As previously noted, boarders remain the overwhelming weapon system. They are just too EASY to use and too DEADLY and too FAST in effect. I think you are losing a few potential multiplayers to boarder sharks. And on top of all that, boarders seem to chew up a lot of processor power.
I urge you to implement one or more of the following remedies in the short term while you decide how you want to deal with the problem.
1) Just halve the number of assault troops per module, brutal but (maybe) effective:
2) Add a "repel boarders" mode button. While a ship is in this mode, it cannot fire (or possibly only fires at the aimed rate), but all crew receive a +50% (or something) combat bonus against boarders.
This could create some interesting tactical situations. And as a corollary, ships that have lost command will not be able take advantage of "repel boarders", which means that it will become more logical to use boarders to finish off crippled ships (more realistic?). I wonder if some visual cue could/should be provided for ships which have lost command?
3) Make it so that each press of the "board" button releases just 2 (or maybe one module's worth of) boarders to the attack. So it will take a ship multiple passes/button presses to fully utilise its boarders, instead of just dumping its whole load of 20 boarders in a single fell swoop. I think this would take a considerable amount of pressure off the processor as well.
Air Lord, Engineering Corps
The boarding system isn't overpowered, it's just that the companion mechanic is under powered. All of these could potentially be overly effective and make boarding too weak. It seems like overkill.
Honestly the problem is not with boarding. I think it's with defending since you have 4+ types of boarders with unique options but there seems to be no focus in the way of boarding defense beyond a basic guard unit.
Some better defenses like damageable crew-only doors, interior manned guns, exterior razor wire, etc would be what we need.
Think of all the better tactical options and ship designs we could have, all while not crippling/nerfing boarding mechanics.
As it currently stands, there would actually be more tactical options if boarding did not exist.
But in any case, I will take your post as a vote in favour of option 2.
Although being ruthlessly logical, only option 3 really addresses the root problem, which is that with boarding (unlike ramming or shooting) you spend your entire attack budget in a single second. Its unlikely any purchasable defence will really solve that problem.
I think were good with current boarding...
I doubt the removal of an entire system would give you more tactical options. What do you mean by this?
..and no, my vote was in favour of the suggestion I just stated (hence why I posted it). But to be honest option 2 would not be bad if not for the +50% damage bonus, just because you'd have all your crew swarming to an enemy like it were a fire so that buff seems redundant.
Spending your entire budget on boarding units and unleashing all of it at once is not really a problem if you consider the effects what an interior defense would actually do:
An interior machinegun/whatever newly added defense module next to a cargo door could dispatch a 'swarm' of boarders and leave you with no offensive power (something that never happens now but should, since - I will finish this later in an edit sorry
@Firebird11 That sounds awesome, but how would you balance it?
+1 for the repeal border mode.
It should make 1/4 airsailors take a rifle, making them useless to do anything with the ship, but can be deadly against boarders. getting out of this mode will make them drop the rifle and go back to their duties