Best/Most Balanced Scenarios?

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silopolis
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Best/Most Balanced Scenarios?

My wife and I tried to play Citizen Dawn's first scenario, and she got super frustrated with how difficult it is to win as the Citizens. It made us hesitant to try other scenarios, especially on my end, because I know that if she gets turned off from the game, I'll likely never get to play it again. ;) Meanwhile, we both enjoyed the skirmish or two we've played, but we missed the story aspect, and it felt odd having Legacy trying to KO his own daughter.

So I figured I'd ask here: What scenarios are well balanced and fun? We have both the core set and Uprising.

Also: I've read a bit about an Ambuscade scenario, but I only see one for the Operative in my Uprising box. Where can I get Ambuscade's stuff? And is there one for Prole?


Foote
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silopolis wrote:

My wife and I tried to play Citizen Dawn's first scenario, and she got super frustrated with how difficult it is to win as the Citizens. It made us hesitant to try other scenarios, especially on my end, because I know that if she gets turned off from the game, I'll likely never get to play it again. ;) Meanwhile, we both enjoyed the skirmish or two we've played, but we missed the story aspect, and it felt odd having Legacy trying to KO his own daughter.So I figured I'd ask here: What scenarios are well balanced and fun? We have both the core set and Uprising.Also: I've read a bit about an Ambuscade scenario, but I only see one for the Operative in my Uprising box. Where can I get Ambuscade's stuff? And is there one for Prole?

1) Starting with the Dawn scenarios is not the greatest idea. They progress in complexity and difficulty in my experience. Storywise the timeline goes Baron Blade, Omnitron, then Dawns, and that's the order I'd play them. Baron's 1st and 3rd are really great I think (the 2nd is really just a setup for the 3rd when you play through all 3 as a campaign). All of Omnitron's are pretty decent as well. 

2) It is worth noting that every scenario will actually slightly favor one side over the other. In the case of the first Dawn scenario, it's been brought up before on the forums that winning as the citizens is extremely hard. I actually have never played through the Dawn scenario's myself (idk how, its on my to-do list). I'd refer to Skippy for advice on this one.

3) The Uprising scenario book is 4 scenario's long. 1 Operative, 1 Ambuscade, 1 Proletariat, then 1 last one where they all fight together. None of the Uprising villains have a stand alone 3 scenario campaign, as their storys are sorta tied in together.

phantaskippy
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The uprising book has 4 scenarios, 1 each with Ambuscade's, Proletariat, and Operative.

Few scenarios are evenly balanced, most are tilted to one side or the other.

The scenarios also are better for experienced players.

There are some things that need adjusted on several scenarios, I made a quick fix guide, if I can find it I'll link it here.

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All my fixes were in other posts, so I created a new topic and put them in it.

If you played Dawn 1, then rest assured it wasn't strategy, 2 hero games with official rules are nearly unwinnable.  The heroes can win more than half the time in that scenario without ever doing anything.

Here is the post.  I will add ones for the other scenarios as I find them/get them together.

silopolis
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Thanks much! We started with Dawn's because my wife really likes Citizen Dawn and was excited to play her. Then it turned out that she wouldn't be playing as Dawn, and then it turned out that the Citizens were horribly outmatched. It wasn't a great introduction.

Then we played a skirmish, heroes vs villains, and I lost in spectacular fashion when I forgot that Unity's bots all explode when they die... and I had multiple Prole clones surrounding Raptor Bot. So that made up for the lackluster intro from the Dawn scenario. ;)

I'll try to get the Blade scenarios on the table and see how it goes. I really like the game, and she enjoys the combat system and the characters, so it's just a matter of getting a good third impression. :)

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Blade #1 is more strategic, and lead face smashing, because blade has every incentive to not fight.  The other two are all about smashing into each other.  I really enjoy the Omnitron scenarios, which is why I don't have anything on them.

There is also a nice alternate skirmish list on Spiff's Tactics site, those are also a lot of fun.

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However, the OP's original point, that the in-comic scenarios aren't particularly well balanced, is true I think.  Maybe they're balanced across a run of scenarios (the first one favors the heroes, the next one favors the villains, etc.) but why would anyone want to play a scenario that's known to favor the other guy?  I'm really hoping that in the expac, the scenarios will be individually balanced so that you could play any one of them and expect to have a fun, balanced fight.


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I think that is the goal, it is just really hard to pull off.  When I play them I am looking for balance to be was it engaging, and feel like you had a good chance to win, more than is it a 50/50 match.

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If we managed to balance stuff it would be pretty easy to release updated scenarios as a pdf or something.


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Silverleaf wrote:

If we managed to balance stuff it would be pretty easy to release updated scenarios as a pdf or something.

Phantaskippy posted his thoughts about balanancing the Citizen Dawn scenarios, and I'm hoping he'll be able to post his thoughts about the others soon as well.  I'd love to post the balanced versions of the scenarios in the form of the One-Shot Scenarios I posted about in some other topic somewhere.

It's slightly dismaying to me that the game was released with barely-balanced scenarios.  Sure, it's hard to do, but it seems like that's a pretty basic requirement of releasing a game, making sure it's balanced.  I think a pretty good job was done balancing the characters themselves for skirmishes, but the scenarios were maybe a little rushed.  I agree that it would be great to find ways to (a) get the old ones into balance and (b) make sure the new ones coming with the expac are balanced out of the gate.


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Spiff's Tactics site: www.spiffworld.com/tactics

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I think we just didn't have time to playtest the scenarios enough. At least, I didn't.


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I agree.  There was so much going on, and so much of playtesting was learning the game, that people got burned out and things got busy and yeah, it didn't get properly playtesting.  I know I playtesting Dawn scenario 1, but always with 3 heroes, where it works fine.  I never got to the uprising scenarios, and with characters, the maps, rules changing so much it was rough.

I expect a lot of that won't be a problem for the new stuff, because we have much better ideas of how the game works, and characters that are finished to balance against.  It just shows the difficulty of balancing a first run of a brand new game.

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Disagree entirely. Scenarios are designed to deliver a story and a specific interaction of rules. They are not necessarily balanced, and making them so would probably make them rather bland and boring. Skirmish isn't balanced, given the way the chartacters can interact, why should the sceanrios be? Hell, how could the scenarios be?

As to why someone would play them, knowing their side has a significant disadvantage? Why do people play the Chairman with a random team? I contend that the play experience is better with scenarios than skirmish, and that sometimes you just like to play a challenging game rather than something easy. And soemtimes, if you're experienced at the game, you take the harder role yourself to give newer people a better game experience.


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A lot of this discussion is dependent on what kind of balance we are talking about, the Dawn scenarios 1&2 aren't unbalanced in a "this match is harder for one side" manner, but the "this scenario is unwinnable with 2 heroes and easy with 4," and in scenario 2, is just insanely lopsided in favor of heroes.

The Omnitron and Blade scenarios aren't evenly balanced for the different sides, but they aren't unbalanced by much, and they are definitely playable with the different amount  of players.

Skirmishes aren't balanced, which is why they have a ban-draft setup for the tournament, so that skirmish unbalance is something the players control.

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I don't think the comparison to random heroes vs the Chairman is fair, simply because if you lose to the Chairman you all lose.

If a Tactics scenario was unbalanced enough that whoever took on a particular role was almost certain to lose and by extension everyone else wins, that game wouldn't be much fun.

There's a subtle but important difference there.


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Wouldn't be much fun? Really? I've played games with other people where I knew they were so much better than me that the outcome wasn't in any doubt whatsoever. Still had fun. Winning isn't everything.

 

[EDIT] That came across a bit snarky, sorry. Also, I think there is a difference when you know the scenario is balanced against you and when you play blind expecting it to be more levelly balanced. The latter will be much more frustrating than the former.


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There is a difference between being beaten by skill and being beaten by a highly unbalanced scenario. I am happy to lose a game when I'm outplayed, but when I lose to luck or other such things beyond my power, unbalanced games included. And, on the other hand, there's very little fun in beating someone if the odds are stacked against you.


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What Meerkat said. I want to feel I'm winning (or losing) because of my own play, not because I'm supposed to win (or lose) because of the game design.

I don't need things to be perfectly balanced. I just want the better player to win a good proportion of the time regardless of which side they chose to play.


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And I agree that winning isn't important. I like winning, but it's no big if I lose.

For me the important thing is feeling like I'm competitive. I want to know that I'll likely win if I play better than the other players. If I'm a much higher skill level at a particular game I'll accept some kind of handicap, because it makes the game more competitive and therefore more fun for everyone involved.

Seriously unbalanced scenarios handicap the person who picked the "wrong" side, rather than the most skilled player. That's no fun.


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Yeah, the danger is supposed to be from your opponent, not the rule book.  Coop games you fight the rulebook, so balance is actually just challenge.

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I realize this is only tangentially related, but decades ago I played a game in which one is defending an island from attackers. It is expected that the defenders will lose the island. The game is scored based on how long one can keep from losing the island.


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Battletech had lopsided battles, but the scoring was such that people preferred the underdogs, because they could win so much and would lose so little, but trying to win with the advantage, but with as few resources lost as possible was hard, and you could lose so badly if things went horribly wrong.

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I'll just chime in here to say I'm glad to see so many 'Playtester' banners present in this thread because it means that it's at least on people's minds as you work through the Broken City & For Profit stuff. I can't get my gaming group to play the scenarios anymore...we finished on Dawn's first one (naturally). As others have stated, it simply wasn't fun. We stick with the skirmishes now, but I actually want to get back to the story of it all, and oddly, I actually like being told exactly which tile goes where and the little extra rules for things. Seems too little, too late for the original stuff, but here's hoping the expansions can still tell a decent story while having it equally fun for both sides.

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Maybe you'd like to give my One-Shot Scenarios a try.  They have the extra rules and setup instructions like you like, on a single page each for each one.  Unfortunately, they're not fully balanced yet (I pulled many of them from the scenario books), but the more people who try them out and give feedback, the sooner we can get to a well balanced set of scenarios that are fun to play.


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Foote wrote:

 

silopolis wrote:
My wife and I tried to play Citizen Dawn's first scenario, and she got super frustrated with how difficult it is to win as the Citizens. It made us hesitant to try other scenarios, especially on my end, because I know that if she gets turned off from the game, I'll likely never get to play it again. ;) Meanwhile, we both enjoyed the skirmish or two we've played, but we missed the story aspect, and it felt odd having Legacy trying to KO his own daughter.So I figured I'd ask here: What scenarios are well balanced and fun? We have both the core set and Uprising.Also: I've read a bit about an Ambuscade scenario, but I only see one for the Operative in my Uprising box. Where can I get Ambuscade's stuff? And is there one for Prole?

 

1) Starting with the Dawn scenarios is not the greatest idea. They progress in complexity and difficulty in my experience. Storywise the timeline goes Baron Blade, Omnitron, then Dawns, and that's the order I'd play them. Baron's 1st and 3rd are really great I think (the 2nd is really just a setup for the 3rd when you play through all 3 as a campaign). All of Omnitron's are pretty decent as well. 2) It is worth noting that every scenario will actually slightly favor one side over the other. In the case of the first Dawn scenario, it's been brought up before on the forums that winning as the citizens is extremely hard. I actually have never played through the Dawn scenario's myself (idk how, its on my to-do list). I'd refer to Skippy for advice on this one.3) The Uprising scenario book is 4 scenario's long. 1 Operative, 1 Ambuscade, 1 Proletariat, then 1 last one where they all fight together. None of the Uprising villains have a stand alone 3 scenario campaign, as their storys are sorta tied in together.

 

how would you play the 3rd baron blade scenario without playing the second?


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morph147 wrote:

how would you play the 3rd baron blade scenario without playing the second?

You can play any of the scenarios stand alone. Just ignore the "if X won, then Y" conditions for setup.

Blade would start with 0 turrets in play (so just choose the pylon positions carefully) but he would have access to all 4 turret types. That would seem to be a reasonable way to start.

You may adjust that to your groups liking though.