Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Casual vs Competitive - Or Sunk ship before you set sail

Capt's Log - Stardate - prepared to be boarded!

While I am working on a big ship review post here are some random thoughts about the different camps that tend to play most games and are certainly present in STAW.

The shop I have been playing at started the Dominion War OP series again last night. I already have the participation prizes from these but its also one of the few ways to get in multiple games.

But the OP environment is also where the competitive game exists. The OPs are not normally casual events. Which means when I bring a non tuned fleet to one of these I am going to get stomped on.

For this event Borg were disallowed. I don't recall an exception being made for the Soong ship but quite often a distinction is made. And since one player was allowed to take one I am presuming the ruling was for independant since the ship had no borg upgrades.

I have been wanting to start flying the Romulans for a bit so made the wild hair choice that I would play them in this OP.

The T.O. wanted faction pure only but then decided that he would not make it mandatory. I ended up playing faction pure simply by nature of my build but for the next DW OPs I will be tweaking my fleet load out and will most likely end up non pure.

Right now in the game faction pure hurts the borg/federation the least and Romulans the most it seems. But since no borg were allowed anyway this wasn't an issue. The Feds have a TON of cards to choose from so faction pure doesn't really hurt them much at all.

My fleet for this looked pretty laughable really. I am well aware going into these that I am going to most get stomped on.

The build for this event is 100 pts. I have to say I do prefer the 120pt game. And am hoping soon to play some even bigger pt value games.

I apologize for lack of pictures, I am writing this post in a place I don't have access to my Dropbox.

I will instead provide links to the cards in question where I can find them.

My fleet was 3 ships, the Named Valdore , with The Romulan Cmdr(no link) his ability is as an Action you can allow him to fire first in the attack phase. This didn't come into play but only because the two times I should have used it, I forgot about it hehe..opps.

Next I had The Khazara,  with Toreth , her ability came into play a lot.

And finally I had the generic D'Deridex with Valdore and was able to use his ability several times over the three games of the OP.

Before the OP started I did get in a few turns with a friend who is just starting the game. mainly to help him get some table time and to start getting a feel for what I had concocted.

Right now the Romulans are kind of shafted in STAW , hmm a lot like in Trek Online, ooo Conspiracy Theory!!!.... but I digress... like I do.....

Romulans lack a big hitter in their faction pure fleet. The Valdore is the biggest they have at 4 attack, followed by the D'Deridex, and then a bunch of small ships. I don't have all of them and I have I think four with at least one more to get to complete what is available currently. The big hitter for Roms in hopefully coming in November with the released of the Scimitar.

He was using Klingons so there was a whole lot of cloaking going on. I have some pics of the first few turns, I will put up a battle report of the incomplete game soon. I feel like even when you do not get to finish a game there is useful information to be learned.

What I learned, or rather what we confirmed was that to make this even remotely workable I was going to have to fly well and keep the ships flying together. And shooting the same target was going to be a must. But even that turned out at times to not matter.

This fleet build of mine , not really even close to optimized for this Scenario, let me set the stage.
Standard 3x3 table, the DS9 token is in one corner, the wormhole token in the other. In between are 8 mine tokens set out by the players as part of the set up.

Now my fleet that needs to stick close together has to dodge mines. Mines that replicate, if you hit the mines you roll one attack die, if it is a hit/crit you roll again, repeating until the result is not a hit. no evading...Translation, DON'T HIT THE MINES... um.. duh?

Thankfully Romulans are pretty darn maneuverable but still puts a kink in the ol' battleplan.

First game of the OP I hit exactly the topic that sparked this long post. My opponent was flying a totally tricked out two ship Fed build, Enterprise and Voyager with all the trimmings, Flagship And Admiral Kirk, Sulu, some other cards. Basically every turn he was getting free battlestations, free scans, shooting first, and just generally kicking my ass all across the table. I think the game lasted three turns and that was just because he whiffed a couple rolls.. of course he was also rolling 6 and 7 attack dice and getting all hits due to the battlestations, and when you are only rolling 4 to 6 defense die, you LACK battlestations and scan,  and your opponent is rolling like a madman... not a lot you can do. Multiple times he would end up with 6 dice that had read 4 crits and 2 hits. You really just can't fight against that no matter what you do really :) The Dice Gods are fickle.  And one of the factors in STAW is being able to manipulate your die rolls, re rolls, etc.

The first game ended in flames for me, as I expected as soon as I saw the fleet across the table.

Second game did not go a whole lot better. This time I faced Bioship Alpha with Gowron piloting, and the Soong borg ship with a Gorn Capt.(from the Arena OP prize ship)..

This time I deviated from the "stay together" plan and sent the generic D to capture the station, in the previous game I had felt the shooting from that and it was not pleasent. But fast as they are there was no way my Romulans were beating Voyager to the station. In this second game my opponent had already decided to mostly ignore the station.

I targeted the Bioship and began to slowly chink away at the shields...easier said than done. The Dice Gods were still not smiling upon me, and they were smiling across the table. Again faced with highly modified rolls and rerolls.

Now before we go any further let me state for the record that yes I knew this going in. I could have take a two ship build and tooled it up. However I was testing, and attempting to stick with the event organizers preference of faction pure. haha but not being able to get a shot off is always frustrating. And the Romulan ships are a bit on the expensive side for what you get. 30 for the Valdore compared to 28 for the Enterprise-D.

I was able to whittle the Bioship down to 4 hull left before all three of my ships were destroyed.

My worry here is the price of entry into STAW is climbing if you want to be competitive at all. If you want to have even an outside shot at winning an event. The causes of this are numerous. From power creep in the ships to poor testing and planning by the company. Placing very powerful cards in prize ships is a horrid idea. Only a small percentage of the player base will even get these cards/ships. Thus you start to narrow down the field considerably. I am all for unique and/or limited prizes. Just not game changing ones(ie Conditional Surrender).

Third game I finally matched up against another mostly casual player. Note we are in the bottom end of the brackets :) I won that game due mainly to be a better pilot. My opponent was playing Dominion and had the 4th Division Battleship and the Gor Portas. Can't recall what crew he had on them.

This time I said hell with the station and flew all three ships together and kept them together as long as possible. It was only when I had to split them to go around a couple sets of mines that I jaunted the D'Deridex over and took the station.

So what in all this long post am I trying to say? In some ways I am not sure. It started out as one thought and kind of wandered around as I went. Overall, the point is this. As a casual player, if you are going to play in the Organized Play events you have to go into knowing that you are going to be outgunned most if not all the time. These are the current STAW Tournement scene and as such bring out the ultra competitive, and every type of 'nightmare' player out there. But they also do bring out the casual player, the trick is helping the casual player to not get discouraged when he gets romped by the power player. And some of the best game conversations I have had have been with the ultra competitive types. I like to discuss the meta..just don't like trying to make sure I have the biggest and baddest all the time.

Its frustrating but its also a challenge. Can I maintain my own playstyle and still come up with a build that does decent? Honestly I don't know. But I do know that trying to set into that power player mindset leads very easily to a whole bunch of ugly. I personally just don't need to win so bad that I will nitpick my opponent to death or quibble over whether or not that corner of the base is over the line or if I am placing the range template in such a way that as long as you are looking at it from the angle I have placed it, then it appears I am in range. Or the quick measure and call out of range hoping your opponent won't notice. Or the not wanting to show the card you are attempting to play. hahaha nope not gonna take your word for it on a card I have never seen :) And yes I have seen all of that and more. But I know that going into it. and going into it I make up my mind to do what I came here to do. Play the Romulans and start seeing if they can be workable. and have fun. Always always always have fun.

Again I realize much of this sounds like I am complaining. haha and I somewhat am but NOT at the players themselves. Its not the players fault that the Borg are so powerful. Or that certain card combos are broken. Do I think you shoupld play certain combos? no...but there is nothing against the rules about it.

It is however something that has to be dealt with by those chosing to play the game.

It's also a bit of a now win situation for the T.O.s. You want to make sure you keep people playing in order to keep the game alive. But you can't go making house rules that penalize players to much. I think we are seeing that quite a bit too. As much as I hate the borg being overpowered I also hate having to be in a position to rule them non allowable. Either way you go someone is going to get angry.

Not a problem that can be solved quickly for sure.

Until Next time - Spend the points , use Picard :)


No comments:

Post a Comment