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Tweaking Federation Space for use as a Campaign Base...

 
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Maxwell Luther
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2013 12:24 am    Post subject: Tweaking Federation Space for use as a Campaign Base... Reply with quote

I've been looking about at campaign systems for FC and while I really like the abstract mapless campaign offered by Empire Aflame, I would like to play out the General War as a drawn out strategy wargame. I've owned FS since the early eighties and I find it simple enough that I think it would make a nice mapped campaign for FC and could be completed in a much shorter time than F&E. The biggest problems with it at this point:

1. The counters are all out of whack. Many ships that do not fit with FC and the ones that do are totally miscalculated in many cases (half the Klingon force, for instance, is woefully underpowered).

2. Because of #1, I'd have to refigure all the fleet organization charts based on the ships from FC.

3. The stacking limitation on Fleets is great for a campaign for FC, limiting combats to six ships a side (+ Base Stations, Starbases, Planetary Defenses and Fighters) but I also want to be able to play huge battles and relatively uninteresting small ones out on the FS board as well, so that has to be tweaked somehow.

My solutions so far:

1. Counters: Make new counters for all the races represented as well as the Lyrans, my favorite race, which are conspicuous by their absence. I would simplify them, however, giving them a single 'Operational Power' number equal to 1/10th (rounded) of the ships Fleet Scale PV (with a half value on the crippled side, of course). My only remaining problem at this point for the counters is that different ships have different speeds in FS, and I need to figure out how to judge those. Any suggestions?

2. Fleet Org Charts: I'm not real sure where to even start with this. Is there some general information on fleet dispositions at the start of the General War that is more in line with the ships in FC? An option would be to abstract this into a series of Battleforce Point Values for each Fleet and allow the players to pick their own ships for each one, which would make the game much more interesting and customizable from the start, but how would I figure those out? I mean, just how much larger is the Fed's Klingon Border Fleet than their Romulan Border Fleet?

3. I'm seriously considering using the F&E method of resolving Fleet Battles at the Strategic Level, removing stacking limits but requiring Command Ships (of which there are plenty in FC) to determine how many ships may fight each round using the battle board from FS. Once the battle is down to a reasonable number of ships, players may move it to the FC board. I need to better understand how the F&E battles work, however, and I also need to figure out how to assign Command Ratings.

I want to get a game of FS rolling again at some point, especially considering my recent entry into FC, so any answers to any of the remaining problems would be most helpful...
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rfeceo
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2013 1:14 am    Post subject: Re: Tweaking Federation Space for use as a Campaign Base... Reply with quote

Sfme of my thoughts-

Maxwell Luther wrote:
I've been looking about at campaign systems for FC and while I really like the abstract mapless campaign offered by Empire Aflame, I would like to play out the General War as a drawn out strategy wargame. I've owned FS since the early eighties and I find it simple enough that I think it would make a nice mapped campaign for FC and could be completed in a much shorter time than F&E. The biggest problems with it at this point:

1. The counters are all out of whack. Many ships that do not fit with FC and the ones that do are totally miscalculated in many cases (half the Klingon force, for instance, is woefully underpowered).


Don't. Use FC to conduct all combat. Create generic numbered task force markers for the map, and players can keep track of the composition on a Task Force Worksheet. IT removes clutter and adds a nice fog of war element.

Maxwell Luther wrote:
2. Because of #1, I'd have to refigure all the fleet organization charts based on the ships from FC.


ANother suggestion might be to just count the number of general hull types (cruiser, destroyer dreadnought, etc.) and allow the individual empires to select their own variants within each hull type, but maintain the general fleet organization requirements (ie, so many ships vs. Kzinti, so many against teh Tholians, etc. at least for intitial start).

Or, give them an initial wad of cash (say, 10 turns of economy) and have them purchase ships using the Advanced Economics rules, and some formula (PV/10, 1 econ per Frame, or whatever you prefer).

Maxwell Luther wrote:
3. The stacking limitation on Fleets is great for a campaign for FC, limiting combats to six ships a side (+ Base Stations, Starbases, Planetary Defenses and Fighters) but I also want to be able to play huge battles and relatively uninteresting small ones out on the FS board as well, so that has to be tweaked somehow.


You can use SFB principles here, if you wish, or remove all limits and agree to play at Fleet Scale where needed. Or, add Command Limits from SFB. Fog of war will help discourage super-stacking, to some extent.

-Peter / rfeceo
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Maxwell Luther
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2013 3:36 am    Post subject: Re: Tweaking Federation Space for use as a Campaign Base... Reply with quote

rfeceo wrote:
Use FC to conduct all combat. Create generic numbered task force markers for the map, and players can keep track of the composition on a Task Force Worksheet. IT removes clutter and adds a nice fog of war element.


That is actually a very good idea to reduce clutter. Sort of like the method F&E uses with their Organization sheets. I still like the idea of playing out really large (or really boring) engagements using counters and the normal FS rules to allow the campaign to move along more rapidly, but by doing it this way, I can at least cut down on the number I'll need for the actual battles. I could possibly just use the Megahex Counters from FC and not have to make any new ones at all.

Quote:
ANother suggestion might be to just count the number of general hull types (cruiser, destroyer dreadnought, etc.) and allow the individual empires to select their own variants within each hull type, but maintain the general fleet organization requirements (ie, so many ships vs. Kzinti, so many against teh Tholians, etc. at least for intitial start).


Hull type and number are probably the closest approximation. My only problem is how to 'value' hull types that don't exist in FC, like Carriers and Battle Tugs.

If I could figure out the average cost of each hull type (DDs = x, CVs = Y) then my problem with incompatible hulls like the CV disappears and the sandbox factor goes up considerably with players designing their own fleets within the point limits set for each, so I would love to do that. But I don't play SFB, so the question remains, how much is a carrier worth?

Quote:
Or, give them an initial wad of cash (say, 10 turns of economy) and have them purchase ships using the Advanced Economics rules, and some formula (PV/10, 1 econ per Frame, or whatever you prefer).


I want to keep the initial Fleet Organization of FS intact, including the limitation on Fleet Activation that keeps the various empires from just throwing ships all over the place willy-nilly.

I like that the Federation has 6 fleets, but unless they are attacked by the Romulans at the same time or enemy fleets come within 1 hex of Sol or Vulcan, they can only use the 1st, 5th and Exploration Fleets to fight the Klingons. I also like the fact that the Federation cannot release it's 2nd (Romulan) and 4th (Gorn) Fleets to help the Gorns against the Romulans if the Gorns decide to per-emptivly invade Romulan Space.

It all adds a nice dash of geopolitics to the conflict as well as balance, as the larger empires can't just unrealistically concentrate all their forces on the smaller ones while ignoring the others, and the smaller ones, who lack such charts, are flexible enough to respond to any threat with the full force of their empire.

Quote:
You can use SFB principles here, if you wish, or remove all limits and agree to play at Fleet Scale where needed. Or, add Command Limits from SFB. Fog of war will help discourage super-stacking, to some extent.


How do Command Limits work in SFB?
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rfeceo
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2013 4:34 am    Post subject: Re: Tweaking Federation Space for use as a Campaign Base... Reply with quote

Maxwell Luther wrote:
Hull type and number are probably the closest approximation. My only problem is how to 'value' hull types that don't exist in FC, like Carriers and Battle Tugs.

If I could figure out the average cost of each hull type (DDs = x, CVs = Y) then my problem with incompatible hulls like the CV disappears and the sandbox factor goes up considerably with players designing their own fleets within the point limits set for each, so I would love to do that. But I don't play SFB, so the question remains, how much is a carrier worth?


In very general terms, the Battletug and CV each are going to be worth roughly a Dreadnought in points. The CV's fighters could be a dreadnought again in value. For smaller CVs (CVL, CVE) use CA and DD. You can get a good idea of the ship costs in the Master Ship Chart and FC Fighters Playtest rules in the Commander's Circle.

Maxwell Luther wrote:
I want to keep the initial Fleet Organization of FS intact, including the limitation on Fleet Activation that keeps the various empires from just throwing ships all over the place willy-nilly.

I like that the Federation has 6 fleets, but unless they are attacked by the Romulans at the same time or enemy fleets come within 1 hex of Sol or Vulcan, they can only use the 1st, 5th and Exploration Fleets to fight the Klingons. I also like the fact that the Federation cannot release it's 2nd (Romulan) and 4th (Gorn) Fleets to help the Gorns against the Romulans if the Gorns decide to per-emptivly invade Romulan Space.

It all adds a nice dash of geopolitics to the conflict as well as balance, as the larger empires can't just unrealistically concentrate all their forces on the smaller ones while ignoring the others, and the smaller ones, who lack such charts, are flexible enough to respond to any threat with the full force of their empire.


Cool! THough for my tastes, you can never have too much maneuver. If there is fog of war, the psychological manipulation tends to favor objective-based operations over the Super-Horde tactic. And paranoia too has its place. I guess it depends on your group of players, and whether your are playing the strategic operations around the table, or by (e)mail.

Maxwell Luther wrote:
How do Command Limits work in SFB?


They use the F&E Command Ratings. Basically, a ship has a rating - Heavy Cruisers have an 8, for example, and that is the number of ships that can be in a fleet with the Cruiser (so, a total of 9). Just that simple. In truly huge battles you could conceivably break the battle up into smaller battles based on command limits - a 30 on 30 grand clash might end up being five or six battles, depending on how the players decide to arrange commands and what not.

If you like, send me an email to my email address and send you my Early Years campaign rules (using Empires Aflame) where I go into more detail with it. That said, in our EY game, we've done several 12 on 12 battle royales with dozens and dozens of drones and tholian webs, shuttles, etc. In Fleet Scale, large battles are still doable in just 2-3 hours, particularly if you a Chart Master to keeps things moving.

-Peter / rfeceo@yahoo.com
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Maxwell Luther
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2013 5:03 pm    Post subject: Re: Tweaking Federation Space for use as a Campaign Base... Reply with quote

rfeceo wrote:
Maxwell Luther wrote:
Hull type and number are probably the closest approximation. My only problem is how to 'value' hull types that don't exist in FC, like Carriers and Battle Tugs.

If I could figure out the average cost of each hull type (DDs = x, CVs = Y) then my problem with incompatible hulls like the CV disappears and the sandbox factor goes up considerably with players designing their own fleets within the point limits set for each, so I would love to do that. But I don't play SFB, so the question remains, how much is a carrier worth?


In very general terms, the Battletug and CV each are going to be worth roughly a Dreadnought in points. The CV's fighters could be a dreadnought again in value. For smaller CVs (CVL, CVE) use CA and DD. You can get a good idea of the ship costs in the Master Ship Chart and FC Fighters Playtest rules in the Commander's Circle.

Maxwell Luther wrote:
How do Command Limits work in SFB?


They use the F&E Command Ratings. Basically, a ship has a rating - Heavy Cruisers have an 8, for example, and that is the number of ships that can be in a fleet with the Cruiser (so, a total of 9). Just that simple. In truly huge battles you could conceivably break the battle up into smaller battles based on command limits - a 30 on 30 grand clash might end up being five or six battles, depending on how the players decide to arrange commands and what not.

If you like, send me an email to my email address and send you my Early Years campaign rules (using Empires Aflame) where I go into more detail with it. That said, in our EY game, we've done several 12 on 12 battle royales with dozens and dozens of drones and tholian webs, shuttles, etc. In Fleet Scale, large battles are still doable in just 2-3 hours, particularly if you a Chart Master to keeps things moving.

-Peter / rfeceo@yahoo.com


Thanks! That carrier info is exactly what I need! I saw the carrier rules in the Commander's Circle, and while it gives me something to use for comparative purposes, I think I'm just going to divert the BPV into the Fleet pool, as I prefer keeping Fighters restricted to the Hydrans to give them a unique feel.

I also found Scouts (which I'll likely use) and Tugs in the Ship Cards section of the Commander's Circle, so that makes thing's easier as well. There is a ton of extra stuff that I was previously unaware of and I'll make sure to go through more of it as I get the chance. I'll probalby keep FRD (Fleet Repair Dock) ships in the game, but only on a strategic level.

As for Command Ratings, I looked through the F&E charts yesterday, but TBH, there are so many variants I just decided to make up my own based upon the individual ship BPV. So, basically, in my game the single Operational Power number will serve three purposes: Strategic Offense, Strategic Defense and Command & Control.

In all, I think I can recreate all the races starting forces and Fleet Organization fairly easily as Fleet BPV pools: each fleet has so many points, based on the equivalent forces (or their approximations) in the FS game, and the player gets to pick what they put into each one. The only thing missing is the Lyran Fleet Org, and that I'm just going to handle by duplicating the Kzinti Fleet pools. That seems logical.
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Steve Cole
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2013 5:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

FS isn't really tweekable. If you fix it right, you get F&E.
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Maxwell Luther
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2013 4:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steve Cole wrote:
FS isn't really tweekable. If you fix it right, you get F&E.


Ah, yes, but then I already own FS and I'd rather tweak that and spend more money on Federation Commander Cool

Seriously, though, with my life (and the lives of my older gaming buddies and fellow grad school students) being as hectic as it is, F&E would never get past Turn 1, so it makes more temporal and financial sense for me to work from the simpler base of FS and focus more on the FC side of things...
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Shadow Warrior
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PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2013 9:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When compared to F&E, FS does offer practical playability. I like FS, I have to be honest. It gets a lot more play time with my group than F&E.
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Steve Cole
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PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2013 3:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just cannot see spending time playing a game that screwed up, but then, I don't understand why people play chess or poker when they're so divorced from reality.
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2013 3:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Talking about games based on reality in a forum for a game based on a TV show, and that then add all sorts of make believe and abstractions on top of that. Confused
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Maxwell Luther
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PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2013 7:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think in the end what I want from FS is the area control feature of the map, with the economics system that derives from controlling space, and the fleet organization that prevents one from just piling everything in one hex and burning their way across the universe.

I can do without the counters and moving those all over the place and having to leave them set up. I can also do without the non FC ships, like carriers (I prefer to leave that to the Hydrans) although FRDs and Tugs would be cool.

So, at this point, barring the appearance of Federation Admiral in the very near future, I'm thinking of using Federation Space with Fleet counters (which represent the sub-fleets of a particular part of the Fleet Organization Chart which all must remain within X hexes of the Main fleet) that control an area of space. Within that area, they may patrol, raid or attack.

If they do Raid or Attack, then any opposing Fleet that has a Zone of Control covering the target (which can be general areas for raiding, planets, bases or other fleet Tokens) they may send in ships from that fleet to intercept the enemy (with maximums and minimums decided by the sort of activity as in Empires Aflame), and this is repeated in a thrust-counterthrust method until all actions for that empire are declared.

FC would them be used to resolve the individual conflicts, although I think a quick resolution system based on combat factors could be devised to resolve less interesting battles in larger campaigns with a lot of folks.

That's the general idea I'm going with at the moment, but I haven't had time to really ponder the details, although outside of Fleet Composition and the exact mechanics of thrust-counterthust, I'm not sure what more there is to add to the idea, the rest revolving around the FS rules as they do.
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Steve Cole
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PostPosted: Wed May 22, 2013 3:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"I think in the end what I want from FS is the area control feature of the map, with the economics system that derives from controlling space, and the fleet organization that prevents one from just piling everything in one hex and burning their way across the universe. "

All of which is how F&E works.

All of that came from the original strategic game design I did, which TFG used to make FS during a time we were not on speaking terms. FS failed miserably in the marketplace and was virtually laughed out of the industry resulting in "the bizarre contract" that joined ADB and TFG at the hip for the next decade. That contract prohibited FS from being reprinted and replaced it with F&E, also based on my original prototype.
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paulgenna
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 05, 2013 9:10 pm    Post subject: ISC F&E Reply with quote

Question on the ISC F&E it mentions a six peacekeeper scenario. Could this be used as a map for a campaign, different from existing F&E map, or is it taking the existing map and breaking it into six areas?
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Steve Cole
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2013 5:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are a lot of F&E scenarios tht are divided into six sectors by rules definitions of hexes. ISC peackeeping is one of them.
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Steve Cole
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2013 5:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I might mention that the F&E maps are free downloads on the website (check the master index, which you can reach from the starfleetgames.com frontpage) and lots of players take them, cut out the part they want, and blow it up to whatever size they want. Sure, it gets fuzzy,but the basic map is still playable.
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