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Made in gb
Last Remaining Whole C'Tan






Tygre wrote:
IIRC it was mentioned that when they designed BFG they thought of the 3d aspect, but came to the conclusion that it just became an unneeded range modifier.

I hope if BFG is redone Chaos and Imperial will be better balanced. In my experience Chaos ships were faster, better ranged, more firepower, and cheaper. The only advantage Imperials had was the armoured prow. And torpedoes were like weapon batteries that could be stopped by a single fighter.


Imperials also had Nova Cannon, and did well in closer ranged brawls. The Torpedoes were there to encourage your opponent to break formation. Given they ignored shields, well placed markers could do serious damage to Escort Squadrons.

The trick was to be able to force your opponent to break formation, whilst being in position to properly capitalise on it.

Nova Cannon were wildly unpredictable, but could delete Capital Scale Ships from the first turn with a jammy shot. Certainly I played one spectacular-yet-crap game of BFG. First shot was my Nova Cannon. Took out his Battle Barge, warp engine went critical, gutted much of his fleet.

Yes we reset rather than play it out! Still chalked up the win though!

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I will just have to agree to disagree with your opinions. Exactly like Necromunda isn't the same without playing it on a 3D board, the same would apply to Space Wargames IMHO. The positioning of several ships in relation to everything else on a 3D matrix is obviously different than on a 2D plane, its not even a matter of opinion.

But I didn't mean to derail the discussion. Carry on.
   
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Da Head Honcho Boss Grot




New Jersey, State of Perfection

 tauist wrote:
I will just have to agree to disagree with your opinions. Exactly like Necromunda isn't the same without playing it on a 3D board, the same would apply to Space Wargames IMHO. The positioning of several ships in relation to everything else on a 3D matrix is obviously different than on a 2D plane, its not even a matter of opinion.

But I didn't mean to derail the discussion. Carry on.


You're right that its not a matter of opinion. You're simply wrong about everything else.

The reason Necromunda is different when playing on a 3D board is in part because gravity exists in the environment the combat occurs in. You fall from height and take damage - because of gravity. You climb vertically at a slower pace than you can move horizontally - because of gravity. etc. etc. etc. More importantly though, a big part of what makes Necromunda on a 3D board different is how multi-dimensional terrain impacts line of sight as well as limiting movement by way of walls/vertically impassible terrain features, which offers more options for movement/cover and makes for a more tactical maneuver-based experience than what would be achievable otherwise with 2D terrain.

You know what you're not going to encounter in space?

1. Fall damage.
2. Moving slower in the vertical axis than you can in the horizontal axes.
3. Being unable to move somewhere because its too tall for you to climb up or over it.
etc.

And more likely than not, you're not going to encounter a scenario in which you can't attack something because theres an object in the way. If your opponent is hiding behind a planet, the planet is large enough that moving vertically on a third axis won't make a meaningful difference in your ability to see it. If your opponent is hiding in a nebula or an asteroid field, its very nature as a piece of "area terrain" means that its irrelevant from which angle you are targeting them from, as they are still going to be inside of the nebula/asteroid field, etc. etc. etc.

While there are some few factors that would justify the addition of a third dimension, they are mostly factors that apply in every other domain of warfare but are otherwise largely ignored or heavily abstracted (i.e. striking a target from above or below and the related penalties/bonuses that might occur, or the 3D incidental angle of an incoming shot against armor, etc.). In fact - there are *more* factors that would justify a 3rd dimension in non-space games than there are in space that are likewise ignored or heavily abstracted (range bonuses if you're shooting at something below you vs a penalty for shooting something higher than you, altitude limits for aircraft, depth limits for submarines, things like thermoclines or thermal layers at varying depths/altitudes interacting with sensor systems, impacts of altitude/depth on engine performance or altitude/depth related density/drag impacts on speed, etc.).

And you know what, pick any 2 points in your hypothetical 3D matrix and you get a 2-dimensional line. Any 3 points in your hypothetical 3D matrix and you get a 2-dimensional plane. Its only at 4 points and above that you start encountering 3-dimensional geometry - but most games out there are only designed mechanically around:
-2 point interactions (a interacts with b, example - unit a attacks target unit b)

or

-2.5 point interactions (a interacts with b, with some aspect of the interaction being modified by a or bs proximity/placement relative to c, OR a interacts with b and c simultaneously, but the interaction is treated as 2 discrete events; example - unit a attacks target unit b, but a gets an attack buff from unit c).

Note that in the case of 2.5 point interactions, there can be theoretically infinite numbers of c, but because they are treated as discrete entities within the interaction they do not add "points" to it.

A rare few games feature true 3 point interactions (a interacts with b, with the interaction being modified by mutual proximity/placement relative to c OR a interacts with b and c simultaneously and the entire interaction is treated as a single event rather than as separate events, example - unit a attacks unit b based on its targeting telemetry, but the attack itself originates from unit c which serves as a remote weapons platform, etc.).

There may be a few games that feature true 4+ point interactions (same as a 3 point interaction, but add d, e, f, g, etc. into the mix), but I have never encountered them and such interactions become extremely complex. The point here though is that mechanically speaking most if not all your actions in a tabletop game boil down to a 2-dimensional affair anyway and theres no advantage to be gained in space wargaming by the addition of a 3rd dimension that isn't burdened by the additional bookkeeping required in order to enable it.

And on that note, very few if any games feature a true 3rd axis. Necromunda is better thought of as 2.5D as it does not take full advantage of height by way of modifiers to things like range, lethality, hit location, etc. Likewise most air games don't take full advantage of the 3rd dimension in gameplay due to the incredible amount of complexity and burdensome bookkeeping added by it - I have played a few such games (and even then its debatable if they were fully 3D or just 2.99D given some of the abstraction that needed to be put in place to enable it), and it generally takes hours to resolve action that would in actuality span out to less than 30 seconds of combat. That level of detail and complexity is already absent from all the games you're playing now, it seems silly to rage against space wargaming because you think that level of detail and complexity is somehow uniquely required in that domain only.

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Yes at a certain level of bookkeeping it becomes less a game than a chore, and better suited for a computer game that can handle all of that.

Sure, there are tactics I could see happening in full 3D if BFG were a true 3D game like Homeworld, but with more detailed arcs and damage location tracking. For example, feinting with one force to draw another ship, say Imperial Navy with their armored prows, to face them, while a 2nd force attacks the Imperial ship's exposed underbelly where there is little return fire. Such a tactic gets abstracted onto a 2D tabletop but I see that as an acceptable concession to the practicalities of tabletop and human bookkeeping.
   
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As a physicist, I can't see much point in caring about 3d modeling in the void when it all really comes down to linear lines between points A and B at distances where nothing matters without constantly selfcorrecting ammunition anyway. The lack of energy fighting as applies to aerospace battles makes positioning a question of range over everything else. Deep space doesn't care, man.

This isn't the case in, say, X-wing where the distances are ridiculously cramped and battles often happen in planetary gravity wells. For real braintwisters, I suggest a look at Attack Vector (near-space dog fighting with 3d momentum vectors) and its attempt at additional orbital mechanics. It is an absolutely unplayable slog, but you could use it as a training exercise for your NASA application I guess?

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New Jersey, State of Perfection

 Sherrypie wrote:
As a physicist, I can't see much point in caring about 3d modeling in the void when it all really comes down to linear lines between points A and B at distances where nothing matters without constantly selfcorrecting ammunition anyway. The lack of energy fighting as applies to aerospace battles makes positioning a question of range over everything else. Deep space doesn't care, man.

This isn't the case in, say, X-wing where the distances are ridiculously cramped and battles often happen in planetary gravity wells. For real braintwisters, I suggest a look at Attack Vector (near-space dog fighting with 3d momentum vectors) and its attempt at additional orbital mechanics. It is an absolutely unplayable slog, but you could use it as a training exercise for your NASA application I guess?


This is basically my take as an engineer in the aerospace and defense industry. And yeah I had a follow up post for tauist in mind, basically to the effect of:

"If 3D space matters so much to you, go try Attack Vector and see how much fun you don't have trying to play it. Or you can try playing Dropfleet Commander (basically BFG with a 3rd dimension) in a custom scenario and see how irrelevant that 3rd dimension becomes in terms of gameplay and outcome). etc."

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Hmmmm. I'm playing Attack Vector online right now and the third dimension is making a huge difference.
   
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The third dimension isn't completely irrelevant, but in tabletop games it's almost never worth the trouble of trying to model it.

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New Jersey, State of Perfection

Try playing AVT in person on tabletop and see if you still think the 3rd dimension matters

The truth of the matter is that the 3rd dimension in AVT only really seems to matter because the game strives for simulation and doesn't apply abstraction to concepts that basically every other tabletop game out there (be it land, sea, air or space) does. You would find the 3rd dimension matters as much in AVT as it does in a ground combat game like 40k or in a wet navy game like Victory at Sea, etc. if those games took a similar simulationist approach.

Also bares mentioning that there is/was an active community of AVT players who completely threw out the 3rd dimension and just played it 2D - it doesn't really take much work at all to modify the rules as such (which says something...), makes the game infinitely more playable, and basically demonstrates how contrived the 3rd dimension actually is. Hell even the games designer used to demo and teach the game in 2D rather than 3D, ultimately he stopped doing that because he was unhappy about the idea of having to abstract the range instead of accounting for the three dimensional slant angle - a pretty weak argument in favor of the 3rd dimension IMO.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/06/21 01:02:28


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Longtime Dakkanaut





The only real useful mechanical distinctions you can make in 3d space, is hit locations an inertia.

Rather than having 4 arcs, ships would have 6, with the underside being the least armed.

So, you can argue that being able to hide in enemy arcs that they have trouble targeting you in is a worthy mechanic. Also targeting the top or bottom might have a better outcome.

Inertia would be that you have a 'true forward' and a dynamic forward.

Your true forward would be the direction you keep going no matter what orientation your bow is in, you basically look like you're pulling sick drifts, turning to going in other directions while you keep moving 'true forward'.

Only an all ahead full order you reorientate your true forward.

That has some potential interesting mechanics around how you target enemy ships based on where your ship will end up.


Aeronautica Imperialis had altitude levels that affected how you attacked your enemy (which is similar to the top and bottom arc concept above).


In the end though, if your ships can adjust their roll axis as well as yaw and pitch fairly easily, then a ship can easily roll itself so the bottom is not targetable by an enemy, or to bring a broadside into arc for a shot.


In practical terms I would say the most useful representation of these effects would be as orders, where you issue roll orders to bring an armoured side of the ship against an enemy, or the enemy issues 'dive' or 'ascent' orders to target specific vulnerable parts of the enemy.

These might allow for better armour against attacks, or the ability to increase the chance of a critical attack etc, but without the need for physically representing the 3D aspects of these actions.


   
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While there are certainly tactics for 3D that have even appeared within the 40K novel background (such as one where a battlecruiser starts barrel rolling along its long axis in order for both its broadsides to fire upon an enemy, essentially doubling its firepower), none of GW games have tried to go for a simulationist approach. A 3D re-design would also mean having to essentially go back over all the existing designs to cover things like dorsal and ventral fire arcs.

That level of detail would make it increasingly a chore to do fleet level combat. Maybe for individual ship duels and with more highly detailed damage locations for a ship, maybe, but then you're then in the role of a ship captain whereas BFG is meant to be more in the role of an admiral.
   
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washington state USA

 Hellebore wrote:
The only real useful mechanical distinctions you can make in 3d space, is hit locations an inertia.

Rather than having 4 arcs, ships would have 6, with the underside being the least armed.

So, you can argue that being able to hide in enemy arcs that they have trouble targeting you in is a worthy mechanic. Also targeting the top or bottom might have a better outcome.

Inertia would be that you have a 'true forward' and a dynamic forward.

Your true forward would be the direction you keep going no matter what orientation your bow is in, you basically look like you're pulling sick drifts, turning to going in other directions while you keep moving 'true forward'.

Only an all ahead full order you reorientate your true forward.

That has some potential interesting mechanics around how you target enemy ships based on where your ship will end up.





The B5 wars system already includes all the features you touched on using newtonian physics related to inertia/mass etc... if you have the thrust available you can pivot, roll, flip, slide a ship and if it is small/agile enough it can make snap turns. However with increased complexity the scale of the game necessarily decreases due to record keeping and rules mechanics.

BFG is a fleet battle system that relies on abstract rules to allow the game size it represents.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/06/21 06:45:56




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Made in gb
Ship's Officer





Bristol (UK)

Adding more simulationist mechanics to BFG runs into another problem though... the ship designs make no sense in context.

A broadside ship of the line makes sense in a 2d plane, it doesn't in a 3d plane.
Torpedos can be used to reasonable effect in a 2d plane, they're close to useless in a 3d plane.
   
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 kirotheavenger wrote:
Adding more simulationist mechanics to BFG runs into another problem though... the ship designs make no sense in context.

A broadside ship of the line makes sense in a 2d plane, it doesn't in a 3d plane.
Torpedos can be used to reasonable effect in a 2d plane, they're close to useless in a 3d plane.


Both of those issues would be easy to solve by simply allowing barrel roll maneuvers and representing torpedoes tracking their targets with more pronounced movements. The point is, for the most part, that would only add extra fiddling no-one cares about into the game that already abstracts such concerns into a tabletop friendly form.

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Longtime Dakkanaut




 Sherrypie wrote:
 kirotheavenger wrote:
Adding more simulationist mechanics to BFG runs into another problem though... the ship designs make no sense in context.

A broadside ship of the line makes sense in a 2d plane, it doesn't in a 3d plane.
Torpedos can be used to reasonable effect in a 2d plane, they're close to useless in a 3d plane.


Both of those issues would be easy to solve by simply allowing barrel roll maneuvers and representing torpedoes tracking their targets with more pronounced movements. The point is, for the most part, that would only add extra fiddling no-one cares about into the game that already abstracts such concerns into a tabletop friendly form.


The problem with the game aspect of allowing for example Imperial ships to barrel roll is then it effectively allows them to double their firepower against a single target. All the existing broadside designs would increase enormously in power versus all the other factions that are not broadside based like Eldar and Necrons.

A BFG torpedo is basically like a cruise missile. However plotting out the maneuvers of multiple flight of torpedoes in 3D would not be exactly fun for most people. That's something best suited for a computer game.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/06/21 11:40:49


 
   
Made in au
Longtime Dakkanaut





 aphyon wrote:
 Hellebore wrote:
The only real useful mechanical distinctions you can make in 3d space, is hit locations an inertia.

Rather than having 4 arcs, ships would have 6, with the underside being the least armed.

So, you can argue that being able to hide in enemy arcs that they have trouble targeting you in is a worthy mechanic. Also targeting the top or bottom might have a better outcome.

Inertia would be that you have a 'true forward' and a dynamic forward.

Your true forward would be the direction you keep going no matter what orientation your bow is in, you basically look like you're pulling sick drifts, turning to going in other directions while you keep moving 'true forward'.

Only an all ahead full order you reorientate your true forward.

That has some potential interesting mechanics around how you target enemy ships based on where your ship will end up.





The B5 wars system already includes all the features you touched on using newtonian physics related to inertia/mass etc... if you have the thrust available you can pivot, roll, flip, slide a ship and if it is small/agile enough it can make snap turns. However with increased complexity the scale of the game necessarily decreases due to record keeping and rules mechanics.

BFG is a fleet battle system that relies on abstract rules to allow the game size it represents.



Hence why my suggestion at the bottom of my post that in practice, the easiest way to add the 3D flavour without increasing the complexity, is to make these aspects Orders to reflect your ability to go up and down.

The game represents the 3D nature somewhat already, in the form of deliberate ramming. the space where the ship is, is so large that you have to deliberately perform a ram or ships move past each other. The same is true of ordnance attacks - they count as attacking when they reach the base of the model, which is considered 'close', but is still kms away from the ship itself. The ordnance still goes up and down and side to side to actually hit the ship.


Generally when thinking about 'reality' in the context of a game, I look at it from the outcome - what in practice would it do? There's a difference between being technically correct and practically useable. So in terms of 3D space, what's the practical effect on ships during a battle?

Hence my comment above where I said Orders where you issue roll orders to bring an armoured side of the ship against an enemy, or the enemy issues 'dive' or 'ascent' orders to target specific vulnerable parts of the enemy are probably the most practical way of representing 3D space without having to bother with diagonal planes of movement and multiple altitudes.





   
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Iracundus wrote:

The problem with the game aspect of allowing for example Imperial ships to barrel roll is then it effectively allows them to double their firepower against a single target. All the existing broadside designs would increase enormously in power versus all the other factions that are not broadside based like Eldar and Necrons.


It's an incredibly strange assumption that any game would let you shoot, barrel roll, and shoot again as one activation.

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 lord_blackfang wrote:
Iracundus wrote:

The problem with the game aspect of allowing for example Imperial ships to barrel roll is then it effectively allows them to double their firepower against a single target. All the existing broadside designs would increase enormously in power versus all the other factions that are not broadside based like Eldar and Necrons.


It's an incredibly strange assumption that any game would let you shoot, barrel roll, and shoot again as one activation.


If you mean simply roll to swap left and right sides due to one side's weapons being offline, that's not an issue. The issue would be if trying to replicate a maneuver seen in one of the Dawn of Fire novels, where an Overlord class battlecruiser barrel rolls and in doing so achieves a decisive firepower advantage over its foe due to both broadsides firing on the foe when it could return fire with only one of its own, and this leading to the Overlord winning the battle. There was no other reason in that particular story for the ship to barrel roll. It was purely to gain the firepower advantage.

This message was edited 3 times. Last update was at 2021/06/22 20:40:41


 
   
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Annandale, VA

 tauist wrote:
I never played BFG, but the idea of simulating a 3D space on a 2D board sounds already so kludgy that I dont know if I'd enjoy it. I dont know if any ruleset can overcome this simple obstacle properly.


Bit late to the thread, but try Attack Vector: Tactical if you want a 1v1 game or Squadron Strike if you want fleets. The 3D implementation isn't as complex as you might expect either- although AV:T is incredibly complex for other reasons. Squadron Strike is much more approachable and sounds like it might be more the sort of game you're looking for.

For all the talk about how 3D doesn't matter, the moment you run into a line of warships and can simply fly over it makes the significance clear, as does simply accelerating out-of-plane to avoid a missile while keeping broadside to your target. Put BFG-style dumbfire torpedoes in a 3D environment and they instantly go from extremely effective to nearly worthless because they're easily avoided. Tactics that are straightforward in a 2D environment suddenly don't apply or are easily circumvented, and the extra dimension facilitates tactics of its own. PC gamers who've played Homeworld seem to get it, aerial wargamers absolutely get it; I mostly see pushback from naval wargamers.

The truth of it is that while it does make a substantial difference for tactics, most sci-fi naval wargames are reskinning Jutland to begin with and aren't trying to make a serious exploration of space as a medium for warfare. And for that reason I don't mind BFG being 2D, because it's fun for what it is, which is not in any way a realistic depiction of space. If it were 3D and Newtonian (and that's a whole other can of worms) it just wouldn't be BFG, and undeniably much more complex to play.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2021/07/06 14:32:22


 
   
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Fixture of Dakka






chaos0xomega wrote:
Try playing AVT in person on tabletop and see if you still think the 3rd dimension matters

The truth of the matter is that the 3rd dimension in AVT only really seems to matter because the game strives for simulation and doesn't apply abstraction to concepts that basically every other tabletop game out there (be it land, sea, air or space) does. You would find the 3rd dimension matters as much in AVT as it does in a ground combat game like 40k or in a wet navy game like Victory at Sea, etc. if those games took a similar simulationist approach.

Also bares mentioning that there is/was an active community of AVT players who completely threw out the 3rd dimension and just played it 2D - it doesn't really take much work at all to modify the rules as such (which says something...), makes the game infinitely more playable, and basically demonstrates how contrived the 3rd dimension actually is. Hell even the games designer used to demo and teach the game in 2D rather than 3D, ultimately he stopped doing that because he was unhappy about the idea of having to abstract the range instead of accounting for the three dimensional slant angle - a pretty weak argument in favor of the 3rd dimension IMO.


I've played Attack Vector, but only as a couple of single-ship duels with lasers. The surprising thing for me was how quickly I got used to the mechanics of moving a ship around, and went from "OK, so I write this number here, and add these two, and that means I move my token there..." to "right, I want to pitch up, bank left and thrust, so I come around like this..." But yes, in the games I played, 3D movement was mostly irrelevant. In fact, with a 1-on-1 fight, it's really only a 1D game. If we'd been firing missiles or projectile weapons, or had multiple ships, it might have been more useful, to surround an enemy ship. Still, it was more of an experience, not a game I'd want to play a lot (although, if I did, perhaps it would become less of a chore?). Still less complicated to do anything than B5 Wars, right enough.

Of the ship games I've played, Battlefleet Gothic and Full Thrust are probably my favourites, with BFG edging in front due to not having to pre-plot movement. The fact that it feels like 18th century naval combat is a plus, not a negative; the ground combat games feel like 18th century combat too sometimes.

Someone mentioned a broken Space Marine faction; that's IK, if we ever see BFG again, it'll likely be set during the Heresy, so every fleet will be Space Marines.
   
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 AndrewGPaul wrote:
But yes, in the games I played, 3D movement was mostly irrelevant. In fact, with a 1-on-1 fight, it's really only a 1D game.


Laser-only duels in AV:T are more an exercise in ship management than a maneuver game. It's only when you have multiple ships, a fixed reference point, and/or start making use of kinetic weapons that movement in three dimensions starts to become relevant. Squadron Strike is less of a simulation, but IMO much better as a game for it, because you can do multiple moving objects without it bogging down nearly as badly.

 AndrewGPaul wrote:
Someone mentioned a broken Space Marine faction; that's IK, if we ever see BFG again, it'll likely be set during the Heresy, so every fleet will be Space Marines.


I wonder how they'd handle that, actually. As far as I'm aware very few of the ship designs in BFG- for either side- are supposed to be Heresy-era; most of the Chaos ships are from the early to mid 30Ks and the Imperial ones are mid to late. But that also implies technological development that in a lot of ways has been retconned out of 40K, so maybe they would just make a totally new set of ships that looks Imperial.
   
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New Jersey, State of Perfection

 catbarf wrote:

For all the talk about how 3D doesn't matter, the moment you run into a line of warships and can simply fly over it makes the significance clear


You can already do this in most non-3D space wargames. BFG does it by simply only allowing collisions between vessels if a ramming order is used, otherwise its assumed the vertical separation is enough to prevent it. X-Wing represents it by not allowing vessels in base contact to fire upon eachother, assuming that they are fling over/under and thus not within one anothers line of fire.

Needless complications of 3D gaming: 0, Streamlined and abstracted 2D rules: 1

as does simply accelerating out-of-plane to avoid a missile while keeping broadside to your target


Because missiles are somehow only able to travel in a two-dimensional plane and are somehow unable to come to a new heading to account for this?? Plenty of space games already account for this by simply allowing for an evasion save or countermeasures or some other aspect that allows a vessel to defeat a missile without having to lose its bearing on a target.

Needless complications of 3D gaming: 0, Streamlined and abstracted 2D rules: 2

Put BFG-style dumbfire torpedoes in a 3D environment and they instantly go from extremely effective to nearly worthless because they're easily avoided.


Because you're assuming that the torpedoes are dumbfire to begin with and similarly unable to vector in three dimensions? I would think the fact that you can adjust their direction each ordnance phase would indicate that they aren't dumbfire. And heres a crazy thought - even though you only see it represented on table in two dimensions, in actuality the torpedoes are traveling in three to close with their targets. And the roll-to-hit you have to make with the torpedo once the counter makes contact with a ships base? That represents countermeasures, defensive fire, evasive maneuvering - in 3 dimensions - etc.

Needless complications of 3D gaming: 0, Streamlined and abstracted 2D rules: 23

PC gamers who've played Homeworld seem to get it, aerial wargamers absolutely get it; I mostly see pushback from naval wargamers.


And yet I cut my teeth on Homeworld and primarily play aerial wargames rather than naval. I would argue that aerial wargamers, better than anyone, understand why 3d matters to aerial games and doesn't matter to space.

Homeworld, as fun as it was, didn't really gain much from the third dimension, it only made a difference in relation to a handful of vessels that had limited fire arcs or module placements that made them more vulnerable to an off-axis attack, and that only really mattered because there was fog of war involved which meant you could send your bombers up and over at the edge of the map and then down where on top of the target in a manner that your opponent could not see coming - good luck pulling that off in a tabletop game. I played a *lot* of Homeworld multiplayer. 95% of the games were fought and won in what was basically a two-dimensional plane, the third dimension rarely ever factored into play in any meaningful manner and were just cute distractions. Sure, sometimes some ships would travel slightly below or slightly above other ships, but for how little difference it actually made you might as well just play in 2D. And you will note, that aside from Homeworld and Homeworld 2, there really have not been any other 3D combat RTS/RTT games made for PC, even Homeworlds spiritual successor (Deserts of Kharak) went back to planar 2D combat - I can't imagine why that would be the case if 3D was as impactful as some people believed.

When it comes to tabletop play, this all comes back to abstraction - Contrary to what some might believe, warships, tanks, and other vehicles don't have perfect 90 degree front/side/rear arcs, and if there are multiple turrets they also don't all have the same arc, yet that is basically the standard (or close to the standard) for most wargames. If you're okay saying that the 3-4 primary weapon turrets on a warship all have the same exact firing arc (instead of having varying blindspots and areas of non-overlapping fields of fire, etc.) and that common arc can fire across 270 degrees instead of the 210 degrees that it might actually be able to achieve, as well as abstracting away the inability of these weapons to depress or elevate high enough to hit certain targets within or beyond certain ranges, etc., then you should also be okay with abstracting away the limited fields of fire above/below the vessel as well.

Eve Online, I think, offers a better indication of what abstracted 3d space combat would look like. Surprise - the 3rd dimension is meaningless! The way the weapons are arranged and function means that you will basically always be able to bring 50% of your weapons to bare against a target - note that each fitted weapon actually accounts for 2 turrets/launchers, etc. in order to justify this. In tabletop gameplay terms, you might as well cut out the 3rd dimension and just go 2d and eliminate the unnecessary mental overhead and bookkeeping.

Oops - thesis failure.

This message was edited 4 times. Last update was at 2021/07/06 15:58:11


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chaos0xomega wrote:
You can already do this in most non-3D space wargames. BFG does it by simply only allowing collisions between vessels if a ramming order is used, otherwise its assumed the vertical separation is enough to prevent it. X-Wing represents it by not allowing vessels in base contact to fire upon eachother, assuming that they are fling over/under and thus not within one anothers line of fire.


I'm not talking about 'flying through' a line of ships without ramming. I'm talking about being able to move laterally to maintain separation while still winding up on the opposite side of them, getting past the line without coming within close range. You can't do that without a third dimension.

Let's take BFG and make it one-dimensional- you just track distance to the target and your attitude relative to them. It's okay though, because you can fly through the target, as an abstraction to represent that you could go around them. Does that sound like a reasonable and gameplay-equivalent abstraction? Probably not?

'You can fly through things' is not a replacement for three-dimensional envelopment, or the ability to avoid a line of warships by shifting vertically, or the tactical constraints imposed by dorsal and ventral firing arcs. Crossing the T is a staple of BFG but ludicrous in 3D. And that's before getting into what it does when a static reference is involved. Being unable to reach a planet because there's a 2D belt of ships forming a picket is downright absurd.

chaos0xomega wrote:
Because missiles are somehow only able to travel in a two-dimensional plane and are somehow unable to come to a new heading to account for this?? Plenty of space games already account for this by simply allowing for an evasion save or countermeasures or some other aspect that allows a vessel to defeat a missile without having to lose its bearing on a target.


In BFG, or WW1/WW2 naval wargames, torpedoes impose maneuver constraints. In two-dimensional space with only two directions to dodge in, that presents a real tactical constraint. In three dimensions it's much less viable. AV:T uses this with kinetic weapons, which have very limited terminal guidance. In two dimensions, they're brokenly overpowered, because you can't effectively dodge. In 3D they're fine, because the additional dimension of maneuver makes it much harder to get boxed in.

I mean, what you're saying is that three-dimensional maneuver doesn't matter if the game mechanics are constructed so that maneuver of any sort doesn't matter. Completely missing the point, but sure.

chaos0xomega wrote:
And you will note, that aside from Homeworld and Homeworld 2, there really have not been any other 3D combat RTS/RTT games made for PC


You know, fair enough on Homeworld- I thought about mentioning that that franchise didn't fully implement 3D since it enforced capital ships remaining horizontal, and the map design was primarily horizontal, but my experience with it back in the day was that most people were not prepared for attacks on their resourcing from above or dead below. It would have been a different game in a simple flat plane, much easier to set up pickets or mines. Heck, I count count on one hand the number of times I saw people actually use minelayers in multiplayer- probably would be a different story if they just laid out horizontal lines that enemies were powerless to avoid. And Wall formation? Can't do that in BFG.

Do you remember the last mission of the original Homeworld? Where you had multiple fleets of enemy warships coming from completely different directions towards your mothership, including from above and from below, and you had to rush your fleets to intercept? You could flatten that down into 2D, but it would be a very different experience. I'll also point out that the lack of 3D RTSes on the market is in large part because it's an inherently cumbersome UI issue, not because it was widely considered pointless. 3D is still the default for things like space sims.

And frankly, I don't know how you could play any half-serious air combat game and come to the conclusion that the third dimension only matters as it relates to gravity or the ground. The idea of having to fly way around the side of a flat formation of bombers because you can't climb, pass over top, and perform a split-S to engage seems ridiculous. Even GW's beer-and-pretzels Aeronautica game incorporates altitude, and that's not a system that models energy advantage to any real degree.

chaos0xomega wrote:
Eve Online, I think, offers a better indication of what abstracted 3d space combat would look like. Surprise - the 3rd dimension is meaningless! The way the weapons are arranged and function means that you will basically always be able to bring 50% of your weapons to bare against a target - note that each fitted weapon actually accounts for 2 turrets/launchers, etc. in order to justify this. In tabletop gameplay terms, you might as well cut out the 3rd dimension and just go 2d and eliminate the unnecessary mental overhead and bookkeeping.


Emphasis mine, because Eve is a perfect example of a game where maneuvering is effectively nonexistent to begin with. The game's controls are designed around one-dimensional combat where you control distance, not positioning, and the game doesn't use weapon arcs or any complex control over maneuver as design elements. So yeah, it uses 3D as window dressing, because it was designed that way.

You seem to be arguing that because you can design a game where maneuver is abstracted out such that making the game 3D doesn't add much, 3D is inherently pointless and unnecessary. That doesn't follow. I might as well argue that 2D is unnecessary for space wargames too; just get rid of weapon facings and arcs and play it on a linear track and 1D is just fine. If you're looking at a tactical environment like a head-on pass at orbital speeds, it might not even be a bad fit.

If you acknowledge that there is value in having that second dimension to BFG, that the mechanics for facings and torpedoes are designed around the game having two dimensions, and that these elements add tactical depth to the game, then the fact that you can abstract out a third dimension through mechanics as simplistic and non-equivalent as 'you can fly through things' is irrelevant. The ability to maneuver in three dimensions instead of two in AV:T or Squadron Strike adds depth for the same reasons that the ability to maneuver in two dimensions instead of one adds depth to BFG.

Let me ask you this: What's your hands-on experience with AV:T or Squadron Strike? Have you played these games or are you speculating?

This message was edited 3 times. Last update was at 2021/07/06 17:37:10


 
   
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So.... 3D or not 2D what to 2D?

You can write rules for everything. The most important aspect will be: how much time are you and your gaming friends willing to invest.

For me Battlefleet Gothic hit the sweet spot between tactical engaging and not being overly full of rules. Is BFG perfect? No, certainly not btu I'm forgiving the flaws.

And if you keep the game up to the point limits as the rulebook gives (250-750 for raids and 750-1500 for engagements) the game will not bog down in its mechanics (which utterly fail at high point costs).

Currently the community is really great, the 3D printing people really notched it up the last two years and new people keep starting. Add to this four webstores with excellent and well priced miniatures for people who can't print and it is really really fine.

The official rules/armada/2010 compendium do their trick and are still being used. And XR, but also BFG France or BF Heresy offers alternatives. And you and your group can pick the things you like.

So with that in mind I'm two-fold on the idea of GW releasing a new spacefleet (hah!) game. They can do real worse and harass the 3D community for example. What they release could be with daft rules like Dreadfleet. Or it could be as neat as Bloodbowl (from what I've been told).
But I think a boxed set dealing with the heresy (so Space Marines can finally be the poster-boys in the naval warfare) will be most likely. Perhaps even with bigger miniatures (just to annoy the old veterans)?

Who knows! But for now everyone can still play this excellent game!

   
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The challenge of course is 3rd party producers and worse yet Shapeways and Thingverse which already have everything BFG and then some.

While I think modular fleets on par or better than the classic Imperial and Chaos plastics would sell like Cakes that are Hot, GW may fear otherwise.

So they'd either need to change designs or scale radically, which is probably why the rumor was it would be a HH game.

Now if they brought back the Space Fleet aesthetic, I'd be on that $%^& in a heartbeat.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/07/06 19:04:00


 
   
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Yeah, especially the old eldar are really nice


   
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 catbarf wrote:

I'm not talking about 'flying through' a line of ships without ramming. I'm talking about being able to move laterally to maintain separation while still winding up on the opposite side of them, getting past the line without coming within close range. You can't do that without a third dimension.


This is just a silly argument. Theres nothing intrinsic to a 3rd axis of travel that makes this relevant or meaningful. If you have 20" of movement and you're 10" from a line of enemy vessels, and you use that 20" of movement to fly "through" them, you are now the same distance away from the enemy vessels as you were when you started, but on the opposite side of the line, and you did not come within "close range" because most games only care about your starting and ending locations and not how you transited between them.

Let's take BFG and make it one-dimensional- you just track distance to the target and your attitude relative to them. It's okay though, because you can fly through the target, as an abstraction to represent that you could go around them. Does that sound like a reasonable and gameplay-equivalent abstraction? Probably not?


If you're tracking distance to target and altitude, what you have is in fact two dimensional, rather than one dimensional. An XZ plane is functionally no different than an XY plane, its literally the game we already have.

You can fly through things' is not a replacement for three-dimensional envelopment, or the ability to avoid a line of warships by shifting vertically, or the tactical constraints imposed by dorsal and ventral firing arcs. Crossing the T is a staple of BFG but ludicrous in 3D. And that's before getting into what it does when a static reference is involved. Being unable to reach a planet because there's a 2D belt of ships forming a picket is downright absurd.


Sounds like a failure of your imagination more than anything else. Ever stop to consider that what you see as a two-dimensional blockade is actually a complex interlaced three-dimensional array of warships with sufficiently overlapped fields of fire to create a difficult barrier for an enemy to run through? Ever consider that what you see as "crossing the T" is actually "crossing the ventral" or "crossing the dorsal"? Ever stop to consider that "ventral" and "dorsal" would be virtually meaningless distinctions when a vessel can pivot around its center of gravity essentially at will without impacting its vector of maneuver, let alone the fact that weapons in such an environment would be designed and positioned to allow the greatest possible field of fire?

The fundamental difference between space and non-space combat is that space relies on relative position instead of absolute position, but when you're playing a tabletop game - as I've illustrated in other comments - you're never really functionally dealing with anything more than 3 points in any single rules interaction anyway, making the mechanically relevant relative positioning of minis on the table essentially planar - i.e., 2D.

Playing a tabletop game, you've already tacitly agreed to varying degrees of abstraction and thrown a whole lot of other more meaningful aspects of combat and maneuver right out the window, and you've accepted many similar or identical abstractions in the games you play already, its silly to act like some veracity is being lost through abstraction of these elements in this one specific genre.

In BFG, or WW1/WW2 naval wargames, torpedoes impose maneuver constraints. In two-dimensional space with only two directions to dodge in, that presents a real tactical constraint. In three dimensions it's much less viable. AV:T uses this with kinetic weapons, which have very limited terminal guidance. In two dimensions, they're brokenly overpowered, because you can't effectively dodge. In 3D they're fine, because the additional dimension of maneuver makes it much harder to get boxed in.


Any military pilot who has ever had to contend with enemy surface-to-air missiles, or for that matter anyone who is well-versed wargaming modern aerial combat, would recognize that "torpedoes" (i.e. missiles) impose severe three dimensional maneuver constraints as much as naval torpedoes have managed to do so in two dimensions - except its more meaningful in aerial combat than in space because flying over or under their coverage is a potential option, one which doesn't exist in space.

Again, this is a failure of your imagination. If you're playing BFG and a spread of torpedo counters is coming at you, you seem to think that you could do a better job avoiding them if you could only enable movement in the z-axis and the torpedoes would continue traveling only in the XY plane passing harmlessly above/below you, whereas in reality even as your warship climbed or dived to dodge the incoming spread the torpedos would also climb or dive to maintain an intercept against you. And again, that die roll that the torpedoes need to make to actually damage you once they've contacted your base - that factors in evasive maneuvers in three dimensions for you.

You know, fair enough on Homeworld- I thought about mentioning that that franchise didn't fully implement 3D since it enforced capital ships remaining horizontal, and the map design was primarily horizontal, but my experience with it back in the day was that most people were not prepared for attacks on their resourcing from above or dead below. It would have been a different game in a simple flat plane, much easier to set up pickets or mines. Heck, I count count on one hand the number of times I saw people actually use minelayers in multiplayer- probably would be a different story if they just laid out horizontal lines that enemies were powerless to avoid. And Wall formation? Can't do that in BFG.

Do you remember the last mission of the original Homeworld? Where you had multiple fleets of enemy warships coming from completely different directions towards your mothership, including from above and from below, and you had to rush your fleets to intercept? You could flatten that down into 2D, but it would be a very different experience.


Can't say I recall it, but I have remastered on my home pc, maybe I'll fire it up later for reference.

I'll also point out that the lack of 3D RTSes on the market is in large part because it's an inherently cumbersome UI issue, not because it was widely considered pointless. 3D is still the default for things like space sims.


Space sims != squadron or fleet scale wargames. For one thing, a sim tries to *simulate*. Wargames try to *approximate*. There is a key difference between those concepts that needs to be understood. Likewise, in a sim you are focused on only one ship, the overhead involved with trying to model and approximate the actions and behavior of numerous vessels simultaneously renders the juice not worth the squeeze, so to speak.

Also, if UI issues are a holdup for 3D computer gaming its probably not going to be any better for 3D tabletop gaming.

And frankly, I don't know how you could play any half-serious air combat game and come to the conclusion that the third dimension only matters as it relates to gravity or the ground. The idea of having to fly way around the side of a flat formation of bombers because you can't climb, pass over top, and perform a split-S to engage seems ridiculous. Even GW's beer-and-pretzels Aeronautica game incorporates altitude, and that's not a system that models energy advantage to any real degree.


Simply put I've never encountered a tabletop aerial/space combat game that doesn't let you do the things you indicated there, and they don't necessarily model a third dimension in order to facilitate it (in fact I'd estimate that the majority do not). Frankly I don't know why you struggle to comprehend the idea that you can reasonably approximate and abstract pretty much everything you are concerned with into a 2D/2.5D environment without really losing anything meaningful in the process. The truth of the matter is that when it comes to aerial combat I've only ever found the third dimension to really matter in terms of things like flight ceiling and energy advantage - aspects which we both know are not relevant in space (outside of maybe orbital combat specifically).

Simply put I'm not interested in simulationist gaming, Harpoon is an exercise in futility, Mustangs & Messerschmitts takes an hour of gametime to model 5 seconds of flight, AVT is cute but not what I would consider to be a form of entertainment. Every wargame chooses what aspects of warfare it is trying to simulate and model and what aspects it is comfortable approximating in order to curate the appropriate player experience. I've yet to find a space combat game emphasizing three dimensional maneuvering that has made a strong enough argument for why that actually matters or why three dimensional maneuver is more deserving of chewing up my mental capacity than things like electronic warfare, command, control, and communications, fog of war, heat management, etc. etc. etc. Its not like the third dimension is suddenly going to put me out of range of an attacker or make me undetectable to them, provide me with an energy advantage, etc. etc. etc.

The most it can do is put me outside of a firing arc, or change relative armor facings and penetration angles, etc. but I've already accepted the abstraction in almost every game played that fire arcs are in fixed increments, turns are on-the-spot pivots, armor facings are consistent across the entire length or width of an object without regard to incident firing angles, all motion and attacks occur in discrete and presumably alternating steps and phases without regards to real-time, etc. etc. etc. Its not really beyond my ability to suspend disbelief to say that there are fine maneuvers occuring in my minds eye and unrepresented by the position of the miniatures on the tabletop that average out all that extraneous information and allow a vessel to bring a fixed broadside weapon to bare against a targets foreward facing in three dimensions, without the need for me to actually tilt/bank/roll/yaw, etc. the miniatures relative to one another in order for this to occur.

Pretty damned simple.

The game's controls are designed around one-dimensional combat where you control distance, not positioning, and the game doesn't use weapon arcs or any complex control over maneuver as design elements.


This is grossly inaccurate and leads me to believe you have either never played EVE or have never bothered to figure out how things work mechanically. EVEs targeting and damage models are actually fairly complex and factor in not just distance but relative speed/motion (and thus positioning). While it doesn't factor in a ships ventral armor being weaker than its dorsal or whatever, thats - again - an abstraction you already live with in most of the games you play today without complaint.

What's your hands-on experience with AV:T or Squadron Strike? Have you played these games or are you speculating?


I've played AVT, my experience was similar to AndrewGPauls, except I found that adding missiles, projectiles, and other things across a half dozen or so playthroughs added nothing to the game that could not have been accomplished with less mental overhead by just accepting the light of abstraction and approximation into my life and fudging it.

Never touched Squadron Strike and am only vaguely aware of its existence. I assume it is to AVT what B5 Fleet Action was to B5 Wars (first example I could think of, im sure theres a better comparison out there).

This message was edited 8 times. Last update was at 2021/07/06 20:37:37


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chaos0xomega wrote:
This is just a silly argument. Theres nothing intrinsic to a 3rd axis of travel that makes this relevant or meaningful. If you have 20" of movement and you're 10" from a line of enemy vessels, and you use that 20" of movement to fly "through" them, you are now the same distance away from the enemy vessels as you were when you started, but on the opposite side of the line, and you did not come within "close range" because most games only care about your starting and ending locations and not how you transited between them.


Yeah I guess if you really specifically contrive the example so as to leverage a shortcoming of turn-based systems to resolve it, then that works. How do I get my 25cm-per-turn cruiser past the two-dimensional enemy picket line without coming within their 30cm range, again?

chaos0xomega wrote:
If you're tracking distance to target and altitude, what you have is in fact two dimensional, rather than one dimensional. An XZ plane is functionally no different than an XY plane, its literally the game we already have.


Distance to target and attitude. Facing. Direction.

Here's the setup: You don't have a board, you have a linear track showing the distance between your fleets, and they can face towards the enemy, broadside, or sideways, but all you're doing is moving towards or away from the enemy fleet. That's just one dimension of movement.

So you don't need to actually maneuver in 2D, right? I mean, look, we've abstracted out that annoying side-to-side thing, just as you've abstracted up-and-down.

chaos0xomega wrote:
Sounds like a failure of your imagination more than anything else.


See above. You don't need a table or two whole axes to move around in, just use the Power of Imagination to pretend your fleet is doing something. When your fleet stops moving at Distance 20 from the enemy and turns broadside, just imagine them crossing the T. You didn't want to actually, like, be responsible for enacting the maneuver of your fleet, right?

If you can understand that the tactics change when you add a second dimension to maneuver in instead of abstracting it out to just distance, then you already understand that the tactics change when you add a third dimension, even if you haven't recognized the specific consequences.

chaos0xomega wrote:
Again, this is a failure of your imagination. If you're playing BFG and a spread of torpedo counters is coming at you, you seem to think that you could do a better job avoiding them if you could only enable movement in the z-axis and the torpedoes would continue traveling only in the XY plane passing harmlessly above/below you, whereas in reality even as your warship climbed or dived to dodge the incoming spread the torpedos would also climb or dive to maintain an intercept against you. And again, that die roll that the torpedoes need to make to actually damage you once they've contacted your base - that factors in evasive maneuvers in three dimensions for you.


This is ridiculous. We're talking about weapons that explicitly don't maneuver until they reach your ship, and you're saying it's a failure of imagination that I'm not envisioning them perfectly tracking in the Z-axis (but only the Z-axis!) from long range?

You're bending over backwards to avoid the obvious: If a game lets you move sideways to dodge a projectile, then when there are unpleasant things to your left or right, it matters if you can go up or down too. Forcing you to choose either left or right is more than an abstraction; it's fundamentally changing the tactical considerations, because it's way easier to herd you into a bad situation.

And if you're going to say that one dimension of maneuver doesn't matter because it can be abstracted out to the final to-hit die roll, then for the sake of basic consistency you might as well abstract out the second as well and not even put the torpedoes on the table, just roll to hit and abstract out the evasion entirely.

I keep saying the number of dimensions for maneuver matters in any game that emphasizes maneuver, and you keep providing alternatives that de-emphasize maneuver and replace tactical decisions with dice rolls. That's missing the point.

chaos0xomega wrote:
Likewise, in a sim you are focused on only one ship, the overhead involved with trying to model and approximate the actions and behavior of numerous vessels simultaneously renders the juice not worth the squeeze, so to speak.


But is there juice? Because your argument seems to be that there isn't any, and you get exactly the same experience without bothering to model an entire additional dimension of movement. And that's just not true for a system that actually takes advantage of 3D and isn't Jutland In Space.

Having to plot all your ships on a two-dimensional 6x4 board is a lot of work. We can make it a lot simpler- as well as all that range measurement and determining arcs- if we strip out another dimension and abstract it away. You've already decided one dimension can go without actually affecting the experience, why not two?

chaos0xomega wrote:
I've played AVT, my experience was similar to AndrewGPauls, except I found that adding missiles, projectiles, and other things across a half dozen or so playthroughs added nothing to the game that could not have been accomplished with less mental overhead by just accepting the light of abstraction and approximation into my life and fudging it.

Never touched Squadron Strike and am only vaguely aware of its existence. I assume it is to AVT what B5 Fleet Action was to B5 Wars (first example I could think of, im sure theres a better comparison out there).


I think you need to play a game that actually makes 3D work reasonably intuitively with a decent number of participants so you can judge, because what I'm reading here is that you haven't, and because you haven't grasped the impact it has on the game you assume it's irrelevant and can be easily abstracted out.

Yes, Squadron Strike is basically the play aids from AV:T re-implemented in a system that doesn't make Star Fleet Battles look like Yahtzee, so the third dimension can be used without much additional complication. It's not that big a deal to layer on and the differences are there. Wet-navy tactics that rely upon the constraints of a flat playing field don't apply, and there's a lot you can do with more room to maneuver. If you try it and don't notice any difference, well, that's really not the consensus I've seen among those who have.

Edit: At this point this is barely relevant to BFG so I'll just say this: I am all for abstraction, but you have to recognize when an abstraction is eliminating considerations that impact decision-making, which is the core of any wargame. Squadron Strike is the best I've seen at making 3D space combat actually playable and it works decently well- if you put time into it I am sure you will notice the ways that it matters. Give it a try with an open mind.

This message was edited 5 times. Last update was at 2021/07/06 22:04:26


 
   
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 Kid_Kyoto wrote:
The challenge of course is 3rd party producers and worse yet Shapeways and Thingverse which already have everything BFG and then some.


Yup, the game is about as alive and accessible as it was then GW made the models, and it is all thanks to the 3D printers and a commmunity that cares. A "new" BFG is honestly not needed. (and like i said before, the odds that gw migh eff up the rules for a new edition is deffo present)

All WE the gamers need to do is spread the word!

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 catbarf wrote:


Yeah I guess if you really specifically contrive the example so as to leverage a shortcoming of turn-based systems to resolve it, then that works. How do I get my 25cm-per-turn cruiser past the two-dimensional enemy picket line without coming within their 30cm range, again?


Your 25cm per turn cruiser would get past the picket line in 2D the same way it would in 3D, by going around it over the course of multiple turns. I don't know if you realize this or not, but you have the same 25cm of thrust along the z axis as you would in the x and y. Its not like you would be able to clear the picket meaningfully faster moving in a different plane.

If you want to talk about contrived examples, its the idea that your opponents picket line is actually two dimensional or that it would remain as such if the game were played in three dimensions instead. The contrivance is the idea that, if you only just had that third dimension to work with, you could somehow fly over or under that picket more easily than you could go around its flanks because your smooth-brained opponent would never suspect the possibility that such a thing would occur. The contrivance is the idea that, in an environment where engagement ranges are effectively infinite, that your distance from an enemy vessel would even matter.

Simple 2.5D mechanics already commonplace in some games could easily account for the maneuver if you really feel that matters - "I place this zenith vector token on the vessel to indicate its flying over your naively non-sensical and contrived 2D picket line. I lose half of my movement and gain a 30cm exclusion range which means I can't target or be targeted by anything without a Zenith vector token within 30cm of me and anything beyond 30cm without Zenith vector token resolves its attacks against my ventral armor which also gives me a +1 bonus to my armor save rolls. Checkmate!"



Distance to target and attitude. Facing. Direction.

Here's the setup: You don't have a board, you have a linear track showing the distance between your fleets, and they can face towards the enemy, broadside, or sideways, but all you're doing is moving towards or away from the enemy fleet. That's just one dimension of movement.

So you don't need to actually maneuver in 2D, right? I mean, look, we've abstracted out that annoying side-to-side thing, just as you've abstracted up-and-down.


My bad on altitude vis a vis attitude, misread it.

Thats actually a perfectly valid game design - I've played games like that in the past in the form of card/board games and in video games, across multiple genres. They can be (and often are) tactically rich, even still despite being "1D" they often still find ways to incorporate the abstractions of a second or third dimension through dodge/evasion mechanics, etc. Often, these types of games are "showdowns", i.e. 1v1 where the only thing that matters is the relative positioning of object a and object b, in such an example you don't really gain very much from additional dimensions as all movement boils down to (am I closer or farther from the other object than before) - while attitude would make a difference you've already incorporated it into the setup (really making it 1.5D rather than 1D). I've also seen this less commonly used in 1vMany game designs for basically the same reasoning (though it assumes that the Many are discrete entities that have no synergistic effects beyond weight of numbers, i.e. object B doesn't get a defensive buff for being in proximity to object C, etc.). When such proximity matters, or the game is intended to model the interactions of 2 or more objects per side, or the maneuver of objects through a complex environment where the nature of the environment itself impacts the outcome of events via cover, concealment, and line of sight, etc. a second dimension benefits it greatly for minimal additional cognitive burden - unfortunately the same cannot be said with the addition of a third dimension, as the addition of a third dimension comes with exponentially more complexity and overhead than the addition of a second dimension.



See above. You don't need a table or two whole axes to move around in, just use the Power of Imagination to pretend your fleet is doing something. When your fleet stops moving at Distance 20 from the enemy and turns broadside, just imagine them crossing the T. You didn't want to actually, like, be responsible for enacting the maneuver of your fleet, right?
If you can understand that the tactics change when you add a second dimension to maneuver in instead of abstracting it out to just distance, then you already understand that the tactics change when you add a third dimension, even if you haven't recognized the specific consequences.


My argument isn't that the tactics don't change, its that the tactics do not change meaningfully to justify the cognitive/bookkeeping burden placed on the players and the necessary sacrifices that need to be made in other aspects of the game design in order to accommodate it.

You know what else can change tactics, even if you haven't recognized the specific consequences? Real-time gameplay. Yet I don't see you clamoring for a real-time 3D tabletop space combat game (or real-time tabletop games in general, for that matter).

Taking your aforementioned 1D/1.5D game concept from before, the overhead involved with adding a second dimension (either making the aforementioned game playable on a planar surface, or playable in real-time) are minimal while the benefits to doing so are very large. But there are diminishing returns in effect here, as adding a third dimension (be it a spatial axis or time) comes with significantly more complication but significantly less benefit. Theres a reason that tabletop gaming has overwhelmingly remained 2D/2.5D despite the supposed superiority and fidelity of true 3D gameplay - even aerial and submarine wargaming don't often do true 3D and distill the Z-axis into 2.5D mechanics instead (ala Aeronautica Imperialis). Likewise, theres a reason the majority of tabletop games are turn-based rather than real-time. Like 3D tabletop gaming, there have been numerous attempts at real-time rulesets over the years, and they have remained pretty firmly in the realm of niche "enthusiast" rules that are only played by "hardcore" snobbish types.


This is ridiculous. We're talking about weapons that explicitly don't maneuver until they reach your ship, and you're saying it's a failure of imagination that I'm not envisioning them perfectly tracking in the Z-axis (but only the Z-axis!) from long range?


Torpedoes in BFG are blast weapons. In the vacuum of space. They damage a target vessel by causing an explosion in proximity to a target. You can suspend your disbelief for *that* but not that they are manuvering in 3D?

BFG torpedoes very explicitly begin maneuvering from tens of thousands of kilometers away from their targets. There are also homing variants that can maneuver along their entire path of travel. Both are represented in the game mechanics in differing ways - regular torpedoes can be fired at an angle relative to the bearing of the ship launchng them, this reprsents them being put on a launch trajectory appropriate to intercept a target, and then have the roll-to-hit consideration to see if they can vector in for a hit. Homing torpedoes get to turn at the start of each ordnance phase.

You're bending over backwards to avoid the obvious: If a game lets you move sideways to dodge a projectile, then when there are unpleasant things to your left or right, it matters if you can go up or down too. Forcing you to choose either left or right is more than an abstraction; it's fundamentally changing the tactical considerations, because it's way easier to herd you into a bad situation.


I'm really not bending over at all. You're making contrived arguments to justify unnecesary design consideration. Most games out there don't demonstrate dodging a projectile by having you, yknow, actually dodge the projectile. They bake that into defensive scores, target numbers, dodge/evasion stats, die rolls, etc.

Oh no, I need to dodge a projectile and there are unpleasant things to my left or right and I don't have z-axis movement. Whatsoever shall I do?? Good thing I made my dodge save which represents me making that z-axis movement to avoid the projectile without requiring me to reposition into the unpleasant things to my left or right. Simple.

You also seem to have this problem where you just assume your opponent is stupid and/or totally lacking in agency. You seem to struggle with the idea that because all the ships are represented only in terms of relative position in the XY-plane that they will only ever act in the XY-plane. Your contrived example before, for example, assumes that the projectile launched at you is traveling only in the XY-plane and that moving along the Z-axis will allow you to dodge it. Ever consider that the projectile is actually traveling in the XZ-plane instead and that your only options to avoid it *is* to move in the XY-plane into the unpleasant things on your left or right, and that your opponent did that *purposefully* in order to force you to make that choice?

Ever consider that in BFG when your opponent places their torpedo markers at a 30degree angle in their front arc relative to the bearing of their vessel that that might represent the torpedoes being fired at a 30 degree angle in the XZ-plane rather than in the XY-plane, or possibly even both planes simultaneously, in order to intercept your vessel which is likewise traveling at an angle relative to multiple planes?

No. Because you only think of yourself.

Is it possible that you *might* outmaneuver the torps better if the rules accommodated for the third dimension? Maybe - but that assumes that the torp rules weren't modified in some way to maintain their usability in such a game in the first place. Newsflash - if I'm Andy Chambers designing BFG 3D for the masses, you can bet that those torpedo rules are changing so that they can do a lot more maneuvering on their way over to you - they were challenging to use in 2D, but they were still usable. They would be rendered all but useless in 3D without a corresponding change in their rules to enable them to ever actually come near to a potential target.

But thats besides the point. Its simpler and generally more efficient to create a discrete reference window around the interaction between the torpedoes and the vessel which approximates the relative motion of the objects in question into a 2D plane rather than trying to simulate it in high-fidelity 3D. This is essentially the principle around which most 2D tabletop space games operate - by creating a series of successive discrete reference windows around the interactions between two or more specific objects that approximates the relative three-dimensional maneuvers between them into a two-dimensional plane.

The design logic for this is below:

Spoiler:

As a general rule, the majority of tabletop wargames out there are modeled around a "two body problem" (used in the non-scientific sense), mechanically speaking, which is to say that mechanical interactions exist between two objects/units/miniatures, etc. Some games go a step further and approximate a "two-point-five body problem" by bringing terrain into the equation - the terrain represents a third body but it is generally treated as an accessory to the mechanical interaction rather than as a participant - i.e. the presence or proximity of the terrain to one or both parties or a line drawn between them modifies the interaction. Likewise some games approximate two-point-five body problems by use of things like supporting or supplemental attacks, etc. where a third unit may contribute its capabilities to an attack made by the second unit against the first unit. These attacks are usually resolved as part of a two-body interaction modified by the third body by way of additional dice, a damage buff, or what have you, rather than creating a meaningful three-way interaction that must be resolved by all parties. These mechanical interactions however are still generally 1D or 1.5D in nature. Some games do both terrain and third-party units simultaneously - but these are still two-point-five body problems as each additional terrain/unit is treated as a discrete entity in relation to one of the two main bodies, i.e." Unit x is within 6" of Unit A, so unit A gets +1 attack, Unit y is within 6" of Unit B so Unit B gets +1 Defense, and Unit y is within 2" of terrain feature z so the attack needs to reroll successes to hit."

Very very few games go far enough to create a true "three-body problem" where a third party isn't merely an accessory but an active participant in the resolution of a mechanical interaction. I can only really think of one off the top of my head - Dropzone Commander (at least in the prior editions, I believe they may have changed it), where the terrain itself is a valid target and doing so has direct, immediate, and proportional repurcussions for the unit garrisoning it, and likewise targeting the unit in terrain has direct, immediate, and proportional repurcussions for the terrain that it is garrisoning. I believe Bolt Action may have had something similar, at least in the prior edition, but I don't recall whether the building itself was involved in the resolution or whether it was simply an accessory that enhanced the harm caused to the unit inside. While other games explore similar concepts they mostly treat them as two body problems - for example garrisoning terrain or transports in 40k, you replace the 2nd body with the 3rd body and the 2nd body only becomes relevant when the 3rd body is destroyed.

I have never seen a mechanical resolution system that models a "4+ body problem" - not to say they don't exist, but I have my doubts and its beyond my ability to imagine what that could look like. So, as a "three body problem" is the most you are likely to encounter, you are left with what are essentially three points max for any given mechanical interaction within one of the afoementioned discrete reference frames you are likely to come across. As we know, the relationship between any three points in three-dimensional space is a two-dimensional plane. It doesn't really matter if all three objects are in motion - the plane remains two-dimensional even though the orientation of the plane changes with their movement. In the case of a tabletop game, your table surface is your two-dimensional reference plane, its orientation is constantly changing, though you do not necessarily observe this change for yourself.

While it is true that space games typically have more than three objects total in them, you will never be resolving them as anything more than a three body problem at any given time as a discrete reference frame, and thus the three dimensional positions of these objects relative to one another do not matter towards mechanical resolution. While each discrete reference frame would constitute a seperate plane which is moving independently of the planes mapped to the other frames, and thus the relative 3D positions of these objects would differ from the manner in which they are mapped on your table (i.e. your 2D reference plane) over time, it is understood that each successive interaction at each reference frame represents a "snapshot" of an event occurring at some time interval rather than as part of a continuum of events. I.E. There is a time lapse that occurs between each interaction you have resolved that accounts for how object A and object B both measure consistent range and angle, etc. to object C despite them having theoretically wildly different three-dimensional spatial displacements and vectors from one another, etc. You have already accepted this discontinuity as fact in pretty much every game you play by virtue of its turn structure, there is no stretch of the imagination or fidelity lost relative to how you play any other game in understanding events in this context.




And if you're going to say that one dimension of maneuver doesn't matter because it can be abstracted out to the final to-hit die roll, then for the sake of basic consistency you might as well abstract out the second as well and not even put the torpedoes on the table, just roll to hit and abstract out the evasion entirely.


I mean, there are plenty of games out there that do exactly that with torpedoes and missiles already? I really don't know what arguments you think you're making, but they don't seem to be as effective as you think they are. I know you're trying to make reductio ad absurdum arguments (not that using a logical fallacy actually helps your case), but you're not doing a very good job of it.

From a game design standpoint though, torpedoes in BFG function the way they do because Andy Chambers wanted to include design elements that allowed for area/access denial and zone control. Thats a perfectly valid reason to not remove the torpedoes from the table as you suggest. You seem to be approaching this discussion solely from the standpoint of absolute realism and forgetting that first and foremost this (and every other game you have played, AVT included) is a game which makes allownaces and renders abstractions first and foremost to curate an experience for its players. Torpedoes don't function the way they do on tabletop because of some effort to be "realistic" about them, they function that way because they were a means of achieving a desired design goal that didn't require a significant suspension of disbelief in order for players to accept them.

AVT achieved the same thing basically with the scattergun effect of kinetic weapons. Theres no real reason for those weapons to function that way other than to create 3D no-go zones to herd your opponent to where you want them so you can hit them with something more effective. BFG Torpedoes and AVT kinetic weapons are basically two sides of the same coin and they achieve essentially the same end result, but using one is significantly more complex than the other.

I keep saying the number of dimensions for maneuver matters in any game that emphasizes maneuver, and you keep providing alternatives that de-emphasize maneuver and replace tactical decisions with dice rolls. That's missing the point.


Maneuver in two dimensions is just as meaningful as maneuver in three dimensions, if not moreso. You don't suddenly gain "more maneuver" on some absolute scale because you added a third dimension of maneuver. You perhaps gain the illusion of "more maneuver" because you have a theoretically expanded range of options for places to go to, but overwhelmingly maneuver-based gameplay is defined by *constraints* placed on maneuver rather than the range of maneuver options available to you.

Torpedoes in BFG help emphasize tactical maneuver by creating areas of hazards and maneuver constraints on the table that otherwise wouldn't exist in an area defined as a wide open expanse of nothingness. By opening up a third dimension you have made maneuver less tactical by reducing maneuver constraints - its very hard to represent three-dimensional stellar phenomena on the tabletop that could otherwise serve as a meaningful substitute unless you're willing to break with realism and/or heavily abstract them (which seems to be a concept that you don't enjoy). The amount of additional rules overhead needed to make torpedoes fulfill that same function in a 3D space adds up to more text and more work.

Going back to your bizarrely two-dimensional picket line example, I don't suddenly have "more maneuver" because I traveled 30cm in the z axis instead of 30cm in the x axis to get around the picket. I had the illusion of more maneuver because I had an additional direction to travel in, but functionally speaking the two choices are identical in terms of the net result, benefits, and consequences rendered by choosing them - I have displaced myself 30cm from my start point in some direction essentially perpendicular to the direction I started in, and chances are my opponent will adjust their position appropriately in response to either choice. Its that last point that really matters here, as - again - you seem to not understand that your opponent has agency and in both scenarios would respond to the maneuver in a manner that they believe maximizes their benefit relative to your actions, what those exact maneuvers would look like might differ but the end result is functionally the same given the limitations and abstraction intrinsic to tabletop gaming, to include *not* arranging their ships in a 2D picket line in the first place.


But is there juice? Because your argument seems to be that there isn't any, and you get exactly the same experience without bothering to model an entire additional dimension of movement. And that's just not true for a system that actually takes advantage of 3D and isn't Jutland In Space.


I think its been pretty clear that my position is that there is very little additional juice involved, drips of it at best, and what you gain by trying to squeeze out those drips isn't worth what you lose in the process, especially when you already have an entire glass full of the same juice that you didn't have to squeeze yourself.

Having to plot all your ships on a two-dimensional 6x4 board is a lot of work. We can make it a lot simpler- as well as all that range measurement and determining arcs- if we strip out another dimension and abstract it away. You've already decided one dimension can go without actually affecting the experience, why not two?


You really need to work harder on your reductio ad absurdum technique, weak flex.

I think you need to play a game that actually makes 3D work reasonably intuitively with a decent number of participants so you can judge, because what I'm reading here is that you haven't, and because you haven't grasped the impact it has on the game you assume it's irrelevant and can be easily abstracted out.

Yes, Squadron Strike is basically the play aids from AV:T re-implemented in a system that doesn't make Star Fleet Battles look like Yahtzee, so the third dimension can be used without much additional complication. It's not that big a deal to layer on and the differences are there. Wet-navy tactics that rely upon the constraints of a flat playing field don't apply, and there's a lot you can do with more room to maneuver. If you try it and don't notice any difference, well, that's really not the consensus I've seen among those who have.


Odd, its an opinion I've seen from quite a few people myself.

Some people think that you should "burn-in" headphones and speakers for 200 hours for optimal sound quality and will swear by the difference, even going so far as to say that burning them in with specific types of music will produce better tonal quality or alter the speakers frequency ranges, etc. Objective scientific study has yet to find anything to support these claims. Just because they believe that burning-in their headphones results in superior audio quality, does not make it true. By that same token, just because a lot of folks who played AVT *think* that it creates more tactical gameplay or whatever it is that you feel 3D does for you, doesn't mean it actually does.

Personally, my take is that AVT (and for that matter Saganami Island Tactical Simulator) provides you more or less with the illusion of more choice and more tactical whatever by way of dramatically increasing the scope and complexity of the game and simulating in extreme detail things that I wouldn't otherwise want simulated in that level of detail. I.E. the tactical complexity and additional maneuver options you're fawning over exist less because of the addition of a third dimension and more because of the additional layers of mechanical complexity that have been piled into the rules. Most 2D/2.5D rulesets, at least any worth their salt, already factor in various elements of out-of-plane movement and maneuvering in a low-impact manner while still remaining tactically rich and providing deep and complex gameplay. If your only exposure to non-3D space wargames are games like BFG and Firestorm Armada then I can understand why you think 2D space games all rely on naval tactics to refight Jutland without the water, but thats not really accurate to the genre as a whole.

I am all for abstraction, but you have to recognize when an abstraction is eliminating considerations that impact decision-making, which is the core of any wargame.


You have to recognize when detail and complexity is creating the illusion of considerations that impact decision-making at the cost of unplayability.

In essence this entire debate can be broken down into this:



Is there a scenario where the difference in plane might matter for the purposes of me being able to get a shot off or my opponent being able to get a shot on me in in this - sure (although its worth pointing out that in true space combat you wouldn't need to do a split-S to get into this position, making such considerations somewhat irrelevant), but its easy enough to assume that those are corner case scenarios and that action is occuring during the course of the maneuver that would allow an opponent to get a bead on me while executing the maneuver before I would have left their firing lines, and likewise there is a point during the maneuver where my target is in my line of fire despite both of us maneuvering three dimensionally. That doesn't even begin to address the fact that after I complete my turn, my opponent has an entire turn of their own during which they get to react to my maneuver with full knowledge of where I ended up, despite the fact that theoretically speaking they would have been initating their maneuvers at the same time as me and thus not had the foresight of knowing where I was going to end up. In the context of 3D environments, that means that my opponent has very large opportunity to nullify whatever advantage I might have gained through three dimensional maneuver (just like how they can already do so with 2D maneuver).

Returning to your silly 2D picket line example - on my turn I maneuver "up" 30cm to begin the process of flying "over" my opponents line. On their turn, they simply pivot their vessels upwards some number of degrees, lets call it 45deg assuming that I was precisely 30cm away from them when I initiated the maneuver, and advance 15cm towards me. Oh look - I'm still in the same firing arc as I was before *and* I failed to stay out of their range (prior to their move I was 42.43cm away from them). The outcome is essentially no different than if I had simply turned "right" 90 degrees and travelled 30cm parallel to their line, on their turn they simply would have moved forward some distance and I'm still in their front arcs within their weapon range, the only difference is that they are hitting my port side instead of my ventral, but if im playing a game where armor values don't factor in (which is many/most space/naval games tbh) then that distinction is irrelevant insofar as their ability to attack me matters.

Anyway, at the end of the day, Im playing games for a good time, not a long time. Concerning myself with these minutiae is pointless when there are so many other abstractions that are arguably far more impactful to the game outcome that I've otherwise agreed to overlook. Adding two additional armor facings and firing arcs on top of the four (or more! I've played 2D/2.5D games with as many as 36) I already had doesn't *really* make the game more tactical - it makes it more complex, but its just as tactically challenging trying to present your broadside to one enemy vessel while obscuring your rear from another as it is to present your dorsal facing to an enemy vessel while obscuring your starboard. Sure theres an additional axis/orientation to contend with, but realistically how much is your armor or armament going to vary across these facings relative to the 4 cardinal points, and how much will that even matter when the addition of a third dimension means that I've also gained the ability to pitch and roll (in addition to the yaw I already had) in order to help preserve my orientation relative to another object? I suppose if I'm playing with ships designed like BFGs it might matter - but I feel like if you're designing a 3D space combat game you aren't going to orient your ship designs in such a manner.

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