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Level 7 [Omega Protocol]» Forums » Rules

Subject: Using downed commandos to block enemy movement rss

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Ben Torell
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The players I play against are brutal. They are very good at thinking tactically and strategically, predicting my own moves ahead of time, and playing safely and defensively. They are rough commandos!

I played Mission 3 a couple days ago as the overseer, and managed to down the recon several turns before the Crisis Point. The players then did something rather clever to block the inevitable Fear Hunter that was about to spawn.

This was (more or less) the placement of the commandos when I downed the recon:


They wanted to progress to the northwest, but they knew that a Fear Hunter was about to spawn at the enemy passage.

According to enemy movement rules (p. 13): (emphasis mine)

Quote:
Only enemies with special abilities can enter a space containing a non-friendly figure, but they cannot end a movement in the same space as a non-friendly figure. Enemies can move through spaces containing combatant markers without penalty, even if those markers are non-friendly, but they cannot end a movement action in the same space as a combatant marker.

A downed commando replaces his figure with a downed marker, so I would be allowed to move enemies over his body as long as I didn't end a movement in his space.

The rules on Downed commandos recovering says this (p. 16): (emphasis mine)

Quote:
[When being revived,] the downed commando replaces his downed marker on the map with his figure.

I think you see where this is heading. The players revived the recon, replacing his marker with his figure. However, he was still "downed", since he hadn't chosen a new stance yet, so I couldn't attack him. Then they moved thusly:


So if I spawned a Fear Hunter, I couldn't move through the recon, nor could I attack the recon. Furthermore, they placed napalm to soften the Fear Hunter, and positioned themselves to interrupt my approach in case I wanted to plant myself nearby and wait for the recon to move to attack it again (they were already planning to make the recon 5th in initiative order so that the Fear Hunter would be dead before I could attack it with a surprise attack). They were able to make a blockade out of a person! It was kind of nuts.

As far as I can tell, it was 100% legal. It was a very clever abuse of the brief invulnerability that commandos get when being revived before the Crisis Point. Having said that, it felt a bit weird thematically.

What do you guys think?
 
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Jeff Paul
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Hmm, interesting.

I think this is a complex loophole though.

The rules state that after being revived, the revived commando places his figure on the map and continues to use the downed card until he takes a stance the next phase.

It doesn't say his status is downed anymore. Just that he continues to use the downed card.

The rules also says that a downed figure is replaced with a marker. If the figure is there, he's not downed.

Thus, I would argue that you can attack a revived hero who's figure is on the map.

So, I'd attack the figure - in this state he just has his base stats, with no bonus from a stance.

But, this is a little strange, and it probably needs an official faq.

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Ben Torell
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TnT! wrote:
It doesn't say his status is downed anymore. Just that he continues to use the downed card.

Well, it says that the commando is not considered "active" again until the next Commando Planning Phase after being revived. Throughout the rest of the book, the opposite of "active" is "downed". So if he doesn't become active until the next commando planning phase, then he is still downed.
 
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Jeff Paul
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Yes, but it doesn't say you can only attack active players. It says you can't attack downed players (till after the crisis point).

It's definitely a loophole heavy issue...
 
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Ben Torell
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TnT! wrote:
Yes, but it doesn't say you can only attack active players. It says you can't attack downed players (till after the crisis point).

I see those two statements as the same thing. If you're not active, you're downed (or dead). There is no limbo-state between downed and active.

Furthermore, it does not make sense to attack a player that is "being revived", since they still have 5 wounds. What if I attack such a commando? If I miss, well, they already have 5 wounds, so do they go back down anyway? If I hit, do they take a 6th wound and still not die?

If it were after the crisis point, and the commando was revived but not yet active, and I attacked and hit him, would he die or become downed again? I believe he would die, since I don't see a reason to not considered him "downed" already, since he is certainly not active.
 
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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DeadlyEd (the game's designer) specified elsethread that until you actually get a commando card, you're still "Downed". The figure placement is just to remind you that next turn, you get to use a commando stance card.

-shnar
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Nikolai
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dodgepong wrote:
[q="TnT!"]Furthermore, it does not make sense to attack a player that is "being revived", since they still have 5 wounds. What if I attack such a commando? If I miss, well, they already have 5 wounds, so do they go back down anyway? If I hit, do they take a 6th wound and still not die?

This may not be totally correct, but the way I've been playing is this: when a commando accumulates five wounds, he gains the "downed" stance card and his figure is replaced with the downed marker. If it's before the crisis point, then you can't kill that commando. If that commando is revived during the next turn, his downed marker is replaced with his figure, and he retains all five wounds and his downed stance until the beginning of the next commando planning phase. If the commando is hit again, after he's been revived but before the next round begins, then he does not gain another wound, but instead replaces his figure with the downed marker again.

The way I've interpreted it, there is kind of a limbo state between downed and active -- downed is when your downed marker is on the board, and active is when your figure is on the board, your wounds are less than your max vitality, and you have a blue stance card selected. The "limbo state" is between being revived and becoming fully active again, since you still have to survive to the next commando planning phase to remove one wound automatically and adopt a blue stance card. Consider that being truly downed is when you're lying on the floor bleeding out -- after you've been "revived," you're back on your feet (and therefore are not truly downed), but you're still too weak to do anything for a little while because it takes a little time for the first aid to take effect.

The overseer can win before the crisis point by downing all commandos simultaneously, even if he can't outright kill them. With my interpretation, that requires all commandos to have their downed markers on the board. The incentive to attack a revived-but-not-yet-active "limbo state" commando is not to give him a sixth wound, but (1) to ensure he won't be able to attack or perform any other actions besides movement actions for an entire additional round (since hitting him again would put his downed marker on the board again, thus requiring another commando to revive him again, thus requiring that he hold onto his "downed stance" for an entire round), (2) to enable a fear hunter to pass over the downed marker in a choke point such as you encountered in the original post, and (3) to completely down all commandos simultaneously.

Likewise, with the way I've been playing it, a commando can only be killed if he's successfully hit while his downed marker is on the board. If a commando is downed and subsequently revived after the crisis point, then his figure is back on the board and he still retains his downed stance. It would thus take two successful hits to kill a commando after he's been revived, but before he's become fully active again -- one hit to fully down him again (replacing his figure with the marker), and another hit to kill him.

That's the way I've been playing it, at least. I'm not totally sure if that's the way the rules were originally intended (quite a few questions have come up in gameplay where we've had to interpret what the rules were intended to do -- it seems like a lot of things could have been worded more clearly), but it makes thematic sense in my mind that there would be a vulnerable middle-ground between being downed, being revived, and becoming fully active again.
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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n3burgener wrote:
downed is when your downed marker is on the board

This is inaccurate. Downed is when you have the Downed Stance. The marker/figure is irrelevant of the status. As long as you have that Downed Stance, then your commando is considered Downed and everything that goes with it.

-shnar
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Nikolai
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shnar wrote:
n3burgener wrote:
downed is when your downed marker is on the board

This is inaccurate. Downed is when you have the Downed Stance. The marker/figure is irrelevant of the status. As long as you have that Downed Stance, then your commando is considered Downed and everything that goes with it. -shnar

I understand that those are the rules as written, but does my interpretation not make logical/thematic sense as well? In every game I've ever played that used "downed" and "reviving" systems (mostly video games), the player is only at risk of dying when he's lying on the ground -- if a player is revived, he has to be downed again before he can be killed.

The flat downed marker is symbolic of your character lying on the ground, and placing your figure back on the board after being revived visually represents your character getting back on his feet. In most games, you don't fully recover immediately after being revived -- you're left with only a sliver of health and have to survive long enough to use a medpack, which in this game is represented by holding on to your downed stance card until the start of the next commando planning phase.

This game visually/physically distinguishes a player who has been downed and a player who has just been revived (but is not yet fully active, and thus still technically downed), which supports my interpretation of the way "downed" and "reviving" systems work in other games, even if that's not technically how it works in this game. It's a really odd design choice in my mind to make a visual/physical distinction between two player states without any sort of mechanical distinction between them.
 
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Jeff Paul
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I do like Nikolai's interpretation.

And the rules are _slightly_ ambiguous. Downed occurs when you replace your figure with a token AND take the downed stance card.

What is the limbo status when you have the figure and the downed stance card.

But, then shnar might be right. The marker doesn't matter.

But, it seems strange, so, until we get an official FAQ, I think Nikolai's interpretation makes more sense.
 
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Ben Torell
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I agree that Nikolai's house rule makes more thematic sense, but from a gameplay perspective, I feel like it could be really frustrating to be downed constantly over and over with no chance to choose a new stance. It could come close to making it nigh-unrecoverable from the downed condition against a determined overseer unless the commandos played very defensively for a turn.

If the overseer can't attack downed-yet-revived commandos (using rules-as-written), then commandos can revive downed commandos and leave them be to continue forward, knowing that he is safe for at least one turn. That commando will then be able to heal a couple wounds (if it doesn't get interrupted on its turn with a Surprise Attack). The overseer's reward is an extra refresh on the dashboard and getting some adrenaline early, as well as making the commando spend their next turn healing.

If the overseer can attack downed-but-revived commandos, then the commando team will have to pretty much focus on completely defending the commando as he gets back up, covering all angles of attack with interrupts and killing everything in range. It makes downing a single commando a much bigger deal, and slows them down significantly, perhaps delaying the whole team by a round and a half or so.

So which one is better? The latter is definitely harder for commandos. I suppose I would have to playtest with it to see if it really is such a big deal to be able to re-down commandos so quickly after being revived.

The other question to consider is if the overseer gets the "downing" bonus after re-downing a just-revived commando. Perhaps that would be a decent way to balance it: allow overseers to attack just-revived commandos, but if they get downed again as a result, the overseer does not get to refresh the dashboard again, nor does he immediately get the downed commandos adrenaline. That bonus only comes from downing an active commando.

My concern is that an overseer could just down a commando over and over again every turn, which is what I think the RAW is trying to prevent. Adding the house rule to allow re-downing of reviving commandos demands a lot more from commandos if one of them gets downed, and I'm not sure if that is a change for the better or not. At the very least, it would have pre-empted my situation described above, which definitely did not work thematically.

EDIT: Unless the house rule wasn't that you could attack reviving commandos and re-down them, but that downed commandos keep the marker instead of the figure even if they are revived? Perhaps that would be safer for the commandos (lets them keep the safe revival) but removes the one quirk of being revived, which blocks enemy movement.

If replacing the marker with a figure is only supposed to be a reminder, then as far as I can tell, the only mechanical thing that the marker vs. figure effects is enemy movement through that square. I can't see anything else that would be affected by that change. If that's the case, then is this thematic quirk of being unable to move through invulnerable commandos a conscious design decision?

TL;DR: 2 possible house rules: either allow the overseer to attack and re-down reviving commandos (but not get the downing bonus), or don't replace the downed marker with a figure when the commando is revived until they choose a new stance besides the downed stance. The former would be harder for commandos (but maybe that's good), the latter seems to be most compatible with the current rules except that it may be subverting an intentional design decision.

Also for the record, here is the post from DeadlyEd about the figure being a reminder that the commando is revived: http://boardgamegeek.com/article/13684278#13684278

My problem with that is that it's more than just a "reminder", since it has mechanical effects. I just don't know if that was intentional or not.
 
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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dodgepong wrote:
Also for the record, here is the post from DeadlyEd about the figure being a reminder that the commando is revived: http://boardgamegeek.com/article/13684278#13684278

This is the thread I was going to reference. I had the same questions, wondering what happens after a hero is 'revived' but hasn't regained his one Wound yet. William's explanation is that as long as the commando has the Downed Stance, then he's Downed, period. The marker-replaced-by-figure is just to remind you that when you're picking stances, you can pick a non-downed-stance.

That helped clarify a lot of confusion I had as to when a hero was revived, downed, etc. There is no middle ground, he's either Downed or he's something else, all dependent on that Commando Stance card.

So, you can of course house rule this if you want, but I found once I understood the Downed mechanics, such house ruling wasn't needed for our group.

-shnar
 
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Ben Torell
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shnar wrote:
The marker-replaced-by-figure is just to remind you that when you're picking stances, you can pick a non-downed-stance.

I agree that the rules are clear, but the problem I see is that replacing the marker with the figure is more than just a reminder, because it has a mechanical effect. If I replace it with a figure, enemies can't walk through them, which creates this thematically-weird situation where a fear hunter can't walk through a commando and can't attack it either. If a revived-but-downed commando kept the downed marker, this problem would go away. If the replacement of the marker with the figure was only supposed to be a reminder, then I think that is an acceptable house rule.
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