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Xia: Legends of a Drift System» Forums » General

Subject: Survey question relevant for Solo campaign rss

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Ira Fay
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Hello all! To get the largest sample size possible, I'd like to ask the following question to the BGG community.

Consider the 21 possible upgrades below. In the 10+ game solo campaign included the forthcoming expansion, players get 1 upgrade after each game, which they keep for the rest of the campaign. My design goal with these upgrades is to ensure they are balanced and fun. Specifically, I want players to disagree on which are best and which are worst.

Please sort the upgrades below in the order you'd take them
Use spoiler text [o] and [/o] to keep your response hidden to avoid biasing others, or just email me privately. Also note if anything seems obviously way too good or too weak, or if it was a hard decision.

+1 to each engine use
+3 instead
+5 instead

+1 to each shield, blaster, and missile use
+3 instead
+5 instead

+3 impulse
As an action, heal 1 damage or gain 1 energy (1/turn)
Instead, a minor action and 2/turn *

+3 to any mission roll
All mission actions are now minor actions
Scan for 0 energy from anywhere on a sector **

Tier 1 & 2 powers cost 0 energy
Tier 3 powers cost 0 energy, and tier 3 ships costs 2000 cR less
May upgrade tier 3 to tier 1 ***

Re-arm a marker mid-turn as an action that costs 8 energy (1/turn)
5 energy instead
2 energy instead

When taking Buy action, +1 matching cube from supply (1/turn)
When taking Sell action, +1000 cR (1/turn)
+2000 starting cR


Each paragraph is a separate chain of upgrades. You need to take the first line before you can get the 2nd, and the 2nd before you can get the 3rd. A typical campaign will last ~12 games, so you'll get about half these upgrades by the end.

* Remember that you can take minor actions even when stranded.

** You may choose an unexplored edge and scan it, even if your ship isn't on that edge, as long as it's somewhere on the sector.

*** "Upgrading" from Tier 3 to 1 does make your ship smaller, but it only costs 1000 cR, earns a FP as usual, and lets you get a new ship power. You can loop multiple times if you have enough credits.

Assuming you haven't played solo yet, it's similar to multiplayer except that you need to do more of the exploration yourself (only 1 new sector appears each round beyond what you do yourself), and you almost always get attacked or need to think about getting attacked. I know some playgroups don't play a lot of combat, but in solo, it's definitely something that will be a factor.
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Edwin Woody
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I don't have time to play test anything right now, as one of our grown children died suddenly. I am still kind of out of it.

But... the first things I looked for is something to improve mining or something to improve salvaging operations. Addressing those aspects of the game as well widens the possibilities presented by the solo game.

I realize that the base game has so far addressed those things only through fame cards, but a number of player mods have mining outfits and surely those in some form will get some attention in future releases (if only so availability of special crewmembers can be limited to those who improve systems installed on a particular ship).

Mining and junk harvesting now please.

Also, thank you for taking on this huge job Ira, I should have said that first.
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Jason Rodney
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Hey Edwin,

Good thoughts on the game. I would like to offer up prayers to you and your family. May God give you and your family strength through this time.
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Jason Rodney
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Spoiler (click to reveal)

When taking Sell action, +1000 cR (1/turn)
+3 to each shield, blaster, and missile use
+3 to each engine use
As an action, heal 1 damage or gain 1 energy (1/turn)
+3 impulse
Scan for 0 energy from anywhere on a sector **
Re-arm a marker mid-turn as an action that costs 5 energy (1/turn)
When taking Buy action, +1 matching cube from supply (1/turn)
 
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Ira Fay
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I'm so sorry for your loss.

Regarding XIA, the expansion adds an Enviro-Shield, which directly supports mining and harvesting strategies.

Regarding my question above, I'm really just asking about those 21 upgrades, and if you got to choose between them, what order would you choose them. In other words, which do you think is most powerful and least powerful, and in what combination.

Thanks!
 
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Ira Fay
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Jae_Knight wrote:
Spoiler (click to reveal)

When taking Sell action, +1000 cR (1/turn)
+3 to each shield, blaster, and missile use
+3 to each engine use
As an action, heal 1 damage or gain 1 energy (1/turn)
+3 impulse
Scan for 0 energy from anywhere on a sector **
Re-arm a marker mid-turn as an action that costs 5 energy (1/turn)
When taking Buy action, +1 matching cube from supply (1/turn)


Spoiler (click to reveal)
Thanks for the reply, Jason! Note that you seem to have taken some upgrades out of order. For example, to be allowed to take the upgrade: +1000 cR when selling, you first need to take the upgrade about buying. Similarly, you can't get +3 to your outfits before taking the appropriate +1 upgrade. Either way, thanks for your reply. I'd love to hear your updated order after understanding the prereqs. Thanks!
 
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Bern Harkins
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Spoiler (click to reveal)

+3 impulse
As an action, heal 1 damage or gain 1 energy (1/turn)
Instead, a minor action and 2/turn *
(Easily number one. Greater flexibility from the improved impulse, and potentially immunity to stranding.)

+3 to any mission roll
All mission actions are now minor actions
Scan for 0 energy from anywhere on a sector **
(Complete a mission and keep the rest of your move? Very nice indeed.)

+1 to each engine use
+3 instead
+5 instead
(Move or die.)

+1 to each shield, blaster, and missile use
+3 instead
+5 instead
(OK then, YOU die.)

Tier 1 & 2 powers cost 0 energy
Tier 3 powers cost 0 energy, and tier 3 ships costs 2000 cR less
May upgrade tier 3 to tier 1 ***
(Situational. Depends on powers, but the ability to keep improving is nice.)

When taking Buy action, +1 matching cube from supply (1/turn)
When taking Sell action, +1000 cR (1/turn)
+2000 starting cR
(Money is very helpful, but the game is about fame points. Still, this is nearly as good as the upgrade above.)

Re-arm a marker mid-turn as an action that costs 8 energy (1/turn)
5 energy instead
2 energy instead
(If I were more combat oriented, I would rate this higher... perhaps much higher.)




Even though I was able to decide on an order based on my play style, I could see taking any of these if I wanted to play idfferently. Nice job of keeping them at about equal value.
 
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Ira Fay
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Great! For my reference, did you play any of the solo game yet? (Most people haven't, but we did make the rules available, so theoretically it's possible.) Thanks!
 
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Bern Harkins
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No plays on the solo rules as yet, though I did a four ship "solo" run through when I first got it, to learn the rules.
 
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John Breckenridge
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ira212 wrote:
Please sort the upgrades below in the order you'd take them


Spoiler (click to reveal)

+3 to any mission roll
All mission actions are now minor actions
Scan for 0 energy from anywhere on a sector **

+3 impulse
As an action, heal 1 damage or gain 1 energy (1/turn)
Instead, a minor action and 2/turn *

When taking Buy action, +1 matching cube from supply (1/turn)
When taking Sell action, +1000 cR (1/turn)
+2000 starting cR

+1 to each engine use
+3 instead
+5 instead

+1 to each shield, blaster, and missile use
+3 instead
+5 instead

Tier 1 & 2 powers cost 0 energy
Tier 3 powers cost 0 energy, and tier 3 ships costs 2000 cR less
May upgrade tier 3 to tier 1 ***

Re-arm a marker mid-turn as an action that costs 8 energy (1/turn)
5 energy instead
2 energy instead

 
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Ira Fay
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Thanks!
 
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R B
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Spoiler (click to reveal)
the ability to scan,nor free, from anywhere in the sector seems really powerful if there is any sort of clock in the solo game.
 
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Ira Fay
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Spoiler (click to reveal)
rbeall88 wrote:
the ability to scan,nor free, from anywhere in the sector seems really powerful if there is any sort of clock in the solo game.

Yes, it's powerful, but so is +5 to all engine rolls, rearming any marker 1/turn, or any of the other tier 3 upgrades. The solo game campaign also has high requirements for victory, like winning a 5 point game in one turn, or winning a 20 point game when the NPCs start at 10 FP. It's designed to ramp up in difficulty and power level.

Would you really take the tier 3 mission ability first, before any of the other upgrade options? So far, only one person put that first. Generally, I've seen a lot of disagreement on which is best and which is worst, which is exactly what I want from a design perspective. RB, I'd love to see your full ordering of the 21 upgrades.
 
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Derek Dyer
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Spoiler (click to reveal)
When taking Buy action, +1 matching cube from supply (1/turn)
When taking Sell action, +1000 cR (1/turn)
Tier 1 & 2 powers cost 0 energy
Tier 3 powers cost 0 energy, and tier 3 ships costs 2000 cR less

+3 to any mission roll
All mission actions are now minor actions
Scan for 0 energy from anywhere on a sector **

+3 impulse
As an action, heal 1 damage or gain 1 energy (1/turn)
Instead, a minor action and 2/turn *

Re-arm a marker mid-turn as an action that costs 8 energy (1/turn)
5 energy instead
2 energy instead

+1 to each engine use
+3 to each engine use
+5 to each engine use

+1 to each shield, blaster, and missile use
+3 to each shield, blaster, and missile use
+5 to each shield, blaster, and missile use

+2000 starting cR
May upgrade tier 3 to tier 1 ***


It's easiest to filter these at first by which ones I don't want. Then which ones I want immedietly, then deciding about the rest. So that's what I've done, and how I'll explain my thought process.

Starting credits are not very important to me, as the 3rd in its tree I'm pretty much never taking it. Upgrading from T3->T1 is interesting, but if I'm taking it, it's something that I'm focusing the entire campaign around, so on average I'm never taking it. Flat bonus on rolls isn't particularly interesting, besides I'd rather do that with mods in-game than these outside of game. However the 1/3/5 is a solid improvement over the last iteration.

Rearming a marker for 2 energy is a great ability, but 8 is way too expensive, might use that once or twice per game and very situational. Five energy is a little better, but still using that rarely. I initially put these 3 upgrades together, after +3 to any mission roll, and it's the only thing I decided to change after putting my list together. The other upgrades give a solid return for each upgrade spent, where these upgrades only pay off after spending the 3rd point. It's decently balanced though.

The Buy and Sell upgrades are solid, and are good regardless of what goal you're going for, same with the T1&2 costing zero energy. I wouldn't normally take the upgrade for T3 abilities to cost zero, but with that -2k purchase cost as a kicker, its a pretty solid get at that point.

The last decision is between "scan for 0 from anywhere" and "minor action 2 energy/repair". It's a pretty hard decision. I don't forsee becoming stranded very often, I like missions, and they're a solid way to earn FP which is really important in Solo. On top of that each upgrade in that tree is solid in its own right, while +3 Impulse isn't terribly interesting to me, and the middle ability is fine, but is subsumed into the 3rd upgrade so is just a means to an end.

In fact the only suggested change that I have would make the decision between these two trees a lot harder. What if as an action you got 1 Energy *and* repair 1 damage. The next ability would stay the same. So on your turn you could choose. You still get protection against becoming stranded. You can gain 2 of either as a minor action whenever you want, or you can still get 1 of each, but not if you're stranded. It makes it less like your losing an ability, instead you're gaining more options.
 
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Ira Fay
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Spoiler (click to reveal)
Calinor wrote:
Starting credits are not very important to me, as the 3rd in its tree I'm pretty much never taking it.
Wow. That's very interesting to hear. Based on playtesting information, and the previous iterations of this upgrade chart, starting credits were some of the highest valued upgrades by many players (myself included). One way I think about it: if I start with 2000cR, I'm probably getting a d6 engine and d6 shield. If I had 4000, I have so much flexibility: bigger engine, bigger shield, save some money for buy actions, etc. The flexibility and initial boost seems to be highly valued by many players. What's interesting is that I've heard from several people with this newest iteration that they want the +2000 credits, but the Buy and Sell upgrades aren't as appealing to them, so they wouldn't prioritize that branch. Maybe I'll do +2000 starting credits, and +1000 credits during first business phase.

Basically what I'm learning is that players disagree on what's best, and that's exactly what I want for this design!

Calinor wrote:
Upgrading from T3->T1 is interesting, but if I'm taking it, it's something that I'm focusing the entire campaign around
That's up to you. It's a cheaper way of generating FP vs. buying them (12k for 3 FP instead of 15k), and some NPCs care about the tier of your ship. I think for people who care about maximizing campaign score, this upgrade will be important, but I'm not sure. I'm actually considering decreasing the tier 3 discount to 1000 instead of 2000, but it probably will stay at 2000.

Calinor wrote:
It's decently balanced though.
...
It's a pretty hard decision.
Great! That's exactly the way I want players to feel.

Calinor wrote:
In fact the only suggested change that I have would make the decision between these two trees a lot harder.
I'm happy to make hard decisions, but it seems like it depends a lot on the player. You are basically suggesting a powerup to the heal/gain energy abilities, by making it an AND instead of an OR. Obviously there are many ways to power it up, like larger values but retaining the OR. But, other players have told me that the impulse category of upgrades would be their top pick already. If I powered up that category even more, it wouldn't make it a harder decision for them, just an easier one.

So, what I'm doing is listening to everyone and seeing if there are any common patterns of choices - are there any upgrades that are picked first/near-first by almost everyone? anything picked last or near-last by everyone? Fortunately, I'm pleased to say that there aren't such patterns that I can detect, and therefore that means the current balance is pretty good.
 
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Sky Zero
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What does +3 or +5 instead mean?
 
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Derek Dyer
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skyzero wrote:
What does +3 or +5 instead mean?

+1 to each engine use
+3 to each engine use
+5 to each engine use

+1 to each shield, blaster, and missile use
+3 to each shield, blaster, and missile use
+5 to each shield, blaster, and missile use

The upgrades are basically trees, where you have to take the one before it in it's 3part grouping. So "instead" means: the same as above but with this new value instead.
 
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Javier Esteban
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Spoiler (click to reveal)
+3 to any mission roll
All mission actions are now minor actions
Scan for 0 energy from anywhere on a sector **

Tier 1 & 2 powers cost 0 energy
Tier 3 powers cost 0 energy, and tier 3 ships costs 2000 cR less
May upgrade tier 3 to tier 1 ***

+1 to each engine use
+3 instead
+5 instead

+1 to each shield, blaster, and missile use
+3 instead
+5 instead

+3 impulse
As an action, heal 1 damage or gain 1 energy (1/turn)
Instead, a minor action and 2/turn *

Re-arm a marker mid-turn as an action that costs 8 energy (1/turn)
5 energy instead
2 energy instead

When taking Buy action, +1 matching cube from supply (1/turn)
When taking Sell action, +1000 cR (1/turn)
+2000 starting cR


The first 4 ones are clear for me. The rest...

I have played solo several times to learn the rules.
 
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Ira Fay
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Thank you for the response! More data is appreciated.
 
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Sky Zero
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Spoiler (click to reveal)

+1 to each engine use
+3 instead
+5 instead

+1 to each shield, blaster, and missile use
+3 instead
+5 instead


Really like those two and seem to address many common "concerns" raised with the game.
 
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Ira Fay
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Great, thanks!
 
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