Changing movement from 12 to 16 inches

Star Fleet Universe Discussion Board: A Call to Arms Star Fleet: ACTASF Book 1.2 (The ADB Revision): Changing movement from 12 to 16 inches
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By Tony L. Thomas (Scoutdad) on Wednesday, December 18, 2013 - 12:18 pm: Edit

Several of the play testers have independently suggested that we change ACTASF from a 12 inch base movement to a 16 inch base movement.

The reasons for this are multi-fold:
With a larger movement, we can revise the Turn Scores to allow adegree of maneuverability with slight differneces between all SFU turn modes from AA to H. This cannot be done with a 12 inhc movement.

Going to a 16 inch movement system (whcih is more evenly divisble into the SFU standard 32 impulses than 12 is) will enable us to establish a direct relationship between movement, speed, and weapon range that is not possible at 12 inches of movement.

In addition to allowing us to fix some of the current range issues (disruptors that fire twice as far asa ship can move in a turn come to mind), it will give us room to expand the game engine in later releases to include more empires and more systems without having to shoehorn new items into fractional gaps created by limiting the system to 12 inches.

But before we go and revise everyting and spend weeks play testing and tweaking, only to find htat the fan base doesn't like this change - I'm taking to you first.

What do you think?
Not just no, but...

By Bob Stusse (Lincolnlog) on Wednesday, December 18, 2013 - 12:39 pm: Edit

I think a 16 inch base movement would work, I fully support a scale where 1 inch equals 1 hex. Looking forward, this is a positive step toward being able to easily fold in new empires and weapons. It makes the turn modes work, when you view the 16 speed turn modes in FC, each turn mode is slightly different (except B & C which are both 3).

Also, there are things that could be done to force players to move below 16, although this isn't really necessary either. At 48", it still takes 3 turns to cross the board, where it took 4 turns at 12".

Every game needs a base scale (time, distance, etc.) FC gives the game scale as 10,000km = 1 hex. In that light I have always had the opinion (see forum thread Damage in ACTA) that scale is off in the game. That really should be fixed before proceeding.

By Bill Stec (Billstec2) on Wednesday, December 18, 2013 - 12:46 pm: Edit

I have no problems with the concept of 16" movement.

By Tony L. Thomas (Scoutdad) on Wednesday, December 18, 2013 - 12:54 pm: Edit

True... It will bring ships into range a bit sooner, but i think the overall advantages achieved from having more consistency in the other aspects will offset this.

And if need be, the default map size can be changed to 4' high by 6' wide with forces facing off across the 6 foot length to get it back to a 4 turn closing game.

By John Williams (Johndw) on Wednesday, December 18, 2013 - 01:53 pm: Edit

Seems like a good idea, I'd be willing to play it with 16" movement.

By Bill Stec (Billstec2) on Wednesday, December 18, 2013 - 02:06 pm: Edit

What movement would Fast ships have if you adopted the 16" movement for standard ships?

By Tony L. Thomas (Scoutdad) on Wednesday, December 18, 2013 - 03:06 pm: Edit

Fast ships are currently under review, Bill.

In the SFU, fast ships are not any faster than non-fast ships at a tactical level - only on a strategic scale.
Since thay sacrifice weapons for strategic speed, there has been discussion of allowing a "fast" ship to ignore the power drain penalty on their Special Action.

Such a change would not allow them to move farther than a non-fast ship, but would allow them to use a power drain SA and still move their full movement allowance.

By Andrew E Schwenzer (Andrew_Cluetain) on Wednesday, December 18, 2013 - 03:22 pm: Edit

I like the one inch = one Hex for movement idea, I don't think it will work for all of the weapons though. Would Slow ships; as in freighters, be at 8 still or would they be at 12?
In thinking about that maybe we should have 2 different "slow" traits: one for combat ships with weak or primitive engines (early years ships would get this) moving 10-12 inches. And another Trait "Underpowered" for freighters / slow noncombat ships, moving 8 inches and no APE (potentially no special actions since they simply don't have the power to do anything special)

Also thinking that Overloads 6 inch move should be adjusted up 8 inches if we go to 16 base speed.

By Gary Carney (Nerroth) on Wednesday, December 18, 2013 - 03:49 pm: Edit

To clarify, is the idea of this change meant to mean that the "battle speed" of 24 in FC would now map to 16 inches rather than 12?

Right now, the ability to go 16" using All Power to Engines! allows the game system to map various ranges relatively smoothly with a 1:2 inch-to-hex ratio. Speed 8 becomes 4", Speed 16 8", Speed 40 (which would be useful if we ever get sabot plasma) 20", and so on.

But, if Speed 24 is now mapping to 16" instead (with a 2:3 ratio), some of the other speeds become a bit less tidy. If one rounds to the nearest whole number, Speed 8 becomes 5", Speed 16 maps to 11", Speed 32 goes to 21", and Speed 40 shifts to 27". These adjustments make things less tidy and proportionate than the current set up allows for already.

If there were to be a scale change, I might sooner recommend mapping Speed 24 to 18" instead, at a 3:4 ratio. That allows Speeds 8, 16, 32, and 40 to become 6", 12", 24", and 30" respectively, with no need to round up or down at any step in the conversion process.

While I'm not 100% sure that a scale change would be needed, I would prefer to see one that retains the degree of proportionality which the current setup allows for. Better to go from halves to quarters than start making things awkward with thirds.

By Tony L. Thomas (Scoutdad) on Wednesday, December 18, 2013 - 04:16 pm: Edit

Gary: I don't know.
We're only assuming the 12 inch speed in ACTASFv1 equals base line speed 24. There are plaenty of good arguements for such a position - but I can provide just as many showing that it isn't based on that speed.

We have an opportunity to make a cohesive whole and that's what we want to do.
Choosing 16 inchesgive us a flexibilty that 12 inches, or even 18 inches doesn't give us.

As for tidyness... There is no speed 8, or speed 16, or speed 24 in ACTASF1.2. There's maximum speed = 16 inches (hopefully) Beyond that will be whatever is required.
APtE! will be 16+ whatever the playtesters decide it needs to be.
Slow will be 16- whatever it needs to be.
Crippled will be 1/2 of 16, or 8 inches.
Critical Hits will reduce maximum speed by 2 inches per critical hit...

Where do these thirds that you're talking about come from?

And as for Plasma Sabot and speed 40! Weare no where near ready to add sabots, and if we do - The mechanics of ACTASF are such that we don't need to worry about a speed. It will hit any target within "X" inches this turn. "X" being hte range the play testers decide it needs to have.

By Dixon Simpkins (Dixsimpkins) on Wednesday, December 18, 2013 - 04:28 pm: Edit

Nah. 16 Inches per turn would make it even harder to play on a small surface (like my 3 1/2 x 4 foot dinner table).
Turn modes: not really a problem, as is. It's really a granularity loss rather than an actual gameplay issue.
Impulse/movement translation: not a valid comparison, as ACTA is not SFB/FC. Since Energy allocation is not used here you aren't going to get an exact representation of "SFU" speed any way you try.
Wonky weapon ranges: best fixed by adjusting the weapon; not by fixing everything else to suit the weapon.

Nope. Not a fan.

By Gary Carney (Nerroth) on Wednesday, December 18, 2013 - 04:42 pm: Edit


If you map Speed 24 to 16" instead of 12", Speed 32 would then map to 21.33333333... (which rounds to either 21" or 22", depending on which whole number you wanted to go to).

If APtE! is supposed to allow a player to go faster than the average "battle speed", than that higher speed (whatever it is) would then be the closest thing the game would have to Speed 32, not the "battle speed" itself.

Plus, the ranges of drones and plasma (standard, let alone sabot) are based on these levels (in FC, if not quite in SFB). Whatever Speed 32 is to become here would then be a candidate for whatever range a plasma torpedo is able to go in a single turn, just as the drone speeds (whatever they end up being) would be intended to map, more or less, to the new "battle speed" (assuming both still equate to Speed 24).

What I'm trying to say is that, if APtE! is factored in (as I believe it should be), than we already have a "base 16" in the game as it stands.

But if APtE! is not to be factored in, then whatever the new baseline is to be will have a knock-on effect on how other speeds (and seeking weapon ranges) may be handled - and I'd argue that going with 16" rather than 18" as the new "battle speed" may cause things to be less tidy in the conversion process.

By Bob Stusse (Lincolnlog) on Wednesday, December 18, 2013 - 04:52 pm: Edit


I misunderstood this slightly also, I thought we we're talking about going to base speed 16, on a 1" = 1 hex scale.

But 16" = 24hexes will still work well. If you treat 20" as 32 hexes (because the 32 hex equivalent must be divisible by 4 for plasma energy bleed, this will make weapon re-scaling easy. Since 16" is 24 hexes, make weapons that reach 25 hexes range 16. Scaling down is easy, plasma scales up to 20". Drones of course would be 16".

By Gary Carney (Nerroth) on Wednesday, December 18, 2013 - 05:22 pm: Edit


I might worry that going with a 1:1 ratio would take things too far in the other direction, and put even more pressure on players with more limited playing surfaces (as Dixon noted above).

I can picture an FC player using the hexless rules there to do something like this, since there are so many more firing opportunities in each turn to work with.

But in ACtA:SF, where you only get one firing opportunity per turn, the thought of moving so much on the board (up to a full 32") before taking one's shot doesn't work for me in the same way. Of course, logically speaking, this is the case regardless of which scale the game is mapped to. But there's just something that doesn't quite feel right about it at a 1:1 ratio.

I don't know if what I'm trying to get across makes any sense or not; but a smaller ratio gives you more of the table to run and gun on, rather than just run on.

By Stuart Tonge (Stu) on Wednesday, December 18, 2013 - 06:22 pm: Edit

Regardless of mapping the numbers out to any other game scale, as a simple matter of convenience 16" is a HUGE move.

12" is a lot. Most people are playing on 6' x 4' or considerably less.

Please just bear in mind the physical space required for this game. The X-Wing game uses a 3x3 area as it's baseline size and 6" is the approximate max move..

By Jeffery Smith (Jsmith) on Wednesday, December 18, 2013 - 06:27 pm: Edit


while I have not played ACTA:SF as much as I would like I can see using 16" instead of 12". 16" movement will make it easier to do other era's. I do believe though if this is a change that needs making now is the time for it.

By Paul Pease (Theghost) on Wednesday, December 18, 2013 - 09:09 pm: Edit

I like the idea of going to 16 inch movement as I can see it helping with differentiating turn rates and giving more flexibility on weapon range conversions.

I don't know if it is viable, but would it be possible to address limited playing surface with an optional rule that players could use an alternate range scale where everything is divided by two (fractions could be retained or rounded normally based on playtesting). Ships would move 8" instead of 16". Some ships that have different turn rates in full scale, may have the same turn rate in the 1/2 scale or some may have a 1/2" fraction in their turn rate, etc. If the turn rates numbers are getting so small that they are annoying, a change may be to keep the existing turn rates, but convert the max turn to 90 degrees instead of 45 degrees. The convert to 90 degrees loses some of the graceful feel of the 45 degree turns, but it keeps from having to measure multiple small moves for each 45 degree turn. One challenge I can see is the size of the 2500 minis may cause challenges as the 2500s will not get any smaller even though the scale has.

By Tony L. Thomas (Scoutdad) on Thursday, December 19, 2013 - 09:21 am: Edit

Gary: We are not "mapping SFB", we are adapting a totally differnet game mechanic to the SFU. As long as the end result matches the SFU, then we have suceeded.
And if you do not like the end result, feel free to play one of the other, fine SFU based games. No one will come to your house and hold a gun to your head to force you to play ACTASF.

Stu: Yes... it is a "big" move, but it also seems necessary to make the rest of the game function properly - SFUwise. With 12 inches, there's just so much overlap in turn scores, weapon ranges, etc. [See the reply below for another take on the size issue]

Paul: This is a good idea.
When we were originally play testing hte game, the 2500s weren't out yet - so we were using Mega-hex counters. At that time, the massive gaming table had not yet been obtained and we wanted to get in multiple games simlutaneously; so we cut all numbers in half. Movement was halved, ranges were halved - although damage remainded the same.
Whiel I wouldn't want to confuse the issue by including multiple scales in the rulebook - I can easily see adding a notation to the revised rulebook stating that if a more confined space was desired for play, one could always cut ranges / movemnet values in half. Everything else would remain the same, but you could then play in a smaller overall area.

By Bob Stusse (Lincolnlog) on Thursday, December 19, 2013 - 09:34 am: Edit

I have often wondered if using a metric scale wouldn't be the answer. But with 2500 minis the bases are 2" diameter, which means your 5cm apart in base to base contact.

.5" scale still places you 4" apart in base to base contact. Also, with any measuring system change, people will bemoan that change as well.

I think the 16" = 24 hexes is the best way to go. Even though its a little short if 20" = 32 hexes, this allows rescaling. I am still a fan of allowing multiple power drain SA's with a -4" movement penalty for each SA. The for like APtE just as now, you would be forced onto other options, but you would move 20". If a player could use Power Drain but only lose 4" of movement, it slows the movement back down to where it was (12" or 8" if you use 2 PD), but gives you way more tactical options. And standard -4" is easy to remember, its not complicated. Most players will choose at least one power drain per turn anyway, if they are allowed to perform more than one SA per turn.

I don't think scale is going to affect 4x4' tourney table size at all. Remember if your cloaked you'll have to move slower.

Under the PD SA plan, engage cloak, overload weapons, and HET would have to become PD SA's. There would end up being more PD's than non-PD's, but you would only be losing 4" instead of half your movement to perform a PD.

APtE, would have to count as 2 PD's, but you would move really fast. Basing the game on 16" doesn't mean you will move 16" per turn. And you are never required to move 16" anyway.

This is basically how FC works, If a Fed CA moves 24 (36 power without batteries) it can fire all phasers (no Phaser 3 only Phaser 1 x8), and Photons if it is paying just to hold, and it can maybe re-inforce shields a time or two. 24 to move, 8 for Phaser 1s, 4 to hold Photons =36. My point being that anything above basic weapon power and movement should be a PD. Average reduction in speed would be about 4 hexes, sometimes more.

By Paul Pease (Theghost) on Thursday, December 19, 2013 - 10:58 am: Edit

Tony - I like the concept of including "cut movement/ranges in half" as a note/comment. It is simple (no extra rules) while still giving the players a solution to a small playing area.

By Tony L. Thomas (Scoutdad) on Thursday, December 19, 2013 - 11:33 am: Edit

We aim to please! :O

By Greg Smith (Gregs) on Thursday, December 19, 2013 - 02:03 pm: Edit

How does speed equate to weapon range in the SFU?

16" is fast. I can see it will probably improve plasma fleets - being able to get closer is a big thing with power drain.

By Bob Stusse (Lincolnlog) on Thursday, December 19, 2013 - 02:58 pm: Edit

Assuming Speed 24, Phasers, Photons and Disruptors can only fire about the distance the ships can move actually just slightly further. Plasma should actually fire 1/4 move further.

Scale which equates to speed/movement and weapons ranges should remain consistent with the source material. If spped is left at 12"=24 hexes, 12" maybe 13" is your justifiable range for most weapons. By scaling up, some weapons lose a couple of inches and some gain a few inches.

If the game is going to grow, keeping consistency with the source material is important, so that more weapons can be added without creating special rules for everything.

By Tony L. Thomas (Scoutdad) on Thursday, December 19, 2013 - 03:40 pm: Edit

It's not speed that equsates to weapon range so much as it is "movement allowance"

As Bob said, most of the weapons in the SFU can be expected to fire about the distance the ship can move in a straight line in one turn. There are exceptions - but this is a good general rule of thumb.

That's the basic goal we're shooting for now.
The proposed increase in speed has nothing to do with weapon ranges... those could be adjusted t othe 12" speed, although there would be some compression of ranges as future weapons are added.
The increase to 16 inches gives us room to fit in the whole gamut of SFU turn modes.
The current version works for the 3 or 4 most commonly used turn modes, but begins to break down when the larger ships (DNHs and BBs are considered). And then there are some other units not yet in the game that will not be able to turn unless they sit still, unless we can make an adjustment now.

By Tony L. Thomas (Scoutdad) on Friday, December 20, 2013 - 01:33 pm: Edit

Ok... the comments and emails have been going for about 48 hours now. The last comments were over20 hours ago... and the last email was 16 hours ago.

I think the discussion has run its course.

The end result is: We stick with 12 inches of movement.
I like the idea of 16 inches, as do a couple of others. Some people are ambivalentand would use either system, but more are opposed to it.
There were almost as many valid reasons provided to me for sticking with 12 inches as I had for changing to 16 inches.
Ultimately - a decision needs to be made, and soon.
We have play testing to do, a few rules to tweak, and the longer we draw this out the longer it takes to get everything fixed.

Thanks for all the input from everyone.

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