Saturday, 2 November 2013

Attack Wing Comp- The Fail is Strong in This One

My thoughts on Comp
I'm a big proponent of fun, new ways to play Attack Wing. The game is in its relative infancy, but already min/max patterns are emerging. I think the Organized Play event prizes have a lot to do with the min/max theorycrafting, as the rewards for doing well are not obtainable outside of the OP events. If they became available later, in other releases, I think the min/maxing will die down. Additionally, I think any game with a list point total and various pts for upgrades will lend itself towards min/maxing. 

I see a lot of people getting upset about min/maxing and putting restrictions on list building. I'm very allergic to comp. It's usually done by people who want the game to fit their preconceived notions of how the game should be played, instead of how the designers have allowed for it to be played. Generally, it comes from a player or players thinking a system is unbalanced, and needs their very deft assistance in rebalancing the game. Often, it comes from individuals who want the game to fit the "fluff", or theme of the game. For instance, I've read that some Tournament Organizers have forced "faction purity" upon their builds. I'm not sure how this works in practice- whether you have to ensure every ship is faction pure, or every list is faction pure, but even that is a choice. 

For the first OP event, it has unfortunately been the case that individuals playing dominion ships have not been doing very well. I really only have my own experience and anectodal experience for that comment, but I think it's fair to say that the vast majority of builds at the Dominion War are not comprised of ships from the Dominion. It's too bad, but as I'll comment upon in the future, the first few dominion releases have been weak. 

I'm not even going to argue that this or that captain was on this or that non-faction ship in the show. There are some instances of a federation crew piloting a non-federation ship (see Star Trek VI). These instances are few and generally far between. They don't happen all that often. There's also the argument that Attack Wing comprises moments in time in the Star Trek Universe, that Picard is on a Romulan Ship could mean that something interesting has happened to allow him to be there. That fun and interesting reasons for his appearance on the ship is something that could happen in a setting as vast and varied as Star Trek. That's not even the strongest argument against what is happening at these Faction Pure events. Here's my strongest argument, in one sentence. 

Your Faction Pure Comp hoses the Dominon, in an event entitled "The Dominion War". 

If your event was dominated by a pure Dominion build, congratulations, you are in rare company. What I'm seeing in tournament reports is mostly Klingon lists winning the War. Dominion builds are not doing well at all.

If you want to build a faction pure list, go right ahead. I love faction pure lists. I think they can be thematic and interesting. There are a number of builds available, and tons of upgrades to choose from. Why not Bring and Enterprise D, with Picard, Data and La Forge, flying next to a Defiant with Sisko and Dax and O'Brien? That's a really thematic and interesting build. Wait, you want to put Sulu on your Enterprise D? Well that's a great decision because Sulu is fantastic. And you'd rather have Spock on there as well? That's pushing things a bit in terms of theme. Wait a second, you want a Miranda with Terel, and a second named Miranda with Riker on board and nothing else? So you're min/maxing within the confines of your system? Why would Terel be in this century? Oh you have an interesting and fun idea for that. Let me hear it. Now explain to me why your imagination to fit your ends is more valid than the guy who has a great explanation for putting Picard on a Warbird? 

If you're following me, and it may be hard, the TLDR here is that you're still going to have min/maxing at a Faction Pure event. You're still going to have odd pairings that have to be explained away either with interesting and creative explanations. 

The only faction that can be played pure and still dominate is the Klingons. So if you're attending these faction pure events, and have purchased the Klingon ships, congratulations, you're going to do better than the Dominion fanboy. The sheer efficiency of the Klingon build is right up there with a really well piloted Federation build. 

I think almost any list can be great in the hands of a good player. This game is won and lost in the movement phase. Personally, I want to take my super build and go up against another super build and have a really competitive game. 

There's nothing stopping you from putting on an event at your local game store that's Faction Pure. You can put an entry fee on it and give out prizes. Until I see that the OP's are to be run this way, I'm going to argue vehemently against these kinds of restrictions. The game is deep, interesting and balanced enough that these restrictions are unnecessary and restrict critical thinking and play. If you attend these comp events and see min/maxing, you should call that out, especially on those people that are forcing the issue. It's WAY too early to say whether something over powered or broken (and I really don't think anything is anyway). 
It's also way too easy to see why you shouldn't take certain upgrades over others. Anyone with a critical eye is going to break your comp. If you're the only game in town at your store, you may also be affecting ship sales. Why not just play the ships you want? The system lets you do it! Believe in the system!

I'd love to hear from you guys on why I'm wrong, but it's going to take a LOT of convincing!

1 comment:

  1. While I personally enjoy faction-pure builds, in many cases just to see if I can do it and succeed, I agree that imposing restriction does hamper certain groups unfairly. Dominion are still weak even after the release of wave 1, and to build a decent list will likely require buy a duplicate of at least one ship.

    While I haven't done so yet myself, I see nothing wrong with mixing eras and factions to make a fun list. Note that I said fun. I like winning as much as the next person, but don't approve of min/max-ing purely in the pursuit of winning. I think it's important as a player in the game to ensure that I and my opponent both enjoy the experience of the game.