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Subject: Suggested "cloak fix" rss

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Xander Fulton
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From a discussion in another thread, I'd made a comment about some of the issues with the cloaking device at the moment...

Quote:
Problem with the cloak, as noted, is that it's not really enough.

Even throwing 8 dice - with no BS modifiers or re-rolls or anything like that - you are only expected to get 3 useful results. And rolling 8 evade dice is REALLY HARD for Romulans to do.

A Borg base attack of 6 (although it's trivially easy to go higher - make it flagship and close to range 1, now throwing 8 dice) with the native (Tac Drone) re-rolls is going to land 5 hits. IE., wiping out the ship in three shots.


The thing is, the cloak didn't really feel useless until the Borg came out. While a few ships could throw as many dice as the Borg ships, it usually took complicated combos to do that, tricky to set up, and something a skilled cloaker could avoid. Obviously, the Borg shoot that to pieces, and the pile-o-attack-dice weakness of the cloak is just something that has to be dealt with.

Thing is, a lot of the options I've seen...seem like they'd break the cloak vs non-Borg factions. Free re-rolls or free BS conversions or whatever...I think they'd be too powerful against more swarm-oriented races.

So...question is...how to make the cloak better against massive-uber-attacks, but not game-breakingly-better, but also still balanced against the larger number of weaker attackers?

Proposal: rather than a flat "+4 agility" the cloak adds, it adds a number of agility dice equal to the number of attack dice. Attacking with 3 dice? Cloak only adds +3 agility against that attack. Attacking with 8 dice? Cloak adds +8 agility. Given the bulk of wave 0-2 ships, this actually weakens the cloak slightly against them...but it is roughly in alignment with the same protection it always provided. Agility dice are still inferior to attack dice, as everyone knows (only 3/8 of a good result vs 4/8 on attack)...and the shields are still down...and as noted, for wave 0-2 ships you aren't even rolling as many dice as you used to.

But against the Borg...the cloak now feels like it's doing something when turned on that justifies lowering shields to activate it.
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Justin Gould
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we've discussed the idea of BS rolls are auto-converted to evade rolls when cloaked.
 
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Xander Fulton
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gotg wrote:
we've discussed the idea of BS rolls are auto-converted to evade rolls when cloaked.


Right, but, as noted, that kind of unbalances the cloak vs all other units, and doesn't really provide the needed value vs the Borg. The problem is that flat "+4" value for defense doesn't take into account scaling of the unit.

That is, when you, as an attacker, spend a BS token to convert an attack - with only 4 dice, you'll average only one conversion and max out at four possible conversions. When throwing a 10 dice attack, the same token now averages 2.5 conversions and maxes out at 10. So that same BS action 'scales' from 1-4 conversions to 2.5-10 conversions depending on how many attack dice you have.

The cloak action doesn't - it's always a flat +4. That's a pretty middle-of-the-road value, so the problem wasn't as obvious early on. But, now, with these new massive attacks from the Borg...it's pretty clear an action with no scaling to it has some really diminished value.
 
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David Griffin
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I'm still working on killing the Klingons with my underpowered Fed guns, having to have pretty upgraded ships to compete. BUT, perhaps you could give small ships more dice and larger ones fewer (because they are harder to hide).

Also remember with AWS, Klingons can not uncloak, making them unlockable without some way to force them to uncloak (Captain Data). I'm afraid you are about to get your wish though when the Scimitar comes out probably with shields AND cloak at the same time.
 
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Quote:
I'm afraid you are about to get your wish though when the Scimitar comes out probably with shields AND cloak at the same time.


"About." Still something like 3-and-a-half months to go!
 
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XanderF wrote:
gotg wrote:
we've discussed the idea of BS rolls are auto-converted to evade rolls when cloaked.


Right, but, as noted, that kind of unbalances the cloak vs all other units, and doesn't really provide the needed value vs the Borg. The problem is that flat "+4" value for defense doesn't take into account scaling of the unit.

That is, when you, as an attacker, spend a BS token to convert an attack - with only 4 dice, you'll average only one conversion and max out at four possible conversions. When throwing a 10 dice attack, the same token now averages 2.5 conversions and maxes out at 10. So that same BS action 'scales' from 1-4 conversions to 2.5-10 conversions depending on how many attack dice you have.

The cloak action doesn't - it's always a flat +4. That's a pretty middle-of-the-road value, so the problem wasn't as obvious early on. But, now, with these new massive attacks from the Borg...it's pretty clear an action with no scaling to it has some really diminished value.


I agree it's not strong enough as-is, but scaling the cloak based on the attacker basically unbalances it the other way. I can toss 11 defense on my Valdore as is and it still packs a decent punch. The scaling option could (in certain circumstances) result in me tossing as many as 17 defensive dice, maybe more with some work. You still have the no re-roll issue but that's still a LOT of dice.
 
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Will Holsclaw
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It's not a bad fix, but naturally, like all other "fixes" that people post on here, it's really only ever going to be a house rule for casual games. I don't expect Wizkids to announce such a sweeping errata for such a fundamental game mechanic.
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Craig Pappystein
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Honestly, I think FFG did it better with their cloak. You Can't fire from it, you get a free 2 Straight or 2 Sensor Echo out of it and you KEEP YOUR SHIELDS! to me this is more in line with any of the "Good" Star Trek Cloak examples.

Coming out of Cloak is a free action at the START of the planning phase, allowing your Opfor to have SOME reaction to you coming out of cloak. Yes, Ships that can Transwarp or otherwise move fast are going to get away some of the time. But now I have less to worry about if I botch the cloak evade rolls.


My Suggestion: Keep Cloaked ships at +4 Evade Dice. KEEP SHIELDS up. You can Voluntarily Disable ALL of your shields to attack while cloaked and you receive an Aux Power token. You can not otherwise attack while Cloaked, Your ship comes out of cloak the round you attack this way. If you Choose to come out of cloak, it is at the start of the Movement Phase for that ship. Doing so you do not get any bonus to your defense dice for until you Cloak again. You Perform a 1 Straight or 1 45 degree turn forward or to either side (Sensor echo.) Even if you have a card that grants a Higher sensor Echo, for the purposes of coming out of cloak you only can use the 1 templates mentioned above. You do not perform this free maneuver if you are Attacking from cloak. Lastly, you do not loose your cloak if you loose your active shields. IE you can stay cloaked if you are already cloaked.


I believe that this adds some balance back to Cloak, and preserves the INTENT of Cloak before the balance shifted to where it is almost useless today.

 
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Keeping shields up would go pretty hard against the source material as that was kind of a key disadvantage to cloaking. See what happened to the Duras sisters in Generations. The ability to cloak and keep shields up was pretty much exclusively the Scimitar. Even Chang's BoP had no shields when it was cloaked (though it could still fire).
 
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I prefer the ST cloak vs the SW. It is not meant to be a one size fits all tactic. It has pros and cons for when it is appropriate to use. Frankly it just isn't a great tactic vs the heavy hitters when you are risking that crit hull damage slipping through.
I guess if you want to make cloaking a touch more powerful you could allow the defender to choose which dice are blocked by successfully evades. This way you could block any crits and be relatively unscathed after the hit. This would simulate the difficulty in making a precise hit on a cloaked target. You could then switch to shields in subsequent rounds.
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Craig Pappystein
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yourmonkey06 wrote:
Keeping shields up would go pretty hard against the source material as that was kind of a key disadvantage to cloaking. See what happened to the Duras sisters in Generations. The ability to cloak and keep shields up was pretty much exclusively the Scimitar. Even Chang's BoP had no shields when it was cloaked (though it could still fire).


True to the Movies but the Game rules are a little OP against Cloaks with Bigger ships. How Many Cloaked Defiants did Jem'hadar Battleships and Battle-cruisers pop? ZERO.... I am offering a solution using existing game materials to bring symmetry and balance back to the game, not mimic the movies/TV shows exactly. This is adding toughness to the cloak whiles penalizing the user of cloak in other ways that change the meta of cloaked combat to be more in line with what is portrayed in the Movies TV shows. After all Chang and the Duras sisters both had ships that were KNOWN to the protagonists in great detail. Know thy enemy is after all one in the top three of most important things to know when fighting a battle.

Besides, if we were using your standards of "source material" then Cloak wouldn't matter much at all because the Federation would always win in the end and would always have the least amount of ship losses of any faction.

 
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Pappystein wrote:
yourmonkey06 wrote:
Keeping shields up would go pretty hard against the source material as that was kind of a key disadvantage to cloaking. See what happened to the Duras sisters in Generations. The ability to cloak and keep shields up was pretty much exclusively the Scimitar. Even Chang's BoP had no shields when it was cloaked (though it could still fire).


True to the Movies but the Game rules are a little OP against Cloaks with Bigger ships. How Many Cloaked Defiants did Jem'hadar Battleships and Battle-cruisers pop? ZERO.... I am offering a solution using existing game materials to bring symmetry and balance back to the game, not mimic the movies/TV shows exactly. This is adding toughness to the cloak whiles penalizing the user of cloak in other ways that change the meta of cloaked combat to be more in line with what is portrayed in the Movies TV shows. After all Chang and the Duras sisters both had ships that were KNOWN to the protagonists in great detail. Know thy enemy is after all one in the top three of most important things to know when fighting a battle.

Besides, if we were using your standards of "source material" then Cloak wouldn't matter much at all because the Federation would always win in the end and would always have the least amount of ship losses of any faction.



There's doing things for gameplay and then there's absolutely spitting on the source material and dancing on its grave like you're suggesting.

You're basically changing it for the sake of changing it in a way that makes zero sense. You can't have your shields up while cloaked. That is a disadvantage and a risk. It was also always the inherent risk of using a cloak in the show (notice what happened to Chang when they did locate him). That's how it is, and that's how its going to stay (and how it should stay -- barring the Scimitar being unique in that regard). Basically, I guess the short version is you want the advantages of being cloaked without the disadvantages. So no, that's not a good idea.

And if a Jem'Hadar Battleship or Battlecruiser had ever faced the cloaked Defiant in DS9, yes, they would have "popped" it quite nicely. Its just that Sisko wasn't that stupid.
 
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Craig Pappystein
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err404 wrote:
I prefer the ST cloak vs the SW. It is not meant to be a one size fits all tactic. It has pros and cons for when it is appropriate to use. Frankly it just isn't a great tactic vs the heavy hitters when you are risking that crit hull damage slipping through.
I guess if you want to make cloaking a touch more powerful you could allow the defender to choose which dice are blocked by successfully evades. This way you could block any crits and be relatively unscathed after the hit. This would simulate the difficulty in making a precise hit on a cloaked target. You could then switch to shields in subsequent rounds.


Actually, that idea makes sense to me... Maybe add during the compare dice step "any ROLLED critical hit is ignored/automatically canceled. " And for clarity that means if you initially rolled A Critical Hit and you have the opportunity during the modify dice step to RE roll dice you can RE-Roll that Critical Hit before it is automatically canceled.

This mechanic preserves things like Khan giving Crits by spending battle-stations or Toreth changing a rolled Hit into a Crit still having the power they were individually intended to have. If anything it makes these types of captains/weapon cards more effective. and they are all relatively low cost (Compared to a Borg Cube.)

Interesting possibilities for an Admirals order there.

I can see it now. 0Pts Cloaked Fleet:
Pre-req All ships in your fleet must in some way have the Cloak action.

Rule: When your ships are Defending while cloaked, your opponent's un-modified rolled dice that are critical hits are ignored. Any effect that could cause an attack dice to become a critical hit will affect your ships normally.

Bonus: If you have the Flagship resource, it (the Flagship resource) gains the following text; When attacking while cloaked, this ship may gain two auxiliary power tokens to stay cloaked.
 
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Xander Fulton
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yourmonkey06 wrote:
Keeping shields up would go pretty hard against the source material as that was kind of a key disadvantage to cloaking. See what happened to the Duras sisters in Generations. The ability to cloak and keep shields up was pretty much exclusively the Scimitar. Even Chang's BoP had no shields when it was cloaked (though it could still fire).


On the other hand, cloaking in Trek felt a lot more deliberate than it does in STAW. That is - ships that cloaked tended to do it once, to get into position, and while they approached they were practically invulnerable...and then they'd STRIKE...but usually not cloak again (unless the ship was very weak - IE., the TOS-era Bird of Prey).

I can see the reasoning behind the 'drop shields' rule, but I'd like cloak to feel more secure than it does when you are attempting a stealthy approach. IE., playing a long game, and waiting to take the best shot you can...should feel better rewarded.

Something of the ideal implementation of that might be...you can take a 'cloak' action every turn, if you want. Each time, it adds a 'cloak' token, and each token provides maybe +3 agility. So when you DO strike...you are giving up a HUGE amount of protection (6 agility? 9? 18?) to start from scratch, and so need to make sure that shot counts. (Enter otherwise-ridiculous crew like the 'Romulan Officer' from the G'GT, or even borderline-useless-Tal, or, hell, the captain 'Romulan Commander')

But that would be a pretty significant shake-up of the system...I think the proposal in THIS thread would do a better job of just 'keeping everything balanced (*cough*) as well as it is, now' by merely bringing cloak effectiveness against the Borg to the same level it was against everything PRIOR to the Borg.
 
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Craig Pappystein
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XanderF wrote:


But that would be a pretty significant shake-up of the system...I think the proposal in THIS thread would do a better job of just 'keeping everything balanced (*cough*) as well as it is, now' by merely bringing cloak effectiveness against the Borg to the same level it was against everything PRIOR to the Borg.


Err Sorry about that hijacking the latter part of this thread, I am an idea guy. Things in this thread have gotten the idea generator turning up in me head. Never a good thing when I have to work early tomorrow


To comment on your idea Visa-V the Evade dice = the attack dice. My Gaming group has picked up a moniker that applies equally to both Star Trek and Star Wars X-Wing. "Roll Like a Romulan" Ie roll a ton of green Dice and have them all be in-effective results. It is a regular occurrence... Enough so that all the Romulan players have either quite playing or like me started playing other factions because the ships are just too weak, dead by lack of good captains and dead by an effective cloaking device. My playing group would like something MORE. Because Klingons are not Klingons and Romulans are just cowardly dogs in STAW (Klingons have several effective high captains, Romulans only get middle level captains.) The Meta at my playing location is 2 ship builds with Strike force, Captains Piccard and Kirk/Dukat/Khan (Interchangeable,) with some awesome awe inspiring attack or attack combo that cripples anything that is relying on evade dice in the first turn salvo.
 
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Daniel van de Laar
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I try not to think of cloaking as a static technology.

Early era cloaks work well against early era ships, but not so well against latter era ships. That seems thematically proper to me. Should a faction as technologically advanced as the Borg really be thwarted by ancient first efforts at cloaking technology being used by early era ships?

Instead of fixing the "old" cloaks. Leave them be, but allow latter era ships access to cloaking technologies that are consistent with the advances one should expect after hundreds of years. A tech upgrade that "upgrades" your ancient ship's original cloaking tech would probably suffice.

I picture something like this for both the Klingons and Romulans:

Advanced Cloaking Technology
TEXT: While your ship is cloaked you may roll 1 additional defence dice for each disabled shield, and convert 1 battle station to an evade for each disabled shield. (cost: 5 SP, +5 faction penalty).
 
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Ship strength is already on a relative sliding scale in order to make older models like TOS Enterprise at least have a roll on the table. Similarly older cloaking should provide some roll vs new era ships…
I'm not convinced that cloaking/echo is broken. It is only one part of the ship that should be roughy equivalent to scan or bs. Many people are ignoring the echo action when looking at cloaking. That said, I am intrigued by some of the suggestions. I like the ideas of crit mitigation or dice=attack or free action echo when cloaked. They all feel thematic in their own way. I am mostly concerned that these changes would swing the balance to far in favor of cloaking, so that races that cloak won't explore the rest of their arsenal. Every ship would just take advanced cloaking.
I don't envision ST battles as a bunch of invisible ships momentarily appearing to take a shot and then disappearing again. In the show is it used more strategically then tactically. STAW mostly represents the secondary tactical side.
More often then not, Klingons surprise you with numbers then engage you conventionally with shields. Klingons don't want to take a hit with shields down any more then a Fed would.
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Justin Gould
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At first I didn't like the idea of cloak and shields up but it's growing on me.

maybe a good middle ground would be this. when you cloak your shields stay up and roll 4 dice to symbolize the cloak not working quite as well as it should. (maybe a little more penalty such as you can be target locked at range 1 only, or cant sensor echo with cloak and shields active. maybe... I'm not sold on this)

during the action (and only the action you cloak, you cant cloak one turn the decide this the next turn) of cloaking, you can disable 1 or more shield tokens (whatever you got available to disable). For each shield disabled this way, add 1 evade dice to your evade rolls. This would symbolize the sacrifice in energy consumption to make the cloak work better.

Ships with smaller shields would get less of a bonus to represent the smaller engines on the ship. Less power to divert to the cloak. Where as ships with big engines (large shields) can divert more power to make the cloak work better.
 
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