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pickirk01

Pilot Initiative: Is there a better way?

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Posted (edited)

A couple of recent threads have got me thinking more about Pilot Initiative lately...

Since way back in 1.0, there has been a lot of debate about Pilot Initiative (or Pilot Skill in 1.0).  Everything has been debated:  Paying too much for high Init making cheaper generics a better option, high initiative re-positioning/Coordinate being too strong, ordnance & target locks on low vs high initiative pilots, low initiative blockers, high PI kills, etc. 

Now in a game like this, there has to be a way to decide in which order ships move, take actions and fire.  The question is, "Is the current way Pilot Initiative works to determine the order of play the best way to make a fun and balanced game?"  For me, the answer is yes for the most part.  That doesn't mean we should stop looking for ways that might make the game better.

So here is an idea I had.  I invite others to comment on it, as well as to present their ideas and explain why they think those ideas would be positive for the game.

Proposed Alternative:  Separate the "Activation" Phase into 2 new phases, the Maneuver Phase and the Action Phase.  During the Maneuver phase, each ship reveals its dial and performs its revealed maneuver.  They do this in order starting with the lowest initiative pilots and ending with the highest initiative.  During the Action phase, each ship that is not overlapping another ship (or obstacle based on the current rules for obstacle types), may perform one action unless abilities allow them to perform a different number of actions.

So, what would this do?

  • Low initiative blockers would no longer get an action if they force a bump.  This makes blocking less attractive, though still useful for denying an area or a more potent action from your opponent
  • Low initiative ships with re-position abilities would have a greater game state knowledge to use post movement actions to get or dodge arcs or choose offensive or defensive actions.
  • Low Initiative Ordnance carriers would be able to acquire Target Locks more effectively
  • Low Initiative Turret carriers would have a greater game state knowledge to use rotate actions to get arcs or choose offensive or defensive actions.

Other than blockers losing their action, all of these effects would greatly reduce the advantages that High Init gets over Low, though Initiative Kills would still be in their favor.  Furthermore, any ships with neither re-position nor mobile arcs, would be at greater disadvantage to any ship with these abilities as even an Academy Pilot could now become an effective dodger against anything that can't re-position after the Academy barrel rolls.  The points cost gaps between lowest and highest Initiatives for each chassis would need to be reduced by a significant amount as well as some changes for chassis without re-position or turrets vs those with.

As I said, I think the game is in good shape now and enjoy the heck out of it, but perhaps taking away a lot of the big advantages that PI 5 and 6 ships have over the rest of the field might make for some interesting changes in the way squads are built and the way each turn plays out on the mat.

 

What are all of your thoughts?  Would this reduce High Initiative dominance and the need for bids?  Would it change your play style?  Would it simply be terrible?  Would it bring back Low Init Turret Spam the likes of which we have not seen since the days of TLT's?

Edited by pickirk01

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Posted (edited)

If actions were to go this route I would like to see a basic Ready action instead. Basically everything stays the same but you can take a Ready token as your action then either at the start of engagement or before you engage you can spend that token to perform one(and only one) action on your action bar. I like before you engage because you can choose to hold your action for later but if you do you will be tokenless until you activate. You could always just do your normal action step as well if you don’t benefit from waiting.

Edited by Caduceus01

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I appreciate where your heart is at, but you are also missing another aspect that is a deal breaker for me.

Low I ships lose the ability to reposition to force blocks. The Torrent BR-> evade is probably the best blocker move in the game. Your proposal eliminates that. It would kill blocking, as you can no longer reposition to force a block, or get an action if you caused one. Basically this would kill low I blocker fodder completely, in order to make low I ordinance playable. You’re just shuffling the issue.

 

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Eh, after the fixes in Second Edition heavily curtailing action efficiency and even barrel roll repositioning, I don't find arc dodging to be NEARLY as much of a problem as it was especially since they're no dumbass 360 turrets

...except the exploit han of course

 

Anyway, only real problem that remains imo is getting killed by higher I before you can shoot. 

You can fix this just by applying better point scaling up to named, higher I pilots...or I guess you could try something like alternating activation

First player engages with a ship , then second player, then back and forth until done. No simultaneous fire unless initiative tied, as I feel there'd be tons of draws otherwise

So, keep a I for activation order and simultaneous fire; remove the MASSIVE advantage of higher I firing

 

Or just keep the current system and make sure you actually have to pay for it

 

 

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5 minutes ago, millertime059 said:

The Torrent BR-> evade is probably the best blocker move in the game. 

Until N-1s' release. 3 bank -> Evade -> BR without stress will be so good for blocking.

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You could just make every ship Fel's Wrath and change the timing of "remove ships from board" to be at the end of activation phase.  Yeah you can still initiative kill a ship, but he still gets a shot off before he's removed.  Initiative killing is one of the most feels bad things in the game.  It's not *quite* as bad now that proton torps are on the downhill side of use, but it still happens with Vader out there bringing in a 4 dice beatstick on something before it shoots.

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3 minutes ago, ficklegreendice said:

Or just keep the current system and make sure you actually have to pay for it

I would love to see every named pilot above 30 points go up in points equal to their Initiative in the next update. Then generics and low I named pilots might be an option 

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11 minutes ago, ficklegreendice said:

 

 

s...or I guess you could try something like alternating activation

First player engages with a ship , then second player, then back and forth until done. No simultaneous fire unless initiative tied, as I feel there'd be tons of draws otherwise

So, keep a I for activation order and simultaneous fire; remove the MASSIVE advantage of higher I firing

 

Thought of alternating activation.  My problem with it is how do you handle a 3 ship squad facing a 6 ship squad?  Do the extra ships move first?  Last?  Do you do 2, then me 1, then you 2, etc?

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20 minutes ago, millertime059 said:

I appreciate where your heart is at, but you are also missing another aspect that is a deal breaker for me.

Low I ships lose the ability to reposition to force blocks. The Torrent BR-> evade is probably the best blocker move in the game. Your proposal eliminates that. It would kill blocking, as you can no longer reposition to force a block, or get an action if you caused one. Basically this would kill low I blocker fodder completely, in order to make low I ordinance playable. You’re just shuffling the issue.

 

Actually I LOVE blocking and am quite good at it with my A-Wings.  But imagine if suddenly I miss the block with my A-Wing, and instead of wasting my barrel roll to get the block, I can now barrel roll and boost to get completely behind Soontir so he has no shot on me while I now have a range 1 shot on Whisper.  It works both ways.

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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, pickirk01 said:

Thought of alternating activation.  My problem with it is how do you handle a 3 ship squad facing a 6 ship squad?  Do the extra ships move first?  Last?  Do you do 2, then me 1, then you 2, etc?

Remaining ships go last

So (six TIE V Jedi, Jedi, arc) it'd be TIE, JEDI, TIE, JEDI, TIE, ARC, TIE, TIE; TIE 

Basically Armada, except of course you don't attack and move in the same activation

Edited by ficklegreendice

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Posted (edited)
15 minutes ago, Nyxen said:

I love how everyone's answer to high initiative is to take every advantage away from the High I pilots. Just play no glory if you hate it that much.

 

1 hour ago, pickirk01 said:

A couple of recent threads have got me thinking more about Pilot Initiative lately...

...The question is, "Is the current way Pilot Initiative works to determine the order of play the best way to make a fun and balanced game?"  For me, the answer is yes for the most part.  That doesn't mean we should stop looking for ways that might make the game better.

... I invite others to ... to present their ideas and explain why they think those ideas would be positive for the game.

...

As I said, I think the game is in good shape now and enjoy the heck out of it, but perhaps taking away a lot of the big advantages that PI 5 and 6 ships have over the rest of the field might make for some interesting changes in the way squads are built and the way each turn plays out on the mat.

What are all of your thoughts? 

I high lighted a few parts of my original post that you do not seem to have read.  You will notice that there is no place where I said I "hate" anything.  I was merely offering an alternative idea to spark debate.

Edited by pickirk01
Dang, I sound really pretentious. If I said that to myself at the FLGS I would probably slap myself across the face. Look the game is super fun. I was just wondering if we can make it even more fun.

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10 minutes ago, Nyxen said:

I love how everyone's answer to high initiative is to take every advantage away from the High I pilots. Just play no glory if you hate it that much.

Not every, just parts of it.  They still get the option to reposition and simply not be shot.  Or pick a target and shoot it.  But it still gets a chance to fire back.  And they still have more words on their cards than lower initiative ships typically have.

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I feel the ideas @pickirk01 propose have merit. It likely won't change 2nd Ed. (outside of people possibly adopting it for home games) but I say keep at it. Keep looking for ways to help the game. We all want the best experience we can get. Maybe when 3rd Ed. or whatever happens we'll see something like this.

@Caduceus01 The "ready" is a nice middle ground between what we have and what pickirk01 proposes. Kind of like a the Fuse upgrade that's coming for Devices, but for actions instead.

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48 minutes ago, Caduceus01 said:

If actions were to go this route I would like to see a basic Ready action instead. Basically everything stays the same but you can take a Ready token as your action then either at the start of engagement or before you engage you can spend that token to perform one(and only one) action on your action bar.

We’re already getting this kind of interaction in Wave 4 via the Passive Sensors upgrade, so we can see how it works out.

If it’s successful, we may see it rolled out to future upgrades so that more ships have access to it... ;)

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Feels strange to me, but grab a friend and play it, and report back.  On-table rather than on-forum exploration seems more practical.

25 minutes ago, DexterOnone said:

We’re already getting this kind of interaction in Wave 4 via the Passive Sensors upgrade, so we can see how it works out.

If it’s successful, we may see it rolled out to future upgrades so that more ships have access to it... ;)

I'll say: I kind of hope there's never a Passive Sensors for Turret rotation.

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29 minutes ago, theBitterFig said:

I'll say: I kind of hope there's never a Passive Sensors for Turret rotation.

It's pronounced Luke Skywalker.

I think the current mechanics are fine.  There are just too many pilots that don't pay enough points for the priveleges that high initiative gives them.

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1 hour ago, viedit said:

You could just make every ship Fel's Wrath and change the timing of "remove ships from board" to be at the end of activation phase.  Yeah you can still initiative kill a ship, but he still gets a shot off before he's removed.  Initiative killing is one of the most feels bad things in the game.  It's not *quite* as bad now that proton torps are on the downhill side of use, but it still happens with Vader out there bringing in a 4 dice beatstick on something before it shoots.

This is about the only idea in this thread that is not hot garbage.

Seperating the action from movement will only serve to hurt low I ships. That is if you are a good player and can successfully predict your opponent. It will remove low I ships ability to grab tokens and reposition while blocking.

The OP's idea is a straight up buff to high I ships when flying them against skill opponents. High I ships will have tons more safe locations to move to and still get actions (nothing will boost or barrel roll in there way). Nothing will move in there way and grab a token... 

Want to remove low I ships from the game the OP's suggestion is a great way to do it.

only this forum could think up a massive nerf and call it a buff.

(Just played 8x vultures at a tournament and I guarantee I would have lost games if the OP's suggestion was how the game worked. Reposition/token blocking is what makes low I ships good, take away there one big advantage and say goodbye.)

 

 

 

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21 minutes ago, gamblertuba said:

It's pronounced Luke Skywalker.

I think the current mechanics are fine.  There are just too many pilots that don't pay enough points for the priveleges that high initiative gives them.

Truth.

 

Wedge being 11 points more expensive than an I2 generic is a joke. He should be at least 12-15 points more expensive, before you even factor in the talent slot or his 6+ point ability.

 

Soontir is actually pretty decently costed over the I1 generic. However, if they fixed the initiative pricing, ships like the TIE Interceptor would have to go up in price as a whole.

 

Honestly, with how the Republic has been priced, I'm wondering if they are going to be recosting a significant portion of the other faction ships. Anakin is significantly more expensive than the cheapest jedi, who is an I3 with 1 force.  Even the Jedi with 1 force and +1 initiative over the generic, Bariss, is 4 points higher.

 

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33 minutes ago, SavouryRain said:

Honestly, with how the Republic has been priced, I'm wondering if they are going to be recosting a significant portion of the other faction ships. Anakin is significantly more expensive than the cheapest jedi, who is an I3 with 1 force.  Even the Jedi with 1 force and +1 initiative over the generic, Bariss, is 4 points higher.

Bariss is bad, and I3-I4 is not as important a jump as I4-5, or 5-6. Bariss would be worth it at current price with 2 force.

All other Jedi seem decently priced, with the caveat that the I5/6 meta means only Anakin is a regular performer in competitive play.

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3 hours ago, ficklegreendice said:

Eh, after the fixes in Second Edition heavily curtailing action efficiency and even barrel roll repositioning, I don't find arc dodging to be NEARLY as much of a problem as it was especially since they're no dumbass 360 turrets 

Can you explain this? Logically, arc dodging should be more powerful in a game where all ships have limited arcs than in a game where only some do.

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1 minute ago, Quarrel said:

Can you explain this? Logically, arc dodging should be more powerful in a game where all ships have limited arcs than in a game where only some do.

I think he means "not as much of a problem to perform," in the fact that it is now useful :)

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Posted (edited)
52 minutes ago, Quarrel said:

Can you explain this? Logically, arc dodging should be more powerful in a game where all ships have limited arcs than in a game where only some do.

sure

both arc-dodgers and 360 turrets (1st ed) could dodge arcs

but 360 turrets had infinetly more positions with which they could then fire from AFTER dodging you, making them BY FAR the best arc-dodgers in the game

 

so, we don't have the BY FAR best arc-dodgers of the previous edition, and the arced arc-dodgers have been heavily limited (no more ptl! sure autothrusters SEEM similar, but are actually far more limited because soontir can't just token stack like a dunce when he needs to) making them far more possible to deal with

 

basically, the fact that ships have limited arcs affects both the dodger and "dodgee"

Edited by ficklegreendice

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1 hour ago, millertime059 said:

Bariss is bad, and I3-I4 is not as important a jump as I4-5, or 5-6. Bariss would be worth it at current price with 2 force.

All other Jedi seem decently priced, with the caveat that the I5/6 meta means only Anakin is a regular performer in competitive play.

If they recost everything to be more in line with Republic, then the jump to I4 will be important, because there will be a lot more I4s and under

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