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Star Trek: Attack Wing» Forums » General

Subject: A comparison of the Decimator (X-wing) and Borg Sphere rss

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Mauziz
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For those unaware, FFG has just released a ship for X-wing that seems somewhat analogous to the borg (minus the borg's awesome movement). It's a really tough ship with high hit points and no agility that can fire in any direction. For those who don't know, it's stats are 3 ATT, 0 AGI, 12 hull, 4 shields. Pretty darn tough! Anyway, I thought I'd run some numbers to see how the decimator stacks up to an equal number of points of smaller ships, and then to compare these results to how ships in Attack Wing stack up against the borg.

To do this, I simply calculated how many smaller ships could be purchased at the same point value as the Decimator (or the Borg Sphere), and then added all of the ship's stats together. Since the Decimator and Borg Sphere have no agility, I figured that I needed a way to translate that stat into hit points (for better comparison). I figure that these little ships can withstand 2 shots each (which I think is a underestimation for X-wing, and an overestimation for Attack Wing, but whatever), so I simply calculated the number of evades one would expect from throwing that many defense dice twice, and added this value to the shields of the smaller ships (since evades are kind of like shield damage). Please note that I am not at all considering movement dials or actions.

With all of this in mind, lets look to see how the Decimator stacks up against TIE fighters (admittedly, one of the star ships in the game). So the Decimator's points will buy you 3.33 TIE's, which effectively gives you 6.667 ATT / 10 AGI / 10 Hull / 0 Shields. If we convert the AGI into evades per 2 attacks, we get 7.5 evades (which I count as shields). So, the Decimator is soundly outgunned (3 versus 6.667), and while it has 2 more hull, it's 4 shields can't compare to the TIEs 7.5 effective shields – meaning that the Decimator effectively has 1.5 fewer hit points than the TIE swarm. Outgunned, and out tanked. Of course, its advantages are the turret attack and the fact that it's attack value will never decrease while the TIE swarm will see it's attack value slowly shrink.

We see a similar story if we compare the Decimator to Y-wings. You can buy 2.22 Y-wings per Decimator, which give you a combined stat line of 4.44 ATT / 2.22 AGI / 11.11 Hull / 6.667 Shields. When we factor the agility into the shields (figuring 2 attacks), we get 8.33 shields. So the Decimator is slightly outgunned (3 vs 4.44 ATT), and significantly out tanked (16 vs 19.44 total hitpoints).

I think this is a pretty good starting point for us to look at the Borg. In both cases, the “normal” ships in X-wing outgun and out tank the Decimator. Let's see how some Attack Wing ships stand up to the Borg Sphere.


Let's start by looking at the very cheapest ship in the game – the Romulan Science Vessel. At only 12 points, you can get 3.1667 of these for a single borg sphere. This gives a combined stat line of 3.167 ATT / 6.33 AGI / 6.33 Hull / 3.1667 Shields. This means that the Sphere has a clear lead in firepower (6 vs 3.167), but is slightly out tanked (13 vs 14.25 total hit points). Of course this assumes that each Science vessel will be able to take 2 attacks. Pretty generous, but I don't really want to look at the numbers if we reduce this. Ouch.

Ok, the RSV isn't really a combat ship, right, so lets look at the very cheapest way to get 2 attack value – the ENT era Warbird. At 14 points, we can buy 2.714 of these guys, for a combined stat line of 5.43 ATT / 5.43 AGI / 8.14 Hull / 0 Shields. That agility will get us 4.071 evades (effectively shields assuming that these little ships can take two punches each). So now the borg only slightly outgun the romulans (6 vs 5.43 ATT), but now they slightly out tank them too (13 vs 12.21 total hit points).

Well, at this point, I thought “Self, everybody knows that little ships in Attack Wing are terrible, so of course the Borg are going to shine against them – so let's stack them up against some of the best ships in the game: the Keldon and Vor'cha! That should be a fair match!” And that's what I did. Let's start with the Keldon – at 24 points, you can guy 1.583 of them for a combined stat line of 7.9 ATT / 1.58 AGI / 6.33 Hull / 3.1667 Shields. Finally the Borg are outgunned (6 vs 7.92 ATT), but they aren't out-tanked (even assuming that the Keldons can take two hits each it's 13 vs 10.69 total hit points). And this match-up has the unique factor that the smaller ships have 180 front arcs, meaning that they should be able to get more shots off than their 90 arc counterparts (we'll just ignore the fact that they can't turn around so once the borg get behind them, they will never shoot again). Now we're finally getting somewhere!

Now let's turn our attention to the mighty Vor'cha – the ship so good that people buy another starter set just to get a second one. At 26 points, we can buy 1.46 of them for a combined stat line of 7.3 ATT / 1.46 AGI, 7.31 Hull, 2.9 Shields. At this point, the Sphere is outgunned (6 vs 7.31 ATT), but it still out tanks the klingons (13 vs 11.37 total hit points).

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Tl;dr – Honestly, the only conclusion that these numbers can lead to is that the Borg sphere is numerically matched only by the very most offensively point-efficient ships in the game (Keldon and Vor'cha). I repeat – it takes these ships to even MATCH the sphere in terms of firepower and survivability. Other ships have no chance. Let's now swing over to X-wing, where every comparison shows that the Decimator is out gunned and out-tanked by the competition. These stat deficiencies help to balance its 360 arc, and that fact that its firepower doesn't decrease when it takes damage (unlike the TIE or Y-wing swarm which will lose combat efficiency as ships die).

This analysis doesn't address two additional points – first, that the Decimator is incredibly susceptible to crits. Low shields and high hull mean that crits can really shut down your game. The same could be said about the Borg, except that they come with the ability to heal critical damage. Admittedly, they lose an attack to do so, meaning that it is an option that will be rarely taken, but it does mean that the Decimator can be crippled by the wrong critical hit, while the Borg can't be (well, except for that crit which denies them the ability to take an action from their action bar...).

The second point is the movement dial. The Decimator has a very average dial (well, as far as I can tell), with white 2 and 3 turns. What it is lacking is a Come-About maneuver, which isn't really a big deal given that it can shoot 360. Point is, in a game of hyper maneuverable ships, it looks like it would have a hard time getting behind somebody and staying there (so many ships have barrel roll or boost that X-wing ships can simply run circles around Attack Wing ships). But the Borg, well, the borg are quite capable of saying out of an enemy's firing arc, and staying there.

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Really Tl;dr – It's hard to argue with numbers and these show that the borg have no statistical weakness, nothing to balance the fact that they have 360 arcs. This is in stark contrast to the Decimator which finds itself outgunned and out tanked in every match up. And my analysis doesn't even consider the borg movement which I personally find to be a huge boon.

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Really, Really Tl;dr – The conclusion is clear – the Borg are superior to every ship in the game even if you ignore their movement dial.



(Here is my analysis, in case anybody is curious):
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Mauziz
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Just in case anybody is interested, here is the same analysis done with the cube. In short, it gets outgunned a little more (as one might expect), and it out tanks things a little more (which one might not expect, since more opposing ships means more hit points). Of course, in this case, the analysis doesn't take into account the Cube's amazing ability to continue doing actions when bumped (effectively removing another weakness at no apparent cost).

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charles skrobis
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So where do outside modifier cards fall on this.

IE Cheat Death, Transphasic Torpedoes, Charles Tucker the 3rd (Cause he's like the 4th hull repair card for everyone else.), and the various list of options that allow me to customize around any perceived deficiencies ships might have. (Worst case i throw Weyoun Varel at it, and the 1 attack science vessel wins unless to Borg built to counter me.)

Just saying, raw stat values aren't everything.
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Joseph van der Jagt
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In Magic the deck with the strongest and most-streamlined game plan (whether it is combo, control, aggro, whatever) is usually the best since they have access to the same disruption cards most other decks will employ. I wonder/suspect if that is also not true of Attack Wing. After all, Borg Cubes and Spheres can also take the Weyoun/Varel combo.

As a side note, the Varel/Weyoun combo on a Science Vessel would either lose on points at the time limit or get destroyed when the Cube causes bumps with its massive base.
 
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Mauziz
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charles_skrobis wrote:
So where do outside modifier cards fall on this.

IE Cheat Death, Transphasic Torpedoes, Charles Tucker the 3rd (Cause he's like the 4th hull repair card for everyone else.), and the various list of options that allow me to customize around any perceived deficiencies ships might have. (Worst case i throw Weyoun Varel at it, and the 1 attack science vessel wins unless to Borg built to counter me.)

Just saying, raw stat values aren't everything.


This is an excellent point. The problem is that the additional cost of only 1 means there is every reason to put the very best cards on the very best ship (faction be damned). And the best ship is certainly dependent on the ship's stats. This means that the best ships are borg. Hands down, numbers don't lie (etc, so forth and so on).
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Evan
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brettscho wrote:
charles_skrobis wrote:
So where do outside modifier cards fall on this.

IE Cheat Death, Transphasic Torpedoes, Charles Tucker the 3rd (Cause he's like the 4th hull repair card for everyone else.), and the various list of options that allow me to customize around any perceived deficiencies ships might have. (Worst case i throw Weyoun Varel at it, and the 1 attack science vessel wins unless to Borg built to counter me.)

Just saying, raw stat values aren't everything.


This is an excellent point. The problem is that the additional cost of only 1 means there is every reason to put the very best cards on the very best ship (faction be damned). And the best ship is certainly dependent on the ship's stats. This means that the best ships are borg. Hands down, numbers don't lie (etc, so forth and so on).


This crucially oversimplifies matters in a few different ways. First, it ignores the relevance of context to card quality. For example, Interphase Generator is certainly one of the best cards, but it's pretty useless for the Borg. Second (and related) is the question of slots. The most common example is 8472, which has excellent stats, but needs to use a bunch of points/resources/captain slot if it wants to carry any crew, but the Borg also suffer from an inability to make use of multi-crew or -tech combos.
 
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Mauziz
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kobold47 wrote:
This crucially oversimplifies matters in a few different ways. First, it ignores the relevance of context to card quality. For example, Interphase Generator is certainly one of the best cards, but it's pretty useless for the Borg. Second (and related) is the question of slots. The most common example is 8472, which has excellent stats, but needs to use a bunch of points/resources/captain slot if it wants to carry any crew, but the Borg also suffer from an inability to make use of multi-crew or -tech combos.


Oh, I agree that it is an oversimplification, but I don't honestly see how it changes the equation. There are a tiny handful of cards that the Borg can't use (Interphase Generator, Counter Attack, etc), or are simply not useful to the borg (most of which are sadly not useful to anybody - All Forward Disrupter Banks, anybody?). As for upgrade slots, you are absolutely correct in that these slots are important. So lets go back and look at my analysis:

Decimator: Bomb/Mine; 3x Crew; Torpedo = 5 total
TIE: none = 0 total
Y-Wing: Droid, 2x Torpedo (x2.22 ships) = 6.66 total
(I think the upgrade slots actually help explain why the TIE swarm proved to be a little better than the Y-Wings in my original analysis - they don't get any upgrade slots.)


4 Borg Sphere: 2x Borg, Weapon, Crew
6.33 Rom Sci Vessel: Crew, Tech (x3.1667)
5.43 Ent Warbird: Tech, Weapon (x2.714)
5.84 Galaxy: Weapon, 3x Crew (x1.46)
6.32 Keldon: 2x Tech, Weapon, Crew (x1.58)
4.38 Vor'cha: Tech, Weapon, Crew (x1.46)


Well, everybody here beats the poor Borg sphere. But I find it extremely (as in mind blowingly) difficult to believe that the inability to use combos requiring 2 or more crew is the x-factor that balances the match-ups I've proposed*. I would also add that with Flagships, Fleet Captains, and cards like Lore, B'elana, etc, it is becoming easier and easier to put the slots that you want onto any given ship. These factors mean that the number of slots do little to persuade me that the borg are anything but statistically superior in every way.

As for Species 8472, I honestly have never played them or seen them played. Their stats and numbers suggest that they would have caused a much larger splash had the borg not removed all of the water from the Attack Wing swimming pool.

So in the end I agree with you that my poor analysis is just that: poor - it doesn't take into account everything, nor can it. Are tech slots better than borg slots? Maybe. Are they better than crew slots? Likely. How much better? Are they worth 2 crew? 1 Crew and 1 Weapon? Ultimately these exchange rates are entirely subjective, and therefore a purely mathematical comparison of ships can't take them into account.

However, I strongly suspect that many of these concerns are like worrying that the chemicals in your carpet will kill you while you are driving drunk on the freeway. (As in, they are important yet insignificant next to the other factors.)



*This is especially true since several of the ships being pitted
against it share the "weakness" of only having a single crew slot: the Romulan Science Vessel swarm, Keldons, Vor'chas. The Ent Warbirds don't even have a Crew slot. Indeed, the only ships here that have more than one of an upgrade slot are the Borg Sphere (borg slot), the Galaxy (crew), and Keldon (tech). When observed in this light, it seems to make even less of a difference to me.

EDIT: the end note was added since it didn't occur to me until after posting.
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Tom B.
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The long and short of this is:
STAW is primarily needing a better cost formula.

One that accounts for:
Primary firing arc
Aft firing arc
Movements available
Upgrade slots
Action Bar
etc
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Larry DeStefano
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cheezit wrote:
The long and short of this is:
STAW is primarily needing a better cost formula.

One that accounts for:
Primary firing arc
Aft firing arc
Movements available
Upgrade slots
Action Bar
etc


Agree and some cards look like they could be reviewed as well.
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Thomas Ryan
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hadrian132 wrote:
cheezit wrote:
The long and short of this is:
STAW is primarily needing a better cost formula.

One that accounts for:
Primary firing arc
Aft firing arc
Movements available
Upgrade slots
Action Bar
etc


Agree and some cards look like they could be reviewed as well.


can you imagine how great the game would be if it took all those things into account?
Excelsior is 112 points, the Dy'kyr is 109 points... so similar but the points are just different enough to make you re think one over the other.

they should also include a slight modifier based on faction too (Borg get a 15% fed get 5%, etc)

if they did this in second edition I would look at playing again.
(of course they would have to fix the infinite upgrade combo...)
 
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Jared Voshall
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While an interesting viewpoint, and certainly gives results that are in line with the analysis that I would perform, there are some flaws with your formula:

1) You're assuming 2 attacks per ship, which in all but the most extreme cases is not likely to occur (though there are stories in both games of one-shotting other ships).

2) You're lumping Evades in with HP, which can certainly be helpful, but doesn't give the full story. I would say a better analysis - to a degree - reduces expected damage by the individual ships evades, giving you a much more realistic view of how well two ship classes stack up (though it does get rather wonky if the defender can reliably evade the entire attack - then you have to go into the likelyhood of landing each level of damage, up to maximum damage, and it gets kinda ugly).

With that, given the information that we have regarding the Devastator and your provided outline, the Devastator will, on average, kill 1 TIE fighter before being dropped (or, more realistically, 1.333), while the Cube and Sphere are each much closer - stat wise - to being equal in terms of taking out an equal number of ships, point for point. In this way, I would actually say that the ST:AW formula is better at handling the stand and shoot model for ship stats - but is a lot worse at handling maneuverability, firing arc, etc.

@Hadrian132: Torpedoes would definitely need a re-examining, and there are a few others (Tactical Operations Console, Volley of Torpedoes, Remata'Klan, Cloaked Mines, etc) that I would personally like to see re-examined.
 
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Mauziz
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I thought I might take my analysis one step further – to see how many turns it would take for one set of ships to destroy the Decimator or Borg Sphere, and just how much damage they could dish out before they go down.

The interesting thing is that the X-wing squads all destroy the Decimator no problem! I mean, one Y-wing goes down, but I think the rebels would still call that a victory. For the Borg Sphere, though, the best that can be hoped for is a simultaneous kill. The Keldons do the best – dishing out 14.79 damage before they go down. Of course, this assumes that all ships stay in range 2, and are always in each other's firing arcs. That was a fancy was of saying that this analysis does not take into account the 360 firing arc of the borg – it just asks how much punishment a high attack, high hit point ship can take. Given that the two primary advantages of the borg (360 firing arc, and unique movement) are taken away, these results are rather disquieting.



Results:

The TIE Fighters destroy the Decimator in 4.8 turns. The Decimator destroys the first TIE fighter in 8 turns. TIE fighters win before a single TIE is destroyed.

The Y-wings destroy the Decimator in 7.2 turns. The Decimator destroys the first Y-wing in 7.11 turns. The Y-wings win, although one Y-wing is destroyed.

The Romulan Science Vessels destroy the Sphere in 8.21 turns. The Sphere destroys the first RSV in 1.33 turns. So even if the Sphere takes two full shots to kill a RSV, it destroys all the RSVs long before the Sphere is gone (7 turns).

The Ent Warbirds destroy the Sphere in 4.79 turns. The Sphere destroys the first Warbird in 1.33 turns. So even if the Sphere takes two full shots to kill a Warbird, it destroys them all in 5 turns, but not before they do ~9.57 damage to the sphere (assuming simultaneous fire at range 2, with all ships in each other's firing arcs).

The Galaxy Class destroys the Sphere in 4.45 turns. The Sphere destroys the first Galaxy in 3.05 turns. Even if the Sphere takes four full shots to kill a Galaxy Class, it destroys them all in 5 turns. The Galaxies should be able to do 13.54 damage to the sphere (assuming simultaneous fire at range 2, with all ships in each other's firing arcs), which would actually mean the sphere would be destroyed! Woot!

The Keldon Class destroys the Sphere in 3.28 turns. The Sphere destroys the first Keldon in 2.29 turns. So if it takes three turns to kill a Keldon, then the Sphere and the Keldons should simultaneous kill each other (Keldons should be able to dish out 14.79 damage to the sphere before they drop). But simultaneous kill still counts as a kill.

The Keldon Class destroys the Sphere in 3.56 turns. The Sphere destroys the first Vor'cha in 2.67 turns. So if it takes three turns to kill a Vor'cha, then the Sphere and the Vor'chas should simultaneous kill each other (Vor'chas should be able to dish out 13.27 damage to the sphere before they drop). But simultaneous kill still counts as a kill.
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