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Re: Star Blazers Fleet Battle System

From: Paul Calvi <tanker@r...>
Date: Thu, 30 Oct 1997 22:34:47 -0800
Subject: Re: Star Blazers Fleet Battle System

At 11:08 PM 10/28/97 -0400, you wrote:
 ==with LOTS of snips===
>Has anyone picked this up or even actually tried playing it yet?
>I just bought mine a couple days ago and have to say I'm disapointed.
>Did any thought of layout, design and organization get put into this
>No index.  The table of contents (with page numbers) is in the middle
>the book??!  
>No consistancy in the layout of SSDs.	It's as if ship information was
>randomly scattered on the page
>The inside artwork is either scanned from Roman Albums, obviously
>traced, or have a disruptive more' pattern.  There are a few pieces of
>original artwork that I liked, but are ruined by the print job.  Are
>people still using zip-a-tone? 
>Yes, I'm nitpicking.  I've been waiting for an official Yamato game for
>almost twenty years and this is what I get.  Why is it that when I've
>bought Jovian Chronicles, Full Thrust, Babylon Wars, Silent Death, and
>Star Fleet Battles, reading the books made me want to play. Star
>Blazers:FBS certainly doesn't.
>If anyone has played this, please tell me it's worth it.

Well I bought the Star Blazers Fleet Battle System Rulebook yesterday,
before I saw the above review. I have not played the game and have only
browsed through the book a couple of times but I already disagree with
of the above complaints.

The Table of Contents is on page iii. It indeed does not have page
only Chapter numbers, but following the Contents page is a brief history
SB then a nice three page explanation of the Warship Data Forms (WDFs)
then, on page xii, xiii, and xiv are three detailed sequence of play
with page numbers and rulebook section numbers. If that is not enough,
pages 72-74 include a rulebook INDEX with page numbers.

I don't see a problem with the abbreviations. If you actually start to
the rules they make perfect sense, especially if you are familiar with
space combat games (FT, SFB, etc.) and on pages i and ii there is a list
most of the abbreviations used. I agree "battlecraft" instead of
is a bit odd but perhaps "fighter" is not all that accurate when the
includes shuttles and such.

I don't see how the Warship Data Forms (WDF) are inconsistent. They all
have the ship top view with weapon locations on the right and the weapon
charts on the left (very similar to the Star Fleet Battles' SSDs but
better). Again, pages xii-xxi explain the displays in detail very well.

The internal artwork is inconsistent. It ranges from fine, line drawings
what look like rough pencil sketches and charcoal drawings but all are
quite good. The cover art may have "different vanishing points" but the
ships are also heading in slightly different directions and if you've
watched the cartoon recently you'll know that the real thing takes great
liberties with such things as scale and perspective. The animation in
series is very rough, especially by today's standards.

The only complaint I have so far with the Rulebook is that the printing
quality is poor. Either the book was quick printed or was printed on a
old offset press. The type has "blead" poorly causing the smaller type
fill-in on the WDFs and the gray fill areas to appear a bit ruddy. This
a very minor problem though.

As I said, I have not played the game yet so Star Blazers may be quite
awful, but from what I've seen so far, it looks very good. It is a step
two above FT in complexity yet far easier than Star Fleet Battles and,
what I've heard, Babylon 5. So far, I think I made a good purchase.


Paul J. Calvi Jr.

"If I had study war, I think I should concentrate almost
on the 'actualities of war,' the effects of tiredness, hunger, fear,
of sleep, weather....The principles of strategy and tactics...are
simple: it is the actualities t
hat make war so complicated and so difficult, and are usually neglected

--FM Archibald Wavell to B.H. Liddell Hart (as quoted in "Frontsoldaten:
The German Soldier in World War Two" by Stephen G. Fritz.)

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