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 

So, should I buy this game?
Goto page 1, 2  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Federation Commander Forum Index -> General Discussion
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
FatSteve
Ensign


Joined: 30 Jan 2010
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Sat Jan 30, 2010 4:49 am    Post subject: So, should I buy this game? Reply with quote

I know, I know. I am posting that question on a Federation Commander forum. Naturally, everyone here plays the game and enjoys it enough to talk about it, so my question isn't really do you like the game, but will I?

I am an old Starfleet Battles player. I bought the "pocket game" in 1979. I upgraded to the "boxed set" a couple years later. Then I bought an expansion. Then another. Then another. (I still have all this stuff).

Finally, when I was just getting a little frustrated with all the rule revisions, I bought the "ultimate" rulebook, which came in three more boxed sets. I cut it all out, put it together in order in a nice notebook.

A few years later, it was outdated again. I never bought the Captains edtion, although I did break down and get a copy of the Master Rulebook a while back. I was tired of my brother (who has the Captain's edition) always quoting rule number A52.79137, also known as the "FatSteve Can't Do That Rule."

Through all of that time one thing that remained constant was my love of the detail, variety, and "future history" of the game.

Another constant was my frustration that playing out a large fleet action took so long I almost never got to see the end of one. And I have cats, so there was never a question of leaving the game set up while the players got some sleep, maintained their jobs, or placated their spouses. Rolling Eyes

So, what do the old SFB players think? Is it worth starting to drop a lot of money? And I would have to buy all of it eventually. Having played all those different ships in SFB, I would not be content going back to the 12 ships from the original game or whatever they provide in the basic set. (And $60 for the basic set is a big leap of faith!)

What do you like best about this system? I am willing to give up some detail for faster play, if it is worth it.

So is it Question
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Nerroth
Captain


Joined: 08 Oct 2006
Posts: 1566
Location: Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Sat Jan 30, 2010 5:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If I may ask, which is it you'd prefer to do - focus on large-scale fleet battles, concentrate on duels and/or small squadron clashes, or to jump back and forth between both?


If it's the duel and squadron thing you want, FC is a good option, and it need not be an expensive one to try either.

For example, you could get the Reference Rulebook and Briefing #2 - giving you 72 ships (Middle Years-era ones, mind - which you may, or may not, like to fly) and all the rules needed to play them for 35 bucks US.

From there, you could ease your way into the rest of the system as and when you please.


If you're keen on larger-scale fleet action, you could try it with Fleet-scale FC (I prefer to stick with Squadron-scale, personally, but kilometre-ages may vary) but you could give Klingon Armada a try.

While there is a Starmada Admiralty Edition core rulebook you could get if you wanted to, the rules in the KLA book itself are really all you need to play the game - with the forty-odd ships available in the system already.

And it's only about seventeen bucks US, too.



Indeed, all three books add up to just over fifty bucks US - that's three scales of combat to choose from (Squadron-scale FC, Fleet-scale FC and KLA) and over a hundred different ships spread across the various game systems.



EDIT: Oh yeah, and you could try the free pdf to get a feel for the game system. Now, you could maybe try a few of the Ship Cards up in the online Commander's Circle with the First Mission rules, but there are only so many options the demo rules offer you compared to the real thing.

Those online Ship Cards would work fine with the Reference Rulebook, though...
_________________
FC Omega Discussion (v3)
FC LMC Discussion
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Kang
Fleet Captain


Joined: 23 Sep 2007
Posts: 1955
Location: Devon, UK

PostPosted: Sat Jan 30, 2010 8:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nerroth's suggestions are all spot on, but with the only proviso that these systems would not give you any counters to use - apart from First Missions, which has a few basic counters and a hex sheet too.

However, he's probably rightly assuming that you have maps and counters from SFB, which will work just as well.

The other thing is that Klingon Armada is not strictly FC, but as he says it is useful for large actions.

Definitely, though, download and try the free First Missions module - that was what showed me how elegant this game system is. I went anf bought the core modules about three days later....
_________________
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
djdood
Fleet Captain


Joined: 01 Feb 2007
Posts: 2925
Location: Seattle, WA

PostPosted: Sat Jan 30, 2010 10:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll pile on and pretty much concur with Nerroth.

Your happiness with FedCom would really depend on what aspects of SFB you particularly liked.

I liked SFB because of the consistent setting, logical technology base, and huge variety of ships. I disliked the rules overhead that the game came with and how long it took to actually play. I disliked the "meta-game" aspects (rules-lawyering, etc.) even more.

FedCom keeps the variety of ships and ship-types (especially now, after several expansions). The setting is almost entirely the same. The way the game plays keeps quite a bit of the SFB "feel" (energy management, impulse movement). It feels a lot more SFB than other unrelated games like Full Thrust, etc.

If you enjoyed the "meta-game" of SFB (winning the game through prediction of your opponents energy allocation and then exploiting that, etc.) you might not dig it. FedCom moved many things into a more "real time" mechanic. There's a lot less opportunities to use clever applications of the rules to hamper the opponent, as there is just a vastly smaller amount of rules. Tactics and reaction matter a bit more in FedCom as the meta-game is less of a factor.

You don't need to spend ten minutes sweating "what kind of a drone he has left in that rack". There's one kind of drone, period, and everybody knows everything about every ship, all the time. He's not going to beat you by being clever with his Commander's Options buys on special drone builds and rack-loading order. Likewise, you can't be clever that way either - the game isn't SFB and some folks might miss that kind of "crunch". I don't, in the least.

Regarding revisions, I don't see any coming. FedCom isn't "SFB-lite", but it's definitely informed by all the growth that SFB did. SFB kept out-growing itself because all the rules kept... growing. SFB is so wrapped-around-the-axle to rule on every possible interaction of every possible thing that it became a monster.

FedCom hasn't added any major additions in "rules" since the Tholians were added a couple of years ago, and that was the first really significant addition since the initial rulebook. Every other addition (like the stuff added in Distant Kingdoms, etc.) is in the low single-digit page count; SFB would have done *chapters*.

The rules base has been massaged a bit here and there, but that's always been through free updates in Communique and the CRUL. There have only be a couple of significant changes, and those were made to close exploits discovered years after publication (in one case). No new edition, just free updates and tiny ones at that.

The ships being the exact same ships is a real plus for me. A Fed oCL is a Fed oCL and a D-7C is a D-7C and there aren't many surprises. Prior SFB experience will inform you what they can and can't do (for the most part). Tactics change slightly, but the fundamentals are the same.

As Nerroth mentioned, the downloadable First Missions trial-version is a good idea. Play it. See if it clicks for you. If it does, you can come into the game in multiple ways. If you wanted to save money (and re-use your existing SFB maps, counters, etc.), you could indeed buy the Reference Rulebook, download lots of the free ship cards from Commander's Circle and just be done with it. You'd have a perfectly functional version of the game.

FedCom does "pretty" with the laminated chip cards and mounted map boards. SFB was never "pretty" (and that's being charitable). A lot of folks don't care about pretty though.

FedCom was built for squadron-sized actions. The truly hardcore can make it work for big fleet battles, but serious groknards were doing that with SFB too and doing it 20 years ago. It can and does work reasonably well for duels, but SFB I would say is better suited to single-ship fights.

Also as Nerroth mentioned, the new Klingon Armada game (which is a "setting" port of Starmada by MXII Games) is the best suited for fleet battles. However, that game does not have the SFB "feel" - there is no game-mechanics lineage to SFB in it. It uses SFU ships and setting and emulates SFU-specific things, but it is SFU ships in *Starmada* and may not be to all tastes. There's no winning that game with clever energy allocation, etc. It's a different system altogether, whereas FedCom is very much a younger kissing-cousin to SFB. There's a free version of Starmada too, on MXIIG's website.
_________________
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
FatSteve
Ensign


Joined: 30 Jan 2010
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Sat Jan 30, 2010 12:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This all seems like good advice. I like the idea of faster play, with fewer rules. I am very interested in the game.

I love the larger fleet actions but I could almost never finish them (I have played through about half of Operation Unity on more than one occasion). And I enjoy the strategy of managing ships in a war - what to sacrifice, when to run, when to fight, etc... I have always wanted to get with a group and - over a period of a couple years, probably - play through the General War using F&E as a strategic level map, and SFB (or FC) to play out the battles. The plain old duel scenario stoped working for me in the early 80's.

Perhaps with the simpler rules I can even get some new players interested. (They typically run and hide when I bring out the 400-page Master Rulebook and try to get them interested in SFB.)

I will seriously consider getting the Reference Rulebook. I don't need
another set of counters for the game, that is for sure, so if there is a product that will give me the ship cards, that would be all I need.

Would I have to buy all the products to get all the ships? Or are some of them duplicated in other products? Will there be a compilation of ship cards in a product in the future? (Is there one now?) That Middle Years product sounded interesting as a place to start, but I'm sure I will want all of the ships if I can get them.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Scoutdad
Commodore


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

PostPosted: Sat Jan 30, 2010 2:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can't add much beyond Gary and Will - but I will ask another question:

Where are you located? There may already be players nearby that you could join.

Also, As avid fans of SFB for the ultra-high attention to detail, our group has almost completely stopped playing SFB in favor of FedComm. We have found that we can do one v. one duels in 45 minutes or less and big, 10-ships a side fleet battles rarely run more than 2 hours each.

As for ship cards...
Unfortunately, as of now - the only way to but the ship cards is by gettign the packages, although you can (IIRC w/o checking) order them as spare parts also. And the various booster packs contain only ship cards - no counters and very few rules.
_________________


Scoutdad's minis photos here!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Yahoo Messenger
Predator06
Lieutenant JG


Joined: 18 Dec 2006
Posts: 71
Location: WV, OH, KY tri state region.

PostPosted: Sat Jan 30, 2010 3:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Personally, I hate games that require thought or strategy. And I despise games that are wonderfully made with great attention to detail, with Hoards of miniatures new and old available. You see, I Have a severe aversion to fun.

So if you are anything like me, don't get federation commander. Because its to much awesome for one man to handle.

Personally I prefer games like 52 card pickup, Rock paper scissors, and guess what that lump of green goo is under my big toe nail. I also enjoy watching paint dry. Laughing

No seriously. Get this game. Its worth it.

And remember, All that crud in the 80s really was part of the games maturing process. I was there to.

I would call FC the ultimate incarnation of all of that Chaos from the 80s.
_________________
"Training errors are recorded on paper. Tactical errors are etched in stone." -Erwin Rommel
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
dharras
Lieutenant JG


Joined: 31 Jul 2009
Posts: 47
Location: Bristol, UK

PostPosted: Sat Jan 30, 2010 4:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

FatSteve wrote:

Would I have to buy all the products to get all the ships? Or are some of them duplicated in other products?


Most cards are available in their 'base' product and one of the boosters that are associated with it.
There is a master ship chart in the Commanders Circle resources area with the cards in number order which lists what base product they are in, what booster (if any) and which issue of communique they might have appeared in.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Mike
Captain


Joined: 07 May 2007
Posts: 1547
Location: South Carolina

PostPosted: Sat Jan 30, 2010 5:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess I'll throw in my two cents worth, too.

Your initial post sounded almost exactly like my own story. I "discovered" Federation Commander about a year after it came out and have enjoyed it very much since then.

I had all the counters and a couple of maps from SFB, so after I tried out a few games with the free First Missions, I purchased the rulebook. That was all I needed to have a fully functioning set.

On the 10th of every month, ADB released an online newsletter called Communique for the FedCom community. Each month there is a new scenario and several ship diagrams (in the FedCom world they are called ship cards). I have used programs such as MS Paint and IrfanView to copy out the ship graphics so I could custom-format them and print them on one-half of an 8.5"x11" sheet of paper. I've put all the charts pertinent to the particular ships on the other half. By folding them over, I have a ship diagram on one side and the charts on the other for quick reference during games. I bought a pack of 8.5"x5.5" plastic sleeves from an office supply store that the ship cards can fit into. Colored paperclips track the energy down the side and across the bottom of the ship diagram. All the ship cards I have are kept in a couple of small expandable file boxes and are categorized by empire and time period (General War era and Middle Years era). When I get together with other guys to play, we find the ship cards we need, slide them into the plastic sleeves, and off we go!

Since those early days of getting into FedCom, I've also bought 6 of the hard stock mapboards (they were a great idea!), Briefing #2, and Orions Attack. A buddy bought Hydrans Attack. Personally, I don't care for the Hydrans, but he likes them.

I care nothing for Klingon Armada because it is not anything at all like SFB or FedCom. It is merely Starmada with "official" ships from the SFU. If someone likes Starmada, they'll like KA.

I do not play FedCom in "fleet scale" because I prefer the squadron scale ships. They are the same as SFB, but with the FedCom game-specific variations (no sensor or scanner track, no crew units, etc., etc., etc.).

I *strongly* recommend Federation Commander. I think you'll like it. Get the Reference Rulebook and pay attention to the CRUL (consolidated rules update list).
_________________
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
djdood
Fleet Captain


Joined: 01 Feb 2007
Posts: 2925
Location: Seattle, WA

PostPosted: Sat Jan 30, 2010 8:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My tale is somewhat like the others', but different. I was a long-tim SFB "watcher/reader". I kept up with the game through the legacy bbs and Capatains Logs, but I hadn't played in over a decade.

One of the stated reasons for doing FedCom was to bring lost sheep like me back into the fold and it worked, big time.

Interestingly, as much as I appreciate the ships in FedCom being the same as their SFB counterparts, I ended up playing Fleet Scale almost exclusively. The synergy with SFB is nifty, but play-time exfficiency is niftier and more palatable to my non-groknard friends. Being able to finish a game with 20-ships on the board with people who've only played once or twice goes a long, long, way.

One of the reasons I really love FedCom is the flexibility built into it. The fact that every ship is in both scales lets my group throttle the "crunch" up and down, depending on how big we want to go and how long we have to play. If we have two hours, we can do a fleet scale small-squadron fight (without Romulans), or we can do a squadron-scale duel with one or two ships each.

Finishing a starbase assault was something I had never done in SFB, but I've done twice in FedCom.
_________________
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
FatSteve
Ensign


Joined: 30 Jan 2010
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2010 2:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds like several of you had the same experience with SFB as I did. I loved the game and played it a lot in the 80's. Not so much in the 90's. And since then only on rare occasions. It just became too much to keep up with.

I am really psyched with the potential of FC. Playing a fleet battle in a single evening? Assaulting a starbase? Cool.

I have been convinced by, if nothing else, the sincere tone of the response to my question. (Plus it sounds like most of you like the same things I do in a game.)

I'm going to dive in. Time to break piggy and spend some coins. The suggestion of getting the rule book and the Middle Years supplement for much less than either Klingon or Romulan Border was very helpful. I think that is the route I will take at first, unless some wise one has another route for a newbie to take?

Now to convince the wife that this will be $35 well spent.

I should have married a gamer... Rolling Eyes
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
OGOPTIMUS
Captain


Joined: 10 Nov 2006
Posts: 981

PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2010 3:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just be aware that the Middle Years supplement is a single book, with ship cards in black and white, rather than color. You'll have to photocopy them, or cut the book apart to get good access to them.

I don't want to dissuade you about it, just giving you some extra info.

I'll also chime in and say it's a great game!
_________________
O.G. OPTIMUS


NEW Page | OLD Page
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Nerroth
Captain


Joined: 08 Oct 2006
Posts: 1566
Location: Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2010 3:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One thing which might be worth noting is that if you ever get Hydran Attack later - or even the separate 1/2" countersheet for it - is that it comes with half-inch counters for some of the 'new' ships introduced in Briefing #2, like the Federation OCA and the Lyran BCE.
_________________
FC Omega Discussion (v3)
FC LMC Discussion
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
pmiller13
Lieutenant JG


Joined: 12 May 2009
Posts: 64

PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2010 4:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You had asked earlier if it was possible to get the ships without buying the full box sets and it IS. You can buy all of the ship cards as spare parts for each of the sets. The booster packs give extras of popular ships and 1 or 2 new ships in each booster pack. Just buying the boosters does not give you all the ships although you can also buy just the ships that are not in the boosters as spare parts. I went this route at first because like you I had all of my old SFB stuff including mega hex or what ever it was called with the larger size maps.

The only problem I have right now with this game is that I am having problems finding people to play with in the Tampa Florida area. I am pushing 40 and don't really want to play with a group of high school kids (at least not made up of all kids). Also of course real world does not leave all the time I had in my twenties to do what ever I wanted, getting old sucks.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Krellex
Lieutenant Commander


Joined: 30 Sep 2009
Posts: 261
Location: RIS Boise

PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2010 5:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have taught four people, who never played SFB how to play FC, and did it in under an hour. And I am by no means an expert with FC, but I LOVE it. Games go sooooooo much faster with the system. I do still play SFB, so you can surely do either or both. But yeah, I would recommend springing for a set, and try it out. (I personally like using the "new" color counters, the new mounted maps, etc even though I have tons of SFB stuff.)
_________________

Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Federation Commander Forum Index -> General Discussion All times are GMT
Goto page 1, 2  Next
Page 1 of 2

 
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