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Subject: Star Trek Armada (discussion) rss

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Dorian Hawkins
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Hi there,

Back in the day, I was a massive fan of Star Trek. 20 years on, I am somewhat cooler on Trek but one thing I have never forgotten were my days of playing Star Fleet Battles.

As complex a monstrosity as it was, it was a lot of fun.

I've played X-Wing and enjoyed it a lot. I think Armada is the superior game and really does a good job of reflecting capital ship combat in Star Wars.

I've never got involved with Star Trek Attack Wing, though tempted at times, I am very glad I didn't.

Having played Armada, I am convinced that it provides a great core set of rules for a Star Trek version of the game.

I say core rules because there are a lot of differences between Star Wars ships and Star Trek ships.

For starters, IMO, the capital ships in Trek are much more manoeuvrable, have better shields but lower hull and possibly even firepower.

Plus I think that Trek vessels would have much lower Command ratings (especially as I think 2 people could run a Galaxy class... perhaps not well but that is a distinct difference to Star Wars).

Has anyone else given much thought to balancing this out / adapting it etc? I'm just curious!
 
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Peter Knapp
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Long discussion including prototype cards here:

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1347212/star-trek-armada

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1348423/star-trek-armada

There is ability to adapt just about anything to it! Quite a nice BSG variant here too...

Where there is a will there is a way!
 
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Seth
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Speaking proportionally, I'd say Trek ships would have both higher shield ratings and weapon damage (or lower hull). Even on the most advanced ships we see, stuff starts breaking critically after two or three unshielded hits.

Speaking realistically, nothing the Trek ships have are less than the Star Wars ships - ages ago, people did math/logic based on the terminology used in the two universes and determined that a Star Destroyer would dwarf the Enterprise and be unable to even damage its shields
 
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Peter O
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ATT_Turan wrote:
Speaking realistically, nothing the Trek ships ...


My fictional world is more powerful than your fictional world!
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Dorian Hawkins
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Tbqh the in-universe rationalisation between the two has always struck me as largely irrelevant.

Trek was always too hung up on trying to be consistent and vaguely realistic. Wars works by handwavium (case in point, their FTL tech is ludicrous).

B5 was the happy medium

IIRC one essay I read indicated that an ISD had absolutely masses of turbolasers and had a ridiculous amount of energy available.

So I tend to view both as comparable in technology with Trek ships having much better fine technology (computer systems, sensors etc) but overall being less robust (having to rely on silly things like inertial Dampning fields, structural integrity fields, deflector dishes just to get around).
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Rogue Knight
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Omphaloskeptic wrote:
ATT_Turan wrote:
Speaking proportionally, I'd say Trek ships would have both higher shield ratings and weapon damage (or lower hull). Even on the most advanced ships we see, stuff starts breaking critically after two or three unshielded hits.

Speaking realistically, nothing the Trek ships have are less than the Star Wars ships - ages ago, people did math/logic based on the terminology used in the two universes and determined that a Star Destroyer would dwarf the Enterprise and be unable to even damage its shields


This is incorrect. The heat dissipation of an Acclamator Troop Transport (roughly 1/10 the size of an Imp Class Star Destroyer) is 70 trillion GW of energy at peak, while the Enterprise-D is able to dissipate 3311 GW peak (473 GW per generator x 7 generators). The light guns on the Acclamator output 300 million GW worth (6 megatons per shot, 24 guns, assume 1 shot every 2 seconds for time-averaged power output), while the phasers on the Enterprise can only manage 3.6 GW(5.1 MW per emitter, 200 emitters in the main phaser array, 2 full-sized saucer arrays and 3 smaller roughly half-size arrays on the stardrive section). The heavy weapons tell a similar story. The Acclamator has an energy output of 2.4 million megatons (200 gigatons per shot from each turret, 12 turrets), but photon torpedoes can only do about 64 megatons worth of damage. This is all very much reflected in the reactor power of the two ships with the Acclamator producing 200 trillion GW max per second, while the enterprise produces about 4 billion GW at max warp 9.6. In comparison, the amount of energy the Enterprise's reactor produces at 7 years of warp 6 would match what the Acclamator produces in a second. In short, the smaller ships in Star Wars outclass the ships in Star Trek to an extreme degree. This should make sense since the technology of space travel in Star Wars is several tens of thousands of years old. Assuming a rather constant rate of technological improvement over time would easily give them an edge over a species that has been exploring space for a few hundred years.

In game terms, however, I would agree with the assessment. Trek ships have stronger shields relative to hulls than do Wars ships.


This made my head hurt... I'm glad Star Wars came out on top, but I need a bottle of advil...
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Phil Triest
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Why is it that Trek always wants to be like Star Wars in the board gaming realm?
 
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Dorian Hawkins
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philtrees wrote:
Why is it that Trek always wants to be like Star Wars in the board gaming realm?


It doesn't. For years, Trek had some absolutely excellent games but there hasn't been a Trek TV show in a long time and the movies aren't really picking up the slack... resulting in FFG (being an excellent company) having the Star Wars license and Wiz Kidz (not being an excellent company) having the Star Trek license.

1 + 0 = 1
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Brad Gravett
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philtrees wrote:
Why is it that Trek always wants to be like Star Wars in the board gaming realm?


Because, IMHO, the thematic games that Fantasy Flight makes are demonstrably better than WizKids, even if by a small margin. X-Wing has better models and paint jobs than STAW and D&D:AW, and the expansions are better balanced and more fun. If FFG had the Star Trek license and vice versa, we'd be telling a different story, I think.

It may also be that the cinematic, melodramatic nature of Star Wars is better suited to action-y table top games like miniatures. Star Trek is deeper and thinkier and probably better for role-playing and storytelling games, like the indie Shock or even a political, intrigue-y game like WoD Vampire.
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Brad Gravett
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You're right, the new Star Trek movies certainly are moving away from what makes Star Trek good and unique. (They're also a big indicator that Ep VII-IX are going to be fantastic, imo.) The TV and movie industries have never really figured out how to do Star Trek right, because they're always trying to cater to the lowest common denominator. Kinda like FOX and Firefly. ANYWAY.

I'm not here to say one mythos or story is better than the other. Both serve two different purposes in our culture. I think it boils down to this: Star Trek is about big ideas, and Star Wars is about big emotions. You're right about every point you made about Star Wars and it's monomyth structure.

By "deeper" I didn't mean that Star Wars was vapid and facile; what I meant is that Star Trek is at its best when it sticks with you after the fact, when it makes you think and re-examine your own cultural norms. Like Let That Be Your Last Battlefield, or Devil in the Dark, or Dagger of the Mind, or This Side of Paradise. When I was a kid and TNG debuted, the fact that a klingon was now a Federation bridge officer taught me a lot about tolerance.

It's not that Star Trek is better than Star Wars; it's just that they do two different things and, for better or for worse, the spirit of Star Wars is much more marketable than the spirit of Star Trek.
 
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Michael Ptak
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I don't know how on-topic the trek vs wars discussion is, but I'll throw in a couple of cents.

There was a reason some were saying Trek was dead after the Enterprise run... by then Trek was pretty stale with TNG's formula of morality messages. So when the Abrams movie came along it was like Wrath of Khan or The Voyage Home in the movie franchies... something un-trekky to revitalize interest and bring in new fans. Now the old guard are bitter about it, since flash and zip has prevailed over introspection and contemplation.

Frankly I'm happy we're finally getting back to the spirit of adventure that was missing since the original series. I like Abrams' movies being the new face of trek and want to see more.

Anyways, let's reel back to the topic.

The appearance of Armada after Attack Wing makes me think FFG designed it to one-up WizKids. It's a glorious one-up if that is the case, because the Armada engine is in all ways superior to WizKid's modded flight path system. The only advantage AW has over Armada is the scenarios and how quick they can be resolved, but I think that's easily attainable in the Armada engine but still remaining a superior system.

Knapp linked my thread where I offered my take on trek vs wars balance, and I'll repeat it here: Trek ships roll fewer dice but their modifications give them heavier hitting power. Since I'm adapting Attack Wing bases, their ships are also smaller than Wars ships and have smaller command dials, making them more reactive.
 
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Brad Gravett
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That's the thing that STAW misses on - they treat these huge cruisers as if they were fighters. Armada's system, with firing/shield arcs and delayed crew orders, much more closely emulates running a Galaxy class or D'Deridex class ship (at least in an intuitive way).

I always thought it was weird to compare SW and ST ships since their mythoi are based on different philosophies - ST is distant-future speculative fiction and SW's tech is there to make the stories work. Omphaloskeptic mentioned above though that SW starship tech has been around for tens of thousands of years, and that makes a lot of sense. Maybe they're called "lasers" but it makes more sense that SW weapons outclass ST weapons since that tech has had so long to be developed and refined.

If there's at least one order of magnitude difference between the power levels of SW and ST ships, then the two may not be even be compatible. If Omphaloskeptic's figures make sense then, for game purposes, there's no point to integrating them. If ST ships are, at the least, one magnitude of order weaker than SW ships, a Romulan D'deridex would be a large-base like an ISD but it wouldn't have any dice to roll for its weapons, it wouldn't have any shields and maybe 1 hull. A Federation Galaxy or Sovereign class would be *maybe* medium-base ships but would be just as degenerate in an Armada game.

So maybe balancing ST ships against SW ships isn't necessary; you only need to worry about balancing ST ships against themselves.

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The problem I have with SW stats is that a 200 gigaton shoot doesn't react like a 200 gigaton blast. To put this into perspective, each shot is roughly 30 times the yeild of the entire nuclular arsenal of all nations on earth combined. Those shots bounce off an ISD, but an asteroid causes damage? SW likes to toss around big numbers, but doesn't back them up.
Basically an SW Megaton is not the same unit of measure as an ST Megaton. They can't be compared directly. That doesn't mean that Trek is more powerfully, but the assertion of these numbers is ridiculous.
For the record I feel that Flight Path portrays Trek better than Armada would. On screen Trek battles move like fighters, but with a lag in commands to execution. Think of a the maneuver dial as the captain saying "execute maneuver Delta 6". I'm not saying that STAW is better then Armada, just that at it's core I feel a tweaked Flight Path fits Trek better.
 
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Jon Crider
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In terms of the style of the space combat in the movies/TV shows, I think the ST ships have always been more like fighters than the SW capital ships. The birds of prey and enterprise would always dodge, duck, dive and dodge all over the place while shooting phasers and torpedos like a fighter. They were trying to come up with an idea of what big ship combat might be like in the future.

We know Lucas deliberately modeled his space combat on WWII naval combat. He tried to come up with something that would be more realistic, but it didn't feel epic and relatable enough to him. Thus we have the big slow capitol ships and the zippy squadrons of fighters all over the place.

In terms of the game, I feel like the rules capture that epic feeling really well. The big ships are maneuvering and blasting away like big naval vessels, while the smaller corvettes zip around and try to get their licks in. The fighters are zipping all over the place too, and getting tangled up in the classic 'furball'. Now if only we could do something about the effectiveness of the fighters to make them feel more dangerous, but I guess that's probably a different thread whistle

I think the rules could work for a ST version of this game, but I wonder if they would feel a little too slow and ponderous to capture the feel of ST space combat. Stacking the orders would feel weird to me on a Galaxy class or even constitution class ship.
 
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Michael Ptak
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Trek ships behaving like starfighters comes out of DS9's Dominion War, which was what Andrew Parks used to justify adapting the flightpath system for Attack Wing. Throughout TOS and even into some battles in TNG though, ships moved as if responding to inertia and mass (The battle in Yesterday's Enterprise is one example).

Frankly I'm more interested in my ships behaving like heavy capital ships, which is why Armada appeals more to me.

Because Trek ships are typically smaller I can believe most ships would be command 1-2. This makes them faster to react but they can't bank that many commands. Galaxies and other TNG heavyweights would probably be command 3, but would only be a match for Imperial Star Destroyers. Where Trek ships punch harder, Wars ships have far more weapons to fire on a given target.
 
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Dorian Hawkins
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Ok, can I ask that we do not discuss ST v SW in any other capacity than design?

In my opinion, using the Armada engine but replacing out the Squadron score for Tactical or Operations and the command dials with small cards reflective of ship systems and tactics would be the way to go.

I haven't fully thought this through yet, however, as a fan of Star Fleet Battles, I would like a game which utilises some resource management but otherwise using the Armada system.

The Command Cards would consist of a common stock available to all ships (Target Lock, Engineering, Transporters, Boarding Party etc) and then some additional cards derived from the ship (Cloaking Device, etc), supported by special tactics available from character cards (Picard Manouevre). Cards would be played exactly like Orders, i.e. stacked and planned ahead.

Or alternatively, the Squadron command would be replaced with Operations which would allow a Sensor scan.

I have an idea for a dynamic initiative system where both players have an initiative of 10 modified by the number of points under the build total they have. The build total is 300. Player A has spent 295 points. Her starting initiative would be 5.

Every time a player activates a ship, they add that ships Command Score to their initiative. Player A activates a Nebulon-B frigate Command Score of 2. They increase their initiative score by 2 to 7.

Whomever with the lowest initiative score gets to activate a ship. This does mean that a fleet of low Command vessels could activate consecutive vessels. This is a feature.
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DTHz wrote:


I have an idea for a dynamic initiative system where both players have an initiative of 10 modified by the number of points under the build total they have. The build total is 300. Player A has spent 295 points. Her starting initiative would be 5.

Every time a player activates a ship, they add that ships Command Score to their initiative. Player A activates a Nebulon-B frigate Command Score of 2. They increase their initiative score by 2 to 7.

Whomever with the lowest initiative score gets to activate a ship. This does mean that a fleet of low Command vessels could activate consecutive vessels. This is a feature.


Robotech uses a system of command points much more involved than this - you use them to activate special abilities and fire multiple weapons - but one feature it uses them for is initiative. Namely, you may spend a command point in order to attempt to steal initiative from the other player, allowing you to go twice in a row (but no more than twice). if that roll is successful, the opponent may spend a command point to attempt to counter or steal back the initiative.

Something similar would be nice for Armada (whatever flavor), but the command point resource needs to have other uses so that you really have to choose whether you want to spend it on that or not. For example, in Robotech, if you spend the point to steal initiative, you won't have that point later to reduce damage, or activate an ability.
 
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D. Scipio
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Norsehound wrote:
Trek ships behaving like starfighters comes out of DS9's Dominion War, which was what Andrew Parks used to justify adapting the flightpath system for Attack Wing. Throughout TOS and even into some battles in TNG though, ships moved as if responding to inertia and mass (The battle in Yesterday's Enterprise is one example).

Frankly I'm more interested in my ships behaving like heavy capital ships, which is why Armada appeals more to me.

Because Trek ships are typically smaller I can believe most ships would be command 1-2. This makes them faster to react but they can't bank that many commands. Galaxies and other TNG heavyweights would probably be command 3, but would only be a match for Imperial Star Destroyers. Where Trek ships punch harder, Wars ships have far more weapons to fire on a given target.


Totally agree. And even in the Dominion wars, only the B`rel, the Jem`Hadar Attack Ships and the Defiant were anything behaving remotly similar to star fighters (and of course the few fighters), while the large ships did not.
 
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I don't have any problem using the Armada system for Star Trek. The movement of the ships has been depicted both ways over the years, and I think it's due more to the special effects technology and budget available at the time.

What I'm not keen on is trying to do Star Trek Armada as a crossover with the goal of playing Star Trek vs Star Wars. I don't think there's honestly that great an interest in pitting the two universes against each other; but mostly, I think trying to match them up unnecessarily encumbers the designers of ships, gear, and crew. It's much preferable to start from scratch with a scale and power level than to try and compare phasers to turbolasers. The two don't match up. They never will. They're distinct fictions, and trying to merge them into one game will bring only suffering, and suffering leads to the Dark Side...
 
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D. Scipio
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Scarbuck wrote:
I don't have any problem using the Armada system for Star Trek. The movement of the ships has been depicted both ways over the years, and I think it's due more to the special effects technology and budget available at the time.

What I'm not keen on is trying to do Star Trek Armada as a crossover with the goal of playing Star Trek vs Star Wars. I don't think there's honestly that great an interest in pitting the two universes against each other; but mostly, I think trying to match them up unnecessarily encumbers the designers of ships, gear, and crew. It's much preferable to start from scratch with a scale and power level than to try and compare phasers to turbolasers. The two don't match up. They never will. They're distinct fictions, and trying to merge them into one game will bring only suffering, and suffering leads to the Dark Side...


However, why not make both possible. I will not crossover most time. But I like Star Trek Armada to make it possible. Options are one of the few things that are always good.
 
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