SFB Tournaments - discussion, alternative formats, play-balance

What changes (if any) would you like to see in SFB Tournaments

I would like to see the

I would like to see the "Non-Aggression Rule" repealed. IMHO, it creates a false expectation of play which is other wise legal should be considered illegal - and yet is very subjective. Furthermore, after much consideration, I haven't seen evidence that the so called non aggressive tactics actually are unfair - as judged by the fact the rules never require you to attack a non aggressive opponent. They may result in a slow game, but certain match ups tend to last quite a few turns anyway. I've posted quite a bit on this before. Those interested should probably search this board for previous debates. I don't really expect this to change, nor am I prepared to lobby ADB for this change.

I'd like to see the addition

I'd like to see the addition of T-bombs like regular SFB. The normal four would be fine. I understand the drone users may not like it much, but they should be spreading them out anyway ;)

My other car is a D7 Battlecruiser

Hate T-bombs

Always have. In engineering terms, they're very broken. Something the size of a drone with an explosion 30000km across? The only area-damaging weapon in the game. The 4-per-CS3 ship rule is a horrible kludge, and essentially a tacit admission that they're broken.

The TKE gets one but only as a baby NSM, which is OK because you can pretend it's SC6 for all the difference it makes. The Andro gets one but as their transporters can handle SC4 ships I don't object to that either.

Otherwise, fix the Fed. G-rack or fast, I don't care. The Neo needs another lab and the Archie needs to lose a hull.

Bidding mechanism and/or RPS correction

I wouldn't mind seeing a bidding mechanism put in place to mitigate RPS.

1) Players pick their tournament ship preference (1 ship)
2) When match is announced
3) both players bid (0-5) on ship preference in the match
4) winner pays a penalty in lost starting battery power (exact formula tbd)
5) ties are broken in favor of who brought the ship into the match

Alternatively one could take out the bidding and simply apply a RPS correction factor, causing the advantaged ship to lose a set amount of battery power proportional to the advantage.

Just do what we've done with

Just do what we've done with T-bombs i.e. they're not an area-of-effect weapon but rather directional. Instead of a grenade going off affecting 7 hexes, it is more like a rotating-on-its-axis claymore that turns to a specific hex, effecting the hex the ship moved into that triggered it.

My other car is a D7 Battlecruiser

ISC changes

I would like to see two changes to the ISC ships.

The command cruiser - I would like to see the rear F torps *optionally* hit on drones (instead of auto hit on both torp/drone hits). IMHO, in additional to all the other constraints the ship has, losing it's plasmas at 2x the rate it should is a significant and not well understood penalty of this ship in the knife fight.

The medium (non-sanctioned) - I don't like that this ship has an essentially cloned weapon suite of the command cruiser. Although I'm in favor of getting rid of duplicates, if not deleted I would like to see it have a unique flavor. Easiest way to do this is to change the PPD to a G torp. No PPD, but 3 heavy torps would make this ship quite different from the ISC TCC and different from all other plasma ships as well. It would also be in keeping with the ISC "gun-line" philosophy (up-front defensive ship).

Fed photon change - tourney only

I wouldn't mind seeing a change to how photons work to mitigate their extreme luck dependency.

One of my favorites is - photons receive a bonus or penalty to hit depending on # fired in a single impulse:
1 = -1 hit
2-3 = no change
4 = +1 to hit

Thus a single overload at R8 would hit 1-4, while a full salvo (i.e., 4x) would only be hitting 1-2 at R8.

I think this would open up a number of tactical options beyond the standard (get to range 2, fire, and pray).

I suspect for balance, they would still need a R0 shot to hit 1-6.

Another Wild Fed Idea

After the first 4 photon tubes are fired, the Fed is allowed to combine photon torpedoes in narrow salvoes on the following schedule:

2nd firing: up to 2 tubes combined
3rd firing: up to 3 tubes combined
4th firing: up to 4 tubes combined

The fed may not combine 2+2 on the second firing in the same impulse.

While at first glance this seems like it is making the Fed more binary, it is pretty binary to begin with in that it pretty much needs to hit with 3 photons on the first exchange to have a decent chance of winning. In this case, the Fed's odds get better over time.

Fleet battles and other applications of tactical skills

I would like to see tournaments of something besides one-on-one ship duels. If you want to prove you're the best, you should have to do something more than just master the use of one particular ship design.

I would like to see a tournament where each round pits two teams of players against each other in different, randomly determined circumstances: a fleet battle, an attack on a space station, a convoy escort, etc. Your team may be the attacker or may be the defender -- you'll need to be prepared to handle either circumstance. The races and ships would be pre-chosen; do the best you can with what you're handed. Victory conditions would reflect the circumstances of the scenario.

This style of tournament would produce winners who proved that they could excel in a wide variety of tactical roles and operational circumstances. Such a tournament obviously requires preparing some very balanced scenarios that would be challenging for both sides and not have a single winning strategy.

I do recognize that that is difficult task, but I think it would be worth the effort. In the last couple days, it has been suggested on this forum that SFB and its community has become stale, and that everything the game has to offer has already been done. But there are tons of exciting challenges in the pages of existing SFB products -- cool ideas that never see the light of a table (or online screen) simply because so many of SFBs most avid fanbase have myopically reduced this rich game to nothing more than a series of tournament duels that are nearly as abstract as a chess match.

Don't get me wrong. I think duels can be very exciting and lots of fun. As a new player, I know I have a lot to learn from them. But they are not the be-all, end-all of SFB, and they should not be the only expression of competitive SFB play.

My two cents,
Carl

Carl wrote:

>>I would like to see tournaments of something besides one-on-one ship duels. If you want to prove you're the best, you should have to do something more than just master the use of one particular ship design.>>

SFBOL had a series of Squadron tournaments for a number of years; the judge generally put together a set of reasonably balanced groups of ships, everyone picked a group, and they played a tournament like usual with various parameters defined (map size and type, EW or not, commander's options or not, etc.)--I won the last one with a Gorn BDD squadron (BDL, 2xBDD; all with Sabot plasmas, which, to be fair, were probably way too good in the format we were using) a year or two ago. The only reason that sort of thing isn't going on currently is 'cause no one decided to run one this year.

There were various official attempts to have a 500 BPV fleet tournament over the years; one of the older Captain's Logs (14 or so) has fixed fleets for that event published; they were generally some version of a CC, 2xCW, and a DW for everyone. I know that played a few times at Origins. Larry Ramey ran a "bring your own 500 BPV fleet" tournament at Origins one year that he organized on the BBS.

>>But they are not the be-all, end-all of SFB, and they should not be the only expression of competitive SFB play.>>

See, I don't think that anyone is claiming that they are. They just win out due to the laws of inertia; the SFB Tournament system is very well established and balanced and works very well for what it is. And doesn't require any set up/discussion to get a game going; two random strangers can meet on SFBOL and just play a pick up tournament game with no planning at all and have a reasonably balanced game. So they get all the air time.

The only thing that is preventing people from playing in different kinds of events (i.e. squadron/fleet/EW/scenario/whatever) is that people aren't running them. So folks should run them :-)

Carl wrote: "I would like to

Carl wrote:

"I would like to see a tournament where each round pits two teams of players against each other in different, randomly determined circumstances"

Some of the funnest JFF games I played on SFBOL was 2 on 2 games. This would be a great idea for a tourny change. Keep the tourny ships of course for the balance, but have two against two. Team mates start on opposite corners. This gives the added challenge of matching two ships up that compliment each other. As an example, An ISC and a Hydran would be a good combo; the PPD weakens a shield at range and then the Helbore takes advantage of it.

Might be a bit difficult to get 4 people together at the same time, but then 2 isn't always easy either. The game would have some different dynamics as well.

My other car is a D7 Battlecruiser

Peter wrote:

"The only thing that is preventing people from playing in different kinds of events (i.e. squadron/fleet/EW/scenario/whatever) is that people aren't running them. So folks should run them :-)"

LOL. Hint received, Peter!

I feel like I'm still learning the game, but once my knowledge and confidence are up, I'd love to run/play some of this stuff. It's part of why I'm soliciting suggestions on favorite scenarios.

Carl

Carl wrote:

>>LOL. Hint received, Peter!>>

Heh heh--yeah, see, if more people volunteered to run some goofy, non standard events on SFBOL, they'd happen more :-)

If you dig around on the SFB Official BBS in the SFBOL section, you can find info on previous squadron events and the like with links to pages that had the fleets already selected and stuff.

Last summer, Sir_Akira ran a non tournament Squadron Campaign, where everyone had X points to buy a squadron of 3 ships, and the theory was that we'd each play some solitaire monster scenarios (including a special one that the GM set up just for us) and then we'd each play some Squadron duels, and at the end of each round, we'd get repairs and points and whatever. The format was sound and fun; about a dozen people signed up. The problem was that not everyone was particularly invested in playing, and the games that required folks to meet online and play game together didn't happen as often as they should have, and it all kind of fell apart.

A couple years ago, someone ran a Frigate Captain's campaign on SFBOL. Another dozen+ people played in that; we all got X BPV to buy a FF (I was in an F5) and trick it out and whatever, and then we went through the FF Captain Campaign as laid out in Scenario Book #1. Again, parts of it were great--the solo monster scenarios were fun, the Raid on a Mining Base (also solo) was fun. That one fell apart when it became apparent that the FF duel scenarios (of which we all had to play 3 to complete the campaign) were really not at all fun, as they were on a floating map. Which resulted in two tiny ships at high speed sniping at R15+, and if anyone ever had the audacity to launch some drones or plasmas, the other ship would just run away at speed 31 for 3 turns till they fell off the map. We were trying to figure out a way to restart and avoid that sort of thing, and it all just sort of lost momentum.

So people regularly try and make stuff like that happen on SFBOL, and it all works reasonably well (the DW Squadron event I won a few years back had another dozen+ players, and those of us who stuck it out played 3 rounds) to some extent or the other. So I'd be totally happy to see someone try running that sort of thing again.

Thanks for all that info,

Thanks for all that info, Peter. It's nice to know that those kinds of games have been pursued in the past. I'll definitely be tracking down reports from some of the ones you mentioned.

Admittedly, those more complicated games can be hard to sustain, especially online... Perhaps I can organize something for Council in October. Maybe some kind of scenario series as folks fall out of the formal tournament.

Would anyone have an interest

Would anyone have an interest in a 2-on-2 game and/or tourny?

Like I mentioned above, use standard tourny ships. Teammates start on opposite corners.

My other car is a D7 Battlecruiser

As a note, I use to play

As a note, I use to play 2-on-2 with Tugger as my partner. We would skype while playing so we could do real-time tactics planning.

I'd rejoin SFBOl just for a 2-on-2 game and/or tourny.

My other car is a D7 Battlecruiser

Sure.

I'd certainly play a 2 on 2 online tournament. Granted, getting 4 people all on line at the same time is likely to be complicated, but I'm sure people would play.

I would play as well. Used

I would play as well. Used to run 2 on 2 tourneys at conventions for the players who were knocked out of the main tourney I was running.

Yeah that would be a lark.

I would play. Say 8 interested people, 3 rounds? Doesn't sound like much but I think it might be realistic if we actually want to see it finished.

That seems completely viable.

4 teams of 2. Every team plays every other team. The winner is the team that goes 3-0 (or whatever). Seems totally viable and within the realm of reason.

I'd totally play in that. With Droid as my wingman!

Could we use the unholy alliance of Gorn TC and Tholian TC? That would be just mean...

Carl Wrote:

>>Admittedly, those more complicated games can be hard to sustain, especially online... Perhaps I can organize something for Council in October. Maybe some kind of scenario series as folks fall out of the formal tournament.>>

I think plenty of people would be down for that. Granted, at Council, a lot of people tend to get sucked away from casual SFB games by either:

A) The Battlegrounds card game (a reasonably entertaining mini-style table top war game, but instead of miniatures, you use a deck of cards; I think the guys who make it are from Schenectady).

or

B) Beer.

But there are probably enough of us who aren't distracted by either of these that we could easily get a group for something funny. I totally endorse the hilarious multi-player figure 8 race track game from Module T-20xx.

Sounds good...

I was thinking single elimination. Just due to the 4 way scheduling difficulties. I can't imagine the horror of 4 way scheduling.