2E Feedback

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virtutis.umbra
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Re: 2E Feedback

Post by virtutis.umbra »

Darbycmd, the sorts of tweaks you're suggesting to make the planet stats more realistic (making the curve of Science stat more heavily centered on the middle, other than a relative few high / low outliers; pushing the Bio stat curve heavily toward the lower numbers) would make great scenario- or campaign-specific rules.

I think the core rules should strive to be internally balanced and simple, and represent a generic sci-fi "world" concept from which people can deviate to their heart's content in making individual implementations "harder" or "softer." If you want your galaxy to look like MOO2, I think the stock rules are pretty close to spot-on. I don't really see a strong argument for making the various planet stats necessarily behave differently from one another (in terms of relative effect of utilization or in terms of relative frequency of different values) when it's trivially easy to customize either of those aspects to suit the flavor of a particular campaign.

I'd like to echo Mavikfena's point that the core campaign system should focus on being entertaining, quick, and easy (which to me, humbly, means eschewing complexities that don't add to playability, such as differences in the way planetary stats get generated / utilized).

That said, I think it's great that you're scrutinizing the rules so closely and calling attention to the bits that make you scratch your head :) My hope is that Tyrel and crew have succeeded in paring the rules down to an elegant set that can readily absorb and adjust to the kinds of critiques you're leveling, which would indicate that 2E is close to publishing-ready.
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Re: 2E Feedback

Post by BLHarrison »

When a Empire buys a capital the rules currently state that it costs "the empire’s total colony income and requires one campaign year to complete".

Is that one full years colony income or just one turns worth? I think it would be one turns worth of colony income, but it looks to be just ambiguous enough to make me ask.

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Re: 2E Feedback

Post by MarkNorfolk »

virtutis.umbra wrote: I'd like to echo Mavikfena's point that the core campaign system should focus on being entertaining, quick, and easy (which to me, humbly, means eschewing complexities that don't add to playability, such as differences in the way planetary stats get generated / utilized).
As someone who will definately be using the system to run campaigns for miniature wagames I'd like to second-echo the KISS approach...especially when I'll be moderating for players who are ignorant of the VBAM rules.

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Re: 2E Feedback

Post by Iron Sky »

The main way I could see justifying Science and (to a lesser degree) Orbital stats is if it was a post-Galactic Empire sort of game where the empires are all picking up the pieces after a total collapse.

In other words, it represents the colony's previous level of development before everything fell apart and now the empire's are finding worlds that were previously developed. Otherwise, yeah, it's hard to justify the Science rating.

Your explanation of orbital as interstellar resources (vs RAW being planetary) makes sense.

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Re: 2E Feedback

Post by darbycmcd »

I think we are all onboard with the simple thing. we all get it. but i don't get what is 'not simple' about the ideas being discussed? for instance, you have to roll on a table for bio and for science, why do those tables have to be exactly the same? is doesn't seem complex to look at a table that different values from the ones around it. if the sci table looks like 2-10 = value 1, 11-12 = value 3, is that a problem? i really don't get the idea that each table has to be the same or that each colony value HAS to be multiplied by a system stat. and i am concerned that in some games it could be unbalancing especially with very high value investments like research. someone getting lucky and hitting a few very high value planets early could build a lead that is self-reinforcing. it is just something to think about.

or trade, the way it is now is production*warp lines*.1 but a more realistic method is ( production A + production B ) * .1 i just don't get how that is too much. plus it gives positive returns to a different playstyle. right now it is best to get warp points for 'trade' it doesn't matter to where, so you throw out colonies as far as you can. but with trade dependant on economy, intensive rather than extensive colonization is incentivized. of course the tradeoff is that you have few chances to find better planets, but it gives another possible path....

but anyway, this is probably more discussion on this topic than is really helpful to Tyrel at this point.

Maybe, since I think we are mostly somewhat 'wargamers' at heart, we could look at the issue of intensity and readiness again. i think they are fantastic ideas but the implementation now is a bit troublesome. So Mark you point out you want to use it to set up mini's games, how important to you is the ability for players to control the commitment level of forces in the conflict area? is the expected value of 6 ok or needs to be higher?

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Re: 2E Feedback

Post by Tyrel Lohr »

Yeehaw, has there been a lot of activity on here the last few weeks or what? And this discussion thread has been particularly active, with lots of good ideas being thrown around. So let's get down to brass tacks!
darbycmcd wrote:intensity: how about 2d6 with each side able to add or subtract equal to their highest CR. the system you have now has an expected value of 7 right? that is not enough to generate a high intensity defense scenario. this option is more like battle intensity from federation and empire, and allows more player choice...
Using CR can also be problematic because it can be easily gamed, though the same can be said for its use in the command limit rules (and I just realized just how badly it can be gamed on scenario length modifiers...oi... I must address that). Construction cost is the fairest modifier to intensity. Given the current unit costs, I am leaning towards a +1 per 50 Construction Cost modifier to encounter intensity (round down). That provides a suitable intensity bonus to a scenario to overcome bad surprise rolls and ensures that large fleets should be able to press major scenarios or, barring that, at least a normal Defensive scenario.
readiness: ah, ok, so it does change.... i still think it is easier and perhaps more elegant to just give a negative for surprise rather than each side rolling...
Readiness acts as an equalizing factor in combat resolution. A player that makes a bad surprise roll essentially gets a second chance when rolling for readiness. There is still a good chance their poor surprise will translate into the combat scenario, but at the same chance they might end up rolling well enough to minimize the readiness penalty or even come out even. Conversely, a force that rolls very good for surprise might still end up having readiness problems in battle if they roll low, but the surprise bonus keeps them from being completely taken unawares or out of position.
i mean, what is +1 readiness? really really ready? why would they ever not be really really ready if it is possible?
Readiness is the term that was used in 1E and I stuck with it. My interpretation is that it is a quantification of the level of surprise a force benefits from and how well the tactics/strategies that the commander employed were executed. A low readiness might mean a force was just taken unawares, but it might also mean that the commander tried a feint to draw off his enemy's forces but his opponent didn't fall for it and it left the commander's own forces out of position for several crucial moments.

Think of any historical battle where one of the commanding officers made a monumentally stupid decision that, in hindsight, should have been obvious and clearly avoidable. That is poor readiness. At the same time, forces that hold out beyond all odds would be represented by high readiness.

As some additional background, in 1E you rolled for surprise before each battle, and that determined your readiness. You only ever had one battle per turn under those rules, too, so it wasn't a issue to try and track the effects of surprise/readiness in multiple battles in the same system per turn. Part of the reason they were split apart is because it allowed too wild of swings in readiness between forces in the same scenario.

I do think there is something to be said for the +1 modifier to Readiness rolls per scenario you've already participated in this encounter. That reduces the chances that a force will get completely steamrolled due to poor surprise, though at the same time it makes it more likely for a force to achieve extremely high readiness. I'll take all of this into consideration when I merge and finish rewriting those rules.

(There is probably a better term than readiness. If you can think of a good one, I have no qualms about changing it to something that reduces confusion over the effects)
i would say you also should allow for a defender to force an approach battle, if the attacker goes straight to defend scenario, it is perhaps too powerful. it is not easy to sneak up on planets!
While this is going to sound corny, part of the goal with the CSCR 2E rewrite is to add a bit better narrative flow to scenario generation. As such, the player with the initiative is essentially given "narrative authority" to decide what happened next in a battle. Thus the game jaunts over into the equivalent of a round-robin creative writing exercise with players taking turns deciding what happened in the turn and in what order.

In the scenario where the attacker goes straight to a Defensive scenario, the "story" created by the attack could be that the defender was either given too little time to intercept the inbound force, or else its commander decided to hold back and defend the colony rather than risk a deep space confrontation.
i would not say you should make things like science rating just to have some some number to multiply with. there is no rule that you have to have plantetary stats to modify all the things that can be built on a planet. you want to have some systems have a bonus, do that. say on roll 10-12 there is a multiplier of 6 or 7 rather than the normal 5. same with construction, why do you feel like you have to have a multiplier? i am all for symatry also, but i don't think it should trump logic. :D
The easiest solution to this would be to include a side bar in the system or colony sections that tells the player that they can eliminate any system statistic that they don't want to use and just consider that stat to always be 5, with special traits like ancient ruins providing their bonuses on top of this value. It is a very easy fix, and something that I think was done at an earlier stage in the rules.

The consistent colony stat x system stat approach was adopted to eliminate rules exceptions. At one point shipyard capacity was utilized Shipyards x utilized Productivity. It is logical and makes sense but it ties ship construction back into income generation a little too tightly, or at least it was an issue back during previous iterations of the rules.

I will also admit that I err on the space opera side of the sci-fi divide, so some of the illogical trappings of the genre do end up getting loosed upon the world in the current draft. It doesn't mean I'm right, though, so feel free to continue beating me over the head with the logic stick until I relent :wink:
hahahaha, it is just one of the things that interest me about 4x game design, how to stop front-runner momentum... :)
The exploration luck factor is always a problem in these games. Adding the extra system stats actually helps moderate this to a degree as while a player may find systems that are exceptional in one or two ways, the lack of the others still ends up hurting them in the long term. You can have several high RAW planets that give you a good amount of income, but you might not have enough Biosphere to feed and grow your populations or enough Orbital to support robust ship construction.

Another perspective that I come from is that I played a lot of "1.5E" games with Carrying Capacity, RAW, and Biosphere as the only system statistics. Carrying Capacity is rarely a valuable asset in and of itself, so that left RAW and Biosphere as the two values sought after in a new system. This ended up breaking colonization decisions down roughly into: "Does it have high RAW? Does it have high BIO? Do I need BIO? If no, then it's irrelevant." RAW was far and away the most important resource in 1E, even in the transitional versions I played. Adding the back three of Orbitals, Science, and Jump Lanes into the mix at least makes things more interesting and creates a situation where a system might be good in other ways beyond pure economics or food production.
agriculture: i think the ag points as growth is great! but when you allow every planet to be self-sufficient, i think you miss the opportunity for some interesting dynamics. and is it very likely that every system will have a planet that can produce food?
Originally Census required 2 food each. I reduced it to 1 for the release draft, but there is no reason why the agriculture cost could not be increased again. The lower cost also came back when half or your systems had 0 Biosphere values. I relented for the CG and let all systems have some ability to produce food, though modifiers in the CC will reintroduce the very real (and likely) possibility of low/no Biosphere values. Essentially, 1 or less on the current 2D6/2 (RD) table will end up being 0 Biosphere, and I think Dead worlds will end up with something like a -6 modifier IIRC.

Pushing the food consumption of Census to 2 would make 1 Biosphere systems/planets only able to produce half the food required to feed their Census. 2 BIO would then be self-sufficient. That puts the average of 3 BIO being only 50% above subsistence.

The only potential problem with the higher Census agriculture costs is that it vastly slows population growth, but I think larger empires won't worry about it and even a small system that I have in local playtest that was lucky enough to roll 6 BIO has created enough population points to place a 1 Census colony every 5-6 turns. Pushing that out to 10-12 isn't going to be an issue.
trade lanes: hmmm, i guess i don't see the problem. if either system is contested, there is no trade. if a player 'destroys' the lane on either side, it is destroyed. this simulates destroying the infrastructure which supports trade. you could add 'crippled' and allow it to be repaired at 1/2 cost (by the way, i think it is reference as costing both 30 and 25, but i will have to check). it is a better model, allows for different colonization strategy (based on player choice not random die rolls) and i just don't see it as that hard.
I can see where that would work, but I still have the feeling it is just shunting the trade links sideways -- even if they aren't, that's the mental feeling I get. I see advantages to the system, namely that you are building routes across specific jump lanes, not just establishing commercial infrastructure in an entire system. So the trade link would cripple if one side was contested or destroyed if both were contested? And commerce raiding would then occur against any trade links that attach to the raider's system? Hmm..

Under this system, would colonization only be able to occur in systems that are connected to an empire's trade network via a trade link?

I need to find that other trade link cost reference. They were originally 25, but I increased it to 30 for various reasons, including making it so that halving its cost would be an easy 15 EP for later empire modifiers.
what else do you want us to look at? are you ready for organization, typos, minute reading of rules, term continuity, that sort of thing? or is it too early still? I want to be helpful, I am very excited by your work!
Right now I am still continuing to merge edits and rewrite sections, so I think sticking to conceptual issues and rules interpretations is probably safest. Once the entire draft is assembled, then we can start picking the finer nits. Otherwise we will end up chasing typos that will cease to exist when the text that surrounds them are expunged.

Organization is something I would really like feedback on, though. Writing these rules, it has been very difficult deciding where rules should go. At one point each section (intel, diplomacy, empires, colonies, etc.) were their own chapters, but this ended up creating a 20+ chapter behemoth that seemed more difficult to get around than I thought it should. Any preferences or insights that you guys have in this area is much appreciated. After you stare at the rules this long you start second guessing where they should be placed or in what order they should appear.
darbycmcd wrote:why is it a problem to tie trade value to economic value?? that is sort of like, well, reality.
The problem becomes that economic output is not the sole basis of trade. A colony that specializes in shipyard production and has 8 Shipyard value and tons of capacity would be doing a lot of business on civilian or military ship construction projects. But, if colony income is the only determinant of a system's Commerce value, this system would be the same as a colony with nothing there.

But... now that you mention it... doh. Forest, meet the trees. Would it not be better to just have a colony's Commerce value be equal to its highest utilized infrastructure statistic times its Census? That would fix the problem that I have been desperately trying to correct for the last year.
Vandervecken wrote:I like most of your ideas because they just feel a little bit more real. And I especially like the chance of having a world you just gotta mine because of ALL the resources it has; but it is on a harsh- hostile- poisonous- insidious- or worse world that rains acid and has not an atom of free Oxygen in it's atmosphere. There are probably millions of these world in our galaxy, why not even one in VBAM ??
The detailed planet rules, which were once integrated into the 2E CG then punted back to the 2E CC, cover these kinds of details. The current system stats address a system's overall value and don't speak to individual planets. The poisonous planet in your example would just mean a lower Carrying Capacity in the basic rules. In the advanced planet rules, it would have climate ratings different from your species' optimal values, and possibly some additional climate penalties based on planet type.
Realism is very cool in these 4X games, until you need either an accountant or a programmer to help you run your empire. Since everyones taste in how light or heavy to go will always differ, I'm hoping 2E will provide enough realism to get my light weight empire builders to play , while I do some wonderful Solo campaigns adding the 2E Companion and 2E Menagerie rules.
This. The tightrope for any kind of game like this is to add as much detail or opportunity for detail as you can while keeping the rules manageable, playable, and still fun. It's a constant battle keeping the scope of a 4X game manageable while not simulating away all of the neat stuff that players can interact with.
So Darbycmcd, keep pushing for those small shots of realism that can be added to the system, especially if we can find ways to keep the rules from getting too cumbersome for the VBAM staff to be able to sell; or more importantly, too unwieldly for us to want to play.
Yeah, it's all very valuable and if something sticks that gets thrown at the wall all the better. Even if the rules don't get integrated into 2E proper, they can always exist as optional rules in future books or make for really great side bar discussions within the books. Darby's debate about Orbital and Science is a great example, and something that would be worth including in the CG for players that don't want to deal with those kinds of statistics. (I'm not married to either of them, but I have courted engagement long enough that leaving them and offering optional rules that divorce them from play for others may be easier)
SLea wrote:Can I just say that I also am worried that what appears to be an admirable desire to keep the game as streamlined and simple as possible is perhaps in some places being pushed a bit too far, and runs the risk of making some areas of the game simplistic, or maybe turn them into abstract book keeping exercises that don't quite have the right feel as 'simulation'.
This is always a very real problem. Streamlining can become damaging when it is done for its own sake.
I think one good example of what I'm talking about would be the replacement of the 1E system of trade fleets with abstract Trade Links, and the replacement of the system for Raiders in 1E with abstract Piracy values.
I have pirate force rules written that were originally in the 2E CG before I removed them. I liked having the raiders hanging over player's heads to get them to patrol their systems, but as Chyll mentioned later in the thread managing piracy and resolving pirate attacks became such a headache as a campaign went on and empires continued to expand. The Piracy value achieves the intended effect of forcing players to patrol their systems to keep piracy down without introducing a lot of extra busywork for the CM/players.

That being said, the direction I am headed with pirates is to have the pirate forces be much larger, individualized threats. To that end, one of the reasons I have removed them from the main books right now is so that they can be combined with an updated version of the Underworld Empire rules and put together into a single product. The next time I post an updated CG draft I'll go dig up the Pirate force rules for consumption. They are slightly outdated since they weren't in the latest revisions, but they'll give you an idea of where they're headed.
To give just one more example, the tying of population growth to agricultural production seems again feels a bit abstract. I can't help but feel that there should at least be some way of tracking the indigenous growth of a planet's population separately from immigration to the planet from elsewhere.
This is a very common criticism, and entirely valid. I am not sure the best way to achieve the effects alongside the agriculture capacity system. You could allocate population points earned each turn proportionate to population sizes. Maybe assign the population points to your colonies, with a maximum equal to their Census values? That would encourage faster colony growth at your larger colonies. Immigration would then be done by the normal Census decrease / Census increase method that loses half of the population points spent on the original Census.
I'm sure that whatever concerns we have, what most people now want is to see the game published as soon as possible, and without an endless process of tinkering and rewrites putting anyone involved in the project at risk of an actual nervous breakdown.
Who's saying I'm not already there? :) Seriously, part of the reason I am not as willing to budge on some elements of the rules is that they have either been heavily tested already or are integral enough to the current state of the rules that changing them would cause a cascade of unintended consequences that would delay everything another six months. Good ideas that can be integrated will, and those that can't can appear as optional rules later on down the line.
mavikfelna wrote:As someone who actually enjoys the campaign system in Starfire (all of it's different incarnations), I still have to say I think the current 2E method for handing things works well and is simple. I think that's what the CG should be aiming for. Complexity, diversity and reality can all be added in the various supplements. Keep the CG to more of a beer and pretzels format, since a good but quick and easy 4X system is pretty hard to find these days.
The touchstone for VBAM "crunchiness" has always been whether I can have 6-8 moderate sized empires in a solo campaign and still get through an entire turn in about 30-45 minutes. Once the level of detail grows beyond that point, I start getting nervous. It's also the reason I started shaving off content and details from the CG because it was starting to become too verbose and overwrought for its own good.

I have to head to an appointment, but will respond to the rest of the comments later this evening!
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Re: 2E Feedback

Post by darbycmcd »

I am not sure why I keep thinking about this... I really have waaaay too much time on my hands, but back to trade. I ran some numbers and these two situations have the same economic value to an empire

A) 4 bog standard systems: Raw 3 Production 3, each with 4 warp lines, one to another colony and 3 into uncharted space : production 36, commerce income 14.4

B) 2 slightly above average systems: Raw 4 Production 9 (intensive colonization), each with only 2 warp lines, to the other and one to space beyond
production: 72, commerce income 14.4

but they really shouldn't be the same. first the fluff, Census 3 is about 1/2 million people, so network A is about the productivity of 2 million robotlike folks working mundane jobs on run of the mill standard planets.
Census 9 is around 3 billion people, so network B is 6 billion hard working, steely eyed colonists building a better future on rock candy mountain planets.

then the game problem, system B represents much much more investment, to get to Census and productivity 9 you would use 450 each of economic and pop points, 2 planets mean 900 of each, very big investment

to reach census and prod 3 you use 60 of each, 4 planets so just 240 for the network.

if there is no reward somehow for larger populations, and i think trade is a good one (because that is what happens in real life!) then it is always going to be an inferior strategy. Is that the design intent? because VBAM uses diminishing marginal returns to investment there should be a counterbalance somewhere if you want larger populations to be a viable choice.....

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Re: 2E Feedback

Post by darbycmcd »

Using CR can also be problematic because it can be easily gamed, though the same can be said for its use in the command limit rules (and I just realized just how badly it can be gamed on scenario length modifiers...oi... I must address that). Construction cost is the fairest modifier to intensity. Given the current unit costs, I am leaning towards a +1 per 50 Construction Cost modifier to encounter intensity (round down). That provides a suitable intensity bonus to a scenario to overcome bad surprise rolls and ensures that large fleets should be able to press major scenarios or, barring that, at least a normal Defensive scenario.
that is cool. i thought command rating because it is easier to calculate and already done for command points, but that looks good too.

Readiness: so what you want to show is crew/leader aptidude... isn't that in a later suppliment? I don't think it is necessary to always modify the die rolls, i mean really what you are talking about IS the die rolls! but from a game design perpective, why do you want a force level modifier to each battle?
from a game perspective, you have an array of forces, and the die roll determines what proportion of each force inflicts damage on the other. there is already huge randomness built in with the die roll, which represents the tactical actions you refer to. so why do you need further randomness to every encounter? if the player does something to gain advantage then it is great, but you are rewarding/punishing for just... luck
i don't see the utility in it. it is just a huge thing to give a bonus/malus to an entire side for even a round or two without some action on the part of the player to earn it.

planetary defense.... this is a problem, especially with the ability to modify engagement length. i don't see what narrative structure has to do with it. how is it good narrative structure that the defenders CAN'T defend their planet better than that? I think it is better to have a solid system to hang the narrative on, than to have a narrative to hang a system on.
i think the scenario generation system is very good, but some specific details like that situation and specific costs should be worked out for game implications (not story implications!! :lol: )
At one point shipyard capacity was utilized Shipyards x utilized Productivity. It is logical and makes sense but it ties ship construction back into income generation a little too tightly, or at least it was an issue back during previous iterations of the rules.
but why is it a problem to link ship construction and economy????? i feel like there is some logic that i am missing with this idea of wanting to de-link the economy from things like... economic activities (trade, construction) making spaceships does not use asteroids... it uses industrial outputs: alloys, computers, ceramics, powerplants, etc. the ability of a planet to construct ships is created by and limited by its economy. why is that bad to show? and it is a reward to intensive investment.
The problem becomes that economic output is not the sole basis of trade
think about it.... think about it... :lol: just kidding!
trade is an ECONOMIC activity, it just is. what you are talking about is a planet would be valuable producing ships or conducting research as items not included in the invisible economy in the game... ok, but the game has that mechanic embedded, it is building ships or doing research. you will see a planet that has no economic value but great shipbuilding (almost impossible in reality but whatever) demonstrating its worth by... building ships. why add trade? it is not realistic and i dont know the game design rational for it. every system has to have economic value? but you wanted to see more variety...

ok, but it is your call.

for organization. i would much rather have 30 chapters that all made sense. you have a nice narrative style, but it is not always best for game rules. like when you put first contact into engagement generation. it works if you are doing narrative flow of a first encounter, but it isn't logical (first enccounter is diplomacy and only specific cases of engagements will be first encounter). it can lead to confusion (where does the specific rules for first encounter end and general engagement rules start). it would perhaps be better to say 'in first encounter, do these things, then go to encounter' as a separate chapter....

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Re: 2E Feedback

Post by virtutis.umbra »

darbycmcd wrote: economic activities (trade, construction) making spaceships does not use asteroids... it uses industrial outputs: alloys, computers, ceramics, powerplants, etc. the ability of a planet to construct ships is created by and limited by its economy. why is that bad to show?
That's not an accurate assessment of the way shipbuilding is being characterized in the 2E rules. Since Economic Points aren't held in individual systems, they're held in and distributed from a single pool for the whole empire, it's clear that the industrial outputs of one system can be transparently made available for use in the production capabilities of another system. (There has to be some low-detail background materials distribution system as part of the Supply mechanics, independent of Trade and Transport fleet units.)

Those alloys, ceramics, powerplants, etc. to which you refer can be built in other systems and merely assembled into starships in a system with a high Orbital capacity and thus good starship production capability. If Orbital is high in a system, then there are lots of places in a system that can be easily utilized for zero-gravity starship assembly, but if its RAW is coincidentally quite low then the system is otherwise minerals-poor and not much use for its own industrial production and manufacturing. If a system has high Orbital AND high RAW, then your expectation holds - presumably the system is manufacturing all of its own componentry, lifting it into orbit for assembly, and spitting out ships all self-sufficient-like. But that's certainly not the only way to structure an interstellar economy.

The expectation that shipbuilding infrastructure could be concentrated in this fashion in a suitably advantageous location, while broader industrial production from several worlds feeds into a single ship-assembly world, makes the gameworld richer and more interesting. That "forge world" becomes a strategic resource for its owning empire, one he'd damn well better defend... but simultaneously all those distributed mining/manufacturing centers supplying the EP for shipbuilding need to be defended too. Does his enemy make a single masterstroke attack to sieze the forge world, or does he chip away at the edges and deny him the ability to keep feeding materials into his shipyards?

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Re: 2E Feedback

Post by darbycmcd »

I understand the concept, but it just makes no sense. why would one system have more zero-G space than another? what about the system could make the process of assembly faster, especially if the materials have to be transported? i like the idea of 'forge worlds'! but as a strategic choice, not as a result of some die roll that represents nothing realistic. my point is that shipbuilding is about industry, not materials, the game is trying to use some sort of natural resource (however 'orbit' is defined) as the key factor. even your example has the industry as the key factor, just not co-located. your forge world is the product of strategic investment choice, not factors endemic to the system itself.

but i understand what you are saying. resources are the terrain, they are the contours of the map. they are a given, and it is up to the players to determine how to utilize them for advantage. the plan for utilization are investments or player actions that give some benefits, they are the strategy of the game. strategy flows from terrain, but not the same. it is the plan to use the terrain to gain advantage. so the question is where do you want these types of game processes to fit. i think it is typical to put shipbuilding and research squarely in the investment (strategy) level, but VBAM is pushing it into the terrain level. i get the larger point, people seem to want more randomized terrain for the game. i think that is valid, it does make for more varied gameplay.

i do very much like that SY is one of the few things in the game that rewards intensive rather than extensive investment. because ship production is limited to SY capacity, larger ships require larger SY. almost everything else in the game incentivizes smaller investments, so that is good!

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Re: 2E Feedback

Post by virtutis.umbra »

I'm respectful of your right to the interpretation you are expressing, but you might want to check yourself for selection bias here. Tyrel gave some very specific examples up-thread and elsewhere on the forums about what the Orbital stat might represent, and it's not intended to be "the amount of zero-g 'space' available" in a system. I think that system stat, if only for a consistent flow of player understanding with respect to the way the math works, has a place in the rules. If it doesn't have a place in your campaign, standardize it to a flat 5.
-Patrick
crit·ic /ˈkritik : Someone who knows the way but can't drive the car. -- Kenneth Tynan

MarkNorfolk
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Re: 2E Feedback

Post by MarkNorfolk »

I haven't had a chance to assimilate all the nuances of therules for Encounters and Combat Resolution...but one thing caught my eye in Bombardment Missions: Anti-System missions. I think Grand Moff Tarkin, Abbadon the Despoiler, the Vorlon Empire and the Shadows are going to be miffed that their Planet Killers take months to destroy a planet.

Building a planet killer should be a vastly expensive exercise but those who achieve it should reap the rewards....

Cheers
Mark

MarkNorfolk
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Re: 2E Feedback

Post by MarkNorfolk »

I do feel, as others have said, that there is a lot of random die rolls in the lead up and during combat. Surprise, then Readiness (which can lead to a 2d3 result) and then a d6+readiness during the CSCR. Surprise is the overwhelming factor but a sub-par roll on Suprise and Readiness could mean you aren't ready for the entire battle, because you'll be wiped out before your readiness creeps up to the level where you can fight effectively. A couple of rounds of having effectively no EW and no Weapons fire is not fun, so I would like to see the potential advantage/disadvantage lessened.

If Readiness is intented to offset a bad Surprise roll, why not have Surprise be less extreme? Or have extreme results beyond the range of a striaght dice roll, only reached by modifers (through Intel operations, for example), and this is the score that is applied to units during a game and drifts to '0'. Perhaps the Surprise chart should then be called Readiness (as they know there are rival forces nearby, so they aren't suprised - just not ready).

Cheers
Mark

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Re: 2E Feedback

Post by SLea »

I also am a bit puzzled by the lack of modifiers to the Surprise roll. If things like Scout bonuses and (I'm guessing) bonuses for crew/officer quality once these are introduced count at the 'tactical level' (by which I mean the individual scenarios generated within an encounter), why don't they count at the 'strategic' level represented by the Surprise roll? It seems maybe particularly odd that opposing forces in the same system across multiple turns still have the same chance of being caught completely off guard (as represented by a -4 result on the Surprise table).

On a different note, I'm also supprised that in in contrast to 1E, the signing/rejection/breakiing of treaties no longer has any effect on relationship scores (unless I've missed something). This again seems an over simplification.

The thought also occurs to me that Tribute Treaties could be expanded to include other things beside EPs. You could potentially demand/offer almost anything that the system quantifies - Agriculture points, Tech points etc, or maybe even a combination of different elemetns. Assuming 2E includes something like the 1E rules for slavery, some races could even demand/offer Census (or maybe population points) for use as forced labour (although obviously none of the noble-minded individuals who contribute to this forum would contemplate such an act). I would be interested to know if anyone else feels such an elaboration of the system would be viable/worthwhile.

MarkNorfolk
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Re: 2E Feedback

Post by MarkNorfolk »

Another observation, and I realize the thread is jumping all over the palce, is how importnat Command Rating is. It defines squadron size, manipulates the scenario set up and, if using the CSCR, adds to EW. while playing around with suitable stats for BFG I though of just adding enough CR to control a few ships (or squadrons for Flag elements) but know I'm thinking of adding way more to larger vessels to provide power in the Encounters set-up. Was there certain values in mind for Command? I'm thinking of tatics like being able to bring large numbers to a low intensity game, reducing scenarios to 1 turn (good for attacking a defensive location with a bombardment fleet), very high formation levels or, with the right tech, stripping the formation levels from the opposition.

I'm sure these seem like extreme examples, and really I'm just after a guide for what is a good CR for a certain class of vehicle without seeming to metagame the stat.

Cheers
Mark

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