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Playing one-off Single Mission advice...

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Hi all,

A buddy and I are considering playing a single mission of IA this week, probably using one of the dozens of side missions I have from character packs that have never been touched.

At some point I thought I had seen some advice or house rules on how to apportion XP, Credits, Influence, and anything else necessary to run a single campaign/side mission as a standalone thing, but either my search-fu is weak, or I dreamt it.  Has anyone done this and have any advice or framework on how to balance it?

Any advice or recommendations on interesting/great side missions also appreciated.

Cheers!

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Simplest: Use the minicampaign setup. Either the Twin Shadows / The Bespin Gambit (3XP etc.) or Tyrants of Lothal (2XP etc.).

You can can also use "simulated" values to play side missions at any side mission slot: https://boardgamegeek.com/article/23060260#23060260

Also: https://community.fantasyflightgames.com/topic/220541-playing-one-off-side-missions/

Edited by a1bert

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This is a timely thread. I was thinking of doing some one-offs over Winter Break to try out some of the maps, missions, and figures we never get to see in campaign (since I prefer running the mini-campaigns).

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We played last night - the Jawa Scavenger mission.  The Rebels won in round 3.  They had taken a bit of a beating, but being Legendary and having two activations per round, they were mobile enough to quite easily get across the map and do the required actions.  The IP could have make life more difficult by hiding/moving the objectives, but by the time that occurred to him it was too late.  I think the rebels (me) only killed a single imperial figure in the whole mission!

This is the first time we've run just 2 heroes (4 seemed like a lot for one rebel player to keep track of) and I'd be interested to replay the mission with 4 heroes.

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Yeah, I think it would be.  We were playing at 5xp/500 credits per hero, and I think with the limited skills and equipment I could have probably managed 3 heroes.  More XP and kit would have made it a challenge though.  Last time I played the app I was forget a few abilities/synergies in the last mission when I just had 2 heroes to run.

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I love the idea of utilizing the side mission maps. I've got so many that have never been touched. The problem? (lol) is that we never run out of Campaign content to get time to play these. Woe is me. I think this is something that will become more popular as the physical content slows down for IA. I always have hope that a fan will take it upon him/herself to form some mini campaigns and write the text to loop a few of these together into a story.

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Yeah, I think we will play a few more single missions - less stress than a campaign, and still good fun.  Also I think I have 40 of these side mission sheets, and have only played like 3 or 4 of them in total.  Tying groups of 4 together into mini campaigns is a great idea.

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So I played Brute Force (the Wookie Warriors mission) twice yesterday as a single mission. I wanted to see how it balanced at different escalation levels. If you don't have it, this is a very straightforward mission where you and the Wookie Warriors assault an Imperial base, smash 5 terminals, and then the mission progresses and (I don't know how to hide spoilers, so I'll just say you have one extra condition added to win). You have 5 turns and the Imperial player can win by wounding everyone and taking out both Wookie Warriors. It's actually very similar to Aftermath, and is also on a very small map. It's a nice straightforward mission for a standalone night where you don't want to think too hard.

For heroes, I randomly shuffled the cards without looking and picked Gaarkhan, Davith, Saska, and Biv. Probably not considered to be the strongest group, but two melee and two ranged was a good draw. The Imperial class deck was Precision training. 

The first play-through was at 2 Threat with 0 XP and Influence. It was basically as if you were playing this instead of Aftermath to start the campaign (which you totally could do if you are bored with Aftermath). The heroes won on turn 5 in the nick of time. Only Saska was wounded and one Wookie killed, but the imperial made it a close game by blocking LOS to target terminals and forcing figure removal. It was fun and I think well balanced, although I could see how a different hero like Fenn being there may have made it less balanced due to LOS being easy to draw to most of the spawn points. With only 2 threat a turn, it was a bit tough to bring in more troops. Also, the Nexu was killed twice before it got to do anything.

The second play-through used the Twin Shadows setup rules (3 Threat, 3 XP, 400 credits per hero, no Influence). The purchases were:

  • Imperial: Assassins (3XP, ignore figures when drawing LOS and exhaust to reroll any/all attack dice)
  • Gaarkhan: Rampage, Extended Haft to give his starting weapon reach
  • Davith: Shrouded Lightsaber (3XP) with Balanced Hilt, Combat Coat
  • Saska: DL-44, Tool Kit (1XP), Strutural Weakness (2XP)
  • Biv: Vibrobayonet (3XP)

This was a much closer game. Although the Rebels once again won on Turn 5, this time Davith, Saska, and Biv were wounded, 1 Wookie Warrior was killed, the other had 7 damage (of 13 health) and Gaarkhan has 5 damage and full strain (out of 14 health). So the Imperial almost won by wounding and killing the rebels. Here are some highlights:

  • Saska buying Structural Weakness was very meta given the goal of destroying 5 terminals. She was supposed to be the group's terminal assassin while others worried about Imperial troops. However, her dice were terrible and she consistently rolled the worst result of 2 damage. With +2 damage from Structural Weakness and -1 from the Terminal's armor this meant that we wound up with 3 terminals with 1 health left. In the first game, there was only 1 terminal that wasn't one-shot. This game only 1 terminal was one-shot and the rest took two attacks to take out. That simple +1 health from the Threat increase made a huge difference. 
  • Gaarkhan with reach and Rampage is great. At first I thought it was counter-intuitive to have reach when Ramage only damages adjacent targets, but the 2 Cleave from the Wookie Warriors left so many stormtroopers and officers on 1 health that Gaarkhan could hit his true target while also positioning himself to finish off some wounded enemies as well. It also worked well on this small map as the Imperial forces really couldn't spread out that much. 
  • Davith was insanely survivable. Hidden was far more effective than I could ever have imagined. He was surrounded by 5 enemies and three missed from 1 or 2 spaces away due to bad  accuracy rolls, and the shots that did reach him were often dodged. He avoided at least 7 attacks that could have killed him off, and just kept resting to offset those that did. The extra health from the Combat Coat saved him a few times too. He drew way more fire than should have been allocated to him, but at that point Saska and Biv were already wounded and the two remaining wookies were too far for these enemies to chase after. Davith did finally get wounded from concentrated fire on the last round, but it was more of a "I'll wound this SOB even if it's the last thing I do!" type of moment because the Rebels just had to survive the round at that point. 
  • Biv's Vibrobayonet was the right first purchase. However, once he got wounded he is just so dang slow and has no strain to both move and use it. There was, however, a great moment where it seemed he wouldn't be able to do much, so he shot a damaged terminal and killed it while also rolling two surges which allowed him to remove his remaining strain to move to an enemy figure and gut him with Close and Personal. It was a surprisingly effective activation that I didn't see coming.
  • Probe Droids and E-Webs with Assassin are very good, and make for priority targets. The E-web dealt 10 points of damage to a Wookie Warrior in a single activation. 
  • Remembering to focus an elite Stormtrooper when one dies is a real pain. It kept getting figured out retroactively. 
  • I've seen Hired Guns be useful in the past, but in this mission they must have been dropouts from the Greedo school of shooting. I don't think they hit a single thing all game, and Davith was basically laughing at them. 
  • Apparently there were two things that I think are supposed to be surprises but never impacted us. There is an event that only occurs if you do something by a certain turn and that never happened (and seems unlikely to), and when the terminals are destroyed and the final objective revealed I think it was supposed to be a bigger deal than it was, but in both games we had characters bogged down from combat who were in position to fulfill that objective immediately without needing to adjust for it. This is more a comment on the scenario design, which I think overall is very solid and a lot of fun.

So the original plan was to keep going with the same heroes and mission to test the viability of one-off missions at each tier. However, I need a change of pace. I think I am going to switch to the Alliance Smuggler mission with new heroes but run that through the first two tiers again and see how that goes. So far, I have to say both tiers I tried felt balanced and fun, so I'll see if I have a preference after the next round. 

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Just finished two one-off games playing Precious Cargo, the Alliance Smuggler campaign mission. This time the Imperial class deck was Military Might, and the Rebel heroes were Diala, Mak, Jyn, and MHD-19. 

Unlike the games playing the Brute Force mission that had stayed competitive and close at both the 0 XP and 3 XP levels, the games playing Precious Cargo swung wildly. At 0 XP, the heroes weren't even close to winning. Having played it out to see, even if they had an extra turn, it wouldn't have been enough. 

On the other hand, playing again with 3 XP with 1600 credits of gear, they won at the very beginning of the final turn, and would have easily won a turn earlier except that a wounded Diala was a couple squares short and maxed on strain (everyone else was already there and just waiting for her). The Imperials did almost win by wounding everyone, though. Mak was the only one unwounded, and he was down 5 of his 10 health. The Alliance Smuggler was still alive, but only barely, and unlike the Wookie Warriors mission, his death isn't required for an Imperial victory. So overall, playing at 3 XP felt far more balanced. 

Some highlights and observations:

  • This time it was Diala instead of Davith dodging everything. Literally dodged four attacks in a row. It's like the white die knows when a Jedi is rolling. 
  • In the 0 XP game no one failed a Might test to pick up any caches. In the 3 XP game Diala did fail one, even with the extra blue die from Force Adept, but had the strain available to re-roll it (also granted by Force Adept). I really thought requiring Might attribute tests would have had a greater impact, considering how bad most of these particular heroes are at them. 
  • The hero skills made a huge difference due to action economy. There are 5 doors to open and a minimum of 4 attribute test interactions, plus you need to be constantly moving as well as whittling down enemy forces, and you are losing actions to Bleed from the Trandoshans and Stun from the Officer. With 0 XP this is unlikely to happen. At 3 XP, Mak had Expertise to basically open doors and grab caches for free, MHD and Jyn had Fuel Injection and Quick as a Whip for free movement each turn, and MHD's Bacta Injector removed negative conditions without eating up actions. They effectively completed the mission two and a half turns earlier thanks to these abilities. 

Overall, I thought this mission would be like a dungeon crawl, where you kick open the door to the next room and see what orcs and bugbears (or in this case scum and Imperials) are waiting for you. Instead, it felt like a fetch quest with a frantic sprint to the end, running past enemies instead of fighting them. The Wookie mission was a lot more fun. I want to run this team through that mission and see what happens.  Luckily, the two missions don't require overlapping tiles, and I still have the other map set up...

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Okay, to round out this experiment, I ran the Brute Force mission twice with the second group of heroes (Diala, Mak, Jyn, and MHD-19).  

At 0 XP, the heroes crushed it. They won in turn 4, and even had time to grab two crates as extra booty. Mak and Jyn where wounded and one of the Wookies was close to death, but it wasn't a close game. The Wookies themselves did most of the work. The heroes were too weak to deal with the Elite Stormtroopers and failed to one-shot terminals, but the Wookies were cleaving damage around like crazy and the Imperials had no figures left to activate. It was, however, a lot of fun. It also was an incredibly fast game. It only took an hour, probably due to a combination of mission familiarity and already having the tiles connected from earlier.

Using the Twin Shadows setup (3xp, etc.), this was a much closer mission, and took about the same amount of time to play. The heroes won, but they needed every single activation in turn 5 to go perfectly in order to do so. In fact, early on it didn't look good for them at all, and I thought for sure they would lose early, but they rallied and came back. Abilities and gear were key here, and the extra point of threat made a huge difference as well. In the end, 3 of the 4 heroes were wounded, but MHD had healed up a near-death Wookie warrior so the alternate win condition wasn't really feasible anymore. A really enjoyable down-to-the-wire game.

My winter break is over, and I am back to work tomorrow, so my days of prolific gaming are done and I won't be able to continue this experiment for a while. For now, my verdict is to use the Twin Shadows setup to run these one-off side missions as that seems to result in the best balance without it being overwhelming for the players to remember which abilities they currently have access to. I also really liked the random drawing of heroes, and I left the heroes from the first games out of the drawing for the second so they wouldn't be re-used. I think it is okay to pick hero abilities and gear after mission setup so they aren't going in blind. It's not fun to waste XP on something like abilities that affect attribute tests when there are no attribute tests in the mission. 

Regarding the missions, I highly recommend Brute Force as a simple mission for a one-off session where you don't want to think too hard and there are no consequences when you lose. Set out the beer and pretzels and just have fun! 

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Man, I am a glutton for punishment. I couldn't sleep last night so I got up and set up the board to play by myself, left hand vs. right hand style. I used Binary Revolution, from the IG-88 pack. It is a simple map and a simple mission. Destroy IG-88 and his two copies before the end of turn 6. The randomly drawn heroes were Biv, Davith, Mak, and Murne. 

Wow, what a difference some XP and gear makes. At 0 XP and credits, the heroes were slaughtered by turn 4. They simply had no way to mitigate the black die plus 1 block defense on three IG-88s and no way to handle point blank 2-red die attacks. They only managed to take out one copy before they went down. I actually forgot to use the Imperial class card the entire game, but I didn't need it.

With the Twin Shadows setup, the slaughter went the other way, and the heroes decimated the board by the middle of turn 4. This time, Davith had Pierce 3 and reach on his lightsaber, Biv had +1 damage and pierce 1 on Up Close and Personal from his Vibrobayonet and a modded DL-44, Mak was consistently focused and moving 4 spaces away for an easy Pierce 2 with improved damage (even with his starting weapon), and Murne basically shot enemies into better positions and took strain off allies. She also brought along the Elite Alliance Smuggler for free, and he kept stunning IG-88 to stop assault. 

One highlight was positioning. Murne would push a stunned IG-88 so he wasn't adjacent to anyone and the closest target was Davith at 2 spaces away, who was always hidden. This meant no two red dice attacks because they would auto-miss, which resulted in a lot less damage being dealt to the heroes. Plus by staying more than 3 spaces away, it meant relentless wasn't triggering, and that was a source of a lot of the pain in the first attempt. 

It's possible that this slaughter was only possible due to a lucky draw of the right heroes and gear for the job, but I'm not sure. Diala would have been removing defense dice, and even Loku would have been useful since there are three high-health priority targets and his tokens would have offset their auto +1 block, and that's at 0 XP for those heroes. At 3 XP, Saska could have gotten her +2 damage vs. Droids card and Jyn would be stunning him as he activates. So I think other heroes would have been just as effective in this mission. 

I also don't think scaling up would have made a difference. You win once those three targets are dead, so you are going to focus fire on them, and IG-88's health the the only thing that scales at higher threat. If anything, they would only be easier to take out as you leveled up. I'm not sure what the most balanced XP level would be for this mission.

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1 hour ago, LegoMech said:

At 0 XP and credits, the heroes were slaughtered by turn 4.

Well... to be fair it is an agenda side mission.  So for the IP needs to get 3 Influence I would think 3 XP is probably the minimum.  It does make for an interesting experiment though.

1 hour ago, LegoMech said:

She also brought along the Elite Alliance Smuggler for free, and he kept stunning IG-88 to stop assault. 

My assumption would be that this was done with Company of Heroes?  That affects unique allies, so it couldn't be used on the Alliance Smuggler... but considering some of your unique options at that cost I don't think this made much difference.

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9 hours ago, Uninvited Guest said:

Well... to be fair it is an agenda side mission.  So for the IP needs to get 3 Influence I would think 3 XP is probably the minimum.  It does make for an interesting experiment though.

My assumption would be that this was done with Company of Heroes?  That affects unique allies, so it couldn't be used on the Alliance Smuggler... but considering some of your unique options at that cost I don't think this made much difference.

Ha! That's what I get for choosing to do this at 1:30 in the morning. I was done with the Precious Cargo/Alliance Smuggler map so I just grabbed my pile of mission sheets and skimmed through the bottoms looking for maps that mostly used the same tiles, and this one did. It never occurred to me it was an agenda mission, but if I was more awake I probably would have realized it. 

Thanks for pointing that out. I also didn't read the Company of Heroes card carefully and forgot it only applied to unique heroes. Truthfully I was also just lazy and didn't want to go dig out another figure when I already had the smuggler sitting right there from his own mission, so I didn't look very hard.

I've noticed that the tiles used in Binary Revolution are almost exactly the same as those used for Imperial Entanglements, so I set that map up and hope to try that one if I get the chance. If I try it solo again I'll just use the same heroes, but this time I'll dig out Lando to make it legal. Lando and Han, side by side, sounds like a fun time to me!

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I came home from work with a craving for Imperial Assault, so I played solo, right hand vs. left hand style, and had a blast.  The Imperial Entanglements mission is a keeper!  It's essentially just capture the flag, campaign style. Basically, there are terminals at both ends of a long narrow map, and each side needs to retrieve something from the opposite terminal and bring it back to their terminal. 

I didn't bother with the 0 XP level and went right ahead with the same heroes and purchases I had done for the IG-88 mission (Twin Shadows setup, Biv, Davith, Mak, and Murne with the same gear and class card purchases as last time). The only change-up was Lando instead of the Alliance Smuggler to make it a legal list. 

What a close game! In the end, both Han and Lando were killed and every hero except Biv was wounded. At the top of turn 9 Biv sprinted the token to the terminal for the win. The token kept changing hands as the Imperials wounded whoever held it. It was really a fun and perfectly balanced game. I won't even try at 0XP as the 3-xp 1600 credits Twin Shadows setup worked so well that I wouldn't even bother trying at another level. I have to say that I thought that the lack of a turn limit would favor the Rebels, but that wasn't the case at all. 

This is probably my last game session post for a while. My friend is visiting from out of state in April and if we get a chance I hope to run him through Brute Force as a learning mission. I am going to pack up my travel box to prep for running that, and a second box for running a skirmish map, and put the other boxes away for now. I wish everyone well in their one-off campaign play experiments and look forward to hearing how it goes for you!

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I played Greedo’s side mission as a one off to introduce some new players to the game before committing to a full campaign. I definitely should have followed a mini campaign setup - and allowed a Rebel Upgrade with 2 or 3 XP and 1200 credits to happen. However I didn’t own any small box expansions at the time - so I was unaware of this option. Playing the mission with everyone having starter weapons was really tough on the rebels :) .

I wanted to play this mission instead of Aftermath because I thought it would be more interesting and thematic and hoped to pull them in. I also wanted to give the players an opportunity to understand some mechanics so they could make a slightly more educated guess as to what the different hero abilities were, how they worked etc. For those goals - it was a success. Everyone had a blast, and the players figured out what an interrupt is, cleave etc. So they picked heroes for the campaign with a decent understanding of their character. 

However from a balance perspective - it was a disaster. We played at threat level 2 and they just had no punch to clear enough figures. I gave them Han as an ally which helped,  but I brought in Jabba not realizing how strong he is (never played him in campaign before). I would definetly recommend the mini campaign setup. Also, have a little fun with the setup if doing one off missions. Put a fan Villain in your open groups, maybe use him if it starts to tilt in their favor, or not if it’s going the other way. Throw them an ally during an end of round status phase if they are struggling. I failed at creating the balance , but everyone still had a great time and we went on to do a full core campaign after that. We are going to do another campaign in the coming weeks.

 

 

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5 hours ago, totalnoob said:

...Also, have a little fun with the setup if doing one off missions. Put a fan Villain in your open groups, maybe use him if it starts to tilt in their favor, or not if it’s going the other way. Throw them an ally during an end of round status phase if they are struggling. 

That's a great idea for a teaching mission! I like running Twin Shadows for that reason - that moment Boba Fett shows up for Han gets such a great reaction from the players. I never thought of suddenly having an ally show up to help them out, but I'm going to remember that for my next game with new players.

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Okay, I am back with a new single mission run-through. I had three new players (well, two completely new and one who only knows skirmish) want to try campaign style play, so today I ran them through Brute Force (my new go-to favorite for this) at 0XP/2 Threat.

The players chose heroes while I set up the map. I sorted the heroes by role (support, Jedi, sniper, etc.) so they would have some idea of what they were about. They chose Gaarkhan, Loku, and Diala, and then picked MHD-19 as a hero for them all to share. The person who picked Loku said he was excited to play a sniper until he came over and saw how small the map was...

I gave them the mission details and they balked at hearing they only had 5 turns and asked for a bonus turn since they were new, which I agreed to. As it turns out, they were super close to winning on turn five but a bad damage roll on the last grey terminal by the second-to-last hero to activate meant the last hero to activate moved away from the red terminal to shoot the grey one and finish it off. When they learned that now they had to head back to and interact with the red terminal, they realized how close they had been to winning that turn. It was seriously down to one die roll that they lost. Then they reminded me about that bonus turn I promised them...

So, yeah, they activated the beacon and survived the extra turn, allowing a Rebel victory. All the players were happy and excited, so it's a win for me because they all want to play again.

Rebel Highlights:

1) Gaarkhan was wounded for 4 damage by a focused elite Stormtrooper. He then used his own focused attack to smash that trooper into paste in one hit. 

2) MHD healed allies for something like 15 damage over the course of the game. He also picked up a stun grenade from a crate that he was able to catch 4 Imperials in the blast due to the small map. 

3) Loku gets a bad rep, but he may be MVP this game. With zero XP and only starting weapons, the Recon Token was such an important factor in helping the Rebels kill Imperials, not just the tougher ones like the Elite Stormtroopers, Elite Probe Droid, and Nexu, but even lesser enemies.  Picking a sniper seemed like a mistake when he saw the board but wound up working out really well when he kept killing Hired Guns at crazy range and their parting shots missed because they couldn't reach him back. 

4) Diala was a Dodging machine. She only had one wound left for the last two rounds and I threw everything I could at her, but SHE JUST KEPT DODGING! It was actually pretty amazing and produced several chains of cheers and high-fives around the table. 

5) Everyone was sad when I killed one of the Wookie Warriors, but when I dropped the elite card on the table and they realized all it did was make the other one angrier, they thought that was awesome.

Imperial Highlights:

1) I finally remembered to focus my elite Stormtroopers when one dies!

2) I forgot to use my Imperial Class card all game! (Not that it mattered, it was Precision Training, I remembered to use the rerolls on the troopers and elite droid, and my dice were hot anyway.)

3) The Hired Guns were hilarious. Missing at range 3, channeling their best Greedo impersonations!

4) The heroes all moved away from the first probe droid when it went so they would be out of Self-Destruct range. But then the Imperial Officer, activating near the end of the turn, ordered the probe droid to fly up and behind the heroes, allowing me to sacrifice the droid to hit multiple heroes for 2 damage. This was a sneaky but effective move and I'm shocked I've never done it before. It was nice to learn a new trick!

5) The look on their faces when I dropped the E-Web, and when I dropped the additional forces when the door opened... priceless!  

So yeah, this went well, and we may start Twin Shadows now using the same heroes!

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Posted (edited)
18 hours ago, a1bert said:

(Just for the odd chance that other rebels were closer: Parting Shot can target any valid target, not only the attacker.)

 

Ah yes, he was the closest.  He was performing rear guard action. The Hired Guns were placed at the top right green deployment point in an attempt to herd them away from the red terminal as they stormed the bunker to destroy the grey terminals. He activated first after I deployed them and fired at them before they activated so they never got the chance to advance and block the way back as I had initially intended. Great thing to point out though! 

Edited by LegoMech
meant the green deployment point

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On 3/31/2019 at 4:43 AM, LegoMech said:

3) Loku gets a bad rep, but he may be MVP this game. With zero XP and only starting weapons, the Recon Token was such an important factor in helping the Rebels kill Imperials, not just the tougher ones like the Elite Stormtroopers, Elite Probe Droid, and Nexu, but even lesser enemies.  Picking a sniper seemed like a mistake when he saw the board but wound up working out really well when he kept killing Hired Guns at crazy range and their parting shots missed because they couldn't reach him back. 

Woo. Loku fans represent! :D

Really good mission write-up. Sounds like a you all had a great time. Hired Guns were my favourite Open Group pick when I was playing Imperials. If you are playing Military Might then their parting shot with focus can be pretty nasty.

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