First, here are some photos of the models I painted in time for the Michigan GT. (The RSN Escorts were only painted the night before in the Airbrushing Class). These are my entry photos for the Firestorm Armada painting challenge. The aren't finished yet, as I have yet to buy an Airbrush compressor so I can attempt to paint the engine glow, and I still need to paint all the tiny windows. But the fleet was good enough to be selected for the GT painting competition (I suspect I was selected for being from out of town, but I'll take it)
Firebase Delta recently posted a Podcast (available via iTunes and other sources), and their main topic for discussion was essentially the future of Firestorm, and how the game can continue to grow. More importantly, does Firestorm Armada have too many factions? I was going to e-mail them my thoughts... Then I remembered I already have a blog where I can write about stuff like this.
Too Many Factions?
:Philip and Robert both expressed concerns about the number of factions, both from a game and story perspective. Personally, I don't have a problem with the number of factions, as they all manage to have a unique playing style while avoiding feeling similar in the game. They way the game is growing, I expect the number of factions will cap at 24: 6 Core Races, 6 Alliance Support Fleets, 6 Zenian Support Fleets, and 6 Maurauder Fleets. Each Fleet will have its own Patrol Fleet box, plus at the very least a Dreadnought/Battlecarrier/Battlecruiser option, and a second Tier 2 option. This will allow each "minor" faction to field a viable and competitive 1200 point Battle Fleet while remaining 'pure', but still allow plenty of opportunity to be selected as an ally for another faction. The Terquai will serve as a great template for how to release each faction, as they now have available (via pre-order)
Cruiser Squadron (with bits to model as Assault or Torpedo Cruisers)
Patrol Box with a Carrier, Cruiser Squadron, and Frigate Squadron
This leaves a lot of ships to develop, as many of the minor factions only have a single Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 option. There are also two Zenian Support fleets to create (probably the ones mentioned in the Planetfall Rulebook). Plenty of work for the next few years.
Before that though, there are some obvious short-term goals. Once the Xelocians are released, all of the Support Fleets will have models... Leaving 5 Maurauder Factions with models to be released. In addition, everyone should have access to Battlestations, Defense Platforms, and the Planetfall MAR through some method. I'm not saying every faction needs a Planetary Invasion Fleet, but they should have a way to play both sides of each Planetfall Scenario. Right now, you basically can't play these fantastic scenarios without using a Core Fleet, and that is unacceptable. Fix this!
Something else should be done to facilitate Support Fleets. Right now, if you want to field a Support Fleet in a 800-1200 point game, you must A) buy two Patrol Fleet Boxes, or B) order your 2nd Tier 3 squadron one model at a time online. No one really want to take option B, and while a company like Games Workshop forces customers to buy things they don't want, THIS IS SPARTA!!! Niel is on record as saying he doesn't want to become a company that screws over its customers to make a quick buck, but this is exactly what they're doing to everyone playing a non-Core Fleet.
One solution is to follow the RSN Model, and sell the Tier 3 choice with an alternate Tier 2 choice. Another option is to package two Tier 3 choices from different factions together. While this is similar to buying a Patrol Fleet to get a Tier 3, it has advantages:
1). It supports two sets of customers simultaneously
2) It encourages players to expand into a second fleet
3) Worst case, a player can sell the non-faction squadron at cost to another player
For the Alliance, this is how I would package the Tier 3 boxes:
Hawker Frigates/Ryushi Corvettes
Terquai Frigates/Tarakian Frigates
Veydreth Corvettes/Xelocian Frigates
This pairs one of the 'natural' allies with a non-natural, follows the story, and brings good synergy in the game. Several players are already playing Hawker/Ryushi, and they already have established story ties. Terquai and Tarakians are spatially near each other, and I can see the freedom-loving Terquai forming ties with the pirate-crushing Tarakians. Their Tier 3s also perform slightly different roles. The Veydreth and Xelocians also have fantastic synergy, and I can see the nomadic Xelocians teaming up well with the Veydreth Tribes.
The Zenian League Fleets are a little SOL right now, with only four factions, but each faction already has the suggested 2x Tier 1, 2x Tier 2, and Tier 3 selection. Simply create a dual-box set like the RSN Frigate/Destroyer box for each, and they're good to go. Thinking about it, since the Zenian League is a little shy about working closely together, it kinda makes sense for them to not have the dual-faction boxes.
That's probably enough for today. Maybe next week I'll post all my ideas for Firestorm V2.5.
Started playing Firestorm Armada December 2014