Fighting Ships

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alex_greene
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Fighting Ships

Postby alex_greene » Tue Apr 07, 2009 10:55 pm

Okay, this is a general outcall. Who has it yet? What do you think of it?

Hopefully, by this time tomorrow Fighting Ships may be one of three or four choices I will have to make as to what book I will be bringing home from my FLGS. The others are all White Wolf books and, with the exception of the Horror Recognition Guide at £14.95, the rest are all £23.00 - so, in the words of Highlander, "there can be only one."

Give me the good news, peeps. Tell me it's going to be the Traveller book ... and then tell me why.
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Postby Klaus Kipling » Wed Apr 08, 2009 12:17 am

£23! My Fighting Ships, bought today, was £15.

Only had a skim, but, to be honest, not that many ships, at least compared to the CT 'original'. The deckplans for the Tigress take up over a quarter of the book, for instance, although that is the largest vessel.

Some non-standard fighters, a destroyer, 4 cruisers (inc. AHL), 2 carriers, 3 dreadnoughts. Along with HG and T&G, there's enough ships for any task force. Would have liked to see some vessels in the 10,000ton range, though.
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Postby klingsor » Wed Apr 08, 2009 8:13 pm

An odd choice. I would have thought smaller ships, the sort you see on the frontier would have been more useful rather than a dreadnought. I cannot see PCs interacting much with a battlefleet after all!

Still I am sure you could find some use for them. A ship that size effectively becomes a dungeon in space.
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Postby BP » Wed Apr 08, 2009 8:29 pm

One could always explore a crashed one; crash one (via sabotage) :grin:; or have to escape the brig and locate a suitable means of transport away...
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Postby daryen » Wed Apr 08, 2009 8:58 pm

BP wrote:One could always explore a crashed one; crash one (via sabotage) :grin:; or have to escape the brig and locate a suitable means of transport away...
Yes, but to get away, are you going to send your psionic knight to turn off the tractor generator?
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Postby alex_greene » Thu Apr 09, 2009 4:43 am

I found myself discussing the merits of roleplaying as individuals on board one of those Tigress - class Christmas decorations. The image of two psionic knights duelling in one of the flight hangars with light sabres was a motif to which we kept on recurring, often with great hilarity.

Not so much interest in actually running a space combat with the ship, though ... mostly because in any such combat, the scenario pretty much can be summed up as follows:-

1. Roll initiative.

1a. If big ship wins initiative, go to 2a. Otherwise, go to 2b.

2a. Big ship boils small ships to vapour. Go to 3.

2b. Little ships launch everything they have. Big ship now has its turn. Go to 2a.

3. Big ship arrives in close orbit around planet, turns on primary weapon, boils home planet to vapour. Go to 4.

4. Darth Vader is Luke's father.
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Postby Alan Hume » Thu Apr 09, 2009 4:20 pm

I got my copy from my FLGS yesterday
yep,on first inspection I like it
I would have liked more small ships included as well though

glad I bought it though :D
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Postby captainjack23 » Thu Apr 09, 2009 5:52 pm

Just got mine, too (thanks Game Kastle).

Howsabout a quick review ? : Looks good ! Solid B+/A
A bit more detail please ?: Okay here's some impressions.

Overall, the level of detail is comprable to the original CT fighting ships, although (I think) less designs are included, and unlike the CT product, it has deckplans for all the ships. If you think deckplans are a complete waste of time, it'll have lots of wasted space for you.

I have not gone over the designs with any kind of toothed comb, so those kind of issues can't be included in this review; but I can say I'm very satisfied with it, and would reccomend it to most Traveller Refs, as well as most gearheads who like, or at least tolerate grudgingly (you know who you are ;) )the MGT way of things.

That is unsually.... terse..... of you, Captain:

Well, okay, since you asked, here we go !

The designs include some interesting new fighters that fill a couple of missing slots in the games TOE -also, at least three have rather good potential for player interaction (note: I probably will misremember the names, but it should be obvious):

The Ground assult ship (looks like the old xp thunderball ?) Could be an opponent, or a very useful insystem hauler if bought as surplus. In a military or merc campaign they could well have this as a landing boat.

Carrier support fighter As an encounter, and as a very useful auxilary if the players are scavengers, or conversely, as an opponent if the players are scavenging, possibly where they shouldn't (ya think ?) ;

The system defense fighter -this is a useful GM ship that gives the players somthing to avoid, but which could be fought off with most player size ships.

The Gyro fighter. This is a wonderfully quirky high tech military experiment. No doubt it'll offend someone for some observed shortcomings, but do remember:miliatry boondoggles and disasters are at least as common as the wunderweapons (for every T-34 there is a KV-2). And some of them get deployed regardless of sense or sensibility (cf the F-104 ).

There's the J-6 courier which may or may not work as a design -that got discussed already from the preview. I see it as another not quite successful design, but quite capable if deployed as a J5 courier with the understanding that the J6 capacity is for utter emergencies only. Or, one can upgrade the engines to +2 tech and use the saved space for powerplant fuel, OR add this to any library data:

"The ScX6 was produced by Quateroli Enterprises of Junction as the flagship of their new "pro-imperial line" . Unfortunately, due to production difficulties at the source it was unable to utilize the intended high performance Drake-Tallboy Rt2z-1104 M-drives . To meet deadlines, the design was approved for the available, but unfortunately larger, R337-1006 Juliana-Gotard drive (aka "chatterbox"), effectively reducing its range to J5. A planned refit of the design to J6 specifications has unfortunately been repeatedly tabled due to budgetary concerns" . Conway's Fighting Ships of the Third Imperium , 1108 edition

The 3K destroyer is a nice size ship quite capable of absolutely putting down almost any civilian ship you like, as well as all the nifty paramilitary (and pirate) ships and gunboats in T&G.

The Armored cruiser is a nice design, and also makes a good battleship for a smaller ship campaign; as does the light cruiser, which fills in for a star destroyer quite nicely in such campaigns. (check the art if you have any doubt)

The bigger ships are a good selection of capital class ships of the Carrier and Battleship types, as well as some hybrids like the Strike cruiser. The AHL is there, again making a god show as the upper sized capital ship in a medium ship campaign, but the mapping scale inherent in an 8x11 booklet precludes its original use: a venue of onship minis combat....for that, the original "box o' paper" Azanti will still be needed.

The Tigress.....well, heck I think its cool. Your mileage may vary. I have no real practical use for the big ship deckplans, other than as general coolness and ogling, but the official writeups are very useful. And there is always the possibility of an adventure in a mysteriously abandoned Plankewell or somesuch silliness. Plus, in a small ship universe, they make great "old empire" relics. One of my favorite foundation and empire stories is built around the political crisis that occurs when one of the Successor periphery states finds an intact fiirst empire destroyer that is bigger than whole fleets at that timeperiod.

It might have done with a few more ships between the destroyer and the Armored cruiser or AHL, but that's a minor issue. I don't like the art, but that's me, and in my dogheaded opinion, art is a fairly unimportant issue for most gaming products, as long as it doesn't actually make me heave -and this is quite competent art, and generally accurate to the deckplans, just in a style I dislike.

I cannot and will not comment on typos, editing and layout issues: life is too busy for me to worry much about such stuff right now.

So: probably a C-/C if you hate deckplans; a B+/A depending on how critical you feel sparseness in the midrange (10k-50k) ships is.

[Transmission ends].
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Postby lastbesthope » Sat Apr 11, 2009 10:31 pm

Picked a copy up today in my FLGS, I hadn't been planning to, was going to get it at the next Mongoose event, but I had a geekgasm when I saw all the lovely deck plans....... :lol:

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Postby GypsyComet » Sun Apr 12, 2009 5:23 pm

Picked it up on Saturday.

Interesting mix of ships.

Another few cases of the art and the ship it was next to having no apparent relation. Mostly at the small end of the book, in this case.

The Plankwell and the Tigress repeat the same problem seen in High Guard: the deck grid is fuzzy, and at 10 or 12 grid to the cm, it stops being a grid and becomes simply a grey shade. I suspect this is because your draftsperson is using a color for the deck grid instead of a line type.
PLEASE get this fixed, as it is now affecting dozens of pages across multiple books. A lot of work obviously went into these plans for it to be wasted on unreadability in the finished product.

Lightsaber battles in the landing bay? Pfft. I'm looking at the missile storage in the lower decks and thinking Metamorphosis Alpha...
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Postby BP » Sun Apr 12, 2009 9:51 pm

GypsyComet wrote:...The Plankwell and the Tigress repeat the same problem seen in High Guard: the deck grid is fuzzy, and at 10 or 12 grid to the cm, it stops being a grid and becomes simply a grey shade. I suspect this is because your draftsperson is using a color for the deck grid instead of a line type.
PLEASE get this fixed, as it is now affecting dozens of pages across multiple books. A lot of work obviously went into these plans for it to be wasted on unreadability in the finished product.
This is a problem with the text and lines too (in the deckplans). The illustrations suffer from this as well - but to a lesser degree due to their continuous tone nature...

The problems are more than likely in the printing raster - for Postscript (the most likely) - the default setscreen produces a very poor halftone spot pattern, and the linescreen used appears to be too low (probably due to paper texture) - this results in a very 'dotty', low-resolution grayscale appearance.

One relatively easy fix to obtain higher quality grays would be converting the deckplans to high-res (1:1 based on output resolution) dithered b/w bitmaps (free programs can do this with little effort). Then align them so that they start on integer output dot boundaries (position/dpi has no remainder) - very important or all would be double dithered.

[Note, while vector output is best for portability at any given resolution - when it comes to halftone outputs (and color spot as well), the vectors must be rasterized - doing this manually can actually create better output.]

Optimally, the screen functions in postscript can be tweaked (one time global operation - outside of the illustrations) - this requires a knowledgeable programmer and is best performed on a device/resolution specific basis.
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Postby Thlaylie » Thu Apr 16, 2009 9:12 am

I like the book, but agree about the art not matching up and the larger ship deckplan detail being fuzzy. Also deck 39 of the Tigress has a much larger font/ image than all the other deck pages.
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Postby Stainless » Thu Apr 16, 2009 9:54 am

MJD recently wrote that he thinks Mongoose is a publisher who happens to publish games. I'm afraid these types of issues (deck plan fuzzyness, lack of quality control) suggests to me that Mongoose is in fact a games company that happens to do publishing. Looks like they still need to enhance their skill set.
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Postby GamerDude » Fri Apr 17, 2009 3:42 pm

klingsor wrote:An odd choice. I would have thought smaller ships, the sort you see on the frontier would have been more useful rather than a dreadnought. I cannot see PCs interacting much with a battlefleet after all!

Still I am sure you could find some use for them. A ship that size effectively becomes a dungeon in space.
I concur. In fact when I saw many of the plans are totally useless for any type fo action involving PCs my reaction was "why bother?".

It's nice to have bunches of stats but the rest is like 'eh'.
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Postby Rikki Tikki Traveller » Fri Apr 17, 2009 3:48 pm

I am currently running a campaign where all of the PCs are young Navy and Marine officers. While I have not needed the deckplans yet, having them available is nice when I am trying to set the mood for the group.

Once ships get above a couple thousand tons though, deck plans are not as useful in most situations.
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Postby Ishvar » Mon Apr 20, 2009 12:35 pm

I am becoming tired of the very poor graphics and "Fighting ships" is especially poor. I don't care that much about the rules as I am not playing with the "official" Traveller rules and I am mainly buying the books :

- for the stats : I need them to convert the various things to the game system I use. But I have so many Traveller products that I could do without them.
- for the background : to the exception of the very good Spinward Marches, few background has been published so far.
- to have a feeling of the universe thanks to the various graphics... well, this edition is a total failure on this ground.
- to support Mongoose Publishing because they are publishing Traveller and I want more Traveller products. This is becoming the only reason why I am still buying new Traveller books.
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Postby AndrewW » Mon Apr 20, 2009 4:48 pm

Ishvar wrote:- for the background : to the exception of the very good Spinward Marches, few background has been published so far.
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Postby alex_greene » Mon Apr 20, 2009 5:13 pm

Well, I had to defer buying the book for the time being, due to my present severe budgetary constraints; nonetheless, hopefully I shall be rather more flush with cash at around the same time as Psion comes out, so I anticipate being able to land this book as well as Psion in the near future.
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Postby cbrunish » Mon Apr 27, 2009 8:24 pm

Just recieved my Fighting Ships this weekend. It actually is a pretty good product. I give it a B. But I'm not a fan of the ship plans for larger ships. I do enjoy the deck plans for smaller ships but I really don't need one for a Tigress class Dreadnaught. JMO.

And with High Guard, Traders and Gunboats, & Fighting Ships we now have basically all the ships from the original CT Fighting Ships.

One note, the Turret Wing Fighter, Gyro Class has to be the worst looking ship I have ever seen!!!!!!!!!! :shock:

Mongoose, keep up the good work!
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Postby kristof65 » Mon Apr 27, 2009 9:12 pm

Fighting ships is ok, but I'm becoming of the opinion that above a certain point, deckplans aren't needed for capital ships - unless these are gonig to later be offered as higher quality PDFs we can print out on a 25mm and/or 15mm scale.

IM0, Azhanti Class cruisers are probably the max for which deckplans are desirable in a product like Fighting ships. I'd actually make the upper limit 20 to 30ktons myself. Anything above that could be done with more of a schematic approach, and maybe large deckplans of a few key areas like hanger decks, brigs and control areas.

I'm also not impressed with whomever is doing the deckplans for some of these ships. FREX, the Tigress - there are several decks that are nothing but a central lift shaft, weapons around the outer hull, and lots of corridors connecting the two. I seriously doubt any true Naval Architect would design a ship that way - for many reasons, from internal ship security to structural concerns.

In the Tigress's case, that problem could have been avoided altogether by putting in 3-8 pages of basic ship layout schematics, and another 3-8 pages of more detailed deckplans of key areas. Overall, that would have halved, possibly even quartered the amount of space in the book dedicated to the Tigeress (30+ pages), and allowed another design or to to be included.

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