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Subject: Is turtling a valid option in this game? rss

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Sander van der Drift
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Yesterday I've received the game (Admiral pledge) and read the manual (only for the core game) in the evening. What surprised me was that I didn't read a good reason why I would move with my units towards my opponent instead of waiting for him to come to me. In most skirmish games (both board games and computer games) there are usually one or more good incentives for exploring/moving. Think of extra resources/allies, special abilities you can obtain, objectives to fulfill, outflanking your opponent. However, reading the 2-player Pitched battle rules I don't see any of those advantages. Why wouldn't I wait in my corner of the galaxy (preferably with a usefull special weapon like the one that can do 4 damage on any ship) until my opponent arrives? I'm well aware of the support rules for attacking, but since a player can only do a few moves each turn it's not like he can suddenly surprise/outflank me. Moreover, keeping my units together and keeping 2 movement dice stored can even help in making in a strong attack when that other player comes near me with one or a few ships. So, what am I missing? Besides the fact that I don't like that strategy, I don't immediately see a disadvantage to that strategy. Will content from the expansions (I'm only missing the pirate expansion) perhaps also help?
 
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Trent Y.
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I'm no expert on this game but this game definitely plays out differently than others. So differently that I find it harder and harder to explain until a person plays.

There are plenty of options available to the aggressor, moreso than a player who wants to turtle. Positioning your ships is critical here and it's much more organic than 'armchair tactics' can truly explain. I will try but really, playing the game will reveal this more.

As you already know, the key to winning fights will be supporting your fleets with other ships. Since you'll only have a max of 5 ship points per square, there will likely be one 'corner' square where you would have little way to support. A cunning commander could store some red/blue dice on their turn and get a fleet to do hit and run tactics. Blue to move in, red to hit twice, then blue to move back away.

This would ultimately force you to react and break your turtle. I doubt you could win using long ranged attacks because they are quite weak.

Every game I've played becomes a game of careful positioning. You begin to realize how important you need to protect your damaged ships, you need to find a way to create support fire while denying your opponent support fire.

As to your Vortex missile weapon (the one that does 4 damage anywhere except adjacent) - that's the weapon I usually put on both sides when teaching a new game. It's a great special, but specials in generally are completely unreliable. I've rolled a ton of special results and was able to fire it off every round or two and it was insanely helpful. And I've had games where it barely triggers due to using the special results for other things or drain.

Ultimately, why reason to not turtle would be that i don't want to give my opponent the superior position and first shot. Basically this is a game where you want to force your opponent's moves and not be forced yourself. Turtling isn't actually forcing your opponent's moves, it just reveals your over-all strategy and what they must do to break it.

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Jeff Saxton
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I don't think "turtling" would work well in this game, in the same way you really can't turtle in Chess. As the above poster noted, the game is quite unlike many other wargames; the small board, and the limited number of ships available, makes it a game of maneuver and attack, not really one of pure defense.
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Erik Luken
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OmegaDragon wrote:
Yesterday I've received the game (Admiral pledge) and read the manual (only for the core game) in the evening. What surprised me was that I didn't read a good reason why I would move with my units towards my opponent instead of waiting for him to come to me. In most skirmish games (both board games and computer games) there are usually one or more good incentives for exploring/moving. Think of extra resources/allies, special abilities you can obtain, objectives to fulfill, outflanking your opponent. However, reading the 2-player Pitched battle rules I don't see any of those advantages. Why wouldn't I wait in my corner of the galaxy (preferably with a usefull special weapon like the one that can do 4 damage on any ship) until my opponent arrives? I'm well aware of the support rules for attacking, but since a player can only do a few moves each turn it's not like he can suddenly surprise/outflank me. Moreover, keeping my units together and keeping 2 movement dice stored can even help in making in a strong attack when that other player comes near me with one or a few ships. So, what am I missing? Besides the fact that I don't like that strategy, I don't immediately see a disadvantage to that strategy. Will content from the expansions (I'm only missing the pirate expansion) perhaps also help?


I've taken to likening the game to "Chess, with spaceships, and dice"
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Sander van der Drift
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Sarimrune wrote:

<..> Ultimately, why reason to not turtle would be that i don't want to give my opponent the superior position and first shot. Basically this is a game where you want to force your opponent's moves and not be forced yourself. Turtling isn't actually forcing your opponent's moves, it just reveals your over-all strategy and what they must do to break it.

Thanks for your explanation. I've played the game today (5x5 grid) and I agree with your reply. It indeed plays differently than other skirmish games I've played and positioning is VERY important. Also, sometimes you really have to be creative since the dice rolls do not always help (getting specials when you want to move/attack and only getting diagonals when orthagonal is what you need). I'm still not sure what to think of the game exactly. Sometimes during my first game it felt a little too random because of the (unfortunate) dice rolls. My opponent was spreading his units too much in my opinion so in the end I did win quite easily by keeping my units together and trying to have options to attack both diagonal and orthagonal.

The optional rule to keep your units hidden with those signal tokens sounds interesting though. Do expansions add more interesting options and which expansion (I have salvation, avatar and forge) would you advise to include first?
 
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Trent Y.
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Yes, this is definitely a game of not being able to do everything you want. But that's why it's so intriguing.

As you can already tell, it's not just about which dice you roll/store but also which directions you can get. That alone adds some serious unpredictability.

Re: Hidden Units - This is the least interesting optional rule to me. Others may like it. It seems only to serve to slow things down.

I only have the Salvation and Avatar options and immediately added them.

But really I would do it in this order:
1) Base game as per the book
2) Build fleets using the 12 pts and build a map with some random terrain.
3) Add Avatar rules, allowing commanders.
4) Add Tech ships - These offer the widest array of 'more' rules and will take the longest to both get used to and find a use for. The tech ships offer new options none of which are immediately all that powerful. But given that they can add a new option to the game, they have huge potential. But best to learn the game first.
5) Build a massive long reaching campaign where you have to conquer the galaxy against 9 other friends!
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