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Subject: Experience Points and Promotion rss

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Angry Augury
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Hey, fellow BGGers.

I'd like to get your comments and suggestions to improve this idea I'm starting with my game group. I'm implementing an Experience Point and Rank system into the game to give a little something extra for my team to strive for. The idea is that a player could earn XP for certain accomplishments they achieve during a game and, as they accumulate XP, their "rank" will increase. And, with the increase, gain possible benefits.

As for the achievements themselves, I'm using the criteria for Awards by
Mike C
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(If you haven't yet read his brilliant idea, please go to his thread here for more details as well as a link to the PDF materials.)

Take a look at the following and please tell me what you think. I do think of this as a work-in-progress so any suggestions would be appreciated. I'll add my own comments at the bottom.

April 17th EDIT:

I added possible Once-Per-Game abilities to the higher ranks as well as rank specializations to be picked up by high-level players.


May 14th EDIT:

Based on discussions in this and other threads, I have made the following changes:

-Added new XP challenges for the Captain.
-Added a new XP challenge and changed previous challenge XP amount for the JDO.
-Changed the requirements for DCO challenges.
-Changed ranks "Admiral" and "Fleet Admiral" to "Commodore" and "Admiral" respectively.
-Changed the once-per-game abilities of Commodore and Admiral.
-Raised the XP requirements for Commodore and Admiral ranks.


---

Service XP:

Training Mission Alpha Easy - 1XP, Medium - 3XP, Hard - 5XP
Training Mission Beta Easy - 1XP, Medium - 3XP, Hard - 5XP

Training Total = 18XP

Mission 01 Easy - 2XP, Medium - 6XP, Hard - 10XP
Mission 02 Easy - 2XP, Medium - 6XP, Hard - 10XP
Mission 03 Easy - 2XP, Medium - 6XP, Hard - 10XP
Mission 04 Easy - 2XP, Medium - 6XP, Hard - 10XP
Mission 05 Easy - 2XP, Medium - 6XP, Hard - 10XP
Mission 06 Easy - 2XP, Medium - 6XP, Hard - 10XP

Mission Total = 108XP

Service XP Total = 126XP

Award XP:

Captain:

Training (Captain) - 2XP
Awarded after a successful mission where the player remained in the same role from the start.

Captain No Equipment Medium/Hard - 3XP/5XP
Awarded to the captain if crew successfully completes a Medium/Hard difficulty mission (not a Training Mission) without using Experimental Equipment.

Engineering Officer:

Training (EO) - 2XP
Awarded after a successful mission where the player remained in the same role from the start.

EO Gen 14/15 - 3XP/5XP
Awarded for generating 14/15 energy in a single turn.

Helmsman:

Training (Helm) - 2XP
Awarded after a successful mission where the player remained in the same role from the start.

Helm Lost 2 - 2XP
Awarded for breaking the sensor lock of two enemies in a single turn.

Helm 2N/1H - 2XP/4XP
Awarded for causing the destruction of 2 Normal/1 Hard enemies via obstacles in a single turn.

Sensor Officer:

Training (SRO) - 2XP
Awarded after a successful mission where the player remained in the same role from the start.

SRO 2 Superlocks - 5XP
Awarded by gaining two Superlocks in one turn.

SRO Bullseye 1N/1H - 1XP/2XP
Awarded if a Normal/Hard enemy that has been Superlocked by the SRO is destroyed in a single shot.

Tractor Beam Officer:

Training (TBO) - 2XP
Awarded after a successful mission where the player remained in the same role from the start.

TBO Lock 8/10 - 2XP/3XP
Awarded for revealing 8/10 Tractor Beam points in one turn.

TBO Bullseye 1N/1H - 1XP/2XP
Awarded if a Normal/Hard enemy that has been locked by a Tractor Beam is destroyed in a single shot.

Weapons Officer:

Training (WO) - 2XP
Awarded after a successful mission where the player remained in the same role from the start.

WO Bullseye 1N/1H - 3XP/5XP
Awarded if a Normal/Hard enemy is destroyed in a single shot.

Shield Officer:

Training (SDO) - 2XP
Awarded after a successful mission where the player remained in the same role from the start.

SDO Block 8/10 - 3XP/5XP
Awarded if the shields block a total of 8/10 damage in a single turn.

Jump Drive Officer:

Training (JDO) - 2XP
Awarded after a successful mission where the player remained in the same role from the start.

JDO < 3 - 3XP
Awarded for performing a successful Jump while using less than 3 Jump Flux Cards.

JDO < 3 (30 Seconds) - 5XP
Awarded for performing a successful Jump while using less than 3 Jump Flux Cards and in one 30-second attempt.

Damage Control Officer:

Training (DC)) - 2XP
Awarded after a successful mission where the player remained in the same role from the start.

DCO +2/+4 - 3XP/5XP
Awarded for repairing 2/4 damage more than the amount of energy allocated to the station in a single turn.

Any Station:

Core Breach - 5XP
Awarded to any player after a successful Core Breach repair if they resolved two or more Core Breach cards while also performing their assigned station.


Award XP Total = 95XP

Service and Award XP Total: 221XP


Promotion Requirements:

Cadet 0XP
Ability - None

Ensign 10XP
Ability - None

Lieutenant (Junior Grade) 25XP
Ability - None

Lieutenant 40XP
Ability - None

Lt. Commander 65XP
Ability - None

Commander 90XP
Ability - Once per game, may physically assist another player in completing a station.

Captain 125XP
Ability - Once per game, allow any player to retry one station attempt.

Commodore 185XP
Ability - Once per game, give a 30 second time extension to one station.

Admiral 221XP
Ability - Once per game, give all stations a 30 second time extension.

Senior Staff:
The following are specializations that can be earned once the requirements are fulfilled. A player can claim only one Senior Staff position before the game and each specialization can only be claimed once for each game.

*A Senior Staff player gains one automatic energy each turn while operating the station(s) of their specialization. No station may have more than four energy.*


Tactical Officer:
Awarded after gaining all of the WO and SDO Award XP.
OPG Abilities:
-While acting as the WO, may retry one missed torpedo shot.
-While acting as the SDO, may swap shield values after Phase 3.

Chief Engineer:
Awarded after gaining all of the EO and DCO Award XP.
OPG Abilities:
-While acting as the EO, draw 2 extra Engineering Tiles for one turn.
-While acting as the DCO, all Automatic Successes revealed during one turn are reshuffled into the deck instead of discarded.

Conn Officer:
Awarded after gaining all of the Helm and JDO Award XP.
OPG Abilities:
-While acting as the Helm, take no damage from Special Maneuvers for one turn.
-While acting as the JDO, if unable to take a Jump Flux card after an attempt, take no damage and gain a free Jump Flux card.

Science Officer:
Awarded after gaining all of the SRO and TBO Award XP.
OPG Abilities:
-While acting as the SRO, may retain one Superlock for an additional turn.
-While acting as the TBO, revealed tiles stay face up until the end of the turn.

First Officer:
Awarded after gaining Training (Captain) and all the Award XP from any four stations.
OPG Abilities:
-May select one Experimental Equipment card at the beginning of the game after the Captain has chosen.
-May move Nemesis Marker up or down one space.


---

As you can see, most of the individual stations have 10XP available to earn through the challenges. I'm still wondering if I should tweak any of the numbers based on difficulty but for the moment I like them as they are.

Also, I believe the Awards variant has the awards being removed from the player if the ship is destroyed and, thus, the character killed but I was thinking this XP/Rank system would be permanent. It would be awarded to the player, not the character. That way it's a little different from the Award variant and would be able to be easily used with it if one desired to do so.

So, that's what I have so far but I'm hoping to expand on the idea. For example, certain ranks granting the player a special ability, perhaps a once-per-game sort of boost. Some possible examples (by no means final): getting an extra 30 seconds for your own station, giving a time boost to another station, giving a time boost to all stations, being able to physically assist another station one time, getting a free re-roll of a die, etc. The higher in rank, the better the OPG ability would be. But I would need to do more play testing (or get more feedback from more experienced players) before committing to any of these boosts. For now, in its infancy, this variant is just a personal achievement tracker.

Please, if you have any ideas for making this better, feel free to share them here.
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Mike C
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I like the experience points idea, especially earning better ranks/titles.

But maybe the ranks should be limited to things that would keep you in your role. For example, if you're great at engineering, maybe you can become Chief Engineer, but never Admiral.

(Though, come to think of it, in the Battlestar Galactica series the engineer on the Pegasus became the captain.)
 
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Angry Augury
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Since this game, unlike Star Trek, has a heavier focus on switching jobs around during the game I think it makes more sense for the ranks to be universal. Even Scotty became a Captain and Bones became an Admiral before all was said and done.

However, your comment does raise a great point about focusing on a specific "class". So I worked up a rough draft for prestige classes, if you will, along with the possible rewards for Ranks and Prestige. I'll post them here and edit them into the original post as well:

Once-Per-Game (OPG) Rank Abilities:

Commander - Can physically assist another player in completing a station.

Captain - Allow any one station to retry their attempt.

Admiral - Give +30 seconds to all stations for one turn.

Fleet Admiral - Grant any/all station(s) a Senior Staff OPG ability for one turn.

And for the prestige specializations, which I am calling "Senior Staff":

Tactical Officer:
Earn by gaining all off of the WO and SDO Award XP.
OPG Abilities:
-While acting as the WO, may retry one missed torpedo shot.
-While acting as the SDO, may swap shield values after Phase 3.

Chief Engineer:
Earn by gaining all off of the EO and DCO Award XP.
OPG Abilities:
-While acting as the EO, draw 2 extra Engineering Tiles for one turn.
-While acting as the DCO, all Automatic Successes revealed during one turn are reshuffled into the deck instead of discarded.

Conn Officer:
Earn by gaining all off of the Helm and JDO Award XP.
OPG Abilities:
-While acting as the Helm, take no damage from Special Maneuvers for one turn.
-While acting as the JDO, if unable to take a Jump Flux card after an attempt, take no damage and gain a free Jump Flux card.

Science Officer:
Earn by gaining all off of the SRO and TBO Award XP.
OPG Abilities:
-While acting as the SRO, may retain one Superlock for an additional turn.
-While acting as the TBO, revealed tiles stay face up until the end of the turn.

First Officer:
Earn by gaining Training (Captain) and all the Award XP from any four stations.
OPG Abilities:
-May select one Experimental Equipment card at the beginning of the game.
-May move Nemesis Marker up or down one space.

Also, I'm thinking that a Senior Staff player would earn one automatic energy when manning their appropriate station. Is that too much? The limit would still be four. And there can only be one of each Senior Staff so the title would have to be claimed/decided upon between any eligible players before the game started.
 
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Mike C
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I haven't really gone deep into these, but it looks like you've done an amazing job at finding special abilities for the roles that slightly tip the game but don't do too much. Very, very nice.

 
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Mike C
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I could create new ID badges that reflect the service specialty (red shirt, science, tactical, etc) and make room for some pips to indicate rank, pretty much to match Star Trek TNG.
 
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Mike C
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I have some more general thoughts about this.

First, it seems complicated. Maybe all it needs is to compact the XP into a couple of tables, but right now it feels like a lot of complexity.

I think there should be a penalty for jumping out of a mission without succeeding. Sure, you've saved the lives of your crew, but you didn't get the job done. Maybe the captain should not be allowed to captain the next mission. Maybe he loses a rank if he does it twice.

I'm not sure more abilities for higher ranks is a good idea. It makes the game easier for experienced players, and they are probably already finding the game is easier. Perhaps the abilities should be something command-related but not likely to unbalance the game. Some ideas:
* Choosing the mission
* Choosing the mission difficulty
* Deciding the ship configuration (which stations are paired together)
* Go by rank order when selecting which stations players get
* Resolving ties when two players want the same station
* Being able to order a shift change with a lower ranked officer during the game (once)

Of course, actually choosing the mission is a social decision between the players, but in the spirit of the game the highest ranked officer could insist on getting his way or break a tied decision.

Do you have any thoughts on how you'd like the rank insignia to look? I could use the left margin of the badge for something like the BSG stripes. Or I could use the place where it currently says "cadet" and put pips there.

Starfleet ranks: http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Starfleet_ranks
Battlestar Galactica ranks: [url]http://en.battlestarwiki.org/wiki/Military_Ranks_(RDM)[/url]

We could do both and let individual teams decide how they want it to look.
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Angry Augury
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mikec, I want to fully respond to your post but I'm exhausted now so I can't really concentrate right now.

I'm sure there would be a cleaner way to present the material once it's all finalized but I don't really think it's complex. At least it's better than the first way I laid it all out. I thought it's pretty straightforward to just look at what station(s) you're playing as and see what XP can be earned for it. But it is pretty plain just laid out like it is.

I liked your idea about penalizing for jumping out of a mission without succeeding. I was already thinking about something like that for not just jumping out but also failing a mission. I didn't put a lot of consideration into it yet but the idea is still there. If any idea comes to mind with you, let me know.

I have to disagree with your opinion that the special abilities making the game easier. Yes, they're a good boost but they can only be used once in an entire game and I don't think they're overpowered. Plus they're only earned after putting in all the hard work to gain the experience, which won't come easy. It would be a way of rewarding the players for achieving so much. As for your suggested alternative rewards, I'd rather keep the bonus as an in-game reward and not just be game setup. For some players who don't mind what mission/difficulty/stations/etc. is selected, then the reward is pretty much useless to them. I want the player to feel like they earned something worthwhile.

That all, of course, is about the rank bonuses and not the "Senior Staff" abilities as I'm still reviewing what sorts of bonuses to give them. I'd still like it to be something powerful, but not massively so. It needs to be something to reflect the fact that they are the top of their field in that station and can do something that a less qualified officer couldn't. Again, all the abilities are once-per-game so nothing can be overly abused and, likely, by the point that entire gaming groups would be achieving all of these skills, they'd be better off designing new, harder missions to try out their seasoned abilities rather than playing the included scenarios that they've mastered for the nth time.

As for your insignias, I'd have to say I'm more partial to the Star Trek method though I'm also a huge BSG fan. If you're willing to do both for players to choose, that would be great but if you had to go with one, I'd pick Starfleet. Also because I based the XP ranks on Starfleet ranks so it'd be easier for me to use.

Or if you could create your own design based on those existing ranks, maybe that would be the best route for Space Cadets. I'll think more on it but I'm sure you'll make a good call whatever you decide.
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Mike C
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The more I think about this, the more I like it!

Here's my 1st cut at the rank insignia.


My thought is that you'll cut them out on a small square, and glue the square over the word "Cadets" on the current IDs. The current IDs will get a minor update so the rank insignia square blends in.

Note that cadets have no insignia at all. I didn't do admiral, because it should look substantially different, and I don't think anything someone can do within a Space Cadets campaign should qualify them for admiral. It would feel wrong to play with an admiral at the helm. If you disagree, let me know and maybe I can come up with something.

What would you think about setting the promotions up something like this?

Cadet -- Automatic.
Ensign -- Complete 1 (non-training) mission successfully
Lieutenant Junior Grade -- Complete 3 easy missions
Lieutenant -- Complete 5 easy missions
Lt. Commander -- Complete 3 average missions
Commander -- Complete 5 average missions
Captain -- Complete 5 hard missions

Completing the required missions would not automatically promote an officer to that rank. They would be considered qualified, and then there would be an assessment die roll or something that would be modified by their ribbons and failures to determine if they actually get the promotion.

I'll include your bonus abilities in the PDF with the art, if you want. (And of course I'll credit you.)
 
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mikec wrote:
The more I think about this, the more I like it!

Here's my 1st cut at the rank insignia.


My thought is that you'll cut them out on a small square, and glue the square over the word "Cadets" on the current IDs. The current IDs will get a minor update so the rank insignia square blends in.

Note that cadets have no insignia at all. I didn't do admiral, because it should look substantially different, and I don't think anything someone can do within a Space Cadets campaign should qualify them for admiral. It would feel wrong to play with an admiral at the helm. If you disagree, let me know and maybe I can come up with something.

What would you think about setting the promotions up something like this?

Cadet -- Automatic.
Ensign -- Complete 1 (non-training) mission successfully
Lieutenant Junior Grade -- Complete 3 easy missions
Lieutenant -- Complete 5 easy missions
Lt. Commander -- Complete 3 average missions
Commander -- Complete 5 average missions
Captain -- Complete 5 hard missions

Completing the required missions would not automatically promote an officer to that rank. They would be considered qualified, and then there would be an assessment die roll or something that would be modified by their ribbons and failures to determine if they actually get the promotion.

I'll include your bonus abilities in the PDF with the art, if you want. (And of course I'll credit you.)


I finally have some time to sit down and reply here.

I like the way the insignias look. It may be a big discrepancy between commander and captain, but it's still pretty cool. I agree that cadets shouldn't have insignia.

As for the admiral thing, I've put some more thought into it and I want to change my ranks slightly. I'm changing the last two ranks of "Admiral" and "Fleet Admiral" to "Commodore" and "Admiral". I'm also raising the XP level for the Commodore rank to make it even harder to achieve.

I definitely think it's fine to have an admiral on the ship since we've seen exactly that happen in the big sci-fi series that inspired the game. Admirals always have a flagship to command. And, though it may be strange for an admiral to be operating a station in the world of Star Trek, Space Cadets is definitely not Star Trek. Keeping with the game's theme of flexible stations with understaffed/under trained crews, I think it would make sense for an admiral to have to play his part on the ship as well. Besides, to become an admiral (previously "fleet admiral") the player has to earn ALL of the available XP, which should be no simple task as some of the challenges are quite difficult. For a crew member to have experience in excelling at EVERY station on a starship, it would make sense for that person to rise to the highest ranks.

Your idea of promotions not being automatic is interesting. I'm not sure if I would use it in my games but if I did then perhaps just for the highest levels. Maybe for Commander and higher ranks. I'd like to think about it a little more to see if there's a better way to incorporate it.

 
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Mike C
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In the US, naval flag officers (ranks above captain) are approved by the Senate. Maybe only those ranks should require a die roll.

Also in the US, the insignia for Lt Commander, Commander, Captain, and flag officers are different symbols. If we continue with admirals, I'll create a symbol for them. (It's interesting that in the US Navy, gold is a lower rank than silver.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Navy_officer_rank...

My favorite idea for promotion would be if you pulled three cards from a deck, each representing a different person on a review board. Three "no" votes would demote you, two yes votes would promote you. There would be some rules around adding yes cards to the deck for pips and medals, and no cards for major mistakes. But ultimately I couldn't figure out how to make the rules work and I gave up.
 
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mikec wrote:
In the US, naval flag officers (ranks above captain) are approved by the Senate. Maybe only those ranks should require a die roll.

Also in the US, the insignia for Lt Commander, Commander, Captain, and flag officers are different symbols. If we continue with admirals, I'll create a symbol for them. (It's interesting that in the US Navy, gold is a lower rank than silver.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Navy_officer_rank...

My favorite idea for promotion would be if you pulled three cards from a deck, each representing a different person on a review board. Three "no" votes would demote you, two yes votes would promote you. There would be some rules around adding yes cards to the deck for pips and medals, and no cards for major mistakes. But ultimately I couldn't figure out how to make the rules work and I gave up.


Interesting information and an interesting concept of a "review board" for promotions. Your concept sounds almost like the DCO repair mechanic but requiring multiple successes for a pass.

Just throwing this out off the top of my head without any real thought: Going with your deck idea, let's say that the whole deck, however many cards, are all NO votes. Each "commendation" you earn, be them pips, medals, or whatever is deemed appropriate allows you to add one or more YES votes into the deck. Then you could draw the three cards and if you get 2 or more YES votes, your promotion is approved.

So as your "reputation" as a talented officer increases, so do your chances of being promoted. Perhaps the number of cards you draw and need to pass would increase depending on the promotion involved. For example: needing 2 out of 3 cards to become a Captain, 3 out of 5 to become a Commodore and 4 out of 7 to become an Admiral. Something like that.

I would cut out the demotion side-effect with this unless you're also using this as a penalty for perhaps a consecutive number of failed missions or something.
 
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Saving high ranked characters
First I´d like to thank you for this great idea to add promotions & awards for campaign play with Space Cadets. Actually our space craft (The U.S.S. FUBAR) achieved the first missions and we all got quite attached to our characters. When promoting the player and not the character there would be no problem with exploding ships. But we really like the thrill when the core makes the noise of a howling kettle.
So I was thinking about adding a way to save characters from dying in the cold airless infinity of space by using an ESPACE POD used by higher ranked characters.


The ESCAPE POD could

a) be only for the captain (and one other player)(as Experimental Equipment)
b) be for the player with the highest rank (in a tie: with the most awards)(as Experimental Equipment)
c) require another mini game (I was thinking of an easy dice game, where all players roll one die, check its number in secret and write down the predicted sum of all the rolls of all players. Only the lowest number, that was announced only once will allow that player to escape)
d) require each player to accomplish an jump attempt with energy from their actual station (choose the highest value) to let the pod escape into friendly sectors.
 
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