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Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Upgrading flight stands for FSA

I'm not a great fan of clear acrylic on the tabletop - although its supposed to be transparent, I find it's shiny reflectivity a bit distracting and "unrealistic" (I know this is a bit ridiculous for a space-combat game with kilometre-long ships, magic energy fields and 9 foot spiders....). This, together with my replacement of the pegs with steel in many cases, meant I needed to find a solution to this.

My first, most obvious decision was to spray the bases black - very simple!

Now this is all very well, but lacks something - they don't draw the eye in the way I find the reflective clear bases do, but they're pretty boring. So, something more is needed, and a basic star-field effect was a good start. This was also incredibly simple - take a little white paint, add a small amount of water (depending on the thickness of the paint - mine was old GW stock and minus a little of the original solvent. If you had new paint it'll need very little, if any). What you're looking to get is a consistency that will "flick" off a brush, but isn't so thin it'll form streaks, but discrete spots.

Now the next bit is messy! Put plenty of newspaper around or do it in a high sided box (as I did above), unless you want berating by your partner/parents/landlord! I used an old toothbrush (never throw them away - they have a myriad of hobby-related uses!), dip into the paint, then hold at about 45 degrees with the bristles pointing towards the base at a distance of about 6-12" (15-30cm). Run your finger back along the brush and it will flick little drops of paint on the bases. Practice on a piece of black card or something beforehand, and you'll find you can vary the density, size and pattern of these pretty easily. It takes seconds and creates a pretty convincing effect;

So that was my bases covered. Next was something that (like many inventions) came out of an error. I'd ordered some 1-6 dial counters from Litco which I intended to make SRS counters with, but in fact I'd made a mistake and ordered 1-10 dials.

So what to do with these? I had an idea - I could use them for hull point damage on capital ships. Unfortunately I found that the pointer moved at the slightest nudge of the base, which made it pretty unsuitable, so I needed a way of preventing this. First, I found some steel washers the same size at the local hardware chain, and sprayed one side red oxide primer;

Next I carefully drilled out the back of the pointer and inserted a 3mm Neo magnet;

The next steps are just assembly - the washers fit over the peg of a standard base, the dial goes over that....

...and then the pointer with magnet goes on top - the magnet stopping the dial/pointer rotating around every time you move or knock the model, whilst still being able to turn and indicate Hull Points;

So we now use these on our Capital class models to record HP, reducing the number of tokens we have to have on ships - meaning they can be used for more important things - like critical effects.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Fleet Comparisons Part 2

After a few questions on the comparisons I put up yesterday, I thought I'd follow up with a few more detailed breakdowns. Obviously a "profile" of an entire races ships is going to be a generalisation, and I wanted to show a bit more granularity without breaking things down to a ship level where it would get a bit messy.

Anyway, I looked at grouping races ships into Large, Mediums and Smalls, which is a natural set of categories for the game. They're still generalisations, but hopefully give a bit more insight into the analysis.

Now, there are two ways to look at these - one is from a racial point of view, looking at all Aquan ships in the size classes - one is from a size point of view, looking at all Smalls etc.

Detailed Fleet Comparison by Race

Detailed Fleet Comparison by Size

Well, that's all for this instalment, see you next time!

Monday, 6 January 2014

Fleet Comparisons in FSA v2.0

On the Spartan Games Community there's a lot of talk about the new v2.0 rules, fleet and ship stats etc with regard to balance, so I thought it would be timely to update the fleet comparison charts I did quite some time ago for v1.5.

Now this isn't quite as easy as before, because of the variable range bands weapons have, the upgrades available to ships etc, so I just compared base ships to start with, and I'll expand to "best possible" at a later date.

So how do you compare different types of ships? Well to start with, what I did is compare all types of a ship - for instance, cruisers. I got an average of values for each stat DR, CR etc, plus a standard deviation. I then classed any ship in the middle 50% of values as "average", assigned a nominal value of 2, any in the top 25% "above average" value 3, and any in the bottom 25% a value of 1. Those with no value in that category got a value of 0 (this draw a distinction between low values and ships with no value in that area). This is then repeated for every ship type (Battleships, Carriers, frigates etc). So now you get values for all ships in a faction as to whether they are average, below or above. Averaging all the values gives you an idea of how the faction fares in each stat.

Now, because zero values distort things a bit, values like "Shield" don't end up with an average value of 2 overall, so the final result is divided by the average value to normalise the data. You can then graph all of these to create a profile for each race, where 1 is average, below 1 is below average and above is above average - easy.

The first thing I've uploaded here is the "overview" of all 6 core fleets plus the Alliance fleets;

Fleet Comparison

Next is a side-by-side comparison of stats, as it's difficult to compare these profiles with each other in detail. They're paired to make things easier;


Next up is the primary weapons, which is extended from v1.5 due to the various range bands - no alliance ships in here, just too confusing;


Torpedoes get a bit easier, as they're the same 12" rangebands;


Lastly, there's a comparison of Price and Squadron Size;

Price & Squadron Size

I found the last one quite interesting - obvious things like the Dindrenzi having smaller squadrons of more expensive ships comes out, but how do the others compare? This pulls out that data - will be interesting how that changes with the upgrades...

So there it is. It's not meant to be the be-all and end-all of FSA analysis, but it gives you an overall snese of what the factions are good at, average at, and not so good at. It doesn't mean that a fleet can't do something - for instance it's possible to run an SRS-heavy Dindrenzi fleet, but their low overall FW value means they tend to have less access to wings than other races.

Hope you find it useful!