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What if FFG changed First Player to random?

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What if nstead of bidding, first player is determined at random regardless of list points.

Also not random player gets the choice of first player. A player is randomly selected to get first player, nobody chooses. 

Discuss.

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Posted (edited)

Bids all but disappear.  The only reason to not spend 200 points is if there's just no way to do it that makes sense, or if you really think fortressing those points is actually worth not using those points.  IMO, this is a huge positive.

Lower Initiative values and high Initiative values get closer together in terms of worth.  Deciding to go with aces becomes a metagame call, with the same risks as all metagame calls.  You still, of course, get the benefits of I5 or I6, but you can no longer nearly guarantee moving with perfect knowledge when facing the same Initiative.  Meanwhile, Initiative 4 gains actual value over Initiative 3 (and so on).  Another huge positive.

Powerful Lock-requirement munitions become risky, and again become a metagame call, instead of a near auto-include on several ships.  Big positive.

Basically, what it comes down to is that players who have always relied on perfect knowledge of the board-state to win (and, oddly, consider moving and re-positioning with perfect knowledge the absolute pinnacle of skill at X-Wing) will absolutely hate this idea.  It removes that huge crutch; it makes players list-build and play the game without it.

Edited by Jeff Wilder

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9 minutes ago, Jeff Wilder said:

Basically, what it comes down to is that players who have always relied on perfect knowledge of the board-state to win will absolutely hate this idea.  It removes that huge crutch, and makes player list-build and play the game without it.

Or push them to filling their lists with as many init 6s as their faction has and supplementing with Heightened Perception (VI soft...) on those force users they feel the need to take.

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Posted (edited)
4 minutes ago, Hiemfire said:

Or push them to filling their lists with as many init 6s as their faction has and supplementing with Heightened Perception (VI soft...) on those force users they feel the need to take.

That pesky 50/50 chance would keep this in check.  And to the extent it still happened ... Heightened Perception instead of Supernatural Reflexes against my Init 3s and 4s?  Yes, please.

Edited by Jeff Wilder

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4 minutes ago, Do I need a Username said:

I don't think bidding is the problem, it's more of a symptom of the larger issue.

I think this is mostly true, but it's a hugely negative symptom of a gigantic problem that FFG has shown no signs of understanding, much less having any ideas for how to address it.

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1 minute ago, Jeff Wilder said:

I think this is mostly true, but it's a hugely negative symptom of a gigantic problem that FFG has shown no signs of understanding, much less having any ideas for how to address it.

They also haven't had the ability to easily increase points before, so this may change. I do have faith that they understand the problem with large bids being prevalent at high level play though, so we shall see.

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1 hour ago, Do I need a Username said:

They also haven't had the ability to easily increase points before, so this may change. I do have faith that they understand the problem with large bids being prevalent at high level play though, so we shall see.

the problem with the move ascending attack descending order is that the extremities get the advantage where moving first is powerful (also moving last) but also shooting first is just as powerful. In the middle you get the worst of both worlds. This power vs initiative forms what we call a smile curve where the lowest and highest is the best initiative and the middle is the lowest. If I were going to make a rough equation I would say y=(1/2)(x-4)^2 is the equivalent power in relation to initiative.

 

My idea for a solution is simply on pricing. Keep the generics with no ability and upgrades as Int 1-2 but the Int 3-4 unique character is the same price. Going from 1 to 3 is the cost in itself for the pilot ability. You get a pilot ability but lose the initiative in moving and blocking. As for high initiative such as 4+ well Int 4 should only be a few points more than Int 1, Int 5 should be at least 23 points more than 1 (the cost of a ship), and Int 6 should be a premium cost increase. 

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1 hour ago, kevbrim said:

What if it was random at the start of each round?

or

What if it rotated back and forth each round?

Random at each round - Man o War has that. Getting or loosing the initiative at a key turn can win or loose you the game, totally randomly.

 

Rotating back and force - not sure if that what be a good thing. I'd hazard a guess that even more games go to time as players not only need to range-control but also first-player-control. So more decisions and more jockeying for best position on the right turn.

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1 hour ago, Marinealver said:

the problem with the move ascending attack descending order is that the extremities get the advantage where moving first is powerful (also moving last) but also shooting first is just as powerful. In the middle you get the worst of both worlds. This power vs initiative forms what we call a smile curve where the lowest and highest is the best initiative and the middle is the lowest. If I were going to make a rough equation I would say y=(1/2)(x-4)^2 is the equivalent power in relation to initiative.

 

My idea for a solution is simply on pricing. Keep the generics with no ability and upgrades as Int 1-2 but the Int 3-4 unique character is the same price. Going from 1 to 3 is the cost in itself for the pilot ability. You get a pilot ability but lose the initiative in moving and blocking. As for high initiative such as 4+ well Int 4 should only be a few points more than Int 1, Int 5 should be at least 23 points more than 1 (the cost of a ship), and Int 6 should be a premium cost increase. 

So I agree with most of this, but I think its not quite this simple.  In general I think that the breakdown is more move first, action last, shoot first (or, in some high agility cases, shoot last). 

That all being said, I don't think alternating first player is the solution to this problem,  because high and low initiatives will still have the advantages, rather abilities like decoy or control that can alter how the order occurres in addition to some point smoothing.  Although with init being a relative system, I don't know if it's as simple as that, although it is worth a try.

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What about changing the way "bid" points are handled in the scoring system? 

What if the points you didn't spend were counted as points destroyed? This would mean that bidding could still be a part of the game, but a potentially costly choice. If a player really felt the need for their I5/I6 pilots to be moving last they could still build this into their list, but would be doing so at a points disadvantage, where as its now actually to their benefit. 

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13 minutes ago, JReim said:

What about changing the way "bid" points are handled in the scoring system? 

What if the points you didn't spend were counted as points destroyed? This would mean that bidding could still be a part of the game, but a potentially costly choice. If a player really felt the need for their I5/I6 pilots to be moving last they could still build this into their list, but would be doing so at a points disadvantage, where as its now actually to their benefit. 

My problem with this is that it punishes those builds that have a few points left over and have no slots or useful options left available. I don't feel that having to slapping munitions failsafe on a ship without munitions to keep from basically handing extra points to my opponent is a good option.

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22 minutes ago, JReim said:

What about changing the way "bid" points are handled in the scoring system? 

What if the points you didn't spend were counted as points destroyed? This would mean that bidding could still be a part of the game, but a potentially costly choice. If a player really felt the need for their I5/I6 pilots to be moving last they could still build this into their list, but would be doing so at a points disadvantage, where as its now actually to their benefit. 

 

5 minutes ago, SabineKey said:

My problem with this is that it punishes those builds that have a few points left over and have no slots or useful options left available. I don't feel that having to slapping munitions failsafe on a ship without munitions to keep from basically handing extra points to my opponent is a good option.

I agree with both of these, and generally I think that messing with the way bid points are handled, while interesting, is also a bit too much for some lists (while I think a cap could be established, I am hesitant to do that right now) 

What could be interesting (Although also potentially dangerous to use) would be a cheap talent that simply says "ships you kill ignore the simultaneous fire rule" or something to that effect.  As @JReim pointed out (intentionally or not) most lisdts bid to go second, and some mechanic that encourages going first at high initiative would be helpful, as that is where going second is more impactful. My card does run the risk of being way too powerful though, so I'd use caution.

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Posted (edited)
13 minutes ago, SabineKey said:

My problem with this is that it punishes those builds that have a few points left over and have no slots or useful options left available. I don't feel that having to slapping munitions failsafe on a ship without munitions to keep from basically handing extra points to my opponent is a good option.

Point noted, and maybe this is one main reason that we never see this as a change to the core game. Though with the abundance of low cost (1point) talents and who knows what else in the future, maybe this wouldn't be as big of an issue. Or a small tweak to the general idea, something like bids less than 5 points do not count as points destroyed?

 

Another option that I just thought of is removing the bid rule all together. Player order could always be determined randomly thus eliminating the need to bid for the player 1 option .  

Edited by JReim

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I can point to some other games that handle initiative differently, and it works in each case -- though all  of these games use strictly alternating activation, which often result in a huge benefit to the player who can pull off going last in one round and first in the next.

1. Star Wars Armada. Bid determines selection of first player; stays fixed. Alternating activation; huge benefit to pulling off a last/first activation.

2. Star Wars Imperial Assault. Bid (or roll off) determines first player for the first round; first player alternates thereafter. Within a round, alternating activation. Again, huge benefit to pulling off last/first -- to the point where Take Initiative which switches that order is one of the most powerful cards in the game.

3. Warhammer Underworlds. Roll off each round; alternating activation within a round (but fixed number, 4 per player). Again a huge benefit from last/first, but it's random.

4. Star Wars Legion. First player each round determined by a command selection; alternating thereafter. Pretty innovative in the way command selection also interacts with the way units can be activated.

All work to varying degrees, but none map well to X-wing since X-wing uses initiative activation rather than strictly alternating activation (this latter would make for a very interesting X-wing variant, I think).

If a game benefits from last/first, you have to be vary careful how you implement it.  Rolling and/or passing a token every round can be a bit of a pain.  If I were revising X-wing to eliminate the bid, I think I'd just do a random roll at start then leave it fixed thereafter.

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6 hours ago, Jeff Wilder said:

I think this is mostly true, but it's a hugely negative symptom of a gigantic problem that FFG has shown no signs of understanding, much less having any ideas for how to address it.

ha, you just nailed the entirety of 2.0 for me

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, Tvboy said:

What if nstead of bidding, first player is determined at random regardless of list points.

Also not random player gets the choice of first player. A player is randomly selected to get first player, nobody chooses. 

Discuss.

Frankly that’s a terrible idea, because lists and ships that rely on arc-dodging (ie: your typical imperial aces list) would then basically win or lose based on a dice roll (EDIT: especially in mirror matches). I’m opposed to any system where initiative is determined randomly. 

Right now with the bidding system it at least becomes a question of ‘how many upgrades at I willing to sacrifice in order to get a big enough bid to guarantee that I get to choose player order?’ Yes it creates some situations with ridiculous bids, but at least there is a decision involved, and it’s a self-balancing system. At some point your bid becomes so big that you’re more likely to lose to lists with 199-200 points, even if you have the initiative advantage. 

7 hours ago, kevbrim said:

What if it rotated back and forth each round?

I think this would be an interesting alternative. It would eliminate 90% of the reason to bid, but would create some interesting decisions during the game as you try to maximize your advantage on the turns when player order is in your favor. However, as has been pointed out, it might lead to more games going to time because players are more likely to play cautiously on turns when they don’t have the initiative advantage. Like @Managarmr said:

6 hours ago, Managarmr said:

Rotating back and force - not sure if that what be a good thing. I'd hazard a guess that even more games go to time as players not only need to range-control but also first-player-control. So more decisions and more jockeying for best position on the right turn.


5 hours ago, JReim said:

What about changing the way "bid" points are handled in the scoring system? 

What if the points you didn't spend were counted as points destroyed? This would mean that bidding could still be a part of the game, but a potentially costly choice. If a player really felt the need for their I5/I6 pilots to be moving last they could still build this into their list, but would be doing so at a points disadvantage, where as its now actually to their benefit. 

This makes the most sense and is the least disruptive solution out there. You still have the decision of how important winning the bid is vs how much it penalizes you to guarantee that you win it, but now it’s a much harder decision because the bid hurts you more. The end result is that it would curb the more extreme bids and keep the whole bidding system more in balance. 

I suspect we will see FFG make that change sometime within the year, but don’t hold your breath for it to happen any time soon. They like to take their time and do a lot of play testing before making any major changes like that. 

Edited by Herowannabe

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11 hours ago, kevbrim said:

What if it rotated back and forth each round?

that is exactly how the newest version of Star Trek Attack Wing runs, with the person who has the equivalent of First Player at setup choosing if they start with Initiative or if their opponent does.

it takes some getting used to, but it does work very well at adding some extra strategy to the game.

it's also made the pilot ability of a Captain/Ship as relevant as their Pilot Skill/Initiative, where as previously there was quite alot of initiative bidding going on

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Not seeing huge bids at my shop, and when it comes to high inti pilots build a kill box. YOU know who has 1st player and what the Move 1st shoot 1st set up is before you ships even hit the table, you should deploy with that in mind.

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Losing because you move first feels bad. It would feel worse if you had no control over it.

The only lists with bids over 10 points right now are lists that are severely undercosted or built around broken rule interactions anyways. 

At least until wave 3, the most agile ship in the game is Kylo, and he's I5 and >100 points.

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12 hours ago, JReim said:

What about changing the way "bid" points are handled in the scoring system? 

What if the points you didn't spend were counted as points destroyed? This would mean that bidding could still be a part of the game, but a potentially costly choice. If a player really felt the need for their I5/I6 pilots to be moving last they could still build this into their list, but would be doing so at a points disadvantage, where as its now actually to their benefit. 

I like this solution with the caveat that the points are only counted as destroyed if the game goes to time. You shouldn't lose them if you table your opponent.

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