Register Register

Author Topic: StratOps and all the problems my mind is running into now.  (Read 6914 times)

whiteshadowzo

  • Master Sergeant
  • *
  • Posts: 244
  • I was raised by a cup of coffee
  I honestly should have just stuck with the 70 page rule book in the box set  :-\

  Ok so I picked up StratOps to use the salvage and battleforce rules. So far I've read only the salvage. While up keeping maintenance on a unit you cross check its Tech rating and Quality rating. The book gives a simple enough table to find the Quality rating based on faction and era. The Tech rating is never explained how to get. So after some pondering I flip over TechManual. Sure enough the equipment table shows tech rating for individual pieces. But the Calculating Costs and Availability section didn't cover calculating tech rating, unless I skimmed too fast. And the section says that availability and tech rating are not always the same thing. So where is it that I find a units tech rating or calculate one? Also work days are 8 hours long but if I have two tech teams they each receive their own 8 hours right?

  Secondly, I need help with this whole campaign thing. I'm very eager to start it up.

   I'd be playing GM I guess. I'd be coming up with scenarios and campaign flow. However, my first initial thought was to play out a campaign like one of the video games. Missions so to speak where the player or players get a lance and eventually more as they run into my guys. But then I wanted to use salvage and I realized that if the player is gonna be struggling with repairs then I can't be rolling out pristine units at him every time.

   And that it would be a me vs him thing with win conditions partial victories and all that jazz. Salvaging afterward and whoever won the scenario the campaign flow would move in their favor. Only problem is that as the GM and there being only two of us right now its kind of hard to want to do the more run around scout, intel, rescue kind of missions because I need to know vital info. But I know I can get another few players.

   How is it you do you're campaigns I imagine the second way makes the most sense and is basically how it's suppose to be done. How many players do you need to run one effectively? How do you come up with scenario flow? Also I don't want to do multi company games right now. Simple lance on lance or a BV limit equivalent. Possibly moving up to a company as we get to the end.

   I hope this all makes sense and that you can give me the basics for this. I've got so many ideas I just need a consistent, fair, sensible and most important fun way to play it out.
it's a bit comforting knowing that to fire we're a same color- flammable. ~Orin J.

Cowdragon

  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 2921
  • PM me for Ft. Collins CO battletech games
Re: StratOps and all the problems my mind is running into now.
« Reply #1 on: 01 October 2011, 14:41:38 »
the layout on all of the new books starting from Total Warfare and moving on to Strat Ops is frustrating to say the least. Information is scattered in too may places to be useful. I'm never sure where to look for anything even though I own all of them... but on PDF which is normally fine... except that makes it even more difficult to read in the current layout. Try using the PDF search doesn't work either very well.

On wings of steel, Come I, Pillars of flame
Mark me, Fury bright as suns, Foes fear
The star back road, I hunt, Blood geld payment
Shan't be, The ravens throne, Blod Orn
- vidar (thank you vidar!!!)
Pie or Spehs and Tanks also BA

A. Lurker

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4641
Re: StratOps and all the problems my mind is running into now.
« Reply #2 on: 01 October 2011, 16:39:28 »
To determine a unit's overall Technology Rating, simply use the highest you can find among all its parts (starting at A and going up from there). Rather counterintuitively -- though to be fair, there is a hint in the "Availability" section on page 286 --, this bit of wisdom is only to be found on page 117 of the TechManual...in the Support Vehicle Construction chapter.

That means that a BattleMech will have a minimal Tech Rating of D, probably E if it uses any advanced construction options or weapons at all, and likely shooting up to the maximum of F if it uses Clantech.

TheOldGuy

  • Master Sergeant
  • *
  • Posts: 261
Re: StratOps and all the problems my mind is running into now.
« Reply #3 on: 02 October 2011, 23:43:37 »
I very much feel your pain.  While overall impressed with Total Warfare through Strat Ops, the scattered information DRIVES ME CRAZY!!!

Its horrible, and I'll tell you right now you'll be back to the board for maintenance help as well.  The rules themselves aren't bad, just how they're organized.  HORRIBLE!

Cowdragon

  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 2921
  • PM me for Ft. Collins CO battletech games
Re: StratOps and all the problems my mind is running into now.
« Reply #4 on: 03 October 2011, 01:08:18 »
I very much feel your pain.  While overall impressed with Total Warfare through Strat Ops, the scattered information DRIVES ME CRAZY!!!

Its horrible, and I'll tell you right now you'll be back to the board for maintenance help as well.  The rules themselves aren't bad, just how they're organized.  HORRIBLE!

that's a pretty liberal use of the word "organized" TheOldGuy. :P

Seriously though, I own all of the books. They look great. The fiction is fantastic. The rules are solid. But whiskey tango foxtrot were they thinking when they scattered them around like that. It would be a great submission to FailBlog.org actually.

On wings of steel, Come I, Pillars of flame
Mark me, Fury bright as suns, Foes fear
The star back road, I hunt, Blood geld payment
Shan't be, The ravens throne, Blod Orn
- vidar (thank you vidar!!!)
Pie or Spehs and Tanks also BA

A. Lurker

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4641
Re: StratOps and all the problems my mind is running into now.
« Reply #5 on: 03 October 2011, 03:27:08 »
One of the bigger problems with the rulebooks is, IMO, that critical information is frequently only to be found in that one spot, which may well be nowhere near where you'd expect it, and then never repeated anywhere else, whether it would be useful to have there as well or not. (The Tech Rating bit is just one example.) So you frequently have to flip pages or even switch from one book to another just to collect all the rules that actually apply to resolving a given situation before you can proceed.

StCptMara

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 6412
  • Looking for new Adder skin boots
Re: StratOps and all the problems my mind is running into now.
« Reply #6 on: 03 October 2011, 03:42:47 »
One of the bigger problems with the rulebooks is, IMO, that critical information is frequently only to be found in that one spot, which may well be nowhere near where you'd expect it, and then never repeated anywhere else, whether it would be useful to have there as well or not. (The Tech Rating bit is just one example.) So you frequently have to flip pages or even switch from one book to another just to collect all the rules that actually apply to resolving a given situation before you can proceed.

Honestly, I do not consider that to be a problem.  The problem is that they do not have "See TM p. XXX" in the instances they have those. I can fully understand not reprinting the rules, especially not reprinting them in the Core Books, simply because those take up extra pages. Considering that TacOps and StratOps were originally going to be one book....that tells us alot right there of how important page count can be. If they reprinted every
rule you needed, then the books would be even MORE massive! And they are already pushing "Son..do you
have a license to carry that book?" sizes, as is.
"Victory or Debt!"- The Battlecry of Mercenaries everywhere

"Greetings, Mechwarrior! You have been recruited by the Star League to defend the frontier against---Oops, wrong universe" - Unknown SLDF Recruiter

Reality and Battletech go hand in hand like a drug induced hallucination and engineering a fusion reactor ;-)

A. Lurker

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4641
Re: StratOps and all the problems my mind is running into now.
« Reply #7 on: 03 October 2011, 04:14:46 »
Honestly, I do not consider that to be a problem.  The problem is that they do not have "See TM p. XXX" in the instances they have those. I can fully understand not reprinting the rules, especially not reprinting them in the Core Books, simply because those take up extra pages. Considering that TacOps and StratOps were originally going to be one book....that tells us alot right there of how important page count can be. If they reprinted every
rule you needed, then the books would be even MORE massive! And they are already pushing "Son..do you
have a license to carry that book?" sizes, as is.

I considered the page count argument. However, in what are ultimately primarily rulebooks, what's more important: having the rules as clear, consistent, and hopefully easy to absorb as possible or having dozens of pages left to spend on fluffy fiction, artwork, and in some cases photos of nicely painted miniatures?

Even without wanting to go to the extreme of turning the BT rules into a set of perfectly bland textbooks -- and for the record, I don't --, I think I know what I'd trim back first. As long as there's room in StratOps for extended in-universe lectures on the physics of interstellar travel, the argument that repeating important rules information in a few key spots would be too much doesn't have much of a leg to stand on.

Mohammed As`Zaman Bey

  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 2187
Re: StratOps and all the problems my mind is running into now.
« Reply #8 on: 04 October 2011, 05:38:45 »
BT rulebooks have always had a an organization problem. I've lost count of the number of times I've had to hunt through various publications to piece together related information that should have been compiled in a single volume.

While I have no criticism for the desire to produce a slick, visually appealing product, the finished product must achieve the vital goal of being useful to the players, which includes facilitating the location of information that the players need.

When players have to come to this site and ask, "Where is the information that I need to do this?" then there are deficiencies in the system that must be mitigated so the problem doesn't occur again.

Issues such as determining Tech Rating, Salvage, Repairs, etc., can all be compiled in the next iteration of the Mercenary Handbook, with references to the appropriate book, section, paragraph, etc., for clarification since these issues are more on the RPG level of play, although the same information would be of use to House units as well.

When composing a rulebook, the writers must always ask, "How would a player find the information he needs with the least amount of effort?"

Personally, I prefer dry textbooks. If I want fluff I read a novel. If I want images the internet has more than I'll ever need.

I've used military Tech Manuals and have worked in the US government for almost thirty years and when you have library full of publications you will have at least one manual dedicated to locate specific information in one or more of the publications in your library. Perhaps that would be a stopgap fix to a constant problem until the next manual revisions.

whiteshadowzo

  • Master Sergeant
  • *
  • Posts: 244
  • I was raised by a cup of coffee
Re: StratOps and all the problems my mind is running into now.
« Reply #9 on: 17 October 2011, 14:50:17 »
Can someone tell me what exactly the tech ratings of various engines and structures from Techmanual are.

From what I can tell with replacement you'd refer to techmanual to find the tech rating of the item you want then by comparing your MoS or MoF determine the quality. Well the tables in the back all have the tech ratings for weapons, tools, safety equipment and things but not engines, structure, actuators, heat sinks (i think anyway), cockpit, armor. All the things that are more or less "required." I assume FAPP that a rating of D would suffice but I was wondering if there was a table anywhere to be found.
 
it's a bit comforting knowing that to fire we're a same color- flammable. ~Orin J.

A. Lurker

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4641
Re: StratOps and all the problems my mind is running into now.
« Reply #10 on: 17 October 2011, 15:55:16 »
Can someone tell me what exactly the tech ratings of various engines and structures from Techmanual are.

You can find those in the "Cost and Availability" chapter proper. Specifically, in the various unit-specific tables on pp. 277 - 283.

TheOldGuy

  • Master Sergeant
  • *
  • Posts: 261
Re: StratOps and all the problems my mind is running into now.
« Reply #11 on: 17 October 2011, 17:12:03 »
Can someone tell me what exactly the tech ratings of various engines and structures from Techmanual are.

From what I can tell with replacement you'd refer to techmanual to find the tech rating of the item you want then by comparing your MoS or MoF determine the quality. Well the tables in the back all have the tech ratings for weapons, tools, safety equipment and things but not engines, structure, actuators, heat sinks (i think anyway), cockpit, armor. All the things that are more or less "required." I assume FAPP that a rating of D would suffice but I was wondering if there was a table anywhere to be found.

Yes, this also drives me crazy.  While impressed with the increased scope of the rule books, they bungled the whole affair.

Khymerion

  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 2500
    • The Iron Hack
Re: StratOps and all the problems my mind is running into now.
« Reply #12 on: 17 October 2011, 22:28:43 »
I am wondering if they could put out a trimmed down version of the rules, a master rule book if you would.  Cut and toss out all the fluff pieces, the bulk of the artwork, and setting building materials, go through and put page numbers to tell you what book and on what page to find the proper information (Like just telling me what page to go to for the master engine mass chart in the various construction sections), and put clarifications/errata in.   The amount of space saved by not giving us a short story with loads of pictures and fluff that at times almost contradicts what the rules are doing at the face of every chapter might slim the books immensely... back down to not having to worry if my rule book bag is going to fit in the door of my car size.

I am not saying I don't love the endless reams of fluff...  but I almost want the slim feel of my old BMR/AT2/Max Tech books back compared to my starting to rival the size and mass of a small battlemech collection...  and still waiting on the last book to break the shelf.
"Any sufficiently rigorously defined magic is indistinguishable from technology."  - Larry Niven... far too appropriate at times here.

...but sometimes making sure you turn their ace into red paste is more important than friends.

Do not offend the chair leg of truth.  It is wise and terrible.

The GM is only right for as long as the facts back him up.

Mohammed As`Zaman Bey

  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 2187
Re: StratOps and all the problems my mind is running into now.
« Reply #13 on: 30 October 2011, 23:12:59 »
I write instruction manuals and training materials for the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration and have been war gaming since the 1970s. Some of the best war games (Like SSI or Avalon Hill) had a government-style numbering system for various rule categories to facilitate the ease of finding a specific rule category and subcategory with any references also listed, not by page number but by section, subsection and paragraph -It is very easy, intuitive and great for all of us rules lawyers who normally have to prove to a GM that what we are doing is legal without having to pause a game for half an hour to hunt for obscure rules hidden in a maze of superfluous fluff and pretty pictures.

Here are a couple of examples of standardized publications:
http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/ref/TM/pdfs/TM9-206.pdf
http://www.liberatedmanuals.com/TM-1-1520-244-MTF.pdf

I use this one all the time:
http://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/publications/ATPubs/AIM/AIMbasic2-11-10.pdf

Minerva

  • Master Sergeant
  • *
  • Posts: 212
Re: StratOps and all the problems my mind is running into now.
« Reply #14 on: 31 October 2011, 05:54:31 »
Actually you want the SPI's method (see NATO Division Commander) of writing first the rule open as simplified method how it works followed by detailed numbered system from crunch and finally adding optional designer's notes for describing why rule was written in certain way. It is a very good way to describe rules set.

I have been frustrated many times by generally poor writing in FASA/FanPro/CGL products. The root of the problem is too much blubber in actual rules section. Text has too many sentences that either repeat material or really add nothing to rule in question. I think that you could easily shave off 5-10% of text length, possibly even 20% by simply editing the rules properly.

Mohammed As`Zaman Bey

  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 2187
Re: StratOps and all the problems my mind is running into now.
« Reply #15 on: 31 October 2011, 07:41:36 »
You are correct, it was SPI. SSI made computer war games.

I wholly agree, the format of BT rules must be rethought, although it is rather late for the core books.
Even with very well organized rules and regulations used by the FAA, we still have books with the specific purpose of locating information found in other books.

I would rather pay for a core set of BT rules in simple, black and white format, minimal illustrations for examples, no slick photos, no fluff or fiction, just the facts so learning the rules and looking up details isn't a treasure hunt.

Hmmm...that could be a project...

StCptMara

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 6412
  • Looking for new Adder skin boots
Re: StratOps and all the problems my mind is running into now.
« Reply #16 on: 31 October 2011, 07:55:37 »
I would rather pay for a core set of BT rules in simple, black and white format, minimal illustrations for examples, no slick photos, no fluff or fiction, just the facts so learning the rules and looking up details isn't a treasure hunt.

And yet, Battletech, not following that, is certainly more visible then Star Fleet Battles, which does do that.  In fact, I have never been
able to sit down and read the SFB rules like I have been able to sit down and read the Battletech rules. Then again, I also have to
be reminded oftentimes that CGL books have this new-fangled thing called an "Index"...and it is not even in a separate book! It is
right there in the book I have!

However, seriously: show me a current, successful game that does not have a built in fanbase from a successful movie franchise
that uses your method, sir. Battletech might not be like it was in the 80's and early 90's, but, then again, neither is the gaming
industry or the people who buy games.(Though, honestly, I do sometimes feel like going "Hey you kids! Get offa my lawn!" Yet,
I have to understand that the hobby has changed, and it cannot keep trying to appeal to an audience that has moved past where
I started. Heck, *I* have moved past where I started....though I still have to remember that having an index is normal, no longer
an actual selling feature!)

"Victory or Debt!"- The Battlecry of Mercenaries everywhere

"Greetings, Mechwarrior! You have been recruited by the Star League to defend the frontier against---Oops, wrong universe" - Unknown SLDF Recruiter

Reality and Battletech go hand in hand like a drug induced hallucination and engineering a fusion reactor ;-)

nckestrel

  • Scientia Bellator
  • Freelance Writer
  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 10625
Re: StratOps and all the problems my mind is running into now.
« Reply #17 on: 31 October 2011, 08:31:14 »
BattleTech doesn't necessarily need all B&W, every paragraph numbered, etc.  but that doesn't mean the organization can't be improved.  Total Warfare did a good job of bringing lots of rules sets together and having lots of "impact" (short stories, layout elements, art, visual aids), but it could use some more work in organizing the rules, in my opinion.    Going through the turn in order is a good start.  But then equipment rules, buildlings, protomechs, combat vehicles, support vehicles, infantry and aerospace units have sections out of order.  (Carrying units is under Support Vehicles for support vehicles, infantry for infantry, aerospace movement for aerospace units carrying.  If mounting/dismounting is under movement for aerospace, it should be under movement for ground units?).  There's an aerospace movement section right after ground movment, but aerospace combat is nowhere near ground combat.

I like Total Warfare a lot, but that doesn't mean it couldn't be better.
Alpha Strike Introduction resources
Left of Center blog - Nashira Campaign for A Game of Armored Combat, TP 3039 Vega Supplemental Record Sheets

TheOldGuy

  • Master Sergeant
  • *
  • Posts: 261
Re: StratOps and all the problems my mind is running into now.
« Reply #18 on: 31 October 2011, 12:36:09 »
You can have a slick, enticing product without all the fluff and a better layout.  Adding numbers to rules section as has been mentioned is a great idea, its something I've seen before and is really useful.  These rulebooks books, and the group I play with wholly agrees, have been a disappointment.  Re-learning the rules around BA sucked, and I still don't understand fully how maintenance works in SO - not helped by having to flip between 3 rulebooks to try and do so.  The rules themselves aren't the problem.

guardiandashi

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4712
Re: StratOps and all the problems my mind is running into now.
« Reply #19 on: 31 October 2011, 14:19:13 »
one example I ran into reciently is where some of the rules that seem incredibly clear to me (like movement and firing) seem to have lots of examples (which is actually fine mostly)
and another rule EG repairs and upgrades have none

of course the no example I could find causes long drawn out "discussions" when talking about a what IMO would be a simple refit

example take a std 3025 MAD-3R, or MAD-3D Marauder and refit it with DHS I figured reading the section in strategic ops that it should take 1 tech team ~45-67ish hours (base time) to retrofit a mad 3R if just doing a heat sink upgrade.  however other people insist it is going to take months so I am sitting here scratching my head trying to figure out where they came up with the time they indicated.

Cowdragon

  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 2921
  • PM me for Ft. Collins CO battletech games
Re: StratOps and all the problems my mind is running into now.
« Reply #20 on: 05 November 2011, 17:19:49 »
You can have a slick, enticing product without all the fluff and a better layout.  Adding numbers to rules section as has been mentioned is a great idea, its something I've seen before and is really useful.  These rulebooks books, and the group I play with wholly agrees, have been a disappointment.  Re-learning the rules around BA sucked, and I still don't understand fully how maintenance works in SO - not helped by having to flip between 3 rulebooks to try and do so.  The rules themselves aren't the problem.

Yup! the rules themselves are pretty great! [cough]fix autocannons[/cough]  It's the layout that makes it so difficult to figure out. It's just too difficult to figure some things out. I have to look HOW many places to figure out what a squadron reacts like in combat with dropships, warships, other squadrons, etc??

On wings of steel, Come I, Pillars of flame
Mark me, Fury bright as suns, Foes fear
The star back road, I hunt, Blood geld payment
Shan't be, The ravens throne, Blod Orn
- vidar (thank you vidar!!!)
Pie or Spehs and Tanks also BA

FedComGirl

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4447
Re: StratOps and all the problems my mind is running into now.
« Reply #21 on: 18 November 2011, 17:57:32 »
The layout is frustrating, especially when the book you need to look at hasn't been published yet. It's been that way for years though. An index book would be nice but that isn't really possible until all the core books have been published. Until then it's a lot of page flipping and trying to remember where the rules are. I've done it enough that I finally had to buy PDFs of the rule books because my books are falling apart and I didn't want to risk carrying them with me anymore. Taping up the outside of books is easy. The inside is a lot harder.