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Re: Starship! and FT, from the author

From: "Oerjan Ohlson" <oerjan.ohlson@t...>
Date: Thu, 7 Sep 2000 20:03:01 +0200
Subject: Re: Starship! and FT, from the author

Brad Carlson wrote:

>Oerjan Ohlson wrote:
>> Brad Carlson wrote:
>>>>The part I found really funny was when he asked me what system
>>>>I play.  I told him I played Full Thrust.  He said that's okay as
>>>>long as you stay in the universe they provide, but it doesn't let
>>>>create your own races.
>>>>Obviously, he doesn't know Full Thrust, nor does he know about
>>>>the cross-over battles with Federation Cruisers, Babylon 5 ships,
>>>>and Battlestar Gallactica just to name a few.
>> [snip]
>>>I HAVE played full thrust. According to the books I have (Full
>>>Thrust, More Thrust), the allowed races are:
>>>    "Standard" whatever that is
>>>    "Kra'Vak"
>>>    "Sa'vasku"
>>"Allowed races"? I don't think so.
>>The KV and SV, and nowadays the Phalons as well, are the only >>races
for which GZG has created specific rules. All other races fall >>under
the "standard" rules, modified as desired by the "if you are not
>>happy with a rule or system, throw it out and use your own" clause
>>(verbatim quote from the FT main rules, page 2, "Introduction and
>>designer's notes").
>My problem with this, and the point I was trying to make, is that
>these alien races were each created "outside" of the standard rules,
>each having new weapons or defenses or other special rules.

The Sa'Vasku are designed outside the standard rules, agreed. The
Kra'Vak and Phalons aren't, since you are explicitly allowed to mix
their tech gadgets with the "standard set" as long as all players agree
to allow it... I guess this means that Full Thrust only has two races
in your eyes: Sa'Vasku, and everyone else :-/

>I fully agree that FT allows and encourages people to create their
>own modified versions of the game.
>In Starship, however, creating your race is an intrinsic part of the

Does "creating a race" mean "creating your own weapons and special
abilities" instead of simply "choosing weapons and special abilities
from the set provided in the rules"? 

If "yes, you can design your own weapons/abilities" you have a point,
and like Alan I'll buy the game just to see how you managed it - no
other game I know of has succeeded doing this, although several have

If "no, you can only choose from the provided set", then Starship! has
the same problems as you see in Full Thrust: players are going to
create their own rules (weapons, systems, abilities) outside your
provided framework, and those rules won't be acceptable in tournaments.

(OK, players will undoubtedly modify the provided weapon/ability design
rules as well, and won't be able to use the offspring of those modified
rules in tournaments...)

>>[quote from book deleted]
>I agree that their stated purpose was as you indicate.
>What I have a problem with, is the assumption that every phaser,
>disruptor, ion cannon, etc., from all of the books and movies that I
have >seen can all be grouped into one weapon,"beams", with three
different >strengths.

The current edition of Starfire has 33 different direct-fire weapons
and 15 missile weapons (unless I missed some, which is fairly likely;
and I've ignored all the fighter weapons), each with its damage and
to-hit profiles - but they can quite easily be collapsed into five
different types: 

- weapons that ignore shields 
- weapons that ignore armour 
- weapons that ignore both 
- weapons that ignore neither, and
- missiles. 

Full Thrust features all of these five types, and also "area"-effect
weapons which are missing in Starfire. How many other fundamentally
different types of weapons does Starship! have (or allow the design

>And what about the special abilities? What are romulans without
>cloaking, or vorlons without bio-ships?
>Obviously the creators of FT agree, since they gave such abilities to
>their races.

They did, yes. These particular special abilities - cloaking systems
and bio-ships - are available in FT though, so I guess they're not a
very good example of what you're trying to say. Please try again, so I
get your point?

>Obviously, we can not provide rules to cover every universe that has
>ever or will ever exist. 

I'm glad you wrote this, 'cuz I wouldn't believe you if you said that
it could :-/ Since it can't, and since the players won't all agree with
you on how to represent whatever they see in the various backgrounds,
the player will inevitably create their own rules to fit it to better
handle their favourite background - unless you tell them that they
aren't allowed to, just like the ADB have always told their players
that they mustn't create their own house rules for SFB. Even then the
players will keep doing it; they just won't tell you about it so you
won't get to use their ideas to create supplements for Starship!.

If you do disallow creating house rules, you are effectively locking
them into the universe you provide (or at least you attempt to do so).
Nothing wrong with that, as long as you're aware of it - this is
exactly what Starfire does, for example.

If you do *not* tell them this, Starship! has the same problems as you
see in Full Thrust. It might take a little longer before you notice
them, but they're still there.

>However, as an example, I could say: "I am
>running a tournament in a Star Trek-like universe. Please bring your
>own race and fleet. No missiles, physical torpedoes, fighters or Mecha
>are allowed. All races must have at least two special abilities."

<chuckle> In this particular case you'd better point out that you mean
*Star Trek-like* and not *Star Fleet Battles-like*, unless of course
Starship! makes a distinction between "missiles" and "drones" (Kzintzi)
and between "fighters" and "shuttlecraft" (just about all SFB races)


Oerjan Ohlson

"Life is like a sewer.
  What you get out of it, depends on what you put into it."
- Hen3ry

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