What is the game design purpose of Command Orders? They add a new game mechanism that has to be balanced, added to fleet builds, and then tracked during game. What do they add to the game experience to compensate for that? Here's what I see:
1) A balancing mechanism to compensate for FTB differences.
2) TAC replacement
3) Compared to v2 they mostly RESTRICT choices, since so many previously unlimited options around movement and boarding are now restricted. I think the *goal* might have been to add tactical flexibility, but it's actually doing the exact opposite.
4) That in turn has caused the creation of whole new Specialist MARs, whose apparent goal is to do nothing but reduce the command cost so certain types of ships don't become useless. Having to introduce mechanic B to counteract mechanic A should have been a red-flag.
5) Balancing just seems impossible to me. From working against FTB (and scaling when FTB is set but command points have no limit), to Disorder markers adding a flat +1 to the cost (which means that it increases costs by anywhere from 100% for a 1 point order, to 25% for a 3 point order), to stopping game-breaking combos and auto-includes when there are so many options and you can use so many orders every turn....I spent a lot of time on the v2 beta and FFG--I just don't think this is ever going to balance out very well.
It's 3-5 that bug me, obviously. Even more so with the preview of faction specific orders. It's probably too late, but how about something like this:
Faction FTB Free Command Points
Dindrenzi/RSN/Aquan/Terquai 3 (just noticed that on Aquans, interesting) 1
Relthoza/Bakash/Terran/Hawker 2 2
Sorylian/Veydreth/Directorate/WR 1 3
Additional command points cost 15 MFV per point, regardless of faction. Ops Centre can add a command point, and Dirty Secrets remove a CP (at the start of game, getting rid of the infuriating "ha-ha no you don't" aspect of the current MAR).
No more than 1 command order can be used each turn, per player, and only if the Admiral is on the board . This makes balancing way easier since one per turn means spamming broken combos simply won't be possible; it also makes it easier to balance the FTB/Free command point mix, as opposed to different costs by FTB which has scaling issues..ie FTB is FTB regardless of game size, but it's easier to fit, say 100 MFV of command points into a 2000 pt list than it is 1000 pt, and some factions would get 10 command points out of that investment and others 5.
Each order issued uses 1 Command Point (fix learned from TAC's to again help balance things). Disorder markers do not change this.
You do not have to pre-choose orders like you did TAC's, or buy them back (was unnecessarily limiting and we want to add tactical choices to the game). They are all available at the start of each turn (but again, can only choose one per turn to play).
General Orders Note
Focused Fire Per current v3
Targeted Strike Per current v3
Emergency Vectoring Per current v3, or roll ship from v2, except no damage/disorder done
Solid Repair Removes all ongoing effect markers on a single ship, or 1 marker from all ships in a squadron
Drives To Max +5" move--Much greater move bonus than TAC, to balance with things like Focused Fire
Intel Gathered +4 to initiative check --again, better than TAC for balance purposes
Perfect Timing Squadron of your choice automatically passes Reserve check--again, better than TAC for balance purposes
Regroup Per v2 (I expect this would see more use if you don't have to pre-choose it before a game, at which point it can be quite good)
Generally speaking these orders replace TAC's or add something new (Focused Fire, and effectively Targeted Strike since it was never used). By not having move options as orders (except Emergency Maneuvering, which has a new component and Roll Ship now has a cost so isn't a free way to avoid weapon disabled) it goes to a system that ADDS things, instead of feeling like a change that limits the games' tactical options because movement and boarding are so much more restricted.
Faction orders can then be designed so each faction has 3 or so, and with the same cost 1 balancing factor. I don't know why it was decided that each faction needs 6 orders--seems completely arbitrary and just makes things harder to balance (especially when there are duplicates across factions).