Monday, July 10, 2017

Federation Commander



I was digging through my box of starship stuff the other day looking for a model to use in the next session of my Space Opera RPG campaign when I found my SFB-Starmada conversion rulebooks. I bought those hoping to use them with my collection of models, but as they didn't give the Lyran ESGs the respect they deserve (relegating them to a purely defensive role), I never ended up using them. So the three books will go up in my August giveaway, which will be announced later this week.

The encounter prompted me to finally buy Federation Commander and try the rules out. I played Starfleet Battles almost 30 years ago, late to the party in a group with a few dedicated players, each of whom specialised in a race. The Lyrans were the only unclaimed race at that point in time, and as it turned out it suited my temperament, and I have been playing Lyrans (exclusively but not expertly) since, even when I started playing Starmada (Compendium edition, where their Shockwave rule sufficiently replicated the effect of the ESGs).

As anyone who has played the game will know, SFB isn't an easy game to learn or play, but back then we had the time and mental capacity to assimilate large amounts of information. I actually learned the rules by watching and playing, and never actually read the rules myself.

When Federation Commander came out several years ago I looked at the reviews, but ultimately decided to stick with Starmada Compendium (never moving on to the other editions of the Starmada franchise because they dropped the Shockwave and did not replace it with anything replicating the effect). But despite the ease of play and the ability to handle a larger number of ships, we stopped playing after a while, and once in a while I still felt the itch to allocate energy and do movement by impulse...

So I bought the Federation Commander compilation rules, a few ship card packs, and wahj and I played a game of it yesterday.

We got some of the rules wrong (as usual when playing a new set of rules), but while some aspects of the rules are vastly different from SFB, there was enough of the elements that made SFB what it is to make it familiar yet new. A game between a Heavy Cruiser and a Battlecruiser took 90 minutes. A lot of time was saved by not having to allocate all the energy in advance, but things like deciding where to move, rolling to hit and rolling for damage still took the same amount of time as it did in SFB.

I liked the rules enough to want to play again; it is also very easy to set up, which is always a plus. wahj plans to buy a few more ship packs to cover some of the other races, in particular the Romulans (who under the FC Cloaking rules look rather nerfed). As for me and my household, we will continue to play the Lyrans.

1 comment:

fatgoblin said...

now i want to watch star trek again!