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Paladin21

Interceptor SRS Rebalance

174 posts in this topic

This is cross-posted from the OmniDyne thread in the Marauders section, as the general consensus seems to be that it should be pulled out for discussion on its own.  For background, in that  thread a couple of users had previously discussed their experiences with Interceptor tokens and how they are used.  While I'm sure that some metas are different, in my local gaming group and in several other nearby ones, Interceptors are basically omnipresent in fleet builds.  Games in my area typically feature loadouts that leave most ships with more than enough PD coverage to make anything other than an improbable string of 6's (or possibly bad spook re-rolls on their defense) to hit with a torpedo attack as doing no damage.  This summary is where we are at now.  If any other groups have adopted a similar approach, I'd love to hear about it.

After hashing things out with my local group last weekend, we've decided to test out Interceptors as a one-use squadron that has to RTB after they do their thing (and we're pondering doing the same thing to fighters if they intercept).  Everyone agreed that Interceptors were bad for the game in that they decrease the viability of several fleets for too few points, encourage static/boring gameplay of balling up and moving forwards, and in general are too effective at small flight sizes (in that instead of a situational ability like support shuttles or the ability to get a free attack against passing T3's, you get substantial defensive upgrades on a large area for a minimal investment).  We considered a couple of different options as well, such as reducing their PD to 1 to reduce effectiveness, decreasing PD coverage area, keeping current stats but limiting them to supporting one squadron only, and a couple more that were just....odd.  We settled on this version for a variety of reasons, both mechanical and thematic.  

1.  Interceptors have too many exceptions to the normal SRS rules, all of which are benefits.
 a.  Other SRS tokens RTB after use.  Why don't Interceptors?  If bombers and fighters only carry enough ordnance to make a single attack run, how to interceptors go after dozens (potentially hundreds in some battles) of torpedoes all game long.  
b.  Additionally, it lets them dodge the consequences of some actions, such as not losing flights when a ship in a multi-berthed squad dies (since you only lose the flights when you RTB, and they never do).
c. Thematically, it just seems odd that personal fighter ships can follow around capital-class ships for the entire battle, and never need rest/resupply.  If they can operate across an entire battlefield without needing to do these things, they aren't really "short-ranged", they're just small frigates that only use a carrier to leech their FSD.

2. Interceptor spam has resulted in losing a couple of players from the local group, and we decided it was time to act and see if we could bring them back.  We've lost a Ryushi player and I doubt the guy who built Pathogen will play again.  We also have a Terran player that almost always borrows one of my fleets instead of using his, due to the heavy torpedo focus of the fleet he built and its general ineffectiveness.  Other players, while not dropping out completely, have done major redesigns of their typical fleets and only use a small sub-set of the tools available to them due to lack of effectiveness for point cost in torpedo-focused choices.

3. Consideration was given to the fact that this mimics the Taskforce ruleset, which is considered to likely be an inspiration/testing grounds for what the next version of FSA will look like.  We figure we might as well go ahead and give it a shot like this and see how it goes.

4. Knocking PD down to one left them too close to fighters in practice, with the greater move vs. larger bubble being considered largely a wash.  We wanted them to be toned down in effectiveness, but still a distinct and useful choice.

Depending on testing results, we'll modify from here.  We plan to replay the games from Sunday this upcoming weekend with the changes and get everyone's feedback on how they think it went.  I'll update sometime next week after I've had a chance to talk to everyone about it.  Depending on test results of the "new" Interceptors, our choices are to either continue with this version, adopt one of the other proposals (likely the single-squadron guard role), or hash out some other position that combines elements of multiple proposals.  I very much doubt that we will continue to play on with Interceptors in the current incarnation regardless of the results, as even the worst abusers of them admit that something has to change.

Diadochi, Small Mek and Mr.ponders like this

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Going from one extreme to the other doesn't really fix things. Now you're going to promote squadrons that can carry 2-3 flights by themselves as the only thing of value and if you don't do that you're going to be smashed by torp heavy stuff. Torp balance comes a lot in the form of easier to stop than a direct shot, but at an extreme range that is unhindered by terrain. Making them virtually worthless, as you have, aside from to select units, what stops people from just polar opposite listing and running nothing but sitting in the back torp heavy stuff in every game. What would you rather play, a game where you ball up in the middle and creep up on each other to eventually get into a brawl, or sit back on your table edge behind as much **** as you can and launch torps all game. You plan to direct weapon down 3 units of Terquai torp cruisers that completely demolish you, or Works raptor, or Terran or any other? 

I'm sure I play different than most people, since local meta is pretty big in a game so spread out in play. That said, I've run omnidyne(extremely torp reliant) for quite a while before the new ships that give a much better direct weapon alternative. I've run it against fleets that had a lot of interceptors or simply high point defense squadrons. I can make it work because I try to make the best fleet I can. Not simply nerf into the ground something that stops what I want to do. You have every right to play your group any way you want, but I think your fix is just going to point the power gamers to the other side of the spectrum, not fix anything. 

All this aside, interceptors ARE too powerful, I don't disagree for a second. As you have chosen to fix it, you could simply take 6 bombers and sit all the ships next to them. The huge difference between an interceptor PDing down torps and a bomber doing a bombing run is that the bomber can PD down torps too, as can a fighter, and not return to the base. The interceptor returns after intercepting other SRS coming in. So you made interceptors useless, Just run 6 bombers and sit in that bubble and if the time comes You can still bomb with them, plus you gain the same PD of 6. Sure it cost 15 more points, but you stopped the absolutely inevitable torp spam you are going to promote. 

 

Here's a real quick idea of a 1200 for your rules.

Apollo 245 admiral

+2 pd

+1 shield

sector shielding

3 escorts

Battlecruisers(2) 280

nuke torps

Torp Cruisers(3) 225

+1 shield projector

Nuke torps

torp spook

Armsman frigate (4) 120

Armsman frigate (4) 120

Terquai Torp Cruisers (3) 210

Corrosive

 

My plan at first glance? sit on the table edge as far back as I can, behind any terrain I can sit behind(or in depending on the ship). Possibly spread if enemy has nuke torps too, or bunched as tight as possible to get more cover from terrain. Fire torps for 2 turns focusing on whatever I decide is a threat first. You're at BEST going to match my range. After that a plan tends to go to hell anyway. Maybe other fleets will do what I'm trying to do better, but this is a fleet I own. This fleet could actually function even vs current overpowered interceptors.

 

TLDR? Entire point is, making interceptors virtually useless changes the problem, not solves the problem. You will simply change what fleets are extremely powerful. 

 

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If looking for less radical alterations to SRS and Torpedo Defense, i think a combination of some the following ideas would be a bit better than forcing Interceptors to RTB after doing a Torpedo Defense:

  • SRS link, not combine, their PD with that of models when assisting on Torpedo Defense.  To be clear a 3 Wing Interceptor Defense would have it's 6 PD added to the Dice Pool that is then reduced to HALF
  • Only Interceptors and Fighters can provide Torpedo Defense
  • SRS can only provide Torpedo Defense for one Squadron, decided during their Secondary Movement phase, but can do so at the fleet's Command Distance rather than a fixed number of inches

These chance would make SRS perform more like ships, step on the toes of Escorts less, and increase the value of the unoptimized Fighters.

Thoughts?

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Misterbucket:  I've looked through your proposed list, and honestly I don't think it's an issue.  You have almost all of your points tied up in Torpedos.  You *should* be able to do damage with torpedos while the other fleet approaches, because that's what you list does.  If you couldn't get any damage in (and you'd be very, very hard-pressed with that build to score points on anything the way we play currently), that would be an issue.  Even then, the only ships that are worrying are the Terran Torp cruisers, and the BC's at shorter range, solely due to spook.  Torpedoes have too few dice to be reliable because the opposing defences are too strong (at least to start, and when PD is beat down the range advantage is gone anyway).  Shoot your Terquai against a normal cruiser squad.  You can do 7x3AD, which will be met by 3+PD each and usually a shield.  You have 3 unopposed AD for each target, hardly a terrifying proposition (minus the lucky exploding streak, but there's not really any way to address that short of a large rules re-write).  You could go for 10/7, and face probably 4/3 PD defenses, plus a shield.  This gives you 5 and 3 unopposed PD dice.  Again, not really impressive matched against most primary weapon fire.  You could go all-in with 14, and face 6PD plus a shield, giving you 7 unopposed dice.  Probably a hit on most normal cruisers.  If you scale the numbers up to heavy cruisers or T1 targets, you almost certainly wiff every time.  Interceptors, and to a lesser extent fighters and bombers skew these numbers even worse.  While you can easily pick on most T3 options, if you're burning your LR shots to mess with <100 point squads then I'm probably a happy camper.

Having to pick and choose where and when to dump in the extra PD from the Interceptors forces you to make hard decisions about how to prioritize incoming fire.  Against your example fleet, you probably want to hold out for those spook shots, as they are the most worrying.  Taking a point of damage here and there is the point of toning things down.

Alextroy: We discussed most of these options when looking at SRS balance.  I suspect that we'll immediately be moving to version 2 after this weekend, but wanted to start out with the least change possible.  Version 2 is basically Interceptors still RTB after intercepting, but so does any other SRS that decides to go after torps.  I, personally, was in favor of moving to this immediately, along with the condition that Interceptor launches are "free" for multi-token carriers, so that you don't get stuck not being able to attack with bombers because you feel like you have to keep re-deploying the Interceptors for example.

While a more complete re-write isn't out of the question, we all agreed that it was best to start small and then branch out, instead of doing a bunch of stuff at once and not having a good handle on what effect any one particular change had.  If the current version doesn't work, we'll go back to the drawing board.

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I don't see any problem with the way Intercepters work right now with the single exception that there is NO way to effectively remove/disable them once they appear on the board.  Fighters are woefully inadequate in a dogfight against them, a ships PD is effectively useless, Decimator/Disorder Check rules are too weak.

What we really need is a way to counter Intercepters.

-In another thread I suggested allowing Fighters to use AD ordinance in an attack run against SRS instead of dogfighting as  method of Intercepter counter.

-Allow Intercepters to make Attack Runs, but ONLY to Dogfight other Intercepters. (Suggested 12" range)

-Make Decimator Warheads actually effective. Up it to where a hit causes a Disorder Check, and a crit causes immediate Disorder, check at end of turn to fix it.

Any one of the above could alleviate the Intercepter issue, though I wouldn't recommend using ALL if them (maybe two of them, Decimator and one of the SRS options at best).

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I tend to agree with that in the same fashion as mines. There's simply not a way to remove them without suiciding squadrons to MAYBE get rid of them. The big issue with trying to intercept interceptors is that you fly through the gauntlet of enemy PD to try to get to theirs. As far as making decimator stronger, that has a LOT more impact to the game than just stopping the interceptors for a turn(or more depending on rolls). Some ships that rely entirely on linked fire would be massively hurt by it(syndicate battleship perhaps) where aquans wouldn't care near so much because nothing on their battleship links.  

I posted it before, but I don't think anyone agreed with me, but I'll post it again for fun. My thought on a fix would be interceptors become escort like(full PD) to 1 chosen squadron and all other squadrons within whatever distance only get linked PD(so effectively half) It still allows you to protect 1 thing well, and offers something to others. Makes the bubbles less effective, but doesn't make them useless. 

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At least everyone seems to agree Interceptors have much more impact than their 5 points per Wing. From a design standpoint, one way  to approach this is to increase their cost.  Another is to impose sme other limitation, such as an Interceptor Token may only have 3 Wings.

However, I think a better question is simply: Does the game need Interceptors?

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5 hours ago, Commodore Jones said:

What we really need is a way to counter Intercepters.

While I am not entirely sure on the proposed solutions, the general idea of conquering PD mountain by some sort of active decision during the game appears much more attractive than simply nerfing interceptors (or doing away with them). At least, make it a combination of active and passive measures.

That is, as long as no general rework of SRS as a whole is presented (looking at you, 3.0).

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Yes! Hell yes! Intercepters are desperately needed!  As long as the current Point Defense rules stand where no ship/squadron has a snowballs chance in Hell of driving off a full Bomber token then Intercepters are definitely definitely needed!

(Yes I said definitely twice on purpose)

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I think interceptors are still a vital part in the game, (though yes i hate playing against interceptor heavy fleets, I play directorate/ works raptor) but in the end interceptors are one of the few ships that can't actually hurt you, they only defend against other SRS and torps, and we need at least one clearly superior dogfighter (fighters hardly count a to hit modifier boost isn't as decisive)  consider ships with a wing capacity of 1-3 (like the judgement) an interceptor is really the only viable one wing token, and while they can be frustrating, they are not unstoppable, PD attacks work just as well on interceptors as any other token (and if they are under 3 wings, it's really not too difficult) you may have to get a bit aggressive, but evan ships who cloak (like relthoza) can fire a full powered PD attack while cloaked,  if you find yourself up against a ton of interceptors, torp what they don't cover, if they cover everything, well they payed for that advantage, when you get close, blow there interceptors away, and torp late game (torps were not just made for long range, they don't degrade, and are often built into a ship for late game viability, hopefully you have killed they're interceptors by than) everyone has tools available to combat them, nukes, drive by mines, bigger batteries, (omnidyne has corvettes built for this purpose, and anyone can feild them with their fleet) or more interceptors, while a riskier dogfight, generally you can still drive them off, or drive off each other, either way, it opens them up to torps, boarding, and bombing. is it easy, no, but if you fail, all you lose is the chance for more damage, which can be dissapointing, but it's not gamebreaking, usually... as always luck of the dice is always a factor, even with interceptors (i once had an elusive target get killed by a 10 AD torp attack, through 21 PD. I think if any balancing is to happen, decreasing there coverage to 4 inches should suffice, they are still integrally different from fighters, it would simply make it more difficult to cover everybody.

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I think under the current SRS Rules Interceptors are necessary, however I think the current rules need an overhaul so that SRS Tokens are more like ships and less a collection of special case rules.  If that was done, the rules could be written to make them unnecessary and thus eliminated.

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The idea someone floated some time back about Carriers/Battle Carriers being the only ships allowed to carry SRS other than Fighters made perfectly perfect sense to me and has been adopted by me and my usual opponent.

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1 minute ago, doubleones said:

The idea someone floated some time back about Carriers/Battle Carriers being the only ships allowed to carry SRS other than Fighters made perfectly perfect sense to me and has been adopted by me and my usual opponent.

I'm not real sure about that, but it would make carriers a lot more valuable. Where I see them pretty under powered at the moment for the battle log they give up vs the real impact they have(not all but quite a few). The biggest issue there is fleets with less options for carriers, such as a lot of the alliance fleets, or marauders. Syndicate, Omnidyne, Xelocian, Veydreth and Tarakian, I think none of those have carriers of any kind. That would also make the 3-4 max wing capacity on a lot of ships completely useless. Things that can make it to 5 or 6, sure bombers in that range are good, but quite a few dreads can get to 2-3 clearly designed for interceptors. 

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I don't think using the name Short Range Spacecraft as a justification for mechanics change is a good idea.  Firestorm Armada is a, "wet navy," game set against the backdrop of a space opera much more than a hard science setting.  Trying to define things such as speed and fuel limitations sounds like a good way to create contradictions in the setting.  Hand waving this under the umbrella of general space opera science fiction rather than hard science seems better to me.  However, there are engaging stories concerning fighter planes and the like where ammunition is a relevant and exciting story element which I think could translate into a useful design element.

I think it would be a better design change to create an opportunity for a Return to Base event to happen rather than outright enable or disable Interceptors from assisting in multiple Point Defense activations.  Interceptors fill an intentional role in Point Defense game design, altering this feels like the right way to break absolute Interceptor dominance of PD rolls; but at the same time they fill a defense role not easily replaced once removed from the board.  To that end I think it would be reasonable to start with making Interceptors roll after every activation they assist on, possibly a disorder type test where they roll 3 die and need 2 successes to avoid an immediate Return to Base.  This could be adjusted to suit your taste, making the role more or less likely to succeed.

In the end this provides a way to remove further protection from a single Interceptor Token, increasing both the risk of using multiple tokens on one activation and also increasing the value of "back-up" interceptor Tokens.  Regardless, this is a dramatic shift in game design, carriers are likely to need a way to (re?) launch Interceptors as a rule breaking ability or Model Assigned Rule.  I would actually prefer this as a MAR for carriers truth be told; because then it allows carriers to feel more like they fulfill their role better as a delivery system for SRS onto the field.

Additionally Heavy, Battle, and all other types of Carriers could be made to intentionally not feature this MAR naturally.  This would again potentially create a new value between normal carriers and hybrids.  It would be yet another deviation to perhaps allow some specific non-standard carriers a hardpoint option to pick up said Interceptor Launch MAR, requiring a hardpoint slot and points expenditure to match what a cheaper single purpose carrier does.

Disregarding the branching design opportunities, I think creating a chance based mechanic for Interceptors to Return to Base after assisting in a PD activation, not per individual roll (without further evaluation and evidence), is a good thing.  This would open up a new range of possibilities when it comes to how SRS, particularly interceptors, and carriers are employed.  Frankly, I like the imagery of plucky pilots constantly pushing their craft's limits and trying to make every shot count while avoiding the dreaded, "Empty," on the ammo bin display.

 

Edit:

Bah, spelling errors.

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One of the newer players in our group who read through the old STAR cards suggested adding Bingo Fuel/Ammo card in as a basic Tactical Ability Card.

For those unfamiliar with the V1 cards Bingo Fuel/Ammo when played, allowed you to force one of your opponent's Wings/SRS to immediately Return to Base.

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Identifying a problem and patching it with a new mechanic is bad design; that's exactly how a tinker gnome approaches every problem.  If the problem is an absurdly strong defense, it's easier to simply reduce this defense directly.

I also think it's quite telling that the only reason given to keep Interceptors is have a viable counter to Bombers.  Perhaps a better solution is to remove Interceptors and make the basic Bomber defense, Point Defense, more effective.

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However, one potential issue with such a streamlining approach is that it might result in a more pleasing mechanical design but might at the same time have a negative impact on the simulation and narrative aspects of the experience.

That said, I think I mentioned in one of the earlier SRS threads that within the framework of the current rules, adding additional TAC cards addressing perceived issues (e.g., overpowered interceptors, underpowered fighters) is probably the least invasive procedure in my view. While, when invasiveness is not considered an issue, I'd rather haul the entire complex of SRS rules onto the work bench for a complete rebuild instead of trying for a collection of individual fixes here and there.

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I'd agree perhaps with the Tactical Ability Cards, but this just shifts the issue again does it not?  If the problem is pervasive enough that multiple gaming groups do indeed agree the feature in question, the power of Interceptor PD strength and coverage, is not fun to deal with yet also is highly desirable then shifting in TACs to deal with this will simply offload the problem and create a new issue.

The case will either shift immediately into a situation where now everyone's solution, who wants to try using torpedoes in a meaningful way over the whole match, will be to automatically include this Anti-Interceptor TAC; or ignore this (re)introduced TAC and nothing has fundamentally changed.  Is that really how you go about designing games?  I can only see you laterally shifting the problem into an another very similar state.  To go from auto including Interceptors in all ruthlessly competitive fleets to auto including this TAC card in case you run into a competitive player who uses Interceptors for strong PD rolls.

What value is there really in this move?  Now you have an issue with all pervasive Interceptor carrying fleets, and their unquestioned value versus fleets who do not carry Interceptors.  Clearly if you want to use Torpedoes you are going to now automatically include this TAC, or simply have to admit that you didn't care to try breaking PD mountain.  Really, this just makes it an arms race, a power creep, I don't agree with this at all.  At best what kind of meta gaming can you expect to come from this?

Player A can choose to bring a new TAC card or not to deal with Interceptors, also they can choose whether or not to build fleets more or less reliant on torpedo effectiveness.  Player B can choose to bring a fleet with Interceptors, or not to bring a fleet with Interceptors.  This decision state can be mirrored the opposite way, but in the end the Interceptor *remains* a high powered game system that is also highly desirable and who wouldn't arm themselves with both the tool and the counter to the tool?

If the TAC is too strong this might just cause total disarmament, and run foul of, "nerfing," a feature into the ground totally.  Interceptors are based off of carriers, if you can just send them back and then blast that carrier into dust or otherwise force Interceptors to not perform when needed, that player's strategy is now completely countered by a single TAC card?  What TAC card has this much power, isn't this power creep in it's basest form?  Even a Sorylian special forces TAC doesn't simply counter a fleet building plan and it's execution by itself.  Is there a retrieval cost for this TAC, what happens if you actually seem to need it more than once?  Will that just cause people to use more Interceptor tokens outright to counter this TAC?

I don't see this as the smooth solution you seem to be presenting, I can already see strategies formed in my head capable of using this card to break an enemy's plan and then exploiting their fleet building choices.  Correct me if I'm wrong, show me where this TAC doesn't become just as pervasive as PD mountain.  Where this TAC cannot allow the player to simply either blow the offending carrier apart; or capitalize a turn one shut down of PD mountain into a power move for any fleet that actually cares to use torpedoes as a serious threat to the enemy?  To flip this on it's head, is this meant to only provide a single turn worth of torpedo launches without Interceptor coverage, and if that isn't going to be an effective value, who would bring it?

 

As an alternative I'd try simply reducing the Interceptor Token's power by one wing every time it engages in an Intercept mission.  Easy to track with one more die next to the SRS to show actual Token strength, and low count Interceptor wings quickly lose their benefit over the course of a turn's activations in a linear and controlled manner.  Still allows for a, "runs out of ammo," lore although no heroics are possible in this scenario.  Granted I'm not fond of this, but it does create a value for higher counts of Interceptor wings in a Token; which may also be what the game needs more rather than having mainly/only small count Interceptor Tokens.

 

Finally, Ryjak I don't get what you just said, pretty much at all.  If you create something which is a bad design mechanic how do you assume that it is possible to fix that design and yet not use a, "new mechanic," in the process?  It makes me wonder, are you saying Firestorm Armada V1 or V1.5 was a (potential?) pinnacle of game design and this new stuff just isn't as good as the old stuff?

Frankly, that self restriction sounds a lot like, "don't add new things once you've built a system," and good way to Darwin your system out of existence.  You'll need to show me examples here where systems succeed by using this, "identify problems and patch them while never using new mechanics," design style if you want me to believe you here.

Also do you not run into boarding heavy lists at all, because I don't know how Interceptors aren't wrecking their day as well.  Even if I ran with all out Assault Blitz, Special Forces, and High AP only models in a massive wave of boarding, I'd really not enjoy seeing Interceptor Tokens lying around waiting for me to try anything.

 

Edit:  Bah!  Spelling, Grammer, grumble, mumble....

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He means don't solve a problem by adding a mechanic to patch the problem when you can fix the problem to begin with. If Interceptors are too good, step 1 should be to reduce what they're capable, not to add mechanics. 

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1 hour ago, Dr_Vector said:

As an alternative I'd try simply reducing the Interceptor Token's power by one wing every time it engages in an Intercept mission.  Easy to track with one more die next to the SRS to show actual Token strength, and low count Interceptor wings quickly lose their benefit over the course of a turn's activations in a linear and controlled manner.

Since you brought up the 2nd die, I guess I can share that I've also been holding onto a similar that idea since V1.5, that heralds back to V1 rules where a Driven Off results actually affects the SRS token.  Back in V1 a Flight of Wings was affected by Driven Off hits on the dice, a roll of 6 killed reducing the number of wings as per current rules, but back then each Driven Off die roll result temporarily reduced it's strength until the end of turn where it automatically resets the Driven Off wings back to full strength (not including kills of course).  

So for example if applied to current V2 rules:  Your opponent is running a full 6 count Interceptor SRS token, and you're getting to torpedo shots anywhere and want to try and take them down a bit.  A full 6 count of Fighters make an attack run and Dogfight the Interceptors on the way in, (suicidal but it's all you got). They roll PD dice, the Interceptors roll  2, 1, 5, 3, 4, 5, 5, 1, 1, 3, 6, 1 = 1 Kill and 6 Driven Off hits, the Fighters score 5, 4, 2, 6, 2, 2 + 1 kill and 2 Driven Off results. 

End results: The Interceptors kill one Fighter Wing reducing the SRS token to 5 and the six Driven Off results force the Fighter SRS to immediately Return to Base, the Fighters manage to kill one Interceptor Wing and temporarily Drive Off two more Wings, so your place a 2nd (different color) die  showing 2 pips on the Interceptor Token, showing that while the SRS still has 5 Wings (it's center count dice) but it is now functioning as though it were down by two more, so for the rest of the turn the Interceptor counts as having only 3 Wings (thus rolling 6 PD). Then at End of Turn during the Repair Roll phase all Driven Off die is automatically removed from the Interceptor token and it now opperates back its current full strength of 5 Wings.

 
 

 

   
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Editing note:  This is directed at Hive's response.  That should probably be self evident, but I posted this just after Commodore Jones' response.

 

I'd rather hear it from the horse's mouth than an intermediary, with that said how are you intending to reduce their effectiveness without, "adding," mechanics.  Keep in mind that, "adding mechanics," sounds like simple phrase yet how are you actually defining that action itself?

Are you stating that you should not create entirely new game mechanics like Token Model Assigned Rules, T-MARS if you will, or other new inventions of similar nature to alter Interceptor behavior.  Do you also mean that you should not alter or add to the MAR system as it is currently designed to affect Interceptors; that using anything similar such as perhaps adding die rolls or causing new event chains to occur should be avoided?  Does this mean that the rule system as written and it's implementation should remain absolutely the same, but allows for alteration of some numbers during calculation like Interceptor Point Defense values or points cost?  Frankly there are more gradients to what I, or anyone else, might define as mechanics change than what I've just outlined.

These actions are all altering mechanics, even strictly changing only numeric values used for calculation, you are indeed changing game mechanics because they alter how models interact with each other; particularly if you do so in any way that creates the notable change in how the game plays out, as is desired in current context.  I can drop Interceptor PD value to 0 without, "adding mechanics," yet does this *not* create a massive change to the game's design?  Can you then describe to me how your definition of, "adding mechanics," fixes and/or ruins the game in such a manner that the defined action alone is clearly the underlying problem?  This sounds much closer to a personal tenet than scientifically provable fact.

I am not trying to personally attack anyone, however, I'm left wondering if you are perhaps thinking this right now?  I'm asking for evidence to back up an argument, a statement was made devaluing another statement on a basis which I have yet to see any evidence for.  This seems a perfectly reasonable course of action, and frankly I am personally unconvinced of this methodology's effectiveness.

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1 minute ago, Dr_Vector said:

Are you stating that you should not create entirely new game mechanics like Token Model Assigned Rules, T-MARS if you will, or other new inventions of similar nature to alter Interceptor behavior.  Do you also mean that you should not alter or add to the MAR system as it is currently designed to affect Interceptors

Look far enough back in the forums you can probably find my posts where I proposed this very idea and it got shouted down.

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Using driven off results as a tie in to reduce Interceptor PD effectiveness seems a reasonable action.  Although, my main concern with that is this will likely have little impact on the early game state where Interceptors provide a large bulk of anti-torpedo effectiveness.  When I say that I mean how, without early Interceptor coverage, small and poorly defended targets are highly vulnerable to opportunistic torpedo fire, since it's a perfectly clear choice what target decision will get you the most bang for your activation.  In later phases of the game Interceptors are still useful, especially with hull point, weapon, and point defense degradation in effect by this state.  However, by then the activation decisions are also probably not focused on torpedo use than other more immediate concerns, if that makes sense?

In summary I think it's an interesting idea, however I'm concerned that it won't have enough impact, not to mention that I think yet another Interceptor Token would have handled the job better than a Fighter Token.  Which I believe more or less stagnates into a mirror like arms race.  Although, if Fighter effectiveness were somehow boosted they might become a viable enough alternative that Interceptor predominance could actually break in favor of variety, but that's mere speculation on my part.

 

Heh, Commodore Jones, I'm also aware of your previous suggestion as I've been lurking on these forums as a reader roughly since around Firestorm Armada version 1.5.  So consider that example as perhaps a bit of intended referential humor?  Honesty speaking, I'm rather neutral on the idea of, "T-MARs, TARs," or whichever acronym sounds best to you.  I don't mean that as an insult though, I just think that it needs player testing over groups of interested parties to really get a handle on whether or not such a, "radical," change has merit for the game as a whole.  I'd preferably try and fail in testing than never test at all, myself.  Though obviously I'd rather test and succeed above the alternatives.

 

Edit:  BAH!  Run-ons, fargle, bargle, meh!

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Badly worded on my part- in scientific papers, it is up to the author to clearly define his or her terminology and I have failed on that part.

 

A mechanic is a statement of process, the workings by which all variant parts function, in my definition. A rules statement describing how to do something, what to do in a given situation, or what attributes a category of game peice can have and what they are used for (though not necessarily the values of those attributes for a given game peice- these impact the game as it is played but do not impact the procedures involved in playing. The stat will be used for the same thing no matter how high or low it is. The same is true for MARs in this case- adding a MAR to a ship does not change the game's mechanics, it merely alters which ones a particular peice will interact with.)

 

Under this definition, I believe I can make more clear what I mean to say. In short, SRS operate under a different but related set of mechanics relative to all other game peices. Within that subset, a few individuals have problems, most notably Interceptors. The first thing that makes sense to look at is the individual values of stats and adjusting them- this is where the confusion came from, I believe, because I would again define a mechanic as I did above this would not be a change in mechanics but a change in the values this particular game peice uses in interacting with the mechanisms and processes of the game. Now, normally the next step would be to look at those mechanisms and consider adding an exception for the offending game peice- HOWEVER, as SRS are already opperating under essentially a list of exceptions to the rules that govern the majority of game peices, AND because only one SRS, Bombers, are not noted as being overwhelmingly useful or barely usable, it immediately makes more sense to alter the mechanics of SRS as a whole, editing by alteration to the entire rule base rather than alteration of an individual peice's rules or creating stopgaps via addition of mechanics. 

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In my eyes it is not the format or terminology used, but primarily the effort evident in making statements and providing evidence backing up the thoughts behind it which matters.  That isn't to say I think a particular measurement of effort, below a specified threshold or otherwise, is a sinful vice; but that I appreciate distinct and notable efforts to make a statement and back it up.  Thank you, Hive, I appreciate your further explanation for this dialogue.

 

On a probably quibbling note from me, I believe that value changes within a mechanics system can create dramatic game mechanics changes and alter player meta decisions.  My example of tuning Interceptor PD values to 0 may seem frivolous or obviously foolish, yet examine why that is if you would.  The result from this alteration to only the numeric values assigned under the Firestorm Armada system, without changing wording or function, might as well simply remove Interceptors from the board and any player meta game choices.  I argue thus, if a value change can create such a dramatic shift, whether it's decreasing Interceptor PD to 0 or increasing it to 6+ per wing then you've made a dramatic and, in this instance, invalidating game mechanic change to the game.

I do agree with intentions of making small changes in a system to avoid swinging the relationships between the pieces in an overly dramatic way as described above.  Similar to the historic effects of a sudden global climate shift, an equally sudden Darwin like extinction could occur for various fleets and models.  Personally I would prefer to attempt a small scale change or two, the TAC card example included, before trying to upend and renovate the entire SRS system.  Although, I do understand why you would reach that decision, as it stands the SRS system easily stagnates and helps promote a more mirrored instead of varied fleet composition for the competitive perspective.

To summarize, as I understand it you believe mechanics changes do not include numeric value changes for rules and interactions, mainly changes to those rules and interactions themselves.  I have to disagree as stated above, as I believe value shifts can and do shift game mechanics, even if those are the end result of player meta decisions.  Therefore I believe it is fundamentally flawed to see any shift to the system as it functions, numeric or otherwise, as unrelated to a game's mechanics.  Even if it does not immediately register in the mind, I believe it is impossible to fairly state a simple or small measurement of change does not actually change a game's mechanics.

My basis for game mechanics is essentially the set of rules a game operates by, and very inclusively also how those rules interact in practice.  How the rules work and how the game plays out is in my mind very much the core of a game's mechanics; and no matter how seemingly trivial, any change that produces a notable shift in this practice is clearly definable as a game mechanic change.  If you have a game where a choice is an automatic pick for the player who wants to play to win, every time, all the time, this is a demonstration of the end result of game mechanics in my eyes.  When there is a change to the game, regardless of what part of the system is altered and how much, where this end result changes and now becomes a sometimes, or if the player feels like it, choice then you have demonstrated a change in the game's mechanics.

Because I would like to know this if you still disagree with my thoughts:  If in the example of Interceptor Token dominance where multiple and varied reports indicate that this particular game mechanic is effective in shutting out fleet diversity with overwhelming statistical brawn, and an alteration to the game and by extension player behavior makes this no longer remain true; what change did you make then if not a game mechanic change?

 

Edit:  Ugh, see prior messages, etc.

Addendum:

Even if you assert that a, "smaller," but similar change which does not alter player behavior and game interactions can therefore no longer be classified as a game mechanic change; I feel that this is a rules as written distinction by definition rather than the spirit as intended.

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