Tabletop Babylon 5 War game?

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Postby frobisher » Tue Feb 10, 2004 10:01 am

Anonymous wrote:At the risk of disagreeing with someone who is agreeing with me [grin], I've never been particularly bothered by instantaneous thrust application. Ken Burnside and I have gone over this a couple of times on SFCONSIM-L, and while I agree that AV:T handles it as well as anything, I don't really *want* something that models the real world *that* accurately. You can get to the 95% level with _Triplanetary_.
I've not seen Triplanetary - might have to seek that out.

My main bugbear is that the VMSs I'd seen to date didn't handle turns at all well (ie they didn't) and B5W did actually make a good approximation.
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Postby Dag'Nabbit » Tue Feb 10, 2004 12:55 pm

Some additional points from my point of view that might or might not agree with anyone in particular:

1) A velocity based movement system is absolutely necessary in order to maintain the same feel as that presented in the show.

2) I have always liked the games that had simultaneous movement and no initiative. However, the only time that any warship in B5 was surprised by another, was when they were at extremely close ranges or that other ship was extremely agile (ie. white star). With the level of sensor technology that is being used you can tell when most ships begin maneuver through some sort of energy emission/movement of the actual hull.

Heck, maybe movement should be done simultaneously; one hex at a time or in equal parts (one ship with a velocity of 4 and another with a V of 12: ship 1-4 moves/1hex each move; ship 2-4 moves/3 hexes each move. both plot each move simultaneously but each is able to fire at any time) Although, as cool as that is you start getting into the complexity of SFB and that's not what I'm looking for.

Anyone got any solid ideas to do this simply?
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Re: Not B5 Wars

Postby redlaco » Tue Feb 10, 2004 4:32 pm

ThatOneGuy wrote:I personally would like to see two versions of the game. Basically one that is fleet based and one that is squadron based. Maybe that could be an add on, but essentially you could scale down the rules so that (random example) a thunderbolt in the squadron level game handles like say an Olympus does in the fleet sized game. Something that allowed individual characters to take part in the action as something other than an admiral. I.E. Car Wars. [snip]...I’d just like to say that if I want to play B5 Wars, I already have the books. I want something new from Mongoose.
It's a great idea, but I'd focus on the squadron base first. I'm mostly interested in small scale engagements, as my players will only get involved in skirmishes or specops kind of action. Don't forget this advanced space combat game will be an RPG add-on. The fleet base game would only appeal to epic (high level) campaigns, where the PCs are generals or admirals. As you said, if one wants a wargame, go with B5Wars as their rulebooks are still easy to find (in my area at least). But since their minis are becoming almost impossible to fetch, it would be a great option if Mongoose redo most of them. After all, they have Agent One as their Minis lines Manager, which is quite an asset on this regard!
ThatOneGuy wrote:All I need is:

All Stop, Cruising Speed, Attack Speed and Full speed. With class or ship specific turning radiuses and speeds assigned to each I think the game would offer enough options for complex strategy. Realistic? No. Playable by a wider audience and potently fun? Yes.

I think a new game could turn out very cool if it were ‘dumbed down’ a bit. Particularly in movement.

When it takes ten minutes to decide how much thruster power your ship is using while balancing that with your weapons systems and everything else, few people stick around to fire their first shot. I never once managed to finish a game of Babylon 5 Wars, my opponents would always quit on me.
I absolutely second that. I know my players, they're not in wargames, and I guess most B5/Wargamers already own B5Wars. So let's try a simpler fashion, or at least keep the "realistic-but -complex" rules optional. That way, the two crowds would be pleased.
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Postby Jal » Tue Feb 10, 2004 9:33 pm

what wargamers and RPGers desire from the game are not neccessarily one and the same.

as this game is heavily tied in with the RPG, it will go in that direction.

hexes seem to be more popular and people think that they cause less hassle, which has always been somehting that totally mystified me, but at the end of the day it has to be easy to grasp (that knocks B5Wars out for me at least) and relatively quick to play.

now.... just how many people do i have to bribe and blackmail to get this turned into a hexless, vector movement system? :twisted: :wink:
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Postby Guest » Tue Feb 10, 2004 10:35 pm

frobisher wrote:My main bugbear is that the VMSs I'd seen to date didn't handle turns at all well (ie they didn't) and B5W did actually make a good approximation.
I guess it depends on what you mean by a "turn". If I uderstand you compoletely, I would argue that's a feature, not a bug. As one of my gaming group members puts it, if you are going to play "_Ironclads_ in Space," why not just play _Ironclads_?

Some of the races in B5 could do sweeping aircraft-style turns (the Centauri from the opening credits, for instance), but many could not. EFSB handled this really well, by allowing the races with gravitic technology to use such cinematic movement, while us poor earthers had to change our courses more realistically.

My own solution, FWIW, was to allow the more advanced races to "decouple" their vector from their facing, e.g., an B=4 C=3 course could be turned into a C=4 D=3 course, or some other course, by "rotating" the vectors. Totally non-scientific, but it allowed us to keep a lot of the Minbari stats, which was importaant because we were designing a variant, not a game. Interestingly, I later read David Gerrold's _Yesterday's Children_ and discovered to my surprise that the drives in that book did exactly the same thing.
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Postby Guest » Tue Feb 10, 2004 10:41 pm

jal wrote:what wargamers and RPGers desire from the game are not neccessarily one and the same.

as this game is heavily tied in with the RPG, it will go in that direction.
As it should!
jal wrote: hexes seem to be more popular and people think that they cause less hassle, which has always been somehting that totally mystified me, but at the end of the day it has to be easy to grasp (that knocks B5Wars out for me at least) and relatively quick to play.

now.... just how many people do i have to bribe and blackmail to get this turned into a hexless, vector movement system? :twisted: :wink:
I can't speak for others, but I can tell you why I prefer hexes -- it's because I'm a clumsy oaf. I don't want to have to worry about precision in measuring either bearings or distances. Six or 12 position facing gives me the precision I need, the hexgrid allows me to implement that system, and hexes give me something to count, both for movement and for fire. They also speed play, because I can do said counting while standing back from the table, without having to physically manipulate a ruler, which inevitably gets in the way of someone else trying to do whatever they need to do.

Of course, most hexless systems are convertible to hexes, and most (but not all -- _Ironbottom Sound II_ comes to mind) hex-based systems are convertible to hexless.
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Postby Jal » Tue Feb 10, 2004 11:59 pm

Six or 12 position facing gives me the precision I need,
i`m curious, how do you get a 12 position facing on a hex map :?:

it would be of interest to me as the hexless system i use has 12 facings on it.
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Postby August » Wed Feb 11, 2004 2:37 am

Actually, there is an interesting concept here in my muddled head allowing a ship's position to also face the points of a hex and uses movement rules that take into account the lines of a hex as well as the hexes themselves. Not sure I will be using it, but that does allow 12 facings.

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Postby Jal » Wed Feb 11, 2004 4:39 am

Actually, there is an interesting concept here in my muddled head allowing a ship's position to also face the points of a hex and uses movement rules that take into account the lines of a hex as well as the hexes themselves. Not sure I will be using it, but that does allow 12 facings.
a very intruiging statement, if it is not too complex it could be a valuable addition (or at least an optional system) for the game.

12 facings (30 degree increments) gives you much more room for precise movement than the standard 6 faced "hex", doubling the directions you can choose from if you have the available thrust for it.

i found that you could achieve much more control with it, than turning 60 degrees all the time, and given the right ship (eg a Whitestar) it looks great. 8)
I don't want to have to worry about precision in measuring either bearings or distances.
that`s one thing i don`t understand about people`s distrust of the vector movement system.

for example: say i have a Whitestar currently moving at a speed of seven and decide turn 30 degrees to the right to increase speed by three.

first i place marker "A" seven inches/centimetres along the heading that it had at the end of the last turn.

then i rotate the marker 30 degrees and measure of three inches along the new heading, and place marker "B" there.

lastly, i measure from marker "B" to where my Whitestar is still sitting, this give me the new speed for the ship, a speed of nine (this is the velocity of the ship at the start of the next turn), and to finish it all off i place the Whitestar in the spot and facing where marker "B" was and remove all other markers from the map.

all that was done with just two twelve sided markers and a ruler, i just don`t see the problem with that. :?

and i`m not a maths wizard, if anyone in the UK remembers what an "O" Level Grade C in mathematics is you`ll know what i mean by that statement! (and i only got that by doing nightclasses eight years after i left school!) :lol:
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Postby psyclonejack » Wed Feb 11, 2004 6:46 am

Its too many steps . . . at least IMHO, there are other vector movement systems that are less involved, and that speeds things up alot!

I prefer the move half your distance, make your turn, move the other half. No markers needed. Only have to figure out what half of something is.

Personally I feel this gives the 'Illusion' of the natural arc a craft would take in space as well.

As far as the arguements about not measuring right, skimping on headings by a few degrees, and the like, ITS JUST A GAME! :) Most of the time you just need ball park anyway, no need to get the laser pointers, protractors, and slide rules out.

Just my two cents, I'll go back to lurking now,
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Postby Jal » Wed Feb 11, 2004 8:26 am

Its too many steps . . . at least IMHO, there are other vector movement systems that are less involved, and that speeds things up alot!

I prefer the move half your distance, make your turn, move the other half. No markers needed. Only have to figure out what half of something is.

Personally I feel this gives the 'Illusion' of the natural arc a craft would take in space as well.
i broke it down to make it less complicated than i`ve seen it described in other systems.

it`s fast when you get the hang of it, at the end of the day i`m just measuring the third side of a triangle.

moving half the distance, rotating the ship, then moving the other half puts you in a totally different place (it describes a tighter curve for the ship, no bad thing by the way).

if the Mongoose game did use the system you described i wouldn`t have any problems going with it either. :D

as for the illusion, i just stick to using my imagination. :wink:

many thanks for the info/feedback psyclonejack :D
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Postby MongooseMatt » Wed Feb 11, 2004 11:07 am

At the moment, I am thinking a slightly more complicated system than Battlefleet Gothic - what would you guys think of that?
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Postby Greg Smith » Wed Feb 11, 2004 11:21 am

That sounds about the right complexity to me. If it replicates cool fighter pivots, I'll be happy.

I have recently been playing:

Starhound: with upto four turns, equally divided into the movement distance. Easy, but fiddley. Plotted, simultaneous movement.

Power Projection Escorts: vector movement. More complex, easy to get wrong. Not for the casual gamer. Plotted, simultaneous movement.

Battlefleet Gothic: simple movement, but enough options to keep it tactical. Factoring in the eldar movement makes it much more interesting. Turn based.
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Postby Greg Smith » Wed Feb 11, 2004 11:24 am

Let me pose another question. Do you like plotted movement? ie writting down you movement in advance.

Personally I don't. I like to have the immediacy of moving the figures, turning to face the position of the enemy ship instead of making a turn based on my best estimate of an angle and distance.
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Postby Jal » Wed Feb 11, 2004 11:37 am

At the moment, I am thinking a slightly more complicated system than Battlefleet Gothic - what would you guys think of that?
sorry, never been near the BFG system, but i get the impression it is not at the SFB end of the scale. :wink:

so i guess we`re talking about something less complicated than Full Thrust then :?:
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Postby chrisweuve » Wed Feb 11, 2004 3:42 pm

jal wrote: i`m curious, how do you get a 12 position facing on a hex map :?:

it would be of interest to me as the hexless system i use has 12 facings on it.
August took the words out of my mouth -- allow facing on points as well as sides. Then you can either allow the ship to rest on hex *sides* as well as in the hex, or still require that ships stay inside the hex. I've seen it done both ways. The idea is simply to let the hex grid give you all of the advantages of the grid (easy positioning, facing, and counting) without being overly constrained by it.
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Postby chrisweuve » Wed Feb 11, 2004 3:56 pm

Note that that first quote is from me -- I think I may have accidently posted as "Guest".
jal wrote:
I don't want to have to worry about precision in measuring either bearings or distances.
that`s one thing i don`t understand about people`s distrust of the vector movement system.

for example: say i have a Whitestar currently moving at a speed of seven and decide turn 30 degrees to the right to increase speed by three.

[rest of example snipped]

all that was done with just two twelve sided markers and a ruler, i just don`t see the problem with that. :?

and i`m not a maths wizard, if anyone in the UK remembers what an "O" Level Grade C in mathematics is you`ll know what i mean by that statement! (and i only got that by doing nightclasses eight years after i left school!) :lol:
Oh, it has nothing to do with distrust of vector movement, or needing to be a math wizard -- it's ease of play and the fact that I'm clumsy. I prefer hexes because it's easier to do facings, easier to determine distances, and because when someone knocks the mini over, easier to determine where it was.

I've played (wet) naval games on hexes and without them. I've played vector space games on hexes and without them. "Vector movement/cinematic movement" and "hexes/no hexes" are two unrelated questions, as far as I am concerned. (As is "3D/2D", which people often seem to think is implied by vector movement.)
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Postby chrisweuve » Wed Feb 11, 2004 4:01 pm

Greg Smith wrote:Let me pose another question. Do you like plotted movement? ie writting down you movement in advance.

Personally I don't. I like to have the immediacy of moving the figures, turning to face the position of the enemy ship instead of making a turn based on my best estimate of an angle and distance.
I actually prefer plotted movement in most cases, if for no other reason than it *tremendously* increases the speed of play, because the plotting (and usually the moving) is handled concurrently rather than sequentially, and the uncertainty involved eliminates the SFB-like micro-calculating that makes turns take so long. With pre-plotting, you can run games that are a LOT bigger if need be.

Some people think pre-plotting is more complicated. Usually it's that the movement rules are more complicated, and the pre-plotting is getting the blame.
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Postby Jal » Wed Feb 11, 2004 4:08 pm

allow facing on points as well as sides
ahhhhhh........ :shock: i am a silly fellow. :lol:

many thanks chrisweuve. :)

psyclonejack`s example of movement is a lot quicker (and easier) than the one i gave, though you do end up with your ship being in a different position (could give the game a different feel to a game, good or bad i don`t know).
Greg Smith wrote:
Let me pose another question. Do you like plotted movement? ie writting down you movement in advance.

Personally I don't. I like to have the immediacy of moving the figures, turning to face the position of the enemy ship instead of making a turn based on my best estimate of an angle and distance.
i`m the same as chrisweuve as regards this. :)
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Postby Sundog » Thu Feb 12, 2004 6:55 am

Just don't make the mistake BFG did with guess range weapons.

It's why I stopped playing the game. A friend of mine is so good at guessing ranges he turned the Nova Cannon from the least accurate weapon in the game to the MOST accurate - which is not good considering it is also the most damaging weapon in the game. I just got sick of having all of my ships explode before I got any of them into range.

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