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Topic: Harebrained idea I'm working up... Star Citizen Miniatures? (Read 1969 times) previous topic - next topic

Harebrained idea I'm working up... Star Citizen Miniatures?

As I noted in the shoutbox, part of my day-job is I'm a consultant to a tabletop-miniatures game company, and I had an idea for something to pitch to both CIG and my clients: a Star Citizen Collectible Miniatures Game.

As I see it, there are two ways this could be done: it could focus on fleet action, or single-ship duels. Notable examples of the former include Axis & Allies Miniatures (which I was an advisor on the War at Sea naval line for), Warhammer, Flames of War and the old Star Wars Miniatures and Star Wars Starship Battles lines; the latter, Wings of War/Wings of Glory (current consultant on) and X-Wing Miniatures, and Sails of Glory (currently my main effort) fits in somewhere between the two.

The first you have a certain Point Limit for your force and each unit costs a certain point value; the latter you get a certain number of miniatures, frequently balanced by things like year limits, equipment or crew upgrades.

Large-force lines are typically done in one of two options: fixed formation (say, a single tank platoon; this option is usually Painting & Assembly Required), or random booster (units of different rarity, blind-packed; this is usually the only way you get prepainted, preassembled "bulk units").

Small-force lines are typically WYSIWIG--you know exactly what's in the box when you pick it up; mostly Paint/Assembly Required  though X-Wing, WoWM/WoG and SoG are all prepainted and preassembled.

I'll elaborate more on these later (trying to keep this initial thought brief--if I dump everything here it's guaranteed TL;DR), but for now I just wanted to raise the idea, see if anyone else around here is in the miniatures scene and might have thoughts to refine it--then, after throwing a nucleus together I figure I'll toss something up in General Chat or Subscribers' Den over at RSI and reach out to Ares and CIG and see about bringing them together.

Personally, one thing I'd like to see would be having a miniature unlock some low-power exclusive or discounted item in-game, like for example a small-group miniature of a named pilot in Squadron 42 might unlock a skin for their ship or a discount "package" of any special load-out they may use, or a fleet miniature of a capital ship might include an unlock code for a skin of that ship's fighters, or a fleet mini of a fighter might include a non-combinable code to knock a percentage off of buying that fighter in-game or a special "optional extras" fit that you could otherwise build in-game but would have to pay a bit more and/or hunt down some of the more rare and special parts for.
Anyone got a Con Andromeda Physical Goodies package you're thinking about melting for a Digital? Send me a note--maybe we can make a deal.

Re: Harebrained idea I'm working up... Star Citizen Miniatures?

Reply #1
Possible "game models"
Prepainted, preassembled minis are generally found in either 1-to-4-figure WYSIWYG packs/boxes, or random-packed boosters. WYSIWIGs are typically a fixed rarity made and packed as complete sets, and a sealed factory case of might be offered as 24 or 36 figures packed as 2 or 3 sets respectively. Random figures typically have some figures more common than others--in Axis & Allies War at Sea, sets were designed on a 2:1:2 ratio of Rares:Uncommons:Commons, and while some lines (Star Wars Miniatures) like to do Very Rares I would caution against that here. Frankly, if we're going to do random-booster fleet packs I think WAS is a good model to follow:
--five figures per box with reasonable 1:1:3 R:U:C packing ratio (2 cases of 12 boosters was enough to get a 1-of-everything collection most of the time)
--generic fighter units, named ships; limits on unique or rare (4-or-less built) ship designs

However, I would also propose a departure from this model. WAS made every ship unique, while in an SC fleet-action game I would propose to have both baseline "generics" and unique named ships--the latter being vessels which either have a stats or Special Ability advantage at higher point cost, or similar disadvantage at some discount. How I would propose to handle an SC PP/PA fleet game would be to adopt the WAS "2.0 Starter" model of a fixed-content starter, but either keep the capital ships generic or make all of the fighter squadrons in the starter named Uniques--generic planes and named ships was a bastardization, meaning to get the tons of TBF Avengers one needed for Pacific Theater battles you had to buy a dozen starters and try to trade off tons of surplus Japanese Haguro heavy cruisers. Boosters to expand the collection would be random-packed, with unique fighter squadrons being elevated in rarity. Distribution would be something like this:

20% of pack
40% of sculpts
Heavy Cruisers
Fleet Carriers
20% of pack
20% of sculpts
Light Cruisers
Escort Carriers
multiengine planes
60% of pack
40% of sculpts
Single-engine planes

Also, after Set 1 a typical set was around 25% reprint sculpts--which can include doing two versions of the same sculpt.

For a "fighter duel" game, I think the Wings of War/Wings of Glory model is a good start to build from--though it does have a problem in that by using a card- or chit-based damage mechanic every draw you make gets you closer to having the "Boom!" insta-kill marker come up, declining chits in the pool skews the statistics and Ares is very firm about their "NO DICE" model here. (There's a simple workaround, using Random Number Generator computer programs; some even let you program non-numeric values in too like "Explosion," "Pilot Wounded," "Engine Damage," etc.; I've been playing around with one originally made for Battletech/MechWarrior called HeavyMetalPro.)

DIY miniatures have the advantage in large-force games of knowing exactly what you're buying, at the cost of... well, Doing It Yourself. While Axis & Allies might require you to sort through a few dozen boxes to come up with four Panzer IV Ausf. F2 tanks and make a complete platoon, Flames of War will sell you the complete platoon in one box. These lines are also more expensive, having to support a broader range of tooling and more expensive materials, generally being pewter or white-metal rather than plastic or resin.

FULL DISCLOSURE: As noted, I am a consultant to Ares Games. Also, I have a beef with Fantasy Flight Games (another publisher) over a dirty trick they tried to pull on a game-designer friend when his previous publisher went bankrupt, telling him "you might as well sell out to us, because if you don't we're going to dust off an old brand name of ours, rip off your IP and use it anyway." (This was Wings of War; they planned a miniatures reboot of Blue Max using WoW's game system, and the sales numbers speak for themselves in that WoW, rebranded as Wings of Glory, has seen 6 WWI and 5 WWII releases over the past several years, while Blue Max hasn't even made it to pre-sell solicitations in the same timespan.)
Anyone got a Con Andromeda Physical Goodies package you're thinking about melting for a Digital? Send me a note--maybe we can make a deal.