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Subject: Random Map rss

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Andy Day

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Hi,

I don't really like making maps as a tactical exercise. I'm wondering if there is a way to pre-generate a map that is random, but perhaps somewhat balanced. Thoughts?
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Niko
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A random map is easy, making it balanced while keeping effort minimal not so much.

Maybe design some different maps in advance and just pick one of them when you start the game?
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Greg H.
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Keep in mind you're not just building a map... you're also placing the opponents objectives (the key to winning!) and also dropping your units on the tiles. It's a tough choice in setup!

There's the pre-built map layout in the basic rulebook... you could always use that. But it would take a bit of testing and experimentation to make sure a pre-designed map was fairly balanced.

That's just my hunch after a couple of plays...
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Dan Heck
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I'd just use a pre-designed map. I did this last time I played, and it was a lot of fun, felt a lot more fair and made for a good game. It also saved time.

I've also done random maps for two players and it has been pretty good. I set the home systems in opposite corners or sides of the map, then lay out the rest of the tiles randomly. Then, players choose systems to place units and objective tokens into. As long as home systems are nailed down, I don't think the other randomization introduces too much variation to take away the fun of the game.

It's actually a ton of fun to put together a balanced and fairly symmetrical map. And with just a little effort, you'll come out with something more balanced than you'll ever get using the game's rules. Having an unbalanced map, based on your choices, might feel fair to some people...but I've run through the mapmaking in enough detail to be convinced that certain players are probably going to be worse off based on nothing but their tile placement order. That's not fun, once you realize it. (You might feel like you suck at tile placement, but it's likely that your biggest mistake was just being assigned the first move...)

With four players, I used this basic framework last time I played:

U = Ultramarine home system
C= Chaos home system
E = Eldar home system
O = Ork home system
X = Other system
$ = System with objective tokens from each adjacent home system

XXO$
E$$C
$UXX

Home systems contained objective tokens from the two factions on the other side of the map. So, for example, the Ork home system had an Eldar and Ultramarine objective, and so did the Chaos home system, while Eldar and Ultramarines were the reverse. This discouraged early attacks on home systems. If you wanted a more aggressive / faster game, you could flip this around.

Map design is becoming one of my favorite parts of this game...you can really define the kind of play experience you want and tell some cool stories.

I also like the idea of making ridiculously unfair maps, and then letting players bid for spots...or using this to deliberately handicap your stronger players.

It would be great to see people post more pre-designed maps here, with full detail, like the map in the playthrough rule book. I've been thinking about doing that.
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Andy Day

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I would covet a set of premade maps, like the one in the core book. I also like the general thesis of the one you layed out, which allows variety but still has some structure. Though, if every team has objectives in the systems adjacent to themselves. Won't that just lead to the races pairing off and playing two separate 2 player games?

Lots of people say that maps can be unfair. But what exactly makes them unfair?
 
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Greg H.
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Gylthinel wrote:


Lots of people say that maps can be unfair. But what exactly makes them unfair?


I personally wouldn't say the initial setup and map building is "unfair," but it is easy for a first-time player to bumble. There's a lot of nuance and considerations in how and where to place your tiles and units, but a new player is asked to do that without having seen the consequences. Those consequences can be pretty dire!
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Niko
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Gylthinel wrote:


Lots of people say that maps can be unfair. But what exactly makes them unfair?
Say three homeworlds were right next to one another while another one is across the map. Or one player has three objectives on planets bordering his home system while somebody else only has one and the remaining objectives are all the way across the map. Or if one player holds both 3 material worlds with no other player positioned to take them easily.

Basically anything that makes one starting position much better than another. Of course this can be used as a handicap for more experienced people or be worked around using table diplomacy (everybody gang up on whomever has the advantage!)it's not ideal, especially if effort is put in to preconstruct the map.
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