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Star Wars: Imperial Assault» Forums » Variants

Subject: Removing the round limit? rss

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Arthur
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I'd love some variant/balance advice from you fine folks.

I'm running an Imperial Assault campaign for a group of casual gamers at work. They LOVE the gameplay, the theme, the minis, etc, but are a little non-plussed by how harried many of the missions are.

The round limitation adds a sense of urgency, but my players want a little more space to mix it up with the baddies and use their skills instead of making a b-line for the objectives and fighting only as needed.

I've been trying to figure out how to balance adding additional rounds or removing the round limits entirely. Should I get a bunch more threat? More activiations? Any other ideas?
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Paul B
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Uh, skirmish mode? Return to Hoth adds 4 player skirmish.
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Pasi Ojala
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Get the Imperial Assault Campaign module for Vassal from http://www.vassalengine.org/wiki/Module:Star_Wars:_Imperial_Assault
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Limit the number of Rest actions the rebels can perform.
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Angelus Seniores
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for removing the timing limit, it might indeed be an idea to work with increasing threat level.
i would say to increase the threat level by 1 after every 3-4 rounds.
though, since every mission plays different, this may not work on all missions.
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Todd
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Have you looked ahead at all? We felt like it got better with later adventures. You're still rushed, but not in the same way.

I think, though, that even if you add additional threat, adding extra rounds will make some adventures WAY too easy for the heroes. If you don't care (which I know in many cases you don't) then it isn't any big deal, but I'd be prepared to lose a lot even with extra threat.

If Intrinsic Matt gave us more rounds, it wouldn't matter how much threat he took. We'd walk all over him. Part of that might be how evil of an overlord you are though...
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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There's actually quite a few missions without a round limit, but the "rushed" feeling is still there. IMHO, the 'fix' to this feeling would be missions that had low threat generation but high threat at specific events. Plus, there would need to be a limit to how the heroes can heal. The first mission in the Hoth game has a mechanic similar to this, and our group really liked it. I'd love to see similar missions, the constant spawn, rush to objective, spawn is a little tiresome.

-shnar
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Arthur
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Interesting ideas!

So the approach that popped into my head would be start with additional threat, and maybe even additional reserve units to spend it on. Maybe I wouldn't remove the round limit entirely, but increase it by say 2 rounds.

I don't know how much additional threat would balance that equation. Maybe double the base starting threat and increase the threat-per-round by 1? I'd probably have to look at it on a mission-by-mission basis.

Limiting the rest actions for players is an interesting idea too. Maybe each player can only rest once per activation, or maybe resting is an entire turn?

Thoughts?
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Todd
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I'd make resting a whole turn action. They're going to have to NEED to do it for it to be worth it.
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Pasi Ojala
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Get the Imperial Assault Campaign module for Vassal from http://www.vassalengine.org/wiki/Module:Star_Wars:_Imperial_Assault
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I was thinking in the lines of a total maximum number times Rest can be used during a certain mission, depending on the original round limit. It would keep everything else the same, but would create pressure on the rebels for going for objectives instead of just resting round after round.

But I can't guess what the ratio would need to be.
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Andrew P
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My group got fed up with the round limits, so we removed it and added a threat penalty. So if the mission is supposed to only have 8 rounds, on the 9th round, threat is increased 1.5x normal (so if threat is 4, for the 9th round it becomes 6, with threat rounded up for 1/2 numbers).
This increases the sense of urgency as well as difficulty, without have the game just end for no reason.

It has worked well for us so far!
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Arthur
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cubsfan4life wrote:
My group got fed up with the round limits, so we removed it and added a threat penalty. So if the mission is supposed to only have 8 rounds, on the 9th round, threat is increased 1.5x normal (so if threat is 4, for the 9th round it becomes 6, with threat rounded up for 1/2 numbers).
This increases the sense of urgency as well as difficulty, without have the game just end for no reason.

It has worked well for us so far!


That's an interesting solution. Does the Imperial player ever win? I tried doubling the starting threat and that didn't make a ton of difference. It's early in the campaign though.
 
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Canada
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If threat increase isn't enough, you could try a little more. Enemies get an extra random die on attack and gain +1 armor on defense.
 
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Jean-Yves Moyen
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I tried something in that direction. After a Bespin campaign last week where my Rebels got crushed, we played a Tatooine campaign this week. I replaced the 'hard' time limit by a 'soft' one of doubling the threat level at the scheduled end of scenario (and giving full reward to everybody in case of rebel victory over time).

The problem with this approach is that scenarios are quite balanced for optimizing players. Meaning that in my (not so long) experience (~12-15 scenarios played total), the end condition often triggers on the last activation of the last round (rebel victory) or the first activation over time (imperial victory). In the 2nd and 3rd scenarios of the TS campaign, rebels won on the very first activation over time, thus the extra threat I gained was basically pointless as it did not get a chance to be used. Whether I double the threat level or multiply it by 10 doesn't matter... Thus, giving more turns even with extra threat makes it way too easy for the rebels.

For the same reasons, giving enemies a boost over time may also be pointless. If all you need is to activate that terminal you're standing next to, boosting enemies has no effect. If the boss only has 1 or 2 HP left, boosting him a bit won't change (if you're reliably doing 5-6 damages per attack, typically) and boosting him a lot (so that 3-4 attacks are needed instead of 1-2), might turn him into an unkillable tank...

Because I've pretty often seen the rebels loosing by a single activation (or a couple of activations), I have the feeling that tilting the balance toward the rebels without tilting it too much is pretty hard, and balancing time with threat is not that satisfactory.

Balancing time with rest limit as suggested by Pasi is interesting, but I also have no idea on how to do it precisely (and again, given that the balance is, in my limited experience, only very slightly tilted toward the imperials, doing it wrong might completely unbalance the game). Maybe, having rest cost money (medkits to buy), possibly spent in advance (start the game with X medkits, always infinite supply of these during upgrade) would do (rest too often and you won't have money for upgrading your gear) without feeling too artificial ("why can we only rest 10 times all of us?") Or maybe have rest only remove strain and medkits to actually heal. Limiting the number of rest might also make the healing powers of some heroes more powerful...


I feel that for not too competitive plays, we should play it much more like an RPG than a board game. That is, the IP becomes a GM and can change scenarios rules as feel needed to tell the story (give more turns, more flavor text of "alarm rings, new patrols come", pick open groups on the fly, ... and especially ignore that final line of "foo wins"). Basically, telling the story of infiltrating a Star Destroyer, blow it up and willingly sacrifice yourself in the process makes a great story for everybody, filled with all the emotional content you need to want to retell it later. It doesn't matter who "won" (just like in a RPG the GM does not play against the players and at the end of the campaign, nobody "wins").
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Our TS final was Fire in the Sky, Fenn was incapacited next to the Bridge on round 6 (after the console was sliced) and could not make it back to the entrance in time, but everybody else was there on round 8 (out of 9).
Per rules, it's an Imperial victory. On the bigger picture, blowing up an ISD at the cost of one rebel agent is a huge gain for the Rebellion. From a story point of view, a heavily wounded Fenn sitting next to the bridge and willingly telling his comrades "I won't make it, run away and I'll shoot them to slow down the pursuit and make sure you escape" is just an extremely good ending (I mean, I can just see him bleeding and sitting next to the wall, painfully firing a couple of shots at 'troopers muttering "come on suckers, there's plenty more where that come from!")

I'll try something in that direction next, also trying to add more RP moments between missions rather than just "get XP, buy stuff" (eg, presenting sides missions as "you have intel on that and that" rather than "we just drew these cards").
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Drew Williams
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Just sat and read through this thread. Was surprised to hear so much dislike for the turn limit.

Just to clarify, is it the fact the turn limit is arbitrary or do the players not like the fact that they don't get to take the optimal moves clearing the 'dungeon' as they go?

I for one really enjoy the fact every threat has to be assessed in terms of fight, ignore or evade.

One thing our imperial player did during our play through was adopt a more role playing attitude to the game. We had a rushed briefing before the mission started, that the signal was uploading at this very moment (we were 'given' a data pad that was monitoring the upload) we tore out of the base at 12% uploaded completed.

We jumped in a waiting transport and tore towards the source. We each introduced our character as the counter ticked up (slow counter on a laptop).

Imperial player stopped us at 89% with a hot lz insertion then manually ticked the clock up 2% at the beginning of every turn.

Was brilliant absolutely nail biting!
 
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Jean-Yves Moyen
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The thing that bother me with the turn limit is the threshold effect it creates.
Finish the mission on the last activation of the last round of the scenario, it is a rebel victory. Finish it on the first activation of the round after the limit, it is an imperial victory.

The difference between the two may be just one rebel action, so very small all in all (6×4×2 = 48 actions in a 6 round scenario, so we’re speaking about ~2% difference), but the difference in the result is huge (often ±1XP, ±1 influence and ±400 credits).

As an IP, I've more than often seen my rebel players loosing by one single action (that is, they just need one interaction to finish the scenario and are adjacent to that terminal, or the boss is at 1 or 2 HP, …) It always felt a bit unfair and frustrating for my rebel players (three different groups).

What I'm doing right now in a PBF campaign is to remove the turn limit but use some RP stuff to mention that it is here and that at some point I'm doubling my threat gain (eg : "the door opens, alarms ring, in 3 round, reinforcements will be here"). Next, when I'm giving rewards at the end I try and make an interpolation given the moment the scenario was finished, the number of rebels I've wounded, … and give credits according to all that. That allows me to be a bit more finely grained in my rewards than the normal "all or nothing".

So far (we’ve played 2 scenarios, but because I have 8 players we’re playing several missions in parallel…) it is working rather well I thing. But it is also due because I am considering this campaign as a RPG more than a wargame, so I am acting as a Game Master more than an IP (the goal of the IP is to crush the rebels –it's the opponent–, so giving the IP too much decision power about the progression of players is bad –it is abusable to crush the rebels–; OTOH, the goal of the GM is also that everybody has fun –it's also an arbiter and a narrator–).
 
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