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Re: FB2... hmmmm...

From: stiltman@t...
Date: Wed, 7 Jun 2000 10:11:15 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: FB2... hmmmm...

>>The typical carriers I'm throwing are usually somewhere in the 200-300
>>The Warbirds mentioned are 320.

> Nope OK then I should be able to handle them... guess I'd just have to

> think about it a bit more.

General schematic for them, off the top of my head, is mass 320, avg
thrust 1, FTL, no armor, level 2 screens, about 5 firecons, cloaking
14 pulse torps (mixture of 1-arc and 3-arc in proportions I don't recall
the top of my head), about 15 Class 1's and 20 PDS.

>  >More likely both, if I can manage to do it.  Keep the 6 MU radii of
>  >fighters and plasma bolts overlapping without the fighters actually
>  >in danger, and you can hit with both at once.
> I have a sneaking suspicion you should only be able to do that a few
> before your opponent figures a way to outfly that particular tactic.

Yeah... but if you space it out you can either aim for the overlap or
you can
aim to simply cover a two foot wide area with either plasma or fighters.
There's a number of options for it.

>  >And even an ultra-battleship that doesn't go all class 1's is still
not the
>  >best plan.	If your opponent knows you're flying an ultra-battleship
>  >when you give them a pre-warning of the thing's mass, they will...
>  >much over 1200 mass is going to _scream_ "I'm a battleship") there
are a
>  >great many tricks that can be pulled to beat it

> While I believe that you know what you're talking about, why does
> I'm 1200 mass automatically make you a battleship????

Economics.  Under FB1 tech (and FT2 was the same way, the cutoff there
about half that mass), carriers are going to have less ship mass per
cost than battleships.	That's because the carriers not only have to pay
for the ship itself, it also has to pay for the fighters.  If you're
a 5000 points game (which we usually do) you can thus determine, if
pre-warned of a ship mass (and nothing more) what you're probably up

1200 mass is about as large as you can get for a carrier-oriented ship
still being able to put together upwards of 40 fighters (and all normal
fighters or interceptors at that) for 5000 total points.  If you use
mass for a warship than that, I know that you can't possibly have the
to fit as many fighters on the ship as I am, and if you're flying a
that's over 1400 mass, it's a fair bet that you have no fighters at all.

Of course, all the bets are off if you're crazy enough to throw a 1400+
cargo ship at me in hopes of baiting me into "cheating" on fighters. 
that's a _huge_ gamble... and I've been quiet enough about this little
of ship design economics in my own circles that it hasn't occurred to
to try it yet. ;)

> Can you also please explain again exactly how you figure out what's
> (sorry I seem to be getting a little muddled here)... you present ship

> masses and then go off and say what's on them? Or did you mean you
> out your fleets and then present masses and then you think OK he's got
> so with my stuff I can do such and such?

The way we do this goes about like this:

1.  We're both allowed 5000 points.  We'll usually consider it a
courtesy to
ask on little fudges like going a few points over or under.

2.  The battles are considered to vaguely be confrontations in the
of a larger war between two entrenched powers, a Hierarchy of rather
xenophobes and their collaborating near-slaves (mine) up against an
of free starfaring peoples resisting them (my brother-in-law).	The
part is vaguely inspired by the Ur-Quan of the Star Control series,
the actual ship designs are closer to Star Wars for the core fleet of
group; I don't know where he gets his ideas.

3.  In the campaign spirit, it's generally suggested that fleets
withdraw if
they lose half their ships, but a bit of flexibility is generally
allowed if
the long-term outlook of the battle seems positive.  (i.e. if you's
half your ships to cripple but not destroy anything, but over the long
you're going to annihilate the entire enemy force, we let it slide.)

4.  Also in the campaign spirit, there are considered to be long-range
that are able to detect FTL signatures.  For conventional sized ships,
sensors are considered to not be sophisticated enough to determine
numbers or
size, merely that they're out there.  For superships, however, the sheer
magnitude of energy expended for their FTL travel is sufficient that the
long-range sensors are able to give early warning of an approximate mass
unless the supership in question is equipped with a cloaking device. 
real game terms, this means that if you're going to fly a supership into
battle, your enemy is permitted to know that approximate mass in advance
adjust their own fleet knowing that you're going to have it there.  Side
to date, no one has actually used the cloaking device exception to the
supership-warning rule.)

5.  All ships that are not equipped with cloaking devices must be on the
board to start the action, and in general they are expected to be in
sort of cohesive formation at opposite sides of the floor.  Ships may be
cloaked at the start of the game, but all their move orders must be
out in advance, and at least one ship (even if they're all
must be visible in order to get bearings for its comrades.

>  >The two that come most easily to mind would be (a) any form
>  >of carrier force (cloaking or otherwise) that, knowing that they
> have to
>  >worry about enemy fighters, "cheat" on their fighter complements and
>  >for fourty-odd torpedo bombers

> First up I'm still amazed at the assumption regarding 'there will be
> fighters' and two its interesting that you like torpedo bombers this
> we don't use them much at all (guess its the difference between using
> not using morale rules)

Torpedo bombers are slightly less powerful overall than they were in
because (a) fighters in general got a bit more expensive than they used
be, and (b) EVERYONE had level 3 screens in FT2 so torpedo bombers were
the best way to do any serious damage with fighters.

They're still arguably the best offensive fighter weapon in the game,
they can still do the most damage for the least exposure to enemy point
defenses.  However, there's a risk in flying them in a large scale
action because their effectiveness is severely limited if you don't have
fighter superiority, and with the greater cost of screens, the complete
elimination of level 3 screens altogether, and the greater fighter
in FB1, torpedo bombers are not always going to be as cost-effective as
they were before.  Against unscreened ships they're actually going to do
_less_ damage than three attacks by normal fighters, and unscreened
aren't necessarily as rare as they used to be (in FT2, screens were
free for the benefit they gave)... but the tradeoff that torpedo bombers
get is that they can do all their damage and expose themselves to point
defense fire only once in order to do it.

>  > and (b) just about any fleet that has either
>  >cloaking escorts or stiff, fast cruisers equipped with enough needle
>  >to make sure that your drives are prohibitively unlikely to survive
the first
>  >pass.
> OK I really only put the 1200 mass with PDS/class 1s as a rather
> (though probably not very useful, come to think of it) example, but
> arguments sake lets stick with it. Now I'm not trying to be a pain in
> ass here (and now I promptly proceed to be just that sorry),

No prob.  You're not bugging me at all here, and if you start doing so,
let you know in a gentle fashion. ;)

> but if I'm all 
> class 1s what have my drives got to do with anything? If I've guessed
> wrong and you've got all little escorts and I've got the beam behemoth
> hell then you're going to be so much faster than me in the first place

> there's no point chasing you so I can't see any tremendous impact in
> out my engines as I've got 360 deg arcs.

I won't need too many little escorts, and they won't necessarily even be
little.  They'll either be little and capable of cloaking, or cruiser to
battlecruiser sized and fast and stout.  The cloakers will just decloak
(hopefully in position to fire immediately or within one turn) and
away, the larger versions will flank at medium to long range so that
can survive the long range spray and then cut in to put their needle
into firing position with a single sharp turn at very high speed.

And if it works, and you have just class 1's, it won't be arcs that kill
it'll be range.  If you take off (some of) the class 1's and use some
broadly effective weapons, it might be a bit of both.

>  >(Although, to be fair, if you just keep the ultra-battleship
>  >at 1200 mass and give it escorts so that people won't necessarily
> what it
>  >is, that's another story...)

> Which is what I'd be inclined to do as there's this little voice in my
> saying... "didn't someone who knew what they were talking about say
> send big ships out by themselves..." ;)

Yeah... I don't.  If I'm going to send a really huge ship out, it'll at
be a carrier so that its fighters will work as escorts of sorts.

>  >Perhaps not.  But with 15 needle beams, that's two and a half hits
per turn.
>  >Point that at a conventional capital ship and their fire controls
>  >will not survive more than two or three turns of sustained fire.
> Mmmm definitely not in our camp Indy, he actually thinks we'd hit at
> with 15 needle beams ;)

Well, with a ship like this, you're in best shape if you get in close
and stay
there.	The needle beams are there to make that a bit painful to do. :)

>  >Yeah, but if they throw K-gunned fighters _and_ the plasma bolts at
you, the
>  >screens and PDS will only do so much good.
> True, but that so much may be just enough to tip the balance and let
> primary weaponry come round. I've found a lot of FT to come down to
> trying to take any damage, but rather making sure you only take damage
> can cope with or at a speed that doesn't see your plans fall to

I agree.  I'm going to be playtesting a game with my wife this evening
I'm going to give her Kra'Vak battleships equipped with a total of
to the tune of 95 scatterguns and throw it against the dreadplanet I
illustrated a couple of posts back.  Partially it's to playtest Oerjan's
comment that Kra'Vak should have an easy time of it and partially it's
to have some fun. :)

>  >Now, having to take 10% of your ship mass just to get level
>  >2's makes it expensive enough (and with torpedoes, missiles, and
K-guns able
>  >to go right through it anyway) that I don't know if it's usually a
>  >trade-off.

> They have their places, does come down to who you're playing
> against beams and PBs double screens can be particularly frustrating
> your attacker to encounter... imagine Laserlight or our man Teske
trying to 
> PB a double screen fleet to death.... ;)

Yeah.  But they're more of a tradeoff now, whereas in FT2 they were
a freebie way to cut all your beam damage by three quarters; level 3
were a flat 9 mass (regardless of total ship mass) and you got one point
damage on a straight 6 and that was IT.  No rerolls, nothing.  You had
torpedoes, torpedo bombers, needle beams, or a very long day.

>  >I've actually got quite a bit of background material for my various
>  >races.  They all (at the moment) use FB1 tech, so it's not like I'm
>  >new weapons for them or anything, but each one has a different ship
>  >philosophy (that's far more variant than the various human sides in
>  >official Full Thrust background) and their own range of tactics. 
One of
>  >these days I'll have to get around to putting all this on a web site
>  >paste the URL here.
> There's actually a communal GZG site you can stick them up at, don't
> to be fancy just plain old text files will do, Tom Anderson (I think)
> it all up. If the instructions on how to use the joint haven't changed
> the following should work:

>  >Yeah.  It could be that Sa'Vasku carriers with enough pod launchers
and wombs
>  >could theoretically get themselves fighter superiority for free,
> Not exactly free, don't swing that illusion too far back the other way

Yeah... it'll take some work.  Oerjan's comment that they could put up
fighter groups and then go at thrust 9 to run away scared me a bit
I hadn't studied Sa'Vasku much at all (I still plead a certain ignorance
them).	Then I took a look at the elder broodship design and noticed
that if
they _did_ put that many fighters out the odd hit with a single pulse
could bring them down.

However, I think that custom designs could make this even more gross
than it
already is.  On first glance it seemed like the ships in FB2 are
meaner than the ones in FB1, but I don't doubt that a bit of number
could squeeze as much more effectiveness out of the tech in there as
could in FB1.

 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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