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Re: Tenders, among other things

From: mehawk@c... (Michael Sandy)
Date: Sat, 29 Nov 1997 17:01:31 -0800
Subject: Re: Tenders, among other things

How important is fuel consumption in the game?	I read that
tenders and tug use 3x the fuel of an ordinary merchant,
which would make them 33% less efficient in terms of carrying
cargo.	If they aren't actually taking any ships with them, do
they still incur a fuel penalty?

How many FTL jumps can a ship make on a full tank?

How expensive is having a boat bay?  I was thinking about all these
slow thrust merchant ships which have to tranship their cargos.
Having a boat bay with a streamlined thrust 8 cargo shuttle
sounds ideal.  It could double as an emergency crew escape pod
as well.

Tenders are useful, but the question is how much of your fleet
expenditures should go to them and their non-ftl cargo?

I happen to like the Mother Ship concept.
Have a couple of 100 mass Tenders with 15 hex range drives,
thrust 2 and Cloaking and you can build some pretty nasty
designs for your dreadnoughts.	More realisticly, have one
100 mass tender and a bunch of 36 mass tenders.

(Does a Cloaked Tender cloak the ships she is carrying?  Does
a tender with Shields, shield her passengers?)

Consider a comparison between non-ftl and ftl versions of a ship.

Consider two cruisers with Cloaking, Shield 1, and individual ECM.
at 36 mass the FTL cruiser starts out with 18 mass for systems,
the non-FTL cruiser starts out with 27 mass for systems.

After spending 4+3+2 mass on non-offensive systems the non-FTL
cruiser has twice the mass left over for offensive systems.

It is also pretty bad for 100 mass Superdreadnoughts:
9 for level 3 shields, 2 for Superior Sensors, 3 for Area ECM
and 3 for +1 fire control and you have 33 mass vs 68 mass
for weapons.

The more special systems you have, the better the ratio between
offensive mass and special system mass you get for the non-ftl

Non-ftl ships have a 7/5 edge over FTL ships, (7 FTL ships would
have 7/10 the weaponry but 7/5 the damage taking ability of 
2 non-FTL ships, with some adjustment because with concentration
of firepower the FTL-side will probably lose a ship first.
Assuming a design where the non-ftl ship has ~twice as many weapons.)

In terms of cost the non-ftl ship will cost about the same as the
FTL one.  A ship of 20 mass spends 20 points on FTL, and a ship
without FTL has 5 mass more for weapons.  At a ratio of 1 mass
per 3 construction points the non-FTL ship will be cheaper,
at 1 mass per 4 construction points they will be equal.  At a
ratio of 1 mass per 5 construction points the non-ftl ship
will cost mass/4 more.

Most ships cost over 8 points per unit mass, much more for
fast Capital ships with lots of special equipment.  The
FTL-cruiser above costs 10 points per unit mass if it has
a 6 thrust.

So in terms of cost, the non-FTL ship is going to be within
3% of the cost and 40% more effective in combat than an FTL-ship
of equal mass.

However, the cost of transporting these extremely effective ships
is _huge_.  Logistical complications is a good phrase for it.
A tender costs over 8 points per unit mass for a basically 
defenseless craft.  Even with a quality edge of about 3-4 points
per unit mass you have to have over three times the carrying
capacity of your tenders in non-ftl ships before the concept
pays off.

On the up side, most of your combat losses are going to be in
comparitively cheap non-ftl ships rather than your expensive
logistical chain, right?  Ummmm.  Don't bet on it!  Even if
you equip your tenders with cloaking devices they are going to
be vital and tempting targets for your enemy.

The higher the cost you are spending per mass unit on ships, the
more attractive the non-ftl option should be.  If you are putting
level-1 shielding on your frigates, it _really_ pays to use
non-ftl frigates for some of them.

On the other hand, if you are putting 3 arcs of fire on all your
weapons the cost edge for the non-ftl ship isn't quite as good.
Likewise, if you are paying for premium fighter craft you don't
save as much by going non-ftl.	Fighter craft can be the most
expensive weapon there is on a per mass basis.

Basically, the ratio between points spent on weapons versus the
points spent on everything else is what will tell you how much
benefit you will get from making a non-ftl version.

For example, a missile ship with special systems like shields,
cloaking, sensors, ECM or reflex fields can get a lot of benefit
from being made into a non-ftl design.

A non-ftl design with no special systems is only going to have
about a 22.5% advantage in combat ability by mass and between 
+3% and -3% in cost.  This means that to be effective there would
have to be over 5 times as much mass in non-ftl ships as their
tenders.  (A ratio of 40 to 49 in damage absorption vs a ratio
of 60 to 49 in dealing damage.)  Square root(1.5)

So the minimum combat advantage by mass a non-ftl ship will have
will be 22.5%, and it can go higher than 40% with some designs.
With 1-arc weapons, or missiles, the combat advantage by cost
could be as much as 45%!

Note:  If you are designing a scout ship, then for purposes of
considering whether you want a non-ftl version or not, count
the sensor systems you purchase as weapons.  Also, the
Weasel-Generator counts as weapons for this determination as
well.  So weasels and dedicated scouts are most economically
done as FTL ships.

Michael Sandy

Ob silly ship:	Coffin #583412	(You don't name ships this small,
				 just number them.)
Mass 1
Move 8
Ftl  none
Strm Fully  (Why not?  Its effectively free)
damage 1

systems: (.75 mass rounds up to 1 mass)
submunition pack or C-beam PCS

cost:  7 or 9

If anyone sneezes on one of these, it dies, but it just isn't
cost effective to shoot them if anything else is in range.
Especially if it combat resolution is simultaneous and all
you manage to do is destroy an out-of-ammo ship.

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