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Star Wars: Imperial Assault» Forums » Variants

Subject: RedJak's Imperial AI Project BETA rss

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Paul Reney
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This thread is no longer being updated. You can find the official RAIV V1 thread at:

http://boardgamegeek.com/article/20791804

I recently finished a monster AI variant (RAMV) for Descent 2E. It ended up being much better than I expected, and is now my preferred way to play Descent.

I believe what helped make RAMV come together so well was the way it was released. I started with a beta version that was made available to the community. Over a period of a month and a half, the various details of RAMV were fleshed out through playtesting and feedback.

The end result was a version 1 release that was very solid.

And now I want to give the same treatment to Imperial Assault and RAEV. This proposed variant, which will possibly be called RedJak's Automated Imperial Variant, will not replace RAEV. Where RAEV focused on simulating an Imperial player, RAIV would focus more on the AI of the Imperial forces.

RAIV will not use any of the Imperial players skill or agenda cards. Instead, the effects of these cards will be brought into play through the use of Event cards.

The actions of the Empire's forces will be determined by AI cards, which will list actions for the figure based on its surroundings.

For example, here is a Stormtrooper AI card:



In an attempt to tackle the hidden information problem, each mission will have a set of cards used to determine win condition targets and mission event triggers.

For example: For the Aftermath mission, there will be a card detailing the win condition targets for the Imperial forces. There will also be cards for the Lockdown and Fortified events. These cards will have two sides. The front will indicate the event trigger (The first time the door opens), and the back will contain a list of options to resolve the event.

This won't completely solve the hidden information problem, but it will give a sense of there being hidden information.

The intent is to have a variant that will play much smoother than RAEV, will less fiddly rules to bother with.

So, I'm just going to throw this project out there and see how it goes. My time is currently quite limited, but I will update as much as I can.

Currently, all I have are the first draft of the AI cards. These, and any future files, can be found on my Google Drive at:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BzpR1-5sN2wAN3dlODV0TEdoMV...

If you want to take a look at RAMV, to get an idea of the mechanics that will be in RAIV, you can find that project at:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BzpR1-5sN2wAflhzeHNvaGxmQn...

The success of this project really depends on whether or not the community is interested in a variant like this. Any feedback you all have is greatly appreciated.
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Bob Johansen
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Thanks so much for taking the time to do this. We use your RAEV quite a bit and games run fairly smoothly with the exception of some debates as to the targeting and decisions of individual empire units.

I was half-heartedly making up a similar AI ruleset using two colored die to make weighted decisions (most likely action, unlikely, rare), but your rules are very clear cut and straight forward.

We plan on cracking open twin shadows tonight and will give your AI cards a good runthrough. I'll post the results and feedback.

 
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Mike Yacullo
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This is great news, looking forward to trying it. Thanks for all your hard work!
 
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Justin Ennis

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Having nearly finished a full campaign of Descent 2.0 using RAMV, I'll chip in my 2 cents early in the design process:

I originally thought the monster AI cards would be a huge help in removing the Overlord because I've seen AI cards work well in other dungeon crawls. However, Descent and Imperial Assault are very tactical games with lots of situational considerations, and the AI cards only ended up forcing the OL to make very sub-optimal moves in terms of its actual overarching victory goal. We quickly ended up disregarding them and instead started spending a few seconds on each monster to see how they could help the OL's win condition, which led to a much more balanced game without taking any more time than referencing the AI card.

Meanwhile, I am really enjoying the Event/Dark Influence deck and the way it replaces the OL cards. They are generally not nearly as brutal as a properly timed OL card (and we've upped the difficulty of the game as if playing a 3-hero game instead of a 2-hero game to compensate), but the persistent effects of Global Events do a really nice job replacing the OL cards with some interesting tactical considerations that are constantly changing. Sometimes they are good for the heroes, sometimes bad, but they generally add in a new thing to think about each round, which is really nice.

Lastly, alternating between heroes and monster groups is SO much better than the base game's turn structure. Of course, IA already does this.

So, I guess my suggestions moving forward with the IA version is to keep the Imperial AI focused less on the unit's abilities and more tightly on mission objectives somehow - Maybe with a slightly more detailed Scenario card than in RAMV? - and keep it up with the interesting global effects of the event deck.



Of course, all that said, my playthrough of IA was different than my experiences with D2e. It seemed like the Imperial player's job was mostly to damage the rebels as much as possible, rather than use his forces to complete objectives or block. Which means that focusing the "monsters" on scenario objectives is basically exactly the same as focusing them on their own abilities (to simply damage the rebels), and my previous points are not particularly relevant to IA. I don't know!

Thank you for putting the thought and effort into making these variants. I had given up on D2e and IA because they're simply too imbalanced and rage-inducing for the people I invited to play it, so it was amazing to be able to pull it off the shelf again and play through almost an entire campaign with my GF over the weekend and have a blast.

Edit:

My first thought regarding the hidden info of the missions is to split each Imperial choice into its own card (with the trigger conditions on the back like you mentioned). Each story advancement gets drawn at random from the possible choices, so there is always an element of hidden information. You may want to change those choices to make some more difficult, since I know some of them are situational and the Imperial player wouldn't always choose them.
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Simon Taylor
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I would 100% support you on this... great start/work!

Simon
 
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Paul Reney
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Ekman wrote:

I originally thought the monster AI cards would be a huge help in removing the Overlord because I've seen AI cards work well in other dungeon crawls. However, Descent and Imperial Assault are very tactical games with lots of situational considerations, and the AI cards only ended up forcing the OL to make very sub-optimal moves in terms of its actual overarching victory goal.

An AI in a game as tactical as IA or Descent is never going to be able to play optimally. At least, not without a large set of complicated rules. Then again, someone else may come along and prove me wrong with the perfect AI.

RAMV was designed more for the people who weren't looking for the perfect AI, and just want to have fun playing a game they wouldn't normally get to play. RAIV is going to be setup the same way.

And I'm fine with it not being perfect. I really have no desire to tear what's left of my hair out trying make the perfect system. Instead, I want to create something for the solo people and the couples who don't want a competitive game. Or who would not otherwise get to enjoy at least some part of these two great games.

And, well, I just like making variants.
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Paul Reney
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I just added a very slapdash rulebook to my Google Drive.
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Justin Ennis

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Quote:
RAMV was designed more for the people who weren't looking for the perfect AI, and just want to have fun playing a game they wouldn't normally get to play. RAIV is going to be setup the same way.

And I'm fine with it not being perfect. I really have no desire to tear what's left of my hair out trying make the perfect system. Instead, I want to create something for the solo people and the couples who don't want a competitive game. Or who would not otherwise get to enjoy at least some part of these two great games.

Right! Which is why my suggestion is to maybe consider leaving the AI more open and simple, with suggestions about how certain Imperial units would act in each situation rather than pulling your hair out trying to figure out each unit's most ideal sequence of AI.

The games where we made quick value judgments for the OL's figures were tense, close games, whereas when we followed them to the letter the OL was a pushover and the game was less thrilling.

Just my 2 cents after enjoying your variant! Thanks again and good luck
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Kalbe Troben
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Looks great ! Cant wait v.1.0!
 
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Paul Reney
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Just doing a bit of work on the Event cards.

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Christian Unknown
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Hey,
i´m definitively interested in this variant. I´m hoping to finish painting the miniatures soon, so i can enjoy this AI variant with my girlfriend.

At the same time i will print your Descent 2nd-Edition Variant and switch from your AO-Version to you AI.

I´m really looking forward to this and will give you feedback once i´m ready to play and have some suggestions.

Greetings,
Slidr
 
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Paul Reney
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Event card sheets are up on my Google Drive.

There will be changes. There are a couple that are too similar, and some I'm just not completely happy with.

These are just the standard Event cards. Next update will be the Imperial Influence Event cards.
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Simon Taylor
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Really nice progress. From when/which point would you consider it adequate to test/play?
 
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Paul Reney
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simondtaylor wrote:
Really nice progress. From when/which point would you consider it adequate to test/play?

Once the Rebel Aid cards are finished, then there should be sufficient content to begin playtesting.
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Paul Reney
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Imperial Agenda cards are up on my Google Drive.

Some of them are quite powerful. This is to compensate for the lack of intelligence in the AI. Plus, the Rebel Aid cards should help balance things out.

P.S. In case you missed it, Imperial Influence cards have been renamed to Imperial Agenda.
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Paul Reney
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The Rebel Aid card sheets are up. As well as a sheet of backs for the Event and Imperial AI cards.

Next step is to tackle Mission Objectives. This is going to come slower than previous updates. I also have to work in some time to make needed changes to RAMV.
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Brian Poynter
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I just wanted to say thank you. I have wanted this game since it came out and can now purchase it for playing solo.

Brian
 
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Chris
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RedJak7 wrote:
The Rebel Aid card sheets are up. As well as a sheet of backs for the Event and Imperial AI cards.

Next step is to tackle Mission Objectives. This is going to come slower than previous updates. I also have to work in some time to make needed changes to RAMV.

Awesome! Really looking forward to this. Also: dang! I literally put in my order to Printer Studio for the RAMV cards two days ago.
 
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Paul Reney
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Marlowespade wrote:
dang! I literally put in my order to Printer Studio for the RAMV cards two days ago.

Don't worry. All I'm doing right now is removing some cards. The few Dark Influence cards that need to be changed I'll do at a later date.
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Paul Reney
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Just a peek at my progress designing the Mission cards.





I am very much in the "how the hell am I going to work this?" phase of the design.
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Baker Odom
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We all have faith in you...
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Le Richelieu
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A huge thank you for all your efforts Paul!

Like someone else mentioned before, I would also be unable to play the game were it not for your solo variant. I already used (and loved) your variant for Descent 2nd edition , and am now switching to IA.

I am currently playing with self-ptinted cards while I wait for my RAEV Printerstudio cards to show up, so I'm happy to read that the RAEV cards won't be totally replaced, but rather complemented by the new RAIV cards.

Looking forward to trying those new RAIV cards, which will probably help in answering the tricky question I often ask myself while playing IA with RAEV:
"Should I fully optimize each unclear Emperor decision as if I was playing it, or are the blitz cards (+ their added treat) and variant design enough to counterbalance imperfect choices?"

Some choices are quite obvious, but some others aren't as clear-cut. Furthermore, knowing the Rebel strategy brings up possible strategic countermeasures from the Emperor that he(she) might not have otherwise noted (1 or 2 spaces often makes a huge difference).

How do you personaly play it Paul?

Cheers


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Kalbe Troben
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Can someone make a how to play video? That would help alot!
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Paul Reney
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heixue wrote:

"Should I fully optimize each unclear Emperor decision as if I was playing it, or are the blitz cards (+ their added treat) and variant design enough to counterbalance imperfect choices?"

Some choices are quite obvious, but some others aren't as clear-cut. Furthermore, knowing the Rebel strategy brings up possible strategic countermeasures from the Emperor that he(she) might not have otherwise noted (1 or 2 spaces often makes a huge difference).

How do you personaly play it Paul?


No AI for a game this tactical is going to be perfect, so there will be some ambiguity in how some things should play out. How you decide to play it is determined in part by what you want to get out of it. If I just want to play for fun and not worry about the details, I'll go with what the cards say to do. Otherwise, I'll play both sides of the table and try to make optimal choices for the Emperor.

RAEV, like RAOV for Descent, is an attempt to simulate an Emperor player. Because of this, the rules can get quite complicated. Which is fine for people who want to go to that level of detail. I believe RAEV is more for people who will try to make those optimal choices for the Emperor.

RAIV, like RAMV for Descent, is a lighter method which only simulates the actions of the enemies and leaves the rest of the messy bits out. This caters more towards the people who aren't worried about perfect strategy and just want to play without fussing over the details.

Personally, I lean more towards the 'play for fun' side than the 'play for optimal challenge' side.

As a footnote I will say that I am not content with RAEV in its current form. I would very much like to re-visit it some time and tighten it up a bit.
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Paul Reney
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Possible change in the works for the Imperial Agenda side mission cards.

Remove the Imperial Agenda cards that trigger side missions. Instead, create an Imperial Agenda card that draws a random card from the Side Mission deck. The Side Mission deck is made up of all Agenda side mission cards.

This method would allow for all new side missions released in expansions without the need to create new Imperial Agenda cards for them.

I would probably make 3 or so Imperial Agenda cards for drawing side missions. Just to give them a slighter higher chance of being added to the Event deck.
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