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Star Wars: Imperial Assault» Forums » General

Subject: One last thematic hurdle... rss

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Craig C
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...but it feels like a really big one to me, so I need input from the experts.

I'm a Star Wars nut, and love the idea of playing a minis game in that world. I've talked about IA with a friend who owns and loves it, and watched a few of the campaign missions played through, and there's still one thing that's keeping me from pulling the trigger: the damage mechanic.

I'm totally fine with the Rebels having a hard time getting through the missions, and even with there being thematic/story reasons for them to lose a few, but what's hanging me up is the idea of my heroes getting peppered with blaster fire, then deactivating the last terminal in the midst of a swarm of stormtroopers, and that being an instant win.

Being outnumbered and desperate is very Star Wars, but I don't recall any of the heroes getting shot seven or eight times per movie, and while it sounds a bit loony that that's what may keep me from buying the game, I'm very much stuck on it. I'm only interested in the campaign play aspect of IA, so that'd be its primary use, and I'd likely play it far more solo than with my game group, so the hangup is looming large.

In fact, I've spent the last hour trying to talk myself into buying it and converting the damage thing into a system like Okko: Era of the Asagiri uses (except without the super-swingy d6), because those combat results make sense to me.
So I'm open to being convinced that the "hit point" thing makes thematic sense, if anyone's interested in trying, hehe. And if not, thanks for reading anyway.
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patrick
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Well obviously to accept a game's numbers system and convert it into a "realistic" theme, you need to utilize some suspension of disbelief. I'm assuming this is a skill you can invoke since you are discussing a game about a movie about space wizards from long ago.

If we borrow from RPG systems (paper or digital) and compare a beginning warrior with 8 hit points to a hardened veteran with 80 hit points, we will see that this numeric difference must represent something besides body mass. Clearly the advanced fighter is not 10 times larger or sturdier than his rookie counterpart. The difference is created by experience so how would that translate?

My take on it is that an advanced character (or SW:IA hero) spends his extra hit points on creating those moments where the hero ducks out of harm's way. So even though taking 3 points of damage from blaster hit would kill a random stormtrooper, when 3 points of blaster damage are assigned to Han Solo, that's actually the moment when he ducks under the fire as an experienced rogue would do. Game wise his "luck" (hit points) is running out, but that's what separates him from a random rebel trooper.

I believe I recognize you from the Armada forums. I use this same analogy to justify Admiral Motti as fleet commander. It's not that they put extra armor on ships that he commands, it's his way of commanding them that makes them more resilient in battle.

I hope I have helped readers make a better connection thematically with these games and have not accidentally ruined RPGs and Armada instead! surprise
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Louis S
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Most of the missions have the box text of what happens after the rebels do the last objective. It is thematic and usually has to do with your pilot sweeping in and picking the rebels up in the midst of the crossfire. I think it does well to keep with the themes
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Craig C
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Stratagon wrote:
Well obviously to accept a game's numbers system and convert it into a "realistic" theme, you need to utilize some suspension of disbelief. I'm assuming this is a skill you can invoke since you are discussing a game about a movie about space wizards from long ago.

If we borrow from RPG systems (paper or digital) and compare a beginning warrior with 8 hit points to a hardened veteran with 80 hit points, we will seee that this numeric difference must represent something besides body mass. Clearly the advanced fighter is not 10 times larger or sturdier than his rookie counterpart. The difference is created by experience so how would that translate?

My take on it is that an advanced character (or SW:IA hero) spends his extra hit points on creating those moments where the hero ducks out of harm's way. So even though taking 3 points of damage from blaster hit would kill a random stormtrooper, when 3 points of blaster damage are assigned to Han Solo, that's actually the moment when he ducks under the fire as an experienced rogue would do. Game wise his "luck" (hit points) is running out, but that's separates him from a random rebel trooper.

I believe I recognize you from the Armada forums. I use this same analogy to justify Admiral Motti as fleet commander. It's not that they put extra armor on ships that he commands, it's his way of commanding them that makes them more resilient in battle.

I hope I have helped readers make a better connection thematically with these games and have not accidentally ruined RPGs and Armada instead! surprise


Hehe, it'd take a lot to ruin Armada for me, and Motti's a valid example, since he doesn't physically beef up a star destroyer when he commands it. One of the reasons I'm looking into IA is the "Battle for Endor" idea a buddy of mine and I are working up for our next game night.

Translating HP to dodging/skill/luck is a good notion. I'll see if I can make that work in my head.

And good fluff text at the end of a mission to explain my escape from a horde of troopers can work, too. We'll see.
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Ty
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It's even easier to justify the "damage isn't actually being hit" idea when you look at the way the campaign heroes are setup. They start on the healthy side and then flip over their sheet to the wounded side once they run out of damage, or luck if you will. I liken this to when Leia got shot during the battle Endor. She had used up all her abilities, luck, and stamina to finally get to the point where she became wounded. She was still able to pull out a blaster and waste a few stormies with the new amount of ability, luck and stamina she had received from flipping her sheet to the wounded side. Fortunately she didn't need any more after that as the battle was over. But had she needed to do much more than that, she very well may have been forces to withdraw.
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Tomáš Sládek
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I second the above ideas. I've always looked at "hit point" in any shape or form in both videogames and boardgames as the unit's ability to navigate the battle so as to not sustain damage. Equal parts luck, agility and durability I suppose.

Hp goes down to zero -> your luck runs out, armor cracks or you are finally too tired to dodge -> you finally get hit. For Imperial Assault this works thematically very well, because a) resting heals you (catching your breath for more dodging) and b) when you finally get hit, your character is flipped over (wounded) and carries on with less effectiveness - the wound has an effect on you. The second time you get hit, you're in too bad a shape to be useful to the mission and run for life.


Admittedly this viewpoint works better in melee combat, when adding ranged fire luck and armor is a bit of a bigger factor than reflexes would be up close.
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Craig C
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Thanks for the help, everyone. I'm not sure I'll be able to resist the lure of the dork side for much longer, so my next question is should I get Twin Shadows at the same time?

I've heard from people and reviews of the expansion packs that buying them halfway through a campaign lessens their utility, since the side missions are harder to incorporate, or people don't want to "go back", or things like that.

I'm not really interested in the skirmish portion of the game at all, so I'll focus on the campaigns.
 
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Tomáš Sládek
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We're halfway through the first base campaign and I'm wondering the same thing. The completionist in me says GET IT NOW, but honestly, the base game is good for at least 2 full campaigns (12ish missions in a campaign vs 30 in the campaign book) Even then you would likely not have seen everything the campaign can offer.

And Imperial Assault is here to stay, so I wouldn't worry about Twin Shadows (and wave 2 packs) becoming difficult to get.

Maybe get one of the smaller packs instead? You don't really need them to play, but the chits feel cheap, especially for the units that are supposed to be these scary villians. I substituted most of the unit tokens with Star Wars Lego figures I had at home, but still ended up getting Royal Guard Champion (imo this guy is as badass as Vader himself) and IG-88 (didn't have a minifig for him) and thanks to that the Imperial player can now have the option to get them as permanent allies (you don't get that option without the expansion pack).
I hear the Rebel Troopers also have ok campaign value, but I don't own those (yet?).

I have Lego Chewie and Han and I'm ok with that. The players already get a chance to ally with them in the base game.

General Weiss is for me overpriced. I can't justify 2 AT-ST's, even if they differ in weaponry. And the AT-ST makes players go wow but honestly it feels weird using that beast in the small maps of IA. Wish they sold a conversion pack instead, so you could just switch the parts - they are replaceable already anyway.


Since you're American, you probably have access to other ways of substituting the figures, be it buying single Lego figures or finding star wars miniatures of the right size :-)
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Chris Piorkowski
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bird94us wrote:
Thanks for the help, everyone. I'm not sure I'll be able to resist the lure of the dork side for much longer, so my next question is should I get Twin Shadows at the same time?

I've heard from people and reviews of the expansion packs that buying them halfway through a campaign lessens their utility, since the side missions are harder to incorporate, or people don't want to "go back", or things like that.

I'm not really interested in the skirmish portion of the game at all, so I'll focus on the campaigns.


To be honest, if you want to get the extra stuff you can just get the wave 1 stuff. That replaces the tokens with figures for the most part and tosses in a few more side missions or agenda decks to choose from. As for adding the other stuff later I just ran it by my group about adding some of the heavy storm troopers. Not a major change, just a different unit for me to use.it was split vote so I did not push the issue. It is nice to have the figs verses the tokens for some things. With out totally spoiling things there is a mission where you can have both Weiss and the normal AT-ST on the map. so having to large imposing units is cool.

The advantage to picking up twin shadows is to add the two extra heroes and the use of the condition of weaken.
 
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Craig C
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Gotcha. I'd love to have all the figs, of course, but don't relish spending the extra coin, especially since I'm not interested in what they add to the skirmish game.

Maybe there'll be a cyber Monday sale and I can grab a bunch of it.
 
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Chris Piorkowski
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Yeah they are nice to have to keep a cool visual of the game as you go. I have everything available so it is nice to have the figs to place on the board. The storm trooper pack is nice as they have a different pose. I haven't painted mine yet so it helps keep things apart. Especially when you field three units of storm troopers.

Enjoy the game and don't be shy from replaying a mission if the rebel players get frustrated. Learning the rules is part of the game. We replayed about 4 or 5 just to help understand things better.

As a side note, remind them as they gain money and experience things become somewhat eaiser for them combat wise.
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Craig C
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Yep, that'll be the challenge: sticking with it until the wins come. Me, I'm ok with the Rebels struggling (I may even use Redjak's AI and have us all play as a team) because it's thematic, and it makes the wins more meaningful if there have been losses as well.

I'd love to have painted minis, too, but haven't picked up the brushes since I jumped out of the WH40K money pit. Maybe this'll re-inspire me.
 
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Tomáš Sládek
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4 replays? That seems like too much of a drag... on my group people picked it up real easy during Aftermath (we didn't even do the tutorial mission so we could jump right in the campaign), although I did up the turn limit by 2 to make it easier for them.

Generally speaking I find the game balanced well, but the heroes have a tougher time if the Imp is the most seasoned gamer. Which, incidentally, happens often because it tends to be the owner :-D I think the Imp needs to GM it instead of being competitive, unless the rest of the group is good at games in general. For example I try to make thematic decisions for my units (i.e. run away or attack the Wookie that's threatening to chop you in half) as much as gamey ones (i.e. focus fire on the weakest link). We're at 3:3 so far :-)
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Chris Piorkowski
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Replayed 4 or 5 missions, just a second time to see if they could win. The rebels struggled with the objectives and understanding the game is activation management. A couple of times the group spent to much time plodding along killing troops in stead od using their activations towards reaching the objective. We were playing every two weeks for a stretch so replay a mission was a big deal. Just another excuse to get together and have a good time.
 
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