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Some 'era' ramblings...
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mjwest
Commodore


Joined: 08 Oct 2006
Posts: 3496
Location: Dallas, Texas

PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 10:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MajerBlundor wrote:
Bolo_MK_XL wrote:

FC is the non-historical version of SFB


Hmmm...then I'm REALLY confused by the just released Briefing #2: The Middle Years.

Based on the title I assumed it was a collection of ships from a specific SFU "historical" period.

Uh, no. In fact, the ships in Briefing #2 are not perfectly "historical" because of some of the DNEs and all of the Romulans.

Put as simply as possible, Briefing #2 just provides a window into another era (or setting) in the SFU. It is there to provide a chance to provide a different "feel" to the existing game by taking familiar ships and presenting them in a different way.

But it is a different setting. To play in the Middle Years, you can use the ships listed in Briefing #2. To play in the Main Era, then you don't use the ships listed in Briefing #2, and just use the ship cards you have. Really, I don't know how to describe it any more simply than that.

If Briefing #2 turns out to be a mechanism for the introduction of YIS dates, then the product has failed and should never have been introduced.
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MajerBlundor
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Joined: 03 Apr 2009
Posts: 123

PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 12:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

B2 may not specifically introduce detailed YIS dates but it is absolutely, positively introducing the concept of ship availability being segmented into broad periods, even if it only applies to B2.

Again, I don't think that's a bad thing and is a nice compromise between "anything goes" and hyper-specific dates which can be more complicated.

For example, Advanced Squad Leader includes hyper-specific theater and availability dates for various weapons and vehicles. Great reference info and grognards love it, but it's too much detail for the casual gamer.

Flames of War uses three broad periods to define troop availability and in some cases vehicles straddle 2 or even 3 periods (early, middle, late). This a perfect compromise as you won't see Tiger IIs fielded in an early-war fight but you don't have to worry about whether a specific vehicle was first fielded in August or July of 1944.

FC already implies an evolutionary time line with respect to ship development. For example, in the Fed fleet there are "Basic" and "New" or "War" versions of many ships.
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MajerBlundor
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Joined: 03 Apr 2009
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 1:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Scoutdad wrote:
But there you're misunderstanding the BoM concept.

Borders of Madness is not designed to add a layer of complexity to Fed Comm...
It's designed to add a layer of simplicity to Star Fleet Battles.

The premise of BoM is to allow veteran SFB players to integrate some of Fed Comm's concepts into their games.

Want to fight a Starbase Assault using fleet scale units... then those units (which are already available) can be used, along with BoM rules for EW, fighters, carriers, maulers, etc.


I'm pretty sure it's an expansion for FC and not SFB. In other words it adds rules to FC and does not subtract rules from SFB.

Scoutdad wrote:
Now, will some players use BoM to add their favorite rules to their FC games, undoubtedly! But since thye are not now (and never will be) a part of Federation Commander - there should be no dissention about what rules do we use when playing Fedration Commander at conventions and similar events.


How will this be enforced? When purchasing ADB will there be a contract stating that only SFB players moving to FC will be allowed to use the rules? That BoM can never be used at a convention or tourney? What's the sanction or penalty if a BoM owner uses the rules at such an event?

At what point is an SFB player considered an FC player and no longer allowed to use BoM as part of his FC games?

Very Happy

I'm kidding of course (internet forums make it tough to convey humor, so no offense intended!!!)) and my questions are nonsense. But they're nonsense because it's nonsensical to believe that BoM will only be used as "intended".

In fact, based on the forum discussion I see a lot more FC players interested in BoM than SFB players (and there are many who appear to play both). So the discussion on BoM seems to driven primarily by FC players seeking SFB's greater variety in technology/weapons rather than SFB players seeking a simpler game.

That would make more sense too from a profile perspective. A current/active SFB player is probably going to be a hardcore Grognard wargamer. He not only tolerates detail and complexity he demands it as necessary for an "authentic" gaming experience. FC's simplifications are likely viewed as an untenable compromise. For this reason BoM may peel off some SFB players on the edges or attract folks who dropped SFB as too complex.

But the reality is that BoM will be viewed as part of the FC game system and there are no mechanisms to preclude gamers from making it core to their FC experience (but I have a brother in Chicago who could work as Steve's BoM "hitman" to stop players from using BoM in unintended ways) Very Happy

In that way BoM will likely further segment the SFB/FC community into three groups:

Group 1: SFB Purists
Group 2: FC Purists
Group 3: SFB/BoM/FC Hybrid-ists (eg many forum members!)

On the upside Group 3 might attract new players to the SFU who want the simpler FC experience with more tech variety. On the down side this state of affairs prevents FC as serving as a lingua franca of space ship gaming as it divides its own community into very different groups.

From what I've observed Briefing 2 and BoM appear to be lessons in the "law of unintended consequences". Briefing 2 clearly and explicitly introduces the concept of period-specific ships to the FC game system.

And BoM clearly and explicitly introduces more complex systems/technologies to the FC game system from the SFB system.

Having managed large scale technology development projects this is the epitome of "scope creep". One starts with a core concept or objective and then over time item after item gets bolted onto that core (managing NASA engineers was HARD!). Very Happy

Engineer/designer intentions matter not one iota in such situations. Only the hard results count and the results don't happen until those creations are released into the wild marketplace. We saw this with Squad Leader, Starfire, and Star Fleet Battles so it's perfectly understandable from a gaming perspective that it's happening to FC.
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