Countermeasures: worth it?

The Universal Game of Starship Combat
GamingGlen
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Countermeasures: worth it?

Postby GamingGlen » Tue Feb 20, 2018 9:20 pm

In short, no. That system is too expensive, better to buy more Hull or Screens (why did you change the name from Armor?)

I designed a ship to fit my Italian Littorio-class BB miniature and set a goal of 700 points to match Beowulf's 700 point Arizona class, the primary opponent in the near future (or similarly designed ships of his).

Once I did that, I wondered about the use of Countermeasures. That system seems quite pricey, and someone made a statement about our (Beowulf's and mine) overly offensive ships vs lack of defense. Oh, the defense is there, just not in overly (IMO, and I think Beowulf's by him not using them in his ships) expensive defensive options such as Countermeasures and Ionized Hull.

So I decided to put Countermeasures-1 on my BB and see what I had to sacrifice to stay at 700 points. In short, losing 15 Armor (from 27 to 12), er Screens, (and one Tractor Beam, oh my) was not worth it and here's the math to prove it. Anyone is welcome to provide counter examples to prove Countermeasures is worth it, but I'm going with what probably will see play as my example.

Damage tracks, with Countermeasures or without [more Screens] (I like putting Shields on top as that's the first thing you have to check) :
Shields: 3 3 3 2 2 1 1
Screens: [27-26-25-24-23-22-21-20-19-18-17-16-15-14-13-] 12-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1
Hull: 14-13-12-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1
Engines: 4 4 3 3 2 2 1
Weapons: 19 17 14 11 9 6 3

So Countermeasures cost me 15 free hits. 15.

The enemy ship's main armament (as shown in the Basin) is 9-18-* ... 1x3+/1/4 ... Crn; Mdl
4 guns, 2 forward, 2 aft, but all 4 firing into nearly all the arcs but G & L.

The Shields will be useless against his main guns, of some use against his secondaries, but I'll focus on the primaries.

Let's play the average game.
Two rounds "long" range (really Middle range thanks to Crn; yeah, my weapons have Crn as well.. gotta fight fire with fire). The enemy may or not have turned broadside to shoot at me with all his guns, but I will assume so for maximum effect (worst case scenario for my poor BB):

Countermeasures-0: 4 shots x 0.67 hit chance (3+) x 2 rounds = 5.36 hits, x4 damage = 21.44 (21); 6 Screens remaining.
Countermeasures-1: 4 shots x 0.50 hit chance (4+) x 2 rounds = 4.00 hits, x4 damage = 16.00 (16); 4 internal hits.

Status: Still alive and functioning at top efficiency, one Weapon takes out 3 Tractor Beams (ow? ;) ), Engine hit has not reduced speed, Shield hit has not reduced its maximum (still useful against his secondary weapons).

Third round, short range:

Countermeasures-0: 4 shots x 0.83 hit chance (2+) x 1 round = 3.32 hits, x4 damage = 13.28 (13); 7 internal hits.
Countermeasures-1: 4 shots x 0.67 hit chance (3+) x 1 round = 2.68 hits, x4 damage = 10.72 (11); +11 internal hits, 15 total.

Status: Still alive and functioning, many defensive and some (without Countermeasures) or many (with Countermeasures) secondary Weapons gone, Engine reduced from 4 to 3, Shields.. meh (still up, not that it matters much).

Fourth round, short range:

Countermeasures-0: 4 shots x 0.83 hit chance (2+) x 1 round = 3.32 hits, x4 damage = 13.28 (13); +13 internal hits, 20 total.
Countermeasures-1: 4 shots x 0.67 hit chance (3+) x 1 round = 2.68 hits, x4 damage = 10.72 (11); +11 more internal hits, 36 total.

Status: without Countermeasures: crippled, still functional; with Countermeasures: dead. QED.

GamingGlen
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Re: Countermeasures: worth it?

Postby GamingGlen » Tue Feb 20, 2018 10:16 pm

Oh, by the way, since I'm designing a few ships based on Italian WW2 ships, I looked but could not find a reverse option for the Engines. :D

BeowulfJB
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Re: Countermeasures: worth it?

Postby BeowulfJB » Thu Feb 22, 2018 1:50 am

This afternoon, my friends and I played a game. One of my friends built a fragile ship with SIX countermeasures on it. My ships would not be able to hit it(!) Fortunately, I brought a CVE with five squads of fighter. His ship had no AA, no shields, and no armor.
The fighters chewed it up.
I junked also junked my ships with Pr1 and upgraded their weapons. Will post this on the'Basin.
Cheers
Darn the Fusion Torpedoes; full speed ahead!
Victory is blasting hostile ships to space junk before they blast you into space junk...

GamingGlen
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Re: Countermeasures: worth it?

Postby GamingGlen » Thu Feb 22, 2018 10:29 am

Interesting.

One level may not be worth it, but several could be. Maybe I'll work on an example or two of such later.

But you roll so many 6s would let you still get a lot of rerolls.

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Re: Countermeasures: worth it?

Postby MRCAcct » Mon Feb 26, 2018 6:46 pm

I've been biting my tongue, but I gotta reply.

Your argument makes perfect mathematical sense, save for (what I feel are) two flaws:
1) You assume a normal distribution of dice rolls. If rolling dice in the thousands, then yes, makes sense. Rolling them a handful or less at a time, and my decades of gaming proved to me that dice are notoriously un-normal distribution. (Rolling 20x 6s in one roll one time disabused me of that notion, along with the time I rolled 1-20, sequentially, one at a time, on that d20...)

2) You're min-maxing. I said in another post that while it's perfectly 'legal', it's not really with the spirit of the game. When I design ships for my settings (when I find the time) I pick tech based on the setting, and use that, math be darned. For example, when designing warring races, and one doesn't use shields, I don't set up their enemies with all Non-Piercing weapons and give them a ~30% firepower increase.

I've always felt that Starmada (in it's many forms) was about the game, not the math. (Though let's face it, there's much math involved. Thanks Daniel!)

GamingGlen
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Re: Countermeasures: worth it?

Postby GamingGlen » Mon Feb 26, 2018 10:32 pm

The game is designed by math. I want the options to be mathematically viable. IMO, some are not (i.e., Cloaking Device is way over priced, it works out to be as much a defense for the enemy as the ship using it). Flavor/fluff wise does not matter much in that case.

I have a lot of Star Trek miniatures, from playing SFB back in the day. I never liked drones for Klingons, you never see such a weapon in the shows. So now I can design Klingon ships without drones, and disruptors are not the heavy weapon but the equivalent of Federation phasers. I have a Disruptor Blast Cannon as a variant heavy weapon (name may have changed). Thanks to Starmada and its designer(s), playtester(s), etc, I can do that.

You don't design ships in a vaccum. (sic) The French designed their Richelieu class battleship in response to Italy's and Germany's recent BB designs (pre-WW2 era). You build your weapons of war in response to your potential enemies' weapons of war. My common opponent, Beowulf, uses his WW2 naval miniatures as space ships, which I don't have a problem with (despite some grumblings from certain local individuals), besides that way I can also use my Italian fleet as space ships as well (naval games are very rare around here). I have to design ships to fight him. They'll still have the ST/SFB flair, but I've learned through bitter lessons that I do have to pay attention to his designs. If he uses Mdl as his main weapon's trait, then building ships with Shield 4 or 5 is a large waste of points and tends to make the battles one-sided. Now I have two designs: one with Shields 3 or 4 (as if the ST ships were fighting each other), and a variant with Shields 1 or 2 with the extra space being devoted to increasing Screens for his "front". After all, SFB Klingons and Federation ships have variant designs depending on which front they are stationed at (see Klingon C8 vs C9).

GamingGlen
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Re: Countermeasures: worth it?

Postby GamingGlen » Mon Feb 26, 2018 10:40 pm

What's wrong with min/maxing?

You think naval ship designers did not min/max? Save the fluffy stuff for civilian ships. If you're going to design and build a racing yacht, it will be min/maxed to do just that: race. The most efficient design will get the building contract (barring corruption) and the winning designer gets the most accolades and payment award.

As for RPGs, I don't min/max there as much as some of the people I play with. I don't even come close, and don't want to. But RPGs are a different type of game.

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Re: Countermeasures: worth it?

Postby mj12games » Tue Mar 06, 2018 3:25 pm

Here is why CM has a x1.5 multiplier: Assuming a distribution of attacks where three times as many occur at long range as at short range, and enemy weapons are ACC 3+, you get:

NO CM:
Long Range = 3 * 50%
Medium Range = 2 * 67%
Short Range = 1 * 83%
Average = 61%

CM (1):
Long Range = 3 * 33%
Medium Range = 2 * 50%
Short Range = 1 * 67%
Average = 44%

61/44 = 1.38

So, no. Countermeasures (at x1.5) is not "worth it" when attacking weapons are all 3+ to-hit, albeit by a factor of -8%. If attacking weapons hit on 4+, this is the result:

NO CM:
Long Range = 3 * 33%
Medium Range = 2 * 50%
Short Range = 1 * 67%
Average = 44%

CM (1):
Long Range = 3 * 17%
Medium Range = 2 * 33%
Short Range = 1 * 50%
Average = 28%

44/28 = 1.57

And with an accuracy of 5+:

NO CM:
Long Range = 3 * 17%
Medium Range = 2 * 33%
Short Range = 1 * 50%
Average = 28%

CM (1):
Long Range = 3 * 14%
Medium Range = 2 * 17%
Short Range = 1 * 33%
Average = 18%

28/18 = 1.56

I ran the numbers in your thought experiment*, and if you assume the enemy's main guns are ACC 4+ instead of 3+, but give him 6 shots instead of 4, the Countermeasures option balances out.

Round 1 (medium range):
Countermeasures-0: 6 shots * 50% = 3 hits * 4 damage = 12 points of damage; 15 screens remain
Countermeasures-1: 6 shots * 33% = 2 hits * 4 damage = 8 points of damage; 4 screens remain

Round 2 (medium range):
Countermeasures-0: 6 shots * 50% = 3 hits * 4 damage = 12 points of damage; 3 screens remain
Countermeasures-1: 6 shots * 33% = 2 hits * 4 damage = 8 points of damage; 12 hull hits remain

Round 3 (short range):
Countermeasures-0: 6 shots * 67% = 4 hits * 4 damage = 16 points of damage; 7.5 hull hits remain
Countermeasures-1: 6 shots * 50% = 3 hits * 4 damage = 12 points of damage; 6 hull hits remain

Round 4 (short range):
Countermeasures-0: 6 shots * 67% = 4 hits * 4 damage = 16 points of damage; DEAD (-0.5 hull hits)
Countermeasures-1: 6 shots * 50% = 3 hits * 4 damage = 12 points of damage; DEAD (0 hull hits)

And, if the enemy's guns are ACC 5+, but he has 9 shots:

Round 1 (medium range):
Countermeasures-0: 9 shots * 33% = 3 hits * 4 damage = 12 points of damage; 15 screens remain
Countermeasures-1: 9 shots * 17% = 1.5 hits * 4 damage = 6 points of damage; 3 screens remain

Round 2 (medium range):
Countermeasures-0: 9 shots * 33% = 3 hits * 4 damage = 12 points of damage; 3 screens remain
Countermeasures-1: 9 shots * 17% = 1.5 hits * 4 damage = 6 points of damage; 12.5 hull hits remain

Round 3 (short range):
Countermeasures-0: 9 shots * 50% = 4.5 hits * 4 damage = 18 points of damage; 6.5 hull hits remain
Countermeasures-1: 9 shots * 33% = 3 hits * 4 damage = 12 points of damage; 6.4 hull hits remain

Round 4 (short range):
Countermeasures-0: 9 shots * 50% = 4.5 hits * 4 damage = 18 points of damage; DEAD (-2.5 hull)
Countermeasures-1: 9 shots * 33% = 3 hits * 4 damage = 12 points of damage; 0.4 hull hits remain

You have to remember that the CRAT modifiers have to account for the entire spread of possibilities. CM may not be "worth it" for a narrowly-defined range of enemy attack parameters, but it will be more than worth it in other scenarios.

---
* Note: there is a typo/math error in your original scenario. The CM-equipped ship has taken only 26 internals, not 36, by the end of round four. It is still alive... barely.

Round 1 (medium range):
Countermeasures-0: 4 shots * 67% = 2.7 hits * 4 damage = 10.8 points of damage; 16.2 screens remain
Countermeasures-1: 4 shots * 50% = 2 hits * 4 damage = 8 points of damage; 4 screens remain

Round 2 (medium range):
Countermeasures-0: 4 shots * 67% = 2.7 hits * 4 damage = 10.8 points of damage; 5.4 screens remain
Countermeasures-1: 4 shots * 50% = 2 hits * 4 damage = 8 points of damage; 12 hull hits remain

Round 3 (short range):
Countermeasures-0: 4 shots * 83% = 3.3 hits * 4 damage = 13.2 points of damage; 10.1 hull hits remain
Countermeasures-1: 4 shots * 67% = 2.7 hits * 4 damage = 10.8 points of damage; 6.6 hull hits remain

Round 4 (short range):
Countermeasures-0: 4 shots * 83% = 3.3 hits * 4 damage = 13.2 points of damage; 3.5 hull hits remain
Countermeasures-1: 4 shots * 67% = 2.7 hits * 4 damage = 10.8 points of damage; 1.2 hull hits remain
Daniel Kast
Majestic Twelve Games
www.mj12games.com

GamingGlen
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Re: Countermeasures: worth it?

Postby GamingGlen » Tue Mar 06, 2018 7:21 pm

Thank you for the time and effort. I noticed later with another system I was analyzing that ACC makes a difference on rating values.

BTW, I thought Cloaking Device was overpriced, but it may have been my first attempt at designing a Romulan DN that ended up with a very huge hull. A smaller hull made the CD not so expensive.

I also noticed that when I put the word Romulan in the Faction box of the SHIP5 worksheet the CRAT changes and I have looked to no avail at all the calculation as to why (yeah, yeah.. it's cloaked ;) ). Dang pesky Romulans, those tricky devils are always up to something. :twisted:

I'm using Excel 2013 so I had to make adjustments/fix some things (like putting FALSE as the 4th option in VLOOKUP to not look in alphabetic order or else it gives wrong values for Weapons), and made my own SSD worksheet as DISPLAY and DRAKE displays everything including all the empty cells (besides, I don't want to print gray, waste of ink).

Have you put the new Drydock on a website? Be nice to check my designs against it to be certain I didn't mess anything up. I usually enter book ships to test if I have but that won't cover everything. I don't think any have Screens? Just had a thought: I'll download Drydock again and leave it as is (already changed the name of my mine slightly).

GamingGlen
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Re: Countermeasures: worth it?

Postby GamingGlen » Tue Mar 06, 2018 8:59 pm

Hmph. Putting "Romulan" as the Faction cheapens the cost of Cloaking Device; it's not only on the SHIP5 worksheet, either. :o That's why it is expensive when it isn't a "Romulan" cloaking device. That has to change.

So far so good on comparing values among the unchanged spreadsheet and my altered one.

Back to designing...


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