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Re: (FT) beta variable hull rows

From: Oerjan Ohlson <oerjan.ohlson@t...>
Date: Sat, 12 Jun 2004 20:56:58 +0200
Subject: Re: (FT) beta variable hull rows

Glen Bailey wrote:

>Hmm, trying to weed out the point I want to argue but instead I'll
>summarize.  Essentially, others have said that a ship with 4x 18-hull
>boxes per row is better than a 3x 18-hull boxes per row.  Well,
>duh.  That's not what I'm getting at.	You're really comparing
>two different ships, that just happen to have the same weapons
>and drives platform.

No, *I* am comparing *three* ships. *You* are the one comparing only two

different ships that just happen to have the same weapons and engine 
ratings: one with 54 hull boxes in a 4-row configuration (14/14/13/13),
another one with 54 hull boxes in a 3-row (3x18) configuration.

The problem with comparing only two ships is that while it is easy to
which one should cost *more* (the 3x18 ship is more powerful so should
more points than the 14/14/13/13 one, and indeed it *does* cost more 
points), limiting yourself to only two samples makes it is very
to determine *how much* more it should cost.

That's why I'm comparing *three* different ships, all with the same
and engine ratings: the two 54-hull ones you're looking at (14/14/13/13
3x18), and one with 72 hull boxes in a 4-row configuration (4x18).

This 4x18 ship is designed using the standard 2 pts/box cost for 4-row 
hulls, so you already know how much it costs. Now, as you agreed above
4x18 ship is clearly *even more* powerful than the 3x18 ship (you even 
found it so obvious that you said "well, duh" about it); being more 
powerful, the 4x18 ship should also cost more points than the 3x18 ship.

Since you already know how much the 4x18 ship costs, and you know that
3x18 ship should cost less than this, the 4x18 ship provides an upper
for how much the 3x18 ship can cost.

The problem with your suggested hull costs is that they make the 3x18
cost MORE than the 4x18 one - ie. MORE than this known upper cost limit.

>What Steve has done is take his ships that had 4 rows of hull
>boxes and converts them to the exact same design with only
>3 rows of hull boxes

How can they be "the exact same design" if the hull configuration is

Steve's 3-row ships are NEW designs. While they're *similar* to his old 
4-row designs, they are NOT "the exact same".

>  so that the 4th row's hull boxes are now
>spread among among rows 1, 2, and 3, thus improving upon the
>ship's capability to withstand the critical threshold check damage.
>They did not become easier to kill, in fact, much harder.

They don't necessarily become harder to *kill* (the amount of damage
to *destroy* them doesn't change); but they certainly become harder to 
*cripple* than 4-row ships *with the same number of boxes*. That's the 
entire purpose of the 3-row hulls, after all. They also become more

The point I'm trying to make is that you can get the same longer, 
harder-to-cripple hull rows as the 3-row ships have by keeping the 4-row

configuration but add more hull boxes to it (eg.,  instead of going from

14/14/13/13 to 18/18/18 you go from 14/14/13/13 to 18/18/18/18) - and
your suggested costs, it will be CHEAPER to reinforce the 4-row hull
all those extra hull boxes than it is to change to a 3-row hull without 
adding any extra hull boxes. With the reinforced 4-row hull you can get
same increase in survivability from the first three rows as you'd get by

changing from a 4-row to a 3-row hull, and you ALSO get a little extra 
survivability from the 4th row - and all of this costs you LESS than
changing to a 3-row hull without adding extra hull boxes would do.

>All my new designs, at whatever size and load out, will now have 3 rows
>hull boxes instead of 4. If I want more hull boxes, supposedly in that
>row that you seem so fond of, I'll put
>them in the first 3 rows instead. Those ships will not die any sooner
>in a 4 row configuration; they have the same amount of hull.

As long as we're not fighting equal-points battles, sure. With no points

limit, you can add as many 3-row hull boxes as you like.

However, if we *are* fighting equal-points battles with your proposed
costs, then your 3-row ships will be so expensive that my 4-row ships
have the same number of hull boxes *in their first three rows* (plus an 
extra 33% of this amount in the 4th row) as your 3-row ships have *in
My ships will be just as hard to cripple as yours are (since their first

three hull rows are the same lengths as on your ships), and they'll be
harder to actually *kill* (since they have that extra hull row your
lack). What's more, I'll even have points left over to buy extra ships

>We are not removing hull by reducing the rows from 4 to 3; we're moving

>the hull that would be in the 4th row to rows 1, 2, and 3. And for the 
>cost increase of +1 per hull box for any particular design to go from 4

>rows to 3 rows is way too cheap for what you get.

If the cost increase of +1 per hull box for the 3-row hull is "way too 
cheap", then it is *also* way too cheap to add more hull boxes to a
hull - because it only costs marginally more to reinforce the 4-row hull

than it is to change to a 3-row hull *now*, and with your suggested hull

costs it will be *cheaper* to reinforce the 4-row hull.

>That's the point I'm trying to make.  I want it to be more expensive
for a 
>ship to have 3 hull rows vs 4 hull rows. Enough to give a designer 
>pause.  The current cost increase does not, at least for two of us

Then you haven't played around enough with designing 4-row ships - or at

least you haven't looked closely enough at the 4-row ships you have

>I've tried the [...]; and all for nought.

Sorry for asking this, but could one of the reasons for your repeated 
defeats be that Steve is a more skilled *tactician* than you are (in 
addition to having better luck with his dice than you do)?

> >>BB Steve
> >>mass: 154, cost: (4-row) 683, (3-row) 737
> >
> >Should be "mass: 154, cost: (4-row) 684, (3-row) 738"
> >
> >>hull: 54, armor:  6, FTL, MD 2 (advanced)
> >>Superior sensor, 4 FC, 1 ADFC
> >>14 6-arc pulsers
>So where am I a point off?
>mass 154: 154
>54 hull (4-row): 108
>FTL (15 mass): 30
>MD 2 (advanced, 15 mass): 45
>Ah, I bet you rounded the MD 2 cost; it masses 15.4 so you probably 
>multipled the cost before dropping the fraction. That's not how it's
>as I read it.

DOH! Yes, for the FB design system you're entirely correct. I'm
playtest rules with in-force ones again :-(

> >In its 3-row configuration, this ship has 18 hull boxes per hull row
> >costs 738 (not 737) pts. Your proposed hull costs will increase its
> > value to 792 pts.
> >
> >However, there is another way to build a ship with exactly these
> >sensors and thrust ratings which *also* gives you 18 hull boxes per
> >
> >BB Smart Steve
> >mass: 178, cost: (4-row) 758
> >hull: 72, armor:  6, FTL, MD 2 (advanced)
> >Superior sensor, 4 FC, 1 ADFC
> >14 6-arc pulsers
> >
> >Let's compare the hull configurations and costs for these two ships:
> >
> >Ship:	   BB Steve (3-row)	   BB Smart Steve (4-row)
> >Row 1	   18 boxes		   18 boxes
> >Row 2	   18 boxes		   18 boxes
> >Row 3	   18 boxes		   18 boxes
> >Row 4	   DESTROYED	    18 boxes
>They are NOT the same ship.

Of course they aren't - just like the 3-row and 4-row versions of the 
54-box design are "NOT the same ship". All three of them are *different*

from one another.

Thing is, until the 3x18 and 4x18 ships have taken 54 pts of damage they

behave *exactly the same* on the table. They've got the same armaments,
same manoeuvrability, and they take thresholds after exactly the same 
amounts of damage as each other. The difference between them only
appearent after 54 pts of damage, when the 3x18 ship dies and the 4x18
doesn't (unless it suffers a Power Core detonation).

Far above you've already agreed that the 4x18 ship is MORE POWERFUL than

the 3x18 ship. With your suggested point costs, the 4x18 ship becomes 
CHEAPER than the 3x18 ship, in spite of being more powerful.

> >Cost (current)  738			   758
> >Cost (Glen)	   792			   758
> >These two ships have THE SAME hull configuration for the first three
rows -
> >ie., 18 hull boxes in each of hull rows 1, 2 and 3 - but whereas BB
> >is destroyed after losing its third hull row (ie. 54 dmg), BB Smart
> >still has one hull row of 18 boxes left after losing the first three
> >(once again 54 dmg).
> >
> >With the current costs, Steve can choose whether or not he wants to
pay an
> >extra 20 pts to add one more row of 18 boxes to his ship. They won't 
> help very much
> >since they're in the 4th row, but what do you expect for a mere 20
>It costs a lot more than 20:
>54 mass, 3 row hull: 683 (54 hull)

No, it is the 154 mass, *4*-row (14/14/13/13) ship which costs 683 pts.
*3*-row (3x18) one we're looking at in the above comparison costs 737
with the current hull costs, and 791 pts with yours. (I made the same 
rounding error for both of these, so thought it cost 738/792 pts in my 
previous post.)

>178 mass, 4 row hull: 758 (72 hull)

And 758 - 737 = 21. OK, 1 pt more than the 20 I had claimed; sorry about

that... but I think that you'll find it difficult to justify calling 21
"a lot more" than 20 pts :-/

>That's a cost increase of 75 for the same firepower.

Only if you believe that 75 = 21.

To reiterate:

At the moment, Steve's choice is between the 154-mass, 3-row ship with
hull boxes at 737 pts and the 178-mass, 4-row ship with 4x18 hull boxes
758 pts. The 4x18 ship is slightly more powerful than the 3x18 one (due
having that extra hull row), but costs 21 pts more. Steve has to weigh
higher cost against the higher power, making it a tradeoff.

With your suggested points costs, Steve gets to choose between the 
154-mass, 3-row ship with 3x18 pts at 791 pts and the 178-mass, 4-row
with 4x18 hull boxes at 758 pts. The 4x18  ship is still slightly more 
powerful than the 3x18 one thanks to its extra hull row - but now it
33 pts *LESS* than its alternative. There's no tradeoff; one ship offers

more power for fewer points than the other. Which do you think Steve
choose now? Where's the tradeoff?

>That extra 18 hull split among the 3 rows is 6 per row;

Sure; but splitting them among only 3 rows won't save Steve any points -
the contrary, he'll have to pay through the nose for them. The reason
adding them as a *fourth* row is that with your suggested hull costs
will REDUCE the cost of the ship from 791 pts (for the 3x18) to 758 pts 
(for the 4x18).

>Maybe the cost increase of 2 per hull box for 3 rows is too much?

Yes, it is too much. At +2 pts per box for 3-row hulls, it is cheaper to

simply reinforce the normal 4-row hulls to give the same lengths for the

first 3 rows.



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

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