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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 16:07:39 +1000
Subject: Re: Fighter Fixes was Re: Re: Re: [GZG] Revised Salvo Missiles Update

On 30/06/2006, at 6:48 AM, Oerjan Ariander wrote:

> You missed the bit which says that only DRMs that are due to the  
> *firing weapon's* abilities apply to rerolls, whereas DRMs due to  
> the *target's* abilities or actions do not. Why this complexity?  
> Because that's what the [official] Q&As have said since very	
> shortly after FB1 was published, and it survived into the beta-test  
> fighter rules...
> According to FB1 and the Q&As, an Attack fighter's +1 DRM applies  
> both to the initial die and to any rerolls, but its target's	
> screens (which are effectively a kind of "DRM" to beam dice) only  
> degrade the initial die.
> In the same way an Interceptor's +1 DRM applies to both the intial  
> die and any rerolls, but the SM's -3 target's DRM does not  
> (analogous to screens not degrading rerolls). Because of this a  
> roll of '4' or better on the reroll hits the SM salvo in spite of  
> its -3 DRM.
> (And yes, it would be a fair bit simpler if *no* DRMs applied to  
> rerolls :-/ )

This sort of stuff is why I think DRMs are bad news and that their  
ugliness is best confined to optional rules that gaming groups like  
ours (with players as young as eight) can safely ignore.

As regards the beam re-roll example I used before, can I confirm that  
it works like this: Suppose a B2 rolls 2d6 against an incoming SM  
salvo, scoring 4 and 6. 4-3=1=Miss. 6-3=3=Miss but gains a 1d6 re- 
roll. DRM does not apply to the re-roll, so normal damage applies  
(1-3=0, 4or5=1Hit, 6=2Hit+Re-roll)?

> To me the secondary move is the heart and soul of the Heavy  
> Missiles; it is that ability above anything else which sets them  
> apart from SMs and Plasma Bolts.

I couldn't agree more. That's one reason why I keep banging on about  
the evasion mechanism eating away at the CEF of heavy missiles. It  
looks to me as if the combined effect of very effective long range  
anti-missile fire, and having to burn CEF points to evade it, pretty  
much vitiate the factors that distinguish HMs from SMs - longer range  
and the secondary move.

> As long as you can rely on your opponents using lots of HMs (or  
> lots of FCS-eating EMP beams) this can happen; otherwise those  
> extra FCSs cost you more than they're worth whenever you're *not*  
> facing a HM wave (or EMPs).

Exactly. And isn't that exactly what people apparently find so	
offensive about the existing rules? That you have to invest heavily  
in PDS, which don't pay off if the enemy doesn't bring missiles and/ 
or fighters to the party? FCS are more versatile than PDS though, so  
the effect might be less marked.

> If someone launches HMs to hit my ships such that the missiles are  
> expected to fly 40+ mu from the launch point before they reach me,  
> I will almost certainly be able to avoid most or all of them if I  
> choose to do so (in Cinematic, that is).

In our admittedly limited experience, that depends a *lot* on the  
target's thrust rating. One of the main benefits of the placed marker  
missile mechanism is to make fielding a lumbering Thrust 2  
battlewagon, or using sit-'n-spin tactics, a riskier cost benefit  

> For me such long-range missile launches are purely intended to make  
> the enemy move in certain ways so my ships and/or fighters can  
> engage him with direct fires on favourable terms; any damage	
> inflicted by the long-ranged missiles themselves is an unexpected  
> bonus.

Using missiles to constrain the enemy's manoeuvre is certainly a  
paying tactic under FT2.5. One of my nephews "invented" the tactic  
for himself a while ago; I was *so* proud. ;)

However missiles have to be a credible threat for this to work. Only  
multi-turn missiles can offer a threat to which the enemy has a  
chance to respond by manoeuvring, and under these proposed new rules  
HMs seem far too easy to shoot down to be credible.

> (It also helps that I don't see either the B4 or the PDS as firing  
> *one* shot each per game turn; instead I see them as firing lots of  
> shots to saturate the entire volume the target could be in. At long  
> ranges most of those shots will miss, but there are enough of them  
> to give the B4 it's 50% hit rate at range 48mu. The PDS, being so  
> much smaller, fires correspondingly fewer shots than the B4 -  
> enough to give it a decent hit rate at close ranges, but severely  
> limiting its effective range.)

I'll give up on this since I'm essentially arguing PBS which is  
always futile. It strikes me as deeply bogus, but that's only IMHO  
and other people's milage may vary.

> 2D6 points of damage *is* really, really big :-/

Is it? It's just two of those "tiny" -3 to hit SMs. It's *less* than  
the damage potential of those -3 to hit AMTs (though they're 33% more  
expensive in points than HMs of course). I don't have a copy of FB2  
on this computer and we don't play alien races yet, so I don't know  
what -3 to hit Plasma Bolts do (but they're not one-shot weapons I  

As regards the SM salvo, two missiles would represent about 4/7 of  
the 3.5 missiles that would on average survive the "lock-on roll", so  
effectively one "buys" 2d6-worth of damage for 4/7 of the mass and  
points cost of an SMR. That's a mass of 2.29 (2.86 for ER) and points  
of 6.86 (8.57 for ER). If that's correct, it seems that at 2 mass and  
6 points, an HM is a relatively "cheap" way to buy 2d6-worth of  
damage under FT2.5. However PDS affects SMs and HMs very differently,  
and unfortunately I'm not mathematician enough to assess that. So I  
could well be wrong, but it *seems* to me that the relative ease of  
shooting down HMs vs. SMs under these proposed "fighter fix" rules is  
an over-correction.

I should probably shut up about this, since Mr. Tuffley told me not  
to panic, but Mr. Ariander's comments are so intriguing...

Best regards, Robert Bryett.
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