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Re: Another POINTless Argument (was Re: Scatterguns and SMPs... and PDAF)

From: Allan Goodall <agoodall@s...>
Date: Thu, 24 Apr 1997 21:44:20 -0400
Subject: Re: Another POINTless Argument (was Re: Scatterguns and SMPs... and PDAF)

At 12:59 PM 4/24/97 +0300, you wrote:

>Heck, the only good version of 40K has a very extensive random scenario
>generator. Adeptus Titanicus also had a scenario system. They used to
>publish scenario packs for WFB. Then some bright boy came up with these
>idiotic mission cards and whatnot. 

You know, I completely forgot about the random scenario designer. That
definitely was an interesting idea that never went anywhere. I remember
the _Book of the Astronomicon_ came out with canned scenarios (actually,
full campaign). And I also have a couple of the old Warhammer campaign
packs. They were great. You're perfectly right, before Ansell sold the
company it was actually pretty cool.

>> I personally don't think that a point system is evil. But your
comments show
>> the horrible downside of point systems: they destroy the imagination.
>Whose imagination are you implying? Mine? How about backing that
>Now... I said that without a point system, the only real choice for a 
>one-off game is identical forces.

Actually, you said that without a point system a game was unplayable. I
SG2 perfectly playable without a point system. I've also seen a number
historical systems that are perfectly playable without point systems. I
suppose I inferred that the only way to play the game was to balance the
forces with some sort of point value. If you don't use identical forces,
do you need a point system? With a little experience with the game, you
don't need the points.

>I *didn't* say that *with* points system you'd have to use equal
>I think your telepathic powers must malfunctioning, or maybe a quick
>to an optician might help with reading words that aren't there.

Hmm. Could be the new glasses. My prescription changed. 

>It's just that without prolonged experience with the game or a point 
>system, it's pretty nigh impossible to give even ballpark figures for 
>relative strengths. Especially in a game that is not rooted in

You missed one thing. I agree with you with one caveat, a game IS quite
playable "out of the box" if you don't have experience in it and there
is no
point system. However, it requires the game designer to include

I went through my stack of game rules, and this is one of the biggest
failings of game systems: no scenarios! Jon's not too bad about this,
some systems are horrible. I've seen a number of systems that include a
point system but never show a scenario. Presumably the designers
the game. Why not include some scenarios? If I remember correctly,
_Napoleon's Battles_ has no point system. Instead, the game comes with a
significant number of historical scenarios. 

>> Instead of having to think about a game, you just pick an arbitrary
>> and build a force accordingly.
>How's that different from picking an arbitrary unit size, e.g. "bring a

>company's worth of troops"?

My point exactly. So why do you need the point system?

>> But most point games, ala WH40K, encourage tournament games of even
>Make that "current edition of WH40K".

Point taken. 

>> doesn't have a point system (even a completely arbitrary, and
>> broken one) the game must be crap.
>Ahem. I never said that. I said "useless" and "otherwise fine". 

Actually, you said that without a point system a game was unplayable.

>It's a 
>bit like having a fancy electronic gadget without the owner's manual.
>Sure you can spend hours learning through trial and error, but who has 
>the time and the interest? Sure you can have your friend who already
>one show you the ropes -- if such a person exists.

We may be arguing over semantics. I agree with you that without
or a point system, or a historical basis, it's very difficult to learn a
miniatures game. And I did concede that a point system is useful for
learning the game. I still contend that a game is not "unplayable"
without a
point system. 

>Well, I feel the same about the Official Background(tm) pages...

I agree with you there. Luckily Jon's games don't rely on the
background. I
have a number of SF and fantasy miniatures games that I've played but
completely ignored the background.

>Hey, mind if I ask: How do you design your Ft ships then? Do you just
>the vanilla designs? I'm really curious.

No sweat. I come up with a background of my own and an interesting
and then build the ships accordingly. I use the class of the ships as a
rough guide to their overall capabilities, and then mount the weapons
on what I want out of the scenario. In my Age of Iridium games, I gave
side an edge at close range and the other an edge at long range. I also
one side shields, and the other side anti-shield weapons. I'm more
interested in "throw weight" anyway (i.e. how many weapons can come to
at each range band). Because I was using broadside style ships, I gave
defender more ships than the attacker. The game may need some tweaking
completely balance it, but I don't think it's hopelessly out of whack.

Considering that the weapon match-ups can be problematic for a point
(a pulse torpedo is worth more points against shielded ships than
ships) I just ignore the points. Well, sort of. I used the points for
victory points; I'd probably use mass next time for that, too. For Star
games, I designed the ships based roughly on scenarios from the show. 

Allan Goodall: 
"You'll want to hear about my new obsession.
 I'm riding high upon a deep depression. 
 I'm only happy when it rains."    - Garbage

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