Manage Information in Battle

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Manage Information in Battle

Postby drtetrode on Mon 01 Aug 2016 10:05

In teaching my grandson, the Quick Start Rules, of Solar StarFire, I ran into a couple of questions, myself. How do you remember all of the details? Things like, Who has initiative? Which ships have I fired weapons for? Which ships have I moved or not this turn in movement phase? Especially when playing in a highly interrupted environment, ie. his siblings. :D I am looking for techniques that can apply for larger encounters. I used 4x6 index cards for the ships. That worked well. I moved a die from my side to his side, depending on who had the initiative. What kind of record keeping do you do, location and facing, moves left, things like that? Do you start on one side of the board and move to the other with movement phase? (Left to Right) Do you mark the counters, the index cards, or the ship control sheets? Or do you just remember everything? Just looking for easy methods, so that as this grows, frustration does not set in. My grandson enjoyed it, and I took the first two encounters, 1 ship to 1 ship, but, on the third, using two ships, he figured out the 'blind' spot, and got there after I ran out of movement points! :lol: I lost that one, and it was a blast to play.

Scott ;-)
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Re: Manage Information in Battle

Postby southwestforests on Mon 01 Aug 2016 15:04

Hey, sounds like fun was had! :D To some extent it's what you find that works for you in your gaming environment. Memory will come with practice but with those frequent breaks in train of thought, yeah, y'all gotta do something.
One idea is some kind of token or marker to place by moved and by fired ships. That might could get rather unwieldy in 20 ship per side engagements. There are commercially produced rather nice 3D acrylic tokens by Litko and anther outfit whose name escapes recall right now. Even though they would add another thing to do they are visually attractive. A DIY idea is, you know those folded paper name cards used at banquet tables, make some small ones of those. Moved could have an arrow on it and fired could have a missile on it, add flame for visual appeal even though 'real' missiles likely showed none and weren't powered by flammable things anyway.
Idea for marking progress point in number of phases of movement isn't coming right now.
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Re: Manage Information in Battle

Postby Cralis on Mon 01 Aug 2016 16:14

drtetrode wrote:In teaching my grandson, the Quick Start Rules, of Solar StarFire, I ran into a couple of questions, myself. How do you remember all of the details?


This is a very common problem for many table-top war games. It was especially bad with many of the large theatre-type WW2 games where you had to remember which units in a stack of 5 or 10 counters had fired, out of 100's of stacks of counters...

If you've played any of the Classic Starfire scenarios from Insurrection or ISW-4 you'd quickly see that there is a similar issue.

And even now with the new miniatures, we have a similar issue. So what have I done for this?

The most often used is to write things down. I've used playing cards to denote initiative or when it's just two of us playing (most of the time), just who has the dice. Or used an initiative token. But these methods are harder when there are a bunch of players.

With counters I have used those little stone markers to indicate when a stack is done firing. But I've also written out all the ship control sheets and then put counters and markers directly on the sheet to indicate who has fired, when there are "turning points" or similar countable values (like whether Primary beams have fired this turn or not...)

For remember what movement point phase we are on, I often use a single die and rotate it from 1 to the max movement points. That's one area where moving units one at a time their full move and then being done is easier, even if it's much less realistic.

Another thing I've done is use those page protectors and wet-erase pens. I mark damage and other information on the page protector and then it's pretty easy to wipe it off and use different colors to note different things. But if you do that I'd recommend you use a REALLY dark black marker or printed-page or else it's easy to lose the information on the page under the markings. Oh and make SURE you fasten the page EXACTLY to one spot, like using a binder clip or tape or else if the page moves you can lose the "placement" of all those markings on the page protector.

I've not considered 4x6 cards though. That's a really neat idea. Although I imagine if you use them for a campaign they'll stack up quickly. However, you can also put information on the card (on the back?) about the history of the ship and changes and other stuff, preserving it for you to remember in the future.

One last thing I've done and that's to use electronic pages. Either in Excel or Word and then use color and cross-through or bold to mark changes. It does take longer though. And it has made me think that it might be a neat cell-phone application to do this kind of stuff for you... just not sure how the touch interface (and how notoriously clumsy it is) would work for large ships or large groups of ships.

Or do you just remember everything?


Memory only works well with small battles of 10 or less ships (sometimes much less, depending upon the person). Keep a bad of paper to mark down the current turn information if everyone takes a potty or food break.

My grandson enjoyed it, and I took the first two encounters, 1 ship to 1 ship, but, on the third, using two ships, he figured out the 'blind' spot, and got there after I ran out of movement points! :lol: I lost that one, and it was a blast to play.


That sounds awesome! I've been trying to get my daughters to play with me...

One other thing: the miniature rules we've been experimenting with for our miniatures was designed with a lot of this in mind. Removing Turn Modes, for example, made one less thing to remember. If you use flat bases (like the ones I've been using from Litko), then you can place markers on the base to remember if it's fired and other things. And the Litko bases also have some chits, arrow pieces, and other stuff you can attach to them for similar purposes.

That and I've found that my kids really only like playing with the miniatures because counters are harder to imagine what it looks like. I've been thinking about other kinds of markers and even asteroid or planet miniatures to use. Although instead of doing them like normal miniatures (a globe up on miniature stand), I've been thinking about how to build half-hemispheres so that they can be placed on the table like the plane of the table cuts through the center. In this way I can represent the proper sizes of various planets, rings, etc.

But miniatures aren't cheap, but they are a LOT of fun.

Anyway, I hope that helps and isn't too much of an information dump.
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Re: Manage Information in Battle

Postby southwestforests on Mon 01 Aug 2016 17:59

Cralis wrote:That and I've found that my kids really only like playing with the miniatures because counters are harder to imagine what it looks like. I've been thinking about other kinds of markers and even asteroid or planet miniatures to use. Although instead of doing them like normal miniatures (a globe up on miniature stand), I've been thinking about how to build half-hemispheres so that they can be placed on the table like the plane of the table cuts through the center. In this way I can represent the proper sizes of various planets, rings, etc.

What I've done is acquire from craft and floral sections those white or green Styrofoam spheres and hemispheres of various sizes. Fill the pores with either wood filler or Spackle, sand when dry, paint; which sounds like something the kids could have fun doing. Stand posts can simply be stuck in to smaller spheres. On the hemispheres use a matboard or other cardboard circle as a base to help keep foam edges from getting chewed up.

There used to be tiny globes with pencil sharpeners. And similar toys. Several years back LEGO had mini packages which included spheres decorated as Star Wars planets. They were formed from hemispheres and had a small base. In a pinch swirly color rubber balls, a miniatures stand and an ice pick could get you a functional 3D planet.
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Re: Manage Information in Battle

Postby Cralis on Tue 02 Aug 2016 11:34

That is a great idea. I've seen thise styrofoam spheres. They would be easy to cut and I'll bet you could just use a plastic filler to cover and smooth the surface. And maybe the styrofoam surface might look good for gas giants and stars...
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Re: Manage Information in Battle

Postby drtetrode on Tue 02 Aug 2016 15:32

Thanks for the inputs. I was wondering how to handle it when we get more and more ships to track. What have you guys done when encountering large fleet actions?

I am hoping to play enough times to get a feel for how to manage the info and interruptions. I like the protective pages idea, will try that.

I like the miniatures idea, will have to look into that one, too.

Scott ;-)
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Re: Manage Information in Battle

Postby Cralis on Tue 02 Aug 2016 18:02

drtetrode wrote:Thanks for the inputs. I was wondering how to handle it when we get more and more ships to track. What have you guys done when encountering large fleet actions?


With large fleets I let a single counter (or miniature) represent a whole datagroup of ships. Space is HUGE, so for me it's never been a problem.

I am hoping to play enough times to get a feel for how to manage the info and interruptions. I like the protective pages idea, will try that.


I have a new idea from you said too, maybe I can combine the page protectors with cards.

I like the miniatures idea, will have to look into that one, too.


If you haven't seen our Shapeways page yet, you should check it out. All of thd models have been done by the user Otterman here on the boards, and is based on the Starfire artwork by Jack Southerland. Awesome stuff!

http://www.shapeways.com/shops/starfire
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Re: Manage Information in Battle

Postby drtetrode on Wed 03 Aug 2016 09:18

With large fleets I let a single counter (or miniature) represent a whole datagroup of ships. Space is HUGE, so for me it's never been a problem.


OK, that accounts for the physical, and makes a lot of sense to me. How do you handle the record keeping? 1 token represents, let's say 20 ships, large and small. How do you 'fight' them? A stack for index cards, a single sheet with multiple ship control sheets on it? A 3 ring binder with 1 sheet protector per ship?

I am looking for the record keeping side, more than anything else.

Not sure how to refer to another post by jbanes in Original Starfire forum, but, "http://www.starfiredesign.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=81&t=3039#p35170viewtopic.php?f=81&t=3039#p35170" has some ideas, not sure how they will work on larger battles.

http://www.starfiredesign.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=81&t=3039#p35170
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Re: Manage Information in Battle

Postby Cralis on Wed 03 Aug 2016 11:57

drtetrode wrote:How do you handle the record keeping? 1 token represents, let's say 20 ships, large and small. How do you 'fight' them? A stack for index cards, a single sheet with multiple ship control sheets on it? A 3 ring binder with 1 sheet protector per ship?


A single token won't usually represent more than 3-6 ships unless you are above EL10 and still trying to use swarms of small ships :)

But whether individual or grouped, I print the units out and try to use only 1 or 2 lines on the page per ship. So for an example datagroup of 3 ES (Escorts):

Code: Select all
ES1 - Alpha - [2] S A Ra (I) Ra Ya (I) Qa [6] - 20 rm:
      Beta - [2] S A Ra (I) Ra Ya (I) Qa [6] - 20 rm:
     Charlie - [2] S A Ra (I) Ra Ya (I) Qa [6] - 20 rm:


Counter - Ship Name - System List - Tracking. Any notes I write to the right of the ship.

I am looking for the record keeping side, more than anything else.

Not sure how to refer to another post by jbanes in Original Starfire forum


He has a neat idea and setup. But it would be nigh impossible with a large battle, and probably takes longer to play.
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