Talking about scanner modules in another thread inspired me to make a new topic about this. What do people think about an option to spend credits during deployment on intelligence reports that would reveal information about the enemy fleet? The most straightforward intel report would be to reveal the design of an individual ship. Other options would be revealing orders, both for individual ships (attack settings, cautious/vulture/etc.) and groups (i.e. formation and escort orders).
There are two main reasons I think a feature like this could be good:
- Most importantly, it would just be kind of fun. It adds another element of strategy to the game, and would be an asset in deploying an effective fleet for a given mission.
- It would help mitigate gimmick fleets to an extent. If you see a wall of cruisers way in the back of the enemy’s deployment zone, you have to make a guess at whether they’re packing plasma or missiles. If you guess wrong (btw, it’s plasma, trust me on this), you get toasted; if you guess right, you’ll probably win. Either way it comes down to chance, which is kind of lame. If you could get a report on one or two of those ships, then people wouldn’t be able to rely on the element of surprise quite as much - instead, they’d be forced to build more nuanced challenge fleets that don’t have hard counters.
Naturally the cost of these reports would have to be balanced carefully, which might be difficult. Possibly a hard cap could be placed on the number of them that can be purchased per deployment. Heck, they could even be a third resource for the map, just like pilots and credits.
To address one obvious question: “What’s the point, since you can just play the mission to find out whether those are plasma or missile cruisers?” Well, part of the satisfaction of beating a mission or challenge is doing it on your first try, right? Given enough attempts, most halfway-skilled players will be able to put together a fleet to beat a specific challenge. On the first attempt, though, it’s something of a crapshoot as to whether the more skilled player will fare substantially better than the novice, just because you don’t really know what you’re going to be fighting.
TL;DR: I think giving players limited information about the opposing deployment (beyond just ship placement) would add strategic depth to the game and help to encourage more balanced, varied fleet designs in challenges.