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Re: Subscatterscenarioharpoongunpointsdefencevalues and stuff

From: db-ft@w... (David Brewer)
Date: Wed, 23 Apr 1997 22:19:04 -0400
Subject: Re: Subscatterscenarioharpoongunpointsdefencevalues and stuff

In message <> Mikko
Kurki-Suonio writes:
> On Wed, 23 Apr 1997, David Brewer wrote:

> > Given some form of PSB FTL-drive that pulls you out of normal
> > space there's no sense in a meeting engagement. For two fleets
> > to meet their has to be something interesting nearby.
> But the "nearby" is defined by the same PSB. If, for example, you can
> in/out near enough a planet or base, escort scenarios don't make any
> either. I don't think that's the effect we want.

Fair point. The PSB is that used in FT though.

> How about "recon in force"? Or "border skirmish"? Or the good old
> attack"? Or "defend the jump point"? Or simply "delay"?

All sound good. Each has a context, something to recon, a border
outpost, a thing to attack. Delay is tricky in space, tho. How do
you delay a space fleet?

> There can be a number of reasons to fight over empty space (forces
> or not). Actual naval warfare has seen more than its fair share of

Has it? I'm not a 20th century historian, but in earlier times
fleet combat almost always took place in sight of land. Given vast 
areas and limited target aquisition purely oceanic battles just 
don't happen. If you are looking for the enemy fleet to crush the 
best place to look is a port or off a coast. Trafalger, Nile,
Copenhagen, Salamis, etc. Is this a WW2 thing? 

> > Fair point. It should already be factored into subbies and 
> > PTT's. However it seems normal for a weapon *not* to affect 
> > screens, once you consider all the official suggestions in FT.
> Eh? Care to explain?

How many weapons are stopped by screens? Beams, mines, most
fighters. How many not? PTT's, SMP's, torpedo fighters, nova
cannon, wave guns, missiles, needle beams, rail guns, scatterguns. 
Nor do screens do anything about ramming, meteors, FTL damage. Did 
I forget anything? (checks rulesbooks) Boarding actions aren't, 
though Savasku are. Seems like beams are the abnormal case in some

> > That doesn't work for me. Humans should run the same ships
> > against Kra'vak that they run against each other IMHO. The
> > points value system should just ascribe a newer, lower value
> > to keep the game square.
> Well... It's a nice idea but it doesn't work. At least not until the
> design system is revamped to non-linear (and that might not be a good
> anyway). 

It's a difficult thing to do using only simple arithmetic. Do you 
have any particular inspiration? I gave it a try and what I came 
up with was desperately ugly, a linear thing with an exponent 
tacked on. 

JMT says that he will abolish the escort-cruiser-capital 
distinctions for MT3 and with a mass-only system where two fast 
escorts can be combined in a fast cruiser. Big ships will rule
without a non-linear points system on top.

> Let me explain. Because the linear nature of the system, you can
> take a Mass 64 dreddie, and split it up to two Mass 32 cruisers, or
> Mass 16 destroyers or... you get the point. Each fraction will have
> exactly that fraction of cost, damage points and firepower. And better
> thrust to boot. 
> So why ever design big ships? Because you save by placing the systems 
> under one defensive umbrella (screens + *DAFs).

Not quite the only reason to my mind. Taking an escort-sized lump 
out of a big ship rarely loses an escort's-worth of weaponry in 
threshold tests. 

> Combined the fragments will still have the same cost and firepower,
> better thrust and survivability.

If we weigh that against the above principle... probably you are 
still correct. This just gets factored into the points though, no? 
We give, as I suggested, screens a negative value. You can have a 
big slow ship for the cost of a faster ship with less DP. The
Kra'Vak will outmaneuver you anyway...

> > In principle, then, yes. What is a C-battery worth anyway?
> My idea was along these lines: Instead of forcing people to change
> A's for C's, why not give them incentive to change their PDAF's for
> Trade a little bit of AF power for added AS effectiveness.

I don't think this will work. Suppose I have a design for a DN. I 
have carefully thought out how much AF defence I need. To get the 
same level of AF defence from C's as PDAF I need more mass. This 
comes from the A's. What I am trading, then, is long-range AS for 
short-range AS with a caveat that an enemy can overwhelm me with a 
combined attack, delaying a fighter attack until the DN gets into 
C range and tying down the C's with fighters. I think I'd want to
save points on the deal. 

I would prefer to drop PDAF's altogether and give a C-batt an AF
mode equal to a PDAF, although this probably wouldn't work outside 
of a whole set of other amendments. Rear-arc fire for one. I like 
rule additions that give new abilities to old systems and ships, 
rather then being associated with new systems.

Consider Scott Field's idea of a "needle firecon" that can direct 
a beam to make a needle-gun-like attack. I would restrict this to 
B's and C's only, and give all ships one as it's first FC. Now
I've given a new ability to non-A-battery ships. Any B-battery
carrying escort from the basic rules can pass muster as a commerce 
raider or customs vessel, because it can make needle attacks to 
disable ships. This seems preferable to creating a specialised 
needle beam IMHO.

> > Same thing. Launch... run... fail to take objective.
> ... come again next day, and the day after that and the day after...
> It's called "materialgeschlag".

Ah, well, it would have a German name...

> It's not heroic. It doesn't require that much skill. It doesn't
> very interesting games.
> It just wins wars. 

Are thinking of any war in particular? I'd like to consider this
in some sort of context.

David Brewer

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