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Federation Admiral
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storeylf
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Joined: 24 Jul 2008
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 8:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JonPerry wrote:
I don't understand why anyone wouldn't want a campaign book!


Campaigns are certainly excellent, but..

Come up with your own campaign in discussion with those you play, a campaign custom designed to fullfill the desires of your own group. Then spend the money saved on something else?

There are probably as many ideas as to what constitutes a good campaign as there are players. I'll wait to see (or hear) what this product is aiming at before deciding whether to buy.
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terryoc
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 10:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lee, the Victory By Any Means (VBAM) campaign system that FA is based on is highly modular and adaptable. You can either play it "straight out of the box" or customise it as much as you like. It's like a good RPG in that sense, especially when there is a moderator running things. I think that you will be favourably impressed with it.
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JonPerry
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 3:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Come up with your own campaign in discussion with those you play, a campaign custom designed to fullfill the desires of your own group. Then spend the money saved on something else?

If it is a quality product, I'll buy it and be happy with the money I've spent. Also, there is simply no way that I'll save money doing it myself versus buying it, considering how many hours it would take me to come up with a GOOD system. It wouldn't be worth my time to try to design my own space combat game. So I buy Fed Com. Same thing with campaign systems. Mostly.

Your mileage may vary.

Quote:
There are probably as many ideas as to what constitutes a good campaign as there are players

I'm sure you are right. I've been doing my homework. I've been reading what I could from the VBAM website, plus the dribblets on this forum. From what I've seen, I think that Fed Admiral will at least provide a solid framework that I can tweak and alter to suit my particular tastes as to what constitutes a good campaign. That's all I have ever asked of any campaign system for any of the periods I game in.

Again, your mileage may vary.
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 5:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sound likes we are probably at opposite ends of the spectrum to campaigns, like I said each player has his own idea of what a good campaign system is.

Some are happy with a series of linked missions. Some are happy with an all encompasing miltary/political/economic/exploration (4X) style campaign. And others fall in between.

Anything requiring a moderator is proabably out for us, there are only 3 of us regularly play and I expect we all want to play not moderate.

For me, it shouldn't need more than a few hours to come up with the basics of a decent campaign, of which a first playthrough will iron out most issues and let it evolve. But then I'm not after the politics and economics and strategic map and politics and research etc etc. First and foremost I want to play FC, at some point campaigns tend to become a game in their own right which you just happen to use FC (or whatever system) to play out some battles, at that point I lose interest.

I did a bit of digging on VBAM but not much. The best indicator I could find was :
Quote:
This game is similar in concept to the venerable Starfire system.


I used to really like starfire, I was less impressed with imperial starfire the campaign system. Far to detailed and micro managy for me, probably death by spreadsheet nowadays. There was an add-on pack called Akelda Dawn that I rather liked (mainly for the extra tech stuff and races), that had a simpler campaign system, but even then it was to much campaign and not enough starfire.

That said I will be interested to see what the FC campaign system turns out like, but based on experience of campaign systems for tactical games I'm wary of any such product. Hence my post in response to why any one wouldn't buy such a product.
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JonPerry
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 5:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When it comes out, I'm sure I won't be the only one posting details as to what we find inside, what it does and does not emphasize, the need for a GM, how much time to administer, etc.
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 29, 2011 12:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I hope you are not the only one 'reviewing' it - At the very least I enjoy reading players reviews.
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ericphillips
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Location: Los Angeles, CA, USA, Sol, Gould Belt, Orion Arm, Milky Way Galaxy, Local Group, Universe Beta

PostPosted: Sat Jan 29, 2011 12:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

From what i've seen of VBAMs systems they usually have a lot of options of how the campaign functions, called modules, which can scale it in both size and complexity. There are options for moderated and un-moderated games. I expect to see the same flexibility from Fed Admiral.

What is interesting is you can use the base VBAM Campaign System with FC or SFB now, but you need to work at it because you will have to adapt it to work.

Now, i am not a playtester, I have just been following the development on the VBAM forums.

From what I have seen of Fed Admiral is a couple of neat adjustments to make it more "star fleety." I know it it uses movement on a strategic hex map. VBAM uses a nodal connection system (kind of like warp jump points) to move, so the Fed Admiral is much more like F&E in that respect.

What does excite me is the flexible campaign levels. Conflicts can be "grand," which is a large war like the General War. "Regional" level gives a conflict in scope similar to a Klingon/Federation border war. The smallest is "local" and you command a small group of ships in a small area (like a sliver of the border, not the whole thing) while you have superiors that handle diplomacy and assign missions to you to execute with your fleet.

So, in essence, you have more than just fighitng, wiht mission to accomplish. Fun!

I wish I could see more. I wonder if the system will work with the F&E map?
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Targ
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Joined: 02 Nov 2006
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Location: York U.K.

PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 2:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lee Iíll be buying it, partly for the collection and even if we never use it in its entirety there will hopefully good ideas etc. We can combine with the system we are using now.






Just checked this post once a gain too much Rom Ale Embarassed Mr. Green
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schoon9953
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Location: Oakland, CA

PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 9:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have faith that the folks doing the creative work here are working as fast as they can to get great quality product out - I can wait till they're done.
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Steve Cole
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 5:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Having decided that I've been wrong to find excuses not to work on this project, I started serious work (again) yesterday.

The problems are multiple...

1. It's not a fun project for me. It's about like a trip to the dentist for a root canal. That's why I avoid it. Page layout is work, not fun. At least with an RPG it's fun to read. I cannot say reading campaign rules is fun. I can say it's not fun. If Jean was in Amarillo full time, she'd be doing this, not me. (Worst possible case scenario is the book doesn't get done before Jean reports for duty in July 2013, but then, she does it in a month.)

2. It's a LOT of pages with a lot of work per page. Just doing the page layout, with all of the usual file translation issues, formatting, charts, tables, illustrations, and so forth is bad enough, but the book is full of typos, bad grammar, bad punctuation, verb-subject disagreement, randomized capitalization, interchangeable terms for the same thing (race, empire, faction, power), and other issues. There were over 170 "things that had to be fixed" in the first six pages. Half of those were format things that were just the normal things that happen when people send in files that my computer hates. (My computer cannot use his style sheets, so the whole document has to be reduced to pure text and then the bold, large type, italics, and other stuff done manually. His computer and my computer do tabs differently, so every tab has to be done manually over.) Half of them were "English issues" and "Jean things." This makes the book tedious, a lot of hard work, and not just zero fun, but serious pain to do.

3. The "game design" is good, even brilliant. Nothing wrong with that. The worst design issue is that in a list of 100 defined terms, Jay forgot to define three terms. I've done worse.

The way we are proceeding is for me to take a few pages, do what needs done (with Jean's help), then send them to Jay. He then uses the "Lessons Learned" to do a few more pages that he sends to me. In theory, since every time I spot a problem he fixes that problem for the entire remainder of the document, we'll gain speed as we go along, but it's VERY early in the process and trying to do a mathematical prediction at this point is pretty useless. (Remember that in my 10+ hour day, I get at most 3-4 hours of "design time". It took all of three hours to do the first six pages. Assuming 240 pages, that means 39 more days, which will obviously exceed the "Cinderella point" where I have to "punt" Fed Admiral to "after Origins" and move on to work on other products. Hopefully, we'll get some acceleration, because at this point and given this math, the only way that FA will happen before Origins is for SFM:A to be delayed to after Origins. Let's see. My favorite project in five years versus the project I compared to a root canal. Let's hope it doesn't come to that decision.)

Oh, by the way, I thought I had spent two hours on chapter 1 way back when and then an hour fixing Jean's stuff. This topic says I spent six hours way back when, so 39 days is wrong, more like 69 days. Unless things speed up a LOT this won't happen before Origins. Jay thinks he can speed it up a lot. I am giving him a chance.)
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Steve Cole
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 4:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did chapter 2 (one page) and the first page of chapter 3 yesterday. I had to stop and ask jay some questions about how he wanted to format titles. I don't want to have to go back and do them over.

Jay is discovering some format tricks that are saving me work. He finally figured out the tabs, which saved a ton of work. The one page of chapter 2 took over an hour (plus a second hour spent showing Jay how to do chapter 3) and had (let me go count) 41 corrections that Jean and I had to make.
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Steve Cole
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2011 5:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am determined to finish Fed Admiral, now if I can, this fall if I have to. (We're up to page 20 and I'm waiting on Jay to send the file for 3.5 and 3.6). There are a lot of Jean issues and English issues, but those are mostly a matter of fixing them on the run in the current file and telling Jay to be sure they're fixed in all future files. (In theory, he sends me 4 new pages per day, learning the lessons of previous days as to what needs to be fixed or reformatted). The capitalization issue is one of hammering it through, but is mostly a matter of deciding if this or that gets capped and running a search/replace. There are cases where two interchangeable terms are used when one should be standard (e.g. Maintenance Cost vs Maintenance Expense) but gosh, that never happens in SFB, now does it? There are some format things (we want a standard way of doing cross references, not multiple formats). Again, those are things we discover as we hit them and Jay fixes them in all future files. The tech block thing is all wrong (under it, if you have an FF and a DD, you have to research an FFS and DDS separately), but the fix replaces 3 or 4 paragraphs (the math-EP-d100 system is fine, but what you do and do not have to research is quirky). Biggest issue is semantic, making sure that both "rigid historical" and "make up whatever you want" scenarios are covered in each instance. I don't like the intel rule but the only thing that has to be added is a sentence at the first saying it's ok to just ignore it if you don't like it. (It's a cute mathematical thing but has nothing to do with how real world intel works, and I spent 17 years of my life doing real world intel, so it just irks me that it's so so so "wrong". As a gamer, I think it's just a lot of work for no real point, but if you want an intel system, this one will do.)
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Jean
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2011 7:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just want to chime in and say that poor Jay is getting all the standardization we've created in three years all at once! It is hard on him, but he's truly learning quickly and I think this will be a great book and lots of fun.

SVC and I are also having to learn the game terminology as we go, so there is a learning curve there as well.

We all want it done right from the start, so we're being super careful. This is no reflection on Jay -- think of it as trying to blend Wii Tennis and Wii Bowling. Many of the things look similar and they sort of work the same, but there are differences that we have to accommodate on both ends and we don't know the differences until we find them!

As I explained to a gamer friend once, the problem in gaming comes about when the GM reads a rule one way and the player reads it a different way. The player plans actions based on his reading and the GM plans based on his reading. Only when things don't go as expected do the folks realize that there's an issue. Then they iron things out and life goes on. Smile
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Steve Cole
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2011 6:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I got onto page 27 yesterday (out of maybe 250). That's through rule 3.6, leaving some "work to be done" in earlier sections. Jay sent me 3.7 but I haven't had time to work on it yet today, but I do plan to. Jay is learning very rapidly how to fix things. Not perfect yet, but getting there, and there are still glitches where his rules don't match SFU (requiring a line or two or a paragraph or two of fixes). No idea of a publication date. This thing is much farther from publication than I thought it was, and I fear I'll run out of time. Already getting a LOT of pressure from the partners to set this aside or at least slow it down to 2-3 pages a day and move on to other projects. Given the math, doing this between now and Origins is going to cost us at least SFMA and very likely a second product from the published "Now thorugh origins" schedule.
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Steve Cole
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2011 9:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Three more pages (through 29). These three covered the supply system. It's VERY complex compared to F&E, an extraordinary amount of fuss and bother for something that (to my mind) the staff weenies take care of without bothering us command-grade combat officers. I know enough not to outrun my supplies, so why should I have to do all of this work? The system is seriously different from F&E, which concerns me. It also concerns me that the system Jay is coming up with is going to generation zillions of "new planets" not on the F&E map, and I am not sure that I want them in the gazetteer. I certainly have no time to vette them. There is also the point that a "marked on the map planet" in F&E generates more money than six blank hexes, each with 50 colony planets, and yet Jay's system is drawing supply from those newly named and generated colony planets. This leads to a mountain of concern. His system won't work without an entire book of new maps with zillions of new colony worlds, and I'm simply NOT going to make those maps and colony worlds an official part of the SFU knowledgebase.
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