Where would you focus your efforts to bring in new players?

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Where would you focus your efforts to bring in new players?

Postby VoidStalker_WoE on Thu 07 Dec 2017 04:26

As it says on the tin, if you had your way, how would you look to bring in new players into the starfire game system?

I would think that there are two approaches too this really, and that would be to offer both the simplest version and the current version together, maybe even packaged/sold together, so that new players would still be buying the 'main' game, but would always have the simplicity of the original game at their disposal, for a quick game/easy fun with their friends, on a limited time budget.

Would offering folks the simplicity of SF I be the way to go, or no?

That covers the game version/product purchase part. All versions being up for sale is better, of course, but for the new player maybe a bit overwhelming?

Now, HOW would you introduce the game to new players?

For me, this answer is very easy. Vassal.
The current vassal starfire modules are very limited, but functional and easily available to anyone, anywhere, anytime! So I would make the main focus of my efforts in getting new folks into the game, getting folks actually playing the game, from the comfort of their own homes, with opponents from around the world, anytime that they want to play.

The problems:
The current modules really make it easy for this to backfire, as new players, without experience and not having all the rules "down pat", are not going to be kept from making mistakes, and thus they may get turned off to the whole thing, because of the limited use of the vassal modules. The solution of course, is to get a really good vassal module, as quickly as possible, so that we can start getting folks playing the game, learning the rules, and having fun doing it! Eventually, we would all love to see this game getting ported over to a computer game, that we could play either single or multiplayer modes of, but this would mean writing AI files, to have the computer play the opponents for a single player game. That would be ideal, but would need professional software development.

Where is that money going to come from? The only answer that I see for this is sales, and this means folks have to be able to play, and that either means maps and counters have to be available for sale and use, in an in-person type of gaming, or vassal play over the internet.

So, a really strong player base is needed, we cannot get that with tabletop gaming, what with the lack of parts/pieces, and we really don't want to turn folks off with crappy play with a badly limited vassal module, right?

So, any ideas for a really good vassal module? Obviously, more functionality is key, but this requires either the SDS has to put the time into this, or someone else does, with Marvin's blessings.

Any ideas?
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Re: Where would you focus your efforts to bring in new players?

Postby VoidStalker_WoE on Fri 08 Dec 2017 16:02

As a poor demonstration, here is what I have from last Sunday's combat log file. I don't have any good ones to post side by side, and would like to know if pictures would help folks to understand just how bad this is, but until someone asks for pictures, here for you is just the text of how the game went.


- Starfire - retro version version 2.1_retro

Welcome to the VASSAL server


For help, see the VASSAL Forum at http://www.vassalengine.org/forum

- Loading scenario1_1.vsav ...
- Loaded scenario1_1.vsav
* Khanate player rolls for initiative with a result of 3.
* Terran player rolls for initiative with a result of 3.
* Frigate (DISCOVERY) moves to hex 1229.
* Escort (ALKZAR) turns to starboard.
* Frigate (DISCOVERY) turns to port.
* Escort (ALKZAR) moves to hex 1211.
* Frigate (DISCOVERY) moves to hex 1129.
* Escort (ALKZAR) moves to hex 1212.
* Frigate (DISCOVERY) moves to hex 1028.
* Escort (ALKZAR) moves to hex 1213.
* Escort (ALKZAR) turns to starboard.
* Frigate (DISCOVERY) moves to hex 0928.

End of turn one movement?


So first things first, we didn't read the scenarios special rules/instructions, so that threw everything off right there. I remembered that there was something about the Alkzar getting initiative every round, and the Discovery not getting to fire until after the Alkzar fires on them the next turn, but didn't read up on any of the other stuff. My bad!

Next, I didn't step through the turn using the buttons, and so the server doesn't give us anything to work with as a reference. Missing these parts makes it harder to reconstruct what happened, and it being hard to reconstruct what happened, makes it hard to showcase playing starfire using vassal, and that makes getting more players/paying customers just that much harder...

So, anyway we didn't fire in the first round, and then we did this:

* Khanate player rolls for initiative with a result of 7.
* Terran player rolls for initiative with a result of 10.
* Frigate (DISCOVERY) moves to hex 0827.
* Escort (ALKZAR) moves to hex 1114.
* Frigate (DISCOVERY) moves to hex 0727.
* Escort (ALKZAR) moves to hex 1014.
* Frigate (DISCOVERY) turns to starboard.
<Voidstalker> - k
* Escort (ALKZAR) moves to hex 0915.
* Frigate (DISCOVERY) turns to starboard.
* Frigate (DISCOVERY) turns to port.
* Escort (ALKZAR) moves to hex 0815.
* Frigate (DISCOVERY) turns to port.
* Frigate (DISCOVERY) moves to hex 0727.
* Frigate (DISCOVERY) turns to starboard.
* Frigate (DISCOVERY) turns to starboard.

End of turn two movement?


And this ends turn two? Confused yet? Need to see this on a map? Just say the word...
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Re: Where would you focus your efforts to bring in new players?

Postby Cralis on Fri 08 Dec 2017 16:55

Do you have it set to log chat? That way you can use voice to talk but put game stuff like firing notices, die rolls, etc. all go into the log.
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Re: Where would you focus your efforts to bring in new players?

Postby VoidStalker_WoE on Fri 08 Dec 2017 17:01

Cralis wrote:Do you have it set to log chat? That way you can use voice to talk but put game stuff like firing notices, die rolls, etc. all go into the log.
Huh!?

Are you telling me that I can talk to the module, and it will record/print that on the screen? :evil: :oops: :lol:
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Re: Where would you focus your efforts to bring in new players?

Postby aramis on Fri 08 Dec 2017 17:28

I'd scrap everything but a tactical module.

Basically, look at the scope of Starfire I and II, or the 2E Boxed Set.

Nothing more complex than that. A game where you have 108 to 216 counters, a handful of dice, ready to play scenarios, ready to print play-sheets for all included tactical scenarios.

A deluxe edition with a dozen or two minis - just enough for the first 5 to 10 scenarios. And a full counterset. And get it into Target, K-mart, Toys-Я-Us, Kaybee Toys.

It needs to be able to be pretty on the shelf, pretty on the table, and pretty damned quick to start playing. Good examples include ACTA-SF starter box, Deluxe Ogre, even the Pathfinder beginner box (color pogs do look nice - not as good as minis or the 3d cardboard of Ogre Deluxe, but still...

Take a look at SFB's Cadet Training Manual. It provides sequential instruction. It sucks as a reference manual, but it teaches the game step by step. Really Well.

A rulebook and a Cadet's Book combine to be a long term game solution. Deluxe box should have both.

Oversized counters (20mm or 25mm) with the blindspot marked, and a turn key — for optional gridless play — and oversized hex-maps (30mm-32mm) - preferably compatible with ADB's MegaHex. Why megahex? because there's a map pack with planets in it including some great gas giants.

Given the way Starfire works (move then turn) the turning/movement key is easy. Move straight on the long side, which is two counters long; the short side has a 60° bend separating two counter-length sides. If turning, ending movement must not overlap, and the near-rear corner must touch at the bend.
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Re: Where would you focus your efforts to bring in new players?

Postby VoidStalker_WoE on Fri 08 Dec 2017 18:49

So, take the plunge and go with what is available in counters/hex maps? What about playing by vassal?
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Re: Where would you focus your efforts to bring in new players?

Postby aramis on Fri 08 Dec 2017 20:59

VoidStalker_WoE wrote:So, take the plunge and go with what is available in counters/hex maps? What about playing by vassal?


I'd do like I usually do. Everybody takes 1 identical ship, TL 2, and we run through it in a free for all. Then 5 on 5, TL 2. Then add some terrain — A planet and moon, and and dissimilar fleets, including a TL3 Base.

Then into SAW.
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Re: Where would you focus your efforts to bring in new players?

Postby VoidStalker_WoE on Sat 09 Dec 2017 03:09

aramis wrote:Then into SAW.
Serious A** Whipping?
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Re: Where would you focus your efforts to bring in new players?

Postby aramis on Sat 09 Dec 2017 04:06

VoidStalker_WoE wrote:
aramis wrote:Then into SAW.
Serious A** Whipping?

Stars At War, for 3e. Which I own two copies of.
SAW starts out with small, low-tech and grows. kind of like SF I/SF II scenarios did. (it is, after all, expanding that series of scenarios considerably.) I've never gotten to Parl Harbor.
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Re: Where would you focus your efforts to bring in new players?

Postby VoidStalker_WoE on Sat 09 Dec 2017 05:35

aramis wrote:
VoidStalker_WoE wrote:
aramis wrote:Then into SAW.
Serious A** Whipping?

Stars At War, for 3e. Which I own two copies of.
SAW starts out with small, low-tech and grows. kind of like SF I/SF II scenarios did. (it is, after all, expanding that series of scenarios considerably.) I've never gotten to Parl Harbor.
Lol, well, I tried heh heh...
I got cold feet with the fighters, and never really liked them, as they were very badly implemented, and overpowered. I just couldn't get how something so tiny could pack so big a punch, and yet the ships carrying them couldn't just mount far more of the same weapons, and blow them away.

I never felt the need/desire to try to play all the scenarios in SF II, and couldn't say how many of them I ever actually played, either. For that matter, I only ever played the ISW 1 final battle one time, and don't think I ever player ISW 2 battles at all.
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