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Old February 15th, 2008, 02:37 PM
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Default Initiative System Gripes Pt. 1

Well, I tried the initiative system ("IS") out again, in the vain hope that I might actually start to like it. Unfortunately for me, it's like an off key piano solo; repeating it just puts my teeth on edge. Anyhow, here are some specific comments:

Dodging

Because of the fact that the IS heavily sequences everything, Dodging seems to be a mostly useless action, unless you are being shot at by only one person. The reason is that dodges do not "carry over" from attack to attack. So...Fred shoots Tom and Tom reasonably enough dodges as much as he can. An instant later, Gordo (whose DEX is 1 less than Fred's) shoots Tom and none of Tom's dodging just a microsecond earlier helps him. Since Tom's previous dodging dropped him to initiative 1 he has to stand there lsack jawed and take Gordo's shot. Of course, Tom's player could have chosen not to dodge as much, thereby saving some initiative, but is seems absurd to imagine Tom saying to himself "mustn't try to dodge Tom's shoot too hard...might need some of that dodging later..."

Aiming

Works okay, I guess, although the rules should probably state that the character loses his aiming bonus if he fires at any target other than the one he's aiming at. The rules also do not state whether aiming over several turns is cumulative. The example implies this by stating that the maximum aiming bonus is +6, which is only attainable over 2 turns (spending 5 ticks in turn 1 and 1 more tick in turn 2). Of course, this could just be a typo.

Moving/Firing

Because of the fact that initiative increments in the middle of the round, some odd consequences can arise when moving and firing. If a figure starts the round with initiative 5+, then he can move >1.5m and fire during that round. Say he starts with initiative 6. He moves 3m, reducing initiative to 4. It increments up to 6 before combat. He fires in combat and gets a 2 on effect. Next turn, he cannot continue his steady advancing fire. He starts with initiative 4. If he moves, he'll drop initiative to 2, which will increment to 4. So he can either continue his advance or stop and shoot. Yet nothing has really changed in the two rounds.

Overwatch

There ain't none. The most basic of all infantry tactics, and there ain't none. Sorry, I just can't take a combat system seriously if there's no ability to conduct overwatch fire. An easy example should suffice to point out the absurdity of this omission:

Tom is behind a large boulder at the start of a round. Frank, wants to shoot Tom, but cannot see him. During the movement phase, Tom moves behind another boulder, but in between the boulders, he's in plain sight of Tom. When the combat phase rolls around, Frank cannot fire at Tom.

Now, Frank could "interrupt" Tom. However, the rules state that combat actions occur during the combat phase. No exception is noted for interrupts. And even if the rules are changed so that Frank can use an interrupt to shoot at Tom during his movement, Frank would still have to have an initiative of 6 and a higher DEX than Tom (otherwise Tom would just interrupt Frank's interrupt).

It's also a bad idea to allow shooting interrupts in the movement phase. A figure would often be better off declining to fire in his combat phase and just interrupting enemy movement in the following movement phase. This has the deleterious effect of further slowing the game to a crawl. That could be mitigated by imposing a to hit penalty for interrupt fire, I suppose.
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Old February 15th, 2008, 02:52 PM
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Up to now I've kept quiet, but this is just one too many.

I think everyone gets by now that you don't like Mongoose's flavour of Traveller. You're not alone, I don't like it either. The difference here is that I'm not complaining and bitching about it. I've just stated that it's not for me, I'm not going to buy it, and I'll leave it to those who want to buy it.

Personally, I'll continue to use T20 for Traveller. You're free to use the system you want, I'm guessing Classic or MegaTraveller. Keep playing with your rules and leave the Mongoose rules to those who like them. This is what consumerism is all about.

I suppose what I'm really saying is ... enough already, time to shut up now.
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Old February 15th, 2008, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Valarian View Post
I suppose what I'm really saying is ... enough already, time to shut up now.
I actually like reading TBeard's posts. I don't always agree with everything he writes, but the detailed analysis is quite interesting.

He does temper his posts with his dislike of the system, but I can read past that just as easily as I can a "pro" post. I'm interested in how the game plays and "feels", and I think TBeard has done a good job relating how the mechanics work.

I say, post as much as you want to, TBeard. I'll read it.
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Old February 15th, 2008, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Valarian View Post
Up to now I've kept quiet, but this is just one too many.

I think everyone gets by now that you don't like Mongoose's flavour of Traveller. You're not alone, I don't like it either.
Invariably, when someone begins a complaint with "I don't like it either", I find that in actual fact they do like it quite a bit.

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The difference here is that I'm not complaining and bitching about it.
No, you appear to "complaining and bitching" about me criticising it. That's completely not different, isn't it?

<sigh> In any case, my post makes a very specific and detailed critique of the game, one that I have not made before. Therefore, your demand that I "just shut up" is denied.

If you have a specific disagreement with my critique--other than that it dares to dissect a flawed system--please post it.

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I suppose what I'm really saying is ... enough already, time to shut up now.
Funny, the forum is still called the Mongoose Traveller forum. Are you advocating closing it down? Or merely no longer posting critical comments about it?
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Old February 15th, 2008, 03:49 PM
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Invariably, when someone begins a complaint with "I don't like it either", I find that in actual fact they do like it quite a bit.
How the blazes did you work that out?
I really don't like it, I don't like Classic Traveller or MegaTraveller either. Personally, I think the new rules are terrible ... so I won't buy them. I'll keep using the rules I do like.
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Last edited by Valarian; February 15th, 2008 at 03:53 PM..
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Old February 15th, 2008, 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Supplement Four View Post
I actually like reading TBeard's posts. I don't always agree with everything he writes, but the detailed analysis is quite interesting.

He does temper his posts with his dislike of the system
Well, it's a blessing...and a curse.

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but I can read past that just as easily as I can a "pro" post.
You raise an interesting point about gamer psychology. Somehow, the critiques of someone who dislikes a system--and I have never claimed otherwise about MGT--are deemed by some to be less useful than critiques by folks who unconditionally love the game.

This seems patently absurd to me; a factual statement is valid regardless of the biases of the person making it. And a subjective judgment may (or may not) be affected by the biases of a person making the judgment. However, it seems to me that unreliability falls equally on each side of the Love It/Hate It axis. At least I am honest that I despise the system-- and since I give extensive examples why, I think it's reasonable to conclude that I've given it a fair trial. I like to think that this is much better than being a fanboy and being unwilling to admit it.

Quote:
I'm interested in how the game plays and "feels", and I think TBeard has done a good job relating how the mechanics work.

I say, post as much as you want to, TBeard. I'll read it.
Request granted...hopefully.
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Old February 15th, 2008, 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Valarian View Post
I really don't like it, I don't like Classic Traveller or MegaTraveller either. Personally, I think the new rules are terrible ... so I won't buy them. I'll keep using the rules I do like.
<shrug>

Well, I'll take your word for it. But I don't think that you have accurately characterized my post as mere "bitching and whining". As noted, I define the flaws specifically and give very specific examples of how the rules are flawed. Nor am I repeating myself on this.
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Old February 15th, 2008, 03:58 PM
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Mongoose Traveller Section of the Forum

No. of threads = 20
No. of threads started by tbeard1999 = 15
No. of threads started by tbeard1999 which attack MGT as being "inadequate", "broken" "insert favourite negative adjective here" = 15

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He does temper his posts with his dislike of the system, but I can read past that just as easily as I can a "pro" post.

I'm interested in how the game plays and "feels", and I think TBeard has done a good job relating how the mechanics work.
oh if i could stop laughing for a moment...

tbeard1999, you've made your point, you don't like MGT, we "get" it...

Starting yet another thread attacking another (in your view) "substandard" element of MGT smacks of little more than a vitriol fueled hate campaign - if your posts concerning MGT where evenhanded then perhaps I would think otherwise but past history (and posts made on the subject) suggest otherwise.

Like Valarian said... enough already
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Old February 15th, 2008, 04:12 PM
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Regarding Overwatch:

I read the rules and played it to mean if you START the turn with a six (before incrementing), you are allowed to act at ANY time.

Interestingly, that makes rolling a six on timing (or having a Tactics-6 person) absolutely overpowered. In the sense of being not only overpowered (a FGMP-15 is powerful, too), but ridiculously unrealistic.

Especially as the grappling rules allow you to roll in defense without spending ticks. Thusly, if you carry some trained monkeys or programmed robots or even henchmen around who grapple you at your order, you will always be able to get a six!
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Old February 15th, 2008, 05:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by merlin View Post
Mongoose Traveller Section of the Forum

oh if i could stop laughing for a moment...

tbeard1999, you've made your point, you don't like MGT, we "get" it...
I don't think that you do "get" it.

Since this will likely be the final version of Traveller (whether its a good game or crap), it's important that flaws be identified. Otherwise, the last chance for a good version of Traveller will be wasted.

So I intend to continue to analyse the system and post my conclusions and observations. While Vegas money would say that the opinion will be negative, surprises have happened (note that I liked the starship design system).

And while I don't do a good job hiding my amazement at the flaws, my opinion of the design team's competence, etc., I think that you have to admit that my posts do tend to be rather detailed and specific.

Indeed, most of my non-detailed posts are replies to people who (a) cannot rebut my criticisms; but (b) want me to stop making them.

Ironic, really. If the game is as I think you believe it is, then it should be easy to rebut my criticisms.

So here's the deal. If I make a statement that is factually inaccurate or logically flawed, point it out. I'm usually very quick to correct errors. If you think that certain critiques are subjective and you disagree with them, go ahead and say so. I may continue to disagree with you, but I am quick to note that subjective assessments are, well, subjective.

Indeed, why not tell us why you think it's a good game and why my criticisms are unreasonable.

But if you're just gonna complain about me saying mean and nasty things about MGT, please don't waste my time.

Now, as it happens, I'd not posted a detailed critique of the initiative system as yet. I pretty well wrote it off after a few early attempts to play it. Since the combat system is one of the most important parts of any RPG, I wanted to be certain that I was giving it a fair shake. So I'm playing with it (right now as a matter of fact) and I will continue to comment until (a) I complete the exercise or (b) hunter makes me stop.

Quote:
Starting yet another thread attacking another (in your view) "substandard" element of MGT smacks of little more than a vitriol fueled hate campaign - if your posts concerning MGT where evenhanded
Again, most of the complaints I've had with this game are factual in nature. For instance, the vast majority of critical content in my posts have dealt with the statistical qualities of the timing/effect system and how effectively various proposed fixes addressed the problems.

So even assuming arguendo that I am indeed engaged in "little more than a vitriol fueld hate campaign", uh, what does that have to do with statistics?

Quote:
Like Valarian said... enough already
I think I'll continue to dissect MGT if it's all the same to you. I will, as always, attempt to minimize duplication. However, I can't always avoid this because it's often necessary to restate an argument when discussing the issue with others. But in any case, as I discover new problems (or even things they got right), I'll probably post comments.
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