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Star Trek: Attack Wing» Forums » General

Subject: A new player's thoughts on cloaking rss

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No And No Again
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A little long, sorry. And I realise none of this is going to be news to anyone. I'm just articulating a first impression, in a kind of therapeutic fashion.

I've played X-Wing a tiny bit, and the idea of a Star Trek version grabs me a lot more (I didn't even know this game existed until last month). I had a couple of little intro games, then the other day, played my first 'proper' game as Klingons against some Romulans.

I loved it, but one thing frustrated me when I realised it: you can effectively fire while cloaked. Because you can raise your cloak as an action, yet retain the benefits of it for the remainder of the turn even if you fire, you can then simply raise the cloak again next turn and repeat. Yes, it avoids creating an issue whereby a captain is penalised for having a high skill value, by being forced to drop his cloak to fire and thus become a sitting duck for crummy captains who take their turn afterwards. But it's just not true to the fiction. The choice is supposed to be between cloaking or FIRING, hammered home every time a cloaking ship turns up in the plot of a show or movie. But in Attack Wing, you can keep firing to your heart's content - the choice is instead between cloaking or taking evasive manoeuvres. That's just... weird.

I read the developer diary on cloaking and found myself puzzled as to how no one seemed to notice this. It was quite right to avoid penalising high-skilled captains, but rather than create equality by making sure NO ONE can fire while cloaked, they did so by making sure EVERYONE can. Surely it would have made more sense to EITHER:


-add "can't fire this round" to the cloak action

OR:

-say that cloaking only kicks in at the end of round, in the same way as de-cloaking.


Both those effects - either you can be indefinitely cloaked but your rate of fire halves, or you can still fire every turn but your cloak will be down half of the time if you do - would reflect the fictional tradeoff in the gameplay, as well as create a much more meaningful gaming decision to make. Hell, the simplest thing to do might have been to make "disable shields and cloak" into an "attack", rather than an action per se, although that would cause a little more core rule confusion given the nature of the action bar.

I'll have to play a lot more before my thoughts on this solidify, obviously - I'm just kind of meandering here, so take it in that context. But the issue is not that I think cloaking is too "powerful" as regards anyone's chances to win the game, particularly; it's not that there aren't ways to beat cloaked ships. It just FEELS totally wrong, and I can't see that changing with experience. It was a deflating moment when I realised it, and I don't want to feel deflated with this game, because I love everything else about it.

Obviously you're all going to be familiar with this kind of conversation, I've seen other threads about this sort of thing as I've been looking around here and other forums. I'm kind of curious as to how this ends up feeling in the longer term though. Does the cloaking mechanic ever start to feel like it does on TV?
 
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Jonathan M D Thomas
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1st and foremost, you have to have a mechanically sound game.

Cloaking isn't 100% thematic, but the game wouldn't function as well if it was true to the show/movies.

It still passes the theme of hard to hit, but has its shields down, and gets to sensor echo and not get Target Locks if cloaked longer than a turn.

If anything...I'm starting to think cloak is underpowered. +4 dice isn't really that much and bad rolls happen.
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Brian Compton
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Bubble Ghost wrote:
Does the cloaking mechanic ever start to feel like it does on TV?
No, but the game is fun.

Your option A would make for very boring games *if* anyone bothered to cloak at all.

Your option B is not true to the canon either. Ships did not take a long time to cloak, it was fairly instantaneous.
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Ted Kay
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In the context of the full range of options, I think it gets pretty close. You'll find that it is a balanced effect mechanically. Personally, I'm an immersionist when it comes to games, but cloaking doesn't bug me as is.

I think if they'd done it any other way gameplay would grind to a halt. Or in the suggested case of waiting til the end of the round to receive the benefits, you just dropped your shields for no benefit this round as your Action, painting a bullseye on your hull.

In the system it works.
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No And No Again
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FortuneFavorTheBold wrote:
Or in the suggested case of waiting til the end of the round to receive the benefits, you just dropped your shields for no benefit this round as your Action, painting a bullseye on your hull.

In that case, I meant that the shields wouldn't go down until the end of the the turn either.

But your comment that "I'm an immersionist when it comes to games, but cloaking doesn't bug me as is" is reassuring at least.
 
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Chris Bradley
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Bubble Ghost wrote:
Obviously you're all going to be familiar with this kind of conversation, I've seen other threads about this sort of thing as I've been looking around here and other forums. I'm kind of curious as to how this ends up feeling in the longer term though. Does the cloaking mechanic ever start to feel like it does on TV?

First off, welcome to the game! It's good to hear you enjoyed it, cloak or no. And yeah, cloaking takes a little while to get past for anyone new to the game.

I feel like cloaking is represented pretty well in Attack Wing, though instead of splitting up the decloak > fire sequence over two turns it's available in one turn. From a 'game represents show' perspective, toggling the cloak on and off as you fire means that you aren't shooting particularly well- you aren't target locking or Drex-ing to make your shots count. Anything you do wind up shooting will be scattered and minor while the crew focuses on keeping you hidden, like any shots against you will have to do without target lock.

At the same time, it allows for some chances to set up target locks while cloaked and not have to spend another turn taking down the cloak to take advantage of it- gameplay flows a lot smoother. At the same time, enemy ships being able to shoot at cloaked ships would make it hugely undesirable to turn off your guns with the requirement to spend another action turning them back on(and trust me, we want a game where ships can fire at cloakers. The alternative would be pretty terrible).

I'm not sure I hit all your points, but I do like how cloaking is handled here. It's not too hard to use, but you will find yourself thinking about it, and it's not the one most powerful thing in the game, as dice-fixing gets to a point where cloaks can be overwhelmed.
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If we are completely true to the show then the Federation wins in the end every time. Mostly by using a new tech card on the last turn. :-)

From a game play base, I've found cloaking seems great until you have to defend against a 5 dice attack with battlestations and target lock. You're looking at avg ~4.69 hits (of which 0.78 are a crit) and you avg 1.875 evades with 5 defense dice and 2.25 with 6. Taking 3 hits to the hull a turn is not fun, and two ships doing it will pretty much kill anything.

When all we had was the starter and wave 0 cloaking was great but as more card and ships have come it isn't the end all it seemed to be at the start. But it's still good and has its place.


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I am also a new player to the game (just bought in two days ago) and to be honest I like how they worked cloaking into the game as a mechanic.

Yes thematically it's not perfect, but at the same time I think it still works. You are essentially dropping your cloak to fire and to me it would make sense that the reason the ship still gets the defensive dice from cloaking that turn would reflect the surprise of where the ship is actually at when it de-cloaks.

For the game to be 100% thematic the ships would have to be off the board while cloaked and that would create several problems.

Since shooting at a cloaked ship is essentially a "blind shot" represented by extra defense dice, it would make sense to me that even a ship coming out of cloak would still get the defensive bonus, perhaps representing an overzealous tactical officer who fires off a quick shot at the new target without taking time to lock-in or maneuver the ship into a better firing position.

Just my initial thoughts to toss in with yours. Either way great game!
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Chris Bradley
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OmegaDolphin wrote:
Since shooting at a cloaked ship is essentially a "blind shot" represented by extra defense dice, it would make sense to me that even a ship coming out of cloak would still get the defensive bonus, perhaps representing an overzealous tactical officer who fires off a quick shot at the new target without taking time to lock-in or maneuver the ship into a better firing position.

Oooh, I like this explanation. Show-accurate, too; Mr. Worf had an entire episode dedicated to that!
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Will Sanchez
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Everytime I see this kind of thread pop up I think of this scene http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xv0wcIJIgbM (forgive the poor quality)

Seems like a pretty accurate representation to me.
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Jonathan M D Thomas
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delta_angelfire wrote:
Everytime I see this kind of thread pop up I think of this scene http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xv0wcIJIgbM (forgive the poor quality)

Seems like a pretty accurate representation to me.

Andrew needs to release that cloaking D7 any time now...
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Larry DeStefano
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I have been playing a while and the cloaking rules work but I have 2 issues with them. Thematically they don't match what we saw in the movies and tv shows. But then several times the shows, movies and books disagree with each other as well! The other problem I have is as the game has been progressing the answer to everything seems to be load on more attack die. To the point where +4 evade doesn't seem that big deal now. Call it attack die inflation. With the base attacks of 4-6 and the card bonuses we now have attack rolls of 8-10 being common.

I believe the answer may have been a change from defense die roll to a saving throw against ever Attack die rolled against you. With the saving throw being modified more because of cloaking. This would have kept the small ships aka reliant romulan science ships viable fighting ships.

Just my 2 cents.

Live long and prosper
 
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No And No Again
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I get the theory - that the lack of a different action if you want to cloak prevents you from pumping your shooting, and so limiting your ability to attack, without also making the gameplay slow or sticky as might happen if there was an outright block on firing at cloaked ships, or you were cost chances to fire. That's how I first assumed it would play out after playing a couple of quick intros, in fact, which is why I wasn't puzzled until I actually played a more full game.

But in practice, it seemed that people simply got around this by using cards bestowing free actions, such that having to use your regular action on a cloak was no penalty at all. I was facing a couple of Romulan ships with one captained by Picard, who was quite happily blazing away at full effect continually cloaking on top. Meanwhile I was doing more or less the same thing using Martok. It felt odd. Not unbalanced, not too powerful, nothing like that. Just weird.

Oh well, I'll continue to see how it goes, obviously. There's plenty here to enjoy while I see if this irons itself out in the long run.
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Fastback M
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I used to have problems with cloak but there are ways to combat it. Thematically the enemy ship shouldn't be able to shoot at a cloaked ship but we can. When you put a crit on a cloaked ship with A/M mines it is painful.
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Trueflight Silverwing
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I like to think of it this way as well, if your opponent is using their action to recloak every turn, then they aren't activating special abilities, getting target locks, taking evasive maneuvers, or other useful things. Let them get their 4 extra defense dice that I have other ways to deal with while giving me free shots on their hull.
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Ted Kay
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jmdt784 wrote:
delta_angelfire wrote:
Everytime I see this kind of thread pop up I think of this scene http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xv0wcIJIgbM (forgive the poor quality)

Seems like a pretty accurate representation to me.

Andrew needs to release that cloaking D7 any time now...

I actually predict we might get Metaphasic Scan tech upgrade included in Voyager, specifically because of this episode.
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Jon Reed
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I think it fits fine thematically, remembering that this is turn-based trying to substitute for much faster and more chaotic real-time action where there are no "turns".
 
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No And No Again
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jonsher wrote:
...remembering that this is turn-based trying to substitute for much faster and more chaotic real-time action where there are no "turns".

Yeah, of course - that's the whole reason it felt like a problem. It felt like the game hadn't taken account of the fact that there aren't any turns in real life, and instead allowed you to take an action which has no consquences because of a mere quirk of how the game happens to be administered.

I never realised it was an issue in my first couple of games, when we weren't using many powerful cards, because not being able to take any other action if you wanted to maintain a cloak DID feel like a significant tradeoff. It felt as though the turn was an abstract representation of a longer period of time in which the ship might actually be cloaking and uncloaking several times - essentially, the cloak action being the captain's decision to concentrate on that as a tactic for a little while (like in that Voyager video posted earlier), rather than literally being the cloaking device's on/off switch on a 1:1 basis. It felt fine, sacrificing firepower for stealth but neither in an absolute fashion.

But then I played a freer game, and Picard and Martok got involved, and suddenly it didn't feel like there were any real drawbacks to cloaking any more. That's when it started to feel like it wasn't working the way it ought to.

But like I said, I'm hardly giving up on the game over this. That's why I posted this thread, asking about how it pans out in the long run.
 
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Brad Whiteman
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Bubble Ghost wrote:

But then I played a freer game, and Picard and Martok got involved, and suddenly it didn't feel like there were any real drawbacks to cloaking any more. That's when it started to feel like it wasn't working the way it ought to.

But like I said, I'm hardly giving up on the game over this. That's why I posted this thread, asking about how it pans out in the long run.

One thing that is really is a drawback is the loss of shields. I have already had 2 negh'vars take one point of damage which was the uncanceled crit and it ended up being a Warp Core Breach with the resulting pop on the next turn. There currently are a lot more ways to fix your attack dice so that even a 4 dice attack can hit with every single one of the attacks.
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Larry DeStefano
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fastback64 wrote:
I used to have problems with cloak but there are ways to combat it. Thematically the enemy ship shouldn't be able to shoot at a cloaked ship but we can. When you put a crit on a cloaked ship with A/M mines it is painful.

Yes and No. In some episodes/movies you could, TOS Balance of terror, where the romulan ship was like a u-boat and the enterprise was using photons as depth charges. And no in the enterprise incident TOS 2 seasons latter Spock and Kirk said with the New cloak the federation had NO WAY of detecting the Romulan cloak at all, hence the desperate plan to steal one. So that is part of the problem with a thematic approach because the show itself is not consistent even within a few seasons of each other. So there is definitly some room for a designer to work with. I'm not sure the present system is the best, but it is not broken or wrong as far as I am concerned. However I would also encourage all players to try new ideas, post them and maybe there is a new approach that everybody (or a large majority) would like better.
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Dave Benhart
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The biggest benefit of being cloaked isn't {edit:gah typo} the +4 defense dice. It's the not being able to be Target Locked. (And sometimes the Sensor Echo, but that's situational.)

If you Cloak - Fire, then Cloak the next turn, you're Target Locked and eating Spock & Scan reinforced Q-Torps...and blowing up because you don't have any shields. I've lost more than one Valdore because I cloaked when I should have stayed uncloaked with my Shields up. I had fired the previous turn, I couldn't get out of their firing arcs, and +4 defense dice don't help that much. On average it's only 1.5 Evades. Klingons that's under 2 Evades and Romulans that just over 2. If you are in a firing arc & can be Target Locked it is almost always better to not cloak again and keep your shields. Even without {another typo} torpedoes the Target Lock allows a reroll of any attack dice. That's a big bonus.

It may feel off, but don't think of that first turn as "being cloaked". Think of it as "cloaking", you can still be seen & locked by weapons. It's that "fading out" moment that we see on screen.

Edits: this is what I get for rush typing posts. I didn't double check things.
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Larry DeStefano
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davedujour wrote:
The biggest benefit of being cloaked is the +4 defense dice. It's the not being able to be Target Locked. (And sometimes the Sensor Echo, but that's situational.)

If you Cloak - Fire, then Cloak the next turn, you're Target Locked and eating Spock & Scan reinforced Q-Torps...and blowing up because you don't have any shields. I've lost more than one Valdore because I cloaked when I should have stayed uncloaked with my Shields up. I had fired the previous turn, I couldn't get out of their firing arcs, and +4 defense dice don't help that much. On average it's only 1.5 Evades. Klingons that's under 2 Evades and Romulans that just over 2. If you are in a firing arc & can be Target Locked it is almost always better to not cloak again and keep your shields. Even with torpedoes the Target Lock allows a reroll of any attack dice. That's a big bonus.

It may feel off, but don't think of that first turn as "being cloaked". Think of it as "cloaking", you can still be seen & locked by weapons. It's that "fading out" moment that we see on screen.

The cloak is +4 to your agility and bonuses so some in some cases with the Valdore I have been rolling 7 (maybe more cant remember) evades and have rolled 5 or more evades (sometimes only 1) which I think is why we are seeing the Attack die inflation push. The answer a lot of people are going for is more and more firepower, which makes sense. It also kinda screws the little guys. A reliant even if it hits 100% of the time with only 2-3 hits more then likey is not gonna get past the cloak. Hence the need for more and more attack die. And I imagine soon the Romulan players will complain, and we will have a cycle of more defense cloak enhancement cards, and the cycle will go on.
 
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Dave Benhart
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hadrian132 wrote:
davedujour wrote:
The biggest benefit of being cloaked is the +4 defense dice. It's the not being able to be Target Locked. (And sometimes the Sensor Echo, but that's situational.)

If you Cloak - Fire, then Cloak the next turn, you're Target Locked and eating Spock & Scan reinforced Q-Torps...and blowing up because you don't have any shields. I've lost more than one Valdore because I cloaked when I should have stayed uncloaked with my Shields up. I had fired the previous turn, I couldn't get out of their firing arcs, and +4 defense dice don't help that much. On average it's only 1.5 Evades. Klingons that's under 2 Evades and Romulans that just over 2. If you are in a firing arc & can be Target Locked it is almost always better to not cloak again and keep your shields. Even with torpedoes the Target Lock allows a reroll of any attack dice. That's a big bonus.

It may feel off, but don't think of that first turn as "being cloaked". Think of it as "cloaking", you can still be seen & locked by weapons. It's that "fading out" moment that we see on screen.

The cloak is +4 to your agility and bonuses so some in some cases with the Valdore I have been rolling 7 (maybe more cant remember) evades and have rolled 5 or more evades (sometimes only 1) which I think is why we are seeing the Attack die inflation push. The answer a lot of people are going for is more and more firepower, which makes sense. It also kinda screws the little guys. A reliant even if it hits 100% of the time with only 2-3 hits more then likey is not gonna get past the cloak. Hence the need for more and more attack die. And I imagine soon the Romulan players will complain, and we will have a cycle of more defense cloak enhancement cards, and the cycle will go on.

Just as many times as I've roll 5 out of 7 evades I've rolled 1 out of 7. That's called statistics. When rolling 6 defense dice only count on getting 2.25 Evades. Be happy when you get 3+ Evades.

Here's my defense rolls for an entire OP4 event:
Dice/Evades
1/0
7/3
7/2
2/1
1/1
2/0
2/1
1/1
2/0
7/2
6/2
6/1
5/3
1/1
1/0
1/1
1/0

53 dice gave me 19 Evades, or .35849. Each die rolls an Evade 3/8 of the time, or .375. That's really close to .35849. Surprising how science works like that.

The +4 Defense Dice is not the strongest ability of the cloak. Preventing that Target Lock, the only other Action that survives past the end of a turn, is the best thing being cloaked gives you. A Target Lock is great not just for torpedoes, but also for that re-roll. The re-roll is the better use for a TL. Think how awesome the Ch'tang's ability is? Or Captain Worf's? Re-rolling those misses is powerful. This is also why Gul Evek is awesome, especially on cloaking ships. There aren't very many ways to modify defense dice. The only thing that would make Gul Evek better was if he were a crew and not a captain. He'd be better than Sulu then.

Humans remember the extremes. 5 out of 7 Evades, or 1 or 0 out of 7. We easily forget all those times in the middle where we got 2-3, just like averages tell us will happen.
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Larry DeStefano
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davedujour wrote:
hadrian132 wrote:
davedujour wrote:
The biggest benefit of being cloaked is the +4 defense dice. It's the not being able to be Target Locked. (And sometimes the Sensor Echo, but that's situational.)

If you Cloak - Fire, then Cloak the next turn, you're Target Locked and eating Spock & Scan reinforced Q-Torps...and blowing up because you don't have any shields. I've lost more than one Valdore because I cloaked when I should have stayed uncloaked with my Shields up. I had fired the previous turn, I couldn't get out of their firing arcs, and +4 defense dice don't help that much. On average it's only 1.5 Evades. Klingons that's under 2 Evades and Romulans that just over 2. If you are in a firing arc & can be Target Locked it is almost always better to not cloak again and keep your shields. Even with torpedoes the Target Lock allows a reroll of any attack dice. That's a big bonus.

It may feel off, but don't think of that first turn as "being cloaked". Think of it as "cloaking", you can still be seen & locked by weapons. It's that "fading out" moment that we see on screen.

The cloak is +4 to your agility and bonuses so some in some cases with the Valdore I have been rolling 7 (maybe more cant remember) evades and have rolled 5 or more evades (sometimes only 1) which I think is why we are seeing the Attack die inflation push. The answer a lot of people are going for is more and more firepower, which makes sense. It also kinda screws the little guys. A reliant even if it hits 100% of the time with only 2-3 hits more then likey is not gonna get past the cloak. Hence the need for more and more attack die. And I imagine soon the Romulan players will complain, and we will have a cycle of more defense cloak enhancement cards, and the cycle will go on.

Just as many times as I've roll 5 out of 7 evades I've rolled 1 out of 7. That's called statistics. When rolling 6 defense dice only count on getting 2.25 Evades. Be happy when you get 3+ Evades.

Here's my defense rolls for an entire OP4 event:
Dice/Evades
1/0
7/3
7/2
2/1
1/1
2/0
2/1
1/1
2/0
7/2
6/2
6/1
5/3
1/1
1/0
1/1
1/0

53 dice gave me 19 Evades, or .35849. Each die rolls an Evade 3/8 of the time, or .375. That's really close to .35849. Surprising how science works like that.

The +4 Defense Dice is not the strongest ability of the cloak. Preventing that Target Lock, the only other Action that survives past the end of a turn, is the best thing being cloaked gives you. A Target Lock is great not just for torpedoes, but also for that re-roll. The re-roll is the better use for a TL. Think how awesome the Ch'tang's ability is? Or Captain Worf's? Re-rolling those misses is powerful. This is also why Gul Evek is awesome, especially on cloaking ships. There aren't very many ways to modify defense dice. The only thing that would make Gul Evek better was if he were a crew and not a captain. He'd be better than Sulu then.

Humans remember the extremes. 5 out of 7 Evades, or 1 or 0 out of 7. We easily forget all those times in the middle where we got 2-3, just like averages tell us will happen.

Please comment on the whole statement if you wish to go thru the trouble. Yes I know about statistics. But what about the other points i was making. At an average of 2/3 evades you negated the little ships attacks (aka reliant) which was more my point of players aiming for ships with higher attack values, and hence the attack die infation that I have seen creeping into the game. Hey 7-8 attack die with rerolls work great against the romulans...they also work great against ANYBODY else, even vessels with no cloaks our there cloaks turned off. Another factor people may wanna consider yes statiscally 7 evades will give you 2.33 or 2.42 whatever, but when you rolled 5 or 6 evades against another player 2 or 3 times in a row, which has happened for me (and aginst as well) I have to go on about the whole well it will average out and crits really hurt if you get through. Now I know that and I'm sure you know all the standard answers, but a lot of new players dont. It aint right I agree but thats how people are sometimes and I have to hear the game is broken (Not my opinion) and they dont wanna play again, even if they take the Romulans and I (Playing Dom or Feds) win it was just REALLY BAD LUCK on there part, or if they win SEE THE GAME IS BROKEN ROMULANS ALWAYS WIN. (Please note could insert Klingons here as well.) I was just pointing out that high evades in the +6 range is helping push attack die inflation and may lead to defense die inflation all the while the little guys getting pushed to the curb.
 
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Dave Benhart
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hadrian132 wrote:
Please comment on the whole statement if you wish to go thru the trouble. Yes I know about statistics. But what about the other points i was making. At an average of 2/3 evades you negated the little ships attacks (aka reliant) which was more my point of players aiming for ships with higher attack values, and hence the attack die infation that I have seen creeping into the game. Hey 7-8 attack die with rerolls work great against the romulans...they also work great against ANYBODY else, even vessels with no cloaks our there cloaks turned off. Another factor people may wanna consider yes statiscally 7 evades will give you 2.33 or 2.42 whatever, but when you rolled 5 or 6 evades against another player 2 or 3 times in a row, which has happened for me (and aginst as well) I have to go on about the whole well it will average out and crits really hurt if you get through. Now I know that and I'm sure you know all the standard answers, but a lot of new players dont. It aint right I agree but thats how people are sometimes and I have to hear the game is broken (Not my opinion) and they dont wanna play again, even if they take the Romulans and I (Playing Dom or Feds) win it was just REALLY BAD LUCK on there part, or if they win SEE THE GAME IS BROKEN ROMULANS ALWAYS WIN. (Please note could insert Klingons here as well.) I was just pointing out that high evades in the +6 range is helping push attack die inflation and may lead to defense die inflation all the while the little guys getting pushed to the curb.

The Reliant is 4 primary attack dice at Range 1. That will get past a Romulan cloak. And it's got amazing firing arcs. Load it with torpedoes or antimatter mines & watch those cloaked ships crumble. Get the Target Lock after they fire, then shoot them out the back.

And yes, most fleets want at least one ship with 4+ attack dice. But I've also taken down a Koranak with a Vo. (That's starting to sound like a broken record, isn't it?) A 1 primary attack ship took out a 5 primary attack ship. Scan can be an amazing Action. So lots of attack dice isn't a guarantee. Yeah, the Vo probably wouldn't have taken out a cloaked ship, but not every ship cloaks. And not every cloaking ship is (or should be) cloaked 100% of the time.

I've actually seen the attack die pool shrinking somewhat around here. A lot more "make 4 hits/crits out of 4 dice" builds than crazy "lets throw 9 attack dice" using BoF and such. Because even a Klingon Vor'cha or Negh'var that rolls 5 attack dice doesn't do any good if it rolls 5 blanks or battlestations. Which will happen about half the time. Quality of the dice is at least as important as how many are thrown.
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