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Kalandros

A fundamental flaw in these games.

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Posted (edited)

I've played a lot of different miniatures games over the last 10+ years, and many board games.

Every time its the same story for competitive lists - optimize everything to the maximum, find every loophole, abuse everything thats overpowered.

Now my biggest problem with Legion is how pointless and borderline useless most upgrades are - why spend points on upgrading 1 unit with 20 to 30 points of extra things when an extra unit - especially the "cheese" of triple snipers - costs almost as much? Why put a more expensive weapon like the rocket launcher on storm troopers when the DLT is just hands down better?

Why come up with all these extra interesting upgrades only to have no one use them?

 

Why, instead, don't we have a set price for a unit, and within that set price you may select up to 'x' upgrades or 'y' value of upgrades ?

Why aren't all weapon options exhaustible so that both have the same limit but different uses? Different roles.

 

Something like Storm Troopers cost 80 points for 4. 

In that 80 points, the 4 troopers cost 40 - you may select 40 points of upgrades - the officer or med droid being 20 each would leave you 20 more points - either 20 pts for a DLT or the rocket launcher, or points for extra things like recon intel, grenades, etc.  But if you don't go for the more expensive officer / med droid, then you can still take the 5th guy for 10 pts, the weapon for 20 pts and still have 10 pts free for the extra upgrades.

 

What this comes down to is that regardless of how anyone equips their troopers, they will always have the same price - 80 points, and all start equal at 4 troopers - but the cost doesn't increase depending on what you equip on them but rather the cost of upgrades is already included in the initial price, they are just not selected yet. 

 

Storm Troopers  80 Points

- Extra Trooper 10 points

- DLT Trooper 20 points

- Grenades 5 points

- Grappling hooks 5 points

 

thats just an example of how it could work and should work - you pay 80 points regardless of what upgrades you take.

 

I really dislike the current restriction where everyone goes for max activations and seldom takes a bunch of different upgrades because it ends up costing more than a new unit entirely. 

 

Anyway, that was my rant, I know its pointless as it would require an overhaul of all the cards and whatnot~ but I think its a fundamental flaw of the game to be the way it is right now in list building.

Edited by Kalandros

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Dont get me wrong. This isnt a "bash playtest" point. This is to make the point that the players and designers only have so much room to manipulate and update cards before release. This experience of mine is from other card games, so minis will have some more factors I'm unaware of. I love playtesting, but it isn't perfect. 

 

Playtest. Plain and simple. I've been in a few now. And there aren't enough people testing thoroughly enough to catch everything. That also said, if Player A is the best player in the games playtest (known or unknown at the time) and rocks the rocket launcher every time it gets used (maybe just their dice rolls) and their playtest reports say as much. If there aren't enough people that learn how to be the paper to their rock before the playtest window is over, then the rocket launcher gets printed as it stands. Then the card is released to the masses. Some people take into account additional things like "action economy" and dice averages, and voila! the obvious favorite comes out and takes hold. The rocket launcher very well could have been "good" because playtesters are asked to test everything, which means T47s were on the table as well. 

Another scenario, the first version was busted. PT spends weeks trying to decide how to limit it better, never really landing on a solid agreeable solution. When it comes to crunch time, a solution still hasn't been found, so an exhaust and a points "penalty" gets added to "fix" and it's sent to the printer with little or no time to test the final update. 

I don't think PT would have been to the point where players were "rooting" for their favorite faction in playtest, but sometimes it happens. Those players downplay their "own" upgrades while praising how good the "other guys" stuff is. Bad apples like this can really skew factions before they are "caught." 

 

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The rocket launcher isn't even that bad. I use it from time to time. It's an extremely efficient way to get Impact 3 at range 2-4. It suffers from the fact that vehicles are not very common in the meta.

Every upgrade in the game has a use. Even the maligned ion weapons are actually pretty good if you are going against vehicles. I've had my 230 point AT-ST completely shut down by a single unit of troopers carrying one before.

I think the main 'fix' we need is just an update (or additional options) to the objectives that allows more non-trooper unit types to contribute to scoring.

Any game that you choose to play competively is going to have narrowed 'viable' choices due to metagame bias factors (such as scoring and game time limits) and the groupthink feedback loop.

90% of my games are casual, and I play whatever I feel like playing and focus on painting and making cool table terrain.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Kalandros said:

Why, instead, don't we have a set price for a unit, and within that set price you may select up to 'x' upgrades or 'y' value of upgrades ?

Why aren't all weapon options exhaustible so that both have the same limit but different uses? Different roles.

Your idea ignores the entire underlying math to all of this.  

Everything has an item budget.  For example, let's have a look at Rebel Troopers and Stormtroopers.  I don't know the actual math but for purposes of this what I have should be close enough.  I see 10 Elements to the card

Gear Slot, Grenade Slot, Unit Keywords, Health, Courage, Armor, Surge, Movement, Ranged Weapon, Unarmed Weapon

So, it could break down like this:

 

Element                   Rebel                  Stormtrooper

Gear                          1                          1

Grenade                   1                          1

Keywords                 2                          1

Health                      1                           1

Courage                   1                           1

Armor                      -1                          2

Surge                        1                           2

Movement               1                           1

Ranged Weapon     2                           0

Unarmed                  1                           1

Total                         10                         11

So, with this in mind, a Rebel Trooper squad becomes 40 points while a Stormtrooper squad becomes 44 points.

You may believe that the item budgeting is out of whack and black dice should be worth 1 point rather than 2 points, but you have to start somewhere.  Otherwise it's very hard to compare dissimilar items and that will lead to a wildly imbalanced game.    

It's possible they thought that recover was going to happen more often, or they didn't use enough cover in their playtesting and simulations.  Maybe they though armor was going to be a lot more of a thing.  

Edited by Zrob314

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1 hour ago, Kalandros said:

I've played a lot of different miniatures games over the last 10+ years, and many board games.

Every time its the same story for competitive lists - optimize everything to the maximum, find every loophole, abuse everything thats overpowered.

Now my biggest problem with Legion is how pointless and borderline useless most upgrades are - why spend points on upgrading 1 unit with 20 to 30 points of extra things when an extra unit - especially the "cheese" of triple snipers - costs almost as much? Why put a more expensive weapon like the rocket launcher on storm troopers when the DLT is just hands down better?

Why come up with all these extra interesting upgrades only to have no one use them?

 

Why, instead, don't we have a set price for a unit, and within that set price you may select up to 'x' upgrades or 'y' value of upgrades ?

Why aren't all weapon options exhaustible so that both have the same limit but different uses? Different roles.

 

Something like Storm Troopers cost 80 points for 4. 

In that 80 points, the 4 troopers cost 40 - you may select 40 points of upgrades - the officer or med droid being 20 each would leave you 20 more points - either 20 pts for a DLT or the rocket launcher, or points for extra things like recon intel, grenades, etc.  But if you don't go for the more expensive officer / med droid, then you can still take the 5th guy for 10 pts, the weapon for 20 pts and still have 10 pts free for the extra upgrades.

 

What this comes down to is that regardless of how anyone equips their troopers, they will always have the same price - 80 points, and all start equal at 4 troopers - but the cost doesn't increase depending on what you equip on them but rather the cost of upgrades is already included in the initial price, they are just not selected yet. 

 

Storm Troopers  80 Points

- Extra Trooper 10 points

- DLT Trooper 20 points

- Grenades 5 points

- Grappling hooks 5 points

 

thats just an example of how it could work and should work - you pay 80 points regardless of what upgrades you take.

This is actually more restrictive for list building purposes. What if I don't want to take that many upgrades? Which grenade will everyone figure out is the most optimal and then spam on all their units?

Also, the upgrades allow you to fill in that last 30 points or so that you can't fit a unit into.

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1 hour ago, crx3800 said:

Dont get me wrong. This isnt a "bash playtest" point. This is to make the point that the players and designers only have so much room to manipulate and update cards before release. This experience of mine is from other card games, so minis will have some more factors I'm unaware of. I love playtesting, but it isn't perfect. 

 

Playtest. Plain and simple. I've been in a few now. And there aren't enough people testing thoroughly enough to catch everything. That also said, if Player A is the best player in the games playtest (known or unknown at the time) and rocks the rocket launcher every time it gets used (maybe just their dice rolls) and their playtest reports say as much. If there aren't enough people that learn how to be the paper to their rock before the playtest window is over, then the rocket launcher gets printed as it stands. Then the card is released to the masses. Some people take into account additional things like "action economy" and dice averages, and voila! the obvious favorite comes out and takes hold. The rocket launcher very well could have been "good" because playtesters are asked to test everything, which means T47s were on the table as well. 

Another scenario, the first version was busted. PT spends weeks trying to decide how to limit it better, never really landing on a solid agreeable solution. When it comes to crunch time, a solution still hasn't been found, so an exhaust and a points "penalty" gets added to "fix" and it's sent to the printer with little or no time to test the final update. 

I don't think PT would have been to the point where players were "rooting" for their favorite faction in playtest, but sometimes it happens. Those players downplay their "own" upgrades while praising how good the "other guys" stuff is. Bad apples like this can really skew factions before they are "caught." 

 

This kind of recaps my experiences playtesting various games, specifically miniatures ones.

 

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2 hours ago, Kalandros said:

I've played a lot of different miniatures games over the last 10+ years, and many board games.

Every time its the same story for competitive lists - optimize everything to the maximum, find every loophole, abuse everything thats overpowered.

Now my biggest problem with Legion is how pointless and borderline useless most upgrades are - why spend points on upgrading 1 unit with 20 to 30 points of extra things when an extra unit - especially the "cheese" of triple snipers - costs almost as much? Why put a more expensive weapon like the rocket launcher on storm troopers when the DLT is just hands down better?

Why come up with all these extra interesting upgrades only to have no one use them?

 

Why, instead, don't we have a set price for a unit, and within that set price you may select up to 'x' upgrades or 'y' value of upgrades ?

Why aren't all weapon options exhaustible so that both have the same limit but different uses? Different roles.

 

Something like Storm Troopers cost 80 points for 4. 

In that 80 points, the 4 troopers cost 40 - you may select 40 points of upgrades - the officer or med droid being 20 each would leave you 20 more points - either 20 pts for a DLT or the rocket launcher, or points for extra things like recon intel, grenades, etc.  But if you don't go for the more expensive officer / med droid, then you can still take the 5th guy for 10 pts, the weapon for 20 pts and still have 10 pts free for the extra upgrades.

 

What this comes down to is that regardless of how anyone equips their troopers, they will always have the same price - 80 points, and all start equal at 4 troopers - but the cost doesn't increase depending on what you equip on them but rather the cost of upgrades is already included in the initial price, they are just not selected yet. 

 

Storm Troopers  80 Points

- Extra Trooper 10 points

- DLT Trooper 20 points

- Grenades 5 points

- Grappling hooks 5 points

 

thats just an example of how it could work and should work - you pay 80 points regardless of what upgrades you take.

 

I really dislike the current restriction where everyone goes for max activations and seldom takes a bunch of different upgrades because it ends up costing more than a new unit entirely. 

 

Anyway, that was my rant, I know its pointless as it would require an overhaul of all the cards and whatnot~ but I think its a fundamental flaw of the game to be the way it is right now in list building.

I always try different dumb lists, it’s more fun. And I like to bring Leia just to bombard those snipers into oblivion on turn one. Triple s piers is just lame. 

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1 hour ago, Zrob314 said:

Your idea ignores the entire underlying math to all of this.  

Everything has an item budget.  For example, let's have a look at Rebel Troopers and Stormtroopers.  I don't know the actual math but for purposes of this what I have should be close enough.  I see 10 Elements to the card

Gear Slot, Grenade Slot, Unit Keywords, Health, Courage, Armor, Surge, Movement, Ranged Weapon, Unarmed Weapon

So, it could break down like this:

 

Element                   Rebel                  Stormtrooper

Gear                          1                          1

Grenade                   1                          1

Keywords                 2                          1

Health                      1                           1

Courage                   1                           1

Armor                      -1                          2

Surge                        1                           2

Movement               1                           1

Ranged Weapon     2                           0

Unarmed                  1                           1

Total                         10                         11

So, with this in mind, a Rebel Trooper squad becomes 40 points while a Stormtrooper squad becomes 44 points.

You may believe that the item budgeting is out of whack and black dice should be worth 1 point rather than 2 points, but you have to start somewhere.  Otherwise it's very hard to compare dissimilar items and that will lead to a wildly imbalanced game.    

It's possible they thought that recover was going to happen more often, or they didn't use enough cover in their playtesting and simulations.  Maybe they though armor was going to be a lot more of a thing.  

It still doesn't make sense that DLT is the only good option because the 10 extra points for the rocket launcher isn't worth an exhaust.

It still doesn't make sense that you can instead have 3 sniper teams for 44 pts each instead of having 4 extra troopers in 4 different stormtrooper units or different officer/droids/etc, way more valuable to have extra activations to put more suppressions everywhere.

 

But anyway, your entire math doesnt matter because I only had an example, I did not say "IT SHOULD ABSOLUTELY BE THESE VALUES". I was showing how it should be done and not the exact prices they should be.

 

It still doesn't make sense to give us a ton of upgrade slots and in the end, its better to have more activations instead.

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Posted (edited)
21 minutes ago, Pooleman said:

I always try different dumb lists, it’s more fun. And I like to bring Leia just to bombard those snipers into oblivion on turn one. Triple s piers is just lame. 

Except you can't kill those snipers with Leia on turn 1 - if one of the 2 cannot be seen by Leia, only one figure can die. The sniper dies - the scout becomes the sniper instead, the scout dies, there's still a sniper. You can kill 1 of the minis in the team but never both, unless your opponent is out in the open with both.

Edited by Kalandros

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6 minutes ago, Kalandros said:

Except you can't kill those snipers with Leia on turn 1 - if one of the 2 cannot be seen by Leia, only one figure can die. The sniper dies - the scout becomes the sniper instead, the scout dies, there's still a sniper. You can kill 1 of the minis in the team but never both, unless your opponent is out in the open with both.

Why can’t you kill 2 snipers? Leia rolls 2 dice, and there are 2 minis. 

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2 minutes ago, Kalandros said:

It still doesn't make sense that DLT is the only good option because the 10 extra points for the rocket launcher isn't worth an exhaust.

It still doesn't make sense that you can instead have 3 sniper teams for 44 pts each instead of having 4 extra troopers in 4 different stormtrooper units or different officer/droids/etc, way more valuable to have extra activations to put more suppressions everywhere.

 

But anyway, your entire math doesnt matter because I only had an example, I did not say "IT SHOULD ABSOLUTELY BE THESE VALUES". I was showing how it should be done and not the exact prices they should be.

 

It still doesn't make sense to give us a ton of upgrade slots and in the end, its better to have more activations instead.

But you're saying that the internal math doesn't matter while still keeping the external math of the 800 point game.  

You want a squad of stormtroopers to be worth, what 40 points, and all the bells and whistles inside stay the same but don't cost anything.  

Why not just say you can have 8 activation but you're limited to 3-6 corps, 0-3 spec, 1-2 commanders, 0-1 operative, 0-3 support and 0-2 heavy?  You think you're not going to get imbalances then?  You think you're not going to get cookie cutter lists then?  
Any game that relies on a probability mechanic is math.  And 4 is always more than 3.  

And here's your answer:
I'm pretty sure that in the budgeting each point of impact is worth 5 points.  
There's your difference.  Or maybe each one is worth 10 points but they bought them down by adding cumbersome and exhaust.  

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1 minute ago, Pooleman said:

Why can’t you kill 2 snipers? Leia rolls 2 dice, and there are 2 minis. 

 if one of the 2 cannot be seen by Leia, only one figure can die. 
 
He did say this quite clearly.

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7 minutes ago, Zrob314 said:

But you're saying that the internal math doesn't matter while still keeping the external math of the 800 point game.  

You want a squad of stormtroopers to be worth, what 40 points, and all the bells and whistles inside stay the same but don't cost anything.  

Why not just say you can have 8 activation but you're limited to 3-6 corps, 0-3 spec, 1-2 commanders, 0-1 operative, 0-3 support and 0-2 heavy?  You think you're not going to get imbalances then?  You think you're not going to get cookie cutter lists then?  
Any game that relies on a probability mechanic is math.  And 4 is always more than 3.  

And here's your answer:
I'm pretty sure that in the budgeting each point of impact is worth 5 points.  
There's your difference.  Or maybe each one is worth 10 points but they bought them down by adding cumbersome and exhaust.  

Yea ok no you're not understanding me at all.

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21 minutes ago, Kalandros said:

Yea ok no you're not understanding me at all.

Okay, what would you like to see then that is different than what I've put out?

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Posted (edited)

 

Quote

Every time its the same story for competitive lists - optimize everything to the maximum, find every loophole, abuse everything thats overpowered.

That's the fault of players, 110%. It heavily contributed to the death of WFB. The tourney munchkins would try as hard as possible to break every army list then complain that it was broken. That's not a fundamental flaw to Legion or any other game, that's a flaw of competition. Our society has this weird hero-worship for the competitive impulse and views cooperation with open suspicion. But the reality is, competition is a vice and cooperation is a virtue.

Quote

Now my biggest problem with Legion is how pointless and borderline useless most upgrades are -

This is the deadest horse on the forum.

Quote

 

I really dislike the current restriction where everyone goes for max activations and seldom takes a bunch of different upgrades because it ends up costing more than a new unit entirely. 

Then figure out how to beat them with something else. Or stop playing competitively if you don't like it. It sounds like you're complaining that the bars are full of drunks. What did you expect?

Quote

Anyway, that was my rant, I know its pointless as it would require an overhaul of all the cards and whatnot~ but I think its a fundamental flaw of the game to be the way it is right now in list building.

A far bigger flaw is using overlapping keywords and manipulation of order of operations as a substitute for tactics. But post-2000 games, quite bluntly, are more influenced by computer programming than military history. Sadface. Without unrealistic activation systems, there's no activation spam. "It's not meant to be a simulation" annoys be, because that is exactly why I don't play purely abstract games like poker and baseball.

Edited by TauntaunScout

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3 minutes ago, TauntaunScout said:

Without unrealistic activation systems, there's no activation spam. "It's not meant to be a simulation" is exactly why I don't play purely abstract games like poker and baseball.

I don't know man, activation spam seems to conform pretty well to On War by Carl von Clausewitz. Specifically his study of historical engagements analyzing the inherent virtues of quantity vs. quality in foot soldiers.

It would be interesting to have a rule change where you skip the rally step of a unit if it did not receive a face up order token. That would make activation spam lists a bit more unwieldy.

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2 minutes ago, KommanderKeldoth said:

I don't know man, activation spam seems to conform pretty well to On War by Carl von Clausewitz. Specifically his study of historical engagements analyzing the inherent virtues of quantity vs. quality in foot soldiers.

It would be interesting to have a rule change where you skip the rally step of a unit if it did not receive a face up order token. That would make activation spam lists a bit more unwieldy.

It would also further cement the advantage of activation spam lists since they are typically able to place more suppression tokens in a single turn than a non-activation spam list. 

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4 minutes ago, Caimheul1313 said:

It would also further cement the advantage of activation spam lists since they are typically able to place more suppression tokens in a single turn than a non-activation spam list. 

A mechanic to make too many units less interesting by not letting them remove suppression and panicking more easily then?

 

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I think suppression was supposed to be this "balance" factor, but when an AT ST can't even put out the same amount of suppression that a could of squads for less points can, it kinda keep that from being a good balance factor. 

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49 minutes ago, Zrob314 said:

Okay, what would you like to see then that is different than what I've put out?

What I'm suggesting is that when you field a unit - its an equipped unit, a naked unit makes no sense in a conflict - no support, no equipment, thats just nonsense to willingly choose to field that.

So you pay the price for a full unit and you choose how its configured. There needs to be different roles for different configurations and that many configurations are possible without making one stand out from the rest - yes its a hard thing to pull off but at least then you get to use some or all of the upgrade slots on your unit without losing effectiveness because you chose to put some options on them.

 

You could have one of the configurations be more glass cannon - only being able to add a big weapon that brings more firepower/utility while other configurations would be better for scouting ahead or controlling objectives. You'd build your list around that.


Right now its just like in Xwing where minimalist on upgrades is king when you spam vessels and fully loaded out ships cost too much unless they have a very specific gimmick that makes them VERY good to have.

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1 minute ago, Kalandros said:

What I'm suggesting is that when you field a unit - its an equipped unit, a naked unit makes no sense in a conflict - no support, no equipment, thats just nonsense to willingly choose to field that.

Technically it IS an equipped unit. The unit has armour and a weapon. In some armies units are lucky to have both of those things.

Historically, some armies HAVE fielded units without equipment, their role was to just be bodies on the battlefield, or in some cases to disarm mine fields the hard way...

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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, Caimheul1313 said:

Technically it IS an equipped unit. The unit has armour and a weapon. In some armies units are lucky to have both of those things.

Historically, some armies HAVE fielded units without equipment, their role was to just be bodies on the battlefield, or in some cases to disarm mine fields the hard way...

I mean~ yes but then you're not deploying a unit, you're deploying a disposable tool.

In other games youll see such units be different from main big units which will define their role as sacrificial tarpits

Edited by Kalandros

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Posted (edited)
39 minutes ago, KommanderKeldoth said:

I don't know man, activation spam seems to conform pretty well to On War by Carl von Clausewitz. Specifically his study of historical engagements analyzing the inherent virtues of quantity vs. quality in foot soldiers.

It would be interesting to have a rule change where you skip the rally step of a unit if it did not receive a face up order token. That would make activation spam lists a bit more unwieldy.

A lot of games resolve damage simultaneously. It's not mainstream anymore but it's keeps powerful heroes and stuff honest. There's also the option to make movement somewhat more simultaneous. You each move a squad (or two or whatever) until everything has moved, then you take turns attacking. The shared movement and attack phase is a lot better in my mind than the Warhammer way.

More units in a game can have pros and cons, not just pros or cons. There's plenty of times in history that the relative pros or cons of quality vs quantity have come to bear. Clausewitz is very influential but hardly the last word.

26 minutes ago, Kalandros said:

What I'm suggesting is that when you field a unit - its an equipped unit, a naked unit makes no sense in a conflict - no support, no equipment, thats just nonsense to willingly choose to field that.

It makes a ton of sense when we have "units" of only 4 people. Support items like whizzbang-zapguns or whatever are not fielded at a ratio of 1 to 5 souls, it's too expensive. Most people in "a conflict" just have a basic weapon, and (in the game) equipment like walkie talkies and bandaids are presumably present but aren't worth recording in the scale of Legion's rules. 4 stormtroopers or rebel troopers without upgrade cards are far from "naked" and people willingly field comparable stuff all the time.

 

26 minutes ago, Kalandros said:

Right now its just like in Xwing where minimalist on upgrades is king

It's rather hard to sort out the scenarios to avoid having 1 thing be "king". It took Warhammer over 20 years to figure out how to have scenario and core rules that didn't tip the scales heavily in favor of small elite armies. If you crunched more points onto fewer models than your oppoenent, you automatically took the inside line so to speak. These (RPG, wargame, etc) game companies don't exactly have space-race levels of funding for game development. The products look awful slick and polished today thanks to desktop publishing. But the companies themselves aren't a General Electric or Nestle.

Edited by TauntaunScout

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