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Author Topic: Xenos Rampant is coming!  (Read 19806 times)

Offline Silent Invader

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Re: Xenos Rampant is coming!
« Reply #135 on: December 30, 2022, 11:05:11 AM »
Quote
Ö.I think I'll just drop the Elite Infantry and it could still be a fun game.  After all the galaxy is a very large place so the best troops in the galaxy are surely hard to find!

Thatís pretty much my take as well.
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Offline has.been

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Re: Xenos Rampant is coming!
« Reply #136 on: December 30, 2022, 11:14:39 AM »
Or give the elites to the new/poorer player.
A kind of handicap system. This kind of idea was proposed to me
(over 50 years ago) by my first wargames opponent (Steve O'leary).
He proposed a campaign based on Republican Rome's practice.
Good general's don't need as much support. Start with 1000pts (WRG)
win a battle & the Senate reduces your army to 900pts & so on.
At the end of the campaign the player with just 3 messengers & a dog
is obviously a s**t hot general.
 lol lol lol

Offline Major_Gilbear

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Re: Xenos Rampant is coming!
« Reply #137 on: December 30, 2022, 11:45:52 AM »
I think I'll just drop the Elite Infantry and it could still be a fun game.  After all the galaxy is a very large place so the best troops in the galaxy are surely hard to find!
I've been coming around to the conclusion that Elites are probably meant to represent that heroic band of troops you see in films - often with one or more main characters in them. In 40k terms, it would perhaps be an Inquisitor and their retinue, a single squad of Grey Knight Terminators let by a Captain, or a Space Marine Chapter Master and their retinue/bodyguard, etc. It would not be regular Marines or such.

Just now need to address some of the other points quirks.  eg why would heavy infantry pay 2 points to increase their close combat attack by 1?  Why take a mob when you can take a large light infantry unit with close combat and courage 5 for the same 1 point?
There's a lot of odd choices in the unit types, and also a fair bit of compression where certain units and upgrades are just more expensive (or better/worse) versions of others, or where units from other games just don't translate very well at all. To use 40k again (since everyone knows what it is and likely has models for it), the difference between Eldar Guardians and Aspect Warriors is difficult to work out, because they are quite different; but if you treat Aspect Warriors as Heavy Infantry, then they (1) overlap with Marines, and (2) still don't feel like they work correctly. Also, getting the Eldar Corsairs onto the table using the Mercenaries rules seemed like a fun translation - until I read the Mercenary rule.  :?

I think something like Orks - Beserk Infantry.  marines (chaos or space) - Heavy infantry, Imperial Guard - light infantry, Eldar - light infantry with cloaking, don't have any Tau so don't need to worry about them, genestealers are your classic lesser xenomorphs.  That's most of my main scifi factions covered.
Hmm, in a pinch that'd work, but you wouldn't get much differentiation between unit types in the same force (perhaps an upgrade or special rule).

I also found heavy and special weapons tricky to represent in the rules. A five-man Tactical squad of Marines with a missile launcher could have the Heavy Weapons upgrade. A similar five-man Devastator squad of Marines with four missile launchers would be... Um, the same?  :-I  I feel that some upgrades should only last whilst the unit is at full strength, and then be removed when the unit is at half strength. So the Tac squad would only get the benefit of Heavy Weapons until the squad is reduced, and then lose it; the Devastator squad however would keep the Heavy Weapons upgrade until the last man is removed from the unit. Where full/partial upgrades like this are offered, the upgrade could have a split cost indicated.

I realise that 40k is... An odd game, in many respects, and that fitting it neatly into XR might be tricky. However, I've tried other units from other franchises, and rubbed up against the same thing each time. Weirdly, in Dragon Rampant, there seems to be less of this, and then unit types seem to be better spread out. I'm therefore really not sure why XR has created all the profiles and upgrades it has.  ???

Offline Hobgoblin

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Re: Xenos Rampant is coming!
« Reply #138 on: December 30, 2022, 12:01:45 PM »
I realise that Elite units are the "best of the best in the whole galaxy", but there does seem to be a pretty big gap between them and the next unit down on the power scale (Heavy Infantry). This feels a bit awkward when you're wanting to field an elite force that's still great, but not quite pinnacle-of-the glactic-scale good.

I wonder if dropping the free actions and reducing Elites to 5pt baseline would help, and then allow them to buy back each of the free actions at an extra point cost (say 2pts each action) as part of the optional upgrades? They already have a great statline all-round, so even without the two free actions, Elite units are still highly reliable and competent troops. Buying back both free actions raises them to 9pts (a 50% cost increase on where they are currently), which again feels about right for what are supposed to be such incredible and (presumably rare) troops that you don't even need to risk a failed activation ordering them for most of the game.

That's an elegant idea - but it does leave you with a default situation in which an Elite Infantry unit is less likely to shoot than a Heavy Infantry one. I think we all generally agree that the Elite Infantry profile is an accurate portrayal of space marines/Sardaukar/whatever, so it might be easier just to boost the cost to 8 or 9 points.

We've only played a handful of games, but I think the "answer" to Elite units may be to play the scenarios from the book. In a straight fight the Elite units are very hard to deal with, but with only three units on the table you'll struggle to fulfil the objectives of some of the scenarios.

Yup - I've only played the 'straight fight' scenario, so might well be missing something. That said, though, you get four plain-vanilla Elite units for your 24 points, and they are fast as well as tough.

Not just that but it sort of doesnít feel different enough to LR?  Eg keeping the same unit types, the underwhelming vehicle rules, the over emphasis on melee.  Itís basically LR in space in the way 40k was WFB in space.  It could have been that much more.

One 'legacy' aspect of the other Rampant games that feels a bit odd is that most units can't move and fire. You can't have your Imperial Stormtroopers do this, for example:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6JXuSpSRCs

A fix would be to give all units a (non-Free) 'Move and Shoot' action with a shooting penalty. But if the penalty's applied to the Shoot roll (as with vehicles), Light and Heavy Infantry will be unable to score any hits. So perhaps a +1 to the target's Armour instead? That would make cover even more important for light troop types in defending positions.

In any case, I do think the crossbow/musket dynamic of the Rampant games feels a bit odd here. I'm thinking of games like FUBAR that allow moving and shooting, or the many other sci-fi skirmish games that allow more than one action per activation. One situation that arose frequently in our games was a Heavy Infantry unit being caught in the open and having little option but to shoot and hope (against hope) that it would suppress the Elite unit bearing down on it. It didn't ever work, but it seemed a better bet than moving towards cover (more than one move needed to reach it!) or going to ground (which doesn't change the average number of casualties inflicted by an Elite unit). A 'move and shoot' action would have given that unit a better chance of getting into cover while its members provided covering fire for each other ("Go! Go! Go!").

On the strength of a couple of games of each, I currently think that The Men Who Would Be Kings is the better game. We used it for some 40Kish sci-fi games last year, and it worked quite well with some genre-appropriate tweaks (I recall that we gave space marines two Shooting dice per figure and required two hits to remove each at close range or melee). I suspect XR might have been better using TMWWBK as the base rather than DR/LR. Of course, there's ample opportunity for mashing up the two rulesets ...

In particular, the one-die-per-figure principle in TMWWBK seems a better fit for a small-unit sci-fi game (and allows a range of weaponry - from one die for a basic gun to two or even three for your bolters and storm bolters and whatnot). And you could still use the Strength Points principle on top of it.

I think a die (or two or three!) per figure is a better bet for a shooty game with squads of five figures. That way, you avoid anomalies like the firepower of a Heavy Infantry unit reduced to two men. In XR, if that unit started with five men, it rolls five dice and hits on 6. But if it started with ten men, it's twice as effective: five dice and hits on 5. But you might have the very same figures on the tabletop ("Ah, but these guys used to have more friends!").

So I wonder if XR should perhaps have been The Xenomorphs Who Would Be God-Emperor.

Each to their own of course, and some players will want a maxed-out force, which kinda makes me think of the suited-up Martian Marines in The Expanse, who could pretty much defeat everything (apart from proto-molecule enhanced opposition, if Iím remembering it correctly). In which case, it seems to me that thereís still fun to be had from losing, itís just a matter of trying to contain the losses.

Yes, doomed last stands can certainly make for great games. And I agree with you that the Rampant series are for friendly, fun games (the only kind worth playing, in my view!). But the issue here isn't so much that players wickedly max out their forces to win, but that they stat up what they have and end up with an army that produces one-sided games. For example, our regular father-and-son opponents have sci-fi forces consisting entirely of gloriously painted Primaris space marines. They're naturally going to stat those up as Elite Infantry, which naturally means three or four Elite squads per player (depending on upgrades). The old school friend with whom I play occasional games has squad upon squad of prize-winning Ultramarines. So if we play the game, it's always going to be Elite Infantry and perhaps a Fighting Vehicle on one side. I'm sure that's a common situation for sci-fi gamers.

Again, the contrast with the natural balance of the other Rampant rules is striking. If someone turns up with elves or chaos warriors for Dragon Rampant and stats up an entirely Elite force, it doesn't unbalance the game (there are keys for those locks in the defensive qualities of Heavy Foot or the aggression of Bellicose Foot and Lesser/Greater Warbeasts). And one of the purest joys of the Rampant series is when you lure someone's Elite Cavalry into the woods with your measly Ravenous Horde ...

Also, a great strength of the Rampant series is the ease of starting up a side and the short 'time to table'. All in all, I probably prefer a game of Saga to Lion or Dragon Rampant. But Saga's quite an involved game to get going, especially if you (a) haven't played it for a while and (b) have new players to introduce to the game - or unfamiliar battleboards to introduce to players. By contrast, Dragon Rampant is a game that you can get going quickly and which plays intuitively. And that's a real advantage that more than offsets my slight preference for the way Saga plays - which is why we've played much more LR/DR than Saga.

So far - and I have to caveat this that it's only based on a couple of games - XR doesn't have that quality of "throw some models on the table and get a nicely balanced game". Both times, our experience has been "throw some models on the table and get a very unbalanced game".

At the worst, though, XR will be a good toolkit for use on TMWWBK. And we're certainly going to play through some more rules-as-written games using other scenarios. Initial impressions aren't everything; it's just that they're not as rosy as they were with the other Rampant games.

Offline Major_Gilbear

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Re: Xenos Rampant is coming!
« Reply #139 on: December 30, 2022, 12:19:29 PM »
That's an elegant idea - but it does leave you with a default situation in which an Elite Infantry unit is less likely to shoot than a Heavy Infantry one. I think we all generally agree that the Elite Infantry profile is an accurate portrayal of space marines/Sardaukar/whatever, so it might be easier just to boost the cost to 8 or 9 points.

Maybe, maybe not. The problem is that Elites are just fantastic, and then there is a huge gulf downwards to the next unit in terms of overall power. So whilst yes, Space Marines are that elite in the background, in games terms they become rather common and therefore boring.

Also, the Elite statline is still far better than anything else in game even with no free actions. So whilst HI are more likely to shoot, and LI are more likely to move, Elites are still reliable at either of those actions and better overall, and are therefore less likely to be trapped into this scenario:
One situation that arose frequently in our games was a Heavy Infantry unit being caught in the open and having little option but to shoot and hope (against hope) that it would suppress the Elite unit bearing down on it. It didn't ever work, but it seemed a better bet than moving towards cover (more than one move needed to reach it!) or going to ground (which doesn't change the average number of casualties inflicted by an Elite unit).

By having Elite units buy the free actions back as upgrades, it also leaves a bit of room for un-upgraded Elite units to be a bit less elite, and to use the extra couple of points saved for different unit upgrades instead. I admit, my comments here are coloured heavily (but not exclusively) by Space Marines!  lol  But they still apply in lots of other situations too.  :)

Offline TWD

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Re: Xenos Rampant is coming!
« Reply #140 on: December 30, 2022, 12:31:09 PM »
In our last game we experimented with Marines as HI and a single unit of Elite to represent the commander and his retinue. If you take five man Marine squads as reduced model count large units they're good without dominating.

One other suggestion was capping Elites at a single unit, like vehicles.

TBH were still learning and the use of scenarios has been a bit of a leveller so I think we're kind of fine with Elites as written at the moment.

Offline jon_1066

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Re: Xenos Rampant is coming!
« Reply #141 on: December 30, 2022, 09:15:52 PM »
I've been coming around to the conclusion that Elites are probably meant to represent that heroic band of troops you see in films - often with one or more main characters in them. In 40k terms, it would perhaps be an Inquisitor and their retinue, a single squad of Grey Knight Terminators let by a Captain, or a Space Marine Chapter Master and their retinue/bodyguard, etc. It would not be regular Marines or such.
There's a lot of odd choices in the unit types, and also a fair bit of compression where certain units and upgrades are just more expensive (or better/worse) versions of others, or where units from other games just don't translate very well at all. To use 40k again (since everyone knows what it is and likely has models for it), the difference between Eldar Guardians and Aspect Warriors is difficult to work out, because they are quite different; but if you treat Aspect Warriors as Heavy Infantry, then they (1) overlap with Marines, and (2) still don't feel like they work correctly. Also, getting the Eldar Corsairs onto the table using the Mercenaries rules seemed like a fun translation - until I read the Mercenary rule.  :?


Hmm, in a pinch that'd work, but you wouldn't get much differentiation between unit types in the same force (perhaps an upgrade or special rule).

Ö

All my figures are RT era so Iím not so worried about that.  So long as the different forces feel different then thatís OK

Offline Hobgoblin

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Re: Xenos Rampant is coming!
« Reply #142 on: December 31, 2022, 12:11:48 AM »
Maybe, maybe not. The problem is that Elites are just fantastic, and then there is a huge gulf downwards to the next unit in terms of overall power. So whilst yes, Space Marines are that elite in the background, in games terms they become rather common and therefore boring.

Yeah - that gulf is at the heart of the (perceived - early days yet, etc. ...) problem. I wonder if Heavy Infantry might work better with a starting Shoot Value of 5+ - so that an upgraded 10-strong unit would compete on equal terms with Elite Infantry in a firefight (but would still be slower, less durable, etc.). That 4:6 point ratio with at least one area of equal footing (and superiority in strength points) seems a bit more like the relative costs and effectiveness of Heavy (or Bellicose) and Elite Foot in Dragon Rampant.

In our last game we experimented with Marines as HI and a single unit of Elite to represent the commander and his retinue. If you take five man Marine squads as reduced model count large units they're good without dominating.

That's a good idea - must try it!


One other suggestion was capping Elites at a single unit, like vehicles.

Yes - that makes sense. Our experience was that a heavily upgraded Fighting Vehicle (Artillery, Armour Piercing, Walker) was roughly a match for a an upgraded Elite unit - but there was just one of the former!

TBH were still learning and the use of scenarios has been a bit of a leveller so I think we're kind of fine with Elites as written at the moment.

It would be quite a fun experiment to play every scenario with four Elite Infantry units on one side and see how many (if any!) they lose.


Offline Metternich

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Re: Xenos Rampant is coming!
« Reply #143 on: January 10, 2023, 05:31:36 PM »
Another possible alternative is to give the player with just Elites a point limit lower than that given to the player without Elites (e.g. 24 vs. 32, or 30 vs. 36).  This could fit into many scenarios:  imagine a situation where an Imperial vessel (the only one in sector) sends in the Marine contingent to attack a planetary installation (perhaps a laboratory researching forbidden technology; or the palace of the local ruler).  The Marines are limited to what was available aboard the one cruiser (perhaps 3 squads), while the planetary force has more available upon which it can call.  And it could give the non-Elite more of a fighting chance (e.g. perhaps having two units with the on-call fire support option, increasing the odds of getting a hit; this would be especially true if the table was longer, forcing the Marines to move farther to engage the FOs, and if the Marines were under fire from other units trying to prevent their movement)

Offline Hobgoblin

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Re: Xenos Rampant is coming!
« Reply #144 on: January 18, 2023, 09:09:20 PM »
That's a good idea: essentially upping the points available to the non-Elite player rather than changing the points costs themselves.

We haven't managed another game yet; I do want to try all the scenarios with a '4 x Elite Infantry' force to see what its win ratio is!

Offline religon

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Re: Xenos Rampant is coming!
« Reply #145 on: January 18, 2023, 11:22:00 PM »
I have played the last 3 games (Alpha Scenario) with 8 pts. for elite infantry. The side with EI won two of the three games. FWIW.

Offline Hobgoblin

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Re: Xenos Rampant is coming!
« Reply #146 on: January 19, 2023, 12:09:55 AM »
I have played the last 3 games (Alpha Scenario) with 8 pts. for elite infantry. The side with EI won two of the three games. FWIW.

Interesting! Were these wholly EI sides, or mix and match?

Offline DivisMal

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Re: Xenos Rampant is coming!
« Reply #147 on: January 19, 2023, 05:16:37 PM »
My experience is very, very limited from playing against myself. Yet, I do think, Hobgoblinís idea to use XR as a toolkit to tune TMWWBK sounds very attractive.
What I do miss in XR are more options for weapons especially hevy weapons. That would be very easy to represent with TMWWBKĎs 1+ die/model.
Also activation in TMWWBK seems to be better representing modern conflicts in using the officerĎs leadership and not the troop type for that. This allows to represent tough units that are poorly led (orks) as well as extraordinarily well trained/led light troops (SW rebels),

Looking forward to reading more experience reports here.

Offline religon

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Re: Xenos Rampant is coming!
« Reply #148 on: January 19, 2023, 06:52:52 PM »
Interesting! Were these wholly EI sides, or mix and match?

The first was 3 EI units. The other two were a mix... 2 and 1 units IIRC.

Offline nozza_uk

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Re: Xenos Rampant is coming!
« Reply #149 on: April 24, 2023, 11:10:35 AM »
Is there somewhere online to share any units/armies that we create? Please don't say Facebook.

 

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