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

From: Oerjan Ariander <oerjan.ariander@t...>
Date: Fri, 30 Jun 2006 20:07:16 +0200
Subject: Re: Fighter Fixes was Re: Re: Re: [GZG] Revised Salvo Missiles Update

Robert Bryett wrote:

>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-
>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.

To me the long nominal range has never been a vital feature of the HMs
their MT missile predecessors, simply because long-range launches are so

easy to outmanoeuvre. The HMs are more manoeuvrable than the MTMs were,
not enough more to make them dangerous at long ranges.

>>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.

I'd actually call it the other way around - excess FCSs are generally 
*less* versatile than excess PDSs, because the excess FCSs are really
useful against two weapons (HMs and EMPs) while the extra PDSs are also 
useful against SMs, fighters and Plasma Bolts (and to a very limited
against starships as well).

>>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

Indeed. Which is why I very rarely fly thrust-2 ships, and consider 
thrust-4 ships to be rather sluggish :-)

>>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
>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,

Not at all. What you respond to is where the missiles might be *next*
not where they are *this* turn, so any ship armed with SMs or Plasma
can be used to "herd" the enemy in this fashion.

>and under these proposed new rules
>HMs seem far too easy to shoot down to be credible.

Not in my experience <shrug>

>>(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.

The above description of B4 and PDS fire is essentially how today's 
real-world point-defence systems work: fill the volume the incoming
has to fly through with so much crap that the missile can't avoid being
by some of it... having a good FCS merely limits the volume that needs
be filled with crap; it doesn't allow single-shot kills.

>>2D6 points of damage *is* really, really big :-/
>Is it? It's just two of those "tiny" -3 to hit SMs.

Each of which is about one-third the size of a HM but has shorter range,

allowing them to use a larger proportion of their tiny hulls for the 
warhead :-)

>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).

And those AMTs also have quite a bit shorter range than the HM, allowing

them to use a larger proportion of their hull to carry the warheads :-)

>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

FB2 Plasma Bolts can only be hit by *PDS* on rolls of '6', making them 
*extremely* difficult targets. Allowing anti-ship weapons to hit them at
makes them quite a bit easier to defend against (which is deliberate,
a fair number of players have complained about the FB2 version as being 

>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've done the maths many times over. I won't list all the numbers here 
(IIRC they're in the list archives already, posted some years ago), but 
basically for a given amount of PD fire 2 HMs on target inflict slightly

less damage than 1 SM salvo on target (unless the defences are very
in which case the HMs do better than the SM).

Now, at first glance this might look like a reasonable balance - the HMs

are slightly cheaper but slightly more vulnerable to PDS, so it seems to

even out - but the key words above are "on target". Thanks to their 
secondary move HMs launched from short ranges are considerably more
to *be* on target than SMs are, which means that for a given cost of 
missiles there'll usually be more than 2 HMs on target for every SM...
if the target is only defended by PDSs the HMs will usually inflict
quite a 
bit more damage than the same cost of SMs would.

Which is the *game* reason (as opposed to the PSB reason) why the
rules make HMs more vulnerable to *anti-ship* fires than the SMs are -
compensate for their much higher accuracy :-/



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

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