Wing Commander miniatures game

Adm_maverick

Rear Admiral
so random question I had pop into my mind today (interestingly while I was working with a client to learn HTML).

But when it comes to measuring ranges and distances which method do you prefer?

The ones I know off (off the top of my head)

1 - Hex/block boards. Basically the board is divided into smaller sections and ranges are handled in terms of X-number of spaces.

2- Rulers/measuring tapes. Distances and ranges are handled with the likes of 12" and 20mm.

3- Abstracted ranges on a pre-defined distance. Basically you have a system of range 1, range 2, range 3 etc that is gauged by a some pre-defined system like a measurement stick of some sort. Ranges are just handled as being referenced to as "Range 1" and "Range 2"

Just my thoughts off the top of my head, I personally like the ruler method myself simply because it is the easiest to apply and rule. If it's range 12" you measure from point A to point B, if it's more then 12" you can't hit it. Having played warhammer for a number of years I know there are several points of challenge in this. These include measuring to and from the same points, width of the measuring device, bending the measuring tape to get around things etc.

the hex board method is easier to setup but I've had times in the past where players and addresses a lot of the issues I mentioned with using a ruler, but I've seen players get into some really headed debates about how to count spaces. Plus when you deal with things like firing arcs for like turrets or auto-tracking guns and the like, then it becomes a bit tedious.

The abstracted method seems like the simplest approach, but also looks like it would eliminate a lot of the options for range differences that had such a profound influence on the video game. I mean is a laser is range 4, would a meason gun be range 1?

My thinking is to go with an inches measurement system. You're thoughts?
 

capi3101

Rear Admiral
Okay...so I spoke to my group, and one of the designers there does have some insights into deck builders. The main takeaway is that if you're going to build something along the lines of Mystic Vale, the cost (even for a prototype) is going to get prohibitive awful fast - largely due to the cost of printable transparencies (which aren't in as big of a supply as they were 15-20 years ago or so) and the cost of your sleeves, considering 2-3 transparencies per actual card in play.

From my own experience, I can tell you that what you'll be able to build as far as a working prototype is going to depend on what methods you want to use and how much you're willing to spend. I built a 700+ card deck builder prototype that cost all of about $3.00; I got some cheap 3x5 index cards at Walmart, cut them in half (gets you half-an-inch short long-ways from a regulation poker card), and proceeded to fill in the data for each individual card over the course of the next month (a feat for someone with carpal tunnel syndrome like my self, made all the more painful when I threw nearly half of that deck out after the first few playtests). I've got a much more developed prototype of a different game now, with the cost up around $25 all told for some cheapass decks of cards from the local Dollar Tree, printed "slugs" that I was able to do for free at work, and sleeves (which represent the bulk of the cost here). Scrapbooking tools are your friends when you go to make a physical prototype, I'll tell you that much. The tooling-up cost can be expensive, but it's well worth it if you're heavy into game design.

Then there's VASSAL, of course. Completely free, let's you mess around with your prototype as much as you want, and all it takes is the willingness to learn the engine and some skill with a graphics design suite of your choice (keeping it free, I'd suggest GIMP). I do know that somebody did a VASSAL version of XVM, so adapting a version to WC for prototyping purposes should be a matter of cracking open the hood and replacing some of the graphics. Just saying.
 

capi3101

Rear Admiral
so random question I had pop into my mind today (interestingly while I was working with a client to learn HTML).

But when it comes to measuring ranges and distances which method do you prefer?

The ones I know off (off the top of my head)

1 - Hex/block boards. Basically the board is divided into smaller sections and ranges are handled in terms of X-number of spaces.

2- Rulers/measuring tapes. Distances and ranges are handled with the likes of 12" and 20mm.

3- Abstracted ranges on a pre-defined distance. Basically you have a system of range 1, range 2, range 3 etc that is gauged by a some pre-defined system like a measurement stick of some sort. Ranges are just handled as being referenced to as "Range 1" and "Range 2"

<snip />

My thinking is to go with an inches measurement system. You're thoughts?
Since you're building a miniatures game, I think the suggestion of 1" per range increment on a ruler makes the most sense. It at least would give you a good starting point; ultimately the conversion between scale and range is going to be largely dependent upon how big the miniatures are.

While we're on the topic, have you given any thought as to whether movement and combat will be 'simultaneous' or 'turn-based'? XWM uses turn-base as the default for combat and simultaneous for movement, though there is an optional mode of play for simultaneous combat. My own self, I prefer simultaneous; gives a combatant a fair chance for a parting shot if they get knocked out in a given round.
 

Adm_maverick

Rear Admiral
Okay...so I spoke to my group, and one of the designers there does have some insights into deck builders. The main takeaway is that if you're going to build something along the lines of Mystic Vale, the cost (even for a prototype) is going to get prohibitive awful fast - largely due to the cost of printable transparencies (which aren't in as big of a supply as they were 15-20 years ago or so) and the cost of your sleeves, considering 2-3 transparencies per actual card in play.

From my own experience, I can tell you that what you'll be able to build as far as a working prototype is going to depend on what methods you want to use and how much you're willing to spend. I built a 700+ card deck builder prototype that cost all of about $3.00; I got some cheap 3x5 index cards at Walmart, cut them in half (gets you half-an-inch short long-ways from a regulation poker card), and proceeded to fill in the data for each individual card over the course of the next month (a feat for someone with carpal tunnel syndrome like my self, made all the more painful when I threw nearly half of that deck out after the first few playtests). I've got a much more developed prototype of a different game now, with the cost up around $25 all told for some cheapass decks of cards from the local Dollar Tree, printed "slugs" that I was able to do for free at work, and sleeves (which represent the bulk of the cost here). Scrapbooking tools are your friends when you go to make a physical prototype, I'll tell you that much. The tooling-up cost can be expensive, but it's well worth it if you're heavy into game design.

Then there's VASSAL, of course. Completely free, let's you mess around with your prototype as much as you want, and all it takes is the willingness to learn the engine and some skill with a graphics design suite of your choice (keeping it free, I'd suggest GIMP). I do know that somebody did a VASSAL version of XVM, so adapting a version to WC for prototyping purposes should be a matter of cracking open the hood and replacing some of the graphics. Just saying.
By the dark gods, 700 cards?! What kind of game were you building?! I mean not saying this will be cheap by any measure, But at the same time I'm not thinking about doing a CCG either. I'm figuring the average game would have between 5 and 8 cards in total, like 3 on one side and 5 on the other. So... just extrapolating that out: that's 4 kilrathi ships, 4 Confed ships, say 5 options for pilots in each (gotta give options in the starter version right?) we'll say each of the ships can have up to 2 types of missiles, so that's 16 missile cards. That's 30 sheets there. Anyway, right now that's just rambling. Once we get to some sort of working system for protoyping then we can look at those sorts of numbers. Not ignoring the rest of what you've brought, but it ties in more with your next point.

As far as what to use: right now during conceptualization and brain storming I don't see any issue with just using digital assets like pictures and forums to work out mechanics and the like. Once I reach a point of being ready to prototype and find people to say "Hey try this game out and let me know what you think" then I will look at the costs points. Right now it's all just data.

Since you're building a miniatures game, I think the suggestion of 1" per range increment on a ruler makes the most sense. It at least would give you a good starting point; ultimately the conversion between scale and range is going to be largely dependent upon how big the miniatures are.

While we're on the topic, have you given any thought as to whether movement and combat will be 'simultaneous' or 'turn-based'? XWM uses turn-base as the default for combat and simultaneous for movement, though there is an optional mode of play for simultaneous combat. My own self, I prefer simultaneous; gives a combatant a fair chance for a parting shot if they get knocked out in a given round.
Until we get some play-testing down and have a reason to do otherwise, I want to go with a quasi-simultaneous system. Player 1 moves a ship, player 2 moves a ship, player 1 moves their second ship, player 2 moves their second ship etc, then during combat it would go in descending pilot skill order (PS: 10 first, then PS9, then 8 and so on, matches roll off).

I've tried using Vassal in the past but I have never found any good instructions for how the hell to actually use it to do anything more then put icons on the board, which... I can already in MS Paint. So I am lerry of trying to use it again because to be blunt, I don't want to spend 6 hours fighting to get it work only to find the person who was going to play against me and decided to leave.
 
I'm old-school, I prefer hexes. :) I think if we're going back to the original idea of the cap-ship strike, hexes make more sense as you get something of a visual representation of the defensive zones on a ship. Not that it couldn't be achieved by a fixed color-coded ruler strip, but then you have to print up giant cap ship miniatures which take forever to print and would increase the cost. laser printing a hex-map and laminating it is a cheaper option IMO. Just a thought.
 

capi3101

Rear Admiral
By the dark gods, 700 cards?! What kind of game were you building?!
A farming deck builder with Minecraft elements. I've learned a great deal about levels of abstraction since then...

I've tried using Vassal in the past but I have never found any good instructions for how the hell to actually use it to do anything more then put icons on the board, which... I can already in MS Paint. So I am lerry of trying to use it again because to be blunt, I don't want to spend 6 hours fighting to get it work only to find the person who was going to play against me and decided to leave.
I've got ample experience with putting VASSAL mods together (the WCCCG mod is the pinaccle of my experience, IMHO, but Ikusa is a close second) and I'm willing to playtest, if it makes a difference.
 

Adm_maverick

Rear Admiral
I'm old-school, I prefer hexes. :) I think if we're going back to the original idea of the cap-ship strike, hexes make more sense as you get something of a visual representation of the defensive zones on a ship. Not that it couldn't be achieved by a fixed color-coded ruler strip, but then you have to print up giant cap ship miniatures which take forever to print and would increase the cost. laser printing a hex-map and laminating it is a cheaper option IMO. Just a thought.
Maybe I'm misunderstanding, but how would a change in the meassuring system negate the need for the cap ship model (or make it needed) ?
 

Wolfman

Rear Admiral
Well this brought my memories of trying to make an X-Wing mod for WC, if you look around for Strange Eons you can get plugin that allows making custom x-wing cards, and I would be happy to share what I have started for WC3 ships for the mod, this includes missiles and gun cards for the cool ones like Tachyon, Plasma and so on.

With the cannons my idea is a fighter has a base load out of weapons that can be supplemented by a heavier cannon where you pick the main guns or the heavier upgrade, and I was playing around with a Full Volley idea where both can fire together but you cannot shoot next turn.

I may go back tonight and do some more actually and then send over a copy to you to see if it is something you would like to build off.
 

Adm_maverick

Rear Admiral
With the cannons my idea is a fighter has a base load out of weapons that can be supplemented by a heavier cannon where you pick the main guns or the heavier upgrade, and I was playing around with a Full Volley idea where both can fire together but you cannot shoot next turn.

I may go back tonight and do some more actually and then send over a copy to you to see if it is something you would like to build off.
I welcome the input. Can you expand on your idea in some detail though? I'm not sure if I follow your thinking or not.
 

Adm_maverick

Rear Admiral
So I was chatting with a friend and we got on the topic of gaming which of course lead to my mentioning this little side project so we got into a rather lengthy discussion and he became very enthusiastic about the idea. As in enthusiastic enough that he's got me interested in investigating the possibility of making a game that can be marketed and sold.

So, I guess that leads to the first question: Does anyone know anything about what would need to happen to go down that particular path?

and 2... anyone else crazy enough to join me on this endevour?
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
So, I guess that leads to the first question: Does anyone know anything about what would need to happen to go down that particular path?

and 2... anyone else crazy enough to join me on this endevour?
1. Kickstarter is excellent as a means to raise funds for tabletop games - there's a lot more money being crowdfunded for tabletop games than for video games, remarkably enough.
2. Uh, no :).
 

capi3101

Rear Admiral
If you do go the full route and get the licensing rights from EA, I'd love to hear about the experience - got a game prototype in the works my own self that's currently stalled for want of the rights to use the IP (Gearbox is the holder in my case, not that it matters).
 

Adm_maverick

Rear Admiral
1. Kickstarter is excellent as a means to raise funds for tabletop games - there's a lot more money being crowdfunded for tabletop games than for video games, remarkably enough.
2. Uh, no :).
Yeah I don't want to look into something like Kickstarter until I actually have something to show. Right now I just have a rough list of various maybes and ideas and very little else. So my friend and I are going to work on developing the system of rules and concepts. Once we feel we've got a good system down, then we can look at something like Kickstarter.

If you do go the full route and get the licensing rights from EA, I'd love to hear about the experience - got a game prototype in the works my own self that's currently stalled for want of the rights to use the IP (Gearbox is the holder in my case, not that it matters).
Can we even confirm that EA still holds the licensing? Like EA isn't known for letting their properties go to other people and Wing Commander is on GOG.
 

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
Can we even confirm that EA still holds the licensing? Like EA isn't known for letting their properties go to other people and Wing Commander is on GOG.
Yes. EA has the rights to the main games and products. The rights for the movie and movie related content have recently reverted from 20th Century Fox back to Chris Roberts.

There's a big difference between licensing the IP out for a new thing versus a rerelease of an existing thing on a new platform - EA has always been HUGE on rereleasing Wing Commander (and many of their other titles). See the endless stream of different bundle packs on CD we got in the mid to late '90s. GOG isn't even the first third party digital distributor that EA licensed WC out to - in 2006 the now-defunct GameTap service had the games. Also, we know the specific story in this case: Paul Barnet, formerly of EA Mythic, was influential in setting up the GOG/WC arrangement.

It's relatively low effort to allow a company to republish an existing thing. EA didn't really help GOG at all (and so they turned to the CIC, which is why the GOG versions of the games have so darn many extras, their WC4 is the DVD edition, etc). Licensing a company to create a new thing requires someone at EA willing to review and approve the new content and ensure it's "on brand," and they generally don't have a WC expert on hand able to do so... (although occasionally one happens by, like Paul Barnett or Sean Penney, and amazing things happen). But yeah, realistically, don't bet on your cool project being licensed as an official WC thing.
 

Adm_maverick

Rear Admiral
Yes. EA has the rights to the main games and products. The rights for the movie and movie related content have recently reverted from 20th Century Fox back to Chris Roberts.

There's a big difference between licensing the IP out for a new thing versus a rerelease of an existing thing on a new platform - EA has always been HUGE on rereleasing Wing Commander (and many of their other titles). See the endless stream of different bundle packs on CD we got in the mid to late '90s. GOG isn't even the first third party digital distributor that EA licensed WC out to - in 2006 the now-defunct GameTap service had the games. Also, we know the specific story in this case: Paul Barnet, formerly of EA Mythic, was influential in setting up the GOG/WC arrangement.

It's relatively low effort to allow a company to republish an existing thing. EA didn't really help GOG at all (and so they turned to the CIC, which is why the GOG versions of the games have so darn many extras, their WC4 is the DVD edition, etc). Licensing a company to create a new thing requires someone at EA willing to review and approve the new content and ensure it's "on brand," and they generally don't have a WC expert on hand able to do so... (although occasionally one happens by, like Paul Barnett or Sean Penney, and amazing things happen). But yeah, realistically, don't bet on your cool project being licensed as an official WC thing.
I never bet on anything. I just like to know what the field is before I commit resources to a given action is all.
 

Wolfman

Rear Admiral
I welcome the input. Can you expand on your idea in some detail though? I'm not sure if I follow your thinking or not.
Ok.

So Basically I m using the same stats as per X-Wing for the fighters, they all have a set Primary Value (ie 2 for an Arrow or Darket) but hen have the same style of upgrade options as per the X-Wing game (cannons, missiles, mods, Elite Pilot Talents etc) except for Droids (thinking they would be cool for a Privateer mod for Repair Robots etc).

Ships can also equip cannons which are the old Neutron Cannon, Mass Drivers etc from the show, basic lasers and roughly equivalent guns I consider standard armaments for the fighter but cannons add a cool customization element to the squadron building for the player.

As in the computer games I want to have the full guns to be a thing on the tabletop, so you can fire both Primary Weapon and Secondary Cannon one after the other in a turn but you cannot shoot again in the next turn and receive one Stress Token for overloading the energy of your ship.

Not sure how over powered that would be from a game balance sense as I have not tried it yet. However so far I have not made pilots with multiple actions or cards that give multiple actions just yet.

It could possibly be best to have a Full Guns as an Elite Pilot Talent to prevent every ship with cannons going blasting in, instead the card is restricted to Elite pilots or Elite Squadron ships.

Now most ships with the Cannon upgrade are so far Agility 2 or less so they dish out damage but will also eat damage from any attack that is at least 3 dice in return. So that may balance things out as I have been playing around with increasing the cost on the cannon cards as I thought I had them too cheap.

I hope this makes sense, other Elite Pilot cards will be things like the Kick-Stop and basically any maneuver card from the old CCG which has been my reference point for these things so far.

As I say if you get a copy of Strange Eons I will share what I have started with you, just PM me your email sometime and I will look to get the files over to you to have a look.

X-Wing was my go to for this as I have been playing the game since it was released, but I may use the Attack Wing card style is it feels a bit more Wing Commander to me in a way (as templates for the cards I will make).

Regards,
 

Adm_maverick

Rear Admiral
You could revert it to the movie assets, might be easier to get CR's blessing than EA's. Just a thought.
Worth a shot I suppose.

What I was originally thinking of doing was building 'A' game as a sort of 'generic space fighter' game, might make my own universe so I can get play testing and development done with out inuring the ire of EA. Then when I feel like that is good, I would assemble a modified version that would be the Wing Commander game that I can show to EA, that way if they said 'no' then I'm not completely out has I still have the 'game' that I can continue developing background content for to market on it's own.

I could add a step in there and do a WC:M version and talk CR about it. That way if he says no I'm still not out and can just pursue my own background for the game. If CR says yes to it, then I'd have CR as an asset for approaching EA when/if that were to happen.


Ok.

So Basically I m using the same stats as per X-Wing for the fighters, they all have a set Primary Value (ie 2 for an Arrow or Darket) but hen have the same style of upgrade options as per the X-Wing game (cannons, missiles, mods, Elite Pilot Talents etc) except for Droids (thinking they would be cool for a Privateer mod for Repair Robots etc).

Ships can also equip cannons which are the old Neutron Cannon, Mass Drivers etc from the show, basic lasers and roughly equivalent guns I consider standard armaments for the fighter but cannons add a cool customization element to the squadron building for the player.

As in the computer games I want to have the full guns to be a thing on the tabletop, so you can fire both Primary Weapon and Secondary Cannon one after the other in a turn but you cannot shoot again in the next turn and receive one Stress Token for overloading the energy of your ship.

Not sure how over powered that would be from a game balance sense as I have not tried it yet. However so far I have not made pilots with multiple actions or cards that give multiple actions just yet.

It could possibly be best to have a Full Guns as an Elite Pilot Talent to prevent every ship with cannons going blasting in, instead the card is restricted to Elite pilots or Elite Squadron ships.

Now most ships with the Cannon upgrade are so far Agility 2 or less so they dish out damage but will also eat damage from any attack that is at least 3 dice in return. So that may balance things out as I have been playing around with increasing the cost on the cannon cards as I thought I had them too cheap.

I hope this makes sense, other Elite Pilot cards will be things like the Kick-Stop and basically any maneuver card from the old CCG which has been my reference point for these things so far.

As I say if you get a copy of Strange Eons I will share what I have started with you, just PM me your email sometime and I will look to get the files over to you to have a look.

X-Wing was my go to for this as I have been playing the game since it was released, but I may use the Attack Wing card style is it feels a bit more Wing Commander to me in a way (as templates for the cards I will make).

Regards,
hmm, it's an idea to put on the table. Something I was thinking was each pilot would have an "Action point" pool that would replenish each turn (minus any modifier such as stress) and that pool would determine what actions the pilot could under take. The running idea right now is you have a Pilot Skill and a Ship Maneuver value that you combine to determine your action point pool. Originally I was figuring that would be used only for maneuvers under taken during the movement stage and then the ship would be able to under take what ever individual attacks it was able to under take. Perhaps expanding the Action Points to include attacks would be an option to look into. Like if you attack with 1 gun, it's a 1 AP action, if you attack with 2 it's 2 APs, if you fire a missile it's 3 AP, if you attack with all guns it's 4 AP or something,
 
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