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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Death of a Thousand Notes

This is Steven Petrick posting.

Lots of people have ideas for things to add to SSDs to make them "more user friendly." It basically comes down to trying to stuff everything in the rulebook and annexes in some form or another onto the SSD.

This is relatively benign when the SSD in question is a small ship, but on larger ships it quickly becomes a nightmare, as those ships already use a lot of the available space and trying to find room to add just a little bit more text results in SSDs that have to be shrunk to the smallest allowed size and bloated with text.

Some people want to have (on almost every Lyran SSD) a note reminding players that ESGs are destroyed on "drone" damage points. A similar note on Hydran ships for hellbores, plus one that fusions are destroyed on "torpedo" damage points, and oh yes that note is also needed on the Lyran SSDs to remind players that disruptors are destroyed on "torpedo" damage points.

While I was working on the update to the Basic Set SSDs it was requested that every Klingon SSDs include a note that "Security is destroyed on "flag" damage points, and if all security is destroyed see (G6.0) for mutiny" as a "useful reminder. And by the way, add a note that "Anti-drones are destroyed on "drone" damage points, and be sure to include a reference to the rule about the best weapon being destroyed on every third hit.

The list of requested "useful notes to add to SSDs" keeps growing (include a list of the number of points of energy needed to fire a standard and overloaded version of the weapon, and make sure to mark warp power for those weapons that need warp power).

I realize that Star Fleet Battles is a large game with many options, but there comes a point where all the notes that are requested for the SSDs makes them just blobs of black where you cannot tell an box on the ship from written text nearby.

At some point you need to have a basic understanding of the rules for the given systems on a ship, and be able to access the annexes if you have a particular question.

Adding more and more notes just makes the SSDs so busy they will become unplayable in their own right.