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Commodore Jones

Played a game with some of the V3 rules.

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Friday, Hermit and myself tried out the V3 rules as presented using some hodge-podge conversion to V2 ship stats to try them out.

Attacker/Defender: Wasn't thrilled with this at all. As I've stated in an earlier thread, the dice didn't favor me and Hermit took the Defensive (or whatever military-pompous thing it's called). I felt the Initiative bonus to FTB wasn't balanced against a regenerating Command Point by a long shot.  For a 1000 point game, I started with 9 Command Points and was out by turn 3, while Hermit, started with 5 and still had 4 by the end of the game at turn 5.  Watching your opponent get a guaranteed bonus while you have to rely purely on chance with only a slight edge, NOT fun.

Fleet Percentages: We both tried to break it.  1000 point fleets, I went with a pair of Terran Marshals, a Regent with Xelocian Escorts, fully upgraded Sentinel Squad, and a Pilgrim squad. Hermit had an Eliminator battleship w/a pair of Impacts, Works Raptor battlecruiser w/Torp Cruiser accompaniment, Annihilation gunships, Nemesis Destroyers, Liquidator frigates.  Then came the suck of deciding how much to spend on damned Command Points. I didn't have enough to points left to get a Hawker frigate squad like I wanted so I just spent it all on 7 extra Command Points. Blew 3 of them right off the bat on Focused Shield Harmonics on the Regent.  With Damage affecting how many wings can be fielded I wanted more shields on it to keep Bombers and Support Shuttles on the map.

Placement/Deployment: We both agreed the forced order of deployment was a no-go.  Neither one of was wanted to place our Tier 1's out first, especially at this small of an engagement size. We both wound up with one of our Tier 1 squads in less than optimal starting positions.  This whole forced placement order does absolutely nothing but hinder and limit your tactical options during placement. Worse with the new Scout MAR rules.  I'm a Hawker player primarily, the one thing I  DO NOT want to do with my Endeavor frigates is race them up their full movement on the first turn!  I want them to hang back and torpedo the snot out of things until turn 2 or 3 then rush up from cover and gun-blast things to the next incarnation.  Keep Scout the way it is. 

Ooohhh better yet, do both versions!

Scout MAR: Once a squadron with the Scout Model Assigned Rule is deployed, it can make an immediate, free movement action. The Fleet with the most models with the Scout Model Assigned Rule can redeploy any one of its Squadrons after all Squadrons have been deployed on the Game Board. (This way you get to keep the awesome that is V2 Scout and at the same time not frak-over every other player who just happens to have fewer ships with Scout MAR.)

Ok Scout MAR ranty thing aside, this new deployment rule stinks.  It does my biggest pet peeves of a new game edition, IT TAKES AWAY MY OPTIONS! DON'T TAKE AWAY MY OPTIONS!!!

Activations/Gameplay: Overall the game did play faster, not because of the new movement rules, that didn't change anything. Heck once I figured out how the new turning method used with V2 Turn Limits gave everything effective -1 to turning limit, movement happened even faster once we figured out how to apply the old templates to map out potential moves.

What really sped up the game was how amazingly fast ships died! The 8 hull point Regent bit the dust before it could even activate on turn 2, never got to try out Cyberwarfare. Two hits, a PD Crit and Crit+Hit with a roll of 7 on the Crit table and it was gone!  The same thing happened to the Gunship squadron, sort of, a quadruple-crit from the Marshals beams at RB1 instantly ended one and torpedoes rolled a Crit+hit and a Hard Pounding ended the other in the single activation.  A lot of the other mediums got brought down like this, either a crit+hit or a the-most-common-crit-roll of 7 Hard Pounding instantly put mediums 1 point away from death, or holed out the battleship and battlecruiser rather quickly.  The Eliminator died in turn 3 (had a planetary cover for the first two turns), the WR Battlecruiser was ended by the two remaining Sentinels and the Marshals in Turn 4 along with one of the Destroyers falling to Crit+Hit w/Hard Pounding.

Command Points, I started with 9, spent 3 on +2 Shields rest of game on the Regent (fat lot of good it did! :angry:), 1 on fix Point Defense down crit, 3 more on a Emergency Vectoring to keep an engine crippled Marshal from crashing into the planet, the rest went to removing Disorder Markers from a cruiser and the carrier.

Hermit started with 5 Command Points used Power to Engines and Gravity Slingshot a couple of times, that Defender bonus regenerating Command Point kept him at 3 or 4 Command Points at the start of every turn.  As I said above, frustrating as all hell when your own point count is rapidly dwindling and your opponents practically stays the same.

Overall as I stated in a previous post before it got deleted for language, the whole Command Point system leaves a bad taste in my mouth because it smacks of Microtransactions/DLC from PC/console games being ported into tabletop.  All the cool commands we used to have for free in previous editions of the game are either gone for good (Ramming, Split Fire, Belly-Up, Safe Terrain Moves) and the basic commands are there (Basic Commands/Maneuvers, TAC's) but only if you pay for it (Command Points out of your MFV) first now. Plus with the new more upgrades/commands (Faction Commands) are also only available if you pay (Command Points purchased). And if you don't pay, the other players who actually do drop the money (MFV) on them get mad bonuses over you and just pwn you and make the game no fun to play.  That's the reason I'm not a electronic gamer. Please don't bring that poisonous play-method into my beloved tabletop game.

Weapons Systems: Well Beams were still the same, no problems there. Nukes got gimped all to worthlessness.  Even with fast-death from Crit+Hits and 7's, Nuclear never triggered at all. Even then 0-2 Disorder markers aren't jack in comparison to V2 Nukes. I don't like it, smacks of more Dindrenzi-love/Terran-hate that seems to be so prevalent in V3 (looking at you Kinetic vs Shield). Bio-Hazard didn't matter as ships died so fast it didn't have time to affect anything. Same for Corrosive, dead before it mattered. Didn't use the Primary/Secondary/Tertiary, the whole concept strikes me a totally unnecessary, especially since it mostly applies to that god-awful Focused Fire.  I hate it in Planetfall, I double hate it being ported into Armada where it's not wanted of needed at all. We might try it later when we can either come to a group consensus as to what-qualifies-as-what in V2 or we see V3 beta ship stats. But I'm doubtful. 

Disorder Markers: Let's get to the point, I HATE, LOATH, and F-ING DESPISE  the Disorder rules in Planetfall.  Seeing them ported into Armada? NO! I cannot emphasize this enough without getting banned from the boards for bad language. Disorder in V2 Armada is bad enough as it is without making it epicly worse by importing that Planetfall hot-mess in.

SRS: I was actually kind of impressed with the performance of SRS under these rules.  It's rather nice that your ships Point Defense actually does more than jack-squat and actually accounts for something.  The SRS dieing fast isn't an issue with the regenerating wings, but I foresee a problem. With Point Defense being so effectivenow, there's going to be carrier spamming, especially carriers/carrier-groups with 10 to 12 Wing Count.  You want those Bombers to get through, you now need that ablative Interceptor cover, as many as you can get.  So expect large capacity carriers to become the fleet spam norm.   Other than that, like I said, carrier was gone before it's second activation, didn't get to do much it's bombers and support shuttles.

I could see just porting this back to V2 and fixing a whole lot of issues, without the baggage of the other V3 stuff.

Scoring: Felt like I was playing V1.0 again, I find I once again have to keep a notebook and pencil handy to keep track of my score, of the Command Point expenditures, calculations of a squadron's TV, and TV countdown till end of game.  Kind of a bookkeeping hassle compared to the simplicity of just a Battle Log Track and a few Tactical Ability Cards.

 

That's all I got so far.  I may update after a few more games with the rest of our gaming group.

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While I whole-heartedly agree with some of your points, particularly about Deployment and Scouts, I think you're vastly overstating the command points in conjunction with the attacker/defender rule.  By your account, you started with 9 points and used them all by turn three.  Your opponent started with 5, and ended with 4 on turn 5.  You used 9, and he used 6.  He had a potential benefit of 50 points over the course of the entire game, of which he took advantage of 10 points worth.  While there's many things I don't like about the order system, from a pure math perspective your opponent got basically zero advantage whatsoever from being on the defense.  You ran out of points because you used more (and more expensive) orders than your opponent, the bonus points he got did basically nothing at all.  Out of curiosity, did the +1 initiative win you a turn that you would have tied/lost?  I would guess probably not, both the bonuses are extremely small in the course of a game.

Again, I'm not super-happy with having a full extra system layered on top of the game to track separately (TAC cards were easy to use, especially in comparison to *this*).  I just think the issue is far more fundamental in the order selections and usage than in the attack/defend split.  I still think that's *also* a needless complication for no good reason at all (and another random thing to track), but not because I think a few CP spread over an entire game will be decisive, or at least be decisive more often than that +1 to FT will allow you to go first and get in an unanswered attack.  Figuring out how many points to devote to CP is going to be a learning process for everyone (and not one I look forward to).

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...how would you feel about +1FTB vs regenerating command points if the player with the FTB bonus also got a once-per-game free win on the Initiative roll?

 

...it's not within my power to grant, but I do agree that the bonuses need a little evening up, and that's an idea, I guess.

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1 hour ago, Polaris said:

I play to attrition, the longer you play, the more that 1 CO matters, especially when the points run thin, and disorders are heavy

Of note though is that ships seemed to die considerably faster so an attrition strategy may not be as effective any longer as your ships may not actually be around long enough to build up a numbers/activation advantage.

Also am I the only one who thinks the basic design paradigm of ships dying faster is lame? I went to all that effort painting them, coming up with names for the ships, building up some history (yes I do run RPGs, why do you ask?), having them blown up super quick sucks.

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@Commodore Jones, thanks for the game info.  This is helpful feedback.   I've a couple of questions for you:

8 hours ago, Commodore Jones said:

The 8 hull point Regent bit the dust before it could even activate on turn 2, never got to try out Cyberwarfare. Two hits, and Crit+Hit with a roll of 7 on the Crit table and it was gone! 

Is my math off here?  I'm counting only 6 hits to the Regent from what you've noted here.  I'm guessing that there was some extra damage, just not noted.  Still, that much damage on turn 1 seems more unlucky than anything else.

8 hours ago, Commodore Jones said:

The same thing happened to the Gunship squadron, sort of, a quadruple-crit from the Marshals beams at RB1 instantly ended one and torpedoes rolled a Crit+hit and a Hard Pounding ended the other in the single activation.

The Hard Pounding result on the critical chart only results in 3 damage, so the damaging critical (crit+hit) is doing 4...there was damage elsewhere I'm assuming.  Still, I get your point...it's no fun to lose ships on turn 1.

Command Points:   Did your opponent not have opportunity to spend lots of points, or was he making a conscious decision to use them sparingly?   Given the current framework of costs (and I do realize how much you hate them), how many points would you have reasonably used if you had them available?  

Focused Fire:  can you elaborate on the issue you have with this firing option?  Is it the point cost, the bonus, or something else.  I don't play planetfall, so I'm not familiar with any issues that game has with it.

While I didn't quote/comment on other parts of your feedback, I'm not ignoring it.  This kind of battle report is helpful.  Also, if you (and everyone else) wouldn't mind adding a few pictures, just so we can see the layout of terrain and size of board, etc.  

Thanks

Mike

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Focused Fire is, in Planetfall, bar none the worst rule idea ever.  It promotes sitting still and sniping at people instead of moving and being flexible.  It unduly rewards the force with longer range bands.  It makes getting into close combat a frustrating game of dodging from terrain to terrain hoping to keep out of LOS.  It also pretty much single-handedly lead to a massive re-write of one of the armies (Relthoza) and completely screwed over customers who had bought the force.  It's just *bad*.  In Armada, we've done a few test setups with guesstimates on which weapons will get which designation for Focused Fire range bands.  We're probably off, but the overall takeaway is that it also promotes campy, unstimulating gameplay in Armada as well.  You camp behind a thick asteroid belt or a planet while you wait for something to get in the proper range band for some 3+ hit love, which also seems to correspond to the highest AD on a ship and makes the problem even worse, and then jump out and completely demolish your target.  It's just a bad concept.  Stuff already takes damage easily and the new crit table kills you off faster, and then you add in *another* bonus to take damage?  I guess having everything die in the first two turns is one way to speed the game up, but it isn't an option that anyone in my group is interested in.

@Hive  I think the attacker actually just needs to get +3FT each turn, the effect of the FT bonus card.  This gives them a free order every turn that has to be +FT, and the Defender gets a free CP each turn to either use on a 1-point order or save for something bigger.  Seems more fair to me in the long run.  Still not a guarantee of going first, but an advantage equal to getting a free order in exchange for less flexibility on what the order is.

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9 hours ago, Spartan_FA_Mike said:

@Commodore Jones, thanks for the game info.  This is helpful feedback.   I've a couple of questions for you:

Is my math off here?  I'm counting only 6 hits to the Regent from what you've noted here.  I'm guessing that there was some extra damage, just not noted.  Still, that much damage on turn 1 seems more unlucky than anything else.

The Hard Pounding result on the critical chart only results in 3 damage, so the damaging critical (crit+hit) is doing 4...there was damage elsewhere I'm assuming.  Still, I get your point...it's no fun to lose ships on turn 1.

Oops, I forgot to list the PD Offline crit in there. Fixed in edit.

Quote

Command Points:   Did your opponent not have opportunity to spend lots of points, or was he making a conscious decision to use them sparingly?   Given the current framework of costs (and I do realize how much you hate them), how many points would you have reasonably used if you had them available?  

He deliberately went for more ships for activation advantage over me and just spent his loose points on Command. He didn't have much reason to use them, Grav Slingshot on the battleship, power to engines on the battlecruiser and both were in RB2 to pound my carrier, Directorate Destroyers have Stealth Systems instead of Hidden Killer and didn't need Full Stop and Destroyer range bands don't need extra movement to close in. A few uses of Solid Repair and Disorder removal was all he needed since we mostly rolled 7's for crits, and Defenders bonus of regaining a Command Point each turn kept him from ever really going down much at all. As for me I burned 3 on Shields for the Carrier whole-game, had to use one to fix a failed PD repair roll, 3 points on Emergency Vector to keep a Marshal with Main Drive Failure from crashing straight into a planet, and the last two to fix the Disorder Marker from that so I could afford to fix the Main Drive Failure.  Had I the extra points to spend, the Cruisers would have had Power to Engines and Gravity Slingshot played on them and gotten to fire support range of my carrier sooner.  The Battlecruisers would have had Grav-Sling for a turn maybe two, to preemptively strike at the battleship and maybe spare the Carrier the death blow.

Quote

Focused Fire:  can you elaborate on the issue you have with this firing option?  Is it the point cost, the bonus, or something else.  I don't play planetfall, so I'm not familiar with any issues that game has with it.

Paladin 21 summed it up perfectly in the post above. Plus, personally I see it as a more of game-breaking Cheat-Code kind of thing. Just out of the blue for no reason whatsoever BAM! I get a +1 to hit bonus, just because I'm willing to spend more than you (see my Microtransactions/DLC comment). Also because we didn't want to take the time to hash out and possibly argue over which weapon system on each ship was Primary/Secondary/etc. and therefore got whichever Focused Fire bonus at whatever Range Band.  Basically more stuff we didn't want to have to keep track of.

Had the camera with me, I'll try to remember to use it next time.

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may also second the increased bonus to FTB? a plus one, means directorate on attack against dindrenzi, are still at a disadvantage for FTB, and while getting cheaper CO, dindrenzi free CO each turn, in there fleet a value of 20pts, (a whole frigate) in my fleet a value of 10, still makes up the cost in a couple turns, leaving the dindrenzi advantaged across the board

turn the tables, and now the dindrenzi have a solid 3 FTB lead, but what difference does that really make over 2? meanwhile, my directorate not only have cheap CO, but regenerating CO, he'll dry up, and i'll be focusing fire every turn...

the attacker/defender bonuses favor the defender, that's not always a bad thing, in flip scenarios, ill try to take your planet, then you try to take mine, but as is, defender will usually win (unless the fleets themselves are unbalanced)

my 2 cents :) 

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@Commodore Jones

Personally I feel v2 Nukes while nice in that cinematic sense were really clunky because of the book keeping to mitigate them.

I do think a better direction for v3 Nukes would have been to investigate something like +1HP damage on a Crit, so a normal (non 7) critical would do 3HP, retains that cinematic feel of devastation while not requiring clunky movement book keeping.

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8 hours ago, Commodore Jones said:

Oops, I forgot to list the PD Offline crit in there. Fixed in edit.

He deliberately went for more ships for activation advantage over me and just spent his loose points on Command. He didn't have much reason to use them, Grav Slingshot on the battleship, power to engines on the battlecruiser and both were in RB2 to pound my carrier, Directorate Destroyers have Stealth Systems instead of Hidden Killer and didn't need Full Stop and Destroyer range bands don't need extra movement to close in. A few uses of Solid Repair and Disorder removal was all he needed since we mostly rolled 7's for crits, and Defenders bonus of regaining a Command Point each turn kept him from ever really going down much at all. As for me I burned 3 on Shields for the Carrier whole-game, had to use one to fix a failed PD repair roll, 3 points on Emergency Vector to keep a Marshal with Main Drive Failure from crashing straight into a planet, and the last two to fix the Disorder Marker from that so I could afford to fix the Main Drive Failure.  Had I the extra points to spend, the Cruisers would have had Power to Engines and Gravity Slingshot played on them and gotten to fire support range of my carrier sooner.  The Battlecruisers would have had Grav-Sling for a turn maybe two, to preemptively strike at the battleship and maybe spare the Carrier the death blow.

Paladin 21 summed it up perfectly in the post above. Plus, personally I see it as a more of game-breaking Cheat-Code kind of thing. Just out of the blue for no reason whatsoever BAM! I get a +1 to hit bonus, just because I'm willing to spend more than you (see my Microtransactions/DLC comment). Also because we didn't want to take the time to hash out and possibly argue over which weapon system on each ship was Primary/Secondary/etc. and therefore got whichever Focused Fire bonus at whatever Range Band.  Basically more stuff we didn't want to have to keep track of.

Had the camera with me, I'll try to remember to use it next time.

CO expenditure here makes it sound like fleets with longer ranged weaponry feel less need to spend CO because early on they're not under much threat and don't need to do a lot to get range and hit you. The person moving across the board needs to be spending to cover repairs, speed boosts, avoiding crits, etc.

 

I wonder about the 'spend 400pts on CO, spend 600pts on long range power attackers, spend CO to focus fire every round at long range to score 301+ TV, then spend CO to fold space all of your ships out' strategy.

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Game 1 

We decided to give the new movement a good ol try ! 

We took away mines and used the new nuclear rules so no area of effect weapons 

We also took away fixed fore 

My opponent went dindrenzi and I went terran

The movement was a lot smoother and quicker - especially for the dindrenzi. No trying to be 4.1" apart to avoid nukes and mines. No perfected needed line-up for fix fore. So much quicker and easier 

We used drift to be turn limit +1 so a frigate (tl0)  moves 1" then turns 45. A cruiser (TL1) moves two forward then a 45 turn. This seemed a lot easier (though we do now 45 degrees so no argument for "too much") 

Next game we will use everything up on here minus gravitational, cyber and srs. We will leave them for the third game 

The new minus successes from hits when I first heard I didn't think much but after the first game using it (we took all link values to be half -rounding up- of the original stat) I like it 

Throwing more dice to start off with didn't make it feel like I have no chance to damage anything like the current rules for mauled squads . It was a lot quicker though I do understand that the new stats will have more (primary, secondary, different range band for focus fire ect) 

I am looking forward to the next game with the new fleet construction rules (hello two battleships in a patrol fleet) attacker / defender and COMMANDS ! 

I think commands could be the maker or breaker so looking forward to seeing how that shakes the game up 

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4 hours ago, CoreHunter said:

the fact some commands generate permanent effects could be telling of Hard points going away and each ship having fixed stats. some upgrades may still be available though.

Hopefully that won't happen customisation is where it's at

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Free Command Point a turn?  Or maybe just X free in the list build, 1/turn is pretty unbalancing from a points perspective considering I don't think Ops Center had much of any cost attached to it in the previous version for balancing purposes.  If they did it that way, such as Ops Center[X], where X is the number of free command points, it would allow them to do much more with the rule than the previous flat bonus.  Just a thought.

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2 hours ago, Spartan_FA_Mike said:

We are looking at using Ops Center[Value].  Roll 1d6, if the Value is greater or equal to the die roll, then regenerate a point, not to exceed the original maximum available.

Should it not be the other way around, in the interest of consistent mechanics? It should list a value-plus, which the die should be trying to match/beat,

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Yeah, trying to cite it from memory.

Ops Centre (Value) 
While on the battlefield, and during its activation, a model with the Ops Centre MAR may attempt to regenerate a single Command Order Point. Roll a single [BLACK] D6: if the roll equals or exceeds the Value listed in the brackets, a single Command Order Point may be regenerated. This may not cause the Fleet to exceed its starting level of Command Points.

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