Hey friends and hopefully FFG Team,
This is just an opinion from a person who played a vast amount of CCG (I dare to say I've played some dark games such as Bay Watch CCG back in the days) and plays AGOT: LCG very heartly and considers it the best CCG in the market; and also someone who've spent some time reading reviews and watching the Team Covenant video about 5 times to catch every aspect of this new game. So this is my knowledge base.
I've seen some things I think it simply doesn't make sense and need to be worked out, to try to perfect this game:
- Asymmetric Gameplay - altough is fun to have Light Side vs Dark Side there should be some kind of variant rule to allow both players play Empire decks or Rebel decks against eachother. By the rules as we know them I think it's possible but some kind of official rulling or variant to not have it played as the new Android: Netrunner, an already asymmetric game.
- Commit to the Force action - this is certainly an issue and needs to be worked out. Maybe include some sort of keyword Force or something, only certain Characters should be able to commit to the Force, characters that can somehow manipulate the Force and not a measly Stormtrooper or even worse, a Droid.
- Combat and Character Types - another major flaw, Characters and Spaceships shouldn't combat against eachother. This could be avoided with some kind of Siege or Space combat type or keyword that would allow only certain types of Characters to fight against other types of characters.
Example: Darth Vader against a X-Wing?! That's nonsense. It would be something like Darth Vader (Sith Lord, something something keywords) and X-Wing (Spaceship, something keyword, Siege) and rules for combat should only allow Siege type "characters" against Siege and nothing else, and the same with "normal" characters.
All in all it seems like a good game to me. It's not the next big thing and there are many mechanics in this game that were imported from Legend of the 5 Rings (Commit to the Force = Imperial Favour; Edge Battle = Focus Battle), but it's something I would gladly give my money to play.
At least it's not an one-sided experience as the LOTR:LCG. :)
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The BGG is bubbling with topics regarding these issues.
I've just add a few more details into these ones, as I've mentioned my opinion about the preview of this game:
I guess the whole mission/DeathStar-Track should really be revised for a huge reason, the metagame.
We already have an asymmetric game (Android: Netrunner) and don't need another, even so the Netrunner original game was a game much different then everything else back in the days and still is. So asymmetric to me only makes sense if gameplay differs as sides, and in this case with Star Wars we see pretty much the same gameplay in both sides. So asymmetric has to be out of the equation, giving room for people to try Sith VS Villains (Darth Vader and friends against Boba Fett and Jabba The Hutt).
Another detail to have in mind is the "break 3 - wait 'till 12" game objectives. Matching my previous example I don't see where Boba Fett and Jabba would have interest in seeing the Death Star clock beats the 12th. If they could change this it would be massive for this game and also give them the chance to boost future expansions/factions with their own winning conditions. I can see Boba Fett having a Mission/Resource card that would give him a victory condition on taking a number of resources = to captured Characters (instead of killing Characters in combat, Boba Fett would take them and pool them untill their total resource value equals the Victory Condition). This could also work for a Jabba The Hutt but instead of a resource value target some keyword character (Jedi, Han Solo, etc).
The Commit to the Force issue was another thing I disliked to see on demos. A droid could never "commit to the Force" because a droid cannot feel the Force. That should only work with characters with the Force keyword. It would break some of the balance of the game as it is but it can be worked out the same way by providing some sort of Equipment/Attachment that would give a Character the Force keyword (example: a card named "presence of the master" with the Obi-Wan spirit as artwork could be used on any character, and then that character would be able to commit to the Force because it has a Force manipulation element behind it).
The whole Combat and Character types is also a bit blurry. The example I gave was a nice way to correct this thing. As mentioned before with the Commit to the Force issue, some sort of Equipment/Attachment would gave a character a Siege (or whatever) keyword to a "foot" character to able it to combat a spaceship. This also needs some brainstorm behind because Luke Skywalker couldn't take a Star Destroyer ship alone.
It's needed a sense of scale to this game… I can totally see how Luke Skywalker has destroyed the Death Star himself but he was riding a X-Wing (with R2-D2, and several other X-Wing pilots in several squadrons) and not barefoot and dealing with Stormtroopers at the same time.
Also the Tactics (the other icon on Character cards, the one that "locks" cards) mechanic needs to be worked with this detail in mind. As someone in other movie said "Jedi mind tricks don't work on me, only money", meaning that there are some kind of keywords that could/couldn't be affected by Tactics.
I believe in a strong Jedi being able to influence some of nearby enemies but again, enemies riding spaceships or droids, I don't think so.
Apart from that I can see this game growing big. It can be a game able to take a bite on the mainstream market against Magic: The Gathering and Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game due to its license, even with some "borrowed" mechanics from Legend of the Five Rings and some other games, I can see it grow large and being played on many LGS.
But as it is right now I doubt it. It's a cool game with a good theme but nothing more, and doesn't seem to offer the same tactical depth of the best CCG/LCG out there, A Game of Thrones: The Card Game.
Couldn't edit the previous post but I've noticed all ships have the keyword "Vehicle", so it's all set for having some restrictions in combat between Vehicles and other non-Vehicle Units. Hope that FFG see it the same way.
I agree with Commit to the Force, not everyone should contribute. Though if they name it Infiltrate/Spy then that would make more sense but still not all cards would work (creatures like Rancor). So maybe cards with a specific keyword (e.g. "force sensitive") should contribute. That way one deck could build around that aspect of the game.
In saying that I don't think the Commit to the Force step is needed, I would be happy to see it gone from the game. Same with the turn counter. Just simplify those aspects of the game.
I think the asymmetric aspect of this game is fine, and doesn't need to be changed. Thematically, the Empire is the more powerful of the two sides, being as it is a galaxy-spanning organisation capable of mustering resources with ease. Really, I would expect to see Empire objective cards providing much more resources than Rebel cards, but then we haven't seen this yet, only Jedi and Dark Jedi objectives. There is a lot unknown from that respect, so I'm reserving judgement for now. I would be fine with them being more balanced for the sake of the gameplay of course, but equally I would not be dismayed if, when it finally comes out, the person playing the Empire can fill the table with cards in one turn but the Rebel player can't. I don't see the point of having Rebel vs Rebel games though. Empire vs Empire possibly, but only with a New Republic setting, when you have Daala and Pellaeon vs all those scheming admirals and moffs etc. I think Light Side vs Light Side, or whatever, should only ever be a bit of a house rule kind of thing.
I would desperately prefer to see some limitations between characters affecting ships, etc. I've read they did it this way for a simpler game, having units combatting units, but it fills me with dismay to see a rancor take on anything. Well, thinking about it, I suppose a rancor could swat a X-Wing out of the sky if it came too close, but not any sort of capital-class ship. Not even a freighter. Rather than having just a generic term of units for these cards, why don't they make all ship cards a specific type, so that units can combat units, and ships can combat ships - I'm not the first one to draw attention to the multi-theatre battles shown in the films, after all. It would definitely make for a more cinematic experience, which is what they seem to be saying the game will provide.
This committing to the Force issue is bugging me, largely because I don't see the need for it. It's like the dominance phase in AGoT, from what I can see, though you're only bidding for one token that (potentially) will pass back-and-forth between players. Why? Just eliminate the phase and you'll get the more streamlined game you want! (I think, anyway!) If it is a necessary part of the game, then fine, only allow Force-sensitives to commit themselves, yeah. This, however, presents a problem for the Empire, who will have less I suppose than the Light Side Jedi, who seem to have plenty of "Jedi in Hiding" type characters. Does anyone know if the Dark Jedi faction included folks like Emperor's Hand, or Imperial Inquisitors? Hm.
Thematically, to me, the phase makes no sense. Whereas having the dominance phase in AGoT does, I suppose, here it doesn't seem to be required. The galaxy is suffused with the Dark Side because the Emperor is on the throne, and it isn't until Vader destroys him at the end of RotJ that balance is restored. So really, for the whole period this game is set in, the Dark Side should have the upper hand, no?
I do have high hopes for this game, I have to say. I am still saddened that they scrapped the original design, as it did seem really good, but I think this game also has the potential to be great. I'm very concious of that fact, though, that we've only seen a small portion of the game as-demo'd, and tactical depth may very well be provided when we get Empire and Rebel cards mixed in with these Light Side Jedi and Dark Jedi cards we've already seen, not to mention the Scum and the Soundrels, who I feel might add a level of craziness to the gameplay (for example, you have to continually pay for bounty hunters or else discard them, reflecting the fact they only work for money). Hopefully the previews will start soon enough, and come winter we'll get the best xmas present we could have hoped for
I don't see a problem with testing the balance of the Force. Yes, in the movies the balance is tilted toward the dark side until the end, but we aren't reenacting the movies or else we'd have to add a rule that the light side always wins to stay accurate. We are putting our own spin on the story, and so the balance may shift if light side players play well. I think it is a neat and flavorful mechanic that gives the game some strategy beyond just combat and deployment.
Also, droids might be able to commit, but they don't have Force icons so it won't really help… Right? I am still not one hundred percent certain of the rules and icons. If it works like I think, there is no issue. I wouldn't have a problem with storm troopers committing. It is a silly idea, but storm troopers are silly to begin with. The Force binds all living things, let's not discriminate.
The ships thing IS weird, but if the alternative was having ship battles and infantry battles separate, I'm fine. That would reduce combat interaction, which does not make the game more fun, and it would introduce more luck than I'd care for, since someone who doesn't draw ships would be screwed. Personally I'd have preferred ships be support cards (like ships in Thrones) or just not present at all. They could have made it so Xwing was their space battle game and Star Wars was their land battle game.
No big deal though. Card games always end up with inexplicable scenarios no matter how you try to avoid them. Likely their will be some enhancement that can be played on any character to allow it to do damage, then you can have R2 finish off Vader, which I've done in previous Star Wars games. It is completely ridiculous, but no more so than imagining a character infiltrate a cruiser and wreck havoc on its crew.
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The oldest example in the book, Magic The Gathering, has rules that can be implemented in this game with their Flying creatures. It would made much more sense if the rules allow only Vehicle on Vehicle combat. That would not have anything to be with luck or draw, you don't have Vehicles you'll have other Units so you'll break one line of combat as your opponent would break the other line with his/her Vehicles.
That would made much more sense and I guess all the fans would be pleased to see a more thematic and tactical experience with it.
I like the commiting to the Force aspect of the game if the game would work with that, as I've seen some cards will do. Not just being able to do extra ticks or damage but also to have some cards that only run with the Force on their side. It's a nice addition to the rules and can work in so many ways as the designers allow it to go. I like that aspect but I dislike the fact that even one Unit with a Force symbol could commit to the Force. They have keywords Force and Force Sensitive, Jedi, Sith… so use those keywords and work it out. The Force is an edge, like the Imperial Flavour on L5R, so it could only be taken by certain standarts, as Honour in L5R in this case would be only Characters that would work with Force.
Also, I don't see how Boba Fett or other BountyHunters (if FFG would ever do a BountyHunter faction) could benefit from having the Force on their sides if they don't understand the ways of the Force.
Apart from the Vehicles - Characters combat, another issue that is letting me down are the Victory conditions and the way the asymmetry works.
Asymmetry could be mitigated with another type of Victory Conditions. FFG made a great improvement, adding a sub-deck to the main deck. Now, with that sub-deck they can do so much things as Resources as they did but also turn them into Objectives (as they are right now for the Light Side). Really, FFG could simply remove the Death Star dial and just give them the same Victory Condition as the Light Side has, 3 objectives and they're done. If you make the math you'll see that, with turns passing, a "standart" game would mean 3 Objectives to the Dark Side to achieve Victory. So, is there a need to a Death Star dial?! I know FFG like to produce dials to their games, but there is no need to include dials in every single game!
I would really love to see different objectives related with resource cards and also factions, so that deckbuilding would also take that in mind and would offer the gamer an array of choice to take in his deck. I can go with Stormtroopers and some type of war of attriction but then I would take some BountyHunters with different objectives that would offer me a shift in the game if needed.
FFG has the tools to build a great game, and can even be the best game in the market if they really think about it well. Right now they give us a glimpse of a game, as I believe they did, and untill Q4 they will fine-tune it and build an even better even greater game! :)
For me, not being disturbed by the small asymmetry of the game, the pod deck-building system or the "Commit to the Force" thing, my main bad feeling about the demo of the game is about the Character vs Spaceships battles. Star Wars is by essence very thematic, and we should have thematic games… Hence, finding a way to have a battle which does not mixed Character battles and Space battles in a nonsense way, would be better. I also have problem with Rancor battling against Spaceships… My suspension of disbelief does not go that far.
It's a good thing to avoid havind completely separate battlefields like in the SWCCG of Decipher, because it has many drawbacks (issues when both sides have decided one on a Space deck, the other on a Land deck; issues in mixed decks if you do not draw fast enough one type of the cards, and so on). I have no problem having Luke's card defeating an Imperial Star Destroyer: let's assume it was leading a squadron of X-wing! It's ok also to have Vader participates in a Space battle (as we can see him doing that in the movies). However, there should be some limits: some cards not able to destroy or affect others. I don't buy Yoda defeating the Coruscant Defense Fleet, or the well-known Rancor eating the Redemption… I hope that traits on the cards could be enough to correct this aspect.
About this only issue which bothers me, the fact that land-oriented personna or creatures could affect spaceships, the more I think, the more it seems to me that the simplest solution would be sound: let us have 2 possible (optional) traits, one "Land" and one "Space", and make a rule that prevents a "Land" unit/character/creature/whatever put damages to a "Space" card, and conversely, a "Space" card would be prevented to put damages to "Land" cards. If a unit has none of these two traits, it can affect all types of units. The two traits are to be understood as "exclusiveley Land / Space"; possibly, this could also prevent "damages" against Objectives having the opposite trait; or putting "focus" token (even though, for the last category, it is not necessary; for instance, it is easy to imagine that a "Land" spy or commando could disable for a while a "Space" fleet).
The famous Rancor card would be "Land" and the different spaceships would be "Space" (not the fighters, as they can easily be on Land and, if committed ni the same battle as a Rancor, you have to assume that it has been tampled…) and that solves the "Rancor vs. Redemption" thing. I even would be glad that C3PO be "Land", or even Yoda so as to avoid him destroying the Coruscant fleet by himself.
Reserving the "Land" and "Space" traits to units purely in this domain would also avoid the problem of the Decipher SWCCG: usual units can battle against any unit; only specific ones are restricted (and this is only against specific enemies).
Would that solve this (perceived) issue ?
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