New test game/attempt to integrate AP & Smcft

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New test game/attempt to integrate AP & Smcft

Postby procyon on Wed 09 Nov 2016 04:03

We started a new test game this past week. First turn sheets were due this past weekend. Sadly, two of the turn sheets have been sent back to the respective players for 'fiscal issues'. My two youngest have always had an older family member help them with their turn sheets - and being responsible for their own may have got the best of them this first time. They will learn.

On to the important stuff.

We are trying to solve a few issues that we have been battling for a long time now.
The first has been an issue since the second Starfire booklet was published - combat smcft are to powerful as written.
The second has been slowly killing my players interest for several years. It is the simple fact that every race will have completely different fleets - with identical combat smcft. What my players call the 'a GBa is a GBa is a GBa' problem. And when every race has to have combat smcft to be competitive, and every race has exactly the same combat smcft - the game turns into the same battle played out time after time after time...

Throw in the fact that the other small units (AP) are based off of ship systems and attack using ship combat charts...and that they can only be attacked in return by BASV with its limited range...was creating and endless supply of issues.

We tried to solve the sqn problem by weakening the FQ and GB. But although that did help to a degree with the fact that sqns dominated so thoroughly - every race still fielded the exact same sqns. And every race still had to have them to remain competitive. So we abandoned that solution.

Several months ago, Whitecold put together some threads that restated some of the problems we have had issues with. With one big difference. He decided to try and have large units use the standard weapon charts to attack small units. My whole family pretty much did a collective face palm when we looked at that and wondered why we hadn't looked at it that way.
As it also helped get us started on one other issue. That of AP using ship weapons. We decided that we would unify sqns and AP so that both used ship type weapons instead of separate charts.
And that moved on to expanding the AP construction rules to applying to the sqns. And then on to all small units. So now, not all shuttles are the same in this game.

I don't have the time to type up all of the house rules we are applying, so this will have to be done is several posts. And we haven't completed our table top test for the GB and FQ yet - but it will take some time for our game to reach that point so we decided to start with what we had so far.

Basics I will share in this post.

All small units use the same construction system. So now a shuttle (st) has a set number of damage points and spaces, just like a buoy or drone.

We changed one of the current rules to allow sH (not system hex, but small unit hold. Like sY for small unit sensors). That way there are cargo carrying small units, like a standard shuttle. And in most cases, all small unit systems are either 1/5th standard size (an sH holds 100 csp, a sQv holds 1/5 Qt or 1/50 PTU) or is -2 gen.

Some are exceptions - such as an sMg only holds 20 csp of munitions (just under 3MSP). We allow multiple sMg on a unit to combine to carry larger ordinance - so an st with two sMg could carry a single CPTaM to another ship if needed. But sMg do not supply munitions to launchers on small units - other than dropping bombs or for D/Dc shots. We rule that D on a small unit consumes 1 csp of munitions per shot and Dc uses 2.

We severely reduced the endurance of most small craft. So st that fly for days are not standard. But you can add sQ (just like on FQ or GB) to extend their endurance for a 'long haul' st.

We have changed the sensor chart to allow T on small units out to combat range. Ship weapons can engage small units with LRW doing standard damage (but in DP), and SRW plus K doing double damage. AFM, when available, will allow LRW to do double damage.

D and Dc now do flat damage to small units. No to hit rolls. Get close enough to those counter missiles and gatling lasers - and you are going to start getting chewed up.

When small units fire ship based weapons, all 'a' gen smcft and '2' gen AP have to double the actual range (with an 'effective minimum range' of 6 - so a GBa firing at a ship in the same hex still treats it as 6tH away instead of 0). So a GBa firing at a ship 4 tH away treats the target as 8 tH away. All 'b' gen smcft and '3' gen AP add 3 tH (still debating the exact number, but it is going to be either 3 or 4) to the actual range - with no 'effective minimum range'.
This allows some of the 'jockeying' for range as small craft and ships try to hit sweet spot in their range, instead of the flat ranges and damages of BASV or Sqn LRW/SRW damage tables.

We have also broken sqns apart into separate craft, but I will save the details on that for another night. Time for 4 am vitals and cares/checks.
...and I will show you fear in a handful of dust....

Cralis wrote:I would point out that the "what was" which is different from "here and now" can easily change in the "future then."
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Re: New test game/attempt to integrate AP & Smcft

Postby procyon on Wed 09 Nov 2016 05:14

And a separate, unrelated rule we are implementing is a minimum hull size to employ capital weapons. A ship has to be at least a BC/PDC/BS4 to employ capital weapons. We are just saying that the capital weapons create to much 'stress' or whatever for the small hulls to mount and fire them.

This way the large ships can fire salvos of a few big/longer ranged weapons than what the smaller ships can. We hope this gives a bit of the feel of naval battles where battleships mounted a few big 16" guns instead of dozens and dozens of 5" or 8" guns. And the destroyers couldn't just skip mounting several 5" guns and mount a single 16" gun instead.

We just don't like it that a group of CT can trade fire with a DN - and both sides are firing the same 'capital' weapons.
...and I will show you fear in a handful of dust....

Cralis wrote:I would point out that the "what was" which is different from "here and now" can easily change in the "future then."
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Re: New test game/attempt to integrate AP & Smcft

Postby Whitecold on Wed 09 Nov 2016 12:08

I very much like the idea, it has the benefit of simplicity and does allow much more customization. The jump from doubling ranges to not doubling ranges though seems huge to me, and it doesn't leave much room for improvement for later generations.
Can you give some preliminary numbers you will use?
The -2 generations is just on Y/Q or also on weapons?
For one, how much space do you allocate to a FQ/GB, and how many DP do they get?
How much damage do D/Dc inflict, and to which range?
How do you handle cost?
Further in line with your comment about capital weapons, do you allow capital weapons on smallcraft/AP?

Edit: I assume form an earlier post that each weapon can only fire once, and smcft/large units fire in the same turn, with AP later, or are you handling it differently?
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Re: New test game/attempt to integrate AP & Smcft

Postby procyon on Wed 09 Nov 2016 21:09

Whitecold wrote:Can you give some preliminary numbers you will use?


Like I said, this is going to take a few days to get typed in, as I can only use my free time at work to get it done.
But I will try to get it all in this thread, and updates posted as we test it/make adjustments.

The -2 generations is just on Y/Q or also on weapons


So far it is applied to Y and X (with reduction below Xa being limited to Xp with a -1 to SP per StMP per level below Xp - so sXp is 1/2 and sXa is 1/3, with sXb being 1/4, and all being limited to system bodies only). And to sD. So currently sDe is the minimum to be effective as Da (but still requiring munitions to work), although we are still discussing giving a -1 to intercepts or a -1 shot for sD reduced below sDa...

Weapons have their own mods and sQ has a flat addition to endurance based on generation - currently set at 2 hours + 1 hour per gen for small units using military engines, with that number doubled for small units using civilian engines (s-Ic). Which I forgot to mention. Small units will vary their max speed/cruise speed based on engine type. Along with the range mods due to using J, etc.

How much damage do D/Dc inflict, and to which range?


This is how we currently handle it. It is still subject to change, but we like it so far.

D gets it's normal number of shots. They can be applied to attacking or for defense. If used for defense (intercepting inbounds), shots are treated normally.
Every shot used to attack small craft does damage equal to the intercept number (so Da does a base 3 damage per shot) with a -1 per tH of range. You can apply multiple shots to the same target, but can't 'add them together for a higher intercept number' like you do with inbounds to get a longer range. (So far. That idea is still on the table top to see if it is worth the trouble.)
? or engine modulation gives a flat subtraction to the damage per -1 it would normally give to 'to hits'. So 'jinking' can help to avoid point defense fire.

Dc gets its normal number of shots also. But instead, it has a range and damage equal to the intercept number. So Dca does 5 damage to 5tH per shot (the little missiles don't lose power with distance). Period. Same mod for engine modulation.

Which turns point defense loaded fleet escorts (which under BASV are pretty wimpy and get shredded by sqns as the point defense never stops many of the inbounds and doesn't generally do enough DP to kill a sqn - so the sqns just hammer the 'DDE' and go off to repair) into ships that can shred small units that stray into range or try to close to use SRW.

do you allow capital weapons on smallcraft/AP?


No - no capital weapon mounts.
But we still haven't ruled out capital 'munitions' on AP/XO (to give them some advantage for their limits).

And back to work again...
...and I will show you fear in a handful of dust....

Cralis wrote:I would point out that the "what was" which is different from "here and now" can easily change in the "future then."
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Re: New test game/attempt to integrate AP & Smcft

Postby krenshala on Thu 10 Nov 2016 21:05

I was thinking along the same lines the day before I saw the info you posted elsewhere, Procyon. What you've got here is very similar to what I was coming up with. :)

I know you haven't listed this part yet, but my initial thinking was that smallcraft/AP would get 2 "smallcraft hull spaces" (sHS?) per boat bay point. Then, smallcraft systems would use normal installation rules (e.g., sLa would take the same space in a smallcraft as La does in a Large Unit). I went with that because you pretty much need to get to GB/FQ to be large enough to hold (most) weapons (the assault shuttle's "railgun" (as I think of it) would be 1 sHS in my idea, but would take up half the available system space in a basic shuttle, and I was considering a magazine requirement for it similar to what you guys are using for sD). I haven't had a chance to think much further than this, however. :roll:

How does that mesh with what you guys had decided for "size" or "space" of smallcraft?
-- krenshala
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Re: New test game/attempt to integrate AP & Smcft

Postby procyon on Thu 10 Nov 2016 22:55

krenshala wrote:I was thinking along the same lines the day before I saw the info you posted elsewhere, Procyon. What you've got here is very similar to what I was coming up with.


The say 'Great minds run in the same channels.' :D

Of course, there is 'Fools think alike...' :lol:

I will edit in the rest of my answer in a bit. Time to weigh and assess the babes now.
...and I will show you fear in a handful of dust....

Cralis wrote:I would point out that the "what was" which is different from "here and now" can easily change in the "future then."
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Re: New test game/attempt to integrate AP & Smcft

Postby procyon on Fri 11 Nov 2016 02:22

krenshala wrote:I know you haven't listed this part yet, but my initial thinking was that smallcraft/AP would get 2 "smallcraft hull spaces" (sHS?) per boat bay point.


So far we let AP have 2 spaces per bbp, while smcft get 1 space per bbp. Initially.
But like AP with drone2 and bouy2 getting additional spaces per bbp (going from 2 to 4), we are giving smcft 'generations' to allow them to increase their spaces also. So a SL1 st(a) has 2 spaces. But SL5 st(b) has 4. And SL9 st(e) has 6 (at the moment). The SL10 sh(a) starts with 2 spaces per bbp, to keep it competitive. But we really are not satisfied with that (we feel it was put at SL10 as an 'advancement' for the standard shuttle, which we now cover with gen advancement) and think we should move the big sh(a) back from SL10 to around SL 3( where Bse can hold it) and allow it to also advance in gen.

Then, smallcraft systems would use normal installation rules


Yes.

(the assault shuttle's "railgun" (as I think of it) would be 1 sHS in my idea


We have pegged the 'drone gun' at 1 space, and the ast gun at 2. Both use munitions.
And so far, we don't let st, sh, or gigs to mount systems that are not 'civilian', with the exception of sMg (which we have always looked at as 'quasi-civilian' due to the CFN needing to use it to move munitions to warships - which does occur in the standard rules...). We have argued about allowing the little st(a) with a dG and sMg to exist...but so far we don't want the ast supplanted by st(b) with an ast gun, sMg, and hardening (only adds 1 DP for us, the 3 DP was making AP and smcft to tough - but we are discussing a hardening1 that would be unlocked after S2 or A2 becomes available and increases hardening to 2 DP...).
So, at the moment, only military hulls (ast, GB, FQ) can mount military systems and engines.
But that isn't settled yet. There is still a big push to allow an st(a) - sYa/sQ from a few players.

It is a busy night, so doubt I will be able to put in much more. And I am off for the weekend, so not going to be posting until next week in all likelihood.

ETA
Oh, and the exception is the gig.
It gets it's one space for it's one bbp. But gig systems are only half the capacity of a standard system (sH on a gig holds only 50 csp and sMg only hold 10 csp) or take an additional -1 gen (to -3). We haven't settled on a gen advancement for the gig yet. We think it probably should have them, but just what it will amount to has not been decided.
...and I will show you fear in a handful of dust....

Cralis wrote:I would point out that the "what was" which is different from "here and now" can easily change in the "future then."
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Re: New test game/attempt to integrate AP & Smcft

Postby Whitecold on Fri 11 Nov 2016 12:19

Personally I wouldn't mind a system where st(b) is the hull on which you build your ast, giving you one line of hulls. The heavies could be a separate line, but I don't think there are enough systems on what is essentially a cargo carrier to make 4 different lines of hulls interesting (st, ast, sh and ash).
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Re: New test game/attempt to integrate AP & Smcft

Postby krenshala on Thu 24 Nov 2016 21:44

Whitecold wrote:Personally I wouldn't mind a system where st(b) is the hull on which you build your ast, giving you one line of hulls. The heavies could be a separate line, but I don't think there are enough systems on what is essentially a cargo carrier to make 4 different lines of hulls interesting (st, ast, sh and ash).

This was my thinking as well: generations of "shuttle", each a bit bigger than the previous one. My thought was also that an "assault shuttle" was just a shuttle hull equipped with military systems, while the same sized hull equipped with civilian only systems would be the 'normal' shuttle. But then, I was considering allowing A and possibly S to add to the units defenses (instead of, or equivalent to, the hardening you mention) - make the unit tougher, but at the expense of space that could be used for other things.
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Re: New test game/attempt to integrate AP & Smcft

Postby procyon on Wed 30 Nov 2016 04:04

So, for the next update on where we are at.

We have decided to allow st, sh, etc to mount any system, just like a FT can mount any system in our games. But if you have a FT with over 20% of it's HS in military systems, it pays military maint.
(We are also doing it to find if it is going to be unbalanced. If we don't test it, we won't know)

And we are treating the ast, FQ, and GB type of hulls as military hulls.

Adding to this will be that 'civilian hulls' will take additional damage, just like a FT will. So an ast hull used as a bomber will be more durable than an sh designed to mimic it. To keep it simple, and in line with the other hulls, we plan to have civilian smcft take double damage (but that is far from written in stone).
...and I will show you fear in a handful of dust....

Cralis wrote:I would point out that the "what was" which is different from "here and now" can easily change in the "future then."
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