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Subject: The powergaming model versus the balanced themed model... rss

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Steve Smith
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There are recurring statements that I'd like to address. Here is a post from another thread:

Sniddy wrote:
TheWaspinator wrote:
..... This is not a game I would recommend to anyone who cares about balance. The terrible aspects of this game have sadly eclipsed the positive ones for me and that is something that I really wish wasn't true since I did really enjoy this game at one point.


This is the best summing up I think

The game moves quickly from a fun little throw down with 4 - 5 ships each to a mess that can be lost before the dice are thrown

You can house rule, gentlemens agreements etc, and have some fun

But the systems gone out of control...there are combos that are insane, I'm pretty amatureish but I was getting Turn 1 14 dice ship killer shots off


I wanted to address these player's frustrations without hijacking the other thread.

I have been hearing this same lament over and over repeatedly since the end of the Dominion War campaign and the introduction of the Borg - "What happened to this game?" I witnessed the collapse of a great STAW gaming scene in Winnipeg and the exodus of many players and I've heard that this happened in many other areas as well. So, what happened?

There are two gaming models to consider here: the powergaming model and the balanced themed model.

STAW follows the powergaming model because WK has had great success with that game type with its flagship game - HeroClix. Here are some aspects of that game type:

- powerful pieces and combos that make list building far more important than actually playing the game or rolling dice, giving one player an overwhelming if not insurmountable advantage before the game even begins.

- limited edition prizes that reward tournament winners with often powerful game components that are not available to the rest of the player base.

- a very narrow and powerful "meta" that restricts competitive gameplay to only a fraction of the game pieces available and makes the other 90% of the game components almost unplayable.

- theme is not important and is often discouraged in favour of powerful game component combinations. Competitive lists do not make sense theme-wise.

STAW, HeroClix, Wizards of the Coast's Star Wars Minis, Magic, MageKnight, MechWarrior Clix, and many other games, both alive and dead, follow this business model and some players actually prefer it.

A balanced themed gaming model looks more like this:

- while list building is important and some game pieces or cards are stronger than others and can give one player an advantage over another, actual gameplay and dice rolling are still more important and a weaker list played well will beat a stronger list played poorly more often than not.

- there are no limited edition game pieces that give a decisive advantage to one player and are unattainable to the majority of the player base.

- the "meta" is diverse and not overly powerful and almost all game components can fit into a competitive list.

- theme is heavily regulated and even competitive lists make sense theme-wise in the specific universe setting.

X-Wing, Armada, Imperial Assault, BattleTech, FireStorm Armada, and Starfleet Battles fall into this category. Fantasy Flight Games has made this game type famous.

Now, both STAW and WotC's Star Wars minis both began looking like they fit more into the balanced themed category, catching many players (including myself). One page in the STAW rulebook even stated that faction-mixing required your opponent's permission, but since then the game designers have unequivocally stated that faction-mixing was the intent and the Officer Exchange resource solidifies that.

Some players prefer the list building freedom and power potential of the powergaming model and the excitement of tournaments with ultra-rare prize pieces at stake. For them, it's just a game and theme means very little.

However, I would argue that most players prefer the balanced themed model and reject games that follow the powergaming model.

Casual gamers and newbies simply cannot compete against powergamers who have access to limited edition game components and who have knowledge of powerful game piece combinations and "meta" lists that render actual gameplay pointless and unenjoyable.

Anyhoo, for those confused about the direction of STAW, this is what happened: you confused a powergame for a balanced themed game.

Now, the good thing about STAW is that in casual games, players can agree to restrict themselves to more balanced themed fleets and some stores even run their OP events along restricted guidelines to make the game more friendly to casual gamers and newbies who want an actual chance to win a few games rather than pay entry fees just to be hopelessly trounced and watch powergamers snap up all the prizes.

WORF, despite some failings, has also desperately tried to balance the game but as long as the designer himself is a powergamer, that is truly an almost impossible task.

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David Griffin
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Much as I prefer a thematic game, STAW is clearly not designed to be that kind of game. I play it that way casually and tend to avoid the OPs these days, buying my "limited editions" and prize ships on eBay (something that many won't be able to afford to do).

And you're right, many cards are fit only for incineration, though some players delight in finding interesting ways to build around unplayable cards to demonstrate that they can be played if you're dedicated enough. Even so I often find that I have a "set" of cards I go back to time and again, even in casual play.

There is no way around these problems in OPs because WK clearly wants it that way. They've done everything short of putting a gun to our heads to try to encourage mixed/unlimited play. You can tilt at that windmill if you want to but it's not going to do any good.

One response to the problem is to play casually and use the fact that any game you play that way is a negotiation between you and your opponent to keep things under control. If you both enjoy it, you're doing it right.

Another "possible" response might be to encourage WK to create a second kind of OP -- not a tournament, but an "event" with some theme that brings in casual players for fun games. Events like "Kill the Planet Killer" where the restrictions call for thematic ships with reasonable restrictions might pull in new players. Mission play where the rules of the mission call for certain types of ships and point totals that make the really overpowered combos unplayable. Once you set those rules, even the unlimited players will see it as a challenge and have fun too. And since the unlimited OPs would still be going on, the unlimited players will still be able to demonstrate the limits of the system.

I might like it better if FFG was doing STAW, but they're not. There is a great, multi-layered tactical game here, even in the highest levels of unlimited play, but we can't make it into a thematic "simulation" even if that's the game we might prefer. We can only encourage WK to make room under the tent for more thematic play. They already do missions for each pack which shows they do appreciate the value of thematic play.
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Moppi Wurm
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I've seen debates about X-Wing to have the same powergaming model that Attack Wing has. I don't play X-Wing so I can't verify that, but I think it's too easy to draw a line between the two.
Especially since I don't care about powergaming mode in STAW, most comments about new waves, stating "There is only 1-2 useful cards in this pack" are simply not true in my meta. And if it was the case I would see it as interesting to try out exactly the cards some mention to be useless.
Additionally I wouldn't say that all the very good cards are OP-only. Yes, there is the Hood and the Ch'tang, but there's also Starter-Picard, Koranak, Scimitar and Haakona that you can easily get.
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Jon Ginever
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SgtCortez4722 wrote:
I've seen debates about X-Wing to have the same powergaming model that Attack Wing has. I don't play X-Wing so I can't verify that, but I think it's too easy to draw a line between the two.
Especially since I don't care about powergaming mode in STAW, most comments about new waves, stating "There is only 1-2 useful cards in this pack" are simply not true in my meta. And if it was the case I would see it as interesting to try out exactly the cards some mention to be useless.
Additionally I wouldn't say that all the very good cards are OP-only. Yes, there is the Hood and the Ch'tang, but there's also Starter-Picard, Koranak, Scimitar and Haakona that you can easily get.


A lot of cards are simply unplayable, the IKS Rotarran is a good example, the ship ability is just dross, I can't imagine any situation where I would intentionally use it when the Ch'tang or Ning'tao were on the table with extremely useful ship abilities.

In addition, while it's true that very few prize packs are really overpowered it is hard to get hold of key retail packs due to wizkids terrible record at keeping key older expansions in production. If you've tried getting the Koraga, Koranak, Enterprise E or Valdore recently you'll know what I mean, and the Prometheus, Thunderchild, Scimitar and Haakona are all heading in that direction at warp speed.

What we really need is more packs like the T'Ong and Vrax, both were solid playable packs with few really terrible cards and few really powerful ones, then we get bonkers packs like the delta flyer with upgrades that pile multiple extra shields on to any fed ship and yet more cheap upgrades to boost attack dice.

 
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Justin Hare
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That is probably why so many places have moved OPs over to a ship pure or penalty pure model. The really, really, absurd stuff is mostly cut out.

The super shield stacking fed is getting has two extremely effective hard counters that - unfortunately - don't see much table. Energy dissipator and PSF. So a 50sp sovereign with 14HP sounds amazing until a 21sp D7/PSF strips the shields and a vorcha oneshots it. This is a specific example, but I think a lot of the 'busted' complaints seem to come from cards that hard counter players' SOP. Ask the players who run really goofy fleets by habit and they usually don't see the same cards as busted.

Except the Borg. God damn was that a poorly playtested faction.
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Jesse Catron
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I think the best way for WizKids to have a non-powergamer OP is to develop an official draft format.
 
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Andrew Gallagher
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Alternate formats are great for mixing up the status quo, but I wouldn't go so far as to say that they're a fix for OP combos.

For example, purity rules eliminate certain kinds of attack cancellation, i.e. Weyoun and Varel on a tac cube, but they also guarantee that a lot of cards won't see play, such as the aforementioned Breen Energy Dissipators, Vulcans and Bajorans (unless someone has DS9), etc.

The real trick here is that if there's a particular combo or set of strategies that are consistently ruining diversity, and your group prioritizes diversity over win-at-all-costs, then the group has to identify the specific cards/factors they don't like and - together - craft a set of house rules to make those cards/factors less palatable.

For instance, if your group's culprit is the same handful of Fed fleets, then purity isn't going to help you at all, because Fed wins the purity game. If you want to encourage more fleets with smaller ships, create your own Admiral's Order that gives a discount to ships with 3 hull or less.

EDIT: regarding the future/present STAW prizes, note that there really are NOT a lot of LE cards out there ruining it for the rest of us, there are just a couple of really powerful culprits. The Hood pack is really really good, and the Ch'tang was back in the day, but when was the last time someone used a card from Tholia One in your OP? The Rav Laerst?
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Justin Hare
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Krayton - Conditional surrender (lost oomph over time and is unheard of in ship pure)
Ch'Tang - the ship, captain, and elite talent still see solid use. The weapon not as much anymore.
Sutherland - Disobey orders shows up here and there. Not much
Rav Laerst - Invaluable Advice, still one of the best elite talents in game.

The big one right now is the Hood with type 8.


I should also have said that I don't hear much about ED or PSF. I have found the venue I ayed at most has a wierd meta and PSF/ED still showed up occasionally.
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Sodoff Baldrick
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There has always been the laundry list of excuses as to why faction mixing is necessary(there aren't enough releases, it's the designer's intent, it's the highest level of play, it allows the minor factions to be played, it's the only way to fight the borg). None of these have ever been 100% true. The reality is non restricted faction mixing comes down to 2 things 1)it is for sales and 2)encourages the worst examples of min/maxing.

We really are at the point where even the smaller factions can do alright in faction pure play. The Bajorans, Ferengi, and Vulcans are a little behind, but once the newest round of blinds comes out then they are looking better. In faction mixing venues you hardly ever see these factions played. However these factions stand a much better chance in faction pure then they do in anything goes.

There are some tough combos in faction pure, but they are not nearly as bad as some of the things we see in anything goes. Take the De Soto Voyager. It is good but factions have ways of dealing with it. Klingons have PSF combined with T'Kar or Boarding Party. Chang can also be used. Borg have Assimilation Tubes and Data, plus mag charges. Romulans have mines and Thaleron Weapon, Tal'Aura. Independants have a few ganking things that go through shields. Dominion have Madred, Weyoun/Kudak'Etan, Weoung/Toman'Torax.

There are lots of great counter cards out there, but in anything goes faction mixing we hardly see any of them because it is easier to throw Picard on a Ship with 7+ dice, or throw Mag chareges out there with 4-5+ dice or any of the other cheesy combos out there.

I would argue that faction mixing actually keeps more cards off the table then it brings in.


I know that a lot of folks say that faction mixing is "the highest level of play". However I would disagree with that. I would say it is a higher level player who can build a good list with fewer options than one who has every card/combo at their disposal. Though that is just my opinion.


I often hear people on boards "building is what draws me in". There is still a high level of list building in faction pure if not more so.

One thing that has always stood out to me is that there are so many people that are against faction pure, but I have never seen or heard of anyone quitting X-Wing because they could't put Vader in a Rebel Fleet or Luke in an Imperial.
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Evan
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I don't see any value in arguing the usual points; if someone really wants to believe that prize ships give a huge advantage, that piloting doesn't matter, and that the X-Wing meta is a magical wonderland of diversity, then no amount of discussion is going to bring that person back to reality.

What I do think is worth discussing is this distinction between the "powergaming model" and the "balanced themed gaming model," because I feel like trying to sort things into those two boxes is a little too reductive. There are a lot of different dimensions of balance and theme, many of them at odds with one another. For example, many of the upgrades that came with the Scimitar are not only unbalanced (by Steve's standards), they're all but unplayable under the tournament rules. What function do they serve, then? Powergaming?! Clearly not. I'm going to go out on a limb here and call them thematic upgrades. In fact, I think that Secondary Shields and such are so hard to use because they're too thematic; there's just no way to make a fully thematic Scimitar in the rigidly constrained environment that Steve is looking for.

I was also surprised to see him argue that in a balanced game, dice rolling is more important than list building. One of the things we were discussing in the other thread is the idea that list building (up to a certain point) can increase balance by reining in the excesses of randomness. There's room for disagreement over what the right proportions are, but, again, this simple dichotomy of "powergaming" vs. "balanced themed gaming" seems to miss the point.

Which is not to say that I don't think he's identified some kind of useful categories here. We intuitively understand the difference between a "Heroclix-style game" and a "mythologized-FFG-style game." But I think the important point is the one that a lot of other people have been making: STAW contains multitudes.

Steve may be spectacularly wrong about these "LE power cards" and the relative importance of gameplay and listbuilding, but we can nonetheless agree that free-mixing tournament play does tend to be on the powergamier side. However, restricted and casual and scenario play are every bit as much a part of this game's "model" as the annual gathering of a couple dozen people in Ohio.

(As an aside, the utterly baseless speculation about what kind of gamer the designer is was petty and uncalled for.)
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Gordon Blizzard
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Mr S Baldrick wrote:
There has always been the laundry list of excuses as to why faction mixing is necessary(there aren't enough releases, it's the designer's intent, it's the highest level of play, it allows the minor factions to be played, it's the only way to fight the borg). None of these have ever been 100% true. The reality is non restricted faction mixing comes down to 2 things 1)it is for sales and 2)encourages the worst examples of min/maxing.

We really are at the point where even the smaller factions can do alright in faction pure play. The Bajorans, Ferengi, and Vulcans are a little behind, but once the newest round of blinds comes out then they are looking better. In faction mixing venues you hardly ever see these factions played. However these factions stand a much better chance in faction pure then they do in anything goes.

There are some tough combos in faction pure, but they are not nearly as bad as some of the things we see in anything goes. Take the De Soto Voyager. It is good but factions have ways of dealing with it. Klingons have PSF combined with T'Kar or Boarding Party. Chang can also be used. Borg have Assimilation Tubes and Data, plus mag charges. Romulans have mines and Thaleron Weapon, Tal'Aura. Independants have a few ganking things that go through shields. Dominion have Madred, Weyoun/Kudak'Etan, Weoung/Toman'Torax.

There are lots of great counter cards out there, but in anything goes faction mixing we hardly see any of them because it is easier to throw Picard on a Ship with 7+ dice, or throw Mag chareges out there with 4-5+ dice or any of the other cheesy combos out there.

I would argue that faction mixing actually keeps more cards off the table then it brings in.


I know that a lot of folks say that faction mixing is "the highest level of play". However I would disagree with that. I would say it is a higher level player who can build a good list with fewer options than one who has every card/combo at their disposal. Though that is just my opinion.


I often hear people on boards "building is what draws me in". There is still a high level of list building in faction pure if not more so.

One thing that has always stood out to me is that there are so many people that are against faction pure, but I have never seen or heard of anyone quitting X-Wing because they could't put Vader in a Rebel Fleet or Luke in an Imperial.


Well, there's a big difference between the kind of things you can expect out of an upgrade card in X-wing vs a resource in STAW. In STAW it's very possible to straight up get a green die with no restrictions, sometimes more, many more. In X-wing there's one modification that does that but it only works for the first hit. FFG has consistently made it quite difficult to modify green dice in general, whereas it's easy to find non-action ways to modify green dice in STAW.

The magnitude of effects in STAW vs X-wing in terms of how it affects the competitive game is not even in the same ballpark- a tanky build, say, the most defensive Fat Han possible can regenerate one shield per turn at the cost of possibly flipping an existing damage card over. It can also, once per round, guess a number of evades rolled on a die and possibly get an extra for guessing right. That's considered strong mitigation. It rolls one green die. A tanky build in STAW can roll 7+ green dice and get them modified for free without much of a sweat.

I mean, the game is played despite a bizarre formula for a ship points system that doesn't take into account much of anything which tells me it's all about the cards. I can see how somebody would like making card combos, but you can't complain about people optimizing that stuff any more than you can really complain about people playing optimized lists in X-wing. It's the game designer's job to make a game where optimization gives you something somewhat thematic but also interesting to play out on the board.
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Xander Fulton
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Church14 wrote:
Krayton - Conditional surrender (lost oomph over time and is unheard of in ship pure)
Ch'Tang - the ship, captain, and elite talent still see solid use. The weapon not as much anymore.
Sutherland - Disobey orders shows up here and there. Not much
Rav Laerst - Invaluable Advice, still one of the best elite talents in game.

The big one right now is the Hood with type 8.


Eh, type 8 isn't bad, but the true way to tell if someone has won the Hood is that they have Hood-Riker in their fleet. EVERY fleet. ALL THE TIME. He's an insane value, and just laughs in the face of Voyager-Paris.

Only card I can recall being as ubiquitous on the table after release was Shelby (although that was obviously only up until she got smacked with the 'nerf' bat).

(And, of course, with the release of the Delta Flyer, the USS Hood's "Systems Upgrade" just got a big bump in effectiveness. I'll be shocked speechless if our next OP event doesn't have at least a COUPLE 'Equinox + Systems Upgrade + Unimatrix Shielding + Immersion Shielding' combos)
 
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Matthew Ting
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I'd tend to disagree with the premise that STAW is sacrifices theme for powergaming. That's not a design issue, that's a player mentality issue. It's also a result of Wizkid's tournament system and release schedule.

LE OP Prizes:


Winning players get LE cards, that help them win more. That is true, to an extent. But the bigger issue is that it makes a "win at all cost" environment to win those prizes.

I'll admit I'm guilty of playing fleets to win. At the same time, I know if I don't play strong competitive fleets, I'll get smashed by those who do. It's damned if you do, damned if you don't.

If Wizkids had followed a similar prize structure to what FFG does (acrylic tokens, alternate art cards) we'd have a different culture in this community.

Release Schedule:


With ships releasing so fast, few people are able to keep up and "catch them all". This goes double when factoring in OP ships. The people who do get everything obviously have more tools available to them, which means they can potentially build better fleets. This is always going to happen as a game ages, but Wizkids really stepped on the accelerator for this game. Having so many SKUs is also resulting in the current situation where new players can't even find certain desirable old ships. Again, compare that to FFG: far less X-Wing SKUs, and even old wave 1 stuff gets regularly reprinted.


Regarding actual gameplay differences between STAW and X-Wing:

Anyone who thinks X-Wing doesn't also have "powergaming" is wrong. The fact that people have calculated mathematical "jousting efficiency values" of ships shows otherwise. Remember also that the average X-Wing build uses less cards than the average STAW build. A 4 ship X-Wing build may only be 4 cards (ie: 4 naked ships). A 3 ship STAW build is already at least 6 cards (3 ships, 3 captains). There's far more customisation options in STAW, which is what leads to comparisons to a card game. There are efficient choices, inefficient choices... but it's no different from X-Wing. Ain't nobody playing generic E-Wings or X-Wings. The fact that builds like BBBBZ are highly competitive without any upgrades speaks more to jousting efficiency vs. efficiency of the available upgrades. In STAW, upgrades are generally more efficient than just running naked ships. Nothing wrong with that, it's just a different game.

Number of dice is also a comparison point, with X-Wing ships generally rolling less attack / defence. However, with lower numbers of dice I find the game does come down to more luck. In STAW, with higher numbers of dice we should be seeing results closer to the average with less variation. If I'm shooting with 6 attack dice, I can reasonably expect to see 3 hits without modifiers. I'm not as likely to get a complete whiff roll, as happens in X-Wing so much more. STAW gets scary when ships start rolling 7+ dice with quality, but that's just something I need to factor in when building a fleet. I have to assume my 0 or 1 defence ships are going to get pounded, unless I have a defensive trick available.

At the end, I would say STAW *should* be the more thematic of the 2 games. It's just Wizkids practices that have turned it into what it is now.

Wow, this post got longer than I was expecting...!
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Evan
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XanderF wrote:
(And, of course, with the release of the Delta Flyer, the USS Hood's "Systems Upgrade" just got a big bump in effectiveness. I'll be shocked speechless if our next OP event doesn't have at least a COUPLE 'Equinox + Systems Upgrade + Unimatrix Shielding + Immersion Shielding' combos)


Not to go further off-topic, but that strikes me as pretty inefficient. Repairing six shields is a big deal (and gives me hope for the future of Phased Polaron Beam, to say nothing of action denial), but the Equinox only has four slots; instead of that sixth shield, wouldn't it be better to have a weapon upgrade or another defense die?

wedge772 wrote:

Release Schedule:


With ships releasing so fast, few people are able to keep up and "catch them all". This goes double when factoring in OP ships. The people who do get everything obviously have more tools available to them, which means they can potentially build better fleets.


This is a crucial point. If people want to claim that Attack Wing is "pay to win," they shouldn't be focusing on the handful of marginally interesting LE cards, they should be focusing on the 71 retail releases, some of which people have bought multiples of just so they can run double interphase or whatever.
I don't know why folks don't talk about that more; perhaps because it's pretty much inherent in the genre (as you say, the release schedule is a big part of it, but from what I hear, X-Wing has had its own versions of that problem), so it's not really of any use to anyone whose main goal is to argue that Wizkids is the devil.
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Troy Mullineaux
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Does anyone have insight from a store perspective of which model makes them more money?
My shopping list is becoming more eBay than store for this game and makes me worry more stores may drop it.
 
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Bwian, just
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Stormtrooper721 wrote:

I wanted to address these player's frustrations without hijacking the other thread.

A wiser man than I.

Stormtrooper721 wrote:
I have been hearing this same lament over and over repeatedly since the end of the Dominion War campaign and the introduction of the Borg - "What happened to this game?" I witnessed the collapse of a great STAW gaming scene in Winnipeg and the exodus of many players and I've heard that this happened in many other areas as well. So, what happened?

There are two gaming models to consider here: the powergaming model and the balanced themed model.

I think you're reaching a bit here. One piece of evidence: you're conflating balanced and themed into a single sales model. I would also probably haggle over whether some of your examples belong in the "balanced themed" bin. But since you seem to be mostly concerned with FFG's listed games, I'll just confine my comments to those games.

Stormtrooper721 wrote:
STAW follows the powergaming model because WK has had great success with that game type with its flagship game - HeroClix.

More to the point, every time they have moved away from it, they have been hammered in the marketplace. This is their first non-collectible game that hasn't tanked, for that matter.

Stormtrooper721 wrote:
However, I would argue that most players prefer the balanced themed model and reject games that follow the powergaming model.

Casual gamers and newbies simply cannot compete against powergamers who have access to limited edition game components and who have knowledge of powerful game piece combinations and "meta" lists that render actual gameplay pointless and unenjoyable.

I agree that most players prefer the casual model. I just think you're discounting the ability of casual players to enjoy a powergaming system. You mention this in portions of your post that I cut for brevity, I know. I just know too many people who play Warmachine, 40K, and Magic casually to think that the powergaming tournament scenes for those games will automatically sour casual players.

On a new note:
I would like to point out that FFG has actually designed a Star Trek game before: Star Trek Red Alert. At least, they are credited as co-designers; I don't know what the actual division of labor looked like, but given the quick release of Twilight Imperium: Armada after Last Unicorn lost the ST license I assume they were pretty familiar with the ins and outs of the system.

While the game did follow the popular version of Trek-themed, I would say it was far from balanced. Rather like STAW, the basics of ship combat were simple, but upgrades could quickly render entire portions of the game space irrelevant.
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Bwian, just
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Mr S Baldrick wrote:
There has always been the laundry list of excuses as to why faction mixing is necessary(there aren't enough releases, it's the designer's intent, it's the highest level of play, it allows the minor factions to be played, it's the only way to fight the borg). None of these have ever been 100% true. The reality is non restricted faction mixing comes down to 2 things 1)it is for sales and 2)encourages the worst examples of min/maxing.

3) Some of us watched the show, and can't think of any reason the Federation wouldn't cooperate with anyone who was willing. And they did, on several occasions. For that matter, we can't think of any reason the Borg wouldn't "cooperate" with anyone, willing or not.

I suppose we could only allow faction mixing for Federation and Borg ships. But I don't think that's really going to have a good effect on the metagame, personally.

Mr S Baldrick wrote:
We really are at the point where even the smaller factions can do alright in faction pure play. The Bajorans, Ferengi, and Vulcans are a little behind, but once the newest round of blinds comes out then they are looking better. In faction mixing venues you hardly ever see these factions played. However these factions stand a much better chance in faction pure then they do in anything goes.

I run free-for-all tournaments, and I don't recall seeing many minor factions. I'm not sure I see how they stand a better chance in faction pure venues, though. I would be interested to see the numbers: how often they get played, and how well they do.

Mr S Baldrick wrote:
One thing that has always stood out to me is that there are so many people that are against faction pure, but I have never seen or heard of anyone quitting X-Wing because they could't put Vader in a Rebel Fleet or Luke in an Imperial.

Star Wars is a considerably more black-and-white universe, so I'm not as eager to switch characters over. (Although it might be interesting to see what sort of damage Vader and Luke could do if they joined forces as father and son.) But I did absolutely quit X-Wing because the metagame got boring, and I was the second-to-last player (of eight) that was bothering to show up for X-Wing night. More flexibility would have gone a long way to alleviating that problem: you don't have to achieve that by moving pilots around, but it would probably not have been a bad approach.
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Sodoff Baldrick
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Bwian wrote:

3) Some of us watched the show, and can't think of any reason the Federation wouldn't cooperate with anyone who was willing. And they did, on several occasions. For that matter, we can't think of any reason the Borg wouldn't "cooperate" with anyone, willing or not.



Yes some of us did watch the show and realize that the faction mixing in the game is way over blown compared to what we see on screen. For OPs faction mixing should be tied to the scenario and should be much more tightly controlled. Example) in Matter of Honor it would make sense for your fleet to include 1 out of faction crew member, not the whole fleet. For Unimatrix Zero it would make sense for a Non-borg fleet to include 0-1 borg ships, and borg fleets to include 0-1 non-borg ships.

Tying very limited cross faction play into OPs can make them more thematic and give players an opportunity to look for that one card or ship that could help them out. You will always have some level of power gaming, but more restraints can help curb it.





Bwian wrote:

I run free-for-all tournaments, and I don't recall seeing many minor factions. I'm not sure I see how they stand a better chance in faction pure venues, though. I would be interested to see the numbers: how often they get played, and how well they do.



There are fewer ways to stack dice in factiion pure and several of them loose quality with out mixing. Ferengi are still in a tough spot, but there are some builds that will let Bajorans and Vulcans mix it up. They won't win all the time but could do alright for seasoned players. However they will be taken apart by the usual mixed fleets.




Bwian wrote:

Star Wars is a considerably more black-and-white universe, so I'm not as eager to switch characters over. (Although it might be interesting to see what sort of damage Vader and Luke could do if they joined forces as father and son.) But I did absolutely quit X-Wing because the metagame got boring, and I was the second-to-last player (of eight) that was bothering to show up for X-Wing night. More flexibility would have gone a long way to alleviating that problem: you don't have to achieve that by moving pilots around, but it would probably not have been a bad approach.



Yes playing crazy "interesting" builds is fun, but is much more suited for casual games where folks know what they are getting into. I don't play X-Wing. However I do see the 50-60 people that show up for my local stores events. On average I see 4 attend STAW at 3 different venues in my area. I also see large X-wing tournaments going on all over the country and STAW Worlds could barely manage a few dozen. Given those numbers I think you in the minority finding X-Wing boring.
 
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Xander Fulton
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kobold47 wrote:
XanderF wrote:
(And, of course, with the release of the Delta Flyer, the USS Hood's "Systems Upgrade" just got a big bump in effectiveness. I'll be shocked speechless if our next OP event doesn't have at least a COUPLE 'Equinox + Systems Upgrade + Unimatrix Shielding + Immersion Shielding' combos)


Not to go further off-topic, but that strikes me as pretty inefficient. Repairing six shields is a big deal (and gives me hope for the future of Phased Polaron Beam, to say nothing of action denial), but the Equinox only has four slots; instead of that sixth shield, wouldn't it be better to have a weapon upgrade or another defense die?


You forget that the Fleet Captain resource is still in play, which can make for some interesting possibilities.

For silly OP levels, I like this list

As noted, repairs 6 shields every turn. Granted, can't repair all its shields if it loses its action, but the captain at skill-4 should move early enough that would not be a HUGE problem. Otherwise defends with 3 dice (one blank re-roll and one BS-> evade conversion) every round. Against anyone, anyway - does a bit better against the Borg (4 dice, re-roll all blanks, still has a BS-> evade for free).

Attack is either 2 dice 'primary' (plus a crit) or 5 dice (with BS->crit conversion... plus a crit), alternating. IE., the torpedoes are available every other turn. As to that 'destroy a shield for a crit'...given the Equinox's ability, that's pretty much a no-brainer. Just a free crit, really. Still, Decker fires late enough in the turn order he should have a pretty good sense if he can or can't do that any given round, so... no problems, there.

(And it wouldn't be hard to tweak that - honestly, Shelby isn't adding a TON, here, and if you move the 'fleet captain' resource onto another ship in your fleet along with Shelby, this ship drops to only 43 points with a skill-3 captain... who does even better in getting the ship's action in before possible collisions)
 
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Evan
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My main issue there is that you can only get a Target Lock if you forego the shield recharge, so the torps are probably worthless. But I take your point.

Still, even with Riker and Shelby, a good alpha strike shouldn't have too much trouble taking it down in one round. And next month we'll be into the blinds, so even if you can't blow it up the normal way, Bioship Omega Pilot does hilarious things to it (albeit slowly) (as does Matt Decker).

Personally I think it's better as a sniper than as a dreadnought. Give it Will Decker and Unimatrix Shielding, and you've got a ship that's almost as tough, almost as dangerous, and didn't cost nearly twice as many points and your resource.
 
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Justin Hare
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And suddenly an amusing but generally underpowered ship gets a new life.
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People point to SWs numbers as proof that STAW is bad and should feel bad too , but the truth is, SW was always a more popular sci fi series, and that seems to be forgotten when convenient. Naturally its going to have more players, right?
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