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Author Topic: Xenos Rampant is coming!  (Read 13147 times)

Offline Hobgoblin

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Re: Xenos Rampant is coming!
« Reply #90 on: December 06, 2022, 09:40:37 PM »
Well, you should be able to get a good 60 of them onto the table for 24 points ...

Offline Darkson71

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Re: Xenos Rampant is coming!
« Reply #91 on: December 08, 2022, 09:09:40 PM »
Had a game of this at our club on Tuesday, my first introduction to any Rampant game, and I enjoyed it. Normally not a fan of anything with more than 10-20 to a side, but this seemed to really flow and felt "clean".
Got to admit I didn't get my head around the wounding mechanic (not helped as I haven't read the rules and we didn't have a lot of spare time), so had to rely on my (trustworthy) opponent, but definitely a game I want to try again, and will probably pick up the rules for.
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Offline sir_shvantselot

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Re: Xenos Rampant is coming!
« Reply #92 on: December 08, 2022, 09:45:37 PM »
That's good to hear, as I'm dying to take my CC-only alien bug swarm to the table.

I've had visions of a virtual carpet of chitin surging, bounding and leaping across the table. Dying in droves, but eventually getting to grips with their squishy opponents.

And eating all of them...  :D

So funny. And so unlikely to succeed…

Offline Hobgoblin

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Re: Xenos Rampant is coming!
« Reply #93 on: December 08, 2022, 10:10:22 PM »
The wounding mechanic's dead simple - you just need a number of hits equal to the target unit's Armour stat to score a kill. Hits are scored by equaling or exceeding the attackers' Attack Value or Shoot Value.

So if you shoot at an Elite Infantry unit with Armour 4, you need four hits to deduct a Strength Point (i.e. a figure in a normal unit). If you rolled seven hits, you'd still only cause one casualty (or wound), but if you got eight, you'd cause two.

Units with more than half of their starting Strength Points roll 10 dice when they attack; those reduced to half or below roll five dice. In the other Rampant games, it's 12/6 rather than 10/5.

That makes Armour one of the most important stats in the game - weak units with Armour 1 could be wiped out with a single volley whereas the toughies with Armour 4 or even 5 can soak up a lot of punishment.

Xenos Rampant has lots of nice ways of tweaking the set-up with special rules (e.g. a unit with a Heavy Weapon counts a roll of 6 as two hits rather than one; other rules reduce the target's Armour score; and Undead round up hits rather than rounding down like everyone else).

But it's a very robust system and one of the strengths of the Rampant engine. It accomplishes in one batch of rolls what Kings of War does in two and Warhammer in four (or sometimes more!) - taking into account both the skill of the attackers and the robustness of the defenders. I think it's one of the factors that gives the game that 'clean' feeling you describe - that and the way that combats are resolved in a self-contained way.

Offline Warren Abox

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Re: Xenos Rampant is coming!
« Reply #94 on: December 09, 2022, 06:27:29 AM »
One thing to consider is that the high armor units, like Elite infantry and vehicles, are limited to five strength points maximum. That means at most you only need to wound them three times to knock them down to half strength, at which point they roll one die for morale checks.  They might hang around like that longer than other units (wound penalties to morale checks do not carry over into later turns) but there is an upside.   At that point the prospect of forcing them to retreat via a hit that doesn't cause a wound becomes much more achievable.  The system contains a remarkable number of self-limiting factors like this.

Offline Darkson71

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Re: Xenos Rampant is coming!
« Reply #95 on: December 15, 2022, 12:05:20 PM »
I don't think it was a complicated system,  it was just we were in a bit of a hurry (I unfortunately had to leave for work), so my opponent was just trying to explain it all quite quickly - he'd prepared QRS and pre-made forces.

I'm sure once I've read the rules it will become clear - my opponent,  who's rules they were, by the 2nd round could just glance at the dice and work it out in seconds, and it was hid first game too.

Will definitely be picking up the book, but will probably be post-New Year, especially as many places seem sold out atm.

Skirmish is my go-to gaming, really don't like big battles, so expect to play this alongside Stargrave, especially if I want to put a few more figs on the board than in SG.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2022, 12:08:29 PM by Darkson71 »

Offline Hobgoblin

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Re: Xenos Rampant is coming!
« Reply #96 on: December 20, 2022, 12:01:56 PM »
One thing to consider is that the high armor units, like Elite infantry and vehicles, are limited to five strength points maximum. That means at most you only need to wound them three times to knock them down to half strength, at which point they roll one die for morale checks.  They might hang around like that longer than other units (wound penalties to morale checks do not carry over into later turns) but there is an upside.   At that point the prospect of forcing them to retreat via a hit that doesn't cause a wound becomes much more achievable.  The system contains a remarkable number of self-limiting factors like this.

That's a very good point, though I'm not sure about how well balanced it proves in practice. We played another game the other weekend, pitting two 24-point detachments of space marines (so all Elite Infantry) against a detachment consisting of Heavy, Berserk and Support Infantry and another consisting of a Fighting Vehicle and Heavy and Elite Infantry.

All four detachments ended up having three units each. The marines had a mix of armour piercing, extra-heavy armour and anti-tank weapons; the Berserk/Heavy/Support side had 10 strength points for the first two units, heavy weapons, assault doctrine and armour piercing for the Heavy Infantry and artillery, armour piercing and heavy weapons for the support infantry. The vehicle was a walker with armour piercing and artillery; the heavies and elites had heavy weapons and armour piercing.

We enjoyed the game, but it did end up rather one-sided; I think one of the six marine units was destroyed and two brought down to half strength before they wiped all their enemies out. And so I was left wondering if Elite Infantry are a little undercosted - especially as the Firefight rule works to their advantage (most units are unlikely to do them much harm in an exchange of fire whereas they'll typically cause at least one casualty every time and more against the lightly armoured troop types).

What we found was that non-Elite units had to be heavily souped up (with armour piercing, increased squad size and heavy weapons especially) to have any real chance of causing the Elites harm. But those upgrades took them to or above the Elite point cost and still left them significantly inferior. The Fighting Vehicle was the notable exception to this, but otherwise, the net result was that the Elites were up against the same number of markedly weaker units.

Early in the game, the Support Infantry unit targeted one unit of Elite Infantry from across the table (the Support Infantry had the artillery rule to boost its range to 48"). They caused a couple of casualties, but the Elite Infantry immediately took the Support Infantry to half-strength through Firefight and then finished them off in their own turn (taking a casualty from Firefight in the process, perhaps). The extra point of Armour for extreme range was no match for a strong set of rolls - especially as it as negated by the Elite Infantry's armour piercing.

The 10-strong Berserk Infantry were destroyed by another group of Elites in a single round (albeit through an unlucky dice roll, but despite using cover as they advanced). The 10-strong Heavy Infantry lasted a little longer, but were down to half strength pretty quickly and soon destroyed after that. In the end, the only units on that side with any real durability were the Fighting Vehicle and the solitary group of Elite Infantry.

A few things occurred to me. First, to have evened up the game, we'd have needed much more cover. We had something like a dozen buildings arranged in a rough shanty town plus a spot of jungle on the fringe, but we'd have needed much, much more for the non-Elite side to have had much of a chance.

Second, and perhaps because of the relatively scanty cover, we had a lot of situations where "shoot and hope for a miracle with the dice" seemed the only smart option (moving out of the line of fire would just have allowed the Elites to get closer, where they would be even more deadly).

Third, the balance feels different from the other Rampant games. In Dragon Rampant, if you add shiny armour to a Bellicose Foot unit (for example), you bring it up to the cost of an Elite Foot unit, but the two units feel of equal value (the Bellicose Foot are faster and have more strength points. They're much worse at defending, but they can counter-charge. So it's not clear which is the best bet for your six points). Similarly, three Heavy Foot units seem equal in value to two Elite Foot (three tough units that have a lot of strength points and can close ranks for maximum defensiveness versus two smaller, more aggressive and versatile units).

In Xenos Rampant, however, you don't seem to get the same 'value for points' relative to Elites. On the basis of the games we've played, it's a no-brainer to take four Elite Infantry units over 12 lots of Heavy Infantry; in a straight fight, the former will wipe out the latter at their ease: they'll typically each have two shooting attacks per turn (one in their own and one through Firefight) and will usually cause a casualty with each attack. Importantly, they only need a little bit of luck to cause two casualties per attack (rolling six 4+s out of 10 rather than five), and will typically cause a casualty even to a Heavy Infantry unit at extreme range or in hard cover (five hits out of 10 dice versus Armour 4 or 5).

By contrast, the plain-vanilla Heavy Infantry will typically cause no casualties to the Elites (the HI need four sixes out of 10 or five at extreme range). They will cause Courage Tests, but the Elites only need 3 or better on two dice to pass when at full strength. So even when you have three HI units gunning for a single Elite unit, you need a fair bit of luck to do much damage before they cause mayhem. And if the Elites get lucky, they can potentially take a HI unit down to half strength in a single volley (i.e. 9 out of 10 dice coming in at 4+ - unlikely, but certainly not unusual in Rampant games - and certainly more likely than the 8 sixes out of 10 that the HI need to cause two casualties!).

If the sides did nothing but shoot at each other in a six-turn game, you'd expect each unit of Elite Infantry to cause something like 10 or 11 casualties (they'll typically cause five hits a turn regardless of range and will Firefight in several turns). My maths isn't good enough to calculate the casualties the Heavy Infantry would typically cause, but it could well be zero (if the two sides stayed at long range, the HI would need half their 10 dice to be sixes to cause a single casualty).

And if you upgrade the Heavy Infantry to the same points cost as the Elite Infantry (say, with heavy weapon and increased squad size), you'll probably cause a casualty each turn at close range (though it will be swingy - sixes double for the heavy weapon, which is a nice rule in itself), though not at extreme range, but you'll still move more slowly and be more vulnerable to courage tests and suppression. It'll take 15 hits to bring you down to half-strength, but an Elite unit will typically inflict that in a couple of turns (accounting for Firefight).

Fourth, the switch from 12/6 to 10/5 with regard to dice and strength points may have had an asymmetric effect on the weaker unit types. The chances of causing casualties have gone down significantly (on 12 dice, you'd expect HI to score a couple of hits a round when shooting; on 10, they need a little bit of luck), and my (decidedly unmathematical!) sense is that this isn't quite offset by the lower number of casualties required to take a unit to half-strength. If you typically won't cause any casualties with an attack, there's not much of a gulf between two and three.

Now, all this has to be caveated with the point that sides won't typically just shoot at each other all game. We've only played the 'straight fight' scenario, and the others may well reveal nuances that we've missed. Objectives might change everything (if you're moving, you aren't shooting, vehicles aside). And the six-turn limit might work against Elite Infantry here. But my sense from the first couple of games is that Elite Infantry might be a bit cheap at the price, and that increasing them to 8 points might be an improvement - not least because any upgrades would then take you down to two units of Elites at most, forcing some variety into the side. At the moment, a player can get three souped-up Elite units for 24AP (say, taking heavy weapons for one, armour piercing and high-powered blades for another, and super-heavy armour for the third) or four basic ones. If they were eight points a piece to begin with, you might end up with two upgraded Elite units and a few units of the other infantry classes (whose basic points value is 1 or 2). It's a consideration because an awful lot of players will have plenty of Elite Infantry ready to go!

Anyway, these are just initial impressions from a couple of games. I'd love to hear if other people's experience is different - and I'll report back on how it goes for us next time around, when we'll be playing one of the more elaborate scenarios.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2022, 12:13:06 PM by Hobgoblin »

Offline Silent Invader

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Re: Xenos Rampant is coming!
« Reply #97 on: December 20, 2022, 12:21:40 PM »
Interesting and useful, thanks
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Offline Hobgoblin

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Re: Xenos Rampant is coming!
« Reply #98 on: December 20, 2022, 01:42:38 PM »
The other tweak that occurred to me (along with upping the cost of Elite Infantry to 8) was improving the shooting of a basic Heavy Infantry unit to 5+ - which would then rise to 4+ (equal terms with Elites) if the unit were upgraded to 10-strong. That would mean that the upgraded HI infantry could exchange fire with the EI on more equal terms (though still with inferior armour) and would have more strength points, but would be slower, less potent in melee and more vulnerable to suppression and routing. That would give a reasonable 4:6 points ratio - the same as HF to EF in Dragon Rampant.

Again, though, this is just based on a couple of basic games.

Online Pattus Magnus

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Re: Xenos Rampant is coming!
« Reply #99 on: December 20, 2022, 04:49:35 PM »
Thanks for that analysis Hobgoblin, that makes a lot of sense to me. I think With my regular gaming group I’ll propose boosting the Elite infantry to 8 points. I anticipate some hand-wringing and whining from one fellow, but I expect it will be embraced without too much drama.

To me, this illustrates how difficult it can be to get points balance right - the interaction between multiple factors can produce a bigger imbalance than expected.

Offline Hobgoblin

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Re: Xenos Rampant is coming!
« Reply #100 on: December 20, 2022, 05:05:41 PM »
Thanks for that analysis Hobgoblin, that makes a lot of sense to me. I think With my regular gaming group I’ll propose boosting the Elite infantry to 8 points. I anticipate some hand-wringing and whining from one fellow, but I expect it will be embraced without too much drama.

Maybe raise it as a possibility before a game to see how the normal points go? So far, we've only played with a few unit types (Elite, Heavy, Support and Berserk Infantry; Primitive Infantry; and Fighting Vehicles). Perhaps the Xenomorphs and Xeno rules will cast a different light on things!

To me, this illustrates how difficult it can be to get points balance right - the interaction between multiple factors can produce a bigger imbalance than expected.

Yes, indeed: I think it's a minor miracle that the Dragon and Lion Rampant points system works so well. I've always found those games to be tremendously well balanced, with good reasons to take each troop type (even if it's only to use up a spare point in the case of Ravenous Hordes!).

I think the balance issue with Elite Infantry is that they're good at everything except strength points - but the high armour (which can be boosted further with an upgrade) makes that much less of a factor than it is in the other games, where default shooting and melee attacks are much more deadly.

Offline Darkson71

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Re: Xenos Rampant is coming!
« Reply #101 on: December 21, 2022, 10:14:44 PM »
I might be missing something (and my book hasn't arrived yet), but if you have units with longer range, shouldn't they be targeting units that won't have a chance to firefight them back? I know my opponent did it to me a few times.

Offline Hobgoblin

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Re: Xenos Rampant is coming!
« Reply #102 on: December 22, 2022, 03:08:59 PM »
I might be missing something (and my book hasn't arrived yet), but if you have units with longer range, shouldn't they be targeting units that won't have a chance to firefight them back? I know my opponent did it to me a few times.

As I understand the rules, when long-range unit (e.g. Support Infantry + Artillery) fires at an Elite Infantry unit, the latter can fire back subject to a 7+ roll. The extreme range will boost the Support Infantry unit's armour to 3, but the Elite Infantry will still typically cause a casualty (and two or three if they have Armour Piercing and a bit of luck).

The only units that can't shoot back under these circumstances are those that can't fire at extreme range (e.g. Berserk Infantry). But any unit with a range of 18" or more can shoot the length of the table (with the target gaining a +1 boost to armour after 18").

Unless your target units couldn't fire at extreme range (as Elite, Heavy, Support and Light Infantry can), you should have a had a chance to shoot back.

There is an 'indirect fire' upgrade for Support Infantry, but otherwise, most infantry units will be able to shoot back at their long-range attackers.

Offline Warren Abox

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Re: Xenos Rampant is coming!
« Reply #103 on: December 23, 2022, 03:05:51 AM »
IIRC you can only 'firefight' up to your max range - not the length of the table.  So there is a way to stand off and get a couple shots in without earning return fire.  And elites can only firefight once.  If you hit 'em twice, the second one is free.

Very situational, but at least a possibility.

Online Pattus Magnus

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Re: Xenos Rampant is coming!
« Reply #104 on: December 23, 2022, 04:41:00 AM »
Hmm, so a cagey player using a bunch of lower value units might be able to use one to draw the firefight return fire from the elites, then pile on fire from a couple higher value units without those being at risk of return fire. Given the armour value of elites, the lower value troops might still fail to cause damage, though.

It seems like it there are a bunch of interesting trade offs to consider. I am very much looking forward to reading my copy and n a couple days when it comes out from under the Christmas tree!

 

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