B5 ACTA V B5 Television

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B5 ACTA V B5 Television

Postby dag'karlove » Fri May 02, 2008 9:43 pm

Well with all The "discussion" (and I use that term loosely, its more like whining to myself and alot of others) of fleets being this and that, A few of us are wondering: Should Babylon5 ACTA stop trying to use anything from the series at all? I play ACTA Not cause the Rules are Superspectacular or because I think the Minis are awesome, I play because i love The Show. Isnt The game suppsed to be like the show? I mean we could call it B5 ACTA and not really follow the show But that makes the game garbage. I mean Cmon People. Stop Thinking that we are all entitled to everything being equal in the Universe. The DRazi Just arent the equals of the Centuari nor is the early years EA the equal of the Minbarri. They are supposed to get tatooed and wrecked and any other adjective you can think of. In the show NOT EVERYTHING WAS CREATED EQUAL IN THE SHOW, THEY SHOULDNT BE IN THE GAME.
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Postby Triggy » Fri May 02, 2008 9:55 pm

I agree that the show should be represented as much as is possible to retain a feel but the trouble is that there are so many subjective decisions to be made. For instance, the official line is that the Drazi in the mid 23rd Century were almost as powerful as the Centauri as an empire (with very little comment on how powerful individual ships are).

As for the comparison of EA Early Years and Minbari - I don't see your point. The main EA ships (Hyperion and Nova) are much weaker (1/4 of the power) of the main Minbari ship (Sharlin). If both fleets lined up with equal numbers of ships then the Minbari would utterly destroy the EA forces, just like in the show. If you took the ships from the Battle of the Line where the Minbari actually outnumbered the EA forces then you get exactly the same result as seen on screen. Again, what is the issue with the game compared to the show?
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Postby wkehrman » Fri May 02, 2008 10:42 pm

Triggy wrote:I agree that the show should be represented as much as is possible to retain a feel but the trouble is that there are so many subjective decisions to be made. For instance, the official line is that the Drazi in the mid 23rd Century were almost as powerful as the Centauri as an empire (with very little comment on how powerful individual ships are).

As for the comparison of EA Early Years and Minbari - I don't see your point. The main EA ships (Hyperion and Nova) are much weaker (1/4 of the power) of the main Minbari ship (Sharlin). If both fleets lined up with equal numbers of ships then the Minbari would utterly destroy the EA forces, just like in the show. If you took the ships from the Battle of the Line where the Minbari actually outnumbered the EA forces then you get exactly the same result as seen on screen. Again, what is the issue with the game compared to the show?
The Battle of the Line is an unbalanced scenario so it is perhaps not the best example. Not including fighters, it works out to something close to 2 to 1 in favor of the Minbari. Additionally, with no scouts on the EA side, there's little chance of getting good stealth rolls.

What is more at issue is the notion that every ship at every level ought to be fairly equal in a stand up fight. The premise of the argument that is frustrating dag is that one should be able to bring a Hyperion against a Teshlan and stand a pretty even chance of winning. They're both raid level ships.

Nobody looking at this reasonably is going to agree that this is a fair fight. Even if the EA is Crusade Era (+2 initiative) this still gives the Minbari the advantage in range, speed, initiative and the all important stealth. It's hard to close with the enemy when his speed is nearly double yours. All of the advantages go to the Minbari in this one.

The "popular" thought against which dag is arguing is that this comparison shows that the Minbari are "broken" and need to be "fixed." Dag's argument is that far from being broken, this "imbalance" is reflective of what one sees in the series. One sees in the series (or the movies) clear indicators that Minbari technology is superior to EA technology: Minbari emissions overwhelm the EA systems from In the Beginning, Minbari ships have artificial gravity while Humans must either buckle up or spin around. These are just off the top of my head. It is hard to translate some of this over to the game, but it exists and gets translated at some level to the game.

Fleets get condemned for being broken in many cases because the opponents are unwilling or unable to rearrange their fleets. A ship that fires two or three big shots at a White Star is going to have less success than a ship that throws a lot of little shots at it. That isn't a "break" that's character and that character comes from the mythos.
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Postby Marco Raimeous » Fri May 02, 2008 10:46 pm

You also have to remember you are playing against other people and therefore if some races were just completely inferior like in the show no one would ever field the fleet.

Fluff should be the basis for which ACTA should be based, no question, but to make new people and experienced people WANT to play and want to play a VARITY of different fleets you NEED to make the fleets balanced, which can be done in very unique ways.
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Postby dag'karlove » Fri May 02, 2008 11:03 pm

Marco Raimeous wrote:You also have to remember you are playing against other people and therefore if some races were just completely inferior like in the show no one would ever field the fleet.

Fluff should be the basis for which ACTA should be based, no question, but to make new people and experienced people WANT to play and want to play a VARITY of different fleets you NEED to make the fleets balanced, which can be done in very unique ways.
Ok Time for a Question for you to think about as im out to Smash up some of David an la shoks Vorlons, " If the Iranian Navy and the US navy went at it would that be balanced?" or what about was it balanced when the russians went after the germans in WW2 after the americans and Brits and Fench went ater Germany ona western Front?"
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Postby l33tpenguin » Fri May 02, 2008 11:05 pm

I'm all for making the game as close to the show as possible.

But, we are talking about a game here. I'm not for playing a 'battle of the line' type game every time. You have to have game balance.

MGP decided to go with their fleet point scale, which is a rather limited scale as far as assigning relative power of ships. To make the game fun players need avaliablity to ships throughout these levels of power so that they can fight toe to toe against one another and not have terribly one sided games.

If we were to have 'acurate' scaling, the minbari war cruiser would be War while the omegas were around raid. Even the warlock only barely comes close to matching it in firepower. Shadow vessels would be 2-3 levels above the minbari warcruiser. A single Shadow vessel would be capable of decimating fleets of ships.

Not much fun :(

Even 'point' type games suffer the same problem. Omegas end up around 300 vs a Sharlin that is 900. its all about the scale they are on.
So, as long as the ships are somewhat accurate, I'm happy.

Sure, the show has Omegas and G'quan shooting at angles, I'm make comment about it. But I'll still play with them as having bore sight. Honeslty, the most fuss you'll get out of me is just that. 'Hey, in the show they are shown firing at angles' I'll still play the game, I'll still buy the minis (wewll, I would if they were still making them) and I'll still enjoy things
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Postby Marco Raimeous » Sat May 03, 2008 12:11 am

exactly, balance is used to make the game fun for everyone playing because that is what games are supposed to be...fun for everyone.

In WWII I am pretty sure the Russians did not enjoy getting their butts handed to them repeatedly by the Germans. The game tries to make it enjoyable for everyone because quite simply you want more people to play it, and enjoy it.

If you were to make a WWII game involving the Germans and Russians, you would still have to balance it to make sure the game is enjoyable for each player and so that one does not get constantly crushed. Games are not real life and the beautiful thing is that they do not have to be.

Now what were we talking about, ah yes the different ways to prepare shrimp, well you can broil it, sauté it, BBQ it. There’s pineapple shrimp, coconut shrimp …… shimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, that’s about it.
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Postby silashand » Sat May 03, 2008 5:30 am

wkehrman wrote:Dag's argument is that far from being broken, this "imbalance" is reflective of what one sees in the series.
I would argue in a game setting where things are supposed to be *fun* for both players that such a situation is inappropriate in almost every instance. A game that is decidedly and consistently unbalanced in favor of one side fast becomes unenjoyable to play for everyone. As such, in a *game* it is necessary to make the opponents as equal as possible so as to promote enjoyment. Few people like playing the underdog all the time. The relative superiority of one force over another as per the background can be represented, but has to be limited in order to satisfy the primary rule above. Otherwise there really is no reason to play the game in the first place since in the case of B5, the Minbari, ISA, Vorlons & Shadows would pretty much wipe out all opponents if they went on the offensive. Thus I have to agree with those who say certain fleets probably need to be toned down slightly in order to promote general enjoyment for everyone. Sure, B5 is popular, but I doubt ACTA would remain so if such imbalances were to persist over the long run.

Another thing to consider is that the show is canon. The game is not. The latter represents fictional occurences withiin the background and since it is fiction, anything can happen. Civilizations can advance faster than in the show, they can develop new and unique technologies, they can do things differently to compensate for the advantages of other races. In short, B5 the game does not have to be a direct translation of the show, nor in my opinion should it be. If it were I think it would be far less interesting overall.
Fleets get condemned for being broken in many cases because the opponents are unwilling or unable to rearrange their fleets. A ship that fires two or three big shots at a White Star is going to have less success than a ship that throws a lot of little shots at it. That isn't a "break" that's character and that character comes from the mythos.
Yes to the first statement; perhaps to the second. There are built in weaknesses/advantages in all fleets in this game which is as it should be. Some forces will always have an advantage over some others. The big problem I see is when one fleet has a consistent advantage over *all* opponents. Unfortunately, (and since I know this discussion stems mainly from complaints with the ISA) with the ISA the way it is I think it suffers from this problem at least to a certain extent. Sure, they supposedly have "weaknesses," but for each supposed disadvantage there is a counter that they also possess which effectively negates the weakness to begin with. So the whitestar has few damage points. With adaptive armour and self-repair this is negated. So it doesn't have anti-fighter, it has dodge instead coupled with a speed greater than most fighters. The list goes on. Sure, there are ways to defeat them, but in reality most fleets have a harder time at it than the ISA has defeating their opponents. You can argue all you want about changing tactics, but when a single fleet has a counter to almost all opposing tactics, it comes across as having no weaknesses to speak of. *That* is what makes games unenjoyable. I'm not saying I don't like the challenge of playing against the ISA or any other such fleet, I do. But from what I've seen of them, I do think they are unfair to a larger group of opponents than any other force in the game. Some may say that they should have these advantages based on the show. For me I say those advantages should stay in the show and are not necessarily appropriate in a game setting.
dag'karlove wrote:Ok Time for a Question for you to think about as im out to Smash up some of David an la shoks Vorlons, " If the Iranian Navy and the US navy went at it would that be balanced?" or what about was it balanced when the russians went after the germans in WW2 after the americans and Brits and Fench went ater Germany ona western Front?"
Those situations are an inappropriate comparison. In real life everyone wants and trys to attain an advantage over their enemies. Doing so ultimately saves lives which is a good thing. In a game, however, such concerns are inappropriate because the goal is for *both* players to have fun. They each do so by believing when they start the game that they have a chance of winning if they make the right choices and fortune goes their way. That has no resemblance to a USN vs IN conflict since I have no doubts the Iranians know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they cannot win such a fight. They may inflict damage, but ultimately they would lose and they know it. Such an attitude cannot exist on the gaming table, otherwise no one would play the game at all since it would be no fun. Ultimately the most important tenet of any game is that given relatively equal conditions, in this case fleet rules, average dice rolls, etc., each player has the same chance of winning as their opponent and what determines the outcome is not how good your rules are, but how well you use them. This is the essence of competition and why unbalanced rules do not make for enjoyable experiences for either player (usually. There are some who like to win for winning's sake regardless).

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Postby Triggy » Sat May 03, 2008 7:44 am

dag'karlove - the US vs Iran navy question is showing where your misconception is coming from and I believed I answered it with the Minbari vs EA example - if a Minbari fleet of a dozen typical ships (at War PL) came along and faced a dozen typical ships from an Early Years EA fleet (at Raid PL) then the EA would get stomped every time. In the US vs Iran example, the US ships are better (higher PL) than the Iranian ships.

In the game you don't generally play unbalanced scenarios. Sure you can but weaker fleets are balanced out by their ships being at lower PLs therefore they can take more of them. In a "real" engagement they wouldn't take more of them but in the game they get to do so to balance up the odds of who wins.

As for the issue of whether ISA or Minbari are overpowered this comes down to subjective opinions. Personally I believe that the Minbari ships are fair for the PLs they are at (a common view, even if people don't find Stealth fun) and that ISA ships are in general maybe a little too good (a more debatable opinion). Except for a couple of specific ships, most of the other fleets are pretty fair except for the Abbai and the Raiders being a little too weak.
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Postby katadder » Sat May 03, 2008 11:29 am

feel free to do games like the show though, theres nothing stopping you doing that.
so you could have multiple minbari sharlins taking on hyperions/novas
or loads of shadow ships taking on a few G'quans.

its all possible within the game, it just wouldnt be balanced, as it isnt in the show.
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Postby armbarred » Sat May 03, 2008 2:37 pm

Why are we comparing ship stats v. ship stats?

aCtA has always been about fleet v. fleet.

I think with the recent changes to Gaim, who I hope to field this week, that all the fleets have the capability to win against almost everyone else. Yes some fleets are weak in certain levels, but that's good. I like that we aren't playing a cookie cutter game.

My ISA, Psi Corps, EA, and now LoNW fleets are all varied and have some weaknesses my opponents can exploit. But then I also try to exploit their weaknesses.

Is a fleet of all Demos' going to beat pretty much anything out there? Probably, at least until I can get behind them.

I like that there are holes in an army that make them appear to be unbalanced, it gives me something to focus on to try to get around.
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Postby l33tpenguin » Sat May 03, 2008 7:01 pm

Yup, in real life, just because the US can field several full carrier groups (with fighters) and park them in the Persian gulf, does not mean the Iranians get to put out a matching force.

If things were 'real' in ACTA, each player would be fielding a representitive force of their race's military. So, the Minbari get 30 WC to put against a dozen random Earth ships. Or the ISA gets 300 white stars to throw against a couple handfuls of Centauri vessels. Or, you could have a random mixing of all the races inbetween a force of several thousand Shaodw vessels and several thousand Vorlon cruisers.
armbarred wrote:Why are we comparing ship stats v. ship stats?

aCtA has always been about fleet v. fleet.
Because there are some broken ships. Some that you can field in a fleet that give an unfair advantage for the PL that they are avaliable at.
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Postby Tank » Sat May 03, 2008 10:25 pm

Well the Minbari did field 27 Sharlins against 1 Olympus and 1 flight of fighters.

the Minbari ship of choice being the Sharlin should be used in every game if we just go on the show.
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Postby cthol24601 » Sat May 03, 2008 11:54 pm

I think its fairly balanced if you consider the easy response in the game of early EA vs the Minbari is to swarm a horde of little ships against a few Minbari. Indeed the Minbari have trouble fielding lower level ships in numbers compared to the EA. If you think about the series the most intelligent thing the EA could have done is isolate an ambush Sharlin's here and there with hordes (much like Sheridan did with mines) and off set technology and expensiveness with dirty tricks and swarms and play guerilla asymmetrical warfare. If you think about the Iran/US example the most successful scenario for the Iranians in almost every simulation you comes across is to offset the US technological and fire power edge with swarms of torpedo boats and cruise missiles. If you assume that non scenario games are a reflection of engagements it would make sense for the EA to pick and choose their battles to ones where they can hit a big ship and a few escorts with hordes. I think it would be best looking at the whole fleet in terms of balance what a Orestes battle ship is worth to the EA as a whole than simply comparing stats between a Sharlin and an equivalent EA vessel.

There are also plenty of ships that 1 on 1 don't look crash hot but do fulfill a great niche in the fleet in tandem with other vessels available. I find Ochiliavatas, for example, look awful compared to a Demos but a nice pentacon with a Tikrit and 4 Ochliavatas in escort in a battle level games has been just a terror on the battlefield acting as a fast heavy hitting flank runner and is worth much more than its PL suggests.

Further to that I would add though that the Gaim seem to have far to many fighters for balancing in our games at any level so I think work needs to be done there but overall we've had no real issues.
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Postby Taran » Sun May 04, 2008 12:32 am

Of course, the problem with that idea, cthol, is that, as far as I can tell, the EA still had fewer ships in total than did the Minbari. So they lost out in numbers as well...

Of course, that doesn't mean that it wouldn't work in the game...
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Postby cthol24601 » Sun May 04, 2008 12:35 am

Well overall yes but in the game we are talking about isolated engagements. Even the Germans could get localised superior numbers against the Russians at that level despite vastly inferior manpower. Ditto for the Confederates against the Union.
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Postby l33tpenguin » Sun May 04, 2008 12:42 am

cthol24601 wrote:I think its fairly balanced if you consider the easy response in the game of early EA vs the Minbari is to swarm a horde of little ships against a few Minbari. Indeed the Minbari have trouble fielding lower level ships in numbers compared to the EA. If you think about the series the most intelligent thing the EA could have done is isolate an ambush Sharlin's here and there with hordes (much like Sheridan did with mines) and off set technology and expensiveness with dirty tricks and swarms and play guerilla asymmetrical warfare. If you think about the Iran/US example the most successful scenario for the Iranians in almost every simulation you comes across is to offset the US technological and fire power edge with swarms of torpedo boats and cruise missiles. If you assume that non scenario games are a reflection of engagements it would make sense for the EA to pick and choose their battles to ones where they can hit a big ship and a few escorts with hordes. I think it would be best looking at the whole fleet in terms of balance what a Orestes battle ship is worth to the EA as a whole than simply comparing stats between a Sharlin and an equivalent EA vessel.

There are also plenty of ships that 1 on 1 don't look crash hot but do fulfill a great niche in the fleet in tandem with other vessels available. I find Ochiliavatas, for example, look awful compared to a Demos but a nice pentacon with a Tikrit and 4 Ochliavatas in escort in a battle level games has been just a terror on the battlefield acting as a fast heavy hitting flank runner and is worth much more than its PL suggests.

Further to that I would add though that the Gaim seem to have far to many fighters for balancing in our games at any level so I think work needs to be done there but overall we've had no real issues.
In reality, technology will overcome numbers almost any day of the week. One man with an automatic rifle will decimate legions of swordsmen. What's worse is a technologically superior force almost 9 times out of 10 has the numerical advantage as well. Taking the United States as an example, the US military can effectively stand up a sizable fighting force anywhere in the world in a matter of 48-72 hours. There isn't any other country in the world has the mobile capability and global reach that the US military does in regards to overall force response to a situation. In reality, a multitude of Iranian PT boats would be quickly decimated were they seen advancing upon a US carrier group. U.S. anti missile technology is also fair sufficient at dealing with most anything any country can throw at it. Phalanx are cool…but I mean, what's not to love about something that can fire 20mm rounds at 4.5k a minute…

The issue with On screen vs. game balance is on screen there really isn't… There are few instances on screen of two fleets on equal footing. Earth Force could not respond to the Minbari. The Minbari out numbered them and out gunned them. CONSIDERABLY. There were no instances of 'hordes of small earth ships finding single minbari ships' to fight. The Black Star was destroyed because they were arrogant. 'Oh, looky, some left over earthers for us to pick apart' and Boom, dead ship. Other than that, the Minbari forces always had the advantage in numbers.

So, the game, balance not so bad. An accurate representation to the show? Not so much so. You would have to have a point multiplier for each race. Such as, any game with Minbari, the Mibari get 5x the points to spend on ships vs. EA.
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Postby cthol24601 » Sun May 04, 2008 12:56 am

I didn't say they would win though I find official US commentary on their military tends to overstate things which are more circumspect in practice but whilst I was saying we didn't see that kind of ambush in the series realistically it would be the only thing the EA could do aka Sheriden or what you get in Vietnam, Iraq, Somalia and Afghanistan. Even with the extreme example of swords and shields vs guns you site (which is quite different to say that of the US vs the Soviets or Chinese or Union vs Confederacy also the Soviets vs the Germans is an example of a high tech army defeated by a much lower level of technology and training) there were examples where, albeit at a high cost, modern armies have been defeated by indigenous peoples with primitive tech. This is not making a comment about a war but that in a [i][i]single isolated engagement[/i][/i] there are reasons we can legitimately experiment with a situation in which the battle lines are more evenly drawn. Essentially in the game we are playing out something like Isandlawa, Black hawk Down or Sharpsburg.

That being said we don't see balanced battles in the series at all but balanced battles are very rare in military history in any case. All competitive gaming requires a situational set up, how ever unlikely, of relatively balanced forces even though it rarely happens in fiction or real life and no General willing goes in for a even match up if he/she can avoid it
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Postby nekomata fuyu » Sun May 04, 2008 7:44 am

One thing to remember is that ACTA doesn't aim to represent all the battles out there - it concentrates on the ones which would be fun (and therefore balanced). Sure, there'll also be plenty of battles in which one side completely outclasses and/or outnumbers the other, but they wouldn't be anywhere near as interesting to play without specialist victory conditions. As such, ACTA doesn't waste anywhere near as much time trying to run them.
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Postby Da Boss » Sun May 04, 2008 9:00 am

Also remember that most ships are "plot powered" they have exactly how much firepower etc that the plot demands and are often not consistant.................. :) (which applies to pretty much all shows etc)

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