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ACTA vs Starmada?

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Joined: 23 Sep 2014
Posts: 24

PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2014 6:45 pm    Post subject: ACTA vs Starmada? Reply with quote

So, it seems like each game in the SFU has its own "niche", starting with SFB as the most complex with the most options and choices, then going to FC with its streamlining to still give the feel of the strategy options, but making the game faster. Then we have ACTA, which is much faster and allows for larger fleet battles at the cost of removing a lot of the rules and strategic options.

My question here is that ACTA and Starmada seem (at least to me) to be competitive products each filling the same niche. Can someone with more information clarify the differences between the 2? I have been playing FC and really enjoying it, SFB is just too long for my busy life schedule, and I just picked up ACTA and played a couple of games so far, but I'm wondering if I should bother with Starmada.

Your thoughts?
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Fleet Captain

Joined: 08 Oct 2006
Posts: 1740
Location: Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2014 8:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's worth noting that there are two editions of Starmada which are currently supported for the SFU: Admiralty and Nova.

Of the two, Admiralty has a greater degree of granularity: each weapon mount is listed individually, for example. Whereas in Nova, batteries are instead grouped together as a further abstraction. (This PDF shows what the Planet Killer and Juggernaut DN look like in Nova, while their Admiralty equivalents are in these files.)

Perhaps the main difference between Starmada (of either flavour) and ACtA:SF is that the former is (or are) primarily hex-based, as opposed to the hexless miniature focus on the latter.

If it helps, Majestic 12 have posted preview PDFs of both editions' rulesets to their own website (Admiralty and Nova), though neither file includes any of the SFU-specific rules and adjustments used in the various Star Fleet Armada books.
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Fleet Captain

Joined: 24 Jul 2008
Posts: 1897

PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2014 12:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm also a big fan of FC and have played it massively, but don't like SFB even though I loved it as a teen, but it is way to complex for life as an adult.

I have also tried both starmada and ACTA (1st edition). I haven't seen the latest version of ACTA (must get round to downloading it), but was involved in the playtest of the new version early on. I felt at that point it was capturing the feel of the SFU pretty well for a quick play fleet level game.

Starmada on the other hand just doesn't do it for me at all. There's an interesting game in there as a generic space/naval type game. But it really doesn't do SFU for me. Part of that may be the conversion of ships (some conversion bits I just struggled to comprehend), but also the whole game system seems much more suited to a slow ponderous naval 19/20 century battlewagon type system, with weapon ranges far exceeding the (useful|) movement ability of ships, whereas in the SFU games ships can move as far between shots as the weapons can fire making movement and maneuverability far more significant.

Although I haven't seen the final ACTA 1.2, I would still never the less suggest that ACTA is the better SFU game of the 2 by a country mile. Indeed I look forward to getting it, seeing how it finally looks, and getting some of my group to give it another go. Starmada intrigues me as being a nice generic space game with great campaign potential (my preferred style of play), but just not SFU games.
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