Alternate SFB move system

One of the things I never like about SFB was speed changes. It just seemed like a kludge, added on to SFB but never satisfactory, especially when non-plotted movement was added but you still had to plot your speed change.

Here is an idea for movement, inspired by FC. This allows limited changes of speed by applying power, much like FC. It does mean you cannot make a radical speed change (like dropping from 30 to 10), but one that works well in game. This is for free movement, not plotted movement.

Basic Use
During the Speed Determination phase you choose the speed of the chip ad pay for that speed. This can be any valid SFB speed (0-31). Acceleration limits apply.

During phase 6A of each impulse, a play may choose to accelerate (if he does not move that impulse) or cancel a hex of movement (if he does move that impulse). It costs one movement point to do either.
When accelerating, the player gains a hex of movement that impulse, moving at the usual priority for his speed.

When decelerating, the ship does not move that impulse.

Effect on Turn Mode
On the impulse a ship accelerates, the accelerating ship can turn (if it’s its turn mode is fulfilled), but after accelerating, on its next movement the ship cannot turn, and that next movement does not count to fulfilling a turn mode requirement.

Cancelling a move counts as one hex of movement to fulfilling a turn mode requirement. Move the turn marker one hex further from that ship. Also, if the turn mode of the ship cancelling movement is fulfilled, the ship may turn, and then the forward movement is negated, causing the ship stay in the same hex but change facing by one hex face (60-degrees). This resets the turn mode count to 1.

RESTRICTIONS
A ship may only accelerate if it is not scheduled to move that impulse. A ship may only cancel a move if it is scheduled to move that impulse.
After either accelerating or cancelling a movement, four impulses must pass before the ship can do either again.

Preston wrote:

>> One of the things I never like about SFB was speed changes. It just seemed like a kludge, added on to SFB but never satisfactory, especially when non-plotted movement was added but you still had to plot your speed change.>>

Mid turn speed changes work fine in SFB. And are essential to the working of the game at this point.

I wasn't overjoyed by the 1999 or so clarification that meant that you could pay 1:1 if you unplotted changed speed mid turn for the rest of the turn, as it meant it was really easy to plot speed 4 all turn and then jump to 14 for the second half of the turn, which is problematic if your hope is to avoid non aggressive play, but in general, mid turn speed changes, plotted or no, are a well established, perfectly reasonable part of the game.

Bad for Balance

If you go down to your FC thread, you can pretty much incorporate most of what I said there and apply it here to your new system. One of the good things about SFB as compared to Fed Com are the consequences of movement decisions. This Hybrid system for SFB would take away a good amount of what makes SFB movement fun and require re-balancing as SW would become things with which one found it easy to deal.

if you find SFB movement fun,

if you find SFB movement fun, which I don't. But it is just something to consider.

As for the argument it is good because that's the way it is, it is not something I subscribe to. Games need to evolve or die. SFB is in that kind of position, too much cruft, scares off new players. and if a kludgey system like mid-turn sped changes are essential to the game at this point, that kind means there are other problems that rest on that one.

Also, playing SFB means a lot of time losing because learning how to use odd systems like mid-turn speed changes properly takes too long. Again, it chases away new players and game begins to linger.

I am not suggesting replacing anything in your game, just putting options out there for us that like to tinker. For instance, using speed limits in FC has improved the game immensely. actually, I myself don't play SFB anymore (except one game a few weeks ago which was a slow paced bore with PFs and fighters and scatterpacks and other stuff i don't miss in FC).

Well...

I, long ago, worked with another fellow to revamp SFB to make it quicker to play. One of the things that I had to get rid of was Mid Turn speed changes.

I think I get the idea behind your change. Wish I could figure out how to include it with the system we've got now. I'm just not sure it would add that much to what we've got.

I do agree with you, though, in that games need to evolve or die.

I just put it out for anyone

I just put it out for anyone who wants to mess with an idea. As I said, I don;t play SFB anymore.

Though, I think a 32-impulse version of FC could use a similar system. (EVIL LAUGH).

You know, Paul, I think

You know, Paul, I think changes like these are not "bad for balance" as you say, it just makes a different balance. That means changes in strategy, which some fear, the strategies are so ingrained.

Preston wrote:

>>As for the argument it is good because that's the way it is, it is not something I subscribe to. Games need to evolve or die. SFB is in that kind of position, too much cruft, scares off new players. and if a kludgey system like mid-turn sped changes are essential to the game at this point, that kind means there are other problems that rest on that one.>>

Well, the issue is not "it's good 'cause that is the way it is".

Mid turn speed changes are good 'cause they work. Of all the rules in SFB, mid turn speed changes may be some of the most logical and well thought out, and they work fine. They are easy to manage (when teaching new players, mid turn speed changes are the least complicated thing to figure out, really). You have reasonable acceleration and deceleration limits (which is more sensible than the "move speed 31 till impulse 32 and then plot speed 0 on impulse 1" rule that exists). You have the ability to, with extrapolated thought, be moving the speed you want when it is important while moving a different speed when it isn't. Which is a very important and tactically interesting aspect of the game.

I fully realize that some folks might not like them. And might want an alternate version. Sure. Make up variant rules and go nuts. Do what works for you.

But I think the base line assumption of "mid turn speed changes are an unsatisfying, kludgey rule" is a flawed one.

Making a different balance

CK,
Yes, of course, it is simply a different balance. Any rule change, including, for example "no ship may have more than two phasers on it" would be a rule change that was merely a "different" balance.

What "bad for balance" means, is that you now need years, possibly decades based on the one test group we have, to re-balance the tournament. That is what I mean by "bad". You have a set of ships that, excepting the Andro atm, are all reasonably well balanced. Yes, there are some that are better than others, but no ship is really dominant. And, excepting the Andro, no ship is truly pointless. Your changes would result in a negative shift for all plasma ships and, to a lesser extent, the D&D ships. This would then require a lot of testing and re-tweaking. That is just no good for a tournament environment, generally, and particularly for one on the decline anyway where testing such a massive change will take a lot of data.

I'll also agree with Peter that I actually find the mid-turn speed change rules better than the between-turn speed change rules, but this is true of many things that happen over the turn break and a necessary part of the granularity of SFB, so I happily live with it. But if there was a good way to do it, I would prefer that the mid-turn speed change rules as written now could also apply over the turn break.

To be clear, a game could easily be based around your suggested move mechanic. There is nothing inherently wrong with it. It might even be more interesting than the current mechanic (though my gut tels me otherwise). I just happen, like Peter, to disagree with your "kludge" premise. But more importantly, adopting something like this needs to recognize that it is not just a change in mechanic, but a change that will result in negative balance factors for all seeking weapon heavy empires, and particularly for those that run plasma. A proposal like this should probably at least recognize this and even better suggest some means of retuning the balance so that plasma does not become largely a pointless endeavor - at least in the tournament.

FC Speed limits

For instance, using speed limits in FC has improved the game immensely.

I agree, it does. I agree for many of the reasons I posted in my reply to you on "what is wrong with plasma."

One of the key reasons adding SFB like speed-change limits is good for FC is that is does rather dramatically effect the state of balance in FC - that current state being not very good. Making speed changes have consequences is good for plasma (which are weak in FC) and bad for the Feds (which are strong in FC). If we had a similar (but reversed) situation in SFB, where plasma was too good, then your suggested rules change might be a great addition.

Well, I would not suggest any

Well, I would not suggest any of this for tournaments. That should all be a set in stone: these are the official rules, which SFB has done very well. I am talking about casual games. I do think it is interesting that the official tournament rules for SFB dont use all the rules.

BUt your point about how they affect SFB plasmas is valid. As I said, i dont really play SFB, it was just something that came into my head. Also, I have no problem with plasma in SFB, I do in FC.

Anyway, keep on keeping on!

BTW: The Fed is not all that

BTW: The Fed is not all that powerful in FC. I trhink the Fed, Kzinti, and Kligons are pretty well balanced. I can win with any of them. Where it breaks down is that Rom/Gorn are not on the same level, Lyrans are gimped severely, and ISC is overpowered. I have yet to play andros, tholians or hydrans (I am not a fighter fan).

I am very much enjoying the Frax in FC. Simple, fun design.

FC

Are you on FCOL? I'll be happy to demonstrate to you how much better Photons are (again, in the tournament environment) in FC as compared to disruptors. I say this having won the national tournament in 2007 with a Kz fleet and with my final fight against a Fed, but also as having won the national tournament with my Fed fleet in 2008 (I did not go to Origins in 2009 or 2010). It is easier seen than explained.

The explanation is pretty simple...

The major advantage of the Photon in FC is that it's the only major weapon (Not sure about PPD or Plasma) that can appreciably store turn 1s energy for use on turn 2. Being able to arm something on one turn and fire it the next after paying a nominal holding cost is huge.

Preston Wrote:

>>I do think it is interesting that the official tournament rules for SFB dont use all the rules.>>

SFB has a *lot* of rules. And using all of them would just make the game infinitely longer in a situation where you need to have games of a reasonable length. Adding in EW and boarding actions and drone modification and drogues and mines and WBPs and erratic maneuvers and tactical intelligence and whatever just makes everything that much longer.

This being said, really, the only really significant rule that is left out of the tournament game are the EW rules, and there even are some of those in there anyway.

Photons have a bad side as

Photons have a bad side as well. The "all or nothing" of the photons.

As in a game I just played. I had an NCL vs. a D6. Second turn I unload two +8 overliaded photons... and roll two misses. Next turn I am without the big guns, and I lose one to the D6. Turn 4 I fire the last one, +8 overloaded... and miss.

I just disengaged as I had over 20% damage and he had like 1 internal.

This to me is too high a level of chance to say it is effective ALL THE TIME. And, to me, it is the turn where you cannot fire photons and how that is handled that separates players. To me, the PHOTS have one good shot, and after thet it loses much of its shine, while Kzinti still can push out drone waves and Kligons can keep firing at mid ranges and usually out turning a Fed.

Many times when I have to choose a repair in FC as Fed, I will choose a PH-1 over the photon. Phasers fire every turn, and give a range of damage that is easier to deal with. Repair a photon and it will be the next turn you can fire on.

The most likely ranges to fire a photon (3-4) give you a hit chance of 1-4, which means 1 out of every three shots fails.Range 5-6 it falls to 1 out of 2 will miss.

Proximity photons help, as are in my FCX, noit in FC.

True, the overloads make up for a lot of that, but if you are saying the Feds will win consistently, I am not so sure.

Also, unless you are two computers pitted against each other with the same programming, I will assume that the decisions made by the players does come into this.

This is no challenge to your wins, Paul. In fact, I think it may have to do more with your cognitive ability than the rules of the game than your are admitting even to yourself. Also, if the PHOTS are so overpowering, how did you win with a Kzinti fleet?

Now, i will point out i don't do a lot of tournament dueling. I usually play objective based scenarios, which to me are way more fun than simply duking it out. But, in my experience, I lose more at duels playing Feds, and win more with Kzinti. Maybe it just suits my play better.

And Ken, yeah the PPD takes four points over two turns to arm, and is held for two. It can also fire on turn 1 of a scenario, like a photon. The chance to hit at range 4-10 is 2-9 for full damage on 2d6, and does less on a 10-12. So, it does 16 points on a 2-9, 12 on a 10, 8 on an 11, and 4 on a 12. And it does damage to the two neighboring shields, 1 point each per 4 points on the main shield it hits. Much much much better than photons.

Squadron, not duel

Preston, the photon missing issue is one that is more evened out when you have a lot of photons. FC is better for squadron sized battles than duels, imo. That is where the Feds really shine. The ability to basically explode a ship at range 8 from massed photon fire is huge. Ther are other advantages the Fed have in Fed Com (and in regular SFB, but not tournament SFB); Diverse weapons (they can have plasma, photons, drones, p-gs, p-1s), lots of p-1s (which are very strong in FC), no EW to screw up the photons hit chances.

Preston Wrote:

>>Photons have a bad side as well. The "all or nothing" of the photons.>>

As noted, the whole point of FC, really, is that you can play multiple ships in a reasonable amount of time. FedCom tournaments are generally 3 ships on 3 ships (you get, what, 300 points to buy your ships with some limits on what you can get?). FedCom scenarios are generally multiple ships on a side (as that is what the game was designed to be good at). When you have multiple ships firing multiple photons, the dice tend to even out, and you tend to do average damage. Which, when you are firing 8 photons at R8 at fleet sized ships, tends to be something blowing up (well, ok, just getting completely mangled really).

In SFB, massed photons are incredibly effective already. In FedCom where there isn't really EW to worry about, and plasma blows, and drones are not that good, Photons are kind of even more incredibly effective. I mean, sure, you can get outplayed or get outlucked and lose, but from a starting point, photons are probably the best weapon in FedCom.

But in a multiple ship battle

But in a multiple ship battle you have more ships to hit, but usually you keep all the ships on top of each other (as there is no explosion damage to worry about) and move them as one big ship. Then you target one of the opponents ships, and they target one of yours, trying to rduce them to two ships. Spreading the fire over three ships is not a good use of damage, as you could end up with three ships with minor damage instead of one that is crippled.

So then the Feds end up in that "can't fire the good stuff" turn anyway, chased by two fully operating ships that can fire everything. On that turn the game is strictly in the control of the ships chasing the Feds. Again, what separates players is how they handle that turn, not the turn when they hold the advantage.

Again, I see your points, and I don't really disagree. Photons are the most powerful, but they are not overpowered to guarantee a win just by choosing Feds. On turns they fire they are dominant; on the other turns they are a liability. It is the player that makes the difference. Much like football or chess, the winner is the one that makes the least mistakes.

What is overpowered and dominant is Photon equipped Orions. Holy crap, I played against them and the engine doubling feeling overloads is incredible. When doubling their engines they can +8 overload all photons. Scary sight.

Also, I disagree that drones are not that good. Granted, reloading racks is a pain in the butt (I have never reloaded more than one) but the trick is not to think of them as strictly a damaging weapon. At speed-24 andin bunches, strictly calculating their moves, they are a great weapon to herd another ship to keep it away or move it where you want. I have noticed I am one of the few that will move my drones individually, for example, when I launch four I may separate them to put pressure on two sides of a ship, making them move. Most people just move the stack the same way, trying to get a hit, not using them to full potential. And in FC this works well.

Preston wrote:

>>But in a multiple ship battle you have more ships to hit, but usually you keep all the ships on top of each other (as there is no explosion damage to worry about) and move them as one big ship. Then you target one of the opponents ships, and they target one of yours, trying to rduce them to two ships.>>

Sure. And this is where photons totally rule. 'Cause they hit hard and when you have a lot of them, the sketchy to hit numbers even out.

Assuming you have 3 ships in Fleet scale for 300 points, a Fed is going to have, what, 7 photons and a disruptor race will have 7 disruptors. At a range 8 exchange, the 7 photons are going to be doing 48-64 damage to a 15-20 box shield. 7 disruptors are going to be doing 24-30 points of damage to a 15-20 box shield. The phasers are likely a wash. The photon ships are wrecking an opponent, the disruptor ships are moderately damaging an opponent. The Feds then run for a turn and reload. The disruptor ships chase and if they get another shot on the chase turn, it will be on a new shield. With one fewer ship. I mean, this is what photons do in SFB too. But without EW to worry about and completely open information about what everyone has plotted, it works even better in FC.

>>What is overpowered and dominant is Photon equipped Orions. Holy crap, I played against them and the engine doubling feeling overloads is incredible. When doubling their engines they can +8 overload all photons. Scary sight.>>

Yeah, I can't for the life of me figure out why all FedCom tournaments aren't "Well, my Orion fleet fights your Orion fleet, and then the winner gets his Orion fleet..."

>>Also, I disagree that drones are not that good. Granted, reloading racks is a pain in the butt (I have never reloaded more than one) but the trick is not to think of them as strictly a damaging weapon.>>

Well, yeah, but that's what drones are. In FedCom (as opposed to SFB), they suffer from never being heavy, always being a known quantity, and the movement rules (i.e. speed up or slow down at will) makes it really easy to avoid them, relative to SFB. I mean, they aren't completely useless, and are certainly better than a sharp stick in the eye, but relative to SFB, they are a lot harder to use effectively. 'Cause they are easier to deal with. Sure, no weasels or t-bombs, but also no scatter packs or fighters or MWH drones or armored type IVs or whatever.

I don't disagree, but in real

I don't disagree, but in real battles things are not always so straight ahead. On the chase the Klingons can hit from behind, and keep maneuvering to do damage avoiding the FA arc of the photons the next turn.

It comes down to the players, execution, and trickery with accelerations and cancelling moves. I still contend that the photons are not a guaranteed win in real like. On paper, the numbers may prove it, and if players make no mistakes, it will work out that way. But so many games come down to mistakes and taking advantage if them.

"Guaranteed Win"

" I still contend that the photons are not a guaranteed win in real li[f]e."

Of course not. If that is your criteria for balanced, however, you are aiming way way too low. There is no question that a Fed fleet can loose to a Klingon or Kzinti fleet. It will happen often, even among players that are equally skilled and who both play well in their games. The question is, in a (game defined) "fair" battle, will the Fed win more often than expected when both players are equally skilled over, say , 1000 games? To me, there is no question that the Fed has a significant advantage.

This advantage gets even worse when removed from the tournament environment and maps get larger. So if you are not playing tournament much and if you end up with large or worse yet, open, maps, the photon dominance magnifies.

That is not my contention. My

That is not my contention. My contention is that the photons are balanced enough that the game is worthwhile. Your contention is the photons are out of balance. Let's agree to disagree. This can continue on forever.

Those are not contrary positions

I agree that the photon is balanced well enough that the game is worth while. I also contend that they are not balanced. But, assuming you either have no FCOL, are not in So. Cal., and/or have no interest in playing a few games, I agree that it is not worth much further discussion.

I am in So Cal, in

I am in So Cal, in chatsworth. Maybe we could meet up sometime. I don't subscribe to FCOL.

However, your beating me with Feds is not conclusive, it could just mean you are better at it than I.

Pasadena here

so we are about 30 mins from each other. We have a great gaming group here, btw. We (though I use the term "we" very liberally these days, as having a child has greatly cut back on my gaming) that meets regularly Wednesday nights for Fed Com at Game Empire in Pasadena. We have people from all over So Cal that come, so give that a thought too.

Also, I completely agree on results driven analysis. The result of a single game, or even handful of games, is not itself meaningful. If it turns out that we are evenly skilled and have the time to play 20-30 games of approximately the same composition, then those statistics themselves could become meaningful. The reason I invite you to play is so that I can see what you do with Disruptor fleets and you can see what I do with Feds (and/or the reverse) and maybe one or both of us will learn something that will alter our opinions (or learn new tactics even if our opinions don't change).

Post here or email me if interested.

A better test

would be to have Preston fly the Feds. I think it is a reasonable assumption that Paul is the better player (no offense Preston). So while a game or two would still not be conclusive, if Preston wins a disproportionate number of games, that could at least be suggestive, though not conclusive.

Learning....

"The reason I invite you to play is so that I can see what you do with Disruptor fleets and you can see what I do with Feds (and/or the reverse) and maybe one or both of us will learn something that will alter our opinions (or learn new tactics even if our opinions don't change).
"

This is the main reason I'd love to play Peter B in F&E. Our outlooks on the game are very different, so it'd be interesting to see what either (or both) of us would learn by the experience.

I have to travel for a bit

I have to travel for a bit over the next few weeks. When O get back i will see about playing. Pretty much I play with my roomie (we both got divorced around the same time, knew each other since High School). The game has been a great solace since Becky left.

ikvsabre

"This is the main reason I'd love to play Peter B in F&E. Our outlooks on the game are very different, so it'd be interesting to see what either (or both) of us would learn by the experience."

Well, youre not going to learn much playing me :)

At least *I* stand to learn a lot !!