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S.Neil

Firestorm: Taskforce Update by Spartan Neil

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Hi All,
 
Firstly, apologies for not getting the Taskforce video done. I've been a bit of a wuss and off with a nasty bout of cold. or man flu as my wife calls it. Even worse Beth, she who is in charge of the video and is looking after social media for Spartan, has sided with my wife, so I'm getting hit from all sides on this! :)
 
I just wanted to give a quick breakdown of what Taskforce is before the video:
 

1) The rules are fast and simple. This is an introductory set of rules to get folk to the tabletop quickly and cost effectively. Derek Sinclair describes them as a gateway product, with the ultimate goal to get folk into playing Firestorm Armada 2.0 and then into version 3.0. I don't see current FA players transitioning to Taskforce, that's not the intent. But they can easily append Taskforce to their gaming sessions to deliver short, snappy games, or lunchtime games or to help demo to folk.
 
2) I created the rules after I came back from Gencon 2015. While I was there I was asked a lot about simplifying entry to the Firestorm Galaxy, about how players could have a simple way of showing potential new players how cool Firestorm is. Get the models on the table, show folk how to roll dice and kill stuff and give a flavour of what comes from the full rule set, aka Firestorm Armada 2.0.
 
3) As my guys were looking at a new generation of models it became clear that this gave us a perfect opportunity to hand the rules out in a set of 2-player boxes that pitted the cool new modular models against each other and provided the bits and pieces needed for a quick game. Hence Taskforce. So we put dice, tokens and templates in the box. The 32-page rulebook delivers the basics for a game: fleet selection, move, shoot, roll dice, kill, explode, laugh, mock the enemy etc.
 
4) For current FA gamers we then made six reinforcement boxes that deliver the models to them. They already have a set of rules they play with, so they can elect to ignore Taskforce and keep rolling dice using FA 2.0. They can then just enjoy our new and exciting models. :)
 
5) The models are cool and I am sure players will enjoy adding them to their fleets. My guys went away and put a lot of thought into how we can improve the FA models that we create for you. Magnets and modularity were the top of the list. We don't provide the magnets, but we have factored their use into the designs and 'holes' are located in the models for folk to use or ignore. Not everyone likes magnets, so it's not like we are forcing you to use them. We're currently working on larger models using the same approach. Today I was signing off a new Terran Alliance Battleship that starts life as just that, a Battleship, but by swapping parts and adding a new piece of superstructure it turns into a bitching Battle Carrier. Gamers can magnetise the parts and have a dual function model in their armoury if they feel so inclined, or just glue together the model they want to field. Lots of choice for the customer.
 
6) Don't worry about the scale of the models. The whole idea is to keep choice at play here. FA and Taskforce use the same models; they'll always use the same model scale. So a single investment in models can be played anyway a gamer wants to. Your fleets, your choice. Not for Spartan to tell you what to do with your toys.
 
7) So why make a new set of rules? Simple answer is why not. We're fully committed to FA 2.0 and we'll be enhancing this product in version 3.0. I've commissioned a large amount of background and scene-setting writing for the 3.0 rulebook which will properly pull together all aspects of our sci-fi galaxy – taking 6+ years of info and compositing it into a core set of documents. I am informed by Spartan Alex that rule enhancements and amends are in the works courtesy of the Firestorm Focus Group, so I look forward to being briefed on those soon. Instead of trying to twist FA 2.0 into a trimmed down 32-page book that would simply confuse folk I instead took the decision to make a very simple engine that could look upwards to FA 2.0 and offer, to use Derek's word here, a gateway to the hugely exciting gaming world that is FA 2.0 and beyond.
 

That's it for now guys. I am going to go and take another Lemsip and wuss about my home office. I'll delve into the game more next week and show more models off in the flesh. I'll try to push the new Terran Battleship through quickly to show you all as I am loving the direction of this bad boy.
 
Keep well,
Spartan Neil
 

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All I can say is - Lemsip - and two spoonfulls of sugar (because the powder lemsip tastes horrid ;)).

That said it's very exciting to see Spartan approaching modular construction with magnets as an option. Many game systems used modular construction but do it for a means of producing less moulds and thus making 1 casting go further. So its refreshing to see a company willing to say "yes our customers want to use magnets, so we will help them by having holes fitted for them.

The only thing I might suggest is, after playing with the Vaxiss (which appears to have magnets slots pre-fitted in some areas) is that it might be worth considering some resin "pegs". I say this because when one doesn't use magnets the inclusion of the hole leaves a much smaller resin-to-resin contact area for glue to work on. Now on some models this won't be an issue as there will be plenty of resin surface area to take up the slack; but for some areas there won't be (esp for joins of arms or such). Thus I feel that including a selection of resin pegs that can be glued into the magnet slots will help those not using magnets achieve a stronger bond when assembling (and saves them having to greenstuff fill the gaps and then wait for the GS to cure before assembling further).

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We're currently working on larger models using the same approach. Today I was signing off a new Terran Alliance Battleship that starts life as just that, a Battleship, but by swapping parts and adding a new piece of superstructure it turns into a bitching Battle Carrier. 

This is the only bit of the post that I paid more than the usual attention to. 

 

TERRAN ALLIANCE BATTLE-CARRIER!!!!!!

 

Looks like my fleet's admiral will be getting a new flagship after all... 

 

Back on topic; I do like the idea behind the modular ships and magnetizing them depending on what you need/want to field that particular day. I should have started magnetizing stuff ages ago, means I wouldn't have about a dozen spare cruiser and heavy cruiser engine sections sat in the bits box now! 

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Oh wow, is 3.0 something we should be thinking about now? I guess it has been two years for 2.0 now, I just hadn't thought much about it. And the news about that Battleship/Battlecarrier is phenominal. Can you drop some hints about some of the less loved core factions? Right now I'd have to count three Terran BBs to my spidery one, smellin' some pro-human bias here, haha! ;)

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Oh wow, is 3.0 something we should be thinking about now? I guess it has been two years for 2.0 now, I just hadn't thought much about it. And the news about that Battleship/Battlecarrier is phenominal. Can you drop some hints about some of the less loved core factions? Right now I'd have to count three Terran BBs to my spidery one, smellin' some pro-human bias here, haha! ;)

 Isn't it possible that the new terran ship is included in the (if I recall it correctly kind of confirmed) Dramos box? So new Terran and Dindrenzi stuff is bound to arrive soon, but I wholeheartedly support all spidery love :)

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I'm always excited for new models. Even though (currently) I own primarily Kurak Alliance fleets, I do have a hand in Zenian League stuff as well -- specifically Dindrenzi, RSN, and Works Raptor. Modularity means more options means more awesome things to write for the fleet! I would love to fit in that kind of story into my R&D Alliance fleet!

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New Terran Battleship / Battle Carrier? What about Marauders & Mercenaries? Even if Syndicate and OmniDyne finally have their renders and hopefully will be released in the coming moths, we still have STL completely lacking models and then Corsairs and Pathogen with few very old models - all lack a Patrol Fleet box. It is expected for Core fleets to be the main focus as they get the most attention from players...but it is only expected if some factions just don't have models or enough to be playable.

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This just seems weird. There's problems with 2.0 that customers have told you about, most notably length of play, so Firestorm Taskforce is a quickplay set of rules in order to draw people in, however not into Firestorm 2.0. So the rules are aimed at entirely new players, are you not concerned about splitting your potential player base?

Also why not simply create more support for smaller game sizes through scenario packs or yet another starter set?

I mean at least the modular models are nice. Back to BFG and keeping up with Dropfleet.

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So I'm a new buyer. I get a Taskforce. However by Spartans own post I'm not supposed to progress or get into Firestorm Armada, and if I do research I see everyone is hanging around for 3.0. So do we wait for 3.0, jump into 2.0... Do I even buy Taskforce knowing this information?

I guess I'm just confused by it all.

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+1 :)

 

2.0 is already awesome a game.

3.0 can seem useless for the moment (?). But also promising and exciting. However, giving us that info of a future 3.0 should maybe come with a vague idea of 'when', not to let us confused about what to do. Is this incoming in 3 month ? Not before one year at last ?... :)

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The idea of having separate rules for a smaller game isn't a bad concept. The overall general concept of moving, attacking, rolling dice etc... will be the same so those new to wargaming will get a nice simpler intro; however it also means that players old and new have a rules set that works for fast games; as filler games between bigger matches or just because they've only got a short time to play.

Don't forget games like Warhammer and Warmachine introduce modifications/new rules for larger games and GW also has some for smaller point matches as well. So its well established in the market. Having a quick game that plays right out of the box is a big bonus for wargaming in general as it makes it easy for new people to launch right into the game without too much work (that was something that was a problem for Warhammer fantasy, you needed a lot of models to get started).

As a complimentary rules set it should work (it tends to fail if you do what GW did with Age of Sigmar and introduce your "smaller scale/fun" rules and then do away with your serious rules at the same time).

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OK nay sayers!

You are entitled to your opinion, leave no doubt about that.

However, why can't 2.0(which is pretty well balanced) not be improved?

A tweak here, a complete overhaul there and you have a better game system. Then sprinkle in a heaping pot full of fluff and art work, maybe a dash of a plot twist in the war, and folia! Better core role book and improved game.

Why not?

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A tweak here, a complete overhaul there and you have a better game system. Then sprinkle in a heaping pot full of fluff and art work, maybe a dash of a plot twist in the war, and folia! Better core role book and improved game.

Don't get me wrong, I'd totally go for that, even tomorrow. :)

Especially for more fluff and art, even if the rule changes are minor.

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Hi Guys,

 

I thought I had been clear above, but apparently not. So let's take a couple of things apart and run through them:

 

1) I must me getting old, but pretty sure I didn't say Taskforce players shouldn't move to FA 2.0 and beyond if they want to. That's kinda the whole idea. We could have simply just made some new models, rolled them out and told the folk who had asked for a lean set of easy to use rules that we weren't interested in listening to them. Here is how it sits: if you play FA 2.0 then enjoy it, play it and get involved in the 3.0 discussion, which has plans afoot to speed games up etc. If you've never played FA before, then go for whatever you want to - download FA 2.0 for free and get a more involved granular game. Or if you are after something a lot simpler and faster then just get a copy of Taskforce, which comes in a printed book in a pretty cost effective set of boxes with dice and tokens and stuff. It's not complex at all. Or play both. Apologies if I'd not been clearer in my first post, but hopefully this is more concrete.

 

This bit for Zond: if you are playing FA 2,0 already then you are unlikely to even want/need Taskforce. Just play what you are playing and you can, if you want them, just get the Reinforcement boxes to expand your fleets. You will be able to get 3.0 when it comes out, or you can ignore it. 2,0 is already a great game. If none of these options fit your needs, then as you've mentioned above, there are other options open for you to play/buy.

 

 

2) FA Version 3.0 - let's be clear about this one. We're always looking at rules as games evolve. 3.0 is something that is being looked at and will encompass a number of things that we think/hope will  improve the game experience for you all. But 3.0 or 2.5 or 2.11, whatever we all want to call it, is an evolution of the current rules, not a revolution. At some point Spartan Alex and I can sit down and pick some nuggets of info to share with you.

 

Bit for Karun - the book will be later this year. So it is not within three months.

 

3) The Terran Alliance Battleship is just an example of a model. A test piece if you will. Everyone is getting new large models. NO Relthoza left behind!

 

 

4) Marauders and such. OK, full on chunk of work for us to here. We're redone the Syndicate, rebuilt the Omnidyne and working on stuff like the STL and Pathogen. We've also reworked the Xelocians. My intent is for the Syndicate, Xelocians and new Omnidyne refit to form a release for Firestorm after we get the new boxes out.

 

Bit for Kurgan - all the fleets need to get to a Patrol Fleet level at the least. So I agree that some factions are handicapped by not having a full model count. Which is why when we continue developing the Marauders they will form playable fleets, not just some model classes.

 

5) To Small Mek - no, different Battleship. The Dramos box is backwards in time, older generation ships.

 

If anyone needs any more info or wants to chat things through just drop me an email: neil@spartangames.co.uk

 

All the best,

Spartan Neil

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Dramos box? News to me, must have missed that! Oh man, more ships! Excited! I can teach everyone the history of our forefathers and martyrs. Heroes everyone of them.

As for all the other points I would just like to say thanks to Neil for getting involved. I look forward to taskforce fore demo and introduction games as well if I fancy a quick throw down like other skirmish games. I look foreward to to using taskforce ships in with the rest of my fleet for 2.0. I look foreward to the future and a potential 3.0 and will chat to Alex when I see him at tournements and conventions.

Keep up the good work!

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The Dramos box came up in conversation in the office ages ago. We were chatting about how we could put more flesh on the bone on the history of the Firestorm Galaxy and I don't remember who came up with the idea for a historical boxed se, but it got us chatting about how we could do it, how we could go back to the design basics of fleets. I remember someone talking about looking at how ships like the old Razorthorne came about and stuff like that.

 

We've kicked ideas about for a while and whilst we haven't finalised the box contents, we know what we want it to be and we've made some test designs. I am hoping folk will find it a fun add on when we can get round to releasing it.

 

Cheers,

Spartan Neil

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Which makes sense - Taskforce is the intro game; simpler faster rules that might not be as detailed as FA 2.0 or the future 3.0 but which provide a simple fun fast game. The expectation is that players new will get into Taskforce and likely advance into full FA; whilst existing players might use Taskforce for intro games or to dabble in for fast matches, but will ultimately play FA 2.0/3.0

Rather like how Warmachine players will play Unbound but will most times play regular rules. The only difference is that Spartan is using smaller force rules instead of bigger; which is a good thing as it focuses on growing the community

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