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Distant Armada Review from an SFB/FC Players Perspective
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arabuck
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Joined: 12 Jul 2011
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Location: Palm HArbor, FL

PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2011 7:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love the Starmada system with all it's options and whatnot, but I am finding my SFA matches are over in two turns. When I was playing ship vs. ship with frigates everything seemed fine, but when using the big dogs the games go like this: Overload photons and advance, move in closer and boom. Then count your victory points.

Would it be blasphemy to allow only one weapon from each battery fire per turn? I would hate to take away overloading photons as its cool to have that as an option, but 5d damage is pretty major.
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Jeffr0
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Joined: 19 Jun 2009
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2011 8:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm experimenting with dropping Newtonian movement, rolling my own designs... keeping hull sizes insanely small (I want 20+ ships) and conflating weapon groups into more of a sketch of the "official" ships in order to cut back on die rolls.
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Nerroth
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Joined: 08 Oct 2006
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Location: Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2011 8:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have you thought of looking into how things are done in Starmada: Fleet Ops?
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Jeffr0
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2011 9:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes. But I like to play what I've got before buying new stuff. Starmada corebook looks like it can make a game with a complexity on par with Ogre / G.E.V. just fine by itself.

At any rate, this is the first system I actually will design ships for. Every other design-a-thing game I've looked at (especially the space ones) are pointlessly fiddly with a complete lack of actual game at the end of it all.

Daniel Kast is to space combat what Steve Jackson is to role playing games. Yea!
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Jeffr0
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2011 2:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote



I played Starfire this weekend with my 8-year-old son.

Phased movement is fine-- the important thing is not to have a fire option on every single impulse.

The optional movement in Starfire is odd at first, but really... it is a simple way to implement mid-turn speed changes and other manoeuvre related stuff. It's definitely superior to plotted movement as far as casual, 8-year old level games are concerned.

The list of scenarios is great-- they are basically a guided tour of both the game system and the universe. (The rules are almost insanely opaque-- I couldn't have figured out how to play without the scenario #1 to guide me. Starmada books have less in them, but they are extremely clear and organized, not to mention generic and modular.)

The damage allocation system is great-- no die rolls, just left-to-right marking off letters.

The fact that the book comes with specs for entire fleets is fantastic.

...

I expect my next Starmada games will use Starfire's sequence of play. (Initiative, phased movement, movement not required every single phase, allocate damage at the time the hits are rolled instead of saving it for the end of the turn.)

Now to just finish designing some Starmada ships....
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madpax
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Joined: 31 May 2009
Posts: 49
Location: France

PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2011 5:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jeffr0 wrote:
The damage allocation system is great-- no die rolls, just left-to-right marking off letters.

Great, but terribly unrealistic (how come you have to kill all the armor before damaging the meaningful systems? How come you can destroy almost all the ships but allways leave the engine intact? Etc.) and in the end boring. Personnaly, the Starmada way to inflict damage is the best I know. And it's fun!

Quote:
The fact that the book comes with specs for entire fleets is fantastic.

There is something strange here or, at least annoying. Races are not really different one from another, except some like Gorms. In fact, you don't have a race flavor, and one race is in the end not different from another. Also, ships are usually not designed toward a particular goal. For example, a cruiser X is slightly different from a cruiser Y and also from cruiser Z. It would have been more realistic to produce the same cruiser but in different versions (full missile for long range fire, short ranged with good armor and force beam, etc.).

Marc
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Jeffr0
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Joined: 19 Jun 2009
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2011 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, not that there aren't flaws... but the amount of game contained in a single book is pretty impressive.

The granularity of the weapons chart is one improvement over Starmada. A range difference of even one hex can be significant. (Hence the jockeying for position in the phased movement portion of the game.)

As far as the damage allocation is concerned... the simplicity of it is what's attractive-- it takes no time. Whereas in Starmada, allocating damage can take almost as long as doing the movement plots or firing all the weapons. The sequence of play in Starfire is lean, mean, and very discrete.

Finally... even if the ships aren't very good... there *are* ship lists there that demonstrate the designer's intent of the game... and it's all in the core book in a few pages. I would actually prefer that Starmada books list ships in some sort of Drake notation in order to get more designs in than doing the not-so-pretty one pair of record sheets to a page thing.

(And we are talking about a starship game to play with an eight-year-old-- at least at my table.)
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madpax
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Joined: 31 May 2009
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2011 6:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Starfire was cool with the first version (in the end of the seventies). It became 'ugly' later, with loads of systems (and thus complexity) and enormous scenarios. I wonder if those from Imperial Starfire could be done easily...

Marc
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Jeffr0
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Joined: 19 Jun 2009
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2011 6:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd like to have Imperial *Starfire*, but it is probably unplayable.

I'd like to have the campaign system in Imperial Starmada. (Not to mention the "default" universe for Starmada....)

Edit: Correct product name. Oops.
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Last edited by Jeffr0 on Wed Jul 20, 2011 6:19 pm; edited 1 time in total
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storeylf
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Joined: 24 Jul 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2011 6:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I used to love starfire and it replaced SFB as my space combat game, great for mass space battes. The ship design was interesting enough and it worked really well with the campaign system. Imperial starfire was a bit over the top, but Akelda dawn not only had some great new tech stuff but also a simpler campaign system as I remember, playing from the point where you have just discovered the most basic tech and going from there was good stuff, you could see empire differences then as each player concentrated on different techs and you saw ships with roles. 'Realism' wise there is no real reason that an empire couldn't invest in researching anything they have met - why can't klingons come up with PhGs for example.

It wasn't SFB when it came to detail, but it wasn't designed to be. Playing with that level of detail is only good of you actually want it, if you want major space battles in an afternoon then Starfire was vastly better than SFB.
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