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New Mechanics You Would Add?

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Much of the discussion around FSA for a while was about how to streamline the system (which I agree with!) but are there any mechanics you would ADD to the game? Not changes made to existing rules or systems, new things entirely.

There are 2 that I currently can think of:

1. Adding a 3rd dimension to the game

This adds the dreaded 'more tokens!'. Each squadron (not ship, for simplicity) must occupy one of 5 'bands' in space indicated by the token. You can spend [suitable amount of movement] to transition between bands. AoE weapons (if the game retains any) only affect ships on their own band (i.e.: you can fly above/below mines). Terrain features are assumed to cover all range bands (except ghost stations etc.). When shooting at a ship and determining your range band you measure both the standard distance from them on the table and also the difference in range bands (i.e.: you're on band 4 while they're on band 1, difference = 3) and use which ever range band is worse to determine your attack dice (I know not all weapon range bands are equal in length but the 2 inch difference can be waived away as too small to matter for the 3rd axis and for simplicity).

2. Acc/Decelerating speed

Fairly simple here. Ships are either full speed, half speed or full stop. If you were moving full speed on the previous turn and want to go to full stop you must spend the current turn at half speed. If you were at full stop last turn you must spend the current turn at half speed if you want to go to full speed next turn.

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Already have tried house riles doing this, but we had only three "bands" and instead of a token we marked the flight stand of the models with three layers and wrapped small rubber bands around the stand. We just rolled the rubber band up and down the peg to the marked bands to show which altitude band the ship was in.

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Commodore, did using the altitude appreciably slow down the game?  The rubber band system is pretty slick.  I supposing you used the bands for determining distance to shots; did it over complicate things?  Are you still using this method when gaming?

For the accel/decel speed, what is gained here?  Is there an in-game bonus attached to moving at different speeds?   Also, does that mean a ship must only travel in its currently selected speed?   ie, a ship with MV=8" can only go 0, 4, or 8?   Or am I reading it wrong and you're just talking about making the transition from Full Stop to Full Move?

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53 minutes ago, Toxic_Rat said:

For the accel/decel speed, what is gained here?  Is there an in-game bonus attached to moving at different speeds?   Also, does that mean a ship must only travel in its currently selected speed?   ie, a ship with MV=8" can only go 0, 4, or 8?   Or am I reading it wrong and you're just talking about making the transition from Full Stop to Full Move?

Not a great deal, it just feels weird to go from zero to full speed in one go.

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I'd like to see a third Shield mechanic join standard shields and cloaks. Some form of impact shield that takes a blow rather than lessens it- A ship with Impact Shields doesn't get defensive dice for it, rather the shields act like additional hull points that come back every game turn. You'd never see more than 2, because even more than 1 would be ridiculous, but it would give ships that have it the defensive attribute of needing to be focused down with smaller attacks, where standard shields create a scenario where you want to hit with big attacks to minimize shield dice rolled.

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10 hours ago, Commodore Jones said:

Already have tried house riles doing this, but we had only three "bands" and instead of a token we marked the flight stand of the models with three layers and wrapped small rubber bands around the stand. We just rolled the rubber band up and down the peg to the marked bands to show which altitude band the ship was in.

Dropfleet Commander utilizes this system, and all my locals use the band on the stem trick.  That part seems to work rather well.  It can work well with 5 elevations as 3, so long as the band on the stem is obvious.

The only question in regards to why you intend an "altitude band" to make a difference.  In Dropfleet, one of those bands is in atmosphere, which limits actions as well as Weaponry that can by used by or against the ships in that band (if I remember correctly).  If "altitude bands" are just there to make you feel like fighting starships and only affects range a small amount, it just feels like a hack.  However, if it also affects things like boarding actions, ramming, and collisions, then it might be good.

Terrain doesn't have to affect all "altitude bands", either, especially with 5 bands to work with.  A lot of that will be up to the game organizers to determine.  After all, why can't you fly OVER a small planetoid as easily as flying around one?  It also allows for a more interesting maneuvering game when you can weave through a narrow band to accomplish a maneuver or be able to make it a choke point.

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11 hours ago, Toxic_Rat said:

Commodore, did using the altitude appreciably slow down the game?  The rubber band system is pretty slick.  I supposing you used the bands for determining distance to shots; did it over complicate things?  Are you still using this method when gaming?

A little bit of slowdown but I don't know how much since it was a new thing being tried.  Basically moving up/down an altitude level cost half your base movement, and counted as your Secondary Movement action. When measuring to a target you use the usual distance measuring and each difference of altitude level counted as an entire extra Range Band on top of the actual distance. (example a cruiser at Mid level fires at a destroyer 13 inches and one level lower away, 13" is Range Band 2 but the difference in level brings it up to RB3)

We don't use this method hardly at all, it's there, we tried it, it works reasonably, but we felt we really didn't need it unless we wanted a specific reason/battle-theme for it.

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The only NEW mechanics I’d like to see are:

 

1. Increased differentiation between weapon types and ship capability.  It’s too similar

2. A better scenario system with a variety of deployments, public objectives and secret objectives so that no game is the same.  2.0 was very repetitive in this way. Games like Malifaux randomize each game setup in a really ingenious method  

 

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@Commodore Jones Sure, we wouldn't want any potential scenario result to be unplayable or utterly annoying, so obviously so we'd have to think it through and test it.  We don't have to copy what they're doing, but if you take a look at the system of Malifaux there are interesting ideas there, you roll for: deployment (corners, edges, etc),  one public objective, and then choose 2 from a randomly assigned pool of 5 secret objectives.  I thought maybe each FSA faction might also get a 'faction objective' they could choose as well.  Something to consider.  Malifaux may not be everyone's cup of tea, but for what it's worth, Malifaux is quite a bit more popular than FSA as best I can tell, so they must be doing something right.

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Faction based objectives aren't a bad idea!  

Let's also be fair here Stoo, Malifaux is a steampunk skirmish game, it was going to be a licence to print money right out the gate. The fact that it's a solid game (I've two armies myself!) is only part of the reeason it's done as well as it has.  

I mean, just random spitballing of a couple faction objectives could be:
Directorate: Successfully board enemy admiral's ship (Capturing intelligence/tech)
Terrans: Deploy a FTL Beacon token in your deployment zone. gain additional victory point for having no enemy models within 4" (Terrans have historically had the best FTL navigation system/communications through the SAtellite netowrk, so they need to maintain that)

Only two I came up with in a few minutes, but is this kind of thing you were talking about Stoo?

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Yep, thanks, pretty much that's what I mean.  And you guessing whether getting their 'faction objective' is actually what your opponent is trying to do (or not) might be part of the fun and mystery of the game.  I think it's important that scoring for a each objective be limited in some way, for instance in Malifaux an objective can be scored only once a turn on a max of 3 turns, and you cannot score on turn 1.

Dendrenzi's could be... “Swift Revenge" destroy an enemy ship during the same turn it destroyed one of your own ships and gain 2xVP for it.

Obviously this would have to be well tested and thought out, but it adds a heckuvalot more flavor to each faction and game.

PS. I play Malifaux in spite of its steampunkyness, and much of Malifaux isn't steam.  I choose animals and Marcus as my leader - but I get it - steampunk perhaps has a broader appeal than spaceships that lack any popular IP.

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I always saw Malifaux as a Weird West type game more than steampunk, personally, but that may have changed recently.

I do like the faction-specific objectives, and would alter the Directorate one to be either a Tier 1 ship or one of the 'specialist cruisers' like the Aegis Shield Cruiser or the Tormenter R&D Cruiser.  As was said, the objective is intelligence or tech.

Would these be restricted to the Big 6, or should all the fleets get one?  Should the secondary fleets like Works Raptor and the Veydreth be limited to an League/Alliance one?

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Having faction specific objectives would be very interesting. You could alsohave the directorate look for a space wreck in an astroid field. For an intelligence mission it could reward you with a bonus on you next initiative role.

 

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Second on the objectives/ways to play. The main 6 aren't really that interesting, and border clash is getting really stale (but too be fair, that's player fault, not SG's).

A cyber defence that actually makes sense. As is the faction with the most cyber has the worst defence against it...

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I think before you design rules you've got to decide on the scale of battles. Games where you're going to put down 5 ships per side are going to be vastly different to game where you put down 20 or 200. Spartan did always aim to have rules that would work for any scale, even though most of their game still fit into a general structure that was broadly similar. 

 

Games where you've fewer models can afford to have more complex or detailed rules; whilst games where you've far more models will often want means to streamline certain aspects; not just for game speed but also for the complexity of remembering what is going on. Similarly things like rail guns punching through multiple ships works great if you've got 30 or so frigates per side; but can fast become abusive or broken if you've got 5 frigates per side. 

 

Of course there are always work arounds - flight bases with info slots on them and decals built into the stand (heck the Halo stands had fire arcs and slots for dice - everything you need); the old Titan Legions (a game expecting a few super titan units with armies going to war alongside) had A4 or so sized card template where you'd move energy counters to power up different weapons and abilities for each turn. Really neat and nifty but counter heavy. 

 

So really it depends on what scale of battle Warcradle want to make Firestorm - or at least the core game. There's always room to allow for variants of rules - both Warmachine and 40K have benefited greatly from having rules expansions that allow for armies many times the regular size to be used; but only as they were extensions of the base rules. Similarly there are many skirmish games (Warhammer even makes its own skirmish models now for many of them) where, again, you can change things up. 

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I'd really prefer not to move into the colored dice territory.  Instead, just write on how much something works on the stats. So a Terran BB might have SH 3/3+ while an aquan one will have SH 3/5+, and Sorylian would have SH3/4+. (just as example). By the same token, Aquan beams could be AD 6/4+/20" range, while Sorylian scatterguns could be AD10/3+/10".

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11 minutes ago, Pok said:

I'd really prefer not to move into the colored dice territory.  Instead, just write on how much something works on the stats. So a Terran BB might have SH 3/3+ while an aquan one will have SH 3/5+, and Sorylian would have SH3/4+. (just as example). By the same token, Aquan beams could be AD 6/4+/20" range, while Sorylian scatterguns could be AD10/3+/10".

With a standard negative mod for up to double range ? Or 1/2 the AD?

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Huh? Not sure what you mean. This is just to demonstrate the approach I'd personally prefer to stats over catch-all stuff like "heavy" dice.  It occurs to me there is very little point to standardized range bands and types of dice when each fleet has at best a dozen unit types to keep track of.

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3 hours ago, Pok said:

Huh? Not sure what you mean. This is just to demonstrate the approach I'd personally prefer to stats over catch-all stuff like "heavy" dice.  It occurs to me there is very little point to standardized range bands and types of dice when each fleet has at best a dozen unit types to keep track of.

What I meant was the way weapons are profiled: AD / to hit / effective range but then always 1/2 the AD at extended range (up to x2 effective range) rather than the curret range bands

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