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Firestorm Armada 3.0 headed our way?

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SRS?  Russian jet pictures?  This topic got way off course.  :)

 

Re: simplifying maneuvering and dice pools.  I have hope/trust that Spartan will find a way to do this without removing the tactical aspects of the game.  It needs both.

 

1. I've seen several intelligent men in their 20s/30s with engineering degrees struggle to figure out the template.  Flipping the template over and around is not intuitive.  Maybe this isn't your experience.   Ok.  But it's what I've seen.

 

2. Dice pools.  This needs a little help.  People can only do it quickly if you've memorized the stats of your ships and played dozens of games. 

 

3. Disbelief at folks who take longer than 30 seconds to move?  Guys, sorry I have to push back here.  Sure, 30-sec move can be done.  But only if most of the following are true:

  • it's the 1st or 6th turn and your movement doesn't really matter much  
  • you're not in the thick of a battle, pre-measuring to multiple targets in different arcs, trying to optimize your range bands, avoid mines, set yourself up for an assault, and avoid placing your squad within his ideal range band, keeping a 4.25" distance yet under 6" between each model, while steering around asteroids... or all of the above
  • you're not playing to win and just don't care
  • you're not holding your template above several models and flying over (or tipping over) other ships
  • you planned ahead your move and your cooperative opponent moved his squad you predicted in the way you predicted

Otherwise, an activation can get quite complicated and lengthy.   I welcome a change while keeping the spirit of the the game.  A 'pivot' maybe is the way to do that. we'll have to see what the team comes up with.

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An optional experience system something like that seen in Mordheim or BloodBowl would go down very well with me. Play a campaign game with friends, you'd probably treat squadrons as 'individuals' and would need some way of saying a ship destroyed in a game is not entirely gone but has managed to limp back for repairs.

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SRS? Russian jet pictures? This topic got way off course. :)

Re: simplifying maneuvering and dice pools. I have hope/trust that Spartan will find a way to do this without removing the tactical aspects of the game. It needs both.

1. I've seen several intelligent men in their 20s/30s with engineering degrees struggle to figure out the template. Flipping the template over and around is not intuitive. Maybe this isn't your experience. Ok. But it's what I've seen.

2. Dice pools. This needs a little help. People can only do it quickly if you've memorized the stats of your ships and played dozens of games.

3. Disbelief at folks who take longer than 30 seconds to move? Guys, sorry I have to push back here. Sure, 30-sec move can be done. But only if most of the following are true:

  • it's the 1st or 6th turn and your movement doesn't really matter much
  • you're not in the thick of a battle, pre-measuring to multiple targets in different arcs, trying to optimize your range bands, avoid mines, set yourself up for an assault, and avoid placing your squad within his ideal range band, keeping a 4.25" distance yet under 6" between each model, while steering around asteroids... or all of the above
  • you're not playing to win and just don't care
  • you're not holding your template above several models and flying over (or tipping over) other ships
  • you planned ahead your move and your cooperative opponent moved his squad you predicted in the way you predicted
Otherwise, an activation can get quite complicated and lengthy. I welcome a change while keeping the spirit of the the game. A 'pivot' maybe is the way to do that. we'll have to see what the team comes up with.

I agree completely with all points.

On the experience front, I like the idea for a campaign system. Realistically it's just a case of a list of refits and MARs that the ship gains. I think each should come with a points cost so the ships get more expensive as their experience grows as the danger is that one guy gets a lucky streak then he's running a fleet with hundreds of points of free upgrades that nobody can touch.

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Better to fix "snaking" by other means than throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Pivot moving would lead to FSA movement becoming spongy, vulnerable to cheating, while losing the feel of the momentum mechanic. Keeping some sort of template helps to keep movement solid, fair and keeps true the differences between the different factions and their ships.

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Well, technically I was thinking about optional rules for naming your own ships and upgrading them as they survive battles, possibly with an app to facilitate that.

I'd also like rules support for organized play with prize kits featuring promotional items, unique drop-ons and terrain, objective tokens, acrylic bits, that sort of thing.

Please, no optional rules.

Eventually "optional" becomes mandatory.

If you want optional/house rules in your own little neck of the meta, by all means, please do so. :)

Thankfully, optional rules will not be happening to FSA.

For the record, Spartan does Prize support through their Vanguard program.

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Victory points? Voluntary decompression? Niether of those really ever became a stanard- most people use Battle Log and recognize that VD kills assaults with little recourse and avoid it. Likewise, how many people have actually played with the Battlefield Objectives deck?

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Better to fix "snaking" by other means than throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Pivot moving would lead to FSA movement becoming spongy, vulnerable to cheating, while losing the feel of the momentum mechanic. Keeping some sort of template helps to keep movement solid, fair and keeps true the differences between the different factions and their ships.

How does the template assist in differentiating the factions? I understand your other points, just not clear how it differentiates factions since they all use the same template.

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Victory points? Voluntary decompression? Niether of those really ever became a stanard- most people use Battle Log and recognize that VD kills assaults with little recourse and avoid it. Likewise, how many people have actually played with the Battlefield Objectives deck?

I have played with the objectives and deck. It adds a certain wrinkle of unknown.

Voluntary Decompression has caused quite the uproar, check out the rules forum for that. The only real reason to include it as an option, cinematic feel.

The victory point option was included as boss to the old schoolers who might throw I tizzy over the v2 Battle Log.

I suspect the Victory point option will disappear from v3.

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I hope, v3 is a long way from now, as i just ordered me the book collection.  :D

 

All in all i have to say, that neither the movement, nor the dice pool allocation are things that i want to be reworked. It's the iconic property of FSA, that separates this game from the others (don't know, how the other spartan games handle this, except PF). I know its dragging some times, but it's all manageable with some practice.

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Re: simplifying maneuvering and dice pools.  I have hope/trust that Spartan will find a way to do this without removing the tactical aspects of the game.  It needs both.

 

1. I've seen several intelligent men in their 20s/30s with engineering degrees struggle to figure out the template.  Flipping the template over and around is not intuitive.  Maybe this isn't your experience.   Ok.  But it's what I've seen.

 

2. Dice pools.  This needs a little help.  People can only do it quickly if you've memorized the stats of your ships and played dozens of games. 

 

 

 

With regards to the Flight Template, I have a simple solution. Won't help greatly, but a little- print them double sided. Since I marked inch marks on the reverse of my templates, movement has become less of a headache.

 

Dice pools though I don't think need that much change; I can't really think of any way to streamline the process?

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Only way to make dice pool easier to handle is when you go the planetfall way. Make 2 Rangebands and always combine dice. But i hope that won't happen.

 

It's not actually a bad system and can be made to be still tactical - you could still have 4 Rangebands for example. The only downside to combining dice is the need to restat every single ship in existence.

 

It shouldn't ever be discredited though as it's a good method of streamlining the game. Failing that you literally go to 40k method of *4+ to hit using 1 dice per ship* then *3+ to damage, or 2+ to damage with a bigger gun* etc. I'd DEFINITELY not like that route but I wouldn't discredit it, if a good version could be made.

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How does the template assist in differentiating the factions? I understand your other points, just not clear how it differentiates factions since they all use the same template.

 

Here is how I see it. If you pivot by eyeballing it there is room to accidentally (or on-purpose: i.e. cheat) pivot more than 45%, and thus fudge your ship turning, allowing a less agile faction to manoeuvre like the more agile factions, thus making the factions more similar. My feeling is while a template doesn't stop such fudging of turning, it does make it less likely to happen.

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My feeling is while a template doesn't stop such fudging of turning, it does make it less likely to happen.

In my limited experience (very small and now very dead playerbase), people ask if they can ditch the template for all but biggest ships,and 9 times out of 10, the opponent agrees cause it speeds play up. The template is always the first thing people change in the rules. It doesn't make the dindrenzi feel more like aquans, it does make them feel less like a joyless chore to move.

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It's not actually a bad system and can be made to be still tactical - you could still have 4 Rangebands for example. The only downside to combining dice is the need to restat every single ship in existence.

 

It shouldn't ever be discredited though as it's a good method of streamlining the game. Failing that you literally go to 40k method of *4+ to hit using 1 dice per ship* then *3+ to damage, or 2+ to damage with a bigger gun* etc. I'd DEFINITELY not like that route but I wouldn't discredit it, if a good version could be made.

Well if you do a 3.0 i think they will have to restat or at least look at all ships, anyway so this would just be one reason more. And yes i like the current mechanic but when you have 4 ships in diffrent rangebands and Firing Arcs calculating dicepools is a bit of a mess and could be easier. Firing step is the step when our 40k community can't follow the game anymore till we start rolling dice.

 

And yes i agree a method like 40k shouldn't be the target. I like the hitting on 4+ (6 explodes) and then calculate successes it's easy to understand and explain.

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A lot of that could be dealt with by maxing out how many weapon systems may combine.

If no more than 2 weapons can combine for a single attack, the Sgians in your example could throw 5 AD with one ship, up to a max of 12 dice with pack hunter.

If ship weapons have a combined stat showing the max number of weapons that may combine you can create different squadron powers.

If the linking method will not change, I suggest what I did several pages back and have a 'link fire' stat line for each weapon. Much easier to calculate with.

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Personally, I don't see much (if anything) in the current rules that need "fixing".  Instead, I think the Firestorm Armada 3.0 design team should focus on "improving" by integrating new game design innovations.

 

When I look at the last 2-3 years of tabletop game design, the two most important innovations have been the integration of mobile devices, and the concept of the "Legacy game".  Yet, to my knowledge, neither of these have been successfully integrated into a miniatures game.  This is an area where a game like Firestorm Armada, on the cusp of a third edition, could establish itself as a pioneer.  Integrating aspects of legacy games could create a sense of permanence and emotional investment in different models.  The decision of whether to shunt out or try and take as many opposing ships with you becomes far more difficult and engaging when you've watched the ship you risk losing evolve over several engagements.  Meanwhile, mobile apps could greatly reduce the time and fiddly-ness of looking up ship stats, while also tracking changes to ships over time.

 

Now, the option of having an official app to quickly and easily call up relevant unit stats is probably not controversial, but integrating legacy aspects might be best integrated as an optional game module, as many people will want to play stand-alone games, or might not like the idea of critting a ship or launching a successful boarding assault having permanent ramifications.

 

Still, I feel these are aspects of the game worth exploring, and I think that introducing Task Force as an optional ruleset module opens the way for other, officially supported formats that push the limits of the game's design.

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Linking is superior to combining IMHO. Why? Because it does two things:

A: Makes the to link or not to link question a more tactical decision.

B: The big one is here... individual ship stats. With linking you can allow individual small ships to have a decent number of dice to roll without having their linked value going through the roof. Meanwhile combining means either individual smalls throw laughable number of dice or the group is throwing a crazy high number.

Example: 4 Sgians linking with Packhunters throws 14 AD at max. A respectable number considering their maneuverability and cost. However alone a Single Sgian can still throw 5 dice. While not impressive it has an ok chance to damage a cruiser (especially if it flanks it), and can reliably hurt another small.

Now we put in combining: Sgians are now throwing 22 dice! Well that escalated quickly.

Ok lets reduce them to combine to 14... that means each Sgian throws a max of 3 dice at their best RB. Wow... so a single Sgian MIGHT be able to hurt another small if its lucky.

Now lets apply this to more swarm based ships like Snappers, Reapers, and other such ships. This requires more than a simple rebalance of ships.

Combining works for Planetfall since stuff is expected to die super fast, and squadrons die together. Firestorm Armada has a much more "long lasting" approach (despite this most ships that are not Dreads or BBs tend to evaporate pretty quickly).

 

This is only due to the current stats of the ships we have. If you wanted combining to work (which it very well could for FSA, and still get "longevity") you'd need to restat the defences of everything and work it out accordingly. It is possible. Using current DR/CR levels and Shields, it would NOT work.

 

Linking as it is, is cumbersome and is more brain heavy than any other game out there - and is a big stopping point to the game. I personally LOVE it but I can see the arguments for against it. Since playing Halo, combining does work (and to get around smaller ships losing effectiveness, you have methods of reforming squadrons without the need to play a TAC). You'd make it have longevity by ships having many more HP than they do now. A Cruiser could have say 6-8 HP but a lower DR/CR - although we are fairly low as it is. Possibly more shields etc.

 

Overall I think it would be too much of a sweeping change for 3.0 and isn't needed but it's good to chuck up some ideas :)

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I'd rather have stat cards back (could be PDF fleet manuals with the unit entries in card form so that you can print them yourself and they can easily be updated) than an app. Although I see the potential usefulness, I want my tabletop games to be made up of hardware. If I want software, I play a video game. But then again, I will be 30 in a few days, so I am basically an old man and don't get those kids today and their technology anymore. ;):lol:

 

PS: I like linking because it seems more interesting to me. Combining everywhere seems dull in comparison. I think that the biggest problem with the AD calculation comes from multi-arc ships like the Aquans. E.g. Directorate is very simple in this regard.

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Regarding apps, I certainly don't mind an army-builder apps, but the only two attempts to make an "app-driven" tabletop haven't so much failed as crashed and burned in a way that'd make Hindenburg jealous. There surely is a way to integrate apps into a wargame beyond using the tablet as a stat-card, but it's yet to be found..and so far, all tries just made a mobile game that desperately tries to make the miniatures usable in any way.

 

Ironically, expanded reality stuff would be much more useful for FA than any land game (showing turn limits and so on on the table, calculating damage based on HP lost), but it'd require serious investment...investment that I doubt a small company like Spartan could afford, or indeed would want to, seeing as they have no existing experience with app development.

 

I'm all for Spartan doing new things, but in this case, let's focus on new things in well-charted seas ;)

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Regarding apps, I certainly don't mind an army-builder apps, but the only two attempts to make an "app-driven" tabletop haven't so much failed as crashed and burned in a way that'd make Hindenburg jealous. There surely is a way to integrate apps into a wargame beyond using the tablet as a stat-card, but it's yet to be found..and so far, all tries just made a mobile game that desperately tries to make the miniatures usable in any way.

 

Realistically, I'm not thinking of an app-driven game, per se.  I would, though, like to have an app that can quickly and easily retrieve stats when you need them without needing to have sheets of paper flying all over the place.  Ideally, it should also be able to track changes to stats over the course of a campaign or league season, if more legacy-style elements are integrated into the game.

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