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thinkbomb

realities of new factions ... (op ed)

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Posted (edited)

So ... here's the lengthy discussion portion of adding new factions, and why that would ultimately require a 2.0 in order to work.

tl;dr there's actually design philosophy challenges that necessitate a change.

 

If you followed X-Wing, you'll know they went through their 2.0 renovation recently.  One of their biggest talking points in this was the issue of faction identity.  What that boils down to is having a distinct feel between playing as Rebels, Resistance, First Order, Empire, and Scum ... as well as having multiple archtypes within each faction.

To illustrate that point: The Rebels and Resistance were initially bundled together in the same faction in 1.0  .  In 2.0 one of the core defining archtypes that the Rebels embraced was a 'group hug' mentality: flying in squadrons and assisting your teammates through special abilities.  The Resistance developed a sort of 'show off flyboy' archtype which rewarded skilled flying (high risk high reward Dependant on lining up your shots).

They also had signature abilites and upgrades for each faction that kinda helped defined them.  For scum it was a card "dead man's switch" where your ship would explode damaging all nearby enemies upon defeat (which personified dirty tricks / recklessness).

So heading back into IA (and this is strictly skirmish speaking) ... it's going to get a lot harder to better differentiate the separate factions with the existing rules.  A big part of this is that the different groups as is don't have as solid of archtypes within their abilities.  And then you'd have to push it out to the other factions.  Defining what it is that makes a massive group of various clankers different than various imperial troopers, for example.

It also gets muddied quite a bit for the Rebels and Republic.  Rebels have star players and some support troops ... but republic is going to be kinda the same thing, but with key jedi support and loads of clone troopers (Which is oddly going to make them bleed into the empire).

 

So yeah ... with a 2.0 they could introduce a few more tools to work with.  While there's a couple natural ones they could borrow from X-Wing 2.0 (calculate, force tokens), they could also add a couple new ones (off hand: targeted, which would be a debuff-inverse of hidden).

Additionally something I've kinda noticed that has a lot of room for play would be upgrade slots (basically just a cleaner iteration on upgrade cards).  For example, paying an extra point to have your jet troopers ignore figures during line of sight checks, similar to the app.  This would also allow for re-usuable force powers and whatnot.  These upgrades could significantly improve diversification in that regard.
- fringe benefit is that upgrade cards could easily carry over into campaign

There's also the benefit of adding more codified tools to remove word-salad cards.

(personally, dreamland wishing, I'd prefer a rework of strain with deployments so that most common units could have 1 endurance.  Being able to strain-forward 1 space, or have a buffer against bleeding, or have that strain be consumable with abilities = loads of room to play with)

Any rate, those tools would allow for an easier time differentiating between factions and making each more satisfying to play separately as.

 

There's also the campaign play issues (which, admittedly, that's what our group is 100% about).

Time line restrictions would make significant portions of your plastic figures unplayable from one campaign to the next.  I mean ... it'd be pretty jarring to be playing a battle for Geonosys republic campaign, when suddenly Kylo and FO troopers storm in.  (granted, our group would probably pull that crap anyway for kicks and giggles, but still).  Honestly you're kinda looking at a starter-sized big-box for each era (just to provide enough figs for the repub/cis and FO/resisty).  While some campaigns could benefit from being in fringe eras (rise of resistance, fall of republic), most players would demand more era-only campaigns than most.  Which, really would require a lot of R&D and plastics.

 

So, yeah ...

I'd love to see a 2.0 ... the rework on all this stuff could benefit and clean it up significantly.  But it does come with a lot of issues.

IA just hasn't caught on pure fire enough to merit a rework like this (blister packs aren't hotcakes sellers, for example).

Edited by thinkbomb

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There is a big difference between offering a $60 box that expands all aspects of the game and let's you grow your collection, and offering $150 worth of 2.0 stuff while saying "thanks for spending all that money, now everything you own is useless and you need to buy it again."

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On 4/19/2019 at 1:15 PM, Rikalonius said:

TLDR.  X-wing 2.0 was about money.  

Well sort of, but not in the way that you mean.

X-wing 1.0 was in its death throes because of SEVERE imbalance issues.

FFG would release a new ship or upgrade that would just WRECK the game environment (Jumpmasters, Phantoms, TIE Defenders, etc). And some new ships were dead on arrival because they couldn't compete with the broken ones.

FFG would offer a "fix" in the form of new cards that were designed to nerf certain overpowered builds, but these fixes created their own problems. A lot of the older ships couldn't compete against the ships that had fixes, or were never good to begin with.

Some ships were only playable because they had ONE pilot with a good ability. The games namesake, the X-wing, was a terribly obsolete ship after the first few expansions and never really achieved much success outside of Biggs who had a ridiculously powerful ability.

2.0 sensibly introduced an app that could readjust ship/pilot costs to adjust for power fluctuations and new expansions, as well as pulling overpowered cards from official play.

It also updated all of the old ships to be on par with the new ships. It breathed new life into a game that was beginning to die.

And I Am.now excited about X-wing in a way that I haven't been in years. That's a beautiful thing.

So yes, by fixing the game with a 2nd edition, FFG has ensured the survival of the game and a continued revenue stream. It was a smart decision that worked for both the company AND the fans. It was a not a naked cash grab of the sort popularized by GW where everything gets more expensive but nothing is ever fixed.

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Slipjoint said:

It was a not a naked cash grab of the sort popularized by GW where everything gets more expensive but nothing is ever fixed.

Perhaps not, but I just finally got around to updating to 2.0, and between the Core Set and two of the Conversion Kits, buying from my FLGS at a healthy discount because they had a sale on, it cost me £104 GBP... just to be able to keep playing with the ships I've already got, for a game I don't even play that often (but when I do, will be playing against people who want to use the latest rules). That really stings and for sure leaves a bad taste in my mouth - why wouldn't it?

Maybe X-Wing 2.0 is "fixed" compared to 1.0 (I don't play it often enough to comment) but if that's the case, I've just had to pay a lot of money to fix a game that I didn't break, FFG did. And all I got for it was a bunch of bits of card that probably cost about £3 to print and were sold at £46.99 MSRP. Don't tell me FFG didn't gouge as much money out of the 2.0 upgrade as they were able.

23 hours ago, thinkbomb said:

I feel like explaining R&D costs to a crowd hurt over essential purchases is a waste of my time.   see ya.

Bye.

Edited by Bitterman

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3 hours ago, Bitterman said:

Perhaps not, but I just finally got around to updating to 2.0, and between the Core Set and two of the Conversion Kits, buying from my FLGS at a healthy discount because they had a sale on, it cost me £104 GBP... just to be able to keep playing with the ships I've already got, for a game I don't even play that often (but when I do, will be playing against people who want to use the latest rules). That really stings and for sure leaves a bad taste in my mouth - why wouldn't it?

Maybe X-Wing 2.0 is "fixed" compared to 1.0 (I don't play it often enough to comment) but if that's the case, I've just had to pay a lot of money to fix a game that I didn't break, FFG did. And all I got for it was a bunch of bits of card that probably cost about £3 to print and were sold at £46.99 MSRP. Don't tell me FFG didn't gouge as much money out of the 2.0 upgrade as they were able.

 

Bingo.  This right here.  Why couldn't they just release a free app that went through 1.0 and fixed the problems.  Still, X-wing perfectly encapsulated my long-standing argument that all player vs player board games eventually become imbalanced, and end up with a very small subset of pieces that are actually viable, to the point of killing the game.  FFG sure made a good business decision.  They understand that so many gamers will part with their money with no problem to fix the company's mistakes.  Can you imagine if you car had a recall part and you were asked to pay for the repair?  People would be apoplectic.  But you slap 2.0 on it, and it's all, "take muh money" 

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From the perspective of a guy with only a middling collection of X-Wing ships (three starter sets from poorly coordinated birthday gifts and a couple of miscelanious fighters bought mostly for looking cool), the idea of needing to drop $100 just to let both my fleets be viable is absurd. It's one of the issues I have with FFG's "cards in the box" style of producing--sure, GW is profit gouging you out the wazoo, but when they break the game, they can just say "Whoops, let's release a new book that corrects the old books," and then everyone buys the new book with marginal grumbling. When the rules are collected not in a book but on cards, it becomes very hard to correct it without leaving a lot of confused customers wondering why their boxes have obsolete cards.

Connecting this back to IA then: There fortunately doesn't seem to be much danger of this happening. IA is a boardgame first, skirmish game second--thus, I expect 2.0 to come replete with new models, new tiles, new rules, new... Everything!

The concern, then, might be that IA 1.0 is now obsolete, but not at all--it's a completely different game, with its own rules and models and whatsits. Sure, as players with full collections of personalized builds it can be frustrating to start from ground one again, but you're spending your money on real product (models, rules, tiles, cards, etc.), not on a fixer for old product (just new cards and tiles).

I am hopeful for IA 2.0. I feel like IA different enough from FFG's other titles that it can stand its own, though perhaps with some repurposing (it might need retouching to stand out against its strapping you get brother Legion). Anywho, hopefully that wasn't terribly incoherent.

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