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Subject: The merit of Pure vs Mixed factions rss

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William Atkinson
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Do you play mixed faction or pure? Does the theme of the game matter to you in your decision? Do you prefer pure (or mixed) but play different during OP events for the sake of winning with the uber power-house cheese?

 
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Shrouded In Mystery
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I like both. Mixed is fun when you want to try crazy combos to see what will win. Pure is more thematic and seems to have closer matches.

At our OP we play mixed, but when playing casual we typically play pure.
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Aaron Percival
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By and large, we play ship fleets over here. And this is mostly dictated by the players. Personally, I dislike "mixed" as I don't find it as thematic (and the reason I play this so much is because I love how it feels like Star Trek) and that's when it starts to become "broken" with some of the silly combos.

That's just my opinion.
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Daniel van de Laar
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Our competitive play is typically ship pure but different shops have different rules so there is mixed play also. Playing casually, we almost always play fleet pure mostly because we prefer to keep the game thematic. Playing mixed factions feels like your not playing a Star Trek game - you're just using Star Trek game pieces to play "sci-fi space ships" attack wing. Part of the fun of playing a themed game is the theme. If you ignore the theme you're just playing my cards vs your cards - which can be momentarily amusing but caters more to deck builders than to theme players.
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Jon Ginever
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Personally I think the game is more balanced in a ship-pure environment, quite frankly the 1pt faction penalty is an irrelevent joke, IMHO it should be at least 3pts like they currently operate with admirals.

I almost always play full faction-pure because of the thematic element, and because most of the friendly games I play are themed around scenarios and/or time periods. I've just finished putting together a 100pt pure Vulcan fleet that I'm eager to have a go with.

Having said that I'm pretty easy if you want to play a themed faction pure fleet (Kirk, Spock and McCoy on a Klingon Bird of Prey, Khan on the Reliant, that sort of thing), and to be honest if you're the kind of person who likes to do stuff like abuse conditional surrender/Varel with Weyoun/shroud then you're probably not the kind of person I'd arrange a friendly game with anyway.

In OP events where everyone is dirtying themselves up to the max to win a prize, I think my local OP venue's policy of ship-pure is extremely helpful.
 
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J Lin
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Spiney_Norman wrote:
Having said that I'm pretty easy if you want to play a themed faction pure fleet (Kirk, Spock and McCoy on a Klingon Bird of Prey, Khan on the Reliant, that sort of thing), and to be honest if you're the kind of person who likes to do stuff like abuse conditional surrender/Varel with Weyoun/shroud then you're probably not the kind of person I'd arrange a friendly game with anyway.

In OP events where everyone is dirtying themselves up to the max to win a prize, I think my local OP venue's policy of ship-pure is extremely helpful.


Anyone who is going to take CS/Varel into a friendly game is probably not the sort of person that many people would want to play with, but that's also not the same thing as taking them into the OPs. The whole purpose of playing in the OPs is to win; you are competing for a prize, and you had a cash entry at stake. The new OPs are nicer in that you get a more tangible 'something' out of your entry via the Boosters (not that the participation prizes weren't also nice), so you're not feeling as bad if you don't get the nice shiny winner's prize.

If you personally don't take the OPs 'seriously', and want to play with what is effectively a personal handicap (limiting your card options), then you are certainly welcome to. It's a greater challenge to you as a player, potentially, although not all pure-faction options are not competitive, as some as quite good. Ultimately, though, OPs are not 'friendly games' - they are about everyone going there to win. It should be expected to see these kinds of combos, so you should be ready to counter them.

Mixing is ultimately part of the meta-game, and is something that you are just going to have to see in the tournament scene. If you are playing lax and friendly games, then sure, I see no problem if you want to faction limit people, but if you are the kind of person who would ever want to go to OPs or Tournaments, faction limited enemies are ultimately detrimental to your learning as a player because it means you'll never get the experience to get around these combos. Some Tournament Organizers, however, do run Faction Pure house rules which cater toward more 'casual' play styles which does create a different meta game that might be more friendly toward your specific play style, but then would make it difficult if you ever wanted to play in more strictly regulated tournaments (such as Nationals and qualifiers or WizKids run convention rounds)
 
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Alex Burns
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My only problem with pure is that it shafts a handful of cards that are clearly designed for mixed play, and it's pretty hard on the smaller factions. If I want (and I do at some point) to run a Bajoran fleet with Tahna Los, for example, faction pure severely limits his special ability to the two tech upgrades that the Bajorans have, and that's not much fun.

I understand the "good of the many" side of the argument, it's just a bummer (as usual) that the min/maxers have to go and ruin things for the rest of us.
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flakbait42 wrote:
My only problem with pure is that it shafts a handful of cards that are clearly designed for mixed play, and it's pretty hard on the smaller factions. If I want (and I do at some point) to run a Bajoran fleet with Tahna Los, for example, faction pure severely limits his special ability to the two tech upgrades that the Bajorans have, and that's not much fun.

I understand the "good of the many" side of the argument, it's just a bummer (as usual) that the min/maxers have to go and ruin things for the rest of us.


This is how I'm planning to word my ruling:

·Fleets may include ships from any number of factions, but each ship in a fleet may only be equipped with captains, admirals, and upgrades from its faction.

·Any card that references a discounted or eliminated cost or faction penalty for being deployed on faction's ship may be deployed cross-faction as indicated (IE: Defiant Kira Nerys, LE Khan, Garak). Any card that references additional cards being deployed without faction penalty or at a discount/fixed cost allows those cards to be deployed on the ship cross-faction (IE: Vanik, LE Khan, Reliant Khan, Tahna Los, Quark, Garak).
 
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Eric B.
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flakbait42 wrote:

I understand the "good of the many" side of the argument, it's just a bummer (as usual) that the min/maxers have to go and ruin things for the rest of us.


I'm not sure you can blame the min-maxers, they are just doing what the game encourages: making a strong build within the rules of the game.

The real blame lies with the game designers, who have created a game system where cross-factioning comes at a negligible price, some combos run rampant unless they are viciously hard-countered by the opponent's build, and certain ships and cards are hyper-efficient for their cost. Those things are hardly the fault of so-called "min-maxers," who simply understand the game well enough to make use of those design flaws.
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Jonathan Staples
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My honest opinion on this subject is this: the game was designed with the intention to be mixed factioned, and the purests out their have problems with this concept for what ever their nerd raging reasons are. I like playing different styles from mixed, to pure, to themed. But once you start trying to play the banned items that's when you start losing players. And once you start losing players then sales will drop. Honestly in a mixed faction game I have no issues handling Borg, but once you slap on pure ship/pure fleet builds that's when you start seeing the Borg winning due to the fact that most factions can't handle that fire power with armor protection. Federation is the most broken faction and yes it is more broken then the Borg simply because if all the captain, crew and ship options they have access to. Being a romulan player myself I have a hard time trying to kill spheres in a pure list simply because I just don't have enough actions, wheniI'm limited to a single action per ship as a pure romulan there isn't anything you can do. Klingons don't suffer this because every list you'll see will have MartOK and gowron, who will spend their actions boosting attack dice. Feds if you can't make a list where 1 ship performs 4+ actions then your doing something wrong. Dominion even has ways to sneak in a third action with decent crew options at fair points. Lol but you look at ROMs andwe are stuck with action required ability and crew discards its rridicules. Now Borg, they are high pointed which pays for their over powered nature, but even in the shows, the movies they were beasts. Hard to kill. So to ban them or limit them I feel would only take away from the game, discourage players from playing your events and lastly just make players dispize you as an event coordinator. Its bad enough there's corrdinators out their that want to complain about the min/maxing fleets players come up with, and honestly how's that any different then any other competitive game/sport out there? You don't see sports fans raving and complaining about spending millions of dollars on a famous athlete do you? What about those NASCAR fans? You don't see them cry about a competitor who simple had a better car on the track then their fav racer. And please don't tell me that's not the same thing because it is. If you can't build a hip orfleet that is able to use combos in an effective way and your not ready toadapt or change tactics on the fly to oppose an opponents combo then you need to step back, rethink how you feel about competitive games and then dedecide whether you'll keep doing it or not. Just like magic the gathering if you can't build a beck to handle the unknown while maintaining your combos then your not going to win, like poker if you can't read your opponents signs and ticks then you'll never know when he/she is bluffing or holding that winning hand. I min/max I plan for an event, I learn what the op mission is and what rules there are and I build a ship to handle that. That's how you do things. Honestly I don't hear our commanding leaders of national armies complaining or bickering because another nation just has better tactics or equipment. That would be silly and we would be all speaking German if that happened. Anyways enough said.
 
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Jon Ginever
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SeijiTataki wrote:

If you personally don't take the OPs 'seriously', and want to play with what is effectively a personal handicap (limiting your card options), then you are certainly welcome to. It's a greater challenge to you as a player, potentially, although not all pure-faction options are not competitive, as some as quite good. Ultimately, though, OPs are not 'friendly games' - they are about everyone going there to win. It should be expected to see these kinds of combos, so you should be ready to counter them.


I take the OPs plenty seriously, your assumption that anyone who doesn't mix faction cards on their ships isn't playing 'seriously' is arrogant and misplaced. The "my way is best" attitude is what ends up destroying threads on this subject whenever they appear, I totally appreciate the apex-power gamer urge to create the biggest, baddest list possible, I just don't share it.

Quote:
Mixing is ultimately part of the meta-game, and is something that you are just going to have to see in the tournament scene. If you are playing lax and friendly games, then sure, I see no problem if you want to faction limit people, but if you are the kind of person who would ever want to go to OPs or Tournaments, faction limited enemies are ultimately detrimental to your learning as a player because it means you'll never get the experience to get around these combos. Some Tournament Organizers, however, do run Faction Pure house rules which cater toward more 'casual' play styles which does create a different meta game that might be more friendly toward your specific play style, but then would make it difficult if you ever wanted to play in more strictly regulated tournaments (such as Nationals and qualifiers or WizKids run convention rounds)


Its not 'part of the meta game', because there is no universal meta-game, every region, and every venue has a different mix. Mixing is an optional rule (according to my rule book at least) that some venues use and some don't, it might be part of your local metagame, but at my local venue it isn't because the TO runs it that way.

The problem is, what is arguably the most broken multi-faction combo (Weyoun & conditional surrender) is only available to people who won the Krayton prize pack or paid through the nose for it on ebay. Conditional surrender is easily worth its cost on a Ferengi marauder, but when combined with Weyoun on a dominion battle cruiser or Borg cube it's worth at least 5 times its face-value points cost (if you can actually cost something that effectively makes a ship of your choice invulnerable).

The point is in a mixed faction environment the game is incredibly badly designed and wonky to the point of being almost unplayable. Ship-pure rules address the imbalances in the best way possible without having to create a complicated 'ban-list' like MTG uses.

Ship-pure also creates a breadth of 'best builds' because each faction has its top build, instead of just having one 'best build' pulling together the most efficient cards from across the game.

Mixing would work better if they trebled the faction penalty for every card (not just admirals), rather than the completely irrelevent 1pt penalty.
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J Lin
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Spiney_Norman wrote:
I take the OPs plenty seriously, your assumption that anyone who doesn't mix faction cards on their ships isn't playing 'seriously' is arrogant and misplaced.


I specifically used the 'if' to specify a conditional, and even mentioned that plenty of competitive builds are available pure-faction. I'm simply saying that enforcing a handicap is exactly that; a handicap. It's not a 'serious' environment that you might see at an official event like the Nationals, where they do not do handicaps.

Spiney_Norman wrote:
Its not 'part of the meta game', its an optional rule (according to my rule book at least) that some venues use and some don't, it might be part of your local metagame, but at my local venue it isn't because the TO runs it that way.

The problem is, what is arguably the most broken multi-faction combo (Weyoun & conditional surrender) is only available to people who won the Krayton prize pack or paid through the nose for it on ebay. Conditional surrender is easily worth its cost on a Ferengi marauder, but when combined with Weyoun its worth at least 5 times its face-value points cost (if you can actually cost something that effectively makes a ship of your choice invulnerable).


'Meta-Game' specifically refers to the gameplay environment that is outside of/developed separately from/evolved as a result of the initial rules. The gameplay manual includes the ruling to explain the penalty for cross-faction slotting and leaves it at that. The meta-game is what evolves from that to promote cross factional play - it is, by its very definition, part of the metagame. If some local venues choose to restrict it, that is certainly their perogative, and they are free to do so; but it doesn't help players who would be interested in higher level play (See reference toward Nationals and Con events) where this rule may not/does not exist. It's helpful for helping create a healthy local atmosphere and helping new players learn, but is not the same thing as competitive player where these things are occurring. You are confusing my pro-mixing stance as one of saying that faction-pure is wrong; it isn't, but neither is mixing. I can be in favor of the opposite stance without being directly against your stance.

As for the Krayton bit; Yes, Conditional Surrender + Weyoun is a very good combo that is locked behind a tournament prize. However, Varel has almost the exact same effect, and the only difference is that you are paying a higher cost penalty (the 5 for non-scout). However, it is easily available and in many cases people who are running the combo are probably running single-big-ship where the five point cost is an inconvenience but not detrimental toward a build strategy. And both combos ultimately fail for their gimmick against multi-ship builds, where they can not be activated multiple times in a single combat round and result in you needing to re-enable Weyoun to trigger. Varel is slightly more useful than Conditional Surrender because in a pinch you can still use her, whereas you can not use Conditional Surrender while Weyoun is disabled (since its his elite talent).

These combos are very powerful, and they are reliable, but they are also not without their weaknesses or counters. By preventing people from having to deal with them you do, in fact, make their play experience easier and potentially more enjoyable, but you also do not allow them to learn the mechanics for these combos and are not allowing them to learn, which disadvantages them if they step into the environment where they do not have these purity restrictions.
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Will Sanchez
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http://boardgamegeek.com/article/16050277#16050277
delta_angelfire wrote:
so let me summarize from teh 50 or 60 times this subject has been brought up:

Faction Racists:
Pros:
*Quote page 21 of the building rules
*Say its not thematic
*Say the game is broken otherwise
*"It's more fun"

Critics:
*Love "faction pure" but not "era pure" even though the exact same arguments work for both.
*Seen as selfish money-grubbers because they want to be able to win tournemants by making others play by their rules rather than invest in the game.
*Always want to play the same 2 or 3 ship build which all play exactly the same.
*Complain about people being "too competitive" but still continue to participate in tournaments (i.e. competitions).
*Wildly varying metagame with each new release, especially with smaller factions.


Faction Freedom:
Pros:
*Allowed by rules, if it wasn't meant to be played that way, why would be included at all? (compare to x-wing factions)
*Smaller factions are unplayable otherwise (Ferengi, Vulcan, Bajoran, Kazon)
*Game designers INTENDED the game to play this way: http://boardgamegeek.com/article/14813248#14813248
*Becomes a game that focuses on the strengths and weakness of a Flying Strategy as opposed to a Race/Group.
*Fairly Stable metagame with each new release (because you don't have to wait for "good captains" or "good upgrades" when you can get the equivalent for a slight cost penalty).

Critics:
*It's "not thematic" (because Star trek was all about combat to begin with... /sarcasm)
*It's power gaming
*It's too competitive (even though nothing is stopping others from playing casual).
*It costs too much for new players to join in (legitimate concern)
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Jon Ginever
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SeijiTataki wrote:
I can be in favor of the opposite stance without being directly against your stance.


You can, you can also be in favour of faction mixing without deriding those who prefer ship-pure play as 'not serious players' or describing faction mixing as 'higher level play', but you chose to do both those things.

It might surprise you to know that I'm not against faction mixing, I'm just against being treated like a child who need stabilisers on his bike just because I prefer to play the game a different way to you.

Quote:
As for the Krayton bit; Yes, Conditional Surrender + Weyoun is a very good combo that is locked behind a tournament prize. However, Varel has almost the exact same effect, and the only difference is that you are paying a higher cost penalty (the 5 for non-scout). However, it is easily available and in many cases people who are running the combo are probably running single-big-ship where the five point cost is an inconvenience but not detrimental toward a build strategy. And both combos ultimately fail for their gimmick against multi-ship builds, where they can not be activated multiple times in a single combat round and result in you needing to re-enable Weyoun to trigger. Varel is slightly more useful than Conditional Surrender because in a pinch you can still use her, whereas you can not use Conditional Surrender while Weyoun is disabled (since its his elite talent).


Varel is slightly less of a problem than Conditional surrender because she costs 10pts rather than 4, and as I understand it you can use Conditional surrender and Varel more than once, as long as Admiral Dukat (or possibly Garak, if you managed to get him) holds the talent (or you simply burn the shrouds first rather than disabling Weyoun on the first attack), both of which are cheaper ways to get the talent than going the flagship route.

The standard build has been to kit out Weyoun's ship (typically a battle cruiser, Koranak, or sometimes, a flagged bioship) with as many shroud techs as it can fit.

The independent dominion fleet captain is going to make this combo even worse because it adds two tech slots and gives Weyoun his talent, plus the shrouds will be free because of the pt reduction.

If I run a three ship klingon fleet against that, you completely ignore my opening joust (burn two shrouds and disable Weyoun), then attack with 6-7 dice (depending if you went flagship or not). Then you can ignore one attack a turn, thereafter while you are tearing me apart with your primary attack.
 
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Rob Tsuk
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Spiney_Norman wrote:

You can, you can also be in favour of faction mixing without deriding those who prefer ship-pure play as 'not serious players' or describing faction mixing as 'higher level play', but you chose to do both those things.


Indeed.

Spiney_Norman wrote:

In OP events where everyone is dirtying themselves up to the max to win a prize, I think my local OP venue's policy of ship-pure is extremely helpful.


So "dirtying themselves up" is a term of endearment rather than derision? You guys really do speak a different kind of English.
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William Atkinson
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The original intent of my post was truly one of curiosity considering I am new to the game in any real serious sense. I've played it a couple times and have been collecting the ships but only recently became interested in playing competitively.

To my surprise, during the early stages of my research for strategy in OP play, I found mixed builds were being used. Considering the theme I found it illogical that there would be two of a unique card (Picard or two Enterprise for example) on the table even if played by two different players. Diving deeper in that vein it surprised me further that you would see a Federation crew on a dominion build fighting the Federation in the "Dominion War". This of course isn't too unremarkable as one could convince all sorts of back stories that could make such a build possible even in the Trek universe. Consider for example the alliance between Voyager and the Borg to fight species 8472.

However, I still was shocked when I became aware of how common it was. I also have a hard time believing that Wiz Kids fully play tested mixed factions considering the total combinations across all the factions available. Although, a complete play test isn't possible, even within factions, as the number of combinations increase with additional content releases.

Please don't get me wrong here. I'm not complaining. I'm just trying to get a better feel for what the STAW players as a whole enjoy building as I am starting to think about tournament play.

One reason I bought into the game was for the theme, and as it seems to me now, the purist vs. mixed build question seems to boil down to how one views the game: as a Star Trek game or as a space game with Trek flavor.

I certainly see both sides of the coin: themed players and the combo power players. Certainly we all desire to win, especially during an OP event, however I find it interesting that many have posted preference for themed play during causal gaming but mixed for tournament play. That leaves me wondering if the attitude of the STAW players really want faction restrictions but only play mixed out of fear of losing during an OP.

Or have I missed something entirely here?
 
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Rob Tsuk
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AtkinsonWH wrote:

Or have I missed something entirely here?


About eight months of pointless and increasingly acrimonious argument on the subject. A lot of folks, myself included, just won't touch it anymore. I'd be wary of drawing any conclusions about the attitude of STAW players in general based on those few still willing to mix it up on this topic.
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William Atkinson
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rtsuk wrote:
AtkinsonWH wrote:

Or have I missed something entirely here?


About eight months of pointless and increasingly acrimonious argument on the subject. A lot of folks, myself included, just won't touch it anymore. I'd be wary of drawing any conclusions about the attitude of STAW players in general based on those few still willing to mix it up on this topic.


Ha! I guess I inadvertently stepped into the quagmire without knowing it. My bad.
 
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Larry DeStefano
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One thing I would like to point out to the people who say OP's are competitive events and need to be played as such. Well yes and a big HELL NO. These are events where the prize is a toy space ship, even the big prize is worth what a 100-200$ at most. this is not the NFL I don't see any career players coming out of this. Without the FUN there wont be any games to OP anyway.
 
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Jared Voshall
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AtkinsonWH wrote:
rtsuk wrote:
AtkinsonWH wrote:

Or have I missed something entirely here?


About eight months of pointless and increasingly acrimonious argument on the subject. A lot of folks, myself included, just won't touch it anymore. I'd be wary of drawing any conclusions about the attitude of STAW players in general based on those few still willing to mix it up on this topic.


Ha! I guess I inadvertently stepped into the quagmire without knowing it. My bad.


Yeah, this is one area that people get really passionate about - and even those who normally are pretty even minded end up strongly for one side or another for many reasons. Personally, while I enjoy the theme and think that Faction Pure is the proper way to play, I advocate Ship Pure due to balance reasons.

hadrian132 wrote:
One thing I would like to point out to the people who say OP's are competitive events and need to be played as such. Well yes and a big HELL NO. These are events where the prize is a toy space ship, even the big prize is worth what a 100-200$ at most. this is not the NFL I don't see any career players coming out of this. Without the FUN there wont be any games to OP anyway.


Funnily enough, it's those big-name, hyper competitive events that have the most stringent and balanced rules to them. None of the muss and fuss we have here in Attack Wing there - the rules are harshly enforced, and are quite clearly written as well, not intentionally favoring one side or another.

Finally:

delta_angelfire wrote:


I very much prefer the list of pros and cons that I listed later in that same thread, as it avoids the charged names that yours gives and gives a much more fair and balanced look at both sides of the equation, rather than posting the side you disagree with in a rather harsh light:

Post: http://boardgamegeek.com/article/16057914#16057914

Magius wrote:
Faction/Ship Pure - Pros:

*Greater variability in play, as each faction has their own strengths and weaknesses, and uneven access to particular abilities

*Overall easier balancing to a given ship and/or upgrade, as the designers do not need to consider the impact of a given upgrade across the whole of what's been/being released, only what's already In Faction.

*Lower competitive buy-in cost, as a new player only needs to collect the releases for one faction to compete. Ship pure can increase this cost, but still not as much as going with Rainbow Ships.

*More focus on skilled play over fleet composition. Because there's a lower difference between a top-level build and a poor build in Faction Pure, more of the game comes down to how well you fly your fleet.

Faction/Ship Pure - Cons

*Some ships/upgrades won't see play - Due to the fact that some factions only have 1-2 ships, and not the big 26-32 point ships that form the backbone of a fleet, most ships of these types simply won't see play. This is mitigated by running Ship Pure, where these can be used as support ships, but most factions already have a solid ship to fill this role. Independents get hit particularly hard by this, as there are currently no non-prize Independent ships in the game.

*Due to limited card pools, it is more difficult to put together a solid combo, particularly with the factions that have only a few ships to them.

Mixed/Rainbow Ship - Pros

*A larger card pool means that more interesting combos can be considered and used, leading to a larger variety of ship builds

*More ships and upgrades could see play, as they are no longer restricted to only the ships that match their faction - particularly good for factions with only 1-2 ships, and particularly Independents, who only have prize ships available for their use.

Mixed/Rainbow Ship - Cons

*Because of the larger card pool, there is a significantly higher buy-in to create a competitive list

*More cards will not see play due to having to compete with all other cards in the game

*There is a significant difference in power between a poor build and a top-of-the-line build, due to the fact that there is a much greater selection of cards to choose from


You'll note that a lot of the same arguments show up on both sides of the aisle - most notably that cards will see greater or lesser play, depending. But there is one thing that I will add to the Pro Ship Pure/Con Mixed Ship argument - Build Weight.

With Ship/Fleet pure events, the amount of effect that your build has on the game, versus your skill at flying the build in the game itself, tends to be much lower than in Mixed or Rainbow Ship play. This is due to the high end builds (barring things like the Borg, which are commonly seen as OP, and Volley of Torpedoes/Remeta'Klan which I feel is just past the point of being broken - but very much fixable with the proper rulings) being much closer to the power level of the low end builds, compared to pulling upgrades from across the board. This is much more apparent now, with both mini-factions showing up (Ferengi, Bajoran, Vulcan) and much more powerful cards (Volley of Torpedoes, Remeta'Klan, and Borg) - though in some cases, these prove problematic for Ship or Fleet Pure games as the other factions cannot effectively compete with the new, more powerful cards.
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Leo Zappa
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I'm a thematic player, and so are my gaming buddies, who are all Trek fans. For that reason alone, we only play faction pure. But that's just us, not a commentary on what other people should do. I think a great strength of this game is that it supports a variety of play preferences. Also, while we play faction pure, we don't play period pure - TOS ships and crew fly alongside TNG ships and crew, and we like it!
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Eric B.
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ghostdragon624 wrote:
You don't see sports fans raving and complaining about spending millions of dollars on a famous athlete do you? What about those NASCAR fans? You don't see them cry about a competitor who simple had a better car on the track then their fav racer. And please don't tell me that's not the same thing because it is.


tl;dr: ST:AW is well-designed because NASCAR!



Though, and I know you believe they are functionally identical, but one way in which professional sports and an (allegedly) tactical miniatures hobby game might be different, for instance, is because of oh...say everything?

For instance NASCAR teams and professional sports organizations are privately run businesses. Even if a NASCAR team loses to demonstrably superior better-funded vehicles, they've still made millions of dollars in endorsement contracts and therefore have an incentive to keep competing, even if that competition occurs on an uneven playing field.

Why would a casual gamer who has to invest money and non-compensated time keep playing a game if there is an utter lack of parity due to deeply ingrained imbalances? While some players might not mind such disparity, many others will.




 
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