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Federation Commander: Klingon Border» Forums » General

Subject: How Complicated is this game? rss

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Cameron Loewen
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Coming from a background in euros and, more recently, "ameritrash", I'd really like to know how complicated this game is to learn and to play. Our playgroup has enjoyed the space sim aspect of the game Battlestations, but we've found boarding combat to be slightly too powerful and I can never get anyone else to run the missions. This game has an entertaining theme, isn't collectable, and is generally well recieved here on BGG.

I worry, however, about the complexity of this game. Although I've never played SFB, I hear horror stories about it's mind-bending complexity all the time. Is this a game that a person can be taught in under an hour? Are the mechanics straightforward, or are there many situational rule exceptions? For anyone who has played Battlestations, how complicated is the space combat in this game compared with that one?

It's probably worth noting that nobody in my playgroup has played SFB or any real simulation boardgames before, there's been no "ramping up".
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Franco
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I've never played SFB. Federation Commander isn't easy, but I didn't find it all that confusing either. The rulebook is long and there are a lot of rules, but playing through the tutorials on your own will prepare you for a 2-person battle. I think most of the rules could be taught in under an hour, with the game actually getting going earlier than that. From what I've read, FC plays way more streamlined and quicker than SFB.

The rules are legal-ese in style, with 1.a.3.2 sub-rules, if you know what I mean, but after a turn or two it all really clicks and makes sense.
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Todd Warnken
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I've played SFB for many years but my group has moved over to Federation Commander. If SFB is a 10 on the complexity scale I'd rate Fed Com a 6. I've never played Battlestations so I cannot compare the two.

The rules are very straight forward. I can teach someone to play the game in 10 minutes. For your first game use Klingons and Kzintis. They are easier to handle than the Federation because all of their weapons can fire every turn. The Federation's photon torpedo is little more complicated because it has a two turn arming cycle.

I'd encourage you to try this game. It is very fast and fun!
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Michael Barlow
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Having played SFB off and on over 10 years (using only 75% of the rules), I was looking forward to FC as a much lighter game, that threw aside the uber-details and just stuck with the basics of playing Feds vs. Romulans and having fun for a few hours.

FC is a no go for me. I originally approached the forums at starfleetgames.com with anticipation for the game I knew I wanted to get to replace the lengthy legalistic SFB. But the more insistance there was for keeping needlessly complicated rules interactions in the game, the more depondent I became. There's a nice niche to fill for Star Trek themed fun that doesn't require countless simultaneous game stopping interactions. This ain't it. What a waste.

There are lots of good sci-fi rules out there for good games. One man's opinion, skip FC. You'll lose interest in it. Try Full Thrust. It's free. It's easy to understand. And it's fun. Oh, and there are ST conversions done for it somewhere on the Internet.

If SFB is a 100/100 for difficulty, then FC is an 75, since all the uber-details are left in the game. The game runs about 50% faster. Sound fun?
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Sinister
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battlestations boarding combat too powerful? Are you using the mission difficulty rules for Npcs? My group hardly ever boards because they get hosed doing it. How are you boarding?


As for comparing the two in complexity. No doubt federation commander is more complex and there's no rpg element, nor combat inside the ship that isn't abstracted out.

Still for playing star trek I would play it!
 
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The game can easily be taught in an hour or so, and it's pretty easy to pick up even if you've never heard of FC or SFB before. I basically went from watching a game first to jumping right in after a brief explanation of the rules, and away it went.

Plus, you can start out with pretty simple squadron-scale battles like a Heavy Cruiser vs. a D7 Battlecruiser just to learn the mechanics and then go on from there to explore the more advances strategies like drones and suicide shuttles (and cloaking if you have the Romulan set as well) instead of just blasting away with phasers.
 
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Compared to Starfleet Battles, it's Candy Land. Compared to Candy Land, it's 18th century tariff laws from Macau.
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Ran Stu
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Cool.
 
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