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Star Trek: Attack Wing» Forums » Variants

Subject: Random suggestion that might help rebalance ship values some: shield facings rss

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Xander Fulton
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One of the more frustrating aspects of the game's point system is that the ships are not cost-adjusted for fire arcs.

You end up with ships like the Nova-class, and Miranda-class, that are point-identical...despite the Miranda having twice the primary weapon fire arc coverage of the Nova. Effectively, it has double the area it can cover with its weapons, with no penalty to balance that.

So, here's a proposal:

Each ship has shield arcs determined by the coverage of its primary weapon fire arc. IE., if you have a 90-degree arc, you have four shield facings. If you have a 180-degree arc, you have two shield facings (fore/aft). If your primary weapon is a 360-degree arc, you just have the one shield facing.

The printed 'shield points' on the ship are how many tokens you place on EACH SHIELD FACING. So the Nova-class (90-degree arc) has 2 shield tokens forward, 2 shield tokens port, 2 shield tokens starboard, and 2 shield tokens aft. The Miranda-class (180-degree fire arc) has 2 shield tokens 'forward' (180 degree coverage) and 2 shield tokens 'aft'.

[Tentative idea]: shielded ships get an action they can take on any given turn (think of it like the 'remove a disabled token from a system' any ship can do) to move one shield token from one pile of shields to another, adjacent, facing.

So, in a 'joust' this has no impact on the survivability of ships at all - shooting the Enterprise-D in the face, and it still has 4 shield tokens until you are hitting hull...before or after this system.

On the other hand, this does make maneuver a LOT more important, as it becomes possible to have shields in one or more arcs knocked down, and you can attempt to fly your ship to try to keep those facings away from the enemy. Personally, that this would make maneuver more important ON ITS OWN makes me think it's worth doing. The more important maneuver and planning is, the better (IMHO)!

Finally, it provides a tradeoff to ships with 180-degree arcs. Yes, they get double the fire arc coverage of other ships using 90-degree arcs at no point cost...but they also end up having fewer methods to turn damaged shields away from the enemy. On the OTHER other hand, they only have two shield banks, which will by definition be 'adjacent' to each other, so if using the shield-token-transfer action can effectively move tokens from their rear shields straight to their forward shields (while ships with 4 shields must move tokens from the side arcs to cover the forward).

Caveat: suggestion is not fully baked, nor tested, just kind of a 'thought exercise' at this point...but seemed like it might be an interesting direction to explore...
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charles skrobis
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It's an interesting idea, and I know I've seen this here before. (Though it was probably like 2 or 3 months ago so that'll take forever to find.)

The big new thing you're doing here is punishing ships for their firing arcs. I'm not sure I agree with that in the least.

So the big primary example you're using is the miranda class vs the nova class, and while their stats are identical, and so are their points, that's most of the similarity. Having played both numerous times, the nova class's tech slot can make the difference, if not completely surpass the miranda, with the right planning and thought. Options ranging from positron beam, to transwarp, to a cloaking device, etc. This is also before I go out of faction and start having it throw cloaked mines or projected stasis fields.

So while the shield idea is nice (If not horribly exploitable by the Equinox now.) Punishing ships for having better arcs doesn't make things better, especially with Keldons and such. There are lots of variables in this game, and the moment you focus too closely on 1, another can easily blind side the whole system.
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Eric B.
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It's a neat idea, though, as cool and thematic as shield faces would be, they probably wouldn't have much practical effect since most ships are so darn fragile. The vast majority of ships would still be killed before they had another chance to move and try to turn an "unwounded" shield-face to the enemy.

As a way to build up resiliency and get some better "slug-fest" going between fleets (since by OP6 people were annoyed with having their 50pt ships killed by a single attack or two) we tried doing the following:

When suffering damage, apply damage to shields. Every two [Hit] or [Crit] effects destroys one shield. If there is an odd number of incoming damage, the final point of damage disables a shield. [So, for instance, if a ship was suffering 5 Hits, it would discard two shields and disable a third shield.]

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Daniel van de Laar
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As a youth, some 30 years ago, I remember being annoyed with the way Dungeons & Dragons explained the mentality behind a single attack/defense roll in each round of combat.

The level and strength of a character, combined with the craftsmanship and possible magic of his weapon was all factored into a single "to hit", while the defender's level, and armor together factored into a single defense value, which the attack die was compared against.

We wanted realism! So we experimented with various armor models - the ones where you get a different armor class for different areas of your body, and bonuses or penalties for hitting each, etc. Soon that wasn't realistic enough either - and we moved to individual hit points for individual areas - so that if you did, say 10 points to someone's arm, that was enough to render the arm useless. Five more and the arm came off. etc.

Bottom line - it took longer to kill an enemy.

The realism didn't really make the game any better - it just slowed it down to the point that we began to lose interest, and went back to the simple, but quick, single attack/single defense set up.

I think your model has a kind of merit for those who really like the details of combat - but ultimately, it is just going to prolong combat if it can be balanced, but will probably just make wimpy ships harder to kill.

That could be a good thing I guess, but I personally never found the "realism" of an uber-advanced combat system to add much to a game - and rather took away from it in the end.

That is just my own opinion though. It could be awesome for someone else - I just wouldn't enjoy it any more or less than the system as is.

DANVAN
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Xander Fulton
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charles_skrobis wrote:
So while the shield idea is nice (If not horribly exploitable by the Equinox now.)


There are definitely some odd interactions that would need to be accounted for. Does Equinox just drop one shield on one facing, and magically repair ALL shields? Obviously, that would be ludicrously OP. Maybe it just disables one shield on one facing to repair all the shields on that facing, alone? Or drop one shield from ALL facings to repair ALL facings at once? (Either of those options would seem to work better - the latter choice being pretty much exactly what it does now, although I almost like the second option best as a mechanic)

And what of the Kraxon, when it's taking hits for another ship? What shield is damaged? etc.

On the other hand, it opens up other interesting possibilities. Do you have to really drop ALL shields to use someone like Klag against a ship? Or maybe just drop all the shields in the fire arc you want to beam Klag through... Ditto missions where you are beaming up/down from a planet...logically, you wouldn't need to disable ALL your shields, just the shields facing the direction you want to transport.

charles_skrobis wrote:
Punishing ships for having better arcs doesn't make things better, especially with Keldons and such.


When discussing this with another group, it was the Keldon and Galor classes that concerned me the most. In one of the better balancing attempts WizKids actually did, they already sort of HAVE balance to their wide fire arcs due to their dreadful maneuver dial.

Maybe tying the fire arc to number of shield facings is overkill - perhaps just giving each ship four arcs, flat-out, is an okay way to go. I dunno - although I like the idea of there being differences in shield arcs out there, and tying it to the weapon arcs seems to make sense...it might penalize the Galor and Keldon too much (maybe? As noted - it does make it super easy for them to transfer shields directly from their rear arc to forward arc, which ships with 90-degree arcs can't do.)

FWIW, I think the idea of multiple shield facings is - in general - worth doing if for no other reason than:
- It makes maneuver more important
- This:
Danvan wrote:
Bottom line - it took longer to kill an enemy.

...is, I think, another good goal. In STAW, particularly as of wave 4, ships just die TOO FAST. Having a damage system that provides the possibility of longer ship lives, given more maneuver options, I see as a good thing.
 
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Dave C
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As a way of re-balancing ships, I don't think tying the number of shield faces to the size of the firing arc would be helpful (unless you also re-costed somehow based on the new, higher shield values). If anything, I feel like this would create imbalance (or create further imbalance, depending on your point of view). Most (all?) Klingon ships only have 90-degree arcs, but they're also some of the most maneuverable ships in the game (after the little Romulan ships). Under the based-on-firing-arcs-system, the Klingons would get x4 shields, and the Cardassians only x2? As you mention, the 180-arc on the Cardassians is what compensated for their lack of maneuverability... why should they would now be punished (relative to a more maneuverable fleet) for the one thing that saved them?

That being said, I do like the idea of increasing the survive-ability of ships... having battles play out like DS9 ones where galaxy's are one-shot'ed doesn't feel "right", though I am cautious of adding too much time to the game.

A search for "tactical shields" or something like that in the variants thread should reveal a long discussion from the last time this was discussed. (Someone even made tokens that you could print and use.) I actually liked the idea of giving all ships Fore and Aft shields (versus left and right), and think that you should be able to transfer shields during the End Phase as opposed to having to use an action. Admittedly though, this wouldn't necessarily directly increase the survive-ability of ships, as you could still be one-shot through one side's shields. I also like the idea of using the directional shield when performing transporter actions, though a re-costing of the various transporter-based cards would be in order, since not having to drop all shields significantly reduces the risk involved in using them. For casual play, I may one day experiment with simply doubling each ships' hull/shield values, re-costing following the x2 formula (so that small ships don't get screwed), and then playing with a much higher squad point limit.
 
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Erin OConnor
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Keep it simple.

All ships get fore, aft, port and starboard shields equal to the shield value on the ship card.

 
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John Sowerby
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I think we're getting to a point with some of the discussions on 'what can we do to fix the game' where you aren't actually fixing the game. You're writing a new one.

All power to you if you do so, but what you are playing is no longer STAW.
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Jesse Catron
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Here's a simple idea that both improves survivability and rewards ships with a small firing arc:

Each ship gets a free Defensive BS action when attacked outside their primary firing arc.

90 degree firing arc ships get a 270 defensive BS arc.
180 degree firing arc ships get a 180 defensive BS arc.
360 degree firing arc ships get no defensive BS.


Any thoughts?
 
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Dave C
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Echo2Omega wrote:
Keep it simple.

All ships get fore, aft, port and starboard shields equal to the shield value on the ship card.

So the Ent D gets 20 shields and the Vo 8? How would you balance that?

TheLimey wrote:
I think we're getting to a point with some of the discussions on 'what can we do to fix the game' where you aren't actually fixing the game. You're writing a new one.

All power to you if you do so, but what you are playing is no longer STAW.

Your point is well taken. Though this was posted in the "Variants" section. A few people have posted threads on trying to make the game more tactical/longer, and as a variant, it may or may not be interesting depending on the results. (I view them like mods for a game like Minecraft... some just change how things look--a repaint or a proxy--and some essentially give you a totally new game, as you mention... but they're all only used if and when you feel like it). For the record, I personally don't think the game needs fixing, but I do see appeal in a tactical shields-type variant.
 
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Will Sanchez
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Have you checked out this thread?
http://boardgamegeek.com/article/14108771#14108771
 
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Xander Fulton
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delta_angelfire wrote:


I'm not convinced of the value of the port/starboard shield split.

Indeed, I don't even think forward/aft would necessarily work without the ship already having a 180-degree-arc, so the dividing line is ON the base.

The 'quadrant' method is easy to implement, as you already have to measure 'closest to closest' from the ship bases to determine if a target is in arc/range ANYWAY...it's pretty trivial to take note, when doing that, which of the four sides of the base you are 'hitting'. Splitting a side in half without a visual aid (IE., the fore/aft thing with 180-arcs) for where the line would be seems like it would...lead to unnecessary arguments.

dprcooke wrote:
Echo2Omega wrote:
Keep it simple.

All ships get fore, aft, port and starboard shields equal to the shield value on the ship card.

So the Ent D gets 20 shields and the Vo 8? How would you balance that?


Nitpick: it's 16 for the -D (4*4). Still, keep in mind that this "total" shield number will nearly never be a factor. As noted by many in the thread, the super-dice-stacked-one-hit-wonder-attacks are only going through one shield...so will nuke a ship in a single shot just as easily now as before.

What it does mean is that surviving that initial salvo allows you to maneuver a bit more to bring fresh shields to bear. And, sure, 'fresh shields' on the -D are more potent than the Vo...but it is still only a total of 4 shields facing a side vs the Vo's 2.

This suggestion doesn't change the ability of a ship to stand up to any single attack at all - it just changes how the game plays out after a ship DOES survive an attack, in that instead of being 'dead man walking', larger ships can catch a bit of a break if they maneuver new shields into play.

That, IMHO, is a GOOD thing!
Echo2Omega wrote:
Keep it simple.

All ships get fore, aft, port and starboard shields equal to the shield value on the ship card.


That might just be the best way to do it. Although I definitely liked the idea of having 'different types of shields' in play.

Although at least one problem of that method is that it makes the Borg absolutely BRUTAL with their 360-main-attack. IE., facing already matters almost not at all to the Borg, so having to maneuver in a way to keep some shield out of arc of the enemy...won't bother them in the slightest.

I'd almost be more interested in sticking with the variety-o-shields method, possibly implemented differently to try to make that viable. (Could using the base value as the 'front' shield, and each shield a step away from that in adjacency dropping one value...to a minimum of '1' for shielded ships...work? For the Enterprise-D, that means it would be front:4, port/starboard:3, aft:2. The Kraxon would be front:4, aft:3. The Vo would be front: 2, port/starboard: 1, aft: 1. etc. That leaves the Borg with a single, unified, shield - which matches perfectly with their single, unified, weapon arcs.)
 
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Don D.
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Objection! Assumes facts not on evidence!
 
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Echo2Omega wrote:
Keep it simple.

All ships get fore, aft, port and starboard shields equal to the shield value on the ship card.



Directional shields were in the original alpha version of the game, but the whole idea was dropped as it overcomplicated a lot of things and brought the game to a crawl.
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gabu69 castro
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The Tactical Officer is an officer stationed at the console that controls a ship's weaponry and shields.

Thats why you dont have do worry about Directional shields, its already done by the officers of the ship and the shield values we get are the abstract form to represent that.
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John Carpenter
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XanderF wrote:
One of the more frustrating aspects of the game's point system is that the ships are not cost-adjusted for fire arcs.

You end up with ships like the Nova-class, and Miranda-class, that are point-identical...despite the Miranda having twice the primary weapon fire arc coverage of the Nova. Effectively, it has double the area it can cover with its weapons, with no penalty to balance that.

So, here's a proposal:

Each ship has shield arcs determined by the coverage of its primary weapon fire arc. IE., if you have a 90-degree arc, you have four shield facings. If you have a 180-degree arc, you have two shield facings (fore/aft). If your primary weapon is a 360-degree arc, you just have the one shield facing.

The printed 'shield points' on the ship are how many tokens you place on EACH SHIELD FACING. So the Nova-class (90-degree arc) has 2 shield tokens forward, 2 shield tokens port, 2 shield tokens starboard, and 2 shield tokens aft. The Miranda-class (180-degree fire arc) has 2 shield tokens 'forward' (180 degree coverage) and 2 shield tokens 'aft'.

[Tentative idea]: shielded ships get an action they can take on any given turn (think of it like the 'remove a disabled token from a system' any ship can do) to move one shield token from one pile of shields to another, adjacent, facing.

So, in a 'joust' this has no impact on the survivability of ships at all - shooting the Enterprise-D in the face, and it still has 4 shield tokens until you are hitting hull...before or after this system.

On the other hand, this does make maneuver a LOT more important, as it becomes possible to have shields in one or more arcs knocked down, and you can attempt to fly your ship to try to keep those facings away from the enemy. Personally, that this would make maneuver more important ON ITS OWN makes me think it's worth doing. The more important maneuver and planning is, the better (IMHO)!

Finally, it provides a tradeoff to ships with 180-degree arcs. Yes, they get double the fire arc coverage of other ships using 90-degree arcs at no point cost...but they also end up having fewer methods to turn damaged shields away from the enemy. On the OTHER other hand, they only have two shield banks, which will by definition be 'adjacent' to each other, so if using the shield-token-transfer action can effectively move tokens from their rear shields straight to their forward shields (while ships with 4 shields must move tokens from the side arcs to cover the forward).

Caveat: suggestion is not fully baked, nor tested, just kind of a 'thought exercise' at this point...but seemed like it might be an interesting direction to explore...


Tested this last night with a Miranda vs a Nova,

Even with the Nova having photon torpedos and practically double the shields of the Miranda, the Miranda's superior dial and arc kicked the Nova's ass in three games.

The shields definitely made it interesting though. We both liked how it played out with the facings.
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Xander Fulton
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ColCarp wrote:
XanderF wrote:
One of the more frustrating aspects of the game's point system is that the ships are not cost-adjusted for fire arcs.

You end up with ships like the Nova-class, and Miranda-class, that are point-identical...despite the Miranda having twice the primary weapon fire arc coverage of the Nova. Effectively, it has double the area it can cover with its weapons, with no penalty to balance that.

So, here's a proposal:

Each ship has shield arcs determined by the coverage of its primary weapon fire arc. IE., if you have a 90-degree arc, you have four shield facings. If you have a 180-degree arc, you have two shield facings (fore/aft). If your primary weapon is a 360-degree arc, you just have the one shield facing.

The printed 'shield points' on the ship are how many tokens you place on EACH SHIELD FACING. So the Nova-class (90-degree arc) has 2 shield tokens forward, 2 shield tokens port, 2 shield tokens starboard, and 2 shield tokens aft. The Miranda-class (180-degree fire arc) has 2 shield tokens 'forward' (180 degree coverage) and 2 shield tokens 'aft'.

[Tentative idea]: shielded ships get an action they can take on any given turn (think of it like the 'remove a disabled token from a system' any ship can do) to move one shield token from one pile of shields to another, adjacent, facing.

So, in a 'joust' this has no impact on the survivability of ships at all - shooting the Enterprise-D in the face, and it still has 4 shield tokens until you are hitting hull...before or after this system.

On the other hand, this does make maneuver a LOT more important, as it becomes possible to have shields in one or more arcs knocked down, and you can attempt to fly your ship to try to keep those facings away from the enemy. Personally, that this would make maneuver more important ON ITS OWN makes me think it's worth doing. The more important maneuver and planning is, the better (IMHO)!

Finally, it provides a tradeoff to ships with 180-degree arcs. Yes, they get double the fire arc coverage of other ships using 90-degree arcs at no point cost...but they also end up having fewer methods to turn damaged shields away from the enemy. On the OTHER other hand, they only have two shield banks, which will by definition be 'adjacent' to each other, so if using the shield-token-transfer action can effectively move tokens from their rear shields straight to their forward shields (while ships with 4 shields must move tokens from the side arcs to cover the forward).

Caveat: suggestion is not fully baked, nor tested, just kind of a 'thought exercise' at this point...but seemed like it might be an interesting direction to explore...


Tested this last night with a Miranda vs a Nova,

Even with the Nova having photon torpedos and practically double the shields of the Miranda, the Miranda's superior dial and arc kicked the Nova's ass in three games.

The shields definitely made it interesting though. We both liked how it played out with the facings.


That's similar to what I'd expect - thanks for the confirmation!

I think it's something people aren't realizing when criticizing the proposal, but...ships don't generally have the ability to fire at anything outside their 'forward' arc.

So while multiple shields can help you survive 'down' turns (when you wouldn't have a shot on the enemy, anyway) - any turn you plan to ATTACK the enemy, you've always got to face the same (forward) shield to them...it's the only one you can fire your primary weapon out of. And since that shield has the same number of tokens before and after this mod, it really makes less difference than I think people assume it will.

It DOES make a difference, of course - as noted, when you are turning away from the enemy (perhaps to use some crew ability to repair the ship, cycling through your secondary weapons, etc), you've now got a slight bit of a breather...

But it's not such a big deal as 'WOW! DOUBLING THE SHIELDS = MUCH GAME BREAKING! SO TOKENS! VERY SERIOUS!'
 
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Plaice Holden
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RogueThirteen wrote:
When suffering damage, apply damage to shields. Every two [Hit] or [Crit] effects destroys one shield. If there is an odd number of incoming damage, the final point of damage disables a shield. [So, for instance, if a ship was suffering 5 Hits, it would discard two shields and disable a third shield.]


I'll definitely be giving that a shot with a friend in my next game, so we can tool around the table for a while, discussing it and seeing how it pans out. Part of the real fun of the game is the ability to happily mesh out house rules.
 
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Shrouded In Mystery
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There are some very good ideas here.
 
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Well, directional shields have been a part of EVERY other game I know of for Star Trek, so it's not like it's a new idea. But STAW starts off with a very BAD translation of firing arcs for ships and you're trying to put a band-aid on top to compensate. The ships we're talking about with 90 degree arcs DON'T have those arcs. Any modern ship (klingons or the Nova) tend to have much better than 90 degree arcs, though they have multiple weapons which cause the firepower to be uneven across the 360/720 arc (360 around you and 360 above and below if we were in 3D).

Consider the venerable Constitution. It has very well defined weapon locations (most defined of any ship in Star Trek). Two basically 180 centered forward, two 180 centered directly port, and two 180 centered directly starboard. So firing forward they have their full weaponry where to the side they have 2/3 of their firepower and aft 2/3 as well (depending on the game). So STAW decides the Constitution has 180 front which isn't a bad abstraction but now you give it poorer shields than a ship with a 90 degree arc to compensate even though that poorer ship might actually be a smaller, less capable ship. And the Galaxy generic clearly has at least 270 native arc, but in the game it's 90 degrees, so now you're giving it an advantage for the poor job WK did in spec'ing it out.

I like where you are going as far as trying to compensate for a bad system, but I'd prefer to see all ships have all four arcs of shields at their stated value. I would also, if I could break firepower into 4 arcs depending on what the ship actually has. BUT those changes, and yours, all add time and complexity to the game, and that is a negative.

I think adding multiple weapons and arcs, and shields in arcs together may be too much complexity increase for the game, but I think it's possible to give each arc a WEAPON value and a SHIELD value and leave it at that level of abstraction. I think doing this would be a total rewrite of the game though.

Why don't you try it and give us a play by play batrep.

EDIT: One afterthought. Rather than compensate ships with poor arcs with better shields (which wouldn't help the Klingons much), I would rather come up with a point penalty for each ship which you add to it when you do a build which costs the arcs and maneuver wheel. Some ships like a Klingon D7 would have a small additional cost, and some (Borg Tac Cube) would have a BIG additional cost and that would equalize things without making shields incorrect too to try to balance the bad point cost to begin with.
 
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Sodoff Baldrick
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Honestly all we really need in the game are some simple nonpunitive repair cards. Too many of them are action + negative attack or no attack. Others are too action hoggers with action + disable.

3pts Glen Daro is the best repair card in the game Action repair a hull or shield, simple.

5pts TOS Scotty, Action and negative attack dice for 1 shield

4pts Konmel, Action, repair a shield, not bad but only shields

4pts Harry Kim, Action and disable for only shield

2pts Kyle, Action, Green Maneuver, and -1 defense die, for 1 shield

5pts Defian O'Brian, Action, Disable, and no attack for 2 shelds

4pts Bu'Kha, green maneuver and discard for 2 hull

2pts Dalby, Action + disable for 1 shield or hull OR Action + Discard for 2 shields or hull.

3pts Secondary Sheld Emitters Action and -1 attack die for 1 shield. But takes up a valuable tech slot.

Compared to Daro all of these suck. Konmel is probably a close 2nd , but he only works on shields. Scotty is ok because he can add attacks,but his -2 attack dice makes him tough on fed ships. Harry Kim just sucks, too action hogging, Kyle is just as bad. O'Brian is about the worst of the bunch. Dalby isn't bad but the double penalty blows.

For the famed engineers "that can turn rocks into replicators" the federation really sucks at repairs in AttackmWing.

For something that is a big part of the show the designers are all over the board with restrictions, penalties, and points for making repairs. It is sad that it took them a year and a half to get it right with Daro. However the big hurt for most people is he is in a LE ship, this is a big fail for the design team.
 
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Will Sanchez
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Who brought back an 8 month old thread? please check dates people :-/
 
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David Griffin
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delta_angelfire wrote:
Who brought back an 8 month old thread? please check dates people :-/


I didn't do it this time, but it's hardly a cardinal sin. I have some old threads that I bring back when there has been a new development. There really isn't all that much going on in the forums these days, things have slowed down a bit.
 
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Sodoff Baldrick
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delta_angelfire wrote:
Who brought back an 8 month old thread? please check dates people :-/


Who made you the thread police? I don't see BGG staff under your avatar. If you don't want to read an 8 month old thread than don't, but if others do it's none of your business.
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K. Jameson
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Mr S Baldrick wrote:
Honestly all we really need ... is a big fail for the design team.

You know, since we now have a nice comprehensive listing of abilities and such thanks to that complete organized ability index posted awhile back, it's really easy to sit down and analyze these sort of things.

Do most people lean towards tweaking card costs? As opposed to making everything the identical or standardized? I mean for the community revised edition of this game.

Since I'm bored, and I don't really mind the necro if it's a decent discussion:
Particularly with cross-faction cost in mind, frankly, I think Federation could stand to be weak at something for once. But if the cards are TOO bad then there's not a reason to use them in the first place.
Glen Daro: 5 pts
Konmel: 4 pts
Scotty: 4 pts
Secondary Shield Emitters: 4 pts
Dalby: 3 pts
Bu'Kha: 2 pts
Harry Kim: 2 pts
Kyle: 2 pts
O'Brien: 2 pts
Or somewhere around there, anyway.
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