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Re: Fighter Fixes was Re: Re: Re: [GZG] Revised Salvo Missiles Update

From: Robert N Bryett <rbryett@m...>
Date: Fri, 30 Jun 2006 02:39:06 +1000
Subject: Re: Fighter Fixes was Re: Re: Re: [GZG] Revised Salvo Missiles Update

On 29/06/2006, at 2:16 AM, Oerjan Ariander wrote:

> It looks very ugly on paper (particularly if you read the "explain  
> everything in triplicate" version you linked to), but it actually  
> plays about as fast as standard FT2.5.

On the face of it that seems unlikely, but I suppose it depends what  
one means by "about".

> The DRMs from the "Advanced and Specialized Fighter Types" section  
> are optional in FT2.5, true.

It was the DRMs I had in mind. Screens are a FT2.5 core DRM of	
course, but I'd just as soon not add any more.

> Screening/escorting status is tracked by moving the fighter groups  
> into base-to-base contact with whatever they're protecting, and if  
> you track CEF expenditure by tick boxes on the fighter group's SSD  
> instead of using fiddly little dice on the fighter group's base,  
> you don't need any extra chits to track evasion either. So no, you  
> don't need even one single extra chit or marker :-)

That doesn't seem to be true. What the "Fighter Fix" note *actually*  
says is:

"A fighter group within 3 mu of a friendly or enemy ship at the start  
of  phase 3 may declare that it is "screening" that ship instead of  
making a  primary move. The fighter will not move in phase 3, but  
will instead follow  the ship it is "screening" during phase 5 (Ship  
Movement). The fighter	group ignores its normal maximum primary move  
distance, and must stay  within 3 mu of the ship throughout the  
ship's movement. It may move to any  other position relative to the  
ship as long as it remains within 3 mu from it."

Apparently there is *no* requirement for screening fighters to be in  
base-to-base contact with whatever they're protecting. So presumably  
some form of chit, marker or paperwork will be needed to distinguish  
a fighter group that is screening from one that just happens to be  
within 3mu, so everyone will be clear on when and how it's  
legitimately able to move.

Escorting fighters do indeed have to move into base-to-base contact  
after declaring their status, but let's have a look at the escorting  

"A fighter group that is ESCORTED by another fighter group may not be  
attacked by enemy fighters unless: the escorting fighter group has  
fired OR the escorted fighter group has fired OR the attacking	
fighter group targets each escorting fighter with at least one of its  
own fighters, with only the remainder able to fire on the escorted  
fighter group OR the attacking fighter group is prepared to take fire  
from the escorts immediately, out of initiative order, before its own  
attacks are calculated. Note that once either the escorting or the  
escorted group has fired,the effect of the escort vanishes and the  
escorted group may be attacked normally by other fighters in the  
normal sequence."

Frankly my brain melted halfway through that load of old garlic, but  
it seems there's plenty of stuff to record here, beginning with which  
group is escortED, and which is escortING, and perhaps going on to  
which fighter groups have fired and at what.

>> In fact the privileged projectiles that receive this -3 DRM seem  
>> to be not just harder, but *impossible* to hit with non-PD weapons,
> "Impossible"? No. Difficult, yes, that's precisely the point with  
> the -3 DRM; but beams still hit on successful re-rolls, and P-torps/ 
> K-guns hit on rolls of  5+ at range 0-6 and on rolls of 6 at range  
> 6-12.

I confess I hadn't thought of K-guns and P-torps in this context, but  
clearly you're correct.

With the beam re-rolls, I am obviously not understanding something.  
Let's say a B2 fires at an incoming SM salvo, and rolls a 4 and 6.  
DRM-3 reduces the 4 to 1 so it's a miss? The usual beam mechanism on  
the 6 would give normal damage (two hits) plus a re-roll. However  
applying -3 DRM would presumably prevent the two hits from taking  
effect, so you're just left with a re-roll? Roll a 5 on the re-roll,  
and that's a miss? Roll a 6 on the re-roll and you again get 2 hits  
(cancelled by the DRM-3) plus another re-roll? I must be wrong here,  
so how does this work?

>> while Heavy Missiles are laughably easy to knock down (see next  
>> comment).
> Provided that the targets can bring their non-PD weapons to bear  
> against them (the HMs' secondary move can make that difficult) and  
> have enough FCSs to engage them with (a ship needs to dedicate a  
> separate FCS to each Heavy Missile it wants to engage with non-PD  
> fire).

I think the secondary move of Heavy Missiles is problematic because  
of the reduced effective endurance imposed by the need to evade (See  
next point). The FCS issue is interesting though, because it's not  
just the *targets'* FCS that are relevant, but potentially every FCS  
on every ship that's in range and arc. I can certainly see FCS	
proliferating on custom designs for the new rules, rather as PDS do  
under the old ones.

>> 2) Evasion and missile range: The "burn an endurance point for  
>> evasion" rule is very hard on standard Heavy Missiles which have  
>> only three CEF, greatly reducing their effective range if they evade.
> I'm curious here: How often do you fire Heavy Missiles at their  
> theoretical maximum range of 60 mu? (3x18 mu moves + 6 mu target  
> acquisition range = 60 mu from the launch point.)

We've only recently added Heavy Missiles to our games. I don't think  
anyone's tried to shoot an HM in a dead straight 60mu line, but one  
of my nephews tried to use the max range to zigzag and "sell the  
dummy" to intercepting fighters. I confess it didn't work ;) but he  
had fun anyway! More usual is to launch an attack from outside B3  
range, attempting to time it so that it's 18 + 18 + 6 (secondary) + 6  
(acquisition) mu, or a *potential* max of 48mu. Burn one CEF for  
evasion under the new rules, and that range is cut to 30mu (less than  
an ER SM), or 42mu if you sacrifice the secondary, and any anti-ship  
beam in range and arc can still knock the missile down pretty easily  
(including that B4 from the other side of the table).

Under the new rules the HM had better be used as a combined arms  
weapon fired from the same range as other anti-ship weapons.  
Launching from outside the bad-guy's anti-ship range envelope would  
just let him concentrate on your missiles and knock them down like  
the proverbial fish in a barrel, unless you can shoot at him while  
he's engaged with other ships or into a blind arc. Maybe the most  
effective way to use an HM under these rules would be to use it like  
a short range SM from 18 + 6 (acquisition) mu burning two CEF for  
evasion, and giving the enemy the least possible time to react.  
Launching from deep within the enemy's beam envelope would at least  
allow the launching ship to "decoy" some of the enemy's anti-ship  
weapon fire away from the missile :). It seems that HM would become  
Yet-Another-Short-Medium-Range-FT-Weapon :\ *shrug*.

It's suggested above that the secondary move somehow makes HMs	
difficult to keep in arc. I don't see that in cinematic where wide  
arc weapons are the rule and and the proposed anti-ship weapons are  
so effective against missiles, even at long range. In vector, HM  
range is reduced because the secondary and acquisition moves drop to  
3mu, but there might be more chance to stay out of arc for anti-ship  
weapons. Even one sixty degree arc covers a lot of real estate at say  
36mu though.

> The Heavy Missile is around TMF 1 in size; the smallest spaceship  
> you can build under the Fleet Book design rules is TMF 2. Why would  
> it be impossible/unbelievable for the B4 to hit the TMF ~1 Heavy  
> Missile at range 48mu, when it is perfectly capable of hitting the  
> TMF 2 spaceship at that range?

What seems unbelievable to me is that the anti-missile kill  
probability of the B4 at 48mu and the PDS at point-blank range is  
*identical* (0.5). If your PSB can swallow the idea that weapons and  
fire control are so accurate that a long range heavy anti-ship weapon  
can pluck a missile out of the sky at 48mu, how come PDS is so	
*inaccurate* at short range when it's purpose designed for shooting  
down fighters and missiles? For me, either the PDS is believably  
accurate and the B4 is unbelievably accurate, or if the B4 is  
believably accurate, the PDS is unbelievably inaccurate.

The TMF2 ship you mentioned is an interesting point. According to  
Shiptool, a TM2 non-FTL ship could have a Thrust Factor of 14! In  
other words it could accelerate 14mu per turn indefinitely, while  
carrying a crew, life support fuel etc. By contrast an HM is  
restricted to a steady speed of 18mu for a measly three turns while  
just carrying a warhead. Seems to me that the HM ought to be a *lot*  
smaller than the TMF2 ship, unless the warhead is really, really big.

Best regards, Robert Bryett.
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