Federation Admiral Public Update

Discussion of source material supplements for Victory by Any Means
User avatar
murtalianconfederacy
Captain
Captain
Posts: 363
Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2007 9:17 am
Location: Aboard the MCS Bavoralkin

Re: Federation Admiral Public Update

Postby murtalianconfederacy » Thu Jun 30, 2016 7:58 am

Seeing as I really don't know much about the company in question (never been that big a fan of gaming in ST, especially ST:OS (which I've had little opportunity to watch)--I've been more interested in B5-thank/blame the HV guys for reviving my interest in B5), was there a change in captaincy between the decision to release Fed Admiral and now? Or is it a case of "we're the bigger/more experienced guys in this so just do what you're told"? Because those actions seem...counter-intuitive from a VBAM gamer's point of view, but might from their or a neutral PoV (although why shut down all hype on a product that could make you a few molecules of platinum does seem very counter-intuitive--unless they just want to let it die for some reason...?).

/clueless, half-asleep ramblings
Not every laser dot has a loaded gun at the end of it

zyffyr
Lieutenant
Lieutenant
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2008 12:38 pm

Re: Federation Admiral Public Update

Postby zyffyr » Thu Jun 30, 2016 12:09 pm

Steven Cole is, frankly, a control freak with definite views on how things should be done. For many years his response to requests for a campaign system amounted to "Federation & Empire exists, it is all anyone could possibly need so please stop bothering me about this". My personal belief is that he saw that VBAM has enough similarities to F&E that he figured he could take a few days to do a quick polishing pass to put out a product to shut people up, but then once the deal was signed reality ensued.

Basically, his heart was never really in the project but it would look rather bad to just dump it...

Of course my reading of the situation could be wrong as it is based only on having observed the company as a customer for roughly 30 years and not from any direct personal knowledge of the man.

PaulB
Commander
Commander
Posts: 162
Joined: Fri Jul 22, 2011 3:37 am

Re: Federation Admiral Public Update

Postby PaulB » Fri Jul 08, 2016 5:36 pm

You're not wrong, though given how that company interacts with their community I have to wonder how anyone can have supported them for 30 years.

When I stated that make last minute changes to the game and releasing it untested was a bad idea, as anyone with even a rudimentary understanding of game design would know, they said basically Steve is experienced, so the universal laws of game design don't apply to him, and also said that "Jay didnt' playtest it anyway". The latter of which is simply untrue. Mike West organized a group of playtests back some 6 years ago, and from reading the FC boards people certain did play it. When I stated that some members of their community (Tony Thomas) had playtested it, that member who up until then wasn't involved in the discussion at all showed up out of the blue and said that he didn't, even though if you look at his posts on the FC boards he very clearly states he did.

So you know, maybe Steve is disorganized, has a very bad memory and forgot that it was playtested but when you have a community member come in, and not simply state that he didn't remember playing it, but rather that he remember that he didn't and gave the reasons why then from all appearances they're a bunch of liars, trying to re-write history, and having prominent playtesters lie for them. And all in an effort to what? Deflect blame? All they have to say is "yeah it was playtested, but looking at it now we want to make some changes". That would be the rational response, but it's not the company response.

I stated all this on their boards but they've since deleted the evidence and banned me to boot. Woo hoo!
It's the height of irony that a game based on a show about humanity bettering itself has community boards run like a Klingon penal colony. Which is probably why people who enjoy their games discuss it somewhere else:

http://sfb.swa-gaming.org/node/758

User avatar
Tyrel Lohr
Vice Admiral
Vice Admiral
Posts: 1416
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2007 3:48 am
Location: Lusk, WY
Contact:

Re: Federation Admiral Public Update

Postby Tyrel Lohr » Fri Jul 08, 2016 9:58 pm

The part of the discussion with ScoutDad was the strangest thing for me, because he and Jay were talking about it at Origins that one year, unless I'm completely mistaken.

At this point I just don't have any idea what the thought process is with this product, but then I haven't been involved with it in any capacity since looking over early manuscripts for Jay almost 10 years ago.
"Touch not the pylons, for they are the messengers!"

User avatar
mwaschak
Rear Admiral
Rear Admiral
Posts: 853
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2007 3:43 am
Location: The data mines of VBAM
Contact:

Re: Federation Admiral Public Update

Postby mwaschak » Mon Jul 11, 2016 1:06 pm

Tyrel Lohr wrote:The part of the discussion with ScoutDad was the strangest thing for me, because he and Jay were talking about it at Origins that one year, unless I'm completely mistaken.


No, that is completely accurate. We hung around and talked about the system awhile. They had played a few campaigns at the Munfreesboro group and he was giving more feedback. You can hear him on StarFleet OnCall discussing it too if you go back to 2008/2009.

-Jay

PaulB
Commander
Commander
Posts: 162
Joined: Fri Jul 22, 2011 3:37 am

Re: Federation Admiral Public Update

Postby PaulB » Mon Jul 18, 2016 5:57 pm

Yeah. So looking at the SFB forums Steve posted an updated ship list:

http://www.starfleetgames.com/discus/me ... rt_13j.pdf

Which differs significantly from Jay's original stats:

http://www.starfleetgames.com/discus/me ... 8_text.pdf

Some things worth noting:
-The VBAM stats have been thrown out the window. Instead, the F&E Combat Factor for the ships has been used for both the DV and AS value.
-The nuanced VBAM maintenance system has been abandoned in favour of a decimal-based system. So instead of paying 2 Maintenance for groups of 3 ships, now you can pay 0.67 Maintenance for one ship, or even worse, pay 0.16. Good luck adding that up without a spreadsheet. A lot of people use spreadsheets with VBAM but it's at least feasible to do pencil and paper because you're only adding up whole numbers.
-One thing I noticed is that some of the maintenance figures seem completely out of whack, at least compared to mainline VBAM. The values seem to be present in both PDFs, though don't know if chapter 8 (the original stats) were changed by Steve before being released. But for example, a Heavy Cruiser has a maintenance cost of 2/3, but a Battleship has a maintenance cost of 6! So one battleship takes as much to maintain as 9 Heavy Cruisers? Or 37 Destroyers?
-Some special abilities have been discarded. If you notice on Chapter 8 the Light Dreadnought for the Feds has Drones and Endurance. In Steve's changes, it just has Drones.
-Poor translations from Federation Commander, like the Command Cruiser having more Anti-Ship ability than either the Heavy Cruiser or the New Heavy Cruiser are still present.

PaulB
Commander
Commander
Posts: 162
Joined: Fri Jul 22, 2011 3:37 am

Re: Federation Admiral Public Update

Postby PaulB » Mon Jul 18, 2016 6:21 pm

Aside from the ship stats, is there any public information on what else is being changed about the system? How does the VP system compare to WAP? Is economy, intel, exploration, etcetera are all much the same or have they been likewise stripped down or substituted out for something else? Maybe will have to wait and see until it's released.

User avatar
mwaschak
Rear Admiral
Rear Admiral
Posts: 853
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2007 3:43 am
Location: The data mines of VBAM
Contact:

Re: Federation Admiral Public Update

Postby mwaschak » Mon Jul 18, 2016 6:26 pm

PaulB wrote:Aside from the ship stats, is there any public information on what else is being changed about the system? How does the VP system compare to WAP? Is economy, intel, exploration, etcetera are all much the same or have they been likewise stripped down or substituted out for something else? Maybe will have to wait and see until it's released.


I still don't have a lot of details about this yet. As far as I can tell the edit process hasn't even reached the objective system yet. I will look back in my emails and see if I can find some more information.

-Jay

PaulB
Commander
Commander
Posts: 162
Joined: Fri Jul 22, 2011 3:37 am

Re: Federation Admiral Public Update

Postby PaulB » Tue Jul 19, 2016 2:13 am

Oh really? I would have thought the objective system preceeded chapter 8. Then again maybe they're not editing them in order.

Incidentally, looked some more at the ship stats and noticed some other oddities.
If one looks at Federation Commander,

a Battle Frigate is 94 points
a Destroyer is also 94 points (Franz Joseph model)

Under the new stats Steve Cole is putting out, a Battle Frigate costs 4 and a Destroyer costs 6 (and costs 0.04 more to maintain)

Another example is the
Fast Destroyer 109 points
Light Cruiser 115 points

The Fast Destroyer costs 8 points. The Light Cruiser costs 6.

Whereas in Jay's old chapter 8 document, a Fast Destroyer cost 5 and a Light Cruiser costs 6. Mind you, in that original VBAM document the DDF cost the same as a normal DD which is only 94 points but still, but presumably its a higher tech level since of course VBAM ships at higher tech levels cost the same amount but get more Construction Points.

There's also no ISD in these ship lists at all so its unclear if there is even tech progression.

Some other examples,

a PC is 50 points, costs 2.5 to build
a FF is 78 points, costs 3 to build
a DDL is 100 points, costs 6 to build
a NCE is 122 points, costs 7 to build
a CA is 147 points, costs 8 to build
a CC is 151 points, costs 9 to build
a BC(photon) is 200 points, costs 10 to build
a DN is 252 points, costs 14 to build

So none of the numbers really add up, at least as a translation to FedCom.
If you compare the CA and the DN, two contemporaries, then it kinda works out. But once you throw the FF in there it falls flat on its face.

I noticed incidentally that Jay's original numbers are closer to the mark:
FF - 4 cost
CA - 7 cost
BC - 10 cost
DN - 12 cost

It even lines up with the Federation Commander costs. (Yay Jay!)
But these numbers Steve is putting in? Don't make much sense at all from the point of a FC player.
I would have thought it a given in any game design like this, that the strategic costs of the ship reflect the in-game point value, at least for their contemporaries. To do anything less is to provide players with obvious exploits. Why would I ever build a Command Cruiser for example when I can get a Battlecruiser for only one extra point and get 50 extra points on the field, not to mention a higher strategic combat and command value. Even the maintenance requirement is similar, at 1 for the BC and 0.80 for the CC.

What silly changes ADB is making.

PaulB
Commander
Commander
Posts: 162
Joined: Fri Jul 22, 2011 3:37 am

Re: Federation Admiral Public Update

Postby PaulB » Wed Jul 20, 2016 4:18 am

I looked at this updated Federation Admiral ship chart some more:

A Gorn Heavy Dreadnought, is 246 points and has a strategic cost of 20!
Compare this again to a Federation Battlecruiser, which is 200 points in FedCom costing 10 points strategic

So to get a 151 point CC, I pay 9 points. To get a 200 point BC, I pay 10 points. And to get a 246 DNH I pay 20 points!

Mind you these ships, despite having similar point values have very different strategic combat capabilities. The Federation Battlecruiser is 10 DV 10 AS wheras the Gorn Heavy Dreadnought is 16 DV 16 AS (50 points on the board = 6 points strategic I guess?)

What about another example
Federation Battleship: 20 DV 20 AS 10 AF 10 CR 6 Fighters
Gorn Battleship: 20 DV 20 AS 10 AF 10 CR 3 Fighters

Similar cost? Nope. Gorn Battleship costs 36. Federation BB costs 44. Bear in mind that in VBAM 2nd edition, a Super Dreadnought with 44 Construction points costs 14! If you factor the Battleship as a Titan, a Titan has a number of construction points equal to three times its cost plus two. The Fed Battleship has what, 66 Construction points? So it should only cost 21 points. Not 44.

Steve's numbers are completely out of whack.

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 » Wed Jul 20, 2016 2:31 pm

The fact that we're still discussing the game "in development" after 10 years pretty much tells the tale.
'Fear God and dread nought'
Coat of Arms motto of Baron Fisher, of Kilverstone

PaulB
Commander
Commander
Posts: 162
Joined: Fri Jul 22, 2011 3:37 am

Re: Federation Admiral Public Update

Postby PaulB » Wed Jul 20, 2016 4:28 pm

Oh but it's not just "in development", last word I heard is that he's planning for an end-of-July release. And by developing the game, what Steve means is copying numbers from one game (Federation & Empire) to another. One guy was happy to see that the FRAX were on the list, and in reply SVC said:

"Actually we may bounce the Frax to an expansion . . . The Frax aren't in F&E so all of their data has to be created rather than just copied, about 100 times as much work. "

Yeah game development is work. Too bad Steve is tossing all of Jay's work out the window in favour of a copy&paste job from a game which is frankly not well reviewed. Though it's not too surprising given ADB's track record. That same game, F&E was released in a state where it was unwinnable for the allies by many accounts on BGG. So they couldn't have playtested that too much either. As one reviewer stated:

The Coalition has more ships, more money, and a better production schedule. With a predictable and consistent percentage based combat system, when does the miracle happen for the Allies? Never. In short, the game is solvable with the right mix of builds and repairs for the Coalition.

With FedAdmiral, ADB is planning to dump it on the market, full price and allegedly 'fix it later'.

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 » Wed Jul 20, 2016 5:43 pm

I just can't figure out why he's persisting in this. He doesn't like strategic games, and he's already got one. He didn't like what we offered, but he's pushing on even after we've bailed out of the project and don't want to be associated with it. It's like he's got his dander up, and "by god Federation Admiral WILL get released, dammit, I'll show you!"

I just don't get it. :roll:
'Fear God and dread nought'

Coat of Arms motto of Baron Fisher, of Kilverstone

PaulB
Commander
Commander
Posts: 162
Joined: Fri Jul 22, 2011 3:37 am

Re: Federation Admiral Public Update

Postby PaulB » Wed Jul 20, 2016 6:28 pm

Well they've got nothing left to release.
They're unwilling to do new ship cards since Reinforcements Attack and Booster#92 bombed.
They've done a tactics manual.
They've done a scenario compilation book.
Released playtest packs for Omega and LMC
Re-released re-packaged PDF ship cards for many of the FedCom ships (29 packs and counting)

Fighters Attack and Gunboats Attack and whatever else would require more investment of work (creating the PDFs for example) than simply releasing a book that was mostly finished 10 years ago and what changes being announced are a copy and paste from another game.

They're also not printing this book. Only a PDF initially. So seems like a cash grab.
Then if it fails, he can blame you guys.
If it succeeds, he can say it was because of his changes.

- - - - - -

On the subject of PDF ship card packs,
Briefing#2 the PRINT BOOK costs 19.95. As a PDF you can't buy the whole thing, you can only buy the split up pieces. If you were to buy all the PDF ship card & rule packs for this product, it would cost 54.74 USD! Total money grab.

PaulB
Commander
Commander
Posts: 162
Joined: Fri Jul 22, 2011 3:37 am

Re: Federation Admiral Public Update

Postby PaulB » Mon Jul 25, 2016 8:30 am

I was wrong about the Battleship costs. A Lyran Battleship for example costs 330 points in Federation Commander, and has a Strategic cost of 36. Compared to 10 cost for a 200 point Fed BC. For 36 strategic points, you could get 12 Federation Frigates totaling 936 points. Dunno how such simple math eludes ADB. There's no reason to build many ship classes.

Not only that but I doubt there's any reason to change. Steve Cole is so controlling on the ADB it's laughable. His recent posts of the ship list have come with the caveat "don't discuss it here, email me". So they ban the one person who actually criticized the dumb ship list, and then prevent anyone else from actually having any sort of discussion about it. One of his last posts on the BBS is that he was going to form a team of "trusted people" who, from all appearances are the only people who have expressed any interest.

Though as zyffyr said above, Steve is certainly a control freak. He has a history of deleting, or even worse, editing posts that he doesn't agree with. And most comical of all starfleetgames.com isn't even on the wayback machine ( http://www.archive.org ), it's been excluded by request, probably because someone took issue with the very sort of behaviour above.

Will see if they come to their senses and fix the shiplist before release, but since that would require work, and since they've banned anyone who isn't a "yes man" at their forums I doubt it will happen.

But as an example of how broken it is, one guy could build a Task Force with:

1x Fed Battleship
10x Fed CA

Which would cost 36 + (8x10) = 116 points. With a maintenance of 6 + (10 x .67) = 12.7 per turn.
In Federation Commander that would be about 330 + 1470 = 1800 points.

Or alternatively, for 120 points you can get:

1x Fed BC
10x Fed FF

1x Fed BC
10x Fed FF

1x Fed BC
10x Fed FF

With a maintenance of (3x 1.0) + (30 x .12) = 6.6 per turn (roughly half of the above). And in Federation Commander it would be about (200 x 3) + (30 x 78) = 2940 points.

So roughly same amount of points, but on the board you can get 63% more points, three times as many task forces, all at nearly half the maintenance cost.

In terms of strategic capability. The Battleships is 20 DV 20 AS and the CAs are 8 DV 8 AS so, the whole task force is 100 DV 100 AS. Whereas individually, the BC/FF forces are 10 DV 10 AS + 10x 5 DV 5 AS so 60 DV 60 AS. Altogether, they're 180 DV 180 AS or nearly double the Battleship task force.

In that context there is literally no reason to build a Battleship or many of the larger vessels. You can win in individual task force battles, but presumably at the same time you'd be losing in two other locations where you simply had no other ships. That's also assuming that FA throws out the idea of a reinforcement pool, where you could have multiple stacks of ships at one location and sub in replacements for losses.


Return to “Other Worlds”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests