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Toxic_Rat

Cruiser Rankings

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@Stoobert there is definitely no straight up stats balance reason for some cruiser squadron sizes, that's for sure. Even taking it further, I wouldn't consider Hawker Tier One (or Tier Three) choices to be so far beyond what their Ryushi allies have as to make the squad sizes smaller. I have a lot of positive things to say about the Ryushi though :D and lots of great things to say about the Excelsior as well. 

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13 hours ago, Hive said:

Side note, the only reason the Abraxas looks so garbage in isolation is because the Directorate fleet is full of the kind of threats you have to handle first. In a vacuum (like space hurr hurr) they are trash, but when your opponent has to deal with a squad of cloaked heavies sharking around and that pair of gunships with their dreadnought-grade weapons or just an Anarchist for being an Anarchist, they kind of become great way of punishing a player who does go after your bigger but less vulnerable threats. That RB1+2 man, it's scary if you can keep them alive.

In other words, the Abraxas is cheap trash that is only useful when you take undercosted threats like Heavy Cruisers and Gunships ;)

13 hours ago, Stoobert said:


@alextroy you bring up a good point about Tueton multiple arcs, if an opponent is spread out you can FF and P/S them.  But if they aren't you can't.   That is why FF is really hard to balance and some people love it and and others don't.  At Adepticon I tend to bunch up (and others do too) not just for PD mountain, but when you bunch up into tight formations, it lessens greatly multiple arc shots to people with fixed fore.  Also it's fascinating you feel CR 7 is 'barely more resilient'.  My experience is the difference between CR 6, CR 7 and CR 8 is huuuuge and often means the difference between getting double-crit and not, given that most full strength units can throw ~15 dice.  CR7 is that 0.8 hits per die sweet spot that takes you to the other side of the double-crit bell curve.

Teuton's aren't super resilient, but they don't die automatically if get to use Sector Shielding, or you have 2 Shields along with a Shield Cruiser. As for the firepower, I don't often get all three arcs of Primaries/Beams, but it's not hard to get two of three and don't forget the Torpedoes. I love that you can have Teutons slugging way at RB 1/2 on one side of the battlefield while tossing substantial amounts of Torpedoes 2/3rd the way across the battlefield. Resolutes have a tough time using their unimpressive torpedoes at all.

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4 hours ago, alextroy said:

In other words, the Abraxas is cheap trash that is only useful when you take undercosted threats like Heavy Cruisers and Gunships ;)

Oof, I wasn't expecting to accidentally open that can of worms again, haha. 

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I think (in regards to the "magic formula") that you have to take squadron size into account as well.  No one will pay 280 points for a full squadron of Isonades (at least, this Aquan player wouldn't)-they aren't 20% better than every other cruiser squadron in the game.  The truth is ships are almost never judged on an individual ship level, but on their game impact in full squadrons.

Personally I hope Warcradle makes that explicit by doing away with partial squadrons, and giving a squadron cost for the full unit, in fleet building.

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The truth is adding one more ship to a Squadron adds far more game value than the points you pay for it, due to the game’s mechanics.  If Cruiser Squadron size were unlimited, how many Cruisers would you take?  While a 20-ship Cruiser Squadron sounds fun, you don’t really need to roll 80 Attack Dice, when you could instead roll 4x24 Attack Dice.  Also, 20 Cruisers wouldn’t be able to mutually support each other with Point Defense due to size limitations.  Depending on the Cruiser, I’m guessing people would eventually settle on 6-8 ships per Squadron.

So the first re-design question should be... would it be bad if Squadron limits were removed?  The game would end up being very different, and there would completely different balance issues.  Interestingly, the current FSE rules would probably work pretty well in this game.

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Oddly enough, I’m contemplating what would happen if there were no squadrons at all. Instead, each activation would be a certain number of ships (size adjusted) that would otherwise function as squadrons currently do. 

Maybe a bit radical, but it could help with some game issues like under powered squadrons  due to points availability and ship casualties   

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5 hours ago, alextroy said:

Oddly enough, I’m contemplating what would happen if there were no squadrons at all. Instead, each activation would be a certain number of ships (size adjusted) that would otherwise function as squadrons currently do. 

Maybe a bit radical, but it could help with some game issues like under powered squadrons  due to points availability and ship casualties   

What if squadrons could be constructed of any kind of ships, up to a maximum point limit?   Keep the tier limits as far as number of shop types, but create squadrons from a pool of ships.

Just my $0.02 (or £0.01 depending on where you are)

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7 hours ago, alextroy said:

Oddly enough, I’m contemplating what would happen if there were no squadrons at all. Instead, each activation would be a certain number of ships (size adjusted) that would otherwise function as squadrons currently do. 

Maybe a bit radical, but it could help with some game issues like under powered squadrons  due to points availability and ship casualties    

So each ship would have so many Command Point values, such as Escorts being 1, while Battleships would be 6 or 7?  At the start of the turn, you can activate 10 Command Points worth of ships and then proceed from there?

How would linking fire be allowed to work?  Would it only be allowed to those linking?  Or would the mechanic be dropped?

 

1 hour ago, Toxic_Rat said:

What if squadrons could be constructed of any kind of ships, up to a maximum point limit?   Keep the tier limits as far as number of shop types, but create squadrons from a pool of ships.

Just my $0.02 (or £0.01 depending on where you are)

Could you imagine a Dreadnought with Battleship squadron members?  Or a Carrier with the same?

While it should be possible, as such naval organizations are likely to be developed at need, especially for the medium and lighter ships, should it be available for anything beyond the smallest games?

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3 hours ago, Charistoph said:

Could you imagine a Dreadnought with Battleship squadron members?  Or a Carrier with the same?

 While it should be possible, as such naval organizations are likely to be developed at need, especially for the medium and lighter ships, should it be available for anything beyond the smallest games?

Dindrenzi rail guns for the win!

But yeah, that's why I say there should be some point limit...say 250 points, or 1 ship minimum.  Or  no more than one tier 1, etc.

 

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My first conceptual thoughts are each Activation allows up to X Command Point of Ships, which could be adjusted based on game size (4 for small games, 6 for normal games, 8 or higher for large games).

  • Small Ships have Command Value of 1
  • Cruisers/Destroyers and the other Tier 2 Ships are Command Value of 2
  • Battlecruisers have Command Value of 3
  • Battleships have Command Value of 4

There a few ships types that I'm not sure the best value on, but we are into very shallow conceptualization here.

So, when you perform an activation, you pick a lead ship and other ships within Command Distance of the ship that total no more than 6 Command Points to all move, shoot, and assault as if a Squadron under the current rules. That means linked fire for weapons from all ships.

Such a change in rules means an overhaul of the Point Defense Mechanic for Torpedoes and Boarding, but think about what you gain?

  • Scaling that makes  large games faster and small games more manageable 
  • Ships purchased on an individual basis, removing the issues of not being able to purchase the full squadron of a ship and issues with accompaniments
  • More flexible use of supporting ships in the fleet, such as Tier 3s and the like
  • Degrading of Ghost Ship syndrome since all Squadrons are Adhoc in basis. If you lose some ships from a 'squadron' you just grab some others if available

Would this require lots of rules rewriting and testing? Definitely. But I'm sure you can see that it would have an interesting impact on game play.

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I don't know folks, these sound like a huge mess of an activation system. I get the appeal, move more ships at once in different formations, however I remember trying out the Swinging Activation Meter from the thread on different activation systems, and in that system squads are given a command value based on their tier as well. We didn't find it engaging enough to keep track of as a game mechanic and in a couple games it fell to the side.

The problems I am not seeing is 'is a squadron of cruisers effective?' I think you might be viewing the individual ships with too much weight, when we talk about a cruiser squadron as a single unit the individual ships almost entirely focus on positioning. The unit itself has a clear battlefield role and as an undamaged group can represent a threat to hopefully everything on the field.

What you lose by getting rid of that is a non-complicated activation system, your ships being activated all having complimentary weapons and ranges to link, etc. I think personally with my RSN there would be very little reason to activate too far put of my established squadrons. Heavy Cruisers and Cruisers are entirely different ships with totally different uses for example, it doesn't help me as much to use two cruisers and one heavy cruiser as if I had just used three cruisers together if you understand what I mean. 

I might need some convincing on this, it really looks like a painful way to divide who's going next

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Intersting ideas @alextroy  that could work well.  You’ve got say, 4 “command value” for each activation.  

But here’s a streamlined twist... If you just invert the Tier values (Dreadnoughts become Tier 4, Cruisers remain Tier 2, etc)  you’ve got the “command value” and Tier in a single value.   

You can then activate “4 Tier points” per activation. 

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But that would be only 2 Cruisers in an activation. Need as least 3 to make it worthwhile unless you are playing a low point game without Large Ships. That's why my spitball idea is 6.

You could get more granular with higher per ship values and higher Command Points per activation like @Charistoph suggested.

Regardless, I like the idea of increase flexibility and increased combat longevity this idea would foster over the current proscribed squadron formations.

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8 hours ago, alextroy said:

I like the idea of increase flexibility and increased combat longevity this idea would foster over the current proscribed squadron formations.

Can you elaborate on this? Whats the benefit in activating a mishmash of different ships over alternating squadrons? I can't help but feel like if you activated two cruisers and two destroyers, a regular squadron of four cruisers might have much better ability to function as a unit and fire upon enemies within the exact same rangebands to stay within the same command distance. I almost guarantee the squadron of 4 cruisers represents a much more usable selection of ships.

I guess what Im asking is what real benefit would this give you over say, just doing two. Squadron activations per turn instead? Still having trouble seeing the usefulness of these changes and havent yet had it explained

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5 hours ago, Wolfgang Jannesen said:

Can you elaborate on this? Whats the benefit in activating a mishmash of different ships over alternating squadrons? I can't help but feel like if you activated two cruisers and two destroyers, a regular squadron of four cruisers might have much better ability to function as a unit and fire upon enemies within the exact same rangebands to stay within the same command distance. I almost guarantee the squadron of 4 cruisers represents a much more usable selection of ships.

I guess what Im asking is what real benefit would this give you over say, just doing two. Squadron activations per turn instead? Still having trouble seeing the usefulness of these changes and havent yet had it explained

I'm glad to. First off, it not about just taking a mishmash of non-complementary ships and activating them together. That would be sub optimal. You would still center your fleet build around purchasing ships to form  effective squadrons at the start of the game.  It would be about these things:

  1. Increased Fleet Building Flexibility: We've all been at the point in fleet building where you just can't fit in a full squadron of X and you have to either bring a full squadron of something else, pile in the upgrades/hardpoints, or pull off upgrades and hardpoints. There are a lot of things you could do with 90 points but won't because that won't get you 3/4 cruisers and for some fleets that won't get a a full squadron of Tier 3s either. Do you see any advantage in purchasing "spare" cruisers or frigates to replace losses during the game?
  2. Increased Play Flexibility: Have you ever lost two cruisers from a cruiser squadron and two frigate from a frigate squadron and thought, "those guys are useless, time to shunt them out before they cost me battlelog"? Wouldn't be nice to just activate them together as one squadron and actually have enough firepower to do something useful?
  3. Increased Tempo of Play: If we increase the size and effectiveness of activations later in the game, we should decrease playtime as there are less activations per turn and those activations are more consequential. As just mentioned, the game will be faster if the one cruiser and two frigates are activated together. One activation would take less time and that activation would be far more likely to damage the opponent than the current two activations.

Would the actually plan out in play? No idea. I'm totally at the spitballing phase of the idea.

Would some rules have to change to make it functional? Most definitely.  PD is currently squadron based. The rules for it would need to change to either proximity based (with limits) or with higher PD values with ships only able to defend themselves.

Victory Conditions would need to change since you can't base BattleLog on Squadrons if there are no squadrons.

Are those the only things that would need to change? No idea. Would need to be play-tested to see what else falls apart due to lack of squadrons.

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@alextroy That was a great explanation, thank you. You raise very strong points in fleet building and the play flexibility that I hadnt at all considered. You're right, half a squad of cruisers maintains a lot of combat effectiveness if it can find new wingmates. 

@Kaptyn Krys had a system the would be layed out like

Player A: 3 - 2 - 1 | 1 - 2 - 3 :Player B

As you activated, a marker would move towards your side of the meter. 3 for tier one vessels, 2 for tier two vessels, 1 for tier three vessels. If the meter was in your side, it was your enemy's activation and vice versa. I can admit to just having slightly too little attention to play games with every optional rule like moving terrain but that doesnt mean these systems are inherently flawed

The biggest problem I see in sorting out an activation under these pretenses is making it work with more than 2 players

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So maybe the answer initially, is rather then change the way squadrons and activation work from the ground up, we could make some alterations,

specifically, tier 2 squads can include tier 3 ships (up to 4 per squad across the board)

And partial squadrons may group up with other partial squadrons within command distance, by taking a successful command check during the reserves phase.

With battelog, this wouldn't work, but with victory point it would, to allow it to function with Battlelog, perhaps you would still lose points as is you had lost the squadron that was absorbed? Not sure

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I've never understood  what appears to be arbitrary squad size rules in 2.0, but I'm curious if creating a more free activate-as-you-go system like @alextroy suggests would burdensome or not.  First off, I think it might be awkward to place 'has-activated tokens' next to individual ships (instead of full squads) ...but may be less annoying if WC introduces ship/unit cards.   Certainly as you said this would necessitate ditching the Battle Log, but that's ok with me.   The BattleLog might have been better than what came before, but it's clunky at best.

Regardless of if WC is listening or not to what we do here on the forums, if someone is keen to try @alextroys 6-activate-point system and let us know how it goes, I'm very curious, and I think it's a worthy exploration.  I might do so if I get a chance next weekend.   If it really plays well, we could start pinging  WC and asking them to consider it.

alextroy: must a player activate 6 'tier points' per activation? 

  • Could they activate less if they must?  e.g. 2 frigates by themselves halfway across the board, not within 6" of anyone other friendly ship? 
  • Could they activate less by choice?  e.g. I have a large fleet of ships, but I choose to activate only a single frigate to "pass the activation" to my opponent and force him to move next

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Should such an add-hoc activation method consider a Dreadnought with Escorts, even, or will one have to move without the other?

Realistically, Squadron Sizes should be balanced by effectiveness of the models.  A squadron of 4 ships should be less effective on a per-ship basis of a 3 ship squadron and much less than a 2 ship squadron, but equally effective when considering all together.

Also consider this one point, most of the squadron sizes are based on the kits.  One thing I hated about collecting Necrons were the Warriors who came in 10-20 man units sold in boxes of 12.  That's right, 12 models, leaving you 4 extra for a full unit.  Nobody wants to spend more for an effective small unit, nor have to buy multiple kits and then be unbalanced afterward.

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@Stoobert There should defiantly be some sort of minimum activation threshold you need to work with to avoid activation stalling. My initial thought would be minimum of 4 unless you lack ships within Command Distance to activate that many. I'd probably force player to use small activation squadrons last to avoid shenanigans. 

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