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Nostromoid

Siege of the Arkanis Sector - Now in final post-test edits!

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7/15/2018 Update

Work on Siege of the Arkanis Sector continues.

This is my long-time Armada project. It began as a set of houserules and wishlist for the Corellian Conflict, and eventually grew into its own thing, and I decided to wrap it up as a standalone campaign for Armada. It runs off of the same basic "engine" as the CC, but with several changes to curb snowball effects and encourage a more unpredictable campaign experience. It also shifts the setting to the Outer Rim, in the region of space containing Tatooine, Geonosis, Arkanis, and more.

What this includes: A playable draft of the campaign. These rules should suffice for a group to split into teams and play through a campaign that emphasizes strategic targeting of enemy fleets, tactical movement around the sector, and a shifting fleet makeup that's more dynamic than the heavily preplanned fleets of the Corellian Conflict. Players familiar with the Corellian Conflict will find a lot of recognizable stuff in here, and getting up and running shouldn't be too terribly different.

What this doesn't include: Any new game units! There are no new objectives, squadrons, ships, or upgrades in this document. You're expected to play the campaign using your normal Armada options. I have nothing against homebrew material and I'm anxious for the next wave as much as anybody else, but it simply wasn't part of the project's scope.

What is still to come: Additional map polish. My graphic design skills aren't anything to write home about, but I'm putting it together. Expect that to be the next piece to come along.

Current version: 0.71     Here's the link.

Feedback and comments are encouraged. In particular, do these rules look like they would be fun to play?

Edited by Nostromoid

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Basic Overview

Siege of the Arkanis Sector works much like the Corellian Conflict. The rules document will assume that things work as described in the Corellian Conflict Campaign Guide unless otherwise noted, and will often reference that booklet. Here is a brief list of "things you should know."

We're in the Outer Rim this time. Besides using a new campaign map (coming soon), a shift in theme is carried by some new strategic effects that are found in the various campaign locations. Instead of diplomats and spacers like you'd find in the civilized core worlds, the Arkanis Sector has smugglers and caches of critical supplies. Given the significant role that a few planets played in the Death Star development, you might even find some intel on Project Stardust.

Everyone progresses at an even pace. Fighting over resource points and racing to max out your fleet before your enemies can keep up is gone. There is no reliable method for staying on top while keeping your enemy low in this campaign. Rather than capturing resource points, your fleet progresses on a steady track, and stays even with all the other players in the campaign. In this way, it's much more like an "escalation league" from many tabletop games. 

Scarring is extra-lethal. You're far from your shipyards, and your starships don't last during a prolonged campaign out here like they do in the galactic core. When ships or squadrons are destroyed in battle, they will be scarred the next time that you use them. However, unlike in the Corellian Conflict, there is no way to repair this scarring, and if they are destroyed while scarred, they are forever removed from the campaign and will have to be replaced. Besides the thematic purpose, this rules change serves to give players a way to meaningfully affect the war by decisively removing especially threatening enemy weapons.

Your fleet will be re-forged over time. The combination of the last two points means that your fleet composition cannot be easily predicted from the start of the campaign. You might begin with a certain setup, but as things are eliminated from the campaign, you will replace them with new ones. Because you are always keeping up with the other fleets, having ships and squadrons be permanently removed through battle destruction is not going to set you back in terms of fleet size, but it does mean that as you replace your forces during the process of expanding your fleet, ships will come and go, being slowly replaced by fresh reinforcements. Unique titles and squadrons may be key assets for a time, but if they are lost then commanders will need to develop new strategies.

Victory brings unexpected rewards. The victory rewards system will give semi-randomized bonus content to the winners of each battle. After you are victorious, you will roll on tables that correspond to the location where the battle was won, and these tables will add (approximately 20 points worth of) extra upgrade cards, squadrons, or even small ships to your fleet. This is above and beyond the normal fleet that you build using the allotment of fleet points, so they may give a decisive advantage. Keep in mind that these victory rewards are often some of the "off-meta" content from Armada, so you'll need to be clever to use the pieces at your disposal to form a winning tactical force.

So, that's it! With an eye toward avoiding snowballing, letting players come back by targeting the most dangerous enemy units for destruction, and a fun new setting, the Siege of the Arkanis Sector is a campaign that should be fun for those who have tried the Corellian Conflict and found it almost great but not quite there.

Edited by Nostromoid

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3 minutes ago, ovinomanc3r said:

Hmm depending on the map would be interesting that if a fleet cannot retreat it is just decimated and captured. (yeah, those Diplomacy days...)

I thought about that. I do love FFG's Game of Thrones board game that has some harsh retreating rules. I wouldn't want it to become too punishing for the side that is already down for having lost the battle, so at the moment you always retreat, regardless of how far you move. However, if the enemy team coordinates super carefully they might be able to control where you retreat to by cutting off adjacent locations and/or staging some interdiction units to control the shortest distance. In that case, they could position the defeated fleet in a location where, on the next round, they could declare an assault in order to directly target that fleet and take advantage of one of the objectives associated with that location.

One of the ideas I had for strategic effect tokens was one that allowed you, during the planning phase, to relocate an enemy fleet one space.

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10 minutes ago, Nostromoid said:

I thought about that. I do love FFG's Game of Thrones board game that has some harsh retreating rules. I wouldn't want it to become too punishing for the side that is already down for having lost the battle, so at the moment you always retreat, regardless of how far you move. However, if the enemy team coordinates super carefully they might be able to control where you retreat to by cutting off adjacent locations and/or staging some interdiction units to control the shortest distance. In that case, they could position the defeated fleet in a location where, on the next round, they could declare an assault in order to directly target that fleet and take advantage of one of the objectives associated with that location.

One of the ideas I had for strategic effect tokens was one that allowed you, during the planning phase, to relocate an enemy fleet one space.

I was thinking on a strategy to eliminate a whole fleet but as you said it is still the strategy to control the next campaing round.

 

Also, I like the scarred rules and the purpose behind it. Is the commander kept safe from removal if the flagship is destroyed (like in the CCCG). Otherwise would be too much. I guess he is, but as it is a new rule and the CCCG is not pointed at all I'd like to know.

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1 hour ago, ovinomanc3r said:

I was thinking on a strategy to eliminate a whole fleet but as you said it is still the strategy to control the next campaing round.

 

Also, I like the scarred rules and the purpose behind it. Is the commander kept safe from removal if the flagship is destroyed (like in the CCCG). Otherwise would be too much. I guess he is, but as it is a new rule and the CCCG is not pointed at all I'd like to know.

It was definitely intended that the commander always "makes it to the escape pod." I'll add that to the editing list for the next update, to clarify that.

 

In order to avoid snowballing, right now the major punishment for getting your fleet vaporized is a few things: (a) you can't unscar, so your uniques will have to be replaced with different things that will force you to alter your tactics, (b) your opponent will get victory rewards for beating you and you won't, (c) if you're floating thirty bonus points in victory rewards of your own and you lose *those*, then your fleet does become weaker, and (d) if you choose to retire your fleet, your new fleet will be slightly smaller for one round before it catches up (more of a tempo loss than unfixably behind). I think and I hope that those are incentive enough, especially in a close campaign.

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1 minute ago, Rcracken7 said:

Now this is interesting. There is actually a big group working on titles, objectives, and later new squadrons for the 2nd squad packs... perhaps we can combine our efforts

I did see those efforts, and I love the new titles over there. Bigger is better?

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3 minutes ago, Nostromoid said:

I did see those efforts, and I love the new titles over there. Bigger is better?

Even when I would love new content I think this project has a really good goal: it is already playable without any new stuff. Actually I love the initiative rule so much that I will probably just play this with the Rebellion board (marking control is lovely even when meaningless).

3 minutes ago, Nostromoid said:

It was definitely intended that the commander always "makes it to the escape pod." I'll add that to the editing list for the next update, to clarify that.

 

In order to avoid snowballing, right now the major punishment for getting your fleet vaporized is a few things: (a) you can't unscar, so your uniques will have to be replaced with different things that will force you to alter your tactics, (b) your opponent will get victory rewards for beating you and you won't, (c) if you're floating thirty bonus points in victory rewards of your own and you lose *those*, then your fleet does become weaker, and (d) if you choose to retire your fleet, your new fleet will be slightly smaller for one round before it catches up (more of a tempo loss than unfixably behind). I think and I hope that those are incentive enough, especially in a close campaign.

ok. I am noticing now that this system will probably end with players taking regular stuff and killing enemy unique stuff saving their own unique for the final AOO. Wondering if making unique-faction cards available only through victory rewards would make things more interesting and remarks the special flavour this campaing has.

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@ovinomanc3r Even without an official mashup, I think new titles from Road to Jakku or Crabbok's Nunchuk set would really enhance the campaign, so I'd encourage people playing this to use as many title upgrades as they're comfortable with.

Ships are less durable in this campaign, so titles have a shorter life expectancy. Need some new ones after your old titled ships get taken down.

Which makes me think, veterancy might need some juicing up, since beginning a veteran is harder to achieve and less likely to matter for very long.

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7 minutes ago, Nostromoid said:

@ovinomanc3r Even without an official mashup, I think new titles from Road to Jakku or Crabbok's Nunchuk set would really enhance the campaign, so I'd encourage people playing this to use as many title upgrades as they're comfortable with.

Ships are less durable in this campaign, so titles have a shorter life expectancy. Need some new ones after your old titled ships get taken down.

With these scarring rules definitely! I am not against the new titles (I also did my own). It is just that I see this so playable right now that messing every table with new content is not a good idea IMHO. Better to find a solution in the way of just "if you want to enhance your experience with new content just unlock tables x,y,z". We would need to insert those tables in the current map some way and that's beyond me so, not being able to figuring out a decent way I'd prefer just not mixing things. If you see a fancy way to mix everything making easy to ignore the new stuff if players want to, go ahead! I would like to see that!

14 minutes ago, Nostromoid said:

Which makes me think, veterancy might need some juicing up, since beginning a veteran is harder to achieve and less likely to matter for very long.

What about using campaing points? Right now they just serve to dictates which team is first player during the final AOO. Each campaign point earned by a player could allow him to choose a ship or squadron and "make it veteran". This way it wouldn't mean the ship/squadron is a survivor/veteran rather than the commander is and he may get the best from his assets. Just an idea.

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6 minutes ago, ovinomanc3r said:

With these scarring rules definitely! I am not against the new titles (I also did my own). It is just that I see this so playable right now that messing every table with new content is not a good idea IMHO. Better to find a solution in the way of just "if you want to enhance your experience with new content just unlock tables x,y,z". We would need to insert those tables in the current map some way and that's beyond me so, not being able to figuring out a decent way I'd prefer just not mixing things. If you see a fancy way to mix everything making easy to ignore the new stuff if players want to, go ahead! I would like to see that!

What about using campaing points? Right now they just serve to dictates which team is first player during the final AOO. Each campaign point earned by a player could allow him to choose a ship or squadron and "make it veteran". This way it wouldn't mean the ship/squadron is a survivor/veteran rather than the commander is and he may get the best from his assets. Just an idea.

I actually love that idea with campaign points and I'll totally use it. Your right to point out that campaign points in version 1.0 are kind of a vestigial necessity that only affects initiative during declaring assaults and during the final fleet clash. Veterancy in the CC is pretty underwhelming anyway, since it often ends up with weird unthematic situations. Last-hitting to become veteran rarely lays credit for a kill where it is due, and incentivizes players to game the system.

Ever had a ship become veteran by sneezing on an enemy that had been thoroughly softened up by a more important hitter first? Or tried to stagger your squadrons to get the right one to land the kill shot? Or had a squadron flee from battle just to avoid giving veterancy to an enemy?

Campaign points earned per player sounds great. Means about one unit becomes a veteran per battle (and I'll probably just get rid of the CC method of last-hitting altogether). I wonder if increasing that to approximately two veterancies per battle would make more sense, or maybe even occasionally getting a veterancy even when losing. Maybe I should take a look at awarding campaign points more creatively than "one per victory."

And that's about where I was on including new upgrades or squads or objectives in this. I think the best integration might be some kind of optional "DLC" add-on for unofficial titles. I might need help balancing what those rewards tables should look like.

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How about awarding a number of campaign points each game based on Margin of Victory? Use something that already is a part of the game, albeit more of a tournament thing, but still it could work well.

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2 minutes ago, Skyhammer2 said:

How about awarding a number of campaign points each game based on Margin of Victory? Use something that already is a part of the game, albeit more of a tournament thing, but still it could work well.

In my drafts of how I'd put strategic effect tokens back into the campaign, I had thought of a few options (since you couldn't drop 15 resource points to build a base like in the CC, I thought maybe you should have to win by a certain minimum amount in order to flip a location loyal to you). The same would go for awarding campaign points, I suppose, since both are a measure of how much you won.

1) Every victory is the same. If you win by any amount, you get a campaign point or you get that location. Obviously, this eliminates a lot of nuance.

2) A higher quality win is defined by a sufficient MOV, like winning by 50 points or more. This means that it's rarer earlier on in the campaign when fleets are smaller, and more common later, when fleets are huge.

 

3) A higher quality win is defined by a MOV value that shifts over time. Might be 30, then 35, then 40, and so on, so that each round you need to defeat about 10 percentage points more of your opponent's fleet than you lose, and it's adjusted for fleet growth.

I'm guessing this is why the CC uses a more binary system of winning. Definitely simpler.

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4 hours ago, ovinomanc3r said:

@Nostromoid did you assign objectives and rewards to places randomly or following some kind of rule?

The rule was: distribute the objectives as evenly as possible (each one appears 2-3 times on the table), and when possible tie objectives to lore. So, Sirpar is an unusually bright star (Solar Corona) and its system contains an Imperial military base (Ion Cannon), but it's not strict, so you could of course interpret objectives a little loosely if you wanted. Piroket is a Hutt-controlled world with a lot of smugglers and bothans, so I tried to pick objectives that might tell a story of trying to meet a spy there, or trying to sneak intel through. Geonosis has stuff about rocks hitting you, because of the Episode II scene with Obi Wan and Jango flying through the rings. The Sentinel Moon was mentioned in the Tarkin novel as the location where the Empire built the Death Star superlaser, so I put in objectives that might tie into the Empire's experimental weapons research, or protecting military intelligence.

From there, I tried to fine-tune objectives so that they were well distributed across the map. I want each location to have a reasonable assortment of objectives, so if I thought the set would be abusable (too powerful, like a bomber fleet would just hit the same location every time due to perfectly favorable objectives), I tried to break it up.

4 hours ago, ovinomanc3r said:

Also for some reason Fire Lanes is marked in red, like an assault objective, when it is a yellow one. Sirpar an Cyrus II

Ah, thanks for the catch. I got it right at Cranan. I'll swap those and shuffle the objectives so that each one has three different colors present.

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@Nostromoid

Just a thought I came with, again about objectives and locations.

I understand you want people playing as many things as possible and to not encourage competitive mindsets but with the current system in your 1.0 version are not you killing second player game accidentally? I mean as long as any given set of objectives is not specifically suited for any fleet, the advantage granted by objectives to the second payer against the advantage of being first players is lessened as they could easily not fit the second player fleet properly. 

I guess that's the reason behind the way you resolved objective selection (wuth second player having the first chance of removing one objective). I am just curious about other solutions you came with.

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@ovinomanc3r Exactly, I did wrestle with that. In earlier versions, I let first player declare where the adult would take place and second player choose the objective, just like in the CC. Sounded fine on paper, the first player would just have to be careful not to pick a place with unfavorable objectives. But actually thinking it through, it seems like too powerful for second player to hand pick the objective that they will get the second player advantage in anyway.

In the current rules, I bunted on making the call. The fleet movement rules carry extra weight therefore, because they take the place of your initiative bid. If you really fear the objectives in a location, it's important to be the fastest one to the location so you can have some control over them. Or if your fleet lives and dies by objectives, same deal. You need the option of choosing first or second player. A powerhouse fleet on the team is therefore probably best filling and answering battles where other fleets would have a glaring weakness, which is probably better than how it works in CC where your best fleet just bullies the enemy where they're most hurt and makes up for lost resource points by teammates.

The good news if you get picked as second player is that you can eliminate one choice that's not good enough. So, if you're second player and have few activations, you can eliminate Opening Salvo from the pool for being incompatible with your fleet. Then your opponent gets to pick between Fire Lanes and Salvage Run.

An interesting effect of the campaign structure is that declaring assaults has more branching decisions than in the CC. When you declare an assault, there's the possibility that each enemy fleet might choose to respond, and might be closer or father than you. Or you might declare an assault where a fleet currently is and force the engagement.

Besides those rules, I also contemplated having the objective be randomly selected from the pool, having only a single objective at the majority of locations, having each fleet carry a set of three objectives and able to substitute one into the pool, and having the player who travels the shortest distance always pick the objective. I know the Skywalker Campaign has one objective per location, and modifies the objectives to account for the certainty of knowing what the objective is going to be ahead of the battle.

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30 minutes ago, Nostromoid said:

@ovinomanc3r Exactly, I did wrestle with that. In earlier versions, I let first player declare where the adult would take place and second player choose the objective, just like in the CC. Sounded fine on paper, the first player would just have to be careful not to pick a place with unfavorable objectives. But actually thinking it through, it seems like too powerful for second player to hand pick the objective that they will get the second player advantage in anyway.

In the current rules, I bunted on making the call. The fleet movement rules carry extra weight therefore, because they take the place of your initiative bid. If you really fear the objectives in a location, it's important to be the fastest one to the location so you can have some control over them. Or if your fleet lives and dies by objectives, same deal. You need the option of choosing first or second player. A powerhouse fleet on the team is therefore probably best filling and answering battles where other fleets would have a glaring weakness, which is probably better than how it works in CC where your best fleet just bullies the enemy where they're most hurt and makes up for lost resource points by teammates.

The good news if you get picked as second player is that you can eliminate one choice that's not good enough. So, if you're second player and have few activations, you can eliminate Opening Salvo from the pool for being incompatible with your fleet. Then your opponent gets to pick between Fire Lanes and Salvage Run.

An interesting effect of the campaign structure is that declaring assaults has more branching decisions than in the CC. When you declare an assault, there's the possibility that each enemy fleet might choose to respond, and might be closer or father than you. Or you might declare an assault where a fleet currently is and force the engagement.

Besides those rules, I also contemplated having the objective be randomly selected from the pool, having only a single objective at the majority of locations, having each fleet carry a set of three objectives and able to substitute one into the pool, and having the player who travels the shortest distance always pick the objective. I know the Skywalker Campaign has one objective per location, and modifies the objectives to account for the certainty of knowing what the objective is going to be ahead of the battle.

Does the attacker declare the place before the other team declares the defender? Cool!

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