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Online campaign

 
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storeylf
Fleet Captain


Joined: 24 Jul 2008
Posts: 1875

PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 5:06 pm    Post subject: Online campaign Reply with quote

The idea of having an online campaign has come up during discussion of last/next tourney. Whilst no particular campaign system has been yet mentioned, I thought I'd kick off some sort of discussion on such a thing.

There are obviously no end of systems that could be used, from the very abstract that just concentrates on generating FC games to something that is almost a stategy game in its own right. It could be as small as the local Police commanders anti pirate campaign, to a grand conquer the galaxy 4X stuff involving every power.

For myself, I consider the following the main aspects I'd be looking for.

1) The emphasis is still FC. The more it feels FC is just a side show and the campaign is the game the less interested I'd be.

2) Clear goal to win/end the campaign, and importantly within a reasonable time scale. What that is I'm not sure. A campaign that takes a year to resolve is probably about as long as I'd like. That depends to a large extent on how fast games get played. Locally we play every week, but organising online is likely to be much harder, so its harder to say what a good expected timescale is.

3) No one can get knocked out and then be left waiting for it to end. There is nothing worse than having to wait to get involved in another game because you were knocked out early. E.G. Our own local campaigns tie this up with 2) above by making the campaign end when the first person 'loses' (with the guy knocking him out being the winner).

4) Plenty of different types of 'scenario'. Small 1 vs 1, to 1000+ pt fleets. Base attacks, different terrain etc. Whilst not necessary other things like convoy raids, and non-combat missions can spice things up as well.

5) Some way of making the ships you have a valuable resource that you don't just throw away; in the way tourney games often play out. One of the big things about campaigns for me is that decision about whether or not it is worth pressing on to 'win' a battle given the losses that might accrue and then hamper later fights.

6) Economy. I do not consider economic systems hugely important, though they add a nice bit of interest that I certainly like. Importantly though, if there is one then it should account for 5) above. I wouldn't want to be playing a system where losing 5 cruisers was not that bad because you were about to build 6 more anyway.


The next point is thinking about the issues of online play.

7) Teams. Organizing online play seems difficult, people have lives getting in the way, time zone differences, different times of the week/day when they are free etc. For an online campaign I think this could be alleviated to some extent by having teams (maybe only of 2) per side/faction/whatever, so that it is more likely that someone from that side would be available to play any games that need playing. It might also make it feel a more social activity if full teams mananged to turn up online to command their fleet (though there would be no such requirement). It might make it more natural for other players to join in half way through by assigning them to team, and it would take more than one dropout to hobble a campaign with an unplayed side.


Does anyone else who would like to pay a campaign online have some points they think are important to any system if they were to play in some campaign.


I know Patrick has said he has some campaign idea, but I haven't seen it yet. I would also certainly consider running and managing one, so long as I could play was well, if there was enough interest.


Last edited by storeylf on Fri Mar 01, 2013 6:59 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Lieutenant JG


Joined: 07 Mar 2007
Posts: 59
Location: Portland, OR

PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 5:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I might well be up for the police scale if your roster has room for someone rather inexperienced and your intended pace sounds compatible with my fairly full schedule. I'm sure both those factors would keep me out of an undertaking on the grand empire scale.
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JimDauphinais
Commander


Joined: 22 Nov 2009
Posts: 762
Location: Chesterfield, MO

PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 6:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lee -- I would be interested in a FC Online campaign.

I've enjoyed reading your accounts of your local face-to-face campaigns.

I think the team idea is a good one. The biggest challenge is to find a way to keep the battles going so that folks are not waiting for months at a time between battles.
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St. Louis Area Fed Comm Group: http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/STL_Federation_Commander/
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Patrick Doyle
Lieutenant Commander


Joined: 18 Aug 2007
Posts: 208
Location: Norfolk, VA

PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 12:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll try t find a way/place to post the campaign i Have in mind. I agree with the basic goals that Lee lays out and they are generally shared in the campaign I have. Further, Brandon Archibald (Archer) and I have played this and it does work.

Basically, the idea is that there is operational level movement, forces encounter each other, interesting battles happen. BAttles get assigned to individual players to resolve. The consequences of those battles will determine what objectives are accomplished, what ships are damaged or destroyed. Eventually, those who achieve their objectives will win.

A discussion of how the campaign would work with multiple people online would be worth having, but Brandon and I were able to play. I live in Norfolk and he lives in Minneapolis.

I'll talk a little about the goal of the campaign, and the setting.

1. THe Goal: To create a good variety of meaningful games. We have found that a campaign generates games and opposing force combinations and situations that we would never have thought of in a one-off scenario. By meaningful, I mean that the results of the battle will have effects on follow-on battles. You decide what you are trying to accomplish, and determine what its worth to you. How many ships are you willing to lose to capature a system, or destroy a battlestation.

2. The setting: I have generated a map that encompasses the middle half of the Klingon Border with the Federation. The time period we were using for the campaign would encompass LESS than 6 months. BAsically, If you took a Federation and Empire Map, and zoomed in on the Klingon Federation Border, you'd have our map. The map is consistent with the Federation and Empire Map, its just a zoomed, more detailed version. For thos who are familiar with the map, is is 5 sectors by 5 sectors.
The map is populated with star systems (with planets, asteroids, commercial platforms), nebulae, pulsars, black holes, battlestations, starbases, and trade routes (where you will find freighters to attack). Obviously we use common sense. There isn't much point in playing out a battle between a heavy cruiser and a freighter (or other civilian thing) unless there was another warship around to protect it.

3. WHAT IT IS NOT: This is not intended to be 4X game (Explore, Expand, ???, Exterminate) based in the Star Fleet Universe. You will not be running an Empire. Too much book keeping. If I want more bureaucracy and paperwork in my life, I can go to work. Running an Empire is strategic, that means running an economy, making ship construction decisions, even technology and research decisions. We will be one scale lower than strategic.

4. MORE DETAILS: This would be an Operational Level game. What is Operational Level? Well its the level of war between the Strategic (running the empire) and the Tactical (fighting a battle). Put simply (oversimplifying some), The operational level of war is deciding what battles you need to fight to win the war or achieve a major objective. An Operation is defined as a series of linked tactical engagements. Technically a campaign is defined as a series of linked operations. I would suggest we scope this to a single operation to start with and to keep the timeframe reasonable.
What that means is that there would basically be 2 opposing sides. For now lets say Klingon on Federation. There could loaner squadrons from other empires to increase variety. EAch side would have some objectives.

5. YOUR INVOLVEMENT: The way I see it, people could have different levels of involvement depending on thier interests and available time. Participants would declare their alligance to one side or the other. They will remian on that side for the duration of the campaign. If you have the time and interest you could be involved in the operational planning and decisions, Deciding where to move ships, what planets to take over/etc, and how to structure your forces.
For those only interested in playing out battles (or with less time), you could simply play out available battles as your schedule allows. When a battle is generated by ships coming into contact with each other, you could be assigned the battle or volunteer to take it. Your opponent and you schedule a game and it is resolved like the tournament. The specific results would be important. Did you accomplish the objective? How badly were your ships damaged. Players would never be knocked out, simply assigned to new battles down the road.
Presumably, the "Admiral(s)" on your side will have specific objectives in mind for your battle, so you will have some instructions going into the battle. Whether you win or lose, the outcome of the battle will have consequences. Battle damage may keep a ship out of the fight for a while this affecting future operations.

There is obviously more details. but these are the broad strokes. Operational movement is consistent with how it works in the Star Fleet Universe, using thier time/speed/distance calculations for warp speeds, sector sizes, and detection ranges.

While there isn't specifically an economy, each side would track supply points that are used to repair ships and send them on HIGH Warp excursion (Known as Dash Speed within the SFU. (more on that later)

Overal, the bookkeeping is simple. Operational movement is handled by those interested in participating, while those who are content to play an occasional game to resolve a battle can also participate. A referee is not necessarily required though once could be used. If there were a Referee, he would able to play out the resolution of a battle, but obviously would not participate in the Operational decisions (because he'd know everything).
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Patrick Doyle
Lieutenant Commander


Joined: 18 Aug 2007
Posts: 208
Location: Norfolk, VA

PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 2:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

INTRODUCTION and SCOPE
This operational level campaign system is intended to link Federation & Empire to the tactical level games in the Star Fleet Universe. It is intended to remain true to the aspects of both strategic warfare modeled in F&E and tactical combat modeled in Federation Commander or the other SFU tactical combat games. The warp speed scale provided by the following link has been used as the basis for ship speeds and movement. Read the document at this link:

http://www.starfleetgames.com/documents/Warp_Speed_in_SFU.pdf

The scope of the campaign map is to include about the middle 1/3 of the Federation-Klingon Border. It will not include economic management or construction decisions, those happen at the Strategic Level (F&E). Based on the objectives and the intensity level of the conflict, reinforcements will arrive on a set schedule. This alleviates the problem of one player winning an early battle and then having an economic advantage that is nearly impossible to overcome by the player that lost the early battle. Taking over an important manufacturing center will not suddenly produce advantages at the tactical level.

Players will choose from 3-5 sets of orders. The orders will include military objectives and the player will try to accomplish those objectives within the time allowed. While it would be nice to set up a point system to determine exactly who wins, it will be the accomplishment of objectives that determine victory. If the question of who won is open to some debate, I am OK with that. It simply makes it that much more realistic. For instance, who won the battle of Coral Sea? Well it depends on which factors are considered more important. Tactically Japan won, but strategically they withdrew and cancelled the invasion of Port Morsby, making it a Strategic Victory for the allies.

The Klingons will choose orders that range from border raids to harass the Federation and increase their influence in the Neutral Zone to all out invasion. The aggressiveness of their orders will determine their order of battle. The Federation will have tasks (counter attacks, raids) and things to protect (civilian colony evacuations, protect colonies, base stations). There may even be a Federation Pre-emptive strike.
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storeylf
Fleet Captain


Joined: 24 Jul 2008
Posts: 1875

PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 11:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm up for it, even if there is little other interest (unlikely), I'd play with you.

If we do play your campaign I'd like to play klingon - I played a Fed vs Klingon campaign for quite a while and had the Feds. That was enough Feds for me for a long time. Although of course such a system could be based along any border.

I'd suggest restricting initial ships to the earlier ones as much as possible (Lollipop destoyers, CA, CL, D6, D7 etc), no 'new' or 'war' ships where possible. Get away from the best ships possible mentaility of the tourney. Letting a few newer ship arrive afterwards as reinforcements is nice, making them rare and more 'valuable'.

You might want to define things like map size for games as well. The online client can handle up to 99*99 if you want fixed (you can set a larger map but it won't work). I very much prefer larger maps.
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Patrick Doyle
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Joined: 18 Aug 2007
Posts: 208
Location: Norfolk, VA

PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 4:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

here is my plan.

I intend to clean-up the rules I wrote for the campaign so they can be understood by someone but me. I will then post the files online and send a link out to people so they can see the files.

The time frame we used was the day before the General war. so the most advanced ships were a few NCLs, Fast Cruisers, and maybe a Light DN. I do heartily agree about wanting to play using the older the ships.

The type of Operation and size of the scenario would depend on how many people we have playing.

ALso, people will have to be comfortable playing lopsided battles now and then. War does not always produce a fair fight. There will be FOG of War in this campaign, so you may not be 100% sure what you are fighting when you engage in battle.
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Patrick Doyle
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Joined: 18 Aug 2007
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Location: Norfolk, VA

PostPosted: Wed Mar 13, 2013 3:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

i am going to have to put any online campaign pplans on hold for the moment as real life has conspired to eat up all my time recently. Sorry.
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