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 Beta: Let's Talk Stealth 
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So I think most players hate the way Stealth works in Relic Knights. Maybe it is just me though, so feel free to voice your opinion.

For me part of the problem has to do with how difficult it is to pull off, meaning it rarely comes up not just in one game, but over the course of several.

The developers seem to feel that the effect is too strong to allow it to proc easily.

Let's discuss some potential solutions and give comments whether you like or dislike the way it currently works.

Personal solution: Change text of stealth to the following.

Stealth: When a model with Stealth is chosen as the target of a Range or Psychic attack, its controller Flips [3] before offensive presses are paid. If the model flips any corruption, the attack much choose another legal target, if it cannot, the action fails.

Why corruption? Because they are the sneakiest of esper colors.

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March 15th, 2017, 3:59 am
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I absolutely do not like the idea of a flip for Stealth - If it's random, it's frustrating for both players. Does the attacking player simply lose their attack in your proposal? If the unit had stealth, how was the attacker able to attempt to target it in the first place? Does this incentive a player to play risky with a unit in the hopes that your opponent will waste an action (Going back to one of the big problems with 1.0 and perfect defenses) Will a player be better off ignoring a unit with stealth instead of wasting an attack? Does the ability make sense to new players? (IE "That unit standing in the open, 10 inches from any terrain, can't be shot because...magic?") If you tie the flip to a specific color (purple), then players that use that color are punished; (the statistical variance between a player using purple and a player using green is low, but) the player using purple will want to arrange their hand and hold purple to prepare for future ability use. If they have a freshly cycled deck, then their chances of flipping the color will be lower because they are otherwise be encouraged to hold purple in their hand. Making it like disengage or victory point flips (flip for the color of your faction) gets around this issue, but that's minor compared to the other concerns.

Terrain should be chosen such that there are always options for stealth - barricades or low walls on roofs, for example. I also play a lot of Noh, so there were some additional tricks you pull, using their size 3 to hide behind other units, or the more common size 2 terrain. Yes, in a highly mobile game, stealth is harder to achieve, especially with the LoS rules currently used.

I think one of the biggest hindrances to players enjoying stealth, or feeling that unlimited range is too powerful come from comparing Relic Knights to other systems. This is a dangerous trap, as few other systems specify to use the density of terrain that RK does. I also think that if you're not considering things such as stealth, elevation changes, and some of the more crunchy bits of terrain rules (destructible, protection, etc) it's easy to build a battlefield that is sparse when it comes to terrain that gives you options. (Like stealth, fly is fairly mediocre on a relatively flat battlefield.) One of the things I suggest to with new players is to make sure that any low walls/barricades grant protection 1-2. This forces players to consider cover when positioning, as it makes cover meaningful to all models, not just models with stealth. A common complaint is that cover, as a mechanic, is "only" there for stealth. I disagree, because that tells me you're not using the terrain rules all that well. Not all terrain NEEDS to have rules, but things are certainly more interesting if the terrain has more character than being a solid block of non-interactivity. If you're in a shoot-out in a shipyard full of shipping containers, you better bet that the steel construction will mitigate some of the damage a spay of bullets could do. So a Relic hiding behind a shipping container (size 2 rectangle), while still targetable by a human, should get some benefit from the cover - the size 2 means that humans won't benefit from cover, they'll be totally blocked, but if you give it protection 2, if the knight is close enough to it, he should get some protection from an attack, either due to the fact that he's a smaller target, since part of his body is hidden, or the fact that a shot that grazes the container will lose some power.
[TL:DR - I think a lot of complaints about stealth can be solved by making terrain that improves the choices for all units. Examine your terrain set-up, is it that Stealth is not working, or is it that you're not providing the conditions to allow it to work.]

I would like to see an official terrain modifier or battlefield condition that grants cover but doesn't obscure line of sight, like smoke or fog. There are some AoEs that have similar effects, but to have recognized rules that grant the effect would be nice for free-form areas. (Combine with dangerous for a fire, etc...)

Overall, one of the defining characteristics of RK is the low amount of randomness in the game, and I worry that the more randomness that is introduced, the more RK loses what makes it unique and becomes a game that simply uses cards to replace dice.

[Edited to add the terrain modifier and clarify the TL:DR]


March 15th, 2017, 5:17 am
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To me this problem stems from a more basic problem: Cover almost never happens. With the facts that range is unlimited, movement is high and cover requires 100% coverage (if even a half millimeter of a model isn't behind cover, cover does not exist) it makes it so any cover based effects almost never happen.

Speaking to the concept of changing stealth specifically. What popped into my mind was to change it to something defensive, but not requiring cover. It could be made into a simple, reliable, ability by changing it to something like "Stealth: When this model is targeted with a ranged or psychic attack it's controller may discard an esper card from their hand and choose one of the esper types on the card. The attacker must pay one esper of the chosen type or the attack fails." With a case like that, weather the ability does or doesn't happen is up to the model's controller. Granted, it won't often actually stop an attack from happening. But it can drain resources or mitigate presses the attack would have otherwise made.

It's not unprecidented for stealth to not require things like cover to be usable either. SDE is an example of stealth basically being a resource sink (you have to get closer to do the same thing). Anima Tactics had many characters able to use stealth abilities in the open, so long as they weren't too close to an enemy. The change would turn it into something both sides could reliably expect to happen and would highlight the card based mechanic of the game without adding randomness. The chosen color would be more about available resource and knowing your opponent than chance.


March 15th, 2017, 6:10 am
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Any change to Stealth that opens up the possibility of a declared attack failing makes it potentially problematic. As I mentioned. 1.0 had the issue of perfect guards that caused combat to be a waste of an action. On a smaller scale, such a change to Stealth would have the same effect. Consider: The discard piles of each player are open knowledge. If you initiate an attack on my unit with Stealth, I have every right to count your discards in order to choose the best color discard for Usagi's proposal.

In Relic Knights, changes have been deliberately made to allow the acting player to always have some measure of success if they meet the requirements for an action.

In so far as leaving a sliver of your base exposed breaking Cover, I completely agree that the rules are unforgiving. Would not a simpler solution be to change the wording on cover so that it is granted if any line crosses an obscuring object? Granted, this has the opposite effect of allowing a unit to hang out pretty far; but it would also go both ways if both units were close enough to the object granting cover. (I do believe we've discussed this particular suggestion before).

Another possible change, that Usagi basically suggested, would be to give Stealth a bubble, if you're outside the bubble, you can't target the unit. Personally, while I think that could be the simplest solution, it would also make Stealth a rather powerful static ability, and would not create situations where smart play was rewarded. (Again, as Usagi points out, the realities of the LoS rules make said smart play/positioning extremely finicky.)


March 15th, 2017, 6:43 am
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No Glitch, the problem you are trying to hold up wasn't the issue. The issue wasn't that guards could prevent all damage and so the system broke. The issue was that no attack or damage could be initiated without paying for it, and since all costs were open knowledge, and paying for one attack often meant you couldn't pay for defense there was no reason to attack.

This is a fundamental issue with the rules set and it is THE biggest challenge they need to solve. There isn't a single successful mini game on the market that has anything close to this issue because they allow uncertainty on both the attack and defense. The attackers absolutely must have the possibility to miss, but conversly they must have the potential to make an attack without having to spend known resources to do it.

You are right that in 1.0 the system itself set up a game where non interaction and not attacking rules the day, specifically because in order to guard or attack you needed to spend resources, often of the same color to do anything. No resources no attack, no resources no defense. And since using one depleted the other and since guards, redirects, and dodges prevented ALL damage there was a higher incentive to save cards for blocks.

However you stated issue with guards and why they can't prevent all damage has swung us to exactly the same problem from the opposite end. Now from my few fumblings with the game and the other rumors Im listening to there is little reason to pay any attention to objectives or defense. The game is now a very uninteresting and only the tiniest bit more complicated version of the card game war. Whomever attacks first and best has pretty much universally been the winner. Whomever ignores objectives first and succeeds in killing an enemy unit or hero first while not immediately losing one in return is almost always the winner.

We sat down and really discussed what we think the issue is and it comes down always to not being able to make an attack without resources, and those attacks always hitting and doing something once initiated. It allows one, just like last edition to math out a "solution" to the game and makes doing only one thing the optimal choice. Examine any successful wargame on the market and you will see that while they all have their own unique issues none of them have this particular problem. And I think the solution is to tweak how the attack and defense systems work. I totally agree that if you actually hit an enemy unit you should be always able to do something non trivial, and that offense should have a slight edge over defense, but in order to save the system there must be ways for the attacker to attack without spending a massive amount of known resources, and they MUST have a chance to miss. Its the fact that the game can be so certain that is causing the issues in my opinion.

For how I would fix stealth, again just in the context of the rules we have now, I would make it so that if a unit with stealth was targeted by a psychic or ranged attack they could immediately make a follow up move (or some short standardized distance). If they ended the move in cover or out of LoS the attack fails. I think keeping the move distance short would encourage stealthed models to always hang back close to terrain instead of running out into the open, if they are hoping for their stealth to save them. It would also encourage attacking units to continually change their vector of attack to attempt to get firing angles that prevented a short move from denying their shot. Which would actually simulate a squad searching for an infiltrator type unit and attempting to lock down their movement options.


March 15th, 2017, 10:08 am
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Flip is bad imo.

Cover is a problem imo.

The idea of letting Stealth models dart (make a short move, say 2") to break LoS by getting behind blocking terrain or finding cover is really interesting.

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March 15th, 2017, 12:10 pm
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Here is another idea

Stealth (x): All attacks targeting this unit have their cost increased by (X) number of colorless esper.

Simple and no messinf with flips or cover. Also doesn't effect AoEthat don't target the unit. Plus it will allow better units have better stealth or grant is easily to others.

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March 15th, 2017, 1:45 pm
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Fetid - Thank you for clarifying the issues with perfect defense.

I do agree that the lack of randomness does often reduce the web of choices to a "best" choice. I will counter that, like chess, you have enough information available to make decisions that will affect the choices your opponent has. However, with the current rules regarding victory points, there is less incentive to make a sacrifice play where you give up 1 vp (sacrificial minion kill) in order to secure 2 or 3 vp (Or even just create a situation where your opponent has to decide between delaying you from gaining VP or immediately gaining VP themselves).
I am curious as to how the how decision matrix would be affected if objectives reverted back to set victory points instead of a flip.

On the specific topic of stealth, I like the idea of a dart - it would allow you to use your action to force a relocation, so there's still some benefit to attempting the attack, which is my sticking point with a flip.

My concern with a cost increase is that it could be possible that for certain values of X, an attack could simply be priced out. I have no problem with this in theory, but in practice it could lead to some potentially problematic situations (A sniper perched on terrain that prevents engagement, for example.) This is conjecture, as we don't have all the unit information, and it likely wouldn't be the case that an entire cadre was affected by this issue, unless the only have the one ranged unit.

A change to Stealth that makes stealth more beneficial (like any of the non-flip suggestions) would also open up design space for abilities that ignored it (advanced scanners or whatnot). (Yes, we currently have one such example, but I am suggesting it could become slightly more common - less common than stealth, but common enough to where you have the option to take a unit that is more expensive with the risk that the stealth-ignoring ability will be wasted.)


March 15th, 2017, 2:53 pm
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Certain values could strictly be up to the game designers but it being colorless I could 1-3 esper not being restrictive. Plus it can be planned for by the attacker and it becomes more a tactical choice. Go for an easier target, sacrifice a press, or gather your hand to make the attack. Plus it a lot simpler then does the target have cover or flip to see if the target can be attacked.

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March 15th, 2017, 3:15 pm
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Major Glitch wrote:
I absolutely do not like the idea of a flip for Stealth - If it's random, it's frustrating for both players. Does the attacking player simply lose their attack in your proposal?




The conversation has pretty much moved past this, but if you read the original ability I proposed, it says in the second sentence that they choose another legal target, and if there is no second target, then it fails.

One of the coolest selling points about Relic Knights in my group was that if you could pay for the action, the opponent had to pay their resources to negate it. But there is an inherent weakness to this system, as Fetid pointed out, so I don’t think that having a slight possibility of an action failing breaks the game.

I think the game is a bit more robust than you give it credit for.

Major Glitch wrote:
Terrain should be chosen such that there are always options for stealth - barricades or low walls on roofs, for example. I also play a lot of Noh, so there were some additional tricks you pull, using their size 3 to hide behind other units, or the more common size 2 terrain. Yes, in a highly mobile game, stealth is harder to achieve, especially with the LoS rules currently used.

I think one of the biggest hindrances to players enjoying stealth, or feeling that unlimited range is too powerful come from comparing Relic Knights to other systems. This is a dangerous trap, as few other systems specify to use the density of terrain that RK does. I also think that if you're not considering things such as stealth, elevation changes, and some of the more crunchy bits of terrain rules (destructible, protection, etc) it's easy to build a battlefield that is sparse when it comes to terrain that gives you options.



I disagree. I think that having a rule that assumes the players have built or bought build special terrain especially for Relic Knights to include smaller walls on buildings or the like is a silly mistake or simple laziness on the part of the designer (no offense, just calling it like I see it, not the face!).

Stealth is a bad rule because the game's definition of concealment is incredibly narrow, basically turning every model in the game into an expert marksman who can see a sliver of person and hit them perfectly. Without comparing it to other systems, one can look at the interaction and see that it is problematic in its own right.

Even once things like climbing on buildings is taken into account, Stealth as a rule, and being tied to concealment is still a rare occurrence.

Obsidian-Crane wrote:
Flip is bad imo.

Cover is a problem imo.

The idea of letting Stealth models dart (make a short move, say 2") to break LoS by getting behind blocking terrain or finding cover is really interesting.


Personally I hate how flip has become a wide spread infection through the game with a burning passion, but my thinking was if the game was moving in that direction, it might as well explore different venues for it.

I think that your idea is interesting, but I think it would be better named as Dodge.

Mostly I’m just happy about discussion about the rule.

ape2020 wrote:
Here is another idea

Stealth (x): All attacks targeting this unit have their cost increased by (X) number of colorless esper.

Simple and no messinf with flips or cover. Also doesn't effect AoEthat don't target the unit. Plus it will allow better units have better stealth or grant is easily to others.


This is a very clever idea, if x were 3 esper of any color, it would require at least two cards out of the attacker’s hand, which I think captures them having to concentrate very hard on drawing a bead on them, and be expensive enough that the player might not be able to target that unit and go after easier prey.

So far this is personally my favorite solution.

Major Glitch wrote:

A change to Stealth that makes stealth more beneficial (like any of the non-flip suggestions) would also open up design space for abilities that ignored it (advanced scanners or whatnot).


I think most of us are of the opinion that changing stealth wouldn’t make it ‘more beneficial’ but it would make it ‘more than useless’.

Stealth should have a benefit, and that benefit should show up at least somewhat in any given game and not be wholly dependent upon bringing the right kind of terrain, and having your model in it.

They could even make it an action to show an opportunity cost for the unit, choosing defense over contributing to the fight.

Fetid Strumpet wrote:
No Glitch, the problem you are trying to hold up wasn't the issue. The issue wasn't that guards could prevent all damage and so the system broke. The issue was that no attack or damage could be initiated without paying for it, and since all costs were open knowledge, and paying for one attack often meant you couldn't pay for defense there was no reason to attack.



However you stated issue with guards and why they can't prevent all damage has swung us to exactly the same problem from the opposite end. Now from my few fumblings with the game and the other rumors Im listening to there is little reason to pay any attention to objectives or defense. The game is now a very uninteresting and only the tiniest bit more complicated version of the card game war. Whomever attacks first and best has pretty much universally been the winner. Whomever ignores objectives first and succeeds in killing an enemy unit or hero first while not immediately losing one in return is almost always the winner.



I’m going off topic for a moment because there were a lot of good points in this post about the game overall, especially about scenarios being random and becoming fairly unimportant to winning the game. I think that the first thing that will happen when folks start pushing for a competitive Relic Knights scene is a scenario packet with new missions where all the instances of Flip are removed.

There’s a crap ton of randomization in the game now, and none of it where I would argue it benefits.

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March 15th, 2017, 3:18 pm
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Ender101 wrote:
I disagree. I think that having a rule that assumes the players have built or bought build special terrain especially for Relic Knights to include smaller walls on buildings or the like is a silly mistake or simple laziness on the part of the designer (no offense, just calling it like I see it, not the face!).

You wouldn't play Battletech on a DnD grid. Likewise, you shouldn't assume that just any assortment of terrain will work for a given game. If you're not following the suggestions outlined in the rules, some abilities are simply going to not have the chance to work or will work at a power level not balanced for. I'm not suggesting that you NEED to build specialized terrain, but you should at bear minimum use the terrain rules to make sure that all the terrain you are using has stats (Going back to the shipping container example, I hadn't even considered that they should probably grant protection until I started using larger models consistently.) Some of this looks like it will be alleviated with the terrain that will be included in the 2-player starter, since it appears to have low walls and barricades. To call a game design "lazy" because players are ignoring the terrain guidelines is a little unfair.

Terrain aside, the main problem is how cover determined. I think the mechanic of cover as a whole does provide for interesting design options, like protect, but it certainly needs to find a better balance between being obtainable and being easy to determine if a unit grants it (previous discussions about cover have suggested things like if least half the LoS window is obscured, you gain cover, which is really hard to do to the agreement of both players...

Ender101 wrote:
I think most of us are of the opinion that changing stealth wouldn’t make it ‘more beneficial’ but it would make it ‘more than useless’.

More beneficial = gain more benefit from the ability. If it's currently useless, than any change would be more beneficial. (Yes, I know I'm being pedantic)

Hopefully a beta cycle can be used to test different ideas for stealth, but I have a feeling that other things, like squad power, should get tuned first - we don't want to monkey with too many elements at a time or we could go off the rails quickly. (Not a bad thing if you're trying to adjust the core gameplay, but that's a different discussion)


March 15th, 2017, 4:17 pm
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Major Glitch wrote:
You wouldn't play Battletech on a DnD grid. Likewise, you shouldn't assume that just any assortment of terrain will work for a given game. If you're not following the suggestions outlined in the rules, some abilities are simply going to not have the chance to work or will work at a power level not balanced for. I'm not suggesting that you NEED to build specialized terrain, but you should at bear minimum use the terrain rules to make sure that all the terrain you are using has stats (Going back to the shipping container example, I hadn't even considered that they should probably grant protection until I started using larger models consistently.) Some of this looks like it will be alleviated with the terrain that will be included in the 2-player starter, since it appears to have low walls and barricades. To call a game design "lazy" because players are ignoring the terrain guidelines is a little unfair.


While one might not normally play a fantasy game on a futuristic board or a sci-fi anime game on a fantasy board, the rules shouldn’t be dependent upon having them or including them.

Let’s face it; we have a faction of space wizards in a high school setting and another of evil space demons who in a universe of guns whack people with tetsubos. Space tetsubos. There are space knights for astro boy's sake. There’s plenty of room for a fantasy board story line wise. Relic Knights from a story perspective allows for a wide variety of worlds, from forgotten ruins to race tracks to crashed space ships to mechanized castles, the rules certainly shouldn’t be trying to push players for certain designs.

This is something were you can look to other games and see strengths that Relic Knights could draw from. Terrain rules should be purposefully vague enough to allow for players to be creative in what they put on their tables. Look at Infinity, their starter sets have almost identical box buildings included, but you don’t have to play with them or similar designed pieces to enjoy the game.

The rules should allow for flexibility in board design and not have the player run into rules issues for doing so. The idea that gamers all have access to certain board features and avoiding balancing rules around standing on their own is lazy design. Perhaps that seems mean but its not, its tough love. And tough love is still love.

Major Glitch wrote:

More beneficial = gain more benefit from the ability. If it's currently useless, than any change would be more beneficial. (Yes, I know I'm being pedantic)

Hopefully a beta cycle can be used to test different ideas for stealth, but I have a feeling that other things, like squad power, should get tuned first - we don't want to monkey with too many elements at a time or we could go off the rails quickly. (Not a bad thing if you're trying to adjust the core gameplay, but that's a different discussion)


I'll refrain from giving advice against being pedantic in discussions and how unhelpful it is to one's argument. :|

We’re in beta, all of us should have our monkey wrenches at the ready to chuck at the various gears, because once the game goes to print it becomes much more difficult to make changes. Looking back to Version 1's lessons, it is embarrassing to have errata documents drop all over the place as soon as the game goes live (and this happens with other games too, Privateer Press has been running into this with Mk III so much that they changed their entire play test dynamic to address it). I would argue that we do the game and the company a disservice by not being as critical as possible while they can still course correct.

Now, should they do all of these changes in one beta packet? Absolutely not, they should make some changes, have us test them and give feedback, make some changes and have us test them and give feedback.

But they should have a list of mechanics they have on the horizon to be changed to have us as players watch for while testing.

If they want this edition to be more successful than the previous one, they have to be willing to make sweeping changes to the game to attract and retain a player base. And the only time to do that seamlessly is now.

There isn’t a finite number of changes they can make at this stage, they can if willing make wide, sweeping changes if something is discovered to be unfun, unfair or unbalanced. I think all of us want the game to be as strong as possible, and a part of that is from a design stand point, being willing to murder your darlings. Rules need to be allowed to change, aspects that we like need to be allowed to shift to something we don’t like as much if it is better for the game as a whole.

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March 15th, 2017, 5:18 pm
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I should have been more specific regarding Battletech and DnD; Battletech is played on a hex grid, DnD on a square grid. The analogy was meant to point out that different games, though they have superficial similarities, will not have the proper balance if you do not play them on an appropriate field.

Otherwise I agree with the rest of your post. Stealth is the only ability that I can think of that relies completely on terrain, and while current rules state a field for RK should have terrain diversity, a player shouldn't be punished for a setup that is missing an element. (Again, with the above analogy, I don't think it's wrong for a company to require a certain set up, but considerations definitely should be made as far as barriers to entry and enjoyment are concerned.)

I want all aspects of the game to work and create viable choices for cadre building and play, but I also want to be careful about changes that affect the core gameplay that make the game unique (ie introducing widespread randomness). I don't want to give the impression that I am unwilling to try things that break with the current norm, I am simply looking for ways that suggestions could push the game too far into a direction that causes it to lose it's uniqueness. The more we pick apart any idea, the better perspective we we can have for trying additional things. We absolutely should be throwing as many suggestions at the wall as we can, and discussing and discarding the aspects of them we don't like. Once SPM decides to change something, we need to confirm it works, then try and break it.


March 15th, 2017, 5:58 pm
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Hi, just poking my head in. I don't have experience with this ruleset, but on the current discussion with terrain:

How do you expect a ruleset that takes advantage of terrain without having a downside if you don't have the terrain?

In some games, not having a lot of blocking terrain means that you give the advantage to a range team. Not having deadly terrain may mean a team that's constructed to push around units may not be at its strongest.

I think this is good design. Each board players construct should have an effect on the teams played. The trick is to make sure there are interesting decisions when looking at the terrain on the board and the impact it has on the choices of team makeup and play strategies for the players to employ.


March 15th, 2017, 8:15 pm
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Timmer wrote:
How do you expect a ruleset that takes advantage of terrain without having a downside if you don't have the terrain?

In some games, not having a lot of blocking terrain means that you give the advantage to a range team. Not having deadly terrain may mean a team that's constructed to push around units may not be at its strongest.

I think this is good design. Each board players construct should have an effect on the teams played. The trick is to make sure there are interesting decisions when looking at the terrain on the board and the impact it has on the choices of team makeup and play strategies for the players to employ.

These are strong points, and as the rules currently state both players must agree to the field layout.

But as has been mentioned, Cover is very hard to obtain; a slight shift in the position of the attacker or target is all it takes for cover to be lost. (If 1% of your base is visible to the enemy, you lose all benefits of cover currently.) This is more specifically the issue with stealth. It's hard to make it work for you, even in a fairly balanced terrain set up. The other abilities that interact with terrain are either much easier to pull off, with or without the terrain (like forced movement causing damage), or have a relatively negligible impact on the overall playstyle of the unit (like surefoot.)


March 15th, 2017, 8:48 pm
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Timmer wrote:
Hi, just poking my head in. I don't have experience with this ruleset, but on the current discussion with terrain:

How do you expect a ruleset that takes advantage of terrain without having a downside if you don't have the terrain?



I would argue that the issue boils down to that the ruleset doesn't actually take advantage of terrain, instead there are only a handful of rules that take reference terrain, and one of the few that does, and does so poorly is Stealth.

In other games, you'd be spot on about needing terrain to block LoS to clamp down on ranged factions or using difficult terrain to limit the effectiveness of melee oriented factions (warmachine and hordes is an excellent example of how terrain can be used as balancing factors). In Relic Knights however, due to the unique nature of deployment, and being able to move before and after actions, the terrain is not really all that limiting.

Stealth being tied to being obscured, and being obscured needing 100% coverage when the action is taken (giving the opponent the opportunity to find just a sliver of LoS that is not blocked before attacking, pushes Stealth into incredibly rare to near uselessness.

I agree that boards need to be put together well and have many elements, and that terrain overall is an important aspect of the game.

What I don't like the idea of is specific designs of terrain (say elevated buildings with railings, or walls with 90 degree turns) being used to balance rules decisions.

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March 15th, 2017, 9:28 pm
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Ninja Corps
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Joined: March 25th, 2012, 9:44 pm
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When it comes to a tactical minis game like this, terrain is a big part of the game. It's not unfair for the rules to assume the people playing can and should be using appropriate terrain. Saying things like "assuming the player has X is bad game design" is akin to (though this is hyperbolic) saying "D&D just assumes players have pencils, that's bad game design". What I mean is that there are required materials that are not 100% included, but it does assume will be incorporated anyways. That's perfectly fine, to me.

My issue with stealth and cover in general is that, when players are using terrain as described and expected, cover (or the lack there of) is still a big problem. When I play, I play terrain heavy, with lots of blocking and obscuring terrain. Lots of "chest high walls" and the like, and cover is still very, very elusive. About the only reliable form of cover is when using something like a forest, or other such terrain, that counts as cover, but can be moved through. When a model is inside that, it's essentially impossible to not have cover. But, outside of that, it becomes a very hard thing to maintain and no one wants a board of 80% forest.


March 15th, 2017, 9:41 pm
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Minion
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Joined: June 2nd, 2016, 1:33 am
Posts: 156
Good points and again keep in mind, I'm just discussing this abstractly to (hopefully) help conversations. I have not played this game yet.

Your point about terrain not being as important due to the range mechanics in this game: could you argue the opposite? Since everything has unlimited range and open deployment, this game cannot rely on distance to stop range but only terrain or blocking models? Without that, everything is just a wide-open shooting match with meaningless positions.


March 15th, 2017, 9:43 pm
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Denizen
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Joined: August 27th, 2012, 5:11 am
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Yes, terrain should be arranged to limit long corridors. High ground is especially valuable for ranged.


March 15th, 2017, 9:51 pm
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Denizen
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Joined: August 8th, 2012, 2:39 am
Posts: 428
Location: Virginia
Usagi wrote:
When it comes to a tactical minis game like this, terrain is a big part of the game. It's not unfair for the rules to assume the people playing can and should be using appropriate terrain. Saying things like "assuming the player has X is bad game design" is akin to (though this is hyperbolic) saying "D&D just assumes players have pencils, that's bad game design". What I mean is that there are required materials that are not 100% included, but it does assume will be incorporated anyways. That's perfectly fine, to me.

My issue with stealth and cover in general is that, when players are using terrain as described and expected, cover (or the lack there of) is still a big problem. When I play, I play terrain heavy, with lots of blocking and obscuring terrain. Lots of "chest high walls" and the like, and cover is still very, very elusive. About the only reliable form of cover is when using something like a forest, or other such terrain, that counts as cover, but can be moved through. When a model is inside that, it's essentially impossible to not have cover. But, outside of that, it becomes a very hard thing to maintain and no one wants a board of 80% forest.


I can agree with a great deal of this, but I don't quite think we're talking about the same thing.

It isn't like other games where required materials are dice, terrain to interact with, a measuring tape, etc. I can't really think of any other game that has aspects designed around what kind of terrain you bring (outside of water elements in warmachine for amphibious). Even within Relic Knights, outside of Stealth doesn't do that. I mean that to get stealth in this game you have to jump such hurdles, that the only way to reliably allow for it is to build your table for it and hope for the best.

I don't think it is unfair, in this instance to say that if this situation is considered fine by the game developers despite how the rule is an outlier in how difficult it is to use, is lazy design. And again, that isn't meant as an insult, it is simply putting it in blunt terms to show how it comes off to a player of the game.

Timmer wrote:
Good points and again keep in mind, I'm just discussing this abstractly to (hopefully) help conversations. I have not played this game yet.

Your point about terrain not being as important due to the range mechanics in this game: could you argue the opposite? Since everything has unlimited range and open deployment, this game cannot rely on distance to stop range but only terrain or blocking models? Without that, everything is just a wide-open shooting match with meaningless positions.


While it would look that way on paper, once you've played, or seen the game played (Beasts of War have a couple of videos up including battle reports that you might find useful having never played, they are from the previous edition but give a good sense of what to expect), you'll find that drawing LoS between models is fairly easy unless the model is completely hidden behind a building or large piece of terrain like a cargo crate (and in that instance Stealth is still of dubious utility because with LoS blocked, the enemy can't target them anyways).

Terrain is important to the game for blocking LoS and there should be a lot of it used because as you play you will have to maneuver around it and play your game around it. With the loss of scenarios as a reliable victory condition, blocking LoS becomes even more important for game play.

I don't think it is important as a balancing aspect to models however (pathfinder in warmachine for example, or skilled rider in 40k). In other games, terrain can be used to slow enemy advances, or force them to position differently to make ranged attacks less powerful. In Relic Knights, the game moves at a fast enough pace with pieces moving before and after their attacks, that if you are contributing to the game, the opponent will be able to draw a bead on your dudes and pinning someone down to a space to get your dudes is difficult.

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March 15th, 2017, 10:32 pm
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