How do you feel about damage-over-time weapons?

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How do you feel about damage-over-time weapons?

Postby Cralis on Wed 02 May 2018 11:48

I had a suggestion for a future weapon tech but it had something new in it: damage over time. Basically the weapon does X damage to the target on the first turn, X-1 damage automatically on the second turn, and X-2 damage on the third turn. After that it burns out (basically). Forget the specifics, what I’m interested in is whether or not ya’ll like the mechanics.

We have long avoided weapons like this because they require tracking and thus take more time to play.

But what do ya’ll think? It could open the door to new weapon types and new strategies. But is the slow down worth it??
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Re: How do you feel about damage-over-time weapons?

Postby nukesnipe on Wed 02 May 2018 13:39

My knee jerk reaction - and gut feeling - is "not a good idea". With all the bells and whistles that have been added to Starfire's tactical engine, and the sheer number of ships that can be present, combat is (already?) laborious. Having to track damage-over-time weapons would only create additional burden, which I believe would decrease game play enjoyment.

But, my opinion is worth what you paid for it. ;)
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Re: How do you feel about damage-over-time weapons?

Postby aramis on Wed 02 May 2018 16:38

nukesnipe wrote:My knee jerk reaction - and gut feeling - is "not a good idea". With all the bells and whistles that have been added to Starfire's tactical engine, and the sheer number of ships that can be present, combat is (already?) laborious. Having to track damage-over-time weapons would only create additional burden, which I believe would decrease game play enjoyment.

But, my opinion is worth what you paid for it. ;)

My gut reaction is much the same. But mine is based upon using the PPD in SFB. Total pain in the arse.
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Re: How do you feel about damage-over-time weapons?

Postby Whitecold on Wed 02 May 2018 16:46

Cralis wrote:I had a suggestion for a future weapon tech but it had something new in it: damage over time. Basically the weapon does X damage to the target on the first turn, X-1 damage automatically on the second turn, and X-2 damage on the third turn. After that it burns out (basically). Forget the specifics, what I’m interested in is whether or not ya’ll like the mechanics.

We have long avoided weapons like this because they require tracking and thus take more time to play.

But what do ya’ll think? It could open the door to new weapon types and new strategies. But is the slow down worth it??


I don't see that many tactical options are gained for a lot of painful record keeping. If anything, it encourages big first strikes and running afterwards, which seems contrary to what I would want to encourage as overall game style.

The one way I'd see dmg-over-time adding additional strategies is with a locking on weapon, one that deals increased damage on successive rounds keeping on the same target.
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Re: How do you feel about damage-over-time weapons?

Postby Morpheus on Wed 02 May 2018 18:04

Whitecold wrote:I don't see that many tactical options are gained for a lot of painful record keeping. If anything, it encourages big first strikes and running afterwards, which seems contrary to what I would want to encourage as overall game style.

I tend to agree with you all on this. This would increase the time required for and the complexity of record keeping. One of the reasons that I started playing Starfire was the simplicity of record keeping for tactical scale battles (especially over games like SFB). Nothing against SFB, and it is still good for small battles but once you get above 2-3 ships per person, the record keeping bcomes tedious.

Whitecold wrote:The one way I'd see dmg-over-time adding additional strategies is with a locking on weapon, one that deals increased damage on successive rounds keeping on the same target.

This is an interesting concept. Instead of damage over time, what if there were weapons that could “charge” over multiple turns and each turn of “charging” would apply a damage multiplier if the weapon hit? Unfortunately this would also require record keeping on the prt of the firing ship to track which weapons were charging and for how many turns.
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Re: How do you feel about damage-over-time weapons?

Postby Xveers on Wed 02 May 2018 20:09

nukesnipe wrote:My knee jerk reaction - and gut feeling - is "not a good idea". With all the bells and whistles that have been added to Starfire's tactical engine, and the sheer number of ships that can be present, combat is (already?) laborious. Having to track damage-over-time weapons would only create additional burden, which I believe would decrease game play enjoyment.

But, my opinion is worth what you paid for it. ;)


I'll third this. Starfire's basic combat system is quick and decisive. Adding additional record keeping for DOT damage is in my mind the exact wrong direction for Starfire to go. This would add even more overhead with very little gain, in my opinion.
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Re: How do you feel about damage-over-time weapons?

Postby Cralis on Thu 03 May 2018 01:47

Yeah, that PPD was a pain. To use and to track.

If we added weapons that did DOT-style damage, the gameplay would be a bit different. At least, if you wanted to be efficient. If the DOT attacks stack (meaning the same weapon can hit multiple times and each hit does separate damage), then you run the risk of burning down the target and wasting a bunch of potential damage. If the DOT attacks don't stack, then you have to be strategic about what you shoot because you waste damage when you hit the same target with the same weapon more than once.

And DOT attacks have the advantage of being able to continue to do damage when your not attacking the target turn after turn.

Honestly I can see some neat, limited uses for these styles of weapons. I wouldn't want them to be a common weapon like R.

And the other factor is how many ships do you have? If you have limited ships like Procyon and his family, where 20 ships is a large fleet, this wouldn't be a big deal would it? But I can see that if you have a Weber-sized fleet of 1400, it would be a tremendous pain.
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Re: How do you feel about damage-over-time weapons?

Postby Xveers on Thu 03 May 2018 19:17

Cralis wrote:Honestly I can see some neat, limited uses for these styles of weapons. I wouldn't want them to be a common weapon like R.


I'm certain this was part of the logic behind having primary beams only fire every other turn. But that too was something that was removed when we went to 4th+ (and rightly so, as now you have to track which ships fired what last turn, which is a small but annoying bit of overhead). Shifting this over to the target instead of the attacker isn't a reduction in tracking and overhead by any stretch of the imagination.

Cralis wrote:And the other factor is how many ships do you have? If you have limited ships like Procyon and his family, where 20 ships is a large fleet, this wouldn't be a big deal would it? But I can see that if you have a Weber-sized fleet of 1400, it would be a tremendous pain.


One of Starfire's biggest strengths (if not THE biggest) is it's ability to handle large fleet battles. I haven't seen another game that can handle large double digit battles as well as Starfire can. Having run 70+ ship battles, I can tell you the mental overhead is already pretty substantial. Adding in tracking DOT damage in any form is just going to increase that geometrically.

And note that you're only thinking on a ship level, not a weapon level. Larger ships will probably be able to mount multiples of this weapon (unless we want more special design rules governing this weapon, which in my mind would give it ANOTHER strike against it). That means more tracking, more special specific rules, and so on. As well, for large enough ships, is the DOT damage actually going to be worth it? A hit on a DD with a few points of DOT might be enough to have an affect in game-play (or the battle). But the same on a BB or a DN? Probably not.

I'm sorry, but the more I hear about this the more I think that this adds precious little to either the tactical or strategic game for the amount of potential overhead and complexity that it requires. I don't feel it's a good trade-off even on its own merits, and when coupled with what Starfire as a game system IS good at, I think this is entirely the wrong direction to go.
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Re: How do you feel about damage-over-time weapons?

Postby Cralis on Fri 04 May 2018 09:18

Xveers wrote:
Cralis wrote:Honestly I can see some neat, limited uses for these styles of weapons. I wouldn't want them to be a common weapon like R.


I'm certain this was part of the logic behind having primary beams only fire every other turn.


I'm pretty sure this wasn't a thought at all. Why? Because it appears everywhere in the scenarios that they built at the time.

But that too was something that was removed when we went to 4th+ (and rightly so, as now you have to track which ships fired what last turn, which is a small but annoying bit of overhead). Shifting this over to the target instead of the attacker isn't a reduction in tracking and overhead by any stretch of the imagination.


Actually it could be worse, you have to track which P fired from which ships at a given turn and then remember to erase those marks at the end of the next turn. I remember not firing every P every turn so that I could keep up a steady rate of fire. So we got used to writing little turn numbers on the UCS above each P system. While you are correct in that it shifts the record keeping, at the very least this is "per ship" instead of "per beam weapon"

Cralis wrote:And the other factor is how many ships do you have? If you have limited ships like Procyon and his family, where 20 ships is a large fleet, this wouldn't be a big deal would it? But I can see that if you have a Weber-sized fleet of 1400, it would be a tremendous pain.


One of Starfire's biggest strengths (if not THE biggest) is it's ability to handle large fleet battles. I haven't seen another game that can handle large double digit battles as well as Starfire can. Having run 70+ ship battles, I can tell you the mental overhead is already pretty substantial.


And that's been the point. As anyone who has played Insurrection and ISW-4 can tell you: just because the system can handle you playing a battle with 3000 ships... we need to ask "should we" ? The nice thing about this system is that it scales very smoothly whether you are playing 10 ships per side or 100 ships per side. But it has been pretty commonly said throughout the years that players don't want their empires turning into a jillion ship fleets because the battles are no longer fun.

Adding in tracking DOT damage in any form is just going to increase that geometrically.

And note that you're only thinking on a ship level, not a weapon level. Larger ships will probably be able to mount multiples of this weapon (unless we want more special design rules governing this weapon, which in my mind would give it ANOTHER strike against it). That means more tracking, more special specific rules, and so on. As well, for large enough ships, is the DOT damage actually going to be worth it? A hit on a DD with a few points of DOT might be enough to have an affect in game-play (or the battle). But the same on a BB or a DN? Probably not.


Oh I'm not thinking on a ship level. I'm specifically thinking of gameplay mechanics. The rest is just a matter of changing numbers to create the balance we want. By SL20 we've exhausted all of the simple mechanics. In order to keep things fresh, we need to introduce new mechanics. Otherwise we end up like one of the myriad of "simple strategy games" where the (insert beginning missile here) differs only from the (insert end-game missile here) because it does more damage and has a larger range. That's boring.

That's why I ultimately gave up games like Galactic Civilization III. I really wanted to love that game. But the battles were utterly boring. Part of the reason people love Starfire is that the technologies change battles every few SLs. That's specifically what everyone loved about Classic Starfire: every 3 TLs or so a technology came along that changed the fundamentals of combat and you either beat your opponent to death with your advantage or you raced to meet the advantage your opponent just got over you.

4X strategy-style games and their combat systems depend upon change. Without it they are limited and boring.

I'm sorry, but the more I hear about this the more I think that this adds precious little to either the tactical or strategic game for the amount of potential overhead and complexity that it requires. I don't feel it's a good trade-off even on its own merits, and when coupled with what Starfire as a game system IS good at, I think this is entirely the wrong direction to go.


I guess I'm wondering if we should treat EL1-20 as the "classic simplified game" and presume that if anyone moves beyond that point, that they are interested in new mechanics and new technologies. Technologies can be limited in a number of ways, but most specifically by making them occupy lots of HS. I was just curious what player opinion would be about the mechanics.

It's no worries as far as I'm concerned. I pretty much expected these responses. I was just curious how right or wrong I was. :D

But maybe I should ask this as a follow-up question: how opposed would players be if we introduced more complicated mechanics only past SL 20?
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Re: How do you feel about damage-over-time weapons?

Postby Dawn Falcon on Sat 05 May 2018 14:17

I think they'd be fine, IF AND ONLY IF they did only normal (or no-shield) damage with an global decay. So you'd need one more record (damage taken at the end of the turn), which would then reduce by 1 each time it did damage.

Yes, this would likely be a specialist weapon, or side damage from a powerful weapon.
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