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 Post subject: Taris Map - Is it too good? (New DCI map discussion)
PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2009 10:41 am 
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Ok, the current DCI map list has been out for over a month now, and I know many of you were using Taris and others even before that. I think its time to start a discussion about possible map abuses.

I start with Taris, because oddly (surprised even me that the following seems to be true), I've found it more abusable than Broken Crystophis. I also have some issues with BC, but I will get to those later.

Issues with Taris - pretty heavily one sided - the left side is pretty significant, and for squads built for it, the right side has little downside - which means, its like Starship for Speedy Cannon, without the ability of the left side to collect gambit - ouch.

Save zones - the starting areas are safe for the most part. Towed shooters can get some early los on the left side, but nothing like Geonosis. However, turn 2+ presents los all over the board for either side. If the shooter squad is set up well, there is very little the opponent can do to protect its pieces at all for an advance. This I think is my biggest issue with the map - there is no way to cross it at all.

Mobile shooters - beastly on this map. They can mobile and cover 75% of the board, and almost the entire middle, especially gambit without problems. Its a very mobile friendly map.

Shooter vs. melee - man, its an uphill battle for the melee on this one. The best you can do is take the left and get close to gambit on turn one. But then turn 2, you have to run the gauntlet and hope you survive. With this map in the meta, I fear melee might either have to assume a near auto-loss to mobile shooters, or include an anti-shooter figure, Reeikan, Gungan Shield bearer, Wedge, Chamelian Droid etc. At least on Death star you have ways to advance in relative safety - on this one there is basically no where to go in the middle of the map on your way in.

And to be clear, I am not calling for its banning at this time, nor am I leaning towards that. I am simply expressing my experiences with it so far and want to gauge the experience of others on it as well.

Now to Broken Crystophis:

I think this map is abusable, but its not as easy to do so as Taris seems to be for me thus far. The biggest advantage, is that you can advance through the top pretty quickly. Now, we all knew the big pit area would present problems for melee, and for chasing down flight minis, but this is no where near the issues Mustafar had with it. I played melee from the left on Sat against all shooters (Vong) and won easily. I was able to pick off something first round with Nom, and then force my opponent to either get to gambit for three rounds (I had 13pts) or advance on my hidden JHs (used the rooms on the left to sit). So my opponent had to advance on me.

Granted, I was not pure melee (but I don't think completely pure melee should be given complete concern when it comes to maps anyways). The ability to set up second with my one shooter was enough to counter the horrible map for my squad. So I think I can live with it. Taris presented no such ability for me at all.

The key to BC seems to be the wide open room at the top that allows some safe advancement, and the ability to chase down things in 1-2 rounds from there. I need many more games on it with melee vs. shooters to really say definitively, but thus far, I am still ok with it on the list as well. I'm seeing more issues with Taris right now, oddly enough.

Now, don't get me wrong here, Taris is a fun map, and I am not sure BC is all that fun, but I think, its actually easier to abuse Taris - with a squad that is also more competitive on other maps than it is with BC. What do you all think?

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 Post subject: Re: Taris Map - Is it too good? (New DCI map discussion)
PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2009 11:19 am 
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Well, obviously, Melee is nearly screwed on this map, like you pointed out Bill. Unless you've got major movement breakers in your squad, you're likely never going to even get close to your opponent. However, I think if we're discussing the validity of this map for something like the Championships at GenCon, then it's safe to assume that very few squads will be run purely melee, and those usually don't finish at the top anyways.

I think what you're getting at here is the following question: Is there potential for this map to be abused at GenCon the way Geonosis/Mustafar were?

Well, first of all, I won't be surprised to see Jim have a 'map list' for the Championships again this year. One of the criteria he stated for that list was 'ease of availability' and he said at one point that at least a couple of the maps, while great maps to play on, and balanced just fine, were left off the list because they were not as easy to get a hold of (for instance: Echo Base Outpost). I'd still put the Taris map in this category, as the only ways to get it at this point were at GenCon last year, or through the KOTOR events in August. So it's certainly not as widely available as even the Battle of Hoth set was.

But, let's assume that the Taris map is in one of the Map Packs in April or June, so then everybody can have it. Will it be abusable at GenCon?

I think it's hard to say. Cloaked and Super-Stealth squads still do quite well on that map. Evade (even without Rieekan) is more and more popular. I would have no problem at all running a NR squad on Taris at any point in time. Fast moving squads I don't think are AS viable on Taris as they can be on say Death Star or Starship, because there are some corners of Taris that can be tough to get to, and it's actually not that hard to completely cut-off an opponent's piece from the rest of their squad. Or at the very least, get to where if your opponent rushes Luke's SS at you, you can position yourself to wail on the SS without any of the rest of the opponent's squad hitting you at the same time. That's sometimes tougher to set-up on some of the other maps.

I actually like the fact that gambit is wide open on this map. It means the game is played more about strategy and taking out your opponent, rather then just getting the free points.

I think to some degree, the game is always going to stay more balanced toward mobile shooters. They're just a good squad archetype. So, maps that are uniquely tipped in their direction will certainly help as well. However, I believe the presence of some of the other maps can serve to counter that still. Train Station gives some nice options for mobile shooters, but it also gives a TON more cover for approaching then many other maps, and it usually forces even your mobile shooters to close the gap and get in close. I think there are enough other map options that, even if you build your squad uniquely to abuse Taris, you'll still have to prepare for the 50% chance you'll be on a different map altogether.

If you're concerned mostly about high-movement squads like Speedy Cannon on Taris, I wouldn't let that concern me too much. That was obviously the top-squad to beat last year anyway, and it did wonderfully on the restricted maps allowed for GenCon, beating out other squads on maps that would be considered sub-par compared to Taris. I think Speedy Cannon has lost enough power that it isn't quite as top-tier anymore, so if something is going to abuse Taris enough to cause a problem, it'll have to be something new. Perhaps K3PO swap or something, I'm not sure.

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 Post subject: Re: Taris Map - Is it too good? (New DCI map discussion)
PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2009 11:33 am 
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OK, thinking about this a bit more...

If the Jedi Academy set attempts to push things more towards the Melee side of the game (extrapolating from GMLS to what the rest of the set might hold, which is highly hypothetical), then I could possibly see Melee being a problem. Then again, pieces like Yobuck and GMLS can cross the map ridiculously fast and wreck havoc to your squad, especially since there are some nice corners here and there that you can advance through to at least get close, and then rush. Again, I think it will be hard to fully judge ANY of the maps and their ability to be abused at GenCon until after the JA set is released. So, if anyone has any pull with Jim, and we know he's considering a restricted map list again, might be good to convince him to wait to make any final decisions until after JA is released.


I'm also just trying to think of possible squad match-ups here. Since I like my San squads, I was thinking about how I would run them on Taris. For the squad I played at GenCon 07/08, it would be tough. If I out-activated the opponent, I could use the Grans/Ugs to get some gambit points, but otherwise, it would come down to slowly advancing Boba/Aurra through the protected corner squares here and there, and trying to pounce on an opponent at some point. Depending on the opponent, could also put Boba out in gambit and rely on his Evade. For the newer San squads I've been playing with, I have typically 2-3 Evade pieces, and have been squeezing in Jarael and a TBSV. She ends up being an absolutely awesome piece for protecting that gambit zone on Taris. Run out at the end of a round, pick off whatever scrub the opponent has put out there, and then depend on her Evade to stay alive if you lose init. If you win init, run her back to hiding. It's not perfect, but doable, and I definitely don't think Taris is the best map for those types of squads. Again, with the evade (not even using Generals Wedge or Rieekan!), it should force many opponents to come up close and personal.

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 Post subject: Re: Taris Map - Is it too good? (New DCI map discussion)
PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2009 11:35 am 
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I was looking forward to BC more than any other map. It ended up being much less entertaining than I had hoped. But its not nearly as abusive as some have complained. It took alot of creativity but I was able to beat a heavy mobile/flight squad on it with mostly melee. You do have to play on the map a few times before you realize where all the gaps in the walls are.

Taris is the one legal map I do not yet own. I tried to arrange a trade but suddenly that person has dissapeared after we agreed to simulsend (been about a month now). Anyway, I have played a few tournament games on the map. I can really see mobile attack being abusive in the right hands on this map. And it is damn hard to move safely through the map. You can get los from alot of angles even in the places with some cover. Then again I have never used it as my map and never lost a game on it. But I think it may be the map of choice for rieekan squads.

All in all, I am not sure I would think of them as broken but they really aren't melee friendly. Its kind of sad that the throne room and ruined base are still the only good melee maps. I thought TS would be a great melee map but I have not had any problem with han cannon or mando scouts on it.


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 Post subject: Re: Taris Map - Is it too good? (New DCI map discussion)
PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2009 11:36 am 
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I don't think there will be a map list like last year. There was a lot of resistance and disgruntlement about that. I really haven't talked to Jim about it, though, so I don't know for sure.

I will say here what I said on WotC. Wasn't the map roll/loser decides who sets up first supposed to address this sort of thing.

Sure you can win the roll to play on Taris, but you do so at risk to yourself.

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 Post subject: Re: Taris Map - Is it too good? (New DCI map discussion)
PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2009 1:01 pm 
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I thought it was hilarious that you said this

Omnus wrote:
Its kind of sad that the throne room and ruined base are still the only good melee maps. I thought TS would be a great melee map but I have not had any problem with han cannon or mando scouts on it.


And then you said the following about Taris:

Omnus wrote:
And it is damn hard to move safely through the map. You can get los from alot of angles even in the places with some cover.


I would have said the same about Train Station, lol. I thought it was going to be a map that would heavily cater to melee and shut down shooters. But the LOS on Train Station is so darn hard to predict sometimes, that it gets pretty gory. I still think it's one of the best for melee, but you just have to play it smart (i've annihilated a few Mobile Shooter squads with my melee squad on Train Station). I do like the myriad of LOS trouble on Taris though. Makes people play smarter, and it becomes even more crucial to make sure you don't make mistakes.

Grand Moff Boris wrote:
I will say here what I said on WotC. Wasn't the map roll/loser decides who sets up first supposed to address this sort of thing.

Sure you can win the roll to play on Taris, but you do so at risk to yourself.


Hmmm...Does the map roll really make that much difference for Taris though? Again, say you're running a squad like Speedy Cannon or San Hill, and while those have specific maps they perform well on, they can also do good on a wide variety of maps. If you lose map roll and have to play on Taris, but you're running a squad like Speedy Cannon, San Hill, etc., you really don't care which side you get. Unless you have some way to really screw your opponent (like they have no door control or something), then your preference will usually be to set up 2nd on Taris anyways. If a loss because of map/side is going to happen on Taris, it's likely going to happen because of the 'map' part of that, not the 'side' part, IMO.

If you win the map roll, and Taris is your map, well, then you likely pick Taris if it uniquely gives you an advantage against your opponent (if they're melee-heavy, etc.). Otherwise, you can pick the opponent's map, and play the more 'balanced' map if necessary. Most of the time, if you 'win' the map roll, it means you'll be setting up first, because most of the top players prefer setting up 2nd. So, if the choice is between Taris and your opponent's map, you get a 'win' pretty much no matter what with 3 different possibilities:

1) Taris is your map, and it screws the opponent, so you choose it.
2) Opponent has a squad that could abuse Taris too, so you choose their map which is a slightly better balanced in which case:
a) Opponent sets up first to take the 'easy' gambit side (i.e. Throne Room or Starship), which means you get to set up in response
b) Opponent makes you set up first, which means you get the 'good' side for gambit.

So, I think it works out pretty well for the player that brings Taris with them for their own map. The map/side roll helps balance other maps with uneven access to gambit like Throne Room and Starship, but I'm not sure how much difference it makes for Taris.

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 Post subject: Re: Taris Map - Is it too good? (New DCI map discussion)
PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2009 1:42 pm 
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Hey, Lobo...did you realize when I said "TS" i was refering to train station and not taris? And I meant when I was playing mando scouts and han cannon on TS, I had no problem shooting my enemies plenty on it. So I think we agree completely with regaurds to train station.

I like Train Station for Force Lighting, Flamethrower and Repulse squads. People tend to bunch alot.


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 Post subject: Re: Taris Map - Is it too good? (New DCI map discussion)
PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2009 1:49 pm 
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Aaron, that is just good strategy and good planning in squad design. Building a squad that is playable on any map from any position should be the goal of every player at the GenCon Championship level.

EDIT: My point was in regards to Bill's statement that one side is disadvantaged in general. Good. Bring Taris, and when you win map roll I will pick the side that is stronger. If you brought a squad that can overcome that, then that's even better.

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 Post subject: Re: Taris Map - Is it too good? (New DCI map discussion)
PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2009 1:59 pm 
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Omnus wrote:
Hey, Lobo...did you realize when I said "TS" i was refering to train station and not taris? And I meant when I was playing mando scouts and han cannon on TS, I had no problem shooting my enemies plenty on it. So I think we agree completely with regaurds to train station.

I like Train Station for Force Lighting, Flamethrower and Repulse squads. People tend to bunch alot.


Yup, I realized exactly what you were talking about. Hence, why I thought it was funny the comments about LOS on Taris, and yet, I have the same trouble with crazy LOS on Train Station as well.

Grand Moff Boris wrote:
EDIT: My point was in regards to Bill's statement that one side is disadvantaged in general. Good. Bring Taris, and when you win map roll I will pick the side that is stronger. If you brought a squad that can overcome that, then that's even better.


Is one side REALLY stronger though? I mean, I know the side with the fence is generally considered stronger because it's got a couple of nice advancement options (that little corner beside the fence door, for instance). But the other side can approach either behind the crashed pod, or along the bottom of the map without too much trouble as well. I just haven't found Taris to be THAT unbalanced.

Then again, nobody in my local group really builds with map abuse in mind. So perhaps I'm just not seeing the full extent of abuse that Bill is referring to. I can see how Snowspeeder or Yobuck could get frustrating, but again, they are frustrating on several other maps, and I'm not necessarily seeing how Taris would be worse (maybe it's a bit worse BECAUSE it has some nicer ways for safe advancement of a huge?). Is there some other squad type that I'm missing? Rebels have a lot of deep strike options now with the K3PO swap and Mouse Droids. But almost every one of those options requires 3 or 4 activations to pull off, so unless you out-activate your opponent by a LOT, it's tough to utilize those strategies against someone who is a good player.

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 Post subject: Re: Taris Map - Is it too good? (New DCI map discussion)
PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2009 2:02 pm 
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Grand Moff Boris wrote:
Aaron, that is just good strategy and good planning in squad design. Building a squad that is playable on any map from any position should be the goal of every player at the GenCon Championship level.

EDIT: My point was in regards to Bill's statement that one side is disadvantaged in general. Good. Bring Taris, and when you win map roll I will pick the side that is stronger. If you brought a squad that can overcome that, then that's even better.


And to be honest, I'm pretty much ok with that level of abuse being present, i.e. I didn't ask for Starship being removed from DCI play this year after Gencon.

And I am not in favor of removing either of these maps as this point either, I just thought it was a good time to have that discussion. The "final" discussion will take place after JA and as the tournament season gets closer. But its worth knowing how people are dealing with these, abusing these, and so forth at this time so we can make better predictions and statements if/when the time comes to discuss it again.

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 Post subject: Re: Taris Map - Is it too good? (New DCI map discussion)
PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2009 2:05 pm 
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Gotcha. I guess I didn't say it specifically but I do feel like Train Station has plenty of crazy los. Although I feel like train station lets you abuse override alot more than taris does.


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 Post subject: Re: Taris Map - Is it too good? (New DCI map discussion)
PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2009 2:08 pm 
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LoboStele wrote:
Is one side REALLY stronger though?


I cannot say one way or the other. We're getting a bit side-tracked from the point I was actually making.

Bill suggests one side is stronger than the other and that it may make Taris unfair. I question that, based on how map and side are currently determined. Beyond that, I really have nothing to contribute to the arguments regarding whether Bill's assessment is correct or not, as I have not played that much on Taris, not since the month it was released.

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 Post subject: Re: Taris Map - Is it too good? (New DCI map discussion)
PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2009 2:17 pm 
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Yeah, that question was really more directed to Bill then I guess. Bill, have you seen a squad lately take real advantage of Taris? I play on it probably once a week, as it's popular with a lot of the younger guys at our LGS. I've yet to see anybody design a squad specifically for Taris (maybe I will for next week, lol). Is there something in particular you've seen that you're concerned about?

I think I agree 100% as well, that the real discussion will start after JA, but at this point, I see no reason to remove either from play. Heck, they just got added. :P

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 Post subject: Re: Taris Map - Is it too good? (New DCI map discussion)
PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2009 2:25 pm 
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--Lancer Droid Control--
57 General Grievous, Droid Army Commander
31 IG Lancer Droid
68 IG-86 Assassin Droid x4
15 Lobot, Computer Liaison Officer
12 Gha Nachkt
10 San Hill
6 Ugnaught Demolitionist x2
9 Mouse Droid x3
(200pts. 14 activations)

and the alternative:

--Chameleon Droid Control--
57 General Grievous, Droid Army Commander
26 Chameleon Droid
68 IG-86 Assassin Droid x4
15 Lobot, Computer Liaison Officer
12 Gha Nachkt
10 San Hill
9 Battle Droid Officer
4 Battle Droid
6 Ugnaught Demolitionist x2
(200pts. 13 activations)

First one uses the mouse droids to collect gambit late in a round - 24d, 28 in cover and the Lancer to clear your opponent out of it, and the second one uses the Cham to collect gambit and clear it both.

Either one scares me to face on either BC or on Taris right now. Heck, these are tough on any map, but the new ones are particularly tough matches for just about anyone.

Let's all thank the maker that there are only two mobile attacking droids, Guri (melee) and the Juggernaught (OR) that neither can be played in these squads at the current time. Could you imagine if the IGs had access to mobile???

Other ideas include highly mobile shooter or direct damage (gungan) squads, and in particular, pieces like Rex, Dash, and Echani Handmaidens or Mando Scouts. Or heck, anything you can come up with that uses multiple attack shooters and the new TBSV - maybe even just a squad of those bad boys.

Basically, something that can play from the right just as well as from the left, and can afford to hit gambit late in a round to force the action on their terms.

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 Post subject: Re: Taris Map - Is it too good? (New DCI map discussion)
PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2009 2:33 pm 
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Well, I wouldn't worry TOO much about Republic squads right now. Without access to tempo control, they are never going to have the option to put pieces out in gambit late in the round, or clear your pieces after you've moved them out there. Of course, Republic pieces may have a good shot to clear the gambit zone after they win init, but they don't really have cheap Init control either.

I can certainly see your example with the Sep squads though. Heck, that's basically what I've used to win several games on the new Muunilist map as well. Chameleon Droids absolutely own that map.

However, what about at the 150 point range? I noticed that both the squads you posted were 200. That's fine, as it's something that has to be considered as well. But typically, the largest concern is whether the map can be abused for 150 points for the Championship. I'm not positive yet, but I don't really see either Lancers or Chameleon's being top-tier finishers at GenCon right now, not with some of the new stuff coming out. And especially not since the Chameleon, in particular, is not nearly effective on a lot of other maps where they are more enclosed and can't camp out in the open as easily.

I was turning over some ideas in my head, and one of the things I realized that might be viable on Taris would be a Rebel Luke's Landspeeder squad using the Rebel Commando Pathfinder to help the LS mobile around the various walls without getting hung up on the various rubble. The Snowspeeder is a tough sell on Taris, IMO, because it's much harder to hide it. There aren't many good 3x3 squares that are completely safe on either side, IMO.

Something like this:

Landspeeder
Han Smuggler
Leia (A&E)
Human BG
Pathfinder
Dodonna
R2ES
filler

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2009 2:47 pm 
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i really dont like BC you really cant hide if your opponent spreads out during turn 1. its the same with taris but you can hide for 2 or so rounds. its really all about override movement and out acting to hit hard. thats what minis is about just these to maps i think can do it better than most. on taris its really hard to move forward after turn 1.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2009 2:49 pm 
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Haven't played any 150 in a while, just 100 and 200 - so I'm afraid I cannot say much for sure.

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 Post subject: Re: Taris Map - Is it too good? (New DCI map discussion)
PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 9:54 am 
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My two cents -

I think Taris does lend itself more to shooter squads than melle. I also agree that the left side is, what we in Lafayette call, the up hill side.

I haven't yet played BC enough to make a good call yet. However I do feel the left side lends itself to the better starting postion.

Lobo mentioned that Taris is not as available as other maps. However I feel that the Muunilist Plaza packaged with the CS starter is the hardest map to get. The stater is carzy expensive, and until recently it had not been rereleased anywhere else that I am aware of. With that in mind, I don't think Taris should be on non-playble list for GenCon.

Also all the maps are playable on Vassal, which is free.

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 Post subject: Re: Taris Map - Is it too good? (New DCI map discussion)
PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 11:42 am 
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LESHIPPY wrote:
Lobo mentioned that Taris is not as available as other maps. However I feel that the Muunilist Plaza packaged with the CS starter is the hardest map to get. The stater is carzy expensive, and until recently it had not been rereleased anywhere else that I am aware of. With that in mind, I don't think Taris should be on non-playble list for GenCon.


How is the CS Starter Muunlist map a tough one to get? They re-issued that one in two different League kits last fall. I think I have 2-3 extras of them right now.

If you were talking about the CW Battle Pack Muunlist (the newest one), I could see that argument a little better, because it's a $40 set and not everybody can find them easily (though most LGS seem to be able to get them now, so it shouldn't be too tough).

But I still agree at this point, that no maps need to be deemed 'non-playable' for GenCon. Not at least until after JA comes out and the squad meta for GenCon is a little more clear.

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