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Author Topic: Making sense of the product line  (Read 997 times)

Sartris

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Making sense of the product line
« on: 22 February 2019, 11:23:24 »
so as a followup to my box set post, i'm working on creating a guide for rationalizing a relatively linear flow of FanPro/CGL products. hoo boy. in the fasa days it was relatively easy as most books followed each other chronologically, or at least stayed in the same temporal neighborhood.

the last ~15 years on the other hand...



my initial idea is to base the various eras out of one sort of "hub" sourcebook that branches off both forward and backward to fill in the era as deep as you want to take it. with the renewal of novels, i'll probably be adding those in too

Hammer

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Re: Making sense of the product line
« Reply #1 on: 22 February 2019, 11:29:37 »
My suggestion would be to do it by the BattleTech Eras from the MUL (http://www.masterunitlist.info/Era/Index)

You could then say this era has they products.  Some products would overlap eras.  You could then present it as a Gantt chart.

Era across the top, products down the side.
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Sartris

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Re: Making sense of the product line
« Reply #2 on: 22 February 2019, 11:34:43 »
official eras will be in there, yeah. i already have a post that lists everything in each particular era, but internally i'm working on providing more guidance for "what do i need for a basic overview," "give me all the options for a deep dive" and "what helps me run campaigns in this era"

the final presentation will be much more linear. the above is just a horrifying glimpse into how my brain organizes information.

Hammer

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Re: Making sense of the product line
« Reply #3 on: 22 February 2019, 11:42:55 »
the final presentation will be much more linear. the above is just a horrifying glimpse into how my brain organizes information.
It made sense to me......  ;D
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Colt Ward

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Re: Making sense of the product line
« Reply #4 on: 22 February 2019, 11:56:35 »
I am just happy to see someone else's handwriting sucks . . . lefty?
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Sartris

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Re: Making sense of the product line
« Reply #5 on: 22 February 2019, 11:59:11 »
nope, just sucks. my mom is a lefty so that might contribute

Colt Ward

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Re: Making sense of the product line
« Reply #6 on: 22 February 2019, 12:14:39 »
I think one distinction you have to make for the product line is between printed and epub only materials.  Since e-pubs are by definition niche products expanding the BTU over a specific point.  So we have books like ER3052 (CI), ER3062 (FCCW), and ER3145 (DA) . . . and if you want to expand on a Era you can get the applicable Tourings, Spotlight On, and Turning Points.

Besides going by Era as mentioned it might also be a good idea to offer a different index- a faction list.  What products offer a look at say the Free Worlds League?  The Marian Hegemony?
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Sartris

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Re: Making sense of the product line
« Reply #7 on: 22 February 2019, 12:24:58 »
I think one distinction you have to make for the product line is between printed and epub only materials.  Since e-pubs are by definition niche products expanding the BTU over a specific point.  So we have books like ER3052 (CI), ER3062 (FCCW), and ER3145 (DA) . . . and if you want to expand on a Era you can get the applicable Tourings, Spotlight On, and Turning Points.

was in the plans, yes

Quote
Besides going by Era as mentioned it might also be a good idea to offer a different index- a faction list.  What products offer a look at say the Free Worlds League?  The Marian Hegemony?

oh man

Colt Ward

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Re: Making sense of the product line
« Reply #8 on: 22 February 2019, 12:34:24 »
Understand, the faction list would not be things like listing Field Manual:  Updates under a FWL heading.  It would be like saying LC/LA-  Touring the Stars:  Nosiel and Touring the Stars:  Butte Hold, and Butte Hold would also be listed as a entry under CJF and Rim Worlds Republic.
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Mendrugo

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Re: Making sense of the product line
« Reply #9 on: 22 February 2019, 13:24:07 »
One way would be to use the categories suggested by the notations in the lower right corners of most covers of the Catalyst-era products (note - this categorization is based entirely on what I can determine from Catalyst's own classification hierarchy - several products would fit into more than one category, depending on how you look at it.  Also, this list does not include Catalyst reprints of earlier FanPro works.):

Core Rulebooks
- A Time of War
-- A Time of War Companions
--- A Time of War Companion
--- AToW Free RPG Day Booklet
--- AToW Quick-Start Rules
--- Masters and Minions - The StarCorps Dossiers
- Alpha Strike
-- Alpha Strike Companions
--- Alpha Strike Companion
--- Alpha Strike Mapboard Play
--- Alpha Strike Quick-Start Rules
-- Alpha Strike Sourcebooks
- BattleMech Manual
- Campaign Operations
- Interstellar Operations
- Strategic Operations
-- Strategic Operations Companions
--- BattleForce Quick-Start Rules
--- Counters
- Tactical Operations
-- Tactical Operations Companions
--- Record Sheets: Prototypes
--- Tactical Operations: Record Sheets and Compiled Tables
--- Tactical Operations: Power-Ups
- TechManual
- Total Warfare
-- Total Warfare Companions
--- Record Sheets
---- RS: 3050 (Upgrade)
---- RS: 3060
---- RS: 3075
---- RS: 3085
---- Blank Record Sheets
--- Starterbooks
---- Starterbook: Fist and Falcon
---- Starterbook: Wolf and Blake
- Warchest Point System Campaign Framework
- Quick-Strike Rules Game Aids
-- Introductory 'Mech Cards
-- TRO: 3039 Quick-Strike Unit Cards
-- TRO: 3050U Quick-Strike Unit Cards
-- TRO: 3055 Quick-Strike Unit Cards
HexPacks
- Cities and Roads
- Lakes and Rivers
- Mountains and Canyons
Box Sets
- Introductory Box Set
-- Introductory Box Set Companions
--- Starterbook: Sword and Dragon
--- Record Sheets: Sword and Dragon
- Beginner Box
- A Game of Armored Combat
Technical Readouts
- Technical Readouts
-- TRO: 3039
-- TRO: 3050 (Upgrade)
-- TRO: 3075
-- TRO: 3085
--- TRO: 3085 (Supplemental)
-- TRO: 3145
--- TRO: 3145 (Capellan Confederation)
--- TRO: 3145 (Draconis Combine)
--- TRO: 3145 (Federated Suns)
--- TRO: 3145 (Free Worlds League)
--- TRO: 3145 (Lyran Commonwealth)
--- TRO: 3145 (Mercenaries)
--- TRO: 3145 (Republic of the Sphere)
--- TRO: 3145 (The Clans)
-- TRO: 3150
-- TRO: Prototypes
-- TRO: Succession Wars
-- TRO: Vehicle Annex (Revised)
- Technical Readout Supplements
-- Constable Pacification Suit
-- Record Sheets: 3145 - New Tech, New Upgrades
-- Record Sheets: 3145 - Unabridged
- Experimental Technical Readouts
-- Primitives (I - V)
-- Republic (I - III)
-- 1945
-- Boondocks
-- Boondoggles
-- Clans
-- ComStar
-- Corporations
-- Davion
-- Gladiators
-- Gunslingers
-- Kurita
-- Liao
-- Marik
-- Mercs
-- Most Wanted
-- Periphery
-- Phantoms
-- Pirates
-- RetroTech
-- Royal Fantasy
-- Steiner
-- Succession Wars
Historical Sourcebooks
- Historical Supplements
-- Era Digest: Age of War
-- Era Digest: Dark Age
-- Era Digest: Golden Century
- Historical Sourcebooks Companions
-- Historical Turning Points Series (Antallos, Galtor, Glengarry, Mallory's World, Misery, New Dallas, Tortuga)
- Star League
-- Star League Era Sourcebooks
--- Era Report: 2750
--- Field Manual: SLDF
--- Historical - Liberation of Terra I
--- Historical - Liberation of Terra II
--- Historical - Reunification War
-- Star League Era Plot Supplements
--- Field Report 2765 Series (AFFS, CCAF, DCMS, FWLM, LCAF, Periphery)
- Succession Wars
-- Succession Wars Era Sourcebooks
--- First Succession War
--- Second Succession War
- Clan Invasion
-- Clan Invasion Era Sourcebooks
--- Era Report: 3052
--- Era Report: 3062
- Jihad
-- Jihad Campaigns
--- Total Chaos
-- Jihad Plot Sourcebooks
--- Blake Ascending
--- Jihad Hot Spots: 3072
--- Jihad Conspiracies
--- Jihad Hot Spots: 3076
--- Jihad Secrets: The Blake Documents
--- Jihad Hot Spots: Terra
--- Jihad: Final Reckoning
-- Jihad Plot Sourcebooks Companions
--- Jihad Turning Points Series (Atreus, Atreus Bonus Tracks, Dieron, Hesperus II, Luthien, New Avalon, Sian, Tharkad, Tharkad Bonus Tracks)
-- Jihad Plot Supplements
--- Dossiers
---- The Bounty Hunter
---- Lamenkov's Liability
---- Salazar Tsakalotos
---- Youling Zhanshi
--- Field Reports
---- Field Report Series (AFFS, CCAF, Clans, DCMS, FWLM, LAAF, Periphery)
--- Objectives
---- Objectives Series (Capellan Confederation, Draconis Combine, Federated Suns, Free Worlds League, Lyran Alliance, Periphery, The Clans)
- Republic Era
-- Republic Era Sourcebooks
--- Field Manual: 3085
--- Historical: Wars of the Republic Era
- Dark Age
-- Dark Age Era Sourcebooks
--- Era Report: 3145
--- Field Manual: 3145
--- Shattered Fortress
-- Dark Age Plot Sourcebooks Companions
--- Dark Age Turning Points Series (Liao, Vega)
Factions
- Faction Sourcebooks
-- Handbook: House Kurita
-- Handbook: House Liao
-- Handbook: Major Periphery States
- Clans Sourcebooks
-- Historical: Operation Klondike
-- Record Sheets: Operation Klondike
-- The Wars of Reaving
-- The Wars of Reaving Supplemental
- Deep Periphery Sourcebooks
-- Interstellar Expeditions
Record Sheets
- Long Tom
- Red Raider Buccaneer
- 3039
- 3039 (Unabridged)
- 3050 (Upgrade) Clan and Star League
- 3050 (Upgrade) Inner Sphere
- 3058 (Unabridged) Clan
- 3058 (Unabridged) Inner Sphere
- 3060 (Unabridged)
- 3067 (Unabridged)
- 3072
- 3075 (Unabridged) Age of War
- 3075 (Unabridged)
- 3085 (Unabridged) Old is the New New
- 3085 (Unabridged) Project Phoenix
- 3085 (Unabridged) The Cutting Edge
- Project Phoenix (Upgrade)
- Succession Wars
 - Vehicle Annex - IndustrialMechs and Exoskeletons
Spotlight On
- (Crescent Hawks, Crimson Seeker Star, First Marik Protectors, Holt's Hilltoppers, Nakayama's Blood, Stone's Trackes, Unending Faith)
Specials
- Halloween
-- Empires Aflame
-- Necromo Nightmare
-- War of the Tripods!
- April Fools
-- Best Ever - An Eighth World Adventure
-- Welcome to the Nebula California
"We have made of New Avalon a towering funeral pyre and wiped the Davion scourge from the universe.  Tikonov, Chesterton and Andurien are ours once more, and the cheers of the Capellan people nearly drown out the gnashing of our foes' teeth as they throw down their weapons in despair.  Now I am made First Lord of the Star League, and all shall bow down to me and pay homa...oooooo! Shiny thing!" - Maximillian Liao, "My Triumph", audio dictation, 3030.  Unpublished.

Sartris

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Re: Making sense of the product line
« Reply #10 on: 22 February 2019, 14:55:38 »
pretty much how the product codes organize them, yeah. like I said, i'm aiming for era "hub books" that cover the most under one cover to serve as a jump off to other materials.

ER: 2750 --> back to age of war, forward to the 1st and 2nd sw
3000-3039: ? (i really wish we had an ER: 3025)
ER: 3052 --> clan invasion to Tukayyid
ER: 3062 --> Tukayyid to the great refusal, that small Steiner-Davion dustup
3067 --> ? By virtue of FP/CGL published materials, the "core" setting of battletech since ca 2004-05. unsure what the prime book is
Jihad Secrets (basically ER 3075) --> The jihad and early 80s
FM: 3085 --> republic to the end of His: Wars of the Republic Era
--big gap--
ER 3145 --> Back to 3130s, forward to ilClan


one of the big pieces to the whole process is the TROs. Clan Invasion mechbloat is real.

Age of War to Star League - ~1.5 (3050U SL section, 3058U Star League, 3075 Age of War)
Late Succession Wars: 1 (3039)
Clan Invasion: 4 (3050U 3055U 3058U 3060)
Civil War: 2 (Project Phoenix, 3067)
Jihad: 2 (3075 3085)
Republic / Dark Age: 2 (3145/3150 - this is really like four TROs. the intro dates start before 3100)

so many mechs. for starters, it's easy to say TRO: SW for 2500-3030, TRO: Clan Invasion for ~3050-3067. That's 186 chassis. players can then be pointed to other volumes for the vehicles and infantry if they want to sink down past the mechs only level. hopefully there will be a third 'mech TRO: Era for the civil war and jihad (3067, 3075, 3085) to make my life easier. Three prime TROs for up to 3100 and 3145/50 for the 32nd century seems solid.

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Re: Making sense of the product line
« Reply #11 on: 22 February 2019, 19:34:05 »
Ah. Fellow code-writer.

I'm like a walrus someone taped a pen to. It's awful.

What exactly are you trying to do though? Like place the products on an in-universe timeline, or something else?
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Sartris

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Re: Making sense of the product line
« Reply #12 on: 22 February 2019, 19:53:40 »
i'm working toward have a tiered structure to help players unfamiliar with the product line wade into various eras once they leave the safety of the box set nest.

To get a handle for the era, read [book]
if that wets your whistle, take a look at [other book] and [pdf only item]
to learn more about [event occurring previously to the first book], check out [another product]
if you want to learn more about new units introduced in this era, reference [TRO 3XXX]
to run campaigns in this era, pick up [related turning points] and [era report]

ultimately you end up with a clear pathway to every product in the catalog, which really doesn't exist right now.

beachhead1985

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Re: Making sense of the product line
« Reply #13 on: 23 February 2019, 02:35:36 »
i'm working toward have a tiered structure to help players unfamiliar with the product line wade into various eras once they leave the safety of the box set nest.

To get a handle for the era, read [book]
if that wets your whistle, take a look at [other book] and [pdf only item]
to learn more about [event occurring previously to the first book], check out [another product]
if you want to learn more about new units introduced in this era, reference [TRO 3XXX]
to run campaigns in this era, pick up [related turning points] and [era report]

ultimately you end up with a clear pathway to every product in the catalog, which really doesn't exist right now.

Okay. I see the problem you're talking about when a great number of books have material for multiple eras (Rules Books, Faction Books) and it's less of a chronological progression.

I have my bookshelf arranged like so; Rules, Factions and then what I call the Plot/History section.
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And took their wages, and are dead.             And saved the sum of things for pay.
     
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Sartris

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Re: Making sense of the product line
« Reply #14 on: 11 March 2019, 13:05:17 »
I'm working on integrating the novels in with the sourcebooks, especially since they're coming back in PoD and are almost universally available in epub

Since the majority of the novels take place in the Clan Invasion, I started with that. Rather than just listing them chronologically, I tried to map the thematic groupings, which will help cluster fiction with game products.  Admittedly, I haven't read most of these books so forgive any inaccuracies.


Colt Ward

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Re: Making sense of the product line
« Reply #15 on: 11 March 2019, 13:17:38 »
Not seeing Double Blind to proceed the Cappy Solution, what was in that book IMO deals more with setting up the Trinity Alliance than Blakist moves.
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StoneRhino

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Re: Making sense of the product line
« Reply #16 on: 12 March 2019, 05:42:47 »
"Who is Pepe Silvia?" :ticked:

StoneRhino

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Re: Making sense of the product line
« Reply #17 on: 12 March 2019, 06:08:20 »
Ask yourself if people are buying the boxed sets because of the fluff of the game? Chances are most new people are buying the box set because of the mechs shooting at each other concept. How do we know that this is likely? How many of the novels are in print and can be picked up off of a shelf. You need to know about Battletech to buy Battletech, so most are unlikely going down the print on demand route without knowing what the heck the game even is. Some may be buying purely online, by that I mean shopping for fiction and stumbling upon BT novels in e-formats, then making such purchases. Follow up with the question of "how many games have i read a novel about that I then decided to sink cold hard cash into?" I cannot speak for anyone else, but I didn't get into the game because of a novel, however with the lack of availability for some time, I'm smashing that X for many people doing so.

Keep it simple, we know that people that have bought the boxed set are at least interested in the game enough to make a purchase. We know fiction is included, but we don't know if they have spent time reading it or care for it. Nobody is going to stick to a game to read fluff, however people will stick with a game that they like but don't like or are neutral about the fluff. What we would know for sure if they stick to the game is that they like the game to some extent.

If you are going to make a guide to the product line I would suggest that you build upon what is known, that they are at least interested in the game.  Forget the fluff for the first step, instead the first few steps should be TRO:SW to expand upon their current tech level, minis, and cut-outs. Next onto whatever TRO:3050 is, then maybe a source book. That gets them one foot into grognard territory and one foot into "i cant take clans vs I.S. so im leaving" territory. Starting out that would allow them to get used to higher tech.

Sartris

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Re: Making sense of the product line
« Reply #18 on: 12 March 2019, 08:43:25 »
Have you seen my other post that’s stickied? This is a followup to that.

As noted at the top with my intital sketch, it’s about the game products first with the novels a “more info here” offshoot. I’m well aware that people play the game for the game - I didn’t read a novel until this year and I started playing in 1996

« Last Edit: 12 March 2019, 08:53:34 by Sartris »

Sartris

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Re: Making sense of the product line
« Reply #19 on: 21 March 2019, 00:23:10 »
draft


CVB

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Re: Making sense of the product line
« Reply #20 on: 21 March 2019, 08:53:04 »
Maybe add the TWO 4th Succesion War Atlas volumes (both available as pdf) to the "conflicts" bullet point? I think those would complement the Warrior trilogy nicely.

Sartris

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Re: Making sense of the product line
« Reply #21 on: 21 March 2019, 09:07:48 »
yeah i've been fiddling with the FASA sourcebooks since the majority of non-scenario pack books are on the company store now - though the absence of the original Davion and Liao books is both weird and annoying

coloradog1

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Re: Making sense of the product line
« Reply #22 on: 23 March 2019, 00:11:09 »
Oh man. This is awesome! Super helpful on top of your other links for new players like myself. Looking forward to more.

Sartris

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Re: Making sense of the product line
« Reply #23 on: 23 March 2019, 17:21:24 »
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Wti6wf7l3KMEi_8fF_6vMJeVuTqSzt0DKLCxXy-ukDo/edit?usp=sharing

i wasn't going to mess around with the bb code for bulleted lists here so i put what i have so far on a google doc. i'll eventually be making it pretty with links and pictures, plus some notes on what things do and don't include, but this was a good start.