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Race-specific Fleet Boxed Sets?
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MajerBlundor
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2009 5:18 pm    Post subject: Race-specific Fleet Boxed Sets? Reply with quote

In FC's design notes Steve writes that the genesis of FC was statements by retailers that SFB was too complex for today's wargame market. Such complexity is a barrier to entry for new players and thus limits sales potential.

Yesterday 15 FC boosters and Tholian attack arrived at my door. I've now put those ~120+ ship cards in binders with the cards from Klingon Border, Klingon Attack, Romulan Border, Romulan Attack, and Orion Attack. Each fleet is in its own binder.

Which raised a question for me.

In other games such as WH40K and Warmachine one is not required to purchase troops from multiple armies to build a force. If you want to play Orks or Cryxx you just buy troops from those armies.

But with FC one must buy lots of ship cards one may or may not be interested in when trying to assemble a complete set for a given race. For some of us the cost is not a barrier. But for others interested in focusing on specific race (eg Romulans) it can be impossible to build a complete collection of ship cards due to cost.

In my own case I have no interest in Hydrans and Lyrans but now have a smattering of them. Not a big deal, but still money wasted from the perspective of this customer.

Might it not help FC's popularity if ship cards were sold in race-specific squadron and/or fleet packs?

I was introduced to wargaming as a student and didn't have a lot of money at the time (very little in fact!). Assuming things haven't changed much for student wouldn't it be helpful to them if they could purchase exactly what they want with respect to ship cards? Heck, that would be helpful to anyone!

I'm not suggesting the sale of individual cards. But squadrons sets would be nice. For example, "Federation Patrol" might include 2 or 3 squadrons of Federation frigates and destroyer sized ships. And fleet boxed sets would be nice too. For example, one might include a dreadnought, a cruiser squadron, and maybe a few lighter squadrons.

Anyway, I noticed that when one buys all of the products associated with a given core product or expansion one essentially ends up with a squadron of each ship. In my case I have nearly complete Federation, Kzinti, Gorn, Klingon, Romulan, and Orion fleets. But I was required to spend that much money to complete any one of those fleets.

Seems like a senseless barrier to entry from a "cost of acquisition" perspective, especially since the FC point system is so well balanced...it would really lend itself to tourney play which would be supported by this packaging approach.

A competing "naval game", The Uncharted Seas is gaining popularity and one can purchase pre-packaged, race-specific fleets of models. It would be nice if FC were so easy to get into.
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djdood
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2009 6:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, the upside to the existing FedCom model is you get the ships you need to play the game with the mix it has.

The other approach would leave you with the fleet you want, but then have nothing to fight it against (and looking for an opponent who happens to have a fleet too, preferably one different than yours). FedCom seems built to be playable out of the box (just find a warm body willing to get run through the rules and you are off and playing); the boosters just stay true to that form.

I'll agree, it has its downside in cost and redundancy, but everything in business is a balance.

For me it worked out.

I have friends willing to play, but not willing to buy the game (boosters, etc.). Because I had a diverse set of empires/ship cards, they each get to build interesting fleets and we're playing every week. If I only had the Feds I'm mostly interested in, and then had to convince them to go buy the components for Klingons , Romulans, etc., we would probably still be playing things like Munchkin.

Eventually, they both bought their own minis but we're mostly still using my collection of ship cards, map boards, and charts.
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Scoutdad
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2009 6:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Major: If I recall SVC's original comments made during development correctly:
The boosters were designed they way they are for a specific purpose...
If you purchase Klingon Boder and then add in Boosters 1, 2, and 3 - you then have a ship card for every copy of every counter on the FC:KB counter cheet.
Same thing with KA and Boosters 4, 5, and 6 - and so on.

I know that there are several people who'd like to see race specific boosters, but the contents of the Border / Attack packs and associated Boosters are also designed around the print runs for the laminated cards. With ADB's p-o-d set-up, rule books are the easy part - the hard part (read as expensive) is the ship cards. They must be printed in bulk nad the page lay-out is designed to compliment the contents of the Border/Attack packs and Boosters. While it might be possible to sell a few individual cards, if you sold a pack of just Federation Cruisers... soon there wouldn't be enough to package the Boosters. Crying or Very sad

As for the miniatures - the Squadron / Border Boxes are set-up the same way. If you purchase Border Box #1 and Squadron boxes 1, 2, and 3 - you have one miniature for every counter in the FC:KB boxed set.
Same with FC:KA and Border Box #2 and Squadron Boxes 4, 5, and 6... and so one.

Now, if you want race specific miniatures - go to the StarLine 2400 Minatures section of the webstore.
Each Empire has a separate section and in each Empire's section you will find links to one (or sometimes more) Fleet Boxes containing a 5 or 6 ship mixture of that Empires ships.
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Scoutdad
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2009 6:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

djdood wrote:

The other approach would leave you with the fleet you want, but then have nothing to fight it against (and looking for an opponent who happens to have a fleet too, preferably one different than yours).

Then there's the "Third Way"
[Federation trademark applied for - usage of this comment made under Federation Unified Judicial Code (FUJC - Section 357, Part 14, Chapter 179.4) Violators will be punished to the full extent of the Judicial Code.]
Buy an entire fleet for every Empire. Then you've covered no matter what happens or who wants to play.
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MajerBlundor
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2009 8:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

djdood wrote:
Well, the upside to the existing FedCom model is you get the ships you need to play the game with the mix it has.

The other approach would leave you with the fleet you want, but then have nothing to fight it against (and looking for an opponent who happens to have a fleet too, preferably one different than yours). FedCom seems built to be playable out of the box...


I can see including a variety of ships as in the current model (eg Klingon border and Romulan border.) That way you still get to play "out of the box". That's a good idea worth keeping as an intro to FC and a good way to figure out which fleet one might prefer.

But when it comes to building a complete fleet the current model isn't customer-centric. Yes, one can build multiple, complete fleets with the current model (just did it myself!) Smile You just can't do it in a flexible based on your unique interests (I was perfectly happy purchasing Feds, Klingons, Romulans, Kzinti, Gorn, and Orion...and even Tholians as my son is veyr interested in them...others may not want to collect multiple fleets just to get their complete favorite fleet.)

Other games do extremely well without forcing players to purchase troops they don't want when collecting an army (40K, FoW, Warmachine, Uncharted Seas, etc).

As for finding opponents, maybe it's a chicken-and-the-egg thing. With the current model to build complete fleets requires a significant investment. Maybe more players would take the plunge if they could collect their favorite fleet without having to buy others too?

Quote:
I have friends willing to play, but not willing to buy the game (boosters, etc.)


I don't think race-specific fleet packs would prevent you from providing what you currently do. In fact, you could collect races in order based on the group's interest. For example, we play AT-43 and those of us who collect it focus on the troops our group prefers (not everyone in the group buys the troopsjust a few of us).

Tim
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Steve Cole
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2009 8:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that marketing (through stores) simple empire packs might be very bad. It would mean overlapping and non-compatible packages. Somebody who (for lack of education) bought some of each would find himself screwed because no matter what he does now, he has expenses and he has extra ships and he has redundant ships.

Now, without going and counting what ships even exist, it would frankly not be difficult at all to offer some range of single-empire packs by mail order only (or by special order through a store that was told specifically to only do so if they have a customer who wants it, do not stock them!!!). I mean, Mike just has to pull existing cards and put them in a bag, and pull existing ships and put them into a box. You would have to figure out your own counters. We are absolutely NOT going to print new countersheets to match these. We'd NEVER sell enough to make the print runs work. Someday in the future when we figure out "small run die cutting" (if we ever do) that may change, but I'd base your plans on that never happening. (If somebody wants to go into the business of buying counters from us and reselling them in single-empire packs, knock yourself out, we'll set you up on the website to advertise your service.)

Let me count....
KB: Fed DN, BCG, CC, CA, CA, CL, CL, CL, FF, FF, FF
KA: Fed BCJ, POL, POL, POL, CF
RB: Fed DNF, BCF, NCC, NCA, NCA, DW, DW, DW, NCL, NCL, NCL
RA: Fed CS, CS, CS, FFB, FFB, FFB, NCF
TA: No Feds
BA: Fed BB, BB, DNL, DNH
DK: no Feds
OA: No Feds
HA: No Feds

Let's see. That adds up to 38 cards (count as 40 due to the battleships) which would be about $50. It's also 38 miniatures which might be about $150 (Just guessing a convenient round number).

Anybody wants that, let me know.

If anybody wants to do a count on the other empires, knock yourself out.
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MajerBlundor
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2009 8:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steve Cole wrote:

KB: Fed DN, BCG, CC, CA, CA, CL, CL, CL, FF, FF, FF
.


That's not the mix of ships I received in Klingon Border. After buying KB, KA, RB, RA, and OA I still only had 1 copy of each ship. Is there another ship card mix for KB?

Once I bought 15 boosters (3 per border/attack set) I had complete 3-ship squadrons for frigates, light cruisers etc. (I don't recall which boosters were required to reach that level since I opened them all at the same time to sort everything.)

As for counters, that is indeed a huge issue!
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djdood
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2009 9:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Blundor - You answered your own question. SVC was including each product's associated boosters in it's final-tally. Boosters are a good thing; they keep the price point on the entry product down and then allow metered expansion-on-desire.

If I hadn't already built my collection up the way I did (which was to progressively buy everything and duplicates of certain boosters), I'd have been interested in the idea being proposed. The ship sailed a while back for me though.
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MajerBlundor
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2009 9:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

djdood wrote:
Blundor - You answered your own question. SVC was including each product's associated boosters in it's final-tally. Boosters are a good thing; they keep the price point on the entry product down and then allow metered expansion-on-desire.


But that "metered expansion" required me to buy many non-Federation ships to get those complete squadrons. Ok by me, but certainly far more costly if one is interested only in a complete fleet or two.
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djdood
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2009 9:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yup, but SVC detailed why it is the way it is. It misses perfectly serving the chunk of the market you are speaking for, but seems to be working for another (presumably pretty big) chunk. Can't please all of the people all of the time.

It looks like SVC is listening though, since he made a counter-pitch to try and fill that niche for you.
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MajerBlundor
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2009 9:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

djdood wrote:

It looks like SVC is listening though, since he made a counter-pitch to try and fill that niche for you.


Me! I'm sold already! Very Happy

I think the biggest sticking point is the counter issue which Steve identified. Then again, all those other games manage to sell rules without the pieces being included (miniatures, counters, etc.) For example, the Full Thrust rules are now free for download to push sales of the miniatures.

The ADB miniatures are just as nice and the FC rules are better than Full Thrust. So, setting aside the counters issue, might not ADB be viable with sales of rules, ship cards, and miniatures alone, especially if specifically packaged as "competitive fleets"?
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Wolverin61
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2009 10:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can build a pretty decent fleet (or certainly fill one out) from the Communiques. Sure, you have to print them out and laminate them (or just use sheet protectors like we did for the SSDs in SFB for years), but you can't beat the availability and price.
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djdood
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2009 10:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

True that. There's also some fun toys that are only in Communique.
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MajerBlundor
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 25, 2009 1:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

djdood wrote:
True that. There's also some fun toys that are only in Communique.


A good example is the Klingon F5W. I don't know the origins of the ship but thumbing through my Klingon ship card book I noticed that at 56 pts (fleet scale) it fills a hole between lighter frigates and the D5/D6. I don't think it's available in ready-made form.
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Steve Cole
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 25, 2009 4:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The F5W will be in Hydran Attack in about 9 weeks.
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