Well, games playing has just gone out of the window lately! I managed to get a game of Kings & Things in last week, and I managed to get a base coat of Bolt Gun Metal on one and a half Ork Dreadnoughts before I ran out of paint (hate it when that happens). Otherwise, it has just been work, work, work!
Still, I have managed to knuckle down and started working through the initial playtest reports on A Call to Arms: Star Fleet. The core is solid, but coming from a miniatures game that has been around for 7-odd years, that much was obvious before I started on it. The core rules aside, the game needed what felt like a major shake up to solve a few issues.
First up was a change in policy on Hull scores. In the past, we have assumed that most weapons fired at a ship will hit, so Hull is a combination of armour, durability and other factors. This week, we changed it to reflect the size of a ship, so a shuttle is Hull 6, a cruiser 3. This is a big change in the fundamental approach to the game, but it actually did not affect a huge number of ships (as cruisers were already Hull 3).
Ships were also too agile, so the number of Turns was reduced on most, making the game more tactical.
Phasers being too powerful compared to Disruptors was another cited problem. I started by upping Disruptors but that so did not work, as there were several combos involving them that made them hellishly powerful. As in, blasting a cruiser apart in one salvo powerful.
So, I reduced Phasers instead! Just about every ship has them and they were causing a savage amount of damage in the playtests, so a reduction there seemed a better approach. They still hit just about every time and still have the Killshot trait for really messing someone up when close but now, for the main part, they will chip away at shields and then do some nasty criticals when they finally punch through.
Speaking of shields, I did have every fourth hit on the shields blasts straight through and does D6 damage on the Hull. What a hassle that was! Now, every time a ship takes more than ten points of damage from a single enemy, the ship gets an automatic critical (representing panels on the bridge blowing up, and so forth). Easy, and you never know if that crit will bring the shields down!
And speaking of criticals, the table has been changed again. Criticals do a little less overall damage now, but the effects have been modified to better reflect Trek (you do not want your warp core spinning out of control!).
Seeking weapons were changed again. We had some real issues with these, first as direct fire weapons (no atmosphere), then as counters moving across the table (way too much book keeping!). Then I saw someone on our forums reminding us that we already had a third system in place, in VaS. So, now we have a system similar to that working in the game, and we now have an excuse to do models of plasma torpedoes and drones!
Stealth/Cloaking has been modified, with it now providing a ‘save’ against every incoming hit. I have upped the Stealth scores so it is tough to get through, but it means that you can effectively ‘shotgun space,’ as a playtester put it, with multiple weapons in the hope of getting a hit. We have also allowed cloaking ships limited atack abilities while ‘transitioning,’ and get a free move of sorts when decloaking, as the enemy never quite knows where they are!
There were a lot of other, smaller changes. You can now reverse ships, there is a Take Evasive Action, and Engage/Disengage Cloak special actions, and High Energy Turns are a little easier to perform (which is god, because you do not want to fail that one!). Scouts can help accrue Information Points (yes, you will be able to perform science missions in this game!), and scenarios have been divided between General Scenarios and Tactical Challenges.
The first miniatures will be coming through soon and we are all excited about that, though there are currently some tweaks being made to the D-7 which will delay its appearence by a week or two. Stand by though, as a Big Reveal of this game is coming very soon!