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Subject: STA Tournament: Combine, Echo, Erthen, and Order rss

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David Thompson
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For those of you following this thread, you'll note that I've completely re-written this initial post. That's because the tournament system has been in serious flux. Rather than continuing to add to the confusion, I thought it would be more useful to present the full current tournament rules. Note that I use the term Campaign - that's because that's the term currently used in the Rulebook. I may eventually replace Campaign with an alternative, possibility to include Tournament.

Without further ado...
 
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Although STA can be played as single skirmish battles with no lasting repercussions, it can be very rewarding to advance a Force of characters over time, watching a group of characters grow stronger through their victories.

Campaign Structure

In campaigns, players compete in a league-style arrangement that simulates factions vying for control of a war-torn area. To organize a campaign, you need an even number of at least four players. In campaigns with four players, each player competes against each of their opponents twice. In campaigns with six or more players, each player competes against each of their opponents once.

Campaigns are set up as a series of rounds, where each player participates in a single skirmish per round.  Every subsequent round steadily increases the number of skirmish points and the character level limit, progressing from relatively small skirmishes using Recruit-level characters at the beginning of the campaign, to larger battles using Veteran and Elite characters in the final rounds. 

Each round of the campaign has a pre-defined skirmish point value and character level limit. Additionally, players can choose to either pre-define the scenarios and gamescapes used for each round before the campaign begins or allow the players to choose the scenario and gamescape for each skirmish.

Each round of the campaign has a pre-defined skirmish point value and character level limit based on the number of players in the campaign (and therefore, the number of rounds in the campaign).  The scenarios and gamescape used for each round are determined in one of three ways. The way in which scenarios and gamescapes are chosen must be established before the campaign begins. Options include:
- The campaign organizer can pre-define specific scenarios and gamescapes used for each round;
- The players collectively decide which scenario and gamescape will be used for each round;
- The players can choose the scenario and gamescape for each skirmish, without regard for the other skirmishes in a round.

At the end of the campaign, the two players with the most victories compete in a final skirmish. If their is a tie for the number of victories to determine the top two players, Force Value (see below) serves as a tie breaker. This final skirmish is always a 150 skirmish point match using the Kill ‘em All scenario. The gamescape is either agreed upon by the players or they can roll one ten-sided dice to see who gets to choose the gamescape.

Common Round Structures





Advancing Characters

At the beginning of the first round (which is always a 30 skirmish point match), each player can select Recruit-level characters from their faction.  At the end of this first skirmish, both players can spend whatever Victory Points they might have earned to advance their surviving Recruit characters to Veteran level.  Only characters that participated in the skirmish and were not defeated can be advanced.  The amount of Victory Points required to improve a character is equal to the value of the improved version of the character.  For example, if a player is improving a Recruit Rebel Leader, which has a value of 4, to a Veteran Rebel Leader (value of 11), it costs 11 Victory Points.  Victory Points are spent immediately after a skirmish and cannot be saved for later.

At the beginning of the second round, players are once again given skirmish points from which to choose their characters.  However, in addition to choosing any Recruit-level characters, players can also select the advanced Veterans from the previous round.  At the end of this round, players can spend their earned Victory points to advance any surviving Recruit players to Veteran status or, if a Veteran character participated in the skirmish and was not defeated, advance those Veteran characters to Elite level. 

If a Veteran character is defeated during a skirmish, a player can spend Victory Points equal to the Veteran character’s value to keep the character in their Force. If the player does not have enough Victory Points or chooses not to spend Victory Points to keep the defeated Veteran character, the character is removed from the Force. A player cannot spend Victory Points to keep a defeated character on a Force and then immediately advance the character.

Skirmishes with Elite characters are treated in the same way as skirmishes with Veteran characters with one exception: at the beginning of the skirmishes, players can spend their points to purchase Veteran-level characters even if they haven't advanced them from Recruit-level in previous rounds. 

Managing a Force

When you advance a character during a campaign, you add that character to your Force, which is a pool of Veteran and Elite level characters that you can select from in subsequent rounds of the campaign.  Only three characters of the same type may be on a Force at one time.  For example, a player can have two Elite Rebel Leaders and one Veteran Rebel Leader on their Force.  If the player had a Recruit Rebel Leader survive a skirmish, the player would not be able to advance that Recruit to Veteran status because there are already three Rebel Leaders in her Force.  The player could, however, advance their Veteran Rebel Leader to Elite if that character survived a skirmish (and the player earned enough Victory Points to advance the character to Elite).

Between skirmishes, characters are healed, so all characters begin skirmishes with full Health.

As a player participates in skirmishes throughout the campaign, their Force will grow as Veteran and Elite characters are added.  The Force Value of a player's Force is the total number of character points of all the Veteran and Elite characters in that player's Force.  This number allows players to quickly compare the relative level of their forces.  A player can keep track of their Force with the Force Advancement Chart (pg xx). 

Players can also track the details of campaign skirmishes on the Campaign Chronicle (pg xx).  The Campaign Chronicle includes information about the skirmish opponent, the scenario and gamescape used, the results of the skirmish, and the subsequent changes made to the player's Force.
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Ok, so back to the tournament at hand. The tournament we're currently playing uses Roll20 to let us play online. The factions involved include Combine, Echo, Erthen, and the Order.

This is the structure of the tournament so far:

Round 1:
- 30 skirmish points, Recruit character level limit, Kill 'em All
- Combine v. the Order
- Erthen v. Echo


Round 2:
- 30 skirmish points, Recruit character level limit, Rescue Operation
- Erthen v. the Order
- Combine v. Echo


Round 3:
- 60 skirmish points, Veteran character level limit, Escort
- Erthen v. Combine
- Echo v. Order



 
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Round 1:
- 30 skirmish points, Recruit character level limit, Kill 'em All

Skirmish 1
- Combine v. the Order

Combine: 1x Inferno, 1x Hellfire, 1x Cyborg Commander, 1x HARPI
Order: 3x Abominations

Recap: The Combine mops the floor with the Order. This was good because it gave us a chance to start testing what happens when a player gets decimated. Can they come back in a tournament? The Order player lost all his characters and the Combine player was barely scratched.

Victory Points: 66 for Combine, 0 for the Order.

Characters advanced:
Combine: 1x Hellfire advanced to Veteran, 1x HARPI advanced to Veteran, 1x Inferno advanced to Veteran.
Order: None


 
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Round 1:
- 30 skirmish points, Recruit character level limit, Kill 'em All

Skirmish 2
- Erthen v. Echo

Erthen: 1x Tremor, 1x Ion Core, 1x Death Vine
Echo: 2x Psi-Blade, 2x Mindbender

Recap:
Much more competitive of a skirmish than the first game, but still quick and decisive. This skirmish took a turn in favor of Echo early on when they dropped the Ion Core. Although the Erthen were able to take down one of the Psi-Blades, the rest of the Echo force converge on the Death Vine and eventually chased the Tremor from the combat.

Victory Points: 38 for Echo, 20 for Erthn

Characters advanced:
Echo: 1x Psi-Blade, 1x Mindbender
Erthen: None


 
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Round 1 Recap

Standings:
Combine: 1 Win
Echo: 1 Win
Erthen: 1 Loss
Order: 1 Loss

Forces:
Combine: 1x Hellfire Veteran, 1x HARPI Veteran, 1x Inferno Veteran (62 Force Value)
Echo: 1x Psi-Blade Veteran, 1x Mindbender Veteran (29 Force Value)
Erthen: None
Order: None
 
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Round 2:
- 30 skirmish points, Recruit character level limit, Rescue Operation

Skirmish 1
- Combine v. Echo

Combine: 1x Hellfire, 1x Vanguard, 2x HARPI, 1x Commander (prisoner)
Echo: 3x Nether-Tech, 1x Psion (Prisoner)

Recap: This was a good match. The major elements of each faction met in the center of the gamescape to fight it out with their Ranged Combat abilities. The Nether-techs made good use of their ambush abilities. In the end they were overmatched by the Hellfire's fire power, thought the Hellfire did have to get sacrificed. The Combine made the initial dash for the captive with their remaining Vanguard. He made it to the Cyborg Commander in time to free him. Meanwhile, Echo's last Nether-tech couldn't make it to the Psion prisoner before the end of the skirmish.

Victory Points: 50 for Combine, 24 for Echo.

Characters advanced:

Combine: 1x Vanguard advanced to Veteran, 1x Cyborg Commander advanced to Veteran
Echo: 1x Nether-tech advanced to Veteran


 
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Round 2:
- 30 skirmish points, Recruit character level limit, Rescue Operation

Skirmish 2
- Erthen v. Order

Erthen: 1x Tremor, 1x Ion Core, 1x Death Vine (prisoner)
Order: 1x Abomination, 1x Wraith, 2x Carnage (1 of which was the prisoner)

Recap: Another competitive match. This one turned into a classic slugfest between the Abomination and Tremor. It was cool to see these two Close Combat giants going toe to toe. In the end the Tremor won the brawl and then both factions made a dash to free the prisoners. So both earned a ton of Victory Points, but the Erthen came out with the win.

Victory Points:
54 for Erthen, 46 for the Order.

Characters advanced:
Erthen: 1x Tremor, 1x Death Vine
Order: 2x Carnage


 
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Round 2 Recap

Standings:
Combine: 2 Wins
Echo: 1 Win, 1 Loss
Erthen: 1 Win, 1 Loss
Order: 2 Losses

Forces:
Combine: 1x Cyborg Commander Veteran, 1x Hellfire Veteran, 1x HARPI Veteran, 1x Inferno Veteran, 1x Vanguard Veteran (79 Force Value)

Echo: 1x Nether-tech Veteran, 1x Psi-Blade Veteran, 1x Mindbender Veteran (36 Force Value)

Erthen: 1x Tremor Veteran, 1x Death Vine Veteran (35 Force Value)

Order: 2x Carnage Veterans (14 Force Value)
 
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Round 3:
- 60 skirmish points, Veteran character level limit, Escort

Skirmish 1
- Echo v. Order

Echo:
Characters from Force: 1x Veteran Nether-tech, 1x Veteran Mindbender, 1x Veteran Psi-blade
Recruits: 2x Recruit Nether-techs, 1x Recruit Pyro

Order:
Recruits: 3x Nethermancers, 3x Abominations (1 of which is the Escort)


Recap: Probably the best match yet during the campaign. Echo got the upperhand early with their ranged attacks, but as soon as the Abominations entered in Close Combat and the Nethermancers started slinging Thralls out, things quickly turned against Echo. In the end, Echo won, but at a VERY significant price. The were able to stall the Order long enough (10 rounds) that the Order lost the objective. But Echo lost all their characters except one Psi-blade. This was a perfect example of winning a skirmish through accomplishing an objective, but sacrificing a lot - maybe too much? - to get it done. Also, look at the victory points earned. Even though Echo earned 96 points, only one character - a Psi-blade - made it through the fight to be advanced. The other vets can be brough back, but not advanced. So lots of wasted points for Echo.

Victory Points: 96 for Echo, 53 for Order

Characters advanced:

Echo: 1x Psi-blade advanced to Elite
Order: 1x Abomination advanced to Veteran, 1x Nethermancer advanced to Veteran


Characters recovered:

Echo: 1x Mindbender Veteran, 1x Nether-tech Veteran


 
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Round 3:
- 60 skirmish points, Veteran character level limit, Escort

Skirmish 2
- Combine v. Erthen

Erthen:
Characters from Force: 1x Tremor Veteran, 1x Death Vine Veteran
Recruits: 1x Tremor Recruit (escort), 1x Ion Core Recruit

Order:
Characters from Force: 1x Cyborg Commander Veteran, 1x Vanguard Veteran
Recruits: 2x Hellfire Recruits, 2x Vanguard Recruits, 1x Cyborg Commander Recruit, 1x HARPI Recruit


Recap: Great tactics by the Combine player and a combination of poor starting position and use of a Huge character as the escort doomed the Erthen in this skirmish. The escort never made it closer than about halfway across the gamescape. Once again the Combine dominated the match, this time relying on superior numbers, tactics, and firepower. This was a massacre - the Erthen should be happy they didn't lose their Tremor Veteran in the process.

Victory Points: 105 for Combine, 14 for Erthen

Characters advanced:

Combine: Cyborg Commander advanced to Elite, Vanguard advanced to Elite, Cyborg Commander advanced to Veteran, 2x Hellfire advanced to Veteran


Characters recovered:
Erthen: 1x Death Vine Veteran


 
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Round 3 Recap

Standings:
Combine: 3 Wins
Echo: 2 Wins, 1 Loss
Erthen: 1 Win, 2 Losses
Order: 3 Losses

Forces:
Combine: 1x Cyborg Commander Elite, 1x Vanguard Elite, 1x Hellfire Veteran, 1x HARPI Veteran, 1x Inferno Veteran, Cyborg Commander Veteran, 2x Hellfire Veteran (164 Force Value)

Echo: 1x Psi-Blade Elite, 1x Nether-tech Veteran, 1x Mindbender Veteran (42 Force Value)

Erthen: 1x Tremor Veteran, 1x Death Vine Veteran (35 Force Value)

Order: 1x Abomination Veteran, 1x Nethermancer Veteran, 2x Carnage Veterans (50 Force Value)
 
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We now take a break in our regularly scheduled campaign/tournament update for a brief comment on the scenario that was used for round 3: Escort. After lengthy debates concerning this scenario through numerous playtests, we've decided to change it up quite a bit. Now rather than having to escort a character from the faction, one faction is trying to carry a piece of gear across the gamescape. The piece of gear is treated like a scavenge token - so it can be transferred between characters, etc. The scenario has been renamed to Courier. If the piece of gear gets across the gamescape, the Courier player wins the objective. If the other player stops the Courier or obtains the object, they win.
 
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I've been watching this solution and keeping my comments for myself until some runs come out.
I'm avoiding commenting because, I really don't like this approach, at least what I understood from it.
First: isn't symmetric, if you have one heavy gamer, two moderated and one occasional light player, you can end with one faction full of points and evolutions because it have the lucky easy pray.
Second: games could be fun, but in the end you will need to get some heavy points to go to the next level with some promoted characters, what the point of have veteran limit if you can't even make your units survive? You end choosing from healing down units or upgrading the some, but going next level with low force number.
Third: After a bad middle game (and it happens quite a lot) you can end with no troops, the common wiped out scenario, I just didn't kill enough to even heal or buy recruits to go on, or to buy only weak units.
And finally, this doesn't had any thing new to the game, you can easily play single games and keep a Force Advancement Chart on then, with a challenger value ( when you play, the weaker player chooses the points and challenge a game).
After the games come, I think my point of view confirmed, there are no main advantage of playing this. Some scenarios just doesn't work, and some lame plays decides the outcome for some, turning that player in easy meat.
It could work, but for now, it looks like a dead end.
To do like this, you can simplify by keeping a board, any game would count, and players would upgrade units at will. Some math, point average against same player, sum all averages and divide it per number of players you played, something like this:
Player 1 (P1) play P2, 14 points for P1, 17 to P2.
P1 play P2 again, 20 for P1 e 17 to P2.
P1 play P3, 12 to P1 and 16 to P3
P2 Play P3, 15 to both players.
The table would be:
P1 X P2 = (14+20)/2=17
P1 X P3 = 12
P1 value (17+12)/2 = 14.5
P2 X P1 = (17+17)/2 = 17
P2 X P3 = 15
P2 value (17+15)/2 = 16
P3 X P1 = 16
P3 X P2 = 15
P3 value (16+15)/2 = 15.5
P2 win
P3 second
P1 last
Just an idea...
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Ricardo,

I agree with some of your observations. In general the approach you suggest is closer to the original concept outlined in the rulebook - basically a freeform system that didn't require a league-like approach. However, I felt like I really needed to present a default structured approach that had an organized way to reach some sort of finale.

However, I am a little concerned with the "haves" and "have nots" of the current system. As evidenced in the tournament so far, one player has clearly emerged as the frontrunner with regard to Force Value. Now you can argue that the ability of the other players to recruit new characters should level the playing field to some extent, but it is still much better to have a more extensive Force from which to draw.

To that end, I'm considering two changes:

1. Removing the level limits for STA altogether. I'm not sure the game actually needs them if the characters are balanced correctly. For one-off games, there isn't much of an impact. For campaign games it changes advances, but basically just by streamlining the system. Can anyone see a major drawback?

2. Changing the entire Victory Points being spent to advance characters system. Instead, I'm considering allowing Victory Points to be used only for determining the winner, and then allocating Experience Points to the winner and loser. These experience points could be spent just as Victory Points are now. However, there wouldn't be nearly the range in potential earnings. Basically the formula would be this:

Experience points for the winner = 2/3 of the skirmish points for the match while the loser = 1/3 of the points used for the match. For example, the winner in a 30 point game would earn 20 points while the loser earns 10. This rewards the winner, but doesn't devastate the loser (who may have also lost more characters anyway).

Thoughts, pros, cons, etc?
 
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Here is a revised version of the tournament system (tentatively renamed Conquest) that incorporates some of the changes I mentioned above. This system strips out character level limits. But what it's really designed to do is limit the difference in Force values between players who win and lose skirmishes. Now the potential gap has closed significantly. Note that it is still possible for a player who consistently gets wiped out to have a very low Force Value (because they won't have any characters to advance), but I would submit that if you lose every match and every character gets wiped out, it's probably not that surprising that you'd have a low Force Value. =)

Conquests
Although STA can be played as single skirmish battles with no lasting repercussions, it can be very rewarding to advance a Force of characters over time, watching a group of characters grow stronger through their victories.

Conquest Structure: In conquests, players compete in a league-style arrangement that represents factions vying for control of a war-torn area. To organize a conquest, you need an even number of at least four players. In conquests with four players, each player competes against each of their opponents twice. In conquests with six or more players, each player competes against each of their opponents once.

Conquests are set up as a series of rounds, where each player participates in a single skirmish per round.  Every subsequent round steadily increases the number of skirmish points, progressing from relatively small skirmishes using Recruit-level characters at the beginning of the conquest, to larger battles using Veteran and Elite characters. 

The scenarios and gamescape used for each round are determined in one of three ways:

- The conquest organizer can pre-define specific scenarios and gamescapes used for each round;
- The players collectively decide which scenario and gamescape will be used for each round;
- The players can choose the scenario and gamescape for each skirmish, without regard for the other skirmishes in a round.

At the end of the conquest, the two players with the most victories compete in a final skirmish. If there is a tie for the number of victories to determine the top two players, Force Value (see below) serves as a tie breaker. The final skirmish is always a 150 skirmish point match using the Kill ‘em All scenario. The gamescape is either agreed upon by the players or they can roll one ten-sided dice to see who gets to choose the gamescape.



Advancing Characters: In the first round of a conquest (which is always a 30 skirmish point match), each player selects Recruit-level characters from their faction.  At the end of the skirmish, players earn experience points based on whether they won or lost the skirmish. The winner earns experience points equal to 2/3 the number of skirmish points used in the skirmish, while the loser earns experience points equal to 1/3 the number of skirmish points.

Players can spend experience points to advance their surviving Recruit characters to Veteran level.  Only characters that participated in the skirmish and were not defeated can be advanced.  The amount of experience points required to improve a character is equal to the value of the improved version of the character.  For example, if a player is improving a Recruit Rebel Leader, which has a value of 4, to a Veteran Rebel Leader (value of 11), it costs 11 experience points.  Experience points are spent immediately after a skirmish and cannot be saved for later.

At the beginning of the second round, players are once again given skirmish points from which to choose their characters.  However, in addition to choosing any Recruit-level characters, players can also select advanced Veterans from the previous round.  At the end of this round, players can spend their experience points to advance any surviving Recruit players to Veteran status or, if Veteran characters participated in the skirmish and were not defeated, advance those Veteran characters to Elite level. 

If a Veteran or Elite character is defeated during a skirmish, a player can spend experience points equal to the character’s value to keep the character in their Force. If the player does not have enough experience points or chooses not to spend experience points to keep the defeated character, the character is removed from the Force. A player cannot spend experience points to keep a defeated character on a Force and then immediately advance the character.



Managing a Force: When characters are advanced during a conquest, they are added to a Force, which is a pool of Veteran and Elite level characters.  Only three characters of the same type may be on a Force at one time.  For example, a player can have two Elite Rebel Leaders and one Veteran Rebel Leader on their Force.  If the player had a Recruit Rebel Leader survive a skirmish, the player would not be able to advance that Recruit to Veteran status because there are already three Rebel Leaders in her Force.  The player could, however, advance their Veteran Rebel Leader to Elite if that character survived a skirmish (and the player earned enough experience points to advance the character to Elite).

Between skirmishes, characters are healed, so all characters begin skirmishes with full Health.

As a player participates in skirmishes throughout the conquest, their Force will grow as Veteran and Elite characters are added.  The Force Value of a player's Force is the total number of character points of all the Veteran and Elite characters in that player's Force.  This number allows players to quickly compare the relative level of their forces.  A player can keep track of their Force with the Force Advancement Chart. [p. 39]

Players can also track the details of conquest skirmishes on the Conquest Chronicle. [p. 40]  The Conquest Chronicle includes information about the skirmish opponent, the scenario and gamescape used, the results of the skirmish, and the subsequent changes made to the player's Force.

Example Conquest Rounds: This example is based on a 4-player conquest arrangement.

Round 1: Player 1 and Player 2 compete in a 30 skirmish point match. They each select 30 points worth of Recruit characters. Player 1 wins, earning 20 experience points. Player 1 advances two characters that participated in the skirmish and were not defeated to Veteran level and places them on a Force Advancement Chart. All of Player 2’s characters are defeated during the skirmish. Even though Player 2 receives 10 experience points, no characters can be advanced. Player 3 and Player 4 also compete during Round 1.

Round 2: Player 1 and Player 3 compete in a 45 skirmish point match. Player 1 decides to use the two Veteran characters that were advanced after Round 1 and then selects Recruits with the rest of the skirmish points. Player 1 wins the skirmish, earning 30 experience points. During the match, one of the Veteran characters is defeated. Player 1 elects to spend experience points equal to the character’s value to keep the character on the Force. This character cannot be advanced. The other Veteran character survives the match, and Player 1 advances the character to Elite level. Player 2 and Player 4 also compete during Round 1.

Round 3: Player 1 and Player 4 compete in a 60 skirmish point match. Player 1 decides to use only Recruits for this skirmish. Player 1 loses the match, earning 20 experience points; however, all but one character that participated in the skirmish was defeated. Player 1 uses some of the 20 experience points to advance the character to Veteran level, and the remaining experience points are lost. Player 2 and Player 3 also compete during Round 1.
 
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Again, I've a different approach.

I call it,
THE DUEL
I inspire in the honor duels of the end of the XIX century.
How it works? More or less like this:
Every player can have any number of teams (very important), from different or the same faction.
A player, chose a team and makes an 'offense' to other player or players, players can choose to fight or not, if they chose to fight a duel is arranged, players fight by order of 'offense', offender player will fight first the first player he offend.
First offended player choose the scenario, then offender player chose points and level of the game (being the max possible the max of the teams involved for all teams).
Offender player as to play all duels in a row, having bonus for every game in a row he makes (something like second game 2x third game 4x, etc) but he can't heal or buy new members or advance until the end of the duel. An offender can offend other player as many times as teams the other player as.
In the end a table with points accumulated and team valor is maintained.
The table only shows points and team valor, most points wins, in a tie, team valor wins. Any team that need points just have to make 'offenses' to get duels.
If a team get to far away from the others, well, nobody would fight them until have more experienced team, so the game itself balance. And as everybody can have as many teams as they please, everybody would keep playing. A bad team or a bad luck team can be terminated and a new one summoned.

This is almost an academic idea, totally theoretical, as no experienced game or copied mechanic (I don't know any game that as a system like this, to be honest I can't even say if it would work, I mean , it look that could work, but also, it could fail miserably).

If anything can be used, I consider my time well spent...
 
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Ricardo, this is an interesting concept. I think we need to try it out in some upcoming playtests, but I can see it (or a variant of it) as another optional style for playing.

 
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Round 4:
- 90 skirmish points, Race to the Gear

Note: Note that we're changing the rules for the tournament to the new Conquest system. That means experience points instead of Victory Points for advancement, no character level limits, etc. We're starting with our Forces from the first few rounds of the game, which changes things a bit, but we'll still see how things work out.

Skirmish 1
- Echo v. Erthen

Echo:
Characters from Force: 1x Elite Psi-Blade, 1x Veteran Mindbender, 1x Veteran Nether-Tech
Recruits: 3x Pyro, 3x Psion, 2x Psi-Blade

Erthen:
Characters from Force: 1x Veteran Tremor, 1x Veteran Death Vine
Recruits: 2x Tremor, 2x Death Vine, 2x Geomancer, 1x Hellebore, 1x Ion Core



Recap: As I was typing up the recap I realized the Echo player violated the 10 character limit in the game - he used 11 characters.

This was a very good matchup. The tactics were fairly simple: Erthen dashed to the center of the gamescape, using their Tremors as shields, planning to heal them with Geomancers hiding in the rear ranks. Echo dashed forward too, so the gear would not be left uncontested, but some of the Echo characters also made circuitous routes to the rear elements of the Erthen to confront them.

In the end, the Erthen - especially the power of the Veteran Tremor - outlasted Echo. It was in round 5 that the Erthen began accruing Victory Points for being uncontested adjacent to the precious piece of gear in the center of the board.

The Erthen defeated all three Pyros, both Recruit Psi-Blades, and a Psion during the match. Echo defeated both Recruit Death Vines, one of the Recruit Tremors, one Geomancer, and the Hellebore, while also forcing the other Geomacner to flee. Each faction recovered a scavenge token. Erthen maintained uncontested control of the precious piece of gear for the last three rounds of the skirmish.

Victory Points: 126 for Erthen, 51 for Echo

Experience Points: 60 for Erthen, 30 for Echo

Characters advanced:

Erthen: Tremor advanced to Veteran, Ion Core advanced to Elite, Geomancer advanced to Veteran


Echo: Mindbender advanced to Elite.





 
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Order of the Echolight
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A question about conquest, do u have to always buy recruit characters with your skirmish points or can u also buy veteran and elite characters with your skirmish points in the 150 point game? Because, it isn't really mentioned in the If so, then won't it be unfair to factions with cheaper characters like the marauders during the 150 skirmish match as they can't buy many characters.
 
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David Thompson
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Comarauthen wrote:
A question about conquest, do u have to always buy recruit characters with your skirmish points or can u also buy veteran and elite characters with your skirmish points in the 150 point game? Because, it isn't really mentioned in the If so, then won't it be unfair to factions with cheaper characters like the marauders during the 150 skirmish match as they can't buy many characters.


Hey guys, that's a great point - and something I really struggled with. As written, the Conquest system does not allow you to use Veterans or Elites unless you have them in your force. That was an intentional choice for two reasons:

1. It promotes a sort of meta-game during the Conquest scenarios. Sometimes when a fight is going bad, it's better to accept defeat and keep your guys alive by withdrawing.

2. It benefits players who strive to take care of their advanced characters.

Now if a player goes into a every combat and plays with wild abandon, not worrying about the lives of his characters, then it's possible that when the high point value skirmishes come around, the player might be able to field a full group of characters. But I think that's part of the downfall of taking too many risks and not properly managing a Force.

At first I too was worried about whether this disadvantages the factions with less expensive Recruits - especially the Marauders - but there are a couple of counterpoints. The Marauders are also the cheapest characters to advance. So they should be the easiest to build a Force with. Additionally, in the lower point games, it is easier to advance the less expensive characters to Veteran. For example, if a Combine player uses a Hellfire in a 30 or 45 skirmish point game, the player can't advance the Hellfire because there aren't enough Experience Points.

The system definitely needs to be playtested, but I think there is a fairly good balance to the way the points work out - as long as players understand they need to take care of their Forces.
 
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Skirmish_Tactics wrote:
Comarauthen wrote:
A question about conquest, do u have to always buy recruit characters with your skirmish points or can u also buy veteran and elite characters with your skirmish points in the 150 point game? Because, it isn't really mentioned in the If so, then won't it be unfair to factions with cheaper characters like the marauders during the 150 skirmish match as they can't buy many characters.


Hey guys, that's a great point - and something I really struggled with. As written, the Conquest system does not allow you to use Veterans or Elites unless you have them in your force. That was an intentional choice for two reasons:

1. It promotes a sort of meta-game during the Conquest scenarios. Sometimes when a fight is going bad, it's better to accept defeat and keep your guys alive by withdrawing.

2. It benefits players who strive to take care of their advanced characters.

Now if a player goes into a every combat and plays with wild abandon, not worrying about the lives of his characters, then it's possible that when the high point value skirmishes come around, the player might be able to field a full group of characters. But I think that's part of the downfall of taking too many risks and not properly managing a Force.

At first I too was worried about whether this disadvantages the factions with less expensive Recruits - especially the Marauders - but there are a couple of counterpoints. The Marauders are also the cheapest characters to advance. So they should be the easiest to build a Force with. Additionally, in the lower point games, it is easier to advance the less expensive characters to Veteran. For example, if a Combine player uses a Hellfire in a 30 or 45 skirmish point game, the player can't advance the Hellfire because there aren't enough Experience Points.

The system definitely needs to be playtested, but I think there is a fairly good balance to the way the points work out - as long as players understand they need to take care of their Forces.


And this is why I don't like this system, if a player has a unlucky game, because, lets face it, you can make everything right and even so in a very unlucky throw, lose. Isn't bad in single game, but in a tournament, that would cripple the team and the player will to go on, since his best units are out.

One idea that could work is that lost units don't die, just drop a level. If you lose a elite, you get a veteran no cost. Or a veteran became a recruit. Recruit just die (that would cut somehow the losses).
 
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Quote:
And this is why I don't like this system, if a player has a unlucky game, because, lets face it, you can make everything right and even so in a very unlucky throw, lose. Isn't bad in single game, but in a tournament, that would cripple the team and the player will to go on, since his best units are out.

One idea that could work is that lost units don't die, just drop a level. If you lose a elite, you get a veteran no cost. Or a veteran became a recruit. Recruit just die (that would cut somehow the losses).


Yea, but one unlucky game shouldn't be devastating. Either it happens early in a tournament and the player can quickly recover or late in a tournament and the player should have reserves in their Force. I did decide to change the way Experience Points are earned. Now players earn experience points equal to the numbers of skirmish points used for the match if they win and half if they lose. This should ensure the loser can stay competitive while rewarding the winner with enough advanced characters to have a more flexible pool.

For those who are interested, I ran some numbers of the factions:

Average value of Elite character:
Combine: 23.6
Marauders: 18.8
SoL: 19.5
Erthen: 21
Order: 22
Echo: 20

Maximum possible Force Value:
Combine: 354
Marauders: 282
SoL: 312
Erthen: 315
Order: 330
Echo: 300


Based on a 4 player Conquest (6 rounds), if a player won every match, they would earn 495 XP. If someone lost every single match, they would earn 247 XP. Now that obviously doesn't translate directly into Force value, because you have to increase those characters from Recruit to Elite, which is a point sink. You also have to re-buy characters that die, or pay to keep the characters on a Force.

 
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Round 4:
- 90 skirmish points, Race to the Gear

Note: Note that we're changing the rules for the tournament to the new Conquest system. That means experience points instead of Victory Points for advancement, no character level limits, etc. We're starting with our Forces from the first few rounds of the game, which changes things a bit, but we'll still see how things work out.

Skirmish 2
- Order v. Combine

Combine:
Characters from Force: 1x Elite Vanguard, 1x Veteran Hellfire, 1x Veteran Inferno, 1x Veteran HARPI, 1x Veteran Commander
Recruits: 1x HARPI

Order:
Characters from Force: 1x Veteran Abomination, 2x Veteran Carnage, 1x Veteran Nethermancer
Recruits: 1x Carnage, 3x Fallen, 2x Wraith



Recap: You'll note that coming into this match, the Combine player was running away with the Conquest. He was undefeated and had the best Force value by far. In contrast, the Order play hadn't won a game and was lagging in force value. For this match, the Order player couldn't make it and asked me to play in his stead.

My strategy was fairly simple: use a large number of quick characters to get to the gear ASAP and try to win by attrition. I knew the Combine would likely be able to chew up my forces, but if I could get to the gear first and hold out long enough I could earn the Order their first win.

The Combine player made a HUGE error in the initial placement of his Hellfire. When we were constructing the gamescape I tried to place as much Elevated Terrain as possible to cut off his LoS. He should have placed his Hellfire on the building in the lower left of the map so he could have targeted everyone on the central building; instead, he was stuck in the lower right of the map for the whole game, trying to shoot down the building to get LoS.

In the end, I was successful. I managed to not only hold out but the Combine player was forced to sacrifice much of his force in an attempt to charge and take the building.

By the way, take a look at that skirmish in the middle of the gamescape - that was in round 4, about halfway through the match. It was nasty - the inferno got some good shots in.

Experience Points: 60 for Order, 30 for Combine

Characters advanced:
Order: Abomination and Nethermancer advanced to Elite


Combine: None (had to spend all his XP to restore lost characters and still ended up losing his Veteran Inferno)






 
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Round 5:
- 120 skirmish points, Scavengers

Note: Note that we're changing the rules for the tournament to the new Conquest system. That means experience points instead of Victory Points for advancement, no character level limits, etc. We're starting with our Forces from the first few rounds of the game, which changes things a bit, but we'll still see how things work out. This was also the first battle in which the winner gets XP equal to the number of skirmish points and the loser gets XP equal to 1/2 the skirmish points for the match.

Skirmish 1
- Order v. Erthen

Combine:
Characters from Force: 2x Veteran Erthen, 1x Veteran Geomancer, 1x Veteran Hellebore, 1x Veteran Ion Core, 1x Veteran Death Vine
Recruits: 1x Tremor, 1x Hellebore, 2x Death Vine

Order:
Characters from Force: 1x Elite Abomination, 1x Elite Nethermancer
Recruits: 2x Veteran Carnage, 1x Recruit Carnage, 3x Recruit Wraith, 1x Recruit Nethermancer



Recap: So yea, this was literally the biggest STA match ever. @0 characters, which is the max you can have. The scenario was scavengers, and the Erthen player rolled the dice (pun intended) by placing three scavenge tokens near one edge of the board. Luckily he won the option to pick his edge.

When the match started, both players and the two observers assumed the game was likely almost a forgone conclusion. The Order player could easily grab three tokens. All he would need is maybe one more to get enough Victory Points to win the match - keep in mind that for every character that flees the gamescape, the opponent gets victory points equal to 1/2 the character's value, so a player can't just grab a couple tokens and run his characters of the board.

Ironically, the Elite Abomination was the Order player's downfall. The Order player tried to race to the center, grab a fourth scavenge token and run. However, the Erthen player was able to constrict the Abomination, keeping him pinned down while Tremors pummeled him. Once the Abomination was killed, it meant the Order player couldn't just flee off the board to win, because he didn't have enough victory points - even with four scavenge tokens - to win. Because the Order player had rushed forward with wild abandon trying to grab the token quickly, he had left himself poorly positioned. The battle quickly turned against him. In the end, he ended up fleeing the battle in an effort to keep some of his forces alive.


Experience Points: 120 for Order, 60 for Erthen

Characters advanced:
Order: 2x Carnage advanced to Elite, 1x Carnage advanced to Veteran, 1x Nethermancer advanced to Veteran, 1 Wraith advanced to Veteran (the Elite Abomination was lost)


Erthen: 1x Tremor advanced to Veteran, 1x Ion Core advanced to Elite, 1x Geomancer advanced to Elite, 1x Death Vine advanced to Veteran



 
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