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Nice demo game with Hawk Dave and my issues with stacking

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Ljevid

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Nice demo game with Hawk Dave and my issues with stacking

PostMon Jul 17, 2017 9:21 am

Some days ago I stumbled over this nice Beasts of War Dropfleet demo game with Hawk Dave:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7pOyw_El7Mg

A very nice game and apart from some minor uncertainties – very entertaining.

The only major issue I had was: Stacking

Stacking meant in this case that two ships were put directly behind each other and it was stated that these two ships were now stacked -> in exactly the same position/ alignment as the first ship in line.

They were using stacking all the time and emphasized that they were playing according to tournament rules.

Of the top of my head: I get the idea behind the rule, but I’m not so sure about it.

Please understand: I'm talking about tournaments here - in case I organize one and this comes up

I think it might be a way to avoid some of the mid- to late-game traffic jams above the clusters. I also get that neither the model or the size of the base play any role according to the rules – but only the middle of the flight stand and which layer they are on.

I also have the gnawing feeling that this rule encourages unprecise movements or even abuse.

For example: Especially with Burnthrough Lasers you have to be very precise. What if you have a group of three ships (e.g. 3 Saratogas) - with two of them being slightly out of alignment. Just stack them and voilà – they are aligned perfectly.

Or: Two ships flying parallel to each other can’t come into perfect alignment/ in a stacking position unless the first ship flies slower and a Course Change is used by the second ship – but how much slower?

In the beginning I wouldn’t have cared about it – but now, with a few games under my belt – I realize that an inch or even a fraction of an inch can make the difference between a withering broadside and “just out of range”. And we are talking about a tournament rule(!!)

There are some positive aspects too. For one stacking comes with a risk – stacked ships are practically on top of each other and suffer pretty much every area effect on the catastrophic damage table.

Another positive thing about stacking could be the stacking of corvettes.

The usual traffic jam is bad enough – but once both throw their corvettes into the fray – it is over.
I was thinking about using the stacking rule and building something like a “Y” shaped flight stand (like in X-Wing Armada). That way I can attach several corvettes to one flight stand and call it close formation – damage is tracked by differently colored dice. If one corvette leaves the group it can have its own flight stand back.


(By the way, unless it’s an experimental game or beer & pretzels time – we have the ruling that you need to own the model to play it. That helps to counter stacking abuse too)

So, do You use stacking? Do You have any experiences with it? What do you think about it? Is it suitable for tournament play? Anything I may have overlooked?

Thanks for your input
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Klarg1

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Re: Nice demo game with Hawk Dave and my issues with stackin

PostMon Jul 17, 2017 5:42 pm

In general, I'd agree with you. Stacking encourages lack of precision, and the dial base also does that, because it can encourage players to lift the model off the table while adjusting altitude / spike markings.

What do I do? I accept it. The game is a bit less precise than Dropzone, but I can cope. We generally try to avoid stacking models when we can, even if it occasionally leads to less optimal placement, but that would probably fall by the wayside in a competitive environment.

I am always eager to hear good ideas for streamlining or improving that sort of thing though.
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Re: Nice demo game with Hawk Dave and my issues with stackin

PostMon Jul 17, 2017 8:29 pm

First rule I want to change is the stacking rule. It's a miniatures game, I want to see the miniatures when I play.
It would be an easy fix to rule that you got to be able to place the base of the ship.
The beast of war video really illustrates the problem with stacking.

2e I would make debris fields and such real 3d obstacle that you can't end your move upon. This way the board would look better and more 3d just like dropzone. You could rule that you could move through them. If you move would take you over half, you would end up on the other side (same goes with moving past other ships or stopping before them).

3e stop premeasuring. It just slows the game down (as it shows in the beast of war video) and the game does not need it.
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SwordOfJustice

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Re: Nice demo game with Hawk Dave and my issues with stackin

PostTue Jul 18, 2017 1:35 am

Pre-measuring is a good rule IMO. It fits having a high technology setting and it allows more casual players to be on an even playing field with more experienced ones who can estimate the range better.
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Re: Nice demo game with Hawk Dave and my issues with stackin

PostTue Jul 18, 2017 3:02 am

I always stack my corvettes, since there is no real penalty for doing so. I do it because it helps speed the game up significantly.

Occasionally, I will stack frigates, but it's always a short term fix. More of an opening move so I can let my opponent take their turn while I fiddle with bases and layer markers. I always start stacked, and then split.
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Aladinn

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Re: Nice demo game with Hawk Dave and my issues with stackin

PostTue Jul 18, 2017 3:53 pm

Maybe a good middle ground would be to allow stacking if the ships are directly on top of each other (one miniature represents a couple), while if they are not directly stacked, you should be able to place the base of the miniature. That would stop putting a miniature half way another base and such which is really fiddly.
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Re: Nice demo game with Hawk Dave and my issues with stackin

PostTue Jul 18, 2017 5:01 pm

Aladinn wrote:First rule I want to change is the stacking rule. It's a miniatures game, I want to see the miniatures when I play.
It would be an easy fix to rule that you got to be able to place the base of the ship.
The beast of war video really illustrates the problem with stacking.


Seconded. It's probably too late to rewrite the rules to force ships to have actual footprints on the tabletop beyond a geometrically perfect point at the flight stem tip, but no stacking/no base overlaps would be the single biggest change I'd like to see. The potentially brutal damage from ship explosions should discourage this nonsense, but you still see it a ton, especially in atmosphere where blasts aren't an issue.
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J.D. Welch

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Re: Nice demo game with Hawk Dave and my issues with stackin

PostWed Jul 19, 2017 3:29 am

I don't have a problem with stacking. It speeds up the game and makes sense to me. The inherent risk of stacking (above Atmo) is evident and balances out shenanigans. You just have to actually own the model, and have it as Dave did, directly behind the model where the stack is occurring, or in the case of a swarm/horde, off to the side. If you don't actually own the model(s), you can't claim a stack, in my book...

And, really, who bothers actually moving a model that is in Atmo above a cluster? No wonder a lot of peoples' games take too long to play...
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Ljevid

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Re: Nice demo game with Hawk Dave and my issues with stackin

PostWed Jul 19, 2017 9:10 am

Aladinn wrote:3e stop premeasuring. It just slows the game down (as it shows in the beast of war video) and the game does not need it.


Good ideas, sadly we can't get rid of premeasuring. We use the metric system and measuring the distances is kind of a necessity.

Kelbesq wrote:I always stack my corvettes, since there is no real penalty for doing so. I do it because it helps speed the game up significantly.

Occasionally, I will stack frigates, but it's always a short term fix. More of an opening move so I can let my opponent take their turn while I fiddle with bases and layer markers. I always start stacked, and then split.


J.D. Welch wrote:I don't have a problem with stacking. It speeds up the game and makes sense to me. The inherent risk of stacking (above Atmo) is evident and balances out shenanigans. You just have to actually own the model, and have it as Dave did, directly behind the model where the stack is occurring, or in the case of a swarm/horde, off to the side. If you don't actually own the model(s), you can't claim a stack, in my book...


Since it is an official ruling I will try it out and see what happens. I'm still not 100 % sure about it and I happen to dislike not having active units on the tabletop, but I think it definitely makes sense with corvettes and during the starting move.

I just realized that I forgot about the "no explosion range in atmo"

J.D. Welch wrote:And, really, who bothers actually moving a model that is in Atmo above a cluster? No wonder a lot of peoples' games take too long to play...


I don't know... For one the Strike Carriers usually end up opposite each other and often shoot their main weapon in hope of a lucky hit. PHR have F/S arc and Shaltari even F/S/R - that way they have little problem to keep the enemy ship in their fire arc. Scourge only have F and therefor a much harder time manoeuvering - unless they use special orders.

Then you may want to prepare for a 6th turn dash to a nearby sector to score a Critical Location often only possible if you use your 2" move in the preceding turns.

And then there is the problem with getting in 3" Range of certain sectors or drifting out of range - drifting into range of sectors with defence weapons... And so on.


Can someone please tell me where I can find stacking in the rules?

Thanks for your input :D
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Suzume

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Re: Nice demo game with Hawk Dave and my issues with stackin

PostWed Jul 19, 2017 1:27 pm

It's pretty much on the page with traffic james.

I don't remember the exact page number, but just look in the movement rules, where it says any ship you can't fit can be replaced with a token, and theoretically any number of ships can occupy the same spot on the board.
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