Mobile Frame Zero: Intercept Orbit.

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Re: Mobile Frame Zero: Alpha Bandit

Postby MittenNinja » Sat Apr 19, 2014 12:12 pm

From one of the updates on kickstarter:
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Re: Mobile Frame Zero: Alpha Bandit

Postby DRevD » Sat Apr 19, 2014 1:31 pm

Scrape wrote:I find myself on the fence about the lack of weight- or size- class rules in MFZ. I'm not sure if it's just a legacy mechanic from previous giant-robot-battle games or what. The new Alpha Bandit Capital vs Frigate satisfies that itch for me, while remaining simple. I was surprised at just how few ships you field for a battle, anyway, so having even more decisions about even smaller ships doesn't appeal much to me.

Anyway, ship models can be whatever size, as long as you stick them on the right base. Like, the playtest stuff says specifically that a Capitol ship sits on an 8x8 stud base, but the model can be no larger than 16 studs. That's a big overlap! So I don't think you need to worry too much about the size of your actual ships.

If it's more a weight-class issue, that's an area that's totally begging for good house rules anyway (MFZ and AB both).


I don't necessarily disagree with you, but one thing I wish RA rulebook would have had included is some type of "official" optional rule set for different sized/class frames. I don't claim to know how it should have looked, but its one of the more commonly seen fan created house rule in the forums. Its something that could add an extra layer in the pre-game planning /metagame, give us clear, fun incentives to build different sized frames.. and it would simply be cool to see different sized frames on the table that behave differently due to their size. As it is, a large lumbering frame and a tiny little dudes have the exact same stats. Attempts to represent different sizes with certain systems and or simply less systems kinda falls flat. And there is a big difference between a fan created house rule and an optional rule in the rulebook. Split-range weapons, climbing/elevation/falling and exotic terrain and environmental systems are all optional rules but see greater usage by the community because of their inclusion in the rules as optional.

Adding optional rules towards the end for 'corvettes and other sized ships might not cost much, but it would gives us that fun, clear incentive to build more varied sized spaceships and give the community a universally used option to occasionally play the game in way that plays out a bit different. I feel its a low hanging fruit that could add a lot to the game and community.

Ced23Ric wrote:So, Frame (?), Point, Assault/Attack, Support.

What about Point, Close, Mid, Long? I'd personally like a designation that is absolutely with ambiguity, for the ease of teaching new players. If you need to explain that Assault/Attack is not the "boarding" range and that "support" is not a function, but a range surpassing all others, and that "point" is not the shortest range, but the range longer than where frames fight, I am feeling as if we're arbitrarily adding confusion for new players. It seems as if these range designator words were chosen more to be cool, less to be ... clear. The rule of cool in a wargame that aims at the young and casual gamers should embrace simplicity above coolness, and make entry as easy as possible.


I'm all for less ambiguity for new players, but there are few things to consider. First, dogfight, point, assault and support ranges just sound way cooler than close/mid/long. Also going off the kickstarter updates, the names denote a certain function of those ranges. Support is not simply long range form of assault that has a minimum range. So in other words, it doesn't seem to be a straight translation of direct fire and artillery from RA. Assault will somehow deal more damage in general and will be the preferred ship to ship range for damage. Support doesn't deal as much damage but you get to stay out of assault range (Im still liking the sound of battle range more :D). Point range is not simply close range version of assault either. Its the only ship range that can target frames, so it has a very different function, and I have a feeling it won't deal as much damage to ships as assault. Of course we'll have to wait for the updated rules to say for sure.
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Re: Mobile Frame Zero: Alpha Bandit

Postby schoon » Sat Apr 19, 2014 6:58 pm

Ced23Ric wrote:That ... that actually sounds like it would make sense, until you pit them against each other. A d6B 8 from a Colossus is impenetrable to a d6Rd 4 + d6Y 4 from a maxed shot, maxed spot powersuit. Even 3 or 4 could not crack that beast, because of the dice disparities.


Exactly! Not impossible for them to get a lucky shot of the d6B d8 rolls low - which is very cinematic for David and Goliath scenarios ;)
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Re: Mobile Frame Zero: Alpha Bandit

Postby Ced23Ric » Sat Apr 19, 2014 7:46 pm

schoon wrote:Exactly! Not impossible for them to get a lucky shot of the d6B d8 rolls low - which is very cinematic for David and Goliath scenarios ;)
An average 4.5 vs. an average 2.5 is anything but cinematic. If 4 tiny frames cannot take down one Colossus, ever, there's not David/Goliath. It's simply "No, you cannot damage this". I do not find that entertaining - especially not if you a) know that def 8 makes you invincible against those tiny frames and b) you roll d6W d6W d6B to attain that number. There's no love from me.
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Re: Mobile Frame Zero: Alpha Bandit

Postby MittenNinja » Sat Apr 19, 2014 8:11 pm

Ced23Ric wrote:
schoon wrote:Exactly! Not impossible for them to get a lucky shot of the d6B d8 rolls low - which is very cinematic for David and Goliath scenarios ;)
An average 4.5 vs. an average 2.5 is anything but cinematic. If 4 tiny frames cannot take down one Colossus, ever, there's not David/Goliath. It's simply "No, you cannot damage this". I do not find that entertaining - especially not if you a) know that def 8 makes you invincible against those tiny frames and b) you roll d6W d6W d6B to attain that number. There's no love from me.

But an 8 doesn't make you invincible. It just forces rolls that are above average to hit.
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Re: Mobile Frame Zero: Alpha Bandit

Postby Ced23Ric » Sun Apr 20, 2014 3:41 am

MittenNinja wrote:But an 8 doesn't make you invincible. It just forces rolls that are above average to hit.
Read again up there, Greg. 4 + 4 can never surpass an 8. It is invincibility.
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Re: Mobile Frame Zero: Alpha Bandit

Postby MittenNinja » Sun Apr 20, 2014 10:10 am

Ced23Ric wrote:
MittenNinja wrote:But an 8 doesn't make you invincible. It just forces rolls that are above average to hit.
Read again up there, Greg. 4 + 4 can never surpass an 8. It is invincibility.

where are you getting that 4 is the highest you can roll? I'm pretty sure you use d6s and the red ace gets a d8 to attack and the yellow ace gets a d8 for spot.
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Re: Mobile Frame Zero: Alpha Bandit

Postby Ced23Ric » Sun Apr 20, 2014 12:02 pm

MittenNinja wrote:
Ced23Ric wrote:
MittenNinja wrote:But an 8 doesn't make you invincible. It just forces rolls that are above average to hit.
Read again up there, Greg. 4 + 4 can never surpass an 8. It is invincibility.
where are you getting that 4 is the highest you can roll? I'm pretty sure you use d6s and the red ace gets a d8 to attack and the yellow ace gets a d8 for spot.
Ah, that's why you are confused. We are on completely different tangents! :D

Here's where the conversation about weight classes between schoon and me started:
schoon wrote:My latest tests, which are coming out much better, involve keeping the dice ratio the same, but changing to a d4 or d8 as the base die type (thus a power suit uses d4s, and d6s for "doubled" systems, and a collosus uses d8 and d10). This changes the power without the wild die imbalance.
I argued, that using d4s versus d8s very well means that the d8'ed frame/ship is nigh-on if not totally invincible.
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Re: Mobile Frame Zero: Alpha Bandit

Postby MittenNinja » Sun Apr 20, 2014 12:27 pm

Gotcha! Yeah I guess I didn't read that far back. I really think messing with size classes and the type of dice just opens up a huge can of worms that completely messes with balance. One of the great things about the game is that anything can take out anything else. If you remove that the game becomes less fun.
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Re: Mobile Frame Zero: Alpha Bandit

Postby Ced23Ric » Sun Apr 20, 2014 1:19 pm

MittenNinja wrote:If you remove that the game becomes less fun.

Agreed. And the funny thing is, what I (being a prior advocate for weight classes myself) realized was, that we can already use weight classes, by reducing systems. One might argue that a system less is a weaker frame/ship, but that is, essentially, what lighter weight classes are. If you look at 4 systems as heavy, 3 as mid and 2 as light (and I have seen all three used in the field and all three being usefull!), you have your weightclasses right there. Josh and the gang managed to subtlely, maybe even unwittingly, create a game system so simple, it reflects many, many aspects just fine without any house rules.
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Re: Mobile Frame Zero: Alpha Bandit

Postby Kiavahr » Sun Apr 20, 2014 2:00 pm

So a boarded ship rolls one blue die per Point Defense weapon system in a control contest. What happens if that ship has a single split Point/Assault system? Does it roll half a die? Are split systems even allowed in Alpha Bandit?

My instinctive solution is to make point defense guns just roll whatever red dice they would otherwise provide, with a success on a 5+. Would that mess with boarding balance too much? I'll admit I don't quite "get" boarding yet, but the above scenario stood out as something the rules can't cover at all.
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Re: Mobile Frame Zero: Alpha Bandit

Postby Ced23Ric » Sun Apr 20, 2014 2:04 pm

Kiavahr wrote:What happens if that ship has a single split Point/Assault system? Are split systems even allowed in Alpha Bandit?

Thanks for bringing that one up - interested myself, here.
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Re: Mobile Frame Zero: Alpha Bandit

Postby DRevD » Mon Apr 21, 2014 1:35 pm

Ced23Ric wrote:
MittenNinja wrote:If you remove that the game becomes less fun.

Agreed. And the funny thing is, what I (being a prior advocate for weight classes myself) realized was, that we can already use weight classes, by reducing systems. One might argue that a system less is a weaker frame/ship, but that is, essentially, what lighter weight classes are. If you look at 4 systems as heavy, 3 as mid and 2 as light (and I have seen all three used in the field and all three being usefull!), you have your weightclasses right there. Josh and the gang managed to subtlely, maybe even unwittingly, create a game system so simple, it reflects many, many aspects just fine without any house rules.


The issue with just having reduced systems as a way to represent weight classes is that 4 systems is pretty much the standard frame. So when you try to represent frames that are larger than average, it falls flat. Also simply representing a lighter weight class as a frame with less stuff is kinda dull. The frame doesn't behave any differently on the table compared to 'larger' frames.. other than taking less hits. Alpha bandit introduces something interesting with frigates. By being "smaller" they behave differently than larger capital ships. In this case they are more mobile due to the free green die they are given which ships normally can't get via systems. Its a simple enough rule but it creates a fun, rules-based incentive to build ships of varying sizes and it gives players in-game ships that behave differently in an interesting way due to their size.
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Re: Mobile Frame Zero: Alpha Bandit

Postby Joshua A.C. Newman » Tue Apr 22, 2014 2:23 pm

Kiavahr wrote:So a boarded ship rolls one blue die per Point Defense weapon system in a control contest. What happens if that ship has a single split Point/Assault system? Does it roll half a die? Are split systems even allowed in Alpha Bandit?

My instinctive solution is to make point defense guns just roll whatever red dice they would otherwise provide, with a success on a 5+. Would that mess with boarding balance too much? I'll admit I don't quite "get" boarding yet, but the above scenario stood out as something the rules can't cover at all.


That's actually how it's evolving now! Once again, the solution was in going back to a basic, core rule.
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Re: Mobile Frame Zero: Alpha Bandit

Postby Kiavahr » Tue Apr 22, 2014 6:55 pm

How are frame companies taken into account when calculating total systems for your PPA? Now that they're proper tactical assets I would assume each company system counts like a ship system would, so each company defaults to four. Assuming that's right, is it possible to start a game with reduced systems on a frame company? Leave off the spot or defense for example to try and bid under your opponents.

e: for another question. Do you have to bring one frame company for each catapult in your fleet? I'm thinking of a force with two ( d6W d6W d6B [Catapult][Catapult] + d6G) carrier frigates and a fighting frigate, but only one company on each carrier.
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Re: Mobile Frame Zero: Alpha Bandit

Postby grafvonbarnez » Wed Apr 23, 2014 7:00 pm

Kiavahr wrote:How are frame companies taken into account when calculating total systems for your PPA? Now that they're proper tactical assets I would assume each company system counts like a ship system would, so each company defaults to four. Assuming that's right, is it possible to start a game with reduced systems on a frame company? Leave off the spot or defense for example to try and bid under your opponents.


I don't know if it's changed since, but based on the previous rules and what I saw at PAX East, all frame companies have d6W d6W d6Rh d6B d6Y d6G , except for the one ace per fleet who gets a colored d8. PPA is only based on ship systems. (which usually comes down to "Who brought more frigates?")

Kiavahr wrote:e: for another question. Do you have to bring one frame company for each catapult in your fleet? I'm thinking of a force with two ( d6W d6W d6B [Catapult][Catapult] + d6G) carrier frigates and a fighting frigate, but only one company on each carrier.


RAW right now is that you get one company per catapult / one catapult per company.
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Re: Mobile Frame Zero: Alpha Bandit

Postby Joshua A.C. Newman » Thu Apr 24, 2014 3:23 pm

It's possible this is worth it? I'll think about it.
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Re: Mobile Frame Zero: Alpha Bandit

Postby Joshua A.C. Newman » Thu Apr 24, 2014 3:45 pm

Can I ask why you want to do that? Wouldn't it be better to have d6B and just keep yourself from losing the system?
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Re: Mobile Frame Zero: Alpha Bandit

Postby Kiavahr » Thu Apr 24, 2014 4:56 pm

General desire to both diversify my assets and get all of my frame companies launched with average-to-high fuel scores in the first round. I did a solo playtest and had trouble deploying the total of four companies from two carriers.

But the idea might not have any merit because A) I could have just been rolling poorly and B) I didn't know at the time that 2 catapults = 3 black dice. However, it did bring up some other questions:

Use white dice to upgrade black ones y/n?
Does one frame catapult still give only one black die?

And now I want to see what happens if you give catapults the same die progression as weapons. 2d6 for one and 2d6+1d8 for two. I'm moving sometime next week, so I probably won't be able to try it in the near future though.
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Re: Mobile Frame Zero: Alpha Bandit

Postby Mantisking » Thu Apr 24, 2014 5:04 pm

Kiavahr wrote:Use white dice to upgrade black ones y/n?

Yes.
Kiavahr wrote:Does one frame catapult still give only one black die?

Yes.

Kiavahr wrote:And now I want to see what happens if you give catapults the same die progression as weapons. 2d6 for one and 2d6+1d8 for two. I'm moving sometime next week, so I probably won't be able to try it in the near future though.

I actually just asked Joshua about this earlier today. Here's the response.
Joshua wrote:Nope. The extra pair of d6s is actually better for a few reasons.
1.) A 7 or 8 is practically useless for fuel. A game is only 7 turns long, tops. It would only matter on 25% of first moves; after that round, it doesn't mean anything, though it practically eliminates the need for refueling, thereby eliminating an entire mechanic and set of choices.
2.) A 7 or 8 in repair doesn't mean anything; you can only have up to 6 dice, total in a company. If you got full repair on a 6, 7, 8, you'd repair fully 48% of the time, which would be OK (though maybe a little frequent for my tastes, since that means you don't get to choose what to leave out), but with 3d6, we still have a 40% chance.
3.)When you need to refuel and repair, you need more dice, not bigger dice.
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