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Re: Subscatterscenarioharpoongunpointsdefencevalues and stuff

From: Mikko Kurki-Suonio <maxxon@s...>
Date: Sun, 27 Apr 1997 07:59:10 -0400
Subject: Re: Subscatterscenarioharpoongunpointsdefencevalues and stuff

On Thu, 24 Apr 1997, David Brewer wrote:

> Hmmm... so the enemy is travelling from A to B, probably at 
> their best speed, presumably slowing only before jump. How do 
> we delay them? 

Enemy hesitation: They've been ordered to bombard planet Xyzzy. An enemy

force of unknown capabilities blocks the way. Right on through, James?

Shoot them to bits: Either they join the fray or you're going to have a 
fest lighting up tailpipes. Depends on time scale, though.

Post-battle mess: Even if you lose, they're likely to take losses and 
spend some time getting reorganized.

> Point taken. But we could construct a context generator around 
> a simple scenario of this sort so as to flavour and complicate
> a simple umpireless unplanned pick-up game. 

Sure. That's what scenario generators are for.

> We have no coastlines, 
> only significant points, like planetary systems, in a 3d space 
> that is largely bypassed by FTL-travel outside of normal space. 

It need not be. Remember Thargoids! Ok, assume a FTL hyperdrive can only

go straight in empty space. To change course, you must drop out of FTL. 
If the sensors detect an obstacle, you're down to normal speeds again.

Now, you know where they left harbor and you have a good guess where 
they're going. Place your fleet on this line and they'll pop out to
FTL collision (insert PSB) -- and they'll have to get X maaru away
they can FTL again. 

Ok, maybe it's not possible in background X, but think about this: How
pirates operate? If FTL effectively teleports you from one safe zone to 
another, pirates are out of work. Likewise, interceptors and blockades 
are useless. If you want to stop someone getting someplace, your only 
choice would be to get there first and meet him.

This is possible, but it would mean a very, very profound change in
military tactics. Maybe more weight on immobile defenses. Maybe FTL-only

attack/defense bases (shades of Death Star). No more commerce raiding.

But, if we assume that FTL is only there to justify interstellar wars
to remove the boredom of empty space, we could say that:

- FTL only works outside significant g-fields. Thus you'd get the
system space as potential battle field with only M-drives usable
- FTL jump range is limited. At certain intervals you must stop to
maintain the engines, or preferably even scoop some fuel -- providing
with possible intercept points near desolate "fuel only" systems.

> What can we impose on this scenario to give it some extra flavour? 
> The defender presumably has the upper hand in intelligence, has, 
> say, many sensor bouys around the system to warn of the attackers
> approach. 

Sounds logical.

> Can we say that the defender can pick the "terrain" such
> as it is, choose to fight near a planet, or an asteroid belt, or
> a minefield? 

If the attacker is there for the sole purpose of attacking the defender,

sure. But he'd also have the choice to disengage before battle if the 
defender is dug-in too hard. You have to balance the maximum "dug-in" 
bonus, because premature disengagement makes no fun games.

> Can we allow fleets to plan a mid-game FTL-arrival
> or flank arrival, or otherwise spring surprise tactics on each
> other? 

That gets harder, but I guess it could be doable. Depends on things like

the existance of FTL radio.

> ...Scatterguns. How circular...

Scatters do fit the bill. They're just too cheap and too long-ranged.
> If a small ship can carry it, so could a large one, so I'm
> not sure how you mean to have it help the small fry. Do you
> mean a short-range missile, that a smaller ship could outrun/
> outmaneover?

Let me give you an example: Assume you have a 1pt/1mass annihilator 
torpedo that does infinite damage, hits always, but has a range of 1". 
Sure you can mount them on all ships, but are you really going to risk 
your big ships by getting close enough to use their systems? In fact,
you going to let *anything* come close enough to risk the torpedoes?

Big ships have an edge in range. The usual trick is not to fight on the 
enemy's terms. Thus your capitals want to keep their range open, 
lessening their effectiveness against smaller ships. 

Couple this with a bit of torp paranoia, and you have the smaller 
screening ships clashing with each other while the heavies slug it out 
"over" them. Each ship class has a functional use within battle again.

> There's a difficulty in targetting several ships? 

You run out of firecons. Assume your dreadnought is rushed by 20 small 
boats closing 12" per turn. No matter how powerful your weaponry, you
only take out 6 before they're on top of you (assuming standard A-batt 

> My gut feelings are against it. There's some balancing that can
> be done with the seperate A, B, C's. Larger gets you more range,
> smaller more redundancy. 

Care to dwell on this further? My aim was twofold: First to simplify
construction and second to stop "unrealistic" beam choices like mounting
a single A in a Mass 6 corvette. With my system, you can't do it because
you can't fit enough factors in a ship so small, not because there's a
special rule saying so. 

I always prefer basic facts to stated exceptions.
> Hmmm... there's a slight advantage to having a big ship over
> two small half-ships where you gain on the rounding down.

That, or the other way around. I prefer this. Also, you need round down 
at some point or everyone has unlimited range.

> How many needle attacks do you want? I suppose a Capital could
> carry three Needle FC in place of the usual, with one attack
> each. You can't do any better than three needle attacks in FT
> (without adding on extra firecons). 

Multiple needle attacks against the SAME system only need one FC. I can 
see use for a dedicated needle ship with 3-6 needles. That gives you a
42% - 66% chance to knock out a single important system in one volley --

like a screen on a screen-3 ship (probably the best needle target, 
instantly doubles the effectiveness of the rest of your fleet's beams
the target).

If the Needle FC can only direct a single B against a single target, 
regular needles are still useful.

Or... merge C's and PDAFs into close defense batteries, merge needles
B's into needle batteries and keep A's as main batteries.

> So... what you're saying is that you don't want to game in a 
> mini-cosmos where materialgeschlag is an option, right?

In a nutshell, yes. It produces very boring games.

E.g. have you ever seen a siege game without a time limit, either direct

or indirect in the form of arriving reinforcements? I don't think so. 
Without the time factor, sieges aren't much fun to game.

-- (Mikko Kurki-Suonio) 	  | A pig who doesn't
+358 50 5596411 GSM +358 9 80926 78/FAX 81/Voice  | is just an ordinary
Maininkitie 8A8 02320 ESPOO FINLAND | Hate me?	  |	     - Porco
Rosso     | hateme.html |

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