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FOUR QUESTIONS FOR OUR CUSTOMERS
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Scoutdad
Commodore


Joined: 09 Oct 2006
Posts: 4454
Location: Middle Tennessee

PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2007 9:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The biggest problem is that those "sucessful", over-simplified games are most often more flash then substance.

Take Heroclix for example:
I have played the game, in fact - I even purchased several boosters when it first came out. The game is indeed fun - and simple. But (and this is the fault of WizKids - not the gaming community). In order to fuel the money hungry machine that is WizKids, new figured are released by hte score on a regular basis, much like SFB and the ever expanding catalog of SSD's. But unlike SFB, when new 'Clix are released - WizKids removes or invalidates the older figures; thereby insuring an ever expanding income.

Another "Flash" game - Pirates of the (insert expansion name here). The premise is neat, and the pop-apart/piece-together pirate ships are a nice touch. But beyond the occasional demo at a game store or convention - has anyone every purchased this game and do they still play it?

Race Day: Was really big on Saturdays at the FLGS for 3 or 4 months, but now is discontinued.

WH40K - Games Workshop has simplified this game to the point where every 10 year old with an allowance plays it, albeit, not well. Most of them field just a few high quality pieces and a bit of fodder and call that a balanced army - much like fielding a fleet of 10 Battleships, 7 Dreadnoughts, and a couple of Frigates to fill in the points needed to match your opponents.

Personally, and this is just my opinion (YMMV) - I don't think that a simplified version of Federation Commander (FC-Lite) would be worth it. It might sell big for the first few months, but the glimmer would fade (probably rather quickly) as the new-comers to the SFU were distracted bythe next "simplified" game to come along.

I'll take the long-standing favorites SFb and F&E along with thier new littlke brother, Federation Commander any day of the week.
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TJolley
Lieutenant Commander


Joined: 25 Oct 2006
Posts: 284

PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2007 9:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

(Caveat: I think Fed Com is good as it is and very simple - but I cut my teeth on SFB and ASL..these are just my observations over the last 25 years)

What I have observed happening is that as time goes on, games are getting simpler and simpler overall, as people have more options for their entertainment time, and they have less time to spend. On the flip side, the game components are getting of higher and higher quality and require little if any time to finish and use.

The father of a friend of mine handed my friend $5,000 to go buy him Warhammer minis and games..like all of them (well, not all..it is Games Workshop..and it was 'only' $5,000 Smile ) However when he learned that the minis were unassembled and unpainted he said, "never mind" and took his cash back.

More and more people who would like to play board or table games have more cash than time. The will drop serious cash for a quick, simple game that looks really cool, but won't spend a dime on a system that requires any assembly of minis or painting or is 'too hard'.

I think that the next iteration of the SFU universe, years or so down the road, may need to go 'simpler and prettier' to capture more of a shrinking pool of players (ie pre-painted finished minis, more abstract gameplay)

But that may just be me
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CmdrKiley
Lieutenant JG


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

PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2007 2:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think marketing the starship models to game systems other than SFB/FC is a good idea. I play Starmada as well as B5 ACTA. Starmada, being a generic customizable game, already has some Trek mods out there.

One idea I was thinking about would be making official SFB ship stats for Starmada. This way there's a common set of ship stats everyone can reference. I had bought some Cold Navy ships, very nice models BTW, for use with Starmada. With the ships, they provided laminated stat cards with ships stats for use with Starmada (and were talking about providing optional Full Thrust stats as well). All of us were very impressed with the cards coming with the ship models. Thought it was a nice touch and they proved to be very helpful with the game. Federation Commander has some slick looking stat cards, use the same format but provide stats for Starmada. Then package them in booster packs like for FC. Sell these these to the Starmada crowd. Probably even work with Majestic 12 Games, they have been known to work together with mini companies like Brigade Models, in marketing them. Also you could kick off a promotion by providing a stat card with each ship purchase for a limited time.

Now since the Starmada stats are pretty simple, you could use the other side to promote Federation Commander by providing the Fleet Scale FC stats and a URL link to the FC quick start rules.

This way, the Starmada crowd, who may have or now has just bought a bunch of SFB ship models, and may want to try something more in-depth, would already have some Fleet Scale stat cards and quick start rules on hand to discover how easy FC is.
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Steve Cole
Site Admin


Joined: 11 Oct 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2007 8:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I could live with publishing simpler and prettier.

Maybe something with a plastic credit card punchout (maybe just a flat ship picture, not 3d?) and a deck of cards or a stack of counters to reflect what weapons your ships and what damage it has taken.
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Mike
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Joined: 07 May 2007
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Location: South Carolina

PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2007 11:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

IMO, speeding things up would be the best way of getting more people interested in playing and the biggest "slow-down" of the game is damage allocation (but it's faster than it is in SFB!).

Perhaps some sort of hybridization of the Federation Commander damage allocation with the system used in the SFB Cadet Training Manual. Hits could be boiled down to very basic categories such as Power, Weapon, and System (which would include everything that is not power or weapon such as transporter, tractors, hull, etc.).

In Federation Commander, there is no difference between power generated by impulse, warp, or reactors, so it wouldn't make any difference which boxes were marked as damaged.

Weapons are generally categorized as either beam weapons, such as phasers, or as heavy weapons, such as photons or disruptors. Drone launchers could be put in the heavy weapon category as well. A simple track on a ship layout could direct the player taking damage as to which weapon to mark off. Or, the two types of weapons could be separated into two distinct categories instead of simply "Weapon."

System hits would require a sequenced track to guide players as damage is taken.

Rules could be categorized into subsets with more advanced rules being added in each additional subset. For example, a beginning player would use Rule Subset #1 that would include just basic rules (no overloads, no evasive maneuvering, no high energy turns, etc.). Each higher Rule Subset would incorporate more advanced rules. One additional advantage to this approach would be that a particular Rule Subset would have to be agreed upon when a scenario is played. Everyone involved would know which rules were being used and which ones were not.

Just some ideas I wanted to get out there for comment.
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junior
Captain


Joined: 08 May 2007
Posts: 803

PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2007 12:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In my games, I think people spend the most time on movement (we also have a house rule that at the start of the game we ignore the "move by sub-pulses" rule until either the ships get close enough to make people nervous, or someone decides that they're going to take a shot). Have ships move an entire impulse worth of movement at once, with players taking turns moving one ship each in fleet battles.

Of course, this ends up giving a huge advantage in a duel situation to whichever ship moves last. So it's not really practical under the current rules.
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Mike
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2007 12:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I almost forgot...a fourth basic category would be control systems (bridge, emergency bridge, auxilliary control).
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Mike
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Location: South Carolina

PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2007 1:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When our group used to play Star Fleet Battles, we made things go faster by invoking four mega-impulses of 8 regular impulses each. We always played fleet actions with each player controlling one ship. The side that finished all their energy allocations first had the initiative for that turn and they moved last in each mega-impulse.

We handled acceleration and deceleration by having each player divide their total speed for the turn by four. That became their target speed. They could move one hex faster or slower than their target speed during each mega-impulse, but they had to make sure they finished the turn moving the exact number of hexes or they received five random internal hits. There was no energy cost for going one hex faster or slower during a mega-impulse.

With the impulses of Federation Commander, movement is much easier. When I first went through the rules about how to accelerate or decelerate, I was a little surprised that deceleration would cost energy, but it did make sense to have acceleration cost something. For a cruiser to go 8 hexes during a turn it costs 8 energy points. For a cruiser to go 6 hexes during a turn it costs 10 energy points. ?????
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terryoc
Captain


Joined: 07 Oct 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2007 6:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For a cruiser to go 6 hexes costs 6 energy. Base speed 0, accelerate once in 6 out of 8 impulses.

Decelerating costs energy for the privelege of not moving when you don't want to, which can be really handy to set up a shot, or make tighter turns.
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Steve Cole
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2007 7:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Living in my own little universe, I don't know who does Starmada. If somebody wants to Email me (not post, not private post) their Email I'll drop them a note and see if we can have coffee at Origins. Somebody (us, them, fans) could write a starmada sourcebook which we could publish and pay them royalties on. Frankly, I like the idea.

Could the same be done for the other such games? Full Thrust? Renegade Legion? Battle Fleet Gothic? As they say in Monte Carlo, I'M GAME.
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Steve Cole
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2007 10:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I sent MJ12 a nice note about shaking hands at Origins so we at least know who each other is and then negotiating a deal later.
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CmdrKiley
Lieutenant JG


Joined: 12 Jun 2007
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Location: SE Michigan, USA

PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2007 5:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey that's great to hear!

A SFB version of Starmada would be cool. More minis for ADB to sell. A set of stats for Stamada players and a potential for people to cross over into FC. Sounds like it would be a win/win for everyone.

I'd have to say, I and the rest of my gaming group really found the laminated stat cards that Xtreme Hobbies provided with their Cold Navy ships helpful and a nice touch. We also like that feature with Federation Commander. So I think Starmada players would be really happy to have FC style laminated stat cards with Starmada stats on them.

A combined rulebook, similar to what MJ12 did with Brigade Models would be cool as well. Basically it was the Starmada X rulebook with a fleet list and stats for each ship right out of Brigade's catalog. I could easily see something like that as a SFB edition for Starmada X. Include a chapter with stats for all the major ships from all the factions, some fluff text, and a photo of a finished model or some nice artwork to identify the ship.
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Steve Cole
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2007 5:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If they show any interest (no reply yet) I'll need somebody who knows Starmada to write the book and do the stats. I wouldn't have a clue.[/i]
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CmdrKiley
Lieutenant JG


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2007 6:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll volunteer!
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CmdrKiley
Lieutenant JG


Joined: 12 Jun 2007
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Location: SE Michigan, USA

PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2007 6:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

However, I just remembered. there's one thing that always stuck with me on the Star Trek: Starmada conversions. There was no official rule for transporters. I think they had some unofficial rules on their forums at one time. Something like that is just pretty critical to the Star Trek / Star Fleet Universe.
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