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StarSiege Relaunch 
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Unkbartig
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Post StarSiege Relaunch
You know, I have been reading over my StarSiege stuff, and I thought, "Dang. This is actually a pretty sharp system." It has a lot of potential. But let's face it... it sputtered and stalled rather quickly, for a few reasons I think.
1. Appearance of Product- I am not trying to find fault here. I look past the glitz and look for substance, but you and I are not normal folks (painfully apparent, eh? lol) most folks, especially the younger crowd, look for really amazing artwork and presentation. The art on the cover wasn't bad...just uninspiring and rather lackluster (I think the intention was a retro look, but the retro crowd is not the majority). Not at all the usual awesomeness that we see. Look at the competitors covers and the boggling art they have. Wha will the new guy reach for?

Then the manuals inside have a grey, dull appearance. Again, I personally see the direction and why it was chosen....but AGAIN, I point to the average guy and he will be unimpressed with artistic message conveyed there. And while I appreciate the idea of extra manuals for players, I think that just was an unnecessary increase in production costs (but hey, what do I know?)
2. Layout- This is a minor complaint, but one that I think will turn other, less fanatical people off. Way too much text crammed into the pages without visual spacing. Just my 2 cents, but I like the text in maybe two columns, with plenty of margin space, a slightly bigger font, and a crap ton more interior art to break up the visual monotony. Again, this is a minor issue, but I thought I would throw it out there.
3. Support- This is a huge thing, and a huge factor in why it has not risen to its potential. This should have had a steady stream of supplemental materials churned out for it, including setting stuff, compilations of weapons, ships, and so on. I don't fault anyone on this, as TLG is a small publisher with only so much manpower to spread around (and quite frankly, if I have to choose, I want TLG focusing on C&C and Airhde stuff).
My Suggestion- a planned relaunch. After the CKG and the Fourth Crusade is safely in the bag, I think TLG could really do well with StarSiege, including a couple other genres using the same mechanics. With new and amazing artwork throughout, new layouts, new maps of the starting setting, and so forth, with a supp book and three or four adventures to kick out the door with it, and bang. I think it could really be huge.

I am looking forward to playing at GenCon, and hope this little blip on the gaming radar is the start of something much bigger. This game was brilliantly designed, and deserves another chance.
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Wed May 05, 2010 2:48 pm
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Greater Lore Drake
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Post Re: StarSiege Relaunch
Quote:
Piperdog wrote:
... but you and I are not normal folks...



You certainly aren't normal folks!!!111

PS- Dont beat my ass for that, I was kidding

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Wed May 05, 2010 3:14 pm
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Unkbartig
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Dude, you kill me.
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Wed May 05, 2010 3:18 pm
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Greater Lore Drake
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Quote:
Piperdog wrote:
Dude, you kill me.



I've gotta serve SOME purpose!

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Wed May 05, 2010 3:25 pm
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Lore Drake
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Post Re: StarSiege Relaunch
Quote:
Piperdog wrote:
You know, I have been reading over my StarSiege stuff, and I thought, "Dang. This is actually a pretty sharp system." It has a lot of potential. But let's face it... it sputtered and stalled rather quickly, for a few reasons I think.
1. Appearance of Product- I am not trying to find fault here. I look past the glitz and look for substance, but you and I are not normal folks (painfully apparent, eh? lol) most folks, especially the younger crowd, look for really amazing artwork and presentation. The art on the cover wasn't bad...just uninspiring and rather lackluster (I think the intention was a retro look, but the retro crowd is not the majority). Not at all the usual awesomeness that we see. Look at the competitors covers and the boggling art they have. Wha will the new guy reach for?

Then the manuals inside have a grey, dull appearance. Again, I personally see the direction and why it was chosen....but AGAIN, I point to the average guy and he will be unimpressed with artistic message conveyed there. And while I appreciate the idea of extra manuals for players, I think that just was an unnecessary increase in production costs (but hey, what do I know?)
2. Layout- This is a minor complaint, but one that I think will turn other, less fanatical people off. Way too much text crammed into the pages without visual spacing. Just my 2 cents, but I like the text in maybe two columns, with plenty of margin space, a slightly bigger font, and a crap ton more interior art to break up the visual monotony. Again, this is a minor issue, but I thought I would throw it out there.
3. Support- This is a huge thing, and a huge factor in why it has not risen to its potential. This should have had a steady stream of supplemental materials churned out for it, including setting stuff, compilations of weapons, ships, and so on. I don't fault anyone on this, as TLG is a small publisher with only so much manpower to spread around (and quite frankly, if I have to choose, I want TLG focusing on C&C and Airhde stuff).
My Suggestion- a planned relaunch. After the CKG and the Fourth Crusade is safely in the bag, I think TLG could really do well with StarSiege, including a couple other genres using the same mechanics. With new and amazing artwork throughout, new layouts, new maps of the starting setting, and so forth, with a supp book and three or four adventures to kick out the door with it, and bang. I think it could really be huge.



Gotta agree with Piperdog on all his points. But I'll emphasize point 3 [support]. I've never run a sci-fi rpg and only played in one once, and that like 20 years ago. I bought Star Siege and agree that it is a slick system, but without some adventures and some good setting stuff attempting to run it for my players seems a bit too overwhelming. Too much I'd have to come up with myself when I'm not confident I even know how to run sci-fi. So I end up sticking with C&C and running what I know. Would love to see SS re-launched with some of these concerns addressed.
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Wed May 05, 2010 5:00 pm
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I totally agree. I love this game, but it really needs more support and maybe a slicker look to jump off the shelf.


Wed May 05, 2010 5:08 pm
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I agree with point 3. Few people want to buy a game and then have to build everything in the game. It is fun to do so, but without something to compare the creations to, or at least several examples for it, people either don't try or they wait for someone to do it for them. Neither is really "wrong," but if you can sell stuff and get people interested... I'd opt for that.
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Wed May 05, 2010 6:05 pm
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It just so happens that I brought this up with somebody we all know(at Egypt Wars on Illinois). Seems like there was possible interest in re-visiting the game. Perhaps bringing it a little closer to the Siege Engine, and some visual treatment as well. My friends and I were able to playtest. Overall, we liked the game. I wasn't crazy about having to design everything, but the system seemed to work. Combat against 40 "bugs" seemed to go quickly with little fuss. When I got copy at GenCon, I was a little let down by book covers and interior art. I don't ordinarily say that about TLG's products. It's hard to say if sci-fi would be tlg's bread and butter, but some re-tooling and fancy dress might be worth the effort.


Wed May 05, 2010 6:28 pm
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Ulthal

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I, too, would like to see the game relaunched. Note, however, that sci-fi rpgs are a harder sell overall. That's why you don't see a crap-ton of them like you do fantasy games. Players more easily identify with the fantasy tropes, and GMs find them easier to run.

Currently, in fact, I can only name one sci-fi (space) game that continues to sell: Traveller. To relaunch the game would mean competing with it for an even smaller niche market. So the question becomes whether or not it is worth the expense for the Trolls to pursue that, especially when their emphasis is fantasy gaming.

Still, support interest could be drummed up through cons and The Crusader. PDF material could be a good means of product creation to test the sales waters for adventures and supplements.
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Wed May 05, 2010 6:39 pm
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Quote:
serleran wrote:
Few people want to buy a game and then have to build everything in the game. It is fun to do so, but without something to compare the creations to, or at least several examples for it, people either don't try or they wait for someone to do it for them.



This.

~O
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Wed May 05, 2010 7:26 pm
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The biggest thing that struck me as odd about StarSIEGE was how it came with 4 player books and dice. That implies that you get the box set, hand out the player books, and are ready to play. However, being a toolkit game, StarSIEGE requires a great deal of world building, trappings building, etc.. so you can't really just roll and play in the first place. I can't imagine a scenario where the GM doesn't have their own handouts with all the allowed races, classes, and gear... so why would everyone need the generic player books? In hindsight, this product probably should have been similar to something like the Hero Sidekick book (but much simpler).
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Wed May 05, 2010 8:57 pm
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Maybe the C&C society can do some support material.

By fans, for fans?

Netbooks and such?

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Wed May 05, 2010 11:11 pm
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I loved the rules...I hated the idea of creating anything gear or ship wise. I rock at creating stories and running games but I SUCK at doing stuff liek this.

I learned long ago that I just dont have the talent to realize what works and what does not in the creation of stuff.

Give me a really good basic setting for Starsiege and a nice list of gear,ships,ect..all done for me and I would play the game and buy product.

As it is I love it but don't even plan on running it.
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Thu May 06, 2010 1:25 am
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I agree with Piper's assessment. I picked up my copy at GenCon last summer and carried it around all weekend reading it. I'm not a huge sci-fi game fan, but if there had been more support, I would have given it a try.

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Thu May 06, 2010 2:02 am
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Most of the above and I found renaming the attributes was not a wise choice. People are used to the originals and having to learn what the new ones mean, just to find out they really are not all that different seemed kind of odd to do. I don't see how that would attract more people, especially when part of your hard lifting is already done with familiarity.

Myself I just thought that is was a waste going that route and was kind of a turn-off expecting to have the Seige Engine that I am used to not be the Seige Engine I'm used to. Almost like a bait and switch.

I didn't mind the lack of art, I thought the cover of the box was pretty good, but by god stop with the 3 column layout, that may be good for magazines but not good for game books, the layout had enough problems that is was just compounded by the 3 columns.

I'll probably give it a go at some point, but I have little time to sit down and create everything.
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Thu May 06, 2010 2:27 am
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Quote:
Quote:
Myself I just thought that is was a waste going that route and was kind of a turn-off expecting to have the Seige Engine that I am used to not be the Seige Engine I'm used to. Almost like a bait and switch.



I felt that way for a second or two, as I was expecting a Star Frontiers kind of game myself. But when I got into it, I saw that it is actually a very sophisticated use of the siege concept; I really like it as a stand alone system, and think even a fantasy game would be fun using this rule set.

Quote:
Quote:
I didn't mind the lack of art, I thought the cover of the box was pretty good, but by god stop with the 3 column layout, that may be good for magazines but not good for game books, the layout had enough problems that is was just compounded by the 3 columns.



Man o Man. I hear you brother. I hear you. The 3 column layout makes me want to jab a pencil in my eye.
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Thu May 06, 2010 2:46 am
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Okay... I'm usually kinda jovial about StarSIEGE, but we're here on our "home boards" so I think I'm going to mildly vent... yes, the game is a toolkit, but I ask people to name vital pieces of equipment/vehicles that are missing from the core set... things you'd absolutely NEED to run a game. There's a substantial weaopn and armor section... I think I covered the basics in other gear as well. And there are seven classes of starcraft with up to three different "build-outs" listed as well as a host of defensive and offensive subsystems for them. So while there are a few small holes, I think the stuff that would fill most "equipment lists" for characters have been taken care of in the books.

As far as support goes, I had planned some stuff, but it seemed the game didn't get much buzz and I hadn't heard anything from the Troll Lords about desire to push more product into the line, so I abandoned my own work...

As far as complaints about the "departure" from C&C, well, I've discussed my decisions on attributes and skill packages before and stand by my decisions... sci-fi is not fantasy with different class names... it has different needs and I tried to address them. And as to a "bait and swtich"... I based this game off of the SIEGE Engine, not C&C... the SIEGE Engine is the 12/18 split... everything else is d20 derived, which I decided to avoid. Part of it was personal dislike of d20 and the other was that I wanted to showcase the depth of the SIEGE Engine as a mechanic rather than relying on d20 trappings for "familiarity"... Some people wanted "C&C in Space" and I didn't deliver that, which is a deal breaker for them, but I think the game is stronger for the departures.

All that said, I'd fully support a re-launch and would happily put more work into the game if the Troll Lords asked. Most likely, I'd probably balk at another boxed set relaunch due to flaws I think are inherant in such a delivery device. I had tons of material for the Victory 2442 setting that had to fall by the wayside due to the 3 booklet lay out... In fact, while I liked the idea of the boxed set, it definitely hindered development due to page count constraints.
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Thu May 06, 2010 1:24 pm
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Well, by that same logic, the M&T is not required to play C&C either. That said, people who plan to run C&C are likely to pick up the M&T. They don't have to of course and some may just use older AD&D books instead but you figure that there will be significant enough numbers that will buy it that have bought them at the same time or after they have bought the PHB.

So while StarSiege as it is right now can be used and includes everything needed to run or play, it will also require effort to get it off the ground.

That said, I do not fault the author. The concept of a boxed game was neat but it didn't do so well in the execution. The best way to package this game would have been a 96 (or so) page perfect bound book. Taking a look at the present page count of the various different books and the slight duplication that happens when covering concepts that are discussed in the players guide and the gm's guide, you can easily do it within 96 pages. Turn around... add some setting relevant material (Victory 2442) to what was already provided, and you can have a fantastic 128 page softbound book.

I think the box set concept didn't do the game justice and between that attempt and then Tainted Lands, it may go a long way to suggest why Harvesters was released as a perfect bound book instead.

I see a lot of potential with Star Siege... I always have. I will also be the first to admit there are a couple of things that irk me about it but those have NOTHING to do with it taking a departure in design from C&C. I think this can be a strength and the game can stand on it's own without becoming C&C in space.

I can say that I'm interested in doing third-party support though this couldn't happen till the end of the year (at the earliest). If people are really interested in seeing something happen in terms of some support, let me know (via this thread, PM, or email) and I will see what can be done.

M
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Thu May 06, 2010 4:04 pm
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Unkbartig
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Not really into Sci fi games but I am less into box sets.

Just a basic fact that the boxed sets I have bought in the past either sit on the shelf with me afraid to apply wear and tear, or else they are completely destroyed, booklets lost, etc in a year or so.

While the hardbound books I bought waaaaaaaaaay back when still are used and still have a place of honor on my shelf.

The "perfect" bound books I have bought in the past, "Lankhmar" being one, crack and split into loose pages when I try to open them now.

yet my old AD&D PHB with the iconic idol and eye ruby theives has taken a licking and keeps on ticking.

Do I expect something I bought in the 70's or 80's to last forever?

No of course not.

Do I enjoy it it when they do? Yes oh yessir yes!
As for support, I always take a cue from the company that releases the product.

Are THEY supporting it?

If a game is released with no apparent support form the publishers, it is no wonder to me when it fails to take wings.
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Thu May 06, 2010 4:31 pm
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Quote:
moriarty777 wrote:
So while StarSiege as it is right now can be used and includes everything needed to run or play, it will also require effort to get it off the ground.



It's this line that confuses me... what is it that requires "effort" to get it off the ground? Anymore so than the setting-less C&C? At least SSEH came with a bare-bones setting to hang stuff on... I just don't see what heavy lifting is required beyond what's provided in the RAW.

I do agree with your points about the boxed set format. It didn't help that the game was written to be a 128 page book and was then sliced and diced (by me admittedly, so I can't fault anyone there) to be three much smaller books.

Quote:
Joe wrote:
If a game is released with no apparent support form the publishers, it is no wonder to me when it fails to take wings.



As far as this... a company also has to make a call as to what to support... if a game doesn't generate a lot of sales, it doesn't make sense to pour money into "support" for it...
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Thu May 06, 2010 4:44 pm
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Quote:
Quote:
As far as this... a company also has to make a call as to what to support... if a game doesn't generate a lot of sales, it doesn't make sense to pour money into "support" for it...



On one hand I agree with you, but the flip-side can be true also. A highly visible line of support materials projects a very high end image to the public, which in turn could generate a high number of sales. That aside though, I stand by what I said in my original post as to why the high dollar sales were not there out of the gate. I believe the overall presentation, design, and layout of the product wasn't enough to grab people; the boxed format was unnecessary in my humble opinion and a hardcover book would have been a better option in this case. If there were pregenerated characters, maps, and so on, then a boxed set would have been better.

Either way, it is a slick, innovative stand-alone system, and I believe it deserves a make-over and a relaunch. I know it won't happen until after the Fourth Crusade is wrapped up (primarily CKG), but after that, I hope it gets a little love. At any rate, I am looking forward to Mark running this at GenCon.
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Thu May 06, 2010 5:07 pm
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You know, I have nothing to do with TLG nor the 4th Crusade... there's nothing stopping me from re-writing SSEH as a 128 page book "relaunch" for submission back to the Troll Lords (other than my own free time constraints as I have my own full-time job and such).

If I were to undertake such an endeavour, what would people want to see in the game that it currently lacks? What changes (if any) would they want to see in the game?
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Thu May 06, 2010 5:17 pm
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This thread has certainly re-kindled my desire to buy this game. It's been on my list, but I haven't thought about it in some time.

I'm fine with boxed set, in fact - I think I prefer them some certain products.

I think I read in release thread that a boat load of these sets were sold at GenCON (last year?)

Btw, what happened with the module Another Fine Mess? Anyone know?

Thanks.
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Thu May 06, 2010 5:24 pm
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Quote:
Quote:
If I were to undertake such an endeavour, what would people want to see in the game that it currently lacks? What changes (if any) would they want to see in the game?



My stance is that it is primarily about presentation in the marketplace, not about the content you have in it right now....it is all badass, dude. I will say that it absolutely needs incredible, and I mean incredible art, for the cover and throughout to compete with other companis games. But it's about the substance you say? I agree, but the majority of folks look at a cover to pull them in, flip through the pages only to be subliminally affected by the layout, the interior artwork, and the percieved value. Fancy pregens, a starter adventure, and gloss poster maps of the galaxy and setting locations go a long way in affecting how I view a boxed set, and I believe I am a person who looks beyond the look and tries to find the meat of it. Not everyone does that.

If adding the pregens, starter adventure, and some folding poster maps and maps of the setting, I would stick with a boxed format. But otherwise, i would go to a hardcover book and get that puppy into retailers asap. It could still have a cool double-sided folding map in the back depicting the systems on one side, and maybe some blueprints on the other (just brainstorming here).

I would suggest tons of art throughout....depictions of every race, a pic of each ship (or blueprint would be sweet), action shots, etc.

It is a badass game. It just needs a makeover. And that falls primarily on TLG, not you Josh, unless you want to throw in a few more things that the other guys suggest.[/quote][/code]
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Thu May 06, 2010 5:36 pm
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I do know of a few things that I'd probably like to include:

1) Trade Mechanics

2) Repair/Modification Mechanics

In retrospect, i should have dropped the Mutations section in favor of these... but what can I say, hindsight and all that.
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Thu May 06, 2010 5:45 pm
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The system was pretty innovative. It more or less comes down to layout, art, and whether or not to do boxed,softcover, or hardcover. I'm definitely going to have another look to be certain. Josh, you did a fine job overall, and should be proud.


Thu May 06, 2010 5:52 pm
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Quote:
cheeplives wrote:
It's this line that confuses me... what is it that requires "effort" to get it off the ground? Anymore so than the setting-less C&C? At least SSEH came with a bare-bones setting to hang stuff on... I just don't see what heavy lifting is required beyond what's provided in the RAW.



Well, the M&T is 'setting less' as you put it and yet it's a 128 page book covering critters and items which many will find necessary to the game. If what makes a sci-fi game standout is the multitudes of equipment, vehicles, and gadgetry (as well as alien critters and such), then Star Siege as it stands is very lean when it comes to that.

This is completely understandable since the sort of material presented will greatly vary from one sci-fi setting to another. What you did was provide solid 'base examples' and a system to create or customize material to suit a persons tastes and needs.

Unfortunately, a lot of gamers are either lazy (and won't do the work themselves) or don't have time for it. I'm in the second category personally -- I've been wanting to do a 'Rocketship Empires' campaign and just didn't have the time to build the various vehicles and ships necessary to meet the needs of the setting. This is also why I tend to grab a pre-written module to run my C&C games with. I don't have much time to develop my own stuff and I know C&C inside and out.

I will stress that EVERYTHING needed is in the StarSiege rules but there is little pre-fab material to go with. Sometimes it's just easier to 'scrape off' a serial number and give it a new paint job than building something from scratch and I think others have found some the rules more daunting than they would like. This is just a preference thing though.

I have a friend who loves to tinker with rules and systems but in a couple of instances, he was stumped on how to do a couple of things. I think this was more as a result of 'finite space' in the books.

If this were to be expanded or other support material got done down the line (through TLG or a third party offering), one thing that might be cool is a few 'sub-system templates' as well as vehicle and ship templates. Give them part of a build and leave a swapping in and out... or something along those lines.

I think StarSiege would ultimately benefit with a much greater depth given to the sample setting. More information... more ships... equipment... critters and such as well as additional detail to go with what we already have. I think this would stir up a bit of interest for those that don't know what to do with StarSiege. In the end -- some people need or want it and others couldn't care less.
There is also no easy answer. What might be an issue for one person will strike another as completely odd.

M
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Thu May 06, 2010 6:17 pm
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Red Cap

Joined: Tue May 02, 2006 7:00 am
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Yes, I know "more" would have been nice... but sadly there wasn't room. I did my best to build things as Templates, though... that's why I even put the Subsystem option into the game... I wanted stuff to be as customizable as people wanted to make them... I even tried to show it off in the Victory 2442 book by presenting the Ship "templates" and then show how each race had variants of those templates.

I do agree that the setting and associated trappings suffered the most from the format, but there was little that could be done to rectify that. I chose to put in more examples of what you could do with the setting rather than items and such... In retrospect, I'd probably do it again and just beg for a bigger book.
Maybe Steve will read this and approach me to flesh out the stuff for a real 128 page book... if not, we'll just look at StarSIEGE as the neat game of "almost"...
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Thu May 06, 2010 6:33 pm
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Renegade Mage
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Joined: Fri Jul 07, 2006 7:00 am
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Location: Montreal, Canada
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Well, I'm not sure how sales have been overall for Star Siege. I suspect a 'relaunch' will only happen once the current box set run is sold out. At which point, a perfect bound book may be a less expensive option to examine anyway as far as reprinting it is concerned.

Failing that, I say a supplement that somehow covers this sort of material (the stuff that got trimmed and other examples of 'more' and maybe a few additional rules variants or whatever) may help strengthen the foundation of the system.

Who knows? Down the line, it could even be something that would wound up merged in a reprint of the game.

I will have to pull the box set out in the next week or two and look through it again. Maybe resurrect my early ideas about putting a campaign together and even go as far as share some of this to my peers on these forums.

BTW -- Has anyone checked out the module? It's something that never got in to any of my local stores and I haven't made an order with the Trolls in quite a long time so I haven't picked it up yet. What is it like?

M
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Thu May 06, 2010 7:03 pm
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Greater Lore Drake

Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2007 7:00 am
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For what its worth, I saw 2 or 3 copies of Starsiege sell at TLG's booth a few weeks ago(at Egypt Wars in Illinois). Guess that's good news. I recently picked up Another Fine Mess but didn't have time to peruse it.


Thu May 06, 2010 7:56 pm
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