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Star Trek: Fleet Captains» Forums » General

Subject: Balance of the game? rss

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Jeroen H.
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I've played the game several times now, once in a four player setting also. I'm very much of a Star Trek fan, but also an avid gamer, and I love this game for combining those two worlds in a very novel and innovative way.

On the one hand I love the playability of the game, with some reasonable rule complexity (better with player aids, instead of official rules), while still having a very interesting game.

After several plays, I'm getting the impression that the Klingons are somewhat harder to play for new players, but that once you get the hang of it, you do get a good balance. The game really requires you to focus on your immediate and medium-term objectives. If you don't, your opponent is just going to race to the finish, while you're busy flying to and fro.

On the other hand, I do get the impression that there is a pretty large luck-factor involved too. Mostly concerning the fleet selection and what kind of missions you get.

I wonder if many of the Influence missions are just too easy. If I run out of your mission deck, I always go for Influence, because it gives you the biggest chance of getting a Mission that I've already satisfied the constraint for.

I'm interested in hearing from others what their experiences are with the game.
 
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Jeroen H.
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Hmm, it may be a somewhat incoherent post, but I can't quite put my finger on the balance issue yet.

I started to notice that at first Federation was winning more, and Klingon was more frustrating to play.

But then when I played a four player game on the Klingon side, we got exteremely lucky and were able to get to 6 points in the second turn.

So I'm currently inclined to blame the Influence missions
 
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Matt Smith
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Many of the other threads on balance claim the Feds win more often because it's easier for them to complete science misions. In my experience, the Feds are easier to win with.
 
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Paul DeStefano
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I don't see an imbalance, but if one side wins all the time in your group, you could always adjust the fleet size as a handicap.
 
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Scott
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One of my gaming group has suggested the same thing you have: Influence missions are too easy, and therefore it is tougher to win as the Klingons. There is some truth in this, but it doesn't bother me much. The Klingons can win by playing like Klingons, engaging in combat early and often. Conversely, anything that keeps the Klingons out of combat helps the Federation.

A few examples:
a) Board Setup - The further apart the sides are, the longer it will take to get into combat. One extra tile of distance makes a big difference.
b) Game Length - The longer a game goes, the more combat there will be. Playing less than the suggested points favours the Federation; playing more favours the Klingons.
c) Strategy - As Klingons, pick off the stragglers. A 1-point ship and a 6-point ship are both worth 1 VP (without specific mission), so go after the smaller ones. Those pesky little science vessels can rack up points if you leave them alone, and you also want to keep the bigger ships focused on chasing you off, rather than going after Influence missions. (I love the way the mechanics and theme match so perfectly in this game.)
d) Ships - The draw of ships really affects how the game plays out. There is a Klingon ship that can drop control tokens for free. Another can cloak without using an action while it's moving. Pay attention to these special abilities. Once, I played a 6-point game as the Federation, and drew the 6-point Enterprise, while my opponent drew two 2-pointers and two 1-pointers. I had overwhelming firepower, but only one action per turn. Completely reversed the roles.
e) Luck - You're right, luck makes a difference. A few abandoned star bases, a stable wormhole, or a bad case of the tribbles can all affect the way the game plays out.
f) Cloaking - My weakness when playing the Klingons is that I love to cloak. I have to admit that when I play them, I measure success in how many cloak tokens I have on the board, how many times my opponent curses when I decloak and attack, and generally how much it drives them crazy. (It should be noted, as in points a & b above, you have to have a longer game and have made 'contact' for cloaking to be a factor.)

Looking forward to the Romulans...
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Paul DeStefano
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snaggle4th wrote:

f) Cloaking - My weakness when playing the Klingons is that I love to cloak.


Things will only get better for you then.
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The Jigsaw Man
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Geosphere wrote:
snaggle4th wrote:

f) Cloaking - My weakness when playing the Klingons is that I love to cloak.


Things will only get better for you then.


This makes me so very, very happy.
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Nico
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JgzMan wrote:
Geosphere wrote:
snaggle4th wrote:

f) Cloaking - My weakness when playing the Klingons is that I love to cloak.


Things will only get better for you then.


This makes me so very, very happy.


I second that. I was a Fed player so far, but will switch over to Romulans as soon as they become available. Looking so much forward to having cloakable ships

Hearing that the cloaking devices (or maybe the cloaking rules?) might be one of the few 'advanced rules' make me even more exited about the expansion.
 
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Eric B.
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This issue has been discussed pretty extensively before here, and I recommend browsing through some of the older forum posts.


It is interesting, though, that you have players noting that the Feds have an advantage, others noting that the Klingons are dominant in the hand of an experienced player, worries that Science Missions are too easy and alternatively worries that Influence Missions are too easy. Frankly, I love drawing lots of Combat Missions because I feel they are usually attainable and already overlap with the VP Bonus and strategy bonus of harassing the enemy's ships.

If anything, I think this just shows that the game is probably, overall, pretty balanced.


I agree that out of the gate for new players the Klingons are significantly harder to play (perhaps, in part, because their Command Decks are less "transparent" and newer players might not be sure what to take given their ship drafts and play style). Also, aggressively but strategically engaging enemy ships is much less straightforward than Science/Influence missions, at least early on.

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Carl Bussema
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I've played probably 6 - 8 games of this, and the Klingons have a very poor win record.

If the Klingons don't draw their good combat missions at the right time (like the game I have in progress right now), it can be hard... you can go around spending 2-3 actions to blow up fed ships but for only 1 VP and the nuisance to the other player, it's not really a great action economy.

The Feds have an easier time with influence missions that require controlling a lot of territories due to the cards that let them influence all surrounding territories at once ... that's up to 6 vs just doing 1 normally... the Klingon deck that allegedly helps with influence really doesn't, mostly it just gives bonuses to combat when next to installations ... and who wants to waste turns building installations (unless you have the mission for it).

So far we've implemented these house rules and our last game was very close:
1) Remove these missions from the game: "Level 20 sensor on a Star for 1 VP", "Build a Starbase for 1 VP", "Destroy an enemy controlled installation for variable VPs", "Influence/Control half the board for 4 VPs". Starbases are just crappy at 6 actions or 5 with an M-class planet for 2 VPs (one for the mission and 1 for the starbase). Destroying opponents' installations only works if your opponent is actually going to be building installations, which aside from a few influence missions, he's probably not going to do, and Influencing half the board is simply absurd.

2) After drawing initial fleets, both players may take a minute to study their opponents' fleet composition. Then the Federation player may mulligan the entire fleet (he must keep the second). Then the Klingon player may do likewise. The Klingons get to react to what the federation are doing, so they know whether they're going to want fast ships to pick off enemy science ships at size 1 and 2 or get their best warships to take on the Enterprise-E and Prometheus.

3) Take the image for the suggested 2-player board and remove 1 row of tiles so that the shortest path from command post to command post is 4 tiles. Add an extra column on both sides. This should result in 28 tiles being used. The feds have a little more room to hide overall but the Klingons can close in on the feds much faster with only 4 tiles spanning the distance instead of 5.

With all that, we still might add 1 to the Klingon fleet size next time, but we'll see.
 
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Paul DeStefano
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InfoCynic wrote:

With all that, we still might add 1 to the Klingon fleet size next time, but we'll see.


Or you could just wait for some rules additions that will be in the Romulan expansion that will impact the Klingons.
 
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Brad Miller
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But isn't that months away?

I know, I know...

You are not at liberty to discuss...
 
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Paul DeStefano
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Windopaene wrote:
But isn't that months away?

I know, I know...

You are not at liberty to discuss...


I'm at liberty to say Octoberish.
 
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Carl Bussema
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Well until October, I'll keep tweaking. As long as we're here, how about making sure some clarifications or better yet some sort of icon or text explains which missions are ” me only” and which are ” us” for team games. Right now it seems like about the only one that explicitly requires a single ship and single action is to destroy or damage a larger event ship. Maybe a nice table in the faq :-)
 
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Steve W
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My impression: winning this game is really all about effectively translating your Actions into victory points.

The Science deck missions tend to be a much better "bang for your buck" in that regard, since it's very easy to get guaranteed successes on the Sensors missions if you have the proper ships. There's few ways your opponent can directly stop you from conducting science missions. By comparison, the Combat missions are a lot easier to "mess with", and since you actually have to reach the other guy to do them, they can generally only be accomplished from turn 3 on (sometimes 2).

Since Klingons tend to lean Combat mission heavy, Federation tend to lean Science mission heavy, I feel like the Federation on a whole has an edge. But it's a very random game, so it's hard to say that definitively.
 
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Carl Bussema
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Narrowing the board so the Klingons can reach the feds faster will help a little, but yeah, the sheer number of "oh no you didn't" combat cards does make it difficult. Combined with the fact that on average, a Klingon ship is about 1.5 max speed slower than a Federation Ship of the same size, it makes it easier for the feds to run away and hide.

And the fact that the so-called "Science Ship" (the Mah'ta [sue me for spelling]) has terrible sensors (10 max, I believe)... MOST federation ships have 10 or more max sensors, so it's a HUGE advantage in trying to complete science missions. I don't know why the Klingons had to be designed to have absolutely crap sensors, but it's really annoying when you get what SHOULD be an easy science mission (level 20 test in a nebula for 2 vps) and you realize that unless you happen to have the one other ship with 10 sensors around, you're going to be looking at needing a 3+ (after spending 2 actions), while the Feds will just casually walk over there and spend 2 actions and guarantee success before the die roll.

I enjoy playing but I can't really begin to call the game balanced in its current state. It's easy enough to tweak though and I think we'll eventually find the point where it is balanced by giving the Klingons some advantages.
 
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Alex Tee
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Summary of the ships' maximum values of each of the 4 main statistics (Weapons, Sensors, Engines and Shields).



Note that the Federation Ship U.S.S. Equinox receives a bonus +3 Shields when its Weapon Rating is at least 1 and has operational Shields. Since this bonus is likely to be active all the time, adding this to the chart above would mean that the Federation has a slight edge in Shields at all three damage levels.

The Federation also has more cards that adds permanently to Shields (i.e., Yellow Alert cards, Admiral J.P. Hanson can add quite alot in a large fleet) and to Weapons (Admiral Cartwright and U.S.S. Yeager's ability to gain +2 weapons if it comes into play as a reinforcement action).

For having the ability to cloak, the Klingons are vastly inferior in Sensors and Engines, slightly inferior in Shields (they 'crumble' quickly in Yellow Alert) and almost negligible advantage in Weapons (the advantage is greatest when they're at red alert, but then they most likely have disabled engines).



 
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