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Subject: Fighters Attack (and the recent Communique) rss

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Paul Brown
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The recent communique had some material from Fighters Attack including some new fighters and fighter rules for other races:

http://www.starfleetgames.com/federation/Documents/Communiqu...

Fairly generous update as far as Communique goes and some players will no doubt be overjoyed to see more fighters being added to the game.

Though personally I don't really understand why Fighters are in Star Fleet Universe at all. In Star Trek TOS the Shuttles don't have warp drive. The drawings I've seen of fighters in the Master books don't have warp nacelles either so how do these fighters fight against Warp-capable ships? Any captain with half a brain would simply go to warp for a few seconds and ditch any fighters behind. We know from Balance of Terror that plasma and ships in combat move at warp speeds.

Fighters honestly seem very incongruous with what the original Star Trek is. And given we have things like the Federation fighters almost all being named after United States fighter jets just makes me think that someone really wanted to be designing a different game, one that was not Star Trek.
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James Lowry
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Back in the '70s, there were a couple of references in novels to shuttles having a phaser on them.

When designing SFB, leaving shuttles out seemed like a bad idea (they'd just been too prominent in the series), but keeping them sublight made them too worthless, so they were given a speed of 6 (a bit under Warp 2).

This opened the door to extra, silly, uses for shuttles like wild weasels and scatterpacks. It also made them a viable extra platform for gathering info in a monster scenario, which is nicely in-genre.

And, it was the wedge for someone to propose an empire that used lots of souped-up shuttles (fighters) as a primary component of their fleet.

Once the Hydrans were in, there was no holding back the flood of submissions and demands that everyone else should have fighters too.

Re: nacelles. Warp drives do not have to be in nacelles. It's a good method for getting a dangerous bit of equipment away from everything else. But if you're not concerned about that (and a damaged fighter has other concerns), it's not necessary.
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Martin Gallo
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I dropped Federation and Empire because of the fighters - Utterly pointless detail that just slowed the game down.

I stopped playing Europa because of the same principles (all those 1 point popcorn units).

Some people love that sort of stuff.
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Paul Brown
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Yeah, I don't mind the Hydrans. I've never played them myself but have played against them a few times. One race using a lot of fighters seems okay to me. It can be their gimmick. One can consider them using small gunboat type ships, like the jeune d'ecole doctrine the French used around ww1.

But overall I find fighters to be not in the flavour of Star Trek. In fact one might argue it's one of the distinguishing features of the series, something that separates it from Buck Rogers, Star Wars and BSG. And even in Next Gen they didn't use fighters at all except for Crusher's acrobatic team and some low-level race that the Enterprise was fooled to attack. I'm sure most fans remember a squadron of fighters attacking the Enterprise-D and getting wiped out in two seconds by precision fire.

I noticed on the discus BBS that there is a push by the community to bring more SFB tech into the so-called "Borders of Madness" and by extension, Federation Commander. Mines, Maulers, Scatter Packs, etcetera. I don't really know why all that detail is necessary in the game when another perfectly good game already exists with those options. My understanding of SFB is that it started as a fairly simple ruleset, but over the years expanded to the behemoth it is now and from appearances, FedCom may be heading that same direction albeit more slowly.

Personally, rather than introducing fighters I'd rather they brought FedCom into the newer and older eras. The Early Years. The X-Ships. That or bring in additional races, if those races are distinguishable enough. But the next, legit products, seem to be Gunboats Attack and Fighters Attack. LMC and Omega have been out in playtest pack form for years and show no signs of becoming official products at any time. I think SVC has zero interest and ADB would say there isn't sufficient demand for them (though I would question sales of a playtest pack to being a gauge for potential demand).
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Akalabeth wrote:

Fighters honestly seem very incongruous with what the original Star Trek is. And given we have things like the Federation fighters almost all being named after United States fighter jets just makes me think that someone really wanted to be designing a different game, one that was not Star Trek.


Agreed. I always figured the designers were chasing a wider audience and going after the Star Wars crowd and, more generally, all the kids groomed by Hollywood and the USN to fetishize carriers - think "The Final Countdown" and "Top Gun" for example.

Fighters are a tough sell for me in any space game. If you spend more than a second thinking about the space navy/wet navy analogy you realize a carrier launching fighters in a space game is the equivalent of a wet navy capital ship launching dinghies.
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Keith Anderson
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I wonder if this is just to sell FC to SFB crossover players. I haven't played SFB in many years but really like FC not just because it is simpler but also because it doesn't include so much extra...stuff.

I agree that one fighter race would be okay (although I wouldn't use them and would prefer not to play against them) but once fighters are in they will (have) probably spread.

It is also items like this that remind me that this is not Star Trek.
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Scott Johnson
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My gaming friends and I were so sick of how shuttles & drones slammed the brakes on the game, we made house rules that limited warp shuttles & drones. There would be only one dilithium crystal for every drone rack and shuttle bay on a ship (or 10 total in bases) to make one shuttle or drone full-speed. The rest of the shuttles would be sub-light (speed 1) and the rest of the drones would also be sub-light or direct-fire drones. ADD was not effected by this. Also, drones and shuttles must launch through a down shield.
 
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Paul Brown
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Rindis wrote:

Re: nacelles. Warp drives do not have to be in nacelles. It's a good method for getting a dangerous bit of equipment away from everything else. But if you're not concerned about that (and a damaged fighter has other concerns), it's not necessary.


Are Nacelles actually dangerous though? I have heard the design rationalization from the original show that the nacelles were separated for safety reasons. But there's certainly no rule in Federation Commander for nacelles exploding and causing additional damage to the ship and I'm not aware of any such rule in SFB either.

So- in that context, the rationalization that fighters don't display their nacelles because they have different safety standards doesn't really hold true.

I think the more likely rationalization is that the real life B-2 American Bomber doesn't have nacelles, so this made-up United Federation B-2 Bomber shouldn't either, because of course they REALLY want this Star Trek Fleet Universe bomber to have exactly the same silhouette.
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Keep in mind when SFB was originally developed - 1979. Anyone remember a certain space opera movie released around the same time, the one with the guy wearing the funny German helmet and talking like he was on a respirator? And what was the primary weapon platform of that particular flick, the one that took center stage in most of the battle scenes? Yep, star fighters. So, with star fighters being all the rage at the time, I think it seemed natural to the designers of SFB to find a way to shoehorn these things into their version of the Star Trek universe, even though the source material never made any serious reference to such things.

I started playing SFB around 1981 and I never really got into the fighter aspect, but I didn't mind them that much, other than what I thought was the cheesy habit of the designers naming these things after current US Air Force and Navy fighter jets. I mean, c'mon, let's use just a little more imagination fellas, OK?
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Peter Bakija
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Akalabeth wrote:
Though personally I don't really understand why Fighters are in Star Fleet Universe at all.


'Cause SFB (the thing that started all of this) is, at its core, a military simulation game inspired by WWII battleship wargames. Yes, it is based on Star Trek. But the design of the game is one that is basically WWII (the General War is, ya know, a thinly veiled WWII simulation with cat aliens). Given that, fighters make perfect sense.

And fighters make sense anyway, in a grand technological sense. They are cheap and effective, in the universe, and there is enough technobabble to make them work fine (i.e. you can't just "warp away" from fighters for the same reasons that you can't just "warp away" from ships--you can only fight at tactical warp speeds, and getting shot while going at strategic warp speeds is bad. That's the technobable that makes *any* combat in SFB make sense). And tactically, fighters are really most effective when defending or attacking a fixed point (base or planet), so that is where they show up most often, and another reason why you can't just ignore them--your objective is to defend or destroy a fixed point.

In SFB, yes, fighters tend to bog the game down. They are fiddly and it takes a lot of time to keep track of them all and all their drones. I have been playing SFB for 30+ years, and the number of times I have played a game that had a significant number of fighters (not counting the 2 Hydran stingers that show up in tournament play) is pretty small. As, well, I find them to slow the game down. And that is part of the genius of this game. If you don't like fighters? You don't ever have to use them. Much like most of the rules in the game you might not like. I also rarely play the game with EW rules, as they also slow the game down (and while important for some aspects of game balance, especially, say, fighters and PFs, if you aren't using fighters of PFs, EW is a lot less vital to balance). This game universe has a lot of stuff in it. And if you don't like some of it? It is easy to ignore.

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In Star Trek TOS the Shuttles don't have warp drive. The drawings I've seen of fighters in the Master books don't have warp nacelles either so how do these fighters fight against Warp-capable ships?


Fighters in the SFU have tactical warp drives (as in the SFU, moving on the map is going tactical warp speed; speed 8 is Warp 2, speed 27 is Warp 3) and move just like ships. They just aren't capable of moving strategic warp speeds (i.e. above speed 31).

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Fighters honestly seem very incongruous with what the original Star Trek is.


The original Star Trek was all about a peaceful utopian vision. So yeah. *Any* war aspect of Star Trek is incongruous with the original Star Trek. That being said, if you are going to envision warfare in that universe (which the original series certainly alludes to), it makes sense to extrapolate into things that make warfare make sense as well. Fighters are inexpensive, effective attrition units that allow an empire to (in the universe) conduct combat operations (in limited conditions) while risking only a dozen individuals (pilots) as opposed to a hundred individuals (the crew of a frigate, say).

As to why are they putting fighters into FedCom? 'Cause they can. And if people don't want to use them? It is very easy to ignore them. No one is going to make anyone use fighters in FedCom. Just like in SFB.
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Paul Brown
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bakija wrote:
Akalabeth wrote:
Though personally I don't really understand why Fighters are in Star Fleet Universe at all.


'Cause SFB (the thing that started all of this) is, at its core, a military simulation game inspired by WWII battleship wargames. Yes, it is based on Star Trek. But the design of the game is one that is basically WWII (the General War is, ya know, a thinly veiled WWII simulation with cat aliens). Given that, fighters make perfect sense.


SFB is basically WW2? In what sense?

The HMS Nelson for example has 16" guns with an effective range of 25,000 yards, firing 1 round each gun per minute and with a speed of 23.5 kts. If each game round was 5 minutes and its gunfire during those minutes were abstracted as a single attack, then if the Nelson could move 8 hexes per turn its firing range would be 50 hexes. But in SFB ships move what, 16-32 hexes per turn and the effect range is basically 8 hexes or less? Not in any way comparable.

Looking at ship classes. In WW2, each ship has a very specific role and has appropriately sized guns. Destroyers screen the fleet, hunt submarines and protect against torpedo boats. Cruisers operate independently, protecting trade and hunting enemy destroyers. Battleships fight other battleships or provide naval support. A Town Class Destroyer has 4.7" Guns, a British Cruiser would have 6 or 8" guns and the Battleships would have 14-16" guns. And all of course would likewise have torpedoes. But in SFB what is the difference between a Destroyer a Battleship? They all have the same guns, PH-1s and Photons, the only difference is the battleship has more of them. More shields, more Phasers, more Photons, more Drones, More boxes & power. In SFB a Frigate or a Destroyer is basically just a smaller version of a Battleship and vice versa.

In terms of ship distribution, the British Navy at the start of ww2 had 15 Battleships, 7 Carriers, 66 Cruisers, 60 Submarines and 148 Destroyers. Battleships thus were on a ratio of 1:4 compared to Cruisers, but in SFB that certainly is not the case at all. The Feds never even built a BB, BCs don't have the same firepower and DNs are considered inferior to BBs even though in their time (ww1), a DN was a superior class of Battleship. They also don't operate the same way, in SFB a Battleship or Dreadnought is considered a command vessel and is usually alone, but in WW2 multiple battleships would operate together. This is even more true of WW1 warfare when all the battleships would fight as a single line of battle.

Even in finer details, SFB does not simulate WW2 naval combat at all. For example a Battleship like the HMS Nelson actually has a smaller tactical diameter (turning radius) than a Tribal Class Destroyer at 15kts. But not so in SFB, bigger ships have bigger turn delays just because they're bigger.

http://www.academia.edu/225461/On_Turning_Ships

And finally, the damage mechanics of SFB don't simulate WW2 naval combat at all either. Despite the wide range of boxes that can be damaged in SFB, they are all at the end of the day just hitpoints of one form or another. There are no critical hits, no magazine explosions, no engine explosions or engines going offline except by pure attrition, no reactors exploding, no command staff being taken out by a single hit as happened at Battle of the Yellow Sea to the Russian fleet. There isn't even a simple analogy of a ship being bombed or torpedoed and subsequently sunk. It's just hitpoints spread across a broad spectrum which denudes the ship's ability to fight in different ways.

Basically at the end of the day, SFB has virtually nothing in common with naval combat in WW2 or otherwise. If anything, given the high speed and extremely close range for engagements its more akin to air fighter combat.

bakija wrote:

And fighters make sense anyway, in a grand technological sense. They are cheap and effective, in the universe, and there is enough technobabble to make them work fine (i.e. you can't just "warp away" from fighters for the same reasons that you can't just "warp away" from ships--you can only fight at tactical warp speeds, and getting shot while going at strategic warp speeds is bad. That's the technobable that makes *any* combat in SFB make sense).


In Journey to Babel the Orion ship was attacking the enterprise while at Warp 8-10. In Balance of Terror, the Enterprise outruns a plasma torp by moving in reverse at maximum warp attainable. Combat at high warp in Star Trek happens regularly.

bakija wrote:

In SFB, yes, fighters tend to bog the game down. They are fiddly and it takes a lot of time to keep track of them all and all their drones. I have been playing SFB for 30+ years, and the number of times I have played a game that had a significant number of fighters (not counting the 2 Hydran stingers that show up in tournament play) is pretty small. As, well, I find them to slow the game down. And that is part of the genius of this game. If you don't like fighters? You don't ever have to use them. Much like most of the rules in the game you might not like. I also rarely play the game with EW rules, as they also slow the game down (and while important for some aspects of game balance, especially, say, fighters and PFs, if you aren't using fighters of PFs, EW is a lot less vital to balance).


The fact that the game includes a lot of material which players can freely ignore does not make it a "genius" game. In fact it's been said by many designers, that games are best not when everything that could be included IS included, but conversely when everything unnecessary has been taken away.

bakija wrote:
Quote:
Fighters honestly seem very incongruous with what the original Star Trek is.


The original Star Trek was all about a peaceful utopian vision. So yeah. *Any* war aspect of Star Trek is incongruous with the original Star Trek. That being said, if you are going to envision warfare in that universe (which the original series certainly alludes to), it makes sense to extrapolate into things that make warfare make sense as well. Fighters are inexpensive, effective attrition units that allow an empire to (in the universe) conduct combat operations (in limited conditions) while risking only a dozen individuals (pilots) as opposed to a hundred individuals (the crew of a frigate, say).


Hate to break it to you but fighters don't make sense in any space combat game, novel or show for that matter. They make even less sense in Star Trek where small units like shuttles are shown to be incapable of warp speed.

If in SFB they are slower than ships, then realistically what reason is there to ever use them? If 32 hexes per turn is warp 3 and strategic warp is dangerous for combat then any ship captain with half a brain would move at warp 4 for a few seconds, drop to warp 3, launch a payload at the target and then accelerate to warp 4 again. A combat unit which can neither outrun nor outgun its opposition is completely obsolete. Now if fighters were confined to defense operations for bases or planets that may make sense, but in SFB nearly every class of ship has a carrier version. Doesn't make sense when you think about it for more than 5 seconds.
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They make even less sense in Star Trek where small units like shuttles are shown to be incapable of warp speed.
Except in The Menagerie (Part One) when Kirk and Commodore Mendez chased down the Enterprise from Starbase 11.

Also, in Metamorphoris, Kirk/Spock/McCoy and Commissioner Hedford are taking a shuttle "cross country" for many, many lightyears, which could not be done at sub-light speed, not and get anywhere in this lifetime.
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Peter Bakija
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Akalabeth wrote:
SFB is basically WW2? :what: In what sense?


In the sense that the designer has said "I was playing WWII battleship games and said 'This can work with space ships'..."

Yes. The dynamics are different for the sake of, well, making an interesting game that is different than WWII battleship games. As there already were WWII battleship games. But the basic concept is based on WWII battleship games.

Quote:
Basically at the end of the day, SFB has virtually nothing in common with naval combat in WW2 or otherwise.


Except that is where the germ of the idea came from. And the designers have always kept that in mind. You can quibble over specifics from Jane's Fighting Ships nerdistry all you want, but the designers started from WWII naval combat, and fighters? Make sense in the context of a game that came out of WWII naval combat.

Quote:
In Journey to Babel the Orion ship was attacking the enterprise while at Warp 8-10. In Balance of Terror, the Enterprise outruns a plasma torp by moving in reverse at maximum warp attainable. Combat at high warp in Star Trek happens regularly.


In the SFU, it is not possible to fight at those speeds. Anything above warp 3.something is "strategic" speed, and you can't fight (there is some technobabble somewhere about ships being very vulnerable to damage while moving that fast); the scale of speed is "warp X=X cubed C", so warp 3 is 27 times the speed of light (it was in the original Star Trek Technical Manual?). Things change to make games playable. In Star Trek, things involving ships and combat were arbitrary and random at times, as, well, it was a TV show in 1966, and folks didn't pay attention to stuff like that all the time. Games in the SFU have a reasonably well established, consistent rules. Sometimes things change, in the name of making the game work better.

Quote:
The fact that the game includes a lot of material which players can freely ignore does not make it a "genius" game. In fact it's been said by many designers, that games are best not when everything that could be included IS included, but conversely when everything unnecessary has been taken away.


That is certainly one way to look at it. Yet many games work just fine by adding lots of stuff, and letting players figure out what they want to use or ignore. See, for example, every role playing game ever printed (they are very popular, I hear), or every CCG every printed (also very popular, I hear). Or Battletech, a game that you seem pretty familiar with--the classic board game currently has 2 giant tomes (Tactical Ops and Strategic Ops) as well as numerous smaller books of completely optional rules that specifically exist for players to pick and choose what advanced/optional rules to use. 'Cause a lot of times in games like this, players like to pick and choose the things they want to use from the rules available. People often like that sort of thing.

bakija wrote:
Hate to break it to you but fighters don't make sense in any space combat game, novel or show for that matter. They make even less sense in Star Trek where small units like shuttles are shown to be incapable of warp speed.


When you have cat space aliens fighting in space ships with "energy shields" and moving faster than the speed of light? Nothing makes sense. Once you buy into "there are cool ships in space that fight at faster than light speeds", the rest is just a tiny leap to buy into.

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If in SFB they are slower than ships, then realistically what reason is there to ever use them?


They are cheap, more effective than they cost, and are very good at attacking and defending fixed points (planets, bases, convoys).

Quote:
If 32 hexes per turn is warp 3 and strategic warp is dangerous for combat then any ship captain with half a brain would move at warp 4 for a few seconds, drop to warp 3, launch a payload at the target and then accelerate to warp 4 again.


Well, yes. Except the game doesn't let you do that. As it is a game. Not real life. As you can't fight in space ships at faster than the speed of light in real life. And games have rules to make them fun and interesting to play. I'm not at all interested in what would happen if this was real. As it isn't. It is a game. And it has internal working systems that are reasonably consistent. Which make fighters work reasonably well. In open space fights, they are easy to avoid and not that useful. When attacking or defending a fixed point, they are very effective.
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Paul Brown
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bakija wrote:
Akalabeth wrote:
SFB is basically WW2? In what sense?


In the sense that the designer has said "I was playing WWII battleship games and said 'This can work with space ships'..."

Yes. The dynamics are different for the sake of, well, making an interesting game that is different than WWII battleship games. As there already were WWII battleship games. But the basic concept is based on WWII battleship games.


It's not even remotely similar to a naval combat game. That's the point. If the dynamics are the game are such that it resembles air combat more than a naval game, then introducing fighter craft simply doesn't make sense. It's like fighter craft launching slower, less capable baby fighter craft.

In the real world fighter craft are there to extend the range of your ability to wage war. Carrier launches a bunch of fighters, they fly a couple thousand miles, drop a bomb and come home.

In the sense of a game, take a game like Babylon 5 Wars. In that game ships are comparatively slow, the Earthforce equivalent of a Heavy Cruiser has a maximum turning speed of 8. Whereas its fightercraft, the Starfury, could turn at a speed of 36. The fighters in the game much like real-world fighters are much more maneouvrable and have a much higher top speed than the capital ships.

Whereas in SFB the fighters are slower than ships, dependent on their carrier, etcetera. They don't extend the range of the fleet, they don't have superior movement capabilities (Except turning), they're just a more fragile weapons platform.

bakija wrote:
Quote:
Basically at the end of the day, SFB has virtually nothing in common with naval combat in WW2 or otherwise.


Except that is where the germ of the idea came from. And the designers have always kept that in mind. You can quibble over specifics from Jane's Fighting Ships nerdistry all you want, but the designers started from WWII naval combat, and fighters? Make sense in the context of a game that came out of WWII naval combat.


Just because a designer claims that a game was inspired by WW2 combat games doesn't mean that the game has anything in common with real-world military combat. Part of creating a believable universe is making things internally consistent.

If fighters for example were intended only for attacking or defending fixed defenses then there would be less carriers available. A fighter carrier would in practice be like a Torpedo Boat tender like those used by the Japanese in the Russo-Japanese war. They wouldn't be attached to regular warships. Because in practice that's what the SFB fighters are, if a starship is a ship, then a Fighter isn't a fighter it's just a boat.

In the real world, fighters are attached to regular warships like Cruisers or Destroyers to extend their range and provide recon capabilities, both things which SFB fighters wouldn't do.

bakija wrote:
Quote:
In Journey to Babel the Orion ship was attacking the enterprise while at Warp 8-10. In Balance of Terror, the Enterprise outruns a plasma torp by moving in reverse at maximum warp attainable. Combat at high warp in Star Trek happens regularly.


In the SFU, it is not possible to fight at those speeds. Anything above warp 3.something is "strategic" speed, and you can't fight (there is some technobabble somewhere about ships being very vulnerable to damage while moving that fast); the scale of speed is "warp X=X cubed C", so warp 3 is 27 times the speed of light (it was in the original Star Trek Technical Manual?). Things change to make games playable. In Star Trek, things involving ships and combat were arbitrary and random at times, as, well, it was a TV show in 1966, and folks didn't pay attention to stuff like that all the time. Games in the SFU have a reasonably well established, consistent rules. Sometimes things change, in the name of making the game work better.


I would argue that being faithful to a licensed property is more important than one's idea of what makes sense and what doesn't. If a game based on a show cannot emulate the show then it's failed its primary purpose. Ideally, every scenario in the show should be re-create able using the game.

Even the general style of combat isn't comparable to Star Trek. In Star Trek, most of the combat happens at long range. When they fire at the Romulan ship in Balance of Terror, it's well beyond visual range. When they fight some Klingon ships in the episode with the Organions, it's the same thing. This idea of point-blank combat doesn't really exist in Star Trek. So the general sense of needing to close to near point blank to properly attack your enemy doesn't really fit the way that the show is portrayed. They do have some point blank encounters with probes and the like such as in the Corbomite manoeuvre, but not against the klingons or romulans.

bakija wrote:
That is certainly one way to look at it. Yet many games work just fine by adding lots of stuff, and letting players figure out what they want to use or ignore. See, for example, every role playing game ever printed (they are very popular, I hear), or every CCG every printed (also very popular, I hear). Or Battletech, a game that you seem pretty familiar with--the classic board game currently has 2 giant tomes (Tactical Ops and Strategic Ops) as well as numerous smaller books of completely optional rules that specifically exist for players to pick and choose what advanced/optional rules to use. 'Cause a lot of times in games like this, players like to pick and choose the things they want to use from the rules available. People often like that sort of thing.


The optional rules in Tactical Ops are all untested garbage. Our playing group adopted and eventually discarded pretty much every rule we tried from that. Even the weather and terrain rules, while interesting, often serve no other purpose than to slow down the game.

Either way, one could argue that optional rules damage the game. They do so in different ways, first by making the game more daunting to any new players (see SFB), secondly they can split and erode player groups by breaking players into multiple camps: those who want to use a given set of rules and those who do not, optional rules also often slow down the game (in the case of SFB/FC and Battletech these are already comparatively slow games), and finally they can simply erode the game's sense of identity through the introduction of new units which don't fit the overall aesthetic. Like arguably Protomechs or Land-Air mechs in Battletech or fighters in SFB.

bakija wrote:
Well, yes. Except the game doesn't let you do that. As it is a game. Not real life. As you can't fight in space ships at faster than the speed of light in real life. And games have rules to make them fun and interesting to play. I'm not at all interested in what would happen if this was real. As it isn't. It is a game. And it has internal working systems that are reasonably consistent.


So if a Gorn Cruiser can carry 8 Fighters each with two Plasma-Ds, where is my Gorn Cruiser with 16 Plasma-Ds?

bakija wrote:
Which make fighters work reasonably well. In open space fights, they are easy to avoid and not that useful. When attacking or defending a fixed point, they are very effective.


The fixed point thing is meaningless though. In a given game if two players are using a fleets with no fixed defenses and one player brings carriers then if the other player decides to leave, what happens? He loses the game. He is said to have retreated. Either that or the game simply doesn't happen.

Is there any restriction saying that you can't use fighters in open-space combat? If not, then their in-universe restrictions simply don't apply. So while the universe states that fighters may be used one way, in practice they're used another way, probably overwhelmingly so. And again it depends upon the players agreeing to use it one way or another before-hand.

In Babylon 5 Wars for example, ships have delays on how long their hyperspace drive takes to recharge. So if two fleets met there could be a reason for neither one disengaging. But in Star Trek it's just a matter of a helmsman turning a knob from 3 to 4.


Sgt_G wrote:
Quote:
They make even less sense in Star Trek where small units like shuttles are shown to be incapable of warp speed.
Except in The Menagerie (Part One) when Kirk and Commodore Mendez chased down the Enterprise from Starbase 11.

Also, in Metamorphoris, Kirk/Spock/McCoy and Commissioner Hedford are taking a shuttle "cross country" for many, many lightyears, which could not be done at sub-light speed, not and get anywhere in this lifetime.


Oh yeah, I was mainly thinking of the Galileo 7 movie. Given those examples they may have warp drive then. Good one.
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Akalabeth wrote:
It's not even remotely similar to a naval combat game.


As noted, the dynamics of make believe space-ship combat in the SFU are very different from the dynamics of make believe real world naval combat. You are correct. But still, the genesis of this game was the designer taking off from naval combat games of the time (Battlewagon, IIRC). The ships all use USN nomenclature. The basis of the game is large, significant vessels wheeling in space combat. Yes. You are correct in that the specifics of the combat mechanism is very different (ships move further than weapons are effective; ships turn and maneuver far more like aircraft than naval vessels; you can't accidentally blow up 'cause someone shot you in the magazine; all of this is correct, and not something I am debating). But if you are building a space "navy" (i.e. the basis of games in the SFU), and your initial reference point was naval combat? You are going to include fighters. As they fit the concept. And, well, pretty much every other science fiction setting there is.

Quote:
Just because a designer claims that a game was inspired by WW2 combat games doesn't mean that the game has anything in common with real-world military combat.


I never said it had anything in common with real-world military combat. I said the germ of the game idea was based in naval combat simulation. As that was what inspired the designer to make this game. I also said that the General War (and consequently, the strategic game Federation and Empire) is a thinly veiled WWII simulation, by virtue of the way the scenario in F+E runs, which is the basis of the history of the game universe.

Quote:
Part of creating a believable universe is making things internally consistent.


They actually have a pretty good track record of that.

Quote:
I would argue that being faithful to a licensed property is more important than one's idea of what makes sense and what doesn't. If a game based on a show cannot emulate the show then it's failed its primary purpose. Ideally, every scenario in the show should be re-create able using the game.


I would argue you are incorrect. As, well, as noted, the people who were writing Star Trek in 1966 had no reason to be consistent or logical in what they did. As it wasn't important.

The designer of this game looked at naval combat games, said "I'm gonna make a space ship game that is kinda like this but different enough to be interesting, and gonna ignore the parts of the show that aren't consistent or logical, and use the parts that are and also interesting". And they did. And did a pretty good job of it, given that it is still being played and discussed, at length, almost 40 years later.

Quote:
The optional rules in Tactical Ops are all untested garbage. Our playing group adopted and eventually discarded pretty much every rule we tried from that. Even the weather and terrain rules, while interesting, often serve no other purpose than to slow down the game.


And yet an awful lot of them are actually very handy and fun and balanced. And probably tested a lot more than you seem to think. When we play Battletech around here, we use many of the optional/advanced rules from TacOps (many of the movement rules, the modifications to critical hits based on weapon size, etc). As we find them interesting and fun, even though *you* think they are untested garbage. But then, you also seem to think that the Technical Manual, basically the heart of the game, is also horrible. So I have trouble understanding your world view, in regards to games.

Quote:
Either way, one could argue that optional rules damage the game.


One could. You clearly are. And yet an awful lot of people will disagree with you.

Quote:
They do so in different ways, first by making the game more daunting to any new players (see SFB), secondly they can split and erode player groups by breaking players into multiple camps: those who want to use a given set of rules and those who do not, optional rules also often slow down the game (in the case of SFB/FC and Battletech these are already comparatively slow games), and finally they can simply erode the game's sense of identity through the introduction of new units which don't fit the overall aesthetic. Like arguably Protomechs or Land-Air mechs in Battletech or fighters in SFB.


All of these things are potentially actual issues. And yet, games like SFB (and Battletech, for example) have thrived for *decades* on the strength of a deep, robust, and complicated rules set, full of optional or advanced rules that some people use and some people don't. 'Cause the people who play this sort of thing apparently tend to like that sort of thing.

Quote:
So if a Gorn Cruiser can carry 8 Fighters each with two Plasma-Ds, where is my Gorn Cruiser with 16 Plasma-Ds?


In the box with your super phasers that shoot for 35 damage at R20. The game is a game. The main function of a game is to be fun and playable. If you haven't figured it out yet, I'm not remotely concerned with the "realism" of this game. I'm concerned with if it is fun and if it is balanced and if it works. SFB is pretty good at that. FedCom, a little less so, as it traded increased simplicity for the complexity that makes SFB work so well (but on the upside, it is easier to play and teach people, so it pulled in more fans to the game universe).

Quote:
The fixed point thing is meaningless though. In a given game if two players are using a fleets with no fixed defenses and one player brings carriers then if the other player decides to leave, what happens? He loses the game. He is said to have retreated. Either that or the game simply doesn't happen.


Correct. One of the greatest flaws of SFB is that fights on open maps are mostly pointless and generally impossible, for any number of reasons. Tournament play completely avoids this. Scenarios with specific objectives avoids this. Attacking or defending a fixed location (planet, base, convoy) avoids this. Yes. If you and I each take 2000 BPV of ships and drop them on an open map and hope to have a satisfying game, that is only going to happen if we both agree (actually or tacitly) to close to a reasonable range and actually fight. As otherwise, there isn't a game.

[a]Is there any restriction saying that you can't use fighters in open-space combat?[/q]

Nope. But as you notice, they aren't particularly useful in open space combat. So the restriction against using them in open space combat is simply common sense.

Quote:
If not, then their in-universe restrictions simply don't apply. So while the universe states that fighters may be used one way, in practice they're used another way, probably overwhelmingly so. And again it depends upon the players agreeing to use it one way or another before-hand.


Fighters are most effective fighting in or around a fixed point in space--a planet, a base, or a convoy. They show up in those places constantly (all bases and defended planets have scads of fighters on them). You can certainly bring them places on carriers, but, as you note, if where you bring them is open space to try and fight someone else in open space? Not going to be that effective. So don't bring them. Bring cruisers instead.
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bakija wrote:
But if you are building a space "navy" (i.e. the basis of games in the SFU), and your initial reference point was naval combat? You are going to include fighters. As they fit the concept. And, well, pretty much every other science fiction setting there is.


No they don't. Because the concept of fighters is intrinsically tied to the way a wet navy vessel operates. And if your sci-fi space sim doesn't represent ships like ships, but like fighters, then adding fighters makes no sense.

Fighters exist because they can perform a role that a ship cannot, but in SFB or SFU the ships perform exactly the same role as fighters but better.

bakija wrote:

Quote:
I would argue that being faithful to a licensed property is more important than one's idea of what makes sense and what doesn't. If a game based on a show cannot emulate the show then it's failed its primary purpose. Ideally, every scenario in the show should be re-create able using the game.


I would argue you are incorrect. As, well, as noted, the people who were writing Star Trek in 1966 had no reason to be consistent or logical in what they did. As it wasn't important.

The designer of this game looked at naval combat games, said "I'm gonna make a space ship game that is kinda like this but different enough to be interesting, and gonna ignore the parts of the show that aren't consistent or logical, and use the parts that are and also interesting".


Given the way that Prime Directive handles away teams it's pretty clear that SVC had very little respect for Star Trek whatsoever. If you're going to ignore the core premise of the show that features the Captain, First Officer and whoever else going down on an away team mission then your regard for the show is low or non-existent.

In fact there's very little that SFU has in common with Star Trek at all aside from a basic aesthetic.

bakija wrote:

And they did. And did a pretty good job of it, given that it is still being played and discussed, at length, almost 40 years later.


Monopoly still exists. That doesn't make it good game design.

bakija wrote:

But then, you also seem to think that the Technical Manual, basically the heart of the game, is also horrible. So I have trouble understanding your world view, in regards to games.


What exactly is your world view with regards to games? You've stated you don't play with fighters because you find them a nuisance and yet here you are, reply after reply, defending their inclusion in a game.

Do you even play Federation Commander?

My worldview is that I don't blindly accept anything a company who creates games I enjoy offers me.

bakija wrote:

Quote:
Either way, one could argue that optional rules damage the game.


One could. You clearly are. And yet an awful lot of people will disagree with you.

All of these things are potentially actual issues. And yet, games like SFB (and Battletech, for example) have thrived for *decades* on the strength of a deep, robust, and complicated rules set, full of optional or advanced rules that some people use and some people don't. 'Cause the people who play this sort of thing apparently tend to like that sort of thing.


And yet the number of people who don't play SFB because it's too complicated vastly outweighs the number of people who do.

bakija wrote:

Quote:
So if a Gorn Cruiser can carry 8 Fighters each with two Plasma-Ds, where is my Gorn Cruiser with 16 Plasma-Ds?


In the box with your super phasers that shoot for 35 damage at R20. The game is a game. The main function of a game is to be fun and playable. If you haven't figured it out yet, I'm not remotely concerned with the "realism" of this game.


You claimed that this game is internally consistent. Yet I can put a lot more weapons on a piddly fighter than I can a ship of a vastly superior size. So where, pray-tell, is the consistency?

It doesn't exist dude.
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Akalabeth wrote:
No they don't. Because the concept of fighters is intrinsically tied to the way a wet navy vessel operates. And if your sci-fi space sim doesn't represent ships like ships, but like fighters, then adding fighters makes no sense.


And yet, in the context of the game? They make sense. They are cheap and disposable and provide more offense for what they cost compared to capital ships. In the strategic game (F+E), fighters cause and absorb damage, and are replaced for free (representing cheapness). In SFB (and FedCom) they are inexpensive. And provide more bang for the buck than similar units (see: "economic BPV rules" vs "combat value BPV rules"). They provide local defense to planets and bases cheaply, where they are most effective. They allow empires to limit the number of "sentient beings" (ya know, make believe ones) that are killed in combat.

That *you* don't think they make sense doesn't mean that they don't.

Quote:
Fighters exist because they can perform a role that a ship cannot, but in SFB or SFU the ships perform exactly the same role as fighters but better.


And they cost much more and require more resources (see: crew, etc.). Fighters in the SFU do exactly what they need to do. They provide inexpensive defense and offense that costs less than other units. You can put them on planets cheaply to defend that planet from things that planet needs defense from (pirates? space monsters? enemy raiders?). 2 squadrons of fighters are going to cost, economically, less than a cruiser. And provide a similar amount of defensive capacity, while only risking 24 pilots. And no one is going to want them to go somewhere else, like a cruiser.

The in-universe justification for fighters exists. That you aren't paying attention to it does not mean it isn't provided.

Quote:
Given the way that Prime Directive handles away teams it's pretty clear that SVC had very little respect for Star Trek whatsoever. If you're going to ignore the core premise of the show that features the Captain, First Officer and whoever else going down on an away team mission then your regard for the show is low or non-existent.


How is that remotely relevant to, well, anything? The game is what it is. It is based on a sketchily defined fictional universe and a visual aesthetic. Whether or not SVC has any "respect" for Star Trek or not has zero impact on whether or not the game is good.

Quote:
Monopoly still exists. That doesn't make it good game design.


Monopoly still exists 'cause it is a hugely successful, mass market parlor game. SFB still exists 'cause people like the game design, indicating that it is probably a pretty well designed game.

Quote:
What exactly is your world view with regards to games? You've stated you don't play with fighters because you find them a nuisance and yet here you are, reply after reply, defending their inclusion in a game.


I do think they are a nuisance for actual play. But I also accept that other people might enjoy them (and they do). And in an "in universe" sense, they work fine. And in a rules sense, they work fine. And them existing in no way degrades from my enjoyment of the game. 'Cause I am perfectly capable of understanding that some people like things that I don't, and just 'cause *I* don't want to use something doesn't mean that it shouldn't exist. Fighters existing in the SFU? They are in no way harmful to my enjoyment of the game. I use fighters all the time in F+E. I use fighters occasionally in SFB. I have no interest in playing a scenario that has 36 fighters in addition to a dozen ships. So I don't. That doesn't mean that I think that fighters are somehow harmful to the game as a whole.

Quote:
Do you even play Federation Commander?


I specifically answered that question in another post (possibly in another thread but responding to one of your posts). I have played FedCom. I don't really like it that much, as I don't find the trade off of simplicity for well working complexity to be a good trade off. It's ok. Playing FedCom is better than getting stabbed in the face, but I'd rather use that time playing SFB than FedCom.

Quote:
My worldview is that I don't blindly accept anything a company who creates games I enjoy offers me.


It looks more like your world view is making up things to complain about.

Quote:
And yet the number of people who don't play SFB because it's too complicated vastly outweighs the number of people who do.


Of course there are. That means nothing. Complicated tactical space combat games cater to a niche market. The people who play SFB do so, generally speaking, *specifically* 'cause it is complicated. I prefer SFB to FedCom 'cause the added complexity makes the game more interesting, for my money. I realize that some people would prefer a less complex game with a similar dynamic and similar window dressing. Which is why it is good that FedCom exists. See, just because *I* don't like it doesn't mean that it is bad that it exists.

Quote:
You claimed that this game is internally consistent. Yet I can put a lot more weapons on a piddly fighter than I can a ship of a vastly superior size. So where, pray-tell, is the consistency?


No, you can't put a lot more weapons on a piddly fighter than you can ship of a vastly superior size. A piddly fighter has, like, 4 drones and a couple phaser 3's. A squadron of fighters has, collectively, a similar amount of firepower (but vastly less sustainability) to a ship that costs about the same, BPV wise.

If you are wondering why you can't staple two dozen drones and a dozen P3s to the outside of a cruiser, I can make up any technobable you want to justify it in universe. In terms of the game, the answer is "'cause it makes the game work". Which is the only answer it needs. Dude.
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bakija wrote:
Akalabeth wrote:
No they don't. Because the concept of fighters is intrinsically tied to the way a wet navy vessel operates. And if your sci-fi space sim doesn't represent ships like ships, but like fighters, then adding fighters makes no sense.


And yet, in the context of the game? They make sense. They are cheap and disposable and provide more offense for what they cost compared to capital ships.

The in-universe justification for fighters exists. That you aren't paying attention to it does not mean it isn't provided.


I'm paying plenty of attention, the difference is where you are regurgitating information I'm actually analyzing it.

bakija wrote:

Quote:
Given the way that Prime Directive handles away teams it's pretty clear that SVC had very little respect for Star Trek whatsoever. If you're going to ignore the core premise of the show that features the Captain, First Officer and whoever else going down on an away team mission then your regard for the show is low or non-existent.


How is that remotely relevant to, well, anything? The game is what it is. It is based on a sketchily defined fictional universe and a visual aesthetic. Whether or not SVC has any "respect" for Star Trek or not has zero impact on whether or not the game is good.


Because if you're going to argue that the television series is flawed and that therefore these departures are justified then I'm going to demonstrate that SFU doesn't give a toss about the spirit of the television series in any regard.

These changes from official canon aren't made to reconcile the game with the television series. They're made to reconcile the game with the designer's own opinion. So to justify them on lines that the television is flawed is completely pointless because the tv series was obviously not considered as gospel for the game's creation.

bakija wrote:
Quote:
Monopoly still exists. That doesn't make it good game design.


Monopoly still exists 'cause it is a hugely successful, mass market parlor game. SFB still exists 'cause people like the game design, indicating that it is probably a pretty well designed game.


So if people like a thing, that must mean that thing is good quality?
That's why the Transformers movies have made so much money right? Because they're such quality movies with tight scripts, excellent acting, believable characters, etcetera.

That's not the way it works.

bakija wrote:

Quote:
Do you even play Federation Commander?


I specifically answered that question in another post (possibly in another thread but responding to one of your posts). I have played FedCom. I don't really like it that much, as I don't find the trade off of simplicity for well working complexity to be a good trade off. It's ok. Playing FedCom is better than getting stabbed in the face, but I'd rather use that time playing SFB than FedCom.


Then why are you here exactly?
You don't play Fed Com.You don't play with Fighters. And yet here you are in a Federation Commander forum defending the inclusion of fighters.

What is your reason for being here exactly?

bakija wrote:

Quote:
You claimed that this game is internally consistent. Yet I can put a lot more weapons on a piddly fighter than I can a ship of a vastly superior size. So where, pray-tell, is the consistency?


If you are wondering why you can't staple two dozen drones and a dozen P3s to the outside of a cruiser, I can make up any technobable you want to justify it in universe. In terms of the game, the answer is "'cause it makes the game work". Which is the only answer it needs. Dude.


Then the game isn't consistent. Simple as that.

 
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Then the game isn't consistent. Simple as that.


If that makes it not fun for you, don't play it. Simple as that.
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jediacademy2000 wrote:
Quote:
Then the game isn't consistent. Simple as that.


If that makes it not fun for you, don't play it. Simple as that.


Nah I think I'd rather discuss it.
But I do appreciate the gesture of creating a BGG account just to tell me that.



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Akalabeth wrote:
I'm paying plenty of attention, the difference is where you are regurgitating information I'm actually analyzing it.


There is no regurgitation going on here. You are bent out of shape because this game, that you may or may not actually like or play, does not conform to your vision of how it should work. Which is fine. But your vision is not necessarily the correct one.

Quote:
Because if you're going to argue that the television series is flawed and that therefore these departures are justified then I'm going to demonstrate that SFU doesn't give a toss about the spirit of the television series in any regard.


I'm not arguing that these departures are justified 'cause the series is flawed. I'm arguing that the TV show is a TV show, and the game is the game, and trying to make a game that slavishly adheres to a template that the people who were writing had no intention of making a consistent template is silly. The game is the way the game is, 'cause it works as a game. That is all the is important.

Quote:
These changes from official canon aren't made to reconcile the game with the television series. They're made to reconcile the game with the designer's own opinion.


Yes. And?

Quote:
So if people like a thing, that must mean that thing is good quality?


No. If a thing is good quality, often people like it.

Quote:
Then why are you here exactly?
You don't play Fed Com.You don't play with Fighters. And yet here you are in a Federation Commander forum defending the inclusion of fighters.

What is your reason for being here exactly?


At this point, clearly I'm here as I enjoy making you crazy.

I play games in the SFU--as you kindly brought up in another thread, I'm a world champion SFB player. And I play a lot of F+E. And SFB in general. You are questioning the existence of fighters in the SFU. I'm explaining how they make sense in the SFU (of which FedCom is a part). The justification for these units exists in the game background. You don't have to like them. You don't have to use them. You can 100% ignore the Fighters Attack expansion. You know what will happen? Nothing. Nothing at all. You can continue to play the game you like playing (if you like playing such a game). You can continue to exist, and never see a fighter ever in FedCom if that is what you want to have happen. And that's fine. But other people will probably enjoy using them, if they like that sort of thing.

Quote:
Then the game isn't consistent. Simple as that.


That is a super vague statement that refutes nothing. Simple as that.
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bakija wrote:

Quote:
Because if you're going to argue that the television series is flawed and that therefore these departures are justified then I'm going to demonstrate that SFU doesn't give a toss about the spirit of the television series in any regard.


I'm not arguing that these departures are justified 'cause the series is flawed. I'm arguing that the TV show is a TV show, and the game is the game, and trying to make a game that slavishly adheres to a template that the people who were writing had no intention of making a consistent template is silly. The game is the way the game is, 'cause it works as a game. That is all the is important.


Licensed products emulate their licenses.
People play licensed products to re-live the events of the tv show/novel or movie.

If your game can't do that, your game is doing it wrong.

bakija wrote:

Quote:
So if people like a thing, that must mean that thing is good quality?


No. If a thing is good quality, often people like it.


Yes and people like bad products as well.
Thus the fact that people like SFB doesn't necessarily mean it's a "good game". Your logic doesn't follow.

bakija wrote:
I play games in the SFU--as you kindly brought up in another thread, I'm a world champion SFB player. And I play a lot of F+E. And SFB in general. You are questioning the existence of fighters in the SFU. I'm explaining how they make sense in the SFU (of which FedCom is a part).


Yeah except they don't make sense. Because if fighters were that limited in utility then their adoption would not be as wide spread. We would not see Carrier variants of nearly every hull in the game.

They also don't make sense for how many weapons they carry either which has been stated about two or three times. Don't care if it's a game. I care about world building, a concept largely lost on ADB since the SFU history is built not through stories but scenarios. And if you've built a world on a licensed property while ignoring 90% of what made that property the way it is, then you've done it wrong.
 
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Nah I think I'd rather discuss it.

So, you admit you are being a troll. Cool.

*edited to add the quote correctly*
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Akalabeth wrote:
Licensed products emulate their licenses.
People play licensed products to re-live the events of the tv show/novel or movie.


?

I don't play licensed products to "re-live" the events of the tv show/novel or movie. As such, your statement based in a falsehood. I like Star Trek. I like games about Star Trek as a license. I have no need to "re-live" anything. If the game is a good game with window dressing that I'm already attached to? That's all I need. I doubt that I am alone in that. Do *some* people want this? Sure. But not everyone.

Quote:
Yes and people like bad products as well.
Thus the fact that people like SFB doesn't necessarily mean it's a "good game". Your logic doesn't follow.


SFB. It's a good game. Having played it for a long time at a very high level, I can say "It's a good game". Having talked to a lot of people who enthusiastically play it consistently for 30+ years, specifically 'cause it's a good game, I can say pretty confidently that people who play SFB play SFB 'cause it is a good game. Is it perfect? Of course not. It has flaws and mistakes. But for the most part, it is a good game. Which is why people play it.

I'm not speaking from a vacuum here.

Quote:
Yeah except they don't make sense. Because if fighters were that limited in utility then their adoption would not be as wide spread. We would not see Carrier variants of nearly every hull in the game.


You keep saying that. It doesn't make it true. Fighters are not "limited in utility". They are good in circumstances where they are good. Open space fights? They aren't real good there. That is true. Open space fleet fights, in the universe in question, don't actually happen that often (see: F+E). Attacking fixed locations (planets/bases/convoys/etc.) are they only thing that you need to attack or defend that actually force combat. So those are the things that see the most significant fighting. And are where fighters are most effective.

Quote:
They also don't make sense for how many weapons they carry either which has been stated about two or three times.


And has been refuted two or three times. An average fighter has 4 drones (of which two are of limited utility) and two phaser-3s, or a rough equivalent. A few fighters are a bit over that curve, but not much. A lot are under that curve. But that is the standard, base line, solid combat fighter in this game. You are yet to define how that is an excessive number of weapons.
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SFB fighters, if put in a modern context, would be Zodiac rafts with a couple guys carrying RPGs. PFs would be torpedo boats.
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