John
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I have recently acquired a copy of SW:AT from BGG's own Andrew Tullsen's excellent PnP Productions, and love the game so far! It translates the feel of the AW games to board game quite well.

Although I was not the biggest fan of the third installment in the AW series, AW: Dual Strike, I took to some of the new COs in that game, and have been working on translating them over to SW:AT. I could use any critique/advice on balancing them that you guys have to offer, as I am not a seasoned game designer.

Please note that every aspect of these COs, from the cards (styled after the excellent ones posted in the Images section by ajax013) to the stats of the COs themselves, are very much WIP. All of these COs are likely seriously unbalanced or flawed in some manner, which is why I have come to you guys.

The four COs I am currently working on porting are Sasha, Kindle, Javier, and Rachel, as they're the only AWDS COs which I really took to. I have considered porting Grimm as well, but he isn't a priority.

I have tried to emulate the CO's abilities as they appear in AWDS as closely as possible, though some (most notably Javier) have been changed in order to adjust for the differences in play between SWAT and AWDS.

DESIGN NOTES:
-All COP and SCOP bonuses are intended to stack on top of D2D bonuses rather than replace them, where applicable.
-Any COP or SCOP which inflicts damage (Kindle's Urban Blight and Rachel's Covering Fire) cannot destroy a unit, but rather reduces it to a minimum of 1HP.

First up is Kindle:


Kindle's specialization is fighting on properties; in the AW games, she gives any of her units on a property (friendly, neutral or enemy) a 140% attack rating, which for those unfamiliar with AW, is quite huge. I wanted her SWAT bonus to be similarly impressive, so she gets +2 FP. While this is significant, I feel the smaller amount of properties in default SWAT as compared to AWDS weakens her overall threat level a bit and thus balances the D2D.

Similarly, her COP, which was terrifyingly effective in AWDS, is a bit weaker due to the fact that SWAT maps (at least ones I've played on) are somewhat smaller than AWDS ones and contain less structures. However, 3 damage is still pretty huge given the 8HP max of SWAT, so I don't feel she's overly nerfed. Conversely, 3HP damage will not slow down a max HP infantry from capturing in SWAT, so that is another area in which her power is weakened in translation.

As for the SCOP, the idea is to make her units on properties juggernauts (210% attack in AWDS) as well as boosting the rest of her army. This ability was especially strong on larger maps, and as SWAT maps tend toward being a bit smaller for me so far, I am not quite sure on the numbers for this one.

Next up is Javier.


Javier was most notable for a focus on structures called "Communication Towers", which boosted your attack when captured. Javier's towers granted him significant additional attack/defense bonuses. As these are not present in SWAT, and I have no desire to include them because they made Javier entirely a one-trick pony, I instead elected to focus on the other aspect of Javier's powers in AWDS, as well as the theme implied by his knightly uniform: defense.

This is a D2D I'm really not certain of; I need to do much more playtesting, and any feedback would be appreciated. The intent is to create a CO who emphasizes defense and survival over offense.

He has the minor penalty to enemy indirect luck to represent the increased defense against indirect fire Javier possessed in AWDS. I do not wish to play that up too much, as then Javier becomes a hard counter to Grit, so I went with a minor penalty to bonus damage. However, I am still concerned that this might make Javier a mite too strong against Grit given the fact that +1 DEF/-1 FP has no downside against indirect fire. I do not want to make Javier an obvious counterpick to Grit, so that's another area which needs to be examined.

Also, I'm not sure if the SCOP feels suitably powerful enough.

Third comes Sasha.



Sasha is Colin's older sister, and was most noted for her COP, which was highly spammable and would drain the enemy COP bar based on how many funds you have.

Both Sasha's D2D and COP are a bit difficult to balance for, as if you are like my group and changed the fund distribution from 5/cities to a smaller amount across both cities and factories, you must completely change the CO. This version of Sasha is intended to work with the standard "5 income/city only" layout; after more playtesting with our new houserules, I'll make alternate versions.

Sasha's D2D feels a bit weird at the moment; in AWDS, she receives an additional +100 funds per building, for 10% increased income under normal income rules. However, given the fact that such calculations are impossible in SWAT, I am at a bit of a loss as to how I should price this ability. The intent is for Sasha to be less efficient money-wise than Hachi or Colin early on, but outstrip them in the lategame if she can seize enough properties.

As for Market Crash, I wanted it to be effective, but not *too* effective; ideally, it should be able to drain 2-3 stars on average out of the enemy COP bar. I'm thinking 1 star per 10 funds is a bit high. Also, the +1 Defense could probably be dropped.

Her SCOP in AWDS (50% of damage dealt converted to money) was almost never used due to its long track (5 stars) and ineffectiveness by comparison to her stellar COP. I gave it a shot in the arm to make the COP a less obvious choice, increasing the bonus to a straight 1 damage = 1 fund.

Finally comes Rachel.



In AWDS, Nell's younger sister repairs an additional +1HP for no extra cost as her D2D. While somewhat underwhelming in AWDS, I feel that this D2D is significantly stronger in SWAT due to the lower HP cap of 8 and the simplification of unit degradation with combat; she can bring a unit back up to full fighting strength in one turn from anything but 1HP.

I've tweaked Rachel's COP and SCOP a bit for balance concerns. Rachel's SCOP in AWDS is somewhat legendary; she drops 3 silo missiles (massive AoE 3-damage attacks, for the unfamiliar) on the battlefield. The caveat is that they are not directed by the player, but rather the AI, and so with proper unit placement they can be mitigated to a degree.

The problem with porting the SCOP was twofold; it was always a no-brainer choice over Rachel's COP, and its targeting mechanism and sheer power on small maps (like those of SWAT) made it unsuitable for direct transfer.

Rachel's COP was originally a copy of Nell's, a simple luck chance and damage increase. This was rather dull and uninspired, as well as completely unable to compete with her SCOP for attention, so I swapped it with something that synergizes better with her theme and D2D, and is (I hope) sufficiently strong enough so as to warrant consideration: the ability of properties to repair any adjacent unit on the following turn for the full +3HP. Note the specific wording of "may"; even if you play with the traditional AW forced repairs, like my group does, Rachel may still choose whether or not to repair units under the effect of her COP. This avoids her COP becoming a drawback through waste of funds.

The COP remains balanced by the fact that you must still pay for the repairs, so she's not outshining Andy; if you want to repair your Md. Tank and Rockets, you're paying for it, and it will cut into your ability to build. However, the chance to bring a significant portion of your army back to fighting condition may, I hope, be attractive enough to encourage use of this power over the terrifying SCOP.

I am considering changing the timing from "following turn" to "immediately", as well-any thoughts on that? I fear that might make her too similar to Andy, though it would certainly be more powerful, as well as simpler.

Rachel's SCOP was also a bit wonky to translate. A silo missile hits like this in both AW and my version of Rachel, where an "x" is a square:
oox
oxxx
xxxxx
oxxx
oox

Each missile deals 3 damage. Given the smaller map size of SWAT games and the lower overall HP cap, I felt 3 missiles was simply too much; you could wipe out a player's entire army in one turn, and her SCOP price isn't high enough to justify that kind of power.

As such, her power has been reduced to 2 missiles. As a tradeoff, only one missile now follows "AI" targeting guidelines by giving the other player a chance to redirect it; the Rachel player may now direct the second missile, to promote a more fun and engaging SCOP.

I still feel that it might be a bit broken in terms of the effectiveness for cost. I've considered making the second missile also "AI-directed" in that it must target the largest concentration of enemy units.


So, please, hit me with whatever feedback you have! And again, please note that I am well aware all of these COs are likely horribly broken; that's why I'm talking to you guys. I am completely open to any tweaks to balance them, with the following themes in mind:

Kindle: City Fighting
Javier: Defense
Sasha: Income/Power Meter Control
Rachel: Repairs/Mass Damage
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Dan Gardner
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Salem
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Awesome work, I'll play with them a couple of times and let you know how they feel. I never played the third AW but I am all for more stuff.
 
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John
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Thanks!

By any chance, have you been able to take them for a spin yet? I'm working on tweaking them but haven't had a chance to use them in-game yet.
 
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