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Author Topic: standardized unit sizes for easier pickup games  (Read 604 times)

glitterboy2098

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standardized unit sizes for easier pickup games
« on: 19 September 2020, 21:36:05 »
based on some of the discussion in the "new players need more support" thread in the main room, there seems to be some support of the idea of making standardized unit sizes (in terms of points) to make it easier to not only arrange events but also maker it easier to do pickup games with friends and in FLGS's.

Honestly, this seems like a good idea to me, but i think you could expand this a little bit. it seems to me that you could easily have several sizes, allowing players to build up their force over time and giving a slightly easier starting point for players building their first personal unit.

i'd say the 'median' size should be around Company/Binary sized... iirc that worked out to about 400 points with the old sample units.

using that, you could have a 200pt small unit size, and then an 600 point large unit size.
« Last Edit: 22 September 2020, 16:53:10 by glitterboy2098 »

Sartris

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Re: standardized unit sizes for easier pickup games
« Reply #1 on: 19 September 2020, 22:34:50 »
ASCE sets a company-level game at 250-500 points (p110), which fits pretty neatly into your model. 

glitterboy2098

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Re: standardized unit sizes for easier pickup games
« Reply #2 on: 19 September 2020, 23:35:48 »
don't have ASCE yet, good to know.
in light of that, since ASCE is the new standard rulebook, perhaps boost the sizes to 250pts, 500pts, and 750 points? with the idea that someone could make a 250pt and a 500pt unit and combine them for 750 pt games.

the big question i would have is how to prevent stuff like the savahnna master swarm and other unit concepts that exploit initiative through massive numbers of forces.

Hellraiser

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Re: standardized unit sizes for easier pickup games
« Reply #3 on: 20 September 2020, 02:02:41 »
ASCE sets a company-level game at 250-500 points (p110), which fits pretty neatly into your model.

Hmm, so average company is 375 points?

Making average Lance at 125 points?

I'm sort of inclined to go with Lance v/s Lance for quick pick up games.

I know AS can do more, but, I like the idea of games going very quickly & for training people a Lance in AS would be like 2 mechs in BT, or close to that.

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glitterboy2098

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Re: standardized unit sizes for easier pickup games
« Reply #4 on: 20 September 2020, 02:17:08 »
in theory the 250 point level would work for that.. especially once you get improved skills involved. especially if you use units from later eras where higher tech means higher points and a few extra abilities.

though for alpha strike, a single lance seems a bit underwhelming even as a training tool. 250 points would let you add a 2nd lance or a demi-lance, let them get used to controlling multiple detachments.

but this is less about teaching new players and more about "what happens next", that is, the building of their own units and enabling the easier setting up of games. standardizing around a common points value makes it easier.. you can just tell people to "bring a small unit" and then focus on scenarios and terrain, instead of having to specify points and unit build restrictions all the time.
« Last Edit: 20 September 2020, 02:55:28 by glitterboy2098 »

Hellraiser

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Re: standardized unit sizes for easier pickup games
« Reply #5 on: 20 September 2020, 02:24:53 »
Oh sure, later tech is going to demand more points, just like BV :)

IIRC we used to add like 1000BV to "typical" player force size when shifting from Intro to Standard, and then around another 1000 if playing a Clan game.   Something like 2500-3500-4500 per player, roughly.

The 125 would work fine for Intro units though.
Especially when your talking about new players.
I wouldn't want to add special abilities & higher skills if I was teaching new folks.

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Crackerb0x

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Re: standardized unit sizes for easier pickup games
« Reply #6 on: 21 September 2020, 10:01:13 »
This year at GenCon, I understand the group Wolfnet Radio was going to host an AS tourney before the convention was cancelled. They use a standardized rules set that they call the 350 rules. It hasn't been released as a v1 yet, but it goes a long way to establish set point sizes, rules in place, and game types.

If you do the Facebook thing, I would encourage you to check out their page for the rules set and giving it a once over. I ran an event in Indana that used it and it was a lot of fun.

whistler

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Re: standardized unit sizes for easier pickup games
« Reply #7 on: 21 September 2020, 13:45:58 »
Our group plays 400 point games, which general allows for a company per player. Often we establish a global pilot upgrade as well to ease points and help make sure we get a full game in one sitting.
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Lboydmsw

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Re: standardized unit sizes for easier pickup games
« Reply #8 on: 21 September 2020, 13:47:38 »
This year at GenCon, I understand the group Wolfnet Radio was going to host an AS tourney before the convention was cancelled. They use a standardized rules set that they call the 350 rules. It hasn't been released as a v1 yet, but it goes a long way to establish set point sizes, rules in place, and game types.

If you do the Facebook thing, I would encourage you to check out their page for the rules set and giving it a once over. I ran an event in Indana that used it and it was a lot of fun.

It is a solid system that makes pick up games super easy if everyone is working from it.

350Pv is a good number too.  It allows for a good mix of units and weight classes

Elmoth

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Re: standardized unit sizes for easier pickup games
« Reply #9 on: 21 September 2020, 15:58:13 »
IIRC the average cost of a mech in Alpha strike is 32 points (skill 4), can't remember where I read that analysis. Anything above is a top dog, anything below, well it is not a heavy hitter that can get feedback. Wasp is 14, Atlas is 52. warhammer 32, similar to a wolverine or griffin (31). Average damage is 3 points at medium range (the famous Thug test).

So 4 of those is 128 points for a 100% average lance. Light units will be cheaper, and more powerful ones, more expensive. Works fine at 200-250 points for fast pickup games. We tend to play at 250 ourselves, and they are fast enough that you can cram 2-3 games before lunchtime without stressing yourself out at all and ahving time to chat and joke around. 2 lances, or a demicompany with support elements. Or 22 Scorpions. Or 15 vedettes. Yeah, seen them. Not the fastest games ever in that case. ;)

glitterboy2098

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Re: standardized unit sizes for easier pickup games
« Reply #10 on: 21 September 2020, 16:55:27 »
since clan units tend to run slightly higher than IS, sounds like 250 would be a good "small unit" size then. it would be a demicompany of IS or a lighter clan Star.

the issue of the 22 scorpion tanks though is certainly a valid concern.. should be there be a restriction to limit that, for a pickup game/tourney type system?

Elmoth

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Re: standardized unit sizes for easier pickup games
« Reply #11 on: 21 September 2020, 18:16:12 »
If you play with 1 hour or 1.5 time frames, it is not a problem. At the end of it you count points. In that battle (where the scorps were deployed for laughs) the scorpions lost because the opponent killed a few scorpions and hid like a rat in a hole. We play for laughs, but we can be VERY competitive. Scorpions are shootng a lot, but they also only do 1 point of damage each. 22 points of damage is not a lot for a balanced force. Most forces I deploy at 250 points have similar or higher damage per turn ratios.

In youtube there are several battles with 250 point forces if you want to get a hang out of it. Generally people deploy veteran formations with 4 mechs and 4 vehicles. Not how my group does it (we tend to go less veteran and with more rabble mechs and infantry than what is those reports) but you get the idea.

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Lboydmsw

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Re: standardized unit sizes for easier pickup games
« Reply #12 on: 22 September 2020, 09:57:53 »
since clan units tend to run slightly higher than IS, sounds like 250 would be a good "small unit" size then. it would be a demicompany of IS or a lighter clan Star.

the issue of the 22 scorpion tanks though is certainly a valid concern.. should be there be a restriction to limit that, for a pickup game/tourney type system?

This really all comes down to what is considered "standard".  This thread isn't long but it seems 6 to 8 per side is what people are considering a 'quick pick-up game' but 12 v 12 is the standard game size for most games I have played of Alpha Strike.  12 v 12 is doable in 1 to 2 hours with 1.5 being average.  While I have played 250PV, most games I have played are between 350PV and 400PV.


The Wolfnet pod cast folks do 350PV but that is 16 units with unit limit rules for force building.  Games don't actually use all 16 units.  Games use 8 to 12 depending on scenario type.  Having 16 in a 350PV force allows some of them to act like a sideboard but offers enough restriction that you can sideboard in an entire assault lance.   The Wolfnet podcast 350PV force building rules are the closest thing I have seen to usable and workable "standardized unit size for pick-up games"

Hellraiser

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Re: standardized unit sizes for easier pickup games
« Reply #13 on: 22 September 2020, 15:06:09 »
The OP also said a starting point for NEW players.

Smaller is better when your teaching people the basics of a game.

Company on Company is fine for someone who wants to run a good sized game.

But for a newer person, just controlling a lance should be plenty.
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Elmoth

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Re: standardized unit sizes for easier pickup games
« Reply #14 on: 22 September 2020, 15:11:20 »
We go smaller (250) because we cram 2 games per gaming afternoon, and 3 (or 2 plus time for beers before lunch) on specific gaming mornings. You can usually do that if you arrive at the store at 18:30 (closes at 20:30) or meet at 10:00 AM on Saturdays
« Last Edit: 22 September 2020, 16:00:45 by Elmoth »

Lboydmsw

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Re: standardized unit sizes for easier pickup games
« Reply #15 on: 22 September 2020, 16:07:27 »
The OP also said a starting point for NEW players.

Smaller is better when your teaching people the basics of a game.

Company on Company is fine for someone who wants to run a good sized game.

But for a newer person, just controlling a lance should be plenty.

The OP states he was inspired by the new player thread but a few comments into the thread specifically points out that this is an idea for "what's next" and not 'new players'. He points out that "standardized unit size" is to make pick-up games easier to put together.
but this is less about teaching new players and more about "what happens next", that is, the building of their own units and enabling the easier setting up of games. standardizing around a common points value makes it easier.. you can just tell people to "bring a small unit" and then focus on scenarios and terrain, instead of having to specify points and unit build restrictions all the time.


What the OP is asking for is standardized rules for force building that make a pick up game easy to do. Saying something like 250Pv is what my group uses because it makes for fast games that works for the culture of my group (like what Elmoth is saying) is perfect but I don't see you shaking a finger at his 8 v 8 games.

Regardless, I think controlling 12 v 12 is plenty fast and not complicated at all.  The only advantage to 4v4 is speed of play.  12v12 does not somehow add exceptional complexity to the game.  "Smaller is better for new players" isn't necessarily true, nor is it a beginners approach that is default in the table top hobby.  It may work well for younger children but you can explain the basics of alpha strike and have a full game running in less then 15 minutes with any average adult.  Plenty of games have an approach of 'here are the rules and figure it out'. Thinking you need to reduce a game down to 4 units a side to make it easier doesn't strip away any of the rules that are the source of complexity.  Special equipment related abilities can be explained during the game as the average game isn't going to have an abundance of them that makes it "too confusing to learn".


The approach that WolfNet Radio Podcast takes with 350PV for a force of 16 units but you don't in fact take all 16 units into a game would work well in what the OP is looking for.  You take those force building rules and add a small handful of standardized scenarios that dictates force size and you select out of your 16 what to field in any given scenario (Recon, Raid, King of the Hill, Claim Territory, etc.).  That may be 4, that may be 12, it may be 8, it just depends on what the scenario calls for.   The 16 unit force allows versatility in playing scenarios while standardizing what people generally bring to a game.  A person can show up at a store with their rulebook and 16 units to play any number of scenarios against anyone following the same force building rules. It also allows someone to build a 16 unit force with the handful of standardized scenarios in mind since you effectively are building a small deck with sideboard.

Does it work well for new players? no....but then that is not what the OP is looking for

Elmoth

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Re: standardized unit sizes for easier pickup games
« Reply #16 on: 22 September 2020, 16:31:23 »
No, what adds speed to the gaming experience is removing some parts of the rules: No additional rules makes for faster play (removes ASF from the equation, and offboard artillery IIRC).

the advantage of AS over classic BT is that the rules for everything are in a single package (and there is WAY less granularity). That makes reference and figuring things out easier than in standard BT.
« Last Edit: 22 September 2020, 16:46:57 by Elmoth »

glitterboy2098

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Re: standardized unit sizes for easier pickup games
« Reply #17 on: 22 September 2020, 16:52:36 »
The OP also said a starting point for NEW players.

Smaller is better when your teaching people the basics of a game.

Company on Company is fine for someone who wants to run a good sized game.

But for a newer person, just controlling a lance should be plenty.

sorry. i meant a starting point for new collectors.  people who have learned to play but are still collecting, building, and painting their own forces. i've gone through and edited the OP too correct that.

Elmoth

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Re: standardized unit sizes for easier pickup games
« Reply #18 on: 25 September 2020, 01:48:19 »
Just calculated the point cost of the AGoAC boxed set:
Awesome(80)  3330     6  86 (39)
Battlemaster    3311     8  87 (40)
Thunderbolt     3311     8  75 (36) if1
Catapult (65)   2321     8j 55 (32) if1

Wolverine 6R   2210   10j 55 (30)
Shadow Hawk 2210   10  55 (30) 6j
Commando     2200   12  22 (17)
Locust 1V        1100   16  22 (18) mg

147 + 95 = 242pts + pilots or variant models.

So it looks that the boxed set is already those 250 points. It is a viable force.

Lboydmsw

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Re: standardized unit sizes for easier pickup games
« Reply #19 on: 25 September 2020, 14:37:52 »
In case you were interested in what other people are trying to get going and started as far as a standarized format.

https://docs.google.com/document/u/0/d/1Aa7mvroW_d3Vzy-JLRae9P0jTDUCTIauXbRSNGzH10Q/mobilebasic

glitterboy2098

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Re: standardized unit sizes for easier pickup games
« Reply #20 on: 25 September 2020, 16:41:40 »
Just calculated the point cost of the AGoAC boxed set:
Awesome(80)  3330     6  86 (39)
Battlemaster    3311     8  87 (40)
Thunderbolt     3311     8  75 (36) if1
Catapult (65)   2321     8j 55 (32) if1

Wolverine 6R   2210   10j 55 (30)
Shadow Hawk 2210   10  55 (30) 6j
Commando     2200   12  22 (17)
Locust 1V        1100   16  22 (18) mg

147 + 95 = 242pts + pilots or variant models.

So it looks that the boxed set is already those 250 points. It is a viable force.

out of curiosity, how do the lance types work out? would you be able to run specialty lances off the AGoAC models?

Sartris

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Re: standardized unit sizes for easier pickup games
« Reply #21 on: 25 September 2020, 17:39:19 »
sniper / brawler / brawler / missile boat
skirmisher / skirmisher / striker / scout

maybe command and pursuit?

Elmoth

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Re: standardized unit sizes for easier pickup games
« Reply #22 on: 25 September 2020, 18:29:15 »
If you field those 2 lances as they are written, you can have
Battle lance (both).
Striker lance (second lance).
Recon lance (second lance).
Command lance (first lance; can be swapped around with other members easily).
Support lance (Either lance). This is a "freebie" formation that allows a lance to copy another lance: 50% of the formation gets the same SPA as the original one. So you can have the heavy lance be a support lance of a Striker lance and gain the Speed Demon SPA for that Awesome if you want to move around instead of parking in a hill. Or you can copy a Command or Recon Lance and get 2 abilities from the list, even if you are as "sneaky recon" as an Awesome and Thunderbolt.

glitterboy2098

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Re: standardized unit sizes for easier pickup games
« Reply #23 on: 26 September 2020, 01:20:13 »
that is so versatile and effective a Alpha Strike intro force (both in the points and the lance options) that it almost certainly had to be part of the planing from the start by Catalyst.

Andrew_Cluetain

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Re: standardized unit sizes for easier pickup games
« Reply #24 on: 26 September 2020, 18:13:09 »
Making average Lance at 125 points?

Um, my Teaching lances for Con's are about 125~130
but granted that is low tech IS and on a 2'x2' map  (For limited space, 1hour slot, AND to avoid one player trying to maneuver too much)
the 250 a lance seems more right for an average lance; which gets me wondering what a Star often is.
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nckestrel

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Re: standardized unit sizes for easier pickup games
« Reply #25 on: 26 September 2020, 18:21:59 »
that is so versatile and effective a Alpha Strike intro force (both in the points and the lance options) that it almost certainly had to be part of the planing from the start by Catalyst.

Nope.  Good thought though.
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Sartris

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Re: standardized unit sizes for easier pickup games
« Reply #26 on: 26 September 2020, 18:30:40 »
Nope.  Good thought though.

probably the other end of the spectrum - the lance comp rules are written loosely enough that even a random smattering will often result in multiple options.

 

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