Monday, June 8, 2015

[Planetfall] Terrain Notes

So, during the past week I've actually been playing some games of Planetfall (and finishing up my Core Helix, more on that later).

So far, most of my games has been losses.

I'll admit, I've made a few mistakes (I'm usually far too aggressive with my Recons, for one thing), but I'm starting to consider if me and my opponent does not actually play with too much terrain on the table.

Looking at others battle reports, it seems that at most players have at most 3-5 larger pieces and a smattering of smaller things, which is a far cry from the 8+ buildings, plus forests and bunkers, that usually gets put on our table.
That actually got me thinking; what kind of game is this supposed to be, regarding terrain?

Obviously, terrain has a huge impact on both tactics and strategy, particularly for the Aquans, who at once both want terrain, to make use of the Hit and Run MAR and their above average mobility, and wants clear firing lines, to best leverage the long range of their lasers.

Obviously, this means that there should be some guidelines for how much terrain to use, much like the famous 25% rule in Firestorm Armada.
Looking in the Planetfall rulebook, there are only two ways to set up terrain described;
  • In a mutuable agreeable way, which can obviously be any which way.
  • Random (or 'Tournament') setup, averaging one terrain piece for every 2' section of the board (so 6 in total).
With the guidelines in the rulebook regarding terrain size, we can extrapolate a min, max and average terrain coverage:

  • Minimal terrain is two terrain pieces. Although unlikely (less than 1/10th of a percent) it is a possibility, and will mean that vary little of the board i covered (although two 12x12 pieces in the middle could give something to play around...)
  • Average is around 6 terrain pieces, which should cover (36"^2 x 6) assuming that the average terrain piece is half of the max size on each side (max being defined in the rulebook as 12x12"). Coverage 216 square inches, or 6.25 %.
  • Maximum assumes 12x12" pieces, 2 per sector, so 12 in total, giving 1728 square inches of coverage, or 50 %. 
Looking at these numbers, we can calculate some kind of median, or at least max divided by two (not really a mathematical median, by any means), i.e 864 square inches of coverage, or 25%.

Based on this, I'd recommend between 10 and 25 percent of coverage, at least as a guideline akin to Armadas 25% rule.
Yes, this means that Planetfall is supposed to have less terrain than Armada, which might not be that surprising, considering the larger impact of terrain dirtside (no indirect weapons to fire through LoS blocking or impeding terrain pieces...).

For my next game, I'll most definitely try the something like the median, or at least something close to it (instead of having 2-3 buildings in the same sector... Let me tell you, that really limits the fire arcs, and thus the possible moves, that one can do)

I'll see if I cannot get some photos of the various setups, to get an image of how much coverage these alternatives really gives.

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