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Old 04-09-2019, 12:32 PM   #21
juris
 
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Default Re: FnordCon Update

Thanks Tom good info.

You use control(handling) to put out fires? Lol.
Remember kids, if you're on fire run faster.

Item 1 - Were the props the same as the production game? I thought they were mock-ups.

Item 2 - "Persisting with a vehicle that degrades in ability" I don't know what that means but I laughed. My vehicle definitely meets this criteria. Are you saying making a maneuver permanently degrades your vehicle?

I like item 3. It should be hard with cars zipping around to line up a shot. Very good sign.


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Originally Posted by Tom H. View Post

In my short experience, three things stood out:

1. The elegant props and mechanics fully integrate and relate the changing aspects of your vehicle's status and control.

2. Get used to persisting with a vehicle that degrades in ability.

3. It was difficult for me to get my vehicle front weapons pointed at my foes as we circled and our control degraded.

One mechanic that had a prominent impact was that as your tires take damage (from attacks and skids) your handling and top speed become more impaired.

Oh yeah, another dilemma, do you use up precious control (handling) to put out fires, or take the imminent damage to steer your vehicle into better position.

There's an interesting element of resource management as you drive offensively!
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Old 04-09-2019, 01:15 PM   #22
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Default Re: FnordCon Update

ColBosch, I'll get back to you in a few...there's a lot to dwell on in there and I don't think a hip-shot response would do our conversation justice.

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Thanks Tom good info.

You use control(handling) to put out fires? Lol.
Remember kids, if you're on fire run faster.

Item 1 - Were the props the same as the production game? I thought they were mock-ups.

Item 2 - "Persisting with a vehicle that degrades in ability" I don't know what that means but I laughed. My vehicle definitely meets this criteria. Are you saying making a maneuver permanently degrades your vehicle?

I like item 3. It should be hard with cars zipping around to line up a shot. Very good sign.
If I have to guess, the idea behind control to put out fires is that it's distracting...if you're hanging out the window with a fire extinguisher in your hand, desperately trying to hose down the burning bits, you're not driving as offensively as you could be.

We were told the props "aren't final"...but from what one of the SJG staffers said in another thread, they were made by "Sam and his team", so I'm guessing they also weren't production proofs. Could've fooled me...the dice my table had were clearly prototypes, but everything else looked retail quality. Cards are roughly Frag or Munchkin sized, with a nice glossy finish on them, the cars look fantastic with thick plastic bases, and the dashboards [along with the slidey bits for them] are mounted cardboard about the same thickness as the tokens in Frag.

Degrading, is a mechanic I loved. Rather than 'You can take a bunch of hits...but watch that last step, it's a doozy' the way CWC does it, the car's top speed and max handling will step down as the tires take damage...which can be from combat damage or from botched maneuvers.

The Dashboard has symbols on it that start the game either covered or uncovered by the slidey bits on the trackers...if they're uncovered, they're in play. For example, the speed dial has two 'Control' icons on it, but at higher speeds, they start getting covered up...you no longer draw them at the start of your turn.

Likewise, as your tires take damage, you'll start uncovering "Speed Down" icons, and start covering up 'Control' icons...so the more beat up they get, the fewer control tokens you draw, and the lower your maximum speed becomes [which has been abstracted to 'moves per turn' rather than being in MPH]. I really like it as a mechanic, it makes every hit and every failed maneuver matter, not just the ones that breach. I feel it does a great job of making the risk/reward dynamics matter always, not just when the remaining damage boxes start running low.
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Old 04-09-2019, 01:43 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by TheAmishStig View Post
We were told the props "aren't final"...but from what one of the SJG staffers said in another thread, they were made by "Sam and his team", so I'm guessing they also weren't production proofs. Could've fooled me...the dice my table had were clearly prototypes, but everything else looked retail quality. Cards are roughly Frag or Munchkin sized, with a nice glossy finish on them, the cars look fantastic with thick plastic bases, and the dashboards [along with the slidey bits for them] are mounted cardboard about the same thickness as the tokens in Frag.
Some, if not all, of the cards were made at a short-run print house.

The car minis were 3-D printed by a former employee. The car bases were laser-cut and -etched acrylic, done in-house.

The dashboards were also done in-house, with the basic shapes laser-cut and then fleshed out with very, very careful detail work using laser-printed sticker paper. (That was Sam. Sam is an out-of-this-world prototyper.)

I'm pretty sure the tokens were laser-printed stickers on cardstock, but they may have been printed directly to the cardstock.

Some of the dice are samples from our manufacturer; the rest were stickered blank dice.
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Old 04-09-2019, 03:46 PM   #24
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Some, if not all, of the cards were made at a short-run print house.

The car minis were 3-D printed by a former employee. The car bases were laser-cut and -etched acrylic, done in-house.

The dashboards were also done in-house, with the basic shapes laser-cut and then fleshed out with very, very careful detail work using laser-printed sticker paper. (That was Sam. Sam is an out-of-this-world prototyper.)

I'm pretty sure the tokens were laser-printed stickers on cardstock, but they may have been printed directly to the cardstock.

Some of the dice are samples from our manufacturer; the rest were stickered blank dice.
That's a fascinating look behind the scenes...and is exactly the kind of thing I was in the middle of fawning about when I hit 'preview' to keep the session alive and saw a new reply on the stack.

"Sam is an out-of-this-world prototyper"...you can say that about four more times! The dice at the table I was playing on [closest to the 'autograph rules' stand-up] were stickered, it's what gave them away.

I stand by my statement: SJG had me fooled until it fessed up. The cars looked great [and the color-coding of decks/dashboards/acrylic is a nice touch...I hope that makes the final cut, but I won't be heartbroken if it doesn't as it's likely going to be murder on the production costs], and had I not been told everything else was prototypes/mock-ups, I never would have known.

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Originally Posted by ColBosch View Post
I edited this down a bit to these two statements, since I think they're most-relevant to what I'm trying to say here.

I also remember feeling outraged circa 2000. In fact, it was a personal message from Paul Sjardin - a longtime behind-the-scenes contributor to BattleTech - that snapped me out of it. This, eventually, led to me joining the tabletop development team about a decade later. But not everyone can have the benefit of such direct contact. One of the things I love about SJ Games is that the company's officers and authors are fully willing to get out there and give their side of the story, unvarnished and honest. If CWC's sales don't warrant further reprints (or, fingers crossed, new material), then Phil, Andrew, or even SJ will tell us so, likely with an apology.

Back to BT, I don't think Topps - at the time, actually Wizkids - ever made the direct statement that MWDA was a replacement for BattleTech. I believe the outrage stemmed from awkward early marketing. MechWarrior: Dark Age was originally named BattleTech: Phoenix Rising and billed as the future of the franchise; this ruffled not a few feathers. Then, because collectible miniatures games were the New Hotness, MWDA could be found at a lot of places that never carried BattleTech in the first place, leading to frustration both among fans and sellers. Add in your usual internet echo chambers, and you've got a misconception that's lasted almost two decades.

SJ Games has, I believe, done what they can to avoid the same problems with Car Wars. It's now on us, the old-school players, to act as "brand ambassadors." If we see people getting worked up over the new design, then we can pour water on the flames. Remind folks that Car Wars simply ran out of steam back in the 90s, and yet SJ Games kept the core game in print for years and years. They've even reprinted a huge number of the most-iconic games and supplements. If they bring up MWDA, show how the new game is different: no hidden stats, no randomized boosters, gameplay that tries to capture the essence of car vs. car combat while hiding a lot of the math.

Anyway, I think that's far more than my two cents. If you couldn't guess, I am a wee bit passionate about the topic.
Just a wee bit...the passion and the unique position of having been both outside-looking-in and inside-looking-out is what makes you such an invaluable resource at times like this. :)

I never had such a moment with BTclix...being left to flame out instead, feeling burned and withdrawing to play with what I had because I wasn't able to get more, before hitting the point of "let go, but remember" with the re-release as 'Classic Battletech' (which further drove home the impression that it was relegated to deep on the undercard, fair assessment or not). Only really gave it a chance when ClickyTech was already on its way out (having picked up some on clearance), and didn't really appreciate the nuances until about a year ago when I talked to whoever it was and he pulled a Drew, Andrew, or Steve and spilled his passion all over the place, talked about what they were trying to accomplish with various mechanics and things, which bits they considered so important they had to find a way to work them in and his frustrations with where the Clix engine fought them on it.

And agreed wholeheartedly...that I can come here, or the Facebook page, or into a KS comments section with a startled 'Uhh, guys?' and get an honest, book-laid-bare answer is one of the key reasons I respect the company as I do. That Drew, Julie, and Steve all had 'Oh, I know that name!' moments, that Drew took half an hour out of his day to talk shop about scenario creation, that they had to keep dragging Steve away from the Triplanetary table Desert Scribe set up because he kept slipping away to watch us play and tell stories, that Andrew felt comfortable enough to sign a pair of bookmarks for me the way he did, that Randy spilled his guts re: the development of CW6, and that every one of them treated lowly old me as a full-on peer really speaks to the kind of people SJG are. I should not have spent the $1600 to go to Fnordcon...but I don't regret a minute or a penny of it, won't forget it any time soon, and won't hesitate to do the math if they announce another one.

Here's one for you...was there any type of product shortage between when FASA spun down and when Fanpro was up to speed? It's not a time where I would've been watching the business close enough, but another thing that comes to mind with that whole mess was Sea the Source in Chambersburg, PA [not a FLGS, but an, erm, 'tobacco accessories' shop in the mall...it was an era and an area where gamers couldn't be picky about where they got their stuff] being unable to get anything but the clicky stuff...which was irritating because a friend had a couple books I really wanted. That would've been sometime in 2001 or Jan-May 2002, but I don't have a more exact date than that.

To circle back to Car Wars...I've been cautiously optimistic as far back as the 'two sweeping needles' dashboard, but after this past weekend the 'cautious' bit got thrown in the trash can. Not just from getting to play it, but also from talking to Randy and hearing how much soul he's put into it, how much care went into "It's not the same implementation, but we felt it wouldn't be Car Wars without [concept]", and just how often he circled back to "We want to work that in somehow, but for right now we need to get the foundation, the starter set, as bulletproof as possible" when asked where something missing got to. That statement last night might make it sound like I'm a detractor, but I meant what I said in another post...once CW6 shows up on my doorstep, I don't see CWC coming out of the box for anything but Nostalgia sessions at conventions...and that's largely because I don't want to snub the couple guys who had "Oh my god, I haven't played this in..." moments and actively seek me out at those events.

A clickytech style outrage is not what Car Wars needs...but it's something I'm afraid of because I can go searching through the forums to see how CW5 was received. At this point I'm convinced the biggest threat to CW6 isn't an over-saturated games market...it's guys who will refuse to give it a fair shake on grounds of being different. I don't want it to come to that, because I can picture at least one headline that reads "it's back and firing on all cylinders".

Eric Dow put it best when he, Magesmiley, and I were eating dinner Saturday: It's an easy comparison to X-wing because of the movement sticks, proprietary dice combat, etc...but to describe it as "X-wing with [...]" is unfair, as it's doing so much more in a way that's no less elegant than Fantasy Flight's space dogfighter.

Ok, now I'm no longer responding, I'm back to fawning...so I best shut up and go do something else for a while. I swear, I'm going to write and post an 'impressions' piece...when I settle down enough to be objective and not devolve into fawning fits like this. It's been 3 days and I'm still prone to it...
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Old 04-09-2019, 03:53 PM   #25
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Ok, now I'm no longer responding, I'm back to fawning...so I best shut up and go do something else for a while. I swear, I'm going to write and post an 'impressions' piece...when I settle down enough to be objective and not devolve into fawning fits like this. It's been 3 days and I'm still prone to it...
Perhaps someone could start a "CW6: Opinions" thread for this purpose?
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Old 04-09-2019, 08:22 PM   #26
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The armor (thus far) is equal on all sides, which makes forward mounted weapons a considerably less great of a tactic.

A driver and gunner are pretty much standard, so two weapon shots per firing (unless someone has offed one of them).

Weapon placement tactics are... different because of this. Mind you, I've only had 5 prototype games thus far and all 4 player (guess who spent nearly all weekend at the Car Wars tables).

Lining up a shot is a bit different than it used to be. It definitely exists and can be one of the biggest factors between success and failure. Those who are used to the mechanics around that sort of play will have an edge.

Given the armor, crew, and weapon situation, the best way to line up shots is often along the diagonals, allowing two sides of weapons to bear on a target and easy shifting of sides to soak up hits.

And speed is the single biggest defense in the game. At least in the prototype sets. You got a yellow defense die * your speed setting (0-5) to start with. A steel plate on the same side gave you an extra yellow die. The yellow dice have 2 shield markers on them. There was also one of the driver cards that added two green dice (single shield each) to the defense rolls.

You could reroll one die for range (every turn stick past the first one was a reroll). You could also reroll a die by spending an 'ace' token.

There was also some free shields if there was an object (like another car) blocking part of the shot.

One place that sucked on defense was that if you lost control you also didn't get to roll any of your dice for speed.

But that was it on the defense rolls. Anything not shrugged off like that gets applied to armor first and if you ran out of armor you got to draw from the internal hits deck, which was a card indicating how to allocate any remaining damage.

One thing that was apparent though was on the small battlefields, staying at speed 5 all the time was tantamount to suicide. I *did* try the tricked out high speed car in one of the design our own games. Alternating between a speed of 3 and 5 courtesy of a couple of items (that I personally think were underpointed) and being tactical in my use of ace tokens that game proved very effective against the other players - two of the cars were nearly trashed and the third had a breach on one side. My own car was only down a couple of points of armor on any side - and while I didn't have the heaviest weapons, they were heavy enough.

One other observation from the games (which I brought to Randy's attention to watch out for) - your best target is usually the player seated to your right. Why? Because you can change speed immediately before your move, and then make your moves. This can have a massive impact on the positioning and who can fire at whom (all moves are done before anyone fires). In the case of the player on your right, you will move after that player three turns out of four, giving you a big edge in determining the final position of your cars relative to one another... and which weapons both of you can use on each other.
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Old 04-09-2019, 08:46 PM   #27
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A clickytech style outrage is not what Car Wars needs...but it's something I'm afraid of because I can go searching through the forums to see how CW5 was received. At this point I'm convinced the biggest threat to CW6 isn't an over-saturated games market...it's guys who will refuse to give it a fair shake on grounds of being different. .
Although that was not why 5e failed - it failed on its own merits (or lack thereof.)

Based on the few details I've seen, 6e sounds like a game I'd probably like to play but not buy.

As far as a threat to 6e goes, I think the subset of guys who will refuse to give it a fair shake on the grounds of it being different is so small that the threat posed is almost non-existent.

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Old 04-10-2019, 10:30 AM   #28
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Although that was not why 5e failed - it failed on its own merits (or lack thereof.)

Based on the few details I've seen, 6e sounds like a game I'd probably like to play but not buy.

As far as a threat to 6e goes, I think the subset of guys who will refuse to give it a fair shake on the grounds of it being different is so small that the threat posed is almost non-existent.
That was the point I'm trying to make there, albeit between the lines: I genuinely believe there's a lot of potential here. Our two statements aren't mutually exclusive.
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Old 04-10-2019, 12:57 PM   #29
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Default Re: FnordCon Update

Thanks Mage - speed as armor is a good theme. 2.5 suffered quite a bit because speed mods were so minimal that it encouraged tanking. Arena duels were like the Monitor and Merrimack.

Armor is the same on all sides? That does not work on any level. Hopefully that will change it can't be an insurmountable problem.

I don't like 'advantage to the player on your left'. Turn order (when it matters) should be a driver contest of some kind - or make people lay our their movement in secret each turn? Of course this gets all messed up when people 'accidentally' ram each other mid turn...

How much do people move each turn anyway?
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Old 04-10-2019, 01:00 PM   #30
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Armor is the same on all sides? That does not work on any level. Hopefully that will change it can't be an insurmountable problem.
It's not a problem at all. The cars were set up that way for the teaching game but you can easily vary the amount of armor on each side by adjusting the sliders on the dashboard.
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