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Ok, Commanders and Operatives are good now...

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On 2/9/2019 at 9:37 PM, TauntaunScout said:

The heavy weapons and big vehicles aren't priced in a balanced way. The scoring conditions aren't written in a balanced fashion.

There's a list of games that I think are balanced but naming names on a forum will lead to much wailing and gnashing of teeth. I'll discuss them via PM if you want.

That's the main reason to focus on them yes. The command cards are probably my least favorite aspect about the actual experience of playing though. So that's fine and good but I won't pretend to be excited for releasing extra commanders so I can engage in that more. Creating a whole game mechanic for exploiting the order of operations, in a game of this scale and style, feels very shoehorned in to me.

Heavy weapons and heavies are priced just fine for what they do respectively (anti-infantry or anti-armor; superior retention of firepower in the face of wounds suffered vis infantry).

Please feel free to disclose what the system you consider to be better balanced is, I wouldn’t worry about anyone else not liking your opinion on the matter. 

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OMG people. You are not suppose to use all the heroes all at once. Take a commander, maybe a second or an operative. Then take a few support units or special forces. Then load up the rest of the list with your troopers. Think of a chess board. It is full of pawns.

Yes all the flavor comes from the named heroes and villains. Why? Simple, because unnamed troopers aren't exactly flavorful. They are extras, nothing more. Star War is a story. The game represents the story. So yes, the actual characters that drive the store will be flavorful in any game. That doesn't mean bland trooper units aren't important in actual game play. They absolutely are. They won't be, nor should be, as interesting as heroes.

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10 hours ago, Mep said:

Yes all the flavor comes from the named heroes and villains. Why? Simple, because unnamed troopers aren't exactly flavorful. They are extras, nothing more. Star War is a story. The game represents the story. So yes, the actual characters that drive the store will be flavorful in any game. That doesn't mean bland trooper units aren't important in actual game play. They absolutely are. They won't be, nor should be, as interesting as heroes.

I think that's the problem I have with the game.  I bought into it thinking it would have a focus on pseudo-military tactics and a balance of forces; I got overexcited and didn't read the rules very well before parting with my money.  I blame the airspeeder.  But you're right- the focus is on heroic individuals and the tactics are 'game' tactics.  There is a slight spattering of fire and maneuver type strategies but not much.  I suppose I've pulled off a refused flank a couple of times.

It's not that I don't enjoy the game, I'm going to carry on playing regularly while my group is still doing so, but my miniature hobby funds (such as they are) will be going into slowly building a partisan force for Bolt Action once I clear my painting queue.  The game's not perfect but the models can be used for a bunch of other systems as well.

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12 hours ago, Derrault said:

Heavy weapons and heavies are priced just fine for what they do respectively (anti-infantry or anti-armor; superior retention of firepower in the face of wounds suffered vis infantry).

If they were priced ok, they'd be used consistently. If the scoring and activation systems were well balanced, then more varied list types would have a better shot at winning. Then if you knew you might face those varied lists the anti-armor weapons would be appropriately priced as-is. There's a weird circle of imbalance going around and around between scenario cards, the punitive exhaust mechanic, and opportunity costs. But vehicle-heavy lists and by extension anti-vehicle weapons, may not be a simply resolved issue in something specifically advertised as an infantry battles game.

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Please feel free to disclose what the system you consider to be better balanced is, I wouldn’t worry about anyone else not liking your opinion on the matter. 

Well I'm sick of starting pointless million year debates on here vis a vis the imperial army infantry. But whatever.

As much as I hate to admit it, in Warhamer 40,000 they have managed to create a scoring system that balances out the horribly OP loopholes a dedicated metagamer could mine from the vast army lists. At least it did for awhile, I've barely managed to play the current edition because Legion has absorbed all my scifi gaming interest for now.  Muskets & Tomahawks has a very fun and  I think fair activation system and is played with similar sized collections to Legion. A lot of chintzy pre-painted miniatures games actually have very fairly priced out units, in which no matter how carefully you list-tweak, two equally priced forces will usually* very evenly grind each other down turn after turn if simply crashed into each other on a flat field, with the game ending in a virtual coin toss. On that note, Heroscape managed to balance the scoring objectives and bonus-granting treasures with the terrain nicely: counters were in dangerous, hard to defend spots on the board.

Then there are games which are imbalanced in ways that don't seem to detract from the experience of play. That's another subject.

When a design team decides things like "The English army should use lots of longbowmen, so we'll make longbowmen really cheap in the English list" it's not good. For example as much as I love Mordheim, one of the problems in it is, the prices for things seem to reflect what the designers thought items should comparatively cost in a market stall instead of pricing to utility in the games, which is ok on its surface for thematic reasons I guess. But they also thought it would be fun to differentiate swords from axes and shields from bucklers, helmets from breastplates, etc. which was really cool in it's own way. Unfortunately these two things combined to make certain weapon combinations both WAY better and WAY cheaper than others in Mordheim. Which gets old fast considering WYSIWYG rules become absolutely necessary to avoid confusion in a game where a dagger is very different from a mace, and then also become highly restrictive when you find a really awesome model whose equipment is horribly penalized in-game. Mordheim had enough going for it to overcome that though, I played it at least once a year since 1999 until Frostgrave distracted me. The popularity of Star Wars alone might be enough to overcome anything that goes wrong in SW:L. But a game pulling decent sales despite its flaws, doesn't mean they aren't flaws.

It might seem innocent enough to make certain thematic design decisions but they can have unforseen ramifications which can relegate a game to the clearance shelf sooner than it deserves. Honestly though, getting the license to the SW universe will let you get away with a lot, from a business perspective. If the rules got so bad that I stopped playing, there are certain things I'll still be buying if/when they come out. People don't tend to have that kind of dedication to a Pathfinder or a Battletech. Historicals run into that too, I've bought historical armies not quite knowing when I'll play with them but I've always like Egyptology, so, I own two different scaled New Kingdom Egypitan armies. Historical minis display well in one's home, and people writ large were interested in this regiment or that troop type before they ever played Hail Caesar or DBA whatever. Star Wars is kind of the gamer version of history. The most hardcore fan can't hold you to the "right" way to paint a space marine but even the uninitiated know what stormtroopers are "supposed" to look like. I think this is why there's a split on unique heroes. In a Star Wars game, unlike 40k or whatever, people in the general population know in their gut if those two characters never "really" met.

*Assuming you don't put up two gimmicky armies and one happens to exploit the other's Achilles Heel.

1 hour ago, Katarn said:

But you're right- the focus is on heroic individuals and the tactics are 'game' tactics.  There is a slight spattering of fire and maneuver type strategies but not much.  I suppose I've pulled off a refused flank a couple of times.

Yep. Doing a bunch of math on my list isn't tactics. Keeping a reserve to counterattack or something, is more what I'm looking for in a game of "infantry battles" as per the advertisement blurb.

Unfortunately, a lot of times my interlocking fields of fire or whatever don't work because the thing didn't activate until AFTER the stuff happened with the other thing and there were too many suppressions on the unit with Pierce even though I had lots of other units over here and plus the target had Hunter... That's what's making me get bored with the actual game experience of Legion. I've never noticed something getting crushed under the weight of interlocking rules so fast. I'm gonna try a few games with one generic commander per side and see if that fixes it, it might. Randomly dealt upgrade cards would possibly make for some good fun too. Maybe various kinds of lists could be balanced by allowing people to shoot objective counters in order to prevent the enemy from scoring. Maybe face-down upgrade cards could BE the objectives and you'd flip them over and equip them to the unit that found it.

People are always saying "Well it's Star Wars it doesn't have to be a realistic simulation" but that's an uphill approach to both Star Wars, and to designing a miniature wargame. Star Wars at a gut level used to be believable (if not realistic) and that really sold it compared to a lot of what else was out there. And just like there's things people can accept in a Clone Wars cartoon but not a live-action SW movie, there's things that work out well in an RPG or boardgame or cardgame but aren't great in a miniature wargame. Why spend hours setting up and pushing all these models around just to have the game resolved by abstracted mechanics which are (almost aggressively) divorced from the concrete representation on the table? I don't need models to do that, a different genre of game would accomplish that more fully, for less money, in less time.

12 hours ago, Mep said:

Take a commander, maybe a second or an operative. Then take a few support units or special forces.

Many people want to win the currently popular game, much more than they want to play at Star Wars infantry battles.

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Yes all the flavor comes from the named heroes and villains. Why? Simple, because unnamed troopers aren't exactly flavorful.

That's one way to approach it, the game should and can support multiple kinds of customer.

 

My position boils down to this. I think we do have functionally enough commanders announced for now, a 3rd operative per faction would be good IMO. I really want an aesthetic and functional variety of corps (and greater aesthetic choice in rebel commanders, Imperials covered all the aesthetic commander bases except one, which is easily proxied/converted from existing models) since those units are required. If I am champing at the bit to make an X themed army, and there's no X corps, it's an annoying dead-end.

Edited by TauntaunScout

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A lot of people forget that the game has only been out for about a year now... Having at least 2 options in hand/announced for 6 different unit types in that time frame is pretty good I'd say and will offer a lot of list variation.

I think part of their plan is to hint / tease future releases on what's to come. For example we have 4 units coming from Rogue One and with Sabine announced we can assume there will be more releases for both Rogue One and Rebels in the future. They laid the groundwork with the basic units from the OT and Im sure we'll start to see a lot more fun and unique units from Rogue One, Rebels, and other sources.

Specialists have shown that we can have more flavor to our basic corps units so Im sure more of those expansions will come out in the future.

Like others have said, I really think the commanders and operatives are simply FFG's way of determining the "theme" and play style of your army in an easy way compared to coming up with various rules and stratagems to do so. FFG is also very much focused on organized play so I believe that may be a reason why the game is more "gamey" than tactical.

PLUS if running a specific character bothers one so much, purchase a third party miniature online, paint it how you want, and sub it in for whatever commander/operative's rules you want to use. I mean we're about to have Bossk and Boba so that means you could have your own Bounty Hunter "X" and Bounty Hunter "Y" in place of them.

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2 hours ago, Jman444 said:

A lot of people forget that the game has only been out for about a year now... Having at least 2 options in hand/announced for 6 different unit types in that time frame is pretty good I'd say and will offer a lot of list variation.

That's true but misses the point of the thread. 6+ commanders for 2 slots is enough until we get more than 2 corps for 6 slots.  That's fine for the first year, if you catch me in a brief moment of lucidity, I have no problem with that. But if the second year doubles the number of heroes and non-compulsory squads/vehicles, and doesn't add lots more corps, this particular type of customer will wander off.

I'll build countless OT 800 point visually consistent sub-factions if only they'll sell them. Which to date they won't.

This is my 4th game about  individual SW guys on roughly 1" round bases so... if they don't release unit X that's fine, they just don't get my money.

Edited by TauntaunScout

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2 hours ago, TauntaunScout said:

That's true but misses the point of the thread. 6+ commanders for 2 slots is enough until we get more than 2 corps for 6 slots.  That's fine for the first year, if you catch me in a brief moment of lucidity, I have no problem with that. But if the second year doubles the number of heroes and non-compulsory squads/vehicles, and doesn't add lots more corps, this particular type of customer will wander off.

I'll build countless OT 800 point visually consistent sub-factions if only they'll sell them. Which to date they won't.

This is my 4th game about  individual SW guys on roughly 1" round bases so... if they don't release unit X that's fine, they just don't get my money.

You are also a self-proclaimed niche collector.  I'm okay if they don't release a ton more Corps troops for a while because; 1. I don't know if they have that many more to fit in from the lore, so they may be saving some, 2. FFG said that the focus of the game was going to be the Heroes/commanders(operatives) when they started the game, 3. I'm sick of  painting all these guys and prefer the smaller expansions because its easier for me to paint 1-2 figures as opposed to 12-14 figures.

That said, I would like if (for example) Jyn made one unit of Pathfinders = Corps or something similar where it doesn't get crazy imbalanced, but I can use some of my other figures as Corps or Heavies or whatever just to mix it up a bit.  So I get what you're saying and I think it will happen, just maybe later.  Supposedly, they're going to release Clone Wars factions later this year as well, so the fact that we keep getting all these new things announced is pretty cool.

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So in that interview with Fifth Trooper, one of the devs sounded like he said his favorite list to test involved six of a unit he can't talk about yet - which would imply more Corps on the horizon (it was with Krennic and Deathtrooper, so I would assume Shoretroopers). Of course, considering the current announcements and release pacing, that's still the better part of like 5 months out. 

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1 hour ago, buckero0 said:

You are also a self-proclaimed niche collector. 

Yeah but I collect a LOT of niches. If they'd only release the models I'd collect 6 different themed armies for this game plus a few random units besides.

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@TauntaunScout

First, thank you for your response, I appreciate it!

"If they were priced ok, they'd be used consistently. If the scoring and activation systems were well balanced, then more varied list types would have a better shot at winning. Then if you knew you might face those varied lists the anti-armor weapons would be appropriately priced as-is. There's a weird circle of imbalance going around and around between scenario cards, the punitive exhaust mechanic, and opportunity costs. But vehicle-heavy lists and by extension anti-vehicle weapons, may not be a simply resolved issue in something specifically advertised as an infantry battles game."

It's a fallacy to assume that something is badly priced because it's not used frequently.

False perceptions are one such reason. Players who post here frequently balk at the exhaust nature of the HH-12 vs the non-exhausted DLT-19. However, mathematically the HH-12 pulls its weight. At a mere 34 vs 24 (41% increase in price) the HH-12 doubles (200%) the damage output against armored targets like the AT-RT, AT-ST, and, soon, the Occupier tank. That's a big deal. Given that armored units are more resilient to incoming fire, and suffer less reduction of damage output, in general, than infantry units, it's a big deal to be able to wipe them out in a timely fashion.

I'm not sure what variance in list types you're thinking of, but I'd caution against drawing firm conclusions about the viability of any given list type without doing an in depth review of the actual events that lead a game to be won or lost 
(i.e. How above/below the average were the rolls for offense/defense on both sides? Can victory be attributed to that variance alone? If not, would a different set of dice variance and change of unit type actually change the outcome or would it likely have been the same regardless of which force engaged based on the match-ups used against opposition forces; would a different unit composition (or type) mean the ability to avoid damage suffered either through positioning or simply weathering damage, thus allowing for greater average return fire/preferred matchups). If not, then it's likely that the failure is either tactical (poor application of forces), or possibly strategic (poor disposition of forces/choice of battle type.

"Well I'm sick of starting pointless million year debates on here vis a vis the imperial army infantry. But whatever. 

As much as I hate to admit it, in Warhamer 40,000 they have managed to create a scoring system that balances out the horribly OP loopholes a dedicated metagamer could mine from the vast army lists. At least it did for awhile, I've barely managed to play the current edition because Legion has absorbed all my scifi gaming interest for now.  Muskets & Tomahawks has a very fun and  I think fair activation system and is played with similar sized collections to Legion. A lot of chintzy pre-painted miniatures games actually have very fairly priced out units, in which no matter how carefully you list-tweak, two equally priced forces will usually* very evenly grind each other down turn after turn if simply crashed into each other on a flat field, with the game ending in a virtual coin toss. On that note, Heroscape managed to balance the scoring objectives and bonus-granting treasures with the terrain nicely: counters were in dangerous, hard to defend spots on the board."

I've never played any of these; what's the (current?) scoring system in 40k? What's the activation method of Muskets and Tomahawks? (I can't even find miniatures for this...is it a really old game like Dune (1979) or Gettysburg (1977)?); 

"But a game pulling decent sales despite its flaws, doesn't mean they aren't flaws."

Agreed.

"Yep. Doing a bunch of math on my list isn't tactics. Keeping a reserve to counterattack or something, is more what I'm looking for in a game of "infantry battles" as per the advertisement blurb." 

Er, I know this was directed at Katarn, but focusing as much force as humanly possible at a single point is pretty much the single goal of all military planning (i.e. attrit the enemy faster than they can attrit you, and maneuvering is to avoid the same). The very idea of reserves flies in the face of that goal (because silent arms contribute no value, and their value is reduced if they don't attack in unison), even more so in a game that only lasts 6 rounds.

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9 hours ago, Derrault said:
 
 

I've never played any of these; what's the (current?) scoring system in 40k? What's the activation method of Muskets and Tomahawks? (I can't even find miniatures for this...is it a really old game like Dune (1979) or Gettysburg (1977)?); 

 

Muskets & Tomahawks is 7YW or ARW game from a couple years ago. Like 2015ish. It only has 2 factions(British army, and French/Americans) so the activation works with a deck of cards that say "British Officer" or "American/French Light Infantry" or whatever and depending on what comes up, that player gets to activate whatever. Heavy infantry get two actions, lights only get one... but there's a lot more light infantry action cards. So your Indians or whanot will seem to run circles around the heavy infantry but when the heavies activate it's devastating. So when heavies get to shoot and immediately reload, or run up and shoot, or shoot and run away, etc. suddenly the guy who only took lights is sad. Officers don't do a whole lot by themselves but when they go they also give a free activation to one nearby unit of their own type. So it's smart to take one hero per troop type in your army. You play 200, 400 or 600 point games and need about 25 infantry models per tier. So it uses roughly 25, 50, or 75 models on 1" bases. You can add artillery and cavalry with the rules but we never do, such models are a pain to store and transport. Each action is either move, shoot, or reload.

You can't find minis "for" it cause it's historical. You just use whatever guys you want. I used North Star's Highlanders and Indians to make 400 points. If I have to fight another British-only player, I can play a 200 point game with just my Indians. My friend got a bunch of 28mm plastic French and Indians. The two lines are incompatible if you tried mixing them together in units but on different sides they look fine together. Technically North Star's Highlanders and Indians and I think some French milice or something WERE made for it, but aren't specifically marketed as such.

In 40k, you put 6 counters down and each player gets their own objective cards dealt out. So you might say "claim objective 3" and "kill an enemy hero". If you get a truly impossible objective you can deal another one. When you complete an objective, you add it to your pile of points and flip over another objective card. If I'm careful about deployment and manouver, my army lists (based almost solely on my vintage model collecting goals) can tie or beat a minmaxed army in victory points. 40k has also always had a problem where the core combat and activation mechanics fundamentally favor small elite armies... in the past few years they finally added some core mechanics that favor cheap hordes as well so there's some more balance there. The army lists are so numerous, and cross-pollinated, and GW is always selling PDF's of legal gimmick lists, that a dedicated minmaxer can easily find something weird to break the game, so it's still imbalanced in that way. But they've come up with at least a bit of a workaround via the scoring system.

Heroscape used to give a marked advantage to die rolls if you were uphill of your opponent... then the scenarios put objectives or bonus-granting tokens in horrible little valleys!

Quote

Er, I know this was directed at Katarn, but focusing as much force as humanly possible at a single point is pretty much the single goal of all military planning (i.e. attrit the enemy faster than they can attrit you, and maneuvering is to avoid the same). The very idea of reserves flies in the face of that goal (because silent arms contribute no value, and their value is reduced if they don't attack in unison), even more so in a game that only lasts 6 rounds.

That's just a random example of a non-keyword. I could have just as easily said guarding lines of supply and communication or something.

The ability to counterattack when something unexpected happens is pretty critical, there's a ton of examples from real life battles about that.

Edited by TauntaunScout

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