Pre-Alpha Project - Squad Types

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Re: Pre-Alpha Project - Squad Types

Post by Cow » Thu Jan 26, 2012 3:05 pm

Kris Knives wrote: The issue is: what keeps me from just taking all one or two units with all the same optimized options resulting in a very dull game?
Okay there we go. That is a good way to express the problem.

One way to eliminate spamming one unit, is to make more of a rock paper scissors thing. Or Hard Counter, as Matt described it. Personally, I enjoy the so called Soft Counter system more, but that doesn't solve this problem. Perhaps a happy medium?

So as it stands its

-Big or Important things
-Specialists
-Infantry Squads

right? Seems good to me. All three unit types here are still free to be really fast, or be good at CC, or be tough to kill or the oposites of those things. That seems good to me.

This way:
-Big or Important things can be defined as commanding leaders, or particularly gargantuan single model units.

-Specialists can be defined as either single model or multi model units with particularly wild and or unordinary rules and abilities.

-Infantry Squads can be defined as multi model units with more ordinary rules.


So Infantry squads can still be tooled to specific jobs or be jacks of all trades, they just wont be nearly as complex or pivotal as the other two.

The difference between Specialist and Important things is that Important things will effect how your army will operate (commanding and offering army-wide abilities) where Specialists will just be special on their own.

Is this the generally accepted idea as of now?
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Re: Pre-Alpha Project - Squad Types

Post by Kris Knives » Thu Jan 26, 2012 4:05 pm

Cow wrote:Is this the generally accepted idea as of now?
Well I'd hesitate to called much generally accept, but that seems to be where a lot of discussion is centered around right now.

I'd suggest through we probably need at least a 4th category for non-infantry units as well which we might want in smaller squads than infantry and with their own rules as well as possible a 5th for depending on how certain factions develop like perhaps a special unit category for "swarm" units but that is only if we get fairly radical and is neither here nor there right now.

Just to be clear, here is an example of problem scenario we're looking to address in some way:

We're playing a pure points game. You take a 5 different squads of X'lanthos. I take 10 humans snipers, all optimized for suppression of different units and over watch. I camp on the objectives using over watch and then just suppress you the whole time since with my snipers even if they never actually score a kill.

The end result is a really sound strategy where I optimized my units using points but a really unfun game where everyone needs to just build against the current meta with all the strategy being in the army list and not how you played the army list.

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Re: Pre-Alpha Project - Squad Types

Post by saltinerunner45 » Fri Jan 27, 2012 2:09 pm

instead of gravatating towards the 40k FOC why not the fantasy FOC? to be fair i have never played, but if we determine how rare unit is, we can restrict how often it sees battle. for example i dont think 2 groups of assassins will accompany every scouting party into the field, so you would see less of them, but you would also see more troops

another idea is like warmachine/hordes. you can take a "N" groups of assassins for every "X" amount of points your army has.

the good part about either of these is that if i play scavengers, i expect to have more monstrous hulking units than the bandits and their scouts/fast attacks, so it will balance itself out in play-style and points rather than herding every army into a formation.
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Re: Pre-Alpha Project - Squad Types

Post by Kris Knives » Fri Jan 27, 2012 2:36 pm

Well I agree that both those methods could work and work well. Good suggestions.

Like I guess I'd like there to be a special rule set for allowing people to build tightly focused armies around certain types of units but still keep them balanced since I do like having a lot of the same unit sometimes.

So in a standard set up I can take say 2 Collector reclamation squads. However if I opt to use the hoard rule I can make up to 60% of my army reclamation squads in exchange for taking some restrictions to keep things balanced.

Of course you could still do this with either the WHF or WM/H method without any sort of special rules by just leaving certain units less restricted then others so you can take like 100 swarm units but still only like 2 snipers.

Of the two, I think WHF would be better for a small scale skirmish game like DP but that is just me.

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Re: Pre-Alpha Project - Squad Types

Post by Captain-Shawn » Mon Feb 27, 2012 2:55 am

I would actually like to see a interesting spin on the squad types on creation of units. Instead of giving specific stats from every single unit I'd like to see a system where stats of units are determined off skeleton stats that you can add onto as you see fit.

Example:
Corporation Human: Strength:4/Shooting Skill:2/Armor:-/Experience:5/Defense:5/Points:1
Wargear: Pistol: Strength:1/RoF:2
Basic Trooper: Strength:-/Shooting Skill:3/Armor:5/Experience:3/Defense:3/Points:4
Wargear: Assault Rifle: Strength:3/RoF:4
Additional(Purchased) Wargear: Reinforced Plating - Armor+2/Points:1, Rifle Scope - Shooting Skill+1/Points:1, Shotgun: Strength:5/RoF:2/Points:3
Total Stats: Strength:4/Shooting Skill:5/Armor:7/Experience:8/Defense:8/Points:10

While complicated I think this could be used to create expansive customization to the players by giving them outlines of what they can take at what point costs creating very loose and free army building so you can have 'your' bandits, not 'the' bandits.
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Re: Pre-Alpha Project - Squad Types

Post by Wiouds » Tue Feb 28, 2012 1:01 am

@Captain-Shawn

The system that I have work just like that but you pick a basic soldier type, then weapons, armor, abilities. The weapons armor and abilities can change the squad stats.

The different I can tell is that there not something like Corporation Human. So my system just combine you Basic Trooper and Corporation Human into a single basic part.

Also I say a squad should all be the same. It makes them easy to work and have it where squad member having different abilities would not improve the game.

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Re: Pre-Alpha Project - Squad Types

Post by Kris Knives » Tue Feb 28, 2012 8:33 am

Wiouds wrote:Also I say a squad should all be the same. It makes them easy to work and have it where squad member having different abilities would not improve the game.
Wiouds that is clearly intellectually dishonest. You might think that the benefits of a uniform squad outweigh the alternative but to say "squad member having different abilities would not improve the game." is nothing more than trying to peddle your opinion as fact.

So far the only advantage a very simple approach like that you have offered is its simplicity. Now simplicity is a virtue here and a legitimate development path, but that is hardly the only way to go. Different abilities improves the game on almost every other level from an increase in strategy, bringing greater visual diversity, more tactical choices, increased design space, more squad options and customization, much better tools to balance the game, options for faction customization and so on and so forth. To say all that would not improve the game is an incredible level of willful blindness.

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Re: Pre-Alpha Project - Squad Types

Post by Wiouds » Tue Feb 28, 2012 4:42 pm

Kris Knives wrote:
Wiouds wrote:Also I say a squad should all be the same. It makes them easy to work and have it where squad member having different abilities would not improve the game.
Wiouds that is clearly intellectually dishonest. You might think that the benefits of a uniform squad outweigh the alternative but to say "squad member having different abilities would not improve the game." is nothing more than trying to peddle your opinion as fact.

So far the only advantage a very simple approach like that you have offered is its simplicity. Now simplicity is a virtue here and a legitimate development path, but that is hardly the only way to go. Different abilities improves the game on almost every other level from an increase in strategy, bringing greater visual diversity, more tactical choices, increased design space, more squad options and customization, much better tools to balance the game, options for faction customization and so on and so forth. To say all that would not improve the game is an incredible level of willful blindness.

From a strategy stand point having where squad members from the same squad can have different abilities is not as useful as you think. If a single member of the squad has the sapper skill then the rest of the squad is force to move with that single member to the where they want to place the bomb. If the player can have that single squad member move around solo than it would be better to make the squad member a solo. A player can have more strategic option by having squad member with different abilities in different squads.

Let say you have a soldier squad with six members. One member has a sapper skill, one first aid, one with tracker, another member has detected stealth, one member has a radio, and the last have portable cover. That is one good squad just think of a player does that for a number of squads.

As we stated, the squad must have the same stats for many parts of the game. This means abilities that increases stats or abilities that affect those parts of the game must be the same for the entire squad. This limits the customization to abilities that it would be better for an entire squad or solo to have.

Are there any other words you want to change what I say since you do not like what I think and what to suppress it?

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Re: Pre-Alpha Project - Squad Types

Post by Kris Knives » Tue Feb 28, 2012 5:21 pm

Wiouds wrote:Are there any other words you want to change what I say since you do not like what I think and what to suppress it?
Are you serious? I have respectfully disagreed with you up until now and engaged to at every opportunity to discuss ideas. My pointing out you refuse to acknowledge the points of others and like to make absolutist statements is discussion not suppression. Perhaps you are not used to people disagree with you, but that is how discussion works. I have in no way tried to prevent you from expressing your thoughts I've only pointed out the limited view point behind them. And let me be clear here when you say things to the effect of "Well my point is right because there is zero benefits to the alternative" you are clearly stating that you are limited to a single view point, your own.

None of the examples you gave sapper, first aid, tracker, detected stealth, radio, or portable cover would logically affect stats only add options which is the whole point.

The "problem" you point out with complexity is rather self correcting. How many squads do think a person is going to be able to run if the customize every single unit in the squad? Answer, very few because of the point cost.

By contrast with person running a more vanilla squad with one or two special squad members, is going to be able to field a much larger force.

And again why does it ruin the game for you if I run 2 squads heavily customize while you run 5 vanilla squads for the same point cost? If you don't want to micromanage you don't have to.

Further it would be very easy to simply restrict the number of specialist you can take per squad which again could add to the flavor of a faction. Bandits would likely be able to take a lot more stand out individual units in a squad than the corporation for example while the animal faction might not even have the option to run individuals in squads.
If a single member of the squad has the sapper skill then the rest of the squad is force to move with that single member to the where they want to place the bomb.
Yes that is exactly the point. If forces you to decide how you want to play the squad, you have two options but you might need to pick one over the other in the course of battle, that is a tactical choice.

I'll also point out giving every member of the squad a bomb power instead of just one would in no way change the fact the whole squad would have to still move to set the bomb so this argument isn't valid.

Idea was that 9 out of 10 squad members could go on overwatch while 1 sapper set the bomb which is something that wouldn't be possible with the way you are laying out the same idea. The additional tactical choice here is deciding when to have soldiers fire support the squad and when to use their individual powers to support the squad.
If the player can have that single squad member move around solo than it would be better to make the squad member a solo. A player can have more strategic option by having squad member with different abilities in different squads.
See you are making a statement that you get more strategic options by forcing players to take different powers in different squads but again that is a totally invalid argument that has nothing to do with what we're talking about. You could take bombs and medics in each squad regardless of if a squad shares power or if they restricted to individual squad members.

Also let me point out that the inclusion of individual squad members with abilities does not prevent squad from having upgrades which apply to all members. It isn't a zero sum game.

Further let me reiterate I have no intention, nor do I see any benefit to suppressing ideas. This isn't a democracy, the only opinion here that matter is Matt's so I gain no pleasure nor benefit from holding down any view point. I will however discuss and challenge ideas and statements here, particularly unilateral ones, as that is all we can do in this section to help the project beyond throwing out our own ideas.

Wiouds you have done more play tests then anyone else here. I do not wish bad blood between us nor do I question the value of your over all contributions to Dark Potential, I've even enjoyed our discussion even when we disagree, however I will also not hesitate discuss the project and if you find my opinion or the manner in which I express it offensive perhaps we should just agree to disagree on matters.

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Re: Pre-Alpha Project - Squad Types

Post by Wiouds » Tue Feb 28, 2012 9:57 pm

"Wiouds that is clearly intellectually dishonest...To say all that would not improve the game is an incredible level of willful blindness"

That is why I got mad. Sorry I may have failed to show that something was my opinion by just saying "I say...". I understand where you are coming from but I have yet hear a reasonable argument about letting different squads member have different abilities.

"Idea was that 9 out of 10 squad members could go on overwatch while 1 sapper set the bomb which is something that wouldn't be possible with the way you are laying out the same idea."

I still do not why should that 1 squad member should act differently than the rest of the squad? I feel that thing give an unfair extra action to the squad. If I had the sapper skill on a solo, that solo would not have the ability to move, attack and place a bomb.

Also, it seem to me that the single squad member that act different from the rest of the squad would be better off as a solo or in a small squad with the same skill. Something that is better made for the task at hand.

Let look at a battle that could happen:
The game’s scenario is where the one side needs to blow up some pillars that hold up a raised rail line tracks pillars or something and the other side is defending. To blow up the pillars a sapper need to remain in base contact with the pillars 2 turns to arm or disarm it. If the all bombs are armed then it will blow and the attacker wins after a few times. At any times, if a player lost all his/her sapper then that player lose the scenario.

The field is set up with two of the pillars with only heavy cover close, but not close enough to have a squad member to stand at the pillars and the rest still able to use the cover. There is also a gap in between the cover.

The attacker has 10 man squad, 9 man squad and a solo with the sapper skill.

The defender has a 10 man squad, and a 10 man squad with one member with one having the sapper skill.

In order for the defender to disarm the bombs the player will need to move the one squad with the sapper from one pillar to the second. The attack will need to leave a pillar unsecure or switch the squads location.

For the attacker, the player can place a squad at near each pillar and only need to move only the sapper between them. In other wards the attack can have two large squads be able to remain where they can be best used while having a noncombat skilled squad move to where it would be best used.

Both player can do the same thing but the attacker have a more flexibility since the sapper is not force to be attach to one of the large squads.

I do not see a point in squad members having different abilities when you look at what little that it could add to the game and the cost that it would take to add it to the game. We are talking action/activation splitting, more rules for squad creation, and squad members abilities tracking during play when we can handle it by making their to different squad. It seem to just add one or two noncombat action to a squad.

I see even less of a reason to allow it when we can have way to do thing just like it already in the rules.

Another problem I can see coming up is how we handle squad cover values.
Magic cover is where the entire squad gets cover if only haft the squad is in cover. (I don’t have a better name for it) Then the targeted player can pick was squad members will be removed. This makes hitting the wanted target would be much harder for the attacker.

If we use reasonable cover. I call it reasonable cover because squad member will use the most reasonable cover. I have been play testing with reasonable cover and found the attacker have a good deal of control over what target squad members

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Re: Pre-Alpha Project - Squad Types

Post by Kris Knives » Wed Feb 29, 2012 10:37 am

Wiouds wrote:I still do not why should that 1 squad member should act differently than the rest of the squad? I feel that thing give an unfair extra action to the squad. If I had the sapper skill on a solo, that solo would not have the ability to move, attack and place a bomb.
Where does the extra action come from?

Solo scenario:
9 man squad moves and goes into over watch
1 Solo moves and places a bomb
Total 10 Actions

Group Scenario
10 Man squad moves.
9 Men go into overwatch
1 man sets a bomb
Total 10 actions

The way I'm seeing it ten actions is still ten actions. Where do you see the sapper attacking and placing a bomb in the same turn? Are you envisioning a different scenario?
Wiouds wrote:Also, it seem to me that the single squad member that act different from the rest of the squad would be better off as a solo or in a small squad with the same skill. Something that is better made for the task at hand.
That is intentional. Right now with the way the game works, solos, half-squad and the like are VERY powerful. The group with more activations is almost always going to win. Suppressions, the lack of "scoring" units, overwatch and cover all massively favor small squads or solos over lager squads. As such, solos and half squads should be rare instead of the norm. The value of one member being added to a squad is very small, the value of an activation is huge. If sappers can only be run solo or in dedicated squads, that means you'll almost never see them unless they are extremely powerful to justify their cost over a sniper or similar solo unit.

Unless DP evolves some of its core mechanics (which is might) to decrease the importance of squad activations a large number of solos isn't going to be a very attractive option. If that happens, than the benefits of squad specialists really drops way below the virtue of simplicity in design. At the moment however the game rules favor activations and in that environment squad specialists thrive.

If you really think the solo or small squad road is the way to go, we need to develop a rule set that doesn't make an activations a trump card unto themselves which probably means restricting suppression to a special ability (like the sniper has) and a full squad benefit. However that still doesn't deal with its counterpart overwatch which a lot of solo units can easy defeat (particularly if the solo has reliable defense), but triggering it and than leaving the overwatch squad open to attack giving the solo powerful board control tools vs a more squad heavy player. And those are just the two biggest offenders. Still I think it would have benefits outside of our narrow conversation here so it might be worth bringing up when the time is right.

Still that aside, as I've pointed out before design space is one of specialists virtues which you seem to ignore or at least under value. You can do so much more by having solos, small squads, blanket squad abilities, and specialists. Again, lets look at Sappers. They don't fit in solo because they aren't valuable enough to pay the point cost for a squad activation compared to snipers since the sapper is more situational than a sniper and small squads suffer the same problem unless we give the squad more utility to justify their cost, having all members of a squad be sappers is just way to much and could cause some serious cheese game play. So without specialists we're very restricted on a sapper design space.

There are lots of similar abilities which just are too situational to be a solid solo or small squad power but don't fit as a blanket squad power either. Without the specialist option we're given a much more narrow design area to work as only the most game changing or consistent abilities will be viable unless we can blanket them to an entire squad. While it is true specialists will add squad rules, without them you'll end up with more complex ability rules to try and work abilities which fit naturally on a specialist into a blanket powers or solo ability.
Wiouds wrote:I do not see a point in squad members having different abilities when you look at what little that it could add to the game and the cost that it would take to add it to the game. We are talking action/activation splitting, more rules for squad creation, and squad members abilities tracking during play when we can handle it by making their to different squad. It seem to just add one or two noncombat action to a squad.
See you keep say "little" and again I've rattled off a list twice as long as the negatives you keep listing several time and you don't even comment on half of it.

Squad creation rules will be minorly affected at best and given that almost all war gamers are used to having mixed squad from Warhammer, that doesn't really seem like it would impact the game at all.

And squad member ability tracking really also doesn't apply unless we foolishly make some power that require a lot of tracking. The much used example of sappers doesn't create any tracking of that sort what so ever. Why would it be more difficult to look at a model in a squad vs a model that is solo and recall what it does?

Action splitting by contrast is an issue, but I really don't see a negative impact again unless we foolishly made abilities with rules that create those problems. Action splitting itself is a fairly simple concept.

Again the only negative here is complexity, and complexity is a cumulative thing in game design. Unless something is so extremely obtuse as to be unplayable complexity is about the over all game. That is a question we really can't answer until Matt moves off the fluff and starts working on the mechanical side of things. If faction mechanics become a dense focus of the game for example, than simpling other areas make sense cause we don't want squad management to become a snarl with all those other rules. Right now however the very uniform nature of the rules makes the burden of squad management very small again unless we're foolish enough to make powers which are a burden on the player.
Wiouds wrote:Another problem I can see coming up is how we handle squad cover values. Magic cover is where the entire squad gets cover if only haft the squad is in cover. (I don’t have a better name for it) Then the targeted player can pick was squad members will be removed. This makes hitting the wanted target would be much harder for the attacker.
Why is that a bad thing? It should be hard for the attacker to hit the wanted target. That is why snipers were invented.
Wiouds wrote:If we use reasonable cover. I call it reasonable cover because squad member will use the most reasonable cover. I have been play testing with reasonable cover and found the attacker have a good deal of control over what target squad members
So than what is the issue in this scenario?

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Re: Pre-Alpha Project - Squad Types

Post by Wiouds » Fri Mar 02, 2012 4:07 pm

The squad is the most basic combat unit in the game. Squad gets the action and not the squad members.

Solo squad
moves
places a bomb
Total 2 actions

Group Scenario
10 Man squad moves.
9 Men go into overwatch
1 man sets a bomb
Total 3 actions

1 man squad (Solo) get 2 actions.

20 man squad get 2 actions.

N man squad (where integer n < 0) get 2 actions.

Squad members get 0 actions.

Squad members can have different abilities
Pro:
A squad can get skill for Skill cost * (Squad size – 1) less.
Add customization

Con:
Need to make a rule about splitting action
Adds more rules about squad creation
Make it harder to get the squad balance
Make it harder to keep track of the squad in the battle.
It make smaller squads and solo weaker.

Overwatch favors smaller squads, but combat favors larger squad. Other than current offense lost per hit and odds to get max hits, the larger squad have every advantage over a smaller squads.

Solo and small squads need a reason to be on the field. That is why they get the abilities like: Remote bomb, mine placement, healing others and so on. If we let larger squad mix and match, then solo and smaller squad would be worthless in combat.

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Re: Pre-Alpha Project - Squad Types

Post by Kris Knives » Fri Mar 02, 2012 4:44 pm

Wiouds wrote:The squad is the most basic combat unit in the game. Squad gets the action and not the squad members.
That is a huge assumption. Nothing in the rules currently says either way.
Wiouds wrote: Solo squad
moves
places a bomb
Total 2 actions
Yes I agree one in the movement phase, one in the action phase.
Wiouds wrote:Group Scenario
10 Man squad moves.
9 Men go into overwatch
1 man sets a bomb
Total 3 actions
Incorrect. It is still two actions one in the movement phase and one in the action phase. You just get two different effects by virtue of the special abilities.
Wiouds wrote: Squad members can have different abilities
Pro:
A squad can get skill for Skill cost * (Squad size – 1) less.
Add customization
Adds more models to buy
Opens up design space
Gives more personality to factions
Offers more over all tactics
Allows more abilities into the game at once so it isn't all just shooting.
Gives tactical choices within a squad rather than just between co-ordinating squads.
Makes applying wounds much more important.
Wiouds wrote: Con:
Need to make a rule about splitting action
Adds more rules about squad creation
Make it harder to get the squad balance
Make it harder to keep track of the squad in the battle.
It make smaller squads and solo weaker.
Your Cons all all invald except for "Make it harder to keep track of the squad in the battle."

We don't need additional rules about action splitting because we're not splitting actions.

We don't need more rules about squad creation because customization options are already assumed to be a part of the game and this is just a customization option.

It absolutely does not make the squads harder to balance or easier to balance. It just makes it different. Blanket squad powers are no more or less difficult to regulate than individuals having those powers. It all comes down to point cost and smart design choices on power made available. That doesn't chance either way.

Lastly it does not in anyway reduce the effectiveness of small squads or solos unless you intentionally design away advantages. This is a points based game. Unless you decide to make all powers equally available at an equal cost to all squads none of these balance points have any validity.

Wiouds wrote:Overwatch favors smaller squads, but combat favors larger squad. Other than current offense lost per hit and odds to get max hits, the larger squad have every advantage over a smaller squads.

Solo and small squads need a reason to be on the field. That is why they get the abilities like: Remote bomb, mine placement, healing others and so on. If we let larger squad mix and match, then solo and smaller squad would be worthless in combat.
First off it is suppression that is the issue not overwatch.

Again unless you plan to make all options available to all units all at the same cost the argument makes no sense. It doesn't even have anything to do with the issue we are discussing.

Snipers are going to have different options than rangers and rangers are going to have different options than battle troopers and so on and so forth.

Snipers are a solo unit, you can't put them in a squad and they have auto suppression. No other unit in the game has auto suppression.

That will be very powerful if one member of a squad is a sapper or the whole squad has sapper powers. That will still unique and be powerful if a squad has sapper, medic, com officer, heavy weapons guy and a circus clown.

There is so much design room for both large and small squads as well as solos this is a non-issue. You wouldn't give every blanket option a small squad has to a larger squad would you? No of course not. So why would you do that with individual options?

In anycase the alpha rules will be up soon so I think we might as well kick back and wait to see what they look like before we continue any mechanics discussions as we'll probably have a whole new perspective on what Matt wants to do and what actually needs discussion. If the alpha rules are already definitive on this point than we're not helping anyone belaboring the point unless we plan to start our own games.

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