*bzzt* Incoming transmission from a Starfleet ship. *bzzt*
Greetings Star Trek: Attack Wing players! This final rulebook-related transmission is to help you understand the ins and outs of what constitutes a Modifier, what constitutes a Replacement Value, the Rule of 3, Cloaking, Replace Then Modify, and when the Rule of 3 applies as introduced in the updated Star Trek: Attack Wing rulebook!
Let’s start by talking about the difference between a Replacement Value and a Modifier.
A Replacement Value is anything where the Value is set to a specific number, multiplied, or divided. Some examples of Replacement Values include:
- This ship’s Primary Weapon Value IS
- Secondary Weapons that have an Attack Value.
- Increase this ship’s Agility TO
- REPLACE this ship’s Hull Value WITH
- HALVE this ship’s Shield Value.
- DOUBLE this Captain’s Captain Skill.
A Modifier is any effect where a Value is being added to or subtracted from. Some examples of Modifiers include:
- Increase this ship’s Primary Weapon Value BY
- This ship rolls +1 attack die.
- SUBTRACT 1 from this ship’s Hull Value.
- MODIFY this ship’s Agility Value by -1.
Now that we have a basic understanding of what Replacement Values and a Modifiers are, lets take a look at the Rule of 3 as presented in the new rulebook.
In terms of gameplay balance, we didn’t really want to see a player’s fleet be destroyed in one turn because their opponent got to shoot first and pump up the number of dice their ship rolled by a ton. We also didn’t want to see steep increases or decreases in Captain Skill, Maneuver Speed, Range, etc. during gameplay. The Rule of 3 helps limit the amount one can modify a given value to avoid these potentially problematic levels of modification. It achieves this goal by capping the sum of all Modifiers at 3. What is the sum of all Modifiers? Simply put, if a value would be modified in excess of +3 or -3, it is only modified by +3 or -3 instead. This means that if a ship’s Agility Value is modified by +4, it’s only actually modified by +3. This also means that if a ship’s Primary Weapon Value is modified by -5, it’s only modified by -3. The Rule of 3 applies to ALL values in Star Trek: Attack Wing including, but not limited to, the following:
- Primary Weapon Value
- Agility Value
- Hull Value
- Shield Value
- Attack Value
- Maneuver Speed
- Squadron Points
- Captain Skill
It is important to note that the +1 attack die for attacking at Range 1 and the +1 defense die when attacking at Range 3 do not count as a Modifier for the purposes of the Rule of 3.
If taken only as outlined above, the Rule of 3 might make some players who favor Cloaking nervous (especially Klingon and Romulan fans). That’s where Replacement Values, and the fact that Replacement Values do not count as Modifiers and always take place before modifications, should let them breathe easy again.
The best way to illustrate Replacement Values is with an example, such as Cloaking. Cloaking is now considered a Replacement Value for the Agility of a Cloaked Ship. Now, instead of rolling +4 defense dice, which would normally be capped at +3 due to the Rule of 3, a Cloaked Ship replaces its Agility Value with its printed Agility Value +4. Because Replacement Values do not count as Modifiers, they may then be modified within the constraints of the Rule of 3.
Now that we know how the Rule of 3 works, let’s take a look at how these two concepts interact with each other. I have the I.K.S. Vorn in my fleet whose Agility Value is 1. During the Activation Phase, the I.K.S. Vorn uses the Cloak Action, replacing its Agility Value with 1 + 4 = 5. During the Combat Phase, when the I.K.S. Vorn is defending, I use a combination of abilities to modify the number of defense dice the I.K.S. Vorn rolls by +4. During that same attack, my opponent uses a combination of abilities to decrease the defense dice the I.K.S. Vorn rolls by 2. Because Replacement Values do not count as Modifiers, the I.K.S. Vorn rolls 1 + 4 = 5 defense dice because of the Replacement Value from Cloak, +4 defense dice because of my Modifiers, -2 defense dice because of my opponent’s Modifiers = 5 from Replacement Values + 4 from Modifiers – 2 from Modifiers = 7 defense dice. Note, because the Modifiers applying to the Value only sum to +2, the Rule of 3 doesn’t actually apply in this case even though the 7 defense dice being rolled exceeds the I.K.S. Vorn’s printed Agility Value of 1 by more than +3. Again, this is because the Replacement Value of 5 granted by Cloak is always applied first, and then modified by +2 which causes the Rule of 3 to not take effect. Another important note, in this example we reference both defense dice being rolled as well as Agility Value. For the purposes of the Rule of 3, Agility Value and the number of defense dice being rolled both count as the same value. This is also true for Primary Weapon Value and attack dice being rolled.
We understand that reading through all of this might be making your head spin. In practice, the Rule of 3 is much more intuitive and easy to apply if you use these specific steps:
- Start with the printed value.
- Apply any Replacement Value with a fixed number (such as Cloak).
- Apply any Replacement Value with a multiplier or divisor (i.e. “double” or “half”).
- Sum all Modifiers that apply to the value.
- Apply the Rule of 3 if the sum of all Modifiers is greater than +3 or less than -3.
- Apply any applicable Range Combat bonus (i.e. +1 attack die at Range 1, +1 defense die at Range 3).
Note, it doesn’t matter the order in which these Replacement Values and Modifiers are activated, you must always apply these steps from start to finish any time a new Replacement Value or Modifier takes effect. This means if you’ve already calculated a value and that value later gets replaced or modified, you must recalculate the final value starting with step 1. For example, if a ship with an Agility Value of 1 has it’s Agility Value modified by -1 during the Planning Phase and it later cloaks during the Activation Phase, the Agility Value of that ship is 5 from being replaced by Cloak – 1 from the Modifier during the Planning Phase. The Modifier is not lost because you follow the six steps outlined above each time a new Replacement Value or Modifier is introduced into the equation.
Lastly, we want to discuss one of the most frequently asked questions regarding the Rule of 3: When does the Rule of 3 apply? We’ve heard this a lot because, if it applies at all times, it can cause some really weird consequences such as a Borg Support Vehicle only costing -3 SP instead of -10 or -15, Chroniton Torpedoes only costing +3 instead of +6, or only adding +3 Fleet Points to your score at the end of a scenario instead of +20.
Instead of addressing each of these edge cases individually, we’re making an addendum to the Rule of 3 that it only applies during gameplay. This means that a Borg Support Vehicle will receive its normal discount, Chroniton Torpedoes will receive its normal penalty, and everyone who amassed a well-earned pile of bonus Fleet Points gets those Fleet Points instead of receiving a measly +3.
That’s all for now, players! Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for additional transmissions about new and exciting Star Trek: Attack Wing products in the near future! Starfleet out.