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What is a Federation Commander Campaign?
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djdood
Fleet Captain


Joined: 01 Feb 2007
Posts: 2927
Location: Seattle, WA

PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2009 2:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Depending on how the VBAM product ends up turning out, my group is probably going to end up using it. That or something home-grown. As is so often the case, we are quickly out-growing "isolated" duels or fleet battles and craving some context. Losing a key ship and not having it for next time would certainly change tactics from the current "guns and glory".
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USS Enterprise
Lieutenant Commander


Joined: 27 Feb 2009
Posts: 376
Location: Vulcan

PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2009 3:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you to all for the information.
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Steve Robinson
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Joined: 22 Apr 2009
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2009 5:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just wanted to chime in as one of the groups playtesting the VBAM system (titled Federation Admiral). It does allow quite a bit of depth and detail if you want it. As Scoutdad said, the current rules are big, but they includes a lot of extra detail that players don't have to use if they don't want to (and they're playtest rules, final edits haven't happened yet).

One of the things about the scalability is that at the Local level, you are a sector commander, answerable to the Home World. You don't get to make high-level decisions, like when to start a war. As such, there are various missions and orders from central command that you can use to gain extra victory points which could be used as prestige or influence back at command to request some bigger ships from the Home Fleet). This may include requesting players to expand their local economy, surveying neutral systems, harrasing the other empires. It provides a different flavor of play than simply invading enemy space.

Now, if all you want to do is play out a war, you can do that; But there's a lot of other stuff there beyond just a mechanism for fighting.

It also provides a system to resolve encounters at the strategic level into (possibley several) FedCom scenarios. The defender has an option of running out to try and intercept some elements of the attacker's fleet (such as a convoy containing invading ground forces), or they can end up engaging in deep space before the defender decides to withdraw back to any base or planet in the hex.

Just wanted to say, there's a lot of stuff there for people that want to use it. I definitely plan on using it for any future campaigns.
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Scoutdad
Commodore


Joined: 09 Oct 2006
Posts: 4467
Location: Middle Tennessee

PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2009 6:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steve is correct.

As written, the rules will allow you to fight out a war... but they are also so much more involved than just that. I still haven't fully grasped everything that is comvered by the rules, but I can see great, sweepinfg economic campaigns being played, large war fought across the length and breadth of the Galaxy, and even small skirmishes as the Commander of Task Force Alpha3 tries to defend Sector 087 from a combination of agressive Privateers from the Pharaoh Cartel and a Renegade Klingon Captain hell-bent to start an interstellar incident...
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djdood
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Joined: 01 Feb 2007
Posts: 2927
Location: Seattle, WA

PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2009 6:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, here's the question from me then -

I can see my little group doing a (very) small campaign.

We would need the campaign rules to generate roughly one "encounter" (from single-ship duels up to 6-8 ship fleet battles) per week.

We're limited to one 3.5 hour session per week (and not every week) and we would still want to be able to resolve the campaign in 3-4 months (so figure 16-20 battles, total).

Can the VBAM system scale down enough to support this small of a campaign?
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Scoutdad
Commodore


Joined: 09 Oct 2006
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Location: Middle Tennessee

PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2009 7:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes. The VBAM system includes an abstracted combat system that can be used to resolve combats quickly and easily.

Your campaign turn can consist of as many battles as is required to resolve the turn. Any or all of them can the be resolved using either Fed Comm or the Fed Comm Campaign Combat System.

You could choose to fight the battle of your choice (based on size / objective / importance / or composition of fleet) at your regular session and tehn resolve the other with the campaign system.
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djdood
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Joined: 01 Feb 2007
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Location: Seattle, WA

PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2009 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[Strongbad-voice = ON]
Intriguing....
[Strongbad-voice = OFF]

I somehow missed the fact that the campaign system has it's own encounter resolution system (like F&E). That might just be the ticket for us. We can run a good size campaign (crunchy enough to be interesting) and only play the "fun" fights (letting the game system handle the "un-fun" mis-match blow-outs).

New question -

Does it stick with the FedCom "no timeline" aspect, or does it include an option for ship-type progression?

I ask because I was going to include a simple thing in any home-brew campaign rules I did. The intent would be to start each side with their early (cruddier) hulls (FF's, CL's, etc.; perhaps the EY hulls, now that Briefing 2 is coming) and then progressively add the ability to build the better "late war" hulls (DW's, CW's, DNH's, etc.). No need to deal with all the grit of refits from SFB; the later hulls are typically better fighters right out of the gate than their earlier counterparts.

I've found that myself and the guys in my group have latched onto our favorites (Fed CS for me, D-5W for Klingon, KE for Romulan) and it would be nice to have something force us to use something less desirable (oCL for me, D-6 for Klingon, WE for Romulan).

FedCom itself doesn't have timeline, but I can certainly see a campaign using FedCom benefiting from one.
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drwibble
Lieutenant JG


Joined: 06 Sep 2008
Posts: 79

PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2009 8:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It doesn't impose an FC timeline, but there is a rule for a technology development cycle in Fed Admiral. So the mechanisms are there to sometimes restrict a player to less optimised ships.

The example local campaign that you can find the write-ups for over on the VBAM forums has starting forces of 1 x D6 and 3 x F5 for the Klingons, and 1 x old CL and 3 x frigates for the Feds. Part of the objective for this particular campaign is to develop/expand WITHOUT triggering a war. It would be possible to request a warship from outside the operating area, but the sudden arrival of a battlecruiser or dreadnought would increase tension and the probability of war.
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Scoutdad
Commodore


Joined: 09 Oct 2006
Posts: 4467
Location: Middle Tennessee

PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2009 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To expand... there is not a timeline per se...
Remember, the system is modular and customizable.
If you play the full gamut of rules, your empire starts with with the basic ships of each class. From there, there is a technological progress that allows the introduction of variants...
IOW, you have vanilla frigates, destroyers, light cruisers, heavy cruisers, and dreadnoughts. As you develop technology - you can choose to add a new variant.
You start with Heavy Cruisers, then you can add Strike Crusiers, Command Crusiers, and Battle Cruisers. Smae with the variants of the other classes.
Some Empires may concentrate soley on one class of variants while the other guy may develop a variant or two from each class.
Of course, as I said - the system is customizable so if you want to start with variants available - you CAN do so.

As for the asbtracted combat system, yes it's very F&E like in concept and application. You could do a huge, sweeping campaign and use the in-game system for combat resolution of most battles.
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djdood
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Joined: 01 Feb 2007
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Location: Seattle, WA

PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2009 10:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You had me at -
Scoutdad wrote:
The VBAM system includes an abstracted combat system that can be used to resolve combats quickly and easily.

but thanks for the additional details.

I'm sold.

Playtest the %$#^&*< out of that thing so it can hit the cart soon.

Wink
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mwaschak
Lieutenant JG


Joined: 22 Oct 2007
Posts: 93

PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2009 11:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

djdood wrote:

Playtest the %$#^&*< out of that thing so it can hit the cart soon.

Wink


Thanks. We are working at a pretty fevered pace. I have gotten some excellent playtest reports so far, and trying to correct everything that needs corrected. We are also trying to make the rules as presentable as possible. Just yesterday I was working on expanded descriptions of how to fully utilize the modular rules, especially for new players.

If anyone has any questions, just let me know!

Thanks,
-Jay
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djdood
Fleet Captain


Joined: 01 Feb 2007
Posts: 2927
Location: Seattle, WA

PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2009 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anything you can do to make the rules both palatable and digestible to newbies would be much appreciated. While I personally have a general understanding of war-game campaigns, the other guys in my group are completely new to war-games. I've never run one or even consistently played in one.

FedCom also seem to draw in some of the younger folks, who also haven't grown up around other folks playing epic campaigns.

I think campaign "newbies" will be a big chunk of the market (as FedCom seems to draw in a lot more wargame newbies than SFB), so please bear that in mind while editing. Oblique references that assume a knowledge-base and ability to speak "campaign-ese" would not service this demographic.

I don't envy the task of writing something like this, in a way that makes it clear to neophytes like me, but doesn't over-explain for veterans. I hope the process goes well for you folks.
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Duckdodgers
Ensign


Joined: 26 Oct 2006
Posts: 23

PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2009 8:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have been thinking about a simple campaign. Not yet having a chance to playtest it (I am waiting for RPG fatigue to set in...then I will remind my friends that there are other types of games out there!) I submit the bare bones version here for all to try and give some feed back.
I think it fits the bill of a simple campaign.
This is not a ‘conquer the stars’ campaign, it is a contest to see who the best commander is. Assume that we are dealing with the neutral zones. No campaign map is required.
Players can use any race, or even be of the same race if they prefer to have an indirect competition. Each campaign turn equals one year. Each player must be involved in at least three scenarios before a year is declared over. The campaign lasts for 5 turns.
1)Each player selects 140 points (Squadron Scale) worth of ships from their chosen race.
2)Shuffle a standard deck of cards; leave the Jokers in the deck. The cards represent star systems that the players, in their role of captains, want to claim for their respective government.
3)A Joker indicates that there is a xeno-threat (space monster) in an area. The player that drew it decides what it is and where it appears. Regardless of whether it is placed in a player’s system or an NPC controlled system it must be dealt with by the fleet that controls the system. A player earns 11 IP for winning a space monster scenario and may also win a new star system for their government.
4)At the start of a turn draw one card from the deck. The player with the most labs decides if they want to claim the card or not. If they do not, the option goes to the ship with the next highest labs and on down the line. Once a card is claimed set it aside for now. All of the cards a player holds are always visible to other players.
5)Selection continues until each player has made 3 claims, either a new card or another players card. If a card goes unclaimed then assign it an NPC fleet. A random selection from the unused races is a good way to go.
6)All cards are contested in one way or another, which is why a starship is required to claim it! Another player may contest the ownership of any card, at the start of any campaign turn, if it is held by a player using a different race (some races can fight each other). I will leave that to the player’s to figure out.
7)If card is captured from another player the player that lost it deducts its value from his current IP total. The overall total is not affected.
8)If a player claims a card that is not contested by another player they must fight over it with a non-player ship. Another player selects a ship, or ships of equal point value to the ships of the player whose turn it is in the campaign.
9)A contested planet goes to the ship that wins the battle. If a NPC ship wins, it remains out of the hands of the players until it is taken in a scenario.
10)Ships are assumed totally repaired and re-supplied before each scenario with equipment equal to that which the ship started the campaign with. In other words, your government will only return a ship to its original PV through repairs.
11)At the end of a year (campaign turn) the values of the cards each player holds are totaled. These are Points of Influence (PI) that each captain gains. They are used, on a point-for-point basis, to improve the fleet they command. Keep two totals, one overall (the total for the campaign) and another current (IP available to spend). Players may purchase more ships or even a mobile base to protect a particularly valuable planet.
12)At the end of 5 years the player with the highest overall total wins the campaign.
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pinecone
Fleet Captain


Joined: 03 May 2008
Posts: 1865
Location: Earth

PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2009 9:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like that Idea! (Feds have the most labs)
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Duckdodgers
Ensign


Joined: 26 Oct 2006
Posts: 23

PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2009 9:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It will need some adjustments so I hope the more active players give it a try.
The starting PV and a tie breaker for number of labs for starters. Value of cards may need some help to make them meaningful.
It is possible for all players to play the same race (all Fed, or Klink...) and everyone still gets a shot at trying differnt ships.
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