Unity: Seeking Weapons deployment Limits?

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

Postby MRCAcct » Sun Apr 23, 2017 7:15 am

Welcome.

Yes, there doesn't appear to be any limits on how many seeking weapons you could have on the board (or your ship). It's more of a common sense thing - Starmada was designed to be played in a friendly environment. Deploying that many seeking weapons, while not against any published rule, is likely to result in the ire of other gamers, flipped tables, and real life volleys of dice. Either that, or you're playing with a bunch of people who have no issues with tracking that many counters... If that's the case you might actually have bigger problems. :D

Starmada isn't supposed to be rules heavy, SFB has that one wrapped up nicely. I've gotten the impression that there's the unwritten rule of "no min-maxing tolerated". House rules can always fix most problems. We're a light hearted group.

As for a magazine/ammo based system; there was one in the older Admiralty rules. I know Dan said that he wanted to simplify starship construction (Appendix Z I believe), and ammo was another calculation on top of the weapon one, so I can see how it got turned into the Expendable trait.

If you want that kind of system either a) make a house rule that states you can only fire X amount of seekers per turn/battery/etc. and load them to the gills, b) wait a bit and someone *cough*murtalianconfederacy*cough* will probably come up with an unofficial rule, or c) wait and see if Dan releases a rules annex with that as an optional rule.

Just my 2c CAD.

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Re: Unity: Seeking Weapons deployment Limits?

Postby murtalianconfederacy » Sun Apr 23, 2017 8:34 am

/door bursts open

Someone say my name? :D

On a serious note, I too would like to see a UE system for ammunition, because I too would love to have a system whereby you have to keep an eye on ammunition expenditures a la Honorverse (or indeed any setting where logistics plays a role). But, seeing as how there's other books in the works, as it were, I'd hesitate about doing house rules at the moment only for an official rule to address that issue much, much better.

With that in mind, however, seeing as AE did have an ammunition setting, I'd suggest looking at that to see if some workaround could be used. I won't be doing that myself because if I did, and released settings with my house rule only for official ammunition rules to be brought in, I'd have to go back and re-do those settings. And no-one wants that...right? Right?
Staff Door at my local Waterstones:

"This door is alarmed"

:) :)

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Re: Unity: Seeking Weapons deployment Limits?

Postby mj12games » Sun Apr 23, 2017 4:48 pm

All of this is true. While I haven't gone to the extent of 1000 missiles, this design is simple enough:

Code: Select all

Munchkin MIGHTY MITE-class Uber-Frigate (278)
 
Hull: 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1
Engines: 5-4-3-2-1
Weapons: 323-259-194-130-65
Shields: 3-3-2-2-1
 
Mini Missile (MA 6) 1×6+/1/1 (Exp)
323x ABCDEF // (162)

This may seem impressive, but consider:

On average...

323 will be fired, but only 54 of those will hit (not counting defensive fire).
Of those, 27 will be blocked by an average shield rating (3).
Of those, only 14 will cause hull damage.

So, this design can be reasonably confident of eliminating one CA-sized target in a single volley; after which, it is useless.

Broken? Maybe. But given a game or two, I'm sure any competent opponent can find a way of countering it.

Fun to play? Not really. And that, frankly, is the ultimate answer to any attempt to min-max the game; "Is it fun to play and/or play against?"
Daniel Kast
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Re: Unity: Seeking Weapons deployment Limits?

Postby mj12games » Sun Apr 23, 2017 4:57 pm

Carp. I accidentally deleted godsgopher's original post.

I assure you, that was just a mistake, not a values judgement. :)

You were asking whether it would be possible to implement a weapon system in which X missiles can be fired per turn, drawing from a limited stockpile of Y.

As others noted, this was something available in a previous edition of Starmada, of which the Expendable trait is an adaptation. Based on your feedback, and that from others, the "Ammo" rule is likely to be among the first to be re-implemented in a supplement. ;)
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Re: Unity: Seeking Weapons deployment Limits?

Postby godsgopher » Mon Apr 24, 2017 1:32 am

mj12games wrote:As others noted, this was something available in a previous edition of Starmada, of which the Expendable trait is an adaptation. Based on your feedback, and that from others, the "Ammo" rule is likely to be among the first to be re-implemented in a supplement. ;)


Mj12games, thanks for the reply. I'm actually glad to hear I was correct in my assessment of the game. Not because I may have detected any serious flaw, but because it means I am picking up the rules correctly. Its always a little bit of a worry when I follow a rabbit hole and come out the other end that I understood everything correctly. I am after all new to these rules with no experience with previous editions.

I'm glad to hear that launchers and magazines will likely see a return as an option. I understand the desire and the need to simplify a game when and where possible. Needless complexity is the death of any good game, however I do believe this is a good trait to offer as an option. I do say option and not requirement. Here's a short list of setting that I know use this system.

David Webers "Honor Harrington" series.
John G. Hemry "The Lost Fleet" series.
Starfleet Battles: "Drones"
Renegade Legion: Leviathan
The Expanse (Sci-fi TV show, watch this if you haven't!), also a book series.

For the moment I'm thinking Ill limit myself to a base seeker limit equal to the "hull" value of the launching ship. So seekers in excess of this are just considered in the magazine. Perhaps what we need are two systems...

1. Use the current Seeker system with limit on the total seekers a single ship can control at one time. Seekers could still be destroyed by weapon loss.

2. A Launcher and Magazine configuration, where the launchers can be destroyed, but the magazine remains secure except maybe to some kind of major critical.

Consequently, I was able to design a seeker that was 2+ accuracy, damage 5, "expendable" and "catastrophic" that require 3.1 spaces each. So a thousand spaces would allow me to load 322 of them. I don't have the experience with the game to call that a fleet killer, but I'm not prepared to say its not balanced, fair, or fun.

Ironically, this very situation is how David Weber directed the evolution of starship combat in his Honor'verse. Ships eventually just became massive launching platforms for scatterpack missiles, utterly overwhelming any hope of a battlegroups point defense.

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Re: Unity: Seeking Weapons deployment Limits?

Postby mj12games » Mon Apr 24, 2017 3:59 am

Couple things to keep in mind:

1) In order to get your 3-space-unit missiles, you have to give them a movement allowance of 4, and a single 60-degree firing arc. You can mount a lot of them, but they will be almost trivially easy to outrun or outmaneuver.

2) Each hit scored by defensive fire will eliminate as many as 15 potential damage points.

I'm not suggesting seeking weapons cannot be abused -- they certainly can, and it's possible a limiting rule or two will need to be enacted. But so can direct-fire weapons. On a hull-8 ship with an engine rating of 5, I can mount 1000 range-9 1x6+/1/1 (Exp) weapons.
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Re: Unity: Seeking Weapons deployment Limits?

Postby JohnRobert » Mon Apr 24, 2017 4:33 am

I have always used the same limits for firing expendable ordnance as for firing drones. When even a large ship can fire no more than a handful in each turn, they are less than an unbalancing weapon. However, I agree that letting a weapon fire from a magazine gives a closer simulation of some backgrounds.

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Re: Unity: Seeking Weapons deployment Limits?

Postby mj12games » Mon Apr 24, 2017 1:21 pm

I've come to realize the crux of this discussion is the Expendable trait, and not Seeking weapons. Clearly, the two will go hand-in-hand in a lot of settings, but the concerns raised here are really about the former. I don't know if that changes anything, just a light bulb that went off in my head. :)

I personally believe the fighter/drone launch limits are a bit restrictive to apply for ALL expendable weapons on a ship. I think a more realistic place to start would be to limit a ship to firing a number of expendable weapons per turn equal to its hull size, and work from there.
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Re: Unity: Seeking Weapons deployment Limits?

Postby Marauder » Mon Apr 24, 2017 4:32 pm

I know in Squadron Strike this is somewhat mitigated by restricting the number of weapons a ship can have... or maybe I'm wrong, its been a while!

Other ideas:
-If using defensive weapons or Anti-fighter batteries in defensive mode - you are allowed to roll AFTER the to hit roll of the seeking weapon, that way you only have to shoot down ones that were on target. (I think this one was in Squadron Strike too)
-Ships have have a limited number of seeking weapons they can "control" at anyone time (star fleet battles had this)

Strictly speaking, its the expendable that is the problem here, not the seeking weapons. While you are right to give a discount for a weapon you can only use once, what that tends to mean is that someone just brings a weapon that is 5x more powerful and just shoots it off once during the approach and pulls off a devastating attack.

I think another way to mitigate that might be to have "expendable or ammo" weapons take up the exact same room as a weapon with unlimited shots, but have a cheaper cost. That way you couldn't pack that many into your ship to begin with.

-Tim

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Re: Unity: Seeking Weapons deployment Limits?

Postby mj12games » Mon Apr 24, 2017 4:53 pm

I have been wondering if it's not worth stipulating that at least 50% of a ship's ORAT must come from non-expendable sources.
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