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FOUR QUESTIONS FOR OUR CUSTOMERS
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djdood
Fleet Captain


Joined: 01 Feb 2007
Posts: 2928
Location: Seattle, WA

PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 6:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's all types in the SFU fandom. You're not alone in being left-of-center. I'm as bleeding-heart as they come, but I'm also as hard-core a FedCom fan as they come.
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Mazza
Lieutenant SG


Joined: 25 Jun 2007
Posts: 114
Location: Brisbane, Australia

PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 12:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm another person who thinks the Federation Commander blog should probably keep to SFU/ADB material. Posts about politics and the like don't promote the Star Fleet Universe at all, and at the worst could actually alienate people who disagree strongly with the views. People decide not to give businesses their money for smaller reasons all the time. I feel it would probably be better if the official ADB blog avoided the same controversial topics which users of the message boards are warded off.

More posts about tactics, miniature painting and modelling, and introducing and explaining the product line would be preferable in my opinion. The blog keeps us up to date with ADB news very well and helps new players find a lot of useful resources. Maybe instead of the "off-topic" posts, some ideas about tactics (even if these are just quotes from the newsletter), painting tips and pictures of winning entries in the painting competitions, and the like could continue to help new players. I liked the series of blog entries which introduced each game - maybe these could be revisited with lists of products in a suggested order for a new player (e.g. for SFB, the Basic Set, Advanced Missions... whichever module is suggested next, etc). Some blog entries about the source material of some of the SFU-original races (e.g. Hydrans) couldn't hurt either especially with products like Distant Kingdoms looming in the near future.

Posts like that help people to see that Federation Commander, and all the ADB games, are well-supported, with many facets which may appeal. If people go to the Games Workshop site, for instance, they can read articles about gameplay, about painting miniatures, modelling terrain, and snippets of fiction about the settings of GW games. If they read the "Star Blog" on federationcommander.com, they see some of these sorts of things, although mostly with a focus on new products rather than actually playing and painting and the like, but that content is diluted with off-topic posts.
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CmdrKiley
Lieutenant JG


Joined: 12 Jun 2007
Posts: 38
Location: SE Michigan, USA

PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 7:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well several things I've learned since getting 3 more guys in my group into FC.

- Counters - Not everyone in my group has the models yet. They have the border sets but wish that additional counters were made available. Despite playing with miniatures. Having some cool counters around makes for a nice 'travel size' game which dosn't require hauling fleets of ships to choose from. Particularly the large ones. One suggestion I had was to include counters with booster pack, and include extra counters necessary for the ships like more Turn and Slip-Point counters, drones, shuttles and plasma torpedoes.

- Scenarios - My players have been used to playing games like B5 ACTA and many other skirmish games where lots of the games are simple smash the other guys army. FC is much more of a scenario driven game. The fluff written on the backs of the boosters makes for some interesting scenarios, but to their disapointment they aren't included with the booster. However, I've directed them to The Commander's Circle for more scenarios.

- Dice - I pulled out my old SFB dice (Federation, Klingon, and Romulan) and man to do the other players drool over them. Nice item to put back into production and expand with Lyran, Kzinti, Gorn, Tholian, etc.

- Plastic Counters - I mentioned we play ACTA and we've been using some of the plastic counters by Gale Force Nine for ACTA. Not only are these helpful, but they look great on a black mat with painted ships. Sort of looks like your looking a holographic table map of a battle in progress with all sorts of cool graphics popping up around the ships. I've bought some of the Litko radar screen markers to use for my cloaked vessels. Litko would be another good source to license these out to. My FLGS does really well with both GF9 and Litko products.

I'd recommend the following:

- Turn Point and Slip Point Marker Set. Include 5 pairs of markers numbered from 1-5. Provide them in several different colors and possibly include faction logos. Then provide an additional set numbered 6-10 for expanded fleets.

- Guided Weapons Marker Set. Included numbered sets of Drones, Plasma Torpedos and Shuttles. Quantities of these would be faction specific.

- Tholian Webs - Webs would look awesome in clear acyllic.

- Turning Templates and Fire Arc Templates - These would be great for free form play. Running a ship's base along a thick piece of plastic would be a lot easier than a piece of paper. However you may need to specify the base size. I use a Litko 60-degree arc template to determine fire arcs when playing free form. A nice circular template with all the fire arcs etched into it would be helpful.

One way to reduce cost and complexity with the counters is to include a field that one could write the appropriate number on with a dry erase pen. Perhaps have a rectangular field on the back etched and filled in with white paint. This way the smooth plastic has a white background and a dry erase can be written on and erased as needed. This would reduce the number of unique parts and make them more flexible. However, color coding is still important. Litko makes many of the same markers in multiple colors anyways.
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Scoutdad
Commodore


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

PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 9:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CmdrKiley wrote:
Counters - Not everyone in my group has the models yet. They have the border sets but wish that additional counters were made available. Despite playing with miniatures. Having some cool counters around makes for a nice 'travel size' game which dosn't require hauling fleets of ships to choose from. Particularly the large ones. One suggestion I had was to include counters with booster pack, and include extra counters necessary for the ships like more Turn and Slip-Point counters, drones, shuttles and plasma torpedoes.

The large counters (1 1/2-inch) are available seperately as the product "H1-Megahex"
Drones, Shuttles, Plasma counters can be found in hte "Ammo Sheet"
The 1/2 counter sheets can be ordered as spare parts from the Star Fleet Store

CmdrKiley wrote:
Scenarios - My players have been used to playing games like B5 ACTA and many other skirmish games where lots of the games are simple smash the other guys army. FC is much more of a scenario driven game. The fluff written on the backs of the boosters makes for some interesting scenarios, but to their disapointment they aren't included with the booster. However, I've directed them to The Commander's Circle for more scenarios.

Or, direct them to Federation Commander: Briefing #1 - 24 new scenarios (and 6 new ships that can use the existing counter mix).

CmdrKiley wrote:
Dice - I pulled out my old SFB dice (Federation, Klingon, and Romulan) and man to do the other players drool over them. Nice item to put back into production and expand with Lyran, Kzinti, Gorn, Tholian, etc.

There were actually SFU dice released for the Kzinti, Gorn, Lyran, Hydran, Andromedan, and ISC. These were not released in nearly the quantities as the Fed/Klink/Rom sets were, but they are very nice to have. Several of us have inquired about these recently, and until and unless ADB finds a less expensive source than currently available - these probably will not return.

CmdrKiley wrote:
Plastic Counters - I mentioned we play ACTA and we've been using some of the plastic counters by Gale Force Nine for ACTA. Not only are these helpful, but they look great on a black mat with painted ships. Sort of looks like your looking a holographic table map of a battle in progress with all sorts of cool graphics popping up around the ships. I've bought some of the Litko radar screen markers to use for my cloaked vessels. Litko would be another good source to license these out to. My FLGS does really well with both GF9 and Litko products.

These do indeed look nice (and I have several of them that get used for many games - not just SFB / FC), but as with the racial dice - as devoted as we are to our games (SFB/FC), we do not come close to the marketing machine that would be required for mass-marketed, game specific markers. Take heart though in the fact that the currently produced generic counters are available and do look terrific on a black felt starmap.

CmdrKiley wrote:
Turn Point and Slip Point Marker Set. Include 5 pairs of markers numbered from 1-5. Provide them in several different colors and possibly include faction logos. Then provide an additional set numbered 6-10 for expanded fleets.

These function perfectly fine as is in the generic format, although you can somewhat tailor the colors to the individual races, i.e., blue for the Federation, red for the Romulans, green for the Hydrans, etc.

CmdrKiley wrote:
Guided Weapons Marker Set. Included numbered sets of Drones, Plasma Torpedos and Shuttles. Quantities of these would be faction specific.

ADB has contracted with Ninja Magic to produce minatures for use as Drones(bottom of page), Plasma Torpedoes (near top of page), Shuttles, DefSats, and Stingers. No estimated release date has been set - but the photos of the prototypes look incredible!!! Cool

CmdrKiley wrote:
Tholian Webs - Webs would look awesome in clear acyllic.

I haven't thought of this, but the translucent green markers would make for good webs. Currently I'm using green, plastic canvas for my webs. Check out the Tholian photos on my website (listed in the signature block) for photographs. I managed about 200 hexes of web for just under $3.00 and about 2 hours of time.


CmdrKiley wrote:
Turning Templates and Fire Arc Templates - These would be great for free form play. Running a ship's base along a thick piece of plastic would be a lot easier than a piece of paper. However you may need to specify the base size. I use a Litko 60-degree arc template to determine fire arcs when playing free form. A nice circular template with all the fire arcs etched into it would be helpful.

While nice, I don't think there are enough "hex-less" players to make this feasable, although you could do the same thing yourself by transcribing the turning templates nad firearc templates onto a sheet or two of clear acrylic and cutting them out.
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Rindis
Lieutenant JG


Joined: 16 Oct 2006
Posts: 45
Location: Sunnyvale, CA

PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 10:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I keep wanting to do up some shield and firing arc templates for use with counters. (The idea is to do free-form with counters.) Basically markings not unlike the normal miniatures ones, but with a square hole inside so you can just pop it onto a counter, and have everything lined up for you.

Which is to say, if there was such a thing, there'd be at least one more 'hex-less player'. Smile
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Scoutdad
Commodore


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

PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 11:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rindis wrote:
I keep wanting to do up some shield and firing arc templates for use with counters. (The idea is to do free-form with counters.) Basically markings not unlike the normal miniatures ones, but with a square hole inside so you can just pop it onto a counter, and have everything lined up for you.


This would actually be rather easy to do yourself. TAke the cardstock template provided in the boxedset and make 2 photo-copies.[This keeps oyu from messign up the original, if you make a mistake!] Find the center of template #1 and draw in a 1/2-inch x 1/2-inch square. Do the same with template # 2, but draw in a 1-inch x 1-inch square.
Next, photocopy these two templates onto a sheet of transparency paper. Cut out the firing arc/shield templates.
Next, using a sharp hobby knife, carefully cut out the squares in the center of the transparent template.
When needed, place the template over the counter with the counter centered in the "hole" and you're good to go.
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John Schneder II
Lieutenant SG


Joined: 28 Jan 2007
Posts: 102
Location: Cincinnati, OH

PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2008 3:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For shield-grid/firing arc templates, I scanned the old black ones that used to come with the TFG minis back in the 80's, then cleaned them up and printed them on card stock. I even used different color cardstock so if your mini of the D7 looks just a little too much like that other D7, you can tell by the color of the arc diagram stuck to the base of the stand.

I also drew the turning gauges onto foam core board and cut them out with an Exacto knife. I even made some shorter ones (ones that only have one or two moves rather than the three the sheet comes with), and had our math professor player make us ones for "1 1/2" and "2 1/2" turn gauges.
If any of you come to Origins, you can see them (and all of the other little things we made for hex-less play) live and in person. Cool
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One of the guys that sculpts the minis (Starline 2400) Smile
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djdood
Fleet Captain


Joined: 01 Feb 2007
Posts: 2928
Location: Seattle, WA

PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2008 5:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I play on the large-hex maps pretty much exclusively. I might make firing-arc aids for my group using the map that is included in First Missions. Tweak that a bit and then print on viewfoil sheets and there ya go.
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Rindis
Lieutenant JG


Joined: 16 Oct 2006
Posts: 45
Location: Sunnyvale, CA

PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2008 7:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I know I could do it reasonably easily, I've just never gotten around to it. I'd probably just build them from scratch in CorelDraw, rather than do all the transcribing steps. Probably make a couple standard shield templates, and standard arc templates. My problem is that I'd want to make an SFB-legal Klingon special arc template, and I've never gotten around to figuring out what angles are needed.

I'd probably do a few other 'racial' templates just because. (Fed: mark FA, FH, L+LF/R+RF, and a line straight back for between the engine shots/LS/RS.)

I'd also want to do a different type of turning key than the curves. I prefer the Car Wars-style key because it's easier to just use it as a reference for the maximum possible turn. The curves force you to approximate if you don't follow them exactly. Problem: Car Wars has you move, then turn; SFB/FC has you turn then move.

This last defeated me for some time, but I thought of a solution yesterday. Do a 'L-shaped' template, with different ones for each turn mode (1-7). i.e., the '1' would have 150-degree angle (90+60) for the "L". If you want to turn the maximum extent, seat one side against the back of the counter, pivot it until it seats against the other side, and then move it up to a mark on that side that indicates the move distance. If you want to turn less than the max angle, then just seat it on a back corner of the counter, and adjust the template until it's pointing in the direction you want (as long as that doesn't violate the back seating...).
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Scoutdad
Commodore


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

PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2008 9:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rindis wrote:
I'd also want to do a different type of turning key than the curves. I prefer the Car Wars-style key because it's easier to just use it as a reference for the maximum possible turn. The curves force you to approximate if you don't follow them exactly. Problem: Car Wars has you move, then turn; SFB/FC has you turn then move.

This last defeated me for some time, but I thought of a solution yesterday. Do a 'L-shaped' template, with different ones for each turn mode (1-7). i.e., the '1' would have 150-degree angle (90+60) for the "L". If you want to turn the maximum extent, seat one side against the back of the counter, pivot it until it seats against the other side, and then move it up to a mark on that side that indicates the move distance. If you want to turn less than the max angle, then just seat it on a back corner of the counter, and adjust the template until it's pointing in the direction you want (as long as that doesn't violate the back seating...).


That's not a bad solution. I may play around wiht it some this weekend and see how well it works...
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Rindis
Lieutenant JG


Joined: 16 Oct 2006
Posts: 45
Location: Sunnyvale, CA

PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2008 10:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks! Eager to hear your results.
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bolog
Lieutenant JG


Joined: 10 Dec 2007
Posts: 29
Location: M.N. USA

PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2008 5:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="Scoutdad"]
CmdrKiley wrote:


CmdrKiley wrote:
Dice - I pulled out my old SFB dice (Federation, Klingon, and Romulan) and man to do the other players drool over them. Nice item to put back into production and expand with Lyran, Kzinti, Gorn, Tholian, etc.

There were actually SFU dice released for the Kzinti, Gorn, Lyran, Hydran, Andromedan, and ISC. These were not released in nearly the quantities as the Fed/Klink/Rom sets were, but they are very nice to have. Several of us have inquired about these recently, and until and unless ADB finds a less expensive source than currently available - these probably will not return.


I'm not sure how the Licensing agreements would have to work, but I know from talking to Chessex at Gen Con last year, ADB could give the images to them and they would keep them on file. I would assume that Crystle Caste and other custom dice Mfgs could do the same. Individuals could then order them by requesting the ADB designs. This would cost ADB nothing , nor would they gain anything from it but customer gratitude.
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Scoutdad
Commodore


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

PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2008 5:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had a custom VBIR die made for Federation and Empire last year (and will get more this year). At the $1 a face Chessex charges to do this custom dice, there probably wouldn't be a large market for them being purchased by individuals.

2 dice for each race in FC would run $20 a person. Actually, that's not as bad as I had first supposed it would, but since I already have a few full sets... I don't need any more!
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bolog
Lieutenant JG


Joined: 10 Dec 2007
Posts: 29
Location: M.N. USA

PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2008 6:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Scoutdad wrote:
but since I already have a few full sets... I don't need any more!


Need is such a strong word when it comes to dice though isn't it:D. For instance my wife would claim I don't need any more dice or games! I have seen your pics of Minis still to be done and I'm sure some would say you don't need any more, not me of course Razz. I for one am thankful to live in a world where more than our needs can be met.

I was really thinking of just replacing the 1 with an iconic ship or symbol for each faction. The price would then be $1 a die up to the first 25 then slightly cheaper after that. Now even I wouldn't argue that I needed 25 Fed dice. I would like 4 or so and I have little doubt that others in my group would also like about that many so we could easily reach the min order of 10. Which would be less then $10 each depending on how many dice we wanted.
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Scoutdad
Commodore


Joined: 09 Oct 2006
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Location: Middle Tennessee

PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2008 7:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bolog wrote:
Need is such a strong word when it comes to dice though isn't it:D.
That depends. I have enough polyhedral dice to equip a small army of players. I am one of those who tends to place their gaming stuff in rubbermaid type containers for easy transportation... 1 for SFB, 1 for FC, 1 for F&E, 1 for AD&D, 1 for Formula De, 1 for Car Wars... you get the idea. Anyway, when you're getting ready for a game, you don't have time to sort out dice...so I have to have a full set in each container... and who knows if your opponent is as considerate, so you actually need two sets in each container. But then, there are those off days when the dice gods are frowning and you want to throw your dice away. You need an extra special set of lucky dice in each container. Now we're up to 3 sets (minimum) in each container! Rolling Eyes

bolog wrote:
For instance my wife would claim I don't need any more dice or games! I have seen your pics of Minis still to be done and I'm sure some would say you don't need any more...

Ack! Sacrilege!!! Wink I've been tracking the latest UPS shipment all morning. Fed Comm Briefing #1, 3 border boxes, and I just ordered a couple of extra Federation ships from the FLGS.
The prototype Monitor will be completed tonight, and then I start working on a WYN ACX (cause I don't have one!). I am; however, building a larger workroom this summer so I can spread the miniatures over a much larger area. The local university has been picking up unexplained ground tremors recently and they finally triangulated the epicenter to my home address. A bit of study revealed that the total weight of lead / pewter stored in a localized area was nearing the critical point at which it would collapse under it's own gravitational attraction and form a singularity.

Shocked Shocked Shocked
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