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Sub-Light Battles

 
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How, if any way, would you like to see the Non-Tactical Warp era developed someday
As an SFB module (Module Q)
17%
 17%  [ 5 ]
As an FC module (with a different scale to standard FC)
13%
 13%  [ 4 ]
As a setting for Starmada (separate from Klingon Armada itself)
6%
 6%  [ 2 ]
As a game using a different system (Battlestations, Silent Death, etc)
3%
 3%  [ 1 ]
As the basis of a whole-cloth game mechanic, unrelated to other pre-existing systems
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
As something left undeveloped altogether
58%
 58%  [ 17 ]
Total Votes : 29

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Nerroth
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 2:45 am    Post subject: Sub-Light Battles Reply with quote

Hi.


While the published material so far for this era has only appeared in SFB (and, technically, PD) format thus far, I wanted to discuss this matter in an area where it could draw from other options, too.


In case anyone here has missed it, a page has been up for a while which includes a look at the sub-light (or rather, Non-Tactical Warp) era of starship combat.


This era is made manifest in the Alpha Octant in a number of smaller, less inter-related theatres of operation, in comparison to what one might see in later points in time.

In the 'west', the first wars fought between what would become the Four Powers take place in this era - with the Klingons (who started the era using Old King starship hulls!) and Lyrans as quick to fight each other as either were to take on the Kzintis or Hydrans. This dynamic would not be altered until near the end of the Non-Tactical Warp era, when the first battles involving the Carnivons took place.

In the 'centre' of the Octant, the would-be members of the Federation met in the decades leading up to the UFP's foundation, though not without at least some tensions. (While the Vulcans had been in space the longest, any expansion thay might have considered would have been hampered by the Old Kings having an outpost parked at Zeta Reticuli.) Later on, the still-growing Federation faced its first major test, when fighting the First Romulan War - a conflict that would see the Orions join the Federation (albeit on their own terms) and then set the course of UFP-RSE relations for more than a century.

Away from the Federation front, the Romulans would not be left sitting idle - being involved in a series of conflicts with the Gorns, who in turn would be placed under constant pressure by the fanatical Paravian marauders.

And in the eastern third of the Octant, the longest-running series of sub-light wars would take place among the Resource Worlds - where the five governments which would one day form the Inter-Stellar Concordium would clash for almost two centuries.

(Personally, this is the area I'd find most interesting. The area covered by the Resource Worlds is big enough to hold a lot of colonies to pick fights over, but small enough to allow for a scope which would be impractical to pursue in larger areas. Plus, with a period of time stretching from Y-175 to Y10, there's plenty of room to have a lot going on!)

In the midst of (most of) this, the Jindarians were busy doing their own thing - which has helped by the unassailable technological advantage they had at the time - while the Tholians were still en route from M81, and the Andromedans were still on their way to the Cloud, prior to reaching the Alpha Octant.

(Interestingly, both Omega and the Cloud saw the widespread adoption of tactical warp ships before Alpha did.)

Plus, most space monsters would have been death incarnate, to a sublight ship unfortunate enough to run into one.


For me, the concept of exploring the era of combat prior to the adoption of the Tactical Warp drive is an interesting one - though I might personally argue that using a different system altogether (like, say, Starmada, or even a whole-cloth system) could be a better option than trying to jury-rig SFB or FC into something suitable for this era.

Has anyone here had a look at the sublight data on the site?

Would anyone like to see more sublight ships go up - say, for the five pre-ISC governments, or for the Paravians, or maybe for the Hydrans and Lyrans? Or maybe even some kind of sublight space monster?

Alternatively, is there a pre-existing game system which you might consider to be a potentially better fit... or would you rather see a brand new system handle the era?


Indeed, there is more to the sublight era than ships. Would there be an interest in PD data which helped flesh out the time period? What about data for games which covered the kind of ground combat fought in the days before transporters, phasers* and Tactical Warp shuttlecraft?


I'm not under any illusion that there will be any sort of development on the sub-light front, in any game system, for quite some time.

Still, I wanted to see if there is any interest in seeing such a thing... someday.



*Actually, I wonder what might be in place for the Vulcans. Their ships had phasers and special sensors from an early age, but would that have translated into superior equipment for Vulcan marine or ground forces?
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Scoutdad
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 4:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gary wrote:
Still, I wanted to see if there is any interest in seeing such a thing... someday.

Gary, not to keep beating a dead horse or to completely discourage you in any fashion, but I have absolutely no interest in a sublight version of FC.

I think the current version is perfectly adequate for my needs. In fact, I would liken Sublight Fed Comm (SFC? SubFC?) to the 10X generation fan-boi SSDs for SFB that overpopulate the web.

In order to simulate the effect of 10 generations of X-tech the fanboys created "mega-weapons" These are essentially 10 weapons in one mount; i.e., a mega-phaser fires ten shots at the same target simultaneously (roll ten separate dice and each is a hit). Then, because of the increased damage, "mega-shields" were developed that each take ten points of damage to disable. Where does this extra power come from... "mega-batteries, of course. And so on... ad nauseum...

The end result is the same as taking the stock ships and increasing everything by a factor of ten. Where's the gain? The racial... err, imperial balance remains essentially the same. The only significant difference is that "munchkins" can now claim to fight 20,000 point battles using SFB.

SubFC would be same effect taken in the other direction. Just take everything and reduce it by a factor of ten... or five... or half...
Either way, there would be no major change to the game itself; I mean after all, if SubFC didn't retain a balance across the empires - who would play it?

For my time (as a playtester) and money (as an end-use consumer), I'd much rather see the game continue the way it is now. There are still many Alpha Octant empires to introduce and several very useful ship classes to add. After that, are the simulator races since they provide a counterpoint to the existing empires (and will not require a huge increase in rules).

And before you ask about Omega and Magellanic, let me add this:
As a prime playtester for SFB Magellanics and the owner (and occasional player) of all the SFB Omega stuff - I do not have any interest in introducing those into Federation Commander either. Our group has several players who've played the game for 20+ years and at least 12 players with more than a passing familiarity with the Omega/C5 rules. And of that dozen regulars (and another 6 or 7 part-timers), no one has ever asked to play a single game using Omega or C5 empires.

I just do not see enough interest in either of these settings to ever justify the effort required to develop them into a viable addition to the Fed Comm game system.
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Nerroth
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 5:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You may have noticed that I mentioned the likes of Starmada - which already has a number of diverse settings on offer, none of which are necessarily intended to overlap - when discussing my own preferences.

(I also tried to ask if anyone had their own ideas as to what system might work better in terms of handling the era. This in part, is why I posted this topic here, not in a game-specific sob-board.)


Perhaps I should have elaborated a bit on what I myself would like to see, in terms of a potential sublight game.


First of all, I would personally prefer to see a sublight game which got rid of the issue of inter-operability with tactical warp ships altogether. Whatever system, or scale, or whatnot that such a game may have, I would prefer to keep anything which is already covered in SFB or FC to one side. (Even in those games, the sublight ships we do have use certain options which make them something other than a complete nuisance.)


Secondly, it's precisely the issue you raise that would steer me more towards Starmada (as an example, at least) over SFB or FC. The latter two games are more intrinsically tied to the concept of tactical warp combat in the Star Fleet Universe, and balanced perhaps most specifically towards TL12 ships. Starmada, in contrast, already covers topics as diverse as Age of Dreadnoughts-era wet-navy ships and the vessels of the Terran Imperial Starmada, a mix to which the TL12 ships of Klingon Armada has been added. In principle, one could take the underlying game system and work it into one designed to handle non-tactical-warp combat from the ground up, side-stepping the mechanics issues which might affect an SFB or FC conversion.

Indeed, depending on how ships are supposed to fight at impulse, one might find the default inertia movement system of Starmada to be more apt than the one in KA is for tactical warp ships!


Thirdly, giving the sublight era a distinct treatment like that could be a means if highlighting its unique differences.

Ships don't act the way they do in later eras, but that would be part of the point, rather than being something which would handicap the potential balance of the system.

Settings would be different, with a few surprises for some, and a new scope for others. For example, one would be able to see what the Old King ships the Klingons used to fly looked like. Indeed, in the case of the pre-ISC, the kind of conflict and challenge offered would be tantamount to offering a whole new setting altogether.

(The area covered by the Resource Worlds is not all that far off from what a certain long-standing rival wargame franchise covers in its maps of human-occupied space. One could, in principle, have a similar map which gave the detail of which Resource World is which, where the five planets and their core territories would be, and where the various fault lines along which the region was ruptured with conflict lie.)



Such a setup would, if done right, not take away from the options which games like FC have to offer - but rather, open a window into an aspect of the setting which, at present, is starved for in-game representation outside of Prime Directive.

But then, as you so amply pointed out when bringing up two other corners of the setting I'd otherwise like to pursue, I don't have a track record of being on the winning side in these kinds of popularity contests.

Still, I'd rather ask the question here and be found wanting, than remain silent and not even try.
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Mike
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 2:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Putting up a poll might be a better way to ask this question.

I, for one, have no desire to go the "pre-tactical-warp-sublight" route with Federation Commander.

I seriously doubt if ADB would ever do such a thing.
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Steve Cole
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 4:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We will if players want it, but since SFB Module Q has been on the list of potential projects since 1982 without ever getting onto the "hot list" I suspect you can draw your own conclusions.

Allen Eldridge (my original TFG partner) once said: "Steve, you sold them a Ferrari. They don't want a bicycle."
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Scoutdad
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steve Cole wrote:
Allen Eldridge (my original TFG partner) once said: "Steve, you sold them a Ferrari. They don't want a bicycle."


I like this comment. It suits my opinion of hte differneces between SFB and the proposed module Q.
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djdood
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Indeed. Sub-light-era fights would not appeal to me in the least.

I'm more interested in the empires in the form they grew into. The history behind them is an interesting read as "fluff", but I'm not interested in playing it. I have only a marginal interest in Middle Years and that isn't that far off from mainline GW-era.

The limitations that sub-light-era imposes on the ships takes every occasionally frustrating part of SFU combat and just makes a game out of it (low power, slow speeds, low-damage, lots of ships with armor). Sub-light games would take a l-o-n-g time to play out and since the era isn't that compelling for me to begin with... not for me, thanks.
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Nerroth
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 8:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've posted up a poll, which includes options for other systems, like Starmada.

(Although, I wonder if the likes of Squadron Strike might not be potential bases for development, too, if the option was made available.)



Again, I would ask those who are opposed to seeing the Non-Tactical Warp era in SFB or FC note that I'm not just asking about those systems, but also about the potential of using the setting as the basis of a game in a different game system altogether (one which might serve the era better).

To go back to the Starmada example, games like Starmada: Iron Stars, Starmada: Hammer and Claw and Starmada: Dreadnoughts all use the same core game mechanic, alongside Klingon Armada, but take them into different, yet still-viable directions.

It is in a format like that, with ship diagrams built from the ground up to work in such a system (and be balanced against each other, not against those in KA or other systems) which would be the kind of thing I'd like to see... someday.
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pinecone
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 20, 2010 2:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For building on the history of the universe, it would be interesting. But it wouldnt be that fun once you got your kicks out of it.
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