My Initial Playing Could've Been Better, and I really want it to be. Help Requested.

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Shatner
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My Initial Playing Could've Been Better, and I really want it to be. Help Requested.

A friend and I played our first ever game of GSF over the weekend. The experience was a bit odd overall and there were a couple of rules questions that came up, so I'd like to recount the game, highlighting the questions that arose.
 
 
In advance of playing for the first time, I read through the rulebook twice and went to both BGG and this forum to see what other new players had stumbled over. Based on that info, we played our first game against the Technovore Infestation instead of the recommended initial Opposition fleet. I was playing as Grey Hammer and my buddy was playing as The Ranak Warbeast, both chosen more or less at random. Early on, in a sector with two opposition ships, we'd ignore one (especially if the first station card indicated the enemy side wasn't a ship) and team up on the other, with the Ranak Warbeast acting as the primary engager and Grey Hammer as the secondary. This was so Ranak's superior weaponry could heavily damage or destroy the enemy ship while Grey Hammer's secondary boost to shields was enough to bring Ranak's shields up equal to the enemy's weapons so that Ranak would take no damage. Can two strikeforce ships team up on one opposition ship when there is more than one opposition ship present? Also, you don't take damage if your shields meets or exceeds the enemy's weapons, right?
 
 
We used that tactic to keep our momentum up while we acquired techs. Before long we had swept two sectors clear of enemy ships while allowing one to become overrun, containing 4 opposition ships (4 being the fleet limit for a two player game) as well as the flagship, the Hivemaster. There was almost nothing that moved enemy ships around, so once we cleared out our two sectors, we were able to arm ourselves in relative peace. Grey Hammer has a boost that reduces the price of Tech in his sector by 10 each, which we played as making the Ranak Warbeast's purchases cheaper as well, provided it was buying from the same sector as Grey Hammer (Was that correct?). Also, we played it that both players purchased cards more-or-less simultaneously, so if none of the three station cards were anything Warbeast wanted, Grey Hammer could buy a card to reveal a new purchasing option (Was that correct?).
 
 
There were a pair of Ravenous Technovores in the overrun sector, so the Hivemaster's stack of scrapped cards built up pretty quickly. The Hivermaster has an Aftermath Phase ability where, if it has 5 or more cards in it's scrap stack, it does damage to all strikeforce ships in the same sector then empties the stack. We played it that that ability would trigger whether there were strikeforce ships present or not, so we waited to travel to the overrun sector until the turn AFTER the Hivermaster's stack of cards had reset (It does that, right?). Once in the sector we engaged only the flagship; the 4 opposition ships pretty much ignored us, waiting to flip station cards to opposition side up during the Aftermath phase (You can target the flagship specifically, right? Opposition ships you choose not to engage will not be invovlved in battle, ignoring Battle Phase abilities, right?). We unloaded a profusion of direct damage effects on the flagship, which both Grey Hammer and The Ranak Warbeast seem to have in abundance, which softened it up enough that we destroyed it in the ensuing combat. That meant we won despite all the remaining opposition ships (we weren't playing on elite mode). Go team!
 
 
Uncertainty about the rules aside, my friend and I both felt there was a lack of urgency to the game. We were able to ignore the enemy entirely for several turns at a time and we were, for the most part, ignored in-kind; any new ships revealed were scrapped (fleet limit) and most of the opposition boosts bolstered ships we were going to ignore when we focused all of our fire on the flagship. This was very different then in SotM because almost every single villain card revealed (as well as a plurality of the environment cards) would hinder us in some way. Quiet turns in SotM are rare and almost always a result of player action (e.g. Mr. Fixer's Grease Gun against enemies that only deal damage), but it seemed pretty easy in this game. Is this typical of GSF, or were we playing it wrong, or is the Technovore Infestion noteworthy in being fairly non-threatening outside their sole overrun sector?
 
 
Furthermore, our ability to focus everything on the flagship felt a little anticlimactic. In SotM, you almost always wanted to clear out all the minions/devices before focusing everyone on the main villain, because the minions were actively thwarting you (damage, card destruction, etc.) or protecting the villain (damage reduction, damage redirection, etc.), and while you often could target the Villain anyway, doing so was rarely better than peeling away their layer of protective goons. Were we playing this correctly? I understand that Grey Hammer and The Ranak Warbeast are unusually good compared to other ships at doing that sort of thing, and I read somewhere in this forum that the Hivemaster is one of the weaker flagships, so was this just an example of the heroes showing up with the perfect tools to exploit this villain's particular weakness?
 
 
I really, really want to be as enthusiastic about GSF as I am about SotM. I've been hotly anticipating this game pretty much since the Kickstarter project for it was announced. I made sure to read up as much as I could in advance to bypass the first-playthrough errors that can bog down a game; I wanted to make sure GSF got to shine right from the start. While my friend and I did have fun, and will certainly be playing the game again and with more people, we were both a little surprised at how relaxed our victory felt. Again, I really want GSF to play well, so I'm asking you all to please tell me that some combination of the following happened which caused this playthrough to be less engaging than it would otherwise be:
1) We bungled some rules
2) We had unusually good luck and all the opposition cards which would have raised the stakes happened to never show up
3) By chance we picked a team that was the perfect counter to the Opposition deck we happened to play against.
4) Because of rules and/or scaling, the game isn't actually that frantic with two players, and the game is better played with [insert number here] players instead.
 
 
Big thanks in advance to everyone who replies. I'll be playing GSF again this weekend and I'm hoping this thread can help me have all the kinks ironed out so that the second playing will really shine.

Pydro
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Shatner wrote:

Can two strikeforce ships team up on one opposition ship when there is more than one opposition ship present? 

Yes.

Shatner wrote:

 you don't take damage if your shields meets or exceeds the enemy's weapons, right?

Nope, you won't lose Energy.

Shatner wrote:

Grey Hammer has a boost that reduces the price of Tech in his sector by 10 each, which we played as making the Ranak Warbeast's purchases cheaper as well, provided it was buying from the same sector as Grey Hammer (Was that correct?)

Yep.

Shatner wrote:

Also, we played it that both players purchased cards more-or-less simultaneously, so if none of the three station cards were anything Warbeast wanted, Grey Hammer could buy a card to reveal a new purchasing option (Was that correct?).

Yep.

Shatner wrote:

We played it that that ability would trigger whether there were strikeforce ships present or not, so we waited to travel to the overrun sector until the turn AFTER the Hivermaster's stack of cards had reset (It does that, right?).

Yep.

Shanter wrote:

(You can target the flagship specifically, right?

Yep. There are some you can't, but it says so on the Flagship.

Shatner wrote:

Opposition ships you choose not to engage will not be invovlved in battle, ignoring Battle Phase abilities, right?).

No. They are considered unengaged, and will do nothing during the Damage Event, but their abilities will go off. Unless there ability says to do something to a Ship engaged to them.

Shatner wrote:

 Is this typical of GSF, or were we playing it wrong, or is the Technovore Infestion noteworthy in being fairly non-threatening outside their sole overrun sector?

This is not typical of GSF. If you are against an Opp that doesn't do much outside their Sector, there can be some breathing room, unless a Station card flips and moves stuff in.

Shatner wrote:

Furthermore, our ability to focus everything on the flagship felt a little anticlimactic. In SotM, you almost always wanted to clear out all the minions/devices before focusing everyone on the main villain, because the minions were actively thwarting you (damage, card destruction, etc.) or protecting the villain (damage reduction, damage redirection, etc.), and while you often could target the Villain anyway, doing so was rarely better than peeling away their layer of protective goons. Were we playing this correctly?

Yes. There are some Flagships that force you to unengage the other Ships, but some don't. You just have to be careful, because you will still flip cards and those can hurt you. The strategy can work if you scrap the Flagship quickly.

Shatner wrote:

I understand that Grey Hammer and The Ranak Warbeast are unusually good compared to other ships at doing that sort of thing, and I read somewhere in this forum that the Hivemaster is one of the weaker flagships, so was this just an example of the heroes showing up with the perfect tools to exploit this villain's particular weakness?

*nods* Play more games with different ships, and even on Elite Mode. Things change drastically.

 

NOTE: I have no idea how to take the bold off.


Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing.
-Robert E. Howard, "The Tower of the Elephant"

DerpTheBugbear
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Shatner wrote:
 Can two strikeforce ships team up on one opposition ship when there is more than one opposition ship present? Also, you don't take damage if your shields meets or exceeds the enemy's weapons, right?  

Yes, you can always choose to team up, one primary engager, and one secondary engager.  And yes, you are correct, you won't take any damage if your shields are high enough.

 Grey Hammer has a boost that reduces the price of Tech in his sector by 10 each, which we played as making the Ranak Warbeast's purchases cheaper as well, provided it was buying from the same sector as Grey Hammer (Was that correct?).

I'm not as sure about this one, but rules as written? Yes.  

Also, we played it that both players purchased cards more-or-less simultaneously, so if none of the three station cards were anything Warbeast wanted, Grey Hammer could buy a card to reveal a new purchasing option (Was that correct?).  

Since there are no "turns" and everything happens in phases, it would make sense for things like this to be simultaneous.  So I'm gonna go with yes.

The Hivermaster has an Aftermath Phase ability where, if it has 5 or more cards in it's scrap stack, it does damage to all strikeforce ships in the same sector then empties the stack. We played it that that ability would trigger whether there were strikeforce ships present or not, so we waited to travel to the overrun sector until the turn AFTER the Hivermaster's stack of cards had reset (It does that, right?).

Yes, you activate all Icons at the beginning of each respective phase, even if you aren't in that sector.

(You can target the flagship specifically, right? Opposition ships you choose not to engage will not be invovlved in battle, ignoring Battle Phase abilities, right?).

You can engage the flagship even if there are other Opposition ships.  Not sure what you mean by "Ignoring Battle Phase abilities."  If you mean the {B} Icons, you never ignore those.

Is this typical of GSF, or were we playing it wrong, or is the Technovore Infestion noteworthy in being fairly non-threatening outside their sole overrun sector? 

I personally haven't gotten around to playing against Technovores.  So I'm unsure of their difficulty.  I do know, however that there are plenty of Station cards that would have made things a bit more difficult in the other sectors if they were flipped in the overrun sector. 

Furthermore, our ability to focus everything on the flagship felt a little anticlimactic. Were we playing this correctly?

Yes, but...  You were able to build up your strength.  In my experience, this is usually not the case in GSF.  

Was this just an example of the heroes showing up with the perfect tools to exploit this villain's particular weakness? 

You had 2 ships that were really good at scrapping Opposition ships.  Against an Opposition that just sits there, that's pretty much exactly what you need.  I'd wager to guess that if you played against an Opposition force that moved around a lot things would have been much harder.  (although if you then played with ships that had high maneuverability you'd have the "perfect" ships again)

 

Typically the tone of the whole game is set by the first 2 rounds.  Have an amazing first 2 rounds and you'll probably win.  Have a poor first 2 rounds and you'll be having a longer game.  I'd also suggest playing the same setup with different ships, and perhaps even on elite mode as well.  To me Elite mode seems to really add to the flavor of the Opposition as well.  Feels a bit more thematic.

 

(Edit:  Figured someone would beat me to it before I finished posting, :-P.  Also, Ctrl+B turns Bold off.)

Foote
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Elite mode rules without the extra Opp energy is my favorite way to play. The extra flavor it gives the opps is really key for me

Pydro
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DerpTheBugbear wrote:

(Edit:  Figured someone would beat me to it before I finished posting, :-P.  Also, Ctrl+B turns Bold off.)

It didn't work for me if the bold came from copying someplace else. I tried Ctrl-B and pushing the bottom. It wouldn't let me. In fact, it is why this is in italics.


Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing.
-Robert E. Howard, "The Tower of the Elephant"

Pydro
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Foote wrote:

Elite mode rules without the extra Opp energy is my favorite way to play. The extra flavor it gives the opps is really key for me

Hold on a second! I can find a post that says you don't encourage people to not play by the rules. This is not by the rules Foote! surprise


Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing.
-Robert E. Howard, "The Tower of the Elephant"

Foote
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Pydro wrote:
Foote wrote:
Elite mode rules without the extra Opp energy is my favorite way to play. The extra flavor it gives the opps is really key for me

 

Hold on a second! I can find a post that says you don't encourage people to not play by the rules. This is not by the rules Foote! surprise

There is truth to that. I do think games should be played by the intended rules, for better or worse, especially when talking about rules and strategies on a forum like this so that everyone can be on the same page for the discussion.

However, with the difficulty of the game being what it is, tuning the difficulty to suite your groups needs will be a popular topic. This is one of the ways I prefer to do it with my group now that we have a very solid understanding of the game and general strategy. Plus we would like to win games every once in a while.

Shatner
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Thanks a ton for the rules clarifications and contextualization of my game. It sounds like my friend and I were lucky about which station cards were flipped early on and (unintentionally) picking an advantagous duo of strikeforce ships to take on this particular opponent.

 

I'll post back here once I've had a chance to play the game once or twice more and let everyone know if things improved and what, if anything, tripped us up. And again, thanks for the help.

Craig
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As a complete derailment, I can't help but read everything you write in Melodramatic Kirk style, Shatner.


Twitter: imprimis5. Follow away!

Shatner
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Heh. I get that a lot across the various forums I post in. The username is made from gluing together the first bit of my first name, the middle bit of my middle name, and the last bit of my last name, and was invented for a LAN party decades ago, back before me or anyone else present knew who William Shatner was (at the time he was just "that guy that played Captain Kirk"). It's been my handle for digital interactions ever since, and has apparently been setting my forum posts to stun along the way.