Prev: Re: SML Absorbers Next: Re: [FT] Eldar minis

Re:SML's, PDAFs and Banzai Jammers/Escorts

From: Alan E and Carmel J Brain <aebrain@d...>
Date: Fri, 13 Aug 1999 14:05:40 +1000
Subject: Re:SML's, PDAFs and Banzai Jammers/Escorts

Tom Anderson wrote:
> On Thu, 12 Aug 1999, Izenberg, Noam wrote:

> > 'AI scout' (Have to find an appropriate name for the function)
> > Mass 6, Cost 18
> > Thrust 8
> > FTL
> > Fragile hull
> > 2 Armor
> i call these 'granaatscherven', (meaning 'shrapnel');

> my first granaatscherven design was even more cheesy:
> Granaatscherven I
> Mass 3
> Cost 9
> Thrust 6 (same as the ships they escort)
> Hull 1 (average)

> i then have variants filling other offline roles such as scout, ECM,
> lancers (with subpacs), gunboat (for customs work and such), courier
> stealth courier.

Something I've been toying with is the Decoy ship. Basically, any Really
large vessel would carry a number of them on board (using the usual Tug
rules). Basically an unarmed drone with 1 hull and some thrust.

What's the smallest effective FTL ship? I would suggest:

Mass 3
Thrust 6
Hull 1

ie one of the shrapnel. A PDF gives a minimal anti-ship capability (ie
can be used effectively vs unarmed targets), and as a bonus, a minimal
anti-fighter capability.

I would suggest that as regards Anti-Fighter rules:
PDAF can shoot at anything attacking them within 6", and anything at all
within 3"
ADAF can shoot at anything attacking them within 12" and anything at all
within 9"

Why the bonus for "being attacked"? Basically, anything attacking is an
incoming target. Assuming the PDAF kill mechanism is a relatively slow
missile using newtonian mechanics, it can be launched further away if
the target's incoming. It can even intercept if it's slower than the
target. But crossing targets are more difficult, and receding ones can't
be intercepted at all if the missile's slower.

Assuming the PDAF is based upon a passive ECM sensor, then an attacker
"illuminating" the ship with the PDAF will be targettable at a greater
distance. This might also explain why in the rules "as is" you can only
use a PDAF vs an attacker, and can use an ADAF vs an attacker of another
ship (whose firing solution you can use if and only if you have ADAF).

Regarding game balance, if you allow ships with nowt but PDAF to engage
non-attacking fighters at 6", then the fighters get screwed by a cloud
of midget PDAF-armed gunboats picking them off as they come in to
attack. Worse, it becomes worthwhile to buy cheap 3-mass escorts as
"Fighter Hunters" to go round searching for fighters to beat up on.
Shades of the SFB Pseudo-Fighter... wouldn't be too bad IF they cost a
lot more!

Make the range 3", and you'd need many more of them, so it would be more
effective to have them as "close escorts" which rather appeals to me.

Regarding SMLs, I've found the "cloud of midges" to be an insuperable
defence aginst them (I only play cinematic BTW). I can get the SMLs into
6" of the target most of the time (over 75% in fact), but can't get them
within the 1/4" required. Should I try to "blow away the chaff" with
beams, then the opponent has too many shots with beams and pulse torps
without reply so by the time the chaff is gone, so is 1/3-1/2 of my
fleet, and the number of SMLs available is also halved.

Now in current Naval warfare, the _more sophisticated_ missiles can be
given various parameters to look for in targets: ignore ones under a
certain size, for example. But "Banzai Jamming" where a small ship uses
a Blip enhancer, corner reflector etc to make it appear bigger, is a
common	practice. This can be worked around, but at the cost of
increasing the chance that the missile will not acquire any target at

How would we make SMLs more target-sensitive, assuming this is a
worthwhile goal? Obviously if they're more effective, they should cost

Options for SIMPLE rules mechanics:

a) "Smart" SMLs cost X points more, same mass (ie more effective and
certain to do damage if correctly placed, but at a cost - and makes an
undesireable exception to the "cost proportional to mass" rule for

b) Roll twice for the number of SMLs hitting a target, and take the
lower value of the two.
(Guarenteed that some will get through, BUT you'd have to roll
seperately for each, so would be a pain if you use lots, not

c) Roll dice for the SMLs as normal, subtracting X from the result.  
(Means that sometimes the SMLs will miss entirely, but those that hit
will hit the right target, not a decoy)

I would suggest c) and make X=2.

--     <> <>    How doth the little Crocodile
| Alan & Carmel Brain|	    xxxxx	Improve his shining tail?
| Canberra Australia |	xxxxxHxHxxxxxx _MMMMMMMMM_MMMMMMMMM o O*OO^^^^OO*O o oo     oo oo	 oo  
		       By pulling MAERKLIN Wagons, in 1/220 Scale

Prev: Re: SML Absorbers Next: Re: [FT] Eldar minis