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FOUR QUESTIONS FOR OUR CUSTOMERS
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TJolley
Lieutenant Commander


Joined: 25 Oct 2006
Posts: 284

PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2007 7:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Conversions to Starmada are not going to be 1-for-1. There will be differences in weapons and ship systems. Starmada is a much simpler game system and a lot of the 'stuff' is more generalized. "Starmada: Federation Comander X" (For lack of a better name and taking off on their current naming scheme) ships will be very bare-bones from a number of ship boxes when compared to the Fed Com ships they represent.

It's for those who want a more beer-and-pretzels game system. If you want more detail, then this is the vehicle you use to get them to move over to Fed Com. If Starmada can exactly model all aspects of Fed Com in a simpler game system, why bother with Fed Com? (Rhetorical question Smile)

The Starmada conversions would be two-fold:

1. Sell more minis and ship cards

2. Introduce folks otherwise unaware of the SFU, to the SFU, and open a gateway for them to move over to Fed Com if they desire more detailed gaming.
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CmdrKiley
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Joined: 12 Jun 2007
Posts: 38
Location: SE Michigan, USA

PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2007 8:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh agreed. When I first looked at some of the Star Trek lists, I thought they were a bit too simpliflied. I made a few on my own that I thought modeled the ship's performance better.

Transporters and guided weapons do not translate into Starmada X at all. These things would need exclusive rules or just omit them.

I myself never really persued playing Starmada Star Trek as I've found FC a bit more in depth. However, if one wanted to play a large fleet of ships very quickly with a bunch of novice players, Starmada Star Trek would be the way to go.

I think it's a great way to establish a gateway to FC and expand the marketabiltiy of SFB ship models.
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CmdrKiley
Lieutenant JG


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

PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2007 8:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another idea I'd like to post would be, a custom ship designer rules. Call it Starfleet Shipyards or something.

I'm sure there's a crowd that's totally against this, especially for competition play. However I'd say that these rules would only be used for friendly games and not competition of tournament events. Make it a seperate rulebook and specify in it that it's for the purpose of 'fun games' and experimentation.

I've noticed that when FC was announded on The Miniatures Page, there had been a lot of questions asking if there was a custom ship builder and noting disapointment when it was revealed there was none. Starmada, Full Thrust, Aerotech, Interceptor, Silent Death have these, as well as the old Fasa Star Trek Starship Combat Simulator (one thing I always liked about Fasa games was the custom designer rules for just about all their games). Also there had been requests on Mongoose's forums for a custom ship designer ruleset for A Call to Arms (in fact there were requests to make a Star Trek A Call to Arms rules set).

Several reasons I think people like custom ship designer rules.
1) Designing things can be fun. I'm an engineer now and had been designing ships and vehicles since I discovered Traveller and Striker back in High School. It's neat to work out mathmatical formulas and find efficient designs that way.

2) People would like to incorporate more canonical ships that are not in the SFU. Using these rules, they can make their own ship designs that sort of represent ships from TNG or the movies, things that are not officially covered for SFB. Already there's lots of unofficial fan created versions of the Galaxy Class and other ships that I'd guess are sort of made up without any set of design rules.

3) People can use these rules to introduce factions of their own from existing miniature lines. Also work as a gateway into the official SFU stuff. As people may already have a line of minis from another game system they may be more interested in jumping into a new game as their initial investment is not so high (they already have a fleet of models they can start playing with). Also these may be good for one-off encounters with a 'strange alien race never encountered before' type scenarios.
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junior
Captain


Joined: 08 May 2007
Posts: 803

PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2007 9:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CmdrKiley - there's a thread talking about the pros and cons of custom shipbuilding here - http://www.federationcommander.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=424&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0
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Paul B
Lieutenant SG


Joined: 27 Dec 2006
Posts: 189

PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2007 3:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As a question to those in the know, does Fed Commander have a formula for point values? or is it like Babylon 5 Wars, the "guess and test" method?
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terryoc
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Joined: 07 Oct 2006
Posts: 1378

PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2007 4:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that there is a Secret Formula, but it tends to be adjusted by playtest experience.
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junior
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Joined: 08 May 2007
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2007 7:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I suspect it's a little of both. I would hazard a guess that a formula is involved to give a rough ballpark. But testing of ship designs to compare them to other vessels is required in order to arrive at the precise figures.

The former is speculation on my part. The latter is something that's been mentioned before.
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Steve Cole
Site Admin


Joined: 11 Oct 2006
Posts: 3046

PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2007 10:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Heard back. They're interested, I'm interested, we're slowly swapping emails about product concepts, contracts, and technology. I'm going to be too busy until after origins to give it a lot of attention.
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mjwest
Commodore


Joined: 08 Oct 2006
Posts: 3463
Location: Dallas, Texas

PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2007 1:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paul B wrote:
As a question to those in the know, does Fed Commander have a formula for point values? or is it like Babylon 5 Wars, the "guess and test" method?


I believe there was once an actual formula, but that was a long, long time ago.

For as long as I have been involved with SFB, and now FC, the method used is TLAR, modified by playtest. (TLAR = That Looks About Right)

Do be aware that ADB has published hundreds of ships, and are pretty good at assigning point values.
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Scoutdad
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Joined: 09 Oct 2006
Posts: 4468
Location: Middle Tennessee

PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2007 2:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mjwest wrote:

Do be aware that ADB has published hundreds of ships, and are pretty good at assigning point values.


And, unlike other companies, who shall <cough>GW<cough> remain nameless, ADB actually listens to the input of their playtesters and will make changes to the TLAR values asigned when playtesting shows that it is necessary.
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GreenOsprey
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Joined: 15 Jun 2007
Posts: 8
Location: South Normanton, Derbyshire

PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2007 7:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's a difficult point to prove - bear in mind the scales of sales between GW and ADB, and the different business models they run - all companies will listen to their customers, but there comes a point when the product is fixed and it can't be changed due to costs. If printing a rule book for a few thousands at a time, or printing off a book for 100,000 and in colour, there needs to be a cut off time, where changes stop. And

I was involved in a GW playtest last year, and they listened to everything we said - and changes were made - some of them major changes. Some ideas were not picked up - and that may be becasue the idea was rubbish - but they did listen to our views.

Also, with ADB being a small, gaming team, who play their own games, and GW, with share holders and levels of management, the format to planning/running a game will be different.

On a positive side for GW, it's the only gaming company I know that has a full licenced bar in it's office HQ in Nottingham! Why can't my company do the same!

And their gaming hall is fantastic - like a medieval town square.

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Come and play Fed Comm at the KIA Gaming Club, based in Kirkby in Ashfield's Library.
Our club website is www.bruxx.net
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Scoutdad
Commodore


Joined: 09 Oct 2006
Posts: 4468
Location: Middle Tennessee

PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2007 7:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

GreenOsprey wrote:

I was involved in a GW playtest last year, and they listened to everything we said - and changes were made - some of them major changes. Some ideas were not picked up - and that may be becasue the idea was rubbish - but they did listen to our views.


I'm glad to here that. The last time I was involved in any plsytesting for GW - they seemed to have little care or concern for any of the comments made by our group. And it's not like we arbitarily made random comments, either. Everything we pointed out was carefully played multiple times and then played again with multiple alternates and a complete playtest reprot submitted indicating:
The problem as we saw it,
It's possible effects on the game
Several possible ways to resolve / correct it,
And their possible impacts on gameplay.

But it was all for nought, the game was released as originally written and then revised to correct several of the issues we pointed out and reissued a few months later requiring everyone to re-purchase the game.
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GreenOsprey
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Joined: 15 Jun 2007
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Location: South Normanton, Derbyshire

PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2007 12:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I suppose it all depends on what sort of person is managing the feed back for the company - some might take a interest on what the buying public may feel, and others may just pay lip service.

I've seen the same thing happen in many businesses - they pay for a test group, to try the product, and then ignore anything that comes back, as the product will go ahead, whatever gets said.

It was great that we were listened too, but other projects I've been involved with have been the total opposite.


I'm interested in the process that ADB has with regards to ideas and playtesting - as I've only been playing FC for the past year, I still have much to learn - completely confused with some of the discussions ongoing elsewhere (such as Spheres, and Battle wagons) - having only played 2-3 games of the 'big game'.

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Ian
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Come and play Fed Comm at the KIA Gaming Club, based in Kirkby in Ashfield's Library.
Our club website is www.bruxx.net
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Scoutdad
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Joined: 09 Oct 2006
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Location: Middle Tennessee

PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2007 3:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

GreenOsprey wrote:

I'm interested in the process that ADB has with regards to ideas and playtesting - as I've only been playing FC for the past year, I still have much to learn - completely confused with some of the discussions ongoing elsewhere (such as Spheres, and Battle wagons) - having only played 2-3 games of the 'big game'.


You will find that ADB is much more open to suggestions from it's fan base than any other company out there. SVC will most often return emails within an hour or so of receiving them (for the next 2-weeks, this may not be true, asthey are preparign for Origins) and about half the time, he's the one that answers the phone when you call ADB.

If you want to be a playtester, my suggestion would be:

Pick up a copy of Booster Zero. It has the rules for Lyran and Hydran weapons systems, as well as a ship card for each of them. Various other ship cards have been printed in recent Capt's Logs and maybe even some of the Communique's (I don't have my copies handy, so I can't verify that). Play a few games using those ships and systems and send in playtest reports to Steve Cole at ADB (there is a format for playtest reports on the www.starfleetgames.com website). Send in a few of those that are clear, concise, and helpful and SVC will begin sending you specific items to test (or at least that's how it was with us in Battlegroup Murfreesboro)
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CmdrKiley
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Joined: 12 Jun 2007
Posts: 38
Location: SE Michigan, USA

PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2007 3:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another aspect I liked about Federation Commander, is the grid-less miniature rules.

When I first got into SFB I also bought a lot of the ship models. However I found them impractical for the maps. Even using the Mega-Maps it seemed the ships would "fly off the table' too easily. Never liked the smaller scale minis, although they would fit the hex maps better they just didn't look as nice.

Federation Commander does a good job keeping ships together pretty well and makes things pretty friendly for using miniatures. I've played using the miniatures rules several times and I like them. The turn templates really help, however I think they'd be even more helpful as plastic templates. I bought Litko Aerosystems 60 degree fire arc templates to aid. Also they have these neat hidden movement markers (basically a square with a radar sweep icon etched in it) for use as Cloaked status markers.

I'd recommend getting with Litko or Gale Force 9 to make some licensed templates. Gale Force 9 has been making licensed templates for lots of games, B5 ACTA, Rezolution, Warmachine/Hordes, Battlefield Evolution, Starship Troopers, Heroclix, etc. Very nice looking stuff with very slick graphic. These templates look very sexy on the game table. Our ACTA games get lots of attention with the GF9 templates on the table. Litko makes markers that are a bit more price attractive. Not as attractive as GF9 but functional. Since they don't have any licensing, their stuff is pretty generic. Litko also makes some nice flight stands.

What I'd recommend would be a line of turing radius templates, Fire Arc templates, status chits (cloak, fade, drones, torpedos, etc.), and even some flight stands (with fire arcs etched in the bases). The nice thing with all the markers and flight stands is that they sort of give the impression of a "video game" or a starship commander's 'holo-table' where there's information superimposed with the starships on the tactical map. The nice flourescent colors really lend to this impression.

The stiff plastic turning templates would make things much easier to move one's ships along, as they won't flex and have a good thick edge to run the ship's base along.
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