Does Vanguard need streamlining?

I don’t think it’s any secret that Vanguard did not turn out to be the game Mantic marketed to us. It certainly isn’t a quick or simple skirmish game that you can play before a full scale game of KoW.
I recently started playing it again after about a year or so and it almost felt like learning the game from scratch again. The rules and mechanics just don’y stick in my head terribly well! (which of course could just be my brain) The rules are not laid out terribly well and some of the way rules are phrased seem to be almost intentionally unclear - as if they were paraphrasing a much simpler explanation.
I find myself constantly flicking between pages of the rules when playing to try and find the rule that tells me what to do in a certain situation.
An example of this might be the rule about running to engage and coming within 1 inch of enemy models.
It also feels like charging is sometimes pointless when you can perform a walk action into the rear of an enemy and then hit them. Which seems a bit 'gotcha’ish. Why bother to brace or position behind a wall?
At the same time there seem to be odd loopholes such as small obstacles slowing down enormous creatures and Gur panthers being unable to climb.
I’m hoping for a 3rd edition that slims down the mechanics somewhat, what do others think?

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Yes. Definitely.

I have a similar experience with it.

There are little differences between similar mechanics and a few slightly different ways of doing things (like +1 d8 vs +1 to hit). Would ge easier to remember if similar things were the same.

Most of the mechanics and layers of complexity are great, there are just too many of them.
I really like fatigue and power is cool (though a bit “gamey” for my taste), but both together is a but much and one negates the other.
The knocked down mechanic on an additional interaction with all the other mechanics and leads to more than a few frustrating experiences IMO.

I will like Vanguard a lot more if the rules get a good trim.

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excellent example. players are encouraged to save a power to negate the fatigue, but many times they will simply have power left over anyway so many troops get away with fatiguing with no real consequence. makes it seem a bit unnecessary some times.

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Short answer: yes.
A bit longer answer: all of the above, BUT!!
A lot of the times you hear people talking about a ‘fantasy Deadzone’. Deadzone is extremely streamlined and extremely fun, but if I were to decide I wouldn’t streamline Vanguard to a DZ degree.
Vanguard is a more classic skirmish level tabletop. Comparable more to Mortheim than Deadzone probably. And I like it that way. I don’t want cubes for movement e.g. I don’t want to get rid of some really cool mechanics and I don’t want it to feature only ‘tournement friendly’ stuff and missions. It’s supposed to be a campaign game, best played with a group of friends.
All that said, it definetly needs streamlining. Charges/moves into CC are wonky, power dice, albeit being really cool, quite unbalanced, height levels and terrain rules need to be more effectful and accessable, fatigue could better be embedded in the power dice mechanic.
Streamlining, yes - ‘deadzoning’ it, no!

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I largely agree! It should be streamlined on it’s own terms

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I agree absolutely. I only play vanguard (and some dungeon saga) and then it’s only with my kids, so take what I say as you will, but I find that I really love the depth it has in places. Loads of different faction rules and spells and things that give brilliant flavour. It does require a fair bit of rule checking at times though. My “simple” improvements would be:

  • consistency on +1 d8 or +1 stat
  • sort out “down but not out”. Feels like some models are way too hard to kill!
  • Tidy up fatigue and power. I like these mechanisms but as others have said, one is often saving power to clear fatigue. Maybe just get rid of that option!

I feel a solid and well thought out evolution rather than revolution is what’s needed. If the game can be made quicker to play then more KoW players will dip in and so the community will be stronger.

The final point is…

  • starter game in a box - help build early on with a one stop all you need (including scenary). This may be a big ask though considering how much scenary you need for a decent game!
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Two more things:

  • synchronise with KoW. Halflings and salamanders (and now rift orcs). Only salamanders have the rules and none of them have a warband set.

  • Keep (and expand upon) the campaign stuff. My son loves this bit the most! Not everyone needs or wants to use it but those of us that do really like it!

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Brilliantly put, can’t agree more to both of your posts.

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I guess the obvious next question is “will there be another edition and if so, when?”

Feels like deadzone and the new clash of kings will dominate for a wee while, development would take a while too. Earliest I could agine would be this time next year but probably 2023? That’s assuming it happens at all!

I wouldn’t be surprised if a RC is already on it. Still, 2023 sounds realistic, if at all.

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Yes Vanguard needs some streamlining
But…

People expected to get a Fantasy Deadzone when it first came out but instead got a “Infinity” in KoW.

Having a more complex fantasy skirmish is good, as there are many simple ones around, but with not being the game people expected, player feedback will go in the opposite direction

That said, there is Star Struck City, a community made KoW based skirmish that is much more streamlined and much more like the game most people expected
And there is room for both games

Personally I would say Vanguard would profit more from a historical expension as the base is good and there are not many historical games on skirmish level for that time frame (early modern and late medieval)

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Having thought about it a little more I think th efollowing would be quite simple changes that would improve the flow:

  • Bonuses for attacking (ranged or melee) are always extra dice, bonuses for defence are always a change to the number you need to roll. Alternatively it is always extra dice.
  • You can’t use points to clear fatigue (need to think a lot harder about using it). This also helps clear up the “walking round the back to attack” type things a little.
  • You only get the option of “down but not out” if you are within range of “inspiring” otherwise you be dead!
  • Make bracing a short action? I basically almost never brace!

There are still things to improve (terrain anomalies and fighting over different levels spring to mind)

Also, I feel I should add that the game as it is is still really enjoyable! Once you have played a few games with a given faction you find great depth, and the number of times I have to look things up isn’t so bad as to ruin the game.

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Should also add that power dice might need some adjusting, especially if one can no longer clear fatigue with them. Maybe reduce the base number to 2 rather than 3 and downgrade dice throughout (blue usually becomes white, white usually becomes red, those with one red probably just keep it)

Having read through the rules for Star Struck City (admittedly quite briefly) it doesn’t strike me as any simpler than vanguard. Obviously I have not played it so a difficult assessment to make. Looks like there are some interesting ideas, and, as (I assume) an amateur production it seems pretty solid.

Personally I find the whole idea of ‘Star Struck City’ a derivative attempt to recreate Mordheim. I intensely dislike how some people view Mantic stuff as just a conduit to recreate the Old World that they lost.
And I speak as someone who was righteously annoyed when they destroyed all that and canned my old game WFB. But i’ve gained perspective since then and I’d rather Mantic do their own thing with their games and IP.
I don’t have good memories of Mordheim, it was way too granular, even when you were playing with fewer models than WFB. There’s an idea that because the scope of the game is smaller that you can therefore be more fiddly. I don’t want that.
I’d like the rules to get out of the way in Vanguard. I want narratives from my skirmish games, not rules interactions. Either drop Fatigue or drop Forced fatigue. Make ‘Heroic Action’ something you do with Power and make it consist of things like doing an extra spell or an extra shoot or Melee or charge or whatever.
Power dice need to have more limited use and it should be possible to play the game without too many of them

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I agree. I suspect that a lot of those players are going back to GW with the Old World anyway.

Yes. It’s what I’ve come to expect for Mantic.

I find fatigue more interesting as a concept and despise special dice, so would prefer if they drop power in favour of fatigue plus “action economy”.

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Deadzone does it. Only dice are added or reduce, never the difficulty of the roll (4+, etc.). I think it’s a very good concept, because you don’t have to look things up. Higher ground? Plus one die! Clear shot? Plus two dice! Injured in melee? Minus one die.

Good ideas with fatigue here. And I too think, Vanguard is a very fun game. I enjoyed every game of it and desperatly want to start a campaign!

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Yes, with deadzone it works as always dice. It could work like that in vanguard but actually I think the nature of the combat is more suited to armour being a buff to the value. Often armour buffs are negative and taking dice away doesn’t really work in the Vanguard system - e.g. I have scored 3 hits and you now only have two dice to save with! It also makes more sense to me that it is an armour save rather than the hit being blocked. I have rolled and physically hit your model. It is up to their armour (or lack of) to save them now! Hence, I probably prefer the “attacker always gets dice, defender always gets a buff to stat” approach.

I really like the power dice and i like fatigue too. I think getting rid of the ability to remove fatigue with power would make the use of fatigue much more tactical. I also don’t mind “special” dice, so long as they are simple D6s and I think there should be an easy table provided for those without the dice to convert a regular D6.

Exploding 8s is amazeballs and should definitely stay. To me the “complexity” of each faction having its own special rules and spells should stay too.

My suggested change to “down but not out” means that the leaders are still important (or anyone with inspiring), but models are slightly easier to kill than before. When someone has nerve 5+ (which isn’t a great value) then under the current rules there is only a 50% chance of killing them when reducing them to 0 wounds and just a 25% chance if near someone inspiring. My suggested change would make this 100% and 50% chance respectively, which seems better to me.

The campaigns are good fun! They perhaps need some tweaking to keep things more even, and I would perhaps allow characters to advance a bit more quickly than they currently do.

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Don’t forget the Undead who always get a “down but not out” result when close to a leader … nasty lil’ buggers! :sweat_smile:

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As long as it stays the same throughout the game, it’s fine by me. Just a bit more coherency with the modifications to dice rolls.

Definetly keep Fatigue and Power Dice. Just streamlining. Same with warband specific rules. They must have an impact, otherwise they are pointless. Balancing them would probably be enough.