Edited for clarity.
The test was partially successful, more in the right direction than wrong. As I wrote about here, we planned on playing a couple of games testing out fixes to the Zentraedi battlepods and commanders. As a recap, the health of all Zentraedi units was increased by one point and the damage to the two most common weapons increased by two points each. While these changes were minor, they had a bigger effect on the game than expected.
Adding one point to Health did not keep the battlepods from exploding in one hit (like grapes as my boy said), but did cause me to consider whether I shot at them one time or multiple times, in case my boy tried to reduce the damage. This meant that instead of destroying three to four a turn, I destroyed one or two on average. This allowed my boy more time to maneuver and shoot, which leads to…
Increasing the damage done by the two most common Zentraedi weapons by two points was a step in the right direction. Prior to these games when any of my figures took damage I did not care. After all, when I have 15 points of Health losing 4 or 2 points leaves me lots of room. Now, that 6 points made me pay attention. Tack on 4 more and I was looking for cover.
Here is the big take away-He lost all of his figures, I lost two, and the other two were one-hit away from being destroyed. This is a drastic improvement over previous games, where I might lose one figure and the other three were lightly or undamaged. This time each game was challenging and felt closer to balanced than any game prior.
The battlepods still were one hit wonders. However in greater numbers (we played single squad games) the fact that more weapons have to be aimed at each battlepod may be that balance we are looking for. The bigger issue was command points. When one side had them and the other side does not (or has a much smaller pool) the balance is shifted into unbalanced again. Without command points reducing damage is impossible, given that a chance to reduce damage is written into the rules as a balance factor, not being able to reduce damage makes survival harder than it should be.