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DasSauerkraut

Homebrew'd Venator Expansion

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Hello there,

In the current drought of Armada news and lack of better stuff to do, I've designed a homebrew Venator Star Destroyer expansion, complete with a Commander, upgrade cards, and titles. I tried to keep it as balanced as possible with respect to the ISD and other vessels, such as the MC75. The purpose of this thread is to gather opinions on this before I start to playtest it.

Starting off, the Venator is a large Imperial vessel. Large for two reasons, first it is 8m longer than an Interdictor and the Interdictor is at the top end of what, in my opinion, a medium ship should be, second, Imperials need a large base ship that isn't an ISD and what better candidate than the second most famous Star Destroyer. It is imperial because it was used quite extensively in the early years of the Empire and remained in use up to A New Hope, also because Imperials need some variety in Large ships.

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Arc-wise, it's a broadsider with a narrow front-arc and large rear arc. This is done because Imperials have no broadsider ships outside the Arquitens as well as a Venator performing a pretty impressive broadside in Ep.III.

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All three variants have a hull of 9, which is reasonable. A Venator(VnSD) should not be able to handle a slugging match against an ISD. It has no contain, only one redirect to represent it's weaker shields, and two braces to compensate for the lack of a Defensive Retrofit on most variants. Asides from that, the speed chart is just a slightly better ISD one, you get two clicks no matter what speed you go. Most variants have squad 5, which is considerable, but reflects the absolute ridiculous (400) amount of snubs a VnSD can throw around in lore.

Venator-I: The "super-carrier" of the three. It sacrifices a ton of firepower in order to have two offensive retrofits and weapon teams. It also loses a point of Engineering to balance out the pretty silly amount of potential squadron ability. This is the variant I'm most conflicted on, sure it loses a lot of firepower and durability, but being able to activate 7 squads at long range with Ruthless Strategists/Flexible Payload Officers/Flight Controllers seems a bit crazy to me.

Venator-II: The "ISDII" of the bunch, well rounded, but still pretty carrier focused. It has a nice spread of upgrades, the standout being a support team slot. I figured this slot would play into the flexibility of this platform, letting you choose between better squadron mobility, better ship mobility, or other nice upgrades. I am a bit worried it's overcosted for the amount of dice you get, but at the same time, it still has squad 5.

Venator Imperial Refit: The required black dice variant, it is considerably more combat focused, gaining a defensive retrofit slot, as well as both a turbolaser and ordnance slot. To my knowledge, there are no other ships that have both turbolaser and ordance slots which gives this ship a niche between the power of the ISD-Kuat and the ISD-I. Again, I think I may have overcosted it a bit, or that it needs one more dice out the sides to bring it into parity with the HMC.

That wraps up the variants. Next there are the titles, most are not squadron focused at all, as any more to boost a VnSD's squadron power would get out of hand real quick.

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Majestic: The most vanilla of the bunch, it just gives itself and ships near it a worthwhile concentrate token. Thinking on it, I may need to clear up the wording to show that if you do so, you can't reroll a dice as you normally would be able to with a con token.

Tenacious: The Imperial Adar Tallon, also the only squadron focused title, you get to untap two squadrons you activated, but you have to seriously hurt a squadron that is hanging around near the ship. The damage requirement is to balance out some proper silliness that could be done by quadruple tapping a squad with Jendon, since each time you use that ability you are nearly killing a TIE Fighter. Balance wise, if it's too powerful, it can be reduced to only affecting one squadron.

Vigilance: A combat focused title, this one plays with damage cards that you deal. The title has the benefit of circumventing Contain, but it's effects only apply to the damage cards you deal that attack. Its cost is its primary balancing factor, and could easily be increased if you guys think it's too strong.

Indomitable: This one is an interesting one, in my opinion, the idea is to make it a risky proposition to take a long time to kill a VnSD. Note that it is not triggered by squadrons and it's price is quite high. That being said, I can see this one being too powerful and if you guys think so too, I could add the 'escape route' by letting the attacker spend an engineering token to avoid the effect.

 

Since this is supposed to be a full expansion, it of course comes with new upgrade cards. Again, not too many squad focused upgrades to prevent VnSDs from getting too silly with squads.

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Flexible Payload Officers: It's Sato, but only for squads that don't have swarm, which should keep it from being an auto include in every squad based list. It also helps provide an alternative to Sloane, as Sloane really likes swarm squads. It also provides some competition to Flight Controllers, which again brings an interesting decision to building squadron fleets. Looking on it, I designed this upgrade without remembering that rebels exist, it might be wise to prevent it's ability on squads that also have escort to prevent what amounts to hyper TIE Defender X-wings with 2 blue 2 black and also a black dice bomber.

Hanger Mounted Turbolaser: It's external racks but works at medium range and adds red dice. Not a whole lot needs to be said about this one, it's a bit more expensive then exracks because it works at medium range, but not too much more because it only adds red dice.

Diamond-Boron Missiles: An anti-squad upgrade meant to give flechette's a bit of competition in the flak ship role. Forcing a choice between more damage, and less squads being activated against you.

Now there's only the commander left, and I chose Colonel Yularen, as he is a pretty prominent captain of Venators. That being said, if there's a better character for this card let me know. I built the card's effect before I chose the actual character that would be on it.

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Yularen keeps your ships alive at the cost of killing your squads. Since he could be combined with the Seventh-Fleet SD title to reduce incoming damage by three, he costs a lot and hurts your squadrons. I'd reckon he'd be potent early game as his meat point squads are at high health, but as the game goes on he'd lose effectiveness rapidly as his meat points either die or get on too low health for it to be wise to use his ability. If you think he's overpowered, some solutions would be to make it an exhaust effect, or limit his ability to only work against ships.

 

And that is all that there is. The hope is for these cards to be interesting to play with and play against. Again if you guys think there's something quite broken with a card, let me know. The point of the thread, after all is to do an initial balance pass before I playtest these cards.

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I really like the concept, and I think the Venator would go great in the Imperial faction. These would make for very good supercarriers, although it's not like the Empire is currently hurting for those. I do appreciate how you managed to distinguish these from ISDs.

I do think these look overpowered. They have many many strengths and no weaknesses (unless you count 9 hull a weakness on a Large ship, and the Mon Cals don't). They've got great shields, great firepower, great squadron control, better-than-ISD maneuverability, and the Venator-I probably has the best anti-squadron armament in the game with an unprecedented red/blue. And everything else is standard enough.

To balance the ship, I think it should have a more obvious Achilles heel. Give it a defense token suite like an MC-75. Or take away a yaw click at speed 2. And probably change the red/blue AA armament, because that's really really strong.

The unintended roles for these might be a Venator-I flinging deadly AA fire at long range or a Venator-Imp packing XI7s for massive damage (don't forget about the MC-30 when you think about ordnance/turbolaser ships), especially with the Vigilance title.

And I'm sure Colonel Yularen should instead be named Wulff Yularen so that he is properly unique compared to his officer version.

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How is the first ship not the cheapest considering it has less attack dice and less engineering. Just a question but i like the effort you have put in. Is there any ship building algorithm for points we know of?

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2 minutes ago, XR8rGREAT said:

How is the first ship not the cheapest considering it has less attack dice and less engineering. Just a question but i like the effort you have put in. Is there any ship building algorithm for points we know of?

A few people have come close with nothing completely definitive.

at least, no one has published anything definitive.

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Just my 2 cents;

I don't think Venators should be AA heavy (ie 2 dice). Especially a red dice. You should be encouraged to swarm fighters for capitol ship defense and 7 squad activations already melt enemy fighters.

I'd drop 1 yaw at speed 3.

3 eng for all 3. Balances the double brace (note Tua may be too strong).

I'm a fan of support teams and not weapons teams, to make them adequately different from ISD, VSD and Quasar. Plus 7 activations with strategic experts and/or flight controllers it too efficient. The support teams slot would be quite competitive with; nav team to fix yaw issues, eng team to fix low eng, engine techs always good, medics due to lack of contain, or FCT with your high squad value.

Replace blue dice and ion with black/ordn.

Remove Venator 1, add a red side dice for imperial retrofit (renamed Venator II).

Indomitable is OP. Maybe spend your own defense token to spend a matching token from the attacker.

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You also forgot the MC75, one of whose versions has ion, turbo, and ord slots.

 

Overall, I like them. I do think they may be a bit too good though. Several issues I find are:

  1. The support slot on the VnSD-II. Doubtless, the most common upgrade will be Engine Techs, and a psuedo-speed 4 large ship with between 4 and 5 notches is too good, I think. Even the Rebels don't have a ship like that (The Liberty only having between 3 and 4 without Madine). It would make this a near auto-include card, and possibly combine with others to usurp the ISD as the main attack ship of the Empire.
  2. Point 1 is especially true since with Tua this is potentially better than an ISD. 1 less shields, 2 less hull, sure, but with 2 braces and either RBD or ECMs this is going to be a pain to kill, especially when combined with your Yularen commander card, a bunch of bombers, and the 7th Fleet title.
  3. I agree with others that their flak is way too good. With 7 cheap activations at once, long range flak, Flight Controllers, and Ruthless Strategists the VnSD-I will shred any squad wing out there in a turn, at most 2, for only 120 points of ship and between 56 and 112 (TIE/Fs or Defenders as min and max expected costs) points of fighters. 
  4. Given that the rear of the Venator is largely taken up by engines, I think 3 dice in that arc is a lot. Maybe only 2? 1, even, I think, is doable.
  5. I think due to the fact that the ships are potentially more survivable than an ISD and approximately the same as an MC80H, can do more squad activation, have better flack, and are more maneuverable, they may be a bit undercosted (see point 3 above). Perhaps increase all three by 10-15 points?

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4 hours ago, DasSauerkraut said:

 

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I would probably swap the wording to "after you resolve... you may choose a friendly squadron to suffer... if you do, toggle the activation...". Right now is confusing as the requirement comes after the effect. Also a faq would be needed to clarify what to do if the sacrifice has only 1 hull point remaining. I dunno right now.

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13 minutes ago, ovinomanc3r said:

I would probably swap the wording to "after you resolve... you may choose a friendly squadron to suffer... if you do, toggle the activation...". Right now is confusing as the requirement comes after the effect. Also a faq would be needed to clarify what to do if the sacrifice has only 1 hull point remaining. I dunno right now.

Agreed. Additionally, as written, you currently could choose to toggle the activation slider of an enemy squadron, thus introducing Dutch’s ability to the Imps. Not a bad thing, IMO, but very undercosted for the flexibility and power

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When you make a Venator expansion you have to have a title called Strikefast. I don't know what it would do but it is the coolest name of any Venator! Maybe it would have the Thrawn effect but just for one ship since it is the ship that picked up Thrawn.

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Thanks for all the feedback. Seems like the consensus so far is undercosted for how good they are, and I agree. I won't increase the points of the VnSD because having a combat ship between an ISD and a VSD was the goal.

Anyway, changes 

All Variants: Defense token suite changed to one brace, one redirect, one contain. This should greatly reduce the survivability of all the variants as they'll be particularly vulnerable to accuracies. Yaw at speed one is now only one click, to balance out engine techs. Yaw at speed three is now 1/1/-. Since reducing its speed one yaw, it'd have the same movement chart as an ISD and that's a bit boring.

VnSD-I: Removed the red flack die. Rear hull zone dice is now 1 red 1 blue. The VnSD-Is flack was a bit much and coupled with the rest of the ships carrier focus, was probably game breaking. Also reduced rear dice as @GhostofNobodyInParticular suggested.

VnSD-II: Removed one blue flack dice. Removed weapons team slot. Rear hull zone dice is now 2 blue. Again reduced flack per reasons above. The weapons team is removed to help differentiate it from regular ISDs as well as to keep overall squadron potency down. 

Majestic: Increased cost to 7 points to better account for the extra dice available.

Tenacious: Reworded the card to be less confusing, it is now

"After you resolve a squadron command, you may choose a friendly squadron at distance 1-3 to suffer two damage, if you do, toggle the activation slider of two friendly squadrons you activated. The squadron that will suffer damage must have at least two hull points remaining."

Colonel Yularen: Renamed to Wullf Yularen. His ability is now an exhaust ability. Clarified ability in similar way as Tenacious. The rename is so he can't be taken in the same fleet as his officer version. I changed his ability to an exhaust because being able to reduce all incoming damage by up to two is silly to be able to do constantly. I didn't want to reduce the amount he can reduce by as I felt it would be less  'fun'. 

Flexible Payload Officers: Added the Escort keyword to requirements to reduce rebel fighter potency. It now reads

"When a squadron you activate without swarm or escort is attacking a ship or squadron and is within distance 1 of another squadron without swarm or escort, before rolling attack dice, the attacked may replace up two dice in the attack pool with an equal amount of dice of any color or colors"

That's all the changes on this first pass. I'll re render the cards around lunch time and post them up. Thanks for all the feedback.

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Forgot to rework Indomitable.

I have two ideas for further balancing it. The first let's the attacker spend an engineering token to avoid the effect, the other completely reworks it so it spends two of the attackers tokens. It would be worded like

"After defending against an attack that deals a damage to this ships hull, you may exhaust this card to choose and spend two of the attacking ships defense tokens." 13 points

Edited by DasSauerkraut

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Did some play testing.

 

The VnSD-I operates like a large quasar, and is wholely reliant on squads to do damage.

Tenacious  is a good title and I've settled on it costing 6 points. 

The VnSd-Imps are good, with their titles they can throw out impressive amounts of damage. However they are extraordinarily fragile due to their subpar defense tokens. 

Majestic is a great title and is even better if you time it with a concentrate command. Might be a bit strong, but I'd reckon it's a little less good then Avenger, so it's fine.

Vigilence is ok. Might be priced a bit high currently though.

Hanger Mounted Turbolaser is also ok, it is a nice option to have while building fleets and is not crazy in game.

 

Overall, my friend I was playtesting with and I agree that the Venators are a solid "Alright" which is what I was aiming for.

Edited by DasSauerkraut

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