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Battlestations: Second Edition» Forums » General

Subject: Are we doing something wrong? rss

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Jacob Hamilton
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We've just finished our first game of battle stations and we struggled too enjoy it to be honest. We did the first two missions of the interdiction tutorial and generally find it's nearly impossible to pass skill checks.

We had an engineer in the engine room who was rarely able to produce power, despite having a skill of 3. The same story happened with the combat guy and ship cannon and the pilot for basic changes in speed.

The problem we saw was how many negative modifiers you get from OOC and used counters. We were using our luck and profession rerolls, as well as any skills we had. With only 4 players it's hard to assist so maybe we need more people?

Any advice as to what we've done wrong would vs appreciated. Alternatively, is it common to house rule some skill checks to be easier?
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don't forget to reset used counters after a round (6 phases).
Also, OOC get reduced by one at the end of each phase.
If you plan correctly OOC shouldnt be a problem as you can pump and engine for say 2 power (only need a roll of 8+ with a skill of 3 and a professional reroll) and do your piloting action that generates OOC at the end.

To reduce difficulty you can prepare for 1 phase for a +1 on your roll making it even easier.

The pilot can also steady the ship (basic piloting roll) to get rid of all ooc if you somehow end up with a lot.

I our games heroes rarely ever fail a action by using professional rerolls, skill rerolls or luck. Most of the time players go for a 8 or 9+ for a roll or sometimes a 10+ if it's really crucial.
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Jay Shaffstall
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Used counters can make skill checks impossible in later phases at low levels. You have to plan for that, for example pumping for 2 power on the first action, and 1 power on the second, and then moving to a new engine.

Also, the helm doesn't get used markers. We've done that wrong in the past.

So yes, it sounds like you're doing something wrong...either with the rules, but we'd need to know more details to work out what, or with your expectations (expecting to be able to make skill checks with multiple used markers and no assist/prep actions to help).
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Greg Frank
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Seems odd that you wouldn't be able to producce any power. with a 3 you would need a 5 to produce one power, a 8 to produce 2 and an 11 to produce 3, if you prepare that gives +1 and if someone assists that is a +1 as well. so with prepare and a assist that is 5 your stat without rolling, so it would be impossible not to pump one power unless you got snake eyes.

As for OOC, you would do helm actions only after everyon went and every phase the OOC goes down by one, used markers go away after 6 phases when there is a new round and you should have at least 2 engines (if I remember mission 1 and 2 correctly) which means you can pump one then move to the other to avoid used markers pilling up too much. Plus you get a professional re-roll which helps.

Try not to aim too high for pumping, figure out what you can make. With 0 OOC and 0 used markes, even without prep, you can pump the enginees for 2 which is an 8 or better and have a about a 42% chance of success, for 1 power you have about an 83%-84% chance of success.

can you please describe a little bit more about the conditions you were playing under as in were helm actions first, did you have only one enginee etc...
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Jacob Hamilton
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Thanks for everyone's replies.

We were removing used counters at the round end and 1OOC/phase, but rolls all seem to need above average most of the time.

For example, in our first turn the engineer tried (and failed) to pump 1 power. (8-skill of 3) To be fair, it wasn't until a couple of phases in we realised about the profession re-rolls but it still screwed us all round due to the used counter. Myself, as the Marine, failed to launch a science probe(11-skill 3), even after I used a luck. (Side question, can you 're-roll a re-roll' ie profession and luck or multiple luck?. Our bot pilot went last to accelerate us to 1 speed. This was the only skill check the bot ever passed all game...

Fast forward a bit, we have moved 3 space closer to the planet and coasted to a stop, our scientist holding back 4 missiles (our Enemy decided to not make us put used counters on the science lab we were doing so bad) and I've failed to fire the gun several times but got a science probe out (failing a missile launch with a used counter was quite punishing too given that goes straight to a 14). We then get hit by the said missiles when we try and talk to the planet instead of ECM, this blows up our gun and helm, and gives us 4OOC. We're now stuck out of range of the planet with no ability to move or drop OOC, although I now understand the science probe doesn't blow up (not mentioned anywhere in the basic rules) so we shouldn't have needed to launch as many as we attempted.

In the end, our enemy was firing about half the missiles he should have, and was giving us extra questions to give us a chance. I guess we were expecting to be able to pass more skill checks through out, nearly everything is an above average roll even with a skill of 3 or 4, and it felt bad that our characters basically sat there as the ship got blown up around them.

We weren't really assisting - everyone was needed at their own station, and the +1 bonus doesn't seem like much. There's also no mention of assisting nor preparing in the basic rules. I think part of what we were expecting is for our characters to be able to at least start passing rolls fairly easy, but then in later phases it get harder. As it was we failed a lot in the opening phases, then sat around not doing anything in the later ones as everything had 3 or more used counters on it.
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Jay Shaffstall
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Paukinra wrote:

For example, in our first turn the engineer tried (and failed) to pump 1 power. (8-skill of 3)


That should have required a roll of 5, which is below average. Granted, if you forgot about the professional reroll, a bad roll could have messed you up.

Paukinra wrote:

Side question, can you 're-roll a re-roll' ie profession and luck or multiple luck?.


You can use as much luck as you want in a single action. You only get the one professional reroll unless your species ability says otherwise.

Paukinra wrote:

We're now stuck out of range of the planet with no ability to move or drop OOC


The helm action Steady The Ship action ignores current OOC, so is just the basic 2 x Ship Size + 2 x Ship Speed. If you were a size 3 ship not moving, that difficulty was 6, further reduced by pilot skill. Almost an automatic success.

I'd encourage you to try the game again. It sounds like you were doing some things wrong and forgetting professional rerolls for a few phases would definitely hurt.

Also don't underestimate the +1 bonus from assisting, and the +1 bonus from preparing. Those two can combine to bring a later phase roll back into the doable category, especially when others can't be effective due to used markers.
 
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Steve McClure
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Something that was alluded to, but not spelled out is the order that actions are taken by characters really matters.

People smarter than me taught me that the pilot should always act either FIRST or LAST. If they are maneuvering, they act last so other crew actions aren't impacted by OOC. Then the following Phase, the pilot should act first to steady the ship, so their crewmates aren't impacted by OOC. Following that recipe results in a lot less OOC related heartburn.
 
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ron mahaffey
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maybe purchase a new set of dice if your rolls are that bad believe me I feel your pain but even I manage to roll an 8 on 2d6 at least 56% of the time especially with a profesional re-roll
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Jeff Siadek
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I'm sorry it took so long for me to weigh in here.

Yes, you were doing something wrong.

The first mission is almost painfully easy. If you had problems with it, it is because I failed to make the rules clear enough.

Prepare and assist do make the tasks easier but these things shouldn't be required.

Nearly all characters have a 3 or 4 in their profession. You get a reroll in that for free and can spend as much Luck as you like. A common mistake for beginning players is to use up all of their Luck on a hard task such as an Engineer that is going for 3 power on the first turn.

The second mission can be extremely tough. I see failures on this one once in a while and there is no shame in it.

Launching a Science Probe is hard (11) but with a skill of 3 and a professional reroll you will succeed more than half of the time. If you are willing to spend a couple of Luck, your chances go up over 90%.

Don't forget about transferring power. It ignores used markers and doesn't generate them. In Mission 2, Shields are useless so transfer that power into the Helm so you can steady the ship or to the guns so you can shoot the missiles.

Another huge factor is character special abilities. The game should be beatable without them but adding them makes it very doable. A tricky Engineer can wipe out some of the chasing missiles or steady the ship even if the helm is broken. Jury riggers get a free repair attempt. Pilots with Speed Demon or Turn specialist get rerolls for speeding up or turning the ship. Steady-handed pilots can steady without rolling dice for it. Spacers get 5 rerolls for any skill checks. Any of this stuff would have benefited you.

It crushes me to read that you struggled with it. Many games limit the rerolls so it was easy for you to make that assumption. There are a lot of rerolls in Battlestations. I urge you to give it another try. The third mission has an enemy ship of equal size so it should be fairly balanced. If they can't roll an 8 to get power either you might have an icy standoff while you wait for the used markers to clear!
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Jacob Hamilton
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Thanks everyone for your replies, especially Jeff!

We do want to try the game again, we can see the potential and love how original the aliens are, that's why we're trying to figure out why it went so badly...

I think part of the problem we had was one of the first missiles that hit took out our helm, so we couldn't perform steady ship or increase our thrust but I understand now how we 'should' be doing it (or at least understand it a bit better). Our engineer couldn't steady unfortunately, but that seems like a really important skill to have on board.

We were transferring power (or trying to) but our engineer had used all his luck by then, I guess most of our problems stemmed from lack of power. That and how hard it is to shoot a missile down, but to be fair my marine was very personal combat focused, which wouldn't have helped.

We will defiantly be trying again (probably at New Years)but we wanted to make sure we were playing properly before hand. I will get back to you with our progress!
 
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