Point Value, just curious

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Point Value, just curious

Postby Lone Gunman » Fri Oct 12, 2007 4:18 pm

I've been playing ActA for several months now and like 2nd Ed (ok apart fromt the new beams/crit-table which is not as good as I hope and encouragement of swarm fleets) . So, yesterday evening after a game and perhaps a drink too much I began to wondered why ActA uses priority levels. Would a standard point value as any other tabletop out there also do the job and make it eventually easier to balance ships?

Just curious. :|
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Postby Silvereye » Fri Oct 12, 2007 4:20 pm

The priority level system makes building fleets dead easy and quick. So rather then wondering about what combination of x and y and z upgrade cost and the army list quadratic equations that go with them, you can choose a fleet and begin playing in about 2 minutes.

Still not sure on the beams either. That one random hit of many, many dice that swings the battle....
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Postby nekomata fuyu » Fri Oct 12, 2007 4:54 pm

That argument works well apart from the minor issue of the priority level system making fleet selection relatively slow and cumbersome. Rather than having to refer to FAQs on how you can and can't split your FAPs, with a numerical points based system you can quickly choose a fleet using that wonderful skill of addition that most of us learn in primary school :D
My guess is that the priority level system is MGP's brainchild, and like any good parent it's hard to turn your back on your child no mater how ugly they turn out to be.
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Postby Delthos » Fri Oct 12, 2007 6:11 pm

I like the priority system but it really isn't any faster for picking a fleet than it would be if using a points system. As there are only the variants as listed available that pretty much negates your argument for different price upgrades and equations. It would not be a set of ship design rules, just a list of points values which would be easy to add. The only place this could be an issue is with refits making a ship more valuable and even then the cost increase would be calculated at the time of adding them to the ships roster. It wouldn't be necessary after that. I personally think a combined priority/points system would be best. Mind you I don't know how it would work right now.
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Postby Target » Fri Oct 12, 2007 6:24 pm

I'd prefer points but priority system is the way MGP wants it. Been many forum topic's on this over the last couple years.
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Postby nekomata fuyu » Fri Oct 12, 2007 6:57 pm

It's not too hard to convert the priority system over to using numerical points anyway:
Patrol = 10pts
Skirmish = 20pts
Raid = 40pts
Battle = 80pts
War = 160pts
Armageddon = 320pts
Ancient = 640pts

This translation only really differs from FAP splitting in extreme cases, so you should be pretty safe in just using the above as a house rule.
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Postby Delthos » Fri Oct 12, 2007 7:26 pm

But a straight conversion to points like that doesn't fix the inherent problems with the PL system. You still wind up with a certain number of points in lower PL ships being more valuable than an equivalent number of points in higher PL ships. It would require modifying the points further as some ships in the same PL are obviously more valuable than others.

I'd like to see a PL/Points system in place which is the current PL system that limits the number of ships you can take per PL, plus a points system that further and more accurately values each ship.
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Postby nekomata fuyu » Fri Oct 12, 2007 8:36 pm

Delthos wrote:But a straight conversion to points like that doesn't fix the inherent problems with the PL system. You still wind up with a certain number of points in lower PL ships being more valuable than an equivalent number of points in higher PL ships.
Firstly, having such a straight conversion to points doesn't pretend to fix the problems the game has with the initiative system or ships not being balanced properly (which I would say are not problems with the current PL system anyway). It also doesn't do anything to solve world hunger - so what?
Delthos wrote:It would require modifying the points further as some ships in the same PL are obviously more valuable than others.
Which is any different from the current situation how exactly? The only difference is that you can tweak the cost in a numerical points based system, whilst you can't in the current system.
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Postby David, Anla Shok' » Fri Oct 12, 2007 8:55 pm

You could use both... assign a ship a point value and priority level. Games could be set up by limiting both, say a 400 pt game at Battle level. 400 pts of ships, none over Battle level.
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Postby lastbesthope » Fri Oct 12, 2007 9:01 pm

neko wrote: This translation only really differs from FAP splitting in extreme cases, so you should be pretty safe in just using the above as a house rule.
However, it doesn't take into account the different 'weightings' of ships when playing games at different Priority Levels that the PL system and FAP split rules afford us.

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Postby Delthos » Fri Oct 12, 2007 9:04 pm

Which is any different from the current situation how exactly? The only difference is that you can tweak the cost in a numerical points based system, whilst you can't in the current system.
It's not massively different from the current PL system. As I said, I'd like a system that is a blend of Points and PLs. This mixture of the two would allow for limits to be placed on the numbers of ships that can be taken from a particular PL and the points would limit the over all number ships to be taken for a game. Which is what we currently have, but I'd like the points system to be more robust so that different ships in each PL are more accurately valued.

With the current PL system ships, ideally, need more work so that all ships in each PL are more balanced with each other. If a more robust points system were added, all the ships in each PL could be more varied, yet still be balanced and fit in a particular PL.

With the existing system, some ships are definitely too powerful to put in one lower PL but too weak compared to ships in the same PL. A more robust points system would allow for those ships to remain in that PL but say 3 of them be equal to 2 of another ship in that PL. I think that is essentially what they were working towards with the 2fors in 2nd edition, although there are many others that fit this bill.

This system definitely doesn't pretend to fix the current imbalances in some ships. I think it would make it easier for them to balance them though. It would allow them to build a ship that works like they planned but not have to under or over gun it to make it fit. I do think the PL system is essential to keep the swarm fleets toned down. I'm also not saying the concept is perfect and doesn't need work, I just think it would be better.
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Postby David, Anla Shok' » Fri Oct 12, 2007 9:10 pm

lastbesthope wrote:
neko wrote: This translation only really differs from FAP splitting in extreme cases, so you should be pretty safe in just using the above as a house rule.
However, it doesn't take into account the different 'weightings' of ships when playing games at different Priority Levels that the PL system and FAP split rules afford us.

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That is subjective. I don't believe that six catagorys can really define the subtle varietys among ships. White Star and White Star II are both raid, yet one has Nial fighters aboard while the other is an inch faster. I'm sorry, I don't believe that the Priority Level and FAP split rules are all that they are made up to be.
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Postby Locutus9956 » Fri Oct 12, 2007 9:18 pm

er the other one has SCOUT. That DOES make up for the lack of Nials. The PL system is not perfect no, but then points are not the magic balancing issue some people think they are either...
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Postby Triggy » Fri Oct 12, 2007 9:22 pm

Locutus9956 wrote:er the other one has SCOUT. That DOES make up for the lack of Nials. The PL system is not perfect no, but then points are not the magic balancing issue some people think they are either...
Indeed, points may give you more flexibility as to exactly what you want to arm a ship with but regardless of points or PL, you still have to achieve balance and that isn't any easier with either system.
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Postby Ripple » Fri Oct 12, 2007 9:30 pm

when I first started playing the pl system had two things going for it. It was fast and encouraged playing at the level of the game due to diminishing returns from buying farther away from the level of the fight.

SFoS added a number of splits that got rid of both. First thing to happen was the 'extra' level you could squeeze out of a couple of the mixes that made buying down very worthwhile, almost mandatory. It also removed the fast factor as now you had to choose how which of the patterns to work with.

Arm brought back some additional speed as you no longer worked with a set of arbitrary splits but a system of splits, but it made buying down absolutely necessary. Still removing the primary benefit of encouraging buying close to the pl.

Second Ed. has made buying down even more valuable, totally missing the point of many of the previous discussions. Worse, as you have now removed much of the 'weighting' of ships in regards to the pl of the scenario. The new system tried to make all things equal over the buy downs.

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Postby David, Anla Shok' » Fri Oct 12, 2007 9:30 pm

Locutus9956 wrote:er the other one has SCOUT. That DOES make up for the lack of Nials. The PL system is not perfect no, but then points are not the magic balancing issue some people think they are either...
Neither system does. But the two together (say that fast five times) might come close.
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Postby emperorpenguin » Fri Oct 12, 2007 9:33 pm

David, Anla Shok' wrote:
Locutus9956 wrote:er the other one has SCOUT. That DOES make up for the lack of Nials. The PL system is not perfect no, but then points are not the magic balancing issue some people think they are either...
Neither system does. But the two together (say that fast five times) might come close.
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and that game had its detractors saying things weren't balanced. People really need to lose this bizarre mentality that points is a panacea for game balance, I bet GW would find that view astonishing! :wink:
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Postby Kadorak » Fri Oct 12, 2007 10:17 pm

It's not a panacea for game balance. Thats not the point. The point is to allow more diversity while being remotely balanced. This will sound bizarre, but I like a realistic 'feel' to my sci-fi games: not that the technologies or aliens are realistic, but that within the assumptions of that universe things seem to work out with an internal logic, and people follow the rules that haven't been altered, ie military strategy and ship design. I thought B5 the series and the original B5W system did a good job of this, while ACTA has molded the universe into the game much harder, sacrificing a lot of that.

It doesn't make it a bad game, but it's just sort of a pity, because it's the PL system that requires that. You can only have 6 (well, 7 if you count Ancient) 'levels of power' on a ship. You can't have the process of marginal upgrades that is how pretty much any realistic progression of ship development, technology and refits goes, because ships either have to lose something to make up for the gain or be a whole twice as powerful. Look at VaS to see how poorly the PL system fits into any plausible conception of ship development and design; you try to realistically simulate historical ships and then cram them into only 5 different levels of power and ... it doesn't work. There's way more variety than that, many more subtle gradations. I like creating new rules, races, stuff (something I'm back here because I plan to return to with 2e) and the PL system is the biggest pain in the rear and straitjacket in the ACTA system if you want to develop something along the lines of what I described above.

Anyways ... it has been discussed to death. But solving balance problems really isn't the point; allowing much more diversity and variety while keeping the same level of balance debate is.

Edit: Someone mentioned Games Workshop; well, if they could only have items or regiments in even values of 50 in Warhammer (or 40k I assume, but WH and BFG is what I'm familiar with), there would be a LOT less diversity in items and units. Maybe you think that would be a good thing, but keep in mind nobody is suggesting 7 point doodads and upgrades for ACTA, it's just about base costs for ships.
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Postby Voronesh » Fri Oct 12, 2007 10:58 pm

First point, someone is always quick to point out, that point systems suck, because theres so many upgrades. Go read Warmachine, they have a points system, no upgrades (beyond squad size and a single model thats the exception to prove the point ^^), and they never went back and changed point costs either.

But sometimes the PL system suggests that two ships are equal when they really arent. Demos and Vorchan? Hrm not really that Int1 really makes a difference.

G'Quonth, Bin'Tak and G'Vrahn. Hell not a chance. Im about to turn my back on the venerable Bin'Tak and get my hands at that superfast G'Vrahn. It simply has more firepower at range, while loosing close in firepower, that the Bin'Tak prolly rarely uses on the enemy ships (not fighters) unless you use a jump point. But what does it gain? Int4, Com+1, two mag gun dice, an extra turn, more speed, less damage: 3? at war lvl........

Nahhhhh Versatility and the idea of using the ship that is better in the bigger number of events makes some choices far too easy.

1e Centauri fleets were like that. Battle lvl was a choice for those without eyes. Tertius was way too good. No loss and extra firepower.



Now on the PL system it seems sleek, but it doesnt make fleet choices alot faster. If you want the most out of your fleet without loosing character, you still have to think about pumpin in a point into Ka'Tocs or maybe an extra G'Karith.


Oh and the PL system is a point system in disguise. Patrol costs 1 point, skirmish 2 points and so on, with a complicated method depending where you are currently to degrade very cheap ships, so they become more expensive all of the sudden (antiswarm measure).

Under that light, well its easier to see. With a more sophisticated system with smaller steps would allow to make a ship cost 5% or so less, without actually penalizing the admiral. He can simply stock up on extra fighters for that. Currently if you choose a ship that is decidedly worth less (like a G'Quonth) you will not get extra whatever to make up for it, youre just penalizing yourself.

Armageddon ships are part of that problem. Why take a Neroon if a Sharlin with a Morshin and a Tinashi can do the same job better? Or why put an admiral on an Omega if 2 Omegas are simply WAY deadlier and more versatile on the board?



Sry for the rant, I do like playing ACTA, but i simply dislike the game shooting its own foot sometimes, be reducing the size of some fleet lists when there is no need. (YES there are still ships out there that are not up to scratch)
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Postby Lone Gunman » Sat Oct 13, 2007 5:05 am

I didn't though that this thread coudl get so large. :shock:

Thanks for you ransweres. Yesterday evening, I found out that I rarely buy larger ships with the current pointsplit. I never though about that but when zipping over some races fleet lists it seemed that it somehow became worthwhile to use large ships. 2 ships of a elvel lower were in every vase better than one larte (2 hyperion> 1 omega, 2 halik > 1 Avioki,... the list goes on) I rarely tant, but shouldn't 2nd Ed. make ships more balanced so that the large ones are a better choice than before= I can't se anything from this in the rules. Large cap ships are still as colnourbal as before and undergunned compared to two smaller onder.

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