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Stoobert

Feedback on FSA rules from new players, ideas for change, from a tournament

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13 minutes ago, Misterbucket said:

I could be entirely incorrect, but is it not that everything aside from interceptors have to actually touch another SRS token to start a dogfight? So are they sitting a lot of fighters/bombers in the back for PD and you're sending your fighters after them? Only interceptors get an intercept bubble to catch incoming SRS. In all but the furthest ranges of a bombing run. you can simply move around a fighter token and continue the bombing run without incident from fighters. I might be off here, but that is how I understand it works.

Yes that's how it works only Interceptors can intercept, but you have to use Fighters offensively. Fighters have greater range than Bombers, so while your opponents bombers are out of 12" range to attack you and within their carrier's Command Distance waiting for the next activation to move close enough to attack, your Fighters are in range to make an attack run to touch/dogfight the bomber token on the way in to hit the parent carrier (or other nearby ship).  You have to be aggressive with them, making preemptive strikes on enemy SRS.  Actually do some thinking and tactics instead of just lazily relying on the big blunt smashing club of Bombers or Interceptors.

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Wow nice edit to make it insulting. Or I guess just don't leave my bombers outside of the carrier until I'm going to be using them so you can't use fighters to do much of anything aside from a weak hit where you probably lose some. You know as a tactic to save my bombers from someone trying to use fighters. I fully understand launching them preemptively, and if I'm going to, I'm going to make sure they're safe, because while it is a blunt device, it's a fragile blunt device. Thanks for the rude edit though, appreciated. 

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@Misterbucket I had intended to emphasize how Cyberwarfare weapons are an exception, as they only inflict Crew Damage and Critical Effects.  If you ignore all your Cyberwarfare, how often do attacks from other weapons substantially impact your game outside of Hull Damage?

As for the math... I never said it was hard, just complicated and thus time-consuming. How long does it take you to figure out how many dice you roll for linking 3 Pathogen Cruisers' Port Weapons if one is 7" away, one is 9" away, and one is 11" away, and they all have one point of damage?  Oh, there are also two Captured Smalls 11" away as well, one of which is damaged, and a Captured Medium 7" away, with 2HP damage.  Count the time it takes you to look up the stats, because that's how long your opponent must wait on you... for one Activation.

i timed myself, and even having the stat cards in front of me, it still took me over a minutes to do the simple math.  I assume, because I'm experienced at the dice math, that I was able to figure it faster than the average player, and definately faster than a new player.  I'm not sure my first answer was right though; lots of places to make a mistake.  I'd prefer a simplier system less prone to error, which still maintains how dice pools slowly drop with damage.

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Welp, this looks like a bucket of fun.

 

Eh. I'll chime in- the biggest issue with Fighters, in my eyes, is that a full 6 point token can be effective, but essentially no longer is once it is down even a couple of wings. As a Relthozan player, I usw Fighters all the time, mostly because I can repair them across the fleet if I'm bothering with more than one carrier-capable ship. I would likewise use them on a ship with Deck Crews; if you can maintain the token's strength, the movement is a fair trade for the Bomber's raw AD.

 

@Stoobert, I do disagree with most of your group's responses, but not as a matter of them being wrong. I don't exactly have time for an itemized response, but I will address the AD math thing, since it's a thing I've seen both be not a problem at all and also be a stumbling block- I believe the actual end result of linking is rewarding enough to merit use. I would also agree, however, that certain things can be simplified. @Ryjak's suggestion about counting damage at the end is one good method, the one I'd be most likely to support because of how intuitive the math can be if you aren't dealing with damage.

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Yeah this thread turned out to be real interesting for me.  I can tell you that the folks who I've met who try FSA for a few months, then move on from FSA to other complex wargames would be amused at the responses, and perhaps even dismissive.  For me, I'm a little surprised, not that people disagree with the opinions of others, but that they seem so proud and protective about a game that nobody in this thread designed (playtested maybe).   It's definitely something I will take note of - people on this forum don't want FSA to be "dumbed down" or "become something else".

Let me get personal, so you know why I feel the way I do.   I really like FSA and I've played it nearly 100 times.   I may be an outlier in that I would like to see FSA gather more players, but that's just cause I've seen a city with almost two million people barely able to sustain a Thursday night with 1 or 2 players besides myself.  I've watched probably 15 guys come, buy a few models, play and leave in the last two years.  In case you were wondering, I shower, I'm polite, and do my best to lose almost every game when teaching new players.

My city has one of the most vibrant gaming communities in the USA, and several large and well attended game stores, so if anywhere FSA could catch on it would be here.  So at this point, I'm ready to listen.  Willing to listen to what anyone has to say about what prevents them from playing FSA more....perhaps moreso than those who maybe haven't had my experience.

There's a few suggestions amongst the noise, I like Ryjak's damage idea a lot.  And I agree that if linking stays (I don't personally have a problem with it) it could be done more fluidly for sure.

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@Stoobert I agree with a lot of your principles, and I have yet to hear anyone claim FSA 2.0 is perfect.  The opposite seems to be true, where a lot of threads in these forums bring up questions and concerns about various game mechanics.  It's particularly enlightening when you try to teach new players FSA, as they're struggling to learn the system.  When everyone seems to have trouble picking up the linking + damage mechanic, I think it's a good sign the mechanic could use some refinement.

Your situation is the same as mine.  Sunday we had maybe 8 players show up to play at the only game store carrying Spartan Games products within roughly 150 miles, maybe more, and covering two major cities with about 9,000,000 people combined. Meanwhile, the same store has a much larger Games Workshop and FFG player base.  I feel this is very unfortunate, as I feel the FSA game system is far superior in quality and depth; there's why I play it instead of X-Wing.

Its also encouraging when people walk up to admire the table, drawn by the eye candy I put out with one of our NOVA mats, my color-coded templates, and two fully painted fleets (I really liked CJ's Veydreth Gunships, which is why they had to die :p).  But it seems when they watch the pace of gameplay is when they walk away, never to be seen again.

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On 9/25/2016 at 11:56 AM, Stoobert said:

Since we were together for several hours, these are some ideas I shared and was given about making FSA faster and less complicated, while retaining the fun tactics of movement and arc we already love about the game.  These are rough ideas, not specifics.

  • They find the linked dice mechanic cumbersome and brain-hurty, and then I asked: "what if all dice were the "combined" mechanic, not "linked".  Response: A big "YES please".
  •  Then (like Taskforce) the damage, crew loss, disorder and even terrain were subtracted from the successes after dice rolled, not removing the dice rolled beforehand?"  Response: a collective "yes that sounds easier".
  • They find range bands hard to reckon with.  Then I mentioned Taskforce, and what if all ships just had 3 range bands, short (0-12), medium (12-24), long (24-48)?  Then the effectiveness of a ship at any range is simplified, and reflected in the number of available in that range band.   Example rather than a Dendrenzi/Kenetic be 12" bands: 5/6/4/2, just have it be: S/M/L 4/6/5 or whatever.   Positive response.
  • They like that different weapon types: beam, kinetic, etc exist, but found the different range bands increment hard to remember.
  • No one really understands why indirect weapons aren't affected by hull damage or crew loss.  "Who's loading the torpedo tubes then?" someone asked.
  • Someone proposed three things: hull loss, crew loss mechanic and disorder tokens could be simplified into two damage concepts:
    • damage that reduces your AD and PD, that either is repairable (crew and/or disorder) and or isn't (hull loss)
    • damage that takes offline certain systems (shields, engines) and is either repairable or isn't
  • They all really like the weapon arc concept, firing from multiple arcs, and turrets are cool - but 'fixed fore' wasn't as popular.
  • The movement tool is fiddly, when I offered that taskforce you just spin 45deg, they thought that was a step in the right direction, but maybe going too simple, something in between would be good
  • Turn limit 0" is deemed unanimously silly, because spaceships going breakneck speeds. Almost everyone agrees that the game would be more tactical if frigates (and some cruisers) couldn't "spin in circles"
  • It would be nice if SRS phase and boarding phase were combined, and it all happened AFTER ship firing phase.  There's no reason you have to launch your bombers while your ship is surrounded by enemies.  move away, then launch them.  It's also obvious that boarding is done through some sort of shuttles or assault pods full of marines, so that sounds like SRS and there's no reason it can't be part of the same phase.
  • Why would anyone take fighters?  either give fighters some other power, or weaken interceptors a bit, OR why not just call interceptors fighters, get rid of fighters - and be done with it.
  • Lying mines are too fiddly, what if mines were an attack like any other weapon system, that mines happened during the firing phase.  Just put a token in the back arc and you're done.  This nerfs mines a little, but no one seems to think mines are underpowered
  1. Linking is the heart of the mechanics and statistics of FSA, so moving to Combined Fire would require a total overhaul of too many game mechanics.  Better to improve the method of how damage effects your dice pool and leave Linked Fire in.  As others have mentioned, removing dice for damage and obscured LOS at the end of the calculation would speed up gameplay.  Removing Hits from the result instead of dice would do the same (although a 1 for 1 would not balance with the current effect of damage).
  2. See 1 above
  3. It would be nice if instead of different length range bands, we had the same distance for each.  However, that would necessitate more range bands and stat overhauls to keep the diversity of play we currently have.  Not optimal.
  4. See 3 above.  Personally, I would like the different weapon types (and weapon MARS) be a little more balanced with each other.  Some are great and some are forgettable to the point of ignoring and never being taken.  Some always work and some are awesome when they get luck enough to work.
  5. Can't say I am a huge fan of Crew Damage as it is not particularly relevant unless there is either lots of sources of such damage (like Cyber fleets), Boarding Fleets, and nerfing Weapon Shielding.  In a lot of games it is just another counter clogging up the board.  The thought also just occurred to me that if there was no Crew Damage (heresy, I know) the Crew Stat could be used for things besides mainly the Anti-Boarding Stat (like say the Anti-Cyberwarefare Stat).
  6. Fixed Fore is an issue since it is rather cumbersome to line up a ship 36" away within the arc of a base.  On the other hand, FF is a heavily used weapon arc and would require lots of stat changes if removed.  No real ideas for solution.
  7. I'm becoming more an more a fan of the idea of move then rotate to eliminate the template.  Ships will turn a bit tighter, but you also eliminate the turn for extra move effect the template causes.
  8. It's fine.
  9. SRS need lots of work.  It is probably one of the worst parts of FSA for many reasons, even if the rules are acceptable in their current form
  10. See 9 above
  11. Mine are another "issue".  Like, why don't these massive technological fleets have Identify Friend Or Foe technology on their Mines?  What is so special about mines that a single token can attack 15 ships (probably an exaggeration, but not by much)?  And the current placement rules encourage slower play based not he need to have ships move in certain ways to place a linked token, which also interrupts the move
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Hi everzbodz,

We just tested the turn on the spot rule. With one little adjustment it worked astonishing well. We ad 1" to the turn limit
and the result was nice. the movement felt ok and all we needed to plaz was a rangestick.
We have not tested the rule, that all weapons use the same range bands, because the diffrent RB was one of the best changes
from V1 to V2.
The SRS problem: We have to try, but do you think about the idea that an attack run has to be done by using the shortest route
possible.

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I think accessibility is an important factor for the adoption of any game in your local market.  Stoobert was willing to gather the feedback of a critical group: people that liked the game, but got turned off by this that or the other and never found themselves loving it.  If you want to grow the game, that's the people you need to reach.  It may be confirmation bias, but I see a lot of video game properties lately involving space ships.  The zeitgeist may be primed, so let's put this game in a position to get some new players. 

 

The way I see it, there are two fiddly core mechanics at the heart of the game - movement and linked fire.

Movement has been argued plenty in a lot of places, and I fall on the side of those who say the game is won and lost in the movement phase.  I think a few more cents spent on a good acrylic template that comes in your patrol box and a partner willing to let you place the other five frigates in the squad in an agreeable position is the solution here - not a mechanical overhaul.

Linked fire has got an interesting damage mitigating property owing to its process, but unfortunately interesting is overshadowed by complexity.  Terrans for example are annoyingly complex to calculate when overlaying a damaged ship, varying weapon systems, arc fire, turret fire, through a debris field, with a mixed ship squadron.  I think the arcs supplemented by turrets are an interesting design feature of those ships and a significant part of the detail flavor of the race.  None of that matters when you help a new player through the calculation of their die pool for an attack and can literally watch them lose interest in the game.  I think even just having damage and impedance effects applied after a simple addition of linked pool would be a big improvement. 

 

As for the lesser stuff:

SRS needs some rework and has been talked to death - there's some good ideas in there, so go playtest a few of them and report back.

Targeted strikes are a waste of time - eliminate the targeted strike table.  Let cyber or boarding actions roll on the crit table and add/subtract a modifier for success level, i.e. +/-1 for hit, +/-3 for crit.  Test and adjust for fun.  No reactor breaches allowed here. 

I'm on the fence about reactor breaches period.  They feel very cinematic and may be worth including on that merit alone, but a random mechanic that can win or lose the game without player control feels wrong for competitive strategy.

I'm not a fan of crew damage, but I don't know what to do about it.  @alextroy I like your idea of crew attribute working differently regarding cyber-warfare, the existing mechanics have never seemed quite right to me.

If moving one representative ship in the squad works for movement, one ship being the representative minelayer is enough as well.  Minelaying at end of movement feels a little off and is a pretty big negative for a fast maneuverable race like Aquans. 

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@Gasological I approve this message.

Movement: Removing the "models can't touch" with "you can remove models from the base" would help too.  The main rule overhaul I'd make is to change what happens when this situation would occur.

Reactor Breaches are not fun when they lose you the game.  The simple fix is to remove the ship detonation effect.  If this is what people call fun, change the detonation effect.

Crew Damage would be worth tracking if it did something to everyone; getting -1CP + Hazard Marker should matter.  I don't have a good suggestion here, though.  I don't think CP damage should adjust Weapon AD values, having only CP damage reduce PD sounds clunky, and degrading Indirect Weapons throws off game balance.  Adjusting Mv or TL sounds clunky too.

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On 9/27/2016 at 3:08 AM, Ryjak said:

@StoobertIts also encouraging when people walk up to admire the table, drawn by the eye candy I put out with one of our NOVA mats, my color-coded templates, and two fully painted fleets (I really liked CJ's Veydreth Gunships, which is why they had to die :p).  But it seems when they watch the pace of gameplay is when they walk away, never to be seen again.

Where is the problem in pace of gameplay, outside of calculating linked fire?  I won't clam real experience with 2.0, but a 1.0 / 1.5 game never felt as taxing gamedplay wise as a tournament Warmachine / Hordes game.  I really need to swing by your store again and play a few games... maybe it would be enlightening.

As for damage, I love the idea of linked fire, then remove damage.  Easy enough to just print the linked values before game start and then quickly subtract... though the tables might get a bit large as a 5 ship squadron declines and starts to lose ships.

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5 hours ago, Ryjak said:

Reactor Breaches are not fun when they lose you the game.  The simple fix is to remove the ship detonation effect.  If this is what people call fun, change the detonation effect.

Out of interest, how would you change the Reactor Breach Effect? 

My personal opinion on Reactor Breach/Magazine Detonation/Insert Other Suitably Explosive Demise Here is that it should stay in the game. The amount of damage is already variable (2HP to 6HP loss, which may or may not kill a ship) and it is one of the rarer results on the Critical Hit Effect Chart. That, and there should be a small chance of a lucky shot that blasts the reactor stacks or magazines and tears the ship in half, or just punches a rather large hole in the side. 

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24 minutes ago, DanSG-19 said:

Out of interest, how would you change the Reactor Breach Effect?

My thought is:

Magazine Explosion (2 HP damage): The model suffers an additional critical hit (roll again and apply both damage and critical effect).

If you love the explosion, you can leave that effect in also.

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I would keep the crew damage and targeted strike table, anyone can use the table to turn an easy shot into a great advantage :)  and keep the crew damage, it's for more then just boarding, it can be used to weaken the firepower on a ship (often faster then actual damage if you focus on it) and no it doesn't bring the ship closer to death (except boarding) but it does help me stop carriers too, if I kill their crew, and they have 0 crew they need to take a disorder check every activation, you can nerf a carriers ability to contribute (and though it happens rarely, watching a ship die to hazard markers is a lot of fun)   

admittedly I play directorate, and am a bit biased, but everyone has access to the targeted strike table,  and life support is a great option, and everyone has some way to capitalize on it dindrenzi can use sirens and high energy for devastating targeted strikes, spiders have biohazard, aquans have a racial TAC built for targeted strikes and brutal ones at that, sorylian don't need to kill a whole lot of crew to be terrifying, and terran have access to cyber through hawker, and shutting down the weapons on a dindrenzi ship can turn a game.

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5 hours ago, alextroy said:

My thought is:

Magazine Explosion (2 HP damage): The model suffers an additional critical hit (roll again and apply both damage and critical effect).

If you love the explosion, you can leave that effect in also.

I'm not a fan of that suggestion; 4 HP and taking a crit effect seems too good.

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8 hours ago, DanSG-19 said:

There should be a small chance of a lucky shot that blasts the reactor stacks or magazines and tears the ship in half, or just punches a rather large hole in the side. 

This is already in the game; it's called a Double Crit.  As I prefer simple solutions, I would change the Crit Table to:

2,12: Fold Drive Rupture

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