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Thread: Heat Rays are TERRIBLE, time to improve them.

  1. #1

    Default Heat Rays are TERRIBLE, time to improve them.

    I have been playing a lot of Tripods and Triplanes recently and have been exclusively been on the Tripod side.

    What I have found is that the Tripod's offense is sorely lacking with most of the damage coming from smoke launchers.

    Heat rays are difficult to use with the guessing, thin beam, energy cost and recharge. If you do manage a hit your chance of doing damage is 50/50 as half of the deck are 0.

    Anyways my reason for the post is to see what everybodys experience is with heat rays and if anybody has been developing some house rules to improve them?

  2. #2

    matt56's Avatar May you forever fly in blue skies.
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    I have had similar experience with the Martians, William. I am disappointed the Heat-Ray is not the devastating weapon it is made out to be in the novel(s). Granted, I certainly want there to be a chance for the Earthlings to win, but things seem rather stacked in Earth's favor.

    With all of the Martian's damage decks, there is a 50/50 chance of damage - half the cards in the X, Y, and Z decks are zeroes. I find the Black Smoke launchers more useful than the Heat-Ray, but then I have restricted my use of tripods to the Locust and the Scarab so far. Perhaps next game I will use the Cuttlefish and see what happens. The energy reserves of the Squid seem to make using it somewhat problematic. I will have to get it into a game soon.

    Being able to use tripods in tandem or en masse working together and 'thinking together' makes them more formidable, but that is hard to do when several people are running tripods. I have found if I run a couple of 'pods, I am able to do a better job of this than when I run one and a friend runs another. So the unity Martians display in the novel(s) is lost somewhat in the game.

    I wonder if simply allowing the Heat-Ray to fire left, right, and center from each 'mounting point' might make them more effective - it would give the side Heat-Rays on the Locust a broader 'field of fire'? Similarly, maybe using the longer Heat-Ray range stick for both Heat-Ray types would be a good idea? You could differentiate the heavy H-R from the light H-R by increasing the number of cards dished out by the heavy version, or something like that - or pehaps treat it more like the planes' damage card use - two cards for short range and one card for long range?

    I look forward to seeing what folks have to add to this thread - thanks for starting it!

    All the best,
    Matt

  3. #3

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    Too many times I have maneuvered, guessed the opponents flight pattern and successfully chosen the correct firing angle only to pull a 0 or a low damage card. What a lot of work for very little reward. Airplanes get to shoot all the time, even if they didn't plan it. They get two cards at close and can potentially put out 6 cards in a turn. A tripod could do a maximum of 2 cards.

    The numbers just are not there for the Tripods!


    I am tempted to get rid of all of the 0 cards from X and Y just to guarantee something happens. If I think about it I can justify it as it should always HIT due to having to aim the narrow beam rather than the Airplanes broad firing arc.

    I haven't tried a deathmatch scenario but I don't imagine it would go well. In all of the battles I have only ever killed off 1 plane. Maybe it is because I am going for objectives instead of concentrating on chasing and shooting.. im not sure that is the reason.


    Matt56, the idea of using the LONG RANGE rulers for all shooting is a good idea but from my experience once the planes make contact they just constantly swarm around the tripods, which negates the advantage of the long ruler... although saying that it does give you a slightly longer "close range". It is a different subject but I feel the same about the squid. Poor thing just isn't usable with so little energy.

  4. #4

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    As a player fighting against the tripods I have to say the accuracy is not great if the tripod operator doesn't guess the plane's path properly. Now on the receiving in in the aspect of damage, I have not been lucky enough to get a zero. Last three games the heat rays have put a hurt on me when they hit. The black smoke is pretty nasty if you do not use any type of altitude because it makes a major obstacle for the planes to fly around. I think most people try and maneuver out of the heat ray because of the damage potential, but forget how nasty the smoke launchers can be. I could be wrong on that.

    Overall, I still find the tripods and amusing and fun addition and want to continue using them.

  5. #5

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    Whilst I agree that sometimes the damage output of the Heat rays can be a little underwhelming due to the large number of zeroes in their decks, they still seem to have been pretty effective for us when they do score damage. Black Smoke is probably more useful if used cunningly though as it blocks line of sight and hinders movement as well as having damage potential.

    It is important to remember that from the Martian's point of view the game is not really about killing all the Earthlings but destroying the objectives. Although it is still early days, the Martians have won every game bar one at my local game store, and the one they lost was pretty unlucky, involving a Cuttlefish being downed to a single rocket barrage through its unshielded edge and the resultant fire (two explosion cards drawn in three damage cards)

  6. #6

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    While half the deck does no damage half to three quarters of the other half (depending on the deck & aircraft used) will cause half damage or better on a single hit:

    X Deck (32 cards)
    16 x 0 – none with special damage
    2 x 3 – 1 left rudder, 1 right rudder
    1 x 4 – smoke
    1 x 5 – wounded pilot
    2 x 6 – 1 fire, 1 engine damage
    2 x 7 – 1 wounded pilot
    2 x 8 – 1 smoke, 1 fire
    1 x 9 – no special damage
    1 x 10 – no special damage
    1 x 11 – no special damage
    1 x 12 – no special damage
    2 x BOOM cards

    Y DECK (32 cards)
    16 x 0 – none with special damage
    2 x 1 – none with special damage
    2 x 2 – 1 left rudder, 1 right rudder
    1 x 3 – smoke
    1 x 4 – fire
    2 x 5 – 1 wounded pilot
    4 x 6 – 1 fire, 1 engine damage, 1 wounded pilot
    1 x 7 – no special damage
    1 x 8 – no special damage
    2 x BOOM cards

    If you adjust things so that destruction is almost certain on a hit or two then you'll soon run out of opponents - in all senses.
    I'm happy with it - whilst it's frustrating it does give a semblance of balance & some hope for the pilots; they seem willing to take risks at the moment, that would change if you took out the zero's...

    "He is wise who watches"

  7. #7

    matt56's Avatar May you forever fly in blue skies.
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    Luck of the card draw is certainly a factor, as it is with regular WoG games...my Martian decks are still pretty stiff and need to be shuffled some more to get the cards to really mix well. Perhaps I will sit down and do some shuffling when it's not right before a game...

    When you think about things looking at the deck contents, Dave, you're right - the chance for sizeable damage is pretty good if you actually hit/don't draw a zero. And as you say, Andy, most of the time Martians are objective-driven, so they aren't just 'dog-fighting' it out with Earthlings. This causes them to move away from combat, presenting their unshielded sides to planes which can conceivably fire every turn. And when a 'pod is swarmed by several planes, damage can be fast and furious. Having obstacles that can be destroyed and used for rapid energy sources is one key to alien survival, if the Martian can take advantage of it.

    The move/recharge/rotate/fire 'dance' that Martians have to do is a new wrinkle that is proving tougher to manage than I'd thought...

    Good discussion!
    All theb est,
    Matt

  8. #8

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    A very lucid and useful discussion.
    I'm sure that the overall outcome seems to be pretty much what I would expect.
    Sounds as if Martians need to go for the objective, but have a couple of covering wing men to watch their backs who are not objective obsessives.
    Rob.
    "Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you're scared to death."

  9. #9

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    I agree that the Martians are weaker than we expected. Next time I'm going to try any plane in the heat ray blast takes damage. I've had several single heat ray shots have more than one plane on the template. Maybe letting it hit more than one plane will help? Taking out a few (but not all) zeros might also be a way to go.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Teaticket View Post
    ...I've had several single heat ray shots have more than one plane on the template. Maybe letting it hit more than one plane will help? ...
    That has some merit, doesn't tinker with the decks - I liked Mike's suggestion at post #6 in this thread on the subject. It may still upset the balance but at least the Martian player might be happier !

    "He is wise who watches"

  11. #11

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    There is a 'play balance' vs 'movie magic' issue in all this, IMHO. Please note the designer concept that the heat-ray was a ground effect weapon to take out stationary/slow ground targets being used to hit fast moving, 'agile' aircraft. The zeros in the heat-ray damage decks are to emulate that the beam is not concentrated on the target for the entire two seconds of a phase, but perhaps only managing to flash over the target (lots of damage and flames), or the heated air near the beam is all that damages the plane (very low damage).

    I understand the frustration with using the heat-ray, as I tend to rely on Black Smoke almost entirely in games I play (no altitude). When not playing against many planes that can concentrate fire on one tripod at a time, it is almost always possible to run over the objectives and get off the board, but usually leaving all the opponent planes buzzing around (if damaged).

    Taking all the zeros out of the heat-ray decks will give the movie feel to your games, but play balance will, most likely, vaporize with the burning planes.
    Last edited by OldGuy59; 11-30-2019 at 09:42.
    Mike
    "Flying is learning to throw yourself at the ground and miss" Douglas Adams
    "Wings of Glory won't skin your elbows and knees while practicing." OldGuy59

  12. #12

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    Could another answer be to reduce the recovery time so that the heat ray can be fired on consecutive moves? There could be an equipment card called 'Fast Recharger' or 'Super Battery' or something similar.

  13. #13

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    In my years of tests, I found interesting and balanced that planes had problems delivering hits because of shields, while tripods had a head-or-tail hit/miss ratio but delivering huge damages when hitting. After all, as C gun cards/chits for Wings of Glory both ww1 and ww2. Yes, tiny rays have problems hitting agile planes.
    But beware that short range hits have a double card draft. If the drawn card is a 0, a second card is taken. This means a 75,8% chance to hit a plane at short range with a complete deck, and a higher rate of consumption of 0s making later shots more probable after the misses - if you miss a shot at short range, hitting cards become 16/30 (79% to hit at short range), and after two misses 16/28 (82,5% chances to hit at short range). And both short and long ranges are longer (with heavy rays VERY longer) than planes’ ranges, not only because of rule lenght but also because tripods measure from base edge instead than from center. This means a 3,5 cm advantage with medium ray-proyectors, 14 cm with heavy ones - the latter is more than a full plane move.
    All this not to deny your correct comments on the game, just to give some numbers for a deeper knowledge of the statistics behind the game.
    Last edited by Angiolillo; 03-09-2020 at 22:18.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angiolillo View Post
    In my years of tests, I found interesting and balanced that planes had problems delivering hits because of shields, while tripods had a head-or-tail hit/miss ratio but delivering huge damages when hitting. After all, as C gun cards/chits for Wings of Glory both ww1 and ww2. Yes, tiny rays have problems hitting agile planes.
    But beware that short range hits have a double card draft. If the drawn card is a 0, a second card is taken. This means a 76,6% chance to hit a plane at short range with a complete deck, and a higher rate of consumption of 0s making later shots more probable after the misses - if you miss a shot at short range, hitting cards become 16/30 (81% to hit at short range), and after two misses 16/28 (87% chances to hit at short range). And both short and long ranges are longer (with heavy rays VERY longer) than planes’ ranges, not only because of rule lenght but also because tripods measure from base edge instead than from center. This means a 3,5 cm advantage with medium ray-proyectors, 14 cm with heavy ones - the latter is more than a full plane move.
    All this not to deny your correct comments on the game, just to give some numbers for a deeper knowledge of the statistics behind the game.

    Andrea, have you assigned point values for the various tripods, so we can match them up as intended by your design?

  15. #15

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    The numbers aren't quite that good. 16/28 is only 57% and 16/30 is 53%. I have found it is though to get off a shot that hits an airplane. In my games so far most players have forgone using the Ray Gun since its success rate is so low. They will use the Smoke Projector and do their best to get the objectives. I'd like to see the Ray Gun get used more and have a better chance to actually be effective.

    At Cold Wars I'm going to try letting the Martian have a little more choice with firing arcs. Example, for the Locust I'll have the Martian commit energy to either the right or left Ray Gun as normal, but in the firing phase they have the choice of firing that side or the front Ray Gun. I hope this lets the Martians feel they can be a bit more aggressive. We'll see.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Teaticket View Post
    The numbers aren't quite that good. 16/28 is only 57% and 16/30 is 53%. I have found it is though to get off a shot that hits an airplane. In my games so far most players have forgone using the Ray Gun since its success rate is so low. They will use the Smoke Projector and do their best to get the objectives. I'd like to see the Ray Gun get used more and have a better chance to actually be effective.

    At Cold Wars I'm going to try letting the Martian have a little more choice with firing arcs. Example, for the Locust I'll have the Martian commit energy to either the right or left Ray Gun as normal, but in the firing phase they have the choice of firing that side or the front Ray Gun. I hope this lets the Martians feel they can be a bit more aggressive. We'll see.
    Peter, Are you going to go with multiple hit possibilities and carry-through? Discussed here: Heat-Ray Hitting Multiple Targets?
    Mike
    "Flying is learning to throw yourself at the ground and miss" Douglas Adams
    "Wings of Glory won't skin your elbows and knees while practicing." OldGuy59

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by driph View Post
    Andrea, have you assigned point values for the various tripods, so we can match them up as intended by your design?
    No points value. In our tests, we found a substantial equivalence of Mk.I and Mk.II. A couple of them are more or less equivalent to a Mk.III + a Mk.IV. The variant of "The hunters and the hunted" scenario in the rulebook seems to be wrong.

    Quote Originally Posted by Teaticket View Post
    The numbers aren't quite that good. 16/28 is only 57% and 16/30 is 53%.
    I was speaking of short range. There is a rule, in this case: if the first is a 0, you draw again.
    So when there are still 16 hits on 28 you have a 57% chance of hitting at the first draw.
    At first draw, there is then a 43% chance of getting a 0. In this case you have a second draw, with 16/27 (59%) chances of hitting (now there are only 27 cards left in the deck). 59% of 43% makes for a 25% chance of hitting at the second draw. So, starting with a 16/28 chance, with a short range ray shot you have a 57% chance of hitting at first draw and 25% at second draw. 57+25= 82% global chance of hitting. At short range, mind you, that's less short than a plane's short range.

    A similar process gives you a 75,8% chance to hit at short range when you start with a 16/32 deck, a 79% with a 16/30 deck. I corrected a miscalculation in my previous post - sorry.
    Last edited by Angiolillo; 03-09-2020 at 22:22.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by OldGuy59 View Post
    Peter, Are you going to go with multiple hit possibilities and carry-through? Discussed here: Heat-Ray Hitting Multiple Targets?
    I'm thinking of only one hit here. If I give the Martian a better arc I won't give them a multiple hit chance too. Have to try this out and see how it goes first.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angiolillo View Post
    No points value. In our tests, we found a substantial equivalence of Mk.I and Mk.II. A couple of them are more or less equivalent to a Mk.III + a Mk.IV. The variant of "The hunters and the hunted" scenario in the rulebook seems to be wrong.



    I was speaking of short range. There is a rule, in this case: if the first is a 0, you draw again.
    So when there are still 16 hits on 28 you have a 57% chance of hitting at the first draw.
    At first draw, there is then a 43% chance of getting a 0. In this case you have a second draw, with 16/27 (59%) chances of hitting (now there are only 27 cards left in the deck). 59% of 43% makes for a 25% chance of hitting at the second draw. So, starting with a 16/28 chance, with a short range ray shot you have a 57% chance of hitting at first draw and 25% at second draw. 57+25= 82% of hitting. At short range, mind you, that's less short than a plane's short range.
    Ah yes, close range does change the odds considerably. Still, many of us are having a difficult time with the Martians. Most of us have played only a fraction of what you and your team have. Hopefully in time we will become better Martians!

  20. #20

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    Well yes, managing a Tripod is a challenge - as attacking them with planes, that's not easy too.

    In any case, numbers can help. Thinking about real chances can push you to avoid firing a long range shot, if you judge that the target will get nearer, to be ready to shot on the next phase at short range.
    If you shot at first opportunity instead, you rely far more on luck and you are cooling down the weapon when the plane is nearer and you'd have better chances...

  21. #21

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    Good point with regards to not shooting at long range for a chance to shoot up close. Mathematics aside I think that all of that data is from the best case scenarios as Tripods rarely get to actually shoot the beam due to the difficulty aiming the thing and predicting the planes, who get to shoot in a wide arc every turn (regardless of any planning).

    I would like to hear more on how the tripods compare and can be swapped out for each other as the MK III for example I think is worse than the MK 1. (Never has any energy to do actions).

    Anyways, I will try and get T&T back into the club but like I said our experiences are as above with the Tripods being disappointing with their lack of firepower and energy.

  22. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by william1134 View Post
    ..It seems to me that we need something to make the heat rays better(easier aiming/less 0s) and something to help with the shield/energy depletion. ,(Maybe X2 energy on a recharge or just more starting energy)
    (from another thread)

    To ease aiming of the HR's, William, you can fudge it by not using the ruler tail flat against the Tripod base, thus being able to engage targets within the given arcs (but not beyond), rather than just the templated zones.
    To increase the effect of all the Tripod's weapons you could reduce the 0's in the X,Y & Z deck to 8 in each (from 16's & 12 respectively).
    Clearly shield/energy depletion is down to enemy action and managing resources, maybe if the weapons are more effective that will solve part of the problem for you. You'd have to try it and see.

    "He is wise who watches"

  23. #23

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    I think the major difference is the way the Martians have to 'declare' their action and then hope that they can get the target in their sights.
    We don't make aircraft do that.

    Especially when you consider recharge time into the mix.

    Imagine if aircraft had to declare their shots ahead of time and then fire regardless of whether they had a target, and also could not fire in consecutive phases ....

  24. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stumptonian View Post
    I think the major difference is the way the Martians have to 'declare' their action and then hope that they can get the target in their sights.
    We don't make aircraft do that.

    Especially when you consider recharge time into the mix.

    Imagine if aircraft had to declare their shots ahead of time and then fire regardless of whether they had a target, and also could not fire in consecutive phases ....
    Our goal as designer has been to have the most different game experiences between Earthlings and Martians, flyers and walkers. So that they felt really alien to each other. That's why Martians have actions selection, energy management, aim and several other stuff that are completely different from Earthlings' play.

    In case of death rays, this is why they differ so much. And even effects are very different. Hitting with death rays is quite more difficult that with machine guns. But when you skillfully manage to do that, damages are pretty higher.



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