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Star Wars: Imperial Assault» Forums » Variants

Subject: Balancing the game for more "newbie" players rss

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Nathan Lewis
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Hey all,

I'm a person who loves strategy games, be it video games or board games. When crossing that boundary to strategy however, it currently means that I have to play with my family. The thing is, they are not the best strategically and in co-op games I typically (by accident) table captain which ruins the fun. This leaves me worried that when I become the bad guy, the rest of my family may struggle (which sounds terribly arrogant and egotistical, but again, I usually table captain).

I'm looking for an easy way to balance the campaign. I haven't gotten the game yet but will almost certainly get it for Xmas. I've seen some play throughs, and the IP looks pretty damn powerful and generally has to GM anyway (And I'm typically a pseudo-GM in our games anyway). I've seen people remove the time limit for the mission, some people adding additional threat after the time limit and other stuff as well. Maybe restricting my resources?

If you have any suggestions, then please do post below. I don't mind losing games if it means I can have a good time with my family, which is what really matters when I play games.

Oh, and a side question: Is it worth getting an extra set of dice? As it looks like there's just enough dice to play the game with. Thanks!
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Paul B
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An easy one is to "forget" to give threat on certain turns. In the excitement of the game the heroes don't notice very often haha. Other than that, attack targets which may not be best in that situation and remind them of what they can and cannot do etc. Just be helpful.
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Nathan Lewis
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Schneeky wrote:
An easy one is to "forget" to give threat on certain turns. In the excitement of the game the heroes don't notice very often haha. Other than that, attack targets which may not be best in that situation and remind them of what they can and cannot do etc. Just be helpful.


That threat idea sounds quite nice and simple to implement. If they're getting their asses handed to them I'll just ease off the gas slightly. And sub-optimal play is something I'll try to do, but... Well, Min-Maxing is FUN.
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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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You have to coach the players so that they remember how to use strain for movement points and recover strain from attacks. (Heroes being able to perform both actions for attacks has their power.) And naturally remember their special actions and abilities.

Leaving your figures where the rebels can easily attack them is a clear suboptimal play, except when the rebels should not be attacking them and advance their mission objective instead.

Also:
What are some crazy or common rule-breaking mistakes your group made whilst learning the game?

I'm sure almost every group will play a few things wrong when they start - even after multiple missions.
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Nathan Lewis
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a1bert wrote:
You have to coach the players so that they remember how to use strain for movement points and recover strain from attacks. (Heroes being able to perform both actions for attacks has their power.) And naturally remember their special actions and abilities.

Leaving your figures where the rebels can easily attack them is a clear suboptimal play, except when the rebels should not be attacking them and advance their mission objective instead.

Also:
What are some crazy or common rule-breaking mistakes your group made whilst learning the game?

I'm sure almost every group will play a few things wrong when they start - even after multiple missions.


Thanks for the tips! I'll be sure to take on a coaching role, especially during the tutorial mission. And I'll take a look at that thread as well.
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Nathan Lewis
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Oh, and is there a weaker Imp deck that's weaker than the rest? Thanks.
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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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Military Might starts strong (Show of Force), Subversive Tactics is annoying and new rebels won't know how to fight it, so probably Technological Superiority is a good choice if you only have the core. It can also become quite powerful later if you need it to.
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Thomas with Subtrendy
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A couple of tips from my experience:

Rather than just "throwing" the game, try to focus more on making the experience fun! Instead of scheming on what units would do best before each single mission, instead bring along units that would contribute to flavor. For instance, if you're on a desert map and have one open group available, take along some Tusken Raiders instead of an EProbe Droid or Hired Guns.

Also, don't be afraid of bringing in big guys. Though terrifying, the AT-ST really isn't all that great in a campaign, and it will be immensely satisfying for your Rebels to take it down. Same goes for heroes like Boba Fett, or creatures like the Bantha.

However- just because I advise a weaker planning does not mean I support simply letting the Rebels win. Plan your games around theme and fun, but then try your hardest with what you've given yourself. With the AT-ST- it's fun to bring down a walker that's taken some shots at your Rebels, less fun to put one out of its misery after it simply walked around in circles for two turns.
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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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The core box doesn't give much room for flavor and variance though. You won't have all those nice groups that you mention with just the core box.

I have everything released this far, so having the options available, I have noticed that I start going into the thematic direction myself. And I'm also using groups that are not available yet. (For example Weequay Pirates, Jet Troopers, and Dewback Rider.)

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Riccardo Simoni
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Another way to balance the game is to implement some semi-official house rules to prevent the snowball effect that happens once 1 side starts winning missions one after the other. After 3-4 consecutive wins there is basically no way for the other side to catch up. This is, in my opinion, number 1 reason for some player to quit, that is when you realise that you basically stand no chance and each mission is just a repetition of the previous frustrating experience.

One of the designers - Jonathan Ying - proposed a simple but effective way to mitigate that, which is

"A house rule I use personally when playing campaigns, if one side loses a Story mission, they are guaranteed full rewards in the next story mission even if they lose. If the other side still wins that next mission then both sides get full rewards. This really closes the snowball gap, but still means that consistently winning will keep you pretty strong."

I never used it as I learned about it only after I completed my last long Return to Hoth campaign. Since there I only played short campaigns which are more balanced in my opinion (the IP managed to lose the final mission after winning ALL the previous missions).

source: https://www.reddit.com/r/ImperialAssaultTMG/comments/4u24y5/...

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Nathan Lewis
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Those all sound like great suggestions. I'll only get the game at Xmas, but I'll think about expansions later perhaps. I'm also going to try and get my family back into the habit of playing a game every weekend so a campaign won't be too hard to deal with.
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MadeOf RealPanthers
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My favourite way to balance the game is to take sub-optimal units in as the IP. Avoid really strong units such as Royal Guards or elite probe droids or elite storm troopers. Of course, you can't control what you get for free as part of missions, but still...

And yes, avoid subversive tactics. Between surgical strike and weary target, it's very hard to make much use of special abilities without wasting valuable activations resting, and this can be very frustrating for Rebels. I'm not sure there is an obvious counter for this deck - though I expect Pasi knows best!!
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Nathan Lewis
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sexpanther wrote:
My favourite way to balance the game is to take sub-optimal units in as the IP. Avoid really strong units such as Royal Guards or elite probe droids or elite storm troopers. Of course, you can't control what you get for free as part of missions, but still...

And yes, avoid subversive tactics. Between surgical strike and weary target, it's very hard to make much use of special abilities without wasting valuable activations resting, and this can be very frustrating for Rebels. I'm not sure there is an obvious counter for this deck - though I expect Pasi knows best!!


Sounds like a good idea. I'll have to look carefully at what I can take. I'm thinking of taking the technology deck at this point

Also, would it be better for my three rebel players to have three characters (easier to manage) or to have 4 characters (No risk of scaling mis-balance?
 
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Nathan Lewis
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sexpanther wrote:
My favourite way to balance the game is to take sub-optimal units in as the IP. Avoid really strong units such as Royal Guards or elite probe droids or elite storm troopers. Of course, you can't control what you get for free as part of missions, but still...

And yes, avoid subversive tactics. Between surgical strike and weary target, it's very hard to make much use of special abilities without wasting valuable activations resting, and this can be very frustrating for Rebels. I'm not sure there is an obvious counter for this deck - though I expect Pasi knows best!!


Sounds like a good idea. I'll have to look carefully at what I can take. I'm thinking of taking the technology deck at this point

Also, would it be better for my three rebel players to have three characters (easier to manage) or to have 4 characters (No risk of scaling mis-balance?
 
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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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Zazyman wrote:
Also, would it be better for my three rebel players to have three characters (easier to manage) or to have 4 characters (No risk of scaling mis-balance?

With 3 heroes they will have an extra activation token to move around from round to round (see the Heroic reward cards). This gives them more things to consider, adding some complexity on that side. 3 heroes isn't as bad as 2 heroes though.
 
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Nathan Lewis
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a1bert wrote:
Zazyman wrote:
Also, would it be better for my three rebel players to have three characters (easier to manage) or to have 4 characters (No risk of scaling mis-balance?

With 3 heroes they will have an extra activation token to move around from round to round (see the Heroic reward cards). This gives them more things to consider, adding some complexity on that side. 3 heroes isn't as bad as 2 heroes though.


Huh, cool. I'm assuming that people find this balanced then?
 
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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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If the alternatives are not to play and play with 3 heroes and Heroic Reward cards, I pick playing instead of not playing.

Besides, the first campaign is a learning campaign, so you should not expect a finely tuned balance..
 
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Thomas with Subtrendy
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Zazyman wrote:
a1bert wrote:
Zazyman wrote:
Also, would it be better for my three rebel players to have three characters (easier to manage) or to have 4 characters (No risk of scaling mis-balance?

With 3 heroes they will have an extra activation token to move around from round to round (see the Heroic reward cards). This gives them more things to consider, adding some complexity on that side. 3 heroes isn't as bad as 2 heroes though.


Huh, cool. I'm assuming that people find this balanced then?


Always remember that "balance" in Imperial Assault means an entirely different thing that one might use for a different game like Dominion or Catan.

Overall, I think that the game was originally created with 4 Rebel heroes in mind. While the extra health and activation(s) awarded to smaller teams helps offset the issue of missing heroes, it can sometimes allow for situations to be problematic.

For instance, maybe in some cases the Rebels want for a hero to have multiple activation in a certain turn. Some heroes are just that good- or maybe this particular hero is working on a very sensitive part of the mission. On the other hand, sure the heroes are heartier and one has an extra activation (with the possibility of extra attacks) but narrowing down the Empire's targets can wildly affect the game, as well. Sometimes it simply helps to have multiple Rebels to scatter to multiple objectives, and sometimes it helps having Rebels with multiple activation be able to focus on a single objective.


That's not to say that playing with less than 4 heroes- in fact, I really enjoy a good group of 2- but just know that there are situations where numbers really matter, no matter the buffs.
 
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