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Subject: Am I scoring correctly? It seems the first to the frontier always wins. rss

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Paul Anderson
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Am I playing this wrong?

I like this game, the idea and mechanic are interesting and fun, but after many plays it seems that the winner is determined in the first few minutes of the game as whoever takes the frontier first always wins.

Putting it another way, it seems almost impossible for the player not holding the frontier to score. The player holding the frontier can 'bank' his score card without a contest, so there is no incentive for them to ever initiate an attack. It seems the defender gets a distinct advantage as they can use emergency defence, again a reason not to initiate an attach when holding the frontier. If you attack the frontier, you give the point to the other player even if you win (which doesn't happen often).

If you try to pull off a raid, you might steal a point, but you have to give one to the holder of the frontier. So no real point there, and it is really hard to wipe out the opponent in the three rounds allowed, so you are unlikely to get the steal.

Lastly there is the deep strike. Sure you can keep the point if there is a surprise, but available deep strike forces are likely to be limited and you are up against base defences, making it hard to prevail.Again only three rounds, so your unlikely to do any real damage to the buildings. Also, I don't see why you would ever pull back to defend your base. There is no improvement to your combat forces by electing to defend the base, better to allow the surprise attack, knowing your forces will increase with emergency defence, and the attacker will take more damage from your base defences. Meanwhile you hang on to the frontier and can continue to bank points without conflict and get the 2 bonus points at the end of the game.

As I said, I'm sure I'm making a mistake. How is it possible to win when your opponent controls the frontier?

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Dirk Ackermann
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Hi,

you are aware, that playing an attack card is having one less opportunity to play it as a resource, whilst the opponent is doing exactly that? The more attack cards the frontier owner is playing as void-attacks, the more power the opponent gets? The chances that he will then succesfully defend the frontier are slim!

And: I get the feeling that you play the emergency defence even in a frontier battle. That is not correct! You can do that just while defending your base. But my feeling can just be wrong.

In our games often times the one who took the frontier first, scored cards as points ended up beeing overrun!
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Timothy Pride
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There are couple of ways, but I'd like to point these first.

v0rtex wrote:

Putting it another way, it seems almost impossible for the player not holding the frontier to score. The player holding the frontier can 'bank' his score card without a contest, so there is no incentive for them to ever initiate an attack. It seems the defender gets a distinct advantage as they can use emergency defence, again a reason not to initiate an attach when holding the frontier. If you attack the frontier, you give the point to the other player even if you win (which doesn't happen often).


You can only raise Emergency Defense if attacked at the base! So in your case, fighting at the frontier, defender cannot do emergency defense. In fact, the Attacker should have the advantage of:
- Using the ability of their attack card
- Having more turns for developing since defender already "wasted" turns for attacking and banking points

v0rtex wrote:
If you try to pull off a raid, you might steal a point, but you have to give one to the holder of the frontier. So no real point there, and it is really hard to wipe out the opponent in the three rounds allowed, so you are unlikely to get the steal.


The biggest advantage of winning a raid:
- Get 3 resources (That's 3 turn ahead!)
- Wiping out one of their forces
- Destroying opponents building (Nuke, or Obelisk, or Brain, or, Upgrades, or the recent emptied building)
- (If you're Terran) Launching the Nuke.

I only choose stealing points when raiding only if I cannot see any building to destroy. The advantage of destroying one of their building is far greater than just measly 1 point of score.

v0rtex wrote:
Lastly there is the deep strike. Sure you can keep the point if there is a surprise, but available deep strike forces are likely to be limited and you are up against base defences, making it hard to prevail.Again only three rounds, so your unlikely to do any real damage to the buildings. Also, I don't see why you would ever pull back to defend your base. There is no improvement to your combat forces by electing to defend the base, better to allow the surprise attack, knowing your forces will increase with emergency defence, and the attacker will take more damage from your base defences. Meanwhile you hang on to the frontier and can continue to bank points without conflict and get the 2 bonus points at the end of the game.


I rarely use Deep Strike, but if I did, I won't use it for destroying the enemy. But for chipping their forces a few times. If you want to deep strike, make sure you survive. Deep strike twice, and for the third time, use the normal attack. If they still defend the frontier, then their units should be less threatening. If they back up, then the frontier is yours.

Another trick is Deep Striking if you want to use the ability of your attack card, but not ready to fight yet. For example, you want to use the Kahoum attack card that gives discount for building units, but your forces are not ready to fight yet. So deep strike, you can use the ability of the cards, and the point is still going into you, then retreat at first round. Maybe you would get couple of hits, but then your other units get boosted better. Maybe just sending your cheap flyers.


All in all,
If I play Terran or Kahoum, I let my opponents take Frontier first (unless they didn't at turn 4). Depend on moods, there are chances that I take frontier at turn 2 with Xenos, other times just let them take it. With Colossus, 90% I'll take frontier at turn 2.


- Don't worry about the point they're racking. The more they bank, the less advanced they from you. Use that well.

- Get a general sense of how many attack cards you have played (you don't need to count). Just don't panic if they start banking 3+ points more than you. Remember, holding the frontier at the end of game is 2 points. With your attack cards left, you should in general sense knew that you're going to chase your opponent points or not.

- Holding the frontier has no advantages during battle. just points.

So you see, getting frontier first gave you some advantages, but not that much.
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Eric Lee
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The people above are correct: you can only use emergency defence during a defence of your base. [I think the confusion stems from the fact that this important detail isn't reprinted on the reference guide on the shields place in front of you.]

But more to the point, it's for the sentiment expressed above that I started changing my strategy to do deep strikes almost exclusively. The defender tends to always defend the frontier, so this then gains you the victory point card because of the 'surprise' aspect. And then it wouldn't hurt choosing a unit (potentially as one of the starting cards) which gives you a greater ability to attack buildings, so you can pick off their Tactical Nukes (if Terran), Obelisks (Kahoum), or System Upgrades (Colossus).
 
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Ray Greenley
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I think his reference to emergency defense is more with the idea that it's not worth attacking when you hold the frontier because when attacking your opponent's base you will face stronger defenses than the normal turn sequence would dictate. He's saying the that if you hold the frontier, you should just sit on it and build your forces while stashing a few VPs along the way to win on VPs.

Going purely by resource usage, if Player A grabs the frontier early and Player B attacks him there later, both players should have have an equal number of resources available to build with. It should then follow that, on average, each side would have an equal chance of winning a battle at that point. Logically, taking the frontier should not pose a significant advantage purely based on resources available.

Player B actually has a few ways to swing things in his favor. One relatively minor one is that he gets a preview of Player A's forces when Player A takes the frontier. While it's likely that Player A will do his best not to tip his hand too much, it's still information Player B can use when further developing his forces.

Also, Player B can use his special attack cards that gives him a further advantage when he tries to attack Player A. This is somewhat uncertain since you do have to draw those attack cards to make use of them, and in some cases you need to build your forces with those cards in mind (like the Terran card that you can only use Deep Strike forces with). But those cards can give a definite advantage that Player B should be able to use to knock Player A out of the Frontier.

All this assumes that Player A doesn't bank any further attack cards. If he does, then he's falling even further behind the resource curve. On the other hand, Player B would also pull himself back if he builds any base defenses that cannot be used when attacking the Frontier (the same applies to Player A, of course).

In the end, the game should depend on the strategies, tactics, and luck of the players and not just who grabs the Frontier first. 'Should' doesn't always mean 'does', though. ;^)
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Geoffrey Engelstein
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All these suggestions are good. In general, the attacker has the advantage, due to the special attack cards, knowing what the defender has built, and timing when to declare the attack.

We kept statistics on over 100 games, and saw no statistical advantage for the player that takes the frontier first.

Geoff
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Paul Anderson
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engelstein wrote:
All these suggestions are good. In general, the attacker has the advantage, due to the special attack cards, knowing what the defender has built, and timing when to declare the attack.

We kept statistics on over 100 games, and saw no statistical advantage for the player that takes the frontier first.

Geoff


Thanks for that Geoff.

I now see what we were doing wrong (and why). We were playing that the defender always gets emergency defence, not just when defending the base. We just followed the order of play on the player shields, but now I see this is specified in the manual. No wonder it was difficult to reclaim the frontier.

What happens during a successful surprise attack? Does the defender get emergency defence then?
 
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Timothy Pride
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v0rtex wrote:
engelstein wrote:
All these suggestions are good. In general, the attacker has the advantage, due to the special attack cards, knowing what the defender has built, and timing when to declare the attack.

We kept statistics on over 100 games, and saw no statistical advantage for the player that takes the frontier first.

Geoff


Thanks for that Geoff.

I now see what we were doing wrong (and why). We were playing that the defender always gets emergency defence, not just when defending the base. We just followed the order of play on the player shields, but now I see this is specified in the manual. No wonder it was difficult to reclaim the frontier.

What happens during a successful surprise attack? Does the defender get emergency defence then?


You mean Deep Strike? There is no such thing as following successful Deep Strike attack. If your deep strike is a success, then you win the game .

But, maybe you meant if your opponent cannot guess your Deep Strike? Still doesn't mean anything. These are the rules:

- Deep Strike, (correctly guessed or not) will always result in 3 round combat, in which defender defend their base (so yes, defender will always be able to emergency defense)
- Deep Strike, correctly guessed, the VP goes to Frontier holder. If not, the VP goes to you. That's pretty much the extend of guessing Deep Strike correctly. There's no relevance of correctly guessing in the battle.
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Paul Anderson
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Darkmot wrote:
v0rtex wrote:
engelstein wrote:
All these suggestions are good. In general, the attacker has the advantage, due to the special attack cards, knowing what the defender has built, and timing when to declare the attack.

We kept statistics on over 100 games, and saw no statistical advantage for the player that takes the frontier first.

Geoff


Thanks for that Geoff.

I now see what we were doing wrong (and why). We were playing that the defender always gets emergency defence, not just when defending the base. We just followed the order of play on the player shields, but now I see this is specified in the manual. No wonder it was difficult to reclaim the frontier.

What happens during a successful surprise attack? Does the defender get emergency defence then?


You mean Deep Strike? There is no such thing as following successful Deep Strike attack. If your deep strike is a success, then you win the game .

But, maybe you meant if your opponent cannot guess your Deep Strike? Still doesn't mean anything. These are the rules:

- Deep Strike, (correctly guessed or not) will always result in 3 round combat, in which defender defend their base (so yes, defender will always be able to emergency defense)
- Deep Strike, correctly guessed, the VP goes to Frontier holder. If not, the VP goes to you. That's pretty much the extend of guessing Deep Strike correctly. There's no relevance of correctly guessing in the battle.


Maybe I should clarify my question.

The opponent has the frontier.
You announce an attack.
The opponent chooses to defend the frontier or to withdraw and defend the base - in this example he decides to defend the frontier
You reveal that you are mounting a deep strike i.e. have successfully perpetrated a surprise attach.

Now to the question. As the opponent has chosen to defend the frontier, I know that all forces still participate in the battle, but are they still eligible to play emergency defences? (p8 of rulebook, "Emergency defence - If defending their base...")

 
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Timothy Pride
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v0rtex wrote:

Now to the question. As the opponent has chosen to defend the frontier, I know that all forces still participate in the battle, but are they still eligible to play emergency defences? (p8 of rulebook, "Emergency defence - If defending their base...")


Yes, since the battle still happened at the opponent base (you were deepstriking him, his base is the battleground).

I know theme-wise, there should be more punishment leaving your base open and defending the frontier in real RTS game. But perhaps it will bog down the game more to add more rules. So, I'm content with the simplification of you getting the point instead the opponent.

(Or, I just imagine in the RTS world, the opponent put their forces ready between the frontier and their base, and when you attack, they "click" the frontier, but when they see couple of your units showing up in their base, they re-"click" the order to their base, so it's not really late for their forces to come aid their base)
 
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Geoffrey Engelstein
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Darkmot wrote:
v0rtex wrote:

Now to the question. As the opponent has chosen to defend the frontier, I know that all forces still participate in the battle, but are they still eligible to play emergency defences? (p8 of rulebook, "Emergency defence - If defending their base...")


Yes, since the battle still happened at the opponent base (you were deepstriking him, his base is the battleground).

I know theme-wise, there should be more punishment leaving your base open and defending the frontier in real RTS game. But perhaps it will bog down the game more to add more rules. So, I'm content with the simplification of you getting the point instead the opponent.

(Or, I just imagine in the RTS world, the opponent put their forces ready between the frontier and their base, and when you attack, they "click" the frontier, but when they see couple of your units showing up in their base, they re-"click" the order to their base, so it's not really late for their forces to come aid their base)


FWIW we experimented with many rules making it a bigger penalty - like the first round you only could defend with base defense units. But it was a little overwhelming and became more dominant than we wanted.

Geoff
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Paul Anderson
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engelstein wrote:
Darkmot wrote:
v0rtex wrote:

Now to the question. As the opponent has chosen to defend the frontier, I know that all forces still participate in the battle, but are they still eligible to play emergency defences? (p8 of rulebook, "Emergency defence - If defending their base...")


Yes, since the battle still happened at the opponent base (you were deepstriking him, his base is the battleground).

I know theme-wise, there should be more punishment leaving your base open and defending the frontier in real RTS game. But perhaps it will bog down the game more to add more rules. So, I'm content with the simplification of you getting the point instead the opponent.

(Or, I just imagine in the RTS world, the opponent put their forces ready between the frontier and their base, and when you attack, they "click" the frontier, but when they see couple of your units showing up in their base, they re-"click" the order to their base, so it's not really late for their forces to come aid their base)


FWIW we experimented with many rules making it a bigger penalty - like the first round you only could defend with base defense units. But it was a little overwhelming and became more dominant than we wanted.

Geoff


So Geoff, just to clarify.
Given that you are only eligible for emergency defences if you are "defending your base".
When defending against a deep strike, if you have chosen to "defend the frontier", are you still "defending your base".
 
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Moisés Solé
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Yes, you are. It's still a battle for the base.
 
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Geoffrey Engelstein
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Moisee is correct. In a Deep Strike you are always defending your base.

Geoff
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