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Re: [FT] FB2 Balancing Corrections Proposed

From: "Oerjan Ohlson" <oerjan.ohlson@t...>
Date: Fri, 30 Jun 2000 21:56:19 +0200
Subject: Re: [FT] FB2 Balancing Corrections Proposed

Bell, Brian K wrote in reply to Alan Brain:

>>I've been giving Brendan Pratt's reactions to FB2 some thought, and
>>I think he has a point.
>>Basically, he has shown ways that both Phalons and SuVasku can
>>get into short range (12") either with little damage or giving as
>>good or better than they get. And has shown that the firepower they
>>can generate at 12" is unbalancing.

What Brendan wrote about the SV was that they are able to sit at their
own table edge without maneuvering, putting all their power into the A
pool. They then outgun all enemies at all ranges, which is a problem.
He did not write that the Sa'Vasku can get into short range while
simultaneously having unbalancingly much firepower; that part of his
posts treated the Phalons only.

[Snip. I agree with Brendan's SV worries, but also with Brian's
comments to Alan's suggestion regarding the Stinger nodes.]

On Phalons:

>>Phalons do 1-2-4 instead of 1-2-6 dice with their pulsers. Again,
>>makes no change except at absolute point-blank range. The 
>>estimable OO at one stage had 1-2-4 but changed it as the result of
>>mathematical analysis.

What Alan probably doesn't know is that this mathematical analysis was
preceeded by 18 playtest battles in July last year, featuring the 1-2-4
Pulsers. He does know (or at least has known) that it was followed up
by another 17 battles, this time using the 1-2-6 Pulser version, in
September and October :-/

Most of the July battles pitted near-identical Phalon fleets against
one another; the only differences between the fleets was the Pulser
configurations used. The ratio of M Pulsers to L Pulsers didn't seem to
matter very much, but the fleets with the larger number of Pulser-Cs
invariably lost. (Eight battles out of eight; in the other four
inter-Phalon battles both sides had the same number of Pulser-Cs but
different mixes of Ms and Ls.)

The last six July battles were against Human fleets (mostly FB1
designs, but also some all-P-torp custom ones). Here the Phalons were
completely massacred in the two battles where they had around half
their Pulsers in C configuration. The other four battles, featuring
Pulser mixes with up to  one-third Pulser-Cs, saw two narrow Phalon
victories and two equally narrow Phalon defeats.

My conclusion from those battles was that the M and L Pulsers were
reasonably OK balanced both against one another and against the human
beams, but that the C version was much too weak - at least on our
table, which has a fair amount of space to evade in.

After these battles I did a maths analysis to try and get the Pulser-Cs
at least within shouting distance of the other two types (they were
different types back then, not just different configurations). This
resulted in the 1-2-6 version, which was then tested in the 17
September-October battles (which I reported on the playtest mailing
list when the FB2 work started up in earnest).

>[Bri] The big trade off for Pulsers set to close range and 
>Class-1 Beams is the PDS ability. Pulsers set at close range 
>still only get 1 die vs fighters in PDS mode.
>Weapon 	 Mass	   vs Ships	 vs Fighters/Missiles
>  3 Pulser (C6A)   12	      18 dice	       3 die  (6 arc)
>  4 Pulser (C3A)   12	      24 dice	       4 die  (3 arc)
>  6 Pulser (C1A)   12	      36 dice	       6 dice (1 arc)
>  12 Class-1	     12        12 dice	       12 dice (6 arc)

Brian is on the right path, but misses three things. The first two
favour the Pulser but are IMO/E not that important, while the third
strongly favours the Class-1s.

* Each Pulser PD die is worth a bit more than two B1 PD dice; not only
does it kill on average twice as many fighters/missiles, but it is also
able to engage Plasma Balls and benefit from ADFC guidance - neither of
which the B1 can do, so the difference in PD ability isn't as large as
the above table suggests. The C1 entry should say "5-6 dice (6 arc)" in
the vs Fighters/Missiles column rather than "12 dice" :-/

* One Mass-4 system is somewhat easier to keep repaired than 4 Mass-1
systems when the ship starts taking threshold hits. 'Course,
Phalon-style ships usually don't have a lot of time in which to repair
stuff when they finally start taking thresholds checks! This feature is
a lot more important for stronger-hulled custom ships than for the
published weak-hulled Phalon ships.

* If two systems have different costs per mass, comparing the same Mass
of weapons doesn't tell you very much; instead you need to look at the
effective cost (ie., including weapon's proportion of the engines and
basic hull structure).

Let's compare the cost of one 6-arc Pulser-C (PC-6) with 6 Class-1
batteries (B1-6) for different thrust ratings (human/Phalon engines,
with FTL drives included):

Weapon: Vs ships:	Vs fighters:	Thrust: 2	4	6
1xPC-6	6		1		27.8	30	33
6xB1-6		6		"3"		29.6	33	37.5

The single Pulser has a somewhat higher average availability than the
six B1s, but IME that doesn't outweigh the better point defence
firepower (and targetting flexibility) of the B1s. The B1s cost 1.9, 3
or 4.5 points more than the PC-6 for the three thrust level, ie. 6-14%
of the weapons cost. Just for comparison, 1 PDS costs 4.9, 5.5 and 6.25
points for the three thrust levels respectively.

With Alan's changes, I need to compare 1 PC-6 with 4 B1-6s instead:

Weapon: Vs ships:	Vs fighters:	Thrust: 2	4	6
1xPC-6	4		1		27.8	30	33
4xB1-6		4		"2"		19.8	22	25

The Class-1s still have the same anti-ship firepower and better
anti-fighter/missile firepower (though not as much better as before),
but they now only cost about 8 points (24-30%) *less* than the
Pulser-C. To me, this makes the Class-1s look very attractive compared
to the Pulser-C -  "better firepower for three-quarters the price"
looks like a bargain.

Now, considering all the bad press the B1s have had over the five-six
years I've been on this list I get a distinct feeling that any system
which makes the B1s look like a bargain, well... it can't really be
*that* powerful :-/ 

Out of curiousity - would any of you arm your fleet exclusively or
almost exclusively with B1 batteries? If not, why not?

I've only discussed the *all-arc* Pulser-C above. This is because it
is, IME of course, the most powerful of the three. While it is larger
than the 3- and 1-arc versions, its extra Mass is nonetheless less than
the proportion of extra times the enemy come into its arc of fire :-/


Oerjan Ohlson

"Life is like a sewer.
  What you get out of it, depends on what you put into it."
- Hen3ry

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