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Subject: The "Alignment Wheel" and a suggestion for an alternative rss

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E. A.
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I'm super excited to finally see what FFG can do with a 40K LCG and from what we've seen so far in the first preview it looks great. That said, I've seen a lot of posts here and on other boards debating some of the more dubious alliances that appear to be possible according the the alignment wheel. For example, the Ork/IG alliance might be justifiable in some cases (mercenary orks, Blood Axes) but it doesn't seem like this should be a commonly seen alliance.

I think the alignment wheel could have been more flexible. A more elegant design solution would be to indicate potential ally factions on the warlord cards, e.g. a Blood Axe warlord could ally with Imperial Guard, whereas a Gahzghkull warlord card would not allow guard allies.

This hypothetical change would not require re-balancing individual cards or an overhaul of the core rules. In practice, all that would be required is that warlord cards display the icon of the faction(s) with which they may ally and a number that indicates how many cards from other factions that hero's deck may include.

If allies were specified on the warlord cards, it would even be possible to adjust the degree to which a particular warlord might be willing to accept allies. That is to say, a one warlord might be willing to accept 10 allied cards in the deck whereas another warlord might accept only 5. Abandoning the rigidity of the alignment wheel also opens up more interesting combinations such as a radical Inquisitor warlord that would allow for some daemon cards to be included in the deck, or a less xenophobic IG commander to take Tau allies. In cases where alliances might create powerful synergies, balance can be maintained by simply restricting the number of ally cards permitted. This just seems like a more flexible system that would allow for more thematic, diverse, and customizable decks.

While it's almost certainly too late to make such a change, that's the design I'd have liked to see. In any case, I'm looking forward to seeing more Conquest previews and maybe I'll get used to the restrictions of the alignment wheel by the time this thing launches.

EDITS: Fixed incorrect terminology such as "ally circle" and "hero cards" instead of "alignment wheel" and "warlord cards"
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Bwian, just
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Re: The "Alignment Wheel" and a suggestion for how to fix it
One suspects we're a little late in the development cycle for a change like this, although I agree it could work well. There is always the possibility of house rules, though: if your local play group wants to allow traitor Imperial Guard regiments to ally with Chaos, that sounds good to me.
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Matt Shinners
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Re: The "Alignment Wheel" and a suggestion for how to fix it
The allies align with the allies allowed in the miniatures game, so I doubt FFG will do anything to 'fix' problems with something that is canon.
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Re: The "Alignment Wheel" and a suggestion for how to fix it
MattShinners wrote:
The allies align with the allies allowed in the miniatures game, so I doubt FFG will do anything to 'fix' problems with something that is canon.


I agree, IG and Ork are Allies of Convenience in 6th edition so I don't have an issue there.

My issue is the lack of Tyranids and Necrons and the alignment wheel makes their inclusion difficult to imagine unless they somehow "break the mold".
 
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E. A.
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Re: The "Alignment Wheel" and a suggestion for how to fix it
MattShinners wrote:
The allies align with the allies allowed in the miniatures game, so I doubt FFG will do anything to 'fix' problems with something that is canon.


The allies matrix in the miniatures game is much more complex and includes differing degrees of alliances (i.e. battle brothers, allies of convenience, desparate allies, and come the apocalypse). I think that this gradient would be better represented with a more flexible system like the one I've suggested. Also, the miniatures game allows for more combinations of allies than the LCG, such as Guard and Eldar who are allies of convenience in the minis game.

I fail to see how the alignment wheel is a better representation of 40K canon when its rigidity precludes many of the alliances allowable in the allies matrix of the minis game and does not represent the varying degrees of trust between factions.
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Re: The "Alignment Wheel" and a suggestion for how to fix it
Erik T.A. wrote:
MattShinners wrote:
The allies align with the allies allowed in the miniatures game, so I doubt FFG will do anything to 'fix' problems with something that is canon.


The allies matrix in the miniatures game is much more complex and includes differing degrees of alliances (i.e. battle brothers, allies of convenience, desparate allies, and come the apocalypse). I think that this gradient would be better represented with a more flexible system like the one I've suggested. Also, the miniatures game allows for more combinations of allies than the LCG, such as Guard and Eldar who are allies of convenience in the minis game.

I fail to see how the alignment wheel is a better representation of 40K canon when its rigidity precludes many of the alliances allowable in the allies matrix of the minis game and does not represent the varying degrees of trust between factions.


I'm not sure anyone including FFG would argue it's a "better" representation?

But it's certainly a simpler representation. And it makes balancing the decks much easier, since it gives any one faction two choices for an ally and every faction is available as an ally to two neighbors. I can appreciate the simplicity of the wheel, but it's awkward from a thematic POV.

But honestly, that train has left the station. I cannot imagine they could abandon the wheel now as it's likely been integral to the design and balance of the faction decks. I had my say on the FFG forums regarding all of this and now I' going to sit back with an open mind and see what ends up on store shelves.
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E. A.
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Re: The "Alignment Wheel" and a suggestion for how to fix it
Bwian wrote:
One suspects we're a little late in the development cycle for a change like this, although I agree it could work well.


Yeah, I don't really expect them to change anything at this point; I'm just wishlisting and it still makes for an interesting discussion. I'm still super excited for this game regardless of the alliance issues.

matthewabair wrote:
It makes balancing the decks much easier, since it gives any one faction two choices for an ally and every faction is available as an ally to two neighbors. I can appreciate the simplicity of the wheel, but it's awkward from a thematic POV.

But honestly, that train has left the station. I cannot imagine they could abandon the wheel now as it's likely been integral to the design and balance of the faction decks.


The thematic concerns about alliances on these boards reminds me of when information was leaked about the Star Wars LCG and a lot of folks were disappointed that there would be no division between ground and space combat. Whether or not combat should have been changed in Star Wars, that sort of change would have required a massive overhaul of the core rules as well as re-balancing hundreds of individual cards.

If FFG really wanted to, I don't think changing the alignment wheel would take that much work at all since you'd simply add a few icons and numbers to the 7 hero cards that presumably come in the core set. I actually think it would be easier to balance the game with this system because you'd have more options for restricting potentially powerful ally combinations.

Again, I know this probably won't happen, but with so many people expressing their concerns about how the ally system will work, I thought it might be interesting to imagine an alternative. Looking forward to seeing more from FFG and hopefully the next preview with shed more light on the alliance system.
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Raf Cordero
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Re: The "Alignment Wheel" and a suggestion for how to fix it
Erik T.A. wrote:
I actually think it would be easier to balance the game with this system because you'd have more options for restricting potentially powerful ally combinations.



Actually, I think the way they have it now is much easier. Right now, without any symbols or Warlords with varying levels of ally-ability they never have to consider any situation where a Space Marine card will create a weird combo with a Dark Eldar card, and they don't even have to consider the possibility that one day they might need to.
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Ryan Angell
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Re: The "Alignment Wheel" and a suggestion for how to fix it
the alignment wheel is going to turn off the hardcore 40k fans regardless of how great the game is. they might as well have spoiled a chapter of female space marines too lol.

i wish ffg had given someone else a shot at lead design on this one. after star wars im quite certain my vision of theme/mechanics in a ccg and eric lang's are completely different.

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Re: The "Alignment Wheel" and a suggestion for how to fix it
sniktsnikt wrote:
the alignment wheel is going to turn off the hardcore 40k fans regardless of how great the game is.


Why? It aligns with how the actual game plays, only in a more limited manner.
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Re: The "Alignment Wheel" and a suggestion for how to fix it
matthewabair wrote:
MattShinners wrote:
The allies align with the allies allowed in the miniatures game, so I doubt FFG will do anything to 'fix' problems with something that is canon.


I agree, IG and Ork are Allies of Convenience in 6th edition so I don't have an issue there.

My issue is the lack of Tyranids and Necrons and the alignment wheel makes their inclusion difficult to imagine unless they somehow "break the mold".


My suspicion is, eventually, we'll get 'nids and Necrons, and they simply won't have a home on the wheel at all. Probably as separate big box expansions.

I'm slightly worried they'll both end up like the Star Trek CCG's Borg faction, with a huge set of unique rules for each.

EDIT: It's also possible they'll both end up like Star Wars' challenge decks, as single opponents for multiple players to oppose.
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Re: The "Alignment Wheel" and a suggestion for how to fix it
StarkeRealm wrote:

My suspicion is, eventually, we'll get 'nids and Necrons, and they simply won't have a home on the wheel at all. Probably as separate big box expansions.


I really hope you're right, but I think it's highly unlikely.

StarkeRealm wrote:

EDIT: It's also possible they'll both end up like Star Wars' challenge decks, as single opponents for multiple players to oppose.


And that would stink. REALLY stink. I want to play _AS_ Tyranids, not play against them.
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Re: The "Alignment Wheel" and a suggestion for how to fix it
matthewabair wrote:
[q="MattShinners"]My issue is the lack of Tyranids and Necrons and the alignment wheel makes their inclusion difficult to imagine unless they somehow "break the mold".


They could, in in a later deluxe expansion add an interior allies wheel of the three left out groups, i.e. Tyranid, Necron, and Inquisitorial forces (and make this up of Death Watch/Soritas/Grey Knights/Storm Troopers & the Inquisitor's retinues)

*edit* Just point out, I have no idea how this would pan out in relation to whom they could ally with, save IF to SM and IG
 
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Re: The "Alignment Wheel" and a suggestion for how to fix it
Geez, really?

Game's not out yet and a few folks already think they need to fix it? Wow. shake

Let's let it be released and played by the masses for a while before we get all down and nerdy on trying to fix what may very well not be broken at all.
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Michael Schwarz
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Re: The "Alignment Wheel" and a suggestion for how to fix it
BaldrsWolf wrote:
matthewabair wrote:
[q="MattShinners"]My issue is the lack of Tyranids and Necrons and the alignment wheel makes their inclusion difficult to imagine unless they somehow "break the mold".


They could, in in a later deluxe expansion add an interior allies wheel of the three left out groups, i.e. Tyranid, Necron, and Inquisitorial forces (and make this up of Death Watch/Soritas/Grey Knights/Storm Troopers & the Inquisitor's retinues)

*edit* Just point out, I have no idea how this would pan out in relation to whom they could ally with, save IF to SM and IG
My personal hope is, when we do see Inquisitors, they'll either just be more guard cards, or able to align all over the place, including Chaos, Orks, and Eldar as possible allies.
 
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Re: The "Alignment Wheel" and a suggestion for how to fix it
wytefang wrote:
Game's not out yet and a few folks already think they need to fix it?


As I said previously, the original post was motivated by widespread concerns about some thematic issues expressed here, on the FFG boards, and on 40K boards like Dakka Dakka and BoLS. I'm not questioning Eric Lang's chops as a game designer, I'm just pointing out one aspect of the game that seems questionable. Rather than just complain about it, I thought it would be interesting to try to imagine an alternative to the "alignment wheel" to address the limited fidelity to the 40K allies matrix. I do not think this is THE answer to the perceived problem nor do I expect FFG to actually change anything. I'm just looking at it as a design problem and proposing one possible solution.

Just to be clear, I think that overall the game looks amazing and I can't wait to play it. I wouldn't want that sentiment to be lost with my minor criticism of the way in which one aspect of the game's theme is represented.
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Mike Gosot
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Re: The "Alignment Wheel" and a suggestion for how to fix it
Erik T.A. wrote:
I think they should do away with the "alignment wheel" altogether and replace it with something more flexible. A more elegant design solution would be to indicate potential ally factions on the hero cards, e.g. a Blood Axe hero could ally with Imperial Guard, whereas a Gahzghkull hero card would not allow guard allies.
A card can come with the "Loyal" title, which means he can't be used in another factions deck. Wouldn't that solve your problem?
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Re: The "Alignment Wheel" and a suggestion for how to fix it
MikeGosot wrote:
A card can come with the "Loyal" title, which means he can't be used in another factions deck. Wouldn't that solve your problem?


Yeah, I really like that feature of the game. What I'm more concerned about is deck diversity. To offer one hypothetical, if Orks and IG prove to be highly synergistic, then suddenly you'd find yourself playing against lots of competative Ork/Guard decks. It don't mind this combination sometimes (Blood Axes, mercenaries) but it would be a shame if all competitive Guard decks included Ork allies. That's just one hypothetical example but we all know that when decks are optimized for competitive card games, you tend to see similar archetypes over and over. The stultification of deck lists is both common and unfortunate in card games; look at Sith control in Star Wars where Palpatine has dominated since release. It's just worse when it's some strange combination that may not be entirely unthematic but still shouldn't be commonplace.

Also, it would be great to see some mechanism to allow other ally possibilities such as Chaos with corrupt Guard, Orks manipulated by Eldar, etc.

Another possibility is that FFG will print cards that reward decks with no allies or certain ally combinations to encourage a more diverse metagame. There are plenty of ways this might be addressed. I'd just like to see groundwork in place for a highly thematic and diverse meta for this promising game.
 
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Re: The "Alignment Wheel" and a suggestion for how to fix it
I fear of much Space Marine/tau Decks in competitive scenario, that´s what scares me off many Card Games. I rather thematic games with the necessary flaws for each faction.
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Aaron s
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Re: The "Alignment Wheel" and a suggestion for how to fix it
Erik T.A. wrote:
MikeGosot wrote:
A card can come with the "Loyal" title, which means he can't be used in another factions deck. Wouldn't that solve your problem?


Yeah, I really like that feature of the game. What I'm more concerned about is deck diversity. To offer one hypothetical, if Orks and IG prove to be highly synergistic, then suddenly you'd find yourself playing against lots of competative Ork/Guard decks. It don't mind this combination sometimes (Blood Axes, mercenaries) but it would be a shame if all competitive Guard decks included Ork allies. That's just one hypothetical example but we all know that when decks are optimized for competitive card games, you tend to see similar archetypes over and over. The stultification of deck lists is both common and unfortunate in card games; look at Sith control in Star Wars where Palpatine has dominated since release. It's just worse when it's some strange combination that may not be entirely unthematic but still shouldn't be commonplace.

Also, it would be great to see some mechanism to allow other ally possibilities such as Chaos with corrupt Guard, Orks manipulated by Eldar, etc.

Another possibility is that FFG will print cards that reward decks with no allies or certain ally combinations to encourage a more diverse metagame. There are plenty of ways this might be addressed. I'd just like to see groundwork in place for a highly thematic and diverse meta for this promising game.


So, here's my guess, based on previous LCGs:

In the future, delux expansion or so, we get one or two things. Either specific cards that can be allied with anyone, regardless of the wheel. Or we simply get cards that are "neutral" in game terms.

Or, since the game has these Heroes / Identities, we get specific ones that allow alliances, or partial alliances outside of the wheel. There is already a mechanic for cards that can't ally with anyone else (I imagine something like Sisters of Battle cards), so its likely we can see the opposite mechanic.
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Re: The "Alignment Wheel" and a suggestion for how to fix it
Erik T.A. wrote:
wytefang wrote:
Game's not out yet and a few folks already think they need to fix it?


As I said previously, the original post was motivated by widespread concerns about some thematic issues expressed here, on the FFG boards, and on 40K boards like Dakka Dakka and BoLS. I'm not questioning Eric Lang's chops as a game designer, I'm just pointing out one aspect of the game that seems questionable. Rather than just complain about it, I thought it would be interesting to try to imagine an alternative to the "alignment wheel" to address the limited fidelity to the 40K allies matrix. I do not think this is THE answer to the perceived problem nor do I expect FFG to actually change anything. I'm just looking at it as a design problem and proposing one possible solution.

Just to be clear, I think that overall the game looks amazing and I can't wait to play it. I wouldn't want that sentiment to be lost with my minor criticism of the way in which one aspect of the game's theme is represented.


Ah, I see. Okay! Well that doesn't sound so bad!
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Mike Gosot
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Re: The "Alignment Wheel" and a suggestion for how to fix it
Erik T.A. wrote:
MikeGosot wrote:
A card can come with the "Loyal" title, which means he can't be used in another factions deck. Wouldn't that solve your problem?


Yeah, I really like that feature of the game. What I'm more concerned about is deck diversity.

Also, it would be great to see some mechanism to allow other ally possibilities such as Chaos with corrupt Guard, Orks manipulated by Eldar, etc.

Another possibility is that FFG will print cards that reward decks with no allies or certain ally combinations to encourage a more diverse metagame. There are plenty of ways this might be addressed. I'd just like to see groundwork in place for a highly thematic and diverse meta for this promising game.
Deck diversity is a problem, sure. I hope no combination is obviously better than the other. The different ways to win the game may help that.

I think they will include the opposite of "loyal" in the game at some point. Like, cards that can break the alignment wheel, "traitor" cards that CAN'T be used by the original faction, only by some others. The game really has potential to mix the things, even thhough my deck will probably be pure chaos.
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Re: The "Alignment Wheel" and a suggestion for how to fix it
matthewabair wrote:
[q="MattShinners"]
My issue is the lack of Tyranids and Necrons and the alignment wheel makes their inclusion difficult to imagine unless they somehow "break the mold".


When this was announced at the GAMA trade show there were questions of the other races not yet included. We were told that they weren't allowed to reveal future plans but that we should keep in mind FFG's habit of expanding their games.

I think with the amount of cards in a core set, that it would be hard to do more factions. Anyone play L5R? I'm just getting into it and am overwhelmed with trying to choose one of the nine factions. If you buy the L5R starter display box that has all the nine starter decks you are looking at almost 1000 cards and a much higher price point.

edit: maybe they could just break the mold and make 2 different core. Each core set containing 5 factions. Get us to 10 factions and not have any real late comers.
 
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