First post, First play, First impression

The Universal Game of Starship Combat
Parduz
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First post, First play, First impression

Postby Parduz » Wed Dec 03, 2008 1:18 am

Hi to all from Italy (so, pls, forget my poor english).

Tonight i've played my first Starmada battle, using the ships and the scenario in the core rulebook. To get a grasp to the game, no optional rules has been used.
We (me and my playing group), loves starship games, and we play Silent Death from many years, so Starmada have to face that game, which we think have the clever combat mechanic of all our games.

So i tried Starmada with other 3 players, starting with 2000 pts per side, resulting in 11 ships vs 9.
The first round was only about approaching, and the all ships start firing in the 2nd round, more or less all aligned in the center of the map. Fighters was flying around making his mess, and we start throwing tons of dice.
3 rounds later, we all have agreed to quit.
The feeling was the same for all: the combat mechanic kills the game... we all liked the movement system, which give the feeling of "heavy" ships compared to the fighter we're used to have in Silent Death.... what we can't chew is the insane amount of dice rolling required to deal damage. 3 or 4 rolls per shot is really too much, and (for our taste) kills the "rythm" of the battle. I understand why the manual says that it is better to alternate who's shooting, but really is a bit impratical. The fastest way is to let each player doing all the damage (when there's no decisions to take related to who fires at who), but meanwhile the others players can read the whole rulebook (that's what happened).
So, while we all loves the movements, the ship designing, the optional rules, no one have liked the combat mechanic (or better: the amount of rolls needed).

I think this is a shame, 'cause the game deserve more fun.

So, i'm asking to the "veteran" players if there's any "optional rule" to reduce the amount of rolls whithout breaking the points/building system.

If not, i'd like to try to find one, but this requires a serious work building tables of chances to hits and computing the odds. But i think that at least the game designers have already done it, so maybe i can get some helps without reinvent the wheel... so the question is: there's someone that have a "study" about the "chances to hit" of Starmada AE?

I'll accept any suggestion about this.... i don't want to put Starmada on my shelf and keep it there forever.

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Re: First post, First play, First impression

Postby mj12games » Wed Dec 03, 2008 2:00 am

Parduz wrote:We (me and my playing group), loves starship games, and we play Silent Death from many years, so Starmada have to face that game, which we think have the clever combat mechanic of all our games.


I am a big fan of Silent Death, myself. One of the systems that got me into the hobby in the first place.

So i tried Starmada with other 3 players, starting with 2000 pts per side, resulting in 11 ships vs 9.


This might have been too big for a first game.

The feeling was the same for all: the combat mechanic kills the game... we all liked the movement system, which give the feeling of "heavy" ships compared to the fighter we're used to have in Silent Death.... what we can't chew is the insane amount of dice rolling required to deal damage.
...
So, while we all loves the movements, the ship designing, the optional rules, no one have liked the combat mechanic (or better: the amount of rolls needed).


Assuming this wasn't just inexperience with the game coupled with a large-ish battle, I'm not sure what to say. The three-roll combat mechanic is really what makes Starmada "Starmada". If it's too much rolling for your tastes, then Starmada might not be your thing.

Honestly, this isn't a common complaint. Sure, some people keep the number of weapons to a minimum because they don't like rolling "buckets" of dice, and the movement system has its share of detractors -- but few (if any) players have expressed a concern that the number of rolls is too high.

If not, i'd like to try to find one, but this requires a serious work building tables of chances to hits and computing the odds. But i think that at least the game designers have already done it, so maybe i can get some helps without reinvent the wheel... so the question is: there's someone that have a "study" about the "chances to hit" of Starmada AE?


I'm not sure what you're asking for, but one could easily put together a combat chart, cross-referencing the number to-hit with the target's shield rating:

Code: Select all

         SHIELD RATING
TO-HIT   0   1   2   3   4   5
2+       2+ 3+ 4+ 4+ 5+ 6+
3+       3+ 4+ 4+ 5+ 6+ 6+
4+       4+ 4+ 5+ 5+ 6+ 6+
5+       5+ 5+ 6+ 6+ 6+ --
6+       6+ 6+ 6+ 6+ -- --


I can't see how you'd reduce the number of rolls below two, however...
Daniel Kast
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Parduz
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Re: First post, First play, First impression

Postby Parduz » Wed Dec 03, 2008 8:42 am

Thanks for your fast reply, Cricket.

cricket wrote:
So i tried Starmada with other 3 players, starting with 2000 pts per side, resulting in 11 ships vs 9.
This might have been too big for a first game.

It may be... but while we're new for Starmada, we all are old "experienced" gamers, and we often try to "stress" the games a bit to see if we like to play them more seriously after the first "test & learn" game (where we allow redoin wrong moves etc..).

cricket wrote:Assuming this wasn't just inexperience with the game coupled with a large-ish battle, I'm not sure what to say. The three-roll combat mechanic is really what makes Starmada "Starmada". If it's too much rolling for your tastes, then Starmada might not be your thing.

Honestly, this isn't a common complaint. Sure, some people keep the number of weapons to a minimum because they don't like rolling "buckets" of dice, and the movement system has its share of detractors -- but few (if any) players have expressed a concern that the number of rolls is too high.

I see. As we often start playing at 22, having 3 hours at maximum to play a game, we may have raised a taste for fast games mechanics. I agree that this may be a not so common case

cricket wrote:I'm not sure what you're asking for.....
I can't see how you'd reduce the number of rolls below two, however...

I'm not sure that it can be done, but i'd like to start computing the odds for the 3 rolls (hit, impact and damage) and then try to find a way to have a single roll with various dice and modifier that stay close at the original odds.
As example, i will like to try to associate a type of die to the target shields (say: 1d4 for a 6 shield, 1d6 for a 4, 1d8 for a 3 etc.), a type of die (or more than one) depending about the weapons values and see if a single roll of all that dices may have an "odds curve" similar to the original.
It's a thing that's hard to explain in italian, i hope i've said somewhat with a mean in english :)

EDIT:
I'm wondering if i'm not taking a reversal approach. I mean: is the weapon "cost" related to the chance to hit / to penetrate / to damage?
If so, you should already have a sort of "table" showing what i'm trying to compute.... just guessing...

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Postby murtalianconfederacy » Wed Dec 03, 2008 9:41 am

I've never thought that Starmada had too many dice--you should see B5W for insane dice rolling...:D

With a large number of ships, it is true, dice rolling can be a problem. I tend to build my weapons hefty with several weapon modifiers--not an option in the basic ships, but what the hell.

I'd suggest maybe playing with a dreadnought-type hull and two cruiser-type hulls. Three ships a side. Could make for an interesting battle.

There was a mechanic for banked weapons in the Compendium which enabled up to four weapons to roll to hit with just one d6. Maybe this could be what you need if you have large numbers of light weapons on your ships and a large number of ships.

But try it again. Its a fun game and the weapon design and ship construction are fantastic elements of the game.
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Parduz
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Postby Parduz » Wed Dec 03, 2008 11:06 am

murtalianconfederacy:
i've not so many problem rolling 36d6 (we have them all! :shock: ).
The thing that bother us is the 3 rolls per shot (4 if you hit weapons) needed do deal damage. There is where the 90% of the time required for a round go, and we all think it is too much.

Said this, i agree with you about the strong points of this game. As i don't like solo games, the problem now is that i don't have a chance to play it again if i can't reduce the number of rolls per shot (maintaining the whole building process balanced).

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Re: First post, First play, First impression

Postby jygro » Wed Dec 03, 2008 11:11 am

Parduz wrote:We (me and my playing group), loves starship games, and we play Silent Death from many years, so Starmada have to face that game, which we think have the clever combat mechanic of all our games.


If you are coming from Silent Death with its integrated roll to hit/damage mechanic, the 3 roll system in Starmada is gonig to be a bit much for your tastes. Even with Dan's table, I'm not sure how you can make it a single roll for everything (and not take away from "starmada"). Also, the ships in Starmada have a lot more weaponry than those in Silent Death which is again not something you are 'used' to.

In terms of trying to make everything a 'single' roll, I got something, but it ain't 'pretty'. Add a single different color die which acts for where all the damage for a single weapon is applied. Of course, you have to roll each weapon separately (which is going to add to downtime).

A roll on that damage die is a
1-3: Hull hit
4: Weapon hit (your choice)
5: Weapon hit (opponent's choice)
6: Shield

My thought is with Dan's table, try it again and see how it goes. I think the major difference is the scale of the games (fighter combat vs. starships) and your tastes may vary on that.
-Bren

Parduz
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Re: First post, First play, First impression

Postby Parduz » Wed Dec 03, 2008 11:13 am

cricket wrote:...one could easily put together a combat chart, cross-referencing the number to-hit with the target's shield rating:

Code: Select all

         SHIELD RATING
TO-HIT   0   1   2   3   4   5
2+       2+ 3+ 4+ 4+ 5+ 6+
3+       3+ 4+ 4+ 5+ 6+ 6+
4+       4+ 4+ 5+ 5+ 6+ 6+
5+       5+ 5+ 6+ 6+ 6+ --
6+       6+ 6+ 6+ 6+ -- --


Sorry for the double post (and for the maybe dumb question), but how this table comes out?

Parduz
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Re: First post, First play, First impression

Postby Parduz » Wed Dec 03, 2008 11:27 am

We have posted in the almost same moment
jygro wrote:Even with Dan's table, I'm not sure how you can make it a single roll for everything (and not take away from "starmada").

That's the goal, yes :)

jygro wrote: Also, the ships in Starmada have a lot more weaponry than those in Silent Death which is again not something you are 'used' to.

That was what we was searching for: a big scale spaceship combat, so we like this. The only problem is that it "multiplies" the "3-rolls downtime" (new word learned, thanks!), but imho the problems arises from the "3-rolls", not from the insane amount of weaponry :)

jygro wrote:A roll on that damage die is a
1-3: Hull hit
4: Weapon hit (your choice)
5: Weapon hit (opponent's choice)
6: Shield

Does it lacks for the Engine damage? Anyway i think i got your point.

jygro wrote:My thought is with Dan's table, try it again and see how it goes.
It seems a good step toward the direction i need, yes.

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Postby jimbeau » Wed Dec 03, 2008 3:20 pm

I have to ask Parduz, are you rolling all similar weaponry at the same time? i.e. anything from a ship that has the same to hit number can roll all the weapons in the bank at once, no need to split rolls.

Also, I liked banked weapons too, but I can almost hear the high-pitched scream coming from colorado :)

anyway, I can say that there's not been a lot of complaining on the number of rolls when I play at the conventions, but if you have an issue with it, then maybe others do too. Is it possible to get the same from a table? yes. but the issue is that you don't get a good spread of probability with 1 die roll...the more dice you roll, the more like "average" it's gonna be.

I'm not saying that quite right, but I think you get the point.

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Postby Parduz » Wed Dec 03, 2008 4:14 pm

jimbeau wrote:I have to ask Parduz, are you rolling all similar weaponry at the same time? i.e. anything from a ship that has the same to hit number can roll all the weapons in the bank at once, no need to split rolls.

More or less.. they have to be from the same battery (X,Y or Z), or, more generally, they need to have the same ACC IMP and DMG, right? If not, there may be issues about what damage have to do that dice (from what weapon it belongs), etc.

jimbeau wrote:Also, I liked banked weapons too, but I can almost hear the high-pitched scream coming from colorado :)

I think i'm missing somewhat, here :?:

jimbeau wrote:Is it possible to get the same from a table? yes. but the issue is that you don't get a good spread of probability with 1 die roll...the more dice you roll, the more like "average" it's gonna be.
I'm not saying that quite right, but I think you get the point.

Well. probabilities are somewhat often hard to "figure", but i "feel" that using different die sizes and bonus/malus i can archieve a good aproximation of the original "3-rolls". I may be completly wrong, sure, that's why i asked here for some suggestion. Having a base of veteran players, and the game designer(s) on this forum may lead to a very cooperative work, or at least to an "assisted" one.
That's depends also about how much "Cricket" wants to reveals about the underlying weapons "statistics"... a thing i've forgot to ask :oops:


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