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Finally Decided on Starship Rules


Sergeant_Crunch
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And the winner is....Starmada.

 

I tried to like Full Thrust, but just couldn't get into it. I have Federation Commander, but it's not streamlined enough for me, and limited to one setting (albeit one that I like).

 

Why Starmada, well:

- I really prefer their ship construction rules compared to FT

- easy to understand rules (especially compared to FedCom, I can only imagine what SFB is like)

- They just released an expansion with a license from ADB to do the SFU ships in Starmada, so I can get my saucer and nacelle fix in

- Not as many damage boxes to cross off on the ship displays, even for the big ones

 

Now to stat up my other ships and some Star Wars stuff....

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can you give me a quick run through of differences between Starmada and FT that made you pick Starmada?

 

I've played FT and liked it, but thought it sad that I didn't get to field LARGE fleets. I then tried "A Sky Full of Ships" which is heavily inspired by FT, and plays a lot faster. But I'd kinda like to go even bigger. You mention less damage boxes, does that mean it's faster and supports bigger fleets? Is Starmada the game for me perhaps?

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I like the design system better. Rather than pick from a set list of weapons, you pick a name and set stats that achieve the effect you want the weapon to have.

 

Ships do have less damage boxes, however, the combat mechanic requires a number of rolls to establish damage effects. Namely: roll to hit, roll to overcome defenses, roll to determine what gets damaged, and if you score a weapon hit, roll to determine which weapon is hit. I'm figuring that this will end up like Battletech, where while it is intensive in terms of roll iterations it goes faster the more used to it you get. Another thing I plan to try is that since damage doesn't take effect until the end phase of the turn, just keeping track of the number of damage rolls that need to be made that turn and rolling damage then. Now, less damage boxes may be a bit of a misnomer, the Hull, Engines, and Shields each have their own damage tracks, but only the hull track needs to be depleted to destroy the ship. Damage in the other tracks reduces the efficiency of the engines or shields. I like that. Looking at designs people have posted, heavy cruisers tend to have from 9 to 12 damage boxes for their hull.

 

The rules were easier for me to understand, and hopefully explain to my wife. We play infrequently so often times the games need to be re-explained each time.

 

What really tipped my hand though was the release of the Klingon Armada expansion for the game. It's done under license from Amarillo Design Bureau for porting SFU ships into Starmada. I've tried playing Federation Commander, and to be honest it doesn't lend itself well to re-explaining. So once I get that expansion I'll get my Trek fix in.

 

You can download a free demo version from their site, basically it's the core rules without the construction or optional rules.

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Another thing I plan to try is that since damage doesn't take effect until the end phase of the turn, just keeping track of the number of damage rolls that need to be made that turn and rolling damage then.

 

 

One thing I do for that is when damage is rolled during the round I put one diagonal line through the box. At the end of the turn I go through all my sheets real quick and change that one line to an X. It eliminates having to remember if damage was done this turn or last or when.

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using Starmada for LARGE fleet scale engagements, while doable, is not the best use of the game engine. We've done battles of a dozen per side...this took about 3-4 hours to get through 3 turns. Granted I was teaching new players which increased the time per turn. However, in those three turns Side A suffered damage to 1/3 of their ships and lost 2. Side B took damage to 90% of their ships, losing 60% of them by the end of turn three.

 

Damage tends to accumulate to decisive effect a bit faster than FT and as Sgt. Crunch noted, the design system for ships, weapons, and small craft (fighters, missiles, drones, etc) is of significantly greater versatility than FT. The movement system is the only real stumbling point with some folks though options are given that allow for either psuedo-vector or cinematic movement.

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I did a test battle using the demo rules and stat cards from the mj12, and really liked it. I had a cruise alpha-strike a frigate at its maximum range, so I'm thinking it can be pretty fast. My initial feeling is that this game has more tactics than FT. I like FT but always felt ship positioning almost didn't matter because of the lack of AOE weaponry and ship movement vs. weapon range ratio encouraged me to bring a few powerful ships, place them in a pile and blast away at extreme range.

 

With Starmade AE (at least the ship stats I've seen) the ship movement vs. weapon range ratio is much better, encouraging maneuvering.

 

Regarding battle scale I suspect the problem is my expectations. What I want are huge battles as seen in my favorite movies/shows, but looking at it realistically that probably can't be achieved without abstracting away most of the "space battle" feel. But hey Starmada feels like I'd be able to play games with twice as many ships in them as I'm able to do with FT. So that's at least good.

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Regarding battle scale I suspect the problem is my expectations. What I want are huge battles as seen in my favorite movies/shows, but looking at it realistically that probably can't be achieved without abstracting away most of the "space battle" feel.

 

 

Have you looked at GOBS? It's supposed to be able to handle really big battles. I haven't played it personally, but it's something to look at.

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I just heard news of a new set of spaceship combat rules called Firestorm Armada by Tor Games. THe rules and miniatures are evidently not even out yet so I can't comment on how well the game plays, but the minis do look nice. Four different races, each with a distinctly different "look". They are starting out with four different ship classes for each race (BB, CV, CA, FF) although I don't know if they intend to expand on that latter or not.

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