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Re: [GZG] FT:XD changes, part 1

From: Eric Foley <stiltman@t...>
Date: Fri, 30 Apr 2010 20:18:55 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: [GZG] FT:XD changes, part 1

-----Original Message-----
>From: Oerjan Ariander <>
>Eric Foley wrote:
>> >5. Fighter/PDS/Ship fire model

>> >The only model I've seen that seems to not encourage soapies, that
>> >seems to make fighter endurance matter, and that seems to make FT
>> >designs (with small to moderate sized fighter compliments by mass,
>> >with 2-4 PDS) make ANY viable sense is the playtest rules that were
>> >bandied about with fighters burning endurance to avoid PDS fire and
>> >attack and where PDSes and ship batteries could engage fighters, the
>> >PDS any within range and all PDS groups on a sihp attacked *each*
>> >incoming fighter group. It was more book-keeping intensive, but it
>> >made the existing SSDs make sense.

>>Well, this last sentence basically is where we're simply riding on 
>>different rails.  I do not care even a little bit if the existing 
>>SSDs are able to fight soapie basestars. [...] I'd rather keep the 
>>GZGverse ships in their own world where players can continue to have 
>>fun fighting them against each other, and keep it understood that if 
>>you really want to let the soapie genie out of the bottle, it's 
>>simply going to be a different game and should be set in a different

>Unfortunately you don't need basestar-like fighter numbers to rip 
>through a Fleet Book fleet. It is quite sufficient to bring a couple 
>of Fleet Book fleet carriers (except the NSL ones), unless the 
>opposing fleet brings a similar number of fighters of their own or 
>consists mostly of escort cruisers (since most of the ADFC-equipped 
>ships in the Fleet Books only carry 3 PDSs each). IOW, under the 
>Fleet Book rules the PDS levels featured on the Fleet Book ships 
>don't make sense *even in the GZGverse* - and I know several 
>"official designs only" gaming groups that have implemented rather 
>strict rules on permissible fleet structures to ensure that no-one 
>can bring too many fighters to the fight. (Or too many 
>superdreadnoughts, for that matter - though the CPV rules seem to 
>have reduced that problem, at least.)

Oh, I understand all this very well.  It changes absolutely nothing in
terms of my end point, though.	I accept that FB1 ships have very poor
defenses against amassed fighters, and I'm perfectly willing to
hand-wave it away if I want to play with them -- with the idea that
GZGverse powers don't have enough carriers (and, if you prefer,
superdreadnoughts) to put enough of them in one place that it overwhelms
the balance or fun value of the game.  The game system, as it already
sits, is actually quite good at dealing with a variety of these
situations if you stop caring about trying to make the FB1 SSDs
something that they're not -- and what they're not is good at dealing
with a lot of different tactics (including but not limited to fighters)
that are possible to build.  In custom games though, a lot of these
problems go away:

- Spending too much on energy screens makes you more vulnerable to ships
using weapons that ignore them.
- Over-reliance on fighters makes you vulnerable to a fleet with enough
scatterguns or PDS to kill them all.
- Over-reliance on mega-sized dreadnoughts makes you more vulnerable to
salvo missiles and needle beams, so you should bring some escorts and/or
balance it out.
- Over-reliance on too-small escorts makes you vulnerable to FTL bombs
(and nova cannons) to wipe them out en masse.
- Over-reliance on scatterguns (brute force) to stop fighters makes you
vulnerable to a combination of plasma bolts and fighters if they can use
the plasma to make you run out of scatterguns before they commit the
- Over-reliance on amassed PDS to stop both fighters and indirect fire
weapons indefinitely makes you extremely vulnerable to enemies that are
using direct fire weapons.
- Using PDS to stop fighters in sub-ridiculous levels makes you almost
as extremely vulnerable to a large plasma bolt strike that can
potentially wipe out your entire formation, forcing you to let the
fighters through in order to defend against the plasma.
- Over-reliance on plasma bolts to overwhelm these area defense
phalanxes that are more balanced gets a lot less effective if they _do_
have energy screens.
- Over-reliance on indirect fire to shut down the scatterguns makes you
vulnerable to highly maneuverable ships that can evade them.
- Over-reliance on high maneuverability to evade indirect fire makes you
vulnerable to slower ships with direct fire weapons and wide enough
firing arcs that they don't care which direction you're coming from.

...and so on.  There's a vast number of pitfalls where if you get too
cute with a particular tactic in Full Thrust, something that's not
overreaching so badly can make you pay for it.	None of this requires a
single tweak to the rules system to balance itself out.  There's a ton
of tactics available with a lot of different weapons, and none of them
are truly broken enough that there isn't an answer for it somewhere, and
trying to over-use anything is usually a gamble.  It's a pretty awesome
system as is.

However, the FB1 ships aren't awesome against fighters.  I don't see
this as a problem with the system, I see this as a problem with those
particular ships.  You can still have a fun game with those ships, just
keep them fighting each other and keep careful with it.  If a few
house/optional rules beefing up PDS here and there helps, so much the
better.  I've got a few of those myself -- e.g. I've always played with
the house rule that if you're shooting at an amassed fighter wave, you
treat it as one group and just roll up a total of casualties and remove
however many markers you need.	Makes fighters a _little_ weaker, plumb
ruins soapies against scatterguns (no stragglers surviving when a few
dice come up short somewhere), doesn't ruin fighters altogether anyway,
and it also makes bookkeeping way easier when there's a lot of fighters
around (and in my games, there usually are, although not commonly to
soapie scale numbers).	So I guess in that sense, yeah, I'm subscribing
 o the idea that fighters can use a _little_ weakening and tweaking in
the sense that I'm doing it a little too, but the playtest rules
(literally all of them) I've seen go too far.

(Not fond of the CPV system either.  Hate it, in fact.)

>(FWIW I'm not sure which version of the beta-test fighter rules TomB 
>is talking about - the ones I've seen /either/ allow all PDSs on a 
>ship to engage all incoming fighter groups /or/ allow anti-ship 
>weapons to engage fighters effectively, but not both at once.)

Yeah, the one I've seen did the latter.  As I've said before, I'm
actually all right with a weakened version of the latter -- XD does a
hits-one-fighter-on-6-only version of this, and I've generally been
using that in my own games.  I _might_ amp it up to 5+, but I've got no
intention of adopting the playtest rules I've seen.  I'm also quite fond
of (slightly modified versions of) the swing-role fighter rules in
there, much prefer those to the playtest Japanese uber-fighters.

(Sorry.  That got long.  I do that sometimes. :P )

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