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Future FA rules

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5 hours ago, Ryjak said:

One thing you are all missing in your critique on Derek... Neil Fawcett was the “Creative Director” at Spartan Games, and he micro-managed everything.  I know Alex Mann wanted to do a lot of things with Firestorm Armada, and generally Neil undercut him or ignored him.  For example, Alex had the initial concept for Firestorm Taskforce, which Neil handed over to someone else to develop... and only gave them two weeks to do so.

For me, I have no way to separate how much of what we saw from 3.0 was from Derek or Neil. I know I preferred the direction Alex wanted to go with the game (those ideas should be archived in this forum) instead of what Derek/Neil/Josh cooked up.

Sure, nothing happened without Neill approving.

But both Alex and Derek have disclosed their personal view on space combat gaming often enough, on this forum, for me to know that I would probably have liked where Alex intended to take Firestorm Armada, and surely wouldn’t have liked were Derek was taking it.

 

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I would like to know if WC has any intention of changing the stats on the ships? I do think that some of them need to be updated .... like the Terran R&D shield cruiser could a revamp making it a little more of a support vessel. adding a little more to its PD and allowing it to protect other ships with its shields ect..... some of the stuff we talked about on the old Spartan forum site were good and I would like tho see that go on here on this site as well. it will affect the rules and game style 

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I hope I'm not speaking for others too much by summarizing that feedback to the 3.0beta FSA rules released on the forums last summer was not generally positive.   I didn't care for it myself, either, though there were a couple of interesting ideas. 

No doubt there were lots of hands in development of FSA 3.0beta but Derek was the lead designer,  as he was for Halo.   Neil puts his stamp/name on everything yet wasn't involved a lot.... at least that's my understanding.   3.0beta struck me as a designer given too much latitude without enough guidance and feedback.

There may be several reasons Derek was chosen for Dystopian by WC.  My optimistic guess is: this choice (along with Spartan_Josh ...not Linde, the other Josh) helps establish continuity.   It's helpful to have someone involved from a long time ago guide, and in turn be guided by, the new owners as rules are developed -- how this balancing act will play out is the real question.   You can read Derek's own perspective of his role in the interview, which hints at Warcradle values.  I will watch the Dystopian community reaction closely.

I think the next question is "how much will FSA change", before we get to how.   The new 'fluff' Warcradle comes up with will probably drive both.  I am unequivocal that FSA needs to change a lot if it's going to compete in the 2019 marketplace.   Grognards can play SFB or Full Thrust.  Casuals can play SW:Armada.   FSA is a 3+ hour game that's not well suited for tournaments (been there), too complex for beer-n-pretzels, has some distinctive mechanics like DR/CR but not enough, somehow feels more like boats than starships, and lacks a compelling Intellectual Property.   Phew...that was a mouthful.   Some great looking models, yes, but where does FSA fit in? 

I've played too many games of 2.0 and demo'ed too many times as a Vanguard to think 2.0 was 'solid'.  I respectfully disagree with those who feel 2.0 just "needs a few tweaks".   Yet I do have hope that with a compelling story and unique gameplay FSA will rise again.   I sure wish there was more I could do to help right now.  I think a player survey is a great place to start - the 14,000+ email list, as well as new player demos with an open mind, which is what I'm doing occasionally. 

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I can absolutely agree there are a LOT of things that need to be reworked. I would love to see the point defense wall against boarding actions and SRS tokens broken down in the early game as well as general rebalancing for some fleets that need it (Sorylians, Im a-looking at you!)

It will be interesting to see how a new 3.0 comes about, before we can adjust ship values we'll need the new rules to balance around. The most gracious thing is the focus on keeping old Firestorm models usable in future releases of the game. The best thing about Derek's interview was where he mentioned Warcradle's improved means of communicating with its playerbase, and a focus on allowing the gamers to submit ideas as well. All of those homebrew Frankenstorm 2.5 games that we've been discussing in other threads will likely have their chance to shine!

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Also quick proposal to change the Precision Strike MAR and the Kinetic Cohesion effect to a +1/-1 choice, giving you an option to either move effects up or down on the crit / targeted strike table with your available choices depending on your initial roll. Either way you'll still only have two real choices to make

Hope that makes sense, I use Targeted Strikes extensively and this would open it up a little bit choice-wise without making the actual attack easier to pull off

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 I don’t think a 3+ hour game is suited for tournaments at all. ~90 minutes seems like a better time frame for a tournament game, as that usually allows one game every two hours.

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It's going to be a challenge to get down to 90 minutes.  It may mean that tournaments of necessity are limited to <800 points, and anything larger is relegated to special events, or weekend house play.  My goal would be to get the rules to support a 1000 point game in two hours.  Might be possible...I hope it is.

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2 hours ago, Skyhawk said:

Three hours makes for a long game. My question is this: does it have to take that long, or is there a way to streamline it?

Yeah, there are several ways to streamline the game.   Movement using the template is a big time-sink...Alternate movement was discussed in another thread:

 and the movement was shown by @Stoobert in a video shown here.

Changing the way we interact with dice is another way to streamline mechanics.  I've been working with several others over the past couple of months, discussing ideas and working toward a shorter game.  Several of those ideas have been posted into the rules sub-forum.

 

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A game that takes ~2 hours is the de facto 'modern standard' of minis wargaming, with some games like 40k pushing the envelope, but even so 8th Ed was an effort to move towards this.   Just take a look around... any game that has a community or 'night' at your FLGS abides by this guideline.   Casual/league/beer-n-pretzels/epic/"final round"/newbie games of these same properties are some circumstances taking 3+ hours.  SW:Armada is our closest comparison in terms of the starship battle the game is trying to represent.  I've never played, but googled, and found a detailed tournament document outlining 135min rounds and 180m rounds for the "final round".   There you go: ~2hr.

Simply put, FSA 2.0 doesn't abide by this guideline.  Having played many games myself, 2.0 is about 1 hour too long in every situation.  Given the model count and purpose of the game, it's not necessary.

@Ryjak 90 min would be good for a small game (Patrol Fleet) of FSA, agreed.   3.0beta acknowledged this goal in the document but when playtested it was just wishful thinking.

@Skyhawk I think so, it would be great if you could peruse these ideas on this forum and offer feedback. 

 

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A 'normal' game should be around two hours. With most game nights kicking off at 7-8pm and approaching close for 11pm (tops) really any game running longer than 2hrs runs the risk of the dreaded phrase of 'Shall we call it/leave it there?' 

From a game design point of view, it means that exploring factions that come into their own later in the game becomes ill-advised if 'later in the game' rarely happens...  

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Time scale and scale of the game are two things that I think come to hte fore which then start to define how the points and rules can work. 

 

Scale of the game means how many units, how much potential variety and thus how many ships each player can take in order to fit the game into the time scale estimated for the game. Personally my preference is to have more ships. More ships means more potential diversity, more chance to put more on the table and more chance to take losses without it destroying your game plan (provided that the game manages to avoid a heavy "alpha strike"  approach where its possible to wipe out huge chunks of the enemy in a single turn. 

More ships also means there's more room for diversity and choice for the player, more room to fit in niche as well as common ships as well as more chance to buy and paint more within a single faction. For WC that means more potential to sell more to a single player before that player starts to consider alliances or a second faction (which is always risky as sometimes people will only build one army and will invest further funds on a different game franchise). 

I would say 2 1/2 is probably a good time to aim the main duration of the game after the game is setup (setups vary a lot in time, often because of how casual that phase can be for many clubs).

 

Of course the strength of a good rules system is allowing the players to play bigger and smaller games; although in the real world any extreme variation away from the standard often benefits from some amendments to the rules (often at the larger end)

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I know this was said before and I don't remember how it went over with the group but a chess clock  to keep movement moving quickly . I do not have one but would get one if it could help get the time down. does any one have any data on this to see if it works? keeping movement around 1 min. 30 sec. mark. I also think that way point idea helps as well. that said I do not think they would help if a player can't decide what ship to move and where to move it to.   I think that is the bulk of the problem here.  heck I done it myself  taking to long to make up my mind on what I'm going to do and how.

my 10 cents worth ( inflation)

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Chess clocks are used in warmachine and I think some warhammer groups are using them. But they are not really about the rules so much as they are about enforcing a faster level of play. This is more to do with weeding out people who use abusive means to try and prolong their turns (or their opponents) so that the game state ends with them in a favourable position whilst their opponent is left unable to act due to loss of time.

I don't think they really need to be factored into the design phase of the game; they  are really a reinforcement tool that aims to give fair equal play time to both sides and speed up play. 

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We are going to try the chess clock next game night.  We've talked about using sand timers for individual activations, but we're going with the clock first.  I think it will lend a sense of urgency (and hopefully keep the game moving along).

So if we make some assumptions:

  • 1000 Points, divided across 6 squadrons
  • 2 Hour game
  • 6 turns 

That gives us about 20 minutes per turn, or 10 minutes per player per turn.  At 6 squadrons, that gives you 1:40 to activate each squadron.  It's a pretty quick turn-around.  So when we're talking about changes, and it we're only saving 10 seconds of time, that's pretty significant when you consider how long you have on a per squadron basis. 

I'm confident that we can get the mechanics down with respect to the time it takes to actually do stuff.  The 'single line movement' and changes to linking/combining of weapons will help out here, quite a lot actually.

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I think most use chess clocks in terms of total time instead of time per turn since the game will often have faster and slower turns. Eg your first few turns might involve more moving but less dice rolling as most ships won't be in line of sight or in range to do much. So the first few turns will typically have less time spent doing stuff than latter turns when guns start firing and dice rolling in  greater numbers. 

As of the last version of the rules vast swarm armies aren't really a thing like they are in Warhammer; so the variation in the number of ships to move per side isn't vast (indeed considering a tyranid or ork player might have 20 to 30 models in a single squad and might have multiple squads on the table; whilst firestorm the numbers are far less). 

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Overread is correct that chess clocks measure total time and many turns are faster or slower.  Turn 1 goes very quickly, you move and fire torpedos that mostly miss.  Turn 3 is a furball and a single activation could take 5 minutes or more!  10 minutes is simply not enough time for a single player to execute their turn 3.

1) I would offer that either the number of minutes per turn varies, or ...

2) the clock is for the whole game.  A player gets 1 hour TOTAL

..regardless what happens if they run out of time, they can no longer activate squadrons?   Harsh, but effective.

Here's my take on chess clocks, it is a alternative variant of a game to force quick (bad?) decisions and provide a different "rushed feel" that both players want. 

Chess clocks do not fix an inherently tedious game.  I tried this with Axis and Allies.  The game takes too long, period.  No chess clock is going to fix that, and by the time you're fighting the decisive battle in Moscow you need 20 min for that single event, and both players agree the chess clock should be ignored.   :-)

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Yeah Ill have to agree that a chess clock doesnt accelerate proper gameplay but rushes it. Performing the steps of the activation quicker =/= streamlined gameplay.

Ive recently hopped on the bandwagon for Stoobert'swaypoint movement system and ehile I havent done a proper game woth it yet, I can already see it makong squadron movement a lot faster. After movement, what takes up the most time for your games? Answers about calculating linked-fire pools will be disregarded as people that need to spend an hour or two sorting out the mental math, thats an instant process against evwrybody Ive been pucky enough to play against

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Well @Wolfgang Jannesen you can disregard dice math if you like :-) but: subtracting, halving, adding, then halving again, rolling, counting, re-rolling (and again), then adding again... does have a prolonging effect on game time, even someone finds it easy.  It is certainly not "instant" by any measure, LOL!

Hmm... What else takes time?

1. Decision making, as in "which squadron do I activate now?", because it matters if you want to win.

2. Asking your opponent questions about his ships...

3. Consulting the rules

4. Rolling on the crit chart (even though most the the time the result doesn't matter) takes time.

5. Moving to optimize arcs and ranges, particularly time consuming with FixedFore & P/S arcs 

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Consulting the rules definitely takes the most time for me, but the more you play the less time this will take. Though a good quick reference sheet will help too.

As for one and two, there isn't a whole lot that can be done about them.

As for five , with @Stoobert's movement method I think that the  time it would take to aim is a bit less due to easier movement.

And finally the crit chart. I have a rough, and I do mean rough, idea for changing it. Instead of rolling to see what critical effect you received, make it to where its based on the number of hits you rolled from the attack itself. For example: If the number of hits exceeds the CR by say 2 then you would get  Decompression, if it were instead say 6 over the CR then you would suffer a Reactor overload. Like I said this is just a rough idea, but I think it would save at least a little time.

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@Stoobert You are absolutely right there, and PD and shields and cloaks definitely add their own time to an attack resolution. 

@Skyhawk I dont see any reason that couldn't work, and I like that it represents a higher crit definitively meaning a meaner hit. Would you keep the Targeted Strike / Boarding tables the same? While I have someone talking about those tables, I proposed above that the Kinetic Cohesion and Precision Strike MARs to be a +1/-1 choice on those tables, so with the current critical strike table you would always have the option of choosing a different effect. Could this work on your table? I'd love to see it when you draft it up

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2 hours ago, Stoobert said:

Well @Wolfgang Jannesen you can disregard dice math if you like :-) but: subtracting, halving, adding, then halving again, rolling, counting, re-rolling (and again), then adding again... does have a prolonging effect on game time, even someone finds it easy.  It is certainly not "instant" by any measure, LOL!

Hmm... What else takes time?

1. Decision making, as in "which squadron do I activate now?", because it matters if you want to win.

2. Asking your opponent questions about his ships...

3. Consulting the rules

4. Rolling on the crit chart (even though most the the time the result doesn't matter) takes time.

5. Moving to optimize arcs and ranges, particularly time consuming with FixedFore & P/S arcs 

 A couple more:

6. Fiddling with SRS tokens and micro dice

7. Looking up MARS

8. Measuring PD bubbles around ships

9. Placing/Removing status markers

Suffice to say, there is room for some streamlined rules here.  :) 

 

 

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@Wolfgang Jannesen to be honest with you I completely forgot about Kinetic and Precision strike since I don't use them. Perhaps have it to were you could select either the effect below or above the one you hit on? 

5 hours ago, Wolfgang Jannesen said:

Would you keep the Targeted Strike / Boarding tables the same?

Probably, I'll have to look at them to be sure.  This is just vague idea right now and will need major critiquing. 

5 hours ago, Wolfgang Jannesen said:

PD and shields and cloaks definitely add their own time to an attack resolution. 

But how do we get them to take less time without turning them into an alternate form of DR?

5 hours ago, Toxic_Rat said:

7. Looking up MARS

Quick reference sheet! Otherwise I have no idea. As for you the points, I really don't know how to streamline them.

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@Skyhawk thats practically what it was trying to achieve, just worded much better. In all practicality it just means rolling an odd number doesnt make those MARs useless. 

In response to point two, I don't actually think those are an arbitrary use of time and I will more often than not support a dice roll that makes sense. What I mean is its personally more fun for me to weather an attack with a counterroll, even if its just a single shield. This could be subjective taste though!

I know @Ryjakhas some thoughts on the crit table, and I think a table like yours where a supremely high roll over the crit rating yields supreme results is more in line with how he'd like to see it. I'm personally really into this idea 

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