Bartosz Kubera
Poland
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Hi all,

Yesterday I had a chance to playtest the "Long hard road out of hell" custom mission with my friend. The goal for the marines is to activate the drawbridge and escort the librarian to the extraction point. It has been designed to be a very difficult mission for the SM player and at first glance it certainly looks like a nightmare.

However, as we progressed, it turned out to be rather easy. Please take a look at the layout of the map:

The hardest part of the whole mission is to get past the maze of corridors which begins past the second room. The biggest threat is the entry point located by the square I've marked red 2.

My opponent started the game by quickly advancing his chainfist Marine with CPs, whacking doors on the way. I managed to spawn only one blip on the map, before his librarian appeared ad the square marked red 1 and used his force barrier psychic power to block the red 2 square, making the most problematic entry point utterly useless for me, the GS player. The rest of his squad moved forward, forcing me to lurk in the uppermost entry point for one turn. Provided that I had to reveal the blip to destroy the blocked door (blips cannot close assault anything), this one ceased to be a problem for now.

The librarian kept blocking the red 2 square for the following turns, which allowed the Marines to secure the whole part of the map (shoot doors blocking LOS and place Marines in green squares 1, 2 and 3). He sent one man to activate the bridge (the room on the right), kept flaming the cross section in front of the entry point and moved the librarian towards the bridge. After that, he moved the whole squad to the green section 4, putting his guys on overwatch, guarding all nearby hallways.

Two jammed doors (red 3) make the adjacent entry point useless. I kept trying to give him as hard time as I could in the green section 4, but overwatch is really powerful. I could only prey to have the bridge deactivated by genestealers spawning at the entry point by the left switch. Without success.

After the librarian crossed the bridge, it was easy for him - passing the red square 4 and placing force barriers each subsequent turns guaranteed him safety. Even though I finally managed to kill the rest of the squad guarding the green section 4, it was already too late to get the libby.

From now on, the game lost the whole tension. He just kept using the force barrier power and advanced to the exit. Even when he ran out of force points, he managed to leave the map by rushing to the exit and shooting doors on the way.

Final thoughts - the key to having an easy time during this mission is to secure the upper hallways and using the force barrier power to block the most problematic spawn point. If you make sure to use your firepower to the max (assault cannon and flamer) and do not save ammo, you will blast through the map with relative ease.

The force barrier wins the mission for you. Having only one blip per turn makes it very hard for the stealers to drain the libby of force points, which leaves him enough power to walk to the extraction point after he crosses the bridge completly safely. After the libby crosses the bridge, the rest of the squad really becomes disposable.

Therefore, as the creator of the map, I declare the map broken. It needs to be fixed. It can be done in two ways:

1) Make the SM squad smaller by one vanilla terminator and after initial activation of the bridge, give the GS player 2 blips per turn instead of 1. This might help, but I recommend the next solution.

2) Change the map a bit. I guess the revised version should help to make the last turns of the mission much more enjoyable and reduce the game-breaking effect of the force barrier in the initial turns:

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Hrm... I'm actualy gonna say go route A just on gut instinct, I haven't played this yet so I could be wrong.

I think the GS should get 2 blips a turn as a general rule of thumb, should give the GS player a couple more options. I say make the SMs lose the chain fist guy, make it a bit tricker for them too perhaps? A couple map tweaks should be good too.

Let me know once you have the changes you want done, I can update the PDF on the geek and make it a better quality one too.
 
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Bartosz Kubera
Poland
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I think that it will be best to wait with the update of the pdf until we get more feedback from other teams.
 
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Versus a well-armed squad, the stealers IMO should always have at least 2 blips a turn. This should definitely be the case once you throw in a librarian, or so I would think. Also, loosing the chainfist fellow as mentioned would make it a lot more challenging on account of the doors adn tight turns here.

Look forward to trying it out, hopefully tonight or tomorrow. I'll do a couple of runs through and post some detailed info on how it goes.
 
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Bartosz Kubera
Poland
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David, I'd say that for testing purposes, the map should be changed to the revised version, as it solves the problem with libby walking unbothered to the extraction point after crossing the bridge and makes another entry point usable. Also take the reload away from the assault cannon termie; on the upside he'll not have a chance to explode I still think that 1 blip per turn is enough - if the GS player has 2 blips, the SM team is dead meat before they reach the intersection by the bridge.
 
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Kevin Outlaw
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I hope you playtested the map more than once before deciding it was broken, because I think you are being too hard on yourself. Sounds to me like bad genestealer play made this easier for the marines than it really should be.

One stealer at the "maze" entry point to sap psychic powers is a good idea, but after that, stealers hould be spawning around the switches and on the far side of the bridge.

I intend to test your original map at some point, and even though I am not an expert stealer player I reckon the marines won't stand a chance.
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Bartosz Kubera
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Uhm, we've played three times. Changing sides. Each time the SMs won. Even when I tried to be as mean as I could when I commanded the monsters.

Maybe the Marine player was too lucky on the dice and CPs. But SMs still won all three games.
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Kevin Outlaw
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Well, much respect to you for revising and honing the original concept rather than just throwing it out there and leaving it. Hope you manage to find the balance you are looking for.

Keep us posted
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Bartosz Kubera
Poland
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"Aim at perfection in everything, though in most things it is unattainable. However, they who aim at it, and persevere, will come much nearer to it than those whose laziness and despondency make them give it up as unattainable."
Lord Chesterfield
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