Wing Commander miniatures game

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Finder of things, Doer of stuff
So working my way through your edits. I'll just list off any sections you edited that I have questions about.

page 1, under The Setup:
Decide how long a game you want to play. The more resources you decide to start with, the longer each battle will take. A 500 point game should be playable in under 30 minutes. Larger games with as many as 3,000 starting points could take several hours to play. [I highly recomment moving the decimal point to the left on all the point values and rounding to at least the nearest half point]

- um... what decimal points? Points are a bit wonky right now but there shouldn't be any decimals or half points.

And wow, you weren't kidding when you said the tables got messed up. But yeah, the comment about the points is the only question I ave right now (gotta love end of semester stresses).
I'm suggesting dividing all point values for game length and cost of fighters, pilots, and missiles etc. by 10. If you don't want to have to deal with fractions, then that will require rounding all the numbers up to the next whole number afterwards. This in some ways is more of a cosmetic change and should not affect the balance of how points are spent in the game's set up phase. I feel like it helps make things more accessible and I don't think it loses any nuance in buying strategy at all, but allows for numbers that are easier to wrap your head around and makes sense of at a quick glance.
 

Adm_maverick

Rear Admiral
I'm suggesting dividing all point values for game length and cost of fighters, pilots, and missiles etc. by 10. If you don't want to have to deal with fractions, then that will require rounding all the numbers up to the next whole number afterwards. This in some ways is more of a cosmetic change and should not affect the balance of how points are spent in the game's set up phase. I feel like it helps make things more accessible and I don't think it loses any nuance in buying strategy at all, but allows for numbers that are easier to wrap your head around and makes sense of at a quick glance.
I gotcha. Points are just not something I'm putting that much effort into dealing with right now. Right now I'm more focused on the raw mechanics. Just to have something to put under points, I've got a spreadsheet that takes the sum of the values for the ships burn, turn, Hull Points and shields, multiplies that by 10, then takes the number of guns, multiple by the cost of the type of guns, and the number of flares/decoys/ECM pods and multiples that by 1/5/15 depending on the type, and then adds all of that together to come up with a 'total points'.

Once I feel confident that the basic fighter mechanics are workable I'll look more closely at the points. Just off the top of my head I'd like to have the likes of the Lance, Devastator, and Excalibur being the most expensive ships and have them be under 500 points each.
 

Adm_maverick

Rear Admiral
So, the first real round of play testing has been completed. I saw first real round because previous all the play testing had been either myself playing against myself, or myself and a friend, who has been largely involved in the development of the game itself. This time it was 5 people who, while they knew I was developing this game and I had occasionally chatted with them about it, they had not been really involved in the rule development. So this was really the first 'real' play testing. And... it went about as badly as I expected.
I had originally had it setup for 6 people to play and I would observe, make notes of issues, and clarify rules points and the like.

We had planned to start at 11, people didn't show up until 11:45.

I asked people to bring something to take notes on like a note pad or tablet... no one brought anything of the sort.

I sent copies of the hand book out 3 weeks ahead of time asking people to read through it... only 1 person read any of it before hand.

I had 6 people who said they were coming, 5 show up.

so got started an hour later then I planned, had to spend half an hour going over rules, and I had to play to get an even 3 team in addition to trying to observe and make notes.

Still, all of that having happened: seeing the game actually being played did help solidify a lot of material for me.

for one thing: 9 times out of 10 when I look at a rule and my gut instinct is that it needs works/is a problem, I should follow it. There were a lot of times where the play testers ran into problems with rules that I not changed because I thought I was being overly critical about it. Stuff like the laser cannon having a range of 18 inches, or not explicitly telling players that each cannon inflicts it's own damage.

So some updates to the system:

1- There is now an 'activation phase'. Starting with whatever pilot has the highest pilot skill, you declare your movement and make it. Then the pilot with the next highest pilot skill, and so forth.

This helps to break up the inclination to 'wait and see' what your opponent does.

2- Minimum required movement. At the end of a players movement phase, unless the ships have the keyword 'stationary', they must end their movement phase at least 2" away from where they started the phase.

3- ships that move more get differing bonuses based on their movement.
  • When one ship is shooting at another, for every 2" the target ship moved further then the attacking ship, the attacking ship suffers a -1 to their pilot skill while attempting to shoot that particular ship.
  • For every non-consecutive turn after the first that a ship makes in a given movement phase, it gains a +1 to it's pilot skill for the purpose of dodge checks for that turn.
4- Weapons have 2 new stats.
(D)mg​
[R]ng​
[E]-Distance​
Effect​
[S]hots​
[SP]ecial​
Laser Canon
1​
18​
9​
-3 shots​
6​




the [E]-Distance is the weapons engagement distance, or the distance up the point that the weapon is considered to be most effective. Beyond that distance, up to it's maximum range, the weapon still works but it suffers some kind of negative effect. The effect of such a shot is listed under the weapons 'effect'. The laser cannon for instance gets -3 shots if it is shot at a target that is more then 9 inches away but less then 18. Generally the engagement distance is half the weapons max range, but not always.

I've also started drafting some special rules for weapons. At the moment what I have are:

Ionic Cascade: Attacks made by weapons with this rule Inflicts double damage against shields.
Particle Onslaught: Weapons with this rule inflict half damage against shields but inflict double damage against hull points.
Fission Decay: Weapons with this rule inflict double damage when they strike targets with their engagement distance.
Neutron Decay: Some weapons deposit radiologically active particles into a ships hull when it is used. The decay of these particles over time cause continuing damage against the ship. These effects do not work if the hits are made against the shields of a ship as the particles are simply vaporized following impact. If a ship takes damage to its hull points from a weapon with this rule, place a marker of some sort near the token to indicate that the ship has taken Neutron damage. Each turn after the damage is sustained, the ship will receive additional damage in a decreasing amount each turn. The first turn after the damage was inflicted, it will take 1 less point of damage then the weapon itself made in the previous turn. The second turn, it will receive 2 less, and so forth until either the ship is reduced to 0 hull points, or the amount of damage inflicted is reduced to 0.

5- Taunts are now 'communication actions' and have been diversified into 4 categories that include 1- Taunt enemy, 2- Intimidate Enemy, 3- Direct Wing Mate, and 4- Assist Wing Mate. You can only make 1 communication action per member in your wing per game. So if you have 3 Hornets in your wing, you may make 3 communication actions. Not each member can make 3 actions, just 3 communication actions per game.

  • Taunt Enemy - An attempt to piss off the enemy and get them to attack you.
  • intimidate Enemy - an attempt to gain some psychological advantage over your enemy
  • Direct Wing Mate - issue orders to a wing mate. Typically comes with some sort of bonus.
  • Assist Wing mate - try to talk a wing mate down from a taunt or stressful situation.

I'm working on compiling this new material into a version 0.02 of the hand book and hopefully will have it up next week.
 

Adm_maverick

Rear Admiral
Okay this took a bit longer then I had intended it to take, but got the player handbook updated.

10640

Updates include:
  • Activation phase
  • Cannon engagement range and effects
  • Weapon Special effects
  • re-worked Communication ability rules
 

gevatter Lars

Vice Admiral
Are you still working on this?
I have just made a quick pass over the rules and it seams you want to include quite a lot.

As I am currently a bit stuck with my own game, maybe I can playtest yours...against myself ^_^
Yah I also have the problem that I can't find people for my game. Luckly there is a prototype round in my city so that I usualy can play at least once a month with random people. Maybe there is one too in your area. Have you tried facebook or went to your local game store?

Do you have templates for your stuff to print and play?
 

Adm_maverick

Rear Admiral
Are you still working on this?
I have just made a quick pass over the rules and it seams you want to include quite a lot.

As I am currently a bit stuck with my own game, maybe I can playtest yours...against myself ^_^
Yah I also have the problem that I can't find people for my game. Luckly there is a prototype round in my city so that I usualy can play at least once a month with random people. Maybe there is one too in your area. Have you tried facebook or went to your local game store?

Do you have templates for your stuff to print and play?

Yes, I am still working on it, just not as often as I would like to. Between school, work, life, 2nd work, and a couple of other things, hours turn into days that turn into weeks are just way too common right now.

I don't presently have anything is ready for Print-n-play, but with more and more material working out I am leaning toward setting up a website for the project that would include that exact thing.

Beyond responding to that, I recently finished a new round of playtesting. Several issues became apparent, the first being people are not interested in relying on Number of shots or missiles for taking down shields as I had initially considered. See, my original thought was that you would want multiple ships in a wing with different cannons so that you could tactically use a combination of different types of cannons and missiles on a given target to take down the ship's shields, and then deplete their hull points. But apparently not. At least among my play-testers, they are more inclined to take a single large fighter and use it literally ram the numerous smaller craft.

On the one hand, it was kind of amusing imagining a Voktoth acting like a lawn mower and the three Hornet pretending to be grass. But on the other hand, it highlights a problem with the rules as they stand at present. Firstly, there is no motivation to avoid damage to your own ship(s), so long as you survive. So why spend 2-3 turns shooting at a target when you can just ram it, take 15 points of damage and keep on going?
Second, my approach to the damage system needs a complete re-working. Originally my thinking was more shields, fewer hull points because, with a couple of exceptions, you can only deplete shields through bombardment and the shields are capable of regenerating. This would make ships like the Hornet and Darket desirable because with their laser cannons and some energy manipulation each ship can get up to 18 shots per turn. With a half-decent gunnery skill behind those ships, that means 10-12 points of shield damage per turn per attacking ship. Get 2 in your wing and that's 20-24 damage per turn. So having ships with 20-30 shields didn't seem like too much of a problem to that approach.

Well... that's not how my playtesters were approaching it. They were approaching it as having a higher pilot skill to avoid negative effects from pulling off flight based moved, like ramming. So having PS 7 or 8 was preferred over having GS 5 or 6 because they were more inclined to take a Voktoth and simply ram the Hornet because that was more efficient than shooting them.

So working on two major rules changes right now:
  1. Making ramming more of a 'desperate last effort' type of action as opposed to a viable standard operation.
    1. Looking at a couple of ideas on this front. The first option being a requirement to take a psych test prior to attempting a ram. If you fail it you take 150% of the damage and accrue 3 Stress tokens from the act.
    2. The second idea is having a limit on when you can attempt to perform a ram. Something like "The craft must have less than 25% of its total hull points left."
  2. Revamping how weapons are set up and what effects they have.
    1. Here I'm introducing Types of weapons, specifically Energy and Ballistic types. Ballistic weapons would be things like Mass Drivers, Particle cannons, and StormFire cannons while energy weapons would be things like Lasers, Fusion Cannons, Ion Guns etc. Ballistic weapons would only inflict 1/2 damage against shields, but full damage against hull points while energy weapons would do full damage against shields, but only half damage against hull points.

So as an example of weapons, we have a Laser cannon which is an Energy-based weapon as denoted by the [E] in the second column and a Particle Cannon which is a ballistic type weapon as shown by the . So a Laser Cannon that lands 4 shots on a ship that has 0 shields will only inflict 2 points of damage on the hull, while a Particle cannon that lands 2 shots on the same ship will inflict 8 points of damage (not counting the particle onslaught special rule).
1570461171711.png
 

gevatter Lars

Vice Admiral
I handel ramming in a way that you can receive more damage then the target you are ramming and the "attacker" draws the damage first so even if both ships go boom the attacker has still lost.
That way players have two uncertanties. First of, they don't know if its worth it and second that even if the other ship is destroyed too they might still be loosing. This works because each player has only one ship and damage is done by drawing a damage token that the other side can't see.

You weapon rules seam confusing.
Your Laser can shoot 6 times with 1 damage each. So when 4 shots hit I either should inflict 4 damage or the effect of -3 should result in 1 damage not 2.
Same with the particle cannon. It fires one shot with 4 damage but results in 8 damage where it should be 2. It can only fire one shot and that is reduced by 2 damage.....
Another point would be...if the Laser has -3 shots...why not give it 3 instead without the modifier?

Frankly I think people prefered ramming because that kind of rules seam hard to understand and from my experiance people just drop stuff they don't understand instead of asking or trying to figure stuff out. So maybe that is why people prefered just ramming?

Also using tons of dice isn't for everyone. When I read "18 shots" my mind would go...how much time will this game take if I have 3-4 ships and constantly roll that many dice 3-4 times per turn.

Overall I would say ask yourself who do you want to play the game with. Wargamers who memorize 200pages of rules to the letter and play games that last the entire day, gamers who like to invest about 3-4 hours into a game or should it be for a more casual crowd that playes 30min - 2 hour games. Depending on that you might have to either make it more complex or strip it down a lot.

I ran into that problem with my game. I just found no one that is like me, investing 3-4 hours in a medium complex game or longer. Also the goal was to have a fun game so with heavy heart I through out most of the rules and stripped it down.
I will have yet to test it with non family players but it was allready a better experiance.
 

Adm_maverick

Rear Admiral
You weapon rules seam confusing.
Your Laser can shoot 6 times with 1 damage each. So when 4 shots hit I either should inflict 4 damage or the effect of -3 should result in 1 damage not 2.
Same with the particle cannon. It fires one shot with 4 damage but results in 8 damage where it should be 2. It can only fire one shot and that is reduced by 2 damage.....
Another point would be...if the Laser has -3 shots...why not give it 3 instead without the modifier?
The 'effect' comes into play if you shoot the weapon at a target further away then it's 'E-distance' or "Engagement Distance". So in the case of a laser cannon, if you attack a target that is within 9" you get the full 6 shots. But if you shoot at a target that is more than 9" away you only get 3 shots per cannon (unless you have put more energy into guns that is).
 

gevatter Lars

Vice Admiral
Okay but is it a typo or why does the Laser do 2 damage?

Laser: 4 shots hit, each 1 damage should be 4 damage or if its over its ED it should be 1 hit (4-3) = 1 damage
 

Adm_maverick

Rear Admiral
Okay but is it a typo or why does the Laser do 2 damage?

Laser: 4 shots hit, each 1 damage should be 4 damage or if its over its ED it should be 1 hit (4-3) = 1 damage
As laid out right now, the Laser Cannon is an Energy weapon. Energy weapons do full damage to shields and half damage to hull points. So 4 laser cannons shots hitting a ship with 0 shields, will inflict 2 points of damage against the hull. If it hits the shields those 4 shots would do 4 points of damage to the shields.

You don't subtract the effect from the number of hits made, but from the number of shots taken. So is you fire 1 laser cannon at a target that is 10" away, you only make 3 shots. not 6.
 

gevatter Lars

Vice Admiral
Ah okay. Maybe it would be easier to read if you could have, instead of the type of weapons two seperate damage columns with "shield damage" / "hull damage". Would make it easier to read because you don't need to remember what E/B stands for and even someone who hasn't read the rules would still get the right values.

As for the dice rolling.
Would it be a big differance in result if, intead of subtracting dice you would roll the same amount but against a higher "to hit" number?
Also why so many dice? Are you basing the number of dice upon the refire rate ingame to the duration a game turn is?
Like you say in your game a turn is 6 sec. and the laser has a refire rate of 1 sec so its 6 shots per turn?
 

Adm_maverick

Rear Admiral
Ah okay. Maybe it would be easier to read if you could have, instead of the type of weapons two seperate damage columns with "shield damage" / "hull damage". Would make it easier to read because you don't need to remember what E/B stands for and even someone who hasn't read the rules would still get the right values.

As for the dice rolling.
Would it be a big differance in result if, intead of subtracting dice you would roll the same amount but against a higher "to hit" number?
Also why so many dice? Are you basing the number of dice upon the refire rate ingame to the duration a game turn is?
Like you say in your game a turn is 6 sec. and the laser has a refire rate of 1 sec so its 6 shots per turn?
One of the big things I've been advised to avoid is having too many multiple modifiers. The ideal limit is 0 but 1 level of modifiers is acceptable while 2 is tolerable and 3 is something to avoid unless I want to go full-on RPG style. Many ships have abilities that grant bonuses or confer negative modifiers to to-hit rolls. So that's already 2 levels of modifiers (How good you are shooting modified by how good they are at not being hit). Because of that I've avoided adding another layer of modification to rolls with the guns themselves, rather settling for simply including more dice in a given roll.
 

Adm_maverick

Rear Admiral
at one point I was thinking about using a distance-based to hit mechanism that would be modified by the pilot's gunnery skill. So you'd have a table with distances 1-9 on the top, and Pilot Gunnery skill on the side. You compare the distance to the pilot skill, and that would give you the roll to determine if you with your shot(s) or not. Thinking back on it, it might be worth taking a look at what it would take to implement that sort of system.
 

gevatter Lars

Vice Admiral
I think I have seen something like that somehwere.... Battlespace I think, the space battles for Battletech.
In general just takeing a messurement and then look up the value from a table should be easy enough.
 

Adm_maverick

Rear Admiral
Okay, so I need some input from someone who is better at numerical analysis then I am. I'm working to develop a mathematical process that come up with a cost in point for the weapons. One of the biggest problems I ran into with my last round of playtesting was points balance. To be blunt, a player should not be able to take this:
3x6 -KHF_B-1066c VokToth.png


Piloted by:
Bakhtosh “Redclaw” nar Kiranka.png


in a game of fewer than 1,000 points. And honestly, even at 1,000 points I really feel like this combo with full missile loadout should account for about 3/4s of the total.

Now, I know based on what I just said it should be a trivial matter to just take the total of [Bakhtosh] + [Vok'Toth] + [8* whatever the most expensive missile type is] = 750 and divide them as needed.

Well, the problem with that is that it's a largely arbitrary approach. Which is why I want to develop a mathematical approach to determining the cost of the ships and pilots so that way A- I can use that approach to ensure ships are more or less fairly priced compared to one another B- if I create rules for creating player-built ships, I can include a variant of the formula for figuring pricing of the ships there.

So I'm starting with the weapons.

at present a weapons profile looks like this:
Capture.PNG


We have the name of the weapon and 7 stats.
E/B is a note of whether the weapon is an energy type or a ballistic type. Energy type weapons do full damage to shields, but half damage to hull points while ballistic weapons do half damage to shields and full damage
to hull points.

The laser cannon is not a great example of this stat because it's such low damage it will always do 1 point of damage regardless of hitting shields or hull. A better example of this mechanic would be something like the mass driver:
Capture2.PNG


The mass driver is a ballistic type weapon, so if it hits shields it would only inflict 5 damage, while if it hits hull it would inflict 10 damage.

The [D]mg is how much damage the weapon is capable of inflicting. 1 in the case of the laser cannon, 10 in the case of the Mass driver.

[R]ng is the range of the weapon in inches.
[E]-distance is the engagement distance of the weapon or the distance the weapon is considered to be most effective up to. Shots with the weapon taken up to this distance do not incur any inherent disadvantages from the design of the weapon itself.
Effect is the effect the weapon suffers from when firing at targets over its e-distance but still within its maximum range.
Targets beyond the weapons [R]ng can not be shot at.
At present the effects I have listed are:
  • -x shots
  • +x to target dodge
  • -x damage
  • -x2 to hit the target

[\S]hots[\S] is the number of shots the weapon makes each time it is used.
Special is any type of special rule for the weapon.

For the moment, I only have a handful of special rules for weapons that amount to:
  1. Ionic Cascade: Attacks made by weapons with this rule Inflicts double damage against shields.
  2. Particle Onslaught: Weapons with this rule inflict half damage against shields but inflict double damage against hull points.
  3. Fission Decay: Weapons with this rule inflict double damage when they strike targets with their engagement distance.
  4. Neutron Decay: Some weapons deposit radiologically active particles into a ship’s hull when it is used. The decay of these particles over time causes continuing damage against the ship. These effects do not work if the hits are made against the shields of a ship as the particles are simply vaporized following impact. If a ship takes damage to its hull points from a weapon with this rule, place a marker of some sort near the token to indicate that the ship has taken Neutron damage. Each turn after the damage is sustained, the ship will receive additional damage in a decreasing amount each turn. The first turn after the damage was inflicted, it will take 1 less point of damage than the weapon itself made in the previous turn. The second turn, it will receive 2 less, and so forth until either the ship is reduced to 0 hull points or the amount of damage inflicted is reduced to 0.

Example:
A Longbow takes a hit on its hull by a Neutron Gun that is less than 3 inches away. It suffers 7 damage. Next turn the Longbow will receive 6 damage (the Neutron gun inflicted 7 damage last turn). In the next turn it will suffer 5 additional damage. The next turn it will suffer 4 damage, and then 3 and so forth until the Longbow is destroyed, or the damage reaches 0. Over the course of 7 turns this means the Neutron Gun will inflict 28 damage. Compared to a Neutron Gunshot made from beyond its engagement range, which will inflict 6 damage over the course of 3 turns.

Previously I used the following formula for computing cost of the cannons:

If the "shots" was more then 4, divide it by 3.
Take the number of shots, and multiply it by the damage.
take that number, and divide it by the result of the Range divided by 6.

So using the Laser Canon as an example:
It's shots are 6, so divid that by 3 coming up with 2.
Take that 2 and multiply it by the damage (1) giving us 2
divide the Range by 2 giving us 3
Multiply that 2 by the 3 giving us 6.

Now as you've probably noticed, that formula only uses 3 of the 7 stats. Old version of the stats compard to the new stats and all.

Well, now I'm not sure where to start with a new calculation.
 
Last edited:

capi3101

Rear Admiral
Let me go back through the thread - I'd like to help with the analysis if I can, but first I need to review what data you already have. Are you tracking all the stats of everything with a spreadsheet of any kind?
 

Adm_maverick

Rear Admiral
Let me go back through the thread - I'd like to help with the analysis if I can, but first I need to review what data you already have. Are you tracking all the stats of everything with a spreadsheet of any kind?
Yeah I've got a big bloated spreadsheet with all the stats in one form or another. As far as the cannons go, what kind of stats are looking for that I didn't already layout in the last post?
 
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