Nerfing Squadrons to reasonable levels

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What kind of small craft combat rules do you use?

I use SOLAR rules as they are.
1
20%
I use SOLAR rules with my own modifications.
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No votes
I use an older set of rules instead of SOLAR rules.
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No votes
I use my own set of rules for small craft.
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40%
I don't use armed small craft.
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20%
I don't have experience with small craft under SOLAR.
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Total votes : 5

Re: Nerfing Squadrons to reasonable levels

Postby Whitecold on Sat 30 Jan 2016 03:32

First off, while I won't make any claims about balance yet, with the modified rules and without BASV it plays a lot smoother, and large units can get in some 1-3 rounds of defensive fire in against a GB strike, depending on equipped sensor ranges.

Here I feel short range of Y needs a generation boost by 1 to short range to make Ya better than ssSL0.

The three biggest changes made were:

1. To move generations "back" by one. So GBa moved to the SL of GBb, GBb moves to the SL of GBe, etc. Not for FQ. Where current alpha generation is he put GB0 with less DP, no bonus to LRW damage, and only ast internal weapon.

2. L, E, Pt, K -- weapons with negative modifiers when mounted on small craft-- have the modifiers dropped to -0 when shooting at other small craft. This is because those modifiers are for interactions with skipping and point defense, of which small craft has neither. (this was actually my idea and reason)

3. ALL repairs to squadrons cost 4 MCr.


The first change roughly halves LRW damage for GB, which I did. 2 I can agree with. For 3 I would go further and charge Price/tot. DP per DP repaired, like for large units where you have to pay full price again for repairs.

So the issues Procyon found are after severely reducing GB armament and DP already. Also if I understand correctly, they never played with weapons being able to fire twice.

Actually, there is an advantage of combined arms. E7.06.1, third paragraph, states that if the point defense is used defensively (to intercept warheads fired by large craft, since that's the only thing that can happen in the large craft subphase of the combat phase), then there is a -1 to offensive fire against squadrons.


I am aware of that, I just don't see why I would ever do it.
Occupying the PD with a 2k Battleship means roughly 1-2 dmg less, assuming the defender needs 4 D systems (-4 to BASV value). Assuming 5 Pt hits a 3, with maybe 2 intercepts, you deal 9 Dmg, and also take likely at least similar damage in return.
If you instead just deploy 4 more squadrons, they deal some 40 LRW hits, 8 SRW hits, dealing 24+8 Dmg after intercepts, and take no return damage, as all fire is already allocated to existing squadrons.
Not a deal I voluntarily ever would make. End result: Spam GBs, with maybe FQs, and nothing else for maximum efficiency, never ever go for combined arms.

The issue we had with AFM -- in fact with a good portion of all weapons in Classic Starfire -- is that the "next" tech would significantly outrange the last, allowing turns of unreturned fire. If you could set it up so you annihilated your opponent in that time span, you would finish the battle with minor or no damage and losses. The answer was always "rush to the next tech to get even footing." It made large, rich empires always a step ahead because they would often have enough MC to research more tech than the losers."

I'm not saying that it was the end of the game (at least, until the got a TL or two higher than you) but it was extremely annoying.

Don't take that as a criticism... if you like it that way, play it that way! Some players enjoy the game working that way. And it works well enough for singleplayer campaigns and stories. The SDS (and Marvin) just didn't like that style and found it much harder to balance.


I am not talking about any significant jumps in engagement ranges. They are all still limited by the short range of their sensors, thus a Ycb ship can fire out to 15 tH, a Ye out to 15, or rather 17 tH with the range boost. SRW swarmers have to close larger ranges, at lower speeds to engage their opponents, and they can do it, so GBs can do it too.

Speaking of Swarmers that is another thing that galls me. The SRW DD has less than 20 HtK, compared to 30 DP of a GBa, and more guns are required to get BASV damage than regular damage, making the GB much tougher than a equally priced DD, exactly the other way around from what I would expect.

GB technology generally seems like magic, a single bay is the same size as a Eb. Eb can't fire beyond range 7, and deals 0.5 dmg there on average, compared to 2 on average from much less total tonnage. That definitely makes me think about gutting beam armament entirely, like Procyon did.

That's a decision for your campaign. Again, I point out that this would make a race like the Rigellians nigh impossible.

I fail to see how you can balance a single unit race. Either there is a counter to that unit, and you simply spam that and defeat them, or there is none, and they are invincible.
For large units I would say the current triangle goes Swarmer < Mixed Units < Large LRW< Swarmer. GBs are simply better than any of them.
If I have to make a decision between making Rigellians impossible, or making any other Race impossible, I know which choice I take.



On your decision for modifying range brackets, this seems like an ill advised idea. The entire idea of SL is that you individually advance weapons, thus you have to recall for every weapon not only what their current BASV value is, but also the current brackets.
Squadron damage can easily be ported to range tables, make LRW damage 1d10 plus range modifier. For sR it would look like 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 or something, resulting in exactly the same behavior if desired, and providing more flexibility to for advanced weapons. sRb can then get more damage/range independently of any other smallcraft weapon, this would be a true superset of the current system.
The same for large weapons, even if you want to keep the ugly BASV system, provide tables with BASV values at each range for each weapon, yes, that doubles the number of combat tables, but our HD space should survive that.
Personally I think with two modifiers per weapon class this should be balanceable. If not, we can still craft entirely new range tables against smallcraft. In any case, it will be easier to balance than going through the obfuscating BASV process.
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Re: Nerfing Squadrons to reasonable levels

Postby Morpheus on Sat 30 Jan 2016 11:25

Cralis wrote:The issue we had with AFM -- in fact with a good portion of all weapons in Classic Starfire -- is that the "next" tech would significantly outrange the last, allowing turns of unreturned fire. If you could set it up so you annihilated your opponent in that time span, you would finish the battle with minor or no damage and losses. The answer was always "rush to the next tech to get even footing." It made large, rich empires always a step ahead because they would often have enough MC to research more tech than the losers."

I'm fine with that as it is a designer/balancing decision. That being said, and in the absence of anything even remotely like an AFM/AFMc, R seem extremely underpowered to me in the anti-FQ/GB role, especially when compared with D. With a BASV (short/med/long) of 1/0.66/0.33 and a +0.33 generational modifier, even with 9 Rb, you have a BASV of 12/9/6, which corresponds to a damage modifier of -4/-5/-6. You have to upgrade all the way to Rc just to equal the BASV ability of Da. I would think that R woudl be something like todays SM-1/SM-2 against fighters/bombers and Rc something you would use to throw a substantially larger warhead at an enemy capital ship. Was there a reason that the BASV of R was made so low?

Cralis wrote:We have been debating it on the SDS forum... We have not decided yet. You have any thoughts or other ideas?

Are you refering to the thread, "BASV, gunboats" (http://www.starfiredesign.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=61&t=2931)

I'l take a look and see if I have any thoughts.

Cralis wrote:I've been thinking about that, but I think using one number will take an entire step out of calculating BASV (or more correctly, not add a step to the rules as they are now).

We are already in the process of rebalancing with the changes under discussion.

For D, why not use a generational multiplier rather than a generational adder? Just a thought...

Whitecold wrote:Squadron damage can easily be ported to range tables, make LRW damage 1d10 plus range modifier. For sR it would look like 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 or something, resulting in exactly the same behavior if desired, and providing more flexibility to for advanced weapons.

I kind of like this idea. Has anyone else looked at doing this? I agree that it would make an additional table, but I think it would also cut down on the total number of calculations (and potential for error and confusion) that have to be performed. I think this would also make it easier than having different range brackets per weapon type or changing the range brackets every time there is a generational improvement.
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Re: Nerfing Squadrons to reasonable levels

Postby Cralis on Sat 30 Jan 2016 16:27

Whitecold wrote:Here I feel short range of Y needs a generation boost by 1 to short range to make Ya better than ssSL0.


You can get Yb and Ye by SL 7. That is the proper solution for your empire.

The three biggest changes made were:

1. To move generations "back" by one. So GBa moved to the SL of GBb, GBb moves to the SL of GBe, etc. Not for FQ. Where current alpha generation is he put GB0 with less DP, no bonus to LRW damage, and only ast internal weapon.

2. L, E, Pt, K -- weapons with negative modifiers when mounted on small craft-- have the modifiers dropped to -0 when shooting at other small craft. This is because those modifiers are for interactions with skipping and point defense, of which small craft has neither. (this was actually my idea and reason)

3. ALL repairs to squadrons cost 4 MCr.


The first change roughly halves LRW damage for GB, which I did. 2 I can agree with. For 3 I would go further and charge Price/tot. DP per DP repaired, like for large units where you have to pay full price again for repairs.


The first change affects ONLY GB0, it does not change GBa or later generations. And I mis-wrote, the third change is 4 MCr per DP repaired.

So the issues Procyon found are after severely reducing GB armament and DP already. Also if I understand correctly, they never played with weapons being able to fire twice.


No and no. These were his solutions to the previously mentioned problems. And I'm not aware that he limited any multi-fire weapons to single fire.

I am not talking about any significant jumps in engagement ranges. They are all still limited by the short range of their sensors, thus a Ycb ship can fire out to 15 tH, a Ye out to 15, or rather 17 tH with the range boost. SRW swarmers have to close larger ranges, at lower speeds to engage their opponents, and they can do it, so GBs can do it too.


True. Before we do anything like that we'd have to test the crap out of it, as it changes the dynamic significantly.

Speaking of Swarmers that is another thing that galls me. The SRW DD has less than 20 HtK, compared to 30 DP of a GBa, and more guns are required to get BASV damage than regular damage, making the GB much tougher than a equally priced DD, exactly the other way around from what I would expect.


Squadron DP is not strict ability to absorb damage. There is a few DP worth of counter-measures and defenses that are counted as DP for simplicity. Large units don't have those abilities and their defenses explicit. It is abstracted in squadrons for simplicity and ease of play.

GB technology generally seems like magic, a single bay is the same size as a Eb. Eb can't fire beyond range 7, and deals 0.5 dmg there on average, compared to 2 on average from much less total tonnage. That definitely makes me think about gutting beam armament entirely, like Procyon did.


Procyon didn't gut beam damage, I'm not sure where you're getting that from. It's already divided by 2. And remember that a squadron is presumed to be FOUR (GB) or SIX (FQ) craft, so it's not a single beam weapon firing.

What he did was make the GB0 and FQ0 "prototype" versions of the squadrons only able to mount ast. That just delays the onset of beam weapons on squadrons by one generation.

As for E beams, I proposed limiting them to medium range. But under the current system it would make E practically unused except in specialty situations so we decided to delay that until we revamped the system. Actually this brings up another issue in that squadrons are immediately long-range combatants. I've long thought that we should have the earliest weapons available have a more limited range so there is some interplay between ranges rather than everyone moving to fire at 8 or 9 tH as they do now.

That's a decision for your campaign. Again, I point out that this would make a race like the Rigellians nigh impossible.


I fail to see how you can balance a single unit race. Either there is a counter to that unit, and you simply spam that and defeat them, or there is none, and they are invincible.


The goal is to make it an even battle, not all or nothing. That's the entire point of everything I've been saying up to this point.

And further, even if viable, there are plenty of situations where the Rigellians got stomped because of their fleet design decisions, such as warp point assaults. It's your job as a player to figure out when and where your enemy is weak and exploit it.

This is one of the "extensions" of the issues I have with Classic Starfire. I don't want to build a game where the game design determines the best courses of action. I'd rather build a game that has several options with strengths and weaknesses and let the players make the decision on what to use.

Yes, I'm aware that GB break that philosophy at the moment. Isn't that why we are here discussing how to fix it?

On your decision for modifying range brackets, this seems like an ill advised idea. The entire idea of SL is that you individually advance weapons, thus you have to recall for every weapon not only what their current BASV value is, but also the current brackets.

Squadron damage can easily be ported to range tables, make LRW damage 1d10 plus range modifier. For sR it would look like 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 or something, resulting in exactly the same behavior if desired, and providing more flexibility to for advanced weapons. sRb can then get more damage/range independently of any other smallcraft weapon, this would be a true superset of the current system.

The same for large weapons, even if you want to keep the ugly BASV system, provide tables with BASV values at each range for each weapon, yes, that doubles the number of combat tables, but our HD space should survive that.


You'd be talking about the addition of at least a dozen new tables. While your hard drive won't blink at the added space, each time we add stuff like that it makes it harder and harder for a new player. I can hear you thinking "but BASV!", not everyone agrees with you. Unfortunately, we can't really solve it for both sides at the same time.

Moving to an individual range system would require us to re-balance absolutely everything down to the basic assumptions. I'm not keen on doing that... my time is already insufficient and has too many demands. Creating an entire system from scratch is not something I'm going to tackle right now. Especially since not everyone agrees with your underlying dislike of the BASV system.

But if you want to do it... by all means, please do. And if people really like it, maybe we can add it to GG as an alternative set of rules.

In any case, I will add this as an additional proposal to our SDS discussions and see what the group says.

Morpheus wrote:R seem extremely underpowered to me in the anti-FQ/GB role, especially when compared with D. With a BASV (short/med/long) of 1/0.66/0.33 and a +0.33 generational modifier, even with 9 Rb, you have a BASV of 12/9/6, which corresponds to a damage modifier of -4/-5/-6. You have to upgrade all the way to Rc just to equal the BASV ability of Da. I would think that R would be something like todays SM-1/SM-2 against fighters/bombers and Rc something you would use to throw a substantially larger warhead at an enemy capital ship. Was there a reason that the BASV of R was made so low?


R is more like a tomahawk or harpoon missile. But more importantly, from a gameplay perspective:
-- R is an anti-ship weapon. This creates a gameplay decision where you need to decide if you want more anti-ship capabilities or more anti-squadron capabilities.
-- R, like all other non-D weapons get increases to ROF, which act as a multiplier to the value
-- point defense was decided to be the primary weapon to use against squadrons... Dc is more like SM1 that you mentioned earlier. That's why it is more effective
-- and R is mounted EVERYWHERE (like other LRW), if we decided to make it as valuable as D then every warship would have the perfect weapon to use against squadrons

Cralis wrote:We have been debating it on the SDS forum... We have not decided yet. You have any thoughts or other ideas?

Are you refering to the thread, "BASV, gunboats" (http://www.starfiredesign.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=61&t=2931)

I'l take a look and see if I have any thoughts.


No, there is a private forum section for the SDS members. It's where we make final decisions and discuss stuff that we haven't announced yet. We almost always discuss major topics like this one and come to a decision on what we are going to do about it.

For D, why not use a generational multiplier rather than a generational adder? Just a thought...


We have learned over time that multipliers are bad for balance. They spiral out of control very quickly... it's just how math works. Multipliers end up being exponents in a level system like we use.

Not to mention, this suggestion seems to go counter to your concern above about R not being comparable to D...
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Re: Nerfing Squadrons to reasonable levels

Postby Whitecold on Sun 31 Jan 2016 01:48

No and no. These were his solutions to the previously mentioned problems. And I'm not aware that he limited any multi-fire weapons to single fire.

What I meant and he mentioned in the BASV thread is that weapons can only be used either against Large units or smcft in the same turn.

Squadron DP is not strict ability to absorb damage. There is a few DP worth of counter-measures and defenses that are counted as DP for simplicity. Large units don't have those abilities and their defenses explicit. It is abstracted in squadrons for simplicity and ease of play.

I am not questioning what DP represent, what disturbs me that there are two unit types, DD swarmer which is the logical progression from CTs once BBs are fielded, and GBa, which roughly cost the same, but one is faster, tougher, cannot be outranged, deals more damage, is cheaper in maintenance, part of the cost is safe from the battlefield on the carrier.
Inability to make independent WP jumps is the only thing the DD has going for it as I see. In conclusion GB destroy the option of conventional swarmers ATM.

Procyon didn't gut beam damage, I'm not sure where you're getting that from. It's already divided by 2. And remember that a squadron is presumed to be FOUR (GB) or SIX (FQ) craft, so it's not a single beam weapon firing.


I don't know to which EL Procyon advanced by now with his players, but currently I am only looking at rather low EL balance, right after GB/FQ introduction. There beam damage is removed entirely against large units, and LRW damage is effectively halved for GB. At higher EL the effects will be less severe for him, but still their power is much reduced by the pushing back of the level.

Also, I am gladly mounting a cluster of 4 or 6 beams in a turret on a DD that takes up less space than a single E mount if I get GBs long range beam performance out of it. Nevermind that I would gladly use a few launch racks of sR instead of the rather underwhelming performance of G on my large units. Of course, it works more like box launchers W, which currently aren't in the rules, as they have been removed due to balance issues, if I gathered that correctly.

You'd be talking about the addition of at least a dozen new tables. While your hard drive won't blink at the added space, each time we add stuff like that it makes it harder and harder for a new player. I can hear you thinking "but BASV!", not everyone agrees with you. Unfortunately, we can't really solve it for both sides at the same time.

Honestly, this section (Together with Section V) were the only sections where I was totally confused when I read them first in 2014, and decided heck, lets try something without any smallcraft for now. When I read it again later, I was still confused if they are firing in both phases as I intrinsically assumed they don't, and the other thing I thought was that this is awful to calculate.
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Re: Nerfing Squadrons to reasonable levels

Postby Vandervecken on Sun 31 Jan 2016 14:54

I won't say much on stuff I haven't done a lot with, except to say that 'BASV' is a pain. I've hated it since it's inception. I understand that I may be in the minority and I understand (sort of) why it was implemented, but it just hurts my brain. If it could be simplified or Go back to old way of doing fighters and GB (yes more tables, but less rules as well); I'd be a happy clam.

Cleaning up V and getting BASV easier to do (Or go back to the old ways, did I mention that???) will make Solar Starfire tighter and easier to play and sell. Thanks for attempting both, SDS guys !

Ever think of starting Fighters a EL lower, but have only a weak FTR design that first SL or two. Then start GB about 6 or 7 SL AFTER Fighters, and modify them to actually be a (Tiny) bit meaner. It is how I see the progression, I actually did my first Modified Starfire campaign with my first SysGen tables that way close to 3 decades ago. (I didn't call them GB, but that name would have worked too.) I also had a weapon that got stronger and longer ranged, the more of them you had on a ship. I used the '#' symbol to represent them. Oh the Good ol' days of modifying Starfire I, II and III (Including Overload Dampeners) before I realized that New Empires had come out a year before but my hobby shop had not gotten it yet.
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Re: Nerfing Squadrons to reasonable levels

Postby Cralis on Sun 31 Jan 2016 18:12

Whitecold wrote:
No and no. These were his solutions to the previously mentioned problems. And I'm not aware that he limited any multi-fire weapons to single fire.


What I meant and he mentioned in the BASV thread is that weapons can only be used either against Large units or smcft in the same turn.


To make sure I'm fully understanding you (because I obviously didn't the first time), are you talking about large craft weapons or squadron weapons? My comments are in regards to beam weapons for squadrons...

I am not questioning what DP represent, what disturbs me that there are two unit types, DD swarmer which is the logical progression from CTs once BBs are fielded, and GBa, which roughly cost the same, but one is faster, tougher, cannot be outranged, deals more damage, is cheaper in maintenance, part of the cost is safe from the battlefield on the carrier.

Inability to make independent WP jumps is the only thing the DD has going for it as I see. In conclusion GB destroy the option of conventional swarmers ATM.


There is a strong anti-swarm sentiment in Marvin's work, so that squadrons are the only "desired" swarms. But I think I understand where you are coming from. The DD has the ability to a number of things that GB cannot: it can land on anets with (AC), it can _carry_ GB in Bg (or fighters in Bf), it can mount science instruments and perform surveys, it can mount deception techs (and eventually cloak systems), it can carry cargo, and of course, transit WPs. And that's just what I remember while rolling down the highway.

I don't know to which EL Procyon advanced by now with his players, but currently I am only looking at rather low EL balance, right after GB/FQ introduction. There beam damage is removed entirely against large units, and LRW damage is effectively halved for GB. At higher EL the effects will be less severe for him, but still their power is much reduced by the pushing back of the level.


The reduction in power was the goal, and he says that it works for his group. Although I think the point of his using the ast gun is nostalgic back to the original fG of Classic Starfire.

Also, I am gladly mounting a cluster of 4 or 6 beams in a turret on a DD that takes up less space than a single E mount if I get GBs long range beam performance out of it. Nevermind that I would gladly use a few launch racks of sR instead of the rather underwhelming performance of G on my large units. Of course, it works more like box launchers W, which currently aren't in the rules, as they have been removed due to balance issues, if I gathered that correctly.


Elminster did some testing of specific technologies at EL 30-50 and discovered box launchers became absurd, dishing out 30,000 damage or more in a single launch.

Honestly, this section (Together with Section V) were the only sections where I was totally confused when I read them first in 2014, and decided heck, lets try something without any smallcraft for now. When I read it again later, I was still confused if they are firing in both phases as I intrinsically assumed they don't, and the other thing I thought was that this is awful to calculate.


Hmmmm, and we working on both of them as a prerequisite to the next release...

One question: someone suggested pitting the BASV values into a weapon chart. How would that make it any different than it is now? You would still be adding up the values to determine the modifier and then rolling...

Vandervecken wrote:I won't say much on stuff I haven't done a lot with, except to say that 'BASV' is a pain. I've hated it since it's inception. I understand that I may be in the minority and I understand (sort of) why it was implemented, but it just hurts my brain. If it could be simplified or Go back to old way of doing fighters and GB (yes more tables, but less rules as well); I'd be a happy clam.


Not just more tables, but significantly harder to balance. Not to mention I'd be starting from scratch, whereas adjustments to the BASV system means I have a workable base to start from.

Cleaning up V and getting BASV easier to do (Or go back to the old ways, did I mention that???) will make Solar Starfire tighter and easier to play and sell. Thanks for attempting both, SDS guys !


Well, hopefully what we come up with gives some satisfaction to ya'll. If not, we'll try again.

Ever think of starting Fighters a EL lower, but have only a weak FTR design that first SL or two. Then start GB about 6 or 7 SL AFTER Fighters, and modify them to actually be a (Tiny) bit meaner. It is how I see the progression, I actually did my first Modified Starfire campaign with my first SysGen tables that way close to 3 decades ago. (I didn't call them GB, but that name would have worked too.)


We are actually working from a pseudo-science presumption that squadrons require miniaturization of drive systems. Gunboats are larger, thus require less miniaturization, and would come first. At least, that was our theory.

The other way is how Classic Starfire worked, but with a much wider gap between fighters and gunboats (what... 5 or 6 TLs?)

I also had a weapon that got stronger and longer ranged, the more of them you had on a ship. I used the '#' symbol to represent them. Oh the Good ol' days of modifying Starfire I, II and III (Including Overload Dampeners) before I realized that New Empires had come out a year before but my hobby shop had not gotten it yet.


Heh, admit it... we know you're still modifying it. We saw the sysgen tables :-)
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Re: Nerfing Squadrons to reasonable levels

Postby PracticalM on Sun 31 Jan 2016 22:22

While GB do well against the ships that started the thread, those ships do not look like ships optimized for anti-GB work.
Was the cost of the GB carrier included in the GB cost to balance? This alone means that GBs will always be facing a larger force. The benefits of GB is that the carrier can quickly grab crated GB to resupply strategically while ships have to be built or repaired.

When you build ships that are optimized against GB, GB can be very weak. So weak that I had to stop allowing ships to fire first in my ULTRA games as the players in the games I was running just mopped the floor with their smaller ships designed to destroy GBs.
In ULTRA using GB alone was never effective against fleets designed to fight them. I used a lot of combined arms (ships going in for a strike followed by GBs when the battle lines met. Or using GB to remove the enemy screen so my core LRW force didn't have to deal with the enemy SRW ships.)

Just having an escort ship, forces the GBs to either fire at the escort and then run to re-arm or keep taking shots from the escort ship until you get to the targets you want.

In my experience, Starfire is all about tuning your fleet designs to face the enemy you decide to fight (or decides to fight you). Empires trade space for time to tailor their fleets to crush their enemies. My best NPR empires attack with one type of fleet and then switch to another fleet option to mess with the players. (Attack with Lasers, defend WPs with E beams. It's hilarious.)
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Re: Nerfing Squadrons to reasonable levels

Postby Whitecold on Mon 01 Feb 2016 01:23

To make sure I'm fully understanding you (because I obviously didn't the first time), are you talking about large craft weapons or squadron weapons? My comments are in regards to beam weapons for squadrons...

I am talking about large unit fire.

There is a strong anti-swarm sentiment in Marvin's work, so that squadrons are the only "desired" swarms. But I think I understand where you are coming from. The DD has the ability to a number of things that GB cannot: it can land on anets with (AC), it can _carry_ GB in Bg (or fighters in Bf), it can mount science instruments and perform surveys, it can mount deception techs (and eventually cloak systems), it can carry cargo, and of course, transit WPs. And that's just what I remember while rolling down the highway.

I am talking about only designs like these, not carriers, no need to land, not freighters or support:
DD [3] SS AA Ht Qa (Ia) (Ia) Fb (Ia) Qa Fb (Ia) Fb (Ia) Fb [5/2]
These I consider reasonably well balanced SRW beam ships that can get into the blindspot of BBs. Swarmer is just a term I picked up for small SRW armed unit from the quickstart rules, I don't propose to use them alone or excusively. They cost roughly the same as a GB, both ~500 MCr (Including Carrier) however the GB has superior performance on almost every part. Transiting WPs is the only advantage that matters, and with XOL, even that problem is overcome and I take my chance with the carrier.
So to state my goal otherwise, I want to balance GB that they are roughly on par with these DDs in terms of combat power.
More quick damage with external ordnance, more speed than the DD, less continuing damage, and less staying power.

@ParcticalM: Yes, cost of carrier was included, I used a no frills CL design mounting 4 bays as reference.

For saying these don't look like they are optimized, they are the best that I could come up with under SOLAR. If anybody has better designs under SOLAR, please show them. I don't have the ULTRA rules.

One question: someone suggested pitting the BASV values into a weapon chart. How would that make it any different than it is now? You would still be adding up the values to determine the modifier and then rolling...

I suggested it for both squadron weapons and for BASV. Neither will make it different, but I intended this in case you start wanting to modify range brackets depending on technologies
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Re: Nerfing Squadrons to reasonable levels

Postby Cralis on Mon 01 Feb 2016 02:40

PracticalM wrote:While GB do well against the ships that started the thread, those ships do not look like ships optimized for anti-GB work.


He built his ships for SL 6 vs. GBa. I understood what he meant. The difference was far greater than I expected it to be.

I'm working on building ships for SL 12 (vs. GBe) and SL 18 (vs. GBm) to do some spot testing, but my time was limited this weekend. I'd like to test against each of the LRW and use escorting based on his 2 escorts + 1 warship concept. I'm also going to redo his test using escorting. I'm curious just how different it is now that I've corrected my mistake in the calculations.

This is fine with me, as it will give me a baseline for two other changes that we are working on.

Was the cost of the GB carrier included in the GB cost to balance? This alone means that GBs will always be facing a larger force. The benefits of GB is that the carrier can quickly grab crated GB to resupply strategically while ships have to be built or repaired.


He did state that he did so. I haven't double-checked (yet), but his 500 MCr approximation for a CLf sounded close.

When you build ships that are optimized against GB, GB can be very weak. So weak that I had to stop allowing ships to fire first in my ULTRA games as the players in the games I was running just mopped the floor with their smaller ships designed to destroy GBs.


I don't recall this being the case in ULTRA, I'd love to see what you did.

In ULTRA using GB alone was never effective against fleets designed to fight them. I used a lot of combined arms (ships going in for a strike followed by GBs when the battle lines met. Or using GB to remove the enemy screen so my core LRW force didn't have to deal with the enemy SRW ships.)


That's what I remember too. I don't think the changes so far in SSF have made them that much stronger, but that's why I'm spot checking.

My best NPR empires attack with one type of fleet and then switch to another fleet option to mess with the players. (Attack with Lasers, defend WPs with E beams. It's hilarious.)


*laugh* That can backfire on you too!

Whitecold wrote:
There is a strong anti-swarm sentiment in Marvin's work, so that squadrons are the only "desired" swarms. But I think I understand where you are coming from. The DD has the ability to a number of things that GB cannot: it can land on anets with (AC), it can _carry_ GB in Bg (or fighters in Bf), it can mount science instruments and perform surveys, it can mount deception techs (and eventually cloak systems), it can carry cargo, and of course, transit WPs. And that's just what I remember while rolling down the highway.


I am talking about only designs like these, not carriers, no need to land, not freighters or support:
DD [3] SS AA Ht Qa (Ia) (Ia) Fb (Ia) Qa Fb (Ia) Fb (Ia) Fb [5/2]


You're missing my point. There are missions you can do with a DD that a GB can never do, no matter how you build them. I'm not talking about a specific design of DD, however, I am saying that a GB is a specific design that can never change.

So to state my goal otherwise, I want to balance GB that they are roughly on par with these DDs in terms of combat power.
More quick damage with external ordnance, more speed than the DD, less continuing damage, and less staying power.


They should be better because they are specialized. We are debating "how much should it be" at this point. I kind of wish I could make a unit test for this kind of thing, it would make tracking the effects of changes so much easier...

For saying these don't look like they are optimized, they are the best that I could come up with under SOLAR. If anybody has better designs under SOLAR, please show them. I don't have the ULTRA rules.


I think he's mostly referring to your lack of Dc. But I don't think he understood you were comparing GBa to SL 6 units.


I suggested it for both squadron weapons and for BASV. Neither will make it different, but I intended this in case you start wanting to modify range brackets depending on technologies


Ahhhh! Ok, got it.
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Re: Nerfing Squadrons to reasonable levels

Postby Morpheus on Mon 01 Feb 2016 02:40

A few thoughts...

I am in favor of increasing the range of some or all LRW against small craft, or having a specialized anti-small craft system. It sounds like D/Dc is this specialized anti-small craft system - I think that the rules should be revised to give a little more bite, and range to D/Dc.

Cralis wrote:R is more like a tomahawk or harpoon missile. But more importantly, from a gameplay perspective:
-- R is an anti-ship weapon. This creates a gameplay decision where you need to decide if you want more anti-ship capabilities or more anti-squadron capabilities.
-- R, like all other non-D weapons get increases to ROF, which act as a multiplier to the value
-- point defense was decided to be the primary weapon to use against squadrons... Dc is more like SM1 that you mentioned earlier. That's why it is more effective
-- and R is mounted EVERYWHERE (like other LRW), if we decided to make it as valuable as D then every warship would have the perfect weapon to use against squadrons

I'm fine with this... so just to make sure, is this a correct analogy?

    R ~= Harpoon
    Rc ~= Tomahawk (Tomahawk has a longer range and larger warhead than Harpoon)
    D~= CIWS and/or Sea Sparrow
    Dc ~= SM-1/SM-2

So my question then becomes, and especially when looking at the BASV table and seeing what weapons have larger BASV (especially the ones that have larger BASV than D/Dc), what weapons are designed to be more effective against small craft. I can understand why some of the beans might have a high BASV relative to D/Dc, but why would K/Kc/Kh have such a high BASV relative to D/Dc, when R do not. I understand that a lot of ships have R, but why is K so high? Is it because K require so many more hull spaces than R?

Cralis wrote:Not to mention, this suggestion seems to go counter to your concern above about R not being comparable to D...

I was just throwing out ideas, trying to figure out how to best deal with the lack of AFM/AFMc in Ultra and Solar.

Vandervecken wrote:I won't say much on stuff I haven't done a lot with, except to say that 'BASV' is a pain. I've hated it since it's inception. I understand that I may be in the minority and I understand (sort of) why it was implemented, but it just hurts my brain. If it could be simplified or Go back to old way of doing fighters and GB (yes more tables, but less rules as well); I'd be a happy clam.

I could not agree more. I started playing 3rd Ed. when I was 11 or 12 because I liked the simplicity of Starfire as opposed to SFB. If small craft had been handled in 3rd Ed. the way they are handled now, I don't know if I would have kept playing Starfire. Did 3rd Ed. really have more tables (especially for dealing with weapons and fighters) than Ultra/Solar? I most often just use 2-4 pages of tables when I play 3rd Ed.: the To-hit table, the damage table, the fighter kill table, fighter vs. fighter table, Munition Points table, and small craft types table.

PracticalM wrote:When you build ships that are optimized against GB, GB can be very weak. So weak that I had to stop allowing ships to fire first in my ULTRA games as the players in the games I was running just mopped the floor with their smaller ships designed to destroy GBs.

How have you optimized them against GB? Do you have any examples? I'm very curious to see, and just might look at trying out some of them when I play.
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