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Old 04-03-2018, 04:42 PM   #1
Racer
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: London, UK
Default Stagnation in Road Combat Designs .

After playing three games over Easter Weekend , I've started to notice extreme similarities between Road Combat Vehicles designed by Veteran Players .

Due to no new items , equipment or gadgets for almost 20 years it's not at all surprising that things have plateaued . It's gotten so bad that in our group - and various others in UK & designs I've seen posted from North America - you can actually predict what weapons X Vehicle Type is carrying :

Cycles : Almost all are Heavy Cycles now - Lights & Meds only used to keep within budgets and/or specific uses , like decoys , innocent bystanders , recruits etc . Hvy Cycles will mount a RR as heaviest weapon , more likely a HD MG , a drop weapon & lots of Component Armour . As Road Cyclists rarely carry PFEs , Flammable weaponry is almost never used apart from one shot ambushers . A FOJ might be seen but then it will be protected by CA . Cycle Wheelguards now are universal now , even if only 1pt ones . Tires used most often PR or SB HD - budget designs have recently been using Offroad HD Tires to help escape Combat . Armour is either balanced Front and Back or biased to their roles - Frontman heavy Front , Tailend heavy Back . Acceleration almost always 10mph +HTMs/HDHTMs , Speeders are getting rarer but can be seen in Recon or Courier models . Windshells are getting less popular , as are Sidecars . It's often much cheaper to get a Streamlined Light Trike that carries more equipment & has better Armour .
Overall seeing a Cycle costing more than $7-$8,000 is decreasing rapidly .

Trikes : Huge explosion in Light & Medium Trike use ! As Cycles & Sub's become less & less types of choice , these two have filled the gaps .
Hvy & X-Hvy Trikes are not so popular , as unless in an Off road situation a Compact or Midsize is often a more efficient & effective option .
Weapons : Lt & Med VMGs at heaviest - ATGs on Meds are no longer an option with the recoil rules . Plus any that do use it mostly have paper thin Armour . Being not as quick as Cycles , drop weapons hover around Ex SDs & Oil Jets - FOJs can't use Component Armour due to lack of spaces . Larger Trikes mount up to ACs , but RRs or a single BC are much more popular . Armour - backed by CA - tend to be medium to heavy . WGs universal & Tires SB HDs to SB PRs - Solids are rare . Only Light Trikes tend to be Speeders due to the increased cost of having SCs & PCs on Acceleration 10mph Power Plant on Mediums or heavier Trikes .

Phone is about to die , so I'll leave this for now . My point is this Road design stagnation is becoming a problem & that the Game needs new input to stay fresh & exciting to players . Lack of new material is a major issue & any suggestions to help resolve these homogeneity issues would be welcome .
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Last edited by Racer; 04-03-2018 at 04:50 PM.
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Old 04-04-2018, 04:36 AM   #2
josephrey
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: on the road!! check out www.chingchingwong.com to see where we currently are. :)
Default Re: Stagnation in Road Combat Designs .

I agree, but won't that just happen with the next crop of weapons too?

There would eventually be a few solid designs/configurations out there that simply work better than others combat-wise and cost/efficiency-wise. Same in real life, I suppose? I don't know enough about military vehicles to say that for sure, but I'd imagine the same rule would apply at least somewhat.

The fun part would be knowing what most folk are bringing, as you said, and equipping yourself with something to undo their "solid" design.
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Old 04-04-2018, 04:40 AM   #3
josephrey
 
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Default Re: Stagnation in Road Combat Designs .

And are there games where this is less of a factor? If so, how do their design mechanics work differently?
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Old 04-04-2018, 10:26 AM   #4
Suncrush
 
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Default Re: Stagnation in Road Combat Designs .

Quote:
Originally Posted by josephrey View Post
And are there games where this is less of a factor? If so, how do their design mechanics work differently?
There's three ways around the problem--power creep, rotation, and scenario design.

Power Creep is the direction Car Wars went in--printing more space-efficient designs over time that allowed vehicles to pack more punch. It kills your game in the long run. This is the direction RPG's go in in general. You sell supplements by making characters more powerful with the knowledge that, if the game keeps selling, you'll eventually just bail out to a new edition.

Rotation is the direction Magic: the Gathering uses. Over time, new cards come in, but old cards rotate out of the game. This allows them to keep the power level relatively even, while selling new product and pushing the game in different directions.

Scenario Design is probably the hardest to implement, but it's the option for handling Car Wars. Set up scenarios where the default vehicles aren't the best choice. Implement house rules (like no component armor) to force designers into different directions.
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Old 04-04-2018, 11:46 AM   #5
MazeMonster
 
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Default Re: Stagnation in Road Combat Designs .

We need 6th Edition.
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Old 04-04-2018, 03:51 PM   #6
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Default Re: Stagnation in Road Combat Designs .

Quote:
Originally Posted by Racer View Post
My point is this Road design stagnation is becoming a problem & that the Game needs new input to stay fresh & exciting to players . Lack of new material is a major issue & any suggestions to help resolve these homogeneity issues would be welcome .
josephrey has it -- introducing even more tech isn't going to fix the problem.

There will always be an "optimum" setup, due to the nature of road combat (there's an _ADQ_ article on the topic, but memory fails me as to which issue it's in); short version is: Attacks will come almost exclusively from Front or Back, so any firepower or armor not placed there is wasted; and the "channelizing" nature of road combat makes dropped weapons all the more effective, so anyone coming up behind a target had better destroy his target immediately, or he's going to get his tires ripped off. Knowing this, every road duel is going to end up looking like every other road duel -- it's the nature of the beast (and why so few groups bother with road duels any more).
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Old 04-04-2018, 04:15 PM   #7
Anthony
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Berkeley, CA
Default Re: Stagnation in Road Combat Designs .

While there are a small number of extremely complex games where play has not converged on an optimal strategy (e.g. chess), most games have reasonably easy to determine optimal strategies. For competitive computer games, there are two standard techniques:
  1. RPS gameplay: certain decisions hard counter certain other decisions, so the best choices depend on what your opponent brings.
  2. Balance updates. This doesn't eliminate optimal solutions, but does introduce a period of shifting meta while the new optimum is found.
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Old 04-05-2018, 04:03 AM   #8
swordtart
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Default Re: Stagnation in Road Combat Designs .

Recently I have played only road duels.

I have not noticed stagnation. Virtually any combination of equipment can be effective if used well. We recently had a rig with two damaged escorts taken out by five subcompacts armed only with AP mini rockets (not laser guided). Two subcompacts were destroyed, but only one driver was killed (in a collision with the rig).

If you play your road scenarios with default road sections from the box with no consideration of real world road conditions (i.e. no scrub at the sides of the road, no side roads, always 3 lane wide dual carriageways) then you will squash your game into a subset of the opportunities.

I agree that some equipment is too good not to have (HTMs for example), but that's like saying that no cars use tillers or are steam powered nowadays. Technology moved on. Remember however that equipment was introduced to a clear time-line. The game world effectively started in 2035 (mainstream, chassis and cross-bow allows even early regression), but we had equipment updates pegged clearly available only from 2036, 2037 and 2038 (plus some late arrivals from the pyramids dated later). You can just set our scenario "back in the day" when that stuff isn't available (or allow discounts on 3 year-old cars).

In a road fight, the acceleration isn't such an issue as you tend to accelerate to the maximum speed you can safely handle and stick there. If you use the spotting rules (CW tanks), even with acceleration 5 you can get to whatever speed you feel safe at well before the baddies get in range.

Rigidly enforce the disadvantages of equipment (and there are plenty) and you may find that those optimal choices are not optimal in all cases. You then just need to ensure that those cases occur appropriately frequently.

Its not the tools it's the workman ;)
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Old 04-05-2018, 10:29 AM   #9
kjamma4
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Chicagoland Area, Illinois
Default Re: Stagnation in Road Combat Designs .

Quote:
Originally Posted by swordtart View Post
If you play your road scenarios with default road sections from the box with no consideration of real world road conditions (i.e. no scrub at the sides of the road, no side roads, always 3 lane wide dual carriageways) then you will squash your game into a subset of the opportunities.
Exactly. Even worse is perfect weather, encounters at high noon with perfect visibility, and no "NPC" traffic and two sessions in you're yawning away.

Start throwing in those variables and optimum designs start to erode away.

Last edited by kjamma4; 04-05-2018 at 10:30 AM. Reason: your<>you're ;)
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Old 04-06-2018, 05:37 AM   #10
juris
 
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Default Re: Stagnation in Road Combat Designs .

Yeah, you need custom road sections. Roads through ruined cities, vehicle graveyards, forests, badlands... allow bandits from off-road to attack from the side and you solve your front-back only problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by swordtart View Post
Recently I have played only road duels.

If you play your road scenarios with default road sections from the box with no consideration of real world road conditions (i.e. no scrub at the sides of the road, no side roads, always 3 lane wide dual carriageways) then you will squash your game into a subset of the opportunities.

;)
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