[Suggestion] Intelligence Reports

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Comments, criticisms?

I think it’s a good idea… especially if upwards of 25-30% of the time the reports are partially or entirely wrong… As they say: “military intelligence is a contradiction in terms” ; )

It could even occasionally be ‘gratuitously wrong’ i.e.: “Intelligence reports show the enemy is fielding a force composed entirely of cardboard boxes powered by rubber bands.”

Hahah, I hadn’t thought about the possibility of them being inaccurate. Since I was thinking of them as a mechanism to reduce randomness in the game that doesn’t exactly fit the concept, but it might work, and it could lead to some fairly hilarious results…

“All right men, leave the point-defense at home! All they’ve got is plasma, so full power to engines and evasive maneuvers, full speed ahea…”


“… That’s a lot of missiles. Oh dear.”

That’s one of the funniest things I’ve read in weeks. Beautiful.

The only problem I see with this is that, unless the challenges are different every time, you only need the intelligence report once. So either:
a) You pay the credit cost the first time, lose, then start again and don’t pay the cost because you already know the answer, or
b) Once you’ve taken the option at intelligence, your credit limit for that challenge is permanently reduced.

I don’t think either of those would work for the missions. (b) could be useful for player-designed challenges, especially if the designer gets to choose what the intelligence reports and how much it costs. It would be just like a “hint” in any other puzzle game.

Well, the main point of them as I’m imagining them is to give you more information to work with on your first attempt at a given mission or challenge. If you buy info and still lose on the first attempt, well, you’ll probably be needing all your credits for the next try. :wink:

Also, to be clear, I wasn’t thinking that it would be a generic “buy report” option that would reveal some random or scenario-dependent information, but rather that the player would choose which ship they wanted info on (or which type of group order they wanted to know about, etc.). I suppose it could work the other way, but I think it would be more useful if the player gets to choose.

I don’t think this can work reasonably.

Why not? :smiley:

You can’t prevent people from buying the report, and then just restarting, and to permanently deduct points is annoying and still hard to enforce.

Restarting the challenge, you mean? I guess it would have to count it as a failure on the challenge if you buy a report and quit out of the deployment screen.