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Re: Starship! and FT, from the author

From: "Oerjan Ohlson" <oerjan.ohlson@t...>
Date: Thu, 7 Sep 2000 21:36:08 +0200
Subject: Re: Starship! and FT, from the author

Charles Stanley Taylor wrote:

>>From e-mail from him, he's provided a weapon design system, much >>as
FT has a ship design system. Essentially, he has provided detailed
>>meta-rules on how to generate rules, within limits.
>Hmm... gets me thinking - has anyone considered doing something >like
this for FT (I think I need a :-) here :-)

Yes <g>

The main problem is that the efficiency of a particular weapon depends
on a lot of factors, like the size of your gaming table or which
weapons your enemies like to use. What balances in your group doesn't
necessarily balance in other groups... it all adds to the fun :-7

>On a related note - has anyone any ideas about the effect on
>mass/cost of varying the size of a weapon's range bands:

Yep :-)

>For Example:
>I am considering the difference between neutral and charged particle
>beams - assume the beams in FT are neutral. Charged particles repel
>each other, so a charged particle beam disperses, and thus has a
>reduced range.
>Assume that the Charged Particle Beam (CPB) has half the range of a
>normal beam (so each band is 6 mu, rather than 12).
>I've done some maths that imply that such a CPB is half as effective
>(and hence, for balance reasons, should be half mass & cost) as a
>normal beam - but I don't think I took everything into account (guess
>have to play test it then - when I get time!).
>So a Class-2 CPB is MASS 1 Cost 3, for 3 arcs, MASS 2 Cost 6 for 6
>arcs a Class-3 CPB is MASS 2, +1 per 2 extra arcs, COST = MASS >x3,
>Has anyone else played about with ranges like this.

Yep :-) 

On a small, fixed table, long range isn't that important - the enemy
will run out of table sooner rather than later and then you get to
pound him; on a larger table you may not be able to fire at all... I've
seen the latter happen to all-Close-configured Phalon fleets quite a
few times over the past year :-/

My experience with variable range bands, almost all of which is on
large tables, is that half the size balances pretty well with 2/3 the
range. (The reason it's not "half range - half size" is that the range
*in itself* doesn't help you hit more targets; it is the extra *area*
in which you can look for targets which counts. With twice the range,
the long-ranged weapon covers four times the area... provided your
table is large enough that the *short*-ranged already covers most of

For example, Aaron Teske uses three different sizes of P-torps in his
Space Fleet/Full Thrust conversions: the small one with 4mu range bands
and Mass 2, the normal one with 6mu bands, and the large one with 9mu
range bands and Mass 8. I've used them quite liberally over the years;
so far they seem to balance OK.

The real problems come when you design a weapon which has a different
damage profile than the ones you compare it to, eg. Pulsers vs beam
batteries or B2s vs B3s :-/

>Also, has anyone any ideas on the cost breaks / penalties of
>'combined' systems - such as:
>Multiple Class-1's combined to give a weapon that has a range of 12
>mu, and does multiple beam dice - and probably looses the PDS

This combi-weapon is easier to repair than the multiple B1s, but can't
split its fire over multiple targets. To figure out how much it is

1) Figure out how much the equivalent number of B1s cost *including
their share of the ship's engines and basic hull structure* (ie. the
1xMass you pay just to get the hull)

2) Deduct some for the loss of PD capability. The B1 has half the PD
firepower of a PDS but requires a dedicated FCS to act in PD mode, so
it's worth somewhat less than half the total cost of the weapons - IF
your enemies use missiles and/or fighters, that is - otherwise it isn't
worth anything at all!

3) Add some to account for the fact that this combi-weapon is easier to
repair when it fails threshold checks than multiple B1s are.
Unfortunately this term depends on how many FCSs your ship has, and
also on the general hull configuration. Eg. a Phalon-style ship
probably wouldn't have lost even the B1s until very close to its total
destruction and wouldn't have had time to repair even the large system
if it went down, because the majority of its damage boxes are either
armour or the first hull row; OTOH an unarmoured, strong-hulled ship
(eg. an ESU capital ship) would start taking threshold checks early but
spaced well apart, thus giving it more chances to repair damage. For
the Phalon ship, the total availability of the combi-weapon is pretty
close to that of the multiple B1s; on the ESU capital, it might be
quite a bit higher.

4) Finally, now that you've figured out how many points your
combi-weapon should cost you fiddle around with its points/mass ratio
and its Mass so you get the total cost (including hull and engines) as
close as possible to the "target" cost for as wide a range of engine
strengths as possible.

>Weapon + dediced FireCon - doesn't need a firecon - it has it built

The value of this weapon can be estimated in a similar fashion to the
above, but there are some differences. The value depends on:

* How many weapons (of this type) the ship is likely to fire at a
single target in one turn. If you're likely to fire each of these at a
single target, the "initial" cost of the weapon (corresponding to step
1 above) should include the full cost of the FCS; if you expect to use
two of these weapons together you only include half the cost of an FCS,

* How many FCSs the ship would normally have had, ie. the probability
that your ship won't lose all of its FCSs at once. This is similar to
step 3) above, with the added twist that losing the FCSs reduce your
firepower to 0 whereas losing one B1 out of several will only degrade
your firepower a bit - you still have some of it left.


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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