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Re: [GZG] Hugh's New Fighter/Point Defence rules

From: Eric Foley <stiltman@t...>
Date: Sat, 27 Nov 2010 15:19:13 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: [GZG] Hugh's New Fighter/Point Defence rules

-----Original Message-----
>From: Hugh Fisher <>
>At 5:11 PM -0500 26/11/10, Eric Foley wrote:
>>My first observation is that while salvo missiles are not 
>>significantly different than they were before (you can overkill one 
>>salvo and spill the extra onto the next), while fighters, heavy 
>>missiles, and (possibly) plasma bolts potentially can be completely 
>>stopped by just putting up a high enough point defense level.  This 
>>potentially makes salvo missiles a lot more powerful just by virtue 
>>of their being the one thing that isn't drastically affected.

>I did start redesigning salvo missiles as well ... but I got
>better :-) Working well enough, no need to change.

I suppose that there's enough ways to distract salvo missiles with
balanced fleets, but a big strike of several dozen salvos is still a
very horrifying prospect under these rules if they can just put enough
of them in the right places.  Escort ships will blunt the hit a lot, but
if the missile strikers have deep enough magazines you can wear those

>As to the other weapons, fighters can still be deadly, just
>not so overwhelmingly "this battle is predetermined, why
>don't we just go get a drink?" as before. A large fighter
>force can still chew through an opposing fleet, but will
>take longer and probably require some actual tactics rather
>than just forming up the Swarm Of Death.

There is that.	It's the main area I like about it so far.

>Heavy missiles can be completely stopped, but any ship with
>that high a point defence level would have shot down most
>or all under the existing rules anyway. And heavy missiles
>aren't (?) used much.

20 PDS will stop all incoming heavy missiles with an average roll under
these rules, and it's not _that_ many for a capital ship once they start
evolving to larger numbers of fighters.  I don't like the idea that you
could pretty much induce nuclear winter with a quantity of missiles that
a single capital ship could more or less ignore with an average roll. 
In my old custom games, 30 PDS was becoming something like a standard,
and the more recent preference for scatterguns could do the same by just
lighting off 5 of them.

>>1.  Attack fighters keep their current +1 to which PD band they 
>>strike in, but also get a +1 to their to-hit roll.

>That +1 band is a significant advantage to fighters attacking
>heavily defended targets. And because fighter casualties are
>lower, the fighters get more opportunity to attack. Over a few
>turns, that extra +1 really adds up.

Okay.  Will have to try that out and see.

>>2.  Torpedo bombers should get a +2 to which PD band they strike in, 
>>and keep their current ability to retain their to-hit roll as their 
>>damage die on a hit.	(i.e. if they need a 6 to hit and get it, they 
>>do 6 damage, etc)  Torpedo bombers should be worth that 36 NPV cost, 
>>and they _should_ be terrifying to a fleet when someone's willing to 
>>expend the budget.

>I'd agree that torpedo fighters ought to get the same +1 band
>as attack fighters, since they're also anti-shipping specialists.

Yeah, after I sent the first email I've been pondering whether +1 would
be fine too.

>The D6 damage per hit is to remove a special case and make them
>work the same as other torpedoes and missiles. Plus it makes
>them more dangerous against poorly defended targets. But I don't
>feel too strongly either way.

The main issue I have with this is that torpedo bombers are not going to
get very many chances to strike in a battle compared to regular attack
fighters.  They need to be able to make the most of it when they get

>>3.  (Maybe)  Heavy fighters also get a +1 to which PD band they 
>>strike in, because their pilots feel less deterred to break off an 
>>attack by point defense fire.

>That was in an early draft, because it simplifies casualty
>allocation. But heavy fighters are already better than anything
>other than interceptors in a dogfight. I don't want to make them
>better than regular fighters at attacking ships as well. In FT
>the 'special advantage' of heavy fighters is taking fewer
>casualties, not dealing out more damage. Attack fighters are
>the FT equivalent to something like a current day A-10.

I tended to visualize A-10s and Sturmoviks as being more like heavy
attack fighters, while a regular attack fighter would be closer to a
Stuka.	But this is one where I don't feel too strongly about it, it was
more of a brainstorm.

>>changes to plasma bolts, and I'm not a big fan of allowing any task 
>>force or squadron that can put up 11 PD hits between them to 
>>completely ignore them here, either.	I've been pondering allowing 
>>plasma bolts (and/or mi
>>  ssiles) to always be allowed to hit on a to-hit roll of 6, but that 
>>still seems a little too easy to ignore them.  I'll think about it, 
>>but it needs work.

>I don't believe these rules make plasma bolts less effective,
>in fact I worry that they will become more powerful!

>Under the existing rules, the ships in the target area of a
>plasma bolt combine their PDS fire. Under my suggestion, the
>plasma bolt rolls against the PD level of each individual
>ship. So if there are 4 class-5 plasma bolts hitting the
>squadron, under the existing rules they have to get 20 PDS
>hits between them to be safe. Under the new rules, EACH
>ship has to get 11 hits to be safe. Any ADFC escorts in the
>zone can only contribute to another ship's defence by
>sacrificing themselves.

>Could you try recreating a turn or two from a battle you've
>played that involved plasma bolts? Put the same kinds of
>ships in a squadron, hit them with the same number of and
>classes of bolts, and see what happens?

Well, given that 20+ scatterguns and/or 25-30 PDS have been considered a
balanced quantity for capital ship and/or escort ship equipment in my
campaigns, I think it becomes pretty academic as to what would happen. 
Inpenetrable PD levels would be a matter of rote, and both plasma and
heavy missiles would be completely useless.  I'd suggest at the very
least that they should hit on a 6 regardless of what defense was up, and
I'm not sure whether or not even that level shouldn't be pretty high up.

The flip side of this is, I'm not sure what to make of plasma bolts.  A
single capital ship with plasma bolts can't do nearly as much damage as
the same ship armed with similar masses of salvo missiles, but a _fleet_
of them can wipe out entire task forces in one blast whereas the salvo
missiles can at least be decoyed.  At the same time, there _are_
defenses against them; either you can scatter your ships to avoid losing
them all at once (which is extremely dangerous if the plasma fleet has
fighters) or you can design ships with enough speed and defense that
you'll rarely get hit by them (which is also a dangerous plan if the
plasma fleet has some direct fire battleships that will have you
outgunned as a result).  I'll have to think about it a bit.

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