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The Relthoza will be fine then, what with their FSD Battlestations and Defence Platforms. =D

 

And for my part, I imagine that they DO have FSD, it's just not accurate enough to allow them to shunt in during a battle. That or it could just be too slow, so the battle would be over by the time it got there.

Another possibility is it just takes a long time to start up the FSD drives. If you think it takes a normal ship two turns, a Battlestation as a mostly-stationary object, could take the equivalent of 10+ turns, just to get started up.

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I'd agree gameplay takes precedence, it should be a given for any game you play I think.  However, it is rather pleasing when the gameplay feels fair and also fits with the lore of the game's setting.  I only really find it difficult to find an explanation when two opposing battlestations are in the same conflict.  When it comes to only having a single battlestation, regardless of scenario, I can generally think of an acceptable reason for it's presence.  I'd expect this kind of construct to considerably lack in mobility, since that is the expected trade off for the higher combat to point cost efficiency.

I think it is sensible for these object to be in constant relative motion, an orbit of some kind, to both remain relevant to conflicts and stay within a solar system while having minimal self propulsion.  Especially with the way the Drives to Max Tactical Ability Card works, it would probably be fair to balance the lower points costs with a constant forced only motion on the battlestations.  I'd see any non planetary orbiting battlestation as having been built or pulled into an orbit such that it will sling around a system and into an expected conflict zone, that or ambushed while in orbit, etc.  If two battlestations come into conflict it would make generally make more sense if at least one was built with a non-planetary orbit in mind such that it eventually would cross the other battlestation's path at a future point in time on it's orbit.

With all that said, why not consider making battlestations forced to orbit a planetary object, or instead constantly move from one side of the board to the other to represent an extreme orbital path.  The battlestation would have no control over it's movement and both players would, logically, already know what it's orbital path will be.  This would probably be best crossing the space between deployment zones, and restricted a certain distance away from the enemy's deployment zone.  Although a completely (relative to system) stationary battlestation could be fair as well, I don't think being able to move under a player's control is something battlestations should be doing.  Any equipment meant to apply acceleration should, by design, be meant for maintaining orbit rather than built for inter stellar travel.

While Relthoza battlestations are apparently built with working Fold Space Drives, and seems consistent with an ambush species mentality, I think having battlestation behavior perhaps controlled by the scenario also to be a good solution.  A set of rules that dictates how a battlestation may be employed during the scenario to take the full control out of the owning player's hands and allowing the other player to have a good idea of what can happen before it happens.  Battlestations should be a, normally, very predictable element of a conflict where the owning player has a relatively powerful tool that they cannot control completely as they wish, in my mind.

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Those are some interesting ideas, and would make Battlestations unique within the game.  If you give them a try, please post the results.

1 hour ago, Dr_Vector said:

I only really find it difficult to find an explanation when two opposing battlestations are in the same conflict. 

This is my concern as well, and can be summarized by another Sci-Fi term for a Battlestation: Star Fortress.  Nothing is more immobile than a building; its basically impossible to build a fort within attack range of another fort.  Sure, you could FSD the Fort, or tow it to orbit, but odds are once it is in position it stays there.

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That's not how wars are won, because no one has an unlimited budget to do whatever you want, even interplanetary organizations.  Plenty of historical cases where groups spent themselves out of existance.

Schlock Mercenary does a very good job of explaining it, and Petey basically has an entire galaxy's resources at hand.

Also, the Black Fortress and the Beast had magic at their disposal... Magic typically has no cost in fantasy, which is why the exceptions are interesting.

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I still think this is simply a matter of trying to ascribe our sense of what a Battlestation is when it's representing more than that.  If these vessels had been called "Space Barges" but worked the exact same way would this be an issue for anyone?

 

I doubt it, instead I think people would be saying "Space Barges are a dumb name they should have just called them Battle Stations people would be able to accept the fact they move around." 

 

To me Battle Stations describe a class of slow moving massive space vessel that are "Effectively" stationary compared to the rest of the fleet unless they execute extreme measures (ie" Drives to the max" and/or gravity slingshots.

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To me Battle Stations describe a class of slow moving massive space vessel that are "Effectively" stationary compared to the rest of the fleet unless they execute extreme measures (ie" Drives to the max" and/or gravity slingshots.

. Interesting, as I'd say the easy gameplay fix is to prevent Drives to Max and Gravity Slingshots from being applied to Battlestations.

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It just isn't (really) broken from a game-play point of view.

 

But it certainly collides with what's considered normal in established SciFi.

 

Luckily my player group simply discards what we consider to be ridiculous.

 

Which means we'll only use battle stations and defence platforms when the scenario justifies the presence of what are considered to be fixed planetary defences in established SciFi, and only the defending side will be deploying them in such a scenario of course.

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On 9/3/2016 at 3:53 PM, Secundum said:

The Death Star had a hyperdrive.

The Death Star also had the firepower of an entire fleet by itself, not to mention that Super Laser... 

Frans is right I think. Battle Stations do not fit in a fleet action game in space due to how Battle Stations are shown to work in science fiction in general. Yes, the Death Star could move, it'd also likely be classified as a Leviathan, not a Battle Station, by the likes of the Terran Alliance or the Dindrenzi Federation. 

From a purely game play mechanic standpoint, Battle Stations are a little too powerful for the points cost, though not by much. From a thematic standpoint, they make no damn sense in Firestorm Armada currently, mainly because they are treated nearly exactly the same as ships, not as a sort of station or fortification. They can also be included in any scenario, either on the attacking or defending side (or even both, which makes even less sense). The current concept of Battle Stations in FSA also makes the eventual arrival of Leviathans in the game a little pointless. I mean, big and slow ships with a bucketload of HP, good defences and good firepower at the cost of a likely to be mountainous points cost makes Battle Stations the no brainer, no matter what fleet buff effects you give the Leviathan so it can play fleet commander extraordinaire... 

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50% of posters here will say they're broken. 50% will say the opposite!. Truth is they're available as models, have stats and are included in the fleet build lists.

It's possible to conclude from this that they've been provided to use in an 'off the shelf' way.

Now that doesn't mean that you have to take one, agree to play against one if you think it's frankly a bit ridiculous or to disallow their use. For organised play its a simple job for the TO to lay down the rules. After all no faction should REQUIRE a Battlestation (fully armed and operational hehe) to play ok. (Except for the Kedorians for whom if their city ships DON'T fit into the BS 'field'! them the Galaxy's gone mad.

Spartan have made rules and models for them so they can, as I mentioned at the beginning, be used. For games, that the players decide to play!

 

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this is a game where spaceships bank and lizardmen battle evil CEOs in battles where a nuke's explosion radius is  larger than the average planet. Aren't you pigeonholing what you consider a "battlestation"'s role to be?

Legend of the Galactic Heroes had two battlestations warping in and hammering away at each other if you want an example in fiction. Who cares what the class of ship is called as long as it's balanced?

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The vastness of space means stationary fortifications would be a waste of resources - just build more dreadnoughts and get a better bang for your buck..  To justify the expense as a defensive structure, they would need to be able to move about the local star system, at least.  More than likely you'd want them to be able to move between systems fortifying different areas as the front shifts one direction or another.  And, if they are maneuverable enough to move between star systems, using one to establish a local beachhead would make total sense.  In that case, having 2 battle stations at the same battle would be totally logical.  

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Endgame, I don't think the vastness of space means anything to the value of fortifications.  The first thing which matters for building an, effectively, immobile military structure is whether its' position has strategic value.  While building a space station in orbit around an enemy's home planet is going to end badly, it should be obvious why you would want an orbital station around your own home planet.  Trying to build and then perform logistics for a space fleet without having any orbital military structures sounds like a good way to bring your own military down from the inside to me.

In the case of planetary assault, if you had the resources and time you could build a space station to sling into the enemy's orbit in an attempt to assist fleet actions.  Though whether that is the best practical use of military resources or not is questionable, it's not technically impossible either.  If FSA points cost are any indication of economic cost, trying this with some space stations would probably not be more expensive than dreadnoughts.  It seems reasonable that space stations are more suited to support fleet logistics than a dreadnought and better value if you want to hold a planet once contested.

There are possible exceptions for aliens that are drastically different from humans, space whales or something of that nature.  However, given that FSA describes a universe where apparently the aliens share similar basic restrictions as humans in space operations, building space stations is logical for any space faring race.  No race aside from nomads are going to lack a reason for building space stations.  These necessary and comparatively cheap platforms are likely candidates for arming with weapons.  Given a non-nomadic people, having a base of operations and staging is typically a must, so immobile space stations are just the form which this takes in extra-planetary activities.

Although, thinking about it, while space stations are going to have, hopefully, obvious economic value when operating a space fleet, and probably overall would be cheaper to construct and maintain; this should have a secondary effect you don't see in FSA.  Which is to say, the Victory Point cost of a space station's loss isn't more significant than a more highly priced, "equivalent," ship.  I think it could be appropriate thematically if a space station's loss gave up more VP, given their generally higher strategic value in an overall conflict.

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I'm honestly not sure where you guys get your information that Battle Stations in FSA are virtually immobile. I've seen it written that they are good at defending planets. Not sure how they makes them immobile. You perception is that they are immobile. Whatever reason you come up with for claiming such, doesn't really change anything about the game. Unless you wrote the fluff, you don't really have claim on the mobility of them. It's all what you think they should be, not what they are. If they were intended to be immobile and only used for defense, they'd have game restrictions to make it so. They might include that in later editions, I can't really know, but as it currently stands, it's simply your perception and not the evidence at hand. The fact that I can run an ambush mission where I am NOT ambushing, but being ambushed, and bring a battle station, says they are clearly mobile. It's a Science Fiction space battle game, not a science game. Nothing says they only orbit planets, or any other object in space. There are actually units with orbit rules, and these are not those units. Your perception is going against what we have presented to us, not supported by it.

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I can see why you think along those lines, but I don't agree at the same time.  Game rules are an abstraction, they are not a 1:1 reproduction of the laws of physics, historical evidence, or anything of that nature.  They emulate these things however, providing a relatively simple and hopefully enjoyable system for the player to use.  A game's primary purpose is, generally, entertainment and the rules are the foundation for this.  So, frankly using rules to explain how something works is rather backwards thinking to me.  Rules are the abstract result from taking how things are intended to work and interpreting them into a game's design.

Planets in the game can be completely immobile or move according to terrain movement rules.  This is an abstraction, and an optional one at that, this rule in no way corresponds with whether or not FSA planets move or don't move as one would expect them to based off of reality.  I assume FSA planets are in orbit around stellar objects, probably suns; and I'm not going to accept a game rule's effect, nor it's optional nature, as evidence that FSA operates with drastically different laws and expected behavior.  Although, mobility is a relative issue when it comes to stellar objects; and is more a question of an object's ability to control acceleration, direction, and relative orbits.

I think you're missing a fundamental point in the arguments here, there are differing concepts on what a, "battlestation," refers to and it is that concept which is being contested.  The game's rules are an attempt to breathe life into that concept on the tabletop, and are not inviolable.  I mean, really, what is the point of making three versions of the same game if the rules were perfect interpretations which brought the space opera concept to life and did so in the most enjoyable way possible?  So in a way it's more of a question, based on what we know, does this interpretation feel right for the setting and is it fun?

 

Edit:  I wanted to check first and, technically, the optional Moving Terrain rule applies to battlestations.  As such, if a center point is chosen they will orbit it like the other moving terrain pieces.  So the rules aren't directly contradictory about battlestations being orbital objects.

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