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Subject: Pure speculation and opinions on Imperial Assault rss

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Robert P
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This thread is based loosely off of a premise brought up (most recently) by bigfomlof in these forums. Although I really like Star Wars Imperial Assault, it is not a perfect game and struggles from some balance issues (Ally and Villain deployment costs for example, the issue of a "runaway leader" if one side continually wins mission after mission, etc.).

The game Descent: Journeys in the Dark second edition made several improvements to the original game Descent: Journeys in the Dark, in turn bringing an increased level of balance between the Overlord and the hero players. I think most people would agree that the back and forth turn order implemented in Star Wars Imperial Assault was a further form of improvement to FFG's dungeon crawl system.

I'm wondering, because the Star Wars licence has a finite timeline, and the world of Terrinoth is FFG's own I.P. (without an expiration date), could Imperial Assault be just another step towards one day creating "the elusive perfectly balanced dungeon crawl?"

I realize Fantasy Flight Games is making a boatload off of the Star Wars licence, but personally, I'm really more a fan of the fantasy setting. I've enjoyed the improvements made to each successive iteration of their dungeon crawl system and I was really hoping that Star Wars Imperial Assault would be almost perfect.

With that being said, it looks like there is still a considerable amount to improve upon. Does anyone think that all of the information FFG is collecting regarding the reception/views on Star Wars Imperial Assault will eventually result in a truly awesome Descent third edition? If so, when would you guess that product could go to market?
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J P
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robnixilis wrote:


Does anyone think that all of the information FFG is collecting regarding the reception/views on Star Wars Imperial Assault will eventually result in a truly awesome Descent third edition? If so, when would you guess that product could go to market?



Based on their history, I would guess after 2 years of consistently low sales of Second Edition.
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Bruce
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This is also speculation:

Descent is in a very strange place. There hasn't been new content announced in a very long time (excluding RtL) and the last expansion will split up and dragged out. All external signs are that it was being phased out years ago (possibly for a D3E around now some time).

RtL being released for D2E doesn't conflict with this, because it is a safe platform to release a new concept, doing it for IA first is much higher risk. Unlike MoM they clearly didn't have a lot of content ready for RtL at release, so it was a try it and see approach.

Sales boomed (3x), so they tried another experiment in Seeds of Corruption which requires a big expansion, not something FFG normally does. Note that all of the original information on RtL was that all content after the demo was to be purchased, so they are clearly playing around with the model.

This leaves D2E in a strange place. There was nothing planned and you can't suddenly turn out a physical expansion. Also, although I would like more content most people won't have all of the existing expansions, and what would a new expansion give them that any of the already released boxes wouldn't? The last two expansions suffer from this quite a bit in my opinion (as does everything that isn't SoN).

It is worth noting that MoM2E was largely an experiment also. Requiring an app still gets a lot of hate on the internet, and MoM1E probably wasn't a huge success so it was safe enough to try on. It is worth noting that it sold out immediately, so they clearly weren't going all in with this approach. Given how successful that was, particularly in comparison to Doom released around the same time which has good review but feels very quiet to me, means that it isn't completely impossible that D3E/IA2 could require an app. Or we could get app specific physical content for D2E/IA.

Meanwhile even with the success of RtL from what I can see AI is probably more successful that D2E. Forum traffic is certainly higher. If there is a D3E/IA2 moving to an app could give them a 'windows 10' type soluction, where they can update the mechanics continually and never have to release a full new edition (perhaps just card updates now and then). To me, this would be the best result, but perhaps not for everyone.
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Cornixt
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robnixilis wrote:
it is not a perfect game and struggles from some balance issues (Ally and Villain deployment costs for example, the issue of a "runaway leader" if one side continually wins mission after mission, etc.)

Any game with upgrades that carry over is going to have a problem with players feeling like they are being punished for being successful (and getting cool new stuff) if the opposing player gets a boost to make up for it, even though it would balance the game and prevent runaway leader problems. I think that one side's "cool new stuff" should be balanced by the other side getting "boring, extras of the same stuff" so that the power levels stay the same but the side that wins gets a more exciting reward.
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Bruce
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cornixt wrote:
robnixilis wrote:
it is not a perfect game and struggles from some balance issues (Ally and Villain deployment costs for example, the issue of a "runaway leader" if one side continually wins mission after mission, etc.)

Any game with upgrades that carry over is going to have a problem with players feeling like they are being punished for being successful (and getting cool new stuff) if the opposing player gets a boost to make up for it, even though it would balance the game and prevent runaway leader problems. I think that one side's "cool new stuff" should be balanced by the other side getting "boring, extras of the same stuff" so that the power levels stay the same but the side that wins gets a more exciting reward.

This is still a problem because now one player is losing and only getting boring things to do. Rubber banding works much better in coop games, particularly where it is hidden from the players.
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Sparky Sparks
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robnixilis wrote:
could Imperial Assault be just another step towards one day creating "the elusive perfectly balanced dungeon crawl?


I have plenty of thoughts, but I'll just address this bit.

I don't think there's a "perfectly balanced dungeon crawl," let alone a perfect game, even within a certain genre or sub-genre. While there may be an objectively "better" standard with certain iterations, what might be the perfect balance for one group isn't going to be suited to another group.

I really do think the right answer to getting good balance in IA is to have the Imperial player take a more "dungeon Master" roll, balancing things as he sees fit in-game, rather than strictly following rules. What if the game balance was made to perfectly account for Rebel players taking a rounded-out party, and thus is susceptible to a group of quick objective runners? Or what if the rebel players really do love their heroes, even if they chose a terrible party?

That said, hopefully IA's lessons will serve to make better dungeon crawlers in the future, and if they have better mechanics, maybe we'll port them into the game. Who knows?
 
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Johannes Benedikt
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I think it's quite certain that FFG will release a game with an updated Descent system at some day. However seeing how they are putting out expansion after expansion for Imperial Assault and how good Descent 2ed is selling, I think this day is quite far off.

So the question is: Do you want to wait for the next iteration of the system for some years, or do you want to play FFG dungeon-crawlers now and for me the choice is fairly obvious.


Now with the 3rd big expansion announced, IA is nearly as expansive (content/campaign wise) as Descent 2ed, so even if the license will run out, there is already at least as much content for IA as there is for Descent 2ed.
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Brent Lloyd
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I don't think a "perfectly balanced dungeon crawl" could exist. I tend to think it's a holy grail thing and will forever remain so. Even if it did I am not sure it would interest me for very long.

It can't be perfectly balanced because:

1) They use dice. Dice run in streaks sometimes, this "unbalances"
2) Humans are playing. Humans are inherently unbalancing influences
3) Dungeon Crawls are by their very nature asymmetrical
4) Descent and Imperial Assault are scenario based games

Embrace the games as they are and quit worrying about the balance so much. If yer playing a campaign and one side is getting too unbalanced, have a chat and work out a solution.

I do get it - it's not fun to get stomped into dust every time you play. I have played Imperial Assault and Descent quite a bit and have seen some tremendous upsets and come back from behind wins. Ya just gotta roll with the punches and take pleasure in the journey with games like these.

Peace
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CapeCod Gamer
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FFG has said an app for IA is coming. If they do what they did with Mansions of Madness, that could me a second edition.
 
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Alex Russo
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There is a pretty-damn-close-to-perfect dungeon crawl; it is called Gloomhaven. I haven't touched another DC games since February and I'm still half way through the campaign after 31 play sessions.
 
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