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What counts as "the game"?
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Nerroth
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2011 10:59 pm    Post subject: What counts as "the game"? Reply with quote

There is something which has been on my mind lately; I'm not sure if I can nail it down here or not, but we'll see.


I see a number of comments here and there about people referring to "the game", or at least the way it is in their mind (or perhaps in the way they play it).

What I would ask is this; is there any particular sub-set of the overall FC experience you consider to be your take on "the game"?


For example, are you primarily focused on the specific type of way things work in the current tournament format, or are your games more scenario-driven?

Do you stick with ships that are in the Main Era (or rather, that are in the FCOL client) or do you often play Middle Years or other such settings?

If you don't play the Middle Years in particular, is it more that you don't like the setting, or don't have the in-client support (since there doesn't seem to be the same kind of presence in the client for the ships from Briefing #2 and Booster #91)?

And, I guess this might be the point I'm trying to get at; when you think of how you might like to see "the game" go forward, how much of your argument is due to the particular sub-set you go for, or do you step back to try and take a broader perspective on how this or that dynamic/potential change/etc would have knock-on effects across the board?


For my part, I'm somewhat concerned that play or balance issues that might most explicitly effect the tournament (or the debate on what, if any, changes the tourney itself might need) can overly colour the wider effect on what is good or bad for the game as a whole; or that issues about how certain weapons or systems work may be more or less prominent in one setting than another, but are disroportionally highlighted due to the more narrow band of play which FC seems to have compared to SFB.

(For example, take the issue of plasma. The reported issues with that weapon may not be the same in the Middle Years than it is in the Main Era, but is there enough on-table experience that is being reported on to say whether it is or is not? And what would those reports help tell us in terms of what changes plasma may or may not need to be more effective? )


Now, it's no secret that my own idea of what constitutes "the game" is somewhat different to most, but I do sometimes wonder if there wasn't more scope for re-defining how broad a view should be taken as to what kind of experience Federation Commander can be.
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Mike
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 12:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Confused
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The_Rock
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 12:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"The Game" to me is the tournament. It is not all of what I play, but its the only thing I actually think about when thinking about game balance and the like.
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Savedfromwhat
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 12:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Personally I tend to focus on the tournament format as 'the game' when it comes to tweaking adjustments for the rules. It is the only area where the game is consistent enough to be able to judge effectiveness across the board. This is probably the reason that there is a separate tournament format for SFB because balancing concerns are so huge.

Sometimes I think that is why calls for balance changes fall on deaf ears. There is a notion that only 'Hardcore SFB Players' are doing tournaments and Fedcom tourney's are treated as SFB lite or the kiddie pool.

Needless to say I find that half of the scenarios weren't given much fedcom polish and tend to be poorly ported from SFB where things like acceleration limits, limited deceleration, EPT/PPT, EW, and Carriers/GB's exist. I find the quality of written scenarios has really come up in the last two years or so and most of the original scenarios are pretty dang good (thinking particularly of Eric Phillips jail break mission) so this is a positive thing.

As far as actual play format we typically try a few scenarios but we also do one on ones (my favorite game so far has been one where we tested EPT on a floating map and it was a Rom king eagle and fed ca), 3 on 3 tournament formats, and ffa's. we typically dont change from our GW setting sadly (mostly do to the blank and white inaccessiblity of the middle years ships). honestly the middle years could have been its own border and attack module and boosters.
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pinecone
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 1:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"The game" is a slang term referring to a multitude of different game systems, but only one at a time. Often used by gamers, but occasionally used by their families (who don't know what the game that person plays is called) Razz
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kirbykibble
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 2:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

to me, "the game" counts as the scenario's
i rarely (if ever) played in the tourney's
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ericphillips
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 3:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To me, the game is scenarios. However, I see the tournament as a scenario, not a separate entity, with its own set of parameters just like any other scenario.
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kinshi
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 5:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The 'core' to me are scenarios and campaigns, and I don't care how well balanced they are, as I prefer to be a disadvantage...new tactics are rarely born from a 'balanced' experience, they get bred from necessity.

I used to play tourney rules in SFB..but that was only because my gaming group preferred the tourney rules because they cut out so much of the rules clutter and made SFB more playable.


As far as ships..I stick with one era, Main.

Where I would like to see the game move forwards toward is more scenarios, and more diversity in their goals, as well as more campaigns , and of course term papers, and tactics guides.

More rules..don't need em..FC has enough rules to last it for the long haul.
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 10:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I prefer a form of campaign, or interesting scenarios if not that. I'd happily play tourneys if was redesignd to be less stale and boring (IMO of course).

We have moved to playing our campaign on a variety of map types (fixed, location, floating) in order to balance out any edge that different empires may get on different size maps. We play a variety of different scenarios from meeting engagmentst to static targets, convoy and other oddball objectives. Partly to stop games getting to stale and again to provide empires with a variety of challenges that they may or may not be so good at.

Tournament in itself is meaningless beyond the implication of competition. You could play a tourney in many ways. At the moment the tourney is a single set 'scenario' where you play the same squadron each game. That is all I look at the current tourney as - a scenario, that happens to be badly designed for what it is being used for.

My main reason for being fairly vocal is seeing people complain about balance or make statements without saying that they are really heavily biased around playing the tourney 'scenario'. It comes across as implying that there are issues with FedCom generally, when often they are fairly specific to that one scenario syle.

I think we played Mid-Years once. I think that may in part be simply down to not being interested in copying all the old black and white SSDs. Laziness on my part. We might play that more often if they had been done as proper color card products. I suppose I could get the color cards off e23, but I won't pay that price given I bought briefing 2. Certainly Mid-Years looks interesting in many ways.

Quote:
Personally I tend to focus on the tournament format as 'the game' when it comes to tweaking adjustments for the rules. It is the only area where the game is consistent enough to be able to judge effectiveness across the board.


I think I know what is being meant here, but if you are not playing a wide variety of scenarios, objectives, map sizes etc then you can't get an 'across the board' feel for effectiveness. Some empires are pretty effective in different settings but fall over badly in the tourney.


Last edited by storeylf on Mon Jul 25, 2011 5:16 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Savedfromwhat
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 12:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Tournament in itself is meaningless beyond the implication of competition. You could play a tourney in many ways. At the moment the tourney is a single set 'scenario' where you play the same squadron each game. That is all I look at the tourney as - a scenario, that happens to be badly designed for what it is being used for.

My main reason for being fairly vocal is seeing people complain about balance or make statements without saying that they are really heavily biased around playing the tourney 'scenario'. It comes across as implying that there are issues with FedCom generally, when often they are fairly specific to that one scenario syle.


Who has made balance cries from a tournament perspective that hasn't specifically stated it was with tournament play in mind? And what does your first sentence even mean? Every scenario has 2 opponents typically "COMPETING" to win. The very game itself is a competition? Or is it more about the journey for you? If competition doesn't matter to you why do you keep chiming in ?
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 1:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Savedfromwhat wrote:
Every scenario has 2 opponents typically "COMPETING" to win. The very game itself is a competition? Or is it more about the journey for you? If competition doesn't matter to you why do you keep chiming in ?



We usually play to win any individual game. In a campaign you may not be interested in winning a single scenario, you may be more interested in other campaign factors. A gaming competition however implies something more (note implies), multiple games against multiple people with a scoring system to see who overall has won. It may often have elements in the way it is setup that affect the how it plays out. Tourney implies nothing other than that, as the actual games that are played are not really defined simply by the term tourney. That is what I meant by competition in that context. But yes competition is a somewhat overloaded term.

In many cases there is some degree of metagaming going on. Whilst it could be ran in a way that removes that, many wargaming tourneys involve the sort of setup where you are min-maxing some 'army' because those are seen as being the ones most likely to come out on top (which may be often down to tournament rules as opposed to the game itself).

In the FedCom case you see a moderatley narrow range of ships being regularly used, and certain empires predominate due to that metagaming. In historical wargame tourneys you can get into balance issues if a tourney isn't careful about pitting non-historical enemies against each other. In other tourneys I've seen some sides be cast aside due to a points system that accentuates winning by certain margins which has resulted in armies that can readily win, but by lower margins being sidelined in favor of higher risk armies that may lose but when they win they win big etc (but with only 4-6 or so games to play they are still likely to be the winner of such a tourney).

In these cases the game itself can be perfectly sound, yet the tourney itself creates what can be seen as balance issues. If people start asking for changes to the game and they are largely tournament players, or players who basically largely play the tournament 'scenario', then I will point out that the problem may be more self inflicted, and a change in the tourney setup could solve percieved balance issues. If your germanic barbarians are constantly wiped out by the parthian archers then rather than complain about balance first look at whether the largely open field you fight on or the non-historical matchup is really the issue. If some fleets are more potent than others then look at whether the fixed 42*30 no terrain map is part of the problem rather than the game itself. Or is it the ship rrestrictions, or victory determination, or the lack of objective beyond kill all?
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gar1138
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 4:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For me, "the game" is mainly scenarios. I like all the different challenges that a starship captain might encounter and have to overcome (perhaps it comes from my long-ago days of starting out in SFB and playing The Captain's Game).

I find the tourney format fun (mostly for the social aspect), but somewhat sterile.

Garrett
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 5:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another aspect that wasn't mentioned is the number of players. Obviously the current tourney is 1 vs 1 in any individual game, but how many regularly play a single game with more than 2 people?

If so do you split into teams or go for free for all?
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Klingon of Gor
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 6:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"The Game" is Federation Commander, and whether it's a scenario, a tournament game, or just a duel between two ships, it's all good. I think the game's balance changes quite a bit if you go to a closed board. Some races flatly aren't competitive in tournament games. Andros aren't, and I don't really think Romulans are either. (I have won exactly one squadron game with Romulans. I was flying something of a gimmick squadron, a Shrike light raiding dreadnought, and a pair of War Eagles. That's three, count 'em folks, three R Torps.) Klingons are at a serious disadvantage on a closed board fighting Feds. This is not to say that the tournament format isn't a lot of fun, because it is, but there are races I wouldn't take into a tournament at a con.
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ericphillips
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 8:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To paraphrase Spoonboy from "The Matrix:"

"Do not try and define the game. That's impossible. Instead... only try to realize the truth. There is no game."
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