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 Interaction Thought Experiment #1: Making Battle Better 
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Post Interaction Thought Experiment #1: Making Battle Better
Talk about Project Gannicus got me thinking about interaction decks. Contrary to popular belief, I think there is a lot of interaction in 2E, it's just not where people want it (the dilemma pile). That being said, I think that more could be done to boost other types of interaction decks, and Project Gannicus seems to be interested in that. I thought now might be the time to explore this topic more in depth here.

The main problem with battle decks (both combat and engagement) is that battling your opponent has a high cost compared to the rewards you get out. I don't mind there being a cost to battle in 2E, since I think the unrestricted nature of battle in 1E is a definitely NPE for that game, but when 2E was designed, battle came out TOO restricted.

Costs
[*]You must play events that cost counters. Most of those events cost 2-3, plus what you need to draw them. That's 1 or 2 personnel in many decks. There are missions that help mitigate this cost, but you have to solve them first before you get the reward.
[*]You must go to opponent's missions to engage with them, costing you range you could otherwise use to go back and forth to your own missions
[*]If you want to also be solving missions (the main game objective), you need at least two ships and crew, which costs time to build up
[*]You are stopped after battle, unless you spend resources to unstop your personnel and ships afterwards. Currently only three cards allow this and they all cost 3.
[*]Opponent can turtle at their HQ to keep you from battling; not really a cost, but definitely a hindrance to engagement, though I don't mind this one too much

Rewards
[*]You could try for the two-mission win, but usually you need to engage with your opponent 3 times to score the points (unless things are Just Like Old Times). This seems alright on the surface until you realize that this means at least 3 turns away from solving missions, unless you get a 2nd ship and crew out for mission solving. This is a big cost in addition to the cost of the engagement cards.

[*]You can deny your opponent of their resources by killing personnel. There are lots of Assault and/or Maneuver cards that do this, but the main problem with these is all you manage to do is slow down the game, making it more likely that you at best will get a Mod Win.

[*]You can deny your opponent resources by blowing up their ships. This is difficult to pull off because it's tricky to get three Damage markers on a ship in one turn. There are ways to do it (get lucky and hit them with a Tillman pile combo then engage on your next turn or get the Prometheus to hit), but they are not totally reliable. And again, you still end up with the problem of the mod win. I've played against Prometheus decks that managed to blow me up but also never completed a mission

What to do?
[*]More cost-reduction for Assault/Maneuver cards?
[*]More cards that allow you to do other things after an engagement?
[*]Rules changes?
[*]Alternate win conditions?

What do you think would be some interesting workarounds for these issues? Where's the balance between healthy engagement and a lock-out deck?

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Post Re: Interaction Thought Experiment #1: Making Battle Better
I have to diagree on that one and I can decribe why using examples from the most powerful engagement strategy for me - ship destroying:

You need an average of 4-5 rounds until you are ready to attempt a mission (playing personell, ship, draw some cards,...).

The engagement player only needs 1-2 rounds MORE to be battle ready than he would need without preparing for an engagement. You need two damagers and a second ship. Everything else (first ship and personnel) must not be counted in my calculation, because you would have played them anyway, even if only attempting missions.

Getting the first Damage marker onto your opponents ship is quite easy, Gomtuu Shock Wave or V'Ger are very good stopper dilemmas useable in every dilemma pile. Then you fly over and destroy the entire ship with crew.

Yes this costs you a round in which you could have attempted missions BUT you destroy the entire resources played by your opponent in 4-5 rounds and he needs to start all over again. In this time you can attempt missions yourself, and always keep your opponent on his toes because you could destroy his ship again. AND you are not loosing any ressources at all (except the counters for the Maneuver events), with the personell you can continue solving missions, another ship is always something good,...

Killer Piles also destroy a lot of resources, but after one fine "Kille-Pile Hit" there are so many overcome dilemmas under the first mission that you can solve it easily on your second attempt. With the Damage dilemmas everything is different, thos are realy strong cards, you'll need one or two stopper dilemmas before them to let them have their effect. So after the first attempt, the mission is still a challenge to be solved.

Another reason why there shouldn't be a boost for engagements is the fact, that there are three very strong Maneuver cards, existing from the very first set of the game. Every affiliation can use them, they give a very high Weapons-Boost, so you can attack and destroy opponent's ships with almost every small ship existing in the game.

What you've forgot in your analysis is that if you play a Maneuver event, your opponent normally starts to change his plans. Wait for another ship to have the possibility to fly back home, planet first (and greeting him with dilemmas like Necessary Execution. So even without really starting an engagement, you could easily get the 1-2 rounds spent for making yourself battle ready back with your opponents waiting longer and playing differently.

It is good that engagements are that expensive, the benefits you get are so high (and I'm not even talking about bonus points ant things like that) that it is very well balanced and good the way it is...

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Post Re: Interaction Thought Experiment #1: Making Battle Better
Clerasil ToB wrote:
I have to diagree on that one and I can decribe why using examples from the most powerful engagement strategy for me - ship destroying:

You need an average of 4-5 rounds until you are ready to attempt a mission (playing personell, ship, draw some cards,...).

The engagement player only needs 1-2 rounds MORE to be battle ready than he would need without preparing for an engagement. You need two damagers and a second ship. Everything else (first ship and personnel) must not be counted in my calculation, because you would have played them anyway, even if only attempting missions.

Getting the first Damage marker onto your opponents ship is quite easy, Gomtuu Shock Wave or V'Ger are very good stopper dilemmas useable in every dilemma pile. Then you fly over and destroy the entire ship with crew.

Yes this costs you a round in which you could have attempted missions BUT you destroy the entire resources played by your opponent in 4-5 rounds and he needs to start all over again. In this time you can attempt missions yourself, and always keep your opponent on his toes because you could destroy his ship again. AND you are not loosing any ressources at all (except the counters for the Maneuver events), with the personell you can continue solving missions, another ship is always something good,...

Killer Piles also destroy a lot of resources, but after one fine "Kille-Pile Hit" there are so many overcome dilemmas under the first mission that you can solve it easily on your second attempt. With the Damage dilemmas everything is different, thos are realy strong cards, you'll need one or two stopper dilemmas before them to let them have their effect. So after the first attempt, the mission is still a challenge to be solved.

Another reason why there shouldn't be a boost for engagements is the fact, that there are three very strong Maneuver cards, existing from the very first set of the game. Every affiliation can use them, they give a very high Weapons-Boost, so you can attack and destroy opponent's ships with almost every small ship existing in the game.

What you've forgot in your analysis is that if you play a Maneuver event, your opponent normally starts to change his plans. Wait for another ship to have the possibility to fly back home, planet first (and greeting him with dilemmas like Necessary Execution. So even without really starting an engagement, you could easily get the 1-2 rounds spent for making yourself battle ready back with your opponents waiting longer and playing differently.

It is good that engagements are that expensive, the benefits you get are so high (and I'm not even talking about bonus points ant things like that) that it is very well balanced and good the way it is...


YES. Battle is strong enough as-is, if people actually choose to build those decks. If you have a ship with 7-8 personnel on board destroyed, there's a good chance you're not recovering in time to win. Personnel battle/assault can also wipe out full away teams, and these strategies can be combined with kill piles for massive destruction.

Seems that people don't play these often, thankfully, because of how negative it is- doesn't mean the decks aren't strong though. (And yes, when you stop your opponent from playing, it's negative).
I agree with Julius, it's fine as-is; throwing off the current balance in favor of easier battle will not be good.


Sat Feb 23, 2019 2:27 pm
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Post Re: Interaction Thought Experiment #1: Making Battle Better
jadziadax8 wrote:
That being said, I think that more could be done to boost other types of interaction decks, and Project Gannicus seems to be interested in that.


Not to be too negative, but while design is very actively discussing other types of interaction, Gannicus is focused on battle.

jadziadax8 wrote:
The main problem with battle decks (both combat and engagement) is that battling your opponent has a high cost compared to the rewards you get out.


Not just that, but it doesn't really stack with other things in your deck. Very few are aimed at actually winning the game, at least not directly. It's a fun side thing to do, but you have to dedicate both time and resources to it.

jadziadax8 wrote:
Costs
[*]You must play events that cost counters. Most of those events cost 2-3, plus what you need to draw them. That's 1 or 2 personnel in many decks. There are missions that help mitigate this cost, but you have to solve them first before you get the reward.


That's a huge issue and pretty much a turn right there. You will need something to mitigate that or at least come out better in the end. A lot of the augmenting cards are nouns, which are more helpful, though.

jadziadax8 wrote:
[*]You must go to opponent's missions to engage with them, costing you range you could otherwise use to go back and forth to your own missions


This isn't too bad if you're planning on it. The Romulans have enough interference that even if the battle fails miserably, being at the same mission as their opponent isn't a bad thing.

jadziadax8 wrote:
[*]If you want to also be solving missions (the main game objective), you need at least two ships and crew, which costs time to build up


Hrmm. Most decks have a second ship if for no other reason that redundancy and there should be enough skill overlap built in. You do still have to dedicate an expensive ship to this part of the game and as you mentioned above, that's at least two turns.

jadziadax8 wrote:
[*]Opponent can turtle at their HQ to keep you from battling; not really a cost, but definitely a hindrance to engagement, though I don't mind this one too much


Eventually they do have to come out to attempt a mission. If they are turtling, you can probably make sure they can't get back home after their first couple/few attempts.

jadziadax8 wrote:
Rewards
[*]You could try for the two-mission win, but usually you need to engage with your opponent 3 times to score the points (unless things are Just Like Old Times). This seems alright on the surface until you realize that this means at least 3 turns away from solving missions, unless you get a 2nd ship and crew out for mission solving. This is a big cost in addition to the cost of the engagement cards.


It's not too bad of a backup to make sure you can get the two mission win. Not having to solve that third one is a big time saver and if you can get around that, the benefits become clearer.

jadziadax8 wrote:
[*]You can deny your opponent of their resources by killing personnel. There are lots of Assault and/or Maneuver cards that do this, but the main problem with these is all you manage to do is slow down the game, making it more likely that you at best will get a Mod Win.


The kills are generally random. You will need to make sure you get lucky with your already random stops.

jadziadax8 wrote:
What to do?
[*]More cost-reduction for Assault/Maneuver cards?


As you noted, these are already in the game and if the cost becomes too negligible, will that swing things in the other direction? Or have these on mission that can be used at the start of the game but are weaker overall?

jadziadax8 wrote:
[*]More cards that allow you to do other things after an engagement?


Things like unstop or other things that are useful but not solving time?

jadziadax8 wrote:
Where's the balance between healthy engagement and a lock-out deck?


If it doesn't put me too far back, I'm all for it. We don't want to get into MW territory infecting an entire Tournament.

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Post Re: Interaction Thought Experiment #1: Making Battle Better
Interactions can be fun. Battle is an interaction, but is not the most interesting form of interaction. Why? Because the outcome and effect are known (e.g. Heart of Glory compare known Weapons vs. known Shields, kill 2 people) and there is little to be done in game to alter that (e.g. only event prevention or putting ship with high Shields in deck). You can make battle more effective (e.g. kill more people), but that doesn't make it more interesting.

The interesting parts of battle decks really only occur in the deckbuilding process (IMO).

The most interesting interactions (to me) is where decisions on when, where, how the interaction occur matter in game, and both players can influence the outcome. Shocking Revelation is a great example of that -- an excellent, recent card.

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Last edited by Naetor on Sat Feb 23, 2019 6:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post Re: Interaction Thought Experiment #1: Making Battle Better
Wow. Just wow.

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Post Re: Interaction Thought Experiment #1: Making Battle Better
Rather then a new set, I would rather see the time devoted to helping look at the old cards that were affected by stupid when while etc... rulings


Sat Feb 23, 2019 6:33 pm
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Post Re: Interaction Thought Experiment #1: Making Battle Better
monty42 wrote:
Wow. Just wow.


Care to elaborate on that? You do battle really well and I appreciate you letting me be your padewan learner on that awhile back. I suck at this game and am trying to get better. :D

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Post Re: Interaction Thought Experiment #1: Making Battle Better
jadziadax8 wrote:
monty42 wrote:
Wow. Just wow.


Care to elaborate on that? You do battle really well and I appreciate you letting me be your padewan learner on that awhile back. I suck at this game and am trying to get better. :D

I appreciate that.
My reaction was to the first three replies to your post.
Two people who are comfortable playing nerd solitaire (mission solving) with themselves and a director of second edition who has no clue about the game.
I find that very disappointing and it's probably the reason why mission solvers are so much more popular than battle decks.

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Post Re: Interaction Thought Experiment #1: Making Battle Better
I used to like battle.

Then two timed losses at worlds a few years ago where I had total board control turned a 6-2 day into a 4-4 day and kept me out of the finals.

I havent picked it back up since and still see no reason to.

My kid likes it though. He's 0-fer but he had fun blowing up my ferengi shuttle at the Chairman's Challenge tournament in October...

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Sat Feb 23, 2019 7:39 pm
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Post Re: Interaction Thought Experiment #1: Making Battle Better
I think the question to be asked, is where does the interaction in 2E need to happen, is it through cards such as what Naetor highlighted earlier or is by shoe horning 1E's opportunstic battle into 2E

I wouldn't mind seeing something like a dilemma that if you fail it, the other player can download a ship and staffing crew to have a good old battle, using the dilemma as the damage card, might be a bit lengthy word wise. But overall, I think that battle is a reasonable spot for the risk/reward


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Post Re: Interaction Thought Experiment #1: Making Battle Better
Mogor wrote:
I think the question to be asked, is where does the interaction in 2E need to happen, is it through cards such as what Naetor highlighted earlier or is by shoe horning 1E's opportunstic battle into 2E

I wouldn't mind seeing something like a dilemma that if you fail it, the other player can download a ship and staffing crew to have a good old battle, using the dilemma as the damage card, might be a bit lengthy word wise. But overall, I think that battle is a reasonable spot for the risk/reward


They had that. They errataed it to not be a battle.

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Post Re: Interaction Thought Experiment #1: Making Battle Better
monty42 wrote:
I find that very disappointing and it's probably the reason why mission solvers are so much more popular than battle decks.


Let us know why battle rules and solvers drool.

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Post Re: Interaction Thought Experiment #1: Making Battle Better
Faithful Reader wrote:
monty42 wrote:
I find that very disappointing and it's probably the reason why mission solvers are so much more popular than battle decks.


Let us know why battle rules and solvers drool.

Because it's fun.

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Post Re: Interaction Thought Experiment #1: Making Battle Better
monty42 wrote:
Faithful Reader wrote:
monty42 wrote:
I find that very disappointing and it's probably the reason why mission solvers are so much more popular than battle decks.


Let us know why battle rules and solvers drool.

Because it's fun.


Eh. It's ok. But it's a bit predictable.

What would be interesting is if there were cards that helped with battle but weren't useless against solvers. Also, adding an element of uncertainty: consequences for losing a battle you initiate, counterattacks for opponent's weapons to take on your shields, etc.

Those are the types of things that would make battle more interesting and it's a design space that has so far been largely unexplored.

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