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Rivet Wars: Eastern Front» Forums » General

Subject: The game looks pretty good, but how is that tank balanced rss

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Michael D. Kelley
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I've watched both game play videos, and I like a lot of what I see. The art aesthetic is very appealing to me, and there seem to be enough decisions to keep my mind working, without being too complex for me to throw down with my wife or another family member.

However, and maybe I'm missing something here, it seems like the Blight tank is overpowered when compared to the other units on either side.

Now of course I'm looking at the prototype cards, and stats may have already changed. But as it it, the tank has heavy armor and 4 health, as well as a devastating attack that fires twice! And although its slow speed looks like a drawback, it has the ability to rush 3 spaces if it doesn't fire, and it has a huge 3 range on its cannon, so it doesn't need to move much.

I'm looking at what counters the allies have against it, and I don't see much that seems viable. The tank sucks at shooting infantry, so I guess you could spam out infantry to keep units from being killed. Of course the tank will probably squash them, but if you separate them into individual soldiers then a tank wasting its entire turn to crush one guy sounds pretty good.

But of course the blight can just bring out a couple of their infantry destroyers on the next turn, and the allies will have no chance.

A better counter would probably be the rocket bikes. They get 2 dice against the tank (5/9 chance of getting a hit) and two attacks. That means that on average they'll each do one damage to him a turn. But there's a few problems with spamming rocket bikes. First, if they each do an average one damage a turn, that will still take four bike attacks to kill the tank. And the tank will get two shots on rocket bikes each turn, with 3 dice, so they'll be killing a bike more than 2/3 of the time with each attack, and will kill two bikes about 50% of the time. So the odds are that an allied player will have to spawn at least 4 bikes, with at least 3 of them getting destroyed in the process (6 spawning points versus the tank's 4) to kill the tank.

Although the picture is even more grim than that, because that's assuming that the rocket bikes get to attack first. Realistically, since the tank has a longer 3 range than the bike's 2, and since the cycle's don't have rapid assault, the tank can just sit in the center of the board, maybe blocking up the trench, and can shell the hell out of any enemy that tries to get close.

Finally we have the allied walker unit. I don't get the usefulness of this guy. The stats I've seen have it costing the same as the tank, but with much less staying power. Sure it has rapid assault, but it only has 2 speed, so if the tank wants to be it will be faster. And the tank has 1 greater range, and a generally better attack. Now the ostrich is clearly better at hitting infantry with its first attack, but that's not good "versatility" because if a single panzerfaust survives, it will be in range of the ostrich with 3 dice ready to likely take one of its measly 2 points of life.

Again, there's a good chance many of these stats have changed. And it looks like the Mountaineers might be specialized tank killers, based on their text description on the kickstarter page. But they only come in the blitzkrieg package... will there be a good counter to the tank in the base game?

I might also be missing a rule or two. One of the game play videos sounded like you get a victory point for killing a tank. I guess that slightly reduces their value, but not by much since they will be such a bear to kill. As things stand now, I see no reason as a blight player to not summon a tank at my first opportunity (after I have some infantry and a vehicle or two on the board to get early capture points), and I see no reason not to respawn it at every opporunity if it should miraculously fall (although again I'm not sure if the tank can be spawned multiple times).

Anyway, I like the look of the game, so I'm wondering if I'm way off on this. Sorry for the long post.
 
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Mark
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Based on the intelligence and experience of the game designer I'd wager it is not an issue of concern. We only have two game play vids and not all the hero stats, card visuals, etc.

I certainly understand the difficulty of "buy before you try." Perhaps someone from the designing end will speak to it briefly. I have not encountered this serious of a concern from others, however, so perhaps it is just blighted cold feet.

Thanks for posting this question and hopefully others will chime in if they have observations or other info.
 
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Michael D. Kelley
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Thanks for weighing in Lokismile. I am sure you are right that, with the designer's RTS balancing experience, the units will be balanced in the end. My concern is that units might not be balanced with the base $90 game (the level I am considering pledging), and will be balanced only with the Blitzkrieg level.

It looks like mountaineers, or maybe the add-on M3 Vertical Tank units could be counters to the Sturmpanzer. But I would like this game to be fun and balanced out of the basic box if I am going to pledge for it.

Hopefully, as you said, some others with more experience will chime in.
 
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Jonah Rees
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Ted Terranova who has worked on RTS games is just the creator, not the designer. I'm not entirely sure who the rules designers are but they have had experience before. I think the fact that you get 2 VP's for killing it means it can be quite risky. You don't get any VP's for spawning the bikes so you shoot, they die, you spawn, you shoot, you kill the tank. You get 2 VP's, your opponent has not gained any.
 
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G G
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The base game only allows 1 Tank, so it's probably never been an issue due to rarity. If the Blight player could field them exclusively, that might be a different problem.
 
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Michael D. Kelley
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Wait, so it sounds like there are rules I didn't see in the gameplay videos.

First, are both tanks worth 2 vp, or just the blight one?

Second, do you mean that you can only bring out the tank once, and if it is killed, that's it (like with heroes)? Because that would also be a good balancing factor.

My friend Peter also brought up a nice little tactic. Pair your rocket bikes with infantry in the front left corner. The tank will have to use up attacks at only 1 die for each infantry, protecting the cycle. Ad the cycle prevents the tank from bulldozing the infantry.

Of course enemy vehicles and machine guns will easily chew up your infantry blockers, leaving the rocket cycle vulnerable...
 
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G G
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The base game only includes a single Tank model. Once you field it, you can't field any more, because there's no additional model to put on the board!

OTOH, if you buy several extra Tanks, then that becomes an issue if Tanks are indeed overpowered and you're no longer limited by physical rarity. Same issue with Magic the Gathering. The randomness and rarity was supposed to keep a lid on things, but people buying boxes rather than boosters turned things on their head.
 
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Jonah Rees
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If you watch the video with the stat cards it explains on there. It's in one of the updates. The Blight tank is worth 2 VP's. I can't remember what the Ally one was worth but I don't think it was worth 2 but without watching it again I couldn't be sure. I don't think the tank is like the heroes though and you can recycle it.
 
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Steve B.
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Tank Info.
Just to correct some info, both sides tanks have 4 HP and give 2 Victory Points if killed.

And only the infantry of the allies can't attack the blight tank. So while the rocket cycles are the best, if you have 6 units attacking the blight tank, it will go down pretty fast.
 
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Michael D. Kelley
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Okay, good to know. Obviously the stats are continuing to be revised!
 
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Mark
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jonahmaul wrote:
If you watch the video with the stat cards it explains on there. It's in one of the updates. The Blight tank is worth 2 VP's. I can't remember what the Ally one was worth but I don't think it was worth 2 but without watching it again I couldn't be sure. I don't think the tank is like the heroes though and you can recycle it.


This stat card video is very helpful. I'll try to post it here in this thread later tonight.
Indeed, putting a unit on the board that literally is worth 2 VP if destroyed is risky. To my remembrance this VP # is indicated in the right corner of the card. A threatening reminder to the controlling player.

I'll link it later. Good talk everyone.
 
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Ted Terranova
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Hi guys. Right now we are still playing with the stats and getting in games with different numbers. Originally the sturmpanzer cost 5 deployment points but we lowered it so that one could field it easily even in a small game. It also originally had only one shot. Raising it to two has probably made it too strong, especially when combined with the dash and tank shock. And the dash might be made a distance of 1 not 2. So yes, the sturmpanzer feels overpowered right now. Rocket bikes are meant to be the counter but now with a range of 3 and 2 shots it can really keep them at bay and it is only double their cost. I'm guessing we'll take it down to 1 shot. Also of note is the ostrich which is a bit brittle right now. We will probably give it more hp and possibly only award 1 vp for killing it. As someone noted, fielding a unit worth 2 vp can have grave consequences. But it's all about those tough decisions that make games so fun I hope this helped the discussion. It's been fun to read through.
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J Ry
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Novacaine31 wrote:
Hi guys. Right now we are still playing with the stats and getting in games with different numbers. Originally the sturmpanzer cost 5 deployment points but we lowered it so that one could field it easily even in a small game. It also originally had only one shot. Raising it to two has probably made it too strong, especially when combined with the dash and tank shock. And the dash might be made a distance of 1 not 2. So yes, the sturmpanzer feels overpowered right now. Rocket bikes are meant to be the counter but now with a range of 3 and 2 shots it can really keep them at bay and it is only double their cost. I'm guessing we'll take it down to 1 shot. Also of note is the ostrich which is a bit brittle right now. We will probably give it more hp and possibly only award 1 vp for killing it. As someone noted, fielding a unit worth 2 vp can have grave consequences. But it's all about those tough decisions that make games so fun I hope this helped the discussion. It's been fun to read through.


Maybe have a couple different cards for it?
A Recon version that costs 4 and has 1 shot at range three. All else stays the same.
And an Assault version. Costs 6, 2 shots of either: AT/V at range 3, or AI at range 1? Kind of like being able to load AT shells or HE airburst shells?

Just a thought? Then youd be able to have the small game version, and the Badarse kill everything version.

I also have some other thoughts Ill pm to you.

Thanks again for posting here.
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Michael D. Kelley
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Ted, this is just the kind of thing I wanted to hear! I love games that are being play-tested and tweaked constantly. Thanks for increasing my faith in the game, and good luck on your kickstarter
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Neil Ardron
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Yes this is very good to hear that balancing continues and I hope we get a good and good looking game in the end, then people will play more and more expansions will be developed. Ted I hope unit cost is not too influenced by the desire to get them in the game and represent their actual utility in the end. Does using a simple scale like 1..6 etc give you enough granularity on the unit costs?
 
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Ted Terranova
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The small number thing is an interesting question. It's something we decided on doing early on. If you go with 1-100 that gives you way more wiggle room but we felt that would result in a lot of gray area units. Units that weren't really that great. With a smaller scale you have to make choices and when you make them they are big. Range of 1 vs. 2 is a really big deal. But it also makes it easier for a player to choose units. We actually talked about the rating system on metacritic. What is the real difference between something that gets an 81 vs. 84? So we went small But with the buffs, attack order, plugs, etc. there are so many ways to adjust things, but it's the player making the adjustment as a tactical decision.

Unit cost. We did have the tanks more expensive like I mentioned, but we thought a lower cost would make the game more fun. We felt strongly that the core box units should be able to work in all scenarios and get play. We didn't want a game where you had this cool looking miniature but never got to use it. A lot of these decisions could go the other way but we set goals for what we wanted the game to be and that helped us focus and choose a certain path as the game developed.
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Mike Martin
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Ted, since Rivet Wars has made September seem like approximately 2/3 of eternity away , is there any chance we will see a PnP version of the game somewhere in the interim? Maybe some sort of beta test of the rules?
 
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