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[FT] Some ideas from B5

From: "Tom.McCarthy" <Tom.McCarthy@c...>
Date: Thu, 8 Jun 2000 17:27:47 -0400
Subject: [FT] Some ideas from B5

I've been rereading Earth Force Sourcebook and Fleet Action.  Here's a

>From Earth Force Sourcebook, the catastrophic damage effects are good. 
heavy beam mechanics need some work and the Phalon plasma bolt mechanics
seem much nicer than the Narn e-mine mechanics.  The fighter quality
are very universe specific, but they do raise the question of ways to
purchase substandard fighters (a topic for another message, no doubt).

>From Fleet Action came some ideas for imposing command & control
concerns on
very large battles.  In short, the idea is to form ships into squadrons
have them maneouvre as a squadron.  By flying and targeting squadron to
squadron to squadron, the turn is broken into more manageable chunks. 
imposing squadron morale and bonuses and penalties for acting in and out
squadrons, squadron play becomes important.  By making some ships
capable of
leading or controlling larger squadrons or as acting as task group
leader (C
& C hub for multiple squadrons), you further add a level of narrative
more choices during fleet design.

Fleet Action's squadron mechanics have some very simple ideas.	Each
ship is
rated in points for how complex a squadron it can command, and a second
number indicates how much complexity it adds to a squadron.  Ships which
designed as slow moving gun platforms might make very bad squadron
but good squadron members (or even expensive members and hopeless
commanders).  To move the squadron, just write orders for the flagship
the rest of the ships normally just maintain formation relative to it
will wind up moving a little further or a little shorter than the
ship, but it all comes out in the wash).  Ships in squadrons are given
offensive bonus over ships operating alone, but must target a single
ship in
an enemy squadron.  Ships in a squadron also receive a defensive bonus
they are not the closest target for the firing ship.  That's a lot of
squadron bonuses, you're thinking.

One of the drawbacks is squadron morale.  For each squadron, tally some
element roughly proportionate to the size of the squadron (FT crew
are just about perfect).  When half, two thirds, and three quarters of
"morale elements" (crew stars) in the squadron are gone, test morale
like a
threshold check on a 5+, 4+, or 3+ and if failed, the squadron drops
action and leaves the game.  Also, the disruption of an existing
through a formation change, loss of squadron command, or loss of task
command, should each have very serious consequences to each ship's
to fire and move (possibly including halved firepower or counting all
targets as being one extra range band further away, or being forced to
before your enemy writes orders).

As an interesting and challenging wrinkle, players have less control
fighter group actions in Fleet Action.	Basically, you give fighter
squadrons broad orders on odd numbered turns which they will do their
to follow until the next orders come in.  The orders are simple:
Superiority - Move to target point (x, y) (or mark it with a chit) and
attack any enemy fighters within 12" (or so).
Strike - Bull your way through any enemy fighters you encounter on your
to attack target squadron A.
Escort - Move with and protect squadron or fighter group B from anything
can intercept.
Superiority missions don't allow fighters to pounce on ships that are
targets of opportunity and trying to calculate what Superiority missions
will allow you to intercept enemy Strike missions could be a challenge.

The ELINT functions outlined in Fleet Action are nice and
with ELINT ships either attacking the chain of command or giving
or defensive bonuses.

Also, I like the reinforcements rebate idea for Fleet Action.  Ships
designated as reinforcements can be bought at a discount, but arrival
can be unpredictable and if you lose the battle before reinforcements
arrive, you've lost.

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