Federation Commander Forum Index Federation Commander
A NEW fast paced board game of starship combat!
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

House rules
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Federation Commander Forum Index -> General Discussion
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
MajerBlundor
Lieutenant SG


Joined: 03 Apr 2009
Posts: 123

PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 9:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We're FC heretics and have made a number of mods to make the game play faster and cleaner. We felt there were way too many artifacts from SFB that slowed things down without significant benefit. These mods include:

1. tweaked turn sequence

2. eliminated fractional energy

3. changed number of impulses

4. eliminated sub-pulses

5. new damage allocation table

6. probability-based damage control

7. simplified/cleaned up cloaking rules

8. simplified/cleaned up movement rules

MB
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
junior
Captain


Joined: 08 May 2007
Posts: 803

PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 9:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Scoutdad wrote:
junior wrote:
There's a rule in Starfleet Battles called 'Narrow Salvoes' that allows weapons of the same type to be fired using just one die roll....

But more often than not, it's used to fire at ascatterpack at long range. Hopefully, you'll hit and destroy it - but at least you don't hit with just enough damage to cause premature release...


And since scatterpacks, premature release, and proximity-fused photons (not the only weapon to use this rule - but one often mentioned when talking about anti-scatterpack tactics and narrow salvoes) don't exist in FedCom, there's no reason to add in Narrow Salvoes, either imo.

Quote:
eliminated fractional energy


So phaser-3s now cost you one full point of power to fire? And accelerating or decelerating costs you a full point of power even if the movement cost of your ship is only 1/4?

*confused*
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Scoutdad
Commodore


Joined: 09 Oct 2006
Posts: 4463
Location: Middle Tennessee

PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 9:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MajerBlundor wrote:
We're FC heretics and have made a number of mods to make the game play faster and cleaner. We felt there were way too many artifacts from SFB that slowed things down without significant benefit. These mods include:

1. tweaked turn sequence

2. eliminated fractional energy

3. changed number of impulses

4. eliminated sub-pulses

5. new damage allocation table

6. probability-based damage control

7. simplified/cleaned up cloaking rules

8. simplified/cleaned up movement rules

MB


Confused Don't take this the wrong way... but with all of those changes, is it even Federation Commander any longer?
_________________


Scoutdad's minis photos here!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Yahoo Messenger
Kahuna
Lieutenant SG


Joined: 23 Jul 2009
Posts: 139
Location: Spokane, WA

PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 10:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Heh, as Majer admits, they are FC Heretics!

I've actually tightened up some impulses so there were not sub-pulses either. Particularly when everyone gets separated by a decent bit of space and no one is counting on each hex. Anything to speed it up. As for no fractional energy allocation for weapons, I can see it if you're at the end of the turn with a few points to spare and you're firing that last ph3, but otherwise I try to squeek out every point of power I can from my ships.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
MajerBlundor
Lieutenant SG


Joined: 03 Apr 2009
Posts: 123

PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 1:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

junior wrote:


Quote:
eliminated fractional energy


So phaser-3s now cost you one full point of power to fire? And accelerating or decelerating costs you a full point of power even if the movement cost of your ship is only 1/4?

*confused*


Yes, Phaser 3s now cost 1 point instead of 1/2 point. I have much bigger in life things to worry about! Very Happy Simply not worth getting wrapped around the axle.

As for movement, there's no change as to movement cost, only in how one pays for it and executes. So the underlying cost structure remains the same as standard FC. Here's how it works:

As in official FC at the start of the turn you set your baseline speed as before. But now you set it to baseline speed 1, 2, 3, or 4. The cost is EXACTLY the same as paying for a baseline speed 8, 16, 24, or 32 hexes respectively in standard FC (ie no fractions) and your turn mode is based on these speed categories (we added the fourth speed 4/32 category).

When you actually move your ship it can move 1 less than actual speed. So:

Speed 1 = 0 or 1 hex per impulse
Speed 2 = 1 or 2 hexes per impulse
Speed 3 = 2 or 3 hexes per impulse
Speed 4 = 3 or 4 hexes per impulse

Note: no sub-pulses!!! Slower ships typically have a maneuver/turning advantage but must move first. Ships moving faster get to move second but typically have a turning disadvantage. In our experience it all balances out and is much faster and more entertainting than m-o-v-i-n-g--h-e-x--b-y--h-e-x--u-s-i-n-g--s-u-b-p-u-l-s-e-s--s-n-o-r-e--- Very Happy

At the start of an impulse (we now have 6 impulses per turn instead of 8 ) you can adjust your baseline speed +/-1 by paying the cost for baseline speed 1 (ie same as baseline speed 8 ). Your turn mode is now based on this new baseline speed.

Other special maneuvers are costed out in the same manner.

So, just like FC you allocate energy to certain functions at the start of the turn; go through a series of impulses in which everyone can adjust baseline speed; moves; and then shoots; and then do end of turn stuff. The only difference is you don't track fractional energy and the game is both faster and more dynamic.

I understand the purpose of the original subpulse system in trying to partially replicate the SFB nearly-simultaneous-execution model.

But in our experience we'd rather surrender some of that virtual simultaneous hex-by-hex execution in favor of faster play. And in our experience it's simply not that big of deal. In fact, I envy gamers who have the time and patience to worry about such tiny details! I simply don't have that bandwidth to devote to games.

But having played SFB, official FC, and our mod, I can honestly say the key difference is speed of play and "fun factor". We get to time attacks, pull off clever maneuvers, and employ cool tactics with the mod but do so with far less overhead.

MB
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
MajerBlundor
Lieutenant SG


Joined: 03 Apr 2009
Posts: 123

PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 1:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I've actually tightened up some impulses so there were not sub-pulses either. Particularly when everyone gets separated by a decent bit of space and no one is counting on each hex. Anything to speed it up.


That was our point of departure for modifying the movement system. Our weekly gaming group played the official way at first. But we need to finish a game by 11:00 PM so we working folks can get to bed at a reasonable hour. Sub-pulses made that impossible (we game ~8:00 PM to 11:00 PM).
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
JoMc67
Lieutenant JG


Joined: 29 Jul 2009
Posts: 27

PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 5:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I also agree with MB and his comparison between the two game systems in that FC is in many ways becoming SFB again.
I have recently joined a FC group who has also used some House Rules to clean up FC alittle.

MB,
I am going to PM you regarding your House Rules in depth so they can maybe be used in our games.
_________________
Thanx
Joe
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
junior
Captain


Joined: 08 May 2007
Posts: 803

PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 8:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Giving up fractional energy would be a deal breaker for me. It effectively removes the entire point of having phaser-3s (and horribly screws up Gatling Phasers). And the sub-pulse system is the heart of the game. Deceleration is a completely new addition to the game, and is quite possibly one of the single most useful abilities available to a starship. The ability to pay a fractional amount of energy and say, "I'm not moving this sub-pulse" is incredibly powerful when executed properly. And it doesn't appear in SFB.

Getting rid of sub-pulses effectively rips the heart out of the game and turns it into something else, imo.


By all means skip the sub-pulses on the way in when everyone's still 30 hexes away from each other. But up in close they're where the game is actually won or lost. Remove them and you're no longer playing FC.


Edit - and I should add that barring certain specific players (who are just plain sloooow...) in our local group, we rarely have trouble ending a game in an hour or two.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
MajerBlundor
Lieutenant SG


Joined: 03 Apr 2009
Posts: 123

PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 12:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
By all means skip the sub-pulses on the way in when everyone's still 30 hexes away from each other. But up in close they're where the game is actually won or lost. Remove them and you're no longer playing FC.


It was that thinking that led us to eliminating sub-pulses.

As for the close-range vs long range game other changes balance the elimination of sub-pulses while increasing the contrast between slower and faster ships.

1. our house rule for slips is that you may slip once per impulse, not every other impulse. This means that while faster ships move second they're also forced to move "straighter" compared to slower ships. Another benefit is that you don't need slip markers! Thus speed 1 ships can move more obliquely than speed 3 ships which makes more sense than the official rule.

2. yup, in official FC you can decel in a very (overly?) flexible way. Forcing ships to move a minimum distance based on speed also balances the elimination of sub-pulses. Going faster you move second but you also have fewer maneuver options with respect to slipping, turning, and where you end up. An entertaining trade-off!

The elimination of sub-pulses simply applies to the close range game what so many FC players already do at longer ranges due to playing time concerns. It's simply faster/easier to not use sub-pulses which are intended to create "near virtual" simultaneous movement but at great cost in overhead.

The other movement mods mitigate the impact of that change while also increasing the contrast between slower and faster ships: with our mod zooming along at speed 3 REALLY feels different from speed 1 from a maneuver perspective. At higher speeds you're committed to a line of attack while at slower speeds you have more options as to your vector. That makes more sense to us.

But you're right, that's NOT FC but that's ok in our little corner of the universe and why we made the mods. FC is a good game but falls between the stools of SFB and something more playable. FC and SFB remind me of that line from the "Godfather" series: "Every time I get out, they keep pulling me back in." Very Happy

I'm a geek and fully understand the attraction of something like sub-pulses from a geek perspective: we geeky wargame grognards perceive the higher granularity as being more "accurate" and it's certainly closer to SFB in that respect. But being closer to SFB is not attractive from a playability perspective! Very Happy

MB
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Hod K'el
Lieutenant Commander


Joined: 21 Aug 2008
Posts: 301
Location: Lafayette LA

PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 5:40 pm    Post subject: Concept Reply with quote

If that is what trips your trigger, I have no problems with it, especially since I am not playing against you or with you.

The only problem that I have ever had w/ SFB or FC is why 32 impulses? Why not 10? At 11, you are going faster than the speed of light, and Paramount cannot change the laws of physics in that phasers cannot fire at warp speed. Phasers are phased energy laser beams. Laser is light...if you are going faster than light and fire phasers, they are going to shoot your own ship apart!

But back to the bottom line...we (Battlegroup Acadiana) will stick to the game and hope we get BOM soon.
_________________
HoD K'el
IMV Black Dagger
-----------------
Life is not victory;
Death is not defeat!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
junior
Captain


Joined: 08 May 2007
Posts: 803

PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 5:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I'm a geek and fully understand the attraction of something like sub-pulses from a geek perspective: we geeky wargame grognards perceive the higher granularity as being more "accurate" and it's certainly closer to SFB in that respect. But being closer to SFB is not attractive from a playability perspective!


Obviously you don't actually agree with that, or you wouldn't be using ship charts from SFB, weapons from SFB, etc... The sub-pulse system which you decry as being "close" to SFB is actually one if the biggest differences between the two game systems (the other big difference being how the energy allocation is handled).

Why you find sub-pulses "unplayable" I don't know. The only reason that my group eliminates them at long range is because literally nothing is happening (it's too long of a distance to even shoot), and whether a ship slips a hex or two at 20 hexes away isn't going to change the tactical situation all that much. That's the "let's jump to the point at which things might actually start happening" phase of the game. But things change considerably at under 15 hexes, and the meat of the game is in tactically maneuvering against your opponent. That's why I state that doing what you've done rips the heart out of the game. The sub-pulse system greatly streamlines the game without removing one of the single most important parts of what actually makes SFB and FC fun games to play - the ability to surprise your opponent with a last second stunt during sub-pulse #4.

Quote:
The only problem that I have ever had w/ SFB or FC is why 32 impulses? Why not 10? At 11, you are going faster than the speed of light, and Paramount cannot change the laws of physics in that phasers cannot fire at warp speed. Phasers are phased energy laser beams. Laser is light...if you are going faster than light and fire phasers, they are going to shoot your own ship apart!


Actually, you're going just a little under the speed of light at speed 1 (Warp 2 is speed 8 and Warp 3 is speed 27 - the old Star Trek fluff was that Warp Factors were based on a given multiple of the speed of light cubed; so Warp 2 is 2x2x2xc). And the fact that phasers are "phased" is what provides the fluff excuse to allow the beams to travel at plus-c speeds. They're essentially modified to the point where they're not exactly light.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Hod K'el
Lieutenant Commander


Joined: 21 Aug 2008
Posts: 301
Location: Lafayette LA

PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 6:31 pm    Post subject: Reply Reply with quote

SFB fluff says that and I have read it. That being said, I do not just read and accept at face value. And no offence is meant by my statement to anyone. I like to keep my mind open; find it interesting, but not totally logical for gaming. Smile

Again, no offence, but your math is screwed. The good side of this is that I still understand the concept nonetheless. Cool

Also, the fluff of phased laser light is interesting since light in any form cannot go faster than light, and if it is not light, the only thing faster is warp energy and this will open up a whole new argument of relativity. Idea Hmmm, this could open up a whole new topic!

I mean..it took me over forty years before I completely understood the Theory of Relativity. Then I decided Einstein was a bloody genius!
_________________
HoD K'el
IMV Black Dagger
-----------------
Life is not victory;
Death is not defeat!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
djdood
Fleet Captain


Joined: 01 Feb 2007
Posts: 2922
Location: Seattle, WA

PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 7:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Phasers are not "phased light". They also have little to nothing to do with lasers or other EM-spectrum energy forms..

Phasers are "phased energy" with the type of energy not specified, nor is the mechanisms involved in phasing it (phasing it to what?) - This means it travels however fast the plot says it needed to and the SFU reflects what was on TV.

Any number of technobabble explanations could fill in the blanks (energy discharge phased into sub-space [where supra-light speed travel is possible], etc.). There is nothing inherently unbelievable in supra-light energy weapons in a milieu where massive starships are zipping around breaking ole' Einy's law every millisecond.
_________________
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
MajerBlundor
Lieutenant SG


Joined: 03 Apr 2009
Posts: 123

PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 10:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Obviously you don't actually agree with that, or you wouldn't be using ship charts from SFB, weapons from SFB, etc... The sub-pulse system which you decry as being "close" to SFB is actually one if the biggest differences between the two game systems (the other big difference being how the energy allocation is handled).


I don't use ship charts from SFB. Not sure where you got that from.

If you're referring to the fact that ADB migrated the SFB ships to FC without modifying them for FC's less complex model, then I would agree that we're all using SFB ship charts which carry over some unnecessary data from SFB (eg different types of power boxes...there's no difference between them in FC which only confuses matters...again "they keep pulling me back in...")

As for the sub-pulse system the only difference is the ratio of maximum potential hexes moved (32) to firing opportunities (32 in SFB, 8 in FC).

Quote:
Why you find sub-pulses "unplayable" I don't know. The only reason that my group eliminates them at long range is because literally nothing is happening (it's too long of a distance to even shoot), and whether a ship slips a hex or two at 20 hexes away isn't going to change the tactical situation all that much. That's the "let's jump to the point at which things might actually start happening" phase of the game.


Nice to see we agree the sub-pulse mechanic is unnecessary overhead for the approach part of the game. Must get confusing with some ships at long range and others nearly at point blank range! Very Happy

But I would disagree that nothing is happening. If you truly buy into the sub-pulse system then you really should execute on a sub-pulse basis even at range 16+ since each sub-pulse provides the opportunity to decelerate. By NOT playing the rule as written you're eliminating that part of the game (just like me!!!)

Quote:
But things change considerably at under 15 hexes, and the meat of the game is in tactically maneuvering against your opponent. That's why I state that doing what you've done rips the heart out of the game.


Not true. With sub-pulses players laboriously execute a tedious process in which each ship is: selected/deceleration decided upon/energy subtracted as needed/ship counter physically moved. They do this up to 4 times for EACH ship EACH impulse.

For example, if you have 6 ships moving at baseline 16 at ranges under 15 (since you too find the system too tedious to employ at longer ranges) then you have 12 cycles of ship counter movement to process: select ship/decide on deceleration/pay energy if needed/move ship (execute 12 times for a SINGLE impulse!!!)

But the end result is that at speed 16 each ship is moving 0, 1, or 2 hexes with the official FC sub-pulse system before getting a chance to fire.

In our mod each ship is moving 1 or 2 hexes but you touch each one only once (thus you only have 6 touches with our mod.)

Thus the mod plays at LEAST twice as fast as the official system (which you too ignore during the approach since it is tedious) and at typical combat speeds of 8 or 16 all ships have the option of closing/maneuvering very carefully at 1 hex per impulse (or 2 for speed 2/16 ships).

So in the mod you still get that interesting close range maneuver game. The difference is that if your ship moves first you need to figure out if a given enemy ship will move 1 or 2 hexes in the above example. If you're feeling cautious and need to keep the enemy in front of you move 1 hex. If you're at range 1 and want to try to get past him without him shooting you would move 2 to force him to overshoot (assuming he doesn't HET).

In ALL other cases (eg range 2+ or 0) there simply isn't that much difference in decision making/tactics in the example above between sub-pulses and no sub-pulses.

But I do agree that with sub-pulses you can do some interesting tricks but that's one problem I have with it. Ships moving at high speed are too flexible since they can slip like slower ships and decel to 0 in any given impulse and make that decision on a hex-by-hex basis. I really prefer the idea that if you open up the throttle you're committing to something.

With sub-pulses let's say I'm presented with a speed 24 ship at range 1. If my speed is 0 and neither accelerates he can use standard maneuvering/deceleration to stop dead in front of me. So much for anticipating enemy maneuvers! No need to do so since you can just decelerate in that situation for 3 hexes worth of energy.

With the mod, assuming neither accels/decels at the start of the impulse (which would cost a full 8 hexes worth of movement!) he's moving at least 2 hexes and up to 3 hexes at speed 3...in other words he'll overshoot. Foolish captain! Should have judged his closure rate better!

MB

PS Like I wrote we're heretics!!! But not heretics without reason. Smile

Every mod has been made with an eye towards preserving core FC concepts such as ship maneuvering while stripping out overhead that, in our opinion, doesn't had sufficient enjoyment to justify the processing cost.

With sub-pulses one processes physical counter movement and even energy expenditure multiple times for EACH ship within an impulse. At normal combat speeds the result isn't that different without sub-pulses except that the mod limits the maneuver options for higher speed ships, something that makes much more sense to us.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Mike
Captain


Joined: 07 May 2007
Posts: 1529
Location: South Carolina

PostPosted: Sat Aug 08, 2009 3:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MajerBlunder makes some very interesting points.

I got to thinking about different ways that the mechanics of FC are different from those of SFB and have been wondering why something simpler than sub-pulses was not included in FC to begin with.

There are enough differences between the two games to make them uniquely different from one another. If the goal of FC was to simplify and make things easier to do, then why not go further with the movement mechanics?

The damage resolution was changed pretty drastically. Some of the weapons systems have been changed so that the tactics to use them are definitely different between the two games (e.g. photon torpedoes at close range both in regard to whether they can fire and in feedback damage to the attacker). Energy allocation was also changed substantially and not just in allocation at the start of the turn vs. ongoing usage. Shields and life support no longer cost anything. The ability to reinforce shields with lots of energy is unavailable in FC.

All those things are major changes that were made to make FC what it is. Why not go ahead and simplify even further the movement system to make things really move rapidly?

Just some mental wanderings...

When our group has more than 3 people playing, we adopt a "move by impulse" technique. And, yes, there are times when firing opportunities are lost because of it, but I reason that using the official FC sub-pulse system does that on some level anyway (as compared to SFB).

Now that I've seen MajerBlunder's points, I'm sort of liking the idea of allowing only 1 sideslip per impulse, too. I think we'll use the idea of increasing or decreasing speed by 1 from the baseline during an impulse, but we will still require it to be paid for with the standard accel/decel cost. And we will continue to use fractional energy points. We already have a simpler DAC that gets rid of most of the alternate hits.

I remember reading a short article in an old Captain's Log that dealt with how to speed up SFB games. Some of the suggestions were just plain against the rules, but they were "encouraged" by Captain's Log. Obviously there was some reason for their consideration and publication at the time. Could a venue be opened for FC fans to submit ideas that would be seriously considered as "speed up" ideas. Of course, they wouldn't be allowed in officially sanctioned tournaments or anything like that. But when a small group is trying to attract new players, the newbies generally want to play a game that is fast moving and exciting. FC can be all of that, but moving those ships hex-by-hex does sometimes get tedious.
_________________
Mike

=====
"Sometimes our best is not enough. We must do what is required." -- Winston Churchill
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Federation Commander Forum Index -> General Discussion All times are GMT
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4  Next
Page 2 of 4

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group