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Subject: Is Plasma Missile a must-pick technology? rss

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Jim Richardson

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If PM is not overpowered, then AC is underpowered, as well as probably the rest of the weapons. Take your pick.
 
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Charlie Theel
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I just wanted to chime in and say that my group has not had any issues with PMs. They've appeared in most games and I don't recall the winner ever possessing them.

Most of our tech points are spent on the extra disc technologies, improved hull (someone jumps on this every game it appears and totally loads up their dreadnaughts with multiple improved hulls), the Advanced Resource gathering techs, and the Orbitals/Monoliths.
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Steve Hope
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ParticleMan wrote:
I think most people are perfectly capable of determining how much combat affects the overall game. It's not relevant in terms of analyzing the brokenness of any given ship tech. Whether it determines 5% or 50% of Eclipse games doesn't matter. What matters is its comparison to other weapon choices.

It's clear that a weapon that always strikes first, hits for 4 damage AND requires zero power is broken, in spite of its limitations. The thread should focus on analyzing and redressing that problem, not sweeping it under the rug.


Sure, just get the OP to retitle this thread "Fixes for Plasma Missiles for those who think the tech is overpowered" and you're all set.

Oh, and I see there is one thread already on this topic (as opposed to the topic suggested by the OP):

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/746189/plasma-missile-fi...

Perhaps you would find that thread more to your liking?
 
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Steve Hope
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charlest wrote:
I just wanted to chime in and say that my group has not had any issues with PMs. They've appeared in most games and I don't recall the winner ever possessing them.

Most of our tech points are spent on the extra disc technologies, improved hull (someone jumps on this every game it appears and totally loads up their dreadnaughts with multiple improved hulls), the Advanced Resource gathering techs, and the Orbitals/Monoliths.


Seconded.
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Shawn Hendrix
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rashktah wrote:
Jotora wrote:
Missles are incapable of destroying population cubes also.
You could field a Plasma-Missile-Dreadnought with one slot of those neat population killin' bombs...



This conversation just made this a must have on my want list.
 
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Chris Miller
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ParticleMan wrote:
I've played Magic the Gathering on and off since 1994. In Magic a lot of the deck-building strategy is based on finding and exploiting the broken cards. Due to that game I've gotten into the habit of analyzing any aspect of any game to determine its relative brokenness.

I may have overstated it for emphasis. But plasma missile, as currently written, is overpowered. I have no interest in further debating it with you since your opinion isn't going to change. I am content knowing it from my own experience, and in being in the clear majority opinion on the issue.

As for wormhole generator -- I can't yet state whether I consider it broken/overpowered for the cost, but I can address important differences in the techs:

- WG is mostly for offense; PM can be used equally for offense and defense
- WG doesn't help you that much if your fleets suck (and if your opponents have any skill at the game, to avoid/resist stock inty neutron bombing)
- PM is very useful against ancients and GCDS, WG is primarily PvP

That last bit is quite important since at least in my case, most of my play group remains very averse to PvP. They want to be "nice." Last game, 2/4 players turtled hardcore, and WG tech was on the board (unbought) the entire game. I was busy fighting the 3rd player (Eridani), and would have purchased WG round 9 to grab a few key VP systems from the turtling players, but was forced into other more straightforward actions (holding the center) due to too much Eridani opposition to my fleet.

PM remains overpowered in all cases, regardless of how much people are turtling.


The great part of this is that I was making a joke in suggesting that wormhole generators are overpowered. I was using it as an example of how ridiculous it is to suggest that PMs are overpowered when they rarely affect the actual winner of a game.
 
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Chris Miller
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jsciv wrote:
You know, every time I see this thread I have to wonder what the other players are doing in these overpowered PM games. How is it that people are able to get these ridiculous fleets of PM ships and move them around the board seemingly at will: do their opponents not react to what they're doing? Have they just fallen into a groupthink situation where they roll over and capitulate as soon as someone gets PM?

PM is not a cheap technology and that it takes some serious resources to build a fleet of multiple gunships (not to mention the computers that also seem to "always" be there), so what in the world are the opponents doing that lets the PM player get that big of an economic engine lead? And if the PM player DOES have the resources to make mega-PM fleets, isn't that kind of a sign that they're probably doing really well in the game anyway?


People never want to answer my question of how many games have they played and how much has the possession of PMs affected the actual VP winner.
 
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Jim Richardson

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MillertimeRC wrote:
The great part of this is that I was making a joke in suggesting that wormhole generators are overpowered. I was using it as an example of how ridiculous it is to suggest that PMs are overpowered when they rarely affect the actual winner of a game.


An example isn't a joke. "PMs don't determine the winner" I guess I shouldn't ever buy them then? So, which techs DO determine the winner? I'll just stick to only those techs and actions which must win me the game, and then I will always win! shake

MillertimeRC wrote:
People never want to answer my question of how many games have they played and how much has the possession of PMs affected the actual VP winner.


I'm more advanced than the others in my usual play group, so I didn't see it fitting. But if you must know - when others got plasma missiles, they were a force to be dealt with. I usually win with or without plasma missiles. With plasma missiles I win overwhelmingly, even when specifically telling my opponents the techs they need to take to combat the PMs. Hoping the others in my group get better at the game so it becomes more of a challenge.

And to answer the OP: there's no "must-pick tech", all of the techs are at least balanced enough to be based on the overall game state / your game state. But of the available weapons, PMs are the only one that demand immediate attention IMO.
 
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Robert F-C
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While perhaps less relevant to this thread (which is specifically about PMs being a must pick technology) but mentioned often in some of the other PM-related discussion threads... it seems to me that many of the complaints are not related to simply that "PMs determine the winner" (and it seems that most people are not in fact even claiming this); many of the posts are not even arguing that "PMs are inherently broken" (as these technologies cost a lot economically to use effectively and there are anti-PM blueprints possible) but quite a number of people seemingly just don't like the way the dynamic of the game changes when PM turns up (i.e., a "PMs make the game less fun" issue). This is of course a highly subjective issue - but again, largely orthogonal as to whether "PMs determine the winner".

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Chris Miller
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That's a good point, but it comes back to another subjective question - what is the definition of broken? A powerful strategy or in-game acquisition that requires your opponents to react but doesn't make it impossible for them to react successfully isn't broken in my opinion.

I said pretty much the same thing early in this thread, that I think most people's problem with the missiles is how it allows an opponent to hit them hard. I don't know what to say to people that have issue with this, other than to reiterate that this isn't a space combat game, it's a space game with a combat element.
 
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Tom W
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"People never want to answer my question of how many games have they played and how much has the possession of PMs affected the actual VP winner."

that is a valid question - for me Ive played 9 games now and the only one where plasma missles did not carry the victor were in the first 3 games where poeple were still learnign the game.

Interestingly victory was not achieved by destruction the majority of the time (though that has occured twice in those 9 games), what happened was the person with plasma missles forced all the others to constanly scrub their plans and derail their own economy in order to build and upgrade military defenses, leaving the plasma missle owner to comfortably achieve the win typically by research, monoliths, etc.

The common "fleet" that paralyzed the rest of the opponents were either 4 cruisers each with 2 PM's a PC and a +2 or +3 comp, or 2 dreadnaughts with 3PM's each, 1 PC, and two +3 computers.

Sure, the defenders set up some 7 hp starbases but after using up 4 actions and 12 resources to get them ready the PM player either just attacked elsewhere with wormhole generator, bypassed the startbases by pinning them with a few destroyers, or just sat back and built monoliths. the lack of an effective mobile foil to the PM's let them drive the cadence of the game.

Personally I enjoy a bit more variety and rock-paper-scissors action. In general my game ideals are that if you can accurately predict what your opponent is going to do than you should easily counter them, thus the game gets to outthinking or our-reacting each other rather than just a race for a common tech/city/whatever

TW
 
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Russell Bryan
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Burrito_X wrote:
The common "fleet" that paralyzed the rest of the opponents were either 4 cruisers each with 2 PM's a PC and a +2 or +3 comp, or 2 dreadnaughts with 3PM's each, 1 PC, and two +3 computers.

Sure, the defenders set up some 7 hp starbases but after using up 4 actions and 12 resources to get them ready the PM player either just attacked elsewhere with wormhole generator, bypassed the starbases by pinning them with a few destroyers, or just sat back and built monoliths. the lack of an effective mobile foil to the PM's let them drive the cadence of the game.

If you want to show a balance problem, you should probably load both sides of the scale.


The following assumes a Terran attack fleet:

* 3 technology actions and 33 science resources for plasma cannons, plasma missiles, and gluon computers ("common" fleet, you say? You regularly have both of the latter two technologies on the board in ample numbers that no one can stop one player from buying them both early enough in the game to turn the tide in their favor?).

* 2 upgrade actions for the cruiser fleet, 3 upgrade actions for the dreadnaught fleet

* 2 build actions and 20 materials resources for the cruiser fleet, 1 build action and 16 materials resources for the dreadnaught fleet

* 2 move actions for the cruiser fleet, 1 move action for the dreadnaught fleet, to initiate an attack


So, that's 8 or 9 actions and 49 or 53 resources for the dreadnaught or cruiser fleet, respectively. Please note that the cost of those technologies takes into account the technology discount you would receive for buying each preceding technology, but does not take into account other military technologies that may have been purchased (although those would have to be factored into the overall cost). I wouldn't want anyone accusing me of being disingenuous.

So, why not start from there, but pretend this isn't one of the games where you deliberately ambushed your friends by not telling them how powerful this build could ultimately be.
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Tom W
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Rant, rant, rant.
OK, fine (sigh) if only a rant will make you feel better than here you go:

If you cant take an ambush than go play agricola! OUr group plays aggressive. we have fun and laugh and play aggressive.

SO please have fun with the canon rules, I have no problem with that. I respect that. But in the last 9 out of 10 games our players were well aware of the PM issues, and in 7/10 games now PMs carried the winner. I am bored with the canon rules and looking for more variety. If you think the game designers are smarter than you, go right ahead. I do not. I think we are equally smart, and equally capable of imagining creative solutions to have more fun in our [aggressive] group.

Rant away more! I am going to go play some games. Buddies coming into town; were going play a game and then grab a nice dinner, local ritzy establishment serves wild-caught game, boar and quail. awesome.

TW
 
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Russell Bryan
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There goes my point, whooshing over your head like a plasma missile.

When I teach someone chess, the first thing I do after "how do the pieces move" is show them the Fool's Mate and the Scholar's Mate. This is not a lack of aggression on my part. This is to show that the king's side bishop is a strategically important square and that they should be aware of it.

When I teach someone Eclipse, the first thing I do after "what are the available actions" is stress that plasma missiles and wormhole generators are strategically important technologies and that they should be aware of them. Does that meet your definition of not being aggressive enough?

There is a restaurant near me that serves wild game all February long. I usually get the schlacht platter. Last year they had a bear steak. Most succulent piece of meat I've ever eaten.

Now you've gone and made me hungry.
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stephen biggs
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ParticleMan wrote:
If PM is not overpowered, then AC is underpowered, as well as probably the rest of the weapons. Take your pick.

Not all tech are identically equal in both effectiveness & cost-effectiveness. No way they can be.
PM are the best weapon, AC arn't.

I count 9 techs that are noticably better than the other 15. And most of them only have 3-counters. So It's unlikly any player will get all of them. It's part of the game strategy to get a better subset of the tech options than other players manage. That includes deliberately researching, not the tech you want but the tech an enemy needs.
 
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Maciej Welc
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IMHO PM is not a big deal. I've never implemented it to my ships.

Today I was invaded by 7 interceptors each with 2 PM modules and 2 Dreadnoughts. I was defending with 3 Cruisers and 3 Starbases. PM cleared my Cruisers. Dreadnoughts managed to destroy 1 of my Starbases. Interceptors managed to flee.
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stephen biggs
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MillertimeRC wrote:

People never want to answer my question of how many games have they played and how much has the possession of PMs affected the actual VP winner.

I don't recall a clear bias either way (based on PM's) on who wins.
PM's do heavily bias who wins battles.
That's not the same as winning games.

Last game I won, I had researched PM's but I had not upgraded any ship class to use them.
My battles during the game, were of 3 types:
a) V's ancients (don't need PM's to win those)
b) V's an undefended system, I attacked as a reaction move after my "victim" was out of influence discs. A single non-upgraded interceptor took the system.
c) On the last game turn I fought a large battle, which tactically I lost (All my interceptors were wiped out by dreadnoughts etc). But strategically it was a victory, as my opponents fleet was pinned in one hex, instead of spreading out to conquere multiple hexes in my territory.
By the end of the game I had one surviving ship, but more VP's than anyone else.
 
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While it's certainly appealing to build a ship class loaded up with missiles and blast your opponent with them, I've yet to try it after a half-dozen or so games. I usually just tend to pick up the less expensive ship techs and spend science on more lucrative techs like the advanced cube spots and extra discs. Last night, though, my opponent across the table did go for a big missile fleet, and threw it against my defending force in the galactic center.

His fleet (human) consisted of all 4 frigates, armed to the teeth with +3 computers and 2 plasma missile racks. (He also had the ancient ship part that's a 3 yellow die missile, but that could have easily been replaced by a regular one.)
I was playing Hegemony and had my dreadnought (5HP, 2 plasma guns, computer, -1 shield, etc.) and 2 frigates (3HP, 2 plasma guns, -1 shield) in system, and built another dreadnought, frigate, and (unupgraded) fighter, plus 3 starbases (5HP, plasma gun, computer, shield) in response to the attack. (Luckily, I had a lot of resources!)
So, this meant that his initial attack rolled 7 dice (3 yellow, 4 orange) per ship, times 4 ships gives 28 dice! Since anything 4+ would hit, this could do a large amount of damage, and sure enough, my dreadnoughts and frigates all became space junk in seconds (19 damage done). This left the stock fighter and starbases to get in their shots before he withdrew. They all whiffed twice (I knew it! I'm surrounded by assholes!), and he began checking the rules on where he could retreat to.

We agreed this was a pretty devastating result, and that he could probably return the next time to finish the job. But, while this was going on, the other 2 players had decided this would be a good time to backstab, and moved into Mr. Missile's territory, cutting off his retreat. A quick read of the rules later, and it seemed not to matter that my space stations couldn't hit anything: since he had nowhere to go, they would have to succeed eventually.

So, it seems to me that the missiles are very powerful. BUT, a standard fleet design with shields and hull upgrades can withstand the barrage (if you have enough). At the time, I was just a couple of actions away from buying and deploying the -2 shield, but simply couldn't afford it. If my ships had been outfitted with that, even more would have survived. The missile fleet's advantage is in the carnage it can cause before retaliation, but if anything survives, you have to either run, have other ships present to finish the job, or dilute your barrage with gun placements. It seems viable to withdraw and come back the next turn, but the tactics others pointed out are equally strong: cut off retreat and the all-missile ship (which usually lacks hull upgrades) looks a lot less enticing, as seen in this example. One other side effect of this specialization is that you may have more trouble splitting up your fleet, and can become a target for other players who perceive you to be getting too strong (also as seen in our game).

Ed: oh, yes, and I wound up building a bunch of monoliths and winning in the end.
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Tomas Plečkaitis
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for those who are not convinced

in last our game one player bought PM and gloun computer. It is rather easy as both are on the same tech track. To be precise you need 6 source energy too. Nuclear bombs are nice to have too. That's it. Next you put 4 x PMs and 2 x GC on dreadnoughts. That's 16 orange dice with 32 100% damage... From that point of game other players are just statists without any hope.

IMHO suggested simultanious missles fire regardles initiative rule is very nice and thematic. Also from what i found in this thread a suggestion of maximum 2 PMs per ship seems solving balance best. I do not like PM consume energy suggestion as it doesn't fit weapon nature.
 
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Ivan Myers Jr
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First ever post on BGG.

I've played 11 games of Eclipse so far. During the first 1 or 2 games I saw a player put Plasma Missiles to great effect, especially as a deterrent when placed on starbases (missile boats!).

After those first few games I was almost 100% sure the missiles were broke. But after having picked up plasma missiles in just about each of the 9 games since (and winning zero of those games); I must say that my opinion has changed. Plasma Missiles are working as intended, and are NOT an auto-pick for the following reasons:

1. Armor + shields + numbers is an effective counter strategy against blueprints that go overboard on missiles (meaning, blueprints that forgo cannons and armor to have nothing but missiles and computers). Armor to force the assignment of more than 1 die to kill a single ship, shields to counter act computers and numbers to survive the salvo. If you survive the salvo against missile boats you win the battle.

2. It's an expensive tech that you either have to save up for (to get it early) or get it later in the game. If you save and buy it early then your depriving your race of the economic techs, and you can fall behind in late game. If you get them late your opponents will have enough time to build counter measures (see #1).

I'm not saying missiles are weak, no quite the contrary they are very strong. But as the designer has stated before, missiles are meant to be strong. Plasma Missiles give the "arms race" mini-game of Eclipse more tension: getting them makes you a legitimate military threat that the other players have to take notice of. When they hit the research board you immediately start thinking, "Do I take them and go on the offensive? Do I take them to deny other players? Do I ignore them and take my chances? Etc..."

After 11 games, I haven't seen any single strategy become overly effective. Missiles are sometimes part of the equation, many times they are not. They certainly haven't won me any games.
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Chris Miller
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tms_ wrote:
for those who are not convinced

in last our game one player bought PM and gloun computer. It is rather easy as both are on the same tech track. To be precise you need 6 source energy too. Nuclear bombs are nice to have too. That's it. Next you put 4 x PMs and 2 x GC on dreadnoughts. That's 16 orange dice with 32 100% damage... From that point of game other players are just statists without any hope.

IMHO suggested simultanious missles fire regardles initiative rule is very nice and thematic. Also from what i found in this thread a suggestion of maximum 2 PMs per ship seems solving balance best. I do not like PM consume energy suggestion as it doesn't fit weapon nature.


What have you said to convince anyone of anything?

What you're talking about involves four technologies, some high tier. Yes any one player that manages to get all of that will have a very strong military, and then what? How far in the game was it before the player was able to buy all these technologies, get them equipped, build the dreadnaughts and move them into attacking position? Was that player actually able to influence the winner of the game at this point?

There are dozens of possible scenarios where PMs could overpower the opponents in ship to ship combat. The real question is how easily and often do those scenarios actually come in a game and when they do, what actual effect do they have on the VP winner?
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Joseph Cochran
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tms_ wrote:
for those who are not convinced

in last our game one player bought PM and gloun computer. It is rather easy as both are on the same tech track. To be precise you need 6 source energy too. Nuclear bombs are nice to have too. That's it. Next you put 4 x PMs and 2 x GC on dreadnoughts. That's 16 orange dice with 32 100% damage... From that point of game other players are just statists without any hope.


Good of you not to pin those dreadnoughts with cheap interceptors. 16 orange dice (from 16 materials, probably around 20 research, four upgrade actions and a build) can be stopped by one 6-material, one action build. In my games those things would be pinned pretty quickly almost every turn. Sure you're fighting a defensive war against them, but the game is only 9 rounds so presumably while they've been assembling these Ultimate Fighting Machines you've been ... y'know ... working on winning the game...
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Antti Autio
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Quote:
in last our game one player bought PM and gloun computer. It is rather easy as both are on the same tech track. To be precise you need 6 source energy too. Nuclear bombs are nice to have too. That's it. Next you put 4 x PMs and 2 x GC on dreadnoughts. That's 16 orange dice with 32 100% damage... From that point of game other players are just statists without any hope.

Just felt like i need to point out that there is no such thing as 100 % to-hit certainty, thanks to the dice. Sure, with the maximum 83,33 % odds the above setup has an expected damage output of around 26 (13 hits) or so, but that is not certain. The roll might always be worse (or better, up to that maximum of 32 damage).

Of course, the real trick of how to deal with such monster ships lies elsewhere than trying to beat them in a direct fight, but that has been repeated ad nauseatum in the many PM threads already.
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Milinius Corazon
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MillertimeRC wrote:
[q="jsciv"]You know, every time I see this thread I have to wonder what the other players are doing in these overpowered PM games.

People never want to answer my question of how many games have they played and how much has the possession of PMs affected the actual VP winner.



PM-hull-cannon is not a rock paper scissors situation. If it were then Hull would counter PM. To say it counters, show me the math. ill show you my math.

Given a 2-Hull situation, one tile of PM means two dice. All other things being equal, a 50% success rate (1 success roll and 1 fail roll) means Hull Loses. And that's when you're trying to counter PM. If youre not even trying, you get insta-gibbed.

Show me the math where this is rock paper scissors.

PM is imbalanced.

Quote:
You know, every time I see this thread I have to wonder what the other players are doing in these overpowered PM games.


If this is the answer to PM, then youre saying people are playing incorrectly, as in, the correct choice is to punish the PM player for leaving his home territory. This is terribly, terribly faulty. There are definitely scenarios where the PM player can enter enemy territory and be able to NOT be reproached for doing so. Also, it may be viable for other players to allow a PM player to just freely attack with some ulterior motive in doing so. The point is, we aren't talking strategy or incorrect play, or the failure of noobs, or however you would like to consider it. The point is, ON PAPER, PM is straight imbalanced.
 
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David Winter
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rook2pawn wrote:

PM-hull-cannon is not a rock paper scissors situation. If it were then Hull would counter PM. To say it counters, show me the math. ill show you my math.

Given a 2-Hull situation, one tile of PM means two dice. All other things being equal, a 50% success rate (1 success roll and 1 fail roll) means Hull Loses. And that's when you're trying to counter PM. If youre not even trying, you get insta-gibbed.

Show me the math where this is rock paper scissors.

PM is imbalanced.


Err. your maths are wrong.

For an expected roll of 1 hit 1 miss, you need to be on 4+ to hit, so you must also have a +2 computer, so we have PM + computer vs 2 hull.

Also you need to inflict ONE MORE damage than hull points to destroy a ship, so BOTH missiles need to hit to destroy the 2 hull ship.

Seems like a reasonable counter to me......
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