I had a chance to play the three player scenario 17 House of Heroes last Sunday. Had a great time but I am concerned about a potential "defect" in the possible combinations of Orders that can be pulled. The problem arises in when Order 62 Attack is resolved.
Order 62 reads: "Attack Capture over half the landmarks in play. Success gains 11 VP per Captured Landmark"
By definition a landmark is captured when one side has the only soldiers on the landmark for a complete turn.
The question I posed was as follows:
1. Can Landmarks be captured by the opposing side after the initial side has captured?
the answer to this appears to be no.
So it would seem that at the moment you capture the last necessary Landmark you will score the VP.
This creates a problem in Scenario 17. In the board set up, one Landmark is on the north edge of the board with two 5'squares on either side. Two other Landmarks are on the East Edge of the board. One tile south of the North edge.
In the scenario I was the German Player and drew Day of Days order 52 which is Patrol and requires me to Enter at Area A and Exit at Area Y. Area A is on the very south west edge of the board. One of the US players drew the aforementioned Day of Days Order 62 Attack.
While order 62 is silent on Entry Area, Jeff has previously ruled that you enter on turn one at any unused entry area. The US player chose Entry Area Y which happened to be on the East Edge of the board in the middle of the three Landmark cluster. First turn he had more than enough move to get soldiers on all there boards while I was just starting to plod on the board a minimum of 15 inches away from the nearest of the three landmarks with negative move terrain along the way. I had not made much progress forward by the end of turn two and he subsequently claimed 33 VP right out the gate.
I feel that if the interpretation of the Attack Order timing is correct then this combination of orders leads to a somewhat negative play experience. My narrow fix would be to replace Day of Days 52 with Day of Days 53 which is also a Patrol order but brings the German on at Area B along the North Edge and allows him to immediately contest the Landmark cluster.
In the alternative we could revisit the resolution of Capture Orders. I would lean towards allowing the placement of a capture marker on the tile when one side met the condition. This marker would remain on the landmark until the end of the game UNLESS the opposing player was able to "recapture" the landmark by having his troops solely occupy the landmark for one complete turn later in the game.
What say you?
Johnny hastily dug a foxhole, careful not to damage the sticky bomb detonator. The tank rumbled nearer. Fear of being crushed or spotted consumed him; yet seconds later, he deftly slapped the bomb onto a greasy gear and spun for cover, snap-firing...
What say you?Very similar things have already happened to me and it became obvious from before I deployed that I was most likely going to lose, so I say the randomness of the Orders are the weakest link of SMG in general.
Fortunately, it is easy to select your own orders or redefine your own victory point conditions, or even completely create your own scenarios to go along with selected or invented victory conditions. I think that is what is so cool about the potential of SMG.
You can get out of it what you put into it creativity wise, however, you aren't required to support the system with your own scenarios just because the publisher didn't provide you with enough of them to really enjoy it right away out of the box. So from that perspective, SMG is the best of both worlds.
But, yeah, I'm not a huge fan of the frequency with which the random Orders have completely hosed one side or the other so early in a game. There is often such a huge mismatch in points awarded that it is just too much to overcome the deficit, so you are forced to try to capture prisoners for example to try to make up for it.
I can see the desire for balance driven by experience with other games that succeed or fail on this point. Combat Commander, Squad Leader etc all games where hours of play can easily be ruined by imbalance, rarely in the former not so in the latter.
SMG plays faster and rarely leaves that let down feeling as it is simulating small unit engements where each side has very limited intelligence on what to expect and often due to changing circumstances on what is expected of them.
IMO orders are your goal , other methods of VP gaining are secondary orders or targets of opportunity.
In the above example if your main order cannotbe achieved and you can only fulfil some of it because of unexpected events, poor intelligence , dropped offf target....... then capturing some enemy soldiers to help gat a handle on whats going on seems to prove the situation works, especially if it turns a hard task into an impossible none, that you actually succeed or almost succeed in.
this is what sets SMG apart from both minitures and boardgames, in many games once the final card is cast the result is not as important as the story that unfolded. Upto that moment I was striving to win , elated , frutrated, patient , impatient.
There is absolutely no reason why you don't have some rules to balance out orders and it wont ruin the game but I like it as it is.
- Last edited Sat Jan 21, 2012 10:38 am (Total Number of Edits: 3)
- Posted Sat Jan 21, 2012 10:34 am
The Orders are disruptive to the balance of the scenarios.
When I designed the Order System it was so that the Scenarios would not play exactly the same each time. The disruptive nature of the Orders, presented me with some Orders interactions that are not "fair". I spent a long time working on making them fair and then when I started developing the campaign system, found that "fair" head-to-head play created a "Snow Ball" effect in the campaign. If someone wins the first two scenarios the advantage was insurmountable. The easiest way to create opportunities to nudge the balance back into "fair" for the campaign was to return the Orders back to being disruptive.
Two reasons were driving my decisions. The first is a system design principle that says if you optimize everything the system will fail. For me Orders were something that could be advantageous to the campaign system and presented only a small problem for the head to head scenarios.
The second reason that sealed the deal for me was the historical justification - often soldiers go into action and have difficulty accomplishing their Orders. In addition the Orders interact with the medals and awards system in campaign play. As you play a disadvantaged game and win the system awards the player with more promotions points and opens the higher medals to be awarded. Being a "hero" happens when you beat the odds.
Systems are optimized as a whole. I accepted the Orders being "sometimes a problem" for the other tradeoffs. If no one ever raised a question about them then I would have finessed the design properly. I would say that so far they are a B+, if they are successful when we bring the campaign system online.