Is ACTA SF a good analog for SFB or FC?

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Nerroth
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Re: Is ACTA SF a good analog for SFB or FC?

Postby Nerroth » Wed Oct 16, 2013 11:21 pm

I imagine the front shield rule as being more suitable for the Middle Years Klingons (and Kestrels), personally, where the aft shielding was more vulnerable than seen in the refitted ships (and wartime hulls) in the main time period. In FC, rather than show a series of refits on the same SSD, Middle Years and Main Era (General War) hulls are split into different Ship Cards, intended for use in different "eras".

If it helps, there is an array of low-toner versions of the Ship Cards used for the initial wave of ship conversions into ACtA:SF over here. (Most empires were given a Shield score based on their #2 shield facing on the Squadron Scale Ship Cards. I'm not quite sure what the case was for the Klingons and Kestrels, but the "regular" shield numbers were lowered in order to make room for the front shield rule. Had said rule not been implemented, the D7 would likely have a Shield score of 22 instead.)

Which touches on a broader point: FC, rather than SFB, is/was the primary reference used here, as is the case for the Star Fleet adaptation of Starmada. The non-monster units from the first four FC modules (plus associated booster packs) were converted and published in the first two Starmada books; while all four were done in one go for ACtA:SF book 1.

This has a factor in what weapons are absent, and which have more pruned options relative to SFB. For example, photon torpedoes in FC have no proximity setting, so neither do they have them in Starmada or ACtA:SF either. Similarly, things like pseudo plasma, scatterpacks, wild weasels, T-bombs, and so forth were kept out of FC, and thus are absent here and in Starmada also.

I would imagine that future additions may at least try to go with the FC take on things first, and only try to "skip over" to SFB if the first option doesn't work. (ESGs, PPDs, PA panels, and other expansion book fodder might be good examples of this if/when their respective times come to be formally worked on.)



One thought - if Agile were to go away, would re-scaling the conversion from FC Turn Modes to ACtA Turn scores be an option?

For example, if Turn Mode D was kept as equivalent to Turn: 6, perhaps Turn Mode C could go to Turn: 5, B to 4, A to 3, and AA to 2? (In the absence of Agile, the only real difference would be the number assigned to Turn Mode C.)

That would allow for a more gradual range, but still offer benefits to those ships with improved Turn scores.
The above post is 100% unofficial.
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Re: Is ACTA SF a good analog for SFB or FC?

Postby storeylf » Wed Oct 16, 2013 11:35 pm

Klingons didn't have better front shields than others. The early klingon ships did have extremely weak rear shields. Relatively speaking that meant they had much stronger front shields than their own rear. I think that is what they are trying to recreate. I like the rule on what would be the older ships (D6, D7, F5 etc) but not on the newer ships. Although those ships are meant to be the refitted newer versions in ACTA, but I like my nostalgia.

The rule doesn't make the older klingons that much more difficult to deal with - between rounding, leaks and shield crits they are quite a bit less than the double strength (which is what some refer to them as) and they have lower shields to start with. Feds don't really care for how strong someone's shields are, it is leaky photons that kill ships with them not whittling down shields.
Gorn's don't care much, they have so much firepower that they crush the klingons anyway.

I don't remember 'sabre dance' having anything to do with better front shields. At least in FC it is about avoiding photon overloads and using longer range disrupters.
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Re: Is ACTA SF a good analog for SFB or FC?

Postby Nerroth » Wed Oct 16, 2013 11:43 pm

storeylf wrote:Klingons didn't have better front shields than others. The early klingon ships did have extremely weak rear shields. Relatively speaking that meant they had much stronger front shields than their own rear. I think that is what they are trying to recreate. I like the rule on what would be the older ships (D6, D7, F5 etc) but not on the newer ships. Although those ships are meant to be the refitted newer versions in ACTA, but I like my nostalgia.
Perhaps the difference could be split by ignoring the front shield rule (and listing the "regular" Shield score) for the refitted Main Era hulls, but incorporating some sort of weak aft shield rule into pre-refit hulls based on the ships in FC: Briefing #2?

Perhaps in that case, rather double the protection in the F arc, halve it in the A arc instead on pre-refit Klingon (and, in the future, Lyran) hulls.

That would help make the Middle Years more distinct in ACtA:SF terms if the time ever comes to offer that setting as an option (akin to how Victory at Sea has both the World War 2 and "age of dreadnoughts" setting options).
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Re: Is ACTA SF a good analog for SFB or FC?

Postby Iain McGhee » Thu Oct 17, 2013 6:28 am

carbon_dragon wrote: As it stands now the Klingons are pretty much unbeatable.
I've played a lot more than 2 games as or against them , and I'd have to disagree :) For one thing, ACTA is a fleet scale game. one on one matches doesn't really work. 8+ per side is more common. With those sort of numbers, it's not that hard to get flank shots in if you make best use of the alternating move system. I've found Feds and Klingons to be about even so far, most Klingon ships suffer more from critical effects in comparison and are hampered much more than Feds if put on the defensive.
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Re: Is ACTA SF a good analog for SFB or FC?

Postby Greg Smith » Thu Oct 17, 2013 6:42 am

Iain McGhee wrote: I've played a lot more than 2 games as or against them , and I'd have to disagree :) For one thing, ACTA is a fleet scale game. one on one matches doesn't really work. 8+ per side is more common. With those sort of numbers, it's not that hard to get flank shots in if you make best use of the alternating move system. I've found Feds and Klingons to be about even so far, most Klingon ships suffer more from critical effects in comparison and are hampered much more than Feds if put on the defensive.
This is definitely how I find Fed vs Klingon games play out.

Personally, I find Federation vs Klingon to be the most enjoyable games.
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Re: Is ACTA SF a good analog for SFB or FC?

Postby Reynard » Thu Oct 17, 2013 10:58 am

For all those people wondering if they should buy and play this game, go right ahead! It plays fine the way it is with the small errata published. Remember, the majority who love the game usually don't post as such. If you're a Star Trek fan and want a simple combat game, you can't do better with only 23 pages of core rules plus campaign and scenario ideas.
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Re: Is ACTA SF a good analog for SFB or FC?

Postby mdauben » Thu Oct 17, 2013 2:10 pm

Reynard wrote:For all those people wondering if they should buy and play this game, go right ahead! It plays fine the way it is with the small errata published. Remember, the majority who love the game usually don't post as such. If you're a Star Trek fan and want a simple combat game, you can't do better with only 23 pages of core rules plus campaign and scenario ideas.
+1

Well said, Raynard. :wink:
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Re: Is ACTA SF a good analog for SFB or FC?

Postby Loki1965 » Thu Oct 17, 2013 2:20 pm

Reynard wrote:For all those people wondering if they should buy and play this game, go right ahead! It plays fine the way it is with the small errata published. Remember, the majority who love the game usually don't post as such. If you're a Star Trek fan and want a simple combat game, you can't do better with only 23 pages of core rules plus campaign and scenario ideas.
Got to agree with Reynard.

The game is fun to play, fast and easy to learn. Fleet battles are over in a few hours (quicker than FC, never mind SFB). The models are good too.

As an SFB player who started playing over 25 years ago I find the rules different from SFB (and sometimes my expectations have got in the way of my understanding the rules) but a good "fleet level" analog.

That's not to say that I would object if a few things were to be changed :D , but I can easily live with the rules as they are and wait for the designers of the respective base games (Matt and Steve) to work out what really needs changing and exactly how to change it.If they decide "no changes" then that's OK and I will continue to play and enjoy the game.

In the meantime I will wait for the next releases of models / empires so my Romulans have more things to blow up / be blown up by. :lol:
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Re: Is ACTA SF a good analog for SFB or FC?

Postby Stu-- » Thu Oct 17, 2013 6:25 pm

If you're a Star Trek fan and want a simple combat game
...then you probably already bought 'Attack Wing' to sit next to your existing X-wing fighters for the same game system. And guess what? It's in every game store in the whole world.
ACTA lost out big on that one.
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Re: Is ACTA SF a good analog for SFB or FC?

Postby Reynard » Thu Oct 17, 2013 9:44 pm

My local store has Attack Wing. I have yet to buy it let alone buy the minis for use with ACTA:SF. Only the Klingon D7 and the Reliant make any sense for ACAT because the others have no comparison in SFU while the HALF-SIZED Enterprise is just so wrong. Not sure but I'm balking at the $15 per ship price. I'll stick with what I have both minis and game rules.

Loki, I've played SFB and have the original games in baggies. Still love SFB but I like ACTA:SF for it's ease of play. I don't mind a 2nd Ed with minor changes. What I don't need is a version revised and expanded as so many on this forum are demanding. That's what happened to SFB and look how bloated and micro-detailed it became. I would also love an advanced expansion with OPTIONAL rules, more ships and new campaign and scenario designs. A slim beginner book brings them in and expansions allows choice.
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Re: Is ACTA SF a good analog for SFB or FC?

Postby scoutdad » Fri Oct 18, 2013 12:15 am

Late to the party, but I have to throw my two cents worth in here.

After having played several hundred... yes, I said several hundred... games, I feel that the system [for the most part] works as intended.

As pointed out by Gary - the game is not a "re-creation" of either SFB or Fed Comm, but is an extension of... It attempts to recreate the feel of the Star Fleet Universe within the framework of the ACTA game engine, not mold the ACTA engine to the SFB system. In that respect, it does a good job. Could it be better... sure, but then again - almost any game can be improved after its had 2 years of open market testing!. And with more playing and support, we'll eventually get the final tweaks approved and get a revised rulebook.

And as pointed out by both Iain and Charles - ACTASF is a FLEET game!.
I have played 1-on-1 games, 2-on-2 games, and 3-on-3 games to help teach the basics to newcomers. And at that level, the system does break down. A few lucky rolls against a few unlucky rolls and the balance shifts beyond recovery. When I do these "demos", I usually set a 30 minute time limit. At that point, they are familiar enough with the rules to play a game, so we stop, reset with more ships, and go again.
I've also played games as large as 30-on-30... which have their own issues - but are still playable.
ACTASF works best in the 6 to 12 ship a side range. And at that level, the agility benefits of the Klingons, the reload requirements of the Feds, the Cloaking penalties of the Romulans, the Drone loads of the Kzinti all balance out.
At this level, it's hard to keep your opponent from getting that crucial flank shot... there are always photons ready to fire... someone can always target some of the incoming drones... etc.
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Re: Is ACTA SF a good analog for SFB or FC?

Postby kyrolon » Fri Oct 18, 2013 6:53 am

Our games are exactly in that 6-12 ship range. Here's what happens. The Feds split so some get flank shots. If they stay close (within say 12" of one another) the Klingons back out of the vise. If they stay farther apart the Klingons turn into one group and overwhelm it. End result, the Feds take about twice as much damage in either case. The only thing that saves them is rolling sixes. That is the only fed strategy. Roll sixes. There is no such thing as group drone defense. Even if everyone goes on IDF only half make the roll, and that precludes any other special order. End result...lots of drone hits.

I am sorry, but if you get 50/50 splits in fed vs Klingon games someone is doing something wrong. We have tried switching sides as well. It's not a player problem, it's a rule problem. In our last batrep we had half of a Fed fleet taking shots at 2 C7s on the flank and rear. It still took 3 turns or so to almost take them down. In the meantime the Feds lost six ships! Long range phaser 1 vs long range Disruptors is no contest. Disruptors win every time especially when the Klingons can still do special orders while the Feds either IDF or reload Photons.

is this SFB? No. That's why we actually have time to play it. Does it feel like SFB? Not yet. It is close though. THat's why we need an update, and the other core races at least. Until all the basic things from the SFU exist it isn't the SFU. Yes that includes fighters.
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Re: Is ACTA SF a good analog for SFB or FC?

Postby Stuuk » Fri Oct 18, 2013 8:22 am

The biggie for me with this game is drones. I kind of like the way starmada did it, but i can also see the rationale for direct fire. Problem is right now they are clunky to use and they cause a LOT of extra work to use, just the record keeping of what fired at drones so what's still available to fire adds extra complexity to the game that really doesn't need to be there.

I am still hopeful that this game will be fixed eventually, but I am still spending the money I had for this on attack wing now. Why? Because it works, there aren't big holes in the rules and it's fun to play.
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Re: Is ACTA SF a good analog for SFB or FC?

Postby Loki1965 » Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:16 am

I saw Attack wing being demonstrated - it's not the game for me.

The models are over-priced, particularly the Enterprise and other small ships, the game involved characters (Riker, Picard etc) and it's not suitable for fleet actions.

Depending on the number of ships involved and the time available then I tend to use
SFB 1-6 ships;
FC 2-8;
CTA:SF 5+.
I know there are plenty of overlaps in the above list but as I said it depends on the time available too.


As far as I can see Attack wing would fit into the SFB slot so I will stick with SFB

Reynard; happy to say I agree with you on what you want to see for the game. If you have SFB in baggies you remember the endless round of rules changes pre-domesday, nobody in their right mind would want that.

I think scoutdad has the put his finger on it:

"Could it be better... sure, but then again - almost any game can be improved after its had 2 years of open market testing!. And with more playing and support, we'll eventually get the final tweaks approved and get a revised rulebook."
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Re: Is ACTA SF a good analog for SFB or FC?

Postby Iain McGhee » Fri Oct 18, 2013 10:39 am

kyrolon wrote: I am sorry, but if you get 50/50 splits in fed vs Klingon games someone is doing something wrong.
I am sorry, but if the Feds are consistently losing, they're the ones doing something wrong :)

One thing we did pick up on quite quickly (as Feddie bears) was that they can afford to go "fangs out" early on, instead of bunching up defensively like a lot of folk seem to do, and destroy or cripple as many of the smaller Klingon ships as they can. Of course, that won't work if you're facing a fleet of C7s or C8s or something equally cheesy.
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Re: Is ACTA SF a good analog for SFB or FC?

Postby Loki1965 » Fri Oct 18, 2013 11:35 am

In most of the games I have played we have used the fleet composition rules; before they were published i used my SFB knowledge to decide "what was reasonable". I have no major issues with the rules.

It might be interesting to know how many people who think that this race or that race is broken fight using these rules. Using "historical" fleets might result in some of the problems people have being ironed out.

It may not, but I think it might be interesting to see if there is a link (either way) between "historical" fleets and issues with the rules/fleets.
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Re: Is ACTA SF a good analog for SFB or FC?

Postby kyrolon » Fri Oct 18, 2013 3:53 pm

Iain McGhee wrote:
kyrolon wrote: I am sorry, but if you get 50/50 splits in fed vs Klingon games someone is doing something wrong.
I am sorry, but if the Feds are consistently losing, they're the ones doing something wrong :)

One thing we did pick up on quite quickly (as Feddie bears) was that they can afford to go "fangs out" early on, instead of bunching up defensively like a lot of folk seem to do, and destroy or cripple as many of the smaller Klingon ships as they can. Of course, that won't work if you're facing a fleet of C7s or C8s or something equally cheesy.
So if you don't bunch up how do you live through the wave of drones and or have any offensive punch left? I've found that with a typical four phaser 1's pointed at the target you end up with none left to fire offensively for about 1/3 of your fleet. Then factor in long range, and the fact that the Klingon might be at prime disruptor range, and you take twice as much damage as they do. How do you handle that exchange rate? I would propose that your Klingon players eventually make a mistake. That's the way we have beaten Klingons and Kestrels. The one playing them has to make an error and play the fed player's game.

Or, it could be my dice hate me because I have NEVER killed anything with photons. I rarely hit with more than one. :)

I'd rather replace the photons with Ph-1s at this point.
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Re: Is ACTA SF a good analog for SFB or FC?

Postby Iain McGhee » Fri Oct 18, 2013 7:03 pm

Drone counter-drone fire (and ADD if they must for at least a few turns) as well as their ph-3 and tractors can usually handle the half dozen drones or less that you'd typically face with the control limit rule, the only time you really need to worry is if three ships with 4 AD racks target the same ship (and if you're using the optional fleet doctrine rules that'll rarely happen against Klingons). And then you can use ph-1 if you really have to. The few slipping through won't usually do much. And outside of phaser-1 range, few will be hitting you anyway (freaky dice rolls notwithstanding).
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Re: Is ACTA SF a good analog for SFB or FC?

Postby kyrolon » Fri Oct 18, 2013 8:33 pm

Our Klingons usually take a C8 and a C7. Add in a single D hull all firing at the same target and you have to deal with 12 drones. Now, the Add usually lasts through 2 of those leaving you with no drones of your own (thanks to the lousy G-rack rule) the final batch Usually the C8 requires all of you phaser power. Next turn you don't have any ADDs. There goes all the firepower and you still take 4-6 d6 hits. There goes your FFB, or DW. Add in the disruptor fire at that or a different target and while you are doing 6-8 pts of shield damage and maybe an internal (thanks to a 6) you take crippling damage on a target.

At least that's been my experience.

See the Zeta Epsilon batrep for an example of how the feds in large games have a choice between fighting and dying or just not fighting and dying more slowly.

Our Klingon players are canny. They sit at that nice range where PH-1s are at long range and Disr are at prime range (9-12").

The absurd maneuverability they have been granted along with the initiative bonus lets them do so.
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Re: Is ACTA SF a good analog for SFB or FC?

Postby billclo » Fri Oct 18, 2013 11:38 pm

kyrolon wrote: Our Klingon players are canny. They sit at that nice range where PH-1s are at long range and Disr are at prime range (9-12").

The absurd maneuverability they have been granted along with the initiative bonus lets them do so.
Can you try and see what would happen if all of a sudden Agile is not there? Just as an experiment? I don't have any opportunities to play in the near future to try that idea out.

Would be an easier fix than dropping the Klingon's front shield rule and coming up with new shield strengths.

I've done okay vs Klingon drones in general; they rarely hit my Feds. Instead they tie up your drones and or phasers as they are intended to.

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