Quick Start Rules and First Play Through

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Quick Start Rules and First Play Through

Postby Llanite on Mon 29 Oct 2012 08:43

Hi All -

I'm a returning player after 15 years away from SF (and mostly away from board games - career and family building take their toll on hobbies!)

TerryTigre pointed me to the Quick Start (QS) ruleset as a way back into the game and I'm happy I took his advice - the tactical game is just as much fun as I remember, and the QS ruleset extracts all the basic rules in a concise manner.

For people who are thinking about buying the game: I'd encourage you to try the free QS rules and scenarios using the Vassal game module (or any counters/miniatures you have lying about). It's a quick way into the game and dispels the primary criticism I read about SF - that it's too complex. There are only two pages of rules (the rest is scenarios) and you can engage in squadron-sized combat in about 30 minutes.

Problem:
The rules are clean and well-edited, but since they are mostly cut-and-paste from the main rulebook, I noticed an area that could use some clarification in the QS rules that would help a new player:

At the top of page 2 ("How to Engage a Target") in the notes at the bottom of the weapon table: "Torpedoes gain Target TM/3 (FRU) To-Hit …. That is an little unintelligible to the unitiated - the application of the modifier could be spelled out more clearly for a basic game Quickstart Rule set.

AAR for the larger scenario:
For my Blue force, I picked the Missile and Laser armed Corvettes and Cruisers.
For my Red force, I picked the Force Beam and Plasma Torpedo technology mix.

Opening Phases:
Blue advanced it's Cruiser division ahead of the Corvette screen. It's goal was to use the range advantage of its nuclear missiles to degrade Red's defenses and keep out of optimal Plasma range.
Red attempted to close as quickly as possible to get in optimal plasma and then Force beam range.
On the approach, Blue would fire and then execute a retrograde loop back toward their CT line. They managed to strip the shields from one CA and maul one of the CTs, destroying its forward engine room and forcing it out of the line. Red Squadron plasma fire was fairly ineffective, but stripped some of the shields from one of the Blue CAs.

The Approach:
Blue Cruisers took position behind the Blue Corvette squadron and concentrated fire on the charging Red CTs. They continued to maintain their distance and act as fire support. Blue CTs waited for the Red force approach and concentrated their fire on lead Red elements, crippling a second CT.
Red Squadron destroyed one Blue CT outright with plasma fire from the cruisers, but only 2 of their CTs survived to optimal F-beam range, which proved decisive in the battle.

Knife Fight:
Blue CTs passed through the Red CT line, using their lasers (with CA fire support) to destroy or cripple all the Red CTs. They manage to get into one Red CA's blind spot and damage it heavily.
Red Squadron watches its command disentegrate as two unlucky rolls from their F-beam corvettes leave them taking hits without being able to degrade the Blue CT's offensive power before they reach the Red cruisers. Plasma fire does cripple a second Blue CT, but it's not enough.

End Game:
All blue forces concentrate fire on the damaged red CA. With it's destruction, the last Red CA disengages, leaving behind a crippled CT and the burning hulk of the other CA. Blue still has one undamaged CT and both Cruisers still active.
A decisive victory for Blue Team. Post scenario analysis indicates that advancing the Red CT screen should have been approached differently - perhaps with the Red Cruisers leading to try and draw missile fire during the final stages of approach. Once the Red CTs offensive ability started to degrade, it came down to the luck of a few dice throws, which didn't go their way.

Overall, very enjoyable. The early phases felt quite tense as Blue had to finesse those retrograde loops without losing too much of their armor and shields. The Red force had to take fire without being able to dish it out until they could bring their higher power weapons to bear. Very different tactics, and a significantly different feel for each side.
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Re: Quick Start Rules and First Play Through

Postby procyon on Mon 29 Oct 2012 20:33

Llanite wrote:TerryTigre pointed me to the Quick Start (QS) ruleset as a way back into the game and I'm happy I took his advice - the tactical game is just as much fun as I remember, and the QS ruleset extracts all the basic rules in a concise manner.


So glad you enjoyed it. The intent was to put together something that players could grab and play with their friends in an evening - like the old baggies. The full rule set is a weeks long endevour for most to digest and turn into a game. With most kids preferring video games that you seldom need to read the rules to play - it became apparent we needed a smaller rule set to introduce the game.

There is also a Quick Start Advanced on the downloads that adds in a few systems and ship sizes, plus a few other scenarios.

Llanite wrote:Problem:
The rules are clean and well-edited, but since they are mostly cut-and-paste from the main rulebook, I noticed an area that could use some clarification in the QS rules that would help a new player:

At the top of page 2 ("How to Engage a Target") in the notes at the bottom of the weapon table: "Torpedoes gain Target TM/3 (FRU) To-Hit …. That is an little unintelligible to the unitiated - the application of the modifier could be spelled out more clearly for a basic game Quickstart Rule set.


It really isn't cut and paste. I had to set down and take what I had put together that we have used to teach the players at my house (my wife and five of the six kids) over the years - then take it and put it into a format other folks could decipher. I also dug out my hallowed set of SF #1 in its baggie (which all my players start on...) for some inspiration. After putting something together the rest of the SDS folks looked it over, fixed my mistakes or issues, and then turned it into something really cool.

The issue with the TM/3 was discussed. At first, some members wanted to add one to the 'to hits' in the chart since all the units in the QSR series will only add one to the to hit number of Pt, but it was decided that this modifier was something that the players would need to learn how to use - so it was retained.
But we might have better addressed it in the rules. I will take the hit on that. I did most of the text generation.

Llanite wrote:Overall, very enjoyable.


Yippee! :D
That was the goal.
For more stories on QSR battles, you could check out the battles of Vandervecken's family in another Quick Start thread. His daughter the 'Khaness' is pretty good. ;)
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Re: Quick Start Rules and First Play Through

Postby Vandervecken on Tue 30 Oct 2012 00:43

I almost got another battle with the 'Khaness' in tonight - it's set up and ready to go. But she's doing a project for her science class on the 3 states of matter and I just had to talk to her about GLASS, and wham, she's online learning about Amorphous Solids, and had to add that to her display. She already had heard about 'Plasma' and will lightly touch on it but her understanding of atoms and their parts is very rudimentary at this time. I also explained 'degenerate matter' to her; but for the same reason, her current 6th grader understanding of atoms, she won't include that in her presentation. I didn't even go into BEC's, which I'm no expert in anyway.

We have no pets so the set-up should be fine till this week-end (Crosses-fingers). It's been about a month since our last skirmish and I expect that her luck has had time to recharge since her Missile equipped ships (The Moose herd) took out way to many of my Laser equipped ships ( 3 x Wolf packs) before I could start taking her down, 1 by 1. By the end of the scenario, over 70% of my wolves were missing 2 legs, and 40% were missing all four, and almost 25% of my wolves were very dead. Ony 3 of my 30 escorts were full strength. Her smaller Moose ran out of missiles and I was looking up ramming rules when we had to clean up to get ready for some roleplaying the next day; so instead, she exited her 2 remaining small missile boats off the side of the map per scenario rules I set up. This was supposed to be a 'teach her how to lose' scenario. 1 more Momma Moose and a few more missiles for her young'ens and I would have been hard pressed to have won. Too many die rolls that should have been over 6 (on average) were not. Note: Her goal was not about her survival but to kill as many of my wolves as possible before I could exit her side of the map (we had 2 maps I had to cross).
Last edited by Vandervecken on Tue 30 Oct 2012 23:59, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Quick Start Rules and First Play Through

Postby Cralis on Tue 30 Oct 2012 20:57

Llanite wrote:Hi All -

I'm a returning player after 15 years away from SF (and mostly away from board games - career and family building take their toll on hobbies!)


Welcome back! We've all been there, but admittedly I didn't take that long :)

TerryTigre pointed me to the Quick Start (QS) ruleset as a way back into the game and I'm happy I took his advice - the tactical game is just as much fun as I remember, and the QS ruleset extracts all the basic rules in a concise manner.


As he mentioned, Procyon is the brainchild behind consolidating the Quick Start Rules. He did an excellent job.

For people who are thinking about buying the game: I'd encourage you to try the free QS rules and scenarios using the Vassal game module (or any counters/miniatures you have lying about). It's a quick way into the game and dispels the primary criticism I read about SF - that it's too complex. There are only two pages of rules (the rest is scenarios) and you can engage in squadron-sized combat in about 30 minutes.


Admittedly the full rule set has a lot more rules, but we've been talking about doing another "pocket sized" version. The QSR was sort of an experiment in that direction. I'm glad to hear that it works the way it was intended, and that you liked it!

Problem:
The rules are clean and well-edited, but since they are mostly cut-and-paste from the main rulebook, I noticed an area that could use some clarification in the QS rules that would help a new player:

At the top of page 2 ("How to Engage a Target") in the notes at the bottom of the weapon table: "Torpedoes gain Target TM/3 (FRU) To-Hit …. That is an little unintelligible to the unitiated - the application of the modifier could be spelled out more clearly for a basic game Quickstart Rule set.


I think Procyon addressed this well. We can make some adjustments to make it a little easier to read... primarily was it the "TM / 3" part that was confusing or was it more than that?

<snipped the battle>

Overall, very enjoyable. The early phases felt quite tense as Blue had to finesse those retrograde loops without losing too much of their armor and shields. The Red force had to take fire without being able to dish it out until they could bring their higher power weapons to bear. Very different tactics, and a significantly different feel for each side.


This was one of the more important things we wanted to illustrate, and I'm extremely happy it worked out. One of the things we started with GALACTIC STARFIRE and have continued since, is trying to make the different technologies combinations play differently while not being unbalanced. So far everyone has commented that the QSR seems to show that well.

If you haven't already tried it, the QSR Advanced introduces more concepts. Eventually we hope to add at least one more in the series, and then maybe some additional scenario modules that are a little more complex so new players can ease into the other versions of the game.

How does that sound?
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Re: Quick Start Rules and First Play Through

Postby AlexeiTimoshenko on Wed 31 Oct 2012 19:26

I wouldn't mind getting a pocket sized version to really get back into actually playing.
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Re: Quick Start Rules and First Play Through

Postby Cralis on Thu 01 Nov 2012 01:09

AlexeiTimoshenko wrote:I wouldn't mind getting a pocket sized version to really get back into actually playing.


We've heard that a few times, so your not alone. I'm trying to finish up a few things that are currently underway at the moment, but I'm hoping maybe we can do something like that early next year. No promises, sorry :(
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Re: Quick Start Rules and First Play Through

Postby AlexeiTimoshenko on Thu 01 Nov 2012 15:03

Don't worry. I'm used to delays in games.
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Re: Quick Start Rules and First Play Through

Postby SCC on Fri 08 Mar 2013 18:44

I'll second a better explanation for the Pt thing, I couldn't be sure that it was actually talking about Turn Modifier and had no idea what FRU was

There's is another problem but, in the first set of rules it's rather clear that you must either move forward or turn, and can only turn after moving forward for an number of turn equal to TM but later sections seem to include rules that make it sound like you can stay in the hex and spend a MP without turning and that counts towards TM

Why does the second QSR booklet include a second hex map? And sizes for Bases?

And why include X as on of the pieces of equipment?
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Re: Quick Start Rules and First Play Through

Postby procyon on Sat 09 Mar 2013 01:32

SCC wrote:I'll second a better explanation for the Pt thing, I couldn't be sure that it was actually talking about Turn Modifier and had no idea what FRU was


That got added in and I didn't rewrite the text to include the description of how that worked. My apologies.

There's is another problem but, in the first set of rules it's rather clear that you must either move forward or turn, and can only turn after moving forward for an number of turn equal to TM but later sections seem to include rules that make it sound like you can stay in the hex and spend a MP without turning and that counts towards TM


You can only move forward or stay in the same hex. You don't have to move forward.
After you have expended your MP, whether you stay in the hex or move forward - if you have fulfilled you TM - you can turn.
And yes, if you stay in your hex and expend MP - those still go to fulfill your TM. So you can just sit and slowly pivot in a hex that way.

SCC wrote:Why does the second QSR booklet include a second hex map? And sizes for Bases?


As for the second hex map - just because we can... ;)
As for the Bases - it was because we knew we would include them in the next QSR edition and that would place them all together. When we added the ES and FT1 daz made the (very sensible) suggestion to just reprint the whole construction tables.

SCC wrote:And why include X as on of the pieces of equipment?


Two reasons.
The first was that some folks were already writing scenarios for the QSR series here on the boards and putting two Y on ships just to represent the science instruments. So including them would simplify that.
The second was just a tip of the hat to the first SF edition. It also included X, and used it in the victory conditions. So to me it just seemed natural to include it in the last QSR.

Hope that helps. If you have any other questions don't hesitate to ask.
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Cralis wrote:I would point out that the "what was" which is different from "here and now" can easily change in the "future then."
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Re: Quick Start Rules and First Play Through

Postby Cralis on Sat 09 Mar 2013 12:10

Wow Procyon beat me to it. He wrote the QSR rules for us, so I'm going to leave his answers as gospel.

SCC wrote:I'll second a better explanation for the Pt thing, I couldn't be sure that it was actually talking about Turn Modifier and had no idea what FRU was


This is something that has been in use so long I think we completely forgot about it. FRU = Fractions Round Up, FRN = Fractions Round Normal, and FRD = Fractions Round Down. These are in the Section A descriptions for GSF, Ultra, and Solar... sorry about that, I'm sure we completely forgot that someone new wouldn't know these.

Why does the second QSR booklet include a second hex map?


The reason for the hex map in QSR 1, 2, and 3 was so that if you only printed one out you had everything you needed to play.
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