Speeding the game up...

We've just recently discussed 'Hard Hits' in another thread. It seems several of us use different variations on this them to speed up damage allocation, which it does dramatically.

I've talked with others here that have experimented with the movement chart as well to speed up the impulses in the turn using various methods, again they claim it dramatically speeds up the game without losing any of the flavor.

So I thought it would be a good idea to have a thread where everyone chimes in with methods they've used to speed the game up. Chime in with your ways and what the results were so other could benefit. I'm always interested to here others experiences with the game. SFB is a great game, but anything to speed up different aspects of the game without losing the flavor are a bonus. Let's face it, it isn't the speediest game on the market. I love slow moving tactical games...but not 'that' slow moving.

If anyone needs a recap of 'hard hits' sound off.

So what have you done to speed the game up and how well did it work?

I use the movement and DAC

I use the movement and DAC utilities located here:

http://www.compterenterprises.com/fsb/

They run in JAVA on your browser, so they are usuable in Windows, MacOS, and even Linux.

Probably the biggest

Probably the biggest thing for speeding the game up to me was just learning the damn rules. And I still don't know them all! At some point, every game I play comes to a screeching halt while either I or my opponent searches for some obscure rules point.

Another thing that has helped - from a SFBOL perspective - is just learning how to use the client. That's a challenge in itself. I struggled with it a lot in the beginning. It's not the most user-friendly software on the planet.

But I know that's not what you are talking about. You're talking about house rules or home grown programs to speed up the game. I haven't done any of that. I don't know anybody who likes this game, except for people online. That is, I don't have any opportunity for FTF play.

SFBOL

Yeah, the client is not that great. Playing the game via web conference seems much simpler. All that is needed is a map and units display with a dice roller on the PC for all to see to keep it honest. I am not sure why they charge to use it. They cannot possibly make enough to profit from what is a labor of love anyway. Making it free would likely increase revenue by getting new players more interested.

Dennis Surdu

House keeping

We've simplified house keeping costs. To us it seems rather silly that on a CA sized ship it costs 1 point for a few shield boxes and another point for the full thing. Has anyone ever used minimum shields here? I never have. And I don't foresee ever having the need. Thus for our FTF games shields cost just a point for the full spread (on a CA sized ship). Same with life support and fire control. A point each!?! That is just unnecessary as well. So again, in our FTF games 'ships functions' cost a point on a CA sized vessel. That point is enough to run life support, scanners, fire control, the coffee maker and whatever else needs powering. So basically its 2 points for HK on a CA sized ship as an example. This clears 2 points for something else i.e. weapons, speed, tractors or whatever. Now 2 points can be a big deal and it can help speed the game up over the length of the game i.e. the ships can fly faster (get to each other quicker), more weapons can be fired or OL'd (more damage and quicker) or a tactic can more easily be employed i.e. tractor or transporters for hit and run.

Also, we don't use the ECCM/ECM rules. That is just a clutter of nonsense to slow down an already slow game. And it is a waste of power that could be better used doing things that will speed the game up because it allows you to get to the action quicker or implement a point of strategy. The fact that weapons don't always hit points to ships using ECM/ECCM automatically without having to go through the process of wasting time/energy on it.

Neither of these short cuts affect tactics and strategy and in fact help to make them happen quicker and more often. I like the fact that SFB is a strategic/tactics game. I like the fact that you can do a LOT of things in a single impulse. I like the fact that it is chess-like in nature. But successful short cuts can be taken to quicken the game up without affecting the flavor and in fact augment the flavor to a substantial degree. This way I can get to the action of the game THIS turn rather than sometime NEXT turn. This way I can start implementing a tactic now rather than later. It quickens the game without sacrificing anything. Look at it this way, tourney games don't use ECM/ECCM. Why....cause it slogs the game down dramatically. Now imagine having a couple of extra points of power in a tourney game!

My other car is a D7 Battlecruiser

EA would still be a problem...

... for us that rarely get to play and newbees. Having an SSD in digit (excel??) that help calculate the power distro would help greatly. Unfortunately, they would have to make a version for every SSD out there.

One point for shields works. I see how having more power to blow the other guy away faster would speed up the game. As long as you play same size class on same size class and not mixed class or fleet action. Doesn't make since the one point of power can give a Fed CA 138 shield boxes (before refit) and a Klingon F5 (before refit) only 80.

I've only played one game game with ECM/ECCM. What a bother. We ended up abandoning it after three turns.

If you want a fast game, only play with Fed, Lyr, ISC, Hellbore Hydran and droneless Klingons. This keeps from having to track seeking weapons and a plethora of fighters. Oh, no PFs either unless that is all you are playing. You wouldn't need WWs to draw off the seeking weapons either.

Or...

If you really want a speedy game, try to overrun a Dalian Sway "Vexation" Heavy Battle Layer.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/k3gbpfs2fsl3ge7/R171.332%20DAL-FBL.xps

ECM

I enjoy ECM rules. In fact, not using ECCM can slow the game down where fighters or nimble ships are concerned. You need to burn through things and should have small target mods on some units. It makes sense for a ship to spend energy to better see them. It also is a great dynamic in fleet games. Tourney games are boiled down to allow fast play but they are boring. Using cookie-cutter ships does make it more like chess but I will play that if I am in the mood and not SFB. Small fleet games IMO are the most fun aspect of SFB. Ships of different types supporting each other and using all strengths in harmony with ECM/ECCM offers the most challenges too. Throw in a scout and an X-ship on each side and rock and roll!

Speeding the game up just takes discipline in managing the impulse chart really. I run games all the time at cons and strictly enforce movement times ( use an egg timer) and use me-too firing and battery usage (as long as used in the same segment of impulse).

Dennis Surdu

"One point for shields works.

"One point for shields works. I see how having more power to blow the other guy away faster would speed up the game. As long as you play same size class on same size class and not mixed class or fleet action. Doesn't make since the one point of power can give a Fed CA 138 shield boxes (before refit) and a Klingon F5 (before refit) only 80."

Remember that I emphasized one point on a CA sized vessel. A Klink F5 is not a CA sized vessel, it is a frigate. Normal shields are .5 + .5 so for us an FF sized vessel would simply be .5 for full shields.

.5 doesn't seem like a lot of power, but it will run all the transporters on an FF sized ship. Or it can be added to batteries or in the case of weapons like photons added over two turns. On that sized ship, or any ship really, it could make or break the difference.

My other car is a D7 Battlecruiser

Shield Cost

Why not just make shielding more expensive so full shields are a luxury, maybe alllowed for shorter bursts of time? This would cause damage to be sustained more often, improve the importance of specific reinforcement and create a dynamic where shield facing is even more critical. This would also likely make maneuver even more important causing ships to turn more. I always thought the shields in SFB behave more like armor than an energy forcefield. Also, critical hits should be non optional and more extensive in their effects. Alpha stikes that come close to penetrating should overload systems, etc. for example. The aforementioned chess-like nature of the game is what slows it down the most. There is too little randomness in damage a ship can take if it does not take internal. No machine ever made for war behaves like this. Breakdowns and system failures from machines being pushed hard are present on all battlefields. People who play the game more as a mental exercise and less a wargame won't like this but it would force a more realistic mindset viv-a-vis the wargame of SFB. I think this is the best way (other than removing many arcane rules) to speed the game up and make it more fun at the same time.

Dennis Surdu

What you suggest could be a

What you suggest could be a viable option to test out. It reminds me of the 'leaky shields' optional rule which is very close to what you're talking about. I haven't looked at that rule in a while but IIRC any salvo that delivers 10 points or more of damage will leak 1 point for a random internal. I could see that as a tactic in and of itself i.e. you know you can't breach the shield but let's try to at least hit it for ten to see if we get lucky. This would mirror what we see in TOS/TMP/TNG in that the shields are hit but not breached but we still have the obligatory panel on the bridge blow up knocking the unnamed Ensign out of his/her chair.

Just as a possible note of interest, some of our FTF races use powered armour in place of shields. Specifically the Seltorians and Tholians. And the Seltorians also use a rotary shield that can be powered each turn and rotates one shield facing at a time.

My other car is a D7 Battlecruiser

Leaky shields

Leaky shields produces Mizia effect, so unless you change the DAC you'll be stripping weapons off the target. And if you lose weapons, you do less damage, and the game slows down. An alternative could be that all leaks hit Hull until there isn't any left, just like the current rule for Andros. Or you could mirror TOS and have all hit control spaces...

MIZIA Mistake

I hate to say this, but the Mizia effect was a mistake, and one that should have been fixed after it was found instead of ingraining it. Without Mizia leaky shields work fine (see Fed Com). Now you can never change the DAC because their would be outrage!!!

Mizia

Agreed that Mizia kinda breaks the game and especially in fleet games with multiple volleys from multiple ships causes outrageous wierdness. I always thougt ships should also be sectioned.......six in all, one for each shield facing from where the damage is coming. This could be accomplished without changing the DAC. When an excess damage is reached because either the system boxes no longer or never existed in that section, regular DAC procedure is used unless. If all other boxes are gone on the ship go ahead and score the excess. Once a section is wiped out and continues to get hit, you can justify all kinds of coolness to like hull decompression, massive crew casualties, explosions, etc. I suppose you could do that anyway under rewritten critical hit rules though :-)

Dennis Surdu

Leaky Shields

IIRC the standard leaky shield rule is that every 4th hit generates an internal (you can optionally choose 6 or 10 hits). All leak points on the same impulse on the same shield combine for a single volley. So you still have to fire over more than one impulse to get the mizia effect. You just might be able to get several 1 pt mizia rolls and not several 10 pt rolls.

Single point rolls have some chance of taking out a larger sequence of torps and drones phasers and warp, but larger mizia volley of 8-12 pts is more ideal, as you have some chance of hitting the tractor in the second column, which is often useful. Note that a series of 1-2 pt mizia volleys will only take out p3s until they are out.

Rolling DAC Rule (If you don't like Mizia)

Back in the 80s I came up with "Rolling DAC" variant rule that minimizes (or at least radically changes) the Mizia effect.

The way it worked is that you had 4 colored grease pens: A, B, C, and D.

For the first volley you used color A, then for the second B, the third C and the fourth D. Even if the fire is on different impulses or from different shield directions, you applied the colored marks on the DAC cumulatively in sequence for each volley (so for example if 4A Phaser was marked with color A in the first volley, you moved to 4B trans if you rolled a 4 with color B in the second volley).

When you got finished with color D, you erased the one time hits with color A. Then on the 5th volley you use color A again, and you can now hit those one time hits again. Then you erase color B for the prior to the 6th volley and so forth.

Mizia...

Mizia is fun to execute, but doesn't really make any sense. It's too ingrained in the game for the game itself to be changed now. So you can use optional rules, or just tolerate it.

I wish SFB had been set up a bit more like Battletech, where the internal structure is divided up into areas and hits are distributed by location. That way internal hits would be completely directional. A hit from the rear couldn't damage the bridge, a hit from the right couldn't damage the left warp engine, etc. In BT, the damage is contained in one area until that area is completely destroyed. Just a different way of thinking.

I do like the random chaos that results from any SFB internal hit, however. You never know what you're gonna lose!

I do wonder why the game never allows for ship component targeting. It seems like there were plenty of times in TOS where they said "target their weapons" or "target their engines". That may be my imagination though. That could have happened more in later Treks and the movies than TOS. The original show didn't have all that many ship battles, truth be told.

Targeting seems reasonable and logical, unless the distances involved are too great. If targeting was allowed in the game, it could potentially break it. There would have to be a lot of penalties involved to offset that.

@ Eric - Hey man how's it going? I emailed you a couple of times to see about setting up a game and either my email went to spam or you hate me. One or the other :)

My point was that after the

My point was that after the first tourney that proved the mizia effect, the DAC should have been changed AT THAT TIME. Yes, it is too ingrained now, which is why it is impossible to make a replacement that is faster, and I think is one part of why their will never be an Admiralty Edition.

While not perfect either for several other reasons, the Fed Com DAC does allow you to target weapons or power well.

@Vix - Sorry, i must have missed them. unfortunately I am off of SFBOL.

Hey

No problem, Eric! Thanks for the response :)

I agree that it probably should have been changed. Too late now! How old is this game now, anyway? It seems older than dirt :) The fact we are coming up on Captains Log #50 fairly soon seems pretty amazing.

Well, Battletech is old as

Well, Battletech is old as heck but far from dead.

Admiralty Edition? I've seen

Admiralty Edition? I've seen it mentioned, but never took it seriously. Almost sounds like an effort to get die hard players to shell out even more money for basically the same thing.

House Rules

For us, the way the game sped up significantly was (mentioned briefly):

1. Altered movement. 1/2 max speed of regular game, done in two phases.

2. Revamped Damage Allocation. Using 1D per damage point (or multiple hits per die in the case of multiple tens of hits in a volley) resulted in a LOT less dice rolling for damage allocation.

3. Revamped EW rules. Made simpler for energy and effect, so a chart isn't needed for reference and calculations are done much more simply.

And our rules worked within the original framework of the "by the book" rules, so our tactics and everything stayed the same as the regular game, but with a couple of added tactics (which removes the bloody "me too" problem of regular SFB).

Make shields weaker, but regenerative

Just an idea here. Cut the number of shield boxes by a (third, quarter or half). This will let more hits thru making the game faster. Now to add some tactics to it. Make shield regenerative to where damage done to them just disappear after 1) a set # of impulses (32, 64, 48, 16...), or 2) you get back one damaged shield box each impulse.

This could increase the manuvering need to do to allow you shield generators to power back up.

Repairing shield boxes always seemed strange to me. You are not sending a team into space to duct tape a hole in an energy field. You just keep applying power and letting it reform. And a long these lines (if using regen option 2 above), you could apply extra points of power to erase another shield hit. I can't remember any of the shows applying extra shield (general or specific) reinforcement until after they were hit and needed to get the back up. They did plently of times say, "all power to forward/rear shields". I interpret this to mean moving what shields you do have on one side to another.

Now shields are one thing where I think Star Wars did better than SFB/Star Trek. They had shield generators. A shield there could be damaged/diminished, but it would continuously rebuild the shield back to full power. Now if you blew thru the shield, then you could hit the shield generator keeping it down until damage control fixed it.

Interesting thoughts on

Interesting thoughts on shields. In our FTF games, one of the things we've done to simplify and therefore speed the game up is auto shield regeneration. By this I mean that we don't put extra power into repairing shields. The ship will automatically regenerate a number of shield boxes equal to the DC rating. So a cruiser that has a DC rating of 4 would automatically regenerate 4 shield boxes each turn. Not per shield, but 4 boxes total to be applied where the owner deems necessary. Assuming the ship has taken damage of course. This frees up a bit of energy to be spent elsewhere, again speeding the game up indirectly (or directly). As you mentioned above about the shield generators, to us this is the generators simply bringing the shield(s) back up to snuff. X ships would have the ability to regenerate more than one damaged shield at a time but don't remember the specifics offhand.

Since we're tossing out different things for the game, one of the things I liked from many of the unofficial sites was things like A2PR or A2WR or even ABPR or ABWR. The A2PR/A2WR was an Aux power or warp reactor that produces 2 points of power instead of one. Replaces APR/AWR on a refit. Pros are more power, cons are that if one is hit you've lost twice the power. The ABPR/ABWR is Aux Battery power/warp reactor. This produces 1 point of power per normal APR/AWR but is also a 1 point battery. This has a lot of tactical possibilities as well. Again could be upgraded on a refit. Usually associated with X tech but could be normal GW era upgrades as well (with an appropriate BP charge).

Just some thoughts to toss out.

My other car is a D7 Battlecruiser

Miza

Eric wrote:
>>My point was that after the first tourney that proved the mizia effect, the DAC should have been changed AT THAT TIME.>>

Why? How is Mizia a problem?

You can fire all your guns now, and be sure they are going to hit, and do a big volley of internals that will likely have an even spread of damage (i.e. a bunch of hull, some power, some weapons) or you can hold some weapons (which might not be able to fire in the hole you just made--your opponent might turn or HET) and try and snipe into some extra weapons and power at the cost of risk. It adds an interesting dynamic.

The DAC works fine. It is a totally reasonable, solid part of the game. Yes. If you are playing a huge fleet game with 12 ships on a side and fighters and PFs and drones all over the place, it does slow things down to have to roll a bunch of internals over and over again. But if you are playing either single ship duels or small squadron actions (i.e. 3 or 3), the game works fine, and DACing works fine.

The DAC is designed to have specific probabilities of things happening, and by and large, they do. Because bell curve. If you take 20 internals, you are likely to take 6-7 F Hull, 3-4 A Hull, 3-4 weapons, 3-4 power, and a couple other weird systems (trac, tran, control). And the vast majority of the time, that is exactly what will happen (scale appropriately given the ship in question--if you only have 5 F Hull, say, the balance of F Hull hits will be Battery instead, etc.). And knowing this stuff is as helpful as knowing any other stuff in the game, i.e. helpful--it is good knowing, say, when a given ship is likely to start losing batteries (so you know if you want to spend batteries as reinforcement or not) or shuttles. Yes, sometimes kooky results happen due to weird dice. But usually not so much. In general, the bell curve of the DAC results in predictable results.

Miza also benefits from the bell curve--yes, two volleys of 10 internals *can* possibly hit more weapons than one volley of 20 internals, but it still is likely that it won't. And holding weapons for Mizia attacks comes with an inherent risk (your opponent might turn). So you have an interesting trade off and dynamic. Which is what makes games good--interesting choices to make.

I dunno Peter, Mizia is just

I dunno Peter, Mizia is just one of those quirks in the game that was discovered and turned into a term paper and now it is a tourney tactic. Hard hits, to us, is a lot more 'realistic' in how damage is applied and dramatically speeds the game up. Having to roll die after die after die on large volleys just needlessly eats the clock up. Don't get me wrong, I like the fact that it is a slow paced game...but slow paced doesn't necessarily have to be slow play. I'm not poo-pooing Mizia but it is tied to a game mechanic that isn't the best by a long shot. I'd rather roll one die for each weapon (or even one entire salvo) than for each and every internal. YMMV :)

My other car is a D7 Battlecruiser

Mizia

David wrote:
>>I dunno Peter, Mizia is just one of those quirks in the game that was discovered and turned into a term paper and now it is a tourney tactic. >>

Lots of rules resulted in quirks that became standard tactics (see: tons of clever uses of the seeking weapon movement system, for example) that can be viewed as simply exploiting quirks in the game system if you really want. That's how games work. Especially complicated ones. There are rules. People find clever ways to maximize their use. That's just how things go.

>>Hard hits, to us, is a lot more 'realistic' in how damage is applied and dramatically speeds the game up.>>

Oh, sure. I in no way object to folks inventing house rules/variant rules to play they way their group likes playing. If people you play with like the variant rules you guys use, great. I was just questioning the concept the Eric stated--that the existence of the Mizia effect should have resulted in the game changing officially. Which strikes me as silly, as the rules work fine, and have a lot to recommend them.

>>Having to roll die after die after die on large volleys just needlessly eats the clock up. Don't get me wrong, I like the fact that it is a slow paced game...but slow paced doesn't necessarily have to be slow play. I'm not poo-pooing Mizia but it is tied to a game mechanic that isn't the best by a long shot. I'd rather roll one die for each weapon (or even one entire salvo) than for each and every internal. YMMV :)>>

Yeah, see, I really enjoy the existing DAC system. Mind you, I very rarely play games of SFB that involve more than 3-4 ships on a side (in fact, I can't even remember the last time I played an SFB game with more than, like, 6 ships on the map total), so it isn't like there are that many times you need to DAC damage (as opposed to a game with 12 ships on a side). I like the slot machine aspect of the DAC and the "Ok. I got 3 hits left. No tractors! No tractors!" aspect of damage allocation. I would find SFB (certainly tournament SFB) vastly less interesting if the DAC system was drastically changed and had the probabilities flattened out. I mean, again, if people want to make variant rules and they use them and enjoy them, awesome for them. But I certainly question the definitive assumption that "X is a bad system. Y is better!"

Try this DAC ... it may help with those large battles...

I created this DAC to speed up those 1200-1500 point fleet battles. It's not 100% completed, but it is functional and will definitely speed up large volley hits. The last big battle I did was 1500 per side (Orion vs Andro) and rolling damage was not a bottle-neck in the game using this.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/8fx105po6utewrb/DAC%20v5.xlsb

As for EW, we found this not to be a slow down. If you mange your fleet properly, this is a simple head-calc, in my opinion.

The impulse chart is the BIGGEST slower of the game, in my opinion. So I created an Excel sheet to make this faster. This will handle all units that moves on the map, even drones.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/czt6ogag6ibyjvs/HELM%20CONTROL%20v1.1.zip

DAC questions

Aldo,

Is it up to you to move to the next column if all of a system was destroyed? If it does, how does it work? If it doesn't...

(Going into brainstorming mode here so thoughts/sentences may not run in logical order)

I think it would be nice if I could enter the number of boxes by system that my ship has and have your DAC move to the next column. You could have an entry page where you put in the number of systems the ship has. Then as you roll, it not only keeps track of hits per volley, but total hits also. Or even better (but very time consuming), have the SSD there linked instead of the entry page along with the EA page you already made. The SSD would automatically check of hit boxes or make you pick which box you want hit (.i.e. a FA PH over a 360 PH), the EA would calculate energy available and tell you which weapons can still be armed. You would also need a way to track repaired systems, but I think you could put a repair button on the EA also. You click it and it erases the hit on the SSD. I'd have it add one to the total count for that item on the DAC so it could still keep a total hit count.

It's beyond my excel skills but I believe you could get it all linked.

Mizia and Realism

The DAC was structured like it is to accomplish a couple of goals. SVC has stated all of the following, but maybe not all in the same place.

1) Create a building sense of drama as you roll and fill out the chart;
2) Distribute damage to systems which are more likely to be hit as a relative surface area and volume of a ship (e.g. there is a lot more area of hull than there is an area to a p3) - note this is a cousin of the phaser directional damage concept;
3) Related to 1 and 2, the sac tries to simulate a phaser or torpedo cutting deeper or pealing away the layers of hull as you move from column to column - if you think about it in this light, Mizia makes perfect physical sense: a disruptor impact might blast a 20 ft crater in the ship, not all the weapons will be in that one crater, and a closer disruptor hit with more damage just means a deeper crater. Since the weapons are on the surface of the ship, blasting deeper won't get you more weapons until you've really done a lot of excavating;
3) Limit the number of weapons and power hits in a single volley. Say you just put all the systems in on column and rolled a D20. In 20 hits you could take out all the weapons, and the game would be over for a largely functional ship. Or consider losing 10 warp in the first volley of 20 internals - that would be fatal. The DAC is designed to allow the game to go on for a turn or two after you take internals. A game where it takes 2-4 blows to defeat your opponent is more interesting than when it takes just one.

I agree with Peter Bakija, I don't see a problem with Mizia, and I like it. And there are perfectly good rationals that something like Mizia would be an emergent property in a real battle. Furthermore, attempting Mizia is not without risk. The opponent can turn or HET or change ECM and the follow up shots may result in little or no internal damage.

DAC Rows 2 and 12

"2) Distribute damage to systems which are more likely to be hit as a relative surface area and volume of a ship "

Okay, I see how you came to the assumption the control spaces can be hit before anything else. To make things look good, the shows put the bridge on the outer hull of the ship. "They must have a window". Its nothing but a bullseye from the right view point. However, if we were to put real combat starships into space, the command units would be towards to center of the ship for protection, especially in the case of Flag Bridges. The only possible control box on the outside would be the Emergency bridge. If you are down to using it to steer, then most comm systems are out too and you have to look to see where you are going. Therefore I still say that the DAC is messed up for these two rows.

More DAC

Dale wrote:
>> The only possible control box on the outside would be the Emergency bridge. If you are down to using it to steer, then most comm systems are out too and you have to look to see where you are going. Therefore I still say that the DAC is messed up for these two rows.>>

A ship is shot by a phaser. A critical power conduit is blown up that makes the interior control station break. A devastating power surge causes the computer systems to crash. Whatever. A disabled Aux Con does not have to represent a giant hole in the ship where the Aux Con used to be.

In any case, how is "realism" in damage allocation really something that needs to be worried about in a game that involves cat aliens launching missiles that move 20C? The DAC works for making the game go effectively.

Thanks for backing me

>>A ship is shot by a phaser. A critical power conduit is blown up that makes the interior control station break. A devastating power surge causes the computer systems to crash. Whatever. A disabled Aux Con does not have to represent a giant hole in the ship where the Aux Con used to be.>>

Where is that critical power conduit? In the Hull. Now I'm not saying that you have to blow up all the hull before hitting anything else, but that you would have to hit the hull before hitting some systems. Actually, I think that the first Hull hit on a row on the DAC needs to be one time only on some rows and twice only on others. This represents punching a hole in the shell of the ship and allows your hit an access to its major systems buried within the ship.
The Hull hits in later columns can be either be limited or unlimited.

More DAC

Dale wrote:
>>Where is that critical power conduit? In the Hull.>>

Maybe? Maybe it is in the engines. Maybe it is something deep in the ship that gets blown out by a power surge from a hit by an energy weapon. Or the EMP from a drone hit. Who cares?

Trying to literalize the DAC is silly. It works fine, and provides results that work well for the game--early on it maximizes hits on things that you have a lot of, minimizes hits on things you need to keep fighting, and distributes hits in a reliable fashion. It makes the play of the game work well. I fully sympathize with people who are like "It takes a long time, and I'd rather use something that is faster, if more random." and totally understand the want to make a faster system for big games. Go nuts and have fun. But, like, nitpicking the scientific inaccuracies of the DAC seems totally pointless.

I don't see anyone

I don't see anyone nitpicking. Rather I see some good discussion coming out of the thread. No one is saying Mizia sucks or the DAC sucks. But some legitimate thoughts have been brought up to consider for those that aren't married to the DAC as-is. And 'hard hits' as has been described does everything you've discussed about the canon DAC...it just does it faster thereby reducing the tedious factor of one part of the game in order to have more of the non-tedious aspects of the game.

Good conversation that brings up some good ideas for folks to consider in there own FTF games.

My other car is a D7 Battlecruiser

The Excel DAC...

Dale (BuddhaDude) ... yes you have to click on the column A, B, C, so on to advance to next column. This makes it generic and usable for all.

What I am thinking of doing is creating a Excel Add-In file where the DAC tools and functions will be embedded and then a user can have them in any Excel worksheet. They can program/create their own SSD sheets and then use the functions in the embedded DAC file to create an automated SSD of their own.

Nitpicking

David wrote:
>>I don't see anyone nitpicking.>>

Everything that Dale wrote that I responded to was nothing but nitpicking the scientific inaccuracies of the DAC (see: "However, if we were to put real combat starships into space, the command units would be towards to center of the ship for protection, especially in the case of Flag Bridges." and "If you are down to using it to steer, then most comm systems are out too and you have to look to see where you are going. Therefore I still say that the DAC is messed up for these two rows." as well as "Where is that critical power conduit? In the Hull. Now I'm not saying that you have to blow up all the hull before hitting anything else, but that you would have to hit the hull before hitting some systems."...)

Which is why I am mentioning the nitpicking of the scientific inaccuracies of the DAC.

Again, I have no problems at all with people inventing new ways to do things if that makes them happy. Or discussing them as new way to do things. Go nuts.

But I do find the nitpicking of the scientific inaccuracies of the DAC a silly thing to do. Which is why I'm questioning it as a motive. And originally, what I was interested in getting an answer to was why someone felt that the existence of the Mizia effect should have resulted in the rules changing right then and there (see: "My point was that after the first tourney that proved the mizia effect, the DAC should have been changed AT THAT TIME." With dramatic all caps and everything!)

I suppose what you consider

I suppose what you consider 'nitpicking' I consider thoughtful discussion which is what the board is for. I see the term nitpicking as not putting value on another's comments/opinions that you don't agree with.

I've enjoyed seeing what others think and have suggested :)

My other car is a D7 Battlecruiser

Nitpicking

David wrote:
>>I suppose what you consider 'nitpicking' I consider thoughtful discussion which is what the board is for. I see the term nitpicking as not putting value on another's comments/opinions that you don't agree with.>>

You are welcome to see the term "nitpicking" however you would like (and have no need to start nitpicking the phrase nitpicking :-). For my money, questioning how a game works based on an excessive adherence to "realism" in a futuristic space ship game with lizard aliens and ships flying around at many times the speed of light is questionable rationale for doing things. Especially suggesting that said rules are flawed as a result.

I mean, again, if folks want to come up with variant rules, they can do that. And have a good time with it. And more power to them. But criticizing what is, essentially, a totally workable game design due to it not being "realistic" enough seems like something that is worth questioning.

>>I've enjoyed seeing what others think and have suggested :)>>

Sure. Me too. Again, the main reason that I got involved here was because someone made a claim that the rules should have been changed (not "I'd like to suggest an alternative", but a very specific "The rule should have been changed!") based on a particular function of the rules. And was curious as to why they felt that was the case. And things just tangented from there.

DAC again

The DAC certainly isn't perfect. IMHO:

1) It's too deep. You'll usually end up with every single system (except tracks, control and, IME, the probe or odd transporter) being destroyed before you get into the Excess Damage. It could stand to be only about 8 columns deep.

2) Some entries are utterly redundant. There's Hull at 2E and 12E, of all asinine places. Who is ever going to hit that?

3) The Probe is the safest place on the ship. Why?

4) Tracks, especially DamCon, are too hard to damage. It's very unusual for anything bigger than a destroyer (ie, anything with a redundant 0 or 6) to take meaningful Sensor or Scanner damage.

5) Lots of systems get hit on the wrong thing. Web generators and so on being hit on Flag Bridge is the stand-out here but it's not alone. This partly stems from systems being introduced long after the DAC which hasn't changed since Designer's or probably Pocket. There's also the issue that the same DAC is used for everything from a COMPLAT to a B11.

But that aside, it works. It usually produces a good game with results that are defensible. In my CL24 fiction I ensured that all the damage was likely based on the DAC, and it was very easy to write a credible story around it.

DAC

Jim wrote:
>>1) It's too deep. You'll usually end up with every single system (except tracks, control and, IME, the probe or odd transporter) being destroyed before you get into the Excess Damage. It could stand to be only about 8 columns deep.>>

I think that is more a feature than a bug--the game was designed that ships last for a long time and it is hard to kill them (i.e. the model is one of "the ship is hit and hit and a barely holding on!" rather than "we took a torpedo hit! (BOOM!)"). Thus, the DAC pretty much is gonna hit everything on the ship before the ship blows up.

>>2) Some entries are utterly redundant. There's Hull at 2E and 12E, of all asinine places. Who is ever going to hit that?>>

True. But once you have the grid, you have to fill up the grid. You can't really have empty spots. So, well, occasionally their are weird bits.

>>3) The Probe is the safest place on the ship. Why?>>

Yeah, that is certainly a good question. I suspect it is 'cause the Probe is also the last ditch effort emergency weapon on every ship.

>>4) Tracks, especially DamCon, are too hard to damage. It's very unusual for anything bigger than a destroyer (ie, anything with a redundant 0 or 6) to take meaningful Sensor or Scanner damage.>>

Again, feature, not a bug. Track hits tend to be pretty debilitating. So it is hard to hit them.

>>5) Lots of systems get hit on the wrong thing. Web generators and so on being hit on Flag Bridge is the stand-out here but it's not alone. This partly stems from systems being introduced long after the DAC which hasn't changed since Designer's or probably Pocket. There's also the issue that the same DAC is used for everything from a COMPLAT to a B11.>>

Well, sure, but the issue of, like, Web Generators being hit on Flag Bridge is just a matter or probability--the Web Generator needs to be hit on *something*, and they need to be pretty long lasting, so Flag Bridge fits that. Same with Security boxes. Lots of thing get hit on lots of things that they aren't (see: Hellbore or PPD as a "drone" hit; the Omega Alunda ship is all sorts of kooky, with the main guns being hit on "Torp" and "Drone", the phaser analogues getting hit on "Aux", the weird other systems are hit on "Flag" and "Emer", and it has nothing that is hit on "Phaser", so the tractors are very vulnerable to damage--this is all by design, not accident). It's a way to make things work. And it pretty much does.

Flag Bridge

Hellbores, ESGs and so on being hit on Drone is perfectly reasonable - it's a weapon that's not the Hydran/Lyran "Torpedo". Likewise Security is a control space so should be hit like a control space. But Web is more like a weapon than a control space, big Tholians have Flag Bridge too and the Tholians never got a Drone weapon until the Web Caster came along. Heck, they never even got a torpedo until Expansion 1. So Web should have been hit on Drone.

The DAC being too deep does let very crippled ships last a little longer, but it seldom makes much difference to the game. It just prolongs it somewhat unnecessarily. Note that I didn't want it much smaller; once you're banging away on the H and I columns, you're usually skipping a lot of empty slots there anyway.

Web Generators

Jim wrote:
>>Hellbores, ESGs and so on being hit on Drone is perfectly reasonable - it's a weapon that's not the Hydran/Lyran "Torpedo". Likewise Security is a control space so should be hit like a control space. But Web is more like a weapon than a control space, big Tholians have Flag Bridge too and the Tholians never got a Drone weapon until the Web Caster came along. Heck, they never even got a torpedo until Expansion 1. So Web should have been hit on Drone.>>

It certainly could have been hit on drone, but then it would have died really quickly--a given ship has 2 of them, and as every Lyran knows, the third point of damage is always a drone hit. I suspect that when the ship was invented, the through was that all that PC *did* was generate web, so it would make sense to have them last a long time.

I mean, yeah, I could see that had they been drone hits instead of flag bridge, the world wouldn't have fallen apart or anything, but I can certainly see the logic behind making them get hit on flag bridge hits. Specifically just to make them last.

Game Logic

Well, the fact is it is a science fiction game and any form of damage can be rationalized so there is no right answer. I stated before these kinds of debates remind me of friends many years ago debating who is stronger and would win a fight - Superman or the Hulk :-) That being said, what would help make the DAC more "realistic" is eliminate mizia by removing the bold systems on the chart and track cumulative internals with more drastic results as the total increases. This woild make damage less linear and cause more rapid systems failures as the damage increases. In an extreme environment this is highly plausible since the the first 20 internal a cruiser takes should be far less dangerous than the next 20. This. would seriously speed things up as well.

Dennis Surdu

Superman

would win.
He can fly Hulk into the sun. Game over.

Web and the DAC

bakija wrote "I can certainly see the logic behind making them get hit on flag bridge hits. Specifically just to make them last."

Er, OK, but a PC has all of 39 internals and 4 ExDam. 2 of those are Bridge, so the Flag is already padded. You'd need to get 4 rolls of 2 to kill both web generators [why does it need 2 anyway?] which requires, on average, 144 damage. Bear in mind that this predates H&R rules as well. And given that you also need power and a control box to lay web, I'm not sure what use the things will be.

I suppose the answer is that Web Generators are made of whatever they made the Dyson sphere out of. They are Just That Tough.

Web Generators

Jim wrote:
>>Er, OK, but a PC has all of 39 internals and 4 ExDam. 2 of those are Bridge, so the Flag is already padded. You'd need to get 4 rolls of 2 to kill both web generators [why does it need 2 anyway?] which requires, on average, 144 damage. Bear in mind that this predates H&R rules as well. And given that you also need power and a control box to lay web, I'm not sure what use the things will be.>>

Umm, yes? I suggested that the Web Generators were hit on Flag Bridge to make them last. Requiring 144 damage to kill them both (on a ship with 39 internals...) certainly makes them last.

If they were hit on drone hits, they'd fall off very quickly.

>>I suppose the answer is that Web Generators are made of whatever they made the Dyson sphere out of. They are Just That Tough.>>

Apparently. I mean, really, does it *matter* that the Web Generators are hit on Flag Bridge and then never die? Web Generators are vastly limited by power, so, well, it doesn't really *matter* if they are the last box on the ship, as they lost the ability to use them well before they get blown up. Plus, with Web hit on Flag Bridge, in the long run, the Tholians could use Web Casters as drone hits (yes, I realize that Web Casters were introduced way after the original Web Generator), and then have ships with 3 different bits of tech (Disruptors, Web Casters, Web Generators; see: CCW) and have them all hit on something different. Which is fortuitous. It isn't in any way detrimental to the game that Web Generators are hit on Flag Bridge, so why even worry about it?

Mizia

Heh, well just for the sake of putting out a dissenting opinion, I'll go ahead and voice my opinion that Mizia is a very good thing in SFB. :)

The importance of speed during the engagement? The advantage that a good TM ship has in moving last? The importance of having your turn mode satisfied at point of fire? The importance of being at HET speed and having energy for the HET? All those things are tactically important in part because failure to execute those things potentially means your opponent will *Mizia* you.

Mizia is the concept that allows, when flown with skill, a more maneuverable ship with less firepower to defeat a less maneuverable ship with more firepower. It is one of the main differentiators that makes SFB significantly more tactically rich and complex than your otherwise run-of-the-mill shoot-em-up space combat game (admittedly, these comments are from a duel standpoint and are probably less applicable in fleet scenarios).

Just one guy's opinion. :)

Ken

Mizia

Ken, that is all true but all that tactical thinking was not made more necessary by Mizia. Mizia just makes it a little more punishing and that can be substituted by any number of more rational rules changes. Mizia is a more of an arbitrary quirk than anything else. It is a loophole that did not get closed, really. IMHO :-)

Dennis Surdu

not a loophole

Not it's not a loophole. Think of it as slower more accurate fire. Instead of throwing all you have at an opponent at a brief moment of opportunity it instead simulates taking careful aim at the weapons and power systems.

Well, the bottom line is that

Well, the bottom line is that Mizia is part of the game if one uses the standard form of damage allocation. Hard hits can use it as well, it just does it faster.

My other car is a D7 Battlecruiser

Mizia

Aegis 777 wrote:
>>Mizia is a more of an arbitrary quirk than anything else. It is a loophole that did not get closed, really. IMHO>>

It isn't any more of a loophole than, say, doing kooky things with drone launches, 'cause you have to launch them with the target in FA and they are compelled to move straight on their first move (which can be used for all sorts of clever things), or moving 11 hexes with a 10-9-10 speed plot. The game has rules, and people use them to do things that might have not been originally intended, but it isn't problematic that they work that way.

And, really, if it was a loophole that someone wanted to close, how would you fix it? If you remove the "once a volley" hits, then weapons die too fast. You could use some system like David proposed up above (using 4 different colors of pens, or whatever), but that is unwieldy, and open to other "abuse" (i.e. Tractors suddenly become a lot easier to kill with multiple small volleys, as if you hit the 10 line phaser on the first volley, the second volley goes straight to tractor--this is using David's proposed plan from above in the discussion). How do you "fix" Mizia while maintaining the ability of the DAC to distribute hits via a bellcurve and limit hits to vital systems that currently are only hit once per volley?

Clarification requested

Volley: I fire 10 PH-1s at once. That's considered one volley, correct?

IKV - Hard Hits: Are you saying you roll the dice once for each Weapons Hit or once (if I am correct above) per volley?

"IKV - Hard Hits: Are you

"IKV - Hard Hits: Are you saying you roll the dice once for each Weapons Hit or once (if I am correct above) per volley?"

You can do it either way. We started out doing one die roll per weapon. Now we do it per volley.

Here's another example using the DAC. Let's say a Fed CA fires photons and phasers at a Klink D7. We'll say he hits with 2 photons, one standard and one OL so that's 24 points. Let's add another 11 points for phaser damage for a total of 35 damage. Let's assume it was on a downed shield so all 35 points are internals...yay for the Fed!

So we'll roll two dice and we get a total of 6. So 6 on the DAC will give us the following hard hits reading left to right and going down the row:

4 hull (all 4 forward hull are touching each other)
2 impluse (half of the impulse deck just got blown off, bad day to be a Klink engineer)
4 lab (all 4 labs are touching each other)
5 left warp engine (we put a limit of 5 that can be hit on power hits)
1 sensor (limit of 1 on specialty boxes)
1 tractor (since they are non-touching individual boxes)
4 shuttle (the whole shuttle bay is sucking vacuum, sorry about the scatter pack)
5 right warp engine (really bad day to be an engineer)
1 phaser (well..let's go with the ph-3 if we're using the D7CT)
1 transporter (this is the single box in the boom, if the rear hull transporters were chosen it would be 3 since 3 boxes are touching)
1 battery (using a single box rather than the 2 boxes touching in the rear hull)
1 any weapon (let's use a drone rack since it was empty anyway)
1 excess damage

Okay, that's 31 so far if I'm counting right. You got a choice here; loop around and start at the beginning of row 6 again or simply roll for another column and take 4 more hits. Let's say we choice to roll again and rolled an 11 just for fun;

1 disruptor
1 phaser (let's go with the other ph-3)
2 impulse (there goes the rest of the impulse deck unless you want to count the Emer Impulse in the boom and take that hit which means you'd have 1 more point which is 1 right warp.

So in this example, we've done a substantial volley of 35 internals with 1....maybe 2 rolls of the die depending on what your group decides. Now you could do a roll for each weapon if you really wanted which in this example was 2 photons and let's say 4 phasers for a total of 6 rolls.

So the choice is simple: roll 35 times or roll 1 or 2 times or roll 6 times. If someone has the time and wants to roll the normal DAC and compare it to the above it would be interesting to see how close it compares. In my example, 35 internals yields a bunch of freebe hits like hull and labs, nets 4 weapons, 12 power and some other stuff like shuttles, trans and a battery. To me it's pretty comparable and a lot quicker. Even doing a roll for each individual weapon will be 6 times quicker than the standard way.

Another plus is ships with a LOT of hull like the Hydran (i.e. the 7th shield). In the above example, 18 hull would be destroyed instead of 4 which would display the internal toughness of the Hydran vessel very well. It has the ability to absorb a lot of damage and keep on chugging which is what it was designed to do.

We think it works really well and cuts the time of the game so more emphasis can be put on other stuff. That way during one of those impulses where 20 things are going on we can spend the time doing it.

My other car is a D7 Battlecruiser

Just to add in, if you want a

Just to add in, if you want a little more variety on the DAC simply roll once for each weapon. This will give a wider % of the total DAC and still be tremendously quicker than each and every hit. In the above example of 6 weapons yielding 35 internals roll 6 times, once for each photon and phaser fired.

Same example with 6 rolls:

Photon 1 = 8 points
Photon 2 = 16
Phaser 1 = 2
Phaser 2 = 4
Phaser 3 = 3
Phaser 4 = 2

So the roll for the first photon was a 6:

4 hull
2 impulse
4 lab

Second photon was an 8:

7 hull
4 APR
4 shuttle
1 R warp

Ph #1 was a 2:

1 bridge
1 flag bridge (is that a security? Don't remember was security is hit on..)

Ph #2 was a 5:

4 R warp

Ph #3 was a 12:

1 Aux
1 Emer bridge
1 scanner

Ph #4 is 10:

1 phaser
1 tractor

Less weapon hits in this example. I like the one roll/volley as it gets more depth on the chart. But then as stuff is wiped out you'll get depth this way as well. Here we're losing 9 power and a lot of control boxes so it can start sucking just as quick as the other way.

Either way it is quicker and to us, just a fun.

My other car is a D7 Battlecruiser

If someone wants to jump on

If someone wants to jump on SFBOL (or just roll manually) and do 35 internals then list what was hit it would be interesting to compare with the above two examples.

Hint hint :)

I'd do it but have to teach a Karate class in just a bit.

My other car is a D7 Battlecruiser

Web

bakija wrote: "It isn't in any way detrimental to the game that Web Generators are hit on Flag Bridge, so why even worry about it?"

Oh, indeed. I was thinking exactly that as I typed it. But OTOH, what is the internet for if not to rant about esoteric trivia? My usenet server has fallen over; normally I'd bring this sort of opprobrium to rgfd instead.

Ah, Yes.

Well, there certainly is that :-)

Hasn't usenet been dead for years? I mean, I was a *very* long hold out on usenet. Until my ISP stopped giving access to usenet. And then I kept using the google newsreader to access usenet for another couple years. And then the last game I was following on usenet finally gave up and moved to a web forum. And that was a few years ago...

Awhile back someone here put

Awhile back someone here put a link to a FSB combat DAC roller. It uses the standard SFB DAC. I put in 35 hits (internals) and these were the results.

Hit # Die Roll System
1 7 Cargo
2 10 Phaser
3 7 Cargo
4 9 Left Warp Engine
5 8 Aft Hull
6 5 Right Warp Engine
7 4 Phaser
8 7 Cargo
9 3 Drone
10 7 Cargo
11 Cargo
12 9 Forward Hull
13 5 Aft Hull
14 5 Aft Hull
15 6 Forward Hull
16 9 Forward Hull
17 6 Forward Hull
18 6 Forward Hull
19 7 Cargo
20 10 Tractor Beam
21 5 Aft Hull
22 6 Forward Hull
23 6 Forward Hull
24 4 Transporter
25 9 Forward Hull
26 6 Forward Hull
27 8 Aft Hull
28 4 Right Warp Engine
29 7 Cargo
30 7 Cargo
31 5 Aft Hull
32 8 Aft Hull
33 10 Left Warp Engine
34 4 Right Warp Engine
35 6 Forward Hull

17 hull, 5 power, 3 weapon and 8 cargo which would end up being something else with a sprinkling of support systems.

In my first example there were 4 weapon hits so this is comparable. Less hull but more power in the hard hit version (but that is dependent on the initial roll). For grins I did a second roll on the auto DAC roller;

Hit # Die Roll System
1 8 Aft Hull
2 6 Forward Hull
3 6 Forward Hull
4 3 Drone
5 8 Aft Hull
6 8 Aft Hull
7 9 Left Warp Engine
8 5 Right Warp Engine
9 12 Auxiliary Control
10 7 Cargo
11 6 Forward Hull
12 4 Phaser
13 5 Aft Hull
14 10 Phaser
15 11 Torpedo
16 8 Aft Hull
17 8 Aft Hull
18 6 Forward Hull
19 9 Forward Hull
20 8 Aft Hull
21 10 Tractor Beam
22 8 Aft Hull
23 9 Forward Hull
24 7 Cargo
25 6 Forward Hull
26 6 Forward Hull
27 2 Bridge
28 7 Cargo
29 5 Aft Hull
30 7 Cargo
31 5 Aft Hull
32 11 Phaser
33 4 Transporter
34 11 Impulse
35 6 Forward Hull

My other car is a D7 Battlecruiser

19 hull, 3 power, 4 cargo

19 hull, 3 power, 4 cargo (which would be something else), 5 weapon with some command hits on the second roll. Again, weapons is pretty much the same as my first example (one roll per volley). Again a difference in more hull and less power but again, subject to the roll and taking into account cargo hits.

All in all the hard hits or this roller are the quickest and probably are fairly consistent over the course of a game. Inputting damage amount on the PC or rolling a couple of dice for the volley takes about the same amount of time and both take a lot less time that the standard method.

It would still be interesting to see someone do a SFBOL 35 internal for comparison.

My other car is a D7 Battlecruiser

Good explanation

Thanks IKV. So IMHO, to increase the speed of the game in reguards to DA, the best choices in order are: 1) FSB - Combat Roller all hits, 2) 1 roll per volley on DAC with per system limits, and then 3) 1 roll per weapon on DAC/FSB.

Now if I'm not in a hurry, I think 1 roll per weapon is best. To me this represents the different weapons hitting different sections of the targeted ship.

Fix Mizia

Peter, fixing the DAC to eliminate Mizia would be simple enough and who says damage has to adhere to a bell curve? That in itself is an arbitrary game construct. Have systems destroyed based on ship location for example. It is not reality so who cares and as long as the same rule applies to all it will be fair. It is a glaring defect in rational damage allocation that 6 damage points distributed over 6 impulses should have so much better a chance of stripping weapons than 6 points on a single impulse. Many people have always thought it strange. It is not an unfair thing just a game exploit.....so yes, a loophole.

Dennis Surdu

Mizia

Aegis_777 wrote:
>>Peter, fixing the DAC to eliminate Mizia would be simple enough and who says damage has to adhere to a bell curve?>>

It doesn't *have* to. But it works well for the game. It results in you losing a lot of unimportant stuff (hull) and a few important things (weapons and power) on a given volley. The game is balanced so that ships take damage like that. Changing it is significantly changing the balance of the game--making the game *more* arbitrary and random rather than less doesn't make the game better.

>> That in itself is an arbitrary game construct. Have systems destroyed based on ship location for example. It is not reality so who cares and as long as the same rule applies to all it will be fair. >>

You could completely change the damage allocation rules, sure. But nothing is saying whatever new arbitrary construct one comes up with will be any better. And will probably be worse. As the current system is what the game is built around and balanced using.

>>It is a glaring defect in rational damage allocation that 6 damage points distributed over 6 impulses should have so much better a chance of stripping weapons than 6 points on a single impulse.>>

How is that a glaring defect? There are any number of ways that one could rationalize it using made up science explanations. And in terms of a game, it provides extra interesting choices to make--"Do I fire everything now, or hold a few weapons hoping to get an extra volley next impulse, even though my opponent might turn and foil me." And games are all about interesting choices.

Threefold Way

In RPG theory one talks about the threefold way, whereby an RPG session is a mixture of simulation, storytelling and gaming. In other words:
Simulation: an accurate model of how things would really behave given a set of initial axioms. Too much of this can result in overly detailed and clunky rules. ASL, anyone?
Storytelling: make it engaging and entertaining. Too much of this can lead to railroading, GM fiat, plot immunity and jarring discontinuity with the simulation model.
Gaming: balance, playability, consistency, simple and quick rules with interesting effects. Too much of this can lead to a dull, flat experience whereby everything is shoehorned into a mechanism where it doesn't fit. 4e D&D, for example.

The DAC is part of the Gaming part of SFB: it's designed (by luck or judgement) to produce interesting results that lead to a good game. It's like the P3 table which has certain strangely unrealistic properties but critical effects on drone tactics. Or like range limits on overloads. Sure, you can change any of these, and things might make more sense. But the game would probably not improve.

We are talking about speeding

We are talking about speeding up the game and the DAC is the Achilles heel. So, why not make it more rational while at the same time improve the variability of system hits and add critical hits with links to ship locations. Internals can be made to be a nastier enterprise and at the same time made to cause the demise of a ship a little faster than mind numbing rolling of the dice. I think the alternate system would be best employed in fleet games where the DAC becomes more of a crutch. You are likely an old guard tourney player who dislikes changes like that but until and if things like this change we can say bye-bye to SFB classic in a few years. Mizia concepts and other arcane tidbits are what keep new players away, IMO. I have been playing so long most of the rules and damage allocation are second nature but kids these days are not amused. I know this is sacrilegious from an old player like me but oh well. At least make Mizia a possibility only when taking damage through the same shield with a few impulses of the original volley because I have seen more than a few new players get up and "screw this" after watching their weapons get stripped for no other reason than a delay in firing again of one impulse. I guess we are venturing into who has the better super hero type of discussion since this is all really a matter of opinion, but poor opinions of an aspect of the rules do not sell games or keep the system thriving either. The game is going to die frankly unless the rules are cleaned up AND someone with a bankroll invests in better artwork etc., but that is a different topic altogether. :-)

Dennis Surdu

I should also note I am not

I should also note I am not talking about a Starfleet Light either. I love the rules complexity, but some core aspects of the game need to be re-written and streamlined. Tractor interactions, fighter operations and reloads, drone construction, and the DAC are a few that come to mind that put the brakes on even the most time-disciplined of games.

Dennis Surdu

SFB has quite a bit to offer

SFB has quite a bit to offer to the serious gamer. That is why it has been around this long. However, in this day and age, some things need to be done more efficiently. Damage allocation is one of those areas. Two options have been offered to dramatically speed this aspect of the game up; hard hits or an electronic DAC roller. Both result in pretty much the same type of damage but cuts the time down without question. 40 internals using hard hits (either as one roll or one roll per weapon) would take about 25 seconds to complete. Beats rolling 40 times by a long shot. Mizia would still be there to some extent even with hard hits. A program that rolls all the internals on the DAC (like in SFBOL) also substantially speeds the game up and Mizia is still there as well.

I don't know if the link is still active to download the auto die roller and DAC but if not I'm sure someone could do it and put it out to the group. We used the auto roller in our last game and it worked and worked quickly.

This speeds up a mundane part of the game so that more time can be spent actually flying the ship(s) and developing the tactical game plan. As noted, we've done quite a few other mods that speed the game up and others have offered improved movement that speeds the game up...for those that desire it.

In regards to SFB dying out, well...it is. Is there anyone that doesn't realize this? However, several things could be done to delay or even reverse the trend. We've discussed before the visual aspect of the SSD's and it was brought up again in the above post. I did a simple test, I should the normal Klingon SSD to someone not familiar with SFB. The response was, 'what is that suppose to be'? Then I showed them my revised Klingon SSD that actually looks like a D7. They weren't 'trekkies' but instantly knew what the SSD represented. And it wasn't that hard to do, just took a bit of time. I've done CA class ships for every race in the Alpha Octant except the WYN in addition to some CV's, DN's, DD's and FF's. And I think they look pretty good. If anyone hasn't seen them, look in the SSD section of this board. And those were my first run...they've gotten better! No, they weren't sanctioned by ADB and I did them before I knew they frowned on that sort of thing. But that doesn't stop the community from doing it on there own and passing them around via email. That way it isn't on the net, doesn't violate anyone's web policy, doesn't 'confuse' new players (that is the standard excuse given) and can dramatically enhance the game with eye-candy.

Point is that the game can be enhanced in several areas if the player chooses to do so. And who knows, it may well attract some new players. It has worked for us. We fly ships that actually look like ships and not a bunch of circles and squares. We've speed up the game in the mundane areas without affecting the various nuances of tactics and strategy. And in fact, we've added new dimensions of tactics and strategy since every race has a unique heavy weapon and beam weapon. To me/us, those few things have taken SFB to an entirely new level.

So it is there if you want it, but not forced on anyone that doesn't. If the Steve's retired tomorrow and ADB closed it's doors I could play fresh games for the next 30 years with the material I've purchased and the mods I've made.

My other car is a D7 Battlecruiser

Funny

Talking of speeding up the game.

I can play an entire game, energy allocation, movement, and rolling damage, with 3 ships (including fighters and drones) in an hour and 41 minutes.

SFB is enjoyable for me and my friends once we made changes to the speed of the game. We still got to use all the tactics, including Mizia, EW, and a bunch of others (only thing we dropped was Mid-Turn speed changes, as it wasn't needed) but we got to play and complete games with multiple ships and/or multiple players, in a couple hours.

I think the biggest battle we ever had was 8 players and 12 ships (some were flying more than 1 ship) and we completed it in 3.5 hours.

One on one ship battles take about an hour, and are much more enjoyable.

So some of us are very much open to speeding up the game.

Time and Motion Analysis

While complaints about the speed of the DAC process seems to be a favorite hobby horse for many, a simple time and motion analysis illustrates that the dice rolling and reading off on the DAC is not substantially slower than the process where where a player reads off a pre-generated list of hits.

DAC Method
Player 1
Rolls Dice
Finds hit number on DAC
Announces Hit
Player 2
Searches for hit on SSD
Announces if hit is available or not
If yes both player 1 and player 2 marks hit on DAC and marks SSD;
if no player 2 tells player 1 who advances column and announces next hit until player 2 can mark on SSD
repeat

List of hits
Player 1 reads first item on list an announces hit
Player 2 searches for hit on SSD
Player 2 must announce if hit available
If yes, player 2 marks and repeat
If no, player 2 announces and Player 1 figures out some alternate hit and announces, player 2 marks, and repeat

IMHO people often point to the dice rolling as the bottle neck, but the actual time taken to roll and cross index is not meaningfully shorter than simply reading from a list. Note that as soon as player 2 announces the hit is available to mark, player 1 an roll the dice in about the same time as it actually takes to fill in the box on the SSD. So a lot happens in parallel. In practice, the actual bottleneck is more often player number 2 finding the hit on the SSD and verifying if the hit is available.

Fed Com uses a modified DAC method which was intended to be faster and easier. In practice, it shaves off a few percent in time if anything. It turns out to be just different.

Can you apply 40 internals in

Can you apply 40 internals in 25 seconds or less using the regular method? Nope.

Can you apply 40 internals in 25 seconds or less using hard hits? Yep.

Do you get about the same results? Yep.

Do you get back to whatever the action is faster? Yep.

Did it take anything away from the game experience? Nope.

Did it interfere with any tactics or strategy? Nope.

Is it a better, quicker method of applying damage to a ship? Yep.

:)

So far we have methods for speeding up movement and damage allocation. That is pretty substantial in terms of speeding up the game.

Next itiem(s);

Tractor beams, EA and ECM/ECCM.

EA is easy...you put a time limit on it that the group agrees to abide by. Also use that time for the pee break. SFBOL sometimes gets stupid on EA, not the program of course but some of the people playing. Sorry but you don't need 15 minutes to do an EA. Five minutes is pushing it if you don't have a pee break in there as well. But that can be a definite bottle neck depending on who your playing with. So a simple time limit and that's taken care of.

For us, ECM/ECCM isn't used. Just like tournament games. We consider ECM/ECCM as built into the game which is why it is possible to miss the target in the 23rd century. That's just us, others like it and use it effectively so it is a point that is up to them.

Tractor beams (read auction). Dunno...got to think on this one a bit. I've seen SFBOL slow down to a crawl. Yeah, I know the Roms and Gorns would revolt if they couldn't do an anchor. That is a tactic (loop hole) that has been around in the game since dirt. And yeah, it can be fun. Yeah, I've done it. Yeah, I've had it done to me. And no, I'm not saying it needs to be changed. But it could be looked at a bit to see if it could be streamlined at all. Could be fine as is...but it's worth a look.

Anyone have any other things they think bottle neck the game?

My other car is a D7 Battlecruiser

Preaching to the Choir there

SFBOL sometimes gets stupid on EA, not the program of course but some of the people playing. Sorry but you don't need 15 minutes to do an EA. Five minutes is pushing it if you don't have a pee break in there as well. But that can be a definite bottle neck depending on who your playing with. So a simple time limit and that's taken care of.

Preaching to the Choir there

You guys should try

Chutes and Ladders or Candyland. Both very fast games, no bottlenecks. Well, except when your opponent is 4 years old. Then it might drag.

Speeding Things Along

David wrote:
>>EA is easy...you put a time limit on it that the group agrees to abide by. Also use that time for the pee break. SFBOL sometimes gets stupid on EA, not the program of course but some of the people playing. Sorry but you don't need 15 minutes to do an EA.>>

I've only very rarely seen someone take even close to 15 minutes to an EA on SFBOL. It usually takes 5 minutes. Maybe a few more if someone is in a really complicated situation with a lot of possible options. Maybe a few more if they say "Hey--I'm gonna go get a sandwich".

I kinda get the feeling that you are using one experience that happened once and then extrapolating it pretty far to an extreme.

Yes. A few people on SFBOL can play slowly once and a while. I suspect that they also play slowly in real life. None of this is the fault of SFBOL. Or the way the game is designed. Again, I play a lot of SFBOL. The vast majority of games? Completely, reasonably paced. Over in less than 3 hours (just like a real life game).

>>For us, ECM/ECCM isn't used. Just like tournament games. We consider ECM/ECCM as built into the game which is why it is possible to miss the target in the 23rd century. That's just us, others like it and use it effectively so it is a point that is up to them.>>

I'm with you there on the EW. I mean, it is certainly an interesting tactical level one might like to explore, but for the most part, as all it does it make it harder to kill things (i.e. best case scenario with EW: No Effect. Worst case scenario: No One Can Be Hurt), it does, by specific design, slow down the game. Granted some things in the game are specifically designed to use EW, and without it, they don't work as well (fighters and PFs are *vastly* more effective in a full EW environment than they are in a no EW environment; Plasma ships are stronger in an EW environment than in a non EW environment), but in general, full EW is something I tend to avoid. Although the time we had a 3 ship DD squadron tournament on SFBOL with EW, it was actually very entertaining.

>>Tractor beams (read auction). Dunno...got to think on this one a bit. I've seen SFBOL slow down to a crawl. Yeah, I know the Roms and Gorns would revolt if they couldn't do an anchor. That is a tactic (loop hole)>>

Ok. What? How is:

"Using tractors to stop someone from getting away from seeking weapons and not using wild weasels, when the rules are specifically engineered for this very purpose."

A "loop hole"? Really. That is what the *rules are designed to do*. There is no "loop hole". There is no "this is an unintended consequence". That is what tractors are designed to do. That is how weasels are designed to work. That is how seeking weapons are designed to go.

I don't know that "loop hole" means what you think it means.

In regards to EA, I'm glad

In regards to EA, I'm glad you've had the perfect games with the perfect opponents on sfbol. I suppose I haven't been as fortunate.

In regards to ECM, not needed to play so we're in agreement.

In regards to tractors, not needed really. And yes, I think some of it has loopholes that were exploited and are now part of the game. That's fine though and I don't have any particular issue with any of it. In regards to WW, from what I've heard they were developed because 'someone' was having difficulty against plasma. But that is also fine though I could see not having specialty shuttles. We've modified them altogether which I've detailed before. They don't cost any power, any specialty shuttle. Just time to set up.

My other car is a D7 Battlecruiser

Speed, or the Lack Thereof

David wrote:
>>In regards to EA, I'm glad you've had the perfect games with the perfect opponents on sfbol. I suppose I haven't been as fortunate.>>

Here's the thing. I play SFBOL a lot. Multiple games a month. I mean, like, I don't play every day or anything. But In the last 5 (6? 10?) years of playing on SFBOL, I have played a *lot* of games vs a *lot* of different people. And the vast majority of them? They have gone perfectly fine. Reasonable speed of play. Opponents taking reasonable amount of time to make decisions, moves, and do EA. Once and a while, sure, someone is really slow, one way or the other. But that is an extreme minority of people. Most (and by "most", I mean "the vast majority") people play at a totally reasonable speed. Most of the time. I don't doubt that people have had bad experiences with slow players. As that does happen once and a while. But I think that tarring the whole, ahem, enterprise based on the perception of slowness, when that is *really* not as big of (or significant of) an issue as it is being made out to be is really unnecessary.

>>In regards to tractors, not needed really. And yes, I think some of it has loopholes that were exploited and are now part of the game.>>

What loop holes were exploited? Tractors always existed to grab ships and slow them down. Tractors always prevented shuttles from being launched. Seeking weapons always moved and benefitted from opponents slowing down. That is what these things have always done. That is what they were designed to do.

Again, if you like using variant rules to play and you feel they speed things up, go nuts. And have fun. And I'm glad you are enjoying doing that. And I'm in no way trying to convince you otherwise. But I do tend to object to blanket statements that seemingly come from questionable assumptions or understandings.

Inappropriate optimisation

IKVAvenger wrote: Can you apply 40 internals in 25 seconds or less using the regular method? Nope.

True. It takes something like 3 minutes, more if I'm unfamiliar with the SSD. But given that a TC has maybe 100 internals, that's some 7 minutes to write off every box on a ship, or 10 minutes for 2 ships (assume here that the winner isn't a wreck by the end). That's 10 minutes out of a 2 hour game. The DAC is not the issue. It's *an* issue, but not the main one. Software people here will recognise this as inappropriate optimisation.

IMHO, most of the time is spent dithering over movement, counting hexes, assessing the chance of losing that phaser and whether it's worth firing it, whether I can run out that plasma or does it need a speed change (and if so, how much energy does it take, can I turn back before hitting the wall and will I make R8 next turn) and so on. Not to mention EA, looking up corner cases in the rulebook and the inevitable side-chat about things other than the game. And managing the impulse chart, especially when the drones and shuttles and plasma and tractors and web casters and mid-turn speed changes come out. And retconning mistakes.

Oh, and EW, but I'm not going to defend that. Not a good system.

And also Secret and Simultaneous decisions. Getting rid of that would be a major improvement and remove a lot of angst, as well as speeding things up (if done right). I don't have a tested solution.

The other way to speed up the game is with a software EA, a software impulse chart, a software DAC and a general 21st-century approach to the issue. SFBOL has most of this, albeit in a slightly idiosyncratic format (I've not used it for years) but suffers v FtF from slightly slower human comms. Use that on a pair of laptops for FtF use and most of your complaints go away for a bargain $100 per year...

The bottom line is to change

The bottom line is to change what can be changed and don't worry about what you can't change...if you aren't satisfied with a current rule or system. That way everyone is happy.

My other car is a D7 Battlecruiser

EW is great

I'm obviously in the minority in that I enjoy EW. Our group used it quite a bit. Adds a lot to the game, really.

I guess it really depends on your exposure to it, though.

EW

Grimace wrote:
>>I'm obviously in the minority in that I enjoy EW. Our group used it quite a bit. Adds a lot to the game, really.>>

Oh, sure--like, I totally see how EW adds a lot of interesting decisions to the game; it adds a whole level of extra guessing what your opponent is going to do and extrapolation. It adds (as I mentioned above) a lot of functionality and effectiveness to certain units (fighters are amazingly more effective and interesting with EW than without; PFs too). I've certainly used EW and in the appropriate situations, I find it to add a very interesting element to the game.

That being said, it does tend to slow the game down both due to the whole other level of decision making and because its whole purpose is simply to make it harder to kill things (and it uses power on ships that could be used to kill things instead :-). I'm in no way opposed to it existing. But I do like that the game generally works just fine without using it, too.

EW

I can see the point of EW, but it's a poorly integrated kludge that can only slow things down. For example:

* Regardless of the size of ship, one can generate 6 points of EW at a time. (OK, not actually 6, but 99% of the time it's 6). SF - six. B10 - six.
* Fighters, PFs, plasma and some drones - tiny disposable things with small or no crew - get free ECCM but DNs and BBs - big things with huge sensor arrays and massive bridges full of officers - get nothing.
* Probes and labs - things that gather information on a target - can't give you information that tells you how to hit that target.
* EW changes happen in the DF stage and apply instantaneously. And it's secret and simultaneous. This is an awful, terrible, abysmal, idiotic rule on all levels. It should be in the scout functions step for a start.
* You can have a 12-point ECCM advantage on a target but get no benefit unless you're an X-ship or subhunting.
* Integration with other systems (trac, trans, cloak, WW, labs) is inconsistent at best.
* Too many things provide ECM and too few give ECCM.
* ECM drones.

I like EW ... it adds depth.

EW is an attacked and defense of the "digital signature" of a unit or ship. The bigger the ship with all those "huge sensors arrays and massive things" will always be easier to see electronically then a small fighter or PF. That is why they get free EW, to simulate that fact. But once you "see" something, well you see it. It doesn't matter how big it is.

If you go "dark", meaning turn off most of those "huge sensors arrays and massive things", simulated by turning off Fire Control, then your digital signature drops and you get the "free" EW as well. You just become harder to see; similar to a submarine running silent.

How to counter this? Use ECCM of course. This simulates a digital sweep, to clear up any "snow on the screen", to look for any form of signature that can make it easier to hit the target.

I like this. I haven't found that it "slows" the game down ... much. It does force you to get closer to your target if you want to be more effective with your weapons. But that is what you do when you want to see something better; you get closer to it, flash a "digital flashlight" over it (ECCM).

Having EW power usage cost the same for a Frigate and a Battleship, makes sense to me. This simulates the fact the frigate has less EW capability then a battleship. So hiding a battleship in a "digital fog" is easier to do, from the shear volume of electronic jamming it can project. At the same time, a battleship can "burn" through another's fog with ECCM easier than a frigate.

EW works, in my opinion. It fits in the game well. Yes, it does take some time to learn and use effectively, but it does give a depth to game I really enjoy.

EW in this context

I haven't seen any problem with the EW rules when I've used them. But remember this thread is about speeding up the game and EW is intrinsically opposite to that. EW in itself doesn't add but a few second to perform. However it does increase the overall game length by making it harder to hit and kill the other guy. This is done directly by making would be hits miss or cause less damage and indirectly by using up power that could be used for overloading weapons.

Now since everyone seemed to just a little of thread, its my turn. Why isn't there a size-class To Hit modifier? It doesn't seem right that it is just as easier to hit a (non-nimble) moving frigate as it is a (relatively) stationary starbase.

Sizes

When you're talking about the difference of a couple hundred meters in size compared to the size of the ships in the vast area of space that is a "hex" (what is it, 100,000 kilometers per hex?) I think size modifiers to hit isn't really needed.

Sizes

The size mod is kinda-sorta incorporated into the damage required to destroy a target, though again it's not well done. Smaller objects have more hp to reflect the fact that much of the damage from, say, a phaser will go straight past. For example:
A type-6 drone takes 3 damage to destroy; 12 of the things can be loaded onto a shuttle which takes only 6 to destroy. And a cruiser takes some 120 damage to destroy (including one shield), which (if in type-6 drones) wouldn't fill half a cargo box.

And some weapons (ADD, type-6 drones) tacitly accept that small targets have artificially high hp by doing less or no damage to big things.

Which is all well and good for RoE weapons like phasers, and for mine explosions and other things where the damage is dispersed. But it doesn't work well for HoM weapons like photons (which are already penalised against drones by 4 ECM) and gets very screwy for ESGs.

Fighters get free ECM. PFs get swing points which one could pretend are a small target mod when used as ECM.

Also there is a size modifier for small targets (the Small Target Modifier) but for some arbitrary reason it only kicks in at long range and for some arbitrary reason doesn't stack with EM.

But of course these things only apply to SC5, 6 and 7 targets. SC2-4 are functionally the same in almost all respects except for housekeeping, tractor auctions and whether you can mount a plasma-S. Sucks to be a frigate, really.

Ship sizes - moving to new EW thread

I think pertains more to that that about speeding up the game.

How fast do you want it?

All this talk about people wanting to "speed up" the game makes me wonder: How fast do you want it?

What's the average time it takes to play a normal ship to ship (or 2-3 ships per side) battle in regular SFB? How fast do you WANT it to actually take?

And, as a corollary, how many house rules are you willing to include in your games to get the speed you're looking for?

Mainly we don't include EW.

Mainly we don't include EW.

We've streamlined specialty shuttles;

Scatterpack - normal rules.

Suicide shuttle - Holds one standard T-bomb. Can be set to detonate at R0 for 10 points of damage or R1 for 5 points of damage. No cost to charge. Three turns for the deck crew to remove a T-bomb, move it to the shuttle bay, install it and launch it.

Wild Weasel - Two turns to install the electronic equipment on board and launch. No cost to charge. The rest is per normal rules.

We don't charge specialty shuttles because:

A. I don't feel a shuttle is capable of holding 9 points of warp power.

B. On a WW...what am I shoving 2 points of power into? It is electronic equipment wired into the shuttle. It uses the shuttles power.

Anyway, that is us and doesn't needlessly suck extra power out of the ship, therefore the ship has that extra power to do whatever it needs to do to win the game, therefore that tends to speed the game up.

Our EA normally takes only a few minutes, to include a pee break and a snack run. So that isn't an issue.

Damage allocation is either hard hits or computer generated so either way it is resolved in seconds.

I figure a normal game that is 1 on 1 is maybe an hour or less. A larger duel like maybe a free for all with several players or 2 or 3 ships on a side is maybe a couple of hours or less.

Mainly though, it isn't necessarily about speeding the game up as a whole. I don't mind a 5 hour game if it is really exciting and has a lot of 'stuff' going on in it. Speeding up the mundane stuff though is useful as it minimizes the mundane stuff which gets back to the action/strategy portion.

There is a balance. My longest game on SFBOL was 10 hours broken over two nights. A typical 1 on 1 tourney battle. But the game was full of 'meat' so to speak. It was watched by quite a few regulars and was an exciting slug-fest that went all the way to hit and run raids, probes as weapons and admin shuttles being the weapon platforms. We called it a draw since neither of us deserved to lose that particular game. But again, stuff like DA was handled electronically so it was done in a second and back to the action.

My other car is a D7 Battlecruiser

Privateer Press

Has anyone ever wondered how the game would be streamlined and what it would look like (artwork etc.) if a company like Privateer Press bought SFB? The game may get new life put into it. Of course, it would get more expensive.

Dennis Surdu

As far as artwork, custom

As far as artwork, custom SSD's could very well be a community project. My old SSD's are here on the board and they've even gotten better since then. It would be all that hard for a handful of people to make good looking SSD's of various races/classes and simply pass them around via email.

Not everyone thinks they need/should be updated nor would they probably pay for them if they were offered. But a free community project to those interested would go a long way I would think. I've done most of the CA classes and folks could simply use what is here on the board. If something was missed, it is an easy thing to pop it on paint and make an adjustment.

Just depends on who is interested and who is serious enough to chip in some time on the project.

My other car is a D7 Battlecruiser

Mizia thoughts...

Many many a moon ago I purchased the Designers Edition and Expansions #1, #2, and #3 in my little local gaming store. Fast forward nearly 35 years, and I've discovered that the gaming system is still going, with several editions having superseded dear old Designer's, and with every possible expansion a completist or healthily bank-balanced obsessive might desire.

Now first of all, I need to say that I think the SFB game system is, overall, a masterpiece of game design. I enjoy reading through the rulebooks and imagining playing the game, even when I don't always have actual opportunities to play the game. Hell, even just flipping through SSD books can be immensely satisfying for me! So I'm not writing this in any way as a hostile critic, but as someone who just wants to see the game be the best it can be.

Reading through just the new Basic Set rulebook, I do often miss the old 48-page D's Ed rulebook. Reading clause after clause after subclause, it's obvious how much of the new rule verbiage results either from:

(1) Players having tried to use loopholes in the literal rules (regardless of anything like 'realism') to fiddle the game system, thereby requiring the designers to reply with clarification upon clarification upon nitpicking clarification, to try and nip all such rules fiddles in the bud; or

(2) the designers simply not liking a successful tactic as being against their own personal vision of the game, and so legislating (or attempting to incline the playership) against it -- for example, it seems like the original intent was to create a game where maneuver rules. But if we think about it, in a universe of finite energy, where one's supply of energy must be distributed between movement, weapons, and defense, it makes perfect sense not to move, to put all the energy into weapons and defense, and to use minimal-energy tactical maneuvering to keep the reinforced shield(s) facing the enemy. I realized that back in the early 80s when I first read the impulse and warp tactical maneuver rules in the D's Ed. This tactic seems to have acquired the name 'starcastling' or, with a slight variation, is described as the 'Kaufman retrograde'. It doesn't make for an exciting game, perhaps, but in the game system it's a totally justifiable tactical approach.
In a terrestrial fleet battle this tactic generally wouldn't work, because a ship rotating slowly more or less in place would quickly be pounded into sinking fragments by the enemy -- but in a terrestrial fleet battle the weapons don't require energy from the engines (instead there's a finite ammunition supply), and it's harder to hit something that's moving faster. If SFB wanted/wants movement to be king in the game, then it needed/needs to add these sorts of incentives to make one want to move. As it is, as ship moving at 31 hexes a turn is just as easy to hit as one just 'TAC'ing in place...and the latter ship will likely have a lot more energy to put into shield reinforcement.

But anyway, on to the 'Mizia' concept. First off, hats off to Mr. Mizia for having, mathematically, noticed this in the SFB DAC system. But then, shame, perhaps, on anyone for having noticed this, and for turning it into a viable game strategy. Overall, the SFB DAC is a wonderful compromise between different goals -- preventing a ship from being rendered useless after a single shield-piercing attack, for example, or spreading internal hits out over different systems, or adding suspense to the game by the repeated die-rolling (at the expense of speeding the game up, especially when large volleys need to be resolved). Inevitably, a mathematician might look at any such system and identify a games strategy that makes best use of the mathematics of the game system...although perhaps at the expense of violating any sense of 'reality' that the game may embody.

I've read many long discussions about the Mizia concept, and by now I'm not entirely sure whether it violates anything that might be called 'realistic' or not (and let's face it, folks, any system that seems to imagine that human beings (sentient races, etc.) could ever in real time control spaceships that were moving and fighting even at high sublight speeds, never mind trans-light speeds, is already inherently unrealistic!). But as someone who loves the game and its potentialities, it does seem to me like the playing community should try to spend less time worrying about who wins and who loses, and seeking loopholes in the written rules to feed this frenzy for 'defeating' someone else; and instead try to focus on the spirit of the game (which in many case would, I think, rule against obviously unintended written rule loophole exploitation), and on having interesting, exciting game interactions, regardless of who wins or loses.

Greetings from the UK,
Old Schooler

Good to see you!

I'm very glad to see another poster show up, and I hope to play with/against you in the future.

In my experience, the rules are geared less towards killing certain tactics (that generally happened outside the published rules, except as seen in the tournament modules), and more towards closing loopholes. One needs only to see the rules-Q&A sections of this or other certain forums to know that SFB players tend to be a bit focused on details - including rules details.

As to the notions of the Mizia and the interactions of the DAC: I think the DAC was fairly well put together (I have notions how it should be changed, but it is a fine document for what it is intended to do) in order to represent that things mounted on the outside of the ship tend to take the brunt of most damage, until large amounts of such are able to punch through the outer layer and cause higgly-piggly on the inside. As noted with the Mizia tactic, the DAC does a reasonable job of allowing damage to the "inside" of the ship with sufficient damage, but failing that you do some pretty nasty damage to things on the skin of the ship (weapons, power exhaust ports) and also damage to the more volumous areas (hull, cargo). The Mizia technique merely takes advantage of this fact to state that you do many small volleys to a ship, in order to spread your damage over as much of the ship's "skin" as possible and not punch through into the deeper systems.

Mizia

>>But anyway, on to the 'Mizia' concept. First off, hats off to Mr. Mizia for having, mathematically, noticed this in the SFB DAC system. But then, shame, perhaps, on anyone for having noticed this, and for turning it into a viable game strategy.>>

As someone who has been playing this game for 30+ years now, I have always looked at Mizia as a fortunate accident, in that it makes the game more interesting.

The designer made the DAC with, presumably, the goal of bell-curving the distribution of damage, so you lose hull a lot faster than weapons and energy, and it works perfectly on that front. The "one time" hits add further granularity to damage distribution, so you generally aren't losing 6 phasers at a time. I suspect that the designer didn't see the advantage of repeated small volleys (or at least didn't consider it too much) till the game was out in the wild for a while, and, well, Mizia pointed this out.

That there is an advantage to multiple small volleys over one big volley is nothing more than another interesting choice in a game full of interesting choices, and interesting choices is what makes games good. Taking advantage of the "Mizia Effect" is a risky plan--it is very easy to hold back some guns for a follow up volley and then lose the shot 'cause your target unexpectedly HETs the down shield away (this happens all the time, in practice) or 'cause the guns you held in reserve end up getting shot off, resulting in you doing 10 fewer internals 'cause you wanted to maximize Mizia hits. It is an interesting choice; "do I hold back these two phasers for a second follow up volley that might not happen, or do I fire them now and take the slightly less advantageous but certain internals?"

SFB is a game that is all about making interesting choices. Mizia fire is just one more interesting choice to make.

Agreed

I have to agree with Peter, Mizia does make the game quite interesting from a tactical perspective. The fact that Mizia 'could' work but doesn't 'always' work (HET, losing the weapons or some other circumstance that prevents it) makes it fun to attempt when it presents itself. I've been on both ends of Mizia so it provides incentive to try and makes you look for ways to avoid it.

My other car is a D7 Battlecruiser

Plotted Movement/Pocket Edition

The Mizia effect has been a viable tactic since the first 1979 release of the Pocket Edition (PE). The PE had free fire but strictly plotted movement - No sideslips, HETs, or speed changes. Plotted movement is not without its charms. In the PE plotting was not too burdensome*. You just listed the number of moves and the direction (A-F). For example: Speed 10 4A, 3B, 3C. Because it is very difficult to control approach or chasing/re-approach, SLOW speeds were preferred. Mizia had to have been discovered in playtest, I would think. I also expect the result could be even more brutal more often, since with slow speed you have more opportunity to fire before the ship can turn. Also, it may not be an unreasonable gamble that your opponent will just keep approaching into a better range.

*Because of the way the turn modes work, there could be no more than 6 number/letter sequences for plotting.

Miza vs Plotted Moves

Yeah, it seems likely that someone figured out Mizia tactics early in playtesting, given plotted movement. But then, it also seems very possible that with plotted movement, the ability to take advantage of Mizia tactics is highly random. I mean, yeah, if you got a few impulses of sitting in the same spot and facing down shields, Mizia away! But then, you also might be turning immediately on the next impulse, too...

Warp Gearshift

I've mentioned this before in other threads, but it seems appropriate here as well. The Warp Gearshift, as proposed by SVC in one of the SSJ may have been one of the 'optional-for-grins' proposals but I think it was masterfully done. Credit where it is deserved. Had it been instituted from the beginning I think it would have had tactics all to it's own developed.

For those unfamiliar with this optional rule, speeds 1-10 cost whatever they would normally. Speeds 11-2- cost 2/3 of normal and speeds 21-30 cost 1/2 normal. So for example, using a CA with 1:1 movement...

Speed 10 would cost 10 warp. Speed 20 would cost 16.667 or round up to 17. Speed 30 would cost 21.667 or round up to 22. As you can see, it provides a substantial savings in warp power. Again, this provides more power to other options. We've been using this exclusively for a few years now and it works very well.

My other car is a D7 Battlecruiser

i'll second these

Vix Sundown: "Probably the biggest thing for speeding the game up to me was just learning the damn rules. And I still don't know them all! At some point, every game I play comes to a screeching halt while either I or my opponent searches for some obscure rules point."

(sometimes I think it's a shame, when I get feeling better when I'm feeling no pain)

MudFoot: "IMHO, most of the time is spent dithering over movement, counting hexes, assessing the chance of losing that phaser and whether it's worth firing it, whether I can run out that plasma or does it need a speed change (and if so, how much energy does it take, can I turn back before hitting the wall and will I make R8 next turn) and so on. Not to mention EA, looking up corner cases in the rulebook and the inevitable side-chat about things other than the game. And managing the impulse chart, especially when the drones and shuttles and plasma and tractors and web casters and mid-turn speed changes come out. And retconning mistakes."

Yup to all of these. Damage allocation is about the quickest (and most fun) part of our games.

Here are things that slow us down:

freshening up on (and researching) the rules we need for our battle before the game starts

researching rules that come up after the game starts

we identify what pieces move that impulse easily enough (the impulse cards help, and we also have all units written on a piece of paper visible to all showing the current speed & EW levels for each unit . .. so no more "how fast is your frigate moving again? and what's his EW?"), BUT moving those pieces (making decisions) takes much longer

energy allocation: my "weakness" (I put a lot of thought into thinking about how the turn is going to evolve, and also in trying to be resourceful as possible, both of which to me are two of the best features of the game) . . . the friend I play with is much faster, but sometimes I take so long that he has had time to rethink his allocation and changes it while i'm finishing up (the "more you think, the more you doubt" syndrome)

changing the CD player

what's the score of the game?

should I fire up that pizza?

alcohol

I would like to see us resolve games faster. We hadn't played for months & months and then started a two-on-two frigate/destroyer game (LYR + ROM vs KZT + GRN). That was 8 weeks ago (we try to play something, not always SFB, about 3 or 4 hours every Friday night) when we started. We had to skip two weekends because of outside forces, but I think we've only finished turn 8 in six sessions (20+ hours?) of playing (but this battle is almost over - everybody is pretty pranged).

And you guys thought you played slow?

Of course, one-on-one battles are quicker (sometimes as few as 2 turns). And the choice of races definitely influences the style of play. That's when we fly the CAs, CCs, and BCs (DNs are right out).

When the 1-on-1 battles get a bit too routine, we dial it back to a couple of smaller ships (frigates up to war cruisers), but then that really bogs down allocation (the added layer of complexity & degree of difficulty in making sure both ships can co-ordinate their defenses & attacks to maximum effect).

But all in all, we've had fun playing SFB (same battle) six out of the past eight Friday nights . . . so that's one way to look at it.

So, if I ever get an SFBOL account, anybody here got a year to kill while we enjoy a frigate war? I'll need a century if you wanna go fleet scale.

I'll be your huckleberry

I enjoy playing the smaller ships. They cwertainly have more of the "Eggs with sledgehammers" feel to them, since they aren't even half as tough as cruisers but tend to have half the weapons. They still have that comfortable feel of "Not enough power for everything", and are much simpler to play.
Though I have a preference for Destroyers, as they start to feel like a cruiser and have all of the neat variants that cruisers have, but are somewhat simpler to fly.

heck yeah

I like flying the smaller ships, too. I gotta figure out how to get on SFBOL (to pad your guys' win totals).

Don't have a home PC.
Don't have home internet.
(mobile phone has made those two things obsolete).
Don't think my boss wants to pay me to play at work.

I could possibly come into the office on weekends and play, but don't really wanna be around the office on weekends when I don't have too.

I'll figure something out.