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Old 06-11-2018, 07:00 AM   #1
enelsonmo
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Default Starleader Assault Reimagined

I remember playing Melee and Wizard back in my misbegotten youth. I was super excited to find out about Staleader Assault, Melee in space as I thought of it, in one of the gaming mags at the time. When I played it, it was similar but distinctly different than the system used in Melee and Wizard. I thought it was ok but not as much fun as tft. My question is will there be an expansion for tft to take it into space? Is this something people would like to play?
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Old 06-11-2018, 07:33 AM   #2
Terquem
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Idaho Falls
Default Re: Starleader Assault Reimagined

While I think the potential for many "alternative" Melee and Wizard format games exists. I don't think that is in the stars

{see what I did there, I kill me}

First, Starleader Assault was not a Steve Jackson designed game. The design, while promising in scope was underdeveloped, and has serious problems.

Second, I think I get the feeling that all Steve Jackson Games is really setting out to do here is re release a classic little game as cleaned up as they can make it, for nostalgia purposes mostly. The company has better games that start off where Melee and Wizard end up.
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Old 06-11-2018, 07:42 AM   #3
zot
 
Join Date: May 2018
Default Re: Starleader Assault Reimagined

Quote:
Originally Posted by enelsonmo View Post
I remember playing Melee and Wizard back in my misbegotten youth. I was super excited to find out about Staleader Assault, Melee in space as I thought of it, in one of the gaming mags at the time. When I played it, it was similar but distinctly different than the system used in Melee and Wizard. I thought it was ok but not as much fun as tft. My question is will there be an expansion for tft to take it into space? Is this something people would like to play?
I, for one am a huge fan of nontraditional fantasy settings. And tons of other people are too; from what I've heard, Wizards is releasing a Spelljammer campaign later this year (but not a whole setting book just yet) and most likely a Dark Sun campaign as well. These two were very nontraditional and had great appeal.

Cidri is definitely a science fantasy setting: Security Station Alpha. Heck, Expedition to the Barrier Peaks debuted at Origins in 1976!

If SJ Games doesn't release a space setting for TFT, someone else will...
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Old 06-11-2018, 07:47 AM   #4
zot
 
Join Date: May 2018
Default Re: Starleader Assault Reimagined

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terquem View Post
Second, I think I get the feeling that all Steve Jackson Games is really setting out to do here is re release a classic little game as cleaned up as they can make it, for nostalgia purposes mostly. The company has better games that start off where Melee and Wizard end up.
Oh really? Let's just see what happens, shall we?

I have a feeling the number of customers may play a role in those decisions. SJ has been making posts about improving TFT. My impression is that TFT has a special place in his heart, as does it in mine and a lot of other fans, I think. I've even heard Ron Edwards say great things about it.
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Old 06-11-2018, 07:52 AM   #5
zot
 
Join Date: May 2018
Default Re: Starleader Assault Reimagined

See also this post...
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Old 06-11-2018, 08:12 AM   #6
tbeard1999
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Tyler, Texas
Default Re: Starleader Assault Reimagined

Quote:
Originally Posted by enelsonmo View Post
I remember playing Melee and Wizard back in my misbegotten youth. I was super excited to find out about Staleader Assault, Melee in space as I thought of it, in one of the gaming mags at the time. When I played it, it was similar but distinctly different than the system used in Melee and Wizard. I thought it was ok but not as much fun as tft. My question is will there be an expansion for tft to take it into space? Is this something people would like to play?
Having written several high-tech TFT variants, I think that the answer is "yes". I would not use the Starleader system, however. As I recall, it uses action points ala Snapshot/Azhanti High Lightning. Action point systems make decent enough tactical wargames, but tend to be too fiddly for RPG combat system use.

A high tech TFT system would need a couple of minor tweaks.

First, some kind of 'snapshot' fire that would let a figure fire a readied gun (at a DX penalty) during the movement phase. Otherwise, "panzerbushing" becomes a serious problem.

Second, a high-tech damage and armor scale would need to be developed. A recurring issue in high tech RPGs is how to handle damage vs penetration. If a single damage roll is used for both, higher penetration weapons become unrealistically lethal. This can be somewhat mitigated by a rule that limits the maximum damage a weapon can do.

In my variants, I've tried multiple approaches. Separate penetration ratings are fiddly in my opinion. Dividing weapons into armor piercing (armor protection is halved), normal and low penetration (armor protection is doubled) works okay.

The last variant I wrote used the Traveller 4 damage mechanic.

In that system, weapons do X d6 of damage. Most modern guns do 2-4 dice damage. Armor reduces the number of dice rolled. So an assault rifle (3d damage) when firing at a target wearing rigid ballistic armor (-2d) rolls 1 die damage.

Weapons have a maximum number of damage dice that can be rolled, after taking armor into account. This is usually 3d for small arms.

This allows a single mechanic to effectively be used for damage and penetration.

An advanced combat rifle firing armor piercing ammunition might be rated 5d damage. Against an unarmored person, it does 3d damage though.

Also, non-rigid armor reduces the indicated number of dice to a single point of damage. So an assault rifle (3d damage) when firing at a target wearing non-rigid ballistic armor (-2d) would roll 1+2 damage.

I allow low-tech (and magic) armor to work normally against low tech weapons. Against high tech weapons, I allow each 3 points of protection (round down) to provide -1d damage. Use the underlying armor to determine if it's non-rigid or rigid. None, cloth, leather, and chain would be non-rigid.

High tech armor stops 3 points of damage from low tech weapons per point of armor. So modern heavy ballistic armor (-2d) would stop 6 points of damage from a heavy crossbow or broadsword. Given the fact that modern armor tends to cover less of the body than low tech armor, you could roll the indicated number of dice - 2 dice, in this case - to see how much damage is stopped.

Use the normal TFT rules for range; pistols/shotguns are considered thrown weapons. Other weapons are missile weapons.

Another issue is calibrating modern weapon damage. Cinematic campaigns require characters to be more resilient. Rather than fiddle with weapon damages, I'd give PCs a certain number of "flesh wounds" per day. A flesh wound converts a hit into 1 point of damage, or even an outright miss.
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Old 06-11-2018, 10:25 AM   #7
tbeard1999
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Tyler, Texas
Default Re: Starleader Assault Reimagined

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terquem View Post
...The company has better games that start off where Melee and Wizard end up.
Then they should probably publish them.
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Old 06-11-2018, 11:48 AM   #8
Skarg
 
Join Date: May 2015
Default Re: Starleader Assault Reimagined

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terquem View Post
First, Starleader Assault was not a Steve Jackson designed game. The design, while promising in scope was underdeveloped, and has serious problems.
I quite agree. Tried to like it, liked a thing or two about it, but it needed much more playtesting & development. Had serious issues.


Quote:
Originally Posted by tbeard1999 View Post
Having written several high-tech TFT variants, I think that the answer is "yes". I would not use the Starleader system, however. As I recall, it uses action points ala Snapshot/Azhanti High Lightning. Action point systems make decent enough tactical wargames, but tend to be too fiddly for RPG combat system use.

A high tech TFT system would need a couple of minor tweaks.

First, some kind of 'snapshot' fire that would let a figure fire a readied gun (at a DX penalty) during the movement phase. Otherwise, "panzerbushing" becomes a serious problem.
I've made a few attempts too. I don't hate action point systems, and like crunchy combat systems, but they're tricky to get right (q.v. problems in Starleader Assault).

The main problems I see are:

* large time scale variations: gun combat tends to be fast and deadly, so you need significant resolution of who shoots whom first in a second or two, but you also want to be able to do much longer actions...

* large distance variation: you need to be able to handle close scale action and also fire from 100m or more away... and (I at least) want both to be mapped and use counters...

* use of cover and body position and getting the drop on people (how likely is it you can spot someone before they spot you, and what's the modifier to hit someone) are very important to who wins, but making simple consistent mechanics for that can be tricky

* you also want good mechanics for fast-draw contests, pop-up and peek-around attacks, grenade lobbing, ducking for cover, etc.

* you also want good mechanics for high-rate-of-fire automatic weapon use

* there should be rules for suppression

* and then, yes, a good system for damage and armor penetration and so on. Not an easy problem to get satisfying and fun results for, but it seems perhaps less challenging that the others above, depending on what you want.
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Old 06-11-2018, 12:28 PM   #9
JLV
 
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Join Date: Nov 2010
Default Re: Starleader Assault Reimagined

Quote:
Originally Posted by enelsonmo View Post
I remember playing Melee and Wizard back in my misbegotten youth. I was super excited to find out about Staleader Assault, Melee in space as I thought of it, in one of the gaming mags at the time. When I played it, it was similar but distinctly different than the system used in Melee and Wizard. I thought it was ok but not as much fun as tft. My question is will there be an expansion for tft to take it into space? Is this something people would like to play?
I think Steve pretty clearly put the idea of expanding TFT into other genres to bed in his interview over on RPG.net.

I think the reasoning is, basically, if you want to go to other genres, GURPS is there and has dozens and dozens of other genre books already out there. So why would he set up another game to compete head-to-head with GURPS? It just doesn't make any sense...

So, based on the interview (linked to above) and other comments dropped through various threads in this forum, I think the idea of other genres is DOA for now. (Which is not to say that if TFT becomes the new Munchkin in popularity that the decision couldn't change, but I think we need to see how TFT does first...)

Last edited by JLV; 06-11-2018 at 12:32 PM.
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Old 06-11-2018, 05:37 PM   #10
Rick_Smith
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Coquitlam B.C.
Default Re: Starleader Assault Reimagined

>> Originally Posted by Terquem View Post
>> ...The company has better games that start off where Melee and Wizard end up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tbeard1999 View Post
Then they should probably publish them.
LOL. Nice one Ty.

I have used GURPS Space for game conventions, and I have used a High Tech TFT version for a Zombie Apocalypse campaign I once ran. As my TFT high tech rules have developed, I tend to use them more.

Warm regards, Rick
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