obstacle, they may gain 1 experience point.

Ion Cannons and Ionising Ships: another slight buff and a load of flavour.

When an A.I. controlled ship receives an ion token, it will immediately break formation if it is in a formation. If an ionised ship would overlap another ship after executing a manoeuvre, it suffers 1 damage in addition to any other collision effects.

If a ship is ionised and overlaps a ship or obstacle when executing its ionised manoeuvre, the ship that ionised the overlapping ship receives 1 experience point. if an ionised ship flees the battle, the ship that ionised the fleeing ship receives 1 additional experience point.

 

Buffs to Support Abilities

Assigning Tokens to Friendly Ships: An outright buff - it makes no real sense as currently written, and is hard to track.

After a ship assigns a friendly ship a token, or grants an action that allows a friendly ship to assign itself one or more tokens, if that token is spent to change at least 1 die result, the ship that assigned the token receives 1 experience point.

If a ship's token is spent by another friendly ship (such as via Esege Tuketu's pilot ability) to change at least one die result, the ship that had the token assigned to it receives one experience point.

Granting Actions to Friendly Ships: Another outright buff - obviously the action is beneficial if it's being allowed by the ship performing the action.

After a ship grants an action to another friendly ship (such as via Squad Leader), the ship that granted the action gains 1 experience point if the ship that was granted the action could perform an action and is at range 1-3 of an enemy ship.

Modifying the Dice of another Ship: This is a nice buff for droids like M9-G8, where their effect on the game is often underestimated.

After a ship changes another friendly ship's blank or focus result to a hit or crit result, the ship that changed the die receives 1 experience point.

After a ship that is not defending against an attack changes an enemy ship's hit or crit result to a focus or blank result, the ship that changed the die receives 1 experience point.

Taking Damage in Place of a Friendly Ship: it used to be entirely unrecognised when you sacrificed yourself to save an ally. Now you get brownie points!

When a ship uses an ability to take damage in place of another friendly ship (via Draw Their Fire, Biggs, Selflessness, etc) the ship that took damage in place of another ship receives 1 experience point per hit or crit damage suffered, and an additional experience point for each face up damage card dealt because of taking this damage.

Increasing The Pilot Skill of Another Ship: another nice little buff for an outstandingly strong support ability.

When a ship uses an ability to increase the pilot skill of another friendly ship, and that ship performs an attack during the combat phase that was of higher pilot skill than their standard pilot skill, the player that increased that ship's pilot skill receives one experience point.

 

Adjusting Game Difficulty

Players may choose between four difficulty levels:

Rookie - Tie Fighters have a pilot skill of one. Aces have a pilot skill equal to the average of all players pilot skills.
Veteran - TIE Fighters have a pilot skill of 3. Aces have a pilot skill equal to the average of all players pilot skills.
Ace - TIE Fighters have a pilot skill of 4. Aces have a pilot skill equal to the average of all players pilot skills, plus one.
Hero - TIE Fighters have a pilot skill of 6. Aces have a pilot skill equal to the average of all players pilot skills, plus two.

 

Restricted Upgrades

The following upgrades are prohibited in the campaign:

Harpoon Missiles
Attanni Mindlink
Ruthlessness

Intelligence Agent
Veteran Instincts
Adaptability

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4 hours ago, Astech said:

Restricted Upgrades

The following upgrades are prohibited in the campaign:

Harpoon Missiles
Attanni Mindlink
Ruthlessness

Intelligence Agent
Veteran Instincts
Adaptability

Hmmmm... what about Twin Laser Turret and Predator.  Although Predator might not be as much of a problem on Veteran difficulty.

I do find the easy fix to the experience issue is to simply pool the XP and divide evenly between participants.  Nothing extra to track.

Love the difficulty setting ideas although there is some of that in the game I think this would add some real challenge.  PS6 TIE Fighters seem a bit... improbable in large numbers.  How about adding Crack Shot to PS4s for the Hero setting?  

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12 minutes ago, Managarmr said:

Bomblet Generator!

In my experience there are too many fellow pilots you’ll hit - having been damaged by one in my A-wing I’ll never forgive the Y-wing scum ? then again we usually have at least 4 players which makes bomblets difficult to place without collateral damage

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21 minutes ago, Managarmr said:

Restricted Upgrades:

Bomblet Generator!

Can absolutely, wholeheartedly, 100% certainly double confirm that the generation of lettle bombs causes the AI some explosiveness issues.

Particularly when combined with the Tragedy Stimulator.

Edited by Cuz05

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Our group has banned Bomblet Generator.  It's an experimental system, after all - what the h3ll would it be doing out in this backwater system anyhow?  So, yeah; too powerful, not very flavorful.  Harpoons are on the block right now.  Given that only A-Wings can currently equip them, and they need all the help they can get, we've so far left them.  But if they prove (somehow) abusive, they're set to go.  The same is true for TLT - although our usual Y-Wing guy had proven time and time again that ABT is just better, especially when the squints show up.

We run Predator as an Achievement.  Once you get five kills against a particular spaceframe, you get your Ace designation and get Predator against that ship (only) for free.  After ten kills, you get your choice of Predator or Expertise against that ship.  Otherwise, both Predator and Expertise are banned, as they are far too strong/auto-equip.

We've banned VI, but allow Adaptability.  I don't recall our rationale.

We pool XP, but not Assists, and we use many of the "buff" triggers you detail above, awarding one XP for every three Assist points at the end of the mission.  Helps our support ships move up with the damage dealers and makes their contributions feel properly awarded.  I would fear that your system would frankly award too much XP too quickly?  But maybe not.  Playtest it, eh?

Where we have been encountering the greatest difficulties in balance is the latest Pilot Abilities.  I can't call to mind any specifics, but they can be warpingly overpowered.  We haven't banned anything outright, but a few are on our watchlist.  Especially among those of the T-70 pilots, if I recall correctly.

And we use something rather like your difficulty settings.  Except - and this takes a LOT more record keeping and work - every time a particular pilot escapes, he levels up.  Just like we do.  So, if the same Interceptor pilot appears three times, he levels up, and is brought in any time a reinforcing wave is required.  Starting Mission pilots are always as detailed, as are any required elites.  But those later-appearing reinforcement waves can get nasty, especially if we don't focus them down in a flaming hurry!

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2 minutes ago, Kleeg005 said:

We run Predator as an Achievement.  Once you get five kills against a particular spaceframe, you get your Ace designation and get Predator against that ship (only) for free.  After ten kills, you get your choice of Predator or Expertise against that ship.  Otherwise, both Predator and Expertise are banned, as they are far too strong/auto-equip.

 

This is a beautiful idea.

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2 hours ago, Kleeg005 said:

Our group has banned Bomblet Generator.  It's an experimental system, after all - what the h3ll would it be doing out in this backwater system anyhow?  So, yeah; too powerful, not very flavorful.  Harpoons are on the block right now.  Given that only A-Wings can currently equip them, and they need all the help they can get, we've so far left them.  But if they prove (somehow) abusive, they're set to go.  The same is true for TLT - although our usual Y-Wing guy had proven time and time again that ABT is just better, especially when the squints show up.

We've banned VI, but allow Adaptability.  I don't recall our rationale.

We've let bomblet exist locally, as with a larger (5+) play group it isn't very good.  It either leaves one person on their own, and getting mauled by ties, or they damage friendlies and people get angry with them.   Harpoons, likewise, have not been a problem.  When points are irrelevant, and evades are everywhere homing might be better.  TLT, however, is banned (as is expertise) because they are both boring.  Otherwise, no bans.  VI doesn't help in squad building, and only makes it harder for everybody.  We haven't had any problems with non-pilot abilities thus far.

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We created a charge based system for the bomblet generator.  Lorewise, it tapped into the reactor to power the explosive charge, so we said that it starts with 1 charge (an Extra Munitions token for us), and you can spend the charge to drop (or launch) the bomblet.  Then to recharge it, you have to reveal a green maneuver on the dial but treat it as white to gain a charge back.  In addition, the bomblet generator can only have 1 charge. 

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I've found predator to be a crutch for early-game players, similar to Push the Limit. But when you get to 6-7 PS, it becomes pretty obvious that there are better options for both action economy and damage. Hence part of the reason why the difficulty level increases the pilot skill of TIEs.

Bomblet generator Y-wings, similarly, are just not as effective as Proton Bombs once you get enough points for them. Add in that they're ridiculously hard to use on such a crowded field and they just don't make sense. However, I think banning Tragedy Stimulator is a great idea, to prevent the jousting abuse inherent in the upgrade.

TLT is a tricky one. I'm very tempted to ban it, but then Y-wings are just garbage in comparison to X-wings until they hit PS4, where they can have both extra munitions and guidance chips for a torpedo salvo. I think a nerf here is better than an outright ban. Something along the lines of "When attacking with this weapon, if the Defender is outside your firing arc or at range 3, you must roll 1 less attack die", to make it just as difficult to use.

2 hours ago, Kleeg005 said:

And we use something rather like your difficulty settings.  Except - and this takes a LOT more record keeping and work - every time a particular pilot escapes, he levels up.  Just like we do.  So, if the same Interceptor pilot appears three times, he levels up, and is brought in any time a reinforcing wave is required.  Starting Mission pilots are always as detailed, as are any required elites.  But those later-appearing reinforcement waves can get nasty, especially if we don't focus them down in a flaming hurry!

I've been toying with the idea of evolving aces for a little while. How do you keep track of all the different aces?

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4 hours ago, Astech said:

I've found predator to be a crutch for early-game players, similar to Push the Limit. But when you get to 6-7 PS, it becomes pretty obvious that there are better options for both action economy and damage. Hence part of the reason why the difficulty level increases the pilot skill of TIEs.

Bomblet generator Y-wings, similarly, are just not as effective as Proton Bombs once you get enough points for them. Add in that they're ridiculously hard to use on such a crowded field and they just don't make sense. However, I think banning Tragedy Stimulator is a great idea, to prevent the jousting abuse inherent in the upgrade. 

TLT is a tricky one. I'm very tempted to ban it, but then Y-wings are just garbage in comparison to X-wings until they hit PS4, where they can have both extra munitions and guidance chips for a torpedo salvo. I think a nerf here is better than an outright ban. Something along the lines of "When attacking with this weapon, if the Defender is outside your firing arc or at range 3, you must roll 1 less attack die", to make it just as difficult to use.

I agree with the first two: Jess Pava is often straight better than predator, and available just as soon (and if you don't have predator only reroll one die.  Can never remember if that is in base rules or not), and bomblet is actually not the best option for straight damage.

TLT is straight up banned for us.  Y-wings can still take BTL-A4 and either Synced turret, Ion cannon turret, or Dorsal Turret for the damage.  Haven't had a problem yet.  the X-wings are great at range, but a BTL-A4 Synced with ruin your day up close.

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14 hours ago, Astech said:

 

I've been toying with the idea of evolving aces for a little while. How do you keep track of all the different aces?

We have one player with a collection bigger than all the rest of us put together.  He just leaves all the Imperial HotAC ships assembled and in squadrons in his Plano.  Any TIE that lives through a mission, we write down what number is attached to his base.  Next mission, when reinforcements are called, one of them will be that number, and he'll be +1PS, etc.  If they live to level 4+ (and none so far have), we will start to give them mods - Stealth Device, Shield Upgrade, "Mauler" Mithell, and so on, just like all the other sheets award.

Now, for other ship types - Interceptors and Advanced most especially - a survivor is noted for by which upgrade card he had.  He will be used the next time one of that type is required.  If he survives two missions, he gains Strike AI against the last Hero to damage him....  Brutal.

It's a *lot* more paperwork, but this is our...fourth time through.  Fifth?  Fourth.  So we really felt the need to spice things up.

14 hours ago, Cap116 said:

We created a charge based system for the bomblet generator.  Lorewise, it tapped into the reactor to power the explosive charge, so we said that it starts with 1 charge (an Extra Munitions token for us), and you can spend the charge to drop (or launch) the bomblet.  Then to recharge it, you have to reveal a green maneuver on the dial but treat it as white to gain a charge back.  In addition, the bomblet generator can only have 1 charge. 

I really like that.  Echoes 2.0 a little.  Frankly is more thematic and maybe even more balanced than 2.0.  Although I think it sounds better to me that a green maneuver is required, and the recharge turns it red.  Make it *really* hard on the engine, ha ha. 

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I am rookie right out flight school when it comes to xwing ... have maybe 3 solo games in Hotac and one game with 3 people... so we are all learning so far..   absolutely love it more than the pvp side of it.... with that said... been brainstorming ideas... to “home brew” the experience.... 

since I am new and still learning the game, while reading and researching both 1 e and 2 e... I seem to mix and match rules... I allow X-Wing to use a foils and torps other ordinances get 2 charges... if target lock necessary for use, no range dice rolled(not sure if rule or not), range dice on turrets though.  Allow talon rolls on X-Wing t-65, but only allow 3 charges on r2 shield repair.  Are just some...

been writing down vAritions of scenarios and rules ... specifically for use of different ships... example if ps is equal or less than the pilot skill of the attacking ship. With condition of no other ships in field of play ( or all ships are ionized at same time) the squad can capture that ship for use in future matches with ion skills  and when enough ships are taken for the squad.. special mission is available to infiltrate a sector deep in enemy territory.. for example

love the idea of surviving enemy ships gain xp, ps levels and would even consider using a name card if they get that high.... gonna steal that one....

I am using this great game mechanics to create a light rpg element for a few friends .... so much potential

i hope someone or a group converts 2.0 ai dials and actions... I would spend money to get it...especially on the apple store like the X-Wing ai app now!!   That apps just speeds along the process ....  just my thoughts! Keep flying pilots and happy hunting

Edited by Talynblade

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