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Subject: What is wrong with combat rss

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Jason Sherlock
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There are a number of posts trying to fix combat in SW Rebellion. However, many of these fixes seem to address different (often diametrically opposed) issues.

What are the main problems that BGG users see in the combat system (multiple answers allowed).


Poll
What is wrong with the combat system in SW Rebellion
Takes too long
Too clunky (too much stuff to do for a simple result)
Not enough player control of the outcome
Too random
Not random enough
I don't like cards modifying my dice
I don't like dice based combat
I prefer standard pip dice rather than custom dice
Combat is not deadly enough
Combat is too deadly
Combat unreasonably favors the Imperials
Combat unreasonably favors the Rebels
Combat unreasonably favors the attacker
Combat unreasonably favors the defender
Leaders don't play enough of a role
Combat is not thematic enough
Should be a separate system for small scale vs. large scale combats
A bantha ate my homework
      274 answers
Poll created by jackalope



Add additional comments if the list didn't cover your concerns.
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Doug DeMoss
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I'm not sure if everybody intended it this way, but I picked "A bantha ate my homework" as a substitute for "Nothing."
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Brandon Holmes
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I don't hate the combat but it's unnecessarily long and uninteresting for the results. Add to the fact most outcomes are fairly expected and it seems like a waste of time. At least it is only two players usually so the opponent is interested in the results. In a multiplayer game this would really bug me.
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Moose Detective
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I think people are having so much fun playing the hide and seek and leader management parts of the game, that when they get into a fight, they consider it more as an interruption. This is even more noticeable in your first few games, when you have to keep checking the rules to make sure you're doing it right.

I'd also guess that most players are only initiating fights when they're pretty sure they can win, so having the cards and dice are overkill.

And then there's people who want to keep the battle cards so they can at least plan out attacks, because drawing new battle cards each time makes it seem more random.

But its just one of those early complains that someone is vocal about, then becomes a rallying cry to new players and nobody realizes when it goes away.
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Scott Muldoon (silentdibs)
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bholmes4 wrote:
I don't hate the combat but it's unnecessarily long and uninteresting for the results. Add to the fact most outcomes are fairly expected and it seems like a waste of time. At least it is only two players usually so the opponent is interested in the results. In a multiplayer game this would really bug me.


If most outcomes are fairly expected, you and your opponent could just agree to an outcome and move on.
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Angelus Seniores
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i feel that the combat the way its done tells a story of its own of action and suspense, it might take some time but draws you into the theme, so i like it as it is.
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Doug DeMoss
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If as the Rebels you aren't initiating combats that you KNOW you're going to lose, you're doing something wrong.
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Conan Meriadoc
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Honestly, the part I like the less is the tactics deck shuffling after the combat.

The second part is drawing cards during combat. When a dice throw results in lots of crossed lightsabers, combat slows down as the player decides die by die whether to draw or play a card, each time looking at the card drawn before deciding for the next die.

Other than that, I find the red/black dice system for light/heavy weapons brilliant, I like the way the combat unfolds, the initial leader's draw of tactics... the combat system in this game has a lot more upsides than downsides.
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Agreed. Needs more tactics cards. Other than that combat works just fine.
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Jason B
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Didn't see option "It's a mess".
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Chris
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A bantha ate my homework. = Nothing is wrong with Combat.
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Jason Sherlock
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jasonbaz77 wrote:
Didn't see option "It's a mess".


Would you like to be a bit more specific as to what constitutes a "mess" in your opinion? Otherwise, the comment doesn't really add meaningfully to the conversation.
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Scott Lewis
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demoss1 wrote:
If as the Rebels you aren't initiating combats that you KNOW you're going to lose, you're doing something wrong.

And, on that note, if you stick around to the bitter end, rather than scoring your objective and leaving, you're doing it wrong

Sure, sometimes a big Rebel force will be able to win a battle, but as Rebels especially, every battle should have a reason, and if you can't win it or score an objective, get out (or avoid the battle, if possible).
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Foggy Leggy
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IMHO..

1) The results are almost completely random and very swingy in stark contrast to the main game
2) During combat itself there's almost 0 decision making on your part in stark contrast to the main game
3) Understanding your opponent's mind is meaningless in stark contrast to the main game
4) The cards just add random elements on top of an already random element (dice) making them largely just another mechanical hoop to jump through because the decision about what to do with a card will almost always be obvious (Get a hit card? Score a hit. Get a block card? Play a block.) No decision making involved for almost any card drawn.

The only thing that matters is the number of units you bring. Even leaders with higher tactic values can all too often contribute nothing or nothing of significantly more value than a lower value leader which makes more card draws meaningless or completely luck based. Even if he draws good cards he needs to often roll even more tactics symbols to use them.

The mechanics and feel of the system when played are completely at odds with the rest of the game and the swings are nasty and the difference in leader values is often meaningless.

What DOES work about the combat might be a better question? The only thing I like is the mixed damage types but if you score the right damage card that's also meaningless because damage cards damage any unit type.

For comparison, go check my thread for alternate combat system. Combat now actually works pretty well even as a mini-game in and of itself that combines calculated risks and skill. Play the system a few times and you'll see that combat feels remarkably different when you're given more control. It now plays very similarly to the main game mechanically with players trying to guage what cards the other side has and will use and what they should do accordingly.
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gamerchef631 wrote:
A bantha ate my homework. = Nothing is wrong with Combat.

The same here, combat is good as is.
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Doug DeMoss
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gamer31141 wrote:
IMHO..

1) The results are almost completely random and very swingy in stark contrast to the main game
2) During combat itself there's almost 0 decision making on your part in stark contrast to the main game
3) Understanding your opponent's mind is meaningless in stark contrast to the main game
4) The cards just add random elements on top of an already random element (dice) making them largely just another mechanical hoop to jump through because the decision about what to do with a card will almost always be obvious (Get a hit card? Score a hit. Get a block card? Play a block.) No decision making involved for almost any card drawn.

The only thing that matters is the number of units you bring. Even leaders with higher tactic values can all too often contribute nothing or nothing of significantly more value than a lower value leader which makes more card draws meaningless or completely luck based. Even if he draws good cards he needs to often roll even more tactics symbols to use them.

The mechanics and feel of the system when played are completely at odds with the rest of the game and the swings are nasty and the difference in leader values is often meaningless.

What DOES work about the combat might be a better question? The only thing I like is the mixed damage types but if you score the right damage card that's also meaningless because damage cards damage any unit type.

For comparison, go check my thread for alternate combat system. Combat now actually works pretty well even as a mini-game in and of itself that combines calculated risks and skill. Play the system a few times and you'll see that combat feels remarkably different when you're given more control. It now plays very similarly to the main game mechanically with players trying to guage what cards the other side has and will use and what they should do accordingly.


No, the tactics cards DON'T just add randomness. They add uncertainty about what your opponent can do. It's a subtle but very important difference. Once you understand that, you'll realize that your point 2 - no meaningful decisions to be made - is also wrong.
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Scott Lewis
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gamer31141 wrote:
1) The results are almost completely random and very swingy in stark contrast to the main game

While I can see your other points, I couldn't disagree more with this one. While there is a luck factor involved, my experience is it's not nearly as swingy as this tries to make it sound. A vastly superior force will win almost every time. Sure, there's that little bit of chance the underdog will win, but that's rare.

In close matches, it's more 50/50, which is exactly what I'd expect from such a match - if you want better odds, have a better force.

Basically, I've found that what you bring into the battle has a big impact on what happens, and that it's not very swingy for a well-planned attack. Even with the inclusion of cards, an experienced player will know what COULD happen and have those in mind when they make the decision to attack or when choosing where to fortify fleets.

While in combat, the decisions are (relatively) few, even then I wouldn't call them "almost 0", though sometimes the decisions are more "press your luck" (do I assign extra damage to that ship to really kill it, or spread it out to try and kill more, and hope there's no damage blocks). Knowing what's in the game is important to making decisions that will help balance risk vs reward.

If you go into a battle crossing your fingers, then I would suggest that you've probably gone into battle unwisely.
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Joe Pilkus
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Scott,

I believe that I first encountered your posts on the TI3 forum and I always appreciated your straightforward manner.

After 20+ years in the military, coupled with my work as a hex-and-counter war game designer/developer, the best line I've read in awhile was "If you want better odds, have a better force."

Cheers,
Joe
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Derry Salewski
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One thing that unsettles me is that fighters and capital ships together seem to be a liability instead of a strength in large battles.
 
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Foggy Leggy
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sigmazero13 wrote:
In close matches, it's more 50/50, which is exactly what I'd expect from such a match - if you want better odds, have a better force.


I agree with this 100%.

That's not the issue.

The issue is that if this is the only significant control you have (which is what I said previously) why bother with tactics cards and leader tactics levels? Why not just have a straight roll off based on the number of units you brought? The leaders and tactics decks add clutter because there's no guarantee they'll be useful, which makes it random which means why bother to include these mechanics at all? If you're going to make something complicated, give people control otherwise why is the complexity even there?

demoss1 wrote:

No, the tactics cards DON'T just add randomness. They add uncertainty about what your opponent can do.


There comes a point where too much uncertainty effectively equals random.

There are 15 cards in the space deck with 9 possible effects (10 if using the ground deck). Let's assume you draw three and so does the opponent. Assuming you drew three cards that have no duplicates in the deck that means you're facing off against 6 possible effects. If you drew three of the same you're facing off against 8 different effects. If you drew three different cards that have duplicates in the deck you're facing off any combination of 9 different effects. Could be attack, could be defense, could be random. There is almost no combination of cards you could draw that would given you any meaningful information of what you're opponent is able to do because there are too many different effects in the deck, so how can you anticipate his intent?

The only meaningful information that may come out of this is if you draw three block cards because the maximum amount of blocking that can take place in any combat is capped at 7 (3 x block 1 damage, 2 x play a card to block two damage) and thus you know your opponent's maximum block potential is 4. If you don't draw this, your info is meaningless because the maximum amount of damage potential in any battle is based on the units you bring. If you roll 10 dice, your damage potential is between 0 to 13 in one round of combat!

Even if you know his block potential is limited, if you draw cards you can't play because you don't roll enough tactics symbols or because you have no use for them (i.e. escape plan) even knowing his block potential is almost worthless because it's information you can't really use in any way thus it's entirely likely that it doesn't affect your actions in the least.

demoss1 wrote:
It's a subtle but very important difference. Once you understand that, you'll realize that your point 2 - no meaningful decisions to be made - is also wrong.


I'll amend my earlier statement to "few" meaningful decisions to be made. So few in fact that I question the value of the tactic/leader component altogether as applied.



 
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Giliar Perez
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demoss1 wrote:
I'm not sure if everybody intended it this way, but I picked "A bantha ate my homework" as a substitute for "Nothing."


yeah, same
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Scott Lewis
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gamer31141 wrote:
sigmazero13 wrote:
In close matches, it's more 50/50, which is exactly what I'd expect from such a match - if you want better odds, have a better force.


I agree with this 100%.

That's not the issue.

The issue is that if this is the only significant control you have (which is what I said previously) why bother with tactics cards and leader tactics levels? Why not just have a straight roll off based on the number of units you brought? The leaders and tactics decks add clutter because there's no guarantee they'll be useful, which makes it random which means why bother to include these mechanics at all? If you're going to make something complicated, give people control otherwise why is the complexity even there?

I think here's where we disagree. While I don't think the level of control is the same as the more strategic level, I think the tactics cards and damage assignment choices are still significant enough to make it interesting (at least for me). Some cards are no brainers like blocks (why save them if you can use them now most of the time), but some, you want to wait until you can see how you use them.

Plus, it's the hidden factor that can affect the other player - since they don't know if you have blocks, they have to decide if they want to overkill a ship to make sure it dies or not.

It's not super deep, but for me it works fine.
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Foggy Leggy
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sigmazero13 wrote:
It's not super deep, but for me it works fine.


Hey, if it works for you then it works for you. No issues there.

I do see why other people are annoyed with it though. I already wrote a thread elsewhere about this but I came up with what I think is a much better combat system which I think is truer to the spirit of the main game. I won't rehash in detail here but I proposed dividing the 15 cards into an offense, defense and misc effects pile and drawing from those (along with a few other tweaks).

Directed card draws allow you to realistically aim for cards you want out of a pile of 5. Even when you don't get what you want, you know what else you might get instead so you get choices aligned to purposes rather than a single deck that could give you anything. It turns a lot of the luck factor of drawing from one larger deck to into calculated risks by drawing from smaller ones. If you get all the cards you want, you can string them together for terrific effects similar to the missions in the main game. The probabilities just have to be high enough to support the risks.
 
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Matthieu Fontaines
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stevelabny wrote:

I'd also guess that most players are only initiating fights when they're pretty sure they can win, so having the cards and dice are overkill.


As a rebel you are rarely "pretty sure to win", since a lot of the time you will either attack a Star Destroyer or a Death star to earn reputation and end the game and these are rarely without escort (it is a error of the imperial in this case)

I think rebel player must take "desperate actions", taking its chances to destroy those objectives, and sometime loose most of it's fleet in the process

I selected "a bantha ate my homework", since I don't find the combat system to be too complicate or game breaking.
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Deena Pilgrim
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"Too clunky (too much stuff to do for a simple result)"

I fully agree with that. Combat should have been made simpler and more elegant.
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