Should Hydran Fighters be limited?

Based on the current format for the FC tournament, should the hydrans be limited in the number of fighters that they are allowed to bring?

I propose a limit of no more than 2 fighters per hydran ship. This at least prevents the ridiculous fleets with 12-13 fighters.

Ah man :)

That would mess up my fleet for the tournament :) It would also really make the Hydran much less attractive for me, as I am not a big fan of the Hellbore ships in Fed Com. I also am not sure it is necessary. Fighters are much mre devastating in Fleet Scale (where you have little padding and every internal counts) than they are in Squadron Scale.

Probably, but...

that just emphasizes the mistake made with the fighters in the first place. I'd prefer to fix that rather than set an arbitrary limit. IIRC, once the Fusion ships get published, it won't be 12-13 fighters - it will be closer to 20+. The best Hydran fleet will be 2x Ranger + 1x Lancer with as many fighters added as BVP will allow (I think that number should be close to 20).

The limitation

I agree, fixing the underlying problem of fighter being too cheap would probably be the best. However, the basis for my 2 fighter per ship proposal was based on the SFB tournament and the fact that a Hydran ships gets 2 fighters. I know its a different set-up, duel vs a squadron battle, but I thought it would maintain the focus of this game as a starship combat game.

Settles that question

The new tournament rules were posted on the ADB BBS today and limit Hydrans to a max of 8 fighters. 8 fighters in Squadron scale is not going to be enough for the Hydrans to be a viable tournament race in Fed Com in my opinion.

Fighters from a SFB viewpoint

To me they have always been broken. The only way to have them not dominate a game is to restrict their numbers and have them cost their BPV rather than EPV.

Never played FC. It always seemed like the thing thrown between SFB and F&E just because there was probably a small need.

3 on 3 I would much prefer SFB. Maybe a full fleet vs a full fleet youd be better with FC unless you enjoyed taking months to get a game done. But the very thing Ive always loved about SFB is how complex it is.

BTW: we only seem to be having 1 or 2 posts a month now. Everyone disappeared, or is there not much to talk about?

SFB vs Fed Com

I love both games, and this is coming from a dyed in the wool SFB tournament player. The nice thing about Fed Com is that you can play a 3 on 3 or 4 on 4 battle in the same time, or often, less time than a standard 1 on 1 duel in SFB. The game just flows faster in my opinion. Tournament SFB is still my favorite, but Fed Com is right up there.

As to the fighters, I have never felt that they were all that broken in SFB, with all the different ways there are to kill them, nor do I feel they are broken in Fed Com, especially at the Squadron level, but this is just my opinion.


I agree its easy to kill them, but from a campaign standpoint, then costing half their BPV is what is broken. Based on their BPV alone Id say its fairly even.

As for being able to do squadron battles in the time it takes to do a 1-on-1... I agree that sounds good, but if you lose a lot of flavour for the sake of saving time, Id rather take longer and do an SFB squadron battle.

The only thing I would think of as being good is the full fleet battles. Ive only ever done a couple of fleet battles and they were massive. And given the time it takes, we rushed things for the sake of finishing it in a single day. So we probably didnt get to fully enjoy the SFB side of things anyway. So perhaps this is a sign that FC is the better option for massive fights.

FC and SFB

For me, FC is sort of in that unhappy valley. I want something simpler than SFB...but FC, while simpler, isn't enough simpler to make me happy with it. I am certain that if I were coming in without 15-20 years of SFB experience under my belt, I'd probably prefer FC.


Don't worry, with all the new proposed changes to the core of how SFB is played, pretty soon, you won't be able to tell the difference.


Ive only ever looked at the FC SSDs, never looked at the game itself. The thing about SFB is, I actually like the complicated rules.

I dont think Id want to win a game simply because the other guy didnt understand a rule, of course, but if 2 good players slug it out and you end up winning because of some clever tricks, then bring it on.

As to the SFB changes, I like the change to make Warp TACs happen as at speed 0 in terms of movement, and keep the single Impulse TAC as the card-up-the-sleeve.

I dont think there is anything wrong with superstacks, and I think any arbitrary fix is going to be dumb. I suspect there are also massive issues which will take a long time to play out.

Im not sure why there is a need to make this change all of a sudden. Its something which has been around for decades, and people have talked about for decades.

Maybe its a clever marketing trick to get everyone fired up and wanting to play...

Yes, out of the blue, SVC is

Yes, out of the blue, SVC is going to announce WED night AT ORIGINS what rules changes will be in effect FOR ORIGINS.


Glad I didn't waste my money on a plane ticket, or I'd be pissed.

Keep the masses on their toes

Dont they also have games played using SFBOL which can take place prior to Origins but the results count for Origins?

Or are the SFBOL games run at the same time?

But it is good that the supposedly most important tournament of the year is going to be used to playtest some new rules brought in on a whim.

So much for the promise of the Doomsday

Finally got around to signing up over here. Figure there are a number of us about to be excommunicated over on the SFB BBS.

Despite a pretty sizeable number of players arguing against any changes, SVC is pressing ahead with changes to "Superstack" and "TAC" rules changes. Looks like the TAC changes will be imposed on Wed night at Origins.

SVC recently posted that he thought we were trying to "bambosal" him. Really? Does he really think that folks who play this game every week, who have sunk massive amounts of money and time into it, have a vested interest in screwing things up?

Anyway, I posted a few days ago that I thought this was the start of a ride down a slippery slope. I predicted that more FedCom-like rules would be ported into SFB. I was assured by SVC and others that I was all wrong and that wouldn't happen. That was before the TAC discussion got going. I WAS wrong, we are already on the slide. The continued press for porting FedCom rules will continue, and intensify.

It all seems very arbitrary. For close to 2 decades, I really appreciated the relative stability of SFBs core rules. As a result, I've been against house rules and deviating from the rulebook for longer than I can remember. I move around so much, I could never enjoy games if I was constantly trying to keep up with the next new gaming group's rules. Well, this has driven me to consider house this case, the rules as of 20 June 2010... for any future endeavors in SFB. As I play most games on SFBOL with a relatively small crowd of a dozen folks, its possible. But it means no more sanctioned tourneys for me, and interaction with gaming groups "on the table" in the future is going to be "hap-hazard" every time I move to a new duty station.

Ah well. What can you do. Its SVCs game. He can do what he wants. I don't have to buy it.

SFB In its Death Throes, and SVC Can't See It

I have seen SVC use the phrase, "This way lies madness" several times over the years.

Madness has overtaken him.

I realize he needs to make money, to make a living. I don't begrudge anyone that.

But to invent a problem where there is none in a transparent attempt to get even more dollars from an already loyal community is simply unecessary.

Only he and a vocal minority of largely tournament players are advocating a change. Making a wholesale change to basic and fundamental ways that SFB plays makes the game "not SFB." It makes it something else. Maybe an FC/SFB hybrid. Maybe something else. But not SFB.

I'm angry. I'm hurt. I'm saddened. But, as we all know, it's SVC's game. And he'll do what he thinks is in his best interest, and in the best interests of those players who agree with him of course. Dissent, especially vigorous dissent, will not be tolerated.

It's bad for business, you know. Just watch what happens next, if you're a betting man...

On the subject of the

On the subject of the "Superstack" I have always contended the issue was not the "rules", the issue is "tactics". Somebody on the other BBS asked why modern warships operate in dispersed formations as opposed to the compressed or stack formations in SFB. This is what I had to say...not sure it even made a dent...

Mike, you are on target on defense in depth. The reason it happens in real life, but not often in SFB are many, but to summarize...

1. Speed. In SFB, the ships are as fast or faster than most of the seekers. In modern naval combat, its the reverse.

The slowest seekers...suicide boats and torpedoes...are considerably faster than modern warships (and way faster than a slower amphibious ship). Defending against these, particularly in numbers (some subs can fire 8 torps at once) requires keeping them beyond effective range to high value targets.

The problem is different with missiles and aircraft. This issue there isn't range, its time. The amount of time needed to detect and engage an inbound missile means you need to buy time with range. Shots against missiles are not instantanous...engagement takes time too. Spreading out ships, and the fighters even farther, give you more opportunities to engage an enemy shooter, or inbound missile, before it can get to something vital. Further, a missile, if fired at 10 miles, or 100 miles, is just as dangerous. With most missiles, destructive power don't decrease a whole lot with range. Less burning fuel maybe, but there is no outrunning them, and the boom is HUGE when they hit you.

Finally, ships can afford to spread out because they operate under a fighter screen that can get to them in a hurry. Any single ship that finds itself isolated against a larger enemy force with get rapid aid from overwelming airpower.

2. Awareness. In SFB, the enemies location is absolute. You know it, all the time. At sea, you don't. The radar horizon for a typical warship is around 30NM. Anti-ship missiles can be fired at a range well beyond that. Lighting up a radar is a mixed blessing. You can "see" anything the radar can get to on a line of sight, but radar transmissions can be detected even further out. Lighting up a radar at the wrong time can get a stream raid of missiles coming your way in a hurry.

This lack of complete situational awareness forces the dispersion of forces. The more spread out you are, the less likely someone will get to firing range without your knowledge. Back to number 1.

3. Damage. A single hit from a missile or a torpedo can sink a ship. Getting hit, even once, is bad. Something as big as a CVN isn't going to disappear in a single hit, but a torpedo in the screws or a missile in the flight deck can mission kill a CVN in an instant. No carrier - no airpower - no fleet. If it happens, you better circle the wagons, because without airpower, the wisdom of dispersion falls apart.

There are other reasons, but those are the most basic. While ships do spread out for the reasons above, any naval tactician worth his salt will look for opportunities to concentrate. Concentration confers more lead down range on the defense. Most often that is achieved be locating the bad guy and not wasting effort on stuff that is "off-axis". Concentration is one of the most basic tenants of tactics, and anyone who doesn't seek it when possible and practical, is asking to be defeated.

In SFB, the situation is different. Unless you're playing with hidden cloaks or tac intel, you know precisely where the enemy is. No finding the range, no working to locate the enemy early enough to avoid getting hit. You know where he is, so you skip the "recon" function of ship get straight to concentration.

Direct fire fleets can reach out and touch a target at ranges that would require fleets to REALLY spread out if they wanted to avoid having key ships targeted. And if you spread out that much, you risk putting ships in extremely vulnerable spots. Weapons are more deadly as you get closer, and fighters and seekers are too slow to lend any help versus the instantaneous fire of an opposing fleet on an isolated target.

The ships can out pace fighters and can hold even with all but the saboted plasma, and that gets less deadly with range. That speed edge removes the need for defense in depth against seekers. The only reason to spread out against seekers is the need to identify targets early. After that, concentration of fire is the best defense. Against drones, there are some advantages in splitting up a little (mainly more firing opportunities). If you're going to fire against plasma, only an idiot splits up his fleet.

Every other game I've run into (I don't play a ton outside SFB) use hexes to represent a lot less space. Units can't cover 30 hexes in a turn (the time required to cycle weapons and such). The cover much less ground, and the weapons completely outpace the units. Not a whole lot of running from weapons. Additionally, these games usually have some sort of collision rules (some more severe than others) that physically prevent, or at least discourage, getting into the same hex. The effect is a lot closer to modern combat, where weapons out pace the target, and the ability to move against weapons is limited.

SFB exists on a different speed and space scale, hexes are huge, ships are fast, and weapons are either slow (and can be shot down) or are instantaneous (and the only defense is modifable luck). Those two extemes mean there just isn't a lot of insentive to split up.

Finally, big ships are durable as hell. Big shields. Lots of internal volume. Tons of power for EW. No slower than the little guys (often faster if they want to be). The are extremely tough to kill, even when you get close (I just hit a Rom K9B in a battle with 6 overloaded photons from range 8 and the thing just kept on trucking). None of the single hit vulnerability of modern warfare. In fact, they are the least vulnerable ships on the map. Stick them in front! They can take it.

The main reason to split up in SFB is to gain some kind of maneuver advantage. I've found the only ways to get somebody else to abandon concentration (super stack or a close cluster) are gambits like sacrifices, spliting up my own ships, flanking moves, or crippling shots. If I don't do it, my opponent will stay bunched up, and so will I. Sooner or later, damage will break it up, but if you don't use tactics to beak up concentration in SFB, good "Admirals" in SFB will always seek to maximize concentration.


If you ask me, if you don't want to see superstacks or tight clusters of ships, you need to change a lot more about the game. You need a different game. Unless seekers are going to get a lot faster, and direct fire a lot more short ranged, the basic issues are always going to be there. Make the shields a lot weaker. Or the weapons more deadly. Something. But SFB as it is, just doesn't encourage lots of very dispersed formations. About the most effective I've seen is the superstack with a "tail" ... anything like a scout you don't want hammered or can't protect, a few hexes behind. You can impose stacking limits, but the demand to huddle up will always be there. You could limit me to one ship per hex, ever, and I would still huddle my fleet up as tight as I could until the time was right.

Jeremy, I like your analysis.

I do a very tiny amount of consulting with some of the people who write wargames for the USN. (I get given a set of parameters, a set of desired decision loops and I'm asked for input on mechanics or game aid design.)

One of the things I've learned from designing games is that players will play games using the tactics and abilities the game system rewards.

I proposed (and got shot down with) the idea of making nation-specific formations that give some benefits if you're flying within them. If you want to break up the super stack, give the players an option that's better.

As to the TAC thing, as someone who's done a butt load of tourney judging and played in a lot of tourney games, it's a change that I wish they'd made back in 2003 when it was first proposed. Coupled with reverting the Hydran and Orion back to their 1996 incarnations (no Wing ph-3s on the Orion, no 360 ph-1 on the Hydran).

One thing that is probably very telling: Steve has more or less said that FC is now 'rules complete' now that there is War and Peace out there. I know the itch for writing rules can be quite strong...

Post Doomsday rules changes have happened before

Bases no longer blind their own special sensor channels
Base rotation got changed, including wiggling on firing arcs
Bases and their fighters and shuttles got changed.

ESGs and "what shield got hit" got changed to a simpler to judge rule. (I lost two tourney games because of that...)
Unplotted Mid Turn Speed Changes got effectively 'clarified' into a new rule.

The near complete rewriting of the X-ship rules.

Then there's the additions.

Remote Controlled Fighters
Sabot plasma
ECM Plasma (Yuck!)
Type K plasmas
Plasma fighter 'D' refit.

And this isn't even counting all the Omega and LMC rules.

Additions, etc.

Sabot Plasma is really the only one of the new things I like. Maybe Plasma D on fighters. ECM Plasma is terrible. Drogues are terrible. Carronade is terrible. Remote controlled fighters?!?!?!?! Ive never even looked at what Type K plasma is.

I stopped buying rules/modules/expansions in the late 1990s. I still buy Captain's Logs from time to time, but Im a few issues behind.

I dont at all regret being stuck in the 90s.

I do like the changes to Warp TAC which have been suggested, I dont like anything being done about Superstacks (other than the changes to Warp TAC which would have a significant impact).


Three cheers for SPP!

He has announced that there will be no changes to the tournament rules.

For now, anyway. And certainly not at the last minute, halfway through Origins.

That's something, fo sho.

Just to be clear, I'm not

Just to be clear, I'm not opposed to adding new things to the game. Additions, new rules, new toys, are fine. What I am opposed to is imposing uncessary changes to the very core of the games rules. That doesn't mean no change, ever, but it should be for a valid reason. I participated quite heavily in the X-rules re-write. It needed to happen and it was a deliberate, well thought out process. Of course, what that did was render tons of existing Module X1 rulebooks and SSD books obsolete. To my knowledge, ADB still has a ton of them sitting in the warehouse because no one will buy invalid books. They should have a big bonfire in the parking lot and roast marshmellows. Only thing those books are good for now.

I am not convinced, at all, that anything needs to be done with the Superstack other than an education on tactics. As for TACs, I'm indifferent, but I do agree with Ted (on the other BBS) that the change will have impact on the balance on some tourney cruisers, and it could have impacts elsewhere.

My main issue here is we are talking about reaching into the basic set and changing, not clarifying, basic rules that have worked just fine for decades. Its the principle of the thing. Beyond that, it opens the door on a whole slew of tweaks. And the Fed Com mob seem quite keen on the idea of porting all their cool rules over to SFB. Shocking as it sounds, not all of us like Fed Com, and would prefer not see its changes moved into SFB as anything other that optional rules. There's been talk of new SSD formats. Are we re-issuing ships in the new format...with tweaks? Redesigned ships? New rules? Where does all of it led? A new edition of SFB. Another Doomsday. Except this time, were not talking about three rule books and a handful of SSD books. I'm not in the mood to re-buy all the rules and all the SSD books because some folks have gotten bored with Doomsday Part I.

I can honestly see it going that way. I don't know, maybe it would be a good thing. But I despise change for changes sake. If your going to change something, make sure it is actually needed, make sure the change is for the right reason, and don't make a bigger mess in an effort to solve the perceived problem.

I like a stable game system. Additions are fine, but reaching in and changing the engine every time somebody feels a whim really torks me off. I've bailed out of campaigns over it. I've also stopped playing other games because of it. I'd rather not have it happen in SFB.

I'd actually love to see a number of things like anti-superstacking rules in a module that I think was once called "Extreme Missions". Would have been a great way to let people have their cake and eat it too...lots of rules that could adapt SFB to different tastes and perspectives, on common ground rather than house rules. If the content is optional (other rules in the existing rules are optional) I see it as a win-win. Folks that want dispersed formations, double reverse movement costs, reinforcement changes, etc, can have them and enjoy them. Those that are content with SFB as it is can rock on.

Any setting, campaign, tourney, the pick-up battle on Friday night could us some, all, or none of the "Extreme" rules. The benefit over "house rules"...a common sheet of music. We don't all have to like country music all of the time, but when it is time sing, we can all be in tune.

While I'm not in favor of changing the core rules, I would welcome such a module. I might not use everything in it all of the time, but it would provide a great common ground for folks to tailor the game to their preferences, and would provide GMs a mechanism the don't currently have in their tool bag.

Finally, if the decision is the sanctioned tournament format needs one of these optional rules, no problem. It becomes a standard tourney rule, but it remains optional in other formats. Still, its out there, players know about it, and they can choose to use it in their regular gaming or not.

Like I said, I don't know what ever happened to the idea, but I would strongly prefer and support such a thing instead of amending or altering the current rules. It also means I don't have to buy a bunch of new modules...I buy just one book. A lot more acceptable to life with mom and the kids.

Change for change's sake

I think the TAC rule is more than simply this. Its always been a silly rule in my view. At speed 1 you are basically useless, yet at speed 0 you control the board ???

Im sure you can theorycraft what sort of an effect making you TAC first, rather than after all movement would have, but I cant see it being devastating. It could simply force a new way of playing.

Then again, I think you get in to all sorts of trouble with the pre-warp Romulans too. I can understand not being able to move at a speed greater than 1, but not even changing your direction more than once a turn? Especially when they were designed to move at sub-light speed, so you'd think they'd be highly maneuverable...

If it does cause problems, does this mean you stick with a bad rule? Id still say it should be brought in. You'd just have to come up with a fix for whatever becomes broken.

I would think it would only have an effect on particular races, so any fix would probably be easy enough.

Like I said, I'm not opposed

Like I said, I'm not opposed to necessary changes. The point is a knee jerk, untested change is bad. Thankfully, it looks like that is not going to happen. I'm not saying don't fix something that's broke. What I am saying is, make sure its broke, and make sure your proposed fixed doesn't end up making things worse.

In this case, it takes testing, and it take a comprehensive review of a truely massive set of rules and situations. On the specific question of warp tacs...again...I'm sort of indifferent personnally. But I would not want to see the change imposed and then have to deal with unintended consequences because enough attention wasn't paid going in. TACs are a basic form of movement used by a wide variety of units in SFB. The impacts on all of them should be understood before a change is made. Replacing one bad rule to create another (or multipul others) seems counterproductive to me. Do it right, or don't do it at all.

Finally, this shouldn't be used as an excuse to turn the entire game system on its head with a slew of other changes. The Superstack and TAC discussions on the BBS spawned many crazy spin off ideas on how to change the game, some of which had even more obvious and far reaching impacts. That kind of stuff isn't necessary.

TAC before move

It can be done and maybe it will improve the game. I personally don't think so, but I could well just be grognarding it up. But one thing is for sure, if there are changes in TAC/ movement order, there will need to be balance adjustments made to the tourney set. I think the Orion will need to be nerfed, I think all the df-ey ships will need some improvements, especially the 1:1 movers. I think the AUX will be made irrelevant. The point I made on the other BBS is this: Who the heck is going to organize that playtesting? SPP and SVC have a complete lack of interest in heading it up and I think their guidance and attention would be a requirement. I really think that such a fundamental change will result in alot of guys just drifting away from the game.

I am just rambling here now. I also think that there are a handful of guys who are truly excellent players, who don't stop much anyway, and a rules change such as this would not affect them much except maybe make it easier make it easier for them to win. The rest of us (most of us) are fair to middling (maybe some flashes of brilliance mixed with flashes of not-brilliance) and get caught out of position and need to tac. I play the WYN alot. Sometimes I needs to stop to get turned around. Don't scoff if you're reading this. You try keeping a 2/3rds mover, especially an Orion, of your tail. I would really hate giving them more of an ability to pick the shield they're firing on.

And who here has seen a starcastle in like the last 10 years? Except maybe Orion players? It irritates me that some of the guys on the other bbs who have the most to say don't even play this game, or at least not the tourney version

I get forced into stopping

I get forced into stopping and turning by TACs all the time in the Fed and Hydran. Especially against Orions or when getting run down by plasma shooters. I'm not doing to be non-aggressive...I usually get moving again (speed 9-10) in a few impulses. But if a plasma boat runs a fat DF shooter up into a corner, it can come down to stop-tac-and-turn, or just conceding after the other guy bakes you before you can turn to fire. Now, in that case, I'm usually trying to get turned as fast as possible anyway, so TAC precendence means nothin'. I just need two hex facings as fast a possible. If the warp tac on imp 2 and the impulse tac on imp 3 got removed, that manuver goes away entirely. You can HET, but then you are seeker bait (no WWs). Life definately easier on plasma boats and 2/3 movers.


So when I brought this up (fully supported by Shehey, master of "Sit-n-Spin"), like, 5 years ago (at length after one Origins, for a long time, in that way that I do), it was shot down out of the sky. I figured it was a non issue. And then I see that, out of nowhere, it is back on the table. Weird.

In any case, as I said on the BBS, for my money, warp TACs moving at speed 0 precedence (as opposed to after movement) would probably make the game better overall. Yeah, it would take some time to rejigger the tournament ships a bit, but I'd be ok with that.

I'm not really sure what all the hubbub about "superstack" is. I mean, honestly, how often does anyone play with enough ships to have so many ships in one hex that it matters? That strikes me as an unecessary kludge, personally. I mean, yeah, ok, if you can't have 12 ships in one hex, how often is the difference between 12 ships in on hex and 4 ships each in 3 adjacent hexes going to be particularly significant?

Andy wrote:

>>And who here has seen a starcastle in like the last 10 years?>>

Yeah, I don't know that anyone is just running into the corner and stopping and saying "come and get me!", which, if that is what is fueling this, is kinda nutty. As that doesn't happen.

That being said, even when TACing is done as a completely legitimate defensive maneuver, being stopped is *sooo* much more effective than moving when your opponent is close anyway, you have zero incentive to start moving again. Where if warp TACs happen before regular movement, you'll want to stop for as little time as possible (which I think, in the grand scheme, what the designers want).

To be clear, yeah, changing the rules at this point would be a huge pain in the ass. But, I think in the long run, that particular change (warp TAC as if speed 0) would be a good one.

>>It irritates me that some of the guys on the other bbs who have the most to say don't even play this game, or at least not the tourney version>>

Yeah, that is always a good time. Which I mean in the most sarcastic way possible.

Warp TACs

If the worst that comes of it is they need to make minor changes to the tourney ships, then its the right thing to do.

The rule should never, ever have been there.

As for examples of superstack games, FOG6 had one side superstack, though often they were spread out over 1 or 2 hexes.

I think the only time it would be an issue is when 1 player controls the entire fleet, because then everything works perfectly. As to how often this happens Im not sure. But there are a few campaigns run on SFBOL where they regularly get 6 or 8 ships a side, so could well encounter this.

I wonder if those players have provided their input.

Gents, I generally oppose

Gents, I generally oppose major changes to the way the game is played in this late stage. SWO Daddy said it better than I could about reasons why. Partly because we were promised "NO ADDENDA" with Doomsday, but also partly because of the cascade of changes it will cause.

And to be honest, I'm less against any one change, than I am against "breaking the glass" and opening the doors to sweeping changes in general. There's this massive outcry to turn SFB into FedCom, and once we let ONE thing slip through... where does it stop?

But, in any event, what was most alarming was the sudden, abrupt and almost-impromptu way this was being done. SVC made posts that led me to believe (incorrectly or not) that they were going to announce a rules change AT ORGINS, *for* Origins, and that it would take effect immediately - regardless of the fact that some Origins games had already started or even finished!

Fortunately, SPP has said that will not be the case. I'm still against the change, mind you, but... I'm a fleet/campaign player, primarily. I do play Tourney occasionally, but my main interest is campaigns.


It was nearly 20 years ago. Surely that's enough time to say "okay, maybe a few changes now". How many games still even exist after this amount of time? Let alone exist without change? I would think that when the Doomsday "never again" claims were made, they werent made thinking the game would go 20 more years. Or maybe SVC's ego is that big and he truly did think it would last.

And I hardly think changing the order in which Warp TACs occur count as "becoming FC" either. All its doing is fixing something which never should have been.

"But, in any event, what was most alarming was the sudden, abrupt and almost-impromptu way this was being done. "

This certainly was weird. All of a sudden, from out of nowhere, a change which he says has to happen ASAP.

Ive said a few times I like this change. I would be interested to know just which races will suffer, and which will prosper. If anything, it just makes you need to save that Imp TAC for the chance to move last at some point.

Which races will suffer?

All of them. With the proposed change to tacs you will be totally unable to prevent someone getting on a down shield. All they have to do is approach on the shield spine. Even if you can still impulse tac after movement it won't be enough. For one thing often the reason ships tac is because they have lost power from damage and for some ships that means they won't have any impulse to tac with. But say you use your impulse tac, to get that down shield away from your opponent. You will then only have 1 tac for the next 8 impulses or so. If your opponent is making any kind of speed they will still manage to get that shield, barring a HET. Once you het all they have to do is keep circling you, they will get that down shield, either this turn or the next, or force you to make a second (or third even) het to keep them off it.

I think this is a bad idea, but worse than that is the way SVC has treated the people who have been opposing it. He has belittled them, claimed they were insulting him or attempting to bamboozle him.

The process of killing tournament SFB is nearly complete, and honestly I am starting to think that is what SVC wants. A pity my favorite game has to go out this way.

Superstack and Tacs

When you start a topic with "It's about bloody time that SFB had what FC has, a rule limiting the number of ships that can fire OUT of a given hex through a given hex side to THREE. No more superstack! "

Don't be bloody surprised when the topic gets heated.

As for TACs, I think their negatives are being blown way out of proportion. And why start trying to fix something now, when they're lucky to get 16 players to the major tournament of the year?

All races suffering

So if they all suffer, then all that happens is a bad rule is fixed, and people will get on with their playing.

As for SVC wanting to kill off SFB tourneys, I cant imagine why. Though perhaps its a little embarrassing to turn up to Origins where they used to regularly get 60 to 80 players, and sometimes more than 100, but now struggle to get 10.

TACs changing - good

Superstacks rules - bad

"TACs changing -

"TACs changing - good"


Have you heard anyone playing normal SFB (non-Tournament) complain about TACs?

Have you visited the tournament section of the BBS an seen players complain about
TACs, cloaks, webcasters, PPDs, 2/3rds movement ships, Andro rules, speed change
rules, the Klingon ADD, the WYN Black Shark, etc. ?

Some want to change chess into checkers. I don't.

I see most of these changes

I see most of these changes as attempts to turn SFB into FedCom, though you get shouted down and yelled at if you say that. People find it quite offensive when you point out the elephant in the room. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck...

TACs Changing - Good

Im merely saying its good simply because I think the rule has always been wrong. I dont think zero movement should ever have been rewarded with getting to move last.

Though realistically the whole movement process is silly. You can use 3 power to move 30,000km, or to turn 180 degrees?

If you are a sublight ship you can either move 10,000km or turn 60 degrees? Are they really that bad at maneuvering???

So really, moving warp tac in line with regular warp movement is just fine by me. That people have built up tactics over many years to take advantage of getting to move last is maybe an issue, but surely people will just modify the way they play.

And is that really such a bad thing?

If the game never changes, doesnt that also risk losing people?

It depends on what you're

It depends on what you're trying to accomplish.

Drive off long-standing and active veterans of the game?

Attract Federation Commander players?

Attract new players in general?

Most of the people that're highly in favor of the changes don't seem to be regular SFB players.

So really...

If its broken, but popular, leave it alone?

Prove it is broken. If its

Prove it is broken. If its not, leave it alone. Personal dislike does not equal broken. I understand some folks don't like the TAC rules, and think speed 0 movement is too powerful, but I see it as compensation for surrendering the initiative. It can be equally disheartening to be facing a fast plasma boat in a slower DF shooter. Seemingly disproportionate advantage exists on the high end of the speed scale as well. But I don't see anyone advocating that every ship has to have the warp power of a fast cruiser.

On a separate issue of FOG6, I would very cautious using FOG games as a basis for rules changes. As it is, FOG uses modified rules to facilitate PBEM, and by default changes the base rules in SFB. Further, FOG6 specifically exhibited the age old benefit of unity of command. One side was tightly coordinated, the other was loose. Tight coordination, or leadership if you want to call it that, can be difficult to achieve in the face of wargamer ego, but when it is done, victory usually follows. I've seen it enough over the last 10 years or so of playing campaign battles and free games at cons. The side that gets their $#!^ in one sock and fights as a unit kicks butt every time. The fact the opponent got the snot kicked out of them is not the fault of the game. Its not understanding basic military principles.

Who says it's broken? You?

Who says it's broken? You? Tom Carroll just said it isn't. Several other experienced players, both Tournament and Campaign, have weighed in as opposed to the change, including Moose, Droid, Ted Fay and others. I don't recognize your handle, but I tend to give weight to the people that actively play the game on a regular basis, and with high skill.


"If its not, leave it alone. Personal dislike does not equal broken. I understand some folks don't like the TAC rules, and think speed 0 movement is too powerful, but I see it as compensation for surrendering the initiative."

You should be rewarded for surrendering the initiative???

How about if, instead of "broken" I go with "dumb". It is dumb that for a game where the faster you go the better the benefit, that you be rewarded for going 0.

Yeah, actually...

Rather than getting into the question of "dumb", I'll answer the question: "You should be rewarded for surrendering the initiative???"

Yes, in fact, I do. In the real world of offensive and defensive warfare, there are benefits to surrendering the initiative in a defensive position. You surrender the ability to control the tempo of the fight but increase you ability to defend yourself. The opponent who gains the initiative is not obligated to run over a ship moving speed 0. If he doesn't want to get moving, let him sit there, TAC, and use WWs, and just beat him to death. I don't know where this idea comes from that going speed zero and tacing is some kind of panecea. Been playing SFB for almost 20 years now...more often than not, hanging out at speed 0 for extended periods just gets you killed. It can save your butt, but it is by no means gauranteed, even with the TAC rules as they are.

If a real warship example is worth anything (ships in water and ships in space are not exactly equal), E-decels and TACs effectively exist in modern gas turbine powered ships. They are capable of a "crash back", or sudden stop by reversing the pitch of their screws, often bringing the ship to a stop in 1-2 ship lengths. Once stopped (effectively speed 0), a twin screwed ship can turn through 180 degrees as fast or faster than ship moving at speed high speed (a DDG has over 100,000 shp). Its acheived by "twisting", with one shaft back, and one ahead. Rudder effectiveness is minimal. While high speed offers initiative in naval combat, there are benefits to be gained in lower detectability and precision manuever at lower speeds. Get the ship moving with a little bit of headway, and that ability to rapidly twist starts to deminishes and rudder effectiveness slowly increases. At very low ahead speeds, say 3-5 knots, a big DDG isn't a great twister or a great turner under rudder (would be similar to an SFB ship at lower speeds). In effect, it can end up manuevering worse than a ship at all stop unless you can get enough water moving over the rudder. I do this Navy thing for a living, so I find it unavoidable comparing what I see at work to what I see in the game. And to me, the behaviour I see in SFB manuever at speed 0 feels very similar to a modern naval warship with no way on. Wouldn't apply to older ships incapable of rapidly shifting engine direction, but it tracks with my own experience. That make any sense?

Now, if only I could get something like an SFB WW in real life.

Then there is the issue with Sublight Ships

If going 0 is so maneuverable, why are the Sublights stuck with only 1 change of face per turn? Realistically if they go speed 0 they should be able to trade their 1 movement for at least a couple of changes in direction.

Sublight movement now the issue?

I could come up with some technobable reason, or make a comparison to lack of responsiveness to steam ships as opposed to gas turbines, but the issue under debate was warp tacs. Impulse power produces 1 point of movement. 1 hex of warp movement = 1 warp tac. 1 hex of impulse movement = 1 impulse tac. Sublight ships can still turn as quickly (once for 60 degrees, still after other moves), but they don't have the output to turn more than that in a turn. No big engines, limited low speed manueverability. If impulse power could produce more than 1 TAC, then all ships should be able to make more than one, not just sublight ships and sublight ships would be able to move more than one hex per turn.

Is the proposal now a change to sublight movement? If you're going to change impulse tacs to allow more than one, the rest of the sublight movement rules need to be at least revisited, if not revised. To what gain? Do we want to grant warp ships a 6th TAC? Or allow all ships to move at speed 2+ on impulse only? Sublight ships are antiques, and the only meaningful combat ships that use impulse power as primary proulsion in the era of warp power are dirt cheap, have cloaks, and otherwise represent the bottom of the technology scale. The rest are little more than targets. I don't think their lack of additional TACs is a game breaking issue that requires a rules re-write. I'm pretty sure this issue was examined at great length prior to Y1...that would have been the time to change it.



So, based on your personal

So, based on your personal opinion of how the (completely fictional) physics should work, we should upset the apple cart and change a rule that has been standing (and working!) for 30 years?

Any change to how TACs work will require a complete rebalancing of tournament ships. And the changes you're suggesting will neuter seeking weapon races to a large extent as their "stupidseekers" become massively less effective.

It will also drive a wedge into the community, because some of the NON-tourney players are just going to ignore it. Why change the way they've been playing for 20+ years on a whimsical, stupid rules change?

It ain't broke. Don't fix it.


Any rule still in operation should not be touched because its been around for 30 years or more? That seems like a pretty silly way to run a game.

After how long should a rule become untouchable? A week? A year? 10 years?

Im sure people could come up with quite a list of things which should have been done for Doomsday but because of SVC saying "no" they never happened. But that doesnt mean it shouldnt have happened.

As for Imp TAC, that hasnt been up for discussion as far as Im aware. I merely raised it as another thing which is silly. A warp capable ship can do a near 360 in a turn, but an impulse only ship can only go 60 degree? That's crazy. Always has been.

There seems to be quite a few reasons to not change it. But I dont think they involve an acknowledgment that the rule is actually a good one. People seem to be making their decision based on their own personal preference because they like taking advantage of the rule. That's hardly reason to keep it.

If this discussion had taken place 10 years ago would the reasons to keep it be the same? What about 19 years and 6 months ago when Doomsday was being finalised?

BTW SWO_Daddy how often do naval ships come to a complete stop during combat? I always thought when things were happening they'd go all out and make things as difficult as possible for subs/planes/etc...

The rule is a fine one. Why?

The rule is a fine one. Why? Because the ships are currently balanced with it. It has taken decades to get the tournament ships as well balanced as they are, and changing tacs will require rebalancing. Going through all that effort seems ridiculous to me. By stopping to tac you have already given up any control of range, now you think they should have to give up any chance of controlling shield facings?

As to your assertion that the rule is dumb I have a simple example. Person A stands in place while person B runs in a circle around him. Person A merely pivots in place to keep facing person B. Which of the two is turning faster? Obviously the person standing in place.

The rule as currently written makes absolute sense. To change it at this point because some people don't like it is stupid, pure and simple. Why alienate what is already a substantially reduced player pool?

What Moose Said

I was gonna reply, but Moose said it better than I could have.



Coming to a stop

One last rambling post here....

"BTW SWO_Daddy how often do naval ships come to a complete stop during combat? I always thought when things were happening they'd go all out and make things as difficult as possible for subs/planes/etc..."

While I think you can draw comparisons between Naval warship MOVEMENT and SFB movement like TACs, the similarity really ends there. See my post on Mon, 06/21/2010 - 01:37. Tactics in SFB are very different. Ship's don't necessarily bomb around at high speed in modern naval combat any more than they need to stop. Mines and Subs can certainly drive a ship to operate at very low speed to avoid detection. Of course, ships also can't out run a missile or a fighter either. However, technology like WWs, SFGs, Webs, etc don't exist in any form in the modern context. The use of those technologies in SFB virtually requires coming to a stop. Beyond the isolated case of movement, the similaries decrease (something I've acknowledge and pointed out before)

I am convinced the heartburn people feel about rules in games is becuase they have an "expectation" that things "should" work a certain way. I have heard SFB compared to naval combat, air combat, armored combat, etc. There are similarities to all three. There are also glaring differences. We can't look at any one in isolation, and select, say, a perfectly viable air combat tactic and apply it to SFB on the assumption that it will work. It might, but their are so many different dynamics at work it may well not.

My view is the core rules are what they. I don't spend a lot of time questioning why TACs work they way they do. Or why there is no momenteum in SFB. Or why drones are so freakin slow compared to ships 100s of times their size. Etc. They simply are. And the rest of the game has been built and balanced around them. I don't see my role as the player to change the "physics" of SFB, but to instead learn those "physics", combine them with tactical principles I may have picked up elsewhere, and apply them in a unique environment.

Given the right set of conditions, you can take any tactic, be it SFB or otherwise, and come up with situations where it will absolutely work, and places where it will absolutely fail. There are going to be times in SFB where stoping and TACing is the best viable option. It may or may not "win" the game for you (what is considered a victory is whole 'nother matter). But it could just as easily get you killed. But despite the hub-bub over TACs, stopping isn't a universally dominant tactical position in SFB. Years of SFB play by literally hundreds of players in thousands of games bare that out.

This debate has frankly gotten a little tiring. I don't think one side of this debate is ever going to convince the other that they have the wrong position. A lot of this is based on "likes" and "dislikes". Some folks, like myself, want and appreciate rules stability at the core of a game system, as it increases its portability from one gaming group to another, especially in with a game this complex. Others don't mind rules changes, perhaps even enjoy them - I've walked away from gaming groups composed of guys who used tons of house rules to make SFB a game they liked. They were happy...I just couldn't recognise the game I was playing. I didn't like walking away, but I wasn't up for playing with altered rules, and I didn't want to ruin a good thing they had going.

As I've always said...I'm not going to say that the rules should NEVER, EVER, OVER MY DEAD BODY be changed. But before it is done, there needs to actually be a clear understanding of why, and the consequences need to be weighed. If the rule works, in a complex game that builds on itself, I see it as counterproductive to tinker with it unless it is absolutely broken. And by broken, I don't mean "I can't just run my opponent over and kill him because he stopped." That isn't proof of a broken rule. But if we were in a place where significant number of games were being decided by the use of a rule/tactic, and THERE WERE NO TACTICAL SOLUTIONS to defeat it, then something needs to be done. I haven't seen anything to suggest that is the case here. I would think, if it was the case, it would have been identified by now. It would have been identified 20 years ago when the basic set was produced for Doomsday. But if not, where is the evidence. It would be nice to see, say 10-20 playtests, both single and multi-ship, that demonstrated the problem.

It is my sincere hope that if a change is going to be made in the official rules, that a proper analysis, based on playtesting, is conducted before hand and all the consequences of changing TAC rules are fully understood. Anything short of that I fear runs the potential of running afoul in some situation people aren't thinking about, and we the players, are left with a bigger mess than any thinks exists right now. It would be easier if SFB didn't come with this massive tome of rules and we were starting with a clean slate, but unless we are ready to do a pretty massive re-write of SFB (similar to Fed Com), I'm not sure we can just start pulling out gears from the clock and still have it give the proper time, if you get my meaning.

I've said my piece, and I'll get off the soap box. Bottom line is, I'm pretty sure no one at ADB is or will be reading any of this, so we are just venting a lot of hot air at each other. Not sure we are getting anywhere, so I'm steppin' away.

Cheers gents.

Count me as another

Count me as another long-standing tourney player, who is opposed to the tac changes (which, I hadn't realized was even a remote possibility until today). There are some ships out there (ORI and WAX come to mind) out there that your ordinary D&D ship *has* to tac at some point, to even have a chance at survival. The ORI especially would need major nerfing if tac changes were to be implemented. Given the finely tuned balance of the current tourney set over many many years, there would be more than a few broken tournaments that would result, before a new set of balanced ships were to be finalized.

Also, Moose said it better

Also, Moose said it better than I did, his 19:13 6/24 post.

I am FOR a change. I play

I am FOR a change. I play tourney almost exclusively.

Exactly how the change should look like I don't know, but I can give a text book example of why I don't like the current situation.

I play Orion nowadays. It has Tm A, BD 6 and two HETs. Even with that there is NO WAY I can outmaneuver a TACing opponent. I simply can't stay away and play games with the judge as when the time comes for the final warning of non-aggression I will be down lots of engine boxes (like 7-8). Therefore I simply try overrun and fire at rang 0.

When attacking my opponent he will launch a weasel to degrade my fire. I could kill it and come back later and kill the next etc. Finishing them would take two turns and then I would also have taken damage to the shields in the mean time. So usually I just fire and start reload a turn sooner.

When it is time for my next attack I probably lack power to reinforce damaged shields, power weapons and have the speed for the attack.
IIRC I lost to Scott Moellmers ISC once this way. All he had was a handfull of phasers left...

You most certainly can

You most certainly can outmaneuver an opponent who is taccing. They have 1 turn where they can outmaneuver you, once they have used their HET they cannot outmanuever you without risking a 33% chance of breaking down. Taccing will only get you 5 hex sides a turn, the Orion at 31 can do more than that easily. Also if your opponent tacs you can end a turn at range 9-10 then next turn double everything, put up a brick and overrun at speed 10-15 or so. The fact that you choose to overrun at range 0 when it is suboptimal is on you, not your opponent. The Orion is the most maneuverable ship in the game, don't get too surprised when an opponent has to tac against you. The trick is to make them pay when they stop. That is a question of tactics, not of rules.

Most of the cries for rules

Most of the cries for rules changes seem to be along the order of, "I can't beat my opponent when he does X, so change the rules so I can (or so that I don't have to think so hard)."

I dont cry like that...

Ive always just thought it was a bad rule and that its a shame it was left for so long that people now say "oh well, cant change it - been around too long and we are too set in our ways"...

I dont say it as a fan of any particular race. I say it as someone who has always thought it broken.

Yeah, I said "most", not

Yeah, I said "most", not "all".

But the game has an established tempo and internal logic, and shaking things up over whimsy or personal flavor is just asking to kill the game off. Not that the tourney is doing well as it is... Origins had, what, 8 players?

But Co5N will hopefully remain and thrive. Looking at attending in 2011 if things go right...

I agree on changes on a whim

I think SVC handled the Superstack thing badly. Saying something was changing and it was going to happen ASAP and then stopping anyone from pointing out the flaws.

Really the first step would have been to ask people for their opinion, weigh up the options, then decide on some new playtest rules. Then see what happens.

I suspect the TAC change proposal would have been done just as badly if the board had remained open longer. But that doesnt mean there could have been sensible debate.

My god, east meets west, cats

My god, east meets west, cats and dogs cohabitate, and you and I agree on something. :)

While I remain against the changes on principle, what set my back up the most was the sudden, heavy-handed, "We are going to do this" manner.

Moose, if it was that easy...

Moose, if it was that easy...

Again, I'll Chime In on the Side of Changing TACs Would Be Good

As I have noted before, I think the rules for TACs, in an absolute sense, are bad. That you TAC after regular movement means that stopping makes you considerably more maneuverable than if you are moving, and once you *are* stopped, you have limited incentive to start moving again.

I think that in an absolute game design sense, fixing warp TACs so that they happened as if you were speed 0 (leaving impulse TACs as they are seems a reasonable compromise) would make (tournament) SFB a better game--it would make stopping a desperation move, as opposed to a standard tactic, and would encourage people to stay stopped for as short a time as possible, and would reduce the instances of "My opponent has stopped. I'm not throwing myself on that Pike. I'm going to fly off and orbit at R10 until they speed up." that are often the best response to a stopped/TACing opponent, which slows the game down for limited gain.

That being said, I fully realize that doing this would make a huge mess of the carefully balanced tournament environment. And I *really* wouldn't want this change to happen as a willy-nilly off the cuff tweak (which seems to be what was happening on the official BBS). If this were going to happen (which I suspect is not the case at this point), it would need to be done with a full understanding of the impact and a lot of testing to rejigger stuff. If people aren't willing to test and tweak and adjust things as needed, it is best to just leave it all as it is.

I am not sure it would have

I am not sure it would have such a huge impact. Being at speed 0 is not something that happen all the time. That said it is important to put some thinking into what consequences such a change would have.
The most important one is that turnmode will be important at speed 0.
While this applies only if BOTH ships are sitting and spinning it is worth thinking on. I am not sure it would make any balance needed, however. After all, if a Klingon is stoping to tac, then a ship like the Shark have the option not too do so. OTOH it would make the Shark reluctant to stop at all in the first place, but changing the TAC rules would allready have that effect.
This could easily be tried and tested using NK or Rat.
I hope to see a move from ADB soon.


TAC is the one they actually look at, and not the arbitrary superstack rule.

SPP saves the day

It looks like SPP has nipped the anti-superstack rule in the bud, thankfully...

And again

And they've dropped the TAC change too. SVC has even apologised for the fuss, and agreed to talk to SPP before frightening the horses like that again.

Thankfully. To drop such a


To drop such a change in the works mere DAYS before Origins was unwise at best. I'm relieved to see SPP is not asleep at the switch.

I agree, the timing was not

I agree, the timing was not good. But I rooted for a change so I am diappointed:(