Firestorm Musings

After the great success of my first Firestorm Armada Battle and subsequent report, I have been considering on how to follow it up.  Like I mentioned in my previous post I am thinking about running my Directorate  Fleet in our next engagement.  Unlike the last battle, I feel a lot more comfortable with them than the Terran’s, and hopefully that will reflect on my performance. Currently I am attempting to determine my fleet composition.

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So far….

1x Battleship 185
1xCarrier 130 + 16xWings (6 bombers, 6 bombers, 2 fighters)80=210
3xCruisers 195
2xDestroyers 150
3xFrigates 60
3xFrigates 60
Total=850

So pretty much just a simple expansion of the starter box.  I have a carrier and I have only ever used it once and I would like to use it again.  Having 16 wings will certainly increase the effectiveness of that combo to allow me to cycle out my bombers after each attack and use the fighters as support. I also have a bunch of homemade wing tokens to paint up and this would be the perfect list to motivate me to base and paint them.

My second list would is a bit different.

1xBattleship 185
3xDestoryers 215
4xWorks Raptor Torpedo Cruisers 260
3xFrigates 60
3xFrigates 60
4xWorks Raptor Corvettes 80
Total=860

This list would be significantly more “fluff” based. I have long since wanted to try out some Works Raptor ships. The Torpedo Cruiser looks like a beast and 4 of those bad boys at range band 4 could cycle a ton of damage out each turn. I might drop the squad down to 3 and add another group of 3xWR Corvettes. And yes this list is over my intended points limit… I would have to square this with my opponent before hand.

At the same time the Attrition Class Carrier is also a potential option. Fill it with 6 Assualters and use it as a raiding ship and at 160 points (+30 to fill it with max wings=190) it could be fairly powerful. Slow movement may impede the chance of boarding though…. Something to consider.
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I’ll have to do some work-shopping on what I want to field. Also, I am hell bent on creating planet for our next scenario. I have found some good tutorials on painting one I just need to locate a suitable base for it.

On a final note, I had mentioned a few posts ago about starting Infinity. Another look at my wallet has made me reconsider that idea…for now. Maybe another time I will consider playing, but right now I can’t afford to paint, build, and learn all the new rules for it, plus construct cool terrain for it as well.

Terran vs Relthoza 650pts

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Finally!

I got in a game of Firestorm Armada on Sunday night, and boy was it a blast! My buddy showed up around 9 and dished it out till about 1am! Have to say that I missed rolling dice… made me want to start 40k again…Argh NO! I must not turn to the dark side!!…

But I digress. So we decided to do 650 points, that allowed us to use our starter boxes and add one more unit. Our respective lists.

Terran:
1xRazerthorn Battleship-3 attached Interceptor-180+15
3xSentinel Class Cruisers-195
3xPilgrim Class Frigates-60
3xPilgrim class Frigates-60
2xAegis Shield Cruisers-140
=650

Rethoza:
1xBrood Class Battleship-3 Attached Assualters-185+15
1xHive Class Carrier+5 bombers-145
3xSwarm Class Cruisers-195
3xDrone Class Frigate-60
3xDrone Class Frigate-60
=660

I guess he was over the legal limit but it didn’t matter much considering his assault boats never did anything. This was also my first foray using the Terran Alliance and I had no idea what to expect except that I knew that the Terran’s relied on shields which influenced my decision to bring an Aegis. We also used alternate rules for wings that we found on The Black Ocean that made them a lot more fun to use and no need to track fuel.

Originally we intended to do a mission but instead opted to just smash face for 5 turns.
FSA Board

I deployed in the blue with basically a strait gun line with my Aegis cruisers all around to give a shield and PD bonus to as many ships as possible. The Relthoza fleet deployed in the green, bottom heavy with the frigates screening the carrier and the battleship. His cruisers were deployed on the top edge near the asteroids.

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Admiral Pike viewed at the Relthoza fleet in front of him. He sighed, knowing the lives of many brave men and women were about to die in glorious battle. There lives would not be wasted. Pike close his eyes and bowed his head. He swore to whatever gods were listening that he would send every one of those damn bugs to hell, or die trying

So after the initial banter we commence the first turn. Relthoza cloaked all ships (with cloak). We alternated moving frigates Rethloza were out of range but my frigates took some shots and destroyed two Drone Class Frigates with some good link fire torpedoes.

Turn two was similar but the Relthoza had some payback. Did some damage to my frigates and continued to scuttle his cloaked cruisers on my left flank. Aegis did well taking down torpedoes and offering extra shields. I basically set fleet up in the middle to shoot around the asteroids and take out his remaining frigates. Bad dice rolls for me let to just 1 hp being taken from one frigate.

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Turn three, was the most decisive and the most fool hardy on my part. I was moving my frigates too close and getting out of rand band 3/4 diminishing my torpedo effectiveness. The Cruisers on the left started taking out one squadron of frigates. I turned my battleship to help out. Unfortunately he began dropping mines with his cruisers which later turned out to quite effective.

Pike panicked. He realized that the Relthoza had out maneuvered him and forced him to split his fleet up. Damn those bugs. Gripping his teeth he yelled at the bridge crew to bring them around to face the Cruisers flanking

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Turn four I was taking a lot of damage. His battleship and carrier were in the asteroid field. Now to make a note we did not play the terrain properly as he was using full AD and not having to roll on the collision table. I knew something was wrong cause I was getting murdered horribly at this point. Next time we play I will be more on top of the rules to prevent this from happening.

Regardless, I did not have enough firepower to take out the battleship. One of my Aegis’ went critical placing a distortion field in the center impeding movement.

Turn five, Razorthorn gets knocked out, frigates get mopped up in range-band one. All in all a horrible turn for me.

The sound of alarms awoke Pike from unconsciousness. Pike rose to see his bridge in shambles. Mines. The damn bugs had dropped mines to take out his ship. Many of his crew were dead. Lieutenant Kruger was next to him, not quite decapitated by the decking the size of dinner plate in him. Pike scrambled up the command post. Seeing some crew alive he was about to call for damage report but the world around him vaporized..

Victory for the Relthoza.

Losses:
Terran-entire fleet
Relthoza-1 bomber, 6 frigates.

Well I learned a lot about Terran from this game. First and foremost, stay in range-band 4 with frigates. The ability to shoot from any firing arc is amazing. What I should have done is ran them from one edge of the board to the other with and Aegis for protection. This would have increased their survivability as well as increased their damage output. Also, moving my Aegis’ at the right time. I often moved them too far or to little to grant the 4″ bubble to the intended squadron.

I am considering picking up 6 more pilgrims and the new carrier. I think they would flesh out my fleet significantly and capitalize on their strengths. The Aegis, in my opinion, didn’t pay off. I would have been better adding a carrier or destroyers.

All in all it was a lot of fun. Neither fleet was painted but I will run my Directorate next time we play to get some colour in there.

Hope this was an interesting Battle report. I plan on doing some more in the future with better pictures and documentation to speed up the writing and clarity.

Oh and remember, “the only good bug is a dead bug!”

To Infinity and Beyond!

Infinity
So…I have been thinking about other games. *gasp* “oh my god Yes I know, traitor, deserter, pheguth, yes perhaps these are names that I deserve for this transgression. But fear not friends, I will not be leaving Firestorm. I wish to dabble in other games on top of FSA to quell my hunger to build terrain. Also the Infinity forums are very active when compared to the FSA ones, which is not a bad thing as the quality of posts on the FSA site are of a much higher quality due to the ‘niche’ members that participate in it. Even more so I have been attempting to schedule a Firestorm battle between myself and my normal opponent. The Terran Fleets will purge the Ratholza soon, but until such a battle commences, I will leave you with some thoughts on Infinity.

I actually was originally torn between starting Infinity and FSA way back when I got my first fleet. I had had enough of 28mm in Warhammer 40k and the price hikes from that company that starts with a ‘G’ and ends with ‘amesworkshop’. Searching for a change I stumbled on Infinity and decided that I was more interested in a game with a lower level of painting skill required and terrain needed. Thus I turned away from Infinity to bear arms for the Directorate. Needless to say my passion for minatures has led me back to Infinity for the very same reason. I want to build terrain again and play on the 28mm scale again.

Thus I am making a sweeping declaration. If I, Npf6, can convince at least 2 more friends of mine to start Infinity with me I will get a starter box this summer. I will also paint one of my FSA fleets myself and look at getting Blue Table Painting to do my infinity force.

There. Done. I have said it and I cannot take it back!

Next week I am going to do a run down of Infinity and the rules a bit (gotta read them first) and hopefully post up my battle report for FSA after that.

Stay tuned!

Starship Bridges

Since my last post I have been spending a significant amount of time on the Spartan Games forums browsing and refreshing up on Firestorm Armada. At this point I am not entirely sure weather or not we will be conducting our campaign with the version 1 rules or version 2. It seems V2 makes the game less interesting, but at the same time fixes some of the issues with the previous version making it more playable. Regardless I have yet to get time to play any games with mid-terms this week and life just generally getting in the way. Hopefully sometime soon I can try and at least schedule a game. Instead with my time I have been conjuring Firestorm Armada fiction in my head, reading the Lost Fleet Series, and mucking about on Ghost Reacon Online.

Recently a post on the SG forums about visualizing minor races, got me thinking a bunch about the layout of starship bridges in the Firestorm Armada Universe. With a plethora of science-fiction to pull from I started having a few ideas on what the bridges would look like. As the main control centre and heart of the ship, the bridge is the most vital and the most interesting point on a ship. So I pulled up my bootstraps and found a few ideas with pictures to reinforce.

Terrans
Out and out the middle of the road guys, I think that Terran ships would be very cramped, especially the smaller classes. Bridges would be simple but functional. Obviously larger ships would need more personal and in turn will be bigger (which will be a common theme for most factions/races)
Terran Starship Bridge
So this bridge maybe on Sentinal Class Cruiser, seats maybe 20 with a captain etc. Maybe not quite as cramped as I would imagine but this is very close. Functionality foremost over everything.

Directorate
Due to the Directorates heavy reliance on robots to function as the crew for their ships, the bridge could be much more spacious with limited personnel.

The Bridge of a Directorate Frigate

The Bridge of a Directorate Frigate


Much more lavish than a Terran ship, the Directorate can afford to have some sense of luxury. Similar design to many of the Star Trek bridges; posh, clean, comfortable. Exactly the type of environment I would choose if I was an evil CEO working for an evil intergalactic arms dealing corporation.

Aquans
Initially I had no thoughts on Aquan ship layouts or design until coming across this photo.

The bridge on an Aquan battlecarrier

The bridge on an Aquan battlecarrier


Hits the nail right on the head for me. Obviously it would be filled with the Aquan atmosphere (liquid) but more or less the same fancy design, also spacious but big. This to me would be the best example of the Battle Carriers bridge.

RSN

This one screams RSN to me. Lots of personnel, with a very prominent area for command to direct from, just like in Star Wars.

Example bridge for a RSN Destroyer

Example bridge for a RSN Destroyer

Dindrenzi

Example of Dindrenzi Bridge

Example of Dindrenzi Bridge


Similar to the RSN but more vertical which fits with the design of their ships.

Well, there you have it some idea as to what I think spaceship bridges may look like. Just random musing mostly but what the hell.

Firestorm Armada

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So I think its about time I actually discuss one of my favourite miniature war-games; Firestorm Armada. My love of Star Wars, Star Trek, and the Halo novels, have fueled my interests in space combat. Naturally, upon seeing the miniatures produced by Spartan Games, I fell in love with the idea of recreating famous space battles and changing the outcome of the battles. Despite this, after my few initial battles with my erstwhile opponents, we promptly stopped playing. Like so often with miniature war gaming, life got in the way. Now I am back, and ready to start a campaign with a friend and use this blog to document each stage of the campaign.

At this point I have both a Terran and Directorate starter fleets at my disposal and my opponent has Rathloza. I think I will use a Kurak Alliance support mainly composed of Terran, Tarakin, and Rhyushi elements. While I do love my Directorate fleet, I would like to use the actual fluff of Firestorm Armada in the campaign to some degree.

Now how to begin this campaign, this is commonly a problem I think for many and it generally stems from three different issues.

1) Poor Participation: probably the most common issue that arises. Its hard to keep people coming for each campaign event, especially when they incorporate more than 2 participants. I feel this can be fixed easily by ensuring that; a) You set reasonable game dates that work for both participants. ie: weekly is workable maybe during the summer but after that monthly or bi-monthly battles need to be planned to ensure that the individuals are able to continue with the campaign and work around real like. b) There is an element of flare in the campaign, by this I mean that there is some level of story behind the entire campaign and each battle regardless of the outcome flows well. I enjoy coming up with a level of fluff for my campaign so this will be a piece of cake and actually leads in the main part of my second point.

2) Having a fully developed campaign. I have participated in a few Warhammer 40k campaigns and it seemed more than once having each mission already planned out was actually a detriment to the enjoyment of the campaign. I feel a sense of randomness actually allows each event that occurs to feel more natural and story based.

3) Having a completely undeveloped campaign. The inverse of the above point, having zero plan for any campaign is a killer. No direction, no story, and no plan puts a big dampener on creating any fun or story driven campaign.

As you can tell from the above points I drive my campaigns with story and interactive for the participants.

firestorm-armada

Well then, what will be our story?

I haven’t really gotten that far.

Ultimately I think a starting escalation mission or two to get both of use familiarized with the rules again is probably a good idea. These would be small maybe 500pt engagements setting the tone for our campaign. One idea I had was a diplomatic meeting gone wrong, similar to the beginning of “A New Hope” in Star Wars. Of course I have already considered that The Battle for Endor needs to be recreated at one point or another, even the evacuation of Hoth would be great. The guys over at the Black Ocean have a number of great senarios that will work for themed battles as such.

So at this point I am going to work on establishing campaign rules and work on the background until we start our practice games.

With luck this should be a very exciting and engaging campaign.

All ahead full to the drawing board!

Gaming and Business

Been a while since I posted anything so it seems like the perfect time to rant about something.

I am currently a second year business student majoring in marketing. I really enjoy learning about how other businesses conduct/run their businesses. Recently there has been a lot of new Massively Multiplayer Online games introduced into the market. Obviously you have your classics; Eve online, World of Warcraft, etc. Today there are a number of MMO’s all fighting for a small piece of the market. Last year, Star Wars the Old Republic was released and raised the bar of MMO gaming with full voice over. Guild Wars 2 released in summer 2012, was a pleasent update the the classic Guild Wars. Interestingly enough both of these games and the classics have seen massive subscription declines. Why?

Well ultimately this is a normal situation of the product life-cycle. product-adoption-lifecycle

Basically as when an MMO gets announced it seeks “beta-testers” these are generally the innovators and the early adopters. They give important feedback on the game as well as entice them into purchasing the game for full price. At open beta you see more early adopters and at launch the early majority. These individuals are willing to pay full freight for the game and enjoy it regardless of bugs etc.

When an MMO reaches this point they fall right on their faces. For example, SWTOR got to this point had enticed all its early adopters and majority but had no endgame planned (by endgame I mean plan to adapt and restart the product life-cycle). Users quickly lose inters because there is no new content or the new content offered doesn’t appeal or is too late.

Ok, so what happens then?

Well, no surprise the product goes right through the cycle. Late adopters won’t pay the subscription and the game loses is revenue stream. Give it another year and the community for the game is gone.

World of Warcraft may be the exception to this but, ultimately they grasped this with the massive expansions (Pandera, Lich King, etc.) to restart the life-cycle.

So what is the problem?

I think that more games could be successful if designers recognize when its time to restart the cycle. This is easier said than done but having a real plan in the works will extend the game life and ultimately make the experience more fun. I wish I could still play SWTOR but there is no community, no one to run flashpoints with or heroics.

At the same time the revenue streams for games like SWTOR need to be redesigned from the ground up. This means changing from subscription to something else. I don’t know what that something else is but maybe raise the purchase price. I for one would rather pay $80 for a game and never pay for a subscription. But hey that’s just me.

Daskeyboard Review

So I was super excited to get my das keyboard on Monday and WOW I was not let down. The simplistic design does not due the key board justice. As a a heavy typist, I tend to bottom out my keys quite a bit and was a little worried the mx cherry blue switches would be too noisy. Yes they are noisy, as I am typing this it is hard to not notice the sound they make. Despite this its in a lot of ways “refreshing” from the experience using a standard membrane keyboard. About a year ago when I built my gaming PC, I debated getting a Das or a Razer Blackwidow. In the end I went with neither and ended up with a Steelseries Merc Stealth for about a 1/3 less than the previous two. I realize now the mistake since I was incited by its gaming advantages and not its overall typing advantages. The extra keypad became a nuisance when not in use and the LED’s were pretty much extra fancy novelties that I hardly noticed. It was packaged very nicely and require no drives or extra setup to use, just plug it in and boom your in business. I hope this keyboard will not only encourage me to type more but also to type better. While I overall prefer tenkeyless keyboards better, aesthetically and because they take up significantly less space. Fortunately the Das seems to have a more compact design than a standard keyboard. Not tenkeyless, but smaller dividers between the numb pad and arrow keys which essentially create a smaller keyboard. Typing just feels more natural as you can feel every key depress regardless of weather or not you bottom them out.
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In gaming the Das Keyboard has proven to be just as reliable as my previous Steelseries Merc Stealth. The tactile feedback helps recognize my hot key presses without visually ensuring. I noticed a particular improvement in my speed while playing Starcraft 2. Before getting my Das calculated my WPM on TypeRacer.com. Before I was doing a max 52 WPM and now with my Das I maxed at 66 WPM which is the fastest score I have ever had.

A few minor issues that I have with the Das;
1. Sometimes the reverberation of the springs can be annoying but overall its slowly becoming less noticeable the more I use it.
2. Most of the keyboard sports a matte finish except the top which is glossy and attracts finger prints and dusty easily. I have only has this keyboard a few days and already I have wiped with down twice due to dust.
3. While I never really noticed my LED’s as much in my old Steelseries Merc Stealth I do notice the lack of them in the Das. This is probably my smallest complaint but since the media keys are blue and not white like the others then they tend to blend in quite a bit making them hard to distinguish in low light.