Character/Ship customization?

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Spiff
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Character/Ship customization?

If I understand correctly, each ship's panel shows both the ship and the pilot, and there is nothing special about a particular ship/captain beyond its starting Weapon/Defense value (I assume there will be some variation in numbers between ships) and the deck associated with the ship. I'm sure this must have come up in play testing, but:

a) why don't the ships have individual powers like heroes in SotM?  Seems like that would increase the personality of the ship/captain you're playing beyond just their starting numbers. Right now, if I understand right, I'm mostly choosing a ship just because I want to use that ship's race's deck. 

B) why can't I choose my ship and captain separately? If I want to play with Asteroid Jones piloting the Gryphon's Claw in one game, but with Two-Tail Merklos in the Gryphon's Claw the next game, that sounds even better, especially if each pilot had an individual power along with the ship so that I was really customizing the game the way I wanted it. Seems like this would increase that same personal attachment to the character they're playing that we have in SotM. 

I'm assuming the answer to these questions is that it would unacceptably multiply the number of combinations that would need to be play tested, and it would increase (by a bit) the number of cards that would need to be printed.  I think the increase in personalization would be well worth it (says the guy who doesn't have to do the play testing or pay for the printing).


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Pydro
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The starting deck isn't race based, it is ship based. There are 10 starting decks and each one feels VERY different (but the 2 ships for each race are similar).

The pilot can't be separated from the ship, it is their ship. For example, Almaric is the pilot of Marot's Folly, and the personality of the pilot and the ships capabilities are used to make each starting deck.


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Cosmonaut Zero
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Having each pilot tied to their ship makes a ton of thematic sense. You wouldn't have Boba Fett driving the Millenium Falcon.


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lynkfox
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also, thematically, no one but a war specter can pilot a war specter.... um.... ship.... even tho its not really a.... ship....

to answer your question about ship powers I believe that was so this does not just become SOTM in Space. it's a different game. sotm heroes need an power to be able to do something during the power phase of their turn. There is nothing like that in gsf. your stuff can be used in whatever phase is printed on the card and there are many of them. It is very unlikely that you will have a phase with nothing to do.


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Spiff
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Got it.  I understand all of that.  However, I'm going to press just a little bit more to say that all of the personality you guys seem to be feeling from those ship cards may not be coming across as strongly to someone who has just picked up the game and is looking at things cold (like me).

When I look at the ship card, I see a large pic of a ship (looks great, but is a little sterile.  It is just a piece of hardware, of course).  In addition, there are two small numbers in the corners (also kind of sterile), and then a small picture of a person who seems to be almost an apendage of the ship.  "Solo + Falcon" has lots of personality, but if you'd given me a card with a big picture of the Falcon with a small picture of Solo, I'd think it was less "Solo + Falcon" and more "Falcon + some guy who drives it".

That was why I thought there needed to be some powers or customization options to make the ship choice more personal.  Looking at the card as it is now, it looks like I'm picking a piece of hardware with nothing special about it.  I believe you all when you say there's more to it, but if that doesn't come across to new people, then there might be a problem with the UI (so to speak).

Taking into account what you've said, I think the issue could be helped by simply increasing the size of the pilot's pic and focusing in more on his/her face.  Make sure the personality of the pilot is buffed up so that the combined personality of the ship + pilot is more apparent.  You want to give me a reason to want to use that ship.  If I have to wait until I've played that ship to see why I should want to play that ship, then a step has been missed (IMO).


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I agree on the "blandness" of the ship cards. Even flavor text that tells me a little about the play style of the ship/pilot combo would be good. 

lynkfox
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ah. In that case the answer is it doesn't really matter which ship you take. because only 8 cards are going to be unique and even then many of them are techs and will end up out of your ship. yes those 8 cards are extremely individualistic to the shop, but once 2 turns have passed your into drawing cards you've purchased and those can be any strategy you want to follow. yes some ships are better at some things than other (ragnors war beast is awesome at big hits, Grey beard is amazing at tanking) but once you've gone a couple rounds it could be whatever you want it to be because of the cards you've purchased will dictate your strategy


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I dunno, one of the main ways you understand a hero in SotM is by playing their deck and seeing all the art, and reading the flavor text, and seeing how their cards interact. A complaint I heard when I first introduced SotM with just the first edition core set to people is that the heroes seemed fairly generic and most of them were blatant ripoffs of big name heroes. We know now that Legacy is definitely NOT just a Superman wannabe, but going on just the character card art, it's not an uncommon reaction.

I think we're seeing something like that here. You experienced players can describe what the deck does when you're picking, plus you have some info about what the race is like in general and some info about their style from the appearance of both the ship and its pilot. You see a sulph-orc, you know it's going to be savage and aggressive, and you see a ship that looks like a claw and you figure you're probably going to be ramming other ships at some point.

Based on the update with Boroghul the Ragged's backstory, and some of the example cards that showcase the pilot, I am not worried that they will lack in personality. If the decks are mostly the same, but with like one card swapped out, Mage Knight style, I will be disappointed. But I'd be surprised if that's the route they took. I'm expecting 8 completely unique cards, some of which are going to be gear that remains in play, so you should have plenty of flavor.


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Spiff
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In that case the answer is it doesn't really matter which ship you take

That raises a red flag in my mind.  If it doesn't really matter which ship you take, then why bother printing multiple ship cards?  Can't something be done to make it matter?  In SotM, people have favorite heroes.  What can be done so that people will form similar personal bonds with ships in GSF?  Larger pilot faces, flavor text (great idea), or something else?

EVERYTHING should matter in the game, yes?  If it doesn't matter, then take it out.  That's true in software design, and it must be true in game design as well, I assume.


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The ten starting decks of the Strike Force ships are all very different. You will be able to get a good feel for that character just from their ship panel and those 8 cards. 


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As I did say, each ship has its own best at, but if you want to take the hit you hard with no defense sulph orc ship, and purchase the cloak drive out of the first station cards and do hit and run tactics like the marats folly.... There is nothing stopping you from doing so. You purchase cards will determine more of the flavor of the deck eventualy than your starting ones, but that doesn't mean they won't contribute.


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I agree with spiff one of my fave things about SOTM is that I fall in love with the heroes and love what certain ones can do and how they have different mechanics and can be played different ways depending on the situation. Granted some of the cards in their decks are similar to other heros cards but overall each hero plays differently. So my question is will i get the same feeling with GSF? Do the ships have different strategies based on their 8 unique cards? Do the ships have different ways they can be played depending on the situation? I'd also like to here from a playtester do you have a favorite pilot/ship that you prefer to play or do you not care because all the ships can eventually get the same cards?

Spiff
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From what I've been able to determine, the ships will feel different.  Some will be quick attackers, some will be heavy defenders, some will have pilots who have one kind of playstyle and some pilots have another playstyle.  I'm happy about that.  My main issue was that these personalities don't seem to come across from the ship panel itself, and I think that's an opportunity lost.  But others don't seem to agree, and since I haven't seen any more of the game than what's on Kickstarter, I'm willing to defer to those with more information than me.


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Pydro
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OK let’s talk about the individual ship decks.

Each deck consists of 8 cards, so that the first shuffle doesn’t happen until turn 3. This means that anything you bought won’t be available until turn 3 at least. This of course assumes that you don’t have any abilities to draw cards.

Also keep in mind that once techs are placed they are no longer in your deck, and once they are destroyed they are gone forever. This means that some of your starting cards can (and will) be removed from the game permanently.

The decks themselves usually have 3 different “types” of cards:

1)      Techs that boost your W/D. – So with these, once played their “flavor” doesn’t really come into the game anymore, and once destroyed are gone forever.

2)      Techs that give special abilities. – These will usually stay around for a while and really add to the ship’s uniqueness.

3)      Boosts

It is 2 and 3 that really gives the ships their unique flavor. Often times, those abilities are not even available to be bought (which means other ships can’t get them), and even if they are, they are usually much weaker.

By mid game, you will usually have around half of your starting deck still available to you. However, this is usually enough. Types 2 and 3 really do add a lot to your specific abilities.

However, this doesn’t mean you have to stick with that plan. You can by whatever cards are available to you, and create any strategy you want. So theoretically, I could play every ship the same way, but I won’t necessarily be taking advantage of their special ability.

 

 

Yes I do have a favorite. So much so that I feel handicapped when playing another ship that doesn't have its abilities.


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thats great to hear, cause in games where i get to pick a character its important that the characters feel a little unique. Also you amazing enthusiasm for the game pydro is great it makes me want it even more. Im ok with there not being flavor text or stuff like that as long as the characters still have awesome backstories like we saw today with Boroghul today.

Pydro
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There will for sure be flavor text. It was the first thing I asked Christopher when GSF was announced.


Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing.
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Spiff
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Here's an example of the concepts I've been talking about.  I don't think this is much of an improvement (I only spent one evening kicking things around in Photoshop), but it illustrates my points:

  • The pilot's picture has been moved to its own "pod" and is focused on their face, to give a better feeling for personality.
  • A ship "class" has been added to make it easier to quickly understand how a ship is likely to play (e.g. "heavy interceptor", or "cargo transport", etc.) and for added personality. 
  • The Weapon and Defense numbers have been emphasized just a bit (the current ones are so small they almost look like an afterthought).
  • I added the T-R-I-B-A round structure to the card as a quick-reference for the players.

I haven't played a single game of GSF, so everything about this could be (is probably) wrong.  If this helps, great.  If it doesn't, ignore it. :)

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lynkfox
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I like that spiff!


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jagarciao
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Looks good!!

I still think the pilot should be bigger since he/she/it is a huge part of the personality... and I really would like to see some flavor text from the pilot. I love the story aspect of games that are heavily themed and I think even a single line quote from the pilot would go a very long way towards making a connection with the character/ship. 

So excited about this game!!

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The only thing I suggest is leaving the energy numbers small. Keep in mind they only matter for setup - after that, they're not used as the tokens will indicate the current energy levels.


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The ship panels are definitely not final yet - we're playing around with various options as we speak! 


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Damn, Spiff. Your mock up looks legit as hell. Nice job.


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Cosmonaut Zero wrote:

Damn, Spiff. Your mock up looks legit as hell. Nice job.

 

+1.

waedens
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winkwinkI think Spiff is trying to get a job at >G.  By the way if you haven't tried them, his deck boxes for SotM rock.

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In the playtest forum someone gave a great thematic description of this mechanic that I really like:

 

Basically you start out with your unique ship, but once the attacks begin you start building your ship up more for war then whatever you were using it for before.

 

So in the course if each game's story you sacrifice some of your original ship tech and abilities to better fight the threat.

 

So I think the mechanic helps the story and theme (personally)

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Ready for this game to come out, and decided to read some old threads.

A lot of talk in this one pertaining to the uniqueness of each ship/pilot, and how that comes through with the starting decks. Obviously, as the game goes on and new cards are added to the deck, the theme of those initial cards will be diluted. My question is how often can we expect to cycle through our decks each game? Are we talking 3-5 times, 10-15, etc?

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In my experience, closer to 10-15 times most games.


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Having now played the final release version (thanks to >G bringing some to Pax for kickstarters), I can verify that there's a lot of character differentiation between the different ship decks, mostly about what kinds of cards you want and what strategies you work best with.