Author Topic: The Starfire Saga Begins - First Contact  (Read 4306 times)

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Offline UBoater

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The Starfire Saga Begins - First Contact
« on: May 30, 2017, 08:23:50 PM »
This hopefully begins a series of AARs starting at the beginning of the Starfire Universe. Starfire is a starship combat game that started as a Task Force Games pocket game in the late 70's - which matches with my early years of gaming. It was around the same time as the Metagaming Pocket games (Orge, GEV, etc.) and GDW scifi games based on their Traveler Universe (Imperium, Mayday, Snapshot, etc.). I was also in to the bread and butter games of the time from AH and SPI - but SciFi Movies/books/games were/continue to be a major focus of mine.

The Starfire system has evolved over time - Task Force Games published a boxed 2nd Edition updating the Tactical and Strategic/Campaign systems before they went out of business. The game was picked up by the Starfire Design Studio (SDS) which continues to evolve the system - initially with Galactic then Ultra Starfire. The latest version called Solar Starfire came out in 2012. It is a very detailed (some say overly) tactical/strategic system.  The free very detailed 4x space video game Aurora spun off from Starfire also. Finally numerous SciFi books have been written in this 'universe' - Crusade/In Death Ground/Shiva Option/Insurrection.

My entry point in the Starfire Rules evolution will be the 2nd Edition Task Force Games rules set that have recently been rereleased on Wargamevault.com by the SDS. These rules were cleaned up and enhanced from the First Edition and before the complexity increased in the later SDS versions. The actual system is a compromise between reality and playability - 2D not 3D, inertia effects minimized. For some it may be too simplistic - for me it hits the sweet spot between complexity and playability and able to generate a narrative.

The first Scenario is the first contact between the Terran and Khanate Empires - part way into the intro:

"Thereafter, the Terrans began looking in earnest for what had come to be known as Hermes Points, or more commonly, warp points. The Sol system was found to have only one, and it led only to Proxima Centauri. However, the Alpha Centauri system had no less than six warp points, which led to such interesting places as Sigma Draconis, Epsilon Eridani, Epsilon lndi, Tau Ceti, Luytens Star and Wolf 424. The human race expanded and colonized, and by 2205 had major population centers (of one million or more) on five different planets, colonies (of 50,000 or more) on twenty-three others, and outposts on sixty more.
Then, near an unimportant star known only by the designation VX-134, the course of human history was forever changed."
TF/SDS Starfire 2nd Ed Rules p.18

Turn 1
Capt. Howard Anderson emerges from the newly discovered Warp Point in his Frigate sized exploration ship Discovery. On his scanners much to his and the crew's surprise they detect a planet of comparative technology and a spaceship a bit smaller than theirs moving to meet/intercept them…



"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
Santayana

Starfire Saga ISW-1:
First Contact: http://grogheads.com/forums/index.php?topic=19664.0
Return to VX-134: http://grogheads.com/forums/index.php?topic=19773.0
Battle of Orphichon: http://grogheads.com/forums/index.php?topic=20012.0
The Federation Strikes: http://www.grogheads.com/forums/index.php?topic=24520.0

Offline OJsDad

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Re: The Starfire Saga Begins - First Contact
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2017, 08:40:04 PM »
I've been tempted for several years to get the Ultra Starfire game.  Just never seemed to be able to pull the trigger. 

I'll sit back and follow this AAR with interest though. 
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Offline UBoater

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Re: The Starfire Saga Begins - First Contact
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2017, 10:22:51 PM »
The SDS versions (Ultra/Galactic) push the level of complexity a bit too much for my taste. The Solar Starfire tactical rules I find playable, expecially since they published a set of starter rules/scenarios to get into the system in steps. But when the original Task Force Games versions were republished I knew it was time to return to an old friend.

Here is the link to the rules I am using:
http://www.wargamevault.com/product/204897/Starfire-2nd-Edition-Rules?manufacturers_id=9056
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
Santayana

Starfire Saga ISW-1:
First Contact: http://grogheads.com/forums/index.php?topic=19664.0
Return to VX-134: http://grogheads.com/forums/index.php?topic=19773.0
Battle of Orphichon: http://grogheads.com/forums/index.php?topic=20012.0
The Federation Strikes: http://www.grogheads.com/forums/index.php?topic=24520.0

Offline UBoater

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Re: The Starfire Saga Begins - First Contact
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2017, 10:24:43 PM »
You will notice on the image in the first post there are windows open giving the details of each ship. Starfire uses a list of letters/numbers to detail a ships systems/weapons and record damage.

The Discovery:
(2) SAXHILXIRIIII (6)
Turn Mode 2 - must spend 2 MPs before can turn
Movement 6 - has 6 Ion engines so until damaged can spend 6 MPs in a turn
S - Shields
A - Armor
X - Science Instruments
H - Hold
I - Ion Engine - 6 so 6 MPs
L - Laser
R - Std Missile launcher
 
The Alkzar:
(2) SAIGIRII (4)
Turn Mode 2
Movement 4 - 4 Ion Engines
G - Gun weapon

So comparing the 2 ships - the Discovery is bigger, faster, and has a slightly more effective weapon in the Laser compared to the Alkzar Gun with better range and more damage at close range. In a straight up battle the advantage is clearly with her. But there are a number of special rules in this scenario that tip the balance back to the Alkzar. The Khanate has the initiative for the entire scenario - move second/fire first. Also since this is First Contact the Discovery holds fire until the turn AFTER the Alkzar decides to fire. With initiative this means the Alkzar gets to fire twice before the Discovery returns fire.

Tactical victory for the Terran occurs if the Discovery gets within 2 hexes of the Alkzar with an operable X/Science Package to scan it then is able to return and depart through the Warp Point. Decisive victory if the Discovery can also get within 2 hexes of the Planet and scan it before returning thru the Warp Point. Draw if the Khanate fires and the Terrans are able to withdraw thru the Warp point. Finally it is a Khanate victory if the Discovery never makes it home again. With the Discovery's speed though the Alkzar won't be able to keep her from scanning the planet unless she engages.

The stage is set…
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
Santayana

Starfire Saga ISW-1:
First Contact: http://grogheads.com/forums/index.php?topic=19664.0
Return to VX-134: http://grogheads.com/forums/index.php?topic=19773.0
Battle of Orphichon: http://grogheads.com/forums/index.php?topic=20012.0
The Federation Strikes: http://www.grogheads.com/forums/index.php?topic=24520.0

Offline mirth

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Re: The Starfire Saga Begins - First Contact
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2017, 07:04:41 AM »
Very cool!  O0
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Offline OJsDad

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Re: The Starfire Saga Begins - First Contact
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2017, 10:34:23 AM »
Uboater, do you just play the tactical game, or do you also play the strategic game of SFII also. 
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Offline UBoater

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Re: The Starfire Saga Begins - First Contact
« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2017, 02:34:34 PM »
Mainly the tactical game - I have just dabbled with the Strategic in the past.
The later SDS Strategic Rules got very complex.
But I just picked up the Gorm-Khanate War mini-campaign rules from wargamevault and am tempted to try it eventually.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
Santayana

Starfire Saga ISW-1:
First Contact: http://grogheads.com/forums/index.php?topic=19664.0
Return to VX-134: http://grogheads.com/forums/index.php?topic=19773.0
Battle of Orphichon: http://grogheads.com/forums/index.php?topic=20012.0
The Federation Strikes: http://www.grogheads.com/forums/index.php?topic=24520.0

Offline UBoater

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Re: The Starfire Saga Begins - First Contact
« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2017, 02:38:22 PM »
Capt. Anderson decides to head in system towards the planet and possible first contact with the approaching starship at full speed.
His primary mission is to collect all possible data on the system and its occupants and then get that info back to his home base.
The unknown ship seems to agree as it proceeds at what appears to be full speed towards the Discovery.

The range is still not optimum for his Gun so the Alkzar Capt. decides to hold his fire… for now.



The next turn and both ships continue to close finding themselves adjacent at the end of movement.
Not anticipating the speed of the Terran vessel the Alkzar Capt. finds his ship closer than ideal for his missiles but decides now is the time to open fire.
He needs on 2d6 an 11 or less for a gun hit and a 4 or less for a missile hit.
He gets lucky and scores both hits inflicting 2 pts of damage on the Discovery taking out its Shields and Armor.



Next turn Capt. Anderson has to make a decision.
The unknown ship has not responded to any communications and now has fired on his ship inflicting damage.
Does he:

   1. Remain close to the unknown ship and continue trying to communicate.
   2. Remain close and return fire and attempt to disable the unknown vessel but risk his destruction and failure to get the vital information back to home base.
   3. Continue his primary mission and proceed to scanning range of the planet then attempt to evade the unknown vessel and withdraw through the warp point.
   4. Turn around and run away immediately.

What would you do in his shoes?
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
Santayana

Starfire Saga ISW-1:
First Contact: http://grogheads.com/forums/index.php?topic=19664.0
Return to VX-134: http://grogheads.com/forums/index.php?topic=19773.0
Battle of Orphichon: http://grogheads.com/forums/index.php?topic=20012.0
The Federation Strikes: http://www.grogheads.com/forums/index.php?topic=24520.0

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: The Starfire Saga Begins - First Contact
« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2017, 02:55:40 PM »
I would say 3, unless there's some in-game advantage I haven't heard yet to trying to communicate via option 1.

Did a scan of the ship work? Does that have to be done manually, or is it automatic for getting this close with a science package? Is this what option 1 amounts to?

Are the shields and the armor completely gone? That might make a huge difference in what to do! -- even if the shields can come back again (which I don't know that they can).
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Offline OJsDad

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Re: The Starfire Saga Begins - First Contact
« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2017, 03:43:42 PM »
Option 1 doesn't seem to be viable since the bogey's already opened fire.

Option 2 would be an option if the Discovery can continued toward the planet.

Option 3 is the prize.  With a 50% advantage in speed and both ships on reciprocal headings, making a pass of the planet is very doable.  The question is how the bogey responds.  If he turns to pursue, then the Discovery's speed advantage should help, especially if a fly by of the planet can be done that makes it harder for the bogey to get within weapons range.  On the other hand, the bogey can proceed to the warp point and sit there, waiting for the Discovery to make it's escape.  This may prove a challenge to the Discovery since she's lost both her armor and shields.  If shields can be restored, then this becomes a very viable option.

Option 4 may be required.  While getting scanner data on the planet would be invaluable, not getting back to Federation space would be a disaster.  With the bogey's knowing of the existence of another race, and the Federation not knowing, it's very hard to tell what kind of attack the bogey's could launch on an unsuspecting Federation. 
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Offline MengJiao

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Re: The Starfire Saga Begins - First Contact
« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2017, 04:39:31 PM »
The SDS versions (Ultra/Galactic) push the level of complexity a bit too much for my taste. The Solar Starfire tactical rules I find playable, expecially since they published a set of starter rules/scenarios to get into the system in steps. But when the original Task Force Games versions were republished I knew it was time to return to an old friend.

Here is the link to the rules I am using:
http://www.wargamevault.com/product/204897/Starfire-2nd-Edition-Rules?manufacturers_id=9056

Looks fantastic so far!

Offline OJsDad

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Re: The Starfire Saga Begins - First Contact
« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2017, 04:47:15 PM »
BTW, are you playing this on a tabletop, or just using vassal.


For those interested, on SDS's forum, they have starter rules for free.  There are 3 levels
http://www.starfiredesign.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=96

Someone also created a set of fonts so you can create your own generic counter sheets. 
http://www.starfiredesign.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=81&t=2955
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Offline UBoater

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Re: The Starfire Saga Begins - First Contact
« Reply #12 on: May 31, 2017, 05:04:29 PM »
BTW, are you playing this on a tabletop, or just using vassal.


For those interested, on SDS's forum, they have starter rules for free.  There are 3 levels
http://www.starfiredesign.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=96

Someone also created a set of fonts so you can create your own generic counter sheets. 
http://www.starfiredesign.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=81&t=2955

Playing using a Starfire VASSAL Mod I have modified.

The free rules are the 3 levels of Solar Starfire Tactical rules I mentioned previously - good stuff.

I am also going with the Task Force Games 2nd edition rules because the Scenarios are based on the historical 'Starfire' Universe described in the books I mentioned.
I read them years ago - and have started rereading them again. The 3rd Edition Starfire Tactical Rules (by SDS) had a Scenario Book called 'Stars at War' that had more detailed info and scenarios but the Tactical rules were a bit harder to get into then the rules I am using now so I went with these for old time sake.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
Santayana

Starfire Saga ISW-1:
First Contact: http://grogheads.com/forums/index.php?topic=19664.0
Return to VX-134: http://grogheads.com/forums/index.php?topic=19773.0
Battle of Orphichon: http://grogheads.com/forums/index.php?topic=20012.0
The Federation Strikes: http://www.grogheads.com/forums/index.php?topic=24520.0

Offline OJsDad

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Re: The Starfire Saga Begins - First Contact
« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2017, 06:09:27 PM »
Doh!  You did point out the free rules.  Dang baldtymers.
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Offline Staggerwing

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Re: The Starfire Saga Begins - First Contact
« Reply #14 on: May 31, 2017, 06:17:38 PM »
Is this the game system that Honor Harrington series author David Weber set some of his earlier novels in?
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