Mobile Frame Zero: Intercept Orbit.

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Re: Mobile Frame Zero: Alpha Bandit

Postby ratch » Wed Dec 11, 2013 7:21 pm

I am likeing the 16p size for the ships. it gives a big enough size to have some detail but not take up huge amounts of the table.

I am also now a bigger fan than i was. My problem is, I am the only Lego/Mecha Fan i know. My 5yo is starting to get legos but its more for us to do something. my Hobby side and our playing together side are seperate lol

Funny thing is i just built a ship the other day for fun. i believe its too big for the 16p scale but only barely. a few modifications and i can have it more close to AB design.
Crowe Transit can start taking shape =]
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Re: Mobile Frame Zero: Alpha Bandit

Postby Red_Robot » Thu Dec 26, 2013 7:56 am

I hate to be seen as a disruptive presence, but at the early stages of development I think this is the time to throw something like this out into open discussion. This is simply suggestion and constructive criticism.

*Weapon Systems and Ranges*

Lasers
I feel like a couple of items in the weapons list should be swapped. I think Lasers would be better as the mid range weapon system. I admit this has generally more to do with esthetics and physics than game mechanics. Lasers lose power over distance, so artillery range lasers would be at their weakest projection at long range. Also, lasers being beam weapons they would project through any target at intermediate ranges. I admit I am largely arguing nerd-semantics. That being said, there it is.

Missiles
I feel like Missiles might be better suited as the artillery range weapon system. This I feel for a couple of reasons. One, because you can explain that missiles don't detonate at shorter ranges because of arming safeties meant to protect firing ships from collateral damage. And this safety distance would be explained because missiles have "bigger payloads" (represented by their damage scores on 4-6).

Also, Missiles are the equivalent of Hand-to-Hand weapon systems in MFZ:RA. They score damage 50% of the time. In Rapid Attack this is offset by a frame needing to close the gap with it's target. But once this is done, HtH weapons usually deliver quick devastation. With missiles as they are now, this means midrange is the bread-and-butter killzone for Alpha Bandit. I imagine this skews people towards wanting to stay far back or smoosh up close. Or it gives players incentive to set up playfields with lots of cover. I haven't soloed enough games to really say for sure. Maybe that is in fact what was wanted.

--------------------------------------------------------------------

Now all that being said, I have some thoughts on differing mechanics, and they have less to do with something perceived as a hitch in gameplay as they do with physics and certain giant robot cartoon tropes.

1.) Rockets don't reach their targets instantaneously.
--Fundamentally, Frames and Missiles are very similar. They are kinetic objects you fire into space towards your target which then fly towards that target on their own fuel. Missiles are going to have a higher thrust-to-mass ratio than a frame, and also don't need to worry about a pilot passing out from high G burns, so they will be faster. But it's still not a blink from Point A to Point B. A mechanic derived from this could be launching missiles in a way similar to launching frames.

2.) Guns vs. Missiles
--It's a pretty common giant robot cartoon trope to have fighty robots shoot and detonate swarms of incoming missiles. And not only that, but it happens in the real world too, with phalanx guns and antimissile rockets. I admit it's a trope I love.

Having said that, I understand how doing things that way could lead to more bookwork, unit proliferation, and slow down the game. And I know slowing down the game is bad. Nevertheless, I love the idea of the drama of watching missiles streaking towards your ship and knowing the crew in your little LEGO creation are screaming, "INCOMING!"

And that's my food for thought. Chew, spew or season to taste as you see fit.
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Re: Mobile Frame Zero: Alpha Bandit

Postby Joshua A.C. Newman » Thu Dec 26, 2013 2:25 pm

First, I'd like to say that the ranges have already been renamed to make them more abstract. They are now Frame, Point, Offense, and Support.

Red_Robot, I recommend wholeheartedly that you read this page on Atomic Rockets about space weapons. That site is an amazing resource. You might expect I'd like it, because one of my RPGs, Human Contact, has the Atomic Rockets Seal of Approval. But that's really just a full circle; I used that site heavily in my design of the setting for the game, as should anyone who's writing or designing anything about fictional space travel.

Lasers lose very little energy over space. And, perhaps more to the point, they travel (and correct their aim) at the speed of light. Missiles' ability to hit is limited by their fuel and visibility over long range. At a short enough range, I can't dodge them. Long enough and I can shoot them down or just get out of the way once they're out of fuel.

But, more to the point! A blue ace can shoot down incoming missiles while spreading chaff, decoys, and ECM all over the place. The only things that can hit a frame are point defense weapons (formerly: Ack-Ack) and other frames. The other frames do a better job, naturally, because nothing does a better job than frames at what frames do.

Also, Missiles are the equivalent of Hand-to-Hand weapon systems in MFZ:RA. They score damage 50% of the time. In Rapid Attack this is offset by a frame needing to close the gap with it's target. But once this is done, HtH weapons usually deliver quick devastation. With missiles as they are now, this means midrange is the bread-and-butter killzone for Alpha Bandit. I imagine this skews people towards wanting to stay far back or smoosh up close. Or it gives players incentive to set up playfields with lots of cover. I haven't soloed enough games to really say for sure. Maybe that is in fact what was wanted.


You'll find Missile range is pretty damn close. And you need to get close to fuel and repair your frames.
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Re: Mobile Frame Zero: Alpha Bandit

Postby Red_Robot » Fri Dec 27, 2013 6:35 am

First of all, I'd like to say thanks Joshua for addressing my concerns. It's nice to get some feedback that reveals a little of the nuts and bolts going into Alpha Bandit's development.

And upon reflection, my issues stemmed more from semantics than mechanics. In Rapid Attack, the categories of weapons are range based and abstract. And I like that approach so much better in Alpha Bandit. It at once gives us more imaginative freedom and also puts some of the weight back on ourselves for suspension of our own disbelief.

Joshua A.C. Newman wrote:The only things that can hit a frame are point defense weapons (formerly: Ack-Ack) and other frames. The other frames do a better job, naturally, because nothing does a better job than frames at what frames do.


Huh! That's something I didn't immediately latch onto. That means you could build small "frame hunter" escorts With 1 Point Defense Weapon, 1 Defense, 1 Catapult and the bonus Green movement that is meant to deal with enemy frame company incursions.

And as for Atomic Rockets, I have already been rooting through the entries there. You and Soren mentioned it in an old thread I was rooting through, and I have been reading articles there for the past couple of weeks. It's definitely educational and insightful.
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Re: Mobile Frame Zero: Alpha Bandit

Postby Soren » Fri Dec 27, 2013 4:51 pm

Yeah, your question was one I put to J a couple days ago. I have a bunch of ideas for funky weapons; I'm a habitual modder of space games.
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Re: Mobile Frame Zero: Alpha Bandit

Postby Pandacando » Sat Dec 28, 2013 6:30 pm

A few pages back I saw someone pose the question, but haven't really seen it addressed (I may have missed it).

Is there a limit to what a launched frame company can hit. Ie. distance, LOS, etc? Is it instantaneous and always hit? That could be a wicked opening salvo.

If this has been addressed, or. if I overlooked it in the rules, please let me know. Been wondering this for awhile.
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Re: Mobile Frame Zero: Alpha Bandit

Postby Joshua A.C. Newman » Mon Dec 30, 2013 4:08 am

It can be any distance, but it can't be to something that is in cover.

It's an opening salvo that brings the fear of god. And then you hope to hell your guys can make it home.*

*Probably you hope "home" is your fine new carrier that you just pwned.
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Re: Mobile Frame Zero: Alpha Bandit

Postby studless » Mon Jan 06, 2014 8:18 pm

As I was doing reading on atomic rocket site (great place btw) and came across the star fighters (NOT!!!) article on another blog. As the talk switched to drones, I thought about a drone carrier for AB. I know that the rule of MFZ is "if a frame can do it, then it does" and that space frames are most likely space/ground vehicles (multipurpose = cheaper = longer production = cheaper and more usefulness) but given that drones don't risk human (or Ijad) life, would most likely be cheaper (2-3 drones per frame) and faster + extra maneuverability (no pilot G-force limit, no deadweight, life support, pilot, etc) moot point, I know. This could make up for the fact that they can't go planetside (exept for air support) but probably not make up for the fact that they can't capture ships. Any ideas from the community?

First idea I had was PDD's (point defense drones) and CWIS systems. ( d6B and d6Rh d6Rh respectively)
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Didn't have a micro/mech/space/halo/alien/starcraft/star wars/WWII/LDD/brickarms/exo-force/mars mission description. :'(
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Re: Mobile Frame Zero: Alpha Bandit

Postby schoon » Fri Feb 07, 2014 2:44 pm

A few comments/questions about the new rules:

First: I'm thrilled that these are moving forward, and would really like to support, which begs the question:
Joshua - Is there a way the community can monetarily support this project yet - will there be another Kickstarter eventually?

Second: 8p (2.5 inches) feels a little small for me for a ship size limitation, and yet 16p (5 inches) seems pretty big for a 4 foot play area.
Suggestion: Ship dimensions could be limited to 12p (4.25 inches), with a guide of 2p (5/8 inch) for each system (including the white dice, so a 4-system ship would be 12p max)

Third: I'm not a big fan of the "standard" scale frame representing an Ace.
Suggestion: I've seen a few "tiny-scale" frame designs that would fill that role much better in my eyes, and not be quite as much a slap in the face to scale.

Fourth: I see reference to a v0.3 version of the rules, but am only finding v0.2.
Is there a link to those yet?
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Re: Mobile Frame Zero: Intercept Orbit

Postby Thaddeus » Fri Feb 07, 2014 7:42 pm

Hey schoon! You should check this out.
Last edited by Thaddeus on Thu May 01, 2014 12:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mobile Frame Zero: Alpha Bandit

Postby Joshua A.C. Newman » Sat Feb 08, 2014 3:58 pm

Hi, Schoon! Welcome back to the surface world!

Yes, there will be a Kickstarter. I had a ridiculous notion that I'd be able to get it running in January, but there's still too much work to be done.

Isn't there a link to AB0.3 at http://glyphpress.com?

Edit: Just checked. It's still on the front page. The easiest way to keep up with my stuff is to follow me @JoshuaACNewman.
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Re: Mobile Frame Zero: Alpha Bandit

Postby schoon » Mon Feb 10, 2014 6:10 pm

A few thoughts...

Most sci-fi starship games give a casual nod to different ship sizes/classes, and most MicroSpace builds do as well. (I'm not saying that AB needs to do this, but I like the idea of smaller or bigger ships).

I understand that the MF0 mass issue reduces that, but here's a concept to consider. Three ship sizes:

  • Small - 1 d6W and 1-3 Systems - 1 pip gives 2 clicks "turn" or +/-2 speed
  • Regular - 2 d6W and 1-4 Systems - normal rules
  • Large - 3 d6W and 1-5 Systems - 2 pips give 1 click "turn" or +/-1 speed

Thoughts?
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Re: Mobile Frame Zero: Alpha Bandit

Postby Soren » Mon Feb 10, 2014 8:26 pm

The stuff I've built so far is indeed sized differently. They also have different stand lengths to keep collisions from becoming quite so much of an issue. I don't know how the final game is going to address size mechanically, but it's something we've discussed.
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Re: Mobile Frame Zero: Alpha Bandit

Postby Joshua A.C. Newman » Wed Feb 12, 2014 11:35 am

Changing around the number of white dice has bigger effects than you realize here.

The frigate, as you describe it, would be a terrible investment. It rolls 2/3 as many dice as a cruiser or carrier, takes 2/3 as many hits to destroy, and the results of its rolls are lower.

Conversely, making a ship turn even more slowly would be paaaaainful. It also interacts weirdly with the green ace, whose 1 movement point would be useless. But with three white dice, you're probably in really good control of it anyway.

The purpose of the 3 vs 4 dice decision is to cover exactly what you're talking about here, though! And you've given me an idea about differentiating carriers from cruisers that I have to mull over.
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Re: Mobile Frame Zero: Alpha Bandit

Postby schoon » Wed Feb 12, 2014 3:45 pm

Excellent points.

It occurs to me that you could fiddle with how many Tactical Asset points a frigate counted for vs. a cruiser, which could bring it back into balance.

If - say - frigates counted as 1 TA, cruisers 2 TA and carriers 3 TA (adjust TAs per player accordingly), then I think you'd have value in each size class. Smaller ships have fewer systems and are less durable, but also less impact if lost. larger ships have more systems and are more durable, but can really hurt your score if you loose them.

...and as a random aside, it occurred to me that you could mark the stand of each ship with appropriate 1x1 tiles for its systems...
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Re: Mobile Frame Zero: Alpha Bandit

Postby Joshua A.C. Newman » Thu Feb 13, 2014 3:23 am

Well, think out some paper fleets and tell me what you get.

We're going to be doing some more playtesting and could run two simultaneous scoreboards to see when (and if) such a thing would make any difference.

Points take input from the quality of your fleet and output it into strategic information that you use to make tactical decisions (and give you the tactical power of initiative). So it can make a difference in those places. That is, it can change its representation of the quality of your fleet (as you propose); it can change the moment at which the lead changes (so, I lose a ship, but now haven't lost the lead. That can be particularly bad if you started in the lead), or it can change the strategic options it gives you.

My real concern would be if the loss of a ship caused no change in standing when things were strategically close. Right now, the lead seems to shift at perfectly acceptable times.

There are three classes of ship right now:

  • frigates, which have 1-3 systems, turn two clicks at a time, and have a narrow (therefore more tightly turning) 4x8 base
  • Cruisers, which have four system and a wide (therefore, clumsily-turning) 8x8 base.
  • Carriers, which have four systems, of which two are dedicated catapults, typically on an 8x8 base, but if you want to run a carrier frigate, OK, but that last system is a hard choice.


There are a couple of rule changes that have happened since last I posted the last PDF.
  • Dedicated carriers — those with two Black systems — get to roll an extra black d6 for each launch or repair.
  • A TA firing at a spotted TA can choose to not count cover hits. So if your frames are adhered to one of my ships to capture it, I don't have to worry about hitting my own ship when I shoot at them, as long as they've got a yellow die on them. They still only take hits on a 6, but the intervening ship doesn't take hits for being cover if I don't want it to.
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Re: Mobile Frame Zero: Alpha Bandit

Postby schoon » Thu Feb 13, 2014 11:57 am

OK, from your r post above, I'm clearly missing something about how ships turn.

I was interpreting "one click" as one click on the hinge of a hinge brick - which would mean that base size would not matter. What am I missing here?

...and I'd be happy to experiment with the 1/2TA concept and see how it works in terms of play.
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Re: Mobile Frame Zero: Alpha Bandit

Postby schoon » Sat Feb 15, 2014 11:20 am

I prepping for a weekend playtest of AB, and have a few questions:

  • Is there a movement benefit for having no "M" or "L" range weapons, similar to MF0?
  • Is there additional benefit, beyond the single extra d6, for more Frame Catapults? If a ship had 4 Frame Catapults, would it get one or two bonus dice?
  • Each click of a hinge piece is 22.5 degrees; the way I see movement is to allign the ruler with the forward edge of the base, click any segment of the ruler one click per maneuver pip, and then align the forward edge of the base with the last segment of the ruler; you can have any base size you want, and it doesn't affect turning...
  • It is implied in the Ace rules that frames companies cannot move through other frame companies; is there some guideline for the size of a frame company base, as bigger would seem to be better...
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Re: Mobile Frame Zero: Alpha Bandit

Postby gusindor » Sat Feb 15, 2014 11:58 am

schoon wrote:
  • Is there additional benefit, beyond the single extra d6, for more Frame Catapults? If a ship had 4 Frame Catapults, would it get one or two bonus dice?

IIRC you still can't have more than 2 systems of the same type.
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Re: Mobile Frame Zero: Alpha Bandit

Postby schoon » Sat Feb 15, 2014 6:10 pm

gusindor wrote:IIRC you still can't have more than 2 systems of the same type.

...which begs the question: can you have more than 2 Frame Catapults on a starship?

For reasons that have no basis in anything other than my own mind, I assumed that they were different.

Since a Frame Company counts as a Tactical Asset, it seems like that's a "self limitation," but on the other hand, perhaps that's something that can differentiate carriers from other ships...
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