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

From: Robert Mayberry <robert.mayberry@g...>
Date: Mon, 3 May 2010 20:48:05 -0400
Subject: Re: [GZG] FT:XD changes, part 1

> On Mon, May 3, 2010 at 6:47 PM, John Lerchey <>
> I had a thought while reading TomB's post.  Maybe this has been
> thought of before, maybe not.  Seems that part of the problem is that
> tons of fighters vs not tons of PDS gives the fighters a HUGE impact
> on the battle.  Can the problem be resolved by toning down the

I think one of the challenges of fighters is that they can stack up.
That is, you can concentrate fighters from many ships into one big
swarm. Lacking ADFC, you're left matching each ship's defenses
individually against all the enemy fighters collectively. As fleets
get bigger, fighters become more numerous, but ship defenses don't
change at all. That's why I proposed costing fighters separately as
their own component of a fleet.

The other problem is that they can project power. You launch a fighter
from a crappy "soap bubble" carrier and then break for it while the
fighters stay with the battle group or charge ahead into the enemy.
Much of the points cost of your fighters is the carrier they deploy
from-- which in the case of soap bubbles is off- or nearly off-table.
There aren't many other ways to Endurance rules help for this by
keeping the fighter on a tighter leash.

Another is the rock-paper-scissors issue. There are components that
are only useful for defending against fighters (PDS / ADFC). They can
counter fighter swarms in enough numbers, but lend nothing else to the
game, and if you don't have enough, they're dead weight. Most other
weapons don't affect fighters at all. Combine this with the
soap-bubble strategy, and you can send your teeth, resistant to most
weapons, into battle and keep your (vulnerable and expensive) tail out
of the fight.

A side effect (I'm glad it was pointed out) is that the break-even
point varies with fleet size.

So if we're going to tone this stuff down with rules rather than
points, I think we need to address all three of these big issues.
Anti-swarming rules would have to be developed. Fighters would have to
be constrained to stay close to their carriers (whether by endurance,
range, speed, re-arming rules, or what have you). Finally, fighters
would have to lose at least some of their invincibility versus most
anti-ship weapons.

The alternative is to create some new rules dynamic which makes you
want to have SOME fighters but not too many, so there's a sweet spot.
The B5 setting does this. JMS basically decided that fighters were
important for scraping off surface gear (weapons) on enemy ships, but
that they can't really destroy ships on their own. You see this in The
Fall of Night:

     "This episode shows the new defense grid (cf. "GROPOS") in action
for the first time. As
     promised it is an even match for a heavy battle cruiser. The
battle doctrine for the B5
     universe is one of fighters engage fighters, heavy ships engage
heavy ships. During this
     combat sequence we see what happens when a heavy ship ignores the
fighters and fails (for
     whatever reason) to deploy its own fighters. While not capable of
inducing complete
     destruction of a heavy vessel in the short term, the fighters can
strip a heavy vessel of its
     offensive/defensive armament since such weaponry is small
compared to the ship and
     necessarily exposed in order to be effective. " (lurker's guide

The downside of doing this is that it's harder to adapt to existing
fictional settings.

I'm open to ideas which make fighters behave in a more linear fashion,
or points systems which acknowledge their exponential properties. A
battle settled in drydock the night before the game is unsatisfying to
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