Federation Admiral Public Update

Discussion of source material supplements for Victory by Any Means
PaulB
Commander
Commander
Posts: 158
Joined: Fri Jul 22, 2011 3:37 am

Re: Federation Admiral Public Update

Postby PaulB » Thu Aug 11, 2016 12:27 am

Update:

According to Jean Sexton, Tony and his friends didn't "playtest" Federation Admiral, they only "played" it. Because playing and giving feedback doesn't count as playtesting if their names are not on Jean's magic and never disclosed "list of playtesters"

https://boardgamegeek.com/article/23416382#23416382

Shadow Warrior
Commander
Commander
Posts: 113
Joined: Wed Apr 23, 2008 2:40 pm

Re: Federation Admiral Public Update

Postby Shadow Warrior » Fri Aug 26, 2016 10:30 am

In unsurprising news, over the last couple of days Steve Cole continues to publically rubbish VBAM while busily turning it into A-kind-of-thing-that-used-to-be-VBAM-powered-by-F&E.

From the number of questions and comments that Jean and Petrick made, it is clear that this game was never given any serious playtesting, but the playtesters I hired last week are already busy doing that now.


We continue to find missing stuff, things that were never done in the original.


There is a major "missing matter" in the case of scale. The campaign has three vaguely defined scales which are very different.


Hexes aren't defined but 125 parsecs is probably a reasonable guess, I'm just not sure, maybe 83? Jay left it for the CM to make up as he went along. It's not that I don't trust CMs to figure it out, I just don't think they want to have to.


This is especially retarded. Doesn't he understand that it doesn't matter?

The problem is that the whole book says "turns" and "hexes" without defining which scale you are using or how big those things are.


To be fair, he does finish off by speaking highly of the mission system but with caveats.

Then another matter is that the thing I really love (a chart of 52 missions you might be assigned and you might have three or six running at once and it might take two to ten turns to finish them) can really only be done in peacetime, but nothing says "in the event of full scale war, you just cannot really do this". Similarly, there is a whole bunch of diplomatic stuff about who you're at war with or allied with which really cannot ever work except in grand/F&E scale.

User avatar
Charles Lewis
Rear Admiral
Rear Admiral
Posts: 937
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2007 3:58 am
Location: Des Moines, IA
Contact:

Re: Federation Admiral Public Update

Postby Charles Lewis » Fri Aug 26, 2016 2:12 pm

My favorite SVC bitch remains his flat-out rebuke of the Intel rules. "That's now how Intelligence works in the real world!"

Well, that may be not how it was done in the US Army circa 1983, but it is reminiscent of how naval intelligence was done in the 19th Century. In either case, raise your hand if you've actually run an intel op for an inter-stellar polity.

:wink:
'Fear God and dread nought'
Coat of Arms motto of Baron Fisher, of Kilverstone

PaulB
Commander
Commander
Posts: 158
Joined: Fri Jul 22, 2011 3:37 am

Re: Federation Admiral Public Update

Postby PaulB » Fri Aug 26, 2016 8:03 pm

Shadow Warrior wrote:To be fair, he does finish off by speaking highly of the mission system but with caveats.


Yeah the mission system is the one thing he has consistently promoted, though from the draft he's shown he has made changes to it. Changes to specific missions and also have missions are scored. Some of the changes seem problematic as some of the missions are in opposition to each-other, some promote conflict, while some promote not losing ships. The latter was formerly a mission to simply build more ships, which didn't conflict with other mission objectives.

Further changes might be coming, as in his latest post he seems to want to reconcile the mission with a war-time situation. Even though the missions are I believed meant for low-level peactime conflict. At least in With a Purpose, which shares a lot of the ideas with FA, if you're running one of these small campaigns and the two sides go to war the scenario ends. But with that said he hasn't specified any changes and simply mentioned the "problem".

PaulB
Commander
Commander
Posts: 158
Joined: Fri Jul 22, 2011 3:37 am

Re: Federation Admiral Public Update

Postby PaulB » Sat Aug 27, 2016 7:44 pm

Remember this post from 2010:

Steve Cole wrote:Remember that ADB isn't designing FA, we're more or less just publishing what Jay wrote. The delay is simply that the book is GIGANTIC and that just pounding through the formatting without trying to add, delete, or edit a single word just took about 100 time as much work as it was supposed to take, which is why it didn't come out way back when. (At the time, we expected a "place and print" document like the Starmada books, which isn't what we got, as was discussed in painful detail at the time. Jay did a ton of additonal work on this thing to get it to a point I don't have to dedicate three years of my working life to just getting it into a page layout format.)


http://www.starfleetgames.com/federatio ... c&start=11

"ADB isn't designing FA" hahaha.

I don't know why they were so stuck on formatting even back then. Looking at my copy of Klingon Armada NOVA edition, it's formatting is nothing like ADB products. It's like not surprisingly, Starmada

On his latest post on the Discuss BBS:

Steve Cole wrote:For example, it says that for each "point of census" on the captured planet, you must have one "unit of troops" to force them to work in the factories. Which is all well and good, except that there is no definition of unit (squad of 5 men? Division of 10,000?) or point of census (a million? a billion?), and Jay's report (from back in 2012) says that a unit of census might be one thing in local campaigns and a very different number of people in regional or grand campaigns (a detail not in the original manuscript). We'll straighten this all out but this is why the product wasn't printed a decade ago. Too much was missing and non-ADB playtesting was obviously not effective or this would have been noticed and fixed.


Claims he doesn't know what a Ground unit is, even though he shared Chapter 8 which clearly lists ground units for each empire. Also I would be surprised if FA didn't just copy & paste the VBAM 1.0 text saying a ground unit is a division of troops, and that it requires a transport fleet to move around.

Steve Cole wrote:I hate having to cite the problems with the original manuscript but there is criticism that the delays are all ADB's fault, and that is just not true.


Hahahaha. What utter nonsense.

Shadow Warrior
Commander
Commander
Posts: 113
Joined: Wed Apr 23, 2008 2:40 pm

Re: Federation Admiral Public Update

Postby Shadow Warrior » Wed Aug 31, 2016 6:24 am

It's all part of Steve Cole's OCD. I remember the enormous fuss he made at the time about the formatting of the draft and how he couldn't even flick through it without it being formatted as if it were a finished product in case it burned his eyes out.

That was around about the time the new requirement popped up for it to be 100% compatible with F&E rather than a VBAM campaign supplement for Federation Commander.

I too pointed out that none of the Starmada stuff was subjected to the same requirements but Steve has never been anything other than "it's my way or the highway".

To be fair (and I am nothing if not fair), thinking about it, there is a subtle distinction. Star Fleet Starmada was intended to allow Starmada players to use Star Fleet Universe material in Starmada, for something that SFB/FC already does (tactical ship battles). Federation Admiral was to introduce a new capability into SFB/FA (local operations powered by VBAM).

And yes, Charles, the 'intelligence doesn't work like that" rant had me in stitches too. We've all known some game player who's wailed in petulance at the table "but it wouldn't work like that in real life" only to be greeted with a cocked eyebrow

Shadow Warrior
Commander
Commander
Posts: 113
Joined: Wed Apr 23, 2008 2:40 pm

Re: Federation Admiral Public Update

Postby Shadow Warrior » Wed Aug 31, 2016 6:28 am

Underneath all the grumbling, my biggest concern is that he is making wholesale changes to the rules without ever having played (or even read) VBAM, and without any understanding of why things were done that way. The ship support costs is a case in point. Changing that to a decimal charge per ship rather than an integer amount per X ships or portion thereof is going to have large knock on consequences (and if he spots that he will then come up with some over complex compensating rule like "for every x ships you build you have to build y other ships first".

Shadow Warrior
Commander
Commander
Posts: 113
Joined: Wed Apr 23, 2008 2:40 pm

Re: Federation Admiral Public Update

Postby Shadow Warrior » Wed Aug 31, 2016 6:36 am

In other words, he is a competent enough 1970s game designer, when things like clarity, conciseness, and uniformity of mechanic didn't really matter that much because people would happily stomach an ever changing rule book full of errata and clarifications as a given. But in terms of the current state of the art, he is very, very far behind the curve. Even FC really only dragged SFB kicking and screaming into the early 90s (but ten years later!). It was not state of the art when it was released.

But anyway, you all know and expect this from a man who regularly says he cannot understand why anybody would want any games other than SFB/F&E as they are both perfection made real.

Shadow Warrior
Commander
Commander
Posts: 113
Joined: Wed Apr 23, 2008 2:40 pm

Re: Federation Admiral Public Update

Postby Shadow Warrior » Wed Aug 31, 2016 7:11 am

Ha-ha! At the risk of laboring the point, this entry for this week's blog tells you everything you need to know about why Jay stood no chance....

2. I read a lot of books. I have, for many years, always had a book in the bathroom that I was reading a few pages at a time. Any convenient scrap of paper, or a formal bookmark, or one of those advertising cards torn from a magazine would serve as a bookmark. It was, however, always difficult to remember just exactly where on the two facing pages I had stopped. The idea of always stopping at the bottom of the left page had an appeal, but often there were people waiting for me, or that wasn't a good place to stop. Recently, I hit upon a solution. I drew a small mark on the backside of my current bookmark, and as I put the book away at the end of each visit, I turned the bookmark so that the mark was facing the page I had stopped on and was lined up with the actual place I stopped. This had made it very easy to pick up where I left off rather than re-reading or missing part of the book.

PaulB
Commander
Commander
Posts: 158
Joined: Fri Jul 22, 2011 3:37 am

Re: Federation Admiral Public Update

Postby PaulB » Wed Aug 31, 2016 10:11 pm

:roll: weird. If I'm picking up a book again, I look anywhere on the page, and in about 2 seconds I'm orientated and can skip to the newer portion. One doesn't need a system to do that. Or at least not in my experience.

Yeah, been talking with some guys on BGG about the F&E Combat system.
Their system is such that, if you have say 100 ships in a hex versus another 100 ships in that same hex, then you pick up to 13 per side and those 13 fight it out. In the second round of combat, you can swap them all out for a different set.

As I said on BGG it's basically Napoleonic Warfare where countries had rifleman get into rows, like 50-100 wide and 2 or 3 men deep. But instead of 50 dudes in a battle you're going to have like 13 ships in a battle and maybe another 127 in 10 rows behind them as reserves. It's not even a firing line of riflemen, like a phalanx of Riflemen. Or another analogy is that every battle takes place in a 13-ship-wide hallway with low cielings :P

And the variance in damage done is from 20-35%, so a variance of only 15% with 1d6 die rolls equating to 20/25/25/30/30/35 so even in an even strengthened fight, your realistic hope is to do 5% more damage to the enemy then they do to you per combat round.

If that system finds its way into Federation Admiral the combat will product will in my opinion be irredeemable. As I stated on BGG, if you have a campaign where you abstract many battles, then even a variable combat system like VBAM's 1d6xAS/10 rolls will lead to average results. The more rolls you have, the more it becomes average. But for F&E's system, on its basic principles of a max 15% variance you're not going to get an average result, because the averages are already built into the combat. You're going to basically get a static result. A straight line, not a bell curve. So why bother rolling at all?

Shadow Warrior
Commander
Commander
Posts: 113
Joined: Wed Apr 23, 2008 2:40 pm

Re: Federation Admiral Public Update

Postby Shadow Warrior » Wed Aug 31, 2016 11:19 pm

Alas, this is true according to people I know who have played F&E. The game is largely one of manoeuvering pre-determined stacks using one of a handful of pre-determined valid tactics. Combat itself is just a dice rolling grind in which the larger force always wins. In short, it is a highly tedious game of attrition.

I have absolutely zero interest in VBAM powered by F&E. What I wanted was SFU ships and races in VBAM.

User avatar
Charles Lewis
Rear Admiral
Rear Admiral
Posts: 937
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2007 3:58 am
Location: Des Moines, IA
Contact:

Re: Federation Admiral Public Update

Postby Charles Lewis » Thu Sep 01, 2016 1:59 pm

Which is why when I gaze upon my rather sizeable collection of F&E material I see a toolkit to someday do a proper Trek-ian wargame. :)
'Fear God and dread nought'

Coat of Arms motto of Baron Fisher, of Kilverstone

PaulB
Commander
Commander
Posts: 158
Joined: Fri Jul 22, 2011 3:37 am

Re: Federation Admiral Public Update

Postby PaulB » Thu Sep 01, 2016 7:23 pm

Steve Cole from FC Forums wrote:We plan to release it as a PDF only for probably at least a year. It will need a lot of player input before it stabilizes. It is too big with too many moving parts. The original design was not adequately playtested, and we're doing more playtesting now, but really it's three (or ten) separate games all overlapping and using varous combinations of rules and I suspect it will take 100 actual players a year to find everything. Doing it as a PDF means we can continually improve it until it is what it should be.

http://www.starfleetgames.com/federatio ... &start=195

You hear that? Fed Admiral is 10 games in one! What a bargain.

Shadow Warrior
Commander
Commander
Posts: 113
Joined: Wed Apr 23, 2008 2:40 pm

Re: Federation Admiral Public Update

Postby Shadow Warrior » Thu Sep 01, 2016 9:37 pm

Charles Lewis wrote:Which is why when I gaze upon my rather sizeable collection of F&E material I see a toolkit to someday do a proper Trek-ian wargame. :)

Aye, Charles, you're not wrong. There is a great game lurking inside the F&E box, just not the one in the rules.

Shadow Warrior
Commander
Commander
Posts: 113
Joined: Wed Apr 23, 2008 2:40 pm

Re: Federation Admiral Public Update

Postby Shadow Warrior » Thu Sep 01, 2016 9:42 pm

PaulB wrote:You hear that? Fed Admiral is 10 games in one! What a bargain.


Ten, eh? Such a shame we can't just have the one that was originally planned... a VBAM supplement for Federation Commander.


Return to “Other Worlds”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest