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Twilight Imperium: Fourth Edition» Forums » General

Subject: Conjecture on Winnu rss

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Tristian Martinez
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I keep going back to our first playthrough of TI4 (from top, going clockwise: Embers, Jol-Nar, Naalu, Winnu, Sol, L1Z1X), which set a remarkably more aggressive playstyle for our table compared to the stalling of TI3.

However, the most memorable moment of that playthrough came before the game even started. The player who drew Winnu read his starting tech as “Choose any 1 Technology, Ignore Prerequisites,” so he went Cruiser II. This was quickly shouted down, and he was told to pick one of the four basic techs that did not have prerequisites. I can vividly remember his face as he looked at his starting situation and asked

“How do you expect me to compete with THIS?”

The results indicated that he had a point. Even his early turn 2 capture of Mecatol didn’t amount to much – it just cleared the way for Jol-Nar dreadnoughts to waltz in and capture the planet for free, leading to a quick Jol-Nar victory (we never could dislodge him). Meanwhile, the Winnu were unable to fend off my Sol carrier fleets and the Naalu flagship, and were pushed to their home system.

Assuming that FFG did not design the Winnu as “The race that is so bad people will ignore it,” I want to highlight the discrepancies in the Winnu start here, and suggest that the initial design for the Winnu might have been the extremely flexible race capable of taking Mecatol turn 1. Starting the game with any tech they wanted and ignoring prerequisites, their consistency merited a weak starting fleet, but this proved too strong, was scrapped and the race was never re-balanced. There are a few indications of this.

First, the already weak starting fleet of the Winnu was slightly reduced to a carrier, a cruiser, two fighters, and two ground forces (total 7 resources), and their commodities were reduced to 3. On the other hand, the Sol starting fleet was boosted by 3 fighters to 11 resources and retained their 4 potential trade goods, so at some point, the designers must have considered the Winnu to be a greater threat than the Sol.

Second, the extant powers of the Winnu suggest that this was in part due to Mecatol. We know they can take the planet and victory point for free, but the most likely situations for this (taking warfare or starting Antimass into Gravity Drive) mean a turn 2 Mecatol with either a starved economy or a comparatively extremely unsupported fleet. Either way, the Winnu would be vulnerable to literally any other race in the game who used the same strategy to rush Mecatol but wait for the Winnu to open it up, and especially to aggressive races. This does not make the Winnu seem especially threatening.

Third, the Winnu had the reputation for being flexible in TI3, with their medley of techs and racial abilities. More so than even the Sol, the Winnu could potentially do a lot of things well, but were constrained by starting resources to pick a path and stick to it.

Fourth, In TI4, all of their minor advantages were lost, replaced by the ability to pick a basic tier tech. Since none of their racial abilities synergize with the basic techs, when the Winnu choose their tech, they always fall short to the basic 1 tech races, whose base techs compliment a racial ability, and certainly to the 2 tech races. This suggests that the restriction to the basic tiers came as an afterthought.

Fifth, extrapolating, we can theorize what the higher techs could do to the game for the Winnu. There are 4 races that start with tier 2 techs, so we know that these, at the least, do not break the game individually. Because of the slow, small fleet and the limited initial production resources, turn 1 would hardly be affected by tier 3 and 4 combat, invasion, movement, or production techs.

Sixth, then, it comes to the fear of Racial or unit upgrades. After all, if at some point, the Winnu were capable of taking Mecatol turn 1, or taking it turn 2 with a substantial fleet, it was likely accomplished by the ability to take these as a starting tech. Turn 1 Mecatol would have been possible through Cruiser II or Lazax Gate Folding. Turn 2 Mecatol with a strong fleet would have been possible through Carrier II or Hegemonic Trade Policies. The other unit upgrades do not play into the Winnu’s opening fleet, and would need to be developed – costly enterprises for little results. But these four techs deliver Mecatol with consistency and without interaction from other players.

So, since Winnu would be incentivized to only take unit or racial techs, they would lose their intended flexibility, and designers would be incentivized to put restrictions on their choices like with the Jol-Nar. With the racial tech options being as good as the unit upgrades, both would have to be proscribed, leaving only the opportunity to take the colored techs. Even though none of these have synergy with the Winnu’s racial abilities, it would be preferable to the consistency of the Winnu grabbing the Mecatol point quickly. Additionally, because the later techs tend to be situational, resource intensive to implement, or mere taxes to delay the more powerful unit upgrades, an inexperienced Winnu might essentially start off with as a weaker N’orr with a chosen color of prerequisite. Considering the ubiquity of utility of the basic tier tech, choice was restricted to these. The game “fixed,” the designers forgot to re-balance the Winnu starting capabilities, or moved fixes to upcoming expansions.

TLDR; Winnu start off markedly weaker than everyone else because they might have been able to take any tech


 
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Daniel Grant
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I'm puzzled why the player was "shouted down" for attempting to play by the rules? I'd have serious reservations about playing with the group again. Seems unnecessarily spiteful but maybe I'm misreading the event.
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Clayton Threadgill
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Maybe I'm confused. The copy of the Winnu race sheet that I've seen says "Choose any 1 technology that has no prerequisites." I assume the player was shouted down because he was cheating. All I can say is if you don't want to try to play the race you're given, ask for a new one.

I agree that the current incarnation of the Winnu seems weak at the moment, since almost every game report I've seen has Mecatol Rex taken by the end of turn 2, whether or not the Winnu are in the game.

In the long run, they ought to be better at taking and holding the planet, since they don't need to spend any resources when they land, and get a free PDS and space dock for their trouble. Their racial techs add a free infantry unit each round and lets them spend Mecatol's 6 influence as resources to build. It would be hard to make it any easier without giving them some kind of broken advantage.
 
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Steve Williams
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Jatta Pake wrote:
I'm puzzled why the player was "shouted down" for attempting to play by the rules?


He was not; interpreting "that has no prerequisites" as if it meant "ignoring prerequisites" is a gross misreading at best and blatant abuse at worse of the rule as written. Winnu can choose to start with Antimass, Sarween Tools, Plasma Scoring, or Neural Motivator. Starting with any other tech is not allowed.

hooliganj wrote:
All I can say is if you don't want to try to play the race you're given, ask for a new one.


Not only that, but there shouldn't even be an ask; TI4 Rules as Written are to choose the race you want to play. Dealing out races at random is a house rule, and forcing house rules on everyone for a first game is irresponsible in my book. Especially one that could be as potentially unfun as being stuck with a faction you don't like in a 6 hour game.

Assuming he chose the Winnu under the misunderstanding that he could start with any tech, and didn't want to play them otherwise, there is no reason to not have him choose another one. Setup is still in progress, the loss of game time is absolutely trivial.

Vanguars wrote:
TLDR; Winnu start off markedly weaker than everyone else because they might have been able to take any tech


I doubt this is true. I think part of the asymmetrical nature of TI is to have weaker races in the mix, and in this edition the weak baton got passed from the Xxcha to the Winnu.

In TI3 the Winnu had a pile of unrelated mediocre abilities that when summed made them strong, and if it weren't for them starting with Stasis Capsules and having a strong racial tech, they would have been one of the most embarrassingly weak races in the game. Even though they were good, it was fairly difficult for a new player to look at them and see why they were good. TI4's core rule changes made two of the TI3 Winnu's mediocre sub-abilities nonfunctional, and made their home system tech specialty and starting stasis capsules too strong to keep. Streamlining their abilities gives them an identity, and makes them easier to understand. Strategically they are a gambling race. It is a little annoying to be so hyper-focused on only one thing, but it is a strong focus to have. I have yet to play a TI4 game where the player that got the custodial point from Mecatol was not in contention for victory.
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Scott Lewis
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Jatta Pake wrote:
I'm puzzled why the player was "shouted down" for attempting to play by the rules? I'd have serious reservations about playing with the group again. Seems unnecessarily spiteful but maybe I'm misreading the event.

Shouting down was probably overkill, but he was not playing by the rules. The Winnu don't get to ignore prerequisites, but just get to choose any tech that has no prerequisites. Cruiser II is not a valid choice to start with.
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Daniel Grant
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Good point, I don't have the game yet. I assumed the player read the actual text instead of making shit up. I assume people are honest and would be angry if I discovered they'd intentionally misread the rules. On the other hand, I've misread shit in the past - mistakes happen. I'm guessing this is what happened.

I guess OP is trying to argue the Winnu are weak and the player was somewhat justified. That does seem like the general consensus from what I've read, although they seem stronger than TI3.
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Paul Couch
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I had a look at this in this post
https://community.fantasyflightgames.com/topic/257658-winnu-...
TLDR: They get 3 vps!
 
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PK Levine
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Robo Fish wrote:
I had a look at this in this post
https://community.fantasyflightgames.com/topic/257658-winnu-...
TLDR: They get 3 vps!

What do you mean they get 3 VPs?
 
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Scott Lewis
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If they start with Cruiser II, they can reach Mecatol on turn 1, giving them an easy VP (since they ignore the influence cost for Mecatol). Chances are, nobody else is going to want Imperial in turn 1 or 2, so unless another player takes Imperial just to deny Winnu, they could score another 2 VP in the first 2 turns.
 
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Michael Bomholt
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I'm pretty sure people are just crying wolf about the Winnu. I think they will turn out to be a middle of the pack Race.
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Scott Lewis
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blarknob wrote:
I'm pretty sure people are just crying wolf about the Winnu. I think they will turn out to be a middle of the pack Race.

Well, the issue is moot, since they can't start with Cruiser II anyway I think the reason this discussion came up at all was because some people felt they were too weak and so wanted to boost their starting tech to be ANY tech, not just "any tech with no prerequisites", and so the Cruiser II discussion came about as a reason why that wouldn't be such a good idea.
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Michael Bomholt
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sigmazero13 wrote:
blarknob wrote:
I'm pretty sure people are just crying wolf about the Winnu. I think they will turn out to be a middle of the pack Race.

Well, the issue is moot, since they can't start with Cruiser II anyway I think the reason this discussion came up at all was because some people felt they were too weak and so wanted to boost their starting tech to be ANY tech, not just "any tech with no prerequisites", and so the Cruiser II discussion came about as a reason why that wouldn't be such a good idea.


Yeah I meant crying wolf as in everybody thinks they are terrible when they are actually just ok.
 
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Alex Almond
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They can't start with Cruiser 2.

The Winnu have one strategy which is easily prevented. Any chance they have relies on the passivity of the rest of the group.

They really need to be broadened out for what happens if someone gets to Rex first? What happens when others see you have no forces and start taking your systems, Rex or your HW?

Winnu faction techs are poor and even the Promissory note isn't very good.

I don't see why something else can't be added to them it's not going to overpower them and should at least make the race interesting.

I was thinking start the game with 2x Winnu PDS on Rex (they still do not own the planet. -Make it a decision to go up the yellow tech route at the start to grab Grav Lasers now blue seems the obvious choice.

Add to the Hegemonic Trade Policy tech. Gain 1 trade good each time a neighbour exhausts Mecatol Rex. - Makes this card actually useful (Homeworld 3 to 4 swap is underwhelming) if you don't have a high inf/low production world. Theorectically it can get you 2 TG a round once Rex has been grabbed, really it will only nab you 1 whilst you don't own Rex as you will likely want to exhaust it before voting.
 
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Alex Almond
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blarknob wrote:
sigmazero13 wrote:
blarknob wrote:
I'm pretty sure people are just crying wolf about the Winnu. I think they will turn out to be a middle of the pack Race.

Well, the issue is moot, since they can't start with Cruiser II anyway I think the reason this discussion came up at all was because some people felt they were too weak and so wanted to boost their starting tech to be ANY tech, not just "any tech with no prerequisites", and so the Cruiser II discussion came about as a reason why that wouldn't be such a good idea.


Yeah I meant crying wolf as in everybody thinks they are terrible when they are actually just ok.


The quality of a race relies on
Starting Units
Promissory Note
Racial Abilities
Racial Techs
Flag Ship
Trade Ability

All of these for the Winnu range between poor to ok at best. Without going into faction disadvantages they couldn't be much worse. it's still possible to win with them (it's that sort of game) but I'd still rank them last (and dullest) out of all the races.
 
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Theo Mags
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I think they should have allowed them to star with a second tech of their choice, with the same restrictions as the first. That would potentially give them access to cruiser or dread 2's by round 2. I think that would go a long way to boosting their early game performance without being overpowered.
 
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james herbby
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If people are complaining about their starting tech, why not make it any non unit tech, ignore pre-reqs?

Can't have cruiser 2 and they can start with something that may be more useful.

But I doubt that will happen. It isn't that they don't like their starting, it's they want cruiser 2. Otherwise someone would have mentioned that earlier.

And it isn't like the Winnu can't hit mec early, just take warfare on turn one and get in range, then take imperial on turn two. Or take anti-mass, then if you can nab the tech card buy gravity drive and carrier 2. That one you don't even need tech on turn 1, can wait till 2. An easy 1/5 of the points needed to win. Winnu are all about mec, here's an idea, go in with enough stuff to hold it. Deny everyone else those points. Also forces the other players into taking imperial, which leaves other strategy cards for you. Free space doc and a pds, saving you from having to take construction. As soon as you take it, just keep dropping gfs on it. May only get 2 a round, but that's what the rest of your empire is for. And given fleet limits and capacity limits as long as you keep reinforcing it you should be fine. Hell, with the pds until the L1z1x get warsuns they cant even harrow, which makes holding it easier.

Winnu are a single strategy race, which can be powerful, but you have to commit to it. If your'e unwilling to do what is necessary, then pick someone else. That simple.
 
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Helena Kanter
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If Mecatol Rex is that central to the Winnu why not give them a mild Saar ability, that allows them to score VPs as long as they control at least MR and/or their HS?
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PK Levine
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combatcotton wrote:
If Mecatol Rex is that central to the Winnu why not give them a mild Saar ability, that allows them to score VPs as long as they control at least MR and/or their HS?

This has been suggested by a few people, yes. On one hand, it makes sense. But on the other, it might encourage them to turtle like crazy.

Personally, I think that regardless of the above, they also need at least one "counter ability" that works only while they don't control MR, or if someone else is first to take it. That way you aren't completely shafted if you can't (or don't want to) take that one tactic. My favorite suggestion so far is "Research a technology when another player removes the Custodian token from MR," because otherwise they're the only race with a special ability that requires you to be the first to accomplish something.
 
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Helena Kanter
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You are only shafted when you PICK the Winnu and don't want to use them as intended. Which imho is your mistake. Not the game's.

Its like complaining that the Muat are so dull while refusing to build war suns.
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Colin LaFleur
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Quote:
Add to the Hegemonic Trade Policy tech. Gain 1 trade good each time a neighbour exhausts Mecatol Rex. - Makes this card actually useful (Homeworld 3 to 4 swap is underwhelming) if you don't have a high inf/low production world. Theorectically it can get you 2 TG a round once Rex has been grabbed, really it will only nab you 1 whilst you don't own Rex as you will likely want to exhaust it before voting.


Uh, you're forgetting about Mecatol Rex. That 6/1 swap ain't nothing to scoff at.
 
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Steve Williams
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That is the intended dream, yes. But like everything else about the Winnu, is not very helpful if you don't control Mecatol Rex.

It was also my favorite ability from the Yin in TI3, pretty bummed that they lost it.
 
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Helena Kanter
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The Yin used that ability almost exclusively to turn their home system into what it is now by default. So the loss is imho bearable.
 
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Steve Williams
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The skip is what mattered, not the flip. Although it was fun to flip Meer or Mecatol as well. It was a flavorful ability everyone in my group liked.
 
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