Scenario 1. No Love for the Sciences

QSR based series of scenarios with fiction

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Re: Scenario 1. No Love for the Sciences

Postby noname_hero on Tue 23 Aug 2016 03:50

Cralis wrote:
The fact that Sungold can simply run away is the one weak spot I see in this scenario, same as you. Yes, I've enjoyed it, but a part of me still feels that a scenario shouldn't be set up so that simply running away gives the running side a guaranteed victory. It feels kind of forced to try to go for major victory at the risk of losing the ship when one knows that simply running means an automatic minor victory.


Shouldn't it be? The DD is here to destroy it... escaping denies it that victory. If the TFN player wants to do more, he has to work for it. I guess I don't see how you call it "forced"


A victory, even a minor one, feels undeserved when it comes risk-free and basically guaranteed. It is cheap. Congratulations for running away without accomplishing anything when you're faster and have a head start? I would call that a draw, not a victory.

Imagine this scenario during a two-player game. The Kyo player runs away from turn one and keeps his distance while changing course in a winning direction, the two ships never entering weapons range. A win for Kyo. Now imagine having played the alien ship. There was literally *nothing* you could have done to prevent that Kyo victory. Do the victory conditions feel balanced?

Cralis wrote:
Maybe you could determine the outcome based on how close Sungold manages to get? Say, pure survival is a draw, 6 tH means minor victory, 3 tH means major victory.


Or maybe how much damage is done, with a bonus for escaping...


Doesn't seem like a good idea. Sungold has to *run*, there's next to no chance of her winning this fight. Okay, you *could* force the alien to enter your hex, and then during combat use your last MP to stay in shelter every time you lose some shields (the scenario has two such hexes next to each other), slowly bleeding the alien of ammunition, but if the alien runs too low, he'll simply open the range and Sungold would die in open space. Sungold can't accomplish anything by fighting that she couldn't accomplish by less risky tactics, at least excluding winning by sheer luck. So why push the player into suicidal behavior? Getting destroyed means no scans get home and Sungold dies for (likely) negligible damage to the enemy.

Grading the victory based on quality of scans, which is easily explained by from what distance they were obtained, feels like a better idea to me.
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Re: Scenario 1. No Love for the Sciences

Postby Cralis on Tue 23 Aug 2016 14:02

noname_hero wrote:A victory, even a minor one, feels undeserved when it comes risk-free and basically guaranteed. It is cheap. Congratulations for running away without accomplishing anything when you're faster and have a head start? I would call that a draw, not a victory.


I understand what you are saying, but we are looking at it from two different points of view. I was looking at this from the strategic POV where the escape of the Sungold has value. You're looking at this as a single scenario. But the implication is that so will other players. That's probably true enough that unless I have a compelling reason (such as contiguous follow-up scenarios) I should probably consider victory conditions from that point of view.

Thank you, I wouldn't have thought of that, maybe for a long time. I get focused sometimes...

Sungold has to *run*, there's next to no chance of her winning this fight. Okay, you *could* force the alien to enter your hex, and then during combat use your last MP to stay in shelter every time you lose some shields (the scenario has two such hexes next to each other), slowly bleeding the alien of ammunition, but if the alien runs too low, he'll simply open the range and Sungold would die in open space.


I'm not following your logic. The Sungold has to be in the planetary body's tH, and if the alien is also in that tH the Sungold cannot hide. But even if you could, since hiding is during movement then nobody would ever shoot each other (so no damage to worry about). But since that can't happen, your right: she has to run.

Sungold can't accomplish anything by fighting that she couldn't accomplish by less risky tactics, at least excluding winning by sheer luck. So why push the player into suicidal behavior? Getting destroyed means no scans get home and Sungold dies for (likely) negligible damage to the enemy.


I'm not sure how we are "pushing" the player to suicidal behavior. It seems to me that if we make retreat a draw or minor loss then we'd be doing just that.

Grading the victory based on quality of scans, which is easily explained by from what distance they were obtained, feels like a better idea to me.


Hmmm, just "passing by" is very easy to do. To make it mean something, we should probably require the Sungold to "end the turn" at a distance. So you can't just zoom by, but have to
"stop and take pictures"

And in thinking more about this, I overlooked an obvious reason why the Sungold just running away would be a loss: she's there to survey and the alien interruption means that won't happen.
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Re: Scenario 1. No Love for the Sciences

Postby procyon on Fri 26 Aug 2016 19:22

This scenario ended up not gamed out. The boy opted for 'run right now' instead of fight or try to scan.
My wife agreed and said she would do the same. But they both mentioned that in a 'real campaign - they would have had the Sungold meet up with the two CT in scenario 2. That would have created a sticky battle for the alien DD.
...and I will show you fear in a handful of dust....

Cralis wrote:I would point out that the "what was" which is different from "here and now" can easily change in the "future then."
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Re: Scenario 1. No Love for the Sciences

Postby Cralis on Sat 27 Aug 2016 01:54

procyon wrote:This scenario ended up not gamed out. The boy opted for 'run right now' instead of fight or try to scan.
My wife agreed and said she would do the same. But they both mentioned that in a 'real campaign - they would have had the Sungold meet up with the two CT in scenario 2. That would have created a sticky battle for the alien DD.


They are also thinking in terms of the full strategic game.

EDIT: Ok Procyon. Once again ya'll have forced me to reconsider. Along with noname_hero's (correct) view, and your family's hyper-efficient long term view; I'm changing the victory conditions. The RKNS. Sungold is at Rose to do a survey. That survey isn't going to happen because of the intrusion. Therefore, if the RKNS. Sungold just _leaves_, then it is handing the alien a minor victory for disrupting the survey.

Now I've left the first sentence of my reply because I think noname_hero is right: these scenarios need to be considerrd as individual engagements for the purposes of victory conditions, at least until the scenarios are linked together.

I considered making the scenarios like a challenge. And now I think I'm going to do that. The victory results are going to be worth points and the player who has the most by the end is better than the rest. Change sides, try again!

So here is the scoring criteria:

Draw (1 pt all sides): no player was able to complete their objectives.
Minor Victory (2 points): player was able to meet the minimum objective criteria and the result has a minor impact on the bigger picture.
Major Victory (5 points): player met the significant objective(s) and will have a large impact on the bigger strategic picture.
Bonus Obectives (1-3 points as declared): these will be extra actions that have a significant impact on the strategic picture, but little or no impact at the scenario level.

And since the scenarios are tied to a strategic picture, not all scenarios will have every victory condition. At the end of the whole campaign you add them up to determine the victor!

I'm going to change the victory conditions of the existing and planned scenarios to work this way.
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Re: Scenario 1. No Love for the Sciences

Postby procyon on Wed 31 Aug 2016 15:57

Glad to throw a wrench in things. ;-)

We already plan to replay the scenarios this weekend as a 'connected series' with damage and munitions carried over between the scenarios. We think it will definitely change the dynamics.
...and I will show you fear in a handful of dust....

Cralis wrote:I would point out that the "what was" which is different from "here and now" can easily change in the "future then."
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Re: Scenario 1. No Love for the Sciences

Postby Cralis on Thu 01 Sep 2016 08:21

procyon wrote:We already plan to replay the scenarios this weekend as a 'connected series' with damage and munitions carried over between the scenarios. We think it will definitely change the dynamics.


Heh, interestingly enough, yesterday while putting together some of the pieces I've got written out for the strategic part, I realized that I should have done that too.
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Re: Scenario 1. No Love for the Sciences

Postby noname_hero on Sat 03 Sep 2016 16:35

I'll admit this is one problem I've never been able to deal with in a satisfactory manner.

Allowing resources to transfer from one scenario to another creates a sort of geometric progression. A mistake or a bit of bad luck early on can weaken a player, leading to even greater losses in later scenarios, maybe even creating an unwinnable situation. Good luck, on the other hand, can help conserve resources that help the player retain even more resources in later scenarios, quickly lowering gameplay difficulty.

Not allowing resources to carry over feels demotivational, encouraging gameplay styles that do not conserve resources; there's no point in conserving your ammo or units when you know you'll lose them anyway.

Artificially limiting resources carried over (or compensating for lost resources) can easily feel enforced. I've never found it easy to maintain balance, especially given the fact that players' skills vary. However, it is the only method I've been able to come up with that rewards good play while preserving scenario difficulty.

So I'm curious what approach you're planning for the strategic rules...
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Re: Scenario 1. No Love for the Sciences

Postby Cralis on Wed 07 Sep 2016 00:32

noname_hero wrote:I'll admit this is one problem I've never been able to deal with in a satisfactory manner.

Allowing resources to transfer from one scenario to another creates a sort of geometric progression. A mistake or a bit of bad luck early on can weaken a player, leading to even greater losses in later scenarios, maybe even creating an unwinnable situation. Good luck, on the other hand, can help conserve resources that help the player retain even more resources in later scenarios, quickly lowering gameplay difficulty.


True. But isn't this has a campaign game works? What happens earlier makes it easier or harder for you to be effective in what follows. In a sequence of scenarios, the trick is to make it so that you don't end up with a complete wash for one side or another at the beginning...

Not allowing resources to carry over feels demotivational, encouraging gameplay styles that do not conserve resources; there's no point in conserving your ammo or units when you know you'll lose them anyway.


Personally, I think the trick with linking scenarios is to have a real reason to link them. In fact, tomorrow I think I'll help with that...

Artificially limiting resources carried over (or compensating for lost resources) can easily feel enforced. I've never found it easy to maintain balance, especially given the fact that players' skills vary. However, it is the only method I've been able to come up with that rewards good play while preserving scenario difficulty.

So I'm curious what approach you're planning for the strategic rules...


Oh, well... let me explain it in one post. I was thinking about it all weekend during my first vacation this year, so I'm hoping the article I'm writing does it justice. I hope you'll forgive me for teasing you ahead of time :)
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Re: Scenario 1. No Love for the Sciences

Postby procyon on Fri 09 Sep 2016 03:51

I wish I had brought the turn notes to work for the battle(s), but it turned out far differently.
Even with the alien DD having a player somewhat familiar with the scenarios and the 'defending' player being new. But the oldest girl ran the RKNS ships, and she is good at working small ships against a larger vessel.

She had the Sungold bolt from the alien DD, but dictated that in a campaign game that it would shadow the DD using its speed advantage to keep out of range of the missiles - but still maintain sensor contact. That way it could monitor the alien vessel and keep it from popping up unexpectedly around the system.

The second scenario added in the next two RKNS CT. The three ships then began to close with the DD. It was slow, but the missile barrage took time to damage the first RKNS ship enough to take out an engine room and force it to break off. The DD then switched to the next CT and managed to damage it enough to force it to slow - but it didn't break off.
At this point the Sungold was the last ship to be targeted by the DD and its heavy passives helped it close to where the DD was going to lose it in the blindspot. My wife opted to perform hard turns to prevent it from doing so while my daughter used the Sungold to overrun the DD and park on the far side of it.
The next turn saw the second RKNS CT that was crippled close on the opposite side of the DD from the Sungold - leaving the DD bracketed. The lasers from the two CT destroyed the alien DD, but not before it left all three RKNS corvettes with damaged engine rooms.

So the DD was destroyed, but all three of the CT''s were left damaged.
...and I will show you fear in a handful of dust....

Cralis wrote:I would point out that the "what was" which is different from "here and now" can easily change in the "future then."
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Re: Scenario 1. No Love for the Sciences

Postby SCC on Sat 12 Aug 2017 00:12

Sorry for not getting around to responding to this until now.
procyon wrote:This scenario ended up not gamed out. The boy opted for 'run right now' instead of fight or try to scan.
My wife agreed and said she would do the same. But they both mentioned that in a 'real campaign - they would have had the Sungold meet up with the two CT in scenario 2. That would have created a sticky battle for the alien DD.

Artifact of the rules, in QSR L.01 doesn't exist, which changes things a LOT. With L.01 the Sungold can execute a surprise attack that destroys one of the attackers' first 5 post-armor systems, so if a veteran player can stick in the attackers' blind spot for two turn they have the chance to inflict some crippling damage. Destroying or even forcing the attacker to surrender is, at least theoretically, possible if that rule is in effect.

So Cralis, what happens to the campaign if that happens?
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