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Re: House rules (was re: FMA rules?)

From: stiltman@t...
Date: Wed, 31 May 2000 11:39:19 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: House rules (was re: FMA rules?)

> wrote:
> >4.  Cloaking devices and missile magazines may not be targetted by
> >needle beams, as they are considered internal systems.  They have to
> >roll for these things on thresholds but they have no external
> >components that can be targetted to knock them out.	(The original
> >game-oriented reason for this was that cloak-capable ships take such
> >a tradeoff to equip themselves with the things in the first place
> it >would be rather "cheap" for the opponent to be allowed to just
> needle >the things out and cripple them so badly by destroying such a
> costly >system.)
> Considering how weak needle beams are, removing two of the rather few
> worthwhile targets they have seems a bit harsh :-/

We've actually found very differently in our battles.  Needle beams are
indeed rather weak if you only carry a couple of them on a ship.  If you
specialize ships as "surgical strike" vessels, and carry anywhere from
eight to two dozen of them... not so.  Fast or cloaked ships equipped
with these can cripple an enemy very, very fast.

The current record for the shortest battle between my brother-in-law and
was decided by needle beams back in our FT2 days.  He was flying a 5000
point monster battleship armed to the gills.  I was flying a fleet of
conventional capital ships escorted by a group of heavy cruisers with a
rating of 8 and six needle beams apiece.  His drive systems lasted about
two turns.  Knowing that all I had to do from there was to get my
ships behind him and pick him apart at my leisure, he struck his colors

In custom rules, being able to pick out critical elements of your
systems and take them out with a concentrated strike of needle fire
to the real battle is a major factor.  If you're heavy on carriers,
out area defense fire controls is big.	If you're heavy on beams, taking
out screens is big.  If your enemy is heavy _in_general_, taking out his
drives is big.	(And our prohibition doesn't make it impossible, it just
requires us to maneuver a bit.)

> >5.  Nova cannons and wave guns do _not_ affect missiles, fighters,
> >and cloaked ships in our games.  Our technobabble rationale for this
> is >that a giant, hulking battleship wielding a fixed-emplacement gun
> the >size of Tokyo simply isn't going to be able to aim it effectively
> at darting >gnat-like fighters or ships that it can't see.

> It is the area crisped by the Nova Cannon round which is the size of
> Tokyo. If someone nukes Tokyo, I wouldn't give very much for the
> survival chances of individual cars or motorbikes (corresponding to
> fighters in this case) caught in the blast :-/

Well, our technical rationale is simple:  a fighter has an inertialess
And the nova cannon is a fixed emplacement that gives a lot of warning
it can fire (i.e. the ship has to fly in a straight line for a time
firing).  Whether the fighter can outmaneuver the nova cannon is not a
issue.	There _are_ three dimensions in space, and logically speaking,
because the game makes it two-dimensional doesn't mean that a tiny craft
an inertialess drive can't stay ahead of a hulking battleship with a gun
it can't aim other than by its unwieldy maneuvering jets.

The other part is, we decided that this made a line of ships armed with
super-guns too powerful, because they could just fire their weapons
and render fighters and missiles relatively moot (especially with wave
So we allow fighters to automatically evade them unless they're landing
taking off (a situation where they DO have to be in a predictable

> >8.  It isn't clarified in the main books well as to whether fighters
> can fire
> >upon one another outside of a dogfight context.
> FT2 p.17: "If a Fighter Group is within range (6") of an enemy Group
> [snip reference to fighter fire arc] then it may attack the enemy
> Fighters excactly as it would an enemy warship, ..."

True.  I figured it was in there, I didn't happen to have it handy when
I wrote
this email. :)

> The three important questions here are:
> * Which movement system do you use?


> * How big is your gaming table?

We usually play in an open floor space, going by inches scale. 
Depending on
the size of the room, the opening gap between fleets is typically
The total "legal" playing area tends to be 60x100 or so.  Going off the
is considered an automatic removal from play with no chance of

> * How fast do you tend to fly?

> From the tactics and designs you describe I'd guess either at "Vector"
> on the first *or* "rather small" and "slowly" on the second two
> respectively - playing on a large table in Cinematic tends to give
> higher speeds, and make short-range weapons rather weaker. Similarly
> I've never found MT missiles to be a big worry in themselves in
> high-speed battles; they tend to restrict the enemy maneuverability
> somewhat, but that's about it.

It's true, we _do_ tend to fly rather slowly.  There's a reason for
when the gloves come off, the battle tends to be won by slower ships
faster ones.

A slower battleship is going to have more weapons, armor, screens, what
you.  And against faster battleships, they can just park and spin as
need to keep that superior armament pointed the right direction.  The
speed doesn't really do the faster guys much good.  The slower ones can
form a phalanx and out-pound them.

A slower carrier is going to be able to carry more fighters.  Any game
fighters are involved usually takes two stages:  first the fighters
on one another and someone wins.  Then the fighters of the winning side
dogpile the ships of the other side.  If you don't have the capability
establish fighter superiority it's almost not even worth the bother of
carrying fighters at all, unless your game is to blunt the enemy's
superiority and then beat their carriers ship-to-ship.	However, even
takes a lot of fighters.  And in any case, the slower carrier still will
usually beat the faster carrier.  If the slower carrier's fighters win
dogpile because he's got more of them, the faster one's speed won't
because his main armament has been annihilated.
 The Stilt Man
   < We are Microsoft Borg '98.  Lower your expectations and	>
   < surrender your money.  Antitrust law is irrelevant.	>
   < Competition is irrelevant.  We will add your financial and >
   < technological distinctiveness to our own.	Your software	>
   < will adapt to service ours.  Resistance is futile. 	>

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