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Designing asymmetrical scenarios

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Designing asymmetrical scenarios

PostThu Jun 08, 2017 5:02 pm

I enjoy playing scenarios where there is some inherent attacker/defender asymmetrical balance. But I know that getting the balancing right is tough.

There are some pretty easy ways to give the defender an advantage in DFC:
- station/cluster placement
- pre-landed ground troops with access to orbital guns/batteries.
- pre-deployment of some of the troops
- biased debris/LSO/etc placement

But, what I am struggling with is how to counter balance this for the attacker.
Giving the attacker more points is the simple answer, but it is kind of boring, and very subject to balance issues (although easy to tweak).
You can also alter the deployment type (say column vs batteline)
Any other ideas?

Has anyone designed any asymmetrical scenarios? How did they play out?

Red Pendrigh

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Re: Designing asymmetrical scenarios

PostThu Jul 13, 2017 9:50 pm

Randomly scatter defender reinforcements, sabotage them (have a random chance of ships having to roll crippling damage as they arrive on table) nudge debris fields or try something like mine fields, alter scan range or have defenders randomly spike. Randomly shuffle their battlegroups or give the attacker the chance to alter their order in some way.
Give attackers decoy ships - appear to be cruisers but have statlines of frigates. Randomise orders given to battle groups, have a chance of ships misidentifying hostiles as friendly or friendlies as hostile, have all attackers logged as friendlies until actively scanned...
Almost no end to ways you can mess things up for one side or the other.
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Re: Designing asymmetrical scenarios

PostFri Sep 01, 2017 5:19 pm

I have often wondered why there wasn't an attacker/defender mission. I've been fond of giving the defender occupied clusters but have their orbital assets arrive in a column to simulate a rushed defense.

The fluff is full of hot drops and surprise attacks, it seems reasonable that we'd be seizing occupied territories. Keeping the defenders assets piecemeal offers the attackers at least 3 turns to make the most of numerical and orbital superiority.

This is definitely a narrative/campaign kind of match though. I also really like Red's suggestions as well. I'll have to borrow some!
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Re: Designing asymmetrical scenarios

PostSun Sep 10, 2017 8:28 pm

I have been playing around with attacker / defender scenarios. It seems much more in line with the story than the current "we both happen to come upon and totally unoccupied empty area at the same time" - approach that most scenarios run on.

My thoughts - which I still need to form into a proper rule suggestion (it will probably appear on my blog at some point in the future - right now a few of the thoughts are in is to make a way for you to put a price-tag on units on the ground and then let the players have identical points values. It does require that the scenario is known beforehand. Buying units on the ground will cost one battle group and each cluster and space station will be one group (so you can occupy no more than three clusters / space stations with a battle group).

Price would depend on:
- Amount of troops and composition
- Type of sector (the special sectors should be worth more, the same with the military sector)
- Size and armament of space station
- Distance to enemy; being closer is worth more since it would be more difficult to achieve by normal means.

It is always hard to get something properly balanced, but I think you could make rather simple system that could allow you to try this where it would be fun. - My blog with analysis, tactics and thoughts about dropfleet. Updates weekly, mostly on Mondays.
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Admiral JCJF

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Re: Designing asymmetrical scenarios

PostSun Sep 10, 2017 10:19 pm

I think there are good lessons to be learned from historical games.

Many place the objectives where they can be covered by the defender, but allow the attacker their entire force while the defender begins with only 1/2 (or less) on the table with reinforcements coming onto the table later.

Reinforcements are either planned (one group each turn, for example) or random (rolling an increasing number of d6's to see if groups arrive on a 4+ is a common mechanic I've seen).

Starting with troops on the ground probably isn't necessary, given the ability to drop for 2+ turns before the attacker can arrive at the earliest (and necessitates the least change to fleet structure for the missions) but including military, sensor and orbital gun sectors mixed in the clusters is probably also good.

For a more "mixed" structure you could have some smaller clusters on the midline, with others close to the defender, so there is some need for both fleets to advance. A mission structured in this way would probably require the attacker to be fully deployed while the defender came on in, for example, column.

There doesn't seem to be any good reason why asymmetrical "attacker-defender" style missions couldn't be part of the game. And even if players stacked large portions of their fleet into single groups to take advantage of the maximum number of ships "on-table" as the defender the inherent disadvantages of such large groups in the game will serve as a break on too heavily favouring this approach.
Why would we waste words on Prey?

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