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Re: FB2... hmmmm...

From: stiltman@t...
Date: Wed, 7 Jun 2000 11:28:51 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: FB2... hmmmm...

> wrote:
[Fighter morale] 
> >We don't use them, and we also allow recombining of wounded 
> >groups into larger wholes even if we did.  When there's 240+ fighters
> >out there with you, losing three of your buddies doesn't seem like a 
> >reason to panic to us.  :)

> OK, this explains a lot. The fighter morale rule is *the* major
> balancing
> mechanism for human/Phalon fighters; removing it roughly doubles their
> firepower.  ("Balance" as in "don't need to pick exactly the right
> super-specialized gimmick fleet to have a chance against my enemy's
> super-specialized gimmick fleet, but have a fighting chance with a
> fairly wide selection of fleet styles".)

Oh, that's _much_ too harsh a description of the situation, we simply
found that to be the case at all.  I regularly fly large numbers of
and my brother-in-law regularly does not, and the battles are by no
one-sided.  While it is true that I usually win the battles, I have not
observed that the fighters themselves are the reason -- I usually win
battles with him regardless of whether I'm using fighters as my primary
weapon, and I often win much more decisively when I don't.

The adjustment that's been made to facilitate this is that ths bulk of
fleets that don't carry large numbers of fighters have their individual
ships -- all of them, not merely the escorts -- designed as cogs for an
area defense phalanx.  Each large battleship is built with a good 10-20
and an ADFC.  They fly in tight formations such that each of them may
all of their fellows.  They're essentially invulnerable to all but the
overwhelming missile attack and they'll eventually wear down fighters
as fast as they get worn down themselves -- their job is to get to the
carriers and pulverize them before that much wear-down takes place.

If I'm playing carriers and I win these battles, it's because I bring
needle help to take down enough ADFC's or enough mass destruction help
prevent them from flying in a tight formation like that that the
fighters are
allowed to work.  It's been a long time since fighters alone were enough
our games.

> Without the fighter morale rules human/Phalon fighters should have a
> base cost of 8 points each (48 per squadron, rather than the current
> 18). All costs for heavy/attack/ long-range/torpedo fighters rise in
> proportion (+2 pts/fighter for Attack or Long-Range, +5 pts/fighter
> Heavy, +7 for Torpedo).

That's not balance.  That's neutering them.  They're _already_ one of
most expensive weapons in the game.  The equivalent mass of point
already costs about half as much as the fighters do, and they get half
the firepower for it.

If you don't want to worry about fighters, build a phalanx with about
PDS.  If your opposition doesn't pile the fighters well into the
they're not even going to significantly touch you.  Even if they do,
going to need to bring backup help to last more than about three turns.

> >>KV fighters never get any damage re-rolls, so they inflict
> >>considerably less damage than human fighters against unscreened
> >>targets (including all fighter types) and are only marginally better

> >>against targets with level-1 screens.
> >Yes, but the trade-off you get for being able to ignore screens is a
> >lot less than the advantage.
> The big gain is their Ro'Kah ability, and that's a rather two-edged
> sword. They effectively treat all targets, screened or not, as having
> level-1 screens (or level-0.95).

Well, beam fighters do 4 26/36 points of damage per six dice to
ships, 3 26/36 points to level 1, and 2 26/36 points to level 2.  K-gun
fighters do 4 points to everything.  The damage drop to unscreened ships
IMO, well worth being able to combine the extra attack power against
ships with no sacrifice at all in fighter-to-fighter attacks (where the
fighters are identical to everything else).

> >>Firing plasma bolts at an ADFC phalanx means that 1) your own
> >>fighters can't easily attack said phalanx without getting fried
> >>themselves and 2) you maximize the number of PDS or equivalent
> >>systems available to shoot the plasma bolts down.

> >Positioning fighters together with plasma bolts so that both can
> >attack shouldn't be that hard.  Position the fighters on one side of 
> >where you expect them to be, position the plasma on the other.
> And where exactly do you expect a high-thrust (or Kra'Vak/Sa'Vasku)
> ship starting at speed ~24 to be? <g>

If you're flying that fast, I won't care about predicting.  Your guns
one arc.  All I'd worry about in that case is making sure that arc isn't
pointed at me without it either hurting you or forcing you to burn
scatterguns.  If you were flying that fast, I'd probably halve my plasma
output per turn and fire half my guns alternating every other turn so
I can keep 16 dice of plasma going out every single turn, to keep you

The plan:  give you a choice between zigzagging away from plasma all day
and letting my normal beams nickel-and-dime you to death, or burning
scatterguns in order to survive the plasma enough that my fighters can
dogpile you once you've got few enough left that they're no longer
about them.  If you divide your force enough that I can't hit the bulk
them at once with a single barrage, I'll aim to discourage the larger
of it from coming in on me while the fighters dogpile the stragglers.

However... on that note, I'm going to set up a game with my wife to try
this out.  I'm going to probably do a nice fleet math design and give
five 1000 point off-Kra'Vak megabattleships with a total of around 95
scatterguns (which is about twice what normal Kra'Vak ships in the FB2
book will sport for 5k points).  That will give her enough scattershot
annihilate half again the monster's total fighter complement.  We'll see
if she can keep the things away from plasma well enough to take out the
mothership before I can dilute her scattershot enough to let the
shred her.  That'll be a tough fight.
> >>Compare the amount of PD dice a Phalon ship can fire with the
> >>number of PDS systems on comparable human ships (particularly 
> >>from FB1), and you'll usually find that the Phalons have more PD 
> >>dice available than the humans.

> >Yes, with the designs in FB1... however, IMHO, the designs in FB1 
> >are very poorly equipped in the PDS category.
> Not really. The main difference between the FB1 ships and the
> ~800 player designs from all over the planet I've collected over the
> years since FB1 was published is that the custom fleets tend to have
> more units with ADFC, but the overall number of PDSs is rather
> However, most or all of those designs were created for use with the
> fighter morale rules just like the FBx ships were; I'd be quite
> interested in adding your designs to the archive as examples of ships
> designed for other types of games.

I've got a good sized notebook full of both my own designs and a few of
my brother-in-law's.  I can probably put up some sort of sampling of
> [On Phalons vs. fighters]
> >Well, 40+ fighter squadrons would annihilate the Phalon designs in 
> >the book.
> Without the fighter morale rules, certainly. With them and the
> reorganisation rules it'd be a quite interesting battle - and I
wouldn't put
> all my money on the fighters.

That's a possibility.

> >...with 15 needle beams, that's two and a half hits per turn.
> With 15 needle beams on a thrust-1 ship in Cinematic, you're lucky if
> you get to fire three needle beams per turn. If all of your needle
> beams are in the same fire arc you'll get to fire them at best once
> during the battle. Not very "sustained" fire IMO, but YMMV.

Ah... here's where the subtlety comes in.  :)

As I mentioned in response to Roger, those needles aren't there with the
expectation that they'll be fired every turn or even every game. 
there to give you a reason _not_ to park any ships you can get past the
fighter cover at point blank range and try to trade shots with the
ship-to-ship armament.	They'll be aiming for fire controls.  If you
your ship anywhere near it, I'll park and spin on you.	If you keep
its range, it's done its main job without having to fire a shot.

> >We play cinematic on a table where about 70MU usually seperates 
> >the two sides at the start and about 15-20MU behind each side is the
> >boundary.
> About the same size of table as I have, though I use floating table
> edges as well.

We don't use floating edges.

> >>On a fixed-edge table, the easiest options are to take a Kra'Vak
> >>fleet (kiss your fighters goodbye and watch your PBs miss <g>),

> >Not convinced of that at all.  To take down that many fighters,
> >going to need about 80 scatterguns.
> Since you don't use fighter morale rules, maybe. Even an FB2 Kra'Vak
> force composed to counter a fighter-heavy force can have more
> scatterguns than that though, plus a bunch of back-up K1s for
> anti-fighter work; a custom Kra'Vak force in a battle without fighter
> morale rules would of course have more scatterguns

Yes... thus, the playtest mentioned above.


> >8-12 squadrons of interceptors would get annihilated by 41 
> >squadrons of regular fighters... and with only about 60 dice of point

> >defense, the remaining fighters and plasma together probably 
> >wouldn't be terribly worried there, either.
> I assumed that you used the fighter morale rules and the standard
> re-organisation rules. With them the 8-12 Interceptor squadrons will
> certainly be annihilated, but they'll cripple enough of your fighter
> squadrons to give them problems with their morale checks. Without the
> fighter morale rules, dump all Phalon interceptors and bore straight
> in. You need to kill the entire Phalon fleet in approx. 2 turns, or
> lose the
> dreadstar. Without the dreadstar, the fighters will die eventually
> <shrug>

If the fighters pile up on the Phalons, their pulsers will need to
on them or they most likely _will_ die in approx. 2 turns, probably
they've had a chance to fire a shot.  And if their pulsers concentrate
the fighters, the monster can can handle what's left of their
weaponry with its own.

> >>[On Sa'Vasku]

> >Most of this is granted.  My initial thoughts on this subject appear
> >to have been completely wrong. :)
> Easy to do with the Sa'Vasku. I'm afraid we underestimated them too
> during the playtests :-(

I'll have to tinker with them a bit.  It's possible that we may be
coming up
with a few house rules either limiting the number of drones that can be
launched from a single womb or mandating that any drones will die if
broodship is destroyed, thus giving either a hard or strategic-soundness
to piling out too many of them.
 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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