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Speed (acceleration) Limits
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gar1138
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Joined: 10 Jul 2007
Posts: 345
Location: Eugene, OR

PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 5:54 pm    Post subject: Speed (acceleration) Limits Reply with quote

I've been thinking about this a lot lately and thought I would see what other folks thought. For quite awhile now, I've been playing FCOL with a house rule about limiting baseline speed acceleration between turns (somewhat similar to Star Fleet Battles).

Essentially, you can only pick one baseline speed faster each turn. For example: if you were going baseline speed 8 on turn 1, you could only pick a maximum of baseline speed 16 on turn 2. There is no limit to deceleration between turns (so you can always go any baseline speed slower or even stop as usual), but you can only go one speed higher between turns. You can, of course, always accelerate to +1 each impulse during the turn as desired (2B2).

We call this rule Speed Limits, so as not to confuse it with acceleration during a turn (although it might need a better name). It directly changes/modifies the last sentence of (2B1b).

So far, this has worked very well in all the games I have been in. Some of the major advantages seem to be:

1. Everything seems to be better balanced since this is more similar to SFB.
2. Plasma is somewhat more effective since ships need to maintain speed to avoid plasma (again, just like in SFB).
3. Emergency Deceleration now has a penalty. Currently, Emergency Decel has no real penalty at all (a player can Emer Decel on Impulse 8, do a Tactical Maneuver, then immediately go speed 24 on the next turn, causing all sorts of odd situations).
4. It provides more tactical considerations for tractoring another ship (especially if the tractored ship is twice the movement cost (5D6b) ).
5. Doesn't require any change to the ship cards.
6. It doesn't seem to add any additional complexity or extra record keeping to the game (other than remembering what baseline speed you were going last turn).
7. It encourages more tactical thought for choosing speed (both in the current turn and what you might want to do in future turns).

The general feeling I have gotten from playing with this rule is that it just seems to work well and everything sort of falls into place. In my opinion, I think it is badly needed to be added to the regular game.

I would love to hear others' thoughts on this (both for and against) and would also encourage everyone to try this out in a game or two or three. With the new Reference Rulebook revision coming on e23, perhaps it is even possible that it might be considered for inclusion?

Thanks,

Garrett
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mjwest
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Joined: 08 Oct 2006
Posts: 3489
Location: Dallas, Texas

PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 6:01 pm    Post subject: Re: Speed (acceleration) Limits Reply with quote

gar1138 wrote:
With the new Reference Rulebook revision coming on e23, perhaps it is even possible that it might be considered for inclusion?

I wouldn't bet on it.

The lack of a "speed limit" was an intentional design decision in Federation Commander. Flat out rules changes need to be kept to an absolute minimum, and therefore are almost exclusively only done when an issue is exposed. In this particular case, there is no known problem.

Yes, you maintain that the game works "better". However, that is a pure subjective evaluation. Nothing is broken. There have been no reports of confusion or unfair fights due to the lack of a "speed limit". Therefore, there is no real driver to making a change.

This post is not to stop discussion, or to prevent anyone from requesting a change. It is merely meant to set expectations.
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Shinanygnz
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Joined: 21 Aug 2010
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 6:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Falls in to the "if you want to play SFB, then play SFB" category for me. I have no problem with that, btw, being a player since I got the Designer set for Xmas "when I were a lad". FC is so much quicker & easier, which makes finding opponents a lot easier.

FC avoids the Optional/Advanced/Ludicrously Complicated add-on rules choices of SFB, so it's not even a go-er from that standpoint. That said, how about a section of "some of our players/fans like this mod so here are some by mutual agreement rules for you to try"? Needs a snappier title though.

Stephen
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storeylf
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Joined: 24 Jul 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 7:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have played a game (or was it 2?) with Gar using this rule. It didn't really affect me, but that is largely due to the fact that I almost never go speed 8 unless I'm minus an engine or 3, and usually like to do speed 24.

That said, I'm not in favor of adding it as a rule, for the simple reason that I'm not in favor of adding any rule unless it clearly fixes some serious issue, I don't see that it fixes anything. Given that I personally found it had minimal affect I'm even less convinced of any need for the rule.

That said (again), I don't mind playing friendly games with Gar and Co. using their house rule.

A BoM rule maybe?
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gar1138
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Joined: 10 Jul 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 12:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, I appreciate the feedback and the different perspectives.

Garrett
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Mike
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Location: South Carolina

PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 6:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Along these same lines (though it has absolutely nothing to do with speed or acceleration between turns), another "house rule" that would make FC more like SFB but which doesn't really fix anything broken is putting in a "can't fire until the 2nd Impulse if you fire on the 8th Impulse of the previous turn" rule.
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ericphillips
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Joined: 16 Apr 2009
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Location: Los Angeles, CA, USA, Sol, Gould Belt, Orion Arm, Milky Way Galaxy, Local Group, Universe Beta

PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 6:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can take or leave the firing delay, though it makes a good house rule if the firing on 8 and then on 1 others you.

However, I really do think the speed limit is needed. Why:

1. Improves plasma

Currently, you can be moving at baseline-8, have a plasma fired at you, and if you get to the turn break then you can outrun it at speed 24+1. With speed limits, you could go a maximum of baseline-16, making speed almost as important as in SFB.

2. Emergency Deceleration Lameness

I was plying a game at a con. The ships are closing. One is fired out, and if it continues at speed it will be toast as it meets the other. So it emergency decels, keeping the enemy at a distance. Next turn it goes baseline 24 and comes in with weapons blazing.

Yeah, I know the turn and slips are reset, but jumping from stopped to baseline 24 is just... lame.

3. Too many scenarios begin with the Federation ship at baseline 0 for the first turn as it overloads weapons, something allowed by lack of caps on speeding up. Turn two they go baseline 24, being fully overloaded, and having priority. This is a problem as it makes the Feds much tougher, as has been noted in Captain's Logs, and noted by Patrick Doyle.

Now, Mike, I respectively say to you that this is a problem I have encountered in game, in three distinct cases I have presented. I am also running a PBEM FC and the Emergency Decel nonsense has been used. If it is not a problem then it has become a strategy that detracts from the game.

As this rule is very simple, both in terms of implementation and playability, please reconsider this.
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mjwest
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 6:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is not my decision to make. My point was not to prevent anyone from submitting the request. It was simply to try and set realistic expectations.

On the two points:
1. This is a false issue. If there was some kind of speed limit, then the plasma opponent would merely slow to 16, rather than 8. The primary issue (running around at speed 24) would be completely unaffected. Seriously, this is a complete non-issue.

2. I don't see this as a huge deal either. If ED wasn't effective, then I am sure there would have been other options available to him. Like, I dunno, turning or something. The issue here is that he did something unexpected, not that he used Emergency Deceleration.

Personally, I don't see an issue with either of these. But then, that could just be me.
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ericphillips
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 6:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry, i revised to add a third point.

Well, thanks for reconsidering this. am throwing it out because I love the game and want it to be the best, but my opinions may not match others.

Anyway, keep on shooting.
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storeylf
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Joined: 24 Jul 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 6:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Regarding emergency deceleration, I have to say I see it as neither lame nor nonsense.

I consider ED at some point in almost every game I play, and in almost every case I don't use it as the penalties make it a bad move.

ED is something that you can use like any other manouver, ED is not something that is 'broke' in that respect unless you want acceleration rules in the first place. If acceleration rules don't interest you then ED is perfectly fine.
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 7:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As to other 'lame' rules, the one that seems to absolutely drive my opponent potty, and one which I also hate but use like hell is the end of turn Evasive manouvers rule. That was to fix a perceived problem (paying twice in 2 impulses) that IMO (and especially my regular opponents opinion) has created much worse issues/lameness.

Close in, blast the enemy on impulse 8 using all power, then go EM without having to worry about having no energy left - Gee what a shame your heavy weapons up next turn now have an immediate +2 shift on a 'buy now pay later 0% interest deal'!
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gar1138
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Joined: 10 Jul 2007
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Location: Eugene, OR

PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 9:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1. Improves Plasma: With respect, I do believe that this is an issue. Currently, a plasma opponent can slow to speed 8 in order to power all weapons to overload status, fire all phasers, etc. Then simply go to speed 24 to evade plasma. With speed limits in place, a ship must *maintain* at least speed 16 in order to have the ability to go to speed 24 (thus possibly not having a surplus of energy available for all weapons and/or overloads). This maintains the level of balance that most ships seem to be designed for (and that exists in SFB), especially for loading/overloading photons.

2. Emergency Deceleration: I do think the ED is more powerful than originally envisioned. A player can simply ED near the end of the turn, perform a tactical maneuver to turn, then go speed 24 immediately without penalty. I think this is much less of an issue than the balance factor of #1 (above), but still an issue.

I would also like to simply note that I am not trying to turn FC into SFB (I used to be an SFB player long ago and switched to FC precisely because of it's simplicity). I also understand that FC is a different game than SFB and things (intentionally) work differently. However, I do believe that with SFB being the game system that all things were originally balanced for, certain imbalances do exist in the FC game system because of that and deserve a closer look.

I do feel somewhat strongly that speed limits are needed to preserve a more even level of balance overall. However, I don't want to start a huge debate and it sounds like a lot of folks feel that there really isn't much of an issue. I certainly appreciate all the comments.

Garrett
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Steve Cole
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 9:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The "no speed limit" was a deliberate design decision. there is no problem that adding this rule would solve, and I have no intention of adding such a rule. It would upset people who would say "If I wanted the piddly annoying SFB rules, I'd play SFB".

As far as a firing delay rule, that was a deliberate design decision. there is no problem that adding this rule would solve, and I have no intention of adding such a rule. It would upset people who would say "If I wanted the piddly annoying SFB rules, I'd play SFB".

As far as plasma being weak or strong, we had a long discussion of this at Origins. I listened to the "plasma is weak" bunch and was ready to make a change, when the "we use plasma and we win" bunch explained what they did to make plasma work and the "plasma is weak" bunch dropped their request. So there is no change on the table. (Don't ask me what their winning tactics were. I actually don't remember. By Saturday night at Origins, I've been on my feet for four straight days with maybe six total hours of sleep, and the memory bank was flushed on the drive home.
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duxvolantis
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 10:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steve Cole wrote:

As far as plasma being weak or strong, we had a long discussion of this at Origins. I listened to the "plasma is weak" bunch and was ready to make a change, when the "we use plasma and we win" bunch explained what they did to make plasma work and the "plasma is weak" bunch dropped their request. So there is no change on the table. (Don't ask me what their winning tactics were. I actually don't remember. By Saturday night at Origins, I've been on my feet for four straight days with maybe six total hours of sleep, and the memory bank was flushed on the drive home.


I've been playing plasma exclusively since I got into FC. I played SFB for years and won more often than not. Maybe not elite, but at least "very good".

Target declaration, loss of pseudos, reduced range of tractor beams and ad hoc power reserves, faster ships and instant unplanned acceleration to speed 32 and the defensive fire phase guarantee'ing range 0 phaser shots have all combined to break seeking plasma as a ranged offensive weapon in duel-to-squadron level battles unless the scenario forces the opponent to engage the plasma ship.

I am winning fights but against inexperienced players trundling around with fully overloaded photons by repeatedly diving in to fire plasma bolts and very, very long and (for my opponents) very boring phaser duels. I have yet to exhaust ever option and test every strategy but for now I am pretty much playing a direct fire ship with a 3-turn arming cycle.
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 10:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

duxvolantis wrote:
and the defensive fire phase guarantee'ing range 0 phaser shots


Minor point (significant against drones though) and probably not overly important to what you are saying, but defensive fire is always range 1.


Last edited by storeylf on Wed Dec 22, 2010 10:53 pm; edited 1 time in total
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