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Subject: Pocket Landship: The Second Front - An Expansion rss

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Scott Allen
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Pocket Landship: The Second Front

The Second Front expansion is now official:
- BGG game page
- cards and rules in the file section
- game "cover art" complete

Please head over there for any forum discussions. Also, I encourage you to upload photos, write a review, or add content there in any other way.

Thanks!






As discussed in other threads on this game page, here it is, the expansion to Pocket Landship.


(This is a photo from an earlier prototype. The Strike cards only require 2 dice placed, not 3 as shown in these photos)

I will post these files here as version 0.10. Hopefully, a few people will try it out and share feedback. Once things are finalized, I'll submit this as an official expansion. But for now, the double sided 9 cards and 3 page rule can be found here:
https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B4GOwLLS7SEbd082RGxn...
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Scott Allen
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Here is a look at the 6 new "Strike" cards. Player can pick any 2 to use for each game.

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Scott Allen
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I played 3 games today of Pocket Landship: The Second Front, using the standard Hull + Cannon + Sponsons loadout. I lost all 3 games, defeating 2, 5, and 5 enemy cards.

In each game, I was only able to activiate 1 strike card, and was a bit unlucky - 2 out of the 3 had no action based on the roll of the dice.

I gave each Strike card 1 "no action" result that statistically should happen about 28% of the time I think. So, if you call in an airstrike, you have about a 72% chance of causing some damage with it. I might want to bump that up to about 80 or 85% of the time, because it's frustrating setting aside 2 dice to activate the card, and then get nothing from it, especially if you are only going to use 1 (or maybe 2) per game.

The "Disable the Tracks" Strike card is my personal favorite since you can be very "strategic" with that one. If you have an enemy landship on their "weak side" (card is on the right - higher number side), but most damage comes on the left/lower number side, it's a great feeling to disable it and keep it from "swapping" towards its powerful side.

I'm curious to hear others' thoughts.

Thanks.
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Robert Seater
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When I played, I activated one strike. Allocated dice to it was an interesting tradeoff, and I didn't flub the roll.

I then, independently, got a string of good luck on enemy rolls that obviated the need to press for more strikes, as I was able to clean up without them.
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Scott Allen
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Thanks for the info Robert.

I like the additional choices the expansion gives (which Strike cards to use, and if/when to use them), and the additional "back side" enemy cards for variety, and for going against 9 enemies to lengthen the game a bit.

This is either "just right" for an expansion, or maybe almost "not enough"? I don't want to drastically change the game, so maybe this is fine for an expansion - expand the game without changing it too much. Just thinking out loud, I guess...

Thanks.
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G. Uitz
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Hi Scott,

played two games with the expansion and it went quite well.

Game 1, Bomber Strike (5s) and Disable Tracks (6)
The enemy forces consisted of:
* Boar Class LS (4.0)
* 2 x Badger Class LS (2.5)
* Bobcat Classs LS (2.0)
* 2 x Medium Artillery (2.5)
* 2 x Elite Inf. Squad (2.0)
* Ambush (1.3)
Total Enemy Forces Value: 21.3

The game went smoothly and I was able to use one Bomber Strike and 2x Disable Tracks. As you already said, Disable Tracks is neat if you immobilize an enemy LS and avoid the repositioning. I had the badger pinned at the center position and this prevented the Med. Artillery at the left position to swap from the leftmost position to right several times (*evilgrin*).
I won without much efforts, so I decided to bring back the Bison, my arch enemy from the previous four standard games (*shudder*).

Game 2, Airship Recon (1s) and Artillery Strike (3)
Although I think the support cards from my first game were pretty powerful, I wanted to try two different ones to get a feel for them.
The enemy forces consisted of:
* Bison Class LS (6.0)
* Boar Class LS (4.0)
* Badger Class LS (2.5)
* Bobcat Class LS (2.0)
* Elite Inf. Squad (2.0)
* Inf. Squad (1.5)
* 2 x Ambush (1.3)
* Mine Field (1.3)
Total Enemy Forces Value: 21.9

This time it was a bit harder although the total forces value was just a bit higher than in game 1. I managed to keep the LS at bay even though they swapped back for repairs quite a few times. Fortunately, the Bison at the front left position swapped to the second row quite early in the game and I kept the swapped Elite Infantry alive with one health until the endgame to prevent the bison from entering the battle.
When I triggered the endgame, the bison was still at 6 health, but all the other enemys down to 1 or 2. I was almost at full health and so I finished them off quickly to get the bison to the center position and win the game... It was soooo tight. My cannon was down at 1 health and he missed his last attack (rolled 5). It was a cool game and nice to see that my strategy worked in the end.

What are my thoughts regarding the expansion?
- To be honest, the additional row of enemies does not add much to the gameplay as you only deal with the first two rows.. the game is just a bit longer.
- The Strike cards are a cool addition. At first I thought I wouldn't use them much but I was wrong. What I can see is, that some of them seem more useful than others and some dice results seem easier to sacrifice than others. I didn't use the Airship Recon (1) because I use rolled 1s to protect my Hull (hunker down) and to fire my cannon at a LS.

The two games I've played are certainly not enough to allow for a qualified evaluation, but just from looking at the Strike Cards I would rank them as follows (from most useful to least):
+ Disable the Tracks (long term effect, can weaken one or two enemy cards in parallel if played at the right time)
+ Bomber Strike (2 or 3 Hits to any enemy is cool)
+ Artillery Strike (varying damage, but I like how you can hit enemies in back rows)
+ Airship Recon (if triggered early in the game, it can help to swap a LS to the back row to deal with it later, not so useful at later stages in the game)
+ Mine Field (weaker version of Bomber Strike and I think I would ever take this)
+ Smoke Screen (seems weak but maybe it is very valuable if saved for the endfight... I need to test this)

- I would have loved to see other enemy units like e.g. a "Repair Unit" which repairs adjacent units or the battle against a huge Behemoth LS which consists of multiple parts or some kind of a weaker "swarm enemy" (biker units?) with units boosting each other (like the infantry and artillery already do). What about a mechanism that allows the players landship to actually "move" its cannon (take entire rightmost row and move it the the leftmost position to simulate a "movement left")?
Well, I have no idea if and how this would acutally work but they look cool in my mind (*grin*).

It felt satisfying to revisit this game, well done.

Dark.
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Scott Allen
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Thanks for playing, and thanks for the nicely detailed write up.

Yes, I think the "Disable the Tracks" card is the best. I'm a bit surprised that you ranked the "Smoke Screen" last though. I like that one as a safety net, a "do over" just in case. But, that's a good thing that all people don;t agree on the best cards to use.

If you play the Corvette instead of the Cannon, there is an "Out Maneuver" action where you can swap 2 front row enemy cards - like the "Move" action you mention. But it is on the (weaker, in my opinion) Corvette, not the Cannon.

Maybe I should post some blank Enemy cards so folks can try out ideas like your Behemoth or Bikers - both start with "B", so that fits the Enemy's class descriptions

Thanks again. Much appreciated.

EDIT: As for the Mine Field, yes it has weaker results than the Air Strike, but statistically it will miss only 17% of the time, the Air Strike will miss 28% of the time. So, it's just another choice the player gets to make.
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G. Uitz
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Narrow Gate Games wrote:
I'm a bit surprised that you ranked the "Smoke Screen" last though. I like that one as a safety net, a "do over" just in case.

That's what I thought but never tried. As I said, the ranking is just a first one done by pure gut feeling and it may change after a few additional plays.

Quote:
If you play the Corvette instead of the Cannon, there is an "Out Maneuver" action where you can swap 2 front row enemy cards - like the "Move" action you mention. But it is on the (weaker, in my opinion) Corvette, not the Cannon.

Ooops, I meant to move columns, not rows. A move left would than mean to take the rightmost column and place it on the left side of the battlefield.

Quote:
Maybe I should post some blank Enemy cards so folks can try out ideas like your Behemoth or Bikers - both start with "B", so that fits the Enemy's class descriptions

That is a nice idea for sure. Thanks.

Quote:
As for the Mine Field, yes it has weaker results than the Air Strike, but statistically it will miss only 17% of the time, the Air Strike will miss 28% of the time. So, it's just another choice the player gets to make.

Oh, I hadn't noticed this but I would still take the risk to do more damage.

I just remembered one last thing. The Strike Card "Artillery Strike" says "Use middle die"...
Maybe you want to reword to "second highest die" because very often your roll just two dice due to the fact that you need a 1-point repair somewhere on your ship almost all of the time.

Dark.
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Scott Allen
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DarkPadawan wrote:

I just remembered one last thing. The Strike Card "Artillery Strike" says "Use middle die"...
Maybe you want to reword to "second highest die" because very often your roll just two dice due to the fact that you need a 1-point repair somewhere on your ship almost all of the time.

Dark.


That makes sense, since there are multiple ways the player could be rolling 2 or 4 dice.

Thanks.
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Scott Allen
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Narrow Gate Games wrote:
DarkPadawan wrote:

I just remembered one last thing. The Strike Card "Artillery Strike" says "Use middle die"...
Maybe you want to reword to "second highest die" because very often your roll just two dice due to the fact that you need a 1-point repair somewhere on your ship almost all of the time.

Dark.


That makes sense, since there are multiple ways the player could be rolling 2 or 4 dice.

Thanks.


I made this change - changing from "middle" to "second highest" die.

I uploaded the cards pdf file (including base game and expansion) and the expansion rules in the OP Google Drive link.

Thanks all.
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Scott Allen
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Had a fun game tonight - a loss, but it was still fun because of the tension.

I went with the "Smoke Screen" (re-roll) and the "Disable the Tracks" strike cards. I randomly selected 9 enemy cards and got the Boar and Bison landships, plus a couple more, so I knew it was going to be a tough fight.

The Bison was way in the back line and never got to the front. The Boar got to the front left (its strong side), AND all the other cards were "swap right", so I knew it would stay there. I could have hoped for a "retreat & Repair" action, but then it just repairs to get stronger. I went with the Disable the Tracks option hoping I might cause some damage, but I didn't. I wore it down, but in the end, it took out my hull.



I only finished killing 4 enemy cards, but it was tense and fun.

I used Smioke Screen once, and Disable the Tracks once, but the Disable card was "loaded" or activated again. I was saving it for the Bison, but probably should have tried the small percentage chance of damaging the Boar with it.
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C. L.
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OK! So now that I have three columns of enemy cards, how does repair and retreat happen? Exchange with 2nd row? 3rd row? Place at top and the other two rows move down? Looks from your post above that it's the first, but I can't find that in the rules.

The other thing I would add to the rules is to be explicit about reclaiming the dice after activating a card. And I assume you only reclaim after assigning the second die...
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Scott Allen
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GreenTea532 wrote:
OK! So now that I have three columns of enemy cards, how does repair and retreat happen? Exchange with 2nd row? 3rd row? Place at top and the other two rows move down? Looks from your post above that it's the first, but I can't find that in the rules.


Thanks for the questions. Yes, I should clarify both of these things. "Retreat and Repair" swaps the row 1 card (closest to you) with the row 2 card directly behind it. The new row (row 3, the top row) doesn't come into play until row 2 has an empty space in it, then the row 3 card falls into that space.


GreenTea532 wrote:
The other thing I would add to the rules is to be explicit about reclaiming the dice after activating a card. And I assume you only reclaim after assigning the second die...


By reclaim, do you mean roll the next turn? I'm not sure I understand this.

In the photo in my above post, it shows the "Disable the Tracks" card with both 6es covered. So in some previous turn or turns, I assigned a 6 to that card rather than to one of my landship cards. Then I pick up that die and the other 2 dice and roll them for the enemy's next turn, just like any other turn. The 2 red cubes stay on that card to show it is "activated" or ready to use on any one subsequent turn. After I use it, I remove the two red cubes and will need to "power it up" again by rolling 2 6es again.

Does that answer your question.

Thanks again. After working on this game off and on for months, it is very helpful to get some fresh eyes looking at it.
 
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C. L.
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Thanks! Yes, by reclaim I mean roll next turn. It's clear in your photo, but I know you don't want people to rely on the WIP, so was just suggesting you write it out more into the rules.
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Scott Allen
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Yup. Will do.

Thanks.
 
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Finally got a chance to play! The expansion gave me a moment when I though I had a chance. Threes were of no use to me so I had no qualms about activating the artillery strike. It would have helped if I had survived long enough for the tanks it damaged to get into play. Should have used it earlier on the elite infantry/artillery combo I couldn't get off the front row.

One day I will win.
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Scott Allen
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Thanks for playing. Winning is intentionally tough, but hopefully not too tough to turn you off to the game.

Once I clean up the instructions, do you think this expansion is ready to be "published"? Any other thoughts of feedback?

Thanks.



 
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I can't say that I have playtested it, but I don't see why not offer it on the game page.

I do notice, and this may just be my computer/printer set up, that the cards I printed during the contest are better than the new ones, as though they were printed from a higher resolution image.
 
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Narrow Gate Games wrote:
Do you think this expansion is ready to be "published"? Any other thoughts of feedback?

Thanks.

Scott, I think the expansion is ready to be released, but I would mention some details about the new third row and how the re-positioning works, like, "Units in the third row don't actively participate in the battle. As soon as a gap opens in the second row, it is filled by the nearest unit from the third row."

Dark.
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Scott Allen
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Pocket Landship: The Second Front

The Second Front expansion is now official:
- BGG game page
- cards and rules in the file section
- game "cover art" complete

Please head over there for any forum discussions. Also, I encourage you to upload photos, write a review, or add content there in any other way.

Thanks!

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