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Jeff Baker
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I played a quick 30 point skirmish game; Marauders versus Combine. A couple questions came up. Here is the setup...

Marauders - 28 points
Rebel Leader
Grenadier
Scout
Sniper
Medic

Combine - 30 points
Commander
HARPI
Hellfire
Inferno

Scenario: Kill 'em All

Questions


-These are the rules for Scavenge tokens; my question will follow:

Pg. 8 (Setup): Each player typically places one or more scavenge tokens on the gamescape. Each player rolls one 10-sided dice. The player with the highest roll places a Scavenge Token first and then players alternate placing Scavenge Tokens.
Pg. 9 (Scenario: Kill 'em All): Each player places one Scavenge Token on the gamescape. [p. 13]
Pg. 13: Rules on how to pick up Scavenge Tokens, and what happens if a character is killed while carrying it.

1). Is there restrictions on where you may place Scavenge Tokens? Can it be right where you deploy your characters, so that first round you are picking it up? Can it be placed on all the different terrains (water, elevated, difficult, blocking, etc.)?

-Range Combat and Elevated Terrain rules; question to follow:

Pg. 20: Ranged Combat attacks can pass through Elevated Terrain only if both the attacker and target are on Elevated Terrain. Elevated Terrain allows characters to use Ranged Combat against enemy characters on normal elevations and ignore the modifier for Ranged Combat through characters and Difficult Terrain. Characters on normal elevation receive the same benefits when attacking characters on Elevated Terrain.

2). How far from the edge of Elevated Terrain can characters shoot normally?

- I had the instance where the Marauders were all on Elevated Terrain, about two squares from the edge of the Elevated Terrain. Its one of the Streets of Ruin gamescapes, its like a building, most of it Elevated. So even though the Marauders were two squares deep onto the Elevated Terrain, I let them shoot at the Combine. Then vice versa, I let the Combine shoot back. The rules did not really clarify this type of case.


End Result


- It turned into a bulletstorm. After the movements at the beginning and fighting initiative die rolls, we started aiming for the big assault.
- The Marauders lined up along the Elevated Terrain, waiting for the Combine to get closer, anticipating movements to fall within their WR. Inferno moved up, followed by the HARPI and Commander. The Hellfire stopped just shy of the Marauders' WR and was able to out-range them. He knocked out the Grenadier in one salvo.
- In return, the Sniper and Scout shot down the Inferno, exposing the HARPI. Marauders won next round's initiative and the Rebel Leader finished off the HARPI.
- Marauders won initiative, again. Sniper damages the Hellfire, Hellfire wipes out the Sniper, Commander kills the Scout.
- Rebel Leader and Medic fell back, so the Combine had to chase. Marauders won initiative and Rebel Leader finishes off the Hellfire. Commander fails to hit the Rebel Leader. Marauders win initiative again, finish off the Commander.
- Marauders victory!

In Conclusion


- Initiative is key. It is a powerful element to the game. If you win initiative, you can give ONE of your units an action at the start of the round, which in the case of the Marauders won them the game with the Rebel Leader's Leadership ability. Or give it to the other player if you are watching the squares for WR and anticipating their movement to fall into your killing range.
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Good questions there. In my opinion, I believe that you can place the scavenge tokens any where on the map other than on blocking tiles. You have to do this before choosing the side so if you place the scavenge tokens too near the sides, it might be possible that the enemy might get it.

As for the second question, I’m not too sure on this one but what we did was that they can’t shoot each other if the line drawn between the centre of the two characters enter into any elevated terrain square. Even cutting slightly into the corners isn’t allowed I think.

I agree that initiative is important in the game but I do not think that it is the key to winning. The key to winning is to choose the right troops and play strategically. The luck and initiative should just be a side factor. For example, one reason why I think combine lost was because they chose an inferno. An inferno isn’t useful against another rc faction. Because in order for Inferno to flame them, the inferno has to move really close to the enemy. Doing so against marauders is horrible because the high RC of marauder will definitely kill the inferno before it has time to flame. Even medics have rc. As seen from the game, the inferno did no damage. If combine chose other characters instead of the inferno, the game would have been very different.

By the way, I think you did not know about the revised hellfire changes. Hellfire costs 12 now. The changes and the reasons are in this thread: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1013378/combine-faction-...
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Hummm...
Just checking, did you play that the initiative winning player just choose if goes first or in second and whoever goes first, just play one unit, then to the remaining rounds, two units will be played for each side?

Initiative isn't the key, units are. Besides the already pointed by Comarauthen, inferno is a weak unit against marauders, I would point that the number of fighting units are vital, combine have 1,5 less units (harpi value 0,5 with luck, marauder medics already win me a few skirmishs).
So a player with more units have the last moves, using a unit or two as reserves moving then only when your opponent as already show all his moves, gives a strategic advantage.
Adding that they may also have the first move, it's a blood bath. With Marauders it's even worse because it's a tremendous faction after a few plays, since combinations on them are very power full.

How to avoid that? When you building the game scape, nullify the open terrain. Then match the sizes to you opponent, even with insignificant units. Move cover to cover and use wolfpack tactics, if units get close marauders in different waves, they would be picked one by one.

Try the same game, but change the hellfire by a Vanguard and another commander. That would be 31 against 28, so no more units to marauders.
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David Thompson
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Quote:
Pg. 8 (Setup): Each player typically places one or more scavenge tokens on the gamescape. Each player rolls one 10-sided dice. The player with the highest roll places a Scavenge Token first and then players alternate placing Scavenge Tokens.
Pg. 9 (Scenario: Kill 'em All): Each player places one Scavenge Token on the gamescape. [p. 13]
Pg. 13: Rules on how to pick up Scavenge Tokens, and what happens if a character is killed while carrying it.

1). Is there restrictions on where you may place Scavenge Tokens? Can it be right where you deploy your characters, so that first round you are picking it up? Can it be placed on all the different terrains (water, elevated, difficult, blocking, etc.)?


You can place your Scavenge Token anywhere. If you place your Scavenge Token near the edge of the gamescape, you're taking a gamble that your opponent will win the chance to deploy first and place their characters along the edge where you placed a Scavenge Token. All things being equal, placing Scavenge Tokens is often somewhat of a stalemate, where you try to offset the placement of your opponent's Scavenge Token so that no matter where you start, you will have access to one (or more, depending on how many you're playing with). It's more important, in my opinion, to try to place them in locations that lend themselves well to your faction's ability to get to them, regardless of starting location. Scavenge Tokens can't be placed on Blocking Terrain, but they can be on anything else.

Quote:
-Range Combat and Elevated Terrain rules; question to follow:

Pg. 20: Ranged Combat attacks can pass through Elevated Terrain only if both the attacker and target are on Elevated Terrain. Elevated Terrain allows characters to use Ranged Combat against enemy characters on normal elevations and ignore the modifier for Ranged Combat through characters and Difficult Terrain. Characters on normal elevation receive the same benefits when attacking characters on Elevated Terrain.

2). How far from the edge of Elevated Terrain can characters shoot normally?

- I had the instance where the Marauders were all on Elevated Terrain, about two squares from the edge of the Elevated Terrain. Its one of the Streets of Ruin gamescapes, its like a building, most of it Elevated. So even though the Marauders were two squares deep onto the Elevated Terrain, I let them shoot at the Combine. Then vice versa, I let the Combine shoot back. The rules did not really clarify this type of case.{/b]

The rules could probably be a little more clear in this regard. The key phrase in the rulebook is "Ranged Combat attacks can pass through Elevated Terrain only if both the attacker and target are on Elevated Terrain." What this means is that Line of sight from Elevated to the base elevation and vice versa can never pass through a square of Elevated Terrain. Does that make sense? I can make a quick reference graphic to show it a little more clearly if you like. I'm a little worried about this not being clear in the rules now...

[q]- It turned into a bulletstorm. After the movements at the beginning and fighting initiative die rolls, we started aiming for the big assault.
- The Marauders lined up along the Elevated Terrain, waiting for the Combine to get closer, anticipating movements to fall within their WR. Inferno moved up, followed by the HARPI and Commander. The Hellfire stopped just shy of the Marauders' WR and was able to out-range them. He knocked out the Grenadier in one salvo.
- In return, the Sniper and Scout shot down the Inferno, exposing the HARPI. Marauders won next round's initiative and the Rebel Leader finished off the HARPI.
- Marauders won initiative, again. Sniper damages the Hellfire, Hellfire wipes out the Sniper, Commander kills the Scout.
- Rebel Leader and Medic fell back, so the Combine had to chase. Marauders won initiative and Rebel Leader finishes off the Hellfire. Commander fails to hit the Rebel Leader. Marauders win initiative again, finish off the Commander.
- Marauders victory!


Good recap. By the way, I usually run 30 point Marauder v. Combine games when I demo STA at conventions, game stores, etc. These games FLY by. Very deadly!

Quote:
- Initiative is key. It is a powerful element to the game. If you win initiative, you can give ONE of your units an action at the start of the round, which in the case of the Marauders won them the game with the Rebel Leader's Leadership ability. Or give it to the other player if you are watching the squares for WR and anticipating their movement to fall into your killing range.


It can be, that's very true. Sometimes everything hinges on an initiative roll, but the critical thing for players in STA (like most similar games) is trying to mitigate luck. That definitely includes initiative...plus, the limit to a single character action often balances things pretty well, depending on total force disposition. As you can imagine, the impact of winning initiative is greater in small point value games and near the ends of skirmishes.

Quote:
As for the second question, I’m not too sure on this one but what we did was that they can’t shoot each other if the line drawn between the centre of the two characters enter into any elevated terrain square. Even cutting slightly into the corners isn’t allowed I think.


Yep - that's correct.

Quote:
I agree that initiative is important in the game but I do not think that it is the key to winning. The key to winning is to choose the right troops and play strategically. The luck and initiative should just be a side factor. For example, one reason why I think combine lost was because they chose an inferno. An inferno isn’t useful against another rc faction. Because in order for Inferno to flame them, the inferno has to move really close to the enemy. Doing so against marauders is horrible because the high RC of marauder will definitely kill the inferno before it has time to flame. Even medics have rc. As seen from the game, the inferno did no damage. If combine chose other characters instead of the inferno, the game would have been very different.


This is exactly right. In fact, in the early years of STA development, when there was just the Marauders and Combine, we struggled mightily with whether the Inferno was a viable character. He was never used against the Marauders, but that's because he's definitely designed to be a counterbalance against Close Combat factions. In a Marauder v. Combine game, you definitely want to use those points on a different character.

Quote:
By the way, I think you did not know about the revised hellfire changes. Hellfire costs 12 now. The changes and the reasons are in this thread: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1013378/combine-faction-...


Yep, make sure you have the latest versions for the Marauders and Combine. I think the Hellfire may be the only recent significant change to those two factions, but double check them just to be sure.

Quote:
Initiative isn't the key, units are. Besides the already pointed by Comarauthen, inferno is a weak unit against marauders, I would point that the number of fighting units are vital, combine have 1,5 less units (harpi value 0,5 with luck, marauder medics already win me a few skirmishs).
So a player with more units have the last moves, using a unit or two as reserves moving then only when your opponent as already show all his moves, gives a strategic advantage.
Adding that they may also have the first move, it's a blood bath. With Marauders it's even worse because it's a tremendous faction after a few plays, since combinations on them are very power full.

How to avoid that? When you building the game scape, nullify the open terrain. Then match the sizes to you opponent, even with insignificant units. Move cover to cover and use wolfpack tactics, if units get close marauders in different waves, they would be picked one by one.


We're piling on here, but again, I agree with RT. So you've basically heard the same thing three times! One new point that RT is making, though, is the impact of the number of characters. A difference of one or two isn't that big of a deal, but strength in numbers is a legitimate strategy, especially depending on the objective. If you have a lot of characters left at the end of the round and string together their actions, it can be formidable, even if they are weak. So that counteracts the impact of winning initiative, depending on the force numbers.
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After playing just that one match, I'll definitely be changing things up. It was more of a case where my son and I wanted basically one of everything to try them out. My son wanted the 'giant robots', as he calls the Combine's Hellfire and Inferno. I took one of each Marauder, no specific strategy in mind, just testing out the gameplay.

The gamescape definitely is a factor as well, considering the overwhelming firepower that Marauders and Combine can dish out. We sort of randomly chose gamescapes, once again just trying the game out so no clear strategy in mind. But I can see how you can tailor the battlefield for your particular faction. Less clear terrain would have helped a little bit.

As for the initiative, it was very potent in this match. As the Marauder player, the Rebel Leader gave me that +1 to initiative each round. I would give first turn to my son's Combine when I wanted him to move closer to my Marauder's WR, but by the end I was taking that first turn with just one of my Marauders to finish off the Combine units that had gotten too close. It may not be the all-deciding factor on winning, but it certainly helped alot.

The Scavenge Tokens use was not really thought out much in this match. I put one along one side of the table and my son put one along the other side of the table. So we each got a Scavenge Token right off. Then again, we already determined which side to play on before laying out Scavenge Tokens. I can see if we placed Scavenge Tokens before choosing sides we might have placed them differently.

As for the Elevated Terrain, I think I understand now. So, if you draw a straight line between targets, if that line crosses through any Elevated Terrain squares then you cannot shoot. Looking at the example and reading the rules, it seemed that it was saying if the two units were on opposite sides of the Elevated Terrain then they can't shoot. For example, a Scout behind a wall trying to shoot a Commander on the other side of the wall, not a Scout two squares back on the roof of a building shooting at a Commander on the ground.

And apparently I need to take all those unit cards and write in the new updated values. Was my mistake, not that it made a difference in this case.

 
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Welcome...
By now you started to realize that a small and simple game without the heavy characteristics of the big brands has the same fun and deep.

That's the beauty of STA, after a few plays, even without lots of units, simple rules and common dices, you will find the level of strategy need it quite high. On the other hand, even you don't spend much time planning, you can have a very good experience.

Even when some of the things 'go random' (meaning you don't chose nothing, get a random faction, get a random value and a random set of land scape) you end having a lot of fun without sacrificing nothing.

With the other games you will still building the teams and the set, with STA you will have a game or two in the pocket.

Also, the number of non war gamers that have 'time' to learn STA is a little bigger, since in 10 minutes everybody is playing. And we are still with tokens, I really think people would be more interested when minis ( at least minis not paint by me) come in.

 
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Sadly, alot of people who pledge on Kickstarter often don't look past the miniatures included in the game. Not all of them, but a good majority just see miniatures and not how a game is played.

For STA, its definitely more like a game of Chess than a tabletop miniatures wargame.

So how will the blast templates and other random tokens be made in the final version?
 
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So how will the blast templates and other random tokens be made in the final version?


Hopefully similar to what's in the prototypes. High quality chipboard for the tokens and clear plastic overlays for the templates.
 
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Whatever happens, STA is here to stay. Design is stable, engine is powerfull and light. People are coming and contributing.
Even first kick start fails, it have strength to go on gathering new players and make another attempt.
The schedule I was betting was much longer, an year, year and a half.
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Worse case scenario is that no one else likes it...

Even then we would all have a game we love, and that we get to work together on.
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In that case, let me tell you some ideas I have for an expansion to the Skirmish Tactics game family:

Dragonrealm: A Skirmish Tactics game


A fantasy themed world; elves, dwarves, dragons, knights, wizards, etc. But this one will be tied into STA in a certain way.

What if magic was used to open a portal into another dimension? A dimension in STA we call the Basement.

Once again the world is nearly destroyed by the Basement creatures. A unified front of elves, dwarves, men, wizards, dragons, etc. use a devastating magical spell to wipe out the Nethermancer-led invasion force, but at a terrible cost. Millions of lives were lost.

Fast forward a few years, pockets of civilizations remain. Roaming netherbeasts attack small towns and villages of survivors. Elves are hiding deep in their forests, leading centaurs and minotaurs to defend their sylvan homes. Dwarves have barred their mountain strongholds; going out with their stone elementals and axe-wielding soldiers to find supplies.

You get the idea; STA but fantasy.
 
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What if I told you I was running a D&DNext campaign right now that is based on a campaign world I used for 2e, 3e, and 4e, and in that campaign world there is a realm called the Netherscape that is ruled by a Dragon-god and filled with crazy reptilian creatures and mutated versions of the "normal" races.

And you can read more about it here: http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaign/westwatch/wikis/main-...

First session was last week.

But I like your version better - much grittier, less vanilla D&D. Good stuff. To be honest, as we've been working on the Deep Ones I can't help but wonder if maybe we should be holding them back for a different setting altogether.
 
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Skirmish_Tactics wrote:
What if I told you I was running a D&DNext campaign right now that is based on a campaign world I used for 2e, 3e, and 4e, and in that campaign world there is a realm called the Netherscape that is ruled by a Dragon-god and filled with crazy reptilian creatures and mutated versions of the "normal" races.

And you can read more about it here: http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaign/westwatch/wikis/main-...

First session was last week.

But I like your version better - much grittier, less vanilla D&D. Good stuff. To be honest, as we've been working on the Deep Ones I can't help but wonder if maybe we should be holding them back for a different setting altogether.


I had an idea for STA and beyond, involving the Nether of course. Included would be the Order, Chimeras, Waste Dragons, and even the Deep Ones. I thought it might be neat to tie in STA with follow-up games.

For the Dragonrealm: A Skirmish Tactics Game, the Order would be called something different, but their role would be just about identical to their position in STA. You would have the Abomination, Carnage, Fallen, Nethermancer, Thrall, and Wraith. Waste Dragons may be called something else, but they'll be mutated fantasy-style dragons, perhaps with wings. Deep Ones would be about identical as well.

Same concepts, nethergates opened by the great nations: humans, elves, dwarves, orcs, goblins, etc. This time magic (of course) was used to open portals to the Basement (called something else, something more sinister/fantasy sounding). Unleashes the nethermancers and their armies. Invasion only halted after lots of sacrifice and cataclysmic magic that sundered the continents, slaughtered millions, but closed all but a handful of gates.

One of these days I gotta get back into a D&D group. Perhaps I'll run a campaign with my kids. Though that depends on their attention span...

 
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Fantasy would be one of the easiest ports of the STA rules system. You could basically use it as is, just re-skinning many of the characters. The Order, Erthen, Deep Ones, etc would make great fits. I can think of some great ideas for wizards, clerics, etc.
 
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