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 Glitch's Oct 20 Packet Playtest 
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Mini-Boss
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Joined: August 27th, 2012, 5:11 am
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First, I want to thank Tinkergoth for his earlier report. I would have approached this game with the same mindset I used in the previous edition, which may have resulted in an experience similar to what he reported. My game was largely enjoyable, I didn't hit the same issues he reported. My game largely lined up with the design reasoning relayed in his thread. That being said, I don't want to discount his experience; together these two public reports only represent two games and either could be an outlier, though I trust that this wouldn't reach us without play being closer to my experience. There are still concerns I have about some things, but this is still in beta, so hopefully some of the below concerns can be addressed.

35pt game
Radiant Starter Cadre
- Bang Bang & Mr Milky
- Miss Kaylee
- 3 Sundown Enforcers
Black Diamond Strike Team
- Codebreaker & Slaved Cypher
- Sophia Drake
- 4 Black Dragons + Upgrade
Black Diamond wins by Hero elimination, score is 3-1. Both decks shuffled twice.

Specific Concerns
Death Spiral - If a command token is returned to the dashboard due to a unit death, it is possible to have an odd number of command tokens available, leading to a turn where a player only has one token. There is no rule for what to do in this situation, so it was assumed the player could only take one action and had to forfeit what would've been a second action. To make this worse, the small number of units in a 35pt game meant that the player had to take a Surge action, further harming their tempo. This happened twice (once to each side, but that was by luck much more than deliberate timing). In the event that only one side suffers from this, the tempo loss can be deadly. The only reason Bang Bang wasn't completely obliterated on the essentially back-to-back Black Diamond turns was a smart Surge use of Covering Fire. Not all cadres are going to have such strong defensive surges to get them through this situation.

Command Tokens - There is a chunk of text dealing with what happens when you can only place one token due to not having enough types of units (Hero/Minion). Unless there are plans to ad a third type of unit, it would be easier and more direct if the rule simply said something like "If all of your minion units are dead, you only get to place a command token on a single hero on your turn."

Codebreaker - Cypher Drain does 2 damage to all cyphers in LoS. All cyphers have Shielding 2 as a trait, meaning it is always on. Cypher Drain does 0 damage before armor. Codebreaker draws no cards. The ability as I understand it is useless. Unless there is a rule I missed, this ability either needs higher damage, or "Cyphers affected by Cypher Drain cannot use Shielding."

Burning - "When a player resets..." could be more clear. Does the damage happen before or after command tokens are returned? I assume the command tokens will always be returned since the trigger already tripped, but clearer wording would be appreciated.

Bang Bang - Covering Fire says "...cannot take attack actions." While this is fairly clear, it might be better to say "combat actions" as it could be argued support actions that can be pressed for damage are "attack actions". Combat Actions are also clearly defined in the rules, 'attack actions' is not defined.

Viper/Sarva Scouts - Disruption ability looks like it should be a support: It has no damage, and if it is meant to be engagement range only, it seems stupidly dangerous for the unit to use the ability.

For the purposes of forced movement, how is the edge of the battlefield treated? Soft stop? Infinite size wall (meaning collateral damage)? Players determine before game starts (a written rule would be better so that all players are used to a specific interaction when going into tournaments)?

General Questions/Thoughts
Collision - I'm curious why collision was changed to requiring the object being contacted to be larger than the unit suffering forced movement. Before, it was "equal to or greater in size". Now it seems that many units won't have to worry about collision damage at all, or at the very least forced movement is less useful. (A 6-foot man thrown into a 6-foot wall is still going to get hurt...)

Codebreaker - The amount of yellow needed to fully press his Carbine attack is nuts (1/3 of the total yellow in the deck, or just about 1/2 if you don't count Wild). I understand the attack is powerful, and being forced to choose which presses to use is important and requires thought based on the situation. So I don't know what to suggest for a change, or if it needs to change, but I felt like complaining about it :P

Suicide Queen - Am I correct in my understanding that her Cadre Ability allows units to take two actions per turn? (This power is otherwise something only seen on Relic Knights.)

The "Create Battlefield" section on p19 should mention to ensure there is enough room (110mm diameter) for objectives to be placed. I realize that this is touched on in the immediately following section, but ensuring your terrain/placement allows for this rule to be followed is extremely important for pre-deployment setup.

Reflections
The new esper cost structure worked better than expected. Keeping a full hand is extremely important to action success. By my count, 4/5 of the actions succeeded. I don't feel that actions were dictated by cards in hand, though they were definitely influenced by them. As I get more comfortable with this scheme, I imagine planning a few turns ahead based on cards in hand will become easier. Managing the push-pull between hand sculpting and activation order is something I can see being a big factor for success. I honestly didn't expect the amount of thought that is needed to successfully plan for future turns now (it's back similar to 1e with the queue, imo). This change makes it easier to play turn-by-turn due to lowered cost and more use out of your hand, but somewhat harder to plan out for a specific move/combo without wasting actions while you build your hand and cycle your command tokens. I want to try a few more games, but I like how it feels. The triangle between attack, support, and defense using the primary/secondary colors certainly causes some interesting situations. The lower costs also mean that flips aren't always needed at all, but the feeling when you flip what you need so you can keep those cards in your hand for a future action is really empowering.

Starter Units - While I never felt the starter units were performing poorly, their lack of abilities did put them at a disadvantage. Above-average raw stats don't seem like they'll be enough to deal with some of the more interesting and varied abilities out there.

- Bang Bang is actually really good, mainly by virtue of her support action, but her combat and defense actions are nothing to balk at.
- Mr. Milky is lackluster - His speed makes him a liability with the limited range on his heal.

- The Sundown Enforcers are a joke compared to the Black Dragons. For the same cost as 3 Sundown, a squad of Dragons have 5 more HP, the same damage potential on their main attack, a more robust defense, and much more impact thanks to their support and knockback actions.

- Kaylee was a decent nuker/tank, and while I didn't feel like she under-performed in her slot, 12 points is steep when compared to other units in the same price range.

The Sundown Enforcers and Miss Kaylee do do what they are supposed to, with efficient actions. The problem is just that they aren't supposed to do much beyond point and shoot. I understand that as a veteran I'm not the main target for the set, but as I've said before, it sucks that these units will likely get overlooked as viable options as new players expand into the game. But who knows, there's always someone who wants a cheap, high damage attack on a tanky unit without any fiddly abilities to worry about. (Hulk smash!?)

My next test will be to use a starter unit or two in a custom cadre to see how they fit outside their pre-built team. I imagine with some more advanced abilities supporting them, they could do much better, but that still doesn't solve the issue of "can I compete with this out of the box?" I don't expect the starter cadres to do well at an event played by a complete novice (true of any cadre), but I don't think they'd get blown out, either. The questing knights are good enough that I can see them being used fairly regularly.

The other thing I hadn't considered with the starter cadres is how much of an impact skipping the power-up step would have on their play - there was no need to even consider having to activate a cadre ability, so they had a little less strain on their resources. In turn, their high offensive flips and low costs meant they didn't miss an attack. So they are easy to play, and that is good for learning some of the other aspects, like positioning. Now they just need to be balanced for "Are they attractive/fun options for play beyond the starter?" I personally want to see presses added to Kaylee and the Sundowns to help justify their recruitment costs and to help them utilize their high flip values better. Since I haven't tested the Void cadres, I can't make an informed suggestion for change.


October 27th, 2017, 7:19 pm
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Just emailed you, so putting that same response here:

Hey,

Thanks for the feedback. For the individual unit feedback I'll go through it and make tweaks where necessary (same for points about clarity), but to the more general points:

I agree that command tokens should stay on a killed unit until cleared, thereby preventing a turn where players only get one token. This came up in my games as well and was not positive. That's an easy change to make, though.

Collision was actually changed from "all objects of size 2 or greater cause damage" to "all objects greater than the size of the unit cause damage." Equal or greater was not in the previous version, so I can't give you any reasoning for removing it. However, I changed it from 2 or greater to just greater because it made no sense for my size 4 Kisa to take damage while being pushed into a size 2 hedge. That said, I think equal or greater works better for a number of reasons, and I will make that change.

Copy and pasting from the rulebook (pg. 10), does this answer your board edge question?

BOARD EDGE
Objects may never move off of the edge of the battlefield. If an object using free movement contacts the board edge, it may continue its movement in another direction. If an object contacts the board edge due to forced movement, it immediately stops without taking damage.

Glad the new costing worked well for you. Sounds like you experienced what we were going for and have seen in the office.

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October 27th, 2017, 9:04 pm
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Mini-Boss
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Joined: August 27th, 2012, 5:11 am
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I missed that about the board edge on page 10, thanks!

The change to equal or greater will be appreciated, those low walls felt left out, now they can threaten Cyphers and Rhouss...

I’m looking forward to the next packet. Is the plan still biweekly, or are you going to push out updates as soon as you feel a set of changes is ready?


October 27th, 2017, 9:30 pm
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Major Glitch wrote:
I missed that about the board edge on page 10, thanks!

The change to equal or greater will be appreciated, those low walls felt left out, now they can threaten Cyphers and Rhouss...

I’m looking forward to the next packet. Is the plan still biweekly, or are you going to push out updates as soon as you feel a set of changes is ready?


At minimum you'll get them bi-monthly, so the next one would be Nov 8th to go with the next update. But as I update cards for the office playtest I'll likely throw them up here as well. No reason not to, really.

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October 28th, 2017, 12:03 am
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