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Re: Starship! and FT, from the author

From: Brad Carlson <7sg@l...>
Date: Wed, 06 Sep 2000 10:27:39 -0700
Subject: Re: Starship! and FT, from the author


To those who care, I just subscribed to this list last night, after a
forwarded stuff to me yesterday.

Let me also start by saying I am not antagonistic to other games or game
companies -- we at Flagship Games do this for fun and personnal
satisfaction, not
profit. I would be supprised if we earn even $2/hour for the time we put
in to
this company. We just like making games that we like to play, and feel
that our
"competitors" are doing us a favor by giving us cool toys to play with.

If any of my comments come off sounding defensive or antagonistic, then
appologize -- it is just the natural reaction to "protect" a project
that I have
worked on for more than five years.

As for my gaming credentials, I started out ~20 years (?) ago with
("...mayday...mayday...this is free trader Beowulf...") designing
endless ships
and drawing them on graph paper with proper volumn convertions for each
I even developed an easy system for true vector movement on a hex grid
that could
be used easily and quickly with only simple addition and subtraction.

After that I started playing SFB, and was considered a fast player. I
could run a
fleet of 12 to 15 ships by myself, and complete energy allocation for
the fleet
in about five minutes per turn.

Later on I played Interceptor, Leviathan, Aerospace, Silent Death, and
of course,
Full Thrust.

I, like so many of you, am very comfortable with math. I have found
that's most gamers find even small amounts of math in a game to be
I had a discussion with one gamer at the last con about how a lot of
people were
turned off of Champions because of the math (and there, all you have to
do is the
able to divide by 5!).

To continue:

Ground Zero Games wrote:

> Hi from one rules author to another!
> >Thank you for the pointer.
> >
> >If you take a look at Starship!, I think you will see that these
sorts of
> >conversions are much easier.
> >Your URL includes a lot of fan-generated optional rules and rule
> >to make these races work. This is fine, but the same can (and has)
> >done with other  systems, like SFB.
> >
> >The problem I had was that they are unofficial, and somewhat
arbitrary. If
> >someone was holding a FT tournament at a con, and you wanted to bring
in a
> >fleet using non-official rules, good luck!
> >
> >And many systems, like SFB and BF Gothic, don't allow custom ships at
> >
> >What we were trying to do was make a game system where the ability to
> >recreate your favorite race, IS official, and universally acceptable
> >anyone playing the game. It is, to my knowledge, the only system that
> >you custom design your race and your ships.
> Not having seen the Starship! rules (do you have a distributor this
side of
> the Pond?)

No, but as a professional courtesy, I will be happy to send you a copy,
Just send your mailing address to:

> I assume that to do this, you have a "system builder" mechanism
> in the design rules which allows players to make up their own weapon
> and other systems, and which then calculates an accurate and
> costing for said weapon, much as DBI have done in "Shockforce" (at
least in
> theory - I don't know how balanced their system is in cost terms, as
> never analysed the math)?
> Jon (GZG)

Actually, that is how the game started out several years ago. In an
effort to
make the game more user friendly, MANY changes were made to keep the
math and
complexity to a minimum, so long as the change did not significantly
affect the game.

Creating a race consists of choosing which weapons you are allowed to
use (you
will have from 2 to 8 of the 21 types available) and from 1 to 3 racial
abilities. The more special abilities you have, the fewer weapons you

The actual cost for the weapons depends on:

   * weapon type
   * range
   * size
   * strength
   * arc of fire
   * fire rate

Originally there were formulas available.  But most people found this
intimidating. So I plugged all of the formulas into a spreadsheet and
"shopping lists". On one page for example, we have the costs for:
    Disruptor,	Graviton Gun,  Hypershunt,  Ion Cannon,  Vortex Blaster,
Decimator and  Ultra Maser
all of which have the same base cost. The body of the chart lists all
combinations, and costs, (a total of 756 different guns for EACH of the

The chart is well-organized so that you can find the one you're looking
for in

As for play balance, I was always one of those who could min-max a rules
to death, and I have a play tester who is even better at it then I am.
If there
it is a way to break this game, and create an Uber-ship or Uber-fleet,
we haven't
found it.

There is no "cheese" or "unfair"  way to create your race or fleet, at
least not
in a campaign setting. It is, of course, possible to win through
"gotcha" tactics
in a one-off game.

As for the campaign system, I have run or been involved in far too many
that were crushed under their own weight. This campaign system is both
simple and
robust.  It has a great deal of strategic complexity, but with almost no
recordkeeping required. It can be played without a referee (we referee's
want to
play, too!)

BTW, for those who don't know, our WebSite is:

But it has not yet been updated with the Starship release information.



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