Is Star Fleet Battles officially dead?

Discussion in 'Trek Gaming' started by ChallengerHK, May 6, 2019.

  1. Sgt_G

    Sgt_G Commodore Commodore

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    It's only $10 to enter the tournament, and ALL of the fess will be distributed back as prize money.

    I've seen events where the sponsor keeps half the money.....
     
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  2. ChallengerHK

    ChallengerHK Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I'm not arguing with the cost. I just don't think it addresses the root cause of the problem. The addresses the problem of the players not having an incentive to play, but the problem, as I see it, and said above, is that life gets in the way. I'd guess that everyone who signs up wants to play.
     
  3. Sgt_G

    Sgt_G Commodore Commodore

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    I'm just pointing out that, in all your ranting, you left out the two points above, leaving the impression that ADB is making a mint off the tournaments, when in fact they aren't making a penny.
     
  4. StarCruiser

    StarCruiser Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Houston, we have a problem...
    Except - maybe - increased sales? (Kinda the point of any tournament nowadays is promotion...)
     
  5. Sgt_G

    Sgt_G Commodore Commodore

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    Well, yeah, duh. Not the same thing, however.
     
  6. Rowenaster

    Rowenaster Ensign Newbie

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    Hey folks, while I'm new here, I did dabble a bit in SFB back in the day. Never owned any rulebooks, but I kept the handful of SSD's of the ships I flew. I was also involved with Ken Burnside's work, I'm credited as a playtester in his current rulebooks, so I'm willing to entertain questions about it here.

    The Ad Astra Games product you want for replicating the SFB experience is called Squadron Strike. Advanced Vector: Tactical, while the first game Ken produced, is meant for a somewhat lower tech-level universe; think 2001: A Space Odyssey extrapolated to include combat the way SFB extrapolated out from ST:TOS ;)

    As noted, the colored tiles under a ship mini are used to indicate altitude, parallel to the playing surface. A black tile indicates that your ship is considered to be underneath the playing surface (negative altitude). While combat is 3-dimensional, the color-coded game charts are crafted to do the mathematical heavy lifting for you, so you don't have to worry about Pythagorean Theorem and computing square roots off the top of your head. :D

    The one skill necessary for traditional wargamers to learn, in order to play SquadStrike, is "shooting a bearing", understanding where your ship is with respect to your enemy's ship. Once you do that, its fairly simple, using the ship's SSD, to figure out which shields you're getting hit on and which weapons of yours (if any) bear on the enemy.

    Ken Burnside has devised versions of several common SFB ships. One of his favorite convention demos is to have an assortment of SFB ships (Fed, Rom, Klingon, Gorn, etc.) go up against a Cylon Basestar (the six-pointed Ron D. Moore variety) and its dozens of fightercraft. Let me tell you, the Klingon waist phasers (P-2's) are even funkier in 3d than 2d!

    Squadron Strike Supports several different movement modes, named for the number of Newton's Laws they OBEY. Star Trek falls into the Mode One ("cinematic") category, because actual ship mass has little bearing on acceleration, and one's direction of travel magically adjusts to whatever direction the nose of the ship is pointed. New BSG (sexy Cylons in red dresses) and Babylon 5 are Mode Two ("semi-real"), which plays out kind of like skating on ice, but enables sideways strafing runs, and similar fun maneuvers. What is most astonishing is that different movement modes can coexist on the same playing field! While not having significant weaknesses or vulnerabilities with respect to each other!

    If you want Mode 3, full Newtonian Law compliance, that's when you switch to AV:T. In AV:T, burning propellant lightens your ship and eventually makes it more maneuverable. Insane levels of detail, yet still playable!

    Before the Axanar fan film got sued into near-oblivion by CBS, Ken was in negotiations with Alex Peters to build an Axanar setting for Squadron Strike. I playtested several of those ships, years ago, and am really bummed that they are likely to never see the light of day. There are no published settings for Trek, because CBS, for the most part you're on your own. But here is where the beauty of the Squadron Strike system lays...you get an Excel (or OpenOffice) Spreadsheet Of Doom (several megabytes, which is HUGE and COMPLICATED for a spreadsheet) where you can build the ships you want! You can be faithful to an existing universe or make your own!

    Complex as it is, SquadStrike is much more compact and understandable than SFB; it has the advantage of being built now from the ground up, not a system that has had bits and extensions and exceptions organically grafted on over a number of decades. It also doesn't have the "last month's rule-bending desperation maneuver equals next month's SOP" aspect of SFB tactics.
     
  7. ChallengerHK

    ChallengerHK Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    For some reason this never showed up for me until today.

    I'm definitely not ranting, although, this being online, readers are free to project. I'm trying to keep Steve Cole's dying game alive, but only because I enjoy playing it. Sorry if I gave the impression that they're making tons of money off the tournaments, but, frankly, I don't care in they do. I'm a committed capitalist, and so is Cole. It's probably the only thing we agree on.

    My overall point re: ADB is that they do little to nothing to support SFB. Debatably, they shouldn't. If it's not bringing in new people, it's probably time for it to go. Furthermore, there's enough material for it support playing it for a long time. Having said that, I give them a little credit for the new tournament system, but I don't think that's going to increase the shrinking player base. It will get them a little bit of publicity, but since it's all taking place online, it's largely only going to draw the people who are already part of the player base.

    Beyond that, I tried to get people interested in Squadron Strike as well. Ken sent me a list of local people interested in playing, but no one would take me up on a game. Part of that may have been the venue. The store where I was trying to set up the game (since closed down after only operating about a year) was not gamer friendly. This seems counter-intuitive for a game store, but there it is. Point is, I just don't see a large player base for this kind of game at all. I wish I could say differently.
     
  8. Kor

    Kor Admiral Admiral

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    If it's still officially in print, then it's not officially dead.

    Kor
     
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  9. ChallengerHK

    ChallengerHK Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    True, insofar as that can be true for something that's print on demand. I had thought about asking if it's a viable product, but that really gets at the same information. They get paid enough to print each copy, by definition.

    How's this: If there were no other product in the game universe, could the company survive on SFB?
     
  10. Sgt_G

    Sgt_G Commodore Commodore

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    They seem to be doing well enough. Steve Cole has an engineering degree and could be making a *bleep* ton of money doing something else, and probably would if this gig didn't pay the bills.
     
  11. ChallengerHK

    ChallengerHK Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    That doesn't really answer my question, but that's OK. As I've said previously, you respect him, while I think he's a waste of the air he breathes, so we're bound to disagree.