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Subject: New combat system rss

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Aurélien Defossez
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I like the game, even if it's damn too long, but there's one thing I can hate sometimes, and it's its combat system.

The problem is that the attacker decides which defensive unit is gonna attack which attacking unit, and of course, if he can, he'll make something like a tank attack a mutalisk. Never as a tactician would I ask a tank to shoot at a mustalisk. So the defenser can only cry, facing the stupidity of his units.

So I wrote some simple rules to change that, we've played once with it and it was great!
Each ruleset below can be used separately, but I encourage you to use them all.

1) Asymmetric combat
Instead of the attacker creating all the skirmishes, we do this:
- The number of groups is still determined by the army with the less units (without support units)
- The defencer creates his groups of units (with the support units), then the attacker does
- The defencer determines the target of each of his groups (he can do that by placing the group in front of its target). Each opposite group must be targetted by one group (not more, not less)
- The attacker determines the target of his groups, which can be different groups (he can do so by orienting the front-line unit toward its target. As with the defencer, each opposite groups must be targetted. This asymmetric combat gives both the defencer and the attacker the possibility to target the desired units.
- The attacker plays his combat cards. When a support card says something about the skirmish, it now concerns the attacking group and the targetted group.
- The defencer plays his combat cards
- The attacker decides in which order the groups attack (this does not affect gameplay, it just can add tension and suspens during the resolution)
- If the targetted unit dies, don't remove it yet and place a marker (I use the "depleted resource" marker for that) on that unit to remember it has been killed.
- When all attacks have been made, apply splash damage and then remove the killed units from the game.

2) Heavy units against splash
When resolving the splash damages, heavy units requires 2 splash damages to be destroyed.
Heavy units are:
- Siege tank & Battlecruiser
- Ultralisk & Guardian
- Reaver, Archons & Carrier

The player resolving his splash damages still has to resolve as much as splash damages as possible, so he cannot use a heavy unit to absorb once splash damage for free. The only case in which a heavy unit takes only one splash damage and thus survives is if only one splash damage remains and all other units are/were heavies.

e.g.
2 splashes with 1 Ultralisk, 2 Zerglings: The player can destroy either the Ultralisk or both Zerglings
1 splash with 1 Ultralisk, 2 Zerglings: The player must destroy a zergling
3 splashes with 2 Ultralisk, 2 Zerglings: The player must destroy 1 Ultralisk and 1 Zergling, so all 3 splashes are resolved. If the player only destroys 2 Zergling, one remaining splash damage is not resolved and cannot kill the remaining unit.

3) Easier retreat
Units can retreat in multiple zones, but must follow rules:
When units retreat, the player must first retreat as many as he can on the active planet.
If there's not enough room for all of them, remaining units must retreat on an empty or friendly zone on an adjacent planet with a friendly base.
Units cannot retreat on a planet if the player has no base on it.

Units that retreated because they avoided a shot thanks to stealth must remaing on the active planet. If they can't, they are destroyed.

4) Multiple attacks
When using a mobilise order on a planet, the player can attack multiple zones at once. He must move all the units before resolving any attack. If he's a Terran and has a base on the active planet, he may move it before the attacks as well.

Instead of the possibility to attack with 2 units above the limit, the player can only add 1 unit above the limit, for each battle.

The players draw normally their combat cards for the first battle, but each subsequent battle reduces the number of cards to draw by 1 for each army, with a minimum of 1.
- 1st battle: attacker draws 3 cards and defenser 1 (3 if Protoss)
- 2nd battle: attacker draws 2 cards and defenser 1 (2 if Protoss)
- 3rd battle: attacker draws 1 card and defenser 1

With a golden order, only the first battle gets the bonuses (2 cards and attack +1)
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Steve Cates
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They seem reasonable for seasoned players but I'd have a hard time explaining these to a newbie.
 
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Ian Toltz
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Didjor wrote:
Never as a tactician would I ask a tank to shoot at a mustalisk.


That's kind of the point. The defense is static, and the attacker has the the advantage in that they choose the engagement. As the attacker, you're not going to send your siege tanks off to fight the defender's mutalisks! (poor example given the fact that one of the muta's biggest strengths is its mobility, but you get my drift).

Thematically, the defender positions his units to guard his base in whatever spots he chooses, and the attacker then decides how best to overcome those defenses.

It's also important mechanically. The game heavily emphasizes and and incentivizes attacking. I'd worry that giving the defense a boost in combat would at best encourage a turtling strategy, and potentially would unbalance the game in favor of certain characters' victory conditions.
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Aurélien Defossez
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I didn't see this that way.
When I play Starcraft, I don't position my tanks unguarded, there'll always be a turret, a bunker or anti-air units. But I see your point.

So the defender has been empowered with this, but it does not change the fact that the attacker still has these bonuses when he attacks:
- +1 unit (or +2 in the original rule)
- +3 cards (+5 with a golden order)
- +1 attack (golden order)

I think it's still enough for the attacker to have an advantage. But I need to play-test this more to see if turtling is viable.
 
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1) I think we need a better explanation of algorithm results to discuss it further.

I assume that forming groups forces players to select front-line unit of each group. So that targeting a single group means that its front-line unit (already selected) will be destroyed by Combat values, if able.

To find the outcome for a single group, you have to reveal cards of multiple groups. That's because of ho targets are selected - you have to compare attack values of attacking group with health values of defending group. So that each primary Combat card "attacks" one group but "protects" against the attack of any other group (not necessary the same).

Correct me if I've overlooked or misunderstood anything above. Looks like you're skipping Brood War expansion, but I'll include it below.

The main problems that I can see are:
- The way that you assign supporting units - A defender selects them first contrary to original rules, which puts him in disadvantage.
- It's unclear how to use abilities resolved completely within skirmish or which rely on it heavily - There are some, like e.g. Collateral Damage which forces front-line unit to survive in order to be triggered. With such targeting, it would become almost impossible against a prepared defender. Cards canceling opponents' Combat cards: EMP Shockwave, Hallucination and Feedback would be problematic also. On the other hand, such abilities like Mind Control would become better.
- Defensive Module becomes much worse or even obsolete - You would make some use of it only if you had any non-Assist supporting units. An that works only if supporting units cannot be targeted.

All in all, not a bad idea but it needs to implement solutions to things listed above.


2) Well, I'm mot sure if it's really necessary. It might work wrong in a base game, but with expansion it seems to be fair enough. Especially if defender knows how to defend against Splash Damage - i.e. by Defensive Module, cannon fodder or maybe some techs.


3) Really, what's the point of altering that? The way it works now is still comfortable enough for the attacker. He doesn't need even more benefits like those.


4) Too many Combat cards drawn at once, and too easy way to defeat a weaker player with a single blow. However, I could agree that if enemy controls more than 4 areas it might consume all Mobilize orders of even 2-3 rounds to eliminate him single handedly. To win a game, you might need much more actions to be done.

That' why I'd rather suggest an alternative variant:
While executing Special Mobilize, player may do one of the following:
- Standard benefits of that orders are used.
- Player can move units to additional enemy area of the active planet, but unit limit cannot be exceeded by more than 2 in total, summing up both areas. Two battles are resolved, in order chosen by attacking player. attacker draws 1 Combat card less (2 for each battle).
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Aurélien Defossez
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cyb3k wrote:
I assume that forming groups forces players to select front-line unit of each group. So that targeting a single group means that its front-line unit (already selected) will be destroyed by Combat values, if able.

To find the outcome for a single group, you have to reveal cards of multiple groups. That's because of ho targets are selected - you have to compare attack values of attacking group with health values of defending group. So that each primary Combat card "attacks" one group but "protects" against the attack of any other group (not necessary the same).

That's right.

cyb3k wrote:
Correct me if I've overlooked or misunderstood anything above. Looks like you're skipping Brood War expansion, but I'll include it below.

Yes I don't have the Brood war expansion yet.

cyb3k wrote:
- The way that you assign supporting units - A defender selects them first contrary to original rules, which puts him in disadvantage.

The attacker does not have the control of defender's units target. So I did this slight change to rebalance a bit in favor of the attacker.

cyb3k wrote:
- It's unclear how to use abilities resolved completely within skirmish or which rely on it heavily - There are some, like e.g. Collateral Damage which forces front-line unit to survive in order to be triggered. With such targeting, it would become almost impossible against a prepared defender. Cards canceling opponents' Combat cards: EMP Shockwave, Hallucination and Feedback would be problematic also. On the other hand, such abilities like Mind Control would become better.

For Hallucination, I would say, for consistency reasons, that the attacker targetting the templar must discard his combat card.
For EMP Shockwave, it would be the support card of the targetted group, because the EMP, in the original game, is a targetted attack, while Hallucination is more of a defensive think (you don't select an enemy target).
It's the same for Stasis field and Ensnare (Not sure about the name, it's the queen ability to have +1 def and reduce the support to 0), the impacted group is also the targetted group.
For Dark Swarm, I'd say it's also a defensive ability, so it's cast on the attacker targetting the defiler's group.

Summary:
Hallucination and Dark Swarm: On the attacker.
EMP Shockwave, Stasis field and Ensnare: On the targetted group.

I never played Broodwar, so I don't really know about Collateral Damage. But it seems indeed more difficult to protect such a unit.
I don't know also about Feedback and I don't find the card on internet (feedback is such a generic word).

cyb3k wrote:
- Defensive Module becomes much worse or even obsolete - You would make some use of it only if you had any non-Assist supporting units. An that works only if supporting units cannot be targeted.

Indeed, this module is really useless with this variant.

cyb3k wrote:
2) Well, I'm mot sure if it's really necessary. It might work wrong in a base game, but with expansion it seems to be fair enough. Especially if defender knows how to defend against Splash Damage - i.e. by Defensive Module, cannon fodder or maybe some techs.

We didn't have many chances to test that, so it may be a bad idea.

cyb3k wrote:
3) Really, what's the point of altering that? The way it works now is still comfortable enough for the attacker. He doesn't need even more benefits like those.

I don't like the idea of losing units just because there's not enough space on the active planet. Why would it be impossible to retreat back to a base? It may not happen often but it happens, and it's frustrating when it does happen.

cyb3k wrote:
4) Too many Combat cards drawn at once, and too easy way to defeat a weaker player with a single blow. However, I could agree that if enemy controls more than 4 areas it might consume all Mobilize orders of even 2-3 rounds to eliminate him single handedly. To win a game, you might need much more actions to be done.

I didn't play-test it enough. But it can be too powerful, one can even want to attack a 1-unit zone only to draw cards.

cyb3k wrote:
That' why I'd rather suggest an alternative variant:
While executing Special Mobilize, player may do one of the following:
- Standard benefits of that orders are used.
- Player can move units to additional enemy area of the active planet, but unit limit cannot be exceeded by more than 2 in total, summing up both areas. Two battles are resolved, in order chosen by attacking player. attacker draws 1 Combat card less (2 for each battle).

It looks good, I think I'll try something like that.

Thanks for the feedback, it really helps, as I've only played around 8 games of Starcraft (it's a bit long, even on 1v1).
 
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1)
Quote:
Summary:
Hallucination and Dark Swarm: On the attacker.
EMP Shockwave, Stasis field and Ensnare: On the targetted group.

Concerning utility is a good idea, but notice that all those abilities can be used both defensively and aggressively. Perhaps the best solution would be to determine it from the player's position - all cards of attacker/defender would work on attacked/attacking group (accordingly).

Bolded phrases in my previous post are well explained in expansion rulesbook, you should have no problem with finding the .pdf version. Feedback destroys single Assist unit in the same skirmish (unless canceled by EMP Shockwave or enemy Feedback). If enemy reinforcement card doesn't match to any unit then, it is discarded without effect.

2) Most important changes concerning Splash Damage are:
- Marines no longer deal Splash Damage of Firebat (single card was allowing that before)
- 3 of 7 new units (Lurker, Valkyrie, Devourer) deal Splash Damage, the last mentioned one needs cards from upgrade for that though

It works quite well, but:
- IMO Valkyries are too cheap comparing with their potential strength, it's too easy to buy them and use their Flying Splash
- Protoss cannot use Flying Splash Damage without Archons or High Templars, but they are prone to EMP Shockwave

Those are things which might be worth of fixes.

3) I'd say that it's a part of planning. Not planned effects are always frustrating. But that isn't a reason to change anything.

4) My version is even weaker than yours: it's just +1 Mobilize per round in best case, not +2 or even +3 per round. It also provides less cards than standard Special Mobilize (4 instead of 5, although Zerg can use racial ability to draw an additional card between both battles)

Concerning cards, they might become a problem if:
- you have lots of units involved in battles (especially the same units)
- you are a defender multiple times in a single round
 
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Jonathan Folkert
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I've toyed with the idea of allowing multiple attacks. I think a much simpler rule modification would be in order:

The attacker draws cards for the first battle only, and fights any remaining battles with the cards he has in hand. The defender draws cards (as normal) at the start of each battle initiated by the attacker.

This makes attacking multiple areas less attractive, but still allows for it in exceptional circumstances.
 
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