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Subject: Ars Victor Designer Diary: New Unit Sneak Peek! Archons, Wardens, Howitzer rss

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Steve DeBaun
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New Units!

Deep within the dark, nefarious laboratories of Ars Victor, we've been trying out a handful of new unit designs. BEHOLD: their current incarnations; you may gaze breathless upon their terrible wonder.

Note that NONE of these are final, and I'm constantly experimenting with new ideas. What do you think of these guys?


Wardens: the Other, Other Medium Infantry


Note: the arrow in the Heavy Weapons attack is a new ability: Mobile. A unit with Mobile can move and fire its Heavy Weapons.


These guys are meant to fill the same role as Conscripts or Medium Infantry, but in a different way.

The ability to move 2 spaces, then throw 2R+2W at two hexes away, is not insignificant. Equally useful is their ability to move and then throw 2R at four hexes. It's not a lot of damage, but having more cheap, long-range attacks forces your enemy to either be more careful about cover, or suffer attrition as they close with your line.

Their pathetic 2W Close Combat ability means that you really have to keep them away from the enemy. Being Engaged negates their biggest advantage (Mobile Heavy Weapons) and forces them to use their weakest attack. Unlike more expensive HW units -- I'm looking at you, Field Gun -- you're not so sad when your Wardens are Engaged.

The 5 hits means you can take a beating, but the Wardens lack that special "something" to serve as a really good meatshield. For a point less, Conscripts are a better pure meatshield, because of Standfast. For the same cost, Medium Infantry give you Standfast + Take Cover, and a Blue die in CC and SA.

Their biggest weakness is probably their absolute uselessness against Tough units. 2R+2W is more like 3W when you're attacking a Tough unit. One thing we've found -- if you use a lot of Wardens, make sure you've got enough Blue-throwing units to crack your enemy's Tough.

We're going to continue to field test these guys, but I'm actually pretty comfortable with how they've turned out. They're an interesting addition to a line-up, but they don't overshadow existing units in the same role.


Archons: Vague Irritation from Above

Three jump moves and a decent Small Arms attack? What's not to like? A hefty price tag and a glass jaw.

We've had a lot of fun with this piece in the playtests, but it's turning out to be tough to balance. I'm trying to make a jump unit that fills an early harrassment role, like Lancers or Light Infantry. The concern is, I don't want it to overshadow either of them.

Three jump moves. THREE JUMP MOVES! You know the cool flanking/infiltration stuff you can do with Jump Infantry? Three Jump moves lets you do WAY cooler stuff.

Of course, once you've used your three jumps, you don't have much to attack with. Three Red SA is competent, but not terrifying. Two White CC is sad. Luckily, because these guys have Bug Out, and Jump moves let you disengage, you should NEVER HAVE TO USE the CC dice.

But with three steps, the Archons have to be careful about who they pick fights with. They can't Bug Out if they're the attacker, so trading volleys with anything more shooty than a Medium Infantry is probably a bad idea. The nice thing is, with three jump moves, you have plenty of leeway in your target selection. Don't want to fight that Medium Infantry right next to you? Jump three hexes away and take a potshot at a Lancer that can't shoot back.

I still want to field test these guys a lot more, and try some variations on them. On one hand, I'm worried that they're going to overshadow Lancers or Cavalry. On the other hand, I have this perverse desire to give them a 1B+1W CC attack and price them at eight points...



Howitzer: Twice as much Mortar for three times the cost

Note: the arcing arrow is the new "Indirect Fire" icon. The standard game art will be modified for the next printing.

This unit is intended to add some more variety to the options for long-range firepower. I'm looking for something that's not quite as effective as a Field Gun, but more forgiving and easier to use.

The combination of Long Range and Indirect Fire means that this baby can hit any target within 5 hexes. At first glance, that seems incredibly powerful.

The reality is, it's not as scary as it first seems. But you're only hitting with three Red dice. Against a target in Cover, that's three White. The Bombard's presence will encourage your opponent to keep his squishy units in Cover, but units like Assault Infantry aren't that scared by three Red dice. A Brute in its natural habitat (Cover) is going to care even less.

In tests so far, this unit lacks... something. Maybe it's just overpriced -- I expect more out of my ten point units!
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Ray Smith
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The abilities: Fabulous!! thumbsup

The pictures: Not so much. thumbsdown



Although I'm a great fan of L&H, JQ, and military photos, they don't belong in AV. shake
I much prefer you use your cool renditions.



Edit: blush
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Steve DeBaun
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I guess it *wasnt* obvious, but... that's just placeholder art I grabbed off the internet. We will of course get real art when the unit is shipped.
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Mike Bott
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I'm certain these are placeholder art, not intended to represent the final. Though, I would have to ask sdebaun: "What were you drinking when you CHOSE those pictures?"

I have a hard time seeing a use for the Wardens. Mortars are cheaper and 4W does a pretty good job of pushing enemies back. I guess the ability to pop out of cover and blast on a fool at range is neat but it lacks punch. Of course if it had more punch it'd be OP.

What do I know, I haven't tried a game with that unit, heh. Also, standoff shooty isn't my style.

Archons look like Cavalry slayers to me. Not directly, but by being the anvil and boxing the Cavalry in so they can't Bug Out.

Howitzer, I agree with your comment. I'd say replace one red with a blue die and it's a winner for 10 points.




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Steve DeBaun
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Warmfuzzyone wrote:
I guess the ability to pop out of cover and blast on a fool at range is neat but it lacks punch.


It's not popping *out* of cover, it's popping *into* cover. Wardens have 2 Run, so then can move two hexes, end up in cover, and then pop someone from two hexes away with 2W+2R or four hexes with just 2R.

Mortars don't really feel the same role as Wardens; Mortars can't stand in CC. Wardens don't particularly care for it, but they can soak.

Warmfuzzyone wrote:
Archons look like Cavalry slayers to me. Not directly, but by being the anvil and boxing the Cavalry in so they can't Bug Out.


This they do, yes. They're pretty easy to drive off, though.

Re: Howitzer, yeah, I might try making it a 2R+1B. I'm just worried it starts to become a no-brainer replacement for the Field Gun.
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Jesse Olejnicak
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Your website mentioned having software or something to make your own units. Are you still toying with that? I could see having a lot of fun with "custom" units.
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Steve DeBaun
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voltan wrote:
Your website mentioned having software or something to make your own units. Are you still toying with that? I could see having a lot of fun with "custom" units.


That's still "in the planning stage." I did some initial research, and it's going to be a respectable amount of work to do it right. But yeah, it's something I still really want to do.
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