How good are command dice for Vanguard?

In terms of game design and play experience.

Power is definitely a base mechanic that would need a new edition to remove. Should it be?
Does it make the game more fun? Would Vanguard without power be playable, too boring or better?

I disagree with you on the power dice. I think they are a fun mechanic and really fundamental to the game design. I’m just about to start KOW, so I don’t have a ‘KOW-player mindeset’. It’s a very straightforward game, what’s on the board is what you get. No surprises, just tactics. Coming from Deadzone, I have to say that the change from 1st edition to 2nd was the best thing for Deadzone. They changed command cards to command dice. It’s an elegant way of integrating ‘tactical surprises’ to the game, without too many extra rules.
I think streamlining will be necessary for Vanguard, but it’s still another kind of game. It plays a lot more complicated than other typical Mantic games. And after all, it is mainly a campaign game. Let it be complex, detailed and lengthy, just tweak the balancing a (fair) bit!

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It depends on your list I think. I took 1st place at Adepticon with a list that barely had any but was specifically built to not need lots of the dice. However, they added a little bit extra when I had them. Contrast with Firefight where having surplus command dice is basically a necessary component of a tournament list.

Had another thought about this. The power dice do seem like a problem when there are some factions which can get a lot of them for cheap and others who have to pay through the nose to get a small amount. The “formula” for pointing them correctly wasn’t cracked during the initial launch. Ideally, this gets closer to perfect over time.

Power Dice are an essential part of the Vanguard experience.

Without them, it’d be just another move-and-attack skirmish wargame like any number of other systems.

With them, there is an interesting resource management subgame, and efficiently utilizing them is a key part of skilled play.

The downside to Power Dice is they add a lot of choices to gameplay, and it’s one more thing that slows down play until you get very practiced.