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Re: FTIII Rules Tryout

From: Mikko Kurki-Suonio <maxxon@s...>
Date: Tue, 10 Feb 1998 09:46:39 +0200 (EET)
Subject: Re: FTIII Rules Tryout

On Tue, 10 Feb 1998, Allan Goodall wrote:

> Of course, one thing we have to see is if heavily defended, slow ships
> are unbalanced. I'm not saying this is the case, I'm only speculating.
> We have to try out all possibilities. Steve Jackson Games once
> produced a book on game design. The book mentioned that you have to
> try all types of tests, even dumb ones. He only played one all GEV
> scenario in _Ogre_ before first edition was released (the GEVs lost),
> so it was only after the game came out that GEVs were seen to be
> "broken." The same MIGHT be true here.

I agree. In my experience, the first serious(* optimization people do is
out the defence, then take a bare minimum of mobility and max out guns
with the remaining points. This works with the typical min-max tactic of
"sit back and shoot" or even "full stop and spin away" and people have a
natural tendency to avoid damage. 

The next optimization is the "horde" strategy -- a large horde of the 
cheapest ships possible, carrying little defenses and one weapon, often 
one-shot. Include suicide tactics like ramming, FTL, plus little idocies

like blocking enemy movement through stacking rules (not a problem, I 
hope, in FTII, just a general note).

Over-optimized designs are typically "Johnny One-notes". That's ok, as 
long as you're sure they don't get to pick the music every time(**. Some

ship types (e.g. carriers) are supposed to be optimized for one task
But when they get to dictate the type of engagement, you get the
realistic/historical but immensily boring games akin to US carriers 
hunting down Japanese surface ships.

Balanced fleets are often, well, balanced. It's the unbalanced ones one 
needs to watch out for.

*) That is, after any glaringly obvious points like only A-batts in
getting all fractionals just slightly above the rounding point etc. 
**) A distinctive problem with Thr8 missile raiders. Barring scenario 
limitations, anything they can't kill they can run away from with 
absolute certainty.

Disclaimer: Not being among the select few tight-lipped playtesters of 
FTIII, I don't know if they've already fixed some of these.

-- (Mikko Kurki-Suonio) 	  | A pig who doesn't
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