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Subject: Dying out. rss

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Michael Ptak
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It was an observation of the tournament organizer at today's OP6 event that it looked like the player base has turned on this game. For our final event we had only 6 players... including one newbie (I think?) and one player who was reluctant to get back in because she was consistently loosing and didn't want to have this match unless she had to.

For my part this pretty much signals the end of my competitive play days. I'll stay in for Arena and Tholian Web- I can't resist TOS missions- but then that'll be it. I intend to run customized attack wing events if I want the prized ships.

I know for sure we've lost at least two players permanently based on their experience in the Organized Play events. One said something to the effect that Attack Wing was more about that alpha-strike combination build than relying on player skill for maneuvering. I think the other left because he was no longer competitive and always looses the monthly prize.

But Competitive play just doesn't feel fun anymore. It feels like unless I put together the most optimized attack/defense combination to keep up I'm going to be throwing away my five dollar entry fee on nothing... except serving as cannon fodder for the winners? And I don't like that pressure.

Yeah I know, "If you don't like it then don't play." But I want to ask, "If I don't like it, how can I change it?" I want to consider changes to the meta-play for events I'd like to run in the hopes of fixing a game and making more lists viable and open. One idea is to make house rules for these events to make TNG ships and upgrades more expensive than TOS era ones, thereby dropping out the powerhouses and their cards and making older, weaker ships more valuable (or at least cheaper).
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David Montgomery
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I think one thing that may help is going faction pure on fleets. I'm an organizer, and we tried this for OP5. Everyone had a lot more fun playing this way. We saw some unique builds (2 Ferengi ships and 1 Klingon) as well as a 4 ship swarm, a 2 ship Fed dreadnaught, and a 3 ship Fed list. There's still synergy to develop in a fleet, but it's a much more challenging build. I personally was out built in 2 of my games, but I was able to out fly both opponents, and had some lucky dice rolls.

Everyone came in trying to have more fun, and winning wasn't paramount. It's a tough balance, it really is. For the players saying everything is alpha-strike, perhaps they need to build against it. Things like Varel, Conditional Surrender, Alidor Jarek, even starter Miles O'Brien help negate some of the alpha strike potency. There's a counter for everything in the game.

If you both line up to joust, then yes, it is an alpha strike. That's where you have to fly differently, or try new things.
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Daniel Adams
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Originally, I collected the Heroclix for the models rather than the game. I'm less of a Table top gamer, and more of a Trekkie. It felt as if anything I did was down to luck more than judgement. I still can't get my head round the rules. But the models are nice, so I'll keep collecting

I went to my local games store and tried a demo of Attack Wing, and I really enjoyed it. I find the rules to be easier to understand, and I like the fact that you can build up your fleets so that potentially, no build can be the same.

That being said, I'm not a brilliant player. I run Fed Fleets, and I have lost every competitive match I've played bar for one in which my opponent had to go home or risk being grounded.

But its not all doom and gloom... I am experiencing better results with my strategies. Although that W still remails elusive, I'm destroying ships, putting great attacks together, and really getting to grips with the intricacies of the Federation Fleet.

Likewise, because of the way the OP works, even though I haven't won a match, I won a Nebula Class through the fellowship award. And mostly, my opponents at Attack Wing have been gracious and friendly.

I can't wait till my next tournament and I hope that there are many more to come.
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Adrian Hague
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Sounds like you are ready to graduate to Federation Commander: Klingon Border
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A Rutnarak
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AdrianPHague wrote:
Sounds like you are ready to graduate to Federation Commander: Klingon Border


Thanks for this link. My 12 year old son has asked me about Star Fleet Battles but I have been concerned it may be too complex (I have not played it, only read the online reviews).

I did not know this game existed until you posted it. Sounds like it falls between Attack Wing and SFB in complexity. We will check it out.
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Steve Smith
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Our OP organizer is also switching to faction-pure fleets to cut down on the competitive power-gaming and try to make things a bit more thematic.

It's also good to have non-OP nights where people gather just to play friendly games like missions. In fact, I prefer friendly mission play over OP events as they are more fun and less stress.
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Nico
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I've only played casualy thus far. I have tried to get all of the OP material for our gaming group and we've played Expansion Pack Missions as well as modified OP missions. We modified Month's 1 Mission and assigned the two Dominion Players DS9 and tried to capture it by using a combined fleet of the Federation Alliance - using the boarding and away team battle rules found in the OP Kit as well as the set-up rules and terrain set.

We had loads of fun, played it at least twice so far and mihgt revisit it again.

I'm about to modify Month 5's Attack on Earth Mission. A huge Dominion Fleet will attack Earth and we'll try to stop them from destroying Starfleet HQ.

Over at our german Attack Wing forums a member set up the beginning of a "Lost in the Delta-Quadrant" campaign.

[ http://neutralezone.forumieren.com/t262-mini-kampagne-gefang... ]

So for us the game isn't dying. We take what we can get from the cool OP stuff, distribute it to all players evenly, allow minor thematic crossfactioning (like Dorsal Wps array on Sutherland) and have enormous fun playing AW whenever the three or four of us get together.

Less competative play, more fun focused approaches will help (and sustain) the gaming interest in the long run. That will even be true, once the game goes away from the shelves and will turn into an OOP classic

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D Conklin
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The TO's at our OP events give away the second ship randomly, so even if a player is not competitive there's a chance they'll win a ship. The time my son won a ship through his record and I randomly got the 2nd ship, I gave it to the only player who had never gotten a ship. Hopefully, that's enough to keep players coming back.

I'll have to admit we've seen a drop off, but I am hopeful that's just the nature of a long term event...not everyone can make every event.

I suspect when the buzz starts up over the Borg event and things get shaken up a bit with new Factions, people will come back.
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Jon NyD

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I've noticed the OP events losing players too. Its extremely hard to get into this with power combinations (even those IN faction).

A new player joined us yesterday for a 4-round OP event and quit after round 2. I ended up playing a couple of faction pure 60 point games with him and it was much more enjoyable for him (2 ships on each). With 100(110) point fleets, the combinations are pretty daunting for new players. There's another one that is playing 3-ship Klingons (should be relatively easy) and still has to think about each action. Its a tough game to get into. And with 8 bajillion combinations of ships, crew, upgrades, etc... I'm noticing more and more games are going to time. I'm seriously thinking of making the ones I TO faction pure ships, and no Admiral's orders.

I also had 1 player completely quit after being barrage of fired. He had never seen the card, it one-shotted something before it could shoot, and he was done. He took a friend and his son with him and haven't shown back up to an OP since. I did get word that he was still buying all the ships, but only plays casually at home.

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Trueflight Silverwing
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I think you may be running into an issue that has become common among the longer Heroclix events that Wizkids puts on as well. Due to the way they are designed, the major prizes like DS9 are only obtainable by those who do well during the entire length of the event. With these big 6 month long events, when you get down to the final month or two, there are some people who realize that they have no shot at the big prize and just stop going. I think, at least with Attack Wing, that they did a good job of offering participation prizes and individual month prizes so that a lot of people will still come and play regardless, but there will always be some that just move on once they realize that they can't win the big event.

If anything, it seems to b the opposite at the venues where I play. I see more and more people at each event. We had to add a couple more tables for the last one.
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Joel Stair
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again I've lost to my brother every event. and i still love the game if people say they have quit because they didn't win oh well bad losers. i this this game. its a good game, great people.
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jonathan kipps-bolton
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dstair2002 wrote:
again I've lost to my brother every event. and i still love the game if people say they have quit because they didn't win oh well bad losers. i this this game. its a good game, great people.


Totally agree.

To those that say its a waste of 5 $/£/€. You are getting a participation prize and about 2-3 hours of attack wing for that. If you are treating it just as a chance to win stuff then spend the money on the lottery instead.
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Ted Kay
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I wouldn't recommend introducing someone to the game in a competitive setting. Imagine learning to play Magic for the first time in a tournament with money or prizes on the line. It's probably frustrating for a lot of people.

Encourage people to play a few scenarios first. There is a player base, but the game is not nearly just OP events, although those are a blast too.

I think that taking the time to warm up to the game is important for a new player. Most of us being early adopters are a long way from that phase. We should foster that growth in others by being supportive of newcomers and lowering their barriers to entry.
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hesse honnolly
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I tend to disagree. Since op 2 we've had an increase of players. At the same time, not everyone can make the events, my store hosts 2 ops per month, and both ops have almost 8 ppl and it's almost 2 different groups, because not everyone is always available.

We have a guy that doesn't even own ships, and borrows from the store owner, and he comes just to have play. He doesn't win, but he has fun.

Your player group makes all the difference. I personally am the douche bag of my group. I have never lost a match in 5 ops. But I try and make sure we have fun, sometimes I'll throw a move, have my ships bump into each other, just to level the playing field.

Anyways ops do get competitive, especially when good prizes are involved!

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Aaron Percival
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So I play regularly at 3 different places - started a 4th and probably a 5th. I stand reasonable chance of winning grand prize at 2 of these and the others I go to for the amazing participation prize, chance to win the ships (even if not the grand prize) and to meet people.

Dan, above, is a chap I'd have never met without these and I enjoy playing with the vast variety of people. This is a game I find myself being decent at and I do enjoy helping others, bettering myself and seeing lots of different stratergies.

Thankfully the places I play all play faction pure. Only one TO has decided we're to play faction-pure and that's due to the hatred of Picard on a Valdore. Now that this campaign is coming to an end, I'm interested in the challenge of changing my style.

I currently play Romulan and my playstyle for that faction has settled and I know what I'm doing and that'll be when it starts to get dull. I've been looking forward to Wave 3 to freshen things up a little bit. I'm looking forward to developing my Fed skills.

There's only one card I hate facing and that's BoF because I've only ever not lost a ship to it and that's because it wasn't on Worf or Ch'tang. I wouldn't fear it so much if I could get an IG on my Valdores without flagships but it's not enough to make me quit. Just makes me try other builds, other strategies.

The amount fluctuates based on the location. At one place it's a very low 6 (usually and I think that's based on where we are and the local interest in the franchise), one other place started out with 12 and then the TO fluffed up promoting further events and that declined. Two other places are booming and has plenty coming along.

I can't wait to keep playing.
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Evan
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jiffk wrote:

To those that say its a waste of 5 $/£/€. You are getting a participation prize and about 2-3 hours of attack wing for that. If you are treating it just as a chance to win stuff then spend the money on the lottery instead.


Yeah, for OP5 I was way more excited about the participation prize than the ship (the same is arguably true for 4 and 6, but those are some pretty cool ships), and for OP1 I was more interested in the map prize.

(I'm also in one of the "each event keeps getting bigger" groups, but we'll see whether this trend holds for OP6)
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Sodoff Baldrick
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At our OPs we have seen a big increase since OP4. For us word is spreading and our regular players are starting to bring in their friends.

It is too early to say the sky is falling. People need to keep in mind that a lot of the current builds may not be playable in the next OP. The resources are only supposed to be good for the current OP. So after the dominion war there shouldn't be any wayoun/conditional surrender via flagship.

If cross faction seems to be a problem talk to the TO about going faction pure in the next OP. Store owners listen to $$, so if the majority of players go to them and say they want to go faction pure most of them will give way. They want to keep people coming back.

You just have to keep in mind that the meta for this game is going to be changing a lot. New resources every month, new OP scenarios every month, new ships every other month, by summer every month. So there is a lot to consider, what works this month may not work next month. What works this OPmay not even be possible next OP. We should all relax and roll with it.
 
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Dave Benhart
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jiffk wrote:
dstair2002 wrote:
again I've lost to my brother every event. and i still love the game if people say they have quit because they didn't win oh well bad losers. i this this game. its a good game, great people.


Totally agree.

To those that say its a waste of 5 $/£/€. You are getting a participation prize and about 2-3 hours of attack wing for that. If you are treating it just as a chance to win stuff then spend the money on the lottery instead.


2-3? How about 4 hours including, setup, cleanup, and the breaks in between. 3 60 minutes rounds means at least 3 hours of time at the table.
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Rob Tsuk
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Norsehound wrote:

But Competitive play just doesn't feel fun anymore. It feels like unless I put together the most optimized attack/defense combination to keep up I'm going to be throwing away my five dollar entry fee on nothing... except serving as cannon fodder for the winners?.


I hold the opposite opinion from Mike. To me it feels as fun as it did in OP1 or perhaps a little more. I really enjoy trying to find an optimal enough attack/defense combination to combine with skilled play to win these events.
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Jonathan M D Thomas
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Our playerbase is growing and we had 3 new players at the last op. The sky is NOT falling and the game is fine.

Regardless of the fleets used, the better players are still coming in towards the top at our ops. This is still a highly skill intensive game and I think a lot of people forget that. The players winning would probably win even with different fleets.
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Fastback M
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I think the players you play with are also a factor. I play at 4 different stores and with most the same players. We spend more time having fun and talking Trek than anything else. Believe it or not, we've lost more of the gankers than anyone else and it's become much more enjoyable.
 
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Roy Stephens
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We had increase in attendance every month from 1-4. There was a drop off from 4-5 and then yesterday (at the first of 2 OPs) from 5-6. I think a big part of it was that with the increased entry fee for OP6, a lot of folks who weren't in the hunt for DS9 stayed home. Also, the fact that for 4 months, WK was saying that players had to QUALIFY to even be allowed to play in OP 6, then changed it at the last second. This looked bad for me as it made me look like I was trying to force early participation, then in the end did not reward the efforts of regular attendees. I have no problem with OP 6 being open to all, I just wish WK had said it was going to be that way from the beginning. Yet another reason is the rise of the complaints regarding perceived imbalances of pure factions or mixed build "min-maxing", etc... that seems to be rather prevalent on BGG of late, as in there were no real issues with this mentioned to me until 2 days ago... literally the day before OP6.

I feel like part of it is my fault as a TO. I have been awarding the ships to first and second place, as the "Fellowship" award didn't make much sense as everyone was friendly and sporting (for the most part... there were occasional "moments", but, nothing to really worry about). But, as time went on, it began to look like there were some regulars who had problems placing and were getting disgruntled. I didn't want to change styles and rules mid-season and have already decided now that Dominion War is over, I will go with a first place/random luck for the 2 prize ships for the next, one-off event (Arena? or is Tholian Web first?).

I did do a mid-season survey after OP3, and one of the questions I asked was if players were ok with 2nd ship prize continuing to go to second place, and it was a unanimous "yes". One of the other questions was "should faction purity be enforced" and it was an almost unanimous "no".

It would be too bad if all of the resources from these OPs are invalid in future OPs... I may at least allow the fighters, as they never had a chance to get used.

Personally, I think the best thing WK can do is to do away with the OWPs/replicating mines/unmanned DS9 objects cluttering the field and firing at everyone. Obstacles are fine, but, i think the "board hates us all" aspect of 5 of 6 OPs was a bit much. Maybe one or two months at the most, but, 5 out of 6 was brutal. I think objective based OPs might be a lot of fun, instead of pure death matches with bonus objectives. Something along the lines of OP3, except putting even MORE emphasis on the planetary battle...

anyway, i just want to do what I can to keep the game alive and successful, possibly draw some of the quitters back in, or at least stop the bleeding. Anyone else have thoughts or suggestions?
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Chris Langland
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I said this to Roy yesterday, but I think the biggest issue we're seeing is the combinations of resources like the flagships, Admiral's Orders, and even the command tokens to alter the action economy. This is exacerbated with the proliferation of the multi-action (or action granting) captains (Picard, Martok, Dukat) into almost every list.

Rob has really mastered this, and I struggle to beat him. For example, using Picard in a Valdore with Engage, he can make a big move forward, Strike Force to Sensor Echo out of my firing arc, Picard Action to Target Lock me (with the Tactical Officer, or course), and then Engage for a green maneuver to get the +1 attack die and possibly +1 for range. Toss in the command tokens and there is no end to the mischief he can do. It's brilliant play, but it does require me to think similarly and requires high skill, maneuverable captains.

I'm just not as good as he is, and I accept that. I'm sure with a differnt meta, he'll still beat me. But I can see how, when you figure out something like this you'll play it that way, and if you don't want to it will get frustrating.
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Jason Becker
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As I've mentioned before, one of our venues was able to secure additional kits for the Dominion War and has been running the events as faction pure ships, no AOs, and only the current/previous months participation prizes in effect. It has been running 50/50 (or more) with new players...also, there has been a different dynamic. Yes, it's a bit competative, but there seems to be more "Trek" fans playing in these OP events. Since the TO has received the LE ships in the past, he gave out three this last event. One to the winner, one for fellowship, and one went to the winner of the 10-question Star Trek Trivia "Quiz".

I am working with another venue to do an open Attack Wing night, where we set up tables, teach the game and do some of the senarios. We have a X-Wing league, we'd hope to maybe start something like that for Attack Wing.

I think fun, casual events in the next 3-4 months will go a long way to help people "wind down" from the Dominion War and hopefully appreciate the game again. Thinking about it now, it does seem like there will be a lot a ships coming out in the next 6-8 months, especially with the monthly releases come the fall. We're hoping that we can continue this trend of players, as we are having a good time overall...and I've met some really nice folks playing the game (but we are all getting tired of having to min/max our fleets to stay competative).
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Scott Pitner
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I find this conversation interesting as where I play we are having the opposite going on. I will state up front that we play fleet pure plus prize ships and independents (and not many have made use of Ferengi stuff). However, we not only have 1 but 2 OP's that are run at this store and we had 13 at the first OP5 and 14 and the 2nd OP5. 2 of the people at the 2nd OP5 were attending their very first OP event. Of those 2 OP events, only 4 people played in both. We have definitely lost a couple people here or there, but new people have come in to take their place.

Does this mean that fleet pure is the answer? No, not necessarily. One of our TO's wants to look at running mixed factions, so some of us (including myself) are going to try to run some of our best mixed faction builds to get an idea on if we want to make that switch or not. This has made me very interested in this overall conversation.

Another key thing is the mentality of the players. If you have an environment of cutthroat players, they could easily make a newer player not want to come back. Hopefully the TO can help influence a friendly environment and can help make it an enjoyable experience for all as well.
 
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