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Hero Walker/Command Walker

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theguildllc said:

a WIP of my command walker for my FJ

001-2.jpg

Amazing!

Hans chassis with Heinrich's legs (and weapons, if I'm not mistaken), plus a medium Panzer MG and some extra bits.

If the weapons are indeed the ones from the Heinrich, did them fit into the chassis snugly or did you have to custom fit them?

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the weapons fit right in, all i did was remove the gun shields, something i wish i had done on the others for my army.  I magnetized the weapons from the honey so I could attach them to the light allied walker from the revised core set (it looks way better to have the .50 cals on the enclosed walker rather than on the walking harley) but the axis weapons switched righ out, in fact im painting the missile launchers too.   will post the finished product in my FJ in Italy Project thread once done. 

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Algesan said:

Of course you have the option of not reading.  It goes right along with the option to not learn anything.  Gimp provides information that can be checked, not just hand-waving.  Certainly, if you aren't interested in topics like historical background or game design and simply just want to munch pretzels, swill beer, push toy soldiers around and roll dice, then by all means, have at it.  That is a whole lot of fun too.

@Gimp

From the RC rules for Self Repair: "A vehicle with this skill contains a skilled crew who can perform makeshift repairs while on the battlefield."

Since the crew is one or two so far, that is why I think it would fit for a hero driving a walker.

As far as the Fireball slogging across the field shrugging off massive amounts of fire while Self Repairing.  There is probably a counter available to the other player.  At least there has been so far for every supposed uber unit so far.  It's still a sick idea, but...

Seriously, I don't see DT lasting as a nice little 9x9 or 9x12 grid for much longer.  Way too much nastiness building up.  5x8 tiles anyone?  500 point armies?

I read that part, but the trick is deciding where the fluff ends, and the game balance has to take over.  I agree there are counters to the Fireball, though I hope it doesn't become a must have vehicle, with a similar must have counter, for competitive play.  I want the model and the rest of its rules to try out the tactics I suggested, both from an Allied and Axis side of the table.

The concept of differing vehicles is why I noted the difference between a Sherman and a Tiger for ease of repair.  A good crew could keep a Sherman running easily, but there were a lot of tricky bits that caused problems for the Tiger, even with an excellent crew.  Varying the cost of Self Repair for fluff reasons would drive some players nuts, but the utility and effective power for different vehicles of the same chassis does exist.  Add in the extra possibilities of different chassis vehicles, and how much to charge really becomes a question.  Not insurmountable, but something every group should expect to work hard to overcome.  Adding +50% is a starting point, but players would have to be willing to adapt based on experience.

 @Major Headcase,

I do not assume I have all of the answers, nor do I expect everyone to enjoy, accept, or even care about my opinions.  I discuss topics I think are interesting, in ways I think are interesting.  I have a lot of fun 'blowin' stuff up' with DUST, with my opponents having fun 'blowin' stuff up' too.

If I thought this idea sucked, I would not have wasted my time writing any kind of opinion about it.  I like the idea of heroic and command crew.  It fits the setting, and fits the historical context.  There were crews that could get more out of the vehicles than other crews, and there still are.  For DUST not to have them at some point would be disappointing.

I like my games to have a logical consistency for their fluff, so it fits better and makes suspension of disbelief easier.  Any ability for any vehicle does not fit that concept, but different abilities for different armies does.

I like my games to have a logical consistency for their rules, so they fit and keep the game balanced and fun for everyone.  If an ability is much more powerful (or weaker) on one unit than on another, there has to be a balance that a simple value may not supply.

If I'm willing to play devil's advocate, and talk about negatives in suggested rules ideas, that's what any good playtester should do.  That's what I like people to do for any rules I suggest for a game.  You can't build a good structure if you don't watch out for possible flaws.

If you don't like my style of post, you are quite welcome to skip them.  I haven't noticed an ignore feature for these forums, but at least you can see my name and know you have no interest.  This forum is for sharing ideas, and not for conforming to any single way to do so.

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That figure looks awesome.  Very well done, sir!

I'd say a command walker should have some of the abilities of a normal command squad, but not all.

You don't have a spare guy standing around for Makeshift Repair or Get Up, but German vehicles were rarely without a radio, so any of the other skills could be appropriate.  Unfortunately, those abilties are also the only ones where the command squad must always be adjacent, and so are less powerful.

Not all commanders would be trained as artillery observers, so you could run without as many skills with their relevant points by leaving out Artillery Strike.

You may want to, because they've acknowledged the power of the command squad with the Revised Core value.

A Kommandotrupp has firepower less than a Recon Grenadier squad, losing the panzerfausts and being reduced to just a knife from knife and grenades.  Without considering those points, the Kommandotrupp is 40 points compared to the Recon Grenadier's 16.  That's increasing the value to 250% while it loses weapon capability. 

The standard Heinrich starts at 26 points, and doesn't have the MG 44.  Using the multiplier they did would set a starting value at 65.  While the MG 44 increases its firepower, I don't expect you'd want to lead from the front with your command walker, so it's less of an issue.  As a command unit, it's going to have a huge target on it from turn one.

Simply giving command squad abilities to a vehicle boosts them, because a vehicle loses no functionality in DUST tactics until destroyed, so you would not lose any abilities as you took damage, compared to a normal command squad losing something with every hit.  That amplifies the abilities.  The Heinrich, while more survivable than infantry, does start with fewer hits it can take.  That would balance somewhat with the increased survivability of the vehicle, but it's still much harder for most units to kill.

Not allowing Makeshift Repair or Get Up would not shift things much, because they have less utility with their limited range, but again, that could offset the increased survivability of the walker.

I would not remove Advanced Reactive Fire, because it is inherent in the weapon as much as in the crew, and a commander would have to be good with their vehicle to get their position.

As a command vehicle, Get Moving, Field Repair, and Come On Guys all would be integral to its position.  It would be odd to remove Field Repair or Come On Guys while normal command squads have them.  Removing just Come On Guys as infantry specific would make no sense, as the two skills are about reinforcements, and a vehicle commander would understand that as much as an infantry commander with Field Repair.  Removing Get Moving would make even less sense, as that is the core of a leadership position.

I'd suggest starting it at 65 points, with all of the radio skills of a command squad. Dropping Artillery Strike might be worth 5 points (the cost of a Beobachter squad), but no more.

 

 

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The 'makeshift repair' could just be the veteran comander tell a subordinate how to reroute power from the scanner array to the engines or some such.  that way he doesnt need to actually put a spanner to the 'bot.  He'd still need to be next to the 'bot to get a good look at what the problem is though, maybe a disconnected coupling.  Drop arty strike for sure, replace with Tank Head (can only be used on own 'bot)?  That would make the command 'bot a bit more survivable without touching the armor or health values.

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The problem with allowing Makeshift Repairs is that I've never seen a mechanic that could consistently diagnose a problem from a distance, and then tell someone over a radio how to fix it.  Makeshift Repairs is a grease monkey getting greasy to cobble together something that gets a vehicle back in the action.  You can tell someone to reconnect a hose, but you can't tell thewm how to reroute cables to get power flowing around a break without seeing what all is broken.

Tank Head would be a huge boost in effectiveness, as it gives full repair with no roll required.  Even if used only on the command walker, it would have to significantly increase the value.  Self Repair would be the same, as well as coming from the fluff issue of not knowing how difficult a Heinrich is to repair.  Consider how much Rosie costs compared to other characters with other skills.  She pays a lot for Tank Head.

A command walker with an unlimted range weapon is a lot more powerful than a command squad with limited firepower and range.  Effectively, they reduced the firepower of the Recon Grenadiers, eliminating its anti-tank capability and reducing its close combat capability, and the Kommandotrupp still wound up costing 250% of the cost for the Recon Grenadiers because of the command abilities.

A command Heinrich is a much more powerful unit than Recon Grenadiers, so you're starting with something much more dangerous.  It doesn't have to close to have a significant effect on the battlefield.  It doesn't have to close, so many units can't do anything about it but hope something else takes it out.

That alone makes it much more dangerous as a command unit than the Kommandotrupp.

You could layer a lot of additional skills onto a command walker, but you'd have to pay a price for each ability, as well as for the command abilities.  Putting too many points into a single vehicle simply paints a bigger and bigger target on it.  A light walker should never have the combat survivability of a heavy walker, so if it cost more, it becomes a liability unless you can keep it alive somehow.

As for dropping Artillery Strike, I suggested it as an option, but I'd prefer it stay.  Some German officers were really bad as observers, but most had at least some level of training in it.

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You know, Gimp, on further consideration I guess I dont see my command 'bot as an army commander but more of a veteran platoon leader (there are after all only 5 walkers in the force, all of them light).  Michael Whitman style?   No reason to give him all of the 'command squad' special rules.  Maybe just counts as always having a radio, and able to issue, 'get moving you bunch of monkeys' (but only to units with a tank armor value), 'makeshift repair' and 'field repair'. 

A word on 'makeshift repair'.  The 'bots in Dust use Vril tech that include; holographic HUDs, advanced targeting computers and an unkown (to me) engine type that uses Vk.  This is fairly high tech stuff.  This also reminds me of my own occasional troubles with my laptop, wireless network, router and modem.  I can usually resolve the issue with a phone call to India, where 'Tom" from Gurblupataci tells me to do something simple but effective like, 'try turning the power on', or 'make sure all you devices are plugged in'.  That usually solves the problem from a distance, but sometimes, I have to call the Geek Squad and they have to resolve it in person.  Point is, I think there should be a chance to 'fix' 'bots over the comms net.  My platoon leader, a veteran of many engagements and heat-of-the-moment trouble shooting fixes, may well be able to tell one of his platoon members how to fix something minor (that would in game mechanics be reflected by a wound loss).  Imagine for instance that a 'bot takes a hit and all the HUDs go off-line (takes a wound), the paniking crewman yells into his mic that he's blind and is going to DIE!!!  This veteran squad leader (who really needs a name and rank at this point, so lets go with Hauptman Kurt Steiner), who has had a similare experiance before, calmly tells his subordinate to try and hit the 'reset' button on the main controll panel.  He does and it works (wound restored).

Also, 'field repair' would be more of a calling in of re-enforcments.  Oh and I have to have that MG42 (WYSIWYG).

SO, somebody slap me up a card with a pic of my 'bot.  Name's Hauptman Kurt Steiner and he has all the stats of a Heinrich + an MG42 and the command rules as listed above.  I will give you one (1) internet.

Oh and, Gimp...Rosie never has to pay for Tank Head...

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Makeshift Repair requires you to be adjacent and automatically heals one damage point on the vehicle for the cost of one action.  So not so bad to have him pull up, look at the walker's damage and yell at the crew what to fix.

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Starting in reverse, my point on Rosie was her 20 point cost paying for Tank Head, and not any specific in game cost.  She adds four damage like many commanders, has some combat capabilities, and only the single skill.  Manfred adds one more damage, is better against infantry, though less effective against vehicles, and doubles a unit's movement once per game, for only 16 points.  Tank Head is the biggest part of the 25% higher cost for Rosie.

I love the MG.  It adds a nice touch.  Combined with an unlimted range weapon and a desire to limit the command vehicle's exposure to threat, though, I would expect it to get fired much less frequently than the 20mm guns.

I also see Field Repair, and Come On Guys, as reinforcement options.  A suddenly repaired walker or healed troop unit would start where they were, but a replacement would come from off board.  I see the limitation of bringing back an eliminated unit more to make people think about initial force selection, rather than allow them to bring in a brand new unit type of equal of lesser value.  That might be a fun scenario option, but I like making people think about initial force selection, especially in a game with no specified standard force compositions.

I can picture a lot of people thinking about Makeshift Repair as similar to computer problems, which are frequently software or ESO (Equipment Smarter then Operator) issues.  I think of them more like damage from an auto collision.  They are repairing combat damage.  Tech support isn't need to tell you to fix you flat, and would have a hard time knowing to tell you how to rewire your vehicle's computer around damage that blew out wiring.  One point of damage on a Heinrich is a Heinrich one third disabled, and not just with a minor glitch.  Military vehicles love their tech, but very few are built without manual controls for when power goes out to some systems. 

A commander is also more likely to simply bark a command for a panicking subordinate to get hold of themselves and soldier rather than suggest repair options, as they have a much bigger picture to think of (they are running the battle), and the individual vehicle commander has to be trusted to have learned from their training.  Coddling a subordinate like that is something militaries have learned and trained sergeants and above to never do, as it undermines unit effectiveness.

I don't see DUST command squads as anything close to an army commander.  The force scale is way off, an army commander would only be that close to the action in desperate circumstances, and wouldn't be part of a combat command squad.  I don't see command units as more than platoon and company commanders.

Even as a platoon commander, they would be tied into the force command net, with communication to all units, so limiting a walker command unit to only being able to give Get Moving orders to vehicles, especially when an infantry commander can issue them to walkers, doesn't make sense.  A vehicle commander could call for immediate support from friendly units (Get Moving and help!) as easily as an infantry commander.

I suggested 65 points for a command Heinrich with Artillery Strike, Get Moving, Field Repair, and Come On Guys from the command squad abilities.  I hadn't worried about points for the MG to start.  I noted Artillery Strike as worth about 5 points.  If you want more of a cost break down; Get Moving is probably worth close to 18 points, while you could estimate Field Repair and Come On Guys as worth 9 each, and have your MG for 3 points.  Get moving is the most potent, as it takes a unit that could already be in position, and allow it a possible unanswered second strike on the enemy.  I base those values as part of the 250% cost of the command abilities, and not as specific costs applied to other walkers.

Artillery Strike fits, because officers get basic training in calling for fire, but leaving it off could be for an officer who wasn't good at it, and knew it.  No officer wants to be the one that called friendly artillery down on their troops.

Get Moving should work for all units, because a commander in contact with the force would be in contact with all of the force, and not only be able to push for action from either walkers or infantry.  They couldn't do their job if they couldn't send a mission request to the right kind of unit, and vehicle commander's know some things are better handled by Infantry (and vice versa).

Field Repair and Come On Guys are reinforcement requests, however they want to title them, and any commander in contact with higher echelons should be able to request additional support when they see it is needed.  Again, they should be able to see the flow of battle, and any commander should be able to request reinforcements based on the battle's needs, and not be restricted to only infantry or vehiclular options.

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   TO: theguildllc,

   I think it all comes down to just how "real" and complex you want your gaming style to be. Do you want it to be a stand in for a real-world battlefield leadership unit? Or do you see it as more of a sci-fi, mecha-hero type of thing?

   Both ideas have there own merit. A more grounded realistic unit will take carefull consideration of all of its abilities, and the effect on all levels of game play ( wich to me, in a game full of aliens, giant robots, and talking gorillas, isnt realy that atractive! ). On the other hand, a more sci-fi/mecha hero style will give you more freedom to play with ideas, but runs the risk of being a bit less reliable in the rules-balance department. Fun, but a little seat-of-your-pants-wreckless! ( I vote WRECKLESS! but I'm wierd.)

  The hero-walkers my freinds and I have made have all been of the "mech ace" type, and all of the skills we have chosen have had the stipulation that they can only effect themselves or their target, no repairing other units, no orders to any one else, just there own skills helping them in battle, so we havent had to worry about the balancing effect of command type skills. Its simple and very fun.

  In our idea, the added HP doesnt have to represent a change to the walker, it can be the pilots willingness to fight on with terrible damage, or his ability to do some self repairs, just to keep fighting. The +1 Attack die represents not a better gun, but better gunnery skill, or just a happy trigger finger! this takes the focus off of a special skill you have to have rules for, and focuses on the EFFECT of the heros abilities in an abstract way. and then the 1 skill you choose can be something dramatic for game play- charge, berzerk, advanced reactive fire, or supierior reactive fire if the walker already has advanced, those kinds of things.

       Even a skill like "fast" doesnt need to be a change to the walker, it just be a pilot who moves his machine with less caution, striding ahead with confidence, while the other walkers move slowly, scanning for targets.

      Those are just my musings on the subject, based on how my group does things.

     Have fun blow'n stuff up!

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@Gimp, I think you may be missing the joke on Rosie...

I dont mean 'army' as a millitary body composed of corps battalions divisions etc, i meant 'army' as the force being deployed to the table top.  And looking at the heros available to the game so far, with the exception of Joe, they dont really influence the army over-all the way command squads do.  Their skills and rules are more for themselves or a single squad they've joined.  So I'm prolly not looking for a 'command' walker at all but a 'hero' walker instead.  And why should my hero or command 'bot be good at their job?  Maybe they are just bad and lucky like Ciaphas Cain or Flashman.

Though in the future I may want an actual command walker to boss my all mech force around.  Anyone ask Mr. Chambers if there would ever be such a ything?

@headcase, seat of your pants blow stuff up is me too.  Will have to go back through these posts and see if your formula for adjusting the 'bot/points is in here.  I like the idea of maybe +1 health and shooty dice for certain points plus a skill.  Will have to go with Tank Head, though only on own 'bot.  Stay wreckless.

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theguildllc said:

@Gimp, I think you may be missing the joke on Rosie...

I dont mean 'army' as a millitary body composed of corps battalions divisions etc, i meant 'army' as the force being deployed to the table top.  And looking at the heros available to the game so far, with the exception of Joe, they dont really influence the army over-all the way command squads do.  Their skills and rules are more for themselves or a single squad they've joined.  So I'm prolly not looking for a 'command' walker at all but a 'hero' walker instead.  And why should my hero or command 'bot be good at their job?  Maybe they are just bad and lucky like Ciaphas Cain or Flashman.

Though in the future I may want an actual command walker to boss my all mech force around.  Anyone ask Mr. Chambers if there would ever be such a ything?

Not missing the possible joke on Rosie, just ensuring what I meant was clear.

When you talk about army and platoon commanders as different things in a game where the scale is company level, platoon commanders are what you're going to be dealing with on the table, perhaps with the company commanders around if things go bad and they're needed.  The norm in WW2 was five vehicles to a platoon, and around thirty infantry, with around three platoons in a company force.  It's semantics, obviously, but I lived the life of a sergeant, so I think like one when people talk about the military.

As for the heroes, I disagree that Joe is the only one that has a widespread influence.  While his impacts the initiative roll, a unit coming in with something like Heroic Attack can have a huge impact on the overall battle much stronger than a single initiative dice available each turn.  You have to face a lot more from Zombies with Totenmeister keeping the unit alive with her serum, or Markus making the Gorillas have a three space attack range Charge every turn.  Put Johnny One-Eye with the Gunners, and you have a range three 10 dice attack vs Armor 3 infantry every turn.

Joe adds a single dice to initiative, which is nice, but not a major tactical concern.  It's an initiative edge.  Any unit with special abilities has to be considered based on their level of threat, and that means each hero adds something to any unit they're with, or can affect, even if the actual unit only gains the extra hits for damage.  Good threat assessment is important for a good commander.

Major Headcase's ideas for allowing heroic walkers gives a decent base, especially when you add the further stipulations he noted that the group has to approve things.  The later stipulation he added that no skills can affect walkers other than the hero's limits abuse even more.  That can keep you from having Steel Rains with Badass commanders, or any of the other obnoxious ideas pointed out previously. 

You may be happy playing with fast and loose rules for it.  Games don't need to be balanced to be fun, and so long as everyone is willing to play the same way, it can be lots of fun (and yes, I have enjoyed a lot of games played that way). 

You asked for ideas on point values and abilities, and so I gave some to you based on my considerations and interpretations of rules structure and balance, as opposed to quick and easy.  If you play with everyone having a command walker with all of the abilities of a command squad, yet no additional cost, you could still have fun so long as everyone wanted that.  You could do the same thing with heroic walkers, and allow every player to have a free skill for no cost, and so long as everyone was happy, it would be working.

Adding point values suggests there has been a serious attempt at working within competitive game balance, as that's what the points are for; so I'd rather play a fast and loose game as exactly that, with no pretentions of attempted balance, and devil take the hindmost. 

As for Mr Chambers being asked about possible command walkers, who knows, he may have been reading this.  It's certainly been stated here that command walkers would be a logical thing to add.

Points added without concern for their actual balance are simply smoke and mirrors, so stop pretending. Play and have fun without them.  Don't lie to yourselves; simply enjoy your game.

Balance isn't required for fun, it's only required if you want an even competitive playing field. 

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yes sir!  im sorry sir, for engaging in conversation and entertaining contrary opinions, sir!  I promise, Sgt Serious Pants to take everything you say as gospel from now on.  No more smoke and mirrors without consideration of balance.  and no more lying to myself, sir. and...oh who am i kidding...wheres that ignore button...?

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   To: theguildllc,

   My gaming groups HERO-WALKER formula is in page 1 of this thread, with a few refinments sprinkled about! Basicaly it goes like this:

    All hero walkers get +1 HP, +1 AD on primary weapon only ( you must pick one if walker has multiple ), and 1 new pilot skill. If the hero is an existing character then the added skill must be one that is on the heros original card. If the hero is a new creation then you can pick the added skill from the revised rule book ( NOTE: in my group, all skills chosen must be descussed and rules of play in a walker agreed on befor the game ). If the chosen walker already has skills/abilities, the hero version also gets to retain these. All chosen skills can only effect the hero walker or its enemy taget, no skill can be used on a freindly unit, so no healing, or orders. A hero is not always a leader. Just crazy-lucky!

   the points cost is like this: A hero walker of an existing hero is 50% of the points value of the cheaper of the two, added to the points value of the more expensive unit.(i.e. Sigrid in a ludwig would cost 50 points-her 20 devided by 2, plus the Ludwigs 40 pts= 50 pts.) The 50% reflects the loss of the heros added effectiveness when joind to a squad, and the loss of the heros inherent weapon AD. An original hero walker is point costed at 150% of the point value of the chosen walker type.( i.e. an Original Hero Ludwig would cost 60 pts.) This reflects the stat increases, and the usefullness of getting to chose the +1 skill.

   Give it a try in game with some victims... I mean friends! just make sure all skills are settled on befor you play, and if something sticky comes up in game, dont use it, just imagine that the "invincible mecha" lever in the cockpit broke off!!

  NOTE ON CHOSEN SKILLS: reactive fire skills seem to be level, like an RPG skill tree, so we decided that Advanced Reactive Fire could be chosen as a skill for a walker that doesnt have it, Supperior Reactive Fire could only be chosen if the walker type already had Advanced Reactive Fire. no jumping all the way to Supperior in one go!

   Have fun blow'n stuff up!

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theguildllc said:

yes sir!  im sorry sir, for engaging in conversation and entertaining contrary opinions, sir!  I promise, Sgt Serious Pants to take everything you say as gospel from now on.  No more smoke and mirrors without consideration of balance.  and no more lying to myself, sir. and...oh who am i kidding...wheres that ignore button...?

You missed the point of my post.  I'm blunt, but I never expect people to do things the way I do, nor do I only play games a single way.  I play games for fun, because that's what games are for.  Point values are for balanced competitive play, but are not needed for fast, loose play.  Balanced, competitive play is a lot of fun, but so is fast and loose gaming where people are simply kicking back and letting loose.

Playing fast and loose is not a contrary opinion for me.  I noted I have played many games that way, and enjoyed myself.  I've played games by points where one side or another was outnumbered better than four to one, with no scenario rules to redress the balance, and had a grand time.  Playing, and blowing things up with friends, was what the game was for.  I've played WW2 historical games for years without using any point values for many battles, and just fielding TO&E vs TO&E, and never had a problem having fun with it.  Unbalanced scenarios can give an interesting perspective to gaming, and making historical units face their historical opposition can be a fun challenge..

That is a strength for wargaming, that it can be fun balanced with specific points and scenario guidelines, or played fast and loose simply for fun.

For fast and loose play, where each player can bring something with an assumed large scale equavalence in value, why bother worrying about point values for those added units?  If no real effort is made to actually define the added abilties' value within the context of game balance, what do the arbitrary points mean?  If everyone can take a heroic walker, then why worry about point values for fast play, and just let every player, side, or whatever take a heroic walker.  If someone decides not to field a heroic walker for a battle, that simply becomes their choice to handicap themselves.

For a light walker under the suggested fast play values, the cheapest is 22 points, and the most expensive is 28.  That gives an arbitrary addition of 11 to 14 points for a heroic version.  Using the available characters, they range from 16 to 24 points, which would increase the value of them in a walker by 8 to 12 points.  If everyone could have a light walker, the maximum difference in heroic value is 6 points, which is really not much.  That's a single extra observer squad. 

For a medium walker under the suggested rules, the cheapest is 28 points, and the most expensive is 40.  That gives an addition of 14 to 20 for a heroic walker without a known character.  That increases the maximum difference in heroic value  to 12 points, which again, is not that much.  That's two observers, or a single sniper team.  Neither option allows enough points for a single full sized combat squad or additional vehicle.

That little might help, but it won't guarantee victory. 

Major Headcase's idea for allowing skills for heroic walkers is fine, and quite playable for fast and loose gaming.  Assigning points for it, however, doesn't mean anything unless the points mean something other than something pulled at random to have points.  The system would play just as well simply allowing players to take a single skill for a heroic walker, or assigning a specific point value for light or medium heroic walkers.  Nothing would interfere with the fun in any of those cases, but any assigned points would be meaningless from a force balance perspective.  I pointed out a rationale for assigning a starting point value for the Heinrich Command Walker at 65 points, but it would play just as well with no point change if the opposition had the option to take a command walker, as well.

Using the points could suggest to other players, however, that the values had been researched and playtested to have something other than an arbitrary validity.  If people want to try and use unbalanced point values as valid for competitive play, they become a problem. 

Because they have no real validity, they lose meaning.  If they have no real meaning, why use them?

Use the heroic walkers, and have fun with them.  If I ran into a group using them, I'd have no problem playing with them unless they wanted to use them in a competitive tournament situation.  There, any point values need to have a defined and verified meaning, or the game suffers.

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By way of illustration on the problems with arbitrarily assigning points, so my point is more clear, consider this scenario:

Four Axis players decide they want to create a walker platoon team, each piloting a Ludwig walker.  They want to theme their walker platoon as a fast reaction force that gets to the objective and siezes it, so they all figure out they want to use Assault.

The first player to get to the game picks Stefan as their pilot, and so gains the skill for 8 points.

The second finds out they missed out on Stefan, so they choose Manfred and pays 9 points.

The third misses out on them, and chooses Lara, and pays 11 points (10 if you round down).

The last to arrive has to choose the skill without a character pilot, and pays 20 points.

Their Allied opponents had the same idea with Pounders, but only have one character option with Action Jackson for Assault, so they pay 12, 20, 20, & 20.

You have five values for the same skill in equal cost walkers. 

Do you randomly pick one value for all eight walkers?  If so, which one reflects the true value? 

Do the Allies have to pay a total of 24 more points for their four walkers?  Should each side simply get one value from their characters, with the Axis players paying 8 points each, and the Allies 12 points each, perhaps?  Why is that balanced?  Point costs says it should be.

If each walker could simply choose a skill without points, the situation would not exist.  If each class had a set cost for skills, while the values would not reflect actual game balance, they would at least mean people would pay the same for the same value vehicle with a specific skill.

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Peacekeeper_b said:

Wow, the fun has been totally sucked out of this thread.

I'm sorry you feel that way. 

I've tried to keep a balance between thinking of balanced competitive play and fast and loose play just for fun, and wound up offending some people through misunderstandings.  No offense was intended, but neither should any position be ignored because of misunderstanding.

DUST has room for both balanced competitive and fast and loose play, or even people like me who enjoy both. 

Because I've run a lot of competitive events through the years, and have found players sometimes overlook balance in favor of simple mayhem that suggests balance; I tend to play devil's advocate in favor of balanced competitive play.  I've seen too many good games die because balance was forgotten.

I'll support anyone's right to play however they find is fun, but see no reason not to explore all of the options with healthy debate.

Forums are for discussion and debate, but even heated debate can remain civil and worthwhile if the participants are willing to make the effort.  While I have obviously succeeded in offending some, I hope most will accept that I was attempting to present logical arguments for functional discussion and debate.

As I've noted, I like the idea of allowing people to field heroic walkers, but any points assigned to such abilities need to address game balance, or they are not worth using.  The idea could have merit even for competitive play, but it needs competitive balance to do so.  The idea is fine, but only for fast and loose play until functional point values are derived.

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  Actualy, I hava to say, Gimp is right about the arbitrary points cost.

  When you think about it, useing an existing Hero in a walker shouldnt have any effect on the points cost at all. Stat wise, the Walker is the only model that has any effect on the game. The Hero's stats and combat abilities are conpletely void because you dont use the card at all. so the heros points cost ( based on its weapons and HP, and special skills ) have no relevence at all. The walker, no matter wich Hero is used, has all the same stat upgrades, only the skill has any baring on the Hero used.

   I would say that ALL Hero walkers should cost 150% of the base walker cost, regardless of wich hero is in it. Simply make all Hero walkers like Original Hero Walker as stated above. If you want it to represent an existing Hero, just CHOSE that Heros skill as your free skill, and NAME it after that Hero!

   This would have the drawback of removing the Hero card from your list of playable troop units, but thats another discussion ( what about rule for Heros leaving a damaged walker? or the chance of surviving a destroyed walker, and continuing to fight on foot!? lots of ideas percolating!)

   Good point Gimp, keep'm coming ( just try to do it in 5000 words or less! gui%C3%B1o.gif)

   I will bring this point up with my gang of geeks and try it like this in the next game.

   Have fun blow'n stuff up!

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Major Headcase said:

 Good point Gimp, keep'm coming ( just try to do it in 5000 words or less! gui%C3%B1o.gif)

I don't know how to do small posts.  Hey, wait a minute...

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That actually does work for balancing (generic 150% cost, +1 wound, +1 attack die, one skill) better than trying to put a "real" named hero in.  Forget the quibbling on the skills, pick a couple or three skills to limit controversy and then run some battles of 3-4 hero walkers vs. forces with no hero walkers. See what wins.

If the hero walkers win consistently, your points are too low, if the other side does, your points are too high.

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Make sure and mix up who plays with what, as well.  Sometimes what units gets a skill makes a big difference, and sometimes it's what player gets the skill that matters.  All gamers are not created equal, however much some players think games should be able to make them that way.

For setting skill point values, you should play without the increased attack die and wounds.  Those modify the vehicles' abilities more than some skills will.  If you have players with a good statistics background, you could come up with some modified values based on probabilities for some things, though others are more esoteric in effect, and will need to be played by several players several times to get a better handle.

Every game should be viewed for playtesting, with people trying to break the system.  If you don't stress the system, you won't find systemic errors.

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