Progress on 2e

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Progress on 2e

Postby MongooseMatt » Mon Jan 15, 2007 7:38 am

Hi guys,

2e is a long way off yet, but we have always been very open about the development of CTA, so I thought a quick update about our progress would be in order.

The next CTA will be a two book release, one for the fleet lists and a smaller one for the rules themselves. This format will allow us update one or the other in the future, without requiring a completely new edition. It is our intention to have one hardback a year to supplement the game and make official articles we have released in S&P, new fleet lists, etc. Aside from models, nothing else will ne needed. Oh and yes, a new counter set will be available.

So, what about the new books themselves? Well, we have assembled an expanded group of playtesters and, I have to say, this is one of the best groups we have ever worked with. All are extremely experienced with CTA and all have a passion for it, being determined to root out every niggle they can, however minor.

They were presented with the two books and had a chance to make general comments. They are now moving through them, chapter by chapter, ensuring balance and wording are 'just so'.

So, you'll be wondering what changes are currently in the offing. Nothing has been altered in the basic concepts of the game, so you'll be able to start rolling dice as soon as you pick up the book without delay. There are some tweaks in combat - revisions to critical hits (we haven't gone for the fire rules as of this time), chances for huge explosions when ships are reduced to negative damage, but you have to work harder for them, and such like. All fairly mild stuff that should serve to make your games smoother and more exciting.

At the moment, there is one new Special Action (Intensify Defensive Fire!), and there have been a lot of tweaks to the existing ones, again in the interests of smoothness and balance. Concentrate All Firepower, for example, is no longer automatic, but you can use it while turning.

Special Traits are much the same, though a few new ones have been added. Interceptors are better explained with examples (for new players), while new ones include Agile, Lumbering, Escort, Shields, and (gulp) Quad Damage. Lots of tweaks too - yes, White Stars are now Atmospheric! You will also find critical hits can now cause you to lose traits, though some are permanent (you cannot remove Immobile!).

The Advanced Rules chapter is pretty much the same as before, though Fighters and Hyperspace now have been split away into their own chapters. Jump Point bombs will still be possible but much, much harder to accomplish (we are still working on the balance here). As for fighters. . . a lot different! If you want to see a clue as to how they work now, grab the Star Wars mod for CTA. They retain their initiative advantage over big ships, but will have to survive a hail of fire whenever they close to attack.

Planetary Assaults and Boarding Actions/Space Stations are next up for balancing and will be present in the new rules. We will also be adding rules for Admirals - you have seen the special characters in SFoS. With these rules, you will be able to create your own heroes with a new list of Admiral Traits.

Lots of scenarios and the campaign rules round the first book off. So, what about the fleets?

Having fielded all the general concerns we had for this book, we are now moving through them, fleet by fleet - so far we have covered the three EA fleets and are working with the Minbari and the Dilgar. So, what can I tell you?

Earth Alliance
Well, you have already seen the Tiger Starfuries - now we have the Starfury covered from the Tiger, right up to the Firebolt. The Orestes is a proper battleship for the Early Years. The Warlock is War level. The Poseidon is now officially a Sexy Beast!

There are some more fundamental changes too. We are inspecting each ship individually (for all lists) and asking ourselves 'is this a ship we would consider taking?' If not, we work again at its balance (this took some time with the Poseidon, and we still have some concerns with the Missile Hyperion, but progress is made with every update). We have also changed the EA to more of a broadside 'feel'. They still have their powerful lasers up front but after blasting the enemy at range, you'll want to concentrate your batteries to Port and Starboard - it makes for a far more tactical fleet. This is particularly noteable with the Omega and Nova, but the theme runs throughout the lists.

What else? Ah, yes, the Apollo gets a Strike Cruiser variant, the Badger Starfury is in, the Chronos goes down to Skirmish, the Marathon to Battle, the Myrmidon MCV is added for a Patrol ship in the Crusade Era, and the Nemesis is yanked (to go in another list), but the Victory is in.

Dilgar
And here is a fleet where a lot of players have demanded some love :) A lot of tweaks have gone on here with ships and their weaponry, and a lot of variants have been introduced. Later in the war, you will find Dilgar fighters willing to launch suicide attacks on enemy shipping, and the Thorun now also has a torpedo fighter variant. The fleet as a whole retains its pulsars and bolters (with their special rules), but exchanges their lasers for anti-ship missiles. Lots and lots of anti-ship missiles. Look out for the Bombardment Dreadnought (a Mankhat variant) with its advanced model warheads. . . Most ships have two sets of launchers, allowing them to either send a devastating 'alpha strike' across the table, or keep the enemy under pressure with a constant barrage. Overall, the Dilgar have become mean, lean and umm, green. . .

Minbari
Relatively few changes here overall, though most ships have already had a tweaking. Beams and Mini-Beams work a little differently, which has the greatest effect on this fleet, of course. The Neroon has been beefed up. We are still debating the 'Stealth Question', though at the moment are leaning towards tweaking the existing system, rather than adding something completely new. Don't hold us to that though, this is still very much under review!

And the Rest
The rest of the fleets we will be putting under the microscope over the next few weeks, before pulling the focus of the playtesting back for another global look. All of the following comments are made before we do the microscope work, so what we have are some ideas that, at first glance, seem to work. Again, don't hold us to these :)

Narn: They now have Ion Cannon rather than Twin Particle Arrays, for reasons that will soon become clear. Energy Mines are much the same, but you will find they have now been catered for under all special rules and exceptions (such as Concentrate All Firepower, Interceptors, etc). The Narn are now a good all round fleet, with good all round weaponry.

Centauri: Another shift in theme here, as with the EA. For a start, the Centauri lose many of their lasers (ducks behind wall as fan-heads through rotton fruit). Wait! When the Great Maker taketh away, he also giveth!

Centauri ships now have a tendency to mount rows and rows of Ion Cannon (generally Double Damage and Twin-Linked), and Matter Cannon are more prominent. Whereas the EA concentrate their to the sides, the Centauri go up front (think Vorchan and other smaller ships - the larger ones now follow suit). Side weaponry is proportionally lighter, and only the largest vessels will have firepower to their rear. Again, makes for more tactical play. No new hulls as of this time, but you can expect the Balvarin to be born again hard, the Demos to be worthwhile, and the Prefect to be taken down a notch.

ISA: Some new hulls here, such as the Blue Star, Liandra and Ranger Frigates. Some new variants, such as the Shial version of the Nial, and the Tara'Lin (Ranger Command variant of the Sharlin). The White Star WSC-2 is now simply the White Star II, and the differences between the two are now marked. Both are Raid level, one has the Scout trait, the other carries Nials. The White Star Gunship is Battle level, the White Star Fighter Patrol level (all fighters have had a rebalancing as to their numbers).

League: Wow. A lot here. First off, combined League fleets are still possible. As for the individual races. . . The Abbai get their own Shields rule (as opposed to using Interceptors to simulate them). The Brakiri get several new hulls of all sizes, making them the EA of the League (pretty much what we always intended them to be). The Drazi. . . still make me laugh. Look out for the Claweagle. New fleets include the Gaim and the pak'ma'ra. The latter you'll see the basis for soon in S&P, the former are. . . different. And no, they are not bugs. No bio-tech on their ships. The Vree have a couple of new hulls and some rebalancing. Oh, BTW, the Z'Takk will be available very soon.

Raiders: Don't expect these guys to suddenly become frontline at higher PLs. They will always be underdogs. But they will become more flexible.

Vorlons & Shadows: The damage system for these fleets will be very close to what you see with the Ancients in Armageddon. The Shadows lose their Hunter (grabbed by another fleet) but gain another Shadow Ship - basically, you can choose to have an Ancient Shadow Ship (Armageddon level) or a younger model (War). This allows the Shadows to retain their iconic ships at all but lower levels of play. Both fleets are, of course, very dangerous and weighted to higher levels of play, though we have ensuring that reasonable tournament forces can be drawn from them as well.

Drakh: Some rebalancing going on, the Mothership gets the option to carry (much) larger ships into battle, and there is a new Patrol Cruiser. Expect more when we come to put them under the microscope, however - this is just the start.

Psi Corps: Another new fleet, and it is those damnable teeps that have stolen your Nemesis and Hunter! Basically, this is a combined Psi Corps/Covert EA fleet (depending on the In Service Dates you use), and includes the Shadow Omegas, Motherships and Black Omega squadron. They can also boost their forces with regular EA forces, so this is a fleet many EA players might want to take a serious look at. . .

Other Craft: This chapter really depends on how much space we have remaining. It is divided into two halves - civilians and the rest. The former allow for many alien civvie ships to be used as traders, and introduces the concept of CFPs - Civilian Fleet Points - which allow you to build a civilian fleet in special scenarios, rather than having a set or limited pick.

The other half are warships that do not (yet) deserve their own fleet lists. These include Hurr, Ipsha, and Lumati ships. We also have rules (and now a model, look out for it coming soon!) for the Technomage Pinnace. Very small and yet still Raid level, this ship is a tough one to hunt, being almost invisible (when it chooses), and full of tricks. Just forcing one out of your space will be hard without getting a bloody nose in return. As soon as we get the model here in the office, look out for an S&P article. This one is imminent.


None of this is comprehensive, you understand, so don't worry if your 'fix' has not been mentioned. It is just to give you a flavour of what to expect. I believe this to be the best thing yet for CTA, and I have a feeling the playtesters will agree. . .

Throughout this year, you will see many of the new ships I have mentioned available, with current edition stats in S&P. The idea is that you will have access to all the new ships when the fleet lists come out.
Matthew Sprange

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Postby Knight of ne » Mon Jan 15, 2007 7:45 am

it all sounds really good, hopefully everyone will be pleased with it.
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Postby TenaciousB » Mon Jan 15, 2007 8:16 am

I'm VERY pleased with the news, especially the Dilgar love :twisted: !

Keep up the good work, Matt!
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Re: Progress on 2e

Postby Locutus9956 » Mon Jan 15, 2007 9:12 am

msprange wrote: The Warlock is War level
Well, my work here is done :P Time change my signature I guess :D

(previous sig was 'It's called a WARlock, hint, hint ;)' for those who dont know once I change it :D)

Ok seriously now a few questions:

Im assuming the EA fleet boxes will be changed sligtly (in particular the Crusade era one that contains 2 armageddon level ships that wont be in the crusade list soon?)

The varying shadow ship sizes: Will there be different models (Im thinking mainyl here of the old fleet action scale shadow ships and shadow dreadnoughts would be ideal as different age shadowships with the big ones serving as ancients)

If the EA get the Victory will the ISA still have access to it? It is an ISA ship after all even if they loan it to the EA!
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Re: Progress on 2e

Postby Fiztbane_65 » Mon Jan 15, 2007 9:25 am

msprange wrote:The Neroon has been beefed up.
Wow. I thought it was pretty beefy to begin with. Will be interesting to see what has been done to it.

Speaking of The Neroon, any time frame on when the model itself will be out?
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Postby Chernobyl » Mon Jan 15, 2007 9:33 am

The change to CAF will be a boon to EA commanders everywhere...but it sounds like the beam-boys (I'm looking at you, mr centauri) are getting a major re-work. And beam weapons work different? will definately be interesting. Thanks for the update Matthew.

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Postby locarno24 » Mon Jan 15, 2007 11:09 am

Sounds very good.

Hmm.... Quad Damage.
Very Quake. 8)

Thanks for taking time out with the update.....(fiend marketing person!)
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Postby Celisasu » Mon Jan 15, 2007 11:14 am

I have this funny image of TL, DD, Weak Ion cannons for the Narn.
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Postby H » Mon Jan 15, 2007 11:16 am

I have an image of a sagi, at patrol level with Quad damage super ap precise missiles, 10 per side, 15 at the front. . . . and someone saying, um, we forgot to test it, isn't it balanced? ;-)
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Postby locarno24 » Mon Jan 15, 2007 11:29 am

Cynic.

Looking forward to the black ops fleet....
Would love to see a shadow-tech enhanced fighter to go with the shadowtech-enhanced capital ships, but I realise that with Black Omegas and Starfury Firebolts. it might be over the top. Possibly as a bomber-end rather than a dogfighter....ahh...never mind.

P.S. How much do we need to bribe him to get Bester as a selectable personality? :)
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Postby H » Mon Jan 15, 2007 11:39 am

Cynic yes, but based on previous works, I reckon I have a good basis for it :-)

more Brakiri ships is good, lets hoep they don'ty look like Brivokis!
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Postby Reaverman » Mon Jan 15, 2007 11:47 am

Cynic, or Realist :P
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Postby JayRaider » Mon Jan 15, 2007 11:47 am

Sounds interesting :D
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Postby Lorcan Nagle » Mon Jan 15, 2007 11:51 am

I like the sounds of most of that. looking forward to the new books!
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Postby CaptBavo » Mon Jan 15, 2007 11:55 am

This sounds very cool, can hardly wait
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Postby Lone Gunman » Mon Jan 15, 2007 12:13 pm

Finally the Centauri are no longer flying Death Stars. sounds good. Keep on the good work and do much playtesting!
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Postby Funbeast » Mon Jan 15, 2007 12:18 pm

It all sounds good, but we are all going to need pay rises, So many new shinnies so little cash :lol:
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Postby Locutus9956 » Mon Jan 15, 2007 12:20 pm

Interesting... very intersting. I hope your not planning on COMPLETELY stripping out Battle lasers from the Centauri list, fair enough make them more ion cannoney but I think some battle lasers is still good. But I suppose I shall have to wait and see :P
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Postby Court Jester » Mon Jan 15, 2007 12:20 pm

Sounds like fun times. New books and editions are always exciting, even if they are, in the end, a let down. I am one of these people that thrives on a new edition of a game... I love th mix up that comes with re-working thr ules. GIVE ME CHANGE! :wink:
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Postby katadder » Mon Jan 15, 2007 12:29 pm

centauri players dont worry too much. the fleet is nasty but itrs fighting style has changed pretty much completely.
for those cynics, dont worry about there being overpowered ships like the arma sagi. everything is being worked on, checked and double checked and balanced out, i think you will like it all.
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