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Subject: Potential Borg fix rss

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Chris Langland
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I was at a tournament with Rob Tsuk and overheard him and another player discussing the issues surrounding the Borg. Here were some of the things I heard brought up and my own observations:

- The maneuver dial is an enormous advantage. It is simple, incredibly flexible, and requires your opponent to guess with about a 25% accuracy as to where you're going.
- The 360 arc. When combined with the above, it takes almost all thought or strategy out of the Borg. You move to a point where your opponent has a very hard time getting into arc after the initial joust/chase, then beat the hell out of them. You have no vulnerable spots, so the only thing your opponent really has to consider is trying desperately to get you into arc.
- High attack value. The basic attack value of the Borg is the highest in the game. You can and will blast the hell out of people, particularly when you can spend drones to reroll any dice without a target lock. It's hard to miss with that combo.
- Limited actions options. Sure, there are lots of potential actions the Borg can do, but for the most part you're doing something wrong if you're not scanning. With 4.5 average hits by spending a drone off the sphere's non-unique Tactical Drone captain, reducing already scant evasion dice is just too good to give up. Sure, the first turn you might want to assimilate some choice bit of enemy upgrades, but after that, why bother?

Rob pointed out that it isn't even really fun to play as the Borg, they're just too simple. But I also heard him mention that one of the key problems was the high attack dice. Their primary attack is just so good it's kind of a waste to spend your attack doing anything else, particularly something like the cutting beam which requires 15 points of upgrades to use.

So here are two options I am considering as "house rules" for the tournaments I'm planning on running in my area. I'd appreciate feedback on this from players, and play testing these ideas would also be awesome.

1) Reduce all Borg Primary Weapons values by 2, with a corresponding reduction in points for the ship by 4. This means you're gaining a lot more by using the Borg secondary weapons, which are also harder to effectively use. Suddenly it is no longer a no-brainer to fire your primary and save the points you'd spend on the big weapons the Borg have available.

2) Change the Tactical Drone ability from the Sphere to reroll ALL attack dice by spending a drone, and you must keep the result. It's still a good insurance policy, but it now isn't nearly as simple as holding off Target Locks until you're out of drones. It also suddenly makes the Tactical Drone from the Cube more useful, since I can't imagine why you'd want to spend three drones to maintain a target lock instead of spending one drone to get the same effect.

This REALLY changes the feel of the Borg. Now Borg captains really have to consider how they spend their actions and where they put their ships. Do you want to get close to use that cutting beam and tractor beam? Do you want to use the Assimiliation Tubules to get rid of the enemy's upgrades then close in for the kill? Choices, choices.

Any thoughts? Is this just the fevered thoughts of someone who doesn't want to think about how to destroy the Borg without becoming one?

Also, I'm not sure if this should be in the Variants section, but I really wanted the visibility of the General forum.
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Trueflight Silverwing
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I think the only fix needed for the Borg is for players to stop playing the same way they have been for the lat 6 months and learn some new tactics and strategy. I've played as and against the borg, I have beaten and been beaten by them. they are powerful, as they should be, but hardly unbeatable. it just requires different strategies and builds than what everyone has been accustomed to. Change is good.
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Rob Tsuk
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Ender02 wrote:
I think the only fix needed for the Borg is for players to stop playing the same way they have been for the lat 6 months and learn some new tactics and strategy. I've played as and against the borg, I have beaten and been beaten by them. they are powerful, as they should be, but hardly unbeatable. it just requires different strategies and builds than what everyone has been accustomed to. Change is good.


If you're going to discount a lengthy, well-written post it would be great to address some of the points of the post, not just describe the OP as change-averse.

I was planning to put up my thoughts on the Borg as some point. I didn't expect Chris here to do it for me. blush

I still will, though, and if you decide to respond to me I hope it will be with more substance.
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Dan Knight
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I ran the UK expo event today and at 200 points the following borg stats emerged:

29 players
14 Borg spheres

So there is a lot of Borg love. However Jonathan Kripps Bolton ripped a 3 sphere build apart in less than 30 minutes wihtout a single Borg card in his fleet and only 1 klingon ship. He went on to win the event undefeated all day.
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Rob Tsuk
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At 200 points the Borg should be fielding four spheres, not three, if anyone was so masochistic as to buy that many. You could even fit five with room for two Tactical Drones. I'm not sure that's better, though.

Anecdotal evidence doesn't address Chris's points either. Everyone's set of opponents is so different that one can get any kind of result on any particular day.
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Eric Chau
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Sounds interesting.

The 360 arc attack bugs me the most as it feels that the whole point of maneuvering about to get a good shot while staying out of their firing arcs is completely nullified.
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Erin OConnor
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We did out Thaolian Web Event today. This event was crazy awesome fun...the borg not so much BUT

2 Wins 1 Loss.

here is my fleet list:
List Name

U.S.S Enterprise (22)
James T. Kirk (6)
Attack Pattern Omega (3)
Montgomery Scott (5)
Photon Torpedoes (5)
Ship SP: 41

I.K.S. Kronos One (24)
Martok (5)
Ship SP: 29

IRW Gal Gath'Thong (18)
Donatra (4)
Tactical Officer (3)
Plasma Torpedoes (5)
Ship SP: 30

Total Build SP: 100

Generated by STAW Builder
http://www.dracossoftware.com/STAWHome.html

 
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Callum Dilling
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A 1 ship pure faction Klingon build in a 200 point tournament undefeated? I NEED THAT LIST!!!!!!!
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Dan Knight
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rtsuk wrote:
At 200 points the Borg should be fielding four spheres, not three, if anyone was so masochistic as to buy that many. You could even fit five with room for two Tactical Drones. I'm not sure that's better, though.

Anecdotal evidence doesn't address Chris's points either. Everyone's set of opponents is so different that one can get any kind of result on any particular day.


I'm really not sure that 4 would have made a difference, might have taken him 35 minutes to shred 4 I guess. John's build was incredibly solid and tight, he read the meta perfectly planned on the Sphere presence and capitalised on it.
Calyboi96 wrote:
A 1 ship pure faction Klingon build in a 200 point tournament undefeated? I NEED THAT LIST!!!!!!!


Cheeky. JKB was running a 5 ship fleet. I probably should have expanded upon the 1 Klingon since all in lobster-heads seems to be the go to build for beating the Borg. There was all sorts of crazy stuff in their.
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Rob Tsuk
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Whizzwang wrote:

I'm really not sure that 4 would have made a difference, might have taken him 35 minutes to shred 4 I guess. John's build was incredibly solid and tight, he read the meta perfectly planned on the Sphere presence and capitalised on it.


It would be great to see a list that doesn't care about another 13 hit ship throwing 6 dice every round. Are there defensive options in Britain we don't have here in the states?
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Don D.
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You assume a fix is needed where I do not. I would not play in a tournament that adopted your proposed nerfs whether I planned to use Borg or not.
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Chris Langland
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So far I haven't heard anyone believe a fix is necessary or desirable. Are my points not strong? Am I overlooking something? Can I get some feedback beyond, "Just accept it"?
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Dave Benhart
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I don't know that a fix is necessarily needed for the Borg (they are beatable, but usually by the Borg themselves), but I have to agree with most of the first two points.

ChrisLS wrote:
- The maneuver dial is an enormous advantage. It is simple, incredibly flexible, and requires your opponent to guess with about a 25% accuracy as to where you're going.
- The 360 arc. When combined with the above, it takes almost all thought or strategy out of the Borg. You move to a point where your opponent has a very hard time getting into arc after the initial joust/chase, then beat the hell out of them. You have no vulnerable spots, so the only thing your opponent really has to consider is trying desperately to get you into arc.


I'm not sure I'd say the maneuver dial is "an enormous advantage", but it is incredibly easy to fly and stay out of your opponent's firing arcs after the first pass. That's a big deal. Correspondingly, the maneuver dial is very predictable and makes it nearly impossible to avoid the opponent's firing arc on the first pass. The Borg are going to get shot hard on the first pass.

The 360 arc does take all the interesting on the table tactics out of the Borg. (Maneuvering is tactical, not strategic. The strategy is to fly the Borg in the first place, or to make a build to counter them.) Before the Borg every Faction & every ship had to think about their movements, try to guess what their opponents ships are going to do, and plan accordingly to keep their opponent in arc & stay out of the enemy arc. Flying the Borg it's "which move will keep me as close as possible to the enemy?" Screw having to worry about arc. There's no tactics in that. Just get close & shoot. And stay close, which isn't hard to do or hard to fix because of the maneuver dial.

I have to agree with Rob that the Borg are just boring to play.

Yes, the Borg are beatable, but how many people have beat them without using the Borg? And how well do those fleets do against "traditional" non-Borg builds? I'd love to see these "Borg beaters" that people claim to have. Yes, there are a number of ways to nullify Borg attacks or upgrades, but they all only work for one turn. Then the Borg will be attacking you again, while you may no longer have them in your firing arcs.

The in game problem with the Borg is that you will get hit by 4+ dice every turn you get to attack them...and many turns you won't. The meta-game problem with the Borg is they're too easy to fly and too simple to play, which makes for near-zero decision making during the came. That I find boring.

(I'm really looking forward to our TOS era Tholian Web on Tuesday night, mostly because there's no Borg. Borg have even more advantages in that scenario than usual. So many advantages that you have to take them if you want a chance at winning.)
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Rob Tsuk
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I posted my thoughts on a different thread, since I'm not proposing any fix, just observing what I think the problems are.

I'm with Dave on looking forward to events whose scenario or build restrictions make the Borg less of an obvious choice. The amount more fun I had playing Tholian Web with TOS ships vs playing with Borg is hard for me to overstate.
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H. Tucker Cobey
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davedujour wrote:
Yes, the Borg are beatable, but how many people have beat them without using the Borg? And how well do those fleets do against "traditional" non-Borg builds? I'd love to see these "Borg beaters" that people claim to have.


Vor'Cha
Martok
Drex

Vor'Cha
Generic Captian

Vor'Cha
Worf

Reinforcement Sideboard
Gowron
Projected Stasis Field
Sabotage
N'Garen
Concussive Charges
 
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Chris Langland
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rtsuk wrote:
I posted my thoughts on a different thread, since I'm not proposing any fix, just observing what I think the problems are.

I'm with Dave on looking forward to events whose scenario or build restrictions make the Borg less of an obvious choice. The amount more fun I had playing Tholian Web with TOS ships vs playing with Borg is hard for me to overstate.


Rob, what is your opinion on the effects of a fix such as I propose? Would you play in an event where a "nerf" like that was in effect?

Also, we should get together some time to practice anti-Borg tactics.
 
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Rob Tsuk
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ChrisLS wrote:

Rob, what is your opinion on the effects of a fix such as I propose? Would you play in an event where a "nerf" like that was in effect?


They might be swinging too far the other direction. Also the 360 arc isn't addressed, and that's the tough one. Whether I'd play in it or not I don't know.

ChrisLS wrote:
Also, we should get together some time to practice anti-Borg tactics.


Getting together is a great idea, but I'd rather do anything else. Mission play, for example, I've never played three quarters of them.
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Read the rulebook, plan for all contingencies, and…read the rulebook again.
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ChrisLS wrote:
So far I haven't heard anyone believe a fix is necessary or desirable. Are my points not strong? Am I overlooking something? Can I get some feedback beyond, "Just accept it"?


If you're a TO, you can do what you like at your tourney. If you think the Borg should be nerfed, nerf 'em. Just give folks a heads-up well in advance and not just on game day. And tell us how it went. Maybe folks will think it a welcome change, I don't know.

The Borg are certainly tough for all the reasons you give. I think the problem goes deeper, though: down to the formula for determining the point-value of ships. Adding the base values and mutiplying by 2 is just too simple to capture all the added value of things like good maneuver dials and wide arcs of fire and even upgrade slots. The Borg just heavily underscore that problem.

And the Tholian Web OP certainly plays to the strengths of the Borg: right-angle web-building and an ever-shrinking playing field. There's nowhere to run. You're fighting them whether you want to or not.

BTW, if Attack Wing were a "general list" game, it would stagnate pretty quickly, I think. I like that if one list can beat the Borg, maybe it's not so hot against another. That, to me, is part of what makes the game fun: the wide variety of lists that people come up with.
 
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charles skrobis
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To be honest, when I first heard that the Borg were in the game, I thought that they'd start with 3 or 4 primary weapon attack value, with a ship or 2 that has 0 attack and an affinity for using some of their secondary weapons which could be like a slightly ramped up dorsal weapons array. (Not having a designed weapon system so much as one that was assimilated and intigrated into the ship in question.)

At this point, I am happy with the borg overall, but I do agree that if their primary attack wasn't as high as it is, they would be as defining as they are currently.

So for the idea in question, I hesitate to drop their attack lower than 5 base. The reason for this, is because I'm recently taking a heavy use to cards such as Gel telle and the Ferengi em pulse.

So if I use Gel Telle, he can be on a keldon with 2 shrouds and dukat, and cut the Borg attack down by 2, while still having firing initiative and a battle stations to attack with.

Similarly the Ferengi em pulse drops the attack down by 2, and doesn't go away, but it works out of arc for when I don't have a shot, and gives them an aux token to limit their maneuvers.

As for cutting beam, I have seen it on the borg, and it's a lot harder with their captain, because they need to be in range 1 at their skill to use it, and keep range 1 through their opponent's turn too. So it is a lot harder to use than most people would expect.

At the end of the day, I wish more of the borg weaponry emphasized things like the missiles do on the tactical cube, where they can only damage shields, or some such thing. But I feel like the Borg were thought up for being designed as single ship fleets with maybe a support ship on the side, so for single ship borg builds, they are where they need to be.

So I'd like to start with 5 attack, and work around that level first, or maybe find ways to emphasize assimilating secondary weapons and making use of those.

As for the drone. He is a great choice for his skill level and use. The next drone is kind of there, but he seems funnier on the Gor Portas. I'd be okay with another version of base box worf, but don't see him as too crazy now, especially since I can roll an attack, and miss everything on the first roll, and then hope the re-roll can do average damage.
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tsuyoshikentsu wrote:
davedujour wrote:
Yes, the Borg are beatable, but how many people have beat them without using the Borg? And how well do those fleets do against "traditional" non-Borg builds? I'd love to see these "Borg beaters" that people claim to have.


Vor'Cha
Martok
Drex

Vor'Cha
Generic Captian

Vor'Cha
Worf

Reinforcement Sideboard
Gowron
Projected Stasis Field
Sabotage
N'Garen
Concussive Charges


I've seen a two sphere Borg build chew through a list like this without blinking. The game comes down to who guesses better about how far to move how quickly. If the Borg shoot first before you have all 3 captains in place and with targetlocks and battletstations, then this build goes down.

By definition the Borg are not broken or unbalanced - they're just not fun.
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ChrisLS wrote:


1) Reduce all Borg Primary Weapons values by 2, with a corresponding reduction in points for the ship by 4. This means you're gaining a lot more by using the Borg secondary weapons, which are also harder to effectively use. Suddenly it is no longer a no-brainer to fire your primary and save the points you'd spend on the big weapons the Borg have available.

2) Change the Tactical Drone ability from the Sphere to reroll ALL attack dice by spending a drone, and you must keep the result. It's still a good insurance policy, but it now isn't nearly as simple as holding off Target Locks until you're out of drones. It also suddenly makes the Tactical Drone from the Cube more useful, since I can't imagine why you'd want to spend three drones to maintain a target lock instead of spending one drone to get the same effect.


I really like these suggestions and would be willing to try them. I'd actually lower the weapons, but raise the shields/hull so that the total point value is the same or only 2 less. This, to my mind, is more in keeping with what we saw of the Borg on the show. Impossible to stop, but their advance was slow and inexorable. There was plenty of time while caught in a tractor beam to ineffectively pound them with phasers and come up with clever boarding strategies.

I'm actually a fan of trying both.
 
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ChrisLS wrote:
So far I haven't heard anyone believe a fix is necessary or desirable. Are my points not strong? Am I overlooking something? Can I get some feedback beyond, "Just accept it"?


I started a thread about people banning the borg and another thread about my idea of restricting the borg to Range 1-2 as a fix. We are losing players and will continue to lose players as the devs have put as much thought into the borg as they did with Romulan cloaked mines.

This exact same thing happened with the Star Wars Miniatures game (the skirmish not the X-Wing game) when the Universe expansion brought Thrawn and other incredibly OP figures that completely unbalanced the game. Before the Universe expansion, new players could pick up some figures and come to play at the stores and expect to do reasonably well. After the Universe expansion, powergamers were given the tools they needed to completely without hope demolish newbies as if they were in god-mode. Galaxy Comics in Winnipeg lost 8 players within the first two weeks of the release of the Universe expansion and stopped holding tournies that month. The game would last another couple years but it was never newbie-friendly ever again.

This is what is happening again here. Can the Borg be beat? Yes, but the Borg player will definately have incredible advantages especially against newer players. This appeals to powergamers and Attack Wing is their game now.

I'm trying to stay with this game but I'm probably going to switch back to X-Wing where actual playtesting is done.
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Dave Benhart
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tsuyoshikentsu wrote:


Vor'Cha
Martok
Drex

Vor'Cha
Generic Captian

Vor'Cha
Worf

Reinforcement Sideboard
Gowron
Projected Stasis Field
Sabotage
N'Garen
Concussive Charges


Since you'll be able to get Gowron and 1 more Upgrade from the Sideboard before the Borg attack (but probably not 2), that build won't beat most of my Borg builds. Even blowing PSF to save your ships for 1 turn doesn't help that much. Those ships will do 4 damage (Martok/Drex), 4 damage (Worf), and 4 damage (PSF is range 1-2), rounding generously up. (Actual averages are 3.5 damage each.) 12 damage doesn't take out a basic Sphere, let alone one with any Upgrades at all. Whereas the Sphere+Tactical Drone will do 4.5 damage each. You might get 1 defense die because the Borg would Scan & cancel 1 die at range 3. Correspondingly, the Borg would each get a defense die for range 3. One that turn, both Spheres focus on one Vor'cha (probably the PSF ship but not necessarily) and do 9 damage to it on average. Perfect defense (1 die against each attack) would reduce it to 7 damage, but the Vor'cha is still destroyed. The next turn the Borg can overrun you easily & end up behind or outside your firing arcs...and still get to shoot at you. No need for a Come About with the Borg, just keep flying straight.

And if you think the Borg can't reach your ships on Turn 2, you'd have to be amazingly good at flying (or the Borg player amazingly bad) for that to be true. Even doing only straight ones puts you within range 3 (outside of PSF) of the Borg on turn 2. On Turn 3, you're now at range 1 and even more boned. If you start off flying parallel to the edge & avoid engagement, that makes it even easier for the Borg to get out of your forward firing arc for the first attack...and only delays their attack by 1 turn. And once the Borg get out of the front firing arc of the enemy ship the enemy is hosed. Even if it can do a Come About, the Borg can predict that and move in such a way as to remain outside the firing arc again. And still get to shoot.

This is why the Borg are so deadly, they don't have to worry about firing arcs but everyone else still does. As long as the Borg are in range, they get to attack every turn. No other Faction can make that claim for every ship. Even Voyager would have a hard time claiming that with the number of Aux tokens that would pile up from it shooting 360 every turn. Once the Borg get outside the enemy firing arc the enemy ship is doomed. It's easy for the Borg to stay outside the firing arc after the first pass. And no build can destroy 2 Borg ships in a single turn. Most have to be lucky to destroy 1 Borg ship.

I haven't even considered anything beyond Sphere+Tactical Drone. There's still 17 more points to play with...let alone going cross faction or adding a Flagship (free Scan) or other options.

I'd be happy to take any of my 3 fleets I've used in tournaments that had Borg Spheres in them against those Klingons. (They're not exclusively Borg, one was combo Sphere & Koranak that regularly does 6/6 damage.) Would the Borg lose a ship? Yes, that's always going to happen with the Borg. But will the Borg win the battle? Yes they will, unless the dice are very, very much against them.
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Thomas Landy
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We've seen it with cloaking, BoF, and cloaked mines. The problem isn't things being overpowered or not properly tested. The problem is stuff is getting released in waves. The designers are testing everything they have to make sure the game is as balanced as it can be in the long run, but the fact is we don't know what's in the later waves. We only see part of the game at a time, and I'd imagine there are plenty of things to deal with problems coming down the road. I mean, some of the blind booster contents for the independent ship are already showing some good Borg countermeasures.

There's too much "sky is falling" crying going on here. The Borg should not be errata'd at all. Doing so would only mean once more cards are released it would just tip the scales the other way and make them unplayable.

If, however, the designers do feel that something needs to be done about them, it should not be drastic measures like giving them -2 attacks (if you want your opponent's Borg sphere to have -2 attacks, then use Michael Eddington), but something more thematic -- such as just a rule that the Borg can only purchase Borg faction cards at the start of the game. I mean they are an entirely different animal than what we've seen before, so I would go for that. But please... no errata.
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Will Sanchez
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1) Borg ships were terrors even when not using specialized weapons. Forcing a player to choose certain upgrades is not a stable answer as that balance would just change again with every other release.

2) Altering just the Tactical Drone is a temporary answer only because it is the only captain that came with the borg sphere. Will you also alter every other captain that comes down the line? It's ability is similar to worfs but with a limited number of uses. Hardly in need of a balance change in and of itself. If it's not broken, don't fix it.

If you want a thematic way to "balance" the borg, Replace all their Backup maneuvers with Come Abouts. Backup is the most powerful option a Borg has available on the movement front and is the main cause of their superior range manipulation. This change cuts that in half. And thematically, Borg don't back down from anything, they always move inexorably toward their goal. 3 spins should also be red maneuvers, since currently there is almost no reason for the borg to ever take a lateral red maneuver.

After that reduce the 360 arc into a 180 degree arc, and make all their weapon upgrades fire in any direction.then they actually have top plan which direction to face, eliminating the "I can always shoot, but you can't" aspect.

I find it strange that movement and arcs were your first two points of contention about them but you did nothing to address them in your proposed change.
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