Prev: Re: Retrograde gimmickry Next: "DreadPlanet"

RE: Custom Fleets & Gimmickry

From: "Izenberg, Noam" <Noam.Izenberg@j...>
Date: Sun, 11 Jun 2000 14:38:49 -0400
Subject: RE: Custom Fleets & Gimmickry

Begin at the beginning:

> The purpose of a starfleet of any sort of starfaring power is to keep
> your enemies from going places where you don't want them.  

One of the purposes, sure.

> The general point is that science fiction is rife with examples of
> happens when a starship is given some sort of free rein to hammer away
> at a planet that can't run away from it, regardless of how slow it is.

[ID-4, ST, BGS, SW, B5 First Ones examples follow] 

Your statement may be true about (many) specific SF universes. I know
don't play in it, but I don't think it's true of the Canon FT universe.
There are no Old Ones or Planet killers in the FT game universe, and
you can add that in, you have to be aware that's what you're doing. The
FT system with quantified effect in planet to surface fire is, I
Ortillery, and Ortillery is not a sterilizer.

Planet Killers may make for fun, if not good, TV and movies, but not for
or good space combat games, IMO.

> A starfaring power that does _not_ want this to happen to them has to
> be able to put ships between the enemy and their planets that can hold
> the line to make sure that it doesn't.  If they're dedicating much of 
> their resources to what amount to "skirmish forces" that are going to 
> be good for little but flying away from an enemy in deep space and 
> slinging insults at them, they've lost sight of this simple goal. 

I hope you're not assuming the Beam-6 fleet designed specifically and
explicitly to defeat your first posted version of the dreadplanet was
advocating that such a fleet be the mainstay of any particular putative
starfaring civilization.

> An enemy with slower ships with greater
> short-range firepower is not truly being stopped by speed and range.

That depends _entirely_ on the assumptions gaming universe, as
and others have illlustrated. While you like the example of the KV
the starbase (was it on a planet? I forget) There is other list
trying to hammer out the physics of the Tuffleyverse that implies that
must be exited some significant distance form target objectives. This in
way precludes you from saying that in your universe you can FTL a tac
into the opponent's flag bridge, or, more 'realistically' FTL a few
planetary radii away and commence assault, but that's not the universe I
like to play in.

> _That_ is why I would not give a lot of respect to the broad
> effectiveness of a retrograde keepaway force and be more inclined to
> consider it "gimmickry" than a dreadplanet overloaded with fighters. 

Given the myriad differing assumptions of the game universe you like to
in, I'm happy to concede that this, and other subsequent points you make
true for _your_ games. 

> IMHO, show me a game where keepaway tactics are considered sound, 
> and I'll show you a game that has just flat out lost sight of what an
> interstellar war is _really_ about. 

I think it a bit premature for anyone to say what interstellar war is
_really_ about, other than a cool tactical and/or strategic game. Given
absence of true reality, we are all within our rights to make a fake
however we want. IMO, as long as it's fun and has an internally
logic to the liking of the players, I think you can make a game where
virtually _any_ tactic can be considered sound for at least some game

> A skirmish fleet, regardless of the exact amount of time involved, 
> probably is not going to present a meaningful strategic obstacle to 
> anyone who wants to hit a planetary installation. 

I could see things happening in a universe similar to yours this way
from what I have read of your pseudo campaign, resources are so
limitless that any type of fleet can appear in any type of combat.)
Dreadplanet (as initially presented) appears and defeats defenders of
X. Beam-6 fleet is dispatched to hunt down and kill dreadplanet. It
succeeds, since that dreadplanet can't defeat that fleet. Then both
tweak subsequent dreadplantes and Beam-6 fleets to counter each other
changeing weapons, fighter mixes, escorts, etc, each evolving away from
gimmicked original designs. This has already happened to some extent in
"tweaking" discussions on this list. 

FWIW I can also see in your particular universe, building a competing
that doesn't have home planets or many hard targets. Nebula
Matter residents.... Energy beings that live in stellar coronas....

[FTL exit range...]
> Most likely, this is only going to happen if you've got either a large
> concentration of asteroids or other cosmic hazards there ....  In
> whatever case, that's likely only going to mean that that particular
> star system falls last, after everything else gets pulverized.

A large number of assumptions at play here. I happen to be of the SF
school that large gravity wells like stars have significant hyperlimits
(several AU) and individual planets have limits of several tens of
Thus assualts on planets outside the life zone start on the order of 10
turns away from a planet, and assaults on planets within can be seen
significantly in advance (whether much can be done about it is another

> I'd probably take, as my example, the "Assault on Starbase 13"
> in MT:

I wouldn't. Enough of your game universe is different from base FT, I
wouldn't assume that _this_ example should rule you either.

> Let's not forget that scanner range in the previous books was
> only 54" for active scanners... so further out than that you just 
> plain may not be able to tell approaching ships apart from celestial >

Aside from sensors being one of the occasional favorite debate points of
some listers, if Fighters can evade Novas for free, why can't active
scanners go as far as twice your max weapon range? Why can't FTL
be something completely different (and longer range, say 10 AU) than
scanning? The answer lies entirely in the asumptions you choose to play


Prev: Re: Retrograde gimmickry Next: "DreadPlanet"