Since a 2nd Editions is planned...

Uncle_Joe
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Since a 2nd Editions is planned...

Postby Uncle_Joe » Fri Feb 07, 2014 5:01 pm

Hi all,

Since I saw the announcement of the 2nd edition, I was wondering what types of things might be changing aside from 'bug fixes'.

After many plays, I've modified the game myself but I'm curious as to what other's think of the system as is and what they would like to see change.

Personally, after having played a good number of times, I began to really dislike the IGO-UGO aspects, especially in the combat results. Having one player move first and shoot first sounds fine on the surface but after players are experienced with the game it makes it very 'dodgy'. Usually what I was seeing was the 2nd player was loathe to close in since he knew he'd have to weather the entire other team's fire and likely lose a lot without being able to retaliate. So it was a lot of avoiding conflict and waiting for a good initiative roll (which caused the OTHER player to want to avoid close contact). In some ways it works because the Orders are placed pre-initiative but overall it led to a lot of odd feeling games where initiative was of primary importance and that puts it down to just one roll/turn.

Soooo, I went with an alternating move/fire sequence. Of course that made Command a bit less desirable (since it's no longer as critically important to win Initiative) so I had to make an adjustment there but it's worked out really well so far.

Anyone else playing Fleet Ops much? Any changes you've made?

Do we know any 'official' changes that are going to be made?

mj12games
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Re: Since a 2nd Editions is planned...

Postby mj12games » Mon Feb 10, 2014 9:11 pm

You've highlighted one of the reasons I like using the IGO/UGO sequence. It makes combat much less deliberately bloody -- players are reluctant to commit forces in the same way as when using other activation sequences. But, to each their own. The game won't break down if you use a different system, like random card draw or pre-plotted movement.

Specific changes will be focused on the combat system, making it more in keeping with Nova's dice columns mechanic. However, as SFO1 and Nova share a lot in common (in fact, the former played a large role in how the latter came out) it's not going to inherently change the game.
Daniel Kast
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murtalianconfederacy
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Re: Since a 2nd Editions is planned...

Postby murtalianconfederacy » Tue Feb 11, 2014 8:51 am

So, will there be an optional simultaneous move/combat option in SFO2? I must admit that was part of the reason I only converted my SAE ships into SFO1 and didn't do any new designs.

Of course, this does mean that when I get my copy, the large array of designs I've done for Nova will have to be converted...oh, dear...:D
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Re: Since a 2nd Editions is planned...

Postby Uncle_Joe » Tue Feb 11, 2014 3:20 pm

I don't mind the IGO-UGO for ships too much but it seems to be far more crippling when fighters are involved.

At least with ships if you're the 'B' player you have a chance to maneuver after seeing the 'A' player move and thus can sometimes position yourself a bit better to concentrate fire or reduce income fire.

But with fighters, there's not much you can do. You simply sit there while each squadron moves and attacks before you can make any form of response. And since fighters don't have to 'maneuver', they can usually reach a place to fire and be effective. Given that their fire is also quite deadly (nothing else hits on a 4+ that I can see) it means that you can often lose ships (particularly smaller ships) with no chance to even inflict losses on the fighters.

PD can delay this effect, but putting PD on ships adds up in cost and is useless if your opponent doesn't bring fighters. At the very least I think PD should have a chance to inflict losses on the fighters (ie, when the fighter squadron attacks it loses one fighter for each '1' rolled vs ships with PD).

Overall I just feel that IGO-UGO makes the system feel more 'gamey' and less tactical. Different strokes for different folks, I guess but I would like to see an 'official' optional alternating or simultaneous sequence as well.

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Re: Since a 2nd Editions is planned...

Postby mj12games » Tue Feb 11, 2014 5:34 pm

I'm open to suggestions. Off the top of my head, the idea of a card deck seems the most tenable -- it avoids further record-keeping in a game that tries to minimize it.
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Uncle_Joe
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Re: Since a 2nd Editions is planned...

Postby Uncle_Joe » Tue Feb 11, 2014 7:53 pm

I had been using a straight up alternation (adjusted for rough ratio of units/side) and it works pretty well but I like the idea of a card draw system.

Something like:
At the beginning of the Movement Phase, build a 'deck' adding in one red for each ship on side A and one black for each ship on side B. Draw cards from the deck and when your color is drawn, you must move one ship.

During the Combat Phase, build a similar deck but add in one card per fighter squadron on each side. Draw from the deck and when your color is drawn you may either fire with one ship or move/fire a squadron on your side with least number of fighters/drones in it.

The fighters could be a sticking point if people purposely launched them in penny-packets (1s and 2s) just to get additional fire opportunities but that could possibly be solved by saying that you only add one card per 'x' fighters total on the board (5 or 6 maybe) and round up. Remaining 'stray' fighters could either lose their action altogether or maybe be allowed to regroup at the end of the combat phase with other squadrons or somesuch.

As far as Command, I can think of two easy ways to do it:

1) Each point of Command (or Command advantage if you prefer) adds 1 additional card (2 for Command Advantage) to the friendly deck during the Combat Phase and to the enemy deck during the Movement Phase.

2) Instead of adding any additional cards, whenever you activate a ship with Command during the Combat Phase you may immediately activate and fire one additional ship/squadron within 6 hexes OR whenever you activate a ship with Command during the Movement Phase, after moving your ship you may select an unmoved enemy ship within 6 hexes which must be the next ship moved when an enemy card is drawn.

The first way is 'easier' but the 2nd way rewards keeping your command ships in the thick of the fight rather than skulking around the edges of the map just to keep the command advantage.

Thoughts? Worth playtesting?

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Re: Since a 2nd Editions is planned...

Postby Uncle_Joe » Tue Feb 11, 2014 10:38 pm

I just played a few quick 300 point battles with the 'deck' system and I think it worked out pretty well.

I think the fighters will have to have their own short 'sub-phase' during the Combat Phase though or else they just become too much of a force multiplier by seeding the deck with fire opportunities.

Perhaps fighter squadrons do a deck draw before the ships go?

It still doesn't solve having all of the fighters go before the ships (so if you don't have fighters, you can easily be shredded before you can fire). Are fighters maybe a bit too good for their cost? Maybe the 'fighter phase' should come after the normal combat and not before? This would at least allow you to fire on them before they can attack. Or maybe fighters should hit on 5+ like other short-ranged weapons?

Not sure, will have to experiment with fighters a bit more but it seems like (with any of the turn sequences, including the default IGO-UGO) if one side has fighters and the other doesn't the side without is at a SEVERE disadvantage. At first brush, this disadvantage is more than what the point value reflects.

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Re: Since a 2nd Editions is planned...

Postby murtalianconfederacy » Wed Feb 12, 2014 8:42 am

(this is off the top of my head, so apologies if its too broken. I also can't remember the cost of Command in SFO and the likely amount that each fleet would have)

How about a simultaneous move/combat system where the amount of command points enables you to either place a fighter squadron, ship or ships in a Reserve Move category, where after all simultaneous movement has taken place they can move after, or (this could be extremely broken) place a fighter squadron, ship or ships in a Snap-Fire category where they can fire before other ships can? Call both of those options collectively Command Activations.

Command Activations would be stated in the Orders phase of a turn and a player may only choose to place ships in the Reserve Move OR Snap-Fire categories, so they couldn't create a small cadre of ships that can both move after and fire before their opponents. Make it dependent on VPs, with more expensive and hence more capable ships being more expensive to place in those categories, and fighters either come as part of that ships' Command Activation, or cost a flat rate (1 Command point, maybe?)

The turn sequence would be:

Initiative Phase for Reserve Move/Snap-Fire Command Activations (this would mean that if both sides place vessels in either category, the initiative winner could choose to move first or second, or fire first or second)
Order Phase
Movement Phase
Reserve Move Movement Phase
Snap-Fire Combat Phase
Combat Phase
End Phase

Might as well put it out there...
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Re: Since a 2nd Editions is planned...

Postby Uncle_Joe » Wed Feb 12, 2014 3:57 pm

That also looks like it could work fine although I'm not sure the costs align well with the command benefit either. It also might be a bit more cumbersome since it requires a few more different decision points. But I think it would still be a nice upgrade over the current all or nothing IGO-UGO. And I like the idea of making Command important (and that each point counts, not just the highest rating).

The more I play with the standard system the more I see lopsided combat results. Most ships simply don't have the maneuver capacity to gain enough offsetting advantage for going 2nd.

Even using the default ships on the back of book, 3 or 4 thrust usually is not enough to materially change positions sufficiently to put the 'A' fleet at a combat disadvantage. Even the 5 thrust ships often can't get to a position where they gain enough advantage.

So IMO some sort of alternating or randomized system is definitely desirable, whatever form it may take.

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Re: Since a 2nd Editions is planned...

Postby mj12games » Wed Feb 12, 2014 4:01 pm

Would there be value in altering the function of "Command" to allow ships to form "battle groups" that activate together?
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