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

From: Robert Mayberry <robert.mayberry@g...>
Date: Sat, 1 May 2010 15:09:53 -0400
Subject: Re: [GZG] FT:XD changes, part 1

Could I butt in, on the premise that I know virtually nothing about
the playtest rules?

It seems like the core problem is that fighters are being costed out
as a ship-level asset, when they're actually a fleet-level asset.
Fighters' effectiveness increases exponentially as you add groups to
your fleet. Adding your first fighter group is less powerful than its
points value as components in capital ships, but your eleventh fighter
group is far MORE powerful than its points value suggests.

Changing the fighter cost could scale the exponential term up or down,
but it won't remove the fact that that ten groups are far more than
twice as effective as five. Fighters project power; once they launch
from a ship they aren't adding to the SHIP's power, they're adding to
the FLEET's power.

So why have the ship's points value include any fighters at all? Why
not just pay for your ships (with empty fighter bays), and then buy
fighters separately when you're costing out a fleet? Then you can put
your exponential term in THERE.

Example: A standard multirole fighter group costs 18 points. To add it
to your fleet, put it in a "slot" (squadron, group etc) in your fleet
record, applying the multiplier for that slot:

Slot 1: 0.5
Slot 2: 0.5
Slot 3: 1
Slot 4: 1
Slot 5: 2
Slot 6: 2
Slot 7: 4
Slot 8: 4
Slot 9: 8
Slot 10: 8

...etc, with each additional pair of slots costing twice as much as
the last pair.

Thus, a fleet with two squadrons would cost 18 points (but would still
pay full price for the bays to carry them!) The third squadron brings
the total fighter wing cost to 36, then 54, then 90, then 126, etc
etc. Obviously, the exact values would have to be play-tested. The
point is: big swarms of fighters cost more per fighter because they're
more EFFECTIVE per fighter.

Once you've bought the fleet's fighter groups, you can pay to give
them upgrades (eg 6 more points for attack fighters). Then you assign
them to their carriers. (Alternatively, you could pay BEFORE assigning
them to a group. Then it's optimal to put your priciest fighters in
the cheap slots and padding your numbers with cheap multirole
fighters.) You might even use salvo and MT missiles and other
"ordnance" weapons with this same rule.

This could mean in a campaign that your fleet has empty bays. That's
ok-- look at fighter attrition rates in the Tuffleyverse and tell me
how we've been playing with FULL bays all this time. Even if the
pilots have been recovered, often you'll have fighters off-line
waiting for repairs. Depending on the scenario and background, you
might be allowed to have more fighter groups than bays (eg planetary
defense or settings where fighters have FTL). In a one-off game, of
course, you just have to juggle your ships.

Star Wars, B5 and BSG all have battles where fighters arrive using FTL
and engage capital ships or each other without having an on-screen
carrier. You can't play those battles in out-of-the box FT2, but you
can with these rules. And fleets with one squadron aren't over-paying
for what is a very limited capability.

Obviously, you'd have to drop the NPV = $$$ conceit, but I don't Jon
was ever wedded to that; it was just a convenience for writing the
Fleet Books. It's not exactly core to the setting.

Just a thought.
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