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Monday, 11 May 2020

FSA v3 on the horizon...

Well once again the world has changed dramatically since my last post in 2019...I've a new house with my partner (both of which demand a lot of my personal time!), COVID-19 has made work busy (we manufacture testing equipment and tests for COVID-19, and supply the UK government - among others - with these for the 100,000 tests/day requirement) and lockdown makes everything in the physical world slightly more awkward. My Roll20 D&D game continues unaffected, which is great, but what of other, physical, games?

On this note, Boris is lifting restrictions (slightly) as of yesterday, and Warcradle are being more vocal about their version of Spartan's old IP, Firestorm Armada. Much has changed, and I think it best to view the game as something completely new compared to the old. For example, bases have now changed to Hexagonal...why?...I've no idea! I've not been involved in this edition at all, beyond a couple of early conversations and discussions a couple of years ago. Back then, it became clear that my (and the old FSA testing groups) view of FSA was very different from some others from the old community involved in those discussions - creating something of a regional split in thinking between NA and Europe from what I could see.

Anyway, my real life became dominant, and games like Firestorm waned in my personal priorities. I was also getting way more fun out of D&D than arguing with people about game theory in a fictional universe set way in the seemed far too much like work. So I've been very much out of the loop in all things Firestorm fro a good long time.

I think this is a good thing - now I get to view and enjoy the future game as a player, rather than having to think of nuances and consequences of decisions taken in good faith and then criticised or misinterpreted by others "out there". The atmosphere at SG was very toxic towards the end in both business and community, so I see this as a very positive development. My only hope is that many of those (vocal) individuals from that time end up shaping the old game we all love into something we no longer recognise and don't find as enjoyable. At the moment I'm cautious - I love the concepts coming out of the Warcradle studio, but when I hear things like Hex bases I think "Why?"

This is part of my psychological makeup, I know - in DISC terms (look it up if you've no idea what I'm on about!) I'm a high D, high I problem solver - I do a lot of kaizen/process improvement things with work, and I see issues in plans and process easily...and want to work to a solution, to make it better. It's one of the reasons I ended up working with SG in rules development, and the driver is always to make things better for everyone. Of course, from outside, people can see it as negative/disruptive/arrogant - but then, people see what they want to.

So back to the Hex bases. I look at the old FSA and the things that "needed" (it's a strong word, v2.0 was actually not a bad ruleset) changing (or tweaking, at least - maybe a better word is "streamlining") did not include basing or firing maybe the new ruleset has tactical and strategic elements that make this introduction either necessary or it adds a new layer of awesome....but off the top of my head I can't think of any. Some of the complexity of the old FA in ship stats was in firing arcs, so I'm interested to see how more facings will be dealt with in game. Whatever this is. and however this is dealt with, it's a seed change in the game itself, because bases used to define movement and firing, it's different from every other instance of the game. It might not seem much, but it affects core mechanics - so straight away those of you expecting a few "tweaks" are going to be disappointed.

Then there is the lore....Stuart indicated before that this will be a reboot of the game, and although some aspects are there (Dramos being nuked, for example), Warcradle have re-imagined the universe...not a bad thing (and they did the same with DW), but those of you expecting Directorate Fleets being the secretive baddies against the Terran Alliance will not be happy. There are 8 new factions incorporating all the old SG races, but fused into things with a different face and feel. Just take some of the description of the Sorylians firing kinetics whilst slowing from lightspeed and it's a very different image than the rather lumbering lizards with their scatter broadsides and odd kinetic sniper.

Now I'm not saying either of these things (radical rules reshaping and lore re-imagining) are necessarily a bad thing. They're DIFFERENT from before, that's all. Now how you view this depends on what you're looking for from FSA v3 (not a name we're likely to see, by the way). if you're looking for the next iteration of FSA v2, then you're likely to be disappointed, aggrieved or even angry. If you're looking for a space combat game that you can use your old models with in a slightly refreshed universe, then you're likely to be pleased.

This is why, from my side, you should be looking at Warcradles Firestorm Armada as a different thing from SGs FSA - it's like Prometheus is to the Alien saga - it doesn't have the original xenomorphs, it doesn't have Ripley/Sigourney Weaver in, though it is set in the same universe and is part of the same franchise. I personally loved Prometheus, but many did not...I'm sure the same will be the case with the new Firestorm Armada.


  1. I have high hopes for this, although that just makes it easier to be let down.

    The hex bases have me hoping for an easier movement system, as the movement aspect of FSA was one of the biggest things that slowed the game down.

  2. Mr. Mann someday i would like to meet you in person. may be even play a game. i do like what you have written here. but i do like the old game and would have been pleased if WC just fixed the few flaws that V2.0 had. i do hope to have an open mind when the new game comes out. i am up in the air about the hex bases. not sure how that will work in the game if it helps in the movement and saves time then i am all for it.
    hope all is well with you murphyslawofcombat

    1. A game sounds like a fine idea! Are you a fellow Zenian League man hoping to brush up on your training or a filthy Kurak dog that needs putting in his place? :-)