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Subject: Some Ideas On Balance... rss

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Chuck Finley
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So, I have some thoughts on how to change the game of DOOM in order to give the Invader a slight edge... After all, shouldn’t the edge be in favor of the Invader? Shouldn’t the marines, even the legendary Doomslayer (a.k.a. the infamous ‘Solo Operative’), feel at least a little threatened and challenged by the forces of Hell pouring through these portals?

My first idea is a shot directly at the ‘handicap’ squad cards; the ‘Solo Operative’ and ‘Combat Veteran’ cards in particular (I don’t have much experience with the ‘Taking Point’ three-man squad card). My suggestion? Ditch them altogether. Just throw them out. Use 4 initiative cards as if you were playing a regular 4 marine player game and assign the marines an equal share of initiatives and have them activate normally: 1 main action, 3 card hand size, unlimited bonus actions.

How does this change the game? Well, it seems to me that the big problem with the ‘handicapped’ squads is the extra health and the extra main action. “But isn’t that the same as having four activations? It’s just distributed a little differently,” some might say... Weeeelll, not exactly. With the main actions clumped together into only two activations (turns), there is no chance for reprieve for the Invader player. Normally, there would be a chance between marine activations for the Invader to activate one of his demon groups. Also, by combining two main actions, you allow for some truly devastating combos. By separating the marine’s actions as they’re supposed to be, the marine player has to play their cards smarter and be more fickle with their decisions on a turn-by-turn basis. Lumping actions into fewer activations also creates another problem: movement. Because main actions typically add movement points to the marine's pool, a single activation results in a higher rate of movement than normally possible in a single activation which doesn’t seem like such a big deal until you consider Glory Kills. Multiple main actions means more attacks per activation means more movement points and equals more staggered demons meeting the shaft end of Glory Kill lane than normal. Now top this sundae with the cherry that is a health bonus and you have marines that are dishing more damage and killing more demons in a single activation meaning that more of the Invader’s forces are being wiped out before they have a chance to react AND the marine is harder to bring down to boot. Talk about backwards logic...

Second idea. Cover. Ignore the gamble of drawing a second defense card... That's bullocks. Cover should provide a confirmed benefit, something that makes seeking cover worthwhile, not this “maybe” shot in the dark bologna. Instead have cover grant a static bonus to defense. +1 or even +2. Simple, no gamble, worthwhile for both sides. And while it does make killing the marines that much harder, it does the same for demons... especially those in hordes.

Third. No more auto Glory Kills. This one I’m still back and forth on... I like the Glory Kill system and I love how it captured the essence of the 2016 Doom video game, but, as the Invader player, it really sucks that demons can just be autokilled by moving into their space. I say keep the system as it is but with one add-on: attach a die roll to it. Roll one red die, if you roll any damage results the Glory Kill was successful, if the die is blank, not so much and you get pushed into a legal adjacent space (at no cost to movement, Invader’s choice).

Portals and the unending hordes... This one was inspired by a similar idea posted in another topic here. Portals aren’t discarded after they’re activated... every round they’re active, they summon. The limit of demons summoned is the miniature population (e.g. only two Barons can ever exist because there are only two Baron minis). A marine can deactivate (discard) a portal by moving into its space. In the case of portal ‘stacks’, multiple portals can be active in a stack but have to be activated/deactivated sequentially. The Assualt threat card is the exception to this.

This idea can be hit or miss depending on certain missions or scenarios and might even salt a few players (Invader and Marine). I kind of like it because it keeps some true pressure on the marine players and makes the threat of the demons, even if it’s just imps, very real. It also gives the Invader player a little more leeway with his less powerful forces, able to make sacrifice or rush plays without feeling like they’re making a huge sacrifice because their forces are so finite. In a game where a marine can mow down 3-4 imps in a single round without batting an eye, I believe allowing the Invader a little bit of a “minion quota” is acceptable. This also keeps the “I don’t need to do the objectives, I can just kill all your dudes” win by default strategy in check (unless that’s the goal... and even then, they can still do that, they just have to shut the portals so they stop summoning more.)

Lastly, lower the victory requirements by the number of marines missing. With four targets running around, an Invader has a few options for different marks. Maybe Delta is the target this round, immediately followed by Charlie with that Baron’s second beatdown. Point is, the frags come a lot easier when the squad is fuller because the fluidity of the game isn’t broken up when a marine is fragged. For example, let’s say I’m playing a 1v1 game and I got 5 imps, a Baron, and a Revenant against a single marine. Marine activates, slaughters 3 of my imps with some smart shotgun shots and well-timed Glory Kill. Invader activates and decides to try and soften up the marine for the Baron with the imps. Imps get extremely lucky with some good rolls, Argent-powered fireballs, and some well-played action cards bringing the marine to 3 health. Invader gets luck of the draw and activates again, now he brings the Baron’s fury down. First, the Grand Fireball. Marine draws... 0 defense taking 5 damage. Fragged. Now the rest of the Baron’s turn is wasted as he’s moved around to anticipate the marine's spawn, and if the Revenant activates next, he’s wasted as well. If there were more marines on the board, these demons would be more useful and might be able to even score another frag. By lowering the frag requirement, the Invader has a more reasonable goal to meet with the restrictions available (less targets to chase).

Anyway, those are some of my thoughts on the matter. Let me know what anybof you think. I used the first one (ditching the Solo Op card) tonight and it worked out pretty good in a 1v1... As the Invader I still lost, but I actually scored 4 frags in the Knee Deep In The Dead mission. Very surprising as the last time I played that 1v1 (using vanilla rules) as the Invader I don’t think I even scored 1 frag.
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Chuck Finley
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Oh, and another one suggested to me by a marine player...

Frag resets. When a marine is fragged, he loses his Glory Kill cards and drops any special weapons he had.
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Zack
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I like the idea of ditching the squad cards. After my first game as an invader I had an impression that too much depends on the luck of initiative deck. If the Marine goes first, ridiculous two main actions would mean that he can destroy most of the Imps on board without even giving a chance for them to activate. This would also make event cards that manipulate initiative, one of the best event cards in the game.

Also I didn't really like the idea of the one time use portals. I don't think that activating them every turn, until Marine discards them is fair either. But there is definitely some place for a house rule here or some future expansion should address that.

Dropping weapons when fragged also seem like a good idea.

I don't like the dice roll on glory kill though.
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Chuck Finley
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Yeah, like I said, I go back and forth on the Glory Kill idea. Sometimes I’m in favor of it, sometimes not.

I’m also torn on the portal thing too... But I lean more heavily in favor of it. Since there are so few miniatures of the big baddies, I see the potential of them being a strong, dominant force, but not necessarily an overwhelming one. They would be tough, for sure, but it might just be that edge that the Invader needs in order to put the fear of God back in the Marines. Plus with the ability to close them, it wouldn’t be like it was indefinite. If a marine is quick on his feet and determined, he could limit portals to one, maybe two summons.

Maybe make it so that the Invader can only utilize one active portal a turn and not all. That way his portals stay, but he has to choose which one to summon from and still gets a few extra forces.
 
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John Lehman
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Here are some house rules I've come up with:

Glory Kills are disabled.
-Any Marine Classes that are fundamentally designed around them are disabled.

Squad Cards are disabled.

Argent Power tokens are only discarded when used. They carry over even when no Demons are present on the board.

Argent Power tokens are in a shared pool to be used by any Demons on the board.

If more players beyond 5 (4 marines + 1 demon) wish to play, Demons may add extra players to their team:
-The extra players are dealt in from the Event Deck.
-The Demons then take turns sequentially when Demon (Invader) Initiative comes up.
-All Demon players draw from the same Event Deck and discard to the same pile.

EDIT: Revised based on some testing.
 
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Manolo Grafenwalder
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My ideas about balance are based in actions that cost movement points (MP), in order to make harder cross the board for the marines. Something like:

-Take weapons, healthy packs and similar tokens: 1 MP
-Open portals: 1 MP
-Interact with objectives: 1 MP

Also the doors can be changed, instead of movement, the marines need at least 1 successful attack to open it. Attack that doesn’t suffer the invasor.


It doesn’t complete, but little by little we can approach to a balanced game, specially in 1vs2 and 1vs1.
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Chuck Finley
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Played last night with my Continuous Portal house rule last night.

The rules changes:

Removed the step in demon summoning where the portal token is discarded so flipped portals stay on the board.

Added an additional step to the Status Phase where the invader chooses one faceup portal and summons demons from it.

Added a mechanic where a marine can enter a faceup portal’s space and spend a movement point to discard that portal.

How’d it go?

Well, we played stock O1:M2. One we previously played using vanilla rules and as the invader I was defeated. I earned 3 frags but after I had summoned all my demons, and my forces started declining, it was downhill. Especially since we were using a 2 marine Combat Veteran game.

This time, I was the victor... by a lot. We had one extra marine, so it was slightly different than the vanilla game, but as the invader the continuos portals ensured I had forces on the board and constantly surrounded the marines. The marines closed two portals using the new portal rules, but I had all 4 cacodemons, all 4 pinkies, and all the possessed soldiers on the board.

Final thoughts.

The extended portal idea might be a little TOO much of a power shift to the hands of the invader. I liked finally feeling like I had an edge, but at one point it did feel like it was just too overwhelming. I think there is potential here to keep demon forces on the board, but to limit it in a way so that it isn’t quite as overwhelming. Maybe add an Argent Power cost to it or something.
 
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Manolo Grafenwalder
Spain
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Played this morning 1vs1 stock O1M2, with the next variations:

-Without chainsaw.
-Without special solo marine card.
-The marine had the four marine activation cards, a max. hand size of 3 (draw until that number after each activation). So... 4 normal activations each round and 10 life points.
-Take objects (weapons, grenades, healthy packs) and open portals cost 1 movement point. Objectives and doors played as usual.

Result:
Marine victory. Me as invader scored 5 flags and different order in the activation cards of the last round could be changed the results of the game.
Very good feelings.
 
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