Monday, August 4, 2014

of Factions and purity - to mix or not to mix

Capt's Log supplemental - Stardate the eternal debate

This subject comes up time and time again in discussion of Attack Wing. Faction Pure, or mixed.
heck its not the first time it has come up already in this blog...sure it will not be the last :)

 Before we ramble on a bit lets set some definitions:

Faction Pure - all ships and upgrades in the fleet are from the same faction.

Ship Pure - all ships in the fleet contain upgrades from that ships factions but each ship can be from a different faction

Non Pure - pay the 1 point penalty build as you will.

The main "issue" with this debate is simple. the game is not designed to be played Faction Pure. The penalty for putting a non faction card on a ship is only +1 point. Nothing really. And this allows for some seriously devastating combos of cards. Especially when put on to the Borg ships.

Some people in the faction pure camp also allow independants on ships and still ruling that as "pure"

The problem with faction pure play, even after the design reason, is currently some factions are pretty heavily penalized when you enforce this rule. Romulans come to mind. They just don't have the cards. In fact I would go so far as to saying a faction pure game weights towards the Federation pretty heavily as they already have the most available cards to choose from. Although an argument can be made that this is in keeping with Trek in general. Being "fluff" oriented is not normally good for game balance.

Which brings up another point.. should the game be balanced? Again the Borg come to mind. right now they are powerful. Much like they were when they first appeared. Yep its in keeping with the trek story but it throws the game balance all out of whack.

It has always been my opinion that if you are going to build a miniatures game around a given universe some things will have to give way to balance. Given good solid play or outstanding play I should be able to take any fleet in the game and have a reasonable chance of winning. Die rolls and superior play by the opponent none withstanding. My choice of fleet should NOT be predicated on needing to play that faction to win.

I saw a similar situation in the A Call To Arms Babylon 5 game. When the 2nd edition came out the Minbari were deemed by some to be way overpowered. Without revealing anything that might get me a stern talking to :) if players thought the release list was powerful they should have seen the one the testers were sent...reminds me a WHOLE lot of the borg in STAW right now.

And while powerful Minbari are in keeping with the Bab 5 universe they are not in keeping with having competitive play with any faction.

In order to make Faction Pure trek viable there would need to be some card packs released to bring all the factions in line with one another.

Ship Pure seems to be a variation gaining popularity. In other words I can have a Fed ship, Romulan Ship, and Klingon ship in my fleet but each of those ships can only have that factions upgrades. This does go a long ways to helping keep the balance but does still leave a few combos in the hands of only a couple factions. So while we get closer to balanced its still not perfect.

Playing the game as designed however as has been stated really opens up some broken combos. adding Picard and company to a Tac Cube can get ugly. By the same token not all is rosey in faction pure land. I have seen a Fed ship rolling 8 attack dice with free scans and battlestations.  ouch :)

So waht is the answer? Honestly... a complete overhaul of the factions top to bottom with some actual external playtesting :)

What have we learned? Nothing really? Where you fall will depend greatly on who you play with. In casual games having house rules to correct the imbalances in the game is much easier. Just make sure those rules are spelled out and clear.

In Organized Play events its a bit murkier even though there are many who have house rules enforced on them. Oddly this is a stance I tend to avoid as much as possible even though I know it will mean lots of broken builds.

Until next time, keep the house rules clean and target locks on!

And don't forget the big Blaugust Initiative!


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