Introduced some more folks to GSF, but...

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Azqa
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Introduced some more folks to GSF, but...

I think I'm going to have to not bring it to game nights for awhile.  Six people, for three of whom it was their second game and two of whom their first, spent a little over four hours dealing with the Syndicate.  Part of that was my fault for forgetting the Fleet Limit, so there were a couple times that we spawned in ships that took a sector up to 10-11 opposition ships.  Even so, after about the third turn, only one sector was flipping station cards at all.   The last few turns consisted of Wrath going into the overrun sector, bringing back a bunch of opp ships for us to crush, and making sure that one of them had a bounty that prevented station cards from being flipped by unengaged opp ships.  The Solar Ransom had 30+ tokens on it because we hardly ever spent any time in that sector, Wrath and Basileos had 40+ attack and Warbeast & Tharendim had mid-30s, and even with only 8-10 defense on the Strike Force ships, none of the enemies were doing anything to hurt us.

A lot of the time was spent trying to figure out what to buy, and getting everyone used to the order of phases, events, and when they could play boosts.  Those are things that will obviously speed up with experience, but still - that was a long time for a game in which the players were never in any serious danger.

My solo games where I've played two ships have usually led to my demise relatively quickly.  The group games I've played with 6 people have pretty much steamrolled the opposition and just taken some time to grind through.  I'm guessing that 3-4 players would be a better balance between the two.  I also have only used technovores and syndicate for new players, so a question for folks who've played more would be this:  How would you rate the different opposition fleets in terms of difficulty scaling with number of players?  Ideally I'd be curious to hear responses about this for both normal mode and elite mode.  

Foote
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Ignoring Solar Ransom: I think thats a common thing for newer players to do going up against the Syndicate for the first time. I personally feel its a mistake to do so. You won't actually get anywhere unless you bring the Flagship out. Clearing the board before a flagship kill, especially in 4-6 player games just won't happen, or its highly unlikely. Instead of Wrath bringing ships out of the Overrun sector (I assume thats the one with Solar Ransom), why not bring ALL the Opp ships there instead? That way you are only flipping 3 cards max in the Aftermath, have plenty of oppertunity to manipulate those 3 to your advantage, and you can control the chip count on Solar Ransom for a quicker deployment. Get that Flagship out! 

Because flagship deployment is in total control of the players, I don't recomend them for beginers. Yes its probably the easier game, but its only easier once you figure out that Cryoshade is a big wimp with a lot of shields and you could kill it without much trouble. And most people totally forget the Flagship kill win condition for some reason. But its by far the quickest way.

Play against Technovores: Flagship will come out the first time a sector is overrun. Players can't screw themselves over here like they can with the Syndicate. Hive Master is a low energy Flagship that will start scrapping your stuff, but once he is out at least your group now has a solid goal - kill the Flagship

Forget that "clearing the board" is a win condition on normal. I think you will have a much more enjoyable experience.

Azqa
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It did feel a little anticlimactic to win by clearing the board without ever getting the flagship out, yes, but even if we'd been playing Elite mode and needing to kill it as well as everything else, when we cleared the board we had at least two ships that could've one-shot the Cryoshade and we'd probably have had all of them to that point by the time it would have come out.  

That is pretty much directly contradictory to your response, so maybe we overlooked something.  If we didn't, though, we had one sector that we let get overrun quickly.  It filled up with ships while we cleared out the other two relatively quickly and built up.  Then we dragged ships over to us, smashed them easily, and just rinsed & repeated that until everything was gone.

I agree that the next time I get a group of six to play it I'll probably have us play Elite, but I'm still curious - how would people rate the different opposition fleets in terms of difficulty scaling with number of players?  E.G. in Sentinels, Dreamer is harder with H=4 than with H=3, and noticeably harder still with H=5.  On the other hand, the Chairman scales noticeably in the opposite direction, while someone like Spite or Akash'bhuta has only minor changes in difficulty between the different H numbers.  
 

Foote
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You don't need to play Elite mode to need a flagship kill. Is that what you're missing?

There are 2 standard win conditions. 1)Kill Flagship -OR- 2) Clear Board

On Elite Mode you have to do BOTH, but normal mode you can do either/or

Flagship killing results in MUCH faster games and is therefore the strategy I highly encourage.

Once you get a good handle and can win games quickly on Normal, then thats when I recomend stepping up to Elite Mode. And even then, because of how long games can take, I still only play to a Flagship kill on Elite. I love this game, but its too mentally taxing at times to drag out 4+ hour games when Flagship kills can take long enough.

I love love love the Elite Mode Icons though. I prefer "Elite Mode Jr" as my sweet spot (Flagship Kill = Win, no board clear win condition, Icons active, no bonus energy). Thats what we have been calling it

Azqa
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Foote wrote:

You don't need to play Elite mode to need a flagship kill. Is that what you're missing?

Nope, not missing anything there.

Foote wrote:

There are 2 standard win conditions. 1)Kill Flagship -OR- 2) Clear Board

Yep, did the second in the game last night.

 

I probably should've waited to post anything after getting some sleep.  My main question is the one I've asked in my other two posts, about scaling.  A secondary question would be "Is it normal for a Syndicate game to be a long drawn-out grind, if you don't try to lure the Cryoshade out early?" and the answer to that appears to be "Yes."

Foote
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EdgeDS wrote:

My main question is the one I've asked in my other two posts, about scaling.  A secondary question would be "Is it normal for a Syndicate game to be a long drawn-out grind, if you don't try to lure the Cryoshade out early?" and the answer to that appears to be "Yes."

Oh, I'm sorry blush. I totally missed what your main question was. Bad Foote.

Scaling: I think the difficulty order for Normal and Elite Mode, through 2-6 players pretty much stays consistent (though I have far more experience with 2-4 than 4-6). Technovores I feel are the easiest on normal, followed by Syndicate, Nyotan, UFGD, Omega. On Elite, Technovores and Syndicate switch spots and Nyotan/UFGD are pretty much on par with Omega being by far the most challenging.

Aside from that, just the amount of stuff you have to track and take into consideration in a 6 player game makes games harder than in a 2 player game with less pieces to your puzzle which has to be a consideration. Its easier to figure out a 4 piece puzzle than a 30 piece puzzle.

Yes, it is totally normal for Syndicate games to drag on ad-nausium if you totally ignore the Solar Ransom. 

Edit: Let me also say that Wrath has a way of trivializing the sense of "danger" in the game (something you brought up). You will rarely ever lose a game by being blown up. The threat of loosing always comes from 3 overrun sectors. Goaded Pursuit + Sensor Array lets you unstack sectors preventing them from ever being overrun, and you can use Goaded Pursuit may more than twice in a round because of Sensory Array drawing those Goaded's back into your hand.

At my table, Goaded Pursuit is house ruled to be her and up to 2 other ships (instead of ANY amount of ships) for this reason. If GSF ever gets an errata pack for the misprints, I hope Goaded Pursuit gets looked at as well. (Lord help you if you can tack on a OCS Waypoint Plotter on her)

Azqa
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No worries, no worries :)  My question in the first post was buried at the end of a bit of a ramble, it was easy to miss.

Glad to hear that the number of SF ships, in your experience, doesn't really change the difficulty of an opponent signficantly in either direction.  I want to get more people in my groups to play GSF, and that will probably be a concern early on.  The other concern will be game duration, and that might just come down to letting people know that if they want a faster game, we should make sure to bring out the flagship early no matter what.

I like that house rule for Goaded Pursuit.  I may have to bring that up the next time someone picks Wrath.  Your point about where the sense of danger comes from makes sense, too, and that may be something that my groups just have to get used to.  Thanks for the responses!