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Subject: Easy and difficult roles (Jump seems really easy) rss

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Alex Churchill
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We've played 4 games of Space Cadets now. I'm loving it to bits. It's long (2-3 hours - this has been Mission 1 each time, but with at least one new player each time as well), but great fun.

Most of the roles seem to be of an appropriately interesting difficulty level:

Weapons - filling the puzzles is easy with 1-2 and doable with 3, but the flicking is ARGHdifficult for most of us. A couple of players find it at least moderately doable, which is great until Shift Change comes up

Helm is perfect. At speeds 2-3, it's easy enough to get where you're aiming for and let Shields know what side you'll need defending. At speeds 5-6, HAHAHA hilarity and potential for everything going wrong. Perfect!

Shields is great. Tricky, never able to get shields up on many sides, but usually able to get one or two to 3/4/6. If Helm has said what side the shields will be needed, so much the better, but what are the chances of that?

Sensors seems a bit easy and dull. Trivially easy with 1, very easy with 2, and needing/getting more than 2 energy seems pretty rare. There are one or two interesting decisions to be made with this role as well though (what to use your energy on), and I think Sensors has often been a newer or less confident player, so this ought to be a role where more choices and interest emerge as we get more practiced.

Engineering was fairly easy and dull, while vexing when you turn up 7 tiles and see "Oh, there's no way to get more than 1 Tractor beam energy this round. Sorry about that." But it turns out we've been forgetting the rule that you can transfer 2 from any station into 1 on any other station, which should help both of these problems.

Repair is one of those stations where the time constraint is fairly irrelevant (like fire weapons), but achieves its requirements well enough. Having read this thread should help.

Tractor is awesome. Gradually building up memory of what's where, using it much later when you've half-forgotten, just about doable with help from the rest of the team, spot on.

Now we come to the reason for my post:

Jump. It's an awesome mechanic: rolling dice and frobbling the numbers around to get what you want. Problem is, it always seems really easy to get something good. Jump will usually be activated accidentally even if Engineering didn't deliberately set out to give some energy to Jump, and it's trivial to get at least one Jump Flux card each round, usually a good one. This means that by the time the rest of the mission is done (and the ship is falling apart at the seams and the Core Breach marker is up at 5 or 6), Jump has a good suite of about 5 or 6 Jump Flux cards. Which means it's trivial to assemble a 5-of-a-kind in 30 seconds. I've never seen a Jump officer spend energy for +30seconds in any of my games, and only once seen someone do a partial reroll if they've got any cards already.

I'm wondering if we're doing something wrong. We're only having a Jump phase if Jump gets at least 1 energy. It seems really easy to arrange to get some Jump Flux card or other during the 30 seconds, and once you have one of the "turn odd to even" / "turn even to odd" / "invert a die" cards, it's easy to get the >23 or the <13. So by the time you need to jump out, you've got enough options that it's easy to spot something like "1 3 5 5 6. Okay, take one off the 3 and one off the 6, add one to the 1, invert both 2s, done."

Are we just too practiced at Alien Frontiers, so that frobbling dice is second nature? Does it come with the territory of mostly being computer scientists? It seems that spending energy for extra time is never something we'll need to do, which removes a little bit of tension from the climactic moments of the game.
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Ray Greenley
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Are you using the flux cards more than once per turn? You can only use the ability of each card once, then you 'exhaust' or 'tap' it, and it only refreshes at the end of the turn.
 
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Alex Churchill
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Only using each Flux card once per Jump phase.
 
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