I am attempting to articulate a thought that started earlier today, but for whatever reason, at the moment I am blaming my kids, the thought is elusive. Maybe this will help me catch and articulate the idea.
I think, based on statistical data, game play experience, 20+ years as a gamer, and game designer that the Zentraedi are out of balance.
I think this imbalance is detrimental to the game. This imbalance does fit the nature of the source material where a small, but determined group holds off and ultimately defeats a numerically superior foe.
The imbalance is detrimental because of the nature of the game, that of a strategy or wargame. If this was a role-playing game that used miniatures, much like Pathfinder and Dungeons and Dragons to represent the heroes while a Game Master used the Zentraedi miniatures in the role of “monster,” this would not be an issue as the players are one side and expected to be heroes against the Game Master controlled “monsters.” Heroes in role-playing games and stories routinely trounce the odds.
For a strategy game balance is necessary. The sides need to be equal or equivalent. They can have different abilities, point costs, and groups of deployment, but in the end both sides should be equal. This way both players with equal valued sides have a chance at victory. Of course scenario construction can alter conditions of victory, but with a base game setup-between two sides of equal value either side should have a chance to win. The player with the better strategy should win.
Which is where we encountered our conundrum, two sides with equal value repeatedly fought, players switched sides, and the Zentraedi side lost.
As I was discussing with a commenter, I do believe that there are ways to win with the Zentraedi. I also believe that a better balance could have been achieved to make the sides closer to equal. I would have liked to see that balance at the base level of the game though, between two core squads.
I am not looking for parity between a battlepod and a veritech. Perhaps a glaug and a veritech, but with battlepods at the moment they are approximately 1/3 a veritech, but the Zentraedi player does not get three times as many, they get roughly twice as many. Maybe that is a fix, up the number of battlepods in a squad?
Removing our experiences from the equation, because I am more than willing to look at the conundrum, discuss the conundrum, and look at other points of view, what about those players who are not? What happens to Robotech RPG Tactics if other players encounter the same conundrum, they bought the game thinking that it was a strategy game and find that they too cannot win or win regularly with the Zentraedi?