Unity: Seeking Weapons deployment Limits?

The Universal Game of Starship Combat
Blacklancer99
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Re: Unity: Seeking Weapons deployment Limits?

Postby Blacklancer99 » Sun Feb 18, 2018 12:14 am

GamingGlen wrote:That's not how a lot of the real gaming world works. Min-maxing is part of competitive play and miniatures gaming is very competitive


It’s about what you enjoy. Some people really enjoy the challenge of out-designing their opponents and the cat-and-mouse of design/counter.

I don’t.
I would rather both sides have identical designs and try to outplay or even outluck an opponent. The beer and pretzels taste better to me when I win a game like that.

Any game with a design aspect will see people try to find ways to “min/max” as part of the challenge. When the game becomes all about that it becomes Rock Paper Scissors as far as I am concerned.

But each to their own.

Maybe the game is broken, and might require an exercise of restraint among designers to keep it tactically interesting. Otherwise it becomes a strategy game played mostly by oneself trying to weedle different combinations so that when you show up to the table the issue is decided one way or another. I would once again recommend setting all the TLs to 0. Much much much harder (in my opinion) to create “broken design” conditions.

I may be ranting a bit in my old age, but I have seen a lot of games “broken” over the years by exploiting design process or rules. You know what I have consistently found? The game becomes a lot more fun for myself and the people that I have played with when we find a way to eliminate an exploit through a house rule or imposed restrictions. Seen it in board games, card games, and miniatures games. A few people have chafed at “restricting rules” but most come around when the games get fun again.
Some have left and never came back.
But that’s ok, it means there is more pizza for the rest of us.

Cheers,
Erik
Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are more pliable.
Mark Twain.

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Re: Unity: Seeking Weapons deployment Limits?

Postby GamingGlen » Sun Feb 18, 2018 12:29 am

So here's the Korath Dreadnought...
162 missiles, let's say that the ship's Point Defense gets to fire on the seekers on the turn before they strike (speed 6 seeker vs range 6 weapon). Luckily it can fire 10 in an arc the seekers are in, at ROF 3 and 4+ to hit is 30 *.5 = 15 seekers destroyed (and this is at medium range). That leaves 147 incoming, hitting at 3+ means 98 striking the level 4 Shields. So 1/3 penetrate = 32, which is 16 hull damage out of 19. It's not fairing well either.

Put in SFB terms, seekers let the Kzinti take over the galaxy and eat everyone. :twisted:

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Re: Unity: Seeking Weapons deployment Limits?

Postby BeowulfJB » Sun Feb 18, 2018 5:55 pm

Let me see if I understand this; the Kizinti use seekers, conquer the galaxy and all become... cat-food :!: :P <LOL>
PS: I posted the BB with Mdl in the 'Basin
Darn the Fusion Torpedoes; full speed ahead!
Victory is blasting hostile ships to space junk before they blast you into space junk...

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Re: Unity: Seeking Weapons deployment Limits?

Postby GamingGlen » Sun Feb 18, 2018 6:37 pm

BeowulfJB wrote:Let me see if I understand this; the Kizinti use seekers, conquer the galaxy and all become... cat-food :!: :P <LOL>
PS: I posted the BB with Mdl in the 'Basin


Have you read any of the Man-Kzin Wars books? Kzinti pretty much treat all other species as prey. The reason humans have won every war against the Kzinti is because they're lousy strategists and tend to think all other species are inferior. They do now give humans some respect.

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Re: Unity: Seeking Weapons deployment Limits?

Postby GamingGlen » Mon Feb 19, 2018 12:13 am

Blacklancer99 wrote:
GamingGlen wrote:That's not how a lot of the real gaming world works. Min-maxing is part of competitive play and miniatures gaming is very competitive


It’s about what you enjoy. Some people really enjoy the challenge of out-designing their opponents and the cat-and-mouse of design/counter.

I don’t.
I would rather both sides have identical designs and try to outplay or even outluck an opponent. The beer and pretzels taste better to me when I win a game like that.

And I find that boring as... watching paint dry. I want to play different types of ships, but point wise should be balanced.

Any game with a design aspect will see people try to find ways to “min/max” as part of the challenge. When the game becomes all about that it becomes Rock Paper Scissors as far as I am concerned.

No one is saying that is all the game is about. I like ship designing, ever since Traveller's 3 little books came out. But if exploits exist in the system they should be fixed, not house ruled by people who paid for the game.

Maybe the game is broken, and might require an exercise of restraint among designers to keep it tactically interesting. Otherwise it becomes a strategy game played mostly by oneself trying to weedle different combinations so that when you show up to the table the issue is decided one way or another.

No one is saying that the game is broken, just some parts of it are. Perhaps all that is needed is a re-evaluation of some of the values. For instance, I see by Beowulf's new design that Carronade is too cheap.

Weapon A1: 6-12-18 1x3+/1/4 Mdl : SU = 90.6
Weapon A2: 9-18-* 1x3+/1/4 Crn; Mdl : SU = 81.5 - has a longer short range and won't suffer the long range penalties at range 13-18 like A1 does. All my weapons will have Crn now. We should not have to house rule not to use Crn. Fix the value. I'll play around in the spreadsheet and maybe come up with a proper value. Carronade looks like it's more of an advantage than disadvantage, so it's multiplier might need to be over 1.

I would once again recommend setting all the TLs to 0. Much much much harder (in my opinion) to create “broken design” conditions.

Yet the designer says that should not matter. What the high TLs do is show the flaws in the system. Broken designs only show the problem in a big way, designs that happen to use exploits unintentionally will have an advantage. A very small one that will most likely have less effect due to actual tactical play and die rolls, but it is there.

We use high TLs to create designs based on real or fictional vessels from other games, without the need to have huge hulls.

I'm not poo-pooing the entire game. Those of us raising issues just want the issues addressed, probably corrected.

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Re: Unity: Seeking Weapons deployment Limits?

Postby mj12games » Mon Feb 19, 2018 3:36 pm

GamingGlen wrote:So you took one lousy example, show that it's not all that effective, and say the game is good.

No, I took an extreme example and demonstrated that while powerful, it's not quite as jaw-dropping as it looked at first glance. I didn't say the game was "good"; I was inviting further discussion.

By the way, very few book ships have a chance to shoot down the seekers at striking time since few book point defense weapons have Dfn. Pnp by itself is nearly worthless as a point defense option.

Because none of the book ships were designed to counter ships with seeking weapons, much less ships whose entire arsenal consists of seeking weapons. (As you imply, the point values should still account for this, but don't disparage the designs for failing to defend against things that don't exist. ;) )

Any game with a design aspect will see people try to find ways to “min/max” as part of the challenge. When the game becomes all about that it becomes Rock Paper Scissors as far as I am concerned.

No one is saying that is all the game is about. I like ship designing, ever since Traveller's 3 little books came out. But if exploits exist in the system they should be fixed, not house ruled by people who paid for the game.

Agreed. I will, however, wait until all the evidence is in.

No one is saying that the game is broken, just some parts of it are. Perhaps all that is needed is a re-evaluation of some of the values. For instance, I see by Beowulf's new design that Carronade is too cheap.

I had not really looked at Carronade from this angle. (Of course, doing so requires expanding available weapon ranges to 27, but that's neither here nor there.)

When comparing apples to apples (i.e. a carronade weapon and a non-carronade weapon with the same base range value), the multiplier of 0.6 makes sense. For range-based traits, I assume 50% of combat will occur at long range, 33% will occur at medium range, and 17% at short range. I further assume a default to-hit of 4+. For the non-carronade weapon, this means an average hit chance of 44%. For the carronade weapon, the average hit chance is 28%. 28%/44% = 0.64, rounded to 0.6.

However, if you compare apples to oranges (which I freely admit I never did), the carronade weapon does gain an advantage. Doing the math, a carronade weapon of range 18 costs 90% of a non-carronade weapon of range 12, but has the same effective range and a better average hit chance (using the above assumptions, 56% vs. 44%). Overall, that makes carronades about 40% more powerful than their point cost implies.

Clearly, the multiplier needs to be adjusted. I would recommend 0.8 as a starting point.*

Yet the designer says that should not matter. What the high TLs do is show the flaws in the system. Broken designs only show the problem in a big way, designs that happen to use exploits unintentionally will have an advantage. A very small one that will most likely have less effect due to actual tactical play and die rolls, but it is there.

You are right. The TL should not matter. The point value is based on the final capabilities of the ship.

However, adding weapons without also adding to defenses means ships become fragile eggshells which only last a turn or two in combat. This not only makes the game less fun (IMHO) it lessens the opportunity for die rolls and tactical choices to even out. Point costs are based on an average across a number of turns, and there is an implicit assumption that games will last a certain amount of time. If ships are designed in such a way, via a combination of high weapon TLs and a seeking arsenal, that they can dish out a crap-ton of damage in one blow, and the opponents don't have a commensurate defensive capability, the game is going to "break".

---
*FWIW, regarding carronades, the discrepancy is that, while I weight the long range band for purposes of evaluating range-based traits, for ease of computation, the range value of a weapon is treated as a linear multiplier.

Just in case you were wondering.
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Re: Unity: Seeking Weapons deployment Limits?

Postby mj12games » Mon Feb 19, 2018 4:21 pm

Some thoughts, not necessarily in any order or leading to any conclusion:

In order for seekers to be balanced, the target has to have the capability of shooting down 60% of incoming seekers. This brings to mind one important point: there always has been, and always will be, a certain rock-paper-scissors component to Starmada (indeed, any game with an open-ended design system). It is impossible to completely balance every design against every other. To take a simple and obvious example, a ship that has Mdl on all of its weapons is wasting 60% of its offensive cost against an unshielded target.

The question should never be, is this design balanced against everything? It should be, is this design UNBALANCED to the point that nothing can counter it?

You'll note that as the damage potential of the seeking weapon goes up, its comparative cost goes down. The 4+/1/1 seeker above has a divisor of 2.5; a 4+/5/5 seeker has a divisor of 9.8. This happens because each defensive "shot" has the ability to eliminate proportionally more incoming damage potential. Thus, you can fit 2.7 of the 4+/5/5 seekers in the same space as ten 4+/1/1 seekers.

On first blush, this would seem horribly unbalancing: the large seekers have a damage potential of 67.5 compared to 10 for the small seekers. However, remember that each defensive shot is eliminating 25 times as much damage potential. Assume the target has enough defensive firepower to eliminate 6 seekers (60% of the incoming small volley); this will be enough to eliminate the entire large volley twice over.
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Re: Unity: Seeking Weapons deployment Limits?

Postby GamingGlen » Mon Feb 19, 2018 4:31 pm

Thanks for listening and replying.

Our battles here, between Beowulf and myself mostly, with our longer ranged weapons than those in the book (we go with 18, where as I see a lot of range 12 & 15 in the book), tend to be at medium range a lot more than long. Usually one turn is at long and several at medium before 1 - 3 turns at short range After that it becomes a mix of short and medium, with cripples heading off to deep space :lol: and at long range for a bit.

I thought max range was 30? (goes to spreadsheet to check). Yup.

Any issue having seekers at speed 15? I haven't played a game yet, so maybe 12 is fast enough.
I changed a couple weapon line limits from -12 to -15, for the plasma torpedo, to see how it turns out. Perhaps I'll drop it back to speed 12. Just to give a hint to Beowulf what the Romulan Condor DN might be armed with:

Plasma-R Torpedo Launcher MA-15 1×2+/5/5 Cts; Pr1; Slw [Base SU=53.3]
(1) AB ☐☐
Plasma-F Torpedo Launcher MA-15 1×2+/4/2 Cts; Pr1; Slw [Base SU=32.6]
(1) ABC ☐ | ABD ☐

(yeah, could put double Slw on them, but these are quick charge plasma torps. :D )

An option I thought about would be to have a degrading IMP per turn, sort of like Sct but only for seekers. Plasma torpedoes in SFB lost damage potential the further they travelled. Don't know how to implement that idea.

IMO, the Mdl trait is cheating. I could understand it for a certain cyBORG faction. But just willy nilly anyone can have it? *ugh*
Maybe I should call Beowulf "Borgwulf", based on his new ship design. :mrgreen:

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Re: Unity: Seeking Weapons deployment Limits?

Postby mj12games » Mon Feb 19, 2018 4:39 pm

GamingGlen wrote:Our battles here, between Beowulf and myself mostly, with our longer ranged weapons than those in the book (we go with 18, where as I see a lot of range 12 & 15 in the book), tend to be at medium range a lot more than long. Usually one turn is at long and several at medium before 1 - 3 turns at short range After that it becomes a mix of short and medium, with cripples heading off to deep space :lol: and at long range for a bit.

I assume you start around 20-24 hexes apart?

I thought max range was 30? (goes to spreadsheet to check). Yup.

You are right. In my head game ranges will always max out at 18. ;)

Any issue having seekers at speed 15? I haven't played a game yet, so maybe 12 is fast enough.

12 is fast enough IMHO. We've found that seekers faster than 8 are REALLY hard to avoid. Remember that, the Dfn trait aside, a seeker's MA defines the range within which it is essentially a direct-fire weapon.

(FWIW, the SFU Starmada stats give plasma torps a speed of 8.)

An option I thought about would be to have a degrading IMP per turn, sort of like Sct but only for seekers. Plasma torpedoes in SFB lost damage potential the further they travelled. Don't know how to implement that idea.

See Romulan Armada. ;)
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Re: Unity: Seeking Weapons deployment Limits?

Postby GamingGlen » Mon Feb 19, 2018 4:47 pm

I'm not liking the seeker save chart much. That looks to be new to Starmada.

But without it, I wouldn't bother using the Plasma Torpedo I mentioned previously as it would be too easy to take down and definitely less intimidating than the big ball of plasma coming towards you (remembering the scene from ST TOS). I'll have to break out my plasma torp counters from SFB (I kept a counter sheet of them for just such an emergency ;) ).

Have you considered using IMP as an indicator for hit points of a seeker? Each point lessens the damage potential and once it reaches 0 the seeker is destroyed (makes for a better simulation of the SFB plasma torp since you can reduce its damage with phaser fire). Most seekers have IMP-1 then one hit destroys them. Seems better than a save roll, which is an extra die roll (and a kludge from some *ahem* RPG), IMO.


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