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 Post subject: Boarding Action - Early Look
PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 1:55 pm 
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Hey folks:

Here's an early look at a poster I'm trying to get ready for Gen Con. Starships are a huge part of Star Wars, so to me it's very important to keep one or more starship designs in print. Since my Exodus-Class Heavy Courier is now out of print, at least temporarily, I wanted to get some new starships ready to succeed it.

Image

"Boarding Action" presents two new starship designs. The one on the right is a light transport ship appropriate for an adventuring group in an RPG, and the one on the left is a boarding craft intended for military/police customs inspections and detainment.

I'm hoping these can also be made reasonably balanced for the skirmish game, so here's my work-in-progress assessment of terrain configuration:

Image

The doors marked with question marks are elements I'm thinking of adding if they help playability. (Right now the left side has a quicker approach to gambit.) I'm a little reluctant to add the doors closer to the engine compartment, since I like having the detention blocks isolated from the rest of the ship--but I'll put them in as blast doors for playability's sake if it would help you guys get more use out of the poster.

If I add the question-marked doors in the main side-to-side corridor, I'll also reconfigure the corridor slightly--pushing the little rooms down a bit so that huges can open their own doors while moving through it. Huges can presently move throughout the middle axis of the map, but can not enter many of the smaller compartments.

Honestly, I'm not convinced that these changes would be enough to make this map tournament-friendly. Door control is huge on this map, and if enough doors are opened through the middle of the two ships, it becomes a shooting gallery. While that is quite appropriate to the sort of scenario the map represents, I'm not sure it would benefit competitive play.

In any case, feedback is welcome, and I'll consider any suggestions or requests this community comes up with as I work on it. Thanks, folks!

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 Post subject: Re: Boarding Action - Early Look
PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 9:00 am 
Mandalore
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As an RPG player, I think the map looks pretty good. As a SWM player, I can see what you mean about a shooting gallery.

I like the inclusion of the bottom set of '?' doors, as that evens it out for both sides wanting to make a straight shot towards gambit. Both will have to go through two sets of doors to get into the gambit area, and getting locked out of the gambit room doesnt keep either player from scoring.

For the upper '?' doors, Id suggest leaving them as walls, instead of doors. Design-wise, I think it makes more sense to have them be walls, to keep potential escapees from getting to the engine room easily. Gameplay-wise I find the left side to have much less secure options for commander hiding spots, and leaving those as walls will help.

The player on the right has good spots to put commanders on both the top and bottom of the map, leaving him just one area (the main hallway) to defend to keep his opponent from getting to his commanders. They have to go through that way. The player on the right isnt so lucky though, cause the top (if '?' become doors instead of walls) and the bottom sections of his map are accessible without going through that main corridor, possibly forcing him to spread out his pieces, depending on which way his opponent is going to come at him.

As for keeping the map from becoming a shooting gallery, or limiting the effectiveness of door control on the map, Im not really sure there is anything that could be done with this current layout. Maybe if you layed it out so the main corridor of both halves of the map (ship and whatever is on the left) didnt line up perfectly, that would help.

Keep in mind I am definitely no expert.

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 Post subject: Re: Boarding Action - Early Look
PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 8:35 pm 
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Thank you for the feedback! That's pretty consistent with what I was expecting, though I'm a little surprised and relived to hear that the question-marked doors near the engine room aren't necessary to balance it. From an RPG standpoint, I liked having the cell-blocks isolated and secure from the rest of the ship in general, and the engineering compartment in particular.

Certain design elements of each ship are built for RPG gameplay benefits, so I figured it would be a long-shot to make them into a solid competitive map. I hope it will at least be fun for friendly skirmishes, though.

In any case, the flip-side of this should (if all goes well) favor a stronger competitive balance, and will plug into the existing Mass Transit multi-map system as an expansion of the layout.

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 Post subject: Re: Boarding Action - Early Look
PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 8:48 pm 
Death Star Designers
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Very, very cool map, but I share the concerns about it being too shooter-friendly. The biggest issue as I see it is that with all those doors gone there is no safe spot in Gambit from EITHER starting area. I think it would be very helpful to just add a 2x2 box in the cargo hold of the right-hand ship, lined up with all those doors. Of course, that means that the left side has both quick access to Gambit and safe Gambit, while the right side has neither. If you could shift the whole wall connecting the two ships at the middle (the door just to the right of the center point) left 1 square, you could put a 1x2 vertical box 2 squares to the right of the center point (where it would currently be sharing an edge with the door there).

Hopefully that makes sense, because I think that would do a lot for competitiveness.

That makes it a lot harder for huges to traverse the center of the map, but I think they can go around the outside well enough. Might be worth widening the part connecting the two at the bottom from 1 square wide to 2 squares so they've got some options.

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 Post subject: Re: Boarding Action - Early Look
PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 11:05 pm 
Intelligence Operative
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Very cool! 
Some things for competitive play:
-widen the right hand ship's bridge entirely one square to the left and make the left hand door from the bridge to the lounge 2 squares so huges can advance up there.
-Widen the bridge doors to 2 wide on the left ship.
-place a 2x1 vertical solid wall of box/speeder bike/cargo as a wall in the cargo hold on the right ship, directly on top of the words "...go" and "...hold"
-if you wanted to widen the hallway to the engine room on the left ship to four wide that would be cool. Maybe some wall pods/lockers, decontamination, something, armory as flavor?
-also you don't need a door on the upper left side ?, that could be solitary, the upper right you should leave a door so huges can go along the north route. Also doing This and turning the far south side access route to a two wide and no doors except for the one marked S would allow huges to go both north and south and maybe even allow you to keep the middle left side closed up to protect that hallway from shooting gallery.

Alternatively or additionally:

-sliding the left side door of the airlock in the gambit room down one square to create a wall as cover. Then removing the two green squares by the ?doors in the center of the left ship, remove the left ?door's walls as well. Then add a wall vertically up one square on the right side ?door. This would block LOS down the Hallway both directions.
-to maintain huge movement with this new blocked LOS, Push up/shrink the crew cabin just directly north of the right side ?door (or both crew cabins for military symmetry) one square so that huges can pass by from the west to the east by squeezing. 
-also maybe eliminating doors completely on one of the three access routes to gambit?
All in all beautiful map and I would buy multiple copies either way. Keep up the great work Chris.


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 Post subject: Re: Boarding Action - Early Look
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 12:26 am 
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Thanks, guys! There's a lot of constructive advice in the last two posts, and I will be using most if not all of it. :)

The right-side ship is somewhat more "locked" than the left-side, in my mind, because it is to be the ship belonging to my player character in an upcoming Saga Edition campaign. There are a few things I won't do to its layout simply because I selfishly want it to be a certain way for my game. That having been said, most of your suggestions don't require me to compromise on those plans...

I might not widen the passage into the right-side bridge to let huges up there, but I don't think most players would want to send a huge in that direction anyway. It could cause a dilemma if a player hides someone in there and their opponent only has a huge remaining, but gambit rules should make it a non-issue. Likewise, I'm reluctant to widen the engineering access corridor on the left-hand ship. I might, since I see the merit of opening up huge movement through the top passage, but I'm really rather happy with the tail-end layout of that ship. I'll mull it over.

The central shooting gallery, though, will definitely feature a redesign to block line of sight. Tall cargo in the right hand ship will be integrated, and the offset blocking terrain on the left will help a lot. I'll also widen the lower boarding hatches and damage some doors so that huges can squeeze through.

Thanks for the input! :)

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 Post subject: Re: Boarding Action - Early Look
PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2011 2:54 am 
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Here's a somewhat revised layout sketch:
Image

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 Post subject: Re: Boarding Action - Early Look
PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2011 7:58 am 
Intelligence Operative
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Nice redo, I'm happy with that and huges have a shot at gambit which is works. Good job!


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 Post subject: Re: Boarding Action - Early Look
PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2011 9:13 am 
Mandalore
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I like the redo as well. Hopefully itll work out well competitively.

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 Post subject: Re: Boarding Action - Early Look
PostPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2011 10:17 am 
Death Star Designers
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The redesign definitely fixed a number of my concerns with the map, so good job! There are still some long-ish lines of sight from the left to the right side of gambit, but I really like that little room above gambit because that provides some fairly safe spots. There are also some good lancer safe spots on both sides, and even safe spots towards the middle of the map so you get to advance safely, which not enough maps have but I think is a big deal in considering competitiveness.

I don't see anything that I would change at this point, but I'm not really a guru when it comes to maps. Hopefully it eventually makes it's way onto the restricted list, because the design is awesome. Do you think it will be in production by next January (when I'd assume there will be a re-assessment of the restricted list)?

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 Post subject: Re: Boarding Action - Early Look
PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2011 11:48 am 
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Thanks, guys!

I'm hoping it will be printed and ready for Gen Con in August. It's a tight window, but since I realized I can't get the space station finished in time (because it essentially requires me to develop 4 posters at once), I'm determined to get a new sci-fi map ready for the show.

There should be a Kickstarter funding drive announcement for it (and for a new set of terrain cards) early next month or the end of this one.

If anyone sees any critical imbalances in this revised map, please point them out. There's still a little time to get it in shape if necessary. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Boarding Action - Early Look
PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 4:56 am 
Black Sun Thug
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Very cool idea. I like maps that have an obvious theme to them. A military/police ship boarding a smuggling ship.....That would be pretty fitting for my Senate Commandos! I may have a new favorite map. I'll have to try it out when it becomes available. I really do need more maps.

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