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The status quo of LTs

Discussion in 'Access Guide to the Human Sphere' started by Knauf, Apr 8, 2018.

  1. Knauf

    Knauf Transhumanist

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    In this thread I want to start a discussion about the following question:


    Are the current mechanics involving LTs in Infinity good the way they are, or do we need/want additional rules to further diversify LT profiles and make their choice more important?


    I'm aware that this might be a rather divisive topic, since I'm going to suggest alterations of the current rule set, but I'm confident that we can discuss this in a productive and civil manner.

    Regarding the question above, my answer would be "possibly", so let's dive a little deeper into the topic:

    At this point, every list needs to have an LT profile. Usually, there are several different profiles available for each faction, so one would assume that the LT choice is an important decision to make when it comes to list building. Is it important enough though?

    Form my point of view, the LT should probably play a bigger role in games than they currently do. Thematically, they are the brains behind every operation, but when translating this concept to the actual game, this part is filled by the player who effectively becomes the LT for their army. In gameplay terms, a cheap LI LT seems the way to go in many cases, so you can spend more points on regular orders. This is somewhat offset by SWC, but I feel like the offset might not be big enough.


    The LT has the following qualities within the context of the game:


    1. They provide the WP for the initiative roll

    Having a higher Stat for one single FtF roll is an advantage, but it is still only one roll. The outcome of that roll is reasonably important, because initiative and deployment heavily influence the way the game will play out, so I think this could be the right point to increase the importance of LTs.

    In order to diversify LT profiles, other rolls could be introduced in order to fulfil certain winning conditions within the game, based on the WP (or another stat) of each respective LT, placing more importance on that choice.
    .

    2. They generate a Lieutenant order

    This one is interesting. It's a reasonably important factor when choosing your LT, because one additional order can make a big difference on the right unit. Strategos, Advanced command and Executive order do modify this quality, it does not work with link team members and it's more or less wasted on cheap LTs without special equipment, so I think this one is already quite well off. One thing I would consider is to attach those skills to more LT choices in order to provide more options and to diversify profiles (e.g. Executive command on more/different troops in marker states or in AD reserve).


    3. Their death/absence will result in LoL


    LoL is generally something you want to avoid (if you are not Morat, anyway) so survivablility is an important factor when choosing your LT and I feel that this mechanic is already rather well developed due to marker states, NWI, link teams, CoC and Executive Command. Maybe have LTs in AD reserve not cause your army to enter LoL, so they become a viable choice.


    4. They cost a certain amount of points, SWC and a combat group slot


    A simple quality that is true for all profiles – not much to say here. Maybe increase the cost of some LI LTs a bit more to make them less attractive.


    5. They provide additional bonuses through Skills exclusive to their roles (Strategos, Advanced Command, Inspiring Leadership)


    As mentioned above, I would like to see these on more LT profiles to further diversify our LT options. Putting advanced command or Strategos Lvl 1 on otherwise outclassed LT profiles would be a nice incentive to use them.


    Possible new LT qualities:

    Another way of making LTs more important would be to attach more qualities to that role. In order to avoid rules bloat, those should be associated with existing game mechanics, e.g. Command Tokens. Having your ability to use Command Tokens impacted by how capable your LT is, seems like an intuitive change.

    Example:

    Each LT generates one command token. For every point above WP 11, your LT gains an additional Command Token, up to a maximum of 4.

    With this change, having higher WP on your LT would matter a lot more and having a cheap LT would be a bigger drawback for most factions.


    These are my two cents on this topic and I’m sure you have your own ideas. Looking forward to your opinions!
     
    #1 Knauf, Apr 8, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2018
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  2. Raghart

    Raghart Well-Known Member
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    Having access to one of the lowest of cheap liutenants, i do like the changes described here, especially regarding the last point where command tokens would be generated based on WIP.

    Only thing that i find this discourageable, is that it makes easier to figure who the liutenant is in the other list. (But, mine are almost always pretty obvius :D)
     
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  3. inane.imp

    inane.imp Well-Known Member

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    Playing Nomads (particularly Corregidor) I never find that the Lt choice is meaningless.

    Even choosing a Moderator Lt in Bakunin I'm making a specific choice to have awful WIP, forego the Lt order and a relatively squishy target.

    You already give up a lot for a cheap 0 SWC Lt that forcing you to give up Command Tokens is too much. All of the other choices are also compromised in different ways. There is no 'perfect' solution: each is useful in their own way (well perhaps except for the Hellcat / Moira Lts).
     
    #3 inane.imp, Apr 8, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2018
  4. Hecaton

    Hecaton EI Anger Translator

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    I feel like the Lt choice is mostly a downside... so many players are like "Take a cheap, 0 SWC cost Lt and hide them."

    I also feel like some armies get a get out of jail free card with Lts (see: Tohaa) and the factions that *do* have obvious Lieutenants and no CoC don't get enough to make up for it.

    I wish you could spend your Lt order for more things... do more interesting stuff with it, perhaps different for each faction to help faction identity.
     
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  5. Mahtamori

    Mahtamori Well-Known Member

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    Hmm, makes LT WIP nearly Open Information. Some factions will have even more obvious LTs.
     
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  6. psychoticstorm

    psychoticstorm Aleph's rogue child
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    The rules section is only for rules questions and clarifications I am afraid.
     
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  7. solkan

    solkan Well-Known Member

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    Can this get moved to The Access Guide or suitable general discussion?
     
  8. psychoticstorm

    psychoticstorm Aleph's rogue child
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    I am still debating what is the proper place for these discussions to be, Ill move it to access for now.
     
  9. DaRedOne

    DaRedOne Morat Warrior Philosopher
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    This. I really don't like the idea of having less than 4 command tokens. On the other hand, I would like to see advanced command on more lieutenant profiles, preferably the expensive ones.

    Another point of contention for me is the apparent abundance of Chain of Command profiles. Some of them are extremely good (Kaeltar, Kempeitai) while others feel a little unwieldy (Unknown Ranger, Kirpal Singh), so I don't quite get the skill the way it is now. I like it, but I'd like to see it become a little harder to get, as right now the points cost of a single model with Chain of Command often is much better than what Veterans pay for that skill.
     
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  10. Knauf

    Knauf Transhumanist

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    Thanks for your feedback! The idea involving scaling comand tokens was just an example of what could be done - it's not necessary a good idea all things considered. A change on this scale needs to be made with all factions and sectorials in mind and I admittedly don't have enough insight into the system to come up with something robust on the fly.

    I did pick command tokens, however, because the connection to LTs would be very intuitive and they are an existing game mechanic. I'm convinced that alterations to existing mechanics are preferable to creating completely new ones, since Infinity is already complex enough as it is.

    @DaRedOne

    I agree when it comes to CoC - It seems too safe and cost efficient in some cases (e.g. Haqq Farzans and Kaeltars) and very strange in others. Maybe attach some sort of drawback to CoC, like the loss of one Command Token. Make it more of a bitter pill to swallow rather than a cheap and guaranteed insurance.

    @psychoticstorm Thanks for moving this to the right section!
     
    #10 Knauf, Apr 8, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2018
  11. solkan

    solkan Well-Known Member

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    I have to assume that the original poster doesn't play a Faction with any Strategos models. Or Ghost:Mneumonica. :ghost:

    I'm not sure that the Avatar (a TAG with WIP17 Strategos L3 G:Mneumonica) needs more command tokens, so I don't think you're going to be best served by a rule that rewards everyone for having a high WIP. You're probably better off starting with "Which Factions don't seem to have reasonable Lieutenant choices?"

    For Combined Army at least, the different lieutenants give you different choices:
    • The cheap specialist.
    • Just some model to hide in the back while your fun models get the work done.
    • The Mneumonica or Morat "action specialist"
    • "I bought this model for Strategos"
    and so on.

    I'm not going to say that those are all good choices, but they're at least reasonable choices when you're building your list.
    --
    I think AD lieutenants are messy because if they get too much special handling you wind up with "Take an AD lieutenant because you can't be put into loss of lieutenant."

    If I remember right, in 2nd edition an AD lieutenant combat jumping onto the table when the army was in loss of lieutenant brought the army out of loss of lieutenant, and recalculated the order pool. But that was 2nd edition, and 2nd edition didn't have an Impetuous Order Phase.

    In 3rd edition, if you tried to bring back the "I'm here, stop being so disorganized" mechanic and recalculated the order pool, you still have the skipped Impetuous Order Phase to deal with. And the various side effects are probably all bad consequences:
    - Being able to spend orders before the impetuous orders are resolved
    - Being able to choose to skip the impetuous order phase
    - Being able to choose when during the turn to resolve the impetuous order phase

    Combat Jump Lieutenants probably need something to make them viable choices (beyond "My while collection is AD models, I want a Lt choice from what I've got"), but the Impetuous Order Phase is probably what killed the old mechanic.
     
  12. colbrook

    colbrook Black Fryer

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    That was just AD+CoC, basically Kirpal's special little thing.
     
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  13. Knauf

    Knauf Transhumanist

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    I play Yu Jing and Haqq, which is what gave me the idea in the first place :)

    I really like the idea of Saladin and Sun Tse, but often I find myself hesitant to field them, because Advanced Command can be substituted by just fielding an additional cheerleader instead (which is usually a win-win, since it doubles as an LT or an LT-decoy at much cheaper cost) and the initiative roll being just one roll that can go either way, where a +3/+4 WP advantage might not be as good as it sounds. With modifiers like Mimetism, MSV and Marksmanship, you get those advantages on multiple rolls througout the game, so you can expect them to pay for their cost, but the initiative roll happens only once.

    Strategos is really the only draw to fielding these guys and that doesn't cut it very often for me. In the case of Sun Tse, the high WP does come into play more often, due to him being Hackable and having Flash Pulse, but he's also rather expensive.

    Dunno about the Avatar, I dont play combined, but with my suggestion he wouldn't get stronger - other LTs with less WP would get weaker. Anyway, that suggestion was just something I came up with on the fly and not particularly well thought through. It was just meant as an example on how to change an existing mechanic that is also intuitively linked to LTs.
     
  14. solkan

    solkan Well-Known Member

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    But this is the situation that the difference Lts is supposed to create. You have choices, and you have to actively think about which of those choices to use.

    Among the other issues:
    1. You're ignoring the fact that Strategos imposes limits on the other player that you can't duplicate by adding models.
    2. This is the version of Advanced Command I see on the wiki:
    • Fielding the user of this Special Skill in your Army List gives you one extra Command Token to use during the game.
    That's not an extra order like you get from fielding another cheerleader.


    If every other Lt gets worse, then the Avatar is being made a better choice.

    Please understand that writing something foolish, posting it, and then being told that you're being foolish does not mean that you've done something controversial.
     
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  15. Knauf

    Knauf Transhumanist

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    I agree. My point is that the choice usually is not a very hard one.

    1. I did specifically mention Strategos being the main draw on these models.
    2. Good point, I completely misremembered that skill / confused it with Strategos 1

    True and I never contested that. It was just a response to "I don't think the Avatar needs more command tokens".

    So far nobody told me anything of the sort. I will repeat again: The suggestion is not particularly well thought out and I do not advocate implementing this specific example. It is just an example to get the discussion started. Please read more carefully in the future, I will try to do the same when it comes to the rules ;)

    The point of this thread is the question at the very top, not the example involving command tokens.
     
    #15 Knauf, Apr 8, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2018
  16. Solar

    Solar Well-Known Member

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    I occasionally wish LTs were a bit more important to the game, but at the same time, I'm not particularly bothered that they aren't. If they were more important to the game, I'd want it to be a very carefully considered change. Although that said, I do consider the LT order to be at times a very useful little tool to have if I need it.
     
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  17. Elric of Grans

    Elric of Grans Well-Known Member

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    I personally hate Lts. I always feel like it is a handicap and a penalty rather than an interesting gameplay mechanic, though I recognise some factions have vastly more interesting options than I am used to. As a Corregidor player, I struggle with picking one as my options all seem to be pretty terrible.
    • Alguacil: easy to hide, so little chance of LoL, but the Lt Order is useless and he costs 1 SWC (I find I chew up SWC very fast).
    • Hellcat: if you play as AD you start in LoL; alternatively, you can choose Zero-G Terrain skill... which is never used. Just useless!
    • Intruder: easy to hide to avoid LoL, but he costs a lot of points and a MI with a Combi Rifle is rarely going to be in position to do anything useful. I mostly use him as a Distraction Carnifex ("OMG, Intruder Sniper: I'll avoid that firelane!").
    • Mobile Brigada: an expensive unit with a junk gun who can use the Lt Order, but will put you in LoL turn one (obvious Lt). Perhaps worth considering if you are running a Pain Train list (though the Lt Order is now useless), but that is a bit of a gimmick IMO.
    • Wildcat: a good choice if you are running a Wildcat Fireteam:Core as it is a cheap filler and easy to hide, but the Lt Order is still useless and I find Wildcats a poor choice (they never perform for me).
    If I run an Alguacil Fireteam:Core, I usually take an Alguacil Lt, unless I am short on SWC when I swap an Intruder Lt in. If I am running Wildcats (rare), I take a Wildcat Lt instead. I used to often take a Mobile Brigada, but found it was never worth it (sometimes I use a non-Lt Brigada as a distraction from my actual Lt, to trick my opponent into positioning poorly in the expectation they will put me into LoL).
     
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  18. Robock

    Robock Well-Known Member

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    Playing bakunin, i feel my Lt are already diversified enough. Even though I usually end up not using the Lt order because he's linked. OTOH even unlinked, i would usually not use the Lt order simply to not reveal who it is. I'm mostly fine with the current mechanics. Although I miss that old edition you could something with the Lt order other than revealing your Lt. At the same time, i much prefer the current Command Token mechanic.

    Although i would like for the special Lt mechanic to be spread out a bit more, I mean on more models than just the one here and there in a few faction. Also, since the skill is actually called Lt Level 1, I wish there was a Lt Level 2, but several Lt related mechanics already exist with their own skills.

    I don't really miss my zero Lt and morlock Lt. Camo Lt, considering I have no CoC, would be great but I recall that my Zero Lt often end up dead quicker than any other of my Lt.

    I agree AD Lt need to be fixed.

    I'm not sure how much of a bigger role you want them to have. So i'll say it now, I'd rather we don't reach the level where Lt is the most important model of your army and everything else is just various flavour of filler. I'm not saying you are advocating for that, I'm just saying that the low level of Lt is a feature I like of Infinity. (I guess for other faction, though, the Lt is really the centrepiece converting all warcor and stuff to Regular orders.)
     
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  19. Knauf

    Knauf Transhumanist

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    I agree completely with your sentiment. Your example with Bakunin is a pretty good example of what I am talking about. If my LT is only relevant for the initiative roll and then becomes a model that I only have to hide and protect, I feel that it's not a very exciting implementation of the role.

    Finding a good middle ground between "the LT choice matters" and "the LT is not the most important piece in your list" should be the goal here imo. Right now, I feel the LT could be a little more involved, so changing some of the less prominent mechanics in Infinity in order to have more intereaction with your LT seems reasonable to me.
     
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  20. paraelix

    paraelix Well-Known Member

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    Wip above X value grants Command Points may sound good in theory... But PanO already struggle with low Wip on all their specialists - hamstringing them on their options for Lts wouldn't go down well.

    Personally, I feel there is a huge discrepancy between Lt options for factions or, more specifically, Sectorial lists. It has already been stated that a number of factions with obvious Lt options don't get much of a reciprocal benefit to make up for it... Where other factions already have cheap options, strong offensive options, and CoC to back it up - looking at you, Haqq and JSA.

    I'd like to see an end to the SWC Lt tax on a number of profiles.
     
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