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thinkbomb

Balancing Allies/Threat - general question

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First off - I'm fairly new to Imperial Assault, and I really like everything it has to offer.  In general I'm usually the one playing Empire in campaign mode (which I love doing).  It's also worth noting that I'm playing opposite a skilled player who's able to handle and navigate most everything I throw at him (we're still having fun, but it's a fair even match).

 

One concern I have, but haven't been able to verify, is the long-run balance of the rebels bringing in allies.

 

Normal rules is that the empire gets to increase the initial threat by the deployment cost for the initial optional deployment.

What I'm concerned is that it just creates an initial difficulty spike for the rebels ... and if they're able to weather that they'll have the extra firepower to deal with the rest of the mission easily (owing to economics of reinforcements and whatnot).

 

I'm curious if this is a valid concern or not ... and if it is if there's an effective house rule to balance it.

 

Thanks in advance

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You already had some replies on BGG, so I'll take this into a little different direction.

Rebels get the first activation each round. The imperials get to activate only one group between each rebel activation. If the rebels are smart and defeat figures before their activations (and defeat two figures from separate groups rather than from one to make the imperial activation less powerful), their offense is the best defense. They almost halve the number of imperial groups each round.

The (newer) allies are not unbalanced on the imperial's favor because of their threat cost, they are unbalanced on the rebels' favor due to giving them activation advantage. Which allows the heroes and their ally to defeat the groups that have activated in the most efficient way - so that they can both do that and advance their objective.

Who the heroes are have larger impact than allies. (Although Obi-Wan mindtricking and giving a surge is very powerful depending on the mission.)

You'll have to play it by the ear. If the rebels are running all over you, the smallest adjustment I have come up with is +1 threat level - it has an effect, but it's actually not that much. If the rebels keep losing, a free supply card draw is one that I have used.

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thank you for understanding the issue I was trying to communicate!!

 

We'll play it by ear, but if it does go unbalanced one way or the other it'll likely be for Rebels.  That suggestion of +1 Threat Level is probably all the adjustment it'd take to get it back to even.  :D

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It may be worth considering a one off bonus 1xp to the losing side also. It isn't a huge amount either, but it might just be enough to limit the gap between the two factions.

Also, if the Rebels are losing a lot, a credit boost may be possible also.

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3 minutes ago, angelman2 said:

I've been playing around with a house rule idea to give a side loosing 3 missions in a row +1 equalizing XP. Haven't tried it out yet, but something like this might help keeping snowballing in check?

Same XP regardless of the mission result is how the game had to be both for rebels and imperial. Credits and influence also play a role in snowballing but I don't feel like you should get a reward if you lost the mission. Anyway fixing the XP makes things much better. It's also thematic that you learn from mistakes as well as successes.

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We finished the campaign tonight, and we tried a suggestion my brighter had that seemed to work - if the rebels bring in an ally, the imperial can add one card to their open group-hand in addition to their starting threat bonus. 

It seemed to add a more workable self balance that would scale at lower levels, since it only provides a tactical choice advantage rather than a manpower advantage (beyond what the base game rules state). Made it more interesting down the line. 

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5 hours ago, thinkbomb said:

We finished the campaign tonight, and we tried a suggestion my brighter had that seemed to work - if the rebels bring in an ally, the imperial can add one card to their open group-hand in addition to their starting threat bonus. 

It seemed to add a more workable self balance that would scale at lower levels, since it only provides a tactical choice advantage rather than a manpower advantage (beyond what the base game rules state). Made it more interesting down the line. 

I like the idea.  Thematically it could represent the imperial intel learning that the rebel crew is accompanied by some possible high ranked "hero of the rebellion" and the Empire might react by sending more qualified troops or even one of their own "heroes" (villain from the rebel point of view ;) ) to screw their plans.  

How did you/would you play it in case the rebel players have to select among more than one allies?  Would the rebel players tell the imperial player which ally they are bringing before the imperial player gets to add an extra deployment card to their open group hand or just that they are bringing one without telling which one yet such that the imperial player adds a card to their open group hand not knowing who will accompany the heroes?  

Edited by IanSolo_FFG

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59 minutes ago, IanSolo_FFG said:

I like the idea.  Thematically it could represent the imperial intel learning that the rebel crew is accompanied by some possible high ranked "hero of the rebellion" and the Empire might react by sending more qualified troops or even one of their own "heroes" (villain from the rebel point of view ;) ) to screw their plans.  

How did you/would you play it in case the rebel players have to select among more than one allies?  Would the rebel players tell the imperial player which ally they are bringing before the imperial player gets to add an extra deployment card to their open group hand or just that they are bringing one without telling which one yet such that the imperial player adds a card to their open group hand not knowing who will accompany the heroes?  

yeah, we had the same thought for thematics as well (better prep given the intel).  ?

Multiple allies didn't happen (seems like it'd be a more rare occurrence unless you curated the deck).  I assume that Imperial players would get to respond to the rebels' choice.  I mean, that decision of which card to add in secret would change dramatically if it were...
- 14pt Chewbacca brawler
- 6 pt Sabatours boom buddies 
- 3pt Gideon facilitator (house-rule variant we're considering of unlocking unused heroes via their respective side-missions)

Especially early on where it'd potentially make an otherwise unavailable Royal Guard a valid option depending on the threat provided by hero.  So yeah, imo it'd make more sense for empire to respond with their card after the fact.

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On 7/23/2018 at 10:30 AM, a1bert said:

You already had some replies on BGG, so I'll take this into a little different direction.

Rebels get the first activation each round. The imperials get to activate only one group between each rebel activation. If the rebels are smart and defeat figures before their activations (and defeat two figures from separate groups rather than from one to make the imperial activation less powerful), their offense is the best defense. They almost halve the number of imperial groups each round.

The (newer) allies are not unbalanced on the imperial's favor because of their threat cost, they are unbalanced on the rebels' favor due to giving them activation advantage. Which allows the heroes and their ally to defeat the groups that have activated in the most efficient way - so that they can both do that and advance their objective.

 Who the heroes are have larger impact than allies. (Although Obi-Wan mindtricking and giving a surge is very powerful depending on the mission.)

You'll have to play it by the ear. If the rebels are running all over you, the smallest adjustment I have come up with is +1 threat level - it has an effect, but it's actually not that much. If the rebels keep losing, a free supply card draw is one that I have used.

Holy cow! You use +1 threat level sometimes? You're like the biggest rules lawyer on the board. 

I think you've got a better understanding of the rules and their consequences than FFG, and if you are using +1 threat level in certain situations then we all should be. 

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7 minutes ago, Pollux85 said:

Holy cow! You use +1 threat level sometimes? You're like the biggest rules lawyer on the board. 

I think you've got a better understanding of the rules and their consequences than FFG, and if you are using +1 threat level in certain situations then we all should be. 

Where can I find the official IA FAQ?  No no no, not FFG's FAQ, I meant A1bert's FAQ!  :D 

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31 minutes ago, Pollux85 said:

Holy cow! You use +1 threat level sometimes? You're like the biggest rules lawyer on the board.

In Play by Forum games the rebel players play pretty optimally, buy the best items, and do not make mistakes in general. If you think about it, 2 times out of 3 there is no benefit for the first round (no Special Setup with increase threat by threat level), which gives something like 6 extra threat during a mission. It's not much.

Murne benefits from +1 Threat Level, so in campaigns with her it's not all imperial benefit.

I have thought about introducing Fame to the regular campaign as an objective measure of the power level of the heroes.

Edited by a1bert

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11 minutes ago, thinkbomb said:

Multiple allies didn't happen (seems like it'd be a more rare occurrence unless you curated the deck). 

That is true ... and a bit sad.  Not that I want to field an ally every mission, but when I do, I think a larger choice of allies to pick one from would be great.  For example, the pool of available allies could be linked to the threat level of the mission (or some function of the threat level) such that more expansive allies would become available as the campaign progresses.  I would also rule that an ally can only be brought once over the campaign, except for ally(ies) won via their respective side mission.  Not sure how well this would mix with Murne's company of hero though.

22 minutes ago, thinkbomb said:

- 3pt Gideon facilitator (house-rule variant we're considering of unlocking unused heroes via their respective side-missions)

Yes!!  Why not?  As the imperial player, I allowed that for my rebel players on a few occasion :

1) Once during the final of the Twin Shadows mini-campaign where I edited the mission to include a "Rogue One Vader scene" to hurry my rebel players to complete the objectives within the round timer (something they failed to do all campaign long  before the final!).  Poor Jyn ...

2) Once during a custom mini-mission happening between 2 missions of a campaign.  Instead of the usual "boring" upgrade stage, I had decided to set up a big cantina map where my rebel players would interact with sellers with each seller having their own weapon stock.  After they made deals with the sellers, Davith Elso rushed in followed by the Grand Inquisitor and stormtrooper squads led by commander Kayn Somos.  Heroes could either help Davith to learn what he had to say or just leave him to his fate

3) That one was a consequence of 2)  Among the sellers was also a bounty hunter having a drink at the bar that went by the name Onar who could be hired for credits.  

Many possibilities if everyone is fine with adding some light RPG elements to the game ;) 

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