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Star Wars: Imperial Assault» Forums » Variants

Subject: Compensating for Campaign snowballs rss

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The Grouch
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Seen a lot of posts claiming Campaign is broken in favor of one side or another. And if you think about, though the next Story mission is supposed to be harder for the winner of the current Story mission, the fact is that the winner of each mission - Story or Side - gets greater rewards and therefore levels up faster, increasing the likelihood of winning future missions.

I've been trying to devise a simple notion to compensate for this, and have devised the following (TL;DR: If Rebels running away with it, increase TL early; if Imperials running away with it, increase TL late)

After Stories #1-4, invoke the following rule:

If the total number of missions - excluding Forced missions - won by the Imperial Player is less than the current Story #, increase the Threat Level by 1 until the next Story Mission. This increase also applies if the next mission is the Finale.

Normally, Side missions use the same Threat Level as the preceding Story mission. This would have the effect of bumping the Threat Level of those Side missions up to the *next* Story mission's TL and of increasing the Finale TL to 7, assuming the IP has won 3 or total missions less to that point.

Before Stories #2-4, invoke the following rule:

If the total number of missions - excluding Forced missions - won by the Rebel Heroes is less than the most recent Story #, decrease the Threat Level by 1 until the next Story Mission. This increase also applies if the next mission is the Finale.

Normally, the Threat Level increments for each new Story mission. This would delay that increment until the following Side Mission. It would make the TL of the Finale 5, if the RH have won 3 or less total missions to that point.

With both of these rules in place, the new TL schedule would look like this, based on Rebel Hero Wins-Losses (middle column is standard TL schedule):

MISSION TL >= TL TL <=
Intro 2
Side 2
Story 1 3
3-0
Side 4 3
1-3
Story 2 4 4 3
4-1
Side 5 4 4
Side/Int 5 4 4
2-5
Story 3 5 5 4
6-2
Side 6 5 5
3-6
Story 4 6 6 5
7-3 3-7
Finale 7 6 5

My rationale is this: if the Rebels are doing really well, the Empire would probably devote more resources to thwarting them, represented as increased TL. Conversely, if the Rebels are doing poorly, the Empire would have better things to with its resources, represented by increased TL.

Obviously, this is only for big box campaigns, and it may need some adjustment for Hoth. It should work fine for Jabba's Realm if the Interlude is treated as a Side mission for purposes of these rules. If anyone has suggestions for Hoth, please reply to this thread.

For Mini-Campaigns, I think this reduces to:

Before Story #2: If Rebel Heroes have won no missions, decrease Threat Level for this mission by 1.

Before Finale: If Imperial Player has won no missions, increase Threat Level for this mission by 1.

Have not play-tested this yet. If any one wants to try it in a campaign, please reply to this thread and let me know how it went.

So far, I have run Core + Twin Shadows with Inspiring Leadership as my Imperial class vs. 4 Heroes and won only 3 missions. Two missions into Hoth with Subversive Tactics vs. 3 Heroes, I'm, batting .500. If My record for Hoth is similarly uninspiring, I may try this for Jabba's Realm.
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Artemus Maximus
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what I've been doing (which gives a similar result I think, if I understand your idea correctly) is that TL increases after every second Rebel win (and remains the same until then). Still starts at 2, and maxes out at 6, unless there are more Forced missions than usual.

In a 4-5 mission mini campaign, it is after every Rebel win, instead of every 2.

in my experience, it feels more natural than the set levels, and keeps a side in check easier than fudging with other stuff. I do suggest changing TL based on performance rather than set intervals.
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James Roberts
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IIRC, one of the designers has a house rule that once either side has lost a mission, they get the rewards for winning the next mission even if they lose and keep doing so until they have a win.

It sounds like a very easy to use system and just moves the reward of breaking your opponent's winning streak to being depriving them of the win.
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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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birthright wrote:
IIRC, one of the designers has a house rule that once either side has lost a mission, they get the rewards for winning the next mission even if they lose and keep doing so until they have a win.

It's for losing a second Story mission in a row.
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James Roberts
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You are Correct, as usual!
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Thomas with Subtrendy
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I did pretty poorly as the Imperials in the first half of my last campaign. I didn't win a mission until the 7th one (though many of those were really down to the wire). It is possible to come back from a snowball, and while ultimately I lost the finale, I don't feel that it's because of any snowballing effect, since I had pretty good success in the second half of the campaign.
 
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Greg Pritchard
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birthright wrote:
IIRC, one of the designers has a house rule that once either side has lost a mission, they get the rewards for winning the next mission even if they lose and keep doing so until they have a win.


This is interesting. Is there a link where the designer discusses this? I've searched the forums, but could only find a couple of other references to it.

Just to be clear, after one side loses a 2nd story mission in a row, they receive the winning reward for that 2nd mission instead of the losing reward? They don't receive both the winning and losing reward, right?
Then they continue to receive the winning reward for each consecutive story mission they lose? Or do they receive the winning reward for every mission they consecutively lose, including side missions?
 
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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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As far as I remember, it was Justin on Twitter talking about the house rule.

It is mainly to avoid the XP skill gap. Both sides get the "winning reward" for that mission. You will have to decide for yourself if this 'resets' the lose-count or not.

Both sides receive 1XP from each side mission, so the catchup-rule is not applied to side missions.


 
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Jack Liu
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The story Mission reward rule is a good one, the winning side still wants to win to get bonus rewards and the losing side still gets compensated. I wouldn't reset it if they lost a 3rd story mission in a row, just continue the streak until it's naturally broken

Another house rule I use is respecing. The losing side of a mission is allowed to respect their xp cards. One final respec will be done for both sides before the finale

Since I play the campaigns only 1 time usually IRL, this allows us to experience and play around with many of the xp cards. My rebels don't plan too far ahead when it comes to gearing out so this helps them a lot. Also early on, many rebels rush for 4xp skills so this lets them try out other toys before then. Ditto for IP

it sucks to be stuck with an xp card all campaign (at least for full ones) you thought was good/fun but turned out not to be
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Ikon
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birthright wrote:
IIRC, one of the designers has a house rule that once either side has lost a mission, they get the rewards for winning the next mission even if they lose and keep doing so until they have a win.

It sounds like a very easy to use system and just moves the reward of breaking your opponent's winning streak to being depriving them of the win.


So basically if I want to ensure all rewards I just need to lose all the Story missions. There must be something wrong with this.

I think rewards are for winners full stop. Increasing the TL is the most thematic and correct solution as it can potentially adapt the game balance to any group of players. Formula should be:

TL = CampaignLogTL + NumberOfRebelVictories - NumberOfImperialVictories

This can't be lower than first mission TL and higher than last mission TL plus first mission TL.

This would apply to any mission.

On a side note my personal idea is that the game is broken because in real world either you succeed or fail you get same amount of experience. I actually believe failures brings actually more experience than successes..
 
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Symiant
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Ikon wrote:
birthright wrote:
IIRC, one of the designers has a house rule that once either side has lost a mission, they get the rewards for winning the next mission even if they lose and keep doing so until they have a win.

It sounds like a very easy to use system and just moves the reward of breaking your opponent's winning streak to being depriving them of the win.


So basically if I want to ensure all rewards I just need to lose all the Story missions. There must be something wrong with this.

I think rewards are for winners full stop. Increasing the TL is the most thematic and correct solution as it can potentially adapt the game balance to any group of players. Formula should be:

TL = CampaignLogTL + NumberOfRebelVictories - NumberOfImperialVictories

This can't be lower than first mission TL and higher than last mission TL plus first mission TL.

This would apply to any mission.

On a side note my personal idea is that the game is broken because in real world either you succeed or fail you get same amount of experience. I actually believe failures brings actually more experience than successes..


So, I've played the game both out of the box and also with the loosing side getting rewards for the second story (note story ONLY)loss and beyond, and also with the looser respeccing. If you did want to fix the problem with threat adjustments, I think your suggestion is a good one. But in my opinion, the designer recommended rewards on loss system works well for a few reasons.

Firstly, it's FUN. Everyone gets to use their toys! It means that every mission is still fun and tense, and each side has a chance to win. There is still incentive to win, becuase you deny your opponent some rewards for that mission, but not forever. Also, winners still get an advantage overall, because they are more likely to win side missions. Since the "rewards on loss" rule only works for story missions, winning is still worth it.

Secondly, I think the threat adjustment rule would only work well in the early campaign. At the extreme, if the rebels keep loosing, adujsting the threat has two problems. Firstly, it doesn't account for the troops you get on the board at the start, or for mission spawned troops. In later missions these would just crush an under-equipped party, even if the imperial was disadvantaged in threat. Especially in the final missions, where BIG units usually appear. On the flip-side, giving an imperial a threat bonus might not work that well, because if you don't also have the class skills to boost your troops, they still just get mown down by a well equipped party. Ever seen what Fenn can do to a group of newly spawned units? It's not pretty. It also results in the later missions not having much tension in them either, at least if the rebels keep loosing. The final mission might feel a bit boring, becuase the imperial just has the threat for a few basic storm trooper squads. Not very climactic!

Finally, it's also just a bit more complicated than the XP rule. The game has enough going on without having to calculated the TL each mission. Also, doesn't giving XP to the looser fit in with your idea that you gain experience for messing up?

That being said, I'm not saying that you are wrong here. I think your system sounds like a good way to go, if that's what you want to do. I just think you ALSO have to address a lot of other things to make it work, like the power level of set-piece spawned units, and initial mission set ups. The nice thing about the XP version is that it keeps the game going, and everyone feels like they are advancing. It certainly worked well for us. I think if you look at it and say that you should lose all missings, then you're not really playing the game anyway! But as I noted, you still want to win really as that gives you more overall advantage.

As a side note, I ALSO think that having a house rule about side missions works too. I can't remember where I saw it, but the rule is that when you pass up on a side mission, you can chose to discard it. This stops the rebels getting a bottle neck where they don't want to do a particular side mission, so always end up having no actual choice.
 
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Brad Conder
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If one side loses multiple missions in a row then they deserve to have the campaign snowball against them. Otherwise, you take the thrill of victory/defeat out of the game. Achieving multiple victories in a row should provide a significant advantage as a reward. The end result is that the superior player/s win the campaign. A system that actively prevents this is basically punishing good players for winning. After winning several games in a row, what is the point in trying if the other side will still get their rewards for losing? What is the point in trying your hardest if you receive the reward even after a loss?

Imperial Assault already includes a mechanic for dealing with snowballing; learning from mistakes.
 
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Jacob
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BradleyConder wrote:
If one side loses multiple missions in a row then they deserve to have the campaign snowball against them. Otherwise, you take the thrill of victory/defeat out of the game. Achieving multiple victories in a row should provide a significant advantage as a reward. The end result is that the superior player/s win the campaign. A system that actively prevents this is basically punishing good players for winning. After winning several games in a row, what is the point in trying if the other side will still get their rewards for losing? What is the point in trying your hardest if you receive the reward even after a loss?

Imperial Assault already includes a mechanic for dealing with snowballing; learning from mistakes.


I think it really depends on your group and what they enjoy - that is, after all, the point of playing: to have a good time. If your group would prefer a snowballing campaign where it can reach a point where missions are unwinnable for the losing side, then that's great. But that doesn't sound as fun to me or my group as a campaign where it remains close and winnable for each side the whole time, regardless of who has won more so far.
 
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Innes Clatworthy
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I started a thread recently discussing this very issue and had some very useful responses. Here is the link.
https://boardgamegeek.com/article/27396850#27396850

So the info on twitter feed that is relevant is as follows the link to the twitter feed is about half way down the thread:

"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.

Essentially this house rule applies only to XP and credits/influence for story missions. And if a side loses twice in a row they continue getting full rewards. The victory gap is never more than 1 XP. So there's still substantial incentive to win the side missions and there's still a little snowballing, which keeps the tension up, but it doesn't get out of hand and the rebels don't go into every single upgrade step with pennies, which feels less punishing." That is from Jonathan Ying, one of the original game designers.

Hope this helps.
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Innes Clatworthy
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BradleyConder wrote:
If one side loses multiple missions in a row then they deserve to have the campaign snowball against them. Otherwise, you take the thrill of victory/defeat out of the game. Achieving multiple victories in a row should provide a significant advantage as a reward. The end result is that the superior player/s win the campaign. A system that actively prevents this is basically punishing good players for winning. After winning several games in a row, what is the point in trying if the other side will still get their rewards for losing? What is the point in trying your hardest if you receive the reward even after a loss?

Imperial Assault already includes a mechanic for dealing with snowballing; learning from mistakes.


I understand your point of view, but not everybody wants to play as you do. If your group wants to play it competitively, like a wargame, and are happy with one side dominating an entire campaign then it's all good.

However not everybody wants to play that way. Some like to make the game feel more like a Star Wars movie with ups and downs in the plot leading to an exiting finale. Other people are playing with close friends or family and don't want to alienate them or make them feel too bad about losing. It really all comes down to the people you are playing with and the kind of experience they want from their game. So this thread and others like it are for those people.

Your suggestion of people learning from mistakes is a fair point but ultimately most people play games for fun, not to be punished for perceived mistakes. I see quite a few threads where campaigns have fizzled out because the players lose interest and I do wonder whether it's because of the game or the people they are playing with not being of the same temprement.

By the way the threat balance mechanic looks interesting, not sure if it would work but a nice idea.
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Joe
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So my group has been playing with the house rule that if a team loses a story mission, they will get full rewards on the next one. Our interest is keeping the campaign challenging to both sides, though we do want there to be a benefit to winning.

I was thinking of using a house rule to keep the two sides within 1 xp of each other instead, so that the first mission doesn't have such a strong impact (the first winner always has an advantage). Unfortunately, this would have some problems in Jabba's Realm since rewards are sometimes monetary. Our next campaign is HotE. Does anyone know if there would be similar problems? I've also read some reports that HotE attempts to limit the snowballing from the mission rewards. Is there any truth to that?

I appreciate any input as I don't want to look through the campaign ahead of time (I'll be a rebel player this time).
 
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Reepicheep Catsbane
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Stl0369 wrote:
So my group has been playing with the house rule that if a team loses a story mission, they will get full rewards on the next one. Our interest is keeping the campaign challenging to both sides, though we do want there to be a benefit to winning.

I was thinking of using a house rule to keep the two sides within 1 xp of each other instead, so that the first mission doesn't have such a strong impact (the first winner always has an advantage). Unfortunately, this would have some problems in Jabba's Realm since rewards are sometimes monetary. Our next campaign is HotE. Does anyone know if there would be similar problems? I've also read some reports that HotE attempts to limit the snowballing from the mission rewards. Is there any truth to that?

I appreciate any input as I don't want to look through the campaign ahead of time (I'll be a rebel player this time).

In the last page of the rulebook for HotE before the "imperial player only" section, it says that for every story mission except the introduction and the finale, each side will receive 2xp. So basically, it already does what you were suggesting by limiting the xp gap to +/- 1.
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Joe
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Perfect!! Thanks for pointing that out.
 
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