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Distant Armada Review from an SFB/FC Players Perspective
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Jeffr0
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 8:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Re: Fixing SFU Starmada

The minimum that it would take to fix it would (IMO) be this:

1) Remove Range-based ROF from all phasers.
2) Increase shield values for most ships. Instead of translating SFB to Starmada based on box counts, go for more of the spirit of things within the game. (Ie, cargo and extra power might translate into better shielding.) If there is a Starmada system that allows for some free hits like SFB's armor... add that on the ships as well.
3) Replace secret & simultaneous plotted movement with phased movement... not sure if it should be 3 or 4 or 5 phases. (Guessing 4 would be right.) Thrust will be acceleration, maybe...? Ships will have turn modes.
4) I do not want to allow fire at any point other than the turn break-- tracking which weapon has fired and when is too much; also young players will want to fire everything on each phase and be disappointed when they can't.
5) I will keep (maybe) secret and simultaneous firing option specification as a tribute to EA.

These changes would make the transition to Starmada much less jarring to SFB/FC guys... maintain more of the feel of SFU... and only marginally increase playing time. Mainly... I wouldn't have to explain the default movement system any more. Newtonian movement of any kind can stay in the (largely unplayed) Traveller type space combat games.
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mj12games
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 10:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jeffr0 wrote:
1) Remove Range-based ROF from all phasers.

There's a healthy discussion over this at the mj12games.com forum... My thoughts:

Phaser-1s do the following damage (on average, assuming equal "range bands" a la Starmada):

SHORT (0-8 hexes): 3.9
MEDIUM (9-16 hexes): 0.9
LONG (17-25 hexes): 0.5

This is comparable to the ratio of short- to long-range damage potential in Starmada. i.e., in Starmada, it's 6:1; in FC, it's 7.8:1.

HOWEVER, it is true that the shots-to-kill ratio for weapons in Starmada is lower than in FC. The Federation CA has a total of 101 damage boxes in FC. This means, on average, it takes 25.9 short-range phaser-1 shots to kill the CA (101/3.9, ignoring the effect of shields).

In Starmada, at short range, three dice are rolled with a 3+ to hit, or two expected hits per shot. The CA has 10 hull points, meaning a shots-to-kill ratio of 10:1 (again, ignoring the effect of shields).

The "problem", therefore, is not that phasers get too powerful as the range decreases; it's that the expectation of survivability for SFB/FC players is higher than for Starmada players.

Quote:
2) Increase shield values for most ships.

This, I could possibly get behind -- although, to truly reflect the "spirit" of SFB/FC, one would have to add "ablative" defenses to Starmada; something that currently does not exist.

Quote:
3) Replace secret & simultaneous plotted movement with phased movement... not sure if it should be 3 or 4 or 5 phases.

I have occasionally thought that a 3-impulse movement phase option might not be a bad idea.
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Last edited by mj12games on Fri Jul 08, 2011 12:57 am; edited 1 time in total
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Jeffr0
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2011 12:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mj12games wrote:
I have occasionally thought that a 3-impulse movement phase option might not be a bad idea.


That might provide the foundation such that seeking weapons could be tuned a bit more. Though... I might have to let go of my "only fire at the end of the turn" preference....

But to be complete here:

6) Plasma bolts need to have a serious penalty on to-hit rolls. Plasma torpedos need to either have more hit points, be harder to hit, or do more damage when they do hit.
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csragamemaster
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2011 1:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Its certainly different, but since the combat system is less cumbersome, it allows more room for other chrome such as boarding parties and planetary landings.
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Jeffr0
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2011 2:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

After sleeping on it... the 3-phase movement system with firing options at the end of each phase-- that would be an almost entirely different game. I'm not sure what all the consequences of that would be.

An alternative minimum change solution would be:

A) (again) Eliminate range based ROF
B) (again) Better shield ratings on all ships (Or, for a quick change-- add +1 to all shield ratings to represent battery power and reinforcement.) Also... some form of "free hits" representing SFB's forward and aft hull boxes. (The bowling alley hits.)
C) Add fighters and PF's! [The fact that they would operate outside of the usual sequence of play adds just enough flavor/spice/interestingness to the game-- that's my guess not having tried it.]
D) In the spirit of C, add in some sort of Scout ship.... My idea here would be a set of reserve points that players can use to counter "bad things" in reaction/response as they are declared. Maybe... "I'm firing everything at him." "Okay, but I'm spending two points of EW to block it." "Doh!" So the EW penalties to ACC are marked on ships during the fire phase... and remain until the end of the turn. The scout channels have to be plotted as to which option they'll be using during the turn break.

I realize more seasoned players aren't on board with this... but just playing this game... it "feels" like... if you accept it for what it is... that is where it kind of "wants" to go. So Starmada can be what it already is... and it can adapt a different angle on SFB than FC does. That just feels right.
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madpax
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2011 3:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here are my modifications:

For weapons:
Ph 1: Remove range based rof and increase ACC to 3+
Ph 2: Remove range based rof and increase ACC to 4+
Disruptors: Reduce range to 15 (they fire at the same range as photons), reduce IMP to 1 and add range based IMP
Photon: Reduce DMG to 2 and add piercing (their torpedoes, being more potent than disruptor fire, can penetrate shield more easily)
Plasma: Reduce their IMP/DMG (R = 2/2, S = 1/3, G = 1/2, F = 1/2, D = 1/1) and add range based dmg
I did some changes to hellbore and fusion but those are new starmada weapons to me. I didn't look at particle and web fist for the moment.
All weapons: I removed the overloaded ability, mainly for simplicity sake and also because I fail to remember using them during play.

I have recomputed the shield values of ships according to their FC SSD counterparts and it would be too tedious to give all of them there.
I modified some Hull values but usually that's not a big deal.
I modified the speed value in order to have fast ships faster (1 more point and Gorn ships slower (they are supposed to be fluing brick).
I remove the probe (never used) and science (we are here to kill not to analyse).

Marc
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Steve Cole
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2011 3:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Daniel, if you don't get the emails, I do need those CL43-Supplemental ships yesterday.
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csragamemaster
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2011 4:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have considered bringing the impulse system from SFB directly into Starmada and seeing what effect it might have.

None of the folks I play with use the vectored movement and it seems to work well enough.
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madpax
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2011 10:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

csragamemaster wrote:
I have considered bringing the impulse system from SFB directly into Starmada and seeing what effect it might have.

I wonder how to implement such a thing, as starmada ships move about 3-6 hexes per turn compared to max 31 for FC ships.
If an impulse equals 1 hex, it could slow down the game, no?


Marc
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csragamemaster
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2011 2:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It would slow the game down, but not as much as you think. Use a 12 or 16 impulse chart instead of the monster 31.
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madpax
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2011 2:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

csragamemaster wrote:
Use a 12 or 16 impulse chart instead of the monster 31.

How so?
There is no real speed limit in Starmada, although I've learned that moving more than your speed is an invitation to leave the board unvoluntarily. Very Happy

Marc
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csragamemaster
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2011 2:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is true under the basic movement rules. We use the naval rules where ship speed equals their current engine rating.
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Jeffr0
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2011 1:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

madpax wrote:
csragamemaster wrote:
Use a 12 or 16 impulse chart instead of the monster 31.

How so?
There is no real speed limit in Starmada, although I've learned that moving more than your speed is an invitation to leave the board unvoluntarily. Very Happy

Marc


Also... there's the whole "whoopsie... just took an engine hit. Wait... I have to go straight no matter what now. Uh oh. My enemy knows exactly where I'll end up and can optimize his position and firing options accordingly. Nice knowin' ya" thing.
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csragamemaster
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2011 11:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One Answer to the "Bloodiness" of KA vs SFB is to double or triple the number of ships in a given scenario. More ships mean a longer game!
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madpax
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2011 5:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

csragamemaster wrote:
One Answer to the "Bloodiness" of KA vs SFB is to double or triple the number of ships in a given scenario. More ships mean a longer game!

No, you'll just have twice or thrice (or more...) ships killed in turn.

Marc
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