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The Warcradle Team

Frans

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Posts posted by Frans

  1. As far as I know the 2nd gen UCS stuff are computer designs, so depending on the fabrication method either the masters or the moulds are 3D printed.

    Also the Dragon Lords pictured in the last rulebook look more detailed than the earlier models, so I think they actually got reworked, just not to the level of Spartan’s later work.

    Anyway, it has been over two years now, I have six fleets gathering dust while waiting to be completed, and I’m not happy about that.

    Like I said before, if they don’t have the intention of actually doing something productive with the stuff, then why not sell it on to someone who will do something productive with it.

    At the moment the vast majority of the UCS models are still competitive quality wise, and there’s no competition whatsoever, but those circumstances aren’t going to last forever.

    They are just burning daylight.

  2. 9 minutes ago, RuleBritannia said:

    There are two issues, limited access to moulds and whether Warcradle cares that much for Spartan's range since it is some ways a competitor for Warcradle's somewhat different vision.

    As far as I know, except for the Halo stuff, they bought the whole caboodle, including UCS.

    I suspect issue two has more to do with it, or they simply aren’t interested, in which case, in the interest of the UCS players community, they should pass the stuff on to someone who is.

  3. Going by the original fluff the pipes down the sides generate thrust below water level by releasing steam.

    In my opinion that would be horribly ineffective, and I suspect the miniatures designer(s) had something else in mind...

    My best guess is some sort of paddle-wheel style propulsion in the shape of a caterpillar.

    F.

  4. 1 hour ago, Wolfgang Jannesen said:

    Hey fair enough,  I just don't think its worth getting worried about hypothetical outcomes when right here in this thread are pages and pages of ideas to speed up gameplay.

    Yep, pages and pages of off-topic posts...

  5. 4 hours ago, Ryjak said:

    #2 is the hardest, because each Model has ~30 different ways it can Move, and you can’t really know where the Model can actually go until you actually MOVE it.  Probably the best way to streamline gameplay is to use a mechanic where either you know (or can easily find out) where the Model can move, or take the X-Wing route where you guess, but are mechanically bound to this decision.

    More like infinite different ways it can move.

    And the X-wing route represents a sort of board game movement, with the templates replacing the game board grid.

  6. On 4/24/2018 at 2:54 AM, Charistoph said:

    Nor did I say you did.  I am presenting you that your concept is based on a demonstrated fallacy by virtue of very substantiated evidence.  When looking to make a Table Top game you can't ignore the big bad on the market (and 40K is big, and it is bad).  Your standard regarding rules clarity for tournaments falls under the "it is good to have" rather than the "it is a requirement" as you are presenting.

    That is very true for Chess that the decision is what takes up all the time.  That's where its simplicity runs in to a snag.  That still doesn't change the fact that if you cut out the doubles of the back line the game will progress markedly quicker.

    In addition to that, the dice rolls are part of the rules complexity.  The more complex the rules in general, then the fewer models one can field on the board.  You are correct that the number of models are a multiplier, and while I didn't expressly state that in such a manner, I did represent it with the concepts I presented. 

    40K games vary in time largely based on the types of armies being employed.  Horde armies like the Tyranids take far more time when you deploy numerous horde units, while armies made up of Praetorian Marines and Imperial Knights take hardly any time at all to handle their mechanics.

    Then there is Battletech.  While not a game that sees regular tournament time right now (us grognards are hard to corral when not gathering for something else), it is a game that is so complex that even a 4v4 game can take 3 hours or more, depending on the "era" of the game and the weight of the units being deployed.  Much of that time isn't necessarily taken up with mechanics (though they are a factor), but the fact that the average armor of a model can be around 180 points, with internal strength running about half that (with critical hits reducing the time to kill).  Don't even get me started on the challenge of Battlespace where they involve tracking newtonian physics as well as the high amounts of damage that can be absorbed.

    And yes, I can reference several "Warhammer" type games because they are competitor for modeling dollars and playing time (they are the Big Bad in tabletop gaming right now), so one needs to take in to account the accessibility of the game (which result from the mechanics).  In addition, Battlefeet Gothic, their space combat game, is back under development (or at least the reliable rumormongers have stated such).  Dropfleet Command's system is largely based on the original Battlefleet Gothic, which is a current competitor as well.

    You didn't answer the question.  How big of a fleet are YOU looking to have on the table for a tournament of FSA?  Would you only like to see a Patrol Fleet, or would you like the intricacies of a Grand Fleet?

    Honestly, if you want people to come in to this game, it should be bringing a Battle Fleet to the average game, at the minimum, if not a Grand Fleet.  Small numbers of models mean that fewer are sold.  In addition, you don't get to show them off except for specially planned events like 40K players do for Apocalypse.

    The only thing your evidence proves is that players can be sufficiently addicted to a company/setting that they will put up with anything.

    As is the aforementioned company is actually losing customers to companies producing games tailored towards tournament play.

    That’s why they have recently started releasing their own games tailored towards tournament play.

    They could have tailored their existing games towards tournament play instead, of course, but they didn’t, for good reasons.

    Those reasons being that you don’t want to risk alienating your main customer base in order to cater for the wishes of a minority within that customer base.

    And that’s why it would be much better to tailor FA 3.0 towards players who like big games taking all day, and tailor Taskforce 2.0 towards players who like tournaments.

     

    Regarding rules complexity etc.; simpler rules don’t necessarily result in faster gameplay, and the number of dice rolls needed doesn’t necessarily increase with rules complexity.

    Point is that, regardless of complexity, rules can be written to make you work, or rules can be written to do the work for you.

    In my opinion good rules belong to the latter category.

    The same goes for dice rolls; a more detailed/realistic combat resolution doesn’t necessarily involve rolling more dice more often.

    Most detailed/realistic “single die” combat resolution systems utilizing anything from a D20 to a D100 look complex and slow down gameplay at first, but as rules proficiency increases they speed up remarkably, leaving any “bucket full of D6” system behind in the dust.

    The main reasons those games the “big bad” represents are fast playing have nothing to do with rules detail and complexity, with these games that's purely the result of extremely simple combat resolution and, even more important, movement systems.

    As an example, moving a Squad of SM, with the only restraint being you can’t move them further than six inches, is going to take a whole lot less time than moving the same number of space ships complying to all sorts of precise movement restrictions.

     

    And regarding the “How big of a fleet are YOU looking to have on the table for a tournament of FSA?” question; you’re assuming I play in tournaments, which I don’t, I don’t have any interest in tournaments whatsoever, so the answer would be “none”.

     

    You’re right that an ability to field bigger fleets will be more attractive to most players.

    Still the majority of popular new tournament games don’t involve many models.

    That’s because they aim at a very specific target group, which doesn’t represent the majority of war-gamers.

    That majority of war-gamers isn’t going to be interested in a space combat game either btw, because they don’t like fiddly time consuming movement systems, and you can’t have a decent space combat game without a fiddly time consuming movement system.

    Like tournament games, space combat games represent a niche within the war-gaming hobby too.

    And you can’t cater for both these niches without ending up with a compromise that isn’t going to please anyone.

    That’s why I think FA would be better served with something tailored towards big games taking all day, which is what the space combat niche likes, and also have a much simplified “Taskforce” spin off to specifically cater for the tournament niche.

  7. On 4/23/2018 at 7:10 PM, Wolfgang Jannesen said:

    @Frans Take a big step back dude, there are paragraphs of assumptions on your part and they've got nothing to do with anything definitive and real on the development of firestorm right now.

    Where I come from it is seen as more productive to talk about things before they become definitive and real than afterwards.

     

  8. 18 hours ago, Charistoph said:

    Aside from Chess, what is the longest running wargame run regularly in tournaments?  Hint, it has some of the biggest lack of rule clarity in any well known game.  It was recently simplified, but there is still a large amount of murkiness in the rules.

    There are two factors involved in the length a game plays: Complexity in implementing rules, and  the number of models that are fielded.  If you are actually running a tournament, then the attendees should be expected to be sufficiently familiar with the rules to play at an adequate, if not rapid, pace.

    If one is sufficiently familiar with a ruleset, then the complexity isn't that large of an impediment and then just boils down to the number of models two can push around in the targeted time frame.  Chess goes MUCH faster if you take out either the left or right 3 squares.  I noticed that you haven't bothered to define what size of fleet(s) you are considering when dumping the "non-tournament game" tag on to FSA.  Are you looking at having two grand Fleets on the table?  One?  Is just a Battle Fleet per side what you are considering when you are making this determination?  Are you going by what the Reading Tournament goes by, or some other 'con's tournament?  More information is helpful.

    As a side note, 40K tournaments usually factor 2.5 hours per game, not two.  Most will get done within the two hour time frame, but playing Astra Miliatrum Conscript spam versus a Tyranid Horde will take time just doing movement.  And that demonstrates how much model count plays a part in this determination.

    I don’t remember saying that “the longest running wargame run regularly in tournaments” is a game well suited for tournaments, in my opinion the only thing that particular game is good at is selling goods at inflated prices to a thoroughly addicted customer base.

     

    Your view on what determines game length isn’t correct, there’s a lot more involved than the two factors you see as determining.

    Chess, for instance, is a game with very simple rules, and a turn requires but the simple move of a single playing piece, yet the game requires so much time to play they had to come up with something called a chess clock to speed things up a bit.

    The two most important factors determining length of play in a decent space combat game are the amount of dice (and dice rolls) required for combat resolution AND the complexity of the movement system.

    The actual number of ships on the table only multiplies the result of the combination of these two factors.

    And the problem is that you can’t have combat resolution and movement systems as simplistic as those in “the longest running wargame run regularly in tournaments” and still end up with a decent space combat game.

    As a matter of fact, any references to “Warhammer” type games where it comes to space combat games, especially regarding things like combat resolution and movement, are totally useless.

     

    Regarding FA tournament game size; as far as I know most tournaments are currently held at the 400~600 points level, and require two hours plus to finish at that level.

    What tournament players seem to want for 3.0, however, is a substantial increase in the amount of points, and two hours playing time at the outside.

    Now I can understand why they want to be able to have tournaments at an increased points level, because the fact that FA is playable with ~500 point fleets doesn’t mean you’re getting the full FA experience at that points level, far from that.

    But having both substantially more ships on the table AND decreasing playing time won’t be possible without reducing the simulation level of the game to a level at which you’re basically playing Warhammer with little space ship models.

    Needless to say, that’s not the type of game I, and most other players, bought into, and certainly not something I’m looking forward too either.

     

  9. 19 hours ago, Skyhawk said:

    @Frans as of right now the community is trying to streamline the game, not remove detail. I don't classify that as stripping it to the bone or even giving it a diet, I classify that as cutting off dead weight. Several mechanics have been mentioned as needing streamlining. I think streamlining  will help make the game shorter makeing  it easier to learn the rules,  to play more often, and introduce new people to the game.

    Yeah, but simple streamlining isn’t going to result in the substantially shorter games with substantially bigger fleets a certain player group seems to desire for 3.0

    And if shorter games with bigger fleets becomes the / an official design goal for 3.0 the result will be something entirely different than the current FA (and something a large part of the current customer base is probably not going to like).

  10. On 4/22/2018 at 4:42 PM, Stoobert said:

    @Frans “picking its bones clean” in relation to a 2 hour game sounds sounds pretty disastrous and final.  

    Yet the two major FSA tournaments have had round limits of 2.5 hours for the last 4 years.  So if those round limits needed to be comfortably 2 hours that's a reduction of just 20%-30% game time.   To use your bodily metaphor, that’s more like putting FSA on a diet, not picking its bones clean. 

    This isn’t about what has been in the past, this is about the two main wishes for FA 3.0 I see emerging on this forum; bigger fleets AND shorter playtimes.

    Now you might be able to achieve one of those with a diet, but achieving both will certainly require a bit more than that.

  11. On 4/15/2018 at 1:31 PM, Ryjak said:

    I disagree with @Frans on just about everything.  What makes a game suitable for tournaments isn’t primarily the length of time, but the quality of the gameplay and precision in the rules.   You don’t see too many Tic-TAC-Toe tournaments, and that game takes minutes to play.

    You can tell if a game is Tournament-ready with a simple thought exercise: if $1,000,000 was the grand prize for winning, what would players try to do to win? Mostly, they’ll try to cheat, so imprecise rules introduce space for cheating.  They’ll also find the optimum way to play, and if this is easy to find, the game won’t work for this level of competition either.

    If a game has these two components, people would be willing for the game to take 12 hours to resolve, especially for a shot at the grand prize.  However, the only way to have that kind of prize support is to make the game marketable to spectators, which draws sponsors.  Two hours per round is the most spectators are willing to tolerate.

    Why do you think Soccer is so popular?

    Well, I was talking about war-games, I thought that was pretty obvious.

    And the fact that a tournament game ALSO needs clear rules etc. etc. doesn’t change the fact that it will need to be playable within a certain amount of time.

    How much time that is will depend on the actual type of tournament; in the popular miniatures war-gaming tournaments format this will be two hours tops.

    Now there exist many things you can do within a two hour time frame, but completing a detailed fleet level space combat miniatures game, like Firestorm Armada, isn’t one of them.

    You can streamline the rules as long as you like, but you’ll never be able to turn FA into a 90~120 minute game without picking its bones clean.

    The point I’m making is that you can’t turn FA into something “tournament suitable” without changing the type of game it has always been entirely, and with that come risks regarding the current customer base.

    As an example; from my own current four player FA group only one player might actually be interested in such a game, but he’s already heavily involved with X-wing and Armada, so probably won’t go for a third “tournament” space combat game.

    And looking back at BFG times, the majority of players I used to know that were involved with that weren’t “tournament” players either.

    So, as far as I can see, going the “tournament” way with FA could easily alienate three quarters plus of the games current customer base, yours truly included.

  12. 22 minutes ago, Overread said:

    Also lets face it GW Warhammer 40K and Age of Sigma and Fantasy all manage to have up to hundreds of units per side and still hold competitive events. There's no reason that Firestorm can't adapt its rules to follow suit in a limited form (the mechanics of space moving making super large blocks a bit too tricky to move around).

    Those are all games representing forms of combat that can handle very fast and simple movement systems without losing their “simulation” feel.

    Space combat is something entirely different, because with space combat, without precise movement, you’ll lose the “simulation” feel.

    And that’s why you can’t have a decent space combat game with a table full of ships that’s tournament suitable.

  13. On 4/14/2018 at 6:39 AM, Charistoph said:

    I didn't think that Taskforce was a tournament play game.  It was designed for a quick get together and bang out a game in a short time with a small number of models.

    Sure sounds like a tournament suitable game...

    Quote

    I don't think it was really designed for the larger number of models that a normal Armada game is supposed to have. 

    That's because Firestorm Armada wasn't made for tournaments.

    Quote

    What are you classifying as a tournament game?

    Anything designed to be finished within two hours tops.

    Quote

    My suggestion would be to look at your prime competitors and see what people are looking to play at.

    What you are then likely to see is what the internet shows you…

    And what the Internet is going to show you is that tournament play is the most visible part of war-gaming, because those involved in it are over-represented on the internet.

    Re tailoring a game like Firestorm Armada to suit a different player-group runs the very real risk of alienating the current player-group.

    And that current player group might well be considerably larger than this new target-group.

  14. On 4/14/2018 at 4:56 AM, Stoobert said:

    One last thing, while tournament games may not reuqire many models on the table, every X-Wing player I know who plays in tournaments has at least one of most every ship in the game, sometimes several!   That’s gotta mean somethin’.  :-)

    What it means is that most X-wing players are StarWars addicts who would buy my sweaty socks if I told them Obi-Wan once wore them (long long ago etc. etc.) ;)

  15. On 4/11/2018 at 5:32 PM, Stoobert said:

    What I think you're missing, Frans, a few things:

    1. Tournament game vs. 'all day game' -- you can have BOTH but this can go only one way, not the other.   A tournament  game can be both a tournament game and a game takes all day - depending on the fleet size and scenario, but not the other way round.

    2. FSA isn't a game in a box for 3-6 players, with an expansion or two, like Twilight Imperium.  With a game like TI the box is sold once and you're done - and the only play option is a game that takes all day.  How often the customer plays after the initial sale doesn't matter to the company, really.

    3. FSA is a minis game that, like all minis games, stays afloat due to continued incremental model sales and player retention.   I'm not a marketing genius but I can guess that people who play more frequently (e.g. on a Thurs club/league night) tend to buy more models, expand into new factions, etc. more than people who play once or twice a year.  There are exceptions, of course, such as the guy who buys all 6 factions and never plays, but these are quite rare.  Play produces sales.
     

    You can certainly scale a tournament game up to something requiring an entire day to finish, but doing so will just turn a small simple game into a big simple game, it won’t get you something complex and detailed like the current Firestorm Armada.

    So you can’t have both, no matter what way you go.

    Spartan actually did come up with the right (and only) solution for making FA tournament suitable, they created a second space combat game specifically designed for tournament play.

    What you desire isn’t Firestorm Armada 3.0, it is Firestorm Taskforce 2.0

    Which is fine by me, but not at the cost of Firestorm Armada please.

     

    Regarding the business part; I think it is rather dangerous to assume that what the average forum member wants equals what the average customer wants, and that the average tournament player is also interested in space combat games that don’t float on a very fat long long ago IP.

    In addition to that tournament games have, from a business point of view, two disadvantages; the first one being that most of them don’t require that many miniatures to play, and the second one being that they are highly susceptible to trends.

    Especially the latter one isn’t desirable for a small company operating in a niche of a niche market.

  16. Movements of units, and most other things, are by definition much more complex and time consuming in a table top miniatures war-game than they are in a board-game, simply because of the immense increase in possible actions that comes with leaving the constraints inherent to a gaming board behind.

    That’s why table top miniatures war-games, unless sized down and dumbed down to the bare minimum, aren’t really suitable for tournament play.

    That’s why the currently most popular space combat game for tournaments is essentially a card game pretending to be a board-game disguised as a miniatures game.

    And it primarily floats on the fattest IP in history by the way.

    I honestly don’t understand this desire to dumb and size down all table top miniatures war-games just because otherwise you can’t play Saturday afternoon tournaments with them.

    I have nothing against tournaments, but they aren’t, and have never been, the be all and end all of table top miniatures war-gaming.

     

    In Firestorm Armada movement eats up a lot of the available time, which is actually just fine because movement is the most important factor in a tactical space combat game anyway.

    And because movement is so important it should offer both freedom of choice and precision, which unfortunately doesn’t combine well with quick and easy.

    This doesn’t mean I have nothing critical to say about how Firestorm Armada’s movement mechanics work, to the contrary; the rules invite congestion, the hardware sucks, and the end result feels more like sailing boats than flying space ships.

    And much the same goes for the way in which the game handles space combat.

    Spartan came up with some mechanics to balance units of varying size and firepower, and those mechanics are fundamentally flawed.

    What I’m talking about here is this whole cumbersome exploding dice and linked fire mechanism that only stays afloat thanks to an artificial cap on squadron sizes, which severely hampers freedom of choice where it comes to buying miniatures and fielding fleets.

     

    There exist many more things in Firestorm Armada that would benefit greatly from some improving, changing the way SRS functions into something that actually feels like small manned spacecraft instead of some short range missile weapons system for instance, but the two mentioned above, movement and combat resolution, are at the core of any war-game, and as such determine success or failure.

    So I’m very interested in an all new and improved Firestorm Armada, but in my opinion “improved” doesn’t equal “tournament friendly”.

    I happen to like Firestorm Armada’s current complexity level, and I also like a game that doesn’t feel like it ended before it really started, as most of those 90-minute marvels do.

    Firestorm Armada has always been a fleet level space combat game for war-gamers who like big battles taking all day, and most players I’m familiar with that play it played BFG before, another fleet level space combat game for war-gamers who like big battles taking all day.

    So why now turn it into yet another contender for the competitor rich, and thus risky, tournament scene?

    Spartan Games didn’t sink because they lacked Firestorm Armada customers, they sank because they lacked continuity, never finished what they started, and seldom delivered on promises made.

  17. 5 hours ago, Ryjak said:

    One thing you are all missing in your critique on Derek... Neil Fawcett was the “Creative Director” at Spartan Games, and he micro-managed everything.  I know Alex Mann wanted to do a lot of things with Firestorm Armada, and generally Neil undercut him or ignored him.  For example, Alex had the initial concept for Firestorm Taskforce, which Neil handed over to someone else to develop... and only gave them two weeks to do so.

    For me, I have no way to separate how much of what we saw from 3.0 was from Derek or Neil. I know I preferred the direction Alex wanted to go with the game (those ideas should be archived in this forum) instead of what Derek/Neil/Josh cooked up.

    Sure, nothing happened without Neill approving.

    But both Alex and Derek have disclosed their personal view on space combat gaming often enough, on this forum, for me to know that I would probably have liked where Alex intended to take Firestorm Armada, and surely wouldn’t have liked were Derek was taking it.

     

  18. On 3/27/2018 at 5:41 PM, Warcradle Stuart said:

    Derek has been announced as being involved with the rules development for Dystopian Wars. Nothing has been announced for Firestorm. 

    Doesn’t really matter.

    It’s a clear indication of the type of games you’re apparently aiming for.

    And, like Pok, I have no interest whatsoever in the type of games Derek & Co produce.

    Nothing personal, just not my cup of tea.

  19. On 3/3/2018 at 6:44 PM, Skyhawk said:

    I've been eye balling a fantasy game here recently, and it has a rather unique activation method. Rather than using the I move my army you move you army, or I move a unit you move a unit method , it has whats called activation rolls. For every unit you wish to activate on your turn you roll a pair of die. If your roll is successful you get to activate said unit and then roll for the next unit. Your turn ends when you fail an activation roll. This causes you to think about what unit you want to prioritize on activating. And from what I've read it makes the game flow better. This is just a thought, I know some won't like because its adds some more randomness into the game.

    A space ship has a course and speed, and failing an activation roll isn’t going to change that...

     

  20. 18 hours ago, Wolfgang Jannesen said:

    What do you mean works without restricting squadron sizes?  Its not going to be a 1:1 ratio due to rounding but any ship linking with or without these rules would still be recieving linked attack dice

    Linking fire is a crucial part of the mechanism the game uses to balance small units against big units, but it only works for maximized squadrons, severely restricting your options when building a fleet.

    Because of that it also restricts you when buying miniatures (can I get enough of them to field a maximized squadron).

    And for those who aren’t into tournament play, but like to play in a campaign environment instead, for instance, it imposes a severe restriction on the type of campaign you can set up, because losses suffered will have a disproportional effect on total fighting power.

    With the BFG system you don’t have these restrictions, simply because units don’t decrease in value with decreasing squadron size like they do with the FA system.

  21. We can’t have realistic 3D Newtonian movement, so lets go for the moving through water model instead.

    I don’t get why scratching realistic and 3D must automatically end with something simulating the effects of screws and rudders on a fluid.

    And then, before you know it, we are fitting rams to our bows and swinging towards the enemy on the end of a rope again too.

    Now that’s the sort of space combat I have no interest whatsoever in.

     

    And I don’t think the design of the current FA ships contradicts with a 2D Newtonian style movement system.

    They all have something resembling main thrusters, and manoeuvring thrusters may be visible, but don’t need to be.

    So I don’t see why the current miniatures would be incompatible with 2D Newtonian style movement.

     

    Charistoph brings up a good point by the way; the importance of staying true to a settings rules.

    I think it is important for a scifi setting to have a clearly defined scientific background, because having one helps suspending disbelief, and it also enables players to reason their way out of situations the rules didn’t foresee.

     

    Anyway, a Star Wars style FA game is about the last thing I would like to see, and a game including ramming IS the last thing I would like to see.

    That’s why I started this topic, if FA is going that way I have no interest in it any more, so I wanted to know what it was going to be.

     

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