FTL Is A Board Game

General discussion about the game.
KirksEchoingScream
Posts: 29
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 10:41 pm

FTL Is A Board Game

Postby KirksEchoingScream » Fri Sep 28, 2012 4:20 am

It took me a while to realize this, but if you consider it FTL is effectively a very complex board game that handles the bookkeeping automatically.

You have land tiles, each providing a different resource like attack strength or oxygen. You have three kinds of pieces you can move around the board, power, crew, and targets. Your money is scrap, missiles, drones, and fuel. On a very basic level, investing scrap in a subsystem has a lot in common with buying hotels in monopoly. You're enhancing a piece of land so that it can sap resources from the opponent. Random events could be viewed as a form of chance and community chest cards.

In fact, what element of FTL could not be recreated in a similar form with paper and dice? All of it I suspect, but the bookkeeping would get too time consuming. It would be easiest if converted to a turn based game, but even a real-time game where both you and someone playing the opponent can call a time-out at any moment to issue new orders could potentially work, and use stopwatches to measure things when things happen like weapon firing , engine spin-up, and health loss from oxygen.

The strength of FTL is that it combines many different kinds of board games together, and based on random chance and player choice draws in elements from different ones. One playthrough of FTL might be a more tactical game, like checkers or chess. Another playthrough might be more luck based, like candyland or chutes & ladders. Many playthroughs rest somewhere between those two extremes, where there's a healthy dose of luck involved but you can make gambles based on calculated risks. The game stays fresh because it's really hundreds of overlapping similar board games and you get a different one each time.
swixel
Posts: 80
Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2012 6:08 am

Re: FTL Is A Board Game

Postby swixel » Fri Sep 28, 2012 5:04 am

Which elements of Heroes of Might and Magic couldn't be represented as a board game? Which elements of Dungeons of Dredmore, Nethack, etc. ...

Anything turn based can be represented in another, easier way. Otherwise we couldn't code it into a logical pattern with automated dice rolls.

It's really one game, in which you build your "hero", and quest with your "hero" (see Talisman).
DaemonX
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2012 2:23 am

Re: FTL Is A Board Game

Postby DaemonX » Fri Sep 28, 2012 5:09 am

Except it isn't turn based...
swixel
Posts: 80
Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2012 6:08 am

Re: FTL Is A Board Game

Postby swixel » Fri Sep 28, 2012 5:11 am

DaemonX wrote:Except it isn't turn based...


Everything is turn based. You just need to move faster.

Anyway, beacon jumps are turns; combat is ticked.
KirksEchoingScream
Posts: 29
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 10:41 pm

Re: FTL Is A Board Game

Postby KirksEchoingScream » Fri Sep 28, 2012 6:31 am

swixel wrote:Which elements of Heroes of Might and Magic couldn't be represented as a board game? Which elements of Dungeons of Dredmore, Nethack, etc. ...


That's a good point, but what I think sets FTL apart is that the board is actually quite limited in size. Dungeons of Dredmore for instance could be recreated as a board game, but you'd need page after page of maps. It's a lot of terrain to randomly generate and keep track of. You could also consider Civilization a board game, but that's a whole lot of cities and units to keep track of.

FTL on the other hand has very few locations and not many units in play. Half the board is the player ship. The other half of the board is the enemy ship. There are a limited number of ships in the game. It would actually be quite simple to print every ship layout on cardboard, then swap in a different piece for the enemy ship with every new battle. You could fit the whole battle on one normal sized table easily.

This may be a narrow definition, but I think a board game is in part defined by the limited size of the board. Otherwise it strays into the territory of table top roleplaying or another game genre. The other aspect is moving limited pieces around that small board, to selectively strengthen your position in certain areas.

Of course it wouldn't be easy to keep track of stuff like gun recharge rates and ozygen loss. It could be done, it's just a lot of bookkeeping. My point isn't that FTL should not be a video game, it's a great video game and it would not be as fun if you had to do the dice rolling and timing yourself. My point is just that the gameplay is more inspired by boardgames than people realize.

I
CommieKazie
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2012 7:08 am

Re: FTL Is A Board Game

Postby CommieKazie » Fri Sep 28, 2012 7:13 am

I made an account just to say this:

Space Alert

FTL is already a board game, and it's called "Space Alert" and it is AMAZING. It's also the most stressful boardgame you'll ever play, even moreso than FTL. At least in FTL there's a pause button, Space Alert is in real time.

Basically every member of your crew in FTL is a human player in Space Alert, the game is played in real time and everyone needs to work together to fire the weapons, charge the shields, and fend off boarders. Enemy ships plentiful, and are represented by a single card with stats. (no, you cannot board them, but don't worry, you wouldn't want to anyway)

Check it out, it's well worth picking up. When I saw a friend playing FTL I figured it was Space Alert in Video Game form. They're both maddening in their own ways, but Space Alert does provide for more social aspects.

Also Space Alert has an expansion making in even more crazy. Y'all should check it out!
humantorch
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2012 9:36 am

Re: FTL Is A Board Game

Postby humantorch » Fri Sep 28, 2012 7:19 am

CommieKazie wrote:I made an account just to say this:

Space Alert


Whoa, that looks really good. Thanks for the tip!
KirksEchoingScream
Posts: 29
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 10:41 pm

Re: FTL Is A Board Game

Postby KirksEchoingScream » Fri Sep 28, 2012 12:45 pm

Yeah, thanks! Space Alert sounds cool, I'll check it out.
Kestral B
Posts: 48
Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2012 2:42 pm

Re: FTL Is A Board Game

Postby Kestral B » Fri Sep 28, 2012 3:33 pm

My friend has Space Alert and it's super fun.

Make sure you use the awesome Flash Mission Player - I like it way better than the mission DVD that the game comes with.
CommieKazie
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2012 7:08 am

Re: FTL Is A Board Game

Postby CommieKazie » Fri Sep 28, 2012 3:48 pm

Ooooh, I like the display, that makes it easier to make sure you got it right.

Or does that making it easier make the game less chaotic? Haha, more chaos!

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