Author Topic: Box Set  (Read 7123 times)

worktroll

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Re: Box Set
« Reply #300 on: 20 March 2017, 18:15:53 »
Leviathans included the finest piece of string provided in any game ever. To be honest, it was a waste of time & effort sourcing it, no matter how highly regarded it was as a piece of string.

(Oh, and just to be nit-picky, hexes are 1.25" centre-to-centre, so a 1:1 conversion is not correct, and a 1:1.25 conversion rapidly becomes a challenge.)
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Re: Box Set
« Reply #301 on: 20 March 2017, 19:20:39 »
"The measurement for range and movement is measured in 'length units'.  One length unit can be a hex, a fixed distance on the tabletop, or whatever else all players can agree upon.  This decision is made before the game begins, and is fixed during that game."

If all the players agree to use hexes, then the game is played on a hexmap.  If all players agree to use inches, centimeters, 5 millifurlongs, then that is what is used during the game.  You do not use tow different forms of measurement during the same game.

Talen5000

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Re: Box Set
« Reply #302 on: 20 March 2017, 19:51:31 »
As I showed, a straight linear measurement does not mesh with a hex system. it quickly goes out of whack.

Yes...but WHY do you have to use a hex system for weapons fire?

All a player needs to know is that the weapon has a range of x units. He can count hexes as one unit or make use of the measuring tool provided.

If such a tool would speed up or improve gameplay, then why is the fact that it doesn't match up with hexes of any importance? So long as it is consistent within a game does it really matter what system players use? I can think of several reasons why this would be a less than desireable addition...cost and size for example...but saying that players would be confused between the two systems...only one of which is in use at a time...isn't one of them

« Last Edit: 20 March 2017, 20:01:38 by Talen5000 »
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UrQuanKzinti

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Re: Box Set
« Reply #303 on: 20 March 2017, 20:06:43 »
Yes...but WHY do you have to use a hex system for weapons fire?

All a player needs to know is that the weapon has a range of x units. He can count hexes as one unit or make use of the measuring tool provided.

If such a tool would speed up or improve gameplay, then why is the fact that it doesn't match up with hexes of any importance? So long as it is consistent within a game does it really matter what system players use? I can think of several reasons why this would be a less than desireable addition...cost and size for example...but saying that players would be confused between the two systems...only one of which is in use at a time...isn't one of them

It's worth noting that Blood Bowl both uses squares to measure movement and a clear-plastic ruler to measure pass plays (throwing the ball).
So using both is perfectly viable.  For CGL to include it in the boxset I find to very unlikely as their adherence to the rules has demonstrated, but if your gaming group wants to mock up a range ruler of your own then go for it.

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Re: Box Set
« Reply #304 on: 20 March 2017, 20:19:19 »
Yes...but WHY do you have to use a hex system for weapons fire?

All a player needs to know is that the weapon has a range of x units. He can count hexes as one unit or make use of the measuring tool provided.

If such a tool would speed up or improve gameplay, then why is the fact that it doesn't match up with hexes of any importance? So long as it is consistent within a game does it really matter what system players use? I can think of several reasons why this would be a less than desireable addition...cost and size for example...but saying that players would be confused between the two systems...only one of which is in use at a time...isn't one of them

I'm happy to entertain all possible options for improving Battletech and making it new-player friendly, but I don't understand the line of reason here.  Battletech has always measured movement and range in hexes.  It has had the option of playing in inches, but hexes have always been the default.  If you want to start measuring distances in inches, there is no need for a hex map.  If you want to measure one thing in hexes and another thing in inches, you've created a completely different monster altogether. 

I'll be the first person to advocate for an Alpha Strike box, but if we are going to approach new players, we ought to do so with clear, consistent rules. 

Aren't construction rules already in the introductory boxset? Or were those taken out?

I don't think they are, but now you've got me second-guessing. 
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Re: Box Set
« Reply #305 on: 20 March 2017, 20:20:16 »
(Oh, and just to be nit-picky, hexes are 1.25" centre-to-centre, so a 1:1 conversion is not correct, and a 1:1.25 conversion rapidly becomes a challenge.)

Side thought: One of the problems with BT is that you're constantly fighting in 'phone booths'. My basic objection to Strategic Ops 2" = 1 Hex rule was that it made this problem worse. Has anyone had any experience playing 1" = 1 hex? Does it work well?

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Re: Box Set
« Reply #306 on: 20 March 2017, 20:37:52 »
I don't think they are, but now you've got me second-guessing.

It does, pages 65-71, Intro Tech only.
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Re: Box Set
« Reply #307 on: 20 March 2017, 21:08:37 »
i've taught a lot of people how to play the game over the years and counting hexes was never a complaint about the rules. if you're going to use hexes, all distances should be in hexes. if you play hexless, then use your preferred measuring instruments

Talen5000

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Re: Box Set
« Reply #308 on: 20 March 2017, 21:34:58 »
I'll be the first person to advocate for an Alpha Strike box, but if we are going to approach new players, we ought to do so with clear, consistent rules. 

I don't think they are, but now you've got me second-guessing.

As I see it, a ruler for combat and hex sides for movement would be consistent. They just wouldn't be exactly tne same. But players who can calculate movement costs and MP and heat should be able to recognise that counting hexes abd use of an edge achieve the same goal. You shouldn't be able to switch inside a match but so long as the rules are consistent within the game, then I don't see how it matters how the tange is calculated.

Would such a system work? Yes.
Would it be easy to explain in the rules? Yes
Would it speed up or improve gameplay? Potentially
Would it stop the use of hexes as a range system? No.

The system isn't without cost or drawback, but I don't think ruling out an idea just because it's never been done that way before is good either. I mean...whats tbe big objection here? That 6 hexes on the stick might be 7 on the board?

So what? It's a game aid. Make it a 15 hex ruler and save LRMs and hex counting for Advanced scenarios if you think its an issue.

Having said that...I think such an addition might be interesting, but ultimately it isn't one I see happening. Not because I don't think players can't handle it or purists might throw a fit...but because a ruler long enough to be useful would be too long gir a standard box.

And a string isn't glitzy enough ;)

A box set....IMO...should include 13 minis (8 IS vs 5 Clan), two high quality hardback maps, a universe guide, rule book and scenarios, up to 4 look up tables (1 per player), dice and cardboard cut outs for terrain snd tevord sheets

The rules should be focussed on Mech vs Mech.
The scenarios should present a range of battles....from 1 v1 to 4v4 to 8v5 to 4 player battle royale.
There should be an emphasis on factions
The Mechs should perhaps be designs created for the Box Set and used nowhere else, with weapons and armour designed to keep the game moving.
And/or available at a reasonable price separately.

And so on. It'd be very nice if the minis were DA style but isn't essential


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worktroll

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Re: Box Set
« Reply #309 on: 20 March 2017, 21:56:35 »
Side thought: One of the problems with BT is that you're constantly fighting in 'phone booths'. My basic objection to Strategic Ops 2" = 1 Hex rule was that it made this problem worse. Has anyone had any experience playing 1" = 1 hex? Does it work well?

The issue which usually forces people towards 1 hex = 2", is stacking. It's bad enough when you're trying to fit a Stalking Spider in the middle of a formation, it becomes ridonculous when vees & infantry are supposed to stack in a single hex. Have you ever tried balancing a stack of Ontii? ;)

Given the real LOS which kicks in once you abandon hexes, this really matters. Going to 2" provides more breathing room, and lets you ignore 'stacking'.

A side problems is that mech scale <> map scale. The average mech mini is 1.5 to 2 hexes tall, whereas if maps were in scale to minis, the hex would be 5" to 6" across. Talk about fighting in phone booths! I've spent a little time building 3D hex maps, and those who've played with me really prefer them over flat maps. I stuck to 1.25" hexes for my 3D maps, and I can get a 3x4 map arrangement on our billiard table (provided the ping-pong top is on). Going for any larger hex sizes reduces the potentially playable area accordingly, otherwise I'd be a 2" hex fanatic.

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Re: Box Set
« Reply #310 on: 20 March 2017, 22:38:57 »
Worktroll has the main benefit of the increased scale. As an experienced player of hexless playing and an advocate of such, I find the traditional 1 hex to 2 inches works best but hexed play has it's own value. I still train all my players on hex maps before making the leap to hexless play because it is easier. IMO keeping the box set to hex map is probably the best idea, leaving the miniature rules to the advanced rule books.

I've never felt as if I'm playing in a "phone booth" with miniature play but I've always had the room to setup what most war gaming plays on = a 4x6 foot setup. If playing at home is a problem due to lack of space, search out a larger space at a college or university, or a public library or community center - all of which should be low cost options.

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Re: Box Set
« Reply #311 on: 21 March 2017, 00:18:30 »
For simplicity's sake, just reissue the existing box set.  It's a solid product as evidenced by the fact it basically sold out, and fairly quickly at that if I recall correctly.  Simultaneously, put out an updated TRO:3039 using the NuSeen art and at this point the dead-tree (and e-version) of theBattleMech Manual will be available as well.  Wonderful start for old and new alike and provides a pair of obvious buys for interested players after the Intro box set.

Follow this with Clan specific lance packs and an updated TRO: 3050.

Follow this with Civil War faction-specific lance packs and reissue or repackage the relevant TROs.

After this comes the Jihad lance packs and TRO and then, you guessed it, finally the Dark Age faction lance packs and TRO.

Welcome to success.  Oh, and reprint the Hex Packs somewhere in there as well.  People can buy the .pdf versions of the sourcebooks/novels as desired.

worktroll

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Re: Box Set
« Reply #312 on: 21 March 2017, 00:55:17 »
Like most of the idea. Questions on practicalities are:

1) Can CGL support producing & distributing multiple products in very short periods? Remember they have to spend all the money months before any return is possible.

2) Faction-specific print products fail to sell evenly. Is it better to sell cross-faction packs (like the Lance Packs), lest we end up with large unsold quantities of the Liao and Marik packs?

3) Hex packs weren't profitable before; is there strong reason to suspect this would change?
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* The Hellbringer is cool, either way. It's not cool because it's bad, it's cool because it's bad with balls - Nightsky
* It was a glorious time for people who felt that we didn't have enough Marauder variants - HABeas2, re "Empires Aflame"

UrQuanKzinti

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Re: Box Set
« Reply #313 on: 21 March 2017, 02:19:28 »
Like most of the idea. Questions on practicalities are:
. . .
3) Hex packs weren't profitable before; is there strong reason to suspect this would change?

What part of the boardgame is actually profitable if not the board game itself and expansion boards for that game?

Sigil

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Re: Box Set
« Reply #314 on: 21 March 2017, 07:19:11 »
Like most of the idea. Questions on practicalities are:

1) Can CGL support producing & distributing multiple products in very short periods? Remember they have to spend all the money months before any return is possible.

2) Faction-specific print products fail to sell evenly. Is it better to sell cross-faction packs (like the Lance Packs), lest we end up with large unsold quantities of the Liao and Marik packs?

3) Hex packs weren't profitable before; is there strong reason to suspect this would change?

CGL can "pace" the introduction of subsequent eras to fit with their schedule.  I was imagining an a new "era" being released every 12-18 months.  The reissued TRO's would also include the Alpha Strike stats for each 'Mech.

Faction-specific miniatures are a different beast entirely from faction-specific print products.  Ultimately, although they will be marketed as "faction" lances, they can used by all players and there is nothing to prevent using a "Kurita" 'Mech as a "Davion" 'Mech.  The idea is to go out and clearly market the concept of prominent factions battling each other for supremacy across a massive universe in different time periods.  The idea should come across on the box and not require any previous knowledge.  To be honest, MW:DA did a fair job of just this and they sold some miniatures!

In the end, Hex Packs sold out as well, not as quickly as the Intro Box Set.  However, if new players are being attracted to the franchise, the sale of Hex Packs will be a fair indicator of this.  Existing players likely have extensive maps and/or terrain and are not compelled to buy more.  New players will need them.  I would resissue a Hex Pack for each "era" released and include one new map in the set.

So, q new player would pick up the Intro Box set learn a bit about BT and the ~3025 setting.  They like it, so they move into the Clan Invasion by buying a "Clan Wolf" and a "Clan Jade Falcon" lance pack along with a Hex Pack.  Still fun, so they pick up a "Federated Commonwealth" lance pack and a "Draconis Combine" pack with new designs.  Next, they pick up the updated TRO: 3039.  Hooked, (assuming TRO: 3039 was redesigned with new art and actually looked good).



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Re: Box Set
« Reply #315 on: 21 March 2017, 07:24:38 »
What part of the boardgame is actually profitable if not the board game itself and expansion boards for that game?

Mainly the TROs, plot books and some of the rule books.
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ActionButler

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Re: Box Set
« Reply #316 on: 21 March 2017, 10:30:01 »
As I see it, a ruler for combat and hex sides for movement would be consistent. They just wouldn't be exactly tne same. But players who can calculate movement costs and MP and heat should be able to recognise that counting hexes abd use of an edge achieve the same goal. You shouldn't be able to switch inside a match but so long as the rules are consistent within the game, then I don't see how it matters how the tange is calculated.

Would such a system work? Yes.
Would it be easy to explain in the rules? Yes
Would it speed up or improve gameplay? Potentially
Would it stop the use of hexes as a range system? No.

Again, though, you have created a completely new game if you start measuring one thing in hexes and another thing in inches.  And you are adding the cost of the rangefinder to the intro box of a game that may, or may not, be financially strapped as-is.  Explaining the variations in hex measures and rangefinder measures will also take up more page space. 

Is it a viable system?  Absolutely.  There is not reason that it couldn't work.  Why would CGL add a completely new facet to the Intro material that isn't in any other game reference, though?
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Talen5000

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Re: Box Set
« Reply #317 on: 21 March 2017, 13:48:54 »
Explaining the variations in hex measures and rangefinder measures will also take up more page space. 

There would be no difference....simply weapons range measured in units which might be hexes or inches

 
Quote
Is it a viable system?  Absolutely.  There is not reason that it couldn't work.  Why would CGL add a completely new facet to the Intro material that isn't in any other game reference, though?

Would it speed the game up by providing a quick simple easy to understand mechanism to determine both range and LOS?
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Sartris

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Re: Box Set
« Reply #318 on: 21 March 2017, 14:01:38 »
a $3 laser can determine LOS under the current setup.

again, twenty-five years playing the game and i've heard gripes about almost every rule in the book. counting hexes has never been one of them. 

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Re: Box Set
« Reply #319 on: 21 March 2017, 14:25:43 »
There would be no difference....simply weapons range measured in units which might be hexes or inches

 
Would it speed the game up by providing a quick simple easy to understand mechanism to determine both range and LOS?

I'll reiterate that, as I am not a game designer, I have no place commenting on particulars.  I think your idea is a perfectly reasonable one, but I think that it makes a fairly unprecedented change to one of the core mechanics of the game, which probably shouldn't be something that takes place in the Intro Box.  I'll add, too, that like Sartris just commented, I don't think that counting hexes is one of the game's biggest problems.  I would argue that there are other, more time consuming things about the game that would be better candidates for streamlining. 
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UrQuanKzinti

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Re: Box Set
« Reply #320 on: 21 March 2017, 14:31:14 »
Mainly the TROs, plot books and some of the rule books.

I would've thought it should be the other way around.  With the base game being the biggest seller, and with diminishing returns the more advanced the product gets. Maybe profit numbers don't equate to sales numbers, but seems that a healthy paradigm would be that of a pyramid with a lot of entry-level products making up the base, and more advanced products at the tip of the pyramid with everything else in-between.

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Re: Box Set
« Reply #321 on: 21 March 2017, 14:58:52 »
I would've thought it should be the other way around.  With the base game being the biggest seller, and with diminishing returns the more advanced the product gets. Maybe profit numbers don't equate to sales numbers, but seems that a healthy paradigm would be that of a pyramid with a lot of entry-level products making up the base, and more advanced products at the tip of the pyramid with everything else in-between.

CGL is, or has been, a book publishing company.  Books, not board games, are where BattleTech has made ( and still makes) it's money.  The intro box set was just that, an intro to get people able to play so that they buy more books.  And based on what I've heard from people that I presume know more about it, the decision was made to favor keeping the price low to entice more new players rather than try to make a profit from it.
CGL has been working for some time now on moving more into making board games, but it's been some numbers of steps back for some number of steps forward on those.
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Re: Box Set
« Reply #322 on: 21 March 2017, 15:07:01 »
Hear me out... but is it possible to combine aspects of Alpha Strike with the main game to shorten it?

Examples:

- Movement:  Treat it like it is in Alpha Strike (full TMM for moving, -1 for stand still, etc) but have it where the TMM is slightly more complicated by choosing to walk, run, or jump?  So a 7/11/7 'Mech would have a TMM of 3/4/4.  You can even say that moving into difficult terrain grants the walking modifier at maximum.

- Weapon ranges:  Make it match with the ranges in Alpha Strike.  Specify what range bracket the weapon is in (S/M/L/X) and use actual ranges as fluff material?  This would make short range weapons like Machine Guns.  Minimum range weapons can have the minimum listed next to the short range bracket.

Just some examples off the top of my head.  There has to be a way to keep the core of the game but streamline it in a way where it meets new and old fans halfway.
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Re: Box Set
« Reply #323 on: 21 March 2017, 15:26:19 »
Mainly the TROs, plot books and some of the rule books.

Working with the sales info above and trying to change the current game as little as possible, let's try something like this.

1. Box set with generic tokens (Infantry, mech, vehicle etc), maps, and small TRO/Army Book

In my opinion CGL doesn't need to get into the miniature business.  IWM does a respectable job and adding CGL miniatures to the mix cannibalizes sales for both companies.  I would also pick 2 factions to be in the starter set.  Say Davion & Kurita with teaser information on the other factions.  You would get the complete core rule book with the set.


2.  Make Total Warfare and maybe the Techmanual the core rule book.  None of the others are needed.  The line will not advance technologically.  From the box set the customer can either buy the techmanual or go straight into Option #3


3.  Sell Field Manual/Army Books/TRO Combo Books.  Much closer to to what 40K does and similar to what Alpha Strike seem to be doing but instead of a random couple of mechs, you would have the Mechs that your faction uses.  Any special rules that your faction might have access to would be in these Army books.  Or any mechs that your faction might be able to salvage would be included in the index.  Etc.  From there you can buy the plot/historical rulebooks.


4. Historical/Plot Advancing line like Pathfinders Adventure Paths.

The Core battletech line should stay static.  It shouldn't advance per say.  The plot books and historicals can advance the line like an adventure.  So for instance if CGL takes 3050 as standard entry point for Battletech, then an Adventure Path could be the Operation Guerrero.  All the information that you need to play the game will be included with Operation Guerrero, whether that is new mechs, new weapons, weather conditions etc.  The players then affect the outcome of the universe but from a sales perspective everything stays static.

You could do a 2nd Succession Wars Path or a 3145 Path, it wouldn't matter as long as all the rules you need are in that adventure path.

Players now know that 3050 is the default setting (or any era CGL chooses).  Everyone and their brother can play it.  It is your tournament level of play.  And now players are hopefully invested in the plot and what their characters do affects the outcome of the universe at their table.

We also have a linear progression of books to buy

1. Box Set/Core Rulebook
2. Army Book/TRO Combo
3. Adventure Paths

Of course CGL can supplement all of this with their current PDF line.

Battletech has basically been marketed the same way for 30 years now.  If we are not willing to revamp the game, then we have to at least revamp the way it is marketed to the customer.



 



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Re: Box Set
« Reply #324 on: 21 March 2017, 15:28:52 »
Mmm... I have been thinking about the concept of a minimalist box set and
I am getting the thought that, the rules and maps would determine the minimal box size. Am I wrong?


I would've thought it should be the other way around.  With the base game being the biggest seller, and with diminishing returns the more advanced the product gets. Maybe profit numbers don't equate to sales numbers, but seems that a healthy paradigm would be that of a pyramid with a lot of entry-level products making up the base, and more advanced products at the tip of the pyramid with everything else in-between.
When one becomes a fan they keep buying TROs, but not box sets. If one sells a lot of box sets but not a lot of followup products then something has gone wrong. So in an ideal situation the book portion would be greater, even after removing old fans from the equation.
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Re: Box Set
« Reply #325 on: 21 March 2017, 15:46:00 »
If you want things to change the universe, you either need to reboot the timeline or place it in 3150. But the plotline is planned many years in advance so anything that can can do to the timeline wouldn't actually be seen for many years anyway unless it is so minor as to be unimportant and just a footnote.

UrQuanKzinti

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Re: Box Set
« Reply #326 on: 21 March 2017, 15:58:48 »
When one becomes a fan they keep buying TROs, but not box sets. If one sells a lot of box sets but not a lot of followup products then something has gone wrong. So in an ideal situation the book portion would be greater, even after removing old fans from the equation.

I was referring to the individual sales, not product types as a whole. If one compares "Books" to the "boxed set", you're comparing 50 products to 1 product. Of course the 50 will garner more sales. Fans will buy books because books are the only option.

I was thinking of entry products to advanced products, for example maybe the ratio was something like this:
Boxed Set sells 100
Total Warfare sells 80
Tac Ops sells 30
Strategic Ops sells 10
Interstellar Ops sells 5

That to me seems more of a healthy ratio, demonstrating a lot of entry-level players and less people in the advanced tiers.  Whereas the CBT community seems more top heavy, a lot of people into the advanced stuff and a significantly smaller number at entry level.

Kit deSummersville

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Re: Box Set
« Reply #327 on: 21 March 2017, 16:03:44 »
In my opinion CGL doesn't need to get into the miniature business. 

Heck, I don't think they can with the current licensing agreements. I believe Topps needs to approve the miniatures that CGL has been selling.
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Re: Box Set
« Reply #328 on: 21 March 2017, 16:32:18 »
Hear me out... but is it possible to combine aspects of Alpha Strike with the main game to shorten it?

Examples:

- Movement:  Treat it like it is in Alpha Strike (full TMM for moving, -1 for stand still, etc) but have it where the TMM is slightly more complicated by choosing to walk, run, or jump?  So a 7/11/7 'Mech would have a TMM of 3/4/4.  You can even say that moving into difficult terrain grants the walking modifier at maximum.

Sort of how I play my home games now.

Straight up AS movement on Hexs, so a Jenner JR7-A is a 7 hex move/5 hex jump. Don't pay for tunring, just streamlines the game.

Attack is calculated as per AS rules too:

MOVE = +0
Stand Still = -1
Jump = +2

Can run for Running movement on a Standard Record sheet, but no Attack/spotting/etc.

Does wonders to speed the game up

Quote
- Weapon ranges:  Make it match with the ranges in Alpha Strike.  Specify what range bracket the weapon is in (S/M/L/X) and use actual ranges as fluff material?  This would make short range weapons like Machine Guns.  Minimum range weapons can have the minimum listed next to the short range bracket.

Just some examples off the top of my head.  There has to be a way to keep the core of the game but streamline it in a way where it meets new and old fans halfway.

Weapons are kept as is on the record sheet.

Also, the BIGGEST reason to keep hex range/movement as strictly hexes and not mix the two, I play on a 1.75" hex mat (to match HeroScape tiles), to have to convert them to some arbitrary measuring stick...that's just silly.

And last I checked, no one in my group had difficulty counting from 1 to 23  O0
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Re: Box Set
« Reply #329 on: 21 March 2017, 17:30:18 »
What part of the boardgame is actually profitable if not the board game itself and expansion boards for that game?

Kit's answer, which I suspect you misunderstood, is pretty accurate. I would have said:

1) Flippant answer: TROs

2) Slightly longer answer: individual 'plot books' which advance the timeline or cover significant previously uncovered periods. Individually, things like "Jihad Hot Spots", "War of Reaving", "1st SW", and the like perform well individually - no need to try and shoehorn them together with other 'books'. Books which cover the lesser factions - CC, FWL, almost all individual Clans - perform poorly. The extremely high quality and well received Handbook series were only completed as a labour of love, as commercially they were (as individual books) not highly successful.

3) Practical answer - just because something sells out over three years doesn't make that successful. If CGL sinks (total wild ass guess) $20K into manufacturing a product, it takes three months to be produced, then sells out in 6 months making $30K gross, then CGL then has $30K to sink into another product. If the product takes 3 years to sell out, they don't have that money to make more money in the meantime.  CGL, are after all, another small business - ROI, sunk cost of inventory, and cashflow matter.

If you find any of the above unclear, let me know.

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