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Star Wars: Rebellion» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Are Ion Cannons Under Powered? rss

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David Umstattd
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So the more I play this game the more I discover new and interesting strategies on both sides of the board. However as of yet I have not seen someone effectively use or pursue the use of Ion Cannons.

Now this may be because the games I have played/watched simply haven't tried that tactic or maybe we haven't figured out how to use strategies involving ion cannons as a community. But I think its pretty widespread that people go for Shield Generators instead.

Shield generators as they are highly useful in protecting the rebel base with a sizable force as they become more useful over multiple rounds and thus more useful with more ground units.

The problem with the Ion cannon is it has medium effect against a certain type of dice on a certain type of ship and usually when the empire attacks the rebel base the rebels aren't trying to win the space battle as their fleet is usually off being aggressive.

Also because it's a ground unit and would be destroyed if left alone you have to have a sizable ground presence in addition to the space presence to take advantage of it. Also often the empire will bring a force so strong the Ion Cannon won't do anything.

Can they be used on other planets besides the rebel base? Can they work well with a space focused base defense? Or are they really just under powered and you should always build shield generators? I understand that if you win the space battle you protect the rebel base. But Ion Cannons kinda require you to win both (at least for a while)

I haven't really tried a spam Ion Cannons strategy (I've tried spamming shield generators to great success.) but Ion cannons never seem worth it. The only ones I ever build are the free one you get with Base Defenses.




Have any of you seen success with them? How do you make them work? I want to learn.
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Mike Barry
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I think that most of the time Ion Cannons are good are when you have multiple Capital ships(clearly). The thing is that when you have multiple capital ships you generally are already winning as the rebels I've found. So it's kind of a win more in my opinion.
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David Umstattd
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Dashz wrote:
I think that most of the time Ion Cannons are good are when you have multiple Capital ships(clearly). The thing is that when you have multiple capital ships you generally are already winning as the rebels I've found. So it's kind of a win more in my opinion.


Really? In my experience rebels getting lots of capital ships is still easily counterable by the empire. Though sure the rebels having more stuff is better than not having more stuff.

But I do see your point that the rebels generally don't need the extra help if they have a bunch of capital ships. Usually they'd be losing on the ground if they focused space, hence why a shield generator would be good. Maybe if it also removed a black dice. That would make it more versatile and be more thematic to what we see in the films. So a single fighter could indeed face a star destroyer that was ion cannoned.
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Arno Noms
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Instead of quoting a board expert (David... what's his name?) on the game on how you are suffering from flaws as a player, I will tell you when and why I have found Ion Cannons to be valuable:

1) Two Ion Cannons are easily 3-4 times as good as one Ion Cannon, so I usually get Ion Cannons, when I draw Base Defense prior to choosing the build.

2) Ion Cannons rock with a pure capital ship fleet. 1 cruiser and 1-2 corvettes give two star destroyers plus 3 ties a run for their money, if all the empire has are just black dice. So it's worth investing in Ion Cannons if the death star is far away OR you plan to kill it on the way to your base.

3) Have a solid ground force. 2-3 speeders are great, if you have a shield generator, even better. It's important to stay alive on the ground 2-3 rounds - after that your cruiser should have cleaned house. Again this ties into "I get an additional Ion Cannon if I already have the Base Defense mission".

So the - not so uncommon - situation where I go for Ion Cannons:
- I was able to get a cruiser or two
- I have Base Defense early
- I managed to keep my early speeders (attack, then recall through rapid mobilization) or have produced 2-3 speeders and deployed them to the base
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Alex G
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Have you considered slapping them on a production planet as a deterrent? To make sure empire can't just steamroll it with a single ISD.
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David Umstattd
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unonameless wrote:
Have you considered slapping them on a production planet as a deterrent? To make sure empire can't just steamroll it with a single ISD.


But they need backup though... and you can only produce 2 units on a planet a turn.

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Angelus Seniores
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ion cannons do force the empire to build a bigger force to attack with.
depending how they build their fleets, a single ion cannon on the base means he has to foresee an extra ISD or equivalent to all his fleets, generally 4 except the death star fleet.

once the fleet sizes start to dwindle after a few rounds of combat, then the ion cannon will likely tip the balance.

early on, this may be a big deterrent that he might fear running into the base thus restricting his fleet movements.

on a general planet, it can be useful as a trap location and may allow a 2nd location to build substantial reserves at, posing as a possible base location drawing the empire's attention.

would the ion cannon also not affect the bombardment tactic card?

both defenses are best used in conjunction.

playing base defenses unexpectedly may win the base a few extra turns of respite, allowing to move it.
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Witold G
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Angelsenior wrote:
would the ion cannon also not affect the bombardment tactic card?


Ion Cannon's description states "During each space battle step, your opponent rolls 2 fewer red dice", so Bombardment is not affected because it...
a). is a card used during ground battle step,
b). does not involve rolling dice.
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Thomas with Subtrendy
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Against a large Imperial Navy (6+ red attack), ion cannons won't do much. Against a smaller one, they can be the tipping of the scale that the Rebels need to win.

I'd say that, if anything, they might slow down the Empire, as they'd be more reluctant to attack a planet with an ion canon unless they had gather a sufficient force.

edit: Thought about this a little more. If anything, maybe they should automatically max the Imp red roll at 4, then subtract an additional one from the Imp's total red pool. So, for instance, if the Rebels were attacking with a pool of 7 red, you'd subtract 1 from that pool for 6. Since 6 is more than 5 (in case you were unaware) the Empire would roll all 5 red dice (making the ion canon's ability, at least in this round, nor usable). However, the ion canon's other ability would automatically make the max red roll 4, the Imp player would lose one of those die for a total red roll of 4. That way, we'd at least see the ion canon do something every round, and it could become really powerful when there were less targets to "focus" on.

But hey, the game has presumably passed well in playtesting, so who am I to change things?
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Drew Lawson
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Subtrendy Gaming wrote:
Against a large Imperial Navy (6+ red attack), ion cannons won't do much. Against a smaller one, they can be the tipping of the scale that the Rebels need to win.[/i]


You can never roll 6 red dice—max for both colors is always five. So a single Ion Cannon removes 40% of the Empire's capital ship attack capacity. Two Ion Cannons removes 80%.
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Mike
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Except max dice is determined after penalties, not before. So if you have 7 reds, minus 2 for the ion cannon, you still get to roll 5.
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David Umstattd
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ninjamatic3000 wrote:
Except max dice is determined after penalties, not before. So if you have 7 reds, minus 2 for the ion cannon, you still get to roll 5.


This is the biggest reason I've had trouble using ion cannons effectively. That and the fact they're a ground unit trying to help out space units.
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Saro Gumusyan

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Unless the Empire is sending a Death Star or SSD along with a Star Destroyer or two they will be affected. Plus an ion cannon could make a difference in protecting fighters from the Death Star's red dice (direct hit or tactics) if it comes in alone with some TIEs (most likely stumbling in).
 
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Doug DeMoss
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Darth Coupon wrote:
Unless the Empire is sending a Death Star or SSD along with a Star Destroyer or two they will be affected. Plus an ion cannon could make a difference in protecting fighters from the Death Star's red dice (direct hit or tactics) if it comes in alone with some TIEs (most likely stumbling in).


SSD + SD is still only 5 red and will be fully affected (though 3 may still be enough at that point).
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Thomas with Subtrendy
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ajpl wrote:
Subtrendy Gaming wrote:
Against a large Imperial Navy (6+ red attack), ion cannons won't do much. Against a smaller one, they can be the tipping of the scale that the Rebels need to win.[/i]


You can never roll 6 red dice—max for both colors is always five. So a single Ion Cannon removes 40% of the Empire's capital ship attack capacity. Two Ion Cannons removes 80%.


I realize that. Max rolls are at 5. What I'm saying is that the reservoir from which these rolls come can far exceed that, and in these cases ion cannons are utterly worthless. For instance, if someone had a fleet of 5 Star Destroyers (for simplicity's sake) we can assume that's an attack "reservoir" of 5 black die and 10 red die. Of course, only 5 of each color can be rolled.


The way that the rules had been explained to me (though someone correct me if I'm wrong) is that the dice removed by the ion canon are taken out before the cap of 5. So, these two dice would be removed from the reservoir of 10, bringing it down to 8, which would still allow for the Empire to roll for the total of 5- thereby making the ion canon useless in this case. With my proposed rule, you'd see at least the cap of dice lowered to 4, making it possible for the ion canon to be at least halfway useful in all situations.
 
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Doug DeMoss
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If the Empire ever assembles a force that big, they can expect to see the Rebel Base moved to the far side of the galaxy. If that isn't possible, either the Rebels haven't done enough to get their objectives done or the Empire has played an intel-based strategy masterfully.
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Alex G
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Subtrendy Gaming wrote:
I realize that. Max rolls are at 5. What I'm saying is that the reservoir from which these rolls come can far exceed that, and in these cases ion cannons are utterly worthless. For instance, if someone had a fleet of 5 Star Destroyers (for simplicity's sake) we can assume that's an attack "reservoir" of 5 black die and 10 red die. Of course, only 5 of each color can be rolled.


The way that the rules had been explained to me (though someone correct me if I'm wrong) is that the dice removed by the ion canon are taken out before the cap of 5. So, these two dice would be removed from the reservoir of 10, bringing it down to 8, which would still allow for the Empire to roll for the total of 5- thereby making the ion canon useless in this case. With my proposed rule, you'd see at least the cap of dice lowered to 4, making it possible for the ion canon to be at least halfway useful in all situations.


Worthless? They are forcing the empire to waste time consolidating 5 ISDs instead of spreading - that's awesome! Opportunity cost hurts empire a LOT.
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Mr. Body
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Pretty much. The number of times I have a chance of repelling a base attack on the ground FAR exceed the number of times I have a chance of winning the space battle.

I can't recall the building placement rules. One per planet? One of each? No limit? Unless it's a one of each limit, I can't imagine ever building ion cannons.
 
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Doug DeMoss
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I find the opposite. A single AT-AT is very hard to take down with what you're likely to have on the base. Two? Virtually impossible. An Ion Cannon backing up a MonCal, Corvette, and a few fighters, on the other hand, is a very daunting defense. Even a single turn that the Empire has to spend gathering forces to take that on can mean the difference between victory and defeat.
 
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Mr. Body
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If I see any ground force larger than a lone AT-AT coming at me, I'm going to be moving the base.

There's just very little instances where not only are ion cannons more useful than shield generators, but that you have the foresight that they'll be more useful 2 rounds ahead of time when you make the build decision.

In my experience it's not even worth it for Rebels to try and grab orange square planets. I'd much rather have an airspeeder than a building, and it's not too big a deal for the Empire to get orange squares because the cap on AT-ATs is so low.

 
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David Umstattd
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fahbs2000 wrote:


In my experience it's not even worth it for Rebels to try and grab orange square planets. I'd much rather have an airspeeder than a building, and it's not too big a deal for the Empire to get orange squares because the cap on AT-ATs is so low.



Getting triple shield generators is actually ridiculous. With just your starting ground forces you can defend against comically large amounts of imperial troops. Remember you draw an extra ground tactic card at the beginning of EVERY combat round. That means with Obi Wan, Madine or Jedi Luke you get SIX combat cards and then three every future combat round not counting rolls.
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jooice ZP
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David Umstattd wrote:
fahbs2000 wrote:


In my experience it's not even worth it for Rebels to try and grab orange square planets. I'd much rather have an airspeeder than a building, and it's not too big a deal for the Empire to get orange squares because the cap on AT-ATs is so low.



Getting triple shield generators is actually ridiculous. With just your starting ground forces you can defend against comically large amounts of imperial troops. Remember you draw an extra ground tactic card at the beginning of EVERY combat round. That means with Obi Wan, Madine or Jedi Luke you get SIX combat cards and then three every future combat round not counting rolls.


I have found that this is true, and will almost always go for a Shield Generator.
I will say that I rather have a bunch of speeders (4-5) then buildings (entirely possible), and that usually I build building thanks to the base defenses card.
 
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David Umstattd
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jooice wrote:
David Umstattd wrote:
fahbs2000 wrote:


In my experience it's not even worth it for Rebels to try and grab orange square planets. I'd much rather have an airspeeder than a building, and it's not too big a deal for the Empire to get orange squares because the cap on AT-ATs is so low.



Getting triple shield generators is actually ridiculous. With just your starting ground forces you can defend against comically large amounts of imperial troops. Remember you draw an extra ground tactic card at the beginning of EVERY combat round. That means with Obi Wan, Madine or Jedi Luke you get SIX combat cards and then three every future combat round not counting rolls.


I have found that this is true, and will almost always go for a Shield Generator.
I will say that I rather have a bunch of speeders (4-5) then buildings (entirely possible), and that usually I build building thanks to the base defenses card.


Shield generators can cause you to keep a smaller force there though and not feed so much into Gather Intel. Without shield generators you need a much larger force.
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David Umstattd
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David Umstattd wrote:
jooice wrote:
David Umstattd wrote:
[q="fahbs2000"]

In my experience it's not even worth it for Rebels to try and grab orange square planets. I'd much rather have an airspeeder than a building, and it's not too big a deal for the Empire to get orange squares because the cap on AT-ATs is so low.



Getting triple shield generators is actually ridiculous. With just your starting ground forces you can defend against comically large amounts of imperial troops. Remember you draw an extra ground tactic card at the beginning of EVERY combat round. That means with Obi Wan, Madine or Jedi Luke you get SIX combat cards and then three every future combat round not counting rolls.


I have found that this is true, and will almost always go for a Shield Generator.
I will say that I rather have a bunch of speeders (4-5) then buildings (entirely possible), and that usually I build building thanks to the base defenses card.



Shield generators can cause you to keep a smaller force there though and not feed so much into Gather Intel. Without shield generators you need a much larger force.
And two speeders with a couple ground forces and three shield generators is actually even more powerful than 5 speeders.
 
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jooice ZP
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Perhaps, but is way easier to build 5 speeders, there are 3 locations that build them in a single turn
 
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