Thanks for answering!
We've finally hit the state of the world where some small ships can pew pew at each other via the medium of dice once again, initial clashes aren't matching up with your experiences, still ending up with sufficiently decisive casualties on one side that VP's couldn't possibly swing it. Possibly there are some distinct meta differences?
Our meta at a glance:
*Randomised "Common Encounters" (I frequently default to calling this the "scenario"
*Terrain is scattered randomly about the board with minor adjustments for sanity (i.e. off of other terrain, off the table, etc.)
*Singular terrain set of 3 pieces of land (3"x6") 4 obstruction (1"x3") and a pair of reefs (2" circles) going off my memory
*Most games effectively resolved in turn 2 by one of the RNG effects (Attack dice, the more pwoerful cards) with one side wiped by end of 4
Current gameplay meta:
*Shroud generators are king
*SRS do not achieve enough to justify taking them
*Union has done poorly
*Enlightened, Ottomans and Russians have specific fleets with proven ability
*Cards are only played as Valour, Victory effects not being enough to offset scenario/casualty points
I do wish that there was a more open dialogue rules wise with the devs. I've played a lot of games over time, the one that held my interest the most consistently tends to announce rules changes and the thought process involved, it's be super neat to see something along those line on the announcement blog here.
Well, new orbats were posted and it involves the generators being re-worded and now costing a flat +10 pt swap. Buffed Magnetic and Repulsion; weakened Fury and Atomic. Shield stayed the same. They changed some of the faction generators, and removed some generics generators as well. (Commonwealth no longer gets Repulsion Generators :sadface:)
I am uncertain of what to make of the Shroud Generator. They also reworded it that the attacker can ignore the ship as the Initial Target. The rules haven't been been updated, but I speculate they are going to change how Initial Targets are chosen and maybe they are introducing screening.
I will reiterate my point from an earlier post that I wish orbat changes were announced in some way. They don't have to go into detail, just a "Hey, we updated the rules to these factions".
I would like to say that I think some great points have been made. I also am a huge fan of DW but have started running into one rules issue after another. That being said some of this is just opinion but some of it is just confusing, especially for new players.
1) Movement Step PAGE 18 gives to many ways to cheese extra turning radius out of the template. Its easy to pick points on the ship that are not flat and you can fudge extra turn radius, this is not even always a purposeful action.
2) Critical damage, getting a Catastrophic explosion actually seems to be not really as strong as some of the critical. why is this?
3)Defenses PAGE 23, In the explanation of defenses it states "Before the Action Dice have been rolled for an Attack, the Initial Target may declare it will be using its Defenses." it later says "each Model in the Unit within 4" of the Initial Target (and with the relevant Defense), adds +1 die to the Defensive action Dice Pool. This does not prevent those same models from being able to use Defenses themselves during the same Activation."
Question: what is the point of having to declare you are using your defenses as there is no limit to you using them at lest that is stated in the rules anywhere that I can find. Secondly why would you even mention that the aiding another model in the unit does not stop you from using your defenses if there is no stated limit?
4) OPERATIONS STEP PAGE16, ":During Operations each Unit is able to perform a variety of actions Typically, units will launch fighters and bombers, submarines may set their dive-plans to go into deep running, or Aerial units may go into ta steep climb to rise up into the clouds."
There are no rules for dive-plans, or flying into a steep climb, also there is NOT a variety of actions models can do.
5)ORBATS are a bit confusing the way they are doing all the Traits and Special rules. They need to clean this up. Simple things like removing the concept of special SRS tokens and just having it say that you get (4)Blitzen bombers and then give rules for the BB in the top , getting rid of the extream range special rule and just making a 4th range band all in all clean it up.
6)Dice, the whole Heavy Hit doing (2)hits is a little silly. You have a 1/2 chance to hit at all, a 1/6th chance to do (1)hit, a 1/3 chance to do (2)hits of which 50% of the time you get to roll an extra die. I do not understand the point of having the Heavy Hit do (2) hits.
7) Generators are super cool but I agree are kind of pointless. What good is removing (2) dice from a attack pool when they are going to throw 30+ at you. Seems kind of pointless maybe if it was 2 from the main weapon and 2 from each support but anyways, I'm just agreeing they are a little underwhelming but they are so cool conceptually
OVERALL I think the game is fun but if we are going to pull new players in and their hard earned money it needs an overhaul. Massive balancing, reworking of a lot of the rules, cleaning up wording and adding all the content. My hopes are that once they drop the last (2) factions they will put out a 3.5 rule set. Or an ADVANCED play rules set. Fix SRS tokens from being just a lame weapon that doesn't need LOF and make them something more the models are great lets get them on the table flying around.
The team has done a lot of great things I just hope they continue to move forward and clean up and fix the issues. It feels like I'm playing a Beta game that had a beta for 4 years.
Sorry, but I certainly cannot agree assaults favour attackers. They get an average of about 7-10 dice (of course there are dedicated vesels getting more) and face an average of about 14 dice back. Sure, they get Exploding Hits, but given you need to win by 5 points to do anything of substance in victory? With 5 of the 60 V/V cards counting Explosions on defence and 10 more of them being rerolls, I would say that the odds almost always favour the defender.
I love that DW has been revived, but I see some huge mistakes made during development that will mean resistance to taking up the game by new players, and a lack of model sales for new content because of serious holes in the rules. Given the models are where the money comes in for the company, that one in particular is a huge problem.
Wording needs to be tighter and more consistent. Wording is important. Rules have inconsistencies and outright conflicts which make interpretation difficult (I’m looking at you generator wording now directly conflicting with itself. Intent is obvious, but in a game, you NEED to have as clear wording as possible for rules, otherwise players simply state “well it says this so that’s how we play it”). Lack of good standards within the game leave players with few tools to expand/contract games and have a level playing ground with pick-up games. If you’re using fleet composition to sell models, players just won’t play; Fix the game design.
OK, for those actually interested in the game getting better, I’ve identified a few things that needs looking into (From my own experiences, obviously), and I’ll go through them below. Wall of text incoming! I’ve organised these three points in order of sequence (to make subsequent points make sense) not order of importance. Importance would be point 2, point 1, then point 3.
1) OK, wording needs shoring up (pun intended) big time. Currently, units hiding behind an underwater obstacle cannot be shot at if you cannot draw LoS, but for some if you can draw LoS, that iceberg doesn't stop your torp (yup, if you're target is small, that obstacle blocks you but if you aren’t, torpedoes are magic!). The wording for Generators continues to be contradictory (a unit may only replace one gun in total, but all models must replace… wtf is going on there? Don’t insinuate meaning, be clear). These kinds of things sound small, but again, if you have all the other table-top games to pick from, and you read this and go “well, I don’t really know how this works or that works, I’m not bothering to try it because they clearly can’t do a good job”. This is not an attack on the devs, this stuff is hard, but I expect better and I think working on this will go strides to improving the game, limiting confusion, and integrating new players more easily. As an example, I mean, Crown got a sub that has a hull saw that literally cannot ram anything that isn’t a submerged unit… Why? Why is this in the game? Its main weapon is a ram it basically can’t use, and a speed so slow it will never get into position before being blown away. What nations is so brain dead it would waste resources building something like that? And there are others like this, this is just an obvious one that jumps out at me as having no thought behind it at all.
2) OK, this one will be long because it is involved. Couple of things here need to be addressed but it circles around balance, style of game and intent. Firstly, I want to say, in general, awesome work with simplification of core rules. I think that was thrown out the window recently, but the early work was solid and well thought out. However, I think serious issues, especially as release goes on, were introduced through the over-simplification of some elements, and I think the devs are starting to (either consciously or unconsciously) see it as well. Starting with weapons, this is a huge problem. With no deviation between ships weapons, there are VERY clear winners in each category (mass1, mass2, mass3, etc) for what is a great ship in the ORBAT, and what isn’t. I think this primarily stems from a lack of options available to rules writers to give flavour and to balance. This was a huge mistake and I think it needs addressing now. It also means all ships must be offensive ships in some way, so support ships that aren’t offensive, are bad choices, end of story. I think the one exception is the Hypatia, (because sustained just means re-roll card all game) given its high offensive output and ability to spread obscured to nearby ships.
Leading on from this, generators. Because the game is now highly aggressive, range band 3 is extremely deadly, and with weapons being overwhelming, virtually all generators are poor and not worth sacrificing offensive power. Shield generators (for example) were intended (in the old game, and I don’t necessarily want this replicated necessarily, just for context) to give protection as you close. Because MOST weapons were poor at long ranges, the shield generator was meaningful to stop that chipping damage as you closed. Now it is the biggest waste of points ever. If you want defence, always go shroud. It stops explosions, means devastating only does 2 damage, and generally makes your free 2 vp Battleship might not cede those points to the enemy. Some custom generators are decent, and they are meaningful, but the core ones are awful. I think this stems from extreme offence, and removes meaningful choice from players (look at my point above and hopefully dots are starting to join). Who wants +2 speed, or whatever nonsense the magnetic generator is doing with SRS (seriously, SRS are bad…)? All of these are trumped by shroud, because obscured is the single best defensive measure (outside of possibly the Empire Generator) so they aren’t options worth considering. I think that is poor, and stems primarily from a highly offensive game that leaves no room for defensive or utility choices. Aggressive game is fine, but it needs balance if you want other utility. If the players and devs can barely see the difference in factions that’s a huge problem, and I’ve seen the questions pop up in the forums. You can simplify rules and make factions have depth and difference between each other.
This finally leads to ship design. One reason the old game of naval warfare was so successful is ship classes actually meant something, and had a head nod (not much, but enough) to historical designs, meaning designing ships within class intention was possible in the game, and players had some idea about why this smaller thing called a destroyer wasn’t as powerful as this big thing called a battleship. Because of simplification, this is not a concept in the current edition, and that hurts dev flexibility, player choice and game fun. Battleships, with one or two exceptions, are nothing short of pathetic for example. Because of the need for protection, they have two guns, despite having twice the deck space of a cruiser. So, why take it? A cruiser squadron is a better investment in every way. Oh right, no flexibility to adjust guns, can’t play with ranges (same reason) and you HAVE to take one. I can see the devs kinda realised what was going on, and the ORBATS are getting super restrictive with how many different kinds of units a player will take in a battlefleet. That is a SERIOUS indicator your game design is not working, and it needs addressing. You won’t sell different ships if people don’t want to take them, it’s as simple as that. If you want to compete, and make cash, you need to make model variety important, or stop pretending the chaff ships are worth it and don’t spend dev time making them. Potentially devs can get around this with ship packs, and I won’t say that won’t work, but your players will quickly realise what you’re doing and likely won’t enjoy that feeling.
This was a long section, but it highlights some really entrenched problems. I think it is a good time to fix them, both in approach and actual numbers, but it needs attention now, not later.
3) Finally, comp stuff. Now, this might seem like a section for people who go to tournaments, but it isn’t. This is important for all players. You can make them optional if you wish, but if you want new blood (i.e. more sales because old players will hang onto old models if possible), these need to exist. Standards help players unfamiliar with each other have agreed systems and baselines to work with when setting up a game, and give players an insight into how the game is balanced and what changes to those standards might result in. That’s not to say players can’t do what they want, but it means doing whatever you want isn’t the standard set. First off, terrain. How much terrain is expected to interact with the game and make all ORBAT choices as meaningful as possible (yup, referring to point 2 again). Is the game balanced to no terrain? If so, why is terrain included? I assume the intention is to have some (it makes tactics more involved which is good for player creativity and engagement), and if so, how much? It doesn’t need to be specific, but something like “20%-30% of terrain is encouraged for standard games” is a good line to set the expectation, but not enforce it (just an arbitrary number range I made up). What is the standard game size for 4x4? Is it 4000 points? If so, do you think it’s fun half of a players list won’t see the game? If not, how do players get around that? You could say” “duh, play on a 6x6”, but does that have some impact on ranges for example (I see Antarctica suffering heavily on a longer-range map like that)? Will close range units become useless and therefore never taken? Again, players can ignore this, but these core ideas are extremely important not just for players navigating unfamiliar groups, but also as a core game design baseline for how things work and are expected to work. There is no game that solves 100% of problems, and that’s why good games have these rules, because players know what the expectation is, and where stuff stops working, or might start getting a bit wonky. This section could be done last, but it needs to be done.
OK, wall of text over. I’m super happy this game got resurrected. The original dev team (Spartan) understood real life naval warfare enough that it permeated the game in aesthetics and design, and I think that really brought players in (it certainly did for me who never even thought naval gameplay could be fun). They had serious issues with complex rules but the new guys correctly identified that and tackled it! Please don’t throw away non-rules concepts that gave the game life and depth, such as class roles, design roles, etc. These don’t have to be Historical either, they just have to make sense, and be intuitive enough to navigate! I want to see the current devs grow fat off a great game, and players loving the many things they can do with a fleet. Anyone reading this far, discuss and actually think on it! I think if this game is to succeed as a game, these points need to be addressed and have meaningful, not token, action given to them. Core problems proliferate through games with poor design and players realise it unconsciously or not. If discussion remains civil and not “oh, you just do this and magic happens!”) maybe the community can rally around and work this out. With Covid still looming the better the game is, the more likely it succeeds financially.
I’d love to hear ideas, ponderings and objections, but make sure we are attacking ideas, not each other. The purpose of this post is not to hate, or generate friction, but instead to generate thought and discussion.
The seeker torpedos is simple maths, and it easily is getting that many successes. They have 24 dice in rb 2 (with 9 inch movement that should be achievable pretty easily). You get exactly 4 of each roll of the dice. so 4 explosions, 4 heavy hits, 4 singles, etc. You ignore obscured because of homing and re-roll blanks. So before re-rolls, you have 20 successes. you get 8 more dice (4 from explosions, 4 re-rolls of blanks) which is another 6ish successes (one heavy, one explosion, one single plus probably another heavy hit or explosion so closer to 27 successes). It's not very hard to achieve that many successes, and Diogenese have a small attack pool... It's more worrying seeing ~24 dice or so with sustained, because if you aren't rolling heavies or explosions, you just re-roll and aim for extra dice. you can really ramp up the damage quickly. 20 successes nearly sinks a cruiser so small pools like that are great for that kind of thing. Taking a Brandenburg as an example, 28 successes cripples it (4 through the armour, 2 extra from double citadel, has 6 hull points before cripple). Not very hard to hit that cripple level. It's why I think Capital ships are so rubbish. Enormous point sink for ~ 1.5 cruiser damage output (assuming no generator) and very easy VP's to your opponent. Their just... not meaningful. As above though, one or two exceptions to that rule.
You average ~3 counters on a Brandenburg (which has a decent SDV of 7) so it's not hard to break through and get those 28 successes needed (not counting escorts because they are so trivially easy to remove if it's important to cripple it. 1/4 of its hitpoints and a crit is also a good result). You will have even more chance if you save your command re-roll or re-roll card for it, depending on the situation. Lots of ways to stack up those explosions.
As far as spotter goes, it's a nice skill, but you paid ~250 or more points for it, which feels like a waste. Sustained is nuts strong as an ability, but it doesn't seem 250 or more points strong to me for the one, maybe two squads that have it (usually with smaller pools of dice in a lot of cases like gustavs and the like... but I think gustavs where great until shroud took over). Remember, only models firing extreme range weapons get that rule, and only for that weapon. Now if it gave sustained for any model shooting at that target with gunnery weapons... then I'd agree to using SRS. If you use them as air defence, again, it's a ****-tonne of points to do so... and you can just not shoot that target and instead shoot the carrier. If the carrier is protection itself, sweet, you shoot rockets elsewhere and hit it with guns, it's not hard to subvert that problem. On crits, given the amount of cards and rolls you get to repair them, I've had 4 games of 30 where they were annoying. Lots of cards to insta-repair crits or disorder so not a huge issue if you get them. an attack run of 8 SRS is 16 dice minus counters. For the same points, I can get 35 gunnery dice at the same range and no counters... I don't see the attraction, the maths just isn't there.
Now, If people want to use X ships, friggin go for it. My concern isn't enjoyment, that is subjective and doesn't necessarily revolve around balance (although I find people who use bad units tend to complain that their favourite unit sucks). Circling back to my initial post, there are clear winners and losers. SRS are definitely losers as far as I can tell. They don't output good damage, their flexibility is so weak it's actually not helpful, which is rare in a tabletop game... usually flexibility is king, and their protection only works effectively against an opponent who wants all missiles (or other air weapon). The Templehoff is one of the cheapest fleet carriers and you could instead buy pretty much 3 bluchers which will be way more effective, and won't lose effectiveness as quickly as damage mounts.