Miniatures usage

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I was just wondering how many of you use the miniatures to play and how many use the counters?
I am redoing my miniatures fleets and updating to the newer ships. The current Kzinti frigate is a better looking ship than my old one! I never liked the older NCL, but the current one is cool enough to replace my FASA Loknar I used before. I am also intriqued by all the battleships.
Any way I am just curious and wanting to spark some conversation.
Kevin

These Days

I mostly play online. When I play FTF, I use counters, although I recently (well, by "recently" I mean "in the last 10 years") invested in mega hex and big counters. I used to use minis way back in the 80's, and still have them all in a box somewhere, but haven't played a game with minis for a really long time. They are fun and all, but a lot of work to use, and I generally just go with the simple and easy counters.

Back when I played

SFB we only used miniatures. As a matter of fact, that is kind of why I stopped playing SFB. We had a group of about 6. We played SFB a lot and more then one of us owned the game. However, the overwhelming majority of the miniatures the group used to play were owned by one guy. When that guy left, we tried playing a couple of times without the miniatures but it wasn't the same.

After that, the group just kind of moved on to other games.

About half and half

With a small game (a couple of ships vs a couple of ships) we use minis for the ships, the metal mini shuttles (but not on stands), and counters for drones. There can be trouble if a couple of dreadnoughts get too close and it's kind of a pain when more than one ship is in a single hex. Still, for one on one action, it's sooooo satisfying to see the ships maneuvering around the board.

For larger fleet actions, it's better to use counters to keep the ships from scraping against each other. Although, I have seen a battle where a starbase was a mini and it was attacked from all sides by counters.

I have started making minis for plasma torps, which are made from colored transparent plastic melted on a straight pin and inserted into a wooden base. No one in my immediate group uses plasma empires, so they haven't seen much use. I don't plan to swap over to using minis for drones, though.

I use counters rather than

I use counters rather than minis. I've seen the minis, and while they were neat, I didn't think they were worth the expense. So I used the counters. Like bakija I've made the effort to move to megahex, with the bigger counters that offer more detail and better pictures than the standard counter silhouettes of the original game.

Count me in for Counters

I prefer counters, though when I do a demo at a con I use minis to draw attention to the game.

The 1 inch counters are classy looking and easy to handle. However, due to space, i usually use the half inch counters.

I even have a set of 1 inch counters I made featuring movie style FED ships.

Counters for me

For some reason, I've always played with the 1/2 inch counters. While the minis are beautiful (and the 1 inch counters also look great), I've found for actual game play, the 1/2 counters seem to work best for me. I also think they look cool with the race/empire specific color coding. Perhaps it's a hold over from my SFB days in the '80s?

It's possible that I might have a slight cardboard addiction. Good thing I've never actually played Federation & Empire!!

Garrett

SFB and F&E

I only play with SFBOL and Vassal, so I havent used counters in years.

Do you have a Vassal package

Do you have a Vassal package for SFB?

Vassal

Only for F&E. I use SFBOL for SFB.

Vassal for SFB

That'd be cool for those of us who don't feel like paying for SFBOL.

Yeah

You'd be relying on trust, where as SFBOL forces compliance... but with Vassal for F&E you rely on trust as well.

It would probably be fairly easy to make an SFB board and you could then use any counters.

Trust?

Why are you relying on Trust Hoju?

Vassal and Trust

I'm not an expert, but I believe the way that Vassal overcomes copyright issues is that it requires each player using the online interface to own a copy of the game. This is upheld using only the honor system.

Oh

so you are not talking about trust in playing the game but trust in not violating copyright. Well, that is not a big deal to me.

When I talk about trust

I mean SFBOL has restrictions on when you can do various actions, and it remains hidden until announced.

Vassal cant do that, so you have to:

Me: Okay, Im raising ECM by 2

You: Oh yeah, ah, um, I was going to raise ECCM by 2.

SFBOL you click he Actions button and each side is blind until SFBOL makes the announcement and locks off any previous actions.

If you are playing with

If you are playing with someone you cannot trust, then maybe you should not be playing them. It's only a game.

Tournaments

They happen all the time on SFBOL. I dare say a lot of the protections built in to SFBOL have come about from people finding ways to exploit a win.

That said, if I was up against someone like that Id probably just resign. No interest in playing against people who simply care about winning, and not about having fun.

This is upheld using only the honor system.

A careful VASSAL module designer puts enough into the module to make it easily playable. This can be done without violating copyright simply by not including any copyrighted material in the module...like SSDs, Charts, Rules, artwork. I'd think a simple spreadsheet for the record-keeping could be implemented without problems as well.

Actually ....

Actually, there is no law prohibiting you from creating a VASSAL module that does incorporate all those things. You simply can't distribute it and can only use it for personal use.

On Miniatures..

Old thread. Still interesting.

My friends and I always played with the half inch counters. I would love to get some minis though. Add that to my list of "future gaming crap I plan to buy someday and never actually play with", along with the new color Hubble hex sheets and every module in existence.

The future of SFB appears to be virtual counters online. Face-to-face is dead, at least where I live.

What is the scale on the minis? Do they work on the standard hex sheets? Or only megahex?

Mega-Hex

Minis are too big to use on a standard map, which is the main reason (for my money) that they never caught on in the way that, say, Battletech minis caught on (i.e. I have never played a game of Battletech in my life that didn't use minis; I played with SFB minis in high school, 'cause I liked collecting and painting them, but haven't used minis to play SFB in, like, 20 years. But have played a significant amount of FTF SFB in that time.) To use minis, you either need a mega-hex map (which is fine, but significantly bigger) or a table and rulers/turn gauges.

There was a small window of time where ADB made regular map scale minis (i.e. they were an inch long and had stands that fit in a regular map hex) called "elite" scale, which was a cool idea, but the minis weren't particularly well done and there wasn't that big of a selection. So they didn't really take off.

The new minis (2500 series) are even bigger than the 2400 series are. I like SFB minis in theory, but that they are significantly bigger than the hexes that they stand in (even on a Mega-Hex map) and need stands kind of makes them very inconvenient. I know a lot of people really like them (as much for the collecting and painting as using), but I tend to find them less useful to play with than not.

Good Info

Good info Bakija, thanks!

You're telling me you never played Battletech with the old-school cardboard counters? Thats how I started out. A little tabletop earthquake would send the whole thing flying!

Speaking of which, Ive just been recently getting back into Battletech too. Just finished painting a batch of old 3rd edition unseen minis I got off ebay. It has gotten me in the mood to do some SFB minis too. But hearing about the scale constraints makes me notso sure. Wish they still had the elite scale.

Off-topic: Have you tried Megamek? If so did you like it? It is the online version of Battletech and I am amazed how quickly the game flows with all of the tables and dice rolls automated. It is a lot more user friendly than SFBOL, but it is also a lot simpler game so that may not be a fair comparison! I like that it is free and has a bot to play against. Unlike SFBOL, you have to have some computer savvy to figure out how to connect to and play against actual humans though.

Vix wrote:

>>You're telling me you never played Battletech with the old-school cardboard counters? Thats how I started out. A little tabletop earthquake would send the whole thing flying!>>

Nope--when I was playing in High School in the late 80's, there were enough minis around that we just used those all the time (I mean, they were rarely the *right* minis, but that never actually mattered), and then when I got around to investing in the rules in the early 90's, they always came with a set of plastic minis that looked almost as good as metal ones when painted anyway.

Given that the maps you use in BT are the right scale already for miniatures, and that the miniatures come in the set (at least plastic versions which are perfectly reasonable), the stand up cardboard counters never seemed to be worth using. This is also why I think that Battletech has it all over SFB in terms of mini useage (and as such, sales and appeal)--in Battletech, the basic assumption is that you are using minis, and then game is built out of the box to facilitate this. The maps are the right size already, and due to the scales involved, the maps fit on regular tables. So people use minis with the game out of the box, and once they are already using them, the distance to investing in more and more of them is very short. In SFB, shifting to mini use from standard counter use is a pretty big leap with a lot of hurdles to overcome.

>>Speaking of which, Ive just been recently getting back into Battletech too. Just finished painting a batch of old 3rd edition unseen minis I got off ebay. It has gotten me in the mood to do some SFB minis too. But hearing about the scale constraints makes me notso sure. Wish they still had the elite scale.>>

SFB minis aren't horrible to use or anything, you just need a significantly bigger play surface to get a full sized megahex map on there. And transporting the SFB minis to wherever you are playing always struck me as kind of a pain--they are reasonably fragile, and have stands that are either hard attached (making them even harder to pack and move) or not that good at holding up the minis (making using them more dangerous). And then you need to use counters for drones and plasmas and shuttles anyway.

>>Off-topic: Have you tried Megamek? If so did you like it? It is the online version of Battletech and I am amazed how quickly the game flows with all of the tables and dice rolls automated.>>

Nah. I see people talking about in on the BT discussion forum all the time, but I've always assumed that I need to download and instal something, and that it probably won't work on my Mac anyway.

On Battletech

I'm not a Mac expert so I don't know if the Battletech software would work on it. But it's Java-based I think, which should be able to run, being so wide-spread...

If you are interested, check this link. It's for MegaMek, which is freeware. You can play against bots using it.

http://megamek.info/downloads

If you are interested in playing against actual humans (including me), try this link. This is for the MekWars client, which also runs MegaMek, but has server lobbies so people can easily find people to play against. It is also freeware.

http://homepage.hispeed.ch/barracodoladob/client.html

I agree with your points, BTW. I've always felt like BT had an edge against SFB when it came to the ease of entry and attractiveness to new players using miniatures. SFB has more of a "made in some guy's garage" look to it. In the end, the game plays out in your imagination anyway. But SFB is kind of a tough sell from just a visual fluff standpoint. I like counters and don't care how the game looks. But glossy pictures, pretty colors, and miniatures better attract new players. SFB to me is really more for the hard-core gamer and Star Trek fan. Younger people who don't know the old show and don't have the patience for it may not be attracted to it. And now that everything is online, the landscape is shifting even more. I hope the SFB player base grows, but it doesn't look too good right now. With fewer gaming conventions and so few hobby stores even in existence anymore, how to even expose people to it?

Vix Wrote:

>>If you are interested, check this link. It's for MegaMek, which is freeware. You can play against bots using it.>>

Yeah, I see folks all the time on the BT forum discussing how they tried out X, Y, or Z vs the MegaMek bots, which seems hilarious. I'll check those out.

>>I agree with your points, BTW. I've always felt like BT had an edge against SFB when it came to the ease of entry and attractiveness to new players using miniatures. SFB has more of a "made in some guy's garage" look to it. In the end, the game plays out in your imagination anyway. But SFB is kind of a tough sell from just a visual fluff standpoint.>>

Like, I think SFB is a vastly better game than BattleTech is, but BT is entertaining enough, and a lot easier to get non-hard core fans to play and teach to folks. It seems like it is, and has been, consistently successful (more so than SFB). Which I tend to think goes to a few points in BTs favor:

A) Mini use is the default. Making the game look cooler to people wandering by, and often sucks folks in for the crafty part of the hobby.

B) A lot of attention to the design and "personality" of all the individual units--the Tech Readouts give a two page spread with a full page illustration for every single mech, and people get really attached to individual mechs, where in SFB, yeah, people like particular ships, but there isn't really much difference between a given empire's FF/DD/DW/CL/whatever.

C) Lots of background fluff that people really seem to glom on to--people in the BT environment really seem to get into their favorite factions and characters and history eras and whatever. That the game focuses on individuals (i.e. mech pilots) rather than groups (i.e. ship crews) means you can have a lot more in the way of ongoing stories and exploits of individual characters that are a lot harder to make work in SFB history.

I mean, like, on paper, BT doesn't really look any different than SFB (the SSDs for both games are incredibly similar--B+W collections of boxes/dots and charts with a vague unit outline). But between these three things, I think BT has a much larger and constantly renewing audience (who get sucked in by the video games and up until recently the clicky game).

I'll also point out (just for entertaining comparison) that the moderators on the official Battletech forum make ADB look like fluffy kittens, in terms of deletion of posts and squashing of discussions. I have had far, far more posts deleted or discussions locked down by BT forum moderators in a much shorter time than I have even seen on the ADB board. And these aren't even particularly contentious discussions. Heck, I got a post deleted, like, last week just 'cause it was tangentally related to someone else's cranky sniping fight. And I wasn't even being cranky. Those BT moderators just like to carpet bomb delete and lock threads if anyone seems even remotely prickly. It sucks.

Object achieved

I started this thread one year ago with the intent to begin a non-contraversial discussion. It would seem that I acomplished this feat. I never played Battletech, but I always liked the mini's. I started playing SFB in the early 80's and began my mini collection then. It was about 18 months ago that I got the bug to play again and have been playing with my grandson since. He loves the mini's and I do use ADB's megahex plain map. With what where some very fine decals for the 2400 line I began increasing fleets to campaign game size (never using the same mini twice in any campaign scenario). With that I now have around 35 ships for the Feds, Klingons, Kzinti's, and Romulans each. I have lesser numbers for the other races, but I am growing them to around the same number for each of them also.
There is one snag to this; it would seem that the companies that were doing decals for the mini's have run afoul of ADB and can no longer produce their high quality decals for the mini's. I do not regularly get online to read any of the forum posts from here or ADB so is there anyone out there who can tell me what is going on? I get the feel that SVC has had his ire raised by at least one of the decal producers, but I am not sure. I would think that having another company produce an aftermarket product for your items would be a good thing all around. In any case I am still going to increase my mini fleets and one of these days I will enter a tournament campaign game and supply the ships needed to play it. A dream any way.
It is good to see that even a year later this thread is continuing.
Kevin

Non-Confrontational Discussions...

are hard to achieve. Congratulations!

The minis for SFB look awesome. It's a fun hobby, building / painting minis. Thats cool you can play with your grandson. Nowadays with everything online it is not so hard to find a playing partner, but there's nothing much better than actual human, face-to-face interaction. Thats something I miss about the pre-internet days. (God, do I sound like an old man here or what? Hey kids, get off my lawn! :)

On decals, I don't know what the deal is there. Good thing there is always ebay to fall back on! Probably there is not a lot of demand for new print runs. The SFB crowd is insanely dedicated, but have already spent all their money buying game supplements... haha.

What originally attracted me to SFB was not just the game, but the idea that there is an expanded TOS Trek universe. I mean, the newer Treks are cool and all, but they just dont have that same vibe as the original show. Personally, I think TOS has aged better than TNG, cardboard sets notwithstanding. It is great to have a game that can take me back to my childhood years, watching reruns of Star Trek late at night. But Im getting way off topic...

heck yeah

We play with half-inch counters on the normal (small) map.

I watched some guys playing on a big map with big counters one time. Looked cool.

I also checked out the miniature models on-line. Those looked really cool - especially some of the paint jobs people came up with.

I wouldn't mind having some as collectibles, or to set up on the table for aesthetics while playing.

And I found the original series on TV! Saturday nights at 9:00pm (eastern time) on MeTV (google "metv" for stations and schedules).

Scotty, I need warp power in three seconds or we're all dead!

A Tangent

As I am also a model builder I constantly look for new things to build. It would seem that there is a garage-kit company producing 1/1000 resin parts for converting the Polar Lights TOS Enterprise kit into different class starships. All of which can be found on the Starship Schematics Database website. What is interesting about this is that several of these parts are for ships inspired by SFB designs. The parts being made are alternate pylons and secondary hulls. I am thinking of doing the Nimitz class Strike Carrier from these items. With the availability of LED kits it might come out looking like a very fine model. I mention this as an information piece for any of you who do build models. As the title states this is just a tangent from the original thread.

KzintiJarHead: Link please.

KzintiJarHead: Link please.

Links

Here is a the address for Starship Schematics:
http://www.shipschematics.net/

Here is the address for Modular Models:
http://www.modular-models.com/

Another link

http://tinyurl.com/7nwcx9j

This is the advanced miniatures set for Klingons vs. Tribbles.

LOL

That was funny Paul. I get the impression from reading the BBS this will be another one of of those grandiose plans that goes no where because it is done on the cheap that ADB does a lot.