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Cry Havoc» Forums » General

Subject: Any balance issues? rss

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Trey Chambers
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I've heard rumors of balance issues. Anyone observe anything yet?
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Tom Vander Velden
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The humans seem to have a bit more obvious path. From what I have seen they may be easier to play and some even mention the newest player should take them. Otherwise others seem pretty balanced with Machines having hardest time by a small margin.
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Remus Rhymus
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Out of the gate, with a game that has asymmetrical factions, it is very easy to jump to a judgement of imbalance. Many claim the humans are the strongest and the machines are the weakest. I think the Humans are the most straightforward faction as far as understanding the winning strategy. It's easy for gamers to see the human strategy and it takes more time to grok the machine and pilgrim strategies.

I've only had the opportunity to play twice, but I did fairly well as the machines, coming in second place, behind the humans by 5 points in a 4 player game. My first game I won as the Trogs.

I'd like to play the game 10 more times before making final judgement.
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Jason Preder
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verridian wrote:
The humans seem to have a bit more obvious path. From what I have seen they may be easier to play and some even mention the newest player should take them. Otherwise others seem pretty balanced with Machines having hardest time by a small margin.


So, YES, there are perceived balance issues. I'd suggest checking out some of the other posts for some very detailed descriptions of what some people feel is an imbalance for certain factions.
Maybe you can make an informed decision from that.
 
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Mark Johnson
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This is a good thread to look at:

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1619054/how-do-you-defeat-h...

Edit: a FAQ with balance changes has already happened before it's general retail release. Not a good sign imo.
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Thomas Leitner
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In the four games I've played (2 3P and 2 4P) the humans have won all four games, two in utter blowouts and two in closer games. The Pilgrims finished second in all four. The Machines were last in three and third in one. In two of those losses, the Machines player did not score more than 16 points ( for those not familiar, those are terrible scores).

Do I think the game has balance issues? Maybe. I really want to play more, and more importantly I'm curious what other people's experiences are when the game gets into wider release.
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Gergo Tothmihaly
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Just don't put all minis on one side of the box and it should be fine. whistle
Sorry
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Adelin Dumitru
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I swear all asymmetrical games I have played supposedly have balance issues, but somehow my girlfriend beats me no matter what faction I choose to play with. If I will win one game with one of the factioms then you will have definite proof that that faction is OP
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Dustin Boatman
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I have loved the game so far, and have played 5 times. I was the machines every time. I am 0-5 thus far lol. I have been 3rd or dead last in every game thus far. Obviously I need more plays but so far it has not mattered how experienced the human player is, they either win or almost win. A matter of fact the humans have won 4 of the 5 games we played and came in second to the trogs in the other. The pilgrims I think have a pretty good chance to win if played correctly, because one guy I saw play them took advantage of their abilities really well and came in second. The machines unfortunately, have struggled every time. I have a ton of fun using them, but I just cant seem to generate points. Sure, they can get points for attrition, but its not always easy to set up. Plus, by putting a lot of units on attrition you are losing a lot of control. I was playing the scoring phase wrong, so after I play it correctly I will see how I do.
 
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Trey Chambers
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So far the consensus seems to be,

"Humans are super OP and win every time (or almost every time)"

-OR-

"Shut up, the game is new, once you play it 20 more times you'll understand how to handle the humans!"

That's not very reassuring. I hope both sides are wrong, but I'm not seeing many opinions that fit somewhere between those two.
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Jerry
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In my experience at GenCon, the Trogs seemed to win most in 4 player, especially with new players, although the consensus was that they would be stoppable on subsequent plays now that the players know what to look for and do.

In 2 and 3 player, the humans destroyed everyone, and it wasn't within a country mile of competitive. In my play at 2, I got squashed in three rounds (pilgrims vs. humans). I did not have fun.

I think while it may be balanced at 4, it isn't at 2 or 3. The combat is cool, however.
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Paul Grogan
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Played 3 times. trogs won twice. Didn't win the 3rd time because the player was playing really bad, like attacking with less units and no cards - the humans won that one.

Now I've read how the humans can play, they do indeed on paper look OP.

I've played machines and come last or 3rd every time, and left feeling there wasn't really anything I could have done different. There probably was, but not enough to make up the deficit. Sure, I built buildings and killed lots of things, but when Trogs just respawn all the time, it was pretty futile.

We will see.
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Cedric Chong
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Adding my 2 cents...

Game 1 (4 Rounds)
Human 55 - Machine 29


I was pretty convinced that Human is OP. Round one managed to get away with big combo and score lead.

Game 2 (5 Rounds)
Machine 47 - Human 21


Learnt to play Machine better. Used lots of Structures. Never Recruit. All Factories. Snipe Human everywhere using Orbital and Drones. Totally locked down Human. It was quite sad. Machine did not use Enable Scoring at all the entire game. Just focused on locking down Human.

Game 3 (5 Rounds)
Pilgrim 77 - Human 65


I guess two-player game allows Pilgrim lots of space to farm a "golden triangle" of 3 adjacent regions. Hard to break in due to Power Orb. By round 5, Pilgrim could challenge adjacent space of Human.

Game 4 (5 Rounds)
Machine 80 - Pilgrim 33


Played Machine much better. Totally locked down Pilgrim. While Pilgrim could draw cards fast, it seems it is harder to get units on the board. Can't wait for Battle Region to use Power Orb. Maybe have to start to use Recruit and Move more?

Machine was strong. First Round first action to draw Terrain card that gives 3 Build. Every chance to add more of this Terrain card into personal deck. Can lead to very big turns.

Game 5 (4 Rounds)
Trog 60 - Machine 59 - Human 55 - Pilgrim 49


Trog had a good Round 1. No one enabled scoring, Trog went 4th in Initiative and did Enable Scoring. Then recruited and moved into all uncontested spaces, since it was still early game. Managed to gain a good lead even though crystals value were halved for Trog. Trog was very aggressive. Didn't always play to Control Region, instead did more of capturing Prisoners and Attrition. Trog managed to capture lots of prisoners. Trog was able to bring almost all 16 of its units on to the board most of the time. Didn't care about Attrition, cause units were easy to bring back every round with easy recruits capability and Tunnels.

Machine had bad start and was stuck in opening 2 Regions most of the game. Only in Round 3 and 4 did Machine managed to break out. If the Structures Region were blocked due to someone entering, making it a Battle Region, Machine's main advantage is crippled. I.e. can't activate Structures in Battle Region. But once Machine was able to break out, the 3 Shred Drones, 2 Factories, and 1 Matrix were able to help Machines secure its Regions. A Round 4 Bunker was almost redundant, but helps to discourage any enemy from taking the high value Region.

Pilgrim was not able to setup the crystal farm in this game. With enemies on all front, it was difficult to get things going. There was constant back and forth between Pilgrim, Trog and Human.

Human did not Enable Scoring in first action, instead chose to draw Terrain Card to build deck. Human was not able to spread out as much. Not many Regions were unoccupied by Round 2, due to Trog moving out aggressively and using the default skill. This made Airfield almost useless. Artillery and Watchtower were preemptive (can't activate token into Battle Region), hence has lower value in this game as well. Because most rounds have 6 to 7 battles going on.


Game 6 (4 Rounds)
Human 74 - Pilgrim 71 - Machine 59


Relatively less battles in this game. All factions were able to stay in their corner and do their thing.

Machine starts sniping and shredding others more beginning Round 3. But was not able to gain the VP lead by capturing more Regions than the other two factions. With their basic skills, Human and Pilgrim scores pulled ahead.


Game 7 (5 Rounds)
Human 61 - Pilgrim 55 - Trog 30 - Machine 22


Very few battles as well. Compared to Game 5 where there were 5, 6, or 7 battles every round, all players were comfortable turtling. Every rounds have 2 to 3 battles only. Noone seemed to want to enable scoring. Trog did it once, and that's it. The next scoring was in final round.

Machine was stuck in ackward corner again. The Human expanded fast and managed to snatch up one Exploration tile right in front of Machine. Blocked by Trog (plus Trap) and Human (plus Watchtower and Artillery), Machine was never able to break free to setup the needed two Shread Drones Region adjacent to one Battle Region configuration.

Trog played defensively, setting a front in the center of the map, with its Structures. Forcing sideway combats amongst the other three factions. Human and Machine tried to contest the center but to no avail. A defensive Trog is hard to break in due to sheer unit size. However, Trog did play most of the game at max 16 units on the board. One Region alone had 6 Units throughout most of the game.

Pilgrim was able to setup the Crystal Pool combo quietly at the corner, holding on to its three Regions. It was hard to spot its score lead because its board position appeared so seemingly weak. It wasn't until the big combos start to come in that Human and Trog started to focus more on Pilgrim.

Human expanded quickly, and fearlessly outward. Managed to hold the front using Artillery and Watchtower. Some back and forth but managed to hold on to its Region and used Default Skill several times.

I should add that it was a really fun and rowdy game with many eruptions of laughter. At certain point where there was a leader, players start to trash talk, and make deals, funny suggestions and backstabs. It's almost like diplomacy. Very fun session.



* All 7 games played with only Default skill.

----

I feel Human has the easiest and most straight forward learning curve. The big default skill and Airfield combo is straight forward and easy to execute in Round One (or Two). Other than that, Human's other 2 Structures are harder to use in that they must be built preemptive (before a Region becomes a Battle Region). In contrast, Machine's Drones, and Pilgrim's Power Orb are easier to execute.

I love Machine the most. It was harder to play. But I figure I cannot use Recruit action at all. Almost every action has to be BUILD/ACTIVATE or Move. Drawing the Terrain Cards that gives 3 BUILD early on is essential to Machine.

Pilgrim seems to be the turtle faction. If no one bothers Pilgrim, it is easy for Pilgrim to setup crystal farm. I find Pilgrim the most boring to play.

Trog is hard to play in that you need map awareness. Because you are the single faction that can go almost anywhere you want. Use Default Skill every round.

----
NOTE on RULES:

Machine's Structures used to kill Enemy Units do not score Machine any VP.

Machine cannot use Orbital Sniper into enemy's HQ.

Human's Artillery and Watchtower cannot be activated to add tokens into adjacent Battle Region.

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Remus Rhymus
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Great write-up Cedric. Glad to read your experiences confirm my gut feelings that the non-human factions all have winning strategies, they just require more thought and a little more experience to execute effectively.
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Jon Snow
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Cedric,

Yes, thanks for the Session Reports; they are the kind of thing I've been doing lately for Star Trek Ascendancy. I'm sure the designer is watching carefully, and will do any tweeks he feels are necessary.
 
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lazza zaza
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Thanks for the reports.

Did you use the latest FAQ and did that help with machines winning?
 
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Cedric Chong
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Yes I use the FAQ v1.0. And I read most of the rules questions raised on this forum. I have also emailed publisher to verify some questions of my own.

No, the FAQ did not affect Machine's chance to win.
 
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Paul Grogan
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lazza wrote:
Did you use the latest FAQ and did that help with machines winning?

Just curious, but I didn't see anything in the FAQ which helped the machines. Am I missing something?
 
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Jon Snow
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Cedric,

If you got information directly from the publisher, why not post it here for the rest of us?
 
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lazza zaza
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PaulGrogan wrote:
lazza wrote:
Did you use the latest FAQ and did that help with machines winning?

Just curious, but I didn't see anything in the FAQ which helped the machines. Am I missing something?


Sorry I should have been clearer - it should have weakened the humans a little bit so it was an indirect help to them rather than make them more powerful
 
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lazza zaza
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maxixe wrote:
Yes I use the FAQ v1.0. And I read most of the rules questions raised on this forum. I have also emailed publisher to verify some questions of my own.

No, the FAQ did not affect Machine's chance to win.


So in your opinion the games pretty balanced and just requires the players to get used to the different play styles?
 
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Cedric Chong
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Updated with Game 6 and 7.

chas59 wrote:
Cedric,

If you got information directly from the publisher, why not post it here for the rest of us?


Already did. NOTE on RULES.

lazza wrote:

So in your opinion the games pretty balanced and just requires the players to get used to the different play styles?


I really don't know. Only played a few games, and it is hard to tell. I believe the designers and the publisher should have hundreds of games amongst them. For someone very familiar with the game, it may be balance for them.

From new players point of view, I think Human and Pilgrim seem to have the most straight-forward strategies, and easiest to pull off.

I still refuse to believe that Machine is weak. One of Human's weakness is it does not have any capabilities to bring units into the board other than via recruiting into HQ. If you think about it, a Human needs at least four cards and two actions to recruit 6 units then to move 6 units out of HQ into the battlefield. The Machine only needs one action and two cards to effective snipe/shred 3 to 6 units depending on how successful Machine is able to push the front. Any casualties from Human side needs two actions to recruit and move back out. Machine needs just one action, BUILD, to kill units, draw cards, recruit (factory) new units right in middle of battlefield, and even to bunker up. The difficulty is reaching that stage. I.e. having 3 Sniper, 3 Orbital, 3 Factory, 1 Matrix, optional Bunker, and 2/3 of those Terrain card which gives 3 BUILD.

I'm not sure if this is a viable strategy, but it seems that Human units need to die in order to force Human to do exactly that. I.e. Waste two actions to bring units back. So even at the expense of losing control, Macchine needs to kill (Attrition), to swing advantage back. In games where all players turtle, Human and Pilgrims should swing forward in VP lead.

But I could be wrong. Again, too few games played.

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Dustin Boatman
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I have a hard time agreeing with this as soon as he says the pilgrims have a straight forward strategy. Even some Portal folks have said that the machines and the pilgrims are harder. The trogs definitely are more straightforward than both the machines and pilgrims. And just because you refuse to believe, doesnt make something not true, lol. I love playing the machines, hell it is the only faction I am playing right now, but when a brand new player who literally does not know how to play at all, can dominate with humans with little help from anyone, then win and look at everyone and say "i had absolutely no clue what I was doing, how did I win", than that draws a red flag. Straightforward does not mean the same thing as unbalanced. A straightforward strategy is still a strategy that someone needs to employ to win, but when someone can not even know what he is doing, and just because he was reminded to "use his default skill once every round" and still win handily, that is a possible issue. I play for fun, and I live the machines style, but just because of those two things I am not going to lie to myself about balance. Not every game can be 100% balanced.
 
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Christian K
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A quick data point, we played a four player game where machines and pilgrim were head to head for the first and second place.

Himans and trogs finished well behind them. We all played the game for the first time but have all played kemet and blood rage before so we are familiar with this type of game.
 
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Trey Chambers
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Muemmelmann wrote:
A quick data point, we played a four player game where machines and pilgrim were head to head for the first and second place.

Himans and trogs finished well behind them. We all played the game for the first time but have all played kemet and blood rage before so we are familiar with this type of game.


Most of the Human imbalance seems to stem from the 2 and 3 player games. I suppose it's plausible that 4-player was the most frequently tested and refined.
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