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Subject: Some units underpowered or seemingly low-use rss

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Michael D. Kelley
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Okay, I'll start by saying that I am familiar with the computer game but do not expect the boardgame to be exactly the same as it. I also have enjoyed playing the board game immensely so far. The points below are just observations and minor niggles.
It seems to me that a few units are unfairly weak or strong based on their relative level when compared to other units in different races. I'll just list the units and my perceived problems with them. Feel free to prove me wrong or to disagree.

1 - Firebat: What happened here? First of all, it seems like it must be a misprint that the Marine/Firebat combat card has splash damage for BOTH the marine and the firebat. The main advantage of firebats (in the game and their description) is their greater ground damage and their splash damage. But now the marine and the firebat share one splash card, and there is only one other one available (with the vulture). And firebats are only moderately more powerful on their cards (an average of attack of 5.4 for marines, 5.8 for firebats, health 4.8 for marines, 5.2 for firebats). And all of this for TWICE the resources and limited versatility (no air attack).
I would have given firebats exclusive splash ability, and put some splash ability on the stimpacks as well (for only firebats). At the moment, I see no reason to build firebats. I suppose if I'm swimming in gas I might consider it, but there are better uses for excess gas.

2 - Siege Tank: Okay, so first of all the siege tank is inferior to the reaver. The reaver is built with one building upgrade instead of three, has higher combat values with its technology cards, and has WAY more splash damage cards. The siege tank is more comparable to the ultralisk, although the ultralisk can be built with one fewer building upgrade.
But my main problem is that I see very little reason to go for siege tanks instead of battle cruisers. Comparing the Factory and Starport units down the line, Wraiths have slightly less attack power than goliaths but are otherwise vastly superior (cloaking, flight, get them one building earlier). Vultures are moderately useful, and so in my experience are science vessels, so I'll call that a wash. But battle cruisers outshine siege tanks in a big way. They have better combat values, are fliers, and can attack both air and ground, all for only one more mineral. And both units require 3 building upgrades. Comparing reavers to carriers is more equal because reavers build faster and have splash.
I see very little reason to go for siege tanks unless my opponent is building only ground, and even then I still wouldn't get siege tanks unless the ground units were all something good against air, like goliaths or dragoons.
I would have given the siege tank the ability to have a more consistent splash once siege technology is researched in the form of a card that stays on the table. To match the feel of the computer game, I probably would have given siege tanks constant splash if they are either: supporting on the attack OR on defense supporting or not. This would reflect their ability to switch to siege mode and bombard from long range on attack (with marine support) or to blow away approaching attackers when on defense.

3 - Guardian: In the computer game, these guys were worthwhile because of ridiculous range and attack values versus ground. Mutalisks were a bit feeble versus ground troops, taking quite a while to kill them. In the board game things seem much less clear cut. Let's look at the values of mutalisks and guardians versus ground:
Attack = 7.25 for Mutalisk, 7.66 for unupgraded guardian, 8.5 for upgraded guardian.
Health = 7 for mutalisk, 7.66 for unupgraded guardian, 7.8 for upgraded guardian.
So, the guardian does have a decent advantage here, especially after the upgrade.
BUT, it takes two builds to get guardians (plus researching the technology), they cost an extra gas, it costs another mineral and a gas and a research order for their upgrade, they only attack ground, and they don't have the mutalisk's splash damage.
I don't think the pros outweight the cons here. You can have a mixed force of mutalisks and guardians or scourge and guardians, but it still seems like too much effort for not enough extra bang over mutalisks. I might've nerfed mutalisk ground attack values a bit.

4 - Adding on to the previous point, the basic air units (mutalisk, wraith, scout) are far too powerful against ground units, in my opinion. In the computer game they were all fairly weak, which vastly increased the utility of battle crusisers, carriers, and guardians, because they had undimished ground attack capability.
I would've lowered all of these units attack values by one on a few cards, and then had a "+1 versus air" ability for the air unit (which is already present on a few cards). This would increase fiddliness a bit, since you would also have to have a note for "+1 ground attack" when the air unit is paired with a ground unit on a combat card. But it would have been truer to the computer game AND (more importantly) increased the use of upgrading all the way to battle cruisers, wraiths, and (again) guardians.

Alright, these are my thoughts. Chime in and prove me wrong!
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David Schemenaur
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I agree with you on most of your points, however, I think the reason they made the basic air units more powerful is for game balancing reasons most likely and allow them to actually kill something, after all if you made them weaker would they really be worth their cost? No, absolutely not but I do admit I would not mind if their attack values were lowered. After all a wraith should not be able to destroy a Goliath.
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wodan wodan
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air units had no mentionable value in starcraft when it came to pure combat values. The basic air units were only good at killing other air units, but all air units are a waste of money. Even the advanced air units that are more effective against ground units are still pretty crappy in straight up battles. Battle Cruisers, Carriers, and Guardians, will all lose to their weight in ground units (excluding Yamato).

This gets to 1 key point. The advantage that air units had were the mobility. Battlecruisers could absorb heavy damage, then get repaired for little cost. Wraiths can destroy units while cloaked, and torment and destroy armies if given plenty of time.

However, battles in the boardgame can't differentiate between a quick and straightout battle and a long battle of cat and mouse between wraiths, zealots, and dragoons.

In short, air units have their superior mobility, used both to evade and chase, converted into additional attack values.

After all, the boardgame doesn't have an option for the air units to flee over impassable terrain to get away from goliaths, then attack a different undefended target that the goliaths won't be able to get to in time.



On the other hand, Firebats have been nerfed, and I do find it weird that they have to share their splash with Marines and Vultures, which didn't have and didn't need splash in the computer game. Siege Tanks are also rather weak, and similar to Ultralisks in that they cost 1 mineral less than the carrier/battlecruisers, but become a land unit that can only attack land units instead of an air unit that can attack bother, and have weaker tech cards
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Scott Lewis
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GameMasterX0 wrote:
1 - Firebat: What happened here? First of all, it seems like it must be a misprint that the Marine/Firebat combat card has splash damage for BOTH the marine and the firebat.

I don't have the cards handy, but if I'm remembering correctly, the Marine/Firebat splash damage card only applies against certain units (specifically, the weak ones). I think this may represent the ability for Marines to rapidly take out some other weak units; since the Splash doesn't apply to "powerful" units on the card I'm thinking of, it represents that their "quick gang-up" doesn't work as well.
 
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Dave J McWeasely
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Quote:
1. Firebat

Word.

Quote:
2. Siege Tank

Its not fair to consider the siege tank in a vacuum. You have to look at the totality of the Terran Factory track. And that means taking a closer look at the Vulture. The vulture's spider mines are crazy broken. Imagine your opponent's surprise when his 9-8 Reaver gets co-killed by your 8-7 splash-damage vulture.

Also, the terrans have a much better attrition unit for coping with splash damage: the marine. The Zealot is costly, and the high templar is a massive pain to get.

I've only played one game, but I felt going vulture+siege totally outmatched both my zergling+hydralisk foe and my zealot+reaver foe.

Virtually all my cards "worked" for all units. Together with the 8-card hand limit, I never ran out of splash damage cards, and I always had a comfortable reserve of splash cards. (Oh, yeah, I had "Aggressive Strategy", so it was really a 9 card limit, and I was drawing 4 cards per attack.)

The only thing I was dissatisfied with were the performance of my Goliaths against Mutalisks. More on that later...

Quote:
3. Guardian
Well, the Mutalisk is quite strong, its an excellent level-1 flyer. With a +2 support rating, even expendable zerglings are death-dealers. Or it can abuse its own flying ability to deal splash. I plan to buy lots of Mutalisks in my next Zerg game.

There are two problems with going mass mutalisk though.
1) There are only three of them.
2) A sizeable fraction of the deck doesn't apply to Mutalisks or Zerglings. There are three scrouge-only cards, three Guardian/Ultralisk-only cards, and one Hydralisk-only card. That's over 1/3rd of the deck. Ouch.
So to have a really functioning Zerg card ecosystem, you have to get either Guardians or Ultralisks (or scrouge?). I'd go for Guardians over Ultralisks, just because flying is harder for opponents to deal with.

Still don't understand why they don't have splash tho. yuk


Quote:
3. Vanilla air units are too good!

What woodan said.

When fighting Mutas, I intuitively went for Goliaths. That was a mistake. I should have gotten stim paks and cranked marines, so that the Mutas would have to fear my common marines, not my rare, expensive, and just-as-dead Goliaths. Wraiths with cloak would also have been a good reply.
 
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Alexander E. Stevens
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MrWeasely wrote:

Quote:
3. Guardian
Well, the Mutalisk is quite strong, its an excellent level-1 flyer. With a +2 support rating, even expendable zerglings are death-dealers. Or it can abuse its own flying ability to deal splash. I plan to buy lots of Mutalisks in my next Zerg game.

There are two problems with going mass mutalisk though.
1) There are only three of them.
2) A sizeable fraction of the deck doesn't apply to Mutalisks or Zerglings. There are three scrouge-only cards, three Guardian/Ultralisk-only cards, and one Hydralisk-only card. That's over 1/3rd of the deck. Ouch.
So to have a really functioning Zerg card ecosystem, you have to get either Guardians or Ultralisks (or scrouge?). I'd go for Guardians over Ultralisks, just because flying is harder for opponents to deal with.

Still don't understand why they don't have splash tho. yuk


Who, the guardian? The guardians never had splash, just for the record. The only zerg units with splash were the Muty (bouncy splash) and the broodwar Devourer (spores).


I do find it whaque that the marine gets splash. Really turns me off quite a bit.

The reaver, in terms of straight up power, was superior to the siege tank, but the siege tank had far superior range. It would have been cool if the siege tank could have been made a blatantly superior support unit, as that would better reflect its original purpose.

While I understand the idea behind the spider mine implementation, it really undermines, further, the purpose of siege tank. Again, the true purpose of the vulture was anti-infantry/skirmish. the Korean tournaments demonstrate this insanely well, and though they use the mines quite offensively, it is not comparable to just adding splash.


and why was chitonous plating included? that's a broodwar upgrade =P
 
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Michael D. Kelley
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Very good points have been made so far.

1 - Yes, the vulture is also a little bit overpowered, which does mitigate the relative uselessness of the factory track for terran. I'm rather surprised by how the mines were implemented. They only cost 1 gas and are very powerful. Also, they aren't returned to the technology deck after use. Since reaver and carrier cards (both of which are built and rebuilt in-game) must be returned to the deck, I'm surprised that they didn't go the same route with the vulture-built and used and rebuilt spider mines. That would have lowered their effectiveness a bit.

2 - The consensus seems to be that firebats suck. I'm sorry to hear that, as I'd rather someone prove to me their use and versatility. Too bad.

3 - Wodan46's points about air units are well made. The boardgame cannot emulate maneuverability and such from the computer game. However, I stll feel that air units are (in general) superior to their comparable ground units without enough additional cost to offset the superiority. This is mainly a problem (again) with terrans. Battlecruisers should not be better against ground than siege tanks, and wraiths should not be equal to goliaths. What advantage am I getting for choosing ground based troops?

4 - MrWeasely's point about mutalisks is also well made. There are only three of them, so you are going to need some sort of support, and Guardians can fill this role nicely, perhaps better than ultralisks. I'd probably still go with ultralisks though, given that transforming my mutalisks to guardians AND building new mutalisks could be too slow a build-up.
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Michael D. Kelley
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By the way, Mrweasely, I think you are using the incorrect support value for Mutalisks that comes from the wonderful combat card summary posted here at the geek. In the file mutalisks are listed as having +2 support, but they actually only have +1. +2 would be ridiculous for their cost, and I would certainly be buying mutas all day long
 
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The AA module is key for balancing the heavy air units and the heavy land units, by ensuring that they will die in an appropiately horrible way. The only dedicated AA units are the Goliath, which will win with good consistency against Mutalisks and Wraiths, and a good chance of killing capital ships, though it will die as well. Scourges own capital ships utterly. The Protoss are crappy against air, but that's the price they pay for being powerful elsewhere.

Mutalisks may have splash, but its weak splash, and they are otherwise the weakest aerial combat unit. The Wraith has cloaking and generally is more effective. Also worth noting that its inability to burrow means it lacks the primary defensive tool the zerg use, thus ensuring it a series of painful deaths. Guardians can't attack air, but are one of the few to hit for 10 points of damage, with the capital ships costing more, and the reaver having to return to the deck, and being a ground unit capable of targeting only ground units.
 
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Jon L
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Although my play experience has been limited to one game so far, I agree with most of the points brought up by the OP. Firebats seem to have completely lost their only purpose in the transition to the game. The only reason I would even upgrade the Terran Barracks would be to rush up to Ghosts to replace my Marines.

I have a question. What are your guys' thoughts on Archons? Are they worth expending that much time and money upgrading, building Templar, and sacrificing at 2:1?
 
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Dave J McWeasely
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GameMasterX0 wrote:
By the way, Mrweasely, I think you are using the incorrect support value for Mutalisks that comes from the wonderful combat card summary posted here at the geek. In the file mutalisks are listed as having +2 support, but they actually only have +1. +2 would be ridiculous for their cost, and I would certainly be buying mutas all day long
Shucks, Mutalisks have been nerfed already! There goes my whole motivation to play Zerg.

I don't see scrouge winning against Capital ships very often. I see plenty of cards with 8 & 9 attack values. I'm guessing "Improved Carapace" is a given in this reasoning.


 
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Cameron McKenzie
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Nybb wrote:
Although my play experience has been limited to one game so far, I agree with most of the points brought up by the OP. Firebats seem to have completely lost their only purpose in the transition to the game. The only reason I would even upgrade the Terran Barracks would be to rush up to Ghosts to replace my Marines.

I have a question. What are your guys' thoughts on Archons? Are they worth expending that much time and money upgrading, building Templar, and sacrificing at 2:1?


Archons require two levels of building upgrade and one tech card, which is the same as Guardians. Now consider that Archons have a higher average attack, can hit air, and have splash damage (this one is major). Also consider that Templar are cheap to make, and you can see that archons are something to be feared.
 
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Tyler Tinsley
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Hi everybody and welcome to starcraft the boardgame, much like the starcraft computer game not every unit is a good choice if you only examine each one in a vacuum. however if you take the units out of the vacuum you may find situations were it's best to build one of the units you have underestimated.

whats funny is the board game looks to be much more balanced in this respect then the computer game, if you watch pro Koren star craft you will know how rare it is for battle cruisers to be built. or scouts or dark archons.



 
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Michael D. Kelley
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MrSkeletor, I'm a bit confused by where your numbers are coming from. Correct me where I'm wrong in replying to your post above.

Firebats - The extra points are useful, and yes if you have extra resources these guys might as well be built unless you're facing air. But 1 extra splash card is not a complete balancer, and I'd rather put one more gas into a technology or building on my turn.

Siege Tank - How exactly is the factory that much faster? You need 3 build orders, 4 minerals, and 2 gas to build factory up. Then you need 1 gas for spider mines, and 1 mineral and gas for siege.
For the starport, you need 3 build orders, 3 minerals, and 3 gas to build it up (Equal basically), 2 gas for cloaking (1 more gas!) and the same 1 mineral and gas for yamato as for siege.
I guess if you decide to buy all of the science vessel upgrades the starport might seem more cost-intensive. But I don't really see what makes either path much more expensive or time-consuming.

Mutalisk - I agree that mutalisks are as strong as they should be for zerg. My point is that GUARDIANS seem weak and less useful in comparison.

Flying - Again, the costs you mention seem out of whack with my math. A battle cruiser costs 1 more gas than a siege tank, but you just said that the resource system makes spending 1 more gas on a unit (firebat) simple and necessary. And you don't lose any speed in getting to battlecruisers unless you are (again) going for every science vessel technology. So especially with terrans, I see no reason to go straight to starport, or maybe to get vultures and spider mines somewhere along the way too.

None of this was meant to be offensive, by the by. Feel free to clarify your points.
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An advantage I see with the factory track in comparison to the starport track is that you have a higher overall combat(!) unit output with it. With a starport level 3 you can build six combat units - 3 Wraith and 3 Cruisers at an average cost of 2,5 mins and 1,5 gas per unit. With a factory level 3 you can build nine combat units - 3 Vultures, 3 Goliaths and 3 Tanks - at an average cost of 2 mins and 1 gas per unit. Additionally all starport units are at a disadvantage against bases with anti-air modules. So the factory track might be more useful than the starport one when you have to fight at more than one place of the map and simply need to maintain more of a large army, than a specialized and strong but small one.
 
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Dave J McWeasely
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news from pro starcraft
After watching hours of professional starcraft players in action, I have some new insight into this.

Firebats really are supposed to be a bit weak. They're not totally absent from pro play, but they're seldom more than 1/5th of a Marine force, and usually they're not bought at all. I've only seen them massed into a squad once, and they failed to accomplish anything. I think their game utility is totally in keeping with the balance in the video game.

Siege Tanks are mandatory tech for the Terrans in the video game. I don't recall any Terran not getting them, and more than any other unit they symbolize and shape the strategy of the whole game. Which is to say: don't make a frontal attack on a dug-in Terran!

Vultures are extremely popular and strong in the hands of a good player. I've seen them detonate 4000 minerals worth of protss units when they recalled directly into a spider minefield. With good micro, they're a match for Dragoons.

Ghosts are never built. That matches my experience in the boardgame perfectly.

Goliaths are fairly popular for harassing air units.

Science Vessels are popular in Terran v Zerg for Irradiate and lurker detection. They're also seen in Terran v Terran from time to time. I haven't seen them in Terran v Toss at all.

Battle Cruisers are totally absent from high-level play.

Wraiths are used in maybe 20% of games, but can be quite effective.

Valkeries are almost totally absent.

Medics are popular. Most of the time Terrans go for mass vehicles, but 30% of the time they just go with mass marines & medics; m&m is the counter to mutalisks, apparently.
 
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Zerglings and hydralisks are the backbone of the Zerg army.

Mutalisks are a mid-game transitional unit used for economic harassment. If they're in the endgame, its usually because the Zerg just won.

Ultralisks are somewhat rare, rarer than in the boardgame.

Queens are unheard of.

Defilers are used occassionally, for great effect.

Scrouge are used in small numbers here and there, largely to annoy shuttles and dropships.

Guardians are never used.

Devourerers are almost never used.

Lurkers are almost mandatory.

______________________________________

Zealots are not used in the endgame as much as I'd expect. Still, they're used a lot.

Dragoons are the backbone of the Protoss ground forces. I was suprised - I considered it a slightly less dorky Goliath.

Templar are relatively common. Sometimes they're immediately converted to Archons. In any case, they are converted the first time they run out of energy.

Dark Templar are good for drops and ambushes, but never are built in mass.

Dark Archons are never built.

Reavers are built often. Not so much for Major Combat Operations as for drops. The shuttle seems to be the perferred way to move them anywhere.

Scouts are never built.

Corsairs are automatic against zerg, to kill Overlords.

Arbiters are feared and common.

Carriers sometimes come out in the endgame. 4-6 is all you ever see, because the game's over by then.
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